Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Learning to walk again

The need to learn to walk is not part of the recovery from an injury but the next step in training. As many people have delighted in pointing out there is no way I will run the whole 100 miles. Knowing this it is time to start practicing the run/walk method of long distance running that helps to greatly extend the distance a person can cover in one big overall effort. The basic logic is that you recover during the minute or two that you walk to the point that you can run better for the six or seven minutes that you are running, thus continuing a productive cycle.
So Sunday morning back to Kennesaw Mountain Park to start working on the plan, will one & seven work or what is the best pattern for me. Well did not resolved that this Sunday because thanks to a very enjoyable and fast (realtively) twelve mile run on Saturday my legs were not exactly in the great of shape. You'd think that by now I could knock out ten miles without too much difficulty but not so on this day. Of course the one mile climb up to the top of Kennesaw did n't exactly get me rolling on the right foot.
A few miles in heading on  the east trail to Chetham Hill things did take on a bit more a rhythm. Not sure I should have been looking forward to the walk breaks as much as I was, no doubt that will pass with time. Another lesson I've suffered and I am now trying not to repeat is that it is not necessary to bound down hill at full speed all the time, especially when the ground is very rough. This I believe was a major contributor to my knee and ankle issues. At this point they seem to be healing up but no need to redo the damage.
The return trip showed up how much Saturday had taken out of my legs, another lesson learned, have to balance out the effort over time.

Of course now the trick is to put these things together during next Saturday's run in the 4th Annual SweetH2O 50K Trail Race. Have to take it easy from the get go, set a pace that I can maintain for the distance and take it easy where the terrain requires it and of course don't fall in to the water at the river crossings. Should be interesting.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Georgia ING Marathon 2010, another lovely day in Atlanta

Perfect marathon weather was on tap for the 4th ING Georgia Marathon. Temperatures in the 50s with a few rain showers called for. This marathon has certainly grown up and filled up. It took 13 minutes to cross the start line from the coral where I started but unlike previous years it went much more smoothly. The aim for today was to maintain a reasonable pace to finish in around 4 1/2 hours but still feeling reasonably good. Ah the best laid plans despite using my Garmin to keep an eye on my pace I was still pulled along by the crowd and the urge to jump ahead of every walker I saw for the first few miles. Relief came after 7 miles with the split of the marathon and half marathon at North Highland Ave. It's always like starting a new race after the split with the huge change in the energy as 10 runners for every one peal off in another direction toward the finish while the marathoners keep on going heading further out into the world to have more fun. Once the marathoners have settled down again a mile or so down the road everyone becomes a much more social crew. There starts to be lots of little chats for 10 seconds to a few minutes amongst the runners, as you synchronize pace with someone for a few yards or longer. As the race moves on in to the higher mileage it's always a pick up to give and receive a few words of encouragement.
After heading through Decatur and winding around the Emory campus the ongoing ups and downs of Atlanta's topography start to wear you down. So it's into the Virginia Highlands area with some delightful hills that were an extra test of my resolve. Across North Highland for the trip down to Piedmont Park to start the final push for the finish line. A quick trip around the park, up twelfth street and though Georgia Tech to swing around to the finish line. At this stage of the race the pull up North Ave to Tech Pkwy was a bit of a challenge but now that I've been seeing the same people go back and forth for most of the last six or seven miles I found it motivational to try and stay ahead of people that I've already passed once or twice over the last few miles back. Managed to pick off most of them, a good way to keep the challenge going. There was a surprise extra push as I turned on to Marietta Street which is the final stretch. Just after I hit the turn on the other side of the street 800 kids kicked off the last mile of their personal half marathons, a series of 13 single mile races. It was great fun to watch the kids trying to kick it for the entire mile, for the record they did not all kick my ass. Of course amongst 800 10 to 13 year olds you know several hundred did kick my ass.
Now no report on this year's event would be complete with a section dedicated to Dan and his cousin Jim sign. Dan managed to make appearances at 5 various locations around the course, Moreland Ave, College Ave, Emory, Ponce,  5th street, Marietta Street by the finish line - slightly cut off by the 800 kids. Fully kitted out with his sign and Cork hurling doll (don't ask) he was quite the celibrity amongst a lot of the people that were running a similar to pace to myself. Hanging out at the end close to the food table there was a series of people that had to check in and thank him for his support. Very impressive, Dan was certainly the celebrity supporter of the day. Thanks for the great support Dan.
For the record I finished in 4 hours 31 minutes and after a good 2 hours in bed I was feeling pretty good so goals were met.
Next outing is the SweetH2O 50K Trail Race on April 3rd, a lovely romp in the park and of course lots of up and down as well as across the river hip deep in water.
Right now I'm focused on recovery from Sunday and keeping to the training schedule with a nice quite life.
Lots more fun to come just have to be sure I prepare properly so I can enjoy it all.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Letting the body heal - patience is a virtue; being sensible is required

Well my exertion or rather over exertion two weeks ago resulted in my body demanding that I listen.
Now after multiple chiropractor, therapeutic massages and yoga classes I appear to be almost back in order. I had totally underestimated what the 31 miles would take out of me. It appears that I was cocky because I was able to handle the trail marathon without too much duress. That of course was the start of my downfall because I was not showing the distances involved the respect they deserve. I may have mentally started to leap ahead to the concept of very long mileage but the body will take it's own time in adjusting to the reality. The spirit is strong but the body is weak or rather many weeks behind is more like it. Time to get back to bascis and take more notice of the advice given in the sea of books and blogs by people with much more experience at this than me.
So the modified plan is,
Slowly build the mileage - stick to 10% a week increases or less
Do work on core body strenght - a least two work outs a week, focus on reps rather than weight
Keep up the yoga - helps with stretching muscles and cleansing out the junk from the muscles,plus it's very enjoyable in a challanging way and rewarding way.
Keep an eye on diet and proper hydration all the time. Will also allow my weight to decrease as necessary.
Reduce the social life as it is not necessary or good to go out 4 times a week, even if drinking diet coke.
Sleep more, see above. This is always a challenge, I like getting out early in the morning but delay going to bed every evening. Time to start getting a regular 8 hours plus. A long way from there right now.
Continue to have fun with this training.

Of course now with daylight savings in effect the evenings are getting long and so it will be easier to get in runs in the evening if necessary. It's tough to go back out the door when it's dark and dreay after a long day in the office.
Event for this weekend is the Georgia ING marathon on Sunday. Weather is going to be a little warmer than ideal but it still should be enjoyable. Name of the game plan is take it easy, this is just a training run with a few thousand other people. Should be fun as always.
So off I go again, new game plan to follow. Let the games begin anew.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Breaking barriers, 31 miles the new experience

Well I'd been contemplating it all week and decided to follow through with my 30 mile plan. Figured that last weekend was a good push on the mileage and I might as well build on it right away. Had been an ok running week without a push and the legs had a good rest so I was ready for action this morning.
I'm once again amazed by the change in mind set that now has me attempting such things as a thirty miler the weekend after a marathon. Once upon a time I'd be taking a few weeks off and probably would n't run more than 5 to 8 miles for at least a month. Amazing what happens when you change your expectations. To say the least I am now doing more than I ever expected of myself, already, and I know that there is much more to come. The most amazing thing today was that over the course of 6 hour and 9 minutes I was never bored and was constantly paying attention to how I was doing, pace etc. Of course it was easy pay attention for the last 7 miles or so as I was really feeling under pressure. But hey it was perfect day today for a nice long run, clear skies, temperature around 60 and not really much of a breeze to talk about. Took the Path from Decatur out to Stone Mountain with one lap of the park to make the mileage, ended up being 31. Great to see loads of other people out on the trail and at the mountain, it's always uplifting to see other people putting in a similar effort. Does n't matter how far or fast a person is going I've noticed that for the most part all people pretty much have a smile and content look on their face when there are out exercising. Of course this is particularly true when they are back in the parking lot and finished. No doubt that the endorphins from outdoor activity is a boost to everyone, people just don't look as happy leaving the gym. I guess the gym serves the purpose of getting the heart rate up but does n't make the same connection to the mind and soul.
Now after that spiel, I must say I am enjoy a lovely evening by my fire pit having a few beers and a lovely pizza. Have to say that it's important to reward one's self after making the big goal. I figure this evening coupled with my nap this afternoon and icing of the knees should have me in good shape to run a few very easy miles tomorrow morning and then hit the hot tub for awhile. Need to let the muscles unwind.
Hurling makes it's way back into the scene tomorrow, just a puck around warm up for next weekend's game against Madison but I know I'll be itching to play. Oh well there is always September.
Next event is the ING marathon here in Atlanta in two weeks time so an easier weekend next weekend as I let the legs get ready. The adrenaline of the crowd will pull me along in the ING and the results will be a lot harder on the body, oh well all part of the building process. On ward and upward.