Thursday, September 16, 2010

Looking back at the past week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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