Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Back Into the Woods...AGAIN!

I might need to rename this blog The Bluestocking Hiker/Biker. The pain and tightness in my hamstrings and hips after last week's 9 miles gave me a MAJOR message....STOP RUNNING AND LET US HEAL!! If I hope to run 26 miles in 4 weeks I have to seriously rethink what I'm going to do moving forward. My efforts to train through the tightness are just NOT working. My last long run was at the end of February (20 miles) so this year I'll be having an unusually long tapering period in my marathon training - like 2 months of tapering! I'm going to take Jack's advice and hammer some arc trainer workouts indoors, but on the others days I will be biking and hiking.

I was all excited when I first bought my mountain bike two weeks ago only to realize that most trails are closed during the muddy, wet months of March and April. And because of the heavy rains recently it REALLY is a mess out there on the trails. Certain trails are completely impassable because of flooding. This forces me out on the roads which makes me very nervous as most of my friends who bike regularly have been hit by a car at least once. I am not at all comfortable with those statistics. So yesterday I decided to take a trip down to the Cape and ride the 22 miles back and forth (total of 44 plus) on the Cape Cod Rail Trail starting in Dennis and ending in Welfleet. What a blast!! Weather was kind of crappy, but definitely doable, plus I headed off trail a few times when I saw what looked like a fairly easy trail through the woods. I'm guessing I biked about 50 miles and after some research on the Internet I was disappointed to learn that this was only equivalent to about a 10 mile run. However, one BIG bonus was I FEEL GREAT TODAY!! No aches or pains and I had FUN.

While I'm really anxious to start running again, I'm also very excited about mountain biking this spring and summer. NEMBA is a great resource for finding good trails, and at this point I'm looking for ones that are mostly ranked as easy/moderate. I can hardly wait to explore the Myles Standish State Park (Plymouth) and the Shawme Crowell Forest (Sandwich) this summer.

At least my biker chick adventures and research serves as a distraction to my (non-existent) marathon training frustration.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Back On the Road

After six days of NO RUNNING, I was back at it with the DFMC team in Lexington on Saturday. Ran 10 miles and felt good. Not great. Definitely still feel some tightness in the left hamstring, but I was happy to comfortably log some miles this week. Basically I've got 2 more weeks of training before beginning the wonderful tapering process. So my plan is to run easy this week tossing in a long run of 14-16 miles followed by a second week of easy running with a final long training run of 21 miles (Hopkinton to BC Annual Run). THEN I get to taper!

It is very doubtful that I'll be able to head out on the trails on foot or on the bike (Did I mention that I bought my first mountain bike this week??) due to all this rain. I actually bought a pair of waterproof pants at REI today - a necessary item for my upcoming "walking holiday" to Ireland with my oldest daughter after the marathon and an equally usefool article of clothing for wet and windy New England days. I tested them out today as I attempted to "trail wade" through Dover - what a complete mess!! But my legs remained toasty and dry thanks to my new REI pants. Gotta love goretex!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Marathon Training Robert Frost Style: You Come Too

Forget the Galloway Approach to Marathons. This week, due to my hamstring/piriformis issue coupled with a nasty cold/sore throat, I'm using the Robert Frost Approach to Marathons which consists of lots of rest and lovely long walks through the woods. Clearly this will not result in any PRs, but I'm actually ENJOYING this week!

For the past couple years I've been exploring (running/walking/xcountry skiing) the great trails in Medfield including Rocky Woods and Noon Hill. And just recently I discovered that Medfield is one of the 20 or so towns on the Bay Circuit Trail which connects more than 85 areas of protected land from Newburyport down to Duxbury. How cool is that?! I've already traversed my fair share of trails on the Bay Circuit in our area and am looking forward to exploring more when the weather gets better.

This prompted me to do a bit of research for trails in town neighbors - Dover, Sherborn and Westwood. Today I had the most FANTASTIC walk in the Noanet Woods in Dover. Isn't it great to realize that adventure and beauty is in your own backyard?! At some point I hope to start running along these trails, but for this week I'll listen to my body and enjoy the slower moments in life.

"The woods are lovely dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleepl"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pain in the Butt

That is what forced me to only run 12 miles instead of the planned 17 scheduled for this past weekend. I was really looking forward to this long run after the successful 20 miler race on the Vineyard 2 weeks ago plus I had an early Friday night and was well-hydrated. At this point in the season I should be able to run 12-16 miles in my sleep, but very early on I started to feel lowsy. No energy and really struggling to put one foot in front of the other. And then I started to notice that my left hamstring and butt check were incredibly tight and sore which was REALLY affecting my stride as I tried to compensate. Things went from bad to worse and at mile 12 I had to call it a day.

So DFMC guru, Jack, suggests lots of yoga, stretching and long-distance walking (yea!) this week in order for those tight muscles to loosen up. After 15 years Jack knows how much I hate indoor workouts, so I was thrilled that he recommended long-distance walking in the woods. Somewhat frustrating, but I'm not looking to break any records or personal bests this year. Looks like a week of trail wogging and rolling my butt back and forth on a foam roller.

I'm also THRILLED to pick up my copy of the newly released Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson that Vikki from Titcombs Bookshop blogged about in a recent post. Any title described as "charming" and "delightful" taking place in a "small village in the English countryside filled with rolling hills and thatched cottages" is SO up my alley!! Pour me a cup of tea and give me a bag of ice to sit on and I'll be more than happy this week.