Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How 'bout them Phils???!!!

As a Philadelphia fan, it's not always easy to understand why you come back year after year and invest time, money and emotion into sports. As it has been said over and over again, it's been 28 years since the last World Series for the Phillies and 25 years for the city of Philadelphia since they have had a championship. Is it the curse? Is it the front office? Is it the players?

Well, all that is over now... The Phils have ended it and I feel like this could be a turning point for the city of Philadelphia and it's sports teams. One of the teams had to stand up and stop the bleeding... and, the Phillies did it. Awesome!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Timed Mile... Again

Justin, Lisa and I went over to the F&M track and ran a timed mile again. We ran a 1.5 mile warmup over to the track and then walked one lap to "mentally prepare". Then... we were off. I was pretty sure that I hadn't pushed it to the limits with my 6:26 mile a couple weeks ago and I knew that having Justin running with me would push me to run faster... And, I was right.

We came through the first quarter in 1:27 (we were shooting for flat 1:35 splits), woops. But, that really evened out in the second lap (just like last time) where I ran a 1:41. The third lap was similar to last time (1:39 v 1:37) and the final lap came in at 1:29 (super fast). Total time... 6:18!!!

So... what did I learn?

1. I ran 8 seconds faster when I had a "rabbit"(Justin) to chase. That's significant.
2. The first and last quarter were REALLY fast. I'm wondering if I should be shooting for more even splits.
3. I'm getting faster... This time last year I ran a 6:49 mile and this year I cut it all the way down to 6:18. 31 seconds on the mile time is a big deal.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I'm Fast and This is Easy...

I went on a six miler over lunch today with Lisa and Justin... As is ritual (since I have the Garmin), I email out the stats for the run to both of them. Also... as is pretty normal, Lisa skipped out on the second three miles and went back to work. So, Justin and I continued on.

Justin and I have also been toying with a sub 9 minute mile month. I've never done that before and I'm fairly deep into the month and still keeping up. After the first three miles of our run, we were a little behind pace.


But, with the sub 9 minute goal in mind... Justin and I really cranked it up for the last 3 miles. And boy did we.... here are the splits for the last three miles.


I'd say that's considerably less than sub 9. In fact, even though it was a slow first 3, we still averaged 8:30's over 6 miles. Not too shabby...

Now for the explanation of the title of this post... Vanilla over at Half-Fast wrote a hilarious post a while back that I now consider classic ("That Wasn't Me You Saw Running") where he talks about how everything comes back to, "I'm fast and this is easy". Read the post, seriously... it's great. Anyhow, that's what I told Lisa when we got done with the final 3 miles. And, I kinda believe it at this point...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Work/Life/Run Balance...

This is probably one of the most difficult, busy and rewarding times of my life right now. We just had our second child and it has been way harder than I expected. Ask my wife and she might tell you that it has been WAY harder than expected. Coupled with the fact that I had to put off traveling for work for the last three weeks of the pregnancy (which means my last quarter of traveling is CRAZY), and that makes life even harder....

Now, don't get me wrong, this isn't a pity party. I love my job, love my family and love running... But, keeping up with all three has become increasingly difficult. I'm kinda worn out and need to figure out how to make it all come together. I just found out that I have a couple vacation days that I need to take before the end of the year. Maybe that's what I need to do.

In regards to my running, I have an 8.8 mile stretch of the Harrisburg Marathon (I'm part of a relay) in a couple weeks. I've been re-ramping (is that a word?) my mileage up to accommodate the race. I did a nice 8 miler on Sunday and plan to go for 10 on this coming Sunday. That should get me there. Then, I'm running a Jingle Bell Run in December (5k). Should be an interesting last couple months of 2008.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Still Running

I've fallen off the face of the planet lately. Don't feel too bad, you're not the only ones that I'm neglecting. I'm also neglecting my wife, two daughters, my job, my running and myself. This week has been a long one at work. I've been out to dinner twice this week, coupled with staying up late to watch the Phillies win the pennant (sweet!). So, I'm short on sleep and haven't had time to think about anything...

That said, I've been running. I picked up the mileage this week a bit (the last couple have been down weeks). But, I'm feeling overweight and undertrained right now. So, next week is going to have to be a recovery week (not running, but life). Just thought I'd check in... But, still trying to stay above water this week...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

One Mile Improvement...

No, I didn't improve by a mile... Actually, I don't even know what that means. But, I did run my timed mile over lunch. Lisa and I jogged a mile and a half over to the Franklin & Marshall track and both looked at each other like, "Do you really want to do this?". The answer in my head was, "No, not really.." But, the answer in my legs was, "Well, we're already here."

So... after one lap of walking around the track we got started. Lisa had run the timed one mile for the office olympics in about 8 minutes. She kinda sandbagged it and wanted to do better. So, she came out to run with me today. She ran a 7:30 mile...!! That's pretty darn good.

As I said before, my previous best (and only timed mile under 7:00 in my life) was last year at 6:49. This year, I was determined to really trash that time. And, I did!!

I started out pretty quick, but wasn't feeling that bad. I was just trying to run on "feel". I was half way through the first lap and had no clue if I was running fast or slow... I was shooting for a 1:36 first 400 and I came in at 1:31... Oh no!!!

So, the second lap I scaled back considerably. In fact, I scaled back way too much and came in at 1:40. So much for even splits... The 3rd lap, which is traditionally the toughest in the mile race wasn't that bad. I came in at 1:38 for that lap.

So, the last lap was just about digging down. But... it really wasn't that bad. I did push the last 100 meters or so. But, I don't feel like I left it all out there. That said, I did my last lap in 1:37. So, overall, I ran a 6:26!!! That's incredible. I had said prior to running it that 6:30 or under would be great. And, my goal was 6:24. So, I didn't miss that by much. We are already planning to go back in 2 weeks and try and leave it all out there.

Could I go sub 6:20? Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

One Mile Test...

A bunch of people at work did a timed one mile for the Office Olympics while I was out for the birth of Juliana. I did that last year and it got me to thinking how fast I can run it now. I ran it in 6:49 last year.

So, I think a realistic goal would be about 6:30 or so. I'm going to shoot for 1:36 quarters (6:24 pace) and see where that takes me. If I can come in under 6:30, I'd be stoked. The first time I ever ran a sub 7 minute mile was last year for the timed mile. So, if I could run under 6:30, that would be quite the accomplishment.

I got a nice 6 miler in over lunch yesterday with Justin. Now that I know he is quicker than me, it somehow seems like I'm always chasing him. It's funny how that works :) Anyhow, we really pushed the last mile and it felt really great.

Run recap- 6 miles, 53:43, 8:57 pace,

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fun With Numbers, HOH 2008

Here are some results for me at the HOH half marathon this year and last year... Not too shabby.

Me 2008
150/435 overall, 112/232 males, 17/28 age group

Me 2007
176/340 overall, 128/215 males, 18/21 age group

What stands out about these numbers? Last year, only three runners finished behind me in my age group. This year, 11 runners did. That's improvement right there.

Good race and I'm excited to run the Harrisburg relay now. Time to speed up...

Results link:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hands On House Half Report

Although I didn't really train for this race specifically. It was definitely at a convenient point in my training... so I decided to run it. And... boy am I glad that I did. I had planned to meet up with a couple people that I will be running the Harrisburg relay with (Nate, his wife Abbie and Beth) and my training partner (Justin).

So... I spent the better part of an hour trying to do the good thing and coach Nate and Justin through what to expect for their first half. "Here's what you should do"... "Don't go out too fast"... "Run how you feel"... "Turn it on late if you have anything left"... I kind of felt that I owed it to them since I've run multiple halves and this would be their first.

Well... jokes on me... :) Both Nate and Justin outran me today. I'm so darn impressed (read: jealous). In their first half marathon, Nate ran a 1:37 something and Justin ran a low 1:48. Really though.... super impressed with their run today.

But, enough about them... I had a hell of a run too. I ran the first 5-6 miles with Justin. We were clipping off 8:20 miles in anticipation of the hill to come. We had trained the hill pretty recently, so we both knew what to expect. That's not to say that a pretty steep, .8 mile hill is any better just because we had run it recently. But, we knew what to expect.

Right about here, Justin started to separate himself and I gave him my blessing to take off. It was pretty clear he had a bit more in him than I did. For a lot of the rest of the race, I could see him out in front of me. In fact, there was a point pretty far in (9 or 10 miles?) that I had him in my sights. I actually felt like I was reeling him in. But, he picked it up again and that was the last I saw of him.

I started to struggle with about 4 miles left (maybe from trying to reel Justin in?). But, with about 1.25 miles left, Beth (who ran the 5k) came out to run the last bit with me. Man, what a lift. That really helped a lot. I went from an 8:40 pace to an 8:20 pace in almost no time. It was a nice shot in the arm.

She kept giving me a hard time about catching up to the pack in front of me. I kept telling her, "not yet, not yet". So... with about a quarter mile left, I started to kick a bit. Then, with about .15 left, I really turned it on. I must have passed 4-5 people on the way to the finish and I turned in a 7:50 final mile. That was awesome!!!

But, here's the kicker... I turned the corner and could see the clock and a sub 1:50 was just out of my reach. Despite my best efforts, I came in at 1:50:02 on the clock. And, although this is a PR by almost 2 minutes and a almost 5 minute improvement on the same race last year, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth.....

If you've read my previous post about chip finished races, you may have already guessed what my beef is. But, if not, I'll indulge you. I start in the middle of the pack so as not to get in the way of the faster runners. When running a chipped race, the expectation is that it really doesn't matter where you start because the mats time you accurately and your chip time will reflect your "real" time. Anyhow, when the event only has a mat at the finish, you lose all the time it takes to get to the start line from when the gun goes off... Apparently, for this race, that was about 10 seconds. I know that because I hit my start button when I crossed the start line (makes sense right?) and stopped it just after I finished.

Big deal right??? Well folks... that's the difference between an official 1:50:02 and a watch timed 1:49:52. I'm gonna go ahead and throw caution to the wind and count my 1:49:52. Because, after all, I run and keep track of my times for myself. So... the race can have my official 1:50:02. I'm taking the 1:49:52. Sub 1:50!! Sweet. And, I don't feel bad about it at all (since it IS my real time).

Turning it on, not far now...

Finish Line

Justin, Nate, Me, and Abbie

Chip Finished Race?

What is going on anymore? Why do races do chip finishes, but not chip starts? What that means is that I start about half way back the pack (like a good mid-pack runner should) and I get penalized whatever time it takes me to get to the starting line. I think it's ridiculous and I don't get it.

So... I get that they chip finish as a convenience to collect results. That makes sense to me. I get that it is a better experience for the racers to get their times on the spot very quickly. But... are the companies that are renting the mats raping the race organizers so badly that they can't pay for two mats? What's at the heart of this? I'm seeing this more and more and it really frustrates me. So much so that I have half a mind to just start at the front with the "real runners".

I think it is a totally fair request to have accurate results. After all, it's why I enter races and seconds (or 10-15) could be the difference between my PR and no PR.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Am I Ready??

I'm in a really strange place in my training right now. I am running the Hands on House Half Marathon in Lancaster on Saturday. After training for the full and bailing half way through, you would think that I'm more than ready. And, at one point, that was true.

But.... I'm not so sure now. 2 weeks ago I ran 11 and last weekend I ran 7. I looked at a couple training plans and it appears as if it would have been smarter of me to run 12 this past weekend. But, I can't revise what I've done. And, I can't make up for it now. So... only the race will tell. I've just been going about my business and doing some short tempo runs this week to keep my legs lively and not overdo it.

One thing is for sure... I will be rested and ready for this race. The question remains... Has my training been good enough? Only the race knows the answer to that one. Stay tuned...