Sunday, April 27, 2008

Today's Aborted Half-mile Time Trial

I stopped after running the first quarter in 90 and did some more intervals.  Not surprising to me, given how lousy I feel when I run lately.  More about that in another entry coming soon.

I Fell and I Did Get Up

Early this week, just down the block from home, at the very start of my run, I stepped on a pine cone.  Normally, my ankle would have turned, it would have hurt just a bit, and that would have been the end of it.  For some unknown reason, on this particular day and pine cone, I tripped and went flying.  I scrapped and banged my right knee (which is still a bit sore), drawing some blood, scuffed up both palms, and scarred my GPS wristwatch for life (but it seems to be working okay).
I got up, dusted myself off, and continued the run.  But I felt pretty stupid.  I expect a full recovery over the coming days, and am hopeful that it had no impact on my training.  Today will be the first time I'll know for sure.  I'll be running a half-mile on the track for time in a little while.  I hope I can ignore the discomfort and easily get under 3:00.
Doggone it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

An Inconsistant Season

Hi Guys!


Sorry I have not been on the blog for a while but I’ve been tied up with some of the medical stuff.  I’m now able to get back up and post an update to Greg’s track season.


First off, the guys have definitely accepted me as part of the woodwork.  I have been helping out at practices, mostly timing and logging workout intervals and freeing up the real coaches to take care of other things.  Naturally, I have been assigned to work with the 400m group.  After watching their intervals, sprints, fartleks, etc. I can definitely feel their pain!  Why are those memories of tough workouts sweet now when they hurt so much at the time?


We are now half way through the season and the best word to define it is: inconsistent.  This applies to the team as well as Greg’s individual performances.  From a team perspective, we were placed in a new league this year and it’s definitely not to our advantage.  Basically, we got dumped in a more competitive pool of schools we did not usually run against.  The plain truth is that in many events, we are just overmatched.  Our chances of placing out of the season ending divisional and regional meets to get to the state championships are slim to none.  Runners from lesser leagues will advance with slower times than we run but because their competitive environment is easier.  It doesn’t seem fair but that’s the way it is.


Unfortunately, for Greg and some of our other key runners, individual performances have not progressed as expected and there is no apparent reason.  In Greg’s case, he ran a personal best 53.7 for the 400m indoors.  His best open time so far is 54.5 although he was credited with a 52.9 relay split.  The coach opted to drop him down to the 100m and 200m for some speed work and he has posted new personal best times in both events of 11.8 and 23.6 respectively.  Nice times for a sophomore but nothing that is going to win most dual meets and he’s not the number runner for us in either event.  I think his biggest issue is endurance.  He gets off to a fast start but seems to lack the kick for the last 100 meters.  This is frustrating since a runner doing under 24 in the 200m should at least be running a 52 400m.  But then our number 1 runner is not doing that well either.  This kid is a junior and ran 50.8 last year and has not broker 52 all season. 


The coach and I have discussed adding more endurance running to next year’s training schedule and having the boys run more indoor meets during the winter season.  As I have mentioned before, there is no official winter track season in Ohio like in New York.  It’s my opinion that our guys don’t have the endurance or times I produced at the same relative point during high school because of the lack of winter track.  In my day (yes, I actually said that!), training and running for the 600 after a full season of cross country made us better spring runners.  We were in shape at the beginning of the season and the longer races definitely helped develop better stamina and endurance.  All very well for next year but we still have to get the best we can for the current season.


I am still confident there are some good times yet to come this season.  The guys are definitely putting in the work but something is still missing.  Could it be the “head” part of running?  Stay tuned but if anybody knows a good sports psychologist, let me know.


Regards to all,


Former Runner


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Garmin 205 Calibration Run

Well, since I was at the track for my first run after taking a few days off with an injured back, I decided to "calibrate" the Garmin. At exactly 2 miles, it showed 1.99 miles, and I ran another 12 meters or so before it turned to 2.00. Not too bad, but you can see (I think) from the image, that although in reality, I ran on the inside lane the entire way, the Garmin shows me all over the track and even cutting corners across the infield.

However, I think this exercise shows that it is accurate to about 30 to 50 feet, which is not bad when you're out running on the roads. Note that off to the right, you can track my run home. I was running on the left side of the road (heading south), and the Garmin was nearly dead on. From my observations, it seems to do better when you are going in a relatively straight line, but loses some accuracy around tight turns. I may try the mode where it tracks your position every second to see if that makes any difference in accuracy. But so far, I really like using this, at it makes runs interesting when you have to train alone.

Here's another one of my neighborhood runs, just to give you an idea of my typical 4-mile run. It tracks me on the correct street, and correct side of the street, but sometimes is a bit off, especially around turns. I may try the track every second mode to see if that helps.


Minor Training Setback

I had a minor setback this past week in my training. I hurt my back slightly pulling a shrub out of the ground to transplant it, using poor form and posture when I pulled it. Due to the strain, I took off 5 straight days of running (Monday through Friday). I just started up again yesterday, with a 3 mile easy run (2 miles on the track, plus running there and home). Then today, I ran 4 miles, but felt quite good and pushed the pace a little, averaging 7:45 (per Forerunner 205), but the first mile was near 8, and then progressively faster, with a 7:20 final mile.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Second Generation Strider Accepted to SUNY B

Yes, it's true. My daughter Kaila has been accepted to SUNY Binghamton (well, Binghamton University now)! The news came last week, along with a letter from Gary Truce that she should be running 70 to 90 miles per week of long slow distance (just kidding about the Gary Truce part).

As far as I know, this is the first instance of a 2nd generation Dr. K Strider being accepted into the school. Matt Williams' son actually ran cross country a few years ago, but Matt (class of 1980, ran while I was there) was not a member of the Striders.

Congratulations to Kaila! She still needs to decide among Binghamton, Oneonta, and Oswego. You know what my vote is!


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Running: Before and After GPS watches

Now that I purchased a Garmin 205 GPS watch (same as Eric's), I need to make a few philosophical comments.

Prior to buying my GPS watch a couple weeks ago, I sometimes used a stopwatch, but would also occasionally run with no watch, just enjoying the simplicity and freedom of soul and mind that runners have come to expect. On those occasions, much as Forrest Gump said, I was just runnnninnnnngggg! And even when wearing a watch, I did not know the exact distances of my runs, so therefore, I could not calculate an exact pace. On some runs, especially on grass trails, I frequently felt like I was running, floating, remember the feeling.......the runners high........endorphins...........

Now, all that has changed. The GPS knows EVERYTHING! Time, distance, my location on this planet to within 20 feet, speed (current and average), and maybe other items that I don't even know about. Now, instead of running free, I'm constantly checking my current and average pace, and worrying if it goes much above 8 minutes per mile. I find myself running faster, even racing, to drop the average pace below 8 minutes. For example, on a 6-mile run last week, I wanted to run the past, I defined an easy run as about 8:10 per mile (or so I thought). But the GPS showed me an average pace of 8:40, with a slow mile of 9 minutes! Before I was blissful, and now I know how slow I can run on easy days!

Even worse, I now upload my runs into software that breaks the runs down into splits, plots it on an air photo, and shows elevation and pace plots, among other trivial data..........

This subject will warrant further commentary, but I'll stop here for now..........


First Spring Mile a Surprise

The track finally shed its sleepy winter blanket of snow this past week. Thus, with that impediment removed, and temperatures in the 50s, accompanied by light winds and clear blue skies, a mile time trial this past Saturday was not only inviting, but essentially inevitable. The results were very encouraging, and even surprising for this time of year. No, I did not better my best mile time from last year, a 5:43 set in December 2007, and yes, that was an initial goal for early spring, recorded in a previous blog. By the time I stepped on the track Saturday, after several weeks of minimal running, (but substituted with x-country skiing), and only two weeks of about 4 days per week of running, I had downgraded my goal to a simple sub-6.

After a 2-mile warmup, I toed the line (by myself), and said "go" (to myself). The first lap often tells all, and as I passed the quarter in 1:25, and did not feel horrible, I felt that I had the goal in the bag, and concentrated on running 90-second quarters. The half was passed in 2:54 (89 seconds), again, feeling relatively ok, the 3/4 in 4:24 (90), and with a bit left in the 50-year-old legs, I managed another 85 second quarter to finish in a satisfying 5:49.2. This is not only my first mile of the year, but my first mile as a 50-year-old, so it was very significant to me. Last year, my first mile (April 2007) was only 6:21, so although I am one year older, things look promising.

As for a goal of sub-5 this year, I have not counted that out yet, but I'm taking it one step at a time. The next time out, I hope to beat last year's time of 5:43.

So now I have joined Eric in the 50+ club, and so far, running is not too bad!

An intersting post coming soon on "Running: Before and After GPS watches."