Thursday, March 30, 2006

Time for ice-cream

Mmmm, world's best comfort/recovery food in my books! Just had a nice calorie rich, high fat bowl of chocolate fudge crackle and the good vibes are starting to flow already. Unfortunately, it also comes with a bit of guilt too, 1st I need to watch my fat intake for health reasons, 2nd it's taper time and need to remember to taper the eating but 3rd and most importantly it's hard on Jo because she's given up ice-cream for Lent (can you believe the sacrifice) and it's mean of me to eat it in front of her. Sorry Jo but I can't help my cravings ;-)

So, what am I recovering from? This is supposed to be a 'taper' and all that rest and relaxation, put your feet up, get fat and slow, right? Not today! The famous 'plan' called for a midweek 14 miles with and add-on of downhill repeats for good measure and I'm usually a slave to the plan. I'm still a little tired from all the early mornings, travelling and work stresses are wearing down on me with a peak of activity just the week before Boston.

Anyway, I told my co-workers not to look for me for a few hours and I was off on a beautiful warm sunny spring day! Wow, but too bad my body was feeling like dog-doo from the get go. Just a general lethargic worn out feeling that only faded slightly as the run progressed. Did the 1st 6 miles as a 'warm-up' ending up at the base of the Joe's Point hill that I've been using over the past months. Then clicked the watch and began churning off the repeats. Slow jog up the 800m dirt road, turnaround at the top with a million dollar view of the bay, pickup the pace on the downhill return leg, harder yet on the steeper parts while keeping the leg turnover fast and yet trying not to 'pound', flat spot and then another downhill on pavement to the stop sign and click watch, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. Average for the 6 was around 7:45 and by then I was totally spent and barely made it the one mile back to work. Total of 13 miles in 1:46.

Rest of the day spent trying not to fall asleep at my desk and not make too many mistakes. Now just resting up and recovering with ice-cream and bagels.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Running the roads

Another busy work week with travelling to meetings and trying to fit in runs but at least it's a taper week so I don't get too stressed switching and moving runs around. Monday was a day off as always but then Tuesday I was up early to travel to Moncton for more work meetings. This time around my role was more of an observer/reviewer for another scientists stock assessment. It's alot easier looking in and criticizing than being in the spotlight but you try to be as constructive as possible.

The meetings went till late and I didn't get checked into my nice hotel along the Petitcodiac River and trail system it has through the marshes along the river. But 10 minutes later I was on the trail which goes right by the back of the hotel and with a temperature of 9C (50f) it was shorts and a long sleeve shirt with a jacket backup for when the sun went down! Did a nice 10 mile run as an out and back entirely on the wide packed dirt trails all along the river, well away from traffic and housing. It was a beautiful sunny evening with the sun going down at exactly 6:4o on my return leg and the temp immediately started to drop. I was very glad to have the windbreaker for the last 3-4 miles. Completed the run with a set of 8x100m strides to loosen up the legs and felt nice to be running fast in shorts if only briefly.

This morning I set the alarm for 6:45 on the hope that I'd have enough gumption to get the run in early despite just having run only 12 hrs before. Woke up before the alarm and took that as a signal that the body was giving into the evil master. Had a quick breakfast and was off, but much more slowly than the previous evening. It definitely felt like a double doing these two runs so close together and it took me about 1/2 the run (30 min) to feel loosened up even a little bit. But the good part is that it was an absolutely beautiful quiet morning with clear skies, a nice reddish glow from the sunrise and tons of birds along the marshes. I saw mallard ducks, Canada geese, red-winged blackbirds calling to each other in sequence, some kind of weird turkey or pheasant like bird etc... The return leg was a little faster (1 min) than the out part but mostly speeded up a bit because I didn't want to be late for more meetings. Made it, they always start late anyway!

Tonite I was home in the early evening and 'Oh, isn't there volleyball on Weds? You wouldn't mind if I went???' and got in a couple of hours of that to round out the day. The only danger with this sport is the chance of turning an ankle and I'll only go one more week and then stop just to be safe. So far so good, now I just need to keep fooling the body into not realizing that I'm actually cutting back on the running.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Almost the LLRBB

Last Long Run Before Boston that is... and it's 'almost' because next weekend I'm planning to run (not race) in a 1/2 marathon in St. Martins which is called just that, LLRBB. But today really was the last long run with the gang (except Steph) out in the wilds of Boyden Lake once again.

The plan for today was 22 miles and we all agreed very forcefully beforehand via a flurry of emails that it would be an 'easy' run, starting slow and tapering from there. None of this tempo or marathon pace would be considered and any deviations would result in said runner being 'ditched' or tripped etc ;-) And that's exactly what happened; we ran easy, more or less and nobody got 'ditched'. Met Andrew and Jon a bit earlier this morning at 6:30 EST. The start of the Shore road loop that we did today is perfect for starting easy with a nice gradual downhill for the 1st mile or so but then a series of decent hills makes it interesting. It was a little cool (1-2C or low 30ies) at the beginning and Jon & I were eyeing Andrews mittens with envy for the 1st few miles until the sun came out and we got warmed up.

This had to be the most relaxing long run we've ever had as a group. Lots of chatting about the usual topics like training, upcoming races, crazy weather, FOOD, work, more FOOD and more training. Before we knew it we were about 11 miles in and here comes Ozzie doing a reverse loop to meet us. We immediately reminded him of the slow pace we were doing and continued along at the same 'feels like' jogging pace. However, Andrew & I kept our eyes open for Steph's freshly painted PINK mile markers (what do you say Dawn?) and measured the next mile in 8:06 and but it felt like 8:45+. Completed the 17 mile loop and then did a 3 mile out and back at a slightly quicker tempo to finish 20 in 2:45. Andrew, Oz & I then jogged a couple more to finish the run in 3:02 (I was tempted to go for 3:07 but decided not to push my luck!).

Felt great for most of the run but my legs were feeling it (tightening up and getting stiff) and was hurting the last 6-7 miles. Again, so nice to stop and walk, have a few cookies and say goodbyes. This running group of our's has been great, making the long runs so much easier, and enjoyable. It'll be a number of weeks now before we'll get together again but it's something that must be continued. Thanks gang!!!

Here are the latest curves on the buildup and now the taper down to Boston over the last 22 weeks and 4+ months. The red line is total weekly mileage and the green line is the long run miles with the dashed part as planned for the coming 3 weeks. If you like numbers (and I love numbers) you have a total of 1130 miles, 6d/week, 15 doubles, 10 long runs of 18+, 6 wks of 60-69/wk, 8 at 70-79/wk and one 80+. These are all pb's for training and now the real test will be whether it equates to results at the other end.
The total for this past week was 81 miles in 11hr 20min with YTD=875 and only 21 days to go ;-) Taper city here I come!!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Lucky 7's

7770, that's my bib number for my 7th Boston marathon on the seventeenth of April. Maybe it means I'll be running a 3:07? Naah!! Getting excited about the upcoming race, in fact I had a dream this morning that woke me up with pulse pounding. Somehow I was at the start in Hopkinton but was trapped in the drug store and couldn't get my bib number as the race was about to start! Weird, eh?

Just a couple of easy runs over the last few days to report on. Friday was 8 miles as a 4 mile out and back and was feeling 100% better after a good rest the night before. Kept the pace under control using the HR monitor with the out portion at 8:15 pace about 30sec/mile faster than the Thurs slogfest. Finished off with 10 strides at 1:00 intervals and walk breaks which loosened up the legs nicely. It was a half decent day for a change with mild temps about 6C (43F) after the nasty day we had on Thursday, right Andrew?

Today Saturday was scheduled as a double with 6 and 4 but changed to just a single easy 10 miler early in the morning so I'd have more time to rest and relax for the 22 mile long run on Sunday. Another fine mild day with a light breeze making it slightly cool and finished the run in 87:00. Can't believe it, just one more 'long' run and it's taper city! Hopefully we'll be taking it easy in the morning although my modified plan does call for some MP sections that may happen, or not. Should we start our long run at 7:07.07? Check out Lucky 7 for a laugh.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Still blogging away

Been away on a work trip for a few days and just got back today and I'm now able to report in on this final week of heavy training thus far. It figures that a heavy work week also coincides with the running but 'go figure'. Anyway, some creative planning and early mornings are keeping me on track but the desired intensity has been less than desired due to being overtired mentally and sleepwise.

Tues morning; up at 6:30 for a dreadmill run of 6 miles in 51:30 wearing the almost shiny new shoes which were recently modelled in a long run with Andrew. Dusted them off with a brush and they were perfectly fine on the mill once again. Later that day we made the journey to Yarmouth, NS for meetings planned for Weds. This involved a 1 hour drive to Saint John and a 3 hour ferry ride across to Digby. Of course this happened before the recent sinking of a ferry in BC and so we weren't worried at all. Once there we had a couple hours of meetings after which I snuck off for a quick 4 mile run before supper. Then later that night I was working till midnight preparing my final presentation for the next day, always right to the last minute, right?

Tossed and turned all night and up the next morning before the alarm at 6am. After a coffee and a bit more work it was out for another quick 4 mile dash before breakfast and the all day meetings. In case you didn't know I work as a biologist for the Fisheries Department and my job is to assess the local herring fish stock and report the results to our 'clients', the fishermen, processors and managers. There were about 50 people all eager to hear the latest results on the stock status and the meeting went reasonably well. At least they didn't throw things at me anyway! But still a long and stressful day and I was glad to be able to fit in another run after the meetings before supper.

The plan was for a 12 mile run with 6x1200 @5k but in my stressed tired state I just played it by ear, thinking that I'd run for about 6 miles outbound and then retrace my tracks the same way with the intervals. However, about 40 minutes into the run a very large dog came after me and he only backed off because the owner was calling him. I'm not sure it would have been a very good outcome had he not been called because the dog was not at all intimidated by me standing my ground and waving my arms etc. The main problem for me now became the return route was barred by this obstacle and so I changed the route into a large loop (I've run this area before and know the roads) but ended up on a busier highway and a strong cold headwind that was not conducive to doing hard intervals. Finished the 12 miles at a slower pace in about 1:38 and then out with my co-workers for a nice meal. The chocolate mousse cake was delicious!!

Today it was another 6:00am wakeup but then immediately on the roads to catch the early ferry to Saint John. This time with the strong winds and big waves on the ocean we were having some second thoughts but only for a second. It was a nice smooth run with only some slight rolling for such a large boat. Home at last shortly after lunch but feeling spaced out tired.

After settling my gear it was time to head out for my most unfavorite run, but thankfully last 15 mile midweek run of the program. Over the next few weeks there will more and more of these lasts as things wind down. Today the only goal was to 'survive' this long tough run started with the fuel gage near empty. Even with a couple of bottles of gatorade it was tough sledding from start to finish. The weather was totally bizarre with sun, cloud, rain, sleet, clearing, sun, cloud, more rain-sleet, snow and of course lots of headwind at 15-20mph for the 1st 7 miles. It was not pretty and think I was rained upon at least 5 separate times during this one run! At least it kept me distracted for parts of the 2:12 slog which I was determined to finish. Did stopping and walking ever feel good today!!

Tonite I'll just relax and catch up on all my blogs while following the March madness with a bowl of ice cream. Might even sleep in tommorow morning too ;-)

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Around moaning lakes with turkey vultures lurking

We've decided that it's getting a little strange out in the wilds of Maine backwoods. First up we compared shoes with Andrew quickly snapping pictures of everyone's feet. Last week it was 'butts', this week feet, next week who knows?

The long run started off normally enough but then just a mile in we scared up a couple of huge birds identified as turkey vultures. They have a 6 foot wingspan and are not very pretty close up. We couldn't decide if it was a bad omen and they were waiting for us to die on the side of the road or not. The conversation quickly turned to which one of us had the best meat for picking and went downhill from there! For awhile the pace seemed to pick up and I thought they (Steph and Andrew) were trying to leave me behind for the birds, but after several comments/complaints like 'Man, I'm tired, my legs feel like lead, there must something wrong with the new shoes, that hill wasn't there before...' I was able to slow them down a bit. Turned out we were going a little faster than comfortable for everyone but none (except me) wanted to give in 1st.

Once the pace was settled it was a much more comfortable run, or perhaps we just got warmed up after a few miles. The conversation centered on training plans, bonking, running long without fueling, running long with progressive pace increase as layed out in Lydiard Mike's recent post. There are some really good articles that he refers to on these topics that I would call required reading for those runners that want to push their limits. A note on fueling today - 40 oz of gatorade and one gel for me during the run.

There were some beautiful ocean views on this clear sunny day with light winds and cool temps (only -9C or 18F at start). One spot where the river from Boyden Lake empties into the bay was gorgeous with shining ice covering the banks of the river where the tide comes in and a family of 'black' ducks resting quietly in a spot of open water. Wish we had a camera!

Movin on the conversation continued with the focus of the next 4 weeks that Steph and I have until Boston. Only one more long run next week of 20 or so miles and then taper city! We're all considering a 1/2 marathon near Saint John on April 2 which we can either race or treat as a marathon pace run. It's called The Last Long Run Before Boston (LLRBB), this will be it's 2nd running and it's just a low key, low cost local race on a hilly backroad area starting near the Fundy Trail in St. Martins, NB.

Over the last few miles of the run as we went along the shore of the lake we noticed a strange noise in the quiet of the morning. At first is sounded like a far off plane but was more of a groaning, moaning even whale song type noise. Stopping to listen we figured out it was the lake ice moving and starting to melt with the high strong sunshine. Very unusual and quite loud with no traffic or other noise to interfere.

Finished up the 17 mile loop shortly thereafter and then added a quick 1.5 mile out and back with Andrew to make 20. We started out with me saying that I didn't really want to do the final miles at MP like my plan said but before we knew it....we were trucking along not able to talk any further! What would I do without training partners like this? Finished the run gasping and bent over in the standard runner pose with hands holding onto knees so not to fall face first on the pavement. Thanks Andrew, I really mean it too ;-)

Total for the week, 68 miles in 9hr 20 min, YTD 794 miles, 28 days and counting...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Better tempo day

Good days, bad days, mediocre days, hard days, easy days, putting in the miles days. So what kind of a day was I blessed with today? The 'plan' says 8-15k race but that's not going to happen in this part of the world and so the best option I could come up with was 11 miles with 5 at tempo pace. Considering that I've been tired the last few days and we've got a 20 miler planned for Sunday with the gang this was the path of least resistance.

Nice sunny Saturday here but still cool with -8C early in the morning. Waited around and had a nice quiet lazy morning, blueberry pancake breakfast and then worked on some preparations for our local Father's Day race which takes place here in beautiful St. Andrews on June 18th. You can see the details now at the Run New Brunswick website. I'm one of the co-directors of this small local race that usually attracts 100 or so runners each year. Here are a few pictures from last year's and results can also be found on the Run NB site as well.

So, just before noon the temps had 'warmed' up to almost 0C but only -6C with the windchill so layers needed once again. They say that spring equinox is scheduled to arrive here on Monday at 2:26 Atlantic time but I'll believe it when we can wear shorts in comfort once again!

Back to today's run, 2 layers plus a jacket, extra head gear, gloves, gatorade, mp3 player, tiny bit of enthusiasm and off. Did the 1st 6 miles out of town to Bayside at a slow easy pace in about 52 minutes. Then turned up the throttle for the return leg home at a near tempo pace with a heartrate around 150. Managed the last 5 in 36:20 or 7:20 pace which is only slightly faster than marathon pace but was unable to move the legs any faster or get the HR any higher. On a positive note this was 2 minutes faster than the last time I did this same run 2 weeks ago. It'll just have to do and besides, there's still the long run tommorow to be ready for!

Friday, March 17, 2006

All work and no play

Makes Mike a tired boy...

Familiar pattern, took an easy day on Weds switching for a 7 mile easy so that I could go to volleyball rested. Volleyball was great and but then the longer 14 mile run on Thur was a real slog with legs feeling like lead, especially the last few miles. Started out nice and easy into a cool headwind for the entire 1st half and after the turnaround had some good mile splits of around 8:15 with a low heartrate below 130. Just after that I ran out of garorade and the wheels fell off for the rest of the run. Finished up the in just under 2hr and collapsed at my desk for the rest of the day.

Today, Friday was still residual tired for no obvious reasons and woke up with a splitting headache that lasted all day. My usual easy 6 mile jaunt around town was a slow slow slog in 50:15. The legs were still like lead and just an overall beat feeling. Moan, bitch, complain....hopefully a better day awaits.

Part of the problem is the crazy work schedule I'm under lately with reports, meetings and deadlines fast approaching and no end in sight until the week before Boston. The perfect storm of work and play is sure to bring me down if I let it but I won't let it will I? Perhaps ice cream is the perfect healing solution, I'll report in later.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Picking your spots

Don't you wish you had a crystal ball sometimes? What's the weather going to do, how am I going to feel, should I reschedule this run for later, maybe we can get away with shorts? Not! Forecast today was heavy rainfall warning with strong SE winds and temps around 3-5C (40F). But all morning it was calm with only a light drizzle, that is up until I started today's run. And then, like the weather gods had been just waiting for little ole me the skies opened up and the wind started to howl.

Plan was for 9 miles with 10x800. After a 10 minute warmup and with the rain steadily increasing began with the hard bits in about 3:10 with a 1:40 recovery for a total of 5 minutes for each set. The 1st five felt relatively good with the 20-35k wind at my back, in fact it seemed almost bearable. Unlike a track situation with the clock pressing you to meet certain splits, doing them by time allows you to simply go as hard as you feel (or are able on the particular day). However, you can also 'cheat' alot easier as there are no signposts to keep track.

Of course, after the turnaround point things really started to go downhill in more ways than one. For the next 25 minutes I got the heavy rainfall and high winds exactly as predicted. Even the traffic on the highway was slowed to a crawl but nowhere near the crawl I was reduced to. The last 5 intervals were considerably slower but the effort was no less intense. Finished up with an easy 20 minutes for a total time of 1:18 with the weather clearing and the rain stopped! The drowned rat crawled back in his hole. Perhaps I could've picked my spot a little better? Maybe next time...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Long runs are fun

Perhaps the non-runner won't understand but when the weather changes for the better with sunny blue skies and light winds it's just wonderful to get outside and feel the wind in your hair from moving your body along under your own power. This is a picture I took on the way home of Saint Croix Island an international historic site just up the river. The key points to note are:
  1. blue sky
  2. calm clear water, little or no wind
  3. no snow
  4. is that a skunk crawling out of his hole?
So the gang all met at the usual spot near Boyden Lake for the Sunday morning run and we all had our happy faces on ;-) Why not? The starting temp at 7am was about 34F (1C) and only going up. Nobody was brave enough to wear shorts but we could've got away with it.

Looking up and down the road for cars! No actually we were thinking of Dawn and I had to explain that "No! She's not some kind of weirdo. This is just her view of runners in races as she likes to take her time and get her money's worth." Did I get that right, Dawn?
And we were off! Started out nice and easy for the 1st 30 minutes or so and then my twisted plan to run most of today's run at marathon pace kicked in. Jonathan decided to come with me at first and we could hear some debate in the background between Steph and Andrew. A few minutes later he caught up to us. I guess Steph told him to just go play and not hold back with her but I felt a little sad for her bringing up the back of the parade.

The marathon pace thing is an integral part of the Pfitzinger marathon plan with increasing doses of MP runs as part of the long run. The theory which makes total sense is that you can't expect to do on race day, that which you haven't practiced. The problem with the theory though is that it's not easy to just turn on a switch and run 10-15+ miles at this faster pace in a non-race situation on typically tired legs from all the training. However, today's run while not 'easy' was much more doable that trying to wing it alone.

The 'boys' keyed off me for the pace and I keyed off my breathing and heart rate monitor with a target of 150 beats/minute. With my max of 170 this equates to about 88% and is a little on the high side but experience has shown that I can hold 85-90% for the marathon distance. We cruised along quite comfortably on our moderately hilly route, slowing slightly for the hills but maintaining the effort (HR). I think the pace was a little easier for 'the boys' than me cause they were doing alot more gabbing than I was. I even asked if we should pick up the pace for all their talking but "no, this is at least 7:30!" Completed the 17 mile loop to the cars in 2:13 with 1:40 or about 13.5 miles at MP. A fancy shmancy GPS watch would have been nice but the effort meter said it was a good run over a hilly course. Finished up with a 1 mile cool down, reversing the route and picking up Steph who was just behind us and moving very well. Jonathan and Steph then continued on to finish off 20 miles while Andrew and I had a muffin (actually fig newton).

Wasn't that fun??

Total for the week was 74 miles, YTD=726, and only 5 weeks to go!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Hard... easy... repeat

It's not rocket science but it works eventually either breaking you down or building you up. After recovering from Wedneday's longish run with a couple of easy runs on Thurs, Friday was meant to be a double with 4 and 12. However, I was still tired and needed extra sleep thus missing the hang-on-the rails treadmill run. The extra bonus was to save any extra energy for the hills planned along with the 12 miler.

We had some light snow and sleet/freezing rain the previous night but by noontime things had warmed up with it mostly melted. I didn't get fooled into underdressing today and wore tights, jacket and extra headgear just in case. Eased into the run with 6 easy miles around the Point and then repeated the hill workout from a few weeks ago on Joes Point road by the golf course. This is a dead-end, out of the way dirt road with a 1/2 mile long uphill and today the idea was to jog easily up and then go hard coming back 'down' to simulate the pounding of the Boston hills. The road was mostly bare but had a few icy spots where I had to tiptoe carefully over. Managed to do a total of 6x1 mile loops in times between 7:50 and 8:14 which was slower than the last time around. I'm attributing it to the roads and still being a little tired and that's that! The legs and feet where complaining with various aches and pains during this workout but these all went away as fast as they appeared. You need to be very careful with the pounding this kind of workout can do.

Today, Saturday was just an easy 7 miles with a few strides mixed in. Another plus temperature day but there was a cool north wind and again didn't get sucked into underdressing. Felt a bit draggy but hopefully will be better for the long run with marathon pace planned for the morning.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Holding on for dear life!

Dallen would have been laughing out loud this morning if he had seen me on the treadmill, eyes barely open, hands clutching the rails, hoping not to be shot out the back into another room. Went to bed the night before tired, woke up tired and sleepy, somehow made it down the stairs to the mill, walked the 1st 1/2 mile, jogged the next mile or so with the occasional clingons, and finished up the 4 miles at about 9:00 pace overall.

Why so tired? Simple answer: the dreaded mid-week 15 mile run was once again doing me in. This is one of the main staples of my running program and also one of the toughest runs to get in. It's hard to find the time to fit it in, hard to do in the middle of the week when often worn down by hills, tempo or interval runs. The weekend 20+ miler is never, ever, as hard as this run. So that must mean it's working; Nobby and Mike are right: 'training is supposed to be HARD' (duh!)! If you're just sailing along through the workouts and never feeling drained or tired then most likely it's too easy or you're not doing enough to get a training effect. BUT you'd think that after all this running it might just get a tiny little bit easier?

So... Weds was a 15 mile slog/jog around town in the middle of the day for a total of 2:09. The sun was shining again and I was a little underdressed in shorts due to the light northerly wind to go along with the low 30ies temp (+3C). The body was still tired from the 'fun' intervals on Tues (you always pay back for good days) and despite taking it slow and getting gatorade at the midway point, well you know...'a long and winding road'. That night I was too tired to type but managed to read a few blogs while relaxing. No volleyball either, was tempted but just couldn't get off the couch.

Today, a rest day with 2 easy runs. The treadmill adventure (above) for 4 miles in the morning and then an easy 6 mile loop around town before supper. My internal watch/gps is still working perfectly too! I was asked how long I'd be? 'Oh, about 50 minutes'... So six mile car measured loop, watch in my pocket, easy/easy pace but feeling decent, for final time of ... 50:57 would you believe? Maybe I don't need to shell out all that money for a fancy shmancy GARMIN 305 after all! Just use the little internal clock and effort meter that's already built in but be sure to feed it lots of beer and ice-cream ;-)

I almost forgot, here's the update on our new driver. Our 'baby' boy A passed his final driver's road test yesterday with flying colors. No major problems except for finding where the high beam switch was located. Despite being well prepared the parallel parking was not required and he did a simple back-in instead. Now A can take the cruise control off and drive like the rest of us while Dad forks over more dough to the insurance company. It's really nice to see your kids growing up!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

40 days and 40 nights

Sorry to be so obsessive but that's all that remains to marathon day and I'm already feeling it. Only a 4 more long runs, 2 dreaded 15 mile midweek runs, and a mixture of tempo and interval type days left. The 3 week taper is also going to be rough to take after such a long intensive program. Unlike Duncan who just had an amazing race at Napa Valley I can only manage a couple of marathons per year after extensive preparations.

Wonder of wonders we had a glorious spring like day at last and it's predicted to last through the rest of the week. Clear and sunny with light winds and temps up to +6C (43F) was just wow! Of course this meant shorts for the 1st time in ages along with a long sleeved shirt and light windbreaker. Didn't feel cool at all, in fact had to tie the jacket around my waist at the end of the run.

Today's run was a 12 miler with 6x1000m intervals with unspecified rest between. This looks a little intimidating on paper but once you're out the door it just seems to happen. Ran it as an out and back with the 1st 6 miles in 51:00 and then after the turnaround in Bayside began the real work. Like Thomas I go by time and effort and without recent 5/10k's to go by did them in about 4:15 hard with about 2:00 jog rests including a bit of walking when really winded. Despite feeling a bit lethargic on the way out it felt fine once into the faster stuff. Nice to burn out the carbon a little after all the slower running with the horrible weather we've had lately. Finished up with about a mile to go and eased back to the start in 47:10 or about 4 minutes faster on the return leg. It was over before you knew it, "Can I have some more please?!"

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sunday, Sunday!

Just a teaser until I have time and can compose a proper overview of today's great run with Andrew, Stephanie and newcomer Ozzie. I have to take the youngster out for a road test once again as he's taking the final driver's test this coming week. Wish me luck! Actually A. is a very good driver for a newbie ;-)

Here are a couple of plots; first is my current Boston buildup mileage by week since my last marathon in the fall. It shows total miles in red and long run miles in green and planned runs to come in the next 6 weeks as dotted lines.
And here is a comparison of my monthly mileage over a couple of Boston cycles:
The green line is last year where I ran a 3:34, the yellow line is 2002 when I ran a Boston PB of 3:18 and the top red line (pushing the limit?) is this year so far. I'm either heading for another PB or a big crash! Fun, eh?

More later after my little drive with A... OK, we survived. Only a couple of impatient drivers tailgaiting and passing us illegally as usual. What is it about driving at the speed limit that annoys people so much? A did very well with his parking and road rules so I think he's ready to go.

So today's Sunday run was a real pleasure with the elements not so bitter as they have been. It was sunny and windy making the -3C (26F) at the start seem a little chilly but we were fine for the most part. There was a funny episode about 2 miles into the run when I started to feel very warm and couldn't figure out what was wrong. Finally dummy (me) determined that he had forgot to remove an extra fleece sweatshirt used to keep warm during the drive up! The only option, besides carrying it for 10 miles, was to remove and dump it in the woods for a later retrieval.

Started out with just Andrew and Steph going around Boyden lake, past the Rotweillers who were out and about but only came as far as the ditch to say hello. We then picked up a border collie type dog who ran with us for about 4 miles. We were a bit worried he was going to get lost but then noticed that he was stopping every 100 yards or so to make 'his' mark on various trees, mailboxes etc and so could probably find his way ;-)

Shortly after he disappeared we spotted a most unusual site, another RUNNER! Who, what is he/she doing out here on our private little course?? Turned out it was Ozzie, another local runner who we've been asking to come out with us for weeks now. He was late starting and so did the route in reverse, hoping to run into us and did at about the 1/2 way mark around the lake. Ozzie is about the same age as me and is also training for Boston, not to mention Sugarloaf, the revived inaguaral Paul Bunyan marathon, Mount Desert Island and a myriad of other races. He's a definite running nut like the rest of us and livened up our group and kept poor fading Steph's spirits up (her first longer run since injury).

Finished the 13.5 mile loop in just under 2 hours, dropped a tired Steph at the cars and then kept on trucking with A and O. First down the Golding Road to retrieve my sweatshirt for about 4 miles and then a loop down the main road and back to get my 18 (actually 19) miles for the day. We picked up the pace a bit with O seeming to be quite energetic and then a bit more on the final return to the cars just to get it done with. Great run gang!

Total for the week 70 miles in 10 hrs of running. Year to date mileage is now 652 and only 6 weeks to B-day tommorrow and counting (see my new fancy countdown timer). Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Over the hump!

Hey, things are finally looking up! We broke the freezing point today for the first time in over a week, which seemed more like a month and it feels great ;-)

Only a couple of easier runs to report. On Friday it was an easy but complicated route with a jog home (1.5 miles) to get my van, drive it to the garage for a service check, then loop around town to complete the 6 miles scheduled. It was a cool day at -8C and the usual -20C windchill but the sun was shining and the light cover of snow made for nice running across the golf course.

Today, Saturday things were looking up with temps at -4C but strong NW winds of 30k/hr making for a bit of a windchill, though nothing like we've had. Only needed one layer and a jacket, which was a little cool but OK. Did a 10 mile run as 5 miles out into the wind in 44min and then the return trip at a harder effort in 38:40 which is just a bit slower than marathon pace. I thought it was a bit more effort than that but somehow I've lost some of my limited speed with all the slogging so far this winter. My Feb mileage total was 293 miles which is a new record over this runners recorded history.

Meanwhile the countdown to Boston goes on. I found a nice timer at Hunter's: Marathoning with Arthur Lydiard site which he found at 'little miss runner pants' site... Cool, thanks folks!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Not a pretty sight

Obviously, if you've been keeping track, this is #100 but don't feel like celebrating too much just yet.

Like Andrew this horrible weather is wearing me down and if you'd seen me dragging my sorry butt around town yesterday you'd agree that it wasn't a pretty sight. I was bundled up with extra clothes that only seemed to make me sweat more when slogging along with the wind at my back. Oh yes, another -12C day with windchill -20 AGAIN! Perhaps it's just the cumulative miles but this was the longest toughest 2hr run I've done in years. yuck, yuck, yuck, we need a break soon or we're all going to crack.

So, 4 miles easy at 645am on the treadmill. Then a 14-ish mile mid-day run that was meant to be 15. Slowly the miles are accumulating, and that which does not break, gets stronger?

Maybe I will go to volleyball. Tired but need a change of scenery and something different. If it doesn't pan out I can just come home early...
and a good nights sleep!

Hey, it's another day and the sun is shining once again. Survived volleyball, in fact it was a great night out and a good break. More energy than expected, even managed a few spikes, lots of fun and laughs with the co-ed group that comes out every week.

Today was a bit of a busy day at work with a drive to Saint John for a meeting to talk to some of our 'clients' in the fishing industry. It went well but didn't get home till 430pm with a 7 mile run to fit in before supper.

We had a light snowfall during the day with about 5cm (2-3 inches) which made for a beautiful winter wonderland outdoors. However, more importantly the temperatures have risen and the current -5C with light winds felt absolutely balmy after what we've been enduring. It was a glorious, quiet gentle run around town with a few zigs and zags to make up the required distance. Ran partly on the golf course and on some empty side streets where my footprints in the snow were the only ones to be seen. Total time of the run was almost exactly as predicted when leaving the house, 'How long will you be?'.... 'Back in an hour' (actually 60:50) and this was watch in the pocket for the duration. I guess those internal clocks do work!

Been thinking alot about my running goals and plans after prodding Rob about his. This will have to wait for another day but meanwhile things are looking up and the temperature is rising. We may even get to 0C (32F) by the weekend. All right!!