Week 3 Training Recap

This week flew by and was a complete success on not missing any scheduled training runs. Well I did miss the last double run which was on Friday, but I’m going to modify the training plan to exclude that additional run. One reason is because it’s the day before our long run and I’m already doing a 60 minute recovery run. The second reason is I believe it may lead to over-training. Overall the week went well with the slight issue of my heart rate reading high during runs that I could easily carry a conversation. Of course, my first theory was that it most likely is me, whether it was nutrition, sleep or something else, like the warmer weather. The watch itself never came to mind as being the culprit as the first thought. After a couple of days playing detective, I turned my Garmin Fenix 3HR off and back on in an hour. So far the data has been more accurate comparing it to previous recordings.

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Snowshoeing in 55 degree weather in February

The weather has been extremely nice this whole week, which has led to runs in shorts and tees. It also cuts down on the time drastically getting the girls ready for a run. Where before I would have to make sure they were layered well, in addition to their snow suits that they wore. It probably took a good 30-45 minutes for the 3 of us to fully get ready and get the stroller out the door. Now, maybe 15 minutes at max. I also strapped the snowshoes on this week for only the second time this Winter. I ended up making a track circle on the side of the house that was approximately 150 meters. I ended up running circles for 60 minutes and tallied up 5.4 miles. It was difficult at first since it took so long to get a nice packed track, but it was nice to run in a different medium too.

I came across a different mental mind game during my hill repeats this week. It’s called, Little Bear! It was an extremely difficult high intensity interval session. We had to do 10 intervals 1 minute long with a 2 minute rest. Not only did I have to deal with my own mentality of pushing through the heavy legs and lack of oxygen, but I had to listen to Little Bear throw a tantrum every time I started an interval. She kept screaming to turn around and for me to let her down. As soon as the interval was over and I turned around to head back to my starting point she stopped and said, “there it is.” She was referencing a mailbox that is painted orange with white polka-dots. She wanted to be next to it and not leave it. After 8 intervals of mentally breaking down faster than normal. I pleaded with her to help me finish strong and that we only had 2 more intervals to do. I told her I was hurting and that she needed to help me get up the hill without slowing down or stopping short. I asked if she could not throw a tantrum or get frustrated in the fact we were running. I didn’t know if she would truly understand where I was coming from being basically 2.5 years old, but she didn’t make a sound. After the 9th interval, she says, “all done.” I replied saying that is correct and we only have one more. My first split was a 8:42 pace followed by an average pace of 10:15 for the next 7 intervals with Little Bear adding to the mental mindset. The 9th interval I was able to get it down to 9:48 pace and a 8:56 pace for the last interval. I do wish I could have had the average pace be in the 9:30s or lower, but I didn’t expect any additional mental games that day. I can still count on 1 hand the amount of times Little Bear or Speedy were not pleased about being in the stroller, so this occurrence definitely threw me off.

We didn’t do much this week, mostly cooking a few staple recipes and trying out new ones. Little Bear also got to paint and we took a trip to the NH Audubon Society to visit the rescue birds, more specifically, the owls. She loves owls! It was so precious as we were leaving, she said good night to the owls and told them she would miss them. She has so much compassion and love already that I can only hope it never fades.

The weather needs to continue to stay like this and only hope it’s not a tease. I’m also excited this upcoming week will be the last of hill repeats and then on to speed work, YAY! Happy Running from us to you.

RECAP:

Feb 19 – 60 min Foundation Run <SOLO/Snowshoes>– 5.47 miles (55 degrees and cloudy)

Feb 20 – 70 min Fast Finish Run – 8.65 miles (36 degrees and sunny)

35 min Foundation Run – 3.34 miles (39 degrees and sunny)

Feb 21 – 60 min Foundation Run – 6.19 miles (41 degrees and sunny)

Feb 22 – 60 min Foundation Run – 6.15 miles (39 degrees and cloudy)

40 min Foundation Run – 4.09 miles (54 degrees and sunny)

Feb 23 – 45 min Hill Repeats – 3.53 miles (45 degrees and sunny)

Feb 24 – 60 min Recovery Run – 5.17 miles (43 degrees and cloudy/partial light rain)

Feb 25 – 14 mile Long Run – 15.81 miles (55 degrees and cloudy)

Week 2 Training Recap

All I can say is that I’m ready for Spring to arrive. I’m officially over Winter and Nor’easters. There were plenty of changes to this weeks training calendar due to the crazy amount of snow we received. Well, the only change was the lack of double run days, which were suppose to start this week. I was scheduled to run 10 times this week, but only managed to run 7. I decided to skip the first 2 additional runs because I was shoveling the driveway or breakdown snow banks to make more room for the upcoming storm. The average time I was outside shoveling was 90 minutes. I felt that it completely justified. As for the third run I missed, that was all self-sabotage. I stayed up way too late Thursday night, that I had no energy to give and I let laziness win in the end. I was drained Friday after a full morning  of activities with the girls, going to Whole Foods and cleaning up the house a bit. When it was time to run again, I gave in to laziness and exhaustion.

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A glimpse of a 60 min Foundation Run during a Nor’easter

We also ran our first hill repeat session of the training block and it was brutal. I literally was gasping for air after the first 2 intervals. I kept my feet moving but was struggling with my breathing. I was trying to think if I was inefficiently running up the hill wrong or maxing out on my heart rate. I know I am pushing a stroller but at this point, I’ve run so many miles with Little Bear and Speedy, I consider the stroller an extension of myself and its hard to view it any other way. I can’t consider myself or my training results to be different when compared to other runners. I feel like the moment I give myself that excuse, “oh, I have a stroller that is why…” I won’t be as tenacious in my training or on race day trying to catch my unicorn.

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Elevation Chart of the Hill Repeats (Warm-up:11 mins – 6x 1.5 min with 2.5 min Rest – Cool-down: 5 min)

As for dad life, it has been a busy week for Little Bear and Speedy. Tuesday we drove to Rattlebox Studio for their Little Rattlers class, which Little Bear loves and Speedy is starting to be more animated with the songs that are played during the class. Friday after our run we went to Lap Time at the local library and got to enjoy some stories and check out some new books to read. To cap it off, we went to Flipz today to watch Mr. Aaron from Rattlebox Studio put on a concert. Picture a large open space filled with 50+ adults and close to 100 kids running around, it was banana sandwiches. The girls had fun, although trying to keep Speedy from crawling off and Little Bear running off in a different direction started to wear me down after our long run this morning.

I hope this upcoming week will be a solid training week, as long as there are no other Nor’easters coming through. I also need to start doing core workouts and get into a morning habit of mediation, which has been too sporadic. Happy Running!

RECAP:

Feb 12 – 60 min Foundation Run – 5.56 miles (25 degrees and snowing)

Feb 13 – 65 min Fast Finish Run – 7.88 miles (28 degrees and cloudy)

Feb 14 – 60 min Foundation Run – 6.26 miles (36 degrees and sunny)

Feb 15 – 45 min Foundation Run – 4.99 miles (24 degrees and snowing)

Feb 16 – 40 min Hill Repeats – 3.52 miles (32 degrees and sunny/partly cloudy)

Feb 17 – 60 min Recovery Run – 4.97 miles (25 degrees and sunny)

Feb 18 – 12 mile Long Run – 13.08 miles (27 degrees and sunny/partly cloudy)

Back to Training

Well, I finished my first semi-week back of half marathon training. It consisted of 4 out of the 7 days since I took the first 6 days off of February to recover. I also took Friday off, due to single digit temperatures and being at home all day and night with the girls. You would think that my body would be ready to grind it out after the huge base mileage I ran in January, but I definitely feel beat-up.

I had some areas that showed signs of tightness or slight soreness throughout the week, ranging from tight heels and Achilles, groin, quads, hamstring and the arches of my feet. These are all things I felt during the month of January and was able to muster on. I think it will take a good 4 weeks to overcome these signs of soreness and due diligence on my part to stretch and foam roll, as well as ice as needed.

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Little Bear, Speedy and I doing a Speed Play Run on 02/09/17 during a snow storm.

 

I’m happy so far with the 4 days I was able to complete and look forward to continuing this newfound confidence into the next 3 months and race day. I don’t really have a key area of focus, other than to not look ahead and to be present each training day. I’m also going to try maintaining a morning routine of waking up at 5:45AM to meditate for 10-20 minutes and then read before the girls get up around 7AM. I am hoping this will help me stay focused on the daily task and not get caught up day dreaming about catching the unicorn. I’m afraid it may distract me from fully pushing myself each day. My wife always says, I have my head in the clouds, there may be some truth to that. It’s time to foam roll and get ready for some snowy miles with the girls. We are expecting 8-18 inches of snow, since we are on the border of 2 different predictions.

Rest and Recovery is…OVER!

It’s been 6 days since the end of January and the accumulation of 400+ miles on my body. The first few days I thought I would be stoked not having to run, but I think after having that constant “runner’s high” for 31 days, my body was craving it a little. I also started to notice little aches and soreness in my body as the days passed. I was diligent with foam rolling and stretching twice a day and feel great with fresh legs. I also feel like I never lowered my food intake since the rest period started.

I’m nervous for tomorrow, just a little bit. A part of me feels like I’ll be starting from scratch, but the sensible side knows I’m ready to pour my soul into these next 89 days and I have a solid base. It’s no time to hold back, no time to let discomfort win and no time for fear or uncertainty. I posted the Skyrunner’s Manifesto the other day and this gets me excited for many reasons. Right from the start, “Kiss or kill. Besa o mata.” I got goosebumps the first time I read this. It reminded me of the New Hampshire state motto, “Live Free or Die.” I love this because of my inner drive to not only succeed in my goals but I want to crush it, to make sure I gave it everything I had. I love the descriptions throughout the manifesto and how it says you must pour your soul into it, that now is the time to suffer, fight and win. That is how I feel looking at my training block compared to the previous one I did from October to December.

I struggled last training block with mindset and overall confidence. I was unsure of myself and whether I could possibly catch the “unicorn.” I was also unsure if this training plan would work, since it was based on heart rate zones and I was running with a double stroller. The first month was rough and I had lots of doubt. I also wondered if I was doing it right, since sometimes my perceived effort and heart rate were on different levels. For example, I did a 8 mile long run around a 10-10:30 minute pace which left me at a conversational pace, but my heart rate was in a Zone 4 or 5. It wasn’t until the end of November when I ran a 5K on Thanksgiving that I started to have confidence. I was able to run a 20:33 with the double stroller. But I was still unable to breakdown my wall.

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Little Bear, Speedy and I after the 5K (left to right)

Mentally, I was unable to push my self past the wall during the high intensity interval runs. No matter how hard I tried to convince myself I wanted it, that I wanted to really suffer, I came up short. I wasn’t able to crack the code and it was frustrating throughout the whole training block. I have a feeling now, that I may have cracked it. I won’t truly know until a month into training. I feel like the month of January has brought out another runner in me, one that is able to strive and push the boundaries. I came out of the challenge and the month of January with a new level of confidence and a greater insight to myself. I say this not only in a runner, but as a person. Unfortunately, only the test of time will be able to tell me the truth.

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Skyrunner’s Manifesto

Kiss or kill. Besa o mata. Kiss glory or die in the attempt. Losing is death; winning is life. The fight is what decides the victory, the winner. How often have rage and pain made you cry? How often has exhaustion made you lose your memory, voice, common sense? And how often in this state have you exclaimed, with a broad smile on your face, “The final stage! Two more hours! Go, onward, upward! That pain only exists inside your head. Control it, destroy it, eliminate it, and keep on. Make your rivals suffer. Kill them” I am selfish right? Sport is selfish, because you must be selfish to know how to fight on while you suffer, to love solitude and hell. Stopping, coughing, feeling cold, not feeling your legs, feeling sick, vomitting, getting headaches, cuts, bleeding…can you think of anything better?

The secret isn’t in your legs, but in your strength of mind. You need to go for a run when it is raining, windy, and snowing, when lightning sets trees on fire as you pass them, when snowflakes or hailstones strike your legs and body in the storm and make you weep, and in order to keep running, you have to wipe away the tears to see the stones, walls, or sky. The strength of mind to say no to hours of partying, to good grades, to a pretty girl, to the bedsheets against your face. To put your soul into it, going out into the rain until your legs bleed from cuts when you slip on the mud and fall to the ground, and then to get back on your feet and continue uphill until your legs cry out, “Enough!” and leave you marooned in a storm on the remotest peaks, until you die.

Leggings soaked by snow, driven on by the wind that sticks to your face and freezes your sweat. Feeling the pressure from your legs, the weight of your body bearing down on the metatarsals in your toes, pressure that can shatter rocks, destroy planets, and move continents. Legs suspended in the air, gliding like an eagle, or running faster than a cheetah. Running downhill, slipping on the snow and mude before driving yourself on anew, and suddenly you are free to fly, to shout out in the heart of the mountain, with only the most intrepid rodents and birds hidden in their nests beneath the rocks as your confessors. Only they know your secrets, your fears. Because losing is death. And you should not die before you have given your all, have wept from the pain and the wounds. And you cannot surrender. You must fight on to the death. Because glory is the greatest, and you can either aspire to glory or fall by the wayside. You cannot simply not fight, not suffer, not die…Now is the time to suffer, the time to fight, the time to win. Kiss or kill.

Nightmare After Christmas

The month of January and the start of 2017 has been a Nightmare After Christmas, our team name for the Winter Warrior Challenge, to say the least. But this isn’t in the literal sense, for much has happened…in a good way. To start off the new year, I signed up for a running challenge put on by my local running store, Runner’s Alley, Winter Warrior Challenge. The challenge was to run/walk 1, 3 or 5 miles a day, everyday for the month. Some friends and I thought we would create a team and strive for running 5 miles a day. At the time, 5 miles a day seemed like a lot. This is coming from a guy who likes to jump into the deep end of anything and fully submerge myself in it. Little Bear, Speedy and I started the challenge off with a 14 mile run, which is the longest I’ve run since I got back into running last year.

As the days passed and we continued to get outside everyday logging the miles, I started to let my competitive side take control and I ditched my half marathon training which was ending and starting again in January. I was content with maintaining 2nd place, as my friend was in 1st. A couple of us even decided to run a 50K 2 weeks into the challenge to get more mileage and help separate us from the other top 5 runners.

Why run from 14 miles to 31 miles?

I had the itch to push myself, distance wise, and knew I physically I could handle the mileage after the past 3 months of half marathon training with the girls. I knew the trail was very flat and the pace wasn’t going to be demanding. It took the 3 of us about 6 hours and that was time included to refuel at the car parked 7 miles out from the start. The trail conditions were not as pleasant as one would like. We had sections of the trail from start to finish that were completely glazed in ice, some sections stretching out half a mile long. Of course, none of us had any additional traction since we didn’t think we would need it. I fell twice walking on the ice in the beginning and decided it was better to run and stay on the balls on my feet. I didn’t know how my body would respond the days to follow, but I didn’t feel like I just ran 31 miles and the legs felt good.

A couple of days later I stated to get into a slump and my body was starting to feel really beat up, so much, that I wanted to just step back and forget the challenge. I couldn’t risk jeopardizing my “A” race in May for this challenge. It’s amazing what a new pair of shoes can do and how fresh, rejuvenated and mentally ready I was after switching out shoes. I was a little disappointed my Salomon Sense Link died on me about 100 miles too soon. I didn’t know if it was due to running in the winter and dealing with all the sand and salt that is on the roads, who knows?

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The days continued to pass and finally the challenge was over! I ended up in 1st since my friend got injured along the way and I finished the challenge with 430 miles, 275 of those pushing the double stroller and 10 miles of walking the dogs. I was happy it was over and felt free after the last 14 miles we ran on the 31st on January. I am looking forward to hitting the recharge button with no running for a week before I get back to half marathon training.

In addition to the challenge, I also placed 51st overall in the Luluemon challenge on Strava. I believe there were about 20,000+ runners doing it. You had to run 40K or 80K in back to back weeks. It’s awesome that upon completing the challenge they are giving Strava users a free tech tee and shorts if you did the 40K and 80K challenge. Free is always good!

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The photo that won the IG contest

The icing to my January cake was finding out that I won a free pair of Saucony Freedom ISO shoes for an Instagram contest put on by Saucony and Runner’s Alley. The contest was to post a picture of what winter running looks like in NH during the month of December. I was so stoked on the news and definitely needed a new pair of shoes.

Overall, January has been a learning experience of all sorts. I learned that stretching is key when accumulating high mileage weeks, along with foam rolling. Prior to January I was averaging 30-40+ mile weeks. I also learned my body and mind are capable of so much more than I previously knew, which I think will help me in my next training block before my race in May. I started this month running my longest run of 14 miles, only to run a 50K and multiple 20+ mile days, something I never thought I would be doing. People kept asking me throughout the month,”what are you training for?” and every time my response was a half marathon, haha. I ended the month averaging 13.9 miles a day and still feel like I could log another….but let’s be real, this dad needs some recovery time and to get focused again on my “A” race, the Wallis Sands Half Marathon.