Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 in the Rearview Mirror

Do you see those 'rascally' deer sneaking behind me there? This was at the very end of today's 10 miler just before reaching my laneway (you can see the sign) as I watched 9 deer hop, skip and jump across the road. If I had panned my camera a bit to the right you would also see a lazy golden retriever in the yard watching them go by.

Good run today, although it was on the cool side at -11C/13F with a windchill of -20C/0F. I was well dressed and out of the wind for the most part and my 'bad' leg felt remarkably good for almost the entire run, only acting up a bit near the end. A few more good days like this and I'll be ready to start up with some actual training for Boston. The past month or so has really been more of a holding pattern of easy miles with various exercises and stretches for the hams but with no real hard running.

2008 is almost behind us and I did promise some sort of year-end review with pretty graphs and tables to keep some of you entertained or in some cases 'not'. With today's run my final 2009 total was 2506 miles in 278 days of running for an average of 48 miles/week. There were 2 main training cycles for my spring and fall marathons and only a couple of other races mixed in. The ups and downs were mostly planned but I did get off track due to my traveling in late Aug-Sept. There was no down-time due to injury or illness despite my hamstring issue which is ongoing since last year.
There were only 5 races in 2008 (something I'd like to improve on in 2009) with decent results for me but no PR's in the 'Since-I-turned-50 category'. Still, I like the age graded times and especially the 'virtual' sub-3 at PEI. Maybe in my dreams...

With a log book now going back 10 years, since 1st getting serious with this running thing, you can see my progress and total mileage since 1999. If you do the calculation the total cumulative miles is equal to about once around the world!? The only thing I'd take away from this is perhaps consistency over the years. Andrew would probably also want you to know that my PR for the marathon happened in 2006 which was the peak mileage year.

And finally for something to shoot for in 2009, here are my current over-50 PR's . I'm thinking that I should have a good shot at several of them if I can focus a bit on some speedwork and less marathon type training. The 1/2 marathon time looks especially vulnerable.

That's all I got for now except that I did my 100 Pushup Challenge exhaustion test today and am still stuck doing the same Week 6/Level 2 workouts over again after only managing 58 pushups. It might have been because I was tired from just finishing the 10 mile run but you wouldn't think your arms would be tired from running would you?

Take care and have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Easy 5

It was a beautiful sunny day for a run with temps around -5C with light winds but the legs only had 5 miles to give as this short run was actually a bit of a chore. I also included stops to stretch, do some banking and check the mail which made this an extra easy day after yesterday's rest (do-nothing) day. Well almost nothing, unless you include the 239 pushups with a max of 49 at the end of 9 sets. I get a rest day (today) before the next 'exhaustion test' and on to a repeat of Week 6 of the 100 Pushup Challenge program.

Short and sweet, still working on the year end report complete with tables and pretty graphs! Happy trails!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Running with the Birthday Boy

The holiday season is drawing to a close and I simply couldn't resist one last night shot of the locally famous Christmas house here in St. Andrews. Can you imagine what their power bill must be like for the month of December?

Today's run was another jaunt around Boyden Lake with just Andrew (aka - The Birthday Boy). He started about 1/2 hour before me so as to get a few extra miles and I just did 17 miles as my hams are not quite ready for much more than that. We took it very nice and slow with a stretching and a water break but by the end of the run my legs were aching and I was very happy to stop. Other highlights besides the bad jokes (i.e. 2 cowboys were sitting around the campfire...) included seeing only 1 car over the 1st 10 miles, a nice food reward at the end of the run and just missed hitting a deer on the return journey. Andrew would also like you to notice above how his shoes nicely match his hair color (or so I was informed between bad jokes).

Other running bits from last week:

Weds - 8 miles easy on snow covered roads

Thurs - 4 miles slow and easy after opening of gifts with our missing son on a Skype video link

Friday - 10 miles easy in new running gear at -10C but was almost too warm when the wind was behind me

Sat - 7 miles easy in the fresh snow and saw 9 (nine) rascally deer in a herd and then 2 more later on

Total of 44 miles in 6 runs for the week

100 Pushup Challenge is on-going as I work my way through week 6 at level 2. On Sat. it had me doing 9 sets for a total of 207 and a max of 45 in the last set which I failed (53 was the target). It's going to be a few more week before I get to the end of this program!

That's all for now but I'm working on my 2008 summary and more frequent but shorter posts in the New Year. Take care and keep on running!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Almost there

Only two more days and I still haven't wrapped my gifts...
We had quite a storm Sunday night and this was what greeted us when we opened the front door on Monday morning. Thankfully work and most businesses were closed for the day as it took the better part of 2 hours to dig our way out.

My long run on Sunday was not of the long variety with only 11 miles on the treadmill before it was time to hit the road for a family get together at my brothers. The plan had been to do about 2 hours but 1.5 was all I could manage on this day. This was my 1st venture on the treadmill this winter and it felt very awkward and hard to get in any kind of rhythm.

Monday - rest day and shovel like hell (20-30cm or 8-12 in)

Tues - 4 miles easy after work (also had my 1st physio session today with some more new things to try to cure the hammy problem)

100 Pushup Challenge
- completed week 6 and did my latest Exhaustion Test with a max of 52. This puts me into level 2 in week 6 once again as progress is painfully slow.

That's all I got for now. Hope that everyone has a nice Christmas holiday!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Can you see the cold?

Well normally you can't 'see' the cold but when we get days like today where the air temperature at -15C (5F) and colder with the windchill creates a seafog over the warmer ocean, you might be fooled. This is nothing compared to the Deep Freeze that Garry has been enduring in Alberta with a high of -20C over the last few weeks!

Of course my wife thinks I'm crazy to be running in these conditions but I consider it a personal challenge and have only been forced to admit defeat on a handful of occasions. Not today! With adequate preparations and multiple layers of clothing I was actually quite toasty and even added an extra mile on at the end to get a nicer number for the week.

Same general location a few days ago where the temperature could be -30 or -3C (which it was) but you can't tell one way or the other. Pretty shot with the brilliant blue sky I think.

Running has been up and down all week with low mileage runs alternating with even lower mileage days. The numbers for the week go like 17, 0, 7, 3, 6, 4, 8=45 with 0 speedwork and all at a recovery pace on icy and snow packed roads.

For some strange reason the hams are coming around. It might have something to do with the low miles, the daily stretching of perhaps even the visit to the physio office on Friday. I sat in the waiting room for 1/2 hr before the receptionist came out and said there was a mixup and I couldn't get in till next week. The leg has never felt better since! The two runs have been pain free and I'm thinking I should go back for more no-therapy no-pay sessions. Maybe I can now actually look at my plan and start to train for Boston once again...

The 100 Pushup Challenge continues with Week 6 (level 1) which for some reason is easier than the Week 5. Friday's session for day 2 of the week was 'only' 8 sets with a total of 151 and a max of 46 at the end. It was tough but do-able and a big improvement from a month ago.

That's all for now. Have fun with all the Christmas plans and celebrations but be careful at the same time not to overdo it! Take care out there!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The long and the short of it

Andrew has encouraged me to post more so he doesn't get the idea that I fell off a cliff or something. This will be very short.

Monday- rest; get referral for physio
Tues - 7 miles in about 59:00
Weds- 3 miles in the snow in ??? (no watch); get appointment for physio

Chocolate Balls (aka Peanut Butter Balls)
  • 1 1/2 cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 pkg chocolate chips and 1/4 slab parawax
  • Beat egg, add dry ingedients, form into small balls & chill in fridge for an hour or so.
  • Melt chocolate chips and parawax in double boiler and dip chilled balls in hot mixture.
  • Chill or freeze balls and keep cold until ready to enjoy.

We had a beautiful winter blast here today and I'm now working on my Christmas decorations video. I'll be posting it at and you can sign up for a free account to start enjoying all their runner related content and the community that is forming.

And just for Andrew we have todays's word of the day gaffe which seemed appropriate given the kind of jokes he likes to tell!

See you!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Return of the Chocolate Balls

My apologies for the lack of posts lately but despite the fact that I've been running on most days, the shortness of duration and lack of any real workouts of substance has given me little to gab about. However, today's run with Andrew was a much different story...

We did the full Boyden Lake loop for 17 miles this morning in the freezing cold -13C/10F but thankfully with only a slight bit of wind. It turned out to be quite pleasant for the most part but there seemed to be the occasional pockets of extra cold air that would catch our breath and cause us to pull up our scarves just a bit more. For some added fun and excitement I put together some pictures and video which you can see on my video here (with condolences to Thomas who couldn't be there). This new video site for runner at the new is quite amazing but I must warn the fun is addictive. It's almost as addictive as the special treats we had at the end of the run but you have to watch the video to experience that! Mmmm!

On an almost totally unrelated non-running note (and for the guys) although the ladies will get a kick out of this, check out this video with a detailed account of how guys get sent to 'The Doghouse'. BTW, Andrew was full of suggestions for me to try out to see what would happen.

Other bits of news to share include some progress on the 100 Pushup Challenge as I survived Week 5 (for the 3rd week) but this time at the hardest level #3. Yesterday's insane workout amounted to 8 sets of pushups for a total of 190 with a max of 40 in the last set. I'm now ready for another Exhaustion Test and hope to make it to the final Week 6 sets of workouts.

Running-wise, last week was more of the same as the week before with a total of 6 runs for a mere 40 miles. There is a training plan for Boston somewhere in my logbook but I haven't dared to even look at it recently as I continue to attempt to scale back the running and hope the hamstrings self-repair. The stretching, icing, weights, trigger point and ball exercises are keeping me busy but so far have had little effect. I may have to bite the bullet and see a professional sooner rather than later as this aggravating issue just hangs on.

So, that's it! Take care, have fun and enjoy the holiday season!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Only 19 days!

Or should we say , 18 sleeps, x hours, y minutes and z secords? I guess it's not too hard to believe that there is a website for 'everything' and 'everyone', including of course, Santa!

Ah well, it will be good to have the 'kids' home for Christmas to keep me (the biggest kid of all) company as we enjoy the season and all our family traditions. Speaking of which there is one tradition that our own Downeast Andrew has been eagerly awaiting but I'm afraid will have to wait for another week as the cook had other plans. I'm hoping to get out with him in the morning for another Boyden run but it will depend on how much snow we get overnight and if they decide to plow the roads or not. For our 1st storm a few weeks ago they didn't do much plowing and basically let it melt off over the next few days (or that's what it seemed like)

Just a quick update on the running or lack thereoff this past week. More of the same really with short easy runs every day but it's not really training yet. I've been stretching the legs every day and have started some strengthening work with free weight as well which seems to be helping a bit. In fact today's 7 miler was almost totally pain free although the pace felt like it was very very slow. I've been Garmin-less now for a month and only have the old wrist watch to give me some feedback on time on my feet. Total of 40 miles for the week in 6 runs.

The 100 Pushup Challenge workouts continued as I was able to semi-complete my 2nd attempt at week 5. This mornings workout had 8 sets for a total of 160 and a continuous max of 30 at the end. It's time for another progress test to see if I'm ready for week 6 or not. Tough going and the progress is coming but very slow.

That's all I got for now. Hope to have an interesting story about a decent long(er) run on Sunday but that will depend on what the Weather and Running gods have to say about it. Have a nice weekend all!