Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Catching up...

The last couple of weeks have been quite busy and I haven't had much opportunity to update this blog, so I have to catch up a bit here ;) After the Harry's race mentioned in the previous post, the hamstring issues persisted a bit so I elected to cut my Sunday run short (to 8K) and take a couple of days off running to let it completely heal. In it's place I did some cycling (50K on Monday, 30K on Tuesday) as that seemed to help, and by Wednesday the discomfort was completely gone. I took it easy and only did 10K to make sure everything was as expected, but as that run went well I picked up where I left off.

Naturally, this weekend was Easter which complicated my running plans a bit. As I was heading out to a family function right after Church, I wouldn't have time to do the 17 miles that I had planned. As such, I originally intended to move the 4mi recovery run to Sunday, and shift Saturday's 5 miler and Sunday's 17 miler up one day. Unfortunately, I was busier than expected on Saturday and didn't get back home until later so I ended up doing the 4 miler and going to the Easter Vigil that night so that I could head out at sunrise and get the 17 miles in before I left.

When I was getting ready to head out, the temperature was -4C and there was a nasty 45km/h north wind making it even worse. I threw on my jacket, some gloves and a headband and headed out the door along my planned route. Given my revised Marathon target pace, I knew that I'd have to do a lot to slow myself down for this run (I usually do long runs at a 5min/km pace, which is now my targeted race pace). The goal was a 5:30/km pace which felt excruciatingly slow, but I kept my eye on my watch and made sure to regulate it closely. After a couple of kilometers I got the feel for it and it wasn't too difficult, but I did have to check myself after every downhill segment as I'd pick up the speed and not want to lose it.

Shortly after passing the local Running Room shop, a couple of other runners in my group passed me in their car (on their way to the Sunday group runs that I completely forgot about) and after a quick hello I continued on my way. Around this point (~9km), I was starting to feel some friction on the arch of my right foot and as it wasn't going away, I stopped and took the shoe off to investigate. Everything looked fine, so I pulled the sock tight to make sure it wasn't a crease, put the shoe back on and continued running. The friction continued, but as I didn't see anything that I could do about it I let it be. Fortunately, it wasn't really bothering me all that much and after a while my mind just filtered it out.

Either way, when I got to the last four miles I was running straight into a headwind with very little cover so it was a bit of a fight. Unfortunately for long runs like this I don't really have much option to avoid this sort of thing, as we're flanked on three sides by conservation areas so if I want to stay in civilization (ie not running on 80km/h roads without sidewalks or curbs) I have to head south. Luckily, the sun was warming things up at this point so while it was cold it wasn't as cold as it could have been. Further, there were a lot of other runners out at this point and it was encouraging to be able to blow past them this long into a run ;)

Once I finished, I stretched for about 15 minutes and then quickly headed in to shower. Even with the headwind in the last segment, I felt good for the duration of the run thanks to the slow pace that I was maintaining. In the end, I completed the 17 mile course in 2h28m32s, or about a 5:25/K pace. The last two miles were actually quicker than the rest of the route (~5:19), as I likely overcompensated a bit against the wind. Either way, other than the spurt at the end my pace was pretty close to target and relatively even across the course so I'm happy with that as well.

After I got inside and took off my shoes, a blister had developed in the area that was bothering me. I'm not entirely sure what caused it, as my feet weren't really that wet and I've been using this type of shoe for a couple of years without any problems. This particular pair does have a lot of miles on them (~690km), but I generally keep shoes until about 800km so it should still have a good deal of life in it. It's possible that the marathon training is wearing them out faster than they have in the past, as I'm accumulating those miles much faster. Either way, I'll grab a new pair and retire these as soon as possible to avoid any further problems but I'm still a bit curious as to what caused the problem this time out.

I didn't do my cycling session yesterday to allow the blister to heal, and it appears to have mostly gone away today so I should be okay for my run this afternoon. This is my last week of hard training before the taper, and I've lost a good deal of mileage over the last few weeks so I'm renascent to skip any sessions that I don't absolutely have to. With that said, the last thing I need is another injury so I have to be somewhat careful about it (while blisters aren't really a huge problem in and of themselves, I may subconsciously try to protect it and throw off my gait in the process, causing other issues).

Either way, weekly mileage for the last little while is as follows:

Week 13:
Running: 59.9km (37.2mi)
Walking: 1.2km (0.8mi)
Cycling: 0km (0mi)
Total: 61.1km (38.0mi)

Week 14:
Running: 25.6km (15.9mi)
Walking: 0km (0mi)
Cycling: 25km (15.5mi)
Total: 50.6km (31.4mi)

Week 15:
Running: 51.2km (31.8mi)
Walking: 1.9km (1.2mi)
Cycling: 130km (80.8mi)
Total: 183.1km (113.8mi)

Year to Date:
Running: 860.1km (534.4mi)
Walking: 143.4km (89.1mi)
Cycling: 1040.0km (646.2mi)
Total: 2043.5km (1269.8mi)

I've also been playing around with Twitter to post daily updates of my running thanks to a compelling post by yumke. I still need to get into the habit of remembering to update it, and I'll likely want to work some other information into the mix but anyone interested can see my posts here. If at all possible, I'll be attempting to generate any entry for all of my sessions with basic information as well as a link to the telemetry on RunSaturday.

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