Monday, September 27, 2010

Running & Reno'ing

As the title notes, I have been doing nothing but running & reno'ing the past little while.

A week ago I started the taper/sharpen phase for Victoria. Reduced mileage while incorporating speed work at 5km race pace. For a while there some of the runs were becoming a grind to get out the door in the evenings. That was mainly due to the weather - but now that the sun has returned along with some warmer temps, this has made running after work a lot more enjoyable.

I have been incorporating a few paced runs on the treadmill. Found a couple of websites that will give you conversions of your pace to what the various settings on the treadmill (speed/incline). The one I use is located here.

One of the big reasons I really like treadmill running because it forces you to run at a consistent pace. There is no slowing down if you get tired - unless you hop off or decrease the speed on the machine. Maybe it is a guy thing or a pride thing...but I refuse to slow down until the end of the workout or I face plant into the treadmill from exhaustion...haha.

The consistent pacing leads into another great benefit which is mental toughness. It takes a lot of discipline and motivation to run on a treadmill for any period of time. Especially when it comes to doing longer runs at a set pace. You have none of the external cues to distract you when you start to get tired, so "suck it up Butter-Cup" and get the job done. Nobody can do the work for you but YOU!

So overall I think things are going well although I am cautious about what my race day results will be. We'll see what the day has in store.

Happy Monday Peeps.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Rock-stars

I think we are all Rock-stars in some form or fashion...even if it is in our own minds. For instance...on some of my longer runs I'll set mini-goals...like not walking up a really steep hill or holding a certain pace for an interval set. When I achieve the goal I'll fire out a rock-star hand symbol or a peace sign as an acknowledgement to the world that I just rocked that hill or interval.

Of course no one is around...and if Mel is reading this she is probably rolling her eyes at my geekiness and saying "What have I married?"...haha.

But seriously, why not celebrate your success like a Rock-star?

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Running has been light this week...I've been tied up with work the past two days helping out with an event on campus while trying keep up with my regular duties in the evening. Event is now over so I am back on schedule...two runs planned for today...one tomorrow and a 2.5hr on Sunday. Monday I start tapering and sharpening for Victoria.

I have been asked several times what my goal(s) are for Victoria. I said to Mel that I find that question stressful to answer. I have a general idea of what I want to accomplish but don't want to place too much emphasis on it for fear of failure.

Yes, I do fear failure sometimes but that doesn't stop me from going for it.

I race each race like it is my last. I am not afraid to go beyond my limits and blow up before the finish. I am not too proud to walk it in.

At the end of the day I am going home with that finishers medal - after all, I "paid" for it!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Got Rain?

The past couple of weeks here in Calgary have felt like East Coast weather. I don't recall last fall here being this cold & wet. I stopped running in the early mornings, in part to this, and also because of the fact is so darn dark out!

Last week was a "recovery" week with reduced mileage overall. Sunday, being the start of a new training week, was a 3hr run. My goal for the workout was to run exactly 30 seconds over my marathon pace. I covered off 34km's in just under 3hrs - a 15 minute improvement over the same distance/course several weeks ago. Legs didn't feel too bad but my ankles were hurting.

I took an ice bath for 10 minutes after the run followed by a 20 minute hot bath in our jetted tub.

From what I have been reading, the Victoria Marathon route has a lot of rolling hills so I have been doing these long runs on a hilly course. Lots of sustained downhills/uphills with a few shorter & steeper climbs/descends.

I don't think most marathon courses would not be designed as hilly as my training route but I figure this will help me for race day...even if on some days I find it difficult to trudge the last km and a bit back up the house after 32kms of running.

I have been developing acne around my mouth and face the day after my long runs. It lasts for a few days before clearing up. Been looking into this and all I can come up with so far is some hormonal imbalance due to endurance running...maybe I'm "man"strating?

Anyone with any ideas?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rolling with the punches

I got absolutely rocked on my Sunday run.

Left in the evening completely under-dressed. As a result, had to turn around early to head home because I was really cold. In a hurry to get home I ran faster than I should have and paid for it. In addition, I developed those lower stomach cramps I typically get on long runs.

In the end, I ran 26 of the projected 29km and fell short of my goal of 25km at race pace. (I called it quits at 22.5km)

I was ripping mad at myself when I stepped through the door at the end of that run.

But after few days of reflection and a bit of research have I come to accept the run for what it was and walked away armed with some new knowledge and determination.

I found these articles which helped to shed a little light on possible causes of my cramps...

http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/abd.pain.html

http://www.military.com/military-fitness/fitness-test-prep/avoiding-stomach-cramps

In addition, I've been wearing a lot more clothing on my runs now that winter is basically on our doorstep (where was summer this year?).

This week is a recovery week so most of my runs have been fairly light. Last night I did do a 14km workout with 5x 4 minutes at 5km pace on 2 minutes rest intervals in the middle.

I surprised myself with how fast a pace I could hold for the intervals and how fresh/strong I felt after wards.

Training is funny like that...you have one workout that absolutely crushes your confidence but then basically the next day turn around and TKO the next one!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Rain, 7 degrees, and 29km to run

It is Sunday morning...I'm still in my pj's with my house coat on sat in front of the computer reading blogs, commenting, and having my morning coffee. As I type this it is pissing rain outside and 7 degrees. Did I mention we had to turn on the heat?

Where did summer go? More importantly, did it ever arrive here in Calgary?

I have a 29km run today - 25km's of that at marathon goal pace. Not that I am not motivated to get out there and hammer it - I have been looking forward to this workout all week as a test of my current fitness.

But the cold & rain wreaks havoc on my knees, especially the one I can acl reconstruction. And to be honest, who wants to be out there between 2.5hr - 3hrs being soaked with achy knees.

I'll have to wait this one out...meanwhile I grab another coffee!

Overall, I have been really enjoying the switch up in training. Training for a single sport is such a nice break from training for three. If I sleep-in in the morning, I can always make up the workout in the evening - I like that flexibility.

Not too mention, I have a ton more energy all the time. All my runs feel good which is a feeling I had forgotten for a long time.

I have asked a couple of time how the marathon training is coming along by friends and colleagues. That question is difficult to answer for me. I am not a runner so I find it hard to gauge where I am at.

Things just simply feel good is what I respond with.

Outside of training, Mel & I have been gun-ho with another reno project. This one involving the main level of our house. We are in the process of ripping out the old carpet in two rooms and prepping the floors for the hardwood installers coming on the 13th. In addition, we are repainting and installing new trim throughout the floor. This one should take a little while but we are both excited.

And before I end this entry - I have a funny "Mel & Shan moment" to share.

Friday past we decided to share a drink together and unwind to some television. Remember, relationships are about compromise so I "agreed" to watch several episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress" - both the New York and Atlanta versions.

Mel had her wine cooler and I had a glass of my favorite Australian Cabernet.

Long story short, Mel ended up going to be before me and I ended up having a few too many glasses watching Oceans 11 into the wee hours of the morning.

When I woke up on Saturday morning I-was-hungover!

First thing I said to Mel was:

"Why did you leave me unsupervised?"

I got the look.

Mel then follows up:

"I want you to never-ever complain again nor question when I tell you to do something. I am your wife and sometimes you need to be supervised husband."

This is a running joke in our marriage...I often quip she is the supervisor.

Happy Sunday Folks!