Sunday, November 28, 2010

Weekly Training: November 22 - 28

(The graphic is from my page at

Thanksgiving week, my focus was the Turkey Trot 10K race on Thursday morning.  I rested my legs Monday as usual, ran one last speed tuneup Tuesday, 4 miles at 8:18 pace.  This was pretty close to my target pace for the race, a target that I didn't maintain on race day.  I rested my legs an extra day Wednesday to be fresh for Thursday.  Thursday, I ran a warmup mile before the race, and Raced 6.2  miles (see separate race report).
After the race, I ran four, six, and eight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to transition back into a more normal following training week.

Running miles - YTD: 1,725.2; Month: 163.0; Week: 29.3.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Race Report - Turkey Trot 10K Race

(Early in the race.  I'm just over the left shoulder of #469)

20th Annual Turkey Trot 10K at Tyrell Park - 6.2 miles, 56:53, 09:10 minutes/mile pace

I had high hopes for setting a new 10K PR at this year's Turkey Trot.  My best existing official 10K time was 54:29 (8:47 pace), at this event in 2009.  In general, my running is stronger and quicker than last year.  Based on my October and November training runs, I really expected to be able to finish at around 52 minutes, or 8:20 pace.

No PR was to be had on this day.   Firstly, I do not run my best in warm weather.  The average temperature for all of my runs in November was about 53 degrees (F).  However, temperature for this race was unseasonably warm, in the mid-70s, very humid, and windy. When I ran well in this race in 2009, it was 39 degrees.  Huge difference. By mid way, I'd even pulled my shirt of to try to stay cooler.

I can't blame the results entirely on the weather, either.  I didn't run a smart race tactically.  As my longer runs have increased in length, 6.2 miles feels like a fairly short run.  I went into this race overconfident, and didn't respect the distance or the weather.  I didn't employ a pace strategy at all, went out WAY too fast for the weather, and burned out early.  My mile splits were: 7:44, 8:17, 9:15, 10:14, 10:07, 9:31, 1:43 (0.2).

This was still a great local event, with over 850 runners this year, a record turnout. I got to meet up with local dailymilers Jeremy F, William F, Tammy H, Evan A, Tara C, Daniel F. And still much to be grateful for on this day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tuesday Quote of the Week - The Sense of "I am" (Consciousness)

"The Sense of 'I am' (Consciousness)"

"When I met my Guru, he told me: 'You are not what you take yourself  to be. Find out what you are. Watch the sense "I am," find your real Self.' I obeyed him, because I trusted him. I did as he told me. All my spare time I would spend looking at myself in silence. And what a difference it made, and how soon!

My teacher told me to hold on to the sense 'I am' tenaciously and not to swerve from it even for a moment. I did my best to follow his advice and in a comparatively short time I realized within myself the truth of his teaching. All I did was to remember his teaching, his face, his words constantly. This brought an end to the mind; in the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am -- unbound.

I simply followed (my teacher's) instruction which was to focus the mind on pure being 'I am', and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together, with nothing but the 'I am' in my mind and soon peace and
joy and a deep all-embracing love became my normal state. In it all disappeared -- myself, my Guru, the life I lived, the world around me. Only peace remained and unfathomable silence."

~Nisargadatta Maharaj

(Thanks to fellow runner, yogi and blogger Muriel at for posting this on her blog for me to find, borrow and pass on.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Meatless Monday

Running Green supports Meatless Monday, an initiative associated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The goal of Meatless Monday is to help reduce meat consumption in order to improve public health and the health of the planet.

These delicious-looking recipes are published by the Meatless Monday initiative, and may be found at

Monday Morsels (Source:
Elle South Africa has embraced the global movement… The Johns Hopkins Newsletter announces MM in the school’s food court and café… The Massachusetts Telegram offers weekly meal ideas, complete with a MM… Capitol Hill Seattle announces two new MM restaurants, Oddfellows and Smith… Snack Girl Lisa Cain asks us “Why Monday?”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Weekly Training: November 15 - 21, A Recovery Week

(The graphic is from my page at

This week was all about recovery.  After six consecutive weeks of increasing mileage, fatigue became a factor, and I planned a lighter week this week.

I kept the runs pretty easy all week, shortening the distances and reducing the intensity.  I skipped the mile intervals, and a run at tempo pace Thursday was the only quicker-paced run all week.

I thought I could cut back from the 50's to about 40 miles, but late in the week, it became apparent that 40 was too much.  I struggled Saturday, and cut an intended 13 miler back to 8.  By Sunday morning, I started feeling some energy in my legs again, but instead of running long, I opted to keep it light another day.  This turned out to be just what I needed.  I had a good 7.5 miles at a comfortable pace, and finally feel 100% again.  Now, I should be in good shape to run the 10K Turkey Trot race on Thanksgiving morning.

Sunday's run was a nice change of pace.  Instead of my usual long, solitary run, I met up with the local Exygon Fitness Center's Road Runner group for their weekly group run.  I actually started a little earlier, running to a local park, and then to the gym where the group meets.  I've run with the group on a couple of occasions, and know several members.  They run an out-and-back route that totals eight miles.  Runners turn around and return from different points along the way, depending on their intended distance.  The runners tend to fall into groups of similar pace.  There was no way I could keep up with the lead group and paced with Brad, a runner I hadn't met before, slightly behind the lead group.  Brad turned around at the midway point for a four mile run, and I continued solo, catching up to the lead group as they rested a few moments before turning around at the midway point for 6 miles.  They ran a little easier on the way back, and I managed to keep up without pushing too hard. 

They had a very good turnout of runners Sunday, as a local magazine was there to do a feature on local runners.  Our local marathon's site had posted this in advance, encouraging a good showing of local runners for the feature.  The group runs this route near my neighborhood  every Sunday morning.  Most weeks I pass them goiing the opposite direction on my route.  so this was a good opportunity to meet a few of the runners that I wave to on the way by every week.  I met one runner, Celeste, who visits my blog.  Thanks, Celeste!   It's always nice to know that there are people out there reading it!

Running miles - YTD:  1,695.9; November: 133.7; Week: 29.5.
Daily yoga streak still going at 86 days!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Food Rules Friday

Michael Pollan is an acclaimed author and whole food/heathy eating advocate. He is the author of the best selling "In Defense of Food" and "The Omnivore's Dillemma."

Rule #22: "Treat meat as a flavoring or special occasion food."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Calming & Grounding Breath

Breath is the essense of life.  Here's a good calming breathing practice that may be of benefit for a runner as well as for a pratitioner of yoga. 

Breath control is so important to the running process.  During the run itself, runners are typically trained to use a 3:2 breathing technique for efficient oxygenation while running.  In other words, the inhale lasts for three steps and the exhale lasts for two steps.  Developing an efficient breathing rhythm helps develop efficient running technique.  Relaxation is also important for a runner.  A runner that approaches a race in a relaxed state will run more efficiently and use less energy.

Breath is an integral part of the practice of yoga. Every movement is coordinated with an inhalation  or exhalation.  Pranayama, or breath control, is a separate practice that is effective for clearing and focusing the mind and setting up a calm relaxed state for meditation.

"When the Breath wanders, the mind is unsteady, but when the Breath is still, so is the mind still."
~Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Bhagavad Gita - In Discussion

The Bhagavad Gita is really essential reading for aspiring yogis.  This "New Translation" was recommended highly by the Elephant Journal, one of my favorite yoga places to visit.  I picked up this version a few months ago, read it, and I'm now reading it again.  There is endless nuance in the text that is likely to continue to unfold in reading after reading.  I like to sit in bed and read a passage from the book every night just before I go to sleep.  The stillness of this quiet part of the evening seems perfect to reflect on the timeless words therein.  I'll probably re-read it many times.

A reason I bought this version of the Gita at the time was because of the formation of an online discussion group at the Elephant Journal to read and comment on the passages.  I got a late start, bought the book after the discussion had already begun, and never quite caught up.   It was also my first reading of the Gita.  I read most of the discussions, but with my newness to the text, wasn't really comfortable with full participation.

Last week, a second discussion group began.  I intend to follow it and try to participate to some extent.  They really welcome newcomers and readers of all levels.  There's an interesting difference in the current format.  The first discussion group followed the text from beginning to end.  The current discussion reviews the text thematically.  For each weekly discussion, sections from the entire book that speak to a thematic concept are subject for discussion.  For example, last week's topic followed the theme of "Live and Act with Love and Purpose."  The stanzas that spoke to the week's theme were published online for viewers' reading and comments.  So, the current discussions don't even require one to have a copy of the book!  What could be easier? 

The second weekly topic was just published today, "Experience the Infinite Wonder of All Things and of Everyday Life."

Intrigued?  It's not too late for any of my readers who are interested in yoga or yogic philosophy to join in! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Quote of the Week - What is Meditation?

“When the past thought has ceased, and a future thought has not yet risen, isn’t there a gap? Well, prolong it. That’s meditation.”
  ~Jamyang Khyentse
    (Quoted in Elephant Journal)

Do you have a personal definition for meditation?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Meatless Monday

Running Green supports Meatless Monday, an initiative associated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The goal of Meatless Monday is to help reduce meat consumption in order to improve public health and the health of the planet.

These delicious-looking recipes are published by the Meatless Monday initiative, and may be found at

Monday Morsels (Source:
The New Haven Independent reports that the town’s elementary and high schools now go MM… Dr. Mary Clifton makes an appeal to Traverse City to pass MM resolution… St. Louis’ Riverfront Times reports that Meatless Mondays have become a boon to restaurants”… Sean S. Miller, education director at the Earth Day Network endorses MM… popular advice column Earth Talk discussing the history of the MM movement.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekly Training: November 8 - 14, Another Record Week!

Graphic is from my page at

One more record week - 53.1 running miles, beating my previous best week of 51.1 miles last week.  This week's highlights included a third half marathon trial Saturday, and an 20-mile long run Sunday.  I struggled toward the end of this week.  I had to push harder than I should have to maintain pace on the Thursday, Saturday and Sunday runs.

Today was my weekly long run.  I hadn't run twenty or more since May, and I'd been wanting get back to that level. This may not have been the best day for it, since I struggled a little on Thursday's and Saturday's runs.  It wasn't pretty, but it's done. The first fourteen were OK, but the last six got pretty tough. Good training on the mental game.  Easy pace that went downhill toward the end: 10:24, 10:00, 10:14, 10:00, 10:14, 10:06, 10:15, 9:56, 10:02, 9:27, 10:17, 10:04, 10:16, 9:46, 10:15, 10:26, 10:47, 10:48, 10:48, 10:57.   I felt much better at the end of last Sunday's 18-miler than I did at 18 today.

Saturday was a third half marathon tune-up.  On the previous Saturday, running this same course at 8:37 pace seemed almost too easy. Today was a struggle to get average pace around nine. Splits: 9:40, 9:07, 9:14, 8:49, 9:06, 8:57, 9:05, 8:54, 8:55, 8:44, 8:57, 8:49, 8:16, 0:56 (0.1).

Weekday runs were 6 mile repeats at 8:02 pace Tuesday morning, and easy 8 miles at 9:25 pace Wednesday morning, and a 6 mile tempo run at 8:37 pace Thursday morning.

Same weights schedule: chest and biceps Monday, shoulders and legs Wednesday, and back and triceps Friday.

Struggling on the last 3 runs of the week tells me that I need to cut a few miles out of next week's schedule.  My normal pattern is to run a slightly lighter week after every 2 or 3 heavy weeks, and it's been 6 weeks since I've had a lighter week.  I'm overdue.

Running miles - YTD: 1,666; November: 104.2, Week: 53.1.
My daily yoga streak is at 78 days!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Food Rules Friday

Michael Pollan is an acclaimed author and whole food/heathy eating advocate. He is the author of the best selling "In Defense of Food" and "The Omnivore's Dillemma."

Rule #21: "Eat mostly plants, especially leaves"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Training Tips Thursday - More Hip Openers

Hip opener yoga poses are the most awesome lower body release for tight or sore legs, hips and glutes.  In the last two months, I've posted two previous videos of hip openers that I like after running.  One of them is an 18-minute sequence, the other one 11 minutes.  I run in the early morning before I go to work, and I'm always on a tight schedule, so it's good to have a variety, to be able choose a routine that fits the available time.  This one starts with sun salutations and leads into hip openers.  It's only 8 minutes, but is still enough to make the lower body feel a lot better after a hard run!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Green Choices Wednesday - Recycle your Shoes!

Recycle your shoes!

As an environmentalist, I try to minimize my unnecessary consumption of resources and minimize my contribution  to excess waste disposal.  As a runner, I'm concerned that my consumption of shoes is higher than the average person.  It's recommended that runners replace running shoes after 300 to 500 miles.  I've been sucessful in getting as much as 500 miles out of most of mine.  After that many miles, the shoes' shock-absorbing properties are compromised slightly from repeated compressions of the soles.  A runner risks injury by extending shoe use too far.  When I retire a pair of shoes from running, they are still normally in great general condition and have little sole wear.  500 miles sounds like a lot, but worn just for running, for example at 9.5 minutes per mile, they've only been worn about 80 hours.  That's like wearing them at work for two weeks, except that it is more extreme service! I do extend shoe use by wearing my running-retired best condition shoes additionally for casual use, and recently a friend reminded me about the Soles4soles organization.

Soles4soles ( is a non-profit organization that was formed after the asian tsunami several years ago.  They recycle "gently used" shoes by cleaning them and giving them to needy shoeless people around the world.  I've seen shoe collection bins at race events in the past, and recently explored their website.  I found that it's really easy to donate shoes at any time, benefitting both the Earth and people who need shoes.  Using the location finder at, I found that there are two locations within a mile and a half of my home where I can donate used shoes!

In the future, I'll take shoes to these locations as I retire them, rather than wait to donate them at a race event.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday Quote of the Week

"When he sees that the myriad beings
emanate from the One
and have their source as the One
that man gains absolute freedom."

~Bhagavad Gita, 13.30

Monday, November 8, 2010

Meatless Monday

Running Green supports Meatless Monday, an initiative associated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The goal of Meatless Monday is to help reduce meat consumption in order to improve public health and the health of the planet.

These delicious-looking recipes are published by the Meatless Monday initiative, and may be found at

Monday Morsels (Source:
Nancy Lee, Food writer for Maryland’s Frederick News Post asks readers to “looks at why food is more than just the meal in front of us” with her MM article… Students and staff at The University of Florida celebrates MM on campus… Civil Eats sits down with the original MM blogger Kim O’Donnel to discuss meat’s role in our food system… Craftzine creates an inspired MM recipe for Acorn Stuffed Squash with Harvest Quinoa Salad… NYC sustainable food finder Clean Plates praises the MM campaign.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weekly Training: November 1 - 7 & a Record Week!

Graphic is from my page at

A great start to November, with a record week - 51.1 running miles.  This just barely tops my previous best week of 51.0 miles last April at the peak of marathon training.  Highlights of this week's runs were another good half marathon trial Saturday, and an 18-mile long run Sunday.

Sunday was my long run, eighteen miles at comfortable pace (9:52 minutes/mile average).  Mile splits were: 10:21, 9:58, 10:05, 9:54, 10:06, 9:49, 10:09, 10:04, 10:04, 9:53, 10:18, 9:55, 9:46, 9:27, 9:36, 9:28, 9:41, 8:56.  I thought the notable thing was that the last six miles were the quickest.  A year ago, the last miles of my long runs were the slowest, a struggle just to finish.  Now, I find myself conserving a little energy early, and finishing quicker when I get close enough to the end to not need to hold back to be sure to finish the distance.

Saturday's run was another half marathon tune-up.  Three weeks prior, after adding a December 11 half marathon to my schedule, I ran a simulated half to get a better idea of what I could currently expect for a near best effort run at this distance. Since then, I've been doing a lot of my runs near estimated half pace, to get a good feel for the pace and the distance. Saturday looked like a good time to do a second trial. On a nice cool morning, I pushed this one harder than the last one and cut off almost four minutes. Splits: 9:30, 8:48, 8:38, 8:36, 8:50, 8:33, 8:45, 8:31, 8:41, 8:23, 8:32, 8:18, 7:45, 0:58 (0.1).

Weekday runs were a 6 mile progressive tempo run @8:38 on a rainy Tuesday morning, 6 mile repeat intervals at 8:00 Wednesday morning, and 8 miles at a more comfortable 8:46 Thursday morning.

Continued with my normal cross training schedule with weights, targeting chest and biceps Monday, shoulders and legs Wednesday, and back and triceps Friday.

My daily yoga streak is still going, currently at 71 days!  I did short practice each morning after running, and additional longer sessions Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

YTD: 1,613.3 miles running, 458.3 miles cycling, 2,071.5 miles total.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Food Rules Friday

Michael Pollan is an acclaimed author and whole food/heathy eating advocate. He is the author of the best selling "In Defense of Food" and "The Omnivore's Dillemma."

Rule #21: "It's not food if it's called by the same name in every language. (Think Big Mac, Cheetos, or Pringles.)" 

Personally, I can think of exceptions.  Pasta.  Sushi.  I'm sure there are others, but I'm not going to nit-pick him.  It seems clear to me that Pollan's trying to convey a message about mass-produced "foods," typically American, that appear everywhere in the world.  They keep the same names because they are brand names. Things that are made in big factories receive brand names.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Training Tips Thursday - Run/Walk

I just thought I'd mention the run/walk method.  It's a widely used training method, most popularized by Jeff Galloway.  I don't use it regularly, but for certain specific training, I found it to be valuable.  Here is a link to a good article on Galloway's Run Injury Free with Jeff Galloway page.  The article does a good job of explaining the details and recommending different run/walk ratios based on pace.  Galloway defines a method for running a marathon, taking scheduled walk breaks through the first 18 miles.  I didn't use the method in my first marathon, but I did take a few short unscheduled walk breaks.  Perhaps I would have run a better marathon if I'd taken scheduled breaks.  For my next marathon, my goal has been to strengthen my overall training enough that I don't have to walk at all.

However, I did find this method very useful in the distance-increasing phase of my first marathon training.  When faced with running 16, 18, and 20 miles the first time, I took scheduled walk breaks.  Here's how I did it.  For example, when I first wanted to run 16 miles, on my first attempt, I alternated two minutes of walking with every eight minutes of running.   I found that it really helped me make the distance the first time.  The second time I ran 16 miles, I reduced the walking by about half, alternating one minute of walking with every nine minutes of running.   By the third time I ran the new distance, I found that I could run the entire distance.  I repeated this as I came to each new distance milestone up to 20 miles, and it helped a lot.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Green Choices Wednesday - Cold Water Laundring

Another simple green choice-- wash clothes in cold water instead of hot water!
  • Uses a fraction of the energy - 80 to 90% energy savings!  Saves $$$; saves the Earth!
  • Gets most loads just as clean - you may still want to use warm for a few heavily soiled loads.
  • Clothes washed in cold water last longer!  Less replacement cost for you, and less demand on resources if fewer replacements are needed.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday Quote of the Week

"The fact is that there is nothing more beautiful, more worthy or more conscious than you."

~ Yogi Bhajan

Monday, November 1, 2010

Meatless Monday

Running Green supports Meatless Monday, an initiative associated with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The goal of Meatless Monday is to help reduce meat consumption in order to improve public health and the health of the planet.

These delicious-looking recipes are published by the Meatless Monday initiative, and may be found at

Monday Morsels (Source:
San Francisco State University encourages all to visit one of the city’s MM restaurants for Sustainability Week… GreenWala offers their own MM Recipe Roundup with six dishes… Creative Loafing Atlanta writer Cliff Bostock would “love to see meatless Mondays” come to town… Community Voices of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offers an easy, affordable MM meal… Favorite Diets blog suggests cutting back with MM.