Starting back up

The last 9 months or so have been difficult in terms if schedule. I got a new job, bought a new house, and tried to sell my old one.

There was a lot of work stuff, remodeling, moving, and general hard work. It looks like we have finally sold our house. With the last of the stuff moved out, and the pressing projects at the new house all done, I finally got a chance to work out.

I had a nice easy swim yesterday. It is amazing how far back you can fall in terms of fitness in a short time away from it.

I couldn’t help thinking back to my first swims. I didn’t have the aerobic capacity to finish a single length. Even now, as out of shape as I am, I can string together a few laps with ease.

I’m really happy to be back, and hopefully this will be the start of something big.

On a side note, my left foot has been bothering me for a few months. Mostly when I squeeze it. Have no idea what the issue is, but am going to the doctor to get it cleared before I start any running.

This week we’ll see if I can get a nice bike ride in.

14 miler

My back was worse than I suspected.  I didn’t run at all last week…or the week before.  It was pretty bad.  I blew off my last long run (14 miles) and prepared to see my training go off the deep end.  I secretly feared that my year of the marathon was over.  I took Ibuprofen every 8 hours from Tuesday through the weekend, and had my normal spin class scheduled for Saturday morning.  I thought about not doing it, maybe doing swim instead.  My back was sore.  I foam rolled my back during the week, and I think it managed to isolate the pain to just my left side.

That is ironically also the side where I had IT band issues.  I suspect I have some real imbalances that I need to work out.  At any rate, I did the spin class but didn’t push it in terms of tension.  I had quite a few moments where I thought I should just stop.  But instead of stop I just sat up and stretched it.  I made it through the class, took a shower and headed out to help a friend do some work at their house.

By the end of the day my back felt much better.  I’m guessing the stretching and other work on the bike helped.  The next morning there was a 14 miler on the schedule.  I woke up and my back was fine!  I got my stuff together and headed out.  It was warmer than it had been in a while, so the run was harder than I expected.  It was tough to keep my heart rate down, and on the way back i ran out of gel.  I could feel the energy escaping me.  I actually had to walk several times.  But I never gave up, and my back didn’t hurt!

It wasn’t all bad, the run was through a part of the rails-to-trails section that I hadn’t used before.  It was really a beautiful area and I got to see this:

Later that day I did the annual shuffling of the seasonal items.  I.e., bring out the grill and patio stuff and wonder how on earth all of our stuff seems to multiply throughout the seasons!


This morning I feel fine, although a little sore.  I’m planning on starting some additional core/strengthening workout just to stop myself from losing what little upper body muscles I may have.  Of course coring training is important in it’s own right.  I have been threatening to do that for a while, but now I just need to!

Training Update

Last week was a tough work week and I had no time to get a run in at work despite my best intentions.  So this weekend I decided to double down on the running.  I did a really easy 4 mile run on Saturday, followed by a short swim.  I need to work on my swim some more, my arms were feeling very tired at the end of the session, but all in all it felt good.


The Easy 4 mile run consisted of a 3 mile section that was VERY slow (12+ min/mile) followed by a 1 mile hard run (8 min/mile).  It felt good, and I wasn’t sore at all the next day.  That’s a good thing, because the next day had an 8 mile run on tap.

I continued the goal of running slowly on my long runs, and tried to keep the pace at 11-11:30 miles until the last mile.  That last mile we picked up the pace to between 8-9:30 min/mile.  When I got home I was panting, but otherwise felt great.   I was on my feet the rest of the day, and this morning I felt totally fine.

One thing that I did differently was to use my orange superfeet insoles.  The last couple of times I’ve had sore or numb feet starting at around mile 4.  On Sunday I made the whole run without any foot pain or issues at all.  In fact, my biggest issue was my shin which was just very slightly tight during the run.

I’m feeling optimistic about my running for the first time in a long time.  The next thing on the list is trying to get a lactate threshold run working.  We’ll see how that goes.  This week is an easy week with no long run (but I do have a short indoor triathlon to to this weekend).


Happy training.

FFFFreezing Cold Run

My planned 6 mile run just happened to occur on the coldest day of the year to date.  The temps hovered at 8 degrees, with a windchill of -8.  Yikes, that’s cold.


I wore a knit cap, polypropylene thermal underwear, and layer 8 thermal tights.  On top I wore a thin long sleeved wicking shirt, a layer 8 thermal top, and a New Balance thermal zip up running jacket.  I also wore cotton gloves, and 2 pairs of wicking socks. Per my wife’s advice I also slather vasoline on the exposed parts of my face.

The first two miles my face was really cold.  I was really concerned with frostbite, but I thought that I could at least manage on 3.3 mile loop at the West Hartford Reservoir.  After about 1.5 miles I felt warm and toasty.  I was sweating, but not uncomfortably so, and I was neither cold nor hot.  I felt like as long as I kept running I would be in that nice toasty spot.

The first loop went well.  I had no pain or soreness at all.  Once I got warm my heart rate and breathing normalized, and I managed a 10:10 average pace with a 151 HR.

By the end of my run, my hat had accumulated a ring of icy frost from all of my head sweat.  Just goes to show how cold it was, brrrr.

Between a mile and 1/2 a mile or so from the end of the second loop I started feeling a weird twinge on the outside of my left knee.  It reminded me of my IT band issues, and it made me really nervous.  I sure hope that doesn’t flare up again.  That would make me miserable!  This week is a light week, no runs over 3 miles or so, so I’ll hopefully be able to recoup, and if all goes well my next long run will be great!



The marathon training begins!

So today marks the beginning of my marathon training program.  I put the program together myself based on something I know I need to do, and from a bunch of research I have been doing over the last year or so.  I plan to focus on running with some core work and maintaining some bike and swim fitness.  I am ok with letting the other stuff go, but the run training will be important to me.

My starting weight, as of this morning, is 182 pounds.  My goal is to reach 160 by the time I run my marathon next year.

My current 5K PR is 26 minutes and 6 seconds.  I hope to get that down to 19:30 or so.

I want to run a half in June at sub 1:30, and a full marathon in the fall at 3:15.

Most important of all, I want to stay injury free all of next year.

I will not be disappointed in myself if I miss any of those targets.  I have kids and spending time with them is the most important thing I can do.  However, I will be upset with myself if I don’t get to at least 165 because, baring any odd illness or injury, that is very controllable.

Race year 2011 was fairly low volume for me.  I focused a lot on swimming towards mid season, but mostly it was a relaxing year.  Next year will be more intense, but hopefully just as fun.

My Son’s first 5K

This weekend was the Hartford Marathon.  My wife was doing the Half, my sister-in-law was doing the full, and I decided to do the 5K with my 6 year old son.

We had been training, but not as much as I thought we needed to.  We are both so busy that it is hard to get some time to get a run in.  If my neighborhood were more run friendly I would have done a bit more training, but having to get in the car and drive somewhere made it difficult.

We started the day with a peanut butter sandwich and a chocolate milk.  When we arrived I searched for my wife and sister-in-law, who came early, but couldn’t connect with them.  I of course had to make a potty run, the lines were long, but we made it just fine.

My son was very nervous.  There were a lot of people, and the Hartford Marathon is quite a spectacle for a little guy.  I prepped him as best as I could and we got into line with all the other 5kers.  I decided to start us out back so that he would feel like he was making good progress by passing a bunch of people as opposed to having people pass him.

When the gun went off he stayed right next to me as I found a clearing or two for us to run in.  When he noticed that I was finding gaps he decided to take off and bounded between people.  He took of at that point and I just ran behind him impressed with his zig zagging skills.  He was doing an 8 minute mile or so at that point, and I knew it was too much to sustain for 3 miles.  We just weren’t fit enough to do it (both of us) about half a mile in I took off his sweath shirt and he took off once more.  He managed this fast pace for about a mile and a half.  I was really impressed!

Unfortunately, after the 1.5 mile mark he got a stomach cramp.  The peanut butter combined with the break neck pace was too much for him.   We started walking, and I could tell that he was really suffering.  We walked for about 3/4 of a mile and he kept looking behind him and seeing people pass.  He asked at one point if we were going to be in last place.  I said that we weren’t going to be, but even if we were I was very proud of him.  He kept fading, and at about the 2.5 mile mark I picked him up and ran with him a bit.  He had very much checked out of the race at this point and I felt bad that I had brought him this far out with no way easy way to get to the finish.  With about a half mile to go I put him down and said, can you hear the finish?  We need to run when we get there.  Well, I barely got the sentence out and he shot out like a bullet.  A police officer shouted “You aren’t going to catch him” and he was right.  I would guess that my son was running a 6 minute mile at that point.  I couldn’t gain any ground on him no matter how fast I ran.  He eventually faded and we walked for a bit, but he looked much better now.  He bolted again, and once again we were buried in cheers from people who knew I had no hope of catching him.

Eventually I did catch him and we ran hand in hand through the finish.  When we got across the line I hugged him and told him how proud I was of him.

We did the 5K in 38 minutes, and, for the record, we were no where near last place!

I will never forget this day as long as I live.  I’m so proud of my little guy for a really successful run.

My wife was no slouch either.  Despite a head cold and a trip to the med tent for feeling light headed, she had a 7 minute PR in her half.  My sister-in-law had leg cramps starting at mile 10 of her marathon, but managed to make it through with a walk/run finish of 5:45, not bad for a first marathon.

It looks like everyone fought off some pain to make a great and memorable race!

Metric Century Ride of Death

I got together with some friends and our goal was to ride the local rails to trails up to Massachusetts.  That was very close to a metric century, so that was our goal.

I have said many times that I don’t really like riding my bike on the rails to trails.  You are pretty limited in terms of speed because of all the people on there, and you have to constantly slow down/stop to get through the many intersections you pass through.  In addition, each intersection presents a series of obstacles, like steel poles or fences, that you have to go around/through at a slow (read unstable) speed.  Last year my sister-in-law got hurt when she feel at low speed going between a couple of poles on the way across a driveway.

As a relatively unsteady bicyclist, I am in trouble going through those things, and I dread it.  This ride was no different.  The trip was actually very smooth for the most part, and there were very few people on the trails in the beginning.  About 40 miles into the ride, we got on a part of the trail where two sections merge into one.  I looked back to make sure no one was coming from the other side, and proceeded.  I was riding beside a friend, and I pulled slightly to the side near a guard rail that was between the trails and a street that was parallel to the trail.  I felt myself get too close, and I instinctively reached down to push off the guardrail.  I couldn’t reach it and of course leaning that way pushed me every closer until…something on my bike caught on a support beam on the wooden guard rail and the bike came to a stop, I did not.  My bike stayed put more or less, and my feet and body went over the side of the guardrail.  I sensed a car coming and pulled my feet in which caused me to land on my feet and, because I was wearing cleats I slid back.  Fortunately I was very far from the car, so all was good.

My friend quickly asked what I hit and what was hurting.  To my surprise I wasn’t hurting at all.  I landed on my feet, my hand were on my bike/the guardrail, so all was good in the world.  In fact, none of my body made contact with the ground.  I did have a scrape on my left forearm, and a couple of scrapes on the outside of my right leg.  My Garmin 305, however, wasn’t so lucky.  I smashed it on the guardrail and the LCD shattered internally.  My front brake lever got messed up too, so I did the last 20 miles or so with only rear brakes.

I was able to fix the front brake once I got home, so the only real casualty was the Garmin.  I count myself very lucky, it could have been so much worse.

Rockwell Park – Bikers Edge Bike Tour

This past weekend I did the 50 mile Bike’s Edge Ride.  It was a really great ride through the hills of Harwingting, New Hartford, and Barkhamstead.  I didn’t plan on a 50 mile ride, in fact I was thinking that 25 was more my style, but at the last minute I was convinced to do the 50 miler.

I have to say, I’m glad I did.  The morning started off rainy, I almost blew off the ride completely.  The rain ended at 7:30, and I was at the even in Rockwell Park in Bristol by 8.  A little after 8:30 we took off, and within about 30 minutes the sun came out.  The day ended up being perfect.  The route was great!  Enough hills to keep it interesting, but plenty of flat areas and down hills to keep you fresh.  Of course, the scenery can’t be beat.  I think I might turn the route into my standard 50 miler.  I think I can trim a handful of miles off and get it down to 30 or so, while maintaining the best parts of the ride.

I have a couple more rides coming up, including a ride on the rails to trails from Framington into Massachusetts.  That should be fun.  After that it will likely be time to start up that spin class again.

One Year Over, One Year Begins

My training volume was really low this year.  I can’t really explain why, I’m guessing it was because I didn’t have a big race driving me.  I wasn’t really sure until pretty late that I was going to even do a triathlon.  Even then, I was so worried about the swim that was all I focused on.  That’s going to change in 2012.  I am planning on doing a ton more races next year, and I’m seriously going to focus on running.

My goals for 2012:

Major Goals: Lose 15 pounds before the Half Iron race, do the Litchfield Hills Olympic Triathlon, and the Hartford Marathon

Minor Goal: PR for my Half Marathon at the Iron Horse Half Marathon

Other than that I am going to work through some triathlons and I might do a 5K or so for good measure.

I am going to shoot for an injury free year, to that end I will do the following:

  • Daily stretching of my hamstrings, lower back, hip flexors, and glutes
    • Daily work on eyes closed balance, and strengthening and activating my glutes and legs

My training plan will include all triathlon sports, but will have an intensive focus on running.

The run training will have three phases:

  1. Phase 1: slowly increase volume with short (3-6 mile) runs while working on building more core and leg muscles
    1. All runs will be in zone 2 the whole time
    2. Work on form correction i.e., forefoot landing, high cadence, and good running posture
  2. Phase 2: Slowly increase volume and distance
    1. Continue in zone 2, add some race pace miles at the end of the longer runs
    2. Add some interval work 6-8 weeks before the half iron race
  3. Phase 3: Continue to increase the miles, less focus on heavy leg work, maintain focus on core
    1. Continue in zone 2, add continue adding race pace miles at the end of the longer runs
    2. Add some interval work 6-8 weeks before the Marathon

The goal here is multifaceted, I want to become more flexible and balanced, I want to get lighter to make me faster, more efficient, I want to increase my core strength so that my form does not break down, I want to slowly build my endurance while also doing some speed work, and finally, I want to correct issues with my form to increase my running efficiency and reduce impact on my joints.

I have already started working on stretching, and even in the week or so that I’ve been doing it I already notice a difference.

I’ll put some posts together on my progress for both form correction, and flexibility shortly, but these are my goals.  I think that by tackling my training on all of these fronts I can prevent a repeat of the injury plagued 2010 training season.  I now have a lot more miles in my legs, and I am going to slowly build up to those bigger distances.

My new training cycle starts right after the Hartford Marathon, it’ll be here before I know it.


Unionville Road Race – Race Report

Today I ran the Unionville Road Race 5K.  It was hot, really humid, and pretty miserable.

My goal was to do 8’s but I wasn’t sure that was possible.  With the heat and humidity I knew it was going to be tough going.

We got to the event late, and I ran to get registered and get everything together.  I made it to the starting line, which was in the sun, and just started to sweat.  Ugh, brutal.  I could tell 8’s weren’t in the cards for me today.

As the horn blew I took off.  I checked my pace, and it was in the 6’s.  Time to slow down.  I backed off a bit, checked again, and I was at about 7.  Slowed it down once more and got to 7:44.  Good, let’s see how that goes.

Before even getting to the mile mark I could tell that this race was going to be grueling.  I was really hot, my heart rate was over 170, and I was starting to slow down to right around 8’s.

As I hit the first mile mark I got my time 7:40.  That was good, but it wasn’t going to last.

I hit the water station and had to slow down, they only had a couple of people there and they were getting hammered.  Luckily they had a lot of water on the table, so I just grabbed a couple and took off.

I dumped one cup over my head, and sipped from the other one.  It helped cool me down a bit, but I was still hurting.  It was tough just thinking about the fact that I was only halfway home.

We popped out of the rails to trails section of the race that we had spent about a mile on, and turned onto rt. 177.  The next section of the race was on the sidewalk.  This wasn’t an issue since the crowd was now thinned out.  It was at this point that I contemplated walking.  My quads were on fire, and my shins were getting sore too.  I just wanted this race to end.  But I didn’t walk, I kept running.  I did ease the pace a bit, and my heart rate stabalized.

A few more people passed me on this section, but mostly I just kept up with the people around me.  My pace was jumping around a bit, but I was just trying to hold on.

With about a mile or so left, I started to feel a little better, I think my heart rate was settling down, I maintained my pace, but I didn’t go any faster.

With about 300 feet to go I picked up the pace again, but there was no one to pass.  I ran it home just as my wife popped out of the crowd to take my picture.

My total time was about 26:35.  Not where I wanted to be, but I’ll take it.  This race pretty much ends my 2011 race year, so that’s that.


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