Monthly Archives: February 2013

Race Result


I did not break 20 minutes, but all things considered pretty happy with my first 5K in years. Ran the hills conservatively and avoided a blow out. Felt fairly comfortable on the long downhill, even with the wafer-thin racing flats (which was a concern).

Screen shot 2013-02-24 at 12.07.16 PM




The wife has sweetly produced all kinds of “remedies” as if she were a native-born Californian, in the hope that I might salvage my race on Sunday. It is two days, but this morning the cough seems to have tightened its grip and the throat needs lots of attention. Most likely it will be a choice between running it easy, tentatively, or not at all, which, to be quite frank, sucks ass.

When It Hits the Fan

The crazy.  Yesterday I bought several hundred dollars worth of clothing that is not even running gear. I also noticed I have, 4 days before race day, a little cough. I finally signed up for my half marathon in May, alarmed by an “almost sold out” notice. Tomorrow I would have been driving for an hour to meet with someone affiliated with a potential employer (it remains “potential” until I see some cash), but that meeting was postponed due to illness. Some time this week, possibly tomorrow, the wife is flying to Denver (or some place like that — the middle part of the country) for work. Friday I’ll be performing music at a small club with some dear friends — for the first time in decades. Sunday I run the 5K.

The workout. Today the plan was just to do a little speed work. I checked the last week of a few 5K plans to see what seemed reasonable (it is hard for me to stick with a plan) and made sure it made sense in terms of what I’ve been doing (“Is there an arc?”). So a mile of warm up and cool down sandwiching .75 miles @ 5K pace, .5 miles @ 3K pace, and .25 miles at mile pace (6:00 min/mile is goal mile pace, which should have been the fastest section of today’s effort). With 1 minute walking recoveries. So, short and sweet.

It was quite windy, and dare I say it, chilly this morning. The point of this workout is just to get a little speedwork in before race day, without adding too many miles during taper week. I blew out the speed part, pacing will be a big focal point of my training up to my 10K (not registered just yet) and half marathon.

The logged workout was 33:51, 3.8 miles @ 8:54 min/mile. (Logs are problematic, need more detail.) Here are the quarter-mile splits:

.75  5:39 min/mile, 6:15 min/mile, 6:28 min/mile (that last lap was the goal pace)

.50  5:59 min/mile, 6:18 min/mile

.25  5:30 min/mile

So speed is good, endurance (per the long weekend) is good, but pacing is just nuts. I just don’t feel the pace yet, in my legs. There’s just the one cue: run fast, and probably faster than that. Will have to watch it carefully on Sunday, and if I don’t combust, should get a decent result. Excited and stressed.


Today’s a rest day, and just a handful of days until my 5K. I predict something good. With the holiday, coach sprung a couple of epic, very hilly, long workouts, and though it’s not what I would have done, what a great relief to not have to do what I would have done. In any case, I feel quite confident about the hills. Something nice has happened with the breathing lately — it’s opened up. Not sure how else to explain it. But it’s good.

Been doing a lot of planks (three kinds) and push-ups (while some other exercises have fallen off the map), both of which contribute to good running form, I think. I even found a fairly handy motivational app to keep track of these activities.

And find that the Twitter format is more than adequate for sharing workouts. (In case you’re not on Twitter I put them on a sidebar here, over to the right. If you’re browsing on a phone, you scroll to near the bottom.) That’s it, really. Keep me in mind on February 24th!


Descending Time Trials: Pace, Pace, Pace!


Not close to where I ran today, the other side of the park. Nor is the weather remotely similar. Today it is hazy, overcast.

As soon as I read this post by Matt Fitzgerald on a week or two ago I knew I’d have to incorporate it into my 5K training. I didn’t have a track handy, so just used the Garmin to run 1600 meters (a mile), then 1200, 800, 400, with 4 minute breaks in between. Fitzgerald promises a gruelling workout, and it did not disappoint. My head was spinning afterwards. I am still a little dizzy. I wore my racing flats. Ran a couple miles warm ups and nervously trotted off to pee a couple times. Waited around for a bit before the actual workout. Just like a race!

Grossly speaking, with the rests taken out, I hit my goals: 2.5 miles in 15 minutes, about 6:00 min/mile pace. But my pace was ludicrously uneven and plummeting in the mile section, really underscoring the need to focus on pacing, pacing, pacing. The inefficiencies involved in bad pacing truly keep you honest, or running at sub-par pace in the long term.

I’d really like to improve on this workout. I’m not even that concerned with the time (that will come), but the pacing really needs to be worked on! Ten to fifteen second differences in 400 meter laps is just silly!

It’s interesting (to me, at least) that a few seconds difference in a quarter mile time is a rather large difference in min/mile pace. And that if I hadn’t “gone out fast” I probably would have run a little faster overall. Also evident, the “end in sight” phenomenon of running a relatively fast final, single 400 meters.

Here are the 10, quarter-mile, laps of the workout proper:

1 1:26.38 5:46 min/mile pace

2 1:31.82 6:07 min/mile pace

3 1:33.99 6:16 min/mile pace

4 1:39.18 6:37 min/mile pace [about 6:11 min/mile pace for the first mile]

[4 mins rest]

5 1:24.70 5:39 min/mile pace

6 1:34.19 6:17 min/mile pace

7 1:33.75 6:15 min/mile pace

[4 mins rest]

8 1:25.56 5:42 min/mile pace

9 1:33.13 6:13 min/mile pace

[4 mins rest]

10 1:19.11 5:16 min/mile pace



All the workouts are geared toward the 5k race. It will all depend on how the runners who are racing look when they exit their cars in the morning.

That’s the response I got about potential workouts for tomorrow. I cannot wait.

Reading The Perfect Mile by Neil Bascomb, about the quest of three runners to break the 4:00 mile barrier. If you ever needed any kind of inspiration or were just curious about the training that went into this, the book is a great read.

Each of the runners is compelling in their way — Santee’s brutal childhood, Bannister’s scientific rigor — but the story of John Landy has really captured this reader’s imagination. Based on a few words from Emil Zatopek, Landy just kills his training in solitary late night runs and emerges… Powerful stuff.