After hitting 190 miles in July I wanted to see if I could beat that for August. I'm happy to say that I found time to break the 200 mile barrier for the first time. I ran 24 days this month, the same as July but I averaged almost 8.7 miles per run to July's 8.0. My numbers for August are:
Time: 28h 16m
My totals for the year so far are:
Time: 127h 52m
I should be able to hit 1000 miles in September, but I don't know if I'll be able to keep up the 50 mile weeks that I've been doing this month. Summer is ending and the weather is turning wet. That means my main trail system (Bridle Trails) will soon be a muddy mess as is the norm most winters. Normally I'd hit the gym that's a block or so away but with 4 treadmills in the gym at work, less time walking to the gym means more time to work out.
So what have I been running?
Saturday (6.25mi, 57:50, 9:16/mi) I didn't plan to run on Saturday but with my wife and daughter away at a kids birthday party and Sunday looking packed with guests and a party of our own, A window of time opened up and I jumped on it. I loaded the boy into the BOB and got out onto the roads. My legs didn't feel that bad after running long on Friday evening. Definitely not fresh but not dead either. The only plan was recovery. I headed out to the Arletta store and then over to 40th ave, the local long steady climb. I ran up the hill with the jogger until I hit the 3 mile mark in the run and then turned around. I knew that I wouldn't have that much time before dinner time and the two corn-cakes I packed wouldn't last him long. I wasn't able to keep much of a pace up or downhill and just slogged along trying to stay loose the rest of the way home.
Monday (9.4mi, 1:15:39, 8:03/mi) I had another appointment with my acupuncturist in the middle of the day so I ran after work. I changed at work and quickly realized that I'd forgotten my water bottle. I drank as much water as I could stand before starting the run and then set out on a moderate pace through Redmond. I headed down to Grass Lawn Park where I stopped for a water fountain before heading up Old Redmond Rd. toward the Powerline trail that bisects the Bridle Trails park. It's a steady climb at a 5% - 7% grade. Not a killer but not very fast either. I trotted up the hill listening to an interview with Duncan Callahan fresh off of his Leadville 100 victory. My pace was slow and comfortable. Once on the Powerline trail I passed a few people riding horses as I headed toward the park.
I entered the park and began a CCW loop around the perimeter. I tried to stick to the outermost trail to maximize my run and because those are the trails that I know the best. I eventually found my way to the lower horse stable / ring where the only drinking fountain was. Again I drank all the water I could stand and set off going up the same trail I ran on my long run last week. It's short and steep and takes you up to the center of the park. From there I tried out a few trails that were new to me and had a great time exploring some different terrain. I love the lesser travelled paths and the narrow quick footing. It felt great to run fast and make quick decisions on which path to follow when the trail split, throwing my body left or right and committing my speed and cadence to that choice.
I found that I was speeding up as the run went on. As I was crossing the last of the South perimeter and coming up the East side of the trails I found myself keeping a pace in the high 5's and low 6's (min/mile) as I sought out good footing on the rooted trail. I was feeling good enough that I was even pushing off of the uneven terrain so that I'd float over the small potholes and gullies. Much to my surprise I found a great groove of speed and agility as I ate up the trail.
I exited the Bridle Trails, crossed the street and headed down the corridor trail back toward Redmond. I kept the pace fast and my heart rate up as I negotiated the two short steep descents and one ascent. Once the trail flattened out near the golf course I was starting to feel the burn from the fast pace but I could see the street that lead back to work so I kept the pace under 6:00/mi until I hit the street. I pulled the plug there and slowed to a recovery pace the last 3/4mi to cool down from the hard effort.
Tuesday (5.25mi, 40:00, 7:37/mi) It was raining hard all morning and the co-worker that I was going to run with forgot his shorts so I was on my own. I debated a run in the rain but decided to use a treadmill at the work gym instead. I was lucky that I got there when I did because three of the four treadmills were already taken. I didn't have a plan in mind (intervals/recovery/tempo/etc) so I warmed up for 10 minutes, then did something I've wanted to try for a while: a 10/10 time trail. I've read about some of the hardcore ultra runners doing 10 minute time trails on treadmills at 10% incline as a friendly competition. They're able to cover between 1.5 and 2 miles in 10min. I've been curious how I would compare for 10min at 10%. I didn't think that it'd be so hard to run at a 10% incline. I started out at 7:30/mi pace and after about a quarter of a mile realized that there was no way I could hang on for 10 minutes at that pace. I dropped the speed as I continued to struggle with the incline. I settled into a decent pace that hurt but was maintainable and finished the 10 minutes with a paltry 1.15mi.
I recommend that everyone try this and see how deep in the pain cave you can venture. Of course this will now be a benchmark that I try to beat occasionally. It counts as hill training, right?
After the 10min time trail I dropped the treadmill back to 2.5% incline and eased back into a recovery pace for 2 miles before speeding up to a 6:30 and then 6:00 pace. This was more because I was running out of workout time than my desire to run fast. I capped it off with the last 1/2 mile at a 5:55 pace. On my training log I called this a Fartlek day, something I don't do often enough.
Wednesday (6.2mi, 50:00, 8:04/mi) I wanted to get out for a relatively easy run but I wanted to stay away from the trails which should be nice and muddy after yesterday's rain. I needed to pick up a padlock to use at work now that the gym is open and I can leave my stuff in the day-use lockers there. Google said that there was a Target store in Redmond so I got the walking directions to the store, wrote them down and promptly left them at my desk. Luckily the route was simple. The route was all on streets and was about 2.9 miles each way. That would be about as far as I was willing to run to at lunch. I calculated that I could run down there, grab a lock and run back in well under an hour.
The route started out going down a fairly steep 1.1 mile hill on the bike/foot path that goes from 51st street down along Hwy 520 to the edge of downtown Redmond. It loses 300 feet and went by quickly run on the way down. From there I was able to run a block on the sidewalk and then cut over to a different bike/foot path and run almost the rest of the way staying off the roads and sidewalks. The path dumped me out on Redmond Road about a block and a half from the Target Parking lot. One long stoplight later and I was at Target. I headed toward the school supplies, grabbed the first Master combination lock that I saw and jumped into an open checkout lane. I paid in cash, declined a bag and ran back out of there with my water bottle in one hand and the lock (in it's plastic packaging) in the other.
I waited for probably 2 minutes at the first stoplight and then was back to the path admiring the wild blackberry bushes as I ran. The path lead me to the street I wanted half a block from the bottom of the big hill. I waited for another long stoplight and when it changed, I attacked the hill. I kept a strong pace that was probably somewhere in the low 8:00/mi range judging by feel. I've driven down the hill many times but this was the first time I'd run up the hill. It wasn't nearly as steep as I thought it was. I was still breathing hard and my legs were complaining about the effort but it was never bad enough that I wanted to stop or felt like I was going to blow up. I saw another runner near the end of the path at the top of the hill when I was still about 2/10ths of a mile away. I pushed as hard as I could and made up some ground on him but I ran out of room and had to settle for catching him as he jogged in place waiting for the light to change. (I'm still not sure why people jog in place at stoplights, I'm usually running hard enough that I'm happy to take a break when I stop for a light.) In any case, from the top of the hill it was just a short easy cool-down jog back to work to shower and get back to my desk. I only wish I'd brought my Garmin watch on the run to get the actual numbers.
My bad knee is a little sore after the back-to-back-to-back big mileage weeks so maybe an easy week is in order for me. I'm all set and on track for the Baker Lake 50K in October and a 1K race with my daughter (her first) in two weeks. Those two races and a 10K later this year are the only things on my race calendar. I still haven't found a 10K to enter though. I know that there's one in Gig Harbor on Thanksgiving morning (that I ran last year) but it's pretty hilly and not a good one for breaking 40 minutes. I need to do a little more searching to find a flat easy race for the speed attempt.