Thursday, March 25, 2010

Feeling "spring like" Anticipation

I started this post on march 25th and somehow never got past the picture. It is now the 29th and I finally got back here to post. it's not that I have been too busy so much as it just hasn't been convenient to sit down and write. At this point I am having trouble remembering where I left off and I am too lazy to go look.

What I can say is the spring bug bit me last week and I just couldn't stop thinking about trail running...... not that I didn't run trails this winter but something about a warm ray of sunshine peeking around the trees that lifts my spirits.

Not only that, but this winter has been a bust for me as far as running long distances go. I think my longest run was only 12 or so miles. This causes me to regroup my thinking about the Pineland challenge. I plan to scale down to the 25K and pace a friend who wants to run it for the first time.

On the 23rd I did my weekly treadmill hill run at 10% grade. I put in 5 miles total, 4 of it at 10% steady and 0ne at 5% easier. I would rather run the hills outside but I can't find one that is steady uphill for that distance.

The hill runs along with the (almost) daily ab/weight workout should start to get me in somewhat of a Mount Washington shape...assuming I get in. Will find out within a few days.

On the 25th I hit Pineland for a great trail run workout and I sure felt it! I must say, pineland always seems to be tougher than my brain thinks it will be. I ran a mile further than the week before at a slightly faster pace, so at least I can see the results progressing.

Saturday I call a cardio workout day because I spent the day helping my sister move......what a lot of furniture she has! I definitely felt the workout by night time. I knew the old muscles would feel it Sunday morning on my trail run.

A change of plans and by 8:15 Sunday morning I was running back bay for two loops instead of the trails. I guess I will never be called predictable. The back bay run was actually quite tiring as we kept throwing in little spurts of speed and my legs were screaming at me to stop it.

It felt good to work on speed a bit and back bay is a perfect place to do it. Overall, a pretty productive week. I am looking forward to the predicted warm weather at the end of this week, it almost makes the rain today bearable.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Things Aren't Always As They Seem.


Through the day I had various reminders of how hard I worked out in the morning. It seemed every time I moved a different muscle was sore. Regardless, I planned on a tempo run after work as the sun was overflowing with warm rays that excited every inch of my could I not run.

I have a three mile loop near my house that has a couple good hills and a fairly technical single trail section of about 1 mile. It is a fun loop and works well if I have limited time or am looking for a speedy run with some work mixed in.

I rushed home bubbling with anticipation of an exciting and fast run. Not long after starting out, I felt quite tired and winded. My legs were jello feeling and sluggish. Definitely not what I visioned in my mind for today's run.

By mile two I was beginning to think that running today was not a wise choice. All I thought about was stopping because I felt so slow and out of shape. The hill in mile three seemed endless and my kick at the end felt non-existent.

I was glad to finish the 3 mile run and if not for my insistence of using the garmen every run, I would not have realized how great the run actually was. I down loaded my stats for the run and was quite surprised to see the results.

Things were not as they seemed. The stats showed me why I was feeling the way I was. Yeah my pace was desperately slow compared to what I usually do in the summer or fall, but what was interesting was the effort I was putting in. I didn't feel bad because it was a bad run, I felt bad because I was pushing the workout to a higher level.

My racing heart rate is 160-168 and my end kick heart rate (or short interval) is about 166-174 depending on my effort. During the second mile (trail and hilly) I thought I did horrible. In realism, my heart rate peaked at 164 which is close to race pace.

I was able to speed things up a bit in mile three which includes a fairly large hill, but the real surprise was my heart rate on the hill was 173. I worked extremely hard on that hill no wonder why I felt so tired!

The most amazing stat was the last tenth of a mile. It seemed I was barely able to finish the run and that I had no kick, yet I ran a 7:02 pace and dropped my heart rate back to 160. This means, I had more speed if I had pushed a bit harder and also that I recovered well from the second mile.

Throwing the time out the window and concentrating on my heart rate shows me how much I stepped up the intensity and from a training prospective, it was a great run. The other information I gain for the comparison of pace and heart rate is that my body was tired and needs some rest.

Total run 3.1 miles @28:31 (9:20 pace)
10:08.....152-164 (trail)
9:10.....153-173 (hill)
7:02.....157-160 (last .1 kick)

Monday, March 15, 2010

My "no plan" training plan

This winter I had a training plan of "no plan" and I am following it quite well. I decided to put consistent effort into an (almost) daily workout to strengthen the core muscles, then fit some quality runs around that.

I really had no idea what I would end up doing for weekly mileage but had thought of getting a long run in each weekend, getting in some long snowshoe treks and topping about 25-30 miles a week. I hoped I could progress into a few 2-4 hour runs by the end of March while still fitting in some speed runs to strengthen my attempt to PR the Irish Rover 5K.

Wait a minute.....that whole thing sounds dangerously similar to a training plan....doesn't it? Well my "no plan" plan really was a plan after all but luckily (or unluckily) depending on how you look at it, I didn't seem to be able to follow the plan and I ended up with the results of a no plan.

As I reflect back on the last three months, I realize I didn't get many long runs in, my two longest runs were two hours max, I didn't work on speed or even run the Rover 5K, there was very little chance to snowshoe because of lack of snow, I averaged 20-25 miles a week and I didn't race once, I didn't manage to lose any weight and actually gained a few pounds.

On the plus side, I had absolutely no injuries, I have what feels like a more solid base going into the spring this year, even though I gained a few pounds, I have actually trimmed up and most of what I gained is apparently muscle, my core feels strong and on the few short long runs I had, I felt less fatigue and much stronger, I am looking forward to the spring running and expect a good year.

I did my first real speed run of the spring on Saturday and it was pathetic. Well let me rephrase that, (the pace was slow compared to what I have accomplished in the past), but it actually felt pretty good to be pushing the speed a bit, I didn't slow down on the fairly large hill of this route and I worked in two fairly strong kicks. Now that we have set the clocks ahead, I hope to get in at least one speed run a week after work.

Sunday, I didn't run at all. Actually I didn't do much of anything other than laze around. You know it felt good to give the body a break and not feel guilty. This will end up being a step back week and I have no regrets at this point.

Week's stats:

Tues-Thurs. Abs/weights each day
Friday: Hill run on the treadmill 10% grade 3.02 mi, 39:06(12:57 pace) then .5 cooldown
Saturday:Tempo run 4.4 miles
2.95 run 24:28 (8:26pace)
8:16...159-165(7:30kick) continued running
1.45 run 12:16 (8:45pace)
8:36....150-163 (7:40kick)

Sunday: Watched the rain fall

Monday, March 8, 2010

De-stressing The Weekend.

I signed up for the Irish Rover 5k a couple months ago. I wanted to start out the season with an idea of where I am at as far as speed goes. Of course I knew it would be pathetic as I haven't trained for speed at all this winter.

I missed the race last spring and it seems that may be the root for the reason I didn't run any 5ks last year at all. It is almost like you have to get that first one behind you, then the rest fall into place.

On Friday, I spent some time trying to decide my weekend schedule. It seems that the Irish Rover was going to be a pain to schedule in. We had company that was leaving at 11 am, plus I didn't get my run in on Saturday because I was at work. I figured that if I really rushed, I should be able to make it back home in time, but then I would need to schedule in another run in the afternoon to get my mileage where I wanted it for this week.

I was starting to stress about schedule then it dawned on me, weekends are supposed to be a time to leave stress behind. Heaven knows I spend all week stressing about schedules at work, why the hell should I let the weekends be the same.

One of the reasons I started trail running was to get away from the stringent structure of my workweek, to enjoy some easy quiet time in nature. Just to get out there and run....because I wanted to, not because I had to.

So when I woke up Sunday morning I asked myself, do I want to chase around to race a 5k that I know will disappoint me, or do I just want to go for a nice relaxing trail run? The decision to hit the trail completely drained me of stress, I left the house with a big smile as I took a deep breath of air and headed down the driveway.

You know what, I had a great run which started my day off extremely well. It didn't matter that I paid for an entry in the 5k race, it was charity anyway. The difference was I ran the race for charity on my own course..... Though I didn't get a shirt this year, I did wear one of my Irish Rover shirts from a previous year in honor of the race.

I got back from my run at 9:30 am, so plenty of time to spend with my company before they left. The rest of the day seemed perfect because I felt good about my decision and my run.

Run stats:

7.50 (or possibly closer to 8 miles) @ 1:18:59

Pace.....heart rate

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Blind Faith

I have entered the lottery for The Mount Washington race, I really hope I get in as I have multiple reasons for wanting to run it this year. One is to celebrate my 54th year on this earth in memory of my dad (who died at 54) Another is to attempt something out of the ordinary that most people can't or don't want to do. In this case time does not matter so much as accomplishing the goal.

One of my best memories was climbing Mt Washington, as a family we did it numerous times. One time we drove all the way there and it started raining......we did the dumb thing and climbed it anyway.

You know, sometimes the dumb thing is the most fun and memorable. I can still hear my mom complaining about being wet and kids went on ahead, there was something about braving the elements that drove us to a greater place of enjoyment.

Aren't the best memories always the times that were most difficult? Isn't the very moment you question your own sanity, the point when time stands still...just for a second. That is the moment that once crossed allows you to experience the most fantastic emotions.

I call that the moment of Blind Faith.....yes crossing that threshold takes blind faith because your whole mind and body is questioning your initial decision. It is the point in time when you let go of your controlled life and allow uncertainty to enter your world.

Once the goal is accomplished, you stand there with a shit eating grin and exclaim, "Now that is the dumbest thing I have ever done!" As you look around, you realize the onlookers are jealous and secretly wishing it was them.

I guess this would be a good time to admit something.....My body hates to run. That's right, if it had it's own choice, it would laze around on the couch and watch HG tv. On top of that, my mind is very creative and can find oh so many reasons to listen to my body.....lucky for me, my soul loves running, it immensely enjoys co-existing with nature and is always coercing this unwilling body to do things it really doesn't want to.

My soul wants to run almost 8 miles up a mountain, my body is pretty pissed about it, but I assure you that once I reach the top, my body (though probably very tired and sore)will be happy I did it...... I just hope I am ready for it.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Is It Really Almost Spring??

I have a feeling that this spring is going to bring a lot of rain and messy weather. Not really a bad thing as mud season is really a fun time to run, but still a problem for spring schedules.

It was exactly 5:30 Am as I signed up for the Mount Washington Lottery today. I know it makes no difference during the 15 day sign up period, but I just wanted to get my name in there and not take a chance of waiting till the last minute and somehow missing the deadline. I really want to run that race this year!

I feel like it has been a lazy winter for me because of the ab/ weight training in lieu of running. It seems I should have done all the running plus added in the training. I just don't feel that well trained as far as running goes.

I suppose part of that is the way I have trained (speed and distance wise) meaning very little of both. it has been a demanding winter (on my time) but I can't really use that as an excuse.

My treadmill has a max incline of 10% and I ran my longest hill training run this year on Saturday(right after my ab/weight training workout). I not only ran an hour but I worked the speed up during the last 2 miles to increase the effort needed and simulate oxygen defecate.

I am thinking about raising the treadmill with some type of shims to increase the incline. If I do get into Mt Washington, I want to be somewhat prepared. Of course that means getting in some longer runs as I have really been lax through the winter.

The Irish Rover is coming up quickly and I am not sure how I will approach the race. I know I won't run my fastest, actually I suspect it will be my slowest 5k ever. I missed it last year and don't want to this year. I just hope I won't be disapointed with the time.

I want to mainly run the Rover for fun but somehow I can't get the speed thing out of my head. I suppose it is because the 5ks are geared toward speed and most run it for the competitive feel. My stadegy is to start in the rear so I don't get sucked up into too fast of a pace which of course will kill any enjoyment I hope to get from the run. Something about passing out for lack of oxygen in mile one than scares me.

The plus to getting in this race and putting one 5k behind me is the fact that it will increase the chance of me running more 5ks through the season. Last year I didn't manage to run one and I think it affected my 10k times quite a bit.

It would be so nice to have a solid stradegy for this season, but I don't. I really haven't defined in my own head what kind of runner I am(or want to be). For some reason I still feel like a "wanna be" runner rather than a real runner. I know it is all in my head as I have accomplished enough to feel justified in the last eight years.....yet I can't shake the feeling.

On the brighter side, I surely felt the difference in my core when running at Val's, so I think the ab/weight workouts are a plus. Also I have been getting up a bit early to fit them in(3:30 AM) and even though my body doesn't appreciate the time, I feel very good after and am glad I put in the effort.

It seems to me, that if I can continue the workouts plus increase my milage some, I should start seeing results as far as how I feel running along with my speed and stamina. There is a saying, "the proof is in the pudding" not sure what that really means but with this weather, I suspect there will be plenty of "pudding" to run in this spring.