Archive for the ‘running’ Category

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Specificity

June 24, 2009

Now that Rev3 is far back in the rear view mirror and the only thing in my sights for the rest of the season is Timberman, officially 58 days away. With some time on my hands before the next time I enter race mode, I’m taking a look back at everything, reexamining my training and changing things around a lot. The one major change that I’m making is MORE BRicks!

And in the spirit of making changes real fast, I’m heading back to Connecticut for my little sister’s college graduation party and decided to take advantage of the time back at home base to redo the Rev3 bike/run course. I feel like I still have something to prove out there. Not to anyone else. Just myself.

I know that I can push through the bike and still have enough juice left in the tank for a solid 13.1 mile run. I’m dubbing this weekend my “Rev 4 BRick Workout.” I don’t know if I’ll be able to sneak my way into Quassy for an early swim, but if not, it will be a nice hard 69.1 miles of LOVE this weekend.

Hopefully this time I won’t bonk like last time and have to drag myself across the finish line. Wish me luck!

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Ragnar New England

June 16, 2009

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

Oh yeah, did I mention that I’m racing the Ragnar Relay New England Ultra in September?

This is going to be AAAAAAAAAAAAAAWESOME!

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Final Tune Up

May 25, 2009

This weekend was my last minute tuneup before starting to taper for Rev3. I found out that some of my friends were planning on doing a road race down on Cape Cod, and since I was already planning on getting a long run in, I figured I might as well join and have some company while I run.

There was a 5k,  7.2 miler and a half marathon all on the same morning. One college buddy was doing the 5k, and two others were doing the 7.2 miler. I was left doing the half all by myself, but at least I had some familiar faces to run through the pre-race routine with and I had a guaranteed cheering section once I came through the finish line, so I was happy.

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Since it was a last minute addition to the training plan, I got some advice from coach to help with my race day game plan. Much to my dismay, he nixed the idea of tapering, but I at least had a few mental touch points to run through in my head while racing.

Don’t taper for it.  Just treat it like a regular run.  Definitely enjoy yourself, pay attention to nutrition, and especially pay attention to the ups and downs you feel as the race goes on.  Notice how after a down, there’s an up.  You must train yourself to not give in to the downs and to not go too hard during the ups.  Don’t get caught up in the moment and pay attention to yourself.  Do this and you’ll have an amazing run “experience” no matter how it goes and you’ll learn a lot about how you run.

It was pretty cloudy and cool, but was perfect weather for a run. The wind kicked up and almost blew me backwards as we ran along the beach during 4 or 5 times along the course, but otherwise it was a perfect day to race. I stuck almost exactly to an 8:50 pace all the way through mile 5 and gently cranked up the pace all the way to the finish.

Minus some cramping around mile 10 (which was helped out after I gumped down some water at the next aid station), everything went amazingly smooth. My favorite part about taking the first part of the race a little easy is all the people that you get to pass during the second half of the race! I made a point of cheering on anyone who looked like they were bonking and were walking, but every other person was my rabbit. I picked out anyone with a bright colored shirt (or crazy purple/animal print skirt in once case) off in the distance and slowly tried to reel them in.

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And once again, the race plan worked like a charm! I crossed the finish line in 1:48:43 (unofficial). That averages to a 8:17 pace. That is almost two minutes faster than pretty much the same course in February, and without a taper. Sa-WEEEEEEEEEET!

And the best thing about this race? I topped it off with a nice dip in the ocean to cool off the legs and some cold beers.

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And with one more hard workout/race in the books, I enter Taper Land. Population: ME!

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Build Phase = Twinkie Nutrition

March 29, 2009

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

 

The snow has melted (almost), it actually rained this week instead of snowed and I heard thunder for the first time this year. Not only does that mean that winter is gone and spring is starting to bloom, but it is time to move from my base training phase to the build phase! More volume. More intensity. More hurtin’!

I am moving past that 5-10 hours per week to that 10-15 zone and it hurts. These past two weeks have slowly and systematically been tearing my legs off from my body. I’ve gotten two 50 mile rides in and it isn’t even April yet. I normally don’t get in this much riding this early in the season, but then again I don’t normally plan on doing a half ironman in the beginning of June. I guess it is at least good to know that my training is matching my race schedule. Makes sence, right? Haha.

During my long ride this weekend I cruised through one of my favorite routes from Concord, MA. Nice quiet farm land and cool little stuff like this old mill.

Besides wearing my calf compression sleeves almost constantly, and refilling the ice bucket repeatedly for another round of ice baths I’ve found that the build phase makes Jamie HUNGRY! My mid-workout nutrition is usually pretty good, but it seems like I just can’t take in enough calories during the rest of the day. I’ve cut back on a lot of things since losing my job, but food has not been one of them. I just couldn’t justify trying to get fitter and training for triathlons, but downgrading the fuel that I feed my body to keep it performing. It is almost like buying a new sports car and refusing to put anything but 87 grade gas in it, right?

But after multiple trips to the local butcher and Whole Foods in one week, I still am struggling to get in enough food. A whole box of chocolate chip cookies, a ton of fruit and enough PBnJ sandwiches to choke a donkey just aren’t cutting it. It even got to the point on Saturday that after a 55 mile tempo ride, I had to skip my swim workout because I was busy stuffing my face for so long that by the time I was done, the pool was closed. What gives?!

The good thing is that I’m at least not gaining any weight. I got a little worried once I ran out of fruit and veggies and started hitting the cookies, Ben & Jerry’s and danishes as if my body ran on fat and sugar alone. I guess that means I’m at least burning all those junk calories that I’m taking in, right? I also made the mistake of walking by the wall of snack cake deliciousness while at Target today. Twinkie the kid was calling my name and I couldn’t resist.
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I inhaled three before I even left the parking lot, and another one on my way out the door for a 6 mile run. I was really expecting a stomach ache by mile 2, but it surprisingly worked out pretty well. I think they may be new replacement for GUs and Clif bars, I’m just saying….

Thankfully this next week is a rest week. Hopefully my eating habits don’t continue or else I’m going to blow up like a baloon and they’ll have to roll me across the finish line.

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St. Patrick’s Day Trail Run

March 18, 2009

Yesterday I went out to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in style with a nice 2 hour trail run. Rather than sit around at home and wait for non-existent jobs to be posted online, or enjoy some adult beverages in my apartment by myself, I went out to explore some new (to me) trails just north of Boston.

I felt like I had to bring a whole bunch of extra crap with me compared to when I just ran around the block. Between my HR monitor, map, Road ID bracelet (in case I fall and break my leg off and the EMT needs to know where to send my body), four fuel belt water bottles, two Clif Shots and my cell phone, I felt like I was camping more than running. Since I hadn’t been there before, and no one would have missed me for hours if something happened, I figured it was better to play it safe.

I definitely want to make this a regular occurance. Except for some short speed work on the track, all of my runs have been on sidewalk and asphalt. NOT good for the knees. That is probably the reason that I’ve had issues with my IT band the last two years. Trail running is great for ankle and hip strength and is much easier on the joints. Plus, it is just nice to get out and enjoy some nature and not have to battle with traffic.

I even scoped out a pretty nice (although pretty rocky and muddy) bike trail. With my cyclocross tires, I think I can totally take it on! But that is for another day…

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A Window Into The Past

February 28, 2009

While I like to think I’m pretty spur of the moment and don’t make strict race plans for myself very often, I realized tonight that I may just be fooling myself.

Now that all of my siblings have moved out of the house to branch of their own lives or move away to college, Momma Bull clearly has a little case of empty nest syndrome. She must have been digging through some old piles of my stuff this week because she sent me an old race plan from just before a high school cross country meet. It was even written on the back of a page per day calendar so I figured out that I wrote it in 1998, when I was a Sophomore in High School. More then 10 years ago now. DAY-UM!

I was prepping for for the JV race of the South West Connecticut Conference cross country meet in Bethel, CT. Reading through the notes I made to myself brings me back instantly to that day. Coach Abraham had us focus on visualizing the race throughout the day to keep us focused. I knew the course really well and broke it down into about 200 meter sections and had specific goals for each. I can even remember sitting in the middle of my biology class that afternoon, pulling this scrap of paper out of my pocket for the hundredth time and just reading it to myself over and over again, imagining myself on the course and tearing it up.

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This cartoon is extra funny to me now since when I wrote this, I was about 40 lbs lighter, you could see every one of my ribs and had tiny little stick legs. I guess that’s what happens when you are a 15 year old long distance runner

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My detailed notes for visualizing the race. Please excuse my disgusting handwriting and spelling… Hey. I was only 15.

This was one of my last big races of the year so I remember planning to take it pretty aggressively and focusing more on my place than overall time to score some points for the team. Even now after reading this I can visualize the course so clearly. If I was there today, I think I could map out the course all by myself.

I really like having a solid visualization plan on race day and may have to start doing that again, 10 years later. It was helpful to have my pace grid at Hyannis, but I think (especially if I know the course pretty well) having psychological cues at each point in the race probably have a lot more value to them in terms of keeping my race on track and staying focused. I may have to even use some of the same notes I wrote to myself in 1998 at Rev 3 in a few months.

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Race Report: Hyannis Half Marathon

February 22, 2009

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

or “Plan the race, race the plan.”

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Let the 2009 racing season begin internet people! This morning was the first race of the season and my first stand alone half marathon ever. The weather report was sketchy all week and had me checking a half dozen Web sites several times per day. Reports went back and forth from predicting rain or snow (I was rooting for snow because there are few things worse than mid 30’s and raining). This morning the forecast finally turned to rain, but not until the afternoon. With a 10am start time, it would give me just enough time to cross the line safely before the downpours started. WOOT. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Sam and I drove down to Cape Cod bright and early. I sucked down a GU about 45 minutes before race time and all lights went green. Game On.

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Me walking to the starting line. I look pretty angry, but I guess that is what my “Game Face” looks like.

Shivering Hyannis Starting Line

I’m all bundled up and still shivering, but people are still rocking shorts? Seriously?!?

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The all important last minute, err.., adjustments.

Since I had already departed from my faithful “play it by ear” race strategy with a mile-by-mile outline of my goal mile splits, I decided to keep with the trend and tape the mile splits to my arm. I covered it in clear tape just in case it started to rain. Since my running fitness has come a LONG way since the last time that I raced, I didn’t have a clear idea yet of what I’m capable of, and I laid out pretty conservative goals, I only planned on using each split as a general estimate and went on perceived exertion more than actual pace.

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The Game Plan

As planned, I took the first 6 miles nice and easy, but every time I looked down at my watch I was about 45 seconds faster per mile than I had planned. Instead of 9:30’s, I was hitting around 8:45’s. I second guessed my pace for a while and thought about slowing down to low 9’s but I decided that listening to my body made a lot more sense than sticking to (relatively) arbitrary numbers that I had laid out days ahead of time. I stuck with it and comfortably hit mile after mile in the high 8 min/mile pace range without working myself too hard.

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I’m not in this pic, but I really like the blur of the runners. It looks pretty cool.

Despite being a little cold at the start, I warmed right up once I settled in to a good pace. The course was really nice too. It was SUPER flat and made a few twists and turns through little residential neighborhoods, with only one section along a busy street that was a little sketchy. There were rumors that there were some easy rollers throughout the course, which ended up being all lies, but it was a nice course nonetheless.  At a few points we passed by the shore so we got a nice view of the ocean and got a really nice sea breeze to keep us moving on. It is strange how the smell of stinky sea weed and fish can some how make me associate with happy thoughts. I can’t wait until summer comes and I can go hang out on the beach on Cape Cod when it isn’t 30 degrees outside. Again, I digress…

Right after mile 6, I caught up with one of my Wheelworks teammates and chatted it up a bit. At that point I was just starting to pick up the pace and increase my turnover. We traded game plans and while she wasn’t planning to go all out until the last 3.1 miles, she eventually came with me and we traded places with each other throughout the rest of the race. We had never raced together, but it was great to have that carrot dangling in front of me to keep my pace up if I started to slow down.

Right at about mile 10, I passed Team Hoyt and gave a little cheer as I chugged along. If you haven’t read or seen any videos about Dick and Rick Hoyt, check out this one. They have an amazing story and it was a huge inspiration to see them on the same course as me (and 4,000 other runners) letting it all out

The last two miles were pretty brutal. It was rough just to keep my form together, but my pace still held up pretty strong and I was able to knock down runner after runner with no problem at all. Granted, a good chuck of them were probably finishing the first loop of the full marathon, but the plan was definitely working and I was able to really knock out a solid pace while everyone else was struggling just to hang on.

Hyannis half marathon finish 2009

“I crown thee: Half Marathoner”

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I’m in there somewhere I think I’m completely covered by that guy in the blue shirt.

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Looking like a hot mess just after the finish line, but totally psyched to have rocked the race plan.

According to my watch I clocked in at 1:50:30 (8:26 min/mile avg), safely under my goal for the race. I’d post my mile splits, but I don’t remember them. My avg HR was 159 and maxed at 180.

Overall the commute/warmup/race plan worked pretty well. Looking back, my paces needed some tweaking, but it is always nice to surprise yourself by going faster than expected instead of slower.  2009 is going to be an awesome year. I smell PRs in the air. Stay tuned internet people.