April 29, 2008

Five slow group-run miles last night (9:40 average pace).

It is about four days and seventeen hours until the start of the Eugene Marathon, and I guess I am about ready. Looking back, I’m happy with how my training went… except for a couple weeks with a bad cold, I’ve been on-schedule and uninjured. I think you always wish you had time to get more long runs in, but my 24-miler should be enough.

After Eugene I’ll be taking a month off of work and off of any kind of focused training. (My blogging might be minimal or nonexistent too.) I’m going to be doing short runs only, probably six miles or so at most. I’m thinking I will try to go to five days a week of running instead of my current four… I believe my body is ready for it, and switching to a five-day schedule during my break from long runs seems right.


My bathroom scale is a liar

April 28, 2008

My bathroom scale cheats to make it seem more accurate than it actually is. It’s a digital scale. And I recently found out that if you weigh yourself, then shortly after weigh yourself again, it will always show the exact same weight… even if you carry an extra five pound weight during the first weigh.

It other words, it caches the last displayed weight for some amount of time (about a minute?), and if the difference between the current weight and the cached one is small enough (less than a value we’ll call Φ), then the scale shows you the cached weight. I don’t know exactly what Φ is, but I know it is at least five pounds.

I have found some complaints on the internet about Weight Watchers brand scales doing the same thing. (Mine isn’t a Weight Watchers brand.)

There’s only one reason they would do this. It has to be because the scale is inaccurate enough (or sensitive enough to where you put your feet or how you lean) to routinely have an error rate approaching ±Φ. And they don’t want you to think that. So they put in this hack, this cheat, this evil thing, just to trick people like me, who sometimes do weigh themselves a few times in different spots on the floor or trying to step more evenly on the scale. Well done.

The trick really worked on me. I was convinced that the scale had very good repeatable accuracy.  Grrrrrr.

Taper Saturday

April 26, 2008

Just eight miles today! I ran it from home, to the north and east, so that meant big hills. I took it slow… really slow. (10:20 average pace I think?) It felt as easy as it sounds. Just one week until the Eugene marathon…

I hope I don’t pay for this later

April 25, 2008

The plan was to run two miles mostly uphill, taking it fairly easy, and two miles back, fast. Call it a “downhill session” — something to remind the legs what fast running feels like, without over-stressing the other systems. “Fast” here was intended to be a little under eight minutes a mile.

My mile splits were 9:07 8:53 7:09 6:51. Er. Hmm. It’s fair to say I was stressing more than just the legs there. I have no excuse for running that fast on the way back other than that it was fun. (But why else do I run?) Should I avoid setting new PRs for the mile (even if downhill) while in my marathon taper? I ask the question rhetorically.

Well, my legs haven’t fallen off yet.

“Even has a clip-on ketchup cup!”

April 24, 2008

You need this automobile French fry holder. No. You do.

Boring training report, marathon strategy

April 23, 2008

I ran six miles at lunch today, three largely uphill (a net gain of about 235 feet over three miles, with some downhill segments too) followed by three largely down. I tried to keep an even 8:30 pace, but it’s hard for me to not try to “beat” my goal pace, mostly because I feel uncomfortable without a little buffer. This is something I may want to work on before the marathon, actually. Anyway, my splits were 8:22, 8:32, 8:22, 8:24, 8:25, 8:24. The uphill miles were hard work and the downhill ones an easy cruise.

Some strategy thoughts regarding the Eugene Marathon:

  • My goal pace is 8:50/mile. That would get me 3:51:26. The extra 8:34 before 4:00:00 is all the buffer I should need; I shouldn’t try to build up any more buffer by actually running 8:45s!
  • I liked the nutritional strategy I used during my 24-miler. I ate a lot (a fun-size candy bar every 15-20 minutes) during the first third of the run, and tapered off the eating after that. My theory is that by taking it nice and easy to start and by taking in as many calories as practical during that time, that those early miles “don’t count” as far as carb depletion goes, and thus I push off the wall past mile 26. Besides, it takes some time to digest food: anything I eat in the last few miles probably won’t effect me until after the finish.  So I’m going to stick with that idea and snack a lot during the first miles. Of course that means I need to drink a lot during that time as well.
  • If, somehow, I’m still feeling strong by mile N, for some value of N, then and only then will I throw away the goal pace and just run. Most likely this won’t happen. But just in case it does, I should decide what N is. It’s got to be somewhere between 22 and 25.5, I think… Let’s say 23.5.

Slippery When Wet

April 22, 2008

The weather in Portland has been uncooperative lately; after a glimpse of warm springtime a couple weeks ago, we’ve had rain, hail and temperatures in the low 40s since. Last night I felt cold and bundled up to run, with gloves, my jacket, and shorts-over-tights. (The last of which I was told was “not the style”. Style, schmyle.)

There’s this one part of our run, right after a wooden bridge, where the path is still made of wood (kind of a boardwalk), and where it takes a 90 degree turn to the left. I slipped and fell there a few weeks ago when it was wet, so yesterday, it being wet again, I approached the spot with extra caution. I slowed down. I watched my footsteps. I felt for traction. I eased into the turn.

I went down like a ton of bricks, of course.

This time I scraped up my knee a bit. The scrape is small and minor, but it’s an aggravation.