Thursday, July 31, 2008

Candler Park Double and Grapefruit Martinis

AM: 54 mins
~7.5 miles
PM: 23 mins
3 miles
2 mile walk w/Brooke and Biz

The sky was overcast and the air was cooler than normal this morning, so my easy run was quite pleasant. I did the Candler Park loop in reverse, plus some meandering around in the Highlands (it's funny--this run continues to be shorter than I expect it to be. Like, every time. You would think I'd realize this by now). Of note, guess who was sitting on the SAME bench again (or still)?? That's right, the guy I mentioned yesterday. This morning he appeared to be napping, with his head on his briefcase and one of his hands clutching...a jar of peanut butter! I couldn't discern with my fleeting glimpse whether it was crunchy or creamy, but nonetheless I'm growing to like him more with each passing day.

In the evening I had four miles on tap, so I elected to wog to Brooke's condo and meander around Inman Park to attain 30 minutes. However, it stormed all afternoon, and by the time I headed her direction the post-rain heat and humidity was suffocating. I started to feel the typical dizziness/light-headedness I often experience on evening runs, and cut the wog short as a result. Brooke and I also walked Biscuit for a few miles before heading to dinner.

On a personal note, Brooke received a job offer today...for a position in Birmingham...starting in two weeks. While I could not be more excited for her and this wonderful opportunity, I'm also indescribably sad to lose my best friend (whom I was just reunited with a mere 29 days ago, for those of you who are counting). I'm not super keen on the prospect of meeting new people and expanding my social circle, but it looks like that's what I'm going to have to do. Needless to say, I imposed a self-authorized moratorium on the "no drinking during the week" mandate for the occasion (although, truth be told, one could consider Thursday a weekend if one opts not to drink on Sunday, which I shan't be doing this week). Brooke and I enjoyed several grapefruit martinis at Eclipse and several glasses of wine at chez Starr to help assuage our sadness. Not sure that this will help me to attain my training goal, but sometimes that's just not the point.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Trails

AM: 57 mins.
8 miles
PM: 26 mins.
3+ miles

This morning I got up early and met Jeff at the river for an easy run. We ran around the dirt loop until we reached the entrance to the Sope Creek trails, where we spent the majority of our run. The time flew by as we followed the rolling single-track trails through the woods. It boggles the mind that we could be smack in the middle of a huge city and yet feel so far from it. This was the most enjoyable run I've had in a while, and we decided to make this a standing plan every Wednesday morning unless travel or other obligations prohibit it.

Sign that marks the turn-around point on my evening run. Not sure
what exactly I was about to enter...Decatur maybe?

In the evening I went for an easy jaunt to make sure the legs stayed loose after the hilly run this morning. Basically retraced the route parallel to Ponce that I ran en route to my hill workout the other day. Of note: for the third time in a row while running this path, I've passed the same guy sitting on one of the benches near the trail in virtually the same position. What's even more odd is that each of these runs have taken place at different times (7am, 9am, and now 6pm today), yet he always seems to be there. He doesn't appear to be homeless and, though he's seated close to the Hare Krishna temple, isn't wearing their traditional robes, so I have no idea what his story is. I'm sure he has one though, and I was kept occupied for the remainder of the run imagining what it could be.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hill Repeats

AM: 18 min. w/u (2+ miles)
10xhill repeats, recovery on the way down
(1:27, 1:27, 1:27, 1:27, 1:26, 1:27, 1:26, 1:27, 1
:24, 1:23)
15 min. c/d (2 miles)
Total: ~9 miles
PM: 30 minute walk

The first workout of our marathon training cycle consisted of hill repeats. Specifically, 10x1:00-1:30 with recovery on the way down. I had a hill in mind but wasn't sure if it would be the correct le
ngth, but luckily I found it to be just about perfect. I warmed up from my house up Briarcliff and onto the Freedom Trail that runs parallel to Ponce. I ran down the path toward Fernbank, jogged a few minutes up Clifton just to see what the traffic was like on a weekday morning (not too bad, surprisingly), then jogged down to the end of the trail at the bottom of the hill. I found out after my first interval that it took almost exactly 90 seconds to run to the top of the hill (where the bike path intersects with Clifton) and about 1:55-2:00 to run back down. I tried to keep my breathing controlled and my stride relaxed through each interval, and really pushed on the last two to see what I could do. Jogged home nice and easy on the trail to Highland, then ran down St. Charles back to Briarcliff and home.

Produce stand I pass every day on my run. Words to live by.

I entertained the idea of an evening double, but thunderstorms thwarted that plan. As I'm writing this, I plan to enjoy some cereal for dinner (which will cap off a successful day 2 of my new life) and then take a walk if the rain abates.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New Life: Day 1

AM: 60 mins
8 miles
PM: 30 min. walk
stretching, pushups, abs

I woke up early today to head out the door before a long day of visiting accounts. Ran to Piedmont Park, meandered around some nearby Midtown neighborhoods, ran three or four laps around the AO for good measure, then headed home. This was a nice, easy run to start off the week.

In the evening I took a brisk walk through the Highlands, then came home for some stretching and core work. Since I haven't been to yoga in basically a month (sigh), I might as well do something to help maintain my strength and flexibility.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Week in Review

~49-50 miles
8 mile hike (that effectively maimed me)
several long walks
ball girl at pickleball match

Well, I definitely heeded my coach's advice and took advantage of this "down" week. My mileage was significantly lower than it has been in recent memory and I actually took a day off (!!) from running. It was great to have Jordan to run with this week, especially on my workout attempt(s). I'm hoping to enlist Jeff Campbell to help me on some of my upcoming workouts, as he is trying to get back in shape and has offered to pace me through some of my faster stuff.

Also of note, my new life officially begins tomorrow. This consists of kicking off the true "marathon training" portion of this training block, limiting my alcohol intake to weekends only, and giving my diet a serious overhaul. I submitted my registration for MCM a few days ago, which means this is really happening. Time to get down to business.

Time for an Intervention

AM: 73 mins.
10 miles
PM: ~40 min. walk

This morning I tried a new route to Lullwater Park at Emory. Instead of going Briarcliff to N. Decatur to Clifton, I ran up to Ponce and hopped on the bike path until it crossed Clifton near the IMAX at Fernbank. Then I ran along Clifton, which wound around past Druid Hills Golf Club and through the picturesque North Druid Hills neighborhoods, until I reached the park entrance. This route took me ~28 minutes, as opposed to 20 going the other way, but the shoulder is wider here and this route should involve slightly less traffic even during the week, so overall I'd say this is the preffered way to go from now on.

On the way there, I passed something that struck me as funny. As I was running past the Center for Rehabilitation Services building on the Emory campus, I noticed a sign they had in front of the driveway that read: "Welcome to Rehab. Valet Parking." I don't know why, but for some reason I couldn't stop laughing at that for at least five minutes.

After meandering around in the park for 20-25 minutes, I realized I'd have to take the old route home in order to have time to get ready for church. Since it was Sunday, the roads were much quieter than usual, and I enjoyed the more relaxed atmosphere. My soreness has diminished greatly (meaning I'm now experiencing moderate discomfort as opposed to severe pain) and I hope to be back to normal by tomorrow.

By the way, after church Brooke and I hit up Highland Bakery for brunch. Of course I ordered the peanut butter french toast, proceeded to gorge myself, then vowed never to eat again.

I think I need a baked goods intervention. Anyone want to take me to rehab? I hear they have valet parking...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Reverse Candler Park Loop

55 mins.
7.5 miles

I'm still indescribably sore from the other day, which is pathetic, and my run today was pretty miserable. Put simply, every step hurt. I felt marginally better once I warmed up after a few miles, but I was pretty much counting down the minutes the entire time. I ran the Candler Park loop backwards, then added on a bit in the Highlands before heading home. Normally I would've wogged around for five more minutes to make it an even hour, but I was having none of it today.

Just a few minutes after arriving home, Brooke messaged me to see if I wanted to come over for breakfast. Naturally I decided to forego the shower and head straight over, where we enjoyed french toast and eggs and taters and coffee. If nothing else, this week has lived up to my hopes of being very breakfast-intensive (and I'm sure my scale, if I owned one, would reflect this). Afterwards we decided to take Biscuit for a walk and burn off 1/40th of our caloric intake, so we did our usual three-mile loop around Inman Park. Finally made it home for a much-needed shower around 3pm...classy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Breakfast Club

58 mins
8 miles

Let me just get the complaining out of the way: I have not in recent memory experienced a level of soreness on par with what I'm feeling right now. When I woke up this morning I was seriously questioning whether or not I would be able to put any weight on my legs, as my back and upper glute muscles were in so much pain. Nonetheless, I hobbled out the door and down the stairs (which I have never loathed more) to my car so I could head up to Buckhead and meet some peeps for the Friday morning breakfast run at the Big Peach, a running specialty store on Peachtree. Full disclosure: I was only going for the "breakfast" part, more specifically breakfast at Flying Biscuit. The idea behind the breakfast run is to meet at the Big Peach in Buckhead, run down the majority of the Peachtree Road Race course, weave around through Piedmont Park, finish up at the Flying Biscuit in Midtown, enjoy a tasty breakfast, then take MARTA back up to Buckhead. In theory it sounded terrific, but in actuality it was one of the least enjoyable runs I've had in a while due to the aforementioned soreness.

While the group fluctuates in size from week to week, today it was just myself, Big Peach GM Jeff Campbell and Brendan, another Big Peach employee. Jeff had an all-star night last night and was even worse off than me this morning, so we were all content to amble along at an easy pace. I did loosen up a bit throughout the run but any time we had to stop for traffic and then start again, I felt like I was starting back at square one. Thankfully, the coffee was free-flowing and the oatmeal pancakes were fluffy and delicious, but otherwise I am in a world of hurt.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Kennesaw Mountain Hike

120 min. hike
8 miles

After waking up way too early to take Jordan to the airport, I
met my friend Christina at the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield for a hike/powerwalk along the trails. This was somewhat of a weekly routing of ours when I lived in Atlanta before, and on the drive over I was reflecting on how both our lives have changed since then. Two years ago I was working for Mizuno and she was a running specialist at Dick's Sporting Goods. Now she's married and has my old job at Miz while I'm back in the ATL and reppin' it up for Brooks, not to mention so many other things that have happened in our lives since then. It's funny how so much can change and yet so much can stay the same...

But I digress. Back to the hike. Let me preface this by saying what we do out there isn't your grandma's power walk (and there wasn't a New Balance shoe between us). It's a consistent 4-4.5mph trek over rough and hilly terrain, and it gets pretty intense pretty quickly. Today it got particularly intense when a spider pounced on my ankle about 15 minutes in and gave me a nice little love bite. Granted, this pales in comparis
on to Jilane's rabid dog attack from yesterday, but nonetheless I was expecting to start convulsing and seeing spots at any moment. I must not be allergic, because I've lived to tell you all about it, but my throbbing ankle was not a happy camper for much of the walk. Also, I don't care what anyone says; walking is no joke and it works your muscles if you're not used to it. By the time we turned around at halfway, everything from my lower back to my feet was aching. We both hit the wall at about 90 minutes and couldn't have been more grateful to see the visitor center parking lot come into view.

A clearing along the Kennesaw Mountain trail

Despite the aggressive insects and my aching muscles, I really enjoyed taking a day off from running--my first since this cycle began six weeks ago--and spending some time with a good friend. It's nice to skip a day and not feel pressured to have to make it up or worry about how it will affect my total mileage for the week.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Post-Pickleball Fatigue

62 mins.
8+ miles

Last night's rain cooled things off a bit for this morning's run, which was a welcome respite after last weekend. I wanted to take Jordan down to Lullwater Park by Emory, so we set off for an easy run around 9am. His hip was hurting quite a bit--possibly from his workout yesterday but more likely from getting owned by Brooke's dad in pickleball last night--and he stopped several times throughout the run to stretch. I wasn't feeling too spry myself, and could definitely tell that my body wasn't used to pushups and/or stairs and/or running fast. Since we were both pretty banged up, it wasn't the most enjoyable of runs, but I was glad to enjoy some cooler temps for a change.

Jordan poised for some picklelball action

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JSK Does the AO

23 min. w/u (3 miles)
4x400 @ ~75
Various pushups, crunches, stairs
20 min. c/d (2.5 miles)
Total: ~7 miles

Jordan wanted to do one workout on the Active Oval while he was here, since it's the greatest training venue ever, so we decided to head down there Tuesday morning. He wanted to do 8-10x800, which works well on the AO as one lap is just a bit over 800m. Since this was the first true day of my "off" week, I was content to spectate the workout and fashion my own little "circuit training" rotation. So, after Jordan started each 800 repeat, I would alternate between running up and down the adjacent stairs or doing pushups or crunches. At the end of his interval I would run back down to the AO and then wog around during his 2-minute recovery.

This worked well for the first half of his workout, but then I started to feel rather bored (and my arms were quite tired from the pushups). For his last four intervals, I decided I would start my watch when he started, then cut across the radius of the circle to meet him at the 400m mark, then run the last 400m of each interval with him. Needless to say, the first one was quite a jolt, as I'm not used to sprinting at that pace, but overall I had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Jordan finished each of those four intervals in about 2:30-2:31 (his blog will have more exact splits), with his final 800 in 2:26 (during which he dusted me the last 150m). So I would estimate each of the quarters I ran was approximately 75 seconds, which isn't going to set any records but will be enough to ensure I am sufficiently sore tomorrow.

Monday, July 21, 2008

8k Tempo Attempt #2

18 min. w/u (2+ miles)
4 mile tempo (6:18, 6:15, 6:09, 6:13)
~30 min. trail run and c/d (4 miles)
~72 mins

10 miles

Jordan was clearly exhausted from pacing my workout.

Um, yeah. So the whole "getting up early" idea really only works if you change your watch over from Central to Eastern time when you cross from Tennessee into Georgia. So. Needless to say, we made it out to the river a tad later than we had hoped. It was very warm and humid but contrasted with yesterday we might as well have been in the arctic. The plan was the same as yesterday, only I asked Jordan to take it out closer to 6:15 than 6:10 on the first mile and then go from there. After hitting the first two miles at a respectable pace, I started feeling decent, and picked it up a bit going through the third mile. That's when things started to fall apart. At about 3.25, I started feeling light-headed. Dizzy at 3.5. At the 4 mile mark I basically came to a dead stop and tried not to hyperventilate. There was no way I could've made it through another mile at that intensity without things going south dramatically.

After I caught my breath and gathered myself, we continued around the loop for our cool-down. I also wanted to show Jordan the Sope Creek trails that meander through the forest adjoining the river, so we ran through there a bit. That was by far the best part of the run, as it was cool and shaded and quite technical in spots (note to self: maybe don't wear the T5's the next time you attempt this portion of the run). We stopped down at a creek bed to splash some water and cool off, and almost bogarted a Powerade some guy had tied to a tree branch until we took a sniff and determined it had been there for quite some time.

Overall, I was disappointed that I couldn't finish the workout, but I was pleased with my effort during the first four miles. The looseness of the dirt probably also slowed each mile by a few seconds, so I feel as though I was pushing at 6:05-6:15 effort throughout. Clearly my body needs some rest and recovery this week, and I intend to comply with that wholeheartedly.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Week in Review

78 miles
1 walk with Brooke and Biscuit

I feel as though I say this every week, but this was my highest mileage week to date. I'm almost anal enough to go out for a 15-minute wog just to hit 80, but that would be relatively pointless. I'm glad I got in two quality workouts, even more glad that I nixed the workout today, and most glad that Jordan is here. I'm pretty sure both of our cell phone providers and my employer will appreciate a marked decrease in our text message volume for the next few days.

Next week is an intentional down week before we really get into the bulk of our marathon training. I'm feeling fitter than ever and looking forward to really seeing what I can do training-wise for the next few months. As of now, Team MJ is strong and healthy and more confident than ever that we can demoralize team OJ come October 26th. Bring it.

8k Tempo Attempt #1

67 mins
9 miles

According to my coach, the plan for today was "Sunday: Kick JoKin's ass." Which translates to, "Make Jordan sacrifice his own workout to pace you through 8k at a speed he could run backwards." Lucky for me, Jordan was willing to do so, and I was perfectly amenable to having him set the pace.

After picking Jordan up and going out for a late dinner Saturday night, we were understandably slow to get going on Sunday morning. By the time we got down to the Shelby Bottoms greenway around 9am, it was well over 85 degrees and unbearably humid. Didn't look promising for my workout. We warmed up and decided to push through one mile and then Jordan would make the call. I hit the first mile in 6:10, then split half of the second mile in 3:10. That's when we decided to scrap it. To continue to push in that weather would've resulted in my passing out and Jordan having to piggy-back me to the car, which none of us (least of all Jordan) wanted. So we decided to continue at any easy pace and run the workout early on Monday at the river back in Atlanta.

Even after finishing up an "easy" run, I still felt near death. Or at least heat stroke. The weather conditions were the worst in recent memory, and I was thankful I didn't push through the workout after all.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The More the Merrier

AM: 61 mins
8 miles
PM: 40 mins
5+ miles

Today I had the pleasure of enjoying not one, but two runs with other people. I've grown so accustomed to running alone that I'd almost forgotten how much I enjoy having company. This morning I ran with Drew and Ryan, two guys from Fleet Feet Nashville, along Belle Meade Boulevard near Percy Warner Park. We did two four-mile circuits out and back on the gently rolling (but much flatter than the park) streets. The temperature was tolerable, as we started well before 7am, but the humidity was pretty unbearable by the end.

In the evening I ran with Taylor, a cool chick from Fleet Feet Murfreesboro, after an event I worked at their store. We ran an easy out and back on a local greenway and had a thoroughly enjoyable conversation. She ran xc at Vanderbilt and was also a concert violinist there, and we seem to share quite a few similar interests.

Since Jordan is flying in tonight and staying for a lengthy visit, I'm looking forward to a week that involves fewer miles and more flapjacks than those of recent memory. My legs feel decently recovered from this week's early workouts, so as of now I'm saying the 8k race simulation is a go for the morning. Might as well get it out of the way and enjoy the rest of the week.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Percy Warner Park

AM: 52 mins
7 miles
PM: 35 mins
4.5 miles

After arriving in Nashville around 11:30 last night and getting up at 6 for my run, I was feeling a bit sluggish. That feeling got fun-forced out of me once I embarked on the extremely hilly trails in Percy Warner Park. The trails are beautiful and entirely shaded, and it was refreshing to finish a run without dripping sweat everywhere, but the rolling hills proved quite challenging for an "easy" run. I would've enjoyed going farther, but I had to actually work this morning, so I turned around at 27 minutes and closed in 25. I plan to find a greenway near my hotel for my evening run, as I could use something flatter to help speed my recovery from this week's early workouts.

One of the trails in Percy Warner Park

Thanks to directions from a guy at Fleet Feet, I located a greenway in Brentwood that was nice and flat for my evening run. Some cyclists and runners had worn away a dirt trail next to the paved path, so I stuck to that for most of the run. My legs don't feel terribly sore anymore, just heavy. I'm fine as long as I keep moving, but the second I stop running I can't imagine ever starting again. I may come back to the greenway for my morning run tomorrow, in order to spend more time on the flatter surfaces, but I also got an invite to join a Fleet Feet group run at Percy Warner. Will my desire to interact with other human beings take precedence over my weary legs? Stay tuned to find out. I'll make a game time decision in the morning.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Shades Creek Workout

24 min. w/u (3 miles)
5xmile @ 6:10-6:15 with 1 min. rest in between
(6:20, 6:15, 6:10, 6:10, 6:06)
15 min c/d (2 miles)
Total: 10 miles

I woke up this morning even more sore than I was yesterday, if that's possible. The thought of doing 5xmile did not interest me at all, and for the briefest of moments I thought about sacking it and going for an easy wog instead. But then I thought, WWJD? The "J" could be any of the pertinent J's in my life at this time...Jilane, Jordan, Jeff...and I knew each of them would put their big girl face on and run the workout. So, that's what I did.

As I'm still in Birmingham, I chose the relatively flat and tree-lined Shades Creek Greenway to do the workout. After gradually loosening up during the warm-up, I decided to run back and forth along the same marked mile for the intervals. Lame, perhaps, but it provided some consistency. While the miles are marked fairly accurately on this trail, there are about a million interim markers that start and end from various points, so there was really no way to judge intermediate splits. However, after noticing a few landmarks on the first go, I devised a crude way of gauging my pace (ex: I should reach this mark at about 2:30, I should cross over from shade into sunlight at about 4:45, etc.).

Overall, I was surprised by how well my legs responded during this workout. The aerobic part was tough, and one minute's "recovery" seemed to go by before I could even catch my breath, but I kept things under control and felt strong through the end. Will I be able to run a similar pace during an 8k race simulation on Sunday? We shall see. For now, as I said earlier, if I am able to walk tomorrow it will be only by the grace of God.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Hump Day Double

AM: 46 mins.
6 miles
PM: 45 mins.
6.5 miles

First thought upon waking up this morning: I wonder how much cereal I have left? Second thought: Crap, my legs are SORE! So apparently the fun, frolicking workout I enjoyed yesterday took more out of me than I thought. My quads felt like a midget had been jumping up and down on them all night (or a non-midget...but I like any analogy involving little people). I gingerly set out for an easy run on the Candler Park loop, modified since I'm now running from my apartment instead of Brooke's. Once I got loosened up the legs felt fine, but I intentionally took it easy on the run. Later this morning I headed to Birmingham for work, and made plans to run with the training group at the Trak Shak, one of my favorite SRAs, in the evening.
The keg at Trak Shak is always primed and ready
Trak Shak has done a great job of getting their group runs off the ground, and tonight about 100 people showed up to run in either the slower group at 5:30 or the quicker group at 6. I ran with the faster group, which comprised about 20 people, and spent most of the run chatting with store owner Scott Strand. We ran through the scenic but crazy hilly streets of Homewood, starting at a pedestrian 8:00 pace and working down to what felt like about 6:40. My legs are still quite sore from yesterday, but it was fun to run with such a large group (most of whom just show up for the free beer). I'm a bit apprehensive about my 5xmile workout tomorrow, but hopefully the legs will recover some before then.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Speed Play

20 min w/u (2.5 miles)
30x30 secs on/30 secs off
16 min c/d (2 miles)
Total: 10 miles

I was anxious to redeem myself from the debacle at the track on Saturday, and I hoped this workout would do the trick. I decided to use Piedmont Park as the setting because it's mostly flat. The air was cool as I headed over to the park, and as soon as I reached the Active Oval I launched right into my first interval. I did the first set of 10, jogged around a few minutes to recover, then did the next set on another loop in the park. Took a five minute break after the second set, then jumped back onto the Oval. I did half of the last set on the Oval and half of it in the park, and I felt great. The difference between how I felt today and how I felt on Saturday was, to use a cliche, like night and day. I actually enjoyed myself during this workout and was pleased with how the legs were turning over. Definitely a step in the right direction.

Since I didn't have a double on the sched today, I went for a long walk in the evening with Brooke and Biscuit. We met at Freedom and Moreland and walked down the Freedom Trail and back. Probably ended up with four miles or so.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Emory Run, Take 2

AM: 67 mins
9 miles
PM: 25 mins
3 miles

Emory president's house in Lullwater Park

After checking things out on Google maps, I set out on my second attempt to find the trails at Emory that comprise Lullwater Park. As I suspected, the park entrance was located near the medical school just off Clifton (basically a quarter mile beyond where I gave up looking last week, naturally). It takes about 20 minutes to get there, mostly on sidewalks, but it's completely worth it. As soon as I ran through the park gates on Clifton, it was as if the traffic and commotion on the streets outside completely disappeared. The park is absolutely beautiful, almost completely shaded by trees and foliage, and winds around through the forest, past the Emory president's house and around a small lake. It doesn't feel like you're in the middle of a college campus, much less in a major metro area. I meandered around through the trails for 20-30 minutes before heading back home. I realized I was already at 65 minutes when I reached my apartment, so I added on a few more to make it an even nine miles.

Suspension bridge connecting two trails in Lullwater Park

I went out for a short wog in the PM on the Freedom Trail along Ponce. The weather was quite nice, sunny and breezy with low humidity for once. It felt like one of those days in late summer, just before the seasons change, when you can faintly detect a sharpness to the air hidden just beneath the surface. I'm not getting my hopes up for autumn just yet, but it was a nice reprieve from the sweltering humidity we've been experiencing lately.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Week in Review

Total: 75 miles
A couple long walks
A million times up and down my stairs

As I sit here typing this, it's hard to believe that another week has passed and we're already well into July. This summer--actually, this entire year--has absolutely flown by. Although it seems as though MCM is still in the distant future, I know it will be upon us before we know it.

Overall, this was another solid week of training, and my highest mileage to date. I got in one solid workout (Tuesday) and one lackluster workout (Saturday), capped off with a strong long run today. I'm enjoying the higher mileage but looking forward to a few lighter weeks as we finish off this mini-cycle before starting the full blown marathon training. Since Owen was off laughing and riding and cornholing in Alaska last week, Jilane apparently decided to run both of their mileage combined and put in another 90+ mile week. Clearly she is carrying Team MJ at this point, but I'm trying to contribute as well. If nothing else, the encouraging catcalls from the local bums help to buoy my spirits. Yet another reason I'm grateful to be back in the ATL!

On the 7th Day, It Rained

15 miles

I woke early and drove out to the river to do my long run. Certain parties dissuaded me from doubling last night, so I went for a walk instead and decided to extend this run a bit. My schedule called for 12, which would put my weekly mileage at 72, so I thought I'd overachieve and shoot for 15, which would put me at a nice round 75 for the week. I wanted to stay on soft surfaces for most of the run, so the river was the most logical choice.

I did basically the same route I did last week: a loop and a half on the dirt, out to Johnson Ferry and back on Columns, then added a few more dirt loops to extend the run. Overall I felt much better than on my 12-miler last week, which was encouraging. I tied up a bit on the last few miles, which was to be expected since I'm just not used to spending this much time on my feet. The sky grew progressively more overcast during the second half of the run, then opened into a downpour during the last mile. Felt terrific.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

300s, Sort Of

25 min w/u (3 miles)
12x300 w/100 jog
(60, 59, 60, 59, 59, 58, 58, 59, 59, 58, 59, 58)
25 min c/d (3 miles)
Total: 9 miles

Well. This didn't go quite as planned. The workout was originally billed as 16x300 in sets of four (58s for the first set, 57s for the second, and so on). For some reason, however, I just couldn't get it into gear. I started off hitting the first one in 60 and just couldn't cut it down much after that. Even the 100m "rest" jog, which was supposed to be in 35, I couldn't hit any faster than 38-40. Since I wasn't hitting the splits or getting much faster, I cut the workout after 12. I had been running at Grady High School, just across the street from Piedmont Park, so I headed over to the park to do some of my cool down.

One of the trails in Piedmont Park

What's interesting is that I lengthened the wog home, spent some more time in the park, and my legs felt fine. By the end they felt no more fatigued than they would on a regular run, despite having just run a hard (partial) workout. No flailing about on the Inman Middle School steps, which I suppose is a small victory. Overall I'm not upset about the workout--as I think my effort Tuesday was a more accurate gauge of my current fitness--just slightly perplexed as to why I was struggling to run 300s at a pace I could normally split en route to a 400.

I stretched for a bit when I got home, and man are my hamstrings stiff. I haven't been to yoga in over two weeks and it shows. I'll probably do a short shakeout run tonight to keep the legs loose.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Highlands Run

67 mins
9 miles

My schedule said I was only supposed to do four miles today, with the intention of running a race tomorrow. Since there were no races scheduled in the metro area this weekend, I got my coach's approval to go a bit longer today and run a workout tomorrow instead.

Set out on a relaxed, easy run meandering through the Virginia-Highland neighborhoods. I made my way down to Piedmont Park, ran a few loops on the Active Oval just for kicks, and headed back toward my house. I got back to Briarcliff right at 1:07, so it felt like a natural place to end the run and call it nine miles even.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Briarcliff Double

AM: 51 mins
~7 miles
PM: 27 mins
3+ miles

I set off this morning on my first run from my new apartment. I decided to run toward Emory in hopes of locating a trail on campus that I'd run a few times previously. The problem was, I'd only been on that trail with other people and I really had no idea how to get there. Unfortunately I ended up timing the run perfectly to coincide with the traffic headed to work/school, and I ended up having to stop multiple times at lights and crossings. Not ideal. Worst of all, I never found the trail (although I'm pretty sure I was close...I was on Clifton at one point and I think that's where it is) and ended up running on sidewalks for the majority of the run. Also not ideal. If anything, the upside was I got to explore a new neighborhood. Guess I'll have to go home and research the trail location on google like I should've done before I set out.

Went for an easy run in the PM. It rained in the afternoon, so the air was humid but quite cool. I did a short loop through my neighborhood, up Highland, down Ponce and went out and back on the trail for a bit. Saw a few Hare Krishnas lounging in robes (or whatever they wear) outside their temple; also saw a group of Indian kids playing cricket in the park, and a protest of sorts gearing up at the Moreland-Briarcliff intersection (something about McCain and oil? I didn't stop to ask follow-up questions). All in all it was a relaxed, easy day. Felt good.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Little Five Double

AM: 52 mins
7 miles
PM: 24 mins
3 miles

Storefronts along Euclid in Little Five Points

I woke up this morning stiff and sore, in equal parts from the killer workout yesterday and from moving. Did the original Candler Park loop. I took it slow and easy and tried to stay relaxed, but legs felt heavy throughout.

In the evening I fashioned a new mini-loop from Brooke's house. I went the back way down Elizabeth, up Euclid through Little Five Points, back up the Freedom Trail and back to her house. For those of you non-Atlantans, it's difficult to picture the ambience of Little Five, but in the afternoon and evening it can best be described as a hippie/goth/bohemian/rock/punk melting pot. And it's always full of characters. To illustrate: as I was wogging through there this evening, I approached a street musician playing the trumpet on the main square. He was facing a pizza place where quite a few people were sitting outside and eating. One of those people, a father with a small daughter, shouted to the musician, "The lady wants to hear Sesame Street!" Without missing a beat, the musician responded, "We got Sesame Street coming up next!" and he proceeded to break into a flawless rendition of the Sesame Street theme song. I ran the next few minutes with a smile on my face and notes from my childhood echoing behind me.
Junkman's Daughter: a Little Five landmark

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"It's a long way, isn't it?"

30 min w/u (4 miles)
6xmile @ "10k pace" w/3:00 rest in between
(5:53, 5:53, 5:52, 5:51, 5:54, 5:52)
31 min c/d (~4 miles)
Total: 14 miles

When Jilane and I read that our workout was 6xmile at 10k pace, that sounded bad enough. When we learned that our coach believed our 10k paces to be 5:50 and 5:45--speeds we would be thrilled to run for a 5k right now--we were appropriately enraged. This was the first workout in our cycle that I was 100% sure I could not do. Still, as Jeff said, "What's the worst that could happen? You wog home." So, with the bar set at that miniscule height, I strapped on the T5s and headed out to the Active Oval.

According to a marker at the AO, its circumference is .53 miles. Google has it at .55, so I was content to split the difference. After trying to decide how to make each interval closest to a mile, Jordan suggested starting at the "start" marker and running through to the end of the third quadrant (which you can't see very well in the picture below for some reason). After the first interval I concluded this might be just a tad short, but overall the purpose of the run was to provide a baseline for future workouts so it wasn't necessary that the interval be precisely a mile. In addition, the soft surface (crushed gravel) would also slow the intervals, likely canceling out the 5-7 seconds that each interval might've been short. So, ultimately I think my splits were pretty accurate.

Active Oval in Piedmont Park

Took the first mile out in 5:53, which felt hard but manageable. Hit 5:53 and 5:52 on the next two (after splitting the 800s, which were accurately marked, in just under 3:00, thus reinforcing my thought that my interval was 5-7 secs short). After splitting the fourth one in 5:51 and feeling the pace begin to take its toll on my legs, I wheezed out something along the lines of "oh shit" after crossing the finish. The homeless man walking beside me, who was apparently getting in his daily exercise on the AO (and had previously been mumbling incoherently) looked at me and said, "It's a long way, isn't it?" Yes, thank you for your insight. Nausea set in on the last two and I was just fighting to hold the pace.

After finishing the workout, there was no part of me that wanted to run home. I was simply exhausted. It didn't help that most of the return was uphill. About ten minutes into the cool down, I sat down on the steps of Inman Middle School and prayed for death. I would've hitched a ride with Jack the Ripper at that point if he had offered. The last 20 minutes was pretty slow going, but finally I turned onto Sampson and staggered back to Brooke's.

Despite my utter exhaustion as I type this--let's talk about how I have NO desire to go unpack my apartment again all day--I'm pleasantly surprised with how the workout went. All things considered, I was averaging no slower than 5:55 pace for the intervals, something I didn't think I was capable of at this point in time. Maybe Jeff doesn't suck as a coach after all.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Hills Are Alive

AM: 60 mins
8 miles
PM: 3 mile walk w/Brooke and Biscuit
This morning I awoke bright and early to get in a quick run before the movers FINALLY arrived with all my belongings. I'm typing this from the kitchen counter in my new apartment, as it's currently the only surface I have on which to set my computer. Decided to do the loop through Candler Park that I did last Wednesday, only backwards this time to see which direction was "easier" (read: less hilly). Answer: neither. Good times. Though the pace was easy, the legs were a bit tight on the uphill sections, but it was a beautiful morning and I was glad to be out. May do a quick shakeout tonight from my new place, even though it's not on the sched...we'll see. For now I must tend to the movers and hope they don't tumble down the rather precarious stairway that leads up to my apartment. Fingers crossed.
Didn't end up running in the afternoon. After walking up and down those stairs about 20 times going to and from the dumpster, I was absolutely exhausted and aching all over. Thank goodness I don't have to do manual labor on a regular basis. Instead, Brooke and I took Biscuit on a nice long walk through Inman Park.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Week in Review

72 miles
(and a few long walks with Brooke's dog)

Week 3, done and done. This was my highest mileage week thus far, and my legs are still feeling pretty spry (excluding the death march that was miles 9-12 this morning). This was also my first week back in the ATL, and it's been fun revisiting some old training routes and plotting new ones. Once I'm settled into my place next week, I'll definitely have to invent a few new loops. And I haven't even been down to the Active Oval yet, which was Jordan's and my clutch discovery a few weeks ago, so I've still got that to look forward to. It's definitely not as hot here as it was in Texas, but the humidity can be equally oppressive. The depressing part is we're still looking at 2-3 months where it's not going to get any better. But I suppose that will make me tougher...right? At any rate, training is still going well and no injuries are on the horizon (knock on wood), so I can't really complain. Even though I probably will anyway.

Will Run for Apple Juice

90 mins.
12 miles

As I just texted Jilane, there was nothing remotely enjoyable about this run. Actually that's not true. Stopping at Einstein's for a coffee and apple juice immediately following was pretty tasty. But otherwise, no, I cannot think of any superlatives to share with you.

I decided to drive out to the river for this long-ish run because I wanted to stay on a soft surface for as much as possible. The only stress fracture I've ever experienced occurred the last time I lived in Atlanta, and I'm convinced it was due less to mileage than to the constant pavement pounding I was doing. After navigating the crowded parking lot at the river (perhaps I should've started earlier than 9am to avoid the dog walkers, baby joggers, etc.), I set off on the dirt loop. Thankfully the sky was overcast, which kept temps in the 70s, but good grief was it humid. I completed one 5k dirt loop, then ran 2 miles of the loop again before breaking off onto Columns Drive. In an earlier post I stated that you could run about 1.5 miles down Columns, but my memory was a tad rusty because it was actually more like 2.5. Fortunately the road is flat and even, and often shaded by the trees (and mansions) on Columns, so it's quite an enjoyable diversion from the trail. I ran out to where it dead-ended at Johnson Ferry, stopped quickly to use the facilities and splash some cold water on my face, then headed back down Columns toward the trail. Once I reached the trail again I only had two miles to go, but my legs were already done and done. The last 15 minutes was a struggle as I just felt so thirsty and fatigued. Should've hydrated better (and by "better" I mean "at all"). Overall a solid effort, but I need to make sure I'm constantly drinking today to facilitate recovery.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Candler Park Loop

51 mins
7 miles

Nice and easy Saturday run on the same Candler Park loop that Jordan and I ran a few weeks ago. Ran down the Freedom Trail all the way to where it dead ends on Ponce, then back through the Candler Park neighborhoods, up McLendon through Little Five Points, then back up the trail to Brooke's. Legs felt decent after yesterday's effort.

Of note, I spotted a port-a-potty on the corner of McLendon and Ferguson just past the Flying Biscuit. Those of you who know me well know that finding an easily accessible port-a-potty is like finding gold. This one was clean, centrally located and well-stocked with--wait for it--two ply toilet paper. Also, as an added bonus, the house construction that necessitated said port-a-potty looked to be just beginning, which means I should be able to count on this as a stable option for many weeks to come.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Chattahoochee River Workout

20 min. w/u: 2.5 miles
5 mile tempo: 6:57 (long, started at wrong marker), 6:45, 6:38, 6:30, 6:30
6x300 w/100 wog in between: 58, 57, 56, 55, 54, 53
15 min. c/d: 2 miles
Total: 11 miles

This morning was definitely the warmest and most humid since my arrival to Atlanta, which undoubtedly made things even more miserable at the Peachtree Road Race this morning, but nonetheless I was excited to drive out to the river for this week's only workout. The river is pretty much an ideal training site, as you can run either the 5k dirt loop or head up into the Sope Creek trails or veer off onto Columns Drive and run a few miles on a straight and flat residential street. Also, the trail is marked every 1/4 mile (although there are several starting points and thus several different sets of markers, which led to my confusion on the first mile of my tempo).

After my warmup, I started into the run and was pleased with how well my legs responded. When I hit the first mile marker and realized that 6:57 couldn't possibly be correct, I tried not to panic and/or speed up unecessarily, but instead held the pace and waited until the next marker to get an accurate gauge of my time. I kept the tempo controlled throughout, and never really felt like I was pushing too hard.

I took a five minute break to wog around and get some water after the tempo before launching into the 300s. Since the trail is marked every quarter mile, I kind of had to approximate where the 300m mark would be. I decided to run each interval for the specified time that Jeff wanted for each interval and just increase my effort with each one. By the last two, I was pretty much running all out, and it felt great to stretch out the legs and speed up the turnover for once. I finished up with an easy cool-down jog and then headed back to Brooke's.

Dirty shoes after running at the river

On the way home, I was greeted with an unexpected holiday treat: a rare sighting of the elusive "Tourette's bum," as Brooke and I have affectionately dubbed him. When I previously lived here, I would often see this bum storming up and down Highland Ave., shirtless and shouting obscenities. He became quite a fixture in our neighborhood and was considered relatively harmless (that one time he exposed himself to Brooke notwithstanding). So imagine my delight when, as I was turning from Freedom Parkway onto Boulevard, I spotted my old friend angrily stomping down Freedom. Shirtless. Shouting obscenities. Best welcome home present I could've ever asked for.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Inman Park Run

75 mins
10 miles

I hit the ground running at 6am to meet my friend Kristin and a few other people for an early run. Kristin is a girl I ran with occasionally when I lived here before, and since we will now be living less than a mile away from each other, I hope to tag along with her on a regular basis.

I jumped on the Freedom Trail, ran down Highland, and met them where Highland crosses Virginia. We ran back up Highland toward Inman Park and then meandered through the neighborhoods there. Crossed through Little Five, ran down Euclid for a few miles, and from there I lost the street names and just followed them. Somehow we ended up back at the Virginia-Highland intersection and I ran home from there. A word about the hills: they're pretty real. As in, I fully expect to be sore after this first week of running here. I'm hoping they'll accelerate my path to fitness and general badass-ness, so I'm viewing them as a welcome challenge. I definitely enjoyed having people to run with as well, and will try to make that happen on easy runs and long runs for sure.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Back to the ATL

AM: 58 mins
8 miles
PM: 25 mins
3+ miles

View of Atlanta skyline (and my favorite house!)
from the Freedom Trail

First run back in Atlanta, and it could not have been a more beautiful day. With low humidity and temperatures in the 70s, it felt more like fall (my favorite season) than the middle of summer. I set off from Brooke's condo (where I'm staying until the movers arrive with my belongings on Monday) and headed down the Freedom Trail, up Ponce, then hopped back on the trail as it meandered through Candler Park. From there I wound through the neighborhoods, up McLendon by Flying Biscuit and then right on Moreland through Little Five Points. I finished up on the trail back to Brooke's.

PS Would it be lame to say I might have teared up a bit on the run? I simply could not be happier to be back here.

In the evening, after spending a few hours dressed up like a cheerleader at the Atlanta airport (feel free to message me with questions/comments/concerns), I headed out for another short wog on the trail. Ran out in 13, back in 12, and called it a day. My legs felt decent, but I can already tell that it's going to be an adjustment getting used to the hilly terrain around here again.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Peace Out Ft. Worth

PM (last night): 27 mins
3.5 miles
AM:70 mins
9+ miles

This morning was unusually cool and crisp, and I headed out early from my parents' hotel to run with my dad before they took me to the airport. We did an out and back on the river trail, but a different section of the trail than I normally run on. Ran from the Courtyard Marriott down to where it dead ends at Southwest Blvd. and then came back. I ran with my dad on the way out, comfortably at 7:30-7:40 pace, then picked it up a bit on the turn-around and came home in 7:10-7:15 pace. The only thing of note was that apparently a herd of cattle got loose on the trail and were casually meandering around while cyclists and runners dodged them. Only in Texas, I suppose.

Forgot to mention I got in a quick evening jaunt last night while waiting for my parents to arrive. Felt surprisingly good for a PM run, which usually leave me feeling either a) heavy and lethargic or b) dizzy and lightheaded. I could've gone farther but my parents had instructed me to be ready for dinner the moment they arrived, so I had to cut it short.

Nicole and I at Piedmont Park
Ignore whatever is going on with my hair.

Unrelated, what an amazing night of running at the Trials last night! Even my parents stayed up past 9pm to watch. I was stoked to see my friend Nicole Teter make the team in the 800. She's battled through quite a few injuries over the years and this was to be her last attempt to make the team, so I'm ecstatic for her.