Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Time for a Break

This marathon training really is tiring, huh?

I'm at the point where I'm kind of tired of being tired all the time. Tired of waking up achy and sore. So it's a good thing it is cutback week.

My plan for last week was another 40 mile week capped off with a long 17-miler on Sunday. But then I went and did hard speed sessions Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. So by Sunday my mojo stayed in bed long after I got up. I was tired and sore and thought about skipping the run. But after some coffee and Captain Crunch I felt more human, and, really, what else was I going to do anyway, so I put on the shorts and shoes and decided to at least get some miles in. I grabbed two GUs, just in case I had 17 in me, and headed out.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First let me tell you about Saturday.

Saturday my speedy track group had a little 10K "race" that has been an annual tradition in the group for 30 years! We are supposed to predict our times, and then we all go out at different times, with the goal of all finishing at the same time. The first woman went out with a goal of 77 minutes, and 43 minutes later our fastest guy started, shooting for 34 minutes. Amazingly, those two finished within 5 seconds of each other! Everybody finished within a 9 minute window, and most within 5 minutes. There was about 30 of us.

The course was beautiful, along the coastal cliffs of Palos Verdes. But also VERY hilly. The first mile had a 250 foot hill, and there were more hills later. And it was hot. So I predicted 48 minutes, and just went out with the idea of running a hard tempo.

I started with one other guy. No one in sight ahead of us. We ran together and it was nice to have someone to pace with. That hill was ridiculous but I got over it without walking, although it crossed my mind. The long downhill was nice, but miles 3-5 were tough. I slipped behind the one guy and was just hanging on to get to the final downhill. A few speedsters passed me, and I caught a few others. Check out these crazy splits.


So I finished only 9 seconds off of my prediction time; which would have won for best prediction, except there was no prize for that. Not quite race effort, but I was working hard. Then we had a potluck brunch and I got to know some more people better and there were silly prizes. It was fun. HERE is a little write up from the club.

So Sunday I was tired. I'd love to finish this with a surprise, oh I went and ran 17 anyway, but, no. I was smart and listened to my body and cut it back. However, the 8.7 miles I did run went pretty well. I didn't bonk, even though it was hot. Finished strong and didn't exacerbate any injuries. So, yay.


So that completes Phase 1 of marathon training. Since I started running again in January after my Plantar down time, it has been one steady increase in mileage without a glitch. The green line shows my 8-week average for this year. Previous peaks were for LA2012 (BQ PR) and Boston 2013.

Now I have a cutback week, since I will be going up to Tahoe for the weekend to crew Mild Sauce through the Western States 100. Then next week I have a 5K, and the following week a half marathon to taper for, so it will be 3-4 weeks of lower mileage. Then I will crank it up again for 6 weeks of heavy mileage before it is taper time.

Life is good.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Speed, Speed and More Speed

I am supposed to be Marathon training. But I like to run fast too. So I keep getting sucked into things...

This week's plan was supposed to be 7 "easy" Tuesday, Speed work Wednesday, 8 easy Friday and a long run of 17 Sunday.


Tuesday was LRS group day. And, as usual, I got drawn into running with people faster than me. This one guy taunts me regularly on not keeping up with him. But he seems to "race" all his workouts. This day he said he would take it easy, so I said "if you run 8:30's I'll run with you." And he did start out at 8:30, so I was running with him and another guy, who is even faster.

Well, they just couldn't hold that pace. By the end of mile 1, we had run 8:19, which means we were running even faster. I let those two slip away, but I have real trouble slowing down once I am in a good pace...

(FYI, they ended up accelerating every mile and running the last mile at 6:15!)

So I was alone, but feeling OK, and kept pushing the pace, and the next 5.5 looked like this:

8:14, 8:00, 7:59, 7:49, 7:45 and 7:45 for 1/2 mile before cutting back for the last 1/2 mile.

So, a solid tempo, and in my heavier shoes. Basically BQ pace, which scared me silly, because it wasn't easy.

Next day was track club. Legs felt fine as we warmed up with 1.5 mile jog and then 4 laps of striding the straights and jogging the curves. Then we did 4 300s, with 100 recoveries. Two at "medium" pace and two at "hard".

Next we did an 800 - 1st lap at 5k pace, and then, faster. I ran a 3:11 with splits of 1:41 and 1:30. It was fun.

Then a 1600, with 3 laps at 5K pace and the last lap faster. My first 3 were near 1:40 (6:40 pace) and I fnished with a 91 last lap (6:04 pace) and a total of 6:33. FUN!

Two lap recovery, annnnnd, do it again. 1600 with each lap faster than the last. I started a little slower but followed direction and sped up each lap. I love negative splits, and so does the coach, as we do this stuff all the time. Good training for negative splitting races. You learn that there is always a faster gear, and your body CAN go faster.

My splits were 1:47, 1:42, 1:38 and 1:32 for a 6:39. There was pain, but I never fell apart. Love finishing strong.

And that was it, but with a cool down it added up to 8.5 miles. And my PF was flaring pretty bad. Speed work definitely is bad for the PF, so I should probably cut back...

But you see, this club has a special event Saturday. A 10K time trial/picnic brunch. Over a very hilly course. Runners head out staggered, dipsea style, so we theoretically all finish together. I figured to miss it due to my training schedule - I didn't want to mess up my 17 miler.

But I decided to do it anyway. Try not to "race" it too hard (hahaha!), and then go ahead and do 17 the next day anyway on tired legs. This time I will fuel up better.

Also, I found out about some all-comer track meets at the high school track coming up this summer. So I will probably get to race a mile (1600) on the track and take a shot at 6:00. So I better do more speed work...

Whatever. Life is good.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Today's Lesson: Fuel

Things had been going a little too well lately. So the running Gods decided it was time to set me back a notch and maybe learn a lesson.

Saturday's plan was 16 miles, with the last ten near marathon pace. I rested Friday and felt pretty good going in. Maybe a little cocky. It was sunny so I got out by 8AM before it got too warm. I realized too late that I was out of GU in the house, so I just decided to go without (instead of the two I would have brought). I figured it would be a good test for my body to run on empty. Well, that's exactly what it was!

I also skipped breakfast, because I still felt kind of full from a big dinner. So all I had in the AM was a cup of coffee, and out the door I went.

I felt pretty good at the start. Cruising along at easy pace on my wood chip trail. I felt like it would be a good day. But by the time I got to mile 7 it wasn't feeling so easy. I was out of the shade, into the full sun at the beach, and starting to feel tired. My water stop after 8 is where I would have had a GU, and I was feeling pretty toasted already. Pace was right about where I wanted it, but during miles 9 and 10 it really became a struggle and I started to fade and I just wanted to quit.

At that point I gave up on the marathon pace, and just focused on getting home. I took long water breaks every 1.5 miles and went as slow as I could, trotting along. By the last few miles I really wanted to walk. I barely managed to make it to each water fountain. It reminded me of the last part of a marathon, and I was asking myself why the hell I wanted to do this marathon thing again. They suck and what's the point? I was ready to drop the Erie plan and just back off and save it for NYC.

The splits tell the tale.
Mile 16 really sucked.

I made it home and drank a whole bottle of Gatorade. I found I lost 3 more pounds from last week's low. Down to 152. Still not real hungry but I ate something and felt better. Not sure if two GUs would have made a difference. Breakfast probably would have helped. Anyway, I got the 16 in, so I'll just move on and hope for better luck next weekend with 17.

On a happier note, my lifetime mileage number went to 24,912 on this run, which is more than one trip around the equator (24,901 miles). So I have now run around the world. And that's pretty cool.

Friday, June 13, 2014

I've Been Running

Nothing monumental this week (yet), but I feel the need to check in.

I just ran 3 days in a row. No big deal for you streakers, but for me, a guy who is pretty impressed with himself for getting 4 runs per week in for 4 weeks in a row, well, kind of a big deal. First 3 day streak since September. So today I rest.

Tuesday was Mizuno day at the LRS. But all they had were neutral trainers (Wave Riders). Nothing with low drop or light weight. But I figured what the heck. I could save putting miles on my own shoes. So I tried them.

OMG! I hadn't run in big-heeled heavy shoes in 3 years or more. They really felt odd. And heavy! It was just an easy run day, so I went out easy. But dang! These shoes made the run feel like a lot more work than it should have been! My pace was a good 30 seconds slower than normal. The feet were comfortable, but I felt sluggish and slow. No, thank you!

Anyway, 6.4 miles done, with hills. Moving on.

Wednesday was track day with speedy club. Back in the Kinvaras! Wheeee!

1 mile warmup, then 4 laps of straights and curves to get the speed muscles warmed up. Then 3 400s. I was able to restrain myself to the suggested paces and ran 1:40, 1:30, 1:25.

Then we ran 1200s. Goal was first lap at 10K pace, 2nd lap at 5K pace, 3rd lap at Mile pace. After an 85 second quarter, it was hard to cut back to 10K pace, but I managed to do laps in 1:43, 1:38 and 1:30.

Then we did it again with similar results. And then one more time. I was flaming out by this point and took it down a notch or two, but survived, and then called it a day. The hard core runners did 3 more 400s. I did a mile cool down instead. 7 miles total.

Thursday I didn't feel too bad so decided to add in 8 more miles on my wood chip trail. Wore my trail shoes that are about to be retired. I planned to go easy, but I guess yesterday wore me out, because it was tough sledding the whole way. The wood chips are thick and loose and it makes for a tough workout. I was both tired and sore in various spots - ankle, hip, groin, feet, back. Plus I had to make a pit stop with Abby issues. All in all, a crappy run.

But I got it done! 8.2 more miles in the spreadsheet. 21.6 miles in 3 days. More hay in the barn. Today I rest, for tomorrow I am going 16.

I hope you all have a great weekend of running!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Goat Hard or Goat Home

Last weekend was the end of the Mountain Goat season, which takes the summer off. So we had our annual "Grad Run", where new members get graduation diplomas (you may remember mine from last year). It's a party, and a race! Ten miles of hilly trails, with awards! My weekend plan was to do this hilly ten, and come back Sunday for 15 more on tired legs. So I didn't want to work too hard...but it was a race after all......I think you know where this is heading...

goat hard
I kind of figured running all these hills would make me, you know, better at running hills. But I still just suck going up hills. Literally. I am sucking air big-time. Everyone else pulls ahead of me while I have to walk. I blame my (self-diagnosed) under-sized lungs due to premature birth. I also can't blow up balloons.

Anyway, the course starts out with 550 feet of climb in the first mile and another 700 in the next two miles. So I was doing my reasonable best, but watched 7 or 8 people pull away and disappear.

By mile 3 I'm sure some were over half a mile ahead. Finally I got to a long downhill, and it was on! I gave up all pretense of conserving energy and just pushed it hard, flying down the rocky trail with reckless abandon. SO FUN! My splits went from 13:11, 11:43 and 10:42 to 7:22. I passed a few people, but knew there was 3 more well ahead. Finally at about 4.5 they came into view and I could see I was reeling them in. I caught the last of them right at the turnaround.

I kept up a good pace on the more moderate uphills, which don't bother me much. It's just the really steep ones. And there was one more of those in mile 7 that had to be walked. By then I had shaken all but one of the goats. This was some new guy, who was clearly superior and pulled away from me on the hill. But then he stopped and waited, unsure of the right trail to take. It was good to have him in front of me because it kept me pushing. I chased him down another long downhill in mile 8 in 7:01!! Almost caught him too, but then we went back up and I dropped way back.

Once again the leader had to stop, when some hikers asked him to take a picture of them! Ha ha! The Kenyans never have to do that in a big marathon! I wish I had a picture of him doing that. Anyway, he still ran away from me. A big downhill in mile 10 was not enough to catch him so I finished 2nd.

BUT...our group leader decided to disqualify him as a ringer, since he hadn't been to any other Goat runs all year. So I got to be the winner, and scored this awesome trophy.

goat 001
Then we ate and drank and partied. And I thought about how hard I pounded my quads on those downhills and how that would feel tomorrow on my 15-miler...Longest run in a year...

Sunday I awoke without any soreness, so I guess I'm getting used to this stuff. It was overcast and 60 so I went out topless for 15 miles along the beach. The plan was to take it easy and just get the miles in. At first I was definitely sluggish and my pace was a bit slower than usual. But I kind of warmed up I guess and the pace dropped. By the time I hit the beach after mile 6 I was chugging along close to marathon pace.

Pretty encouraging to be close to 8:00 on tired legs. By mile 12 I was petering out and slowing, but during mile 14 I started tracking a guy in an Ironman shirt who was near my pace. So of course my pace picked up and I gradually caught him. And then of course I had to move on by, with authority! And the body responded pretty well and I finished strong. Last 9 averaged 8:09. And I finished the 25 mile weekend with gas in the tank.

Feeling pretty confident. Next weekend I plan to do 16 on fresher legs, and see if I can do the last 10 under 8:00 (BQ pace).

All systems are go!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Kinvara 5 Trial => Tempo Tuesday

Happy Running Day everybody!

Yesterday Saucony came to our LRS and had the new Kinvara and Mirage to test out. I wanted to try the Mirage, but they didn't have my size, so I settled for testing the new Kinvara 5. Currently I run in the Saucony Cortana for long runs, Saucony Peregrine for trails, and Saucony Kinvara 2 for speed. Yes, I'm committed to Saucony lately, because they're working for me.

I've loved the Kinvaras (2 and 3) through 4 pair, but they are a little snug in the toebox. So I was happy to find the Kinvara 5 were a little wider in the midfoot and toebox. It was definitely noticeable and it felt great! The lace tightener felt a little odd on the side when I put it on, but it was not a problem while running. I knocked out 7 miles and they felt good the whole way. So I give the Kinvara 5 a big thumbs up!

For you numbers geeks and split stalkers...
I went out comfortable but came through mile 1 in 8:27 - faster than usual. I figured it would be a fast day, because it always is when I test light shoes. Plus I felt good after a rest day so I planned to make it a tempo. So I let myself flow with the easy speed that the shoes were giving me. Mile 2 was 7:45. And then it just got faster. 7:35, 7:38, 7:34 and 7:26 for a 5 mile tempo at 7:35 pace! And it felt relatively comfortable too - I wasn't dying. So I was very happy with that.

Enjoy your run today!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Getting in Shape is Fun

Another solid week in the books! Being not injured and cranking up the miles is making me a happy runner!

So allow me to brag a little.

The week started with Memorial Day Monday, when I had an 8 mile recovery run after the previous day's 14. Tuesday I rested and Wednesday I was back to the track for speed work.

I just love the way those red lines fill up the track. And the pace chart makes it easy to remember the workout!

After warmup, we started with 4 laps of 250 hard, 150 jog, gradually increasing the speed. Then coach asked for 1600 at 5K pace. I responded with a 6:42 that felt good.

Then he had us do 4 x 400 at "mile" pace with only 100 yard cooldowns (and a little resting). To me, that means pretty close to full speed. Controlled sprinting. I knocked out 4 in 86, 85, 88 and 87. And was feeling pretty tired.

I figured another mile or 800 was coming, but coach said 3200...at 5K PACE! Uh, no. I am not ready for that yet. I figured, well maybe a little slower. But after one lap at 7:10ish my legs were shot, and I wasn't motivated, so I bailed, jogged a lap, and then decided to do 1 mile on my own at tempo pace, which turned out to be about 7:40. Good enough for today.

Thursday I had my weekly gym workout, and Friday I rested, because I had a big weekend planned.

Saturday is Mountain Goat day. Our group had a nice challenge planned. We would run the course of a trail half marathon that is next week. Instead of paying $75 for a shirt and a medal, we could run it for free without the crowds. Sounds good to me. It was all on fire roads, and was basically all up or down. The day turned out sunny and warm, just for a little extra challenge. I was rarin' to go!
There was about 30 of us. But only 3 people ended up running the whole thing. After three miles I was in front by myself. So that was kind of fun...being in front. Luckily our two fastest guys didn't show up. I wasn't racing. But I wasn't dawdling either. Only had a few walk breaks. Here is the first hill.

Over 2,000 feet of climb, 13.8 miles on the Garmin. 9:41 pace included about 2 minutes for a water refueling/bathroom break. And I saw a coyote trot across the trail only 10 yards in front of me.
I struck a pose here for our resident photographer.

Finished exhausted and thirsty, but not too bad considering. Spent the afternoon recovering and napping, and then had a party to go to, where a few margaritas helped prepare me for Sunday.

Sunday morning was sunny and warm again, so I got out early (8ish) for some more miles. Originally I hoped for 10 or 11, but as I started I thought 7 would be good. I was pretty sluggish in mile 1 and 2, but then I started to feel better as I went along. By mile 4 I decided I could do 8, and by mile 5 I opted to do the full 11. Somehow my body slipped into running mode and it felt natural and good and like I could do it all day. Apparently I am getting into shape. The Garmin battery failed me so I JFR'd. Yet I kept up a solid pace. I would guess I was around 8:15 for the last 5. I was topless and happy and enjoying the beauty of the beach.

So! 39.7 miles for the week. Best week in 52 weeks!
135 miles for the month. Best month in 14 months!
A little achy and sore, but only the good kind. Excited to keep building on this base. No races until July so June should be a solid month to add endurance.

Life is good.