Sunday, January 31, 2010

A month down already

One month down already?

My goals for the year are to really up my consistency and mileage both running and on the bike. So far, at least one of the goals is going well. The main focus of the first half or so of the year is running so I'm not too upset with that.

This month I really worked on being consistent on my runs as I built my mileage for the February 14th marathon and the Bull Run Run in April. I think it paid off, for the most part. I kept the number of runs per week around 4 or 5 on average and built from my usual 20 mile week the first week up to a 40 mile week, which included a 21 miler in the 4th week of the year (Monday through Sunday and including the last couple days of '09 as week 1, though my monthly total includes strictly January miles).

I felt good overall and once my legs got used to the consistency they started to settle in well and feel less fatigue on subsequent days. My only issue was a sore ankle which I think was caused by some heavy ankle kicking during a run with cass where she kept tripping me up. Not a major issue but it was lingering a little bit.

Then, this final week of January I came down with a devil of a stomach bug and said goodbye to my month long consistency. It may have been a blessing in disguise as it really gave the nagging ankle soreness the time to properly heal, which I of course wouldn't have given into otherwise. Still, seems like a slap in the face after starting off the year so well and then logging the 14 mile week on 2 easy runs. Still, the monthly running mileage was a major step up from last year and if I can even match half of it for each month for the remainder of the year I'll be well on my way to my annual goal.

January Running Mileage: 127
Road: 87
Trail: 40
Treadmill: 0 (and thats where I plan to keep it for the year...)

The cycling started to get moving with some general miles as I picked up some higher volume kevlar tires and managed to motivate to commute a few days in the warmer cold days but the return of sub-twenty degree days and wind put a quick stop to that. Did get a trainer from the folks for Christmas and managed to throw a leg over it for a solid session and unfortunately that'll likely be the bulk of my saddle time for the coming weeks as the trails stay wet from snow melt and a continuing wet winter.

January Cycling Mileage: 95
Road: 80
Mountain: 15
Trainer: 1 hr 15 mins

Friday, January 22, 2010

Better late then never

Some things I've been meaning to write about for quite a while that I just haven't found the motivation to put down on (e-)paper.

First and foremost; Christmas was pretty good to me!

Jenny and Brian got me (combined as my bday gift also) the truck box I've been hemming and hawing over for the past year or so. I've yet to pick it out, though Brian and I went to Lowes last weekend and looked at what they had at the store. I think I've decided on a nice Craftsman box that has a better interior then the Kobalts at Lowes with some extra small storage areas and even some trays included. Thanks guys! I can't wait to get it and mount up some lockable fork mount brackets to it so I'll finally be able to secure my bikes to the truck AND have a bunch of extra storage space!

My parents got me a bunch of cool stuff including a few bottles of my favorite wine ("Sangre del Toro" or "The Blood of the Bull"), some emergency survival type gear (following a day of mis-information that appeared to leave them believing I was lost somewhere out in the cold during our super storm back in December) and some workout gear. A cold gear under armour top and fleece are both very welcome to my collection while a pair of Salomon 3/4 running tights offer a bit more versatility to my running options. Finally a pair of REI gaitors worked wonders for keeping the snow and mud out of my shoes during my two exploration runs out in Promised Land State Park a few minutes from the folks place in NEPA.

Better yet, the seem at the crotch of the 3/4 tights started ripping open after 3 runs. When I returned them to REI under warranty they didn't have any more so I got a credit which I used online to buy the same newly clearanced pair of tights for $20 less AND a $20 packable wind/water resistant Sierra Designs jacket. Sweet!

Aimee and I had discussed her buying me a fork for my mountain bike a while back and we'd decided that could be my xmas present from her. She, at some point decided she'd rather have something to give me christmas morning and since the fork won't be in till likely late February, pushed the fork back to be my birthday gift. Christmas morning I was surprised to find a new Garmin 305 with my name on it!

I'd been batting around the idea of getting a garmin for quite a long time but just had never really been willing to spend the money on it (I'm getting much more frugal as I age here). I took it, along with my new gaitors and trail knickers out for a test run that afternoon and again before coming home and found it to be pretty great. Running trails which I didn't know and had no reasonable idea of mileage, the garmin was very helpful. Further use has helped me to dial my mileage and pace information on my usual run reviews plus allow me to better monitor my pace while I'm out there. The elevation data is good too, mostly showing me how little elevation change I actually get in my runs.

I think it helps to motivate me in my quest to log more miles this year and gives me a bit more perspective as to exactly where I am in relation to surrounding areas (I get relatively lost running on trails) on my trail workouts. It's also got the heart rate monitor which so far has NOT told me I'm dead or my heart is going to explode soon. A big step up from my 4 year old Timex HR monitor. So far I'd have to say I like my garmin even more then I imagined I would!

While I'm at it, my folks got me a trainer (basic Ascent Fluid) for my Birthday which I got last weekend. I set it up and threw the cross bike on it (since that was at home and available) though the trainer doesn't have resistance adjustments so the trainer riding will generally likely be on a geared bike. It's also a bit loud for my far from sound proof wooden frame town home but hopefully a vibration dampening pad and smooth road tires (as opposed to my cross knobbies) should help me out there.

I picked up a set of Darren recommended Forte GT2 Kevlar tires for my winter riding for $11 per at performance bikes. So far they're pretty decent and the extra volume of the 28's lets me run them soft enough that they're not as bone jarring as I was afraid of. Hopefuly this will translate into some extra riding this winter and spring as I don't have to worry as much about flats.

SO far I've started off the year right for my running. Ramping up my mileage for the February 14th marathon has me steadily increasing my weekly mileage up to around 40 miles this week with a long run planned for the weekend of around 20 miles. The last 2 weekends I ran the marathon course, though poor night and morning before nutrition (read: alcohol and coffee) left me feeling a little worse then I would have liked later on, I think overall I should be in decent shape. Better yet I should be easily able to knock off over 20 minutes from my previous and only marathon.

So far my 2010 mileage is just over 90 so I'm well on my way to increasing my annual mileage so long as I can keep up the consistency.

Bull Run Run initial registration opens in 3 days! Can't wait!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Paul Blart: mall cop

Called me out for "sneaking" a picture so they posed for a better one.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Presidential Run

Sometimes I forget what I have the opportunity to see during my usual lunch runs.

A lot of people in this country (and the world for that matter) would consider this a vacation...

Monday, January 04, 2010

The year to come in racing

I managed my pretty thorough twenty oh nine round up and review which naturally ought to be followed up by a goal setting entry for twenty ten. Only problem is, I haven't really come up with any goals yet. I've laid out a couple races already in my '09 round up but other then those two (Bull Run Run 50 miler and the SM100) I'm pretty unsettled. I can lay out a few that I'm pretty sure I'll hit but otherwise I'm going to be pretty general here and allow myself some wiggle room. I hate "announcing" I'll be doing a race on this here blog and not following through. If anything this blog is meant as a motivator for me to carry out the plans I set for myself.

Early this year will likely see a higher amount of base training then in years past with a bit of a focus on running as opposed to riding. As difficult as it can be to get out for rides this time of year between the cold and the general freeze/thaw conditions running will generally be an easier option. Also, with the Bull Run Run coming in April an early year focused on running long is a must.

I may try to get into a few other trail races of shorter distances as well though something like the EX2 trail running series I feel is too costly to justify doing without signing up for the entire series which I feel would be too heavy a commitment. I've also had my eye on the Washington's Birthday Marathon ever since I saw it run by while sitting in my backyard two years ago. The February 14th race date this year would give me just enough time to ramp up the mileage before the race and the $30 reg fee provides reason enough for a Boston Qualifier. Add to that the ability to run to the race start and not even break a sweat during the trip or the trip home post race.

In May I'd like to try to get out and volunteer at one of the aid stations for the Massanutten Mountain Trail 100 mile race; an idea Matthew and I batted around post snow run last month.

As the weather gets nicer I'll be looking to ramp up the miles in the saddle; this year with a focus more on road miles for bigger base. Joining Darren on his longer and hillier rides and getting out to Fredrick once a month or so would be hugely beneficial. Once the season hits I'll probably, with the exception of Big Bear for which I'm undecided for now about, do the same 12 hour races I did in 2009. Lodi and Cranky Monkey and maybe Leesburg (though its probably too early post 50 miler) and definitely 18 hours of Scouts Honor which I've only heard great things about.

For shorter races I'm a bit less excited. The EX2 races again are a bit more then I want to spend and the fast short distances don't suit my goals for the season at all. On the other hand I'd like to try some different events like the Greenbrier Challenge marathon race and the Michaux races sound pretty epic as well.

Come fall I'll probably race at least a handful of cross races this year; maybe even on a reasonable cross bike though I won't be holding my breath on that one. In general fall will likely be when things start to ramp down and I'll likely ramp back up my running and maybe look into a few Fat Ass races to run and or volunteer for.

One more thing I want to try to do this year is work races into any travel I might do. Last year I just missed a few TN races while visiting Aimee's family in Knoxville but maybe this year I can figure out some races in totally new locales to try out (Aimee willing of course).

Of course, at this point I haven't laid any of this out on a calendar and really I've just basically sounded it out for this forum so I'm not really holding myself to most of this. In the end though all of these events are things I really think I'd enjoy so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they will fit nicely into the package that is my upcoming year. I'll continue to work things out for the season and try to come up with at least 3 month plans for upcoming races as the year goes on.