Monday, February 27, 2012

Grant's Trail Riding

Two weekends ago I took a trip to Boston and did Zero swimming, biking and running. It's been difficult getting back on track especially when I decided to do a ~4 mile race on Saturday that was about 45 minutes away. The race was too interesting to pass up since it was completely underground in a Sand Mine. More on that later when I stop being lazy and edit the video I took.

I'm trying not to complain but I don't understand what some people are thinking.

Yesterday, I decided I needed to do a 2 hour bike ride and ride at least 30 miles. Since I'm still fairly new to the area and have no idea what a safe bike route would be around here (STLBiking has a thread devoted to biking accidents with cars), I didn't feel like waking up at 6 for a group ride and I haven't put new pedals on my road bike, I decided I would just ride on a trail even though it would be crowded since it was in the 60s.

Grant's Trail is about an 8 mile trail through St. Louis. It's a nice trail but the only problem is there are 6-7 major streets one has to stop at. I figured this would be good since I haven't been riding outside much and to give my butt a break from my seat. Grant's Trail get it's name from Grant's Farm (I think). The trail runs right by Grant's Farm. For those of you that have never been on a tour of the Budweiser plant in St. Louis, Grant's Farm is where the Budweiser Clydesdales are kept.

The other problem with this trail is there are so many people with out helmets, people that like the ride side-by -side and seem like they're not paying attention by riding on the wrong side of the line and look as if they're going to veer into you. There is always one a-hole on the trail and this one seemed to hang around me the whole time.

If there is something I'm missing about trail riding etiquette someone please tell me. Is it common for someone you've passed to get right in front of you at a stop light so you have to pass them again multiple times? Is it okay to block both sides of the trail when you stop to talk to someone? How about drafting on a trail? I was a bit surprised that this older guy kept up when I hit 30 trying to lose him. (I suppose when I've been riding for more than a few years I'll have no problem doing this.) When I saw his shadow after about a minute I slammed on brakes and he finally went around and I didn't see him again. I don't understand why people ride like a-holes on a busy trail. Considering he was wearing a full kit you'd think he should know better. Or maybe because he was wearing a kit and riding on the trail I should have known he would be a dick...I swear he cut off the trail at one point and then took main roads back to where I started and waited for me.

Some of the other interesting things I saw...

A tandem bike attached to a baby trailer with high and low rear pedals attached to a vertical chain so this guys kid could ride.
A guy wearing a kit with no helmet.
A woman riding fast and weaving in and out of people with no helmet.
Lots of rollerbladers.
People WALKING on the wrong side of the trail...really? You'd think they would figure it out when bikes are constantly coming at them.

And one interesting creepy thing the g/f saw back in the fall on this trail...a guy with a baby trailer that had dolls in it.

On the bright side I got in my 30 miles in about 1:55 including all the stops...I need to remember the auto-pause. I'd say about 10-12 miles were actually on the aerobars and man was it windy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Running in Circles the track that is.

Every week I like to get in a track workout. If I hadn't joined a training group for my first marathon I doubt I would have ever run at the track. Now I think anyone that doesn't include track workouts in their training plan needs the rethink their training plan.

I love running at the track once a week since it's a controlled hard effort, flat, more structured than fartleks and the treadmill sucks. It was intimidating at first but, as long as you go with the flow no one will care that you're there. Just make sure you do your fast laps in Lane 1 and your recovery lap in lanes 3-4. Whatever you do, do not block lane 2 by running side by side unless you're the fastest people at the track. Quoting the track coach, "you own lane 1 on your fast laps." People passing you should use lane 2. Hence the don't block lane two...moving from lane 1 to 3 to pass is a long way and very annoying.

Why should you do your fast laps in lane 1? Easy, Lane 1 is the only lane that is 400 meters. If you're doing mile repeats in Lane 2 or 3, you'll be running more than a mile. 5 mile repeats could mean an extra 0.15 to 0.6 miles if you're not in lane 1.

What makes the track more interesting is figuring out how fast you should run your repeats. One can easily enter a known time from a race into the McMillian Running Calculator. I've been wondering about my paces recently.

Here are my finishing times entered into the Running Calculator.

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler                                    

St. Jude Half

Turkey Day 3 Miler

It's fun (and frustrating) looking at your projected paces. According to McMillian, the 10 miler was my fastest race and I was slacking off during the 3 miler and Half Marathon. Granted I didn't actually train for the half marathon. I can pretty much run a half at will but, it was a month after the MCM so I was in good shape for it. Actually, I didn't train for the 10 miler either although I'm sure cycling helped my time since that's a couple months after I started cycling. It would be interesting to see if I can actually break 2:05 in a half mary. Maybe I'll actually train for the St. Jude Half this year. Breaking 2:00 would be even better. Who knows will all this half iron training I might be setting my self up to do it. Running a half when you're used to swimming and biking before it has to be cake. 

Anyway, I still follow my old running groups track workouts since they're all online. This is what I've been doing at the track. 

Week 1: 12-14 x 400M @ CI pace.  100M slow jog recovery. 

Week 2: 6-8 x 800M @ CI pace.  400M jog recovery

2x 20-minute run @ TR pace.

Descending Ladders
Regular/Marathon:  1600M -- 1200M -- 800M -- 400M.  All @ TI pace.  Break.  Repeat 1200M -- 800M -- 400M

Tonight it might be:
3-4 x 1600@ CI pace 400m jog recovery. 

TR = Tempo Run (Approx half-marathon)
TI = Tempo Interval (Approx 10M)
CI = Cruise Interval (Approx 10K)
I = Interval (Approx 5K)

...I'll also never understand why some groups stop for several minutes between repeats?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Not Funny, Just Interesting

Last Saturday I was coming back from DC and had a layover in Atlanta. I had to switch terminals so I went downstairs to take the tram and saw this. (You may have to click on the image to see)

This guy ran right by, running clothes and running shoes, and I couldn't get my phone out fast enough to take a better picture. Not a bad idea considering the tunnels between terminals are almost a mile in length and the Admirals Club/Sky Lounge or whatever usually have showers.

Funny Friday