Friday, January 22, 2016

One Last Run Before the Snow

As Winter Storm Jonas pummels Central PA, it seems like I probably won't be getting out on the roads any time soon. 

At least my last "long run" (I was due for a step back week, anyway), 5 miles before work today, was a good one.  I felt great on this run...despite going out for a beer and tacos at Mexitaly (my favorite restaurant in York) the night before since we'd be snowed in all weekend.

Maybe pre-race tacos were the key to excellence all along?  Ok, probably not, but they were really good tacos.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Good Run? I Guess?

Today, I ran my Monday Hill route again.  I felt terrible.  I was breathing heavily almost the entire route, and I needed 3 walk breaks instead of the one I needed last week.  I was writing it off as just "one of those days", when I looked down at my watch and saw that I was finishing a minute faster than my time last week.

So, I'm not sure whether this was a good run or not.  Last week, I lowered my time by a minute from the previous week and felt great.  I think I would have rather felt good with no time change.  I'm certainly still finding my pace again.  I used to be very consistent in my training and be able to tell what pace I was running by level of effort (like the "I'm dying" I put down at my 6:21 mile at Harrisburg in 2011).  Now...I'm not.  Some days I'm faster, some days I'm slower.  I care more about distance than speed, but I have to admit it's frustrating to be finishing 3 miles in the time it used to take to run four.   In my defense, it was 29 degrees F with a wind chill in the single digits.  29F, to me, is long-sleeves or jacket (probably not both), light gloves, visor, ear warmer, and shorts weather.  Single digits is jacket, Under Armour, long pants, hat, gloves.  I dressed for the wind chill, despite my route being mostly sheltered from the wind.  In the bright noon-time sun with little wind, I had way more layers than I needed.  That said, it was brutally cold tonight.  I'm very glad I got my run in during the day.  I love running in the cold, but tonight was way too cold and windy for me.

Anyway, despite not feeling so great on today's run, it caps off another pretty good week of running and fitness.  (Except Wednesday, where I was fitness whole pizza in my mouth!)  In addition to last week's hill run on Monday, I ran 2 on Thursday night with Chris, and then 6 miles in 1:09:50 on Saturday.  That's an 11:36/mile pace, not far off from where I need to be to finish a marathon in 5 hours, whether it be this fall or next spring.  I'm hoping that with more running, more hills, and some speedwork that I'd like to mix in once my endurance is built back up a little more, I'll get a little faster so I have a little cushion should I once again need to walk some of those later miles.

These first two weeks of January have been the best, most consistent stretch of running and working out that I've had since my surgery (mumbles) almosttwoyearsago.

It's something.

(This goofy fleece headband has a hole for a hat brim.  It was more than I needed today, but is still a neat, low-tech piece of gear that I hadn't used before.  The beard is just for show, it's not thick enough to keep my face warm, yet.)

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hey Hills, I Got Something For You

Hey hills, remember me?  I'm the guy whose butt you kicked last Monday
But I came back...and got beat on again.  Just not as bad.  Felt much stronger; shaved over a minute off my time; and only needed one walk break instead of three.

I can build on this.  I've talked a good game before, but I really feel like I have momentum back.  To test the hills again next Monday.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Fog Running

We ran 6 miles today in 1:35. It was about 40°F, misting, and very foggy and damp, so it was tough to dress for.  I broke out a new piece of equipment, a very light Brooks jacket that crumples and zips into a tiny ball inside its own pocket for storage.  It's a piece of gear that is of limited use since it doesn't provide much worth, but it did keep me dry-ish until I took it off at about mile 4. 

Because it fits into a pocket easily, it'll be a good choice for the first few miles of a cool Fall or Spring long race.

I'm feeling good as far as being ready for the Shamrock Half and I'm doing well at establishing a habit of lifting again.  I can't let myself lose momentum again.

Friday, January 8, 2016

A New Hope? (Has that title been used before?)

Just because I have Bluetooth speaker shaped like the Millennium Falcon in the weight room, doesn't mean I can make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.

I did have a pretty good week, though.  Ran 5 miles last Saturday, hilly 3 on Monday, and a relatively fast two on Thursday; lifted Sunday, Tuesday, Friday (today).

It's a long year ahead...but I haven't yet succumbed to the power of the Dark Side.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hills Suck. Awesome Gloves Do Not.

This was my run last night...and it kicked my butt.

The elevation chart just doesn't do justice to how grueling some of these hills are, particularly the last steep uphill starting at about mile 2.4.  I had been running this route in early summer and doing well, despite the heat, but I'd also been coming off a half marathon, not months of minimal running (not to be confused with minimalist running).

After a mild (to put it mildly) few weeks, this was the first REALLY cold night run in a long time for me..under 20 degrees, wind chill making it feel like the single digits.  I was breathing heavily by the time I hit the half-mile point (Chris and I have been using a Jeff Galloway-inspired walk-run plan, where we walk a minute after every half mile run) and since the next half mile was a steep, fun downhill, I just kept going, and made it up the first big hill, making the turn at the baseball field in Mt. Wolf, and taking my first walk break at 1.5 miles.  I took my scheduled walk break at 2 miles, and then DIED going up the last, steep hill, requiring two walk breaks in that last .6 miles to finish.  

My legs are sore today!  I bit off more than I could chew, and I was probably foolish to think that running five miles on Saturday had prepped me for a hill route this tough, but I think I'll run this once a week and hopefully feel myself getting stronger.

I did get to try out an awesome new piece of gear, though.  LED running gloves!  If only they played techno music to go along with the flashing colored lights, it would have been like a 3-mile, hilly dance party.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

New Year, New Plans

Happy New Year from me and the rest of the EYD team.  2015 was a year with some good running accomplishments (The Wild Half) and also a lot of months during which I didn't get off my ass. (August, September, October, November, December)

I'm starting the 2016 off right, dusting off the weight bench (I lifted, too, after I dusted it off.) for the first time in longer than I can remember, and running 5 hilly miles with Chris through Mt. Wolf.

I have to get the miles in -- I'm signed up for a half marathon in March!  I would also like to do a fall marathon (which would probably be the NCR Trail Marathon) this year.  I've put off revenge far enough.  It's  time to come all the way back.

2015 was a great year with family and friends.  I got out of my comfort zone at work and I like my job and my company more than ever before.  There were many years where running gave me confidence to face the toughest client or the impossible deadline.  Now it's  time to take the momentum from the rest of life and channel that back to getting out on the roads.

It's a new year. Let's kick some ass.