Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Getting there . . .

As much as I have been enjoying the xc skiing and snowshoeing this winter, I have to say that I think I have had just about enough. I think this may be because of a few sunny days that have lured me into thinking that it might actually be warm out, but then I step out the front door and realize . . . NOPE! So this week has been somewhat of a challenge in working with the weather and getting things done around work. I feel like I am doing a lot, but then I look at my weekly mileage and it’s a bit of a bummer. Right now I am just trying to keep my sights on the HAT Run 50K in March and am looking forward to getting ready for that. Joe and I have been working at marking out a course for a race up here on the mountain and in doing so I believe I have found a very doable route for long runs to prep for the HAT.

Some new discoveries for the week: 1 – I stepped on the scale, BIG shocker there. I think it was a good thing that I did this and now I am more conscious of some of the snacking and drinking in excess. 2 – Even more shocking . . . I have lost my taste for coffee. I have been having the obligatory one cup in the morning so my head doesn’t explode, but other than that, I really don’t want it. This too could be a good thing. Maybe if I can lower my daily caffeine intake I will be able to utilize caffeine better as a “boost” during the later hours in the ultras (i.e., maybe it will help me overcome my crying stages!). 3 – I am getting a taste back for fresh veggies. Just at the time of year when they are so plentiful! Hopefully this will stick with me and when the veggie season gets here I can really dig in!

So here is what this week has amounted to:

Monday 1/19: 5 miles from home to Mom’s and then work in the evening.
Tuesday 1/20: 0 miles but I did yoga for 1 hour. Yoga is a damn hard workout! I was tired from work last night and had to go in early today for a meeting before work, so I thought an easy hour of yoga would be good. Just when I think I am getting pretty good at it . . . I do it again and realize I am no pro!
Wednesday 1/21: 5 miles from home to Mom’s and then work in the evening.
Thursday 1/22: 7.5 miles with Joe. 24 degrees out – it felt like a heat-wave!
Friday 1/23: 7.7 miles. 43 degrees today! I actually had to shed clothes during the run.
Saturday 1/24: 0 miles. Watched the Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile (indoor) at Cornell. Joe was running and I needed to make sure to get him to his race on time and without any stress. Joe ran an amazing 6:56 mile!
Sunday 1/25: 6.2 miles with Joe. 10 degrees and sunny but cold!

TOTAL MILEAGE: 31.4 miles. Somewhat disappointing but I know that I don’t want to do too much too early before the HAT Run and I know that it will get better when I start adding the mileage of long runs in. So, all in all, a good week.

Lottery entry for the Bull Run Run 50-Miler in April opened on Monday, Jan 26. I got home from work on Sunday night (technically Monday, since it was after midnight), hopped right on the computer and put my name in the lottery. At that time there were only four other people listed. Today there are 262. I have never run this race before but I have heard many good things about it and I am really hoping to get in. Lottery results will be posted on Feb 6. Keep your fingers crossed!

And Six Nations Rugby starts in Feb, so I will have a new distraction as I root for Ireland. My Irish Munster Team has been having a very bipolar performance in the Heineken Cup, which is totally frustrating. And then there’s Lance . . . he starts the Tour of California on Feb 14. Somehow I will have to squeeze my runs in between following all of this other stuff.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Just Another Snowy & Cold Week!

Well, winter is still here in full force. It seems like last year at this time I was getting in more mileage, but I think that we didn’t have this much snow at this time last year. So right now I am keeping track of my mileage for the week, but it isn’t just running, and there isn’t much I can do about that. Temperatures were sub-zero for most of this past week – I think the worst was about -12 degrees F one morning. And there is still excellent snow up here on our hill; the snowmobile club has groomed a nice loop and I have gotten in some skate-skiing. Now my form in skate-skiing usually isn’t pretty and I really have to concentrate on what I’m doing and if I let my eyes or brain wander – SPLAT! – I hit the ground. Actually, I have hit the ground a lot this week. Sometimes it’s during the skate-skiing, but mostly it has been on this 1+ mile downhill section where I just get going too fast, lose my balance – or in the last case where the snow was so frozen my skis were going too fast and my body just couldn’t keep up – and SPLAT! My ass was dragged about 30 feet by my continuing moving skis. What a hoot!

And I have started doing yoga. Let me just say that if anyone thinks that yoga is easy or isn’t a workout, they are dead wrong! I haven’t gotten to the point where I enjoy doing yoga, but I can see by the time I am done that I have gained some flexibility (which I find is usually gone by the next time I do it again!).

So here is what I have been up to this week. Not exactly where I would like to be in terms of long runs, but I know I will get my chance. I have been running vicariously and getting psyched-up in the 100-mile running scene through watching DVDs of the Massanutten Mountain 100 and the Tahoe Rim Trail 100. Get ready, Lorrie . . . we will have a 100-mile movie night before VT100! And, of course, there has been some excellent rugby to watch; my Munster and London Wasps teams seem to be struggling some but I know they will come around.

Monday 1/12: XC ski 5.5 miles.
Tuesday 1/13: Snowshoed the now-defunct historic Hector Snowshoe Race course – 7.5 miles. Extremely cold day with blustery winds, but the snowmobilers groomed a great course.
Wednesday 1/14: RAN 5 miles! Temps below 10 degrees F!
Thursday 1/15: RAN 6.2 miles!
Friday 1/16: 0 miles – did Yoga. It was just way too cold to go outside.
Saturday 1/17: XC ski 5.5 miles with Joe & Becky. Fell down like a thousand times!
Sunday 1/18: RAN 5 miles with Joe. Ran from home to Mom’s. We had quite a bit of snow and it was cold. Running on the packed cold snow made for some extra muscle workout!

TOTAL mileage: 34.7 miles of running and skiing + yoga (which I think should give me a whole lot of bonus points based on difficulty!)

Nothing too exciting to report. It looks like the first “race” of the season will be the Big Flats Valentine’s Day run on 2/15. The distance is unknown . . . usually between 3-5 miles, so this could serve as a “speed workout”. The goal: win the “sweetheart division” by running/finishing with Joe.

Monday, January 12, 2009

You Can't Always Have What You Want

It’s been a somewhat frustrating week in the training department. It’s the new year and I am ready to get myself going and training for the new races but the weather has just not been cooperating. I have been trying to work with the weather, but it’s tough. It has turned into a matter of QUALITY VS. QUANTITY. I want more time outside running but that’s not happening, so I have had to somehow figure out how to get more with less. So with less running I have had the chance to work muscles that would not have gotten worked-out with just plain running.

But I can’t help it – I like quantity and I just don’t feel like I have done enough even though the shorter workouts may be harder. It’s like running the mile vs. running a marathon . . . the mile is over so quickly and it’s hard for me to grasp the concept of putting so much work into something that’s over that quickly. Granted, the effort is there, but it just doesn’t seem like enough. So, since the snow and ice have inhibited the availability of running and my sweat factor limits the amount of time I can stay out in the cold, I have had no choice but to choose “quality” over “quantity”. The time for quantity will get here; I just have to be patient, but right now tallying the miles for the week is a bit depressing!

Monday 1/5: 5 mile run from home to Mom’s. Beautiful sunny day; ran hard. I would have liked more time to run but work limited this.
Tuesday 1/6: Worked last night and had to work this morning at 8am (= very little sleep). Too tired to run, so I rode my bike on the trainer at a good clip, lifted some weights, and jumped rope in my “gym”.
Wednesday 1/7: Freezing rain and ice all over the place. Getting off the porch without injury was a challenge! Maybe I could have run if I had spikes! Again sentenced to the gym for biking, weights, and jumping rope.
Thursday 1/8: Finally, back outside! 5.5 miles of snowshoeing with Joe. Great snowshoeing base of icy snow. The nice thing about snowshoeing is that you get a great whole-body workout in just a few miles.
Friday 1/9: 0 miles. Joe had a doctor’s appointment, an all-day event, and then I had to work.
Saturday 1/10: 5.5 miles of snowshoeing with Joe. I probably could have run on the road today, but why would I want to do that?
Sunday 1/11: 0 miles. Big snowfall last night. Got my workout pulling snow off of the roof before going to work.

So, given that I have not been out running on the roads having to really concentrate on my surroundings while exercising, I have been able to put more effort into thinking about what I want to accomplish this year during my mindless spinning on the bike. On January 1 I decided that this year I would up the ante, doing some of my regular races which I really enjoy as well as adding on some new ones. Maybe I will even throw a 5K race/speed workout in there!

That said, I am going to put it out there right now. The big goal for 2009 is to complete two 100-mile races. I have new and old recruits to get me through this and I feel that there is going to be a lot of tough love going on! The commitments are made – I have registered for Vermont100 again and have committed myself to entering the local Iroquois Trail 100 as soon as the entry time opens.

I have made my commitments and now it’s time to do the work. It’s time to get serious. There's no turning back now . . . I don’t know how Joe puts up with me!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Getting Started

OK, so in my mind I think that this week didn't "really count" in my training agenda for the new year. December was my month to relax and kick-back and do what I wanted . . . which meant not keeping a training log. So since the first half of this week was still December I hadn't really gotten my act together. But I did use the time to think about my running goals for 2009. I chose not to run on New Year's Day. The sun was out but it was bitter cold. And I was entranced by the beauty outside of my living room window and didn't want to disturb it. We have many pileated woodpeckers around here (you know, the HUGE ones; the real woody woodpeckers) but I have never seen one up close. But there he was, right outside my window, feeding from my suet feeder. It was truly an awesome sight.

And for the three days following that I have experienced some pretty spectacular views of nature during my running and XC skiing. And that got me thinking about what I can do to make less of an impact on the world and help preserve the areas I run in. I want to try to be a "greener" runner this year. The first thought that came to mind was those energy gels, one of my essential foods on the run. What happens to all of those little foil packets - and runners go through tons of them - after they are used? I am certain that it wouldn't be that much more difficult for me to carry a reuseable plastic gel container and refill it from a bulk supply. It's a small step, but I have to start somewhere. My goal is to research some "green" ideas for runners and hopefully each week or so come up with something new that I can do.

So here's what I accomplised for the first four days of January 2009:

Thursday 0 miles
Friday 5.5 miles (run)
Saturday 5.5 miles (xc ski)
Sunday 13 miles (run) & watched two rugby matches

Next week's plan will certainly depend on the weather conditions. I am torn, as I want to run but the skiing has been so great! I hope that 2009 has been treating everyone well so far. That's all for now - I hope to have a more interesting week to report on next week.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It's a Brand New Year!

January 1, 2009! Holy cow - where did 2008 go? I hope that the New Year brings happiness and bright outlooks for everyone. 2009 is looking to start off pretty good high on the hill here. We had a great New Year's eve snowstorm which brought about 8" of snow and the XC skiing was excellent! I know that I wouldn't live anywhere else - because I am sure there are few places where I could go right out my door and a couple of miles down the road find some of the best skiing and running areas. The downside to today is that I have to work. I usually get to start my new year off with the New Year's day run in Big Flats with many of my friends, but since it doesn't start until noon, I don't have enough time to run and get back in time for work. So Joe will start the New Year without me in that regard.

I am starting this blog to help keep track of my ultrarunning year. Please bear with me, as I am new to this and I really am a computer dork, so I am sure to make many mistakes! This tool will hopefully serve to keep my training on track as well as keep anyone who may be interested updated on where I'm at.

So enjoy the New Year's day. I may get out for a short run before work, I may not. Right now I hear the Twilight Zone marathon calling my name. I'll be in touch later and let you all in on some of my ultrarunning adventure plans for the year. It's time to up the ante!