Monday, October 29, 2012

Insert Clever Title

Monday
6 miles - An hour run at the park. Beach, technical trail, sand dunes, and a little pavement on the channel. Shoes got so packed with sand that I blew the toebox out of my MT110s. Shitballs. Oh well. They were the same prototypes I wore for Pike's last year. They had to go sometime. Not quite a "workout" in that there was no real plan, but my legs and lungs were pushed a bit beyond "easy."

Tuesday
4 miles easy on the dirt roads. Either my perception of "easy" is changing, or I'm due for a long run. 29:35. Just before heading off to work to teach pool classes.

Wednesday
11 miles - Short work meeting, then off to Hoffmaster for the first workout of the week. 3.1 mile warmup on the trails (25:20), then 2x10minutes on the back half of the loop. 4 minute rest between the 10min intervals. Just under 1.5 miles per interval. The first rep was more intense and focusing was easier. The second was far hillier and more technical. 4 mile cooldown on the beach barefoot, taking advantage of the last warm days of the year(hopefully, I'd like some winter).

Later, a 1 hour barefoot hike at Muskegon State park, a little soccer, and carrying some 50lb grain bags out to the barn. Apparently I've decided to document every moment of physical exertion. What a clown.


Thursday
AM - 14(maybe 15...ish) miles with Evan at Hoffmaster. Two loops down to Coast Guard Park and back. As is usual when we run together, this run was faster and more steady than if I had run it alone. Every time Evan slowed up, I sped up, and vice versa(the vice versa happened more often). Maybe the best weather I've seen since my return home. The leaves were thick near the oaks, so it made running a solid pace by braille on the technical trails pretty interesting. Really excellent run. Though it's 15% of my goal race distance, I feel stronger as time wears on...so far.

PM - 1.5 hours of carrying, splitting, and stacking wood at a leisurely pace The heat is going away, the trees are colorful, and everything comes in pumpkin-flavored varieties.

Friday
8 miles - 2 mile warmup, then I marked off a quarter mile. I purposely chose a section with a longer, mellow gradient, finishing with a steeper incline. 8x400, 1 minute rest. Back and forth on the pothole-laden chip and seal road that parallels the expressway. Not exactly a scenic or motivating environment, but I think that's what was motivating about it. The mostly downhill sections were in the 1:15-1:20, and the mostly uphill sections in 1:20-1:30. 3 mile cooldown. Will this workout lead to increased ultra performance in any way? Meh. Just not in the mood to pound out hours of running just yet.

Another 1.5 hours of busting logs open. Beats the hell out of going to the gym, and it will keep the house warm.

Saturday
8 miles - Met up with Evan for a 1 hour jog. 8.76 miles with a pace of 6:30/mile. 30 minutes out, then turned around for a negative split. I was planning on a 20 miler, but took Evan up on his offer to meet me halfway between our homes. Maybe I was in "long run" mode, or perhaps a bit tired from the consecutive days of quality, but I was sitting on the struggle bus for most of this run. I thought we were running closer to 7:30 min/mile, so I was happily surprised to hear the pace when we finished. Talked the whole run and enjoyed cool and sunny weather.

...One hell of a Halloween party to follow.


Sunday
5 miles - Woke up to a nasty head cold. My nose had a steady drip and I was sneezing uncontrollably. After running some errands, I set out to do a slow easy run. Threw on my Brooks Cascadias, which I haven't worn for about 4 years. Surprisingly comfy, even on roads. Granted, I felt like a slug with my head all congested, but my legs didn't break. Doesn't that fly in the face of the views of the cultish following of minimal shoe runners? Maybe I was too tired to overstride and it kept my form honest. Either way, I finally got my pace down under 8 min/miles and called it a day.

...As much as I hate to say it, I might have to abstain from drinking if I'm going to train. Giving up a Sunday run because I weakened my immune system hurts after having such a good rhythm going. Such is life. As a kid, this was the time of year for my annual visit to the hospital for athsma-related complications. I'll count my blessings and jog on.

Total
56 miles - Consistency. This is the 4th week in a row that I've run steadily, gotten in some quality speedy efforts, and had all my runs feel pain-free. If I'm smart, I'll slowly and steadily build on this weekly structure, using it as a framework to which I'll add volume in the form of two-a-days and a monthly ultra distance run(to practice fueling).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Not a big week, but solid

Monday
13 miles - 1.5 mile warmup to the bridge near my house. Shook the legs out, caught my breath, and ran 10 at what I can describe only as a "low end tempo." Just tried to focus on running comfortably, yet deliberately. As I try to get a handle on a possible goal pace for a flatter, nontechnical 100, I'm just listening to what my body tells me. I listened to my breathing, kept my stride short and quick, and visualized my feet, ankles, knees, and hips as I ran. Tried not to look at the watch any more than I needed to, but was surprised to see the pace whittle down from a 7:45 down to a 6:28 for the last one.6 of the 10 were sub 7min.  Damned flat roads, making me run fast. 1.5 miles cooldown home. Runs like these make me feel pretty good about my ability to train and improve. Still no idea about a goal pace, but I assume it's too early to tell. I'd wager somewhere between 4 min/miles and 40 min/miles is appropriate.

Adding an "official" warmup and cooldown helped for some reason.

Tuesday
AM - 6 miles - I felt my legs this morning. Not in a bad way, but I could tell that I had run the day before. Just an easy jog on the dirt roads to shake things out. I want to do a hill session tomorrow, so I'll just prep the legs for that.

The goal is to focus high intensity efforts and let the gratuitous volume sit at a distant second for the time being. To run a fast 100mile, I must first run a fast(ish) mile.

Wednesday
AM - 7 miles or so. Hill repeats at the Block House hill on the lakeshore. 1.5 mile warmup, then climbs of varying distances and grade. It's a fun hill because I can run up the Northern or Southern side. All 6 efforts were between 2 and 3 minutes, and had me chugging up the final cracked sidewalk to the top. Doing hill repeats solo is tough, so I was happy to stick with them all and still get quite a bit of intenstiy. Felt kind of weird to go there and not run the trails, but searching for a hill that has a long, runnable grade usually leads me to the pavement. Enjoyable workout in great weather. Actually got nauseous for a minute. Awesome.

Led one water aerobics class for an hour, then a 30 minute hike with Sam. We watched a storm roll in, then got rained out. More for loosening the legs than any fitness gains.

Thursday
AM - 5 miles at an easy, watchless pace. This run felt quite easy and painless. A cold rain was coming down, but I had a waterproof shell on to keep me warm until I heated up from the inside out. A black lab followed me for most of the run, playing in the rain and sprinting ahead of me. No collar, no tags, and I have no idea where it came from. It was just wandering around, darting like crazy, splashing in puddles, and didn't have a care in the world.

PM - 4 hours of leading water aerobics. Not sure how long I can keep calling this training, but at least I'm not doing something stupid like assigning a mileage value to it.

Friday
5 miles of mostly off-trail running at the State Park. Steep grades and ground covered in wet leaves and logs made for slow going, but all the speedy road running lately had me craving dirt. My legs felt the burn during the run, but felt better than ever afterward.

Saturday
4 miles - Crunched for time, so I just set aside 30 minutes for a run to clear my head. I didn't feel rushed, but really enjoyed feeling quick on my feet. Without much effort, my easy effort level got me down to a 7:05 mile. Getting excited over a 7:05 seems silly, but given the rather effortless feel of it, I'll just be glad.

Sunday
13 miles - I'm holding off one more week before doing a long run. The springy feeling in my legs is just too nice to risk just yet. As an alternative to the 20-25 miles I had considered, I just chose to run for 90 minutes and take a GU every 30. Gel hadn't touched my lips since Leadville, and it's time to reconsider my fueling strategy. Whatever I did at my last two 100s wasn't totally wrong, but needs tweaking(ya know, like, not forgetting to eat for 4 hours.). I want to get in the habbit of checking the watch and taking a gel. I tried the "go totally by feel" approach, and it fell short. Sipping the bottle every 10 minutes or so and having a gel every 30 is a good starting point. I may experiment with calorie/electrolyte drinks, but usually don't like them.

This time around, I'm not making any assumptions. I have the time and the drive to find out what kind of training and fueling works for me. Though I've finished two difficult 100s, I don't think more of the same is going to be what takes me from the back of the pack to the front. I've learned how to run fast on no food, bonk, and hike for a whole day on nothing but soup. I'm glad I did it, but I'd love to leave my more inconsistent days behind me.

Total
54 miles
9 hours of miscellaneous core work and water exercise
7 days of running

I think my excitement about this week is mostly related to the mental breakthrough in training. There wasn't a time where I opted to lay in bed and let the run slip, and I focused on the workouts instead of the mileage. Lo and behold, I hit a reasonable distance for the week anyway. If I had to choose between a week like this, or three to five random runs that barely qualify as long runs, I'd take the consistent week of quality. Really happy with the way it turned out.

The plan is to play it cool like this for the next few weeks and creep up the distance on the long run.




Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Partials

Some quality early on, but tapered off toward the end.

Monday
AM - 6 miles flat and easy. After a weekend of hardly any running, I felt like easing back into it. Dirt roads. Unfortunately, flat is the norm. Fortunately, there's a way to make it harder: run faster.

PM - A couple hours of wood cutting. Rolling logs and running the chainsaw. Not an "official" workout, but its nice to be outside and it will keep the house warm.

Tuesday
AM - 12 miles. 6 out and 6 back from home. Felt like putting on the Ultraspire vest with my camera in it and having an easy run down to the river flats. Some rolling hills and dirt roads go me to some nice scenery. Sped up a little on the way home and hit a couple 6:30 miles.

PM - Tried some new stuff at water aerobics to improve the balance and core strength of the participants, and we all got a workout. nice. 4 hrs

Wednesday
AM - Track work, approx 9 miles
2 mile warmup to the track from Gazelle
2mile - 11:15
400m rest
 1mile - 5:33
400m rest
800m - 2:35
400m rest
400m 1:17
2mile cooldown

PM - led one water exercise class. 1 hr

.Pretty much DNF'ed the rest of the week.

Friday and Saturday were spent crewing for Jeremiah in Pennsylvania at the Oil Creek 100. Pacing the last 50k of the race was the plan, things went awry when some nasty back pain plagued him. So goes life, especially under the reign of the 100miler over the lives of my little group. This goes to show that even those who aim for top 10 finishes still must finish. The 100 is no different from other races in that needs to be approached with unwavering confidence and courage, but also an acute sense of how much is too much.

Sunday
6 miles at the State Park. A quick loop on the 5k xc ski loop(can't wait for some snow), then some hills that lead out to the beach. A really mellow run to shake my legs from a sedentary state back to business as usual.

Some great travelling and good experiences this week, but nothing special on the running front. Watching a 100 unfold always brings motivation for the next week.



Sunday, October 7, 2012

Small Steps

Monday
5 miles - Started out easy, and decided not to look at my watch. I'm not even sure why I brough it; I haven't even worn it in weeks. Eased into the run, and just ran a little faster each time I heard it tick a mile off. 7:15 or so for the average, and a 6:20 for the fastest mile. I was surprised to have a pretty casual effort be fast. I've had much more intense attempts come up short. The key to success here is to keep feeling good. I have a tendency to ramp up the mileage too quickly, or to continue running too fast until blowing up.

Tuesday
AM - 7 miles easy. Nice warmup, then 2x3:00 at tempo pace. A mellow run overall. other than one small hill, flat as hell.

PM - The usual leading of 4 exercise classes back to back. Mostly core work, squats, and light cardio.

Wednesday
Track Workout
2 mile(ish) warmup
2x1 mile - 5:35, 5:28ish. I was a second or twelve behind Evan and Rob and I had no watch on. Just hung on.
1x800-
1x400
2 mile cooldown

Fell off toward the end, so I resorted to some shorter, faster efforts to round out the workout. It's a bit early in the game to destroy myself during a track session. Raising the ole heart rate and getting fast turnover in are important right now. I also bought a pair of New Balance RC 1600s, and they are awesome.

Thursday
AM - 9 miles easy around the house on the gravel roads. This weather and sun can even make this boring route fun. Finally took it easy. Did I really run 4 days in a row? There was a time when that would not have been a big deal. RC1600's worked well. I was a bit afraid to run in a 6mm drop shoe, but so far so good. They're not squishy by any stretch of the imagination.

PM - 4 hours being all "aqua Richard Simmons" and what not.

Friday
Took a day off for no reason, other than running sounded boring.

Saturday
5 miles - Got up early and drove down to Kzoo for the Campus Classic. It's a "homecoming" event for WMU, and I never ran it while I attended. Why not go jog it, right? Jogged in the morning, visited friends and tailgated in the afternoon, and had a few drinks in the local pubs at night.

5k's tend to make me a little nervous since I have a habbit of going out too hard. No watch(as usual lately), so I just tried to keep it as mellow as one can in a 5k. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 18:15, near as I can tell. Considering the infantile state of my post-100 rebuild, I'm quite happy. After a short cool down jog, I felt like I could have given another hard effort. 3rd in my age group(I don't really get the whole "age group" thing. If I get my ass kicked by a 12 year old, no system of age brackets will spare me any embarassment.).


Sunday
I was a bit...shall we say...sluggish? Trip up North to help my gradnpa winterize his cabin and watched a soccer game.

Total
37 measely miles, and the usual other stuff. Considering the overall quality this week, it was a bit of a breakthrough. Now, if I can add about 90 miles of fluff to that, I'll be sitting good for Umstead.

Oh, yeah. I'm running the Umstead 100 on April 6th. Better write myself a plan and stick to it. I've learned a lot in my last two 100mile adventures, and I think that if I give it some thought and apply my lessons, I can have more success this time.

Happy trails and what not!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Getting the Itch

Monday
0.0x10^13 miles. A day of sitting around for orientation at work nearly put me into a coma.

Tuesday
No running miles, due to a 14 hour day of two orientations, paperwork, and leading exercise classes. I did, however do 4 hours of water resistance training. I lead 4 50 minute classes back to back, so I think I've found a way to get my resitance training in and treat my imminent overuse injuries when they pop up. The work pays didly, but at least its fun.

Wednesday
AM - 3 mile jog to the creek and back from home. Needed to clear my head and run in the quiet before attending a staff meeting.

PM - 29 miles with Ryan on the bike. Climbing the bigger hills aggressivley felt good. Buuuut the achy goochal region evened out the pleasureable parts. Still a couple hours of quality exercise I wouldn't have gotten otherwise. Thanks Ryan.

Thursday
AM - 11...ish miles with Evan and Rob. A warmup on the lakeshore on the North side of town, then a 20 minute(the plan was 40minutes) tempo run up "Block House Hill" and back down. To do a 40 minute tempo effort, I'd have to go out at a pace slower than 5:30-5:50 min/mile. Times like this make me feel a bit down because I'm not improving. I've decided to chill out and start anew next month, and this is the downside of that. Putting my ego aside and doing what I feel is best for me is difficult when I feel out of shape. So goes running with fast people. It was still a hilly run with some fast middle miles, so it's cool.

PM - 4 hours of leading water aerobics classes. Each class is back to back, and gets progressively more intense as they go. Now that the awkwardness of the first day is over, the classes are fun and fairly intense. I can't maintain fitness with them alone, but they'll make a great supplement even if my skin is falling off from bromine exposure.

Friday
AM - 5 miles at an easy pace on the house loop. Could barely feel the previous day's run, which was a pleasant surprise. Low volume training is sweet! I took it easy and picked up trash on the side of the road. If you live near me: Pick. up. your. shit. you. lazy. fuck. I filled up the bottom third of a trash bin with all the garbage I gathered. On a 5 mile run? Ridiculous. Sat by the creek for a good 30 minutes afterward and checked out the colors. Fall is the greatest time of year.

PM - 1 hour bike ride, 1 hour hike, and 1 hour ride back with Sam. Along the lakeshore to the State Park and back. My legs felt fatigued, so there goes my confidence in my legs. No biggie.

Saturday
4 hours or so of cutting/splitting wood. Shoulders and back, I apologize. It felt good to work away at something with measurable results. The pile of wood should keep the house warm for the winter months, provided I get it hauled up to the house.

Sunday
A morning 15 miler with Jeremiah. A mellow road run was all I needed for the day, and it was all he needed to bridge the gap between last week's 50M and the upcoming 100. My half-assed bumbling around as of late must be paying off. At one point, he mentioned running too hard and that we were running about 7min/mile. Considering that we were babbling mindlessly as we ran, I'll take it as a good sign for his readiness to culminate his training, and to start mine.

30 something miles and over 10 hours of other exercise. Fun stuff, and I feel like I'm getting ready to climb out of a year long slump. Keep on truckin.'