Saturday, January 28, 2012

Week 4 2012 Running: Borderline Running Club Member #40 - 14 mile long run

Today the schedule called for a comfortable 14-15 miler.  Conveniently, the Borderline Running Club's route for which I was a RWOB (Runner without borders) included the last three borders I needed to become a member on a 14ish mile route.  I also was up for what my friend Thor calls a "social run": stories and good people.  I had done my last few runs alone and well, they were kind of lonely so I was looking forward to running with a good crowd.

The run started out bright and early which I have a love/hate relationship with.  I love being done with most of my Saturday untouched but don't like the early wake up.  My friend Hank picked me up at 6:15 to get to North Andover by 6:45 am where we were greeted by a bunch of BRC members ready to go.  A lot of them knew today I'd complete my borders and said so which was nice.  A note about the weather: yet another Saturday with highs in the 40s - I thought I'd dressed appropriately but nope, was sweating by the end - I won't lie, even though my husband is dying because we're not having a ski winter - I'm loving this mild weather!

Well, the course was brutal.  I sit here a good 6+ hours after finishing and my butt is kicked.  It was just over 7 miles out/back, water stops along the way and LOTS of rolling hills.  My friend Meg said over and over "I have no problem with hills".  Lately, I've been trying to figure out how I can like hills more.   They're critical part of training but 1) I'm not good at them and 2) I don't do well with things I'm not good at.  Nonetheless, it was nice being with a group of people for the long haul and getting the S. Andover, Middleton, and N. Reading borders to complete my 8 borders to be part of the Borderline Running Club - they're a nice group of people who like to drink beer.  Can't go wrong.

The best part: I got an even member number.  You see, the BRC (as opposed to the Goon Squad where you get quirky random names like mine, OCG - Obsessive Compulsive Gina/Goon take your pick), makes your member ID the # member you are.  TECHNICALLY - I am the 41st person to complete all of the borders.  However, knowing this ahead of time, I whined to one of the members that I really love even numbers so if there was someone else that could/would get inducted with me, I'd rather have an even number.  There is just something about odd numbers in life overall- I just don't like.  For example, I do get a minor wave of anxiety waiting to see what number bib I get for a race - I rather noticeable sense of relief washes over me when the bib number is even versus if it's odd, I'm kind of disappointed.

So at the conclusion of the run where I was to get my official BRC t-shirt, this member Matt cited a technicality that my friend Hank, who had completed his borders a few weeks earlier hadn't gotten his t-shirt that day and since I came in before him today, I actually got Member #40 and Hank, #41 (prearranged with Hank who agreed to sacrifice his true number - thanks Hank!!!).

As a side, I was dying for this run to be over today.  Just a hard training week and I'm beat! (also note to self: Jet Blackberry Gu - so gross) I got it done and also became an official member of a great group!

Total Miles run this week: ~42 miles

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Week 3: Snowy Long Run

When I decided I wouldn't run Boston 2012, I thought I could 'take it easy' through the winter and get runs in when I could but not stress over them.  So far that's not really been the case.  Take this weekend - I had 14 miles to do with speed.  I also had to go to New Jersey for my Goddaughters birthday party - oh and we were expected the most 'significant' snow accumulation thus far for this winter of about 5-7 inches.

After a lot of deliberating, my husband and I decided to trek down to New Jersey and do our long run down there.  I was kind of happy for the new scenery but kind of paranoid of where we'd actually do the run.  My friend lives off of a death trap of a road so that isn't an option.  There is a GREAT path that leads to another park but given the forecast, I didn't think that was a possibility.  My husband said that regardless we'd do the run so although I was dreading what I'd wake up to, I felt a bit more at ease.

We got to NJ very late and at that time - it really didn't look like it was going to snow and I felt even better that the path was going to be a viable option and all of my stressing would be for nothing (this is a typical pattern for me).  Well, yeah, kinda sorta.  We woke up and there was plenty of snow - I was concerned.  I was even more concerned once we got outside and saw just how much the roads were not treated/plowed.  Awesome.

I wasn't going to pay to go to a gym to do these 14 miles on the treadmill - I cannot stomach the treadmill nevermind paying extra money to do so.  This run was being done outside and heck, we headed to the path.

It was great at first - it actually looked plowed and so we started on our way and I was actually having fun - I love being able to enjoy the outdoors in the winter.  We hit another section of the path and well, that wasn't so plowed and by this time we were tredging through about 5 inches of snow (see pic).  Still having fun, we stopped and took a few photos.  It's a really peaceful path and again, just great to be outdoors.

This path was about 2.5 miles long - good for 5 miles back/forth but not quite the 14 I was looking for and speed- yeah- that wasn't happening.  The path took us to a park (I had done this same thing before). The park was 2 miles around and miraculously being plowed (mind you again, the roads were not plowed but the park was being plowed - makes no sense but good for me!).

We circled the park twice and well in the middle of that - the exhaustion of running through the snow really started to hit.  Wow, what a work out but man, I was exhausted.  I also didn't happen to sleep the night before so I was really hurting.

My husband and I agreed (well, I have to be forced into agreeing to cut miles no matter what) that if we could get 10 miles in then we were good - these conditions were just less than ideal.  Furthermore, the weather was changing to a frozen rain and well, it hurt.

We ended up circling the park twice and then heading back to my friends house.  An adventure for sure.  My hips/legs were aching last night even beyond what ibuprofen could help with but this is winter running isn't it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

If the intention was to kiss my a$$, it worked

Last night's track workout was a 'good' one ('good' meaning I know it is helping to whack me into shape - not to suggest I enjoyed it).  We had 10 60 second hill repeats followed by 6 2:30 progressive pick ups.

After 10 hill repeats I envisioned I wouldn't be able to muster these progressive pick ups but just like all of FB's other workouts, I was in fact able to do the entire workout.  The best thing about speed work is doing it at the Cove with the Going the Distance running friends - doing these workouts alone can be downright torturous but having someone share and motivate you through these workouts is invaluable.

I know last night pushed me more towards where I ultimately want to be.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Week 2 of 2012 running: easing into the norm

Week 2 for sure was a better week. It's really interesting to me even when I think I'm 'resting' i.e. no speed, running about 4-5 days a week and tossing in a 5K here and there, just how 'out of shape' I get.  It's fine, I know that I need to ease off the really intense training at various times during the year, but it's funny how despite still running, your body acclimates to a less intense regimen.

This week, some lower back pain eased up, some aches reappeared in my calf - yes, things are ramping up!  It feels good though, my body is starting to feel like it's snapping back to 'normal' and I'm excited about the return to the normal routine.  I'm not excited about how cold it has become - did my 6 miles today @ 15 degree F - my legs were so red that I had what looked like a sunburn! Gotta love the winter much for skiing this winter instead of running.

Total Miles This Week: 39 miles

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Week 1 of 2012 running

Just returned from the first 'long' run of 2012 (11.6 miles).  It was with the Borderline Running Club (BRC) out of Andover.  This is a great group I run with here and there (a few of them are part of the Goon Squad and others training with Fernando my coach)- I like the concept of their club (touch all the borders of Andover Massachusetts = membership) and the people that are part of their club (varying running levels and noone taking themselves too seriously).

With today's run, I got the Haverhill and the Boxford Borders which leaves me with only two borders left (North Reading and Middleton) to become a member of the BRC - it was a great run, warm for this time of year  with  new people to talk to.  It really beat the same ol' 10 milers that are close to my house (these runs are about 1/2 hour away) and this route in particular was hilly (not my favorite but ok once and awhile) with good scenery.

I can definitely feel the ramp up of training this week.  I'm sore and need to make sure I'm doing all the right stretching and core work as I ramp things up.  I've got a nagging little ache in my calf I think residual from a tibial stress syndrome I had last year but it's nothing that is inflammed or cause for concern - just more annoying!

I have also gotten back on the wagon with better eating, less beer (this won't be eliminated all together) and no more Christmas cookies calling me from the canisters in my kitchen.  Thus far, 2012 is shaping up nicely.