Saturday, April 30, 2011

300

The dreaded 9 times 300 workout.

After a wonderful meal last night with a tasty glass of red wine I managed to wake up at 05:00 with a hangover. One glass of wine before bed and I woke up with a hangover. Needless to say I am not in the drinking shape of my youth. I re-awoke at 07:30 feeling tired and nauseous. I got out of bed at 08:00, made breakfast and slowly prepared to hit the track.

Upon turning into the drive at the track in my Zipcar I was taken aback by the hundreds of screaming children and their slightly disinterested yet entitled parents. I warmed up on the streets and then finished my warm up on the track. Prior to getting into any speed work I politely asked the people milling on the track to please step off the track as there is a team doing a workout on the track. Parents have attitude. I am unsure if it is the particular parent who has children in soccer or if this is a trend in this city but those people were very rude. I had to explain to one lady that the track is what we run on and that I did not know where she could stand to watch her son play. She was very very disrespectful. Of all the people I asked to step off of the track there was one family who were polite and responsive. That is 3 people out of 15-20. I am disappointed that these are the people who are procreating. I do not look forward to seeing the next generation in Vancouver if this is how parents behave.

Once the track was clear we began our workout of 9 times 300 meters with descending recovery. I was on my own for this workout and coach Hill was not there either which meant the recovery was honest. No stopping or long breaks between intervals. From the start I felt great although with a bit of fatigue in my quads and a muscle cramp in my forearm from doing chin-ups the day before. I hit my pace times for the first 3 intervals and then the times got slower. I was 3-4 seconds off of pace and it was a struggle. I did not float the recovery and upon starting a new interval I was breathing heavy and fatigued. Thankfully I hit my time on the last interval thanks to a guest appearance by Paul, back from Sweden to run the 1/2 marathon.

I am happy with my workout today. I did not quite run the times I had wanted but I gave a good effort and pushed hard through the end of the workout. I did not back off the pace or bake the recovery just to get a good time. In workouts with a controlled descending recovery the most important aspect of the workout is to honor the recovery. Keeping honest within the body of the workout ensures the benefits will be felt.

I am really starting to feel my running legs coming back. I am getting a bit of a spring in my step and my feet seem to be coming off of the ground a bit quicker and sharper. With every workout and run I feel my muscles starting to remember how to get those feet going. Hopefully I will be running like on hot pavement soon!

Happy Training!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Classy

I was raised in a very conservative family. My upbringing was strict with many rules and responsibilities. The most important was manners and class. Although I grew up in the country I was not raised as a hick.

There are certain unwritten rules in society and in certain sports. Running has a full slate of unwritten rules and ways of being that contribute to what makes the sport so wonderful for those of us who have spent our formative years pounding out the miles with teammates on the track, trails and pavement of our communities. Above all else we are taught to give our best every time we toe the line.

Certain etiquette in running is purely based on safety. Always stay to the right and let others pass on the left when on trails. The inside lane of the track goes to the fastest pace times, slower runners in the outside lanes, walkers in lane 8. When you are finished an interval step off the track immediately. Bathe before workouts. Do not wear earphones during workouts or races. Align yourself at the beginning of a race in the appropriate pace section.

Other running etiquette is more related to manners and tradition. Generally speaking distance runners are quite low key when away from the field of play. I have met and trained with some of the fastest guys in Canada and one would never guess that they run 28 minutes for 10km. After running a hard race or workout one would never guess the effort they out their body through. They are subtle and reserved and have a steely self confidence in the work they have done and years they have spent training. It is very rare for me to encounter a rude or mean runner. It is just how running works.

It is the etiquette and camaraderie of the people who run that contribute to why I love this sport. It gives me comfort and reminds me of home. What scares me are the individuals who do not get this. With regards to safety I do not want to get injured again. Running into the ditch to get the interval done is not cool. Running into lane 5 is also not cool. I also do not want to lose the quietness of an workout or the silent confidence of the solitary distance runner. These images are what our sport is built on. There is a mystique and lore connected with the image of a distance runner. I hope it is maintained.

My running is going well. I have been feeling quite sore and achy lately which is part of training, I think. My foot is totally healed and I do not even limp any more. The intervals are not getting easier but that is the whole point. They never get easy, intervals just get faster. I am quite tired all the time and I feel like I am fighting some sort of illness. I am feeling a bit less engaged in society but that is also one of the side effects of getting fit again. There are even little things that are coming back. When I am lean there is a spot under my jaw bone that is difficult to shave because the razor will not fit into that crevice. It is back! I must also report that I am getting pretty lean again which is nice. I must continue to drink my protein shakes!

My gay old life is rolling along with reckless abandon. I am making up for lost time and in the process I have met some really cool people and have had some really fun experiences. I guess to sum up my feelings; I am really happy!

I hope to hit the track on Saturday morning. I hope my body will be ready!

Happy Training!

Friday, April 22, 2011

1 7/8

2 times a mile and 7/8

There are 2 ways to run this workout and last night we ran it the fun way. Normally I can run this interval in 9:00 low but last night I was a bit slower running 9:21 and 9:16. I was pleased with my effort on achy legs and a still untrained heart and lungs. I am surprised by how my body seems to have maintained much of it's muscle memory and speed endurance.

I am also very pleased to have a group to run with. When I stopped training last year I was very lonely, especially during workouts. I found myself either running through the group or running totally on my own in front. When I was in a workout I could work hard to chase down people who started in front of me but once I passed them I was on my own. Day after day this type of training has a deep psychological effect. I would finish workouts physically drained and mentally spent after trying to continually motivate myself to beat an imaginary competitor in front of me. Now I have some talent to chase and it is great!

I am also encouraged as the 2 individuals I was running with last night both ran sub 32 at the Sun Run. If I can match pace with 2 men in 31:30 shape then things are looking up. I hope with a bit more fitness and confidence in my running I will be able to push them more. The one aspect of training I need to regain is working through the pain. I also need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I was unable to push through a tough section last night. When I felt the lactate creeping and my breath shortening I was not able to respond to the surge brought forth by my speedy club mates. With a couple months of training I will hope to be shoulder to shoulder with my club mates in some intense suffering!

I work this weekend so my training will be tempo and long run on the UBC campus. I hope it is not too busy!

Happy Training!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sun Run Race Report!

I dressed in my only pair of Lulu Lemon shorts and trainers and made my way to start my first race since injury. It was fun?

The Sun Run start is always a total gong show at the front of the pack. I positioned myself in the third row and planned on taking it easy for the first km and then working my way into the race to try and finish in a somewhat respectable time. At the 1 km mark I can report that I was in the middle of the lead women. Everyone goes out way too fast in the first km and I am sure there was some suffering because of that first km. I felt great after the first km and relaxed into my stride to find a group to run with.

Historically I have managed to find myself in no man's land in most races I run. Maybe it is my loner coming out. Today I found I could not manage to get into a good group to get pulled along. There was a group in front of me that I could have bridged but for some reason I just did not have the drive to get there. I may have lost some of my race instinct in the last few months. From the 4 km point I ran mostly on my own (I had a nice conversation at 4 km with someone who knew me), occasionally passing people but never getting passed.

I did not hit any really bad patches. There were no times during the race that I thought I was going to die. I did get bored around the 7 km mark and a bit frustrated. I wanted to go faster but I did not have the legs to go. I did not feel that tired I just could not really go faster although that was mostly mental. I had quite a bit of speed at the finish so I may have bagged the race a bit.

I felt good crossing the finish line and for the most part the race felt pretty routine. I am not that sore and I ran home feeling just fine. I think I ran mid 32. It is very encouraging to run mid 32 without too much pain or agony after quite a time off and only a few workouts. I also ran in my cushiony trainers and without a watch I guess that proves to me further that there is still some speed left in this body.

Now my goal is to get consistent training and build on this tempo/race into the summer. I just wish there were more road races in the summer. Track maybe?

Happy Training!

Monday, April 11, 2011

For The Fun Of It!

I am running the Sun Run with the objective to have fun.

My training is going well in light of the fact that I am very happy and am enjoying running. My training is not going well with regards to the actual quality of my running. Although I have been consistent with my training the speed has not been quite what I am used to nor have I been training with my team enough. This will change in the next few weeks.

It is weird to go into a big race with the goal being to have fun. What should I do in the first km? Last year I ran a 2:55. If I run that pace this year I will tank at 2 km so maybe I should run a 3:05? If I run a 3:05 I will be in the 50s or 60s going into the second km. I think I will go with the flow and run an easy first km with the idea to tempo hard the middle section of the race and maybe interval the last 2 km. Regardless I am looking to have fun and see some old friends from the running world.

My goals for the summer are pretty simple but there is one that is now in jeopardy. My goals were to win 3 races. I want to win the Pride and Remembrance Run as part of Toronto Pride, the Antigonish Highland Games 5 Mile Road Race and the North American Outgames 10 km Road Race. The problem with the Outgames race is the expense. In total it will cost $130.00 to run this race on the Seawall. Imagine paying $130.00 to run on the Seawall!

I understand the concept behind the Outgames and I certainly think they are a great idea but the expense is quite steep. I have never paid more than $80 for any race I have competed in and most runs I have completed have cost less that $40. For $80 one gets a very big race experience with amazing organization and a super venue. To be honest I have only paid this much for a triathlon which requires organization beyond that of a regular road race.

I have yet to decide if I will run at the Outgames. I do not like Seawall races and I do not want to pay a tonne of money to run on the Seawall. I would be interested in running a track meet but this too has quite a significant expense. I also have to work which may also put a wrench in the plans. I will have to decide soon as the early bird rate ends in the near future.

I hope to have some good training this week. I am feeling more fit every day and running is finally starting to get a bit easier. I am starting to feel like the old me and I am not afraid of bonking or collapsing on runs any more.

Happy Training!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Preparation meets opportunity?

I have had my training side railed by my social and treatment life.

Balancing running, weights, swimming, work, dating, going out dancing, traveling, skiing, massage, physio, doctor, dentist and hair appointments has become somewhat of a logistical nightmare. Not to mention trying to somehow fit cleaning, cooking and laundry into my already tight schedule is leaving me feeling a bit ragged and run down. I fell asleep this afternoon while watching a movie. This never happens.

I woke up early yesterday to run a tempo workout but felt like I had a hangover without drinking a drop of alcohol. I had plans for the majority of the day with 2 small windows of opportunity to run a dreaded tempo. I was able to fit my 20 minutes of pace work into my afternoon.

I was not excited to step out the door and trudge through Stanley Park. Once I had warmed up though I was feeling a bit more willing to push for the requisite 20 minutes. Overall I had a successful workout. I was able to run on pace without much distress and pushed the last three minutes of the tempo at a slow interval pace. I was pleased with my effort and took an extra long cool down. It is nice to feel a bit more fit and be able to have a relaxed long run home without too much exhaustion or fear of collapsing.

This morning I was able to do my 70 minute long run and it was satisfactory. My mind felt great and my foot even better. Every other part of my body was in pain. I can feel the training in my tired legs and they are starting to ache. I also feel the training in my upper body and back. My lower back has been on the sore side of normal and my shoulder girdle has been not the best. I had a bit of a scary moment at around the 50 minute mark when I started to have an aching in one of my lower legs. I am terrified of a stress fracture so I will have to watch this.

For much of my run today I was telling myself to relax and slow down. I did not feel as though I was going fast but I did feel like I was more anaerobic than I ought to have been on an easy long run. When people along the way are telling me "keep up the pace" I think I am running a bit fast. Maybe this is my subconscious telling my body to cram before Sun Run.

Sun Run is only 2 weeks away and I am feeling very under prepared. I have no idea what to expect. This is my first race towards getting in shape for summer races and fall training. This is a building block for motivation but also a measure of my desire. In many ways Sun Run will tell me if I want to return to hard training. If I cross the finish line after having fun along the race course yet wanting to run faster I will know that it is time to train. If I cross the finish line feeling like death and hating the whole thing I will know that maybe running might be done for me. As I am getting in better shape and the running is becoming more routine and easier I am thinking that I will enjoy the experience. The Sun Run is typically an amazing experience with exceptional organization so I can venture to guess that I will have fun!

This week coming up promises to be as busy as the past few. After a day in Whistler tomorrow I am going to have to find a way to find time to groom and train. Next weekend will be a gay holiday in Seattle. Many opportunities! I hope they do not impair my preparation too much!

Happy Training!