Friday, April 3, 2009

Marathon Training - One Day at a Time (April 2009)

Thursday, April 30, 2009 : Day 61 The conditions were right to try a long run today. So, that's what I did. I decided to do the Ashley Lake Road route up over the pass again. Since the normal turnaround is either at the end of the blacktop or just after crossing the pass, doing the long run meant going down the back side of the pass.

There was still some snow cover as I crossed the pass and I again could see Ashley Lake in the distance about three quarters of a mile after the summit. The check of my mileage there showed just over five miles. As the long run continued, I realized if I would do about seven or a little more, I might get all the way to the lake. The course was a bit up and down, and I arrived at the lake with about seven miles logged. I decided to continue along the lake for another half mile or so. Since I was now committed to a fifteen miler I walked, jogged, and gathered some cans and bottles while doing the return run. I was thankful for the mixed clouds and filtered sunlight since the temperature stayed comfortable for the entire run. Let the log for today show: 15.04 miles ... road run (combination of run, jog, and walk).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 : Day 60 I took a break day from running again today. I think the combination of the training routine, softball practice, and cold weather caused me to just mentally block out the idea of doing a run today. So, instead, I chainsawed the tree that blew down yesterday. Also, for an alternate cross training workout, I cycled on the indoor trainer. Let the log show: Running: 0 miles; Nordic cycle indoor workout: 9.0 miles in 31 minutes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 : Day 59 It was up, up, up, and over the Ashley Lake pass today. It was kind of cold, windy, but no rain or snow in the air for the running out and back loop today. I just walked a bit of the trip and gathered bottles and cans and other assorted debris. Just after leaving the blacktop, I was a little disappointed to see the bag of bottles and cans I had gathered a couple of days ago, still sitting next to the road project sign. I continued on my run, jogging and gathering as I slowly made my way up and over the pass. Since I had done almost all of the collecting on the way up, I was able to run most of the downhill as I came back. Almost, that is, except for a few stops, as I wanted to make stacks of 4 or more for a later day pickup. When I got back to the road project sign, I was surprised to see the collection bag was now gone! Amazing, someone decided to pick it up and take it to the dump with them after all. Unfortunately, I was carrying a few crushed cans and bottles and as I put them down at the base of the project sign I also saw another five or six bottles to pick up. So, I ended up leaving a stack of a dozen or more things to be picked up when on a run some other day. Maybe tomorrow I'll pickup some of the collection piles into a garbage bag! I continued my run down the mountain, just pausing from time to time as I saw a lonesome bottle or can to take to one of the "gathered groups".

Pepper, the horse, was standing in the middle of her meadow area, so I paused to take a quick picture of her as she stood by a creek running through the meadow. Then, I continued, mostly running, the rest of the way back to the ranch to finish my training session for the day. Let the log show: Run 9.1 miles (mostly running anyway). Bottle and can gathering ??: count to be determined.

Monday, April 27, 2009 : Day 58 It seemed one of the days of the year that is not fit for man nor beast was here today. Snow fell overnight and continued to fall for most of the day until late in the afternoon. Even after the snow ended, it continued to be mostly cloudy and windy. This was a day when I decided to play my "weather day" card and just did an indoor workout on the Nordic cycle.

However, even with the poor weather, it was the first scheduled practice session for my new sporting event, senior league softball. So, with the old-boys of summer, I was out on the softball field this evening throwing, hitting, and running for the first time in over 20 years! So, let the marathon training log show: Running: 0 miles; Indoor cycle: 30 minutes ~ 8.1 miles; Softball practice: 60 minutes.

Sunday, April 26, 2009 : Day 57 A typical day weather-wise in NW Montana. There was some light overnight snow that was still present on the upper section of today's running route. I did the run up Ashley Lake Road again, but just to the end of the blacktop today. I've developed this passion to continue to pick up cans and bottles, lately. So, today, I started a walk-run combination just after the one-and-a-half mile mark to pickup cans and bottles. I had a few piles of bottles and cans gathered together from my last couple of runs and picked them up along with more trash that I found today. It was a bit messy, with some mud, water, and snow to deal with. I walked with the nearly full garbage bag until the turnaround and dropped the bag there for a later collection. I ran back the full route (just stopping a couple of times if I found some more cans to stack for another later time). Let the running log show: 6.1 miles (combo of walk-jog for 1.5 miles); Can and bottle collection: about 100 in the count!

Saturday, April 25, 2009 : Day 56 Today was again not necessarily one of the best running days in the year. But, you know, by putting on nearly full winter running gear, it was not too bad. The wind was a bit gusty and cold at times, and, well there was just a bit of snow in the air, too. But, then again, no overheating problems and the running road was not very congested with other runners! (I did actually see a couple of people out walking ... very unusual!). I did the full hill climb again up Ashley Lake Road through the gravel road summit, and down as far as the Ashley Trail cut-off. Just a little walking was done on a couple of the steep portions of the black-top and to group together some more cans and bottles along the gravel road. (And just look at that, even the horses have to put up with bottles in their pastures...such a deal!) After the run, I went down to the arena and did a cool-down (warm-up?) walk on the treadmill. Log data for today: Run: 9.1 miles ... Walk on treadmill: 1 mile.

Friday, April 24, 2009 : Day 55 Well, I was just about ready to bail out on doing a run today. Cold wind, clouds, and snow pellets in the air was the rule of the morning. However, around the middle of the day, there was a bit of a cloud break up, and by early afternoon a nice cloud and sun mix was in the air. I decided to strap on the running shoes in the late afternoon and do a run loop after-all. I did the same route as yesterday but took along a couple of Target plastic bags to pick up the bottles and cans I gathered together yesterday. As it turned out, I ran up the opposite side of the road on the outbound trip, and found another 20 to 30 cans and bottles. (And saw a new herd of cattle that watched me run by). The bags were bursting as I mostly walked the last mile back home on the blacktop. Luck was in the air, though, and a neighbor from just up the gravel road stopped and took the bags when I was about three-quarters of a mile from the ranch. I jogged the rest of the way (finding another half a dozen bottles and cans) and finished the run in nothing close to a personal best time. The running log for the day: Run-walk combo: 6.1 miles ... Can and bottle count, rough guess, 60 cans and bottles (mostly bottles) Btw: Mike's Hard Lemonade is a big favorite of someone up Sherman road.

Thursday, April 23, 2009 : Day 54 Just another transition day in NW Montana. This one was kind of a change between the two days of summer, just gone by, and the return to winter we had today. Snow squalls began about an hour or so after I completed a six miler up Sherman Road and back. Nothing much too unusual about the training run and route itself, just the usual animals along the road. It was a good run. Let the log show: 6.0 miles ... road run (winter gear again). P.S. Oh, and just for grins, I counted cans again today -- in the two mile stretch not run yesterday: 35 bottles and cans.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 : Day 53 It was not quite as warm today as it was yesterday. That was a good thing because I decided to do the longer run up over the Ashley Lake road pass again. I was glad I wasn't biking (in some ways) since the wind was kicking up pretty good. During a couple of the uphill sections I decided to just do a stretching walk, instead of a slog up those portions.
I also gathered some piles of cans and bottles in observance of Earth Day. Somewhat to my disappointment, I was able to gather 4 or 5 stacks of 3 or more cans and bottles in just the half-mile or so that I walked. I decided to count the bottles and cans I could see in the ditch during my return run down the hill. Again, with a bit of dismay regarding why people have to toss things out of their vehicles, I counted 185 bottles and cans in a three mile section of the running route. Let the log show: Running miles: 9.1 ... bottles and cans: 185 (not counting several dozen too far down some embankments to consider in the count -- I'd never be able to get them and bag them up on a later run)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 : Day 52 I decided to take my chances with the Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my, today, and ran up the gravel road. It was just for two miles though, so, I didn't really get into "lion country" I guess. Besides, since it was a warm day, I expect the cats were all sleeping anyway. The ice is out on the small lake along the road, and the meadows and fields are beginning a spring green up, too. There were only traces of snow in the low draws and shaded woods areas, even up to the 3500' mark at the three mile turnaround. Let the running log show: 6.1 miles ... road running.

Monday, April 20, 2009 : Day 51 It was a great Spring day in NW Montana. I went out for a training run during the mid morning and finished shortly after noon. During the run the temperatures were perfect with 50's. Later in the day, the temperature rose to the low 70's, but, with the run already completed, the mild temperatures made it great for an afternoon trail ride on Corrie. Training log for today: Run 9.2 miles ... road run up Ashley Lake road (still some snow up there).

Sunday, April 19, 2009 : Day 50 I took the day off from running today. I mostly did some ranch things. Patti was in a horse and rider training session today so I went and watched and helped with that. Later we just did some ranch chores. I decided to finish the day by doing a light training workout on the indoor cycle (wimped out on an outdoor ride since it was windy, and I really didn't feel like making it a hard workout). Let the training log show: 0 running miles ... just 7.5 indoor cycling miles in a 30 minute workout.

Saturday, April 18, 2009 : Day 49 Sunny again, a with an almost day of rest yesterday, I decided to do a nice long run today. So it was, up over the mountain again.

At the top, the snow is still hanging on with 6-12" in the woods up there. After cresting the hill, I ran down an extra mile toward Ashley Lake and got a couple of chances to see the lake and noted that it is still frozen over. (Not a surprise, I guess, we just lost the frost about a week ago). The run was a good one all the way and a later cool-down involved batting tennis balls and softballs for Taffy to fetch. Let the running log show: 10.38 miles ... full road running.

Friday, April 17, 2009 : Day 48 It was a good day for a run today. I decided to just do the run to the end of the blacktop instead of doubling up on the long 9+ miles runs. I did add another cross-training event, reminiscent of the "Boys of Summer". I will give a try to playing softball again! After a 20 year "retirement" I am joining the senior men's league this summer. During the last couple of days I have relocated my shoes (too small, my feet must still be growing, go figure!), and today I found my glove, bats, and a couple of duffel bags of softballs. I decided to hit some balls around for awhile. And, not too surprisingly, Taffy joined me as the main ball fetcher. I must have done 25-30 hits of the ball and she just kept bringing the ball back so I could hit it again. Now, late in the evening, both she and Titan are sleeping soundly (today was also pasture four "harrowing" day), so the dogs trekked about in the outer pasture for a couple of hours while I did the harrowing. So, all and all, a good running and cross training day today. Let the log show: Run 6.2 miles ... all road running.

Thursday, April 16, 2009 : Day 47 Back on the road again. It was a good running day today with sunny but cool conditions. I decided to do the run up the hill to get a full road run again without doing a treadmill workout. Along the way today, a biker passed me as I was at about the 1.5 mile mark. She pulled over to rest before her return down the hill, and I ran past her again at just about the three mile point. It was cool enough that she mentioned I was probably warmer than she was while biking. Maybe true, but I would have liked to have the speed of the bike for my return trip! In any case, I continued up the hill through the snowline and did a turnaround shortly after cresting the mountain. I think my GPS data-logger got confused on the trip back down the hill because it gave me credit for 10 miles and a best pace of 3:18 for a mile ... I don't think so! That would be like a world record, or something! So, let the adjusted log show: 9.2 miles - all road running.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009 : Day 46 Today became a cross-training day instead of a running day. Again, after chores and other ranch tasks, the middle of the day was upon me and I had not gone out on my run. So, I decided to replace it with a cross training workout on the indoor training cycle. This was a little easier to do since it didn't require suiting up into what would almost have needed to be winter gear if I had biked outside instead of indoors. A good breeze was kicking up today (I'm not a big fan of bucking head-winds on a bike ride ... been there, done that) and there was a hint of snow in the air, even though the temperature hovered in the mid 40's. The indoor activity seemed just fine! So, let the training log show: run/jog: 0 miles; Cross-training; indoor cycle: 9.03 miles / 30 minutes.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009 : Day 45 It was beginning to look like I was going to psych myself out of a run again today. Horse work started early since the trainer showed up ahead of the normal scheduled time. So, I helped a bit moving the horses to the barn. I next decided to do the pasture cleanup while the training was taking place. Then, after the training rides, I led the horses up to a grazing paddock. All of this was taking up most of the morning and I had planned to run early. Even with the opportunity to opt out looming, I decided to do the run around mid-day. Since I didn't want to deal with the "crouching lion" road run two days in a row, I stuck to the blacktop to gravel transition route up to the "Inn" again. No lions on the embankments along this route, just a big herd of deer. This time, I was able to jog through the full route and only walked a short distance of a couple hundred feet at the turnaround. Like yesterday, I could have used gloves for the first couple of miles, but, although cool, I ran without the gloves and windbreaker. Let the daily log show: 9.1 miles ... all road running.

Monday, April 13, 2009 : Day 44 Well, yesterday's rest seemed to help both the body and the mind today. I went out for the run late in the morning. The day had started out with a little light rain, but, at the time of the run it was partly sunny and a little breezy. Actually, it even felt a bit "blustery" and I wished I had worn gloves during the first couple of miles of the run. I decided to do a new route for the year which is actually the normal "after the snow is gone" route I've used for a couple of years. (As it turned out, the snow is not completely gone higher up the mountain). It means leaving the blacktop just after the one mile mark. I then run up a gravel road to a gate that is three miles further up the mountain. The road was okay for the first mile or so. At that point, I met a neighbor and stopped and chatted for several minutes to catch up on the events of the winter. Just after leaving the discussion with him, the road turned a bit pot holed with standing water and some running streams along the edges. It was a bit slower run for that section as a result. Just before the two and a-half mark a fellow in a truck pulled over. He told me there had been several sightings of mountain lions up the road and cautioned me to be watchful and ready in-case they were lurking about and set to leap from the embankments today.

Well, my neck is still sore for looking both left and right for the next mile and a half as I ran up to the turnaround at the top of the hill. Since it is a pretty good uphill climb (about at 3800' compared to 3300' at the ranch) the cuts through the rocks and woods provide plenty of embankments for "crouching lions". (I might need to reconsider this route ... or carry a firearm during the remaining training sessions). In any case, I made it to the turnaround and back down the mountain without getting eaten or even attacked by the lions! After the road run, I cooled down with a mile jog-out (5.5 mph) on the treadmill. Let the daily log show: 8 miles road run plus 1 mile on the t'mill: 9.0 miles for today.

Sunday, April 12, 2009 : Day 43 Well, as sometimes happens during a training period, today was a mind crash day with respect to the training runs. No accident (like the bike crash of last summer), no injury (like the bad ankle of a couple of years ago) but just a brain rejection of the thought of running. It started with just doing some of the basic day-to-day ranch activities: dog walk, some repair chores of fence wiring and posts and rails, leveling a horse waterer, tossing the manure pile with the tractor, and, before I knew it my planned running time had collided with pasture cleanup and a lunch break. As a result, I just could not get my mind back into thinking about running. Plus, the body was feeling some weariness from yesterday's nine-miler. So, I just crashed for an hour or so. Afterward, I made some fresh coffee and did some computer maintenance activities. So, for today, let the training log show zip: 0, nada. A day of rest from the training.

Saturday, April 11, 2009 : Day 42 Today started the eight mile training runs. For the next eight runs, the plan is to run eight road miles in each of those days. Today, I did the blacktop to the end and the rest of the way up to Garrison Inn (about 4.2 miles). I decided to walk the rest of the way to the crest of the hill before I turned around and ran back down the hill. Let the log show: 9.042 miles (all road run this time, no treadmill workout or cool down).

Friday, April 10, 2009 : Day 41 Total off day from the training routine today. Just did a morning walk with the dogs followed later by regular ranch chores. I did a little extra ranch pasture pickup (now that the weather is warmer, most snow is gone, and some places have dried out). As the snow melts, it does reveal that the winter was tough on some of the wilderness creatures.

Oh, and I even did a short horse ride on Corrie and Orpheus today. So, just a rest day between training sessions!

Thursday, April 9, 2009 : Day 40 This was an off day from a full run. Instead, this was the jog walk, pick up the cans along the road, day. The jogging did not last long though, because before I was 3/4th's of a mile out, the bag of cans, bottles, and other debris was too heavy to jog with anymore. I dropped off bag number one at the mile mark. I was only able to jog for about 50 feet at a time, as I went down the ditch embankment over and over to pick up more cans and bottles. When I checked my time verses the distance, it showed over an hour had gone by, and I was not even 1.5 miles up the road. I decided to continue just until I reached the one-and-a-half mark and turn around (originally, I had hoped to make it out to the 3-mile turnaround). As I was returning, I continued to fill bag number two. When I was about a quarter of a mile from being back at the 1-mile mark, a passing man in a pick-up truck stopped and asked if I wanted to toss the bag into his truck, since he was heading for the Kila dump-site. I did (the bag was bursting and the handles had already ripped). The man also picked up the first bag for me...Thanks! I again was able to jog only in short bursts, and soon the last bag was too full to do anything except walk. I continued on the downhill back to the ranch. The last bag tore all apart so I couldn't carry it any more when I had about 300 yards to go before getting home. I left the bag there in the ditch, jogged home, and got another bag. I decided to do the road line from the ranch down just a tenth of a mile to the Boorman school and then go back to the bag I had left in the ditch. No jogging again as I had enough in the new bag in just a few hundred yards that a bottom seam broke out of it. I walked the opposite ditch back to the other bag and carried them back to the ranch for disposal. So, for today, let the log show: Jog/Walk: 3.0 miles ... Bags of cans, bottles and other debris: 4 (about 90 pounds of garbage ... 30 pounds per mile -- Pretty sad!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 : Day 39 This was another "warm running" day with the temperature again in the middle 60's. Even as I started out, it was a slo'og (slow jog) kind of run today. I just didn't have the mental power to keep the jog-step going though to my planned walking point, and began the walk at about 2.4 miles out. I decided to keep on walking up the road to the second switch-back though, just to see how the gravel was doing now that the snow had melted from the road. I ended up turning around at just over the 3.5 mile mark and jogged (and ran) on the trip back down the hill. As I have been doing following most of the road runs, I did a mile cool-down on the treadmill. Daily log: Road run (walk, too): 7.1 miles; Treadmill 1 mile at 4.5 mph.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 : Day 38 Well, it's taken until almost the second week in April, but today almost felt like a warm weather run day. Granted, like yesterday, I waited until late in the afternoon to do the run, so the temperature was at the top for the day (68 or so). It was a good run and I was able to keep the jog pace all of the way to the target walk point (still walking the last little bit to the 3.2 turnaround). The cruise down the hill was good, too. Most of the snow is melted now in the lower meadow. At the upper meadow just before the turnaround, there is deeper snow, but it too is close to going off. Back at the ranch, the creek continues to flow at full force and was almost over the roadway tonight. Mileage log for the day: Road run 6.3; Treadmill 1.17 (1 mile in 8:20 ... walk cool down at 4 mph until the 10 minute mark).

April 6, 2009 : Day 37 Another day, another run. This run was late in the day with just a bit of lack of enthusiasm on the part of the runner. It was a great day, with mild enough temperatures to actually allow running in shorts and a singlet. Quite a change after the runs in the snow last week. All was well, except either the brain was not able to convince the legs to keep up the pace, or the legs were not able to tell the brain that they are ready for the full run. In any case, I made it out to the end of the blacktop again. Just a bit of walking during the last 1/3rd of a mile or so again to get me there. Cruising back down the hill was just fine and the road run was followed up with a miler on the treadmill again. While walking the road down to the treadmill, it was noted that the creek was gushing at 100%. Looks like the warm temperature is really melting the snow pack upstream. Daily log: 6.4 miles on the road, 1.13 miles on the treadmill (a mile in 8 minutes followed by a cool down walk for the remaining tally).

April 5, 2009 : Day 36 On the road again ... a sunny day today, so weather was not a factor in the run at all. It still was rather cool on the return trip down the mountain, but I'm not complaining. The groups of deer are almost always present these days on the uphill side of the road. Also, today, a hawk was swooping over the melting snow meadows looking for any varmints that might be active these days. I did a mile walk cool down while Patti was doing a ride on Orpheus. Training log: Run 6.3; Treadmill 1.0.

April 4, 2009 : Day 35 Off day for marathon training. Just some normal ranch chores, walk with the dogs, and light horsing around (horse grooming and play-time with a huge ball.) Training Log: 0 miles.

April 3, 2009 : Day 34 I waited until later in the day for the running training today. The day started with snow; continued with icy fog for a bit during the morning hours; but the sky broke into a good collection of clouds during the middle of the day. By the time I did my run in the late afternoon, it looked like billowing "Cu" in many places, and I thought I might need to turn around at any time if I was running into a storm. It turned out that at about 1.5 miles into the run, the sun disappeared. However, there was no threatening condition developing, so I continued my run through to the three plus mile turnaround. I was able to run all except the last 3/4 of a mile (the steep uphill section) and walked it until the end of the blacktop. On the run back down the hill, filtered sun returned with about a mile left in the run. Conditions at the ranch had still more of the sun cloud mix that I had left an hour or so earlier. So, I was able to do the entire 6.3 mile run without rain, snow, or other unpleasant conditions. I ended my training for the day by doing a 1 mile treadmill "cool-down" with the speed set at just 6.5 mph (10 minute mile). This was only my second training run without a windbreaker layer for the training that started on March 1st! Training log" 7+ miles for today.

April 2, 2009 : Day 33 It was still cold during the run today. A feel of snow in the air became more than a feel by the time I got to the turnaround point. I was able to run almost the full uphill today, so I guess I was feeling better about running today compared to yesterday. After the run, I did a treadmill mile as a cool down. I tried for the 9.5 mph rate, but had to reset the t'mill a couple of times because it zonked out. I think I must have caught a foot fall against the motor, and it decided I had fallen down so it stopped to keep from tossing me across the room. (Either that, or I need to blow some of the dust out of the system to keep it from overheating during the faster session!) Training log: 7+ miles for today.

April 1, 2009 : Day 32 It was a cold bone chilling day during today's training run. I totally ran out of energy while on the uphill outbound session and began walking shortly after the 1.5 mile mark. I slogged (slow-jogged) back and did a 5 mph treadmill walk. I never actually warmed up until the last part of the treadmill workout. It was a slow session overall but let the training log show: 7+ miles today.