Sunday, February 22, 2009

Winter Hits Me with a Sucker Punch

I've been sick. This is my excuse for why I did not write a blog entry last week. Sicker than a dog; too sick to blog. I'll cover the last two weeks here.
The week of the 9th through the 15th was a great week, with my total at 84 miles. We got a break in the weather for a few days, and Tuesday was so nice I ran in just shorts and a t-shirt. Even though the weather reverted to winter mode for the rest of the week, the little break helped lift my spirits. It didn't last. On Saturday, I felt the cold that I had been fighting off begin to take hold. By the time I finished 22 miler on Sunday, at a very good pace thanks to Paul R., E-speed, and Dave P., I felt like crap.
By Sunday evening, the fight was lost and I was in the full throws of a raging upper respiratory infection.
I did not run at all on Monday, and went to sleep as soon as I finished dinner. On Tuesday, I didn't feel any better, but I wanted to try to run. I blame the illness for my bad judgment. I did six miles in the morning and another four in the evening. For the last three of those miles, I mostly just looked for a place to lie down and die. My schedule for the week was:
  • Get to work between 5:30 and 6:00 AM
  • Come home around 6:00 PM
  • Eat dinner
  • Go directly to bed (usually by 7:00 PM or earlier)
I thought I would never feel good again, but then, at precisely 3:20 PM on Thursday (I noticed the time on my taskbar clock), I began to feel better. Only very slightly better, but there it was. I tried to run a little on Friday, grinding-out 6 slow, uncomfortable, head-throbbing miles on the treadmill. On Saturday morning, I felt better than I had in a week, and so I went to Lock 29 to run the trails with the group. The trails were snow-covered and the footing was dicey, but that didn't matter much since we bush-whacked most of the morning. For the first time in my experience running with this group, we actually briefly lost our bearings. It turned out to be a little mini-adventure involving a stealthy passage through a Boy Scout camping area, crossing a snow and ice covered dam that was only 18 inches wide, and of course, lots of bush-whacking. Two and a half hours trudging through the snow in the woods wasn't what I had in mind to help my recovery, but I think it actually helped. I came through it feeling better than when I started.

Sunday morning, I felt even better than Saturday, and I put in an early 3.5 miles before joining the SERC group in Solon, I ran the 15 mile route, running much of it was E-speed, including the last six or seven. I got my 20 plus for the day, and managed to average a 7:53 pace. Given the circumstances, I was satisfied.
After I got home, Sue made pancakes with fresh blueberries. I ate my pancakes and watched Liverpool - Man City play one of the most exciting 1 - 1 draws I have ever seen. If any of you were lucky enough to have seen the last 25 minutes, you know what I mean.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Summary - Week of 2/2 through 2/8/09

I'll forgo the narrative describing each daily run.  You could reread last week's summary, as we are in that part of the winter where each bleak week seems just like the last.  You can see the daily mileage in the table to the right.   The total for the week was 81 miles. As has been my pattern, I cam up about 4 miles short of the Pfitzinger's recommended mileage.   Disappointing.  I should have gone longer on Friday and Sunday.   About the only interesting I have to add is that I've started real tempo and interval speed work again.  I ran 3 x 1 mile on Tuesday at 6:00/min pace. I ran 5 miles at a 6:31/pace on Thursday.   Since these were on the treadmill, I have my doubts about the accuracy of the pace.  I expect that when I get the chance to run these on the track, I'll find it will be more difficult. 

On Sunday, after our run, a small group of us from SERC participated in a yoga session.  The instructor, knowing we are a group of runner, geared the session to positions that would be most helpful for us.  I warned everyone going in that I was simply there to provide comic relief.  I am slightly less flexible that a slab of marble.  I was surprised and relieved to find that we did not do anything too challenging.  It was relaxing, and I did feel the stretching was beneficial.  I could have done without the "...find your inner self..." narration that the instructor provided, but I basically tuned him out.  

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Goodbye January...See You Again in 2010

Weekly Summary
The last week of January was not much different from the preceding three.   We did got a short reprieve from the arctic temperatures, but the snow continued to fall.   Monday, I did 6 miles in the morning and four miles in the evening,  on the treadmill at recovery pace (around 8:00/min.-mile.)   On Tuesday, I did my first mile intervals since November of 2008, and really, those were not quality miles.  My last really good mile intervals were probably in September.  So, I was not expecting much, but surprisingly, I did 3 miles, each at 6:00/min. pace, with 400 recovery after each.  Wednesday was pure treadmill torture...15 miles in the early morning.  I kept a reasonable pace, averaging 7:45/min., and I switched several times between the television and my MP3's.  The only good thing about that run was the relief I felt when it was over.  Thursday was another 6/4 mile double at recovery pace, nothing particularly noteworthy.  On Friday, I got a nice 7.5 morning miles on the streets of Solon.   The roads were alternately icy and slushy, but my screw shoes proved reliable if not speedy (7:53/min.) 
Saturday at Lock 29, I arrived early and tested the trails, but they were terrible.  Even the tow path, looked like this.

I wanted to run, but the trails would barely allow more than a fast hiking pace.  So, it turned into basically another road run, this time 12.5 miles.   Sunday was the most beautiful morning we have had in months.  It was already 32 degrees when I left the house before 7:00 AM.  I ran my early miles alone, then 12 with the group, then added about 1.5 to get me over 21 miles.  Maybe it was the warm weather, or the clear roads, but I averaged 7:43 pace, even though my first 6 miles were over 8:00/min.  I really picked up the pace, particularly on the Hawthorne Parkway hill.   Total miles for the week: 82.1

January Summary

This was the worst January I can remember for consistently bitter cold and snow that would not stop.  The conditions made quality runs very difficult to manage, and forced me to rely on the treadmill far to much.  I got my long runs in, including a couple of 20 milers, but they were not pleasant and at times, truly uncomfortable.  January will do that to you.  Now that it's gone, and February has started so promisingly, I admit that I am satisfied with the miles I was able to run.   My total from the month was 325 miles, which is 5 miles higher than my previous highest total month, December.  I cannot remember ever looking forward to February so much.  I've started to get some quality speed work back into my schedule.  If February's weather allows, I'd like to get a good tempo run in at least once a week, and not on the treadmill.