Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona half-marathon this weekend

It has been almost an entire month with no new posts. Besides traveling to Chicago for the holidays, contracting a serious virus to end 2008, being laid out with a 102° fever to start 2009, caring for a pregnant wife I got sick with my germs and driving a few high-priority projects to completion since returning to work last Monday, I have spent this week convincing my body it is physically and mentally ready to run another half-marathon in 3 1/2 days.

Before heading to Chicago on Christmas Eve, my training was going great. I ran three times during the five days we were there celebrating Christmas with my in-laws, despite severe, 9° temperatures and icy road conditions. I was ready for the race and ready to begin gradually decreasing my mileage each week leading up to the race. Decrease mileage I did, but it wasn’t gradual. I got so sick the Sunday after Christmas and ended up on prescription meds and confined to the couch/bed. I went from running 28 miles per week to running 0 miles for two weeks. Not good.

Earlier this week, I went for my first run since falling ill. It wasn’t pretty. While I managed 4 miles in just under 39 minutes, at the end my legs felt like linguine and I nearly coughed up a lung. I took a break to let the shock wear off and my next run was 5.1 miles in 45 minutes. I felt much better during and after that run but didn’t feel like I could run another 8 miles, which is what I will need to do this Sunday. My plan is to work up to at least a 60 minute run this week and hope everything comes together in the desert. Thankfully the course is flat and the weather should be mild at 60-70°.

Just how big is this race? Over 35,000 registrants, about 100 bands performing live along the course and national television coverage on FSN (schedule TBD). I pinched the video below from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona site. They make running 26.2 and 13.1 miles look so fun.

One year, 500 miles and a new iPod

Nike+ 500 mile certificate

I started running with Nike+ on December 15, 2007, exactly a year ago tomorrow. Today, after a 12-mile run, I passed the 500th mile mark. In my quest to keep fit I fully expected to stick with running for at least a year; however, I certainly didn’t expect to be running as far or as often as I am today, a year later. My previous Nike+ certificate came at 100 miles. I received the “big dog” certificate to the right after uploading my run from today. (The date is off…probably a time zone issue.)

It seems like just yesterday when I set a goal to run 9 miles/week for 3 months. I’m now averaging about 25 miles/week whether running in the hot sand of Cabo or along the icy sidewalks of Seattle—it snowed last night and the roads were a mess today.

Apple iPod nano 4G in blue There was one casualty of all the long-distance, outdoor running: My refurbished iPod nano 2G. Apparently, iPods don’t like liquid and you may have heard it rains quite a bit here in Seattle. Further, those fancy, expensive Nike+ armbands are merely water-resistant, not waterproof. So, after running 11 miles in a downpour, my nano bit the dust. Not only did I lose the results of that run—which would have catapulted me to the 500-mile mark sooner—I lost my $99 running partner. It was a sad day.

TB, noticing the extent of my devastation, green-lighted an emergency trip to the Apple Store for a replacement…upgrade! I love my wife.

I am now running with a blue 8GB iPod nano 4G. Apple offered a $15 credit for the broken unit but I’m still not happy about paying $135 (before tax). I figure it’s still a pretty cheap running partner/trainer. The new 4th-generation nanos are much nicer than the two-year-old, 2nd-generation unit I ran with previously. The 4G has a bigger screen, twice the storage, better sound and snazzier navigation & graphics.

Also, if you buy (or already own) a nano 4G and are thinking of getting started with the Nike+ running program, I recommend the Apple Nike+ Sport Armband (TU017ZM/A). It is available through Amazon for about $30. The strap is much simpler to adjust and the full-body, protective film makes viewing and controlling the nano easier than the official 2G armbands. Lastly, it fits the 4G nano like a glove so the player won’t slide or slip during a run.

Where do the new iPod and I go from here? Well, four people have logged 10,000 ❗ miles with Nike+ leaving many milestones to reach.

450 Miles and Running

I realized I had not blogged the latest milestone in my unofficial “# Miles and Running” series (reference the “100” and “200” posts). Since reaching the 200 mile mark in early July, I reached the 450 mile mark this past Saturday translating to 250 miles in 5 months. Not bad considering it took 7 1/2 months for the first 200 miles.

Rocking and rolling in Arizona for MLK Day

In January, TB and I are heading to Phoenix for the annual P. F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona race. It will be my second half-marathon and a race that seems popular with our family: TB ran the full marathon in 2006 and returned with her mom and sister in 2007 for the half. The course map below.

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I’m looking forward to experiencing the adrenaline of race day again. This time there will be a lot more runners on a much warmer and flatter course. This being only my second race, I am not quite ready to set a time goal although I am still ecstatic about finishing my first half in 1:56:56.

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Course MapThe short spurts of daylight are at the top of the list for worst parts about training this time of year. The cold and rain are manageable but running long distances in the dark is generally bad news, particularly when sharing the road with Seattle drivers. Endurance isn’t as much a problem as when I began training for the Bellingham Bay half so now I’m working on getting stronger and running more efficiently.

Off to the races…

200 Miles and Running

With today’s 4-miler, I broke the 200 mile mark since I began my Nike+ experiment in December. Reaching the 100 mile mark took four months so I ran the second 100 miles in about half the time, 72 days. Sweet! I received the following achievement when I accessed the Nike+ site after our run. Nike says I’m a champ. That’s funny. I think their system does an excellent job motivating new runners.

Nike+ Milestone - 200 Miles - July 1, 2008

I also set a new personal best in the mile today: 9’05”. The voice of Lance Armstrong greeted me at the end of the run to notify me of the accomplishment. I hadn’t heard from him or Paula in a while so that was a pleasant surprise.

TB is a great running partner. She knows all the routes based on the distance I want to run and she’s a great motivator while, at the same time, she keeps me from overdoing it. She also has all the cool long-distance running gear which I’ve started stealing borrowing indefinitely. I’ve been her biggest fan—cheering from the sidelines—for all the races she’s trained for and completed over the years. I must admit I enjoy running with her even more.

Based on my current training program, I should hit the 300 mile mark in about 40 days. Off we go.