Monday, June 29, 2009

Oh, hello knees

A fun twelve miles on Saturday all by myself. Got to catch up on some talk radio podcasts during the run and the weather was quite nice, for a change. Other than the first mile during which I swear I could not get my legs to move any faster than a sloth in molasses it was all good. Right on pace, no issues at all, and a nice day to be out and about.

Unfortunately my knees have been a little achy since then. Interesting. They normally don't do that unless I have been inactive for a long time. After today's four miler they continue with their low-level nagging. We shall be keeping an eye on that situation.

Scaffolding, speakers, and all the other good stuff has started springing up all around the Hatch Shell in anticipation of the big Fourth of July holiday. It's that exciting time of year again. Let loose the cannons!

Today marks day one of my 16 week training plan and I already think I am being a bit ambitious. It's never a great idea to start a new plan with creaking knees knowing that not only will I be increasing my mileage but I will also be adding extra days to the schedule. But we train to get stronger so more training will result in fewer aches right? I didn't think so.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Relax, enjoy

Ah. Day off today. Let those legs rest up for tomorrow's long run. Hmm; think I'll go for a walk at lunch.

The Corporate Challenge 2009. 3.5 miles. As I said earlier, I got to the front for the start this time instead of being stuck behind gangs of walkers (move to the back!). The start went off great with only a little bumping and jostling for the first 100 yards and then it was easy to settle into a rhythm. I pretty much hit my stride right on target. The first mile came in around 6:20, the second around 6:25 and the third around 6:35 (I know, slacked off a bit there) for an average of 6:26. Slightly faster than planned but just about where I wanted to be for a finish of 22:36. A new PR.

And the best part is that I was the first from our company to finish so I got to plunder the snacks for the best stuff before anyone else showed up! Good to be a front-of-the-packer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stuck in traffic

I got to the front of the pack to start the Corporate Challenge. First time in three years I got a good start.

Now I'm sitting in traffic on the way home.

Damn you karma.

The Challenge; Corporate

Tonight is the Corporate Challenge. 1.4 miles of fighting my way through joggers and 2.1 miles of running. Fun stuff. Another humid day for it so we shall see how it goes.

A solid week of training so far. I have changed over my schedule to Mon - Thurs and Saturdays so it will be interesting to see how the various aching parts of my legs hold up. The four month schedule has been pulled together and mostly finalized and it calls for a good amount of mileage increase in the next few weeks. I will try not to destroy any other parts of my body this time.

The biggest question I have now is when to find the time for all the running. Some days I can stretch out a bit of extra distance but once it gets up to 8-10 miles there is no way I can do that during work hours. I think I may have to split them into two runs a day, one in the (way too) early morning and another at lunch. That would leave a few evenings to get in a workout. Wow, sounds fun. Potentially three workouts a day. Aack.

16 weeks, three days to Bay State.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Reasons why you shouldn't run up a mountain

Let me count the ways:
1)It's a freakin' MOUNTAIN!
2)See number 1
3)See number 2
That about covers it.

Total time to the top: 1:49:37
Total miles run: 7.6
Total elevation climbed: 4650 feet
Average grade on the course: 11.5%
Total time spent walking: plenty

Looking back I realize I went out too fast, even though I thought I was taking it easy. By mile 1.5 I stopped to walk for the first time. From then on it was run-walk-run the whole way up. By mile 5 I had finally learned how to shuffle my way up instead of a normal hill stride. That's the key.

The weather held perfectly. We were stuck between two rotating fronts with heavy rain. From the start to about 5000 feet there was a cloud cover with a slight mist. That helped cool us down from the mugginess. Once we neared the summit we emerged above the clouds to the warm sunlight.

Everyone ran great and there was only about a 3 minute range for all our finishing times. Incredible.

So will I do it again? I have no clue. It was the hardest race I have ever run. There just was no end to the hill and no chance to rest. In a word; it was brutal.

But I think I could do better next time...

Pictures from the race

Friday, June 19, 2009

Twas the night before...

...Mount Washington and I was stricken with a stomach bug. Great, this is just what I need. All this time worrying about my legs and whether they would hold up ok; and now this. Never saw that coming.

Hopefully it is a one day thing and I will be ok for tomorrow. The last thing I need is an emergency stop at 5000 feet up. I'm pretty sure there aren't any bathrooms until the summit so that could be ugly.

The other downer is that the forecast is calling for clouds and fog so there may be no view. Bummer, I was looking forward to some sweeping vistas to carry me to the top. Guess the urgent need for a bathroom will have to do instead.

See you at the top!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blue Hills

Finally got over to Blue Hills to do some big hill repeats. Actually, it is only about .15 miles more than my normal hill but significantly steeper at parts. The weather was great so I was looking forward to it. Apparently a bunch of other runners had the same idea and I was surprised by them passing me on their way down as I was heading up.
What a hill that is. No part of running up it is much fun. The view from the top was pretty nice but other than that it was just a long climb up. But I guess I can't really complain too much; at one point there was a woman pushing a double stroller up the hill with two kids in it. Yipes.

I had planned on going up 4 times but my shins had really been bothering me so I decided to call it after three. Oh well, better than nothing. Now that I have done a real workout I am really not looking forward to Mt Washington. That is going to hurt.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sandbagger? Well...

Handicapped mile was run Friday night with 13 runners vying for the title. The downpours ceased shortly before and as 6:30 approached the skies opened up and the sun came streaming out. It was still humid out but at least we didn't have to contend with rain.

I had been seeded at a 5:50 pace, after much contention within the club, which meant I had a 1 minute and 10 second delay between the first person to go and myself; sort of. I was pretty confident I could run the 5:50 but in a turn of events, Dan B. unexpectedly turned up without a prior seeding and was given a 3 minute head start. That meant I had to make up 4 minutes and 10 seconds! It was only a mile race!

Before I knew what was what people were off and running. I was third to last so I had to wait a bit, but soon enough I found myself on the line; and off I went. I had decided to run light so I left the GPS at home and was wearing a watch so I had no outside measure of my pace like I normally would.

Halfway through the first lap I realized I was way too fast so I backed off a bit. First lap finished around 75 seconds. Whoops, that was about 7 seconds faster than I had planned. So I slowed down a bit more. So far I was feeling good and managing to pass a few people already. Unfortunately I realized that I had only passed Dan once and he was already about three laps up on me. No way I could catch him.

As I approached the end of the second lap I realized that I never hit the split on my watch for the first lap. Idiot. This split read 2:46 which means I ran the second lap in 1:31. Way too slow, time to kick it in a bit. Halfway through the third quarter I realized that I was not hurting as much as I should have been. Gotta make sure I keep up the pace.

Third lap clocked in at 83 seconds. Right around where I had intended but since I was feeling ok it needed to be faster. Now I was getting close to the last pack of runners. Coming around the first turn they were within striking distance. I pushed the pace a little and thought about making a break with 200 meters left but decided to keep steady for a bit more.

As I approached the last turn only a couple of runners remained in front of me. Going into the turn I turned it on and went into a sprint; it was now or never. Quickly I overtook the last of them and found that I wasn't as winded as I thought I would be. This was both comforting and a bit disconcerting. It was nice to have a big surge of energy for a strong finish but that also means that I hadn't run the other three laps fast enough. Oh well, live and learn.

As I crossed the finish I looked down at my watch and saw 5:27; a 78 second final lap. Whew, that was a surprise. With the second fastest time overall for the race I was pretty happy. Thank heavens for the seeding since the fastest time was around a 5:04!

So I guess that settled the debate on whether I should be seeded at 6:00 or 5:50; it should have been more around 5:30. But I don't think the club will make that mistake again. And yes, I heard about it plenty at the drink-up afterwards.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Doggin' it

Saturday long run day with the club. It has been nice not having a set schedule to adhere to so I get to be flexible and run what I feel like that day. I figured I would do ten or more, whatever felt good. Met up at 6am and off we went. Smaller than usual group because of some races and stuff so I ended up with Trace for the run. A few times I had to reel her back in as our pace inched closer toward the 7 minute pace but overall it was a really good 6 miles.
At 7 the new shift showed up for the next part of my run. Because of schedules and the route we began to make our way back to Vellos just shy off the 11 mile mark for me. The closer we got the more resolved I was to just call it and head home for an early morning. I felt bad, almost guilty that I was doggin it and cutting the run short.
That's when it hit me, when did running 11 miles become a short run in my head? There have been many milestones over the past couple of years, PRs, marathons, etc and I think this qualifies as one. This is the first time that I have felt like I was slacking because I "only" did 11 miles. Not sure when that kind of mileage became ordinary to me but I kinda like it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Just another week

Tuesday I decided to do some hills, there is a pretty good sized one near my house that I figured I would do some repeats on. It's only about a mile away so I figured I would run over, do some repeats, and head home. Easy enough, or so I thought.

After hitting the first mile and not even being half-way to the hill I realized I had grossly underestimated how far away it was. Finally at around 2.5miles I arrived and began my workout. Suddenly the hill flattened out after about a hundred yards. Wrong street, it was the next one. Grr. So off I went to the next street. Just over three miles and finally I can begin.

Up the hill I went, about three-quarters of a mile long. Excellent. Back down and do it again. I had planned on doing that a couple more times but looking at the distance I had covered already that would end up being about a twelve mile run, a bit too long for this workout. So I cut my losses and headed home finishing up doing almost 9 miles. Brilliant planning on my part. Next time I'll drive to the hill.

It looks like I am going to be seeded at 5:50 for the GNRC Handicapped Mile. Apparently I was the subject of much discussion whether I should be 6:00 or 5:50 due to my recent race results. I don't care much where they put me. I'm just gonna race as well as I can and find out what I can actually do. My best mile time ever recorded was a 5:46 during a 5K but that really isn't a good measure since it was all downhill with a net elevation change of -108 feet. It should be interesting to see how I do. I went out Thursday and did a little speed work. A couple half-miles ended up being around 5:58 and then a couple quarter-miles somewhere around a 5:40 pace. Good, but can I keep that up for a mile? We shall see.