Friday, December 4, 2009

Last Week, Lighting up Lynn Woods, and Foreboding Fells

So I was thinking about posting to the blog and had close to three separate thoughts, which I was considering posting three separate articles, but I want to try to encapsulate three times the fun and (hopefully) thought provoking writing in one package. Think of the last sentence as a very brief forward...

Last Week of Training...

Typically I am not a huge fan of the weekly training update posts because I don't feel like I really do anything all that special and I really don't find reporting my training to be personally motivating. I find it interesting to read what other people are doing to get fitter and faster, but in my recent past of winging without any real goal races on the horizon, reporting my training progression really isn't necessary.

The only variation to the above is my desire to drop more weight over the next few weeks and attempt to incorporate more fast running to try to improve some of my basic fitness.

Four years ago I was 235 pounds and unable to run a 5k. This past year I have had a few injury issues and been on and off with my training, but have managed to stay in the 190's. I am happy to be living at a decent weight again, but there is still a part of me that longs for my speed demon days where I was in the low 150's. Sure 10 years of age has probably set my metabolism back a little bit, but at 30 years old I still have a fighting chance to work hard and drop another 25-30 pounds.

It really isn't a body image thing, but a simple principle of carrying less over the many, many miles. Last time I checked, running 26.2, 50, or 100 miles is much easier when you aren't carrying a toddler on your back. :-)

With this in mind, I have decided to work with my nagging running injuries and decrease the mileage, while increasing the quality and frequency of my workouts. Instead of running 4 days of easy mileage, which is what I can handle right now, I am going to train 5 to 6 days a week, rotating interval workouts, resistance training, and some distance running. In addition, I am reviewing my diet and eliminating as much processed food as I possibly can. I am not going raw or paleo or any of the other lifestyle model diets, but I am putting into action one of my observed theories.

As I mentioned in my last post, I think, as a culture we have gravitated too far away from the basic building blocks of nutrition, and even some of the stuff advertised as being good for us is still processed and chock full of sugars, syrups, and preservatives. In fact, studying nutrition and ultra running has really put into focus that what we put in our bodies all has to go somewhere, and is reacted upon by our natural processes. Those additives thrown in to preserve the food make it into our bodies and our natural processes try to do something with them, but really have no formula. At least when we throw in extra vitamins and minerals that our body can't use, we have a system that tells other body systems that we are all full of those vitamins and either stores or excretes. The problem is, when we introduce elements into our system that aren't on the guest list, chaos ensues.

Diatribe aside, I am working on dropping the weight through diet and varying my exercise routine. Hopefully increasing my metabolism and ability to burn calories above what I have been able to accomplish through running. So hopefully by getting away from running I'll be able to become a better runner... ironic, I know.

So how did I do this week? I was able to take a crazy holiday week and productively ran 1 interval workout, did 2 resistance training sessions, and did some basic trail running once, covering 6 miles. I weighed in at 193 to end Week One of my latest experiment.

Lights in Lynn Woods...

Having already been in Saugus for the holidays, Breakheart Dan and I found some time to get away from family post-Turkey to feast some trails in the Lynn Woods Reservation. I was a little worried that my half-broken body wouldn't be able to handle a run with Dan, as he likes to go long, and I am really not even in the realm of faking my way through a Marathon if I really had to. Fortunately, Dan was thinking about an hour of slow stuff, and to make the deal more enticing, he decided that we grab the headlamps and make it a night run.

So it was off to Lynn Woods! This reservation is a little unique because it is located between one of the less attractive cities in Massachusetts - Lynn (As the rhyme goes 'Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin') and the famed Route 1. You wouldn't think there would be a place for trail runners and mountain bikers to stretch their legs in the vicinity, but Lynn Woods provides a nice escape.

(Breakheart Dan leading the way)

We encountered a few interesting characters among the shadows - one of which being what we thought was another trail runner, but turned out to be an interesting chap jogging and shadow boxing. Nonetheless, it was great training and adventuring with someone for a change and we ended up climbing to the top of Steel Tower Hill for a great view of the Boston Skyline:

It was cool and quite windy, but fairly classic for New England in the Fall. I had been thinking of many Edgar Allen Poe poems, and thankfully we didn't hear the immortal 'Nevermore!" among the gravelly foot steps. We did find a tree that was rather Gothic, though:

Foreboding Fells...

This weekend the Fall edition of the Fells Trail Race is happening, which will be the last race in the Eastern New England Trail Race Series. I am a little concerned that my injuries will flair up during the race, as it was most likely the constant climbing, descending, and uneven terrain that got me hurt in the first place. The Fells Trail Race is essentially all of the above. It has a little less drastic of an elevation profile compared to the Skyline Trail Race at the Blue Hills Reservation in July, but the terrain is just as rocky and rooty, with the added feature of the trail under the cover of fallen Autumn leaves.

Nevertheless, I am developing more of a desire to run these more technical races because they provide a heightened degree of difficulty and one wrong step can be quite costly. In addition to the 8 mile race, the Fells also features an Ultra Marathon option for those that love treacherous terrain in large doses! Trail Peeps kZ, Streph, Trailgrrl, Garry Harrington, Paul Lahham and Steve Latour will be enjoying the ultra.

Happy Trails!

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