Sunday, January 29, 2012

Slow Week but a Great Weekend

This last week I didn't run at all on the weekdays. I'd like to blame it on work, but the truth is I just didn't have the energy or motivation to get out of bed extra early. I know that everyone faces down times. I just have to accept that it happened and move forward from here with no guilt or shame. The good news is that the weekend was much different.

Saturday's group run was scheduled to be six miles, but I really wanted to get back into double digits. The group was meeting at the Fargodome at 6:30 a.m. I decided to run the six miles from my house to the dome and continue the rest of my run with the group. I wanted to take my time during the first leg of my run and planned on getting up to the dome just shortly before everyone else started showing up.

The first several miles went really well. I stopped after about four miles to eat a couple Gu packets. I love them when they are cold and the Gu is thick and chewy -- yummm. I was wearing my Nathan hydration pack in an effort to get used to running with this thing on my back. I stuffed the end of the hose down through the collar of my jacket to keep it from freezing. Taking frequent sips from it also helped. I met an oncoming runner while rounding a corner at NDSU and thought it might be Heather from the group. When I got to the dome parking lot I saw Heather's car and wasn't surprised that she would be putting in some extra miles.

I got to the dome a little earlier than planned and had to find a spot out of the wind in order to stay as warm as possible. I wanted some more fuel in me so I ate about half of a Powerbar as I waited. I was becoming quite chilled by the time everyone showed up. I'm not sure how many of us there were, but it seemed to be about fifteen. It felt good to get moving. Erin and I ran together for the entire distance. Jon joined us for a while before dropping back to run with Chris (from last years group) and her friend. Rick ran with us for the last several miles.

It was cold enough that we really didn't stick around to talk for long. Jon, Heather, and Maggie went out for an additional four miles. I was glad I had a chance to see Rick and wish him well before his big race this week. He is once again running the Arrowhead 135 Ultra Marathon. This race follows a trail from International Falls, MN to Tower, MN. He will be posting his progress on his blog Good Luck Rick!!! I can't wait to hear about this terrific adventure.

I thoroughly enjoyed my run Saturday morning. Erin was kind enough to give me a ride home and gave me some ideas about insulating the hose on my hydration pack. 
My hydration pack

This morning I went for a seven mile run. The weather was a crisp 4 below zero, but with no wind it actually felt quite comfortable. The sky was was the incredible shade of blue seen only on these cold winter days. There was just a dusting of snow on the roads and sidewalks which made for cushioned footing. My legs actually held up well even after yesterday's long run. It was another great morning.

I plan on cutting back next weekend to recover a little. I'm thinking about doing a marathon weekend in two weeks; maybe run thirteen miles on Saturday morning and thirteen on Sunday. Or maybe I'll run thirteen on Saturday morning, go out again that evening for five or six, and finish up on Sunday with the last seven or eight. I just want to put in twenty six miles over those two days. We'll see what happens.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Winter's Finally Here!

It seems that old man winter has finally come to our area. Thursday morning's run from the Fargo Running Company was quite cold, -18 degrees with a -30 below wind chill. I opted to run with Lamont who was only going three miles. This worked out well because I had to get home to pack for the several days I would be working in western North Dakota. The run went well even with the extreme temperatures.

I got back to Fargo about noon on Saturday. I missed this weeks group run and had to get an eight mile run in o my own. I started my run late in the afternoon. It was cold and very windy with some snow flurries. I got in the groove quickly and had one of the best solo runs I've had in a while. I started with a particular loop route in mind, but soon changed it a bit in an effort to add some miles. My route started into the wind for several miles, and after I made the turn I enjoyed a sidewind/tailwind. The snow that had fallen dampened all sounds of traffic. It was one of those runs that feels effortless; I didn't want it to end. My goal for the day was eight miles. I ended up with nine.

This morning's weather was a lot like yesterday's. I wanted to go five easy miles today in order to loosen up my legs and get them used to moving when they are tired and sore. The first couple miles felt akward; my legs were very stiff which gave me a shuffling gait. They finally loosened up for a couple miles. but soon became very heavy. I really had to push to get through the last miles. While my pace was a little slower than yesterday's run, I am happy that I was able to get six miles in today.

I am starting to feel the drive to get the miles in. It's getting a little easier to get up early for the daily run. I'm excited about the long runs. I find running for hours really enjoyable and rewarding. I'm definitely more suited to running long slow distances. I know that my stocky build and short legs should make me a natural sprinter or hurdler.

I can't do any worse than this guy.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

New Year & New Goals

This year is starting out really well. The training group that Jon started had the first run a couple weeks ago. It felt so good to run with a group again. Everyone in the group is fun to be with and the conversation always makes the miles go by very quickly. We met at Jon and Erin's house at 6:30 a.m. and set off for an easy five mile run. The weather was a bit cool and threatened to start with the freezing rain, but it held off until we were nearly done.

I missed last weeks run, so I was really looking forward to running with the group this Saturday. We met at the Fargo Running Company (Lamont offered to open up the store before and after the run. Thanks Lamont!). I got there a little before 6:30 and was pleasantly surprised by the number of people. Penny did a head count as we ran and I believe she counted seventeen people. The route was a seven mile out and back that took us across a couple of overpasses (a.k.a. North Dakota hills). I was not feeling very energetic, but running with Erin and Jerry kept me moving along.

I'm changing my running schedule a little this year. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday will be the same as last year -- 4 to 5 miles each day. Saturday will still be the long run, and I plan on putting in some extra miles in order to increase my weekly total. I'm adding a run on Sunday to get used to running on tired legs. Jon suggested this as a way of training for an ultra marathon.

I guess that leads right into some of my goals for the year. I plan on running the Trail Mix 50K in April (here is a link to their website ). I know it is going to be a big step, but I look forward to the challenge. I'm already registered to run the Fargo Marathon again this year. I'll probably do the FM Half Marathon again. If Trail Mix goes well I may try Surf the Murph 50K ( ). I know there will also be some 5K and 10K races in the mix as well.

I've added some more songs to my iPod. "My girl Dances" by Hot Fiction is one of my new favorites.

"Give You Hell" by The All American Rejects
"So Cold" by Breaking Benjamin
"Clean My Wounds" by Corrosion of Conformity
"13 Angels" by Corrosion of Conformity
"Senior Limpio" by Corrosion of Conformity
"London Bridge" by Fergie
"Hollaback Girl" by Gwen Stefani
"My Girl Dances" by Hot Fiction
"Hot in Herre" by Nelly