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.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another week goes by

Looking back to the last 6 days of running, I didn't end up getting the 17-18 miles I wanted last Sunday. I just ran out of time during the day and finished last week with 37.8 miles. I'll give the details below:

Sunday:  8.15 in 59:15 (7:16/mi avg) I didn't have time for a good run during the day so I settled for an hour after the kids went to bed. I wanted to do a few hill repeats so I want out to 40th, a one-mile long hill at about 8% grade and started running hard uphill for 2 minutes, then turning around and coming back down slowly to recover for 1 minute. I zig-zagged up and down the hill until after the 5th hard burst (Fartlek?) uphill I reached the top. I decided to keep the pace up on all of the rest of the hills as I ran down to 70th and then came around past Fox Island and back home. I pushed hard on the uphills, tried to stay fast and loose on the downhills and steady but a bit slower on the flats. I knew the run would be around 8 miles and wanted to see if I could finish 8 in under an hour. I was happy about that even if I didn't get the 18 I hoped for.

Monday: 4.8 in 42:09 (8:47/mi avg) Recovery day for the body. I just ran lazily out to the Bridle Trails for a short loop. I wanted to run at least 5 but I misjudged the route when i was in the forest and turned around too early.

Tuesday: 6.0 in 43:52 (7:19/mi avg) I wanted to run Intervals so I sucked it up and ran on the treadmill at the gym. I ran 4 1200 meter repeats at 6:00/mi pace with a quarter mile @ 9:30 pace rest interval between and a mile cool-down at the end. I struggled to keep 6:00/mi pace after the first two. I thought it would be easier but I learned that I'm not in as good of shape as I hoped.

Wednesday: 5.15 in 44:21 (8:37/mi avg) Another recovery day for my legs. I felt pretty good but there was definitely some soreness in my hamstrings that I wanted to work out. The easy running plus using the massage stick and a foam roller helped.

Thursday: 5.4 in ~50 min (slow pace). I ran with a guy at work around my Redmond Streets course. He's a really good mountain biker but doesn't get into running much. I don't think he enjoys running except as an effective tool to lose weight. He was good company to talk to on a run that I planned to be at recovery pace anyway. Later that day at work, he IM'd me and asked "So what'd we run, about 3 miles?" Funny guy.

Friday: Run 1:  6.05 in 40:33 (6:42/mi avg) along the Pro Club route Clockwise. I went after it on this one. I ran the first two net downhill miles in 5:53, then 5:50. I paid for it on the next two miles but picked it up again for some nice low-6 miles to finish it up. This time barely breaks my previous record for the route (by 9 seconds). It's something, I'm approaching 40 min!
             Run 2: 8.10 in 1:12:01 (8:53/mi avg) I ran the standard Bridle Trails full loop as a recovery run after work to sneak in a few extra miles and give my legs a chance to go easy. I didn't push the pace at all during the run and I rolled my ankle about 1/2 way into the lop. I was running down a trail that formed soft of a shallow V-shaped trench in the middle. I was running about 6:30/mi pace and I rolled my left ankle with immediate searing pain and a loud grunt escaping my lungs. I did my best to stop quickly and came pretty close to falling over and tumbling down the rest of the short hill. I got control and hopped to a stop on my other leg. The pain was pretty bad for a minute and then I walked it off and didn't dare untie my shoe. I continued on at a slower pace and made it back to the gym without any further problems. I iced it when I got home which helped and it's almost back to normal now so hopefully I'll get a chance to test it out for about 2.5 hours tomorrow.

So far I have 35.5 miles for the week and would like to hit 50 again. We'll see what Sunday (with many house guests) holds for my running. In other news I'm planning to sign up for the Baker Lake 50K trail run. It wasn't my first choice for a 50K but it's close to some relatives that I can likely stay with up in Bellingham. Now if I can only stick to my training schedule...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Weekly wrap up

I'm having trouble finding time to blog regularly so I'm just going to wrap up this week's totals:

Monday: Went to the ER at 5:30am with a sick kid and worked from home, didn't have time to run.

Tuesday: 6.0 mi in 41:06 (6:51/mi avg). I wrote this one up already.

Wednesday: 5.05 mi in 48:48 (9:40/mi avg). I don't know what happened here. I hadn't been getting much sleep and my legs were spent from Tuesday's tempo run so I just ran how I felt, which was apparently really slowly. At least the Bridle Trails were nice to look at as I barely slogged around them.

Thursday: 5.4 mi in 43:57 (8:08/mi avg). Another semi-recovery run on my Redmond Streets route CCW. My legs and body were doing a little better. I'm still not getting enough sleep. I would have kept a slower pace but another runner started out 30 seconds ahead of me following the same route for the first 2 miles. When I got to the longish uphill I just had to pick it up and pass him. Silly ego.

Friday: 5.4 mi in 36:05 (6:38/mi avg), then 7.8 mi in 1:07 (8:35/mi avg). Double run today just because I could and I wanted to pick up a few more miles for the week. At lunch I ran the Redmond Streets route CW at tempo pace which ended up pretty fast. My legs weren't feeling fresh but I was able to suffer pretty well through the initial hilly part (6:09 first mile) and then hold a good mid 6 pace until the descent which I had trouble really opening up the pace on. I'm happy with 36:05 but I think I could aspire to sub 35 by the end of the year if I start doing some hill sprints and track intervals. I can't live on tempo alone as my only fast running.  After work I ran a loop around the Bridle Trails from the gym at a recovery pace which ended up being faster than I thought my legs had in them. Very enjoyable run on dry trails with no one riding horses to run into.

Saturday: Still lacking sleep, spent the day with the family. No run. Saving up for Sunday's long run.

Just under 30 miles for the week so far and I hope to get in another 17 or 18 on Sunday if the timing works out.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


8/3/10. 6.0mi. 41:06 (6:51/mi) I took Sunday off after 7 days in a row and didn't run Monday due to family stuff (an infant who takes teething seriously and wants company at night when he can't sleep). Today I was back at it planning a fast tempo run with what should have been fresh legs. Oddly my legs were heavy and sluggish almost from the start. I ran my standard work loop counter-clockwise hoping for a fast time. I ran the net-downhill first mile in 6:17 and then turned onto the corridor trail where the legs started to complain. I struggled to get up the two sharp inclines but still managed under 12 min. to the Bridle Trails entrance, a good benchmark for me.

I continued south at what I felt was a 90% effort. Toward the end of the southern stretch I slowed and struggled to keep a high turnover to the big downhill. I opened it up on the descent and saw my Garmin drop to a 4:56/mi pace for a few seconds. I don't know how real runners can keep that kind of pace on flat roads.

Whatever I gained on the fast descent I gave back on the following ascent up to 148th ave. I struggled to keep a pace under 9:00/mi up the hill as I reached the top. I turned onto 148th with 1.4mi. to go I saw 31:17 on my watch which gave me little hope of breaking 40 min. for the run. I steamed on up the gentle incline toward the gym and spotted another runner a few hundred meters ahead. I used him as a carrot to keep me kicking toward the finish. I passed him and gave as much as I could with a 6:45 final mile and hit my start point in 41:06.

I'll take another shot at a sub-40 next week. I didn't feel like I was able to give it everything today.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, August 1, 2010

End of the month summary

7/31/10: 7.85 miles 60 min (7:43/mi avg) I was worried that I'd have to skip my run today but again managed to squeeze it in after both kids were in bed. I'm on call for work so I had to either run close to home or bring my laptop. I ended up just running 3 loops to nearby Forest Beach and back. I ran past the house every time to see if work had called (light in the sun room on meant that they did).

The run was decent. I started out feeling sluggish and tired but finished strong. I think my body just needed time to warm up or something. The highlight of the run was a big hawk buzzing me about 10' over my head and landing in a tree as I ran past it. Seeing a hawk was a bit odd as I almost exclusively see Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, and Crows around here.

The run caps off 7 straight days of running and bumps my monthly mileage up to 190, which is the biggest monthly number I've put up yet (22 better than the previous best). My legs feel tired but I'm not injured, just a little down on sleep I think. I'm not sure if the increased mileage will help me as I ramp up to my next race (probably another 50KM race in a month or two, haven't settled on one yet) but I hope it helps with the late race fatigue that I struggled with earlier this year at Mt. Si.

Finally, just to geek out on stats that I keep, my average pace for the entire month (total time running divided by total miles) was the same as last month, 8:13/mi. I'm hoping to improve that by at least 14 seconds.

July 2010
Miles: 191.66
Miles/day avg: 6.39
Days running: 24
Miles/run avg: 7.99
Miles run Barefoot: 11.15
Time spent running: 26:15:07
Avg Pace: 8:13

I took 7 days off of running, 3 due to my own dumb mistake of running barefoot on a hot day and getting blisters all over both feet.