Wednesday, November 29, 2006

2 runs, 2 twins, too tired

And this my 200th post. It's hard to believe there's been that much to blab about, I mean blog about over the past year. But with the buzz about Lydiard lately it's not time to go quiet just because I'm worn out after just 2 days under the program! The problem about putting yourself out here is that you get called to account for what you say and do. Let the accounting begin!

Day 0 - Monday - rest day, not part of the official program According To Lydiard (ATL) but it's time off my feet that this old body needs

Day 1 - Tuesday - plan called for 1 hour easy but was just feeling so good that I had to let the horses go a bit. It was a roundabout route around town as Andrew is well familiar now but could not hold back the pace at all. Ended up at 7:45 pace and just a little over 8 miles completed. Well I hope that doesn't come back to bite me I was thinking after the run. But it just felt so easy!

Day 2 - Weds - the crows have come to roost now; the plan ATL was for 90 minutes at aerobic effort but that easy effort was not for me. Instead I left work early to meet Verne and his young high school runners for some long intervals. The 'twins' are national class runners in their age group 16-18 and have set provincial records and dominate the races they run usually placed 1-2. What is he thinking you ask? I'm not sure but Verne wanted my long endurance to help the girls with their long intervals. On schedule today was 3x1500 in 6:10-6:20 and my 'job' was to try to pace them at 4:10/kilometer pace. It was not a pretty sight, suffice to say that the splits were under 6:00 and this old man was just hanging on for most of the run. Ouch, but at least there were only 3 of them. There were no takers for a 4th so I continued on for the finish of my 90 minutes or about 11 miles.

I was lucky to make it home... The next mile of so went Ok but then the effects of the very fast pace took their toll and it was an effort just to keep one foot in front of the other. I even took a couple of walk breaks which is almost unheard during normal running for me. Eventually I struggled up the last hill and crashed onto the couch with great relief. Yes, speed kills! And some people just never learn too.

On tap for the rest of the week, 1 hour tomorrow, 1.2-2hrs Friday and another hour on Saturday to top off the week. Let's hope the rest of the week goes better than the 1st half did.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Who's this Lydiard guy anyway?

Oh, oh... That was a question my coach/wife asked me the other day after reading one of my laments about training plans and the lack thereof. Arthur Lydiard was arguably on of the greatest athletic coaches of all time and more specifically he is the running coach to whom Andrew now subscribes.

I've been sitting on the fence with no good arguments except basic laziness and an unwillingness for change. My old program is just so comfortable and easy that I'm tempted to stay with it for another marathon training cycle. But on the other hand, I'm getting older and improvements are getting harder to come by and so maybe I do need some kind of drastic change. The Lydiard program would only slightly increase my total mileage since I'd stick with the 6 days of running per week but would have benefits in the range of efforts that it calls for. With a total of 20 weeks to go before Boston it should also be a good opportunity to see if there is still hope for me or not. Counting backwards; 6 weeks co-ordination and taper, 4 weeks anerobic, 4 weeks hill resistance, leaving 6 weeks for aerobic conditioning. And to start I'll be going by time and not distance, ok coach Andrew?

Speaking of the devil you just have to read his hilarious description of our Sunday 20 mile run around the hill and dale of St. Andrews. It had me laughing so hard I couldn't see the computer screen from the tears in my eyes.

I do beg to differ on a few minor points though. We did not run over every hill and dale in my little town. In fact I made a special point of taking it easy on Andrew avoiding most of the hills at least as far as possible. The 'jaunt' though the woods was not an attempt to lose my partner but a strategy to 'sneak up' on yet another hill. And 'hilly highway'? Sorry, not real hills but next visit we'll make sure to visit where I work at the bottom of a cliff.

It was another great run, even if it did start in total darkness and was run on slippery frost glazed roads for the 1st hour. Our 1st five miles were on my normal town loop with a return by the golf course to avoid the hills. After a quick pit and water stop it was 'down' the hills again for a scenic jaunt across the ocean floor and then twisting and winding back and forth through town as the sun rose on a beautiful calm morning. We eventually made it home for another quick water stop before finishing off the run with an easy out and back on the highway. The pace picked up only slightly for this last bit but 20 miles is still 20 miles and I was having a hard time keeping up at this point. We were both happy when the finish was at last in sight. Thanks Andrew, I needed that!

Good running.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Weekly musing

Still running and hardly training but certainly thinking about it. Andrew has lit a fire under me and may still convince me to make the plunge with Lydiard. I've been sitting on the fence for awhile taking it easy with the Pfitzinger plan which works but has not shown any huge improvements to my marathon times.

So, finished off the week with a lazy 8 miles on Friday and another easy 7 today for a weekly total of 55. The plan is to do 20 in the morning with Andrew and finally decide what kind of commitment I'm willing make for the spring marathon. I'm sure we'll have a long conversation on the details and know which direction he'll be leaning.

I noted in a previous post that it wasn't always the best of plans to be doing long runs of 20+ miles week after week. Most training plans give you a break so you're only doing them every other week. I thought that I'd check the old training logs and lo and behold it has happened in my distant past but even more so recently.

Thus far this year there have been 15 runs of 20+ miles and 4 times there have been back to back weeks. Tomorrow will be new territory with my 1st triple or 3x20 in a row. That Mainiac from Eastport is certainly having an influence on my running and I must admit it has been for the better despite my occasional whining.

"Why dost thou run so many mile about?"
- Shakespeare, Richard III

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Going in circles

Do you see that? Do you see what 'he' did to me? I can't even run in a straight line, my achilles is now permanently seized up and can only go in one direction, constantly turning, wincing, gesturing at the ghost across the Bay. In fact the pain has spread to my neck and I can barely turn my head to look up, let alone lift my arm high enough to shake my fist.

Ha! Just kidding; or at least sort of, as I do have a very stiff neck that came out of the blue this morning while simply stretching and brushing my teeth. And this is the day after my annual checkup with the doctor where I got a clean bill of health. Go figure! Today's amazingly winding twisting run was done on the cart paths of our local golf course; now closed for the season. A total of 6.5 miles of ups and downs and twists and turns make for an interesting run on a cool cloudy day with patches of ice still not melted off the paths at noon.

It's been a rather easy week so far with only 3 runs of 6 miles or so each. I was quite tired on Monday and very glad to have a rest day after that rough ride that was Sunday. I think there is something to be said for not doing back to back weekend 20+ long runs. This weekend I'll be taking a break and not going much more than 2 hours to give the legs a rest. Besides it's still over 20 weeks to Boston and no hurry to kill myself just yet.

Tues - 6 miles slow and draggy; still feeling the effects of Sunday. Medical exam with low blood pressure and resting HR of 45 which prompted my doctor to ask "You're still running?"

Weds - crazy winding path route of 6.5 miles but my extremely stiff sore neck made it a real 'pain in the neck' if you know what I mean.

Thurs - neck better today and just did a simple 6 mile loop going at an easy pace. No watch either which is unusual for moi.

Plans are for a longer run on Friday and easy run on Sat to bring the weekly total to about mid-50ies. We might even see the sun again this weekend, although it did peak out for a few minutes today. Happy Thanksgiving to my US friends (think I still have one or 2) and readers.

Oh, BTW go check out the Chasing Kimbia site where they are having a writing contest of sorts. The 7 finalists have submitted essays and we, the readers, get to vote and help choose the lucky winner who will get to spend several weeks in Kenya living with and writing about these amazing athletes during their training for a spring marathon. Read the great essays and cast your vote!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Where's the couch?

Oh man! Andrew is definitely trying to kill me, or at least run me into the ground! Today's long run at Boyden Lake was tough on both of us, with A coming off his 1st of many planned 100 mile weeks and myself just plain tired. The border guard must have had a chuckle when he asked me where I was going today...long pause..."Mmmm, aaaa, going to Calais, I mean Eastport to run with a friend". The coffee still hadn't kicked in and for a second I had no clue where I was going or what to say. Luckily he didn't pull me over for a search but just smiled and said to have a good run.

I arrived a few minutes early (coulda got a few more minutes sleep there A) and fumbled with my gear to get ready for our cool morning run. The day was a bright sunny with temps of about 34F or 2C and a light northerly wind and only warmed up a few degrees during the run. Andrew braved it in just shorts and 2 long sleeved tops but I went with the windbreaker and pants and was OK.

We started out slow with a couple of 8:30's to get the bugs out and slowly got up to speed by 5-6 miles in. The Sipayik trail was nice today in that we had a nice view of the ocean with the clear sunny skies and zipped along at 7:30 ish with the wind at our back. Of course, when we turned and backtracked into the wind it was a different story and the goosebumps on Andrew's legs created enough drag to even slow him down! The middle miles seemed longer today, and the rolling hills also seemed more rolling than usual but this is to be expected as the mileage creeps up. We don't really watch our pace much on these runs but let it just come to us and once again it creeped down under 7:50 for the last 6 and 7:30 for the final mile (horses could smell the barn). Same 21 mile loop as last week in the same time of about 2:50. Another great training run in the bank but still no plan for Boston which is only 22 weeks away.

Total for last week was 53 miles in 6 runs. I also managed to fit in a bit of quality with 3 miles of tempo pace (under 7:00 pace) during a 10 miler. I'll work at increasing that over the next few weeks with one quality day per week, at least until I come up with a 'real' training plan.

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


This is my Uncle Eloi, with his wife Emily and son Donald. Every November 11 on Remembrance Day I often have thoughts about this uncle I never met. Eloi was killed on July 25, 1944 during the invasion of Normandy France. He was only 34 years old.

Here is a happier picture taken about the same time as the above. My Mom is seen here between her sisters Edna and Hazel. She is about 10-12 years old here and looks just too cute and mischevious. I just got back from a visit and she is doing very well with the treatments and the latest report shows a marked improvment so we are all very happy, to say the least.

Just a couple of runs to report on this week. None of the mega mileage and double digit days that Marc and Andrew are piling up though. Rather, a measly 4 easy miles on the treadmill Tues because it was just pouring cats and dogs and then another easy 6 today after work. I might try a little tempo run tomorrow and then a bit longer effort on Friday but no promises.

Good running!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Boyden Lake Fog Bowl Run

Another sunrise shot but this is not how it looked out there today. We made a little detour around midrun on the new extension of the Sipayik trail which now intersects with Route 1. This flat/soft paved asphalt walking trail goes for about 1.8 miles along the shoreline of Gleason Cove and is part of the Pleasant Point Passamaquoddy reservation. It made a nice detour to get a few extra miles in but the fog was so thick we couldn't see more than a few hundred yards. We did see lots of waterfowl including ducks, Canada geese, and some neat little plovers or sandpipers.
So, another early Sunday morning run, this time meeting Andrew alone, for who knows what kind of workout (he likes to keep me guessing). The conditions were great today with no wind, temperatue about 55F (13C) and a light mist from the fog. My hopes of just doing just 17 were soon dashed as we sped along at a good pace from the get go and threw in the above mentioned out & back just for fun. I had a bit of a hard time keeping up with Andrew's fresh legs today while maintaining the required continual conversation but made him promise not to take any more days off before long runs. We'll see how that works out, as the game can work both ways and I reserve the right to thow in an unannounced marathon pace workout at any time!

We had a great run even if my gasping for air was more pronounced than usual and on reflection it was me setting the pace as much as A. In fact, we somehow pushed the last several 6-7 miles with splits working down from 7:52 to a 7:31 final mile despite the little hills along the way. Thank God for the visions of filet mignon and chocolate cake that kept me going and of course my little emergency pack of Powergel. Final numbers were 21.1 miles in 2:48 for 7:59 average pace and avg. heartrate of 136 (80% of my max).
Here's the loop with heartrate and the elevation profile. And just in time, for as soon as we drew to a stop it started to pour rain. Whew, glad that's over! Yet another super training run to put into the running bank. Thanks Andrew ;-)

Oh yeah, my training plan is still no plan and the total for last week was 50 miles with an average pace of 8:03. This seems a bit fast but I'm just going by feel right now. When I start real 'training' I'll need to pay attention to the hard/easy days but that's still a few weeks away. Until then the plan is to just run. Have a good week!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Random running

The nice thing about the lack of a true 'plan' is that when I walk out the door I have no idea what direction I will run or how long or fast or hard it will be... It is the greatest feeling to just be able to run and not be concerned with the numbers (that much). I'm still a bit of a techno-running nerd when it comes to the gadgets and some of the stuff they spew out so please bear with me.

Result from today's 'random' run around town.

Out the door today around 4pm after work with the sun finally peaking out after 3 days of constant rain and wind. Ideal running temperature of about 13C (55F) with little wind so only shorts and a long sleeve shirt were needed and I could've used a t-shirt instead.

OK, I've got about 75 minutes before supper so which way? Left or right? Right it is and I'm off at a slow trot. Hmmm, too much post-work traffic here, so another right onto a deserted side road. Nice soft gravel surface but the achilles is pinging again (when will that go away?) but as usual the ache dissipates after a mile or so. Another intersection; let's go left this time. A dirt road in the woods, puddles and leaves to jump over or around. Everything smells so fresh and clean after the rain. Through the graveyard, down the hill, around the subdivision. Hey let's make this loop a maximum distance run around town without retracing any steps! But I don't have enough time to zig-zag all the downtown today. It would make a crazy untraceable running route, wouldn't it? Maybe another day. Meanwhile the pace is picking up without paying attention to it as I notice the average pace is now under 8:00/mi for the run. Darkness is now starting to fall... Should've started earlier, maybe next time.

Last mile, pace now up a bit more and I hear footsteps! What the? It's the 'other' Andrew out for an evening run and pounding hard to catch up with me. Cool, but I'm almost done my run. We continue along at the same harder pace, up a decent hill, gabbing all the way. He must be related to the 'real' Andrew! Anyway, about a mile later we peel off in different directions and I'm home just before dark after a very enjoyable random run.

Other random runs this week:

Tues - 5 easy miles after work

Weds - 7 draggy miles at lunch in the rain (volleyball in the evening Thomas!)

Today - 9 fun easy miles around town

Good running out there!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Sunday, Sunday!

What an absolutely glorious day for a run! Gorgeous sunrise in one direction and a beautiful full moon setting in the dawn sky in the other direction. Temperature was cool at -2 to +2C (28-34F) and just a light north wind.
And of course the best part was joining up again with my long lost buddies from Maine at good old Boyden Lake! No time for a butt shot today cause it was frosty and time to get moving. More details later after I finish watching the New York City marathon off the live feeds. See ya in a bit...

OK, much longer. Now that was an interesting race with a wide open field on both sides. One of the Kimbia runners, Stephen Kiogora (aka Baba), did very well finishing in 2nd and almost caught the get away Brazilian winner. The NBC hour of coverage was complete junk with none of the key leader moves shown or explained. Oops, and here comes the womens winner out of nowhere... The live video feed on the other hand was great and worth the $5 to see the blow by blow and you can go back and download it to view again. On the Lance front I'm going to have to eat my words and 'lick his boots' because he somehow scraped out a sub-3 but just barely. You have to give him credit for doing it and raising a ton of $ for cancer research but the media circus is another thing.

Back to our morning run, did I say what a great day for running it was? Cool but perfect and we were all happy to be wearing an extra layer today. With all the early morning shade and light winds it would have been on the chilly side in shorts. We started out nice and easy and soon the miles were clicking away at about 8:30 pace as the conversation rambled all over the place from running, racing, jobs, weather, birthdays, you name it. This was Marc's 1st initiation on the course and I think he was quite impressed with the quiet backroads with very few cars and great views at every turn. He may even come back for another taste test in the coming months. In the 2nd part of the run we unconsiously picked up the pace and the last miles hovered around 8:00. Final total of 17 miles in 2:21 and my 1st venture over 2 hours since the marathon was a success with my running friends to keep me moving today.

Great run guys! Have a good week!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Still sitting on the fence

Not alot to report lately as I continue to take things easy since the marathon, just slowly upping the miles and number of runs each week. Managed to get a total of 45 miles in 6 runs this week which was exactly as planned and this comes from someone without a plan. Actually my non-plan is to build up to 50-60 and then take it from there.
Here's the 2006 training profile thus far with 2 marathon buildups and various races scattered over the year. The green line is the longest run distance each week. I'm now looking at a PR year for the training log and likely will hit the 3000 mile mark by year end.

The past week was a blur with a ton of work stress keeping me occupied but not interfering with the running at least. Lets see what my log says...

Sunday - 12.5 miles, slow tired draggy, strong sw winds
Mon - rest day
Tues- 6.2 to burn off steam from meetings
Weds - 6.2 same loop, with Garmin back from shop, 7:47 pace felt easy
Thur - 8.25 in cold rain and wind, miserable conditions, pushed pace to try to keep warm but it didn't work
Friday- 8 miles on a nice sunny afternoon holiday (took some time off) but had to bail out of the run when my hip started to complain. Made it home but hobbled around rest of the day wondering if it was a real injury or not and trying not to let coach see I was hurting.
Sat- 4 miles easy before our little shopping trip to SJ. The phantom hip injury is now gone, go figure!

Looking forward to reuniting with the Boyden Lake gang tommorow morning. It will be interesting to see what Mark and Andrew do to convince me to convert to their new all out training strategies. In case you've missed it, Andrew continues to ramp up his mileage to the stratosphere and we're all watching for the upcoming train wreck. Mark is also pushing up the mileage and we hope he can hold up under the strain too (or did I say train?). Good luck guys!