Monday, February 28, 2011

Albert And Me

RECOVERY DAY. I think I did the smart thing yesterday, power hiking and jogging the six mile mountain passes of Grandview. (I like to call them mountain passes. A real mountain man would snicker at this but I have never been worried about being snickered at.) I can feel the effort in my legs from the climbs and I did actually run a good bit in very heavy basketball shoes. It was quite a workout. I keep thinking that if I had just run the 8 miler easy as I was supposed to that it wouldn't have been much different. But I'm only a little sore this morning, I have a day to rest and stay on schedule and tomorrow I will try  my run on the treadmill to test my ankle.

Besides. I was scheduled for a very short, easy week this week and since I kind of (not really) took it easy last week, I intend to make up my long 8 mile run this coming Sunday. Everybody improvises. You have to to remain on schedule. I wish the course hadn't been so dead of the winter ugly but spring is coming. It's 60* this morning. I can't wait for the days of going out the door on a cool morning wearing a T and shorts. Come on SUMMER!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Into Thin Air

I wanted to rest my injured leg so I decide to hike a very mountainous loop up 250 hill to the turnoff to Grandview Park and then down the very steep slope to home. It is a treacherous distance of what turned out to be 6 miles of nearly 3000 feet of climbing and decent. It was cold (about 35* and colder on the hill) and very tough. I ran in basketball shoes. Basketball shoes you say? Yes indeed. I thought they would give my sore ankle more support, and maybe more importantly, make me resist the urge to run. Instead, I ended up running about half the course on sore legs and a bad ankle, wearing the basketball shoes (very heavy) and carrying my running belt with the big water bottle. Absolutely no would have been easier to have just run my scheduled 8 miler out the creek. Live and learn.

Two things to mention about this run:
* My running belt is great. I didn't need the GU but the water was great. It was very dry up there.
** There is not really a good picture to take along this route, at least in the winter. The trees are rickety branches  that look like cadaver bones. The sky was a very ugly gray and the scenery was a cinder covered snow pile littered with trash and empty beer cans. Sorry about the visual. Better to hear about it than to have to run past it. I feel great that I went though. My ankle is sore but not terribly and I feel like I accomplished something. A nice start to the day.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I've Been Hobbled By Kathie Bates!

RECOVERY DAY. I feel like I have been hobbled. Yesterday, if you remember, after going to work with no pain (just tired & lethargy) my ankle suddenly puffed up. It got so sore that I had to hobble around my office. I was just sitting at my desk when it happened. I didn't misstep, or turn my ankle or trip over anything. I was working at my desk, simply stood up and my lower leg felt like Kathy Bates had whacked at it with her sledge. It was terribly sore....and scary too. One of my co-workers mention the dreaded "Stress Fracture!!!" and I got a sick feeling in my stomach.

This AM I'm not quite as sore but I can feel it there. That slight soreness that tells you, " You may THINK I forgot about you....but I'm waiting." I've already contemplated the idea of hiking Grandview as apposed to my scheduled 8 mile run. I'm not sure I can run without pain and further injury and hiking Grandview is a tremendous cardio event without all the pounding. I may just hike long and hard to save the pounding and see if that helps. In the back of my mind....and this could be simply fear talking.....I worry that this could effect my goals of marathons and trail races if I don't get real smart right now. Tomorrow is an important experiment. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Achy Breaky Shin?

I kinda knew it was coming. I had felt burning pain in my right shin for a week now and did nothing about it. I'm not sure there is anything to do actually. And I ran hard and well yesterday and could feel the effort all day. It was a good "hurt" after a good run......but not in my shin. That was troublesome.

 I wasn't looking forward to today. I woke up at 5:00 am as usual, drug myself out of bed and remembered what I had always heard about bad days. You get up and run for ten minutes and if you still hurt, it's time to call in the dawgs and piss on the fire. I jogged on the treadmill....I power walked and then tried just stretching while I strolled a bit but my shin was barking. So I called it in. I felt like shit. This is the first workout I have missed in my Hal Higdon half marathon training in five weeks. But I don't want to miss more. I'm going to take my scheduled day off tomorrow and then do my 8 miler on Sunday and test it. I think I will be fine.

I've been loving this lately. I go to bed thinking about the trails and the long road runs and I sleep easy. I go over my gear and things I want to buy (Garmin, Flipcam) and am excited to be a runner. And I WILL run the Ogden half marathon in May. And I WILL run the 25k trail run (my first) in Youngstown OH in September. And I GODDAM WILL run the Columbus marathon in October after I have turned sixty. If I am still alive. Time to head for the barn for a day.

***I must now add an addendum. I'm at work and have fallen to pieces. Small pieces but pieces all the same. My right ankle is now swollen, my shins hurt still (of course) and I ate two boiled eggs for breakfast to help my protein intake and I feel like I'm gonna go Linda Blair all over my office. A day off must have been waaaaay overdue.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Happy Feet!

I ran my scheduled 3 mile run on the treadmill in about 38 mins. Probably the best short run I've had all year. I really don't understand the pace though. I averaged  in the 12 minute mile range but somehow I ended up with a time two minutes slower than it should have been. I'm not so worried about the time was a very nice fun but edgy run, but either my Nike+ app or the treadmill pace counter was off. You can't run 3 miles at 12 minute mile pace and finish in 38 minutes. I'm not mathematician but....Jesus!

The gym was packed today. Every blue haired old woman in the county was on the 'mills walking two miles an hour. Good for them but I got stuck on one of the "bad" treadmills. But I ended up liking it. The pacing is better I think. The displays don't rotate like on the other machines so you have to watch either the pace or the distance or the time but not all three unless you poke at the machine constantly to change the setting. So I set it on distance and just ran hard and my time was nice. I may do my pace work on the "bad" treadmills from now on.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

View From The Treadmill

This was one of those days. We all have them. The alarm goes off, you say "Nah, I'll take today off. I'm whipped." And then you get up anyway and go to the gym. Interval day. It took a long time to warm up today. I ran 7 fast intervals at 5k pace or better and covered about 3 miles total. I ran 2 x 3 mins. @ 5 mph, 2 x 2 mins. @ 6 mph and 2 x 2 mins. @ 6.5 mph. My legs were heavy and tight but my breathing was good. I don't think I accomplished exactly what I wanted to do but a half assed interval workout always beats staying in bed. There is always victory is doing your workout....even when you don't want to.

I had the gym to myself again today. There were only three people there and they were all regulars. I guess the New years resolution people are over it now. No new faces at Wood's Fitness anymore. And the pretty young high school girls are long gone! Must have broke a nail or something on a weight machine.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Old Man Winter

I drove through an ungodly ice storm to get to the gym and run my 4 miles. I had to warm up my car for 15 minutes just to get my wipers unthawed. I drove all the way peeking through a small keyhole ice window on my windshield. I know I know, not supposed to do that but I would have turned sixty before it cleared by itself. I had to bounce off the little woman's car door a half a dozen times to finally break the ice seal around her little coupe so she could get to work.

Two things. I forgot how boring the treadmill is. Really. I've been running outside before Armageddon hit last night and that always goes fast. There is nothing to look at but the TV which is ALWAYS set on the weather channel, or watch the tenths of miles go slowly by on the mileage counter. I had the place to myself as you might imagine. I, at least, was able to work out without people wanting to chat. I don't know how the little woman who opens the place gets to work at 5:30 am. I'm driving an all-wheel drive Subaru and I went fine. She must be on a snowmobile.

Second, it's surprising how short 4 miles feels now. After getting outside for my long runs, a 4 miler seems pedestrian. That's a good thing. Now, I just have to decide if I want to just run for the glory of running, or if I want to actually compete. Do I want to just finish a half marathon or do I want to set a firm time goal and train like hell to get there. Just the fact that at this stage I have to ask myself this question is scary. I should know this answer by now. By march 1st, I'm gonna figure this out and make a decision.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Under The Covers

RECOVERY DAY. I took this as a recovery day. I used to use Monday as a rest day after Sunday's long run but then get up at 5:00 am and lift weights for 30 minutes. I really never saw the value of the weight and strength training for my running. Starting my day at 5am, going to the early Monday meeting at work and then spending a 10 hour day at work was no rest for me. I decided to spend the morning sleeping and actually use it as a recovery. I want to see if I feel better after this. I used to just feel sick all day from too much "day."

I hope the additional sleep is a better recovery. Yesterday I ran 7 hard miles in record time. Then I drove to South Hills in Pittsburgh and spent hours on my feet shopping. I was completely spent by the time I got home. I think my time would have been better spent recovering at home. I was so cramped up last night that I couldn't hardly get off the couch to go to the bathroom. I decided to remedy that with a little more sack time. More rest can't hurt if I stay to the running schedule. We will see how I feel today.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Long Cold Trek

It was a damn cold 7 mile run today. This was my scheduled long run for Sunday as usual but it was freezing. I haven't had Internet access for a couple of days so I couldn't check the temperature online as I usually do. I just bundled up with my Under Armour and headed out into the calm, cold morning.

The run went very well. My Nike Plus sidekick told me that I had run the fastest 10K along the way and I'm almost sure that this 7 miler was the fastest I've run all year. I felt full of energy but I still fade badly toward the end of my long runs. I wore my newer Acsics shoes today and they seemed a lot cushier than my old ones. As much as I hate to, it may be past the time to retire my old shoes.

I covered about twenty miles again this week. And I weighed in at 172 lbs. I hope to get to 160 for the half marathon but I'm doing all right so far.I'm following the Hal Higdon plan for a half marathon and I'm doing well I think, but I long for warm weather and longer runs. I won't feel right with myself until I'm averaging 30 miles a week at least. In my mind, THAT is when I will be ready for the Half.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ape Shit Crazy

Rest day today. It didn't sneak up on me. It hit me like a hammer. I fell asleep on the floor last night at 8:00 pm and slept on and off until it was time to go to bed. I struggled to get to my feet to go to bed because I was so sore and tired. My lovely wife, of course taunted me while she finished her Pall Mall. " And YOU are gonna run a marathon," she said. "Not TONIGHT" I may have said (shouted?) back.

I fell into bed and slept the sleep of the dead. The alarm going off at 6:30 am sounded like two monkeys sitting beside my bed banging pans together.

I don't feel sore anymore but I need this rest day for sure. I hope I recover. Tomorrow I go for a PR in the 7 mile run out the creek.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Creature Of The Night

I ran the Fork Ridge Trail this morning in about 40 minutes. Not fast but I was on dead legs from the trail run yesterday and I was hungry. I didn't eat enough yesterday. I'm not making excuses but I was tired and sore. I'm glad tomorrow is my day off.

Actually this run was a test drive on my new headlamp. I bought this lamp because I'm up at 5:00 am so I can run before work and it's still dark. I have been going to the gym and running on the treadmill. which is comfortable but boring. I got the lamp so I could run outside in the dark and it worked great. It's very bright with three settings and I could see every crack in the sidewalks and all of the trail at Fork Ridge.

I hope the weather stays warm like it has been. I'll give up my gym membership. I only go there for the damn treadmill anyway. But I guess we still have some bad weather coming so I'm sure I'll be using the treadmill some more. My membership lasts through March. I hope by then I am a road runner again full time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Grandview Trail 3 Miler

I found out one truism they say about trail running. 3 miles on trails is like 6 miles on the road. Maybe worse or better depending on how you look at it. I ran about three miles on the main trail at Grandview Park. I loved it! The time went so fast. If there was any small complaint it's that the trail was so muddy. All the snow and melted snow made the trail extremely muddy and slippery at times. But if your trail shoes aren't dirty you are a wimp anyway.

I saw herds of deer playfully watching me and jumping over the trail in front of me as I ran. Some of the steeper parts I walked and even stopped to drink and take pictures. It was a complete blast of a time. I can't wait for the trail to dry just a bit. I definitely intend on making this trail run a permanent part of my running.

There were miles of trails, some crossing clearings and some right through deep woods. At times the trail was snow covered and sometimes clear but it was always wet and muddy. That was cool with me. I wore my Camelback belt with the large water bottle and it was fine. No sloshing, very quiet and not heavy at all. At first the water bottle felt heavy when it was full but I'll get used to that. I ate a GU in the woods and I felt like a real trail runner. I can't wait to do that again. Check out all my pictures.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's About Damn Time

I had to stubbornly drag myself out of bed today. I did everything I could to talk myself into staying in bed. "Listen to your body. You're sore. You're tired. There's always tomorrow." I tried everything and then I got up anyway, went to the gym and ran the best tempo 3 miler that I've run all year. Not only was it the best paced, but I believe it was the fastest 3 miles I've run. OH, I know I have lots of room for improvement but today I was a rock star.

My only criticism of myself, and there are always those, is that I lack guts and confidence at this point. I will be sailing along, the going gets tough, legs ache a little....breathing gets ragged a bit, and I stop and walk. Maybe only for ten seconds....but I walk. Nobody recovers in ten seconds! I could have pushed through that but I lack the confidence to just push. What's the worst that could happen? I finally REALLY have to walk a bit? Bullshit! It's time to run. Tomorrow I get out my new trail shoes and go to Grandview. Tomorrow it's time to run.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oh The Pain

I ran my scheduled 3.5 miler inside on the treadmill at the gym. It was a very slow run today. My legs were still sore from Sunday's long run. 7.5 miles is probably the longest run I've done in a few years. I was stiff Sunday and Monday, but today I was legitimately sore. And I was also dragging around a bag of ballpark peanuts that I was carrying in my stomach since last night. Against all known logic, I ate them right before bed.

I seem to have a slight allergy to peanuts. I love them but they always hang with me and I burp them all the next day after eating them. I finally loosened up. I could move along at a snappy 6 mph pace for a while, then the peanuts would kick in and I would have to walk and burp. I'm glad it wasn't busy at the gym today. I was pitiful.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Time To Spank The Monkey

Ah....weight and strength day. I am still not convinced that strength training aids my running. I can't see how gaining muscle to carry around the course offsets the strength benefits. They say if you are strong, especially in core strength, that your form doesn't fall apart on long runs. Hell, I've seen people CRAWL across finish lines. What kind of form is that. But smarter people than me have suggested this so here goes.

I did a circuit workout consisting of five rounds of Machine Bench, Lat Pulls, Delt Press, Curls, Dips, Step-ups with weights and Decline Bench Sit-ups. It took me about 36 minutes. I read where the only weight exercise for legs that actually mimics the joy of running is step-ups with weights. I guess that makes sense. You DO climb hills both running and at times walking so that makes a good argument. So Step-ups I did. My butt cheeks are sore already from yesterdays run. I think they will be screaming after today. 100 Step-ups onto a high bench with heavy dumb bells should do it. Or over-do it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Along The Windy Trail

I ran 7 1/2 miles today out 4th street and out to the end of Tom's Run. I was supposed to do a 5k race, according to my schedule, but unless I "time trial" it on a treadmill, there is no way to run an accurate 5k around here this time of year. There are no Snow Trots or Igloo runs or Ice Festivals here. People have enough sense to stay inside when it is damn cold. Except for me. It was sunny and near 40* so I went for a long run out the creek. And I also decided that, considering the gear I had to wear, including Under Armour, and an Under Armour hood, I was not dressed for a 5k time trial.

I covered about 20.5 miles this week and my run today was comfortable for the most part except for a cold, biting wind. It got quite chilly at times. I carried my new hand held water bottle today. That worked very well but I would be nice if it was a little bigger. I finished it with about two miles still left. No real problem but it was very thirsty territory out there today. I also tried a Vanilla Gu. it was pretty good. I didn't feel any great rush of energy or anything but it went down easy and that is nice to know. All in all, a very nice run in the cold sun.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Punch Drunk Love

RECOVERY DAY. I always feel that if I'm not sore or tore up a little bit I probably don't deserve a recovery day. I'm well aware that the running 7 days a week philosophy has gone the way of the Dodo but I still feel like a recovery day should be earned, not simply taken. On that note however, I'm slightly sore, a good sore, from my ankles to my shoulders and feel a general drain of energy. I therefore feel very good about this recovery.

I read all day at work yesterday. It was dead and I turned to my Ultra websites and blogs for entertainment. One man, I'm sure very informed and successful, said that you only need to run four workouts a week if you do the right ones. They were comprised of intervals, tempo runs, hill workouts and the one weekly long run we are all used to. But the key is to hammer each and every one of these workouts to make it work. No shit! At the age of 59, if I tried to Hammer every workout, my bunghole would eventually fall out. I only wish I had a recovery cycle like that guy. My cycle goes more like.....long tempo run then lay on the couch for awhile trying to feel my legs. Hard hill repeats and then try to climb the stairs to find my work clothes. Run sprints at the track and then spend two days trying to remember where I left my ankles because they sure aren't MY ankles I'm wearing. Things alwasy sound so simple when you are a 20 year old Olympic God giving advice.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Nice Run and Unexpected

I went to the gym today and ran the fastest 3 miles I have run all week. That wasn't intended but I'll explain in a second how that came about. Needless to say, another freak parked right beside me in a long row of empty 'mills. She was cute and didn't talk so I thought, "OK, maybe this will be enjoyable." Suddenly she produced a small set of dumb bells and started all sorts of gyrations, swinging her arms around and doing side raises all the while walking at a mad mans pace. YOU try to concentrate while, out of the corner of your eye you see iron weights swinging at your face. The sweaty showoff then ran around the gym trying other machines, all the while gyrating more with the weights. Two things were evident. She screamed for attention (her daddy must not have liked her) and she was a pig. I never saw her wipe down one piece of equipment.

I was scheduled to either take a rest day or to run an very easy run. That was the plan. But something about being on the treadmill makes just taking it easy very hard for me. When I run on the roads, my I-phone keeps my time and it is in my pocket. I can't see my pace unless i fish it out from under all my winter clothes and that is a hassle. So I run listening to my pod casts and hear a nice female voice remind me every half mile that I am still alive. But when I run on the treadmill, I have a display in front of me that reminds me of how lame I am and makes me run harder than I had intended. At least it pushed me to a good time. And tomorrow is a day off....yeh.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay........

I ran an easy 5K today on the treadmill. After my interval session yesterday my quads were sore. I guess if you do it right, they are supposed to be. I was looking forward to running outside today on this sunny afternoon but the temps never got above 7* with a crazy wind chill so the hell with that.

I got a late start waiting on the cable guy. He made an appointment to put in a new cable line to my rec. room upstairs. The appointment was scheduled for between 8:00 am and sometime next Tuesday like they always do. One of these days I'm going to hold on to my bill payment. When they call to ask where their payment is, I'm going to tell them that I will send it sometime between now and the end of the year. I wonder if they will find that humorous. When I called and screamed at customer service they asked me if I wanted to take a short survey. I said hell yes. I ask him what HIS name was and he said Alejandro or something like that. I'm almost sure that before we had the discussion about the survey his name was Bob or George.....something like that. Amazing how things change when you agree to the survey. So I have no cable, and my run was late. I guess I might have to call Comcast again and scream at somebody again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Usain Bolt Has Nothin' On Me

Intervals today. I ran 6 x quarter miles on the treadmill. The first 3 were at 5.5 mph and the last three were at 6 mph. I covered about 3.25 miles in a little over 40 minutes. I didn't have to struggle too much either. I felt very lean, fast and comfortable. I think I could have handled a faster pace. I'm beginning to get a confidence boost as I run through roadblocks. Intervals were always a boondoggle and I didn't think I was ready for long runs yet but I handled the 7 miler Sunday with surprising easiness. I feel really good at this point.

My treadmill buddy came in to the gym again today and parked right beside me.....again. I can't wait for the weather to break. There....again...was an entire row of empty treadmills for his use but he climbed on beside me. He watched me strangely but didn't talk. Maybe he got the message from yesterday but he had another plan. Even though he didn't speak to me, he yelled for other people to come over to talk with him...while he drank his coffee and read his paper....and yakked the whole time right beside me doing intervals. My wife and I have come to the conclusion that he must be the loneliest man in the world.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

For The Love Of Christ!

Today wasn't a great day. My schedule called for a 3.5 mile run. That part was fine, but for some reason I could NOT find a pace that fit my breathing. I tried from 4.3 mph to 7 mph and no matter what speed I tried I was breathing with difficulty. It wasn't until about the 2 mile mark that I finally planed out and felt comfortable. Surely it can't take me that long to warm up. It doesn't when I run outside....only on that damn treadmill. (See? Now I'm blaming the treadmill.)

To further add to my discomfort, "The Man Who Loves To Talk" parked next to me on a completely empty line of open treadmills. He brought his coffee and newspaper and covered up his computer board but decided to talk to me anyway. I had my headphones on and every time he said something, I would take one ear piece off and yell "WHAT?" hoping he would get the hint. I hate being a dick. I don't care if he wants to use his treadmill as an easel to hold his newspaper while he drinks coffee, but why then bother me? He continued this for a mile or so, telling me about a new car he just leased...on the I worked out. So, when I finished, I told him that it's a shame he hadn't talked to me before, I had a buddy that could have gotten him the same lease for fifty bucks less a month and then I walked away. I swear, I could see tears running down his face as I went to the locker room. Maybe next time he will stay away from me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Took It Out On The Weights

It was "Sling Iron Day" today. It's sort of a combination rest day from the long runs on Sundays but it's not a rest day when you are pumping iron. I did a short program (33 minutes) of Machine Bench Presses, Incline Presses, Lat Pulls, Bar Rows, Dips & Decline Bench Sit-ups......lots of them. I'm supposed to work on my core but I'd rather just run. Of course, to admit, my legs are drained from yesterdays' long run. The weights aren't as much fun as they used to be. I'd rather be running.

The 7 miler I did yesterday did the Steelers no good. They lost due to a comedy of errors, including fumbles, interceptions, missed catches, etc. Our turnovers gave up 21 points to the Packers and they only won by 6 points. Bummer. So I took it out on the weights....or maybe they took it out on me. Either way I'm beat......and so were the Steelers.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

For The Honor Of The Steelers

For the honor of the Steelers and their attempt to win their seventh Super Bowl, I ran outside and covered 7 miles out 4th street with a side trip out Toms Run for a way. I was surprised how well I did. I was slow of course, but mostly due to the ice. I underestimated how much ice was still on the roads and at times I had to walk or kind of tip toe over some bad areas. Toms Run was virtually untouched by the cinder and salt efforts and it was a bit dangerous. I once slipped as a car flashed by and I could see my life pass me by for a second. My Under Amour worked perfectly, keeping me warm and dry. I ended up with 20 miles run this week, but they were a very good 20 miles.

I was absolutely amazed by my I-Phone GPS app by Nike+. I had a good idea where my tun around was for the 7 miler but the GPS on my I-phone reminded me of my distance covered every half mile and prompted me to turn around at 3 1/2 miles, the same point exactly that I had measured out previously. This means no more measuring courses! I can set this app for a 10 mile run let's say, and it will tell me the distance I've covered all along the way. What a breakthrough! i used to have to measure all my routes by car ahead of time. I love the technology today.  I can't wait for good weather to come. (Cold today. Below freezing.) Oh, and as a side note: GO STEELERS!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pain Is Good....Extreme Pain Is Extremely Good.

RECOVERY DAY. I won't lie. I need this day off. My shins hurt, my ankles hurt and the lack of sleep has caught up with me. I can't go very far on 6 hours of sleep anymore. I probably shouldn't even try but that is what my work schedule allows. I get up at 5:00 am and run at 6:00. Then it is a rush to get home and prepare for work. I usually don't get home from work until 7:00 pm or so and if I want to spend some quality time with my wife (which I do) I don't go to bed until about 11:00. I mean this isn't horrible but it catches up to me. Today I slept until 6:30 am and I feel like I slept away half the day.

My schedule is to run 7 miles tomorrow as my long day. The Steelers are going for their 7th Super Bowl win so that is my homage. There may be a turd in the punchbowl though. Snow is supposed to move in again today so here we go again, waiting on the weather. I want to strangle me a groundhog.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Nothing Wrong With Having Fun

I ran my 3 miler today almost as an aside. I was scheduled to run 3 miles at pace. I guess I should have looked it up. I wasn't sure what that meant so I ran different distances at difference paces. I'd run a quarter at 5 mph pace, walk for a few seconds and the maybe run a quarter at 6 mph. I threw in some sharp sprints at 7 mph and before I had even thought about it I had run 3.1 miles taking it just barely under 40 minutes! What a good time and it went so fast.

I also enjoyed the weather. It was cold but there was no snow and no rain. It was the typical dry winter day that makes it perfect to run outside. I wish it wasn't so dark at 6:00 am here in West By God Virginia but it is still too early in the season to get on the sidewalks in the dark. Sunday though, Super Bowl Sunday, I'm gonna run one outside for the Steelers.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What's That Again?

I lifted weights today. Thursdays are my double workout days. Strength and run. I did Bench Presses, Lat Pulls, Dips and elevated Decline Bench Sit-ups. This took about 30 minutes and then I went to the gym. I ran a nice, easy 3 miler as scheduled and kept a nice pace. I'm getting faster even on my easy days.

I have to mention this. I go to the gym to work. To me it's not a social event. I have to haul my ass over a half marathon course in a couple of months where the steep terrain is legendary. But the people who go just to talk to each other drive me nuts. I began listening to podcasts (which turned out accidentally to be great) only because I couldn't get people to stop asking me questions when I was doing sprints. This amazes me. if I'm going all out on a treadmill at 6 mph at 5* elevation, surely the person next to me SHOULD have the sense to know I can't talk. But talk they do.

Today there was a woman in the gym, I've seen her many times and never with her mouth shut, walking on a treadmill and yelling to another woman the entire time she was walking. She was yelling, I thought, because the other woman was two treadmills away. I felt sorry for the guy in between them. Then when the noisy lady finished her walk, she came over and stood right in front of the woman beside me, and yelled in her face until I gave up and got off my treadmill and walked away. I was going to complain but I didn't. I think I should have. I pay to be there.But I didn't and now I am ranting here. Not quite right is it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Smooth As Silk

Today was my first scheduled tempo run. I managed to hold a 5 mph pace for 20 minutes. That might not sound like much but it is indeed. The object of a tempo run is to maintain a pace that is uncomfortable, actually intending to be a tiny bit unbearable and hold this discomfort for as long as you can. The wise schedule, to keep me from killing myself, capped this tempo portion at 20 minutes even though the entire run lasted a little over 40 minutes and covered about 3.5 miles. It is a confidence builder and I feel great about today.

Now let's address the one small sticking point. Twice during the tempo run I had to take a 20 second or so walking break out of shear terror. I haven't convinced myself totally that I can hold that pace. Even though my mind says I can, my body is saying, "You're gonna bonk. You are going to start huffing and puffing and embarrass yourself in front of the people in this gym." My inner voice is nasty. And as soon as I can get the voices in my head to settle down, I will be fine. My body knows what my head won't admit. We are ready to except the pain and discomfort of training. It's moving past barriers that build you up. I'm ready to face the pain. Now if I can get my other self to except it, I will be OK with the world.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Running In Quicksand

I was so excited to get to the gym today. I had lifted weights yesterday and missed running. I went in and started my scheduled 3 mile run on the treadmill and hit the wall. Or more accurately, started running in sand. Oh, I covered a little over 3 miles in mostly 5 mph pace or better but my legs were like I had just climbed the stairs to the top of the Sears Tower. (Is it still called the Sears Tower?) I wrote it up to the squats I did yesterday but still I was somewhat disappointed.

This weight lifting stuff...I might have to amend it. I don't know if I should be doing leg workouts. Maybe I get enough exercise for my legs running and I should concentrate on my upper body and back. I'm going to research that today online and figure out a plan. I only lift twice a week but I always have a weak run after lifting day. Bummer.

I also think my ego is getting in the way. When my schedule calls for an easy day, I should go easy but I push myself. I HATE to run slower than I did the day before but that is exactly what the schedule calls for. Easy. I probably shouldn't even time all my runs but the treadmill and my Nike+ software does it anyway. I guess I will have to live with the fact that when I run easy, I'm a slow runner.