Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fresh air is good for you? Really? Yes. Really.

Spring is on its way.  Is it here in full swing?  Well, no, not yet.  Morning's are chilly, there's snow in the yard and foolhardy ice fishermen are still wandering out onto the lakes.  However, this last week, it felt like we've finally turned the corner.  Daylight savings is now in our favor.  For the most part, running paths are clear and the puddles left from melting snow no longer drown running shoes.  Plus - and this is my favorite part - I no longer need to bundle up before running.  On Wednesday I wore shorts. Yes, shorts.
I was so excited for doing a long outdoor run that I re-worked my training plan to do it a day early.  The thermometer read 53 degrees when I left the house, so it was a perfect day for shorts and a long-sleeved top.  I headed out on one of my favorite routes around Medicine Lake.  There's a good variety of terrain ranging from local streets, to paved bike paths, dirt paths and even two boardwalks.  There are a couple nice long hills.  One is along the west side of the lake and the other is on the north end as you climb out of French Regional Park.

The first long run of the year.
My training planned called for a nice easy run.  My high school cross-country coach called these "LSD Runs" for Long Slow Distance.  The idea is to build your endurance base with the added benefit of burning a heckuva lot of fat.  Last year, I would have kept a close eye on my heart rate and then backed off if it got much over 160 beats per minute.  This year, I'll still look at my heart rate at the end of the workout, but during the run I'm going more by feel.  On a scale from 1 to 10 where 1=slow walking and 10=running like a bat out of hell, I was aiming for about a 6.  

Again, the weather was right in my wheelhouse: warm enough to not freeze my nubbies and cool enough to keep from sweating like a pig.  I beat feet down towards the lake.  There was snow on either side of the path, but no ankle-twisting ice to worry about.  After my legs warmed up, I stopped on the first boardwalk for a little light stretching.  Then, I headed along the west end of the lake, the second half of which is essentially a 2-mile long uphill.  Yes, there was a little plodding involved, but I tried to stay light on my feet. 

When I turned to head east, I noticed the temperature drop quite a bit.  The wind was blowing from the south - over what is essentially a 3 mile long ice cube.  It wasn't terrible, but I was thankful to climb out of the park and away from the lake again.  As I finished out the last couple of miles I did a little math in my head and figured I could wrap up this long run with an average mile split of under 9:00. 

Now, my last 10-mile run was at the Monster Dash last fall, and I finished that with splits of 8:56.  Well, would you believe that I polished off that 10.4 mile 'easy' training run in under 1:33 which gave me splits of 8:56?  Well, it's nice to know that all those hours on the dread-mill this past winter were good for something.  I'll take it. 

Thursday called for a short run and a quick bike.  My legs were still barking at me after the long run the day before, so when I hit the road again, I took it REALLY easy.  My legs warmed up after a few miles, but I'm a little worried about my abs.  My lower abs were still plenty sore - right along the left side of my belt-line and getting dangerously close to my special places. There wasn't any pain during the 60-minute spin session, just while running.  Strange.  I'll have to keep an eye on it and see the doc if it doesn't go away by next week.  I don't want it to be some kind of weird hernia or something.

Friday was a rest day.  That night it was just me, The Wife, some Chinese food and the NCAA basketball tournament.  Awesome.

Today was my first outdoor bike ride of the year.  It's past my bedtime though, so I'll tell you about that tomorrow.


1 comment:

  1. I live in Plymouth--so incredibly close to your run (just a tad north of the majority of your run)! Do you plot your runs before you do them, or afterward? Also, which program do you use to map it out?

    I agree that the weather has been AWESOME! I am hoping that despite the crazy rain last night, things will still be good for me to sneak out for a ride today.