Me and Dzangel

Me and Dzangel
RMC 5K 2007

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Some great workouts

Wow! Have you ever had some runs/rides/workouts where everything just seems to flow. You're in the zone and you know it. Even better, you get in that zone when you least expect it. Since my race on May 17th my workouts have seemed to get better and better. I almost hate to say it in case I jinx myself. I don't mean to sound like I am having miraculous workouts but I just haven't really had a bad workout in a couple of weeks.
I did a couple of runs around last weekend. I was working 11 pm to 7 am and that shift usually wipes me out! I can't sleep. I can't eat. I can't think. It seems like the week from hell every third week. I finally resorted to some OTC sleep aids last week and actually slept longer than 3 or 4 hours. By the weekend, instead of feeling a zombie I had a couple of good runs. On Sunday I planned on a one hour run and ended up with almost an hour and forty-five minutes. I picked up the pace every twenty minutes for the first hour and then relaxed and cooled down with some easy running on our trail system. Even the hills felt easier than they normally do.
On Monday I had my quick change from 11-7 to 3-11. This means maybe, on a perfect day, 4 hours sleep, and usually alot less. This wasn't a good day. I tossed and turned for a few hours in the morning. I had been doing a job I haven't done in a while and my legs were achy and sore. I decided to bike in to work so I got the bike ready, threw it on the car and off I went. It was a windy day, but the wind was in my favor for a change. Most days it is a headwind in to work. I pushed along at close to 20 mph with the wind at my back. I knew I would pay for it on the way home. In addition, the weather forecast was calling for rain later in the evening. I figured if I can at least make it to work dry I could suffer with a wet ride back to the car. Well, the ride back wasn't as bad as I thought. The wind had let up a little but now seemed more like a cross wind at times. On the road between some of the bare fields it seemed to push me back but I just gritted my teeth and pushed forward. I got to the car, loaded the bike and headed for home. I got maybe two miles down the road and the rain started to fall. Can't beat that for timing.
Yesterday, Tuesday was cool and damp. I had an interval workout planned at the track but hesitated due to the weather. I don't really mind doing speed work but the weather just wasn't ideal for the workout. I decided I better quit whining and do the workout. My heart just wasn't in it as I took a slow, easy run to the track. Once there the wind seemed to pick up and it started to mist a little. I put my head down and headed around for my first interval. After two laps I hit the lap button on the timer and saw I had beaten my goal time by a few seconds. HMMM, maybe this isn't so bad. I did my cool down and headed for the next interval. I ran 4x800-actually 880, it is a true quarter mile track-and beat my time for all of them and even got faster. I finished feeling really great. Now, granted, I am not running 5 minute mile pace here, but the times were good for me and it was my first track run of the year.
I hope I can carry this streak for a little longer. I have another WORS race this Sunday. It is up near Rhinelander on a course I have never ridden before. I won't have a chance to pre-ride it because I am working 3-11 yet on Saturday. I should be interesting but I am sure it will be fun. As usual, my goal is just to finish in one piece so I can get up and go to work the next day. I'll update this after the race.
Better get moving. Need to get in a workout before work today and keep this great streak going.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting back in the saddle

Hey everybody, or anybody! I put this update off for a couple days. I have been busy again. Or is that still. Posting an update always seems to fall at the bottom of my list of things to get done. I am going to TRY, key word try, to update more often. Maybe every few days. If I try this then maybe I can remember what I want to say and won't end up rambling for so long.

I was laid off again the week of May 11. Our mill was down for annual maintenance work. I spent part of the week painting the stairs. It seems like they will never get done and just when I thought I could see light at the end of the stairs, my wife wants some trim painted and added where the risers meet the treads. Who knew it could take so long to paint stairs?

Trying to get things accomplished while I am off usually means that my training suffers, just a little bit. I feel a little guilty taking a few hours to get in a run or ride, or whatever piques my interest that day.

On Tuesday, Tammy and I had a great walk on the Ice Age Trail. I rarely walk out there, and it was really nice to slow the pace and enjoy what goes whizzing by when I am running. We walked for about 2 hours and Tammy took a bunch of pictures. We kept checking for ticks whenever we stopped for a photo and we only found a couple. That was good. But, apparently I missed one, somehow.

I went to the gym on Wednesday and had a great strength workout. I am still doing the one I was given before the Birkie. It seems just the right balance of exercises. I am not sure if it is helping alot but I think it is, and I guess that is all that matters. I rode the bike to the gym, even though the weather forecast was calling for rain later in the evening. I almost beat the rain before I got done. I ended up having a short, wet and cold ride home. I soaked for a couple extra minutes in the shower to warm up and was scrubbing of the sweat and road grime when I felt a bump behind my knee. I felt a little sore and achy. I thought maybe I had been sitting or kneeling in some odd contortion while I was painting earlier that day. I took a better look when I toweled off and sure enough, I had a tick buried in my leg. DAMN!!! This didn't look good. It was just far enough on the side of my knee that I couldn't reach it. I smothered some Vick's on it and let it sit while I ate. Tammy tried to pull it out but it was in just a little too deep. So Thursday morning I ambled down to the doctor's office and had the little bugger removed. Even worse, it was deer tick, so now I have to watch for the dreaded bullseye rash. The last thing I need is to end up with Lyme's Disease. Tammy had it/has it and it knocked her on her keister a couple of years ago.

Thursday ended up better than it started. I did my first group bike ride in years. A small group meets here in town on Tuesday and Thursday and goes out for a couple of hours at a moderate to fast pace. It was very windy which made riding in a group even better. The group of about eight quickly split up as we hit the wind and four of us ended up doing a really nice ride of about 36 miles in just a little over two hours and fifteen minutes. By then end I was tired and my legs were dead but it was a great feeling. I rode with a group about eight years ago and it got me in the best shape of my life. Nothing like being pushed and pushing back. It is almost like a race in that I can't keep up the same pace by myself. I need to fit this into my schedule more often.

I took the day off on Friday and Saturday I went to Iola to preride the course for the first mountain bike race of the season. The venue is only about half an hour from my house. It is nice to get out and see the course before the actual race. I have raced here numerous times over the years so I am familiar with the course. There were a few changes, but nothing drastic.

Sunday morning I was up nice and early and Tammy and I headed off to the race. I did a 5K trail race at 8:30 that morning. I figured it would be a nice warm up and wouldn't take too much out of me. I went out at a good pace but didn't push too hard. The first part of the course has some pretty nasty hills and I wanted to save something for the bike race. I settled into a comfortable pace and enjoyed the morning. I finished in just under 28 minutes. That was good enough for third in my age class and twelfth overall. Now I had about two and a half hours before the bike race. I ate a little and just relaxed. I did a very short warm up and then headed to the start area. I knew a good start was going to be crucial since it starts out hilly. In addition to the hills there was a short section of deep sand at the crest of the first hill where I knew it would bottleneck. I planned on getting a good jump and then a quick run through the sand so I wouldn't get left too far behind. My start strategy worked pretty good. I didn't want to go all out right away due to the hills in the first mile so I held a little back. Once the course flattened a little the singletrack began. I did well through the singletrack and tried to push on the wide open ski trail sections. The first lap went well and I picked it up a little for the next lap. I pushed hard and tried to save a little when I needed a burst to make a pass. By the middle of the third and last lap I was getting a little tired and winded, but still felt good. I didn't keep my lap splits but I am quite sure each lap was faster than the previous lap. I had one rider right in front for the last part of the race and tried to push to catch hime since I knew he was in my age class. Every time I pushed the pace he picked up his speed. The last portion of the course is mostly singletrack and even though I could stay on his wheel I just never could get the extra little speed to pass him. I finished in 1:23:19 for just under 15 miles. My placing wasn't quite what I wanted by my time goal was to finish in under 1:30:00 so I was happy. Plus, I finished in one piece and the bike worked well, so I have no complaints. All in all a good day.

Now it's back to work. 11p.m. to 7 a.m. Plus no day off until probably next Sunday, the 31st. I am not complaining. I just wish it wasn't feast or famine where work is concerned.

Well, I better get my butt moving. I want to try and get in a group ride before work tonight. Not sure if that is smart, but I'll try it anyway.

More soon.......gotta ride!!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A good week

I am sitting at the computer, enjoying a hot cup of peppermint tea, listening to some classical music and decided I had better post my weekly update. So far, this week is going great. We'll see if that holds up.
Last week was a great week. I was on vacation all week. An actual scheduled vacation, not laid off. I accomplished a lot of my chores around the house, or at least put a dent in some of the items.
My workouts were okay. Nothing out of the ordinary or fantastic. I had planned on some longer runs but things just didn't fall into place. I still haven't put tires on my road bike. I know I need them, the casing is showing through the back tire. They just don't seem to be on the top of the list. Trying to save a few pennies while work is slow. It seems the money is more wisely spent elsewhere. Soon though. The sunny spring days are just too inviting and the roads are calling. Until then I put miles on the Trek mountain bike on the road. It works fine but just isn't the same thing. The speed and efficiency aren't there. It just feels better flowing along the rural back roads on skinny tires.
I had a great weight workout on Thursday. Snuck in a couple new/different exercises for a change of pace. I didn't think it would matter that much but I have been SORE ever since. Wow, I am either getting older or I need to fiddle with my routing a little. It is a good sore though. It reminds me that there is always room for improvement.
Saturday, May 2nd, I competed in our local 5K. The RMC 5K starts just a couple blocks from my house and runs a loop course through the neighborhoods around my house. It is flat, except for one little bump. I have had mixed results here the last few years, from a PR to so-so. This year was no exception. It was a great day for the race. Sunny, low 50's with a slight wind. I don't know if it was the weight workout a couple of days or earlier or what? I just didn't feel fast. The pace I ran felt good. Hard, but not puking my guts out. I don't feel I let up too much as the race progressed. Just one of those years I guess. My goal was 7:00/mile pace and I came close with a 21:58 or 7:05 pace. I was happy with that time. My running hasn't been that consistent or structured. NO speed work at all. It has given me a goal of peaking for this race next spring and just seeing how much quality I can get in over the winter and spring. The 5K isn't my favorite distance but I feel I can run faster. I just need to suffer a little.
Sunday, I had an awesome trail run. I went out to my favorite trail, the Ice Age Trail and did a nice and relaxed long run. I parked at one end of the trail and ran to the other parking lot just outside of Waupaca. Then I ran back to the car and added on a segment on the other side of the parking area where I started. I could have added another mile or two but it was getting late and my bottles were empty and the gels were gone. In just under three hours I got in a little over 16.5 miles. My legs were a little tired and beat but not too bad taking into account the race the previous day. Next time I would like to try and run the whole segment from end to end and back.
As I said in the beginning, this week is starting out well. We will just have to wait and see how it ends up.
Well, I've gotta run. I can see the sun shining outside and I want to get in a short run and a strength workout before the rain shows up and it's time to head off to work.