Saturday, 30 January 2010

mid-week make up

I enjoyed a luscious 10k on the beach in fresh snow and sunshine against a brilliant blue sky.  I induldged myself in over-work this week so I didn't run mid-week, choosing instead to read my son his bedtime story when I got home. I went on strike and didn't walk Odie in the evenings after he bit me.  We made up today, I think. But there is a plan afoot to "fix" the problem relating to his dominant behaviour.

I'm annoyed with my lack of self-discipline. So, this morning's run was "owed" on Thursday. And I owe the coach LSD 33k tomorrow.

I've decided I really enjoy 90 minute runs. I got to the estatic part of running after 45 minutes. My legs shed their heavy Clydesdale feeling, the muscles in my arms woke up and decided to participate, I ran taller and straighter.  (keeping in mind always that a lot of my "running" shows up on the pace log as "fast walking"  ratz!).  Scores of gulls took to wing in rapture.  I was mildly alarmed by the thought they were on a bombing run and I was below them.  I need to bring my camera with me. This photo I grabbed from the internet captures some of the feeling, but doesn't do it justice.

I have something like 29 more training runs remaining until the marathon (10 weeks, 3x each).  Every one of them counts, I tell myself.   I can do this.

I thought about the week and my routine. I have so many windows of opportunity - No excuses.  There's a shower in my building I can use.  So I can run:

  • before work, 
  • on the way to work, 
  • during lunch, 
  • in the late afternoon if I don't take a lunch break, 
  • on my way home from the office, 
  • in the evening (before/after) dinner, 
  • when I walk the god in the evening.
Of course, I mean the Dog. But given his view of Himself lately, maybe I am walking the god.  Now I'm sunk. Joan Osborne's tune has been unleashed in my head. What if God was one of us? How would I recognise her? May I greet all beings, Namaste.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Puinduin report

I had a great time at the Puinduin race. It's mostly up and down steep sets of stairs. Wow.   Here you can see a photo album of the race.  And here is a blurry photo of me, from this album.  I am not long-legged or tall or particularly fast. Here's the course.

But I think I had the most fun. Especially since a couple of the race organisers ran the last lap with me as they picked up the signs and tape indicating the course.  Here's my finish photo, with my escorts.  The capture notes I'm the last finisher, and good going, because it's a tough course. I finished in 1:30 or so.

Respect to this little girl who ran 3.5k in her rain boots, towing her dad and little black dog.

I also enjoyed seeing children enjoying the race, like this little girl running up the stairs that slowed us mere mortals.

Feeling a little intimidated by my plan for the day, I  procrastinated.  In order to get to the start on time, Jeff and Odie kindly gave me a ride. Odie whined the entire time, thinking he was going to get a good run in with me today.   I started the day off short as a result.  I intended to sandwich the race in between two 10k's.

I gave it a race effort, despite my planned distance for the day. I was interviewed by the newspaper afterwards, but I forgot until this evening (Monday) to pick up a paper. The stores were already closed.  I met some nice people. The race coordinators were quite friendly and welcoming. It was put on by the local triathlon club. So I am interested maybe in training with them. The other races have been bigger events, and not being Dutch I feel as welcome as an invasive species. This time was pleasantly different.

I had an interaction with another runner on the course. During part of the race, I was wearing ear buds, listening to music.  She said something to me in Dutch as she passed me.  I didn't understand and just smiled at her.  She passed me again, and apparently repeated whatever she said, only louder.  I understood that it was something about not hearing the group or something. I guess she was telling me not to wear earbuds during the race. I still don't really know.  I was left wondering if she realised that I didn't understand the first time because of a language barrier, not because of what I had in my ears. Not having a babelfish, how am I supposed to know?  I ran with one ear free after that. Even so, I never play music so loudly that I can't hear my surroundings.

I jogged home through the hills in the southern dunes, snarfed up some lunch (spek and pea soup - spek is very thick bacon) and reconnected with the family.  I should have gone right back out, but I felt pretty tired and faded into the couch.

Low carb/high fat/enough protein seems to be working fine. I brought walnuts with me for the second run. I decided I prefer dried dates, but I was really trying to see whether I could fuel the run without sucking down hundreds of calories of sugar every half hour. I still like Joel Friel's formulas though. A 10k is short enough that I don't think I need to feed during it. But I ran in a "fasted" state. I had a nervous stomach and didn't feel like eating in the least. Then I forget to eat at the start. In the past, just before starting, I've eaten "go-gel". (I feel like a sugar junkie!).

By 6:00 I was eager to get the rest of my miles in for the day. Jeff hedged about going out for a run. He didn't want to do 12, and it was evening, and so on. So we went for four, up and back on the beach. Odie approved.

I burned 2100 calories and ate only 2500. My legs are really quite sore today. I don't remember their being so sore after the Amsterdam run. Maybe it was all those stupid stairs.  That's what made the course so fun.

As expected, my coach didn't approve of breaking the assigned run into pieces. And in the end I came up short.  He assigned 33k again for this weekend.  I think I will start measuring the long runs in miles.  Not that a 21 mile run seems that much shorter, now that I do the maths.  I'll put this race on my calendar for 2011, and use the course as a place to get stronger too.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Week 11 Running Plan

Tues Key Run #1 (worked late, didn't run)
10-20 minute warm-up
2*1200 (2 min RI) [7:40]
4*800 (2 min RI) [5:00]
10 minute cool-down

Thurs Key Run #2 (ran on Saturday - average 8:00 min+/km)
8K run @Mid Tempo pace [6:20]

Sat or Sun Weekend Long Run
33k @MP+28 sec : 8 min/k [4:1 r/w 7:45/10:00]

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Week of 18 Jan. Run #1

Monday and Tuesday my legs were still sore. Ran mid-week #1 today. 10 min warm-up 3x1600m followed by 6 min cool-down. I would have run the whole 10 min cool down but Odie started growling at another dog and I had had enough of him.  I'm still mad at him.

Tonight I worked on pacing and mental toughness. My goal was 6:45 for the 1600 meters. I ran 7:04. I felt tired tonight and didn't feel like going out at all. But I told myself that training for a marathon means going out sometimes even when I don't feel like it.  I let myself slow down and walk too often. I was better at these in the summer. Tougher.   I can earn my place back.  With dedication and effort, I can improve. That's what I've learned over this past year of running.  Last summer, I could run 14*800 at under 5 minutes. I can do it again.

I worked on a mantra during the run - my mid-week runs are just as important as my weekend runs. I never skip those. Except for once, and that was not a pleasant feeling.

I pushed myself pretty hard and my heart rate shows it. From 53 minutes running,  26 min in Z4 and 21min  in Z5.

I felt like I hated running in cold weather. Too many clothes. Cold since I dressed lightly tonight. Then too hot and sweaty. Then cold because I got sweaty. And fumbling with gloves, even thin ones. And the dumb dog was getting in the way and not paying attention to trying to do 800m repeats. Now that I express the workout like that - 6x800, that's a tidy bit of work. I remember how hard they were from the summer.  I think though I have lost some conditioning. Or perhaps trying to lower my consumption of carbohydrates. I've read that your performance will suffer at first, then pick up.

Recovery meal: chicken mushroom soup with lots of butter.  We'll see how this high fat low carb diet works.

total 2386 (maintenance)
F 154.8g 58%
C 75.4g 13%
P 178.8g 30%

Monday, 18 January 2010

finally a sensible plan

I feel like I finally found the holy grail for my body type and metabolism, etc. 

Paleo Nutrition.  Dr Harris, who writes the PaNu blog, was interviewed on a low carb podcast.  He presented his views with clarity and good sense.

And provides some straight-forward ideas for weight training and fitness.

And this review on Good Calories Bad Calories by Gary Taubes.  In 2007 Science Friday hosted a very interesting interview with Gary Taubes. As a journalist, he simplifies complex topics.  I found another interview on that same low-carb pod cast.  I enjoyed hearing in the second interview about the difficulties of changing the dominant paradigm. Taubes compared it to piloting a cruise ship from a lifeboat alongside.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

one more run: seeing the need for speed.

Two weeks of sitting on my butt at work equals loss of conditioning.  I enjoyed my 8k run this afternoon, but felt it in my glutes. I aimed at 7:40/km and averaged 7:50.   I learn something about pacing every time I go out for a run. When I plan the pace, I need to account for the walk breaks I take.  I also ran to beat music, which I really enjoyed, from Audiofuel, a UK company that has partnered with the London marathon to produce marathon training pieces.  The beat moves my feet!

Today I ran into the dunes on hard pack and brick. I wanted to run faster than I run on the beach and needed firmer footing.  All my parts feel good after the run.  Cold-weather running is a process of putting clothes on, and taking them off a half hour later. Today, the temperature was just slightly above freezing. Winter hat, ear band, silk layer, wool layer, pullover reflecting coat.  Technical gloves.  Wool layer, technical tights that I use for x-country skiing and biking in the winter. Plus wool ankle-socks.  I didn't bring any water, since I planned for only an hour.

Garmin Connect - Activity Details

What I liked about the run today: I saw a red fox and a big deer. Odie ran with me and has forgotten how to run on a leash.  I had to remind him quite often that he was with me.   But he got the hang of it.  Except when we were in "scented territory"  -- He's very interested in other dogs, either to master them or mate with them.  That's why he's called a dog, I suppose.
I feel more energetic after my run. I will sleep better tonight too.  The marathon was on my mind. Train hard so I can glide through the race.  The more I sweat, the less I will bleed. Something like that.  I need to do the mental training too.  Pushing myself a little today, I recalled the mental talk needed for an endurance sport. It's easy to ease up.  Harder to bear down. But if I want to run faster, I will need to run faster.  My fantasy is a sub-Five race.   That's 7:09/km.   I will need to improve my running to meet that time goal.  More reasonable is 5:30, in time to have my finish recorded. 7:51. Omph.  What I ran today. Just another four and a half hours.  Good thing I have plenty of time to train.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

to run faster, I will run faster

Okay, I finished the brief that has sucked up all my mental energy for the last two weeks. I slipped easily into the over-work habit and didn't run mid-week this week or last. I will change. I can change. I have changed.

Coach offered some ideas for making the 5:30 cut-off time for my first marathon. 

In your last email you asked about staying ahead of the 5:30 cut off time. I don't have my calculator with me on this trip, but I believe that this pace is about 7:40 per kilometer. Please check me on this.

To prepare yourself for this pace, there are two things you can do:

1. Run some 1600 repeats on the short long weekends. Do you have a track that is usable? Other option is a measured segment of 1 mile. Let me know if you have one of these and want to do the repeats.

2. Run 5K, on either Tues or Thurs short run days, at 7:40 per kilometer, trying several different ratios: 1-1, 1:30-1 or 2-1. Some runners actually run faster with a run 30 sec/walk 30 seconds.
These look like exercises I can accomplish very easily.  I hate the idea of walk breaks though. I just have this issue that I don't want to walk half the marathon.
Jeff thought my knee pain from the 25k run related to inadequate walk breaks.  I just caught myself wishing I had different legs. Then I thought about people who can't run or who run in wheel chairs they peddle with their arms.  No Whining!  I have strong, healthy legs.  So I will pace my run this weekend and jump back in the saddle.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

sea shell races

I enjoyed my run today (6.7k in a hour - including cool down walk). I was a bit annoyed with myself, having skipped my mid-week runs. I blame it on the icy weather. But I saw others running, and truth be told, I easily slip into an over-work habit when I am writing on a deadline (like now).

Somehow I TOTALLY FORGET that exercise, particularly running, increases my energy, relieves tiredness and reduces stress. Now, what's to not like about that when a deadline looms??? Maybe it's just that I like the adrenaline of hyper-focus and long hours. Dunno.

But anyway, I ran 6.7k in a snowstorm on the beach. The snow was wet enough to stick to the heels of my shoes, requiring occasional clearing. I ran into the wind first on this out-n-back along the North Sea. Everything looked dusted with sugar. The wind had swept the sand, revealing the tops of seashells. With the addition of a sugar frost, the seashells looked like they were racing one another, the snow forming a slip stream on the sides of every shell. I imagined a school of porpoises in minature.

I told this story to my younger son at dinner. He looked at me quizzically. Porpoises can't swim, he said. I said, yes they can, and then explained that porpoise was another word in English for dolphins. He was thinking of Tortoises. Then we had a good laugh at the idea of tortoises trying to swim. They'd look the same as rocks trying to swim. You have to understand that my sons spend most of their waking hours speaking Dutch (and when they talk in their sleep, it's in Dutch too).

So, I've committed to getting both my mid-week runs in this week.  I think I will see more improvement in my speed if I work on it during the week. I'm downright leisurely on the weekend pace.

plans without details are just dreams

I set up the workout plans for the week without deciding WHEN I would do them.  As a result, I completed only Sunday's run, which I considered a MUST-Do.

I will try again this week.

Monday, 4 January 2010


Yesterday, I enjoyed a great 25k run. I left home at 4 PM and ran a big loop up the North Sea coastline, then into the Dunes and back home. The sunset was gorgeous, soon replaced by a clear sky and billions of stars. The sand and the dunes were frozen since the temperature was at most -1c. My water bottles froze too. I ran on the bike path in the Dunes to be sure I didn't lose my way in the dark.

My knees are a little sore this morning, but otherwise I am no worse for the wear. The last 5k were difficult - I could feel the point where I outran my previous running distances. My legs were tired. I took fairly regular walk breaks. I wished I could run at a faster pace. I will edit this later to add my pace. The run took about 4 hours 20 minutes.

In the very cold weather it was a challenge to regulate temperature - too cold, too warm. By the end of the run, I started to get cold because my clothes were damp with sweat. Altogether, the run was a big success. Odie, my marathon dog, loped along with me, carry sticks for miles and sniffing every interesting smell.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Revised Schedule - January to April 2010

In response to my report on my "crappy run," Jeff commented that they're normal occurrences.  To help with my jitters at increasing distance, he suggested a strategy for long runs - call someone every 10k. 

"They can be your motivation lines," he wrote. 

Jeff also gave me a revised schedule to consider, which I've posted on the side panel.  This schedule works a little better with upcoming deadlines at work, which will require some extra time at the office in January.

I also need to plan for a school ski trip next month. Last year, the trip interrupted my running schedule, and I felt a bit under-trained going into the CPC.  I'd like to run the CPC half, and will need to see how I can integrate it into my training schedule for Rotterdam.

Jeff's blog also offered some mental strategies for long runs, a timely post for me: Think Positive.