Archive for November 2013

10 miles in 1:39:50 in decent weather for a change – felt solid but was a hard mental push after blown runs in the past week

Run was solid this morning – my Goofy Challenge training schedule shows 4.5 miles for today but did 10 as I try to get back on track after a couple blown weeks of training.  (due to weather, busted treadmill and illness).

In the past couple weeks I have missed over 30 miles of training including a 19 miler that ended at 12.4 miles with a smoking treadmill and a 20 miler that ended after 6.6 miles with a frozen face.  I also missed a 6 miler due to illness and 5 and 10 milers due to conflicts with family stuff and bad weather.  So 3 missed runs that weren’t rescheduled and 2 long runs shortened.  Not good going into the long mileage weeks of the training heading into the Goofy Challenge.

As part of my plan I have 2 long weeks back to back then a rest week with fewer miles then a longer mileage week, another rest week and one last longer mileage week before tapering begins.  And the 2 long weeks back to back essentially just got decimated!  Really not good for the confidence.

The long and short of it is that this was supposed to be a rest weekend with light mileage but the weather is cooperating and the treadmill is getting fixed later this afternoon so I am bumping the mileage this weekend up to long week levels (a 10 miler and a 20 miler) and then doing the scheduled long week for this upcoming week – this will give me my 2 long back to back weeks.  I will be down one full long week but probably only about a total of 24 miles if I don’t miss any more runs.  All told not too bad – certainly better than the approx 56 miles I missed in training for last year’s Goofy Challenge and waaaay better than the 226 miles I missed training for the Manitoba Marathon this year.

So beyond the missed miles I have missed a fair bit of speed and hill work without having access to the treadmill.  I got in the miles outside but was not able to push as hard due to rough footing and having to watch for traffic…  As I said the treadmill is getting fixed later this afternoon – that will be awesome and I will be making damned sure I am pushing hard on the speed and hill work for the remaining 5 weeks heading into the Goofy!  I have to get my speed back up.

With the missed miles, stress at work and illness lately my weight has started going in the wrong direction (with a weird ass 4 pound bump since Thursday which has to be some temporary glitch) so I need get back on that as well.  I need to truly focus on high protein breakfasts and watching the snacking.  Thursday morning I was 20 pounds lighter than I was a year ago on the same day…but I should have 25-30 pounds lighter based on the progress I was making before things derailed.  I need to get my weight back on track and make sure I have 20-30 pounds lighter than I was last year for the Goofy (would put me in the 212-202 range) – this is achievable but I need to get the intensity back up and watch my diet.

Time to clear the fog and get pushing!

5.05 miles outside in 44:25 in the cold – stronger run than expected due to some missed training runs – recap in the post

So training run tonight was pretty good considering the cold and the loose snow pack on my trail – had to push myself fairly hard tonight to try to make up for some missed training miles in the past week.  Was darned cold out there again tonight (-18C or around 0F) but I decided to add one extra layer to see what would happen.  I had been concerned that the extra layer would be too bulky and actually be counter productive – that is stay warmer but have to run for a longer time with same result – frozen buttocks.  In the end though it worked and the only place I was cold was my face, although my face never got as cold or anywhere near as numb as it was during yesterday’s run.

Thursday marks the 6 week point from our travel day for the 2013 Goofy Race and a Half Challenge and I have missed a total of 24.35 training miles in the past 2 weeks.  Not good.  There have been 2 basic factors in this – the weather turned snowy and cold and our treadmill broke – essentially on the same day!

On Sunday the 17th – I attempted to do a 19 miler in about 2 inches of fresh snow – I wasn’t prepared gear wise and after 4.5 miles came inside to finish the run on the treadmill.  After 7.9 miles on the treadmill, it released the magic black smoke and was no more – so 12.4 miles instead of 19 and the first weekend since August 25th (and only the second since August 4th) that I haven’t run at least a half marathon distance run during the weekend.  I was not happy and actually contemplated buying a new treadmill even though the current one was still on warranty.

I worked with Johnson (the manufacturer who made my treadmill) and sure enough it was on warranty and they were sending out a new control board as well as a new belt and deck – awesome service!  Essentially getting a new treadmill out of this…but if it was just the control board I could have easily changed it myself and kept on going but with the deck and belt I have to wait for their warranty installer who can’t make it to our place until next Saturday (meaning I will have the parts sitting at my house for a week while I am running outside freezing my ass off).  It will be good in the end though so I knew I just had to adapt as best I could and keep going.

So I took my runs outside during the week when I would normally do them on the treadmill on weekdays – Tuesday went well and even managed a rough imitation of speed work in the snow and cold on the trails.  Wednesday I had to abandon because of snow and blowing snow and not being able to even start running until after 9pm – 10 miles just was not going to happen that night.  Thursday I was able to get out and do a decent run and felt good even in the cold.

Then the weather got worse – woke up Saturday hearing the wind howling outside and sure enough it was bitterly cold with the wind (-34C / -30F) and I realized that 10 miles in that was going to be a not very wise thing to do.  But I knew I had Monday off work so I could move the Saturday run to Sunday and then shift Sunday’s 20 miler to Monday – I had a funeral to attend Monday morning but I could get the run in before that – so that was the plan.

On Sunday I did a solid 10.25 mile run in 1:33:25 even with some rough snow drifts to contend with (my laps were about 40 minutes long and my footprints would disappear from one lap to the next) and was feeling confident on the 20 miler on Monday.

To do the Monday run though I knew that I was going to have to shift where I was running out of my neighbourhood due to early morning traffic on some busy side streets so I decided to go run in the city park where I used to run.  I figured this would be a good way to also judge how I was doing compared to last years training runs in the same park around the same time of year.  Running in that park though meant that I needed to give myself about 20 minutes to get there and get rolling and then 20 minutes to get home, still do my probably 3 hours or so of running and then get showered and dressed and get to the funeral.  It meant a very early alarm…which I vaguely remember going off and hitting the button to kill and then noticing it was an hour later.  Blew that plan.

Devised new plan – go to the funeral and then do the run in the park in the afternoon.  This should have worked well except the wind came up pretty strong and vicious.  I had expected a bit more shelter from the wind in the park but it was pretty strong and bit pretty deep.  I was able to keep mostly warm but by the time I had finished my third 2.2 mile lap my face was numb even through my balaclava.  I was about a third done at that point and had to call it at that point to avoid damage.

Now beyond the cold my heart probably wasn’t in it either – attending a funeral before the run probably didn’t help my mindset but the funeral was more important than the run.  But interestingly I think what really shut me down was the shorter laps – they are about half the length of the laps I have been doing near my house.  Now I did the 6.6 miles in less than a minute over an hour (looks like approx 20% improvement over this time last year) so I was moving pretty good despite the cold and the roads being pretty greasy with loose packed snow but I was definitely having mental issues with the time it was going to take.  I actually caught myself on the second lap thinking after this lap and 4 more there will be only 3 laps left to go…pretty telling that my mind just wasn’t there.  I actually find the longer laps are better for motivation because as long as I can convince myself to start one I will finish it mean another 4.4 – 4.5 miles added to the total for the day, which is significant chunk of any planned training run no matter how you slice it.  But 2.2 barely seemed to make a dent mentally in the overall total.  What I am saying is I think I won’t be running more laps in the park any time soon – I will deal with traffic instead.

I was feeling pretty down on my running after yesterday but the run tonight was very good and I am a bit re-energized because of it.

I do however now need to re-jigger my training plan to get the 2 back to back long run weekends in.  Since I blew up on the 19 and the 20 over the past 2 weekends I need a plan to get those back – not going to try to regain the mileage but want to do the 2 long run weekends back to back to show the body what it can do.

That means what I need to do is bump up the mileage this weekend – so instead of 4.5 and 13.5 miles on the weekend I will do 9 and 19 (or possibly 10 and 20 if I am up for it) and then I will keep the high mileage runs of 10 on and 20 for next weekend.  This will get me what I need and at that point I will fall back into my normal schedule with a lighter week and then one last big week with another 10 and 20 mile weekend before starting the taper to the Goofy.

This should work!  As long as everything doesn’t get broken by the inch or 2 of snow being predicted for tomorrow…

bloody cold 5.1 miles outside in 47:31 – 9 days until my treadmill is fixed (parts are on the way)

After having to skip out on my run last night I needed to make sure I got out and ran tonight, no matter what.  Many, many layers of clothes to get out and run in the fresh snow from last night and the wind chills down to -26 C (-15 F).  In the end it went well but it is obvious my running gloves are not made for weather this cold – less than a mile in I had to ball my hands up inside my gloves since my fingers were already freezing.  Chilly, chilly!

Ended up doing 5.1 miles in 47:31 – not super quick but felt good and solid and considering much of my path was snow covered I will take it.  Frankly, I’m just happy I didn’t hurt anything!

After discussions with the manufacturer of my treadmill, it will be fixed on warranty.  Whoohooo!  The blown control board is being shipped out and they figured that it was probably caused by a warn belt and deck.  I would have thought the deck and belt were still good but since they are going to replace them as part of the warranty call, I am not going to complain.  The parts have been expedited and I should have them tomorrow or early next week and the warranty repair guy will be at our place next Saturday.  So I have another week and half to go but should end up with a basically brand new treadmill out of the deal.  Now as long as I can get my runs in outside without having body parts freeze off I should be good to go to for the final push to the Goofy Challenge in January.

5.25 miles in 44:51 outside – decent attempt at some speed work outside even though there are still some snow and ice areas

Looks like it will be at least a week before our treadmill gets fixed (at least it looks like it is still on warranty so that is nice at least).  With the snow over the weekend I wasn’t sure I could get a decent run in outside but city crews had cleaned some of the path I run on with it getting just above freezing today a 1.35 mile chunk of my running loop was mostly clear for running.

I ended up doing a total of 5.25 miles running up and down that stretch and several portions were clear enough to let me try some faster running as well.  So I didn’t really get a speed interval run in like I would have done tonight on the treadmill but I did get in some some faster pacing which was nice.  There were some sections I had to slow down for because of ice and drifted snow but even with that the 5.25 miles was done in 44:51 giving me a pace faster that 7 mph which is faster than I have been doing my outside runs lately.

Feels good!

Tomorrow’s run is going to be a tough call though on what I will do – I have 10 miles scheduled tomorrow and I’m not sure how that will go with probably not being able to even start until well after 8 pm on Wednesdays.  I think what I will have to do is basically copy tonight’s run tomorrow and then do the 10 miler on Thursday instead – essentially swap the Wednesday and Thursday night runs.  I will then have Friday off running and then Saturday and Sunday are 10 and 20 miles respectively.  Both those runs were planned to be outside anyway but current forecast is for those days to be damned cold so I will have to see what happens as I will not have the treadmill as a backup plan for those days.  Fun fun.

But – I will adapt and I am feeling good and strong – so while these bumps might slow down my progress I don’t think they will set me back to much and I should still have a solid shot at my PR on the full at the 2014 Goofy Challenge.  Gotta keep pushing!

Sad day of running on Sunday – my gear didn’t work for the snow and the treadmill released the magic black smoke

So I woke up Sunday morning with the intention of putting in 19 miles outside as part of my 2 hard back to back weeks as part of training for the Goofy Challenge 2014.  When I looked out the window though I found that between 0.5 to 1 inch of snow had fallen overnight.  This came as a surprise since the forecast was for flurries only.

I weighed my options and it still made sense to do the run outside (especially since we had company over that were sleeping 10 feet from the treadmill).  So I put on my winter gear and threw on an extra sweater just in case (since I run 4.5 mile laps I figured I could get rid of it if I needed to) and headed out.  It quickly became apparent that my base layer / warm leg gear is not long enough in the leg.  I had about 2 inches of exposed skin that was enjoying a fair bit of attention from the snow.  After I finished one lap I could tell my socks were soaked and my calves were freezing – continuing another 2 hours + like that was not a healthy option so I headed in to finish my run on the treadmill.

Our company was up and about when I got in so I was able to get on the treadmill quickly after I shed a few layers of clothes and put on some dry socks.  After about 8 miles though the breaker on the treadmill tripped and as I went to go reset it I could smell some electronics burning.  Crap.

I popped open the cowling over the motor housing and although I could tell the smell was worse in the motor compartment I couldn’t see where the issue was at first glance.  So I did a quick cleaning of the compartment and did a quick lube of the deck to make sure that wasn’t the problem then turned the treadmill back on to check it out it.  As soon as I triggered it to start moving the belt I saw a major spark from the motor control board and the motor stopped moving.  After that I was able to tell where the issue was on the board and it is toast.  Bit crappy since the thing is less than a year old. (read about my Christmas eve new treadmill buying adventures from last winter).

Now the treadmill should still be on warranty so I should be able to get it fixed but unfortunately I still haven’t got a response from the online since of the store I bought it from.  If I don’t hear from them tomorrow I am going to have to go talk to them in person.

There are several downsides to this misadventure though:

  • I was ready to push on this run to get the miles in – I was looking forward to seeing what I could do
  • This is the first weekend since August 25th (and only the second since August 4th) that I haven’t run at least a half marathon distance run during the weekend
  • Only the second run since September 3rd that I had to shorten or miss and the other was due to illness.
  • The wife didn’t get to put in her treadmill time that she wanted for her training.  At least she is able to go to her Mother’s and use her treadmill – I can’t due to the lower ceilings there (concussion in every step!)

Hopefully I can get this sorted soon!  Basically since I finished my 3 half marathon races in 7 weeks stint I haven’t been focusing on speed work too much as I try to get more mileage in instead.  With that focus change though I’m not getting any faster and considering I was steadily getting faster a few weeks back, staying steady feels like I am going backwards.  I had recognized this and intended to ensure I was pushing harder on the treadmill during the week – but instead I am going to have to do my runs outside and in the snow speed work would be a quick path to injury.

If I can’t get the treadmill rolling soon, I may have to join a local gym for a month to do some speed work which will be much less convenient than hopping on the treadmill as soon as the kids are in bed.

Darned Winnipeg weather!