Sunday, March 27, 2011

A little spontaneity never hurt anyone.

0 miles - 30 minutes on an eliptical at work, but a long day kept me out of my running gear. I sit here now at 9:30, contemplating whether I should do a cold, dark, boring run or save some energy for a nice trail run tomorrow.

AM - 8 miles - really nice run at Al Sabo. Deviated from my normal route and found a cool way to connect some of my favorite trails together. A route I previously thought was 6 miles ended up being 8. I'd better go back and correct several weeks worth of mileage tallies...or just not care. The latter sounds better. Held a respectable pace and felt smooth, which was a welcome change. I used my Garmin for the first time in a while, and was pleasantly suprised with what it told me. Resting the day before, finally getting my preferred trail shoes back(TrailGloves), and easing into a smooth pace proved to be a good formula. From this feedback, I think it would be proper to use the Garmin every so often for an occasional check-in, but run by feel more often. As I get more acquainted with myself,  I need to be told what to do less often. Caught this catchy tune on the radio. In my typical "cornier than ethanol" fashion, I related it to distance running.

PM - 6(?) miles - Indoor workout (we bailed on the outdoor track due to freezing rain/hail) 6x300, 300 rest in between. mile cooldown inside, then a 2mile jog in the rain back to my house.

AM- 1 mile - should I even write this down? I missed the bus and ran the 1.4xxwhatever miles home. Felt easy, but my Chucks are a bit narrow and cramp my foot.

PM - 9 miles - Ran with the Gazelle group for the first time in quite a while. Though usually a fun time, I realize that longer runs like this in the "medium" effort range are an important part of my training. 7:15-7:30 pace on the hilly backstreets of Kzoo.

AM- 6 miles - Woke up a little later than planned, but scraped the ice off my car(not cool-thought this weather was behind us) and headed to Al Sabo. 3 miles at a pace between medium and tempo effort(about 7:15), then 3 easy, lingering in the warm, sunny spots to thaw myself out. Shorts were a bad idea. Usual stops on the boardwalk and observation deck during the 3 easy miles. The frozen dirt made running a bit more difficult than tuesday's trail outing, but was fun nonetheless.

10 miles - Ran down to the Rec to meet Alex and Josh. Picked through a fun, hilly route that took us downtown. Cruising around at 7:20-7:40 pace is feeling pretty easy nowadays, especially since I'm slacking in a big way lately on mileage. Tomorrow is the Kal-Haven race, but Im not registered. Im hoping to assume some pacing duties for a couple friends. Maybe I'll get a nice long run in, since Im about due for one of those. If I want to do any ultras this season, I need to get my ass into gear and stop being lazy.

37 miles - Long run of pacing for the Kal-Haven Ultra. Well, that will cure a lazy streak pretty quick. My plan was to pace 10miles with Joe and Erik. I ended up running with them for 18 miles. Doubled back a little to run with my friend Tim, who was also running the ultra. A fun time on the way out, but a bit of a boring jog on the way back on the flat, gravel railroad grade. Averaged about an 8:30 pace on the way out, and somehow managed a 7:10-7:30 pace on the return trip. I'll call it a good workout. The night before- at about 12am - My friend Kelly and I may or may not have stashed red and white cans of my secret carbohydrate fuel along the trail. Since I was fueled solely by GU and several cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon for 4.5 hours, I'd say it was a near perfect day. Some hills might have been nice.

4 miles(I think) - Samantha and I slept in(though we were downtown until 3am), made breakfast, then went to meet the Dirt Herd for a short trail run. I didn't actually feel too bad, but was tired. I could have maybe run harder or faster, but I figure that surviving a sporadic, poorly planned 37 miler was pushing it enough. I had a good week of mileage, so I wanted to just get out and show Sam some of my usual spots where most of my pondering takes place. We had a good jog and walked a little, enjoying some warmth in the sun.

A couple miles in, I realized that maybe I was a little more tired than I thought  I was "running" up a hill, only to find Samantha hot on my heels...walking. ugh.  

This view never gets old to me. Michigan will be a part of me wherever I go...

...and so will she...

...even if she made me shave my beard.

Total - 81 miles -

Food for thought and ramblings for the week:
I like my running like I like my food - high in volume, lots of junk, and most of it to be enjoyed with friends and alcohol. I may never be a competetive runner, but the day I quit enjoying it is the day I quit. Though this week was decidedly low in consistency, every run felt great, which is more than I can say at other times. Is it a sign that I did it right, or that Im lollygagging in the woods however and whenever I want? Are these two things even mutually exclusive? These questions neglect the side of me that truly loves competing in races. Im not delusional enough to think that its entirely intrinsic motivation that moves me. We all have the hunter instinct in us and I wont deny mine. If I was truly as intrinsically motivated as I make myself out to be, I'd save a lot of money and have way fewer oversized t-shirts and finsher medals.

Long runs are certainly addictive- if I hadn't had to report to work immediately after Saturday's run, I may have continued to run some of Kalamazoo's hilly backroads and rack up the miles. My winter long runs have often transformed into painful marches, but as spring steadily arrives, the longer runs have been more and more pleasant, whether solo or in the company of others.


  1. fucking awesome post! i don't want to type out a breakdown of why it was so good, i'd rather focus on your comment regarding finisher's medals and oversized shirts. man, i've been thinking so hard on the weird rut that organized races have gotten themselves into with the past not-so-many years.

    i'd really like to come up with something that is fresh, easily organized and gets runners psyched about running. like a race that aims to please the top 25% of the finishers of most other local races. not elites, but people who really run. no shirt, no medal, just a great course and good competition (and maybe split the modest entry fee between a charity and cash prize). i'm sure you've thought about this exact subject i.e. "what sort of race would i put on if i had to put together a race?"

    glad to hear the health is back and running is solid!


  2. Thanks, Pat! it feels good to put a decent week on(even if half my miles were from one run). its tough with races in this day and age. I love the laid back atmosphere that helps people feel less intimidated. If it weren't for that, I would have been too intimidated to start entering races. There's also the other end of it that you mentioned. Maybe they should start doing it like mountain bike racing and have categories.