Sunday, February 27, 2011

Week in Review

What's happening loyal readers? Had another great week of just getting out there and running every day. As of today, Sunday, the running streak sits at 111 days!

Let's recap -

Monday - This was a "rest" day. I decided to join Jenni for some Jillian Michaels 6 Week 6 Pack. It's a core-centric circuit training routine. Afterwards, I went for a quick one to keep the streak alive. I thought my core would really feel it Tuesday morning. I was wrong. However, my legs were sore from the lunges and some of other exercises. I took that as a sign that I really need to cross-train a bit more.

Tuesday - Ran a slow recovery run (5 miles), as my legs were still a bit heavy from Sunday's 30k and that DVD.

Wednesday - It was -1 with wind chill and it was time to man up as I headed out for a mid-week 8 miler.

Thursday - I slept in and then ran up a ridiculous hill and enjoyed a nice warm sun. Garmin was a bit wonky though. Reported 229 HR.

Also on Thursday, the dailymile dailymission challenge was to hold elbow plank for as long as you could. I managed 2:21. This encouraged me to add at least 60 seconds plank each day after my run.

Friday - Ran one in the snow with the yaktrax on to preserve the streak.

Saturday - Great little four mile progression run. Sun was high and it was quite enjoyable.

Sunday - Rebecca's schedule called for 18. I tacked on two to make it a very slow, snowy twenty.

Finished up the week with 44 miles. I'll probably run just a mile tomorrow, so that'll bring my monthly total to 166. My highest mileage in a month. Ever. Well ahead of my goal to run 1500 miles this year, as I'll have logged 314 by the end of February. At this rate I might have a shot of cracking 2000 by years end. Crazy...

So aside from another good mileage week, I focused a bit more on core this week. I actually enjoyed the push-ups/plank post-run routine and I'm going to do a bit more core from now on. Even after a few days, I've noticed a difference.

I'll leave you with a video I shared this week on dailymile. One of those xtranormal movies we all enjoy. In this one, "Barefoot Steve" explains his "gorilla feet". Enjoy.

Until next time. Run, run, run.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It's A Small Running World

I've been trying to figure out what my approach will be for hydration on long runs this Spring/Summer while training for VT50. I have a CamelBak, but the couple of times I've worn it, I found it somewhat unwieldy. I was going to wear it out for a 20 miler tomorrow, but decided instead to go see what if I could find a nice handheld bottle around 20 oz.

I ventured over to PR Running in Westboro to see what I could find. I ended up picking up a Nathan Quickdraw Plus and can't wait to give it a go.

I wore my KSO's out, which naturally sparked up conversation with both the employees and patrons of the store. One of the guys there asked how I thought the VFFs would stand up against various types of urban debris. He seemed most concerned about discarded paraphernalia -

"We had a lot of needles on the streets in Willimantic when I was growing up."

"Willimantic huh? I grew up nearby in Plainfield."

. . . pause . . .

"I grew up in Plainfield too!"

Turns out that we both grew up in smaller villages in the already small town of Plainfield, CT. We rattled on about marathons; he's run Boston 7-8 times in a row, and generally is around a 3:11-3:15 finisher. We had similar stories regarding how we came to be runners. He used to weigh about 50 pounds heavier and was a pack-a-day smoker until he found running and turned his life around.

Our conversation turned to ultras and the current running streak I'm on. We talked about Derry and Stu's and some of the other local races. Eventually I asked - "Do any of you get online and log your workouts?" You see where this is going.

"Nah, I don't get that fancy about it.", said one guy.

"'Cause there's this really great site..."

I didn't even get to finish. The woman working in the shop this afternoon interjected -

"Oh?! You mean the dailymile?"

I was pleasantly surprised.

"Are you on dailymile?"

"No. But a lot of people talk about how great of a site it is..."

I smiled widely and started talking about how awesome DM has been and what a great community it is. By the end of my visit, I had several e-mail addresses for invites.

I could have stayed there all afternoon and talked running with them, but alas, I had to run to make a very important stop to procure beer. But what would have been an otherwise quick stop to grab a water bottle turned into a great conversation about the hobby we love with some really friendly people, and maybe even added a few members to our great dailymile family.

It's a small running world, after all.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Before I was a runner...

As distance runners, we have a jargon all our own. To non-runners, it can sound like a foreign language when we start rattling on about this and that. I thought it might be fun to list some of the phrases or truths that I've come to understand since becoming addicted to running.

Before I was a runner

  • PR meant Puerto Rico
  • Lap Splits sounded like something I'd have to pay extra for at a strip club.
  • Negative Splits sounded like something I paid extra for that went awry.
  • Running in the woods? Not without a bear chasing me!
  • Defecating in the woods? Umm...
  • When someone said "it's freezing outside", I didn't think "oh, that's warm!"
  • Waking up at 4:45am when the wind chill is -1 on a Wednesday morning meant crawling back into bed - NOT getting outside for 80-90 minutes.
  • I never knew my nipples would produce anything, let alone blood.
  • A marathon happened every year, around Christmas time, when TBS would play A Christmas Story for 24 hours straight.
  • The only times I was up to see the sun rise were the nights I hadn't gone to bed yet.
  • If I disappeared for a couple of hours with a woman friend of mine and came home all sore and sweaty, there'd be a few more questions than "So, how was it?"

How about you?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week in Review: 100 Days, Daily Mile Team, and the highest mileage week ever!

What a week. Let's get right to it.

Monday, we were blessed with 38F temperatures and I ran the third mile of a progression run in 07:42. Tuesday, on day 99 of "the streak", I ran to the store to get bread at day break. Wednesday - I couldn't have scripted any better.

Wednesday - Day 100. Rebecca and I headed out in the darkness for the mid-week 8 mile training run. By the time we were finished, light was beaming over the pine trees to the east and we were treated to a beautiful sun rise. I went to work in a fantastic mood.

Around lunch I received an e-mail -

"Congratulations, you've been voted by the dailymile community to be a member of the 2011 dailymile team! We're so excited to welcome you, and even more excited to kick off a great year for dailymile!"

I'm honored and humbled and very, very grateful to the dailymile community. But mostly I'm really excited. I can't wait to get involved and help motivate and inspire people. Working with this 2011 team is going to be great. If you haven't seen the team yet, you can see the ambassadors in this Introducing the 2011 Team blog post. There are some seriously awesome people on the team. It's a shame that there were only 30 spots, because all of the applicants this year were amazing.

Thursday - Rebecca and I did our normal 4 miles in the dark. She congratulated me on election to the team, and we joked about the "Power of the 2011 Team" as she posted one of her fastest miles of this training cycle.

Friday - Normally a rest day. But, I had the day off, and it was incredibly nice outside. A freakish 50+ degree day in February. Way too nice to pass up getting out for a nice hour or so. I opted to run a 10 miler with some rolling hills. OK. Some significant hills.

On Monday, I signed up for Stu's 30k. I believe this run contained a climb worse than anything Stu's has to offer, and I felt fairly good the entire run. Low point of 383ft at 3.43mi and then a long climb to 774ft at 6.01mi. y = mx + b and you have a 2.87% grade. Note the particularly nasty section from 5.38mi to 6.01mi, which had a grade of 6.55%! I went back and found an old post on dailymile from last year, in which I ran almost the same exact course. Last year, I remember struggling with the hills. This year I was calm and ran at a comfortably challenging pace, and bested my pace by nearly 30 seconds!

Saturday - wind advisory in effect. I ran a quick mile around the neighborhood to keep the streak intact. The gusts were so strong that segments of the gutters on the house were lifted over the roof and deposited in the back yard.

Sunday - Long slow one with Rebecca. The schedule called for 17. I ended up making this a 30k. Man the wind was BRUTAL. Had a nice brunch and ice bath afterwards.

Checking my weekly totals on dailymile, I see that I hit 49 miles this week. This is my highest mileage week ever! I am aware that this week is a flagrant violation of the 10% principle. So, over the next week I'll be relaxing the mileage a bit on the "off" days.

But it was so much fun. Until next time: run, run, run!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Daydreaming of Warmer Temperatures

So many people are so sick of the winter. Here's a quick slideshow of images taken on runs, bike rides, hikes and such, during the warmer months. Spring is just around the corner! =)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Daily Mile Team 2011 - Video Submission

I took the leap and applied for the Daily Mile Team 2011. As part of this process, applicants are required to submit a video explaining why they'd be a good candidate. I threw together a quick slide show of images that recaps my journey and hopefully shows that I'd love the opportunity to continue giving back this wonderful community.

Voting opens 2/8 and I'd really appreciate your vote. Best of luck to everyone else that applied!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Me? A Dailymile Ambassador?

Those of you that follow the blog or interact with me on Twitter already know that I am a huge fan of the social networking site, Dailymile. Since joining in December 2009, I have been blessed with the opportunity to meet and interact with some truly amazing and supportive people, both virtually and in real life. It would not be a stretch to say that DM has become my hands-down favorite when it comes to social networking sites, and it has become an integral part of my daily existence.

I was surprised this month to find that I have been chosen to apply for the 2011 Dailymile Team. I'm honored to even be considered. I understand that there are about 300 people selected to apply, out of the over 200,000 members. The catch - you need to submit a video application by midnight February 7th, explaining why you'd be a good ambassador for DM.

I've no (technical) problem recording a video and submitting it, but I've never really been great at self-promoting. I've been told my story is inspiring, and I love interacting with everyone on DM on a daily basis, so maybe I'm a perfect candidate. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit nervous about pitting myself against hundreds of other awesome people who are probably far more suited for this role than myself.

Either way, I've got a few days to decide and record something. In the meantime, I am curious what other people think....