Saturday, April 9, 2016

A tale of two months

I have been pretty bad about keeping this updated, but have been good about keeping up my running!  I have also been updating my run on a Google-Sheet consistently, which you can follow here: link.

Anyway, here is a quick overview of what has happened since my last update.   I ended January similarly to how it had gone when I updated at three weeks, with consistent runs throughout the week and I ended the month with just shy of 46 miles run which put me well ahead of my mile-per-day goal also ahead of my ultimate goal of 500 miles, as 46 miles per month would mean I would end with about 550 miles.   However, things took a turn for the worst in the month of February, it started with a bout of food-poisoning which put me out of commission for a couple days and then another 4 or 5 days of no-running.   This was followed by some of the coldest days in New England over the last 50 years.  We saw temperatures below zero with high winds causing wind chills of -40 and these days corresponded with the days that I have time to run.  So, after almost 2 weeks of no running, I finally got out for an early morning run in Boston around the Prudential Center (a route I posted in my last blog post), I went for 4.26 miles, but hurt my knee about a mile in (and stupidly kept going for 3 more miles), by the time I was done my knee was throbbing and after I cooled down found it hard to walk.   After a couple of days, my knee felt fine, but decided to not push it, so I took a week off.   One week later, I went out to run again (with a knee brace on) and re-injured my knee about 2.5 miles into a planned 5 mile run -- this time I turned back and ended my run at 3.21 miles as I mostly walked the last half mile.    That was the last time I ran in February as I decided to take 2 weeks off to rest my knee this time.    That is just under 46 miles in January and just over 7 in February, meaning that after 2 months I had logged 53 miles, putting me under my mile-per-day pace and way off my goal of 500 miles.

After a miserable February, I knew that I had to turn things around quick before my year-pace fell too far behind, so on March 3rd I completed a 5.5 mile run with a brace and ended without pain.  I rest for a few days and then on March 7th took that and started my climb back to 500 miles -- running with a brace for the next 2 or 3 weeks.   I ran 2 mornings a week and 1 or 2 evenings a week trying to put as many miles behind me as possible.   I want to point out 3 particular runs in the month.  The first is that I have expanded my Prudential Center route by going to the Boston Common and then crossing over Storrow Drive and running by the Charles river.  I had always seen people running between Storrow and the Charles, but had never incorporated into my routes because it does not allow me to easily turn off and cut a run short -- that has now changed as I really enjoy this run.  Below is the first time I did it, but have done similar routes that are 5 and 6 miles as well.  The part in question is at the top (you know .... by the river):

The next run I want to mention is the 603 Running Club's Hampton Pub Run (603 is the only area code in the state of NH in case you did not know).  I have done the Portsmouth Pub-Run a few times but had never done Hampton.   I really like this run and the group that runs is small and very friendly, plus it starts and ends at Smuttynose, one of my favorite breweries.     It is a beautiful run that crosses a river twice - once through a covered bridge and goes through a farm.  I would recommend it.  So I am hoping to do this run more often:

Last, I did a run on something called the "Rail Trail", a trail that follows some railroad tracks that go back to the mid 1800's and have not been in use for almost 50 years, so the state used the rails "right of way" to transform it into running and biking trails.  So you can run across NH on these trails with very little interference from roads and cars.  I went on a run on a portion of this trail with a group of friends who were going to go 3.5, 8.5 and 12 miles.   The plan was to run 6 miles out and 6 miles back.  At the 3.5 mark there was a road that some parked on, so some just ran to that road and did 3.5.  My plan was to run the 6 miles out and then do the 2.5 back to that other road and get a ride to my car.  This would have been my longest run ever (beating a run last year of 7.5 miles); however, at the 7.5 mile mark the person who was going to give me a ride realized she had dropped her car key and lost it, so I ended up doing the full 12.   It was a great accomplishment for me and really helped me get my pace up.    When March ended I had run just under 64 miles.   Seven miles versus 64, truly a tale of 2 months.

April is off to a more typical start (more similar to January), I am back over my mile-per-day pace, but am still behind my 500 mile goal.  As of this posting, I am on pace for 460 miles.  However, I am signed up to run my first ever Half-Marathon tomorrow -- the Great Bay Half Marathon and if I complete it, then I will be back on pace for 500 miles.

I promise my next post will no be in 6 weeks.   I will have a full update of my run in the half marathon tomorrow, good or bad, as soon as possible.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Three Week Update

It has been 3 weeks and I am off to a good start.   January has been cold in New England, but I have gotten out and put down some miles.   On January 1, I ran in the 35th Annual Hangover Classic 10K in Salisbury Massachusetts (right on the NH/MA border).   I had only run a 10K one time previously, it is the time I mention in my intro post and my time then was 1:10:52.  For this race I set a goal of finishing in 1:05:00 and to not do any walking for the first 4 miles and exceeded my goal by running the entire race and finishing in 59:40.  Previously, I had only finished a 5K in under 30 minutes 3 times and had never run over 4 miles non-stop, so this was truly a wonderful was to start this quest.   The only bummer about the race is that the course was really boring.  It was right along the beach (not on the sand but on the road), so it was flat and the weather was wonderful as it was 40 degrees, but it was basically 3 miles up and 3 miles back:

Not interesting at all.   It was also a bit of a lonely race as their are options for both 5K and 10K and most of the runners who run at my pace, turned around after a 1.5 miles to do the 5K and I was near the back of the 10K runners.   So boring up and back and not a lot of casual runners makes this a race I am not sure I would do again.

To date, that is the only road race I have run, events like this are few in the winter months in New England; however, I have been making an effort to run at work.   I have managed to get out 4 times.  The first 3 times were days I went to work (I work in Boston in case you did not know) when classes were not in session, so I was able to run in the late morning with the sun out.  That was nice as the cold was not quite as bitter; however on one of the days there were 25 mph winds, so go into that up some of the streets was really tough (and cold).   It is interesting how different runs go depending on the weather, below are maps of two of my runs which were basically the loop (with the 2nd loop having 2 changes that added 1.5 miles, but still ran over most of the same 5 miles as the top one).  In the top one, I ran at 10am, the sun was out and it was in the low 30s with no wind, which are actually really nice conditions to run it.   I set out to run about 5 miles, I it was one of my most successful non-race runs I have ever had.  Other than a couple 2-5 second pauses at 2 or 3 intersections I ran the entire 5 miles and felt great the entire time, it was one of the easiest runs I have been on and am confident I could have run another 2 or 3 miles at a similar pace.  The 2nd map was from 2 days ago and is the coldest day I have ever run in, I am not sure what the temp was when I started, but when I ended over an hour later, the sun had come up and it was 19 with a windchill below 0.   I set out to run the exact same 5 mile loop as the first map and 5 minutes in, I was miserable and thought I would shorten the run to 2 or 2.5 miles; however, when I hit the first mile (according to the map that is 10:13 in), I had really warmed up and thought 3 or 4 miles was doable.  When I got to mile 2, I was completely warm and made a decision to take advantage of feeling warm and try and put in as many miles as possible, so I took a different route back and ended up at 6.5.   However, if you look at my pace, and how long I ran each mile, they were really different runs.  

I have 3 basic loops I run at work, the loop above is one that starts at my school, goes down and around the medical district (down riverway and the either right though by the hospitals [top map] or further down and back up Huntington ave which goes by 2 or 3 hospitals, and a couple of colleges (Mass Art and Mass Pharm) and then runs by Northeastern University and the Museum of Fine Arts, up past the Prudential Center turns at the Library and come back down through Back Bay (where the marathon ends) and then turns and goes by Fenway Park and back to work.   I have only been running this loop this year because it goes by so many popular places that the sidewalks are mostly clear of ice (I did run on an icy morning and it was not fun, but this loop gave me about 85% clear sidewalks).

Over the 21 days this post covers, I was able to go out for 5 runs for a total of 27.2 miles (an average of 5.44 miles per run).   I think this is what my runs will look like for the next 6-8 weeks as getting out to run in these weather conditions is really tough, so we I go out I want to try and log as many miles as I can, it is the only way I have a chance to hit that 500 miles for the year.

All 5 of my runs have been in Massachusetts, so I have yet to hit up the roads in New Hampshire, so I think I might try and do that later today.

Thanks for reading and if you are supporting my running pledge drive thank you so much for that too.  If you have not pledged and want to know more, just read my first post and you can pledge by using the links on the right.   So far, I have received almost $1.75 in pledges which is really amazing.   Thank you thank you.