Archive for December 2014

19.25 miles in 3:15:21 outside on a solstice morning – a slow run but last Dopey Challenge dry run is done! Am I ready?

Hey, looks like my 500th post on the site too.

Plan today was 20 miles but didn’t quite make it. I had some g.i. issues plus couldn’t get any real traction due to fresh snow sitting on top of some freezing rain overnight – so ran a fair bit slower than I had hoped. With the slowness I ran out of time to finish off the 20 miles. Got close but not quite.

I did do some vacuuming a little bit later and went and did a bunch of grocery shopping – does that count for the extra 0.75 miles?

Feeling strong – no aches or pains after the run – came through healthy! Since I tweaked my knee last week it was a major concern going into this run but it came through very solid.

OK…Am I ready for the Dopey Challenge? Short answer is yes…long answer is below.

This makes about 4-5 dry runs I have done since mid-September (plus 2 half marathon races and a 12 hour race (49.2785 miles)). I am ready for the Dopey Challenge in 2015 for sure. However I may be slower now than I was even in September…

Basically in July, August and September I did a fair bit of speed work and several long outdoor runs in anticipation of the 12 hour race. That race fell 2 weeks after a half marathon race and then I had another 2 weeks after the 12 hour run. Around this time, work was heavily stressful and busy – probably the most intense and stressful month I have had since I went into this position 6-7 years ago. Needless to say by late October I was pretty exhausted and was getting a bit unfocused.

I also started having treadmill troubles in late October at the same time the weather went all wintry here in Winnipeg. Last year I did at least one of my Goofy Challenge 20 milers on the treadmill to avoid bad weather but that wasn’t an option this year due to treadmill issues. I had my highest mileage month ever in November (201.8 miles) but I felt like I was just treading water the full month. There was no real speed work and the long outdoor runs were usually a tough slog.

What it came down to is, I think I peaked too early and without the ability to push harder with the speed work it all just felt like I was just putting in time. I wasn’t getting faster like I hoped to train for – I was just maintaining endurance.

No passion, just pushing through. When you put in over 200 miles in the month, you should at least be enjoying the runs. It makes it way too easy to cut a run short or blow it off completely once you get into that mindset. At least I did 2 Dopey Challenge dry runs in November even though I was feeling burnt out. If passion isn’t working, it is good to know that I can rely on pure pigheadedness.

Things got a bit better in December as I started to see the light at the end of the tunnel but the weather certainly wasn’t helping (I am over 10 miles off schedule this month due to weather and a minor injury caused by slippery conditions). But…speed work still is not happening – I have been doing a bit some shorter speed runs just to make sure I still can but I can’t push faster pacing on the longer outdoor runs.

What that basically means is that I am ready to do the distances for the Dopey Challenge but pacing is going to be interesting. Luckily I am not going into this expecting to break any PRs! because frankly it isn’t going to happen.

My current plan is basically to glide through the 5k and 10k enjoying the atmosphere of Epcot. For the half marathon I would like to push a bit faster – sub 2 hours would be about right (not going to shoot to beat my 1:46 PR) – I would like to push the half fast enough that I get it out of my system so I don’t go out too fast in the full. For the full, I think I would like to pace for around 4 hours (which would be faster that my 4:09:44 PR) but hit most, if not all, of the character stops along the way – so maybe finish out around 4:30 (since I am in a lower corral and the lines shouldn’t be too long yet).

What it comes down to is the 12 hour run was my golden moment so far for running – I never thought I would ever be at the point where I could do an ultramarathon but I pulled it off. With that done the Dopey Challenge is meant to be something to be enjoyed for me – I am not doing it as a series of races but just as a time to enjoy the runs. It will include my 15th half marathon, my 10th full and my 5th Goofy Challenge and after it is done I probably won’t be doing another Goofy Challenge for a few years so I really want to savor this one.

The Dopey Challenge has its own quirks (like 4 early, early, EARLY mornings in a row) that will need to be overcome but I think through my training I am ready and I am looking forward to it! Maybe that is one of the reasons I haven’t had the same running intensity lately that I have had in the past – Dopey isn’t really scaring me – I am confident and excited but know I am more ready than I would have thought possible even back in the summer when I set out my training plan.

Well, anyway I am feeling strong and confident going into taper time! It is nice to get the major training complete going into the holidays so I can enjoy more time with family…and turkey. Looking forward to some rest too frankly…

Happy taper time to everyone else running the Disney World Marathon races and challenges this year! Maybe I will see you there!

10 miles outside this morning in 1:38:23 – went very slow and easy due to ice. Did push the last mile faster though.

Woke up this morning to see that there had been ice mist over night and freezing drizzle. Lovely…

So decided to take it easy and did the planned miles today slowly and carefully. It did seem to drag on a bit because I wanted to push faster but all things considered it was probably the best choice for my knee. The knee felt good for the whole run, so that seems to be recovering nicely.

There were definitely lots of icy / slippery spots but luckily not as bad as I expected. That gives me hope that doing my last long run for Dopey Challenge tomorrow will go well – or at least won’t be overly hampered by road conditions. (I will be doing most of that run on hard packed gravel trails to help minimize those kinds of issues as much as possible).

Feeling strong…feeling ready….and feeling more than a little impatient for Dopey Challenge to begin!

5 miles in 38:19 – nice treadmill run – knee felt strong – heading into last dry run for Dopey Challenge!

Starting in on the last Dopey Challenge 2015 dry run weekend!

I got home from work a bit early today so I managed to get this run in before supper. It was a nice change – had lots more energy compared to the runs I don’t manage to start until after the kids are in bed. That helped me push a bit harder tonight! Had loads of energy and could have pushed much harder but I could tell the treadmill was unimpressed so I backed off a bit.

I started at 7 mph for 2 minutes to see how the knee was doing and since it felt fine, every 2 minutes I bumped the speed up 0.2 mph – after 2 minutes at 8.8 mph I backed off. Still a very good run – 5 miles in 38:11 @ 1% incline on the treadmill. That is probably the fastest average speed I have done early November when I was having trouble with my more heavy duty treadmill. With the parts issues for that thing and not wanting to destroy our lighter duty old treadmill, I have been avoiding pushing too hard.

So it definitely felt good to push a bit tonight, and it was nice to see that my body was willing to do even more. So I haven’t lost all the speed I was trying to build previously.

I have 10 miles on the schedule for tomorrow and 20 miles on Sunday to finish out the last of the hard training for Dopey Challenge. It should be interesting – we had a freezing mist here in the city for a good chunk of the day and sidewalks and roads are not a pleasant experience right now.

This means I have to find a way to do these last 2 big runs somewhere away from the roads. I have some trails nearby that I can use but the distances don’t add up very well to what I need. I will figure something out but it might be something like 15 and 21 miles instead. Unless I stop and turn around part way through a trail here or there – doesn’t quite seem right to not finish a trail once you start it though…

Decisions, decisions.

5 miles tonight in 39:11 – clean run included 16 minutes at 8 mph – felt good to push a bit!

At this timeĀ in 3 weeks I will be hitting the sack in Disney World, hoping to get some sleep before the first race of the Dopey Challenge! Getting exciting now!

I started out tonight at 7.2 mph on the treadmill and did that for 5 minutes but then got bored so I bumped it up to 7.5 mph for 5 minutes. At that point I wanted to push a bit harder still – so cranked up the treadmill to 8 mph and went with it. Took that for 16 minutes before I backed off to 7.5 to finish out the remaining 13 minutes or so for my 5 miles.

I haven’t been able to push for a while because of concerns that the treadmill couldn’t take it but I figured I would give it go tonight and hope for the best. Definitely felt good to unload a bit at higher sustained speed. If just to remind myself that I can!

I also did a 5 mile run last night on the treadmill that I didn’t have time to post up on either Twitter or here on the blog – it took me 38:55 last night – I was a bit faster yesterday than today but I didn’t do the same kind of run. Yesterday I started out at 7.2 mph and bumping it 0.2 mph every minute until I spent a minute at 8.8 mph and then went back to 7.2 to start again. Did that twice and then finished off the remainder of the run at around 7.4 mph or so. That run felt pretty good too!

Overall I am feeling strong with just a slight twinge in my knee occasionally that I am watching closely.

I am also feeling very motivated right now – which is good considering I am about to go into my last Dopey Challenge dry run before taper begins. It is going to be a pretty high mileage weekend but it will feel good to have it over and sorted heading into Christmas.

Gotta keep on pushing!

5 miles on the treadmill tonight – taking it easy and nursing the knee I tweaked a bit in the slush on Saturday

After slightly tweaking my knee on Saturday in the slushy snow, I ended up skipping a planned 18 miler yesterday. It was not a decision I made lightly and there were 2 main factors in play:

  1. my knee was aching a bit when I woke up – I could have run on it but 18 miles would have been asking to truly injure it…
  2. especially since it had been hovering near freezing overnight with a light misting rain – in other words the slush that tweaked my knee the day before was still there – sometimes with a fresh icy crust! Lots of other slippery areas as well.

Under other circumstances I probably would have gone for the run but I am way to close to the Dopey Challenge to get truly injured now.

So I think it was the smart move to not do the run…that doesn’t make it any easier mentally though!

…OK – so tonight’s run then… not a schedule run but I needed to do something. So I hopped on the treadmill and took it easy. I ended up with 5 miles in 40:38 – not super fast but also not super slow – basically it was a hard enough run to get the blood flowing without risking the knee.

All in all, the run felt good and my knee came out in good shape.