Saturday Double Up

I’ve been following a new training plan on the chance that we’ll be able to get down to New Orleans on January 25 for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.  I’d love for this to be my first marathon, but it’s always a question of time off, having the kiddo taken care of and being able to afford the trip.  If I’m not able to go, at least I’ll have been training to get the old legs ready for a marathon.  I can always go out for a 26.2-er on my own without the celebration of an official race, but it would be a hell of a good time being back in New Orleans.

SO.  The schedule had me down for a 5 mile pace run yesterday, which I happily completed with an overall pace of 8:06.  I’m thinking about trying to finish my next half in under 1:50 so I’m looking to get my pace around 8:30.  I felt good and didn’t think I was pushing it too hard on the run.  All around good morning.  About 30 minutes after I finished and was enjoying a cup of coffee, my buddy John texted and asked if I wanted to join him on his long run.  He was planning on running a trail to the local recycling center at the top of a gradual 6 mile hill and back.  This is a run I’ve been wanting to do for a while and my legs felt really good, so I said why the cuss not and threw my kit into the dryer for 20 minutes, ate something and filled my water up.

We were taking it real easy, actually training the long run like we should.  When we started, it was chilly and damp, but by the time we hit the turn around, it had become a fantastic, absolutely stunning New England fall day.  My legs felt real good on the climb during the first half of the run, but coming down, around mile 9 or 10 I started to suffer a little.  My bitchy tendon on the top of my left foot was starting to feel the miles of the day and I hadn’t brought the extra half of a banana I debated about bringing so my body wasn’t really happy about not having enough fuel for the last couple of miles.  My buddy John had an extra GU and passed it on to me, and I am so grateful for it.  Not sure I would have finished it as strong, or at all if I hadn’t taken those last calories.  From now on I’m taking plenty of fuel on the long runs.  We cruised the last mile in a little over 8 minutes to finish the 12 in 1:56:09.  My calves were pretty tight by the end of the run, but it was absolutely beautiful and am so glad I went.  I always wondered what it would be like running with someone and worried about the logistics of pace and distance, but it felt good running with John and we chatted the whole time and had a blast.  Really looking forward to our next adventure.

I’m heading to Concord this Friday to try on some Altras.  It’s the closest retailer to me and I’m looking forward to heading up with the wife and trying on some new shoes.  Mine are finally hitting a point where there are some serious problems starting.  The Instinct 1.5s that I ordered from Amazon were too small and I’m not sure I would have kept them anyway.  They were way to rigid for me.  I’ll be trying on the One² and the Lone Peak 1.5 or the Lone Peak 2.0.

The outside of my left shoe.

The outside of my left shoe.

Only physical leftover from my 17 miles yesterday.

Only physical leftover from my 17 miles yesterday.

Oh, I almost forgot.  I started my “marathon beard.”  I’m planning on growing this thing until I finish a marathon.  Here’s the first week’s contribution:

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Week one of marathon beard. Getting into the ugly phase.

Of Treadmills and Hills

This morning I awoke at the righteous hour of 5 am to a billowing rain storm.  I’m already needing new shoes and didn’t feel all that great about taking them out into the pouring rain for 5 miles, so I decided to suck it up and head to the gym for a treadmill run.  By the time I parked the car, grabbed my membership and shoes and started through the parking lot to the gym, the rain had completely stopped and a nice cool breeze was kicking leaves around.  FUCK THIS.  I should have just ran from there and driven home after, but our gym is in difficult place to run to and from, pretty busy road and it was still dark and I didn’t have any night gear with me.  Rejected like Charlie Brown, I headed in and climbed up onto a treadmill.

Quick thoughts about this morning’s run.  I realized quickly that I was overstriding, something I almost always start out doing on a treadmill.  I corrected this and tried to keep the contact underneath my body.  I set the speed to a 8:34 pace and started watching an old Ginger Runner Live on YouTube.  I also turned the gps off on my 620 to see what the difference was between the treadmill’s info and the Garmin’s.  Here’s what I found:

  • Treadmill – 5 miles in 42:47
  • Garmin 620 – 4.7 miles in 42:47

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That was this morning.  The day turned out to be absoutely beautiful and I couldn’t let it end without getting out there and spending some time in it.  I have a couple hours to myself while the kiddo is at dance class and the wife is working, so I just got done a little hill workout.  Up and down a super close by hill that used to be part of a road, but is completely blocked off and used by hikers and bikers mostly.  I’ve been meaning to do some workouts on it and thought that today would be a great day to kick up that badass.  It’s nearly a mile up, I think it’s something like 0.96 of a mile or so.  I  was able to head up it twice, keeping an honest pace.  The afternoon was amazing and I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity to run outside in such an amazing part of the country.  Two runs down today and happy with both of them.  I was thinking about cheating tomorrow and going farther than the allotted 3 miles, but after this afternoon’s addition, I’m going to probably stick to 3.

Let’s Go Halfsies

This morning I scooted out for a little half trail, half road run and it was fantastic.  I felt like I was cruising the entire run.  The climbs weren’t as bad as last time and the downhills weren’t as slow.  I feel like I’m getting a better grip on this trail.  There was a point around the north side of Goose Pond where I almost ate it big time.  I wasn’t paying attention and wasn’t getting my feet high enough and caught a toe on a rock.  Somehow I was able to keep my feet underneath me and not faceplant.  The near fall kind of fucked up my right quad for a few minutes which makes me think I’m not stretching enough after my runs.  That’s something I need to stay on top of this winter as I start turning up the miles.  After the trail ended and I emptied out onto the streets, I finished the run and had some lunch with my folks.  After lunch we took a drive to see the half marathon course for Sunday’s race.  I’m still not sure if I’m going to be running it, but I’m confident that it wouldn’t kill me and that it’s going to be a helluva gorgeous run.

I also rocked the home made running sleeves.  I know they ain’t pretty, but they get the job done and I sure appreciated them on this cool autumn morning.

TUBE SOCKS!

Hard 7 Miles and Shoe Dissapointment

I really wanted to get under my best time for the 6.2 distance today and was able to.  I tried to stick to an 8:30 pace and not sprint downhills (top of left foot has been bothering me) or fall too far behind heading up hills.  I grabbed a PR, even though the last part of the run was up some shitty hills.  I’ve been tossing around the idea of running in the Clarence DeMar half marathon this weekend.  It’s the first year that there has been a half marathon, and I love the idea of being able to participate in the it.  Last week I ran the distance for the first time, and it wasn’t all that bad, kind of fun really.  I’m going to drive the course tomorrow and see how difficult the race is.  If I feel confident after the drive though, I’m pretty sure I’m going to sign up.

In less fun news, the Altra Instinct 1.5 that I just ordered arrived and they are a good half size too small.  I’m pretty disappointed, but honestly am glad they don’t fit.  I’m not completely stoked with the weight or the size of the shoe.  I’ve been prancing around in these ASICS for so long, anything feels like a boot now.  Looks like I’ll be looking for a different style now.  The quality of the shoes was fantastic, and if they had fit, I would have kept them for everyday shoes.  Who knows where I’ll look next, maybe a different pair of Altras.  The bottom of the shoe felt amazing and there was so much spring.  Way more cushioning than the ASICS.  I can see them feeling amazing on longer runs.

 

Stupid Woods, Stupid Morning Run

I left this morning trying for a quick and short run.  I was to meet the wife and kid for coffee in a half hour and was planning on running hard for just that time.  It started well, but when I entered the woods for the short trail portion of the run, I took a wrong trail and ended up in someones back yard.  I had to backtrack up a steep climb to get back to where the trail split and then, took another wrong turn and ended up on the opposite side of the pond I was running around.  No real big deal, it just pissed me off.  The rest of the run went well.  I kept the pace under 8 min/mile for the last 1.5 miles and if I hadn’t gotten lost, I may have PRed my 5K time.  Reminds me though, even disappointing runs are fun.  I’ve never regretted taking a run, but felt plenty shitty about not taking one.

 

Strong Like a River 5K

I’m sitting in my favorite coffee joint, listening to Grinds, and writing my first post on my phone. I’ve never done this before and am kinda sorta interested in how it’ll look once published. So if there’s weird photo placements or interesting word substitutions, remember I’m writing this with auto correct. So…

My sister and I ran our second race together this morning. It was another small 5K benefitting a local charity, Sy’s Fund. It was an out and back that followed a bike path we both run on often. It had a few little hills, but nothing too difficult. My sis PRed, which rocks. There was a mixup at the beginning, where the leaders took a wrong turn and we all just followed them. I knew we were going the wrong way, but followed anyway. That really, really pissed me off. Not that folks made a mistake, or that the course wasn’t well marked, but that I knew the correct course and still followed the pack. It’s one of those times where I’m reminded that I still need to work on my confidence. Not just with running, but in everyday situations. Blah, fert, whatever.

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It was a tad chilly this morning, and I kept my long sleeve, hat and gloves on for the run. This also may be my last race in the ASICS. These little yellow bootsies will always be my first real running shoes. I’ve learned so much about my form and training while in these. Mostly I learned about how much better my whole body feels while running in minimal drop shoes. I ordered a pair of Altra Instinct 1.5 for soooooo cheap on Amazon and they’ll be here Tuesday. I’m stoked to take them out on Wednesday for they’re inaugural prance. The ASICS will always be my first, but I’m coming up on 300 miles in them and the wear is becoming apparent.

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After the race, Dede and I ran 3 more miles back to her place where I had stashed some clothes and other post race necessities.

Tonight we’re heading over to my sister and brother in law’s for a roast turkey dinner with all the fixins. It’s a bonus Thanksgiving, only with more beer and less football.

Friday Hike With The Wife

Instead of a recovery run today, I decided to head out with the misses for a hike around the woods.  We ended up logging a bit over 8 miles.  Absolutely beautiful day.  We started with the trail that I like to run from a local hill, through some fun, technical shit and ending at a smallish, sorta hidden pond.  The wife and I don’t usually have weekdays off together, sans child, so it was nice to head out and spend a few hours plodding through the woods.  There was a point where we lost the trail.  Technically, we didn’t lose the trail, I thought there should be a trail over some drop offs, and it wasn’t.  We kept humping the forest floor like a couple of…  like two…  like a…  I’ve always hated similes, always felt like cheating.  If you can’t think of a metaphor, just shut yer trap.  We pushed through the heavy brush, found an abandoned kids car, that creeped me the cuss out.  We finally found the power lines that I knew led to the river that the path followed.

My sister and I are running another smallish, local race tomorrow morning.  It’s another 5K and I’ll be running it with her the whole way.  I’m stoked and looking forward to her getting a PR.  There’s going to be a point in our running where she leap frogs me in distance and speed.  I’m just trying to push that date out further and further.  I’m not going to do anything different tonight to get ready for the race.  I’ll probably drink some beers, eat some left-over pasta bake we created a few nights ago and watch some Blacklist on Netflix.  Looking forward to some chill time.

Thursday Long Run

About Mile 5.5

I couldn’t be happier with my run today.  I was able to put in 14 miles through streets and trails around the cozy hamlet of Keene, NH.  When I planned out the run last night on Garmin Connect, I had it pegged at 13.33, but I forgot a section I changed and had to add a little more to get back to where I was headed.  It felt good though.  The middle part through the woods was amazing.  I didn’t see anyone else out there which is kind of nice and sad at the same time.  During my entire run, I only saw 1 other runner and maybe 3 or 4 walkers and no bikers.  Such a waste having these trails and no one is on them.  Of course the time of day I was out there could have something to do with it.

For my on-the-road chow, I chose bananas!  Kind of bananas.  Almost bananas.  More like liquefied, alien turd looking, soupy, banana tasting mush.  Which was actually perfect.

banana in a bag

I decided to eat a half banana every 30 minutes,  I cut the bananas and put them in baggies and threw them into my flipBelt.  I also found a smaller water bottle and took that along.  The flipBelt kept everything in, but after about 15 steps, was almost below my butt.  It just didn’t wouldn’t stay up.  I quickly went in and used some ducktape to take it in a little and that worked ok.  I’m not sure if I just shrank too much since I bought it, or if I bought one too big, or if it’s just not that great of a product.  I’m kind of bonered for this Salomon pack the Mighty Ginger reviews here:

I know it’s way more than I need now, but this is the kind of thing I can grow into, like my FR 620.  I’ll also look for a decent belt with bottle holders and probably get that sooner, but if the one I find is nearly as expensive as the pack, I’ll probably go with the pack.  As far as the flipBelt is concerned, I washed and am currently drying it to see if it shrinks for me.  I’ll still rock it for anything 10 miles or shorter.

Today was a huge confidence builder.  I never expected to be running this far and when I clocked a 1:58:29 half marathon time, I was blown away!  Every increase in distance or decrease in time, every PR, every time I pick my pace without having to check my watch, every time I nail a workout’s heart rate zone without monitoring it, I feel like I just won a race.  For a sport where nearly all of it’s competitors will be losers, I’m constantly amazed at how many times I feel as if I’ve won.

Kinda New 10K PR and Kinda Plans for a Half… Kinda

Last night I was turning the idea of running, or attempting to run, 13.1 miles on Thursday.  Last Friday I made it 10 miles and started the whole thing with a pretty crazy technical hill climb and 3+ miles of rocky trails.  I was able to still finish with 10 miles.  It was tiring and it wasn’t the fastest, but I finished it.  Today I wanted to see how a 10K would feel.  Kind of a step towards Thursday.  If it didn’t feel good, or if I was feeling spent by the end, I wouldn’t go for the half this week, just do another 10 or hit the trails somewhere out of town.  This wasn’t the case as I felt great.  I felt great up until about 1.5 miles into my run when I nearly shit my pants…  Sorry for that, but I don’t really have the skills or care to write creatively around the subject.  We’re all runners and I’m sure we’ve all been there.  Luckily for me, my parents live only about a quarter mile from the route I was running and I was able to interrupt their morning routine of watching the previous night’s Daily Show and Colbert Report over coffee for a quick pit stop.  Since I didn’t technically run a continuous 6.2 miles, I am assigning a “kinda” to this PR.  Still felt great (after my emergency) and still finished with plenty left in the tank.  As long as tomorrow’s shorter run doesn’t completely blow, I’m going to go for it on Thursday.

I still have to figure out water and fuel for Thursday seeing how I don’t own a pack or a smaller water bottle.  All I own is a 32oz Nalgene which I ain’t lugging around and the only fueling I’ve done before, is homemade oat and banana energy bars that my illustrious wife cooked up for me.  I’ll read up on it tonight and try to pick a route that takes me by public water fountains.

I’m pretty nervous about Thursday, but more excited.  I’m not going to kick myself if I need to break or walk.  I’ll bring my phone, so I’m not worried about running out of gas and being stuck somewhere.  I’m excited to see how my feet hold up.  I’m curious about my energy and concentration at this distance.  I’m going to stick just to roads this time.  This will be my first attempt at a longer distance and I don’t want to kill my legs like I did last Friday on the trails.

So tomorrow, probably just 3-4 at a slower, maybe 9 min/mile pace.  I just want to keep the legs moving and get some more miles in.  We’ll see.

 

First 10 Miler

I just got out of the shower and am sitting here at my computer bundled up and truly content.  When I drove to my parents house this morning to take a run, I didn’t really consider running my long run.  I was going to explore some trails that start nearby and come back to get my car by road.  Well, what started as maybe a 5 mile trail/road run turned into my first 10 miler.  I’m really glad that I did the trails first, they were beautiful.  It’s a gorgeous day and I had a blast running through the woods.  The trails had some hard shit to maneuver.  I had to walk a good bit due to rocks and steep downhills.  I was feeling really good by the time I got to the pond.  After running almost half way around it, I took a trail that led in the direction I knew was “homish.”  It turned out to be a pretty path that took me to the road I was looking for.  While I was coming up to a new road, I tried to find a bike path that I know is somewhere near where I was, but for the life of me, can’t remember where it was.  I took this time to eat a little.  I took a couple of homemade oatmeal raisin cookies that my ma made, so good.

At this point I was real thirsty, and had gone further than I had planned.I didn’t have any money on me, but  I knew there was a park about 2-3 miles away that had fountains and decided on that.  After some h2o I realized that I was at almost 8 miles and said fuck it, let’s do this.  I ran through a bike path and over towards the video store where I work.  We have Gatorade and bottled water that I can just toss on my account.  By the time I got to my work, I still needed a half mile to hit 10, so I ran behind the building and wrapped it up.

The farthest I’ve run before this was 7 miles and I’ve only done that twice.  Today felt real slow and I know that’s because of the climbing and trails in the beginning.  I’m quickly falling in love with trail running and am looking forward to exploring around the area this fall.  For a first 10 mile run, this puppy was fun.  My next long run I’ll run a road 10 to test out a pace.  Tomorrow will be a recovery run, hopefully with my sister and a bacon festival.  Yup, you heard that right, BACON FESTIVAL.  Good thing I ran 10 miles today, gonna need it after I party with bacon…  ewww.