Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Bla..Bla..Bla...I'm Over it

What a difference a nice hard run and a day makes. I am over my wasted space and blog entry yesterday as I had a nice tempo run at Pineland to re-affirm that it's all about getting out on the trails and enjoying the run.

I signed up for the Barefoot 5K (shod) yesterday and honestly I got all fired up to run a 5K pretty hard. I decided to check out Pineland and see if it was actually runable.

I found a lot of snow still left where the snowpacker had groomed the trail but it was quite soft so the footing was pretty loose. The exposed areas were soft and muddy so regardless of where I planted the feet, I found softness and very little push off.

I ran into small yellow signs at almost every intersection that said wrong way.....I assume it had something to do with the skiers......yet it seemed like every way was the wrong way.

I paid little attention to the signs and ran the "supposingly" 5k loop in the normal racing direction. Now I say 5k loop but honestly I always thought it was a bit longer than 3.1 miles. My garmen read 3.33 miles and it being an old 301 that always reads short unless I am running on the open road in pure sunlight, I feel this is surely a 5K++. For the purpose of not bursting my "time trial" bubble,I called it 3.4 miles for today's run.

I put a lot of effort into this run and my heart rate max of 160-163 peaks on each mile, shows that to be true. The total time and mile pace doesn't reflect the effort I put in, I assume because of the soft terrain. In the normal packed conditions, I expect today's run would have been in the 9 minute pace range.

I really enjoyed the "speed" run and again was quite impressed with the X-Talon 212s. They were comfortable, had plenty of grip and just plain felt like they belonged on my feet. I can't wait to try this route with the MT10 Minimus.

In regards to yesterdays entry, I am just going to continue to get in all the planned runs I can and see how things play out for the Pineland Challenge Festival.
Right now, I am signed up for the 5k barefoot and the 25k race, if I feel qualified, I may step up on race day......we will see.

Pineland 5K

3.4 miles @36:10 (10:39 pace)


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Am I Crazy.....And Where Did The Time Go?

Flashback a few months a go, sitting at my desk and painstakingly planning my future. Boy was I going to be ready for racing in 2011! I could vision a lean racing machine with tuned muscles pulsating in anticipation.

It was an elaborate mix of colored charts, graphs, crypt massages, eating healthy, running long and hard, cross training with vengeance and lots of weight workouts. I even started a weight loss program (goal 20 lbs in 15 weeks).

Not that I was really fat in the sense of couch potato vision, but for the last 20 years of my life I have had a bit extra weight kicking around in certain places that never seemed to go completely away.

I started the Biggest loser program knowing full well that I couldn't lose enough weight percentage to win anything but thought it would at least give me a goal and keep me honest.

I devised a 32 week training plan that would land me right at the starting line of the Pineland Challenge 50 miler. It seemed easy in theory and looked impressive on paper. 2 weeks of easy running and training ( nothing specific) 7 weeks of PRE-base with 3 rest days, 2 cross training days and 2 running days one of which would be the long run.

Next 6 weeks of base training to round off the first 16 weeks. This would consist of 1 rest day, 1 easy jog or rest, 1 day hill training, 2 days short run, 1 day long run and 2 days strength. I figured by the end of this 16 week period, I would be averaging about 35 miles a week and be ready for the real 16 week plan.

February 19th was the end of the first 16 week schedule and about 8 weeks (halfway)into the weight loss program. Though I struggled to stay with the plan because of many outside interruptions and obligations, I did manage to lose 8 lbs and finish of the plan with a week high of 29 miles......both a bit shy of my goals but still respectable.

The second 16 week phase consisted of 9 weeks build starting at 35 miles a week, ending at a high of 50 miles, the longest run at 20 and a weight loss of 20 lbs. I am 2/3 through the build phase with a week high of only 32 miles, a long run of 12 miles and a weight loss of 12 lbs. Hmmmnnn....not quite on target.

Today, it suddenly hit me that my plan has same flaws.....why didn't I notice it before. When I trained for the 50K, by the time I was half through the build phase, I had already run three 3-4 hour long runs about 2/3 the estimated time of my planned race.

I did allow for three longer runs of 4-6 hours in my plan but for some reason put them all in the peak phase, one each week. That would be three consecutive weekends with a hope that I would not injure myself or have any type of scheduling interference from my real life. The other thing I apparently didn't think about was giving my body enough time to recover between the long runs.

Fast forward back to today and I am thinking I was pretty crazy with this schedule as it is barely enough planning for a 50k never mind a 50 miler. I want to go into my first 50 miler with at least a chance of finishing, it seems this training has not done that.

I still have 3 weeks base, 3 weeks peak and 3 weeks taper before the race. In a perfect world, things could fall into place for the 50K at least. I just sit here wondering.....where did all the time go?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Not What Was Expected

Saturday I ran at Bradbury with my son and my son in law. We decided to run the connector and see how far we could get without hitting un passable water. I fully expected it to be much worse than last weekend and was quite surprised to find very good trails and very little water to worry about.

The first part of the connector had been traveled enough the be fairly easy .....until we reached the first river crossing. Off to the right there was a log across the river and I found it very easy to walk across as the new X-Talon 212s gripped amazingly.

I felt pretty manly as the others found the need to shimmy on their stomachs. After this crossing the trail was less prominent until we reached Tyrone and there was much more traffic from the Lawrence road parking. The second river crossing was easy as the new bridge was complete and it was amazing.

The rest of the trail was much more difficult as there was only one set of footprints there. After reaching the power lines, it was much easier and I was surprised to find no difficult saturated areas. we followed the BL loop south side trail back to was a great run and the 212s were absolutely perfect.

A great recovery Tempo run at Bradbury east with the minimus MT10s. Even with the loss in traction compared to the 212s of yesterday, we managed about a 9:30 pace ...
which felt great. I am impressed with both pairs of new runners and can't wait for the Snow to completely melt exposing the normal trails.

Saturday: appr 9 miles @1:50:32
Sunday: 3 miles @28:32

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Clothes Don't Make The Man

As clothes don't make the man, neither do shoes make a runner. Yet, I have felt lately that running shoes do affect my running even if only on a psychological level. I find myself drooling over pages of shoe specs and descriptions.

Some manufacturers claim that the extra support of their shoe will make you run like the wind, others make an about face stating the less support the better and some demand that barefoot is the answer to all our running prayers.

When I was younger I pestered my Mother to buy me PF Flyers. The TV advertisement guaranteed that it was like running with wings on your shoes......well back then they were called sneakers and actually I didn't even run back then so why I needed a pair does not make sense, but I suppose I was thinking if I had a pair and needed to run for some reason, I could run real fast.

Now that I think of it, I also wanted a pair of bell bottom pants which would be counteractive to flying shoes as they would act more like a parachute. I didn't get the flying sneakers, but I did get the bell bottoms so I guess it worked out.

So get back on the subject, about a month ago I bought a pair of NB Minimus and I love them...then last night I got a pair of X-Talon 212 .....I ran in them immediately and I loved them.

I also signed up for the L L Bean 10k and will be getting a new pair of 1064s. My old 1062s only have about 200 miles on them and are still in good shape. I suspect I don't really need a new pair but I still want them. The 212s will be replacing my Cascadia 4s (528 miles) which actually still look quite new and seem to have plenty of miles left in them.

I also have a pair of New Balance 572s which are very similar to the Cascadias and those have less miles than the Brooks but look much older. I bought a pair of New balance 621 trail shoes and they are OK but really not as good as the 572s

To round off the list of shoes I have acquired and really like, the North face XCR 103s, which I use with screws for winter trail running, Brooks T3 and T4 road racers, all of my new balance 700 series 762,63,64,65,66, ( didn't buy the 67 or 68s), Nike 180,180+ and Nike Zoom air (I think the word zoom got me.) All of these have hundreds of miles on them.

It hasn't been a smooth ride though as I bought as many that I didn't like or didn't work well .....NB Mt800(hated these), Loco Curumba, Nike air Pegasus, Puma spikes,Nike air spikes, Nike air 2.5 (not sure what the 2.5 means unless it relates to how many miles you run before you realize you hate them.)

The point is, I started thinking about this and became some what embarrassed......I know women who have less shoes than me and my wife the other day mentioned I should buy one of those big shoe racks to put my running shoes on.

I have 16 pairs of "active" runners and a lot more that have been put on the inactive list, yet I keep them "just in case" I guess for emergencies? In case all my active shoes have previous engagements or are too tired to go out for a run?

To give myself some credit, I do not buy sneakers for other uses, my older ones migrate down from runners to the shoes guest use when they forgot their runners,then to the workout room, then to everyday walkers, then lawn mowing and finally dirty outside work.

What does this all mean? Who knows, All I know is I am happy as hell and anxiously waiting to christen my new X-talon 212s in a muddy romping run!! Biting at the bit to try the Minmus at Pineland and ready to put the Northface screw shoes away for the season. Even if shoes don't make the runner, I sure look good in the 212s

Monday, March 21, 2011

An Almost Spring Weekend

This weekend turned out to be an odd mix as the weather decided to add a kick to my brains desire for spring. Friday, I was antsy all day waiting to get outside and run.
Once home I decided to wear the Minmus and run my favorite local ....the pit loop. This is not traveled at all during the winter, but with all this snow melt happening, I figured it should be run able.

I felt great running the ditch of the road heading toward the pit. As soon as I hit the trail at the pit entrance, I realized my calculations were way wrong.....there was still 2 feet of snow with a slight crust that ripped at my legs as I post holed for about 1 mile..uphill.

After the hill, hitting the dirt road was a treat and I enjoyed a speedier return home. This was by far the slowest I have ever run this route. I sure wish I had worn the sleeves over my Calv's.

SATURDAY morning my intention was to run Ian's planned route for the trail monsters. I figured I could probably hang with their pace for a couple miles but then would be able to follow their tracks as the fresh fallen snow would make it easy.

My first glitch in the plan was arriving 10 minutes late at Bradbury and missing the group. I am not usually late for anything but a flat tire on the truck had a different plan.

Though the first three miles of the BL in reverse is pretty killer as far as hills go, I loved the scenery as the gentle fallen snow coated everything. The trails were much better than I expected and the tracks of the trail monsters were easy to follow.

When I hit Lieghton road, I could see that the trail would normally continue to the other side but the trailmonsters hit the dirt road and I followed assuming there would be a problem crossing the river further down.

After crossing the river via bridge, I ran into Erik and his four legged companion on their way back (I can't seem to remember his pups name) and he said the group was not too far ahead.

About a half mile up the railroad tracks I met up with Val, Rick and Mindy on their way back. They left the group at the bushwhack trail to Oakhill. I said my goodbyes and decided to at least go until 6 miles before I turned around. This took me to the newly bushwhacked trail, which didn't look all that inviting.

I turned around and as I came out onto the road where I thought we ran down, I could see footprints crossing and heading down toward a new bridge. I didn't remember this at all but could see footprints crossing it so I followed.

I must say this was the nicest snowmobile bridge I have ever seen and I was sure I would have remembered it. Once on the other side I could see that the runners had apparently realized they took a wrong turn and headed back.

I stopped for a second and contemplated turning around too. My instincts told me that this power line would bring me back to the road crossing I saw at Leighton road and assumed Ian hit the road thinking this river would be uncrossable.

I was right as not long after following the powerlines I came across the trail heading back toward Bradbury (I assumed I was on the BL loop at this point) I was pretty darn proud of myself but that was short lived as I hit some fairly wet areas in the field leading up to Brown road and it slowed my progress quite a bit.

After crossing Leighton road, the trail back to Bradbury was quite pleasant as I enjoyed going down all those tough hills. After I crossed route 9, the fatigue was setting in and I decided to hit the short cut back to the start instead of following the snowmobile trail. I figured, how bad could it be as there was some foot traffic on this trail.

I found this to be a huge mistake and instead of an easy short cut back, I had a difficult post hole walk for about 3/4 mile. I should have just followed the trail.
Not only did the slow pace post holing affect my overall time, give me my slowest mile of the run but I ended up with only 5 miles on the return giving me 11 total instead of the 12 that I wanted. What was I thinking?

3 miles @ 32:15

11 miles @2:18:20 (12:35 pace) 143-155 (aver & max heart rate)

Sunday...out of run

Monday, March 14, 2011

No Divining Rod Needed

I anticipated some pretty tough conditions on Saturday's run especially after all the rain and warm weather. My plan was to attempt Ian's Beautiful loop (though I wasn't entirely sure where the cut back was from the power lines)

I knew 15 miles on soft wet trails would probably be a bit much for me in this stage of my training and I suspected I might find more standing water than I wanted, but no harm in trying and if need be I could cut the run short.

The early start worked quite well through the park and all the way to the pit. Though I did happen across some very wet areas and I did post hole occasional, I was able to bypass most of the deep water.

The icy areas were pretty slippery so I was glad I wore my screw shoes as the extra traction felt great. Unlike last weekend, I dressed just about right and did not overheat at all.

Things changed a bit once I reached the open field and the power lines. No divining rod was needed as hidden rivers were easily exposed each time the thin melting top crust suddenly gave way. It was a well drillers dream and a post holing nightmare.

There was no way of telling how strong the ice covered areas of the trail were until I fully committed the weight on each foot. At depths of as much as 1-2 feet, the going was pretty slow and my feet were getting darn cold.

After crossing route 9, I decided to try and move to higher elevation. though there was a less traveled trail which was much softer, post holing without water would be much more comfortable than this.

This worked pretty good until I happened across an area that was completely flooded. I didn't want to turn around and deal with the crap I just went though and I remember passing a snowmobile trail heading into the woods.

I opted to go back and try it out. I thought perhaps it might be a way around the newly formed lake. The further I followed it, the less prominent the trail was and finally I found myself at the end of a long dirt driveway at someones house.

My only real choice at this point was to follow the drive back to the road which ended up being route 9. I followed 9 up to Brown road and figured I could link back up with the trail that way.

Funny how timing can be as I reached the trail crossing at Brown road exactly when the trail monster group was crossing. We talked for a few, I warned them of the water problems on the power lines and we said our good byes.

At this point I was a bit past nine miles on my garmen and I figured about three miles back to Bradbury. My body was glad to crest the last part of the hill two miles later and enjoyed the one mile down hill finish.

The fact that I still felt pretty good after 12 miles was uplifting and I found myself wishing I had been able to do the whole 15 mile loop. Considering how much the power lines slowed me down, I was fairly happy with my overall pace. Little did I know that this would not be my last trip to Bradbury this weekend.

Sunday morning I planned on just lazing around and doing a few things around the house and perhaps getting in an easy road run as a weekend cooldown. Kev was home for the weekend and we decided to run at Bradbury instead of the roads.

Though I suspected it would be a foolish decision, I opted to wear my new Minimus for this run as we planned only 3 or 4 miles. The uphills were a little slippery and softer than yesterday but the ice was not as bad as I envisioned without screws and the downs were no problem at all.

I loved the feel of the minimus and for the second run in them, I was happy that I experienced no problems. I did feel a bit of muscle fatigue in the quads from the long run yesterday but very little in the calfs.

Saturday 12 miles @2:23:10 (11:55 pace)
Sunday 4 miles @42:38 (10:39 pace) 2 mile out and back 21:49 out, 20:40 return.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Official Training

The first week of March and My first week of official training.
Ok...well not Official but when I actually start paying attention to my progress.

Mon. Weight Training & plyometrics
Tues. Gazelle (4 miles) & weights-core
Wed. Stationary bike 12 miles ...spinning (quad killer) & plyometrics
Thur. Tread mill 5k hill (10% grade) & bike cooldown & balance
Fri. Dinner and Beer (rest)
Sat. Trail run (snowmobile..Bradbury) 8 miles & shoveling the roof
Sun. 3.2 mile Tempo (with the new Minimus shoe)

I could feel the benefit of the 10%grade treadmill runs from the winter on the hills of the run Sunday, though part of the credit could also go to snowshoe running on "the Brad".

I was very pleased with the effort on the snowmobile trail Sunday as I was high in the Heart rate zone and able to maintain the effort. Hitting 160 heart rate during a run is about 90% effort for me and I was able to pass 160(162-165) in all except one of the miles, which I peaked at 159.

I am really looking forward to some spring running.....