Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reasons to be Thankful

I could have posted this on Thanksgiving but I was too busy stuffing my face enjoying the company of family and an opportunity to relax and gear up for Black Friday shopping.

Do Intervals Pay Off?
ABSOLUTELY. 4 weeks ago I signed up for the local Turkey Trot that someone in our family has run since it started 3 years ago. Last year I was sidelined with an injury and then added a kidney stone to the mix. This was my year to PR in a 5K. The only way I was going to do that was to get faster. I took to the local rec center for a one to two day a week interval or tempo run. The Saturday leading up to the race, the running store that created the race (and who I run with on a regular basis) held a pre-race run to see the course. A few of us showed up and did an easy run to see the course and then 3 of us took off and did one more lap at as close to a race pace as we dared. I finished pretty close to what my previous PR time was which meant that with a little adrenaline a new PR was in sight.

The Saturday before the race, the weather topped out at 40 degrees for the day. The day of the race, the weather topped out a 19 degrees for the day. At 7:30 am as I headed to the start, the temperature was 8 degrees. By race start we had warmed up to a roasting 10 degrees. Needless to say, it was cold, my fingers couldn't decide whether to stay frozen or thaw which meant they hurt the whole race. I had a hard time breathing in such cold weather. I didn't look at my Garmin until 100 yards before the finish. I finished my race in 21:43 which put me a little more than 20 seconds faster than my previous time. I'll take it. I ended up 4th in my age group, 27th overall (out of 700 registered) and a new PR. A great way to start Thanksgiving. Thank you intervals even though I still don't like you much.

Does Turkey Taste Better After a New PR?
ABSOLUTELY. We chose to avoid the cooking, cleaning and just go to the local Chuck A Rama for dinner. We waited for an hour to get into the buffet, but after getting a new PR, I was in such a great mood that waiting in the cold didn't bother me.

Is Watching a Movie on my New TV More Enjoyable After a New PR?
ABSOLUTELY. Setting a new PR makes the world a much better place. So does a Sony 40" LCD tv.

Thanksgiving was fabulous. It would still have been great even if I hadn't hit a new PR, but it definitely made it that much sweeter. Spending time with family and friends, eating good food and getting a tip on where I can pick up on some high quality bathroom and kitchen fixtures for cheap, is what matters. I am now shifting my focus a little to tone up, do some core strengthening and decide what my goals are for 2011. One idea is to do 3 marathons, at least 3 relays and a variety of 5k-half-marathons with a sprinkle of two races I get to direct.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Run Down

With the weather in the low 40s I decided it was time to break out the winter gear and go for a mid-afternoon run while there was a break in the storm. The run itself was uneventful 7.5 miles, but it did feel good to get outside for a longer mid-week run. I'll hit the track tomorrow for some speedwork as I prep for the Thanksgiving Day 5K. I'm looking forward to a new 5K PR. With my relay 5K being in the 23 minute range, my PR of 22:02 is within sight. Getting a PR will mean I am close to my pre-injury strength. I also need to get something better for my head during the cold runs. I generally have a wool blend cap that I wear, but by mid-run my head is boiling while my ears stay cold. I'm thinking one of those ear wraps.

One thing i've noticed is that after a run of more than 5 miles, I am utterly exhausted. I get home from the run and fix myself a recovery drink that has a good protein/carb mix then I shower. After getting dressed I will generally have something light to eat like a hamburger with fries sandwich or a couple nutrition bars and then a regular meal a few hours later. It doesn't seem to matter what goes in, my body is determined to mark the energy tank as empty.

Does anyone else have this problem? I find it difficult to focus on the rest of the day when my body is screaming sleep. Maybe my post-run nutrition is off.

Monday, November 8, 2010

You Know You're a Runner When...

You know you're a runner when . . . you speed up at the sight of a Honeybucket. 

All I can say about my run on Saturday is that for all my complaining and grumbling about all the construction that is going on (seriously, the interstate, the major state rode that goes up by my house, the section of one of my favorite trails, etc..) I was extremely grateful for the abundance of the Honeybuckets.

What have I become? Many years before I started running, I would never believe that I would be writing a blog post praising the Honeybucket brand. It has become a standard at races. It has become a convenient and somewhat cramped changing facility on overnight relays. It saved me a potential embarrassing moment on Saturday's run.

My pre-run routine got thrown off Saturday when I got to drop my wife off to a meeting before meeting up for the run. I was fortunate enough to remember my Garmin and my iPod, but forgot to handle business.

So that's the story. I'm moving into the winter maintenance. I have a 5K coming up on Thanksgiving that I hope to break my 5K PR and end the season with a new PR. The weather last week was in the 60s and this week we're expecting snow. Good thing I got the snowblower prepped for winter and moved from the shed to the garage. I plan on doing more running outside this winter so I'll be out looking for some good deals on winter gear.

Yeah, this post has definitely hit an all-time low in content for this blog.