Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Falling off the Starbucks Wagon: HR Training - Day 9

A Double Day like yesterday, but will the outcome be better, worse, or about the same? Let's see...



This morning, I caved into my vices and got a Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte. For the coffee-drinking challenged, that's a large 20 ounce cup of coffee that has a decent amount of steamed non-fat milk and sweetened with sugar-free vanilla syrup. I also got another vice, a toasted Chonga bagel with Cream Cheese (yeah, that was REALLY bad). But we all fall off the wagon now and again. But this wagon I believe really messed with me with the workout. I have no doubt that it'll probably mess with me tonight with the second run as well.

As I was running on the treadmill, it seemed that my heart rate was all over the place. Really low at one moment, really high the next that was well outside of the zone that I was supposed to be running in. I tried to feel my way through the run, but my perceived exertion was not jiving either and I would rather err on the side of caution in this case. Towards the end, I was mostly walking. Not a "bad" run, but it wasn't the best either. Moral of the story: Gotta lay off the 'feine.

And the evening run:



Same pattern as yesterday's 10m-5m-10m-5m-10m-5m-10m, going from zone 1 to zone 2 and back. The exertion level that I was feeling felt not too different then yesterday. However, I really should try and run more in the middle or slightly below the limits than running to the limit for each zone...although I really don't want to move any slower than I already am. Damn my stubbornness!

Monday, December 29, 2008

...And it's screaming for Excedrine: HR Training - Day 8

Today's the start of my two-a-day runs. Light runs during my lunch hour (the old 15m-3m-15m pattern), evening runs based on whatever the schedule dictates. As my aerobic capacity increases, I will swap some of the lunch runs with strength training (possibly doing CrossFit workouts, but most likely maintaining the Gym Jones view of blending High-Intensity cross-training while maintaining the necessary workouts in the aerobic realm that are sports specific.

Anyhoo, here's a nice graphic for the first run:



Treadmill run, set at 1% incline. Speed was between 3.5-4.0 MPH, usually sticking around 3.7-3.8 MPH for the majority. I started the run with a mild headache, but as I was going - it stopped. When I finished, it slowly returned. I'm questioning on whether the lack of caffeine (I've been cutting back on Starbucks and Diet Pepsi as best I can to calm my heart down when I'm not working out) is giving me this feeling. It would make the most sense. Regarding the run itself, I could have controlled myself a bit more, but it was a better run than yesterday. Although, I should try and aim for keeping my HR even lower than the 135 bpm that I was trying for (the ceiling being 138 bpm). My hope is that I'll eventually be able to do long/easy runs at a good feelin' pace in the 125-130 bpm range.

And for the second run:



This run is a Base Builder run, consisting of running in zone 1 (79-138 bpm) for 10 minutes, then up to zone 2 (138-161 bpm) for 5, repeating once, then ending in zone 1 for 10 minutes (a total time of 40 minutes) However, I extended this out another 15 minutes, maintaining the pattern as 10m-5m-10m-5m-10m-5m-10m.

This run was kick-ass! I was able to run at a pace I felt like was genuine running! I got my speed up to 5.2 MPH! Funny thing is that I didn't really feel labored at all moving at that speed. I felt under good control, but felt like I was working a bit more. It's going to be awesome when I can run at 5.2 MPH or faster and not be in the zone 2 range.

Tomorrow: It's going to be a repeat of the same workout. Hope it goes even better!

HR Training - Week 1 Result



Not too bad! I wonder how this week will compare!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Squeeze: HR Training - Day 7



The Short: The same as yesterday, but replace the treadmill with actual road, trail, snow, ice, puddles, and ScrewShoes.

The Long: You know how they say that when you train at higher altitudes, your body works harder? Seems that even a small amount of altitude change can do this too. Today's run was at my in-laws place in North Bend, near the Snoqualmie Valley Trail. Throughout the entire run, it was alot harder to maintain control of my HR. Every time my body would move out of the aerobic fat-burning zone (aka the Most Aerobic Pace or MAP zone) and shift into the moderate zone (what Stu Mittleman refers to as the Most Efficient Pace or MEP zone), I could actually sense it before my Suunto would go off, even if the HR rise would be only about 1-3 beats above 138 bpm! I could actually "taste" the odd shift from my MAP to MEP and let me tell ya, it isn't a sweet taste. I can't identify what it is exactly, but I'm sure I'll figure it out soon enough. I'm sure it's related to the bump from tapping into fat as the primary fuel source and dipping into that area where fat and sugar are both used (or as Stu's Book refers this as, "The Tightrope Walker").

Another thing that helped with the difficulty factor was the snow that was still on the ground. Tie that to also running on actual trails that are still mushy and wet and you can expect to use more muscles as you move across the land. More muscles working = more work. More work = more energy expenditure. More energy expenditure = higher heart rate.

But all in all, it wasn't too bad of a run. There were moments where I was moving long pretty well and feeling pretty free. I always enjoy myself the most during those times and look forward to those before hearing the beeps. However, it COULD have been better. But as the weeks progress, I'll also be making more trips to places of higher elevation to have my body adapt more and also do some hill training to prep for Cascade Crest.

Finding the sweet spot: HR Training - Day 6



Another run on the treadmill again yesterday, same pattern as I did on Christmas Day. I covered about the same distance as Day 4, but with the exception that when it came to the 3 minute rests, I actually sat down in a chair for a spell. Didn't make a lick of difference though in the HR drop, but I was able to get my shoes fixed. I had put on a different pair of running shoes in my supply and didn't put in my foodbed inserts. (Note: I can't run WITHOUT the SOLE heat-molded inserts in my shoes. If I do, expect discomfort!)

I did have more difficulty in trying to keep my HR below the 138 bpm threshold this time. I'm not sure whether it was my enthusiasm in moving faster or just having an odd day. I am learning more by re-adjusting my rate of perceived exertion to match my HR level and I'm getting there, slowly but surely.

One positive with the HR strap, I found a nice way to cover the plastic clasps with fabric tape. No more pinching or digging into my skin now! However, I'm still wondering why my HR went all wonky with spikes and dips towards the end. It was like that on Day 4, but it took longer. Maybe my electro-conductive cream called Buh-Bump! was wearing off? Meh, who knows?

Friday, December 26, 2008

The OMG moment: HR Training - Day 5



The short: Ran a light 15 min/3 min/15 min set. HR steady and speed max to 4.2 MPH.

The long: If I wouldn't have experienced it myself, I wouldn't even believe it. Seems that this aerobic training/low-HR training does indeed work. 5 days into it (well, technically 2 weeks since I started running at slower speeds before my VO2Max testing) and I'm seeing an improvement!

My HR had stabilized itself sooner and didn't have nearly as many drifts above the 138 bpm limit. I was bouncing between 130 and 136 bpm at my faster efforts. And the faster efforts were also FASTER!!! I was able to go at a speed of 4.2 MPH towards the end. 4.2 MPH!!! That's a 14:17 min/mile pace! I'm able to run closer to normal running speeds for a change! If this keeps up, I might be able to not only be back running with the group in 42 days, but I might be able to keep up with the pack with future race events! :-D

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A WTF X-Mas: HR Training - Day 4



The short: Run pattern as 15 min run-3 min rest, repeat 3 more times.

The long: Yesterday was Day 3 and a scheduled rest day. I was hoping to run, but opted not to due to feeling really rundown. Yesterday, I also decided to check my blood sugar levels and I was in for a shock. I had a glucose level of over 240 mg/dl and that's not good. I checked myself this morning, 348 mg/dl. My doctor said that my diabetes could come back if I slip up. Looking back, I've slowly slipped up. My weight has gone up from what I considered more healthy. I neglected my eating habits over a course of many months. My workout routines were being neglected and I was getting lazy. The results of the glucose tests does seem to match up with the VO2Max/Metabolic test that I took, since it showed that I'm using nothing but sugar while I'm at rest. This would explain it. Funny thing is that other than the rundown feeling that comes and goes, I'm not having any other symptoms that I experienced in the past. I'll be setting an appointment with my doctor's office to get an updated evaluation and a script for new diabetes testing supplies (the strips I used were expired, but even expired strips usually don't give off results that are this high.) I'll be damned if I have to go back to meds and feeling even weirder.

Anyway, regarding the run today...it was like the 'generic version of trail running'. The snow and ice were half-melted, causing unusual footing and movement. Also, my HR was all over the place since I had to use different muscles to maintain my balance. But I did eventually maintain some decent control...until the fourth 15 minute run. My HR started to drop. I mean DROP! I was at 90 bpm! Eventually, it fixed itself, but I'm so confused on why this would have happened. I had tried my best to use exertion rate based on the previous runs, so I don't think I messed myself up too badly.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a scheduled rest day, but after the glucose readings - I think I'll be looking to having more activity on a daily basis and focus on my aerobic HR training even more. More activity. Burn fat. Get stronger. Run longer. My X-Mas gift to myself is another chance to kick some ass.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Taming the Ego: HR Training - Day 2



The short: 33 minutes during lunch on the treadmill. 1% incline. Speed between 3.5-3.7 MPH. Followed the plan as 15 min run, 3 min rest, 15 min run. HR was kept pretty well under the 138 bpm threshold.

The long: I thought I had an extra set of workout clothes, but I was without running shorts, so I had to wear the sweats I wore into work. Good thing the low-HR training doesn't make you sweat hard all over if it's under an hour!

I turned up the radio to C89.5 WorldWide and did my best to maintain my HR under the 138 bpm limit. I didn't do too badly. Over the limit for under 3 of the 33 minutes, so I can say I did a good job.

My biggest problem was that someone came into the gym after my first 15 minute set and powerwalked along side me on the other treadmill. I had to really do my best to focus and not think that it was a race or to maintain the pace they were! But I did it!

I have to say that the second 15 minutes felt better than the first 15. I was able to kick the speed up a bit more and had less HR increases than in the first 15. One thing that does suprise me is my EPOC value/Training Effect is at a 3.1, meaning it shows that I'm improving. Improvement on the second run already! Looking forward to the next run!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Putting the Screws To It: HR Training - Day 1



The short: 1:04:15 around the neighborhood. Icy/Snowy roads and paved trails. Workout Pattern was 8 minutes running in Zone 1 (79-138 bpm), 3 minute rest, repeat pattern 5 more times.

The long: After hitting Lowes on Saturday to get some sheet-metal screws to make my regular Brooks Adrenaline GTS 7 running shoes into ScrewShoes, I finished outfitting my shoes for the ice and snow yesterday. After finishing my work today (telecommuting does indeed rock), I set out for my run on my new training plan.

The same workout as I did on Friday, I extended the duration further. The pattern ended up being 8m-3m-8m-3m-8m-3m-8m-3m-8m-3m-8m-3m, 66 minutes total time.

I layered up and headed out. The streets were compacted down with snow and ice patches were very noticeable. My HR was a bit wonky in the beginning, but there are some areas where the powerlines have caused interference in the past when I had HR trained about two years ago. My HR did settle down a bit more and I had less rises above my 138 bpm limit, but I do need to exercise some more control to have less bumps above my limit. During the 3 minute breaks, I either walked EXTREMELY SLOWLY or just stood still in one place. As each moment when I was able to run for those 8 minutes, I was feeling better every time and running a bit faster each time. Nice and relaxed. Loose and free. The thing that I always have enjoyed about running. I finished up the 5k+ route well within the time I wanted and felt like I could have ran another 2-3 more hours for the fun of it. A most excellent feeling!

Bonus: NO SLIPS, TRIPS, OR FALLS!!!! The ScrewShoes are the best!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Listening to your body

My body yesterday decided not to participate in the 50k. I was seriously out of it and in retrospect, it was for the best.

I wasn't really ready to do that distance again and I should focus on my low HR training.

But I did stop by and dropped off the soup cans I promised. I know that it would go to the Maple Valley Food Bank if it wasn't used, but with how the temps were - I'm sure they were used to warm the bellies of those that finished the run.

Other nice things were that I finished the last of my X-Mas shopping and I bought my Brooks Cascadia 3 trail shoes finally. I look forward to using them on the trails.

In the meantime, tomorrow is Day 1 of my official low HR training. I'm going to definately do more duration (most runs to be 1 hour long or longer). Tomorrow's run, I'm going to kick it to a full hour and I'll even suck it up and freeze my butt off tomorrow in the snow.

Stay warm everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Old College Try: HR Training - Day 0

Yesterday night, I was not in the mood to get outside and attempt to run in the snow & ice. Plus, not having YakTrax or ScrewShoes setup on my shoes, I opted to run on the treadmill at home.

So, since I was going to be inside, I decided to try out Day 1 of the training plan that was setup for me since my VO2Max test that I did on Tuesday. Since Eric said that I can extend the workout time as long as I wanted, I just had to make sure I maintained the pattern of the workout. In this case, the original workout called for:

- 8 minutes of running in my low HR zone (79-138 bpm)
- 3 minutes of rest (NO RUNNING)
- 8 minutes of running in my low HR zone (79-138 bpm)

A total of 19 minutes of actual time. Yeah, I decided to add another 8 more minutes to make it 8-3-8-3-8, 30 minutes total.

And here's how it turned out according to my Suunto Training Manager software:



I have to say, it wasn't bad at all. I was able to keep my HR hovering between 130-135 bpm (some mild spikes, but not too bad) and my speed was between 3.6-3.7 MPH (a 16:12-16:40/mile pace) for each of those 8 minutes. I felt very comfortable and loose. I didn't feel like I was forcing anything else but restraint and I eventually let go of that restraint as well. I have to say that I'm starting to embrace this slow burn.

I doubt that I'll employ the resting as much for tomorrow's run at the Pigtails Flat Ass, but I'm only going out there to enjoy myself as best as I can (yes, even with the chilly weather). Whatever comes, will come.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Numbers

Here are my results for the VO2Max/Metabolic test from Tuesday:

VO2Max: 36.4 (Fair, Male 30-39 age range)
Aerobic threshold limit: 138 bpm
Anaerobic threshold limit: 161 bpm
Max HR measured: 183 bpm (I think it could have been higher, but I was seriously tired and hungry due to fasting for 12+ hours and no breakfast).

Workout Zones calculated from the test:

Low Zone: 79-138 bpm
Moderate Zone: 138-161 bpm
High Zone: 161-178 bpm
Peak Zone: 178-183 bpm

Here's the interesting thing that I found when calculating my zones based on the Maffetone calculations and Stu Mittleman's MAP (Most Aerobic Pace), MEP (Most Efficient Pace), SAP (Speedy Anaerobic Pace):

MAP Zone: 120-140 bpm
MEP Zone: 140-150 bpm
SAP Zone: 150-170 bpm

The low zone and MAP zone are pretty close to each other. The SAP zone is alot smaller than the high zone, but I think it's simply due to the test being able to lock on at where my body gets into an anaerobic state. The moderate zone and high zone however seem to overlap with the MEP and SAP zones. I'm thinking that the moderate zone could be broken up as "moderate 1" (ranging from 138-150 bpm) and "moderate 2" (ranging from 150-161 bpm). I remember when I heart rate trained before and there was a point where there was a point called the "steady-state pace". The steady-state pace feels like you're not going too slow or too fast and you could hold your pace for a considerable distance. The steady-state pace is where most long distance races are done at when you get past the first 5-10 miles. My guess is that I'll be in the steady-state in moderate 1 and if I have to gently pour on the juice without totally ditching the fat-burning, I can shift to moderate 2 before having to go more balls-out in an event.

The 42 day schedule is something that is less than desired for running junkies. Here's the first week alone:

Day 1: Run 8 minutes in low zone, 3 minutes below low zone (which means I might have to just stand still), run 8 minutes in low zone. That's it.
Day 2: Run 15 minutes in low zone, 3 minutes below low zone (more standing still), run 15 minutes in low zone.
Day 3: Rest (yeah, rest after doing that itty-bitty work from day 1 and day 2)
Day 4: Repeat Day 2.
Day 5: Repeat Day 3. (Yep, another rest day!)
Day 6 & 7: Repeat Day 2.

But the following weeks do start to look a bit better. More mixing of zones, meaning moving a bit faster for some of the time. 10 minutes low, 5 minutes moderate, repeat. This is where everything looks more promising.

I'm so glad that I've already semi-started with the low-HR training and have gotten alot of the frustrations out of the way. Added bonus is that I can add more duration of the workouts provided I maintain the pattern of the workout. And my research does show that the more time you put in, the faster the adaption will occur.

I'm looking forward to the next 42 days after the Pigtails Flat Ass. Bring it!

VO2...Uh oh...

Okay, I'm mildly exaggerating, but it's not a good thing either.

I fall in the "Fair" category for folks that are men, 30-39 years old for my VO2Max test I did yesterday. It was a bit stressful and awkward putting that mask on and sounding like Darth Vader while running on the treadmill. But I got my numbers and my results (I'll post those up later).

My new training plan requires me to train below a 138 bpm heart rate for a majority of my training for the next 42 days after the Pigtails Flat Ass (yes, I've decided that Pigtails will be my very last race for the year until I see how I do after the 42 days of training.)

I will be running solo for the entire time, no group runs.

I will be also trying to add as much base time as possible (mileage will not be the thing to focus on, but time in an HR zone and putting in ALOT of time as I can).

I'll put more up later on this. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Zen of Moving Slow

For almost two weeks of training via HR, I had lost a great deal of patience for myself and going so slow. Today's run was different. I actually appreciated the slow pace and the restraint. I modified my HR training zones based off of the Maffetone Method of "180 minus age" to determine the MEP (Most Efficient Pace) and then calculating my MAP (Most Aerobic Pace). Without too much scrutiny, I ended up with a MAP zone of 140 bpm limit.

I decided to run alone. No group run. No one to have to catch-up to. Simply have to run with the guys that I neglected for sometime - me, myself, and I.

So after lunch, I headed out of the house at 2:30pm and figured 3 hours would be a good amount of time to be on my feet. I knew that I'd have to exercise some serious retraint and would have to walk alot, but since I was expecting this - it made things a bit easier to deal with.

To my suprise, I made it to my 6 mile point in under 90 minutes (1:29) and then coming back home to complete 12 miles was even better. I actually had a negative split! A 2:53 total time! I was able to maintain my HR and running pace for longer periods of time and enjoyed each moment when I did. So a 14:28 min/mile pace keeping my HR at 140 bpm for most of the time.

My hope for Tuesday's VO2Max test will set my MAP zone and MEP zone higher, which would allow me to run faster for the Pigtails Flat Ass run on Saturday. If I have to run at an even lower HR, I'll have no choice but to scratch every race for the next three months and simply focus on my HR and getting faster by starting slower. Man I hope this doesn't happen.

Friday, December 12, 2008

An Experiment of One

After the demoralizing run yesterday night, I went on my typical walk during my lunch...only it didn't end as a walk. A thing that Eric showed me yesterday was how his running and walking form don't really alter much. So I decided to try and run on the treadmill at a VERY SLOW SPEED (about 3.5 MPH) and keeping my HR further below the threshold that I had yesterday (yesterday's limit was 147 bpm, today's limit was set to 128 bpm.)

To my suprise, I was able to maintain my form and run while keeping my HR below 128 bpm! WTF? So if I run at a dictated speed and keep my stride short and light, I end up running at a lower effort. If I try and go faster, my heart rate goes nuts.

I hope the VO2Max test on Tuesday will give me an answer on where I am at, so I can take some of the guesswork out of doing this. As much as I appreciate the advice and info I've researched, I have to do my best to find what works for me. God, I hope that comes sooner than later.

One thing with the 30 minutes on the treadmill today...I felt more "in the moment" than I had yesterday and actually enjoyed myself for a change. That's the running I like and a reminder of why I do what I do and why I like doing it for hours on end.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I almost want to cry

Tonight's run left me unbelievably frustrated with myself.

It was a 6.4 mile run (although my footpod registered 6.07 miles, but it's not calibrated yet) and like last time, the group completely left me in the dust. I was fine with this. However, what I wasn't fine with was being completely alone while my Suunto HRM would scream at me every 5 steps I would take in a run. It was rare for me to be able to maintain a run at or below 147 bpm at a steady pace. Then the parts where the run stopped being remotely fun and turned into serious work was when out of nowhere, my HR would go to 180 bpm! I barely moved a step and it would do this a few times and with each spike, I'm forced into a walk and slowing down. My run took me 1:24:44 to complete and I was not happy about that one bit. A few people who were done well ahead of me were leaving and suprised to see me. One questioned whether I actually started with them. That pissed me off even though I knew they didn't mean anything by it.

Then, like an idiot - I began whining to Eric at the store about it all. In a way, he did and didn't have sympathy for my situation. He understood my frustrations fully, but it all (and always does) comes down to me and my willingness to change and be patient with the training. I also found out that he bought his own VO2Max testing machine and has been doing testing in-house. (That would have been nice to know before I had tried to find out whether my own health insurance was going to cover the testing from a different company that was more expensive and less helpful with the information. But that's time I won't get back now. Anyway...)

It seems that everyone at the store has gone through VO2Max testing, has gone through the same training struggles (one girl had to only walk for several months before she could run), and eventually everyone is able to run at a faster pace with lower efforts. I have the potential to be able to work like this again, but how much do I want it?

We'll see on Tuesday. I have my VO2Max test scheduled at 8am.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Taking a beating from Dr. Cooper

Ever hear of the Cooper Test?

It's a sick way of trying to figure out your own VO2Max without having to shell out almost $200 to get one professionally done. Consider it the 'poor man's VO2Max test' along side the many other ones like the Rockport Walk Test. But it does have some science behind it and for those that have done the actual Cooper Test and a VO2Max/Metabolic test, they come pretty close to the same result - only off by at best 2-3 points.

So, since I botched the Balke Treadmill Test yesterday (hey, is it really my fault that the treadmill could only go to 12% incline and the test demanded for you to walk until exhaustion - expecting you to fall apart after 15 minutes?), I decided that today would be a no-excuses day to do a Cooper Test on the treadmill. Now, the treadmill isn't an ideal place since you're better off going to a 400 meter track and running on the inside lane. However, since tracks are a place I don't want to go during the winter - treadmill would have to do.

So, down to the workout room where the treadmill is and my wife and daughter agree to play safety monitor for me. In the event I fall apart on the 'dreadmill' and someone has to get 911 fast, they were at the ready. I warmed up for 15 minutes, walking and easy running to get my muscles ready and then took off as hard and controlled as I could. Unfortunately, my goal to try and run a hard 8-9 MPH was out of my grasp for fear I'd fall apart too soon and literally fall while the treadmill was moving (see why doing this on a track is better?)

After 12 minutes of torture at my best fast speed on that thing (7.5 MPH - yeah, I'm a bit embarassed), I got the mileage off of the device as 1.471 miles (2367 meters). I couldn't use the footpod since its still not 100% calibrated, it read off only 2,000 meters! My wife said that at the last two minutes, I looked like I was making a face that read, "If I have to run another minute after 12, I'll kill myself." I completely agreed.

So, with my new data in hand, I'm listed as "Above Average" for a 30 year old male. The VO2Max conversion comes out to be 41.63 (although the Suunto device read off 49 for the oxygen consumption). So, I'm not nearly as out of shape as I thought I was and I do have an added advantage now that I know where I'm at approximately, I should be able to adjust my training accordingly and run at better paces and at lower heart rate efforts. I don't think I worked as hard as I could have though since my HR went no higher than 189 BPM and I've gone to 210 just two weeks ago.

So, I took a 12 minute beating on the treadmill to attempt to better my performance from this point forward. My legs feel like jello now.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Non-Fast and The Furious: Cardiac Drift



The long run this morning went well. I was able to maintain the same HR (better actually) that I did during that 4+ mile run on Thursday, with something that I'm very happy about. I was able to go faster (YAY FASTER) than I did on Thursday, an average speed of 12:32 min/mile. That's WAY BETTER than that 14:01 min/mile that I did on Thursday obviously. This also means that I could potentially finish the Pigtails Flat Ass 50k run in 6.5 hours (5.5 hours if I opt to do the marathon distance instead).

I didn't want a repeat of Thursday's wonky HR going all over the place in the first mile, so I walked 1.5 miles to warm-up before the run and it helped greatly. My HR gradually increased instead of going nutzoid. The majority of the group was going to run 10 miles, but since they got away from me - I had to decide which way to go after I lost them. I ended up running over 12.5 miles (12.71 mi according to the foot pod) as a result of this. As I said, this run was better than Thursday. I was able to maintain my HR in the zone I wanted more and could hold my pace longer before I had to walk to bring my HR down. However, after the 10 mile point, my HR was turning seriously unstable. This wasn't the electronic interference that is typical on the Interurban Trail (my HR spiked to 180 bpm!!! Boo interference!!!), but the unstable thing known as Cardiac Drift. Cardiac Drift can happen for a variety of reasons (although sports scientists still say that it's a mystery still). One major thing is when the body's fluid level is depleting and the blood in the body is trying to pump through and since the blood is "thicker", it pumps through harder - jacking up your HR. This is one reason why hydration is so freakin' important. Nutrition on the run is also important as well since that can also cause the same effect as well (you need liquid to help with digestion and if you don't have any liquids to drink, your body will use its own to help).

So after mile 10, every running step I would do moved my HR by 10-20 bpm from the top of my HR zone (jumping from 147 bpm to 157-167 bpm). So I ended up moving very similar to the way I did on Thursday. But I thankfully didn't feel gassed and I caused my drift from what I believe. Why? I didn't bother bringing any water or food with me on this long run. Yeah, I did a rookie mistake that I shouldn't have since I knew better.

But I did good. On zero carried water, I'm able to maintain an easy pace for 10+ miles before the drift effect takes its hold and I can now fend it off a bit more with some hydration on the run the next time.

I think the only thing I could have a genuine gripe about that isn't related to my efforts was that the HRM chest strap actually gave me a chaffing rash and a piece of it was sticking into me that hurt bad and forced me to adjust it quite a bit on the run. It was one of the things (other than my HR spiking so much) that made this run full of cussing (despite how well I did). I think this is why Suunto changed their HRM chest strap design. Others must have had similar problems. It couldn't have been just me. Oh well, looks like I'm going to have to tape up more now for the run to stop chest strap chaffing.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I hate it when they're right...

Just finished a 4.23 mile walk at my in-laws neighborhood with my Suunto t6 HRM.

I had an average HR of 126 BPM and was only about 4 minutes slower than my actual run on Thursday, covering the same distance! My HR on Thursday was struggling to stay down after it went all crazy to 149 BPM average. There IS a method to this HR training madness.

Looks like I'll be sticking to the 1st and 2nd HR zones and making sure my EPOC numbers stay below 3.0 for the next several weeks. If this progresses, as I hope it will, I might just get my groove back.

Lots of walking and very slow running to come. Guess I better enjoy the beeps of the HRM more.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Walk This Way

3 miles according to the treadmill (although the foot pod registered 2.86 mi, go figure).

Average speed: About 3.5 to 3.7 MPH.

Time: 50 min + 90 second cooldown

The awesome: Kept myself in my zone of < 128 bpm, average at 124 bpm. I was able to keep myself in zone for about 43 minutes.

The suck: Should have packed my workout clothes when I did this instead of my street clothes. Sweaty jeans are not cool!

Turtles and Boomerangs

Yesterday's run...sucked. Well, sucked in that I got another reality check/slap in the face. Geared up with the Suunto t6 that Arthur sold me awhile back, I decided to play into the rules of the heart rate monitor training. I would hold back and make sure my body stayed in the aerobic zone, in my case - I calculated it to 126-147 BPM based on what happened on Tuesday with my HR spiking to 210 BPM when I was finishing up.

So, 4.23 miles later (yeah, I wore the footpod too - seems gmap-pedometer overshoots the distance a little bit), I struggled to keep my wonky heart rate down in the zone. Average HR was 149, I kept it in the zone for under 20 minutes. The rest of the time, I was over 147 BPM. My body was shuffling at best at a rate of 14 minutes per mile. I've been able to crawl faster than that!

So, moving like a turtle, I did finish my run and didn't feel beaten up like I had in the previous runs. I must have done something right then. Eric Sachs told me that my internal perceptions are messed up, which I agree with. The pace that I feel comfortable running at doesn't match up to my body's actual effort in running it. If it feels easy, my heart should be working easy. Everything that I learned about heart rate training has come back to bite me in the butt. I toss out the HRM, only for it to return back to me.

Dr. Maffetone's methods. Lydiard's training. Daniels' training. All of them pimping on the need to build your aerobic base, finally has sunk in. This is why my performance two years ago was so much better than my performance lately. Atleast now, I know what I have to do and Eric gave me the okay to add on as much mileage as I'd like as long as I keep it in the zones and don't feel beaten up by the extra mileage.

So no anaerobic workouts for me. No weight training (body weight stuff is fine - pushups, pullups, crunches). No going balls-out on things for awhile until I get this aerobic capacity nailed down. This also means no CrossFit or HIT for awhile too.

Off for a walk now (one of the things that a fellow runner in my group told me can help with dropping my HR). Thinking about the next event, at a rate of 14 minutes a mile to keep my HR in check, I should be able to finish the Pigtails Flat Ass 50k in...a little over 7 hours. Oh boy. My HR better learn to adapt soon!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Today = WIN

I finally did something right and was able to get up early enough to commute via bike. WIN! May there be many more of those.

Also, my quad strain is getting better. Lots of heat applied. Lots of deep massage. Gotta love the Sports Injury Clinic.

Reviewing my training plan right now, figuring out what months could be used for periodization as base, what weeks for hills, and maybe what days to use as speed sessions. Checking out Dr. Maffetone's HR training and looking at the training from guys like Landy, Van Aaken, Cerutty, Lydiard, Sumster, and Daniels. However, from what I've been told - Daniels probably will work best versus everyone else when it comes to training for ultras, just have to add more miles/time for long run days.

And I'll still try and use some kind of regular cross-training to fight back the effects of the typical beating that we get from many miles. So far, retro-running/retro-walking is helping me out to fight back the quad-strain discomfort, but it gets a bit disorienting to move backwards for so long.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Redlining and Rantings

Yesterday evenings run showed me that I am truly out of shape compared to the way I was a year ago (and even two years ago).

I could blame the dying batteries in the chest strap, the watch, and the footpod, but no. This was all me. My perception of what I feel is easy vs moderate vs hard for exertion effort does not match to what my heart rate is.

A run that is approximately 4 miles (almost 4.4 according to gmap-pedometer.com) took me about 45 minutes to run. Not good, not bad. But here's the kicker. My exertion level for what is supposed to have felt like an "easy" run was showing my HR at an average of 170 BPM. Totally unacceptable! But my HR didn't calm down when I tried to catch up to the group and I didn't let it fall enough when I did catch them. It's the one thing that sucks about group runs, if the main part of the pack is too fast for what you're training for, you might as well have ran alone.

When I was training for my first half-marathon, I was able to keep my HR at 154-157 BPM and run at a 9:30 min/mile pace. My tempo speed was around 8:00 min/mile with my HR at 168-170 BPM. My hard speed doing intervals on the track was around 6:30-7:30 min/mile with my HR going to 185-195 BPM usually. But I put the HRM away after I moved away from triathlons and shifted to ultrarunning. I think a big part of my problem was that I didn't know how to use the data very well. I had a general idea when I was doing tris, but I wasn't able to fine-tune things.

After a very annoying morning of not waking up soon enough and just stressing out WAY TOO SOON for the workday, this is what I know:

- I need to take my health more seriously.
- I need to take my training more seriously.


For the health part:

- I need to get back to my original weight that I was at when I was triathlon training. I was around 180-190. I'm at 220 at the moment.
- I need to modify my eating habits again and go back to a combo of calorie counting, portion control, and having my meals better balanced (more veggies & fruits, less refined carbs, leaner protein)
- I need to get better sleep and have better sleeping patterns, even if it means to go to bed before everyone else in the house.


For the training part:

- I need to have a bigger aerobic base. By the results of the HRM, my aerobic base has tanked and I need MORE cardio. This also means that I need to cross-train as well. (God, I miss cycling in the mornings for my work commute.)
- I need to run more, even if it means to be slower and alone in my runs. I have to heart rate train now and only heart rate train until I can maintain a better aerobic base.
- I need to fix my injuries. Get the deep-tissue massage. Do better stretches. Cross-Train right.
- I need to force myself to find time to train and have balance. Even if it means to come off as selfish at times. I'm no good to anyone if I'm not taking care of myself.


And something that goes beyond training and health: I need to not have lofty goals and be more specific with what I want in my running and the races I do. I have my heart set on the next Cascade Crest 100, but I need to have all of my training focused on doing that race and that race alone. I have to use other races as ways to get my aerobic base up and not as a way to get more marathons and/or ultras under my belt.

I have to run with a better purpose. I have to light a fire under my ass and get moving!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Seattle Ghost 2008 Race Report (aka There's always next year)

http://www.nwultras.com/ghost_main.htm

The short: What started as a 50k, ended up turning into a half-marathon with about 7 miles extra credit.

The long: It was a morning of high hopes, but should have had lowered expectations. The idea of me pulling out a 50k or marathon distance after getting back into the running game in 3 weeks is something that only movies are made of (think Run FatBoy Run).

I got up at a fairly decent time and headed to Seward Park to get there for the early start at 7am. This was my third time at this race and it was my first attempt three years ago as my first jump to doing a 50k. Seems that after three years, you'd think I would have eventually hit that number. 2006 - I dropped after passing the half-marathon point. 2007 - I finished the marathon distance and opted not to do the 50k since it was my first double marathon weekend (2 marathons in 48 hours). For 2008 - I would try and get those 31 miles in as best as I could.

So, after the usual talk about the course by one of the best RD's around (Scott Krell), a group of us took off at 7am. I ran for a bit with my buddy Stan Nakashima, but he was running at a clip that my weenie legs couldn't keep up with. I let him go ahead and made a pitstop (for a race that is considered a fat-ass/low-frills event, the number of bathrooms along the course is quite remarkable.) The pitstop was a blessing, since that mild "rest" actually got my running mojo going and I was feeling very good and very comfortable running through the course for the first half. Running on the soft-surface trail next to the waters of Lake Washington felt very liberating. I saw my Marathon Maniac cohorts, always a pleasure to see them in passing, feeding off their positive vibes. I was right on pace, hitting about sub-12 minute miles. Then something odd happened after passing the half-marathon point, my left quad was starting to seriously bug out.

I thought that maybe I could walk it off. I proceeded to walk the entire Seward Park loop, about a 4 mile lollypop loop before returning to the aid station/start/finish point. I was moving at 15 minute miles at this point and thought that I could continue for the rest of the course. I had moved for about 17 miles and figured I could go for the remaining 9 miles to do atleast the marathon distance or if I could run again, finish the 50k.

After another mile of walking, my quad was screaming. There was no shutting it up without stopping. I had to take a hard look at myself and re-evaluate my objectives. Do I suck it up and keep going, even though I could mess myself up more? Do I wave the white flag and live to fight another day? In my head, I thought, "I was able to finish a killer course like White River with little training, why can't I keep going now?" Then I realized that I was better conditioned to handle a course like White River back in July. I've been deconditioned for several months and actually convinced myself that I could pull myself through a flat paved 50k. I cut my losses and opted to have my results down as finishing a half-marathon (actually closer to 14 miles since I did the longer out-n-back) plus close to 7 miles of extra credit. So I went for about 19-20 miles today. But hey, this marks the longest distance I've done now since my original stress fracture injury. That counts for something.

So, a nice freezing soak in the waters of Lake Washington to aid in the recovery (others followed my lead soon after) and some excellent aid station & post-race food that whups the Seattle Marathon's stuff, hands down. Chicken Soup, Vegan Chili, Vegitarian HotDogs, Boiled Potatoes with Salt Dips, Candy, Coca-Cola, Water, Gatorade, etc. Always kick-ass!

The amusing things that came from this event:

- Maniac Ray "McGyver" Shaw snagging the hotdog that I made up for myself (yeah, we all cracked up once I realized what just happened)
- Shawn thinking that she was done, then finding out she had another Seward Park loop left to complete a 50k. She was ready to start boxing someone, yo! :-)
- Watching people get use to the chilly Lake Washington waters. It's always funny to see people do that shiver-shake the moment they get in.
- Scott Krell's Scotty Dog trying to eat three sugar packets without anyone being the wiser. Good thing my "no-no, bad dog!" senses were tingling at that moment.

A kudos for those that ran this course to completion and an extra kudos for those that are doing their best with trying to handle the Northwest Triple. Good luck at the Seattle Marathon guys! And to Maniac Monte: Hope you get through your 100th Marathon tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

To Everyone

Have a Happy Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's all about technique...

Technique. You hear about it everywhere. Athletes hear about it the most and are constantly reminded to make sure their technique in whatever they do is as flawless as possible. But why? Why is technique so important?

Technique is defined as "The procedure used to accomplish a specific activity or task."

My experience with changing the procedure to accomplish a specific task was an interesting one today.

A fellow co-worker had given me some tips and advice on my workouts with the Concept2 Rower - an ergonomic rowing machine. In a former life, she was apart of a rowing team down in Texas and is looking to get back into it. After my first time rowing 2,000 meters, she told me what I needed to tweak out with my technique to be faster/stronger/better. So, today I did exactly as she told me. Push off with the legs first before pulling on the chain. Make your movement one fluidic motion. Make sure the chain stays roughly straight and don't go over your knees. I focused on these things as I started to row, row, row...and it worked!

My time the previous rowing session was going about 2:15-2:30/500m with the way I worked before. Today's time with those simple tweaks: 1:92-2:02/500m and I was not getting the same arm strain that I was the last time. I was able to complete a 2,000 meter row in under 8 minutes, shaving off 90 seconds from my previous time.

Although I was a bit jelly-legged (I was warned this would happen too and it's a sign that you did it right), I felt great! Added bonus, that quad strain that I felt was eased greatly after doing this workout!

In all sports, we're coached to move a certain way. Sloppy effort equals sloppy results. During my 10+ miler on Sunday, I felt better on that run than previous runs. Reason: Eric was coaching me on - SUPRISE! - running technique. Little changes to the way I move my legs, how I plant my feet, my body alignment, etc. All of those little changes gave me bigger gains. I felt more comfortable. I felt less sore. I felt like I could go on longer, even with my lack of a bigger aerobic base due to being sidelined these past few months.

When I was doing triathlons, the same thing applied. With better technique, I cut through the water like a hot knife through butter. I was able to ride uphill and not have to get off the bike and push it like a car with a dead engine.

So what's the point? You have a good technique and you can equalize the field of competition. I've seen guys on old steel road bikes beating dudes on $5000 triathlon bikes made of carbon fiber. Guys were the same size and had the same VO2. But the road bike dudes had better riding technique. I've seen ladies in their early 50's deadlift 200 lbs barbells that guys in their 20's couldn't do half the weight and the guys looked more "muscular".

Whatever you have a passion to do, learn it well and learn how to do it right everytime.

The Joy of Massage

My wonderful wife gave me a helping hand and aided my massage of my left quad. Seems a few days ago, I mildly strained it with doing dumbbell squats (52.5 lbs in each hand). And since then, the muscle is still pretty tight and has a deep ache depending on how I move my leg or if I even tense/flex the quad. But the achey feeling does go away during my runs, so this won't sideline me for Saturday. However, I think I'll look into getting a sports massage or a deep-tissue massage after the Ghost. It's been some time since I've had an LMP turn my muscles into melted butter.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Before I forget...

10.60 mi @ 1:57:28

Very good long run! I think I'm ready for the Ghost!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dogs don't run...

Well, my dog doesn't...or rather she chose not to run yesterday as I had hoped.

I had woke up a bit later than expected, so running with the group was out of the question. I needed to do about 16-18 miles VERY SLOWLY. I had decided at the last minute to take the family dog with me. Well, our puggle pup decided that after two miles, she wasn't going to take it anymore and proceeded to trip me. Over and over. I wasn't too happy about that and decided that the run would have to be bagged. So after walking her for the remaining 2.5 miles (we were that far from the car), I was glad to take her home and just take that morning as it was.

However, despite that long run snag - the training plan went well. This is what I've figured will work with my work and homelife schedule:

Mondays: Rest
Tuesdays:
Lunchtime - X-Train during my lunch (weights, rowing, etc)
Evening - Group Runs of 6-8 miles (Although they're supposed to be "easy" runs, they feel more medium or marathon pace for me at the moment)
Wednesdays: Lunchtime Runs @ Work from 2-4 miles (Could be easy/recovery runs, could be tempo/intervals, could be just good powerwalks)
Thursdays: Repeat of Tuesday
Fridays: Repeat of Wednesday
Saturdays: Rest or Alternative Long Run (if I can't do a long run on Sunday for whatever reason or if's just some place too good to pass up.)
Sundays: Long Runs ranging from 12-35 miles, preferibly sticking around 18-20 miles weekly.

I followed this so far this past week and with the exception of Sunday getting botched, it went well. I'm still pretty confident that I'll hold up for the Seattle Ghost in two weeks. As long as I'm conservative on that day and take an early start, I should be able to complete the distance (not to mention giving myself a serious shock to the system) in the cutoff time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Officially Sponsored! *happy dance*

To my suprise yesterday, a package was waiting at home in a BIG BOX from SOLE.

I'm right now wearing the really cool black t-shirt and flexfit cap with the company name and logo on them. (Pics to come later...maybe. Black is definately slimming!) And it goes well with the red sports flask they also provided! They even threw in an extra pair of heat-moldable footbeds for my regular shoes too! Thanks to SOLE and especially Claire from their Marketing Dept who was nice enough to offer this to me!

I'm no Dean Karnazes by any means, but I hope to be a positive representative for SOLE! I'll definately write up how the footbeds (and my foot) hold up after my first race since my stress fracture sidelining me and for my subsequent races after that (including my goal of doing the Cascade Crest 100).

So far, it's been a month since I've been using them and the experience is positive overall. The tendons in my right foot rarely (and I do mean RARELY) bother me during my runs now. The original pains I felt have diminished greatly and the support I get now is phenomenal. I'm also able to maintain better form, despite my muscles still needing better conditioning (which will come with time and training).

The only difficulty I'm experiencing in relation to using the SOLE footbeds is trying to adjust my laces of the shoe since the arch of my foot goes up in the sweet spot and the current lacing system I have doesn't work as well as it should. However, that's simple user error on my part and I simply have to find a better lacing method to make the shoe fit better. The other thing I have to learn is to STOP JAMMING MY FOOT IN THE SHOE! Cramming/Jamming your foot into your footwear can cause a minor shift in the footbed placement and you'll feel weird when standing in them. Slipping them on gently always works best.

Things learned so far this week:

- On a group run, figure out where exactly everyone is going and then go at your own pace - not theirs. I got smoked and slowed considerably after two miles in a 6+ mile easy run due to running a faster 8-9 minute pace versus a 10-11 min pace that my body can currently handle better. (6.43 miles in 1:06:17; traffic light stops - boo!!!!)
- Make sure you don't forget your workout clothes. Due to no running clothes, I did a 2 mile powerwalk on the treadmill in my jeans and a spare t-shirt. I had the speed set to 4.0 MPH @ 2% incline, so yeah - I got sweaty after the first 15 minutes.

I also think I figured out a good running/workout schedule for myself, but I'll see if it's successful after this week is up before I disclose it.

Happy running all!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Soup Nazzie - Volunteering @ Ron Herzog

http://www.ronherzog50k.com/

Another race I participated in without putting in a single mile of running. Wanting to be apart of something in some way, I volunteered again at another event - a 50k in Granite Falls, WA (just outside of Everett). The task I agreed to: Manning the Start/Finish aid station, makin' soup. Yeah, I was going to be the Soup Nazzie.

The previous night, despite waking up 5 times in a row - I felt remarkably refreshed. I figured that I'd help out and get some running miles in since I missed a run that week. Hit a Starbucks along the way and got some coffee for everyone (which only a handful of folks actually drank - must get a "Coffee for all" sign next time.) After some scary driving in the darkness that is late autumn, I found the race site. The one thing I've always hated about running these things or helping out at these things is trying to find the places at night. I'm always paranoid that I'll miss a turn or get lost and end up somewhere like in the movie Deliverance.

After finding the site, I saw that things were already underway. Shawn and tc were getting things in order, registering folks and trying to bring order to the chaos that goes along with being in-charge of races. A pretty warm morning, we figured things were going to go well for most folks.

After the first set of runners left for the early start, a few of the faster folks hung around waiting for the regular start. Well, with all this waiting time, people talk...about weird stuff. You stick a bunch of ultrarunners in the same place and you get the most oddest and inappropriate conversations...that I won't get into here and will leave this post relatively PG. Haw-haw! :-P

Once the regular starters went off, we pretty much chilled for a bit. Our other volunteer (Jess Mullen) was going to be running the aid station around mile 8 and since the course forced people to run virtually uphill for the whole way there, she had plenty of time to drive over and setup shop for those runners. But soon, Jess, Shawn, and tc all took off to their respective places and I was alone. Just me and my propane stove...until a green Saturn rolled in fast and out popped Linda Barton with a late start (but still a pretty fast finishing time being tardy!)

Still, there was plenty of time before I had to play Soup Nazzie, so I figured it would be a good time to get a run in of atleast an hour. Ya know, get a feel of the place. That's when the sky opened up and decided to dump on the whole place. Call me a fair-weather runner if you will, but my t-shirt and shorts that I packed in the car were not going to cut it for this amount of wet.

So, with my main plans of running during the downtime being shot, I pre-occupied my time with my new issue of Runner's World with David Goggins on the cover, my Nintendo DS, and checking/readying the supplies for soup. That's when I started to be a dorky nag about things.

When I was done hooking up the propane tanks to the stove and the smaller tanks to the portable heater, I realized what was missing:

- Four D batteries for the heater to operate the fan (but that wasn't too bad to not have since the heater itself worked.)
- No matches or lighter for the stove (yeah, it didn't have any kind of starter built-in).

"Okay, how do I light the burners?", I thought to myself. Then I saw that the heater had a small pilot light that would pop out when you started it up. I used a wooden stirring stick that was provided with the Starbucks coffee I bought earlier and used that as a way to get some fire for the stove.

Now that the stove was working (well, slowly at first), I looked at the soup that was donated. My first thought was, "OMG WTF?" We had 30 runners and we had 6 cans of various chicken soups, 5 cans of various beef veggie soups, two cans of tomatoes, and one can of chicken cream chowder...HUH????? The registration was to bring TWO CANS and $25 for the entry. The point of the cans was to have a really good surplus leftover so we could donate it to a foodbank. We also had vegitarian runners out there and they were going to have the choice of either beef or chicken??? I also knew that we were going to run out of one and people would barely eat from the other if I cooked up both Beef and Chicken soups. I then also noticed something else...no spoons. No bowls. No scoop. Oh boy. Time was ticking by quickly at this point. It was 4 hours since the regular start and people would be showing up wanting warm food, especially after running in the cold rain for 2+ hours.

tc and Shawn showed up just in time and had the rest of the stuff needed for soup. It was the big oops of that day. Then as the first and second runners came in, they had to go without any warm goodies. Both vegitarians...and both guys also failed to bring in cans of soup themselves. (NO SOUP FOR YOU!) Thankfully, a majority of the folks were meat-eaters and slammed down that chicken soup (and some even enjoyed the beef!).

Everyone seemed to be in good spirits. As for me, I originally felt like we weren't as well organized as we were at Baker Lake. Looking back, I think that feeling was more attributed to the fact I didn't have everything I needed at the start at first. Mistakes happen and it wasn't something that would take down the event. I was just my typical anal-retentive self, but I always want to make sure that things go well during these events. I personally think it's my best quality as a volunteer, to care enough to want things to go 100% well and that everyone is taken care of. Hopefully, I didn't alienate myself to my friends in being so anal-retentive.

Now that's over, I wonder what the next race is that I'll lend a hand at? Will I ever RUN any of these races? Only time will tell. :-)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A run of change

6.2 miles in 1:01:12, flat and feeling good at the end...and then I came home just in time to see this...

Barack Obama wins the Presidential Race and is now going to be the 44th President of the United States!



YES WE CAN.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pushing past the edge

8, maybe 10 miles. But I was thinking 8.

But somehow, with some patience and a little help from my friends (well, one friend - Thanks Rob), I ran almost 14 miles (13.68 mi) in 3 hours exactly. A very slow pace of 13:09/mile, but all the miles and time - total quality.

Best thing of all, the only thing that hurt was the good kind of hurt in my calves and hamstrings. My stress fractured area was a non-issue. *BIG CHEEZY GRIN*

This run has shown me a few things:

1.) With enough patience, I can go long...not fast, but long.
2.) Doing the Seattle Ghost Marathon or 50k at the end of the month looks more doable.

Totally looking forward to tomorrow and beyond. Totally.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Catch-up for the week

I'm still a bit sore from yesterday's run. We had to play the game of "Beat the Train" and I ran harder than I wanted to, causing some aggravation to my foot. It settled back in after a few minutes with the support in my shoes, but I knew that I was going to have to take today as a forced rest day in order for my foot to feel normal again and to do some serious massage therapy on it.

But so far, here's how the week's played out:

10/20 - 1 strength training set w/10 minutes of jumprope skipping
10/21 - 2.94 mi easy run in 30:33
10/22 - strength training (2 sets) w/500 meter row warm-up
10/23 - 4.2 mi easy run in 46:02 (shin pain was less)
10/24 & 10/25 - Rest/Family time
10/26 - 6 mi easy, flat run with the dog in 1:02:52
Total weekly mileage: 13.2 mi

Current:
10/27 - repeat of 10/22, more weight for squats and focus on toe lifts
10/28 - 6 mi "easy", rolling run at night in 1:01:31

If my foot starts to feel better in a few, I'll see how a strength training session holds up. Update: I was able to get through 1 set but had a constant headache that wouldn't let up, so I decided to stop and tend to my noggin.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sponsorship would be cool

Heh heh, a guy can dream. But I was amazed to see that after I posted up an entry about SOLE heat-moldable footbeds, SOLE actually responded to me in 24 hours from it! The age of the internet is remarkable, it really is.

Well, to SOLE's credit - so far, so good. Although I'm wearing the Slim Sport versions in my old Asics Gel-Kayano 14's that I retired after running the White River 50 mile ultra as regular walking shoes, I bought two of the Dean Karnazes signature edition versions at REI as well. I took one of those pairs with me to work today to get them in one of my Brooks Adrenaline GTS 7's that I keep at work for running workouts. Followed the instructions and got those warm footbeds into my shoes. Although I'm an 11.5 shoe size, the size 11's seem to work better than the 11.5-12's when I tried them in the store. After baking, they fit even better inside the shoe.

A few hours later, I took those out for a real run. A quick massage of my feet, some mild stretching and I was soon out the door. Flat roads & concrete, easy pace, no HRM (cause I failed to bring it), and the weather was very cooperative for a Seattle October. With traffic lights, I ran just under 3 miles (2.94 mi for those counting) in 30:33. Had I not been required to stop, I'm sure I would have had a sub-10 min/mile pace instead of doing 10:11 min/miles.

I was glad I was able to control my pace and not go bananas out there. Running on concrete wasn't too bad this time. My right foot wasn't wonky (YAY for SOLE!) and the only problem I had was my left calf and shin, which I attribute to some deconditioning and my need to work on my form. The only way to fix that, more running.

Being able to run that distance with relatively minor discomfort is a good thing for me since it means that I can get back into my running routines that I enjoy. Doing 6 milers and some long runs with my running buddies at The Balanced Athlete. Participating in local ultras & marathons with The Marathon Maniacs. Being able to finally go and run on trails at the Issaquah Alps and other areas (although I got to get some new trail running shoes).

I know I won't be fast, I've never been. But I'll be happy being able to go long and not stopping until I hit that finish line. Can't say that's sponsor-worthy, but I know what I like and I know what I can do. If those SOLE's can hold up under me, I'll sing their praises too.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Because you need it

After seeing this on a Eric's blog, I had to add my own spice to it.



Original image from http://journeytoacentum.blogspot.com and http://ikeeprunning.blogspot.com / Motivational poster created using http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/motivator.php

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I'm a SOLE man

I have to write a letter to the company SOLE for their heat moldable footbeds. Although they're more pricey than your standard Dr. Scholl's, they're less expensive than custom orthodics from a doctor and work just the same if not better.

The same foot that had the stress fracture was acting up like mad. I could barely walk. I knew I couldn't have re-fractured it. What was up? After doing some serious reading, I did the following:

- Applied a cold gelpack and elevated the leg
- Did various flexibility exercises (doing foot swirls, flexing my toes)
- Used the yoga toes to spread my toes and metatarsals
- Massaged the foot, focusing between the metatarsals
- Hot water foot soaks

It eased things, but there was still some lingering feelings of soreness. I finally opted to get the last thing I needed: Solid footbeds.

Seems that SOLE is only one of a few companies that makes a really solid footbed where the whole thing is solid, not just the arch and heel. At $45 a pop, those things better be good. After just testing them without baking, it convinced me. My foot stopped hurting. It even stopped hurting outside of the shoe. The tendons and muscles settled in the right places along with the bones and joints in the foot. I bought two for my running shoes (the Dean Karnazes versions) and one version that was meant for lighter use. I actually walked and ran for two miles with the dog and my feet felt awesome! My calves and shins hurt due to being deconditioned, but the feet were feeling great!

I have an uphill struggle to get myself back to normal, but I'm more positive that I'll be able to get back into the swing of things and do the Cascade Crest 100 like I wanted.

Monday, October 6, 2008

And I ran...

I ran two miles to-day-ay-ay, everybody sing!

The treadmill was acting really oddly on my foot, so I decided to take it outside. Thank GOD for that. Although the first 5 minutes of running was with some discomfort, after waiting for a light to change to continue, my foot started to feel great! I actually ran back to my original starting point (1+ mile out) without any stops in about 11 minutes!!!

Must hope this good running mojo keeps up!

Monday, September 29, 2008

And the dead shall walk again...

After weeks of frustration, my foot is now feeling really close to normal.

I think that my purchase of a device that spreads toes out (similar to Yoga-Toes) is helping with my feet along with general massage now and replacing my insoles with a more stiffer one.

I honestly think that I'll be able to start running, effective tomorrow. Very short miles, but it's something!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I am Minudo - The TimeLord!!!! (aka The Baker Lake 50K Doings)

http://www.bakerlake50k.com

With my right foot still being gimpy (until recently - ran 1 minute intervals at a 12 minute per mile pace for 20 minutes! YAY to recovery!!!!), I've been doing more volunteering at races lately. Last month, it was the Balanced Athlete/Road Runner Sports 10k for the Nike Human Race. This past Saturday, it was the Baker Lake 50k all the way up in Concrete, WA. I wanted to check out the area, but I also wanted to be of some use instead of just some dork hanging around. So I threw my hat in as a volunteer. Good way of giving back to the running community and getting some more good running mojo to heal me up!

Now, with the story of Baker Lake. It was ran by Dave Dutton and his wife Jeanette since 2002. This course was totally dug by everyone who ran it. Rolling single-track hills along a big gorgeous lake, who wouldn't want to take that on as a challenge? (Although due to a recent problem with a bridge in the area, the course was modified - but harder than ever.) Well, the Duttons moved across the state and the ultrarunning community was going to lose a race that has had a good following unless someone else could have taken on the responsibility as Race Director. The reigns would be passed onto the awesome that is Shawn McTaggert. I consider myself to be good friends with Shawn and after working with her during the North Bend-2-Vantage run, I figured she could have some use for me for the race. A few email exchanges and I was committed.

A weird Friday night made for about 3 hours of sleep the following morning. In a mild scramble, I left the house at 3:30am to make the long 126 mile drive and get there by 6am to help get things ready.

Things that I'm always suprised at:

- Radio stations play absolute crap at that hour. The DJ's might as well give me a bottle of Nyquil and a Roofie with the way the music bored my brain.
- There is atleast one jackhole who wants to ride your butt on the road, even though all the lanes are clear of traffic. This is where having a car that can release an oil slick or a bunch of tacks on the ground behind you would come in handy.

In under 90 minutes, I made it to the last Starbucks in the area in Burlington, WA. I politely held up a 1 quart vacuum-sealed thermos and said, "Skinny Vanilla Latte, please." (Note: 1 quart is close to 2 Venti's). I got an extra Skinny Vanilla Latte and drove on. The rest of the drive was eerie. The last big town is Sedro Wooley, WA. Once you leave the city limits, there is nothing but trees and road. If you run out of gas at this point, you're so screwed. Cell service also is gone once you get off of the main drag and start heading towards Baker Lake for the 13 mile drive. If you want to disappear without anyone possibly communicating with you or finding you, that's the place to do it.

After fighting off another butt-riding jackhole, I encountered my buddy Stan Nakashima who was trying to get to the race site too. We both finally found the place in the darkness and it looked like things were already getting ready. There, I saw tc* and King Arthur (along with his kids and dogs - what a superdad!) who have already helped get somethings ready. Check-In/Post-Race Tent Up? Check. Goodie Bags and various swag accounted for? Check. T-Shirts? Check. Race Bibs? Check. Check-In list? Uh-oh...well, that's okay, Shawn has them. Hmmm...where's Shawn? Up marking the course. Okay, well the race isn't going to start for another hour.

Then people started asking about checking in. Okay, looks like the natives are getting restless. tc* elects to have me find Shawn. I drive along the course to find her. This is my only chance at seeing some of the course and the view that you get from the Baker Lake Dam is pretty wild. If the rest of the course was anything like that, I'll definately have to run this next year.

I find Shawn less than two miles from the start and do what I do best - nag. Well, nagging by proxy - with me being the proxy. She finishes up and we both head back to the start. We start checking in the early starters and eventually get a good working flow down. Totally organized and we eventually check in everyone...well, almost. Totally didn't know one of our sweepers was registered. Oops! But that's fine, since I was able to get her finishing time down at the end.

The early starters were set to go and I break out the airhorn. I think I broke a few eardrums in the process. :-) This wasn't going to be the last time either since I did a repeat of the airhorn for the regular starters too! (Sadly, this was also going to be nearing the end of the airhorn's life too. It ran out of toots after the first set of finishers came across.)

After all the runners were gone, I realized I made a few boo-boos in my plans. Since none of the runners were going to come back to the finish anytime soon, this left ALOT of downtime, nearly 4 hours worth. I should have brought a book, my guitar, or my Nintendo DS. Just something to pass the time. I did my best to keep busy by checking and re-checking everything for the race. Idle hands are the devil's workshop after all. I should have also brought food with me. Shawn's mom was supposed to be coming with Subway sandwiches for the post-race festivities and all I had in my stomach was Starbucks Latte's. I needed food!

Then Shawn's mommy came with the food, YAY!!! She had her own issues with that herself (mixed up the stores that had the food order), but who cares? She made it before my stomach was going to devour the local wildlife (there were deer!) and those subs were delicious!

We were nearing the 4th hour of the race and knew that someone was going to finish soon based on finishing times from previous years. We needed to somehow get word on when some of the runners were coming down. Thankfully, Shawn had walkie talkies. What does she pick for her codename? Secret Squirrel. What did I end up choosing? Well, thanks to Robert Lopez (aka Stevie Ray, aka McLovin, aka Maniac #111, aka Public Enemy #111) and the incident at White River, I end up being Minudo. So Secret Squirrel took one walkie talkie with her and I stayed at the finish line, waiting to make sure those things worked. Not perfect, but good enough.

Shawn came back down and we got confirmation! One runner was heading to the finish! One of our resident fasties, James Varner. I decide to take on the task of marking down finishing times. I did it before for the Nike Human Race 10k, but this would be the time where I could actually jot the data down.

James then came screaming in, breaking the tape in 4:03 and winning a Baker Bear (a cute teddybear for the first place male & females in the open, masters, and senior divisions.) James left a pretty huge gap between him and the next guy who came in at 4:21. The guy who came in 3rd I was seriously impressed with in that it was his first ultra! Our local Skagit Runner resident, Terry Sentinella, who has been doing his damnest to get a Baker Bear finally got one as the first male Master runner - YAY Terry!

Being the official timekeeper, I've noticed that it is easy to keep track of the front of the pack and the back of the pack. It's the guys in the middle you lose track of without help. I had Shawn give me the bib number order that crossed the finish line while I continued to mark down just the time. I knew that I would be able to catch up if we worked that way. As more runners flowed into the finish, we had gotten down our own flow in marking time and getting results up. Well, until one dude had his insane girlfriend sprint in with him, crossing the finish line and messing up my count. This is one of the reasons why bandits aren't allowed in race courses and dedicated pacers for races like Western States make the pacer go a different route so they don't get counted as a regular runner. So I did what anyone in power would do. I totally dicked him and gave him the slower time his girlfriend came in at! His fault, not mine. I am Minudo! Master of Time! Muhahahhahahaha!!!

I continued to time more folks and did my best to accomidate those that really really really wanted to know their finishing times. I now understand why some timekeepers get surly when you ask them, "What was my time?". If they're busy watching a finish line and you ask them to look up your time while they're working, they could miss someone coming across and they'd be the ones yelled at by the runner who didn't get accurately recorded. Thankfully, no blow-ups occurred like that.

As we were winding down and folks were leaving, it started to rain. We had about 25 runners out there trying to get to the finish. My eagerness was waiting for our golden couple. Michelle and Eric Barnes came to do the race to celebrate their 25th Anniversary and what would be more appropriate than to have Eric carry Michelle over the finish line like a groom would a bride over the threshold? Well, I made that decree and sure enough, Eric picked Michelle up and carried her across the finish. A great photo op and a good thing too. I blackmailed them with the idea that I wasn't going to record their finishing times unless they did that. Hee hee! I am Minudo the TimeLord! I make people do things to have an official finishing time! Muhahhahahhaha!!!

A few more runners and finally our sweepers came across to close out the race. Only two DNF's!

Was the long drive, lack of sleep, caffeine-fueled, mildly cranky, multiple bug bites, 11-hour day worth it? You bet it was! There is something about the relief and thrill of crossing that finish line that goes across a person's face. When you're the runner, you feel tired and somewhat elated. When you're the observer, you can see it in motion. Sometimes, that is often the better view. Plus, the smiles on everyone's faces made volunteering worth all the trouble. It was a fun race and I was glad to be apart of it.

Although, there was alot of itchiness in me to wanting to run! I'll get my chance soon enough!

To everyone who was there participating: I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

To my fellow cohorts who worked the race: See note above. :-)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Volunteerism

Since I'm still recovering (foot is feeling better though...somewhat. Have to seriously ignore the urge to run.), I still have free time. So I decided to volunteer for the Baker Lake 50k run on Sept 20th...as soon as Shawn Mc-kickyourbutt-Taggert lets me know. :-D

Even though I won't be able to run the course, seeing it in person will be nice.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Bowing out gracefully

After much thought and discussion, I'm pulling out of Autumn Leaves this year.

I haven't been able to keep up my cardio base via cross-training very well due to my limited ability to put solid weight on my foot. I'm getting better, but not fast enough. By the time I can start running again (about 2-3 weeks minimum left), I'm looking at a training time that is WAY TOO SHORT for my own good when it comes to a 50 miler (even one with a generous cutoff time.) So this leaves me with possibly doing the iUWR Marathon this year, but definitely the Seattle Ghost 50k and all races after that day.

I have to say, this is one way NOT to start out training for your first hundred miler.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Nike Human Race 10k

Oh wait, I didn't run this. :-)

I just kept the time for the race put on in Kent, WA - Sponsored by the local running stores The Balanced Athlete and Road Runner Sports.

A thing that all race directors need to have in an emergency, a cigarette lighter adaptor power converter to allow someone to plug in a two-prong or three-prong device into it. The clock that was donated for our use was having battery problems. But no worries! Pulled my car right up to the finish line, broke out the adaptor, and plugged in the big clock and we were able to look official!

First Finisher's time - 44:18
Last Finisher's time - 1:22:38
100% finishers

Insane thing that happened: Since our course goes around a golf course, one runner got accidentally nailed by a golf ball whacked by a newbie golfer about 200 yards away. The golfer kind of showed our downed runner his lack of concern when he asked the two questions of...

1.) Uh, did I hit you? (Runner was on the ground, wincing from the impact of the ball that nailed her on the ankle.)
2.) Uh, do you have my ball? (SERIOUSLY!)

But she was a trooper and shook it off after a 10 minute sitdown and still finished in a sub-60!

Free swag given out at the end and that closed out another successfully hosted race.

To those that ran the Nike Human Race, I hope you had as much fun running as I did working it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The PushUp Blah

Looks like I'll have to repeat week one again or just day 1 repeatedly with the push-up routine. Seems that my tolerance is set to do 12, 12, 6, 2 before I'm completely spent.

Good news, my foot is feeling less achy. I've done the press test and the hurty feeling is less, not gone - but less.

I purchased Arthur's Suunto t6 (gotta love newly acquired toys). But now I just have to learn how to use it and setup a training program. I have a funny feeling the software from Suunto's site isn't exactly programmed to have a 100 mile ultra training program.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Bike = BAD

Well, not quite bad. But I now remember why I usually don't use the built-in cardio program in stationary or recumbent bikes. They do the insta-hill function that can kill you after 5 minutes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Hundred Pushup

Another lunchtime spin on the elliptical for 45 minutes (5.4 miles covered, keeping my HR around 152 BPM).

Since there is no way to do CrossFit WODs with my foot the way it is right now (lifting weights is a no-no since it puts pressure on my feet like mad and aggravates the stress fracture area), I found something else to help me out. At hundredpushup.com, they have a 6 week plan to build yourself up to 100 pushups. Not bad. Simple, yet effective. I did day 1 yesterday evening and cranked out 41 pushups total (10, 10, 8, 6, 7). By the time my foot is ready for running, my core and upper-body should be stronger to handle the pounding and shock that running usually brings on.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Can't go over it, can't go under it...

If anyone remembers that song as a kid, We're going on a lion hunt, will probably remember the lines that go something like, "Can't go over it. Can't go under it. Can't go around it. Blah blah blah..."

After two weeks of forcing myself to be a stump and doing my best to not use my right foot, I finally got my ass to doing a 45 minute ride on the elliptical at work...and with actual success! No pain or discomfort in the right foot of any kind. My leg muscles were actually HAPPY for once!

About 4 weeks of doing that and I should be able to re-boost my cardio base again before I set shoe rubber to the road. Speaking of which, I've bought five pairs (yeah, five) of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 7's for super-cheap and they feel great (as good as the Asics, but with a roomier toebox and better control from what I can feel.) Hopefully they'll work for me for the rest of the training time with Cascade Crest 2009 as the main goal.

And in regards to Cascade Crest, a thumbs up to all who decided to take that adventure on again for its 10 year and a double thumbs up for those that finished.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

That Bruce Lee crackling sound...

I can never remember exactly if it was Enter the Dragon or Game of Death, but there is a fight scene where Bruce proceeds to crack virtually every joint in his body by tensing up his fists and muscles right before he is about to fight (and win of course - he's Bruce Friggin' Lee!)...right now, I feel like I'm ready to crack those knuckles and thensome.

I've been off of my feet (more or less) for over a week. The right foot has bouts of sudden shock from foot flexion and having to fix the bones and tissues in that area. I've just gotten over a bout of food poisoning from the weekend, which is making me more more antsy. And the fact I have had to drive into the office for the last 9 days is making me go nuts. I hate driving in traffic and wasting gas like that.

I've got to atleast make an attempt to get back into my typical routines of cycle commuting and get my workouts back in order, the sooner the better.

Giving it a go tomorrow and try and get some ass-kicking done.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A 4-week Vacation from Running

Went to the doc and it looks like the symptoms are definately pointing to a stress fracture (when he wasn't mildly gushing on my past medical history of kicking my diabetes in the butt).

So, I'm out for 4-weeks of no running and doing alot of non-weight bearing/non-impacting cross-training for now.

I'm still confident I'll still be able to do the Autumn Leaves 50.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Turning the Dial UP!

Today's WOD in a few minutes: Dumbbell Dead Lifts in 5-3-3-2-2-2-1-1-1. Max load is 52.5 lbs for each dumbbell since that's the highest weight I can get those to.

Finished the WOD, but it really didn't feel at all difficult. The weight is not nearly enough at 52.5 lbs per dumbbell and since I can't increase the weight, I'm going to have to increase the reps the next time I do this routine. Most likely it'll be moved to 8-5-5-4-4-4-3-3-3 or something to that effect. No wonder why deadlifts are done at the person's own body weight or higher!

The Reaper and The Run

Missed the run with the group yesterday and opted to do one solo in the evening. It's been awhile since I ran alone, so I knew I had to do a course where I was going to be totally accountable to myself and get enough miles in. In my case, it would be an old 12 mile out-n-back along the Interurban Trail.

Before doing that, I made a quick trip to McLendon Hardware to buy a Scythe. Yeah, the thing the Grim Reaper uses. Only I would reap grass and weeds that were really tall and not souls...unless I opted for the deluxe model.

So after an hour of slicing up grass tall enough to hide most NBA players, I had some dinner and then went out for my first long run in a while since White River at 7pm.

Recently, I've been nursing what I think is some tendonitis on the top of my foot and not an out-and-out stress fracture. My foot hurts, but not always and during my run, the soreness comes and goes. It doesn't hurt to the touch, but only when you actually apply some serious pressure to it. Personally, I think that my legs and feet are doing their best to re-adapt to running again, but I will get this checked sometime soon.

But for the run itself - 12 miles in 2:01:21. First half 1:01:46, second at 59:34 (obvious you can tell I wanted to get home sooner). I tried to hold back more during this run since I'm always told by Eric, "You run too hard. Gotta build that base." Although I sometimes feel that if I run any slower, I might as well be walking. The foot was sore off-and-on, but not to the point where I was not able to function (another reason why I have doubt that this is a stress fracture).

Today's WOD in a few minutes: Dumbbell Dead Lifts in 5-3-3-2-2-2-1-1-1. Max load is 52.5 lbs for each dumbbell since that's the highest weight I can get those to.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Amused

The nicknames people come up with sometimes.

Seems mine is now Minudo

Thanks McLovin!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Blessing

Came to an agreement.

As long as I get a medical check & clearance before I sign-up and my training doesn't interfere with life (i.e. Trying to bail out of pre-existing plans in favor of a run...although I've never done that before), I have the greenlight for Cascade Crest!

It might as well have been a YES to begin with. :-)

Training versus Doing

Yesterday's 6 miler with the group went much better than yesterday. 4 miles out, 10 pushups, 2 miles back. Temps were the same, but there was more shade where we were at and a better breeze...plus I ran without my shirt on to try and lower my body's overheating core. 1:01:21 for the total time. Oh yeah, and my supposed super-slow 6 miler from Tuesday was WAY off. It was 6.8 miles from what everyone told me yesterday. Thank God. I knew I couldn't have been that slow.

I decided to take today as a rest day for now, both physical and mental.

One thing I want to touch on when it comes to races is Training versus Doing. Training for a Race versus Doing one. What's the difference? In my decision to train for the Cascade Crest 100, my wife got upset that I didn't discuss this with her. I had to make it clear that...

...Training for a Race is not the same as actually DOING IT...

People go to college to train and learn to be doctors and lawyers. However just because you're going to school to become one, doesn't mean you will be one. You could drop out. You could decide it's not for you and change your major. You could graduate and then decide to take your life in a different direction. Preparing for a race is exactly like that. I could work at doing all the necessary thing to get ready for a 100 mile trail race, but it doesn't mean that I HAVE TO run it...even if it means I paid for the entry. I could get injured along the way (but hopefully not). I could get burned out and decide that this year isn't the year to do it again. I could even decide at the last minute to just drop out, just because.

My desire to do a 100 miler is apart of a larger scheme. Through training for a 100, I hope to:

- Be fitter with greater endurance and strength in doing long distance runs
- Be faster and be able to have higher mileage
- Be slimmer and not carry nearly as much weight (goes back to being fitter and faster)
- Be more disciplined in my workouts
- Enjoy moving my feet more

This way, after the 100 is over, all those things will be apart of my being and it will be something you can't separate from who I am.

But doing the race itself, that's just a single point on this long string of life.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Jam on Toast

My first Parkour workout/Jam went well. No injuries (YAY!) and it felt like a really good workout (the puddle of sweat confirms it).

The warm-up consisted of:

100 rope skips
15 squats
10 pushups
15 calf raises
15 toe raises
5 front leg extensions (easy kicks) low, medium, high
5 side leg extensions (easy kicks) low, medium, high
5 back leg extensions (easy kicks) low, medium, high
core/back stretch
10 torso twists (slow and fast)
arm/shoulder stretch/loosening
ab stretch

After this, it was agility conditioning. I marked a series of sections 6 sections on the ground to act as "boxes" that my feet would step in to do the following in 2 drills:

High knees - one-step in each box (roundtrip)
High knees - two-step in each box (roundtrip)
Butt Kicks - one-step in each box (roundtrip)
Side steps - two-step in each box (roundtrip)
High knees backwards - one-step in each box (roundtrip)
5 burpees and Quadrapedal Movement (The Lop and Alligator)

Focus was on form and efficiency. After this, I practiced box/platform jumps, landings, and tuck-unders. So far, so good - my tuck-unders are close to three feet in height and I'm able to jump on 24-inch boxes with no difficulty. I still have to learn to balance better though and be able to pick up my feet more during the agility drills.

Hopefully tonight's run will not be nearly as hot & humid as Tuesdays...well, one can hope.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Lunge, Push Press, & Row your boat...

On my third day of CrossFit workouts and I'm starting to get the gist of why people are hooked to this...but before I go into that, here's today's WOD:

- Lunges (10 each leg - was supposed to be 100 feet, but due to the confined space, I estimated my lunge covers about 100 feet. 20 lunges x 5 feet = 100 feet)
- Dumbbell Push Press (although it is supposed to be 50% of your body weight, I modified it to 35 lbs dumbbells.)
- 500 meter row (same settings as last time with the damper on 5.)

The goal: Do as many circuits in 20 minutes.

My results: 4 circuits with 51 seconds on the clock left. Left in a total sweat drenched mess again (I should expect that from now on.) The 15 push presses had to be broken up into chunks of 5-5-5 or 10-5 in the last two due to exhaustion and fear I would drop the weights. On the last row, I really went all out to finish in the alloted time.

Now back to the understanding...I noticed over the last three days, with as exhausted and taxed I am physically, a feeling that is almost cousin to the runners' high does take hold if only for a few moments. Could be the sense of accomplishment. Could be the endorphins. Could it be the aura of confidence in oneself after doing something tough? Who knows?

Will I be able to keep this up 5 days a week? Uh, no. I am an ultrarunner (or atleast someone who is trying to be). So this means that running should be my main staple of exercise and training. However, there is alot to be said about cross-training and knowing myself, I struggle with trying to go with higher mileage. Cross-training does help quite a bit...well, atleast to the point where I can survive most races. But I'm tired of trying to survive and I actually want to do WELL for a change.

Tomorrow: Parkour Jam during lunch and a run with the Balanced Athlete guys. The Parkour workout won't be much, just learning to pick up my feet higher, but I'll eventually learn how to do some types of vaults and jumps. After all, it's alot faster to get over a downed tree on a trail if you can fly over it instead of having to straddle it to get over usually. The run tomorrow will probably be another 6 more miles, which is fine, but I know that I'll have to find ways of having increases in mileage on other days to get myself to that 50-60 mpw base that I need to be at.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Puddle of Sweat

After my warm-up of two rounds of 50-75 rope skips, 10 overhead squats, 20 overhead walking lunges, 10 pushups, and 10 sit-ups; I did my WOD.

Today's WOD consisted of:

- Dumbbell Bench Press @ 40% bodyweight [40 lbs each] (modified from 75% since the dumbbells don't go that high together and my lifting isn't that great yet).
- 500 meter row on Concept-2-Rower (damper set on 5 based on bodyweight).

5 rounds for time total.

Total time: 20:43

I should technically shave off about 30-60 seconds due to the prep time to get the dumbbells off the stand and to put them back gently (not allowed to just drop them on the ground). But, it forced me to use my abs and back muscles to get up from the bench with the weights in my hands and put the weights back in the stand each round.

Getting that last one in was the most difficult. In the beginning, I started at the 35 lbs dumbbell setting and then increased to 40 lbs on two rounds, then 45 lbs. On the final, I cranked it to the max of 52.5 lbs but could only maintain my form for 4 reps and had to reset to 45 lbs, then to 40 lbs to finish. The rowing maintained around 2:09-2:13/500m.

When I was done, I was in a puddle of my own sweaty slop. During the 5th and final round, I was on the fringe of feeling the evil thing known as pukie. Thank goodness I was able to hold it together and the feeling went away once my heart rate went down.

And the nice thing about workouts like that or a long/hard run where you've just pounded your body is that the meal you eat tastes even better than before.

Looking forward to getting home for some light dinner and then running with the group at 6pm.

Update: 6 miles done in 1:08:56. Hot (87° F) and humid and affecting my stomach slightly. Doing well for 5 miles and then had to walk/run the last one. Sweating like a whore in church, but feeling accomplished.