Saturday, October 28, 2006

Bedding down for the winter

No, not this runner going into hibernation but rather preparing the yard and pond for the long winter months.
Waders were required for the cold water today as I moved plants around and adjusted some of the plumbing before the big freeze to come. The goldfish are still active and were swimming around my feet and legs.
Jo's pond is now put to bed for the winter. We only need to put in a 'night light' which will provide an air hole for oxygen exchange for the fish. I'll post some pics when things freeze up later on next month although we might get lucky and have another mild winter.

Things have been kinda boring on the local running scene with just easy runs all week. 6 miles here, 7 or 8 miles there, 5 miles today with a total of 40 miles in 5 days of running for the week.

Don't forget to keep an eye on Thomas who is running the Dublin marathon on Monday. He is runner #10176 but they don't seem to have online tracking. I won't jinx him by predicting a time and will just say that he is set for a breakthrough race. Go Thomas!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Recovery almost complete

First a quick update on my oldest son, Chris who was home for the weekend to pick up his new (to him) car. Can you tell it's his 1st from the big grin? He's worked hard, saved his money and deserves it, I believe.The Chicago marathon is over but you can still view the video of the entire race at their website which is now saved in a bunch of video clips (love it!). The Chasing Kimbia runners had a bad day but still ran very well and were in contention up to 20 miles; their pacemakers did a super job too. Dallen had an awesome race finishing in 2:42, but slowed in the 2nd 1/2. Zeke had a very smart race and looks like he held back with even pacing to finish nicely under 3 hrs in 2:58. Way to go guys!!

Another runner I've been watching closely is my cousin who was making another attempt at a BQ today in the Kennebecais Challenge Marathon. The results haven't yet been posted but I've got my fingers crossed on what would have been a tough run on a cool blustery day with a headwind for most of the way. Go Jerry, you deserve it, and you will do it!

On the local running scene I did a short 4 mile jog on Saturday as part of my compulsive habit. Needed a few miles to up the weekly total to 35 from the previous week of 30. The plan for the coming week is 40.00 miles (no more, no less) and it needs to be a small progression each week, not an exponential increase that some other (unnamed) runners attempt.

Today's run, was a medium-long 13 mile slogfest in the cold and wind with temperature between 2-4C (35-40F) and light winds 5-10mph but felt worse than that. I started just after 7:30am just as the sun was coming up and never really found my stride the entire run. Seemed to be dragging the entire way and the wind seemed to always be in my face. Things did get a little better after about 1 hour but then the tired factor began to play a part as well. I guess the recovery thing is still incomplete and running 4 days in a row may also be playing a part. At least Monday will be a rest day and hopefully things will improve next week. I'm still mulling over the training plan and goals for the coming training cycle and will post in the next few weeks. It's either an all out attempt looking for substantial improvements, tough with our unpredictable winters, or a sort of maintenance level running at 40-60 miles per week to get me through the next Boston.

Good running and have a great week!

Training is ...

. “There are no secrets in running. You train hard. What you learn you pass on to the next person.”

Chasing Kimbia

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Short and sweet

Like Andrew, I'm slowly, slowly getting back into running, sort of... It's nice to take a bit of a break and not be fussing and worrying about the next run or being fearful of the next hard workout.

Sat - easy 5 miles at home before blasting off to Bathurst to visit my Mom. The run was alot faster than planned because the legs felt strong and loose and because Jo's famous pancakes were waiting for me after the run. I would pay for this enthusiasm in 24 hours... Total for the week was all of 30 miles.

The drive up was uneventful (about 4.5 hours on non-divided highway) and it was great to see my mother again, who is looking very well. We talk every week but visits are fewer than I'd like. Her health has had a downturn recently but she's getting really good medical attention and treatment with a good prognosis thus far. I also got to visit my sister who immediately put me to work doing some wiring in her fix-er-upper house. But she did feed me pizza, beer and ice-cream (knows what I like, eh?)

The next morning I was up early for my medium-short long run. After being silly last weekend and running in the Phedippidations 1/2 marathon (though not as extreme as DawnB with her back to back marathons!), this weekend the plan was for about 1.5 to 2 hrs depending on how it went. It didn't go that well with my legs feeling sore and tired from the start. Usually this feeling goes away after 10-15 minutes but today it was still there after 30-45 minutes out. But it was a beautiful morning with cool temps and sunshine so I just kept on moving my feet. Ended up with about 12.5 miles in 1:43 but this is only a guess because it was pretty ugly at the end with sore cramping hams and a general tired feeling. Blaming it on the semi-tempo and working in Sis's basement the day before, oh well.

Then it was off to Saint John with my Mom so she can make her appointment the next day at the Regional hospital there. We got to visit my brother and were able to celebrate his birthday with cake and a few candles.
Did I tell you he was my little younger brother? Ha! Happy 48 there Bro ;-)

Oops this was also supposed to be a short post. Gotta go play volleyball now. Hope the rust is out after the disaster that was last week's games. Cya later!

Good luck to all those running marathons this weekend. Can't wait for the reports from Zeke and to see how the Kenyans do too!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

run, rest, repeat

simple isn't it?
but that's all there is to it.
the trick is in the infinite variations of these 3 ingredients

run long, run short, run hard, run easy for months or weeks on end
rest short, rest for days or weeks


don't get injured
feeling twinges or soreness? deal with it, don't ignore it or you'll get bitten

monday - holiday here and a rest day

tuesday - easy run of 5 miles in 40some minutes, no aches or pains or twinges or anything, feeling smooth but slow

weds - another rest day; biking back and forth to work; volleyball for 2 hours in the evening felt awkward and rusty

thurs - heavy rain and wind all day; cleared late in the day and walked home in time for a 60 minute run before supper. trusty garmin is in for repairs and felt strange with a simple digital watch. hmmm, how does this work again? on/off! nice quiet run in the aftermath of the storm with fog and moist air, along with the back woods paths and fallen leaves.

friday - another rest day is planned

Sat - short easy run before heading up to Bathurst to visit my Mom for a few days

next week i'll run 4 days, the week after 5 days, and the week after that it may be back to the 6 days a week schedule though on reduced mileage for another month or so. at least that's the general 'unstructured' plan for my off-season before the buildup to boston begins in mid-late december.

happy running !

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A post with many names

There has been alot happening lately and I can't decide what to call this post and so here are some possible post titles:
  • One year Bloggiversary - post#184
  • Phedippidations 1/2 marathon race report
  • Better home and garden ponding update
  • Tabletop Hill adventures
  • Guinness! It's spelled Guinness!
So...I'll tackle them one at a time. Yes, today is exactly one year from my 1st tenative post into the unknown. Little did I know what I was getting myself into and it was all good. The virtual community of runners of all abilities who support each other and offer advice and kind words during the good and bad times. Though I've only met a couple of these bloggers in real life whom I can now call my friends, I'd like to think that many of my other virtual friends whom I've never met would also become good buddies if we ever got together for a race of a run. It's because of this community and people like Andrew and Marc that my running has gone to another level and is ready to progress even more in the coming year. Thank you all!

Today's run was my version of the Phedippidations 1/2 marathon on my own private course. There were no mile markers, no water stops, no cheering crowds except in my head while listening to the latest edition of Steve Runner's podcast. My results are now posted. It was just a normal Sunday morning run with loops and turns around town, a quick stop at home for extra drinks. I was feeling fine for most of the run but did tire a bit over the last few miles. Total of 13.1 miles in 1:48:48

We've also been busy, or at least Jo has been busy reworking her pond lately. My involvement is mainly in the heavy lifting, wading into cold waters, and removal of small dead animals from time to time. As you can see there are some huge plants surrounding the pond and gazebo area. The tallest plants with the red flowers are a Canna lilies and are over 6 feet high!
Right now the focus is on the waterfall area of the pond and getting some large flat rocks in place. The trick is to get them level and not have huge leaks that take away from the flow rates. There is also the aesthetics of it too and so the 'right' rocks must be found for each spot in the overall arrangement. It might take some time and alot of foamy glue stuff to get right.
Did I say what a gorgeous day we had here today, in fact all weekend has been near perfect, though a little cool in the early morning. After lunch today we took a few hours to do a little hike in the local area of Bayside called Simpson Hill. It was a winding but rugged trail up and down and the view of the river and estuary were quite amazing on this perfect clear day. It's hard to believe they're considering turning this into a quarry.
There wasn't alot of wildlife but we did run across a few small snakes basking in the sun which I captured on camera for Dawn. Sorry, Dawn ;-) but it is a cool shot with his forked tonque in the sun and all.
Now last but not least is the Guinness story. Thomas gave me a hard time for misspelling the name. It was an honest mistake and now here is the offending beer in full blog glory including a closeup of the rocket widget.
It's not quite like the Widget on the how it works website, maybe it's an American variety? I guess you learn something new every day, right Thomas?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Rest and recovery?

It's been almost a week now since Wineglass and already the wheels are turning, thinking about the next run, the next training cycle and the next race. But 1st a little R&R in the form of no running, lots of good food (including the occasional beer and ice cream), and some gentle exercise like walking and biking. We took our time coming back from Corning by way of the back roads, avoiding the interstate, and were treated to some great scenery through New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
But it was still a long 2 days drive and Jo and I were happy to be home at last. A was glad to have us home too after minding the ranch on his lonesome for 5 days!

There were no bad after effects from the race other than sore feet from my blisters and slightly stiff quads which is normal. Going up and down stairs was not the problem it usually is and there was little stiffness in my legs. I almost went to volleyball on Weds but held off at the last minute after getting 'the look'. "Yes, I know I should take it easy for a few days, coach."

However, my nervous energy made me lace on the shoes and head out the door for a short easy 4 miles on Thursday. It was great to just go along for an easy jog with no pace or distance in mind except to be able to run again. We're into those cooler crispy days now where it's cool in shorts but only until you get started. The air seems so fresh and with all the fall colors it's a perfect time of year in my books and so I hate to miss a day.

On Friday I took another day off though my body and mind was begging to go again. Instead I biked to and from work and tried to ignore the temptation by having another Guiness. Do you know about the 'rocket widget' they put in each bottle? It kind of caught me off guard when I heard this rattling noise in the bottle that Marc had given me. Is it some kind of joke or trick? (I've never had it in a bottle before, only on draft at the bar). But yes, they put this little 'rock' inside to do whatever it does, perhaps to help stirr up the thick malt, mmmm! So I went and bought some more!

Today, Saturday was another lovely fall day here and didn't dare let it go to waste unrun. After our traditional blueberry pancake breakfast with plenty of strong coffee it was on with the previously bloodied shoes and then off for another short run (sorry Andrew but I can't help myself). This time it was a 5 mile 'jog' around our town Point on the water on another perfect calm, cool (4C. 38F) fall morning. I was thinking Kenyan shuffle, nice and easy jog but average pace was 8:02! Spent the rest of the day lazing around the yard, helping Jo with her pond and waterfall. I'll post some pics later on when we're done the revision.

On tap tommorow is the Phedippidations 1/2 marathon would you believe? No, I'm not crazy but I'm planning to run this virtual race with over 500 runners world wide. Anyone can enter, design your race course, pickup your virtual goodie bag, get your t-shirt design and then run the distance on Oct 7 or 8 and submit your times to the race website. The reason I'm running is.... well, I signed up months ago before Wineglass and so now... I have to do it cause I said I would. That's all there is to it, just a nice easy, easy relaxing run with a Phedippidations podcast on the mp3 player and that's it! Besides it's going to be another perfect day here in the maritimes and what's a perfect day without a nice run?

Happy running (or not)!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wineglass Race Report

Where to start? Had a great sleep and then up at 6am for a light breakfast with the usual cereal, coffe and juice. I was not feeling overly tense or nervous, just a sort of ready feeling and after mapping out my splits and gear the night before the only decision to make was when to leave for the bus and how much extra clothes to wear. After being dropped off, the bus ride from Corning to Bath went very quietly as I kept to myself in the back of the bus. Arrived at the start area in plenty of time and relaxed while imbibing a quart of gatorade. There was little happening except runners milling around and the usual lineups. One bit of entertainment was a runner duct taping gel packs to his shorts. I wonder how far he got with that and if it worked in training too!?

About 30 minutes before the start I found Andrew & Marc in the very short bathroom lines and so entertainment and laughter was assured. We discussed our race strategies and decided that the best warmup was going to be no warmup at all. The temperatures felt only a little cool and the overcast skies just added to the perfect conditions as we lined up near the front of the crowd. Finally, we were off and Marc and I ambled down the road for the 1st easy mile in 7:37 (too fast, not the 750 planned). It was difficult to run this slow early on but the fear of going out too fast and ruining all my training kept me in check (sort of). Next miles were still too fast in 7:35 to 7:31 as I pushed it on a small hill to get past one group! Slow down will ya! The next few were more of the same as I completed my 6 mile warmup in 45:06 just about 1 minute faster than the planned 46:00.

It was a bit of a relief to get to 6 miles and then be able to open up the pace a bit as the next few miles went by in 7:19, 7:18, 7:14 all feeling ridiculously easy and holding back and watching my pace (according to Garmin) closely. This pattern continued for the next several miles as I cruised along nicely, slowing catching runner after runner and still the feeling of holding back more than ever before in a marathon. The 1/2 floated by in 1:37:30 and still feeling great but wondering when the wheels would start to come off. Not for awhile yet, next mile in 7:07 was my fastest as I allowed the horses loose for a few minutes in getting by a group of runners. The course between mile 15-20 is a blur in my mind but splits were all around 7:20 as my only task was to focus on the pace and attempt to run as relaxed as possible, waiting for the real race to come. And come it did, starting with some hamstring issues about 16 miles, likely due to the constant flat downhill nature of the course. Some strategic hand massages helped and the pace held up for awhile longer.

Mile 19 was nice in that I got to see my photographer for the 1st time in the race and surprised her by swooping in for a good luck kiss. I heard a funny comment from the crowd saying "you're going to loose time for that!", to which I replied "not a chance!". But then I immediately proceeded to get distracted and started up a conversation with Mr Alaska (nice shirt and had lived there for several years) and my next split dropped to 7:40 as we talked away. I had thought we were cruising a bit faster but not so and when he slowed at the next water stop I applied the gas again, though looking back for him to keep up. Miles 21 and 22 went back to 7:21 and 7:16 but the pace and effort were starting to make itself felt, with the feeling of 'holding back' now long gone. About this point the hamstrings started acting up once more and then the dreaded side stitch hit as I struggled through the next miles in 7:29 and 7:31.

Why do things always get so tough in these last miles? I was a good boy and started nice and slow, why can't these last miles feel as easy as the 1st ones? Miles 25 and 26 in 7:42 and 7:40 were just a blur of counting (but not able to get much past 20) and one foot in front of the other, telling myself just one more mile, just from the flashing light to home, just one more mile, just through this tunnel, just to the end of that block. Finally the Glass Museum and the bridge and finish was almost in sight! The guy at the turn called out 3:11:xx and 1/2 mile to go and I was able to calculate that a 3:15 was in reach but unable to go any faster than one foot in front of the other. Finally, finally the finish! Can I stop now? In the hok position, "are you all right?", looking at my watch unable to get grin off my face, wait till I see Andrew, finally able to move, wow, glad that's over but that was worth it!

Post race, much food, drink, the world's best post race massage, debriefing with Andrew and Marc, nice awards including champagne for placing in my age group and then back to the hotel for a nice shower and rest.
It was a perfect day, what more can I say?

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Marathon Gods Have Smiled v2

Update is at the bottom...Just time for a quick post

Perfect day and weather... cloudy, cool temperatures and light winds

Perfect course...flat and downhill with a few tiny little hills along the way

Perfect friends to run and share the weekend with...

Check out the results at Wineglass

Andrew 2:56:59 (major PR)

Mike 3:14:56 (PR)

Marc 3:38:11 (good run on no training!)

More later when I get a better connection. What a day, what a race!

Here are a few more pics for now...
Pre-race at the start line before we drove the course for the 1st time.
Andrew reminded us not to forget the standard 'butt' shot for the Pink Lady.
At the expo I was lucky enough to meet Dick Beardsley and had him sign my copy of his book Staying the Course which tells his amazing story.
At the 8 mile mark, right on pace but didn't see my photo lady because of a vehicle that was in the way.Here's Andrew flying by the 19 mile mark looking very in the zone.

Still smiling at the 19 mile mark and about to kiss my photographer for good luck. It worked too!
Here's Andrew at the finish wavng to the crowd. I don't see who he's outkicking, perhaps they were roadkill back in the distance?
Looking for the finish that couldn't come soon enough and no idea what my watch was down to at all.
Here I'm getting the best post marathon massage of my life by two (count em, 2) lovely ladies. Thanks to Rebecca and Jessica, you're the best ;-)
The three amigos with their hardware. Thanks guys, great times and a great weekend!