Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ducks: Beware of Runner!


Today, the Gillies Lake duck population took simultaneous flight out of the reeds and nearly into my face! On a 9-miler, my reflexes are a tad dull. The rain kept my eyes squinting and the sound of my approach initiated the flight to safety for the feathered fellows, nearly at the expence of my unprotected head!

Generally, safety measures which I often employ are to sing, yell or clap as I approach duck-populated spots. Guess I forgot today...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rest Day? Good Idea...maybe next month.

My legs are tired. No question. I will rest them. When? Next week would be good.
This week I took off the long run...Heck, I deserved it after 7 weeks of 2-3 hour runs on Saturdays.

So yesteray, I "only" went 10.5. Good. Horray for me again! But a day off?. May 5 was the last one. Maybe the day before my nest race on 8/10. I like to run...but nagging pain I don't like.

I'll take a day off...really. I can do it. I used to be very good at it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Since I whined about the cold all winter, I need to offer up a good word about summer way up here. I've been running for three months in nearly ideal running weather (50-70 f and dry). And the best part is that I don't even need to start early to beat the heat: there's little heat to beat, only cars.

Of course, last year we had some October snow and lots of snow that went down in November, so we'll see how the treadmill holds up this winter. But for now: not much heat, a little rain, and no real severe weather to speak of. But how do I train year round, outdoors? Maybe I'll stay in California a little longer for the holidays this Christmas...

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Timmins Golden Trails Half Marathon (8-10)will be my next race. I ran it last year and found it to be a nice course, but almost never flat and on a paved surface at the same time. Today I included the second half--the dirt trails part-- of the course in my run and almost took a spill twice on the trails.
Lesson: Don't run steep downhills within 48 hours of a long run! My quads seem to recover slowly this year, and this course has some X-country type hills on the trail: short but rugged. The first half is mostly a slow ascent on the streets, but was a lot faster for me. As slow as the course feels, the finishing times were not bad last year...only slowed by a couple of minutes for many. Might be some generous GPS readings.
EDIT: 2008 is longer by .6KM
But it's not a PR course, that's certain.
I'll have to run the trails weekly now to be sure I don't take a header.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Horray for me!

I've never kept such records before, but today I hit 1500 miles for 2008. I'm quite certain I've never done it so early in the year. And another 100KM week for the non-American readers; not Kenyon, but good for me.
And we have a new little house to move into. I hope to run a few good races this year while living in the new digs. But for now, I'm stiff from nearly three hours of running.
But I ate freely tonight at a BBQ....I LOVE long run days.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Another cool, rainy day in the North. I took a spin on the treadmill and after a mile warmup, hit 8.5 mph and increased gradually to 9.3. All in all, I averaged 7:00/mile, excluding the warmup, and felt good. The treadmill is always at 1% uphill and I took a few laps at 2-3%. My legs really like running fast and on soft surfaces. But, the treadmill is soooooo boring after the first 30 minutes or so.

So my dilemma is as such: run pain-free on the TM or hit the streets.

Oh yeah, there's another dilemma: why am I living somewhere that's 55 degrees with cold rain in JULY!!!! It's not like I'm in the Southern Hemisphere, for Pete's sake. Oh well..
At least I'm ready for some fast races starting next month. It's been awhile.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gillies Lake may look like any one of a couple dozen lakes I ran around back in Minneapolis, but here in Timmins it's a crowned jewel. As far as I know, it's really the only place to go for a walk or picnic or run in the city area. Of course, there are only around 30 days a year where you might want to do anything besides running due to the cold weather and incessant winds at the lake.

Today, it was raining and 54 when I decided to go for a 3-mile tempo run at the lake. The path is not fast, due to its gravel composition and windiness, but on a funky July day like today it's good for running since it was likely to be uncrowded. Still there were some folks clogging up the path by walking three abreast as well as the proverbial duck feeders.

<<<"don't feed me on the path"

So, with a few "excuse me"s along the way I took a fast(sort of) run around the lake 2.1 times which makes around three miles. I felt like sludge running to the lake (2.8 miles from home)and trotted back to make for a nice 8.7 mile session.

What gets me is the way I feel so much better when I run fast. I really like getting into a little O2 debt and stretching out. Of course, we can only do that for so long, hence the speedwork. BUt there's only one regulation track in town, and it's always locked. I believe for a fee you can run on it, but I've never seen it in use. Anyway, I'll work on going a little faster a little longer to get the most out of my miles.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

How to Run 20 with Negative Splits

I left for my long run in windy conditions with the occasional droplet of rain. It was a 63-mile week and my body was angry with me for pounding the pavement at an hour when I should be checking the time, rolling over and grabbing another hour's sleep.
I warmed up after a couple of miles and started to plod along at 8:15/pace for the next hour, heading up a logging road that was all mine this morning.

As the sky darkened and the wind reved up, the rain transitioned from nuisance to soaking.

I neared the 10-mile turn-around and heard several claps of thunder. Then I saw a bright flash and heard a closer "boom!" I said "I guess this looks like ten miles", and u-turned immediately. I was an hour from town. The fear of being a human light bulb was put into me.

Without willing anything, my sore back was fine. My temperamental knee was solid. My fatiguing hip-flexors were good as new. In short, fear transmuted me from an aching old runner to a spry athletic youth caught in the rain. My 8:20 miles turned into 7:50s. Had the lightening been worse they might have been 6:50s, but after 5 miles or so the rain abated and a smattering of sprinkles were all that was left to contend with for the duration.

I tacked on a jog around the block (.8 miles) since I might have cut the 20 by a few tenths when I turned around.
Anyway it's done and I feel good. Now I need the lightning effect to relieve pain without the danger. Any ideas?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

<<<<< Tights...

I'm becoming one of them!!!!
When I started running races six years ago, I said to myself: if I ever become one of these guys doing the goofy stretches all the time, wearing knee braces and tights everywhere I go, it's time to do something else.

Well, now I'm guilty on those and many other counts: yes, I do goofy stretches....yes, I wear tights(in fact I get a kind of superman tingle wearing them, but don't tell) in winter races. And NOW, my knee's bugging me and I'm thinking a knee support might be just what I need. And if I miss a day of running, I feel a need to atone for it.
Oh man! I'm a running geek!!! It's true! I fit all the criteria.
I can live with it, it's not a BAD thing. But I've got to conceal it a they sell NASCAR tights?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Run on different surfaces to preserve the legs. It works!.

Since it's been pouring rain, I decided to take my run inside on the treadmill. I don't mind running in the rain, but drivers around here seem to assume the road is theirs solely on such days. But hitting the treadmill is smart for we of the master's mentality (and physicality)anyhow. It's a chance to run on a soft surface and go a little faster without the turns, and downhills that don't do a body good.

Don't get me wrong, an hour on the TM is like an hour at the dentist. No TV program or music soundtrack can diminish the boredom, but 1X/week or two at the most is OK and your joints will thank you. Today, I broke the hard/easy principal by doing 15 minutes of tempo work a day after a 9.5 mile run just over marathon pace. But being on the TM made it feel intense but not punishing on the legs. So I'll keep doing some of my speed on the TM and some elsewhere. My knees appreciate it!

The Tempothon Run:

I've gone hard two days in a row, which is rare, but with the TM it's easier on the joints so I have more lattitude. I do a sort of tempo/ marathon pace combo: the TEMPOTHON PACE. I'll w/up for 3 miles at 8:20 pace, then go 2.5 miles at AT pace(HM/pace) which is around 6:35, then I'll go another three at 7:10 pace. My assertion is that you get many of the benefits of a longer tempo run, since at near-MP, your HR still stays up in the AT range, even though you're running at a more comfortable pace. I noticed this on my HR monitor years ago. That's why it's really valuable to run a few miles after doing a hard speed session--you still get the benefits while cooling do. Long tempo runs at AT pace are too much like races, and require more recovery.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Good news--bad news.

I found a nice semi-abandoned road that traverses a forest area in the hills. It'll be great for some of the 20-milers I'll start doing later this month. There are two lakes on the path, some really nice out of the way houses and a good possibility of seeing wildlife.

Unfortunately, I really only planned on doing a 12-13 miler this weekend to help my legs regain their bounce. most explorers before me I went longer than planned and was out over 16 miles. Also, the terrain is never flat. There are lots of grades that made my tired old knees and hip flexors--yes we guys use them too--feel the fire then the nasty,"I must be 90 years-old" feeling. But I'll adapt. It's not Pikes' Peak. Besides, if I ever do run a hilly marathon like Boston, it will help. Well maybe, Jan-April it might be for X-country skiing only.

In the meantime, I've got a nice figure 8 course with a bathroom and drinking fountain I pass 4X on each run. It's always nice to have a clean, rarely used WC on the path...

But I'm more likely to see a bear on today's path. And I like the bears!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Why don't runners say "hi" more often? Anyone who has ever run a race can usually spot a serious runner: the shoes, fancy watch, dri-release clothes, and efficient stride and cadence. Yet I'm amazed how many runners, mostly but not exclusively female, refuse to gaze in my direction when we cross paths. Of course, caution is necessary. I understand the safety issues. But come on, we're not on the mean streets of New York or Detroit, and I don't run at night. Some runners make some kind of gesture of acknowledgement and I appreciate that. But why not more? We're a brother and sisterhood of's not that scary!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Recovery blues.
It seems in just a few short years, my ability to recover from hard running has waned. This, I don't like. Now, when I do a long run I can still feel it two days later, on Monday. Then if I do an easy run on Monday, the next day I have trouble doing any kind of speed... Argh!

  1. Too much mileage? In past years, I thought I was running 50 mpw, but now, after remeasuring with GPS, it was more like 42mpw. While here in 2008, I'm older and going 58 real maybe I'm just plain old beat-up.
  2. Too fast? In light of the above, it follows that my pace is faster on easy runs then it used to be. I may average 8:05/mile, but the first two are in around 18:00, which means I'm well under eight for 5-6 miles...not really recovery pace.
  3. Too much running alone? Back in the Cities, I ran with two groups. It took my thoughts off any small pains. Now, I run alone nearly all of the time, due to location.


  1. Vary the surface. Running more is fine at this level. But I've got to mix it up: more dirt, treadmill, grass as well as asphalt.
  2. Stretch and be warm. Before running hard, be sure the muscles are ready. And make easy days real easy.
  3. Race more to be around other runners. Also call those in the area who are at the same level. It's not convenient, but it can reboot the spirit to run with a friend.

Some might suggest SRDs. They don't seem to help me any more than an easy 4-5 mile day. I rest when I'm too busy to run. But I know, sooner or later I'll need to start X-training in lieu of running on some days...BUT NOT YET!!!