July 2012 Recap

The best thing that happened this month had nothing to do with running, it had to do with going to visit Minnesota to visit my daughter, her husband and my grandkids.

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They definitely are boys, climbing and running every where they can. Smile

Running In July 2012

Summary

  • July Total Miles Run: 236.0
  • Days Run: 30
  • Days Off: 1
  • Longest Run: 17.0 7/16/12
  • Fastest Run: 7:06  7/28/12 – Peter Golding Memorial 5K, Sidney, ME.
  • Best Week:  56.1 week ending 7/29/12

Most notable run: Peter Golding Memorial 5K – almost broke 7:00 minute pace.

July Summary

Shoes Run In

  • Altra Instinct – I got them in Minnesota when I lost my Free Runs – They were my top rated shoes back in February and I had always wanted to try them out. Here are a couple of posts about them. Altra Instincts First Impressions and 50 Mile Review of Altra Instincts.
  • Nike Free 4.0 v2 – While I really love them, once they got closer to 300 miles on them, my ankles, knees and hips started to ache with that familiar feeling that I have when I need to change out the shoes or run the risk of injury. See my Retiring the Nike Free 4.0 v2
  • Nike Free Run+3 – I pulled a real bonehead one here, I lost them during my trip to Minnesota. Which was too bad because, I just had gotten them broken in and finished a 17.0 mile run without any problems the Monday before.
  • Newton Gravity – I have run in them a couple of times this month and will probably bring them out as my secondary running shoes, now that I have the heel counter cut-down enough so that it does not bother my right ankle. I ran a slow 5.0 in them today and they felt fine.

Races Run

  • Bond Brook 5K Trail Race– 7/12/12
  • Peter Golding Inaugural Memorial 5K Race Recap

Next Scheduled race is:  Bond Brook 5k Trail Race and a 5K in Waterville on 8/11/12

I plan to make a decision by next Monday on whether to try for a fall marathon or not, I want one more long run to see how the knees are holding up.

Weight

I ended May at 15- and today 7/31 the scales read 149 after my run – this may not sound like a lot, but the reality is that it is that 155 was MY GOAL WEIGHT, so it is a huge deal! I am under my goal weight and staying there. I really believe that the number of long runs and mileage that I am putting in is getting the weight down.

47 at least pounds lost since June 2012

Injuries

No real injuries this month. The left knee was barking a few times at me (after my long run), but I don’t think it was anything serious. The right knee is not complaining very often, but I have to be careful to give it rest and a chance to recuperate after a long or hard run. Just have to keep training smart :-)

Run Blogging

Top Ten Blog Posts for March – based on page views

  1. Tommie Copper Sleeve Review – First Impressions
  2. Nike Free 4.0 v2 – After 50 Miles
  3. First Run in Asics Gel Blur 33 – 2/16/12
  4. My Transition Plan to Minimalist Running Shoes
  5. Tommie Copper – Is Working
  6. Newton Gravity–After 50 Miles
  7. Running Log Spreadsheet Template
  8. Initial Review & Run in Adidas Vigor TR
  9. Initial Impressions–Nike Free Run+3
  10. Turning 55 and a Race Registration

My personal favorite post this month was: “Do not go Gentle into that Good Night”

Reviews

One of the things that I really like to do is to review new gear. Whether I buy something myself or provided a product to review, I enjoy trying it out and seeing if it works as advertised or not. But more importantly – whether I like it or not and why. Blogging about running related products makes me think differently about what I am using – which is a good thing.

I have done the following product reviews this month:

  • Initial Review & Run in Adidas Vigor TR – Personal Purchase
  • Nathan Horizontal Hydration Belt Review – Personal Purchase
  • Altra Instincts First Impressions – Personal Purchase
  • Retiring the Nike Free 4.0 v2 – Personal Purchase
  • 50 Mile Review of Altra Instincts – Personal Purchase

I didn’t have many opportunities to review products this month, but that is okay, I enjoyed just focusing on my running and visiting my Grandchildren.

FTC Disclaimer – Unless indicated by {Personal Purchase} I was provided products from these companies free of charge, to review them on my blog. I received no monetary or other forms of compensation to do the review. My opinions about each product are my honest observations, based upon my experience while using the product.

Running Goals

A slight change to my goals – is to make sure that I am enjoying running and not letting it become too much like work.

Good progress, while I worked hard at my running, I didn’t allow it to become work. I still look forward to my runs and don’t get too wound up about them if they are not quite what I am looking for that day :-)

This year my big goals are:

  1. Run 1,200 miles – I am way ahead of schedule having a total of 1,102.6 miles through 7-months.
  2. Run a sub 20:00 5K  – This will be very tough to do, I did run a 22:06 without any real speed training, but this one is going to be a real tough nut to crack if I decide to run a marathon this fall.
  3. Get through 2012 without any significant down time or injuries (running related or others).  Just some aches and strains so far
  4. My unadvertised goals from the start of the year are to be able to finish a half-marathon. I am running 13 to 17 miles at least once a week, it isn’t really a question of whether I can finish a half marathon, but more what my time will be on the right course.
  5. Run a few trail races when the weather gets better – I have and will be doing the Bond Brook Recreation Area 5k Trail Race series.

My long-term goal is to run the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon. I finished the 1983 MCM Marathon and to run/finish Marine Corps again 30 years later would be very cool. This is one of the major goals that I have in mind for my running and it would be even more fantastic if I could qualify for Boston that same day. Therefore, I am doing a 2 year work-up to the Marathon distance, just to see if my knee will hold up.

The reality is that

July was probably the best month I have had of running since probably 1985 (I don’t have my logs from that year unfortunately). I really believe that I probably have even set a monthly Personal Distance Record for a month with the 236 miles for July 2012.

The best part of the month was going to visit my grandchildren, my daughter and her husband (he even started running).

Stuck to the Plan 5.0 Mile Recovery Run 7/31/12

P7310001Today’s run was planned to be a 5.0 mile recovery run, between 45:00 and 50:00 minutes.

Usually, I have a problem with running recovery runs waaaayyyyy to fast, so today, I focused on going slower and pulling back whenever, I started to speed-up.

Guess what?  I did it!!! I finished in 46:46 for the 5.0 miles.

That is a great thing, I actually stuck with my plan to run slower and only do 5.0 miles, even though it was a gorgeous day. Yes I wanted to go faster, yes I wanted to badly add on the extra mile or two, but I didn’t and I my body is liking me Smile now that I didn’t do it.

I definitely needed the run, after yesterday’s long 16 miler. My legs were pretty stiff and sore, especially my right hamstring, but everything feels a lot better now that I got them loosened up a little during this easy run.

I think the easy running is helping me this year. In the past I would have followed some of the “experts” advice and taken a day off after a tough workout like that. I always seemed to be still and sore all the time. Some might call them “junk miles”, but I feel better after the easy junk runs than I do before (when I am stiff and achy).

So I will just keep doing my so-called junk miles, which is something that works for me. Everyone is different and what works or what I like to do might not work for you, but for the first time in many years I am running consistently by having “active” rest days with a few “junk” miles thrown in.

The biggest surprise is that I am actually going out in back of the garage and lifting weights a couple of times a week. I made it out there again today.

And I hate lifting weights. No negative mind-set there – right Winking smile. However, I also know that I need to do some upper body work in order to get better as a runner and do some lower body work to help keep injuries away.

I ran in the Newton Gravity’s just to get a little different motion to my leg muscles. They seemed to help a little and since the last shoe surgery, the heel cup no longer bites my ankle, which is a good thing, because I do like running in my Newton’s. So I am thinking about bringing these back into the rotation again, now that I am able to run in them pain-free.

One thing about the Altra Instinct’s though is I am noticing that my hamstrings are more sore than when I run in my other shoes which have a higher drop. This probably means that I am using my hamstrings more, so I might want to think about working to strengthen them a little more.

Now to get ready for more cardio i.e. lawn mowing and maybe some weed wacking after that.  Gotta keep moving.  Then tonight I get to do my July month in review post and that should be pretty damn good! I have done a couple of things that I haven’t done in years – if ever.

RunLog 7-31-12

16 Miles Done 7/30/12

P7300008Today I was going back and forth between doing a 13 or 16 mile run and didn’t really make up my mind until I got to the 13.1 mile turn-around point, when I just kept going.

When I started out at around 9:30 A.M. it was 68, sunny and the wind was out of the south. When I finished just before noon the temp had climbed up to 78, sunny and the wind was out of the Northeast???

Beautiful day, but just a little too warm for a good run, so I stayed within myself and just ran according to how my body felt. Which meant that I ran a lot faster to start and slowed down the last 6.0 miles or so, when it started to heat up.

I did things a little different on hydrating, using the Achiva Coconut Water/Chia Seed mixture, which I really like, but don’t like the chunkiness when trying to get it out of the water bottle. Also I waited until 10 miles to use my Razz Cliff Gel Shot, which seemed to help, with the last part of the run.

It seemed like there was double the traffic than usual this morning on all the roads! I felt like I was hoping onto the dirt every couple of minutes to get out of the way of traffic, which did slow me down.

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However, the Instinct’s handled the loose/wet dirt (from yesterday’s rain) on the shoulders very well and didn’t pick up a lot of little rocks to annoy me.

My Altra’s did a great job on the run and at times I found myself just running without thinking about how I was running in them, which is what I want and expect from a shoe.

However, at about mile 9.0, my left knee started to bark at me a little but once I got on the rail trail, it seemed to come around and not talk to me too much.

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Then when I got to the turn-around in Hallowell, I stopped to take some pictures and drink the last of my Achiva and started back up, it barked for a minute, but was really good the last 2.5 miles back to the finish. It did give me a lot to think about though.

Over the course of this run I did a lot of thinking about whether I want to or can run a Fall marathon or not this year. I will probably make a decision either Wednesday or next Monday – more to come on that in a separate blog post.

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Overall, for a 16.0 mile run, it was rather uneventful. I just ran the distance, without getting anything too out of wack, so that was good. I still don’t like Mt. Vernon Ave though and will be glad if/when they ever finally fix that stretch of road.

Just one of those – Good Runs!

RunLog 7-30-12

Week In Review–7/29/12

P7240156I made it back from Minnesota, safe and sound, which I thought was a good thing. Smile

I am not a big traveller so as much as I enjoyed myself out there, seeing the grandkids, my daughter and her husband, it was great to be back home.

While I was out there, I might have helped create a new runnah, errr runner in my son-in-law. He even went out yesterday and bought a pair of new running shoes. Guess he wants to beat the old man, the next time I go out to Minnesota and he has even told me he will contribute a post or two about how his running is going.

My favorite post from the past week was: Major Milestone Run–7/27/12

Running Summary This Week


Weekly Summary 7-29-12

RunLog Week of 7/29/12

Three Things Running

  1. Still Over 40 Miles for the Week: I cam within a few miles of having another 50 mile week, but this was supposed to be my cutback week, so I didn’t push to get over 50. The base mileage I am putting together is starting to really pay off and I can feel the difference when I run.
  2. First Race Since April 28th: On Saturday, I ran in a small/local 5K and ran a 22:03/7:06 pace and was very happy about how I did. Definitely could have gone a little faster, if I had pushed more from the start and not lost focus on the hill coming back out of the Sidney recreation area. Next time.
  3. Running Streak: I purposely ended my running streak on Monday, it was starting to get too long and was becoming a little too important. It felt good to end it. I just don’t like have a long streak they seem to become the reason for running, instead of just running to run.
  4. This week in two words: Having Fun

Top 10 Posts

Here are my top ten posts for the past week based on page views:

  1. Tommie Copper Sleeve Review – First Impressions
  2. Nike Free 4.0 v2 – After 50 Miles
  3. My Transition Plan to Minimalist Running Shoes
  4. Running Priorities–Are They Changing?
  5. Tommie Copper – Is Working
  6. Retiring the Nike Free 4.0 v2
  7. Major Milestone Run–7/27/12
  8. First Run in Asics Gel Blur 33 – 2/16/12
  9. Newton Gravity–After 50 Miles
  10. Peter Golding Inaugural Memorial 5K Race Recap

Weight

I bounced between 147 and 150, which is great and these lower weights feels better for running. However, I was surprised, I actually lost weight while I was out in Minnesota, which was a first for me – loose weight while on vacation.

Injuries

No real injuries, just a couple of nagging aches and pains that are getting better.

Running Shoes

 

Nike Free 4.0 v2

I decided to retire the Nike Free 4.0 v2 as I discussed in this post – Retiring the Nike Free 4.0 v2

Altra Instincts

Here are my First Impressions and 50 Mile reviews of the Altra Instinct’s.

Adidas Vigor TR

These are my primary trail running shoes (Initial Review & Run in Adidas Vigor TR). I ran once in them over on the Colby College Trails and had a blast.

Newton Gravitas

No runs in them this week

Running Goals

I reviewed my 2012 running goals 2012 Mid-Year Goal Review and Update and updated them.

Surprisingly, without a whole lot of speed work, I almost attained my new annual goal of breaking 22:00 for a 5K at the race this Saturday.

The reality is that

I have had a blast out in Minnesota visiting my daughter, her husband and the grandkids. I look forward to the next time I visit.

Hopefully, there was some progress on the different doors that are opening for me and should have more answers by my birthday in a couple of weeks. Just have to be patient.

5.0 Mile Run in the Rain–7/29/12

Rainy DayI woke up from taking a nap this afternoon and decided to go for an easy recovery run after yesterday’s 5K. My legs felt a little heavy and I wanted to get them moving a little.

It rained earlier today and I forgot to look at the radar map, before I took off. So of course about 1.5 miles into the run, it started to sprinkle and then at the 2.0 mile point it started to rain and would rain the rest of the way.

I definitely didn’t overheat on this run and I got to test the Altra’s out on wet roads and the wet gravel roads down back.

P7290007They did really great on the wet pavement.

When I had to go into the shoulder to avoid the vehicle traffic, I had enough grip on the soft dirt/grass mix, that it didn’t feel out of control when I was in there.

Once I got to the gravel roads, as long as I landed towards my forefoot, the Instinct’s did fantastic in the muddier areas.

However, if I hit some of the muddier spots and landed on my heel, there was a definite slippy feel on landing.

The design of the heel of the Instinct’s is quite smooth and simply not very good in the mud.

They got good and soaked, so I will get a chance to see how quickly they dry overnight, for tomorrow’s long run.

On the run, I thought that I was running faster than I actually was, I guess the rain, number of vehicles that I met on the Middle Road and wearing soaked shoes/clothes slowed me down a little. It was an adventure too, having to take my glasses off, because I could see better without them, than I could with them on – scary thought Winking smile.

Overall, a very nice run in the rain.

RunLog 7-29-12

I forgot to add in the second run yesterday to my Instinct’s total, that is why there is a “sudden” jump in the number of miles run in them. I guess I got too excited about my fastest run this year yesterday.

 

 

 

50 Mile Review of Altra Instincts

P7290006Initially I was going to wait until 100 miles to do this review, but I have been doing the 50 mile running shoe reviews since I started A Veteran Runnah and decided to keep doing it that way.

There have been so many reviews published on the Altra Instinct’s over the past year, that I probably don’t have any earth shattering insights about them, other than my own experiences with them.

So I will not bore you with the technical specs on the Instinct’s, which you can find on the Altra website or by doing a web search for them.

Some very good reviews of the Instinct’s can be found here (Birthday Shoes) or here (RunBlogger).

Many bloggers and others have tried to pigeon-hole the Instinct’s into this category or that category, but the only thing that really matters to me, is whether or not they work for how I run and if they are comfortable to me when I am running in them.

Isn’t that what is actually important? Not all the other noise and hoopla.

How are the Altra Instincts doing after 55.8 miles?

The Instincts still look boxy to me and as I said in my initial review of the Instinct’s, appearances are deceiving! They have a nice quick feel when running in them that promotes landing with more of a forefoot running style. Also they feel much more cushioned than the lower stack height and amount of midsole would indicate, which is very important since I am running higher mileage than I have in a long time.

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I have done 2 double-digit runs (13 & 10), 50 mile week, had a 5.0 mile best time for this year in them. Yesterday, I decided to wear the Instinct’s in a 5K road race and ended up with a time of 22:03, (which was a 1:22 improvement over my best time this year), just to see how they would be at my race pace.

The faster times and longer distances have shown me that the Instinct’s are a very good multi-purpose running shoe and that they are working well for me.

On the gravel road down back, they have protected my feet quite well and I don’t have any aches or pains that I didn’t have before I started running in them.

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The outsole is showing very little wear for having over 50 miles on them and even though they might pick up a small rock once in a while, it really is not the issue it was with my previous shoes.

So far the Instincts have done a great job with everything I have thrown at them and appear to be holding up quite nicely.

Aches and Pains

The dreaded calf pain that many runners seem to have when switching to a zero drop shoe, did not happen for me (running most of the year in 4-6MM drop shoes has helped). Although I completely did the opposite of what Altra recommends, I got lucky and it worked for me, since I ran 50 miles in them the first full week I had them

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Initially I did have some issues with my right little toe, just not feeling comfortable. This is something that I have had a lot of problems with, in most of my shoes and one of the primary reasons that I wanted to try the Altra’s – the wide toe box. Part of the problem was the style of sock that I was wearing, but the shoe didn’t feel quite right. While I was looking around the Altra website, I saw this alternate lacing system and tried it. After changing to this lacing system and the socks I was wearing, that issue went away and the Instinct’s felt a lot more comfortable!

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Yes I had to cut and tie the laces because they became too long after changing the lacing pattern.

The only problem that I have had with the Instincts was when I flew back from Minnesota and had loosened them up for the flight. In my rush to go from terminal A to terminal C in Logan, I forgot to tighten up the laces and got a blister on my right Achilles from the back of the shoe. I have read comments about this being an issue with other runners, so it is something I will keep an eye on.

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This didn’t/doesn’t bother me when I was running, but I do notice it a little when walking in the shoes.

The reality is that

My experience in the Altra Instinct’s has been very positive so far.

Of all the shoes that I have run in this year, the Instinct’s are very competitive with anything that I have worn. I am looking forward to seeing how the Instinct’s will be doing at the 300 and 500 mile marks, IF they make it that far, though I am hopeful they will.

However, I am not going to get all excited and gush about how great a shoe is anymore, until I get up into the 500 mile range with them and want to go get another pair to run in again. I have had too many shoes that felt really great in the first few of weeks of running in them and by the time 200-300 miles come around they are done and I wouldn’t go out and buy another pair of that model, because of the lack of durability or other issues.

Overall – my early impression of the Altra Instinct’s is: so far, so very good!

Peter Golding Inaugural Memorial 5K Race Recap

P7280003I found out about this race on our Cable System’s Public Access Channel on Thursday night. Since where it was being held is part of my 10 mile River Road, I decided hey why not, only $6.00 for an entry fee helped as well. Smile

Initially the weather cooperated and it stayed cloudy and relatively cool low 70’s until about a mile into the race, when the run came out and heated up quickly.

Even though this was a really low key race that I didn’t know about until Thursday, I had a really hard time getting to sleep last night and turning off my brain on how I would do today or if I really wanted to even go. Then on the ride over, I still thought of different things that I could do instead of running in a race, including going for a trail run at Bond Brook.

You know it really sucks to be so freaking anxious about going to something as simple like running in a race, but as I explained in my post on Why I Haven’t Raced That Much, the anxiety that I used to experience about running in races, stopped me from racing for many, many years. Hopefully, I have gotten by the worst of the anxiety that I have about racing and just have normal race day jitters from now on.

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But I made it to the race location and got registered. Once I do that I tend to calm down a lot, to me that means that I am going run the race.

Actually I had a good time talking to the other runners and didn’t disappear and crawl into my shell. So I am doing a lot better with that part of running in races

My goal for this race was to break 23:00 minutes, a goal that I thought that was pretty attainable.

So how did the race go?

P7280016It was a small race with under 20 runners, on an out and back course from the Silver Spur down to the Sidney Recreation area.

Unfortunately, I screwed up my watch at the start, so I didn’t have that to let me know how close I was to my splits or goal time. The start felt pretty quick. I was in 5th after the first quarter mile and stayed there until after the Recreation area turn-around and that damn hill coming out of there.

That is where I lost at least the .04 seconds that I would really want later in the run – a LACK of mental toughness and focus on my part going up that hill.

After getting back on the River Road, I caught up and passed the person in front of me and moved into 4th. However, there was just too much distance between me and the third place runner, so I relaxed and didn’t really push the last mile as hard as I should have and that is where I finished – 4th.

I finished the race in 22:03 – just missing my annual goal time of sub 22:00, but almost a minute under my race goal time, without really doing any heavy duty speed work over the past few months. Still I was a little disappointed that I didn’t break 22:00 – that old competitiveness that I still have in me. I am confident that I can in an upcoming race. In any event, this was a huge improvement from my previous best this year of 23:25.

No the times were not world shattering, but I was more than happy with my time.

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Peter Golding Memorial 5K Race Photos 7-28-12
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Altra Instincts

I didn’t run in racing flats, I wore my Altra Instincts and they did great! I didn’t have to worry about how my feet felt and the shoes didn’t feel heavy at the end of the race. While not really race day shoes for a short race like a 5K, I wanted to try them out to see how they did, so that if I wanted to wear them for a 10K or longer, I would have experience in wearing them in race situations.

The more I wear them the more I like them.

For me to run at a 7:06 minute mile pace, in my training shoes says a lot about how light and fast the Altra’s actually are and how well my training is progressing.

RunLog 7-28-12

I know that I just wrote a big post about running slower and not worrying about running fast, but the race seemed to unfold, I just went with how I felt and ran faster by about a minute, than I thought I would.

I wonder how much the Olympics will inspire me over the next few weeks.

Major Milestone Run–7/27/12

P7270008Today was a pretty important run for me.

The run itself was a 10 mile run. The temps were in the mid to upper 80’s and the humidity did affect me a little, but not nearly as bad as it has been. Since it was still pretty hot, so I just ran at a comfortable pace and listened to my body, instead of pushing it.

Throughout the run, I mostly worked on how I was landing, trying to find that sweet spot with the Instincts.

My 10 miler today really meant something special to me.

It was a major milestone run.

As a result of this run, I went over 200 miles in a month for the first time since 1985, which shows how far I have come in a year.

RunLog 7-27-12

Last year at this time I was having problems running a mile and had a total of 2.0 miles for the entire week. I needed to take almost the entire month of August off to let my knee heal some more.

2011

This year I hit the 200 mile mark with 4 days left in the month, with at least one more long run still planned – how things can and have changed in a single year.

Last year I my goal was simply to lose 20-30 pounds and to get back into decent shape.

I never dreamed in a million years that I would be within 2 pounds of the weight I was in 1983, when I finished the Marine Corps Marathon and thinking that a 10 mile run was a medium distance run. Hell I can even get into size 30 pants without too much problem, which means over 8 inches have gone from my waist.

The photo on the left is me on 7/27/11 out of breath and sitting down on a short hike out in Belgrade and the one on the right is from 5/16/12 and yes I have lost about 7 more pounds since then and a few more inches, but this picture really gives a good comparison of how far I have come in that year.

I would be lying if I said that it didn’t take a LOT of hard work and effort over the course of the year, but it does show what you can do if you are motivated, are willing to work hard to go for what you really want and have a great support network to help you through the tough times that did happen.

  • This wouldn’t have happened without the support of my wife Mary (aka TheWife), so much thanks and love go to her.
  • A big thank you to the online the Running/Fitness Communities on Twitter, Facebook and Google +, who encouraged and supported me with their positive and can do attitudes, along with the many blog posts that I have read this past year.
  • I would like to give a special thank you to the FitFluential Family that truly helped me through some of the tough points in my journey, back to fitness. You offered ideas, support and examples of what I needed to do to get to this point. Part of my success in my return to fitness belong to this wonderful community of caring people.

No this is not a brag fest or love me post, but it does show how dramatic a change that a relatively normal person can do and that yes it can be done.

This certainly wasn’t the originally what I meant to write about tonight or the usual RunLog post that I do, but when you pass a milestone of this sort, well the fingers took on a life of their own and told another piece of my journey to fitness.

Also I went over 50 miles in the Altra Instincts and I usually do a 50 mile review of the shoe and I will get that out sometime this weekend.

Running Priorities–Are They Changing?

I had a choice yesterday:

  • go to the track
  • run on trails
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It came down to what are my priorities in my running?

  • Running Fast
  • Enjoying Running

Running Fast

I know that I need the track work desperately, to run faster than I do now. Especially since, when I run faster than a 7:30 pace it feels very awkward and labored, instead of the natural feeling that I used to have.

If I want to run faster, it means that more than likely that track/speed workouts will be an important focus in my weekly training plan, as I re-learn how to run faster. However, speed workouts, while satisfying when they are done, are not enjoyable while doing them. You have to accept that you will experience discomfort and even some pain to get faster and it is a lot more like work.

Running fast also means that I miss a lot of what is going on around me. When I am running faster, I tend to be very focused. I see enough to be safe, but I am constantly monitoring different body parts (whether it is pain or discomfort), determining if I should push a little more or if I am slowing down. So much so that I often don’t see neat things until the last second or I tend to miss them.

There is a lot more planning involved in getting faster and you tend to be much more aware of the numbers, how many miles, at such and such a pace, what my splits are, how much did I slow down on this hill and all the other things that I worry about when I am training to run faster. The numbers govern how you run and decide if you are improving or not.

However, the feeling of accomplishment that you get when you have completed a hard workout is difficult to describe and the feelings you get when you set a new personal record (PR) in a race, as a result of all your hard work is amazing.

Enjoying Running

When I am running for the sheer joy of running, I tend to let go of things, my body decides on the pace, I tend to notice little things around me and at the end of the run, while I might be tired physically, I am refreshed mentally.

I don’t worry so much about pace or how long the runs take me, I am just running. I also tend to slow down and notice more about what is happening around me and not worry about things like embracing the pain or being uncomfortable.

I know that I am much more likely to stop take a quick look around or snap a photo to have, when I am just out to enjoy the run.

Can’t I do both

A lot of people seem to be able to do both, but I can’t.

I love to run fast, but when it is time to run fast, it also means that I am pushing myself a lot harder than is enjoyable. Running fast usually means I am running for a purpose – to get ready for a race or if I have identified someone who I really, really want to beat next time.

It isn’t time to screw around with stopping to take pictures, moon dogging or dreaming, it is time to focus on the work that needs to be done to run faster.

Training to run fast and running fast is a mind-set to me, and doesn’t go well with just running.

It is almost like the difference between S.M.A.R.T. goals and holistic goals – and yes there is a huge difference.

I am Wondering

At some point in our lives, most of us re-examine why we do things a certain way, to see if they make sense or not. I have written about running fast before, but it is a subject that I seem to be coming back to an awful lot in the last few months, because it is something that I am thinking a lot about.

What is the real purpose for running fast in my life?

Is it simply for me to reach an artificial goal or beat another runner. If so, how important to me are those things in the big picture?

Really who cares how fast I run, besides me. I am not going to win any races or even be very competitive in my age group in most events, so does it really matter what my time is for a race, whatever distance I am running, as long as I finish the run.

Actually, I think most of the reason for running faster, is simply my ego. That part of me, which continues to want me to run faster and be “competitive’”. I think that is more of the answer than I want to admit.

Perhaps I have finally gotten to the point in my running life, where attempting to run fast is not the great quest or the Holy Grail of Running that it used to be?

Choices

I have a feeling that I answered that question yesterday.

When I made the a choice between running at the track with clear mileage and time goals in mind or go on a trail run, without any regard for time or distance other than I wanted to run for around an hour.

I chose the trail run.

No More Track?

Does this mean I won’t ever do speed work again or go to the track?

Of course not.

I actually like track workouts (in a sick and perverse way) and the challenges that running faster presents. I still enjoy challenging myself and along with a few people that I would like to finish ahead of at our next race together. So the track and speed workouts will continue to be a part of my running.

However, I have a feeling that my track/speed workouts will be sporadic and more of a spur of the moment type run that I choose to do instead have to do as a of a part a master plan to run faster.

 

The reality is that

I still like to run fast (for me), but I just don’t have the old overriding need or drive to run faster as often as I used to. There are other parts to running that I seem to be focusing on and enjoying more as I am getting older:

  • The great view from the top of a hill or ridge
  • The beautiful flower that is nestled just so in the woods or side of the road
  • The critter looking at me or scurrying away as I go by
  • Enjoying the feeling of just running
  • Taking pictures during a run

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My running priorities are shifting away from the need for speed. While I haven’t completely stopped worrying about running fast, it is certainly becoming a lot less important to me.

What do you think?

Which phase of running are you in?

  • The constant need for more speed
  • Stop and smell the roses
  • A combination of the two

Colby Upper/Lower Trails Exploration 7/26/12

P7260004I went for a trail run this morning over at Colby College in Waterville. They have a bunch of different trails all over the campus, but I decided to just do the upper and lower ones heading back towards downtown.

The weather was overcast and sprinkling rain every so often, but it was in the low 70’s. Which meant it felt great!

I still worked up a great sweat, but the heat wasn’t unbearable, like it has been for a while.

The biggest problem was the horseflies, they were pretty horrible! Once when I stopped to take a picture, I killed three of the little buggers with one swat. Needless to say I didn’t dilly dally around when it came to stopping, to take pictures or anything else.

The trails themselves were in GREAT shape and I even found the trail head behind the tennis courts, so I can park over by the track, instead of down on the street. I just feel better about parking there.

Here are pictures from today’s run.

Lower Trail

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I found this at the end of one of the little trails that I took, that I hadn’t been on before.

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This is one of those areas, where I am glad that I had a little beefier trail shoe, the Vigor’s did a great job of protecting my feet through this area and through the roots/rocks that are abundant on the lower trails.

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There were a lot of new areas like this on the lower trails, made running a little easier, but it wasn’t muddy because of the dry spell, but I will kind of miss running in the mud through these areas.

Upper Trail

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Looking down towards Waterville from the top of the field.

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Part of a new trail I found by accident. It is off to the left, going up the hill from the lower trail, next time I go to Colby that I really want to explore it and see where it actually goes. It definitely looked well used and I am surprised that I haven’t found it before today.

The lower trails are more single track and on much of the upper trails, you could be drive on them in a golf cart. So I was able to really open up, once I got up the hill and ran faster than normal for a lot of the upper section.

The Adidas Vigor’s did everything I asked of them today and I really just enjoy running trails in these shoes on trails. I don’t worry about the shoe, I just worry about where I am putting my feet, which is the way it is supposed to be.

Today was more about exploring little side trails that I haven’t been on before and just enjoying the run and you know something – I did enjoy the run!

Well most everything, except the damn horseflies that attempted to cart me off to deeper portions of the woods and have their way with me.

RunLog 7-26-12

I guess that this was my recovery run for the week, an easy and enjoyable run.