Monday, January 28, 2013


Course profile of the 15k race I am doing this Sunday, just north of Salem-Keizer.
This race has kind of snuck up on me, but fortunately I have been training well for it. Aside from my half marathon last summer in Coburg, it will be the longest race I will have done to date at 15k. By the end of this year it won't be anywhere near my 2nd longest race ever, but for now, that is where it ranks in my brief running career.

Fifteen kilometers is 9.33 miles, or the equivalent of running three 5k races back to back to back (duh). It's less than four miles short of a half marathon, so a 15k is nothing to sneeze at. I will be doing another one in a couple months, the Shamrock Run in March. Last year I did the 5k there (my second race ever) and set a goal to do the 15k this year.

Like the Shamrock, this course will be hilly, so I will have to temper my time expectation accordingly. It looks like the bulk of the hills are in the first 5k though, so it will be nice to get them out of the way early. The next 5k looks pretty much downhill and the final 5k is flatter although there are some small rolling hills. So it goes Uphill > Downhill > Flat. I think Shamrock goes Flat > Uphill > Downhill, which would be a little more difficult. So this will be good practice for that.

The cool thing about this race is that it only cost $10! Looks to be fairly well set up and organized too. So I am excited to go out there and give it a whirl. Looks like it will be a run along the shoulders of country roads, much like the aptly named Run In The Country. I know it will be a challenge for me, running race pace for 9 miles over a hilly course, but this why I run, to test my abilities and strive to get better. I can run nine miles no problem, it will just be a matter finding the optimal pace that will give me my best time!

Race Goals:

"A" Goal: Run a sub 1:15:00. That is under 8 minutes/mile. Considering I just barely squeaked that out during the Runs for Cookies 5k on a hilly course, I think that is a good "A" goal; that is the equivalent of three sub 25 minute 5Ks. I would be thrilled with this time.

"B" Goal: Run a sub 1:20:00. That is about 8:30/mile. I am having a hard time gauging this run because of the hills. I am not sure how brutal those first three miles are going to be and how to set expectations accordingly. Even a good effort up the three miles of hills could come in at 9:30/mile if they are particularly brutal, then I am spending the rest of the race chasing sub 8s on tired legs to bring it home under 8:30/mile. We'll see how it plays out.

"C" Goal: Give it my all and finish without getting hurt. I can't get too caught up on times, but I will be disappointed if I don't at least hit my B goal. I never want to feel like I didn't give 110% and leave it all out there though, so as long as I do that I'll let the chips fall as they may.

Friday, January 25, 2013


Tonight I ran another virtual 5k race, this time for the blog Runs for Cookies. The author of the blog, Katie, was turning 31 and thought it would be fun if people ran 3.1 miles with her on her 31st. I think over a thousand people signed up, so I would say it was a smashing success!

My goal was under twenty five minutes and I was just barely able to get that. I finished in 24:51, so just under the line. I am kind of disappointed with that time, considering it is 1 minute a mile over my record pace, but at the same time I have to take into account a few things:
  • It was a virtual race, so while I knew I was in a race and that was motivating, I didn't have the competition around me that usually pushes me to run even a bit harder
  • Very hilly route. Not a route to set a great time on. Don't really have a flat option without taking a car ride somewhere!
  • After work on a Friday, so I was pretty worn out
So, when I put it that way, I actually did a really good job! ;) I did though, I definitely pushed myself and my lungs were burning and towards the end my muscles started to complain. When I finished it took me a few minutes to catch my breath and cool down, much more than a normal run.

Anyways, it was fun. I like things that get me out and make me challenge myself. I even wore a bib for the race that she designed, but unfortunately I saw nary a soul on my run so nobody could look at me like I was crazy.

Tomorrow I am going to do twelve miles. I might have to go into work so hopefully I can get it in before I get called in for that. I don't know what route I am going to run. Wish I could push it off until Sunday, but I have Brandon that day and there just won't be time. Oh, and hopefully it's sunny too! We had a warmup today that brought rain, so hopefully the warm stays and the rain goes away!

Total time: 24:51. Mile times were 7:43, 7:58, 8:05.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Recently I have started back up the weekend tradition of a long run. When I start marathon training I'll be doing these every weekend, so I thought I would get in the swing of things a little bit early. Plus, I have a half marathon in Corvallis during April, so if 13 miles can be routine by then, that would be great.

I have to admit, the long runs aren't that bad. I'm almost, wait for it.... looking forward to them. Maybe I shouldn't go that far, but the long runs are fun because 1) I get to run routes I don't normally run, 2) I get to run during the daylight and can actually see things, 3) the sense of accomplishment afterward is very nice.

Below you will see the route I ran this last Saturday. It was only ten miles as I had done twelve the week before and needed to tone things down about after the 32 mile week (I did 22.5). I was a little worn all week from the week before, but I think taking it a little easy was a good call because I felt pretty dang rested for my run on Saturday morning. It was beautiful outside, it had frosted over the night before and it was sunny as all get out.

One factor helping me get back into the swing of things recently is the nice weather. It's been very cold (below freezing at nights and barely above during the day) but it has been sunny and clear. A lot easier to get out there when you are not going to get soaked. Anyways, the sun was brilliant last Saturday and I even woke up early to get it going. I've discovered that "Car Talk" and "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" are back to back starting at 10am on NPR Saturday mornings. I love both those shows and they provide entertainment during the run and help things along.

Long runs also provide you with a different mindset. You know you are going to be out there for a while, so you kind of just zone out and take it somewhat easy. I still made great time (8:54/mi after 9:57/mi during last week's 12 miler!) but really didn't feel tired until the 7.5 mile mark or so. All in all it was a great run and helped launch me into a very productive Saturday!

Anyways, I know once these runs start hitting 15 miles or so they won't be quite as liberating. Eventually they are going to drone on and I'll get bored, but I'll just need to power through. I need to upload some interesting podcats to my phone or something to help pass the time. Overall I just need to keep putting miles into my legs to build that base for the marathon.

Monday, January 14, 2013


My graph
My weekly run totals in 2012.

I thought it would be a good time to reflect on 2012, the "Year of Running" for Thomas. While my first race was in 2011, I didn't really dedicate myself to running until December of 2011 or so, and really picked it up early spring once I decided to eventually do a marathon and become pretty serious. Deep down inside I was probably really hoping 2012 was the end of the world, but it wasn't, so now I am stuck still alive running. Oh well!

The first quarter of 2012 is very easy to analyze because every run I did was 3.2 miles. I had my 5k course at my apartment and that was all I ran. It was such a simpler time. As you can see, most weeks I ended up running just twice with a couple 1-fers and a couple 3-fers. On some of those days "off" it was raining and I chose to do the elliptical inside instead.

The two weeks after Shamrock (the red run early March) I slacked off a bit before picking it up and really training hard for the Earth Day Run, which I did very well at (the next red run). After that I started to mix in some different types of runs, easy runs, hilly runs, long runs, etc. Eventually I worked my way up to the Rum Run, my first non-5k.

My running really peaked while training for the half marathon, as you can see. Included in this training was that long 15.4 mile jaunt that still is my longest run ever. Surprisingly, the week after, I still ran 15 miles. I remember being gimpy, so that is pretty impressive. Touche me. After that, three pretty solid 25+ mile weeks and then my awesome half marathon, which I rocked.

Looking back at this chart, it's no wonder I was in better shape during my half marathon. Look at how much I ran! I don't remember that! :P Anyways, after the half, it's been kind of "on again, off again" and not super dedicated. I hit a 20 mile week every three weeks or so. For a while during the late spring/early summer I hit 20 miles in 9 out of 10 weeks.

It won't be hard to get 2013 back on track. Two runs of 10k during the week and a 10 mile long run is 22 miles. Ideally, I'd like to be doing 25+ miles a week pretty regularly. I'll definitely need that for marathon training and I expect that to be a huge motivation, just like the half marathon training was for me. Right now I can run a 10k no problem so I need bigger motivations. Although, I think I signed up for a half marathon in like... March? April? It's in Corvallis.

To close things off, I want to mention I ran THIRTY TWO (and a half) MILES this last week! Wohoo! 7.2 at group Monday, 6.3 on Wednesday, 7.0 on Friday, and 12.0 on Saturday. That is officially only the second time I went over 30, as you can see in the chart above. So a great week! I'm a little worn today but I'll take it easier and then I think I'll feel great.

Here's to 2013!

Friday, January 11, 2013


I was talking with a friend recently, being a nerd, and we were recalling our first computers. Then our second computers. Then I tried to remember all my computers. Then I felt if I didn't write some of this down I'd forget it and important history would be lost. Kind of like my list of mice I owned. Bless you Spot and Licorice and... the rest.

So, I present to you, my computer history! Things in parenthesis mean they were upgraded at some point. The sad part is my parents owned that computer from 2000 until 2011 when they finally replaced it.

ca. 1994
486 Processor @ 33 mHz
200MB Hard Drive
Windows 3.1
15" CRT

ca. 1997
166Mhz P1
3.2GB Hard Drive
Windows 95
15" CRT

ca. 2000
866Mhz P3
128MB RAM (384MB)
20GB Hard Drive
Windows ME (XP)
17" CRT

ca. 2005
2.8GHz P4
512MB RAM (2.5GB)
160GB Hard Drive
Windows XP Media Center
17" LCD

ca. 2010
2.66Ghz i5 Quad Core
750GB Hard Drive
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
24" LCD & 17" LCD

ca. 2017
3.00Ghz i5 Quad Core 7th Gen.
8GB DDR4 -2133 RAM (16 GB)
256GB SSD & 1TB Hard Drives
Windows 10 Home 64-bit
24" LCD & 17" LCD

I'd kill for that 1994 machine now.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


Not all that much honestly. Just keeping on keeping on. I feel like I have slightly re-dedicated myself to running in that I started doing longer runs again and am trying to do more during the week. I am still only running maybe like twice during the week though and then my long run on the weekend. When I am in full on marathon training mode I'll need to run at least three, if not four, times during the week. Just hard after work when I'm tired and it's cold, dark, and wet out there. I've bitched about that enough though.

I've been modifying my normal 10k route to accomodate longer runs. The attached run was 11.35 miles. It was supposed to be closer to 12 but I took a wrong turn off Sexton Mountain and ended up only doing two extra "humps" instead of a whole detour onto Carolwood Drive. Oh well. I also like the start of the run down that powerline park. No traffic and it's pretty. However, I can only do that during the day time otherwise I would find myself doing it more. Only need light for the first 2 miles though, after that it can get dark.

Long runs also seem easier. Six miles is again no big deal and now doing ten or eleven isn't really a big deal either. My legs feel a little worn after but nothing too bad. That is definitely an improvement from this fall when I had my little shoe fiasco and got pretty out of shape. So it's nice to be back to this level.

I also am running a bit faster. I really think most of my "slowing down" since the start of summer is a combination of two things. First, moving into the hills. I cannot discount those, although I'm only going myself a 15 sec/mile grace for them. Second, my body getting used to my "long run" pace so I tend to default into this pace. I used to haul ass every day but I just did a 5k over and over. Now I have to adjust my pace based on the length of the run.

The last couple of shorter runs I actively decided to push my pace past the "bracket" I was settling into. While at first my lungs screamed, pretty soon I was used to the pace and the run wasn't bad at all. Last week I ran 4.35 miles at a 8:14/mile clip. While I'd like to get that back down below 8, even with the hills, that wasn't too much of a struggle. I still have the "speed" in me, I just need to tap into it (and keep using it more than just races so I don't lose the lung capacity).

Anyways, that's the update. No races for January, but those will start back up in February. Then marathon training for Portland... will probably start that in April. Going to suck during the heat of the summer!