Reading and Thinking Keeps Me Out of Trouble – Hopefully

So far in 2019, I have taken my training to higher levels than I have in years. Unfortunately, on the flip side of that, the one thing that the number of years that have passed since I was born have done is – is taken away my ability to hold that high level of training for long periods of time.

In other words I am starting to feel that fuzzy around the edges feeling that tells me it is time to pull in on the reins for a week or two to let the old boy recover a little.

Now thankfully I am not injured and still am smiling, but at the same time when I read this blurb from Mario Faioli’s – The Morning Shakeout while eating breakfast, I found myself nodding my head and going this is exactly how I am feeling.

Screen shot of email from Mario Fraioli “The Morning Shakeout” on 3/19/19

…Sometimes these lessons are profound, other times they’re more practical. And every once in a while, they’re a bit of both. Recently I’ve come to realize that as an athlete, I can only keep the proverbial water running at full blast for 8-12 weeks at a time before I need to dial it back for an extended period to refill the tank. And that is exactly where I’m at right now…

Quite honestly, I have had the water running at full blast since the end of October. I have very consistently been putting in at least 30 mile weeks, which is good mileage for me. When I started doing the Hansons Half Marathon plan that mileage has steadily increased to the 48 miles that I ran last week.

During this time there have not been any cut-back or rest for an aging body, weeks thrown in to consolidate the gains I have made. The intensity and distances have only increased and I am starting to notice maybe it is time for a quick break.

I know, a lot of runners can do a complete 16-24 week training cycle and not worry about it. However, when I look back through my logs, I see that I fall fairly naturally into 4-6 week go hard, then the body requires a cut-back week over the last few years. When I ignore the cut-back week, to keep pushing a training plan, I get the blahs and the aches/pains start to multiply or worse the injury bug starts to visit.

The reality is that

As much as I hate to admit it most of the time, the older I get the closer I have to pay attention to the signals that my body is talking to me about. Yesterday, when I had zero desire to do an easy 6.0 miles and my hip and ankle were grumbling a little more than usual, I decided to take the day off.

Once in a while I can be smahtah.

Then when I read Mario Fraioli’s “The Morning Shakeout” today and looked back at my running log, it kind of tied things all together and made me think about how much and how far I have come since last October.

Even though the Hansons Method is based on accumulated fatigue, there is a point where it accumulates too much and I need to back off, recover and then get back to with a fresher body and mind.

Sometimes, you get so focused on the constant improvement model, that you forget that you have to stop for a bit to take a breather, take stock of where you are, then decide the direction to keep moving.

This is especially true for my running right now. I don’t have any races scheduled and have purposely been using the Hansons Half Marathon Method more as a base building cycle, than a race prep cycle. The last few months have been more to see how things work for me using the Hansons Method than anything else.

So far it has worked well.

However, as a concession to my age, doing the Hansons Plan without a cut-back week or two included into the cycle, probably is not going to let me complete the training plan without burning-out or an injury. Just the way things are.

In other words for me to be successful with the plan, about every 4-5 weeks, I need a cut-back week, to solidify the gains I am making. Which means that this week goes from being planned to being more whatever I feel like doing and then on Sunday re-evaluating how the old body feels, to see if I need an extra week or if I am ready to get back to it.

Oh, I still plan to run and workout, but not at the Hansons Method’s intensity or mileage.

Then I will get back to my Hansons Method Half Marathon base building time. The philosophy fits my personality and how I want to train, but I have to modify it a bit for it to actually work well for me.

You know that damned experiment of one thing.

How about you, do you ever take a cut-back week in the middle of a training cycle, just because you know if you don’t, you will start to have problems?

Callusing the Brain – Runlog 3/17/19

Let’s get real, I was wimpy today.

The temps were in the mid 20s and the breeze was more than I wanted to deal with at this point and time. So instead of doing my scheduled long run outside, I decided that running on the treadmill was going to be the plan of the day.

Unfortunately, when I left the house, both my wife and I commented about how we felt a little off, so I wasn’t heading into my long run with the idea that I was going to finish. It was more like, I will do whatever I can and be happy with the results.

No warm-up, I just wanted to get things over with this morning, so this is the workout that I ended up doing.

6.6 miles @ 6.7 mph. Nothing special through 3.0 miles, at that point the GI issues started to haunt me, but I was able to hold things off until after the 6.6 mile point. I figured that it was about half-way and the treadmill would be shutting off in a couple of minutes, so it was a good point to…

Go for a bathroom break

The last 6.5 miles I felt a little more relaxed and did feel better during the run. At 8.0 and 10.0 miles I seriously considered bagging the runs, but I figured that I was getting closer to finishing the 13.1 and figured that I might as well keep going.

3.5 miles @ 6.7 mph

1.0 mile @ 6.8 mph

1.0 mile @ 6.9 mph

1.0 mile @ 7.8 mph

Yeah, once I got going again and got to the 10.0 mile point, I decided to start picking up the pace a little just to see if the old body had anything left. When I got to the 12th mile, I wanted to see how I felt at my hoped for half marathon race pace would feel like when I am tired.

Not nearly as bad as I thought I would feel.

From running the distance in the past and how well my training has been going this cycle, I was pretty confident that I could run the half marathon distance physically and it was just a matter of getting the brain to agree to do it again.

Now that I have run the distance on the treadmill, which to me is a LOT harder to run for this long, it now becomes more a question of how fast I can run it. Which is where I want to be both physically and mentally going into the last third of the training plan.

IMG_3504

This is the first time that I have run this far on the treadmill in a long, long time and I was super impressed with how well the Beacons did. No issues with the shoes at all. The biggest problem that I had was the bump in the sock on my right foot irritating my Tailor’s Bunionette a little. Nothing serious, but enough to know it wasn’t quite right, so I won’t be using those socks again for a long run.

Even though I didn’t go into the run all that confident about how it would be, the run went a LOT better than I expected. Always a good thing. Sometimes even when you don’t really feel all that confident or are feeling a bit off, once you get going things even out and you are able to complete the workout as scheduled and actually do a lot better than what you had planned in the first place.

 

Sometimes Easy Days Are The Hardest–RunLog 3/15/19

Today, I was scheduled to do 5.0 miles in my “easy” pace range, after yesterday’s great Tempo and more workout. Yet really, I found today’s workout in many ways more difficult to get done than that hard-ass workout.

IMG_3503

 

I definitely would have preferred to have sat in the new chair with Bennie than gone out and run on the treadmill this morning.

What in the hell are you talking about Harold?

Yesterday, you did 6.0 miles of tempo running at half marathon race pace and then added 8 x .1 strides at fast speeds for a total of 10.0 miles and you are telling us that today’s 5.0 miles at within your easy pace range was a harder run.

You really are knackered, aren’t you! Continue reading “Sometimes Easy Days Are The Hardest–RunLog 3/15/19”

Taking My Training to a Different Level – RunLog 3-14-19

Over the years, I can honestly say that I have never had a training cycle quite like this one!

Yeah, I used an exclamation point for a reason.

Over the years I have been one of those haphazard training kind of runners, who depended more on natural ability than actually training. I did have a little ability, but don’t brag about it very often very often, since I have never been able to live up to the potential that some saw in me as a runner.

My issues were I seldom made a real effort to stick with a training plan when they got harder. Sometimes because the plans were  too aggressive for where I actually was physically or mentally, I got bored with it, found something else that sparkled in my eye for the moment and led me down a different type of training rabbit hole or more likely I injured something – at least that would be my excuse.

However, if I am honest with myself and with that 20/20 hindsight – I was a chicken.

I was not willing to do the hard work that is necessary to run well and found or made up excuses to not run well.

Since January, I have been using the Hansons Half Marathon Training Plan and something has clicked within this old fart’s mind and body. While I haven’t been perfect about following the plan, I have followed it better than I have any other training in my entire running career, even though it is probably the hardest I have ever worked as a runner.

Guess what?

I am running better than I have in years – like since the mid 80s.

Even though during my glory days I might have run faster, but I know without a doubt that I didn’t work this hard.

No, I will never be a great or even good runner, I do not have that kind of drive, but I am showing myself that I can do more than I thought I would be able to at over 60 years old. Sometimes it just takes some of us longer to learn what we need to do versus finding excuses on why we can’t run better. Continue reading “Taking My Training to a Different Level – RunLog 3-14-19”

AOM Writing Prompt #2a – Conformity

Art of Manliness Self-Sufficiency Writing Prompt challenge #2.

I am going to adapt the writing prompts by changing the self-sufficiency idea that these prompts were based, to address my own questions or thoughts about running that come about as a result as a result of my thinking about the writing prompt.

After all to be a runner you need to be fairly self-sufficient.

I imagine that with a busy life that completing all the prompts will take more than 31 days, so I will take as long as it takes to complete all 31 and I am good with that. Especially, since I think that these prompts will force me to stop and think about some things with my running from perspectives that I would not have otherwise.

Day 2

 

A. “The virtue in most request is conformity.” ―Emerson

B. “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” ―Joseph Campbell

 

This writing prompt in my my mind is actually two different prompts, so that is the way that I am going to respond to them.

Wow, conformity and how it relates to running has so many directions that could be taken, however I do not want to write a post with several chapters or start a book, so I will paint a broad brush to keep the length somewhat reasonable, while attempting to maintain a certain focus.

Conforming to society’s norms and expectations is something that most of us do without really thinking about what we are doing. After all we have laws that are not optional to follow, certain social norms that we agree to (for the most part), had to conform to for at least several years of school’s rules, then for many of us conforming to the “military or company way” to earn a living.

Conforming for most of us is just the way it is.

Then you have us runners. Continue reading “AOM Writing Prompt #2a – Conformity”

Tough Workout & New Furniture – RunLog 3-11-19

Another day in the life and another new adventure or is that something unexpected happening that turns out pretty well.

Well overnight, all of yesterday’s melt water was frozen solid and immediately after walking Bennie, I got to sand the driveways, so that none of us would slip, fall and injure important parts of the anatomy on the ice. I just so love lifting 5 gallon buckets filled with sand and spreading it first thing in the morning – not.

Bennie’s walk was not down-back, I figured that if my driveway looked like a skating rink then down there would be even worse and even though I was a bit reluctant to walk down Philbrick Hill before my planned Something of Substance (SOS) workout this morning, it was the much safer alternative to say the least. That 20+ mph wind out of the NW this morning was still pretty damn cold.

Enough wasting time, what was the tough workout I was complaining about?

Today Planned Workout

This morning’s SOS workout courtesy of the Hansons Half Marathon training plan was:

1.5 mile x 4 @ 7:30 pace – about 8.0 mph, with .5 recovery at a pace I could start to breath normally again, which I figured out was 6.2 mph.

Actually this is a workout that I should be able to complete without any issues, I have been running 4-5 consecutive miles for my tempo workouts at about a 7:40 pace, which is only 10 seconds above my planned pace this morning. Yet just the idea of having to run a mile and half, four times at a 7:30 pace seemed more intimidating than it should have.

Oh well, Harold, sometime your head does get in the way of your running, when instead you gotta suck it up, get the old arse in gear and do the damned workout.

Ego Stroking

I did have to chuckle though, in the locker room one of the Planet Fitness regulars came up to me and asked. “You are a pretty good runner aren’t you?”

MMMMMM – how do you answer that question…compared to who, I had never had a conversation with this person and had no idea where the conversation was going, so I said.

“Well I run, but I don’t know how good I am.”

He then said, “I need to pick your brain about running faster. I have a younger guy who I have to beat in a 5K or two this summer and I was wondering if I could get some pointers on running faster from you?” “I have watched you on the treadmill and you seem pretty fast to me.”

Yeah he was feeding the ego, just a little.

It boiled down to that he wants to beat this person at a race that I have done a couple of times before and that he had seen me there for one of them. Since this is a race that he usually races every year. The younger guy is in his 40s and this guy is mid 50s. He asked how old I was, we both chuckled when I told him. I have a feeling he was thinking, now I have got beat an older fart too, I could see the wheels spinning in his head.

After that we went over his experiences and previous times, how old he was compared to the younger runner, about his current mileage and how soon he needed to race. I told him that I wasn’t really a coach and that I had some books at the house he could borrow to read, to find a training plan that best mirrors his personality and as the weather gets better outside, maybe we could do some quality workouts together.

He seemed excited about that and I will bring in a couple of my training books that I don’t use any more and probably talk some more about running with him.

Finally getting to the Workout

While it was nice to talk with him about running and stuff, I needed to get my SOS workout done and we both headed out to the floor and I did my warm-up, I wimped out and only did 20 push-ups and headed for the treadmill.

I actually prefer to use a treadmill for this kind of workout, I can’t wimp out and I HAVE to keep my pace up, until I manually slow the treadmill down. So what did I actually end up doing for a workout.

1.0 mile @ 6.5 mph – warmup

2 x 1.5 miles @ 8.0 mph with .25 recoveries @ 6.2 mph. I reduced the length of the recoveries from .5 to .25, because I did have someplace I had to be a bit later in the afternoon, so subtracting a mile total of recovery time seemed like the best place to make the workout fit the time that I had. The two repeats felt pretty good, they were not easy, but I didn’t have any issues other than the GI issues that seem to plague me part way into most runs on the treadmill.

At the end of the second recovery .25, it was time for a brief pit stop in the locker room, before heading back out and finishing up the workout.

2 x 1.5 miles @ 8.0 mph with .25 and .20 recoveries @ 6.2 mph. I am not going to lie and say that these two repeats were in any way easy. They were not. However, as much as I wanted to put my right hand on the treadmill and hang on for that last half mile, I didn’t. I just kept running. It is some of that mental toughness training that I needed as much as pushing the body to do more than I have done in the past.

You notice that I only cooled down for .20 before moving to the next part of the workout.

Yeah, I had enough energy left to do 5 x .1 strides at a pretty fast for me pace, with .1 recoveries.

Annotation 2019-03-12 215239

I liked doing them a whole lot better than those long arse 1.5 mile repeats. Yeah, I do prefer the short, faster stuff, but I also know that I need to improve my stamina and strength to accomplish some of the nascent goals that I have been thinking about chasing this summer.

So I gotta do what needs to be done. Which is to run longer distances than I prefer.

New Furniture

The reason I was time-limited this morning was the wife needed a new evening sitting chair, so we were going to go get her one she had seen while out shopping this weekend. However, we decided to stop at one more place along the way and look at what they had.

While we were there we discussed what we really wanted/needed versus what we already had and decided to look at recliners for both of us, along with a center piece that will double as a charging station for some of our electronics.

I wasn’t really expecting to get a new workplace, but it seemed like the best plan, especially since our loveseat was showing a bit of wear where a certain old fart plants his arse most nights.

IMG_3497

Yeah, we both got new recliners for a pretty decent price. Then we had the bright idea of getting rid of the old stereo and speakers, keeping the loveseat and redoing the living room once we got home. The above photo is after a few hours work and actually, I like the results. Bennie I have a feeling is less than thrilled with the change, but he will adapt.

So it has been one of those busy days, where I had my ego fed, a tough, but satisfying workout done and getting a new place to plant myself after supper and for napping after more of those hard workouts was pretty cool. 🙂

 

 

 

AOM – Writing Prompt #1 – What Do I Want?

I have been reading the Art of Manliness off and on for several years. While I might not agree with all of the things presented on the site, it does have a lot of great information and the site’s posts do make me stop and pause for a minute to think about what has been written and at this stage of my life some of the challenges interest me more than they did in the past.

When I read this challenge a while ago, I printed it out in a PDF and filed it away for day when I might use it, there was something about it that resonated with me. Since I have changed my blog a little, seem to have a bit more energy to think about what I think about (that meta cognition thing), it seemed like a good time for me to use those writing prompts.

So I am going to adapt the writing prompts a bit and use the self-sufficiency idea that these prompts are based to address my own questions or thoughts about running that come about as a result as a result of my thinking about the writing prompt.

I imagine that with a busy life that completing all the prompts will take more than 31 days, it will take as long as it takes to complete all 31 and I am good with that. Especially, since I think that these prompts will force me to stop and think about some things with my running from perspectives that I would not have otherwise.

Day 1

“The primary cause of disorder in ourselves is the seeking of reality promised by another.”? Jiddu Krishnamurti

What is something you have or are pursuing, that other people say is worthwhile,
but you havenʼt found valuable?

Do you continue to pursue it based on the promises of others?

As the years go by, we change, we are not the same person that we were at another point and time in our lives. Is basing a goal on a promise made 50 years years ago, really something that I want to do or is it an artificial stressor that limits me?

So the exploration begins.

I am no longer so sure if the promise and goal I made as a youth, is one that still has real meaning in my life or running today. If anything, my wife is worried that if I do pursue this goal, that it might consume me and take years off my life, to accomplish it the way that I want to. Continue reading “AOM – Writing Prompt #1 – What Do I Want?”

Busy, But Got the Run In – RunLog 3-11-19

Another one of those days where the running is necessarily squeezed into the other needs of life that is going on around me. No it is nothing serious, just life making time for running a little more difficult than I want it to be.

Yesterday we had one of those miserable little winter storms that leaves just enough snow on the ground to bring out the snowblower this morning. You know about 4-5 inches of stuff, with a crust from the rain at the end of the snowstorm.

That took about an hour and half to get it done and all the twisting, turning and playing with the beastly snowblower made for sore: hips, knees, shoulders and wrists again. In winter the snowblower and the rest of the year it is the lawn mower that beat me up. I am now pretty sure that I know what causes my right hip to complain more than anything else. This morning I noticed that it is the leg that I pivot on when I make 90% of my turns and after I got done, guess what was complaining – the right hip.

So what do I do with this new knowledge – I am not sure…I cannot stop snowblowing or mowing the lawn this summer and getting a lawn tractor brings other issues that I prefer not to deal with for a few more years. So for now it is enough to know what at least part of the cause for the right hip bothering. Now to figure out the next step.

It was actually pretty nice outside and once I got done with the snowblowing, Bennie and I walked 2.0 miles down-back. Someone had plowed the road and it was in better shape than some of the local tar roads for driving – flat and smooth, no potholes, but also quite a bit of ice right under the surface snow. While driving on it would be pretty good, the idea of running on it did not really appeal to me – staying upright might have been a bit too optional.

Plus the roads had a lot of melt water, puddles and were just wet. Which would have meant soaked feet and not being all that much fun. Which meant heading to Planet Fitness for the treadmill.

The run itself was 5.0 miles at 6.3 mph for the entire time. Nothing really complained once I got going and it was all about just doing it. I got done and talked with Mike P. For a few minutes about what we were doing for training. Otherwise it was just one of those git it done runs. 🙂

Then I had to hustle home, eat a quick lunch and head to the Ford Dealership for service work on the Transit. Nothing serious, but we do attempt to keep up with the scheduled maintenance, especially with a long trip coming up in the next month or so. Better to get things up to snuff now than out on the road and having to go to some strange repair shop and well…you know the horror stories.

I still have a few more stops after I get done here and will probably get home just in time for Bennie’s net walk, before having to go into supper routine. For an old retired guy, I have sure been busy over the last year. I would love for things to slow down a bit more for us, but it doesn’t seem to be in the cards for the foreseeable future.

Maybe someday, until then I get to whine about how busy I am…yeah, I have a feeling that I am not really all that busy compared to many of you out there, but it is a matter of perspective and expectations I have a sneaking suspicion.

A Rite of Spring

Every year for the past…well a long time, I have participated in a fantasy baseball league and it is one of those things that I do really look forward to each year.

I have been a Boston Red Sox fan forever – my Grandfather watched the games and I got the bug from him right around the the Impossible Dream year and had a huge baseball card collection, until I sold it off before I went in the Coast Guard all those years ago.

Tonight was the night we get to draft our teams for the year and be disappointed that someone else drafted players that I wanted on my team.

Here is the team I ended up with and I am going to try something different this year and attempt to keep the team intact for a while, versus my always perusing the waiver wire and going with the hot player, who always seems to cool off as soon as I pick them up. Although pitchers are a different story and I have a feeling that there will be too many injuries to keep them the same throughout the season.

Here is my team for this year:

Annotation 2019-03-10 210926

{4B911569-6AA7-4095-897F-955BE1EBD7D4}.png

I did pretty good this year and only ended up drafting 6 Boston players. 🙂

There were a couple of times that I was going to draft one, but someone got to them earlier in the round than I did.

Let’s see if I can end up in the top half of the league this year, versus the bottom feeder I have been for a few years.

Anyway, good luck to all the other managers this year and while I wish you well, I still want you all to end up in my rear view mirror when the season is over as I garner my first league championship in forever. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Almost Beat the Snow – RunLog 310-19

After yesterday’s long run, I wasn’t sure where I was going to run this morning. It came down to when the snow was going to get here and how screwed up I felt after the frigging time change. This is the one that always messes the most with my head and body.

Yep, we got up late according to the “new” time, same time as it would have been yesterday, so according to Hoyle, I was already running behind and stayed that way the rest of the morning. Bennie and I walked 2.0 miles down-back and I decided that there was no way I would be running down there again for a while. Too much white ice and not enough snow on top of it, to get any traction.

However, the snow was holding off and I really didn’t feel like heading into town for a treadmill workout today. Which meant going down Philbrick Hill and then coming back up it to get home kind of course. One of those damned to do it kind of runs. Plus even though the thermometer may have said 22*F, it was on of those bone chilling 22* where the slight breeze would just go right through you.

I can tell the adidas Tempo 9s are starting to break down a bit on the upper, because the heel cup when I put them on folds down and is a bear to get it in it proper place again. Although once I get it unfolded and where it is supposed to be the shoe is still comfortable. It is just getting it there that is the pain in the arse.

Really, I had zero idea how I would feel and just decided to run easy. Going down Philbrick of course my left shoe came untied, which is par for the course. So I had to stop and re-tie it and seemed to pick up the pace a little more than when I stopped without any additional effort.

Yeah, the roads had some ice melt and re-freeze from yesterday spots that were easy to avoid for most of the run. The new houses being built at the end of Pepin are going to be huge, I know that I wouldn’t want the mortgages they will command.

I was surprised at how well I was feeling all the way back to Philbrick Hill and while I slowed down considerably going up it, when I looked at the Strava segment for it, it was the 3rd fastest time for it. I know that I am running hills better for some reason than I was last year, but to run the 3rd fastest time on that hill in March in full winter gear on a recovery run is a pretty positive thing.

Of course, when I got to the top of the hill the first snow flakes started, which meant that I may have purposely sped up a little to get it over with before the road got snow covered and covered up the ice patches and made things a bit more “interesting”.

By the time I finished, the snow was just starting to accumulate a little and I could see prints from some crazy runnah out there on the road. So it was pretty good timing.

Good run, good timing and the Tempo 9s are still working pretty damn nicely once I am able to get them on and situated.