Looking Back — Week Ending December 5, 2021

What’s been going on?

Not a whole lot. I’ve been watching too many videos and listening to podcasts from Runners Connect. Along with watching/reading and mostly drooling about all the new shoes from the shows and reviewers down in Austin, TX. Yeah, there are a lot of fantastic new shoes coming for 2022 now; let’s see if we actually get to see them in 2022, with all the rumors floating around about supply chain and/or factory issues overseas.
We have finished buttoning things up for the Winter and just waiting on the white stuff coming and staying until sometime in April.

Runners Connect 

This was my first full week of doing the Runner’s Connect training plan and the online community involvement. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed because the community is pretty active, but it is a good thing. It reminds me of the early running community on Twitter, very supportive of one another, and I have noticed that the Coaches comment pretty often as well.

What I did last week

Monday – November 29
That 5-10 mph breeze out of the North might not sound like much, but when combined with the temp being only 25F. It was chilly, and I ain’t acclimated to that kind of chilly — yet 😬 
Oh well, it’s gonna get colder up heah before it gets a lot warmer, so gotta smile and get about the business of doing the plan. 
The 5.0 miles at easy effort/pace went well. I got slowed down on Blake Road due to long patches of ice covered with road dust, making it tricky in a few places. However, it did make me focus quite nicely on my ice running form, and I am happy to say I remained upright and didn’t do the slip-sliding away on the ice of a new day at all this morning. ;-). 
I did the 4 x strides, just not the prescribed ones. 
Somehow or other, my watch screwed up (probably operator error), and it called the workout over when I had a couple more to go. I did the two to finish up and felt good. 
Of course, coming back up the busiest stretch of road, I got a call from the people delivering that new love seat telling me when they would be around with it tomorrow. It was a call I had to take, but it wasn’t the greatest where I had to take it. The saga of the love seat continues to haunt my running. hehehehe, Just the way it works sometimes. I just hope the darn thing is comfortable after we get it.
Tuesday – November 30
Can’t say that I looked forward to doing this workout in 25F, plus a 6-10 mph breeze out of the North to make it even chillier. Cold weather speedwork is tough on the body. 
Once I got out the door and put on my big boy pants, it wasn’t that bad. 
I paid attention and made sure that I didn’t pull anything. Thankfully, no twinges or other nastiness going in the legs. 6 x 800, or as the Garmin put it, a half-mile, and it is the first time I have done 800s in a long time. 3:45, 3:48, 3:50, 3:46, 3:49, and 3:48 was pretty consistent. So, I was pretty happy with those results. 
The effort level was more challenging, but there was still something left if I had needed it, and I did take advantage of the 3:00 minute rest to walk a way after the first few, just to catch my breath. 
This is a workout I usually don’t do in the Winter outside, so it got me out of my comfort zone. I still would have rather done these on the treadmill in shorts/t-shirt. Cold weather gear is such a pain to run faster in. 
Was impressed with the Endorphin Speed 2s and how they retained most of their cushion in the colder weather. November had the third-best monthly mileage for 2021, so I ended it on a very good note. 😁
Wednesday – December 1
Rest/Off — For a change, I did what I was supposed to.
Thursday – December 2 
Freezing rain and 28F is so much fun to run in – dripping sarcasm on this one 🥶. 
My first run in the Brooks Hyperion Tempo that I bought on eBay and was impressed with grip and comfort. There were no hot spots, not that my feet were overly warm anyway, but they were soaked through, and no issues with having my merino wool socks on – so that was good to learn. Good steady pace after the first mile. This was a day when I really missed being able to go to the gym 🤓
Friday –  December 3
Today, I was the bug and raised the white flag. 🏳 I had to wait to run because the roads had a nasty glaze on them this morning after yesterday’s storm. After waiting, it wasn’t too bad, but the trees were swaying more than a little when I got going. 
The weather wasn’t horrible, and the roads were mostly clear when I ran, with bright sunshine, a few clouds, 27°F, Feels like 19°F, Humidity 59%, Wind 15-20mph from NW – with 30+ mph gusts. Which made the run a story of two runs. 
The one when the wind was at my back and the one when I had to run against it. 
I bet you can tell which one I enjoyed more. By the time I got to my last 1:00 fartlek, I was coming back up Philbrick Hill with the wind in my face. I had finished the hard part of the workout, and as I was jogging up the rest of the hill, I lost focus. Between the hill and that 30+ mph gust of wind that lasted long enough that I stopped running – my mojo went with the wind. I walked the rest of the way to the top of the hill and then finished the 5.0 miles. 
The wind and the hill got me today. Next time I will get it. 
Also, I gotta remember not to wear cotton t-shirts under my tech stuff. Like a dummy, I forgot that I had it on and wandered off for my run with it on. 27*F with windchills a lot colder, all that sweat not going anywhere didn’t make the last part of the run anymore enjoyable. I will learn someday, but it seems not today. 😂
Saturday – December 4
Brrr – That 21F starting out into a gentle breeze had me questioning my sanity and thinking that this could be one of those runs where I will be smart, turn around, go home and play on the elliptical. 
That really would have been smarter. 
Oh well, I’m not one for being smarter, so I kept going while thinking where the point would have the wind more at my back. I was appropriately dressed, so I knew I wouldn’t freeze or anything. Just those first few miles took longer to warm up than I wanted. 
I worked adding in some of Coach’s uphill training video advice, and it helped remind me to keep better form and not lean at the waist or look at my feet when going uphill. I purposely slowed down during the downhill sections to keep this an easy run. The legs felt fine, but at about mile 7.0, I did wish I had one of my Honey Stinger gels with me. I could feel I needed one and some water to wash it down.
Then about mile 8.0, the bottom of my feet started to bother and continued to be an issue the rest of the run. I feel that this will be my limiting factor when it comes to racing a half and running a marathon. 
This happens about this point on runs or earlier in other shoes, and while I can keep going, it does become a question of how much I can endure the discomfort. A good friend said it might have something to do with all the miles I have run, and the pads under the forefeet are getting a bit thin. I am not so sure, but maybe I will have to go to even more cushioned shoes for longer runs or some of those metatarsal pads under the forefoot and see if that helps.
Even so, I still ran well otherwise. When I finished, I would get some photos, but my phone had run out of juice, which sucked, and no, I wasn’t listening to music. It had 87% when I started, so it didn’t do so well in the cold, and if I had needed it, it would have been useless, so it is good to know, and maybe a new one is required – since this is an old 2016 iPhone SE. Oh well, just another thing to think about when it comes to running because I love having it with me for photos and safety reasons.
Sunday – December 5
Did what I was supposed to, run easy and enjoy the recovery run. It helped that I ran down back and had to pay attention to the dust-covered ice on Blake Road. It was also my first run in the Brooks Catamounts that I purchased on eBay. They did everything I wanted but seemed a bit firmer out in the cold. Which is something I will have to look closer at on other runs.

Blog posts from the week

Nothing other than Daily Run posts this week. 

Running Shoes

I got a couple of new to me Brooks running shoes this week from eBay. I am not sure why, but something kept telling me I was supposed to move to these particular shoes? So I did. Sometimes you just have to go with a gut feeling, and since I wasn’t really all that happy with anything other than my Endorphin Speed 2s, it seemed like the right time.
Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 — They remain the shoe that I look to run in whenever I get ready to run. They are comfortable, and as long as I don’t wear thick socks and my toe spreader simultaneously, I tend to have no issues with them.

Brooks Hyperion Tempo 9.0 — I purposely got them in size 9.0. I wanted to be able to wear thicker socks since it is Winter, and they have a somewhat breathable upper. They seemed slightly firm when running in the lower temps, and I am not a fan of the laces (too thin and stretchy). So I will probably change out the insole and laces to something a bit thicker for both. Since I got them to be more of a daily trainer, adding a bit of weight to make them more comfortable is an easy fix.

Brooks Catamount — I needed a pair of daily winter walkers, nasty weather, easy trail shoes, and the Catamounts checked off all the boxes. I did the run down-back in them, and they did great, but like the Tempos, the midsole is a bit firmer than I expected in colder weather. They seem exactly what I was after, and it will be interesting to see how they work out.

Looking forward

I like the level of accountability that Runners Connect brings to my running. No, the coaches don’t pester me, but at the same time, just knowing that they are looking at the workouts I do, makes me want to stick reasonably close to what they have given me. Although, I still manage to go off on a tangent every now and then. Just not as far as I would if no one was watching. 🙂
The weather is definitely getting colder, and Winter is on its way. I am not going to say that I am thrilled with having to run outside in all conditions, but I haven’t landed upside-down yet, and no muscles or ligaments were strained too much.
However, philosophically I might differ with Runners Connect about doing more challenging Speed training in Maine during December as a preparation block to Half Marathon training. Especially when someone who will be running outside for all of the workouts has an injury history and is an old fart who thinks he is still able to do everything the young ‘uns do so well. 
From where I sit, speed training this time of year when you don’t have access to a treadmill is a recipe for pulled muscles or other issues for most runners. 
Yes, I know the why behind speed workouts going into a half marathon training block, but is it appropriate during December in cold weather climates. Also, the target paces are rather ambitious for wearing the much-needed cold-weather gear. The RC plan is definitely taking me out of that wonderful comfort zone I have had over the years, but I don’t want to get too far beyond it. 
I don’t want to get injured because I followed a plan too closely for the conditions.
Yes, I know enough to change up the workouts if the conditions outside are too miserable for what has been planned, but at the same time, I am rather literal, and it stresses me out more than it should when I have to change a workout to meet those conditions. Especially when I see it as more a concession to being old than anything else. Well, actually, in this case, I have a feeling it is being smarter than I used to be.
The easy solution would be to get back to the gym, then do the workouts as assigned, and I can’t wait for that to happen. However, with the COVID-19 surge continuing full steam ahead up heah in Maine, I don’t see that happening until at least mid-January. Just think, if I have to wait until February 5, 2022, it will have been 2 whole years since I stepped foot inside a gym. Sad to think of it that way.
Overall, a pretty good week of training.

Very Tentative 2022 “A” Race Schedule

March 19 — On the Run Half Marathon — Old Orchard Beach — it would have been my Dad’s birthday, so it seems appropriate for me to do the first of my “A” races for the year that day.
July 4 — Friends of the 4th 5K — Winthrop — A local race that I have done a couple of times before and want to see how my times compare to previous years.
October 2 — Maine Marathon — Yep, I will try to get to the starting line of a marathon again, and this time I am doing things differently. That is why I joined Runners Connect, and I will see how the training goes. 
If I can get in
August 6 — Beach to Beacon — My birthday, and it would be my birthday present to myself, I have never run it, and it seems like it is time to do so.

Come with me now — the best is yet to be.

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