Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 review

Rather than lots of words, I'll let the reader look at the numbers and make up their own words:

That was my 2012 in running. Quick notes:

I ran 4 races with my daughter between 1K and 5K. Fantastic. I love running with her.

August: I ran a 50K race and DNF'd at 27 miles. Super-dehydrated, sore all over and my legs/feet were cramping everywhere. I couldn't bring myself to run another hilly 5 miles just to say I did.

October: I ran my first road marathon (Portland, OR) in 11 years and managed to PR by 90 seconds (3:25). I was on track for about 4 minutes better than that but cramped up with 2 miles to go and had to stop to stretch.

November: I stopped running on Nov 10th until Dec 25th to give my hamstrings / butt a break and see if that's what my lingering leg pain needed. Nope! The pain came right back after two runs.

December: I ran the annual Horsehead Bay 7.3K Xmas-day race and finally won my age group.

Numbers will be lower next year no doubt.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

insert witty title here...

How about that, I blink my eyes and a few more weeks go by without an
update. Life has been pretty chaotic (in a bad way) and blogging hasn't been on my mind at all lately. The chaos peaked the Friday before the Bridle Trails race which meant that I had to miss it sadly. I ran the course Friday at lunch and it was a mess with downed branches everywhere. I picked them up and moved them off of the trail as I ran around the perimeter. The only thing I couldn't move was a fully tree that was blocking the East perimeter. I would have needed a saw and an hour or more to drag the pieces off of the trail. I was hoping that the park ranger would have time to do that but instead the course was re-routed to use a parallel interior trail for the East section. I was a bummed to hear that but I wasn't running the race.

I've been missing a few runs here and there due to my workload at the office and at home. I've been putting up weeks of:

31, 29, 28, and 26 miles over the last month.

Most of my runs have been around the Bridle Trails and the streets of Redmond. They've been lackluster with the exception of two tempo workouts I did. One was last weekend, I warmed up for 10 min and then ran alternating rounds of 10min hard, 8min easy. I surprised myself by running mid-6min miles during the hard sections which is good for me considering the hilly nature of the streets around home. The other was a 5K run I did on the treadmill at the gym. I started at 7:30/mi pace and kept lowering the incline on the treadmill and my pace as well. By the end I was running at a 3.0% decline and just under 6:00/mi. I just missed breaking 20 min. for the run which was pretty good after having lifted weights for half an hour and for how slow I started out.

I've been putting in most of my miles in the New Balance MT110 shoes which are great so far. The sizing isn't as big and roomy as I'd like and I'm considering ordering a pair in a wider size to see if that feels more comfortable. The sizing isn't that bad but all of my running socks are DryMax heavy-duty trail socks which are quite bulky. I tried wearing the MT110s sockless once but there was something wrong with the fabric where the upper meets the footbed on the outside edge of one foot that gave me a blister after about 5 miles unfortunately. The traction and cushion of the shoes is great. They don't jump out and scream "FANTASTIC!" but they're nice shoes so far. I still like the feel of the Merrell Trail Gloves the best of all of the shoes I've owned. I'm interested in trying their new Bare Access model but I've heard a few bad things about them from the folks at Born To Run (the store, not the book) saying that they have no barefoot feel to them and that they have built up arches. I'm still curious to try them as the lack of cushion is the thing stopping me from running farther than about 10 miles in my Trail Gloves.

To summarize:
- not running as much as I'd like to.
- Not feeling as good as I'd like to on my runs.
- MT110s are good but not fantastic (yet?).

Friday, January 20, 2012

The end of one year and the start of another

So what's been going on since I last updated.


- Shaved the cookie duster off and no longer hate looking at myself in the mirror.
- Enjoyed Xmas / New years with family and had no serious power outages.
- Ran a bit, got sick for a week then got back to running.
- Didn't make it to the gym to lift weights or swim much.
- Signed up for the 10.4 mi. Bridle Trails run on 1/28.
- Got snowed in this week and had to work from home between power outages.

So the running...

I managed 28 miles the last week of 2011 including the annual Horsehead Bay 7.3K race. This year attendance hit an all time low of 2 people. We ran the course in cold but dry conditions on Xmas day and ended up tying for the win. This marks the 5th time I've tied for first in this event. Some day I'll win it outright. At least I won my age group this year.

I didn't have enough time to get out to run the Crescent Valley or McCormack forest trails on New Years Eve this year. I wanted to but there was just too much family fun happening that day. I finished 2011 with some pretty good numbers though:

Comparing it to 2010: (for the stat geeks like me out there)

I ran two hours less (Odd that the numbers were that close)
I ran 56 miles less
I ran 9 fewer barefoot miles
I ran 16 more times
I averaged 1.5 more runs per month
My average pace per mile was 15 seconds slower

What about my goals for 2011?

1) More trail running, get into the ultra community a bit more
Yes and no.

2) Work on speed, try to beat 10K PR
nope. nothing like that happened

3) Run 2 races of 50K or longer
Yep. Chuckanut 50K and Pt. Defiance 50K

4) Convince my sister to run a marathon with me
Nope. she was injured and doesn't want to run another marathon any time soon. I'll keep trying though.

5) Figure out the GI issues
Happily yes. The Ginger Bread man hasn't visited in a long time. I'm going to chalk that one up to one specific prescription that I was taking. As soon as I stopped taking it, problem solved.

So, goals for 2012?

1) Run the White River 50M
2) Enter more shorter trail races (up to marathon distance)
3) Enter more races with my daughter, get her up to a 5K if she's game.
4) Run 1500 miles
5) Run a road marathon (preferably with my sister)
6) Fix this Piriformis issue that's still bothering me

The first step I took toward these goals was entering the Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival 10.4 mile race. As your lawyer I recommend that you do the same.

The other thing I'm playing with that I mentioned in my last post was I've been uploading all of my runs and started defining segments that I run often to compare my paces and hopefully push myself. There are also periodic mileage challenges that they put on (no prizes) to motivate people to get out and run. So far it's nice. It will get better as more people join.

I got another cold right around New Years and didn't run the first 7 days of 2012. When I was ready to run again I got right back out to the Bridle Trails to practice running the course conditions for the race at the end of January. It's pretty sloppy out there right now. This week in the PNW there was a big (for Seattle) snow storm that dumped a few inches of snow.

I ran around the trails on Monday in the snow and had a great time. The snow made it soft and forgiving but also created a layer of ice over the puddles that were already on the trails. I tried to avoid them to keep my feet dry but missed a few. There were also several branches down across the trails that slowed me down. I expect that as the snow melts over the next few days that the trails will be a huge muddy mess.

The last two runs I've done have been in the snow and I've really enjoyed them. It's a much slower pace trying to plan your footing, especially post-holing through a frozen top layer of ice, but it's great to run on the quiet soft white blanket, something that we don't get here often enough to be a nuisance.

Today's run at lunch in the snow was pretty terrible on the other hand. I planned to run a lap of the Bridle Trails and barely made it five miles. I should have stayed inside on the treadmill but I had grand ideas of how much fun it would be to run outside in my new shoes (more on them in a minute).

Starting from work I had to run along the roads covered in dirty plowed snow piled up which was hard enough to run on. Once I got through that to the start of the corridor trail slower than I ever had before the real challenge began. The snow was melting and turning into slush. It was soft with ice cold puddles everywhere. My feet became quickly soaked and confidence in my Dry Max socks kept me going.

Even with the grippy lugs of my new trail shoes I was slipping frequently, especially on any kind of slope. I eventually got to the Bridle Trails and started around the perimeter. On top of the extra effort required to run in the wet slush, I had to navigate around/over/under/through all of the fallen branches and downed trees. Parts of the trail were totally blocked so I couldn't follow the outer perimeter as I had planned. I was surprisingly tired after only a few miles and my pace was very slow so I decided to turn back early. The rest of the run was more of the same with the addition of my toes starting to really hurt from all of the icy puddles that I couldn't avoid. I love running in new snow but I sure can't stand the slushy stuff.

As for the new shoes, I finally got my hands on a pair of New Balance MT110s (yep, kinda ugly). I've been reading reviews and hearing about these shoes for months. They just came on the market around the beginning of the year and I got a pair as soon as I saw them on Amazon. They feel nice so far running in the snow but I'm anxious to take them out in the dirt and see how they hold up. I'm hoping that they live up to the hype of being a big improvement to the MT101 that I really like already.