Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Backward Caps Are Aerodynamic

Yesterday we returned from a great week in PEI. I was there with all four siblings, their families, and some other family members. In addition to a few rounds of golf, time on the beach, and time spent with Cam and nieces and nephews, I managed to stick to my running schedule.

On the way to PEI, I stopped in Shediac and ran the George Gallant 10k, in a time of 50:31 (another blah performance) in very hot and humid conditions. Here's a line from the local francophone fish-wrap:

L'humidité, la chaleur et la brise soutenues ont été un problème pour la plupart des coureurs. Ces éléments auraient coûté au moins une minute à Strowbridge.

Translated to english I believe it reads "It was stinking hot but Strowbridge still flies because he wears his running cap backwards". I've got to start turning my hat around.

There were lots of pictures of the race on the RunNB site, including what is probably the best running picture ever taken of me.

Sunday in PEI I did 15 miles running back and forth over the last few kilometers of my most memorable run to date, the PEI marathon. Strange how those hills don't seem nearly as bad when they're not at the end of the marathon. I also went back there Tuesday to do another 10 miles. The rest of the week I spent running around Stanhope and Brackley Beach, including a ten mile run with five miles at tempo pace, and a couple of other shorter runs - one of five miles that I did with my sister Aimee.

Back in Fredericton, I ran a tough 16 mile run Sunday. I left later than I should have, not finishing until close to noon, and again it was quite warm. I have been trying to run more hills lately, and today's run was no exception. There were supposed to be ten miles today at marathon pace (8:40 mins/mile?) but I didn't quite hit it. However, with the heat and the hills I wasn't disappointed with the result. I drank three bottles of water, had a gel at 8 miles, and was totally spent at the end. I even shuffled in a couple quick walk breaks during the last mile.

For the week I got in 51 miles. That's about 6 more than the Pfitzinger plan calls for, as I ran six days during the week rather than five. I expect there will be many weeks when I do that additional run, though after coaching the boys at soccer tonight, I just didn't feel up to it ... so only five this week.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Good News, Bad News

A shot from afar of Paula Keating and Ryan O'Shea, who ran most of today's Miramichi Rock'n'Run together, and finished tied for 2nd/3rd at 1:22:53.

Here's a photo of me, somewhere around kilometer 13 or so, dousing myself with a cup of cool water. It felt warmer out there than the temperature indicated, probably helped by the 83% humidity.

An exchange I had with a lady as I was passing her around the 8k point:
Her: How are you feeling?
Me: Terrible. (In fact, I felt just fine ... I just thought I would say what she wanted to hear. I wonder how I looked?)
Her: Grab two sponges at the next stop. (As I said, it was warm, and they were passing out wet sponges at the previous water stop).
Me: What, one for me and one for you?
Her: No, for you. They can make you feel better if you're struggling.
Me: I'm ok. (I might have said this in my natural, not so friendly tone)
Her: Well... it works for me. (In the familiar "What's your problem?" tone I've grown accustomed to hearing from others)
Her (approaching the water stop): Sponge?
Them (water stop folks): Oh ... we don't have any at this stop.
Me: Pretty warm out here, isn't it?

My running story of late is one of contradiction. I seem to be enjoying running more than ever. Some of that may be due to being through only three of eighteen weeks of marathon training - still in the early courting stages, where all seems right with the world. I've got no nagging aches or pains, the days are long and nights are short, my weight is slowly going down, and the weather (especially early mornings) is great. I really am liking it, looking forward to every run. I'm even inclined to bump up my training plan slightly, running six days a week rather than five, and perhaps chucking in an additional mile or two on some of the scheduled runs.

However, as much as I enjoy the training, my racing does not seem to be improving. While hoping to run a 48 minute 10k this past week, and a 1:47 half, instead my times were about three and four minutes slower than that. The 10k course (Grand Bay 10k) was fairly hilly and the temperature for the half today was a bit warm, but those are not great excuses. I think my fitness level just has to improve, and I'm hopeful it will work out eventually by sticking to the plan. I have also been running more hills lately, and will do even more in the future.

We're off to PEI for a week beginning next weekend. If my understanding, generous, giving (and blog-reading) wife agrees to it, I may make a quick stop on the way in Shediac to run the George Gallant 10k ... but perhaps not. If I don't do better there, it might make for a grumpy week on the island.