Monday, March 7, 2011

W.O.W.- Long run in the snow

The Plan
Today's Workout of the Week is the Long Run. The long run is actually the least complicated of all the workouts. Go. Run. Stop much, much later. In endurance sports, it may actually be the most intimidating. It's probably also the least interesting to write about, until you consider that there are stories to go along.

Pondering (formerly the Banter-Girl, though her profile is 'Pondering Blah Blah Blah', too long for me to actually remember) and I set out for what was to be as much as we can smush into 90 minutes on Sunday morning. She's training for the NYC Half-Marathon and needed some motivation. Why she picked me is anyone's guess. I brought the Perfect Running Partner.

Here's a shot of Pondering and the PRP pre-run. You can tell it's pre-run because she's smiling and has the energy to wave. Pondering has been taught well. Dresses in layers. Running gloves on. Shiny 'look-at-me' vest.

The PRP is unhappy. He hates getting his picture taken. He's sick of standing around. Enough of the talking and posing. Let's run.

Mother Nature Does Not Like Us
Yesterday, the temperatures in Western NY were riding 50. Yeah, it rained, but woohoo 50º! Overnight, the rain magically transformed itself to snow. Look carefully at the pic again. When you finish staring at Pondering, you might notice the snow in the background. Now I'm no weatherman or meteorologist (I understand that these two titles are actually quite different), but I believe that one condition required for snow is cold. Clearly no longer 50º. Too bad, the run must go on.

Our goal for the run was to make it 9 miles in 90 minutes (I'll wait while you get out the pace calculator and do the math for minutes per mile). Alas, since snow was not plowed on any side street or side walk, pacing was slow going. Further, both Pondering and I run in Mizunos, which are nice enough to have a weight reduction void in the mid-heel. Snow packed itself in there like a barnacle hitching a ride on my whale of a foot, then extended itself past the boundary of the shoe. All that snow-cake made certain that heel striking was impossible. Now we added midsole striking to our workout goals.

The Male Ego Explained
At the turn of the century, scientists finished the multi-billion dollar Human Genome Project. HGP is a map pinpointing the locations of every gene in the species. During the project, they discovered some new sequences previously unknown. Midway down the Y-chromosome, they discovered the male-ego gene.  Later studies indicate how the gene works. The gene is automatically turned on in the presence of women. The hotter the female, or the larger number of females, the harder the gene works. The ego gene is also activated in the presence of children and other men whose gene has also been activated. The gene is inactive when you are alone or in the presence of your Mommy. Don't ask. I don't fully understand it either. But, I do know that since I live with a hot chick (AKA the Wife), am a teacher, and my Mommy lives 550 miles away, my ego-gene is running the equivalent of 20 hours per day, 7 days a week.

Unless your name is Lee Majors, you do not look good falling down. How do I look mid-fall? Kinda like a clod. The fall happened was while Pondering was watching. I slipped. Fell. Caught myself. Bounced back up like nothing had happened. Even if I had a bone piercing through the skin, since I was running with a girl, the ego-gene dictates that I shake it off as only a scratch. Only, it was a scratch without any long-term damage. Pondering was giving me an opportunity to slow/ stop. I felt fine. The worse part about the fall was my wrist. It hurt from catching my upper body. I was worried about my wrist. It was my right wrist too. That's the wrist I use for, umm, writing. We kept jogging.

The Dilemma
There are 2 main lines of thinking when scheduling your weekly workouts. The first is to focus on time. How many minutes of swimming/ biking/ running, etc. Next week, maintain or increase by no more than 10%. The second is to focus on distance. How many yards for swimming and miles for biking/ running. Next week, maintain or increase by no more than 10%. I'm not so normal. I do distance in the pool and for running. I do time for biking. I would do distance for biking, but since I'm stuck in the basement, distance makes no sense.

Last week, my long run was 13.5 miles in 1:48 (that's hours and minutes, not minutes and seconds). The weather and Pondering both slowed me down. I am grumpy with the weather. With Pondering, not so much. At the 1:34 mark, we hit 8 miles. Pondering was done. I still had more work to do.
Here's Pondering and the PRP post-run. She's still smiling albeit forced. No more waving. Energy is gone. He's much more calm.

Do I still focus on distance, meaning at least 5.5 miles more? But, that would take me around :45, which is a significant increase in total time. To further complicate matters, it's morning, I'm grumpy,  I haven't eaten much yet and was already out of calories. I planned on playing it by ear and seeing how things go.

Fall Number 2
With Pondering out of the picture, I was able to run at my own pace. The PRP couldn't have cared less. He's was just happy to run. Two miles into part 2, I hit a patch of ice large enough to make Greenland jealous. My snow covered Wave Riders were no match for this hidden, slick patch of death. Down I go. Since it was just the PRP and me, the ego gene was turned off. This time, I was injured. The right ankle took the brunt of the blow. Fortunately for the long run, it happened about the apex of loop. I had 2 more miles to go and it was cold out. Bum ankle or not, I was running. I finished off the run and ended at 12 miles. The dilemma became moot. The ankle decided the distance.

Gargolye with Ice Helmet
Puppy Ice Helmet
Apparently, neither one of us can keep our eyes open during a photo shoot. I think that, if I added a chin strap, the ice helmet may be race legal.

1 comment:

  1. Feeling honored that I'm mentioned in this post! Glad we survived the crappy weather, can't wait for next Sunday!!
    (And I approve whole-heartedly of the new nickname!)