Monday, January 31, 2011

Week ending February 6, 2011

1/31 - 5 easy miles AM, 5 miles on treadmill PM (all at about 7:30 pace, with a mile at 2%, 2 miles at 4%, 2 miles at 2%) Followed by PT exercises. First double in a while, wanted to see how it would feel to run again after just 6 hours of rest. Seems OK but I can tell it is a little more sore than last week. Tomorrow morning is when it would be sore though if I was pushing it too much. If it feels OK tomorrow I think I will skip the morning run and see if a warm up and then a few miles at about 6:00-6:30 pace bother it.

2/1 - 8 miles on treadmill (2 miles warm up, 2 miles @ 6:30, 2 miles @ 6:00, 2 miles cool down) PT exercises. Feels OK, a little sore but just like after other easy days. This might just be my new "normal", I don't know. I assume this will gradually sort of fade, but i suspect it is going to take quite a while. Going to be really snowy tomorrow and I think it will be a good day to join a gym about a mile from the house for easier access to a treadmill.

2/2 - 6 miles on treadmill, about 7:30 pace

2/3 - 5 miles AM, 30 minutes bike PM w/ PT exercises

2/4 - 6 miles AM (4 @ 6:15 pace)

2/5 - 10 miles with about 4 @ 6:00 pace

2/6 - 6 miles on treadmill 45 minutes

Summary: 51 miles for the week with a little biking.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Interactive Treadmill design idea

I sometimes kill time running, especially on the treadmill by letting my mind wander. I actually get a lot done while running that ins't very obvious. I can think through quite a few things that I might have to otherwise sit at my desk and think through. It is actually pretty good multitasking. It also helps get through everyday runs that can sometimes be boring. Especially lately as I've been just dawdling on the treadmill, having something to think about is the only way I can tolerate it.

The last few days I've been mixing in some incline on the treadmill, which got me thinking about what grade to put it at to simulate different real roads, like Sagamore hill in Portsmouth, NH. That led me to think about Mount Washington. I think the treadmill at work maxes out at 10% so I know it isn't capable of simulating Mt. W, but that got me thinking more about it.

I wonder if there is some existing treadmill or program which allows you to program your treadmill to automatically adjust grade to simulate a road or race course of your choosing? The quick web search I've done since then only revealed one person wondering something similar, but the closest thing I've found is the NordicTrack iFit and I can't tell exactly what that does.

I tend to shoot holes in my ideas pretty quickly, so the first thing I thought is that you can't really simulate downhills on a treadmill, at least with current designs. I suppose you could design one with a rear lift as well as a front one, but I assume that would create some kind of safety issue. For the time being, let's assume it could be done safely. Maybe limit the rear lift to 5% rather than the 10% you can get on the front.

Whatever the format for loading the program, you would have to set it to make adjustments almost constantly if you were being really precise, so you might have to do some feathering to smooth it out a little bit, like make adjustments every 1/100 of a mile rather than every foot. The program would have to constantly compare your distance traveled to the corresponding grade at that distance into the route. It would also have to ignore or limit grade to the constraints of the treadmill, let's say 10% incline and 5% decline. Though to be honest, many people assume you should run at 1% incline on a treadmill normally anyway to more closely simulate outdoor running. Maybe this would be factored in.

Collecting data for inputting programs becomes the next thought. Could something as simple as an elevation profile from something like Google Maps be somehow converted into data that could be programmed and transformed into a format that a treadmill could be set up to decipher and execute? If so, that would be pretty simple.

The other piece of my fantasy treadmill that I would want to add is a handheld remote so I don't have to actually touch the screen. Reaching to touch the screen can actually be a little difficult once you get moving at close to race pace. I'd rather have a small (wireless for safety) remote with just an up/down button for adjusting the pace and an emergency stop button.

The other thing that would be cool, but possibly cost prohibitive would be a video monitor mounted to the front which could show your route as you move. The key here would be making a video of the course at a closely calibrated speed so that it would be slowed precisely to follow along with the distance traveled on your run. You wouldn't want to have the video get too far ahead of you or behind you. Collecting the data for this would be next to impossible, but it is a cool idea.

So there you have it. My thoughts on a programmable, varying course treadmill with interactive grade adjustments and dynamic video route display. Anyone want to help me patent this thing?

Maybe you're thinking "Just go outside and run." Well that isn't always possible for a variety of reasons. And imagine how much more enjoyable treadmill running would be if you could be indoors in Maine during a blizzard and decide you want to run part of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, or through downtown Cairo, Egypt? Wouldn't that make your hour on the Dreadmill go by a little quicker?

Who's with me on this???

Monday, January 24, 2011

Week ending January 30, 2011

1/24 - 5 miles on treadmill with about 2000 feet elevation gain

1/25 - 5 miles on treadmill with some climbing

1/26 - 5 miles on treadmill (3 x mile @ 8% incline, 8 mph)

1/27 - 5 miles on treadmill (3.5 miles @ 4% incline)

1/28 - 5 miles in treadmill with some incline (Christ...I'm starting to feel like 50% Moulton)

1/29 - 8 miles around Newcastle loop with Brian and a little bit with Guy. Mostly around 7 minute pace I guess, last mile a little quicker.

1/30 - off, felt fine but had a busy day and figured I should still be smart and take some days off here and there just to ease back into running every day.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Week ending January 23, 2011

1/17 - 45 minutes on bike. "I have a dream that one day I will run again."

1/18 - 5 miles easy

1/19 - 30 minutes on bike

1/20 - 7 miles easy

1/21 - 5 miles with some treadmill incline

1/22 - off

1/23 - off

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The York Independent

Everyone who reads my nonsense knows I used to be a fat piece of trash, right?

A paper in York did a little story about New Year's Resolutions and decided that my transition would be interesting.

Q&A about me starts on page 4.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week ending January 16, 2011

1/10 - 60 minutes on bike, PT in afternoon

1/11 - 5 miles, felt like about 35 minutes but I didn't have a watch on.

1/12 - does snow removal count as XT?

1/13 - 30 minutes on bike

1/14 - PT

1/15 - off

1/16 - 5+ miles, about 38 minutes of running

Summary: I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it...people like me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A swimming miracle!

I figure if I'm not accomplishing anything lately I can use the space to share the accomplishments of others...

Big day for Camden (my 3 year old son for those who don't know) at swimming lessons today. He's been going to swimming on Wednesdays for about a year and while he enjoys it, he kind of likes to sometimes do his own thing and is reluctant to interact with the other kids at times (though he has a girlfriend, Kelsey who he is deeply enamored with. He got her a doll for Christmas and she gave him a Fisher Price MP3 player!).

He also has been very reluctant to stick his head under water. I think I might have caused this by getting some water in his mouth while washing his hair in the shower quite a while ago, but I'm not sure.

Over vacation we went to the pool to practice swimming with me a little bit and try to show him some more encouragement.

Well, I got a call from Camie after lunch today informing me of a "Swimming Lesson Miracle!" today. Nana takes him because she watches him on Wednesdays. Apparently on the way up Nana reminded him to listen to what Anne tells him (she's the instructor & family friend).

When he got to class he got his clothes off, marched over to the side of the pool, raised one fist in the air and declared "TO INFINITY...AND BEYOND!!!" and then proceeded to jump into the pool all by himself!

I'm told he then proceeded to spend most of the class swimming back and forth in the pool with his head underwater as much as his lungs would allow!

Nana said all the other parents and grandparents (who know he's been rather timid) were quite shocked at first and then were cheering for him and making him feel like Michael Phelps.

Wish I was there to capture it in a Wiles Studios film!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fireside Race Reports, Episode 2

(Hopefully it is obvious that these are intended as flattery and nothing else. I'll never mention someone in a Wiles Studios production that I don't admire and respect.)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Testicle removal

Karate Bob

Week ending January 9, 2011

1/3 - PT exercises, stretching, 30 minutes fairly hard stationary bike. (I've never done much on it, so I don't really know what the effort should feel like. I was trying to stay above 95-100 for cadence doing a random route that changed the workload a bit. It was harder on the quads than the lungs, but I was breathing hard at the end and sweating a little bit, so I guess it was a good start.) Felt good to at least get the blood flowing a little bit.

1/4 - 30 minutes stationary bike, random workout, tried taking my pulse a few times and at a cadence of 100 I can really only get my HR to about 120. But it doesn't feel like I want to crank my legs much harder. PT appointment in the afternoon went well, and follow up appointment at the physiatrist in the evening was kind of dull, he just reminded me that I should be very slow and careful about building up when I start running again.

1/5 - 20 minutes bike, 1 miles easy treadmill run @ 8:30

1/6 - 4 miles easy AM, 60 minutes on bike PM

1/7 - 40 minutes bike, PT in the afternoon

1/8 - 4 miles

1/9 - 4 miles

Summary: 13 miles running, a few hours of biking for the week. Feels like I might be starting to heal a little bit, but I need to be patient and not push it too much. PT on Friday was tough and my quads, adductors and glutes are still sore from some exercises that involved a skateboard. Plan for next week is to run 5 miles every other day, biking as many days as possible, keep stretching and PT.

2010 reflections

Looks like everyone is doing a 2010 recap, and I hate to be the odd man out!

Well, despite ending 2010 on a sour note with an injury 2010 was without a doubt the best year of running I’ve had. A few numbers and then a brief summary:

4022 miles run. I was hoping to average over 80 miles per week (4160) and was on track for that through the first couple of weeks in December. However, ending the year with 23 miles in the last 21 days brought be back down under that average a little bit. The last few weeks aside, there is no doubt in my mind that the consistent decent volume combined with lots of tempo and strength work allowed me to take my fitness to a new level in 2010.

22 road races, the most for me in a year. Not counting USATF-NE Grand Prix races, I ran 18 races, winning 14, 2 2nd place finishes, a 3rd, and a 4th. I ended up 10th in the Grand Prix but was only able to run in 4 of the 7 races.

Set 18 PRs for the year, counting indoor stuff early in the year. Managed to set a few course records at some smaller races, but still kind of fun to do.

Looking back on 2010, I think the ball got rolling on a chance encounter with Al Bernier in December of 2009. He came along on a Sunday run in Portsmouth after a fresh snow that took us through a bunch of trails and along the beach. We talked about the indoor mile he had run the day before and I became curious about what I might be able to run for a mile. So the next weekend I ended up at the BU mini meet with Al and Diana to give it a try. Not knowing what I was doing, I lined up at the finish line on the 200M track and Al had to tell me that the start line was 9 meters back, where he was lined up. That first race was a blast and I decided to run as much of an indoor season as I could. I started working out indoors at UNH with a few guys and ran a couple more miles, as well as a couple of 3Ks and a 5K, recording times at each distance that I was fairly pleased with, 4:26, 8:35, and 14:56.

Somewhere in there Al suggested I join CMS and I didn’t hesitate to accept the offer. I immediately got very excited about running with a team for the summer and it turned out to be a great decision. CMS is definitely the right fit for me and I get very excited a few weeks before every team event. As much as I enjoy running well, it is great to see your teammates running well also, and I got quite a kick out of Gorman frothing towards the line at Bedford in the 12K, where Fyffe smashed the course record as well. JJ dropping the hammer over the last 5K at New Bedford and the Polar Express rolling along with 6 finishers within 70 seconds in the half marathon, there were just a lot of great experiences though the summer and I’m already looking forward to next year.

On the local scene, I did a few spring tune up races and then started the Seacoast Road Race series in Dover for the Footbridge 5K. Mahoney was still with Whirlaway at the time but we had a fun group and I managed to win with a course record (new course) and beat John Mentzer for the first time, which I was convinced was a fluke but still a sign that I was making progress with my fitness. The next SRRS race was Redhook and another tough field with JJ and Ben Jenkins as well as John to do battle with again. I went out too hard in something like 4:42 and John passed me a little after 2 miles and I thought I was toast but managed to convince myself to see how hard I could go before I dropped and was able to squeak out the win. That was a big race for me because it gave me a chance to keep fighting after I thought I was beat and I learned what emptying the tank really feels like.

Carter was born the week before Market Square Day and I didn’t run the three days before the race and then blew up after going out too hard with Pat Moulton. Mentzer spanked me here and Kevin Tilton ran a great race. I had been hoping to run well here but sometimes things just happen. There was a great CMS crew though, and we had a nice cool down out towards Newcastle Island.

After having to miss a couple more SRRS races I decided to bag the series. I had decided that the Seacoast Half Marathon was my focus for the fall and I didn’t want to get caught up in 5K and 10K races that would take me away from the training plan I was committing to. I did run a couple of 5Ks during the build up and ran PRs both times despite not cutting back on mileage those week. These two races were really encouraging for me and helped break up the training cycle a little bit. In hindsight I’m glad I did this because I was really happy with the half marathon and I know it is because I stuck to the training plan. I am a little bummed that I didn’t get to race John more this summer though, because he is a great competitor and I know he was looking forward to a few more races as well. Hopefully 2011 will allow us to get on the line together a few more times.

I should have shut it down immediately after the half marathon and had told myself I was going to, but for some reason I didn’t. I think I knew I was in great shape and didn’t give enough consideration to the last year of consistent hard training that my body had endured without complaining. I just pushed the limit a little too far and learned that I’m not impervious to injury. For much of the summer I trained through little soreness and small annoying stuff, convincing myself that most of it was in my head. I was feeling this soreness in my abs for the last 6 weeks of my half marathon training but ignored it. It was worst after workouts and then would get a bit better after a couple of recovery days. More warning signs that I ignored.

Looking ahead to 2011, the first thing I need to do is let this thing heal. When injured, it can be tough to think beyond the injury and all seems gloomy, but I know that if treated properly, this will pass. I just have to stop looking at my calendar and wait for it to come. In the meantime I’ve noticed that riding a bike doesn’t seem to bother me so I’ll start biking a little bit to try and get my blood pumping at least a little bit. Right now I feel like I’m totally out of shape. Luckily, I have guys like Dan Hocking and Mark Miller to look at. Guys who have had substantial injuries and were able to return to competitive shape.

I don’t really have time goals established for 2011, but I really don’t see any reason why I can’t set PRs at every distance.

Until I get healthy, I’m having fun spending a little more time with the family. Having more energy is fun. I’m not falling asleep right after dinner right now, and Camden has lots of new toys from Christmas that he likes me to play with him. I’ll also continue to goof around with little Wiles Studios films to keep myself and maybe others entertained. We got a new iMac for Christmas so it is easy to do with iMovie.

Week ending January 2, 2011

12/27 - 5 miles (33 minutes)

12/28 - off

12/29 - off

12/30 - off

12/31 - off

1/1 - off

1/2 - off

Summary: I'm a hot mess.