What’s Been Happening

I haven’t had a blog post in a while… so how about an update.

Training:  Since I had some trouble finishing some of my races this year (although at least partially due to biting off a bit more than I could chew…) I decided I should probably make some changes to prevent those sort of things from happening again.  First was adding back in some weights, specifically, squats.  I’ve done them weekly for the past few months, and even added in a 2nd day the past few weeks without getting sore.  At the least I have to think it means my legs are getting stronger, as I’ve been increasing the weight slightly every so often.  I don’t know if it helps a huge amount with running, but when I ran Rocky Raccoon in 2011, I had a great time and at the time, the only real difference in my training was I was doing weights.  So adding this back in was step one.  Step two, I also went and bought a 35 lb kettlebell on the recommendation from a friend.  It’s a pretty solid cardio workout, and it’s actually kind of fun throwing it around.   I haven’t made a kettlebell only workout, but more used it as a warmup for a jog or as a supplement to other weight routines.  I think it’s probably comparable to sprinting for the same amount of time, in my case, I have been doing the basic swing for 2 minutes, and by the time I’m done, I’m gassed– my breathing effort feels pretty similar to sprinting for 2 minutes.  I think I might have noticed a bit of improvement just by adding these two training items in (in addition to averaging about 30 miles per week the past month, which is plenty far enough in the Texas summer).  My “medium distance runs” of ~10 miles are a bit easier now — in the past summers I would always be forced to walking due to the oppressive humidity but even this past weekend I was actually able to run the entire distance.  Some of my evening runs have also been easier, with even having enough gas for a little sprint at the end, which I think has never happened the past two summers.  We did a group run at Huntsville State Park a few weeks ago, but my nutrition plan was WAY off, otherwise I think I would have finished just fine.  So, I think whatever I’ve been doing is working so far, but I think I may even increase the kettlebell workouts.  Step 3, is adding in some hill work via a treadmill.  I’ve never really used one but since I can use it free from work and we have NO hills around here, I think I should try it out.  Step 4, will be going to the only ‘hill’ around these parts, which is the Kemah Bridge (which I have avoided during the weekdays due to the traffic health hazard….).  Doing repeats there will be part of one of my distance runs on the weekend.   It’s not a huge hill… but it’s better than nothing.  So, the combination of all of those, should make me alot stronger for Cactus Rose 50 this year, which at this point is the only race I’m registered for.  Once it cools off, it will be MUCH easier to run around here too…
Racing:  Well I don’t really “race” but I will be running a 30k at Colorado Bend State Park this Saturday night, so it will be interesting to see how I feel.  Maybe I’ll do the 60k 3 weeks later, but maybe I won’t — I don’t really like driving back that far by myself after running ALL NIGHT…. and 60k is a long way to run… especially in Texas in the summer.

De-forestation:  The Memorial Park Conservancy, or whoever they have hired, have gone ahead with the next step of ‘fixing’ our beloved Ho Chi Minh mountain bike trails by bulldozing large parts of the park.  They have been removing many trees the past couple months, but only the past week did they actually start totally bulldozing trails to the point where many trails are not recognizable anymore.  I’m not a forestry expert, but I can’t really understand destroying everything there.  I guess there is an ‘invasive species’ problem, but what’s the point if the Park will totally be unusable for years to come?  None of the bikers will go there anymore, and there won’t be much of anything to run or even walk if this kind of work will continue, and it’s a shame since it’s a great spot to connect with other runners in town.  Perhaps it could have been managed alot better if the city of Houston had more parks to actually manage, since they have almost none and probably don’t know any better.  Who knows… hopefully something good comes of it.

Well that’s all I got…. maybe I’ll add a race report after this weekend…


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