Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

I don't know if anyone noticed the comments or not, but this is pretty exciting stuff. At least for me, the Dad. My son Tyler, the culinary student, started a blog of his own. And why did he start a blog? He has decided to come on over to the dark side and he's beginning the Couch to 5K program on coolrunning.com. I'm pretty psyched for him. This is something that he decided to do on his own and so far he seems to have taken real ownership of it. I'm so glad that he has taken an interest in his health. I look forward to the day I came cheer him on at the finish line of his 5K. In addition to that we got a letter the other day from his school to let us know that he made the Honor Roll for his first quarter at culinary school. Needless to say we are very proud of him. Stop by, check on his progress, and give Tyler some blogger love.

On the running front, the big news is that I need new shoes. I usually like to have three pair in rotation. On Christmas Eve I retired a pair of Brooks Trance. I began scanning the Internet for some replacements but I couldn't come across any Trance in my size or at a reasonable price. I'm just not ready yet to spent three figures on a pair of shoes. Last Saturday another pair of Trance hit the magic 500 mile mark and ended up in the pile in the garage. Those shoes got me through all 4 marathons I ran in 2006.

This stack represents about 4500 miles. There are 7 pairs of Brooks Trance, a pair of New Balance 765 and a pair of Saucony Grid Omni's in there. I think I've kept all but maybe the first two pairs of shoes I ever had. Finally Sunday night I came across a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 6 at a reasonable price. They will put me back to two pairs, both Adrenalines. I need (want) to have three so I think I will look for a pair of trail shoes to round out the current rotation. I would ideally like to already have another pair of something stashed in the closet as replacement for the current GTS 6 that are over 200 miles themselves. I've got some shopping to do.

The other big news today is that it rained. Today being Tuesday, is speed work day. The track I run on is in pretty sad condition. I was afraid that with the rain the track would be a real mess. So I opted to postpone the speed work until later in the week. Hey, I don't have to try very hard to find an excuse for getting out of speed work. Instead I did a tempo run. I ran out and back on a three miles course. The first mile or so I took it easy and then accelerated up to a decent pace. It was a hard effort but an effort I could sustain. I kept at it for the last 5 miles and ended up with an 8:25 pace overall and 7:59 for the back 3 miles. Although I felt as though I was running significantly harder than the night before which was an easy effort run, my pace was only about 30 seconds a mile faster. McMillan suggests 7:17 to 7:36 for tempo runs. I'm terrible at judging pace. I need to slow down my pace on recovery days and speed it up on the tempo days. Practice makes perfect, but a set of calibrated legs and lungs would be nice.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Eugene Training - Week 4

One of the unfortunate byproducts of my ramped up marathon schedule is the return of the "pain in the butt". My left piriformis muscle and/or sciatic are acting up again in full force. This happened last year when I tried to ramp up to 6 day weeks and got a little better with 2 days off, lower mileage and visits to a chiropractor for adjustments and massages. Although it never completely went away it was greatly diminished in intensity. It felt the best in December on less than 100 miles that month. Having now run four complete 6 day weeks the pain is back and gets worse each week. The pain is most intense while seated, especially while driving. The computer chair at home is none too comfortable but I don't seem to notice the pain much at work although I spend a lot of time at my desk.

Friday I saw the chiropractor. Initially things felt quite good, but now 2 days later the pain is back. I am thankful that it doesn't really bother me while running, I'm sure it has to have an effect on stride and form and thus an effect on pace. While running surely increases the irritation, a complete back away from running is nearly an impossibility for me to mentally stomach. So, probably to my own detriment long term, I continue to run.

Saturday I got to do something both new and familiar. Familiar in that I finally met up with the CA Cruisers after having scheduling conflicts since the Saturday before Christmas. New in that we met at Tagge's Gym at the corner of Wabash and Prospect for a loop trail I hadn't been on before. The planned loop is a 3 mile trail around a new upscale neighborhood in the northern hills of Yorba Linda. One of the runners knew of a grove of Coastal Redwoods that had been planted in 1975 near there so we took a detour to see them. After the Redwoods the trail continues on and many of the plants are identified along the route. We ended up to my surprise at Carbon Canyon Park which is really a nice park but more importantly it is the back way into the wonderful trails of Chino Hills State Park. I ran a variety of paces that day as I would switch between the lead group and the trailing group to make sure I knew where to go and to keep them on track as well. The loop ended up measuring 6 miles. Because of the frequent stops and starts I messed up my watch and don't have an accurate time. Dr. John, Cathe and I continued south on Prospect and joined the equestrian trail system in Yorba Linda for some additional miles. I was looking to do 15. Dr. John and Cathe turned back after 3 miles. I continued on alone for another mile and a half and turned around as well. I missed a turn on the way back and ended up with 15.4 miles for the day. I was definitely having a struggle for the last couple of miles but I had stupidly forgotten my Fuel Belt on this run. My last couple of 13-15 milers I've consumed 28 ounces of fluids and today I had none. I drank a lot once I got back to the car and took some Ibuprofen at home and was able to fend off my usual dehydration headache.

Sunday I headed over to Bonelli and ran the loop along the west side of the park. It is trails for about 2.5 miles then roads back to the car. The schedule called for 4 miles. When I checked the mileage back at home I realized I was short at 3.6 miles. I thought my 32:58 time was awfully fast for a 4 mile trail run. At 3.6 miles the pace was 9:10 about what I would expect on that particular mix of trail and road. I felt pretty strong once I hit the road section and kept the pace on the high side for a nice finish to the week.

The extra wrong turn mileage from Saturday and the short course on Sunday evened themselves out quite nicely and I was able to reach my weekly goal of 40 miles. For next week, all the midweek runs increase to 6 miles so I will spend some time this evening mapping new routes from my house. My usual 6 mile routes are in Bonelli or at the Dam neither of which I can do after work until Daylight Savings Time kicks in, so the streets of my neighborhood will have to suffice for now. Next weeks day off is Friday again followed by two running days and then Monday off. I will be looking forward to that.

My wife is recovering fairly well. She was able to go to church this morning and then after an hour or so rest at home she felt strong enough to go out for lunch; Italian. Tyler is home for the weekend so both boys joined us as well. She's napping now. I will wake her for dinner in the next hour or so.

Total miles for the week: 40

M: 5 miles, 48:02
T: 5 miles with 4x400
W: 6 miles, Hills, 1:01
H: 5 miles, 42:27
F: Rest
S: 15.4 miles, operator/watch malfunction
S: 3.6 miles, Hills, 32:58

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ten Days

I really did it. Ten consecutive days running and my legs didn’t fall off. There have been a couple of challenges along the way, but I determined to do it and did.

Thursdays are my longest day of the week. I start out the day with a men’s meeting at church at 5:30 a.m. For the record that’s earlier than I even get out of bed the rest of the week. After that I came home, picked up the HS junior and took him to school. Its finals week, so traffic is at it absolute worst. Then it was off to the office to put the finishing touches on a presentation for management on Friday on our big project.

But first we had a ‘state of the business’ address and our general manager announced his retirement. His replacement was announced, a guy from corporate. Our current GM is highly regarded and a man a great integrity, but its probably time for a change. Anyway I find out midway in preparing my presentation that the new GM will be at our meeting tomorrow. No big deal you say, except that our project is about the biggest thing going at the moment and I have the dubious distinction of being the very first presenter. No added stress there. Me, setting the tone and making the first impression for the team, imagine that. I ended up staying till after 6:00 to finalize the thing and then ran an errand for my wife. I got home and normally I would get my run in first before dinner got started. My wife is out of commission at the moment (a little about that later) so it was up to me to get dinner on the table tonight. As an added stressor, the HS dude that lives at the other end of the house won’t start homework until after dinner. So I opted to cook first, its finals week remember and he needs all the study time he can get. Dinner – grilled chicken over pasta with raspberry vinaigrette was on the table and on its way to the stomach just before 8:00 p.m.

I had run nine days so far and figured I still had 4 good hours to get my tenth run in; a 5 miler at an easy pace. I updated the checkbook, read some blogs and then feeling a whole lot like Wes I walked out the door at 9:23 p.m. It was a nice 54°F, a cloudless sky with a half moon in the west. My legs felt surprisingly fresh. I hummed along at a moderate pace along a route I’ve dubbed the Bonnie Cove 5. It is a route I’ve been running quite a bit lately. I needed to come up with a shorter name for my written log rather than listing all the streets on the loop. Bonnie Cove is unique to this loop so the name stuck. I thought it had a better ring to it than Gladstone 5 or Lyman 5. The final time was 42:27 for an 8:29 pace. That’s not too bad I think for 10 day old legs. Tomorrow, Friday, will be a rest day and I am going to enjoy it immensely.

The rest of the week went like this: Monday, Day #7, I did the Bonnie Cove 5 at an easy 9:36 pace as a recovery from Sunday’s speedy long run. Tuesday, Day #8, I reluctantly dragged myself over to the track and did a repeat of last weeks 4 x 400. My times were: 1:43, 1:45, 1:41 and 1:41, in that order. I was shocked (and happy) that I finished the last one faster than the first. It was really hard to stay motivated to do those laps.

Wednesday, Day #9, I was on vacation. My wife was having a procedure done as an outpatient. I needed and wanted to be there with her. We had discussed my run and decided that while she was in recovery would be the best time to get out. So once the doc came to tell me that everything went smoothly I headed over to Bonelli for 6 miles in the sun at 77°. It was so nice to be back there. I hadn’t made it over there since Christmas day, nearly 4 weeks ago. Of course as things work out, we waited forever in the morning before she was called into surgery, the surgery itself took longer than planned but the one thing that went quickly was her recovery. She was awake and alert and wondering just where the heck I was for longer than a person who just came out of surgery wants to wait to see a familiar face. After I got back and apologized another hour went by before she was discharged. I got her back home around 5:00 and she was able to eat a light dinner. She slept most of today but was able to enjoy dinner with us tonight. She’ll be off again tomorrow and hopefully back up to full speed on Monday morning.

Now its late, it has been a long day, so I’m off to bed.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Eugene Training - Week 3

“Life is bigger than running, but it's better with running.” – Mike

Week 3 went off pretty much without a hitch. I got myself over to the track to do some 400’s on Tuesday. That was a confidence booster to be able to do them ever so slightly faster than this same time last year. Wednesday nights run was pretty unremarkable. I tried hard to keep the effort on the easy side and did OK with a 9:02 pace.

Thursday, I was in San Diego for the second time in less than a week. This time I was visiting a doc in the evaluation. I was on my feet, in dress shoes no less, for about 4 hours. I could feel the residual effects of Tuesday’s track session in my quads. Traffic was bad so I spent another six hours behind the wheel of a stick shift. That evening the weather had warmed up a bit from the “cold” we had been experiencing. I was able to jump out the door at 6:30 without the slightest hesitation. I usually hem and haw a little when the temps are on the cool side. I felt really good on this run. The conditions were just about perfect running weather. I felt neither too hot nor too cold. It was somewhere in the low 60’s. I had worn a long sleeve, but a short sleeve would have been just fine. I resorted to a tactic I used last year when I was all anxious about my training time. I left the watch at home. That allows me to get my run in and saves me all the mental anguish over the clock.

I left work a little early on Friday and was able to get in my 4 mile run over on the equestrian trail in Via Verde. It was nice to get out and back before sunset during the week.

Saturday I attended all day training (thus the early departure on Friday) for our sales representative. The training was in Huntington Beach. Three of the docs I had visited for the evaluation were speaking. It was a good chance to catch up with them and to rub shoulders with the reps. The reps are invaluable in getting doctor cooperation in evaluating new products. Part of my job involves trouble shooting and the reps are often the ones that call in. It is always nice to put a face with the name. I of course packed up my running stuff so I could hit the beach board walk bike path at the end of the day. We didn’t finish up until nearly 6:00 p.m. so I flip flopped my work out for the second weekend in a row and ran 5 miles in 41:51. Needless to say I was quite pleased with this pace. It was sort of eerie to be running that path in the dark. I actually saw about 6 other guys out there running in the dark too.

I resorted to running my 13 miler in the afternoon on Sunday rather than first thing in the morning. My goal this week was to do the long run at an 8:30 pace. Sunday afternoon was a beautiful, sunny, cloudless day. It was one of those days I like to call a Rose Parade Day. During the Rose Parade the rest of the country, usually in the middle of some wonderfully cold winter weather, gets to see a glimpse of our winter weather and decide to add to the population explosion. Today was one of those days. I checked the temp when I left. It was only 60°. Does anyone else not get why 60 and sunny feels so much warmer than 60 and dark. Isn’t 60, 60 no matter what?

I headed over to the Santa Fe Dam Bike Trail in a sleeveless. Hey, it’s never too early to start working on that tan. Anyway back to the run. The one thing I don’t like about the dam is that right off the bat you have to climb up on top of the thing, 70 feet in the first quarter of a mile. Admittedly it is a little hill but, right from the get go, without a chance to warm up at all, it is always a little bit of a chore. The first mile clocked at 8:56 and seemed about right. Mile 2 came in at 8:07. This was quite a bit faster than I was planning, but I felt good so I kept on going. Mile 3 was 8:07 too. Mile 4 was 8:10. During mile 5 my legs were beginning to feel this effort. I began to think that maybe at mile 5 I would take a walk break to intentionally slow things down a little. When I hit the Mile 5 marker in 7:51, you bet I took a walk break.

Mile 6 was at 8:41 including the walking. After that I ended up with three more sub 8:00 minute miles. I guess I was just in a groove and decided not to fight it. I took two more walk breaks after miles 9 and 11. My final time was 1:47:17, 8:15 pace overall. I calculated my pace without the initial mile and the three walk break miles and ended up at 8:01. Whoa, what a difference from this same route 2 weeks ago at 1:56 and a huge difference from last weekend’s 9:26 pace. I don’t really understand how this happens, but I’ll just go with it. I am happy to report that although I felt like I was working harder than last week; it wasn’t out of my reach.

There has been one interesting little twist in the schedule. I thought I had 2 days off for the next two weeks. I misread the schedule. I still run 6 days a week but for some reason the day off is Friday rather than Monday. Friday actually fits the rest of my life better, but this means that I will be running 10 days straight between week 3 and 4. I’ve never tried this before, should be interesting.

Total miles: 38.4

M: Rest
T: 5.4 miles with 4x400
W: 6 mile, 54:11
H: 5 miles, no watch
F: 4 miles, 35:05
S: 5 miles, 41:51
S: 13 miles, 1:47

I've already run more miles in the first three weeks of January than I did the whole month of December.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Just to Prove It To Myself

Last post I was lamenting my lack of speed. I've been in this place before. Last week I promised ex-Ohioan, Neese, that I would get back to the track this week after reading about her track session. I avoid speed work, especially at the track, even though most programs call for it and I realize the benefits of some form of speed or another.

I went back and checked my log and found out that I started track work last year at the end of January with 4 x 400's in 1:44, 1:48, 1:51, and 1:49. I committed to getting back to it. On Joe's advice I checked out the Macmillan Pace Calculator. I punched in my goal time to see my paces for different training runs. Macmillan suggested 1:34.6 to 1:40.0 for 400's. I wasn't sure I could meet that, but it gave me something to shoot for. The other good thing I found was suggested paces for long runs at 8:31 to 9:31. That made me feel better about Sunday's run.

So Tuesday, I got home from work, changed and walked out the front door intent on putting in a mile of speed at the track. After nearly a 2 mile warm up, I got to the track and started off my first 400. 1:42:01. That didn't seem so bad. A recovery lap then off for #2. 1:43:63. OK, I could still do this. Recovery lap, then #3. 1:45:13. Slowing down a bit, but I expected that. One more recovery one then the 4th and last 400. 1:42:70. Then I ran home feeling a whole lot better about my speed.

400's probably aren't a very reliable predictor of marathon speed, but now I know that I can do at least the minimum speed and do it at a pace slightly faster than last year. I will work some tempo pace runs into the mix and go from there.

On the 10:00 news they just said that it snowed today in Malibu. It hasn't snowed there in 24 years. Running in Malibu Creek State Park would have been an experience today.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Eugene Training - Week 2

I'm not sure I'll continue with this title throughout the next 15 weeks or so, but it'll work today.

I got serious (sort of) with the program this week and did all six days of training and the mileage called for each day. The major issue I've got, and only I can fix it, is the lack of speed. I started off the week on Tuesday with a 5 miler at 8:32 pace, followed by another one on Wednesday at 8:18. Those were numbers that I could live with. Thursday I headed over to the equestrian trail for 4 miles and was shocked to see my 8:54 pace. I felt faster than that. To get Friday's run in I had to get up and go before work (something I rarely do). My legs were pretty heavy and I clocked a whopping 9:05 pace. See a trend here.

Saturday is usually long run day, but we had some other obligations to take care of and there was a chance of meeting up with Planet3rry in San Diego for a little jog. It appears that he had flight delays, so we weren't able to meet up. I went over to Mission Bay and ran for 27 minutes and called it 3 miles. I could figure it out with gmaps pedometer, but don't really see the need.

After the run, I picked up my oldest son and we had a great dinner together in Little Italy on the northwest side of downtown San Diego. He has taken up walking lately and has been doing it in his skater shoes. His shins have been giving him a bad time of it. He went to a running store and was a little overwhelmed and didn't really have the funds to buy the shoes anyway. I got him a pair of Brooks Beasts on ebay this evening, as recommended at the store. He said they felt the best of the shoes he tried on. From what little knowledge I have on shoes, they seem to be a good choice for him. He broke his ankle when he was 10 or so and that foot is smaller and shaped differently. Oddly the other leg is giving him the most trouble. Perhaps it is over compensating.

Sunday meant long run day. I opted to run in the afternoon. We are in the middle of the coldest snap so far this winter. Like most places we have had a very mild one so far. It was 80° on Monday, while today the highs were in the mid 50's with overnight lows in the 30's. Nothing like going from summer to winter in the span of a week. Our poor furnace ran off and on overnight just to keep the house at 62°. Normally it doesn't run at all after midnight until it cranks up to 68 about an hour before I get out of bed. So rather than run in 30-40 degree weather, I opted for the midday 50's. The sky was clear and there was a light breeze. I ran Brian's Loop, a 15 mile loop through Philips Ranch, Walnut, Diamond Bar and Chino Hills. There are 6 nice hills along this route. I felt good in the sun, and was a little chilled in the shade. I kept a nice relaxed pace and felt really good the entire way. I don't run this route often, so I don't have very good mileage milestones. I went through 21 ounces of 50/50 Gatorade Endurance/water mixture and 1 GU (compliments of my younger son from Christmas).

The 15 miles took me 2:21:35 or an unbelievable 9:26 pace. No wonder I felt good the whole way. 9:26 pace puts me back at 4:00 plus marathon time. That freaks me out. I guess it is still early in the training cycle, but I have a huge doubt and fear in my head. And while I know that it is not all bad to take the long runs slow, I also know that long slow runs lead to long slow marathons, at least for me. At the moment I'm at a loss to figure out exactly how I'm supposed to get my legs moving at sub 8:00 pace. I obviously have a lot of work to do. Errrr.

Total mileage for the week was 36. Next week calls for another 6 day week and 38 miles (hopefully some of them faster!!).

M: Rest
T: 5 miles, 42:40
W: 5 miles, 41:29
H: 4 miles, 35:36
F: 4 miles, 36:20
S: 3 miles, 26:54 (ran by time, not distance)
S: 15 miles, 2:21:35

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Identity Crisis

Never mind the age old debate over vegetable or fruit; this is one conflicted box of produce.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Another Fifty Stater

I left work today at 5:15 for the first time in a long time and was happily surprised to see that it was not pitch dark outside. A later sunset will make runs at the dam right after work an option again. This is good because I was just trying to decide where I would do my 5 mile runs. Even after over three years of running I don't have a convenient 5 mile route out my front door, except for Bonelli which I can't do until sunset is delayed even more.

Seeing the longer days reminded me of something my wife told me the other day about Daylight Savings Time. Is anyone else as excited as I am about this news? I'm sure there is some subset of the population that thinks it is some kind of conspiracy or sign of the end times, but I'm thrilled about more DST.

On my way home from the dam on Saturday I heard a song on the radio (KROQ) that was kind of simple and melodic. Afterward the DJ (on air personality) said that the artist was attempting to make an album for each of the 50 states. I didn't catch the name. I Googled "50 states albums" and found Sufjan Stephens. (as as aside; isn't it funny that the word "googled" can be understood as a verb?) I wonder what would be harder, 50 albums or 50 marathons. Personally I think the marathons would be easier. I read some of the online reviews and it seems that people either love or hate his music. Click here for a listen to the song I heard. I can relate to the lyric "I made a lot of mistakes, in my mind."

Today is my rest day from running, but one little running tidbit:
When I filled out my log last night my lifetime total was 5105.5. I figured out I've run from my home in California to my parent's home in Ohio and back and I'm almost through Utah on my second trip to Ohio. That just seems crazy.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

To OC or not To OC

Friday evening I was able to take a good look at my plan for Eugene. I am giving the NYRR plan a try again; the plan that calls for running 6 days a week. It is an 18 week program, but starting on January 1st gives me 17 weeks. I cut Week 1 out in 2006 and adjusted Week 2 with the trip to PA.

The plan called for 13 miles on Saturday. I already knew that I wouldn’t be running with the Cruisers as they had only an easy 3 planned since several Cruisers were running the OC Marathon on Sunday. I realized that there was a half marathon option at OC. I fell asleep Friday night pondering my options.

The adventurous side said, “Go run the OC Half. If you are going to run 13 miles anyway you might as well get a t-shirt and a medal.” The rational boring side said, “Save the $60 bucks and go run somewhere else. Besides do you really need another t-shirt?”

Apparently the rational side won out because I went over to the Santa Fe Dam and ran the bike trail. The skies were clear after yesterday’s wind storms and luckily the winds had died down. The temperature was 45°F at 8:30. Anything below 50 always has me second guessing; long sleeves or short, one layer or two. The forecast called for 60° by 10:00 so I opted for short sleeves. I had decided that I was going to keep the pace easy as I eased back into serious marathon training. As I ran along at 9:00 pace I felt comfortable, but in the back of my mind I knew that eventually I was going to have to step up the effort to get to my BQ. I’ve been in slow and easy mode since October. I’m afraid that it may take an act of Congress to get me moving faster again. I guess recognition is the first step. I finished up the 13 miles in 1:56 (8:58 pace).

As I headed north along the bike path I had great clear views of the San Gabriel Mountains and it reminded me of my mid-year resolution to explore the trails up there. This is the perfect time of the year to do so.

Sunday morning I stuck to my intention to run the mountains instead of Bonelli. The plan only called for 3 miles but I was a little light already. Also if I was driving potentially 20-30 minutes to a trail putting in only 3 miles seemed a waste of the effort. I opted for 5. I considered trying Monrovia Canyon. This was recommended by a coworker and it is close to my office. My second thought and final choice was Claremont Hills Wilderness Park. It is about 20 minutes east of my house. It is a straight forward loop, up Cobal Canyon on one side to the summit and back down the other side on Burbank. The “trail” is a wide fire road and a 5 mile round trip. Claremont Hills is way more popular than Bonelli. Even at 3:30 in the afternoon I shared the trail with between 20-30 people. In Bonelli I may see 1 or 2, but more often zero. This was a nice nostalgic run for me though. The last, and only, time I ran this loop was with my first running bud, Brian, before he went off to dental school in August 2004.

It was a fun run but I guess I really didn’t fulfill my resolution to explore “new” trails in the mountains. The Monrovia Canyon trail is about 3 miles and if I stick to the schedule as written it will fit nicely on next Sunday.

I finished up the week with 30.2 miles, just shy of the 33 planned. I only ran 4 days rather than planned 6. The next two weeks will be 6 day weeks with 36 and 38 miles. The mid week runs are at 4 and 5 miles for now. The two weeks after that cut back to 5 days. I’m hoping that the piriformis will respond well to the increased mileage.
To answer Juls: Yes, Bryan “with a y” is our 16 year old son who loved PA. Brian “with an i” as mentioned above and on My Maps was my first running partner.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

2006 Recap

Miles for December: 96.4

This month includes 2 marathons and is still my 2nd lowest month in 2006. I made a conscious effort to keep the miles low through the end of the year before ramping up in 2007.

2006 represents my third complete year of running and my first full year of blogging. I've "met" a whole bunch of great people through the blog. Those I've met in person have proven to be top notch people. I look forward to meeting more of you.

I can recap the year in these two graphs: my monthly and weekly totals for the year. January was a short month due to my trip to India, but then I got right back into it getting ready for SEAFAIR. With some motivation from more experienced runners I tried to increase my weekly mileage to 50 average from about 35 during the buildup to SEAFAIR. I never got there but I was rewarded with my highest mileage month during May with 181.3. June represents the three week taper and July is the recovery. In August I switched schedules to a 6 day a week program topping out at 50 mpw. August, at 182.5 topped May by just over a mile. September would have been even higher but, I only made it through 3 weeks of the 6 day per week schedule before my left piriformis revolted. It has responded somewhat to chiropractic therapy as well as the decline in mileage since September. Thankfully is doesn't bother me much while running.

This view shows the weekly totals. The little orange diamonds represent marathons. My attempted mileage increase shows up clearly in August with a decline to pre-SEAFAIR levels after that. I purposely kept my mileage low after St. George to help the piriformis and because I had no real time goal for Tecumseh in December.

My total mileage for 2006 was an all time high of 1629, a nearly 12% increase over 2005. My average weekly mileage in 2005 was 28.0 while 2006 was 34.6. I would like to get that closer to 40 in 2007. I definitely saw an improvement in marathon times with increased mileage.

High points of 2006:
1. Breaking 4 hours at the SEAFAIR Marathon.
2. Starting and finishing SEAFAIR with Rob, although I never saw him for 26 miles.
3. Setting a 3:40 PR at the St. George Marathon.
4. Running along side both Sam Thompson and Dean Karnazes in SEAFAIR and St. George respectively.
5. Training runs with Jeff.
6. Meeting other southern California runner/bloggers: Jessica, Nattie, Greg.
7. Planning and running the Tecumseh Trail Marathon with Joe.
8. Adding Otter Creek to the schedule 1 week after Tecumseh.
9. Qualifying for the Marathon Maniacs (#440 - Thank you).

I had one marathon planned for 2006 - SEAFAIR, with one more possible based on lottery results - St. George. The two trail marathons can accurately be ascribed to serendipity. They were a blast and although my times were slow after coming off the PR, I would consider more trail marathons in the future. I nearly doubled my state total, not to mention changing the blog title four times, in 2006.

2006 was a pretty darn good year in terms of running. I look forward to what 2007 has in store.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Last Four Days in PA

I hate when this happens. I had detailed descriptions of the last four days of our vacation and blogger threw it all out. So now I'm going to put the abridged version in print, which is probably better anyway.

Monday, New Year's Day we watched the Rose Parade and then went bowling. We enjoyed escarole and bean soup, know as manaste and beans for dinner. This is wonderful Italian comfort food I only get when I visit my in-laws.

Tuesday I worked in the morning visiting a PA orthodontist that is part of the customer evaluation. My wife and son and I enjoyed lunch and a visit at S&S Grilling in New Holland. S&S is owned by my cousin Jackie, my Uncle Chuck and Jackie's son Scott is the chef. Scott went to culinary school. S&S Grilling started as a traveling outfit winning many awards for pulled pork, brisket and other bbq's meat. They opened the restaurant a little over a year ago. Their tag line is "We're not fancy, we're family". Very good food. Stop in if you ever find yourself in southeastern PA. Tell them Darrell sent you. Dinner Tuesday, was more Italian comfort food - sausage and peppers.

Wednesday we went to the huge Cabela's in Hamburg, PA followed by lunch at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant. I was able to get in a 5.4 mile run into downtown Annville and used the facilities at the Heilman Fitness Center at Lebanon Valley College. Dinner Wednesday was at The Batdorf Restaurant in downtown Annville, a southwestern place owned by the Rotunda brothers of Italian/Mexican heritage.

Thursday I made it over to Cornwall for a 6.8 mile run on the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail, a very nice cinder trail through the woods, yet still within eye or earshot of civilization. Although it was in mid 30's when I ran in the late morning the temps got up into the mid 60's in the afternoon.

Bryan fell in love with PA, much like he did OH this spring. He enjoys the open spaces, fewer people and the darkness and quiet at night. He talked constantly of moving there after high school. I'm not so sure that he just might do it. Although I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere I'm not sure I share Bryan's desire to be in PA full time. The risks associated with relocation are far greater at my age than at his. We all encouraged him to follow his dream. I know his grandparents would be thrilled to have him nearby. The peace and solitude of the country seems to suit him. For now we are back in CA, a place I initially found very foreign compared to my hometown in OH, but a place I have now grown comfortable in. I hope Bryan can find that place for himself as well.