3.1, 6.2, 12.4, 13.1, 26.2

Saturday, January 23, 2010

LunarGlide Eclipse

I’ve decided to add a countdown to the 2011 Boston Marathon on my blog site. Not quite sure how to do it yet, but know that it’s coming. I’m hoping a countdown will help keep me, and you, motivated to see my goal get closer. I’m also going to add a countdown to my first qualifying marathon. I’m hoping to decide on one soon, so once I do, I’ll add that countdown clock. Most likely going to be Grandma's Marathon in Minnesota in June. Again, that’ll give everyone reading this Pulitzer worthy blog an idea of when my next event is. :-)

What a winter it’s turning out to be. And I don’t mean the blizzard, below-freezing temps, record snow fall, fog and ice storms. I mean the amount (sever lack thereof) to road time I haven't been able to get in due to Mother Nature’s influence. It wasn’t until this past week that I was finally able to piece together a full week of running:

The routes:
 Last Tuesday, I logged a 4.5 miler over my lunch hour in WDM. For this route, I took Westown Prkwy to 50th, north to the Greenbelt trail, followed the trail to 103rd and then back on 103rd/Clark Street. What a hilly route this turned out to be. On 103rd St, I ran up a hill that reminded me a lot of Brady Street in the Quad Cities, just not quite as long. For those who haven’t been to Brady Street, it’s the famed first mile of the Bix7 route (http://www.bix7.com/2009/). It’s a solid ¾ mile straight up one of the steepest hills in Eastern Iowa. No joke. And it sucks the entire way up. The best I’ve been able to manage for a first mile time is 11 minutes. Granted, that’s with 20,000 other runners crowded around me, but you get my point. Back to the route - the trail itself in the Greenbelt Park was snow-covered, but thankfully there was traction. I’d regret the decision to run the trail later that night when my knees and lower back were sore from running on the uneven snow. Nonetheless, it felt good to finally run outside.
 Last Thursday I got in a 5.5 miler. Same story, different day. Hills, hills and more West Des Moines hills. All-in-all, a good run. Pace and stride felt solid. Took a different route and was able to take in some pretty cool WDM scenery of “old money” houses tucked back in quaint neighborhoods. Running in the street was a little dicey from the slick conditions, and I ended up sliding rather than running through a few areas.
 Saturday was my first long run in a month. I was hoping the route I went on was 8 miles (I didn’t map it out before heading out), and when I mapped it out online when I got back, it was actually 9. So that was a nice surprise. Not too bad of a pace either for not having run long in a while: 9 miles in 1:10:00 (7:46 pace). Best thing about the route is that it was flat (thank you Ankeny).
 This Tuesday was another 5 miler. This time I was in my new kicks (see details below) and had my Nike + iPod trainer with me. Having it has finally, after all these years of running, allowed me to track my pace, mileage and overall splits. Hoping for a flatter route, I took Westown Prkwy west over the interstate to 60th. South on 60th to Ashworth, back to 42nd and then back to the office. Nothing too exciting with this run.
 This Thursday route sucked. Only 4 miles because my legs were tired from this week’s round of workouts. But what made it challenging was the pace. I forced the pace the entire way. I had it set in my head that because it was a shorter distance, I was going to push pace to make up for the lack of extra mileage. What a mistake that turned out to be. Of course I was able to complete the run, but my gate and breathing rhythm felt like an unfolded lawn chair through most of it. I was spent by the 3rd mile and had to coast in the last one.

Not in a million years:
For those who don’t follow my wife (@GraceyJones) on “dat Twitta”, I broke down and bought a pair or Nike running shoes. Yes, Nike - can you believe it?!?! For those that don’t know, I loath Nike and their corporate overlords that oversee the migrant, wage-sucking sweat shops around the globe. But, man, they sure can make one helluva running shoe. At the advice of my trainer, LL, I bought the 2010 model Nike LunarGlide shoe and they are ballin’! Well except for the colors: lime green - yes lime green - dark grey and blue. I should be fairly easy to pick out in a running crowd. They’re twice as light as any Adidas running shoe I’ve ever owned and they feel great during my runs. If you’re wondering why I bought them, it’s simple; it was a “business decision”. The LunarGlide shoe is one of the best distance running shoes on the market today. It’s the first self-correcting shoe for your running side. In other words, it neutralizes the over or under pronation on you may have in your natural running stride (see pronation defined at: http://www.nbwebexpress.com/achieve_more/running_gait.asp). For me, I over-pronate, meaning my feet roll significantly inward during the normal foot fall of a running stride. That’s why if you watch me run from behind, my knees tend to “kick out” just after my foot makes contact with the ground. The shoe’s sole helps keep my foot more inline with a natural rolling motion that will ultimately save my knees and back from pain down the road (pun intended). And since I regularly run more than 15 – 20 miles per week, having that extra support will hopefully help prevent injury as well (which we all know I’m paranoid about).

Training update:

Still hammering away with the crazy-intense leg/hip/core workouts with LL. Now that I’m back to running 20 miles per week, I’m hoping to shed that annoying remaining 7 pounds I put on over the holidays.

Lately, LL has focused my workouts mainly on my hips and inner thighs to further strengthen the muscle weaknesses and imbalance I have in those areas. To get a glimps of some of the leg work I'm doing, try doing a squat while standing on an upside-down Bosu ball, holding a 22.5 kettelbell. Talk about wobbly legs! Hopefully all these leg workouts will pay off this spring when speed work begins.

Running rant of the week:

To the people of West Des Moines, Iowa – would it kill you to move over when I’m running in your lane? Even just a foot or two would be nice. Instead, you hold steady on your lane, barely giving me room to squeeze by your two ton vehicle and the three foot high pile of snow on the curb. Ever heard of the phrase, “share the road”??? I’m sure some of you may be wondering why I’m running in the street to begin with and not on the sidewalk. I can answer that in three simple points:

1. Revert back to my last blog entry about the people of WDM not clearing off their sidewalks.

2. The constant up/down impacts of going from sidewalk-to-street and street-to-sidewalk at every corner steadily wears on my knees and back. Especially after 4 or 5 miles.

3. I’m a running snob; I don’t like to run on the sidewalk, even if it’s cleared off. Look around and when you see a runner in the street instead of the sidewalk, you can bet that they are an advanced runner. I’m defining “advanced runner” as someone who most likely runs year-round and more than 15 miles/week. These runners feel the same way about the sidewalk that I do (see points 1 & 2 above). The street offers a much more consistent surface to run on, and, unless you’re in WDM, there is usually plenty of room for a comfortable stride.

Anyway, back to my rant; all this week and last when I was on the street, only a few vehicles were kind enough to move over to give me some space. It’s almost like this phenomenon of runners in the street is a new concept to everyone else and they aren’t quite sure how to react, all the while none of them move over in their lane. Case and point: over the last couple weeks of street-running in WDM, I’ve been honked at, flipped-off (courteous of Valley High School students who think they’re being funny when, in fact, they’re being douches), stared at and yelled at. Yes, yelled at. One lady took the time to slow down as she approached me, rolled down the passenger window and yell at me for being in the street. That was a first for me. In all my years of running, that hadn’t happened to me before. I didn’t know what do to, so I just smiled and waived.

To sum up this rant: do us runners a favor and just move over a tad when you see us in your lane. We’d really appreciate it. Besides, if you hit us, I promise our lawsuit will out weigh your vehicle any day.