Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Flying at 9:40 Pace

After doing 14 on the towpath Saturday and 19 at Hinckley Sunday, I thought I'd feel pretty lousy on Monday. But I didn't; I actually felt really good as I burst out the door and started sprinting up 303. Chalk those good feelings up to the protein.

There was only one minor problem: That sprint up 303 took me 9 minutes and 40 seconds. Granted, it's a big hill, but sheesh. It felt like 6:40. The rest of that run went downhill from there. So to speak.

Today's run was better: I did my 11-mile loop in 86 minutes. The problem with today's run was that in included an NTE. That's Near Tempo Experience. I couldn't maintain a sub-seven minute pace for 3 miles. Close, but no cigar. It was still decent overall, however.

It's time to start getting a little more serious; I have two upcoming half-marathons to attend to.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Protein

When you consider how awful I felt Sunday and Monday, it's pretty amazing that I was able to run so well, and feel so good doing it, on Tuesday and Thursday this week. I am giving the credit to clean living and protein powder mix.

I've been doing the protein shake thing off an on most of the year, and all along I had a strong suspicion that it was helping my recoveries. Helping a lot. After Cbus, I'm more sure than ever that it's helping; there's no other explanation.

Another interesting diet/nutrition happening, one that's in conflict with the observation above, is an ongoing discussion with John McCarroll and others about veganism. John's a vegan, and he has had pretty amazing results from that diet change. He also believes that protein is over-rated.

My take is that I'm interested in vegitarianism, but I am still convinced that the protein is helping. I'll continue to listen to other ideas however.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cbus



I'm not sure when or why people started calling Columbus Cbus, but it does seem to work. So of course the Columbus Marathon can also simply be called Cbus.

Well over 20 Medina County Road Runners made the trek, and as predicted, it was a blast. Our little carload included Debbie, Brad, Michelle, Nancy and Dan Daubner. Brad was able to get all of us, *and* all our stuff, into his SUV. We were able to adhere to Debbie's *rigid* schedule for the trip and our time on Saturday. That meant getting to lunch, the expo and then dinner as planned. Dinner at Buca's was still more fun.

We lined up for the group photo, then lined up for the race and were off. The weather was almost perfect: upper 40s at the start, and mostly 50s during the course of the morning's running. I never felt too warm or too cold.

Except, that is, for the arm-warmer problem. Charles and his family made tie-died arm warmers for everyone from old tube socks. A little reluctantly, I wore mine for the first several miles. They actually felt great for most of that time. By about mile 8 or so, they started feeling too warm. I mentioned to Debbie that I didn't really want to throw them away, so she suggested I stuff them in my shorts. My response was, "people might think I have a problem." She suggested the back of my shorts, and my response was, "people might think I had a *different* problem." With no better options available, I did toss them. At that point I did feel fine again, temperature-wise.

Several of the early miles were with Debbie. I made a pit stop, but caught her again. We saw the governor in beautiful Bexley at about the 4 mile mark. The plan was for Brad, Debbie and I to stick with the 3:20 pace group, at least for most of the way. Brad wanted to try to qualify for Boston with a 3:15, however, so he started to get ahead of us fairly early on. Debbie and I were just ahead of the group when they caught us at about mile 8 or 9. I stayed ahead of them, but Debbie fell back.

I picked it up a bit more, and was probably a minute ahead of the group at the half-way point in about 1:38:40.

A few weeks ago I ran some pretty good late-summer races, including the Crim 10-Mile and the River Run Half. Based on my times at these races, I thought I was in pretty good shape, and had a shot at improving on my spring marathon times. It would be tough to beat the 3:13 I did in Cleveland, but I thought I had it in me. But then I found myself in Romania. I always seem to eat too much when I travel, and this trip was no exception. To atone for the increase in calories, I tried to run more, and of course this just exacerbated the tapering problem. So my plan for Cbus was to try to run with the 3:20 pace group and "see what happens".

By the time I'd reached 13.1 miles, however, I was starting to think 3:15. That would take pretty good negative splits, but I thought it was possible. I picked up the pace a bit, and caught Brad when we were going through the OSU campus at about mile 16. We stayed together for a while, but he was struggling and fell back. I hit mile 20 at pretty close to 2:30. I would have to pick it up even more in the final 10k.

I did manage to run still slightly faster than I had been. I didn't quite do 3:15, but I did the next best minute: 3:16 (and 13 seconds). In that second half, and especially that final 10k, I'd given it all I had.

3:16 is pretty good, and I'm happy with it. But would it have been better if I didn't travel? If I wouldn't have run 40 miles the previous weekend? It's hard to say.

After a fun after-the-race get together at Max & Erma's, it was back into Brad's vehicle, and onto the road again. Amongst other things, we discussed burnout. Several MCRR runners were at least somewhat unhappy with their runs, and a couple had to drop out with injuries. Debbie especially felt Burned out (notice the capital B), after all the racing she's done recently, she had a tough time in the second half. Brad was a bit disappointed too. Michelle, Dan and Nancy, on the other hand, were fairly happy with their runs. What about my 3:16? I could try for a faster marathon at Inland Trail next week, but considering the burnout factor, am thinking better of it. I do have Stomp the Grapes Half in three weeks. That should be enough.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

(Another) Rhapsody of Running in Romania




This is my fourth trip to Bucharest, so by now I know some of the best running routes. In some ways, they’re actually quite good, and in others, such as the dog aspect, not so great.

The parks are really wonderful, and there sure are a lot of them. On the minus side, most of these city parks are quite small, so I’ve got to run several loops. For example, it’s only a mile around the closest one, Parcul Izvor. One of the next closest ones, Parcul Carol, is only slightly bigger. Parcul Tineretului is the biggest one that’s anywhere close – I can get a couple miles when running around the lake and on the bike trail above the lake there. Of course the biggest minus is still the stray dogs. They are still a problem for any run through any and every park or neighborhood.

As usual, besides Parcul Izvor, I do a lot of loops around the Palatul Parlamentului. I managed to do two consecutive sub-13 minute 1.85 mile circuits of the palace the other day, so I can call it a tempo run. My loops around Izvor haven’t been so fast. Yet.

I have to run though scenic Parcul Carol to get to the also scenic Parcul Tineretului. I do this for my longer runs. It’s tough to beat Tineretului for good running. It’s big and hilly, with a decent sized lake, and lots of asphalt trails. I can get a lot of miles in there, as I do on my longer runs.

Saturday’s long run was a case in point, I did 4 1-mile loops around Izvor, then, as noted, went through Carol and over to Tineretului. There I ran around and around, finally figuring out how to make a complete circuit of the lake. That took about 14 minutes, but there was plenty more running to be had there. Altogether I was in the park for about an hour and forty-five minutes. The dogs in a run-down neighborhood on the way back spoiled my overall fun a bit, but it was a good one, all in all. I’m calling the entire run a twenty.

I figure that I’ve put on between five and ten pounds during the week I’ve been here. And my stay ain’t over yet. This does not bode well at all, not at all, for my upcoming Columbus Marathon. It usually takes me several days to get back to normal, and I won’t have several days. I’m now giving serious thought to doing the Inland Trail Marathon, and doing Columbus only as a training run.

To try to atone for my awful gluttony here, I did a second long run over the weekend. It had been a while since I’d run 40 miles over a weekend, but I sure felt like I needed the mileage this time. The second weekend long run didn’t go nearly as well as the first. I started slow and finished slower. Most of the miles were in Tineretului, whilst the last few were in Izvor – kind of the opposite of yesterday.

Addendum – For my last couple runs, I’ve been mostly running loops around the now familiar Parcul Tineretului, and especially around nearby Parcul Izvor. It’s fun to explore new areas, but I never run as fast when I’m doing so. Izvor appeals because it’s almost exactly a mile, and there are no major curbs to negotiate in the dark. Tuesday I managed to get down to tempo pace for three of these miles, followed by some other decent running half-loop (800m) pickups. Wednesday I explored Tineretului a bit more. I guess I got the miles in, so things could be worse.

For more on my running and daily life in Romania, check out this post from my 2009 trip, A Day in the Life. I think you will like it.

And for more general information on my travel adventures to Romania, see my travel blog entry.

It was dark in the park

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