30 November 2011

November Ramblings

  I just logged my miles for today's run and tallied up the month of November.  I ran 10 more miles in November than I did in October, and September, combined.  Long live the streak.  Really just long live the recommittment to running, as that was half the reason for the Streak.

  The Streak really is the story for November.  I finished November at 37 days straight, 187.5 miles over those 37 days, just over 5 miles a day average.  My previous longest streak was 6, maybe 7 days, but then I never tried to streak before.  At 1525 miles I am already past my 2010 mileage total and am 43 miles ahead of pace to meet my 50K/week goal of 1620 miles in 2011.  Most importantly I have looked forward to my run every day, I haven't yet had a dread run.  I'm also feeling good, sure I have little aches and pains here and there, but nothing major, nothing lingering.

  I ran 2 races in November, a T&H 5K and the Thanksgiving Day 4M.  Both were a bit disappointing, neither close to a PB, neither close to what I was running like last spring.  The 35:30 in the 4M was almost a minute faster than my 5K time from 3 weeks earlier would predict, but I was shooting for 35:00.  This year my time was 1:59 slower than 2010 and 8 seconds slower than 2009 when I running with a seriously pissed off IT Band.  Ugh.

  It's frustrating to be slower than I was only 6 months ago and getting harder and harder to ignore a factor bigger than my September and October slacking on the running front, and that is the 15 lbs that I've let creep on since Big Horn.  I'll be damned if it doesn't make it more difficult to run fast.  Who knew?  Well I did, I do, and another part of starting the streak was gaining some momentum to start eating better.  I think it's time.

  December brings on another T&H race, 10K this time.  McMillian says I can run a 56:23, seeding off the Thanksgiving Race, so I guess that's a good goal.  Ugh, that's a far cry from my 51:39 PR.  Run like the runner you are, not the runner you want to be, right?  Must.  Banish.  Negative.  Thoughts.  On the positive front, this will by my second T&H time of the season and after that my handicap will be based on this season's results, not last seasons.  It will be more fun to start further up in the field, where I should be, in the January race and not have to worry about being DFL (as I was in Nov).  The T&H format really is fun if you're seeded right and are in the thick of things come finish time.

  Well, that's enough rambling for now.  Long live the streak!


19 November 2011

Bonus Snow

Sandis got up this morning, looked outside at the fresh snow, and immediately asked if she could go outside to play.  No surprise there, that's what kids do.  I remember how exciting it was to wake up to fresh snow as a kid, how I couldn't wait to go sledding down the hill beside our house.  And it was extra exciting when you weren't anticipating any snow, when it was a total surprise.  As a kid, it seemed most anticipated snow stormswouldn't live up to what I imagined, but the surprise snows, they were pure bonus.

So I woke up this morning, planning on a boring 5-6 miles on the roads before Shawn headed to work.  When I looked out side though, Bonus!, snow on the ground, and it was still falling.  It was time for a change of plans.  I put on my running gear, grabbed some coffee, and headed out to Coyote Ridge.  Running snowy trails, instead of the roads, was surely going to mean fewer miles in my limited time but you can't pass up a chance to lay some fresh tracks.  The trail was very peaceful today.  Other than some rabbit and coyote tracks, and a couple mole trails, the snow was a beautiful undisturbed white blanket.  There was a slight breeze, not enough to make it cold, and birds chirping as the only sounds other than the inimitable squeaky crunch of running shoes on fresh snow.  This morning's run was so much more than I thought of when I went to bed last night.  It was fun to act like a kid again.

After the track Tuesday and Towers Thursday (and 26 days of streaking I suppose) I'm still feeling a little tired.  The legs were a bit heavy this morning.  Tomorrow I'm heading out with some fellow FCTR folk for some good vert on part of the Chubby Cheeks course.  After that I think I'll take it easy for a few days so I can give the Thanksgiving Day run a good go.  I think something around 35 minutes is within reach, maybe 34 if the stars align.  At one time I was hoping this would be the year I finally break 32, but I'm just not there right now.  I'll run hard and be happy with that, whatever it is.  

17 November 2011

Dear Towers

Dear Towers, 
 While you technically still have the upper hand, I'm gaining ground on you. Tonight's time was not a Personal Best, not even close, but it was over 5 minutes faster than my last trip up. And it felt good. Yes, I enjoyed every uphill step. I'm getting my running Mojo back. If I were you, I'd be scared. 


 P.S. I'm already thinking about 24 HoT. The side of your building is going to be sore after I'm done slapping it.

15 November 2011


So it takes 21 days to create a habit? Yesterday was day 21 of streaking for me. Streaking would be a new habit I suppose, but running is not a new habit. I don't yet feel I've taken on anything new, more just re-dedicated myself to running the way I want to. I look forward to the remaining 47 days of the year (and beyond?) to see if my perspective on this might change.

13 November 2011

Road map

Buried in the comments of a post below is my Colorado Marathon goal of sub-4:00.  There's still a lot of time before that day, nearly six months, and that's probably a good thing.  I have a lot of ground to cover, so to speak.  I punched a 3:59:59 marathon into McMillan to see what my minimum goal times for shorter races should be if I want to achieve a sub-4:00 marathon.  Given the 28 min 5K+ (the race director really should mark the course better) I ran at the Tortoise and Hare series last weekend it's easy to be discouraged.  Being a glass half full kind of guy I like to remember that I ran 1M and 5K distances faster than those paces last April and was within a minute or so at the 8K and 12K distances last spring.  And if I really drink the kool-aid I could take my Pineridge Downhill Mile times and Towers times and convert them to marathon potential using the FCTR correlations.  My PB's on these courses suggest a 3:45 would be possible.  Clearly the correlation falls apart as runners get slower.  3:45?  That's crazy talk.  I'll wait until March to think about that.

I believe I can get to sub-4 though.  It's good to have a road map with some check points on it to track progress and help set goals, so mine is below.  As the Tortoise and Hare series winds down in the spring and as the spring racing season starts I hope to be crossing off all these distances and times.

1M 07:06 07:06
4K 19:17 07:46
5K 24:37 07:55
4M 32:12 08:03
8K 40:34 08:10
10K 51:08 08:14
12K 1:02:23 08:22
Half 1:53:47 08:41
PDM 07:20 07:20
Towers 49:28 14:20

11 November 2011


  I'm streaking.  A little earlier I went for a run for the 18th straight day. I have never thought of streaking before, I always thought it was not for me.  The spark of doing so just happened at the perfect moment, and here I am.  One could make a convincing argument that I am incapable of saying No to things suggested by my crazy running friends (it's true, but at least it's reciprocal), but this goes beyond that.  I'm not doing this as a stunt, or just because I can, but because it is what I need to do.

  Two weeks ago on a social run with the Fort Collins Trail Runners there was a buzz regarding a running streak planned by Ean.  During the run that night I thought about it, at first I had no intention of joining her, but as I continued to run and think I realized it was exactly the thing I needed to snap me out of the running funk I was in.  After that run I read Ean's post about it, read about Ashley's recent streaking, and thought about some things Pete has said about why he streaks.   It didn't take long and I was all in.  I knew this was the way back to the running they way I wanted to.  It's funny how things can click together so quickly, in a couple hours or less I went from not even thinking about a streak to being fully committed.

  I've typically cut back on mileage in August and September, I just get tired of running in the heat.  This year the mileage cutbacks and some weight I've put on left me losing fitness faster than normal.  That led to slower paces out running, slower times up Towers, and that all led to me feeling sorry for myself.  Throw in some kinks in the my normal running schedule and before I knew it I was as slow as I can remember being in a long time and not running much at all.  It's not that running wasn't fun, but thinking about running wasn't fun, and I blew off more than one Sunday run so as not to have to face the facts on how much I had lost.  It's a downward spiral I tell you.  I needed to get my running Mojo back.

  So I decided to start a running streak.  I started the next day, Friday.  Or maybe the Tuesday before, as I'd already run 3 days in a row.  I've been counting the extra 3 days because I'm not (always) a purist.  I wanted to keep things simple and accessible, not set the bar too high.  I was afraid I'd end up saying "fuck it" someday, and then throw away a 30 day streak and end up back on that downward spiral.  The single parameter of my streak is simple, run at least 1 mile every day.  I plan on an average of  at least 4.1 miles a day as that is where I need to be to hit my 2011 total mileage goal but that is really secondary.  I also plan on taking Pete's advice and am not making the streak about training.  I'll celebrate a 65/68 day streak by running the Resolution Run 5K on the evening of December 31st, hopefully with some fellow streakers, and sometime between now and then contemplate what 2012 will bring.

  As I said up top, I'm sitting at 18 days.  I've definitely found some of the same things Pete mentioned, mostly that it takes some planning and discipline to get a run in every day.  I have run at night a couple times because I just didn't make time during the day but have yet to really put it off.  This has been a good thing though, and I find I focus more on everything, not just running.  I've also got a few recruits at work on the streaking bandwagon.  After mentioning it to a couple of my running buddies at work they got on board too and the word spread around.  As of Wednesday this week there were 7 or 8 who had some sort of streak going.  I don't know if they will all keep going until the New Year, but it's still kind of cool to see them get excited about running.

  Long live the streak!

09 November 2011

The Track

I went to the track and ran intervals last night.  Honestly I don't remember the last time I went to a track and did that.  I'm pretty certain this was a 2011 first, and I didn't go much last year.  Really I haven't done much fast stuff since I hurt my IT Band in October 2009.  Before that I ran intervals nearly weekly.

The decline in interval work started as a way to not re-injure myself.  I found I kind of liked skipping them though.  I ran hills, because our trails aren't flat, ran hard up Towers every other week, ran tempo runs on the road fairly often, it's not like I totally ignored speed.  Running a lot of miles you can fake it relatively well, as long as you aren't trying to bang out a sub-3 hour marathon or something crazy like that.  I ran a 5K PB last April on no speed work, for example.  But I haven't been running a lot of miles recently.  And faking it is getting tougher.  My T&H 5K last weekend, even without the missed turn, was not a PB.  Was not within 3 minutes of a PB.

My Tuesday evening runs have me starting 1/2 mile from the CSU track, and I got a little push by Alex mentioning he was doing some 800s yesterday, so I did it.  I went to the track.  And it wasn't as bad as I remembered.  I started small, 2x400, 4x800, and 2x400 last night.  Faster than I normally run for sure, but I probably can take off 15-20 seconds from my 800s with a little more focus and grit.  I plan on keeping the Tues night intervals on the schedule, hopefully the speed comes back as fast as I remember it does.  Someday next May I'll be running down the Poudre Canyon and I'll look back on last night and think, "that was a good idea".  Right?

01 November 2011

When life gives you lemons

Sometimes it's nice to find the lucky horseshoe up your own butt

So this afternoon I was kicking myself for not getting my streak run in earlier in the day.  (Yeah I said streak run -- my long, rambling, and potentially profound post on this hasn't been published yet -- because it's not done)  Anyway, I didn't run before work even though I knew it was unlikely I'd find time during work with a long staff meeting this morning.  I knew this was going to push the run off until after Sandis' soccer practice unless I convinced Stella to go along, which was unlikely with a cold front coming in.  I realized this meant I was going to be running right about when the rain was forecast to start -- should have looked closer at the weather forecast for today .  I figured this would be a lesson in the planning that goes into a successful running streak.

And then it started snowing.  The run I thought was going to be in the rain turned into a fun run in the snow.  Big fat beautiful snowflakes.  Lemons -> Lemonade.  Awesome.  I'll let you know in a few weeks if I learned that lesson.  I like to think so but ...

Streaking, this was day 5 of purposeful streaking, 8th day in a row going for a run.  Someday I'll get that other post done but for now I'll just thank my friend Ean for the inspiration.