First 20 of the Year

45mphSunday I knocked out my first 20 miler of the year.  It was an absolutely stunning February day and I was able to hit the rail trail for a majority of the run.  I’m pretty enthusiastic about the day and that I got in a 20 miler this early into this training cycle.  My right foot, which has given me the majority of pain since Ghost Train, feels pretty good and the knees were a little pinged later in the day, but mostly I feel my body has recovered nicely and ready for another week of training.

Yesterday I went to the gym for a 20 mile recovery ride on the stationary bike.  I’m actually not really sure how accurate the distance on those bikes are and if I’m going to hard or not hard enough on the tension.  I would love to build a trainer system with one of those fancy-ass computer programs that I see popping up on Strava here and there, but I’m scraping by with 2 pairs of aging shoes right now and don’t have nearly enough scratch to throw at a franken-trainer.

Probably the biggest news of the week is that I am officially quitting drinking until after the Spring Classic.  I’m struggling to drop the weight, and high-octane craft beers don’t exactly add to the strategic caloric plan I want to embrace.  I’m also going to try and do some sort of workout every day.  I’m even considering one of those daily, home workout subscriptions I keep seeing on Hulu.

I know April isn’t the goal month for the year and there are plenty of months left in the year and plenty of races, but I want a strong summer of training and feel like I’m behind already, although the 40 miles I put in this week makes me feel a little better.  Ghost Train registration just went live and I also want to do Pisgah again.  It’s a long season and I need to remind myself that I have plenty of time to run plenty of trails.

Altra Lone Peak 2.0

Just a quick post about my first run in my new Altra Lone Peak 2.0.  After running in the One² for a week and having them blister the piss out of my toes, I sent them back and ordered up a fresh pair of trail shoes.  I’m really sick of being a kept man, stuck on a treadmill.  I was a little worried about taking a brand new pair of kicks on a 14 mile run, but my worries were quickly squashed.  A mile into my run, my feet felt great, the traction was fantastic and I was able to settle into my first long run in a while.  Hopefully I’ll feel the same after tomorrow’s 7 mile pace run.  I’m still working through some ideas for the second part of my winter running monologue, but until then here are some pics of the new kicks.

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:

marathonBeard_week1

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

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.

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.

Saturday 08.02.14

bikePath_2014.08.02

*It’s Saturday and that means it’s time for my long run.  I always feel a a little weird calling it a long run on account that it’s not all that long.  My friend John also had his long run today… for 2.5 hours, kinda makes my 5+ miler look tiny.  I need to get over it.  I feel like “long run” sounds bragy, and that’s the last thing I want to sound like.  So, from now on, when I write about running and use terms like long run, I’ll remember that it pertains to me, as it is a long run for me.  I’m gonna move on now.  (Remember, clicky title below to check out my workout on Map My Run)

Saturday Long Run

I really wanted to cap this week out with a strong Saturday run.  I’ve felt good after every workout this week, and really wanted to kill it today.  As far as hurting before the run, my left calf has a small knot in it that I’ve been trying to “rolling pin” it out, but that’s pretty much it.  I also decided to run a different route than last week.  Below are my numbers for the run:

TOTAL 5.39 miles | 47:03 minutes | 8:43 min/mile

  • Mile 1 – 8:36
  • Mile 2 – 8:40
  • Mile 3 – 8:49
  • Mile 4 – 8:44
  • Mile 5 – 8:46
  • Mile 5.4 – 8:22

I’m really happy with today’s run.  I was stoked last Saturday with my 9:06 overall pace, so I’m obviously overjoyed with today’s 8:43!  Oh, did I mention that at this morning’s weigh-in I finally broke 200 lbs?  That’s right, a cool 198.  First time that’s happened in a shit-long while.  When I started this running project I weighed 220 lbs.  That was back on June 16 when I visited my doctor on account of my lung problems.

I’m pretty excited about where I am right now.  I feel like I’ve put myself in a position to excel and stay healthy doing so.  I’m looking forward to September’s race and am already seeing an increase in my strength and speed.  I’ve been trying to put endurence over speed, but in the back of my tiny brain, I’m always thinking about how fast I’m going, I can’t help it.  It might be a numbers thing with me.  I love data.  I love collecting more data and writing my story with miles and splits and minutes, hours and pounds.  Quite a thing to be infatuated with your own health, wish I had started 15 years ago, but better now than neva!