Racing, Patriots and Better Weather – Week In Review 1-21-18

The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl, I ran in a race and ran outside more than I did on the treadmill, so it was a pretty darn good week.

My favorite photo of the week:

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Photo by David Colby-Young

A group photo after today’s race and yes, Gene get well soon.

All is right with the world, the Patriots are going BACK to the Super Bowl. They did what many didn’t think they could after going down 20-10. However, I didn’t watch it, I just can’t watch them play, I get too wound up. I’ve been this way for a couple of years, but I get to support them otherwise enjoy the post-game shows and interviews. Now to see if the Vikings can get in too – not looking too good right now.

I ran in the Central Maine Striders 39th Annual January Thaw Road Race. I did pretty good with Ron’s help, beating my time from last year by almost 2 1/2 minutes. Not that I am in better shape, but more that I had a good pacer to keep me honest and it was easier running in shorts than being all bundled up like I was last year. You can read more about it here.

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The weather has broken and with the temps out of the negative numbers and the ice being off the roads, it makes things more runnable outside up heah in Maine. Which means that I get to do something other than run on the treadmill, which is a very good thing.

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I got to 30 miles again this week, so I achieving one of those things that I want to over the course of the year – consistently get to at least 30 miles for the week. I had a couple of runs that were sub 8:00 minute pace and even took a day where I actually rested most of the day!

One thing that I did on purpose was cut back on the number of miles that I am doing on the elliptical. I wanted my legs to be more fresh for the race and then didn’t feel the need to get on it after the race today. I kept my total mileage under 70 for the week and the legs are feeling pretty good right now. Although I am getting 20,000 steps in many days during the week.

Running outside more also “allows” me to slow down the pace more than I do on the treadmill. It doesn’t mean that I am not working as hard, it usually means that the footing is not as good (that snow/slop or icy stuff) or that I am playing around on hills. Not that there are many of those around where I live.

I do have to get my eating habits under better control. The weight stayed pretty much the same for an average, but it isn’t where I wanted it to be at the end of this week. Gotta shut the pie hole a bit sooner I think.

Running Shoes

It was a Newton Gravity kind of week.

I ran for the first time outside in the Gravity 3’s in today’s race and they did great. No issues and they felt comfortable the entire race. At this point in my running, maybe being more comfortable in my race day shoes is more important than them being super light like more racing flats are.

Also since I ran outside more this week, I got to spend more time in the Gravity 5’s. While I would not use them as my race day shoes (when I compare them to the 3’s), they are definitely growing on me and I can see me putting a lot of miles on them through the rest of winter into spring. Surprisingly, the grip they provide in slush or snow is better than my current trail shoes – gotta be those big front lugs.

Which really makes me want to look closer at Newton’s Boco Sol trail shoes at some point. Especially, if I have a chance to do more trails this year.

The reality is

It was a pretty good week and I am happy where I am at this point in my training cycle. I don’t have the multitude of little aches and pains that seemed to follow me over the course of the past few years, which is helping me to run a lot more comfortably and consistently.

One thing that I do like is that using the elliptical is helping me get in extra time (miles?) that are helping to strengthen my legs and lungs. Although during the race I did open up some passages in the lungs that haven’t been open for a while (going fast uphill sucks) and they let me know about it the rest of the day and I dredged up some pretty nasty stuff that had been hanging around – which is a good thing.

A good week of running and some other decisions that I can’t share right now, but are very important, good things and will definitely effect my running later this year.

39th Annual Central Maine Striders January Thaw Race Report

What a freaking gorgeous day to have a January Thaw road race!!!

Hells bells, I even wore shorts – in January – in Maine. The part where I didn’t need a hat or gloves was pretty good too

Temps in the 40’s, not too bad of breeze, clear roads and lots of sunshine, besides the great company of runners to compete with.

What more could you ask for after all the crap/cold weather we have had this winter – a true January Thaw.

Well another 37 seconds, but then I would just be greedy.

Getting back to the race, the organizers have it down to a pretty good routine, but unfortunately one of the co-race directors was in the hospital today, so get well soon Gene.

Photo courtesy of David Colby-Young

I renewed my Central Maine Striders membership (gotta get one of those shirts like Ron’s) and paid the registration (which at $10 is a bargain), less than most single registration fees are nowadays. I tend to like local no-frills races more than the big event ones, you get to talk with other runners more and it is more about the running than the hoopla or the cause they are attempting to raise money for.

I really was not all that sure about how I would do today, I haven’t raced a lot over the past year (twice) and am just starting to get back into some semblance of shape after a bad September/October.

At the starting line, I was talking with Ron and he asked if he could run with me??? MMMMM Ron is one of the better runners in the club, and is a helluva lot better runner than I ever was, but has been battling injury for a bit. So without coming right out and saying so he really just wanted to run with an old slow fart to hold him back and not let him reinjure himself by getting too competitive and going with the leaders. I wasn’t complaining though, because I had a feeling that because of him running with me it would cause me to run better than I would otherwise.

That prediction came true!

This course has its challenges for me, if you look at the elevation graph, it starts out uphill, does a quick downhill and then another extended uphill, a bit of downhill and then a long gradual uphill that just takes you by surprise by the time you get 3/4 of the way up it, you realize just how much uphill you are actually running. Then little longer downhill section to another quick uphill and a couple of bumps to the finish.

The one thing that I really notice as I get older is that my ability to run faster uphill gets harder every year – just nature taking back some of the vitality from the old body, but it sure does suck wind. So this course with its multiple slightly longer climbs gets me more each year.

However, with Ron motivating me to run better (just by him being there) and every so often trying to get my attention off how bad I was hurting, by gabbing a little (when I could breath) made the run a lot more “enjoyable”. Well I guess I wouldn’t say enjoyable too loudly, but more passable. In other words I got past the hard spots with his help a lot easier than I would have if he hadn’t been there.

Just before we turned onto the longish downhill section I could hear footsteps behind us. Someone was catching up, well that kind of got to my competitive side and I might have turned-up the pace a little extra going down that hill.

I found out afterwards that it was a young lady behind us, during a race I purposely try not to look back to see where the competitors are, something I learned a long time ago. After the race we were talking about her getting close at that point and how I thought she was going to catch me. She commented that she noticed that we picked the pace up going down the hill and that my stride was more like I was gliding down the hill and that she couldn’t maintain that pace.

Hell, I ain’t had anyone tell me my stride looked I was gliding instead of running for years. So maybe there is hope for all the work I have been doing with my stride?

I finished 10th out of 26 and was the first 60 year-old, but where it is a small race they only have 1st overall male/female for divisions. Kind of old-school, but I tend to like it.

Afterwards it was nice to talk and catch up with people I haven’t seen in a while.

Overall it was a great day for a race and I beat my time from last year by almost two and half minutes, so I have to say a big thank you to Ron for pacing me to a better time than I expected.

And I bet he has another almost the same at home 😉

Speaking of running shoes, the Gravity 3’s worked great as race day shoes, they got their first run outside and did great.