Saturday, August 15, 2009

Quick and Dirty

A bit of time this morning to relax and cool down in the pond but things are busy as we're about to head off on our trip to Sweden for my son's wedding.

I've updated my sidebar with Swedish weather as well as my Twitter feed and Running Ahead log so you can follow my updates if you're so inclined and have plenty of time on your hands. I can't wait to map my runs in a few more new countries. Do you think they'll let me run around the airport in London?? I can hear my wife screaming already...

The past week has been hellish since my nice long run with Andrew and Trevor. My dental surgery from 2 weeks ago came back to haunt me as my jaw got infected and the whole side of my face puffed up like I had the mumps or something. This all started on Tuesday and put an end to my running for the week as I pumped the antibiotics and tried to rest and heal. Thankfully the swelling has receded and I'm clear for the flight overseas today (not what I needed just now).

So very little running to report as my plan went off the rails for a few days but things are looking up for next week. We have a full week to meet and greet and get to know the other side of the new family and will be staying with Anna's parents who have a cottage on a lake. It sounds like heaven already, relax, visit, run, swim, drink Swedish beer and repeat!

See you on the other side!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Inspiration and perspiration

If you need some inspiration just watch this video of Joan Benoit running and winning the 1984 Olympic marathon, the 1st time this event was held for women.

It gives me chills to watch this!

Meanwhile, on the perspiration side of things it's been hot here as our summer has finally arrived! It looks like we might get a good 2-3 weeks of summer weather before the fall (which is usually very nice) starts to creep in. Still, the morning temps have been around 11-12C and the highs are only in the mid-20's, which some folks would consider downright cold.

The running is going reasonably well with last weeks mileage in the mid-40's but I had two botched runs due to a combination of heat, humidity and the legs/body not quite yet ready to work as hard as the plan is asking. On Tues I attempted to do 8 miles with 4@1/2 marathon effort but after 2 miles in the 7:20 range I started to overheat in the 25C plus humidity and canned the run jogging home via a water stop in the downtown core.

On Thurs the 'plan' called for a 12 mile progression but it was another 24C afternoon and the legs were just too tired to do any more than slog along for 9 miles including some walk breaks in order to struggle back home. Obviously I'm lacking in both endurance and speed but it's slowly coming back as seen in Saturday's 5 mile non-race.This was my 3rd non-race in the comeback and so I was happy with my race number. It also helps to get a low number by mailing in your entry early for the free t-shirt that goes along with the ridiculous $10 fee. This was the 30th running of this very unique international race but the race director expressed worries as to how long he could continue to put it on due to difficulties with border security. My non-race went exceptionally well as I clocked a time of 40:06, very close to my target of 40 minutes and yet I barely took note of the time except for the mile splits which were all over the place due to the hilly terrain. I was once again nipped at the line but this time by the under 17 female winner and felt proud of resisting the urge to race her. There were about 60 runners which is typical for this race and of note were 3 of top 5 runners in the over 50 category with times below 32:00. The winning time was 30:15 and so Andrew could have had a field day if only he had shown up.
Speaking of Andrew, another reason that I needed to take it easy in my 'race' was the planned 20 mile long run for the next day. Also along for the ride was our new friend Trevor who is training for his first marathon and this was also going to be his 1st 20 miler. I think he was a little worried about the run but his fears were quickly put to rest when Andrew assured him that we always run 'wicked slow'! And so it went, a beautiful sunny but not too warm morning, a nice easy pace which averaged out to 9:20 with the water stops, walk breaks, stretching and of course nature breaks. Trevor is now an official honorary Blind Moose and we hope to entice him out this winter for a true test of endurance (against the elements).
Here Trevor and I are not waving but instead are showing how many miles we've covered thus far and so it takes extra hands. We were starting to get a little tired, maybe even a little loopy as much of Andrew's stream of conversation and jokes were starting to go right over our heads.
A couple of miles later and a bit of extra distance so that Trevor's Garmin would show the correct total (never turn off your watch when tired) and we were done 'like dinner' and ready to suck back some food and drink. A great long run which I couldn't have done this easily with out help from my buddies!

In other news, there are only 6 more days before our entire family heads off on vacation to southern Sweden for my oldest son's wedding. We'll be spending the week prior to the wedding visiting and getting to know his new wife's family and of course getting all those last minute details done. Jo and I are then planning to spend an extra week seeing some of the country before flying back home and my going back to work full time again (Oh noooooo!). I'll be bringing my running gear and am eager to get some new runs mapped with the Garmin but won't be stressing about running every day or following the plan blindly. I can't wait!

So, have a great week and keep on running, it's good for you!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Bumps in the Road

I know it's old news but my number for the PEI 5k was very appropriate given my recent birthday. The race was very low key for me and I made an effort to not make an effort or to 'race'. My time was 23:57 according to the official results and I came in 29th overall and 3rd in the 50+ crowd (not that I was keeping track). This was an improvement of some 1:30 since my July 1 5k and my focus today was to go at a nice steady pace that didn't put me into oxygen debt (no gasping) and to not have to take walk breaks. The dirty details for the run are all here but the mission was accomplished and I didn't even respond to being passed in the last 100m.

The next day was scheduled 15 mile long run around Boyden Lake with Andrew and Jon, seen here enjoying the remnants of my cake at the end of the run. Notice that I lost my shirt during the run due to 'nipple' issues and the humidity. Normally I wear protective bandaids to prevent the bleed but I had neglected to remember this (and I also needed to shave)! For a really funny version from the woman's perspective check out Runnrgrrl's post on this subject which had us cracking up over Andrew's new jokes. Anyway, nice run, good fun, walk breaks every 15 minutes despite complaints from A and a great way to top off a 43 mile week.

Speaking of 'bumps' this past week has been tough due problems in the form of dental work and the resultant lack of running. The week started off nicely with the Sunday long run (above) and then a nice fartlek run of 8 miles on Tuesday doing my favorite 1-2-3-4 minutes hard/easy using progressively slower paces as the time/distance increased. It's a great workout you can run on any course adjusting the efforts to how you are feeling on the day. However, later in the day I didn't feel so great after my dentist had at me, doing some surgery in preparation for some implants down the road. And worse news was no running for 72hrs (insert appropriate !&#%$)! Plus pain killers, antibiotics on a 6hr schedule and resulting lack of sleep and you get the picture that my running week was shot. Just a couple of easy runs on Friday and Sat allowed me to squeeze in a measly 32 miles.
Fast forward to yesterday's long run around Boyden with Andrew. This time we did the full 17 mile loop and it was a beautiful day, though a little warm and humid for these 2 northerners at about 20C. Despite taking proper precautions with shaving and band aids my shirt still came off mid-run as I started to overheat and my heartrate was getting elevated. All this seemed to help was the deer flies which were out in full force and were able to get better spots to attach. This turned out to be a difficult run for me in the last few miles as my energy levels waned despite the walk breaks every 20 minutes or so and lots of fluid intake. I'm slowly getting my endurance back but this run was hard on me and I took the rest of the day off to recover, mostly on the couch in the horizontal position.

Next week we're hoping to introduce Trevor to the wonders of Boyden as we attempt to do a 20 miler, which will be my 1st in this training cycle and Trevor's 1st ever as he trains for his 1st marathon. We're hoping for nice weather and good fun all around. Andrew will bring the jokes and I'll be bringing the extra drinks and brownies.

Also coming up this week is the Calais 5 mile international race on Saturday. It's a very unique course with 2 international border crossings and a challenging hill at mile 3-4. My plan is to again 'not race' but to put in a steady controlled effort with no walking and to save my energy for Sunday's long run. Wish me luck and have a great week!