Saturday, December 10, 2011

This Week in Running 12-10 Edition

I can't get rid of it. Running has truly taken hold of me. This week I finished out with a total of 40.5 miles. I had the pleasure of running in the snow for the first time. I even had my eyelashes freeze together for the first time ever. To top it off I set a new distance PR at 9 miles. Notably I may not have followed my diet as well as I possibly could but I am blaming that on the holidays and the abundance of temptation. My weight really didn't move anywhere but I am accepting of that when I am making strides in other categories.
The week started of great deciding to up my daily mileage to 6 miles. I ran a nice quick 1 hour flat for my first attempt. Tuesday was a bit slower, nothing special to report there. Wednesday I dropped 30 seconds per mile to finish the 6 miles in 57 minutes flat. Felt great about that. I am starting to hope/think that my race pace might be something like 9 minute miles. I will have to work up to that for the longer distances. Thursday I ran an uneventful 6 miles, slowly, at about 10:30 miles.
Friday the snow started! I was stoked. I went out Thursday morning excited to run with a fresh half inch or so of powder. It was amazing. The snow felt like soft pad under my feet and I didn't feel like I was getting half the impact I had gotten when running on the sidewalks normally. It also lit up the streets. I run early, 5:30 am or so each morning. Normally it is dark and it feels like you are running from streetlight to streetlight. With a fresh layer of snow covering the ground it was a whole new world. The moon wasn't out but I could still see clearly. The visibility coupled with the falling snow gave me the best view I have ever had running.
Saturday was a different day with the snow half melted and refrozen and a new low temperature of 12 degrees F. The snow was crunchy underfoot and there was ice everywhere. During the first couple of miles I was concerned it might not be safe conditions but as I moved along my confidence went up and up. Notably this run while being my longest yet also happened to have to most hills of any run I have done yet also. The hills did add a bit of stress to it but somehow I persevered and with a great time fore me also. I finished just over nine miles in 1:33. I don't think I could ask for much more, however I did get a little bonus. I got to watch it go from being pitch black outside with a clear night sky and a near full moon, to watching the sun rise on my home stretch. The sunrise on a cold clear morning like this was while you are out reaching new heights is an amazing feeling. I did find out that my lower eyelashes can freeze to the upper ones and that is something you have to wipe away. I also found some accumulated ice on myself when I came in the house finally. I never thought that ice would be able to form on me while I was running, however I assure you it can.
I also did just a little cross-training this week with a recumbent stationary bike on Friday night. I mostly did this so that while I was watching a couple of shows on Hulu.com so that I wouldn't feel to guilty and to test it out as a possible viable option for workout replacement on the coldest of mornings. As far as I can tell, it just won't cut it for me. Remember you can always see my workouts on mapmyrun.com by friending me, plato30, or get updates by following me on twitter @jmhalstead, or on Facebook, James Halstead in Wyoming, MI. Until next time happy running!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This Week in Running


Let me start by saying, it was another successful week.  No matter the distance or the speed I run, it is a success if I complete it without an injury or illness. I was shooting for a total of 33 miles on the week. I ended with just a bit more, 34.28 miles. I don’t know that I have mentioned this yet anywhere in my blog, however I was 293 lbs just a short while ago. In late June of this year I started a diet with my wife We started the Atkins diet. We followed it to the letter to begin with. I got down to about 250 lbs doing just that. As of today I am sitting at 224. This new weight is something I haven’t seen since a couple of months after graduating boot camp, 12 years ago. I digress, the reason I started running was to keep losing weight, now I run just to run, but I am continuing to try and lose weight.
Running this week didn’t necessarily go as planned. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday all went off in a rather boring fashion, no surprises. Thursday I decided to find a more scenic route, that more scenic route lead to adding a touch of distance at almost five and half miles. Then on Friday I was in a hurry and decided to do a there and back type of route instead of my usual loops. Well I made this decision after I left the house, not the best plan ever. I got back to where I started and realized my distance was a full mile off. Luckily I was able to improvise and I ended up with five and half miles again.
Saturday, my normal long run day, I was considering doing a special event for the upcoming May Riverbank run. The event had a one mile option or a four mile. It was a kickoff event for Riverbank training. Now based on my current schedule I was supposed to be doing eight miles. Even though the run was shorter than my plan, I still wanted to be involved. I wanted to try mid run, refreshments and a running with a group of people at different paces. However, fate decided otherwise and we made plans with my wife’s family. Now they live about 40 minutes away and we were spending the night so the kids could play together among other activities. So, I had to find a route to run up near their house, out in the country a bit, in an area I do not know well. As expected, the route did not match up with the map. One of the roads that was supposed to go through as a matter of fact I saw the street sign for the road, only it went the other direction. I did find out latter that it wasn’t just me running in the dark missing it, it just didn’t go through. So I had to improvise a bit. This put me onto a much busier road, with no sidewalks. One large truck even decided to swerve off the road, onto the shoulder a few feet right as it went by me. That was frightening, but I had luckily already moved well of the shoulder for my safety. My new route, I was sure wouldn’t make it the distance I was going for, so I started adding a few small side streets into the run. In the end I finished 8.18 miles in 1:26. I could not have been happier with the distance, the pace, or how I felt at the end. I am excited about my future in running.