Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My future in running and my new future running buddy

So, I decided to bail on doing the YT50K over at Cedar River. But everything happens for a reason and the reason this time was a good one. We have a new member of the family now, a puggle we've named Daisy. Hopefully, her beagle side will be the thing that will want to run with me. :-)

Here's some of her cuteness...


And more here:

In regards to my training, I've changed things up a bit. The problem was part burnout doing two-a-days and being on the treadmill. Another problem was the frequency of the runs. I can be a morning person, but I have to ease into it.

So this is what I've come up with for a workout pattern for now that I'll probably stick with till the summer. By the time the weather is more favorable and my mileage is higher and more comfortable as my base, I'll add more running days/times.

AM - No running, commuting to work via cycling (3+ miles)
Lunch - Strength Training & Core; Yoga for stretching
PM - No running, commuting to home via cycling (3+ miles),
Bedtime - Yoga for stretching

AM - 6-10 mile run @ easy pace, commuting to work via cycling (3+ miles)*
Lunch - Elliptical, Spinning, or Rowing machine work; Yoga for stretching
PM - No running, commuting to home via cycling (3+ miles)*
Bedtime - Yoga for stretching

AM - No running, commuting to work via cycling (3+ miles)
Lunch - Strength Training & Core; Yoga for stretching
PM - No running, commuting to home via cycling (3+ miles)
Bedtime - Yoga for stretching

AM - 6-10 mile run w/middle miles at tempo pace, commuting to work via cycling (3+ miles)*
Lunch - Elliptical, Spinning, or Rowing machine work; Yoga for stretching
PM - No running, commuting to home via cycling (3+ miles)*
Bedtime - Yoga for stretching

AM - 4-6 mile easy/recovery run or no running, commuting to work via cycling (3+ miles)*
Lunch - Strength Training & Core; Yoga for stretching
PM - No running, commuting to home via cycling (3+ miles)*
Bedtime - Yoga for stretching

AM - Rest day (although it could be a long run depending on what's going on for the week and whether I can get to certain trails or race events)
PM - Yoga streching and some recovery walking
Bedtime - Yoga for stretching

AM - Long Run of 12-35 miles/2-12 hrs (possible rest day if the long run was done on Saturday)
PM - Yoga streching and some recovery walking
Bedtime - Yoga for stretching

The days with asterisks will eventually be where I will just run for part of my work commute and be without use of the bike. This would increase the number of miles covered in a day. I'm hoping to eventually have toughened up enough to where I can do a run into the office once in awhile as a substitute for a long run on a weekend. I work almost a marathon distance away from home and there is a set of trails that will get me there before I would have to run on sidewalks.

And so far, so good. I've done the last 32 hours successfully with Monday going through flawlessly and this mornings run feeling pretty good, even though I could only cover 5 miles this morning after taking Daisy out for her morning potty. I'll have to make sure when the alarm goes off at 5:30am, I have to jump into action immediately and not be so slow and start my run later than I should have.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Not a Morning Person

Well, after day 2 of AM running failure - I've decided that I'm NOT a morning person when it comes to workouts on a daily basis. So I'm just going to have to suck it up and run during my lunch hour and after work, even if it means living in treadmill hell 4-5 times a week with two-a-day runs here and there. The only exception to this is on the weekend for my long runs. Guess that my body and brain find the long run has more purpose and is the real meat-n-potatoes of it all.

But in any case, today's run was a good one. Progressive treadmill run at a 2% incline. Started at a 4.0 MPH (15 min/mile pace) and gradually increased the speed, finishing at 6.0 MPH (10 min/mile pace). So 38 minutes of running with a 90 second cooldown, I covered 3.30 miles (3.1 of those in 37 minutes). Hopefully tonight's run will be just as fruitful.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mt Si Ultra training and 2008 goals

Drove to the In-Laws for a visit yesterday. Well, I dropped off the rest of the family at the In-Laws. **I** went for a trail run to help me prep for the Mt Si Ultra (yes, I'm still planning on doing the 50 miler with the shitty training I've been through lately). The run was actually really good. I was aiming for 4 hours and to do the full out-n-back of 22.6 miles, but ended up doing something close to 18 miles (finishing time of 2:55:17) instead based on where I had to turn around. Seems that Mother Nature decided to knock a few trees down on the trail and I wasn't going to scale a natural fence to continue on the trail. The trail itself goes up at about a 2% incline. I was able to keep my pace even and "slow" going up. I incorporated everything Eric Sachs @ The Balanced Athlete told me. Shorter strides. Easier footstrikes. Faster leg turnover. Even with a hydration pack on my back, the effort and feel was at a good level. However, once when I turned back around, my legs had to get use to the pounding of going downhill. Now don't get me wrong. I LOVE downhill running. However, there is a difference between a short series of downhills and one long downhill that doesn't seem to stop. My body eventually adjusted, but I know I'll need to practice more LONG downhill running before Mt Si. Possibly hitting the same trail 2-3 more times before April 13th.

Now, regarding my goals for 2008 and my training in general, I finally came up with something...

First off:

"Better work / life balance = more time for training!"

And the rest of the goals:

- Stronger base fitness level (I want to be at the point where I could do a 50k or longer at a drop of a hat).
- Lose the "freshman 15" I gained at my previous job and the crazy schedule I left behind.
- Improve upper-body and core strength to improve running form.
- Get a serious sub-4 hour marathon finishing time (and by serious, I mean by finishing closer to 3:30.)
- Have a better run for the Mt Si 50 mile ultra in April and improve my time from last year.
- Finish strong for the White River 50 mile ultra in July
- Do well as a pacer for the Cascade Crest 100 trail run
- Get 2008 miles for the entire 2008 year.

As for my training itself, I think I've come close to a good solution for a training schedule that I can keep weekly. Basically, I'll be running about 5 times a week (4 times a week minimum). I'll have the long run of course, one tempo run, and one speed session. The other runs would be for recovery and maintaining stamina/endurance. So my schedule should look something like this during the week:

Monday: AM Easy Run (1hr/5-6 miles); Noon Strength Training & Core workout
Tuesday: AM Tempo Run (1hr/6-7 miles); Noon/PM Recovery Cross-Training
Wednesday: AM Easy Run (1hr/5-6 miles); Noon Strength Training & Core workout
Thursday: AM Interval Run (1hr/6-7 miles); Noon/PM Recovery Cross-Training
Friday: AM OFF or Cross-Training; Noon Strength Training & Core workout
Saturday: Race (they do tend to do them on Saturdays alot) otherwise OFF, Cross-Training, or Long Run depending on the situation for that week.
Sunday: Race or Standard Long Run if the Saturday was a non-run day. If Saturday was a race or a long run day, this would be a day off from training or cross-training. Otherwise, the day after (Monday) would be treated as a recovery day and either the day will be taken off or cross-training will be done in-place of the run and everything will pick up on Tuesday or be doubled-up on Tuesday with an AM Tempo Run and Noon/PM Recovery Runs.

I seriously need to re-dedicate myself to a training program and stick with it. I thought it would have been easy once I got back a normal work schedule, but since I didn't have ANYTHING structured and I have races all over the damn place as training runs, it has made things difficult. However, now that I've written it out - that's the first part to committing myself to it. So after my recovery jog/walk tomorrow, I can expect to start forcing myself to get up earlier to do these workouts and do them outside instead of on the dreadmill - I've been so bloody bored with being on those things for the past two weeks!!! I have to get use to doing outdoor runs and be the one to control the speed with my body and feet, not by a button. Hope this works! *crossing fingers*

Monday, February 4, 2008

Bringing on the pain! - Lord Hill 50k race report


The short: 32 miles (got lost for 0.5 miles), 5550 total elevation gain, Finished @ 7:48:06. Longest Run ever next to my first 50 miler (50 miler was 10:37:43). Finished Dead Last!

The Long: Ok, so with my falling asleep episode at the Pigtails Run 50k last week, I was more determined to try and finish this 50k and be conscious.

I set out to Snohomish, WA for this event. The course is setup to where you do three sets of 10.5 mile "loops" (although when you look at it from a map, it's more designed like a series of lollypop loops tied together - a major way to get lost!). Elevation is about 1850 ft of gain. So at the end, you would have completed 31.5 miles and had done 5550 ft of climbing. Yeah, a real quad-buster for guys like me who need to spend more time hill training.

I was more ready for this race. I had gotten more sleep (6 hours compared to 3 hours from the previous race), had my supply of Espresso Love flavored GU with double the caffeine, and had a Starbucks DoubleShot Espresso in my dropbag.

Starting out with the first loop, I spent alot of time power-hiking the uphills and doing my best to run downhill and on the flats. It was this point I realized that my old trail shoes were in need of replacement. Half a size too small would be something that I would feel after the run was over.
Towards the halfway point, I was moving pretty well. There was a pretty good downhill that I was able to let gravity take over. Downhill running is the only thing going for me on trails, even if my shoes aren't up to snuff. But what goes down, will have to come up in this event. After slogging through many mud puddles, I saw the reason why they called the place "Lord Hill". A vertical ascent of nearly a mile makes you pray that God would strike you dead before you even go near it. The thing was so steep that no one could actually run it or even power-hike it unless they were super-elite runners. So I did my best to climb up this thing to reach the top and then get my butt back to the start to finish the loop out. First loop finished at 2:03:20.

I swapped Gatorade bottles and went out for loop two. Now my feet were getting a bit sore from the shoes feeling tighter (this I can assume my feet were swelling slightly from the pounding). I did my best to maintain my energy and pace, but that monster hill yet again sucked more life out of me. At this point, my brain and body were shifting to a primal state. It was like I escaped a group of hunters and was still moving after being wounded. My quads were feeling trashed and I knew I still had one loop left to go through this muddy-muddy place. I finished loop 2 in 2:33:26 and was seriously questioning on dropping for the fact that I would be well past the cutoff of the race. However, the RD knew of my previous 50k narcoleptic episode and told me to just go out there and finish it. He gave me enough of a kick in the butt that I needed.

However, this would prove to be the most challenging loop that would require a great deal more resources. I sucked down a GU and my Doubleshot, making me seriously caffeinated. I looked around for more Gatorade...uh oh. No Gatorade anywhere. I didn't bring a third bottle and the RD didn't have any (just water and other Ultra food). He offered to give me some food to take on the course and to just fill my bottle with water. I declined. I still had GU's, but I knew that I'd suck down water faster than I would a sports drink or something else filled with sugar...sugar...hmmm...

On the table, I saw a bottle of generic Cola. Bingo. I hadn't used Coke on the run for about 8 months, but this was an unusual situation. So I filled my empty bottle with the brown liquid and set off. My legs were really sore at this point and I did my best to run when I could. To keep my mind aware of what was around me, I ran the rest of the course in reverse. This proved to give me some mild complications. First was the elevation gain in spots that were not so good to feel after 20+ miles of running. Second was getting lost mildly due to misunderstanding the direction markers.

However, one thing I didn't do in reverse was the monster hill. I decided to go up that thing one last time. However, to help me along, I fashioned a set of walking sticks to use as treking poles to get my ass up that thing AND to help with the running on the flats and downhills like a pair of ski poles. So I let my weak upper-body do some of the work that my lower-body just couldn't do totally on its own.

One last hill climb and I was shocked to find myself 0.5 miles to the finish! I pushed hard (literally) and used my legs and poles to the finish, ending it with a scream of relief and ferocity to be done with it. Third loop finished in 3:11:19.

32 miles in 7:48:06. A Dead Last Finish. Blisters on the right foot from the shoe squeeze. Quads that are still screaming out as I move...and the respect from my fellow Maniac friends for crossing that finish line.

Best race ever. Looking forward to more and adding the miles.