Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sneaky Creeky!

Today the Armstrong family participated in the 2006 Cherry Creek Sneak. A great time was had by all as you can read on Melissa's blog, and we both improved our times from last year. Melissa walked the 5K in 46:31, and I ran the 5 mile in 40:30. Last year I ran the same in 42:38, so I improved my pace by almost 30 seconds per mile. It was a good race and it will build my speed for the marathon that is just over a month away. This week has been a bit of a break for me with only 20 total miles, this should give me enough of a rest to push through the next two weeks with 32 and 39 total miles to go. After that I start my taper before the race. It's been a long road, but I'm going to make it!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Homeward bound

Well the conference is drawing to a close and I'm looking forward to heading home today. This has been by far the best ENC I have been to. I really enjoy meeting new people when I come to these meetings and reconnecting with old friends. It's great to see how far some of the people I've met in the past have gone, and I guess I should really count myself among them when I see where I am today. I've learned a lot, and I have a lot that I can bring back to my job. As we are ending the testing phase soon, I am really getting excited about firing up some new pulse sequences and seeing what contributions I can make. It has made me appreciate my job even more.

This morning I'm not going to be able to see any of the talks I wanted to, so I'm going to head down to the ocean for a little walk before heading up to San Jose. It's a nice drive, but with the drive and sitting in the airport/plane it will be nice to stretch my legs a little. I don't think I would have been able to stay awake in the talks anyway. This meeting has a cumulative effect on me, even though I did not drink much at all. It's the "up until 1 and awake at 7" every day that takes it's toll. Tonight I'll be able to sleep in my own bed, and see Elijah and Melissa. I really have been missing them, and I can't wait to see them tonight.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Worthwhile to note

I thought I'd post a brief reflection that I had today on my run. It was actually 2 years ago at this very same site that I started running. Kind of historic. It was a very pleasant 4 miles with that on my mind, I've come a long way.


Well I blew off the breakfast coffee in favor of a latte and email session at the lodge, so I have a few free minutes to blog. It's been a great meeting here, although the cold damp weather is getting to some people. I don't mind that much, especially when it comes to my runs. Sunday was a great run! 16 miles and 4 of those on the beach. At the end of it my legs were tired and sore, but I felt like I could probably pulled out another 10 if I had been running the marathon. The biggest effect of my training has been my body's ability to bounce back. After a shower I felt almost no pain, and I was still able to wander around the vendor suites at night. Tuesday was also great, although at 5 miles I barely felt like I had worked the kinks out. It was aerobic interval training though, so it was kind of fun being able to run fast as part of the workout. Today I will squeeze in a 4 mile run between my morning session and lunch. This week has been really rejuvenating, and with only 20 miles total it is just the little break I need before plowing into the last 3 big weeks of training. At least I feel like I will be able to handle the race when it comes.

This conference has been a breath of fresh air, and I have a lot of ideas that I want to try when I get back. I'm always glad to meet people here, and sometimes I am surprised by where my past work has had an impact. It just reminds me of how lucky I am to have a job that I enjoy as much as I do and to be surrounded by people who are so supportive of me.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Into the teens!

Well sortof. Today was supposed to be 14 miles, and it was, but I was not able to run all of it. I ran for 1:55 before I had to stop because I was out of water. The heat of the sun was just too much and I did not want to push myself through the last couple of miles without anything to drink so I walked from there. That's been two weeks now that I haven't been able to finish my long run and it's beginning to erode my confidence level. I'm hoping next week's run at sea level will give me a better idea of how I will be able to perform for the actual race. I'm going to have to start running earlier in the morning though so that my strength is not being sapped by the afternoon sun. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, however. This month is the biggest month with 16 miles next week, a race the week after, and 18 and 20 miles for the two weeks after that. But after that my taper starts and my mileage scales way back to allow me to recover for the race. It's that thought that keeps me running now.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Trying to beat the heat

It's warm again today, and is supposed to be windy this afternoon, so I decided to go on my run earlier in the morning to beat the heat. It sort of worked, by the end of my run it was 79. But I guess that's better than going at high noon. My winter training made me pretty good at running in the cold so now it is tough to start getting my body to deal with heat better. I've been taking a water bottle with me, but sometimes with that sun beating down on you there is not enough water in the world. Still I did today's 8 miles in 1 hour 13 minutes, pretty close to on pace. It was a good workout, and when there is not a cloud in the sky the vast blue of it is even more striking. With only 7 weeks to go before the big day I'm starting to get excited. Just a few more really long runs to go.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Sunny Days

We've had quite a nice string of weather since the snowstorm on Friday. It really feels like spring out there. I took the opportunity in the weather to start my sprinkler system back up this weekend so that I can start greening up my lawn. My runs have been really nice as well and it is a welcome change from all the wind I was battling there for a while. Sunday was 12 miles again and after 6 of those miles I felt strong enough to pick up the pace a little. Unfortunately my legs ran out of gas around mile nine and I had to walk/run for the last few miles. That'll teach me to listen to my body. I think it was likely related to how long it had been since breakfast and how hot it was outside. Next week I'll have to be more careful not to overdo it. Today's run was much better, and I felt really strong. I threw in an extra minute of hills for my workout, and was able to pick it up to about an 8 minute per mile pace at the end. I think that will be my goal pace for the Cherry Creek Sneak at the end of the month.

Tonight we are off to a little pub up the street from us to celebrate my birthday with my parents. I will probably have shepherd's pie, and maybe a wee dram of scotch to cap off the night. How can you go wrong with a birthday dinner like that?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

This week's runs

I caught a break in the weather this week, and had two good runs. Tuesday it was 79 degrees and beautiful out. But it was so hot that my run ended up being really difficult, especially with the 7 minutes of hills. I realized that I need to start bringing a water bottle with me as I couldn't get to the water fountain fast enough on my return. Today's run was much better, we were supposed to have rain and high winds today, which I was not looking forward to, but most of that weather seems to have given us a miss this time. Most of my run was sunny and in the low 60s, which was perfect, and it was only right at the end that an approaching storm dropped a few drops on me. Needless to say, I haven't had a long run where I haven't been fighting a headwind in so long I had forgotten how great they are. I had no problem covering the 8 miles I had to do today, and was able to run a negative split for the first time in weeks. It felt really good and has given me a boost of confidence right when I needed it most. There was one fly in the ointment though, which was the swarms of mosquitoes I battled for some parts of the run, but this small nuisance did not overshadow the positive aspects. It struck me as well that the distance for today's "semi-long" run was the same as my long run from a couple of weeks back at the Aurora reservoir. It's nice to be able to see my improvement like that.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


I tried to calculate how far I had to go today while I was running and I ended up running a mile farther than I was supposed to. I guess that means I should lay out my plan before I go so that I don't make any more mistakes. It was a nice realization though as I was feeling a little down about my pace. I ran 13 miles and it took me 2:05 so that puts me almost on pace for the marathon. I was a little slow because of the wind unfortunately, but it wasn't as bad as last week. I think that I have to start cutting the hilly portion of my run out of the long day as it is getting really difficult to make it up the last 3.5 mile push after running almost 10 before that.

The party was a great success yesterday, which made it especially difficult for all of us to make the "spring forward" time change. But we made it through and with an early-ish night tonight we'll be back on track. This week I'm hoping to finish up all of the tests I'm running at work, which will leave us ready to start getting users in. It's an exciting time for everyone. Well, gotta go enjoy some leftover ice cream cake!