Sunday, March 29, 2009

What are friends for?

What are friends for? This video may give you some ideas..

Find more videos like this on RuncastTV

To keep you company when the road gets tough.
To tell bad jokes when your brain is fried.
To tell funny stories when you need distracting.
To be there when your legs hurt and are ready to fall off with yet another story

20 miles today around Boyden Lake and I caught the poor guy off guard, he didn't even know what hit him until it was too late to pull out. In fact, I think he enjoyed it (at first) but he did get rather quiet in the final miles.

The video tells some of the story but I didn't spring my plan of the 2x5 mi at marathon pace until well into our 5 mile warm up. I'm sure that he was forewarned last week but he said that he didn't remember. Anyway, very easy run to start (see Latest Workouts sidebar for the splits and details) with stops to record song bird noises for Ewen. I couldn't make out what kind of bird they were except for the racket they made as they swarmed together in the trees. Definitely another sound of spring. Shortly after we began our 1st 5 mile set at 'my' marathon pace of sub-8 minute pace over rather hilly terrain. It went reasonably well but we may have been pushing the pace slightly while 'running scared' and watching the Garmin splits and average paces. The 1st set came in at 7:42 avg pace and 1:31 under pace for the 5 miles. Sweet!

The next 5 easy miles felt rather 'ragged' and lacked any easy rhythm or smoothness. We made one detour to chase some Canada geese in a field and to record their noises for Ewen again. Another couple of miles to the Otis sign, stretched, sucked back a Powergel and off again for another hard 5. This time it felt alot more like work but the pace was nearly the same as the 1st set. A couple of sharp hills made it even harder but again the avg pace was 7:42 and 1:30 under overall target with avg heartrate up by about 5 beats with the effort. A great run but darn happy to have it over, right Andrew? Hey, what are friends for?

Thanks Andrew!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's springy out there!

At last! Being able to run with only one layer and not even a jacket is such a long forgotten luxury. Surely the removal of all that extra weight and motion restricting long pants will result in a bonus 15-20 sec per mile. And then there's the incentive of the crowds which I have to admit can be both good and bad. When you're having a good day (or early in the race) they just push you along even faster that you might intend but then when things go bad and you'd like to just crawl away or stop, then there is no place to hide. Amby Burfoot, winner of the 1968 Boston marathon puts it "Every runner loves the crowds at Boston, and the crowds seem to love every runner".

You might be able to tell that I'm starting to get a little bit excited. I've done this many (nine) times before but every year the excitement returns and the long hard winter of training seems to be suitable penance for such a wonderful event. It certainly keeps you honest when you're into the middle of an interval workout like I was today (see my training log sidebar). Doing 4x1200m repeats at 5k pace/effort during a 10 miler on tired legs wasn't exactly my idea of fun but you do it. The workout went well and it's one more hard effort out of the way with just a handful left as I begin to wind down .

Aaaa Boston!! The website sent me an email today reminding me it was 26.2 days to go (as if I didn't know)! Have a nice week.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

That was nice

A near perfect morning for a 17 mile long run with Andrew. Calm, not too cold (-5C and rising), beautiful sunrise, and an easy gentle pace was the order of the day. Not that much to report, no dog incidents, only one bad joke about why a flamingo stands on one leg, and my legs were fine with just the usual aches and pains that seem to come and go.

Saturday's tempo paced effort of 9 miles with 5 at 'race pace' was my attempt to get a 8-15k race as listed in the Pfitz plan that I'm trying to follow. He sticks in races late in the program to give you a chance to test your fitness. However, the complete lack of races in the frozen north this time of year makes this impossible and it's also very hard to put out race pace speed/effort alone in a workout. But try I did with a tempo pace workout that was dismal with paces from 7:07 to 7:50 (hills) but at least my heartrate was up over 150 or about 88% of max for the duration.

Other than that it's been easy runs and rest days which you can see in my latest workouts now logged at the RunningAhead website. I love the charts and graphs and the ability to easily upload your Garmin gps data with all the splits and other details.

Only 4 more weeks to go! Wow, just a few more training efforts and then its taper madness time. Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back of the bus

It's starting to feel like spring! (it was +4C here today)

And...they put up the Boston bib numbers today but my PEI time of 3:21 only got me into the 9th corral with bib #9024. It seems like there must be an excess of fast people running Boston this year because I'm usually in the 7th or 8th corral with a similar time. Thomas on the other hand (one of those fast guys) is way up front in the 3rd corral and will have to deal with all the crazy runners zooming by him in the early going. Being at the back gives you even more people than ever to pass! It will also be fun having my cousin Jerry with me in the same corral running his 1st Boston.

A couple of decent runs are now in the bank this week after the nice 20 on Sunday. Again the gory details are available by clicking on the sidebar of my recent runs but here I get to muse about how it actually went. Yesterday's interval run was a bit rushed as I finally figured out how to program the new Garmin. It's cool having the watch push you along, warmup.... run hard for 0.x miles... rest.... repeat. I was doing 5x600 m repeats and felt off at first as I ran the 1st one too fast and got wobbly by the end. The next one was too slow on partially recovered legs and I didn't really get into a good rythym until the final one. I then ran up a steep hill and joined a fun run group that was meeting by the hotel. I did a very very easy 3 mile loop with some beginner runners before peeling off home to finish.

Here is a cool/weird graph of the intervals to keep your head spinning
Today's 11 miler went better than expected which seems to happen when I allow my pace to just 'be' what it is and not look at the watch. Despite some residual stiffness from Tuesday's speed session the legs felt quite good and the run just rolled along smoothly. I think my hamstring issues are almost behind me now but just have to remember to continue the stretching and stability work. And it actually started to 'RAIN' towards the end of the run! Woo hoo! Another sign of impending spring which is due at 8:44am local time this Friday!

Happy Spring (almost)!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pretty numbers!

If you want to get lost in numbers and graphs, just click on any of "My latest workouts" in my new sidebar. I noticed that Ryan was logging his workouts at at and so gave it a try today and found it very easy to use. It will take all your Garmin GPS data automatically and the log format is great with lots of fancy reports and graphs. But now because it's all there in living color and gory detail, I suppose I should have more time to go on about the actual running itself.

Today's long run of 20 miles with Andrew went very well. In fact he didn't even have to tell a bad joke until the 17 mile mark because things went so smoothly (something about a guy who was having trouble with his vision and a piano). I was up very early this morning so we could meet at the midway point at 6am to drop my van. We then drove to the start and after a 3 mile out/back were on our way. It was a perfect calm morning with the sun just peeking up as we started and the mild temperatures just around 0C/32F with no wind were a welcome relief after the rough winter we've had. Not too much to report, no dog attacks, the legs felt decent for the 1st 15 miles and I made a deliberate attempt to hold back the pace and be gentle on the hams. Of course Andrew had fresh legs, not having run since Thursday, and was actually hopping (bouncing up and down) as he waited for me to stretch before the start. One of these days.... still, a nice run, good company, great day and sore legs now but to be expected.

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Almost there (5 weeks to go)

Not that I need too much inspiration to get me excited about my upcoming 10th running of Boston but browsing over last years pictures certainly helps. Another week is now in the books and my up and down running continues with the winter blues still a factor with the roller coaster temperatures we've had lately. In the last 24 hours it's gone from -15 to +4C (5 to 40F) and that's without mentioning the 'stupid' wind.

So... a total of 47 miles for the week in 5 runs with 6hr 30m on my feet.

Sunday - good 15 mile run with 12 at current (hoped for/planned) MP
Monday - rest
Tues - 8.5 instead of the planned 12 when I ran out of time before heading out on a work trip
Weds- slow 6 on icy concrete sidewalks in a strange city
Thurs - rest
Fri - 12 mile with planned 7 at 1/2 mar pace turning into barely 5 at MP. The cold and wind was a factor but basically my hammy was sore and I just didn't have it on this day
Sat - nice easy 5 today running basically the same overall pace as Friday but with no perceived effort. It was one of those great float runs that seem to be few and far between. The legs were a little tight and sore but the hams were much better.

And "that's all she wrote" as I now have taken the rest of the day off in preparation for a 20 miler (hopefully with Andrew) in the morning. Wish me luck and good karma from the bad jokes!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Just the Numbers

It's been a rough week.

Monday - 0
Tues - 5mi recovery on the treadmill due to poor road conditions
Weds - 10mi w/5x1000m attempted but only managed 4:13 to 4:40/k on dead legs
Thurs- 6.5 mi out of 12 planned (too tired)
Friday - 0 rest (needed a break more than making up missed miles)
Sat - 6mi easy, slow but legs feeling better
Sun - 15 miles with 12 at MP for avg pace of 7:49 and HR of 143 which turned out to be more comfortable than expected and left me fairly pleased with the result.
Monday - 0 with nicely pleasant tired feeling all day

And on we go with a work trip keeping me on the run for the rest of the week. I'll be bringing the running gear and hoping for the best. Have a good week!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Running with Tigger


Mike: long week, plenty of miles, pre-run quad smash by car door, dead legs

Andrew: long week, low miles, fresh legs (aka Tigger)

What more do you need to know? It was the longest 18 miles I've done in a long time and if not for the really bad jokes that Andrew saved up for each hill along the way I don't think I would have made it around. Let me see, there were;
  1. 3 strings were trying to get into a bar...
  2. a lawyer, a Boy Scout and a priest were on a plane...
  3. 2 salesmen were visiting an older lady...
  4. a man walked into a bar and ordered a beer...
  5. a Frenchman and a German...
  6. a newspaper had a contest for the best pun...
  7. and on and on....
And this was before my brain froze over from the -13C /10F temperatures plus windchill!
18 miles in 2:38 (8:49 pace, avg 138 HR but climbing at end)
Finish to chocolate brownies and hot coffee! Mmmm! A tough day but we got'er done. Thanks for sticking with me Andrew!