January 2019 – Good Month

No, I have not dropped off the face of the blogging world, it is just that my Zagg Keyboard to my iPad Pro died and I am waiting for a replacement that is supposed to be here next Monday. I broke down and bought a Brydge Keyboard and while it is another Bluetooth one, from everything I have read, it meets what I want from a keyboard better than anything else on the market.

So while I have been waiting for it to come in, I have taken a bit of a holiday from blogging about my boring running and feeble attempts to keep that half step ahead of the Grim Reaper and just work on making the old bastard chuckle a little more loudly.

My favorite photo in January:

Running

Today is the last day of January and you know something it was a really good month when it came to my running.

Run Total: 167.78

Total Time: 25:19:32

Average Pace: 9:03

Number of Runs: 27 – although 23 of them were on the treadmill.

Walking Miles: 94.30

Total Steps: 654,996

Weight: 157 Start – 154 End, with a low of 152 pounds

Average Waking Heartrate: 52.5 Continue reading “January 2019 – Good Month”

A Step Back and Being Realistic for a Change

This week has been an eye opener.

I have been using the Hansons Marathon Method to train for a Spring Half Marathon or more, if I did really great and surprised myself. I picked the 3:40:00 pace to use as a basis, which I figured would help me finish between 1:40 and 1:45 for a half, but not completely beat the snot out of the old body.

Yeah, it is also the goal time that I have set for myself for the marathon if I run one.

At least that was my plan, until this week when I finally realized most of my training this winter will be done on the treadmill, due to the cold, my fragility and/or crappy footing outside. When you add in: attempting to be a good neighbor, when it storms snow blowing 2-3 households, roof raking multiple buildings, trying to keep Bennie sane (lots of walks – at least 20-30 miles extra per week), sanding ice covered driveways, maintaining a life and attempting to keep up with a tough training plan.

Something had to give.

I know many other people are facing the same conditions or worse and yes, I knew going in that the Hansons Marathon Training method is tough. While the paces don’t really change, the mileage and planned accumulated fatigue only becomes more daunting the further into the program that I would go.

Struggling

The first two weeks were at just below 40 mpw and this week is trending towards a bit over that. Unfortunately, I am also starting to pick-up not so subtle clues that the body is not completely happy. A least I am hearing what the body is telling me and attempting to be proactive for a change.

Let’s be real Harold, you are starting to struggle to keep up with the mileage, workload in the Hanson’s Marathon plan now and getting a bad case of training foreknowledge intimidation, especially since I know that I will be having to run most of those miles on the treadmill is not helping.

Not quite what I expected when I came up with this grand idea.

Questions

My big questions are:

1. Is eventually running a BQ marathon and/or having to put up big mileage numbers that have to be run in order to do it, worth all the time on the treadmill the rest of January, February and March?

Honestly, no.

2. Could I be happy with just finishing a marathon and not worry so much about the time?

No.

3. Do I even need or really want to run another marathon?

This is the actual question that I need to answer more than any other one and I really do not know the answer to it.

4. Finally, is the Hansons Marathon training method something that I want to continue to use?

I like the Hansons Training Method a LOT.

It fits my personality and how I prefer to train. I have a pretty good idea of what is coming next, and provides me with solid guidelines on the paces that I should be doing versus the stoopid stuff that I tend to think I still can do.

The biggest thing that I need to change in order to cut down on the total fatigue (physical and mental) is lower the mileage on the active recovery days and keep the long runs in the 8-12 mile range.

In other words pretty much what the Hansons Half Marathon Method calls for.

Using their half marathon plan sounds pretty good right now and with that 20/20 hindsight that we all have, probably where I should have stayed when I decided that I was going to use the Hansons Method.

I think that a good goal to base my training on for the half will be 1:41:00 and be happy with running one somewhere between 1:40:00 and 1:45:00. Which is something that I believe is doable in a few months, I think that if I were to run one today that I would struggle to break 1:45:00.

The reality is that

I will finish up this week and then start back at week 6 of the Hansons Half Marathon Method program and see how I do with the lower mileage, but slightly faster paces.

This is probably what I should have done in the first place, but as usual in my hubris as a runner and believing that I am more and better than I am, I have to set my goals a bit out of reach. Now that I have failed again, it is time to pick myself up off the ground, look to see what smacked the hell out of me, figure out where I really am and what I comes next.

Would I do it again – yep and I have a feeling that I will continue to keep making the mistake of starting out too high and having to back off…because sometimes it isn’t too high. Take a look at my tag line, don’t limit yourself or anyone else.

Unfortunately, my goals was a little too high this time, but not by that much. I think I am physically closer to being able to handle the marathon training plan than I might give myself credit for, but mentally I am not there yet. Just the way it is.

I tend believe that going through a complete Hansons training cycle will give me a better base and understanding of the program’s demands – something that I do need and prepare me for whatever I decide to do next.

The biggest thing right now is to DO what works versus what sounds good or that I “wish” would work – for me.

A Couple of Easy Days

Friday’s run was one of those easy 6 mile runs in the Hansons Marathon plan, which I have been using to prep for a half marathon in April and also to see if I could manage the training and mileage required to run a marathon this Fall.

During the run I had a chance to think, which for me can be dangerous.

No, Friday’s run itself was not a problem and I actually got to enjoy the time outside in the sun, with decent weather for January in Maine. I even got to test the Beacons on a variety of surfaces and was surprised at how grippy they were. Now I wouldn’t wear them on any gnarly trails or anything, but they were decent on sanded ice, wet gritty sand and regular roads. Plus they were comfortable for the entire 10K and when I wanted to pick the pace up during the last mile – I did.

Today’s run was another scheduled easy run and since I did the 6.0 miler yesterday, I planned on 5.0 for today.

I could have probably could have run outside, but once I got to the gym, I decided that the treadmill was going to be easier and got on and set it to an easy pace for 4.0 miles. When I got to 4.0 miles I decided that I wanted to do some .1 strides at a faster pace. I may have gotten a bit carried away and ended up doing 8 of them.

They just felt good and the Beacons didn’t get in the way like some other trainers have when I pick up the paces to the I’m going too fast speeds. Then I did a half mile cool-down and walked for another half mile.

So far I am very happy with the way the New Balance Beacons have performed on easy runs and the faster paced strides that I did today. Just need to keep putting miles on them.

I did get to think some more and am pretty sure that I will be making a few changes to my training plan next week based on what I have been thinking about.

New Balance Beacon – Initial Thoughts

My New Balance Beacons, a pair of reasonably newer shoes, even though a few images of version 2 are out in the wild, they are not available for purchase yet. So the original Beacon is still pretty current.

Let’s get something out there right now.

New Balance running shoes generally fit my feet better than any other brand in a men’s size 8.0, which is my true to size foot. I have not had a pair of New Balance running shoes that did not fit my Hobbit feet well. The problems with the New Balance daily trainers that I have tried is that they tend to be heavy, stiff, have high ankle wells and bother the hell out of my left foot’s Plantar Fascia.

If it were not for those reasons I would have been running in a LOT more of their shoes over the years.

Enter the New Balance Beacon.

Continue reading “New Balance Beacon – Initial Thoughts”

Being A Neighbor and a Tough But Good Run

Holy raining cats and dawgs!!! Yeah, can you believe it rain in Maine in January and actually it was a pretty good thing, I can’t imagine what kind of snow totals we would have had if it had come down as white shite…errr snow. Clean-up from the rain is definitely a lot easier on the body, but when it freezes up tonight it is going to be a regular skating rink, out in the driveway.

Yesterday was a scheduled day off and it probably have been easier to have run 5.0 miles than roof rake three very large roofs. After 4.5 hours of roof raking, needless to say I was pretty much toast by the time I got done.

Sometimes we just take things for granted. Like our health.

Last week we found out that the next door neighbor had a stroke back in November and while we thought something was going on, out of respect for their privacy we never really tried to find out what was going on.

While we have had our differences over the years, when I know that someone needs the help, you check egos at the door and offer to help. That was two of the roofs I got to rake yesterday that hadn’t been done this winter, in preparation for today’s storm.

What we didn’t know was that the wife also has stage IV cancer and has been traveling to Boston every couple of weeks for treatment. When I found that out, I were floored to say the least.

Sometimes life is strange, but sometimes doing the right things for the right reasons…is the right thing to do.

Even though when I left the house three hours later, I was sore and tired, the handshake, thank you and smile that I got was all I needed and accepted. I smiled back and told them thank you for letting me help and I can do anything else to help to let me know.

No, I am not patting myself on my back or anything else, I mention it because so often we are so busy going about living our daily lives that we don’t really notice the changes in our neighbors that may indicate that they are really struggling. Sometimes all it takes is asking “are you okay” or “what’s been going on”, especially when you notice things out of the ordinary going on around their place. Being a nosy neighbor is not always a bad thing.

Especially, when you can do something that could make their’s a little better.

Getting back to Running

So this morning my SOS workout was one of those ones where you really think about changing it to tomorrow, because my body was pretty much miserable from the heavy duty upper body workout yesterday. Then I got to thinking about my neighbors and their recent struggles – there wasn’t any doubt about doing the workout.

I am lucky and at the same time have worked hard to get my health to where it is today and to duck out on a workout after yesterday’s revelations is not something that I could do.

With the rain storm going on outside, it was another treadmill workout. However, I was going to get to run in my first new shoes since November (a new record) and was wondering how they would do?

New Balance Beacon. I was shocked that they came in under 7.0 ounces.

I was a little concerned about running in new shoes for a 7.0 mile planned tougher workout, but that is the primary reason that I got the Beacons, so I figured why not see what they are going to be like.

My workout was a 1.0 mile warm-up, 5.0 miles at ten seconds below race pace and then a mile cool-down.

The mile warm-up went nicely and the shoes felt fine.

I pushed the speed up to faster than my race pace and settled into a nice stride and just ran comfortably. Although I gotta admit about 3.0 miles into the faster pace stuff, I was definitely feeling the last week’s extra curricula activities of snowblowing and roof raking. When I got to mile 4.0, I decided to kick it up just a little for the last mile. A real sucker for punishment aren’t I?

It was a tough mile, but I got it done.

The cool-down felt good and I got the 7.0 miles done before the 60:00 cut-off on the treadmill – by five seconds. 🙂

One thing I is that I forgot my Garmin at home (I was charging it and when I left the house, it was still attached to the charger). So I had to rely on the treadmill and my Milestone Pod, which I put on the Beacons to see if I they changed any of my normal stride patterns from my adidas.

How did the Beacons do?

No issues, I stopped noticing them once I got to the faster paces and I could tell a difference with the extra cushion in the forefoot. The only difference that I will wonder about is the lower drop and how it will affect my left Achilles, but according to Milestone, there are no differences to my stride patterns, so I don’t see a lot of things that I need to worry about.

A good run and a more than a little reflection during the about life, health and what is a good neighbor.

A Really Good Run and an Experiment That Didn’t Work

Well that was an interesting couple of days and taxing on the old bod, but I got through it and today was the workout that I actually look forward to – Speed work. Yeah, I am one of those guys.

At least now that I have learned that I don’t have to run stoopid speeds to do these workouts. I just have to run controlled paces that are based on reality versus “how I used to be” or wishful thinking.

A pretty big difference to say the least.

Yeah, I ran yesterday 6.0 easy miles on the treadmill, the temps were below zero and the wind chills were nothing I wanted to deal will. Today the temps were still in the single digits and the wind chills were not all that great. So another treadmill day, but since I have committed to do my speed work inside for a while it was not a big deal.

Continue reading “A Really Good Run and an Experiment That Didn’t Work”

Week 3 – 2018

Well…it certainly has been an interesting week, that is to say the least. Cold, sub-zero temperatures, snow, sleet and just some nasty winds made being outside less joyful and more of a chore.

In other words lots of treadmill running – not a bad thing considering the alternative, but I would still rather be outside putting in the miles, just for me the temps have to be a bit warmer for this wimpy old fart. 😉

Although I did make some decisions on what I am going to do for a training plan versus being confused all the time regarding what paces I need to be running to accomplish my goals. Running faster is not always the answer and sometimes I gotta focus on just doing the plan versus doing more when I am feeling good. Continue reading “Week 3 – 2018”

A Long Time on the Treddy

I switched my scheduled 10.0 mile long run to today, because it doesn’t look like anything but some serious snow removal several times probably, will be all the workouts that I will be getting tomorrow. Since somewhere between 10-24 inches of snow is supposed to wack us, according to whichever forecaster you tend to believe.

It was below my personal temperature limit (even though there are a lot of runners out and about doing their long runs today), so I headed to Planet Fitness and an hour and half on the treadmill.

If nothing else, I am getting a great deal of toughening the brain training, running this far on the treadmill. Hopefully it translates well to being able to run my goals outside later this spring. We will find out.

Although I did an experiment and ate cold cereal and milk for breakfast this morning. I gotta admit that I love the taste and convenience that eating cereal gives me, but about 15 minutes after finishing, I felt like crap, my stomach was bothering me and a nasty headache. Now I can’t be sure that that the actual cause was the cereal I ate, but it was the same reaction I had on Thursday. Which leads me to believe it is more than coincidence.

No more cold cereal for breakfast and get back to eating higher quality carbs and avoiding sugar/wheat products.

I got on the treadmill, started my playlist and set the speed to 6.6 (about a 9:05 pace) and began. No issues until 2.0 miles when all the crap I have experimented with eating over the past few days reared its ugly head and at mile 2.5 I had to rush to the bathroom.

After that I got back on the treadmill and kept it at 6.6 mph and finished the run, without any other issues. It was more just keep the eyes focused on a little spot on the screen in front of me (the TV didn’t work) and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I do wish that the treadmills at PF didn’t turn off at the 1:00:00 mark, it is a pain in the arse when doing the longer runs, but in the overall scale of things a pretty minor inconvenience.

About 8.0 miles into the run, the right hip complained a little, but not nearly as badly as it has in the past. So it wasn’t a big deal, but just something I wanted to note. After the run, I foamed rolled and stretched things out and it hasn’t bothered at all the rest of the day. A very good thing.

No, I am not thrilled about running for an hour and half on the treadmill, but it is in my opinion a lot better than running outside that long in 15*F with a lower windchills.

I was very happy with the way my long run went today. However, I am not looking forward to the storm that is going to wack us. On the positive side I will get in a great upper body workout.

Unfortunately, the yard will not look like this after tomorrow.

Changing the Plan For Some Reason

Hey, do you believe it, I actually ran outside this morning. The temps hit 20*F and the winds were not howling. No, it was not a warm run, but it wasn’t horrible either. I did exactly what I wanted after yesterday’s harder tempo run – a nice recovery run.

However, based on Sunday’s weather forecast I did skip my scheduled 4.0 miler to what I would have done on Saturday and have moved up my 10.0 mile long run to Saturday, since there is a good probability that I won’t leave the house to do anything but snowblow the driveways.

The run itself was not anything special, but I paid for experimenting with eating cereal yesterday and needed to take a pit stop after 3.0 miles. Which meant that I turned up from Leighton Road and went back into to Planet Fitness instead of heading out around the Commerce Center. Once I did that I didn’t have any desire to head back outside to finish up the next 3.0 that I needed get my 6.0 miles. Continue reading “Changing the Plan For Some Reason”

Confusing Myself Needlessly

Sometimes I am an complete and utter…idiot, putz, or whatever word you use to describe someone who cannot make up his mind or at the very least is easily confused. After a lot of researching, trying, experimenting and eventually attempting more than a few running philosophies over the last year or so, I finally settled on the Hansons Method as fitting closest to how I tend to perceive training.

So I got the Hansons Marathon Method book and started following the plan at week 5, because it seemed to be about where I was at the time, even though I have no plans to run a marathon this spring, I used the 3:40 marathon pace training plan to start my half marathon training, because that is the 60 year old Boston Qualifying standard at this point.

The great news is that I finished week 5 no problem and have started week 6. Although most of the training has been on the treadmill, but it has been my experience that my treadmill running transfers decently to running outside with a little bit of transition.

However, since I am focused on running a spring Half Marathon, I thought it probably would be a great idea to get the Hansons Half Marathon Training book. So I ordered the Half Marathon plan book. However, my goal time for the half is a sub 1:40:00 which is a much faster pace than my 3:40:00 marathon pace goal. Continue reading “Confusing Myself Needlessly”