Friday, February 26, 2010

Making It Through

The bad weather ended early and it was clear by the time I headed out for my late afternoon run. Once again, the wind was brutal. The schedule called for 8 miles easy. I completed the run, but not without issues.

Since the Schuykill Banks loop usually isn't windy, I ran that to start out. That worked out well. Early on, I was very worried. The area below my right knee cap started bothering me. It was sore after yesterday's run. I didn't know if I'd even be able to complete the run. After about a mile, it loosened up and was fine. I iced it afterward. Hopefully it won't be an ongoing problem.

I debated running the loop a second time to stay away from the wind. I caught up to a runner at the final uphill though. I had to pass him, since it isn't often I get a chance to do so this time of year. I blew by him on the uphill and he must've turned around shortly after.

The wind was rough as I then headed along Kelly Drive. It was still a pain, but actually not as bad as I expected. It wasn't as bad as yesterday. I was able to back off a little and keep a nice pace. I thought about turning around, but saw some cute girls up ahead. I decided to pass them around the Columbia Bridge, rather than turn around and run the Schuykill Banks loop again.

After that, I just kept going. The wind died down and I felt good. There was an accident on the other side of the river and the road was closed. Other than that, not much interesting happened. I just cruised along.

As I hit the last mile and a half, I really started having problems. Although my kneecap was fine, my right ankle became very tight. Every now and then, some pain would shoot through it. I tried backing off even more. I survived, but really couldn't have run much longer.

I lifted a lot yesterday with ankle weights. I'm pretty sure that is what led to the ankle problem. I stretched it out a lot afterward and then iced the ankle. I hope that helps. I either won't lift at all tomorrow or I'll do less of it. My chest was pretty sore from doing push-ups too.

I've run for 6 straight days and put in a new high of over 53 miles. I'll greatly appreciate the day off tomorrow. I might lift a little. I definitely need to strength train more frequently. I have to balance it with running though. Sunday is a hard long run. That'll be a good test of my fitness. Hopefully the weather holds up and my body does as well.

8 miles - 1:03:52 (7:59 pace)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Winter Weather

We got a nice break for the winter weather earlier in the week. It never quite seems to end though. Today and tomorrow is a lengthy snow storm. Although it has actually been weak thus far, the winds were very tough and made for a difficult run.

It was supposed to be an easy 6 miler. Fighting strong head on winds made it anything but. The good thing is that it is so warm that the snow still isn't sticking (even after 12 hours). I got up early this morning to run, but when I saw it wasn't sticking, I elected to run after work.

That turned out to be a good call. I never thought there would be no accumulation at this point. When the snow wasn't blowing directly in my face, it was actually quite pleasant.

One good thing is that I was so focused as I was facing the head wind, that time and miles seemed to breeze by. As I hit the brunt of the wind, I was passing a guy. I said to him, "now the fun begins." It really is nice knowing where the wind will be against me and where it'll be with me.

As expected, after the Columbia Bridge, I was finally able to relax. That felt good. I actually started off at the Art Museum during this run. I ended up turning around near Hunting Park Avenue.

Going back was tough at first, but them much easier. I was impressed when I passed the again after turning around. I didn't know if he'd be running that long. I really should've backed off the pace during the run, but it is hard to not push through the wind. Then when the wind is gone, you cruise along at what seems like an easy pace, but it actually quite fast.

I finished up after Lloyd Hall. The run took more out of me than I would've liked. I was just glad that I was well dressed. Wearing a hat to deflect the snow is a big help. My gloves are great during the run, but my hands do get cold on the walk back.

After the run, I ran 10 hill sprints behind the Art Museum. I wanted to run on my favorite steep section, but it was roped off, because of the snow. I opted for the normal path. It felt good to get through the 10 reps. As I sit here now though, my body is very sore. I definitely didn't go as easy as I should've today.

I need to start doing more consistent strength training. I'm going to focus on doing abs, hips and pushups every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I've worked the abs quite a bit, but it has been sporadic. I haven't worked my hips enough.

Tomorrow is a scheduled easy 8 miler. I might need some extra time to recover after this evening's workout. Hopefully the snow won't accumulate too much. I definitely don't want to push the run off until Saturday. I want to use that day to rest.

6 miles - 47:55 (7:59 pace)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just Head Out

Sometimes you just have to get out the door and get started. I can't say I'm completely unmotivated at this point, but I guess I am a bit drained and grinding out runs more than in the recent past. I'm still very hungry and haven't missed a run in awhile. It's just that I seem to be taking longer and longer to get out the door. I think winter is just dragging on too long. At least that's what I hope for. Of course it is supposed to snow again tomorrow.

Throughout most of the fall, my legs had a lot of snap, I had a lot of energy and couldn't wait to head out the door (even at 6 AM). I've never put up this type of mileage before (50+ a week) and I think my body is struggling a little to adapt. I've also been sick of the gloomy weather. Today was in the low 40s with very little wind, but of course still very cloudy.

I was at least able to ditch the jacket. That's a big help and probably cuts 20 seconds per mile off of my time. Today called for a 10 mile progression run, after last night's hill repeats. I did eventually get out the door at around 3 PM.

I started off with four miles easy. I wasn't going very hard, but I was worried about how fast the pace was. My legs felt a little dead, but I kept on going. I ran out on West River Drive for a change and I think the different scenery was a help.

Once I hit mile 4, it was time to go. I went a bit harder, but wondered how I could sustain such a pace. That mile actually seemed too fast at 7:10. I just kept battling on though, mile by mile. Getting to Falls Bridge and heading back was a huge boost. I always continued to push and focus on the next mile. It's not always easy, but this method definitely works.

After the 7:10 mile, I laid down a blistering 6:52 mile. That was definitely too fast, or so I thought. I backed off and was still able to run mile after mile under 7 minutes. When I hit the final two miles, I really went for it. The second last mile was particularly fast at 6:48. With 5 straight miles under 7 minutes, I even impressed myself.

Hopefully, I'll only get faster as I get stronger and as it gets warmer. I really feel like I'm on target to qualify for Boston. This weekend has a hard long run that is supposed to be 10 miles that are a little slower than goal pace. I shouldn't have any problem with that. These 10 miles, with 4 being easy, were around goal pace.

I was less than enthusiastic coming into this run. I ran so well though, that it will be a big boost to my confidence. We'll have to see how things go. If I'm still feeling this way in a few weeks, I might have to adjust my schedule a little. I'm hoping the spring weather will provide a renewed energy. I'm also hoping that my body will adjust a little more to the mileage (since it doesn't increase much from here on out). Sometimes you just have to head out the door and get started. Today was definitely one of those days.

Tomorrow is an easy 6 miles with 10 hill sprints. I'd love to be able to get up very early and run it before work. That might be my only option if I want to complete the run. It is supposed to snow all day tomorrow.

10 miles - 1:12:38 (7:15 pace)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Workout

I always enjoy when my training schedule throws something new at me. Today was 6 X 1 minute hill repetitions, with a 2 mile warm-up and 2 mile cool down. It ended up being challenging for sure, but wasn't as taxing as I thought it might be.

My legs were still not fully recovered this morning and it was raining, so I elected to run after work. The rain was supposed to stop before my shift ended, but now it is supposed to continue all night. That was frustrating, but I had to head out and get the run done. I drove to Lloyd Hall. There isn't much worse than rain on a cold day.

I ran an easy mile out and another mile back along Kelly Drive. I then got into my 1 minute hill repetitions on the side of the Art Museum. There were to be done at a 3K pace. I still don't quite have a great feel for how fast that is though. I ran the first one pretty hard and it was difficult. The surprising thing is how long a minute uphill actually is. Staying strong mentally through that time is really the hardest part.

The one good thing is that it wasn't the steepest hill. It made for a good workout, but the incline wasn't overly difficult. That said, after a few of them, I was quite gassed.

I just focused on one repeat at a time. I was very happy when I got through 3 of them. I knew I'd finish at that point. My legs got a little sore towards the end and my IT band acted up a little bit, but it wasn't too bad. I was very happy with the workout.

The 2 miles easy following the repetitions were a little tough. It just seemed to take forever and the IT band was sore. I've felt much worse though. I stretched out quite well afterward. It was a challenging workout, but didn't leave me as taxed as I thought I'd be.

Tomorrow is a 10 mile progression run (last 6 miles moderate). I'm hoping to take my car and head out to Pennypack Park. I'd like to run with some more hills and challenge myself. It is supposed to snow later in the week and I need to get in as much of my running as I can. Luckily, Thursday and Friday aren't too difficult. One is 6 miles easy with hill sprints and the other is 8 miles easy.

6.12 miles - 48:39 (7:57 pace)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not a Full Recovery

The 17 miles yesterday wasn't too taxing. I had a scheduled easy 6 miles. I just wish with the IT band, there was a such thing as an easy 6 miles. I held off and waited over 24 hours to run today.

I cruised comfortably early on. I ran in the neighborhoods near my parents house, before heading home. The first two miles were easy, but they just seemed to take forever. I guess my body was still drained from the day before. My quads were a little sore, but other than that, things were good.

I just focused on a mile at a time. Even though I felt like I was running easy, my times were actually quite fast. The results actually show it as more of a progression run, as my time got faster with each mile.

I was relieved when I hit the halfway point. I told myself, "less than a 5K to go." At about 4 miles or so, the IT band became bothersome. I managed to get through it, but never felt great. My legs really could've used more recovery.

The wind was the weakest that I've seen in awhile. That was a big help. It was still a little chilly at times, but overall, quite comfortable. Weather certainly wasn't an issue over the last two days and I hope this trend continues.

After driving back home, my legs and hips aren't too sore, but they do still bother me. I did some stretching and will try some more. I want to do some hill repeats tomorrow morning. Hopefully I will have recovered enough by then. I guess we'll see. I work from 12-5, so that's really my best time to get out and run. I definitely would've benefited from taking today off and I might have to consider always doing that the day after a long run. I just don't recover all that well with this IT band issue.

6 miles - 47:33 (7:55 pace)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Warm and Sunny

The weather was finally pleasant for today's run. Sure, there was still a cold wind in one direction. It wasn't nearly as bad as it has been though. The temperature when I started was 40 degrees. I need more of those days.

I was wearing a long sleeve top, but just shorts on the bottom. I kept the gloves and headband at home. That was nice. I actually would've liked to have ran in a short sleeve shirt and compression sleeves, but I didn't expect it to be this warm, so I didn't bring either to my parents house.

I wanted to run to Lafayette College and back, but that was too far to go without water. I opted instead to run to the high school again and add on after that. Because of the warmth, I started out easy, but posted a speedy first two miles (around 7:45 each).

My legs weren't dead, but didn't feel that great either. I ate a sandwich about an hour before the run and that didn't help me out. I ended up burping a few times because of it. I managed to get up the hill by Gracedale with relative ease.

Getting into town and to the school wasn't too difficult either. I ran to the new middle school (behind the high school), to see if the track was plowed. It wasn't. This did add an extra half mile to my route.

My IT band acted up a little on the hills around the school as well as in town. I think running on the hard uneven concrete sidewalks was bothering me. The crown of roads doesn't help when it comes to that aspect either. About 7 or 8 miles in and it was already fairly sore. The wind was again brutal as I ran downhill past Gracedale again.

I hadn't even hit the halfway point and I was already feeling it. I knew I'd finish, but wondered how. This often seems to be a theme. I really struggle in the middle portion of these long runs. I keep battling though and recover.

I added on a short loop at a nearby industrial park. By the time I got off the main roads and to my parents house, my IT band was becoming very bothersome. This was about the 10.5 mile mark. I stopped at my parents, drank some Gatorade and was on my way.

Originally, I was going to do another loop on some busy roads, but with the IT being such a pain, I decided to just do some neighborhood loops. I did my favorite 4 mile loop that I've often trained on. On the way out, the wind really got to me. I was wondering how I'd finish 6 more miles.

I did so by focusing on the next mile. That's a really great technique. Just take it a mile at a time. This part was still very hilly, so it wasn't easy. Running with the wind at my back on the second half was a big help though.

The IT band actually did recover pretty well once I got to these normal neighborhood roads. It was only the last two miles or so, that it came back and bothered me. It was never too bad. The rest of my legs were starting to fall off at that point too.

I added part of a short out and back by some new houses and then a loop around the front of the elementary school next to my parents house. It's amazing how not too many months ago, that neighborhood loop was tough for me. Now it's just a simple, short segment of a very long run.

I finished up a little sore, but overall not feeling too bad. I'm just so much stronger than I was during my first marathon training. My legs can handle miles much more easily. This run was already longer than my 2nd longest training run the first time around and I'm only starting week six of this program (out of twenty). I'll be much more prepared for this marathon.

After the run, I took an ice bath. That is almost unbearable. I made it through 10 minutes though and felt pretty good afterwards. Hopefully that'll speed up my recovery.

I'm thrilled with how today's run went. I ran easy and yet still posted a pace of just over 8 minutes per mile. I feel as though I'm right on target with where I need to be. I couldn't certainly ran faster and pushed it more than I did today. I should only get better as it warms up and I don't have to battle the wind at all.

Tomorrow is an easy 6 mile run. I'll likely run around my parents house, before heading back to Philly. I'm not sure which route I'll take yet. Tuesday will an interesting hill repeats session. I look forward to it.

17 miles - 2:17:07 (8:04 pace)

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Little Warmer

I concluded my second straight 50 mile week with a 10 mile progression run. It started off with 2 miles easy, 6 miles moderate and 2 miles easy. I'm at my parents house and I ran from there to my old high school and back. I added in a short half mile loop to cover the remainder of the distance.

Clothing selection was tough. The temperature was in the low 40s when I started. The problem was significant wind with large gusts. I opted for just a ColdGear base layer. I actually should've went with just shorts on the bottom, instead of tights.

I started out nice and easy. The wind was a bit brutal early on. It was coming across the side of me from the open fields. I took it nice and easy down this relatively flat portion of the run. My legs were already feeling somewhat dead, so I didn't know how the run would go.

Once I hit two miles, I picked up the pace. The toughest part was that after a short distance, I had a fairly steep climb into town. The climb actually wasn't as bad as I remembered it from my track days, but it wasn't easy either. Thankfully, the wind was at my back in this portion.

After another short climb, I was in town. When there, my legs had a lot of snap. On the relatively flat surface and with the wind behind me, I flew to back to back miles under 7 minutes. I was pushing, but still had a lot left at that point. It was just under 5 miles when I made it to the high school.

As I turned around, school was letting out. I had to avoid quite a few people who were heading home. The wind was now at my face and it slowed me down about 30 seconds per mile. That was tough, but I kept battling. I focused on one mile at a time. I just wanted to get finish with the moderate portion of the run. I knew I could hang on during the last two easy miles.

The wind was very relentless as I headed down the hills out of town. At least I had the easier downhill running in front of me. I was really starting to die though. I struggled to get to mile 8, but I kept pushing and eventually made it there.

My IT band had started acting up a little at about 5.5 miles. I didn't let it bother me much. When I slowed in the last two miles, it became more of a problem. It was all about just finishing at that point. Because I was going to come up short of 10 miles, I looped through a nearby neighborhood within the final mile.

As I finished up along the highway, I came across a dead skunk and had to switch sides of the road. That was one of the obstacles with running on the road. I also was passed by three buses and a few big trucks. Those are annoying because in addition to being dangerous, the produce a lot of wind. The other thing that bothered me was the shoulder on the roads. Because of all the snow that was once there and had melted, it was very soft. That made for some awkward footing.

All in all, it was a good run. It was very productive and I was happy to be able to run as hard and fast as I did. I forgot how tough running on roads is, especially in the winter. It would be nice to have a relief from the wind, but at least I saw warmer temperatures. That's a start. I should be really strong when it warms up.

Hopefully I'm now adapted to these 50+ mile weeks. At 51 miles, this was the longest week of running I've done. I can't wait to do even more. The 10+ mile runs are tough, but a lot of that is due to the awful weather. I just have to keep battling through it.

Sunday is my 17 mile long run to start next week. Since I don't work until Tuesday, I'll likely stay here and run around here. The problem is finding good roads to run that far on. Perhaps I'll do some looping to hydrate. We'll see.

10 miles - 1:14:14 (7:25 pace)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Another Battle

Back to back 10 mile runs certainly took their toll on my legs. Early on in this easy 6 miler, they felt dead. Between miles three and four, my IT band started acting up.

It was the same old thing with the wind blowing in my face at the start. I ran out along Kelly to the Columbia Bridge. I battled the wind and then was comfortable on the way back. After that loop, I hit the halfway point and added the Schuykill Banks loop.

The Banks loop was a real struggle with my legs so dead. Every half mile felt like a mile. I just kept battling though. If this wasn't such a short run, I might not have survived. I did run in the morning, after an afternoon run the day before. I probably should've allowed for more recovery.

Even after the run, I got out and completed my hill sprints. I successful ran 10 of them without any problem. That was a surprise. I ran on less of an incline than usual though. My steeper route still hasn't been plowed.

I just have a tough progression run tomorrow to complete the week. I'm heading to my parents this evening for a few days. I'm really looking forward to the change of running scenery. Even though it'll be hilly and tomorrow's 10 miles will be tough, it will still be nice.

6 miles - 49:08 (8:11 pace)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Changing the Route

Today was certainly an interesting run. I was complaining about running through the same scenery lately, so now I got a change of it. I thought about running on Lemon Hill at the start and up through the east side of the park. When I saw how much snow there was there, I opted for the usual route.

I went out to Falls Bridge. It sure wasn't easy, as once again I encountered a brutal wind at the start. It sure would be nice if this would stop, but the forecast for the next week or so says otherwise. The other problem was that my legs didn't feel great after the hard run yesterday.

I had just commented about my IT band not acting up for a few days. Well sure enough, it came back today. A little over 4 miles in and it was bothering me. I knew I'd make it through the run, but it was frustrating to see that problem creep up again.

As I was heading back near the Strawberry Mansion Bridge, a group of guys warned me that there was a pitbull up ahead. I didn't want to find out anything about what they were talking about, so I turned around. I then ran up Hunting Park Avenue.

I ran into the Laurel Hill Cemetery. I've actually thought about adding this as part of the route sometime. It would be a good workout, because it is very steep. I only ran through until I could exit onto Ridge Avenue though. Luckily, most of Ridge was plowed, although not in the greatest shape.

I ran on through hilly Ridge Avenue and then on to the east side of the park. It was an area I had run before, but this time it wasn't plowed. I had to run on the street. I struggled just to get to the 7th mile. The hills killed my IT band. I really focused on getting to mile 8. Eventually that happened, but it wasn't easy and I was sluggish.

This section is high about the river and it is very windy there too. I did a loop around Lemon Hill and finished up perfecting in front of the Art Museum after another short climb. I didn't feel bad after the run yesterday, so I was surprised that my IT band gave me problems. I need to stretch and strengthen it more often, even when it isn't bothering me.

Dressing in the wind was frustrating again. I actually wore an old long sleeve running top. It is one that I had when I started running, nine years ago. I found that it doesn't dry very well and I was quite sweaty. I just really can't wait until winter is over.

Tomorrow, is an easy 6 miler with 10 hill sprints. That should be a good workout before work. Today was tough because it is Ash Wednesday and I can only eat one meal all day. I might head out on West River Drive for tomorrow's run. We shall see. I think I'm going home tomorrow night. That'll break up the boredom of running the same routes all the time. It'll allow me to add some more hills too.

10 miles - 1:22:23 (8:14 pace)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

More Difficult Conditions

Another day of running, more tough winter conditions. It was a 10 mile fartlek run and I made it through. No thanks to the wind though. Originally, they were calling for some accumulation of snow for this run, so I suppose things could've been worse.

It was another frustrating day because it was pretty warm (mid 30s), but very windy. The kind of weather that makes it difficult to know what to wear. These kind of days seem to be the norm now though. I went with the jacket as I usually do.

I started off easy, but it was against the strong wind, so it wasn't too easy. Parts of the Kelly Drive path were still covered with snow. I had to run off the path and into the deep snow as the plow came through too. He actually made the path worse by knocking more snow onto it. That made finding sections to run fast intervals difficult.

I made sure to get the first one in against a strong wind. I figured that would be a good early test. I did another 30 second interval at 5K-3K pace about every 6 or 7 minutes. I ran out past Falls Bridge and to the 4 mile point.

After turning around, I knocked out my fourth interval. I'm really taking a liking to these fartlek runs. It's much easier to focus on running between intervals. It breaks the 10 mile run apart and it doesn't seem as overwhelming of a task.

Most of the way back was calm. As usual, I hit a very windy spot around the SJP Boathouse. That's right where I decided to run my 6th interval. It was tough, and the hat I was wearing nearly blew off. That interval and the 7th one took a lot out of me. I had to slow a lot and recover. I actually took longer breaks (closer to 10 minutes) between the final few intervals.

After about 8.5 miles, I finished with my final interval. I did it around the parking lot next to Lloyd Hall. I then ran uphill to the Art Museum to recover. That was quite tough and made it difficult to finish.

My IT band held up pretty well again. I didn't feel it at all until about 8.5 miles. Since I've backed off my pace the last few weeks, it hasn't bothered me as much. The fact that I haven't run on many hills is probably another factor too.

This month has been very frustrating weather wise. My car has been buried in snow for well over a week now. I haven't been able to run anywhere other than Kelly Drive and West River Drive. I need to get out and run somewhere else before I go crazy. The problem is that even if I drove to Pennypack Park, I'm not sure how well maintained that path is after snow. I'd imagine that Forbidden Drive is a mess. It takes days to dry off as it is.

It would just be nice to get a day without killer wind too. I can't really tell how effective my training actually is because I'm running against a brutal headwind on the time. I'm certainly getting stronger and my endurance is improving, but my speed will have to improve. Hopefully, that'll come as it warms up and I shed clothes.

Tomorrow, is another 10 mile run. It's amazing how many double digit runs I have already put together in just the first 5 weeks of training. That'll be a big plus come marathon time. Tomorrow, I might try running through the east side of the park, as I did a few weeks ago. It may be tough because I have to run on the roads there, but at least most of the traffic is light. It is also hilly and a little bit challenging.

10 miles - 1:19:00 (7:54 pace)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Definitely a Challenge

After finishing up a tough week, I headed out for a 15 mile long run to start the week. I had run for 3 straight days, so it wasn't easy. I made it through though.

One of the difficult things with the run was how to dress. It was about 35 degrees, but the winds were very strong. I went with the windbreaking jacket. That was great against the wind, but with the wind, it was too hot.

I went out nice and easy. It was a little tough though with the greatest wind near the start. I actually started at Lloyd Hall and looped towards the Art Museum. Once the wind died down, I felt good, but hot.

It was a big relief making it to Falls Bridge and heading back. I was only at like mile 4 at that point though. The plan was to do a loop and then an out and back from Lloyd Hall to Falls Bridge. There was a lot of snow on the path as I passed the grandstand though.

It was supposed to be a progression run and I knew I couldn't run the end fast over the snow, so I elected for a different route. When I got back to Lloyd Hall, I added the Schuykill Banks loop. I had already begun to tire out as I hit the halfway point of the run (7.5 miles). I wondered how I'd finish.

I took it a mile at a time. It wasn't easy and my legs were just dead (likely from all the miles lately). As I hit mile 10, I was toasted. I added two more loops on the Schuykill Banks loops. Doing repeat short loops were really the only way I could survive.

The last 2-3 miles were some of the toughest running that I've ever done. I was definitely dehydrated, after not bringing any liquid with me. I just kept telling myself one more mile. A young guy in shorts blew by me towards the end, but then slowed down on a hill and stopped shortly after. I guess he can't hang as long as I can.

I never did get to run it like a progression run. I ran quite an easy and a consistent pace, but I did give it all I had. Just finishing was a huge relief. I don't run 15 miles too often, so that wasn't easy.

One of the positives is that my legs were just tired, but not sore. The IT band bothered me slightly, but that didn't happen at all until around mile 12. Even after that, it was only a mild nuisance. Perhaps my Vibrams are helping or maybe just going out on a slow pace was the big reason. I made it through though. Tomorrow is a much needed rest day.

15 miles - 2:01:25 (8:05 pace)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

50 Miles

Today was my final run of the week. It was a bit of a bumpy ride with all the snow, but I survived. In the process, I completed my first 50 mile week ever. It was just an easy 5 miler today.

I started off at Lloyd Hall and went out on Kelly Drive a mile and back. Early on, the wind was just brutal. The temperature was right around the freezing mark, but the wind made it worst in one direction. I went out at a nice comfortable pace.

It was a much more pleasant run than last night. There really weren't very many ice spots thankfully. After the out and back, I ran the Schuykill Banks loop. There was some snow on there, but for the most part it was pretty clear. I haven't been able to run as fast as I could've today in quite awhile. I did back off though a didn't push it.

The final mile against the wind was quite tough. It made me work much harder than I would've liked. I did push it a little in that mile and finished strong. One thing I wish I'd be able to do is get more hill work. I finished uphill today, but the snow is limiting my ability take on other hills.

I didn't have a lot of energy on this run. I ate a light lunch and didn't really drink and fluids. That made me feel a bit sluggish. I made it through the run though.

My legs didn't feel too bad. I've worn my Vibram a lot since I bought them yesterday. I don't imagine they are already helping that much, but who knows. I guess we'll really find out tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, it is going to be a long run. I'll be going out for a 15 miler. I'll have to make due with what paths I can. We'll see where I can run. It would be nice if it isn't as windy as today's run was.

5 miles - 39:01 (7:48 pace)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Making Due

Well today wasn't the best conditions, but I managed to finish my 11 mile run. Because of the snow and ice mix, it was a much more difficult run that it was supposed to be.

I started off at the Art Museum and headed out along Kelly Drive. It was finally plowed today, but the melting snow during the day, refroze at night. It caused me to slow my pace. At times, there was still some soft snow on the path.

Again, I made it most of the way out to the Columbia Bridge. Unfortunately, the path was no longer plowed to that point. Therefore the out and back was less than 3 miles.

I decided to do a few loops in the parking lot by Lloyd Hall. That worked well for a little, but got boring. There were also too many cars driving around there. I then added the Schuykill Banks loop.

That loop was plowed, but still icy and slushy too. I could never keep the same footing going. After about 4 or 5 miles, my IT band bothered me a little. It didn't get much worse though. I did a second out and back along the Banks loop. I then followed it up with a couple loops in the parking lot again.

I was going around in circles a lot and covering the same ground. I got bored and I was really tiring, but I focused on a mile or two at a time. It was quite difficult making it through the final mile. My body just took such a beating on terrain.

For some reason, I was a lot colder than usual. It was odd, because the temperature was around the freezing point. With the wind chill, it was in the mid 20s. I've certainly run in my colder. I guess maybe working hard caused me to sweat too much. My feet and legs were quite sore. I wore compression tights and it caused some very annoying chafing, after about 7 miles.

Today was a tough battle, but I made it. Tomorrow, I'm going to get out and get my 5 miles in. That'll bring me to 50 miles for the week. It'll be my first time ever hitting that mark. Not bad considering all the snow.

I bought Vibram Fivefingers after work. They feel quite weird at first, but I'm getting used to them. I had trouble putting them on a first. It took quite a few minutes. I won't run in them until it gets warmer. I can't wait to do that. For now, I'll just wear them around, perhaps even to work.

11 miles - 1:34:42 (8:36 pace)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Another Unique Run

I just keep finding more interesting ways to run. Because of the heavy snow, I took Wednesday off. I decided to push all my runs back a day and run on Saturday instead of resting.

I got up early this morning and was willing to give running a try. It was quite the tease though. The path from the Art Museum to Lloyd Hall was well plowed. Nothing was plowed from Lloyd Hall on though. There was a narrow path from others who had attempted running or walking. I decided I would give them all day and they'd likely have it plowed.

I headed out this morning in my trail shoes. Since I figured the path would be plowed by the evening, I went out with my regular shoes after work. That proved to be a minor problem because the path hadn't been touched all day. Trail shoes would've definitely helped. Regardless, I had to give running a go.

I actually started at the Art Museum. I stepped in a puddle right before Lloyd Hall. Getting my feet soaked that early was frustrating. They did dry rather well though. Running on the small path carved out by others actually wasn't too bad early on. It was compacted snow, so it was a little slick.

The most frustrating thing was just trying to get even footing. Sometimes the footing was great, other times you'd sink into the snow and other times the path was uneven. The unevenness was the most difficult part and I nearly fell a few times because of it.

My feet took a real pounding and my left one was very sore. My legs are incredibly sore now as well. It actually only ended up being a 6 mile run, but it was like running 15 miles on a normal surface. I managed to get nearly two miles out. As I approached the Columbia Bridge and the grandstand, the path was starting to thin out. Not too many people were running that far. Rather that continue running, I headed back to Lloyd Hall.

I couldn't just stop my run at that point though. When I got to Lloyd Hall, I decided to run in the parking lot. I ran to the Waterworks Restaurant and extended the loop as long as I could. It ended up being about .50 miles. I ran it several times. If I didn't have to go to the bathroom, I might've actually considered running the loop over and over until I hit the full 11 miles. It's not fun, but it is effective. The route was relatively flat. I also switched directions, so that my legs wouldn't be too sore.

A cop was parked in the lot when I started. I left shortly after and came back a few minutes later. He must've thought I was nuts. He would've been right. There were some shady people in the area too, so I wasn't overly comfortable about running. You have to make due though. After the six miles, I got 6 hill sprints in too.

Today was originally scheduled as a 6 mile run, so I just ended up doing the normal workout. I want to get the 11 miles in though. Therefore, I'm going to attempt to run it as the progression run tomorrow. I will run the .50 mile loop 22 times if I have to. I also need to run 5 miles on Saturday. That'll get me to the 50 mile mark this week and allow a little rest before the 15 mile run on Sunday. I like the cold and challenges that winter brings, but I can't wait until it is over, so my training can really take off. My knee problems are one obstacle right now. I don't need another.

6 miles - 55:10 (9:14 pace)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Surviving the Fartlek

Today was a very successful fartlek run. Unlike last week, I was able to complete it. I was a bit sore and really didn't look forward to getting started early in the morning. I didn't have much choice though as a blizzard was coming again after a long day at work.

Early on, it didn't seem good. Even with a very slow start, my IT band was sore within the first two miles. I didn't think there was anyway I'd complete the run. I was just hoping to get through 7 miles.

I successfully made it through the run because I didn't go as fast on my intervals. I probably should've ran somewhere between what I did today and what I did last week. I only picked up the pace slightly today. It worked well though as I made it out to Falls Bridge.

I managed to get three repeats in within the first four miles. That was very positive. Each additional repeat wasn't taking a lot out of me. I was recovering nice and slowly.

The wind made it cool in one direction and actually quite hot on the way back. I was still glad to have on a jacket though. I was actually quite worn out after I hit 7 miles.

With some slick parts along the path, it was sometimes difficult to find a portion to run faster on. I managed to though. I was passed by some pretty fast runner who looked like they were running quite easily. It's great to know that at some point I'll be where they are now.

After getting back to Lloyd Hall, I finished with the Schuykill Banks loop. That part was a bit of a struggle, especially the final two miles, but I survived. I was very surprised and impressed. This was a big hurdle.

Tomorrow could certainly be interesting. It's snowing now and will for the next 24 hours. After working over nine hours, after my 10 mile run, it might be best if I don't run until after work. I just hope they plow the path at some point. The scheduled run is 11 miles. I'd like to get at least half of that in, 5 or 6 miles. I'll give it a go at some point and see what happens.

10 miles 1:19:22 (7:56 pace)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Staying Upright

I got up early today, but elected to give my body more rest before my run. I went for the easy 4 mile recovery run after work. I started at the Art Museum because I couldn't get a signal on my Garmin before that.

I started off nice and slow and had some really bad ice to navigate past. Originally, I was going to run along West River Drive. When I realized that the bridge over the Schuykill would be very icy, I changed the route. I ran the Schuykill Banks loop. I just never get sick of that loop.

I took it easy all throughout the run. That was especially the case because there were a lot of spots that looked slick. The snow had melted during the day and was refreezing at night. Most of it didn't feel to slippery though and I still was capable of running at a good clip.

I was very comfortable with my jacket on. There was some wind, but it wasn't too bad. Because of the slow pace, the run seemed to take longer than a normal 4 miler does. I never pushed though.

I'm not too sore right now and hopefully I'll be well rested. I work at 12 tomorrow and a big storm is coming in the evening. I have to make sure to get my run in during the AM. I'm hoping for the scheduled 11 mile fartlek. I'll definitely have to slow the pace down on the fast repeats. Luckily, the icy and snowy surfaces may force me to slow the pace. It is a key workout and I hope I can survive it this week. I might be forced to cancel Wednesday's run if it snows too much tomorrow. It was nice not having much snow this year. Now we are getting blitzed with it though.

4 miles - 33:44 (8:26 pace)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Through the Snow

Today was the weekly long run and I'm happy to report that I survived it. I ran 14 miles along Kelly Drive and the Schuykill Banks. With the snowfall on Friday/Saturday, things were certainly interesting along the route.

There was a narrow path provided by previous runners from Lloyd Hall on out. I was disappointed that it had not been plowed at that point. It isn't that I expect them to play that quickly, it is just that they did last time. After about half a mile, I encountered the plow coming in the opposite direction. That was a big relief. He shot salt at me as he went by so that wasn't fun.

It addition to poor footing early on, I had to use the bathroom. Since the one at Lloyd Hall was locked, I had to use a portal bathroom. That forced me to stop within the first mile. I didn't lose much time though.

For the most part, the path was clear and salt had melted a lot of snow. They did a good job of plowing, although sometimes they didn't follow the path well. It was about as good as one could expect though and it didn't make running too difficult.

I cruised along nice and comfortably out to Falls Bridge. It was difficult to pass slower runners or walkers at times. I managed though. Much to my surprise, my knee felt very good. I ran on Falls Bridge itself briefly. The surface was a bit slick.

Again, I came back along Kelly Drive at a nice clip. The one thing that did become annoying was the temperature differences with and without the wind. It was pretty cold with the win in your face, but very warm with it at your back. It seemed to be changing directions a lot too. I kept taking my headband and gloves off and then put them back on again.

After about 6 miles or so, my IT band did start to become a nuisance. It was just mildly sore though. Even still, I wasn't to the halfway point and wondered if I'd finish. I wanted to run a 2nd out and back to Falls Bridge, but didn't want to get stuck way out like last week. Therefore, I ran on the Schuykill Banks loop and then a shorter out and back on Kelly Drive.

My IT band continued to be a little sore for the rest of the run, but never got worse. I was passed by another runner along the Schuykill Banks. I guess I ran harder to hold him off and also ran harder after he passed, because I laid down a blistering 7:07 mile. I didn't even feel like I was running that hard either.

This was scheduled as a progression run and I did that as best I could. I definitely picked up the pace over the last 20 minutes. I could only go so fast though with the difficult footing. I started to tire towards the end, but made it through. My calf bothered me again, but not until after the run.

I was very pumped to complete the long run after last week's mess. Because of that shorter run last Sunday, I only put in 36 miles last week. The week before I had 44 miles. This week calls for an aggressive 54 miles. I'm going to take it day by day and see how I feel. Tomorrow is an easy 4 miler that I'll definitely complete. I'd like to run the 11 mile fartlek. I definitely ran faster than a 3K pace last time out. Maybe a slower pace would be a big help. I might test it out or back off. I need balance aggression and caution if I want to make it to Boston.

14 miles -1:52:52 (8:03 pace)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Running in the Snow

I missed out on running in December's blizzard and was quite disappointed. Today, I didn't miss the opportunity. I ran 9 miles in the heavy snow.

I thought of going out for the run before work, but I just didn't have enough recovery from last night's run. I wasn't too sore at the time though. I held off until after work and luckily, the snow did too. I was starting on my way home, but not sticking. I was surprised when a half hour later, there was already a decent accumulation as I started out.

When I began, the snow was just a thin layer on the ground. It was still too thin and actually made footing quite slippery. I battled it out along Kelly Drive. I debated breaking the run up into a number of short out and backs, in case I couldn't finish. I felt so good that I kept going until Falls Bridge though.

Around the bridge, my IT band bothered me a little. By that point though, the snow was a good inch or so thick. Going uphills was tough as the terrain was slippery. The rest of the time was great though. I had good footing and the impact was much softer than on asphalt. It was so obvious as I ran under bridges and on the regular pavement. My legs held up pretty good.

I just focused on mile by mile on the way back. I knew that I'd be able to finish the run, but wasn't sure if I could pick up the pace. The final 15 minutes were supposed to be at moderate pace. I was running a respectable pace before that, considering the conditions.

I did finish fairly strong and ran quite hard through the final two miles. With wind blowing at my face, it was a relief to finally be done. The scenery was amazing during this nighttime snowy run.

My attire was a big help. I wore a Nike hat with my headband over it. That really helped keep a lot of snow directly out of my eyes. I still ate quite a bit of it though. I had my jacket on and hood up too. It was fairly warm, but actually turned out to be quite comfortable as the run went on. I thought I would be too hot.

I guess everyone got out to run earlier in the evening before the snow hit. The only person I saw during the entire route, was a guy walking. There were some footprints and bike tire tracks in the snow, so someone was out there a little earlier. Finally, after I stopped at Lloyd Hall, I saw another runner go by. I was actually nearly hit by a plow during the run because I didn't expect him to be on the path.

My IT band and hip feel pretty good right now. My left calf is very sore yet again. I'll have to work on massaging and resting it. I'd love to run tomorrow for another 4 miles and get in 40 for the week again. It's probably wiser to pass on it and rest though, especially with how much snow they are forecasting. Today's run was a blast and I look forward to running in the snow again. It's days like this that'll make the spring runs seem like a breeze.

9 miles - 1:12:54 (8:06 pace)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Never Quite as Easy

Today's run was an easy 4 miler. I started out near my apartment and ran to Lloyd Hall. I then added on the Schuykill Banks loop to complete the run. I took it easy, but the run itself wasn't exactly easy.

Mentally, I find slowing down on runs to be very difficult. Even mile that goes by seems like two. When I'm running fast, I'm focused and times seems to fly by. Nevertheless, this run wasn't too difficult on the body. My IT band didn't bother me, although my hip is sore.

My hip was sore before and after the run. I thought it was odd that my IT band was a problem, but I had been experiencing no soreness in the hip. That changed during my 6 hour shift today though.

In addition to a sore hip, my left calf is very sore now as well. I think it must've been compensating for my weak right side and thus working overtime. It is extremely tight. My left foot has bothered me as well.

I felt terrible before this run, but managed to make it through. All day, I thought I was getting sick. I seemed to feel better after I ate at work. I felt terrible when I got home. I started off my evening run with a headache. That quickly went away as I got started though. I wanted to run in the morning, but couldn't fall asleep early enough last night. I also still felt quite sore this morning.

Trying to figure out when to run tomorrow will be tough. I'd love to get it in before work (1 PM), but that might be difficult after giving my legs such little rest. Tomorrow is a 9 mile progression run with the final 15 minutes at a moderate pace. A huge snowstorm is going to start around 5 PM tomorrow, so I'd be running the beginning of it if I wait until after work. I wouldn't mind that for a 4, 5 or 6 mile run, but 9 miles in snow could be tough. It could make for a fun adventure. Either way, I will attempt to get the run in.

4 miles - 33:20 (8:20 pace)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Green Again

I've kept battling, but the last three runs that I've had scheduled, I couldn't last the distance. Today was another story. I finally broke through and successfully completed my scheduled run. It wasn't easy either as it was a 10 miler. It will be nice to highlight my schedule with green marker again.

When you are struggling with an injury, it is amazing how much harder it is to get out the door. I still never questioned whether I would run today or not, but I didn't start until 5:30. Actually the temperature was rising throughout the day, so that was a good excuse to put it off. I took an afternoon nap before the run too.

I felt very strong early on as I headed out Kelly Drive. It's amazing how smooth and fast I feel before the IT band starts acting up. The plan was to go to Falls Bridge and back and if I could handle more, keep going.

My pace was very comfortable. Around three miles though, the IT band started becoming a problem. As I got to Falls Bridge, I wondered if I would even make it all the way back to Lloyd Hall. My leg was really bothering me. I kept sputtering along though and focused on small goals (landmarks or distances).

I as I continued to go, my leg actually started to feel better. I began cruising at a comfortable pace. Both my legs did feel a little sluggish at times, but they were no longer sore. I'm not sure what causes it, but sometimes my IT band gets better in longer runs. I guess it adapts and gets used to the pace. Maybe the cold weather makes it tight early on and that's part of the problem. I guess we'll know for sure if it improves when the temperatures rise in a couple months.

Speaking of the temperatures, it was quite warm. There was a mild wind on the way out, but I on the way back, my headband came off. It was right around 40 degrees, even in the dark of the evening. It felt good.

I eventually reached Lloyd Hall and was relieved that I felt so good. At that point, I knew I'd finish. It was about 7.25 miles then and I decided to add the Schuykill Banks loop on. I ran fairly well on that portion, including a 7:17 mile at one point. My pace wasn't very consistent on this day, which was a little odd because I didn't try changing paces or anything like that.

I continue to be amazed at how many fast runners are out there. I assume they are training for their spring marathons (often Boston). Luckily, they were all headed in the other direction today. Surely, a few of them would've blown by me. It gives me something more to shoot for though.

Finishing today was a huge relief and proof that I can beat this IT band problem. I might back off a little if needed, but won't give up the fight like I have in the past. I didn't feel sore right after the run, but now my hip is quite sore. I'm going to use the foam roller shortly. My left ankle is very tight too, perhaps I changed my stride to account for my sore IT band on the right side. I don't know. That ankle bothered me awhile back, but hasn't lately.

Tomorrow, I have an easy 4 miler scheduled with 6 hill sprints. I'm hoping to get out there early in the morning before work. If I feel good after work, I might add another easy 4 miler. I don't need to get all the miles back that I missed earlier in the week, but I would like to run 40 miles again. That would be the third week in a row and a real mental boost to be surviving it.

10 miles - 1:15:03 (7:30 pace)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Another Tough Day

Today was my first attempt at a fartlek. I didn't completely finish the run, but I survived I guess. The plan was to run 8 miles total, with 8 X 20 seconds at 3K pace mixed in. I ended up only doing 4 repeats and 7 miles total.

I headed all the way up to New Jersey side of the Delaware River, near Trenton. It's called the D&R canal path. The path is right off of Route 95 and actually is a great place to run. It's soft gravel, similar to a track, and it is also very flat.

I opened up with a nice fast pace early. The plan was to run for 10 minutes to warm up. Then start the intervals every 5 minutes. It went well early on. I got used to the speed portions and thought I was pretty strong. I was recovering fairly well.

Once I got around 3 miles, the trail became a little more rocky. I made it through the third interval at this stretch. Then, my IT band started acting up. It was getting sore.

The fourth interval really destroyed me. I tried to recover, but my IT band was bothering me too much. I quickly turned around, even though I wasn't at the planned halfway point. I needed to make sure I could walk back if I had to resort to that.

I kept running, albeit at a very slow pace. At times, if I landed wrong, my leg really hurt. I tried stretching a couple times and that helped a little. Eventually, I recovered and ran through the IT band problem. I actually got pretty strong even finished with a 7:24 final mile. I cut the run short though, at 7 miles.

The last couple weeks have been very frustrating. I just need to back off a little and survive. I would've been okay with running a lot of miles today, but the speed killed me. I needed a lot more recovery time between intervals and/or fewer intervals. If I do run a fartlek next week, I'll likely reduce the intervals. I need to find the right balance of backing off, but still getting quality workouts and mileage in.

I really wanted to sign up for the Minneapolis Marathon this week, but this problem is making me question whether I should do so. I am hoping backing off a bit as well as adding some hip strengthening exercises will help. I made it through this IT band before and will do it again. It's just a matter of how long it takes. I might need to adjust my schedule a little bit.

Tomorrow is a scheduled easy 10 mile run. I'm hoping I can make it through that. I'm going to try running an out and back on Kelly Drive. It is supposed to snow overnight, so we'll see what time I run at. I don't work tomorrow, so I have options. I might try picking up some Vibram Five Fingers at the store as well. Not sure if I can run in the cold with them, but I'm ready to try anything to cure this IT band problem.

7 miles - 55:47 (7:58 pace)