Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Training recap #8

Sun 22 Feb - Long run today. It was about -5C when I headed out the door at 7 a.m. this morning, and it wasn't dark out! Wow, that makes such a difference on the motivation.

I started down the street and decided on my itinerary. I had taken off the studs from my shoes last night but the roads we pretty clear so traction wasn't a problem. I decided I would add a couple out and backs to my 30 km loop to bring my distance up to 38 km. As I headed down Main road toward the ferry, it started to snow. Not a big snowfall but just a fine steady flow. At my turnaround, the roads were getting covered, but not enough to merit studs. About an hour into my run, I passed the rendez-vous point for the Hudson runners club (now known as Hudson Athletic club) and saw them getting ready to head out. I had spoken with Bryan earlier in the week and we needed to touch base to get the Hudson Harrier Race organized, so I decided to run with them for a bit. I knew they weren't out for a very long run so it would be fun to run with the group for a little while and then continue on my own.

We headed toward Sandy Beach and ran in the trail network of Hudson for about 10km. I had no idea the trails would be so compacted as to permit us to run on them in the middle of winter. I guess with all the dog walkers, they are pretty well used year-round. We crossed at least a dozen dogs and walkers throughout that jaunt and the network is so different in the winter. There were some sections that looked really foreign to me, even though I had been through them many times in the summer and fall. Anyway, I could have used my studs there for sure...The group had spread out and two fellows I was running with had a faster pace than me on the road segments (I was doing a long run and they were doing a 10k pace run). It was not as noticeable on the trails, but on the road they took a few 10 second walk breaks while I caught back up. I was tempted to run faster but that was not the purpose of my training today - and I had to stay on plan, as much as I could anyway. I did end up running the entire 10 km with that group faster than I should have, but definitely not as fast as I could have. I guess that is sort of okay.

When we reached their rendez-vous point again, I said my good-byes and continued on my way. I had 12 miles to go. Now that I was out of the trails, I did notice the wind had picked up and it was snowing more as well. I was regretting not having my studs, even on the roads. I decided I would stick to Main road instead of running through the horse country of St-Lazare.

12 miles seemed like such a long distance to go at this point and I was not to keen on the conditions but I kept on. I had to concentrate on my footing and my legs were starting to get tired. I passed the Nichoir bird rescue. It was one of the checkpoints of the Harrier race that people had a hard time finding. I will have to make it more obvious next time...I ran by the house that burned down and the owners had abandoned because their insurance company refused to settle. Apparently the insurers told them to leave everything in the house until the investigation was completed, and in the meantime, it has been burglarized - that sucks. It's a second-hand story but thinking about it passes the time. I took my time down the steep hill to the railway crossing, making sure not to slip and I thought it will be quite an experience coming back up later. I passed Thomson Park where I took the girls kite flying the summer before. I passed Finnigan's market - It was nothing but a white field now but in the summer it is a busy spot on Saturday mornings - you don't want to run around here during that time. I then passed the current small town news story. A Mexican billionaire is having a waterfront mansion built and people are complaining the fence at the front of the property us unsightly, blocks the water views, and is contributing to light pollution. Although I can't say I like the architectural influences of this property, it is a huge lot and the house (if you can call it that) does not seem oversized on the lot. Personally, I would have sited it more setback from the road. As for the fence, I see nothing wrong with 4 foot high mason pillars about 16 feet apart with wrought iron fencing in between. Each pillar has a decorative light on it. The view is not really obstructed - you should see some of the walls surrounding houses in France and South America! I guess the problem stems from the fact that the property is so big that there are 40 such pillars making up the property frontage! I reach the Hudson town limit and continue past Montée Lavigne into Rigaud. I want to see the condo development called Hudson Club that is located here. At this point, I turn around and head back home. A snow plow passes so I decide to run on the cleared side of the road. It is much easier. This time, I use the landmarks I passed on the way out as a type of countdown to my final stretch home. As I crest the killer hill back to the burned house, I am looking forward to being home. I drink some Ultima and chew on a few Sharkies. Then I pick up the pace down the slight hill toward town centre. There is much more traffic and I have to move over to the side every few seconds to leave room for the oncoming cars. I turn up Cameron and mentally prepare myself for the hills that are ahead. I do my hill sprints on the next 5 hills and feel the burn in my legs. As I walk the last 200 metres to my house, I realize I probably overdid it today. 22 miles. Not so much the disctance, but the conditions and the pace during the trail run portion. I hope it doesn't hamper my next week's training.

Mon 23 Feb - Sore quads today. I decide I will be better served to do my Q1 training on Tuesday instead.

Tue 24 Feb - Interval runs today. 6x800 metres. I was a bit stiff this morning but after my warmup, I had a spring in my step and was good to go. I was comfortable at this speed today. The treadmill is almost at it's max speed and I comfortably maintain it for the entire half mile intervals. Total 10 km.

Wed 25 Feb - Had to stay home from work today - Chloé has an ear infection. My cross-training consisted of shovelling the driveway and moving boxes in the basement. I make a killer chilli for my post-workout lunches this week - yum! I also had a fundraising meeting at the local gym that was very promising. Stay tuned for some interesting news.

Thu 26 Feb - Brent Butt loves chili cheese-dogs (for those of you who watch Corner Gas). I can assure you, Brent Butt is not a runner! I had chili for dinner last night and today was a 9 mile race pace run. By the time I hit 4 miles, my stomach cramps were so bad, I had to take 10-second walk breaks every 5 minutes or so to help get rid of some gas...thank god there were no other runners around me. Needless to say the next 5 miles of my run were quite an undertaking and I suffered through my workout. By the time I finished, I stretched for about 15 minutes (by the way, the Downward Facing Dog can be a pretty embarassing pose when you are gassy). I headed back to my office after a quick shower and then the chills hit me. It seems that I caught some kind of bug (from my daughter, I suppose). For the rest of the afternoon and into the evening I felt like crap. I guess that also explains why my run today seemed so diffucult - I really had no energy at all. Tomorrow is another day - Hope I am up to it.

Fri 27 Feb - 6 km TT run today. Still not 100% but better than yesterday. Total 10km with warm up cool down and easy segment.

Sat 28 Feb - Slept 12 hours last night. I need rest. I am still under the weather so this weekend will be about recovery. no running today.
Total weekly mileage : 69.5 km

Monday, February 16, 2009

Training recap #7

Sun 15 Feb - Gorgeous day today. Ran home from the girls skating lesson this morning (I took the long way). I concentrated yet again on maintaining my cadence throughout the run. I was going up a hill when a fellow runner came up from behind me and tapped me on the shoulder. We exchanged a few pleasantries and then he went ahead. About a kilometre up the road, at the crest of the hill, he stopped to stretch his quads. I motored by and waved. About a kilometre further a car passed me and I noticed the back wheels were locked. I waved to the driver to stop. She pulled over on a side street and waited for me to run up to her. I told her that her back wheels were locked and that she must have her hand brake on. She tried releasing the brake and we tested to see if the wheel disengaged but no luck. I checked to see if the other rear wheel was locked as well - it wasn't. I told her she shouldn't drive any more on it because it will be a matter of time before she got a flat. She called her husband to come get her. I then left and returned to my route. The fellow runner had passed again but he seemed to be going slower this time. I resumed my cadence and rapidly gained ground. I cut the 100m distance between us within a half kilometre - exchanged pleasantries yet again and headed back up another hill. I now am about halfway through the loop back to the arena. This week the roads were clear so I didn't wear my studded shoes. I felt much lighter on my feet and it was nice to be on clean pavement again.

About a half-hour later I ran by the arena and commenced my second lap of the loop. Funny thing about doing the same loop twice - you notice things you had seen the first time but didn't really pay much attention to. Funny thing about late winter is that as the snow melts, all sorts of "treasures" come to the surface of the snow. I must have seen about five beer bottles at various points on the route. There was also a particular can I had to avoid. The first time around I thought it was a Pepsi can and paid no mind to it. This time around, I could see the script was the same as Pepsi can but it wasn't written Pepsi. It was something else that had a "P" but I didn't stop to read what it was. This got me thinking about when I was a kid and we used to buy these stickers at the candy store that came in a package like baseball cards with that stick of gum inside. I may me dating myself here, but it wasn't a cellophane plastic wrap back then, but rather a type of waxed paper that was used to wrap the cards and gum (boy I loved that gum). Anyway these stickers were of all sorts of funny (and gross) products that were mockeries of regular around the house type goods - worms in cereal boxes, monster toothpaste, blood pudding, etc. Seeing this non-Pepsi can made me think of these cards and the smell and taste of that gum we loved so much. Anyway, I was now almost right back where that fellow runner had passed me and I started to wonder if that lady had her car towed. I crested the hill and there it was...The towing crew was there and so was another car, her husband's I am guessing. I had originally stopped to help her over an hour ago and she was still there - that sucks. Anyway, I had 5 km left to go and it was all downhill from here. As I turned onto my street, I did about 5 strides of 10 seconds each and turned into my driveway. I ran for two and a half hours and I felt great.

I originally wanted to do another run this afternoon, after the girls ski lesson, but my parents came out for a visit so it will be a one-run day (25 km).

Mon 16 Feb - Intervals today 6x800m. They went really well this week. Much better than last. Total 10k with warm up and cool down included.

Tue 17 Feb - Cross training today. Did 20 minutes rowing, 3 sets of chinups (7,6,6), core exercises and stretching. Felt invigorated afterward.

Wed 18 Feb - Race pace run today (7 miles) total 12 km. Average HR 142 bpm. Felt comfortable at this pace today.

Thu 19 Feb - Day off today. Worked through lunch to get home and have supper with my girls.

Fri 20 Feb - TT run (6 km) total 10 km with warm up and cool down.

Sat 21 Feb - Decided to not run today.  I will run on Sunday instead - no skating lessons.  Spent the day de-cluttering the basement after the renovations.

Total weekly mileage : 57 km

Friday, February 13, 2009

Free gym membership

Aérobie Spa gym has graciously offered a free one-year membership that will be drawn at random on March 16th. To enter, you simply have to make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada between February 15th and March 15th, 2009 using the link below. All donations greater that $10 will automatically receive a receipt for income tax purposes.

Here are the details of the draw:

$20 donation = 1 chance to win
$50 donation = 4 chances to win
$100 donation = 10 chances to win

The random draw will take place at Aérobie Spa Gym in the basement of complexe 2020 University, Montréal at 1 p.m.
The winner will be notified by e-mail and their name will be posted on this blog.

Here is the link to participate : http://my.e2rm.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=577892

The one year membership has no cash value. However, if you win, it can be given to somebody else before you join.

Good Luck! and thank you for your support!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Snowshoe runs

Here are a few pictures of my 1 Feb snowshoe run on the Whitlock golf course. While the snow was fresh and the temperature was mild, we can clearly see that snowshoes really permit the exploration of terrain not normally seen when running on the roads. I managed to ascend some rather steep hills and capture views of the Montérégie region from where I was, despite the grey skies. I will have to go back there on a clear day and see the difference.

Snowshoe running is a great workout. You really have to raise your knees to clear the deep snow. It sort of reminds me of those drills we used to do in soccer and volleyball practices - running on the spot as fast as we could by making sure our knees came up high enough to touch our hands while our elbows were bent 90 degrees. The coach would blow the whistle and we would go as fast as we could for what seemed like forever until the next whistle - it was probably really only about 10 seconds or so. Anyway, that is the type of work my legs were doing on this day in snowshoes...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Training recap #6

Sun 8 Feb - Long run today between skating and skiing lessons for the girls. 22 miles (35.5 km). I felt good - finished in about 3:50. Shouldn't have worn the studded shoes today, the rain overnight left the roads cleared of snow but there were a few icy patches. It was 0C and sunny, but there was a gusty westerly wind. I'm glad I had my sunglasses on. I tried to do the last 10km at race pace but couldn't seem to get faster than 8:20 per mile. I decided to do glides on the last 10 hills - each was about 200 metres and I would accelerate up the hill concentrating on my form and then glide back into a coasting speed until the next one. I enjoyed doing these; it made the run seem interesting. Another thing I did today was do my loop in the opposite direction. By mixing it up, I had many more downhills throughout the run, albeit gradual descents, and also kept the hills for the end. My left knee seemed to bother me a bit, I will ice it tonight.
Mon 9 Feb - First day of Interval pace training. The principal purpose is to try to do as much work at the aerobic threshold by putting short recovery times between intervals. I was running at 9.5 mph or 6:10 min/mile. This was a very fast pace for me to sustain for 800m intervals. I managed on the first and recovered by a light jog for 3 minutes before starting the next one. I had to concentrate on my cadence and my breathing on the second one and decided to recover at 700m. The next two were equally difficult but I stuck it out. I noticed that it wasn't the recovery time that was difficult but rather the perceived limit in my ability to maintain such a pace for the entire distance. For the second to last interval I recovered at 700m and forced myself to complete the entire distance on the last one by slowing down a notch between 600 and 700m and then speeding up again for the last 100m. After that I did a really easy jog for 2 miles and then stetched my calves and IT band. My glutes were tender at the start of my workout but were fine afterward. This was a tough workout. I sure hope it will pay off!
Tue 10 Feb - Day off today. I wanted to exercise my core muscles and do some stretching, but I had to work through lunch instead.
Wed 11 Feb - Fighting a cold (again). My sinuses are congested. I was supposed to do my Q2 run today but I'll do it tomorrow instead.
Thu 12 Feb - 10 km race pace. I think the rest was due. I had a spring in my step for most of the run. I had my iPod but forgot my headphones, so no music to run to. I took advantage to concentrate on breathing and cadence. I wasn't uncomfortable or out of breath but it was not an easy pace to run to - I could see how more runs at this pace will help build my confidence and comfort level. After the run I did some core exercises and stretches. I felt great except for a little tension in my shins. I will stretch some more tonight. Ave HR 145 bpm.
Fri 13 Feb - TT run today (4 miles) felt good and strong. I mentally have to break up my run into smaller milestones to keep going. I usually sip water every five minutes, this is always a useful goal because in that 5 minutes I cover nearly a mile. After that, toward the end of my run, I often do a countdown - half mile, 4 tenths, 3, 2, 1...done. This technique breaks up the monotony, takes my mind off of the work and is rewarding at each of the sub-goals toward the finish. Total workout 10 km with warm up, TT, easy run, and cool down.
Sat 14 Feb - Valentine's day. Had to run errands and clean up the basement for the renovations today and then it was dinner "en famille".
Total weekly mileage : 65.5 km

Monday, February 2, 2009

Training recap #5

Sun 1 Feb - Day off today. Skating and skiing lessons for the girls. We then went to the Hudson Shiver Fest on Pine Lake and played in the snow. It is great to see the girls enjoying playing outside - I know I love it! After supper and putting the girls to bed, I relaxed to a couple beers and some Buffalo wings (guilt free because of my long run the day before) while watching the second half of the Super Bowl. I don't watch football often but it sure was a nailbiter! It brought back memories of when I played in college.
Mon 2 Feb - TI 8x800m - this is my last week of threshold intervals. They really did get easier as the weeks went by. My legs were a little stiff at the start but after a warm up, I was ready to go. My breathing and my cadence were right on the mark. I find I prefer the 3-3 method of breathing (in for three steps, out for three steps). I tried the 2-2 but didn't find I was breathing in deeply enough.
Tue 3 Feb - 10 km easy. Felt tired in the legs. Need to do some stretching at night.
Wed 4 Feb - Took the day off today. Worked through lunch. Had a chiro appointment that helped get rid of some kinks and stiffness in my neck and lower back. He notices I need some more flexibility in my quads and hamstrings. Dr. Butz showed me some new stretches to incorporate.
Thu 5 Feb - Felt more rested today. Ready to take on my training. 3 miles TT for a total 10km. It's amazing how good I feel after the run (wish I could say the same about during the run). Felt a little twinge in my left knee but it is gone now. I did about 15 minutes of stretching - my hamstrings and glutes are really tight.
Fri 6 Feb - Bad day at work.  I decided to forego the 10km race pace lunch run and get out of dodge early.
Sat 7 Feb - Had to bring the girls to ballet today.  Decided not to run.  Removed the snow off the roof because  it was still light.  Forecast called for rain overnght so it will be too late afterward.

Total weekly mileage : 31 km