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September 29, 2006

Gators v. Alabama tomorrow

Karen and I had the misfortune of going to Tuscaloosa for last year's debacle. We had a nice trip except for those 4 hours on Saturday afternoon.

Tomorrow, we will head to Gainesville and treat their fans with the same hospitality they showed us last year. The Tide fans really were pretty nice and there wasn't too much trash talking after the game, although they certainly were entitled.

At the same time, I also hope our team reciprocates and gives Alabama a smackdown like the one we delivered my senior year when we won 35-0.

Go Gators!

Morning swim

Funny how I dread these early morning swim sessions, but actually end up glad I do them. Today there was a lot more room in the pool because the high schoolers have a swim meet tomorrow.

We started out with a 600, alternating swim and kick.

Then it was time for the tough set of the day. Mitch wanted us to do 20x50 on the 1:00 while decreasing our stroke count. I tried like mad to get the count down, but I just couldn't. I focused on really reaching my arm out, rotating the body and kicking. Maybe it was just fatigue. Towards the end, I was just looking forward to ending the set.

We then had 3x600, with the 600 broken down to 300 pull and 300 kick. The kick was further broken down so that the first set was 3x100, then 6x50 and finally 12x25. Thirty seconds between 300s, and 10 seconds between the 100 kick sets. We had 5 seconds rest between the 50 and 25 kicks, increasing the intensity as the sets were shorter.

I wrapped up with a 100 yard cool down for a total of 3,500 yards.

It was cool when we started and the air certainly felt cooler as the practice went on. Glad to see the cooler weather, and as Greg Umberger said, "It is starting to make the pool feel a lot warmer."

They aren't getting easier

I was hoping the relatively cooler weather was going to make yesterday's track session easier. Wrong.

John and Jay met me at the Butler Cleaners parking lot. We dis a 1-mile warm-up and then headed for the track. The schedule called for 3x1600 at 5k minus 15 seconds. I'm not sure if traveling and poor diet the days before are to blame, but I didn't hit a single split. I know it's early in the training plan, but I should have speed left over from the summer's shorter races. Then again, I'm not sure if I tried to hit splits as aggressive as what this schedule is calling for. I was close on the first 2, the last one was terrible.

But I'm not going to be discouraged. I did the session as hard as possible, and that's all I can ask for. I hven't missed a run yet, although I have trimmed a couple of long ones. I have been consistent with the cross-training. Onward and upward!

September 28, 2006


Run around Lake Monona

Was in Madison, WI earlier this week on business. I stayed in a hotel on the southern end of Lake Monona. I knew there were pretty good trails in Madison for biking and running, and I have seen some tracks running around the lake that people have uploaded to MotionBased and FavoriteRun.

There was a path right in front of the hotel and I followed it to downtown past the starting point of IM Wisconsin. The path then goes away and you go through some neighborhoods. I knew as long as I could see the lake I would be in good shape. I then noticed arrows and 'LMR' on the streets. I followed the arrows and felt confident that I wasn't going to get lost.

I did lose the arrows at one point because they went through a park and I wasn't sure if there would be any other markers, so I went back to following the lake. I found the markings on the road again, but again lost them because there was some road construction going on and the streets were torn up. At about 10 miles I stopped to ask a guy who was walking if I was on track and how much farther I had. He told me to stay to the right and I had 2-3 miles.

I did get spooked around the 7-mile mark when a rabbit jumped out of some bushes in front of me. I immediately thought of the rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The run was very pleasant and the weather rocked! It was in the high 40s for most of the run.

I eventually found out that the LMR markings are for the annual Lake Monona 20k. The start and finish are in the park I was unsure about running through.

Before I got to Madison I corresponded with Stu of Simply Stu fame. He lives in Madison and provided me with some running options using the trails. I finally decided that the run around Lake Monona would be the best adventure.

My training plan called for an 18-mile run, but I ended up only doing 13. I didn't want to push it with an 8:30 meeting that morning. Now, in retrospect, I wish I had woken up an hour earlier so I could have done 18 based on the weather and the nice running paths. Maybe on a future visit. . .

UPDATE: Google Earth file (KML).

UPDATE 2: View path with Google Maps.

September 25, 2006

Swim workout

Skipped the swim workout last Friday. Had a late business dinner and ate some seriously rich foods that would have made the workout miserable. My first missed workout in two weeks, I think I can justify it.

Back in the pool this morning for the first time in a week. Was dreading it, but ended up enjoying the workout. We started with a 3x400 warm-up (400 swim, 400 kick, 300 pull). Ran out of time on the last 400.

The second set was 20x50 broken up into 4 sets of 5x50. The first three were descending, and then the last we were able to provide extra rest (5x50 1:05, 5x50 1:00, 5x50 :55, 5x50 1:10). Then onto the kicking. We did 8x100 kick broken up into 2 sets of 4x100 (100 easy, 50 easy/50 hard, 50 easy/50 hard, 100 hard).

The last set was 3x400 lungbusters, breathing on the 3rd, 5th, 7th and 9th stroke. Who needs oxygen? I used paddles for the first time with this set. Very interesting the way they make you stroke cleanly and efficiently. I ended up completing 2x400 before I ran out of time.

Total yardage for the session was 3700. Not too bad.

September 23, 2006

Gators 27 Kentucky 6

Go Gators

Karen and I went to the Gator game Saturday night. We went to a pre-game party at Erin's house. Had a nice time hanging out with Erin, Josh and their friends.

It was a closer game in the first half than I was expecting. The offense just couldn't get it together. The defense looked strong, although they did look vulnerable on short over the middle passes.

The game started at 7:45, so we were out really late. We didn't get home until 1 am. My contacts were driving me nuts, so I had to take them out. Karen was a trooper and drove us home.

This weekend starts the brutal 4-game stretch of Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia. Apparently, Kirk Herbstreit is calling it the toughest schedule in the history of college football. Of course, our favorite hack at the Times Union is pooh-poohing this assessment.

Go Gators!

September 21, 2006

Another tough track workout

As usual, the track workout was tough. However, as a teaser to what is coming, the weather was beautiful this morning. It was clear and in the low 60s. Awesome.

Unfortunately, even with the cooler temperatures, I missed all of my splits in my 5x1000 workout. The target was 5k pace minus 27 seconds, so somewhere around a 6:16 pace for me. Here are my splits and heartrate at the end of each interval:

1000 -- 4:03 167 (missed by 8 seconds)
1000 -- 4:00 172 (missed by 5 seconds)
1000 -- 4:04 172 (missed by 9 seconds)
1000 -- 4:03 173 (missed by 8 seconds)
1000 -- 3:58 175 (missed by 3 seconds)

Missed splits aside, when looking back at my training for last year, I am well ahead. About a month ahead.

Last year on this day I did 6x800 (4800m) in an aggregate time of 20:11. The aggregate for today's 5000m was 20:08. Sweet!
Caveat: Not sure what the weather was like last year, maybe it was warmer.

Next week is 3x1600 at 5k minus 15 seconds. Hopefully the weather will be nice.

September 19, 2006

Long hot, humid run


The schedule called for 20 miles today. That was the goal going out. At about 16 miles, my shoes had been squishy for the last 50 minutes, and I rationalized that I am already way ahead of last year's marathon training (but no where near Joe Reger-ready), so I ended the run at 16.5. I went through 3 shots of gel, some Sport Beans and 46 ounces of fluid. I know I didn't take in enough liquid, so I need to continue working on that. I lost 5 pounds, so I need to calculate my fluid requirements based on my intake and weight loss. Still, a good steady effort to build endurance.

September 16, 2006

Lunch at school with Emily


I got to have lunch with Emily at her school yesterday. She requested cheeseburgers from Wendy's and a cookie from Sheila's Bakery. We had a great time and enjoyed lunch in the courtyard with her buddies Noah, Dexter and Jake as well as their families.

Can't blame them, that's how they were taught

Two of the three defenders fined by the NFL for illegal hits on quarterbacks last week were graduates of FSU.

Detroit rookie linebacker Ernie Sims, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett of Arizona and strong safety Roy Williams of Dallas were each fined $7,500 for excessive contact against quarterbacks in opening-week games, confirmed through league and team officials.

I guess the NFL hasn't heard of that nuanced rule interpretation often cited in Tallahassee called "the echo of the whistle." Were they even contrite about their actions? Sha-right!

[NFL senior vice president of football operations Ray] Anderson noted that, while Detroit defensive lineman Cory Redding leaped to avoid contact with the Seattle quarterback, Sims "drove his helmet into the quarterback." The contact by Sims elicited a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness.

Sims said that, while he will be more careful when encountering sliding quarterbacks in the future, he will not permit the incident to reduce his zeal on the field.

"I've got to be a smart ballplayer," Sims said. "But at the same time, I can't let [something like this] take away from my game."

The play by Dockett, who dove at the legs of Alex Smith after the San Francisco quarterback had thrown an incomplete pass and was out of bounds, also drew considerable scrutiny from the league. San Francisco officials complained after the game about the play, but Dockett countered that his play was simply an aggressive one and that he did not regret it.

Mickey Andrews must be so proud.

September 15, 2006

HARD swim workout

This morning's swim workout was tough. Well, at least one set in the workout was REALLY tough. Typical warm-ups recently have been 3x300 (swim, kick, pull). Today it was 5x300 as follows:
2x300 (alt. swim 25, kick 25)
3x300 swim descending

After that we did some serious kicking:
600 kick (alt. easy 25, hard 25)
450 kick (alt. hard 50, easy 25 )

But then came the butt-kicking. Mitch said there is a thousand different ways to accomplish the same result. I'm not sure if the intended result for this set was to help increase speed or to guarantee puking at the end of it. The set was 6x150 swimming hard for 75, taking a ten second break, then swimming a harder 50 followed by another ten second break, and then swimming all out for 25. These were to be done on the 4. I ended up doing 5x150, with a 50 sprinkled in the middle when I had to take a bathroom break. Would be interesting to see what my heart rate was during that bathroom break because it came after the 3rd 150. I was breathing hard.

I cooled down with a quick 100 yard swim.

Total yardage was about 3450.

I appreciate doing the fast stuff, but towards the end of those sets, I wonder how much good is being done. My form tends to fly out the window and I'm just doing whatever I can to do the set. I try to focus on lengthening the stroke and kicking harder, but that lasts only so long. Then come the doubts and me wondering what the heck i'm doing to myself.

Overall, it was a good workout. In order to improve, I will need to push myself. Swimming in a group with a coach ensures that I will push myself.

September 14, 2006

Track workout this morning

The track workouts associated with this fall's marathon training plan are no cakewalk. These are actually tougher than many of the track sessions we did this summer to prepare for shorter races. John Womack and Bill Bishop joined me in this morning's sufferfest.

The workout called for a 10 minute warm-up and then:

1200 at 5K pace -25 seconds per mile
1000 at 5K pace -27 seconds per mile
800 at 5K pace -30 seconds per mile
600 at 5K pace -35 seconds per mile
400 at 5K pace -40 seconds per mile
200 at 5K pace -45 seconds per mile

Here are my splts, with the heart rate and the end of each interval:
1200 -- 4:49 172 (target was 4:44)
1000 -- 4:01 172 (target was 3:55)
800 -- 3:12 172 (target was 3:07)
600 -- 2:21 175 (target was 2:18)
400 -- 1:28 173 (target was 1:31)
200 -- :33 170 (target was :45)

I made only 2 of the 6 targets. Ouch. We wrapped up the workout with a 1-mile cooldown.

I'm not sure how doing track 2 days after a long run will work in this schedule, but we'll see. At least there is a rest day sandwiched in the middle. The other glimmer of hope is the cooler temperatures in the fall will make these easier.

Next week calls for 5x1000 after a 20-mile run two days before. Looking forward to that. . .

UPDATE: I forgot to provide the nifty wristband generator I created to help keep track of the splits. Figuring out the various paces and slits at 6AM were not my idea of a good time. Be sure to laminate both sides of the paper with scotch tape.

September 13, 2006

Kayaking with Emily

060907_Captiva 011The family spent last week in Captiva. We always enjoy kayaking while there. This year we decided Emily was old enough to come along. She did pretty well at first, only bashing her Dad in the head a few times, but then she started to wear down towards the end. We saw lots of pelicans and other birds in the mangroves. We also paddled past the house that belonged to Ding Darling when he lived on the island.

Here is a KML file of our adventure. BTW, you no longer have to use Google Earth to open a KML file. You can now paste the link location of a KML file into Google Maps to view the file. Pretty neat!

September 12, 2006

14 mile run this morning

Still suffering a little from the sinus cold I picked up last week while on vacation. Was supposed to do 17, but cut it short. Tomorrow is a rest day, but I might head to the pool for some active recovery. Did 4000 yards in the pool yesterday and it felt very good.

September 5, 2006

15-mile vacation run

The marathon schedule called for a 15-mile run today. I guess it didn't care I am on vacation in Captiva.

I started out at 6:30 this morning on the beach. The beaches here aren't wide and flat like they were in Myrtle Beach a couple of weeks ago. Last year, these beaches were built up in a renourishment project to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Charley in 2004. The resulting beach is low and narrow by the water with a second wider level higher above. Unfortunately, the upper level is very soft sand. I'm not quite in shape to trudge 15-miles through powder.

Overall, the run was fine. I used my iPod Nano with the new Nike+ module. It didn't quite synch up with the distances being displayed on my Garmin, but that might be a result of having a hard time getting a satellite lock this morning. It was fun having the music levels lowered and a voice saying "You have gone x miles" or "You have X miles to go."

The heart rate remained comfortably low for the entire effort, averaging 152 for the run. Next on tap is a long bike ride tomorrow.