Friday, March 23, 2012

Up With The Sun, Gone With The Wind

Does anyone ever notice my titles are almost always in reference to something in pop culture; usually a song? I used to do that in my writing classes, as well.  Leave a comment if you get it (no Google).  I'm curious.

Anyways, had a nice 6 this morning.  I did something I had been meaning to since I moved into this house.  I woke up early enough on a day off to make it down to the lake shore and watch the sun come up.  Its not the clearest of days, but I was still awesome.  I woke up later than planned, but I hurried out the door and made the 1.5 mile trip to shore, just-in-time to see this:
Well it looks like the clouds bought me a little time, so I stuck around, did some stretches, and even threw in some sit-ups all while greeting the sun.

I often find myself getting a little jealous when I see other runners posting their trail runs that are right in their neighborhood.  I'd love to be able to run Paint Creek Trail and spot the HBDP team on their daily run.  Or hit the trails out at Stoney.  But I can't complain too much.  Grosse Pointe is a very runner friendly community.  We have beautiful houses on heavily wooded streets, pedestrian-friendly shopping areas and the gem of the Grosse Pointes, Lakeshore Drive:

That's right, my regular run is the end credit scene of Gran Torino
 I made another quick stop to snap a photo of the riding horses at the GP Hunt Club.  Not many cities (especially next door to Detroit) can say they have something like this.
Right after this shot, they decided to trot around.  Warm-up for equestrian classes.
And that's my city.  I'll make a point to snap more shots when I'm in some other neat areas around town.  Now its time to get this weekend started.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Proud Mary Keeps on Burning...

After reading about trigger points and myofascial release, I've been wanting to purchase a foam roller.  It seemed to the the must have tool for runners.  As luck would have it, a local gym was offering a class on how to properly use one.  They even provided one along with an instructional DVD.  I jumped on the offer and showed up yesterday.

I expected it going in, but it %$!@ hurts!  We spent just under an hour going through all the techiques for different muscles.  I knew my calves were bad, they've been tight since Corktown.  I wasn't expecting the pain in the glutes that I felt.  Supposedly the more I roll, the better it gets.  So its been less than 24 hours and I've already done three sessions.
You really do look this cool when you do it.

Except your face looks like this.
Woke up early this morning to get 5 miles in before work.  Decided to roll as my warm-up.  About a mile in, I stopped to stretch.  My right shin gets really tight.  Eventually I'll go to a PT about it, but until then I just keep stretching and rolling.  At mile two, I was a mess.  Both legs were giving me hell, but I powered through.  Finally I reached mile 4 and things started to loosen up.  Too bad I was 80% done with my run and no time to extend it.

It was a shame it was so early.  I was along the lake and the sun wouldn't rise for another 2 hours.  One Day I'll catch it.

When I got back I went straight to the roller and did another session.  I must say, my legs feel fine after my run.  The roller stays.

Monday, March 19, 2012

MTV Didn't Follow This Spring Break

Another week in the books. A quick summary:
  • Stuck to training schedule for a full week
  • Added a lot of walking
  • First trail run of the year
  • Made a new friend
Corktown PR left my legs aching for a few days. None-the-less, I went out Tuesday morning and brought my quadriped friend, Buddy along. Started the week off right and hit all my goals for the week.
My Running Buddy

The weather has been unbelievable for mid-March and so the family has been taking full advantage of it. We walked about 10 miles this past week. To the grocery store, the library, coffee shop, or nowhere in particular.  Being on Spring break helped.  Back to class today, but we still plan on getting our walks in.

On Sunday Anthony, his brother-in-law, and new friend Marisa joined me at Stony Creek for the first trail run of the year. I put the call out on the social medias and Marisa responded on the GP Runner FB page. I had seen her on FB before, but we had never met until Sunday. Turns out her pace is right in my zone and we're both training for the Let's Move half. Maybe a new member of Team TBD (the unofficial team of Anthony, Emily and me - we still can't think of a real team name).

Back to the trails... we got in a decent 6 miles that flew by.  Trail runs are so much more interesting. They keep you on your toes, twisting, winding, avoiding roots and rocks. The trails we ran are actually for mountain bikes, so they can get a little technical. We all had so much fun, that this run was definitely going to have some sequels.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Corktown Races Sing This Song...Doo Dah

This weekend was the Corktown Race, a 5k in the Irish community of Detroit.  I signed up for two three reasons:
  1. I was ready for a new PR for my 5K
  2. It seemed like a lot of friends were participating
  3. A very cool tech shirt and medal
I'll be honest, it was 75% reason #3.  The shirt and medal were some of the coolest and I was in need of a new short sleeve tech shirt.
The race started at the crack of noon.  It was odd to be racing so late in the day.  I showed up around 11 am and met up with some friends at Nemo's.  I contemplated having a pre-race shot, but I decided against it.  With about 30 minutes to go, we headed to the start line.

Complaint #1:  when I registered I had to pick a wave, either faster or slower than a 10 min/mi pace.  When I reached the starting line, there was no corral system to separate the two waves.  So because I showed up with 10 minutes 'til the start of a race with over 7500 participants, this was my view of the start gate:
It took about 4 minutes to reach the gate, which I don't mind. I did mind that the next 1.5 miles were spent weaving and dodging all the walkers and 10+ min/mi pacers, while my average pace was about 8.

Complaint #2: although I knew what I was getting into when I registered, Michigan Ave is an ankle death-trap. It was once a streetcar route, covered in brick. When the streetcars were removed, the track located in what is now the turning lane was covered by asphalt. Wear and tear and a poor DOT, leaves this road in shambles. Busted bricks, chunks of old asphalt and uncovered trolley tracks are just a few of the course obstacles. Don't forget cars and trucks randomly blocking parts of the course. When 7500 people are spread along 1.5 miles, you need all the space you can get.

The awesome weather meant I needed more effort to stay hydrated. These 30° runs had me spoiled. Despite drinking about 40 oz of water leading up to the race, I still had to stop at the water station both times. Normally in a 10k, I may find myself stopping once. Then again, I'm not usually trying to keep an uncomfortable pace. After mile 2, I had run out of energy. My pace dropped by a full minute, but I figured if I could keep it as close to 9 as possible, I'd PR.

And PR is what I did. Official time of 26:33. This was my first 5k in 2 years, not counting the Golab-k which ended up being short of 3.1. I cleared my last time by over a minute. After the race, most parade goers had arrived by now - insanity commence. Getting through the crowds of drunken people was challenging, but I managed to get some people watching in.

I left before the parade ended, but I came home to a wife and son ready for an afternoon walk in the beautiful weather. A great finish to the day.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Back to Basics

Week 4 of training is just about over.  Week three was just about non-existant.  After the Pancake Run, I realized maybe I wasn't ready to run 10 miles so hard.  The same pain I got just prior to the Freep was happening on my opposite leg.  I ended up resting most of the week.  On the following Thursday I attempted a 3 mile run, but could only make it 2.  I was in pain.  So a few more days of rest it was.

This week, my new shoes arrived - Brooks Defyance.  I've decided to ditch the motion control for neutral shoes.  I should have to wear shoes that correct my gait, I should correct it myself.  So with that started my new campaign for a better running form.

Day 1:  3 miles on the treadmill at school.  Kept the 'mill at about 9:30.  While trying to get accustomed to my new, non-correcting shoes, a lot of my focus was on the hips.  The more I let my hips freely rotate, the less I was worried about over/underpronation.

Day 2:  3 miles on the streets.  Again focusing on hip rotation, but also trying to keep my body slanted forward.  Its one of the principles of Chi Running that I'm trying to follow.  I was trying to take it easy while focusing on form, but at the end of mile 1, I realized I ran a 8:55.  I decided to maintain and see how it goes.  My easy 3 was done in under 28 - not my usual easy.

Day 3:  Kept Friday a rest day and headed out this morning for a windy 3.  More focusing of the same, but added awareness of foot landing.  Goal is to not place my feet in front of me.  Doing this has me working my calves much more than usual.  Also, I find extra power in my toes.  Until this week, my toes provided balance, not propulsion.  I think that may be a key factor in where this speed is coming from.  It was another low 9 pace, even with this high wind advisory going on.

So apparently my new avg pace is 9:06.  We'll see how this works out tomorrow, when I go for my Sunday long of 7.