Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another light week of running but finishing with a PR

Monday 5/16: didn't feel well, see last week's update.

Tuesday 5/17 (6.2mi, 53min, 8:32/mi) I felt a little better than Monday and was ready to run again so I put on my newly purchased Vibram Five Fingers Bikila shoes and went out to Viewpoint park for a few laps. The shoes felt okay on the pavement but felt great on the trails. They are a fairly tight fit but didn't bother my toes. After the run I found that I not only had a blister on the outside/bottom of my left foot but a spot on the top of my right foot where the stitching inside the shoe had given me quite a painful abrasion. That's a strike or two against the VFFs right off the bat. I'm not sure if I'll keep them after that first run. As soon as the abrasion heals I'll give them another try. The Merrell Trail Gloves are still working really well for me and I just love running in them. I don't need to wear socks with them, and they don't hurt my feet. I've heard people refer to them as the Vibram One Finger. Great shoes.

Wednesday 5/18 (3mi, 23min, 7:45/mi) I ran to warm-up before lifting weights at the gym again. I thought I'd try a little speedwork so I ran 1/2mi warm-up, then 5 x 1/4mi starting at 90 seconds and working down to 78 seconds for the final repeat. I ran 1/4mi recovery interval between each rep at 9:00 pace. It was a pretty hard workout but I could have kept it up (descending times) for a few more at least.

Thursday 5/19 (6.25, 50min, 8:06/mi) I ran relatively easy out to the Bridle Trails then ran down the East border until I got to the southeast ridge where I started running up the various paths to the top and then jogging down. I probably ran up and down 6 times before turning for home. I was almost out of the park when I caught a root with my big toe and tumbled to the ground. I landed on my side on the soft dirt and other than my throbbing toe I was unscathed.

Friday 5/20 (6.5mi, 47min, 7:19/mi) I started out easy and ran out to the Bridle Trails again. I picked up the pace when I got to the park and headed down the East side. From there I ran along the South border until I got to the middle of the park where I headed North and back out. I kept a hard pace for the rest of the run in the trails, then slowed a bit before picking it up for the last mile. If I'd pushed it from the start I think I could have taken the average pace < 7:00/mi.

Friday 5/20 (3.0 km, 24:30, 13:14/mi) After work on Friday I hurried home and changed into running clothes, picked up my daughter who was ready and waiting and we went to a local elementary school that holds an annual 3km charity / memorial run in the name of one of it's former teachers. The school is only about 3 miles from home and the race is held at 6:30pm on a Friday night. On top of that it was only $10 to enter and was all for a very local charity. Tough to pass that one up.

There was no kids category so we both raced in the Open division. We started out quick (for us) at the back of the pack and ran pretty hard for the first 1/2 mile. We adopted a run/walk strategy on the first hill. At about the 1mi point we ran through the first of several sprinklers to cool down. The course was punishing but we did our best to run the downhill parts and some of the flats. We looped around the streets before coming back to the school to the finish.  We started our finishing kick a little too early and were really worn out with 200m to go. It was hard but we convinced ourselves to push ourselves for that last bit on an empty tank to cross the line with a new 3km PR! (for both of us).

Catching up on my running

Monday 5/9 (7.7mi, 53min, 6:55/mi avg) I was working from home Monday so I did a tempo run around my "2 stores" loop, named so because it takes me out past both the Island View and Arletta stores. It takes about an hour to run at a conversational pace so I tried to see how much under an hour I could run it. I ended up a bit over 53 minutes. Any run that I can finish with < 7:00/mi pace makes me happy. It was almost a 3 minute PR for this route. Unfortunately I did get a visit from the Gingerbread Man mid-run.

Tuesday 5/10 (6.3mi, 50min, 8:07/mi avg) Back at work I ran out to Viewpoint park for 3 laps and then back to the office. I was feeling oddly good despite nearly turning myself inside out on Monday's run. I don't care much for the run out to Viewpoint park but I just love running around that loop. It's just under 1/2 mi per loop and being on a hillside less than 5% of it is on flat ground. It's either up or down. I wish it was closer to work so that I could spend less time/distance getting there and more time running loops.

Wednesday 5/11 (3.5mi, 25min, 7:09/mi avg) I went over to the gym to lift weights and ran 4x800m @ 3:00 to warm my muscles up. The first two were easy but the last two were hard to hold. I feel like I'm cheating if I don't put the incline on the treadmill at 2.5% or better even though this makes the equivalent pace harder than the numbers suggest.

Thursday 5/12 (8.4mi, 59min, 7:03/mi avg) I ran the "hour loop" from work at lunch as a second tempo run for the week. I started out pretty strong going down to Grass Lawn Park and up Old Redmond rd. I kept the pace up cutting across the power line trail and even through the back section of the Bridle Trails and down the road to 24th. I started to slow down heading down 24th and especially coming up the other side of 24th. I recovered once I was up on 148th heading back to work. My splits were surprisingly consistent given the hills:

1) 6:36 (downhill)
2) 7:06 (uphill)
3) 7:09 (uphill / flat)
4) 6:59 (flat)
5) 7:09 (slight downhill)
6) 6:50 (slight downhill)
7) 7:38 (steep downhill / steep uphill)
8) 7:12 (slight uphill)
8.4) 6:18 (flat)

Great week of running except that I felt like I was getting sick by Friday and felt pretty bad over the weekend and even through Monday so I didn't run any more this week. I got a whopping 26 miles in though most of them were pretty good tempo miles. I'll cut the weightlifting back and pick up the mileage when I pick my next race.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The return of tempo

Monday 5/2 (2.0mi, 15min, 7:40/mi) Another 2 mile warmup on the treadmill before lifting weights. I played with my speed a little bit on this one. I ran sets of a quarter mile and then a tenth of a mile cool down. I increased the pace of each quarter mile repeat 0.5 mph and lowered it down to 8:30/mi for the cool down tenth. I think my fastest was 6:00/mi pace. I thought I'd do something different to try to keep it interesting.

I'm also playing with my weight lifting routine. I only lift weights twice a week for 30 - 40 min. I don't know if it's better to do one set of an exercise per muscle group and hit all 6 main groups (shoulders, biceps, triceps, back, chest, legs) in one session or to focus on 2 - 3 muscle groups per session but doing sets of 3 different exercises per group. Hit all of the muscle groups lightly every workout or hit them hard every 2nd or 3rd workout? I did the former on Monday.

Tuesday 5/3 (6.25mi, 48min, 7:43/mi) I ran out to Viewpoint park again for 3 CCW loops of my newly discovered trail. I ran them in decreasing times (4:25, 4:03, 3:48) which left me pretty tired after the 3rd one given the short steep climb at the end of the loop. Good run other than my nemesis the Gingerbread man showing up and the stinging nettles that I managed to scratch my butt on.

Wednesday 5/4 (12.0mi, 1h 26m, 7:13/mi) I had a long day at work so I kicked off a job and went out for a run so that I could come back as it was finishing up. I decided to run along the Sammamish river trail and insert some half-mile pickups into the run. I feel like ever since hurting my Piriformis muscle I've been slacking on my running, mostly jogging with no speed or hill work thrown in.. I got down the long hill to the trail and ran six 1/2mi repeats with 1/4mi cooldown. I ran the repeats in: 3:07, 3:06, 3:10, 3:09, 3:08, 3:14) The times slipped a little bit which I'd expected. I was pretty tired after the last one. I ate a gel and turned around for the run back to work. I tried to run the next 4 miles increasing the pace every mile and I'm impressed that I did in: 7:22, 7:09, 6:52, 6:41). Even running mile 10 mile in 6:41 didn't seem that hard. There is a hill at the beginning / end of this route that follows hwy 520 down into Redmond. It's about 1.25 miles long and averages maybe 7% - 8% grade so it's much more than a false flat. I felt good enough that I was able to pass a guy my age on a mountain bike at the bottom of the hill and by the time I got to the top I couldn't even see him behind me. I wasn't able to pass the guy in front of me on a road bike as he slowly put distance on me. Maybe if I hadn't just finished 10 miles of tempo running I could have held on to road bike guy.

Thursday 5/5 (6.2mi, 50min, 8:09/mi) After yesterday's tempo / interval run I needed to take it easy. I probably should have gone to the gym and lifted weights instead of running but I didn't have the time. Instead I ran the Pro Club loop CCW at a somewhat leisurely pace. Starting the run was a little rough with the soreness in my legs from yesterday but once I got going I felt pretty good. I tried to really work on my legs before bed with my PVC roller and some stretching.

Friday 5/6 (2.0mi, 15mi, 7:45/mi) Just ran a simple 2 mile warmup on the treadmill before lifting weights.

I didn't get a chance to run on Saturday and Sunday. It was just an overloaded weekend hanging out with the family and spending Mother's day out and about. I did make it to the pool and had time to swim 300 yds while the wife and kids were getting ready. I didn't have goggles with me so I just squinted to watch the line on the bottom of the pool. It reminded me how much of a workout swimming is for me. I'll run for hours and feel good but a few hundred yards in the pool has me out of breath in no time.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Push week

I looked at my spreadsheet last weekend and saw that with one week to go in April I was sitting at only 75 miles. I ran 113, and 115 miles in Feb. and Mar. respectively. I thought that with a little push I could finish up the month with 115. That meant 40 miles for the week which shouldn't be too hard except that I had to take Monday off to take care of two sick kids and a sick wife. I haven't run 6 days a week in quite a while, I usually take 2 days a week to lift weights in the gym.

Tuesday 4/26 (6.1mi, 47min, 7:42/mi) As I've been running the "Pro Club Loop" route over the last few years I've noticed a little wooded trailhead off the side of the road at the Southwest corner of the route. I checked it out on Google Maps satellite view to see how big it was and decided to give it a try. It's 2.5 miles out to the park, when I got there I found a nicely groomed dirt path and followed it to see where it went. It turned out to be a 0.4mi loop on the side of a hill. There was a decent bit of climbing on the short route. As I was Running at lunch I didn't have a lot of time to spend there so I ran 3 loops, alternating direction each loop before returning to work. It was a very nice trail to run, it's just a shame that it's not longer.

Wednesday 4/27 (6.2mi, 49min, 7:56/mi) My hamstrings were a little tight after Tuesday's run. I ran the Pro Club loop clockwise at a modest pace. The weather was pretty dreary with rain and dark skies.

Wednesday 4/27 (8.1mi, 1h 11m, 8:47/mi) Run #2 of the day. I found myself at work late so I went out for another run, planning to run 10 miles. I started out feeling good heading down toward Grass Lawn Park and then going up Old Redmond Rd toward the Powerline trail. As I got onto the Powerline trail my stomach started to feel very empty. Vortex-trying-to-collapse-in on-itself empty. I didn't have any food with me, only water. I started to bonk pretty badly in short time which surprised me after having a decent lunch and afternoon snack before the run. I stopped to walk for a minute as I reached the Bridle Trails to see if I could shake off the brain fuzz I was feeling. I was about 2.5mi away from work so I'd  have to make it at least that far. The only think I could think to do was drink more water to at least have something in my stomach and try to keep running.

I started to perk up in about 10 minutes and my pace came back to the 9min/mi range. I thought I was safely out of the woods at that point and extended my route through the Bridle Trails. As I left the Bridle Trails and back down the Corridor trail I started to bonk again. I didn't want to slow down as every step was one closer to work (and food!). I was able to hold on and suffer back to work but I had to lay down on the floor of the stretching area in the gym for a few minutes and try to catch my breath. I can't remember the last time I've been that beaten down after a run. I'm still not sure what happened either. I thought I was good on hydration, nutrition, and pace.

Thursday 4/28 (6.2mi, 52min, 8:21/mi) With fond memories of Tuesday's run up to Viewpoint Park I went back out there for 3 more loops. I timed them for splits of: 4:26, 4:27, and 4:19. I wasn't feeling very strong and my body is starting to tire from the uptick in mileage this week but it was still enjoyable running this new trail.

Friday 4/29 (6.4, 49min, 7:40/mi) I was tired and a little sore from the previous 4 runs but I still able to keep a pretty good pace with only one hilly mile that was > 8:00. I ran out the Corridor trail and through the power line trail, down to Grass Lawn park where I ran up and down the gravel path. After that I ran back up the hill to work. I worked on running efficiently, standing upright with a slight forward lean and taking shorter but quicker steps. I can feel the difference in my calves but it's not as bad any more. I'm still loving running in the Merrell Trail Gloves.

Sunday 5/1 (4.4, 32min, 7:14/mi) I didn't get out for a Saturday run that would have put me over 115mi for April. #FAIL. The flu struck our house and it seems that everyone but me got it at some point. Hmmm. I'm the only one that runs, the only one that doesn't get flu shots, and the only one that didn't get the flu. Coincidence? I only had about 45 minutes before dinner for my run so I threw on shorts and a shirt (it was in the low 60's today. Finally!) and ran a quick One Store Loop. I ran it CCW for a change. I kept the pace high almost the whole time and came in just under 32 minutes. According to my spreadsheet this is the fastest I've run the route by about 40 seconds. My Piriformis was still a little sore during the run which held me back some but I was able to push a good threshold pace the whole time. I sure does feel great to finish a run after pushing yourself hard and gasping for air.