Sunday, February 20, 2011

the way the cookie crumbles

AM - 5 miles - Nice run to Military Fitness this morning. The sidewalks were almost bare and the light of day is just starting to peak over the trees on my way in. Not actual daylight yet, but I can tell the sun is on its way. Did some warmup laps on the track, then did mostly push ups and sit ups for the remaining 40 minutes. Not creative, but there's something meditative about repeatedly bashing one's body against the hard gym floor. I must be in a good mood despite a bruised up back and sore arms.

PM - 8 miles - little warm up, then a 3 mile tempo run on Oakland drive. Alex was gracious enough to stay with me. We thought it was a 1x1.5 mile set, but we found out after the first 1.5mile loop that it was a continuous 3 miles. Held a solid pace and negative splitted every 1200m. Just a hair under 5:40 pace. The workout's aim was to be between race pace and a normal run, and I think I nailed it, effort wise. A very slightly undulating loop, but overall flat compared to the rest of Kalamazoo. Running indoors really sucks, but apparently a little toiling away in the sweatbox helps, as was made evident by a nice outdoor workout today. This gives me a little hope of breaking the 17:00 5k barrier in the near future. Had Alex and I run the extra .1 mile, we would have broken my current 5k road race PR while chatting to each other and making jokes.

AM(barely)- 12 miles - Hopped out of bed and decided to do the road route that Abbey and I did Saturday. Managed a decent pace, staying under 8min/mile for most of it. I realized a few miles in that this was foolish, since I have a 3x1 mile at 5k pace workout tonight. I pressed on regardless, enjoying the sun and feeling spring fever set in, albeit too early. Didn't eat before or during, which makes this huge bowl of Life cereal taste delicious.

PM - 5(?)miles- a workout in the field house. 1 mile's worth of warmup, 2x1mile, then an 800. It actually went pretty well, considering I ran 12 earlier in the day. Must have been the nap and a little caffeine. 5:19(KSOs), 5:18(Saucony Crescent Sprint Spikes), 2:28 800. Cooled down barefoot for a few minutes. I attribute this successful workout to increased beard length and decreased shorts length.

AM - slept right through Military Fitness. several expletives strung together. I guess the daily mileage will take a hit today. At least I've banked some up over the last 2 days(I've been told repeatedly that this is a foolhardy strategy during races and training, but I'm not one to do wise things).

PM - 4 miles - Breathtakingly beautiful run at Al Sabo today. Shorts, MT101s(with Yaktrax XTRs), and a light cotton shirt. I even ran shirtless briefly after a difficult uphill run in the sun. The footing was terrible and my legs were exhausted, so 4 miles was all I could muster up in the time allotted. I may have been able to get more in if I hadn't lazily perched myself on the railing of the lookout tower for 10 minutes, soaking in the sun with no shirt on. I must have looked like a model...but aesthetically unpleasant in several ways.

...planned on a night run, but got home late from a work meeting. Damn, I was having a good week too.
AM - 6 miles - went to Al Sabo for what felt like a combination of ice skating and glacier climbing. That place is a mess right now. The shaded spots are glare ice with water on top. The sunny spots are mud(which is welcome and fun). The in between spots are 6-8 inches(15.24-20.32 cm to our foreign friends) of slush. I made my way around with the best effort I could work up in the conditions. I started out without my YakTrax, but turned around after .2 miles to go get them after my body was so tensed up that my neck hurt. The spikes helped on the ice, but not the slush. I ran about 5 miles, then headed back to my car, grabbed a sandwich and water, and went to the lookout tower to eat outside for a change. I watched the snow melt near my feet and trickle down over the freshly exposed rocks on the hillside. Great way to spend a late morning/early afternoon. No high mileage due to the indoor 5k tomorrow and sprain-inducing ice on the trails.

Kind of an odd combination, but Trail Gloves and YakTrax XTRs wasn't terrible.

Wouldn't want anyone to forget what I look like, would I? Mustaches and flannels are essential running attire for bad assedness.

Perched on the railing of the lookout deck, about 20 feet up...

...eating a Nutella sandwich!

The snow is starting to leave, exposing the leaf covered trails.
PM - 5 miles - Ran to the fieldhouse for a short practice and pre- prerace meeting. This is a big deal to our coach, so we at least want to put in a little effort for him. I hide all long runs and ultras from him, so he thinks we're all excited. The others will do great, but I've proven several times that short races are not my strong suit(not that I have one, but this is definitely not it). Alex and Joey will show that collegiate level racing can be done by privateers. I will either pass out or show what I ate for lunch.

6 miles - GLIAC Conference indoor track meet. Got a decent warm up in with Alex. It was super windy and cold. Milled about for a while in the track infield, did some jogging, some dynamic warmup, and ran the race. 16:58...I think. We didn't receive hip numbers for some reason, so we were unable to get our times recorded. I despise bullshitters, so I'll update if I find my actual time to have been slower. A small cooldown with Sam, then off to the Hobbyjoggers meeting for beer and food!

AM - 7 miles - Meet Mark, Jason, Shelly, and Tony for a trail run at Hoffmaster State Park. The trails were pretty tore up from the freeze/thaw we being treated to, so we opted to run the roads instead of twist our ankles. I knew it was bad when Jason and Shelly suggested road running, since they really dislike pavement. My legs felt fine one minute, but then wanted to splinter into pieces the next. I survived, but felt really discouraged. The run was really the secondary reason for going to the park. I was called upon as acting talent/eye candy for a Hobby Jogga Review Video. Cha cha cha check it out!

PM - 5 miles - My grandmother needed her car dropped off at her house, so I took the opportunity to save some gas by driving it to her, then running home. The first three miles felt great, then my lower legs started to revolt. The only thing I can think of is the hard effort from Friday coupled with wearing tight track spikes affecting my gait.

7 miles - Left home hoping that my legs would be rested and back to normal, but found out about halfway through that they needed some recovery time. The route I had chosen had no "bail out points" to make it shorter, since I live in the country and the blocks are about 2x3mile sections of land. Made it back just as it started snowing. Sam and I ate some lunch with my parents and we headed back to school in a nasty ice storm.

Total: an even 70. This sure felt harder than a 70 mile week.
Notes from the week:

As I read this before I post, I see that I started out feeling better than I've ever felt, and ended up feeling broken and defeated. Funny how that works.

flukes of fitness- The earlier days in the week have been good to me. I have no real explanations, other than that the previous 60-something mile week felt nearly perfect when it was over, despite a small case of...well...overhang on Sunday morning. I feel refreshed and excited to run. In the past weeks, I've been finding myself between "obligated" and "complacent" with most things in life. Call it Seasonal Affective Disorder, burnout, laziness, whatever. This week is different. I'm even eager to get up and make the familiar uphill run to Military Fitness three days per week(edit-slept through Wednesday). Monday's tempo run gave me a real shot in the arm, some positive reinforcement that the "grind" of winter running isn't without its merits, and that some efficacy may blossom along with the plants when the snow melts.

Flukes of frustration- despite having a great start to my week, it kind of fell apart at the end. Lack of sleep(roommate induced insomnia) Thursday night not only made me tired for Friday's race, but also thwarted my efforts to get a shakeout run in the morning. The race itself must have put a good hurt on me, since my legs felt terrible for the weekend.


  1. i don't know what your weather is like on the west side, but if it's anything like what we've got over here...

    and after this spring tease of a week we've's just that much more unpleasant.

    my running continues to track yours (albeit at a slightly lower # of miles and pace). everyone i talk to around here is still dealing with the same sort of ambivalence or "complacency" as you call it regarding running (and most other things).

    Our misery, in this case, does not seem to love company.


  2. I guess we'd better just keep our noses to the grindstone, Pat. Forging through the winter will definitely make spring running more enjoyable...either that, or Im wasting my time when I could be watching family guy and reading.

  3. My feet felt really beat up on the little bit of trails we ran. I hate old man winter, we're soooo breaking up!

    Congrats on your smoking 5k time!!!