Monday, March 29, 2010

Overheard at the race

I forgot to mention my two favorite "overheards" of the race.

1) Walking by the portajohns. We pass a group of girls, one was entering a stall and another in the group says to her. "Is there room for both of us in there?"
Genine and I couldn't figure that one out. There were no lines/ no waiting. We just laughed.

2) As we were walking past the finish area leaving the race. I hear a girl say "Did you get totally hot during the race?"
I figure the correct response would have been, "nah, I've always been this hot".

I didn't post anything about my foot post race yesterday because I wasn't really sure what the results were. My left calf was definitely tighter than my right. My Achilles as well. My heel on the other hand was feeling good but I knew I had to wait until the next morning to really know the results. Well this morning wasn't awful but I knew I had run the day before. So I'm not sure what that means. I guess it means it's not healed. The fact that I'm guessing means I need to call this sports doctor and let him tell me what it means. I do think I'm going to put myself back onto my run schedule so that I can go to Columbia and Mooseman and feel like I'm ready.

Going back to yesterday's negative mindset during the run. I've thought about it a little bit. On the positive side, it probably means I was pushing myself pretty hard. I was mid 180 BPM most of the run and maxed out at 195 at the finish. These are not efforts that I have practiced in months. They are not comfortable, so of course I would want to quit. I need to start practicing speed, to become familiar with the exertion. The speed gain will be nice too, if it happens.

The negative side is that it's a fact that I'm not as prepared as a runner this year as I was last year. Last year I ran the 15K on a 7:24 min/mile. You can't help but compare your previous efforts to your current ability. It's fun to do when you are improving but it's kind of a bummer when you aren't, especially if you are motivated by the numbers.
In my case, there is very little disappointment. Maybe it's because I can look back just a few years and realize that what I'm doing now seemed impossible then. Which then makes me realize I'm not that far from being back on track and that new PR's are still possible.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Matt's 4 mile race report

Here we are pre race celebrating our easily obtained parking spot. As a result we had time to pick up our number and T-Shirt, then run back to the car and make decisions on what to wear for the run. Well actually, I didn't have any options but Genine and Todd did. It was 46 degrees with a bit of a breeze.
If you read the post before this you already know the results. If not this post is a bit more fun.
When we pick up our race number I ask Todd what he put in for his pace. He put down a 6:40 min/mile and he laughs and says "I don't know what I was thinking! I ran 5 miles yesterday at a 9 min/mile pace! This is going to be ugly." I was pleased to see that they adjusted my pace to my Brooklyn race pace of 7:18 min/mile rather than the 8:20 from the packed Haiti Run. I would be in the 2nd corral this time. Todd is in the first.
With about 15 minutes to go, we do a little warm up run. Then get back to the corrals with less than 5 minutes to go. They already had begun to squash the corrals together so we ended up being mixed in the front of the 3rd corral. Todd decided to play it safe and was going to run with me.

Gun goes off and I say to Todd that I plan on weaving a bit to try and get through some of crowd. (I need to make a point of getting to the front of my corral next time.) We are both weaving around and I would say 3/4 of a mile in Todd is in front of me and is slowly pulling away. I consider whether I should close the gap and try to hang with him the whole way. Of course he could be going out too strong and might die... what happened to "I'm going to try to keep up with you, obviously he's not having a problem ;-)
I decide I've just gotta run my race. My goal was to get under 29 minutes. So 7:15 minute miles. I miss the first mile marker. Which you would think would not be a big deal but you know what? It's nice to look down at that mile mark and see that you are on track. Rather than thinking that you haven't even reached the 1st mile mark. Eventually you realize you must have missed it and get over it. I can see Todd up ahead but for me to catch him now would require a big effort on my part and I would blow up for sure. I don't have my watch in pace mode and I really don't know if I'm having a bad day today or what. I'm definitely not in my normal race zone mentally.
I hit the 2 mile marker and their clock says 14:33, I started more than a few seconds behind the gun, so I realize that I'm exactly on the 7:15 pace I was looking for. Then I start thinking about the fact that I'll probably fall off pace towards then end and I'm not going to break 29 minutes. Then I'm running by this really tall kid that seems like he's taking 1 stride for every 3 of mine. I've got to get away from this guy. For whatever reason, that situation always messes with my head. I get by him and then I see some guy just run off to the side of the road, put his hands on his knees and take a break. Next thing I'm thinking that sounds like a pretty good idea, I mean I'm probably not going to break 29 anyhow. Then what was one of the more remarkable runners I saw today pulls up along side me. This guy had to be 5 foot even if that and built like a fire plug and he's passing me. I think, I've gotta hang with this guy. Seriously, there is something wrong with this picture! (I did not hang with this guy, he was truckin')
As you can see, I was not in a good place mentally for this race. My legs were feeling tired and my head was Mr Negative. Fortunately the 3rd mile marker was approaching. I hit my watch and I look down and see 21:38 and 185 BPM. Well there you have it. One mile to go and I'm actually a few seconds ahead of my goal race time. I also knew there was a considerable bit of downhill in the last mile. I ended up pacing off of a couple of people running together. They seemed to be running quite comfortably and working the course. So I made myself stick with them. Then when we got close to the final turn, I gave it everything I had. 5 or 6 people still ran by me in that final stretch. I look at my watch and see 28:55. Whew! I really didn't think I was going to get there under 29. Not much but I'll take it.

I go looking for Todd. I ask if he finished in 28 min and he says that sounds right. That's much better than the 36 minute run he said he was going to manage today. I'm not totally surprised. I can't think of a time running with him when it doesn't seem like he could leave me behind at any moment. What's a 3 month break from training? Todd is back. Awesome race. Oh but wait! When I check results online. He didn't run 7 min mile for 28 min. He ran a 27:30 and a 6:52 min/mile. Too funny.

Genine finished 37 seconds faster than her last 4 miler in Brooklyn. Which is great considering her Saturday workouts and the fact she's only had time to run twice in the last four weeks.

I think Genine and I are going to run the 10K in central park next Saturday. Looks like it will be close to 80 next weekend. What a difference that will be!

NYRR Colon Cancer 4 miler

Results can be found here.
Matt 28:55 165 overall. Compared to 29:11 at the Brooklyn 4 miler.
Genine 35:56 973 overall. Compared to 36:49 at the Brooklyn 4 miler.
Todd 27:30!! 99th overall

Yes Todd kicked my butt. Same ole, same ole.
more later.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cold Ride

Genine and I didn't get started on our ride today until about 3:30. It was as warm as it was going to get at that point. 48 degrees. I was doubled up on about everything. Socks, bike shorts under running tights, shirts... Once again we found out in a big hurry that the most important thing is shoe covers. We don't have any, so eventually my feet were just two numb blocks at the end of my legs. We did alright to the 28 mile mark then Genine's legs started to freeze as well and we slowed down we had 11 miles to go. I felt badly, I kind of threw the extra 11 miles in last minute. So I was thinking that maybe I should be helping Genine out by towing her with a spare tube. A la Shawn and Bart last year. Obviously that didn't happen. We made it back fine just very cold. So instead of going to the pool right after as planned. We stopped at Starbucks on the way home to warm up.
I had adjusted my right cleat and my saddle tilt today. The cleat feels better than it ever has since I've switched to this system. Although it's really hard to say as I had two pairs of socks on and eventually really couldn't feel my feet. The saddle tilt also seemed to be better but again, with all the extra layers, not a good day to decide.

My left calve is fully recovered from my over doing it with the vibrams last Sunday. That stuck with me until Friday. I'll be much more strict about only doing short distances with those things for awhile. I've been wearing them around the house. I like them more than I thought I would to be honest.

On to my next gimmick, when I was at the doctors office on Monday I was asked if I use a Neti Pot. I don't although I'll admit my sinuses do get so bad that I will just inhale warm water into my sinuses in an attempt to give them some relief. It's never really that successful. Well I now own a Neti Pot and the salt/bicarbonate mix to add to the water. It's a pretty funny concept to just pour water into your head but anyone that has allergy and sinus issues I'm sure will agree that it's worth giving a try. Considering tomorrow will be the 2 week point with this allergy induced cold and without antibiotics I'd still be suffering a sinus infection. Many people swear this thing rid them of allergy suffering. I hope to stand among them. I'm kind of tired of having my spring races suffer because of allergies and infections.

Tomorrow Genine, Todd and I will run the 4 miler in Central Park. I didn't have time to get our bibs this week so we will have to go a bit earlier to do a pre race pickup. I don't think any of us have high expectations for our results. None of us have been on track with our run training. The one thing I'm hoping is that my left heel (plantar fasciitis) might not hate me after the run. At the very least, how it feels will help me decide how I'm going to proceed with my run training. I'm 57 days out from Columbia, it would be nice to be able to get back to run training. Either way tomorrow will be fun. It will be nice to catch up with Todd and if he has time we might meet up with Ruth for breakfast post race.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunny and 70

Despite that fact that I didn't get my regular Saturday morning motivation at inten-sati (Tiffany was at a fitness conference), It was an awesome weekend. The weather was my favorite. 70's, sunny and no humidity makes me a happy person! If I could find a place that has that climate year around, I may consider leaving the Northeast. But until then, I enjoy it when I can get it.

No sati meant sleeping in until 8:00 on Saturday...aahhh. After a meeting at the house for the front porch columns, we ate some lunch and loaded the bikes on the car. We rode about 28miles starting from the Y parking lot so we could swim after. About 1/4 of the way into the ride, as I was daydreaming a bit, I realized I forgot to pack my suit in my swim bag. Crap! so after the ride, I quickly ran home to get it and went back to the pool to swim. Since Matt was already a half hour into his swim by the time I got back, I did 1500m and called it a day.

This morning we drove to Frenchtown to meet our friend, Amy, to run along the path by the Delaware River Canal. It's only south of us by about 40mins(close to the PA border), but we had never been there. What a quaint little village. We did about 6miles running and 8miles total including some walking. It was a great trail...even, flat , dirt but not muddy even after last week's storms. The canal path that is close to our house would still be impassable. This was the first time that I have run on a dirt path and my hips were LOVING it! I felt no pain while running and no residual effects. Wow! maybe I can work up to some longer miles if I can run on dirt versus pavement exclusively. I was very encouraged. It was also a fun run for me becasue Amy brought her dogs to run with us...Levi and Nikki. They are both german shepards. Beautiful dogs and so well trained. After our run, we had brunch together at a small cafe in town and then drove back to Somerville.
After a few chores around the house, we drove out to Round Valley for some more biking. It's hard to resist when it is such perfect riding weather. One loop around is about 15.5miles, but there are some tough hills on the course. Matt and I have found it to be a great training loop for Mooseman. The last few rides have made it quite clear to me that I do not have my biking legs back from winter yet. not enough trainer time I guess. Although, today's ride was stronger than yesterday's, so that only means one thing....MORE BIKING!! Can you tell how upset I am by that? :-)

I'm looking forward to the upcoming week. I will have my first swim lesson with Coach Q Tuesday night. I'll be curious to see what comes out of it. He has helped Matt made big improvements, so I am hopeful. As I've told Matt, while it would be nice to quicken my pace, my main goal it to improve my technique so I don't feel like I'm working so darn hard all the time. I want to learn how to use my upper body strength to my advantage in the water. If that makes me go faster then all the better. I'm also hoping to go for a bike fitting on Thursday night. And then Sunday is another 4mile NYRR race in Central Park. I doubt my time will improve over last months 4miler in Prospect Park, but never know.

Round Valley Bike Ride

I know I've said this before. The bike ride around round valley is a great training ride for the Mooseman. The loop isn't even 16 miles but I figure twice around would be a good approximation. Maybe reverse direction for the 2nd loop.

We went around it at an easy pace today. While we were out there, I couldn't help thinking about how I really don't know to attack that course in a race. (Yes I've raced it twice, the last time I definitely felt I could have done better). I need to go over there and just repeat certain sections over and over, trying different things perhaps. Here's hoping the weather works out for plenty of weekend training rides before Mooseman.

I also have decided I'm going to have to adjust my right shoe cleat. I've been complaining about it since day one. The bike fitter definitely helped me out but for some reason, it's still really wrong. It feels like the focus of my power is not under the ball of my foot but on the outside of the foot, and I feel like I'm wanting to roll my foot out that direction. Probably because my foot wants to get that pressure point under the right spot. It's frustrating. Mostly because the left foot seems to be spot on, so what is the problem? It seems to be matched up.

The other bothersome thing is my right hip / low back. If I'm pushing hard, I still get very tight in those areas. I was hoping the bike fit would help that. That doesn't seem to be the case. Of course then I wonder if it's because of the shoe/cleat thing... yeah, I can over think this stuff. It's hard not to when it's the most uncomfortable part of the entire race!!
Oh, I also have to adjust the tilt of my saddle. Hopefully it will reduce some of the chaffing that has cropped up the last couple days.

All that above sounds like it was a miserable weekend of biking. It wasn't. It was awesome. I wish we could have warm weather with low humidity all the time. All that other nonsense above will get fixed one way or another.

The Vibram Five Fingers

Yup. There they are. I figure I had nothing to lose trying them. I wasn't planning on running much, if at all until next Sunday but I have no discipline when it comes to taking breaks. We met up with our friend Amy in Frenchtown this morning. I figured Genine and Amy would do their thing and I'd do mine. Well that's not what happened.
I started off running with them wearing the new Vibrams. We ran a mile north and then a mile back to the car. Probably twice as far as I should have run with the new shoes. Perhaps not surprisingly my left calf (bad foot side) was much more stiff than my right.
I swapped to my normal running shoes, stretched and off we went. We got in 6 miles running and 8 miles all together adding in the walking. We were on the canal path along the Delaware river. It was super flat. Amy's dogs were with her which added to the fun. They are super well trained.
My lungs and sinuses are still a wreck. I've got an appointment tomorrow morning. I'd imagine I'll get an antibiotic so I can kick this thing. The Muscinex and Sudafed are making it possible for me to function but I still feel lousy. That being said, I still think we are going to go biking this afternoon tho'. The weather is just too nice.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Swim

Today was supposed to be video day but that got canceled. I did get 3000m in right after a 28 mile bike and it wasn't so bad. After a long warmup, my mainset was 3x500 on 10:00. The results. 8:59. 9:06, 9:10.
That got me thinking about finding a Pace chart for swimming. I didn't find anything that I liked. Most took your 100m time and just assumed you would continue that pace. Others used running estimators like 6% slower for doubling of distance. Not sure how accurate that is either. So I thought I'd look at my swim results from the last couple years.
2008 Bassman 1:41 min/100m
2009 Mooseman 1:48 min/100m
2009 DC 1:53 min/100m
2009 Timberman 1:43 min/100
2009 Buckman 1:49 min/100m

The swim course is the toughest thing to measure accurately. Also it's the easiest to get stuck in a crowd. These numbers aren't too wide of a range so it's kind of useful.

I've got a bunch of swim lessons starting next week. I feel that I want to set some goals but I'm not sure what is realistic. So I'm going to talk to the coach about it and see if we can put together a plan.
Last year my big swim improvement was to swim efficiently. My heart rate was much lower and my pace was pretty much the same. Now it's time to focus on how to speed it up a bit.
Tuesday is the first lesson. :-)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lungs / Feet

This respiratory infection is getting old. I've got my voice back but my lungs still are plenty infected. I would have gone to the doctor on Wednesday but I know their answer would be "how long have you had it?" 3 days. "Well, give it a week to see if you can beat it without antibiotics."
I never seem to be able to beat these respiratory infections. I have a feeling I'll suffer through the weekend and will be at the doctors office next week.

I've been giving a lot of thought to my plantar fasciitis situation. While I was in Florida I was hoping to come across a place that sells the Vibram Five Fingers. You know me, I'm going to research the heck out of anything before deciding to jump into something. So this is what I've come up with.
Most people that have had plantar fasciitis seem to agree on these 2 things. Time off is the only way to make it go away. Strengthening the foot is key to keeping it away.
Running with a heel strike is much more abusive than a forefoot strike.
Some concerns I have about the VFF's is that I've read that they are best for flat footed people that don't pronate or supinate, they are neutral. I have an arch and pronate. Hmmm.

I've definitely noticed that when I do my speed workouts on a track, I run differently. I am willing to bet that I become less of a heel striker when I'm on the track. So why don't I run that way all the time? Most likely it's just because it's easier (because of practice) to be a heel striker.
Given my current situation, I have to say that I'm interested in trying out the VFF's. Why not just go run in a field barefoot? I'm not sure I trust any field to be clear of junk that could end up stuck in my foot.
If I end up at the doctor's office next week for my lungs, I'll probably ask if he's got a line on a good podiatrist as well. Preferably one with a sports focus. I may as well try to get as much as I can out of the visit right?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sometimes training takes a back seat

Mar 1st: PM Yoga, Abs, Pushups

Mar 2nd: PM Abs

Mar 3rd: AM Bike 15 miles, PM 3 mile Treadmill Run Intervals. Abs, Pushups

Mar 4th: PM swim 2000m

Mar 5th: Movie night “Alice @ IMAX 3D”

Mar 6th: AM Hill Run w/ Todd 6.5 miles, PM Swim w/ Genine 2800m

Mar 7th: PM Bike outdoors 26.5miles. PM Abs

Mar 8th: PM Yoga

Mar 9th: AM Run 6.5 miles w/Todd run from Y 3 loops. PM swim 3000m

Mar 10t:

Mar 11th: Fly to Florida

Mar 12th:

Mar 13th: Golf

Mar 14th: 5k Trail run in Florida. 22:11. Lungs aren’t happy with me

Mar 15th:

Mar 16th: Golf in Florida, Fly back to NJ. Lost my voice

Mar 17th: No voice. Lungs are still a bit of a mess. Some Abs

Mar 18th: Lungs still bad. PM Swim 2200m


Swim: 9,000

Bike: 41.5 miles

Run: 19 miles

Abs: 5

Yoga: 2

Back in the water

It's been a while since I visited my local pool, don't have any excuse but sheer laziness BUT I'm very excited to share with you two things I was able to try at the pool today.

I had been using the Zoomers (red) the pool provided but people started stealing them (boo) so they are no longer available to us. I've always liked them. I felt I could actually swim with them on and they forced my inflexible ankles to bend if only a little... but I decided to try something else... just because. And I gotta say I am more than pleased.

pros: These Hydro training fins are more flexible (have more give) and they actually float, which I think helps my positioning more than the Zoomers. My feet tend to drag much lower than my torso and today they felt a little higher. Also they are much softer than the Zoomers so I didn't get the usual red sore itchy marks at my toes and ankles.
cons: They are a little longer than the red zoomers so they take up a lot of room in my bag, and the added length may take away the workout value the Zoomers provided but I figure hey, I'm not going to be racing any time soon. So overall, I recommed them highly if you're on the market for short fins.

The other product I tried for the first time today was a new pair of googles:

The Speedo Vanquisher Optical goggles. My eye sight has gotten worse and worse and I started to wear contacts underneath my goggles. Trouble. I would always dip my head before putting my goggles on and would forget to close my eyes. DOH. Also I could not stop rubbing my eyes each time I took my goggles off as a rested. None of that happened today. First of all the fit was amazing. They come with several sizes of nose pieces and for me it seems that was the problem all along with my previous goggles. I found the one that fit correctly (longest time on suction test) and had no leaks, no red marks on the face AND THEY DID NOT FOG and I could actually see clearly the end of the pool 25m away. No need to rub my eyes (but could if I wanted to) no need to take them off as I rested, they were so comfortable.

So there you have it. My two cents. Now I just have to make sure to keep going back to the pool to use my new toys. I'd like to try Hand paddles next...any recs? Soft or hard?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Killing Time at the Airport

Florida Trip is ending. Florida is neither hot or sunny this year. I still had a good time tho'.
We watched a bunch of the WVU basketball games last weekend. I kept falling asleep before they finished. I finally managed to stay awake to watch them win in the final. They were playing tough, they should do well in the NCAA Tourney.
The 5K run had quite a few more people than I thought. 64 men & 71 women. After the race my lungs were wrecked. They often are, it's typically an asthma type thing and I can clear it within a few hours. Unfortunately that was not the case this time. I struggled with it the rest of Sunday and it was better but not perfect Monday. My guess is that the pollen got me. I took my claritin but I'm not sure it can keep up when you totally immerse yourself in the pollen by breathing as hard as you possibly can for 22 minutes.
I woke up this morning with no voice. I didn't even attempt to speak before drinking some coffee. It was low/mid 50's and breezy. I'm out golfing in shorts and and sweatshirt. My dad and his friends said to be thankful it wasn't raining, that has been the norm this year. I was able to talk loud enough during the round had to yell "Fore" a couple times. (45/46 not bad for my first outing in months, nothing over a 6 on the card). My dad had one of his best rounds in a couple years. 36/39 or something like that. After we finished, you could barely hear me talk. So the last few hours before I left for the airport were spent very quietly.
I'm not sure how I'm going to feel when I get home. If this is just laryngitis or if it's going to turn into more of a cold. I'm definitely interested in getting back into the training routine, this was a significant break. My left foot definitely needs a break from running. Of course I really don't want to give it a break right now. It really isn't very painful, typically it's only problematic the 24 hours after a run. Yet I really would prefer not to do anything thing that would cause long term problems. So what to do? I'm kind of thinking elliptical runner up until the 4 miler a week from Sunday. Then I'll get a good idea of how that break has helped, if at all. That's what I'm thinking I'm going to do right now. Don't hold me to that. ;-)
Those of you who don't live in the NYC metro area might not realize how much rain the area got while I was in Florida. Our basement was taking on water and Genine had to stay up until 4-5 in the morning to manage that problem. Also it brought to our attention another leak in our new roof. It's quite significant. I guess it's also going to cancel our Swim Video session Saturday. The pool area at RVCC is being used for flood relief. We just can't seem to get this swim video thing done!
Lastly, to go off topic a bit. There was a very sad event the first day of my stay here in Florida. My Dad's next door neighbor down here was in a head on collision and was killed not a mile from home. We aren't certain what happened but the driver of the other car crossed over into the neighbors lane to cause the accident. I had commented to my Dad not 24 hours before that it was incredible to me how many roadside memorials there are along this stretch of road. There is really no reason for these accidents. It's a flat, straight stretch of road with good visibility. But as I witnessed each day as we traveled this road. People are impatient. They seem to need to pass, when it's really only going to save them seconds in the long run. Mix that with Texting, Cell Phones, GPS Devices, iPods... Well mistakes are made and you had better be ready. Consider your driving habits, and see if you can't become more safe/defensive. I'd like for all of you to be around for a long long time.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Trout Creek Trail Run Results

I believe once they are posted you will be able to find them here.

I haven't done any training at all since I've been down here in Florida. I have been icing my foot every chance I get. I'm not certain that it's helping but it's definitely not hurting it. As for not training this week. It's probably as good a time as any to get some solid recovery in.

I played in an 8 person poker tourney last night with my Dad's gang. I haven't played poker in a long time. Yet it didn't take long to figure out what style of play everyone was. It turned out that I was in a really good position at the table but I really didn't get a ton of good cards to really cash in as I'd hoped. It still turned out well. I took 2nd. Most of the guys would say that's because I didn't play any cards. I'm not sure how you can say that their play was better when they didn't have any chips in front of them. ;-)

So the race this morning. It was 50 degrees. Race start 8:30AM which felt like 7:30 because of daylight savings time. My first decision was which race to run. 15k or 5k. I decided the 5K was probably the better choice. Less abuse on my foot, more suffer on the cardio, which is probably better preparation for Columbia and Mooseman.
I was there plenty early and was able to warm up well. The start was an odd one. They put us down over an embankment, so the first thing we had to do was run up a short steep hill to get to the running trail.

The starting line. 5Ker on the left. 15Kers on the right.
I knew I had to get out of the pack quickly once we got up onto the road. That's exactly what I did. Next thing I know, I'm running in 6th position. Unfortunately there were no mile markers on the course. So no split times until I figure out if I can get info from my watch. I'd guess I finished my first mile under 7:00 min/mile. It was about this time that I was passed by a woman that I determined right away I had no chance of hanging onto, she passed with conviction. I knew I had a few other people following me but I figured if I held pace I'd be alright.
Well I think they might have known the course, because another woman and 2 guys passed me just as we got to the beginning of the single track run through the woods. You really had to watch your footing. Roots covered by pine needles and leaves while making some fun tight twists and turns. I did open up a few times where you were given the chance to pass but I felt like I'd have to pass all three if I was going to do that. I didn't have that in me. I was going to have to wait and see if they were going to fall apart....
The final quarter mile added some mud into the mix. Nothing awful but the shoes got to be a mess in a big hurry. By the time we got to the home stretch off the single track, I didn't have anyone within my reach to try and out sprint to the finish.
I finished in 22:11 and 10th place overall. I'm alright with that, that was not a fast course. No pavement anywhere on the course.
I'll update with the official results later.

I know how Craig likes good race stuff. Here is the finisher's hat. T-shirt was good too but I really needed a new hat!

Friday, March 12, 2010

making a morning swim

This morning I discovered the best 5am alarm clock....a 4yr old who went to sleep at 7:00pm the night prior. I also discovered that the same 4yr old can be a deterrent from getting out of the house on time to make a 6am swim! I mean really...who wants to get out of the cuddly blanket cocoon on the couch, eating bananas and watching Super Why at 5:40am? But I did get out the door in time to make it to the pool to meet Shaun for a swim this morning. Got in 2500m focusing on my pull and did some of the sets with paddles. Since my mom and Ian are visiting this weekend while Kryste is in Philly for a work conference, I took yesterday and today off from work. It's so nice to have the opportunity to get an early swim in since I normally have to be at work at 7am.

I'm sure I will have more exciting news to report over the course of the weekend, but so far I can tell you that the treadmill is excellent for walking, jumping and swinging...a full body workout! But only if you are 3 and a half feet tall and weigh 45lbs.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A visit to the Specialist

I've self diagnosed myself long enough. I went to the doctor today to have him check out my foot and my left arm. First thing is it really Plantar Fasciitis? Well that's determined pretty easily. Off with the shoe, he digs into my heel and I jump in pain. Yep, Plantar Fasciitis. It needs time to heal. It's an overuse injury. It must not be too bad if you are still running on it. Although if your running technique is the problem, many people have had success with the Vibram Five Fingers. (my problem is only on my left foot tho', maybe that strikes out running technique problems?)

Next we check out the arm. I've been wondering what exactly is the problem. This took a bit longer to locate. After a few different moves he determines it's the bicep. Again, it's an overuse injury. This one being muscular should heal more quickly than my heel.

There wasn't much suggested to me that I wasn't already doing. Heating the area before exercise was something I hadn't thought of.

He said I didn't necessarily have to take a break from running. The extra therapy I've been giving it could get it to heal. Although taking a break would allow it to heal more quickly. Of course I know people that have taken months off and still have the heel pain. I guess what I don't know is how aggressive they were with their therapy when they took the break...

So that's it. Just as Jim said to me many months ago. For many people, training/racing includes a fair amount of injury management.
Keep in mind the pain I'm speaking of is rather mild. I'm just trying to do what I can to make it better instead of worse.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Vitamin I" AKA Ibuprofen

Just a little reminder of why Vitamin I, should be ICE and not Ibuprofen.

Check out the article from NY Times here.

As you know I'm not a huge fan of the health articles from newspapers. They are often quite flimsy in terms of backing up their claim or even reaching a conclusion at all. It does at least bring up something to think about. Then we can ask Dr Jim for his 2 cents ;-)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Out on the bike.

I had hoped to go riding both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend but I couldn't make that happen. Genine's family is going to be here Thursday, so it's time to reclaim some living space in our house. We've kind of been living in this construction zone since September. I wish I could say we are putting everything back together because the project is finally done but it's not. In fact, I think we have even more stuff to do once they leave than we had before they started. That's not to say there haven’t been major changes. It will be nice when it's done. I just can't guess when that will be.
Moving on to the Sunday bike ride. I swapped out my trainer wheel and was expecting to have to spend some time dialing in my rear derailleur. I was pleasantly surprised to find out I didn't have to change a thing. The new chain fixed all the shifting troubles I was having last year. It was really nice to have really tight shifting again.
When I was running with Todd on Saturday he offered me his Hed 3 race wheels for race weeks. Last year when I tried them out, I couldn't tune in the shifting (probably because of the bad chain). Also the braking was not familiar to me. I might have to change brake pads if I were to use them? The main reason I didn't use them was that they are tubulars and I have no experience with them. So if I flat in a race I'd be a DNF. I feel I’d have to do some tubular homework to feel confident using them on race day.

Back to the bike ride, 26.5 miles of non-bike trainer bliss! This was the first outdoor ride with the new chain, bike pedals, cleats, saddle, and bike fit.

Chain: have I mentioned super tight shifting? It's so nice not to have your chain jumping during a climb.

Pedals: didn’t have much of an issue with clipping in/out. I guess once you’ve used one system, they all are similar enough that it’s not that tough to switch.

Cleats, shoes: My right foot still doesn’t feel like it’s in the right spot yet. It doesn’t seem to cause any pain or anything (of course 26.5 miles is my longest ride this year), so I’m not sure what I’m going to do about it yet.

Saddle: It’s much more comfortable out on the road than on the trainer. I’m going to give it some outdoor time before deciding to give it a slight forward tilt.

Bike fit: I’m definitely pleased with the aerobar position. It feels very natural, that was not the case before. The armrests didn’t cause any problems for my knees during climbs but we didn’t really climb anything big. They did make being in the drops feel less aero. It feels that it keeps my arms wide. I’m also curious how long I can be comfortable in the drops. That’s where I tend to be on descents, so I’ll need to make sure I can deal with it.

I didn’t push hard on the bike but what was surprising is how much energy I had after the bike. I really wanted to go running. It was odd. I felt like that the rest of the evening. I think I know why. I’ve been calorie restricted for quite a few weeks now and this weekend I ate too many calories. Thus I had plenty of energy. I didn’t go running. I ended up doing a bunch of core work instead while watching the Oscars. Stayed up too late and decided not to swim Monday morning. Then spent most of Monday wanting to go running. (It’s not run day) It's yoga day. Yoga rocks. Even tho' I don't think it thinks the same about me.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

8AM and it's already been a good day

It's funny how waking up at 5AM on a Saturday morning to go running feels totally different than waking up at 5AM on a weekday, even if you do a workout before heading to work. I certainly wouldn't have been awake before 9AM today if not for Todd. He's finally back on the running plan, which is awesome. Here is why.
I get an email from him mid-week. The only thing in the email is a link to a 5 mile trail run race for Sunday.
I reply that I've gotta pass on the race but I would be up for going for a run this weekend.
He replies that Saturday 6AM would be his only window to do that and I'd have to be willing to run slowly and probably only 5 miles. (8:40 min/mile was his definition of slow).
I tell him I'm fine with that and ask where he wants to run.
He says to meet at the church. (this is our hardest hill run, what happened to slow/easy?)

We meet up at the church this morning. I suggest rather than taking on the monster hill in the first mile, let's run a mile the other direction to warm up. Then as we are approaching the big hill, I ask if he'd rather make the right and take the more gradual climb. He says your call. I decide to go gradual as I know the out and back will be nearly exactly 5 miles going this route. We get to the top and reverse course. As we get close to the steepest hill climb, he says, "We need to run the hill". Which caught me off guard and we start going up the hill. Only we made the wrong turn and it ends in a cul-de-sac. Didn't matter it was still a good climb. We reverse course and away we go. The monster climb was the next block down. Which when we got to it.... yup he says "Let's go up!". So we are climbing again. We didn't push hard but when it's steep, speed almost doesn't matter. It's still hard even when going slowly.
I think we ran 6.4 miles and got more hill work than I expected. It was great. If I was out on my own. I wouldn't have been out there until 10AM or later and I probably would have run 9-10 miles with fewer climbs. It's going to be nice to be running with Todd again. We are going to try to get back on the Tuesday/Thursday 5:45 AM runs again. I'm looking forward to it. It will help me get my run miles back up where it should be.
Oh, I forgot to mention. He's running the race tomorrow! I guess he's back on track.

The other news is I did in fact make an appointment to get my foot checked out. That will happen Wednesday morning. It will be good to have that question answered. I just hope I remember to ask about my elbow as well. Both are likely going to be simple Physical Therapy and they will tell me to rest... haha.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pictures from the Prospect Park 4 miler

Here are the Pro action shots from the last race.
There were no pictures of Genine. Fortunately Kevin and Lara handled all the multimedia stuff for us that day.

By the way, so what do the rest of you do about your race number for a running race? Pin it on? Or do you use your number belt? At the run for Haiti the group of girls behind me had quite a discussion about the number belt option when they saw me clip mine on. Comments like. "oh I have one, but I don't wear mine like that" "really? do they come in different colors?" "probably but mine is black, maybe that's why I don't use it"... and so on and so on.

How long does your race number stay on the belt? I don't remove mine until I have another one to take it's place. It kind of makes you think about the last race when you take it off. Which is usually a good thing. Maybe if I had a horrible race I'd remove the number so I don't think about it before the next one. So far, that hasn't been necessary. ;-)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

back in the pool

Wow! I hadn't been to the pool in over a week. Between snowstorms, races and house projects, swimming fell of the list. It sure is easy to fall out of the swimming habit, seeing how lanes aren't available until after 8:15 PM during weekdays.
We kept it simple, 2000m and out of there. My times weren't all that good. I'll admit all I kept thinking about is that I'm just a couple weeks away from the Video Taping and the lessons. I'm looking forward to the weekly feedback.

As you can see from my Feb totals, I've been adding core work. The majority of it is planks and static poses. With the running speed work, doing crunches and things like that will just overload my hipflexors and I'll be injured. I'm trying really hard to be smart about my workouts and recovery. I've also made a point of doing the low back strengtheners to try and balance things out. I'm really hopeful that my back will hold up better on the bike as a result of this.

The one thing that I'm feeling pretty stupid about is not getting to a doctor about this left foot of mine. I've been spending a ton of time doing the stretches, using the boot with an icepack when I sleep, ice it after every run... I guess it's because it's not painful, so it's easy to ignore. I should find out what's up with it. I called a doctor that was recommended to me and they didn't accept my insurance. Ugh! I've got another name, I just haven't called. Now that I've put this up here, maybe I'll finally get it done.

I'm also hoping to match my 2009 average race weight by the end of March. It's doable just have to stick with it. I'm kind of in the zone right now. It's weird how it's such a challenge to get your body accustomed to a calorie deficit. I feel like it takes a month of trial and error for me. Then it just clicks into place. Now to just leave it in place for another couple months...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Matt's February Totals

It didn't feel as focused as I was in January but I'm not disappointed with the totals. The diet finally fell into place and the weight is falling off. I've also added core work to the mix without being totally obsessive about it. Then of course the two 4 mile races has brought my attention back to trying to run fast.

Feb 1st: 2500m swim 6AM. Terrible swim. I’m going to blame the tough weekend of workouts. Maybe Monday AM swim is a bad idea.

Yoga in the Evening

Feb 2nd: AM Bike 17.5 miles before work. Legs are tired.

PM Swim w/ Genine and Alexis 2550. Good swim 6x100 1:38s-1:40s

Feb 3rd: PM Run 4 miles. Petsmart run. Easy.

Feb 4th: PM Abs… sort of, my core needs work.

Feb 5th: AM Swim w/ Maija 2400m. Good swim. Not awesome but good.

Feb 6th: Day off. Meant to do Abs at some point. Painted all day tho’.

Feb 7th: Day off. More painting.

Feb 8th: AM Swim 2200m. PM Yoga

Feb 9th: Bike Fit

Feb 10th: Snowstorm, Paint 2 rooms in the house

Feb 11th: PM Bike 15.5 miles trainer. New setup became uncomfortable at about 45 min.

Feb 12th: ABS. Not sure I should call this a workout day…. weak

Feb 13th: Swim 3000m. Mostly 100’s.

Feb 14th: Swim 2500m. Mostly pull. Was going to bike ended up doing ABS.

Feb 15th: Afternoon Run 4 miles Hills loop. PM Bike 15 miles. PM Yoga

Feb 16th: PM Swim 2000m, PM ABS

Feb 17th: PM Bike 15 miles. Legs are tired.

Feb 18th: AM Swim 2200m, PM Run 5K, PM Bike 8.5 mile spin. Low Calorie Day, Legs were barely there for the bike.

Feb 19th: DAY OFF.

Feb 20th: 4 miler Central Park Run. Abs. 5x10 Pushups

Feb 21st: Noon: run 4 miles. Afternoon swim 2900m. Core/Low Back, 5x10 Pushups

Feb 22nd: AM 14 mile Bike, PM Yoga, Abs, 5x10 pushups

Feb 23rd: AM Run Treadmill Intervals 3.5 miles, PM 2500m Swim. Planks

Feb 24th: PM Run 6 miles HR under 160 trying to keep it closer to 150.

Feb 25th: PM Bike 17 miles, Planks and crunches

Feb 26th: PM Equinox Gym NYC IntenSati

Feb 27th: Walk/Stretch go to Brooklyn

Feb 28th: Prospect Park 4 miler 29:11. 7:17 min/mile


Swim: 24,750m

Bike: 102.5 miles

Run: 32.5 Miles

Abs: 9

Yoga: 4

IntenSati: 1

Year totals

Swim: 53,450m

Bike: 225.0 miles

Run: 77.5 miles

Abs: 9

Yoga: 6

Monday, March 1, 2010

15K Sold Out, 4miler is close to sold out as well.

Well I missed my chance to repeat the 15K central park race at the end of March. It sold out while I was trying to decide what distances to race this month. I definitely want to race to get another race towards the 9+1 out of the way. So I quickly signed up for the 4 miler. That's where the 2nd "bummer" moment cropped up. Under the pace it had auto filled me in as 8:20 min/mile because that was my pace at the Haiti Run which I was stuck at the back of the pack. ::sigh::
I think I will email them and ask them if they would use my Prospect Park run results from last weekend.
Genine and I are both signed up for the 4 miler. If you want to join us register soon!