CHM Training update: T-18 weeks and race recap

Well, since my last post, we have had tropical rain; a blessed relief from the heat; a good week of training; and an awesome race – let’s get to it!

Sunday 9-15: Long run – 75-85 min @ 9:18/mi, 8.5 mi // 93:26 min @ 10:58/min, 8.5 mi  Got out early this week – hit 10K by sunrise, which was the distance I dedicated for the Terry Fox Run, in support of some blogging friends in Ontario who ran the actual race. I’m going to start pushing the pace a bit faster now that it’s finally cooling down!

Monday 9-16: Rest day – “Rest day” appears to translate as “Oh, you don’t have anything to stop you from doing ‘X’ for me,” to my wife!

Tuesday 9-17: TM Paces – 1 mi. easy run w/u; 8×400 @ 1-mile pace (7:20/mi) w/1:45 recovery; 1 mi. easy run c/d; 4.5 mi total //  Completed as planned  I am really coming to love these workouts…I can feel a real sense of accomplishment from week to week as I improve.

Wednesday 9-18: Cross training //  Stretching and foam rolling  Same as last week, still no concrete plan.

Thursday 9-19: Maintenance – 45-50 min @ 9:18/mi, 5 mi //  45:51 @ 9:09/mi, 5 mi  That tropical rain I mentioned drove me indoors to run; I noticed that the TM reads a much slower pace (and thus shorter distance) than my Nike+ app, so I have to wonder which is accurate – I know this GPS is pretty reliable on the roads, but indoors…?

Friday 9-20: Maintenance – 35-40 min @ 9:18/mi, 4 mi  //  36:30 @ 9:07/mi, 4 mi Another day of rain, another day of TM; a different machine than day before, and also “off” from my phone, by nearly the same amount. The intensity felt the same, so I have decided to trust the app, since I use it to record EVERYTHING I do.

Saturday 9-21: Maintenance – 15-20 min @ 9:18/mi, w/ 4×20 sec up-tempo during run, 2 mi // 18:52 @ 9:23/mi (avg, inc. up-tempo), 2 mi The pick-up’s make this fun – good to know I can always go a little faster!

Totals for this week: 5 runs (out of 5), 24.4 miles (out of 25), still no real cross-training

Totals for September (to date): 11 runs, 53.7 miles

So after this fantastic training week – seriously, how often do we actually hit all our goals in a week? – it was time for my race: the Houston Texans Running of the Bulls 5K. I awoke Sunday at 5:30am to clear skies, a fresh breeze… and 63 degrees on the thermometer! What a fabulous present from God for my first race since rehabbing some injured Achilles tendons! I am still working on my race-morning routine, but I think I am getting it down: breakfast was a half-serving of oatmeal with a handful of raisins and a teaspoon of honey, and coffee. I had done packet pick-up earlier in the week, but my t-shirt was the largest “Large” I have ever seen, so I made sure to arrive at 6:30, when on-site packet pick-up opened, so I could swap my shirt for a “Medium” – here it is!

IMG_20130922_120626This is the back; the front is plain 😦

Exchange complete, shirt stashed back in the vehicle, I made my way to the start “corrals”, if you want to call it that – take a look!


See those signs on the left? The closest reads, “8:00 MILE”, barely visible beyond it are signs for 7:00, 6:00, and 5:00 paces. Now, what do you NOT see? That’s right – there is not anyone paying attention to the signs! There must be 300 people crammed into the chute in front of me, with a couple thousand “non-competitive” walk/run entrants behind us. It took a full 30 seconds to reach the gate after the cannon went off, and boy, were there ever a lot of people lined up too far forward! I know it took 3 minutes to cover the first 1/4 mile, trying to weave around the slower runners, the walkers, and the outright sight-seers who crowded into the front ranks. (I just might have made a sub-25 race of it, if not for all this silliness at the start.)

IMG_20130922_075504At one point the gate started to collapse, but they got it fixed before we went off.

I wish we had gotten an earlier start, but it was still only 69 degrees at our 8:15 gun time. (I actually saw people shivering as we waited!)  At any rate, once clear of the herd, things went very well. The course was very well-marked, weaving though Reliant Park, and out into neighborhood streets to make some distance before coming back to finish on the field. There is a fairly steep pedestrian concourse that flies over auto traffic to enter the stadium, and we went over it twice – out and back in – and I heard some distinct gasps as I attacked this up and down; I hate hills, and so I sprint them to get them out of the way as quick as I can. (This will work until I meet the hill that is more man than I am, but c’mon, I live in Houston, one of the flattest cities in the country…and I run repeats on overpasses as training exercises!) There were two water stations on the course, which is more than enough for this distance, but…plastic cups? I guess that’s what the stadium uses, but makes it hard for the runners, they tend to shatter crack when grabbed.

I knew going in that I had a very good chance to set a new PR; this was only my second 5K race, and I have several months more running experience that the last time. I passed three miles right at 25 minutes, making the last turn into the tunnel and out onto the field, and I poured it on!

IMG_20130922_085658On the field after the race – I wish the Texans had seen that screen!

I don’t have the link to the official race results, but I got the important parts: chip time: 26:08.7; 19th place in age group; 347th overall; new PR by 2 minutes, 36 seconds! More important, I felt like I could have run more…a sharp contrast to 6 months ago, when a 5K was enough to ruin me for two days 🙂 Growth, improvement, change…these are the real rewards for all the hard work we do, and I love getting a reward!!!  (And I’m getting over being not even mad about missing that sub-25, I have another chance coming up very soon, see below.)

The cool temperatures this weekend were something of a tease, as we are forecast for highs in the low 90’s and lows in the mid-70’s all week, but I will gratefully take those signs of things to come. This week’s training takes a noticeable dip (about half the mileage, I believe) to allow me to “recover” from this race. I don’t think I need it, but since my job is “runner”, not “coach”, I’m gonna go with them on this one…isn’t that what I’m paying them for? (Besides, I just had a sudden negative change in my employment status, so a little extra time on my hands right now is not a terrible thing.) I have just under three weeks to my next checkpoint: a back-to-back 5K / 10-miler, scheduled that way on purpose – I want to see how I do on a “day after” race, since I opted to run the ABB 5K the day before the Houston Marathon; just makes sense to practice as much as I can, everything I can, right? After all –


Do you have accuracy issues with treadmills versus running apps or watches?

Have you ever signed up for “double-dip” races, either on purpose or by accident? How did that work out for you?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!


  1. Pingback: CHM Training update: T-17 weeks – Bad news and good news | Striding Towards Life

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