Posted by: rosssilvis | February 17, 2009

Another Winter Day

Yes, I’m still alive. It’s been a very busy couple of weeks with studying and work occupying most of my time, but I’ve managed to still squeeze in a couple of quality workouts. Not enough time to post (obviously), but hey, something has got to give right?

Anyways, got a great run in yesterday with Matt; 12 miles in about 1 hour and 43 minutes, a steady 8:34 per mile pace. Jess decided to tag along too, on the bike, so it was nice to have all the company for a long run. We ran over to the Bayfront Connector from Jess and I’s house and then headed north towards the water. It was a beautiful day for mid-February in Erie with the sun shining brightly and the temperature in the cold-but-comfortable 30 degree area. The sun had most of the snow melted off of the connector trail so it was nice not to have to worry about traction.

The out and back route took us the whole way out to Frontier Park before we had to turn around. I had Jessie snapping pictures since she was on the bike and could zip up in front of Matt and I to get some action shots. (My motivation for her taking pictures was actually two-fold: when she focuses on taking pictures I think she forgets about the fact she’s out in the cold riding my mountain bike for 12 miles, which she’s not partically crazy about doing.) Anyways, she got some pretty good shots that you can check out below.

Looking across the bay...

Looking across the bay...


Ice cold.

Ice cold.


Matt and I...

Matt and I...


Frontier Park - half way!

Frontier Park - half way!


Down by the bay...

Down by the bay...

As you can see from the pics, the bay is frozen solid; I’m not actually sure how solid as we didn’t see any ice fishermen out on the bay. Bill and I have talked about riding across the bay once we know its safe, but haven’t had free weekend yet when the conditions were right for the trip. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to do that before the weather starts getting warmer; I’m guessing we have the time as we do live in Erie, where winter can hang on until about April.

Well, it’s mid-way through February already and I’m feeling pretty good about my training so far. I’d like to be getting in some longer training rides on the weekends, but right now I’m doing about all I can with the time available. Running has become more of a priority as Hyner is quickly approaching; I know I can suffer through a long bike ride unprepared, but doing Hyner unprepared could destroy my legs. I know because I did the Megatransect a few years ago unprepared and it was about a  month after the race before I could even start running again.

The Cook Forest Half Marathon is also quickly approaching and I have to say I’m really excited about it. Jess decided to run the 5k and then decided to ask my sister, Misty, and her sister, April, to join her; both have committed to doing the race, which I think is awesome. My sister was extremely athletic back in her high school days (she was big motivating role model for me), but hasn’t really been “in the game” for awhile. So I think its really cool that she’s going to take on this new challenge. Additionally, I think my brother Mark might join in on the fun for at least the 5k and Matt’s going to do the half with me. It’s going to be great to have a big crew at the race.

Well, I don’t have anything too exciting planned for this week; just a couple of trainer workouts and a run. I’m sure Bill and I will try to get out and do a long ride this coming weekend if we can find the time. And maybe Matt will come and join us, if he thinks he can keep up!

Posted by: rosssilvis | January 28, 2009

Keep on Running

Well, my legs are slowly getting back into “running mode”. I ran seven miles on Saturday at a hard pace, 7:50 minute miles,  given the slippery conditions and then another seven miles last night. My pace was considerably slower last night (8:45 minute miles). You would think that after all of the injuries and trail-and-error running experiences that I’ve been through I could get hammered into my hard head that pacing is everything. I pushed myself way too hard on Saturday and my legs let me know on Sunday and Monday, making me skip my Sunday ride. I don’t need to be pushing the pace in January, but sometimes I guess I just can’t help myself. Well, last night I backed off and I feel great today. Hopefully I can keep reminding myself that the focus at this time of the year is just to get the miles in and not the pace at which I’m running them.

I jump up to nine miles this weekend, which seems a little daunting. It’s not so much the distance, but the weather. I don’t mind the cold; actually, running in mid 20s temps is becoming quite comfortable. My problem with running nine miles in January in Erie is the unsure footing you have to deal with for the entire distance; that and how ugly Erie is in the winter. It takes a constant attention not to wind up with your butt or face kissing the asphalt and I find that more draining than the actual running. It takes away from the mental escape that running provides me – one of the main reasons I like running.  And the scenery… good old dreary Erie. Don’t get me wrong, Erie can be very scenic in the winter with a fresh layer of snow and the sun shining. However, go running at seven o’clock on an overcast night in downtown Erie and you’ll see what I mean.

Anyways, I was hoping to get a picture of the frozen bay but there just wasn’t enough light. I instead got a shot of the new Bayfront Convention Center, the attached Sheraton Hotel, and the Bicentennial Tower.

Bayfront Convention Center, Sheraton Hotel, and the Bicentennial Tower

Bayfront Convention Center, Sheraton Hotel, and the Bicentennial Tower

I also got a cool shot of the Oliver Hazard Perry monument in the square downtown.

Who's number one?...Oliver Hazard Perry knows... oh yes, he knows...

Who's number one?...Oliver Hazard Perry knows... oh yes, he knows...

Aside from running the nine miles I’m schedule to do, I’m hoping to get a ride in on Sunday in the afternoon. The family is coming up for the weekend to celebrate my Dad’s birthday, but if I’m lucky there might be a small window to go for a ride in after they leave and before the Super Bowl. Go Steelers!

Posted by: rosssilvis | January 22, 2009

The Daily Grind

I managed to get two solid workouts in this week; a run on Tuesday and a trainer workout in the basement on Wednesday. The training schedule called for a tempo workout but with how snow covered the sidewalks and roads are its difficult to do any type of pacing. I don’t really think it matters at this stage of the game anyways with Hyner still a couple of months away. The primary goal right now is to just to the distance, so that’s exactly what I did. I clipped off four miles in about 33 minutes, which I thought was good considering the hills I threw into the route. I’ve been making a point to run over to Mercyhurst College and then up the hill from 38th to the top of the college. It’s only a few blocks, but the hill rises in steps so its fun to see how hard I can push myself. I have to mention that my gear was still damp from the weekend (because I was too lazy to get it washed) so the run was quite cold even though the temps have been relatively warmer recently. So that probably accounts for my pace – I was running hard just to stay warm!

On Wednesday I hit the trainer for 45 minutes. Even though I was still feeling pretty fatigued from the weekend, I decided to push myself as I knew I wouldn’t get a workout in today. (I’m heading downtown shortly to check out Erie’s new basketball team, the Erie BayHawks.) The workout consisted of a five minute warm-up, then seven sets of 4:30 minutes of just above conversational pace followed by 30 seconds of sprinting, and then a five minute cool-down. It’s a killer workout, but Jason says these types of workouts will make me faster this year, so I’m doing them! I’m pretty beat today though. Studying is in full swing (meaning I’m up till 11-12 every night) and work is… well, its work. Someone old and wise once told me they wouldn’t pay us if it wasn’t work. Well, anyways, I’m off to enjoy my one night off from studying and training. I think I’ll have a beer… maybe two.

Posted by: rosssilvis | January 22, 2009

Another Winter Weekend

Saturday
Another winter weekend in Erie and guess what… surprise, it snowed! And snowed and snowed. Temps were low on Saturday, in the teens, but then things warmed up on Sunday into the balmy 20s. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get out and play! I spent most of Saturday studying and lounging around with Jess before I finally got motivated enough to do the six mile run I had planned. The studying (CFA Exam) has been going fairly well but this spring will be another battle for time between studying, training and my husband duties. I always have to give on one thing and it’s not usually Jess or the studying…

So anyways, got in a good run on Saturday. Ran from the house down Parade St. and then took Holland St. down to the bayfront. It was quite cold…

Balmy weather for a run...

Balmy weather for a run...

…but I must have been dressed right because I was plenty warm. It started snowing pretty good by the time I got down to the Bicentennial Tower, which made for a pretty cool view of the city.

On the Bicentennial Tower, facing the city...

On the Bicentennial Tower, facing the city...

The rest of the run was uneventful. It took me a total of 50 minutes (8:20min pace) to cover the six miles, which I felt was pretty good given the slippery conditions. Running on the sideways in Erie can be an adventure. About a third aren’t shoveled, so you basically have to high-step those, and then you have frozen footprints to deal with and the occasional snowbank to hurdle. It’s completely different than trodding along the sideways in the summer and reminds me a lot of trail running. I think that’s why I’ve been enjoying it so much.

Sunday
So it snowed a ton Saturday night; not so much in the city as in Edinboro, which of course was where I was headed in the morning. Bill had an epic biking adventure planned that included two long sections of snowshoeing/hike-a-biking. I left the house at about 8:15 and it took me about an hour to make the drive down to the Boro. After some grumbling (“yes, I know it snowed a foot and no, we aren’t crazy”), Matt decided to join us. so I stopped at his apartment to get ready before heading over to Bill’s. I think it was either in the high teens or low 20s when we started, but it was actually rather comfortable with no wind and given that the temps had been in the single digits just a few days ago. I only added a fleece under my riding jacket and was warm, and at times hot, for the entire adventure.

Yes, adventure. I’ve found that with Bill’s weekend rides you get one of two things: there’s the all out training ride where we have to go such a distance or ride for such a time, and then there’s the “I’ve got this cool route planned…let’s see if we can finish this thing…”. Sunday was a “let’s see if we can finish this thing”. (Note: You can always count on one thing with Bill’s weekend rides: you’ll definitely be exhausted by the time you finish, and likely, before you finish.)

So we started out with a short ride over to a field that we snowshoed across carrying our bikes. Roads were snow covered, but I’ll spoil the ending… no one wrecked. The field was about 3/4 to a mile across and we managed to make it across, without a break, in about 40 minutes. Not bad considering we were in knee-deep snow and carrying a bike on our backs. Here are some picks from the first hike…

The first hike-a-bike...

The first hike-a-bike...

Bill and Matt...

Bill then Matt...

I got my snowshoes from my parents on Christmas (thanks Mom & Dad!) and the pack I was using my brother bought me (thanks Mark!). The pack is a Dakine heli-skiing pack which my snowshoes strapped to perfectly. The pack also has a place for hydration bladder, so I was set. Anyways, the hike was followed by another couple of miles of back road riding to a game lands that Bill and I frequently ride through. I managed to fire off some pics while skating down the road, below is one of them…

Ridin' up Miller Station Road to the game lands...

Ridin' up Miller Station Road to the game lands...

The game lands hike took us about an hour and afterwards we guessed it was about 1-1.5 miles (forgot to pay attention to the Garmin). About half way through I think we were all starting to get a little tired of the hiking. The hiking itself wasn’t bad, but the bikes were starting to get heavy. Here are a few pics I snapped in the game lands…

Matt, appreciating the snow and the scenery...

Matt, appreciating the snow and the scenery...

...and miles to go before I sleep...

...and miles to go before I sleep...

The ride/adventure was capped off with several more miles of dirt road riding back to Bill’s. All said and done, we covered 18 miles in 3 hours and 50 minutes. Of course the distance doesn’t seem impressive, but that wasn’t the point. It was a blast to just be able to get out and play, and a tough four hour workout in January should serve us well when we’re trail running in April and riding in May.

Posted by: rosssilvis | January 14, 2009

Last Saturday

I managed to get a good run in last Saturday despite the ongoing “snow emergency” in Erie. (Seriously, our mayor declared a “snow emergency”.) We did get a lot of snow on Friday and Saturday (not sure what the final total was but I’m guessing somewhere around a foot and a half), but this is something that you have to get used to if you are living in Erie. When the lake isn’t frozen over and a storm blows in, it can put down a lot of snow fast. But anyways, I managed to clip off about four miles in the early evening on Saturday. My Garmin died on me about two miles into the run, so the mileage is based on what I came up with from mapmyruns.com. Obviously, I also have no idea how long it took me but I’m sure it wasn’t impressive as about half the run was done in snow up to my kneecaps. It was a killer workout with my heart in my throat for most of it, high-stepping through the snow, but…

…it was actually very peaceful. It was dark and still snowing, so the streetlamps were only offering up a dull glow. Very few people were outside (mostly shoveling) and traffic was light as many didn’t want to brave the roads. With the lack of activity and the snow dampening all sound, it had to be one of the quietest runs I’ve ever had in the city. Anyways, below are some pics so you can see what I’m talking about – enjoy!

If you look close you can see me running into the night...

If you look close you can see me running into the night...

Me.

Me.

Tracks up the Bayfront Connector footpath...

Tracks up the Bayfront Connector footpath...

Heading North on the Connector trail...

Heading North on the Connector trail...

Posted by: rosssilvis | January 12, 2009

Training Log

In addition to my training schedule and race schedule, I’ve also added a Training Log on Google Calendars to keep track of what workouts I actually complete. There’s not much info in there right now, but I hope to write more detailed summaries of my workouts as my training progresses. My Garmin heart rate monitor has conveniently stopped working and so I’m unable to upload any heart rate data from my workouts. I was planning on keeping better track of my HR during my workouts this year and to use the Garmin training software more as well… but so far no luck on getting the monitor to work again. So, just basic info for now.

Posted by: rosssilvis | January 12, 2009

Saturday Before Last

Bill and I managed to crank out a good dirt road/paved road ride the Saturday before last (I’m a little behind on posting!) The weather was perfect, for Erie in January anyways, with the temps in the low 30s and a beautiful clear blue sky with the sun shinning brightly. We took off from Bill’s a little after 2 p.m. and clipped off a little over 25 miles in about 2 hours and 15 minutes on the back roads around Edinboro. I think we were both feeling strong (could have just been the nice weather giving us a psychological boost), which lead to a couple of competitive hill races. Final score: 1-1. Tie breaker next ride.

Below are a couple of photos from our ride – enjoy!

Bill charging up Plank Road...

Bill charging up Plank Road...

A little farther up Plank, still crankin'...

A little farther up Plank, still crankin'...

On a hilltop near Waterford - look at that sunshine...

On a hilltop near Waterford - look at that sunshine...

Posted by: rosssilvis | December 30, 2008

Race Calendar

So my 2009 Race Schedule has been somewhat finalized and is up for viewing. On the calender are eight mountain bike races, three road running races, two trail running races, and one adventure race. The schedule isn’t set in stone and it’s likely that I won’t be able to do all 14 races I’m planning to enter. However, I do have five or six races that will be the primary focuses for the season: Mohican, Raccoon Rally, the Tango, God’s Country, Laurel Classic, and Iron Cross.

Being that this is only my second year of mountain bike racing and I’m still relatively new to the long distance running as well, I believe that my primary goal for the season will be to simply get faster (makes sense right?) while continuing to increase the distances of the races that I enter. The three mountain bike races that I will be using as my barometer of success will be the Mohican 100K, Raccoon Rally Sport Class, and the Laurel Classic Sport Class races (all three are races that I did last year). Mohican, God’s Country, and Iron Cross will be the long races of season (50 miles+) and will be good stepping stones towards my goal of racing 100 milers. 

In contrast to my mountain bike racing, my primary goal for a few of my running races on the calendar (Hyner View and Megatransect) is simply to finish with dignity! If you have ever done the Megatransect you know exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve never done the Hyner View run but from what I’ve read, the pictures I’ve seen and my experience at the Megatransect (which is put on about 15 miles from Hyner), I know that I’m going to be happy just coming across the finish line without a limp.

And about the Tango – I was going to put in a quick snipit about the race and my expectations, but that race is just too cool not to dedicate an entire post to it, so… that will have to wait until later.

Also, lastly, my Training Schedule is completed for January. This will be the first time that I have trained seriously for both running and moutain biking. I’ve used one or the other as cross training for one or the other, but I’ve never trained seriously for both – should be interesting. I think the first couple of weeks will be difficult, getting back into the swing as I haven’t been working out steadily for some time (I spent the last month and a half remodeling my bathroom – fun fun). But, I think once I get through those first few weeks I should be fine.

Oh, and the recap of my 2008 season is still on its way…

Posted by: rosssilvis | December 19, 2008

Training Schedule

Below is a link to my planned training schedule on Google Calendar; nothing on the calendar yet as I’m still planning, but I should have this totally up and running by the end of the year.

Training Schedule

Posted by: rosssilvis | December 17, 2008

Getting Started…

Man… getting this thing off and running is harder than getting back on my bike at check-point 3 at last year’s Mohican. Well, it’s not quite that hard… actually, it’s not anywhere near that hard, but it’s not easy either. I guess I’ll start with who I am and then when I get to why I’m doing this, it will make more sense. I am an aspiring mountain bike racer, trail runner, marathon runner, adventure racer endurance athlete. There it is… endurance athlete. That’s who I am… or actually, who I’d like to be. And that brings me to the why…

The purpose of this blog will be to act as a sort of training diary and a place for me to write about and share (if anyone reads this thing) my experiences in endurance training/racing. The hope is that this will help me plan out my training, track my pain progress, and act as a good motivator when I’m feeling less than beastly. I’m also hoping that this will help me reflect on my race experiences and hopefully learn from my many mistakes.

And speaking of reflecting, I think that’s the next logical step. So expect a ’08 season recap soon: endless winter training rides, the success survival of the Mohican 100, the season of mud, the success of the Columbus Marathon and much, much more…

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