Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bay State Training Recap (Weeks 4-6)

Since the Harvard Pilgrim 10k, I've bumped up mileage, and incorporated several new aspects into my training. Things that I think are going to help me in the long run (pun intended). Thought I would share some of these things here -

Vibram Five Fingers
One month ago, I found a local shop that carried Vibram Five Fingers. These are minimalist "shoes" that have recently enjoyed an explosion of interest as the barefoot/minimalist running trend gains popularity. Essentially, they are a thin Vibram sole, a super thin insole, and a velcro strap. I got the KSO model (Keep Stuff Out) and instantly fell in love.

I took them out for a mile a few times, and gradually worked my way up to 3 miles. They have been my shoe of choice for the last 2 weeks training, on Tuesday and Thursday short runs. Running in VFFs takes a little bit of getting used to, especially if you have logged many miles in more conventional running shoes. The tendency to heel strike is largely discouraged (no padding == some pain). The muscles in the foot and lower legs are activated differently, and the amount of feedback that you get while running is immense. I feel like I'm putting cinder blocks on my feet when I strap on the Adrenalines for weekend long runs now.

4 weeks in them and I already feel the effects. I am becoming more of a mid/front foot striker, my balance is improving. I even wear them around on the weekend - running errands, going grocery shopping, etc. I get some weird looks and a lot of questions. But I happily explain how humans were meant to be barefoot, and not duped by clever marketing (Although I must admit I do love some of the Nike motivational ads).

This week my short runs bump up to 4 miles - can't wait to test the VFFs at that distance.

Mountain Bike
Two weeks ago, I braved the dusty shed in my backyard to dig out an old mountain bike that my younger brother had sold to me years ago. Probably close to 12-13 years ago. It is still in pretty decent shape. Needed a new tube and a helmet for the rider. The gears slip a little bit, which I'll have to figure out, but for now, I'm dealing with. The most important thing - this now gives me a new way to cross train, and so far, I'm loving it!

I've taken the bike out on distances up to 16 miles. Still getting used to shifting and dealing with the "gentle hills" around my house, but it is awesome to get out and do something other than running. And, I've learned a very important aspect of training - legs feel better after a long run if you get out on the bike the day after - I was amazed. After my last couple of long runs, I have gotten out for at least an hour the next day, and my legs feel fantastic after the ride.

Can't wait to get the gears taken care of and get out there more often.

With these two things now in my training repertoire, I feel like I am getting a more well rounded training regimen. Next on my list to add - weight training. I do a bit of strength training now with push-ups, but that is not enough. I want to get a more well rounded program developed so I can really take this training to the next level, and avoid injury. I'm on week 7/18 this week. Plenty of time to get stronger, faster, better before October.

Maybe that 4:00 marathon is a realistic goal after all.

Now, the numbers -

Week 6
07/25/10 Cycling 15.73 12.0mph
07/24/10 Running 9.74 09:14:00
07/22/10 Running 3.12 09:07:00
07/21/10 Running 6.32 08:23:00
07/21/10 Running 1.44 09:40:00
07/20/10 Running 3.12 09:18:00

Week 5
07/18/10 Cycling 16.3 12.7mph
07/17/10 Running 12.36 09:17:00
07/15/10 Running 2.08 08:14:00
07/15/10 Cycling 12.72 12.7mph
07/15/10 Running 3.12 08:43:00
07/14/10 Running 6 09:06:00
07/13/10 Running 3.12 09:32:00
07/12/10 Cycling 14.12 14.4mph
07/12/10 Cycling 5.78 13.3mph

Week 4
07/10/10 Running 12.12 10:13:00
07/09/10 Running 1.61 10:24:00
07/08/10 Running 3.12 08:53:00
07/07/10 Running 1.75 08:05:00
07/07/10 Running 6 09:05:00
07/06/10 Running 3.12 09:17:00
07/05/10 Running 1.75 08:31:00

Until next time: run, run, run.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Harvard Pilgrim 10k

On July 4th, I ran in the first ever Harvard Pilgrim 10k road race at Patriot Place. Over 2,500 people ran in this 10k event, which culminated with the finish line on the 50 yard line at Gillette Stadium. It was a hot and humid morning, and I was one of a half-dozen people I "know" participating, including my brother and his wife.

I was pretty excited to run this race. Having already finished a race at Fenway this year, I simply could not pass up the opportunity to run into yet another New England sports arena in the same year. Now if only I could find a race that finishes in the garden, I'd be all set!

The race started at 9, and man was it already hot. My younger brother, on a good day, when he's been running frequently, runs sub 8:00 times, informed me that he had been out of practice, and was simply looking to run under a 9:00 pace. This was perfect. I was shooting for something under marathon pace (08:57ish).

We pushed out a little fast. I'm beginning to dislike the start of these races that have a large crowd. It's always difficult to find a decent pace, and I feel rushed in the first mile. Anyways, by mile 3-4 we were cruising. A couple of times I said I was going to slow down, but didn't. By mile 5 it was actually him asking me to slow down. I'd be lying if I said that a small part of me wasn't beaming with pride at the fact that I was now outrunning my younger, much faster brother. Ahh, the benefits of consistency and training!

The course itself was kind of boring. The first mile was running out of the stadium. Mile two had us running through condo construction and some kind of not-so-scenic streets. The route was deemed as 'flat' although I swear it felt uphill for the most part. The coolest thing, which made the race as far as I'm concerned, was the finish.

As we turned into the stadium and through the entry tunnel, we could see the giant inflatable Patriots helmet at the end of the entryway. We got to run through that and on to the field toward the 50 yard line finish. That was AWESOME! I was jumping and waving my arms in a silly attempt to get the crowd fired up. It was that good of a time.

Anyways, finished with an overall time of 52:48, for an average pace of 08:30. Well below my marathon pace. Toward the end I actually felt like I could have pushed it and maybe broken 50:00, but I wanted to stay with my brother. When I was getting back into running last year, he and his wife Ashley were hugely supportive. They encouraged me to run road races, and set me off on this course of running a road race every month.

I personally feel like I owe them a huge thanks for getting me going in the right direction.

I'll close with a couple pictures from the event.

Until next time: run, run, run!