Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bits and Pieces

A whole host of random thoughts occurred today as I ran 6.5 miles.

First, I've switched from music to podcasts on my runs. Lately, the music seemed to drag me down and I would spend time flipping through my songs to see if I could find the perfect mix. It may be that the podcasts are just a change of routine, but I'm enjoying listen to various stories and information. In a way, it feels like I am running with someone who is just chatting about random things. Maybe I'll get tired of the chatter or maybe it is what I need to push to the next level in my training.

Second, I could really go for a nap about now. One thing I have noticed is that every run over 4 miles within an hour after finishing, I feel extremely worn out. I follow a good post run regimen of hydrating then drinking a post-run recovery drink of a carb/protein ration. Following the recovery drink I will usually have a good meal. Why should I be so exhausted?

Third, It feels really good to get back into a regular routine of running. My ankle tendon has cleared up, my quads have stopped hurting and overall I am feeling back on track. It's been good to remember why I enjoy running.

Fourth, my luck at winning free stuff on the web has been pretty poor non-existant, but Adam over at The Boring Runner is doing a giveaway. It's probably nothing you're interested in, so don't bother going to see it because it increases my chances of winning.

Finally, I was sent a book from The Runner's Lounge to review. It's a compilation of stories that the site founders published. I will take a moment in an upcoming post to give my review.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rain+Road Shoes+Trail=Pizza

What do you get when you cross rain, plus road shoes with a trail? Pizza of course!

That was the combination of today's run. As the leader of our Saturday group is prepping for a 50 mile race, we tend to spend a lot of time on trails. I've enjoyed the trail runs lately and know it will pay off when I have the Ragnar Wasatch back in June and also pacing my friend the last 17 miles of his 50 mile race on the 5th of June. The only kink in todays plan–rain. It's been a cold wet Spring and today was no exception. Last night it started raining and this morning it was a chilly 36 degrees when I rolled out of bed. By the time I was ready to leave, the rain had stopped, but the temperature was hovering around 39 degrees. This is cold for late May.

I threw on my road shoes (because I thought with the rain we'd just stay on the road), long sleeve shirt, jacket, hat and light gloves and drove to the meeting spot. Supercords and I were the only runners and the thought of 10 miles on a somewhat soggy Saturday morning just wasn't very appealing. We looked at what we both brought and he made the executive decision to run the trails anyway. The way was soggy, muddy, rocky and steep at times, but overall it was a great run. My shoes were thoroughly soaked by the time we finished, but in the process I discovered a few camping spots that I didn't know existed and the view was astonishing at times. The rain definitely clears the air.

I was partway home when Supercords called and invited me to a little pizza place in the city where we were running. Not passing up and opportunity for pizza and company, I turned the car around and met up with him. We were the first customers of the day, so we got to choose the pizza combinations for the buffet. After getting my drink I sat down and took off my very dirty shoes and wet socks. Overall a great Saturday run and good way to finish off a great training week of 4 runs.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Training Strategies

Last weekend I went on an awesome trail run with the Saturday group. Only three of us actually showed up because of the difficulty involved in the run. It involved a 3000 ft climb and then descent over the course of 8 miles. I turned into more of a I got thinking about everything I have coming up and that I really should develop a plan of attack.

Here's what's coming up for me in the next few months.
June 5-Pacing my friend Supercords the last 17 miles of his 50 miler race
June 18-19: Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay
June 26: Lehi Roundup 10K (depends on how I am doing after Ragnar)
July 5: Freedom Festival 10k (we'll see if the shirt fits me)
August: TBD
August 28: Running the Gap Marathon
Fall: TBD, but I'd like to get another Marathon in before winter
April 2011: 50K in Southern Utah

I've looked around on various sites to see what programs out there would work best for me. I know the basics...speedwork, easy runs, hills, tempo, long runs, but there is something about having it broken down day by day and week by week. I finally settled on Runner's World with a few added tweaks to their schedule. Even though I don't follow it to the letter, it gives me a good estimate of where I should be.

What programs do the rest of you follow or do you just create your own?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Everything's Bigger in Texas

It's been a busy few weeks since returning from Texas. As I mentioned, I finished the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon and then left for Texas. I had grand visions of finding some sweet trails or running spots while there for a week. My expectations and reality were two different things.

Running with Aliens
We stopped in Roswell overnight on our trip and I took advantage of the hotel fitness center. Stepping onto the treadmill, I tried out some of that cool "imagery"stuff that I hear that top athletes use. I took some deep calming breaths and envisioned myself being the sole witness to the latest Roswell Incident and it was up to me to contact someone. I must have envisioned too well because as I was running I envisioned a massive cramp in my quad that almost caused me to fall. I immediately stopped the whole envisioning thing before it caused me even more injury. That's some dangerous stuff....

Running in San Antonio
Nope..didn't happen there either. I did walk into the Alamo, walked along the riverwalk and saw some really great places where I could run. I also heard from a good friend that there are people that run in San Antonio, but I didn't actually see anyone. He could just being saying that so I wouldn't feel bad for him calling me a freak when I first mentioned a few years ago that I had taken up running.

Running in Dallas
After my experience in Roswell, I opted to just stick with running on the treadmill and not worry about the "imagery" stuff. It was our second day in Dallas when I went to the fitness center. I've had good and bad experiences with the hotel "fitness centers." It seems that every hotel has a different view on this word. The Hampton Inn Desoto has got their act together. They an ample spaced room with a treadmill, bike and various weights–all in good condition. The one thing they didn't provide was the proxy runner who would run in my place and we would reap the benefits. They were only a 3 star place so I can't expect too much. Maybe when I can afford those 5 star places, I'll receive a complimentary running double.

I trudged out a couple short runs while I was staying at the hotel, but I was nagged by the remnants of that imagery quad pain. It wasn't stellar, but it was good to get a little running in while I was there.

Running in Albuquerque
We struck out on the hotel in Albuquerque. Priceline let us down with the hotel there and there was no running in Albuquerque.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Running Through the Tulips

Following the Salt Lake City Marathon, I had two major events going on. The first was the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon and the second was a trip to Dallas.

Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon
There is a charitable organization called the Thanksgiving Point Institute that was holding their first annual half-marathon. They have a variety of venues that include a museum of ancient life, golf course, farm country, shops, fine dining and a 55 acre gardens area. Even better is that the starting location was only 10 minutes from my house.

Decisions, Decisions - Go for the PR or be able to walk the following week.
The race was on Saturday. We were leaving for Texas the following morning. It was like the devil and the angel on my shoulders. The devil was like "GO FOR IT...TAKE IT ON AND BEAT THE PR" while the Angel was like "Remember you have a 12 hour drive the next day, do you really want to be driving and trying to stretch out those muscles?" It was an ongoing battle for most of the week. Ultimately, I opted to leave the Garmin at home and just run slower than normal.

The Course
Each year at this time, the Thanksgiving Point gardens host a tulip festival with over 250,000 tulips blooming over the 55 acres. The race started at the central location for Thanksgiving Point and within 3/4 mile onto the golf course and then into the garden area and then onto a paved river trail. This encompassed the first eight miles and with the remaining 5 on the road.

Overall, the race was nice. The course was definitely more scenic and interesting than Salt Lake, but next year my advice is that they reverse the course so that the first 5 miles are on the road and then it can end after the gardens.

Why? Because the crowd of runners had not dispersed enough before we hit the golf course and were running on the cart lanes. We were crammed onto a tight little road. I ended up jumping onto the golf course to pass those who decided that the 8-9 minute/mile corral was for people walking the course. Yes, I was running it slower, but not dead slow. I actually felt like I could power walk faster than the group was going. After the two mile mark, the crowd had thinned enough that I could breathe.

The course through the golf course had rolling hills and then through the gardens there is a winding ascent followed by the winding descent. My sister and her husband were running it. She was going extra slow because of knee problems and they actually stopped and took a photo of themselves along the course.

At the end of the race, I walked around and waited for my sister and her husband then I waited in line for the physical therapists to see if maybe they had some advice on my ankle issues–they did and it's feeling much better. After that, I got in line for the massage. There were only two massage therapists and they were giving each person about 15 minutes. I was last in line and they finished up as the race organizers were tearing down.

Post Race
The most rewarding part of the race was that they gave everyone who ran and their family an all-day pass to their venues. My wife has always wanted to go see the Tulip Festival so we loaded the kids later that day and I put in a good couple miles of walking off the race.

The following morning, we loaded up the kids and headed for Texas.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Back From My Whirlwind Trip to Texas

I just got back from Dallas last night and have a whole host of things to discuss. Look forward to the following in upcoming days:

Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon Report- Was it wise to run a half marathon less than 24 hours before driving to Texas from Utah?

Running while in Texas-Did I actually do it?

And much more...