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20 Mile

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Last fall I got hurt while training for a marathon - I completed everything up to the 20 mile run. 11 miles in to my 20 I shut it down.

So I had some issues with the 20 mile run.

Last weekend I had another chance to get that monkey off my back. Saturday afternoon I headed out to cover the distance. I had one slight problem - a dead AAA battery in the footpod of my Polar RS200 - but otherwise it went great.

I was totally dreading this distance, but it went really well. I felt like I held pace through the whole run, and that I had something left in the tank when I finished. I am very surprised to tell you that the run really charged me up for the marathon. Who knew?

Anyway, running 40 miles last week - and getting out of the "vacation eating" mindset - got me back on track weightwise as well. The chart to the right is updated, click away.

On The Road

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Recently I've traveled to Amsterdam, London, and Chicago. Amsterdam is a great place to run early in the morning. It's very flat. You do have to watch for cyclists and the occasional uneven cobblestone but good nonetheless. London's Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are also fine running spots - a little hilly but very nice. Chicago? Couldn't tell you a damn thing about it. I had my shoes and running clothes in my suitcase and they stayed there until I got home.

Oh well. Sorry Mr. Higdon.

Week 10

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Week 10. This was a big week in my mind.

The 15 mile weekend run was a big hurdle to get over - I'm really starting to worry about reinjuring my knee. I did my long slow run on Sunday, cautiously noting each muscle twinge and knee jolt - and two days later it seems that thus far I've done no irreparable damage. The midweek runs were 3-7-4 this time, and frankly it's getting tough to get up early enough on Wednesday morning to get my run in before leaving for work.

My weight dropped a little this week - I'm down to 208. I predict that will soon change, however...

Tomorrow I leave on a nine-day business trip. It's similar to a trip I took last year that knocked a 10-day hole in my training plan. I don't think it's a coincidence that I ran once in ten days and then hurt my knee the next week trying to get back on schedule.

This year I started my training plan a week early, so I have an extra week to play with. It seems unlikely that I'll be able to work in a 16 mile run while I'm at a convention, so I'm planning to do three or four shorter runs during the week and then picking it up when I get back next weekend. I needed to give back a week anyway, and this will put me on schedule for November.

(Of course I'm sure I'll continue to lose weight while eating out three meals a day and going out for drinks every night for nine days. Sure I will, yeah, no problem...)

Wow. I'm getting behind here.

Week 7 seems so long ago. That was the weekend that I missed my long run, so I did it on Monday. Of course Tuesday I couldn't (wouldn't) get out of bed for my 3 miler, so I missed my first run of the training program. There goes my Hal Higdon Perfect Attendance pin. I did my 5-3 on Wed/Thurs and 12 on Saturday, so all in all it was a good week.

My weight drifted up a pound that week. Ill portents of things to come? Read on.

Week 8. What can I tell you about week 8? Let's see, 3-7-3 midweek, but I didn't check my calendar and did 3-6-3 instead. Lame! The six miler was a 9:00 mile tempo run, and then 13 miles on Saturday to cap another fine week. I'm getting better at running slow. This may sound hilarious to you but it's hard to run 12 minute miles. It's not clear to me how I will be able to go any faster than that during the marathon but what the heck, I'll give it a go.

Of course, my weight went up another pound that week. Three consecutive days of meetings with buffet lunches will do that to me - especially when I eat two plates of food every day. Put down the fork, Brad.

Week 9 was a "fallback" week, 3-7-4 midweek and 10 on Saturday. The 7 miler was a 8:40 mile tempo run. It's funny, when I hurt my knee last fall I assumed that it had something to do with my "aggressive" tempo runs. You know, 9 minute miles. Then I looked at my half-marathon time from 2004. I averaged right around 8:30 miles. Get moving you slug!

The weight responded to my renewed vigilance - and the absence of buffet lunches/eating like it was my last meal. 209, back on track baby!

Chart is here.

Week 6

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I'm getting a little behind here on the training logs. I've been a little distracted with a small project I picked up last weekend.

Anyway, last week was a "fallback" week and boy did I fall back. Due to said project I did not get my long run in on the weekend - I did it on Monday, so that will show in next week's mileage.

Other than that, not much else to say. 3-5-3 midweek and nothing on the weekend. I'm still using the Wednesday run as a tempo run (9:15-9:30 miles), which is going well. The weight is still coming off - no thanks to the perpetually-filled candy dish right outside my office. Updated chart is here.

Week 5

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With a ten-mile run this weekend we're starting to get into the "no, really" phase.

This week was 3-5-3 midweek and 10 on the weekend. I did the 5 mile run as a tempo run at 9:30 miles - mainly to make sure I had time to get ready for work and still catch the train. It's going to be tough on Wednesdays as the runs ramp up.

The "long run" went pretty well. I was being good about keeping my tempo and not speeding up until I stopped to refill my water bottle with about a half-mile to go. I noticed somebody catching up with me and so I put it in gear. I had been averaging a little over 11 minutes a mile but mile 10 was closer to 9:30. Hmm. I suppose it's good that I had the energy for that.

I did some "real" crosstraining this weekend as well - we took a family bike ride to the park and back. Thanks to Google Maps Pedometer I can tell you it was about four miles round trip. Better than nothing.

Weight-wise I was down to 215. I say "was" because Katy made fried chicken, biscuits, and gravy for dinner last night. Wow. I ate like a pig. I'm not getting anywhere near a scale for a few days.

Current chart is here.

Week 4

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So, I've been at this for a month now. This was a surprise revelation to me Saturday morning as I was out running.

Pretty normal week - 3.5-4-3 during the week and 9 on Saturday. Not much to say about that really, except that the 9 miler wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Running that far gave me a chance to eat a delicious gel pack for breakfast at mile 6.

Not surprisingly, my weight came back up a bit to 216.5 but I'm confident that my patented "Eat Less Exercise More" plan will continue to provide a downward trend there. As usual, the chart is here.

On Saturday I ran alongside a guy for a while - and he told me his "Running Life Story." A few years ago he ran the L.A. Marathon - starting training two months beforehand because one of his friends wanted somebody to run with. He "struggled across the line in just under 5 hours." Now he runs Boston Marathon qualifying times. After a mile or so he peeled off to go his own way.

I'll be damn glad to "struggle across the line" in under 5 hours. Good riddance, Boston Qualifier Man.

Week 3

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I'm glad to say that week three is in the books. I'm exhausted.

Not from the running - this week was 3-4-3 midweek and 5 on the weekend - but from watching the Tour de France. Getting through three or four hours of race footage every night is keeping me from getting to bed when I need to.

I also appear to have lost more weight this week - I think my metabolism is starting to pick up a little, but a lot of the change this week is simply because I ran on Sunday morning before weighing in. Perhaps that's cheating but I have been weighing in on Sunday morning so at least I have the "consistency" defense.

As always, the updated training chart is here.

Week 2

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I'm still trying to get into the groove here so it's nice that the midweek runs are still short.

Since I did the 5k at pace on Tuesday I took it easy on Wednesday and Thursday. I ran my usual 3.5 mile loop on Wednesday and I meant to do just 3 on Thursday. Unfortunately I am not good at maths while running before 7 AM and so I cleverly tacked on an extra quarter-mile on the way out. Oh well, I wanted to hurry to get ready for work and dash across the parking lot for the train anyway.

Yesterday's seven miles was somehow easier than the six miles last weekend. Maybe I'm just getting used to the turtle pace that I have to maintain to keep my heart rate down. When you run 12 minute miles it takes a while to get anywhere. The seven miler brought this week's total up to 17.1 miles.

I did somehow manage to lose a little weight, down to 218.5 pounds. The updated chart is here.

Week 1

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Week 1 wasn't too bad. It really is week 0 - my training plan (well, okay, Hal Higdon's training plan) is 18 weeks and the marathon is in 19 weeks, but I wanted to give myself a week of slack in case I get hurt or have to travel.

Tuesday and Thursday were slow runs but Wednesday was tempo day - 9:30 min/mile for three miles. It felt good to get out there three days in a row.

Saturday was the first "long run" of the program. Six miles.

Frankly, I was not impressed going in. Six miles? Feh. I can reel off six miles like nothing!

Turns out, not so much. Wow, was that unpleasant. I struggled through the second half of the run, trying in vain to keep my heart rate in the 75-85% range. I can make some excuses - it was hot, the smog was awful, etc - but frankly I am not in as good a shape as I thought I was. I guess that's probably better to figure that out early.

The one fun fact from Saturday? It's the one and only day that I will run further than the riders in the Tour de France rode. The prologue was a mere 7.1 km / 4.4 mi. Take that, pro cyclists!

Unfortunately, the fourth of July weekend really messed with my patented "eat less exercise more" weight loss plan and I did not lose any weight. Click here to see my current training chart.

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