Sunday, September 18, 2011

And Thus Concludes Week 2 Of Marathon Training...

Week 2 of Marathon Training was not great, but it finished well. The week started off poorly, with me under the weather. Saturday night and Sunday I could not run because I was under the weather, while Monday morning I got a light run in. The rest of the week I did not run because of a busy schedule, late nights, and an under the weather running partner.

Friday, long run day, was looking particularly daunting. After a low-intensity week, we had 24km scheduled for Friday. The route, a nice, albeit difficult, route, would be along Highway 383. Going out is a nice run, with a largely downhill trend. the way back would prove more difficult - with a largely uphill run, and a fairly strong headwind, the final 12km would prove to be difficult.

I started out the run thinking I might cut it a bit short. I did not feel I needed to run 24km so soon into the season, and it would depend on how the run was going. I would have been happy with a 21-22km run as well, with an absolute minimum of 18-19km.

We started out as a group of 4, until the main running group would pass us. At about 7.5km 2 guys peeled off, as they were looking to run only 15km. We continued on, and shortly after the main group passed us by. The run out was great, as I felt strong and confident. The run was smooth, and I ran it at a fairly fast pace.

That fast pace was probably a mistake, as I was a bit winded and unprepared for the 2nd half of the run. Turning around meant long uphill climbs, though not steep climbs. I have always been poor with hill running, and I dropped back from my running partner, and slowly but surely lost a lot of ground. Eventually I thought maybe I should stop running and let him come pick me up with the car when he finishes, but I kept trudging on telling myself just a little bit more. i felt ok, just tired from the hills.

Eventually I made it back to the end, concluding a 24km run after being totally unprepared for it.

And thus concludes Week 2 of Marathon Training

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Benefit Of Running With A Partner

After a late night and big meal last night, I was not sure I would get up in time for an early run this morning. Running this morning would also be a test of my calf and the muscle pain I experienced on Friday. The pain was almost completely gone, but there is still a lingering touch of pain, at a very dull level. I also expected my running partner to sleep in, or I was at least hoping he would, but when I sent him a text message in the morning he quickly replied, so running was remaining on the morning agenda.

That is actually a very good example of the primary benefit of running with a running partner over running alone. Had I planned to run alone, I would definitely have stayed in bed. Knowing I had someone else out there expecting me to show up, even though he would have understood, knowing that I would have looked a bit lazy to him, that encouraged me to dress up and go running. On a day like today, at 5:45 am after a long and tiring night, that is the only thing that got me out on the road.

We ran 6km down to the Junction of Roads 10 and 375 and then back. The air was slightly warmer and more humid than it has been normally at that time in the morning. I felt the pain slightly, but it did not really hurt and was not at all disabling. Even after the run and after having rested and cooled down, at the point when the pain normally gets worse, it remained only a slight dull discomfort. Hopefully that means I am really past it.

It was a good run. I would still have liked to run tonight with the group, but that is not going to happen due to a conflict. I am still under-mileage for the marathon training, though it is still very early in the season. Our coach gets into high gear very quickly, but as long as I stick with it even in lower gear I should be able to pick up the pace a bit later.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

First Long Run Of The Marathon Season Ends Not Well

This past Friday was the first long run of the marathon season. The run was scheduled to be 22km, but since I have not run more than 15km all off-season, and even that only a few times, I decided to alter the route slightly. My altered route would total 19km, and depending on how I was feeling at the end I would possibly extend it a bit. I call it a long run, because it is my longest since my last marathon. However, my coach does not call it a long run - he says long runs are only called long runs if they are of a distance of more than a half-marathon (21.1km). Anything less is only a medium-long run at best.

I met with a couple other guys who were going to run part of it and then turn around, as they were not going to be running more than 14km. We were running the Lamed Hey route from RBS, being starting in RBS across Road 10 to the 375. Up 375 to Elah Junction. Across 38 to Bet Shemesh, and up to RBS. The run includes two major hills, one being the hill of Zechariya and the second being the Tzeelim hill up to RBS.

After my running partners broke off a bit after Tzomet Aderet, I continued the rest of the way on my own. We were getting a good run. I have not run with a watch in a long time, but now that marathon season is back I decided it was time to start monitoring my speed and distance more accurately again. A few quick glances at my watch let me know that were were running at a pretty fast pace. It is not unusual as that stretch of road is at a slight downhill angle and it is easy to not pay attention and run much faster than normal without realizing.

After they broke off and I continued on towards Elah Junction, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my left calf. It felt almost like a small bruise, but I am pretty sure it was a slight muscle pull. Nothing specific caused it - I didn't misstep suddenly or trip or anything that i noticed. The pain just suddenly appeared. I stopped and stretched it out a bit, and then kept going. it still hurt, but I had to get home, so my only option was to keep going.

The only thing I could think of that caused it was perhaps running too fast, It is a classic mistake at the beginning of the season. Thankfully, it was not bad. I was able to continue on, slowing down a bit. i made it up the entire Zechariya hill respectably.

Only when climbing the Tzeelim hill did I have to stop and walk a bit as the pain increased with the hill. I got to the top and finished the run at 19km and did not extend it. Obviously the pain increased over the day, but then over Shabbos it began decreasing. i still feel it slightly, but it mostly gone. I expect by tomorrow I should be running again.

Besides for the pain, the timing worked out after I turned at the Elah Junction that I saw a beautiful view of the mountains just after sunrise with the sun over the Elah valley and the mountainous backdrop. It was stunning and the air was beautiful and cool. The run was beautiful, albeit slightly marred by the slight muscle pain. If everything goes well, it looks like it should be a great season.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Double-Morning Run That Didn't Happen

Today's run was going to be unusual. Due to a convergence of events, I was planning to run two separate runs this morning. I was going to run at 5 am with one running partner, and then at 6:15 am with a second. When the possibility of this happening came up I decided to go for it. i figured marathon training season just began - the whole idea of running, and training for, a marathon is going beyond your abilities. Running the marathon itself is crazy, so when you train you sometimes have to do crazy runs as well.

Anyways, it did not work out because my first running partner overslept, so waking up at 4:30 am turned out to be a waste of time.. I still ran a great run at 6:15 am, logging 7km in the nice cool morning air.

I am going to soon start ramping up my mileage...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Runner's Guide To Israel: Burma Road and Nachshon Nature Reserve

This morning was the last run of the off-season. Friday off-season runs are almost always trails, often trails that the group has never before run. The group scheduled a casual 14km run on Burma Road.

  1. When the group says "casual" or "easy" or anything of the sort, I know I am in trouble. i always expect it to really be a slower pace than they usually run, but it never is. With me being much slower than almost everyone else, I often get left in their dust.
  2. I have run Burma Road before, and know it is a beautiful run, and doable in my Vibram barefoot shoes.
So, I decided to join the group for this last trail run of the off-season. And it was really nice.

The group really did run a semi-casual pace, and they stopped at frequent enough stops to let the laggers like me catch up.

And, it was only partially Burma Road. We started off on Burma Road, and then hooked into the Nachal Nachshon Nature Reserve. Burma Road was as beautiful and pleasant as always, but the Nachshon Nature Reserve was really stunning. We ran through vineyards, crossed a soft-dirt field that had just been freshly turned, along a field of grass, and sheer beauty of nature and the Land of Israel. We also ran by a couple people who were using the vast empty space to fly a remote controlled airplane. They had the plane about 150 or 200 meters up in the air.

The run started northward, turned east and then we ran parallel to Highway 1 for a bit. Then we looped around back to Burma Road and back to Al Derech Burma store to shower and daven.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Marathon Training Season Cometh

This morning I ran my third run of the week, with another 6.5km run. The early morning runs are great in the still-cool air and mostly empty roads.

With marathon training season about to begin, the runs are going to have to start earlier in the morning and go longer distances. Runs of 6.5 to 8 km are not going to cut it starting next week. The training is great, but the change in schedule is going to be tough, getting up so much earlier, and then running distances that will take me until my day actually has to start with kids going to school and work.

Looking at it now, I could easily see how I could talk myself out of doing it, saying I don't have the time or whatnot. good thing I just registered in early registration for the 2012 Israel Marathon in Tiberias to be run in January 2012. Now that I paid the money I am committed and have to train.