Sunday, November 30, 2008

Whats the story, Morning Glory?

Got bad news yesterday with the fact that our dog Dillon is being put down on Tuesday. We've had Dillon since 2001 but he hasn't been healthy for a while, so it was a somber house here yesterday evening. On top of this Ruth was voted off the X factor. Not that she was one of the best singers in the competition, but she has a great set of knockers. Fantasy football is not going great either with captain Ronaldo just sent off, feckin eejit!!

On the plus side, after an amazing 11 hour coma fest for a sleep, felt great this morning, and went back to the football fields for a 40 mins run. As tight as my soleus is during the day, there is no pain at all running which is great, but again I definitely feel the need to get a rub or something to loosen up the legs. Not really sure how I'll play out training this week as I have a few conferences to attend so time is a bit cramped. Might have a bit of a down week (is this even possible when I'm only running 30ish miles a week?) but will play it day by day.

Today: 5.75 miles, 40:14

Weekly total: 5 runs, 26.7 miles

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's bloody Baltic!!!!

And by that I mean its cold as tits out here!! With the temperature not above freezing all day, plus a fair bit of moisture in the air meant that it was ridiculously cold here. Wasn't sure whether I was going to run based on my calf but it felt good enough that I thought a short trot on grass would do more good than harm. Initially planned on going for about 20 mins, but after 10 mins of everything feeling good I decided to stretch it out to a half hour. If anything my right soleus felt tighter than the left, and the left was pretty tender afterwards, probably the result of the icing and massage of the last couple of days. A bit concerned about how tight both my soleuseseseses are, and will keep it on the grass for another day or two.

30:30, 4.15 miles (thought I was being a bit antsy going with the 2 decimal places, but since JoKin's done it first, I'm ok with it)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day Off

No run as planned today after yesterdays crampage-fest. Thankfully the calf is much improved today, and I'm able to walk gimp-free although it is still pretty damn tight. Also, my right calf is noticeably tight today too, so am obviously not taking good enough care of my calves. Part of this stems from having read this really good article on stretching in the New York Times (subscription needed - relax its free). While it addresses the warm-up only, I had been doing less post-run stretching based on the article, and had been relying on my new best friend, my foam roller. But given my recent problems, I may disregard the info, not sure yet.

One serious potential roadblock to my calf recovery is the Abu Dhabi reunion night tonight. Gettign hammered is surely not the proper approach, but I've never really been known for turning down a good excuse to get plastered. However, all going well, I'm planning on a short 3-4 mile jog on the grass tomorrow

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble Gobble Gobble

Yes it's Turkey day in the US of A. I admit I miss the annual celebration of giving thanks for the pilgrim settlers wiping out a whole race of people, but only for the food. Plus it would have been nice to have the day off today. But we can't have it every which way. 

If you've detected a slightly narky tone to the blog thus far you'd be on the mark. Today was gym day, and I have to say I woke up feeling spectacular, and bounced out the door. No heaviness in the legs, feeling good, off on my way. No more from 100 yards from the gym my left soleus (lower calf muscle for the anatomically challenged) seized mid-stride, and it felt like I don't know what, but it hurt like a mofo. Thinking that I just needed to stretch it out I stopped, but when I went to start again I knew it wasn't happening. Because I'm such a man, I went to the gym anyway and did what I could, and then faced walking home. The turkey gods or someone was conspiring against me cos at this stage it was bucketing down. Facing a half hour limp in the rain, or a 10 min gimpy run, I chose the latter. I've iced the calf twice since then, but its still good and seized up. 

I've never had something like this happen mid-run, although I did have a similar cramp affect me in the pool yonks ago in the days of yore when I was fit, which with a bit of massage only resulted in a day or two off. Reflecting on it, its a pretty minor event in the grand scheme of things, and I'm thankful that in the 8-9 weeks I've been back running a bad cramp is the only note of complaint I have thus far. 

So, I'm off to make sure Tottenham seal the deal in Europe. To my American friends, those calories ain't gonna burn themselves!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Just a quickie (That's what she said)

Herbert Park,
6 miles, 42:31
Avg HR = 155, max = 167
Rec After 1 min = 34

Early post today as I am seriously struggling with work and am using this to procrastinate. Really enjoyed today's run although legs were a wee bit on the heavy side (no fat jokes needed). Was pretty warm (about 50) and humid which after yesterdays coldness felt like it was summer. Think that my experiment to do the gym on my day off will not continue, as I think my legs will need a full days rest a week to keep training.

Irish team for Euro XC was announced today, looks like I just missed out again. Not even a phone call from selectors to justify the decision. Bureaucratic bullshit. Team is strong this year, looking forward to seeing them go and hopefully a top 5 finish (or higher) is on the cards. No Cragg though, otherwise I think a medal would be a serious possibility.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It Should Have Been Me, Instead I'm Wallowing in Self Pity

It should have been me.. What am I referring to? Only Andrew Ledwith's 3rd place finish at NCAA's. Ok so of course it was never going to be me, but I can't hide my surprise and delight when I saw the result. The reason I make the comparison is that myself and Andrew both came up through the NACAI system in Ireland (of the two running organisations in Ireland before they unified in 2000, the NACAI was like the retarded stepcousin you never really want to admit that you have) before heading down to North Mon in Cork to train under Br. D for a year before heading states side. The similarity is a little uncanny, although of course, I'm better looking. But fair play to Andrew, and I can't wait to see him go now in the Euro XC. NC's was a great day for the Irish in the field (2 in the top 20, plus the 11th place finisher in the womens, although I admit, I haven't the foggiest idea who she is). 

The reason for wallowing in self pity has nothing to do with the NCAAs, more the realisation that I'm fighting a losing battle to get fit. I'm just up from the dinner table, and feeling like I'm about to give birth to a baby calf (is it baby calf, or should it be baby cow?). Having 'misjudged' the quantity of dinner to make, I decided I'd just can whatever I didn't eat. One busted gut later and the plate was empty. Really need to eat less. It's so bad I'm even resorting to scouring the web for things like this.

Believe it or not I did run today though. 6 whole miles. Ran along the Canal which was one of my favourite runs when I first moved to Dublin, but has gradually fallen out of favour for a couple of reasons. One is there are quite a lot of intersections, and between half 7 and 8 traffic is fairly heavy meaning quite a few stoppages. Secondly are the swans. I'm all for swans in the canal, but I don't get their toilet habits. I can understand they don't want to shit in the water, thats like us going twosies in the middle of the living room. But the swans here in Dublin (and I swear its deliberate) shit all over the footpath. I mean the grass either side is spotless. Someone needs to potty train those fuckers. 

6 miles in 42:57 (22:13 out, 20:44 back, which means I ran under 7 minute miles. I rock).
Avg HR = 156, max = 165
HR Rec after 1 min = 39. Good day today.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bit of A Bleh Day

Day Off from running

Gym session

Normally I've been going to the gym in the mornings after doing a bit of a run and then running home, but decided to mix it up and see how the body feels doing it on my off day. Should probably do a bit more of a warm up than just 5 mins on the rowing ergometer as the workout felt much more difficult than normal despite being pretty much the same although I jacked up the weights on one or two of the machines, cos lets face it, I'm a goddam beast.

The weather is absolute muck, although compared to whats going on in PVD at the minute I'll refrain from too much complaining.

Generally a quiet day all round. Shout outs to Owen and Jim B on their day of birth. The new skin is to aid DeCoste who couldn't read my blog on his phone in its previous design. Normally I'd take this opportunity to get a good slagging in here, but since he's showing interest in actually reading my verbal garbage I won't complain just yet. Instead I'll just post an incriminating picture

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hangovers will be the death of me

9.6 miles, 70:45
Avg HR = 169, max = 184
1 min HR recovery = 36

I'll never learn. About to leave Fitzers last night after a casual 3 pints to go home and get a good nights sleep, I got talked into staying on for another 1 or two. After about 8-9 pints, thoroughly drunk, ended up back at one of the lads drinking whiskey and watching Superbad till 3 in the morning. Needless to say, I was massively hungover this morning. Ran the Deerpark loop which I knew was slightly short of 10 but GMAPs confirmed it at 9.6 miles. Can't really think of words to describe the run although horrendous comes pretty close. It took a supreme effort to not just jack it in after about a mile. Once I reached the point where it was shorter to complete the loop than turn back and go home I relaxed a little and tried to enjoy the run but without much success. HR was waaay too high, and would probably have been better off just not wearing it today as I should have known it would be that high. I'd like to think I'll learn my lesson and not get that drunk, but since I have a reunion with the Abu Dhabi crew this Friday I think I may be putting up a similar post next week. Looking forward to a much needed good nights sleep tonight.

WEEKLY TOTAL: 5 runs, 32.2 miles

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I love Saturdays

Alcohol factory, 6.6 miles, 49:04 (I'm not giving splits, they're just too embarrassingly slow)
Avg HR = 157, max = 177 (goddam hills)

For not having gone out last night, only getting 7.5 hours sleep seems like a criminal offence. Was up at the ungodly hour for a Saturday morning of half 7, and out the door not long after. Nice little run, takes me by the local alcohol factory that is famous for its Tyrconnell whiskey. In a stereotypically Irish moment, ran past a house whose garden had been invaded by 30 sheep from the neighbouring field that were tearing the flower beds to pieces. The run itself put me in a great mood despite my legs feeling like absolute garbage. My right calf was like a brick (Legs with bricks? Doesn't quite have the same ring to it) but still enjoyed the run. 

On an economic note, went to buy a new pair of Nimbus last night. Now despite being an economics major, I would have thought that the current recession would result in price drops in an attempt to lure customers into spending. Apparently the logic in Dublin is to jack up the prices to compensate for the downturn in business. €140 for a pair of Nimbus?!?!? That's about $175, which is about 50 bucks over their retail price in the States. Internet shopping here I come.

Loving Saturdays for the fill of sport they provide. After getting a haircut (the days of long flowing locks left are gone), I'm heading to Fitzers for the Ireland vs. Argentina rugby, to watch Utd vs. Villa, and have a few well earned pints of the Black Stuff. Peace.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Where's the love?

Okay, so Jokin reckons I'm going to be injured in a matter of minutes (he may not be wrong), and Coste just sees this blog as a blackout accident waiting to happen (he too may not be wrong), but I'm taking positive action here people!! So on that note, today is a day off. After the craziness that was two workouts yesterday, I'm not going to encourage Jokin's wishes, and preserve my fat little legs for another day at least.

Heading home tonight to reunite myself with my proper running shoes (the lack of proper shoes also factored into taking the day off) and do feck all else. Running aside, my fantasy football team is causing me serious grief this week. The fact that I intensely dislike Chelsea is being compounded that they are providing next to zero info on whether Alex is fit to play, I mean come on, give a fantasy manager a break! A further two team members fallen by the wayside in the form of injuries and suspension means some serious transfer activity ahead!

A great weekend of sports ahead, with Ireland in action in the rugby, Spurs on the telly Sunday afternoon, and the usual football load in between means that my commitment levels to Sunday's run are going to be put to the test in the pub Sat afternoon. I'll keep you posted (hopefully in the most non-blackout manner possible)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Doubles, Geeks, and Aldo

AM (thats right folks, 2 workouts today): 3.5 miles w/u in 25:25, gym session, 1.5 mile cool down.
This session has become a twice weekly staple since moving to Dublin. The benefits are that the resistance training should in theory help maintain my bone density and improve strength, and the mileage is low, stopping me from getting to carried away. Plus if there's any talent at the gym I get to have a good perve.

PM: I'll clarify, I am not doing doubles. But I did have an afternoon workout. Before I can start testing subjects for research, I need to know how to use the equipment etc involved in the research, as does the other 1st year PhD candidates. So it was my turn to be the guinea pig. The beauty of doing what I'm doing is that I can apply the data to my running. Here's where I get a little geeky, but its nothing an extra gigabyte of RAM can't fix (Under Siege, what a movie). I did an incremental test to exhaustion on the bike, starting at 60W and progressing 30W every 3 mins. I maxed out at the end of the 270W stage, with a HR at 196bpm. My VO2max was 49ml/min/kg, and my a-v O2 difference was 88%. What the fuck does that mean? I'll tell you, the heart rate was a little lower than I expected to get as I've often gone over 200bpm, but figure that was the effects of the gym this morning. The VO2max means that every kg of my lard-ass was consuming 49ml of O2 per minute. And the a-v O2 diff means that the working muscles were extracting 88% of the O2 available from the blood. The significance of this is it will give me a measure of my efficiency as a runner. For example, the last time I completed a proper VO2max test was way back in the days of yore, or 2000, when I had a VO2max of 72ml/min/kg. This tells me 2 things, that at present, part of the reason I'm down at 49ml is I'm a fattie, so there are more kg's to give O2 to. Additionally, I'm not as fit, so I'm not as efficient at using the O2 thats there. The fact that I'm extracting 88% of the available O2 is pretty good, which tells me I need to improve my aerobic capacity, which guess what, happens with running. Now there are a bunch of variables etc etc that I should consider, for example, this test was on a bike, not a treadmill like the last one, and I would be more efficient running, also that I was at the gym this morning so am not likely to have gotten to my max, but for where I am in my training right now, its a good starting point. Hopefully if all goes to plan between now and March I will do it again properly on the treadmill with a full lactate workup and design my marathon training program off the data. But for now, analysis of the data tomorrow will show me what HR I need to be running at to improve my aerobic capacity, and I'm guessing its in around the 150bpm that I've been trying to run at presently.

Also briefly, after reading DeCoste's blog, I spent way too much time procrastinating on GMAP measuring all my runs from home, and turns out they're pretty accurate for the most part, one or two of my longer ones from college (meaning I haven't run them in a few years) were a bit short, but in the main all's good in the hood.

Outside of running, read a great piece on the 'Irish' legend of John Aldridge. Didn't realise how totally underrated he was in general, if not just by me, although his best days were just a bit too early for me to appreciate. Still I think this was most definitely his greatest moment. 

That's all I got, peace.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bandwagon: Check

Ok, so I'm on the bandwagon. Felt like I had something to contribute to society and just needed a forum for my views. Yeeeah ok so more like I need to start a training log but want to do something different, if even to prove that yes, I am still trying to run.

So, since those of you who are likely to read this (I know the number is small) haven't seen me since I last left the US of A, I'll fill in the blanks...I left the US in June'06, my last race having been the New Bedford half, after which I got injured and spent the rest of the time boozing it up in 308 Hope. I then went a little further east than Ireland, landing in Abu Dhabi on a teaching gig (yes its true, look at the pic), thinking going to a muslim country would help ease my transition of the booze. Turns out not so much, and I got wicked out of shape, to the point where a 4 mile trot with Coste or Tarpy on a brief hiatus back to Brown in June '07 proved to be the near death of me.
Last year saw me get back to my true roots, back in the college environs, surrounded by other fellow academics (avoiders of the real world). Run wise I also made a run to 'competitive' racing on Tarpy's visit to the motherland. I can (un)proudly state a most recent 5k time of 18:57, stunning I know.
After another injury, fitness at an all time low, I got my ass back in gear. And here we are. And it wouldn't truly be daweeman if I didn't have some ridiculous plan in training for my next injury. So here it is:
To maintain my present mileage for a period of ~4 months until I feel confident enough that I can increase the mileage safely (who has already started laughing?)
To run a autumn (thats the fall to my American friends) marathon in '09, most likely Berlin (Vorsprung Durst Technik and all that good stuff)
To be fit to race, yes race, the possible alumni mile in May, with a goal of sub 5:20 (way too ambitious), otherwise put in a respectable beer mile
To drop from my present behemoth size of 11st 9lbs (163lbs for those who prefer the bigger numbers) down to a more respectable size. To do this I am going to begin employing Ed's Secret weapon

So thats the plan. Am I fucked? Most likely. Will it work? Almost most definitely not. So I'll try and keep you entertained with anecdotal moments from daweeman's daily life to make it interesting. And I'll occasionally mention running

Enough to start with

Wed: 6 miles easy (42:48)
Avg HR (beat that DeCoste, I don't see you with HR readings) = 152, max = 165
Felt pretty good, given that my running shoes are in Dundalk and I am in Dublin, the pieces of shit I'm running in at the minute are treating me ok. My left achilles is pretty sore, but not when I run, my favourite type of niggle.

Will keep the posts shorter and sweeter from here on out, unless I have news/stories worthy of mentioning, like the time I visited Ed 2 weeks ago and got so drunk I canceled my credit card because I lost it, and I mean by lost it I put it in my wallet and was too drunk to see it, so was convinced I'd lost it. It was a good night, look, even Ed enjoyed it