Saturday, March 25

Long Run and Hills

Yesterday, I went for my long run. My goal was to go as far and as long as I could possibly go. It was to be a key test of where I am in my on-again, off-again preparations for the Country Music Marathon this next month. The course I chose had drop off points at six, ten, twelve, fifteen, and twenty miles. I really didn't think I could make it all the way to twenty--and I was right. I made it to fifteen. Even though that is not where I need to be right now, it is the most I've been able to get in since December. So, I was pleased.

Earlier in the week, I'd only done two recovery runs of five and three miles. Then this morning, I braved the breezy cold weather to get in an additional five--this time over hills. And, I was actually able to completely conquer one of my nemesis hills for the first time.

Saturday, March 18

Halfway There

The Tom King Classic couldn't have been run under better conditions. Blue skies and sunshine greeted the three thousand participants first thing this morning--with temperatures in the thirties and forties. The mostly flat course through the Shelby Bottoms in East Nashville was beautiful and the finish in the Titans Stadium was spectacular. I was able to keep a good 9-9:30 pace until mile ten. Then I started to fall apart. That really wasn't a surprise given the amount of training time I've been able to log--but, I was disappointed when I realized that I wouldn't be able to keep that pace all the way to the end.

That said, I had a blast. And it was a good guage of where I am in my preparation for the Country Music Marathon at the end of April. I've got lots of work to do. But, I think it is within reach--I'm at least halfway there.

Friday, March 17

Tom King Half

I picked up my race packet for the Tom King Half Marathon today. It is a big and well-organized race with both the start and the finish at the Titans stadium. The out-and-back course runs through the Shelby Bottoms along the east bank of the Columbia River across from downtown (following the last six and a half miles of the Country Music Marathon route).

The 5K starts at 7 tomorrow morning. Then the Half Marathon starts an hour later. I was initially thinking about doing both races, but decided that would probably be just a bit much for me given my sporadic training the last few months.

The forecast for the start calls for partly-cloudy skies with temps in the mid-thirties. But, by the time I finish a couple of hours later, it will have warmed up considerably--into the upper-forties. Perfect race conditions!

I had a great ten-mile tune up run on Monday and then a quick little five-miler on Thursday. Other than that, I haven't really had a chance to get out on the roads this week due to travel and busyness. But, I think I am actually more ready for this than I was the Austin Marathon a month ago--if for no other reason than the fact that I am just doing it for fun. I am planning to run well below my usual target times--just so I can stroll along and enjoy the people, the atmosphere, and the wonderful East-Nashville-Saturday-Morning-in-Springtime ethos.

Saturday, March 11

Great Run Days

The last couple of days have been great for running. The temperatures have been perfect, the skies have been blue, and I had a few open blocks of time in my schedule. Yesterday, I went for a great seven-mile run through my favorite hilly neighborhood. This morning, I added five miles of more serious hill work. And tonight, after spending the day at the SEC basketball tourney, I added four more miles of easy running. Now, if I can just get in a good long run on Monday, I think I'll be ready for the Tom King half marathon this next weekend.

Thursday, March 9

Wind Chill

I can run in the cold. I can run in the heat. Humidity is tough, but I can handle it. I have run in the pouring rain before (during the summer) and it was actually kinda fun (except for the drips on my glasses). I can run in the early morning, during the day, or into the evening. Running by moonlight? I've done it. And, I've loved it.

There is one thing that does put a damper on my training though: wind. Wind in the winter, just cuts right through me. Wind in the spring or fall dispirits me and slows me way, way down. And of course, there is never any wind in the summer--not even a cooling breeze--so, the only time it might be welcome, it is non-existent.

This month it has been inordinately windy. I went out for a five-miler three different times this week. Each time, I wound up cutting the runs down to four miles. Just because of the wind.

I am supposed to be preparing for a half marathon a week from Saturday. I'm going to need some windless days--and soon--if I am ever going to get in that one last long run.

Friday, March 3

The Rubber Chicken Circuit

I travel. A lot. I speak at banquets, conferences, meetings, and conventions. Lots of them. Both the travel and the banquets, conferences, meetings, and conventions can wreck havoc on training. I'm not sure there is a lot that can be done about some of the things that road warriors have to face--but, I've learned to take at least a few precautions. First, I try never to actually eat the rubber chickens--I'll eat the salad, the veggies, and pick at everything else. Next, I always try to take advantage of the hotel workout rooms--even if they are really poorly equpped. Finally, I try my best to steer clear of the snacking, late night TV, and the lack of rest that life on the road seems to foist upon us at every turn.

So tonight, I ran three miles on the really shoddy treadmill in the hotel before I went out to speak at the banquet. I only poked around at the dinner. And then got back to the hotel as soon as I could to get a full night's sleep.

It is not exactly the sort of regimen that Deana Kastor or Alan Culpepper would approve of--but it is at least doable. So, it is what I'm gonna continue to do. Rubber chickens or no.


Consistency, consistency, consistency. According to running guru Jeff Galloway, consistency is the most critical element in marathon training. Day after day, week after week, and month after month, it is essential that a runner remain consistent in his or her training--getting in the four or five miles at least four times during the week in addition to one long run.

Well, if that is the case, then my inconsistency over the past three months is not a good sign. My work schedule has been very intense. This week for instance, I was able to get a quick four-miler in on Tuesday afternoon and a three-miler in yesterday afternoon. Today, I am hoping I can log some treadmill time--I am in a hotel in Knoxville preparing to speak at a fundraising banquet tonight.

Obviously, that is hardly the kind of consistency I need to do maintain my running fitness but it is particularly woeful in light of the fact that my next half marathon is in two weeks and my next full marathon is just eight weeks away. Yikes. I've got to find a way to get some road work in. Some serious road work. Some serious and consistent road work.