So I Saw a Unicorn

Today’s Run

Time – 45:26
Distance – 5.08 miles
Pace – 8:56 min/mi
Elevation – 135 ft.

Ran the standard 5 mile out-and-back. Little breezy, felt a little tired, but I held together the whole time. It was a good run without much to report.

You read that title right

Finishing up my run, turned for home and ran past a bank that was having some kind of party/Grand Opening/whatever. There was a tent, balloons, and pony rides. As I’m passing the pony area, I noticed that one of the ponies had a shooting star on it’s rump. “Ok…then…” I think, and figured I would just keep going. Then I saw that both of the ponies had a unicorn horn. I just about stopped in the middle of the sidewalk.

Yeah, there’s not much to say about that. I didn’t get a picture, but now I can check off the list that I’ve seen two unicorn. All I need now is a cat with a headband and a golden gun, and my mission is complete.

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New PR!

Yesterday’s Run

Time – 50:35
Distance – 5.11 miles
Pace – 9:53 min/mi
Elevation – 144 ft.

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2 miles of warmup, 1 mile time trial to check speed and see how I feel, and a 2 mile cool down. There was a significant headwind in the front straight, so that brought the time down. 7:45! New PR for the mile!

Getting Faster

I decided that it was time for a mile time trial to see what I could do. Boy, did I pick the wrong day. I didn’t sleep well, the wind was a nightmare, and I missed lunch. Pretty much a recipe for disaster. I was sure that I could probably run something that I wouldn’t hate, but as soon as the warmup was done, I figured it was all over. I almost considered just doing another 3 miles on the track at tempo pace (8:20–8:30), and then calling it a day.

But I chose to go ahead with it anyway. I was a good time to get it done, and I have never run a mile faster than 8:06, so I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to put together 4 laps on the track at 2:00 each, and go just a little bit faster at the end.

After the first lap, I was at 1:55. Well, this is good! 4 more of these and I’m at 7:40. Interesting. Sure, the front stretch was tough because of the wind, but maybe I can hold on.

Then the wind picked up. At one point in a turn, I got pushed over a lane. Laps 2 and 3 were just about hanging on at 2:00 a piece. Final lap went through with a little more of a push, and I did 1:50 to get my 7:45.

Now I know that I’m faster than I was (or ever, for that matter). I know that I can do better than this. Even a slightly calmer day, and I can get into the 7:30’s. This could be a really great summer with continued consistency and a little more speed work or hill runs. Maybe the hills to my house are not so bad, after all.

That Wasn’t Pleasant

Today’s Run

Time – 39:01
Distance – 4.25 miles
Pace – 9:11 min/mi
Elevation – 121 ft.

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The first real sunshine in 10 days means that it’s time to go running. This was the first run in almost 2 weeks, and I paid the price for it. Nothing too hard or too fast, but I’m definitely going to have to work to get my legs back. Pace was bearable, and I wasn’t pushing too much.

A series of unfortunate delays

I’ve been asked by friends and acquaintances more than a few times over the last 2 months, “What happened to the blog?” There’s no one answer to that, of course, as life doesn’t really consist of one thing.

  1. We bought the house and moved in, which has been an adventure, to say the least. Moving everything you own every 2–3 years gets really old, and this time seemed to take a lot longer than most. Maybe that’s because we know we won’t have to do it again for a long time, unless the unfortunate happens. Until then, we’ve got a house! It fits our family just right, is in a decent neighborhood for running, and a great neighborhood for everything else.
  2. It’s been raining more this spring than I can remember, and I have NO motivation for treadmill running. That doesn’t help at all, and so I’ve left a lot of running days on the table.
  3. I’ll be skipping the marathon/half-marathon this spring. All of these other things have required that I jettison a couple of items, and this is one that has to go. I’m disappointed in myself, but I know that, based on what my running is really starting to look like, I’ll be pleased with the times I can put together when I get the next race in.
  4. My Master’s thesis has been postponed to the fall. This just hasn’t been able to happen due to work and family needs, and was the other thing that I’ve pushed off, besides the race. I go to a great school, and my advisor and the department chair have been helpful with getting my schedule adjusted. I’m very grateful.
  5. Finally, there’s the family. Because of all the things that I haven’t been doing, I’ve been spending that extra time I’ve had with them, and it’s been amazing! Baby Girl is growing so fast! Little Buddy is turning into a whole new personality, thanks to time in the program at his school! The Teenager is 15 now, and we talk about cars, which is scary to say the least. And, above all, I’ve gotten more time with The Wife, which makes me happy.

All in all, the trade off between running and life has been worth it. I’m okay with the way this has gone, even though I’m not getting out the door or blogging as much as I would like. The running hasn’t gone away completely; I’ve run 12 times in the past 8 weeks, so I’ve been getting it done a little bit, but nowhere near the numbers I’d like to see. I’m 187 miles behind pace for 1500 this year.

It’s time to get back on track.

#GetOutTheDoor

Today’s Run

Time – 1:32:38
Distance – 10.0 miles
Pace – 9:16 min/mi
Elevation – 210 ft.

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This guy is cold!

#GetOutTheDoor is real! I got to run outside today before the freezing rain (which wasn’t so freezing after all) arrived. 10 miles of windy goodness, which I enjoyed immensely. I went out at 9:20–9:30/mile, and figured I would just hold that the whole way. As I came back, I got nervous about the rain, I had to pee, and I was getting cold (those last two are a bad combination), so I picked it up a bit and ran 9:03 pace for the last 4 miles, all at a 153 HR. That’s really good for me! I can really see the speed kicking in. There’s a lot of opportunity in these legs. Plus I negatively split the run by more than 90 seconds, which I will take on a 10-miler!

Technology is cool

My running watch has a prediction capability based on different calculations that will tell me what it thinks I can run. While some of these numbers seem ludicrous, they may not be that far off. Today’s run, which was long for me, showed me that I have a lot of ability in my legs, especially as distance wears on. I may never be an elite marathoner or win at Western States, but I might still be able to get to some of my goals.

These numbers are based on the calculation that the watch does for VO2Max. This is something that normally requires much more sophisticated equipment than a HR strap and a running watch to measure, but the general nature of the prediction is the key here. The watch thinks that a 22:11 5k is possible, as well as a 1:41:57 half marathon. Both are still fast for me, and the prediction assumes perfect conditions, but this gives me something that I can aim to accomplish.

Today was a 10 mile run in the cold. I wasn’t wanting to race it, and I haven’t spent any time doing speedwork, or even running very fast for that matter. But I was able to run at a speed for 4 miles at the end that would have caused me to fall over just a few months ago. I know that I’ve been growing and improving as a runner, and that those improvements will taper off. For right now, though, they continue to give me hope that I can do this thing that I want to do.

I CAN run 100 miles. I CAN run faster than I ever have before. I WILL run.

Everybody Wants to Steal My Girl

Today’s Run

Time – 45:54
Distance – 5.0 miles
Pace – 9:04 min/mi
Elevation – Treadmill at 1%

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Daddy, you stink at picking music!

Got to 5 miles today on the treadmill. 1 mile warmup at 9:30 pace, then 3 miles at 8:49/mile, then 1 mile cool down. The middle mile of the tempo started to feel hard, but then the 3rd mile was much easier. I guess I settled in. The heart rate doesn’t really bear that out, but sometimes it just doesn’t hurt as much.

Music makes the run go down

I’m one of those people that run with music. Not every time, but quite frequently. I do not, however, curate extensive playlists of music that fit 180 BPM for cadence assistance (180 steps per minute is the optimal running cadence, and a 180 BPM song will help you step on the beat), or long and sweeping lists of music that I think are my “power songs.” I have a couple that I like, and then there’s just music.

Most of my playlists never get deleted, and I’m pretty random about playlist selection when it comes to running. This is how I found myself finishing up yesterday to One Direction.

Sometimes I wonder why I ever downloaded this crap in the first place…

First Injury

Today’s Run

Time – 53:39
Distance – 5.4 miles
Pace – 9:50 min/mi
Elevation – 127 ft.

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Easy run day after the hard run yesterday. Just circled the neighborhood, no big hills or fast paces. I tweeked my inner right thigh with about a 1 mile to go, and eased it in. I’m going to have to take Friday off and let my leg recover.

Man Down!

The cramping was down today, but now I’ve gone and hurt myself. Nothing serious, but I’ve definitely got a problem with the muscle on my inner thigh. I felt a twinge during the fast group run yesterday, but I figured that it was just soreness. It didn’t hurt during the day, and only bothered me at the very end of the run tonight. But, this means I’ll need to slow down and take it easy.

I have the luxury of having the impending arrival of Baby Girl next week giving me extra days off, so I’ll have that going for me. I wanted to get in more miles before she shows up, however, the plan will need to change. Friday is a regularly scheduled off-day, so I’ll rest it then and see what kind of miles happen on Saturday and Sunday.

Turkeys and Turnover

Today’s Run

Time – 1:09:26
Distance – 7.1 miles
Pace – 9:43 min/mi
Elevation – 240 ft.

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Pace Chart from Strava

All of my posts on runs seem to be coming the day after I actually do the run, but I’m still getting the data out there. I went out to do 7 miles, did 7.1, and felt great. Slow running, kept the heartrate down to make this a long recovery from the group run on Wednesday. It was windy on the way out, but there is a huge hill at the start of the second half, so no negative split.

Getting the legs to turnover

So…I figured out that it’s best to make sure that I check on the start of Thanksgiving dinner BEFORE I go on my run, otherwise, we end up 20 minutes late. Sorry, Mom!

Running on Wednesday, we were keeping a good pace on the way back in from the run, and I was having to push to keep up. As I was going, I experimented with a much quicker cadence than I normally get. I don’t have the ability to track it yet (it’s coming in the Christmas Gift), but I could tell I was moving the feet more. It had two affects: 1) the heartrate stayed much higher, and 2) I felt much smoother moving down the trail. It’s a trade-off, therefore. I don’t have the best cardio endurance and capacity yet. I’m still overcoming the years of fat. But if I can get the heart to be better/stronger/more efficient, which will take more long, slow runs, I’ll be able to increase my turnover and get more speed.

It’s not going to be about a big, long stride for me. My legs are short for my height, which will limit my stride length and overall top speed. But I’m not looking for the Olympics, here. I want to find 18:00-ish minute 5k pace. I’m looking to do 6:00/miles for 3 miles, which is an 18:38, or thereabouts. Will it happen? I don’t know, but I have to have a goal.

My Strava mile best on Wednesday went down again, too. 8:11 for a mile in the midst of a 5 mile run. I’m continuing to get faster. Is there a 6:00/mile in there, somewhere?