A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Trying Tempo Run


Photo found at http://hoardedordinaries.wordpress.com/

This morning, like every morning for the past week, I awoke feeling achy and with a sore throat. I'm unsure as to whether or not the sore throat is just from breathing all this cold air, from breathing all the warm, dry air in our bedroom at night, or if I'm honestly getting sick. Just in case it was the latter, I decided to stay home from work today and chill.

Except that about 1:00 I realized that I felt fine. It was too late in the day to go into work (really, I would have been there for less than three hours. I didn't see the point) but perhaps not too late to go running. The sun was out, the wind was negligible, and the temperatures were actually above 30oF! The first day in almost a month that would allow me to run outside without freezing to death and I was going to pass it up because of a possible illness? No way! In addition, I skipped my run last night because we were busy seeing Monty Python's Spamalot.

So, I grabbed my Garmin Forerunner 405 and went to turn it on. Nothing. Apparently taking it off the charger and then not using it for three weeks still drains the battery. Even with the GPS function off. Who knew? I was irritated. I put it back on the charger but I had no idea if it would have enough juice in time for me to squeeze in an outdoor run before the sun set. I decided to wait until 3:00 and see where it stood. If it was charged enough to use then I'd run outside. Otherwise, it would be back to the treadmill once again.

Around 3:00 I checked it and it was 75% charged. Good enough for me! I quickly changed into outdoor running gear. Lined Under Armour running tights, SmartWool socks, shorts over the tights, sports bra, short-sleeved sweat-wicking t-shirt, long-sleeved sweat-wicking t-shirt, zip-up fleece jacket, mittens, and fleece ear-covering headband. And shoes of course. As you can see, getting ready to run outside in winter is quite a task!

I grabbed the Garmin and tried to turn on the GPS function. No go. It seemed to be stuck in some strange mode. Then I realized that it had somehow lost all my user information such as weight, gender and age. I futzed with it for awhile. I went outside and walked around the block to see if that would trigger the GPS function. Nothing. Finally, frustrated, I went back inside, re-read the manual, and figured it out. I have no idea how it got set to the "Navigation" setting but whatever. I FINALLY made it out for my run around 3:45 PM.

Today's run was supposed to be a tempo run meaning that I would run a warm-up mile, three miles at a 9:25 minute per mile pace, and then a cool-down mile. This would be my first attempt at running outside and trying to keep a pre-determined steady pace. I think I got a little ahead of myself. I didn't take into account the fact that A. I have yet to actually do one of these tempo runs at the pace indicated in my training plan (I always end up going slower), B. I may or may not be coming down with something, C. This was my first run outside since December 30th, and D. There's still snow on the sidewalks. In fact, although I did not take that picture above, that is still pretty much what it looked like on 75% of my route today.

And I don't have YakTrax.

Running on snow and ice and slush is interesting. By the end of the run my shoulders hurt and my abs and back ached from tensing up from fear of slipping. I walked a lot of times not only because I needed a break but also because I just didn't want to risk face-planting. I couldn't get into a good rhythm because I had to keep slowing down when I'd come to a patch of snow or ice. I had to leap the left-over snow plow banks where the sidewalks crossed the streets.

Overall it was not the best run I've ever had. However, even though I felt liked I walked a lot, every time I looked down at my Garmin it informed me that I was running an average 10:00 per mile pace or an at-the-moment sub-9:00 minute per mile pace. Apparently I couldn't quite hit it in between. And, as you can see from the following charts and graphs, there is some discrepancy between what uploaded from the Garmin to the Garmin Training Center software and how that translated to the BiM Active website.

Data from Garmin Training Center:


Information from BiM Active:

Route:--Elev. Avg:629 ft
Location:Forest Park, ILElev. Gain:+0 ft
Date:01/22/09Up/Downhill: [+98/-98]
Time:03:43 PMDifficulty:2.4 / 5.0
Weather:Partly Cloudy
 35 F temp; 61% humidity
 35 F heat index; winds S 7

Distance: 5.01 miles
Speed:5.7 mph
Pace:10' 29 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
19' 50-0' 396.1+0.4+7 ft
29' 41-0' 486.2+0.5+6 ft
310' 48+0' 195.5-0.2-6 ft
49' 56-0' 336.0+0.3+17 ft
512' 04+1' 355.0-0.8-19 ft
end19' 10+8' 413.1-2.60 ft
Versus average of 10' 29 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com

So, in the end, I didn't hit my goal of running three straight miles at a 9:25 pace and I definitely started out too fast, but the end result wasn't as horrible as I had feared. I'm not really sure what happened in mile three, though. I think that's when I tried running the street instead of on the snowy sidewalk only to discover that I had to slow down to avoid parked cars and, well, driving cars. Also, if I recall correctly, I was feeling pretty beaten down by the fact that I couldn't get into the groove and zone out. I think I walked a lot of mile three. But obviously when I was running I must have been doing decently in order to keep the average time below 11:00. Interesting.

I don't know when I'll have another opportunity to run outside. This weekend has highs in the teens and I don't plan to take any more time off work that would allow me to get any weekday daylight runs in. Ah, well, I enjoyed it while it lasted.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ugh, I'm sorry the Garmin is being finnicky. I did hear that about the battery life of the 405 being bad. I just leave my 305 on the charger most of the time but I hear it lasts longer in general cuz it turns off completely.

And wow... your tempo runs are way harder than mine! And I couldn't keep that pace for ONE mile last week, much less three! You're so going to kick my ass. =/

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