Monday, November 28, 2011

ChristmasTown Dash 8K

My son Logan and I are going to run in the second annual ChristmasTown Dash in Williamsburg, VA this Sunday.  It's an 8K race that takes place on the grounds of Busch Gardens.  We ran in the first one together last winter and had a really good time despite the below average temperatures.  It actually snowed the night before the race so the organizers postponed the start by an hour so the course would be safe.  Cindi and the girls came to cheer us on.

This race holds a little more meaning to us than just a chance to  run together.  Williamsburg is where Logan's grandmother Carol (Grammy) lived before she passed away suddenly in October of 2010.  Carol loved Williamsburg and Busch Gardens very much so in addition to running for the fun of being together, we run to honor Carol.  I'll lift my self imposed ban on running with an iPod for this race so I can listen to U2 while jogging through the Ireland section of the park, two more of Carol's favorite things.

Here are a few pictures from last year's race.  I'll post some from this year next week. :-)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Canal Again

I went to the C&O Canal again last weekend.  I intended to head to a different section of the trail but changed my mind at the last minute and went back to the same spot as last time.  I ran to Point of Rocks and back again.  I just compared my time and it looks like I ran a little faster than last time by a couple of minutes.  I wasn't worried about running fast so I guess that means I'm starting to move a little quicker.  I stopped to take a few pictures along the way again.

Running at the canal has moments of amazing beauty.  The images I have captured with my phone really don't do it justice.  Running alongside the Potomac River is awesome.  I would love to be able to say that the entire run looks like this:

but in truth, most of the run looks like this:

This still beats the view for for most of my runs and the trail is entirely flat which is a huge bonus.  Still, I would like to be able to see the water more often.  I won't have a chance to run at the canal again for a while, but next time I plan to hit the Great Falls area.  I've heard the views there are spectacular.

Another highlight of the run was coming across the dog sledding folks again.  They went by so quickly that I couldn't get a picture of my own, but I looked up their website and borrowed this one.  The dogs seemed to be having the time of their lives!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Personal Best

This time I set out to beat my personal best from the get go.  I ran 3 miles exactly in 25:53, beating my best time by more than 30 seconds.  Not a bad achievement to make before 9:30 in the morning. :-)

I'm thinking about heading back to the C&O Canal again this weekend and going for a really long one. The weather forecast is for clear skies but cooooold so I might wimp out and just run a good distance here.

My son and I are registered to run the ChristmasTown Dash 8k together in just a few weeks.  I'm really looking forward to that because it is a great opportunity to spend time with him running together.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

ALMOST a Personal Best.

Attitude is such a funny thing.  I was kind of tired yesterday morning and just not really in the mood to run.  I was working from home and getting a few things accomplished and I had almost talked myself into skipping my usual lunch time run.  After all, I had run Friday and Saturday morning.  Taking two days off would be fine.  Then of course I started having second (and third and fourth) thoughts and decided to go for it.  I decided to just run a relaxed 3 miler and just get it over with so the sadist that lives inside my brain would leave me alone for the rest of the day.

I got out and my ankle was a little sore and I almost turned around a couple times in the first 5 minutes. I live at the bottom of a pretty long hill, so every run starts out with that thing in the way. I got to the top of the hill and checked my watch and saw that my pace was very slow at about 11:30.  I decided to pick it up a little and the next thing I know I'm feeling really good.  By the time I hit the 1 mile mark my pace had improved considerably and I was still feeling great.  The idea of trying for my personal best struck me at about the half way mark.  It had been such a long time since that idea even occurred to me that I couldn't remember what my PB was so I just started going as fast as I could.

In the end, I didn't come close to my PB (off by about 45 seconds) but still ran my fastest 3 mile time since June of 2010.  I'm glad I didn't skip a day or turn around when I wanted to.  I think I'm going to run it again today, but I'm not going to try for the PB again.  At least I don't think I will. :-)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Since my planned eight mile run yesterday didn't work out entirely, I went ahead and got in a 3.5 mile run at Lake Centennial this morning.  I took a few pictures along the way. I think the zoom was a little off on a couple of them.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Well the run today wasn't a complete bust because I managed to get in five miles but it wasn't the long run that I like to get in on the weekend.  Mt. Airy is a tough place to run. I don't know the area as well as I used to and there aren't any really long roads you can follow that aren't either too busy, too narrow or both.  No matter where you run in that area you'll find lots of hills. Check out the elevation chart on the Training Log link for this run!  To make the hills feel hillier it was really windy which made the cold feel colder.  I can't say I enjoyed it very much.

Oh well, lesson learned and off to the next one.  Logan has a soccer game tomorrow morning in Columbia.  I'm thinking about running around Centennial Lake before the game starts to get in a few miles.  I need to do a little homework on that first.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Two in a Row

I rarely run two days in a row.  My legs need the rest, even when I don't run very far.  However the weather has been fantastic yesterday and today so I couldn't help myself.  I ran 4 miles yesterday and then ran 3 today.  For some reason, the RSS feed that shows my workouts (the My Training Log tab on this page) isn't showing my run from today.  I don't know why.  If you go to: you can see it is there, but it isn't showing on the feed. I guess I can't complain too much about something I didn't have to pay for. :-)

It wasn't until later in the day that I realized that running two days in a row could work out well with my schedule this week.  I can't go for my usual long run Saturday morning because of soccer tournaments BUT I have Friday off for Veterans Day.  I like to have two rest days before a long run so the plan for now is to rest tomorrow and Thursday and then get in a long run Friday morning.  Now I just need to find a new place to run that isn't too far away from the house.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

C&O Canal Early Morning Run

Headed out to the canal shortly before sunrise this morning. I parked my car at the tail end of New Design Road and headed upstream toward Point of Rocks. I had never run in that area before and I really enjoyed the scenery.  I stopped a couple times and took pictures.  I have never allowed myself to stop during a run before.  As part of my new attitude about running I'm trying to be more relaxed.  I stopped twice to take pictures and one other time to talk to a guy that was setting up to go dog sledding. Well sort of like dog sledding.  The "sled" had wheels on it.  I guess it's a kind of training sled they use when there isn't any snow.

Somewhere in the first mile, I almost stepped on a snake that was coiled up on the middle of the path.  I don't know anything about snakes so I get pretty freaked out when I come across one by chance.  I managed to keep my cool and just kind of went around it.  I tried not to think about it too much and kept running, but on the way back I made sure I ran the last mile on the other side of the path!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Born to Run

Late last summer, just before I started running again I read "Born to Run" by Chrisopher McDougall.  Reading this book really helped to get me back at it.  Runners and sane people alike that are looking for a good read should check this book out.  It is very well written and I find a lot of the arguments that Mr. McDougall makes regarding "modern" running shoes quite interesting.  I can't say that I have bought into everything that he says in the book.  I haven't attempted to convert to barefoot running, at least not yet.  I HAVE worked hard to change the mechanics of my running and I have worked hard to change my attitude about running.  Mostly I've tried to keep in mind that I run because it is fun.  I enjoy it a lot. For me, it's really important to keep in mind that I run because I like to run.

One of the things I've done to try and keep that in focus is to ditch my iPod.  If someone suggested that I do that as recently as last Spring I would have said no way.  In the past I wouldn't even consider running a 5K that didn't allow headphones.  A few months ago I deliberately left the iPod at home when I went on a training run because I wanted to focus on my form and I didn't want any distractions. No iPod, no watch, nothing extra.  I found that run to be the most enjoyable experience running that I have had in a long time and I was hooked.  I haven't run with the iPod since then and haven't regretted it once.  I have gone back to using the watch to keep track of my time and distance.  I keep an eye on it while I run to see what my pace is, but I try not to get too caught up in the numbers head games.

Recently my times have been going down.  I'm not sure if that is because of the changes I have made or just from the fact that I'm running more.  I'm not overly concerned about running at a certain time anymore except from the stand point that when I do actually run in my race I would like to finish in under 5 hours.  If I can average a 10:00 mile I'll come in at around 4:35:00 but I plan to stop and enjoy the sites, drink Gatorade at the tables, etc.. so 5 hours is a good goal.

The race isn't until March so I've got some time to wait before I actually start training.  Until then I'm just going to keep having fun.