Friday, February 29, 2008

Spring Fever

Is officially here, cough, cough. It's 37 degrees F and the sun is shining. Feels like shorts and sandals weather. My college GPA took a dive every spring because of days like this. I want to go outside and play. Has to be at least one legitimate reason for me to get out of the office this afternoon.....

There is a very high probability that an outdoor bike ride is in my very near future. If it's not raining and the ice is more or less gone, you just may see me on my mountain bike come Sunday.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Left foot, right foot, wet foot, wet foot

The object of today's run was to try and keep my feet dry. You see, our wonderful snow and ice covered streets began melting today, leaving water and slush everywhere. It was a minefield. The roads were bad, the sidewalks were worse.

Dry feet were not to be, despite spending quite a bit of time running down the middle of the road or even on the other side of it. When we finally got back I looked at the dog. Apparently he wasn't concerned much with the water, as he was soaked from mid-chest down.

It was a good, if not long week. 3,700 yards in the pool. 3-hours on the trainer, and I ran 18 miles to round things off. Let me repeat that for those of you in the cheap seats. I ran 18 miles this week. No walking, no walk breaks, nothing. I ran, and I ran, and I ran some more. Four miles Wednesday in the frigid cold, 8 friday night in marginally better conditions, and 6 this afternoon in the slop.

Part of me can't help but wonder if my issue with running endurance hasn't been mental. Ten days ago I could barely make 3-miles, friday I made 8, and honestly felt like I could have kept going. Today I ran at a pace faster than anything, over any distance, that I've done previously (still embarrassingly slow).

Mental hurdle or physical progress I don't know. But either way I'll take it. The plan isn't getting any easier, at least I feel like I'm getting somewhere.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Oxygen deprivation

Or perhaps a complete lack of common sense. I'm not sure what drives one to go out and run in this weather. Not only are the roads and sidewalks packed solid with ice and snow, it's damn cold. When I left the house at 6:00pm for a short hockey meeting before my run, the thermometer read a big fat zero. When I returned home after swimming at 8:45, -11F. Cold.

Amazingly, it wasn't that bad. There wasn't any wind to speak of, a full moon (and eventually an eclipse), and not much in the way of traffic. I did overdress and worked up a good sweat. Which made me realize walk breaks probably were not a very wise option. I'd have probably frozen solid in minutes.

So I ran, and I ran, and I ran. 46 minutes worth, 12 minutes longer than my previous long run.

Time for a swim. I hadn't really planned out my swim, but I wanted to try and swim 500 straight so we could register for the J-hawk early bird triathlon. It's a sprint with the swim in the pool. They start you in waves based on projected swim time. I've never swam 500 straight, so I had no idea.

My thought was to warm up, do some easy drills, then go for it. About 50 yards into the warm up I said screw it and swam the whole thing. 11:25. Not fast by any means, but I swam the entire thing without resting, and it was 200 yards further than my previous long, which I had only done once or twice.

Worst part of the night was getting in the truck for the ride home. It's now -13F. I'm not running again until Friday, it better warm up. The weather man said it's only 30 or so days until spring. Let's hope.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Walkin' Blues

If I can walk tomorrow it will be a miracle.

Yesterday I went for a 7.4 mile trek, of which I ran 6.6 miles of it with only two walk breaks. I was happy, my calves were not. To keep things interesting the dog tried to take me out. He didn't count on my cat like reflexes as I hurdled him and kept going.

Today I got on the self inflicted human torture device, otherwise known as the bike trainer, for 1:15. Calves still not happy. I very much do not like that thing. Is spring here yet? Oh yeah, it rained today, then snowed, again. Our cul de sac is a skating rink.

Not a terrible week, despite the weather. 3,300 yards in the pool, 2:45 in hell, and 10+ miles on the road.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Wednesday Night Run

My Wednesday night routine has evolved into a run/swim workout.  Drive to the pool, run in the city, then swim.  I have to say it's one of my favorite workouts of the week.  It keeps me from having to run on the outskirts of town, and there is something about getting in the pool 1/2 frozen but fully warmed up.

So with a temperature hovering around 8 degrees and snow covered streets I headed to the pool on a Wednesday night for the first time in 3-weeks (the last two the school had closed due to weather).  I like running in snow, not on ice, and not in the wet slushy soak your feet crap, but plain old snow is fine.  It seems a lot softer on my joints, the irregularities of footing don't really bother me much, and I'm slow enough that I don't worry much about falling.

About a month ago I planned this 3-mile route through the city as flat as possible, a route with two mentionable hills, one about 2-miles in (southbound Johnson after Wilson), then the final trek back to the high school parking lot off of Jackson.  My ultimate plan with this route was to keep running it until I could do the entire thing with no walk breaks.  I wasn't concerned about the last hill, figuring I could run up anything if I knew the end was less than a quarter mile away.  But the hill on Johnson has been my nemesis.  I have tended to shut down at the mere sight of it, and it's not a big hill by any stretch.  If I was on my bike I might not have to shift gears, it's that small.

Back to last night, I'm coming down Johnson, actually feeling pretty good, and starting to think if I can make it up the hill I know I can run it in.

There it is, focus. 

Don't think about it, just keep going.

Think about baseball, no, that's never worked, but we're drifting off topic now.

Just keep going.

And just like that it was over, I was up the hill.

Checked the HRM, all good, let's bring it home. 

The first 1/3 was easy, as I was pretty excited about being able to continue running after the hill, the middle 1/3 was harder, as I started to realize how tired I was, then I turned up towards school and it was easy again.

And there you have it, my first run with no walk breaks.  And I actually felt like I could have gone at least another 1 or 2 (tenths).  I didn't break any land speed records, but I finished it, and I feel pretty good about it.  I'm sure one day I'll look back at this and laugh, but not today, today I happy boy.

Then it was on to the swim, which really deserves a post of it's own, but it may or may not happen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


This picture was posted over at beginner triathlete recently and it seems pretty applicable. I actually like running in the snow, and I'll get to that in a post to come, but I've had just about enough shoveling.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Bad Attitude

It's been a crappy week. The weather went to hell again, twice. Wednesay it dumped a ton of snow on us and last night we got back to mind numbingly cold. I haven't looked at a forecast, but if it doesn't warm up soon I may just take another week off.

To top things off, the UW running club V-Day 5k was cancelled yesterday morning. Of course I didn't find this out until I made my way to Madison and the supposed registration location. This despite looking at said running clubs website immediately before leaving the house. So I did what any normal person would do, I returned home and took a nap.

Sitting at the garden expo the remainder of the weekend hasn't helped the old attitude much either. I actually like the expo and the people I meet, but 10+ hours of talking compost over three days is a little much.

Aside from 4-hours or so of shoveling snow, I managed about 3,200 yards in the pool and a 1/2 hour on the bike. I didn't make it out for a run. Maybe next week.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sorry Patrick

I'm not really sure I can say anything real meaningful about training after watching the Super Bowl. I feel terrible that I made Patrick go to bed after the first Giants touchdown. He would have loved it. One of the best super bowl games I've seen.

Week 5 is behind me, week 6 is my first scheduled off-week. I'll swim my usual 2-3 times, and probably do 2 short runs and two easy bike sessions. Nothing long or hard, just enough to keep loose. Next saturday is the UW running club 5k I need to rest up for. I've had just enough hope in my performance this week to make me think I can actually run the whole thing.

As long as there are no hills. And the weather is decent. And there are no hills, or at least no hills late. I don't know the course, one can only hope.

3,000 yards in the pool this week, including a 1,600 yard effort at a pace that would have brought me in 8-minutes under the IM swim cutoff. This was a pretty significant event for me, especially considering my paces the first few months of swimming were 1.5 - 2+ hours beyond the IM swim cutoff. In reality I'm not really swimming any faster (2:20/100), but my endurance is getting a little better, and I'm not spending nearly as much time on the wall. I celebrated by downing nearly a pound of ground beef, onions, and cheese with chips and soda, otherwise known as lunch at the Eagle Crest. Not sure how that fits into the training plan.

Two hours in total on the bike in the basement, booooooring. And now that I've got the computer on the bike I'm realizing how dreadfully slow I am down there too. 16.5-miles on the road, half of that this afternoon. Feeling pretty good about running again. Knee is hurting though, good time for an easy week.