Friday, December 31, 2010

So that's it. 2010 is done.

Friday 12/31 (12.4mi, 1h 44m, 8:24/min)

I got one last run in today to finish out the year. As I did last New Year's Eve I drove out to Crescent Valley Forest to run on the trails. Does two years in a row make it a tradition? Last year it was pouring and I was soaked from the rain and constantly avoiding huge puddles. Today's high temp was in the low 30s as it was yesterday which meant that there was a dusting of snow on the and everything was generally frozen. Every step was just as I ran on the thin layer of snow and frozen mud / grass. There were still plenty of puddles but they were all frozen over, which made them even more hazardous than usual. I've only run at Crescent Valley Forest once before so I didn't know where I was going. I brought a map with me and tried to make the biggest loop I could. I missed a few turns here and there and didn't worry about pace. I just enjoyed my day on the trails. Running on the snow and the narrow trails was nice but I forgot how much harder running on real trails is than running on the roads or light trails. I was well worn out after a large loop and then a small loop. I did pretty well with the clothing choice: tights under running pants, base layer, S/S shirt under a L/S shirt, thick knit hat, Drymax socks and my Cascadias. The only bad choice was my gloves. They were too thin and I only lasted about an hour with them before I had to pull out my thick gloves. I'll have to look into getting a medium weight pair of gloves for cold runs like this. One minor annoyance was catching my foot on a very small but sharp tree stump. It caught the toe of my left foot and left a two-inch tear in the mesh upper of my shoe. Luckily I'm 300 miles into the Cascadias, so I won't be running in them much longer. I would have been bummed if that happened to the MT 101s.

Some photos from the run:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Almost there...

This week has been pretty insane at work. I've only missed one day of running so far but I've had to run twice after dark when I missed my lunch-time runs.

Monday 12/20 (4.0mi, 33min, 8:15/mi) I didn't bring enough warm clothes to work so I gave up running outside and hit the treadmill at lunch instead. I thought I'd last longer than 4 miles but that was all I could stand. I kept a recovery pace after Sunday night's after-dark half tempo run. I hit the weights a little bit after the treadmill and then called it a workout.

Tuesday 12/21 (8.3mi, 56:30, 6:49/mi) I ran a new loop at work last week after dark that wound through the streets and then through a little bit of the Bridle Trails and around the rest of my "Pro Club Loop" in Redmond. The first time I ran it I finished in an hour and two seconds. Of course I wanted to go for < 1hr. Today I pushed the pace from the start and almost kept all of my splits under 7:00/mi, just missing out with a 7:07 on the technical mud puddle-avoiding part of the Bridle Trails and a 7:09 on the big hill leading up to 148th st. I was pretty gassed and had the "how much longer can I hold on to this pace?" feeling for half of the route. I finished in well under an hour which felt great for the distance. I think I'll keep this as my new tempo run as it has a little more variety than the Pro Club Loop and it's a little longer but still do-able once in a while at lunch.

Wednesday 12/22 (8.3mi, 1:11:00, 8:36/mi) I ran another work loop that happened to be the same distance as Tuesday's run but only shared about 50% of the route. I kept a recovery pace after Tuesday's hard tempo and started late in the afternoon so that I finished just after dark. Always nice to get out and run after work. I look forward to next summer's warmer temperatures and longer days to enjoy runs like this more often after work.

Thursday 12/23, Friday 12/24 (0,0,0) I just couldn't make it happen on Thursday and Friday with everything that was going on at work.

Saturday 12/25 (7.7mi, 55:45, 7:14/mi) As is the tradition on Xmas day, I directed an informal race that I've been holding for the last 4 years, the Wise Invitational Xmas Day Extravaganza. (I'm still working on the name). With so many people coming over on Xmas day I gather up the runners and we all go for a run after the gift exchange regardless of the weather. This year I was the only participant as all of the runners in the family were away for the holidays. With just me running I changed from the regular 4.5 mile "One Store Loop" course to my 7.3mi "One Hour Loop" course. I started strong and got out to an early lead. I pushed hard the last five miles, running them at < 7:00 pace average. I never looked back and kept the lead from start to finish. I worked through some cramps in the later miles of the run and after the awesome traditional Norwegian breakfast I think I could have pushed myself hard enough to throw up if I really tried.

Monday 12/27 (7.3mi, 1:01, 8:28/mi) I ran the same route I ran on Xmas day but at an easy recovery pace instead of hard tempo. It felt much better than the cramping, almost-throwing-up pace I held on Saturday.

Wednesday 12/29 (12.4mi, 1:37, 7:49/mi) I decided to make my run a little longer on Wed and started out with the hour loop but peeled off onto Artondale which led me out to the bottom of Wollochet dr. It snowed the night before and there were still traces of snow on some of the hills. There was no snow on the roads thankfully. My stomach wasn't feeling very good so I didn't keep a great pace overall. No sub-7 splits, but I pushed enough the 2nd half to get my average pace back under 8:00/mi. I had a hard time getting the right temperature on the Run. A L/S base layer, L/S tech shirt, shorts and running pants worked pretty well. My thin wind jacket on top of that was too much so I had to carry it. I flip-flopped on gloves and a hat. With them on I'd start to overhead but taking them off would make my fingers start to go numb.  I did find that when I wanted to warm up a gel so that it wasn't hard and chewy that putting it under your hat for a mile does the trick.

Now with only 2 days left in the year I need to start writing up my list of stuff I liked / didn't like.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Another week goes by

Another week in running. I missed one run this week but did pretty well overall. Here's the rundown:

Monday 12/13 (5.4mi, 48min, 8:55/mi) After Sunday's tempo run in the rain I took it easy around the Redmond streets. I practiced forefoot striking a little.

Tuesday 12/14 (cross training)
My knee needed a break so I used the stationary bike, the elliptical and the weight machines at the gym instead. Now that my wrist is healed I can start using free weights and machines again. My body isn't used to it so my chest, back, and arms were pretty sore for a few days.

Wednesday 12/15 (6.2mi, 40:56, 6:36/mi) I missed running intervals on Tuesday so I went for a hard tempo run around my old standard "Pro Club Loop" starting at work instead of the Pro Club. I suffered running up the few hills along the route and almost slipped on a few muddy sections. I felt like I was running well after cross training on Tue and my time agreed. I'd put an asterisk on the performance, I had to stop for 5 lights and follow a detour going up 24th street. Still a very good tempo run that left me gassed.

Thursday 12/16 (6.0mi, 51min, 8:22/mi)
At lunch I ran out to Grass Lawn Park and ran 2.5 miles barefoot around one of the baseball fields. Felt decent.

Thursday 12/16 (8.3mi, 60min, 7:13/mi)
After work I had some time so I went for a night run around Redmond and through part of the Bridle Trails. I felt pretty good and kept a good pace, hitting the first 4 miles in 7:01, 7:06, 7:02, 7:02. Going through the Bridle Trails in the dark with just two small lights slowed me to an 8:14 mile. I finished up with a 7:18 mile, an uphill 7:25 mile, then a 6:56 final mile. I don't know where the night time speed came from, especially on the second run of the day. It was one of those runs where I felt like my base training was finally starting to show.

Work was too busy on Friday to get out for a run and Saturday is usually an off day for me.

Sunday 12/19 (7.6mi, 59min, 7:52/mi) I was out all day in Seattle with the family so I suited up for a run when I got home just after dark. I brought both my small and large head lights and wore a reflective vest. I wore the small light and carried the large one. I ran the same loop (out to Island View and around) that I ran last Sunday. I started out a little slow and ran a few form accelerations through out the run. I picked up the pace about half way through and started making some low 7 min mile splits interrupted by stepping off the road and waiting for cars to pass. My stomach started to gurgle with about half a mile to go and pushing the pace to try to break an hour didn't help. I got home with 8 seconds to spare, full of endorphins.

I'm loving running lately except for the pain I'm getting around the top of my left kneecap. I hope it isn't a sign of my knee getting worse. Ever since having my torn Meniscus repaired I've had some pain in my left knee. It usually hurts after a run or after sitting in a car for an hour  but it goes away in a day or two. I find that my knee will often start out a little sore on a run but warm up about 4 miles into the run and feel fine from then on. I'm not sure I want to look into what's wrong with my knee as long as I can still run and it doesn't get much worse. I really don't want to find out that I have another Meniscus tear and have to go under the knife again.

Monday, December 13, 2010

This week in running

Monday 12/6 (6.25mi 49min, 7:52/mi) I hit The Machine at work for intervals. I ran a slow mile warm-up and then peeled off 6 x 800 @ 2:52 with 400 slow jog between. It got pretty hard to hold the pace by repeat #4. Good workout.

Tuesday 12/7 (5.45mi, 40min, 7:20/mi) Rather than take an easy recovery day I thought I'd try to wear myself out a little more. I Ran a hard tempo run out to the Bridle Trails and back. I held a good pace and really felt it. My Hamstrings were quite sore after the run. I embraced reality and decided to skip the 10K on Saturday. I'll have to try for a sub-40 next year. I'm just not in the shape I want to be in to keep that kind of pace.

Wednesday 12/8 (5.45mi, 45min, 8:20/mi) Time for recovery. I ran an easy pace out to Grass Lawn Park for two miles around the track barefoot. I felt pretty good on my feet but my knee has been sore lately.

Thursday 12/9 (2.0mi, 17min, 8:30/mi) I cross trained to give my knee a break and then after an hour of cardio and strength I couldn't resist and ran 2 "cool down" miles on the treadmill.

Friday 12/10 (14.0mi, 2h 4min, 8:54/mi) I ran a long hill repeat workout at lunch, running two one-mile-long hill repeats near work at a hard gasping-for-breath effort. It went pretty well. After work I had some time so I went for night-time loop around the Bridle Trails. I didn't prepare for two runs so I had to put on my sweaty clothes that I'd worn at lunch, which is never pleasant. The trails were dark and muddy. I had a flashlight and a headlight but neither were very bright. I need to get something brighter for night runs. It was fun running in the dark but the mud slowed me down as I tried to stay to the sides of the trail and avoid the deep stuff. My socks stayed dry despite stepping in puddle after puddle.  They didn't feel even the slightest bit wet until about 6 miles. I have to hand it to Drymax, they make some great socks. Their "Trail Running" socks are my new favorites, they're replacing all of the Wrightsocks that I've been running in for the last 12 years.  Also, while I'm handing out praise, I'm still loving my New Balance MT101 shoes. They're light but definitely not flimsy, have a great ground feel, and have just enough tread for light trails.

Sunday 12/12 (7.7mi, 59.5min, 7:45/mi) With an all-day Christmyth shopping trip planned for the bulk of the day, I had to get out early. I was up and dressed by 8am but there was the small matter of it raining cats and dogs outside. I really debated calling the run off and staying warm inside instead. I talked myself into running and headed out in the rain. The first 10 minutes were pure annoyance with the rain until my body warmed up and I was mostly soaked. After that I just focused on enjoying the run and keeping a decent pace. The rain was creating small streams going across the streets at any slight incline. I headed out toward the tunnel trail where I hopped back and forth over the water running down the middle of the path. When I got to the upper section of the trail where the mud and water collect, I saw that there was no way to keep my feet dry. After running through the edge of the water flow and feeling the cold water on my feet I was surprised that the cold only lasted for a minute or two at the most. My DryMax trail socks either warmed it or wicked it away from my feet quickly and my feet didn't feel wet at all. These socks are worth every penny.

I sped up going past Kopachuck and down the hill to the Island View store. I turned down Artondale heading back to Ray Nash dr. The fields that I ran past were almost completely flooded which I didn't expect to see. I picked up the pace as much as I could running against the wind and rain on the way to the Arletta store. Once I made the turn toward home at Arletta I saw another runner about 400 meters ahead running up the next hill. I thought it'd be a tough catch but I pushed anyway. I suffered up the first hill, ran quickly down the back and made up almost half the distance by the time I started up the second (longer) climb. I was within about 40 meters of the runner by the time I got to the top of the second hill and then caught (and startled) her 1/10th of a mile later. She had earbuds in her ears and jumped with a gasp when I said "Good Morning" as I was trying to catch my breath. I apologized and picked up the pace to shoot for a sub-1 hr finish. I made it with less than 30 seconds to spare.

I'm working up a list of what worked well and not-so-well for me in 2010 in the areas of running gear, nutrition, and training goes. Look out for that in a few weeks. I'm also (like everyone else) trying to put together a plan for races next year. I don't know how many I'll have time to train for. I'm getting a little push-back on the amount of time I spent training for the 50K races this year. We'll see what I can bargain for.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Last week in running

Summary of the past week in running:

Monday 11/29 (5.75mi, 51min, 8:53/mi) I ran out to the Bridle Trails, noodled around for a bit and then back. My stomach felt iffy, my left shoulder blade was sore and I couldn't manage much more than a recovery pace. Beats going out to lunch though.

Tuesday 11/30 (5.5mi, 45min, 8:10/mi) I ran my first real interval session in some time at the gym on The Machine. I ran 10 x 440 @ 84 seconds, or 10.6 mph. I started out running them with a 2.5% incline and then dropped that down to 1.7% (what I've read will nullify the advantage of running on a treadmill). I started out with a 9:00/mi jog during the recovery interval, then every 4th repeat I just had to walk for the recovery interval. I was barely able to last the 84 seconds at 10.6mph, just begging for each interval to be over. With warm up and cool down it ended up being a pretty good session.

Wednesday 12/1 (5.4mi, 51min, 9:27/mi) Easy run on the Redmond Streets route with Nate. Slow pace and good to talk to Nate. The only thing I don't care for is when Nate apologizes for "being so slow." It's something that I've run into in the past with other people I've run or cycled with. I guess it's just natural that people apologize when they feel like they're holding you back but after the third time I say "don't worry about pace, I knew what the pace would be when I asked you to go for a run" it gets a tiny bit irritating. I get it, running isn't your thing so you don't run as fast as I can. I don't run fast every day, I need at least 2 recovery runs a week and I'd rather run and talk with someone interesting on those days. If I'm ever training for a National Championship, I might worry more about recovery pace, but until then, stop apologizing and enjoy running with me, dammit! :-)

Thursday 12/2 (6.55mi, 51min, 7:47/mi) I headed out to Grass Lawn Park for some barefoot running. I took the corridor trail route out there and was surprised how easy I kept a sub-7 pace down Old Redmond Rd. When I got to the park I found that the track I run around was closed for maintenance, I thought for a second and headed over to try one of the baseball fields. Turns out that they're just as good. Artificial turf and each lap was nearly a quarter mile, slightly longer than the track. I ran just over 2 miles barefoot, practicing a pure forefoot strike every 3rd lap. It felt good at the time but I was a little sore later.

Friday 12/3 (5.3mi, 45min, 8:30/mi) I ran down the path that follows I-520 into downtown Redmond and then along the West Lake Sammamish trail to 51st street. Starting at the bottom of 51st I ran 8 short (30 - 40 second) hill repeats at what I'd estimate was 5K pace up the very-steep hill. I was absolutely gassed after 30 seconds going up that hill. It was really taking it out of me. I jogged slowly back down and then walked around at the base of the hill for another 20 -30 seconds before the next hill repeat. I was impressed that I made it through all 8 given how much they hurt and that I was just about maxing out my heart rate in 30 seconds. After the last hill repeat I jogged back to the bottom of the hill and then slowly ran up the hill and back to work for some stretching. Good workout.

Sunday 12/5 (4.6mi, 40min, 8:42/mi) With the rest of the family sick for the most part I was really lucky to get out at all today. My daughter was out with her grandmother so I loaded the boy into the BOB and bundled him up with a blanket and set him up with juice and snacks and hurried on my way. I planned for the One Store Loop and if things went well I'd tack on some additional miles at the end. I got up the tunnel trail well enough. There were quite a few downed trees / branches that I had to move / break to get the jog stroller through. I should go for a run with a saw and some clippers next weekend. I got around from the top of the trail out to Ray Nash before the boy started to complain. I checked and he wasn't cold, had snacks left and wasn't thirsty. I pressed on and kept talking to him and stopping every few minutes to check on him. By the time I reached the store his complaints escalated. I stopped again to make sure he was doing okay, which he was despite the squawks. With about half a mile to go he started to cry. I knew that I just needed to get home and get him out of the stroller ASAP. I picked up the pace from the 9:00 min miles to a 6:00 mile pace for the last of the run. I hurried up my street and down the driveway. As soon as I unbuckled him and picked him up, all was right in his world again. Better luck next time I hope.