Sunday, January 31, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending Jan 31 - STILL Snow

Hi Everyone.  Next installment of weekly training log.  This is Week 6 of my 20 week plan that will end with a 10k in May - goal time ~ 39:00.

Last week I didn't run on the weekend at all - we had Snowmaggedon on the DC area, and I spent the weekend digging out of 4 feet of snow....I would have needed those oversized snow shoe - tennis racket things if I was going to try and run.  So last week's mileage was down about 15 miles from my Plan - and man, my "shoveling" muscles are really sore and tired!

This week I got back to my normal mileage, but more of it was on the treadmill as I wasn't sure if my normal morning run locations (before sunrise) would be clear...and I really didn't want to fall on my ass and hurt myself in the dark.

Monday - was my first run in snow (this is my first winter of actually training...).  There was still about a foot of compacted snow in my neighborhood (a few tractors came through and cleared part of the road), so I put on something like Yak Trax (but the heavier version you can find at REI that are supposed to go over normal snow shoes) and headed out.  Got in 5.5 miles in about 50:00, which is much slower than my normal pace, but A LOT of FUN!  I found a few deep spots along the way and a couple times had to jump into 4 feet of snow to let a tractor by.....but overall, not bad!  And it was nice to NOT have any pace in mind, just go run.

The rest of my week day runs before work were on the treadmill.  So many roads and all the paths and trails I run were still covered in snow.  I did get outside for the weekend runs...and it was a really nice day on Sunday....mid 40's and sunny.  The only problem is running on roads around my hood....shoulders are still covered in snow, so I had to play "Frogger" a little to avoid cars a few times..

Side note: I have a plan to run the entire C&O (separate posts).  This is the second week without getting on the trail...too much snow!  And I'm kinda missing it....

Total Miles this week: 41.7

Daily details below:

Monday - 5.5 in the snow, about 9:00 pace....but who's counting in a foot of snow!  A lot of dynamic stretching before hand...and after.  

Tuesday:  5 miles on treadmill @ 8:00 pace and 1% incline + 4 strides.  Dynamic stretching before, core work, and upper body strength after.

Wednesday:  9 miles on treadmill. 1-3 @ 8:00 pace; 4-6 @ 6:35 to 6:40 pace; 7-9 @ 8:00 pace.  1% incline on and off based on how I'm feeling.  I've found that 1% incline "feels" harder than running outside and no incline doesn't feel quite as back and forth I go.  Dynamic warm-up and cool down + hip mobility + ITB Rehab incl. single leg deadlifts.

Thursday:  Off

Friday:  7 miles on treadmill with an avg 7:50 pace.  Dynamic stretching before and after.

Saturday:  3.2 miles @ 8:15 + 4 uphill sprints.  dynamic warm up, hip mobility and core work after.

Sunday: 12 miles @ 7:14 pace.  Longest run ever! (so far....I have longer runs ahead of me in a few weeks).    Dynamic warm-up and cool down.  Foam rolling.  ITB rehab + single leg dead lifts.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending 1/24/16 - Blizzard!

Week 5 of my 20 week plan to complete a 10k in mid-June.

A Blizzard hit my area this weekend (DC area).  From Friday night to Saturday night we got almost 4' of snow...which is HUGE for the DC area.  I live a little bit out in the country (outskirts of Leesburg, VA), and as I write this post on Sunday at 2:00, my street has 4' of snow on it.  Probably won't get ploughed until tomorrow.  So....since I don't have those giant over-sided snow shoes- (to do actual snow-shoeing)....I did no running Saturday or Sunday.  I think I might not be able to run Monday either.

So....I'm going to chalk up this week as a "cut back" week and adjust my plan going forward.  I'm also going to consider my 8 hours of shoveling snow as "cross training"....

On the positive side, I got in a 20 minute tempo run mid-week and felt good about my effort.  First true tempo workout in this cycle.

Total miles this week:  24.3.

Notes on the workouts this week:
  • Monday has been an "off" day for a few months, so running on Monday this week felt a little "odd".  It was MLK day too, so I was home and could sleep in before heading out for a short 3-miler around the neighborhood.
  •  Cadence difference between treadmill and roads solved - A few weeks ago I noticed that running on the treadmill at 8:00 my cadence was about 180 exactly.  I also noticed that my cadence at the same pace on the road is in the high 180's.  Well, it turns out I was just being LAZY on the treadmill.  Once I focused on my form on the treadmill my cadence picked up to where it is on the road....for whatever reason I have this habit on the treadmill of letting my form "lapse" on the "mill", like it's not a real run or something.  Once I focused on posture, relaxing, and paying attention to my foot landing all fell in line and my feeling of effort went down.  Note to self - "don't be lazy!"
  • "3 Miles At Tempo Pace" - my FIRST real tempo run since my ITB injury a few months ago. A 9 mile run with tempo pace on miles 4-6 (around 6:40/minute).  Had me huffing and puffing toward the end, but it felt good to put  in the effort.  Not sure it was "what I can run for an hour though"..but maybe?
Daily Log Below:

Monday:  3 miles @ 8:20 pace.  Easy day on frozen farm roads (dirt).  Legs a little tired from yesterday's long run.  Hamstrings a little "tight", maybe from Single Leg Deadlifts yesterday.  Dynamic warm-up, stretching after.

Tuesday: 5 miles @ 8:00 + 4 strides + core work on the treadmill  at work.  I went back and forth with 0% and 1% incline.  My HR would go up a few beats with the incline....never tested this before.  Interesting, but I guess it makes perfect sense.  Either way my HR was in the 130's, well in the "fully conversational" area.  And my cadence was in mid 180's as long as I paid attention.

Wednesday:  9 miles; Mile 1-3 @ 8:00 pace, miles 4-6 at 6:40 (Tempo), mile 7-9 around 8:10 pace.   warm-up and cool down.

Friday:  7.3 mi @ 7:55 pace on hilly roads around my house - felt good to get out on some rolling, and larger hills.  Haven't done that in a while.  Practiced downhill running form too.  Dynamic warm-up and cool down.

Saturday:  3 miles - CANCELLED.. BLIZZARD!  SPENT THE DAY SHOVELING.  Core work + ITB rehab + upper body strength.

Sunday:  12 miles- CANCELLED - 4 FEET OF SNOW I CAN'T EVEN WALK IN. Dynamic stretching

Sunday, January 17, 2016

C&O Canal Towpath Run - January 17

Another installment on my quest to run the full length of the C&O Canal Towpath (185 miles) from DC to Cumberland, MD.

Today I picked up where I stopped last the Seneca Creek Aqueduct at mile marker 22.7.  It was nice to be able to park right at my stopping point last week, that makes the math easy for my turnaround point.   Access to the towpath is sporadic, so I'm usually backtracking from my next parking spot to where my last run stopped, and then making progress toward my next parking spot...but this week it all lined up.

The weather today was pretty good, around 32 degrees with no wind, and the path was DRY (unlike the mud bath last week).  I'm really happy about that, because getting wet when it's freezing I would imagine would not be pleasant.

Mile markers covered today:  22.7 to 17.0, for a run of 11.4 miles.

Total mile markers covered so far:  17 to 69 (52 miles covered)

Total mile markers still to go:  133 

Today's run was really nice...good weather...and dry trail.  The star of this section was the Potomac River.  I ran past a spot with some white water (not really rapids, but more like rocks in the river) that made for a relaxing background noise that made the miles fly by.  At this point, the tow path is very close to the river, so the sights were great as well.

Nobody would describe me as a "tree hugger", but today's run really lifted my spirits and put me in a great mood.  The softer surface was good on my slightly fatigued legs this week.

What I saw this run:
  • More people were out today, I think probably because of the nicer weather and I ran past a couple places with parking right next to the path - that always draws more folks out for a walk.
  • Lock 22, with a Lock House.
    • This was the first lock I've seen that is actually working.  The lock doors were in place and closed.
    • It was pretty cool to see how it works and the higher level of the canal upstream of the lock.....the canal also gets a lot wider upstream of course since the lock is stopping the water.  
  • Other runners today:   3
This is a Lock with the "doors" closed.  First time I've seen that.  The water on the other side of those doors is about 12-15 feet higher.

Plaque at Lock House 22 with a pic of what it looked like when in working order.

Lock House 22 today.  That white sign right of the door says you can stay in this house overnight.  You get No water, NO electricity, No nothing.  But there are porta John's not far away, and only $100 a night.  Some of the houses say to bring your ear plugs too, because the train tracks are not far away.  But at this point of the path I think the train tracks are pretty far away.  Between Point of Rocks and Harper's Ferry, the train is RIGHT there...and LOUD.

This is the path just upstream from the Lock.  On the right is the canal, on the left the Potomac.
I think my next run will be in the other direction, towards Shepardstown, MD, covering miles 69-75.

Training Log - Week Ending 1/17/16

Training log for Week 4 of my 20 week plan which will end with a 10k in early May, completing a couple 5k's, and and 8k along the way.

This week's plan is the same as last week, but my execution was not as good.

  • My 2nd week on this plan after being back to work.  I did a little better managing my time to get a little more sleep.  But...5 am alarm still sucks and I'm not sure it will ever become "normal".
  • It's damn cold this week!  But, just like the early alarm I think I'm getting better at preparing for's not new any more...which I think helps. (See separate post on Jan. 13 for details on how I've handled the far).
  • Got a little ITB niggle, and since I had an ITB injury last year that shut me down for a month, I give this my full attention.  So, I cut back a little on my paces to ensure I don't get injured again.  And...after Sunday's long run...all is good.
  • I'm using a training plan from Jason Fitzgerald at Strength Running, which includes ITB rehab routines, dynamic stretching, and other conditioning exercises.  These, along with a smarter running plan will (I hope) keep injuries away.
 Training Log below:

Total Miles:  34.7, (long run 11.4 miles -my longest yet).

Weight:  I weighed in between 140 and 143 this no change in weight since December.

Monday:  off - rolling, dynamic stretching

Tuesday - 4 miles on treadmill @ 8:10 pace + 2 strides @ 0% incline...just can't get myself out in the cold for 4 miles.  Right IT Band didn't feel "right" this morning.  Took it very easy.  Dynamic warm-up and dynamic stretching after + core work.

Wednesday - 9 miles on W&OD trail.  The PLAN - First 5 miles at 8:00 pace.  Last 4 miles "Progression" to 6:35 pace in the last mile...6:35 is about my Tempo pace.  Well....that didn't happen today.
I was never able to get the pace under 6:45 in the Progression part of the workout without A LOT of effort, which felt harder than I didn't push any harder.
I realized (after the fact), that I had run the first 5 mile too fast....closer to 7:40 pace than 8:00, and I think that took some of the oomph out of my legs and kept me from finishing stronger.  So...FAIL, but lesson learned.
Dynamic stretching warm-up and cool down

Thursday - ITB rehab routine without Pistol Squat or Single Leg Deadlift - making sure ITB completely settles down.  Upper body strength.

Friday - 7 miles on W&OD @ 8:05 pace.  Slowed down on pace a little today.  Again to make sure ITB doesn't flare up.  Pace felt easy and no issues.  Dynamic warm-up.

Saturday - 3.3 miles @ 8:20 pace + 2 hill sprints + 2 strides.  Dynamic warm-up and cool down + hip flexibility + core workout.  Slower pace...not feeling it today.  EASY day anyway.

Sunday - 11.4 miles @ 7:24 pace on C&O Canal Towpath (separate post later today).  Slowed the pace down some this week for the Long Run (last week's pace was 7:15).  After not hitting my paces on Wednesday's run and ITB niggle earlier this week I'm not pushing it.  Dynamic warm-up, and cool down, hip mobility, ITB rehab routine with Pistol Squats and Single Leg Deadlift, upper body strength.

Next week my training plan adds a run on Monday, so I'll be running 6 days a week - my first time doing that......

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Shi-ite It's Cold! (Well At Least For DC)

As I mentioned in last week's Training Log - winter has hit the DC area (finally).

For my 6am run on Wednesday, Jan. 13 the temp  "Feels Like" 5 degrees.  This is my coldest run so far.  And, I get colder than most - maybe it's because I've spent most of my life in  Los Angeles where "below 60" was "freezing" and a good excuse to find indoor activities.

I'm sure for you folks in the Northern portion of the US, this is not that cold, and the recent NFL playoff game in Minnesota was much colder.  But, for's damn cold!

Since I would be leaving the house quite early, I laid out everything I was going to wear the night before (yeah, I'm one of those people).  I basically thought it would be good to "double up" on what I would wear if it was 30 degrees and see how it goes.....

Below is a shot of everything I wore.  Quick rundown:

  • Four layers on top:
    • Short sleeve shirt + arm warmers
    • Two long sheet shirts
    • Shell jacket
  • Two pair of tights - one "heavier" and one on the "lighter side"
  • Extremeties
    • Neck gaiter thing I can pull up over my cheeks and chin and tuck into my jacket.
    • My thickest wool hat for my bald head
    • Two pair gloves - one thicker and one thinner
    • Two pair of socks - one thicker and one thinner
  • Vision - head lamp since the first half of my run is before sunrise.
  • Shoes - NB Zante - which are my "heaviest" shoes.
I put ALL of this on before leaving the house, drive 30 minutes to my run (which is close to my office).  So, by the time I start my run I'm pretty thought is this will help the first 10 minutes before my run warms me was more like 30 seconds.

Man....that's a LOT of clothes....recalls thoughts of "Randy" in Christmas Story, and that episode of Friends when Joey put on All of Chandler's clothes at once.

So, how did it work?
  • Well my head got a little hot around mile 5.  Us bald guys usually have a number of hats of different thicknesses, like hair-blessed folks might have with gloves. Probably gonna go down one notch next time.
  • The two pair of socks thing was a first for me.  Worked well.  No frozen toes.  Not much "feel" for the road, but it was 5 degrees after all!
  • Other than that...peachy.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

C&O Canal Towpath Run - January 10 - Splash Down!

Another installment on my  quest to run the entire length of the C&O Canal Towpath which goes from DC to Cumberland MD (185 miles).

Today I ran from mile marker 28 - 22.5 (out and back). I started at the McKee Bashers Wildlife reserve at mile 27.2.  I ran back to mile marker 28 (my last stopping point), then down to mile marker 22.5 which is just past the Seneca Creek Aqueduct.

Mile markers covered today:  28 - 22.5 (11 mile run)
Total mile markers covered overall:  22.5 - 69:  46.5 miles (138.5 remaining)

Splash Down! is how I would describe this run.  It rained all night, but in the morning it had just about stopped.  I had planned to run the C&O canal today, and thought I'd go for it thinking there might be some wet spots here and there.  And it was already above 50 degrees at 7:00 am, so if I got a little wet I wouldn't be freezing.

It started off well....two miles in, and my feet were still dry, I was able to zig, zag, hop, side step where needed to avoid the puddles.  Then things changed...I hit sections up to 50 yards long with no way around.  At first I was doing my impression of Tiny Tim "Tiptoeing Through The Tulips", but after ending up with completely muddy and soaked feet anyway, I gave up the battle and just started ploughing through and trying not to end up on my ass.  I had a couple solid, ankle deep splash downs (in my head I was Emma Coburn in a steeple chase, but I'm sure I was actually MUCH less graceful).

I'm happy I was able to achieve my planned pace for this run of 7:15 even with the extra work of the water, mud, and soaked feet, but the last 2 miles the effort was beyond "conversational pace".

Sights Today:
  • Two Hunters (with neon orange hats and full camo everything else)- the Wildlife Reserve is also a public hunting area (seems like a contradiction in terms).  I think they looked at me with the same thought I had....."what the hell is that guy doing out here".  I never felt like I was in danger, but I was caught off guard.
  • Birds - it warmed up so the birds were back...chirping and flying around...I loved it.
  • 3 Deer - not actually on the path this week...but I still enjoy seeing them.
  • ONE other runner - which is one more than my last run on the path.  Yay us!
  • Seneca Aqueduct - this is where the Seneca Creek empties into the Potomac.  To make the canal work, the aqueduct was created, there's also a Lock at this point to raise the boats in the canal about 10 feet to get past the creek. All done with 1830's technology.

                                    Dry part of path.  Potomac on the left, canal on the right.

                                                    Lock at Seneca Creek

                                                  "Lock House" at Seneca Creek

       Looking across the Potomac at Seneca Creek.  That's Virginia on the other side.

My next run will probably start at Seneca Creek and knock off a few more miles in the DC direction.

Comments welcome.

Training Log - Week Ending 1/10/16

This is "Week 3" of my 20 week plan for a couple 5k's, an 8k, and a 10k in the Spring.  No real speed work yet...building up endurance and some "Less Than Tempo to Tempo" pacing on Wednesday.  I'm also "pushing" my Long Run pace a bit, so by the end of the run it feels a little faster than "conversational"....

This week was the first week in the DC area of  "real" winter temps.  Mornings were about 15 degrees.  This is my first winter of training (I ran some last winter but only now and then, no real plan), the colder temps are challenging my resolve....but I did get out there and do the work, so that feels good.

This is also my first week back at work after the Holidays (I had two weeks off), so it was rude awakening (literally) when the alarm went off at 5:00 so I could get in 9 miles before work.  My wife thinks I'm crazy for doing this (more like confirming what she already thought), and gets a little irritated when the alarm also wakes her (but she mostly just smacks me and rolls over to go back to sleep).

Tuesday - I just didn't want to layer up for my easy 4 miler (app said temp "feels like" 5), so I ran on a treadmill instead.  Treadmill observations:
  • 8:00 pace @ 1% incline "feels" harder than if I was outside on a flat road.  Could just be the mental boredom, becausemy HR was not any higher than normal for an easy run.  Felt more in my calves - because of the incline?
  • I manually counted my cadence - it was in the low 180's...but my TomTom watch records cadence closer to 190 when I run around 8:00 pace on the does that mean I'm taking longer strides on the treadmill?  I don't know how the TomTom records cadence...I should try and manually count my cadence next time I have an easy run on the road.
Wednesday:  5:00 am alarm, 15 degrees, and 9 miles planned with tempo pace at the end.  Challenge accepted!  I don't have any "thicker" running clothes, so I end up with a lot of layers.  4 on top (including a shell jacket), two pair of tights, two pair of gloves, my thickest wool hat (for my bald head), a neck gaiter thing I can pull up over my chin, and I'm off.  This worked pretty only issues were cold toes for the first 15 minutes or so.  I get cold more than most, and don't generally overheat too this might be overkill for others.  But for me...about right.

Sunday: I had planned to run the C&O Canal towpath, but hesitated since it had been raining all night and I wasn't sure what condition the path would be in.  Then, I decided "that's part of the experience" I ran on the path, and it became my personal "mud run"....(separate post with full details under tag "C&O Canal Towpath").

Other Notes:
  • Sleep matters - back at work this week, and I didn't manage my time I got less sleep than I needed.  I have to improve this if I'm going to be successful.  By Friday I was dragging pretty good.
  • Weight - I weigh myself after working out and before the shower, so about the lightest I'm going to be for the week (but that's when I've always weighed myself, so at least comparison is consistent), and I'm just about 140 this week.  That's a good weight for me and about where I was when I ended my last running cycle (before I injured myself), last October.  So...that feels good.

This week's training log below (my highest mileage week and longest run EVER....)

Total miles:  34.5 miles (with 11 miler on longest run yet)

Monday - Rest - foam roller, dynamic stretching.

Tuesday - 4 mi @ 8:00 pace + 4 strides on treadmill @ 1% incline.  Easy day.  Dynamic stretching warm-up and cool down + core workout.

Wednesday - 9 mi with an overall pace of 7:35.  First 5 miles around 8:05 pace, then mile 6-9 progression from 7:00 to 6:35 pace. Last mile @ 6:35 required some huffing and puffing, but not too bad.  First "tempo" speed workout since my ITB injury last October.  (For reference my 10k "goal" pace in 16 weeks is 6:15 - 6:20)  W&OD trail.  Dynamic stretching warm-up and cool down,  Foam rolling.

Thursday - Rest - foam roller, dynamic stretching.  ITB rehab routine (Strength Running) + single leg deadlifts.  Got a shoulder rotator cuff niggle...skipping upper body strength.

Friday - 7.5 mi. @ 7:50 pace on W&OD trail.  Dynamic stretching warm-up and cool down.  Got a head lamp.  Nice!  "I can see clearly now....."  Moving ITB (which includes Pistol Squats) and Single Leg Deadlift to last night had some lingering affects on the my run this morning.  Not bad, but noticeable.  ITB in both legs feel tight.....uh oh.  Gotta watch it.

Saturday - 3 mi @ 8:20 pace + 4 hill sprints (about 10 seconds each) on dirt farm roads around my house.  Dynamic stretching warm-up and cool down + core workout.  I was feeling a little fatigued, so I made this run really easy to fully recover for tomorrow's long run.

Sunday - 11 mi @ 7:14 pace on quite "splashy" and "muddy" C&O canal.  (If interested for details on what I saw - I'll post on it separately).  Dynamic stretching warm-up and cool down + ITB rehab route from Strength Running + upper body strength.  I have not been taking any food or water on my long runs.  Today's run was about 1:20, think it's time to pop a gel around 50 minutes so I don't fade towards the end of the run which means I also have to carry water (which I hate to do).

Sunday, January 3, 2016

C&O Canal Towpath Run - Jan 3, 2016

In a previous post I described my quest to run the full length of the C&O canal towpath (185 miles), which goes from DC to Cumberland, MD.

Today I took down another small chunk of the path, details below.  Each run is a first for me, I like the adventure of finding the right spot to catch the path and extend the mile markers I've covered.

Run Summary:
Starting point:  Edwards Ferry Boat Ramp at mile market 30.9.
Mile markers covered:  28 - 33 (33 was my last stopping point)...10 mile run (out and back)
Total mile markers covered so far:  28 - 69 (41 miles covered)
Miles remaining:  144 (yikes!))
Temp at start of run:  26..I started early today, around 7:30, just past sunrise.
Closest community:  Poolesville, MD...looks like a nice, small, quiet town, on a Sunday morning.

Fun Facts: 
  • There is no longer a ferry across the river at "Edward's' Ferry", but there is a boat launch. 
  • This is also the location of Lock 25 (one of those things that raise the boats, like the Panama Canal, but much MUCH smaller scale.  I would guess a boat about 12' wide would fit.
  • Lockhouse 25 is here, each lock has a "Lockhouse" where the folks that would work the lock  lived.  Some of the Lock Houses you can stay in overnight, but there was no sign on this one.
  • There is also a somewhat preserved store house on the sight.
  • During the Civil War, this was a strategic point that Gen.  Hooker controlled (at least part of the war)
  • Deer (2), which ran along the path in front of me for a while...pretty cool.
  • Six team dog sled (I shit you not), Iditarod style except they pulled a chariot on wheels thing instead of a snow sled.  I've seen this twice now, both times in the parking lot.  Not sure what I would do if I saw that thing heading toward me on the path.....being pulled by six huskies that love to run!
  • Other runners: 0
Pics below:


Training Log - Week Ending 1/3/16

Hello, hope everyone had a great Christmas and Happy New Year!

For Christmas I got myself a pair of Asics Gel Hyperspeed 6s.  I've only been running for a year and I've only ever run in New Balance (Zante for training and RC5000 for 5k races).  Thought it was time for a new pair of shoes so I'm trying out the Hyperspeed.  So far, I like them and I think they would be a good shoe for 10k or half marathon races which I plan to do in 2016.  They're also pretty good for longer runs, but my longest run has only been 10 miles so far. 

But, I digress, this weeks' training log second week on a 20 week program provided by Jason Fitzgerald at Strength Running....preparing for a couple 5k's, an 8k, and a 10k in the Spring.

Total miles:  32.5 with 3 miles at faster pace.....

Monday -  off (dynamic stretching, foam roller)

Tuesday - 4.5 mi. on country roads around my house (8:00 pace) + 4 short hill sprints (I plan to substitute strides for hill sprints once in a while, I enjoy them).  This differs from Jason's (Strength Running) program for me of strides, but I think they are similar enough that I'm getting the same "speed" benefit from them, plus a little extra strength from going uphill.  Core work, dynamic stretching and hip mobility work.

Wednesday - 8.2 miles on C&O canal towpath.  Overall pace @ 7:20  (last 3 miles @ 6:55).  ITB rehab routine after run (See Strength Running), + single leg deadlifts with 20 lb dumb bell, upper body strength.  Feel really good about today's run.  I love the C&O canal towpath!  I started feeling it toward the end of the run, but not that bad, and on Thursday I was feeling recovered.

Thursday - off (dynamic stretching, foam roller).  Hip flexors felt "tight", so did some extra stretching there.

Friday - 6.1 mi @ 8:00 pace on country roads around my house.  Interestingly, I just went our for an easy/conversational pace and ended up exactly at 8:00 pace.  Maybe this has become my "default" pace on easy days?  Dunno.

Saturday - 3.2 mi @ 8:10 pace + 4 strides.  Very easy day on dirt/gravel farm roads.  Controlled pace today to be sure to have full recovery for tomorrow's long run.  Mattock routine warm-up and Myrtl (Coach Jay Johnson) after run + core workout + dynamic stretching and static stretches for my hip flexors because they are feeling a little tight.

Sunday - 10.5 mi @ 7:17 pace on C&O canal towpath (I'll post separately on my run on the tow path with C&O canal towpath tag).  Ran early, so a little cold here in  the DC area...about 26 degrees.  I got my layers about right, but my gloves are a little too thin, frozen fingers the first couple miles.  7:17 pace is about the same as last week's long run...the last mile or so was definitely harder than what I'd call "conversational" pace, but that's okay.  The long run in my plan is supposed to be a harder effort toward the end.  Dynamic stretching warm up and cool down + ITB rehab and (from Strength Running) + single leg deadlifts + upper body strength work.  extra rolling on hips and some static stretches to loosen up my hip flexors and tfl.

Friday, January 1, 2016

C&O Canal Towpath Adventure

I live in Northern Virginia, close to the border of Maryland.  The Potomac River separates Virginia and Maryland in this part of the state.  Where I live is very close to one of the few bridges that cross the Potomac, so it's only about a 10 minute drive for me to be on the Maryland side of the Potomac River.  Why does this matter?  Well, that's where the C&O Canal Towpath is!

C&O (Chesapeake & Ohio) Canal Towpath - Brief History (NOT Fact Checked)
Way back in "the day", our forefathers wanted to use the Potomac River to get goods west from DC.  The Potomac River is obviously a good option, but, it isn't the most easily navigable river (rapids, and whatnot), and it flows TOWARD DC, so they built a canal next to the river (think Panama Canal idea, but way WAY smaller scale) to allow boats loaded with cargo to west.  They got as far as Cumberland, MD where the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) starts. At this point trains took over and made the canal obsolete.  Luckily the C&O Canal was made a National Park in the 1930's, and the towpath, which is a small dirt/gravel road used to pull the boats along the canal (think donkeys with ropes) was restored and kept in good condition.

My Journey
I stumbled across the towpath one day while in Point of Rocks and thought it would be a good place to run on a softer surface.  Recently, I got the bright idea to run the full length of the towpath (185 miles from DC to Cumberland MD), in small chunks.  Something to make my long runs interesting and see first hand some US history.  By the time I'm done I will have run twice the length of the path (that would be 370 miles) because each run has to be "out and back" since I'll be driving myself to various starting points along the path.

How Far Have I Gotten So Far? (Jan. 1, 2016)
So far I've run the path from mile marker 33 (by White's Ferry - an actual rope ferry from the 18th century that's still in operation) to mile marker 69 (which is almost to the Antietam Civil War Battlefield).  My first runs started at Point of Rocks (mile marker 48) and I've been "radiating out" in either direction from that point.

I've passed a lot of pretty cool structures and buildings, including aqueducts, "lock houses", docks for the river, Civil War history, the Appalachian trail, and trains (of course when trains became a thing the canal was a perfect place for tracks - a level path was already in place).

So...I have a LONG way to go to cover the full length of the path, but I'll get there one day.