Fresh Start

This winter and spring has been a pretty low point in my new-ish running hobby.  After a couple of strong years with an abundance of strength and determination, this past winter was a real bitch for me.  I haven’t wanted to run, which is a real change for me.  I cancelled my first race of the year and haven’t as of yet signed up for anything.  I’m not enjoying the running, I’m not excited for running news and don’t really enjoy talking running with other runners…  All things I did constantly over the past year and a half.

So, now that the weather here is turning and the days are longer and warmer, I’m feeling better about wanting to get outside and run.  I built up a running plan around a race in September, my first 50 miler, along with my 2nd annual birthday run-your-age run.  Last year I did 39 miles broken up over the whole day, this year I want to do one 40 mile run.

The plan I built is almost a beginner’s training plan.  I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed with having to hit longer miles.  I’m pretty much trying to get a passion back for running.  Yesterday, I went out and got lost in a cool trail system that I haven’t explored before, today I just did a little 3+ miler in the morning before work, my favorite time of the day to run. The rest of this week, I want to go on fun runs and explore some areas I haven’t been to in a long while.

I really hope this kicks my gears up a little.  Without my running, I’m definitely feeling the lifelong minor-depression sneak back into my everyday life.  That’s something that scares me and is always somewhere back there behind me.  I know it’ll always be there, I just need to stay out in front of it.

The Weather, It Is A-Changin’

Wow…  I mean, FUCKING-A wow!  What a fantastic little stretch of weather we’re having here in Southern New Hampshire.  I tossed on my shorts for yesterday and today’s runs.  Rocking out with the white-ass legs and loving every minute of it.  Picked up a new pair of ear buds, some cheapo $20, over the ear ones that worked pretty well today.  It’s amazing how weather plays such a huge part in my mental health.  I’m not saying I’m unique in this, it’s just such a nice change of pace.  I’m like an idiot dog that completely forgets that winter isn’t forever and right around the corner, we’ll all be out there dropping gallons of sweat and looking towards Autumn for some relief from the heat.

Here’s a big middle finger to everyone who hates the time change coming this weekend too.  I LOVE IT!  In the bat of an eye, we add an hour of daylight to the afternoon!  It’s incredible.  I know, I know, we “lose” and hour of sleep, but anyone with children…  or dogs for that matter, know they aren’t aware there’s a time difference.  They don’t give a shit I’d prefer to sleep an extra hour.  I’ve learned to embrace the spring time change.  The way I see it, if you leave work at say 4:30, your body gets ready to leave work at 4:30, but now your body’s 4:30 is actually 3:30.  See?  You’ve tricked your dumb brain and you feel like you’re leaving early.  So save all your pissy Twitter and Facebook posts and get ready to enjoy your extra hour!  You’re welcome.

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.

8 Miles On Trashed Legs

It’s been a while since I put in any significant mid-week miles and yesterday it showed.  I put in 4 on Tuesday, 8 on Wednesday, including 4 miles of intervals, and 8 yesterday.  After my marathon last April, I started up again too soon and really exhausted myself.  Then, in an attempt to mix up my training, switched from a mile based plan to a time based plan.  Even though I was able to complete my goal of 45 miles at Ghost Train, looking back, I don’t think I was training hard enough.  On the other hand, I think that if I had trained harder, I might have actually injured myself and not have been able to race at all.  Either way, I’m feeling way behind where I think I should be in my training for this year’s TARC Spring Classic.

The most telling example is yesterday’s run.  I went out feeling truly beat.  The kind of beat you feel in the last part of a race.  It was an all-around shit show.  It was warmish, but with a pouring rain.  A mile in, I cleared my nose and it started bleeding ridiculously, which lasted until about mile 4.  A few miles later, all the blood that I had swallowed started to turn my stomach.  I kept from barfing, but that made me almost shit myself…  All on legs that felt like cement.

I’m glad I got in the 20 miles this week with another 20 planned for the weekend.  I haven’t hit 40 in a while and am looking forward to pushing myself on the rail trail if it’s not a skating rink.  I love heading out and just doing a long out and back.  There’s excitement in exploring new trails, but I also love the comfort of a soothing out and back.  I’ll line up some podcasts and just get lost in my head without getting lost in the woods.

Shredding the Tread

I’ve been a total baby about being outside lately.  Sometimes I’m just so pathetic about it.  My friends are calling me a baby, but honestly, if I wasn’t hitting the gym, I wouldn’t be doing anything.  I stopped running on treadmills for any distance over 4-5 miles because I’d get these blisters on the bottom of my toes.  2Toms to the rescue.  I’ve been using 2Toms as my lube of choice for a while now and figured I’d give it a try on the tootsies.  This has made a world of difference during the crappy New England winters.  We’ve had a very mild winter, but February is my El Guapo and I’d take a treadmill run over sitting on my ass any day.  I’ve also added stationary biking to my workout.  On longer running days like today, I’ll run for 4 miles, add in 10 miles on the bike and then hit 4 more on the mill.  On shorter days, like yesterday, I ran my 4 miles and then finished off with 10 on the bike.  My 10 miles on a stationary bike takes about a half hour and adding that extra cardio is helping in my longer, outdoor, weekend runs.

As for the blog, I’ve decided to close down greyrunner.com and just use this place as my catch all blog.  Starting next week, I’m going to start some new fitness tactics and really try to record them daily.  March tends to go one of two ways.  Shitty, late snow and cold or beautiful early spring.  I’ve been burned too many times thinking positively about the weather, so I plan mentally that it’s going to blow.  That’s why I’m going to make some changes and hit this blog again.

Metatarsal, Metashmarsal

badfootDamn foot.  Damn, stupid foot.  Yesterday I ran for the first time since Ghost Train and I thought, besides the cobwebs needing to be kicked out, it went really well.  That was until later in the night when I got up from the couch and felt an incredible pain in the bottom of my left foot.  Right on the outside there.  Right where the internet tells me is my Metatarsal.  Right where the internet tells me is a common location for an overuse injury.  Balls.

I first told myself that I was going to take the next few weeks off from running, but the weather is perfect and it’s hard not to get out there and enjoy the last parts of fall before the winter interrupts and kicks in the scrotum.  Now I’m feeling that I’m going to be forced to take this time off.  Cutting out the running and hitting the gym.  Burning the last good weather of the year inside, barf.

Could be worse, could be INJURED injured.  Guess I’ll just get swoll and test it out in a few weeks.  Time to dig out those padded bike shorts and headphones, best to make something positive out of this break.  I could definitely use the weight and core training.

Back On the Horse

With my last race of the year completed and the New England winter approaching, I’m in that spot where sitting at my computer, playing a video game sounds way more appealing than covering up in layers and hitting the trails with a headlamp…  Thanks a ton daylight savings.  This is where I need that little extra push to get my ass out of the house and do some work.  I’ve just started to put together a winter program and plan on incorporating a new diet to help get through the winter doldrums without an all-out depression setting in.  My first race of next year will be the TARC Spring Classic.  This year’s Spring Classic was my first marathon and I’m going for the 50K this year.  I’m adding something new to this winter’s training, a weight goal.  I would like to be around 165 or so by race day.  Over the summer, I’ve put on a little weight.  Some of it is muscle, I definitely feel more strength when climbing hills, but some of it is most certainly from cookouts and beer.  I’m sitting around 180 now, and feel confident that I can shave 15 pounds by April 23.

My main goal for 2016 will be finishing at least one 50 miler and using Ghost Train, at the end of the season, as another experiment to see how far I can go.  I was excited to hit 45 miles this year, but would have liked to have gotten another loop in.  It’s a little odd how excited I am to have these goals, especially the weight loss.  I’ve found that I take my diet and training way more seriously when I put solid, attainable goals out in front of me.

Inspired Again

Nothing bad has ever come from tacos and beer.  Last night the wife and I invited a fellow runner and new(ish) acquaintance over for some grilled chicken tacos and Stoneface IPAs.  I recently met Chris at our local coffee shop that we’ve both frequented for years.  After one of the baristas mentioned that Chris was an ultra-runner, I spat out my social awkwardness and introduced myself.  A week later, I was chasing him and his running partner up some hills in Marlborough and last night we broke bread tacos together.  Through all the reading I’ve done about trail running and all the videos that speak to the community, I’m becoming more and more convinced that it’s not bullshit.  They are some of the most welcoming and gracious folks I’ve met since starting this experiment about 10 months ago.  After just a few days, Chris had invited me on a run and never made it seem weird that I was there with them on the trail.  I consider myself a complete newbie to the sport and am still in the stage of laying low and watching the grownups do their thing.  Running with, or mostly behind, Chris and Keith, without being made to feel like I was holding them back, gives testament to the philanthropy of the trail running community.

marlborough_4.4.15_2

Yesterday was a truly beautiful spring day and it happened right when we needed it.  This winter was an especially cold and depressing season so the sunny, 70° weather yesterday was incredibly renewing.  After chowing, we all sat on the porch and chatted about some of Chris’s races and experiences on the trail.  He was gracious in answering what must have been child-like questions and took the time to tell some stories and have some laughs.  I woke up this morning inspired to hit the webs again with this little blog.  I have to remember that as new to this sport as I am, there is always someone who is newer than me.  My hope is that I’m able to pass whatever little bit of knowledge I have, down the line to the next person who will eventually do the same.

marlborough_4.4.15_1

On to a bit of a training update.  My first marathon is coming up in less then two weeks and I am at the point in my schedule where my weekly miles are shortening.  Last week I hit 40, but this week will be considerably less, probably somewhere in the mid 20s.  I’m still not sold on the whole taper thing, but I vowed to stick to the plan, and it’s been going well so far.  After Sunday’s 13 miler, I had a bit of soreness in my right knee, but nothing serious.  I’m hoping the let-up in miles will set my legs up for a smooth race, but who knows really.  Sure as shit, not me.  What I do know is that I’m still enjoying the run, the trails are thawing out, and if I was able to kick through 18 miles of knee deep snow, I can at least creep through 26.2 miles of trails.

The 5K Training Plan

Here’s the plan I’m trying out for my first 5K.  Honestly, it could be complete bullshit, but it’s the best written, free plan that I found, and until someone tells me otherwise, or I find an intelligent way to augment it, this is what I’m sticking with.  I found it here.  I decided to start it during the second week to fit my schedule coming up to my first race.  I had absolutely no problem completing the scheduled runs, so I think I’ll be ok.

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1 CT or Rest 3 x 400 IW 2 m run 30 min tempo Rest 5 Mile Run 30 min EZ
2 CT or Rest 4 x 400 IW 2 m run 30 min tempo Rest 5 m run 35 min EZ
3 CT or Rest 4 x 400 IW 3 m run 30 min tempo Rest 6 m run 35 min EZ
4 CT or Rest 5 x 400 IW 3 m run 35 min tempo Rest 6 m run 40 min EZ
5 CT or Rest 5 x 400 IW 3 m run 35 min tempo Rest 7 m run 35 min EZ
6 CT or Rest 6 x 400 IW 3 m run 40 min tempo Rest 6 m run 40 min EZ
7 CT or Rest 6 x 400 IW 3 m run 40 min tempo Rest 7 m run 45 min EZ
8 CT or Rest 3 m run 30 min tempo run 2 m run Rest Rest 5K Race!

 

Tomorrow will be Monday of week three.  I’ll try to link my dailies from my Map My Run account to this table, but I’m having a hell of a time getting any links that I don’t hack around that site to work.

*NOTE: I’ve succeeded in linking my workouts from Thursday of week 2 on, although it doesn’t look like it.  Trust me, the links work.