Thursday, June 29, 2006

Up and down

Good days and bad days lately, both running wise and otherwise. Gotta post more often, but there is just so much going on including work and family issues that have been more than a little distracting.

Started off Sunday with a nice slow easy 19 miles on a cool foggy day but the legs and body was tired from a busy day before. I hate to mention it but a nice 4 mile walk with Jo on Saturday evening to watch the 'Grand March' did me in a bit. This event is part of the high school graduation here where the parents get to escort their son or daughter and are introduced with the whole community attending. It usually takes place in the park but this year was rained out and took place in a crowded school gym. It was still nice to see all the spiffy suits and beautiful dresses and the happy grads who looked oh so young! (We never looked like that did we ;-) We've been through the March twice now and have one more edition coming up next year which should be fun as always.

So back to the Sunday run, legs a little heavy and the pace was slow. Had 2 podcast episodes of Phedippidations on the mp3 player to help pass the time. Steve Runner is a good listen if you need some motivation or plain old distraction during your run, check him out. After the run it was some rushing around doing church 'stuff' and then we packed up Steph for her voyage back to PEI and included a little detour to check out apartments in Truro. You can check out her blog for the blow by blow hear but it was 'nip and tuck' with luck prevailing at the last minute and a good place was finally found. Then continued on back to the island arriving in the late evening after about 8 hrs of driving. Ouch, the legs were not happy with this!

Monday, travel back from the island and a well deserved (I think) rest day. Didn't even bother to go back to work and instead watched some the the World Cup off the recorder. Can't decide which team I'd like to cheer for yet (like Thomas), perhaps the underdog 50-1 Ukraine? But I love the attacking style of the Brazilians...

Tuesday!! A very strange running day. Because work was so crazy and there were meetings before and just after lunch I was only able to fit in 5 miles over the allotted hour at an easy 7:47 pace. This was instead of the 10 with 4@1/2 as planned. Also included in this run was a pickup of the van from the garage, dropoff at home and then zoom back into work for the meeting that couldn't wait! Stewed the rest of the day, trying to figure how to 'get the run in' and astonished Coach with a 2nd run as soon as I arrived at home. "Where are you going? Didn't you already run today??" Mumbled reply "Yes, but didn't go as far as planned..."

Part B was a quick and dirty tempo run with a 1/4 mile warmup and then right into tempo-ish pace with miles at 700, 645, 702 and 709 for a 4 mile total of 27:56. Finished up with an easy 3/4 mile jog and the 5 mile run was done in only 37 minutes! Barely got warmed up (not really but it was a good, perhaps a bit fast effort).

Weds: down day and now that I'm writing the fog is lifting and this runner understands why this run was so hard. At the time I could not understand why the legs were so dead, the motivation was flat, and even at an easy pace it felt like real work (not much fun). You dummy, look at the day before! No wonder you were tired and plus it was a warm muggy day! Schedules are made to be flexible and to be broken, rearranged if necessary and here I was trying to put in 15 miles on dead legs and with not enough time to fit in the run during a semi-extended lunch. It was no surprise then, that eventually reason took over from insanity and the run was cut short to 8 miles. Must admit that I did feel a little defeated and let down at the time.

Thurs: Yah, almost the weekend and a one week holiday break! Played it smart today, with fueling before the run, water during and a gatorade pickup at home at 5 miles. Also warned my co-workers that I'd be late today and my phone could take messages if needed. Today's 15 miles were slow (8:20 pace) but it felt effortless, easy and relaxing going along using heartrate as a guide and not being worried about when the run would be over. The logbook has the notation 'decent run' which is just below 'great' on my scale.

Tonite I registered for the Grand-Bay 1/2 marathon on Saturday and so it looks I'm committed like the pig (not the chicken). No plans for fast times but rather to run a controlled effort race and to take what comes. I've run this race a few times and it's a challenging but fair course. I'm looking forward to the test.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Weekly update - still kicking...

Like many others it seems hard to find enough time to run, fit in your regular or irregular life and still find time to blog about it. Hopefully I can be more regular soon but I'd better be careful what I wish for (see my Friday run report) and perhaps some upcoming holidays will free up some time to do things that have been left at the wayside.

ORN's - sticking to the schedule like glue but have had to do a bunch of 'cut and pasting' with rescheduled workouts over most of the week. The only runs that got done on the day planned was the 1st run of the week on Sunday (18 already reported on) and the last one today which was an easy 6 miles turned into 7 to make up a missing mile (I'm really weird like that).

Tues - easy 6.2 miles at 8:05 pace instead of 10 because work meetings interfered and had to get my lunch hour run within the alloted 1 hour (go figure). Also biked to/from work all week and got a few sessions of situps and pushups so the rest of the body gets exercise too.

Weds - easy 10 miles with 10xstrides instead of 14 because work again interfered, gotta figure out a way to not have to work or something, but at least I was able to work in an extended 85 minute run. Slow pace today with hot sun and had a bottle of gatorade and one of water along. The strides felt good and it's nice to get the leg turnover going a bit on these.

Thurs - took the day off so at least work couldn't interfere and got in a nice 10 miles that shoulda been 12 but... during the run I stopped at the garage. They said they'd fix my van's air conditioning IF I could bring it in within the next 30 minutes (like now) otherwise it'd be weeks. So the run got cut short but the AC will be welcome with all the driving planned over the next few weeks and months. Then packed up and off for a quick trip (4.5 hr) up to Bathurst to visit my Mom who is not well and the real reason I took a few days off. Steph came along too as she does not get alot of chance to see her with her work, school and lack of transportation.

Friday - up early at the cottage on the beach that my sister kindly made available for my visit. Shoulda taken a few pictures to post because it has a beautiful view and private beach access on the Chaleur Bay on Salmon Beach. As some of my regular readers know I'm not much of a morning person or morning runner but can manage to get the runs in when I have to. All it usually takes is getting up a little early for a light breakfast of cereal and coffee and after all 'systems' have been flushed out, then it's usually good to go. So I was off down the road feeling pretty good ... but not for long...

(non-runners may want to skip this next paragraph or at least hide your eyes and ears)
I got less than 1/2 mile down the road and knew I was in trouble. Turned around with the vain hope of making it to the cottage bathroom but it was not to be. At least the traffic was light and there were ample bushes and trees along the highway and so it was down into the woods and barely had time to drop the shorts for the explosion. The mosquitoes had a nice feast while I tried to clean up with the bits of toilet paper in my water belt but felt much better after that.
(ok, non-runners can look now)

Ended back at the cottage to clean up and started out again feeling much better. Turned out to be a wonderful 14.8 mile run finding access to the converted railway to trailway where I did most of the run. Also did a couple of out and backs on access trails to the highway which I'd missed on the run out to get my bearings. Nex time I'll know how to get to the trail more easily. The trails and highway was completely deserted with nothing encountered except for a couple of frightened rabbits. One was kinda cute in the way he stayed crunched down pretending to be a rock, that is until I noticed this rock had fur and then he bolted. Drank 2 bottles of gatorade and finished off the run along the secondary highway with very little traffic. Then the best part was finishing the run with a cool dip in the cold ocean. I didn't swim long but the water felt great on the tired legs and felt very refreshed afterward (wish I had a pic of the beach area).

Saturday - today was just a short easy 7 miles with my virtual running friend for company and to try to make me go slow. Didn't happen! Ended up running 8:15 pace instead of the planned 8:30 and it still felt like tripping along slow.

Total for week 4 of 18 of The Plan was 64 miles as scheduled and all is well with the body except some lingering tightness in the achilles. On tap is a long run of 19 on Sunday and am thinking of doing the Canada Day 1/2 marathon in Grand Bay/Westfield next weekend.

And oh yes, it's only 98 days to Wineglass! Time waits for no one!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

No, I'm not lazy!

But evil runner is.... (Sunday afternoon)
Evil Runner (ER) - 'You're tired, it's been a long day, take a break.'
Good Runner (GR) - 'Nah, it's only a short long run of 16 this week'
ER - 'It's hot (27C) and you'll get overheated and dehydrated'
GR - 'That's easy, I'll just drink up now before the run and carry extra gatorade and even stop back at the ranch for refueling (gotcha)'
ER - 'But there's no way you can do 8 miles at MP in this weather! Especially after running around for the Father's Day Race organization and stuff...'
GR - ' do have a point there...I am kinda beat and with this heat...'
ER - {big grin}
GR - 'Well let's get this over with! And wipe that smile off your face!!'

The things that a runner has to put up with is just beyond belief and those of you silly enough to read this far are, well ... just as insane as I am. It's been a heck of a busy weekend and just getting caught up now with blogging way down on the list lately. I like to keep regular updates on my training and other activities but sometimes it's just too much to even read the blogs I like to follow. So this post might be a little short and sweet, especially since the big hockey game is about to start. Tonite is game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoffs and for the 1st time in a decade we have a Canadian based team poised to grab the big prize, Go Edmonton!

Back to the ORN's (obligatory running notes), on Friday the 12 miles with 4 at tempo pace went with the 4 miles in 29:17 or about 7:20 pace which was barely faster than marathon pace. The heartrate and effort were up there but there was just no 'pop' in the legs at all. Maybe it was because it was warm and sunny or maybe it's the cumulative training is starting to wear on the legs. I've also got some tightness in the achilles that bugs me early in the day but usually goes away after a few miles. Total time for the 12 miles was 1:36:00 for 7:58 overall pace. This run was followed by some mad running around gathering stuff for Sunday's road race and then a 5 hour drive to Charlottetown, PEI to collect my daughter who's decided to come home for a break and a visit.
Of course, first we had to pry her away from all the animals she has to take care of at the pet store.
Followed by a 5 hour return trip on the same day...good thing the run was early and I had the day off work, eh? Had time for a brief stop at Bro's to check out his new home under construction and of course, the Barage Version 2!

Saturday was a complete blur with an early trip to Calais and shopping for food and drink for the race. Managed to find time at midday when the sun and heat was at it's peak for an easy 6 mile run around town. This was a bit of an unusual run with a water bottle in one hand and a can of bright orange spray paint in the other. You know what the water is for but the paint? Well don't tell anyone but runners like their race routes well marked and with the help of the trusty Garmin GPS all the kilometer and mile marks soon found their way to pavement. Did the 5 mile race loop at a jog in sweltering heat and then added another mile or so to check out the kids race loop as well. The rest of the day was occupied with more race prep getting all the forms and computer stuff organized. Oh yeah, and this was the end of week 3 of 'The Plan' with a total of 67 miles in 6 runs (my weeks now run from Sunday to Saturday).

Sunday, up early to get ready for the St. Andrew's Father's Day race for which I've been co-race director for the past several years. Busy, busy, busy getting all the details right but everthing went smoothly today. First the 1.0 km (or so) kids race...
And they're off! The kids are amazing the way they run so freely, in fact they seemed airborne more than not. Of course the burst only lasted for a short period before reality set in.
The 5 mile race is off with some excellent runners in the lead. The winner was the potatoe shirt guy in the middle of the crowd with a time of 26:55 for the tough five mile loop. Race results are here and the complete set of pictures are here. Wrapped up the race and home by 1pm but then more cleanup to do and didn't get on the road till about 2:30pm after the little debate that started off this little (not so little any more but the hockey game is not going so well).

Back to Sunday's run/slogfest. Started out with hot sun and no wind for the 1st 5 miles, followed by a cooling breeze and some cloudy periods for the next five. Quick stop for more gatorade at home and then a slow 6 more around town with hot sun once again. Total of 16 miles in 2:19 for an 8:37 overall pace. Good thing I didn't try any of that marathon pace silliness because this was about all that was in the cards today. Getting the miles in but that's about it lately, just ask ER.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Ups and downs

So far this week the running has been either really good or really bad. It's either feeling great and ready to tear up the roads or feeling like crap and wanting to crawl home with my tail between my legs! And I've also been so busy there has been no time to blog and complain about it!

So after Sunday's longish 18 miles the plan was to take it easy on Monday with a rest day, not! Instead it was a 5 hour drive to Halifax for a meeting with my 'clients', aka fishermen reps. But the meeting ended early and with time on my hands and a beautiful sunny day, well the options were obvious; go for a run! So I cheated on the program by putting in 10+ glorious miles running from Dartmouth, across the MacDonald bridge and then around the Halifax Commons park before cruising back the way I'd come. Total time 80:20 or 7:59 pace.

Tues was a busy work meeting and travel day getting home late and no run, thus a well needed rest day.

Weds was a strange running day. You'd have thought that after a nice exhilarating run on Monday, followed by a rest day that I'd be charged up for a decent effort but it just was not to be. This 14 mile med-long mid-week run was a slog of a run from the 1st step to the last, yuck! I nearly bailed in the 1st 3 miles with evil runner suggesting that I take it easy today, and then run long the next day, or just do 12 today instead. However, good runner won out with the argument that it was only a few miles further and by not doing the long run today it would mean back to back longer runs later in the week. Evil runner was persistant though and made me turn early on this out and back but this only caused some more zig-zags at the end to make up the necessary miles. Finally after almost 2hrs of torture the punishment ended and I was able to collapse at my desk for the rest of the day.

Today, Thurs was a better (up) day with a nice easy run around town in a light rain. It was a recovery pace run of only 6 miles at a relaxing easy trot (8:17 pace). It's so nice to go slow some days but the hope is that the next day you'll have something extra for a harder run. On tap for Friday is a 12 miler with 4@1/2 mar pace. Hopefully it will be an up day but I'd better shut this computer off now and get some sleep. Good running all!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Clearing skies

An new to us flower called a Columbine grown from seed by the master gardener (definitely not me)!
Siberian Iris provides some nice color around the fish pond.
Of course the bird bath is well topped up and the garden looks rather lush after 2 weeks of rain.
And Coach is hard at work trying to keep the forest/weeds at bay. My main jobs around the yard are to keep the grass in check and the occasional construction project like the pumphouse or trellis. All the credit for the beauty and layout of our huge yard goes to J who breathes and dreams gardening like I do my running.

Running? Yes, it's going well so far with a 63 mile week 2 of 18 with all planned runs done according to the schedule. Knock, knock on wood that is. I know you shouldn't go from 30 miles to 60 miles in one week but I took 3 days off to recover from Cabot Trail and during the weeks before CTR the mileage had been 42, 46 and 51. So verdict my is that the base is there and the down week was just a needed rest before the push in the new training plan.

Friday: 11 miles in 85:40 (7:46 pace) with 2x2 mile at tempo pace (14:07 and 13:37 for the 2 segments). Started out feeling a little lethargic and slow but once I kicked the pace in it went well if not a little faster than planned. Was aiming for about 7:00 pace and HR around 150 but with some flat/downhill terrain the pace went down below that for the 2nd burst of semi-speed after a 1 mile easy run break. Finished up with 4 miles of easy running on a cloudy overcast day where the rain let up a bit during the run.

Saturday: pouring down rain again for most of the day. Went about 6.5 miles at 8:28 pace and got soaked of course. Did part of the run on the empty but very soggy golf course and was tempted to stop and do a few strides barefoot in the warm rain but resisted the urge. Instead did 6x100m strides on the road at 1:00 intervals and felt slow, awkward and the legs were tight. I think I need to take more time with these getting full recovery between, not timing anything, but just running the short bursts until it feels smooth and fast.

Sunday: today was a better day with the sky almost clearing at times but interrupted by the occasional shower (but not during the run). Woke up early at 6:29 (one minute before the alarm) and was on the road by 7am after a quick bowl of cereal and coffee. It was a bit of a slog today with 18 miles in 2:32 (8:27 pace) and the effort felt like it should have been closer to 8:00 pace. Drank 3 bottles (64oz) of gatorade during the effort and listened to good old SteveRunner for the 1st hour. His podcast theme today was 'Becoming a Good Animal' with an interesting discussion and his usual tongue in cheek humour.

Today's route was a bit roundabout with a trip past the Bunny Hill scattering at least 10-12 rabbits along the road and then across the Bar Road on the ocean floor to the gates of Minister's Island. At low tide as it was today you can drive (or walk/run) across to the island which is ofter cut off with the rushing ocean waters as the tides rise or fall here by nearly 20ft every 6 hours. Back up the hill, scattering yet more bunnies and a circuitous route around town before arriving back home for a gatorade refill at the 1hr mark.

Finished out the run with a trip out of town where I was surprised to run across another runner L who was out for a run in preparation for next weekends Father's Day race here in St. Andrews. Check out all the details on the RunNB website and don't forget to make the trip here if you can for our little race. After going for a few miles and having a nice chat with L we went out separate ways. Just made it back in time for a quick shower and then off to Sunday mass.

This afternoon we saw the sun for a few moments but was quickly followed by another rain shower. Have a great week everyone, summer is just around the corner!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Stumbling down the road

This has been a strange week in some respects and truly is the 1st week of real training for the next marathon in October.

Started off with 17 mi in 2:20 (8:08 pace) on Sunday which was truly an awful day for running with pouring down rain the entire day. Waited around most of the day for a break in the skies but it just never came. Finally at 3pm it was do or do not time. Geared up with gatorade and the latest episodes of Phedippidations and was off into the torrent. At least the temps were mild (around 12C), the traffic light and the podcast was fun to listen to. SteveRunner is hilarious and had me laughing out loud at times. I'd put the mp3 player in a plastic bag which worked for the 1st 90 minutes but then died from all the moisture (note: successfully resuscitated with a hairdryer after the run) and ran the last part to the sound of raindrops. Arrived home like a drowned rat, peeled off my gear into a bucket and dried off with the towel before being allowed permission to enter. I was tired and it was nice to be done!

Monday - standard rest day and feeling tired and a bit sore with tight achilles lately. Biked to/from work 2x and did a set of pushups and crunches in the morning.

Tues - sticking to the plan which called for 8 miles with 10x100 strides. Check out the wild Garmin output below.
No I'm not in cardiac arrest but rather my speed and heartrate are spiking for each little push of about 25 seconds followed by a jog/walk before taking off again on the 'minute'. This was also a pseudo-progression run with each mile a bit faster than the last (except for the strides mile). It went like 826, 802, 741, 733, 731, 902 (strides), 713, 659 and felt well under control throughout.

Weds - was the dreaded midweek long run with 13 scheduled (plus hills down pencilled in for good measure). Started out slow and steady with legs feeling tired and heavy from the previous day. After about 3 miles of this the plan was changed to do a simple out and back run on hilly terrain but no hill repeats this time. The run got progessively more difficult and had to remind myself a few times 'this is fun' but the road and hills just stretched on forever and the run really dragged on. Finally after 1:46:08 my 1/2 marathon training run was over and I collapsed at my desk for the rest of the day. Whew! You'd think that this was my 1st time doing this!

Thurs - easy day with only 6 miles scheduled and the plan was to make certain that this was done very-very easy, just as I've been preaching to Thomas. So along the lines of the pros like Duncan I set my running buddy Mr V to run at marathon pace plus 1 minute which for me is ~8:30 and we were off like a herd of turtles! Oh did I mention that I'd almost ran over a turtle with my bicycle on the way home the other day? Anyway, today's run was an absolute joy with the rain (constant here lately) letting up and the run felt almost tripping over my feet easy. It was a bit more than a jog and had to keep a close eye on Mr V especially on the hills but in the end the overall pace was 8:28 for the 6.2 miles. Felt totally refreshed and raring to go after todays run ;-)

Hopefully this means there will be some spare energy for the planned tempo stuff on Friday. We'll see but so far so good!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Running shoe hoarder (#13)

A recent post by Wobbly Man challenged the running blog world to post pictures of their shoe collections and since I've got time on my hands this Sunday waiting for the pouring rain to slow down a bit; here you go! They are nicely arranged from the current 2 pairs of active Mizuno's on the bottom step to trail shoes on the top and a pair of Nike Air Max's (top right). The Max's look newish because they are and were put into early retirement after a disgraceful Boston performance that turned my feet into one big mess. They have not been worn since!

Maybe I should give away or donate a few pairs since you can only need so many wash-the-car and mow-the-lawn shoes around. Unfortunately the total number of pairs is also 13 (eerie music) and being about to embark on a yet another marathon training program ... this is not a good omen. Must appease the running gods somehow...looks like it will be a long run in the rain and wind.

Without any adieu whatsoever, here's my PLAN for Wineglass based on Pfitzinger: More than 70 per week: 18 weeks (with modifications that have worked for me in the past). I'm the type of runner who needs to have a schedule and have been tweaking this basic formula over the past few years. It works for me and so far have been able to handle it without injury.
  • main difference is making Mondays a total rest day so only 6 days/week running
  • add more variety in long runs with some MP mixed in; start early weeks with pace
  • add 3-4 days of pushup/situp core strength & stretches every day
  • use treadmill for easy early am runs when too lazy to go outside
  • doubles are scheduled but may be eliminated depending on how I feel or may be added in too
  • 2 additional easy runs, 6e or (6e am + 4e pm) to make up total mileage with HR<130>
  • work in tempo runs once per week with some variety and progression over plan
  • progression pace runs; starting slow, slow and building up to 10k at end (from Duncan)
  • mile or hill repeats starting at 3-4 and work up to 10-13!
  • work in MP runs at least once per week and build up to close to 30k 3-4 weeks out
  • can afford to lose a few lbs and watch the diet for sweets and beer/wine
  • hill repeats down/up of 800-1000m at MP+ with easy jog btw; still need hills as this is a downhill course
  • @ paces = MP marathon Pace, 1/2 marathon, 5K race paces 4e = 4 miles easy; st = strides am / pm = morning or afternoon
Plus 'Summer of Mike' from 'Summer of Malmo' or 'Summer of Caveman'
  • doubles as much as possible and increase mileage gently and 'within' comfort zone
  • one tempo session every week of 4-6 miles at faster than MP
  • one longer or shorter inverals session per week to work on speed with alternating weeks of
  • a - shorter 4-6x1000-2000m with 1 lap jogs between
  • b - fast short repeats 16-24x150-400m with full recovery (walk if you have to)
  • c - repeats can also be done on the road by time/distance (5:00 easy, 5:00 hard, repeat)
The gory details are: And now it's time to put up or shutup. This is the current situation outside and I'm located near (southeast) to St. Stephen. It's looking like it may clear a bit soon but then again it may not.
The 'plan' says 17 and so we'll just have to 'make it so'.

See you later and wish me luck ;-)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Unintended rest week

Just a short post to comment on my almost total lack of running this week which is meant to be week one of the 18 week buildup to Wineglass, yeah right. Since the Cabot Trail relay this past Sunday I've only managed to run twice and it's been a combination of a) being barely able to walk, let alone run due to very sore muscles and b) extreme busyness at work and c) just a slight lack of desire and a need to get a bit more rest.

a) the sore muscle part - due to the racing on tired legs over very hilly terrain, especially the downhills and resultant muscle damage to the quads mainly. Ensuing pain and soreness was much like the post-marathon muscle disorder but did not have to resort to walking down stairs backwards; however I did have to zig-zag while walking down even minor inclines. Solution was rest, food, beer, wine and of course ice-cream!

b) extreme busyness at work - can't be helped but can usually be worked around by running early or late. This week this runner was in no condition to even try to run until Weds evening after supper when he attempted a shuffle/slight hobble around the town square for 5 miles at 8:13 pace. The legs were still very tight and it was a slow shuffle.

c) lack of desire - or perhaps a bit of caution before diving into the next training cycle resulted in another day off on Thursday. MMMM more ice-cream and rhubarb crisp MMMM

Three days off in one week when not recovering from a marathon is next to unheard but ... today the work crisis past and I was just chomping at the bit once again. Had the good fortune today to run from work with A, a new co-worker and marathoner who's been threatening to bring his gear and come out with me. It was a perfect, calm, mild day with temps around 20C (70F) and a light sea breeze. We did about 10k in 50:00 and chatted the entire way, enjoying the scenery and being able to just cruise along in comfort.

It's looking like rain here for the weekend and we'll likely stick close to home doing up some of those yard projects that have been put aside lately. I hope all my fellow bloggers have a good weekend, especially Mike, Olga and Rob who are racing while we watch and anxiously await the results.

Good luck everyone!