Thursday, January 21, 2010

First Two Weeks

So far the year is getting off to a good start.  As previously mentioned, I've been trying to figure out exactly what I want to aim for this year and what the best way to approach my training is.  After much hemming and hawing over the cost and the training load, I decided to join a training group run by the local running store, Playmakers.  They have two groups: a 5k/10k group and a half marathon/marathon group.  I went back and forth over which group would be better for me and while I was leaning towards the half/marathon group, that wound up being the only option because one of my classes meets during the other group's training time.  I think the longer distance group is a better fit for me, anyway, as my long run was already up to 5 miles before the training sessions began, and I'm not sure that the shorter group would have met my goals.

So, long distance group it is.  I won't be running the goal race since it is the same day as the wedding of two good friends, and actually I think that fits very well into my plan for this year.  It's important that I spend a large portion of the year rebuilding my endurance and strength.  As much as I enjoy racing and find that somewhat frequent racing helps keep me motivated, I need to be careful not to stress my body too much and wind up going backwards.  Sometimes it's difficult to remember that I'm not just recovering from an injury - my body was poisoned, repeatedly, for months.  This is going to take some time.  As a result, I'm using this training session as an opportunity to rebuild my base with some built-in support and peer pressure to get out there and get the miles in.  It will also be a great way for me to meet new people in the area and start branching out into new social circles that are not related to school.

This is turning into more of a rambling post than I had intended, so I'll try to rein it in.  Here's a summary of the first couple weeks of January:

Week of 1/4 - 1/10:
Monday: Rest day!
Tuesday: Doug's birthday - we went skiing to celebrate. Skied a total of 4.2 miles and then ran 2 miles with Kona on snowy, slippery sidewalks.  Very tired legs.
Wednesday: Unscheduled rest day.  Wasn't feeling well at all - guess that's still going to happen sometimes.
Thursday: Ran 3.03 with Kona in the middle of the snowstorm.  Ours were the first tracks on the path - perfect.  Also 45 min of strength/core on Wii fit.
Friday: Skied 3.2 miles with Doug
Saturday: Skied 2.4 miles with a friend
Sunday: Skied ~ 5 miles with Kona.  She was a very well-behaved pup!  Only pulled me over once.

5.03 miles running, 14.8 miles skiing.  That's a lot of skiing.


Week of 1/11 - 1/17:

Monday: 30 min/3 miles around town with my friend Mike.  I was sluggish from a full day on campus (that still really wears me out) and it had been snowing all day, which made for some really slick surfaces.
Tuesday: Rest day!
Wednesay: Cross country skied ~ 3 miles with the pup, not great snow but that's ok.  A bit over half way through our loop two deer ran not 15 yards in front of us.  So cool and fortunately, Kona listened to me when I growled at her to stay.  I'll stick a picture of the deer at the bottom of this post.
Thursday: Ran 3.0 with Kona.  A few degrees warmer (no jacket!) and mostly clear sidewalks.
Friday: skied about 7k in Muskegon.  That was interesting.  To say that Muskegon is hillier than Lansing would be an understatement, and the recent warmer weather meant slushy and sometimes icy trails.  Lots of fun regardless.
Saturday: First group long run: 5.0 in 49:10.  That's a 9:50 pace, ladies and gents.
Sunday: A nice, sunny, warm 3.4 with Kona; 9:00 pace.  What a difference clear sidewalks make!

Total:  14.4 miles running and about 12k skiing.  Clearly I totally skipped out on core work, that's something I need to make more of an effort on.

This week has been a mixed bag so far.  My stomach has been just kind of off for about a week now.  I've been able to function fine, but yesterday added a headache and more general ickiness to the mix, so today I stayed home sick and have felt even worse.  I switched today's planned 3 miles with tomorrow's planned rest day, but if I'm not feeling better I'll just have to take an extra rest day this week.  No biggie except that I'm ready to kick whatever this bug is!

And oh yes, school has started.  Boo hiss.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

It's Almost Over

Break, that is.  Huge bummer.  Since I can't seem to focus on much of anything, I thought I'd come here for one more wrap-up/kick-off post before it all gets going again.

Since my previous post summed up the year nicely I suppose I don't need to do that again.  December ended well - a trip to PA threw off my running plans a little, as it always does, and once again I managed to forget how tough those hills are.   We really don't have anything here that even remotely compares.  So, I didn't time a single run while I was there.  I'm base-building anyway so who cares about time, right? RIGHT?  Yeah, I thought so.  I finished the month with 40.33 miles making that my third highest month of the year.  To me, that seems to bode well for 2010 - at least I was headed in the right direction at the end of 2009.  That made a whopping 315 miles for the year - 885 miles short of my goal.  Ha!  Nothing I can do but laugh, that's a huge number.

Of course the end of 2009 and reflection on goals means it's a new year and thus, time for new goals.  It's been tough for me to figure out how to approach this year.  Last year didn't exactly give me a good idea of where I'm headed.  So, basically ignoring 2009, I went back to look at my logs for 2007 and 2008.  Based on those two years I've decided to set a conservative goal of 750 miles for 2010.  Truthfully I think I can exceed that, but I don't want to ask too much of myself in a year when I'm supposed to be recovering.  That, and the fact that I hope my running mileage is going to lose out to SKIING mileage for the next few months.  This week that has been the case - I've run 5 miles and skied 9.8 miles.  It's been a good snow week.

As far as a racing schedule, I don't have one.  I'll do the Race for the Cure again in April (and hopefully have a much better showing) and I'm considering the Dances with Dirt trail half marathon in WI on July 10 (I think).  There local running store organizes a half marathon/marathon training group that I'm 75% sure I'll join.  The kick off meeting is tomorrow and I've decided to go to the meeting and decide then.  I won't be running their goal race because of another commitment that same weekend, but I think training with the group would help me meet my general goal of improving my aerobic base and getting back to decent weekly mileage without pushing me to ramp up too quickly.  I'm a bit bored right now and these runs get lonely, so I'm excited to potentially meet some local people to run with.  We'll see.  This won't be The Year Of The Marathon, but we'll see about 2011.

So, the semester starts on Tuesday.  Considering meetings and just plain needing to buckle down, it basically starts Monday.  All that fatigue last semester left me with a take home final that still needs to get done and is in front of me on my desk as I type.  Holy cats, did I fall out of school mode.  I needed this break and frankly I'm not mentally ready to move on to another semester, so I'm trying not to feel too guilty about not having this done yet.  I do, however, need to finish it before all this new work piles up on me...

Happy running!