"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -- WOW-- What a Ride!"

Saturday, February 25, 2012

What is Strong?

Strong is what's left after we've used up all the weak.

I love this kind of stuff.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cutting Back and New Kicks

This past week was a cutback week for me.  That meant I cut my running by about 25% from normal.  Normally I'm not a big fan of cutback weeks, but I do throw one in occasionally just because it gives my body a chance to more fully recover.  This past week however was pretty awesome:

Rested and hit the NordicTrac for about 30 minutes while watching hockey.

Ran 5 miles.  There were some snow flurries floating around in my headlamp beam.

New kicks arrived!  I ordered a pair of Saucony Peregrine shoes for use this spring/summer on the trails.

 Of course I had to try them on.  Out of the box they are the most comfortable shoes in my rotation.  I can't wait to start logging some miles in them.  I also got out and ran 6.4 miles (in different shoes) under a clear, starry sky.

Got out and ran 4.5 miles in my new Peregrines.  Because of their lower drop (4mm), I wanted to try them on a shorter run.  I like them a lot already.  I can see we are going to get along really well once we get back on the trails.  Just have to wait for the ski trails to melt out which takes longer in the shade of the forest than it does in my sunny yard.

Really rested.  Helped my wife out with some chores around the house.

4.8 miles on a cloudy afternoon.  It was so gray it hard to tell if it was 10 a.m. or 5 p.m.  It all looked the same.  In the flat light like that it's hard to see the bumps and dips along the road.  It all just blends into the white ground and gray sky.  Skiers will be very familiar with this phenomenon.

An awesome 10.8 mile run at sunset.  It was one of those runs that just seemed effortless.  I could have just gone on forever.  My overall pace ended up being about the same as the half marathon I ran in last fall and it felt easier.  I would have been even faster if it wasn't for some intermittent GI upset towards the end.  I wasn't ill or anything.  My system was just telling me my choice of pre-run fuel (pizza) wasn't the best idea ever.

Have I mentioned I'm a bit of a nerd?  Something I enjoy doing before heading out for an evening run is checking to see which planets and constellations are prominent and then looking for them while I'm out there.  Google Chrome has a cool app called Planetarium that will show you what the sky looks like from your location at any time of day.  I check that and know exactly where to look for various things.  How cool is that?  Too often I end up trucking along, listening to a podcast, looking for Orion or the Pleiades and end up totally forgetting to do my fartleks or stride intervals.  Oops!

What is something you enjoy doing on your runs?  Bird watching?  Looking for specific plants and flowers?  People watching?  Feel free to discuss in the comments.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Week in Review, 2/6 - 2/12

My week in a tidy, summarized format:

Rest day.  Didn't even do any cross training.  Just rested.

7.1 miles.  15 degrees.  Clear sky.  Big, bright moon.  Orion was my constant companion.

8 miles.  15 degrees.  Clear sky.  Huge full moon rising over the eastern horizon while I ran.  The ice on the lake heaved and cracked as I ran along edge.  It sounded like a gunshot in the quiet stillness of the night.

Rested.  Just wasn't feeling great.  A good night's sleep had me feeling 100% better the next day.

6.4 miles.  Snow and -5 degrees.  Just concentrated on busting through about 4 inches of new snow.  The wind was brutal.  Some drifting in the more open areas.

6.2 miles.  Flurries and 4 degrees.  Windy and drifting snow.  Got the miles in and that's about it.

12.2 miles.  Sunny and 15 degrees.  Bright sunshine makes a huge difference in how I feel during a run.  Especially in the middle of winter.  It's dark and cloudy here so much in the winter that any sun is welcome right now.  Loaded up some podcasts from Trail Runner Nation to keep me company on my run.

Total miles for the week worked out to 39.9.  What is it with me finishing .1 miles short of a round number lately? Crazy.

I've found for my long runs on roads, I enjoy listening to podcasts while I'm out there.  What are some of your favorites?  Share them in the comments below.

Lately I've been enjoying  Trail Runner Nation  and UltraRunner Podcast.  It's fun listening to knowledgeable folks discuss running while I'm running.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Running With La Nina

Wow, the weather over the last week or so has been absolutely fantastic for this time of year.  The temps during my last five runs have been 25, 35, 30, 26, and 33.  All of those are above zero.  Amazing for late January/early February.  Most of our snow is gone.  We've actually had several days of sunshine.  I know the ski resorts and snowmobilers are hating this weather, but I'm loving it.  It's so much more pleasant to head out when it's not -5 and blowing snow.

Last week was 41.9 miles.  Had I known I was so close to 42 I would have run around the block one more time or something.  Oh well.  That's life, eh?  Actually, that was a personal best for me for weekly mileage, so I'm really happy about that.

Some highlights from the past week were the waxing moon.  It was nice and bright in the sky in the evening.  On Saturday afternoon there were snowmobiles drag racing on the ice.  Those things are fast!  It wasn't just a couple of Bubbas out there fooling around either.  These were real racing teams actually racing.  My running route took me around the back of the pit area and there is more to drag racing snowmobiles than first meets the eye.

Another highlight is that I hit my goal weight of 150 pounds.  Hooray!  I haven't seen that weight since I was a freshman in high school.  The challenge now is to effectively maintain without going too low or too high.  Plus or minus a pound or two is fine.  More than that will be a problem.

Looking forward I plan to continue working on my base through February.  Sometime in March I'm hoping the snow is gone from the trails and I can get back into the woods.  If not, I will start incorporating some hill repeats into my running routine.  While I am a midpacker when it comes to trail racing, I intend to be a front of the midpacker and to do that I need to work on running hills efficiently.

Hope you all are having a great week!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

January by the Numbers

Last night I did my final run for January, 2012.  It was a nice finish to what has been a really good running month.  Even the weather was good with temps in the mid-30's and a nice waxing moon high in the sky.

So, how did January go?

Total miles run:  168.8 miles
Warmest run:  33 degrees Fahrenheit
Coldest run:  -5 degrees Fahrenheit
Longest run:  13 miles
Shortest run:  5 miles
Average distance run:  8 miles

The month of January is a personal best for me as far as total miles.  A year ago I never saw myself basically running a half marathon on my long run days.  Now, it's a weekly thing.  For February the plan is to maintain the current mileage.  I want to do about four more long runs at the 13 mile distance before trying to bump it up.