Wednesday, January 31, 2007

End of January

~191 miles plus a few tenths.

I ran less.

I weigh more.

It's cold.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Dear Garmin,

I have a complaint. Ever since I got this Garmin for Christmas, I think the radio waves are killing me. I cite the following evidence:

Week 1: 83 miles
Week 2: 77 miles
Week 3: 27 miles
Week 4: 26 miles

Last week's 53 miles threatened to be a dead cat's bounce if I hadn't willed myself out of bed this morning and literally attacked my 15 miler this morning. How is it I run my little heart out for an 7:36 split? Yes, yes, the wind chill is negative 14 and headwind is relentless for 8 miles. Yes, yes, the cold Atlantic chops it's spray all around me, the ice covers the road, it's pitch dark. But are you sure this device is safe?


Dear Hallmark,

Just a short note to let you know I have ripped out the month of January from all your calendars in my possession and those of your competitors. Unless you improve the quality of this month, I will no longer acknowledge this month in my year. For years, (years!) I have suffered through this stupid month. Yes, that is right. Each and every January I suffer the January blues when the temperature drops below zero and my motivation to run goes through the floor. Then, of course, let's get injured. I mean why not? It's JANUARY after all. Might as well have some pain in addition to the blah blue freezing cold no motivation doldrums.

I haven't had a good January since I started running. So no longer will I purchase your product if you insist on including this frightful first month. I am moving to an 11 month calendar. Thank you.


Dear Marc & Mike,

What'd I do without friends like you to keep the fire burning? Great friends pull you through. Back on track. What a good weekend running up Marc's Farmington hills.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Coming along

All slow.

Sunday 20
Monday 15
Tuesday 10
Wednesday 0 (sick daughter kept me up)

Tried the email post function. Did not work.

Tomorrow 12.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

That was a long tumble

And now for a long climb back up.

Hit rock bottom with multiple days off (2 at a time) over the last two weeks. First the energy, then the leg, then back to the energy. Basically a dual problem of no juice and a hurting quad.

The quad problem comes from running just a little bit beyond myself. Mileage, intensity, bad footing - everything and anything. Comes with the territory, part of the sport.

The debilitating issue has been the energy / no snap / so tired issues. And this I think comes from an accumulated sleep deficit. This is an economic issue. I work, therefore I can't sleep. Or rather I train, therefore I can't sleep. But it's never, I train, therefore I can't work. Because then it'd be I train, therefore I starve.

Anyway, operating on 6 or less hours of sleep a night to get up and hit the roads at 4am catches up with one. I can go for awhile then it all falls apart. But hey, I'm human, I'm cyclical, and I peak. I sometimes peak at the wrong time, and sometimes I peak at the right time.

I kind of suspect that I gave myself a little peak there in my training. Perhaps I fell victim to 'training to train' as opposed to 'training to race'. I mean, I wanted dearly for that Parrott predictor to indicate progress and even '2:45:00'. That way I'd know I was zeroing in on the goal. I got the indicator alright. Funny how I went bust right after.

Peaked. Running those Aerobic Power workouts a little too agressively.

But what better way to learn than by doing? Also, you don't lose everything, and you gain quite a bit in the process. So a couple of weeks down through forced recovery is something we all have to face now and then. It's what comes after. Now there's the question.

Thanks to all who commented on my last post. You've probably noticed that I can swing disastrously from a euphoric super-potential runner to a grumbling has-been with just a few bad workouts. But that's my crazy way. Luckily, the lungs don't know how to give back all the aerobic improvement, so once I'm back in the game, we're ok until the next fall.

Training today: 10 miles. 8:15 pace. 141 HR.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Marc, Mark, & Mike

Running's been so bad lately that I crawled into my shell while I tried to work out my problems. One was energy which was solved quickly once the bug passed on, and the second was the right leg quad issue. This one took some time and left me feeling iffy about my conditioning, ability, you name it. A case of the nerves.

Marc had this same thing happen to him a few weeks ago when he got back from his injury. It was so easy to tell him to 'buck up' and 'don't worry'. Hmmm. He inquired today about how the weekend went. I replied:

The right leg just wouldn't cooperate and I had to take aggressive measures to get the pain to stop. Namely some more time off. Just as well. Last Friday I felt pretty good energy wise, but this morning I was raring to go. The only problem was the snow and ice. I wore my new spikes out there and they worked great. But I still had to bust my butt to get an average 8:00/mile for 10 miles. Man, I thought I was moving quicker than that.
So I'm at a reset point. I've taken my rest and regeneration and I'm anxious to get 'back at it'. However, I'm not at all convinced that my level of speed is appropriate given my recent downturn. Maybe I'm just scared. In any case, this leaves me no closer to choosing a marathon. I feel like I need another 8 weeks of base building to solidify my conditioning before I move to the marathon specific stuff. So what does this leave me? A fall marathon?
I don't have the blues but I've got the 'bahs!' real bad. I'm looking forward to coming up to your place.

Then I noticed Mark commented on my last post. He's the devil on my shoulder, reminding me of my bravado 12 weeks ago - accepting his challenge to run 2:45 (and not break down). I tried to reply to his comment via email but it didn't work. So I'll post it here:

Hey Mark - I'm still shooting for the stars here but struggling at the moment. I think I just conquered a major energy drop coupled with a right leg issue that just wouldn't go away. However, the indicators have only flickered near the goal pace so this puppy needs more base training. I'll be back up to my mileage addiction next week (this week being an intermediate build) after two weeks sliding down for repair. However, I was just telling Marc in Farmington, I've got to think a little about my speed. My last 'good' week was a little hard on me I think. Maybe too fast to sustain.
Sugarloaf got canceled so I'm a ship without a sail. Still working on base right now so I haven't even figured out what race I want to do. Being open ended does allow me to focus more clearly on my goal (2:45) but could be dangerous if I allow myself to remain in the base phase forever. For my next marathon I would like to be able to run my goal pace, so I'm a little reluctant just now to put a definite 'end date' to the training since it's a significant improvement from where I started. We will see. Holyoke again?

And then there's the recent depressing comment by Mike's mystery coach on his blog:

One other fad that has hindered development is the (too) "hard" (too) "easy" approach to training. I think you've seen this schedule; day 1: hard VO2 max intervals until you puke ( makes you mentally tough), day 2: long easy run for recovery ( got those miles in).

I may not run until I vomit, but I do run my easy days easy. I'm the 'get those miles in' runner trying to recover. Damn.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Running blind

Patience I guess. Yesterday an easy 6. Right leg a little bothersome which is frustrating. Today I'll do an easy 9.

It was cold yesterday. I finally wore my new balaclava that I got for Christmas. It fogged up my glasses. So I took them off.

Big mistake. I obviously haven't run without my glasses in years. I was blind as a bat out there. I couldn't see a thing. All the lights were big 'puffs' of light - large round circles of exploding light. Streetlamps, headlights, the moon - you name it, I ran amongst the fireworks. Very disorienting.

Finally, dawn broke, a car ahead a stop sign turning on to the street I was on. The blinker giving me intermittent puffs of light and then the car turned to drive toward me without its headlights on. It disappeared! Nothing. I knew the car was there but I couldn't see it. At. all.

I didn't realize my eyes were so bad. Today, I run with my glasses on.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A post as short as my run

7.5 miles this morning, very easy @ 8:17 average pace. Legs felt ok with a little residual tighteness after two ibuprofen prior to run. The rest of me was happy.

The day went ok until the afternoon when the right leg started tightening up again. A good dose of motrin took care of it.

Tomorrow continues regeneration @ 50% with 6 miles easy.

Have you seen and explored this site yet?

Monday, January 08, 2007

Off the rails

The curve sharpened and the train jumped the rails and plowed earth, debris filling the air. Emergency crews cranked and swung the engine back on the track but after a few miles the trip ended. No steam and a rod is shot. Time for repair.

The high mileage made me susceptible to the greatest and latest. Symptoms: sore throat, coughing, cramping, low energy.

It first showed it's head on Wednesday during the busted 7k/5k/3k ladder. I didn't have the speed. No snap. So following the rulebook: delete speed component for one week, repeat week. But Friday it got worse. Low energy from no sleep and a sore throat/cough blew an 18 mile attempt at a mere 3 miles. Second prescription following rulebook: take day off, resume Sunday, no speed for 1 week, repeat week. The medicine just wasn't strong enough.

Even after taking Saturday off, I had no energy on Sunday. 4.5 miles is all she'd give me for my 21 miler. And to top it off, the pain in the right leg has gone from just annoying to a real stiffness. No stride, no easy gait. Pain is minimal but present. Not only was the energy not present, the legs had absolutely no flexibility. It was like running with lumber for legs.

We are now at sequence three: two days off, regeneration week (50% cut in mileage), following week is full mileage but no speed, repeat original week.

I think the leg issue is a combination of needing rest and the bug. To give an idea of how I feel, it feels similar to how I feel after a marathon. Maybe not so sore, but a noticeable "limp" from some soreness, depleted energy, and a need to sleep. It's like I 'peaked' on my last good training week and I'm in a downward dip until I start to climb back up for even greater heights.

So rest is where it's at. I just like to do the minimum however. It is easy to just say "take some time". But how little can I get away with? That's the question. I could very well just take a month, or two. But that seems like overkill doesn't it? There is a place that is the minimum and I think my sequential and progressive rules of rest and recovery will find it. Hindsight says I should have invoked the regeneration week right from the first sign. But that's impossible. There are so many "first signs" out there that come to nothing. Anyway, here I am.

The sore throat and cough are gone. Smooth Kentucky medicine took care of that. Works for colds, coughs, burns, scrapes, and babies cutting teeth. Even lights the woodstove.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Dead end.

So much for easy street. Found the end of it 3 short miles into today's 18 miler. Yes, that's right. Another 18 mile bust.

For crying out loud.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Easy Street

Scheduled: 12 easy. And that's what I did. The weather was fairly warm @ 30F and the roads clear of ice. It's the gravel on the road now that's bothersome. My thin shoes allow me the pleasure of feeling every little pebble the sander has thrown down. But it's better than ice.

No complaints today. I think my 'real' problem yesterday was a serious lack of sleep. I generally don't get very much anyway (~6 hours per night). So when I get less due to a cold or in my case, a sore throat, it makes running difficult. Last night, however, I lathered up with Vicks and slept the sleep of the just.

I bounded out of bed at 3:30 and was on the road by 4:30. A full moon's glow diffused through translucent clouds lit the roads quite nicely. The plan was to do 4 easy loops. But after 2 loops, I met up with Eric and joined him for the rest of the 12. I felt fine during the run, relaxed and at ease. My right quad gives me a little pain during the day now - sort of like a delayed stiffness. This recovery week should help that out too.

Not much else to report as I wait out the recovery period. 100 miles at an easy pace just doesn't sound very exciting. Just more fuel I guess.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I couldn't do it after all.

Legs had no snap this morning as the workout fizzled early but not after giving it a try.

Scheduled workout: 15 miles w/embedded 7k/5k/3k ladder @ 6:20 per mile. 30 minutes even pace (80% MP) prior & 10 minutes @ 80% MP in between. Purpose: Aerobic Resistance.

Results: 15.09 miles in 2:04:46 including pit stop. (8:16 pace w/134 HR) Here's the breakdown:

Step 1: 30 minutes even pace @ 7:59 per mile. Had a hard time even doing this.
Step 2: 7k @ 6:26 per mile. Couldn't hold a steady pace - all over the map. Too fast, slowing, pick it up, slowing. Ugh.

At the end of 7k I used the 10 minute break for a pit stop at the house. I realized that I wasn't good for tempo today so I called off the hard stuff and ran the remaining 7 miles easily around 8:30 per mile.

This means I need some more recovery. I will cancel the rest of this week's tempo and run recovery pace until next week - where I will repeat the program for this week. The combination of a good training week last week and a new found sore throat is taking me down a notch. The first rule is reduce the speed component of the intensity chart.

So it looks like I'm on easy street until next Wednesday. Still doing the daily mileage, but at low aerobic / recovery paces to get the legs back.

Tomorrow: 12 miles easy.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Still recovering

Odd week allows me to run two recovery days in a row. Tomorrow we run "long resistance w/long variations". Sounds daunting.

Ok, I'm just reading the workout now as I type and it doesn't look too, too bad. The length of the workout is what will be tough I think. Here's what it says:

Step 1: 30 minutes even pace ~7:55/mi.
Step 2: 7k / 5k / 3k segments. Each at 6:20 per mile with 10 minute recovery in between at base pace above.
Step 3: Go home.

I can do that, I think. The toughest part will be hitting the MP pace. If I get scared and run too fast early, I'll falter later on in the workout.

I am glad for the two days recovery. The 21 miler on Sunday was tough following a really good training week. No good run goes unpunished, and a week of them is plain sinful. So I'm feeling it now.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Day one. The blender.

My first of the year run was not like Lydiard Mike's, a jolly jaunt on recovered legs cruising sunny climes at 6:40 per mile. No, no. Mine involved tired legs, a crawl pace, ice on the road, ice falling from the sky and some good gusts of wind. Up past my bedtime last night, I was beat before I went out and got beat up while I was out there. Fifteen miles later, I was pitted silly from the sleet, rain and wind. 2:24:17. (Avg HR 131) Today we endured Downeast Maine's standard winter fare.

It took all day, but I am finally glad I did the workout. The legs are feeling much, much better. And the weather got steadily worse all day. It was good knowing as I sat warm indoors, that I had already been out and completed my work. Another shovel of coal in the furnace.

Tomorrow is going to be so nice. A recovery 10 miler! I love these.

Training: 15.3 miles in 2:24:17. (9:25 pace). HR 131. Rain, sleet, ice, wind. The truest of slogs.