Friday, August 28, 2009

Training recap week #35

On Tuesday I did a core workout with Maya. I felt it in my upper abs on Wednesday, so that's good. My Q2 training on Wednesday was also a tough one. After a 2-mile warmup, I did pyramids as follows : 5 min Tpace, 1 min recovery, 10 min Tpace, 2 min rec, 15 min Tpace, 3 min recovery, 10 min Tpace, 2 min recovery. I then did a 1-mile cooldown. I did at total of 9 miles in that workout. Thursday I felt a little tightness in my calves so I did a run up and down the mountain. I concentrated on maintaining my form and pace on both the uphil and the downhill segments. My calves felt better afterward.

I was ready to go for my long run Saturday morning but thought the better of it after seeing the torrential downpour outside. Instead I spent the better part of the morning fiddling around with a "new" VCR/DVD burner. I had bought it at a discount electronics liquidator on my way home from work the day before and it just wasn't working. The VHS worked fine but DVD part kept spitting the disc back out. After speaking to the manufacturer customer help line in India - without any success, I decided to pack it up and return it to the store. It is a 30-minute drive so I made sure to fit in a few other errands at the same time. At the store, I told them the problem and they promptly raplaced the unit with another one. A fellow behind me said he had the same problem as me. I know this wasn't a great product - or place to buy electronics - but the price was right. When I got home, I plugged it in (I was much faster at this the second time around) and tossed in a VHS tape. It swallowed it up and - nothing. The unit simply froze with a cryptic message "PLS WAIT" flashing on the little screen. I tried the reset procedure the help desk suggested the first time around and nothing happened. I called the India help line again and after they finally understood that the tape was stuck inside the machine, they said to bring it back to the store. Ugh! Another half-hour drive. At the store, I was told I was the only person ever to have problems with the machine - yeah right! I said I wanted my casstte back and of course the technician doesn't work on weekends...The owner tried taking it out, without any luck. I told him I was not coming back a third time and I wanted another (better) model. He let me take the upgraded model without a fuss and I tested it right there on the spot. He said he would send me my tape when they got it out. Off I went back home again, plugged it in and everything worked fine. It was still raining but I had lost over 2 hours of my precious weekend, nonetheless.

Sunday I did my long run ; 15 miles in 2.5 hours. It was a beautiful fall morning. I spent most of that time ruminating business ideas and the upcoming Hudson Harrier Race. There seemed to be more runners on the road than usual this particular morning.

Total Weekly mileage : 49 km

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Training recap week #34

I find I'm still trying to get back into the groove of a regular routine. I skipped my cross-training session of Monday. My calves were sore from my weekend run, but I am sort of kicking myself for my lack of commitment to the cross-training because I really feel good afterward. I am pretty consistent sticking to my running regimen, though...

Tuesday was my Q2 training. Yet again, the prescribed training was much longer than my available time so I had to split it. I haven't yet found the impact of this in Jack Daniel's book but I will get around to it. I started with a 2-mile warmup and then proceeded to do 1-mile repeats at T-pace with 1 minute breaks in between. I managed 2 at my prescibed T-pace and then did two half mile repeats at that pace. I then did a mile at race pace followed by a cool down for a total of 7 miles.

I skipped my cross-training again on Wednesday because I worked through lunch so I could get home early to tidy up the house - we had painters repaint our living room today and I think we finally have the right colour (but that is the subject of a completely other type of blog, I suppose). I intended to train with Maya tonight but just didn't get around to it.

Thursday was day two of my Q2 training. I did a 2-mile wamup and then 1 mile at T-pace (only I set it at 8.8 mph instead of 9). After a one-minutes break, I did 2 half-mile repeats at T-Pace and a third at race pace. I then did a cooldown for a total of 5 miles. I found the difference from 8.8 to 9 considerable but it might also be attributed to the fact that it was my second interval training so I was already running on tired legs.

Friday I did my cross-training and felt great. After a 2-mile easy warmup I did my exercise sets and finished off with 1 mile easy running. Boy wee my legs tired! but a good tired nonetheless.

Saturday morning was my Q1 training. 2 miles Easy followed by 10 miles at race pace. Then 2 miles easy. I could not reach or maintain my race pace. I must have averaged 8:30 per mile instead. During my run I was working hard (my hard rate was high) but I couldn't figure out why I wasn't going fast....then it dawned on me, most of the route I was running was up hill! Then, as I was hitting the downhills, I didn't find my pace that fast either. Later , I mapped my route and realized I covered 15 miles, not 14 as my Polar had indicated. This means my average pace was 8 min per mile, and if I did 4 of the 14 miles at an easy pace, then the 10 (or more) miles were actually faster than that - closer to my target 7:26 race pace. I will check if this miscalibration could be due to weak batteries or maybe the fact I changed my running form...Something else to check, but at least I am not as discouraged about my run today.

Even though I was concentrating on maintaining my pace, I did think about an article I read in the local paper on Friday. It seems we have been having problems in our little town with vandals as of late. Some vandals have been damaging properties and starting fires. On three separate occasions, they have trashed stuff at one of the local golf courses and have taken the golf carts for joy rides and playing smash up derby with them on the greens. They even made bonfires by burning everything they could find. Last week, the police announced they were onto who was behind this particular rash of destruction and a few days later we found out it was a bunch of minor aged kids - it seems one of them was so drunk, he couldn't even find his scooter, so he left it on the scene...It wasn't long before the teens confessed to what they had done. So now the question is what to do with these kids? What is the most appropriate punishment? Some say make them pay for the damages, others say make sure they have a record, others say there must be a way to help these kids mend their ways...From what I understand, their parents are trying to settle out of court with the golf club - is this in the best interests of these kids? What message are we sending them? That it's ok to trash other peoples' property, mom and dad will take care of it? No, I think they should be held accountable for what they have done. Make them fix the damages and work off their debt. Now since they are students, I am assuming they will be going back to school in a couple of weeks, and also the golf course only has a few months of golfing left so there is no way these kids have enough time to work off their debt before the winter. Looks to me like they just landed themselves a job for next summer...maybe seeing the hard work that is required to make the wages to pay for what they have done is just the medecine they need....I know I'm standing on a soapbox here, but what can I say, I had plenty of time to put my thoughts around this during my run, and speaking of running, last year I had a really hard time finding volunteers for the Hudson Harrier Race. There was this one kid who was voluntold he would help out. It seems he was required to repay through community service for some wrongdoing. I must say that this kid did not seem like a trouble maker at all and I think he enjoyed helping out on race day. I certainly hope he got something out of his penance - I know it certainly helped me out to have him there. So I guess my message here is let's not shelter and isolate our kids from the consequences of their actions but rather, let's teach them the values of community and the importance of respect by making sure the punishment fits the crime. Financial settlement, out of court, may be what the "victims" need to make things right but it is not doing any favors to the kids who are misguided...

Keep on running :0-)

Total weekly mileage : 48 km

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The road taken (or not)

Okay, so this post isn't about training for marathons, or nutrition, or balance...but it is about life and choice, and I feel compelled to write about it, so here goes.

Last evening I came home from work at 7 pm and was about to sit down for dinner but my parents had already left - they were watching the kids for us yesterday. I would have wanted to have dinner with them but it seems they wanted to get home before nightfall. Seeing as Chantal and the girls had already eaten, I told Chantal that CHOM was doing movies in the park and that our friend, Kim, would be there. They could have ice cream and I could get some free hotdogs, or we could just ask Kim to come to our house.

We called Kim to see if she would drop by our place before or after the flic...Kim said she would drop by on her way if she had time (she had to be at the opening at 8 pm), and asked me for directions to the park. I joked that it wasn't necessary if she was coming to our house first but then I gave her the directions to Thompson Park. We were not really inclined to go to the show which is why we wanted Kim to drop by. It was almost the girls' bedtime, they were already bathed and in their PJs, Chantal and the girls were planning to drive up north early the next morning, and she was tired too. As we waited for Kim to arrive, we got the girls dressed. Soon enough, it was ten to eight and Kim still hadn't shown up...I called her husband to see if he had her cell phone number so we could find out where she was and then we tried reaching her. No answer on her cell. We figured she was running late. A moments hesitation - should we go or not? Seeing as we wanted to see Kim and her beautiful daughter, we decided to head out to the park. A decision; a path taken.

We told our girls we were going for only a few minutes to say hi and maybe have an ice cream. As we were about to head out, Chantal tripped and banged her knee on the stairs - she saw stars. Another moment of hesitation, should we go or not. Forget icing the knee; let's go. Another decision (maybe a sign too), a path taken.

I had unlocked the front door with my keys in anticipation of Kim's arrival, and they were still in the deadbolt, so I grabbed Chantal's SUV keys and put the girls in their car seats. Normally we don't take the SUV for short jaunts because it is brand new and we don't want to use it if we don't have to. My car is older and we don't care about putting mileage on it. Once again, a small decision - a path taken.

We drove to Thompson park and found kids playing soccer games - no Movies in the Park. Must be at another park...While we were in the parking lot, we put CHOM 97.7 fm on the radio and caught the tail end of the spot publicising the event - I was sure I heard Thompson but it was impossible. Maybe it was at Benson Park..As we were driving back toward town, we saw a sign saying it was at St-Thomas Park. Thompson - St-Thomas ; they sound almost the same. Then it dawned on me that I had given directions to Kim on how to get to Thompson Park! I hope she saw the sign too...

We arrived at the (right) park, found a spot near the public pool, and walked directly over to Ted and Bad Pete to ask them if Kim had shown up...nope. They had tried reaching her on her cell too but there was no answer. I didn't have her cell number programmed on my phone so I called her husband at home to see if maybe she had called him...nope. I told him I would continue to look around for her. I left Chantal and the girls to get an ice cream while I headed back to the car to retrace our steps and maybe find Kim driving around Hudson. Decision. and path.

No luck. By the time I got back to St-Thomas park, it was dark and the movie had started. I couldn't find Chantal and the girls, nor Ted, and not even Bad Pete. As I was walking, I noticed another CHOM rep and asked she had heard from Kim yet. She confirmed that Kim had gotten lost and had gone back home. I asked if she had seen Chantal and the girls and she said she hadn't. While we were speaking my phone beeped - I had a message. It was Chantal saying she was at the corner store trying to find me...ugh! I headed back to the SUV to meet up with her. When I got to the car, I noticed a scratch and dent on the door...of our brand new SUV...that we are so careful to drive and protect...double ugh!

As I pulled out, I picked up Chantal and the girls and explained what had happened and that our new car was scratched. This is when we began our "what if we hadn't...." discussion. In the space of less than an hour, a series of small decisions, each led to a new path taken, and eventually to a total bust of an evening. Some may say that we should have heeded the "signs" (girls already in their PJs, falling in the stairs, keys in the door, wrong park) to have not gone or simply turned back. But I am saying first hand that you can only recognize these things as signs after the fact. In the moment, they are unrelated circumstances and outcomes. So the question then is why do we take these paths? We have to live with our decisions and not try to revisit them after the fact with "woulda, coulda, shoulda". What is done is done. There will be other paths to take, and other outcomes soon enough. Seize the moment, and sometimes the outcomes will be positive and sometimes the outcomes will not. That's all there is to it. No sense dwelling on the past, right?

Then again, had we not left - Kim did in fact drop by our house and we would have probably discovered that it was at St-Thomas Park. She would have made it to the park and maybe, just maybe, our new car wouldn't have gotten scratched....But then again, a whole new series of paths and decisions would have unfolded, so who really knows how things would have ended up.

Keep on running ;-)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Training recap week #33

Back from holidays and back to the routine. I was too caught up catching up with work on Monday to do my cross-training. Tuesday I did my Q2 training (that just happened to go up a notch in intensity). There was an extreme storm watch so I decided to stick indoors. My training was to be 2 miles warmup followed by 4 intervals of 10 minutes at threshold pace with 2-minute rests in between and then a 2-mile easy cool down. I managed the first two intervals and took a 4-minute recovery in between, but I only had an hour for my training so I couldn't do the other 2 intervals. This was a very hard training and I am not sure I could have done the other two intervals anyway...I will try it again on Thursday. I realize that splitting my Q2 training into 2 sessions probably doesn't have the same benefit as doing it all in one shot but I am pretty confident that it still has some benefit. I will research this a bit more to find out...

Wednesday was cross-training day. 2-mile warmup, embedded circuit training, 1-mile cool down. I did some additional exercises in the circuit as well; weighted lunges and squats. By the end I was tired. The cool down mile run was definitely on fatigued legs but I was invigorated and felt like I accomplished something.

Thursday I did the remaning portion of my Q2 training only this time I followed the prescribed 2-minutes rests in between intervals. After work I headed off to Mont Tremblant for an early weekend!

Saturday I did my Q1 training. It was a long run intermixed with threshold workbouts throughout. After a warmup of 2 miles, I did 4 intervals of 5 minutes at threshold pace with 1-minute rests in between. Then it was one hour easy and 20 minutes at T-pace. I finished off with about 2 miles Easy and a couple of hill sprints. During the easy portion of the run I met up with Connie (one of the moms from the daycare). She was running with one of her friends so I jogged with them for a while until my threshold workbout started again. It was a glorious morning for a run but we could feel that the heat was coming fast. I was glad I was on the back end of my out-and-back.

Total weekly mileage : 51 km

Training recap week #32

My training week on vacation was mostly filled with interval hill training, strength training in the weight room, hikes, and running in the pool.

Wednesday morning I did my Q2 training on the hills but only for 30 minutes. I was sucking wind on those hills! This was followed by 30 minutes in the gym.

On Saturday morning I ran to the top of Smugglers' Notch to watch the sun rise! I was a difficult run and I had to take 60-second walk breaks every five minutes or so, but I made it to the summit in 18 minutes. There were some extremely steep pitches to negotiate so I timed my walks accordingly. I only saw 2 other people on the hill that morning and they were walking up. After taking in the view and the peacefulness of the morning, I ran back down. It was extremely technical and I had to be very careful to maintain control. I also concentrated on keeping the Pose as much as possible. It took only about 9 minutes to reach my initial starting point!

Total weekly mileage: 8 km! (running only)

Training recap week #31

This was not a good training week for me. I had a lot of work and stuff to get done befor summer vacation. I still managed to get in a couple of good quality runs though.

On Tuesday, I did my Q2 training which was a 2-mile warm up followed by intervals of 5 minutes Hard with 3 minutes recoveries in between for a total of 10km. It was tough!

On Sunday morning, I was in Smugglers' Notch Vermont and enjoyed my run on the mountain. I ran for 45 minutes exploring the trails and basically did a recconaissance of the resort and surrounding trails. I was ascending one trail when I came across a sign warning of Black Bear presence and their habits. It said they liked to eat wild berries and stick to wooded areas. I looked around and saw plenty of berry bushes around me...that and the fact that it was sunrise and I was the only soul on the trail made me decide to turn around and head back toward civilization. I didn't see a bear, but I didn't want to either!

On the way back to our condo, I ducked into a more dense trail that skirted around the golf driving range. I saw plenty of stray balls and remnants of teen drinking parties in those woods. I plodded on but the forest got denser and denser and the trail eventually fizzled out to nothing. I had my bearings so I continued on cross-country through the brush (I was less than half a mile from the condo) and blazed my own way. It was a blast! Keep in mind that we were staying in a mountainside condo so there was a very steep slope on my left that I would eventually have to negotiate to get to it but the brush was so dense and full of thistles that I tried to put this off as long as I could as I ascended gradually through the dense trees. I crossed creeks and streams, heard the birds singing their morning songs, felt the sun on my face through clearings every now and then and smelled the dampness and freshness of the natural beauty of northeastern forests. Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and grabbed and climbed my way out not 30 feet from our unit - not bad. But boy was I dirty! I felt like a kid again. I was all giddy and in a great mood. What a way to start a vacation!

Total weekly mileage : 17 km (but they were really fun!)