Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Week of the Eagle

I have been logging hundreds of miles lately at 'The River Walk' (aka Berg Park). Three rivers converge near and in Farmington, NM and they have built some beautiful wide dirt pathways (Wordquota has posted some beautiful pictures from there) that line the river for about 6 miles.  The paths are lined with huge Cottonwoods, some Russian Olives (that they are always working to remove), some Salt Cedar (also invasive and being removed all the time), and a few Elm trees.  The morning school traffic has been "driving" me crazy lately and the river walk allows me to avoid it all so that's where I've been throwing down some big numbers.

So, why the week of the Eagle?
1. Last Wednesday was 12 miles (a mid-effort progression run from MP+20% down to MP+10%).  I spotted many bird watchers at the river that morning. Woodpeckers, a hawk, and the usual ducks and geese.  As I neared mile 11, I came upon a few guys with jaws dropped staring up into a tree. I glanced over my shoulder to see what it was and immediately slammed on the breaks next to them and my jaw dropped also. Not 20 feet away (like 5 feet horizontally and 15 feet vertically) was a Golden Eagle. Now, this is the first time I have ever seen a Golden in real life. We have quite a few pairs of Bald Eagles that live here along the river and even when they were fighting extinction a few years back, I think they recorded like 18 pairs living a good population. I see them soaring high above, not often, but every now and then.  But this was a Golden....munching on a small bird or fish. Didn't seem to care about us watching at all. What a sight.

2. Sunday long run....16 mile long run. 8 miles around town easy, then 8 miles at MP at the River Walk.  Around mile 11 I spot a Bald Eagle on the end of a Cottonwood Tree branch overhanging the river.  They are so polished and perfect looking. Every feather in place. The white.  The yellow beak and bright. Every grey feather perfectly symmetrical. Wow.  I changed my course to circle back a second time, and then a third time all within about 10 minutes.  So amazing. (and I schooled this run, by the MP portion was beautifully perfect!)

3.  Today. 13 miles (mid-effort progression again).  Had 11 yesterday mid-effort too.  So, today I'm pooped. Ran the first 6 with Sentry around downtown and had a lost King Charles Cavalier Spaniel chasing us for-what-seemed-like-ever!  Had to drop down into 6:30 pace to lose the little sucker.  Probably hasn't been on a walk in months (from the sound of his long nails on the pavement) so he was making the best of it.  Ended up feeling wrecked after losing the little beast.  Dropped Sentry off and had a quick potty break at the house and headed to the River Walk. Mile 10.5 I'm feeling totally trashed.  My pace is slow, my heart rate is high. I am pretty sure my oatmeal is long gone and I'm beat. I choose to take my favorite trail with tall Cottonwoods draping over the walk from both sides, close to the river. And then I saw him.  The same Bald Eagle from the other day. But this time soaring over the water.  He makes a wide swooping turn and lands on the very same branch where I saw him Sunday.  Made my week.

Three eagles in one week but I'm still tired.  
Then I saw this quote:
Bam. Got it.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Trying the Pfitzinger Plan

After five marathons, I decided to step it up. I used Brad Hudson's Running Faster from the 5k to the Marathon for my first two with great success. Then I used The Hansons Marathon Method for the last 3 and didn't get what I wanted even though I had great training sessions and felt great.  So, after hours and hours of research I am going to try Pfitzinger's Advanced Marathon Method. There are a few plans. I am doing the 18 week 54-70 miles per week plan. Lots of focus on endurance building and many medium and long runs. Hansons had lots of quality runs and pace runs and Pfitzinger has a lot less.  Supposedly the two programs compliment each other very well. If you've done one, it will shock your body doing the other, and hopefully make you faster. First week was last week. 54 miles. Good stuff. Tired legs from quite a few lengthy runs. I feel good though and can see how these "medium/long runs" holding prescribed paces based on my marathon goal pace work to build fitness, endurance, mental focus and strength. There are 2-4 of these each week ranging from 9-20 miles. These are basically progressive runs starting at 20% above MP and ending the last few miles at 10% above MP.  Colfax Marathon in Denver has some good hills so I'm doing a lot of hills on these runs.  I am going to try to run flat on the two 5-mile recovery runs each week to give myself the best rest. This is opposite of what I used to do (which seems ridiculous in my brain now). I always did my tempo runs on flat courses to be as consistent as possible and would do recovery on hills since pace didn't matter and to work different muscles.  I am just trying to change everything up this time around to try and get the results I want.
Anyone ever tried Pfitzinger? I'd love to hear what you thought of it if you have.
Happy Running Everyone!