February 23, 2008

Breakin' the Rules

Remember last weekend when I mentioned going back to base building and avoiding speedy or hilly stuff? Hehehehe.

After a few nights of insomnia this past week, I overslept this morning. Barely enough time to get up, shower, and get to an early matinee Gopher women's hoops game (which we lost by 2 points to one of the worst teams in the Big Ten). Did a few errands and didn't get home until late afternoon, but it was such a beautiful warm (30 degree F) sunny day that I had to get out and do a quick 2 mile spin around Bredesen park.

Got dressed in cotton sweat pants, a cotton T-shirt with a cotton sweat shirt over the top. All cotton. You know - proper winter running attire. Rule #1 officially broken.

On to rule #2. I decided that since I only had time for 1 loop, I'd pick up the intensity. Starting out I decided on a speedy tempo pace. Once I got going, I decided to air things out a little. Ended up keeping my 1600 meter pace for 2 miles. Max heart rate on today's run = 191, with avg = 176 (my running max is 197 last time I tested it a few years ago). So much for sticking with base building and avoiding speed for awhile. It was the fastest I've run since last summer (although slower pace than I remember at that particular heart rate).

Felt good.

Hope to get a longer run in tomorrow. Have yourself a great weekend!

February 18, 2008

Upper Midwest Trail Runners

The brand spankin' new Upper Midwest Trail Runners club is official!

For only $20, you get a year membership plus inclusion into the 2008 MN Trail Run series or the inaugural Fab Five Fifties!

Get the entire skinny from Wynn.

February 17, 2008

Time to Regroup

Well, my training this month has basically imploded. I've only run 100 miles for the entire year so far, with a couple of 10 mile weeks in a row to start off the month. One of the downsides of being self employed in a company of 1 means that I have to deal with any problem that arises without having the luxury of getting assistance from someone else. I've been spending most of my time in the "IT department" the last few weeks - not my strongest area of expertise!

I won't go into the entire story, but suffice to say that being unable to communicate with one's customers does not bode well for business. This resulted in having to find a new web host, transfer domain, build a new web site, etc. Found a new host about 10 days ago, and have been trying to learn CSS ever since. The domain transfer finally took place this past Fri-Sat, which left me spending 11 hours on Sat with tech support trouble shooting a variety of glitches, and another 5 today working out a few minor website bugs. Hopefully the worst is over and I can start running more regularly again. Whew!


I basically need to go back to base building miles instead of hills and speedwork. Back to square 1. Maybe a few short tempos every now and then. My last long run was a 10 miler 2 weeks ago, and 4 is the longest I've been able to squeeze in since then.

Running for Feb:
2/2 - 10+ miles
2/5 - easy 3
2/8 - easy 3
2/10 - easy 3
2/12 - tempo 4
2/14 - screw shoe test - steady 2
2/17 - steady 4

About 2 months to go until Trail Mix. Yikes!

February 14, 2008

Screw Shoes

Oh, the possibilities of a title for this post ;)
I've been pondering my options for improved traction during outdoor winter runs for the last few months: buying some 3/8" sheet metal screws to put into an old pair of shoes, YakTrax, microspikes, etc. Like all things in life, there were advantages and disadvantages to each option: cost, convenience, durability, having a power screw driver (I do not), whether or not they actually work, etc. At the recommendation of another winter runner, I decided to head over to REI and check out the Stabilicers. They were getting rave reviews as the best traction device on the REI website too!

Well, the most beefed up model of Stabilicers seemed incredibly heavy and not very flexible. Not exactly conducive to running. I think that may have been the model fellow North Woods runner Bryan reviewed on his blog. An REI employee mentioned that the beefed up model really wasn't made for running, but more for working outdoors or wearing over heavy boots. I ended up with the Stabilicer Sport, which was a lighter, more flexible pair that was supposedly intended for running.

I had a chance to take them for a short test run at Bredesen this afternoon - beautiful running weather: sunny, 14 degrees above zero, not too windy, fresh snow on the path. I got to try walking across smooth ice where Nine Mile Creek had frozen over too.

The good:

*Can be worn over any pair of running shoes without having to drill holes in the soles. Today I chose my Gortex trail shoes, for longer runs I may prefer my lighter weight road shoes.
*Don't have to spend a lot of time putting them on.
*They stayed on my shoes very reliably.
*Great traction running on snowy trails; pretty good traction walking on smooth ice.
*Can take them off of the shoes for driving, walking indoors on nice floors, etc. - without having to take off the shoes.

The not so great:

*They cost about $40.
*As Bryan mentioned, the screws in his pair didn't last very long and weren't "typical" so they couldn't be replaced by going to the local hardware store. Instead, you've got to pony up another $5 for a small bag of their replacement screws.
*Even though they slip on and off any pair of shoes, they don't slip on and off very easily. You've gotta stretch, tug, pull, jam, swear, etc to get the things on your shoes.
*The stretchy rubber that you need to stretch, tug, pull, jam, and swear at seems kinda flimsy. I don't see these things lasting very long.

Bottom line:

It's great having some traction for winter running, and so far I'm not sorry I bought them. But when the screws drop out of this pair, I'll probably go for buying a power screw driver, some 3/8" sheet metal screws, and making my own screw shoes - it's probably just as effective, cheaper, and I'll have a power screw driver.

February 10, 2008

Checking In

Hi Gang! It's been a crazy couple of weeks - and I'm still in computer hell :(

I'm in the process of switching web hosts, transferring domain registration, rebuilding website from scratch, troubleshooting all of the above, etc etc etc. I have only managed a few very short runs this past week - which hasn't done much for my training, but probably has saved me from pulling out all of my hair.

Here's my lame week:
Mon - computer hell
Tues - computer hell + easy 3.0
Weds - very busy workday (12 hours non-stop)
Thurs - computer hell + shuttle launch + more computer hell
Fri - computer hell + strength training + easy 3.0
Sat - computer hell
Sun - computer hell + easy 3.0

I don't know how IT folks can stand it.....

February 7, 2008

One Bitchin' Ride

Space shuttle Atlantis finally got off the ground today after a couple months of troubleshooting. Here's what a shuttle launch looks like from inside the cockpit (this was from STS-92 on Discovery a few years ago):

February 2, 2008

Tough Week

Had a tough week this week - more of a mental funk than anything. Reading everyone else's blogs, it seems that I'm not alone! I think I'm just sick of the treadmill, sick of sub-zero weather, sick of it being dark when I leave for work and dark again by the time I get home. I guess I'm sick of winter!

Last Sat: Three trips around Lake Calhoun for 9.65 miles. There was some kind of kite skiing event going on, where folks would hang onto the cord from a huge kite and ski across the lake - kind of like the ice version of wind surfing. Cool.

Sun: off

Mon: busy work day, nada. Coulda shoulda run outside in 40+ degree temps, but didn't. Shame.

Tues: was supposed to do a 7 mile tempo run - ended up doing 3 because I just. didn't. feel. like doing more. Shame.

Weds: busy work day, planned day off.

Thurs: strength training, but not much else. Coulda shoulda added some hill repeats, but didn't. Shame.

Fri: nada. Shame.

Sat: 10+ miles at Bredesen park. Saw lots of cardinals and a few woodpeckers! Now I've really got spring fever!

I've noticed another interesting trend the last couple of months running outside in cold weather: my heart rate actually goes down after about 5-6 miles or so, even at the same pace. Typically my heart rate goes up by that time, usually from getting overheated and/or dehydrated. I thought that maybe it had something to do with getting acclimated to slippery conditions: everything is tense at first, then becomes more relaxed after getting used to running on snow. Today the path was clear, so that theory didn't pan out. Things that make you go, "Hmmmmmmmmm."

Less than 3 months 'til Trail Mix!