January 2007 Archives

New Shoes

| 1 Comment

I was expecting a tough morning swim again on Tuesday. While it wasn't as demanding as last week, it was still very much focused on racing.

Our main set was 6x200, choice, with focus on race strategies. We had several different strategies for a 200m swim given, and were encouraged to try several different ones, to see how they feel/work. I only got to try some of the simpler ones, but they definitely seemed to help. Even just a simple plan like build through each 50 seemed to boost my time. I suspect that it has something to do with helping me throttle back early in a race. I would have liked to try the more complex plans, but I guess I have to start somewhere.

I clocked two different runs of 3:20 for the 200 IM, and a 3:10 for the 200 free as the last repetition. Decent.

Afterwards, I came across a blog entry which got me thinking about my swim times in a competetive context. Looking over the top 10 performances in the province last year, most of them are far beyond what I'm capable of. The only ones that didn't seem completely out of reach were the breaststroke times. Honestly, I'm not sure just how fast I can go in breaststroke. I know I'm ok at it, but I also know I haven't worked at it. Can I go any faster than last year? If not, I have a long way to go. If I can pick up a few seconds over the 50, I might not be in bad shape.

Suddenly, I had a fierce desire to do a bunch of repeats of 50m breaststroke, timed. Hopefully, I'll get the chance to benchmark myself on Thursday.

On my lunch break, I went out to buy myself a new pair of running shoes. My Saucony Grid Omni 4s are working great for me, but at 750km already they're due to fade out soon. Unfortunately, the store didn't have any in my size. I ended up trying on 4 different pairs, including Asics and the Saucony Hurricane 8s. The Asics and another pair (New Balance?) were bizarre. The Hurricanes were close, but felt like high heels. The third pair I tried on, though, were really good.

Turns out they were Brooks Adrenaline GTS 7s. The only pair of shoes I've run in that weren't Saucony Grid Omni's were Brooks Adrenaline GTSs. Guess that explains why they worked so well.

I took them out for a short run last night. Once again, no matter how fast it feels like I'm going Tuesday nights, I'm never as fast as I think I am. I turned in a ~30 second negative split last night, and really worked hard, but my time was merely ok. It felt better, and I expected a faster time.

Saturday should be the real test of my speed. Before then, I have a couple of 12km runs to do. Hopefully, as the weather warms up, and I scrape together a bit of extra rest, my zest for the outdoors and for running will slowly return.

Week 3 - Done!

| 2 Comments

My fear of the cold was getting better than me Sunday morning. I had a long run to do - 28km. This was the longest I'd run since last May. All I could think of was my awful runs in the cold and wind over the last two weeks. I delayed until after noon, and finally the temperature got up to -12. The one thing that I did notice about the weather was that the winds were pretty slow (4 km/h). Maybe it wouldn't be so bad....

I opted for a long sleeve t-shirt as my mid-layer. I bundled up against the cold, even wearing my toque with the flaps that cover my ears. Finally, I shuffled out the door.

When I got to Greenbank, the pathway was not plowed. Of course. Some snowmobiles had been by, though, and their tracks were flat and stable, especially where they overlapped. I found myself running through virgin snow a few times, but never for very far. Still, plowing through 2-3 inches of snow gave my legs a very gook workout.

Unfortunately, the relief that I'd hoped for on Hunt Club was not to be. The path wasn't plowed there, either. Nor were there snowmobile tracks. This was the hardest part of the run. I either plowed through virgin snow, or shuffled through other people's tracks. The problem with the existing tracks is that the footing was very uneven.

On the bright side, the wind was still, and the sun was shining on me. I actually flipped up my ear flaps, and, looking completely ridiculous, enjoyed myself.

Finally I reached Woodroffe, and was done running in snow for the day. The cleared sidewalk felt great. I reined in my temptation to go faster, reminding myself that I had a long way to go. I also started eating my sports beans for the day.

I will say this about sports beans - they're very tasty. Unfortunately, they seem like a choking hazard when I'm running, so I end up walking with them. They're probably ideal for a laid back run. For a race, though, I think I prefer gels, which can be swallowed directly.

I stopped in at home at the 16km mark, drank some water, and headed back out. I became cautious. My last two long runs, I've struggled past 20km. Also, this would be the first week in my life I go over 70 km in one week. So I took it easy, tried to keep my arms relaxed, and did not push the pace.

As it turned out, I felt fine the whole second loop. I didn't have any washroom problems, the water and sports beans sat well in my stomach. My legs felt strong all the way home, despite the hard run the day before. My time wasn't amazing, but I did finish in under 3 hours. Besides, speed is NOT important on long runs.

I must say, I'm really looking forward to the lower mileage this week. If nothing else, maybe it will mean less time outside in the cold!

Slow/Fast

| No Comments

My current training plan calls for two tempo runs a week. The tempo runs come with an asterisk, though. In winter, the temperature and footing can preclude running at speed. So, for now, I'm concentrating primarily on distance. Speed work will come, but for now, I'm not expecting too much from myself.

That said, I would like to be a little bit faster than my recent from would indicate that I am. I should be getting stronger, and the shorter runs should be getting easier (theoretically, I hope!). On weeks when I'm stretching out my mileage, like this one, that may be less true. Next week, however, I'm cutting back my mileage (rest week), so my tempo runs may be taken a bit more seriously.

Saturday's tempo run was delayed until around noon, while I waited (again!) for the temperatures to become a bit more reasonable. When I left the house, it was around -10. Two minutes out the door, it occurred to me that, with no mid layer on, I might be a touch underdressed. The solution was to keep moving, and move I did.

I was doing my local 8km route, which by now I'm very comfortable with. By my log, it looks like I've run it at least 50 times, so I'm pretty comfortable with the feel of the route, and of the timing of it. The route is basically T-shaped, featuring two turnarounds. At the first turnaround, my time was around 12:30. This really surprised me, as I'm usually in the 13-14 minute range at this point. Clearly, I had a bit of speed in me today.

I decided to try to keep the pressure up on myself, to keep pushing. Passing the middle of the T, I was just under 21 minutes, which was still good. With the wind at my back, I strode along, trying to make up some time, knowing that the wind would be in my face on the way home.

As I approached the second turnaround (no longer feeling even a little cold!), I reasoned out that, to go sub-40 minutes, I'd need to hit the turnaround in around 27:00. I actually settled on 26:50, allowing for the wind to slow me down. I slowed to a walk, and dug my watch out from under my coat sleeve. 26:47! Oops! No time to walk now!

I've only broken 40 minutes on this loop 4 times, and never in the chill of winter. In fact, it had been over a year since I'd last done it. I didn't really feel like I was that fast, but I did feel like I was working. I thought about the recent article on completerunning.com, where Paula Newby-Fraser discussed how races, like training runs, come in a broad spectrum, from good to bad. Clearly, I was on the good side of my luck.

When I stopped my watch, it read 39:08. This is my third fastest ever run of this loop. To pull this off during my (planned) highest mileage week ever is a bit strange, in my opinion. Apparently, I am getting stronger. It will be interesting to see, though, how this run impacts my long run tomorrow.

No, Wait...

| 1 Comment

Remember yesterday, when I said...

Yesterday's swim was possibly the toughest all year.

Well, scratch that. THIS was the toughest swim. Of my life. (Maybe I'm exaggerating. I doubt it, though.)

Ok, so I'm in the fast half of the pool now. And yes, there's a meet coming up. I expect to be hit hard at swimming these days.

Warmup was 700m choice, followed by 150m of breaststroke drills. The 700m went by like a dream - get in a groove, try to stay there.

Our first set was this:
5x200m on 4:15
-odd: choice, negative split
-even: 25 back kick, 75 back, 25 br kick, 75 br, focus on the back-to-breast turn.

For my 3 choice swims, I chose my 3 upcoming events - freestyle, then breaststroke, then I.M. I was able to finish up 200 free in around 3:20 (can't remember for sure), giving myself nearly a full minute's rest. The back and breast were both slower, giving me virtually no rest. (Uh oh!) I really had a hard time angling for a negative split on the 200 breast. Another 30-45 seconds rest, and I was off again. I finished up with, again, no time to rest. This time I dropped myself to the back of the queue. I really wanted to know my 200 IM time, so I aimed for a reasonable effort. With breast in the second half, it's hard to negative split, so I didn't worry about it too much. I finished up in 3:35 or so.

Next, we did 8x25, alt free kick with the water at chin level, alt fly kick on side, on 1:00. The time allowed was a lot, but the free kick drill was nearly impossible. I found it really hard on the ankles, and really exhausting. Fly kick was very easy and restful in comparison.

Our last set was a killer.

4x200 on 4:30 alt:
-odd: 200 continuous, at the start of every 50 do 10 pulls, heads-up, water between nose and chin, as fast as possible out of the breakout, then easy. Efficiency not required.
-even: 50 fr easy, rest 10 seconds. 50 free pulling hands down to thighs, rest 10 seconds. (so far, easy). 4x25 sprint, with 5 seconds rest between.

The odd repetitions sound easy, but really, the 10 pulls were lung busters. Sure you could go easy afterwars, but you needed to, to save up for the next one. The first half of the even set sounds pretty easy. The catch is that 10 seconds isn't really much rest. Ergo, the 5 seconds between sprints is really not much rest. In fact, it's almost none at all. The first time though, I maybe recovered a bit, but the second time through, there was no recovery; only gasping and dreading the next start.

The first time through the set, I took the challenge on valiantly. On the 4th 200, 10 metres into the first sprint, I thought something like "I'm falling apart". It was the last thing I would think for several long minutes. After that, I might have said something like "my form fell apart", or "my arms felt like lead", but truthfully, there just wasn't enough oxygen getting to my brain to form opinions like that. I didn't want to start the next 25 on time. I didn't want to start it at all. It's possible that I took too long on all the rests, because I just couldn't get my body to start again. I tried keeping my head up (my major technique/form problem at the moment), but with my brain not working, I was reduced to thrashing about, gasping for breath, and pulling madly on the water, hoping it would all end soon.

I hate doing weights, but I'd imagine that my arms feel like they would if I had lifted this morning. My arms feel like I shouldn't be able to lift them over my shoulders.

Two bad thoughts arise. One is that my form fell apart at the end. This is bad. I need to keep my swimming efficient, no matter how hard I'm working or how fatigued I am, or my race will fall apart. Swimming takes more than just strength and effort to succeed. Secondly, I have never, ever pushed myself this hard while running. Not in training, anyways. Not even close. I'm looking forward to starting speed work at the track once the snow melts, but I'm thinking that I shouldn't be. If I can drive myself THIS hard come spring in my running, good things should happen. It won't, however, be anything to look forward to.

Sun Comes Up, It's Wednesday Morning

| 1 Comment

Yesterday's swim was possibly the toughest all year. There were a lot of sprints, intermixed with some longer stuff. Probably exactly what I needed.

Yesterday's run felt fast, but wasn't. The sidewalks were clear and it was mild out, which made it feel fast, but I'm guessing I was still a bit wrecked from the morning swim, which slowed me down. Still, running while less than fully rested is part of training.

Speaking of lack of rest, I was up and out the door before 6am this morning. It was coldish at -9C, but that was as warm as it would be all day. There wasn't even a hint of twilight as I went out the door. Beyond the streetlights, the stars shone brightly - cold but beautiful companions. Saturn was there, too, as was Jupiter, huge and bright in the south. The moon, however, couldn't be bothered to join me.

By the time I got out around the turnaround, the southeastern sky was lighting up, providing a beautiful view. It wasn't getting any warmer, but in the transition I was encouraged by the growing daylight, but could still marvel at the stars who were fighting to stay onstage as long as possible.

It's moments like this that make running, and staying active in general, easy. Sure, it's cold, and frequently uncomfortable, outside, but if I was sleeping in or watching TV or whiling my days away doing whatever it is people do, I'd be missing out. The sun, the stars, the wind and weather would all still be happening, but I'd be obvlivious to them. Disconnected.

The distances are getting longer. I'm not so much noticing it by my exertion as by my time. Short runs still feel short, medium runs still feel annoyingly time consuming but easily doable. What's changing is that the impact they're having on my daily routine is growing. I embrace the impact, both for the mental and physical challenges it offers, and for the opportunity to watch the sun come up on Wednesday mornings, while the rest of the world rushes through their morning routines.

Long, Long Way To Go

| No Comments

Week 2 of the 3-week plan is done. All in all, it was a much colder week than week 1.

Saturday's 6km run was done at a chilly -20, but at least it was short. Unfortunately, I ended up scraping up the back of one of my heels. I had tucked my pants into my short socks trying to keep my ankles warm, but the zipper chafed. Yuck.

Sunday dawned at -20, but by noon it was up to -14. I opted for a 15km loop, a water/gel break at home, then 10km more. The 15 went very smoothly - I felt strong and reasonably fast throughout. It turns out my pace was only around 6:00/km, but that's fine. Long run speeds don't matter.

After my house stop, I continued on, feeling fine at first. Around 18km, my GI started quietly objecting. Maybe I ate the power gel too fast. Anyways, after the turnaround at 20km, I started really feeling the distance. The mental algebra told me that I was a long way from being able to even finish a marathon. For all the mileage that I've been running lately, I was running 17km less than a full marathon, and my mind and body were starting to shut down from exhaustion.

I finished up cold and very tired. I actually recovered from the run fairly quickly, with the help of an Advil and a few jelly beans. Still, I nervously look forward to next week, wondering how hard Sunday will hit me.

Diving In

| No Comments

The pool was open this morning. We ended up being given Tuesday's planned swim, which focused on dive starts, breakouts (the move off the wall), and finishing (the move to the wall).

My dive starts are pretty bad, but I wasn't alone in this. The work we did today definitely improved my dives. It's going to take some work to look competent, though.

The highlight was a 50 times heat off a dive start. I ended up in an outside lane beside R, who is pretty quick. I considered doing 50 fly, but decided I needed to focus on keeping my free fast. Off the dive R was in my line of sight, and was staying close. I tried to pull hard and turn over quickly, but I had a feeling I was keeping my shoulders too square. Also, I had to keep something back for the final 25. I tried to power off the wall on the turn, usually my strength. When I came up, I could see R a bit behind me. I put my head down (figuratively, hopefully not literally) and pulled hard all the way home. I finished up in 35.2, which I was quite happy with. I beats my previous best of 38.00, and also reestablished my 50m PB (which had previous been set in fly).

I also chatted with the coach after practice about the upcoming meet. He encouraged me to sign up for the 50 breast, in addition to the 200 IM and 100 free that I want to do. He also encouraged me to do a relay, which I'll have to look into.

After the swim, I signed up for the meet. So, it's official. I have a race in my future once again.

One...

| No Comments

The great thing about the internet is that it lets you play cards with friends from high school who now live in a different country. The drawback is that doing so is not conduscive to getting a run in first thing the next morning. When I woke up two hours later than expected, my first thought (after "Did I turn my alarm off?") was "Guess I'll have to run from work today."

The problem with running in winter isn't the day in and day out stuff. Sure, it's cold and snowy, but properly attired, all that is liveable. The problem with running in winter is the exceptional days. Yesterday was one such day. By delaying my run from morning until noon, I allowed the temperature to warm up from -25C to -20C.

Warm being strictly a relative word.

I mapped out a 14km loop near work, which would keep me on streets with regular traffic, in case the cold became a problem. The loop ended up a bit short, but I wasn't going to complain.

The out leg was straight into the wind. My nose started running immediately, which was uncomfortable, and made breathing tough. In, out, in, out, sniffle, out, sniffle, sigh, sniffle, wipe nose, repeat. I was wearing a ballaclava, but my nose and eyes were still cold. The wind straight in my face was also chilling the unmentionables to an uncomfortable degree.

The run totally changed after the turnaround. For one thing, my hands got a lot warmer. I was able to run most of the way back without my gloved hand tucked up my sleeves. Also, my face was much more comfortable. Unfortunately, not all the sidewalks on that side of the road had been plowed. What is UP with that? Grrrr....

Anyways, I got the run done, which made me happy. One very cold day down....

The Pool is Closed

| 1 Comment

Well, I was up at 5am this morning, and at the pool by 5 to 6. The only problem was that the parking lot was nearly empty, and what few cars that were there were either leaving, or were surrounded by people chatting.

Uh oh.

Turns out the pool is closed until further notice. There was an electrical problem, and heating and air circulation are out. This is bad for chlorinated pools, where the air above them can get unsafe if it doesn't circulate.

So, after all that waking up early, brushing off the car, and shivering as it slowly warmed up, I had nowhere to go. I knew right away that, if I was smart, I'd go home and run, getting it done before work. The only problem was that it was cold; -15, and probably the coldest day so far this winter. Did I really want to run?

Maybe, maybe not, but it turns out I wanted to run in the morning more than I wanted to have to rush around after work.

I bundled up as warmly as I could. I doubled my socks, wore a thick fleece as a mid layer, and covered my face and ears. Finally, running out of excused to delay the inevitable, out I went.

It wasn't all THAT bad out. There wasn't too much of a wind, and the sky was clear. Jupiter really stood out, even in the dawn twilight. The sidewalks were a mess of snow, so I ran on the roads when I could. I wasn't fast (just not possible), but I tried to get home as quickly as I could, to warm up.

If nothing else, I'm one run close to, well, whatever I'm training for.

Week 1 - done!

| 1 Comment

Week 1 of the 3-week plan is done. I was undisciplined when it came to blogging what was on my mind, but I was disciplined when it came to the actual running, which is more important (I think!).

Tuesday's swim was mostly an endurance set. I loved it. I ate it up. Thursday's had a bit more sprinting in it. I managed to hurt my arm/shoulder a bit doing a 50 fly sprint, and that kinda tempered my enthusiams. It was still a decent go, though.

Tuesday's run started with a huge wind at my back. I thought I was just flying until near the turnaround, when it dawned on me that I hadn't really noticed a wind yet. Sure enough, as soon as I turned around, I found it. Turns out I wasn't as fast as I thought I was.

Wednesday, I was slow. Very slow. No explanation as to why, but it nearly made me late for work. It felt ok, but clearly wasn't. What it was was really, really cold. So maybe that was it.

Friday's run was much milder, in a light rain. I wore a cap, which kept the rain out of my face, and stopped me from getting too uncomfortable. I reran Wednesday's route, and took over 5 minutes off my time. Weird. Saturday's tempo run was faster than Tuesday's, as well.

Today was clear, and semi-mild, with the temperatures around -5. I decided at some point early in the week that I'd been underdressing lately, so I wore a long sleeve tee as a mid layer. It seemed to help. I was also trying out some of the Sports Beans I got as a gift. Overall, the run could probably be broken down as: 12 miles of fun, 2 miles of ugh. For the first time in a long time, I finished a long run feeling pretty well destroyed. I finished fast and reasonably strong, but when I was done the tank was pretty much empty.

What stood out was how thirsty I was. I think that for my longer-than-half runs, I need to start bringing liquids again. Up to 10 miles, I find I can live without. Now that I'm back in the big leagues (distance-wise), it's time to be smarter, I guess.

All in all, it was a strong week. It will be interesting to see how much tougher next week is.

Three Week Plan

| 1 Comment

My highest ever weekly mileage (kilometerage?) is 63.3km.

Here's my plan for the next 3 weeks:

Week 1 - Total Distance = 58 km
Tues: 6
Wed: 12
Fri: 12
Sat: 6
Sun: 22

Week 2 - Total Distance = 65 km
Tues: 6
Wed: 14
Fri: 14
Sat: 6
Sun: 25

Week 3 - Total Distance = 72 km
Tues: 8
Wed: 14
Fri: 14
Sat: 8
Sun: 28

I've been building my distance slowly (nay, leisurely) since early October, starting in the low 40s per week. Two weeks ago, I peaked in the high 50s, and had a rest/lower mileage week last week. My goal is to ramp a bit more aggressively distance-wise,a nd cut back to around 55-60km in week 4.

Hopefully, now that my plan is recorded, I'll stay healthy long enough to see it through. Since early October, the only real failures in my distance training have been illness-related.

(I don't think I need to explain what caused my dietary lapses. (A little bit of resolve is what I need now.)

The Other Kind of Tough

| 1 Comment

Last week's running was a success. Despite far too much cake eaten, I managed to meet my goal of running lower distance, but faster. I wasn't blazingly fast, but I was a bit faster than I had been in previous weeks. It's a start.

A local triathlete recently said (I'm paraphrasing heavily) that regular racing is essential for mental toughness. I haven't raced in quite a while, and I can say that this week really highlighted my lack of mental toughness. I found it difficult to push myelf, and even more difficult to maintain a high heartrate/effort level. I can vaguely remember loving the feeling of running hard, but anything like that is long gone now.

I may need to consider running some 5km and 10km races this spring, as part of my weekly workouts, just to work on regaining my edge.

My two 5km runs were done at 4:45/km and 4:37/km pace, respectively. My 10km PB is around 4:31, so there's really no reason I shouldn't be able to hold that pace for 5km, even in training. I'm not there yet, but I'm close enough to be reasonably content. My 10km runs were done at 5:38/km and 5:09/km. The first was more or less a disaster. I'd like to be running my medium distance runs at 5:00/km right now, so Friday was at least close, especially when you consider that I was stopped for a few stoplights. (I religiously count stoplights in my run time - after all, they're free rest.) Ultimately, I'd love to be able to do a 46-47 minute 10km on demand, but we'll see how that works out.

Sunday long runs are NOT about pace, and I worked hard at trying to tell myself to slow down. The trick, I guess, is to force myself to run at a low, comfortable heart rate, and let my pace do whatever feels right. 5:17/km for a Sunday run seems awfully fast to me at this point, I would think that around 5:30/km would be right. I'm betting that my shorter distance was the culprit. Over the next few weeks, as my Sunday runs get really long, I expect I'll run a fair bit slower.

For now, I continue to content myself focusing on distance. Come late March/early April, when the weather warms up, I should have an excellent foundation on which to build some speed.

Cold and Slow

| No Comments

This week's plan calls for a reduction in distance, and hopefully an increase in speed.

The snow from last weekend has finally been swept or melted away, so the footing so far has been excellent. I have felt like I've been able to push myself a bit on both yesterday's and this morning's runs. Unfortunately, that hasn't really translated into a huge speed increase.

It isn't helping that it's only the first week of January and I'm already becoming a huge wimp. I'm starting to really dread the cold. I wanted to put on a fleece under my jacket before I went out this morning, despite the fact that it was barely below freezing. Sure, 10 minutes into the run I felt alright (well, until I turned around into the wind), but for the first few minutes all I could think was how badly I wanted to be back home, in my warm bed. It's going to get SO much worse; it's been a mild winter so far.

2006 - The Year That Was

| 1 Comment

Another year has passed under the bridge. In so many ways, it wasn't what I expected. At times, it was disappointing. At times, it was fun. At times, I worked harder than I've ever worked before, and at times, I was lazy and blew off training regularly.

Let's start with the numbers.

Yearly totals:
Running: 1559.46km (+305.46)
Swimming: 192.35km (+48.75)
Cycling: 1207.3km (+340.95)

All my distances are up from 2005. This comes as a small surprise to me. Let's break it down.

By month:
Running:
2006-Graph-Running.jpg

Swimming:
2006-Graph-Swimming.jpg

Cycling:
2006-Graph-Cycling.jpg

Summary:
Running:

In the early part of the year, I was running five times a week, and being fairly consistent with my schedule. Two things effectively derailed my marathon training - tapering and recovering from supposed B races, and an unrelated medical problem which sidelined me for a few weeks. As a result, my training over the first 5 months of the year was inconsistent, and inadequate.

After the marathon, I worked on getting my biking up to speed to do a few triathlons. I ran infrequently and sporadically, with little thought or plan. It showed; while my running wasn't really bad this summer, it wasn't the strength that I usually rely on in triathlons.

I had been planning on not starting to train seriously until November, but as the September race season drifted by (with me not running anything), it occurred to me that I was already more well rested than I had rights to be. So, in October, I got back to running 5 times a week, and slowly building mileage. I've been sick twice since then, but excluding that, my weekly running chart looks pretty consistent.

2006-Graph-Running-2.jpg

I had hoped to hit 1600km this year, and fell just short of that. I really should have run more this summer than I did. However, this didn't really happen out of laziness. I set out to enjoy my training this summer. I wanted it to be laid back, without a strict regime, but with lots of swimming, and riding for fun. It was all that. Running suffered, but I didn't. Not really.

Swimming:

I chose to swim all summer this year, mostly to stay sharp for triathlons. Other than the cold-water nightmare at the North Bay Triathlon, my swimming exceeded my expectations all year. It started with my unexpectedly strong results at my first ever swim meet, and just got better from there. I continued to improve in the pool all year. Even switching coaches in September seemed to help. By December, I was already on the doorstep of meeting my end-of-season (April/May) goals..

Cycling:

What can I say? I loved my bike this year. LOVED it.

The season started with the best ride of my life (hill notwithstanding), and went from there. This summer, Saturday meant 50+km bike rides, usually with a camera and an eye for sightseeing. I looked forward to those rides, and I loved being able to wander far from home.

Sometimes, a year after you make a big purchase, reality starts to set in, and you fall out of love with your expensive new toy. This wasn't the case for me and the still-unnamed road bike.

Overall:

2006-Graph-Summary.jpg

Hmmm, what to say? Race-wise, this was a very weak year for me. I essentially had one good race, maybe two. Ok, two - the half marathon in January, and my first ever olympic triathlon in August. Ok, and the swim meet was good, I said that already. Still, I didn't run many races, and most of those weren't run particularly well.

It comes down to training. This year, I showed that I could train very well (leading up to the half marathon in January), and that I could train very poorly (spring and summer). The choice was mine - was I going to be forever a laid-back athlete who ran casually but never really pushed himself, or was I going to be all that I could be?

My last three months has been the beginning of my crafted answer to that question. I have five months to go to the marathon. Along the way, without damaging my marathon training, I plan on shattering a few PBs. I plan on being very serious and attentive to my training. I owe it to myself to build on the lessons I've learned in 2006.

Highlights:
Best training run:

Nothing hugely stands out this year, so maybe I'll nominate this one. I was in the right frame of mind. It was a nostalgic, if cold, run.

Best training swim:

On a couple of occasions this year, I've really been able to notice the difference that being coached in swimming makes. Obviously, it helps improve from and technique. Sometimes, though, being coached can coax me to push myself harder than I might have pushed myself on my own.

This swim featured an excellent mix of being pushed, being instructed, and being educated. Maybe this is why I'm liking swimming far more than I ever thought I would.

If I was counting races, the half hour open water swim in Mooney's Bay would be it. Rhythm, solitude - I was in a zone I'd never been in before.

Best ride:

I think I said this already. New England. I seriously can't thank Jank enough.

Worst moment:

Wondering if I was in danger of drowning in North Bay Triathlon. I managed to get my emotions under control, and got the swim done, but at some point out there in the cold, cold waters, I forgot everything I knew about myself and about swimming and panicked.

Best moment:

I just conquered Boston, ARRRR!

I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again - I can't thank Jank, flipperhead or runninmomma enough. Jank and his family were simply awesome hosts, flipperhead was very patient and gracious as my lifeline, and runningmomma and family guided me around a strange city in a strange country. Hopefully, someday, I'll be able to repay my new friends for their generosity and hospitality.

All of which enabled the highlight of my year - watching my favorite super hero - the Amazing Hip - run the Boston marathon. It meant a lot to me to be there, supporting jeff, and taking in one of the most amazing races on the planet. I mean, I even got to see the Hoyts!!

Boston was a hugely motivational and enjoyable experience for me. I'd love to go back as a runner - someday. I'm at least 2 years away from being able to try, though. And it's entirely possible that I don't have enough natural speed to make ever qualify. If this year was as close as I'll ever come to the Boston Marathon, well, all I can say is that it was still pretty darned awesome.

Having experienced the highs and lows of 2006, I can't wait to see what 2007 has in store for me.

Profile

BTT Details




Pages

Powered by Movable Type 4.2-en

Recent Comments

  • 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
  • jank: Ease comes soon while riding in a group. As long read more
  • warren: Sadly, no. Nor did I delve into the Leguminosae family read more
  • jeff: WOOHOO! did you ever come up with a name for read more

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2006 is the previous archive.

February 2007 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.