Saturday, September 27, 2008


Anybody have any idea what to do about this? The band had been coming loose for a while now, but this week that side came off completely. It was really annoying today on my long run taking my splits. Now, for many runners, this would be the perfect excuse to upgrade to a Garmin. As much as I'd like to do that, I really can't afford it. Is there some kind of adhesive that would work to hold it together? Is it worth it? Any help is much appreciated.

Marathon training is going really well. I've been really surprised at how much endurance I've had. I was really worried after my mile training that it would take a long time to work up my miles, let alone running them at a good pace. I've been following the FIRST plan (except for the long run). My interval and tempo runs have been awesome. I haven't had a problem running the prescribed paces. I've actually been able to keep my times well under that pace on all my runs. The long run is a different story. The program started out with a 13 mile long run. The next week had a 15 mile run, and today was supposed to be a 17 miler. That's still a little to much for me, but I am getting there. Last Saturday, I planned to do an 8 mile run at about an 8 minute pace. I ended up doing 9 with a 7:26 average pace, and still feeling like I could do more. Today I planned for 10, with the option of doing 11 (or maybe even 12). This run was a lot harder than last week's. I could tell within the first half mile that it was going to be tough. I still managed to do 11 at a 7:57 pace, but it definitely took more out of me than I was expecting. Overall though, I'm very pleased with my training so far.

Other Updates:
The cross country season is about half over. The middle schoolers I am coaching have made tons of progress. It has been fun to see the improvements. I've got 18 kids this year. That is a huge team compared to the 3 I had last year. We did, however, just have progress reports which made about half the team ineligible with poor grades. Fortunately, they will only miss one meet before they are allowed to come back (if they've gotten their grades up). So, that's good news.

I now have a 5 year old! My oldest daughter had a birthday this week. She's very excited to be five. We had a birthday party for her today. You gotta love the excitement of little children.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Who are you?

About 5 years ago, in the school district where I was working, a district employee was out running one morning, and was hit by a car. She ended up being ok, but she was unconscious for about 6 hours. She was not carrying any form of identification, and the hospital and police were therefore unable to notify her family until she came to or was reported missing. Since then, I've been pretty diligent in carrying some form of ID with me when I run.

Over the years, I have tried various means of identifying myself. I used to carry my driver's license with me, but then one day, it fell out of my pocket and I had to retrace my steps to find it in the middle of the road about 2 miles back. I tried carrying a little notecard in my pocket, but this was easy to misplace or forget. I considered purchasing one of those Road IDs, but I'm a cheapskate and I don't what another tan line on my wrist/ankle (I know they have other options, but I'm still a cheapskate). Then last year, I stumbled across a website for military style dog tags. They were perfect for key identifying information, could easily attach to my shoelace, and they were very inexpensive (only $7 for 2!). There were a lot of websites out there, but this is the one I used. Now, with Lani running, and her birthday coming up, I think I'll be making another purchase (shh, don't say anything ;-)).

So, I am wondering what other people use for ID while running. Below is a poll for you to cast your vote:

Speaking of "Who are you?" I added the Followers gadget to my sidebar, if you'd like to declare yourself a Life Strides reader.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

So it begins

After achieving my goal of the running a sub-5 minute mile, several people have asked what I'll be doing next. Should I keep trying to get faster? Could I do 4:50? I don't know. I'd really like to try, but I think that will wait till next summer. I have really been looking forward to training for another marathon. So that's what I've been up to this week. I'm going to follow the FIRST plan and aim to qualify for Boston again. The Running from an Angel Marathon is in 16 weeks (as of last Monday), so this week was week 1. This is how it went:

Tuesday - On the schedule was 3x1 mile repeats at 6:01 pace with 1 minute recovery. Bring it on! I just trained for and ran a 5 minute mile. Three at a 6 minute pace should be cake. First mile... Oops, wrong turn (I was running through the neighborhood). It only took me 3:47, but that turned out to be a 5:30 pace. See, what did I tell ya? Mile two... One minute sure is short! No problem though. Managed to do a full mile this time in 6:02. Whoa, that was harder than I thought. Mile three... That minute seemed even shorter, and the mile felt even longer. I was only able to run a 6:12. How 'bout a nice recovery meal of humble pie?

Thursday - 2 miles easy, 2 tempo miles at 6:34 pace, 2 miles easy. If this run would have been before Tuesday's run, I'd probably have done those easy miles around 7 minutes each, but as I now have a better idea of how different marathon training is compared to mile training, I was sure to do those easy miles really easy. That turned out to be 8:20 for the first two. I was feeling pretty good when the tempo miles started, but knew it was going to be tough. The first mile was just a few seconds slow, but I made up for that on the second and finished 13 seconds ahead of schedule. Then, the last two miles were again at an easy pace.

Saturday - 13 mile long run. No way was that going to happen. Come on, I'm just coming off of a summer of training for 1 mile. I thought I'd be able to do 7, maybe 8 at an easy pace. But, life happens, and I skipped the first long run of the training plan. Lani and I decided that we wanted to get out of the heat of Phoenix for a day, so we packed up the kids and dog and headed up to Flagstaff with my bro and his wife. We spent the day hiking around (most of the time with my youngest on my back). We had a great time in the 73 degree weather at Buffalo Park and the Arizona Snow Bowl. At the end of the day, I was very glad I didn't do that long run before we left. All that hiking with an almost 3-year-old left me pretty worn out and sore. Hopefully, I'll get my long run in this weekend. Here are some pics of our adventure.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

In other happy news...

We've got another little runner on the way. Expect his or her arrival in early April!

The Virtual Mile Race Results

The results are in. Well, most of them. If you have not gotten me your time, just post a comment and I'll add you in.

I want to thank all of you for supporting me in my crazy goal of running a mile in less than 5 minutes. I had been working on this for a long time, and it was awesome to have done it with all of you out there with me. It was neat to see how many of you were motivated to keep working on your speed. This race idea was mostly a selfish attempt to find some extra motivation to cut off those last few seconds. I am thrilled that the race provided some motivation for a lot of you as well.

Without further ado, here are the results.

The women's race was very close. The top three were within 2 seconds of each other.
Marci - 6:56 Pleased with the sub-7.
Marcy - 6:58 Nearing the puke threshold.
Makita - 6:58 Stagecoach Robbery
Kara - 7:24 Racing solo is just no fun.
Nikemom - 7:42 After 90 minutes of running.
MCM Mama - 7:45 First time ever under 8 minutes.
Linden - 8:19 Great way to start a taper.
Merrymishaps - 8:35 "No new personal record, but I had a good run, anyway!"
Beth - 8:48 First virtual race and a near PR.
S - 9:05 "I ran it surprisingly fast (for me at least)."
Runnin' Ragged - 9:09 "I'm happy with it."
Michelle J - 9:24 "I’m a freakin running machine!!"
Lani - 9:34 Says her run was just an afterthought, but she was an incredible support.
Nancy - 10:07 Harley's, paratroopers, and she is definitely a runner!
J~Mom - 10:08 Post-dinner, pre-tri try.
Crankygirl - 10:12 What's 12 seconds?
Carly - 10:55 Celebrating the first day of school.
Pokey - 11:05 11 minute, 5 second lesson about herself.
(The Happy Runner gets an honorable mention for doing .71 miles in 4:44.)

There weren't any close finishes on the men's side, but exciting nonetheless.
Reid - 4:59 I did it!
Nitmos - 5:35 Garmin (p.b.t.n.) vs. Common sense (sorry Nitmos, had to go with the 4 lap time).
(The other) Reid - 5:50 Great name, great mile.
Maximus - 6:00 6 Minute Mile Man
Rob - 6:17 Fastest mile time so far.
Marci's "Hubs" - 6:23 Not shabby, considering he didn't run all summer.
ShoreTurtle - 6:46 Looking forward to more.
Greg - 7:44 Fast first mile threw off the rest of his 5k.
USJogger - 7:48 "Just shy of 5 minutes."
SuperDave - 8:02 "I'm always a day late and a dollar short!"
Pat - 10:14 "Roger Bannister would have been proud."

Thanks again to everyone for participating. And let me know if I missed anyone!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Oh my goodness...

After my last 1 mile attempt 2 weeks ago, I was bound and determined to reach my goal for this virtual race. Each workout over the last 2 weeks has been on the track, and each one was better than the previous one. From these workouts, I gained so much confidence for this attempt at the 5 minute mile. Add to this the incredible support I have received from all of you, there was no way I couldn't do it! Today was going to be the day.

Just after 7:00 AM, I headed over to the track with Lani and the girls for the big event. It was nice to have some company on my warm-up in the form of three beautiful girls. After my regular mile warm-up jog and some stretching, I headed to the starting line. I felt a little awkward with my own personal cheering section, but once I got started, it was all business.

I started out a little faster than planned (what's new?). My quarter mile split was a little faster than usual at 1:09. I knew I wouldn't be able to keep that pace up, but I couldn't afford slowing too much. Lap 2 flew by with a split of 1:17, putting me at 2:26 at the half (this was faster than I have been able to do any of my 800m repeats). With that time, I knew I was in a good position at this point. My third lap was a little slower, with a split of 1:20, but my total time was 3:46. All I had to do for the last lap was a 1:14 or better, and I have been able to do that in all of my recent attempts. However, I have never been anywhere near 3:46 after 1200m. I started picking up the pace, but with each step it became harder and harder to maintain. With a half a lap to go, I was still right on schedule. It was going to be close. I started my final kick and with 100m to go, I was sprinting all out. I could see my family at the finish cheering and ready for a picture. All I could think about was getting to that line. I stopped my watch as I crossed the finish and slowly looked down...


Almost collapsing to the track, all I could do was smile at Lani and say, "I did it!" [After which he proceeded to throw his long, glistening arms around me for a victory embrace. It was the sweatiest, most marvelous hug I've ever received! -Lani]

I did it. It feels so incredible to have reached this goal. Oh my goodness, it was so hard. It took so much hard work, and focus, and dedication, but I did it! I love seeing that "4" as the first digit. But more than that, I feel so blessed and honored to have so many of you pulling for me and supporting me in this crazy goal. It has been so cool to see and read about your experiences and your commitment and your goals. So, thank you! We did it!

iMovie created by Lani for this historic day...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor Day

Labor Day, for me, was very laborious. I work with the youth organization at church, and we had a service project on the nearby Indian reservation helping clear out tons of weeds from someone's backyard. We had about 5 young men and a few other leaders helping out. We had a good time and got tons done.

In the last couple weeks we've had several storms that have brought a lot of rainfall, which has brought about tons of our own weeds. So when I got home this morning, I headed out to make a dent in our backyard. After a few minutes, I couldn't help but notice how quiet it was working by myself compared to working with the young men. I decided to go back in and grab the iPod to keep me company. That definitely helped make the job easier and the time pass a little more quickly. It also got me thinking about running (even though I don't run with my iPod too often), and, as sick as this sounds, looking forward to doing long runs again. I'm planning for a marathon in early January, and will start training for it next week. It'll be nice to have some different scenery besides the football field and bleachers at the track. I'm looking forward to running up and down South Mountain, along the canals, and on the streets again. Not doing speedwork 3 times a week, and running at an easier pace.

I've really enjoyed training for the mile, but my preferred distance is the marathon. I have grown to love going to the track, something I'd only rarely done in my training for any of my previous races. I'll definitely be returning as I train for the marathon, and hopefully, I'll see some benefits from all the speedwork I've done this summer.