Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cold weather running

I ventured out this morning for 16 miles in 7 degree temps. Wind chill was -2 and it actually did not feel that bad. I was originally going to join some hearty souls at 7am to run the summer BT50K course. I would turn back at Columbia road since I am no where near ready for 50k. Instead, I chose to stay at home and run loops in the park near our house.

The snow was perfect, the trail was frozen nicely, and the sun was actually shining a bit! A near perfect run.

My clothing choice was perfect with layers being the key. I started with a short-sleeved shirt covered by a long-sleeved shirt. Shorts and windpants for the legs, and my Gore-Tex shell for the top layer. I wore my fleece headband and my balaclava to cover my face. Besides the advantage of covering my face, the balaclava will moisten the air a bit before it enters my lungs, helping to reduce that dry-raspy feeling from cold air. I alternated between my heavy fleece gloves and my regular cold-weather gloves.

I carried my waist pack with water today and I worried about the bottles freezing. I covered them with my jacket, thinking that my body heat would be enough to keep them from freezing and it worked! However, I cannot say the same about my GU... It was frozen pretty solid at the end of my run.

One of the fun things about cold-weather running is how the frost will form on your clothes as you run! I know, I have a strange idea of fun... Anyways, I had pushed up the sleeves on my jacket and I had frost forming on my long sleeved shirt, gloves, and my balaclava.

I was feeling pretty good for the first 13 miles, which is about right where my training is now. The last 3 miles were harder, but that is what training is intended to do: Push your body just past the comfort zone, recover, repeat. Before long, your comfort zone is increased making today's long run, tomorrow's water stop!

Tomorrow will be a short 6 mile recovery run. Burning River is coming up fast...

Monday, January 25, 2010

The day that wouldn't end...

Yesterday was one of those rare days that seemed to last forever! We attended the Saturday evening service at church, leaving sunday morning available for resting and sleeping in. I woke up at 7:30am, which is sleeping in for me, and wanted to get a quick run completed before the rain started falling. A quick check of the radar map showed that I had a very narrow window so I dressed and started running down the street.

I was not 2 minutes down the street when I looked ahead and saw a wall of rain approaching, fast! It was a short squall-line of showers and it was cold! I was dressed for the 40 degree temperature, but not 40 degrees and WET! I turned around, tucked my tail between my legs, and ran home. Of course, the rain stopped shortly afterwords, but I had already decided to finish my run on the dreadmill.

It was a good interval workout for 6 miles and I treated it like I used to treat my indoor bike workout: Mental training. I was visualizing parts of the Burning River 100 course and how I was (hopefully) going to feel as I ran through them. Any endurance event, whether it be a long hike, Ironman, or a 100-mile trail run, is just as much a mental test as a physical one. The monotonous indoor workouts are a great way to get the 'head-game' straight.

I watched parts of the Flyers/Penguins hockey game, which is another thing that I don't do much of, and then watched football. I now have had my fill of sports TV...

Prepared some stuffed acorn squash for dinner and then help Gina and Abby bake an apple pie! Now that was fun! They had asked me earlier this year to teach them to make a pie and we decided that an apple pie would be a perfect start!

I used my grandmother's "31 1/2" recipe for the crust: 3 cups flour, 1 cup shortening, and 1/2 cup of water. Gina mixed up the crust while Abby and I sliced the apples and mixed the sugar and cinnamon together. Gina rolled out the bottom crust and Abby the top. We put it all together and then waited anxiously for it to bake. It turned out great and tasted wonderful with a scoop of Breyer's Ice cream!!!

Gina has requested that we bake a cherry pie next... I can't wait!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Looking for snow...

Friday morning, I went for a run before work. As I left the garage I immediately knew that I had overdressed since the temperatures were quite mild. I returned to the garage and exchanged my fleece jacket for a vest and started down the driveway. As I walked I heard a Great Horned Owl hooting off in the woods. I returned the call the best that I could and chuckled to myself as I reminisced about reading "Owl Moon" to the girls at bed-time a few years ago. It was one of their favorite books and also one of mine.

I started to run down the street towards the park and had not gotten more than two houses away and suddenly that owl flew across the road in front of me! It was, needless to say, a pretty cool way to start a run! Made it to the bike path and came across several deer just milling about looking for food. They scattered into the woods as I approached and continued their search.

The bike path was starting to clear of the snow but had several icy patches. I decided to just run on the snowy sections since I knew what kind of footing I would have. I did not want to have a chance meeting with some black ice. A good run and I had a smile on my face for most of the day thinking about the owl.

This morning, Denise and I saw two coyotes walking through our back yard! They looked very healthy and warm in their winter coats and quickly made their way down to the creek. I wanted get 8 miles in this morning but cut it short at 5 miles. The bike path had less snow, but much much more ice. Again, I kept running in the snowy sections, but was not enjoying the experience. The snow is melting quickly and I will get back into the woods either tomorrow or monday.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Snow Globe Run

I decided to run early this morning in order to 1)get the run out of the way, and 2)because I have not run early morning in a while. The air was a balmy 20 degrees with a wind-chill in the low teens. The best part however was the light snow that was falling! It was like running inside a snow globe. I had the bike path all to myself and thoroughly enjoyed the 4 miles.

I stayed on the path since the snow was only a couple of inches deep. I then cleared the driveway of the new snow as a cool-down. A great way to start the work-day.

I am feeling better and better each run. It is nice to get some consistency back in my running and the 'official' training starts next week for the "Forget the PR50k" race in April. Actually, this race is just training run for me for the Burning River 100, but I really want to drop time off from last year's event. So, let the training begin!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Snow Run

I needed to get outside for a run and since the snow stopped last night, and there are several people who walk their dogs on the trail to pack the snow down, I thought that I would venture into the woods for a bit.

Well only two people had hit the trail before I had gotten there, making for a slow slog through the snow. It was however a great cardio workout, which was the whole point of the run!

I have two more weeks of "training to train" before the plan kicks in for the Forget the PR 50k race in April. I took the last 6 weeks of 2009 easy, ie not much running at all, and now I need to get myself back into training mode. I am ready to start again.

Sunday, January 3, 2010


One advantage to training for and competing in triathlons, is the built-in cross-training. The mix of swimming, cycling, and running provides that complete body fitness. After my back spasms last year, it became obvious that I had neglected my core. I worked a little on that last year, key word is little, and want to do much better this year.

This past week has provided an excellent opportunity for upper-body and core work via show-shoveling! In fact today alone, I shoveled the driveway three times and it needs it again. (I'll wait until tomorrow morning however) The Lake Erie snow machine was in full force today and we received a nice deep covering of fresh powder.

I decided to run this morning after shovel session #1. A nice 4 mile run through the woods. The snow was deep, but since it was so powdery, it did not seem too bad. The wind was blowing pretty good, making me glad that I wore an extra layer of clothing, and I had the trails all to myself. I ran a simple out-and-back route and my tracks were almost covered with fresh snow near the end. The hot shower felt pretty good after-wards.

We then decided to check out the sledding hill near Shadow Lake. First I had to shovel the drive again! Sledding was a blast! The hill was just long and steep enough to get a good slide and the return back was an even grade, making it not seem as steep. Denise and I went down together on the sled and we hit some fresh powder and ended up completely covered in snow. We have not laughed that hard in a while. We stayed and battled the wind a while and then headed back home.

I moved things around in the garage a bit and was able to move both cars inside! Yeah! I will not have to scrap windows in the morning!

I was itching for some more exercise and cleared the driveway one more time! The shoveling, hill climbing from sledding, and the run this morning, provided a great day.

Back to work tomorrow...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Big fat Goose-egg for 2009

Zero, zilch, nada.... For the first time in several years, I had zero bicycling miles! I had grown tired of the battles with traffic and my tandem partner, Abby, had started running for Cross-country. It is a whole lot easier to lace up the shoes and just run than to get the bike down, gear up, and ride. Besides, you don't have to worry about drivers texting when you are running in the woods... :) I have to admit, I do miss it a little...

2009 was a crazy year, to put it politely... A co-worker summed it up pretty well as "Worst.....Year.....Ever". 2009 was the year of 'change'. My neighbor said "2010 will be the year of POSITIVE change!" Let's go with that...

I sent my application in for the 2010 Burning River 100 race. I need the motivation of a huge event to keep me honest in my training. I will attempt to once again, document the journey here with this blog so if you are really bored, you can follow along.

Denise and I have finally joined the Facebook club. I am not sure why we resisted for so long...

Gina is living the phrase "Eat, sleep, swim"... Swim team is going well for her but is a lot of work with the two-a-day practices during school and the 4-hour practices at 6am during this winter break. Swimming is one of those sports that takes a lot of discipline and dedication in order to execute well. Gina is enjoying the experience but is ready to sleep in once in a while...

Happy New Year everyone and let's make a difference for 2010