Monday, December 31, 2007

Beacon of Hope

The runner, anguished with tiredness and slow runs on snow-covered roads embraces training day one of 112 to the Boston Marathon.

am: Bowker Flats, snowing, 3M in 23:19\7:46 pace

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Broken Runner: Weekly Report

This runner is physically and mentally exhausted. The week was a pull back on training time and mileage despite the weather cooperating before we get whacked with another 8” of snow.

The question is how long until a turnaround?

Weekly Review
Total Miles\Time: 47.3\7.17
Number of Workouts: 6
Stretching: most pre and slacking every post run
Yoga: meager effort at Tae-Bo, stretching
P\U, S\U: slacking
Notes: very low motivation.
Issues to Note:
Strange issues come up with hips not pinned to anything, generally feel all is a go.
Next Week Goal: Boston Marathon training starts tomorrow
AM: 13.75M, Water Row, 2:00:26 , unexpected shifting pace

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Slow Run

more slowness, felt left upper hip-later in the day felt right upper hip, maybe it's all those meatballs I've been eating or cupcakes or cake or lasagna or . . .

am, Haynes Loop, drizzly and foggy 5M in 47:13, 9:26 pace, had to walk at one point

Friday, December 28, 2007

Boston Marathon Photos

HPIM1817I uploaded this and 23 other new photos to my Flickr Boston Marathon set. The new ones are from yesterday's casual run and shoot of miles 16-22 in the overcast drizzly weather.

Training: TM, 4M in 33:24, dropped it down to 7:30 pace only to later decide the effort was too much for what the workout was worth. only three more days...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Boston Marathon Vote Result 25-7

Majority voted for using the Fall cross country season as a means to a faster Boston Marathon.

Training: Boston Marathon miles 16-22 and back w\Barb. okay to 10M then left upper quad, hip, groin, hammie got cold struggled at 9's for a bit then relaxed until quit. Total of 12.5 miles ~8:41 pace comes out with a time of 1:48:17.

*special treat* stops included photos of mile markers, etc. I'll post later

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

OAR Chapter 17. Breaking Down

"Cumulative physical morbidity that usually built up over several weeks and left the runner struggling to recover from one session to the next."
Once A Runner, OAR -John L. Parker, JR.

Four snow shoeing workouts, shoveling snow, removing snow from the roof, hauling heavy ladders in deep snow, falling with a ladder to the ground, midnight flood prevention and eight of the last ten weeks over 65 miles of running each.

Long run on Sunday was cut to 10.5 miles in 1:13:01 for 6:57/mile. It would have been longer but I promised my wife a two hour run the next morning.

On Monday, the two hour run came up short as I ran out of gas just prior to five miles, a walk\run shuffle settled the next seven miles.

Christmas day being perfect for running with very light traffic and nice weather to boot elicited another dismal effort. First mile at 9:17, walking break at the halfway of five miles to finish in 46:52 for 9:22\mile.

Today is the first rest day since October 24. It seemed so strange to take a shower in the morning without having run. So, contrary to OAR I will not “run through” as Denton suggests, at least for now.

Only 22 hours left to vote on the XC\Marathon training for a fast Boston Marathon. The results are quite interesting thus far.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Once A Runner

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man my son!
-- Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling was a 4:30 miler!!
(from "Once A Runner" by John L. Parker, Jr.)

Thanks to Mike and Andrew I now have something to read over the holidays.

Training: Treadmill, 8M in 69:55, 8:44/mile, tired legs
Note for the record: the ladder and I fell Wednesday while removing snow off the roof. Minor scrape on shin with bruising on left glute and lower back.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


The sound of more snowshoeing. I really wanted to run ten+ miles after seeing yesterday afternoon's sun thawing the road. I spotted this Olympian getting his run in it yesterday.

This morning out the door there was already four inches of fresh snow and it's going to snow all day.

After one loop I did two at wide stance to break the hard snow edges that were tripping me up. Wide stance is a walking snowshoe pace with high knee lift with a firm force down to break and compact the snow. Was able to run a so-so loop after realizing that I was pretty worn down.

Training: yesterday pm: Treadmill, 5.5M in 40:23
am: Snowshoeing, snowing, Poor Farm Meadow, 1:42:00 ~5 miles

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Screw Shoes

Without hearing the sound a wire snapped on my Yak-Trax throwing me into a face-plant. Not a pleasant feeling being an old guy, feet all twisted together and worrying about oncoming cars. That was last winter and last time for the Yak-Trax. I sent an email to customer service as it was too long of a telephone wait to speak with someone.

Matt Carpenter has a nice write-up on using screws in the soles of your shoes. Read his page for what it’s worth and apply your own method.

I am using #8 x 3/8” sheet metal screws. These have a hexagonal head that a ¼” nut driver fits. My nut driver is an Xcelite that keeps a positive fit with no slipping.
Ten screws are in my shoes and I may add more. They are all on the outer edges and I don’t feel them under my feet. Matt is using 18. Maybe I can get 19.

It may be best to hand screw, the power driver tends to overdrive breaking down the sole. Would you use a power driver on your spike shoes? No, I didn’t think so. Other than pre-drilling a pilot hole one runner mentioned driving a nail in and then pulling it out as a pilot hole. Be sure to do this with the shoe off your foot!

Emil Zatopek - he would train in any weather, including snow, and would often do so while wearing heavy work boots as opposed to special running shoes. How did he handle the ice?

"Essentially, we distinguish ourselves from the rest. If you want to win something, run the 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon." EZ

Training: am, 15, 9.5 miles, 1:16:36 out-38:04, back-38:32, 8:03 pace, strides last 20 mins. Albeit slow from snowshoeing yesterday.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Very Tiring

44:30 out
49:19 back
Battle Road Trail (partial) deep powder with a hard crust using
snowshoes, out too fast resulting high HR and heat buildup

Monday, December 17, 2007

Track the Time: Weekly Report

All the snow is changing this running plan to focus on minutes or hours of running. Snowshoeing doesn’t add many miles but does provide a robust workout, especially blazing trails in deep powder (about 50% more effort).

There were cross country ski tracks in the Poor Farm Meadow on my loop yesterday afternoon. Using them did make the knee deep fluffy white stuff less cumbersome. I trampled all over the skinny little rails plowing a good swath. I could hear the muffled whoomp of powder compacting under the snowshoes and my jacket fabric swishing with each arm pull. Stopping for a second, admiring a red-tailed hawk swooping in low to the ground heading for a flock of small snow-white underbelly, it was then, the serenity quietly whispered “welcome to winter.”

Through the day the snow turned to sleet, freezing the surface, and then rain; puddling on top. There was no sign of sly red fox hunting for dinner, or the fat gobblers surface walking, only a lone snowshoer breaking a trail and connecting with nature.

Weekly Review
Total Miles\Time: 67.8\9.62
Number of Workouts: 9
Stretching: most pre and almost every post run
Yoga: two
P\U, S\U: ok
Still working on the long run.
Issues to Note: Right hip range of motion totally cleared! It took about twelve weeks. I’ll follow up later with the recovery method. New issue is a left hamstring pull, most likely from the 4:40 pace treadmill run.?!
Next Week Goal: Same as this week, easy does it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Snow Queen Rejoices!

She must have felt last winter was too light on use mere mortals. It looks to me more snow this year than all of last.self-portrait taken on the way up Widow's Rites Hill near the Water Towers

snowshoeing ~5 miles? 1:00:09 -pace?
Bowker Flats (2.5M was ~27:00)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Nor'Easter Coming

Advanced the long run to this morning vice tomorrow. Selected streets having lesser amounts of surface ice, got out early-to beat xmas shoppers and storm fear mongers.

We had a good run with a hilly finish. Specifically chose the tougher finish to more simulate what the end of a race feels like. You can never practice it enough.

15 miles at an 8:20\mile pace for 2:05:03. Temperature 19, windchill sub zero-raw.

Friday, December 14, 2007

GOT SNOW??? Never fear more to come!!!

Title emailed to me from America's Vacationland.

am: Treadmill, 5M, 36:32 for a 7:18\mile (6:50-7:20 zone)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Boston Marathon Acceptance Card

2008 - received in the mail!
am: 24, Water Row, 1:13:02, 10 miles, 7:18 pace

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


You probably didn't expect much after yesterday's Herculean effort. It was nice to see the temperatures up in the 40s.

9.75 miles in 1:22:56 for an average 8:30\mile pace

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

4:40\Mile Pace

Pushing the increase button moved the display to read 4:40\mile. Hold back speedy, it should be at a 5:00 pace. After gliding for about a quarter mile the pace slowed to a more “comfortable” 6:00. A couple of long fartleks at the goal marathon pace are highlights of today’s Woodway treadmill run.

Yesterday treadmill: am: 5m avg. 8:31, pm: 3m avg. 7:27
Training: am, Woodway Treadmill, 10M avg. 7:04

This is a first for me of reprinting another bloggers reprint of an article. It’s a good application that I tried the counting part in today’s speed work and it really helped! Now if I can apply it to my long runs.

Just thought I would share it with you. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

December 6, 2007
Personal Best
I'm Not Really Running, I'm Not Really Running...
BILL MORGAN, an emeritus professor of kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin, likes to tell the story, which he swears is true, of an Ivy League pole vaulter who held the Division 1 record in the Eastern region.
His coaches and teammates, though, noticed that he could jump even higher. Every time he cleared the pole, he had about a foot to spare. But if they moved the bar up even an inch, the vaulter would hit it every time. One day, when the vaulter was not looking, his teammates raised the bar a good six inches. The man vaulted over it, again with a foot to spare.
When his teammates confessed, the pole vaulter could not believe it. But, Dr. Morgan added, “once he saw what he had done, he walked away from the jumping pit and never came back.”
After all, Dr. Morgan said, everyone would expect him to repeat that performance. And how could he?
The moral of the story? No matter how high you jump, how fast you run or swim, how powerfully you row, you can do better. But sometimes your mind gets in the way.
“All maximum performances are actually pseudo-maximum performances,” Dr. Morgan said. “You are always capable of doing more than you are doing.”
One of my running partners, Claire Brown, the executive director of Princeton in Latin America, a nonprofit group, calls it mind over mind-over-body.
She used that idea in June in the Black Bear triathlon in Lehighton, Pa., going all-out when she saw a competitor drawing close. She won her age group (30 to 34) for the half-Ironman distance, coming in fourth among the women.
When it was over, she ended up in a medical tent. “I felt like I was going to pass out or throw up or both,” she recalled. “At a certain point in a hard race, you’ve pushed yourself beyond the point of ignoring the physical pain, and now you have to tell your mind that it can keep going, too.”
The problem for many athletes is how to make a pseudo-maximum performance as close as possible to a maximum one. There are some tricks, exercise physiologists say, but also some risks.
The first thing to know, said Dr. Benjamin Levine, an exercise researcher and a cardiology professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, is that no one really knows what limits human performance. There’s the ability of the heart to pump blood to the muscles, there’s the ability of the muscles to contract and respond, there’s the question of muscle fuel, and then, of course, there is the mind.
“How does the brain interact with the skeletal muscles and the circulation?” Dr. Levine said. “How much of this is voluntary and how much is involuntary? We just don’t know.”
But since most people can do better, no matter how good their performance, the challenge is to find a safe way to push a little harder. Many ordinary athletes, as well as elites, use a technique known as dissociation.
Dr. Morgan, who tested the method in research studies, said he was inspired by a story, reported by an anthropologist that, he suspects, is apocryphal. It involves Tibetan monks who reportedly ran 300 miles in 30 hours, an average pace of six minutes a mile. Their mental trick was to fixate on a distant object, like a mountain peak, and put their breathing in synchrony with their locomotion. Every time a foot hit the ground they would also repeat a mantra.
So Dr. Morgan and his colleagues instructed runners to say “down” to themselves every time a foot went down. They were also to choose an object and stare at it while running on a treadmill and to breathe in sync with their steps. The result, Dr. Morgan said, was that the runners using the monks’ strategy had a statistically significant increase in endurance, doing much better than members of a control group who ran in their usual way.
That, in a sense, is the trick that Paula Radcliffe said she uses. Ms. Radcliffe, the winner of this year’s New York City Marathon, said in a recent interview that she counts her steps when she struggles in a race. “When I count to 100 three times, it’s a mile,” she said. “It helps me focus on the moment and not think about how many miles I have to go. I concentrate on breathing and striding, and I go within myself.”
Without realizing what I was doing, I dissociated a few months ago, in the middle of a long, fast bike ride. I’d become so tired that I could not hold the pace going up hills. Then I hit upon a method — I focused only on the seat of the rider in front of me and did not look at the hill or what was to come. And I concentrated on my cadence, counting pedal strokes, thinking of nothing else. It worked. Now I know why.
Dr. Morgan, who has worked with hundreds of subelite marathon runners, said every one had a dissociation strategy. One wrote letters in his mind to everyone he knew. Another stared at his shadow. But, Dr. Morgan asked him, what if the sun is in front of you? Then, the man said, he focused on someone else’s shadow. But what if the sun goes behind a cloud, Dr. Morgan asked?
“Then it’s tough,” the runner conceded.
Dissociation clearly works, Dr. Morgan said, but athletes who use it also take a chance on serious injury if they trick themselves into ignoring excruciating pain. There is, of course, a fine line between too much pain and too little for maximum performance.
“The old adage, no pain no gain comes into play here,” Dr. Morgan said. “In point of fact, maximum performance is associated with pain.”
The brain affects everyday training as well, researchers note.
Imagine you are out running on a wet, windy, cold Sunday morning, said Dr. Timothy Noakes, an exercise physiologist at the University of Cape Town. “The conscious brain says, ‘You know that coffee shop on the corner. That’s where you really should be.’” And suddenly, you feel tired, it’s time to stop.
“There is some fatigue in muscle, I’m not suggesting muscles don’t get fatigued,” Dr. Noakes said. “I’m suggesting that the brain can make the muscles work harder if it wanted to.”
Part of a winning strategy is to avoid giving in to lowered expectations, athletes and researchers say. One friend tells me that toward the end of a marathon he tries not to look at people collapsed or limping at the side of the road. If he does, he suddenly realizes how tired he is and just gives up.
Marian Westley, a 35-year-old oceanographer in Princeton, N.J., and another running friend of mine, used several mental strategies in the recent Philadelphia marathon.
She slowed herself down at the start by telling herself repeatedly that she was storing energy in the bank. And when she tired near the race’s finish, she concentrated on pumping her arms. “I thought about letting my arms run the race for me, taking the pressure off my legs.”
She finished in three hours and 43 minutes, meeting her goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. “I am over the moon!” she wrote in an e-mail message the day after the race.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Fuel 600+ Calories: Weekly Report

Add the banana to the 600 to stoke this morning’s long run fire. The first five mile loop went down in 40:59; thinking not bad, let’s notch it up a little and get a progression going. Loop two mile six stopped to stretch hammies. Mile nine at the Poor Farm Meadow distracted as a red fox pulled one field mouse out for breakfast. How rude to stand and watch it forage. It pounce’s another and then alerted by a passing motorist wonders “what’s that slowpoke marathoner doing standing there?”

We both go off in our own direction. Spirited by nature I wasn’t quitting after ten miles; second loop in 42:08. This high was short lived but too late as the third loop was already underway. Next stop home, third loop improved to 41:06. But wait, had to add one mile to make 70 for the week; last mile 9:03 on the Belcher Hill Loop. Glad it was over.

Weekly Review
Total Miles\Time: 70.0\8.99
Number of Workouts: 8
Stretching: most pre and almost every post run
Yoga: one, stretching and strengthening
P\U, S\U: ok
Long run continues to be a chore.
Issues to Note: Slipping on ice didn’t help right hip.
Next Week Goal: Same as this week, easy does it.
Thursday: Willow Guzzle, out-23:10, loop, 29:52, back-22:24 1:15:28 for a 7:32 pace
Friday: Treadmill 38:15 for a 7:39 pace
AM: 3x Haynes Loop + Belcher for 16 miles. #1-40:59, #2-42:08, #3-41:06 (2:04:13) Belcher Hill-1-9:03, average of 8:19\mile

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Virus: Winter.exe

See this guy's blog as a good start to resolving your issue. It's got me down hard, computer will continually restart, will not allow network in safe mode. I am hoping the ComboFix and Hijackthis do the trick.

yesterday pm: Bowker Flats for 5m at a 6:51 pace, ice is slippery
am: about 15 degrees, 2x Haynes Loop first one considered bagging it cause of cold and ice - 37:31 at 7:30\mile for 5M, pulled through on the second 5M in 34:09 for 6:51 pace, 10M at 1:11:40 for an average of 7:10\mile

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

May I Complain?


They all make for lousy training runs; but there is much to be thankful for. This guy has got me thinking of the winter sports cross training. Only problem is time taken away from running and the mileage bank taking a hit.

am: 17 degrees, Morse Road, 6M, 23:31 out, 22:31 back, 7:40\mile

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Rest or Recovery?

Yesterday I felt good enough to do the full Speed-Strength circuit. For some reason the Sunday long run didn’t take that much out of me.

You should stop by to congratulate Mike on his 2:40 Tucson Marathon. He calls it a training run; surely to fire up some sparky comments. Also, this guy just seems to be getting faster. His marathon, 2:38, Fukuoka sounds like a good one to run some day; if you are in Japan.

We got the snowstorm, the snow is pretty, but makes for lousy running. You better buckle down and get used to it as from here until the Boston Marathon expect narrow roads, ice, slush and cold.
Am: 25,cldy,Water Row, 10M at 7:42\mile pace

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Out of Fuel: Weekly Report

Five minutes from finishing a 2:10 run you take the gel that’s been riding your pocket. It’s enough to get home. Something is not right.

I’ve got this desire to ‘burn fat for fuel’ but my body is not ready. A banana and extra drink of water got 15 more minutes of running and a slightly faster pace than last week. Inconsistent water intake on the run, not enough early on, and needing more fuel led to another ‘glad this is over’ run.

Weekly Review
Total Miles\Time: 72.0\8.98
Number of Workouts: 9
Stretching: most pre and every post run
Yoga: one, stretching and strengthening
P\U, S\U: little sporadic
Recovery going well, just want to stabilize at the easy zone and get comfortable at the 70-80 mileage range.
Issues to Note: right hip still limited range, tight groin - both are getting better
Next Week Goal: Easy running-start thinking about a 2400m lactate threshold test
yesterday am: 5M in 36:16\7:15 pace
AM: cold, Local roads and hills for 16.0M in 2:10:19 for an 8:09\mile pace

I baked these fresh for my wife finishing her 24-miler. (this blog should be about her, it would be far more interesting)