A lovely bouquet of online calculators

Some people collect sea shells. Others collect porcelain figurines. I collect online calculators.

Here are some of my favorite running- or fitness-related calcs:

Equivalent performances calculator
I use this one a lot. Not only does it give equivalent times for races of varying distances (along with pacing information), but it also supplies target pace ranges for key running workout types. Note that this is not a “performance predictor”. This I’ve learned the hard way. Also note that the target workout paces can be on the aggressive side.

Here’s a more souped up equivalent performances calculator. I like this one because it can factor in things like temperature, elevation, wind speed and altitude if you’re feeling very wonky.

Race pace calculator 1
This is a very handy race pace calculator, because it allows you to play with different positive or negative split scenarios. I’m sure I’ll end up using this for my next marathon, as I learned in my last half marathon that I run well when I do “very negative” splits. And that’s a positive thing.

Race pace calculator 2
If you just want to know what your even splits would be, this is the calculator for you. You can also print out a pace band to tape around your wrist.

Want to know what your VO2 max is? Use this VO2 max calculator to find out.

Wondering how fast your poor old legs would take you if they were just a bit younger? Calculate your age graded equivalents — and either weep or rejoice.

Ever wonder how much faster you could run if your dropped a few pounds? Find out with this weight change effect predictor. How much ice cream and cheesy poofs can you continue to eat while still losing weight? Find out with this calorie intake calculator.

Right as rain

I’m recovered from my annoying little bug and back to running:

3 pathetic little miles on Monday (in a sickly state)
6 miles on Tuesday
14 miles on Wednesday (at a good clip, I might add: 8:30)
9 miles yesterday (two sessions)
I’ll do 10 today, followed by 7 tomorrow and 16 on Sunday.

Grand total: 65!

Next week is a recovery week, followed by three weeks at 70 miles each. Then I go into my 18 week training plan, which will average 79 miles per week.

I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of running inside. The days are getting shorter very quickly. Sun isn’t up until well after 7:00AM and it’s pitch black by about 6:00PM. I’m looking into a headlamp and some reflective gear so I can still do some (most?) of my longer runs outside. But I may do a lot of my shorter recovery runs inside anyway, to save my legs, since the treadmill is easier on them.

If I didn’t have some piece of running gear to covet, I’d know something is very wrong with me. The latest object of my affection is the Sugoi Hydrolite Running Jacket.

I really don’t like my Gore-Tex Paclite jacket for running, as it’s quite heavy and a little large for just a base layer (great for hiking, though — and for cold weather runs). My other jacket is “water resistant” which means I’m eventually soaked in anything more than a drizzle.

But the Sugoi is $100 and really weird looking. I guess I’ll see how rainy November turns out to be and then decide. Soon enough it will be freezing outside and I’ll have another six months to make up my mind.

Saturday morning. Still feeling like crap.

The cold is migrating down to my chest now. Hack hack. Poor me.

I seem to be writing about “silver linings” a lot lately. I guess that makes me an optimist.

In my delerious bed-bound Web surfing yesterday (what did we do before wireless networks?), I took a Meyers-Briggs personality test that pegged me as an ISTJ. I usually come in as an INTJ, so perhaps the consumption of TheraFlu has skewed some of my answers. Either way, I can’t tell if I’m supposed to be an optimist or a pessimist.

The good news is: I have a personality!

Not another Chicago Marathon post…

…per se. But instead, a link to an article that presents an interesting theory proposing low blood pressure, rather than heat-related illness and/or dehydration, was the likely culprit behind so many runner collapses earlier this month. The follow up article at the end of the one linked to is also worth reading.

I spent a few days visiting family in Eastern Iowa, where I was registered to race in a 5K breast cancer center fund raiser. The morning of the race, however, it was pouring buckets of rain. I was out there, warming up — the only runner warming up, in fact, which gave me a lot of hope of winning some cheap hardware — when they called the race due to lightning concerns. 10,700+ people registered for the three events (5K race, 5K walk, 1 mile fun run), and the turnout was good despite the weather. So it was a disappointment. But they raised a lot of money through registrations, so all’s well that ends well.

Now I’m laid up with a bad head cold. The woman behind me on the plane from Chicago to La Guardia was coughing and sneezing all the way, so I’m not surprised. I feel like warmed over dog food and my head feels as though it’s been filled with Kwik-Crete and cotton balls. This probably means I won’t be doing the Harry Chapin 10K race on Sunday as planned. That’s four races in a row that have been screwed up due to weather or illness. At least turkey trot season is coming up. Maybe it won’t be 80 degrees anymore by next month!

But there’s a silver lining. The day before I got sick, I managed to do a 16 miler at 8:40 pace / 76% heart rate. This is tremendous progress and has made me a true believer in the value of building a base of long, slow, low heart rate distance running. By way of comparison, the week I started base building four months ago, I ran a 9 miler at 10:36 pace / 75% heart rate under similar conditions. So I’m nearly two minutes faster these days. Maybe a 3:30 marathon is not such a pipe dream after all.

Up until very recently, I was doing most of my runs at 68-72% heart rate. Now I’m just doing that after the long runs and doing “easy” pace (75-80%) the rest of the time. So I won’t go into shock when my 18 week training program begins the first week of December. The date for the 2008 More Marathon has been chosen: April 6, the day after my 43rd birthday. So it looks like I’ll have to skip the copious libations and sugary treats until after the race.

I may kick my training off by running the Hot Chocolate 15K in Central Park to further assess progress and get a better sense of what my various training paces should be. Plus, who doesn’t like hot chocolate in December? (As long as it’s not 80 degrees out.)

Talk about negative splits!

Apparently Haile Gebrselassie wasn’t the only one performing miracles at the Berlin Marathon. Mexican politician Roberto Madrazo also set an amazing PR — and defied the laws of physics too. All while wearing a clown suit — I mean, a red track suit top and black sweatpants.

Madrazo finished in 2:40:57, taking first in the Male 55 age group. But did he actually run the race as he claimed, or did he take a convenient shortcut between chip timing mats instead, as some have charged? Let’s do the math, shall we?

According to the timing mats, Madrazo hit the 20 kilometer mark in 1:42:42. That puts his first 12.5 or so miles at an 8:15 pace. Not bad for a failed politician of dubious scruples. But in order to make his finishing time of 2:40 and change, he would have had to have sped up quite a bit — to the tune of an average pace of 4:13 per mile.

Gebrselassie — now being called the fastest marathoner in the world — set his world record running an average pace of 4:45. Yet Madrazo, with his seemingly super-human ability to maintain a dramatically faster pace (and after already running over 12 miles, no less), can obviously run much faster than the slow Ethiopian, despite being 20 years his senior. It seems that Mr. Madrazo just needs to believe in himself and run a more aggressive first half to realize his full potential.

Madrazo might also consider broadening his competitive horizons. With his speed and endurance, he should be on track to easily shatter the current half marathon world record time of 58:33. Go, Roberto, Go!

Silver lining to crap weather

Yes, I’m running in a half marathon, and so I have no need to carbo load. But Jonathan is doing the full marathon (which means he’s whinging twice as much as I am about the weather). And he DOES have to carbo load. And, naturally, I’m not making two meals for each of us. So I will be carbo loading too.

This evening: pad thai
Tomorrow: chicken marsala with rice
Saturday: pasta with chicken

And many sandwiches and muffins inbetween. Yum.

But no drinking.

Very little drinking.

Weather update: Forecast for Sunday is now a high of 78. No news about humidity yet. And the race is at 8ish in the morning. So if the freakish heatwave has not broken by then, we’re still screwed.

Runners all over the country are fretting today, as there are lots of major marathon events on Sunday. If this doesn’t light a fire under our butts over global warming, I don’t know what will (yes, I’m being facetious…)

Whinging about the weather

I’m registered for the Westchester Half Marathon this coming Sunday. And, of course, we’re having a spell of freakishly warm and humid weather. It would normally be a dry 67 degrees this time of year. Instead, the forecast for Sunday is low 80s and humid. Blech!!!

I don’t even care that much about this race — I entered as a way to gauge my fitness after nearly four months of base training, so I can come up with some target paces for subsequent training. I was also curious to see if I could run it at 8:01 pace, just to see if I’m anywhere near where I’d like to be at this point fitness-wise.

I did go out this morning to do a five miler with two miles at that pace. It was — I kid you not — 99% humidity. So not fun. But I was able to hold that pace. Now, if I can just do it six and a half times on Sunday, I’ll be golden!

I’m trying to have a positive attitude about this, but I’m disappointed. I’ve basically blown forty bucks to run in weather that I can run in for free, with the same results (no real insight into how fit I am under normal running conditions). To add insult to injury: the lot where the race wraps up is totally torn up. I have no idea where they’ll put us all post race. And, of course, the temperature is scheduled to drop into the 50s three days after the race.