Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Back then I was running barely above 1000 miles per year. I dreamed of one day being able to accumulate running miles to match the year. Much more so when several runners made their pledge to run 2000 miles in 2000. Well folks, that day has finally come. Today I ran eight, giving me 2007 miles for the current year. It is not an achievement in itself, but rather it is one running milestone that I can say I have reached.

The interesting thing about today's workout is that I have been plagued with strained abductors (probably strained them in the CIM) and have been hesitant to start speed work knowing how tender those suckers are. In fact, last week I attempted to run six 400s on, six 400 off. The "on" sections were ran at barely half-mary pace... and I was struggling. At the time, I chalked it off to having lost some fitness since the 'thon. AND to the sore hip-flexors.

Obviously, that work out did not bode well for my already published intent of running sub 3:10 in Boston. The thought of just maintaining fitness, and thereby scratching Boston as a GOAL marathon, started sounding as the plan to follow. As luck would have it, today was another BEAUTIFUL day in southern Cal and my three-mile warm up was rather enjoyable. Somehow I knew my legs were ready to be tested... and to break the already committed Boston training cycle... or not. Eight repeats of 1/4-mile with 90-seconds rest seemed reasonable. I aimed for anything under 90 secs, hoping for 88s. I run these repeats on a marked paved bike trail. This trail is fairly flat and rather straight; and it is relatively fast.

The first four would have me running into a ~10 mph wind. I motored on for my first repeat. Boom. 82.1 secs!!! WTF? Too fast. I am NOT going to be able to complete the work out. Second repeat: 84.3, much better but still too fast. Next one: Boom. 82.1, AGAIN - WTF? Have I lost sense of pace? Now, you have to consider that I am running against the wind so taking the wind out, I am 'running' them around 81, or so I think. I force myself to slow down on the next one. 86.7. Wow, this one felt slow. I rest for the 90 secs and change directions. I will be having a tailwind this time. Boom. 80.8!!! Either I am in much better shape than I thought or my watch is playing tricks on me (It's the wind stupid!). This one, incidentally, felt tough the last one hundred meters or so. Sixth repeat, 84.7 and I feel much, much better. Seventh one, and consciously trying to control the pace, comes in in 82.9. Damn. I am dumbfounded. Or just dumb. Last one is clocked in exactly 82.9 secs, just like the previous repeat. Wow. The runner's high is HIGH! I averaged 83.3 s/quarter, which translates to 82.8 s/400... I cooled down with three easy.

Interestingly, before this calendar year, the most I had ever ran was 1537 miles... and that was last year :-). My most successful marathon (before CIM) was Boston last year with an average mileage of 42.1 (I had ran faster 'thons but they were gravity aided). For CIM, I averaged 49.3. It is clear that volume makes one faster... but to what extent? It is also clear not everyone "responds" the same. My question is: what can 60 miles per week do for me?

I think one of the things I did wrong prior to 2005 was that any running I did was HARD. If I did an easy run, I would always try to speed up as I went along; IOW, I would race against myself. And I would often find myself injured. Now I do NOT run more than three quality runs per week. The other runs would be considered "junk" runs. But those junk miles have been proven to aid the aerobic process in the cellular level. What's more, they have helped me avoid injury... and that my friends makes "junk" miles be worth GOLD.

Finally some interesting numbers from my last 'thon.

Splitsville: 7:31, 7:29, 7:17, 7:08, 7:20, 7:22, 7:22, 7:30, 7:28, 7:08, 7:09, 7:23, 7:14, 7:14, 7:32, 7:21, 7:17, 7:24, 7:10, 7:19, 7:23, 7:18, 7:15, 7:13, 7:13, 7:07, 1:25

I don't remember where I read it, but this guy liked to 'analyze' the race in chunks of five-miles because he claimed 'true' even efforts should not spit out even splits; on the contrary, they should have some variance; he was a statistician and I am sure could explain it better than me. Here they are: 36:45, 36:50, 36:32, 36:31, 36:22... One word comes to mind: Amazing. Amazing how close they are.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas, Hannukka, festivus, or whatever holiday you celebrate. And may you have a happy and successful new year.


Appletini said...

Congratulations! Happy Holidays to you too!

Fran said...

Happy festivus to you also! I think you're a lot faster than you give yourself credit for. 2000 miles. Wow! Congratulations!

Love2Run said...

Happy Holidays after a successful looking year. It would be great if you could transfer those nice splits to Beantown but you know how tough the course can be. My Q time is 3:15 and so we might be close corral wise. Good luck on the training!

chelle said...

You know I'm a fan of those long, slow miles. Changed my life as a runner, honestly. I ran my 3:02 after going to a 60+ mile training plan. But it took a lot more miles than that to break the magic 3.

I'll be watching your progress on the way to Boston. It sounds like a lot of bloggers are going to be there this year.