Friday, January 29, 2010

10 X E6 inches

So I'm keeping my goal of a marathon completed this year, but I'm changing the venue. Instead of the Rock and Roll Seattle marathon, I'm doing the Green River Marathon June 5th. To get a feel for the course I'll be doing a pre-race this February 13th

That's right, I will be running one MILLION inches! that's a little over two MILLION centimeters. I'll need to be on my toes, the marathoner friend at work said she would run it with me, PRESSURE! She's awesome, I'm slow. Maybe she'll bring her hubby along too, us guys gotta stick together in the face of speedy womenz!

Tomorrow if my schedule allows I want to head down to interurban and do some flat running. I've supplanted my normal 5.2 mile flat run with a 6.7 mile hill-fest. Maybe I'll notice a change - a friend at work thinks not "The only thing that gets easier when you are doing hills is doing hills" I hope to put that theory to the test!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Changing it up

Variety is the spice of exercise

Trying to get ready for a marathon without a clue is quite easy, you listen to every opinion and make your own road. Having set my sights on Seattle's Rock and Roll Marathon June 26th, I am living in a deluge of information. The sheer volume and breadth of opinions on preparation is daunting. It causes me to take a little here, and a little there, overall it feels as if I am treading in ignorantly and proceeding on what "I" think I should do.

Eric Sach of The Balanced Athlete says that there will be hills. On reflection it seems reasonable, that in Seattle one might encounter hills. I've been running on level ground though - the Valley of Target Heart Rate.

You can see that when the elevation is not changing much that I can maintain a heart rate quite nicely. Small adjustments in speed will drop or raise it, and with the workload steady, control seems easy. I know that 26 miles on hilly terrain is not the same as 5 level straight miles. Now comes the challenge of the marathon - the only way to complete the marathon is to maintain a sustainable heart rate. The above run is at target heart rate and as you can see, the elevation change is give or take 20 feet. The spikes in the elevation readings above are typical errors due to the limited accuracy of GPS altitude measurement.

Hills toss in a whole new element of challenge:

You can see the predicament - maintaining a reasonable heart rate is a tough to say the least. During this course I ran the whole way, I did not maintain the same speed, but I maintained the same pace throughout - only shortening the steps to keep my heart rate down.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hills: a Revelation of Elevation


I know the feeling, if you run, you know the feeling. The feeling is not one of joy. when you come to the base of a hill and look up you assess your situation. Many thoughts go through your mind at the base of a hill."I must keep running", "How high is my heart rate going to go", and "Breathe, breathe breathe!" I am new to hill running. Interurban trail is my normal haunt and elevation changes amount to about 6-10 feet - which you still feel towards the end of a run. Hills are very usefull things. I have hit a wall running on the flat - 6 mph is the wall. From all I have heard on the internets, hills will help you build your "base". which is to say that if you run hills you will be able to run faster, longer. In running, longer and faster is the goal.

Yesterday I did not bring my gear to work. I still wanted to run so on the way home I figured I'd do a local neighborhood run. What a difference terrain makes! Although the run was almost a mile short of my normal Interurban 5.2 I found that "shorter" does not necessarily mean "easier".

On the flip-side, running downhill is easy, but impact to the body is greater. When running downhill attention to joint health is needed. I try to maintain the same pace throughout the run, but heading downhill I need to shorten my stride to limit the impact and keep the speed from building too much. I'm thinking I may need to make this my regular run, Interurban is easier, but if I want to keep to my "marathon" goal, I want to be able to handle hills more easily. Luckily, in the Pacific Northwest, hills are around every corner.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Goals = Scary

How do you embrace goals?

This year is nebulous. The changes will no doubt continue, but I'm not sure where they are going to take me. I guess that's why I need goals. Goals themselves are great things - it's the work that it takes to reach them that's a real pain. I have set some very intense goals for myself this year - I want to lose the other 40 pounds to get me to a proper BMI. Although that goal is a hard goal to reach, it's not the scariest goal I've set this year.

Wait for it... I'm putting it on the internets to either document my prescient awesomeness or to provide documentation of abject failure.

I will, by the end of 2010,
Complete. A.

There... I've said it. It scares the spit out of me to put that down. Marathons are the environs of the ultra-fit those that run for breakfast lunch and dinner. I am a fat old man with delusions of grandeur. June of last year I could barely run a mile. Now running is a part of my life, but 26 miles is a large task - one that jeers at me, taunting me, whispering self-doubts abound when I contemplate such a large task. But since it is now written, I will either succeed or fail - only time will tell.

Friday, January 1, 2010

...and a happy new year

A Clean Slate

I hope this New Year's day morning finds you well, I greet 2010 with hope and courage. For me, 2009 saw a new direction in my life. 2010 is where we find out where this road goes. I'm not sure, but the way I've been going I can't rule out a marathon this year. My body is acclimating to running well. I ran last Wednesday, Dec 30th and pulled up lame and short - only 3.3 miles and a mile of that was walking. A couple of circumstances made for the not-to-stellar run.
  • Don't eat a big stack of pancakes before you run
  • Stretch, stretch stretch, lather RUN repeat.
Anywho, this morning Jan 1st 2010 I went down to interurban, warmed up a bit then stretched thoroughly. the 5.2 mile run was wonderfully enjoyable. I did not push, I maintained ~5.5mph the whole way my heart rate settled in the low 150s and all was good. I saw a couple of other folks on the trail, but for the most part it was mine. the 5.2 felt really comfy this morning and was therapeutic after that aberration of last Wednesday.

On reflection I'm thankful that I had that abortive run. I found that one bad run means nothing, that the next one is a clean slate - justification through getting off your butt - this is a great lesson to take into the new year. Pay attention to your body, but do not get in the way of yourself. Each and every run is a new chance to prove to yourself that you can do it. You don't have to kill yourself but you do need to be disciplined and make sure that you do not hold yourself back.