Thursday, July 29, 2010

Special evening run

Run 1) 5:4mi in 36:48 (6:50/mi avg) I did get out for a run at lunch. I ran a route that I mapped out and first ran last week. I went out the Corridor trail to the entrance to the Bridle Trails and then ran along the should of the road that goes from NE to NW corner of the park. I turned off to the North about 1/2 way across to follow a dirt trail for a few minutes out to the road that Grass Lawn Park borders. I took that down to 148th and then back South to the gym for a rectangle with one wiggly side.

I ran really easy last night so I ran hard at lunch. The hilly bits weren't too bad so I just squeaked under a 7min/mi average. I'm not as fast as I was at the end of 2009 and into the spring of 2010 but my stride is much different than it was then and I'm still getting used to it and trying to figure out what type of shoe will work best for me now. I felt like I put a 90% effort into the run which is great but I wonder if I'll ever be able to push myself hard enough to throw up. I don't know why that would sound at all appealing but the idea of pushing my body to absolute failure once sounds intriguing. Runing until I fall across a finish line knowing that I've left absolutely nothing out there. I need to get past my mind to unlock that last 2% - 3%. I think Chris has been that far into the pain cave. I'd like to see the back of the cave once.

Run 2) 4mi at what felt like a 9:30 - 10:00 / mi pace.  My schedule worked out for me to drive over to Fleet Feet in Seattle after work today (almost didn't make it with traffic, 1h10 min to drive 13 miles!!) to get there at 6pm for a group run that the store puts on every Thursday. Today there was a special guest joining the run, new Close Personal Friend Of Mine ;-) Scott Jurek. A short list of his accomplishments would be:

  • 7 time Western States 100mi Endurance Race winner
  • 3 time Spartathlon 153mi race winner
  • 2 time Badwater 135mi Ultramarathon winner
  • Newly crowned American record holder for 24hrs with 165.7mi
  • numerous other race wins, course records, and running awards

He's been there and won that. I'd like to just finish some of the races that he's won which is about as high as I can aim. Last week Scott Tweeted that he was going to be at the store tonight for the Thursday night group run and I planned accordingly. He showed up, gave a few announcements and we all (about 40 people) went for a short slow run. Scott ran at a painfully slow pace near the back of the group and talked with whoever was running near him. I started out at about a 9:00/mi pace and he never caught up to me. I started slowing down and taking my time at street crossings and I got further back in the group. I was probably running 10min miles and still never drifted back far enough in the 4 miles for him to catch me. Most people sped up a bit and ran ahead. I'm not much of a star chaser so I didn't want to stop on the route and wait for him to catch up just so I could blab to him about nothing.

Back at the store after the run he stuck around and glad-handed with anyone who wanted to. I got a picture with him and talked for a few minutes about running and the product he pushes: Green Magma which I'm curious to try now that I have a handful of free samples. Ditto for Udo's Oil. He was as expected an incredibly nice guy and at 6'2", taller than I thought he'd be. He spent a good hour there talking to everyone in the place and signing autographs, taking photos, handing out schwag, etc... before I left. Also, Brooks held a raffle for some free running gear. I got lucky and won a Pro Tec roller massager stick that I'm going to try out in about 10 minutes.

It was a nice way to spend the evening and reminds me that I should run with a group once in a while to spice things up and get out of my little bubble. I used to run with the Palo Alto Running Club years ago and while 80% of the people at the group treated it like some kind of elitist social club that I was apparently not cool enough to join, the running was great. I made it my tempo run for the week and tried to keep up with the handful of sub 3hr marathon guys and sub 37min 10K guys. It sure made me faster to compete like that every week. I hope to get back into that sort of thing when I eventually move to Seattle.

Thanks for sparing us some of your time Scott, and thanks to Fleet Feet for hosting it and Brooks for giving away some nice stuff. 

Easy goin'

4.95mi, 42:59 (8:41/mi avg) I missed my lunchtime run yesterday to go out to a good local Sushi restaurant, a choice I stand by. I was lucky enough to get out for a run immediately after the kids went to bed. I ran up to Kopachuck State Park and back via the tunnel trail. I kept a smooth easy pace and called it recovery.

Today I hope to get out for my normal run at lunch and then get a special run in after work that I'll write about later if it happens.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back to Tempo

6.0mi in 41:41 (6:57/mi pace) I ran at lunch today and felt that I should get back in the habit of running a hard tempo run each week so I set out on the standard work loop from the gym. I went Clockwise which historically has been faster for me than CCW. I figure that's just the way the hills are laid out with a short easy hill at the end going CW instead of a long easy hill when it's run CCW.

The run started out good but devolved quickly into hard and painful. I realize that I'm not in tempo running shape since I've stopped running these fast runs every week like I used to. I didn't have the lungs and stamina to keep a faster pace for the 6 mile route. I felt good with my time today as I nipped under my personal gold standard of 42 minutes. I think I can probably cut about 2 minutes off of that time in the next few months.

My splits weren't half bad. Take out the steep uphill that I can only hold about a 10:00 pace on and I'm looking pretty good
8:09 (steep hill)

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Monday, July 26, 2010

No time

Now that the Tour de France is over and every other commercial doesn't feature Lance and his ego, he'll have some free time to focus on spinning his "truth" and revisionist history during the doping investigation that's finally catching up to him. In the mean time I'll find some time to write about running.

So it's going pretty well. I've been consistent this month and my knees are handling it pretty well. I've only missed a few runs here and there due to blisters from being stupid or as was the case last Friday, work getting in the way. I had planned to find a nice trail to run at Cougar Mountain after work but I got wrapped up in someone else's emergency that turned into my opportunity to stay late at work and forget about running.

So to recap the last few runs briefly:

Wednesday: 10.5mi in 1:20:30 (7:40/mi) After the recovery day I went hard on a somewhat hilly route around Redmond after work. I ran out to the Bridle Trails, around them, then South to catch the rest of my regular work loop. Despite the hills I still came home with a good average pace.

Thursday: 5.4mi in 47min (8:42/mi) Another easy recovery run after the tempo run on Wed. I ran mostly on the sidewalk around Redmond. It was a new route that I mapped just before heading out so it wasn't boring.

Friday: 0, nada, nothing. Worked late.

Saturday: planned day off, went to the Zoo with the family.

Sunday: 14.65mi in 1:57:00 (7:59/mi) I wanted to get a 2 hour run in and planned a boring out-and-back route through Gig Harbor. About a half mile into the run I chucked the plan and decided to make up the route as I went. It'll be a while before I can whip up a great route in my head like Chris would when we rode together in CA but I felt good about putting together a route on the fly that came within 3 minutes of my time goal.

I pushed the pace a little at the start and went for a strong effort up 40th st which is a steady one mile long hill on a ~7% grade. I kept the pace down the other side and sped up a bit as I turned toward the water and over another hill toward Cromwell.  It's a nice route to get down to Cromwell but running back involves a half mile section at a 12% - 14% grade. It's a very labored slog uphill at what feels like a 15 min/mi pace. The grade softens up a bit but continues to climb for almost another half mile until you get a break before hitting a short descent and then two more climbs.

At the 10 mile mark I was close to home and hit the Arletta Store to stop and refill my UD hand bottles with cold water and dump the rest over my head and shoulders. It felt great and I was able to catch up on my hydration a bit. I headed out on a reverse "one store loop" route from the store. I ran up to Kopachuck State Park, turned around to head back down the Tunnel Trail and back home. My legs were still feeling pretty good but my feet and the rest of my body was starting to tire. I managed to record a solid set of splits, keeping them between 7:11 and 8:52 (the steep hill in Cromwell) but I didn't slow down at the end. I think I could have done better and run this route a little faster, especially in cooler weather but I can't complain about getting out for a 2 hour run on a beautiful day.

Summer is finally here and the weather was warmer than it's been in a long time. I got out for the run around 10:30am and it was already in the mid 70s with clear skies. I brought two UD hand bottles with me, one with HEED, and one with HEED and CarboPro. It was my first time using CarboPro which is just a sugar based carbohydrate source with a very mild flavor. I see it as just calories to add to whatever else you're drinking. 1 Scoop = 100 calories. I had plain HEED in one bottle (100 cal) and HEED plus 3 scoops of CarboPro in the other (400 cal). I alternated bottles every time I drank. It worked out for the first 5 or 6 miles but as the liquid warmed up, the flavor wasn't enough to keep me drinking as much as I should. I also had a little bit of stomach distress from the concentration of calories in the CarboPro bottle. Next time I'll lighten up the calories to 300/bottle at most and use something else to flavor the bottle. Gatorade or Nuun, something with more flavor than HEED which is itself very mild. I forgot to bring any S-caps or Enduralytes with me, so I'm sure I was a little more dehydrated than usual which added to the distress.

Today 4.85 in 47:00 (9:41/mi) I went to the gym to run on the treadmill. I didn't feel up to running around the streets and dealing with traffic, so I set the treadmill to a semi-hilly 10K program. I kept the pace mostly at 9:22/mi (6.4mph) and went with the varying elevations the Treadmill would choose. It got up to 8% at the steepest. My legs felt pretty good and I hope they'll be rested enough for a tempo run tomorrow.

Sunday's run set my weekly mileage at 50.8, the second best I've recorded with first being 65.5 miles back in 2002 the week that I ran the Helen Klein 50 mile race. I'm almost to 160mi for the month which feels like a pretty good start. I'd like to get a couple of 160+ mile months in a row and then fit in another 50km run this year. A 50 mile run would be even better if I can get the training in.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Double Monday

Just a quick update:

Monday: 5mi. on the treadmill @ 8:27/mi at lunch then 10 miles after work out at the (you guessed it) Bridle Trails. I don't remember the last time I ran a double. I was pretty beat for the first 4 miles until I ate a gel. I picked right up after that and finished well. 10mi. 1h24m.

Tuesday: back out to the trails near work for 5.3mi in 49:30. I tried to run it as a recovery run (ie: slow) and make sure to keep my HR low. I walked up the short steep pitches.

I hope I can keep up the miles this week.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back on the road after a big week.

After a much needed nap this afternoon I got out for a run. I hoped to go for about 2 hours as I took yesterday off. The nap ran a little bit long so I settled for 1.5 hours. It was odd getting out for a run right after waking up. I felt a little foggy for the first few minutes. I didn't plan a route so I decided on the fly to run out to the top of Fox Island and back, then around to the top of the tunnel trail, down it and back home. I thought I'd get between 12 and 13 miles. It ended up being just under 12 miles and I added almost a half mile of cool down running around the block near the house. I felt pretty good, I kept a pretty steady pace the whole run, felt strong up the long climb to the top of Fox Island and ran well overall.

Time: 1:34:58
Dist: 12.2
Avg: 7:46/mi

My slowest mile was up the hill with an 8:10, the fastest was a 6:52 coming back down it. Otherwise I was keeping them between 7:43 and 8:00. It's not as fast as I'd like to be if I were going to run a marathon (no plans currently) but it is a little hilly around here which adds a bit of time to my splits.

This run gets me over 100 for the month pretty early. Last week I ended up running 47.4 miles which is the highest mileage week I've had since running the Helen Klein 50M in late '02. Wow.

Friday, July 16, 2010

good morning

I had to drive in to work today so I got up at 4am and missed traffic so that I could get to the gym early and get a run in. This was my 6th day in a row of running, something I've seldom done in the past even before knee surgery. I'm trying to put together some higher mileage weeks and get my body to the point where a 50KM race isn't so taxing. I was pretty beat up after the race I did a few months ago. I was doing about 30 mile weeks at the time. I want to get to 45 - 50 mile weeks but that might be a long shot with the amount of spare time I have. Having a job and a long commute really cuts into my free time. :)

Today I ran through Redmond similar to the start of my 6mi tempo loop through the streets and sidewalks until I reached the south east corner of the Bridle Trails. (yes, again with the Bridle Trails, they're the only trails to run here) The trails are laid out over a big rectangle with a couple of small rectangles cut out of it (center north and south west). I usually run the perimeter of the area to get the longest route I can out of it. Today entered the trails in the south east and headed north for a CCW loop. I wanted to get a 10 mile run today so I planned to run one full loop of the perimeter which would finish at the southeast corner and then run up the east side for a lap and a quarter before taking the corridor trail back to 148th ave and then back to the gym.

I felt good for the first mile of the run and then the spring in my step slowly faded as the soreness in my legs from the last 5 days of running started to surface. I was happy just getting out to run and even working to keep a 8:30/mi pace on the trails was enjoyable. By comparison the trails were really busy this morning, I passed by 3 other runners while I was out there which is 2 more than I pass on a good day. I felt like I was barely dragging along for big chunks of the run and I'll be glad to take tomorrow off. I'm hoping to get a 2 hour run in on Sunday to hit 100 miles early this month. With good health I could easily hit 150 miles this month and take a crack at beating my historical high of 168 miles back in 2003. 168 isn't that high but without going to 2-a-day runs I just don't have the time to break 200 mi/month. Should my monthly mileage even matter? I love to run and want to spend my free time doing it. I don't care that much about mileage other than in a self-competitive satisfaction way. Sometimes I get into a "I'm in great shape, look how many miles I ran" mental space. That and I love the Dopamine boost that running provides.

Time: 1:30
Dist: 10.6mi
Avg: 8:29/mi

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I got tired of waiting for my blisters to heal so I went against everyone's advice and drained the two worst blisters before bed. I was a little worried that I might have made it worse but it felt the same when I woke up this morning. By lunch my feet were feeling much better.

I went to the gym at lunch to run on the treadmill because I wanted to run mile repeats. I ran 5 x 1mi. @ 6:58/mi (the treadmill will do either 6:58/mi or 7:03/mi but not 7:00/mi) with a 1/4 mi. Slow jog between each mile. I felt fine for the first 3 and then a little winded for the last 2. I barely noticed the blisters and was soaked by the end of the run. I forgot how hot you get running fast on a treadmill indoors with no air moving around you.

Dist: 6.35
Time: 47:00

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Easy does it

I went for an easy recovery pace run to the Bridal Trails at lunch yesterday. I'm not recovering from anything other than the stupid blisters on my feet. I'd love to run some tempo or intervals but that'll have to wait until the blisters stop hurting when I walk.

I'd like to pick up my training and peak for another 50K race this year and possibly volunteer as a pacer at a longer event. I need to sit down and look at the calendar to pick a race and plan the training cycle.

So the run was good, temps in the mid 70s, my HR was in the 130s on the run and I felt pretty good other than the blister.

Dist: 5.3
Time: 46:17
Avg 8:46/mi

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Step ouch step ouch...

I had myself a little recovery run today on the treadmill. I set the hamsters to a 9min/mi pace and trotted it out. It was an easy pace with the exception that the blisters just south of the ball of my left foot hurt every step.

There were 6 big screen TVs in view from where I was running and none of them were playing the Tour. It was all failed oil spill clean up news or the George-Steinbrenner-Is-Dead Show featuring maybe 30 seconds of footage looped over and over again. Now that we all have DVRs who even watches this horrible programming?

People who like to suffer on treadmills apparently.

Dist: 5.0
Time: 44:49
Avg: 8:58/mi

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Monday, July 12, 2010

back on my blistered feet

My feet are still healing from the blisters (all 5 of them!) that I picked up on my hot barefoot run last week. They're squishy little bags of fluid that quietly whisper "stupid!" with every footstep. It'll be a little while before I can run barefoot again. My feet felt good enough that I could have run on Saturday but I had wall-to-wall family obligations from 9am - 9pm. (I live such the life, right? not really).

With Saturday taken up I was able to squeeze in a run on Sunday, the catch being that I had to take kid#1 with me in the BOB stroller for her nap. She didn't want to nap (as usual) but we came to an agreement. She naps while I run and when she wakes up, we stop at one of the local mom & pop markets for chocolate milk and some peanut butter cups. She kept up her end of the bargain so we stopped and sat on a bench outside Island View market. We watched the birds fly over the water while filling up on chocolate in solid and liquid forms. It's a small price to pay and a great way to get her to come with me for the odd run on weekends.  It's great running and talking to her as the miles pass by. "Why are you breathing so hard Daddy?"

I ended up putting in:
10.4 miles
Avg: 8:36/mi

That time might be a little fat though. I didn't stop my watch any of the 20 or so times that I had to pull off the road and wait for a car to pass by. 

I felt good great after Sunday's run so I ran again today. I had to go to an auto-auction in the middle of the day today so I couldn't run at lunch as I usually do. Instead I got up early and drove to the gym near work to run before heading into the office. I wanted to run an easy 10 miles but my legs didn't share that desire. I knew within about 5 minutes (the time it took for my aging Garmin to find a signal) that my legs weren't nearly recovered. I tried to run easy without blowing up. I really slowed down on the climbs and tried to just focus on slowly running up them rather than walking. When I got into the Bridle Trails I tried to pick up the pace for the first mile but gave up pushing it and went by feel. The mud on the trails had almost completely dried up, leaving them in great condition.

It's so much easier to run when you're not constantly working to find a path through the mud, hopping side-to-side to find precious solid footing. About 5 miles into the run my legs started feeling a little better and the pace picked up for the rest of the run. I got back to the gym spent with heavy legs and a grin on my face from the Dopamine rush.

I didn't get in the miles I wanted but I came close:
7.9 miles

On a good day I'll do this run in under an hour easy, especially on dry trails. I'm happy with this run after yesterday's run and only getting 4.5 hours of sleep last night thanks to the Tour De Lance. I watched the yesterday's TdF stage last night before bed. The action on the last two hills was so good that I was glued to the TV.  I loved watching the old man pop off the back of the peloton. The look on his face as his tour changed from a competitive tour to a farewell tour was great. Maybe it's a sign that he's riding this tour clean.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A bad idea

It looks like Summer is finally here in WA. The temps this week shot up into the mid 80s and the clouds are nowhere to be seen in the afternoons. It's a great time to get out and run. I've been running my fair share lately and loving it. I ran yesterday at lunch with the plan of running out to Grass Lawn park for a few miles barefoot around the rubber track. I left the gym and took my shirt off about a half mile into the run. It felt great and hey: extra Vitamin D!

I turned to run down the corridor trail beside the golf course and passed a dad pushing his daughter in a stroller on the dirt trail. About 200 meters after passing him with a "hi" I saw a brightly colored infant chew ring toy on the trail. I thought about it for a split second and stopped to pick it up. I turned around and ran back toward the two. When I caught up to (and startled) them I asked if they had dropped the toy. The man said "no. I saw that on the trail back there but it's not ours." I just started laughing and told them to have a good day as I turned around to continue on my run. I dropped the toy on the grass beside the dirt path about where I found it and kept laughing to myself thinking about the choice I had when I came upon it. Leave it there and wonder if I'm a cold unfeeling jerk or run it back to the guy and make someone a little happier. I hadn't thought about the possibility of running it back and it not being his. I got a laugh out of it in the end.

I continued down the trail all the way out to 132nd and headed over to Old Redmond Road. I ran East from there holding an easy sub-7 pace down the slight hill. I'm pretty happy with how much smoother it feels running since I started transitioning to a mid-foot landing. The lack of knee pain is great in it's own right. I got to Grass Lawn park and on to the track. Once there I took off my shoes and socks and put my feet down onto the scorching hot track surface. I started running the two miles barefoot that I had planned. The track was hot enough that I started running on the thin concrete strip between the fake turf field and the sponge track. I tried to run on the field but the turf was even hotter than the track was. Part of the track was a little shaded so I moved back and forth between the 6" wide paved strip to the track and back. It was hurting my feet but I didn't think it was too bad.

Normally I'm pretty smart and somewhat conservative about my training but this was a case of being pretty dumb and ignoring the pain. I finished the two miles (8:20, 8:01) and grabbed my shoes to run back to the gym barefoot as I had done last week. I ran about 1/4 mile and stopped at a bus bench because my feet were hurting so much running on the sidewalk. I put my shoes and socks back on but my feet were still really sore the rest of the run.

Since then, just walking around has been painful. I looked at my feet this morning at the gym after using the cardio equipment (because my feet were too sore to run.) I found three large blisters on my right food and some tender raw skin on my left foot. I feel stupid to have done this and now I'll get to take a few unplanned days off from running to pay for it. I'm loving the barefoot running lately but that was pretty dumb of me to run through the pain. With my perfect hind-sight, I should have put my shoes right back on when I felt how hot the surface of the track was.

Next time...

6.5 mi (2.25 mi. barefoot)
8:11/mi avg

Not worth it.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just a short run before bed

I thought about taking a day off yesterday as I'd run 4 days straight (go Knee!) but I changed my mind after getting the kids to bed with enough time for a short trip around the neighborhood. After a slowish run on Sunday I decided to try some tempo pace last night. I haven't been doing any focused tempo or speedwork in some time and I'd like to still try to break 40 in the 10K after I turn 40. I headed out to do the standard "One Store" loop as it's the closest route to the house and contains a bit of trail to run on. I kept a good pace from the start, running the first few miles in the low 7 min range. I felt good but my legs were tired from the previous 4 days.

I was trying to hold a sub-7 pace the whole run but I found that there were hills during the first 4 miles of the course that would slow me down enough that I couldn't stay sub-7 pace the whole mile. I couldn't make up for it on the resulting downhill sections either apparently. I did finally pull off a sub-7 pace for the last 1.9 mile section as it had some longer flat stretches. While I was pushing the pace and breathing hard I was also trying to relax my body and evaluate how relaxed each part was (head, neck, shoulders, back, arms etc...) to see if it helped my form. I did feel a little smoother and fluid with my stride. I hope to try to dial this in more in future runs.

After arriving back home gasping for air I ran a half mile cool down loop around the block at a much slower pace.

Getting a run in before bed: a great way to end the day.

Time: 47:39
Dist: 6.4
Avg: 7:19/mi (not incl. cool down)
Alt: probably 1000'

Sunday, July 4, 2010


I've been busy with work and family lately and had a cold thrown in on top of that so I haven't been posting. Apologies to my three semi-regular visitors who never comment and to Melissa who does. (also to Chinese spammer guy who tries to comment all the time.) It's the 4th of July and both kids and the wife are napping, so I've got a tiny window to recap the last few days:

My cold started developing last Wed night so I took Thu - Sat off of running. When the cold still didn't go away I figured I'd just run through it.

Sun: 4.35mi in 40 min  Ran the One Store Loop near home.
Mon: Exercise bike + stretching at the gym
Tue: 2mi in 16min on the Hamstermill at the gym and some stretching
Wed: off
Thu: 6.4mi in 48min. Ran to the park near work for some barefoot around the track.
Fri: 5.7mi in 42min. Bridle Trails short loop from the gym.
Sat: 10mi in 1h23min. Ran with kid1 napping in the stroller to a local school for barefoot running.
Sun: 9.6mi in 1h40min. Ran with kid2 napping in the stroller near home.

Notes on the runs:

One new thing that I tried last week was barefoot running on the streets. On Thursday I ran out to a park near work to run barefoot on the soft rubbery track. After 3 miles around the track I gambled and carried my shoes while I ran the 1.5mi back to the gym barefoot. This was my first attempt at barefoot off of the track / grass.  The sidewalk felt okay on my feet but crossing the street was a little rough. I tried to run on the white lines in the road where I could to minimize the pain. My feet are still relatively tender on the bottom I guess. Maybe I'll try a run next week and leave my shoes at the gym.

On Saturday I ran 4 miles barefoot while kid1 slept in the middle of the field in the jog stroller. My splits were: 7:20, 6:50, 6:43, and a cool-down mile of 8:33. Not bad for barefoot.

My knee is a little tender right now, but that doesn't seem to matter when I'm out running. I've had almost no knee pain while running. I'm happy with my little experiment of changing my running form. Four days in a row running. I can't complain about that.