Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 stats!!!

I'm taking New Years Eve off from running, which means my fitness year is complete!

The stats:
1,113 total running miles
1,428 total miles (includes biking, swimming and walking)
1,861 total total miles, 2010 included!

Miles by the month:

The fastest and the farthest:
And my lifetime stats:

Good year, but 2012 will be better!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New Rules of Lifting for Abs: Phase 1 complete

I had stopped strength training for awhile and found that my back was hurting on long runs, so I picked up the book The New Rules of Lifting for Abs.

I just completed phase 1 of the 6-month program, and man, it's brutal, but so effective. I've moved up substantially on all of the exercises, and I feel stronger.

Each of the workouts was completed 8 times over about six weeks.

Here's where I started and where I ended on each:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New York Times on GPS watches

The New York Times has this case against GPS watches.

It talks about discrepancies between the watch and the course.

"That kind of discrepancy, of course, plays havoc with your training. The pace calculated by the watch is much too slow, and the run becomes an exercise in frustration."

I've noticed the inaccuracies before, but it has never bothered me. I knew that the watch wouldn't be perfect, but it has still been a great partner in training.

The best way to get around the inaccuracies is to go by averages. I use average pace per mile instead of current pace. As far as distance inaccuracies, they're never significant enough to make a difference.

I've run two marathons. My Garmin 305 measured the Cleveland Marathon at 26.49 miles and the Columbus Marathon at 26.34. While the added distance may have been the GPS acting up, it could have also been me weaving through other runners or taking curves too widely.

The biggest problem came at the Hocking Hills Indian Run this year, when I didn't know whether I could rightly say I beat a 10 minute pace. The course was supposed to be 12.4 miles -- but my watch only measured 12. 

My GPS isn't perfect. But the positives far outweigh the negatives. Because of the watch, I can veer off course without worrying about getting lost or going too far. I can run longer, because I pace myself better. And I can challenge myself.

Monday, December 19, 2011

1,000 hits in December

I hit 1,000 hits for this month! I had 1,114 when I checked this morning. Thanks for reading, everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2012: The official goals post

As this is auto-posting, I'm getting back into a familiar routine.

While most of the world is sleeping in on Saturday morning, once again I'm up early. Before dawn early. I'm putting on my cold weather gear, packing a bag of warm clothes to change into after, and warming up the Fit.

I'm driving 40 minutes to join the long procession of cars turning into Thomas Worthington High School for the Marathoner in Training program (MIT). Jeff's going to gather all 400 of us in the gym to kick the winter season off. He'll call out "10:30s!!!" then we hit the Olentangy Trail, sun, rain, sleet or snow. We'll yearn for the heat of summer, just as we yearned for the cold of winter in August.

I'm going to stop with the "I must be crazy for doing this" posts. It's a foregone conclusion. We're all crazy in our own little ways. I just choose to blog about it.

All 400 of us share one same personality trait: We're all goal oriented, some to the point of obsession. The magic number is called a PR, a personal record, and each one of us is there because we're determined to beat it.

The PR could be a goal distance, for many first timers it's simply to run as far as you can, to the marathon or half marathon point. That was my ambition my first season of MIT, training for Cleveland

But once you complete that distance, you now have a time to beat. Some simply want to beat their time, others set a new goal time. I ran a 4:32 in Cleveland, and sought to run Columbus in 4:20. That was the number that was burned into my head in my second season of MIT. I smashed through that goal, running Columbus in 4:13.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Because I like statistics

When I started this blog, I honestly didn't think anyone would read it! But every month since May I've had more than 1,000 page views!

Here are the page views by month since I started it:
Sept. 2010: 192
Oct. 2010: 786
Nov. 2010: 1053
Dec. 2010: 774
Jan. 2011: 528
Feb. 2011: 583
Mar. 2011: 648
Apr. 2011: 454
May 2011: 1044
June 2011: 1456
Jul. 2011: 1074
Aug. 2011: 2246
Sept. 2011: 1319
Oct. 2011: 1108
Nov. 2011: 1580
Dec. 2011: 853 (so far!)

Oink, Oink

Update: I finished it!! Race report here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Must read! "Unplug and Then Plug Back In Excited"

Here is just a fantastic article about the importance of rest from Running Times:

"When race day seems an eternity away it is sometimes difficult to rally the mental focus necessary to get back into the swing of things.

"Then upon coming back, who among us hasn’t cursed about an “easy” 4-miler never feeling harder? There are both mental and physical components to address in order to ensure you are fresh, restored, and then ready to rededicate yourself to the upcoming season."
I'm in the second week of two weeks off and I must attest, it is difficult. The worst part was getting an email back from my pace coach advising that my first "long run" should be 4 miles. 4!!

(Ok ok I did cheat a bit. I ran just one mile yesterday. I had 10 minutes to kill before yoga.)

I haven't taken the time completely off, as the article advises. I've been doing a lot of indoor cycling. I have even made two attempts at swimming, which I'm sure were pretty comical to the lifeguard and other people in the pool as I treaded water halfway through my laps gasping for air. I took a kickboxing class.

But now I'm reminded why I took this rest period. I feel recovered now. I don't walk around with something constantly aching. And further, before this little hiatus I was secretly dreading every run, but now I can't be more stoked for Saturday!

Monday, December 12, 2011

First on the First: A PR attempt for the new year

Jan. 1 I'm going to attempt to whittle down my 5K PR of 24:27 at the First on the First in Westerville. I'd love to beat 24:00, but even shaving a few seconds off would make me happy!

To run a 24:26 I'd need to run a 7:51 pace. To run a a 23:59 I'd need to run a 7:43. So I'm going to stick with the old strategy of starting the first half of the race with the 8 minute pacer then kicking it up!

I'm in the middle of a 2-week hiatus that ends with the kickoff of MIT Saturday. Looking forward to training for the Flying Pig!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Race Report: Salt Fork 10-Mile trail challenge 2011

After the Salt-Fork 10-Mile Trail Challenge, I was ready to write about how awesome the race was, how great I felt afterward, how incredibly awesome it was that I was covered with mud, etc...

But there was one small caveat: Indeed I felt awesome after, but I was completely miserable during the entire run.

That's what got me thinking about the mental grit it takes to be "a runner."

This was my second year at the Salt Fork challenge. After thinking about all the miserable factors of the race, it's really got me wondering about the psychology of the sport. How can you be so miserable, yet cross the finish line smiling (and not just because you're happy it's over)?

The race is brutal. You're either going straight uphill, or straight down. Many of the hills are too steep to walk up, let alone run. Immediately after taking any number of descending steps, the thought momentarily pops into your head: "$hit, I hope I don't break my ankle."

The mud this year was intense, from all the rain we've had. Sometimes you'd take a step and feel your whole foot get sucked in. And when I say mud, I just hope it was mud. Part of the race was on horse trails.

I wore my New Balance Minimus shoes. They're great, but I made the wrong choice in socks. The wetness of the course dragged my ankle socks down, so they were cutting into my ankles. At the rest stop at Mile 5.5 I looked down and saw blood. The blisters still make it a bit painful to walk in regular shoes.