September 2006 Archives

Not Quite Four

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Ok, so I didn't quite run four times this week. Three is close to four, right?

I didn't get out for a run Tuesday or Thursday nights. Running after swimming in the morning is tough, and I don't seem to be that kind of tough yet. I also didn't get out Friday, at all, despite having the day off.

Saturday, I went out for the local 5 mile loop again. Ran a continuous run this time, and felt ok doing it. I tried to pick it up a bit in the last third. Well, maybe more accurately, I tried to keep myself uncomfortable in the last third, to get myself used to the feeling. I went hard enough that my breathing was a bit laboured, but not so much that I felt like I was sprinting.

The best part was that I passed 1000km for the year. I probably should have done so months ago, but a milestone is a milestone, and I'll take it.

This morning I didn't get out for my long run. No idea why. Well, maybe it's the late hours I've been pulling. Fun, but it always seems to impact my running. Anyways, around 3pm, I finally decided that I'd better go out. So off I went.

My legs were feeling a bit achy, so I opted for 12km, less than either of the last two long runs. It fit, though, since my weekday runs were longer than in previous weeks. It was crazy windy out, which made it feel cooler than it actually was. I set an unambitious pace, and aimed to survive.

In the end, I was pretty happy I went out,.and not altogether unhappy with my pace. Next week, I will (he said to himself) get the four runs in, one way or another!

Cold, in Shorts

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No alarm this morning, but I was awake by 5:30, and up before 6. I ate, relaxed, then around quarter to I put my shorts and Tshirt on. Then, in a brilliant tactical move, I checked the weather.

9 degrees.

Mentally, I know that 10 degrees in shorts is doable. I usually wimp out in the spring, when I'm coming from winter, but in the fall I usually wear shorts for as long as possible. Last week, I wimped out and wore long pants when it was 10 degrees. I was too stubborn to change today, though.

I did think to grab the mp3 player, which I haven't run with in a while. The same mix is on there from at least a year ago. Oh well.

The first two minutes were a touch chilly, but I picked up my cadence right from go, and was comfortable pretty quickly. Folks were out, all bundled up, waiting for their busses or walking their dogs. Not me. If they stared, I didn't notice.

I did the local 5 mile route this morning, opting for a bit more distance than I ran last week. It felt surprisingly good. I was doing 10-and-1s, as much for injury avoidance as anything else. I know that route very well, and I know where my stops usually are. I knew I wasn't setting any land speed records, but I wasn't slow, either.

Of course, when I logged my run afterwards, I saw that I'm almost at 1000km for the year. It made me want to run back out and run a few more kilometers. =) It's actually a bit disappointing not to have hit that milestone months ago, but it's still a milestone.

Maybe tomorrow....

Freestyle Technique

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Thursday's swim was focused on flutter kicks. Today's drills focused on freestyle pull, especially the entry of the hand into the water, and the finish of the pull.

I'm much stronger on pull than on kick, but there's still lot of room for improvement in my technique there, too. My biggest problem is that I tend to end my pull behind me, rather than straight back. Interestingly, in fly, my pull comes out in the right spot.

We also did a timed 50 free, from a dive start. I can't remember the last time I did one, so I had no idea what my time should be. I thought I'd probably come pretty close to 40 before, so figured to come in somewhere around there. I ended up not breathing for my last 7 strokes, and coming it at 38 flat. Hopefully I can improve on that as the season rolls on.

Weekend Wrap

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Friday morning, I again ran my local 5+ km loop. This time, having done a bit of reading on both Clara Hughes and Paula Radcliffe's sites, I was feeling the need to push myself, just a bit. I wouldn't say that I went out hard, but I made the pace a little uncomfortable for myself, and held it there. The result was that I ran the loop over three minutes faster than I had on Wednesday.

I took Saturday off, mostly out of laziness. It was a gorgeous day, and I may regret wasting it as the weather cools off.

Yesterday's long run also featured beautiful weather. It was mild, with temperatures in the high teens. The leaves are just starting to turn, and a couple of times when the wind picked up a bit I was running through a shower of leaves. Very picturesque.

When I left the house, I had two possible routes in mind - the one I'd done last week, or a slightly longer one. Since the first 5-6 km were common, I allowed myself the luxury of deciding en route. The pace was a bit faster than my recent Sunday runs, though I wouldn't call it fast. Still, it was fast enough that I chose the shorter route.

About 45 minutes in, I started to fade. I don't know if I slowed down, but I started to lose mental focus, and it was harder to keep my drive. Nonetheless, I finished the ~13.5 km loop 8 minutes faster than I did 8 days ago.

That's two 3-run weeks in a row. The last time I pulled that off was the two weeks leading up to the marathon in May. (Hard to believe, but that's how badly I've been neglecting my running.) This week, I think I'll aim for 4 runs.

Tough

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I had one of my rare bouts of insomnia Sunday night. Woke up around 1:30am, and didn't get back to sleep until just after 5am. It happens. I seem to have learned how to just shrug it off, and adjust my plans accordingly. (When I was younger, it seemed to cascade into multi-day and multi-week events.)

So, my Monday morning run was scuttled. I slept fine on Monday night, and was at swimming bright and early Tuesday morning. The workout was really tough, especially for me, since it featured a lot of kick, which isn't my forte. I survived, though, so it's all good.

This morning, I turned my alarm off (a partial concession to Monday's insomnia), but vowed to be up early-ish to get a run in. I was up and eating by 6:30, and out the door just after 7am.

It was 10 degrees out, and I wimped out and wore long pants and a long sleeve technical shirt. It started drizzling halfway through the run, so I was glad of being warmly dressed.

I'd love to tell you how awesomely strong I ran, but that wasn't really the case. It felt like I was starting running all over again, which, considering my summer mileage, might not be that far off. I'm trying to be mindful of likely having better cardio than legs at the moment, so I'm not pushing the pace too much, for fear of injury. Still, it was hard. It wasn't long ago that I would have considered that pace rather slow.

It kinda got me thinking about how dedicated my training was last winter, and how much the mileage really helped. I want to get back to that mileage, and I think I'm on the road to rebuilding it now.

I stumbled onto Canadian Olympian Clara Hughes' webiste and journal today. Reading some of what she has written gave me a huge burst of inspiration. Hughes is an amazing athlete, and her gold medal in the 5k in Torino was one of the most inspiring and outright amazing things I've seen in my life. Her journal give some insight into where her toughness comes from. She describes hard exertion, not done once in a while, but over and over again until it brings pain, nausea, and exhaustion.

Most of us, myself included, will never be olympians. We lack the talent for it. The point, though, is that talent alone does not bring the olympics. Hughes may very well know pain and suffering as well as any athlete on the planet. Her ability and willingness to push herself hard, to enter into the realm of pain, is independant of her talent. We mortals like those in the RBF are just as capable of making huge demands from ourselves. We, too, can push ourselves hard, accepting pain in the name of something greater.

I'm not about to turn masochist, but I always tacitly assumed that elite, talented athletes worked by different rules than the rest of us. They had more time and talent to persue their goals. There was basically no common ground for comparison.

Something in Ms. Hughes' writings bridged the gap, and got me thinking. I've trained pretty hard, 5 days a week hard, for a while. Have I ever really pushed myself in training? Have I built and sustained the kind of base that I would need to achieve the kinds of PBs that I know I'm capable of? Have I accepted the possibility of running hard, exhausting myself, on a weekly basis, for months and months on end?

When will I get around to doing it? It's like running. I always meant to run, but it took a kick in the butt to actually get around to starting running. You can waste your whole life waiting for the right moment.

I may have just caught a glimpse of something I want.

New Year, New Coach

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Tuesday was the first day of school, so today was really the representative day at swimming. There were more people there than on Tuesday, and more organization and orientation for the coaches to take care of.

One thing that jumped out right away was the population disparity between the two halves of the pool. The new people are generally assigned to coach M in the slow half of the pool. The rare newcomer who is an experienced, strong swimmer goes to coach B.

The coaches talk to each other all the time, and today was no exception. For some reason, though, I was convinced that they were trying to even out the populations. Maybe it was just intuition, or maybe it was seeing coach B standing right at the end of our lane during one of the sets. Sure, the two coaches talked to each other, but they always talk to each other (everyone else is too out of breath to talk, and hangs around at ankle level anyways!)

At the end of the session, 3 or 4 of us were asked if we would move over to work with coach B. I agreed to, but it was kind of sad. Coach M taught me a lot last year, and really helped me improve my technique. That said, I know that coach B will be tough and demanding, and that having lots of fast feet on that side of the pool to chase is going to make me a better swimmer (eventually).

I've run with both fast and slow people, and enjoyed both experiences, but there was no denying that running with faster people is better preparation for racing. Mentally, I thrive in an environment where I'm being challenged. I'm sure with a new set of eyes watching over me, my technique is going to be run through the ringer over the next month or two. So be it.

Running In the Dark

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I made it out for a run tonight. I did the local 5k loop. Nothing too ambitious, sometimes just getting out is enough.

I didn't want to go too hard, but something about cool evenings just makes me fly. Of course, even a bit of speed left me feeling laboured, so I let my pace go up and down. Sometimes, I felt strong, like I was moving with real speed and purpose. Sometimes, I felt a stitch coming in my side, and my form felt weak.

I hit the turnaround at around 14:00, and took a brief walk break. I wasn't feeling all that great, but I was glad to be out.

The run home was more of the same. I half-surprised some people out walking as I ran by them, but was too out of breath to apologize. I didn't really feel like I was going any faster, but when I stopped my watch before 26:30, I knew that I must have picked it up going home.

First Days

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Another weekend, another head cold. Actually, the cold hit Wednesday. I had booked Friday off to go on a field trip with the kids, but instead found myself headed back to bed. When I finally woke up Friday afternoon, I knew the worst was behind me.

Still, it wasn't until Monday that I got out for a run. Given my nagging discomfort and general lack of consistent running, I took it pretty easy. I did the local 12km loop, but with absolutely zero concern for speed. I feel behind my usual checkpoints pretty quickly, but stayed focused on being relaxed. My left hip flexor bothered me a bit, but I did my best to do a good bit of stretching when I finally got back home.

This morning was the first day of the fall master's swimming session. We even had attendance taken, just like we were in school. Despite the fact that I've been swimming all summer, I felt pretty awful. Maybe it was just having my usual coach back. I mean, she wasn't even watching us (much - being more focused on the new people), but I could hear her going over all the things I was doing wrong. Guess I need to start smartening up. Anyways, she promised us a lot of kick work, which would normally be bad (hate kick work), but since I'm really looking to improve a lot this year, it's probably a good start.

With the buzz about school starting, it really does feel like I'm entering a new season. It's time to start taking running and swimming more seriously again.

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  • Cheryl: Right on Wendy! read more
  • Wendy: That swimming fitness will be back before you know it! read more
  • deene: you have to listen to your body, you probably needed read more
  • Cheryl: The heat, mixed with the humidity were extreme and it read more
  • Wendy: Sorry to hear you were so ill, Warren, but good read more
  • Cheryl: Sounds like a tough go! It's a shame that everyone read more
  • deene: anything timed in seconds and with repeats sound tough to read more
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This page is an archive of entries from September 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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