Half-Marathon Training Week 1: Winter Wonderland

When I finalized my training plan for the Chilly Half-Marathon, I knew it meant starting right away... the Christmas holidays weren't over yet, and order had not yet been re-established.  Whatever, no fear, no excuses.

Shark Boy had done a great job of mastering downhill skis from the safety of our backyard (with his wonderful mother's excellent tutelage and supervision) and we had wanted to take him to Centennial Park for some more advanced training... possibly even get him on the magic carpet.  The training plan said do 11.2km on Sunday, but since I knew Sunday would be a write-off with driving to Collingwood, Saturday would have to be the day.  Plan A was to run with the Lightning Kid in the Chariot during Shark Boy's ski lesson but when we arrived at the ski area, we were surprised to find that they weren't open and we would not be permitted to try skiing nearby even without using the lifts...

I was frustrated; it was only day 1, and my plans to run (which already took a great deal of effort and organization) were already in the trash.  I wanted my wife to be able to take a nap after a rough night of kid wake-ups, and I didn't see how it could all work... and we were still looking for a way to give the kids some fresh air and activity.  Taking Shark Boy tobogganing was a good option for him, and pulling him up the hill was good exercise, but not the same as racking up the miles I needed.

He wanted to pull it up himself... twice out of what felt like 100 times.

By the time we'd gotten home and had lunch, we got Shark Boy down for a nap, and I decided to take Lightning Kid out on the sidewalks (which were only partly cleared of snow) and do my best.  Out the door we went.  He fell asleep fairly quickly; but I found the going difficult.  Not only was pushing the extra weight an extra effort, but I had little traction, and the wheels of the Chariot would get stuck in deeper snow - getting unstuck from a snowbank or three gave Lightning Kid a rude awakening.

In the end, it took me an hour and 20 minutes to get 9.2 km done... 2k short of my goal, but given the extra challenges, I put it in the win column.  That's going to be a theme this week, if not the entire winter season.

Long Run: Finished!

Sunday was spent driving north to Collingwood in search of even more snow; we made good time and tried to find the tubing hill at Blue Mountain for some family fun - this hill apparently no longer exists though Shark Boy and his mother got to do a few runs on a borrowed snow saucer-type deal.  We thought we were experts on the area, as we came up a lot when we were dating and early in our marriage, but either 1.) there have been changes, or 2.) having kids screws with your brain, especially the memory parts.  By the end of the weekend, I felt better oriented in case we try it again, but I’m getting ahead of myself.  We stayed with some friends who have a chalet there, and also a baby, so no-one was too shell-shocked by diapers or crying and whatnot.

On New Year’s Eve Day, Shark Boy got a real skiing lesson on the hill complete with magic carpet lift.  The Lightning Kid slept in the car, and just as he woke up, and I started putting the Chariot back together for a little run, I got a text message that Shark Boy and his mother were heading back so that he could have lunch and a nap... best to stay ahead of the fatigue when downhill skiing, I always say.

Once everyone was back inside, I got the chance to do a run. Our hosts told me about a trail I could access; they figured there had been enough people tramping it down to make it feasible for running. Again, I tried to take it easy and manage expectations. The trail was beautiful, but it did get difficult where it was actually marshy beneath the snow - I had to use my dance-y feet to keep from busting through ice into deep puddles.

Getting to the trail meant running on slushy roads, which wasn't any easier. Still, the air was brisk, and I was accomplishing what I set out to do.

New Year's Eve was quiet to say the least. While we stayed up to midnight, I started getting a little infatuated with the idea of falling asleep in one year and waking up in the next...

For New Year's Day we opted to get our cross-country ski on, just before making the return trip home. I've skied with the trailer behind me lots of times, but I was finding it much harder so I did a little math. I used to count 20 pounds for Shark Boy with another 22-25 pounds for the Chariot totalling around 45 pounds or so. Now, I've got an 18 lb Lightning Kid to add to the load with Shark Boy coming in closer to 35 lbs these days. I was really digging in my edges and using all my strength to get up the bigger and steeper hills. Before I got this week started, my wife asked if cross-country skiing could/would count toward weekly mileage for running and I said no... only running is running, and while cross-training is beneficial, counting it instead of the runs I'm supposed to be doing will lead to me not doing much running at all. Still, I can't help but think there's more than a little cross-over between the two sports, and I'm struggling to get every prescribed kilometer...

Wednesday I was back in the office, and I brought plenty of warm gear (including a Specialized cycling jacket my wife gave me... kept me feeling good!) and managed to get my 7 km. Keeping my footing on the trail was challenging, and I found my upper body making a lot of lateral movement to compensate. It was also slow, of course.

That evening I noticed my legs felt a little thrashed, and the next morning there was a lot of stiffness in my lower back and hips. I wasn't sure if I was going to take a rest day as my 'X', or find a lighter way to cross-train. By lunch, I opted to do some weights for strength, but instead of the usual where functional movement recruits a lot of lower body and core, I did simple old fashioned weight lifting to focus on my chest, back and arms.

Friday was tempo run day, and given the havoc the snow had been wreaking on my pace and technique, I opted for the dreadmill/treadmill.



Let’s look at the week’s summary compared to the plan:
actual km9.254.5X7X4.66OFF*25.41
planned km11.25.6X7.2X4.8OFF28.6
commentactually saturdayxc ski 6.5kmweights*See below29.9 with skiing

I came up a little short on kilometers, but overall, I’m pleased not to have missed any workouts, and do be doing what I set out to do.  Saturday is supposed to be a rest day with next week’s long run occurring on Sunday, but given my plans for Sunday (stay tuned! I’ll give you a hint, it’ll put the Cross in Cross-Training) I may move my long (12.8km) run to Saturday and take Monday off.  Wish me luck!

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