Sunday, September 7, 2008

It’s not an obsession; it’s my passion / Training week 9/1-9/7

I love my new running regimen! Getting in my second run of the day during my lunch hour allows me to aggressively pursue my passion in a way that is “invisible” to my family, as Michael Wardian said in his Endurance Planet interview. By invisible, I mean I am able to log lots of miles without my running getting in the way of my responsibilities as a husband and father. I am now more relaxed and at peace because I’m running the way I need to run and enjoying my family all at the same time. This is the way it should be.

But there’s still a missing piece in my life.

I just need to figure out a way to still go long on Sunday mornings and attend church. Without getting too religious on you, church is calling me and I have to figure out a way to answer the call. We are committed to raising Noah in the church. He’s being baptized in a few weeks – a momentous occasion. Confession: A few weeks ago we took Noah to church and he was blessed during communion (which I hadn’t expected). I nearly lost it emotionally as the pastor blessed him. I’m a softy, I guess. Going to church that weekend was kind of a turning point for me. It’s time to go back.

Circling back to my new regimen: This week someone teased me that I was obsessed with running. While I admit that sometimes my running borders on obsessive and my life can occasionally get out of balance, I am not an obsessive runner. When running starts to consume too much of my life, I manage to find a way to restore balance. As I’m not a professional runner and my passion doesn’t pay the bills (though hopefully someday it will if I can find a way to make a living as a runner and writer), I realize that my primary responsibilities are my family and my job.

All that said, I feel like I have a good idea of what I need to do to achieve my potential as a runner – log 100-mile weeks and stay focused on quality workouts. At this stage in my life, early-morning and lunch-time running is my only ticket to 100-mile weeks and ultimately to achieving my running goals – a kick-ass marathon PR and a successful career in ultrarunning that includes some outright wins.

Here’s how my week panned out:

Aurora Labor Day Classic 5K at Sunny Lake in Aurora, OH
Ran a 17:45 (5:42 pace) for a new 5K personal record and placed second behind the ever-fast Steve Godale. Ran a 1.93-mile warm-up with striders, followed the race, and was not able to run any cool-down miles as I had to get back home to greet visiting family. This was my first time running in my Asics DS Trainers since the Blossom Time Festival 5.25 Miler. My light-weight trainers come out only at race time.
Total miles for day: 5.03

AM: 8.4 miles easy
PM: 6.6 miles easy with Don L. and Dave S. down MLK and back.
Very hot – well into the high 80s and possibly into the low 90s.
Total miles for day: 14

AM: 9.25-mile track workout at Chagrin Falls High School
5x1600, each at a “comfortably hard” pace of 5:59, 5:59, 5:56, 5:56, 5:56 and 5:59 with 400-meter recoveries (for comparison’s sake, “uncomfortably hard” is my “balls to the wall” pace, which is 5:40 or faster). It was a cool morning and I felt very good – in control with good leg turnover. This is quickly becoming my favorite workout. In three weeks, I may go for six 1600s if I have time. Time is always an issue…
PM: 5.75 miles easy in and around University Circle, Cleveland Heights, Little Italy and the UH Case Medical Center campus. Temperature in the low 90s!
Total miles for day: 15

AM: 8 miles easy. Felt pretty beat up and sore—maybe from too much pavement running.
PM: 6.5 miles easy with Dave S. and Don L. down MLK and back. Very hot!
Total miles for day: 14.5

AM: 9-mile tempo run (7 miles at tempo pace).
The original plan was 8 miles at tempo pace (about 6:15-6:20) but unfortunately time was limited and so I had to reduce the goal to 7 miles at tempo pace to accommodate the usual 1-mile warm-up and cool-down miles. This was a pretty solid, but not great, tempo run. My splits were: 1) 8:21 (warm-up), 2) 6:30 (too slow), 3) 6:13, 4) 6:18, 5) 6:23 (going up a hill), 6) 6:18, 7) 6:22, 8) 6:32 (too slow), and 9) 7:18 (cool-down). I feel like I’ve yet to run a “perfect” tempo run this fall training season and will be looking to next Friday for a strong workout.
PM: 4 miles easy. Felt pretty wasted.
Total miles for day: 13

AM: 14 miles easy at South Chagrin Reservation
Ran the first 9 or so miles with Tim C., Jeff U., John S. et al and then finished off with Tim. Once again felt pretty wasted. Rained almost the entire time.

AM: 10.25 miles on the treadmill at marathon pace (6:40)
Ran with a napping Noah next to me. I wasn’t able to get to Solon as Anne was at a horse show, where she won a ribbon yet again(!), so I got some miles in on the trusty treadmill. I felt very strong and much better than I did on Friday and Saturday.
PM: 8.75 miles in South Chagrin Reservation
Pretty tired and worn down, but held a decent trail pace.
Total miles for day: 19

Total miles for week: 95.5
Total miles for month: 95.5
Total miles for year: 2744.46

Next week my goals are:
  • 90+ miles
  • 2x3200, each under 12 minutes, and 1x1600 under 6 minutes at the track
  • 8-mile tempo run (if time permits)

I feel like my training for the Columbus Marathon continues to go well. A time of 2:55 or better seems to be possible. One race-time calculator I checked predicts a 2:52 at Columbus based on my recent 5K time. I’m very skeptical of that as there’s a huge difference between a 5K and marathon, and what about the biggest factor of all—the weather! Still, I’m hopeful. I’m considering the Akron ½ Marathon at the end of September to see where I am and if I can better my 1:22 at the Spring Classic in April.

One final note: I just ordered some Brooks Adrenalines – my first pair of Brooks. I can’t wait to test them out.

Onward and upward!

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