Monday, February 22, 2010

Taper Time

Well the title says it all. But what is taper and what does it do? A couple of great articles by Dr. Greg Wells Just when you think they're training harder... & TAPERING – THE ART AND SCIENCE OF SPORT PERFORMANCE. Give them a read, so you know when it is time to taper - don't try and get that one last extra workout in.

Now how to stay sane?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New York, New York

Well I had to wait till Kimber's was official (took almost 2 weeks). We have both been accepted to the New York City Marathon. I got in by missing the lottery for 3 consecutive years, and Kimber was accepted based on her smokin' half time at the Army Run (she had qualified at the Ottawa 1/2, but decided to better herself). Exciting times ahead for sure. This will be Kimber's first marathon and I am going to run it with her and enjoy all that is New York.

Congrats my love - looking forward to the journey ahead.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Wolf x 4 + 1

Wow, what a weekend! Coming off a pretty solid week and a nice rest day on Friday, this weekend I ran, as planned, 1 loops of Wolf Trail with Kimber on Saturday and 4 loops on Sunday as my long run.

Saturday was Kimber's first run ever on Wolf, and she was really pumped for it. We didn't get out till around 11:30, so the trail was busy, but most everyone was very courteous when they saw us come running up to or by them. We stopped a couple of times for a picture break or two, so it wasn't a all out effort, just a fun time on the hills. Kimber did really well and finished pretty pumped up. She is going to have a great time running the Hell Hike in Pittsfield.

Here she is powering up one of the climbs

Ah Sunday. 4 loops of the dreaded Wolf. This was a good practice run for Pittsfield as it is a 4 loop course too. I set up an aid station in the trunk of the car that I used for refueling and cloths changing (Shirts/Hats/Gloves) similar to what I am planning for Pittsfield. I ran the loops alternating directions, so aside from the first 1/2km section it was not too boring.

Loop1 - Clockwise. Legs felt fresh and springy, so I focused on keeping the pace slow as it was going to be a long morning. Focused on short strides and quick turnover. Practiced "skiing" some of the steeper downhill sections. Decided that for these loops there would be no stopping, I had to run each loop without any break. I would allow as long as needed at the car/aid station but had to be constantly moving on the loops. Finished the loop in 56:59 which was 4 mins faster than the previous weekend. I was a little worried I had gone out a little too hard, but I didn't feel like I had pushed.

Loop2 - Counter Clockwise. This I think is the harder direction as it climbs pretty constant for the first 2.5km. The nice thing though is the last 4.5km is basically an easy downhill. (which means when running the reverse as in loop you climb on and off for 4.5km). Climb went well, ran through back to the parking lot in exactly the same time 56:59. That was a little freaky, opposite direction but the same time.

Loop3 - Clockwise. On a 4 loop course like Pittsfield will be, Loop 3 is the hardest. Not so much physically as mentally. It is the "no mans land" loop where you start to get tired, loose focus and slowdown. Again I went back to the stride focus, short and quick, making sure to keep the leg turn over going. On one of the steep descents I passed two girls hiking, slowly inching down the slope, just after I passed one yelled and asked if I was the guy running 4 loops (I had told a man I met in the parking lot and he seemed to have spread the word). Hit the parking lot in 59:00. A little slower, but 3 loops under 1 hour each, I was happy.

Loop4 - Counter Clockwise. Okay heading out for the 4th was tough, but I kept telling myself that this was the last and that I wouldn't have to do it again...well till next time. I passed the two girls again on a steep pitch and as I huffed and puffed past them gasping that this was my last loop, I got cheers and encouragement to complete it. Damn I need that. Up to the top and one last gel and I was bound for home. As I was looking at my Garmin I kept wondering what my final time would be. With .5km to go I had 2:30 to break the 1 hour mark - ef'it I put my head down and went for it - with 32km of hill snowshoes I managed to kick up a 5:00/km pace and finished in 60:05.

Done - 32.8km in 3:53 - about 4,000ft of climbing. Good but tough workout. Quite encouraging to get that done, but as with any workout you can't put it in the books until you have recovered off it. Quads are quite tender at the moment, but structurally I feel good, and I am starting to get my energy back.

Taper will start soon, but till then it is heads down, this will be another tough week but I'm ready for it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Week Ending Jan 31 2010

I haven't really been posting my weekly stats of late, mostly because there is not too much to report on. I have been running and running and, well more running. But this week had a couple, or maybe 3 highlights that need sharing.

1) Thursday was tempo day on Snowshoes. Coming off Saturdays' race I was a little unsure how I'd perform and how well recovered I was. The first 25 minute interval was just a hair slower than my average race pace, and the 15 minute interval was 10 seconds faster. This was huge, I find I am getting more and more comfortable on the shoes now, that the switch from trail shoes to snow shoes doesn't really matter. They are different, but I am able to switch gears without even giving it a second thought.

2) Saturday was Kimber's first 32km run and I had Derrick adjust my schedule so I could run it with her. It was -24 (before windchill) when we headed out, so we set up an aid station at home and mapped an 8.5km route that we would run 3 times with a final 6.5km at the end. Worked perfectly. It was nice have unfrozen gels and water, and we made sure not to linger, just a quick in a out. Kudos to Kimber, she nailed it with solid even pacing and a smile at the end. Just the way you want to run your first 20 miler. Well done. I added a little to the 32km and ended up with just shy of 34km on Saturday

3) Sunday (Kimber's Birthday BTW) was then a two hour Snowshoe run. For this I was finally going to face one on my biggest training goals for the winter and run the Wolf Trail loop in the Gatineau Park. Wolf is one of the nicest loop trails in the park. It is 8.3km long and approx 350 meters of elevation gain. Running this would be a good test/warm-up/training for Vermont as it is approx the same elevation, just shorter distance. Plan was for two loops in two hours (I had nothing to gauge that on). Having run the loop in the summer I know the right side is steeper and a lot more technical so I opted to do the first climb starting on the left. By the time I had climbed to the lookout (#2) I was warmed up and feeling strong. The descent on the steep section was fun but quite manageable. I got back to the parking lot in 1:01, right on, switched water bottles and headed back out. For the 2nd loop I decided to climb the steeper right hand side leaving a nice gentle downhill run to the finish. The 2nd climb was a lot more walking and tougher, but once to the top I was raring to go and finished the 2nd loop about 30 seconds faster. Nice. Felt good when I got back to the parking lot, and almost headed out again, but knew I'd be in big poop if I did. This was a huge confidence builder for Vermont. With 5 weeks to go I know I'll be ready.

This weekend will see me back at Wolf running 4 loops (4 hours) on Sunday, with a single loop with Kimber on Saturday. I am really looking forward to adding this notch to my Vermont Training.

Pics from Wolf

Trail Entrance

At the Top