Sunday, December 31, 2006


You Will Keep Your New Year's Resolution?

You're planning on making a resolution that's smart, attainable, and perfect for where your life is.
Will You Keep Your New Year's Resolution?

Anyway, that's the prediction that I got from the Blogthings website. So what is/are my/your resolutions? I don't usually make them but thought it might be fun to come up with a few and see how they come out next year at this time. Nothing like an online diary of sorts to keep you honest. So here's my running related list:
  1. one bowl of ice cream per week (doctor's orders and see #10)
  2. two beer per week for the added carbs that we runners need
  3. three glasses of red wine per week for the good heart healthy chemicals
  4. four days of easy running per week so I don't get overtrained
  5. five different events in the RunNB race series to attain the cycle (5k, 8k, 10k, 1/2 & full)
  6. six days per week running (except for post marathon rest weeks)
  7. seven or 7th day to run long every week (where long>17mi or 2.5hr) (see #6 exception)
  8. eight races over the year (this should be easy)
  9. nine minutes off my marathon PR (3:14 to 3:05) Ouch that's gonna hurt!
  10. ten pounds, lose them for a 10 minute predicted marathon gain making #9 that much 'easier', ha! (current weight 165lb)
I think that's enough for the silly goals or resolutions. Right now the last thing I feel like doing is running after surviving another 21 mile run with Andrew this morning. Survival was the watchword for today's run as we were both feeling the effects of a long hard week of more training. Andrew is still popping off one hundred mile weeks one after the other and put in a hard workout on Saturday with a variety of repeats. I was also tired after a 74 mile week and a one hour run on Sat with 10 strides (20-25sec sprints) thrown in to shake out the legs.

The border guards were again funny asking about that Andrew guy and wondering how anyone would actually want to run in the cold. It was cool this morning -8C (18F) with a noticeable northerly wind as per usual and a few centimeters (inch) of snow on the roads and trails to make it a little greasy. The extra cushioning is nice but the bad part is every step has a little slip or kickback and this wears on the legs (esp. the hams) after a few miles.

It's a good thing that we're not trying to kill each other out there because these long runs are tough enough without pushing the pace. As it was the main topic of conversation today after training plans was how awful our legs felt and how much our hamstrings complained about the hills and slippery footing. We started out the run nice and slow and just worked our way through it, enjoying the nice sunrise and ocean views. Eventually the miles ticked by and we resisted any urge to increase the pace in order to get the run over with sooner. In fact I don't think I could have run any faster if chased by a pack of wild dogs. My running style was mostly just falling forward, one foot in front of the other and praying for the next mile buzz from the watch. Finally the oasis that was our waiting vehicles appeared and we enjoyed a little holiday snack before departing with a final "See you again next week!" (we are certified nuts)

Thanks A, couldn't have done it without you today.

Good running and a Happy New Year to all!

Friday, December 29, 2006

3000 milestone

It was a cold and windy day...
And hardly a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Thankfully I have a good wind and rainproof jacket, unlike Lydiard Mike who suffered through a cold wet run yesterday in Arizona without the proper gear. With the right gear and preparations you can be more or less comfortable despite the cold. Today's starting temperature at 9am was -11C (9F) with a windchill of -19C (-2F) so it was a day for the best gear including windpants, 2 layers under the jacket, and a smattering of vaseline on the exposed skin. The decision of when to run can be difficult in anticipating whether the temp will increase or the wind decrease and picking the best time to go. The final decision was made when Coach suggested the the wind was forecast to pick up later in the day and I'd better go now.

The plan today was for about 2 hrs or 15 miles but with no special speed or add-ons. Began the run with a trip down Rabbit Lane to the ocean but the tide was high and there was no running on the ocean floor today. Instead it was back up the the hill and down Rose Lane to the graveyard where I discovered that my watch had not yet started, darn! Most of the 1st part of the run was out of the wind but each time I'd head north there was a noticeable change requiring clothing adjustments. The pace was quite slow today but the legs were feeling decent for the most part, all I can figure is the extra layers and weight. After winding my way hither and thither with a stop at the post office where my new balaclava (pic after run) was waiting for me. Cool, I can use this today and be just like Blogfather Marc.

Home to drop off the mail and pull on the balaclava and then retraced my steps to determine how much distance I'd missed earlier. It turned out to be 2.3 miles and the new face protection also worked well except for some fogging up of my glasses but now I can just laugh at the cold. Ha ha ha, take that! Finished up with a couple more miles for 15.5 in 2hr 12 min and now 66 mi. for the week. The milestone hit today was 3000 for the year with 2 more days to go. I know it's just a number and nobody ever wins races by having a good training log but it feels good to hit it and achieve a new training year PR. The key now is to continue the consistent training for another 15 weeks as the road to Boston continues.

It's supposed to warm up this weekend. Let's hope!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Holiday running

Santa was good once again this year, as always. Besides bringing my older children home for the holidays, he also brought lots of joy, happiness and family time together.
Sadly we can't keep them forever and they have to move on with their own pursuits. I hope they don't mind my bragging about them once in awhile. Christmas was a day off from running as we spent the entire day exchanging gifts, preparing meals and just laying about.

Since I'm on holidays for the week and most of the family likes to sleep in late it's been easy to get the runs in lately. Tuesday called for a simple 1 hour run which was accomplished by an easy around town loop. The weather has been unusually mild here lately with this run at +3C and a light rain. We were supposed to get a winter storm but it somehow missed our area while all around, north - south - east got snow. I was comfortable with some of the new gear that Santa brought me and also nicely entertained by a podcast by Steve Runner. Total of 9 miles in 78 min.

Similiar story today with another early morning run but a bit later start around 9:30am and cooler temps of -2C with some windchill. The simple plan today was to just do about 1.5hrs with a possible speed or tempo portion during the run. Did the 1st 6 miles as an out leg into the wind and near froze some extremities with the biting wind. The turnaround was a relief and I was then able to remove some clothes with the wind at my back but couldn't do much as far as picking up the pace. The run was uneventful except for a large German shepherd dog that came out on the highway to bark and investigate me. He was quite persistent but eventually backed off when his owner noticed him but no harm done. Finished the 12 miles in about 1:38 (8:11 pace).

It's only 16 weeks to go before Boston and time to work at my training plan to develop more specific goals for speed and tempo runs. For the last 7 weeks I've been averaging 50-68 miles per week with long runs of 20-21 miles every week but nothing as far as any faster running goes. It's just been putting in the hours and miles of basebuilding. There is a very interesting discussion going on at Lydiard Mike's blog that might help me out and I'm sure Andrew will have his 2 cents on whatever I come up with. I'm just looking for someone to tell me what to do but we'll see soon enough. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Caught in the act!

Guilty as charged! Maybe it was the heat but Cody just couldn't keep away from attempting to delete some pictures that he didn't like. Silly cat!

I must also admit to being guilty of running and now writing about the event. Both of these habits are a little obsessive but it's a quiet time around the house right now and there are a few minutes to spare.

On Saturday we were up early and I was able to have a nice relaxing blueberry pancake breakfast with Jo before heading out into the rain for a 1 hour run. It was very treachorous with a thin layer water over black ice on the streets and trails. Even running in the ditches and side of the road was bad and I had visions of ending up flat on my back several times. Another incentive to take it easy and slow down though as I finished up the week with a total of 68 miles. And the kids were still fast asleep when I got home at 10am, in fact some didn't appear until after noon!

Today's run with Andrew was a bit more interesting. Up at 6am and on the icy roads to downeast Maine once again but at least the salt trucks were out in force. The US border guards were a hoot asking the usual questions, where I'm from, where I'm going, for how long and why but then wanted to know the details about my run. "You run how far?" they asked. "20 miles" was my reply. He gives me a strange look and says "You say that so casually". And then the other guy start talking about an Andrew Seeley from Eastport. It seems he's famous in these parts! There were more questions about training for Boston and then "Have a good run". It's a small world.

Arrived at Boyden Lake by 7:30 and Andrew were soon on our way for the usual 21 mile loop. We started out a bit slower this week since the roads and side trail had a few icy patches but were soon cruising along at full gab. It was a beautiful morning with a perfect sunrise and a number of Kodak moments (without the camera) and the talk was mostly about how the training is going for both of us. The last few miles saw the pace creep up but it was again hard to determine which one of us was more responsible. I just don't know who to blame and we never look at the watch except to see what mile it is on the GPS. Total time of 2:49 with last 7 at 7:33 pace. Another great run and that's now 7 in a row 20+ Sunday long runs. It's still not easy but certainly alot more bearable with friends like Andrew. And by the time I got home 2 out of 3 of the kids were still in bed.

Merry Christmas folks and happy running!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Just running along

Yes, Thomas our tree does have some bits of green showing through the tinsel and home made ornaments. It's also well guarded by our very own Christmas goat which is a new tradition from Sweden since we have a visitor from there.
Cody is very photogenic, even when just awoken from sunning on the couch. He is a Birman, a breed noted for their beauty and being a people cat. This guy has quite a personality and gets lonely and talkative if ignored or left out of things. He is also very attached to his owner, my daughter and sleeps outside her door at night makes pitiful cries in the morning when we start to get up.

On the running front, things are rolling along quite nicely but I've been too busy to blog all week with the family home and no spare time in the evenings when I usually do my posting. It's really amazing how much difference a week makes. This time last week it was all moaning and complaining about being tired all the time, cutting runs short and basically just not keeping up with what the mind wanted to do. Now a totally different story, getting the runs in by time intended, managed a tempo-ish run and not especially tired except for a little background noise.

Monday - rest day; walk to/from work but now looking like we'll have a green Christmas

Tues - 8+ miles in a little over an hour at lunch. I was a little underdressed in -5C (keep forgetting to account for the wind) but the run went well and I enjoyed a nice caramel chocolate candy midrun that lasted almost 2 miles.

Weds - 11+ miles in 94:00 A slow steady run in the same conditions as Tues but better dressed for it with windpants and windproof gloves. Stopped at home for a refill of gatorade that helped get me through the last 1/2 hour where things started to flag a little bit.

Thurs - 8 miles in 63:30 with 3 miles at marathonish pace (splits 7:14, 6:59 and 7:20 varied with the hills and strong wind). Started out slow and then did the pace run back to homebase. It felt good to run a little faster than normal but got a bit difficult at the end with steep hills and strong winds in unison against me.

Friday - after a quick exit from our office Christmas eve party it was time to get quickly geared up and on the road for a longer run in the cold wind again. Temperature was -5F (23F) with windchill of -10C (14F) and I was happy to have some extra layers today. Out and back 12 miles in about 1:40 and felt decent most of the way but tiring a little over the last few miles. Decent run.

Total for the week so far is 60 miles with one run left tommorow. I'll be sure to get out early for this so I'm well rested for another meeting with Andrew on Sunday for the long run.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Of Christmas cats and Christmas trees

We're getting all tuned up for the season and even Cody is in the mood.
A lot overexposed but a neat effect I think.

Just time to make a few comments about my Sunday long run with Andrew before I fall asleep on the couch again. These runs are always so differerent in some ways but like a comfortable blanket in other ways. Sometimes it's the weather which can be exposed and nasty in places, though it was quite benign this week with temperature around 33F (1C) and just a touch of wind. Other weeks it will be a different mix of runners whether it's Marc, or Steph, or Jon but always old reliable Andrew (did you know he's about to become an age grouper?)

And then there's always the various aches and pains and accumulated weariness that we bring to each run. It often takes about 1/2 the run to explain where and what the latest 'injury' is doing. I had made the time honored mistake of running late the day before and was running of fumes almost from the start of this long run and had alot of complaining to do today. (Note to self: always run as early as possible on the day before a long run, especially if it's with Andrew). Despite the tired sore legs that never seemed to loosen up we still managed to move along at a good pace. I simply can't explain the 21 miles at 7:5x pace when if felt like 8:30's from the beginning and then the last 7 miles felt even slower but were 7:40's. Go figure.

So run completed, time to go home, not so tough now was it? Boy, did that brownie taste good!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Slacker Report

Yup, I've been slacking off. After being tired all week and then having a great run on Thursday I then took the liberty of almost taking the day off on Friday. I had planned on at least 1hr but everthing seemed to conspire with me and ended up only getting one measly mile in before cutting the run short. Ended up quitting early so Jo and I could get on the road to pick up Steph from the Agricultural College in Truro. Besides, I deserved a day off for a change, right?

Successful and uneventful trip and on the way home we dropped off at Double Diamond Stables where we visited some horsey friends of Steph's and some real people too. The baby horses were full of life, one of which is a full sister to the horse, Thea, that Steph is riding in Truro. We took a bunch of pics which are now on this site. Here's a pic of Thea who is 2 1/2 years old.

And her baby sister, Lexie who was born in May (7 months old). Very cute and full of beans. We we arrived at the barn Lexie and another colt started racing around the small corral at top speed. It was quite a show!

Safely back home and had time for a quick end of week run. Did a 1 hour out and back along the main highway for a total of 7.5 miles. Because of the missed days and shortened runs my weekly total is only 55. I'm going to need a couple of big weeks to finish off the year and catch up to Olga but know that 3000 is in my sights. Now it's time to get prepared to return to the 'Scene of the Crime' for another long run with 100 mile Andrew.

Take care and Happy Holidays!

ps. good wishes and luck to Robb Runner who is now on his amazing family road trip!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

That's more like it!

Just a quick post to let you know that there is still hope and that I didn't have the overwhelming need to lie down in the middle of the road during today's run. In fact my little 1 hour jaunt was just that, a very easy relaxing run that seemed to require minimal effort.

Looking at the numbers from the run, it was basically the same as the previous day with 7.7 miles in 63 min (8:11 pace) but it felt way more fun, almost easy again. This is all a little strange from the way I felt all day, which was a bit lethargic and in need of extra coffee. Then after a busy day at work with meeting after meeting and little chance to do any real work I rushed home and did a few quick chores before being able to get on the road. I made a couple of changes designed to make todays run easier including the downhill start, carried water and wore my newest (most cushioned) shoes to ease the strain on the body.

However, right from the 1st step there was a different feeling that's been missing lately and that was the tiny bit of pep or spring in my step that's been missing. You just never can predict a good day but that's what I was blessed with today and so the run just floated along for a change instead of the usual crawl and slogfest. Thank you, thank you! Nothing unusual in the run today. We had kind of a dreary grey day after a rain event last night and the temps of 6C (42F) were nothing special. I did run into a couple of runners who I caught up to and just kept on cruising by all the while trying to press the easy button. Eventually it got dark just as my time limit was up but the legs were still fresh and raring for more, a very good sign.
Happy running from a happy runner!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Rethinking the plan

They never said it would be easy but... this constant draggy tired feeling is starting to make me wonder if I'll ever run normally again. I'm starting to get tired of being tired all the time. I look in my log and for the last 5 days in a row it says 'Tired'. Something has got to give soon and it better not be some hidden weak link in the system or some virus or cold that seems to be going around. Oh well, hopefully I can hang on for a few more weeks and re-evalutate.

On a happier note here is the rather interesting profile of my Sunday 20 mile run with Andrew. Doesn't it remind you of a series of Christmas trees with red garland floating overhead? Actually it was 4 loops of St. Andrews with a nice downhill start and ending with a long climb home for drinks and a short break. That makes 5 weeks in a row with 20+ mile long runs which breaks all previous records x2. This Andrew guy has been a good influence I think (except for the tired thing).

We had a very easy relaxing run as we were both feeling the effects of our tough schedules and even almost broke out into singing carols on the long uphills. Thankfully the fit passed and we made it to the top. Like Andrew I then spent the rest of the day looking for the nearest couch, but unfortunately had shopping, travelling, visiting and more travelling that keep me on my feet. By the time I found the couch in the evening it was pure exhaustion and not even ice cream could help by then!
A silly picture of my bro' playing with Ginger. 'And all the stockings were hung with care'

Quick recap of the last few days: Monday - rest day and still tired

Tues - delayed my run as long as possible in order to maximize recovery. It worked out to 54hr rest but still was not enough as my log calls it 'a no pep, draggy run'. Still managed to go for 11 miles in 93 minutes and there was a nice 1/4 mile in there as the sun was going down over the calm ocean bay.

Weds - sorry to bore you with all this moaning and complained but this was just more of the above. Log says 'same slow slogging pace, very heavy legs' for 7.5 miles in 61 min. Enough of that, here's another picture for your viewing pleasure and the hope for better days ahead.
Our snow is now gone, replaced with rain and warm temperatures for a few days but it'll be back soon, I hope!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Press the Easy Button

Just press here and all your troubles will be solved ;-)

And if you believe that, then do I have a deal for you! It seems like half of blogger-land is need of an easy button lately with various injuries, ailments, over/undertraining or perhaps the seasonal holiday blues. Let me see, there's Popsicle Marc still recovering from last weekend, Downeast Andrew who did too much on Friday, Blogfather Marc who just got kicked out west, Lydiard Mike who's working out the hobbles from his super amazing marathon, DGC doesn't need a shrink but has a throbbing knee, and even Marc-Run Faster Master is taking it easy!

And I'm just touching the surface of some of the blogs I read, sorry if I missed ones where things are not as good as they could be. But the short story for me is that the 'Easy Button' has been in constant use all this past week and I'm STILL TIRED! It helps a little bit but getting those runs in is still work, even if you keep telling yourself 'Easy now, slow down, just running by time today; running faster and harder won't make it go by any faster'. But for some reason I've needed that picture of the stupid Easy Button in my head to help me think about doing just that. Maybe it will help you, or maybe not but it can't hurt, now can it?

Updates since my last 'Tired' post...

Thurs - an 'easy' hour run that turned into 8 miles in 65 min because it was such a nice springlike day, mild temperature of +6C, blue skies, no wind. I was thinking about and resetting the 'button' but to no effect. Avg pace 8:07

Friday - winter came back with a snarl. Nasty wind, snow, sleet etc with a 2hr run scheduled. Ended up starting late, after work when the storm had easy and ran circles around town along the sidestreets which were mostly snow covered and unplowed. I wore my Yaktrax cleats which fit over my shoes and provide amazing traction on snow and ice. You can run with no fear of slipping what-so-ever. Now if only the body was feeling better. It was a nice evening but a little cool and windy as well but managed to get 90minutes in before I decided to call it quits. Total of only 10 or so miles and could have done more but certainly didn't 'feel' like it. Besides supper was on the table and it was time to stop!

Sat - took my time getting going this morning so that there was more recovery time since last nights run. Ended up doing a really easy 7.5 miles around 8:30 pace and had no inclination to even round it up to 8 miles (as I normally would).

Total for the week of 66 miles in 9hr 10 min. The body report is OK but not great with no major aches except the %$# achilles for the 1st mile of each run and the general tired thing which Coach Andrew tells me is 'normal'. Onward and upward!

This is the route I take when I walk home from work (it's about a mile through the woods and fields).
I also found these high bush cranberries along the trail which made me go a little artistic. The birds love these and the provide some color in the trees.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


What happened to my so called fitness? It's only the 2nd week of the new training regime and already my old body is throwing up little warning signals or is it more like the white flag of surrender? Perhaps a little exaggeration there but I'm not looking forward to the rest of the week's plan of attack. There are no real injuries or specific sore muscles but just a general tired feeling where it's even a bit of an effort to just sit and you just want to lie down and go to sleep. Now there's a good idea!

Schedule for the week: 2:45+, rest, 90, 60 completed and 60,120, 60 to go with no specific paces yet, just time on my feet and miles on the body.

You've already heard about the long cold run and our failed attempt to turn Marc into a popsicle. My rest day was a nice break and I had no desire to run all day until... later in the day we had our 1st snowfall. I love to get out in the fresh snow but was able to resist today and instead just took a few pictures of the winter wonderland.
It was getting dark but you get the idea.
Here's a shot of our fish pond with a night light for the fish. It provides just enough heat to keep an air hole melted so they can get the oxygen they need.

Of course the Christmas lights are now on welcoming visitors and friends.

On Tuesday I was able to give my shoes their 1st taste of the snow and salt for the season with a 90 minute jaunt around the golf course followed by a trip around town. It's perfect cushioning when there is a 2-4 inch layer of snow on the grass and with little black ice on the cartpaths there was minimal slipping and sliding around. My only problem was forgetting to bring some water as I got thirsty as the run went on. I need to remember that my runs are getting longer now and water will make the runs a little easier. Total of 11+ miles at 8:20 pace and ended feeling pretty good but just a little tired and thirsty.

I ran today at lunch for an hour and it felt like a 2 hour run. I'm not sure if it was a lack of sleep, not quite 24hr recovery, or lingering dehydration but this was a real slog of a run. Even going slow, slow didn't help the heavy legs to feel any better as I trudged though 7.5 miles at 8:25 pace. It was also a relief that I wasn't facing further humiliation at the hands of the twins today and was able to run quietly on my own. The temperatures were cool but I've now got the layer thing sorted out again and was comfortable in the -8C conditions with a light wind.

Tonite I'm just feeling t-i-r-e-d but nothing a little ice cream and bagels can't fix.

Take care out there!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

That was (not) good !!

And I'm glad it's over! Our 1st run in real winter weather just about did us all in today. A combination of improper clothing choices, nagging injuries that surfaced with a vengeance and a biting northly wind all combined to make this a run we'd all rather forget.

It started off OK with the nice downhills, easy pace, good friends chatting away, miles clicking off but with the wind ominously at our backs. The temperature was only about -3C (27F) but -10C (13F) windchill and I had even packed an extra headband to use if necessary. We were woefully unprepared for what happened next...

See Andrew's post for the full story. We'll have to wait for Marc to unthaw so we can hear his side of it but it won't be very happy I'm afraid. I'm not sure if he'll ever come back to Boyden Lake again.

A popsicle between two (so-called) friends. Even the camera was having issues with the cold today as evidenced by the blurry image.
Well, at least the little 'treat' tasted good.

Total of 21 miles with last 7 in 52:44 (about 7:30 pace) and last mile in 7:20 as we tried to keep warm by running faster. Next time there will be an extra layer and my never-fail neck warmer upper thingie.

And for your viewing pleasure, here is the perfect tile...

And go give Lydiard Mike a big congratulations on his superb 2:37 at the California International Marathon. Great job!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Lydiard experiment: week 1 report

Where to start? At the beginning or the end? OK the end. Total of 65 miles in 6 runs and 9hr of time on my feet (8:11 avg pace). The plan calls for 6-8 weeks of conditioning work where the runs will be based on time and not miles and the effort will be of secondary concern until I can get up to speed as far as the total time goes. In this 1st week all the runs have been either 1hr or 1.5 hours besides the longer 2.5+ hr Sunday run.

After surviving an easy hour on day 1 and the trouncing that I took on day 2 at the hands of two teenagers it was another easy hour on Thursday with my new running friend Eddy. You may or may not remember my story of Eddy at the Saint John marathon in August. It was his 1st marathon and he struggled in with me after a fast 1st 20 miles. He swore never again but after a few months to cool off he's back again and thinking about the 3:10 he needs to BQ. Anyway, he's back in town and was looking for a run so we did the golf course path route while we jabbered away about training programs and stuff. Total of 8 miles in just over 64 minutes and it felt like we were just jogging along.

Friday called for a 1 to 1.5 hour run and the conditions were just dreadful with temperatures just above freezing at 1C (34F), a steady cold rain and a brisk northeast wind to put the icing on the cake. My plan to leave work early at the end of the day was thwarted by the threatening weather and my vain hope that it might let up a bit. A quick check of the latest weather radar loop showed that it was not to be and so it was do or do not.

And as usual, I did, with a rather miserable slog of a run again on the golf trails so as to stay away from traffic and to give me the option to bail if it got really bad. There were a few nice minutes in the woods with the wind at my back but mostly it seemed that I was running into the wind and cold driving rain for the most part. At the 1hr mark the temptation to cut the run short was very strong but I quelled the urge long enough to begin an out and back loop around town that sealed the deal. The run finished just as it was getting dark for a total of 1hr 34 min and 11 miles. My fingers were so cold that it was hard to undo my double knotted shoes and I then had to disrobe my wet clothes into a bucket so as to not track a path through the house to the hot shower that was from heaven. Check!

This morning I finished up the week with an almost 1hr run or 57 min. Close enough Andrew? I was running a bit late as we were about to hit the road for a shopping trip to Saint John to try to pick out the perfect tile. It was a success but more on that another time. Right now it's time to get ready for tomorrow's long run with Andrew and possibly Marc if his knee holds up. I've got a very special 'treat' in store for them which should put a smile on their tired faces. We'll see what happens....