Aim high

April 5, 2007

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With two races in sight, I approached today’s intervals with re-newed intensity. I decided that, if I want to get any more PBs, I need to be less passive in my approach.

The biggest 10k race in the country will take place in 10 days and the Eugene marathon two weeks after that. I need to rededicate myself on my key work out days to push my boundaries.

I did exactly that with the interval work out today, especially by the last interval where I held nothing back — if not now, when?

Today: Intervals (TM) (5x1mi) 1miwu, 5:42[2:00], 5:39[2:00], 5:36[2:00], 5:33[2:00], 5:24[2:00], 1micd

Three “R”s

April 4, 2007

Running today was a joy, not necessarily fast but I found my knees rising high, foot striking the mid-sole and toeing off — good form which, more often than not, is missing !!

I felt so good today that, like yesterday, I did another double and, again, topped it off with a Costanza recovery (ice bath — brrr !!).

I don’t know exactly why running was such a pleasure today but it might have something to do with the confluence of what I will now refer to as the three “R”s of running, being:

(1) Rested: Since straining my calf nine days ago, I’ve taken five days off without any running) — stores up energy.
(2) Refreshed: As mentioned, I did the Costanza recovery yesterday — rejuvenating !
(3) Re-newed runners: I bought the Nike Pegasus and broke them in today — quite springy.

I will have to try to re-create this as a ‘peRfect Race-stoRm’ when it counts !!

Today:

    (1) Progression (TM) 6mi, 44:59 (6.5-11.5mph),

    (2) Easy 7.5mi, 1:04:28 (av. 8:35/mi)

A Costanza recovery

April 3, 2007

I just had a 10 minute ice bath which entailed one shriek (from me), much shivering and… images.jpgserious shrinkage — bless you, George Costanza !!

It’s hard to describe the range of sensations when ice water surrounds your aching muscles. As you dip in, it feels like a pain aversion then, after a couple of minutes immersed, you adopt a very calm stillness — you dare not move for fear of disturbing away the warmest water molecules next to the surface of the skin.

This was my first ice bath of the year but I felt it necessary due to my recent calf strain and the fact that I wanted an effective recovery from the double I did today — a little catch up following two days to rest.

I will try to incorporate more ice baths into my routine over the next few weeks because my legs always feel rejuvenated afterward thereby permitting me to images-1.jpgmaintain weekly mileage volume, including several high intensity days mixed in.

Also, the massage therapy is going well. I’ve had two sessions to date and will try to go once a week until the Eugene marathon, April 29, 2007.

Today:

    (1) Hills 10mi, 1:12:01

      {incl. 4 ascents 1.11mi w 112′ elev, 6:53/6:53/6:57/6:59};

    (2) Easy 9mi, 1:12:10 (av. 8:01/mi)

p.s. the last time that I did this hill work out, my fastest rep then (7:11) was slower than my slowest rep today (second time I’ve achieved this feat!) — Woot-Hoot !!

Against all advice

April 1, 2007

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With the Eugene marathon only four weeks away and, after having taken four beach-copy.gif full days off to rest my strained calf muscle, yesterday presented a temptation in the form of the Birch Bay 30k, in beautifully scenic Birch Bay, WA.

I could not resist, notwithstanding all advice to take it easy for a little while longer.

The Birch Bay 30k had been in the back of my mind, as a possible marathon tune up but I had held off registering until the last minute. A few weeks ago, I thought I would wait to see what the weather would be for race day but then, after straining my calf, I continued holding off primarily to see if I felt up to it.

It’s a quick trip from Vancouver to Birch Bay, only delayed slightly by the cars lined up at the border, one lane only, at 6:30 a.m. The border agent asked me only two questions: “Where are you going?” and “have you ever been arrested?” — interesting.

By the time of the start, conditions were near perfect, dry with temperature at about 6 or 7 degrees Celsius, although it was noticeably windy along the waterfront. The first 10k felt great as I largely neutralized the effect of the wind by drafting off another guy for most of that segment. I’m sure that 10k would have been about a minute slower without him taking the brunt of the headwinds for us — thanks buddy !!!

Unfortunately, I discovered that my wind-blocker buddy would be only doing the 15k when he took the turn back at about the 13k point. After that, I was left to basically my own devices facing down a nasty headwind. Then, from 15k to about 23k, the course was naturally blocked from the winds but this was made up by several longish hills.

Even on my best days, I consider hill ascents to be the weakest part of my running but, on this day I was quite conscious of my tender calf muscle and, therefore, plodded up the hills so as not to cause any aggravation. During these climbs, I was passed for the first time, but convincingly, by two guys who were running together.

As poor as I am at running the ascents, I think I somewhat make up for it on the descents. From 25k to 29k it was all down hill and I was able to relax into a quick turnover and let gravity pull me down — for me that was the best part of the race but probably why my quads ache today !!

bb30kfinish.jpgAs I crossed the finish line, my whole body hurt but the strained calf was no worse for wear — and it seems okay today too! I am so pleased to have completed this pre-marathon test, without causing or aggravating any injury.

I noticed that my Garmin tracked the distance I covered as 18.98mi (30.53k) which is unusual because the course had been certified (?). My average pace worked out to 6:47/mi which is basically my goal marathon pace, so I was definitely pleased with that too !! Now, I’ll just have to tack on another 12k, or so — of course, those will be most difficult 12k !!

Yesterday: Race(“30k”), 1miwu, 18.98mi(30.53k), 2:08:42(av. 6:47/mi)

    Strt-10k: 39:36 (av. 6:22/mi)
    10k-20k: 43:24 (av. 6:59/mi) (accum: 1:23:00)
    20k-30k: 43:48 (av. 7:02/mi) (accum: 2:06:48)
    last .53k: 1:54 (av. 5:45/mi) (accum: 2:08:42)

In good hands

March 30, 2007

I was wincing, as the masseuse worked my injured calf muscle. legmassage.jpgI was told that this treatment will help the muscle properly realign.

The masseuse advised to keep resting from running but I am so itching to get out there — four days’ rest is no fun for a compulsive runner !!

I don’t want to let this marathon-training hiatus continue for too many days. My conditioning tends to drop quite quickly without regular runs.

Also, tempting me are at least three different races going on this weekend with distances ranging from 5k to half marathon to 30k…

    hmmm, what to do, what to do (?).

Patient(ly) waiting

March 28, 2007

How is it that the medical profession seems to get away with double- (if not triple-) booking patient appointment times?

I visited the doctor today, waiting a half hour past the appointment time before being taken in — alas! images6.jpg

Anyway, the good doc confirmed my self-diagnosis of muscle strain and indulged me in my request for a referral to massage therapy. He threw in some samples of some new variety of anti-inflamatory as well.

Besides two days of rest, treatment so far has been limited to the application of cold compresses and much ibuprofen, to reduce any swelling. But my strained calf still hurts, it’s stiff and I have limited push-off power.

I am looking forward to massage. The primary goal will be to improve circulation and remove any scar tissue from the affected muscle. However, once I start running again, I hope to continue the massages to see if they improve my post-run recoveries.

Not entirely unexpected

March 26, 2007

images4.jpgIt never fails. Just as I thought things were going well, I strained a calf muscle.

It happened during the tempo portion of my run. I sensed my calves were quite tight while running but it wasn’t until completion that I found myself actually favouring the injured leg as I walked about.

Oh well, there’s not much I can do about it now but, looking back, I was probably overdoing it a bit. Now it’s back to ice, ibuprofen and few days off — re-evaluate in a couple of days.

Today: 16mi, 2:00:45

    {incl. Tempo of 10mi, 1:06:34 (av. 6:39/mi)}

Reversal of fortune

March 25, 2007

I saw the sun today, for the first time in a very long time, and it called me out to run.

Forecasts had been calling for extended periods of rain for sometime now but s90.jpgtoday ended all of that.

I took the scenic pathways all around the waterfront. It was like an obstacle course, as scads of pedestrians strolled along in spectacular sunshine.

Today: 18.02mi, 2:29:46 (av. 8:19/mi)

Deluge

March 24, 2007

It has rained most every day for the past 10. So extreme is the expected deluge that we have been under a “rainfall warning” lately and may break our record for rain in the month of March. istockphoto_2863031_raining_silhouette_collection.jpg

This made my choice to do today’s run indoors on the treadmill a relatively easy one.

I wanted to complete 16 miles in two (2) hours so rather than doing it at a straight 8 mph, I started at 7.5 mph and then increased the speed by 0.1 mph after each mile. Therefore, by miles 15 and 16, I was up to 8.9 and 9.0+ mph.

Suffice it to say, not even shelter from the rains could have kept me dry. I was soaking wet by the end.

Today: Progression (TM) 16mi, 1:57:29

The (great) pyramid

March 22, 2007

As much as possible, I try to maintain variety in my training, whether it be taking a new route for a long run or performing a unique interval set. Training can become monotonous but maintaining variety helps to spice things up.

images-31.jpgToday was a scheduled interval session so I devised a little pyramid routine, with rep distance building up before winding down — the shorter the distance, the faster the pace.
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Accumulated mileage for the five (5) reps was seven (7) miles, which became quite challenging after the half-way point. I had to devote significant mental effort just to complete the entire set.

I guess time will tell how great this kind of work out is for me.

Today: Intervals (TM) (1, 1.5, 2, 1.5, 1)

    1.0 miwu,
    (1) 1.0mi 05:48 [2:00]
    (2) 1.5mi 08:55 [2:30]
    (3) 2.0mi 12:03 [3:00]
    (4) 1.5mi 08:49 [3:00]
    (5) 1.0mi 05:41 [3:00]
    0.5 micd

Happiness is…

March 20, 2007

images3.jpgI never take it for granted because it is too easily lost. There is a fine line between extending your limits properly — in moderation and with enough rest — versus doing too much too quickly and getting injured.

I reminded myself today that happiness is… running injury-free.

I did my scheduled tempo run around noon but, by early evening, I was feeling the urge to do a double. I treated the second one as a kind of a recovery run, easy pace and with a few stops mixed in.

My weekly mileage is now upwards of 70 and with the marathon only five weeks off, I want to maintain this injury-free induced happiness.

Today:

    (1) Tempo (TM) 1miwu, 9.25mi@9.3(6:27)w0%, 59:30, 1micd;
    (2) Easy 9mi, 1:17:59 (av. 8:39/mi)

Volunteering

March 18, 2007

Today counted as my fourth occasion “volunteering” time and energy in support of product integration for Nike, stopping by its Runner’s Lounge for the latest trial run.

Conditions were close to perfect, cool and dry with only a hint of a breeze across the water. My goal was to warm up with an easy run to the lounge, test out a new model of shoe over 6mi at my target marathon race pace (6:45/mi) and then take it easy back to home base.

My chosen sampler was the Nike Air Pegasus 2006.npeg06m-fv.jpg

The feel of this shoe was quite comfortable. It’s relatively light yet with enough cushioning and support to be an effective training shoe.

I liked the Pegasus a lot, it made the segment of my run at MRP quite enjoyable. However, I don’t think it displaced the Air Zoom Skylon Triax as my favourite Nike shoe, so far, but it’s my second fav.

Speaking of which, besides the Skylon, the other shoes I have now wear-tested include the Air Structure Triax X and the Air Zoom Elite 3.

Today: 13.26mi, 1:39:29 (av. 7:30/mi)

    {incl. 6mi@MRP: /mi — 6:44, 6:18, 6:37, 6:42, 6:34, 6:37}

Tenderness

March 17, 2007

My nipples may have a cause of action against me.

Before embarking on my long run, I failed to take the usual precautions to protect the tender tissue of my areolae.

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I began to feel the chafing some time after the two-hour point but by then it was too late. This is not the first time I’ve suffered this and I knew from experience that I would be in for a painful post-run shower. It was excruciating. I don’t know of any treatment for this form of trauma but I seem to be recovering well so far.

Today: 22.05mi, 2:59:27 (av. 8:08/mi)

Wake up and smell the gym

March 15, 2007

I’m not a morning runner.

I like to run on the urge, when the feeling comes to me, sometime during the day.

I never feel the urge to run upon waking but, due to other commitments on the agenda today, I forced myself to the gym immediately after waking. I needed to get this week’s tempo run under my belt.

images2.jpgMy tempo run distance today was a bit shorter than I might have wanted but given my time restrictions was all that I could do.

Nevertheless, upon completion, I felt satisfied… a feeling perfectly complemented by that first, post-run, sip.

Today: Tempo (TM) 1miwu, 5.5mi@9.3(6:27)w.5%, 35:00, 1micd

Showing leg

March 14, 2007

With Daylight Savings Time arriving earlier this year, many runners will have more daytime in which to run — unless you are an early bird. Today was another gorgeous sunny day and, like me, many runners doffed the tights and exposed some leg. Which brings me to an interesting topic.

shorts.jpgSome legs, all svelte in short-shorts, might be gawked at admiringly (slightly dated article) but most guys’ legs are different, less visually appealing.

When it comes to the subject of running shorts, the typical jock worries less about image and more about comfort/functionality.

Still I would like to know:

    When running, what constitutes (un)acceptable leg exposure?

thumbphp.jpg These Adistar side-splits (specs), look fine when worn on race day by a gazelle or speed racers but, for us novices, would it be going too far to don such briefs for our neighbourhood jogs?


As an analogy, consider the dilemma of togs (Australian: swimming costume):

Today: 3.5mi, 25:15… in Adistar side-splits — not sure but I thought I heard someone say “aiye, he jogs in togs!”.