Monday’s Run / Signed up for a 5K

September 30, 2008

Last night I ran four miles at a nine minute pace followed by a mile and a half at an eight minute pace. An uneventful run.

I signed up for another race in a few weeks — a 5K this time. If you look over to the right (you’ll have to visit the actual blog to see it if you are reading this in a feed reader) you’ll see that my current 5K PR is 29:42. Which is a 9:34/mile average pace. That was also the first race I ever ran, back in March 2007. I figured the record needed updating.

Anyway, my goal for this 5K will be 22:00, which means a (gulp) 7:05 average pace.


Goal-paced 10

September 29, 2008

I don’t know when my next marathon will be because I refuse to sign up for one until I can go two solid weeks without noticing that my foot hurts. Whenever it is, I’m pretty sure I’ll try for an 8:30/mile race pace. That’s 18 seconds a mile off my PR at Eugene, which is slightly aggressive — a 10 to 15 seconds per mile improvement might be considered more typical for a runner like me — but I did run Eugene conservatively. Also, 8:30 is a nice round number.

With that in mind, I’m going to try to start doing some of my runs deliberately at an 8:30 pace. The idea of doing goal-paced runs makes good sense to me. It’s one more aspect of race-specific training. If you’re going to run a trail race, train on trails; if you’re going to run a hilly race, train on hills; and, so, if you’re going to run 8:30 miles in your race, run 8:30 miles in training. As far as training speed goes, a goal pace is somewhere in the middle: interval training or tempo training is faster, and long slow runs are, of course, slower. (Since nearly any theory you might propose about running has someone who confidently believes it, I believe you’ll also find people who will tell you that running at your goal pace is a wasted or at least significantly sub-optimal effort, taking place at a speed that’s a “dead zone” between useful speed work and slow base-building work. I just don’t buy it.)

This has been a really long-winded way to get to the point of this post. Saturday morning I ran 10.5 flat miles on the Sellwood-Steel Willamette loop at an 8:30 pace. It was a great day for running and it actually turned out to be a great run. I just felt like I was firing on all cylinders. Nothing felt heavy or sluggish or hurt. Sticking to 8:30s was hard enough to be interesting but easy enough to be fun. If only every workout could be so good.

So my bank failed

September 26, 2008

I’ve been saying Washington Mutual (WAMU) is going to fail for a while now. All my banking is with them: savings, checking, credit card, mortgage, and a (zero balance) home equity line of credit. I figured I’d leave my money with them even though I was expecting a failure because:

  • A vague sense of good citizenship said I should do my part to avoid a bank rush
  • Morbid curiosity to see what it would be like to be part of a bank failure
  • I thought they would fail early enough in the current crisis that the FDIC would still be solvent, so I was risking inconvenience but not actual money.

Last night WAMU failed. Or was seized by the FDIC, same thing I guess. But they managed to sell off WAMU’s deposits, loans, and branches to JPMorgan Chase, so supposedly there’s no interruption of business and no further need for the FDIC or their money. We’re just all Chase customers now.

Chase’s “Welcome” message to WAMU customers is predictably cheery and calm:

Continue to bank just as you usually do:

  • same account numbers,
  • same Washington Mutual name on your account,
  • same checks, debit cards, credit cards, deposit slips,
  • same online banking website and passwords,
  • same branches & ATMs,
  • same familiar bankers, and
  • same great service!

We’ll see. I paid some bills online this morning. Obviously it’s still the same old software running on the servers, so the experience was the same as always. The visible changes, rebranding etc, are expected to roll out over a course of months.

WAMU has a lot of branches in Portland — one in almost every Fred Meyer — and they have always done a pretty decent job at customer service. They’ve never nickeled and dimed me to death, and it’s a shame to see them go.

Looking for a new night route

September 25, 2008

Only three people showed up to run Wednesday night at the Beaverton branch of the Portland Running Company, and I was barely one of them. My nose was really stuffed up and I considered not going. I’m glad I did, though — as sometimes happens, a brisk (or was it grueling?) run totally cleared me out and made me feel 100% better. We tried out a proposed “winter route”. When it’s dark and wet out, the Fanno Creek paths are a non-starter, being both extremely dark and often flooded. So we run on the streets. It’s hard to find a good route in the are that meets all these criteria, though:

  • Six miles, with a five mile option as well
  • Starting and finishing at the store, preferably a loop
  • Doesn’t cross major streets such as Scholls Ferry, Hall, or Murray
  • Limits time running along such major streets
  • Decent lighting
  • Minimize turns where possible to make it easier to learn and remember route
  • Minimize backtracking or detours that just are there to add distance

The route we tried last night actually turned out to only be 5.5 miles, which was a problem. Other than that it was OK. We averaged 8:12 per mile.

Ten slow miles, monitored

September 22, 2008

For a change of pace for my usual solo Saturday “long” run (which is just ten miles lately) I decided to use the heart-rate monitoring chest band that came with my Forerunner 305. I usually leave it at home, and by “usually”, I mean 99.5% of the time. Knowing that my heart is pounding away like a tiny monkey on his fifth cup of espresso doesn’t really do me much good.

But as I said, I was looking for a change of pace. So I put the monitor on and resolved to stay under 80% of my max heartrate. They say doing a lot of this kind of low-to-moderate effort running is really good for you, that it builds your aerobic “base“, prevents injury, burns fat, etc etc. “They” say a lot of things. (And they always say it with great confidence.)

About a year and a half ago I did an 80% heartrate run on many of the same paths. Back then, in my running infancy, it meant thirteen minute miles. Now? Ten minute miles. That’s a better pace, at least it looks like you’re jogging, not just oozing along like some sort of overly ambitious protozoan.

After that, I spent the rest of the weekend gorging myself on junk food. I might need to work on that :-)

So-so workout

September 18, 2008

I wasn’t feeling it at all last night. After my first slow warm-up mile, I was sweating and uncomfortable in the humid air and my right calf was hurting a little. I only ran three more miles, all slow. I felt generally run-down and achy. On the up side, my right foot is feeling pretty fine. I don’t think my calf is a big deal — just a bit of tightness and soreness, nothing injured feeling.

Hard Six

September 16, 2008

There’s a guy who’s been running with the Monday night group since springtime (I think), who’s been getting faster and faster (and also running longer and longer). He’s often the only one in the group who naturally runs around the same pace that I do. Last night he asked me how far I was running.

“Six miles.”


“I can go hard, sure.”

“Good, I want a hard workout.”

It was pretty warm out, so we negotiated a bit about what this hard pace would be. I think we settled on 8:15 per mile or so. During the run, we pushed each other along; I think both of us though the other was having an easier time of it. Six tough miles later, we came in with a 7:42/mile average pace, with all six miles coming in under 8:00.