Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Run 2014: Weeks 31 - 33

Week 31:
     Nada. Nothing. To be honest I don't remember what exactly happened this week. I know that Justin was having leg cramps on Friday night/Saturday and since we were visiting my family I didn't feel up to heading out on my own. But I'm not sure what happened on Tuesday or Thursday nights. Something apparently. 

Week 32:
October 14   
     3.14 miles in 29:41, average 9:27
     We had to take the car into the shop and because of that Justin got off work much later than normal. We still managed to tuck a quick 3 miler in between him getting home and making supper. I was pretty proud of us actually.

October 18
     12.19 miles in 3:22:49, average 16:38
     Another terrible average but a really good run! We were at Shades State Park and it was beautiful! The trees were brilliantly colored but they hadn't really started dropping yet. It was wonderful. Even the freak storm (it wasn't supposed to rain that day!) wasn't a big deal. It was actually really fun. Climbing up wet slippery rocks while it pours on your head? Awesome!

October 19
     Bonus: 7.71 mile hike in Turkey Run State Park on a gorgeous sunny fall day!

Week 33:
October 23
     7.18 miles in 1:15:52, average 10:34
     A much better pace! This was a fun and pretty easy trail run on the local mountain biking/multi use trails not too far from our house. These trails have lots of back and forths and many ups and downs. Not a ridiculous amount of elevation change but definitely enough to make my legs work tired.

October 26
     15.32 in 3:04:32, average 12:03
     A pretty good run actually. Our first run of the Huff loop. It was hillier than I remembered it being but it went pretty well. I was pretty tired by the end and was walking up most of the big hills. But our pace averaged out great. So I'm pleased with how it went.

Taking a break in Shades State Park

Well, things haven't gone quite as smoothly as I would have hoped. We missed a run each in weeks 32 & 33 because Justin's grandpa died and we weren't feeling up to it. I know that some people like to head out on runs when they're feeling upset or emotional but that's not really how either of us are. So we cozied up inside for a couple of nights and spent time together. It was definitely the right choice for us.

But that means that we're not catching up as quickly as we might have. I think it'll be fine. I'm still feeling confidant about running the Huff. I really do think that we can do it. We're obviously not using the training plan exactly at the moment but it's still definitely guiding our runs. I think we'll probably continue to base our runs off of it every week even if we don't follow it precisely. 

On our long run this past week we went out to the park where the Huff is held and ran one loop of the Huff trail. For the actual race we'll run this same loop twice. The path is marked with special markers that say "Indiana Trail 100" which is actually another race that is run in the spring on this same trail. It went well and it was pretty. It was interesting to see where they had obviously changed the route in the last few years. All of the changes involved going up hillsides to get away from marshy areas. That definitely added a decent bit of elevation change since every time we went up we had to come back down again! But I think I'll get used to it. We're planning on doing all our long runs out there for the training cycle. As in all seven of them. Yes ladies and gentlemen we have seven long runs until the Huff!

Aside from all that, physically I've been feeling pretty good. My left ankle is still doing well with it's brace and my legs have been feeling pretty strong. My right ankle has been a bit sore with running on the trails so much. I'm working on my ankle exercises again to see if I can get it settled out. If I can get it to calm down then I'll end up bracing it also. Obviously I need to spend sometime this winter/down season to work on strengthening my ankles. Right now though, I'm working damage control.

In other news, I need gaiters. My socks and shoes were filled with leaf bits and dirt. Does anyone have any that they recommend?

Huff 50k: 8 weeks

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Run 2014: Weeks 28 - 30

Week 28:
September 16
     2 x 1200 @ ~2min per lap
     4 x 800 @ ~2min per lap
 September 20
     12.03 in 1:59:37, average 9:52
     This was a really good run for me. Our usual route was taken over by a festival in the middle so we drove further into town and ran a different stretch of the greenway. It made for some different scenery and it was pretty fun. 

Week 29: - Taper week!
September 23
      6 x 400 @ 2min per lap
     Fun and pretty easy. There was a cross country meet going on at our usual track so we went to a local park and figured out an out and back route. It was a beautiful day and lots of walkers were out. It made it entertaining. 

September 25
     3.1 in 28.55, average 9:19
     This was supposed to be an easy run. And this pace was what felt easy. I love distance training. It makes the short stuff so much fun!

September 27 - Fort4Fitness Half
     13.28 in 2:05:04, average 9:25
     I started my phone as soon as I started moving forward so it doesn't like up exactly with the timing chip. But that was the goal. It was still a record with my fastest half marathon and longest 1 hour run to date.

Week 30:
September 30
     1 x 1600 @ ~2min per lap
     The plan was to run 3 x 1600 but we just didn't have it in us. We were both super sore still since it was only three days after the half marathon.

October 2
     3.12 in 30:51, average 9:54
     Because of how Tuesday's run had gone we decided just to do another 3 miler and work on easing back into things. Let me tell you, this one was much harder than the week before. Things were still somewhat sore but not as bad. It was more just the fact that I felt like I was working pretty hard and my pace just doesn't reflect that. It was an interesting one to be sure. Also, this was my first run in long sleeves. It was chilly!

October 4
     10.6 in 2:27:25, average 13:55
     Okay, guys. I know that those numbers look bad.  A 13:55 minute mile is slow. Like I broke a toe and I'm hobbling slow. BUT. It was actually a really good run! This was our first trail run of this cycle and it was a lot of fun. It was in the low 40s, drizzly, and quite windy but we drove over to the local mountain biking trails and got in a good 10 miles. We had originally had 18 miles on the docket but really didn't feel like we were up for that yet. So we set out at a gentle pace and hoped to make it to double digits if everything went well. And it really did.

After our first trail run of the season

Well, now that the half is done we only have one goal for the rest of this year. Get our strength built for the Huff 50k. This is really our big run for the year. It was fun to do the half but we really just threw it in because we knew that we would already be training for something longer. And now that it's over it's time to refocus. There are a couple of things that we'll be doing differently. One is that we'll be shifting as many of our runs as possible to trails. Long runs will always be on trails and hopefully a good number of our tempo runs will be as well. Trail races are very, very different from road races and we want as much training on the trails as possible before the Huff.

However, because we'll be shifting to trails our times and speeds will slip, by a lot. We'll still be doing track repeats and pushing on the tempo runs. But I'm expecting all of my numbers from here on out to be in the double digits and that's just how it'll be. It s possible to build mileage and maintain speed. But road paces don't equate to trail paces. At all. So it will be interesting to see where I settle out on my pace for our trail runs.

The one other change that I'm anticipating is getting to run with Justin more often. I am really looking forward to this part of training. We'll still run separately sometimes of course. But there are times where it's easier and safer to run together. When we're first running in a new park for instance. Because park maps are never fully accurate and parks aren't frequently well signed, it'll be better if we run together until we become familiar with the trails. This will mean more runs with Justin which always means more fun! We always have interesting conversations. This past run we spent a long time talking about all the foods we would put at an Ultra aid station. It would be the best aid station ever!

All in all, I am looking forward to seeing how all this goes. Did I mention we're already eying a race for January? I'm pretty sure we're insane ;-)

Huff 50k: 11 weeks

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chunky Tomato Basil Soup

You know how sometimes you have that one perfect meal that just sticks with you? That's how this soup and fries meal is for me. We had been in New Zealand for two and a half weeks almost and the whole time it had been cold, rainy, and windy. In short, perfect normal October weather. The only problem was that October in the Southern Hemisphere equals springtime. So for weeks Justin and I had been craving soups and pastas and everything fallish. And just about all we could find was salads and sandwiches. We had some very, very delicious foods but it just wasn't what I was craving.

And then, the night before we were due to take the fairy back to the north island, we stumbled upon a little pub that had soups. Well, Justin got the seafood chowder and I got the most delicious and satisfying bowl of chunky tomato basil. The potatoes were pretty tasty too; served freshly fried with a scoop of sour cream. But it's that tomato basil that has really haunted me.

Ever since that cold Springtime (October) afternoon, I've been looking to recreate that meal. A couple of weeks ago, almost exactly two years since I had that perfect bowl of soup, I stumbled upon this recipe that tasted exactly how I remembered it. Delicious, warm broth with chunks of onion and tomato and just a hint of oil floating on top. Sprinkle it liberally with sea salt and just a pinch of fresh parmesan. Mmmmm... 

Now all we have to find is the perfect seafood chowder. If you have a favourite recipe let me know in the comments!

Chunky Tomato Basil
      Adapted from: The Roasted Root

Servings: 4-6

1 tablespoons olive oil
2 small yellow onions, chopped
*8 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½  teaspoons dried basil
3 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes with juice
1 ½ cups chicken/turkey stock
1 tbs butter
½ tsp baking soda
Sea salt to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

In a large pot, sauté the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Dump the diced tomatoes with juice, broth, basil, and butter into the pot. Stir until butter is melted.

Add the baking soda. This will create a reaction with the acidity in the soup and will fizzle up so stir continuously.

Bring the soup to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on.

Justin and I liked ours with freshly grated parmesan on it.

*We love lots and lots of garlic so we added eight cloves. If you have more normal tastes, I would scale back to 4 cloves.