Thursday, February 28, 2008

Blowing in the wind

It's hard to tell which way the wind is blowing lately and this photo is a case in point.

I've been a busy guy but still finding time to run as per the master plan and occasionally have enough energy to blab a little bit about it during the quiet winter evenings. We've had 2 snowfalls already this week and a couple more are forecast for the weekend. Hopefully it won't mess up my plans for the longer long run on Sunday. The old hams are still bugging me as I continue to try ignoring the messages being received by the dull brain. If I'm still able to run it must not be a real problem/injury, right? Maybe I'll call for an appointment (next week...) when I have more time.

Monday - glorious rest day after my 15+2 medium long run with the Boys of Boyden

Tues - more easy running with 10 miles split up into a 4 mile early morning treadmill and 6 mile outdoor run at lunch. Not feeling too inspired but got the runs in with some sub 8 miles thrown in by accident.

Weds - the dreaded mid-week medium long run and this time I didn't go play volleyball instead of running. We had a good dumping of snow overnight with local schools again canceled and so I thought the chances of getting a 15 miler in today would be slim to none except on a treadmill. But surprise, the mild temperatures cleared the roads off and all that was needed was a bit of persistence or maybe just dumb bullheadedness. After the 1st 6 mile loop of our local township I was severely tempted to call it a day but instead just kept on trudging along. The legs felt good for the most part and only 'pinged' a bit at the end of the ordeal. Avg pace of 8:23 and hr 129.

Thurs - today was just an easy 6 miles and it went very slowly as I allowed myself to hide the watch and run just for recovery. Avg pace of 8:42 and hr 125. It was a nice clear day and got yet another angle on our local landmark Algonquin Hotel. Bet you can't wait for some summer shots of the tourists in the pool!

Not looking forward to Friday's torture session but the anticipation is always worse than the deed itself. Happy running!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Sunday

It was a beautiful morning for a run; calm, clear and only a little on the cold side at -18C (1F) at the start. It warmed up considerably during our run and we were thankful there was no wind at all.
We do have a bit of snow still in the fields but the roads were clear and dry. I met the gang at our usual spot for the Boyden Lake loop. As usual Ozzie was there early, followed by Jon and of course Andrew bringing up the rear (as well as the coffee). It was a fairly quiet easy run for all of us, covering the 17 miles in 2:24, traffic was almost non-existent but the chatter of runner conversation echoed through the wilderness waking up all the dogs for miles. None were brave enough to challenge a pack of 4 runners though.

At the end of the loop Andrew & I pulled over for coffee and Tim Horton's chocolate balls while Oz and Jon put in a few extra miles. My 'plan' only called for 15 today and this was plenty for me with the continuing soreness in my hamstrings. This has bugged me for quite a while now and it doesn't seem to be getting any better or worse despite daily stretching. It might be time to visit the massage therapist or physiotherapist and get it sorted out.

Nothing too much else to say. The next few weeks are going to be extremely busy with both intense training weeks and work going crazy as I prepare for meetings in mid-March. Wish me luck and have a good week!

Friday, February 22, 2008

More of the same

My sister's little dog, also known as Binx who makes both a good lap dog but also has very sharp ears and works a 2nd job as an alarm clock and watch dog.
These deer (7 in a row) wandered through our back yard last night taking their good old time and waiting their turn to use Jo's well maintained garden path. They then jumped the fence and had a little party in our enclosed yard (former dog run area) before being shooed off by me in my slippers.

Besides all the animal activity things have been fairly quiet around here lately. The weather has been half decent, warmer for a few days (above 0C) and then on the cool side but no winter storms to add to the accumulation of snow and ice on the roads. This has been a scheduled recovery week but so far it hasn't felt much like that as the effects of the hard marathon pace run on Sunday lingered into the midweek. Instead of feeling easy and refreshed the feeling is more like tired and worn down...

Monday - rest day, ahhh, a bit tired and slightly sore

Tues - 10 miles in 1:24 in the nice mild temperature of +4C. The heartrate was a little elevated and the legs were feeling tired and lazy. I probably should have broken this run into 2 shorter runs but the plan said... x so I did x.

Weds - still feeling low so I switched workouts around and did just an easy 6 today at an easy 8:30 pace and lower hr of 130. The right hammie was tight and sore so I gave it extra attention during my post run stretching. That night I also took in 2 hours of volleyball and we had fun winning the 1st and last games while playing 4 on 5 (sorry Thomas but a man's gotta do what he has to do).

Thurs - 9 miles with 6x600m at 5k effort said 'the plan', yuck said I. After a 3k warmup I attempted to run this on the roads during an out and back run. After determining that my 5k pace for 600m should be about 2:24, the only other variable was the rest interval and I decided to go with a distance of 400m instead of time so each interval started at the kilometer mark. It's always easier said than done as I could only 'hit' my theoretical time on 3 out of the 6 attempts. I'll blame the failures on the hills, wind and -8C temps. Decent run but not up to par.

Fri - 11 miles in 1:34. Guess who was tired and lethargic today? wonder why... Light winds, temps -5C, on slow tight legs once again. It was one of those put your head down and run sort of days that your glad just to finish. There were one or two brights spots as the sun was out for awhile and my stride actually smoothed out a bit after 4-5 miles, but only for a bit. The sun then went back behind the clouds and the hammie tightened up to finish the run.

Tonite, relaxing on the couch and then on the floor doing some extra stretching while watching a few sports programs. I've got a short easy 7-8 miler planned for the morning to top off the week at 59 miles. And then I'll be taking it easy again as I rest up for Sunday's long run with Andrew around Boyden Lake once again. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Why can't we just live in the moment? It seems we (me in particular) are always looking ahead to the next turn in the road or obstacle in the path to whatever goals or plans we have in life. We will just finish one thing, say a big project or even a marathon or hard workout and rather than saying good work and enjoying your success (or criticizing the mistakes) we are more likely to say what's next?

The past week has been hectic, busy with work and into the heavy workload of week 9 of 18 in Pfitz's training schedule. It's been work, run, eat, sleep and more of the same with little time for anything else (like blogging). But it's now the weekend, the long hard run is done and I've got a bit of time to recap the week.

Monday - rest and relaxation after digging out from the storm. Our local schools were closed both today and Tues due to road conditions. No ill effects from the long run.

Tues - 15 mile medium long run in 2:05 (8:21 pace) It was a good run during the doing of it but afterwards I felt very tired and not the 'pleasantly tired' variety. This program can slowly accumulate stress on you. While no particular workout is overly hard, put together one after another they will wear you down if you aren't careful. I was feeling the effects that night and spent it mostly on the couch.

Weds - a welcome easy day of just 6 miles which was done on the treadmill while it poured rain outside. Ran at a nice easy pace between 8:30 and 8:00 in my warm dry basement.

Thurs - another easy day with an easy 4 miles in the morning on the mill before going to work and then an easy 6 mile loop around town at lunch. Felt OK for the first few miles on the 2nd run but struggled in at the end as I continue to wear down despite taking it slow.

Friday - 13 miles in 1:50 (8:28 pace) and was able to hook up with one of my co-workers who also goes by the name of Andrew. We cruised around town on this rather mild day (-2C and light winds) while chatting away a mile a minute about running and work. After 7 miles Andrew peeled off while I continued with another loop around town to make up my mileage needs. It was a good run but my hammies were complaining at the end. Similar to Tues, after this run I was absolutely wasted and even more non-pleasantly tired than before.
Sat - no sleeping in this weekend; up at 5:45 to get a short 4 mile treadmill run which completed a tough week with a total of 69 miles in the bank. It was a very slow run and it took 2 miles to just get the kinks out and feel even 1/2 way smooth. Then it was a 3 hour drive to Moncton for a Run New Brunswick race director's workshop. I was there to represent our local St. Andrews Father's Day race which will have it's 30th running this year.

On the way back we stopped by in Saint John to see my Mom who was staying with my sister before heading back home in northern NB. It also happened to be the perfect time for a birthday celebration for my nephew who turns 14 in a few days. The ice cream cake was very good too!
Sunday - did I mention that I'd been trying not to think about (anticipate) this workout?

Yea olde plan said "Marathon specific 15 mi w/12 mi @ marathon race pace".

'Oh, goodie! I can't wait to knock that one off'. Maybe I'll call in sick or perhaps "My dog is sick". Have you seen this Utube video? No Excuses! it's great with lots of good ideas for excuses!

After delaying as long as possible, waiting for the temperature to warm from -13C at 8am to almost -2C by noon it was off to my funeral. But it's never as bad as anticipated... easy 2 mile warm up, then BAM! 1st mile in 7:24, no problem, 6 seconds in the bank on 7:30 goal pace. Next mile 7:20, now 16 sec up, mile 3 in 7:29 and so it went. Watching each mile split, losing seconds on the big hills, then gaining then it back on the next flat or downhill as I focused on only one mile at a time. Final result was 12 miles at MP in 1:29:40 or 20 seconds under goal and average heartate of 146 which is also under goal or at least in the manageable range. The run was 2 big loops of the town mostly along our 5 mile road race course with some added distance on the Bar Road. Finished with an easy easy jog home and crashed out for the rest of the afternoon. Feeling more pleasantly tired tonite, rather than the 'other' dead tired variety.

I'm now looking forward to Chocolate Fudge Crackle ice cream and a 'recovery week' according to Pfitz (only 59 miles). Have a nice week all!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Let it Snow!

I almost didn't run yesterday morning...

The forecast the night before called for some significant snowfall overnight and into Sunday morning but I still made all my preparations for the trip to Boyden to meet Andrew and friends. Needed to set out my breakfast, get the coffee ready to go, pack a lunch for after the run, mix gatorade, set out my clothes and don't forget the alarm clock! Not that I needed it, waking up about 10 minutes early despite only 6 hours of sleep.

Peered out the window into the dark and nothing much yet, just a few flakes. Email to A who's only about 8 miles away as the crow flies across the bay 'What's it like over there?'. "Snowing here" was the reply. It's settled, we're off on a mission to run.

45 minutes later I'm standing at our meeting point talking to Ozzie who's raring to go but no sign of sleepy head. A few minutes later he shows up and we're off again under a slight dusting of snow flurries (no accumulation yet).
Cruising along about mile 8-9 as the flurries got a bit more serious.

All we saw on the road today was sand trucks and snow plows which were out in force making sure that we had a good experience in the backwoods of Maine. We all agreed that the conditions were near perfect with temps just below freezing, and fairly good footing for the most part as the snow was a perfect non-slip consistency. The only problem I had was some balling up of snow on the soles of my shoes which forced me to 'scuff' my feet along to clear the accumulations. We had a lovely quiet run, at least in quiet surroundings, as our constant chatter likely woke every dog within 20 miles.

Our pace was very, very relaxed and barely broke 9 min. miles for the most part as we covered the 20.3 miles in 3:03 and my average heartrate barely reached 130. This was perfectly fine with me after the long week I'd just completed. I had been worried that Ozzie a sub 3hr runner in my age group ace would want to cruise along a bit faster. However he was fine with it saying it was his 1st 20 miler this year. I didn't say it was my 7th 20 miler since early December as I'm sure he knows what he's doing and will take me to the cleaners in any race we do together. So we just cruised along avoiding the minimal traffic and occasional snow plows and had a fine time of it.

A great way to spend a Sunday morning I'd say. Have a nice week all!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Fear of the unknown

After a couple of easy days to start the week off, the plan was to bear down with a couple of more significant efforts. It didn't happen right away as everything seemed to conspire against anything to do with running.

Weds - First there was more snow and slush to contend with, and there's the ever present work monster, closely followed by general lethargy and fear of the big workouts. It's harder for me to get in the mid-week medium long distances than it is for any weekend long run. So what did I do? Jumped on the treadmill for 5 easy miles ( including one at MP just for fun) and then went and played 'volleyball' for 2 hours. I can hear Andrew complaining loudly already... "you did what?". I was bored, I was lazy, I was trying to avoid the big workout.

Thurs - went much better because it was finally time for the rubber to meet the road as I worked through lunch and came home early to do my 14 miler mid-week run. I'm not sure where the energy came from because I was very tired all day at work and barely functioning without extra strength coffee. However, once things were finally at the point of no return and the Gatorade started to kick in the run went very well. Total time of 1:58 and heartrate at 130 and the legs were good except for some hamstring soreness in the last mile. 'Decent run' says the log.

Friday - more energy in the tank today and pulled the same trick, working through lunch again and getting 'out' early. Finally the run that I'd been dreading all week, by the book it says "Lactate Threshold, 11 mi w/6mi @15k to 1/2 marathon pace". After just doing the 14 miler, I wasn't even sure this was in the realm of possibility on tired legs. But after 3 easy miles of warm-up there was still something to give as the splits went by nicely in 712, 705, 711, 707, 714 and then I stopped! "What's the matter? Can't you count, Power?". Feeling a bit stupid I took an easy midrun 3/4 mile break and then worked the last mile in 714 to average out at 710 and heartrate of 148. Finished the run with an easy 1.5mi for a total of 11 in 1:28.

Sat - I've got 6 miles planned which will put me down at 64 for the week. What started out as a mediocre or even almost failed plan all came together in the end. Persistence wins again. Have a nice weekend!

Monday, February 04, 2008

A beautiful day

For running that is or at least it was a nice Sunday morning to get outdoors for a few hours. The rest of the day didn't go so well but more about that later.

My long run schedule was for 21 miles and since I'm 'usually' one to stick to the plan I just headed out the door and down the road to see what would unfold. Due to my planned trip to Halifax later in the day and problems in Boyden Lake Country the run was at home alone with not even an Ipod for company. It was a perfect calm day with little or no wind and temperatures warming from -6 to -2C over the 3+ hours (sad and slow). I believe the effects of my '2-for-1' run were still having their impact on my body. There's not too much to say about the run, slow going, zigged and zagged around town, occasional photo breaks and one water stop at home before finishing off with an out and back to make the required distance. The body felt decent for most of the way but there was no desire or ability to go any faster today.

After the run, I just wanted to take in fluid, food and pass out on the couch for the rest of the day watching the unending pre-game build up for the Stupid Bowl. But no, I had to hop into a little car with a co-worker and drive 5 hours for an early Monday meeting in Nova Scotia. We shared the driving and J was kind enough to do most of it but by the end my legs were absolutely killing me. It's hard to describe; the legs were not cramping but the general pain and soreness was very intense and not being able to stretch of move in the tight quarters made it even worse. But we made it, ordered pizza and settled down with a few beers to enjoy the game.... Stupid Bowl! At least the pizza and beer were good. Lying out on the bed was nice too.

Monday - rest day (thank God) and another long drive home. I was not as sore but we made several stops which helped relieve the tightness from sitting too long in one position. And at least we beat the snow.
Tues - today's schedule called for 2 short runs but I blew off the early one before work. I awoke (before the alarm) reset the clock and napped for an extra hour. Boy, I needed that! At lunch it was an easy 6 miles in a light snow and ice pellet mixture and felt fairly decent for a change. I'm pacing myself for the rest of the week and that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Two for one

I finally bit the $150 bullet and signed up for the big race and now have my confirmation. There are only 11 weeks left to go and I can't wait. I'm also looking forward to watching US womens Olympic trials taking place the day before using parts of the Boston course. This should provide some exciting viewing as we mere mortals mill around counting down the hours.

The past week didn't quite go as planned as I only managed a total of 55 miles in 6 runs. My busy work schedule kept interfering as meetings went later than planned leaving options of either running in the dark or doing it on the treadmill late in the evening.

Weds - 5 miles on the mill with an easy 2 mile w/up then 2 miles at MP+ (faster than 7:30) which felt fine for a few miles but I worry about stringing 26.2 of them together

Thurs- 8 miles at lunch (work be dammed) because the meeting crowd takes long lunches in any case. It was a nice steady run in a cool NW wind and I experienced some cramping in my quads and hams at the end which was likely due to too much coffee and not enough fluids before the run.

Friday - meetings over so I took off an hour early to get my '2 for 1' combination medium long/tempo run. After a 2 mile warm up I was able to almost get up to speed with 5 miles at about 7:15-7:20 pace and heartrate around 148-150. Because I had resisted the urge to turn around early on this out and back run this put me 7 miles out from home base. Surprisingly the return trip was very pleasant as I had the feeling of just riding a bicyle in the easy gear. This was nice until the wind started to pick up. Total of 14 miles in 1:53. That night the couch was my buddy and the tired feeling I had was not of the 'pleasant' variety, more of the exhausted 'woe is me' type.

Sat - 6 very very easy miles on the treadmill and felt better after the jog than before it. Spent the rest of the day relaxing around the house as more rain and freezing rain was falling outdoors.

January is now finally behind with a total of 263 miles in 25 days of running and 27 runs. It was a good month for miles but had very little in the way of any speed or tempo. Let's hope I can stick to the plan better in the coming weeks and hit those key workouts as they come up. Have a good week!