Ever go to bed feeling really good?

Last night I started thinking that I was feeling great and could do a good run this morning. There was no race scheduled, but I really felt like I could probably set a 5K PR. My previous PR was 26:09. I was disappointed as to how that race ended and I needed to redeem myself.

This morning I got up still feeling like today could be my day. I did not run yesterday because of an incident on Friday that scared me a bit silly. I will share that later.

I went out for a short warm up run this morning of about 5:00. That is not really long enough, but I felt ready. I stretched a bit and psyched myself up to go.

The goal was to run 5:06 for each Km, which is what my goal a few weeks ago at the race was. This time though I was determined to not fade in the end. This would give me a finishing time of 25:30. Quite a big leap from my previous PR.

The first Km went without too much incident. I did have to pause briefly for a car to pass. I was thinking that that is one thing you don’t have to deal with in a race since traffic is stopped for you. I was afraid that if I got too many cars at intersections they could put my PR run in jeopardy. Fortunately there is not too much traffic at 8:00 on a Sunday morning.

While it is good to see you ran a Km 15 seconds faster than your planned pace, it is not good to see it so early on. I was afraid that I would be in trouble at the end. I had one other intersection/car to deal with in this Km.

Though it was fast, it was nice to be feeling so well while being over half way to my goal. I had not thought about how many seconds I was ahead of schedule. I did not want to use the extra time to allow myself to slow down in the end. But, I also knew that even if I was not feeling well at the end, I had a little extra time in the bank.

I had decided before the 4th Km mark that if I was under 5 minutes for that Km, then I would take a very short walk break. I had not decided on how long until I saw my time. I allowed myself a 10 second walk break with plans to keep the final Km strong.

Even with the walk break I did not fall off my pace. In fact, with all the splits under my goal, I felt really good.

What a great time! I was 1:30 faster than my previous PR and 51 seconds faster than my goal.

As much as I hate to admit it, I know that this faster time is due to running with my friend Jeff. He has not learned how to slow down. He has no sense of pace. When we run together I constantly have to reign him back. But, even at that, we are running about 1:20 faster per mile than I would normally run on my own. He has forced me to run faster–something that I was not doing by myself. I have helped him slow down and he has helped me speed up.

This was a great run and it feels good to get that monkey off my back. I have had a few races where I totally missed my goal. That last race really bothered me to know I faded at the end. Mostly it bothered me because I did not feel like I was fading. I thought I was doing well. I lost my sense of pace that day. But not today!

Today I conquered!

I did it! What’s Next?

1000 kilometers run in 2007!

I told a friend of mine this and he told me I have no need for a car anymore. I think I will keep the car though.

This was not my goal at the beginning of the year. I missed all of my goals that I set from the beginning. But, I did move forward in every aspect, just not as much as I had hoped. I think I was just a bit too ambitious. Now having another year behind me, I think I am ready to make a stab at a much bigger goal.

I signed up with a training/support group that has a 1000 mile goal for 2008.

I am not going to set any specific PR goals for races this year other than to say I have as a goal to PR in all distances that I run. I am really feeling great right now with some faster times on shorter distances.

Another goal I have for the year is a reading goal. I have a friend that said he has a goal of reading 800 pages a month for 2008. I don’t know how many pages a month I currently read, but I am going to take up his goal as my own and give it a real shot. I do know that some months I read that much, while other months I don’t. It may be a bit of a challenge to keep it up all year.

Does anyone track the number of pages you read? How do you do it? Paper log? Online log? I am leaning to something online just because I like the idea of sharing it with others, but I have not found anything I like. I guess I will just try to do an occasional post here with how I am doing towards my goal.

Moving along

I trotted another 6 miles closer to my yearly goal today. Just 12.5 miles to go. Barring any bizarre injury over the next few days, I should be able to make it.

Today’s run was 1.6 miles to my friend’s house (then 1.6 on the way back). My friend’s brother is visiting from the Marine Corps. The brother joined us on our run this morning. Together we ran 2.91 miles at an 8:25 pace. That is very fast for me. We had three helpings of testosterone going this morning. None of us wanted to slow down for the other. That is one second faster than my fastest 5K PR pace.

My times have been consistently dropping over the last month or so. An easy run used to be 10:30 to 11:00 per mile. Now normal runs are sub 9:30. I am pleased to see the pace drop.

My friend wants to hit a pace of 8:00 per mile. As much as I would like to do that too, I was thinking it would take us a while to get there. Maybe I was wrong.

The biggest concern I have is that my friend is a new runner. New runner + Fast pace = Injuries. I feel like he may be pushing a bit too hard just to reach a goal. I am trying to reign him back so that he does not hurt himself. On the other hand, his innocence is really causing me to think that I have been holding myself back too much.

Cool Running to Active

This was a frustrating week in the running community. The place where I had previously kept my running log, Cool Running, sold out to Active early in 2007. In August there was talk about how our running logs would be transitioned over to Active’s system in September. Later, it was pushed to October, November and then December. It finally happened last weekend.

Leading up to the transition, there were many questions about Active’s training log. One thing I did not want to do was create an account at Active and start using the system. That complicated everything and I did not want them to have to try and match up my two usernames at the two different sites. But, I did as much reading about the log as I could. Active is very much a “pay for extra services” type site. Nothing wrong with that, but we were getting a lot of features free at Cool Running that we were going to have to pay extra for at Active. These issues were raised and Active seemed to finally be listening and offering to make certain features free.

But the transition took place and things fell apart.

For many people their logs were not moved over, or their logs were missing information (as was my case). Then the problem was not just that the info did not transfer over but the log itself is totally klunky. Just trying to enter a run into the system is not fun. To enter all the basic information that would take one page in Cool Running’s log now took at least 5 pages at Active. You click the date that you want to enter a workout for (load new page) and then have to tell it to enter a new workout (load new page). Then you choose the date again along with the type of workout. Let’s say running (load new page). Enter the type of run with your time (load new page). Manually add mileage to your shoes (load new page). I still have not found out where to add my weather information nor how to change a workout from being planned to actually doing it. The runs that did get transferred over to the new site are all planned workouts. According to their log I have not actually run any mileage.

They instructed us that it would take 24 hours from the time we requested our log conversion until it was available on the new system. My transfer did not go well. Data was lost. I waited the obligatory 24 hours and did not get any more information to magically appear. I contacted them and got an automatic reply telling me that someone would be getting back to me. When they finally did (20 hours later) it was a canned response that told me how to convert my data to begin with. The data conversion had already been done, as I explained in the first email. I wrote them back and have now been waiting 5 days to get a new response. I don’t think one is forthcoming.

Each time you go to the sites (forums at one site and running log at another) you have to log in again. It does not save your login from one session to the next. Since their site’s main business is selling services, for your safety they force the log out so that no one can run up a bill for you.

Cool Runners have been leaving in droves. Active has said they are addressing many of these issues. They expect to have some things worked out in 3 to 4 months. Months! I have already found a new home for my running log. I am a very happy member at RunningAHEAD now. This log is every bit as easy to use as Cool Running’s log was, but with more features. Still you enter all your run info on one page.

Cool Running did have a way to export your log (Active does not). As soon as they started talking about the transition taking place, I took the time to export my log after every run. Many people did not. While there is still a back door to get at your log and download it, that probably won’t be available for long. RunningAHEAD makes it easy to download your log.

Check out my new stats generated by RunningAHEAD in my sidebar. I have not looked to see if I can make my log public yet or not, but probably the statistics in the sidebar is more than most people will want to know about my running.

Active is owned by ESPN. But, they only have 10 hour work days. They have not responded to any type of comments in the forums since the middle of the week last week. I am sure they will be off for Christmas. In that amount of time the ones who were holding out to try and make this transition work will be long gone. I told Active that I would try and stick it out until they get my log imported properly and I get a chance to really use their system. I have been waiting several days now and have not heard anything. I have logged several miles at RunningAHEAD and don’t see any reason to give Active another shot.

Active bought a community of hundreds (and maybe thousands) of runners. Within a week they have managed to drive the majority of them away. So much for the purchase of new users.

I hit a car today while running

Yes, you read that right. I hit a car. The car did not hit me.

I was running this morning on the edge of the road against the flow of traffic. A burnt orange Dodge Neon was coming at a pretty good clip down a residential street. The driver was not relinquishing the side of the road to me even though it was a two lane road and there were no cars coming from behind me.

I stood my ground and was not going to give in to the car. At the end I stepped off the side of the road and readied myself to whack the side of the car as it drove by.

A word about proper car whacking technique: You have to be smart in your timing of these things. You don’t want to hit between the doors and hit one of the real solid parts of the car. You also don’t want to hit the front of the car just in case you don’t pull your hand back fast enough to clear the mirror. I also choose not to whack the door itself. Those can be more expensive to repair than the back quarter panel. I am just kind that way.

As the car pulled near I side stepped and gave it a good solid whack. I felt the quarter panel bend in real good, but then it sounded like it popped right back out as the car went by. Too bad.

I then readied myself for the repercussions of the driver turning around and coming after me. I was hoping to finish my lap of speed work before having to deal with the driver. But, the driver never came after me. I heard the car slow down, but then drive right off.

This happens on occasion, but never have I had someone driving so fast directly at me. Usually they are going slower and feel that they can risk getting close to me without really hitting me. I have also never hit a car as hard as I hit this one. I was a bit angry to say the least. I just hit another car last week in the same neighborhood, but not near as hard.

Here is the absolutely scary part about this incident this morning. After it was all said and done, I started putting pieces together. It was a female driver. Female drivers don’t play chicken with runners. They are much more thoughtful than that. I have only ever had problems with male bus, taxi and car drivers. Never a female. What I realized when it was over was this: she never saw me. Had I been running with the flow of traffic and assumed that any car coming up behind me would go around, I probably would still be in a hospital at this time. She was going fast enough to have either killed me or seriously damaged my body.