Thursday, July 31, 2008

Catching up

I have not been feeling very bloggy the past few days so my runs have gone undocumented. Time to fix that.

On Monday, the day after my half-century bike ride, I had a short two-miler scheduled. I was a little wary of this run because of above-mentioned ride and previously mentioned ankle sprain. I am happy to report that neither was a factor. My ankle, although still a bit tender, was fine as long as I ran on a flat or right-sloping surface. Running on a right-sloping surface meant I had to run with traffic, which is a no-no. Oh well, I gotta do what I gotta do.

Yesterday, I had seven miles on my schedule. I'd rate that run as a solid meh. The first four miles were okay, I was maintaining my 10:15 or less pace per minute, but then I quickly started to realize that I did not eat enough carbs before my run to sustain my pace and soon I was feeling very doggy. I did bring some supplements with me, but since I was already running on empty (ha ha, that's so retarded), it only gave me about a 10 minute burst. I struggled through the last few miles. My pace per minute doesn't reflect how crappy I felt, but I really had to dig deep in order to maintain it. I felt really crappy the rest of the night and slept right through my alarm this morning. I still feel like I need another two hours of sleep, which I'm hoping to catch up on tonight.

Since my weekday runs are starting to rival weekend long runs in length, it's time to start experimenting with food during the day. I think I'll head to the Co-op after work to restock on Pemmican bars.

Next up, an eight miler on Saturday. I'll probably run in Copper Harbor while waiting for the Copperman Triathlon to start. James has entered again this year and we're heading up to cheer him on. Since I'm an early bird (...unlike some people I know who are coming up later in the morning so they can sleep in ... ahem), I'll ride up with James at seriously-early-o'clock and get my run in before the event starts at 9:00. I've just got to figure out a decent route. I'm thinking I'll have James drop me off at the Burma Road and run that to Lake Manganese Road then head toward the end of 41. About five miles of that is running through the woods, good thing I picked up some pepper spray to ward off the bears.

And finally, Sunday marks the Otter River Pneumatic Yachting Club's Fifth Annual Gala and Regatta. Beer, burgers, tubing and lighting James's lawn on fire. Summer is officially here!


Sunday, July 27, 2008


Miles, that is. That's how far I rode on my bike today.

The first leg of my journey took me to Laurium via M-203 & Calumet Waterworks Road. Aside from the enormous hill on Waterworks Road, the ride to Laurium was pretty easy. I think my odometer was right around 25 miles when I pulled into Josh's driveway.

I hung out at Josh's place for about 45 minutes before heading back home. I was going to take US-41 back, but didn't want to fight with the traffic, so I decided to take M-203. Lucky me, the wind shifted and was directly in my face and blowing hard. To say that my ride back sucked would be an understatement. My legs were on fire from the moment I left Laurium and by the time I arrived at McLain's Park, they were spent. Great, only 15 miles back to my house. I took a 15 minute break at the park and headed back out. More leg misery.

I got back to Houghton with 46 miles on the odometer and was within .5 miles of my house when my inner sadist took over and I decided it would be cool if I hit 50 miles on this ride. So, off I went to add another four miles to my ride. I promised myself that as soon as my odometer hit 50, I was getting off the bike and walking no matter how far I was from my house. I hit 50 about 25 feet from my driveway.

I have no idea how my legs are going to feel tomorrow. It's a good thing my scheduled two-mile run is supposed to be slow and easy because that's probably about all I'll be able to manage.


Thursday, July 24, 2008

First ride

I took a nice 22.5 mile ride after work today.

I finally figured out how to properly operate my shifters and trim but I keep on forgetting which ones make the gears easier and which ones make them harder. So, most of the time I spend correcting my shifting errors. Gah. I was able to maintain an overall pace of 13mph on the entire ride and I think my maximum speed was 31.5 or something.

Anyway, first ride, good ride.

I am with bike

Behold the 50cm Trek 1.5. Ain't it purdy?

It's going to take some time getting used to the shifters, they are unlike anything I've used on a bike before, and it'll probably take a bit more tweaking on the seat to get it just right. I took it for an 8 mile spin last night and I was able to cruise along at 14 mph without much effort. I had to really crank on my mountain bike to maintain that speed. I think the 15 lb. difference between the two might have something to do with it.

I also bought a new helmet. I'd been using Josh's helmet so I figured it was time to invest in one that actually fit me.

Besides getting repair-related equipment, I think my next purchase will be the shoes and pedals to be able to go clipless.

I also think it was fate that I bought the bike, because I was leaving my house to go on my ride and I rolled my left ankle coming down the back stairs. That's the same ankle I rolled on my 10-mile run last summer. I landed on the same knee and wrist that I did last summer, too. My ankle is slightly swollen and bruised and my knee has a lovely scrape on it which will add to the collection of scars from last summer. My ankle doesn't hurt like it did last summer, but it is a bit tender. So, I'm skipping my runs for the rest of the week and attempt to become one with my bike in the meantime. No biggie, this was a cutback week anyway.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Barfy Wednesday

Up until yesterday, I'd never come close to throwing up during a run, no matter how hard I push myself. Yesterday, I almost broke that streak. I came seriously close to losing my cookies about 3 miles into my run. I stopped at the pavilion next to the Super 8 motel for a drink of water and took off again only to be overcome by a serious bout of nausea. I kept on running because when I slowed down, the nausea got worse. I finished up my run and sat down on a picnic bench for a few minutes until the worst of it passed. I met up with Josh as the KBC and felt better once I had some pop. So, I'm thinking that maybe I had low blood sugar (which I'm prone to) or was dehydrated.

Anyway, my time for the four miles wasn't all that bad despite feeling so awful.

Hopefully my Thursday run will turn out better.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Weight Session

I decided to postpone running until tomorrow because I just didn't feel like going. Besides, I didn't want to risk getting caught in the rain. So, I just did a short strength session tonight.

125 sit-ups on the stability ball (75 regular, 50 oblique twists)
50 push-ups with the ball
3 x 12 back extensions on the ball
3 x 20 bicep curls with 10 lb weights
3 x 20 tricep curls with 10 lb weights
3 x 20 shoulder shrugs with 10 lb weights


The bike quest continues

After striking out at TBS on Friday, I was contacted by Cross Country Sports who informed me that they'd be able to get a Trek 1.5 in my size. It was pretty much out of my price range, but they made me a really, really good deal on it. It's a serious upgrade from the Trek 1.2 I tried out a few weeks ago

So, I told them to order one and if it fits me, I'd buy it. It'll be here on Wednesday.

Fingers crossed!

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Running at the crack of dawn. Seriously.

I actually got up at 5:00 this morning in order to go running. Turns out, the sun doesn't rise until after 6:20 so I ended up sitting around for an hour waiting for daylight. Finally I said the heck with it and went out anyway. What's that time between dark and light - twilight? If so, that's what it was outside. It was a little eerie running that early. Usually when I head out at 7:00, I can hear the cars on the highway. This morning I heard nothing. The sun was rising just as I was running past Manninen's Junkyard.

I had a great run this morning. I don't know if it was the early factor, or the weather, right around 51 degrees, but I felt great the entire time. I didn't push things and I still averaged 10:35 miles. Awesome!

Weekly summary:
Run - 16.04 miles @ 10:38
Bike - 7.30 miles @ 10.4 mph


Friday, July 18, 2008

A short weight session

Just a short upper body strength training session tonight.

100 sit-ups on the stability ball (50 regular, 50 oblique twists)
50 push-ups with the ball
3 x 12 back extensions on the ball
3 x 20 bicep curls with 7 lb weights
3 x 20 tricep curls with 7 lb weights

I skipped the leg stuff because of tomorrow's long run.


Whoops, almost forgot Wednesday

My hamstrings have been bugging me for the past few days and I was a little bit reluctant to do my scheduled six miles on Wednesday. I eventually decided to head out and play it by ear; I could always walk if I had to. I am happy to report that things went well. I didn't have to take any walk breaks outside of my normal ones (one minute walk for every two miles) and my hamstrings were just fine.

I ran on the Houghton Canal Road and despite the mile-long climb around mile 3, I was able to keep my splits under 11:00 the entire way and I only ended up slowing down around 30 seconds per mile during the climb. In truth, I thought it was going to be worse than that, so I'm pleased.

I'm heading to The Bike Shop tonight to take a test ride on what I'm hoping will become my new road bike. Tomorrow, I have a scheduled seven mile run then we're heading to Marquette to be touristy and tour the Tilden Mine. I should note that in order for me to get my run in before we leave, I have to get up at 5:00AM. Joy!


Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Nothing exciting to report from my training sessions yesterday. I did a three-mile run followed by a 7-ish mile bike ride.

My hamstrings are upset for some reason. Both of them are giving me problems when I run. Not so much when I'm on the bike. I might need to take a few days off from running and see if that helps.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

The quest for a new bike

Since I want to start competing in duathlons, I need a decent bike. My current ride, a 15+ year old Giant mountain bike which I converted into a road bike by way of new tires, is not going to cut it. So, I've been on a quest to find a proper road bike.

I've mostly been working with The Bike Shop in Houghton. They opened their doors in the old Los Dos Amigos restaurant spot this spring.

I test rode two bikes they had in stock that almost fit me.

2008 Marin Portofina

Size: 51cm
Price: $650-ish
Overall impression: Too big, but it was a nice bike.

2008 Jamis Ventura Race

Size: 51cm
Price: Way too expensive for my budget

Overall impression: Too big, however if they could get it in my size and it fit my budget, I'd get it. Sweet ride.

I also tried out the 2008 Trek 1.2 at Cross Country Sports.

Size: 50cm
Price: $659
Overall impression: Pretty, but I was unimpressed with the components and the seat. Seemed like it might be overpriced for what was offered. At least it allowed me to get a size comparison and I know I need something that's 50cm.

Down Wind Sports had the 2008 Giant OCR3 which Josh said was "crap" so I didn't even bother taking for a test drive.

I was in The Bike Shop on Saturday afternoon buying some new running sunglasses and Gu and one of the owners told me that they would have a 50cm 2008 James Satellite Femme in the store on Friday. I can't buy it because it belongs to another customer, but it's in my price range so if it fits me well I'm ordering one.

Here's it is, in all it's glory

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Saturday, July 12, 2008


I had a nice seven-miler this morning.

I got up at 5:45AM (!) and was out the door by 6:40. I originally planned on running a route which would end near the Houghton park, making for a short walk home, but it was so windy outside that I changed my route after two miles and took the Denton Road loop instead.

M post-run strength training routine consisted of the following:

100 sit-ups on the stability ball (50 regular, 50 oblique twists)
50 push-ups with the ball
3 x 12 back extensions on the ball
3 x 12 squats with the ball
3 x 20 bicep curls with 7 lb weights
3 x 20 tricep curls with 7 lb weights
3 x 20 inner thigh squeezes with the ball

Weekly summary:
Run - 15.06 miles @ 10:33
Bike - 6.95 miles @ 8.9 mph

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Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A year in review

My five mile run tonight was uneventful. It was a scheduled tempo run where I was supposed to run slow for one mile, then around 11:00 for three miles, then slow for the last mile.

I totally blew that and just ran. Oh well, I had the best of intentions.

My feet have sufficiently developed enough callouses that I can run without tape. That's good because taping was a pain.

The last .75 mile of my run was down the left side M-26. I had a sharp pain on the inside of my left knee the entire way down. The sidewalk is apparently too cambered for my knee. I thought about switching sides, but there was too much traffic so I just kept on going. As soon as I got on a level surface, the pain went away.

Oh yeah..the title of my post. I was running some reports on my running and found some validation for all the hard work I've been doing on my running over the past year.

One year ago I ran 5 miles in 1:06 and my pace was 13:09 (ha, so slow!). Tonight I ran 5 in 53:20 and my pace was 10:39.

When I first started running around five or six years ago, my goal was to run five miles. I didn't care how long it took me, I just wanted to run that distance. It took me a while to get there, but I finally did it. But I was pretty slow. 12 minute miles were the norm, if I hit some 11's, I was feeling pretty zippy. I figured 10 minute miles were never going to happen.

Now, I'm churning them out regularly and sometimes, like on Monday, I hit the 9's. I think I may be a runner now, rather than a shuffler. And that is very cool.

Here's the entire report for 5 mile distances over the last year. Sweet validation, it is.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Not even gonna question it this time

Three miles in 29:50

Mile 1 - 9:52
Mile 2 - 9:52
Mile 3 - 9:55

Kick ASS

Followed by 6-ish miles on the bike.

Socks - yellow Smartwool micros
Tape - none
Result - no issues

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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Slow six

I ran a slow 6 miles this morning after the 26 miles on the bike yesterday.

My legs were a little tighter in the beginning than they usually are, hence the slow first mile. I did end up making it 75% up the Shopko hill before I had to stop, rather than my usual 50%. I'm sure it was because of the snail's pace I was running. That's pretty cool, but I'd rather keep my speed up.

I was worried about the traffic on M-26, but it was fine. I think I saw three or four cars the entire time I was out. I battled a strong head-wind all the way to Old Mill Road not to mention the humidity, which had to be around 80%. Whew.

Weekly summary:
Run - 14.25 miles @ 11:17
Bike - 33.70 miles @ 11.7 mph

That's it for the week.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday afternoon ride

This afternoon, James and I met up in Lake Linden and biked to Gay for the Gay Parade.

The ride out was fairly easy, once we got past the enormous hill on the turn to Gay. It took us just under an hour to ride the 13 miles. The ride back to Lake Linden was a bit more of a challenge as it's uphill for about 10 miles, which explains why the ride out was easy. The ride back took 10 minutes longer than the way out.

Ride summary:
26.11 miles in 2:07:19 for an average speed of 12.3 mph.

Josh rode his motorcycle out to join in the festivities. The parade was a hoot as usual.

My favorite entry:

My second favorite:

Josh and James:

Bonus for me, I bought $5 of raffle tickets and I won a $20 gift certificate to the Loading Zone! We blew it all at the Loading Zone after our ride. Easy come, easy go.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fast Five

I did a zippy five miles tonight followed by 20 minutes of strength training. My first two miles were totally uphill, and were my slowest. The remaining three were downhill/flat and I was able to crank out times in the 10-minute range for those. In all, I was able to average 10:40 miles overall. Not too shabby.

My strength training routine varies from session to session. Tonight I worked on my abs (100 sit-ups on the stability ball), arms (50 push-ups, then bicep, tricep & shoulder work with the 10 lb. weights), back (reverse sit-ups) and legs. Since that was my first strength session since probably April, I'll probably be sore tomorrow. No pain, no gain.

Foot report:

socks - yellow Smartwool micros
tape - big toes, one piece underneath

No blisters, no tender spots.

That's the third day of running with no foot issues. I think I finally found the recipe.

Next up, Six on Saturday. I'm starting to get bored running the same old routes. I think I'll head toward Atlantic Mine and Old Mill Hill. I figure if I go early enough, M-26 will be traffic-free. I was thinking around 6:00 AM ?