Sunday, November 30, 2008

Limping along

The weather has certainly been much more conducive to running here lately but unfortunately not for me. My title pretty much says it all, I'm still hobbling around getting a few miles in, but it's not very pretty. We had a beautiful sunrise on Saturday morning that this photo does not do justice to. The color of the rising sun was a deep orange-red which lasted for several minutes but just doesn't show here. I should have played with the exposures but the time window was very short.
We found time to put up our outdoor Christmas decorations this weekend but haven't turned the lights on yet; that has to wait until Dec. 1, the 1st official day of the holiday season in our books. I've been running by the 'Crazy Christmas House' in our town (doesn't every place have one?) and they're also set to go, but not yet powered up. They light up the whole block and draw folks from all over and I'll post some shots when they do.
I'm making some progress with the 100 pushup challenge having just completed a repeat of week 5 (level 1). My latest max test was 39 logged here and I'll be re-attempting week5 (level 2) in the coming week. Progress is slow but I can feel the difference in my shoulders and skinny arms already!

Oh yeah, the running or lack thereoff went poorly this week as all ideas of following a training plan went to the back burner. After a failed Sunday long run of only 7 miles and a rest day on Monday the rest of the week was a series of short easy runs of only 5-6 miles. Total of 6 days running and 35 for the week. Today (Sunday) was a very easy 10 miles in 2 loops from home and the legs felt OK at first but were doing their usual complaining over the last 2 miles.

I'm being forced into a corner and so stretching and strengthening are taking place every day and I now have some free weights to help me with a couple of exercises as shown in the latest edition of Running Times. There are lots videos on the net such as this one with weights and this one using an exercise ball that looks difficult. I just need to narrow it down to a few that work for me, correct the imbalance in my leg muscles and don't make things any worse in the meantime.

That's all for now. Hope to have a more positive outlook on training by next weekend or poor (quiet) Andrew will get lonely all by himself chasing the Boyden moose(s). In the meantime have a good week and study/work hard because Christmas is coming soon!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Tag line

Dusty tagged/challenged me to post a picture, which isn't much of a stretch for me. Here are the rules:
1) Go to the 4th photo folder on my computer
2) Choose the 4th photo
3) Explain the picture
4) Tag 4 other people

It was hard to figure out which folder was my 4th, since there are so many files and folders in my pictures subdirectory. I ended up choosing a suitable picture from the 4th folder in the 4th folder (year) of pictures which happened to be from a family vacation in Fundy National Park in 2002. The photo is a group shot, height ordered of all the nieces and nephews in the Power clan, with my own kids thrown in as well. The only one missing is my daughter Stephanie who was probably at a horse show instead that weekend.

I won't tag anyone else but feel free if you are so inclined (Chris, Steph, Andrew, BC-Mike) . It's neat what pictures you might come up with from your recent past.

Sunday - 7 miles on the roads and one on the treadmill (including 1/2 mile walking backwards) as I bailed out of the long run to care for my hammies. I've been doing stretches and strengthening exercises on a daily basis and found the walking backwards suggestion as well, though it's tricky adjusting the controls without falling off.

Monday - day off, stretch and work the hams

Pushup challenge: did another test and could only do 35 which keeps me at the same level in week 5. I can feel the difference in my arms and shoulders but the improvements seems to be coming slow thus far.

That's it for now. I'm hoping to get some decent runs in this week but will cut them short or miss them all together if the legs complain too much. Have a good week!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I love winter!

OK, it's not 'officially' winter for another month but we had our 1st snowfall of the season last night. It got two very opposite reactions at our place. My wife's response was "Oh no, yuck!!" while mine was "All right, beautiful, can't wait to get out for a run!". She thinks I'm nuts but puts up with me.
The beautiful natural decorations of winter...
Quiet back streets...
And desolate open spaces...

Don't you just love it? I didn't see a soul for my entire 6 mile run around town today.

Meanwhile, it's been a very quiet week with only easy running as I try to deal with the continuing hamstring issue. The stretching and strengthening exercises are starting to help but I need to hold back on the mileage for a bit. Just 34 miles last week in 5 runs.

The old pushup challenge is going better as I just completed the lowest of 3 levels in Week 5. You can log your workouts and follow my progress here. It's time for another progress test but it looks like I'll be repeating Week 5 next week.

That's it for now. Have a nice week!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Even more ridiculous!

My alarm was set for 5:45am this morning so I could meet Andrew a bit earlier for our Boyden Lake run. Overnight we got a ton of wind and rain and so the 1st thing I did was check the forecast and the radar loop...

Rainfall warning in effect

Wind warning in effect.

Day: Rain at times heavy with the risk of a thundershower. Amount 40 to 50 mm. Wind south 60 km/h gusting to 90 becoming southwest 50 gusting to 80 late this afternoon. Temperature falling to 11 this afternoon.
Yuck! I'm not interested in doing that again (just like last week) so I whipped off an email to our intrepid Eastporter.

Mike to Andrew:
>> > It's nasty out there. I'm getting cold (wet) feet here. The radar loop looks like it's all headed straight for us! What do you think?

Andrew reply:
>> I'm on my way.

Mike to Andrew:
> you fool, I'm just leaving too (will be a bit late)

So into the maelstrom I went and I definitely could feel a sucking/sinking feeling. The rain was being driven horizontally and I had to slow the van to a crawl a few times during the journey in order to see where the road was. The border crossing was uneventful although the guard who is a local runner had several questions about who I was running with (Andrew), what I was training for (Boston) and even asked what my best Boston time was (3:18). Arrived near the designated meeting spot to find Andrew already doing his warmup, so picked him up and chatted while I got geared up to go.
Besides the incredible headwind and driving rain with periods of calm and light drizzle the run was fairly uneventful. It blew our hats off and we had to revert to 'rally-cap' mode and at times we had to shout in order to hear each other. But besides that the temperature was mild at 15C/59F and it was a comfortable, easy and rather enjoyable run. My hamstrings, however, were a big issue for most of the run and I was happy to go with the slow pace. Our 12 miles came in at the same time (1:48) as we did 13 the previous week and included a couple of camera, stretching and 'health' stops along the way.

After the run Andrew sent me this email:
See? It wasn't so bad.

He was right!
The last time we went by this wheelbarrow it had flowers in it. I wonder if it will get a Christmas dressing up in a few weeks? It's almost time to start putting up decorations and making other preparations like baking of cookies and chocolate balls!! Mmmm!

Other training runs from last week:
Monday - off; Pushups: 5 sets for total of 95 and max of 23
Tues - easy 6 miles in morning before Remembrance Day ceremonies
Weds- easy 6 after work with 6x strides on the golf course fairways
(Pushup Challenge: 5 sets for a total of 108 and max of 25)
Thur - 8 miles with fartlek intervals 1-2-3-4 minutes with equal rest (2x) in 60:20. Felt good but hams getting sore at end
Fri - off with work trip (Pushups:5 sets for a total of 122 and max of 28)
Sat - 7 miles easy but legs sore and tight; total weekly mileage was 40 (Sunday-Sat)
Sun - 12 miles but very sore hams which need attention. Pushup max test of 34 which puts me into a lower level for next weeks program. Whew!

This coming week will be week 3 of the 24 week schedule. I hoping to get 40-45 miles including a hill workout as part of a longer mid-week run. More important, I need to deal with this achy hamstring issue of mine that is holding my running back from what it should be. Self massage, icing, stretching, strengthening and even some paid massage treatments will be in order starting right this minute.

That's all for now except for a few shout-outs to runners at races including Crazy Bob doing the 100 mile Javelina Jundred in Arizona with pacing support by our Speedy Dusty. You should also check out Steve (aka Bulldog runner) who ran a great race at Richmond marathon, achingly close to the PB he was aiming for. Steve first caught my attention with his McMillan training plan and the Pushup Challenge and his dedication and hard work are something to see. And don't forget Elizabeth - Run With Me who also ran very very well at Richmond knocking of an impressive BQ++ time on a tough windy day. I can't wait for the race reports from all of them!

Take care all and have a great week!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Sunday's run at about the 1/2 way point was 'ridiculous'!
In a matter of seconds it went from mild conditions (11C/52F) on dry roads to a drenching downpour along with a sound and light show. Good thing the camera was waterproof! We (Andrew, Ozzie and myself) were exactly at the 1/2 way point on the loop and so there was no real option except to keep moving forward. Despite this, it was a run we won't soon forget and the 13 miles zipped along in 1:48. My hamstrings gave me problems again and the constant reminder to do something about it remained for the rest of the day and into this week.

Much of the conversation focused on our running plans and methods. Most of you know how Andrew trains with his devotion to Lydiard, high mileage with lots of ups and downs and still able to knock off fast marathons at the drop of a hat. Ozzie (aka Austin) at age 54 is a consistent age group ace and sub-3hr marathoner. At the recent 2008 Mount Desert Island marathon he ran 2:57 placed 10/700 overall, winning his age group by over 15 minutes! Age graded this is equal to a 2:36 at 80.88%! Asked about how he trains he reveals that he takes 1-2 days off a week but races almost every weekend. Nothing specific or structured but he runs at a good (read tempo) effort on most runs. Andrew called it 'The Boyden Plan'. Amazing, or should I say ridiculously amazing!

Mike from BC asked what's different about my latest plan, which is far from being unstructured. It's actually alot of the same but then again not the same. Same with: the overall mileage, cutback weeks, long runs, medium long runs and a sprinkling of tempo plus faster running. Different in: the fast finish long runs as well as a couple of extra long runs at 3+hrs. Also different with a series of 6 mile MP 'tests' every 4 weeks which I'm planning to run on the treadmill while monitoring heartrate. The tempo and interval workouts from McMillan aren't much different from the Pfitzinger plans but I'll be closely monitoring paces based on the McMillan running calculator. 'On a wing and a prayer, Andrew?' We'll have to wait and see what happens, right?

Other happenings lately include the Pushup Challenge, now in Week 4, Day 2 and getting more challenging by the day. I'm beginning to fear these morning wakeup efforts like I would a challenging track or interval workout but can see the progress after only one week, I'm also happy to see a number of my readers have taken an interest in the challenge. Good luck to all who dare!

Running tidbits...

Monday -Day off running; 95 total pushups in 5 sets.
Tues - easy 6 miles in 50ish; back to the old timepiece as the Garmin has gone AWOL

That's all folks! Have a great week!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The plan! The Plan (Boss-ton)!

Yes, I finally have a 'plan' and some of you may even remember this 70'ies show Fantasy Island which made me think of my title. Now just as long as my scheme is more than a pure fantasy I may survive.

Pretty isn't it? It's a mixture of Pfitzinger and McMillan with a dose of Lydiard and a sprinkling of hope and prayer. The basic plan is for 24 weeks with 4 major blocks (colored) for base building, stamina, speed and then the taper/race. There is gradual mileage buildup to what I'm able to handle (50-70) without getting injured and cutback weeks every 4th week.

The long run is 1st in importance and there are some twists including Fast Finishes (30-90min MP+) or extra long 3+ hour runs. The medium long runs (from Pfitz) are there as well, even though I despise them, but they help build stamina and determination to keep going on days when you don't want to. The 1-2 weekly workouts come from McMillan and I'll be using his Pace Calculator with my latest races to calculate proper paces. Whether I can manage more than one workout per week will have to be determined as this 'plan' goes along. I've also build in weekly strides and a series of test MP runs to monitor progress on a monthly basis. I might do these on the treadmill to attempt to control weather conditions.

Anyway, a lot to chew on and I'm going to think about it now by going for a long run with Andrew in the morning. Well, maybe not too long but long enough to hear his opinion I'm sure!

The pushup challenge is also going along reasonably well and have survived Week 3 which was the level I started at. You can log your workouts at the Pushup Logger site and let others follow along.
The workouts get much harder quickly and there's a 'test' at the end of next week too! I hate tests!!

The past few weeks have been very easy with alternate days of running and then not running. Mileage totals have been a measly 16 and 27 since the marathon and the legs are still tight as ever. I guess some stretching and strengthening exercises will need to be added in to 'The Plan' as well as icing and massage.

Have a nice week and don't forget to Remember the Veterans on Nov. 11th.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

1-2-3-4 take 2

There's something lucky about those numbers I suppose... It all started with this silly little song that you can't get out of your head.

And there I was in the middle of my 10k, wearing number 1234, swimming in lactic acid and barely able to do much more with my brain except count my exhales and hope that the finish would come sooner than later. 1-2-3-4....

It was a good day for running. 43:39, 10th overall, 1st in my age group and a Shiny Metallic Object to go with it but it was not easy by any means.

The start, you can make me out on the right not too far from the front.
The finish and very happy to be done. Did I mention it was cold here today? 2C(35F) with 35-45k (20-30mph) northwest wind to give it some bite and thus the gloves and pants. So how did it go? Well we arrived just 1/2 hr before the race start because of the 3hr drive to the race and I just had time to pin on my bib number and do a very quick 1/2 mile jog for a warmup. Getting ready for the start we were almost impaled by a falling tent which was blown over by the gusting wind but luckily we grabbed it and helped take it down in time. I had just time to remove my jacket and hand it to Jo before the gun went off and we were blown down the road by the tailwind (for the 1st 5k only).

1st kilometer in 3:56 (holey crap Batman, slow down!)
2nd k in 4:10 was better (target of 4:15) but was passed by 2 runners including one chick and could not respond
3rd k in 4:20 and now starting to just hang on
4-5k for 4:20 avg for 21:08 at the 5k turn and now begin to count in earnest
2nd 5k in 22:31 back into the strong nw wind. At the 5k turn we joined up with returning 1/2 marathoners who had started 1 hour before us so I had plenty of targets to keep me going but I kept hearing footsteps. It turned out to be my imagination because I never was overtaken after the 3k and probably just heard the people I was passing along the way. Even on the final turn with only about 400m to the finish I was positive there was someone on my heels! It kept me honest and working right to the finish at least.

I must admit to be pleasantly surprised and happy with my result today. Not quite the 42:50 I was 'hoping' for but for somebody just off a marathon with virtually no speed training for this shorter distance, you have to be satisfied.

Meanwhile I've also been scheming so more on my training plan and almost have something ready for the light of blogland. But 1st as part of the program there is a sub-plan to work on my non-existent upper body and core strength beginning with the 100 pushup Challenge! I've already challenged my 3 children to try to keep up with their Dad and will now challenge any of my readers who cares to try as well. My test resulted in 25 pushups so I'm starting with week 3 of the Challenge with 5 sets for a total of 72 pushups in the morning. It's not about beating or winning but about doing, so please check it out and let me know how you make out!

That's about all for now. Have a great week!