Monday, December 31, 2007

Year in Review...

Miles- 1940
Time- 321 hours
Pace- 9:56 average
Races- 21. I think.

Major new things explored:
Triathlons (Yay!)
Smartwool (Yay!)
Mizuno Breath thermo (eh)
Handheld hydration (good)
Mountain biking (not so good)
Trail Running (Big yay!)
Speedwork (yay- but dangerous)
Racing flats (Yay!)

Things to look forward to:

North Carolina Running
More base training, 70-80+ mile weeks
Improved bike and swim technique
Brooks shoes

I know I'll miss all I left in Michigan- Friends, work, family. A great trail I was getting to know really well. Races and paces to PR. But there really are times you just have to move on, and see what the new year might hold.

Happy new year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Training methods...

When I started off running, I had no idea what i was doing. I didn't have a class (like ones sponsored by many a running store) or book to follow- I just hopped on a treadmill and tired to figure it out as I went. It worked out okay, although it would have been a lot better if I had known what I know now.

go figure.

Anyway, my first marathon training was using the Galloway method, which involves long long runs (up to 28 miles) and walk breaks. After lots of training errors, injuries, and yada yada yada, I ran and did pretty well. At the very least, I was pretty satisfied.

The next time I ran that race it was more a hodge podge of training- I had speed work once a week because that's what my running group did. I ran the long runs (no longer than 20) and charted out a course to put in miles and not overdo. Tri training cut into the miles, but I didn't mind because it was another fun way to do stuff with friends. And I did well, cutting over an hour off my marathon time.

And now I'm doing base miles- average 9 to 9:30 pace, slowly building to a 70 miles/week average. Once that becomes old hat, I'll decide whether I want to push it up more or start doing speed training. It'll be hard, I think, juggling the new commitments of job and keeping an apartment and everything. I'm not exactly sure how to balance all that.

But this is a new phase- new way of training which I've never really investigated before. It's kind of exciting, and I've always enjoyed running for long periods of time. Last week's 60 miles was tough in some ways, and the traveling isn't going to make for an easy time getting my miles in this week or next. But the week after is my first ultra, so I can chalk it up to "tapering" and think of the miles I do then as base building, as well.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Goals Revisited

On July 14th I wrote an entry about goals; figure it's time to revisit them and see how I've done. here are the short term-

1- Run 2000 miles in a year.
2- Run a sub-50 minute 10K
3- Run a half marathon sub-1:45
4- Run a sub-4 marathon.
5- Run an ultra, either a 50K or 50 mile.

1- Close, but no cigar. I'm at about 1900 miles for this year, and might make it to 1950. But that's okay- I'll have next year and I'm sure I'll get it if I want. Triathlon training might take over.
2- Yah... 42:38 on 12/16, though I've run sub 47 a couple of times this summer.
3- no, but no half marathons since June. My first half of Detroit was close: 1:48 or so.
4- Detroit, 3:39:16.
5- I'm on schedule to get it done Jan 5, 2008.

What I'd like to see for next year:
1. Sub 40 10K
2. Sub 1:35 half marathon
3. Half ironman finish
4. Sub 3:20 marathon
5. 50K finish

If I really get into triathlons:
5. 1500 miles running, 1600M swim in <45 min, 56 miles biking in < 3hr (or so)

5b. 2000 miles running

Anyway, those are my (shorter term) goals. If you read my blog (and I know at least one or two of you do!) I'd like to encourage you to post yours! I hate the phrase "if you shoot for the moon, you may hit the stars" because you'll probably just burn up in reentry or land with a decided splat.

I like better: "if you shoot for perfection, you may achieve excellence" if you don't take perfection too obsessive/compulsively.... "Pound stupid and penny wise" comes to mind.

But best is "If you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong!" For a flexible standard of "fun." Injuries are not fun. Slogging through a tough run isn't fun. Realizing that the race isn't between you and the others running it with you, but you against the race itself- that's fun. Realizing that the road is both ally and enemy in this sport- that's fun. Overcoming adversity- especially in the company of good friends- that's fun. As is achieving goals.

Which is why I do a post like this every so often. Hopefully in six months I'll be able to look back and see how I've either gotten closer or achieved some of these. But even if not, just stating them can be helpful...

Monday, December 17, 2007

RUT team run...

I have a new favorite running quote:

"Any idiot can run a marathon. It takes a special kind of idiot to run an ultramarathon!" (unknown- a cursory web search revealed nothing)

So it was on a Sunday where 4-8" of snow had already been dumped on us, and the forecast threaten up to 10" more, four intrepidly foolish souls decided to run Pontiac Rec, a 10 mile loop of hills, twists and turns.

It's my home course, and I've run it dozens of times, but this put a whole new spin on it. Not just because of the snow, but (first) running it with significantly more experienced trail runners than I and (second) going around clockwise rather than counter clockwise. Old terrain seems bright and new.

I had water, and I'm glad I brought it. I had Yak Trax, which helped too- though they tended to wander on my feet. Bit annoying. I didn't have gaiters, which I'll have to look into the next time I go for a run that has snow occasionally deeper than my knees. And I had that wonderful threat, from my friend G~, who at the end of the run said "I'll get you for this!"

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Last 2007/Michigan race...

Jingle Bell 10K
Race Stats:
Time: 42:38, a 3:35 second PR!
Pace: 6:53
3rd AG

"All I want for Christmas is a new PR"

That's what was going through my head today as I did the Jingle bell 10K. It's my last race in Michigan, and many of my running friends were kind enough to join in just for that reason- though we're all racing fools. :)

The day was pretty cold -low 20s with a 10 mph wind making things interesting. I changed my mind about three times when trying to figure out what to wear, but one thing I was happy to put on again (that I haven't since this summer) were my racing flats. I haven't done a short road race or speed work since September, and giving up 4-5 ounces per foot made a big difference.

Smartwool socks, CW-X tights, Sugoi top and a smartwool headband completed the picture- all in black. If I didn't get a PR, or even run the race well, I still looked good, and that's almost as important, right? :) I donned my race number and a bell that they handed out so people would know exactly when I'm trying to pass them.

The 5K and 10K all had a mass start, and it was a double loop 3.1 Mile course, relatively fast and flat on suburb roads. My hope was a new PR, but I was uncertain if I'd be able to achieve it- I haven't done anything but easy to moderate runs since my October marathon. Some hills during my trail runs, some faster work during group runs when I had to stop and tie my shoe, and then catch up- but for the most part, easy, relaxed, and low stress base building has been my training lately.

I usually go into a race with three goals- one where I'll try not to feel disappointed "This wasn't my day" goal, a race went pretty well with a few snafus goal, and a "Yay!- I'm not sure I could do that!" goal. My times respectively were 49 minutes, 46:12 (new PR) and something in the 45s.

So, of course, I started off fast. A mass start with something like a fun run can be a bit of a headache, especially since I didn't head up towards the front. I spent the first half mile weaving around people, shooting through holes and generally hoping that people didn't make any sudden lateral moves while I was trying to pass them. My garmin's lap pace kept saying sub-7, which I very much thought was too fast, but my breathing wasn't labored, my gait was smooth, and I was feeling pretty good.

Actually, I was feeling very good. As the miles flew by, I noticed myself being in flow- feeling relaxed, calm, and truly enjoying the sensation of moving they way I knew my body could, but just hasn't in a while. Every so often I'd push a little harder and I find myself needing more air than my lungs could provide, so I slipped back into what I thought of as an "easy" pace.

I also cheered/was cheered on by my friends during the race. That was one nice thing about the race course- I saw almost all of them while I was running. Some of us were only a few dozen yards separated, but we still managed to cheer each other on. I really love my running group, and I'm really going to be sad to leave them. But this was a really good race to send me off!

I finished by just passing a friend who recently qualified for Boston (he finished 5 seconds behind me) and another guy who passed me at mile two and I lost sight of until mile five or so. To add to my sense of accomplishment, a lady runner friend of mine spent the whole race chasing me, and at the end she gave me two compliments: that my form looked smooth and effortless, and that I looked really, really good in tights. I thanked her, and I'm sure I'm must've blushed...

One Caveat- my Garmin said the course was 0.07 miles short, which would add 30-40 seconds...

Cross posted to Live Journal's Runner's community

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Good runs...

I had an interesting run last night. It was dark. Rainy. Cold. Perhaps the worst running conditions- just above freezing so the rain got you wet rather than turn to snow. We ran on roads with no side walks, lots of hills and turns. And bridges, too.

The bridges were fun because of the black ice. The black ice was fun because without a noticeable change in the appearance of the ground, the friction between foot and surface went from "normal" to "nothing." This also happened on a few hills, but it was on the bridge we noticed it first.

I'm happy to say that none of us fell, though we all slipped from time to time. We had headlamps and reflective gear and wicking stuff to keep us warm, visible, and able to see, if not dry. And we had a good time. If runs like that don't build camaraderie I'm not sure what would!

In other news, I signed up for the 50K on January 5th. Looking back in history, last year was in the 70s, the year before was in the 30s, and '05 was in the 50s. I'll have a chance to cut out at the half way point (it's a double out and back) and I refuse to let my fears of what may happen keep me from doing something that I'd really like to do.

Besides, having this to be nervous about will help me from being nervous about the move. The classic defense mechanism of distraction. So even if I don't do it, the pre-reg will still be money well spent. :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

I am so flipping in trouble...

So, there's this race in Winston-Salem the weekend I move there, ya'know? It's called the Frosty 50K. 31 miles, which is less than five miles more than a marathon. which really isn't much, except that it's five miles more than a marathon.

Anyway, I was looking the elevation profile from someone who ran part of the course earlier in the year. It was 3,000 feet in 11 miles.

3,000 feet.
11 miles.

I'm not so good at math, but that works out to something like 300 feet per mile, which is like climbing a 30 story building. Every. Flipping. Mile. So if I do my 50K, it'll be like a climbing to the top of 900 floors of buildings which I can't blast down because demolishing mountains without ready access to coal is economically unfeasible.

I nearly hurt myself today doing Pontiac Rec, a relatively difficult trail run that has elevation change of 1,600 feet in 16 miles. One third the elevation change per mile. OMG. I am wuss. I had to walk up a few of those buggers because I just didn't have the steam to run up them. I didn't have the steam to jog up them. When I found myself doing this sort of slow, weak hop barely putting one foot in front of the other, I decided it would be better bitchslap my pride and walk.

Am I going to do this 50K? I really hope so. Am I going to be walking the day afterward?
... Hm. I'll have to get back to you on that one.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cold Weather Criteria

One of my favorite tri-bloggers, Elizabeth Fedofsky, wrote a bit about the joys of winter running. I won't repost it here (no really knowing etiquette in the matter) but I will post my additions to her wonderful list of the joys of winter running....

Or had icicles form off both ears and nose. Or untied your tights to take a wee and couldn't couldn't get your fingers to work to tie them back up again. Or designed a spreadsheet to figure out which clothes to wear in what temperature with what wind chill. Or had to revamp said chart. Or been constantly surprised because that chart was right; cold during the first two miles, but fine to warm for the next eight or whatever. Or thanked the coffee gods for someone who designed a travel mug that will keep coffee warm even when left in a freezing cold car. Or stepped into a shower before the hot water has kicked in and still felt like the water was freaking hot because your skin was used to being frozen. Or counted the number of heads that swivel as you do your run, all with the expression: "runners: dey nuz!"

Monday, December 3, 2007

With a hey, ho, the wind and the rain...

So winter's finally here. Its announced its presence by cutting our power twice in the past week. Thankfully, the folks at DTE were able to get it back on in under a day, but it's still a bit chilly to wake up to realize the temperature in my room has dropped 20 degrees or so.

Still, makes for some good running in a slow sort of way. Had a group run yesterday morning- five intrepid souls braved the effects of our promised saturday ice storm to do about eight miles of hills, slush and the occasional car. Three went on ahead, two of us lagged a bit behind and subsequently got lost. Not badly- we were only a little bit off course, but by the time we got done, we were ready to be done.

Smartwool socks helped, as did my underarmor mock turleneck. I wore a skull cap which I think made me look about 12. I also successfully removed a jacket layered under my reflective vest... without removing the vest. A feat not unlike a women remove her bra without taking off her shirt. Not that I've ever seen such a thing. *ahem*

Winter itself hold no real terrors for me; so long as I'm smart about gear, I feel I should be fine. On the other hand, winter drivers...