Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Steady miles

It rained on and off today. I have two pair of wet shoes at home and I didn't want to have a third so I opted for the (too) warm gym and the hamstermill. I have two weeks to go until my A Race so I'm starting my two weeks of taper. My legs were still a little sore from Sunday's adventure in the rain with the jog stroller, so I set the treadmill for 7 minute miles with a 2.5% elevation. It wasn't a comfortable pace but it was something that I could maintain while my iPod shuffled some music for me.

I don't really love or hate running on the treadmill. It's just another option to get a run in to me. If I'm pressed for time or want to run faster than I'm able to outside (ie: 36 min 10K) it's useful but I'd rather be on the trails.

I won't run tomorrow so today caps off the month for me. After a lackluster January (90 miles) and being sick in February (80 miles) I was able to rebound strongly in March and run 140 miles. Sure it's less than guys like Anton Krupicka run in a week but it's what I have time for and it should be enough to finish the 50K race strong.

Time: 41:55
Dist: 6.0
Avg: 6:59

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Napping and running collide

Lately my 3 y/o daughter has been asking to go with me on a run in the BOB jog stroller. With my weekend training runs it just hasn't worked out lately. Now that I'm tapering there was no reason not to take her up on it. We set out with the rain cover over the stroller just in case the clouds opened up on the run. I dressed for rain and she had her jacket and stuffed dog "Little Genevieve." I planned to run an out and back route toward the freeway and then stop at a local small market for some goodies (one of her conditions). I was thinking that we'd get about 10 - 11 miles out of it. About a mile and a half into the run she stopped talking to me and wasn't responding to anything I said. I slowed down and peeked in to see her conked out.

I kept going past my turn-around point and ran past the cows that she likes to look at when we pass them in the car. I figured I'd just go a little further as if I were going toward Cromwell and then cut back at the first shortcut. No reason to wake her up if we get to the store early. It ended up being a little farther than I thought it was but she kept sleeping so I kept going. I stopped to take a picture mid-run:

She and the dog were both in dreamland and I kept running. She woke up about 30 minutes later as I was heading back toward home and we picked up the conversation right were it left off. She comments on whatever she sees (birds, cyclists, big trucks, trees... ) and asks me question after question.  We came back to 40th ave and down the long descent. I started to feel sluggish and tired from pushing an extra 60lbs (her plus the BOB) for the last 8 miles. I took a gel and that lifted my spirits a bit. The intermittent sprinkling rain had gotten a little more serious at this point which didn't bother either of us really. She was dry and I was just happy to be out running.

We came back near the house and then peeled off to the right toward the market. The only downside about running with the jog stroller is the lack of decent shoulders to run on. I typically run with the flow of traffic and pull off the road and into the nearest driveway when a car is coming up behind  me. Drivers around here are really nice and give a wide birth if traffic permits which is great. We got out to the store which was at the 12.5 mile point and a bit longer than we'd planned to be out. We went in and picked up Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and Chocolate milk to share and a Gatorade for me. We stood under cover and enjoyed our treat before packing up and heading for home.

I was a little stiff after the 15 min. stop and the rain had picked up. My running pants were getting heavier and starting to sag. I did my best to pick up the pace but there's only so much I can do with the stroller and traffic. Instead of taking the roads all the way back I turned off to run down the tunnel trail and give my Cascadias a test than. The trail was only muddy in a few places so it wasn't hard to navigate with the BOB. The shoes felt good and had a little bit of extra grip that was nice on the dirt. The trail led out to a private road that heads straight back home. We had both enjoyed the rain enough for one day and were ready to go warm up inside. About 9 minutes later, that's what we did. Me soaked and her dry.

Time: 2:22:31
Dist: 15.35
Avg: 9:17/mi
Alt: 5004 (yeah, right. Maybe half that)

It's fun to run with her. It's not like running with Chris or Mike where we get into good conversations about sports or technology. It's funny answering her questions about what she sees and laughing at some of the goofy things she comes up with.

Back to the Bridle trails

I had to work a little bit later than usual on Friday and with horrible traffic Southbound I decided to hang out a little longer so that I could get a run in at the Bridle Trails. It'd been a while since I last ran a Friday night Bridle Trails run. I was a little excited. I headed to the gym at 6:15 and got changed and out the door in another 15 min. I turned on the Garmin but had trouble getting it to sync so I started the timer and began after waiting a few minutes. It took about 6 minutes for the Garmin to figure out where I was. I'm not sure what's up with that. I wonder if it's getting dying or something.

I tried to take a more conservative pace as I ran out toward the corridor trail, keeping the miles at about 7:30 - 8:00. Once I hit the trail I figured that since my new Cascadias arrived earlier in the day I'd be able to retire the Brooks Adrenalines that I was wearing soon as they were coming up on 400 miles. With that in mind I decided not to avoid the mud that was spotting the trail like I usually do and just run down the center. Usually I'm a wimp about mud when I run, trying to avoid it the best I can in the interest of preserving my shoes. The mud on the corridor trail wasn't bad as he trail has good drainage. When I got to the Bridle Trails a few minutes later, that was another story.

I decided to run a clockwise loop instead of my usually CCW loop knowing that hitting the SE side of the trails first would be a mud fest. It had rained enough lately that there were plenty of gooey shoe-sucking mud puddles and standing water that I was in for a treat. I sloshed my way around the perimeter of the forest doing my best to curb my mud-avoidance instincts. I found that my shoes and socks get soaked pretty easily but the water either drains well or I get used to it pretty fast because it didn't bother  me. My legs, shorts, and back were generously splashed with muddy water by the time I was half way around the trail near the horse arena. It got a little worse in the last two miles and I almost lost my shoe twice in deep mud. The only thing I was avoiding at this point were the frequent piles of horse crap. I guess I'm not quite that comfortable yet.

The trails were fantastic and as usual I really enjoyed the peaceful calm of the empty forest that I shared with my iPod and it's playlist. I left the forest sooner than I would have liked and headed back toward the gym. I started trying something odd on the way back down the corridor trail. On all of the descents (probably 4 of them) I started really stretching my stride out and sort of leaping on the bottom 1/3 of the descent and over the next 100 meters of flat. I was trying to almost hover briefly for each long stride. I was doing it pretty fast so my pace got down into the low - mid 5:00/mi range. Not sustainable for more than a few hundred meters but interesting how easy it was to take the giant floating strides so quickly.

As I got closer to the gym I saw that with a fast final (slightly uphill) mile I could break 1hr for the ~8 mile run. I picked up the pace and ran pretty well (6:52) but missed the hour by 10 seconds. Oh well. Good run anyway. I walked up to the entrance to the gym and used their shoe-scrubber thing the best I could but ended up taking my shoes off and beating them together and on the curb before carrying them in rather than tracking mud through the lobby. 

Good times.

Dist: 8:00
Time: 1:00:10
Avg: 7:31/mi

Thursday, March 25, 2010

semi-recovery run and a sweet find

I got caught up at work yesterday and almost missed my run. I headed out for a late lunchtime run at 1pm. The weather was mid 60s and sunny. I would have kicked myself if I had stayed inside yesterday. I'm still recovering from Saturday's accidental marathon so I didn't shoot for hard tempo today. I ran smoothly and at what felt like a comfortable, not too fast pace.

I ran the standard work loop clockwise and still dipped below 6:00/mi on a few of the descents briefly. I ended up keeping a pretty good pace and wasn't gasping for breath at any point like I usually am when I run this route as a tempo run. The trails were dry and it was great to be out running in the nice weather. I look forward to the sun setting even later this summer so that I can get back to doing a run here and there in the Bridle Trails after work again like I did almost every Friday evening last year.

Even though I wasn't trying to run fast by any means I still wound up running the 6mi loop fairly quick:

Time: 42:25
Dist: 6.0
Avg: 7:04/mi

That surprised me.

In other news, last summer I participated in a health screening event at work and as a reward got an AmEx gift card. I promptly forgot about it until I found it the other night while cleaning my desk at home so I figured I should spend it. Unfortunately the list of places where the card was accepted (mostly online) wasn't very attractive... women's clothing stores, rental car agencies, eyeglass stores, power tools, etc… I saw that Zappos.com was one of the merchants so I looked at what they had in the way of running shoes. Their prices weren't very good (same as retail) but their selection was decent so I did some research and ordered a pair of these:

I've been curious about the Brooks Cascadias for a while. I'd seen people wearing them at the Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival and on a few of the Ultra runner blogs that I read. They sound like a beginning trail shoe that's good on pavement as well. I probably run on about 30% roads, 50% trails / dirt shoulders, and the rest sidewalks. I hope these end up working out for me. They were almost free with the gift card plus free next-day shipping from Zappos (sweet!) so I won't be bummed if I just don't like them.

My hope is that they'll be good enough that I can wear them to the Mt. Si 50K in 2.5 weeks.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Recovery wheel

I forgot to write about my 5 mile slow recovery run on the hamster wheel yesterday. I just set it to an 8:30 pace and hit 'start'.

My legs feel fine when I'm not running and my bad knee is a little more twitchy than usual when I run. I don't think I'll be doing any speedwork or tempo this week. I'm 3 weeks out from my 'A' race and I'm tapering until race day. I might try for some short hill repeats this weekend and a fast run next week but I'll cut mileage otherwise.

Yesterday's run put me over 100 for the month for the first time in probably a year. Serious ultra runners do that in a week but I'm happy to have enough time to get out and run this much.

Time: 42:21
Dist: 5.0

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Accidental Marathon or compounded mistakes

With two sick kids I was worried that I'd be able to slip away for my long run. It's my last one in this training cycle and I'd planned for 24 miles. A window of opportunity opened up and I got dressed and went for it. I planned to be out for a little over 3 hours. As my runs get longer I have to start carrying more food and even though I have the awesome Race Ready shorts with 5 or 6 pockets in the back I'm almost out of space back there. I brought 5 gels, a packet of Power Bar Energy Bites, course directions, Nuun tablets, S-Caps, my iPod and money. That left me one pocket to put the empty gel packets in. If my training runs get any longer I'll have to just plan to eat at the stores I pass and hope they have energy bars or something.

I wanted to try out the Energy Bites as a potential food source for future races. They were tasty and didn't bother my stomach at all but they're really hard. They're almost the consistency of a frozen caramel only not so chewy when you finally work them in. My jaw was sore after eating the first 3! I guess I need to see about whipping up a batch of the Perpetuem / gel slurry mixture that worked so well for me when I was cycling. Today I tried to be smart about my food intake, eating something every 30 minutes regardless of hunger. I alternated gels and Energy Bites. I should have been taking in a few more calories every hour but it worked out to 200 - 210 cal/hr. That's probably the minimum I can get away with, so I'll have to rework my food for future long runs.

It was sunny and warm out today (low 60s). When I left on the run at 1pm it felt a little chilly. I got some advice as I was leaving in the form of "It's kind of cold out, are you really going to wear short sleeves?" I made the mistake of second guessing and then changing to a long sleeve tech shirt and heading out on my run. I felt good for the first few miles and then started to overheat. I followed the first 15 miles from my last long run which went fairly well. It was nice to see it during the day after running the first 12 miles before sunrise on my last long run.

My splits were in the 7:20 - 7:40 range with a few low 8's thrown in on the hilly miles. I was moving well and feeling good. By mile 15 the wheels started to come off the wagon and I had to stop and walk up one of the short hills. I was way too hot and trying to conserve the water (Nuun) that I was carrying in my two UD FastDraw bottles as I had been all day. I planned for two bottles to last me ~12 miles but with the temps in the low 60s that was not nearly enough. When it's cold out I have to remind myself to drink every mile. Today I was drinking every half mile and trying to limit myself. That's never a good idea during a run.

There are so few stores out in the sticks where we live that I have to plan my routes around them so I can stop every 10 - 12 miles to refill. The bottles get pretty warm by that point anyway so I'm more than ready for some new cold water.  Dehydration started to affect me about 13 miles in and by mile 15 when I took my first walk (to coincide with a 30 min feed time) I had to take my shirt off and expose my fish-belly to the passing motorists. I'll just say that it's hard to get a tan in the Pacific Northwest. I had a long way to go before I'd be anywhere near another store. I kept running and tried to ignore the increasing soreness in my psoas muscles and the top of my Quads.

Taking the shirt off cooled  me down a bit but I was still trying to make the bottles last another 9 miles. I was breathing hard and working much harder than I should have been at my slowing pace. I started walking up the steep hills and also when it was time to eat. I wasn't happy with this but still had every intention of finishing. When I got back up from the edge of the water in Cromwell and around to Warren dr and past Fox Island I started to realize that I just wasn't going to make it back home without at least 2 - 3 miles with dry bottles. I ran by the Arletta fire station to see if I could bum some water from them but it was completely empty. No cars in the lot, doors and blinds closed.  I knew that I'd pass within about a mile and a half of a small market in Rosedale but going there for water was an out and back, and would add 3 miles to my day. This was a better option than running out empty with a few miles to go.

I bit the bullet and turned off at Artondale dr and headed down Ray Nash dr to the store. I bought a big water and an ice cream sandwich. I didn't know how my stomach would handle it (easily) but it looked really good to me. When my body is depleted, sweets reach another level. I fondly recall eating a few donuts after bonking on the way home from work on my bike back in CA after a 60 mi R/T commute.

My pace at this point was slowing to the 9:30 - 10:00 range with increasing walking breaks. Two bottles of fresh cold water helped me get some focus back and reel the pace in a little bit but the damage was done to my legs and neck/shoulders, they were really sore. I headed back down the tunnel trail and onto the road toward home. I saw into my wife with the kids and dog out for a walk. I was almost an hour later than I'd estimated when I stopped to chat. They were glad that I was still moving and encouraged me to keep going while they headed the other way on their walk.

Just before getting home I hit the 26.2 mile mark for a 3:49 marathon. Not too bad for something so hilly on a dehydrated body. I plodded the rest of the way home and finished up with 26.5 miles on the day. That's about 3 more than the planned route. Maybe it'll better prepare me for the race. I realized when I got home that I hadn't peed at all the entire run. Bad sign and I'm glad that it's over. I hope I plan my race better than today's long run.

Dist: 26.5
Time: 3:52:12
Avg: 8:46/mi
Alt: Garmin: 8333 so 4000?

Now I have 3 weeks until the Mt Si 50K to taper and figure out my race day plan. Let's hope I learned something today.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

slow recovery run

My legs were still sore from the fast treadmill 10K on Tuesday so I just went out today with the goal of a slow run on the trails. I started at the gym and headed down to the corridor trail which took me out to the Bridle Trails. I popped into the park/forest and enjoyed the soft trails until I hit 2.5 miles and then turned around and headed back.

I was trying to keep my HR under 140 and did almost the whole run except the 3 short steep hills on the way to the Bridle Trails. My pace was around 9:00/mile for the most part. I took the Garmin but forgot to turn it off after my run and recorded my drive home in traffic. All together: 63.14mi in 6h 55m 04s (that's a sweet 6:34/mile pace!) I only burned 3500 calories and my max speed was 329.1mph (!?)

When I take out all of the "junk" miles that I drove I get something more reasonable:

Time: ~44:00
Dist: 4.95mi
Avg: 8:53/mi

I stretched, used the foam roller, used The Stick, and did some core work. My legs are still sore.  They should be a little better by Saturday for my long run.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

10K PR* and GWMA virtual race redo

The weather is finally warming up in the Pacific Nortthwest. It was in the mid 50s and overcast today, perfect weather for a run outside. Running outside was never in the plan for today though. I headed over to the gym at lunch for some time on the hamster wheel. Why subject myself to this? Glad you asked. I have my last long run coming up this weekend (24 mi) and I wanted to run something that wasn't too hard and didn't wear my legs out. So instead of running my standard work loop with all of it's climbing and descending, I ran a 10K PR* at the gym. As long as I was running 10K, I figured I'd really put the hammer down and see how fast I could have run the Global Warming, My Ass 6.66mi. virtual race as well. What's another 0.45mi, right?

I hopped on a treadmill and started my warm-up at a moderate pace to get the sinovial fluid moving in my knees. After 5 minutes I turned the treadmill off so that I could reset the numbers. I turned it back on and set the speed to a 6:00/mi pace. It felt fine even after my hard hill repeat workout on Sunday. I guess stretching and the foam roller every night are working. I knew that it wouldn't feel good for too long so I upped the speed while the legs still had some spring. I hit the first mile in 5:58. I held the pace steady and still felt pretty good after cruising through mile 2 in 5:54. I bumped the speed up a tad and tried to keep my mind off the fatigue that was creeping into my quads.

I didn't catch the next few mile splits but I did see my time for 5K: 18:21 which is 15 seconds faster than my 17 year old PR on the roads. Not that it's fair comparing the two however. I cruised through 4 miles feeling okay but really trying to convince myself to keep going. I was breathing harder and just sweating buckets into my towel. By 5 miles my form was coming apart and I had to seriously slow my pace for 30 seconds at 5.5 miles. I couldn't keep the pace up and needed to seriously back off from the 5:50 pace I'd been holding for the last few miles. I recovered a bit and went back to a 6:00/mi pace knowing that I had just over a mile to go. I ran through 10K in 36:20* which is two minutes faster than my previous treadmill PR.  (The PR-shattering performance will become clear shortly). I wanted to stop at 6.21 miles but also wanted to see how I'd do for 6.66 miles. I ran it on the roads/trails in 46:15 at work last week but today I hit that mark in 39:20 and immediately dropped to a slow cool-down jog.

*  So, what's my secret? Why the asterisks after the times and mention of PR? Well, the treadmills I use at the gym are pretty fancy and not only have an incline function but can also be configured for up to a 3% _decline_ so I ran the whole thing on a smooth downhill road essentially. I can't find anything about what an equivalent effort would be running outdoors but I'd estimate it'd be about a 6:40/mi pace.

So... I cheated. It's good to cheat on rare occasions. I think I'm capable of a sub 38 min 10K with some focus and a flat course. I'll shoot for that later in the year if I can find a flat course anywhere around here. It was good to get an idea of how fast I'd have to keep the legs moving to hold that kind of pace. I think I'll try a downhill 5K at 5:30 pace some time, you know...  for fun. :)

Overall (incl warmup/cooldown)
Time: 47:00
Dist: 7.6 miles
Avg: 6.11/mile
Dopamine production: very high

Sunday, March 14, 2010

10 x hurt

I'm between long run weeks so I thought I'd get out and do some hill intervals. They're supposed to be even better than flat intervals and safer for your body because you can't do them as fast going uphill. I had a big breakfast at my favorite local place, Oatmeal, toast, eggs over easy and a few bites of my daughter's pancake w/ strawberries and whipped cream on top. I wanted to run earlier in the day but I had to let that huge meal settle. I decided on a mid-day run and started out with my "One Store" loop. I began with an easy first mile and then settled into just under 8 min pace give or take a hill here and there. When I got to the store that the loop is named after I headed out to 40th ave instead of turning toward home.

40th is just over a mile of 7% - 8% incline with wide shoulders. I'd prefer to run something a bit steeper for hill repeats but there's nothing steep and long enough near by. I tried my first ever Gu Roctane gel before I started the repeats. I've heard that they work better than regular Gu and that the Amino acids make a noticeable difference. The flavor (Blueberry Pomegranate) didn't taste very good. It had a bland taste that wasn't pleasant but not quite inedible. Maybe it's the berries, I'll touch on this again later...

Anyway, back to running: I started out with a pace that I thought I'd be able to hold for a quarter mile and not much more. I had a pretty good sense for my pace as I was ready for the repeat to be over just before I hit 0.25mi. I was hitting "stop" on my Garmin instead of "lap" for the first few intervals so I didn't get splits for them but I'd guess around 1:45. The next 4 went pretty well and I wasn't struggling too hard at the turn-around. I'd just do an easy jog back down to my starting point and immediately start back up. This was giving me about 2:25 for the intervals (the recovery part).

Repeats 6 - 10 were harder. I was trying to keep my time steady on legs that were getting tired as I passed the 10 mile mark for the day. I kept my times in the 1:40 - 1:44 range for #6 - #9 and then tried to use up whatever I had left for the last one, telling myself that I had to break 1:40 for #10. I could feel myself losing form as I tried to lean into it and keep my core tight to keep my speed and leg turnover up. Gasping loudly for air, I hit the quarter in 1:39 which is slower than I thought I'd be but I have to be happy with it.  My splits looked like this:

5:19 for the first two plus the recovery jog..
4:22 for the repeat plus recovery jog.

I doubled over to catch my breath after the last one before jogging back down to recover. At the bottom of the hill I jogged the ~2 miles back to the house at an easy pace (8:40) to let the legs start to recover. When I hit "stop" this is what I saw:

Time: 1:49:50
Dist: 13.1 mi.
Pace: 8:22/mi
Ascent: 2875 on the Garmin, so ~1400?

At home I immediately hit the Recoverite and ate the other gel that I'd brought with me and forgot to eat on the run. It was a Hammer Gel in the new Mountain Huckleberry flavor. I don't know if I could tell the difference between this one and the Roctane earlier. They both had a bland taste that didn't remind me anything of berries.  Maybe berry flavors are harder to synthesize in the lab or something. I didn't have any expectations for the Roctane as I've never had one before. Hammer is usually pretty good with their gel flavors though. I love the chocolate, raspberry (hey, that's a berry and they got that one right!) espresso (awesome), and Apple Cinnamon, which is good but too sweet to eat much of and tastes exactly like the filling in Hostess Apple Pies.

Looking ahead to next week, I have two 6 mile runs during the week, one easy and one tempo. I have my final pre-race long run on the weekend at 24 miles. After that I'll try to taper for my race. I wanted to run the Redmond Watershed Trail Marathon on 3/28 as my last long run but the weekends didn't line up and my schedule got pushed out when I had to miss my 20 mile run for 3 straight weekends. Oh well. It wasn't a goal for the year anyway.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

New territory

Today I went over to the gym at lunch for some speedwork on the hamster wheel. I noticed the other day that they finally installed consoles on the new treadmills so I wanted to try them. The old treadmills have a nice setting where you can define your own interval workout using time, speed, and # of repeats. After some trial and error I found that the new consoles can almost do the same thing but not quite. You can set up intervals but only using speed an incline. I couldn't figure out how to tell it how far they should be (400m) or how many (10).

I gave up and just used the manual setting instead. One nice feature that the new consoles have is an image of a track with a green dot representing you that circles the track. This made it much easier to do the repeats. One lap for green dot man at target pace and I back it off to recovery pace for 3/4 of a lap.

Always pressed for time, I did an abbreviated 5min. warm-up at 9:30 pace. I ran 10 x 1/4mi at 82 seconds with 3/4 of a lap (0.18 miles) recovery at 9:30/mi.

This is the first time I've done intervals below a 6:00/mi. pace. I thought that I could handle a 5:28/mi. pace for short intervals. I did pretty well, starting out with a 1.5% incline. After the first five my legs started to really feel heavy. I the leg workout I did yesterday might be part of the reason. I dropped the incline to 0% and squeaked out the remaining 5 repeats. I was unfortunately one of "those guys" at the gym who was breathing really hard / gasping for air during the last 20 seconds of each effort. I hope it didn't annoy the other hamsters pushing their wheels around me.

I don't think I could have done this workout on a track. Maybe 87 - 90 sec. per 400m. but not 82. When you do them on a treadmill the moving band/tread just helps enough that you can keep going a bit longer at the in-over-your-head pace.

Good workout overall.

5.5 miles
~38 min.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Global Warming, My Ass! virtual race results

Today was the day I put feet to pavement and submitted my entry into the Global Warming, My Ass! 6.66mi virtual race put together by Running Off at the Mind. Here's the recap:

I started at from the gym as I do for most of my weekday runs. I worried about the temperature as it's taken a bit of a dive this week. It was in the mid-50s last week and only the high 30s this week. I considered just using a treadmill but that didn't feel right (or fun). I walked out to the parking lot to let my Garmin 305 figure out where on the planet I was.

As soon as I had satellites I was off. I ran my regular work rectangle course around Redmond Clockwise because the first two miles in that direction are mostly downhill and fast. I had to weave around quite a few other runners out in the cold today as I headed down 148th ave toward 24th.

I popped through the first mile in 6:03 which wasn't too bad with no warm-up. The next mile has a big downhill section in the middle so I kept the pace up and rolled through mile two in 5:52. That was the first time I've been under 12 minutes for the first two miles. Unfortunately that's just where the big uphill section starts. I gained back everything that the downhill gave me. My pace slowed considerably as my lungs were starting to burn and my legs were feeling rubbery from the first two miles and Friday's 20 mile run.

Mile three climbs steadily, steep at first and then more gentle. I lost a good bit of time on the climbs yet somehow came through mile three in 8:10. I was starting to feel tired and I needed for my lungs to stop burning. I was doing a good job ignoring the stomach cramp that was telling me to knock off all this running. The next mile was  gentle rollers on a gravel path. I started to get my wind back with a 7:27 mile as I approached the third corner of the rectangle and Bridle Trails state park. 

I turned the corner just after starting mile five which was a slight downhill along the corridor trail. There is one steep hill here but it's short enough (~50 yds @ 10% gradient) that you can power over it and catch your breath going down the other side. I ran fast but not out of control on the wet leaves, dirt, and rocks, pulling a 6:55 mile.

I held my pace down the corridor trail and made my last right turn to the home straight along 148th ave which rises slowly up to the parking lot of the gym. I saw another runner almost 1/4 mile ahead of me which gave me something to chase after. I gained on him but the difference between our paces wasn't enough that I could catch him in the 2/3 of a mile to the gym. I cut the distance in half before he turned into the parking lot. I got up to the parking lot to cap off mile six in a hair under 7 minutes.

My time for the 6 mile route was 41:29 which is about about a minute off of my PR for the route. I wanted to stop but had another 0.66 miles to add. I kept going past the gym for another 1/3 of a mile,  turned around and headed back trying to use up whatever I had left in the tank.

I hit the 6.66mi mark in 46:15 and stopped my watch. I jogged the last few yards back to the gym for a very short cool-down. Sadly with only an hour for lunch including travel, changing, and shower I don't have much time for warm-up, cool-down or stretching. I showered, changed and rewarded myself with a brownie from the snack bar at the gym on my way back to work.

Here's what the watch says and I'm not arguing.

I exported the GPS file to Everytrail where they turn my effort into an animated blue dot.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The 36 x 0.11mi workout.

I wanted to get out for a recovery run yesterday after my long run Friday morning. I didn't have time to fit in a slow 10 miles so I settled for a run at the YMCA where my daughter has her swim lessons. My wife took our daughter into the pool and I took the boy in the Bob jog stroller upstairs to the 3 lane running track that goes around the buiding.

The track is odd, it's 1/9th of a mile and it's an oval shape with one flat end. I didn't even bother counting laps and just timed my run with the Garmin. I kept a moderate pace and just ticked off the laps. There were a lot of people walking or jogging slowly around the track that I had to weave around with the occasional runner passing me. The boy probably guessed that the scenery wasn't going to change so he dozed off a couple of laps into it. I had to finish by a certain time which worked out to 36 minutes of running. I timed the last 3 laps and did 57 - 58 seconds per lap (~8:40/mi pace) which wasn't as slow as I wanted but with the time constraint I was happy to do a little over 4 miles.

My complaints other than the obvious boring scenery:

- The floor wasn't the soft spongy material that decent outdoor tracks are covered with. It was a harder surface that was between cement and asphalt in feel.
- I couldn't just put the iPod on and zone out with all of the weaving around people walking 2 and 3 abreast, plus I had to steer the Bob around the corners. Had to make sure I didn't hit anything with the precious cargo.
- People standing around not working out. I must have passed two women standing around fiddling with their cel phones 10 times before they left to go stand around somewhere else and not exercise. They could pay me the monthly fee and do that "workout" from their own home with the same results.

The positives:
- I got a run in.
- The boy napped the whole time.
- It's better than a treadmill.

Tomorrow I'm planning to run a virtual 10.72KM race after entering the "Global Warming, My Ass 6.66 Mile Run" put together by: Running Off at the Mind My normal work loop is 6 miles exactly so what's another 1/3mi out and back, right? We'll see what kind of shape my legs are in after Friday's 20 mies and what kind of shape the trail sections are in after the brief snowfall today. I'm feeling competitive.

I should have the report up by tomorrow night.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Finally, that long run

After missing it for 3 weekends in a row I finally got out and did that long run. I still wouldn't have been able to do it this coming weekend so I had to get out this morning before work. I woke up a few minutes after 4am (easy when you have a baby that won't sleep) and dragged my tired body out of bed (not so easy) to put on all of my running clothes and accessories that I'd set out last night. It was so much easier to set everything out last night so that I didn't have to look for anything this morning. I'm also surprised at all the junk I need to run these days:

  • Shorts (Race Ready)
  • Base layer shirt (Craft)
  • L/S tech shirt (Portland marathon)
  • Socks (Injinji)
  • Gloves (REI)
  • Hat (Brooks)
  • 2 hand bottles (UD)
  • Electrolyte drink powder/tabs (Hammer, Nuun)
  • Salt tablets (S-caps)
  • iPod (nano)
  • 3 gels (Hammer, Gu)
  • Headlamp (Petzl)
  • Tiny flashlight (Amazon?)
  • Watch (Garmin)
  • Anti-chafing stick (Body Glide)
  • Shoes (Brooks)
  • Cel phone (not my iPhone)

Didn't running used to be simple? Clothes and maybe a watch and you're out the door. I never used to run with bottles or Electrolyte drinks, Headlamps, Anti-chafing anything or Salt tablets. IPods didn't exist and your choices were limited to the Walkman or the Discman, both of which would drop and break within the first 10 runs you brought them on.

To continue, I got dressed, then had a bowl of cereal, filled the bottles and headed out the door. It was 42F out when I started. I went with shorts instead of tights in hopes that my legs would warm up enough not to bother me. I was right on that one. The temperature warmed up maybe 5 degrees over the run and my legs felt fine.

I started out with a slow first mile on the car-free roads listening to the Quadrathon podcast as I like to do on long runs. (I recommend his podcast as something to listen to on a long run. It takes my mind off the pounding and time passes quickly.) I ran out to the tunnel trail and started climbing in the near pitch dark with my two LED lights to guide me. I heard some odd animal howling noises that gave me pause. I picked up a baseball sized rock and ran with it in my hand but never found the animals that were making the sounds so I dropped the rock at the end of the trail. I couldn't run entirely on the soft dirt/gravel shoulder as I followed the perimeter roads past Kopachuck. With so little light but being so early I could run in the middle of the lane of oncoming traffic without fear of getting hit so I alternated between the two.

My pace felt a bit slower than my last long run which could mean that either I'm still recovering from the stomach flu or that with my last long run being almost a month ago, I've lost a bit of fitness. Maybe I'm just not quite as fast in the dark when I have to concentrate more on my footing. Which ever the case I was running a little over an 8 min/mi. pace through the first 5 miles. I slowed down even more over the next 5 miles. It had been long enough since my last long run that I was a little more worried about finishing than keeping pace. The middle part of the route had a few good hills to climb and then descend but I was still feeling pretty good. My hands were starting to get a little cold which was my only issue.

I'd planned the route to go around Gig Harbor and happened to go past the Washington Corrections Center for Women. It was a big brightly lit barbed-wire-fenced facility. There were signs stating that there was no stopping and no photography. It was peaceful as I ran by wondering if anyone else was up at 5:45am.  The only famous inmate I could Google was Mary Kay Letourneau (a 34 y/o school teacher) who spent 7 years there for having an affair and two kids with a 12 year old student. She even married him when she got out of prison.  Apparently it was big news around these parts.

Around the 11 mile point I stopped at a gas station mini mart to try to warm up my fingers and buy water to refill my bottles. I went to the back of the store and pressed my hands up against the hot breakfast food cabinet but felt nothing. I wonder how luke-warm breakfast sandwiches are selling these days? I bought water, filled my bottles and dropped a Nuun tablet in each as I headed on my way. With cold water in my bottles my fingertips were getting colder as I ran. I tried to carry the bottles by the straps or the pouches but that didn't seem to work. My fingers were cold and wet and starting to go numb. I kept trying to blow hot air (I'm full of it) onto my fingers and hold them under my armpits with no luck.

My pace was improving as the sun came up behind the clouds. I headed down Wollochet and then up toward the cows until I split left toward Cromwell. I cut across on 24th ave to make the distance work out rather than running all the way down to the water. I made a few turns and got over onto 32nd ave amd passed by the small park where for once I didn't have to stop and use the bathroom. I continued on having to deal with more and more drivers leaving for work. Luckily the shoulders are big along the those roads. Up and down another hill and I found myself running past the Fox Island bridge with a scant 3 miles to go. I felt pretty good except that I was losing some dexterity in my fingers from the cold. I just couldn't warm them up and it was getting harder to manipulate my bottles. I picked up the pace a little bit as I headed back down the final stretch toward home.  I started to bonk a little bit from lack of calories but held on the last mile or two.

In the end I ran 20.5 miles which is a good bit farther than my last long run of 15.9. Once I got home I had to start running cold water over my hands which really hurt. I couldn't even handle the pain of warm water of even think of getting in the shower. It took about 10 minutes of soaking them in a tub of water before they felt normal again. Maybe I need more / better gloves or a hand warmer.  I didn't have time for an ice bath so at the end of my shower I turned the water to cold and just sprayed off my legs for as long as I could stand it. I think it helped.

This was the first long run wearing the Injinji socks with the individual toes and I'm pretty happy with them. No blisters and my feet feel pretty good. I also tried Nuun tablets and the tri-berry flavor was great. After going through almost an entire jug of Heed I'm ready for a new drink and the Tri-berry Nuun was surprisingly flavorful without being sugary or sweet at all. It was light yet stronger tasting than Heed. Both products have their place but I think I'll move to Nuun for a while. On top of the taste, carrying tablets instead of powder is much easier.  (how's that for an unpaid advertisement , marketing folks at Nuun!?)

So overall, the run was good but a bit slower than previous long runs. Not by much so we'll see what happens to my pace on the next one.

Time: 2:51:06
Dist: 20.5
AvS: 8:19/mi.
Alt: 5559 (Says Garmin so 2500?)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

sawtooth patterns

I still didn't feel 100% yesterday when I got out for my work loop run and I'm planning to do my 20 mile make-up run on Friday morning. I didn't want to kill my legs but still wanted more than junk / recovery (recovering from what?) miles so I decided to run my normal somewhat hilly loop and alternate 1 min. hard followed by 2 min. easy. I did a mile of warm-up and a mile of cool-down to book end the pick-ups. Some of the hard minutes came up during uphill sections which helped to boost my effort and HR. The graph on Garmin Training Center was a nice sawtooth pattern in the middle of the run for HR, speed, and pace. I guess it was a simple Fartlek run.

The weather was nice, partly sunny and low 50s. Not much to report about the run, It was pretty average.

The part that I'm worried about is even getting out the door tomorrow for my make-up long run. I have the course plotted and I'm not worried about the distance. I'm worried that my 6-month old will be waking me up every hour tonight so that I don't get enough sleep to be functional at 5am when I need to get on the road and run. I don't know why he's been so anti-running lately but the little guy seems to have it in for those who want more than an hour or two of sleep at a time.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rec-ugggh-very run

Two weekends in a row now I've missed my long run. I was planning to do 19 on Saturday but thought that I'd try a new diet starting on Thursday morning. It's called The Stomach Flu diet. You can eat as much as you want as long as your stomach can handle it. My diet was limited to: Saltines, Cup-o-Noodles, toast, and Gatorade. Three of those things I don't normally eat, and the other (Toast) mostly for breakfast. The good thing about being sick all weekend was that I haven't had that much rest in a long time. The whole family went on the diet with me so the wife and I took turns either napping or watching the kids.

I started to come out of it on Sunday afternoon but didn't want to risk even a short run with my angry intestines. I feel about 95% better today so I went out at lunch and took a recovery run. I couldn't manage Tempo or speed work so I just trotted out to the Bridle Trails, looped around in the mud and horse flop and headed back. Even at a medium/slow pace my stomach was still bothered. The upside was that it was in the mid 50s and sunny out. A beautiful March afternoon.

I don't know what I'm going to do with my long run at this point. It's been almost a month since my 16 mile run. I need to get in gear if I'm going to be ready for the 50K in just over a month. I'm thinking either early one day this week or one last shot at it this coming weekend.

Today's numbers:
Dist: 4.85
Time: 39:12
Avg: 8:05/mi

Oh, and the results of the diet? Lost 3 lbs.