Sunday, February 24, 2008

Week 8

Maybe it was the cold (20 degrees and breezy when I started). Maybe it was the questionable footing because of the snow and ice. Maybe it was taking Alexandra skiing for the first time on my "rest" day (more on that in the next post). Maybe it was as simple as running 6 times in 8 days for ~60 miles. Whatever the reason, I just couldn't get it going today. Generally the week's running was good, and I can feel my conditioning improving, but the speed hasn't shown up yet. No worries though. In 2006 I was only running 2:10 on the Ocean Drive the first week of March and we know how that one ended. Today was 2:08:18, a slight improvement over the last time, but far off the 2:02 I'd like to be running. The time isn't that important, however. This was an overload week and it was all about volume. My 41.5 miles in the last 6 days puts me over the 200 mile point on the year.

This week will be an easy one as I try and adapt to the load from the last two weeks. Then everything starts anew as for the first time I will begin on a training plan designed for me by someone else. More on that later.

5 runs this week: 7.5,4.25,7.5,4.25,18
Total: 41.5
Ytd: 205.05

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Good morning Dadda.

The only guarantee I've found with kids is the simple fact that as soon as you settle into a routine, they are going to change it. This morning was a landmark day, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I was sitting having my coffee during "Daddy time", which is that time in the wee hours of the day when everyone else is sleeping. Even though by 6:30 both Dylan and Alexandra might be awake, Dylan is confined to his crib until released, and Alexandra never leaves her bed on her own...until today.
So I'm drinking my coffee when suddenly I here the pitter-patter of little feet coming down the stairs. So I wait for the sound of Leanna following. It's a sound that never comes. Instead Alexandra comes strolling around the corner and into the kitchen and wishes me good morning like this is something totally normal...EXCEPT SHE'S NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE...EVER!
I also have this feeling we won't be able to stop her from doing this, so Leanna and I are now stepping up the program to make her self-sufficient (e.g. putting a full sippie on a shelf in the frig where she can get it on her own). Hey maybe I can teach her to get Dylan and change his diaper!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Week 7

I had planned for this to be my first 40+ mile week, but Friday's run had to be canceled because I was interviewing a candidate for my open position at work. This wasn't that big a deal because Friday was slated to be a "filler" run anyway. The key run of the week was today: 17.5 miles at Sachuest Point. This week also marked my reintroduction to "plyometrics." Specifically I did 3 sets of "jumpies" (standing two legged hops in place). The sets were 1 minute on with 1 minute of rest between sets. I did about 50 jumps per minute. These really burn the quads and are intended to get them ready for the punishing downhills in the first 1/2 of the Boston marathon. Well let me tell you they really hurt. Back when I was a rower, I was the jumpie king. I could easily do 2 minute sets. That was many years ago. These 1 minute sets hurt me for days. I fact I didn't really feel pain and stiffness free until yesterday, and I did these on Monday.
I also did a bit on running on the indoor track this last week. I'm pretty sure it's helping me, but frankly I haven't really tested myself yet. Actually I'm specifically avoiding testing myself because I'm sure I'm improving well, and don't want to overcook it too early.
As for today, the trails were wet and soft. It was A LOT of work running that kind of distance in those conditions. Despite the lack of hills on the point, it was easily harder than running the Ocean Drive. I also have my first "sweat rate" numbers of the year. I was 160 pre-run and 157 post-run with 55 ounces of fluid added. I'll do the math for you a little later.

Here are the numbers:

4 runs this week: 4.5,7.5,4.25,17.5
Total: 33.75
Ytd: 163.55

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Week 6

Lowest mileage so far, but the miles that were there were pretty high intensity, so I'm happy for the time off. A lot of 200s on Tuesday, and mile repeats on Thursday. Probably about 10 miles total for the week, but some gag'n, especially during the miles. I ran the miles in 5:31, 5:35, and 5:48. The drop off told me it was time to call it a day. That and the twinge in my left hamstring. Nothing serious, but clearly a warning to not overdo it on the track. My best 200 was still only ~31 seconds, so I'm definitely not a sprinter (fast people do 200s in about 20 seconds).

3 days off (concluding today) and then things ramp up a bit more. I'm curious to see how this "cycling" works. I'm running more track and taking more off days than ever, but also running decent mileage (for me).

2 runs this week: 4.75, 5.25
Total: 10
Ytd: 129.8

Friday, February 08, 2008

What am I thinking?!

I encouraged Leanna to go away for the weekend so she could get some much needed time off. This will be my first time solo with both of them!

And this is my "rest" weekend. Yikes!

I'm a little more than 1/2 way through. Came close to losing it at one point, but held on. They do miss their mommy so they get a little more slack with certain things. In general they've been really good. If they weren't could daddy have survived taking them both to dinner (at a real restaurant) by himself?

**Update 2**
It's Sunday afternoon and I'm in the home stretch. Dylan's napping and Alexandra and I are watching Cinderella. Mommy is on the train home. This morning the weather was very nice so the 3 of us went out to Sachuest Point; just relaxing, bird watching (saw a really cool raptor of some sort), walking, playing with sticks, etc... A little cool and breezy, but we were all happy to be outside. In fact the only time they got naughty was when cabin fever would set in. As soon as we were all outside, everything was fine. After our trip to Sachuest, we went to Starbucks for shortbread cookies and for Alexandra, a vanilla milk. Believe it or not, the milk had 3x the sugar of the cookies. Not a very strong endorsement for New Horizon Organic Milk.

I'm glad I had the kids for the weekend. It helped with my confidence (and theirs I think!) to see that daddy could handle things. They missed mommy, a fact they expressed frequently, but they still went about the business of being kids rather than wallowing in despair. Sure Alexandra got a little upset in the middle of the night last night, but we both made it through (though I didn't sleep too much after that) and she's in pretty good spirits now.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Week 5: Starting the 2nd century

I passed the 100 mile point on the year on January 31. This is my highest mileage January since I started keeping this blog. It was the 2nd run of what will be only a 3 run week. Tomorrow will be my first Ocean Drive run of the year. I'm pretty sure this is the earliest I've run the Drive. The plan is to be conservative and just put in a first time under 2:10. In 2006 I ran 2:10 on the drive in early March, then went on to set my marathon PR (2:58:11) 6 weeks later. I also ran a 2:02 last fall and only managed a 2:59 and change a couple of weeks later, so the time doesn't mean a whole lot other than giving me a general idea how far my base endurance is away from being marathon ready.
I don't feel like I'm in danger of peaking any time soon. I think I'm just a bit better over longer distances; more resilient. Wednesday I did my first honest track workout (I've been running on the track, but hadn't done what I'd call a real track workout). It was 5x3 min. @ faster than 5k pace, with 3 minutes easy jog/walk between repeats. My pace was about 5:36 per mile during the repeats. It was pretty hard, but like last week on the trails, I actually performed better on the later laps despite the general feeling of fatigue coming over me (and the heavy legs and the urge to hurl...). That's what I mean by more resilient than previous years. I'm also lighter than I've been in a long time. I weighed in at 159.5 tonight. I think not swimming and biking has contributed to a loss of muscle mass. I'll be getting back into both soon, so we'll see what happens.
I went for a run Thursday, 7.5 miles at lunch, despite wishing to generally avoid running on consecutive days. A "farewell" lunch at work had killed my normal Tuesday training, so it was run in good weather Thursday despite running on the track Wednesday, or it was run on Friday in potentially foul weather. I fit it in on Thursday as that also gave me 2 days rest before the first 18 miler of the year (tomorrow).
On that note I need to finish up here and get to sleep. I'll be going out after making waffles for the kids tomorrow, and I'll update this post with the results after they're asleep.

Good night all.

3 runs this week: 4.75, 7.5, 18 miles.
Total: 30.25
Ytd: 119.8

It didn't come easily to me today, despite near perfect running conditions. I'm a little too sleep deprived right now. Nonetheless I ran a 2:08:26. It was 1:02:50 on the way out and the rest on the way in. Hard to say if that means anything relative to other years because I suspect my improvement curve will be a bit flatter this year. If nothing else it tells me I can afford to be somewhat careful in my preparation because I'm in decent shape. The fade between the 1st and 2nd 1/2 splits, however, tells me I still need to build my base. Next weekend is a full "rest" (yeah, right!) weekend as Leanna will be out of town and I'll have the kids to myself. Oh, and so much for AC/DC running through my head. Today I was stuck with "Just around the river bend." If you don't know this one, it's from "Pocahontas".

Friday, February 01, 2008

I'm a rolling thunder, a pouring rain...

I was driving home in a little bit of a daze. It was a long week, but a good week. I'm getting both kids up and giving them breakfast everyday now. It works out well because I'm the morning person anyway, and it gives me some needed quality time with them. Alexandra has also been in a much improved mood since we took her off the last of the asthma meds. Fingers crossed there... Anyway, combine that with work and training, and as rewarding as it all is, I'm pretty beat by Friday. So I'm driving home and turn the radio to WBOS 92.9, Boston. "BONG!... BONG!... BONG!... (a guitar starts)

"I'm a rolling thunder, a pouring rain
I'm coming on like a hurricane..."

It was March, 1992 when that song left an indelible mark on my memory. We were driving a big pickup pulling a trailer full of rowing shells from Pittsburgh to Tampa. We lost a wheel off the trailer in West Virginia. We got it replaced because, well, we were in West Virginia where even the day cares can fix cars. Then we'd (I'd) gotten a little lost in South Carolina, somewhere in the heart of NASCAR country. We had to make a run for it (okay maybe we didn't have to, but it seemed the prudent thing to do) when a car load of "locals" seemed to take an interest in our trailer load of carbon rowing shells (it was something like 2:00am). So by the time the sun came up again, about 20 hours into the drive (no it should not have taken that long), we were pretty spent. I vaguely remember crossing over the Georgia/Florida border. There were 3 of us taking turns driving and by this point none of us could keep our eyes open. And then the bells started ringing. Dazed and in our own little worlds, we each started rocking our heads forward. It wasn't long before we were up and screaming "You got me ringing HELLS BELLS!"

Next stop Waffle House!