Tag Archives: training

Who needs luck? Just go out and enjoy the race.

A few minutes before I left the office yesterday one of my coworkers stopped by to wish me a Merry Christmas and chat about the family.  Since he’s a runner too, the conversation always eventually ends up with us chatting about recent or upcoming races.  He has a long training run this weekend as he then begins to taper for not one – but two marathons next month.  Whoa.

Have fun and enjoy them!

A lot of people do, but I don’t generally tell folks ‘good luck!’ for a race.  Most of us aren’t elite athletes that need a little extra luck to earn a place on the podium anyway.  And really – what is luck?  Per my friend Google, luck is …

  1. success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.

As runners, we’re involved in many actions for months leading up to a race – obviously the running, but there’s also the stretching, foam rolling, eating well, proper rest and mental preparation.

Thus, I personally don’t believe in ‘luck’ for a race.

I too have a race in early January – the 50k Yankee Springs Winter Challenge (though … I don’t know whether we will get any winter before the start).

I view it, as I do with all of my races, as the reward for all of my aforementioned actions that lead up to it.  It’s the reward for the early mornings, running through the rain, missed drinks with friends on Friday nights, good runs and bad.  I know I have put in the time training and preparing, I trust that training, and now it’s time to enjoy!

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For me especially, being that I’m a #darkskyrunner, races are even more special.  For one, they’re during the day (or at least most of the race is during the day).  Running through the daylight and seeing the scenery of ultras is awesome and one of the many reasons I run them.  I also run alone during almost all of my training, so being around other people during a race brings an exciting vibe that I don’t normally get.  It’s fun to meet new people and share stories (and a beer) with them.

Who needs luck?  Just go out and enjoy the race.  Have fun.  You earned it!

Embrace the rest days – I bet you’ll love it

I used to suck at rest days.

Dude – it’s the easiest day of the week!!!

I know, but I kept trying to turn rest days into running days and that never turned out well.  I always thought I could, or should, sneak in a few extra miles.  After all, I’m training to run ultras – I need miles.  But instead of successfully logging the extra miles, some combination of the following happened:

  1. I ran the extra miles, which lead to burnout, which lead to a crappy run on my actual training run.
  2. I ran the extra miles, which lead to burnout that made me skip my actual training run.
  3. I didn’t run, but felt like I should run, so I felt crappy about it.

Alas, I was not embracing my rest day.  Rather than looking at it as an opportunity to relax / recharge, I was looking at it as a missed opportunity.  The mindset can make all the difference.

I’ve since tried to embrace the rest day, and I love it!  I schedule it, just like a training run, and I’ve found it adds balance / structure to my week.  I no longer go to work thinking ‘I should’ve snuck in a few extra miles this morning.’  I go to work thinking ‘Hey, good job, you slept in today.’

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My rest days are now an opportunity to catch up on a few extra Z’s in the morning and grind / press a real cup of coffee.  I still try to stretch during my rest days, and read about running, and tweet about running, and blog about running … but I don’t run.  It also allows me to spend some extra time with my family because I’m up later the night before a rest day.  I know the morning won’t start before 4am.  Today I slept all the way till 6:15!!!

If you too struggle with your rest days, take it from me – embrace them.  I bet you’ll love it.

 

 

Week of 11/29/15 – ‘Tis the season

Miles this week: 51

2015 YTD: 1257


‘Daddy, potty, potty, potty!’

Me: Can you hold it?  We’re not by the bathroom.

‘Daddy, potty!’

Me: Do you just have to pee?

‘Yeah!’

Yeah … so, the toddler that dropped a deuce between the Christmas trees, at the tree farm … she belongs to me.  Eh, what’s a little extra fertilizer?  ‘Tis the season!!

It’s a good life skill – likely to come in handy while backpacking.  Or canoe tripping.  Or ultrarunning.  Not sure it needs to be learned at two though …

Speaking of ultrarunning, I had a great week of training.  At 51 miles, this was the longest week of running I’ve had since the final ‘big’ week prior to the Kal-Haven trail run back in April.  My first two runs, both 10 milers on Tuesday / Thursday were pretty uneventful.  I’m still working through the HR training and hit both of these w/145BPM.  No stars though.  Just dark, foggy running.

On Saturday I planned on running with a guy I met up in Marquette at the 50k in August.  The local running club was starting near the golf course over near the house and planning to run around the lake – 11.5 miles.  They had water set out – pretty sweet deal.

I was nervous as hell.

I typically don’t run with folks.  I asked Dan what pace they’d be running and his response was 8:30s.  I told him I could hang onto that for a bit (I didn’t tell him I’ve been running 10:30s/10:40s for the last few weeks.  I had no idea if I could keep up, but I was damn sure gonna try.  And in addition to the extra speed, I needed to run 18 on Saturday.

I had trouble falling asleep because I was worried I couldn’t keep up.  In the morning I wanted to vomit because I wasn’t sure I could keep up.  I don’t remember being this nervous before a race!

I left early to run about 3.5 before meeting them at the golf course only to be asked ‘Are you running it twice?’ (I was wearing my UD vest).  Nah, I’m just out to run 18.

I shouldn’t have been nervous.  It was a great run.  I’m very good with running alone, but every once in awhile it’s nice to have a partner.  I ran pretty well – 8:30s the majority of the way.  This was my first time running around the lake counter-clockwise.  I feel like it was uphill the whole way.  I know that can’t be possible, but it sure felt like it.  I started to fade a bit at the end, but we still ended up averaging about 8:40 for the run.  Whew – I made it.

After we got back to the clubhouse, I ran 3 miles back home to total out my 18.  Very.  Slowly.  Hey, I was done with the fast stuff for the day!

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I wrapped up the week with a pretty uneventful 12 miler this morning, but I made it home before the girls / wife were up so that’s a win.  Still not much in the way of stars this morning.  The whole week was crappy for stargazing, but –  as I mentioned, a great week of training!

In other news, we did get our tree.  After the backcountry dump.  My youngest was enjoying it with me this morning.  Or she was enjoying the iPad.  It’s hard to tell.
IMG_3491.JPGEarlier in the week, my oldest had an ‘art show’ at school.  It was actually set up pretty cool.  She was less excited about the art, and more interested in showing us her classmates.  And showing her younger sister to her teacher.

Next week is my peak mileage before my next race in January.  I have 55 miles on the schedule and it’s gonna be tough getting it in.  We’re heading across the state, and back, on Saturday for my nephew’s birthday party.  After we do our neighborhood Christmas party Friday night.  Nothing about either of those items screams – Hey, run 20 miles Saturday  morning!!!

Do you have a tree yet?

How was your week of training?

 

Sleep – the most difficult part of ultrarunning

Buzz, buzz, buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … My alarm wakes me this morning.  It’s 2:40am.  Just 20 minutes after my daughter woke me to say her comforter fell off the bed and needed to be replaced.

I didn’t have it in me.  I rolled over, grabbed the covers, and faded back into sleep.  Bed won.  What should’ve been a 12 mile run, was left to what should’ve been.

When I finally awoke, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Sleep is the hardest thing for me with respect to my ultrarunning.  It’s not the running.  It’s not the darkness.  It’s not the rain, the snow, the heat, the fog.  It’s the sleep.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a very good sleeper, but what I realized is, with respect to sleep, there’s such a fine – fine, like a razor blade fine line between my ultrarunning success and total failure.  Too much sleep, and I don’t have the time to properly train.  Too little, and I run myself into exhaustion – which is probably true for most folks, but the line between the two feels incredibly thin sometimes.

Flash back to this morning …IMG_3492.PNG

I made the right call.  I’d slept less than four hours.  I can’t expect to make it through a couple hours of running, a day’s worth of work, hanging with the family and then get up at 2:20am the next day to run again.  It just wouldn’t work.

I’ve been trying to pull more of my running into the work week to spend more time with my family on the weekend.  I don’t sacrifice much time with my kids because I’m usually running very early while they’re sleeping, but consequently I lose time in the evenings with my wife because I’m trying to go to bed early.

It’s really quite selfish.  It reminds me of how selfish ultrarunning is, but it is … what it is.  So I’ve been trying to pull at least one of the weekends long runs forward.  To give us more time together at least one of the weekend nights.

It’s not working.

For the year, I average 6 hours 35 minutes of sleep a night.  3 hours 8 minutes of deep sleep, and I get up, on average at 5:48am (yes I track all of that).  Those aren’t really terrible numbers.  But those are just averages … easing the hills and valleys into more of a pleasing number.  Of course, on days I run, the sleep is much less, the mornings much earlier – and I ride the sleep trough into the next wave of rest.

I felt like I handled the sleep during the early part of the year much better than I’m handling it now.  Looking at the data, I was doing both of my long runs on the weekend.  But as I mentioned before – I don’t get to spend as much time with my wife that way.

So … what to do??

Ultimately I feel like I’m in a much better place when I’m getting my training in and feeling successful as a runner.  And by successful – for me, that just means showing up for a race, properly trained, and completing it.  When I’m not feeling successful with my running, that has other negative impacts – I get grumpy for one, and my fuse is a bit shorter.

Fortunately for me, the training cycle for my next race is about to peak next week.  But there will be others soon enough.

I think I’m going to go back to running both long runs on the weekend, drop the mid-week runs to twice per week (and lengthen them a bit), schedule deliberate off-days and take the opportunity to spend more quality time those evenings with the family.

When my wife, and I do get the chance to snag a sitter, and sneak away on a weekend date night, well … I’ll just make sure I schedule the shorter of the two long runs the next morning.

Sleep.  Who thought it’d be so hard?

How do you balance workout time with family time?

What’s the hardest part of your training?

 

Week of 11/22/15 – 900 miles on the family truckster

Miles this week: 24

2015 YTD: 1206


This was a tough week.  Mentally tough as we spent most of Thanksgiving weekend at a funeral.  Tough from a running standpoint based on the holiday and funeral.  Tough for spending about 900 miles in the car, in rain and traffic and construction over the holiday weekend.

I came into the week planning to pull my back to back long runs up to Monday / Tuesday.  This would allow me to work around the Thanksgiving double run-eat-run 10k races I planned to run on Thursday / Friday mornings.  It would also allow me to get my mileage even with the holiday and funeral over the weekend.

Well … that running plan went to shit.

Monday / Tuesday I was exhausted.  Literally too exhausted to get up and run.  It happens sometimes – I tell my wife it’s my tired phase.  Sometimes I just need to sleep. We piled into the family truckster Wednesday night, to drive across the state to the in-laws for Thanksgiving.  Just before we get on the highway, my wife hollers – ‘Don’t get on, don’t get on!’  She saw the traffic piled up under the overpass so we passed on the highway and pulled over to check our phones.  I pulled up Waze and it looked like this …

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At that point we bailed.

Since we didn’t make it to Detroit Wednesday night, I didn’t make my run Thursday morning.  Since we were headed to Ohio for a funeral early Friday, that shot my run Friday morning as well.

So Wednesday night I was sitting at 0 miles with both races out of the picture.

I managed to drag my ass out of bed early enough to run 12 miles, through the rain, Thanksgiving day before we hit the road again and enjoyed my first holiday lights of the season.

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Thanksgiving was good, but I was missing spending it was my side of the family based on the circumstances at hand.  But I still stuffed my face and enjoyed the company of my in-laws.

Friday I was up early again for another run through the rain – this time 6 miles.  Then it was in the car to head South.  I followed that with another early 6 mile run, again through the rain – what the hell??, on Saturday morning.

Saturday evening it was back to Detroit to pick up the kids and on toward home today.  All told, we logged about 900 miles on the family truckster.  Unfortunately I only logged about 24 on my legs.  All in the rain.

I wanted to run again this morning, but I didn’t take enough clothes with me for the rain.  Each morning after my run, I stuffed the wet clothes in my gym bag and rolled onto the next town.  I don’t mind running in the wet.  I don’t mind running in the cold.  But I do mind putting on something wet to go run in the cold – so I passed this morning.

I guess it was only fitting to do all of that running in the rain.  Some how it seemed to match the sadness of the weekend.

One bright spot on the weekend, aside from the Thanksgiving dinner – I tried Buffalo Wings and Rings last night – holy awesome wings!  When we returned to my in-laws I told them I needed a beer and wings.  Buffalo Wings and Rings happened to be close so my father-in-law joined me for a beer while we waited on wings for takeout.  They were AWESOME.  HUGE wings and the sauce (roasted garlic) was perfect.

Well, that’s pretty much how the week went.  Here’s to this week being better on all fronts.

How was your Thanksgiving?

What are your favorite wings?

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving all – good luck with your turkey trots and fourth helpings of turkey and gravy.

IMG_3485.JPGThere’s no turkey trot on the agenda for me this year, but I did make it out for a 12 mile milk run this morning – realized we were out last night and I can’t enjoy my Kellogg’s breakfast cereal w/o it!

With that 12 miler I’m ready for gravy (that’s really what I’m in it for).

OK, gravy and PIE! (Apple please)

Speaking of the 12 mile run, I gotta give it to Smartwool – they make some awesome stuff.  I was wearing my long sleeve mid-weight shirt this morning.  We had mid-40s and rain.  Not a heavy rain, but a steady rain for all but the last 35 minutes or so.  When I got home the shirt was damn near dry!  My body heat must’ve been enough to keep it drying through the run.  I also didn’t get cold at all.  Smartwool (or Icebreaker – they’re both awesome) is about all I run in anymore.

With that – it’s time to load up the family truckster and point it East in search of gravy, where I’m thankful to spend the day with family and delicious food.  Safe travels to all those who’re headed out of town and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

What’re your favorite running apps?

I was 9 miles into my 12 mile run recently, texting with a co-worker at 5am about a problem at work (I’m a computer nerd – we’re always available) and I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye.

That’s weird, it seemed like lightning – but … we don’t really get much lightning this time of year …

A few minutes, and a few texts later (by the way – thankfully I’m working on HR training and have been moving SLOOOOOOOOOOWLY, otherwise this texting thing isn’t really doable) I saw another flash.

Hmmmm – maybe that is lightning.

I opened one of my favorite apps ‘Storm’ from Wunderground, and sure enough – there was lightning about 75 miles out.

Good – I’m not rushing home for work and now I don’t have to rush home for the lightning, it’s headed North vs. East.

With the work crisis behind me, and the lightning headed North, I spent the last three miles thinking about what my favorite running apps are.  Then I got to thinking – what other cool running apps are there that I’m not aware of?  That’s where you come in … but I didn’t think it was fair to ask you without giving you my favorites as well.

Mine are below.

What are your favorite running apps?


 

IMG_3438.PNGStorm – Free

Storm is awesome.  Yes it has the hourly / daily forecast like all weather apps, and I use that to help me gather the proper clothes the night before a run, but the radar is what I love about it.

As you can see, it’s possible to overlay a lightning map.  I’ve used before to bail on an 18 miler when there was a storm moving in quicker than anticipated.

The pie shaped area ahead of the storm gives you an idea of how fast (each tick mark is 15 minutes) and what direction a storm is headed.  If you click on the storm, it will give you estimated times it will reach cities in the path.

This app also allows you to look an hour into the future with the radar.  Obviously it can’t really see the future, but it’s the best guess as to where a storm is headed.

Lastly, it will alert when lightning (or precipitation) is in the area.  Since it does that via notification, and my Garmin Fenix 3 receives notifications from my phone, this is a pretty sweet deal.  Typically I don’t like to be close enough to rely on that for lightning (I think it alerts at 10 miles), but I’d rather have that last bit of warning vs. nothing.


 

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Garmin Connect – Free

Not all apps are sexy, and this one definitely falls into the ‘not sexy’ category.  But, for what it lacks in sex appeal, it makes up for in functionality – usually.

This app can do all sorts of things – track sleep, steps, download golf courses??, plus probably some other stuff, but what I love it for is the ability to link up to my Garmin Fenix 3.  If you don’t have a watch this will link to (I think it’s compatible with newer Forerunner watches also) then you can skip this one.

Before I start a run, I click the ‘Start LiveTrack button’ and then as I’m running, my wife can see where I’m at.  This is very useful if I end up hurt and she needs to come pick me up (fortunately never had to use that), wants to swing by a run with the girls after grocery shopping (has done that in the middle of a 17 mile run), track me during a race, or just see how close I am to returning home on the weekend.

The downside to the liveTrack functionality – after recent updates to my watch software and the Garmin Connect App, I’ve seen a few occasions where it hasn’t worked.

Lastly, Garmin Connect is the app that allows my to pair my Fenix 3 to my phone to receive notifications.  Any notification that appears on my watch (including the aforementioned lightning alerts), come to my phone.  So – while I’m running a race, those following my progress w/LiveTrack and send me words of encouragement during the race.


 

IMG_3443.PNGStrava – Free (Premuim $59.99/yr)

I log all of my runs (and walks / hikes) to Strava.  it’s my go-to app for logging / tracking my activities.

I enjoy the ability to compete in the challenges (typically I do the monthly distance / 10k / half marathon) and commune with other runners.  Seeing what other, local, runners are doing out in the cold of winter helps to keep me motivated.

I used to use Map My Run, but it because very slow, especially when reviewing old data.  I’ve never had that issue w/Strava.

Strava will track mileage on your shoes too.  I find that very helpful.

I’m a Strava premium subscriber.  I utilize that for weekly goals, personal heat map (where I’ve run) and to a minor degree the trophy case.  I’d say most of the best functionality is in the free version though.

One bummer though – I couldn’t bring my data over from Map My Run.  But I got over that soon enough.


 

Pace IMG_3444.PNG– Free

I use Pace a lot – like multiple times a week a lot.  It’s another app that falls into the ‘not so sexy’ category, but it’s very useful.

As my runs get longer and longer, the math to figure out what time I need to get up in the morning gets harder and harder.

Pace helps my plugging in my distance / anticipated pace and, Voila!, there’s how much time I need.

I also used it before my last marathon to help me understand what pace I needed to run to break 4 hours.  Yes, anyone can google it and get a result of 9:09/mile.  BUT … if you run 9:09, per your watch, you’re likely not going to break 4 hours.

Because you really run more than 26.2 miles in a marathon!

Looking back at my previous two marathons, I figured I needed to plan on running at least 26.5 miles.  I plugged in 26.5 miles, 3:59:59 in the ‘time’ field, and it spit back a pace of 9:03.

I shot for 9:02 just to be safe.


 

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Google Sheets – Free

Spreadsheets.  On your phone.  That’s really about all I need to say about this one.

I personally use a Google spreadsheet to maintain my training log.  This gives me the ability to view / update that on the fly.

Coolness.

It’s pretty full featured too.  The training log is simple math, but if you wanted to you can format with different colored cells, etc.

If you keep a spreadsheet as well, perhaps this would be useful to you.

 

 


 

IMG_3452.PNGGoogle Maps – Free

Google Maps helps me explore new places visually before strapping on my shoes to run for real.

Yes, I like to explore while I run, but I also like to be safe, and there’s some comfort knowing what I’m getting into – before I get into it.

Case in point, I was looking at the area near a Fairfield Inn that I stayed recently.  I saw lots of industrial stuff that didn’t look too welcoming to a run.  And given that I like to run early, before the sun’s up, I took a pass and hit the treadmill instead.

 

 

 


 

 

IMG_3447.PNG ISS Spotter – Free

I love to run early in the morning – aka Darkness!!

Why???

Well first off, that’s what my schedule allows, but … there’s some really cool stuff to see in the wee hours of the morning – like the International Space Station!

How do I find the International Space Station?

I’m glad you asked – simply download the ISS Spotter app and it will provide you a forecast of when you should be able to see the space station fly overhead.

It also provides a nice map of where the space station is at the current time.

If you’re really into looking at the space station, you can set an alert to let you know when it’s nearby and very visible.


 

IMG_3445.PNGThe Night Sky – $.99

Another benefit of early morning running – Stars!  And I love stars.

There are plenty of apps that act as a star chart, and I’ve used a few.  Honestly, this one doesn’t get great reviews in the app store, but it meets my needs.

First, it was one of the star charts with the smallest installation footprints.

Secondly, it’s very responsive.

What more does one need?

I’m not real big on seeing the artist representation of the constellation, but there’s probably a way to turn that off.  It just hasn’t bothered me enough to look into it.

I like that this will tell me what a particular constellation, or planet, is and that it also helps me look for a specific constellation on planet.

Recently it helped tech me that a constellation I was looking at was Canis Minor.

One other benefit – when I read reports of a meteor shower, centralized on constellation XYZ, I use this to find XYZ in the sky so I know where to look.


 

IMG_3446.PNGAurora Forecast – Free

I’ve always thought it’d be cool to run under the Northern lights.  To date, that’s never happened, but I’m hoping this app helps me with that.

This app does exactly what the name implies – helps one understand the forecast for the Northern lights.

One of the cool features is the globe that you can spin around and see where the Aurora is currently active.

While I haven’t been successful from a running standpoint, this app has been useful in notifying me of an opportunity to take my daughter out to experience them the first time.

 


 

 

IMG_3448.PNGScope Nights – Free (but in app purchases)

Another app that’s rated poorly in the app store, but I dig it.

It’s offers a quick glance as to whether or not I’m gonna have a poor / good / great star viewing run in the morning.

One of the extras I purchased was the dark sky map.  It shows you where the sky is darkest around you.  Not necessarily useful for running, but it helps me find the dark sky if I want to take my daughters out for a ride to look at stars.

 

 

 


 

Week of 11/16/15 in review …

Miles this week: 38

2015 YTD: 1082


The watch keeps creeping earlier in the morning.  That’s the story of the week from a running standpoint.  As the runs get longer, the watch rings earlier.  Such is the glamorous life of an ultrarunner.

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Good morning sunshine!  Err … good morning darkness.

I only logged 3 runs this week, but they were pretty good ones – 12 / 6 / 20 milers.  I don’t think I was out of bed, on a running day, any later than about 3:15 this week.

I’d originally planned on 4 runs, but I had the opportunity to attend the annual meeting for Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy.  They’re a great organization, protecting many, many acres of land here in Southwest Michigan.  My wife and I have supported them for many years.  Well, their annual meeting was at a bar this year.  And our friend now works for them.  So … I thought I’d attend (who doesn’t like free beer!??).

After a couple delicious Michigan beers, and some catered food, suddenly waking up at the crack of dawn well before the crack of dawn, seemed like a bad idea – so I bailed on one run and extended my run on Saturday morning to 20 miles.

My runs were ‘ok’ this week.  I’m still plugging away at the target HR runs (80% – 145/146 BPM).  So far I haven’t seen any improvement in the second week, but I’m committing to this for a couple months.  More to come on that once I’m finished …

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Saturday’s run was the first snow run of the year – yippeeeee!  The alarm rang at 2:30am and I ran 20 miles, alternating loops around my 4 mile blocks – to the North and to the South.  Not the most exciting course, but it was my first ‘cold’ run of the season and my first snow run.  I wanted to keep it close to the house in case I ran into issues.

One thing that still confuses me is why my pace has to slow to keep my HR in the correct spot, as the distance increases.  I thought perhaps I was hydrating poorly, so I focused on that Saturday, but it didn’t seem to make a lot of difference.

Any ideas??

I tried something new with my hydration on Saturday as well.  I wore my UD SJ vest under my shell.  The thought is the heat will prevent the bladder, tube, from freezing.  This run was barely below freezing so of course it worked great, but let’s see what happens when we hit the double digit negative temps of a Michigan winter.

Since we did get snow, we had to make a snowman.  My kids love snow.  I love snow.  It worked out great!

Daddy – what’s a pipe?

Eh, they’re cool – but people don’t really smoke them anymore.  Snowmen do though!

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Yes, that’s a pipe, don’t judge.

Currently I’m about 20 miles behind on my annual running goal.  However, if I continue to follow my plan between now and the Yankee Springs Challenge, I should end up on the good side of the goal.

My body’s feeling good and I’m ready to continue rocking this training schedule through Christmas.

How was your week of running?  See anything cool?

 

Derailed this morning …

This morning’s run was derailed by the 2yr old’s meltdown around 2:30am.  I can get up early for a run, but I need a pretty solid night’s sleep to make it happen.  With somewhere between 4-6 hours a night, I definitely go for quality vs. quantity.  When the quality isn’t there, neither is the run.

She’s in a phase now where she wants covered up, but can’t won’t do it herself.  Sure, I could go in a few times a night and cover her up again, but that somewhat perpetuates the issue.

We chose cry it out last night – which means it lasted awhile.

Ok – so this blog post was just derailed by the 4yr old falling out of bed.  What’s going on here??

These events remind me of one of the reasons I started this blog.  When I first started running farther and farther, I didn’t know how I’d make it work with young kids at home.  I looked for blogs of folks who were ultrarunners w/kids to get some perspective, but I couldn’t find any.  Thus, I wanted to share my experiences of ultrarunning, with young kids at home, in the instance someone else is curious about it in the future.

So how do ultrarunners make it work with young ones at home?  I don’t have the whole answer yet, but there are days we don’t – like today.  The majority of the time it’s all good though.  It just takes some patience and some quality sleep.

What I will say is my family comes first.  I’ll always do my best for them before I do my best for myself.  If that means covering them up or letting them learn to do it on their own, and it costs me a run, I’m happy to do that.

Here’s to trying again tomorrow!

 

 

Week of 11/9/15 in review …

Miles this week: 33

2015 YTD: 1044


I’m back.

Running-wise / health-wise, I feel like I’m finally back in action.

Guess what else is back – my appetite.  Holy moly, I packed on quite a few lbs. this week.  Beer will do that.  And donuts.  And more beer.

33 miles isn’t a huge number for me, by any stretch, but after the ankle issue post-GR Marathon, struggling through a chest cold and crawling out of ‘The Hole‘ I’m finally content with my running this week.

*sigh of relief*

Monday’s run was awesome.  I wasn’t expecting clear skies, but the stars were out (sweet!)  Not only was I treated to a beautiful sky full of stars, but I saw another meteor (double sweet!).  Seeing the stars is one of my favorite things about the early morning running.  Unfortunately we’re getting into the time of year, here in Michigan, where it clouds over until April.  Better enjoy them while I can!

Friday was supposed to be my first of the weekend double.  The weekend double is the biggest difference between training for a marathon and an ultramarathon.  When I was marathon training, I loved sleeping late on Sunday.  With ultramarathon training I don’t get that anymore – it’s back to back long runs.  That is, unless you move the weekend double to mid-week and go to work as a zombie.  This is the approach that I like to take, at least some weeks, so I can still sleep late on Sunday.  (By late I mean 6:45am today – kind disgusting really …)

Anyway, back to Friday – I was supposed run 12.  I’d done some reading recently about HR training and I thought I’d give it a go.  Seriously – how slow would it possibly be to run at 146 BPM?

SLOW!!!

I made a couple of laps around the blocks near here (they’re big – I live in the country) but then I had to bail due to Taco Bell from the previous day’s lunch.  Fire sauce doesn’t mix well with ultra running.  If you’re curious, that was a 10:25 pace for 8 miles @ 146BPM.

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Saturday was scheduled for 14 miles so I took the opportunity to run around Gull Lake.  I haven’t done that in awhile so that sounded nice.  I took the opportunity to run without a headlamp again for part of the run.  It’s very calming and relaxing.  Again I went for the HR training and ran at 146BPM.  When I say ‘ran,’ that’s somewhat deceiving.  There were definitely sections where I had to walk to keep the HR low, but this is a somewhat hilly course.  I also noticed the longer I went, the more easily my HR elevated.  That got me to thinking why … I don’t have an answer yet, but it’s something I’m going to look into.  I finished the run at 10:48 pace.  Slower than the first run.

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Venus as seen while running w/o Headlamp

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Good morning!

Today was the third HR training run.  I target 146BPM again and again I was even slower.  For 6 miles I clocked a blazing 12:05 pace.  WTF is going on here!?  Was it the beer I drank last night?  The coffee I drank this morning?  I don’t know.

What I do know – HR training isn’t for the ego.

I plan to stick with the HR training for at least the next couple of months.  I’ll write a post when I’m finished and let y’all know how it went and what I learned.  Based on what I’ve seen so far I’m definitely curious about what’s causing the HR to elevate higher than it seems like it should be.  I’m also curious to see if my pace eventually starts to drop.  That’s what’s supposed to happen.

Aside from the running this week …

I had a wonderful visit with some family I haven’t seen in awhile.  While in Columbus I enjoyed some Skyline Chili – my absolute favorite.  Damn that stuff is good.  I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

My wife texted me Friday afternoon about a last minute babysitter.  Someone was back from college and in need of beer money.  I jumped all over that and we enjoyed a very good dinner at Four Roses. If you’re in the Kalamazoo area, check it out.  Very good food!  I recommend the maple mustard ribs.  They also have an awesome beer selection.

Speaking of awesome beer selection, we hit Bell’s Brewery after family photos yesterday afternoon.  For anyone who loves IPAs, they have a double Two Hearted Ale on tap at the restaurant.  It was fabulous!  Their food is amazing too.  I recommend their smoked wings and poutine (duck poutine!).

Today we took the girls out for a hike before lunch.  Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy does a tike hike once a month in their local preserves.   Bow in the Clouds has a creek so my kids were definitely in.  That means they have something to splash in and throw rocks in.  Score!

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Bow in the Clouds Preserve – Kalamazoo Michigan

That about wraps it up – how was your week?  Did you enjoy the miles?  See anything cool or drink any good beer?