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Run to the Hills
Tuesday, 13 December 2005

The only thing that is motivating me to run right now is the fear of getting fat over the holidays. I did my go-2/3-way-'round-the-lake-then-run-home route in just under 30 minutes. Then I caught a cold.

Posted by jmgthatsme at 12:01 AM PST
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Thursday, 8 December 2005
Baby, it's Cold Outside
My first post-half run was painful. It was cold, I started too fast and my legs started hurting. I ran a 3.2 mile route in 28:45 and was mostly just glad to be home to warm up. Brrr.

Posted by jmgthatsme at 12:01 AM PST
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Wednesday, 30 November 2005
Amid the pack

Dang, I'm not even in the upper half of the finishers in my age bracket. I'll have to cut off about five minutes next year to make that. Do-able, if I'm so inclined.

Posted by jmgthatsme at 12:57 PM PST
Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005 3:33 PM PST
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Sunday, 27 November 2005
Nine-oh-eight
I'm really pleased with my half-marathon results. I always felt I was/am/would be fit enough to finish the race, and am proud to say that I accomplished that. That was my first and foremost goal.

I set another, more challenging goal for myself as I got into training, and that was to finish in under two hours. As I got closer to the race, I felt like that goal was too ambitious. My times seemed to be getting slower and I felt like I was laboring more to get the miles in. I started integrating hills into my runs and was surprised at how much that slowed my pace. A lot of the hurdle that I built for myself was psychological, but I pretty well let go of the sub-two hour goal two weeks before the race and figured I'd come in closer to 2:05.

So I really surprised myself when I crossed the split mark at 1:01. That was official time. According to my watch I was at 58 minutes. I still had the hills in front of me, but I had the crowded section behind me. The first three miles I averaged about 10 min/mile, so I'd made significant gains in the next 3.5. (The sub-two time correlates to a 9:06 mile.)

I was strong on the hills and passed a fair number of people. I think the gu I had earlier gave me that push. But at ten miles I was starting to drag.

The coolest part of the race happened then. This guy passed me and said, "Keep it up! Number 3 has been my pace setter for the last five miles." The 3 was my soccer jersey, and having him tell me that gave me new confidence. It also gave me a focus: He was my pace setter for the rest of the race. It made a huge difference. He stayed about 50 yards in front of me -- rather, I kept myself within 50 yards of him -- and stepped through the last three miles.

I kept checking my watch at the mile markers and could tell I was running really close to 9:06 average. I was surprised and pleased. At mile 12 I knew I had about 30 seconds to make up and tried to push a little, but when I hit the hill on Mercer Ave, leading back up to Seattle Center, it was all I could do to keep running, let alone push my pace.

So, I'm really happy with 2:00:24 finish. That translates to a 9:08/mile pace, which is more than acceptabel. No, I didn't reach my goal, and I'm not giving myself credit for it either. Next time I'll make that. I may well challenge myself to finish at a sub-9 min/mile pace.

I really lost site of another important point during training: I remained injury-free. No twisted ankles or pulled hamstrings. I did get an irksome blister about three weeks before the race, but new shoes took care of that problem. I got stronger and lost weight through the whole process, and had only sore muscles the day after the race to complain about. And I'll rarely complain about sore muscles.

Posted by jmgthatsme at 12:01 AM PST
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Sunday, 20 November 2005

My co-worker told me it was time to taper, so instead of 11 miles I thought I'd be doinig this weekend, she told me I should be doing about seven. Well, I couldn't resist going further. I decided before getting out of bed that I'd do my U-District route. I thought about adding the hills on 65th NE, but realized that I couldn't do that without either hitting nine miles or stopping a mile before I got home. I love having the run end at my house, so I altered my route to include the hills around my 'hood.

Finally, running started to feel good again. Confidence regained. But I'm still doubting the two hour goal I set. I did 8.6 in 79 minutes, 9:30 miles. That right there with my average for long runs, but I figured I'd have to run 9:06 miles to stay under two hours.

Posted by jmgthatsme at 10:20 AM PST
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Friday, 18 November 2005
In the Morning, Feeling Half Right
I dragged my sorry ass out of bed this morning in an attempt to acclimate myself to the early start I'll be making in just nine (ack!) days. The half starts at 7:30, and that is going to be a struggle. Even from my home, it was 8a.m. before I was up, dressed, hydrated, stretched and ready for the road.

It was butt cold walking to the lake -- I'm so damn lucky to live so close to the lake -- and the run warmed me up only marginally.

Later in the day I felt like crap. Tired and a little achey. Couldn't tell if it was a cold or just worn out from the run. Hopefully the latter.

Posted by jmgthatsme at 12:01 AM PST
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Wednesday, 16 November 2005
Eight Mile
Knowing the run is little more than 10 days away, I decided that I needed another distance run. I had another full plate of social activities, and still hadn't really recovered from several night of sleep deprivation. But in between work and a dinner engagement with my dear friend Eugenia (who's in town from Geneva) I made an eight mile run. It was another nice night to be out, and it was another marginal improvement over how I felt last weekend.

The big news of the night is that I found my new favorite recovery drink. I've tried Emergen-C, and all the -ades, and pyschomax and glukin-e-k-g. None of 'em work as well at bringing me back to my usual smart ass self as the old standby, bourbon and ginger! And it's good for the tummy too!

Posted by jmgthatsme at 12:01 AM PST
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Tuesday, 15 November 2005
In the Dark
I've decided (and maybe I've said this before) that night time runs aren't so bad. I kind of took it to the extreme on this run. I was dirty dead dog tired after turning in the big grant I've been slaving over for day. And hungry. So I had a medium-big dinner when I got home and then took a short nap, caught up on some chores, made a couple of phone calls, then I put on my running gear, stretched, kept hydrating, and made it out the door at 10pm sharp. It was a beautiful night with a full moon and decent cloud cover so it was fairly warm. I did a 5k route and was back close to my normal pace. Felt good, but the late run coupled with my nap and the previous days' wacky sleep patterns, well, I slept like shit again.

Posted by jmgthatsme at 12:01 AM PST
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Sunday, 13 November 2005
Train Train
Well, today's training run was marginally better than yesterday. Not as painful, but also not as long as I had planned. I cut back to five miles from my planned 10, but that was as much because I'm so dang busy as the weird physical thang. I've got a big grant due Tuesday that I've been working on all weekend, and the MLS Cup final was today. A 12:30 game is hard to plan anything else around, y'know? Ah, that's all excuses. I still had time to run, but put it off 'til evening, then cut it in half. I did my 5-mile lake loop in 9-ish min/mile. Not the best, but still improved.

Posted by jmgthatsme at 12:01 AM PST
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Saturday, 12 November 2005
Sucking in the '70s
Omigod. I feel like I've taken a giant step backwards, and I don't know what caused it. Diet? A nascent cold? The cold temperature? A low point in my biorhythms? I don't know what it is, but I really, really, really struggled on my run today.

I ran 4.4 miles (skirting the lake for 2 miles, then hitting hills in my neighborhood) and had to work to average a 9.5 min/mile. The blister on my foot had no impact; I didn't feel it one bit.

I can only hope I'll feel better tomorrow. I'm supposed to make a long run (10+ miles is my goal), but if I feel like I did today, I'll go less.

Posted by jmgthatsme at 12:01 AM PST
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