Monthly Archives: March 2016

Quietus

Today it rained. Heavily.  

But still I ran anyway. I was soaked before I reached the end of my road and still I ran. Nine miles to go.  

I let the quiet into my mind. I turned off my podcast (Maron’s exceptional interview with Gary Shandling WTFPod) and let the world run through me. 

The road became a membrane keeping me from the reflected world of pre-dawn shadows, sliding silently underfoot. Trapped with no-one to witness their existence and exquisite beauty save me and the few brave birds feasting on worms afraid to drown. 

A guitar riff started to cycle around and around in my mind, transitioning to my hand so that as I ran I fingered the frets of an invisible guitar. Imperceptible to a world at large.  

Twice I felt the rain pick up and turn from constant into drenching. And still the world was silent but for the thoughts echoing… Echoing…

Eventually even the thoughts went quiet as the weather washed over me and my conscious mind drifted away. Absent. A body gliding through space. Unaware. 

When my mind returned I was startled by their absence. I was at least half a mile further down the road and still treading the correct course; autopilot. 

My footsteps, like heartbeats, lost to time and beyond the grasp of my conscious mind. 

And still it rained until, at last, I arrived home sodden and at peace. Quietus. 

  

Squeezing in a Weekend Long Run (& other stuff)

When a busy weekend presents itself squeezing in your long, slow distance run can be problematic. 

I’m nearly always a morning runner. Get up. Get out. Get it done. But sometimes that isn’t possible and you have to be flexible. 

This weekend saw me running around dinner time on Saturday afternoon. I had to take lights with me as I knew it would be dark before I got home. I took plenty of snacks and headed out the door. 

My body doesn’t like starting to run in the afternoon and it took me about eight miles until I started to feel like I was in the groove. 

I chose another new route that kept me away from any major (not that major out in suburbia) roads and more on trails. 

With the goal of something between 12-26 miles, I ended up doing (just) 15 as I couldn’t get in the swing fully. Also, a full marathon would have had me out for around four hours and I just didn’t have that amount of time available. 

The important thing was to get out there and put some miles in and having a week with a slightly lower mileage is not a bad thing. Sometimes it is a good part of the plan. 

Monday saw me running with my friend and getting a few good miles under my belt, including some fartleks to up the pace. The second day of Spring was still very cold in these parts and I had to break out the running tights, hopefully for the last time this season. 

And now to Wednesday and a short 6.8 miler around my neighbourhood. Again, as I seem to be having a light week distance-wise, I dialled up the effort and averaged 7:41 pace. It’s been a while since I did a run at a higher tempo. It felt good. 

Mix it up! 

Can’t Sleep? Get up and run!

Another night with a busy brain. After sleeping from 9:30 until 1:30 my brain woke up thinking about work and finances. 

I wrote a few notes to myself and tried to get back to sleep but after two hours of struggling I just got up, put on running gear, and went out for my run extra early. 

I have to say that it was lovely out. The Stars were resplendent in the night sky. I only saw six cars through the whole 10 mile run and tried to do most of it without using my flashlight (except where the road surface was too dark to be sure of my footing). 

Now I expect my kids to wake up shortly and to have to deal with a full day on only a few hours of sleep. However, I think achieved quite a lot of clarity in my thoughts and notes so I’ll probably take a few hours off during the day. 

Night time running was fun but I think I’d rather have been able to sleep through… 

My thoughts are with Eddie Izzard the British comedian who is trying to run 27 marathons in 27 days in Aftica for charity. He’s already at 21… Wow. Read about it Here.

Good Estimation

As I geared up to leav the house for my run this morning, my wife asked, “how far are you going to run?”. I thought about it and said, “somewhere between ten and twenty-four miles.”.

Looking back this seems like quite an odd statement for anyone to be able to make. My back has a slight kink in it currently after I fainted jumping out of bed on Friday morning (see the lovely black eye photo inserted below), but other than that I felt okay.  

 I ran twenty-two miles last Sunday but didn’t want to just run the same route and add a mile – that would be boring. So, I conjured up a new route that had me going out along a route I did a few weeks ago (8.5 miles), coming back in on the route I did last week (11 miles)… And the unknown bit in the middle joining the up would make up the difference. 

Turns out that my estimating skills are pretty darned good. Went I reached my driveway I’d clocked 24.3 miles. Nice. 

Running through Evansburg State Park, Skippack township, Perkiomen Trail, back through Evansburg State Park and then towards home. Very scenic. 

Everything feels fine although the last couple of miles consisted of a little more plodding that I would have liked. 

Now I’m doing this sort of distance in a training run where do I stop? Do I keep just adding 10% each week and see where it takes me? It is starting to chew up a lot of time on a Sunday morning…

Any way, now to each as much of anything I like. Need to reload with calories starting with the family bag of Twizzlers that I bought yesterday on the off chance I’d need them today. 🙂

Daylight’s Precious Hours

This weekend the clocks change. Spring forward and lend the evenings some light.

However, that is stealing the light from my morning runs. It has been so nice running these last few weeks without having to use a torch (Brit.). (In America they think a torch is something you’d carry to burn a village, or for the olympics).

This morning I finally got my Brooks Glycerine shoes over their four hundred mile mark so I went out and bought some new shoes. My massage therapist had noticed that I was having some foot stress and suggested slightly higher bridge support. When I took my last pair with me to the shop they said I was pronating ever so slightly but that a different shoe (less neutral) might help.

All this means that I’m now the proud owner of a pair of Brooks Ravenna 7 shoes.  

   These shots show the wear on my old Glycerine 12s. Note the slight wear on the outside of the heal area, but other than that era even. This is a good thing. Some people might be tempted to continue running with the tread in such a good state but I know from past experience that it is best for me to move on at 400 miles.
The new Ravenna 7s look like this.  

    
 I’m not sure about the whole “Carpe Runem” tag inside the shoes though. That seems a bit naff. 

Feb Recap and Long Run

With temps right around the freezing point this morning it was a perfect day for a long slow distance (LSD) run. 

I knew I wanted to go long today and ate some extra food the previous day, although I might advise against Chicken Vindaloo in retrospect. 

After a light breakfast I hit the trails with a steady slow pace. 

I’ve recently switched some of the apps that I use as my company health plan no longer requires heart rate tracking to be reported to get bonus points. Therefore, I now do everything through the mapmyrun app. Tracking my shoes, my route, my heart rate and controlling my music, with a reasonable Apple Watch interface too. It is a pretty solid system. (Note that I have the paid version and that I also pay an annual fee for the service). 

I planned to run around 11 miles and extracted that this would get me approximately to a water/toilet block on the Perkiomen trail. I was about 0.2 miles off in my estimate; not bad. 

I’m also glad that I chose that particular location as a turning point as … Well… Vindaloo. 

There were quite a lot of runners put on the Perk trail but the other trails connecting to and through Evansburg State Park were all empty. I guess people are avoiding hill training! The next big local race is the Broad Street run and that is pretty well flat. 

I managed to complete the run with a slight negative split and an 8:36 pace. Not too far off pace really but not as fast as last weeks nineteen miler. 

Still, 22 miles in the bag and I feel fine so that’s not to be sniffed at!

I did a quick check of my running totals for February and found that I hit the 145 miles in a month mark. Also, not too shabby. This makes 241 for the year so far. 

I don’t have a distance goal for his year but instead just want to enjoy running. The marathon training at the end of last year made me start to count the miles too closely, wishing them away almost. 

Recovery Time

After my long run on Sunday I spent Monday recovering. 

My morning run on Monday was quite gentle but I did introduce my friend to fartleks. His performance has recovered suitably from his time off and I thought that adding these might be a nice challenge. 

The route we run has large pylons along the side of the trail that make for good markers for the fartleks. 

After giving some warning about it I was happy that he accepted the challenge. At the next pylon we upped our pace a little. Not too much, but enough to make it more difficult. We ran to the next pylon which is quite a distance; perhaps 1/8 mile. As I said, the pylons are huge.

We did three of these through the run. Consequently we got our overall time for the route back under an hour. It is good to try something different every so often. 

We saw our friendly Skunk again as we entered Norristown. He didn’t seem to care about us. 

During Monday I over indulged somewhat as I had a team lunch and then dinner with a friend in the evening. This blew me through my calorie limit for the day but I knew that I was well down on the previous one so I wasn’t too bothered. 

On Tuesday I cycled to work for the first time in ages. It felt great to get the bike back out on the road even for that short distance. It is going to take some time for my butt to readjust to the saddle again. 

This morning (Wednesday) I ran an early six miler so that my wife could get out after me. I nearly lost my hat three times as there were powerful gusts of wind on my way out. Fortunately it was behind me for the return trip. 

All in all, the week is going well. 

Tonight I go to see my trigger point therapist for a deep sports massage. It will be painful but good…