Month: January 2018

Woodlands Half Marathon Prep Week 6: Advantage

For the first time in a few weeks, things seem to be in control. There seems to be a design in place for me to finish this. The weather gods were in an extreme good mood and Houston did enjoy the good show. I used the first two days of the week to recover from the long run last week. Wednesday Run. Everybody is back at work and that means there are more meetings during the work day. The meetings have been forcing me to stay late to finish up my pending tasks. I do plan to leave work early and then go out for the run around the residential area but that rarely happens so the treadmill it is. I do not want to test my eyesight or my courage in the dark. I have been running around the 12-minute pace for a quite some time now. I can manage a steady rhythm around that mark and I know for sure that this pace is at least two minutes faster from when i started a couple of years ago. I thought this was the right time to inject some pace into the training and ran 4-miles at a 11:37 pace. The average cadence stood at 164 spm.

I have been getting lazy with the strength training workouts, i use my off days to rest and get other stuff done rather than focus on improving the efficiency. This lethargy i am sure will be burn me soon. Friday Run. It was a beautiful day. I set off at noon, when the sun was high and the breeze gentle. I was able to match the pace from the early run (for the most part). I ran 4.25 miles at an average pace of 11:47. The average cadence stood at 162. The runs have started to get quicker, and i was all excited for the long run this weekend.

Victor, Lindsey and Ricardo wanted to bike on Sunday. So, I had to run alone on Sunday. I did not go to the Buffalo Bayou Park, instead I took the outback to the Seymour Lieberman trail @ Memorial Park. I think the memorial park is better for the knees and it is also easy on the eyes. If you know what I mean. But, the trail is only 2.9 miles which means you have to run laps if you want to run long distances. I am not a big fan of laps because you know what comes next and that wears me down pretty hard. The rains had softened the trail up nicely and i was able to run well for the first 4 miles. I did make the mistake of not carrying a bottle along with me. The park has plenty of water fountains along the trail, but i was not ready to trust the fountains yet. I stopped by the car to get a swig during the second lap. I have been using Gatorade regularly and the switch to water did not seem to work. I felt my legs cramp after mile 6. I thought i ran the 10 K in a record time, but the watch showed me that i had missed my best by 30 seconds. Either way walked the rest of the distance to finish the week with a 7-mile run at a 12:11 pace. The average cadence hovered at 160 in spite of me walking the last ½ mile.

I need to come up with a strategy to refuel during the race, the cramps are an indication of missing energy. I still have 4 weeks to figure that out but right now I need to address the searing pain that is cropping up in the left shin.

Woodlands Half Marathon Prep Week 5: Hold

I am through 50% of the training plan. The weather has started to deteriorate and I am expected to run 14 miles this week. It has been so cold that everything is frozen solid. This is the third time in the last month Houston has seen Snow/Ice. The highways have iced up so bad that we had to work from home on Tuesday and Wednesday. Sure Houston is no Erie, but the drivers are definitely worse. It is a good thing that the city shuts of most roads and schools so people can stay safe and warm in the comfort of their homes.

Wednesday Morning. The Sun is out today. The Ice has been thawing but the temperatures are expected to dip below freezing tonight. All the water from the meting ice is just expected to freeze again tonight. The sidewalks are still slippery and dangerous. I have no choice but to use the treadmill in the Gym again. To be honest the treadmill setup is not bad. I play the music out loud and also can use the privacy of the gym to be more carefree. The first run of the week was for 4 miles. The pace was 11:06 and the average cadence stood at 162 SPM. The fourth mile was the fastest i had run in a long time. I wrapped the session up with a 10 minute cool down routine. So far so good.

Thursday. The Ice/Snow mix has disappeared almost everywhere. I had to go back to work Today and stayed late at work to finish up a few things. I am planning to substitute the cross training session with a long walk. I just realized that the last two weeks slowdown has made me drop out of the 70K Garmin Activity Tracker challenge program. Those guys sure do have a high bar and have bumped me to the 55k program for the poor showing the last couple of weeks. 

Friday Run. I don’t think i am ready for the road yet, so I went back to the treadmill. I ran another 4 miles at a slower pace but did maintain a higher cadence throughout the run. The pace was 11:21 and i maintained an average cadence of 164. This is the first week that i have not thrown in a strength training routine in the mix. This might come back to bite me badly. But for now i am hoping that the walks are compensating enough.

Sunday Run.The Houston weather is back to being its unpredictable best. We have gone from -14 deg C to 23 deg C in two days. It is humid as hell. Ran along the bayou with Victor and Lindsey. I ran 5.6 miles in an Hour and 9 minutes. The pace was 12:21 and the average cadence was 161. It was an extremely difficult run but boy do those Tacos taste great after a run.

Woodlands Half Marathon Prep Week 4: Progress

It is the inability to practice what I preach that lead to the fiasco that was last week. Last Saturday as soon as i woke up made tea I decided that I needed to run a few miles to make up for the days i did not. I did not warm up, did not wear the proper attire and went out thinking that my body was ready to accept whatever i threw at it because i have been training for a few weeks. Yes, the human body can do great things but it also needs nutrition, conditioning and rest to be able to work efficiently. I had made the mistake of not attending to the three basic principles and paid the price. The IT band acted up, my ankles hurt and my legs were as heavy as lead when i stopped.

I was forced to rest the next three days to make the tightness go away. I went back to the foam rolling, and dynamic stretching to alleviate the muscle strain. Thursday i managed to do some strength training before my mind folded completely. I think it was the fear that I would injure myself and stop the training program that was limiting me. The wife decided that I was not being reasonable enough and goaded me into getting a run on Friday morning. She ran along with me along the Briar Forest trail. I was quite surprised by her running stride, and her pace. I kept trying to catch up with her and convinced her to go slow as I did not want to burn out and stop. The run was for 2.5 miles at 13.26 minutes per mile. I did not feel any discomfort, but my wife did comment on my gait. Apparently, I swayed a lot when I ran. I had to make a mental note to correct this as really you are not gaining anything while you move sideways while running. It helps to minimize any sort of movement you are really expending energy in useless fashion. There is a video on YouTube that shows the Kenyan runners training routine. These runners mechanics are something that i only can dream to achieve.

More foam rolling and stretching on Saturday helped set the resolve that I was ready to do this again. Sunday morning. The weather was a miserly 1 degree C. this is the first time we are seeing the Sun come out in a week. I got to the gym and locked the doors up. The atmosphere was so liberating that I was tuned in to get the maximum out of my workout. I started off with the warm up routine that included forward and reverse lunges to activate my legs. Did the side switches and stretches to activate my hips and quads. 10 minutes later i stepped on the treadmill and set the machine to roll at 3.5 miles an hour. I walked for the first five minutes, before i started feeling the warmth in my chest. I ran. When i stopped i had run 5.01 miles in about 55 minutes at a 11:19 pace. The average cadence was 161 strikes per minute. This run alone burned through 600 calories.

I was so warm from the run that I had to walk back to the house with my hoodie off. Did the cool down routine for 10 minutes and slipped on the compression socks to aid recovery. The last two weeks have not been ideal in the long-term prep for the half marathon but boy you are not giving up. Not yet, not now.