Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hill or H*** Workout?

Paula: The first thing I'm going to do when I get home is post that this was YOUR idea.
Julius: It was Maggi's idea first.
Julius: Does this count as a hill workout?
Paula: Did you say hell workout?
John T: (a minute later) Who's idea was this?
Julius: I'm not saying anything
Paula: It's a good thing I love you, Julius.

Later, probably half way through - "What were we thinking? It's 90 degrees out!"

When it was over? - "We're going back".

That is more or less the conversation we had tonight. All while huffing and puffing our way up and down the Art museum steps (at least a dozen times all told). That was followed by a variety of things including plank walking, lunges, side stepping and high knee running across the width of the Art Museum Steps courtesy of the Fairmount Running Co.

It was hard but in a strange way felt good --- when it was over. I estimate the three of us did about 2/3 of the enotire workout. We informally challenged ourselves to get to the point where we can do the entire workout AND follow it up with an easy run.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Run at Forbidden Drive

USAFit/Philly is the best thing that has happened to me in a very long time. Knowing that a group would be meeting at Forbidden Drive this morning got me out of bed to meet them at 7. At first I only knew that Pete, Kristie and Jeff would be there and they are much faster than I. I saw that Sonja said she was going to try but I didn't know where she was in the pace spectrum so I wasn't sure I'd have anyone actually running 'with' me but knowing my friends were out there and would likely wait for me at the end was enough for me to get going. As it turns out Sammy and Lynn and Marjorie came too. John C was there to run with the faster folks. So more or less we all had somebody nearby. And a group 'high five' at the end. Ok not a real one cause we would have just slid off each other but the mood was there.

It's going to be a hot one today. A good reason to get out early. My phillyfit schedule called for 30 minutes. I knew I wanted to do at least 4 miles. Someone suggested 5 which sounded good especially since 5 meant the turnaround was the Valley Green Inn. This meant I didn't have to watch the mile markers - just run. I like that :) Sammy, Marjorie and I did 3 and 1's and we started out much faster than we should. By mile 4 I was feeling sluggish. The humidity, ugh. As I've said before this "not going out too fast" thing, is something I really have to work on this season. I plan to be very mindful of it on my long runs but perhaps on the weekday runs - the ones that aren't speed or tempo workouts- I should as well. No real harm done though and Forbidden Drive is such peaceful place to run. I finished a strong last quarter mile.

And now I'm home, had breakfast and showered and it's only 9:30. :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Longest run since Gettysburg

So I've been slacking since Gettsyburg. I did very little in the two weeks between the marathon and the start of USAFit/Philly and in the two weeks since USAFit/Philly started I really haven't been giving it my full potential of enthusiasm. (odd phrase but it works for me). I've done all the minutes and miles (except the one evening where i forgot my socks) but not with any gusto.

Today, part of Memorial Day weekend, was a unoffical Saturday for Phillyfit. We had 4 miles planned and met at Pawlings Road. I was happy to see about a third of our group turned out despite the holiday. Nice! I set out with one of our newer members who was on the fence about working with the walkers or our slowest running group. We had a nice chat in the course of four miles. We took it slow with lots of walk breaks. In the end she decided to start out with the walker group until she feels more comfortable with her endurance. I think she did a great job today and respect her choice. I believe we'll be seeing her in the run group before too long.

After we were done, I mentioned I wanted to go back out and Julius said he did too. My miles with our new member were slow and although they counted as time on my feet I felt the need for something more. So Julius and I did another a tour of the Audobon Loop at 3 and 1 (run/walk) intervals. We took some extra walk breaks on the back side of the loop and finished in good form. I probably went a little too fast on the run portions; something I have to work on for my long runs this season.

It was warm and very humid today. I drank water at every walk break and took an endurolyte about halfway.

So my total for the day was 8 miles. It felt good. My run group for Phillyfit is the slowest group and although we should run slower than normal pace for long runs this may be too slow for me. But I am their coach and that is my job. So I think I'll be doing extra miles before or after the group run. It will be good for me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Going out too fast

So day two in Harrisburg, I had plans to run with my friend Terry at 6:30 this morning. We met in the lobby a little before this and I suggested we wait until 6:30 to leave because another friend of ours, Jim said he might join us. Jim never made it but as we were about to leave Tyler came off the elevator and the three of us headed down to the river.

On the way, I told Tyler (who is 20 years younger than me) that I would not be offended if he went ahead. I did not want to hold him back. Tyler said, no he'd be happy to run with us. This is not unusual - I've run with faster runners (my friend Kristie being one) on many occassions and it's not a problem when faster runner is willing to bring his/her pace down to mine and maybe I try to pick mine up a little bit (emphassi on little..lol).

So off we went. The first few minutes of any run (especially mornings) can sometimes be stressfull as my body gets with the program. So I thought nothing of feeling a litte uncomfortable in those first few minutes. As we made our way around City Island I lagged a few steps behind but held my own that way. As we returned to the river bank we went downhill and picked up the pace a bit and here is where I got in trouble. We never backed off from the downhill. By the time we got to the turnaround to head back to our hotel I was really feeling the effects of pushing hard. I begged off a walk break and Terry, too encouraged Tyler to go on if that's what he wanted.

Poor 'kid' was all apologetic about going fast. I told him that was nonsense. Every runner must be responsible for their own pace. I should have dropped back or said something sooner. So anyway we walked for a half block and then finished our run.

Later that day, I saw Terry in a meeting and asked her how she felt on the run. She said she was really glad I asked for the walk break. :) All in all, it was kind of nice to push the pace a bit. I was just embarrassed to have to beg off. Not ashamed ... just a bit embarrassed. I should have been paying more attention.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Protective Parents

So today I want for a run along the Susquehana River in Harrisburg. (I'm here for REALTOR state business meetings through tomorrow). I often go out in the morning while here to do this run. There is a nice path along the river. Today I went alone although (as I will tomorrow, I often have a REALTOR friend or two with me).

I woke up tired but made msyelf go out knowing that I'd feel better if I did. The river route here has an upper and lower trail. I went out on the upper trail and returned on the lower trail. On the way back I came upon a group of goslings with 4 parent geese. The parents started hissing at me. They made moves threatening to attack. I remembered what I'd been told about meeting dogs on the trail. The advice was to stop running and walk slowly. The geese, however, were not having any of this. I had two choices; scale 10 foot wall or turn back to the last set of steps back up to the upper level. I wasn't in the mood to run that far back and the wall.. well you probably figured that was not an option. So I decided to try walking slowly past the geese. It took a couple of tries but I finally got past.

Oh and I had a very nice run finished with a run up the steps to the upper level.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Running in the rain isn't quite the same as running in the snow

Ok that's probably a bit obvious. I'll elaborate.

This winter while training for Gettsyburg I decided to run depsite the weather. Running in the bitter cold with snow and ice on the ground was an adventure that I really enjoyed.

When the new Phillyfit season started and we were faced with a week of rain I decided I would not let the rain deter me. I really can't stand cold rain but it's not cold anymore. So I ran three days this week despite the rain. And actually it didn't rain on any of the three days but it had been raining on either side of all my runs. I was soaked after all of them; more from acquiring moisture out of the air then from any exertion on my part. I'm happy I ran them all but it's not as exciting as running in the snow, cold and ice.

Having said that, tonight at Ridley Creek State Park it was very pretty. The park felt like what I imagine a jungle rain forest would be like. Bright grees trees and bushes, thick with rain. Birds singing. It was peaceful.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Negative split?

Not by much but I think it still counts. Here's what happened.

We had a group minutes meeting scheduled for 6 pm at Valley Forge tonight. I am done work at 4:00 Tues-Fri so I was there by 4:30. Doesn't make sense to drive home and back out again. Although there would be plenty of time to do that; gas prices just make that silly. Usually I'll take a nap or read my book while I wait (if I don't have reason to just stay late at work).

The weather being what it has been (rainy and intermittently stormy) I wondered if anyone else would make it at 6:00. Only Sue had said maybe and then left a second message saying probably not because of the weather. So I decided to do my 25 minutes at 4:45 and if anyone showed I'd do it again or go home at 6:00. As it turned Sue came anyway and so did John T. So I did too sets of 25 minute runs.

I used my watch to mark the turnaround point. At the end of the first 25 minutes I had run 2:21 miles. (11:18 pace) At the end of the second 25 minutes I had run 2:35 miles.(10:38 pace). *shrug*. Not much maybe but it's something.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What's next?

So I proved I could keep training through the winter. I think I will consider a spring marathon for 2012 and do that again. I mentioned the Marine Corps Marathon in my previous post. I'm also scheduled for the Rock N Roll Philadelphia Half in September, the Ben Franklin Bridge Run in November and the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November.

This post though is about what's next with training. Although I'm likely fitter than many 51 year olds I know there is so much further I can go with that. I'm still overweight by at least 10 pounds, I have poor core strength and almost no upper body strength anymore.

So I'm going to spend some time looking closer at what I can do to work on the strength issues. I've done some research and reading in the past. Now it's time to focus. I may ask some of my friends who have experience with this to teach me the exercises I can do with and without the ball. Mostly though I need to get a routine going and stick to it. I need accountablity so I've written it down here since I know some folks read this blog and I expecct to be badgered about whether I'm following through.

I refuse to obsess about the weight issue. It is what it is. My eating habits are not perfect but they are not all that horrible either. If I focus on training and keep my eating habits in check the weight will likely come off. Of course there is that 51 year old thing adding on to the weight issue (literally) but I'm still convinced it will work itself out (and hopefully off)

I want to add heart rate training this season too. I began researching that a bit and need to do more.

Monday, May 2, 2011

24 hours later

So now that it's 24 hours later I can start to properly look at the experience. Around mile 21 I was actually thinking about selling my bib for Marine Corps. I was convinced that I was just fooling myself trying to run marathons. I even rationalized an excuse for quitting on Marine Corps. The MCM (October 30) is the same weekend as Phillyfit's 21 miler (October 29). It will be a lot of finagling to support the group that day and still make it down to the expo to pick up my packet without going nuts. So this is what I would tell people if they asked me why I quit. Man, what a cop out!!

Today, with a much clearer head (remember don't make any decisions in any direction within 24 hours of completing a race) I decided that not only will I run Marine Corps but I will also take a vacation day from work on the 28th and head down to Washington (probably by train) to pick up my packet and come back. The train will likley be about $90 round trip but I have room in my race budget for that and the piece of mind it will give me on the 29th during the Phillyfit 21 miler will make it worthwhile. Now I can support the team on the 29th and then head down leisurely on Saturday night in preparation for the race the next day.

So I'm still running Marine Corps. The hill at the end of that race can't be any worse than the ones we tackled (over and over again) yesterday. Right? Having this goal also gives me renewed motivation to really work the Phillyfit schedule this year; including all the speed, hill and tempo workouts. I'm going to continue to chase that 5-1/2 hour marathon!!

A few more comments about yesterday and then it's time to move on.
1) GB helped me accomplish my goal of training through the winter. Outside.
2) I finished the marathon despite having a mental breakdown at mile 21.
3) The mental breakdown did not occure UNTIL mile 21 - my previous races I was done in at mile 18. So progress has been made.

Thanks to all my friends and family who support me and listen to my rants and endless obsessing about these things.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Marathon #4; the good, the bad and the ugly.

Let's take them in reverse order because the good was very good and the other two can be dispensed with quickly.

THE UGLY
This is a totally personal thing and has nothing to do with the event itself. I'm very frustrated with myself for having a delusional goal for this race. I worked hard and I really thought I was finally going to break 5 hours and 30 minutes. Not only did I miss that mark, I came in 7 minutes slower than my previous best (my 1st in 2008). I'm not disappointed (afterall I did start and finish) but I'm frustrated at my failure to be realistic in my abilities.

THE BAD
And really this is minor. The race was great. But all except the first and last miles were open to traffic. This was an issue early on when runners were still bunched up. At times there were cars coming in both directions. In the end, the cars had to figure out where to go we just kept running. I did not hear about any people accidents but I did see a dead rabbit, a dead racoon and a dead turtle. Not sure if they were casualties of the race or not but they were pretetty ugly.