Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Double double week.

8/23 (6.0mi, 40min, 6:46/min) Run #1: I ran on the treadmill at lunch, something I really didn't want to do. My company has a policy about the heavily subsidized gym membership to the really fancy gym near work. To keep the membership active, you have to go at least 4 times per month. I'm a little short on visits for August so I stopped by for a run and a little bit of free weights. The < 7:00/mi pace is deceiving, I started out at 8:00/mi with a 2.5% incline. Every half mile I lowered the incline 0.5% and raised the speed a little. For the last half mile I was running a 5:52/mi pace at a -3.0% incline. The lower the incline, the easier it is to run at a faster pace. My 5:52 was probably equivalent to a 6:30/mi pace on flat ground.

Run #2: (4.5mi, 42min, 9:20/mi) After I put the kids to bed I went out and ran the One Store Loop with my head light after dark. I didn't time the run and took it really easy. It was a wonderfully peaceful time to run with a great view of the sky full of stars. Running up the Tunnel trail was pretty much pitch black and I only thought about bears during the first half. I'm glad that I know the trail well enough that I can run it well at night.

8/24 (6.3mi, 56min, 9:00/mi) My legs were tired after my double yesterday so I kept an easy pace running around the Bridle Trails. I just tried to pick some of the less-used trails and have fun at a comfortable pace.

8/25 (4.0mi, 31min, 7:51/mi) Run #1: Another double run day which started with a treadmill run at the fancy gym followed by weights.

Run #2: (7.9mi, 1h 1m, 7:46/mi) After work I ran a full loop of the Bridle Trails CCW. I tried to run a sub-1hr time but my legs weren't feeling good enough. I just didn't have the energy to go any faster. It was good to get out for a run while it still feels like summer. I just love running shirtless.

8/26 (7.35mi, 1h 2m, 8:29/mi) I ran the long way out to Grass Lawn Park for 3mi of barefoot running on the track. Actually it was on the narrow cement strip between the track and the artificial turf which were both too hot for my feet. Almost 18 months later and I'm still enjoying the barefoot running.

Montazuma's rebound

When I last left off, I was just starting to feel the effects of food poisoning. It lasted about 36 hours. I felt mostly better by Monday the 15th but still didn't feel like running yet.

8/16 (7.9mi, 57min, 7:14/mi) Back from the dead and right into a hard tempo run at lunch. I pushed a hard pace around a full loop of the Bridle Trails. It's great running out there in the summer when it's warm and the ground isn't muddy. The only downside is that the horse people are out in force. I had to stop three times to let horses pass. One of the times I came around a bend in the trail and startled myself and the horse. I also tried to catch another runner who passed me on the trail but I couldn't! He just pulled away effortlessly. Minutes later we were both waiting for another horse to pass and I got out ahead of him. I decided to pick up the pace and see if I could hold him off. It turned out I couldn't. He ran me down in about a quarter of a mile and kept going smoothly right past me and my sluggish 6:15/mi pace. Impressive.

8/17 (6.45mi, 58mi, 8:58/mi) After a hard effort Tuesday I took it easy (129 avg HR) just noodling around the Bridle Trails. My legs were dead and my stomach still felt bloated and gassy from the food poisoning episode. It was one of those days where I was just glad to get the miles in.

8/18 (9.0mi, 1h 16m, 8:26/mi) I was on call for work so I couldn't get out for a long run after work. Instead I did two easy runs on the treadmill at work with some weight machine sets between. As much as I dislike the treadmills I was able to keep my phone near me and if I did get called I had my computer in the locker room. Luckily I wasn't called. I felt a little better than the prior day but my calves were still dead.

8/20 (8.5mi, 1h 45m, 12:24/mi) The family and I headed to Salt Spring Island, BC for a long weekend which involved two ferries and about 3 hours of driving so I missed running on Friday. On Saturday the family went to Ruckle Park on the island. They all went for a hike while I set off for a run on my own. The trails at the park were very technical, narrow, and rocky. I started out on the SE edge of the island and then headed North along the coast before the trail headed inland. I caught my feet on rocks and nearly fell probably 5 times during the run. It was fairly hilly as well but my legs felt good after a day off so I didn't have to stop and walk any of the hills. I made a few wrong turns during the run but I had memorized enough of the park map to find my way back to the right trails.

The only part of the run that almost turned into a problem was near the end when the trail bordered a working farm. I came around a bend and stopped in my tracks when I saw a large steer with a sharp pair of horns that were about as wide as my outstretched arms. He was standing in the middle of the trail grazing. We looked at each other and he went back to grazing. I had open field (his field) to the left of the trail and dense forest to the right. I could have tried to find a path through the brush and trees to get around him and pick up the trial later but decided not to. Instead I grabbed a hand-full of small rocks and began skipping them along the ground at his feet. He seemed a little confused at the source of the noise and after about a dozen rocks came his way he slowly wandered down into his field. I never actually hit him with any of the rocks either, so win-win. I began running again but only for a few seconds before seeing two more large steers with long pointy horns standing just past where my trail turned off to the right. My plan was to jog along the trail which went up a short hill and if the steers started moving toward me I'd sprint up the trail and try to out-run them. Luckily  they showed little interest in me and left me alone. Aside from all that, the run went well.

8/21 (10.1mi, 1h 18m, 7:43/mi) I had time for a run on Sunday on the island so I just started from the place we were staying (Salt Spring Spa along the NE perimeter) and followed the road SE for 5 somewhat hilly miles before turning around and heading back. I started with 8+ min miles on the way out and picked up the pace to the high-6 min range on the way back. It was a great run except that I forgot to tape up my pinky toes and got a large blister on one of them. Sadly this happens when I run longer than 5mi in my New Balance MT101s. New Balance announced that the next model (MT110) will have a wider toe box. Being a running shoe geek, this excites me quite a bit.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Running and a little bit of riding before salad strikes back.

8/1 (6.7mi, 56.5 min, 8:30/mi) Another lunch run at the Bridle Trails. I felt pretty good after riding the long way in to work and before riding the short way home. I wasn't paying full attention to my footing and took another digger on the trails. No damage luckily, just dirty. I wore my heart rate monitor chest strap and found that my average HR for the run was only 136. That seems low to me based on the last set of %HR numbers I calculated. Maybe it's time to test them out again.

8/2 (6.9mi, 58.5 min, 8:28/mi) I ran hill repeats up the hill next to Hwy 520. It's about a mile long so I ran down and back up 3x. I  ran backwards for 1/10th of a mile in the middle flat section of each repeat. As it happened a podcast I was listening to had an interview with a pro triathlete who mentioned that he incorporated some backwards running into his training so I thought I'd try it out. I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary from / after it. It's supposed to be good for your quads and your form. I should try to get a little bit in 2 - 3 times a week and see if I notice anything.

8/4 (8mi, 59min, 7:25/mi) I ran the full Bridle Trails loop at lunch. I had some gas and stomach bloat but felt relatively okay otherwise.

8/5 (6.1mi, 54min, 8:52/mi) I ran out to Grass Lawn Park for a little over 3 miles of barefoot running. The track there is a little rough for a rubber track so I tried to run on the grass and cement border where I could.

8/7  (2.3mi, 30min, 13:00/mi) I went for a slow out-and-back run with my daughter around the neighborhood. She burned through her energy in the first mile and we jog-walked the next half mile and walked most of the way back home. I'm happy that she wants to go for a run with me now and then.

8/8 (6.4mi, 51.5min, 8:03/mi) I took an easy run after work around the East half of the Bridle Trails, It felt pretty good.

8/9 (7.9mi, 1h, 7:37/mi) I ran around the Bridle Trails at lunch and kept almost a tempo pace. I just missed breaking an hour (by 14 seconds!). My legs were pretty tired.

8/10 (2mi, 16min, 8:10/mi) Two moderate miles on the treadmill before lifting weights. Rode my bike to work and back the long way (44mi R/T)

8/11 (6mi, 51min, 8:30/mi) An easy run in the Bridle trails after riding in to work the long way. My legs were pretty tired from the cycling and not drinking enough water during the day didn't help matters.

I was planning to run on Friday the 12th but left work before noon feeling awful. It turned out that I'd picked up a case of food poisoning that kept me down for the next 48 hours. Ugh.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Still falling behind on the blogging

Mon 7/18, 6.2mi, 42:13. I had a PT appointment on Tuesday 7/19 for my Piriformis issue so I wanted it to be nice and sore when I got there. I ran the standard "work loop" CCW and pushed the pace. I don't feel that I'm in top form but comparing this to previous times, it's pretty good. 6:48/mi avg.

Tue 7/19, 6.2mi, 41:51. The PT appointment wasn't until after work so why not just drive that soreness home with another hard tempo run. I ran the same route as Monday but in the opposite (CW) direction. I thought I'd be worn out from Monday's tempo but I managed to run it 22 seconds faster. It's possible the CW is faster though not historically the case. My 6:45/mi avg was the 3rd fastest average pace I've run for this route since I started running it a few years ago.

The PT appt. went okay. The guy is just a regular PT, not a sports medicine PT or someone with experience dealing with endurance athletes. I hope to get something good out of it no less. So far I have a couple of feet of surgical tubing and a sheet of exercises to do while concentrating on contracting my Pelvic Floor muscles with a goal of learning to engage them while running.

Wed 7/20, 2mi, 17min. Just an easy 2 mile warmup on the treadmill before lifting weights.

Wed 7/20, 7.9mi, 1h 7m. I ran a slow steady run around the Bridle Trails after work. My legs were sore from the two tempo runs so I kept an easy pace.

Thu 7/21, 5.8mi, 50min? I ran out to Grass Lawn Park to run 3 barefoot miles. The battery on my watch died early into the run so I don't know the time for sure or what kind of pace the BF miles were run at. Sometimes it's good to unplug.

Sat 7/23, 5.5mi, 46min. It was sunny and warm out (rare this summer) so I went for a run with shorts, shoes and sunglasses. I soaked up the Vitamin D and enjoyed being outdoors.

Mon 7/25 8.35mi, 1h 2m. I didn't think I'd get a chance to run on Tuesday so I took on the Work Hour Loop (148th -> Old Redmond rd -> Powerline trail -> Bridle Trails -> 132nd -> 24th -> 148th). Again the watch died early on so I'd estimate that I wasn't quite able to break an hour. Hard run for me.

Tue 7/26 6.1mi, 50min?. A good friend (Chris) and his family were visiting. I used to train for and run marathons with Chris and then he got me into road cycling and endurance events. Predictably he wanted to go for a run after the kids went to bed. We got some flashlights and went for a run just after sundown. We ran the One Store Loop but popped out to Kopachuck State Park and back in the middle. It was great to run with him again. We had great conversation the whole time at a faster than expected pace. He said that it was only his 3rd run of the year (he's ridden 4000+ road miles though) yet he's in really good shape so we were holding a good pace. It caught me by surprise as I was just expecting a casual pace. He even wanted to test our power running up the final climb on the route. Overall a great visit and great run. I hope that I can take him on a few more runs next time he comes to visit. He probably feels the same way when I visit him in CA and borrow his road bike.

Wed 7/27, 7.95, 58:44. I ran a full loop of the Bridle Trails after work on Wed. I was still a little tired from Tuesday's run so my attempt at a fast loop didn't go as well as I'd hoped. I was still "on the rivet" the whole time but I thought I'd be able to finish about 3-4 min. faster. It felt good to see <8 min left with a mile to go and know that I could break an hour.

Thu 7/28, 2mi, 17min. I ran a couple of miles on the treadmill at the gym before lifting weights. I picked a random program (pace and elevation) and after a mile started to bonk really badly. I'm not sure what happened but I was having trouble holding a 7:00/mi pace. As soon as I hit 2 miles (of a planned 3) I stopped, ate a gel, chugged some water and headed down to the weight room where I recovered as I lifted weights. No idea what happened there.

Friday 7/29 8mi, 1h 4min. I ran another full loop of the Bridle trails. I started off strong with high hopes on a fast time but my stomach started to rebel about 3 miles into the run. I got confirmation that I wouldn't finish in under an hour in the form of two gingerbread man stops. I still pushed the pace the best I could but my heart and stomach just weren't in it.

That was all I managed to run for July. My stats for the month were:

Runs: 21
Miles: 122.5
Time:  16h 12m
Avg Pace: 7:56/mi

I'm on pace to break 1500 miles for the year if I can keep my momentum through the fall. I hope that I can find time to train for another 50K race later this year as well. My Piriformis issue is still bothering me a little bit but it's a little less painful these days. I've been doing the exercises recommended by the Physical Therapist and I think that they've been helping.