Friday, December 31, 2010

So that's it. 2010 is done.

Friday 12/31 (12.4mi, 1h 44m, 8:24/min)

I got one last run in today to finish out the year. As I did last New Year's Eve I drove out to Crescent Valley Forest to run on the trails. Does two years in a row make it a tradition? Last year it was pouring and I was soaked from the rain and constantly avoiding huge puddles. Today's high temp was in the low 30s as it was yesterday which meant that there was a dusting of snow on the and everything was generally frozen. Every step was just as I ran on the thin layer of snow and frozen mud / grass. There were still plenty of puddles but they were all frozen over, which made them even more hazardous than usual. I've only run at Crescent Valley Forest once before so I didn't know where I was going. I brought a map with me and tried to make the biggest loop I could. I missed a few turns here and there and didn't worry about pace. I just enjoyed my day on the trails. Running on the snow and the narrow trails was nice but I forgot how much harder running on real trails is than running on the roads or light trails. I was well worn out after a large loop and then a small loop. I did pretty well with the clothing choice: tights under running pants, base layer, S/S shirt under a L/S shirt, thick knit hat, Drymax socks and my Cascadias. The only bad choice was my gloves. They were too thin and I only lasted about an hour with them before I had to pull out my thick gloves. I'll have to look into getting a medium weight pair of gloves for cold runs like this. One minor annoyance was catching my foot on a very small but sharp tree stump. It caught the toe of my left foot and left a two-inch tear in the mesh upper of my shoe. Luckily I'm 300 miles into the Cascadias, so I won't be running in them much longer. I would have been bummed if that happened to the MT 101s.

Some photos from the run:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Almost there...

This week has been pretty insane at work. I've only missed one day of running so far but I've had to run twice after dark when I missed my lunch-time runs.

Monday 12/20 (4.0mi, 33min, 8:15/mi) I didn't bring enough warm clothes to work so I gave up running outside and hit the treadmill at lunch instead. I thought I'd last longer than 4 miles but that was all I could stand. I kept a recovery pace after Sunday night's after-dark half tempo run. I hit the weights a little bit after the treadmill and then called it a workout.

Tuesday 12/21 (8.3mi, 56:30, 6:49/mi) I ran a new loop at work last week after dark that wound through the streets and then through a little bit of the Bridle Trails and around the rest of my "Pro Club Loop" in Redmond. The first time I ran it I finished in an hour and two seconds. Of course I wanted to go for < 1hr. Today I pushed the pace from the start and almost kept all of my splits under 7:00/mi, just missing out with a 7:07 on the technical mud puddle-avoiding part of the Bridle Trails and a 7:09 on the big hill leading up to 148th st. I was pretty gassed and had the "how much longer can I hold on to this pace?" feeling for half of the route. I finished in well under an hour which felt great for the distance. I think I'll keep this as my new tempo run as it has a little more variety than the Pro Club Loop and it's a little longer but still do-able once in a while at lunch.

Wednesday 12/22 (8.3mi, 1:11:00, 8:36/mi) I ran another work loop that happened to be the same distance as Tuesday's run but only shared about 50% of the route. I kept a recovery pace after Tuesday's hard tempo and started late in the afternoon so that I finished just after dark. Always nice to get out and run after work. I look forward to next summer's warmer temperatures and longer days to enjoy runs like this more often after work.

Thursday 12/23, Friday 12/24 (0,0,0) I just couldn't make it happen on Thursday and Friday with everything that was going on at work.

Saturday 12/25 (7.7mi, 55:45, 7:14/mi) As is the tradition on Xmas day, I directed an informal race that I've been holding for the last 4 years, the Wise Invitational Xmas Day Extravaganza. (I'm still working on the name). With so many people coming over on Xmas day I gather up the runners and we all go for a run after the gift exchange regardless of the weather. This year I was the only participant as all of the runners in the family were away for the holidays. With just me running I changed from the regular 4.5 mile "One Store Loop" course to my 7.3mi "One Hour Loop" course. I started strong and got out to an early lead. I pushed hard the last five miles, running them at < 7:00 pace average. I never looked back and kept the lead from start to finish. I worked through some cramps in the later miles of the run and after the awesome traditional Norwegian breakfast I think I could have pushed myself hard enough to throw up if I really tried.

Monday 12/27 (7.3mi, 1:01, 8:28/mi) I ran the same route I ran on Xmas day but at an easy recovery pace instead of hard tempo. It felt much better than the cramping, almost-throwing-up pace I held on Saturday.

Wednesday 12/29 (12.4mi, 1:37, 7:49/mi) I decided to make my run a little longer on Wed and started out with the hour loop but peeled off onto Artondale which led me out to the bottom of Wollochet dr. It snowed the night before and there were still traces of snow on some of the hills. There was no snow on the roads thankfully. My stomach wasn't feeling very good so I didn't keep a great pace overall. No sub-7 splits, but I pushed enough the 2nd half to get my average pace back under 8:00/mi. I had a hard time getting the right temperature on the Run. A L/S base layer, L/S tech shirt, shorts and running pants worked pretty well. My thin wind jacket on top of that was too much so I had to carry it. I flip-flopped on gloves and a hat. With them on I'd start to overhead but taking them off would make my fingers start to go numb.  I did find that when I wanted to warm up a gel so that it wasn't hard and chewy that putting it under your hat for a mile does the trick.

Now with only 2 days left in the year I need to start writing up my list of stuff I liked / didn't like.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another week goes by

Another week in running. I missed one run this week but did pretty well overall. Here's the rundown:

Monday 12/13 (5.4mi, 48min, 8:55/mi) After Sunday's tempo run in the rain I took it easy around the Redmond streets. I practiced forefoot striking a little.

Tuesday 12/14 (cross training)
My knee needed a break so I used the stationary bike, the elliptical and the weight machines at the gym instead. Now that my wrist is healed I can start using free weights and machines again. My body isn't used to it so my chest, back, and arms were pretty sore for a few days.

Wednesday 12/15 (6.2mi, 40:56, 6:36/mi) I missed running intervals on Tuesday so I went for a hard tempo run around my old standard "Pro Club Loop" starting at work instead of the Pro Club. I suffered running up the few hills along the route and almost slipped on a few muddy sections. I felt like I was running well after cross training on Tue and my time agreed. I'd put an asterisk on the performance, I had to stop for 5 lights and follow a detour going up 24th street. Still a very good tempo run that left me gassed.

Thursday 12/16 (6.0mi, 51min, 8:22/mi)
At lunch I ran out to Grass Lawn Park and ran 2.5 miles barefoot around one of the baseball fields. Felt decent.

Thursday 12/16 (8.3mi, 60min, 7:13/mi)
After work I had some time so I went for a night run around Redmond and through part of the Bridle Trails. I felt pretty good and kept a good pace, hitting the first 4 miles in 7:01, 7:06, 7:02, 7:02. Going through the Bridle Trails in the dark with just two small lights slowed me to an 8:14 mile. I finished up with a 7:18 mile, an uphill 7:25 mile, then a 6:56 final mile. I don't know where the night time speed came from, especially on the second run of the day. It was one of those runs where I felt like my base training was finally starting to show.

Work was too busy on Friday to get out for a run and Saturday is usually an off day for me.

Sunday 12/19 (7.6mi, 59min, 7:52/mi) I was out all day in Seattle with the family so I suited up for a run when I got home just after dark. I brought both my small and large head lights and wore a reflective vest. I wore the small light and carried the large one. I ran the same loop (out to Island View and around) that I ran last Sunday. I started out a little slow and ran a few form accelerations through out the run. I picked up the pace about half way through and started making some low 7 min mile splits interrupted by stepping off the road and waiting for cars to pass. My stomach started to gurgle with about half a mile to go and pushing the pace to try to break an hour didn't help. I got home with 8 seconds to spare, full of endorphins.

I'm loving running lately except for the pain I'm getting around the top of my left kneecap. I hope it isn't a sign of my knee getting worse. Ever since having my torn Meniscus repaired I've had some pain in my left knee. It usually hurts after a run or after sitting in a car for an hour  but it goes away in a day or two. I find that my knee will often start out a little sore on a run but warm up about 4 miles into the run and feel fine from then on. I'm not sure I want to look into what's wrong with my knee as long as I can still run and it doesn't get much worse. I really don't want to find out that I have another Meniscus tear and have to go under the knife again.

Monday, December 13, 2010

This week in running

Monday 12/6 (6.25mi 49min, 7:52/mi) I hit The Machine at work for intervals. I ran a slow mile warm-up and then peeled off 6 x 800 @ 2:52 with 400 slow jog between. It got pretty hard to hold the pace by repeat #4. Good workout.

Tuesday 12/7 (5.45mi, 40min, 7:20/mi) Rather than take an easy recovery day I thought I'd try to wear myself out a little more. I Ran a hard tempo run out to the Bridle Trails and back. I held a good pace and really felt it. My Hamstrings were quite sore after the run. I embraced reality and decided to skip the 10K on Saturday. I'll have to try for a sub-40 next year. I'm just not in the shape I want to be in to keep that kind of pace.

Wednesday 12/8 (5.45mi, 45min, 8:20/mi) Time for recovery. I ran an easy pace out to Grass Lawn Park for two miles around the track barefoot. I felt pretty good on my feet but my knee has been sore lately.

Thursday 12/9 (2.0mi, 17min, 8:30/mi) I cross trained to give my knee a break and then after an hour of cardio and strength I couldn't resist and ran 2 "cool down" miles on the treadmill.

Friday 12/10 (14.0mi, 2h 4min, 8:54/mi) I ran a long hill repeat workout at lunch, running two one-mile-long hill repeats near work at a hard gasping-for-breath effort. It went pretty well. After work I had some time so I went for night-time loop around the Bridle Trails. I didn't prepare for two runs so I had to put on my sweaty clothes that I'd worn at lunch, which is never pleasant. The trails were dark and muddy. I had a flashlight and a headlight but neither were very bright. I need to get something brighter for night runs. It was fun running in the dark but the mud slowed me down as I tried to stay to the sides of the trail and avoid the deep stuff. My socks stayed dry despite stepping in puddle after puddle.  They didn't feel even the slightest bit wet until about 6 miles. I have to hand it to Drymax, they make some great socks. Their "Trail Running" socks are my new favorites, they're replacing all of the Wrightsocks that I've been running in for the last 12 years.  Also, while I'm handing out praise, I'm still loving my New Balance MT101 shoes. They're light but definitely not flimsy, have a great ground feel, and have just enough tread for light trails.

Sunday 12/12 (7.7mi, 59.5min, 7:45/mi) With an all-day Christmyth shopping trip planned for the bulk of the day, I had to get out early. I was up and dressed by 8am but there was the small matter of it raining cats and dogs outside. I really debated calling the run off and staying warm inside instead. I talked myself into running and headed out in the rain. The first 10 minutes were pure annoyance with the rain until my body warmed up and I was mostly soaked. After that I just focused on enjoying the run and keeping a decent pace. The rain was creating small streams going across the streets at any slight incline. I headed out toward the tunnel trail where I hopped back and forth over the water running down the middle of the path. When I got to the upper section of the trail where the mud and water collect, I saw that there was no way to keep my feet dry. After running through the edge of the water flow and feeling the cold water on my feet I was surprised that the cold only lasted for a minute or two at the most. My DryMax trail socks either warmed it or wicked it away from my feet quickly and my feet didn't feel wet at all. These socks are worth every penny.

I sped up going past Kopachuck and down the hill to the Island View store. I turned down Artondale heading back to Ray Nash dr. The fields that I ran past were almost completely flooded which I didn't expect to see. I picked up the pace as much as I could running against the wind and rain on the way to the Arletta store. Once I made the turn toward home at Arletta I saw another runner about 400 meters ahead running up the next hill. I thought it'd be a tough catch but I pushed anyway. I suffered up the first hill, ran quickly down the back and made up almost half the distance by the time I started up the second (longer) climb. I was within about 40 meters of the runner by the time I got to the top of the second hill and then caught (and startled) her 1/10th of a mile later. She had earbuds in her ears and jumped with a gasp when I said "Good Morning" as I was trying to catch my breath. I apologized and picked up the pace to shoot for a sub-1 hr finish. I made it with less than 30 seconds to spare.

I'm working up a list of what worked well and not-so-well for me in 2010 in the areas of running gear, nutrition, and training goes. Look out for that in a few weeks. I'm also (like everyone else) trying to put together a plan for races next year. I don't know how many I'll have time to train for. I'm getting a little push-back on the amount of time I spent training for the 50K races this year. We'll see what I can bargain for.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Last week in running

Summary of the past week in running:

Monday 11/29 (5.75mi, 51min, 8:53/mi) I ran out to the Bridle Trails, noodled around for a bit and then back. My stomach felt iffy, my left shoulder blade was sore and I couldn't manage much more than a recovery pace. Beats going out to lunch though.

Tuesday 11/30 (5.5mi, 45min, 8:10/mi) I ran my first real interval session in some time at the gym on The Machine. I ran 10 x 440 @ 84 seconds, or 10.6 mph. I started out running them with a 2.5% incline and then dropped that down to 1.7% (what I've read will nullify the advantage of running on a treadmill). I started out with a 9:00/mi jog during the recovery interval, then every 4th repeat I just had to walk for the recovery interval. I was barely able to last the 84 seconds at 10.6mph, just begging for each interval to be over. With warm up and cool down it ended up being a pretty good session.

Wednesday 12/1 (5.4mi, 51min, 9:27/mi) Easy run on the Redmond Streets route with Nate. Slow pace and good to talk to Nate. The only thing I don't care for is when Nate apologizes for "being so slow." It's something that I've run into in the past with other people I've run or cycled with. I guess it's just natural that people apologize when they feel like they're holding you back but after the third time I say "don't worry about pace, I knew what the pace would be when I asked you to go for a run" it gets a tiny bit irritating. I get it, running isn't your thing so you don't run as fast as I can. I don't run fast every day, I need at least 2 recovery runs a week and I'd rather run and talk with someone interesting on those days. If I'm ever training for a National Championship, I might worry more about recovery pace, but until then, stop apologizing and enjoy running with me, dammit! :-)

Thursday 12/2 (6.55mi, 51min, 7:47/mi) I headed out to Grass Lawn Park for some barefoot running. I took the corridor trail route out there and was surprised how easy I kept a sub-7 pace down Old Redmond Rd. When I got to the park I found that the track I run around was closed for maintenance, I thought for a second and headed over to try one of the baseball fields. Turns out that they're just as good. Artificial turf and each lap was nearly a quarter mile, slightly longer than the track. I ran just over 2 miles barefoot, practicing a pure forefoot strike every 3rd lap. It felt good at the time but I was a little sore later.

Friday 12/3 (5.3mi, 45min, 8:30/mi) I ran down the path that follows I-520 into downtown Redmond and then along the West Lake Sammamish trail to 51st street. Starting at the bottom of 51st I ran 8 short (30 - 40 second) hill repeats at what I'd estimate was 5K pace up the very-steep hill. I was absolutely gassed after 30 seconds going up that hill. It was really taking it out of me. I jogged slowly back down and then walked around at the base of the hill for another 20 -30 seconds before the next hill repeat. I was impressed that I made it through all 8 given how much they hurt and that I was just about maxing out my heart rate in 30 seconds. After the last hill repeat I jogged back to the bottom of the hill and then slowly ran up the hill and back to work for some stretching. Good workout.

Sunday 12/5 (4.6mi, 40min, 8:42/mi) With the rest of the family sick for the most part I was really lucky to get out at all today. My daughter was out with her grandmother so I loaded the boy into the BOB and bundled him up with a blanket and set him up with juice and snacks and hurried on my way. I planned for the One Store Loop and if things went well I'd tack on some additional miles at the end. I got up the tunnel trail well enough. There were quite a few downed trees / branches that I had to move / break to get the jog stroller through. I should go for a run with a saw and some clippers next weekend. I got around from the top of the trail out to Ray Nash before the boy started to complain. I checked and he wasn't cold, had snacks left and wasn't thirsty. I pressed on and kept talking to him and stopping every few minutes to check on him. By the time I reached the store his complaints escalated. I stopped again to make sure he was doing okay, which he was despite the squawks. With about half a mile to go he started to cry. I knew that I just needed to get home and get him out of the stroller ASAP. I picked up the pace from the 9:00 min miles to a 6:00 mile pace for the last of the run. I hurried up my street and down the driveway. As soon as I unbuckled him and picked him up, all was right in his world again. Better luck next time I hope.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Winter is upon us

I've been busy with work, family and snow lately so I'll try to catch up with the last few runs for those die-hard readers (both of you)...

Tue 11/16 (5.4mi, 50 min, 9:16/mi) I ran with Nate at lunch at an easy pace. I felt like crap from the start and had G.I. issues the whole run. I had to stop a few times in the middle of the run to use the port-o-potty which is always fun when you're running with friends. "Umm, you go ahead and I'll catch up with you..." I'll blame the antibiotics for this.

Wed 11/17 (5.0mi, 43 min, 8:30/mi) I ran on The Machine at work. I still wasn't feeling 100% recovered from the sickness/flu that stuck with me for the last 3 weeks so I kept an easy pace. I was increasing the incline every half miel until I was running at 7% for a bit before bringing it back down to my usual 2.5%. I felt a little better than Tuesday.

Thu 11/18 (5.4mi, 50min, 9:16/mi) Another easy run with Nate. Same route as Tuesday but the opposite direction. Nate apparently didn't like the mile+ long uphill that you get when you run the route CCW. My condition continues to improve and I felt like I was ready to up the mileage and start running faster. It was pretty cold out and I wish I'd brought a hat and some gloves.

Fri 11/19 (6.6mi, 52min, 7:53/mi) I ran out to Grass Lawn Park for some barefoot running on the track. I wanted to add a little faster pace running so I made it a Fartlek run. I ran hard for one song on the iPod and then eased off for the next one. Songs being all different lengths I was really suffering for a song or two to end. Once I got to the track I ran 2 barefoot miles doing two laps easy and then one lap hard. Pretty good run overall.

Sunday 11/21 (8.5mi, 1h17min, 9:05/mi) With temps dropping I bundled up and prepared for a good run to test out the MT101s a bit more. Just before leaving my daughter said that she wanted to go with me. I tried to tell her that it was too cold (low 40s) but she said that she could bundle up and stay warm. I decided to give it a shot and got the BOB jogger ready and bundled her up. When I run with her the route always stops at one of the local convenience stores for a treat. I think this is the main reason she likes to go with me. Unfortunately the temperature dropped almost 10 degrees during the run which made for one cold kiddo. We stopped at the Island View store for some chocolate and some milk before wrapping her back up in the blanket for the trip home. It started snowing on the way home and she wasn't happy. I picked up the pace and went down the Tunnel Trail as a shortcut despite all of the fallen tree branches. We got home just in time for her to warm up in front of the fire while I took a shower before we bundled up again to go ice skating. (great run, great day)

Snow, wind, and ice took over the roads on Monday and Tuesday and I didn't even try to drive in to work. Working at home makes it harder for me to get a run in. Add to that the icy roads and sub-freezing temps and I didn't get out for any miles. So much for my training cycle for the 10K I'd planned on Turkey day. If anything I'll drop down and run the 5K race with my daughter if it's warm enough.

Wednesday 11/24 (6.21mi, 46:25, 7:29/mi) Back in the office on Wednesday, I ran a 10K on the treadmill at lunch. My plan was to run the middle 3-4 miles at my target race pace of 6:25/mi. The reality was that I didn't have that in my legs or lungs. I started at an 8:30 pace and dropped down :30 per mile until I was running 3/4 of a mile at 6:30 and backing off 1/4 of a mile to recover. Not the workout I was hoping for. Fitness is still coming back after the illness.

Thursday 11/25 (8.4mi, 1h12min, 7:30/mi) There was still plenty of snow on the ground and the temp at the start of the run was 33F. I didn't even bother with the Turkey Trot. It warmed up during the run to maybe the high 30s. The snow wasn't very deep so I wasn't post-holing but it was just enough that the roads were slippery and running on the snowy shoulder was sluggish. I was one layer overdressed and had to keep taking off my hat and gloves and putting them back on. I kept a pretty good pace except for one mile that I tried an alternate route up the tunnel trail. I followed a new path to a dead end and then tried to bridge over to the proper trail. I wound up bushwhacking for a few minutes as I made my way through the thorns. It was a pretty good run overall.

One thing about the run that didn't work out was my choice of gel. A little backstory: During this year's Kona Ironman World Championships Gu came up with a new Roctane flavor that (rumor had it) was originally called "Mai Tai" but because of the alcohol connotations was renamed "Island Nectars." During the week of the Kona event Gu had a deal where they'd send you a free pack of 6 Island Nectar gels if you bought something else from their website. I bought some chocolate mint gels to get the free box of Island Nectar. I've eaten two of the new flavor so far and they're just about the worst tasting gel I've ever had. I've read about people raving over the flavor but it was bitter and harsh to me with very faint traces of fruit flavor. I can't imagine eating another one.

Friday 11/26 (6.5mi, 58min, 8:55/mi) Warmer out (low 40s) but I was still overdressed. With my jacket on I was too hot but with it off I was a little cold unless I was running uphill or really pushing the pace. I brought my son in the BOB this time. I bundled him up and ran out past Kopachuck park and then back around the one store loop. I was worried about the boy being cold but with the big jacket and a blanket he was warm enough to fall asleep after he finished his snack. My pace was a little slow with the BOB but it was great to get out for a run.

I just passed 1,300 miles for the year. I don't think I can make my goal of 1500 by the end of the year but I'm pretty happy where I'm sitting now and how my running form has developed over the year.

Monday, November 15, 2010

back on my feet.... slowly

I'm still feeling the last throes of this flu that snuck by my immune system over the last two weeks. I miss running but haven't been very motivated to get out there and push the miles. My stomach is sour presumably from the antibiotics that knocked out the flu. Unfortunately, this affects my appetite and my ability to run fast. I think that I've lost a little bit of fitness after missing so many runs while I was sick. I'll get it back, but not in time to perform well at the Turkey Trot 10K next week. I'll have to look at adding a 10K in Jan/Feb to see about breaking the 40 minute barrier.  The positive aspect of all this is that being sick makes for a great diet and I'm down to 187lbs. I think I can go lighter though.

Friday 11/12: (6.3mi, 51min, 8:03/mi avg) I got outside for a run at lunch and the weather cooperated nicely. I wanted to try the MT101s out again and see if I noticed any difference between them and my other trail shoes in their weight or traction. I ran out to the Bridle Trails and the conditions were a little sloppy. The shoes feel great and their lightness is definitely noticeable after running in my Cascadias. The traction however doesn't seem quite as good as the Brooks shoes. So far I like the 101s with a few small complaints, chief of which are the laces and the narrow toe box. It was a good run but I was being careful not to push the pace very hard and overtax my lungs.

Sunday 11/14: (8.4mi, 1:07, 8:00/mi avg) After a long day out with the family in Seattle I didn't get home until 4:30pm. I was laced up and out the door by 4:45 on my run but without a light as I didn't realize how early it gets dark now. I made it up the tunnel trail in the last of the twilight. I headed out toward the Island View store with the plan of turning around after 30 min. With small shoulders on the local roads, I was  in the habit of stepping completely off of the road when a car would approach. Luckily there weren't many cars on the road and I was wearing a bright blinking Firefly light and a white shirt so there were no close calls. Yielding for traffic did slow me down a bit, mainly after the turn-around. It was pretty dark on the way back so I had to go around on Ray Nash dr. instead of going back down the Tunnel trail. I used the first and last miles as a warmup and cooldown, though probably not as easy as I should have. My lungs and stomach still didn't want to run fast so this didn't end up as a focused workout (ie: LT / Speedwork / Tempo)

Rain is forecast all week, so I'll see what kind of mettle I have when it comes to running in foul weather.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The one about shoes and buffaloes

Well, I was on track to run 1500 miles for the year. I've run all of 4 times since I've last posted. I've been sick with a bad cold / weak flu. I don't get colds often and when I do they never last long, usually 3 - 5 days at most. I'm coming up on 2 weeks now with symptoms that haven't changed: Snotty and scratchy. It's the worst cold that I've had in about 15 years. I remember living in England in 1994 and getting a flu shot (haven't gotten one since) and being sick for 3 weeks before going in to the doctor for antibiotics. With this cold dragging on I'll be picking up those antibiotics tonight on the way home from work.

So my monthly stats for October ended up looking like this:
Runs: 17
Miles: 123.4
Time: 18h 9m
Avg: 8:50/mi
Barefoot miles: 6

That and the 2.5 slow miles I ran on the treadmill at lunch yesterday put me at 1230 miles for the year so far.

I'm still sick so I probably shouldn't have run today but I've been going stir crazy missing all the exercise I've grown used to. The upside of being sick is that I don't have much of an appetite lately so I shouldn't be too shocked when I step on the scale again in the near future.

The other thing that's been gnawing at me since getting sick are the two new pair of shoes that I got for my birthday last month. My sister was feeling quite generous and gave me a substantial gift card that I used to buy two pair of shoes, several books on running and nutrition (nerd!) and a Nathan bladder system.

The shoes I bought are the New Balance MT101 and the Brooks Launch:


I've been following the hype on the newly released MT101 shoes and reading reviews online. I've never cared much for New Balance shoes so I was a little skeptical. I ran in them twice before I got sick and other than rubbing against a rough spot on one of my pinky toes they felt pretty good. They're much less built up and have lower mid-foot and heel cushion than any other shoes I've run in. I can't wait to get out on some proper trails for a longer run to really check them out. They weigh probably half of what my Brooks Cascadias do and it's quite noticeable. I'm hopeful that these will really work well for me.

I just ran in the Launches yesterday at lunch on "The Machine" for a paltry 2.5 miles at 9min pace. They're one level of cushion and support less than the Defyance, the last pair of Brooks road shoes that I've been running in. I've had really good luck with Brooks lately (except as a shoe tester where they have no love for people who wear larger sizes) even if I have to pay for them myself. I tried on the Launch a few months ago at a running store I like in Seattle but wasn't ready to buy them yet. Now that I'm not a heel striker any more I hope that I'll be able to move down to the lighter / less cushioned shoes. The color combination (Cardinal / Orange) is really bright but I kind of like it. The MT101s come in a dark green color scheme that was out of stock to my disappointment.

The Nathan bladder system was something that I bought in reaction to my results at Baker Lake a few weeks ago when I was massively dehydrated and cramping up. The Bladder is on the back of a loose vest and is very popular among ultra runners. It holds 2 liters, so using that along with a bottle or two should work well for me on runs with a long distance between aid stations. I've never liked running with a bladder on my back in the past but I see so many other people with them at races that I hope it's something I can get used to. Bombing a race because of poor hydration is a pretty dumb mistake to make.

So, to sum up: I'm still sick, I miss running dearly, and I've been reading an excellent book lately called "Running With The Buffaloes" by Chris Lear. It's presented as a series of journal entries written by someone following the Univ. of Colorado  Cross Country team over one season. The level of competition and the training that these kids put in is incredible. It might not be a great read for everyone but as a running geek I can't put it down. It just fascinates me and reaffirms my love of running. Let me know if you want to borrow it when I'm done.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Returning From Vacation and a 10K Training Program

Monday (10/18) 5.1mi, 39min, 7:46/mi avg. I got one last run in while we were in Kauai. I ran from the condo in Kapa'a out on the beach path toward Anahola and back. I started out slow the first mile and then ran a lackluster tempo pace the rest of the run. I only had 45 minutes to run, so I turned around at 22:30 and came in with a slightly negative split. I knew it would be hot and humid so I left my shirt and hat and just ran shirtless. The views were amazing and the week was very relaxing.

Wednesday (10/20) 5.5mi, 41min, 7:27/mi avg. Back at work I ran out to the Bridle Trails and back. I kept it slow the first and last mile but pushed hard the middle 3.5 miles. It was tough holding the pace and I was really winded by the end. I need to put more speed work in my training.

Thursday (10/21) 4.6mi, 38min, 8:20/mi avg. I put together a basic schedule to build up for a 10K based on a few resources I found online. One thing that it prescribed that I've been neglecting were hill repeats. I ran from work out to the 520 bike path that goes down the long hill into Redmond. I ran down to a nice steady downhill section and stopped to run 5 x 500m hill repeats at 5K - 10K pace. I did all of the repeats without stopping but I didn't quite hold a 10K pace. The hill might have been too steep for that though. I ran them at about 7:15/mi pace and was completely gassed at the end of each one. They left me gasping for air like I'd almost drown. I ran a little warm-up and coold-own around the repeats that was mostly just the distance to/from the hill.

Friday (10/22) 6.4mi, 53min, 8:17/mi avg. I took an easy jog out the first part of the corridor trail and headed over to Grass Lawn Park for 3 miles barefoot around the track while some kids kept kicking the soccer ball at the net (and usually missing) right as I ran behind the goal. I'm not totally sure that they were doing it on purpose to annoy me but if not, it was quite a coincidence. The balls of my feet were a little sore the day after the run.

I wanted to run on the weekend but with the heavy rain, picking apples and pressing cider with the family I never found the time.

Monday (10/25) 6.0mi, 47min, 7:55/mi avg. Intervals. The schedule called for 10 x 400m @ 90 sec. It was still raining outside pretty hard and I didn't want to try to adapt 400m repeats to the odd 325m track near work (1.23 laps = 400m) so I ran them at the gym. I set the treadmill to a 2% incline and ran a warm-up mile. I made it through 10 repeats without too much trouble, running them between 88 and 90 seconds each. 400m repeats are just short enough that you can just suffer through them. The treadmill also seems to make it easier even with the slight incline. I'd need to find a real track to run intervals on some time.

I'm sitting at 110 miles for the month so far and 1215 for the year. I'm still on track to hit 1500 miles for the year. I have 7 weeks to train for my last "A" race of the year.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Catching up and on vacation

Now that my big A race is over, I've predictably lost some of my motivation to update the blog with my daily runs. I'll try to stick to two sentences or less for the runs since Baker Lake:

Monday (10/4): 5.1mi, 43min, 8:35/mi avg. Boring recovery loop around Redmond to get the blood circulating in my very sore legs. Ouch.

Tuesday (10/5): 5.5mi, 53min, 9:38/mi avg. Another recovery run with a co-worker. I stuck to his pace as anything more still hurt.

Wednesday (10/6): 5.1mi, 40min, 7:58/mi avg. Legs are feeling almost all better. Pace is improving.

Thursday (10/7): 6.2mi, 49min, 7:55/mi avg. Ran out to Grass Lawn Park and ran 3 miles barefoot on the track. Did some drills barefoot (strides, running the lane line, high knees, band leaders)

Friday (10/8): 8.5mi, 1h13m, 8:40/mi avg. Kept an easy pace as the work week had been ├╝ber-busy and wore me down working 10 hour days. Ran around the Bridal Trails which is almost always enjoyable.

(no runs over the weekend)

Monday (10/11): 6.4mi, 46min 7:11/mi avg. I started out a little slow going out to the Bridle Trails and then really picked up the pace and practiced my fast footing on the technical sections. This was my last run before leaving for a week in Kauai.

Thursday (10/14): 7.1mi, 54min, 7:42/mi avg. Ran along a beach path near the house we rented in Anahola. I Didn't have the stomach to run any faster. I think Shave Ice was a poor pre-run food choice. It was 82F and humid and the breezes coming off of the ocean weren't consistent enough to cool me down. Good birthday run though.

Saturday (10/16): 7.0mi, 50min, 7:19/mi avg. I got out in the morning to run along the same path but starting about 1/2 a mile South of the end of the path. I ran 7:30 splits for 3.5 miles and then turned around and ran 6:50 miles back. It was hot and humid at 8am but the views of the ocean were fantastic. I hope I'll get a chance to run one more time in Kauai.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Baker Lake 50K

I decided to make the Baker Lake 50K my second 50K this year and an "A" race. I trained well and hit all of my benchmarks. I was thinking I'd have an easy 5 hour finish with the possibility of a 4:30. According to the website, the elevation gain/loss for the course was "insignificant" and the event was classified as a "lake" not a "mountain" run. The course is an out-and-back from a campground SE of Baker lake, around the bottom of the lake, up the East shore and over the top to the NW shore of the lake and back. The first (and last) 2 miles are fire roads and it's forest single-track the rest of the way. I was expecting a relatively easy trail but found it much more technical than I'd planned for. I also didn't expect it to be so humid out in the middle of fall.

I got to the starting area about 30 minutes before the official 8am start. I had just enough time to get changed, check in, use the restroom and set up my drop bag. I missed half of the pre-race briefing and lined up in the back of the pack just in time for the count-down. The horn sounded and we were off. I started out at a slow pace and stuck with the back of the pack (of maybe 75 runners.) I was feeling pretty good so I slowly picked up the pace until I was in maybe 10th place as we snaked our way over the dam at the southern end of the lake and up a fire road toward the trailhead.

Once we got onto the trail there wasn't much position swapping because there wasn't really room for it. There were no other trails branching off of ours and not much of a shoulder. The way the trail was cut out of the side hill there was little space off of the trail to get out of someone's way. I kept pace with some pretty strong runners and came through the first 5 miles in mid-8 to low-9 minute splits. It was at about the five mile point that I started to notice how humid it really was. I could feel it sapping my energy as my shirt and shorts were soaked with sweat. I Also noticed that the course was much more technical than I expected. I thought it would be relatively easy footing on dry trails. Instead it was narrow, leaf covered and often wet. There were several small stream crossings and quite a few wooden bridges (about half of which were mossy and slippery as well). On top of that there were plenty of downed logs to step over and large rocks jutting out of the trail hidden under the fallen leaves. You could barely see the rocks until you were right on top of them. My feet would occasionally slide off of of kick a rock and I was lucky enough to resort to flailing my arms to keep my balance and never taking a fall.

Most of my training has been either at the Bridle Trails (fairly flat, wide, fire-road type trails) or on the local roads and their gravel shoulders. I haven't done any real technical trail running in some time. I wished I had. I started to notice my energy waining after a few more 9-10 min miles. By mile 10 I slowed down enough that I gave up on my time goals and started walking up all of the longer uphill sections. People were passing me fairly regularly now but at the same time I was starting to pass some of the people that started in the two early waves 30, and 60 minutes before me. I lost all track of my place in the race and any desire to track it as well.

One of the hard things about this race that I knew about going into it was that due to the nature of the course there would be a 12 - 14 mile section with no aid, not even water. In planning for this I ran all of my long training runs with two 22oz hand bottles. I found that I was able to easily make it 14 miles with the two bottles. I learned the hard way in the race that I hadn't solved the water problem at all. With the humidity and the extra effort the trails were taking out of me I went through my bottles much faster than I'd trained for. I put myself in a bad position of rationing half a bottle of water with about 6 miles to go until I would have a chance to refill. I think the water rationing was what started to derail my race. I didn't notice it at the time but dehydration was beginning to set in.

I also noticed that my hamstrings and one of my calves were starting to get sore, another thing that had never happened in training. I continued to walk the hills and run the rest at a 9min pace but my splits were coming in around the 12 - 13 min mark every mile. Both of my bottles were empty about a half mile before I saw 3 big jugs of water along the side of the trail at the 13.5 mile point. I filled them both and praised the volunteers I saw a few minutes later carrying in two more big jugs. It felt great to have more water than I needed for a change and knowing that it only had to last another 2 miles to the turn-around aid station.

Another thing that started bothering me was my stomach. I was on top of my nutrition all day, I was eating a gel every 30 min and drinking Carbo Pro in my bottles to eat between 275 and 300 KCal/hr as planned. I was also taking one S-Cap every hour to keep my electrolytes in balance. Both strategies worked very well on my last 3 long runs.  At the race howeer, my stomach was getting quite sour (a side-effect of dehydration) and I knew what that would mean for my GI tract soon.

I made it to the turn-around aid station in 2h 39m and immediately set off for the facilities. After using the restroom (just like at Mt. Si 50K earlier this year) I thought I had everything handled. The two Immodium tablets that I'd taken before the race should have plugged me up tight but my body just laughed at them.

I actually debated dropping out at the aid station because it was the only place that a runner really could drop. Quitting anywhere else on the course meant that you'd have to walk to which ever end of the trail was closer anyway. I wondered if I had enough in my legs for the return trip. I picked my my drop bag, threw away my 5 empty gel wrappers (don't litter, kids) and refilled my bottles with new 150 KCal doses of CarboPro and a Nuun tablet for flavor. I also took off my shirt and wrung it out. The humidity had left it absolutely soaked. My stop at the aid station took about 10 minutes and I was back on the trail for the return trip. I hoped that I could keep up more or less the same pace walking the uphills and running the rest.

It didn't take me long to abandon that plan when the head of my right Quad started cramping. I had to walk for a minute to calm it down and took an S-Cap immediately to try to calm things down. I didn't have much luck as time wore on. My mile splits with all of the walking and now cramping were in the 13 - 15 min range. I kept yo-yo-ing with a few other runners who were using the same basic strategy of walking up the hills. I started taking S-Caps every 30 minutes instead of every hour but the cramping kept getting worse. I started to realize  that I was getting dehydrated but that there wasn't much I could do about it. The 12 mile gap between water stops had me rationing water again with 8 or 9 miles to the finish. I decided to just drink at my normal rate and when I ran dry I'd stop and walk if I couldn't keep running and ask if any of the other runners had water that they could spare.

I guess I looked pretty bad after a while another runner asked if I was okay. When I told her that I was out of water, she offered up some of hers. She still had close to 3 liters o water in her bladder pack and filled one of my bottles. This improved my spirits and I was off and running again. In addition to my cramping, my stomach troubles worsened. On the return leg I had to stop four times to find a secluded spot to "take care of pressing business" so to speak. I don't know what happened to the Immodium but it worked like a  placebo. With 7 miles to go I caught up to a woman competitor and struck up a conversation with her. She was a little bit slower than I was but I was having so much problems with cramping, stomach, and dehydration that I decided it was better to run with her and keep talking to make the distance go by faster. We walked the hills and ran the rest at a slightly slower pace. I could have gone faster but the trade-off was worth it.

The miles went by slowly (15-17 min mile splits) and my legs were hurting more and more. I started having to ration water again with 4 miles still to run. Luckily someone had brought in water jugs about a mile before the trailhead and I was saved once again. When we finally reached the trailhead itself there were volunteers waiting with more water and plates of cookies. I took a chocolate chip cookie and filled my bottle again. I thought the cookie would taste fantastic but my sour stomach almost rejected it.

It was a mile and a half from the trailhead to the finish along mostly-downhill fire roads and back across the dam. Sadly my legs were so sore that even slowly jogging down the fire roads hurt too much and I was reduced to mostly walking. I walk-plodded along until it flattened out to cross the Dam and then shuffled down to the finish in a shocking 6h 37m. That's a 2hr positive split and over 2 hrs slower than my first 50K race.

I felt that I controlled most of what I could control, namely my food and my electrolytes but there were several things that I either couldn't account for or underestimated. For instance:

- the high humidity, I had a much higher sweat rate and thus needed to drink more water per hour and take more electrolytes from the start.

- didn't bring enough water. In good conditions (on the roads, no humidity) I can make 2 large bottles last 14 miles. At the race with the extra effort that the trails required and the heat, I needed to run with a Camelbak type bladder system.

-I forgot to drink enough at the turn-around aid station. I refilled my bottles but I didn't drink anything when I was there. I should have chugged an entire bottle to try to catch up a little bit in my hydration. It wouldn't have fixed everything but It definitely would have helped.

- I never trained on technical trails. I get into a rut with my lack of local trails and just end up running on the shoulder of the local roads instead. I need to go out to Cougar & Tiger mountain, Mt. Si, or even Pt. Defiance for some technical trails to build up my stamina. At the same time I'd make the point that these trails would (and probably do) make great hiking trails but don't make good running trails.

- I had breakfast at 5:45am but I should have eaten more before and during the race. Especially starting at the aid station. I wasn't prepared to deviate from my nutrition plan when things started going badly for me.

- A few miles into the single-track I was starting to regret my shoe choice. I did all of my long runs in the Brooks Defyance which is a road shoe. It's a great shoe and it's the pair that fits my feet the best currently. I didn't think about how helpful even a lightly lugged sole would be. I saw quite a few people running in Brooks Cascadias and wish that I'd worn mine despite their narrow fit. I need to start looking at more serious trail shoes for future races and stick with road shoes on the roads.

Overall there were many things that went wrong and/or unplanned for. I had a pretty bad race and didn't have a lot of fun out there. My legs are still quite sore and will be for another few days I'm sure. I'm torn on my thoughts of the race overall. The R/D is very nice and accommodating, but the course description doesn't do the race justice. Some of my perspective could be due to being a trail racing neophyte with a whopping 3 ultras under my belt and not reading between the lines or having the experience to know what to expect. Would I do the race next year after yesterday's experience? Possibly if I could train better for it.

So the stats looked something like this:

Dist: 31.1
Time: 6:37:20
Avg: 12:46/mi (!!)
Alt: no clue. The Garmin didn't register altitude for the first half of the race for some odd reason. The second half of the race it registered 14,770' of Ascent. Given that the highest climb was maybe 100' - 150' and most were < 30' I'd be hesitant to even divide that number by 10 and get 1,477' each way or ~2950'. The satellite signal was extra poor in the woods I guess.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Quick update

So I came down with a cold Monday afternoon (great timing). I took Tue & Wed off of exercising. I ran 2 miles on the treadmill on Thursday to see how it felt, figuring that I'd make the go/no-go call on the race Friday. The run felt fine and I felt even better Friday so I went for it.

The cold was gone but I had my worst race ever and finished the Baker Lake 50K in 6:37:20. That's a 12:46 average pace.

I'm too tired and sore to get into it tonight. More tomorrow hopefully.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

One week to go until the big race.

Wow, it's been a while. With a teething one year old who's been waking up between 3-4 am last week I haven't had much time or energy to write. I'll try to keep it brief and go over the runs starting where I left off...

Friday (6.2mi, 43min, 6:58/mi avg) I ran around my "Work Loop" with the goal of an 80% effort. I hit it pretty well. I was working hard but left a little back. It felt hard but good.

Sunday (16.5mi, 2h 11m, 7:56/mi avg) I had 20 miles on the schedule as a final long run before the taper weeks begin. I was on call for work so I had to split the run up into 3 parts. First my daughter wanted to run the whole thing with me. "I can run 20 miles, Jay." Ummm, lets go around the block and see how you feel.... We ran around the block (just over 1/2 a mile) and she started out strong but stopped to walk at the half way point. She had a few more running efforts in her but by the end of the lap she was calling out "DRINK BREAK!" every 30 seconds to get a sip from my hand bottle. It was cute but the opposite of running. She decided that she wanted to go on a second lap for some reason so we went past the house and she ran probably 10% of the time and continued with the drink breaks. She wasn't interested in a third lap. I dropped her off at home and refilled my bottle that she had drank most of and ran a double out-and-back around the neighborhood to get another 5 miles in my legs. I came back home, refilled again and headed out to the YMCA.

The plan was for the family to give me a 45 - 50 min head start and then drive out there along the same route so that if I did get called for work, that they'd bring me my laptop and I could just hop in the car and start working. (sounds fun eh?) . Work never called and they passed me about 3.5 miles from the Y. I kept going and ended up with only 16.5 on the day. Good enough.

Monday (5.9mi 46min, 7:52 avg) I was a little tired from Sunday's adventure so I took it a little bit easy and ran out to Grass Lawn Park. I ran a mile around their funky 0.2mi track with shoes and then 2 more miles barefoot. There was a soccer game going on so I had to watch for errant kicks as I went past parts of the field but overall it went well. My feet feel pretty good.

Tuesday (5.1mi, 48min, 9:25/mi avg) I ran some easy miles with Nate again. Good to have the company out there on the run.

Wednesday (5.4mi, 37.5min, 6:57/mi avg) I went for a decent tempo run (my last for this training cycle) and had a little bit of stomach trouble holding me back on top of a lack of sleep. This was after one of the nights when the boy got up at 3am so that he and I could spend some quality time not sleeping.

Thursday (5.4mi, 51min, 9:34/mi avg) I ran the same route as Wednesday but with Nate in a pretty good rain storm. We were both soaked to the skin inside of 5 minutes. It wasn't that cold thankfully. It stopped raining by the time we finished which added to the humor of the run.

Friday (5.6mi, 45min, 8:05/mi avg) Easy pace out to Grass Lawn Park again where I only had time for one mile barefoot before heading back to work. Felt decent but not great. It always feels odd when I put my shoes back on after running barefoot. It takes me probably a quarter mile for my footfalls to feel normal again.

Sunday (10.5mi, 1h 22m, 7:50/mi avg) I ran out to the YMCA again following the same route as last weekend. I tried to keep close to an 8:00/mi pace. It's not easy with all of the smallish hills that I go up and down around here. I had to push a little harder on some of the uphills and hold back on some of the downhills. It worked out in the end to 7:50/mi which would be a great pace for me on race day. I think that would be a stretch but not impossible. My legs and body felt almost completely good. The exception to that statement was my stomach. I had to stop twice at the bathroom, by which I mean bushes by the side of the road. Annoying.

I passed the 1000 mile mark earlier this month and I'll pass the 1100 mile point next week. My weekly and monthly mileage are falling off a little this month due to the taper weeks before the race. If all goes well I'll run twice during the coming week. I get antsy when I don't run but it'll only help me rest up for next Saturday. So far so good.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

One more note

I finally hit 1000 miles for the year during last Saturday's long run.

That is all.

Looking back at the past week

Saturday (27.1mi, 3h 43m, 8:14/mi avg) Saturday ended up working better for me to get out for a long run. I had a 4 hour window between cleaning house and friends coming over for dinner.  The plan was to run out to Pt. Defiance and back. I decided on Pt. Defiance because it was just over 13 miles away (I planned for a 26mi run) and I thought that I had a good chance of finding a water fountain to refill my bottles there. If I wasn't able to find a water fountain I could easily run up Pearl street to one of many convenience stores to buy water. I also knew that I wouldn't be too far from a pay phone if I bombed the run completely and needed a ride back home. The downside of the route was that it was all on paved streets/paths.

At noon the weather was partly sunny and in the mid 60s which was just about perfect. The first few miles were out to 40th ave, up and over the long hill and down to the Grange. The shoulders on these roads were plenty wide enough that I could stay well away from passing cars.

I felt calm and at ease with my long run from the start which isn't the norm for me. I'm usually a little nervous about how the run is going and I don't really settle down until I'm 3/4ths over and I know I have it in the bag. Saturday I was feeling confident. Maybe it was the last five 50 mile weeks I'd racked up. I kept a steady pace that was hovering around an 8:00/mi average over the first few net-downhill miles.

I was enjoying some music on my new Ipod Shuffle that I bought on a lark when Apple announced the new models two weeks ago. My first generation Nano is having headphone jack issues and cutting out frequently so it was time for a new one. I took advantage of the free engraving that Apple offers on Ipods and had them etch it with part of one of my favorite running-related quotes: "Never sacrifice the gift." The full quote is from Steve Prefontaine:

"To give less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." 

I don't know why distance running comes easy to me especially given my size and the lack of athleticism anywhere in my family history. Maybe it was some genetic trait laying dormant. A gift in a manner of speaking. Thank you Science!

Back to the run. From the Grange I turned onto East Bay Dr NW (great name) which has little to no shoulder now that it's been re-paved but is the most direct route to the Narrows Bridge. I ran in the grass and dirt along the side of the road until I came to the bottom of the last hill. It was here that my body decided in no uncertain terms that it was time to find a bathroom. I was maybe 1/4mi from a gas station but I didn't think I could even make it that far. Luckily there was tree cover and an embankment that offered some privacy. Once I got back on the road I continued climbing the hill that lead up toward the airport and further on to the Narrows Bridge.

I had only run across the Narrows Bridge once before, at a 5KM race held the day before the new span of the bridge opened. We were running on the road then, not just the bike/pedestrian path. Running across the bridge this time was quite disorienting for me. The view of the water 187' below was very distracting. I was glad when I reached the other side and headed up the hill and turned left at the light. I followed Jackson for a mile or so and then turned left to head down Narrows dr toward the Zoo. I was still keeping a good pace even with the hilly route as I eventually headed down N. Park wy which lead me right into the park and a water fountain.

My Garmin said I was 13.5 miles into the run and it had taken me 1:50 to get there. I refilled and turned around for the journey back. I felt surprisingly good considering the 2hrs already spent running. I was trying to keep good running form (upright, don't over-stride, stay loose) which helped keep the demons off of my back. The temperature picked up a little on the way back so I took off my shirt and enjoyed the breeze. My pace was starting to slip by about 18 miles but I was still hitting the occasional sub-8 min split. I followed the same route back and by the time I reached the Arletta store I was starting to feel the miles in my feet. I pushed through the discomfort and pulled out a final sub-8 min mile before finishing in 3:43. I went through the 26.2 mile point in 3:36:08, which is about 4 minutes faster than I hit that point in my last training run for the Mt. Si 50K earlier this year.

My nutrition plan worked really well. I tried to consume between 275 - 300 Kcal / hr. I put 150 Kcal of CarboPro and a Nuun tablet in each bottle to start with. I carried two plastic bags with 150 KCal of Carbopro and a Nuun tablet in my pocket for the mid-run refueling. On top of that I carried 6 Hammer Gels. Two bottles lasted me about 13 - 14 miles. I ate a gel every 30 min and an S-cap every hour. I never felt hungry, bloated or cramped.

Sunday (0.6mi, ~6min, 10:00/mi avg) The other reason I did my long run on Saturday is because my daughter's first ever race was Sunday. She mentioned a few weeks ago that she liked to run with me so I offered to sign her up for a race. She said "Sure Jay!" (we're on a first name basis) so I signed us both up for the Bank 2 Bay 1K race. I thought about running the 5K or 10K race myself as well but I wanted it to be about her first race instead of worrying about my own event. The 1K event started in two waves, first the 5 - 10 year olds took off, then three minutes later then 0 - 5 year olds. We were in the second wave and got a little boxed in when the starter's horn sounded. It took about 100 meters before the race opened up and we were able to start passing people. We weren't warmed up so we started out slow with a short walking break. Once her legs warmed up she picked up the pace a bit. I left it to her to set the pace and just kept up with her.

The course was an out and back. We weaved through people and got to the turn around where she exclaimed "I see two cones!". We went around the cones and headed back to the finish line on the other side of the street. We were steadily passing other parent/child teams as we chugged on at what I'd estimate was a 10min/mi pace. My wife was cheering for us at the side of the road and took a couple pictures as we trotted by. When we were maybe 100 meters from the finish my daughter saw the Tacoma Rainier's mascot (a big moose) and slowed quickly. She didn't know what to make of him and was a little startled by his size and appearance. She made me laugh when she said: "A MOOSE JAY!" I said "lets go around him" and she kicked it into high gear and we sped around him and into the finishing chute. The race wasn't timed so I'm just estimating that it took us about 6 minutes. As soon as the race was over she said "That was a short race, Jay." I'll look for something longer next time I guess. Overall it was a great time and so much fun to run with her. I hope we continue this trend in the future.

Monday (5.1mi, 44min, 8:36/mi avg) Just a recovery run out to the Bridle Trails and back. My legs were pretty sore from Saturday so I took it pretty easy, stopping on the way back to try a few wild Blackberries (disappointing) and just stretch out those legs.

Tuesday (6.2mi, 47min, 7:38/mi avg) I planned to run out the corridor trail to the Bridle Trails and then come back down to Grass Lawn Park for a mile barefoot on the track. As I approached I saw a motorcycle cop blocking the trailhead. I asked him if the trail was open or closed. He said that there was a burglar in the area and the Police were tracking him with dogs. I changed my plans and kept going down 148th to Old Redmond Rd. I saw Police cars parked every 2 blocks watching for the burglar. I ran up the long hill and turned around when I hit the 2.5 mile point, headed back down the hill and stopped at GLP for 5 laps (0.20 mi track) barefoot. It felt great to run without shoes again now that my feet are healed after the long saga with the blisters after the last time I tried to run barefoot in the blazing sun. I wanted to run another mile or two on the track but I went with caution instead and headed back to the gym. My legs were feeling a little better.

Wednesday (5.4mi, 36:16, 6:43/mi avg) Time to pay the piper and get back to some tempo running. I ran the Redmond Streets route (148th -> Old Redmond -> power line trail -> corridor Trail -> 148th) CCW. I had some speed in my legs but I struggled to really push myself hard. Still recovering from the long run I guess. I'm pretty happy that my mile splits were:

6:05 (downhill)
7:02 (uphill)
7:01 (uphill)
6:48 (mixed)
6:37 (mixed)
6:50 (last 0.4, mostly uphill)

I came close to staying under 7:00 every mile. It's just tough to plod up Old Redmond rd that fast. Good run but tired.

I also finally weighed myself at the gym and I'm down 4lbs since I've put a hold on the deserts a week ago. Tough to stay honest with this one though. I'm sure I'll crack when I go to the Puyallup Fair this coming weekend.

Thursday (5.4mi, 52min, 9:38/mi avg) I ran the reverse of the route I ran yesterday with Nate. We ran at a slow recovery pace. Well it was a recovery pace for me anyway. Nate runs for fitness rather than enjoyment, so his pace is a little slower than mine. Great to have company on the run though. I could have just kept going and going....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The past few runs (recap)

Thursday (5.3mi, 51min, 9:38/mi avg) I ran a very slow recovery run with a co-worker and didn't worry about pace. I just tried to enjoy the rare occasion of company on a run. He's doesn't run anywhere near the miles I do so he's quite a bit slower. Sometimes it's worth it to trade a faster pace for good conversation.

Friday (9.25mi, 1h 8m, 7:25/mi avg) I planned to run between 11 and 14 miles after work but got a late start and my ankle / Achilles started bothering me so I cut it about half a lap short once I got into the trails. I took a slightly different route out to the Bridle Trails, going almost all the way around them clockwise and entering on the West side of the trail where the horse ring and water fountain are. I had one large water bottle with me and it was a hot enough day that the bottle was almost empty by the time I got to the Park (5 miles). I was holding a pretty good pace, averaging around 7:05/mi at that point despite the hills.

I refilled the bottle and rinsed off my head to cool down and got back onto the trail. I started feeling a little overheated after my brief water stop and had to slow the pace down a little bit to keep from blowing up. It only lasted about a mile and a half until I was ready to push again. I continued CCW around the perimeter of the park and rather than completing another half lap when I got to the NE exit, I just listened to my body and headed back toward work. My ankle has been feeling the odd twinge of soreness from rolling it running a week or so ago. It didn't really bother me at the time but I'll get the occasional reminder that something isn't quite right.

I held a strong pace the rest of the way back to work and ended a few miles short of my goal but happy that I got out for an hour no less.

Sunday (15.2mi, 1h 53m, 7:27/mi avg) I took Saturday as a planned day off and ran my scheduled 15 mile run on Sunday. I didn't have a plan on how to run the 15 miles, tempo, recovery, fartlek, hills, etc... I just wanted the time on my feet and more work for my legs. I felt pretty good as I was getting started so I headed out toward Sehmel drive to repeat the 15 mile run I completed a couple of weeks ago and see if I could run it faster. I hoped to run at least 8 miles in the first hour and then hold or beat that pace for the "and back" part of the route. There were only a few uphills on the "out" so I had little trouble keeping the pace in the low 7 min/mi and even high 6 min/mi range until just after the turn around. I made my 8 miles in the first hour (barely) and started to slow on the return. I had to stop for water earlier than I'd planned due to the heat and my pace.

I had a slower mile or two in the middle and recovered somewhat to pull the pace back down near 7:00/mi for the last 3 miles. Overall it was a good run and about a minute and a half faster than last time I ran this route. I felt like I was pushing the pace a little past the point of comfort the whole run. I'm not very in tune with my pace right now and I'm not sure what I should shoot for at Baker Lake in a month. 5 hours seems pretty conservative. 4:30 (well, 4:29 actually) would be a nice run and 4:15 would be a very good day for me. Tying myself to a distinct time seems silly though. I'm not out to win it and couldn't even if I was. I think I should working on coming up with goals in terms of enjoying myself out there.

Tuesday (6.0mi, 44min, 7:03/mi) I skipped Monday's planned recovery run. How's that for recovery? I felt that I needed to take another day off after hitting 50 miles again last week despite planning to drop my mileage. Tuesday I ran on the treadmill at the gym at work instead of braving the light rain and likely muddy trails around Redmond. I ran a mile of warm up at 8:00/mi and then ran 4 x 1mi with times ranging between 6:10 and 7:00/mi. Again I don't know what I should be running for mile repeat times so I just tested out different speeds. The first one at 6:40 felt pretty hard so I backed off a little for the next two and then started the last one at 7:00/mi pace but started bumping up the speed 0.1 - 0.2 mph every 30 seconds. By the end of the mile I was down into the 5:45/mi range and spraying sweat all over the treadmill as I struggled to keep my legs going. It felt pretty hard and my legs were tired by the end but it was good to get this workout into the books. I do speed work without a specific target pace. I'll have to work the pace out before I find a 10K to run later this year.

Wednesday (5.45mi, 45min, 8:16/mi avg)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Big August, Tempo, Fartlek, and literally running an errand

After hitting 190 miles in July I wanted to see if I could beat that for August. I'm happy to say that I found time to break the 200 mile barrier for the first time. I ran 24 days this month, the same as July but I averaged almost 8.7 miles per run to July's 8.0. My numbers for August are:

Miles: 208
Time: 28h 16m
Avg: 8:09/mi

My totals for the year so far are:

Miles: 930
Time: 127h 52m
Avg: 8:15/mi

I should be able to hit 1000 miles in September, but I don't know if I'll be able to keep up the 50 mile weeks that I've been doing this month. Summer is ending and the weather is turning wet. That means my main trail system (Bridle Trails) will soon be a muddy mess as is the norm most winters. Normally I'd hit the gym that's a block or so away but with 4 treadmills in the gym at work, less time walking to the gym means more time to work out.

So what have I been running?

Saturday (6.25mi, 57:50, 9:16/mi) I didn't plan to run on Saturday but with my wife and daughter away at a kids birthday party and Sunday looking packed with guests and a party of our own, A window of time opened up and I jumped on it. I loaded the boy into the BOB and got out onto the roads. My legs didn't feel that bad after running long on Friday evening. Definitely not fresh but not dead either. The only plan was recovery. I headed out to the Arletta store and then over to 40th ave, the local long steady climb. I ran up the hill with the jogger until I hit the 3 mile mark in the run and then turned around. I knew that I wouldn't have that much time before dinner time and the two corn-cakes I packed wouldn't last him long. I wasn't able to keep much of a pace up or downhill and just slogged along trying to stay loose the rest of the way home.

Monday (9.4mi, 1:15:39, 8:03/mi)  I had another appointment with my acupuncturist in the middle of the day so I ran after work. I changed at work and quickly realized that I'd forgotten my water bottle. I drank as much water as I could stand before starting the run and then set out on a moderate pace through Redmond. I headed down to Grass Lawn Park where I stopped for a water fountain before heading up Old Redmond Rd. toward the Powerline trail that bisects the Bridle Trails park. It's a steady climb at a 5% - 7% grade. Not a killer but not very fast either. I trotted up the hill listening to an interview with Duncan Callahan fresh off of his Leadville 100 victory. My pace was slow and comfortable. Once on the Powerline trail I passed a few people riding horses as I headed toward the park.

I entered the park and began a CCW loop around the perimeter. I tried to stick to the outermost trail to maximize my run and because those are the trails that I know the best. I eventually found my way to the lower horse stable / ring where the only drinking fountain was. Again I drank all the water I could stand and set off going up the same trail I ran on my long run last week. It's short and steep and takes you up to the center of the park. From there I tried out a few trails that were new to me and had a great time exploring some different terrain. I love the lesser travelled paths and the narrow quick footing. It felt great to run fast and make quick decisions on which path to follow when the trail split, throwing my body left or right and committing my speed and cadence to that choice.

I found that I was speeding up as the run went on. As I was crossing the last of the South perimeter and coming up the East side of the trails I found myself keeping a pace in the high 5's and low 6's (min/mile) as I sought out good footing on the rooted trail. I was feeling good enough that I was even pushing off of the uneven terrain so that I'd float over the small potholes and gullies. Much to my surprise I found a great groove of speed and agility as I ate up the trail.

I exited the Bridle Trails, crossed the street and headed down the corridor trail back toward Redmond. I kept the pace fast and my heart rate up as I negotiated the two short steep descents and one ascent. Once the trail flattened out near the golf course I was starting to feel the burn from the fast pace but I could see the street that lead back to work so I kept the pace under 6:00/mi until I hit the street. I pulled the plug there and slowed to a recovery pace the last 3/4mi to cool down from the hard effort.

Tuesday (5.25mi, 40:00, 7:37/mi) It was raining hard all morning and the co-worker that I was going to run with forgot his shorts so I was on my own. I debated a run in the rain but decided to use a treadmill at the work gym instead. I was lucky that I got there when I did because three of the four treadmills were already taken. I didn't have a plan in mind (intervals/recovery/tempo/etc) so I warmed up for 10 minutes, then did something I've wanted to try for a while: a 10/10 time trail. I've read about some of the hardcore ultra runners doing 10 minute time trails on treadmills at 10% incline as a friendly competition. They're able to cover between 1.5 and 2 miles in 10min. I've been curious how I would compare for 10min at 10%. I didn't think that it'd be so hard to run at a 10% incline. I started out at 7:30/mi pace and after about a quarter of a mile realized that there was no way I could hang on for 10 minutes at that pace. I dropped the speed as I continued to struggle with the incline. I settled into a decent pace that hurt but was maintainable and finished the 10 minutes with a paltry 1.15mi.

I recommend that everyone try this and see how deep in the pain cave you can venture. Of course this will now be a benchmark that I try to beat occasionally.  It counts as hill training, right?

After the 10min time trail I dropped the treadmill back to 2.5% incline and eased back into a recovery pace for 2 miles before speeding up to a 6:30 and then 6:00 pace. This was more because I was running out of workout time than my desire to run fast. I capped it off with the last 1/2 mile at a 5:55 pace. On my training log I called this a Fartlek day, something I don't do often enough.

Wednesday (6.2mi, 50:00, 8:04/mi) I wanted to get out for a relatively easy run but I wanted to stay away from the trails which should be nice and muddy after yesterday's rain. I needed to pick up a padlock to use at work now that the gym is open and I can leave my stuff in the day-use lockers there. Google said that there was a Target store in Redmond so I got the walking directions to the store, wrote them down and promptly left them at my desk. Luckily the route was simple. The route was all on streets and was about 2.9 miles each way. That would be about as far as I was willing to run to at lunch. I calculated that I could run down there, grab a lock and run back in well under an hour.

The route started out going down a fairly steep 1.1 mile hill on the bike/foot path that goes from 51st street down along Hwy 520 to the edge of downtown Redmond. It loses 300 feet and went by quickly run on the way down. From there I was able to run a block on the sidewalk and then cut over to a different bike/foot path and run almost the rest of the way staying off the roads and sidewalks. The path dumped me out on Redmond Road about a block and a half from the Target Parking lot. One long stoplight later and I was at Target. I headed toward the school supplies, grabbed the first Master combination lock that I saw and jumped into an open checkout lane. I paid in cash, declined a bag and ran back out of there with my water bottle in one hand and the lock (in it's plastic packaging) in the other.

I waited for probably 2 minutes at the first stoplight and then was back to the path admiring the wild blackberry bushes as I ran. The path lead me to the street I wanted half a block from the bottom of the big hill. I waited for another long stoplight and when it changed, I attacked the hill. I kept a strong pace that was probably somewhere in the low 8:00/mi range judging by feel. I've driven down the hill many times but this was the first time I'd run up the hill. It wasn't nearly as steep as I thought it was. I was still breathing hard and my legs were complaining about the effort but it was never bad enough that I wanted to stop or felt like I was going to blow up. I saw another runner near the end of the path at the top of the hill when I was still about 2/10ths of a mile away. I pushed as hard as I could and made up some ground on him but I ran out of room and had to settle for catching him as he jogged in place waiting for the light to change. (I'm still not sure why people jog in place at stoplights, I'm usually running hard enough that I'm happy to take a break when I stop for a light.) In any case, from the top of the hill it was just a short easy cool-down jog back to work to shower and get back to my desk. I only wish I'd brought my Garmin watch on the run to get the actual numbers.

My bad knee is a little sore after the back-to-back-to-back big mileage weeks so maybe an easy week is in order for me. I'm all set and on track for the Baker Lake 50K in October and a 1K race with my daughter (her first) in two weeks. Those two races and a 10K later this year are the only things on my race calendar. I still haven't found a 10K to enter though. I know that there's one in Gig Harbor on Thanksgiving morning (that I ran last year) but it's pretty hilly and not a good one for breaking 40 minutes. I need to do a little more searching to find a flat easy race for the speed attempt.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Long run after work on Friday

With two kids' birthday parties this weekend (including my son's first) I knew that I just wouldn't have time for a long run on either day. I figured that my options were either to run before work Friday or Monday, or after work on Friday. I wanted to get it out of the way so Friday after work it was. I left work at 4:30 and went down to the new fitness center in the basement of my building. It's been open for about 2 weeks but they have towel service available now, so it's a viable option if I'm going for a run and don't want to fuss with my regular gym a block and a half away.

I got changed and filled up my two large hand-bottles and stuffed my pockets with gels, powder, and S-caps and was on my way by about 4:50pm. Just for reference, the picture above is what I had to carry.

A few words about nutrition... I was trying out a few new gel brands/flavors:

Clif Shot (Double Espresso) - The flavor was horribly bitter and I had to choke it down quickly and swish my mouth out immediately to get rid of the after taste. They worked well enough and delivered the pep and energy though.

Power Gel (Chocolate) - This had 1 shot of caffeine in it and the flavor wasn't very good for chocolate. I prefer Hammer Gel for flavor. I didn't get the rush that the Clif Shot gave me but they worked as well as most other gels.

Hammer Gel (Apple Cinnamon) - They're very sweet and taste exactly like the filling from a Hostess Apple Pie to me. They're just calories in a sweet form.

I ran with 100 Kcal of CarboPro and two Nuun tablets in each bottle to start. That lasted the first 13 miles or so and I refilled at a water fountain with the same thing in one bottle and 100 Kcal of Heed in the other bottle. I only had 1 Nuun tablet for each bottle this time. The CarboPro w/ Berry Nuun tasted fine but the Lemon/Lime Heed with a Lemon/Lime Nuun tasted awful. I dumped most of it and just drank water instead. Maybe those two versions of Lemon/Lime aren't compatible.

I took one S-Cap every hour and never cramped. I'd say that my nutrition went really well on the run. I watched the time closely and had a gel every 30 minutes which did the trick and never left me hungry. With the constant stream of CarboPro in my bottles and the Gels I was taking in between 250 - 300 Kcal every hour. This worked out great for me. The CarboPro isn't sweet and doesn't thicken the water so you forget that you're drinking it.

The route:
I had 22 miles on the schedule after my last long run of 18. I normally don't jump up 4 miles between long runs but I'm on a tight schedule. I'm looking at a 26 mile long run in two weeks. I set out around the streets of Redmond as I would if I were running my long Tempo loop Clockwise only this time I wasn't pushing the pace much. I wanted to run at least 7 miles every hour with 7.5 as a stretch goal. I wound my way around the streets with the big downhill and soon after the matching uphill until I reached the NE corner of the Bridle Trails at the 4.5 mile point of the run. I knew that once I left the Bridle Trails that it'd take me 3.5 miles to get back to work. This meant that I had to run loops around the trails until the Garmin hit at least 18.5 miles. The perimeter of the trails was about 5 miles so I ran a figure 8 route twice which adds another 1.4 miles (0.7mi Powerline trail that bisects the park twice per loop) for two loops and then ran about 3/4 of a normal perimeter loop with a few side trails thrown in. I hit the north exit of the trails at 19.25 miles, a little more than was necessary. From there I ran North to Old Redmond Rd. and followed it East and went down the long hill past Grass Lawn Park and made a right onto 148th ave which took me almost all the way back to work. I stopped the Garmin at 22.8 miles in 3:05:52. I made my goal of hitting 21 miles in just over 2:59 thanks to the fast descent on miles 20 and 21.

The run: I felt pretty good. I took easy at the start and eased into a pace that drifted between 7:45/mi and 8:40/mi. depending on the terrain. I definitely had some low and high points while running. My iPod wasn't charged so I left it at the gym and ran without music or podcasts for the first time in a while. I had a few rough patches where my hips and quads were hurting but within 10 minutes I'd bounce back and return to good form with little trouble. I'm excited by this and hoping that I can run a slightly more conservative race at the 50K so that I'm not dead with 5 miles to go like I was at Mt. Si.

The run put me over 900 miles for the year. Not a great total so far but a pretty good comeback from where I started out.

Time: 3:05:52
Dist: 22.8mi
Avg: 8:10/mi
Garmin's wacky altitude math: 9231' (I'd be surprised if it was even 3000')

As an addendum to my last post, this is what I get to wear for my Tendonitis (though not when I run):

Yep, I'm wrist brace guy.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nudging the ball down the field

Tuesday: (5.1mi 44:40  8:45/mi avg) After Monday's slow recovery run I  didn't feel quite recovered so I set the dial for recovery pace again and ran down to the Bridle trails. On the way out to the trails my legs didn't feel very good and kept my pace down. I was hungry and sluggish. It was one of those runs where you plan to turn around and end it early if things don't improve after a mile or two. It wasn't bad enough that I was ready to throw in the towel at the midway point so I kept going and tried to stay on top of my hydration as I entered the Bridle Trails from the North end of the Powerlines road. My mood and legs started to improve once I was on the trails running amongst the tall trees. My pace improved a bit and I enjoyed the shaded trails until I left the park and headed back toward the gym. It was warm enough that I was able to enjoy running with my shirt off. I relaxed and focused on the run, shutting out everything else except the path in front of my feet. Not a spectacular run but the best way I could find to spend my lunch hour.

Wednesday: (6.0mi 41:14  6:52/mi avg) I wasn't looking forward to the tempo run that I pushed from Tuesday to Today, I had an uneasy stomach which was probably was nerves about how fast I would be able to run. I ran the work loop Counter Clockwise, the slightly slower direction. It was 85F and felt every bit of that from the start. About 1/10th  of a mile into the run I hit a red light  and noticed that my legs felt heavy already. I decided at this point that I wouldn't look at my watch during the run and turned the live display off. I hoped running blind would take some of the stress out of my busy brain. I don't know why I have any stress about running in general, much less a once-a-week tempo run that only matters to me. Internal competition with my past times I guess, but you can't PR every time out there. My first mile was slower than usual for this route. I'm usually hitting the first mile in about 6:00 even but today I got there in 6:17. I kept losing a few seconds per mile but still managing to suffer just fine. Gasping for breath I was able to start picking up the pace along the back stretch which just upped the suffering a little as I chugged on.

My legs weren't doing that well and by the time I went down the big hill and back up the other side I started to feel the heat of the pavement through my shoes. It wouldn't have been a good day to try barefoot running. I did my best to keep the  pace up for the last slightly-uphill mile back. When it was all said and done I had a decent sub-42 min. time for the record books. I hope the tempo runs and intervals will help my pacing for running a 10K later this year in a quest to go under 40 after I turn 40.

Other things of note:

After running out of water twice on my last long run I went to REI to look for larger water bottles to run with and found some. I bought a larger replacement bottle for my Ultimate Direction holster thing that holds 4 more ounces. I also reluctantly picked up a Camelbak 24oz hand bottle. I liked the ergonomics, the insulated lining, and especially the nozzle but they only had them in pink. I bought it in pink rather than trying to find another color in another store or online. Maybe it'll help my ego to carry a pink hand bottle. Either that or I'll tell people that it was dark when I packed for the run and I accidentally grabbed my wife's bottle my mistake. :-)

Also, I had an appointment at the physical therapy office yesterday. I am now the not-quite-so-proud wearer of a custom-formed plastic wrist brace to help with a bad case of De Quervins tendonitis that I've been suffering since I returned from Hawaii back in May. I thought it would go away on it's own if I took it easy on my wrist. Here I am 3 months later and it hurts more than ever. Having a job where I sit in front of a computer most of the day doesn't help a bit.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good run and recapping the week

Great run today, but more about that in a minute...

Continuing with last week's runs:

Thursday: (8.85 1:13 8:19/mi avg) I couldn't get out to run at lunch so I ran after work. I ran the standard loop out to the Bridle Trails and back. I took a pretty easy pace to save my legs for speed work on Friday. Nothing too special about the run.

Friday: first run: (6.0 0:44 7:20/mi avg) I went to the gym for mile repeats on the treadmill. I did a short warm-up and then ran 4 x 1mi @ 6:00 pace. The pace was pretty hard for me and worked up a good sweat with the lack of air rushing past my head as I spun the hamster wheel. I was walking for a quarter mile between the repeats to recover. I just didn't have the energy to jog between them this time. I'm torn on what pace to run mile repeats at. 6 min/mi would be great for a 10K pace but totally unrealistic for a marathon pace. I'd be better off running at 7 min/mi for marathon training. I want to concentrate on 50K and longer events but still want to retain some speed. I guess it comes down to thinking about what I'm training for at the time and my ego.

Friday: second run: (9.9 1:24 8:32/mi avg) I had the chance to run more on Friday so I did. I ran a "recovery" 10 mile run out past Grass Lawn park and then around to the Bridle Trails for a loop and then back to the gym. It wasn't much for recovery but was mostly just to pad up my weekly miles and get a weekly number in the range of 50 miles. I'm hoping that running 50 mile weeks consistently will help me better handle longer races. The run itself felt pretty good. I ate enough and even carried a gel flask with 3 shots of Hammer Gel in it. (Espresso flavor, my current favorite) to see how uncomfortable it was (a little).

Sunday: (15.0 in 1:53 7:32/mi) I'm between long run weekends so I had 15 on the schedule. Having taking Saturday off from running I planned to see if I could complete the miles in under 2 hours. I ran an out and back to Sehmel rd so that I could even go for a negative split if the legs felt good. I started out with a little pain on the bottom of my left foot but that went away after maybe 2 miles. My legs felt really good today. I easily kept all of my mile splits under an 8:00/mi pace except for the second one which went up the Tunnel Trail. My back and shoulders felt relaxed and never bothered me. I had no trouble pushing myself to keep the pace going up the hills.

I tried to keep on top of my nutrition today as well. I carried a flask of gel again and put 100 Kcal of Carbopro in my bottle along with a Nuun tablet for flavor. I carried a bag of 100 Kcal of Carbopro and a Nuun tablet to refill later when I got to the store for more water. I at about 600 calories on the run which is a pretty good ratio for my weight. I'm reading about Nutrition and run across articles stating that most people can process at most 240 Kcal per hour during continuous exercise. I know that it's much easier to process liquid calories than calories from solid food. Thus my plan to get calories from either liquid or gel sources today. My stomach doesn't work as hard and doesn't have to divert energy away from running / sweating to digest those solids. I burned about 1250 Kcal / hour but only replaced 300 of them. The "unlimited reserve" of calories from Glycogen and fat stores worked like a charm. So did the large portion of homemade Strawberry Shortcake that I had after dinner.

Weekly miles: 50.25
Monthly miles: 147.7 with 9 days to go.

If I can average 6 miles a day I'll break 200 for the first month ever. Bring it on!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Catching Up and a new fast time for Redmond Streets

Sunday (18.1mi 2:38:40 8:46/mi Avg) It was around 90F out on Sunday and the only time I had to get out for a run was at noon meaning I'd be out for the hottest part of the day. My hastily put together schedule to prepare for Baker Lake 50K calls for long runs pretty much every weekend until the race. I hoped that the heat would be good training to toughen me up. I lived inland of Los Angeles when I started running 20 years ago. It was > 100F and bone dry all summer. I got used to the heat pretty quickly and didn't know enough o bring water with me on my runs. I've always done pretty well i the heat so I wasn't too worried. I started the run out with my cousin who was visiting. She had run 10 miles the day before (she's training for a half marathon) so she was only up for 4 miles.

We started out with the One Store Loop, heading up the tunnel trail and out to Ray Nash rd. It was great to chat with her and start out at a slower pace to really warm up properly, something I rarely do with my limited time to run. When we got to the store, she headed back to the house and I split off toward Fox Island. I didn't plan out a route so I headed toward Fox Island. I figured that I could run up to the top of the hill on the island and stop at the store if I needed any water. I had two bottles with me, so I figured I could make it up to 12 miles before needing to refill. I did pretty well on the way up the hill on fox island, switching sides of the road depending on where the shade was. At the top of the hill I still had a full bottle left so I figured I could make it back to the Arletta store to refill so I kept going, picking up my slower-than-usual pace on the way back down.

I crossed the bridge back to Gig Harbor and went East up the hill to take 70th ave up to 40th. It was a little bit of a struggle with almost no shade, but once I turned to go down 40th, it was shaded the whole way (about a mile). I ran out of water on the way down 40th with maybe a mile from the store. At 12.4 miles I finally arrived at the store. The woman working behind the counter joked about me burning up running on such a hot day. I refilled my bottles and took another S-cap and a gel and was back on my way. I headed out Ray Nash in the opposite direction and out toward Kopachuck State Park. I knew how far it was from the top of the Tunnel trail home so I planned to run an out-and-back to eat up some distance so that I could finish close to 18. Unfortunately the out portion was almost all uphill and sunny. I hit my turn-around and was almost out of water again. I stopped at a Middle school on the way back figuring that I'd fill up at one of the many drinking fountain I'd find there. I looked all around the school, around every building and every playground but didn't find a single fountain. When I was in primary school there were fountains on almost every side of every building. I left disheartened and thirsty.

I came back to the Tunnel Trial and was still feeling pretty good running in the shade of the trail. The trail dumped me out onto the road where I drank the last of the water with maybe a mile and a quarter to go. I eased up the pace and finished with a partial lap around the block to make sure it was just over 18 miles. It was a little slower than my usual long run but it was also about 15 degrees hotter. I'm happy with my performance.

Monday (0, nothing, nada, zip)

Tuesday (5.1mi, 57:45, 13:57/mi avg) I planned a recovery run and ran it with a co-worker who's not terribly interested in running as anything other than a way to burn calories. Our paces aren't that close, but he's a good guy and I enjoy the company once in a while. I felt pretty good but he was having a bad day. He didn't eat enough, and started cramping up about half way through the run. We started taking walking breaks depending on how bad the cramps were and then with about 1.5mi. to go just walked the rest of the way in. We still burned the calories and got the exercise. Recovery accomplished.

Wednesday (5.4mi, 35:04 6:29/mi avg) Today was a day for a tempo run. I looked at the splits from the last time I ran the Redmond Streets route and compared them to what I was hitting on today's splits. I was one second faster after the first two miles, but I felt like I was going maybe 5% easier than last time. I was still gasping for breath on some of the uphill pitches and struggling to recover after cresting them, but I didn't feel that I was quite as deep in the cave for the first couple of miles. I planned to go out a tiny bit easier and then make it up in the final 2.5 miles.

Today's run also took me over 100 miles for the month. It's a little slower than I'd hoped to reach 100, but I still have a good chance at hitting 175 this month if I can keep my long runs on track.