Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Blues

I'm not usually one to complain (much) or get bothered by the winter, being a northern New Brunswicker by birth, but this 'winter' is starting to get to me. We easily got 12+ inches (or 30+cm) of snow last weekend resulting in closures of most businesses in the area. It took Jo and I about 2-3 hours to dig out.
This is our backyard looking in through a 4 foot fence. See how the drift is higher than the fence on the right!
The winter has been a pain but at least it hasn't affected my running. Here are my February blues runs nicely plotted by Buckeye Outdoors where I've been logging my runs and participating in challenges such as running 2009 miles in 2009. The Feb. total is 176 miles in 20 runs (with 8 rest days) in 25hr and 15 min.

I'm still on track with the Pfitzinger plan with the past week ending with a total of 51 miles in 5 runs. Despite falling back to an easier (Plan B) plan of 55 miles per week or less, I've found this plan more challenging than expected. It has more rest days than I'm used to but the other days more than make up for it, with fairly strong contrast between days.

The Pushup Challenge has fallen off the radar screen lately with nada a faceplant in about 2 weeks now. I'm not sure if I got bored with the plateau and lack of progress or it was just other pressures on my time and energy lately.

Weekly run down:
Sunday - 17 miles around Boyden with Andrew at a relaxed 8:24 pace

Monday - rest and shovel out

Tues - recovery 5 miles with heavy legs (8:38 pace)

Weds - 12 miles medium long run which went like a dream. Despite feeling a bit off and not wanting to get out the door, once I got started things just fell in place and the nice gentle pace felt effortless. Average 8:28 pace and heartrate 137.

Thurs - rest day

Friday - 11 miles with 6 at 1/2 marthon pace (which I read it as a hard/tempo effort). One of those tough workouts that you look forward to with a sense of fear and dread. You get very little sympathy from non-runners on this one. Their opinion is simply 'why would you want to put yourself through such misery anyway?' Put myself though it I did, with a 4 mile warmup and then 6 miles at my new harder pace which translated only to 730-750 mile pace. For some reason the legs just wouldn't co-operate and my heartrate stayed stubbornly low at 140-150 (80-90% of max). Final result was a sucked out runner laid out on the couch for the evening. Such is the price of maintenance/improvement with the goal now only 7 weeks away.

Sat - 5 miles very very easy at 8:48 pace. The legs were grumpy at 1st but gradually accepted the slow gentle pace. More strange weather with a drop in temperature and approaching series of storms predicted for most of next week.

That's it for the week. Still busy but at least still on track and hoping to cling on for a few more weeks to get the requisite fitness to put on a decent show for Boston. Have a nice week all!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Putting in the miles

I've just been...
  • too tired
  • too lazy
  • too grumpy
  • too stressed
  • too busy
to blog about much of anything lately but I've still been putting in the miles and just finished off the 4th week of the Pfitz 12 week plan almost to perfection with a total of 47 miles in 6 runs (instead of 5).

Monday - rest, my favorite lately

Tues - 10 miles with 5 at 1/2 marathon effort which I took to be tempo pace (710-740 with HR up to 160 or 95% max)

Weds - recovery 4 miles

Thurs - snowstorm, work closed early, shovelled and then 5 miles on the mill

Friday - 11 scheduled but no mojo today so just went out and did an easy 4 miles

Sat - 7 miles, finishing up my Friday run

Sunday (today) 17 miles with Andrew at Boyden in 2:23 (8:24 pace) with aching hams and VERY bad jokes. Nearly fell in the ditch more than once wincing in mental anquish from the twisted witticisms that kept coming at me. It took a large chocolate brownie to make it better.


Wit"ti*cism\, n. [From Witty.] A witty saying; a sentence or phrase which is affectedly witty; an attempt at wit; a conceit. --Milton. He is full of conceptions, points of epigram, and witticisms; all which are below the dignity of heroic verse. --Addison.

I'm tired now. Think I'll have a nice glass of wine and sit by the fire. Have a good week!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Beasts of Burden/Boyden

I must confess to having a senior moment during today's long run around Boyden Lake. It was just after the 1st of many dogs (mostly super friendly) came out to say hello and we started talking about his post The Beasts of Boyden and the most appropriate background music. His choice for this dog centric video was Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon but I thought that Beast of Burden by the Rolling Stones was a better play on words although the lyrics aren't about running except maybe the 'put me out of my misery' line. My lapse in memory was not being able to sing/speak any of the lyrics or remember the group.
In the map above you can see the regular Boyden route that Andrew and Oz accompanied me in the wilds of Perry, Maine during our 17 mile long run. If you expanded the map just a touch you'd be able to see St. Andrews across the Bay to the northeast. The temperatures and wind conditions were much better today at around -3C/28F to start with only medium strength (<10mph) northwest winds. Before beginning the run I pleaded for mercy and for an easy pace and my friends complied allowing me a slow and easy run. We navigated the route in just under 2.5 hrs and I later remarked to Andrew how is seemed like a much shorter run than that. Another good run by the Beasts of Boyden! Thanks guys!

Have a nice week!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

zigging and zagging around

Bird's eye or should I say satellite's eye view of today's run. It was another cold and windy day
with temps around -8C and windchill of -15C/3F with wind of 15-25 mph but it didn't seem as bad today for some reason. I wasn't really overdressed, just comfortable in 2 layers of shirts plus my Gore-tex jacket with a lifesaving hood for the crazy wind.

The run started out as an errand run with a stop to drop off a book at the library and then another stop to check the mail at the post office (see the big dips in my heartrate when stopped) but the conditions made me change my mind about running out of town on the open highway. Doing a zig-zag or back and forth pattern like this works really well on the very cold days when the wind is screaming out of the northwest. It gets the wind at your back for at least part of the run and the streets in town are reasonably clear of ice and snow. It's also nice that each leg is about 1 mile in one direction and I could slowly count down the miles and blocks. My pace was all over the place with the downwind legs around 8:15 and the upwind trudges at close to 9:00 while the heartrate stayed fairly constant (without monitoring) around 80% of max. A good 10 miler in 1:27.

That's almost it for this week. I've also zigged and zagged the workouts getting them all in according to Pfitz (but not in the same order). Did a 5 mile treadmill easy run on Friday and tomorrow's long run of 17 with Andrew will put me at 43 miles for the week. Still on track!

That's it, have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Still on track

Sort of...

I've been mixing and matching my workouts this week and besides my Monday rest day have yet to do anything as scheduled in the log. Life really does have a habit of messing up your well planned routine doesn't it?

Monday - rest day. Yes, I'm very good at this. Even did my pushups (week 6, level 1, day 1)

Tues - 4 miles on the treadmill after a very busy day. Started the 200 Situp Plan which nicely complements the 100 Pushup Challenge plan

Weds - 8 miles with 8x100 strides on the roads in balmy +4C. Miscounted the number of striders that needed doing but had a great run with average pace around 8:00 and near 7:30 for the last 2 miles as I hurried back to work during a long lunch run. Pushups for day 2 completed.

Thurs - today was an enforced rest day (scheduled on and borrowed from Sat) because of dental work and order not to run for 48 hours. I'll reduce it to 30hr and run on Friday after work. I can still do situps and core work, right? Curious, but my dentist just called me to check if I was all right and had no pain. How often do you get that kind of service? Darn, I forgot to ask him to waive the 48 hr curfew!

Enough blathering for now. Have a good remaining week. You know tomorrow is Friday 13th but then the next day is Happy Valentines, so be nice to someone special!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

10 weeks to go

To Boston that is, but at least the groundhog says there's only 6 more weeks of winter. This picture was taken yesterday with air temps around -8C and even the seawater remains frozen along this little inlet to the ocean.
Another shot of the picturesque Algonquin hotel that I just had to share with you because of the way it contrasts with the very blue sky. This was also taken yesterday. No sign of the sun or blue sky today as we are now in the midst of a winter heat wave with glorious temperatures today reaching a balmy +4C (39F) with a chance of rain in the forecast. Needless to say, I took advantage of this and got a nice 15 miler in as called for in my new schedule.

Week 2 (or 10 weeks to go) of the Pfitz plan (55 mi/wk 12 week schedule) was executed to perfection this past week with big check marks besides each day and no great difficulty in completing the runs thus far. Total of 39 miles as per the plan, Stan.

Thurs - 11 miles med long run in 1:36 entirely within the town area on a cold after work run. I zigzagging up and down the 1 mile core downtown because this was the only area with safely cleared and mostly bare pavement. I dragged a bit toward the end but was otherwise ok.

Friday - rest day (Yah!) and did my pushup max test to see where to restart my pushups. For some reason I've slacked off on them the past week or so but want to get back at them again. I'm still in week 6 but down to level 1 again.

Sat - easy 5 mile recovery run which is prescribed as being <75% of max heartrate which for me is about 130. It was a real challenge to run that slow and ended up with an average hr of 135 but still felt very easy and fun. I also took about 20 pictures and 2 video clips of bounding deer.

Sunday - 15 miles easy in 2:10 (8:37 pace, avg hr 138) in balmy temperature of +2C with a slight southwest (read warm) wind. Since Andrew was not available this weekend I ran this alone here in town starting with a 5 mile warmup loop of the peninsula. After refueling at home I then headed 5 miles out the highway to complete the assigned distance. I was even back home by 930am in lots of time for church! I need to pray for good weather and health.

This is a cool overview of my run using Garmin Connect. I don't think I've mentioned my new watch a Garmin 405 which was a slightly late but happily recieved Christmas present. After a few frustrations with the software and the constant beeping we seem to be getting along just fine. It tracks satellites very quickly and the heartrate monitor seems to work very smoothly with very few crazy readings thus far. It's a cool toy with lots of data and I'm a data kind of guy anyway.

Onward! The next week of training looks pretty good with more of the same as last week. It should be good if the weather holds like it's supposed to. Have a good week!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Plan B

It was a great run on Sunday with Andrew but 12 miles was all I could manage due to all the problems I've been having lately. Even Andrew appeared concerned about how I'm going to manage to come up with a decent effort for Boston and with time running out, well it's time to get started.

My orginal training plan, posted way back in December has been out the window for over a month now and so I'm now opting for a shortest version of the Pfitzinger plans. 12 weeks on 55 miles a week or less will have to do and it's already 11 weeks to go! Thus far I like it with

Monday - rest

Tues - 8 miles with 4 at 1/2 marathon effort. Did this on the treadmill but only got up to marathon(ish) pace which is now going to be about 7:30-8:00 per mile. The workout went well enough but it was the fastest running I've done for months.

Weds - another rest day! Love those shorter plans! My x-training will be some extra stretching and volleyball later tonite.

Thus - plan for tommorow is 11 miles which I'm expecting to do as an after work - run from work run.

That's all I got. Wish me luck and have a good week.