Monthly Archives: April 2014

My Legs Still Work Just Fine: Marathon Recovery

Today I thought I’d take my legs for a little spin to see if they are okay after the marathon I ran on Sunday. Recovery runs always seem like such a good idea to me.

Everything seems fine. I ran a quick 2.65 miles with a pace of 7:30. No aches. No pains. I had one sore spot on my lower back where my water belt rubbed up under my (slightly too) short shirt, and ever so slight chafing. I haven’t taken any meds or painkillers. No blisters either. No stiffness and stairs haven’t been an issue.

I have found myself drinking a lot more liquids over the last few days as I try to replenish my body. I’ve been constantly filling the water bottle on my desk and taking extra (decaf) coffee throughout the day. The additional food has been helping too; a donut here, a slice of cake there. Yum.

I have a track meeting tomorrow night so we’ll see how that goes after such a long run. I expect I’ll conk out a little earlier than previously, but it will be interesting to see.

I expected the toll to be higher on my body. I’m relieved that it hasn’t been, but surprised.

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Sometimes You Just Enjoy The Run

Saturday I was supposed to be in Nashville for the Rock’n’roll Country Music Marathon, but the adoption of Louie stopped my training and meant that I didn’t want to go away for the race.

I saw lots of pictures from my friends that did go down; their bar adventures and shots from the race. It looks like they had a good time.

So, this morning when I went out I packed an extra clif bar and tried to see how far I could go. My previous record was 18 miles and that was quite a long time ago. It was quite warm today so I headed down a route that would take me past plenty of water fountains and was ‘mainly’ flat.

At mile four I saw one remaining leg attached to the spine of a very dead deer laying in the middle of the trail. It had been picked clean by the animals but it was an odd place to see it as the trail is heavily used.

At mile 8 I felt fine and headed out further towards Phoenixville as I haven’t been that way for a while. It seems that they have done a lot if work on the trail out there and added in a new bridge on the canal and an underpass by a very busy road. All very nice. At mile ten I was stil feeling fine so I went a little further out past Lock 60 and into the great unknown. This really became a trail run at this point with me having to climb across some culverts and ditches, plus wading through some muddy waters. It made a nice change from the pounding of the pavement. I turned around when it got too muddy. While out there I spotted a chap painting a landscape in the wood next to the trail. All very picturesque.

When I got to mile 17 I had a choice: head home for a 21.5 run, or run a couple of extra miles and make it a marathon distance. My legs still were fine so I headed onwards. This is where it all went a little off course. At the 19.5 mile mark I turned around and realised all the remaining distance was uphill. 7 miles of uphill to be precise. Whoops. The climb was gradual but went from 85ft to 312ft. Constant climbing. Nothing for it at that point but to knuckle down and do it.

I didn’t experience any wall or similar. I always knew how far I had to go and can relate that to the distances I run during the week. Eight miles. Six miles. I know how each of those feel, so it was no problem.

When I got home the total distance was 26.41 miles in 3 hours 47 mins. Not too shabby given I missed a lot of training and the profile of the run.

20140427-220822.jpgThen I had to get showered and shaved as 1.5 hours later we were leaving for my friends wedding ceremony and reception. I danced most of the evening with my daughter and my legs still don’t feel too bad. That said, I wouldn’t have wanted to go much further than I did. Well, not with anymore hills any way!

So, that’s it. Marathon done. Ticked off the list. Self-supported, except for the omni-present iPhone and my A-ha playlist (don’t judge me). Four bottles of water. Three cliff shot blocks. Two clif bars. One crazy person. No country music.

Surprisingly easy. Or perhaps I should wait until tomorrow before I say such things.

What to do next, I wonder?

Can Your Legs Fall Off If You Do Too Much?

It is starting to feel like that could be a possibility.

Last night I went to my second track event with the FastTracks running club. We did a set of warm up stretches (static and dynamic) and then did a repeat of last weeks track run; 10x 200m run with 200m jogging recovery. The last one was bumped to 400m but I bowed out on that. Nothing left in the tank.

The coach had made it clear to us that we should hold back while running the 200m until we reach about 75m or 100m and then ‘let it go’. No-one in the group appeared to listen but me, so this meant that I’d come steaming through from the back on every lap! Quite a feeling although it made me uncomfortable to have to call ‘track’ to get people to move out of the way. The only times I didn’t get through were when it wasn’t safe for the people in front to move (I would check this before calling). Also, as I mentioned, I bailed on racing the last lap as I was spent before the coach announced it would be a 400m effort. I pulled to lane 5 and just laughed out loud at him. Probably not the best decision, but that’s how I felt. I don’t respond well to coaches.

20140424-114824.jpgI am at the far left of the picture with the red headband. Lining up with the rest of Group 1. Yikes.

I also has a chance to discuss the uneven wear on my shoes and showed then to him. He wasn’t concerned about it and seemed to think if still be good for 300-500 miles. So I guess I’ll carry on and see. He did make a comment about why did I change my foot strike but that’s a topic for another discussion with him, I guess.

This morning I ran 6.2 miles with a pace of 8:15, so a little slow but not too surprising given last night’s shenanigans. It was beautiful out there but very cold at 39F. I ran in shorts and felt it the whole way. Brr.

I then had to ride my bike to work after dropping off my wife’s car for a service. I still have to get home too. Gaa.

Food. Water. More food. Hopefully that should help keep me motoring along.

Run Like The Wind

Not like you’ve got wind. (Ooof). I decided to try going out fast today for a four miler as I haven’t done this for a while. It was a beautiful 48F and perfect for pushing a little.

I was focusing on getting my right foot to land evenly as I am still having that issue where my right shoe is wearing unevenly on the outside little toe to mid-foot area. It felt strange and as if I was having to twist my hips to bring the foot down in the correct position. Very odd. I may talk to the coach at track tomorrow about it.

Anyhooo, the run today was good and had a 7:30 avg pace. Given that the first half mile was at 7:51 warm up pace and others were 7:19/20 so I’m pretty happy with that.

I’m also going to start riding to work again today as I think our new baby is suitably settled so I’m unlikely to be called home to help out. My bike is all tuned up and ready to roll, but there’s thunder in the forecast for this afternoon so we’ll see how that pans out. 🙂

Sunday, ‘Cos that’s my Run Day.

It’s just another magic Sunday! And that’s not some banal reference to resurrection for Easter. It is a Bangles reference/pun. 🙂

Now my wife and I are signed up for a half marathon, I’ve got to get my distance and speed back up. It is a different approach to marathon training so I’ll attack it on two ways. Obviously done distance work up to around 15 miles, but also some speed work where I’ll gradually increase the length and frequency of the intervals.

Today was a beautiful morning with slight head winds on my way out and a clear blue sky that felt suitably toasty especially compared with the weather from Michigan last month. Brrr.

I ran 11.6 miles at an 8:23 pace around Worcester and Lower Providence Townships. It was 46F when I went out and I had to remove the sleeves from my jacket part way because I got too warm. Hurrah for that.

As I sit recovering I see my cats basking in the morning sun.

20140420-095747.jpgThey really don’t know how good they have it. Although, judging by the Cabury’s Creme Egg wrappers scattered around the living room, my daughter is going to be on a sugar high for most of the day. Enjoy the peace while it lasts cats; she’ll be coming for you.

A Quick(er) Six Miler and Another Race To Train For

Given that I had a relatively tiring night at my first track event last night, I didn’t expect my morning run to be very easy. But sometimes your body surprises you.

This morning’s six mile run was pretty good with an 8:01 pace.

My legs were a little achy when I started out but that didn’t last long. It was a good morning although a little on the chilly side so I had to get my leggings out from storage (perhaps I had been a little premature in putting them away!).

The running club posted one photo of the track session last night and it had me in it. Lucky their camera didn’t break.

My wife and I have also signed up for a half marathon together in June on our wedding anniversary. The Heartbreak Hill Half organised by Runner’s World. Should be ‘fun’. It will be our first weekend off since getting our baby boy who will be staying with a friend for the weekend.

Do any of you do runs with your significant others to celebrate anniversaries?

First Group Track Workout: FastTracks

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Tonight I attended my first group track workout. In the New Year we decided to upgrade my wife’s running club membership to be a family membership so I could go to some of their events. This is the first one that I have been able to attend.

I have never been to a running club event or to to a track workout so it was all totally new to me.

I started with a couple of slow jogging loops of the track just to loosen up.

Then we did some warm up stretches and exercises; some static and a couple of dynamic ones. I cannot think of an easy way to describe the exercises here. I’ll have to try and find a way to document them moving forward.

Once that was done we broke into groups based on 5k times. Group 1 was for sub-22 minute runners so that was me with about seven others. The group had one notorious long distance runner (BadWater, etc) and a couple of women that have a lot of track experience (and have ~18.5 min 5k times).

We were told to run 10x 200 metres at 1 mile pace, with 200 metres jogging as recovery. No rests. We did negative splits as each run got faster. Average times were 42-46 seconds for me. Not too shabby considering how long it is since I’ve done any serious track or speed work. I’m clearly not in the same league as the others in my group being but it was nice to hang out with some other runners for a little while.

Waiting to go Running

Rain. Big wet splatty rain. Don’t believe me? Well, I tried to upload a video but it wouldn’t let me as it seems wordpress doesn’t support .mov files from Apple products. So why offer me the option in the app? Weird.

Hopefully the torrential rain will stop sometime soon and I’ll be able to get out.

A little rain is no problem but this is nuts. Sitting in my shorts in my wife’s car just waiting…

Update: I did finally get out about three hours later while it was raining gently… For the first half of the run at least. Then part way through the skies opened and I was drowned. Hurrah. 4.8 miles at 8:00 pace. Legs felt like lead.

Just Get Out There

It has been a tough week. My wife got a virus that wiped her out for a few days and she was feeling run down for a couple of days before it hit. This meant that I was on full-on Daddy duty for this week. Lots of middle of the night feeds and some lost time from work. When things like this happen you have to rally around your family first.

That said, she is now well on the road to recovery and I was able to get out and have a run without the risk of tiring myself to the point of grumpiness (oh yes, this point really does exist for me).

Today I tried a trail that I had previously only explored in a bike. It is a hilly route that joins the Perkiomen Trail to the Evansburg State Park (my favourite run destination locally). It was very exposed and mainly runs under power lines but it was a beautiful run with few roads or obstacles. The hills were Rolling (with a capital R) but manageable. I didn’t break any records but had fun connecting part of my favourite park with another of my preferred trails. Good to know for future long runs! Oddly there are many stables out on this route. I’m not sure why they would be out here jammed between the housing estates that line either side of the power cable run.

I finally gave in and traded in my iPhone to a new model as the broken GPS issue had just annoyed me so much. It cost me $300 to do but that is cheaper than a new phone and it means that when I do hand it over to my wife it will be a nice shiny clean version.

I tested the GPS today on the new phone and it is spot on again. Hurrah. :-).

As it was a new phone I also had to recalibrate my nike+ so after my trail run I went to the track to run a measured mile. I also walked a quarter to calibrate the walking mode.

All good to go for more running fun. I’m itching to just get out there and run more once little Louie will sleep through the night. Until then, balance is the key.

Stats: 8.58 miles at 8:13 pace. Then another mile at the track at 8:04 pace.

I’ve noticed a slight ticking in my left knee when I walk on it after a run. No pain for anything else. Just a slight click. I’ll have to watch that.

Own Your Run

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For today’s run I treated myself to driving to the start point. Normally I try to run from my house because it seems slightly bizarre to me to drive somewhere to go running. However, today I fancied a different route that starts six miles from my house.

The Perkiomen Trail is a lovely winding trail that skirts the Perkimen Creek. There are several bridges crossing over and you get to run along the banks for a fair amount of time. There are also some small villages and, my target for today, Spring Mountain.

Now, let’s not get ahead if ourselves here. Calling it a mountain is a little bit of an exaggeration and always feels rather tongue in check to me. There is a ski slope there that the local schools use for teaching kids. But it isn’t really a mountain by any stretch of the imagination.

There is a quarter mile 12% grade hill to climb that makes it a little challenging but that just makes you appreciate the beauty of the trail on the other side. Back by the river for another gentle and pretty run.

I felt like I could have just kept going today but I didn’t eat well last night and also don’t want to get too tired with our new baby keeping us up at night. So ten miles at 8:17 pace will have to do for today.