This past week started out very optimistic, but by Monday night the scratchy throat provided the first warning of what was to follow, I ran an easy run with RB on Tuesday after work, hoping it would not get worse, but by Wednesday I was broadsided with a full blown cold. The rest of the week I didn’t run, most evenings electing to go to bed early as I had no real energy or desire to run. On Saturday I finally ventured out to run with the running club, doing an 8 km run with RB and a couple others, the slower pace still proved to be challenging. On Sunday I had a 20-miler scheduled, but elected to run just half of it, I felt much better, but with my first marathon coming up in 2 weeks thought it would be better to quit early and rest. This morning I feel better, my voice is almost normal and my runny nose has slowed to a trickle, I hope this is a sign that I have finally licked my cold and on the road to recovery.
After work yesterday I ran by RB’s house and we ran 8 km (5 mi.) together before dark. After dropping her off and chatting a couple minutes, I headed over the asphalted paths between the fields separating our town and the neighboring town of Spoeck. By this time it was quite dark out, but the paths are about 1 ½ car width wide and very smooth, perfect for a faster paced run in the dark. My legs were still tired from my long run on Sunday, but I decided to try to run a few kilometers at roughly a 5:30 min/km (8:51 min/mi.), which is my current “speed training” pace. As it was dark I didn’t worry about trying to look at my watch, but after the run I checked my times and noticed I was a bit slower than I thought, around 5:38/km for 5K…I guess it was too soon after my long run after all.
I was thinking about running again this evening, but last night I started feeling the first signs of a cold coming on, that uncomfortable dry, scratchy throat, and this morning is no better …just what I don’t need as I finally getting back into the training routine…but a possible explanation of why I thought I was running faster than I actually was last night.
Yesterday I took a night off from training and did some finishing work in our guest bathroom upstairs in the house. This is one of the four rooms that we remodeled in the shed that is attached to our house. Most of the remodeling is done, but there are dozens of little projects left to do, but these jobs can be spread out over the year, so I should be able to spend more time on my training.
From June to October I ran an average of 3 times a week, in November I increased this to four times a week, and started running my long runs again (i.e. over 12 miles). As my conditioning has been improving I have slowly added some faster mileage, using mixed in with my midweek run(s). I have to be very careful with speed workouts, I’ve noticed my pinched nerve in the back is easy aggravated when I do too much too soon. I have been slack on doing any core and upper body training, so want to slowly mix in some Crossfit/weight training and swimming.
For now I am going to try to continue to run about 50 miles a week for a while, slowly building up my training speed and endurance. On January 26 is my first race, a 50K race in Rodgau, Germany near Frankfurt. I finished the race last year in about 5 ½ hours, but was in slightly better condition, so this year it will be a good test of my fortitude.
…since at least 7 months, my first week of hopefully what will be “normal” training for this years race activities. On Tuesday (New Years Day) I ran 15 km, easy pace around 6:20 min./km, and on Thursday 17 km, at about the same tempo. On Saturday, I went to my running club an hour early and ran 10 km, then another 10 km with friends for a total of 20 km at a 6:05 min./km pace. Today I ran 5 miles, then stopped by my Running Buddy’s (RB) house and picked her up, she ran about 5 miles with me. After dropping her off I continued on until I completed my planned 30 km (about 18.5 miles). The run went pretty well, I felt good until about 25 km, then had to really strain to keep up the pace, I finished in 3 hours and 20 minutes, about average for my current condition, but at least 20 minutes slower than what I could achieve in say pre-2011.
If you have read my blog in the past you may remember that I ran my first (and only) 100 mile race in September, 2010 and also that I had back issues since the beginning of that year (pinched nerve). The latter problem I have learned to live with, trough gymnastic training and other exercises, but as it is connected to the nerves in my right leg I occasionally have pain and/or numbness in my lower leg and/or foot, especially when I run too much speed training.
The 100 mile race left me exhausted, it took me at least 6-9 months to bring my performance back to a halfway acceptable performance, but several other factors, including an increased workload and a major home renovation this past year have prevented me from trying to bring my level of condition up towards my pre-2011 level. Thus my main goal this year is to improve my endurance and eventually speed, adjusted naturally to my age (53). This blog will document this journey, hopefully it will be a success story, but in any case I have a lot of hard work ahead of me.
We are currently renovating our house so my blog writing will continue to be sporadic at best. The short run of the project is that we are turning part of the attached shed of our 200+ year old house into a new bathroom, office, guest bathroom and a small studio for my wife’s artistic tendencies. If the funds hold out we also want to redo the living and dining rooms. Some of the work is being done for us, some of it we are doing ourselves, it will probably take a year or two before we are completely finished.
Despite our ambitious plans I have still been doing some training, and am running a marathon this weekend. As I am running only about 50% of the mileage (average 60 km/week) this year compared to what I usually do, I have set my goals really low for the marathon, e.g. my good day goal is around 4 ½ hours.
I am also signed up for a 12-hour race on April 30th-May 1 (May 1 is a holiday in Germany)…and yes I realize that is a week after the marathon and I am poorly trained. The 12-hour race takes place on a 776 meter looping course, and my only goal is to complete at least the marathon distance, and that I can do walking the whole thing with a 5 hour nap in between 😉