Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August Update

I've gotten over the July slump, and am improving again.  So much so that I've made a bold announcement on dailymile:
I've decided to train for a half marathon in twelve hours next May. Most of you would find that slow, but I currently think a half mile is a good workout, so it is a big deal for me.
The idea grew from a couple things.  In the minimialist runner discussion group, the Big Dog Backyard Ultra was discussed.  In the Big Dog Backyard Ultra, there is a 4.5 mile loop, that must be completed every hour on the hour.  You can run as fast or slow as you want, as long as you finish the loop within the hour, then you rest until the clock strikes again.  Last man standing wins.  (Last man standing probably knows how to catnap on bare earth and awake quickly to an alarm.)

Last May I spectated and photographed the Mind The Ducks 12 Hour race.  The race is to see who can do the most 1/2 mile laps in 12 hours.  I did about three laps of the course over three visits during the race to do my photography. 

So between these ideas, for a beginning runner like me, how about one 1/2 mile loop every hour on the hour for 12 hours?  I'd run/walk for 10 minutes, and have 50 minutes to rest, do photography, or grill up some good food.  Not worth an official entry, I could walk the "wrong" way around the course like one of the racers' support crew did the last couple years.  But wait, I have almost a year to train for this, I could maybe do two laps per hour without regretting it later.  Two laps per hour would be a total of 12 miles, and a half marathon is 13.1 miles.  That's 3 extra laps over the course of 12 hours.  That seems doable, and worth an official entry if I feel up to it when early registration comes up.
Mind The Ducks 12 Hour, 2011
Because of the flexible format of Mind The Ducks, there is no pressure to complete a specific pace or a specific milage.  One half mile loop and I'm officially a race finisher.  I will keep the race as motivation to train, but I will not overtrain to meet a specific race goal.  The run/rest strategy will help me with my goal of staying on the course for 12 hours, but since I'll be coming in last place, it matters little to the racers or crew how many laps I actually complete.

(Minimalist Runner Discussion)

Maybe in 2013 I can do a full marathon that way, 4 laps per hour, with 5 more laps over the whole day.

What am I doing special to train for this?  Well, not really much, except that it's keeping me motivated to work out more regularly.  My DailyMile goal is set to "Train six days a week, including one long hike a week...".  The race is motivation to train, but I'm still healing and remodeling my body, so pushing it harder to train will only sideline me.  Regular workouts will do the most for the healing process.  The long hikes have been scheduled on the calendar, rest days occur as they will when things just don't work out in my schedule, and if they don't happen by chance will be added in after the long hike days.

Recent Doings:
We had company last week, got to see some of the local tourist attractions, Corning, Letchworth, Taughannock, Dinosaur Bar-B-Q, Broad Street Bridge, Eastman House, Red Wings Baseball, and the Sterling Renaissance Festival.  I let myself off the hook on official workouts, and still managed to overdo it.

After Corning/Letchworth we had a day off and I felt great.

Letchworth Middle Falls
Family at Letchwoth Gorge

(Can you tell I love panarams?)

Me and the pup at Taughannock

At Taughannock I was fine with the campsite to falls overlook hike, then after my noon nap I decided to walk down to the gorge trail.  There is a massive set of large, irregular, stone steps leading from the campsite down to the gorge.  I should have realized I was in trouble when I felt I had to resort to my lopsided right leg leading decent to remain in control, but I stubbornly plugged on, did half the gorge trail, and went back up those horrible steps.  My right calf let me know afterwards that I'd overdone it, but I was mostly able to keep up with company for the rest of the week.  (I sat on the floor a couple times during talks on the walking tour of Eastman House.)

Daniel, Duke of Danger, playing us a little music

At Sterling, I made the choice to wear my soft moccasins over the rough stony paths.  This was a bit of a foot workout, but going slow kept my calf happy.  At the last act of the day I gave in and switched to huaraches, which were slightly more protective.  In addition to taking it easy when walking, we spent much of our time resting on benches, watching our favorite shows.

My right calf is almost better now, although I think I'll stick to walking workouts for a bit.  The gym pool is closed for the week as they get ready for the beginning of fall quarter, and the puppy will appriciate getting out more.

Some guy from the shovelglove website
Shovelglove is a small oddity I've introduced to my workout schedule.  When I lack the motivation to go for a walk, I sometimes substitute some shovelglove.  Shovelglove uses a normal sledgehammer as an exercise device.  The "glove" part comes from the idea of covering the sledgehammer with something soft, but I'm not worried about scratching my floors, and no amount of padding is going to make a sledgehammer not hurt if you drop it on your toes, so I'm just sticking with slow, careful, controlled movements.

 I'm not strong enough for most of the movements, but I can work on my core by holding it different ways and bending or twisting gently.  This might not help the running much, but I think it will help develop muscles I need for gardening, and I'm really only using the running to improve my fitness to do more useful and fun things.

So overall, progress is occuring again, and I'm encouraged to keep trying no matter what other people say, and not allow anyone to push me to do more than I should, any more than I will let them discourage me into giving up.  I'm gonna be selfish on this, and do what's right for me.