Thursday, December 31, 2009

Cutting Shapes

To cut a shape is to run 400 meters, or one lap around the track, as fast as you can. You are suppose to go so fast that it looks like you are cutting a shape out of the landscape. Now, I wasn't going that fast but "cutting shapes" is still some cool phraseology for repeat 400's. I did 12 of them w/ an equal 400 meter recovery. This is new for me as I don't usually allow myself that much recovery between reps. This was my first track workout in a couple of months. It felt good to get back on the track even if my legs are a little cranky for it now. The weather was cold, near 20 degrees, but this was little to no wind, so I can't complain.

1- 74 5- 74 9- 74
2- 77 6- 75 10- 73
3- 75 7- 74 11- 75
4- 75 8- 74 12- 73

I did the 400's with a rolling start and didn't click the watch for splits. The above is the time elapsed between when I looked at my watch when I started the repeat and when I looked at the end. Nothing scientific; just good estimates of where I am physiologically. This was not a killer workout. I was not dead at the end of it.

Wednesday 12.30.09
AM: 12 miles in 87:09
PM: core
The repeats were bookended w/ a 4 miles warmup and a two mile cooldown. I threw in some strides for good measure.

Thursday 12.31.09
AM: 10 miles in 76:39
PM: core
Last run of the year. I woke up to snow falling and covered streets. Wasn't completely expecting that. The snow made the run slow--that and my legs were a tad grumpy from yesterday's 12 x 400. I found a golf course and did some running on that (no worries of skidding cars there) but it was a slow go. I had to improvise a loop and when I do that the run sometimes suffers. Just glad to put this one in the books.

Happy New Year! Watch out for drunk drivers.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Run Your Cold Out of Your Body

If you've had a headcold and been struggling with it during your runs, run faster. I'm an experiment of one (I'm paraphrasing somebody famous but I don't know who) but this seemed to work for me on Monday. After struggling through three heavy headed slow runs, I decided I needed to pickup the pace. Once I did that, I started to feel better. One, it made the run go by quicker. Two, it made me concentrate on my legs and form as opposed to my head. I'm glad I did it. Now, I don't know if I could've done it at the height of the cold but I could a couple of days later. It beats taking a day off and stewing about not running. My body actually began to feel better after this run. I think my body broke my headcold. Cool.

Monday 12.28.09
AM: 13.75 miles in 99:31
PM: core
Did this run on Forbidden Drive in Philadelphia. It's a gorgeous place to run. After the first phlegm hacking six, I decided to do half mile pickups every mile for the next six miles. I didn't split them out exactly, but I started slowly and got faster (and felt better) after each one.

Tuesday 12.29.09
AM: 72 minutes on recumbent bike
PM: core
Tuesday continues to be an "off" day for me. I hope to be ready to go again tomorrow.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

This Week in Running

This week started off fantastic. Monday through Thursday my workouts were sharp and crisp. Then on Christmas Eve afternoon my head started to feel heavy. It got heavier and heavier through Saturday night. This headcold killed my runs for the rest of the week. I didn't miss any but they certainly weren't what I wanted them to be. I'm starting to feel better now (Sunday afternoon), so I'm hoping next week will be a good one.

Thursday 12.24.09
AM: lifting routine and 2.75 miles in ~20 minutes
Wanted to do an easy twenty minutes. My legs were a little cranky after Wednesday's hill workout.

Friday 12.25.09
AM: 8 miles in 59:08
On the roads by 05:15 for this one in order to maximize family time on Christmas morning. Not feeling great but it was too early in the morning to realize it. KJ's first Christmas was a blast. She was spoiled by everyone, especially her grandparents, aunts, and uncles.
Saturday 12.26.09
AM: 7 miles in 53:37
Wanted to do 15. Didn't do even half that. The headcold was peaking and a steady rain killed any aspirations for a solid semi-long run. Pretty much dead for the rest of the day.

Sunday 12.27.09
AM: 9 miles in 68:18
Starting to feel better. Pace still on the slow side. Glad to do more than the minimum 7. May do a little core work later tonight, but we'll see how it goes.

Weekly Numbers
50 1/2 miles in 5 runs
60 mins on the bike (indoor trainer)
3 core workouts
1 lifting routine

Last complete week of 2009. Will be compiling miles for the year later in the week.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

3 x 1.5 and Hills

Wednesday 12.23.09
AM: core
PM: 10.75 miles in 77:13
After running for about 5 miles, I started the hill repeats. I did 7x a hill that was about 1/3 of a mile long. I jogged back down for the recovery. It was nice having such a long recovery. I did all of the repeats between 1:38 and 1:44, which really means nothing b/c I don't have an exact measurement of the hill. I did feel good, though, to get going over a hill. Two negatives to this run.
1) It was cold and windy. My hands were numb.
2) There was a holiday spread at work today. I ate too much of it.

Tuesday 12.22.09
AM: core
PM: indoor bike 60 mins.
This piece of exercise occurred much later than I thought it would. Had to go to take KJ to the doctor and then get her some medicine at the pharmacist. Good news: she's feeling better already.

Monday 12.21.09
AM: core and 11 miles in 70:05
On the treadmill for this one. Did 3x 1.5 miles hard w/ 1/5 mile recovery.
The splits
1 - 8:03
2 - 8:00
3 - 7:54
Felt good and in the zone. Initially I was happy for running these pickups in ~5:20 pace. Then I realized that I ran these splits in ideal conditions: no wind, no cold, no hills. That tempered my enthusiasm a bit, but I am still happy that this work felt relatively easy. My body wants more.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

This Week in Running

First major snowstorm of the season put me on the treadmill today, and I'll likely be on it tomorrow too. Now, in years passed without a treadmill in my possession, these runs would have been out of doors. I like running and cold and snowy conditions; they make me feel dedicated but I'm starting to think the 'mill is the better option. This is b/c I clearly remember last year. It was right around this time in December 2008 we had a similar weekend storm, but last year it started on Friday night. That following Saturday I wanted to get in a long run of about 20 or so. I remember running the long way to the gym, running on the treadmill there, and then running home. Two things I remember about that run:

1- I should've taken more layers off when I got to the gym
2 - my calves tightened considerably b/c my feet kept slipping on the snow and ice

That was the start of my calf woes that hung w/ me all the way into mid-May. I still need to give my left calf extra love after hard runs. But all that slipping made my calf tighten in an effort to grip and a knot eventually formed. This year, a year wizened, I'll learn from my mistakes even if it makes me feel less hardcore. Deep in the recesses of my brain, though, I know it's only a matter of time before I run in the blissful bright sunshine of a snow covered street the morning after a nor'easter.

Friday 12.18.09
PM: lifting routine

Saturday 12.19.09
AM: 13 miles in 95:20
Did a long Adams Farm trail b/c I wanted to get in some trail running before the snow covered them up for the foreseeable future. I run this powerline trail about once every two months and was bummed to see developers constructing a neighborhood right through a part of the trail. That sucks. Contractors and land developers suck.

Sunday 12.20.09
AM: core and 7.15 miles in 50:15
PM: bike 35 minutes on indoor trainer
The run was easy. It felt easy. I had in my mind doing double sessions. Although I didn't run twice, I did get in two cardio bouts today, about which I'm pleased. Not to mention clearing the driveway of snow.

Weekly Numbers
49.15 miles in 5 runs
95 minutes of biking on the indoor trainer (60/35)
5 core workouts
1 lifting routine
1 cleared driveway

My mileage last week was only in the low to mid thirties. The jump of 15 in a week didn't feel forced. Next week I would like to make a less dramatic increase.

One last note: the cool bear logo comes from Paul Low's blog. You should check it out.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Run Interrupted

We recently had some electrical work done on the house and the new lights just haven't been working right. Some days they turn on; some days they don't. Well, today when the lights didn't turn on, I called the contractor. To my pleasant surprise he and the electrician said they'd be over in an hour or two. This gave me just enough time to jump on the t'mill and get in my run.

The plan almost worked. 7 miles into it they showed up. Early. Who would've thought they'd be early? So halfway through a pickup I had to put the 'mill on pause and tend to my electrical problem. Turns out the part on the new light fixture is not flush w/ the track line. Apparently, that's why they've been flickering off and on continually and sometimes not at all. The electrician put a "band-aid" on it but told me I need to get a new feed-in from the manufacturer. That should be fun. I do have to hand it to the contractor and electrician, though; I called and they showed an hour later.

So my run intended to be about 10 miles w/ 2 x 2 mile pickups. I got the pickups in but at the 7 mile mark the run was interrupted for a good half hour or so. I did manage to get another 3.5 in and the break didn't affect me too much.

The pickups were well under 6:00 pace but not 5:30 and felt very easy.

Thursday 12.17.09
AM: core
PM: 10.5 miles in 68:21

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


So far so good this week as I start to transition to a regular running routine after a couple weeks of light work. I'm cautious not to up my mileage too dramatic b/c as I know from history this can lead to a setback/injury. I'll spend the next two weeks or so building back up to normal mileage and then start w/ the intensity. I'll do some fartlek stuff and longer pickups on the road, but I don't plan on hitting the track until after Christmas. A non-snow covered outdoor track would be a great gift.

The Footlocker HS championship race was a douzey. Check out all the big running sites, Flotrack, Let's Run, etc to see and read about it.

Wednesday 12.16.09
AM: indoor bike 60 mins
PM: core

Tuesday 12.15.09
AM: core
PM: 8.25 miles in 59:08
Looking for routes that aren't trafficky in the dark.

Monday 12.14.09
AM: core
PM: 10.25 miles in 73:12
Felt pretty good but the breathing was tough. Managed to get 1.5 miles or so on trail before it got too dark. At one point I was at 7:08 then later 6:38.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

This Week in Running

Got some good cold weather over the weekend. Both weekend runs were in the twenties. Not horribly cold; nice cold brisk fresh air that makes you feel alive. Did a little trail running and the paths were partially snow covered. Hearing that solitary crunch crunch crunch as I made my way down the trail hammered home that winter is here.

Thursday 12.10.09
AM: core
PM: 8 miles in 56:07

Friday 12.11.09
PM: lifting routine
Due to a work-related event didn't finish up the exercise until 9:40 or so. Felt good not to skip it.

Saturday 12.12.09
AM: 10 miles in 73:13

Sunday 12.13.09
AM: core and 7.5 miles in 55:12

Weekly Data
33 3/4 miles in 4 runs
5 core routines
1 lifting routine
1 pair of new sneakers: new balance 769

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Night Vision

A couple of times during tonight's run, it was a complete blackout. I could've been stepping into an abyss and not known it. I think my eyes have some adjusting to do. Part of it was that about half my run was on roads w/out street lights. A car would pass, ephemerally light a path, and then the blackout. Right as the car approaches, however, I'm blinded by the headlights, esp when the driver flashes his highbeams. So, I'm a victim of a blindness at both ends of the spectrum: extreme light and extreme dark. All winter runners go through this. It's nothing unique.

That said it was a fab run. Wasn't killing myself, just cruising through and enjoying the crisp early winter air. Once you get that first mile out of the way, winter running can be majestic.

Today's run reminded me of a snippet from a Pearl Jam song on their Backspacer album: "...a path cut by the moon for you to walk on..."

Tuesday 12.7.09
AM: core
PM: 8.25 miles in 56:07

Sunday, December 6, 2009

This Week

This week was a down week. I did core work and two light runs. I'll start picking things up a little this week and in another week really start getting in shape for some winter races. I wasn't planning on running today but I had to do something to release the frustration after the football game. Consequently, I felt like I was going to throw-up for most of the run b/c I ate too much during the game. I did, however, break in a new pair of running shoes, the new balance 769's.

Weekly Data
10 miles in 2 runs
5 core workouts
1 lifting routine

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jingle Bell Run

Up above there is Bow Jingles, the official mascot of the annual Jingle Bell Run hosted by the Holiday Inn at Westgate Mall in Brockton, MA. The Jingle Bell Run isn't really a run per se; there are no awards for first place and I'm not even sure if the event is timed. What it is is a party on the run. It's only about two miles long but there is a "water" stop. Sure, you can get water but you can imbibe other libations there as well. Hence, the party atmosphere. The Jingle Bell run, which is organized by my father, is, in its essence, a great fundraiser for the Helping Hands fund. Because the run has no overhead costs, thanks in large part to my dad's relentless efforts, 100% --yes 100%-- of the race's proceeds go to charity. On top of that, the event has a pipe and drum band, all the free food you can eat (good unhealthy stuff too: pizza, chicken fingers, sweets) and a great raffle. So, if you're looking for something to do this Saturday afternoon (race starts at 1 pm), put on your best elf costume and head over to the Jingle Bell Run.