Thursday, March 26, 2009

Early Spring Update

The snow is almost gone now in the lower elevations except for an occasional mound of snow or ice in the shady areas. And with the disappearing snow comes the emergence of MUD. Yes, tripped and went hands first into some nice wet, cold and squishy mud tody. Spring is here!

Up til now, the winter training has been happening with cold, wind, snow and ice. I don't use the treadmill or belong to a club so all running has been outside, every day. No major falls on the ice for me this winter but many friends have gone down. One treat this year has been the use of the UVM indoor track for one hour each week for 12 weeks thanks to the Green Mountain Athletic Club. Doing speedwork in the middle of winter is new to me as is the use of an indoor track. And running with the shorter distance fast guys is a motivator if you can avoid injury. In the end, it should help in my longer training.

The race season officially started in February with the Amherst 10 miler. We lucked out with weather as we drove down in snow but it stopped about half way down. For the race, temps were in the 30's which is balmy for us northerners, some even wore shorts. But I held out and wore tights and was glad I did as around mile 7, the cold damp air returned with a light drizzle. This was part of the USTAF Grand Prix Series so all the New England fast guys were there. I was there with 30 or so members of the GMAA team. In the end, I was ok for my "training run" as I call all of these races and finished 3rd in my age group but did get a * which I never had before. (time met the USATF guidelines for national ranking). I always wanted one of those. One the way back it snowed the whole way and a long ride it was.

The second race of the season was two weeks ago, the New Bedford Half Marathon which was also a New England Grand Prix race with close to 2000 runners. We had about 24 of us representing the GMAA. Another "training run" for me. It was shorts weather for sure with temps nearing 50, almost hot for us notherners. Very little wind too so great race conditions. My goal was to keep it around 6 minute miles and be consistent. And that I did. In the end I ended up 3rd in my age group and received another * for my efforts. I finished 7 seconds slower than last year but was still my second fastest 1/2 marathon. Not too bad for a 50 year old.

Now with those two road races done and trails opening up, I can focus on what I really enjoy, the longer distance trail runs. I've been getting in 80 to 100 miles each week and feel good.

Mizuno has been treating me with some excellent gear including fantastic clothing that has gotten me through the winter running season being as warm and comfortable as is possible. And the shoes have been a long time favorite. I prefer the Mizuno Alchemy on hard surfaces such as pavement and frozen dirt roads for the extra stability. For the dirt and running in snow, the Mizuno Ascend is great. Light weight, quick drying yet grippy and stable enough to handle even the rockiest of terrain. The Ascend 4, the newest of the series features a more aggressive grip for the rocks and rough terrain. Thanks Colin from Mizuno & Emily from The SkiRack! :)

For nutrition/sport drinks I have been using the Amino Vital products. Thanks Amino Vital! Being a former member of the Amino Vital Team two years ago, I learned the advantage of their products. They have an endurance formula for runs over 2 hours with added calories. Excellent to use, especially if you are having a hard time getting calories in from other food. I also find with the amino acids in their products, recovery periods are shorter therefore I can train harder with less recovery time. And one of my favorites would be the Fast Charge Powder. I'm not sure what it is but it keeps me going.

Next blog, a tentative race schedule.

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