Sunday, December 30, 2007

A real pain in the ...

Can you tell from the grin on his face that the chocolate treats are safely locked in his car? This was the view at the 7 mile pit stop point today as we grabbed some water before continuing along on our run. About a 1/2 mile later Andrew played the spoiler and dropped his bombshell, "What about those Patriots going 16-0?" he asked. I could've killed him. You see, I had watched the 1st 1/2 of the game, taped the remainder because it was getting late and was planning to enjoy it at home after todays long run without knowing the result! Grrr!

Not too much else to say about today's long run. It was a nice calm morning after the storm with mild temperatures around the freezing mark. We just cruised along gabbing away as usual at a very easy pace. After losing Andrew at the 11 mile mark, where he turned to head back to his (undeserved) treats, Jon and I continued to finish the full 17 mile loop. Total time of 2:23 for an average 8:25 pace including pit stops was not too shabby.

Over the last 4-5 miles my sore hamstring/butt acted up again as it has over the last few long runs. It really is time to do something about this 'Pain in the Butt' because it's putting a damper on the finish of my runs as I limp in over the final miles. The restriction in my stride is now getting to be enough of an issue that I must do something about it. A few stretches are in order at least. Wish me luck.

Have a good week and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Another snowstorm overnight, this time with 10-15cm of wet sticky (perfect snowball) snow. When I reached the end of our lane and this sign, did I take heed? Of course a stop and picture were in order but the 5 mile recovery run continued as planned. The roads were completely unplowed making it slow going today but that was fine, being an easy run and all.
Mid-run the Algonquin hotel under heavy cover required another quick stop for a breather and a pic. I kinda like this Stop 'n Go mode of travel. The temperature was mild, just at 0C (32F) and a strong southeast wind made for slow going when exposed to the open. Total of 5 miles today at 8:50 pace.
This completes 60 miles for week 2 of 18 of the Boston plan. The past week was right on target with all runs completed as scheduled. The only thing to consider or add is some post run stretching and a regimen of core work. With all these snowstorms I've been at least getting my share of upper body workout .

With only 2 more days left in 2007 and my mileage total sits at 2610 which is about average over the past 3-4 years. I just did a quick re-cap to see how my Resolutions compared with my results in 2007. I was able to check off most of the 1st 8 of 10 resolutions but missed #5 by not getting a 10k in as part of the RunNB Run For the Cycle series (got all the other races though). I also didn't take 9 minutes off my marathon PR or lose 10 pounds. Better luck next year, right? but right now it's time for a beer. Gotta fuel up for tomorrow's long run with the gang at Boyden.

Take care on the roads!

Friday, December 28, 2007


A fresh snowfall is really quite beautiful but unfortunately you have to shovel it and so I had a one hour upper body workout clearing the driveway before my run. The temperature had stayed cold and the snow was still light and fluffy making it easier work (with help ;-).

Eventually I made my way out the door and on the roads for an easy/regular pace 9 mile run as called for in the plan according to Pfitz. The only choice was to decide which route would have the best footing and of course, the best photo opportunities. They never seem to do a very good job of the roads inside the town limits on the day of a storm so I headed out on the highway which is usually better maintained with wide shoulders. It was a good plan today with fairly light traffic and a small layer of slush along the side of the road. Ended up with a 75 minute run or 8:30 pace including 2 or 3 pauses to take a picture or two (or three).
This one was taken at the end of the run and is looking at the Passamaquoddy Bay as you come into town. My technique for whipping out the camera is getting better and hardly even have to break stride. Is there a name for running, stopping for a picture and then speeding off for the next opportunity? Maybe fartpic'ing or photo-jogging? Should I be getting extra insurance on my camera?

See you later!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lull before the storm

Rodney the Reindeer (small)

and a medium Rodney for your viewing pleasure.

Please bear with me, or is it 'put up with me deer' as I continue to play with my camera. This blog might be mainly running but it's fun to make it more interesting with a few well placed pictures.

An unusual east (snow) wind was blowing during today's easy 5 miler. We don't ofter get a breeze from that direction and will typically see a good dumping of snow within 24 hours. We'll just have to wait and see if my prediction will bear out and you can be sure that I will provide the evidence. The run was another nondescript journey around town on a somewhat bleak gray day as I cruised along at an easy pace sometimes dipping a bit faster than Coach A would have liked. With a few stops for photo opportunities the average pace came in at 8:13 and hr of 129 and it was over and done with in no time and Coach J was happy to have me home.

I'm now eager to tackle tomorrow's 9 miler which must be a good sign. Good running all!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday running

I'm sure every community has at least one place like this where the property owners go all out in their quest for the ultimate Christmas. They even have a countdown calendar restarts on the day after the big day.

Christmas Eve was a scheduled day off but I adjusted my plan by running an easy 8 miles so I could take Christmas off. It was a bit of a struggle with tired legs the day after a long run as I took it very easy with an average pace of 8:30 and heartrate of 127. The temps were nice at +2C and even was passed (twice) by a young buck in shorts. We said hello and a few words but I waved him on ahead and wasn't even tempted to match his pace which looked to be close to 7:00 speed by the way he pulled away. Way too fast for an easy day as I just maintained my easy jogging pace.
Today's run was back to the master plan with a 12 mile medium-long run which was done as a 6 mile out and back on the highway. This was run at a 'normal' pace, starting slow and attempting to pick it up, or at least hold my 'form' by keeping my head and arms up. I was slightly distracted by my new 'toy' which is a little high quality camera that is both waterproof and shockproof and fits in my fanny pack. I'm now fully equipped to handle any and all Kodak moments and poor Andrew will just have to bear with me on this. "Oh, just a sec, gotta stop here and take a shot of this!". All I have to show with today's run was a water view of St. Croix Island in the bright sunlight on a perfect calm day. Finished off the run with a set of 10 pitiful pickups (aka strides), 12.0 miles in 1:39, 8:13 pace, avg hr 136.

Bear with me but I didn't feel as tired as I look! It was an ok run but not much to write home about. Perhaps I'll have better photo opportunities on my recovery run tomorrow. Have a nice day!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Running for chocolate

Here's a picture of our little tree, very much smaller than this one, being guarded by a Swedish Christmas goat.

We run for fitness, for PR's, for fun and best of all for food at the end of a nice long run. The promise today was for chocolate balls, a delicious family recipe for a Christmas treat which is basically an oversize chocolate with no redeeming value nutrician wise besides it's caloric and carb value. Think dates, peanut butter, icing sugar, coconut, combined with an egg and rolled in a chocolate... mmmm! I promised Andrew a special treat and this is what he got. He brought the Dunkin Donuts coffee and all was silent as we sat in my van chowing down. There was an odd number! Do you want the extra one I asked? "Sure !" he said snatching it quickly before I could say a word.

Another early 6am run at Boyden, this time with +2C, no wind and our friend Jonathan along for the ride. We cruised along very, very easily with the 1st mile at 9:05 and the fastest 16th mile of 8:08. There was lots of good conversation as we grilled Jon about his recent adventures at New York and his year of running. The roads were almost bare and I kept commenting on how few cars we met, in fact it was 7 miles in before we saw any traffic! I don't think we met a dozen cars on the entire loop which must be a record. After 17 we made a quick stop at the van to give Jon his treat while Andrew & I continued with a 3 mile out & back to get our 20. And then we savored our treats.

Week 1 of 18 is now complete. On Saturday I only did an easy 5 miles and so the Pfitz program was followed almost to the letter (unlike some folks) except for today's long run which called for 15 miles. Score is now Pfitz (6) - Andrew (1). Great week, total of 58 miles in 8hr 23 min, feeling good, legs and knee are fine but need to do some stretching to help the tight hamstrings.

Have a wonderful Christmas all with your family and friends!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Oh, what the heck!

A view of our lights for the season but I'm not happy with the way they turned out. It's hard to get the exposure right and they seem to be a bit washed out. Maybe I'll try bracketing more on the under-exposure side the next time out.

Yes, I did run today. It was a so-called 'General aerobic 9 mi' run which I take as being run as you feel; go slow if you want or faster when you feel like it and don't worry about it. Another -6C day with bright sun and a light wind got me a bit overheated wearing the same 2 layers as the previous day. Curiously, before my run I was eating a 1/2 banana and 1/2 pb&j sandwich and was taken aback by a co-worker who remarked that "you must be doing a longer run today?". Weird how some people notice the little things you do that are running related but not really obvious at 1st glance. Some folks would just think I eat a lot or maybe have a tapeworm but others do pay attention.

It was a nice run, out and back along the highway turning at the exact location to get my intended 9 miles. The roads were again greasy/slushy and might have survived without the added traction of the Yaktrax. As it was the traffic was fairly light and used the bare pavement as much as I could but it didn't help my pace at all. My attempt to pickup the speed on the return leg was met with at best an 8:02 uphill mile 7 and a 7:48 downhill mile 8. Overall pace of 8:20 and slightly elevated heart rate of 138 for my efforts.

I'm hoping for some more bare pavement and less clothes on my back over the weekend as we have some positive temperature days forecast. Happy running and Happy Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Easy run alert

I hope A doesn't fall out of his chair but a) post on consecutive days b) easy five mile run with average heart rate of 129 and pace of 8:45 c) this runner is feeling quite pleased with the non-effort.

Not too much to say about the little run. It's rather nice that Pfitz gives such good contrast in his schedule from day to day and in fact it was almost a shock to stop so soon into it. We had a rather pleasant day with just a light dusting of snow and with temps of around -6C (20F). However, it was just warm enough for the salt to start turning the streets to a rather mushy slushy consistency making for continued treacherous footing.

I was actually feeling a little tired from the longer run on Weds and so today's run was a welcome break in the schedule. The legs are feeling good otherwise and my knee issue of a few weeks ago is now totally gone and I think I'm ready for a faster pace run once the roads clear a little. And then there's always the treadmill if I want to go fast safely (except for falling off the back of the thing). Has anyone ever done that? I've stumbled a few times but no all out crashes yet!

Thats it! Hope you're counting down the days like I am ;-)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pfitz (3) - Andrew (0)

Day 3 of the 18 week countdown to Boston. Thus far it has been entirely from the book of Pfitzinger instead of the plan of Andrew. You see he's recommended that 18 weeks was far too long to train for a marathon and that I should continue with aerobic running for the next 10 weeks, followed by 8 weeks of marathon specific training. Being an old stick in the mud who finds it hard to change his ways I've been resisting, so far.

Day 1 - love that Pfitz guy starting you off with a day of rest and I'm proud of the 0's in my log. Of course I'd just run 20 miles the day before and so it was well deserved I think. Oh, and we had a big storm with lots of snow and ice and the roads are now a mess.

Day 2 - Tues - 8.1 miles at 8:54 pace, say what? Did I say the roads were a mess? It was like running on a frozen pond even with the Yaktrax's. I was sliding around and could only take a 1/2 or at most 3/4 stride. It was also cold and windy, so a slow slog of a run to start the program off. I also said hello to a policeman with his cruiser in the ditch where he missed the turn on the slick roads. He didn't look too happy but agreed we need more salt on the streets. I didn't offer to push because the tow truck had just arrived.

Day 3 - Weds - 11 miles at 8:38 pace, avg hr 133. This is one of the bread and butter runs in the Pfitz programs and I've found these mid-week medium long runs of 11 to 16 miles can be a real challenge. After a certain amount of nervous trepidation because of the roads and weather I was off. By heading out of town the footing was actually better because of the wide edges that get plowed. The 1st few miles were a struggle to get rolling but soon I was able to settle into a nice rhythm though slow. At least it was more of a 3/4 stride day and at -10C (15F) with no wind it almost felt balmy. Before I knew it the deed was done and I was glad to have survived without falling down (that almost happened later in my street boots but no damage done).

Looking ahead I see a couple of easy days with 5 milers sandwiched around a 9 mile run. This is to be followed by the weekly long run of 'only' 15 miles which I'm positive Andrew simply won't allow. I guess we'll just have to be flexible, especially with the holiday season upon us.

Seasons greetings and happy holidays to all!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Slow Burn

I've been a bit of a slacker lately when it comes to updating this blog but not so much on the running front. Since you last heard from me I've managed another 50+ mile week and 2 long runs with Andrew on our favorite Boyden Lake route. I took this picture today at the end of the 20 miler before he had a chance to melt off and feast on my little treats. We both agreed that the pre-blizzard weather today was 'pleasant' despite a temperature of -12C (10F). This may be a little incomprehensible to some readers from warmer climes but after dealing with colder temperatures made worse by constant wind, today's slightly warmer day with almost no wind felt near balmy! The 5 layers of clothes and warm head/hand gear also helped!!

The past week was my last pre-training buildup before beginning the 18 week program that takes me to Boston. My wife has noted that she can't tell the difference between my 'not' training and 'actually' training routines. Andrew suggests accepting this as a compliment but I wonder what would happen if I actually took complete time off instead of just cutting back. My terminal 'not' training week went like this: 18 mile long run, rest day, 8 mi, 6 mi, 9 mi, 5 mi and 7 mile for a total of 53. This included one run on the treadmill at a 9:00 pace making Coach2 happy with an average pace for the week of about 8:30.

Today's pre-blizzard run was another 17 mile loop of Boyden plus a 3 mile filler at the end to give the desired even number. We started a bit early at 6am US time so I could make it home before the predicted weather hit. As a result, it was still dark for the 1st 4-5 miles with the surroundings in the quiet back-country roads slowly became more and more visible. We had a very relaxing, enjoyable run with a more usual flow of conversation and laughter this week compared with last week's Silent Sunday. Besides the usual 'bad' jokes, I had lectures on the value of money and how the banking system works and more opinions of the values of slow consistent training, all very entertaining and interesting (really!). My knee has been a non-issue lately, which is great, but the sore hamstrings continue to bother me and slow my pace. Self massage on the run helps but I really need to do some more post-run stretching and introduce my fingers to my toes once in awhile. I liken the feeling to a slow burning sensation that you can almost ignore as it builds to a certain level and never goes away until I stop. I can put up with it and manage the extra miles but it would be nice to run without the discomfort. However I survived and before we knew it, our little run was done, it was only 9am (US), the snow was just starting to stick. We then savored a nice cup of hot coffee and tasty treats. Mmmm! What a great way to start a day and end another week of 'not' training.

Tomorrow marks the start of the Boston plan. It will be either a complete rest day if I go with Pfitzinger or will be 1 hour of very easy recovery running if I go with the Andrew plan.

Stay tuned and have a great week!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

A pain in the ???

Another week, another 50-some miles.

We got lambasted with a nice winter storm on Monday and I took these pictures while breaking trail on the way to work on Tuesday. It was slow going with drifts up to my knees in spots but it's very pretty. We even had some snow rollers in our front yard with some snowball size balls that looked like they were going uphill. This is apparently a rare phenomenon. I thought it might have been someone playing a joke but I guess it was just nature doing it's thing again.

So you can imagine it required some creativity to get my runs in.

I'd already had a good start with my long Sunday run with Andrew. It was cold, it was windy, my knee hurt, my hamstrings ached, my back was twinging but it was a memorable and fun run. Is it the bad jokes that take the edge off? When he told me the one about 2 herring trying to get to Fenway Park in Boston I just about went off the road into the ditch! You may not know but my real job is that of a herring biologist for fisheries and this was just too close to home. 20 miles and one delicious brownie later the deed was done, what a guy but he tells it just like it is!

Monday rest and big storm - walked to/from work

Tues - walk to/from work and jump on the treadmill for 5 easy miles when I got home after helping Jo finish shoveling our driveway. It just seemed easier than dodging traffic and sliding around. I broke out my newest pair of Mizuno Wave riders which will now be reserved for the treadmill alone during the winter and likely will be used at Boston. At least they'll stay warm and 'dry' until April.

Weds - 8 mile/66:10 minute run from work around town. It was sunny and about -4C with a light wind and the roads were surprisingly good and mostly bare. Felt good and the knee was fine but I seemed to tire over the last mile or so for some reason. Played some volleyball that night and was able to stay out of trouble.

Thurs - a long busy day at work and got home a little late. Jumped on the mill for an easy 5 miles while watching the news and kept the pace around 830 to 800/mile. It's easy and convenient but kind of boring and 'seems' to take forever to just do a few miles.

Friday - more time on my hands at work so repeated the exact same route as Weds but this time with my Garmin measured as 8.1 miles in 65:30. The weather and road conditions were almost identical and I felt like I was pushing the effort a bit but only made up 40 seconds. The run felt good though and the knee was mostly ok.

Sat - just an easy 6 miles with temp at a crisp -5C and little wind. There was some payback for the extra effort on Friday because the legs were heavy and the effort seemed to be high for the slow 8:45 pace.

Weekly summary - good week with 52 miles all at easy base building pace. I'm looking at another week like this and then starting the Pfitzinger 18 week: 70 miles or less plan. I'll add extra miles to it, especially the long runs with Andrew and may tweak some things but this has worked for me in the past. It won't be a big change in what I normally do and so I can't expect much in the end result. I'm OK with that as Boston is really a race I like to enjoy and not have to worry about trying to race or do a 'time' in. I'll save that for next fall in PEI.

Have a great week! Enjoy the snow if you're lucky enough to have any!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Tis' the Season

Only 24 more sleeps...

Just thought you also needed to know that there are only 142 days left to go to the Boston Marathon on April 21. My original post title was going to be '112 days to the 112th' but that doesn't make sense. My countdown timer had gone wacko for some reason so I pulled out a real paper calendar and used my fingers and toes. On Monday it will be exactly 20 weeks to go. That's less than 5 months or 14 x 10 day cycles. It just goes to show that you should never trust a computer program. I had to add an extra month in the date to get it to work correctly.

BTW - I got my new timer from Bob and he better get cracking for the Disney Marathon in only 12 days (NOT!) Bob, you also have your comments turned off on us so I couldn't leave you a wake up call.

The past week has been a fine easy running week for me. I got a total of 50 miles in 6 runs and will continue to edge the mileage up for the next few weeks before I start my dedicated Boston marathon 18 week plan. The knee issues seem to have gone completely away now that I've switched to newer shoes and only had one or two 'pings' all week. Then again there always seems to be some little aches and pains that appear and then tend to go away if you just ignore it (right Thomas?).

Weds - roller coaster weather continued with a drop from +9C to -4C as I just did an easy 7 mile around town loop from work. Even managed to shower and get back in time to the meeting that had adjourned for 'lunch'. It's a good thing that the service in local restaurants can be slow and they were late getting back!

Thurs - roller coaster up with temp of +5C today. Another lunchtime 7 miles and back again for the same meeting which was still going on and on

Friday - meetings finally over and so I took a little extra time to do 9 miles with 4 miles at a tempo effort (although the pace was barely marathon pace at 7:15 to 7:45). Roller coaster down to -2C with strong westerly winds. The legs and knee was perfect and I had that 'pleasantly tired' feeling that Lydiard talks about after the run. It's a great feeling but only happens rarely.

Sat - easy 5 miles this morning with the roller coaster grounded out now at -4C and strong northerly wind making windchill of -13C (or 9F). The extra layer and neck protector came in handy on the return leg into the wind.

Now just resting up and keen to get out early with Andrew around Boyden Lake in the morning. It's going to be cool -10C (14F) with moderate winds (10-20mph) forecast in the morning so we'd better have a few extra layers ready.

Have a great week everyone! Christmas is coming (too fast) !!