August 31, 2006

Loved that head wind

I had an enjoyable half-hour rest run today. I didn't leave until mid afternoon, but the shade temperature was only in the low 70s (F). My wakeup HR (51) was higher than yesterday, but I felt fine and had a good 7 hours sleep last night. I didn't realize it until I turned around, but I had a slight tailwind on the way out. When I turned around, it was a head wind and felt great as it cooled me off. Tomorrow is a rest day, and Saturday will, hopefully, be a 1 1/2 hour run.

August 30, 2006

I drink when I get thirsty

My wakeup HR was 49 and I had a nice one-hour run along the Parkway. I felt pretty good while I ran, but I was glad when I got back, because I was starting to get tired. The temperature was in the mid 80s, and it was a nice day for running.

In the past I've drunk liquids every mile because the running literature said to drink before one gets thirsty. However, the running literature now says to only drink liquid when one feels thirsty. During the past few weeks, I've been paying attention to when I get thirsty, and, for me, it is at the one-mile markers. So, what I've been doing is the thing I should be doing, only now I do it because I'm thirsty not because it is the proper thing to do. I sweat a lot and need more liquid than some runners would need. The color of my urine when I get back indicates that I'm getting about the right amount. This morning I took 12 oz of water and about 9 or 10 oz of Gatorade, and I had just a couple swallows of water left when I reached my car.

August 29, 2006

My wakeup HR dropped a bit

My wakeup HR this morning was 51. That decrease, from 53 yesterday, shows my body is recovering from my cold. My nose has mostly dried up and I feel pretty good. I'm taking another rest day today. Younger runners could run through this cold, but at my age I need more rest. Hopefully I'll be able to run tomorrow.

Training Graphs

August 28, 2006

Down with a cold

I felt fine on Saturday after my run and throughout the day. But, around 10 pm I could tell I was coming down with a cold. Not just a regular cold, but one that sapped my strength. Even though I woke up every hour during the night, I managed to get 8 hours sleep. I got an additional 4 hours in naps during the day on Sunday. I didn't have a lot of energy on Sunday and just rested and napped. By Sunday night I could tell my cold was going away.

This morning, my wakeup HR was about 15% high (53), but I had a lot more energy than I had on Sunday. I'm taking a rest day today and may take one tomorrow, depending on my wakeup HR and how I feel.

I don't get many colds, so when I do get one, I try to figure out why. Part of it is that my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson have had colds this past week. Since they live with us, I've had a lot of exposure to their colds. The other factor is that when I ran the GSL, I really pushed myself hard, harder than I've ever pushed in a race. I was really tired after the race, but I seemed to recover fine. Running an hour and 20 minutes on Saturday may have been too much. I seemed to handle the hour on Wednesday, but that extra 20 minutes might have pushed me over the edge, so to speak.

Training Graphs

August 26, 2006

A great end to my recovery week

My wakeup HR was 47 and I felt great! I ran for an hour and 20 minutes and let my body dictate my pace. I was out early, before the sun came up, and the temperature was in the high 50s (F). There were clouds in the sky, and I didn't have a lot of sun. I drank about 16 oz of liquid, and that was about right.

During this week, I ran about half the time that I will run in my "normal" weeks. If I feel fine on Monday, I'll run the full hour. Tuesday is still a short run, and I'll run half an hour again. Wednesday is my medium run, and I'll do 2 hours. Saturday is my long run, and I'll do three hours. This will by my "normal" week. I'm assuming, of course, that I feel fine all week. If I don't, I'll reduce my time and take another recovery week.

I saw the "family" of quail again. Those chicks sure are cute.

Training Graphs

August 23, 2006

Ran a restful hour

I continued my recovery week with an hour run along the Parkway. My wakeup HR was 49, and I felt pretty good. The temperature was 83 (F) when I returned. There was a slight headwind going out, and it felt good on the way back as a tailwind. I only took 12 oz of water and could have used a bit more, but I made it home ok.

For about a month before the GSL, I did low-level speed training by running at a faster pace. I cut 20 minutes off the time for my long 13 mile runs. I felt a lot of stress during that time due to an emotional need to push and push to get faster and to get in the miles, even though on some days I was tired. I was careful, though, to pace myself and not push myself into an injury or a slump. Now that I'm past the race, I'm running relatively slow restful runs to recover from the high stress of the race, and starting with next week or maybe the week after, I'll be running long slow distance to build up my total time of running each week. I'll be running because I enjoy it, the type of running I've done during most of my 33 years of running. I'm looking forward to it.

This morning I saw three adult quail and 3 or 4 small chicks on the path. They quickly ran into the bushes.

Training Graphs

August 22, 2006

My recovery week continues

Even though my wakeup HR was higher this morning (50), I had a nice 30 minute run. I'm letting my body dictate my speed, and I just enjoyed myself. After I finished, I walked around the small park that is my entrance to the Jordan River Parkway and picked up litter. It's still hard for me to understand why people drop trash the way they do, especially when trash bins are only 100 feet away.

Training Graphs

August 21, 2006

Switching to a time base for my runs

Starting with today, I'm using a time-base instead of a distance-base for specifying the length of my runs, which will all be long slow distance. This will have the advantage that on days that I'm tired I'll run slower and thus a shorter distance in the same time, and on days that I feel great, I'll run faster and thus farther. The result is that I'll have an automatic adjustment on the miles that I run. For example, I ran faster during the second half of my run this morning and went about 1/4 mile farther in the second 15 minutes than I did during the first 15 minutes of the run.

Training Graphs

This week is a recovery week

My wakeup HR was 46, and I felt ok (better than yesterday) but was still stiff when I got up. I went to the Parkway and ran for 30 minutes. The first half was really slow because my body wasn't warm and I was still somewhat stiff from the race. The second half was a bit faster -- not intentionally faster, just how my body was responding. When I finished and stretched, my stiffness was gone.

My plans for this recovery week are to run long slow distance for 30 minutes again tomorrow, an hour on Wednesday, and an hour and 15 minutes on Saturday, assuming that my body feels up to those times. I'm hoping that a week from now, I'll be ready to run my normal times (approximately double the numbers I gave above).

Training Graphs

August 19, 2006

Step 1 to Boston is accomplished. On to step 2

Completing the GSL this morning was my first step towards running Boston in 2011. I needed to demonstrate to myself that my body was strong enough to complete a half marathon in a good time.

My next step to Boston is the completion of a full marathon at any pace. I'm giving myself a full year to reach that step and hope to run the marathon during the summer or fall of 2007.

After I complete step 2, I will have demonstrated that my body is strong enough to do the 26.2 miles. Step 3 will be getting my time down to the qualifying time of 4 hours 45 minutes. I'm allowing 3 years to do that step. Step 4 will be qualifying for Boston, and step 5 will be running Boston.

Training Graphs

I did well in the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon

I completed the race in 2:21:16 and won first place in my age category of 70-74. Of course, my son reminded me that I also was last in that category since I was the only one in it :) I threw in a kick at the end and sprinted for the last 100 yards or so.

My goal was to complete the race in 2:30 or less, and I beat that with my 2:21. My other goal was to run most of the race at a pace of 11 and then to speed up during the last couple of miles. I reached that goal with my average pace of 10.7. I feel good about my performance, especially since my fastest training time for 13 miles was 2:41.

The one thing that needs improving is my consistency in pacing myself. My lap times were

1. 9:39
2. 9:53
3. 9:55 ;* Includes a water stop and short walking break
4. 10.04
5. 9:55
6. 10.12 ;* Includes a water stop and short walking break
7. 10.30

; The following laps had a walking break of approximately a minute at the end of the lap.
8. 10.41
9. 11.02 ;* Includes a water stop
10. 11.40
11. 11.21
12. 12.24 ;* Includes two hills and a water stop
13. 11.57

I knew that I'd started out too fast, but my body wanted to go at that pace, so I let it do that. That pace felt comfortable, and I was surprised when I looked at my Garmin the first time and saw the 9:39. It was kinda dark, and I couldn't see the watch very well. I thought maybe I had set it up wrong. When the 9:53 came in I could tell that the watch was working correctly, and I was really surprised that I had maintained that fast pace for two miles. I ended up maintaining that fast pace for the first 6 miles and a slower but still fast pace for two more miles. I realized at the end of 8 miles that I was slowing down, and I started taking walking breaks at the end of each mile.

In looking back on the race, since I was guaranteed a 1st place in my age category (I didn't know until the race was over that I was alone in my age category) I'm glad that I did well so the blue ribbon isn't just a default gift.

Here we are on Antelope Island enjoying the good feeling that comes with a job well done. With me are Bruce from Las Vegas, my friend from, Beth from Chicago who is in Utah for a wedding and learned of the GSL from my blog, and Ben my colleague at Westminster College before I retired.

August 17, 2006

Last run before the race

I ran a comfortable two miles this morning. I just let my body dictate the pace. My average pace for the first mile was 11:10, and my average pace for the second mile was 10:15. I don't know if I'll have the endurance to keep a 10:15 pace for the whole race, but if I did I'd finish in 2 hours and 14 minutes. That would be a miracle!

Tomorrow, my wife, my 89 year old mother-in-law, and I will be sightseeing with my Las Vegas friend, Bruce, in the Wasatch mountains near Salt Lake City. I hope to be in bed by 8 pm tomorrow night and up at 4 am to stretch and to leave home at 4:30 for the hour drive to Clearfield. I frequently will have anxiety problems trying to sleep the night before a big event, so I don't know how much sleep I'll have before the race.

Training Graphs

August 15, 2006

Zoo Day Today

I didn't run today. My wife, my daughter-in-law, and I took three grandchildren to the zoo. I was on my feet for three hours -- not a lot of distance covered, but still a stress on my body. I'll run two miles tomorrow, and maybe a mile on Thursday. My friend, Bruce, is coming up from Las Vegas for the race, and on Friday we'll be driving through the Utah mountains enjoying the cool temperature and the beautiful scenery that was home to the 2002 Winter Olympics.

August 14, 2006

Another change to my race strategy for Saturday

My wakeup HR was 47 again this morning. I ran an easy, comfortable 2 miles. During the first half mile, I ran a pace of about 12:30. By the end o that mile, I was running a pace of about 12 minutes. After another half mile, my pace was at 11:30, and by two miles, my pace was a bit below 11 minutes. I ran the two miles at the same exertion-level, so as my body warmed up I automatically ran faster. Because of this, I'm changing my strategy for Saturday to use the first two miles as a "natural" warmup, as follows:

1/2 mile @ 12:30
1/2 mile @ 12:00
1/2 mile @ 11:30
1/2 mile @ 11:00

Depending how I feel, I'll like to run the last two miles at 10:30 or maybe 10:00.

The forecast for Friday night in Clearfield is a low of 64 (F), so the early morning temperature for the race on Saturday should be in the mid 60s to the mid 70s with sunshine. The early morning sun will be at our backs and shouldn't be a problem.

Training Graphs

August 12, 2006

A revision to my race strategy for next Saturday

My wakeup HR was 47, and I had a very enjoyable 6.5 mile run along the Jordan River Parkway. I experimented with my Garmin GPS to learn how to measure lap paces. I experimented with lap times of 1 mile and 0.3 mile. I think I'll go with the default of 1 mile. I also experimented with fewer walking and drinking breaks to see how I responded to those changes. Because of the heat, I had to be careful about drinking less water. My urine when I got home was a little darker than it has been but not excessively darker. I also experimented with the way to get more vitamin D that I mentioned in my previous post. After about 1.3 miles, I stopped in a shady spot and put on the sunscreen.

I decided to revise my race strategy for the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon and do the second mile at 11:30 instead of 11:00. I need about two miles to get warmed up, and by doing the first mile at 12:00 and the second mile at 11:30 I'll be more likely to handle the remaining miles at 11:00. By listening to my body to see how I feel during the race and by using the Garmin to measure my pace each mile, I'll be able to adjust my pace to be as fast as possible but not so fast that I "peter out" towards the end of the race. Back in the "old days" we didn't have electronic devices to measure pace. The marathons I ran did have frequent mile-markers, so I wrote on my hand my desired times for the major mileage points, and as I passed each mile-marker, I would compare the clock time from my stop watch with the numbers written on my hand.

Training Graphs

August 11, 2006

Getting vitamin D while I run

I just finished reading an interesting article in the September 2006 Reader's Digest about vitamin D. I won't elaborate on the importance of vitamin D except to say that researchers are finding out that it is more important than they realized, and the MDA of 400 IU isn't enough. The article is available online at The Miracle Vitamin.

The article discussed the importance of getting vitamin D from the sun as well as from supplements, and it suggested that we spend 10-15 minutes in the sun each day before we apply sun screen. Fair skinned people may need to spend less time in the sun. When I run, it takes me 10-15 minutes to warm up, and I thought I'd try running without sunscreen for that time. After 10-15 minutes of running, I'll stop and apply sunscreen to my arms and legs. When I run, I wear a wide brimmed hat that shades my face, and I don't put sunscreen on my face.

August 10, 2006

A lovely day for a "stroll" in the park

After tending my three-year-old grandson for three hours, I ran two miles on the Jordan River Parkway. It was 92 (F) when I returned, and I was ready for some liquid. I drank a glass of water just before I left, and by the time I reached the one-mile turn around point, I was thirsty. Because of the short length of the run, I didn't take liquid with me. I normally would have run the two miles on Tuesday, but because I didn't run on Monday, I shifted my Monday run to Tuesday and my Tuesday run to Thursday.

My wakeup HR was 47 and I felt pretty good this morning.

Sports scientists used to say that it was best to drink liquid before one became thirsty, but they now say it is best to wait until one is thirsty. By doing that, one reduces the likelihood of over hydrating and thus having electrolyte levels that are too low. Over hydrating is as dangerous as under hydrating because of the dilution of the electrolytes due to excessive water.

Training Graphs

My race strategy for the GSL Half Marathon

I've also been thinking about my race strategy for the GSL. During my training runs, I've been running of 11+ minute miles, and my average pace has been slightly above 12 minutes (I've been taking one-minute walking breaks every mile). During the race, I'd like to take fewer walking breaks, just taking them at the water tables. I'm thinking of running the first mile at a 12 minute pace to complete my warm up, and then going to an 11 minute pace for the rest of the race, and going a bit faster during the last half mile. This would give me a total time of about 2 hours 23 minutes. My PB for a 13-mile training run was 2:41, so a 2:23 would be an decrease in time of 18 minutes or slightly more than a minute per mile. Can I make that increase? I don't know, but it's worth a try if I feel good. I'll reevaluate this strategy on Friday of next week.

I'm not sure how much sleep I'll get before the race. I have to be up at 4 am and out of the house at 4:30. I usually don't sleep well before important activities due to anticipation-stress. At my age, I need that sleep...

Training Graphs

10-day forecast looks good for August 19

I've been wondering what the weather will be like for the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon. The temperature (at my house) at 6:30 this morning was 59 (F). The sun wasn't up but was close to peaking over the mountain. The 10-day forecast for Clearfield, Utah on is for sunshine and a high of 90 (F) and a low of 67 (F). Sunrise will be at 6:42 am. The race starts at 6:30, so the temperature during the race will be about 67-68 (F) at the start and probably in the mid to high 70s at the finish. An 8 mph breeze is predicted, and it will be a side wind (all winds in the Salt Lake valley are north or south winds, and the race will be going due west). Utah weather changes a lot, so a prediction this early of a sunny day may not mean much. If a storm front comes in, the temperature will change, too. But, the predicted sunrise should be accurate :)

Training Graphs

August 9, 2006

The 5-miler was fine

My wakeup HR was 47, and I ran 5 miles on the Jordan River Parkway. I was late getting out, and the temperature was in the low 80s (F). Most of the run was in the direct sun, and I drank 24 oz of liquid (my normal ratio of half water and half Gatorade). Because I was well hydrated, I didn't mind the heat at all, even though the sun burns more than it did when I was in Massachusetts. The difference is that here I'm at an elevation of 4800 feet while in Massachusetts I was at a typical elevation of 300 feet.

When I run the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon next week, I will be at an elevation of 4200 feet. I don't know if going down to that "lower" elevation will give me much additional oxygen, but I "hope" it does help a bit. After I had been in Utah for about four years, I went to Connecticut for my daughter's graduation from college, and I found it much easier to run there than it was here in the Great Basin. Getting sufficient oxygen is the name of the game in running long slow distance.

Training Graphs

August 8, 2006

This tapering isn't bad

I didn't run yesterday due to being up way too late the night before doing a new-baby video for my wife's nephew. My wakeup HR was 48 this morning, and I ran 2 1/2 miles at a very comfortable jog. The temperature was about 70 (F), and it was pleasant to be out. On the way back, I picked up a few pieces of litter to help keep the Jordan River Parkway clean.

Tomorrow I'll do a comfortable 5 miles and 1 mile on Thursday. Then on Saturday I'll do a comfortable 6.5 miles.

August 5, 2006

Let the taper begin

Today was my last regular training run, and for the next two weeks, I'll be tapering to race day on August 19. I think that I'll use a "binary" taper in which each week is half of the preceding week.

During the past 3 or 4 weeks, I've been pushing my speed as a low-level form of speed training, and I'm looking forward to two weeks of reduced intensity and distance. I can tell my body needs some additional rest. I've had a good month of training. I've gotten used to the 13 miles, and I've significantly decreased my average pace. The two weeks of shorter rest runs will allow my body to recover, and I'll hopefully peak on August 19.

Training Graphs

My last 13-mile long run before the GSL

I ran my 13-mile route along the Jordan River Parkway and finished in 2 hours 43 minutes. Not quite as fast as last Saturday but a good time, none the less. The temperature was about 70 (F) when I started running and was about 90 (F) when I returned, and it was a nice run. I went out a little faster than I had been doing in previous runs (my first mile was 11:39), and that might have hurt my overall time. My time at 10 miles was 2 hours 4 minutes for an average pace of 12:24 including walking breaks. My average pace for the 13 miles was 12:32 including walking breaks. During the first 5 miles, my average pace was just a few seconds under 12 minutes. Thus, my pace varied maybe 45 - 60 seconds during the run. Most of the time lost per mile was in the middle of the run where there are some small hills and one large hill.

During the run there was a 8-10 mph head wind during the first half and maybe a 5 mph tail wind on the way back. The wind, however, wasn't consistent. It would come and go.

I took 60 oz of liquid with me -- two bottles of Gatorade and one bottle of water. I drank about 50 oz. I checked my urine when I was home, and it was a light yellow, indicating I drank about the right amount of liquid.

I saw a garter snake slither across the path. It was interesting to see how it moved. It's body formed a "S" shape, and I could see the "S" shape move from its head to its tail; somehow that movement caused a horizontal movement of the snake.

Training Graphs

August 4, 2006

My running saved my life

In the evening of May 19, 2004, my wife and I were in an automobile accident. I was taken to a hospital and checked for injuries. None were found, and I was released from the hospital. Two days later I was back in the hospital as a "code blue" emergency. My ribs were broken during the accident, and they punctured my lungs. When I was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, my oxygen level was very low. And, while in the ICU, I developed a serious case of pneumonia.

I was in the ICU for four weeks and was unconscious for most of that time. My church leader visited me even though I was unconscious and didn't know he was there. He asked a nurse about my chances for survival, and she said, "He doesn't have any. Unless he has a strong body, he won't make it." Twice during the four weeks my family was called in because I wasn't expected to make it through the night. The first time my family was called in, my wife was in a different hospital recovering from her injuries and couldn't come to my hospital; her brother went to her bedside while my children came to mine.

Thanks to the grace of God, the skill of the hospital staff, and to my strong body as a runner, I did make it. I mention my strong body as a runner, because after I left the ICU, I went to a different hospital for therapy. The first time I tried to stand by myself, I could only do it for two seconds. I had to learn to walk: first just standing until my legs could support my body, then using a wheel chair, then a walker, then a cane, and finally by myself. During my 10 days in therapy, when a new nurse would come into the room, she would say, "So, you're the runner."

When I left the hospital I couldn't walk up stairs very well and needed a banister so I could pull myself up the stairs. During a month of home therapy at my sister-in-law's house, my wife and I took daily walks and were walking a mile when we went to our own home. A week after arriving home, I went for my first run and could only go 1/8 mile before I had to stop. I was a former marathoner and was running about 15 miles a week when the accident occurred, and now I could only run 1/8 mile. But, I was alive!

During the next year, I had surgery for a double hernia, 10 surgeries for very large Basal Cell skin cancers, and my gall bladder removed. That year was not easy, but I continued to run each week except for a couple of weeks after each surgery. During the two years since the accident, I went from a run of 1/8 mile to four runs a week, totaling 30 miles per week, the longest run being 13 miles. In two weeks, on August 19, 2006, I will run the Great Salt Lake Half Marathon from Clearfield, Utah to Antelope Island in the lake (no, this isn't a triathlon, and I'll be running on a causeway rather than swimming). Hopefully in 2007 I'll run another marathon, and my goal is to run the Boston Marathon in 2011 if I can qualify. I will be 75 in that year.

I just added an essay to my religious site in which, after giving the information that I've given above in this post, I discuss the impact of the accident and my recovery on my spiritual life. If you are interested in religion as well as in running, you are invited to read the essay at

Training Graphs

August 2, 2006

A negative split and a new PB for my 10-miler

I ran the 10 mile medium-run in 2 hours 35 seconds, a new PB for that training run. I ran faster during the last quarter mile to see if I could break two minutes, but I didn't quite make it. That time extrapolated to 13 miles is 2:36. The 2 hour time includes 1-minute rest stops after each mile.

When I left home to drive to the Jordan River Parkway, the temperature was 59 (F), and when I returned it was 72 (F). A relatively cool day for this time of year, although my T-shirt was soaked with sweat when I finished. My wakeup HR was 51, and I felt a bit tired during the first couple of miles. I ate a banana just before I left, and that may have slowed me down. My time for the first mile was 13 minutes and about 40 seconds, a full minute and a half slower than my average for the whole run. Now that I'm going faster, I'm beginning to question the wisdom of eating anything before I run.

I ran most of the way up the big hill on the north side of the detour through the neighborhood but walked the last 50 feet to reduce the stress on my body. However, I ran up the hill on the south side of the neighborhood. That hill is shorter but steeper than the one on the north side. This was the first time I've run up the south side. I doubled my breathing rate and went right up the hill. I'm sure the lower temperature helped a lot.


I checked my urine when I got home, and my drinking 40 oz of liquid (half water and half Gatorade) was about right. The urine was a light yellow, a bit darker than normal, indicating a slight dehydration but ok.

It's now 4 pm and the temperature is up at 80 (F).

August 1, 2006

A great day for running

I ran my 2-mile rest run and enjoyed the cool morning. The temperature was in the high 60s (F)and the sky was cloudy. We'll probably get some rain later in the day. My wakeup HR was 50, and I did a leisurely run.

Later: Yep, it is raining, and the temp has dropped into the 50s.