Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hills & More Hills...

Felt surprisingly up to the task of this week's long-run. Praise God the lingering head cold didn't damper the ambition too much. 22miles with a lot of hills & great company, good challenge!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Beautiful | Difficult

Last week I...

Settled more comfortably into the swim/bike/run bricks of 70.3 training.

Ran with Maggie in the thickest fog I have ever run in, loving every minute of it.

Shot the beauty of what that fog left behind the following day.

Donned the VFFs & garnered a sub 9min/mi for 6miles. Despite having heartburn the entire run, I enjoyed every mile.

A blizzard yet again made me reschedule my long run. This meant putting it the day after a full training day w/ a brick & two BJJ classes. The mind was willing, the body protested. The 1st 3miles I had shin splints & calf cramping so badly I was crippled to walking. So much pain I started to route myself back home early. Only to have the Lord bless me with renewed strength to finish the final 11miles at an unusually fast pace.

In contrast, this week I...

Didn't train or leave the house for five days due to illness.

Managed only one swim/bike/run brick once I did get out of the house. Using cough-drops & tissues on the trainer. Doubling my laps because the water felt comforting and other athletes in the pool inspired me. Spent the rest of the day tired, but happy to have trained.

Slept a lot.

The Lord knows what my desires are & what my training plan looks like. So while the missed training is a disappointment, I'm sure in some ways it will be a blessing.

Tomorrow's run (20 hilly miles w/ the ultra crew) will be difficult as I'm not 100% over this bug, but if I have learned anything from working thru illness and pain it is that... knowing what you can handle & how to compensate for areas that are lacking, is a necessary asset for the type of events I am training for. So I embrace it, gladly.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tired, Hungry & Happy...

Training for my 2nd 70.3 started on Monday. When I say that putting together a training plan for a 100mile ultra & 70.3 two months apart is a nightmare, that is an understatement. Pair that with a growing passion for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and it just doesn't get any easier.

Thankfully the uptick in my daily dose of swim/bike/run/BJJ hasn't been bad. My body while tired still feels strong & I am swiftly reminded of just how hungry training like this makes me.

For now, it's just a matter of settling into a routine I can maintain. I managed it last year and I can do it again. Time management will be crucial, but every mile I put forth I am confident will be worth it.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Stage fright...

I thought this video deserved a disclaimer. Today Maggie & I got the chance to run with fellow ultra runners in our area on a new route they had chosen.

The route was great, so was the conversation and while I managed to get stage-fright/ADD filming in front of new people for fear of slowing them down (hurray for fueling speed-walks!) I think we all had a lot of fun. A big thanks to Rick, Joel & Jerry for sharing your long run this weekend guys.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Embracing the Obnoxiousness...

One of the best memories I have of snowboarding with my sister is the time the lift got stuck & we managed to get a second-hand high from the pot-heads a chair ahead of us. We were super tired, didn't know what was going on & in the process of waiting for the lift to be functional again we started speaking to each other by using our mittens as puppets to speak for us. It was quite hilarious then. No, I don't & have never smoked pot. The high I enjoy is a runner's high.

Moving on. Now imagine my delight when I walked into F.O.D this summer to see such wonderfully obnoxious mittens in adult-size, on sale.

Little did I know then that these crazy Pink Zebra Puppet mittens would quickly become one of my most valued pieces of sub-zero running gear and the much needed humor during frigid long runs.

I spent the first five hours of yesterday contemplating whether or not I could actually run due to the conditions outside. A howling 20-25mph wind, -8F temp & -34F to -40F windchill. Ouch. Postponing the run until today wasn't an option as I will be in much need of fresh legs tomorrow when Maggie & I set out on our first long-run with a few other area ultra runners.

To be honest I really wasn't keen on the idea of running in that weather. I wanted to run, but I didn't want to be miserable & peering out the window it looked pretty miserable/cold out there. It took a lot to talk myself into it. I just kept telling myself I only had to go three miles & if I could stand it I would try to make it six. And if I froze to death at least they would be able to identify me by my mittens, because seriously who else would have mittens like that?

Stepping outside the door I was relieved to feel that in areas somewhat protected by the wind it was actually very comfortable running weather. After my second mile I was confident that 6 would be doable, the question then became what route to take.

Sidewalks & paths covered in drifting snow were impassable which left running on the side of the road as my only option 98% of the time. Again, I found it entirely too entertaining to watch the expressions on the face of motorists as they passed me. Some people look concerned, some scoff, some wave. Of course I'm never entirely sure if it's because it's so cold out or because of the mitts. Perhaps it's a combination of the two.

Anyway, I was able to stay partially blocked from the wind and enjoying the run a good portion of the route. Until mile 7.5.

Let me explain: At mile 5ish I wasn't quite sure my chosen route would finish out with the 6miles I wanted, so I made the turn into a neighborhood I often run past, but not through. As it turns out cul-de-sacs & streets that end on the same road they branched off of are the theme of this neighborhood.

The idea was only to add in a block or two, did that happen? Obviously not. I could see exactly what road I wanted to be on, there was just a row of houses between us and too much snow to make a shortcut through someone's yard. Ugh!

At mile 7.5 I became very focused on getting home. I was running into the wind, feeling the need for some fuel, my eyelids were starting to get really cold, eyelashes freezing together, face-mask frozen stiff paired with a new sensation I've never had during a run before: an ice-cream headache. Not exactly my idea of fun.

Finally I made my way back onto the road I needed to be on. Yes, there were other roads I could have taken which would have limited the amount of miles added to my route, but they were narrow & very traffic ladened, not safe.

8.8 miles after leaving home I was back again. Running in the -18F temps last Saturday was cold, but when you factor in the windchill yesterday was most certainly the coldest weather I have ever run in. Would I do it again? Yes. Just not in that neighborhood, lol. Little things like putting chapstick on any exposed area of my face help a lot. I'm also letting my hair grow out again so it insulates my ears & neck.

You learn a lot about what you & the human body are capable of in conditions like that. It's humbling to think that in 8months I will be running in temps almost 100 degrees warmer than what I am currently training in. How my God created our bodies to handle that I just can't wrap my mind around. It's pretty astounding.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The start of a new year! 16miles in -18F

My first run of 2010 kicked off today with a stellar 16miler w/ Maggie. We braved the -18F weather, accumulated a lot of frost & had fun along the way. I'm excited to see what the other runs this year will amount to, but I'm already off to a good start!