Sunday, January 11, 2009

Winter: It's On



For most of my adult life, I have seen the treadmill as an invention of Satan.  That was until this week. Training for Boston through the Cleveland winter had something to do with it.    I recognized that I was nearly killing myself running outdoors everyday, regardless of the conditions. Further, it was effecting the quality of my runs. Don't misunderstand. I still believe that slogging through the snow and ice makes for an excellent workout, but the quality of the running suffers, and your form can get very sloppy. I still believe that Satan invented the treadmill, but now I realize that he's probably a hell of a runner. 

So...I ran 10 miles on the treadmill on Monday, 6 miles in the morning, and 4 miles in the evening. The weather was perfect...70 degrees, no precipitation, no wind. On Tuesday, I did an early morning 10 miler on the streets of Independence. The occasional patches of ice keep my attention focused on the surface in front of me. It was dark, and I wore my headlamp, but it did not throw enough light to make the ice easy to spot.   I managed to stay upright for the whole run, but there were a few close calls.  On Wednesday, the plan called for 14 miles, and my schedule at work was not going to give me much of an opportunity. I hit the treadmill in the evening and got my 14 miles done. I tried to break-up the boredom by listening to my music and watching television. Both of those helped stave off the inevitable tedium for a while. The last hour was tough. When the display flipped to '14.0 Miles', I hit the 'Stop' button so hard, I thought I broke it. After that, I made sure that my Thursday and Friday runs were outside.
The weather turned ugly on Friday afternoon, and the snow fell through the night. On Saturday morning, I arrived at about 7:55 but the roads were awful. By 8:20, there were still only a few runners, we had to delay the start for about 20 minutes while we waited for more runners to arrive. Finally, at about 8:30 we started. I assumed that, since we got such a late start, and since the conditions were so bad, we would probably only cover about 10 miles rather than our usual 12. I also assumed that with all of the snow and bad footing, we would back off on the pace. So...we did 14.4 miles at the fastest pace I have ever recorded on one of our Saturday runs. Sure. Why not?
Runners mulling around the LOCK 29 parking lot, waiting for the late-comers.


Heading off for a run in the great white wilderness.

On Sunday morning, my legs were really feeling the effects of the last month and a half. My knees, specifically my right knee, did not want me to go down the stairs, let alone head out for an 18 mile run. I made some coffee, tried to loosen up, got changed, and headed out at around 7:00 AM. I ran very uncomfortably and slowly for the first few miles. At 8:00 AM, I joined the SERC group. Unlike last week, this week I avoided the temptation to run with the 7:00/min-mile group. My intention was a long slow run at around 8:00/min-mile pace and I was able to stick to it. Fortunately, Paul R. joined me about three miles after the SERC group started, and we ran the next 10 miles together.  I completed 17.3 miles.  The total for the week was 78 miles, not quite Pfitzinger's recommended 84.  

7 comments:

Ernesto said...

I've been training for Hyannis (winter marathon)through a New Hampshire winter, and I'll tell you, it's been kicking my butt. More power to you for some of the great runs you've put in. As a beginning marathoner (Hyannis will be my second), I'm in awe of your miles. I've done all of my long runs outside, and most of my other runs as well, and the experience has been so different from training through the summer that I am tempted to stick only to marathons the dates of which demand spring, summer and fall long runs only! I don't mind winter runs, but the long ones are beasts.

Anonymous said...

Pfitzinger didn't live in Cleveland. 'Nuf said.

LilSis

Papa Louie said...

Sounds like you guys had so much fun Saturday morning enjoying the crazy weather that you got carried away running like mad dashers.

Wyatt Hornsby said...

Frank: Great week. 14 miles on the treadmill is impressive. Training for an early-spring marathon (Boston) in Cleveland is tough. You have key workouts to get in and yet Mother Nature conspires against you. Fortunately, you've adapted to the challenges of the weather. All you can do is your best and, with Boston, the chips fall where they may. See you this weekend. - Wyatt

solarsquirrel said...

I'm totally with you regarding the treadmill...I don't even know how to run on the treadmill - do you use incline? Do you set it to the pace that you normally run? I tried to run on the treadmill because of all of this snow and I swear I thought I was going to die a slow death...

duchossois said...

solar, I am no expert but I tell you what is working for me. I set the pace on my first mile slow, around 8:15, to get loose. I set the second mile a little faster, then depending on your target for the run, I set the pace for the remaining miles at a little faster that pace. I set the incline to about 1.5, it just seems more comfortable to have a slight uphill. Also, I recommend that you pay more attention to your form while you are getting used to the treadmill. I caught myself running in a more choppy stride, with my arms higher and the swing more exaggerated than normal. I find I have to make corrections as I go. Be sure you are mid-foot striking, keeping your center of gravity very slightly forward, keep your hands about hip level and don't let your arms swing across your body. Good Luck!

DaisyDuc said...

Lots of us are using Satan's invention this week! Another solid week for you even with the rough weather!

That Saturday run had to be crazy hard!