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Worried runner running slowly

Monday, April 05, 2010

On my last several training runs I found myself plodding along at a 9:30 min/mile pace. I started to get worried. I used have speed. I had been working on running at a steady slower pace. My efforts were rewarded – I was slow. Where did my speed go?

I am pretty sure I lack the gene that would make me a good long distance runner.


Even though I am a lousy long distance runner, I used to be pretty quick over short distances. Yesterday, Saturday, April 3rd, I decided to run at the high school track. I got tired of running up hills. In the mountains of Colorado everything is hilly. I guess that’s why mountains are called mountains!

After a bit of a warm-up, I started jogging along at a 9:25 min/mile pace. I ran a mile at this pace. The track is at 8, 047 feet elevation. I decided to walk and catch my breath. I walked a bit at a brisk 15 min/mile pace and took off running again. I glanced at my Garmin timer. I was cruising at 7:09 min/mile pace. I ran when I could and walked when I had to. I found my run/walk strategy, besides being fun, averaged an 8:36 min/mile pace!

After running about 2.5 miles I decided to blast out a few sprints. I ran three 100m sprints, and two 200m sprints. I hit a 4.04 min/mile pace in the 100s, and a 6:08 in the 200’s. I walked quite a bit between the sprints.

It felt kind of nice to run fast, even though it was over really short distances. Just call me Speedy!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KENDRASTIC 4/6/2010 7:17PM

    Wow! I want to run that fast. I think I might try to see how long it takes me to run a mile. Your workout was good inspiration-it sounded fun!


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HARRINGTON5 4/6/2010 6:08PM

    That is how I train too, but no where near your speed! I think you ARE speedy, that is a good name for you. Thank you for the tip about the speed of alligators. I did not know that. I see them almost every day now, but usually at a distance. I'm going to post a picture of that bad boy as soon as I can. I saw his full length and I think it is the eight-footer. I really do stick to the street most of the time.

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USFBULL 4/5/2010 10:41PM

    ok I might be wrong but does the term interval running work here. Way to go and keep up the good work, woohoo!! emoticon

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GAZELK 4/5/2010 10:35PM

    Sounds pretty fast to me, Speedy.

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TREEBW 4/5/2010 6:25PM

    Where in CO do you live? We lived there from when I was 6 until 12 (Denver, Dillon, Clark, Steamboat, and Stagecoach). I plan to go back someday, not sure where though. Not Clark again, I know that!

I need to go to a track also; not mountains here like CO, but my town is really hilly...I am ready for flat.

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    Have you ever checked out Jeff Galloway's website? It is a great resource on the benefits of run-walk training.

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JADERUNNING 4/5/2010 1:15PM

    Deal! You work on the speedwork and I will do the long slow distance! Next week schedule has me at 23 miles! Going to try to do some track work today. Good job picking up the pace!

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ELYMWX 4/5/2010 12:54PM

    Hmmm.... Trying to decide if I should feel sorry for you or not.

I know my 1-mile pace is currently around 8:20, but I also know that I can't keep it up for much more than a mile straight out. Combination run/walk, I'm around 11:50. You're blowing me away, man.

In that context, I'm still trying to decide if I should feel sorry for you or not.

I'm still thinking...

OK, I'll tell you this: in six months (I just set a calendar entry) I'll come back to this blog and tell you, based upon where we both are in our running training, whether I feel sorry for you or not.


Comment edited on: 4/5/2010 6:20:23 PM

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    Ok speedy....glad you found your fast self again. I'm with Princessnurse...you think 9:30 slow???!!! Ok, for you it is...for me...well, I'm thinking your 4:04 is the speed of light.

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CAROLYN1213 4/5/2010 9:54AM

    That is awesome!!! I love that you found your speedy runner again! I'm afraid my speedy runner does not exist. But, I am increasingly pleased to still have a pretty good 'kick' in the end of my 8 - 10 mile runs!

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IPA-RAY 4/5/2010 9:43AM

    Great to run fast occasionally, isn't it?

I always find that a little work on the track corrects my form and makes me a tad faster when I get back on the roads. Hope it works for you.

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    What I love about running is that everyone can find a way to make it work for his or her fitness needs. I really hate short distances at a fast pace. I love to run distance...I really don't care about my pace in the least. I could run alot faster than I do but I would feel awful doing it so what would the point of that be? For me running is about accomplishing things I never thought I was capable of---it is all about the journey...

ps: I find I am faster when I use run-walk than when I just run....also, if you think 9:30 is plodding you would think I am super slow-lol.

Comment edited on: 4/5/2010 9:50:24 AM

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ANGNDABOYZ 4/5/2010 2:25AM

    emoticon That's Awesome! I hear you on the slow running thing, you are obviously much farther ahead than I am with the running(I just recently started up again). The hills are a killer though aren't they? I have a track near my house that I use and it actually has hills built in, I use that and it is challenging, but I have often wondered if I would be faster if I used the flat treadmill or the highschool track.

Keep up the good work! Whatever you are doing it is working!

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Oh, that really hurt!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The temperature got up to 41 °F today, which is 9°F above freezing. Any temperature above freezing is a veritable heat wave. The ice and snow had melted off the roads. The roads were muddy but not slippery. With all this blazing heat, I could go running just wearing shorts.

I wanted to do some serious hill running! I had been slacking lately and the good weather had me jazzed! I had a healthy lunch including a greasy hot dog from the Loaf & Jug; some Salt & Pepper Potato chips; a can of Sprite; and Hostess Snowballs for dessert! In other words, I was ready run.

There is a monster hill nearby. The hill starts at 8,260 feet and tops out at 10,394 feet. The road up the hill is 5 miles long. Average grade is 16.2%. The steepest part of the hill has a 50% grade. A 50% grade translates into 27° slope angle. By comparison, stairs typically have a 36° slope angle.

I think I should have picked a flatter hill. I ran around a lake at the bottom of the hill and started the ascent. I would love to tell you I blazed up this nasty piece of real estate. I actually had to walk some. I ended up doing a 3:1 ratio of running to walking.

I find chanting in my head helps. I just kept thinking, “Up! Up! Up!” I don’t wear an IPod when I run. I find my hallucinations to be much better company than music. If you haven’t run at high-altitude you are missing-out on pain and misery of epic proportions! You can try to breath but it does no good. The air is so dry that dehydration is instantaneous. Your eye-balls dry out! Every breath hurts.

At least it is good exercise. According to my Garmin timer I burned 834 calories during my run, which means I ran off the hot dog and one Snowball.

My time? I ran, walked and crawled the 5.01 miles in 57:52, which translates into an abysmal 11:32 min/mile pace. I felt I was barely moving. I will keep assaulting this hill until I can run the whole way. This hill is not going to beat me!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GAZELK 4/5/2010 10:37PM

    That's quite a hill (mountain) you accomplished. Bigger than anything I have around here. Amazing how dropping a little weight makes those just a little bit easier.

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HARRINGTON5 3/29/2010 4:18PM

    Your new name fits you so much better. You make running at a high altitude sound delightful. Certainly something I will stay clear of. Great job though. You are one determined guy! Onward and upward!

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CHARGER25 3/29/2010 10:30AM

    Way to work it! Lunch sounded good until I thought about what is you have to do to get rid of the calories......I hear snowballs can occur only in the coldest of climates..... emoticon

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ELYMWX 3/29/2010 10:21AM

    Your hill makes the one I'm avoiding running up look like a molehill! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LKEITHO 3/29/2010 8:47AM

    Wow! Sub-12 minute miles on that kind of slope sounds awfully darned good to me! I have trouble making that time on a flat course! Congratulations!

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IRONGRANNIE 3/29/2010 4:33AM

    Congrats on your name change! That's the attitude! Go get that hill, Dog!

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USFBULL 3/29/2010 3:47AM

    Nice work, emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Running in snow and cold - NOT!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I did not do much running this last week. The weather was really cold and nasty. I know I am wimping-out. I counted on my fingers and toes that it has been cold and snowy for 5 months. I am just tired running in sub-freezing temperatures. I didn't mind the cold in November. December is a good month for snow and cold. I expect a deep freeze in January. I can stand the bitter cold of February. I guess I thought by the end of March the weather would be getting better.

No dice!

I went running today. I quit after 2.5 miles. I felt a twinge in my right hamstring. I knew if kept going, my right hamstring would tighten-up. Usually, I just keep going. The wind, cold and blowing snow changed my mind. Maybe the hamstring pull was just an excuse to go get warm.

This is my house at 2:00PM today. I wonder why I even try to clear my driveway. This could be called a blizzard but the snow is falling at an angle, not sideways.

Here is my truck two days ago. The snow melts a little. Then we get more snow. Four wheel drive is a necessity here. The problem is that you can go, but you cannot stop! Spring snow is slippery.

This is my backyard glacier. The ladder is for removing show from the satellite dish.

Springtime in the Rockies. This is as warm as it is going to get. Time to go running.

I am having trouble getting motivated. I would really like to see the sun. I guess I am getting cabin fever in a huge way! I have decided not to pre-register for any races until June. Race-day registration may be the only way to go! My dad used to say we have two seasons here, "11 months of Winter and 1 month of mighty late Fall!" I used to think he was joking!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GAZELK 4/5/2010 10:39PM

    Yuck! We haven't had snow here in Minnesota (usually, a cold state) in over a month. If I had that kind of snow here, I'd cry. I'm all Spring now and I'm not going back to Winter.

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DAVIDMU89 3/28/2010 4:52PM

    Hey , you made the effort, KUDOS! The weather is crazy , we had predicted 100% showers with thunder during my 15k race today. Not a drop during the race , which is cool , but i could have foregone the tights today. Keep on , keepin on my friend!

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LKEITHO 3/28/2010 9:01AM

    I know exactly what you mean! Winters like those were exactly why I moved from Calgary to Phoenix. I hope you see some more sunshine and heat soon! I also remember how beautiful the Rockies are in the spring and summer, so hang in there!

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    Holy snow! You win. We're firmly into Spring in WI. Blustery 20-30 mph winds, but free of ice and snow. Nice house, though....I'd be tempted to never leave! At least you got out there and gave it a try. Yeah, unless its a really popular race, I'm doing race day registration. Too many things come up that keep me away!

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SUMMAHFRUTE 3/28/2010 2:42AM

    ew, rough weather. greetings from san diego, haha, i know, we're spoiled.

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Worst 5K in the history of the world!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yesterday, I ran a 5K race that redefined definition of “hard run". When I left my house the temperature was - 1 °F. At race time the temperature had hit a balmy 10.7 ° F.

The cold wasn’t the worse part. The entire course was a sheet of glare ice! I kid you not! As we stood at the starting line the announcer cautioned, “Runners, take extreme care. You will not set a PR today”. A guy in front of me turned around and shouted to the group on runners, “Remember, rubber side down!”

I was standing next to my daughter, Katie. My son Ben was at the front of the pack. The field was small. Only 300 hardy souls were lined-up. The PA system blared, “Runners get ready!” Katie turned to me and said, “Dad, this NOT a good idea!” I shrugged. The PA system shouted “GO!” We all surged forward very slowly. OMG, the icy surface was rock hard! At about 200 meters there was a 90 turn. Three runners in front of me went down hard! Some other runners stopped to help the fallen. As a passed the group, I could see one lady was bleeding and hurt. I slowed way down. My daughter picked up speed and disappeared. I was thinking, “Bad idea Katie.” At the next corner another runner went down. I tip-toed around the corner, slid sideways and caught myself. I slowed down some more. I looked at my Garmin timer. When the race started, I had been moving at a 7:30 min/mile pace. I was now jogging at a 9:30 pace! I tried to pick up the pace. My back foot slipped out. I twisted sideways and nearly fell. I caught myself. Although I didn’t feel it at the time, I think this is the point where a sprained my right ankle.

Typical of a Colorado road race, the elevation change along the course was 350 feet. Not only were we running on an ice skating rink, we were running on a hilly ice skating rink! After what seemed like an eternity, the finish line came into view. I didn’t even try to kick. I just kept jogging along trying to keep the rubber side down. I crossed the finish line at an embarrassing slow 29:45. Katie and Ben were waiting for me. Both were wounded. Katie had fallen and hurt her hip. Ben had gone down and blown-out his shoulder. Kate had turned-in a 26:01. Ben was upset that he only ran a 23:56. We were all 4 to 6 minutes off our normal race pace. This was a bad race.

All the runners were pretty subdued after this race. We did manage to cheer-on the last runner. She raised her arms above her head as she crossed the finish line. Ben was uncharacteristically charitable. He turned to me and said, “She might be the last runner, but she beat thousands of people sitting on their butts at home!”


Here is the race course near the finish line. By the end of the race there was a thin sheet of water over the ice, which made the course really slippery. You are looking at the best part of the course here. Note the pile of icy snow on the right. The race organizers tried in vain to plow this part of the course. You can barely make out some runners clawing their way up the slippery hill.

Here are Ben and Katie after the race. Their smiles belie the fact the both are injured. We did not stick around for the award ceremony and party. Katie was 1st in her age group. Ben was 5th and I was 8th.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IRONGRANNIE 3/22/2010 2:08AM

    That sounds truly awful! I hope you have not done too much of an injury to your ankle and hope your kids have recovered. Nice placing tho'!

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HARRINGTON5 3/22/2010 12:46AM

    What a nice picture of your son and daughter! You, my friend are just amazing. I honestly cannot even imagine going out in weather like that. I think you deserve a medal for just being there. I am really a fair weather runner. If it rains, I'm ready to hang up my shoes! Great job.

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GAZELK 3/21/2010 9:15PM

    Sounds like a pretty good race to me. Despite the conditions, you turned in a pretty respectable time, I'd say. I love your determination.

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DELRIO1 3/21/2010 8:21PM

    Dude!!! You are a MANIAC!!!! There will be nicer days to run. That being said..you're an inspiration as far as motivation goes! Leave something for Spring, ok! And keep up the good work!

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MAIA2011 3/21/2010 6:49PM

    I'm sorry that everybody's injured but it is a great story! Here's hoping for nicer weather at the next one!


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DAVIDMU89 3/21/2010 4:59PM

    Ben hit the nail on the head!

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MOONANGEL23 3/21/2010 4:13PM

    Wow, I can't even imagine attempting to run with those conditions (I'm a South Florida weather wimp anyway). Congrats to you and your kids for finishing so well...I'm so sorry you all got hurt in the process.

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VALLOUGH 3/21/2010 2:55PM

    You know, I read your blog title and was expecting to read through it and leave an uplifting comment to help coax you out of a mini-depression caused by not meeting your goals or not finishing or whatever it was that made it so YOU had a bad race. But it seems like you did awesome and this certainly DOES sounds like the worst 5k ever! I groaned out loud when you already ticked off sub-zero temperatures, glaring ice, and dangerous falls and finally added mountainous terrain to the list of woes!

Well, at least you know you'll beat your time next race!

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JBLIPE 3/21/2010 1:14PM

    awesome story. that just shows your dedication. speedy recovery to all of you and better races ahead. -Brad

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USFBULL 3/21/2010 1:06PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOMJMGR 3/21/2010 11:45AM

    Wow truely a tough group to finish a race in such hard conditions. I had to add you as a friend to stay inspired by a great father, husband and Runner! I would not have made that time on my best day, not yet anyway. I hope you all are healed up soon. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KOFFEENUT 3/21/2010 11:32AM

    The times you guys turned in aren't nearly as important as the fact you were out there, ready to participate, and together as a family. What a great example for your kids!

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BSTAKINGACTION 3/21/2010 10:44AM

    Congrats to all of you for showing up and crossing the finish line. Warriors...every one. Hope its nothing too serious for any of you.

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LKEITHO 3/21/2010 10:19AM

    Hope all of you are feeling better soon! I have to say, though, that your time would be a PR for me in good conditions! Congratulations!

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ELYMWX 3/21/2010 10:05AM

    All I can say is I hope you all three have a speedy recovery and get to do this again in the summer in better conditions!

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This is sad

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I went to Sports Authority yesterday to buy a soft knee brace. I am not sure I need a brace. Last time I ran I felt a little twinge in my left knee and couldn’t find my old brace. All the running stuff was on mega-sale. I bought a long sleeve tee shirt and a pair of running shorts. When I got home my wife exclaimed, “Don’t you have enough running stuff already?” She calmed down when I told her a lot of my old stuff doesn’t fit anymore. I bought a pair of medium sized shorts. A lot of my old shorts are XL or XXL.

When I was at the Sports Authority I walked out of the dressing room and saw a woman looking through the workout clothes. She was overweight, young and pretty. When she saw me she got this distressed look on her face. She was obviously self-conscious. She turned around and beat a hasty retreat. I could tell by her actions all the things she must endure. Friends and family telling her she has a pretty face and would be really attractive if she could drop a few pounds. She feels helpless and embarrassed. She had sneaked into the near deserted store to try on a few items, and boom; there I was to inadvertently ambush her.

I wanted to chase her down and tell her that she need not be embarrassed and that she was a good person. I would have liked to have her as a SparkFriend.

I didn’t chase her down. I didn’t want to embarrass her anymore than I already had. What she didn’t know is that I admired her. I knew she felt that I had judged her. I felt sad.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HARRINGTON5 3/22/2010 12:49AM

    What a kind heart you have. Yes, the situation was sad, but your thoughts are beautiful.

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CGPHILL 3/17/2010 2:04PM

  Great post, even though I feel badly for that young woman. I think we have all been in similar situation(s) and, when it happened, wanted to beat a hasty retreat as well. I hope she finds success and happiness, and that we remember how we can help in these situations (we all need the help as well). Thanks for sharing

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FOOTBALLTRENT 3/17/2010 8:48AM

    Wow! What a story. Only if you could have had an opportunity to talk to her. Oh well, things happen for a reason. Maybe you 'Sparked' her and didn't even know it!

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KIERENKIEREN 3/17/2010 8:20AM

    My heart has just gone out to this girl that I don't even know. I hope she finds SparkPeople one day and continues with her aim of working out. Who knows, maybe she's already on here? We can only hope!

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EVILKLOWN 3/17/2010 8:17AM

    Man ... I felt terrible after reading this. I'm really a "mind my own business" type but it would have been all I could do not to chase after her and talk to her (just as you said.) In the end though, it's probably best to leave people alone.

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SAYEATER 3/17/2010 8:02AM

    Funny how we let our actions be dictated by others. I was probably that girl at one point, but now I could shop for workout clothes in front of a group of Chippendales and not care. It's about me now. It is nice of you to be so sensitive to others situations, I'm sure you're a great sparkfriend to many.

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