Easy 20 mile spin

As much as I am stuck being a mediocre endurance athlete (not that I’m complaining…just stating I’m neither fast nor strong) I often find it hard to just go out easy and enjoy the scenery. If my mind wanders, I tend to speed up, push harder, and usually not notice until I’m in the redzone.

So today my minor victory was just making the whole ride easy. I stayed in zone 2 except for a few brief forays in z3 and never pushed into zone 4, geared way down on hills, and generally took in the sights. It was really great to be outside on the bike again. The trainer is a great way to maintain winter fitness but it doesn’t do much for the soul. (In fact, due to recent improvements to the “distraction center”, I’m sure it actively rots my brain.) It was a wholly satisfying ride, especially after my wholly unsatisfying ride two days ago.

Yay me for going slow. My life is so hard.

Foot update

The foot is still painful and I haven’t run on it since the 16 miler. From friends’ descriptions it doesn’t sound like textbook plantar fasciitis and I’ve never had a stress fracture so I don’t know what it feels like. For the time being I’m not running on it and planning to see someone about it this week.

The pain is sharp but only when I roll forward on the ball of my foot. It does affect my walking gait and it would be too painful to run on. So far biking and swimming don’t bother it, so I can keep occupied.

I’m really bummed. Since this is such a critical period for my marathon on April 9th, it’s looking very unlikely right now.

Ugly, ugly 12 mile test ride

What could be more pleasant to look forward to on a fine spring’s Friday evening at the end of the workweek than a chance to get out on the bike? Especially the first outside ride in two months. Not much! Well, maybe a Friday evening’s ride before a two-week vacation? Anyway, suffice it to say I was looking forward to it.

Unfortunately, it was not a great ride and left me in a surprisingly sour mood. It’s not often being active outside, especially on the bike, leaves me anything but refreshed and bright.

It wasn’t anything I can point to; I didn’t even get honked at or flipped off. It just felt bad. Awkward. Alien. As real cyclists refer to bad rides or tired legs as “pedaling squares”, I was pedaling triangles or pentagons…whichever is worse. I felt so un-powerful that any effort at all was uncomfortable. Add that to a general feeling of wanting to get off the bike and I was at a loss to understand my problem, let alone fix it.

So I soft-pedaled home and had dinner and a glass of red wine with my wife. Problem solved!

16 mile run with Tim&Mackenzie

Out and back on the trusty Baltimore & Annapolis Trail. We seriously shoe-horned this run into everyone’s busy schedules.

We finally started about 6pm Sunday night, knowing it would be close to three hours to finish. Another reason the B&A is an easy choice: easy to run in the dark. I don’t really know how risky the neighborhoods are as you get closer to the mall and airport but we figured three able bodies made for an inopportune target. We definitely had the trail to ourselves!

This was my second 16 mile run and worlds, galaxies even, better than the first. The first was solo and easily the worst, hardest, and possibly most satisfying run I’ve ever done.

I was spent at the end but not feeling bad. The bad news is a pain in my left foot, which I now know was there after last week’s 13 miles, got slowly worse over the course of the run. The day after last week’s run I felt it but it wasn’t painful, didn’t last long, and was then barely noticeable so I didn’t think anything of it. Now I know it’s something more. It was bordering on pain by the end of the run and the next morning it was a sharp stab when I rolled over the ball of my foot. It’s less painful today but definitely affects even my walking gait so I’m probably going to skip the mid-week runs and see what happens.

Worst. Post-run. Pic. Ever.

13 mile run with Tim

We ran the Naval Academy grounds, over the Academy bridge, out to Greenbury Point and back, adding a little bit around downtown Annapolis at the end.

Can you say downpour? We were supposed to run 16 today but I wasn’t up for it. I’m glad I’m such a non-endurance athlete: the storm was a little later than forecast but we got a good soaking out of it. It rained the whole time but at least it wasn’t freezing. I was in shorts and a windbreaker and only felt chilled for the 15 minutes we were exposed to the bay breeze on the east side of Greenbury.

Otherwise it was a serviceable run and we both had a good time.

Mackenzie is taking the week off to make sure some hip pain is not serious. She’s seriously active, even for a fifteen year old. She’ll often do our long runs with us midday and then go to swim practice for an hour. Yikes.

New shoes feel good. The old pair was definitely a half-size too small.

13 mile run with T&M

This was a good run. We used the B&A again because it’s brainless; easy to plan, easy to execute. And it was fast! I’m sure this is the fastest long run I’ve managed. 9:37/mile! Yeehaa. I was feeling pressed the last two miles but it was completely manageable.

The fuelbelt is working well. I’m satisfied with the Hammer HEED and Perpetuem combo. It only has three bottles totalling 21 ounces though, so I think I’m a little behind the overall hydration curve. Have to work on that. Self-supported long runs will require some planning. I’m sure the marathon will have plenty of liquids on-course so no worries there.

The pictures were challenging, and fortunately comical, this time so I’m posting them all. (At least we enjoy it.)

Whoa. Let's try again without the acid.

Mackenzie going with the blinky look

Eyes wide open. And did my arm get longer?

16 mile solo run around Riva

Worst run ever. I’m new to marathon running. “Everyone has at least one bad run per event.” This was mine. I hope.

Might be because of the hills. Or the cold, wet, grey, anti-motivating weather. Or missing my running buddies.

Doesn’t matter. It was the hardest run I’ve ever done. And for that reason maybe the most fulfilling. I hope not to be this fulfilled again.

One interesting thing is I was able to find 16 miles in my local neighborhoods without too much out-and-back or re-looping. I think I used every road there is.

Elkridge run with Larry

…or “My longest run ever”

This is officially the longest run I’ve ever done. (I promise not to keep saying that for every new long run I do from now until April 9th. That would get boring and repetitive and generally go against my practice of being exciting and original.) My longest run to date had been the half-marathon at the end of the Eagleman Ironman 70.3 triathlon. And for those of you paying attention, I walked almost half of that. So my longest sustained run to date was the 12 mile training run leading up to that tri. Yay me.

I met Larry at his house and we started from there. He only had 6.5 on the docket for the day, having done his long run yesterday, and had a good loop in mind. We chatted for the first loop and generally enjoyed catching up. Back at his house he peeled off and I did another loop. It was a little challenging with no sidewalks and road shoulders full of snow banks but the traffic was light and courteous.

It felt good. It’s the first long run I’ve done without my training buddies, my good friend Tim and his daughter Mackenzie, and I look forward to running with them again in two weeks. (I’m traveling for work next weekend so will have to really run on my own for the first time. 14 miles somewhere in Manhattan. Anyone know a good route in the park?)

Garmin data is here. (I was getting bogus heart rate data most of the run. I think that means there’s something wrong with my chest strap transmitter or the Garmin unit itself…hopefully not something wrong with my heart. I’m not that good an athlete.)

Another 12 miles with Team Williams

It was 26 degrees today (at the start anyway, it was probably less than that 2 hours later when we finished) but at least it was clear. We unanimously decided we prefer 26 and clear to 38 and rainy! And while some people would consider 26 balmy (a friend ran yesterday morning when the wind chill was 6 degrees) we pretty much had the trail to ourselves.

Conversation topics ranged from our preferred training conditions, bike trainers, and why Glen wore sunglasses, to business marketing ideas and the relative benefits of mid-trail modified Tai chi for an audience of goats.

It was a good run for me. I felt good even though it’s the first long run we’ve done under the 10min/mile average. Mackenzie was especially stalwart, having not run in 10 days and missing last week’s “recovery’ 10 miles.

Activity details here.

The post-run photo is becoming a fun “thing” so I’ll keep posting them, to liven-up my dry blog entries if nothing else.