Monday, March 31, 2014

End of March

6 miles: 2 miles to the Rec. After 20 minutes of waiting for a treadmill, I hopped on for my 30 minutes of allotted cardio. There were three people walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes, each of them reading a book. I feel like a prick, but...come on.

Anyway, 2x15 minutes at 15% incline. Long hills are weird. My legs and lungs burn. Sweat runs off of me onto the treadmill belt. I huff and puff and grunt and gross things happen. I get light-headed. I shut it down, and feel fine 10 minutes later. My guess is that the pace being generally slower than running(if I can hold a 10min/mile pace, I feel pretty good), and utilizing a shuffle stride doesn't actually hurt the body too much, but gives the lungs a beating.  I'll try to get myself to the gym this month for longer climbs...maybe.

Followed up by 2x15 of weighted lunges to give the simulation of the eccentric contraction of downhill running. Upper body exercises after that. All the gym time this winter must be giving me a complex. I feel like a scrawny, pale, lopsided distance runner compared to bunch of fit people.

5 miles: The only jogging for the day was two trips to the library to print things. Though only a 10 minute jog, running as a means of transportation(and avoiding parking tickets) is fun when I have time. I'll be honest. I always have time.

9 miles: I set out for an easy hour, then decided to go to the track instead. It was sunny and the track is tucked out of the wind for the most part, so it felt less cold. 6x800 with 200m jog recovery. I decided to shoot for 3:00 per rep, but ended up sneaking them all in under 2:50 and the last one under 2:40. 20 minutes of a short hill loop after that, mostly because my legs still felt fine. My mind is thinking it's spring, but winter won't let go, as is evident by the frozen puddles on the sidewalk.

7 miles: Meandered to the SRC for some incline running and weights. I've been unorganized this week(shocking), so I haven't had much of a plan for resistance or speed training. On the jog to the rec center I decided just to do 30 minutes of continuous climbing at a slow as hell pace. Going really slow was kind of embarrassing at first, I admit. People would have to look past my purple shoes, dumb shorts, and sort of baggy v-neck shirt to notice that I was sweating my ass off at 15 min/miles for 30 minutes. The 15% incline is less evident. First 15 minutes at 15min/mile pace, next 10 minutes at 11min/mile, then speeding up to a 9-10min pace for the last few minutes. Easing into it felt great. After that, a short and feeble bout of leg press, shoulder press, lunges/curls, and leg lifts. blah blah blah I exercise, I'm so special.

I either ran for 30 minutes, or I just said I did. I can't remember. Ifelt gross and nauseous all day,

am: 10 miles with Kelsey. Stupid shitty goddamn snow all the time. A road loop. I still enjoyed it. She and I don't get to run together much these days, so I'm really grateful for it.

pm: 7ish miles. 2 to the rec, and 45 minutes of 15% on the treadmill. A slow pace(which got more and more difficult to sustain) for 1200m, and an 85-90% effort for the remaining 400m of each mile. Squats, one-legged deadlifts, lunges, chest press and rows after.

am: 20 miles. Met with Jeremiah in Grand Rapids. 18 around town, then 2 back at the house. Even got a stroller pushing mile with his son yelling "faster, faster!" First day of nice weather.

pm: 6 miles. A real recovery run. Just under an hour of running in the grass at the IM fields, some stair repeats, and barefoot running at the track. As is usual for the first days of wonderful weather, there were joggers everywhere. Pretty cool to see people outside appreciating a beautiful day. I tried not to think about tomorrow's return to a climate-controlled, sterile, windowless factory.

Total: 70 miles. One more week of this kind of volume, then it's taper time.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Slight Increase

Training is starting to intensify in my 11th hour attempt to get fit for Zane Grey. This isn't an incredibly interesting read(is it ever?), but at least people can see this after April 26th and say, "no wonder he died in the Mogollon Rim."

4 miles + weights: A fairly standard loop around campus. I wore my super thin Merrell Vapor Gloves to see if my gait has gone to shit from wearing the Adios, a clunker in comparison. No jarring or bone smashing to speak of. After that, a simple weight workout with a heavy backpack. Lunges, squats, push-ups, curls, shoulder press. I questioned the efficacy of something so simple, but I write this 24 hours later with sore everything.

10 miles: 1:20. I didn't really know where I was going, then a guy at a stoplight, also jogging, started talking to me about jogging of all things. We decided to get an easy hour of running in together since neither of us knew exactly which route to run. Meeting random people is fun. I then did approximately 50 sit-ups in a row and made cookies.

26.2 miles: Had a work cancellation, so I decided to run a marathon. A sort of hilly, cold, rainy, solo road marathon. I still have no real desire to run the trails. They're either impassable, vulnerable to erosion, or both. I mapped out a route that happened to be 13.1 miles from my door to an intersection in the middle of nowhere. It featured a winding road, some rolling hills, and a few bodies of water to capture my gaze as I shuffled by. I reached my turnaround point in 1:35(no stopping the watch for intersections), and pondered the idea of negative splitting it to go under 3 hours for a marathon. The jog out was relatively easy, so I figured it was possible. I stopped my watch, ate a banana, and drank the rest of one water bottle. I was wearing my Ultraspire Spry vest with another bottle in the pocket. With no way to know my real-time pace, I just ran comfortably hard to see if it looked possible to make it back in under 3. I fucked up and didn't re-start my watch after a traffic light(the pressure of having a time goal made me more obsessive about a real time), so no official time for me. The watch said 2:52 when I wheezed up to the door of the apartment building. If only I could remember what those two songs were on the radio and add their times up...or I could just not care. I chose to not care and go buy an absurd amount of food from Qdoba.
I felt good for the most part, but being cold and wet and tired made me want
to sit in this old (and probably haunted) chair and wait for spring.

This is my longest run in quite some time. I'd be concerned because of it only being 3 hours, but if I'm going to adhere to the idea that quality matters more than quantity, then I'll have to put the insecurity aside. I've got a couple 4+ hour jaunts in the next few weeks. That should suffice. I think.

4 miles+ weights. One of the more intense sessions in the weight room. One-legged deadlifts, weighted lunges, chest press, calf raises, alternating row push-ups with dumbbells, and various yoga-ish core exercises that look totally masculine and graceful at the same time, I'm sure.

6 miles: 3 miles with Kelsey and Cohen around campus. A couple hours later I thought I'd try out the trails. They sucked, as expected. Sliding around is kind of fun, but sinking every couple steps got old pretty quickly. The snow/ice is still well over a foot thick in most spots. 3 miles and I called it a day.

18 miles: with Evan and Ephraim around GR. I felt the previous miles of the week accumulating in my legs, but still managed to hang as we ran around and outside of town. Still amazed at how time goes by quickly with good company. I don't think I'd still be running without the help of my friends. It's not a team sport, but doing it alone kind of sucks.

Rest day.

68 miles is enough for the week, given the drastic increase in volume. I'll try to rest so that I can put more quality in in a few days. With a very unofficial marathon PR and no nagging injuries to speak of, I feel that I'm fortunate and shouldn't push it. I don't feel exhausted, sick of running, or hate my life, so I'm probably not training hard enough. Flights and hotels are all booked for the journey, so there's no going back now.

Whenever I go to publish this training log, I wonder why I'm doing it. I started a blog to write reviews and race reports to practice writing. My life, motivation, and overall outlook have changed since then, but this seldom-read journal remains. I remembered why I started running in the first place. Running, with its associated enjoyment, friendships, travel, and personal growth, has changed me for the better. One good change lead to another, and I've become a happier person. The logging of miles is no stroke of genius, but it helps keep me on track and fill the gaps between times of inspiration.

Monday, March 17, 2014

2 week catch-up

6 miles
I felt inexplicably great all day, but only slept about 4 hours the previous night. Debated whether to take advantage of the good vibes or rest the tired body. I then realized it was march and that I've been resting all winter. Shuffled to the Rec Center to lift weights, but it was closed. Oh, right. Spring Break. 12 reps on Mount Oliver would have to do. Some slick spots in the dark in 5 degree temps, but it got done. Legs and lungs burning and all that. The skin on my hands cracked and bled, ice hung off of my face, and my arms were swinging hard enough to give my chest a back a workout. I'll take it, and also a long shower.


7 miles - one hour run in the Sun around campus. Evidence that shitty weather has played a role in keeping me inside. I immediately got out for a run in the "nice" 35 degree weather just because it felt so great to not feel the stinging cold on my skin for a change.

4 miles - typical 4 miler from the apartment. Warm weather made me wish I didn't live somewhere with 6 months of frigid ass temperatures.

2hrs with Evan and Qdogg. Out and back in Grand Rapids to an arbitrary spot and back. The goal was a comfortable 2hr run, since these two are training for spring marathons. 17 miles(I think) In just under 2 hours means a moving pace of 7ish min/miles. I'll take it. My cynical side thinks that feeling good must mean I'm in shitty shape. The optimist in me thinks I should shut up and accept that a quick 2 hour jog felt pretty good.

25 minute recovery jog + 4 sets of squats. Just trying to beat the legs up a little bit more.

Total: 37miles. Okay, that's a little better than last week, but...shit.

A decent week, given a cold and some sleep deprivation. Excuses, excuses.

8 miles with Evan. Downtown Kalamazoo to Kleinstuck Nature Preserve, then through campus and back to Gazelle Sports. A classic loop that brought back memories from a few years ago. Hard repeats on the 1200m loop with Coach Dales and his stopwatch waiting at the entrance are probably the only reason I still hold any pep in my legs.

8 miles + Weighted stairs 15 minute warmup, then a short hill loop(about 2:30 per rep) for 30 minutes. 3 one way, then 3 the other, repeat. As much as I loathe/like the treadmill hill workouts of late, they don't quite suffice when targeting my weakness of downhill running. This has been evident since the Pike's Peak Marathon in 2011(9th to the top, 16th to the bottom) As far as uphills go, I can confidently say that I can hold my own. Good for me, right? Sure, but I'm not a hill climb racer. I need to turn around and give the legs a beating that only that braking eccentric contraction can provide. This loop provided that stimulus. Enough of a grade to give legs and lungs a test, and long enough to load the quads on the way down.

I also tried looking inconspicuous in the apartment building as I went up and down the stairs with a backpack full of dumbbells and books on my back for 10 minutes.

Shorts weather has given me the desire to go outside and jog. Given that I'm not sleeping much these days, it's good that I have motivation to get outside. I mentioned in my last post the need for momentum. I'm working 55 hours/ week and the jogging is increasing, not decreasing. I guess this is that momentum, and I'll ride it until burnout.


4 mile tempo. According to Gmap Pedometer, Cool Running Pace Calculator, and my awesome Timex watch, 4.4 miles in 29 minutes is roughly 6:35 pace. For some reason, I don't think I was running that fast, but numbers make me look like I know what I'm doing, so I'll leave them there. Got an email about Zane Grey today. Reminds me that I have to buy tickets and get a hotel and a rental car and put in the time off for work and work overtime to pay for it. Oh, and train. Gee, I have no idea why more blue collar workers don't take long expensive trips to exert themselves in their free time.

15 miles - 10 hour work day, but a nap fixed me up rather nicely. 2 hour run of what more or less hill was repeats. I found three loops that had 60-100' of gain/loss each and ran each of them for 30 minutes. It seems so sad compared to what some of the very my friends out west are posting, but I'm just not caring at the moment. I live where I live. Maybe someday soon I'll have a mountain paradise to play in after work or school, but I'm enjoying the early spring running bug and running short hills hard. I've had some good(for me) mountain races in the past on fast road training, and it's all I've got.

16 miles - Intended to run a marathon out/back course with some nice rollers on it, but felt blah and cut it down to 2 hours and ate two donuts while jogging. Felt shitty at the start, and then stronger as the run went on. It actually felt nice to have some stiffness and fatigue in the legs for a change. At least it feels like my body is adapting then.

Another 3[edit] miler with Cohen and Kelsey later in the day. Definitely the more enjoyable jog of the day.

Drove North to see the family for the day. No shuffling for this guy.

54 miles on this week. I'll take it.

See, I did a 90 mile week. It only took me 14 days.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Shuffling into March

An interesting week. I'm slapped in the face once more with the notion that free time is like air(I'd say it's like sex, but I'm classy): It's not valued until it's gone. A 50 hour work week with a little school thrown in made for less jogging, but I've had lower weeks with an overabundance of free time. Motivation for a secondary goal(like ultramarathon training) is separate from life, but at the same time intimately entwined. People crush ultras while working time-consuming jobs, competing with dedicated mountain bums. Whether squeezing in workouts between work and picking the kids up, or logging 4 hour runs in the middle of the day, the victors in running and life are the ones who don't have time to be down on themselves. On one of my few runs this week, I tried to think of the pillars of a successful person.
-Internal locus of control

When I think about the most successful times in my own life, I often remember feeling like I was on a roll. Life was "clicking." I was busy, but time felt manageable. Instead of feeling like my goals were competing with one another, they were complimentary. I think many of us can agree that when life goes well, running goes well. Or is it the other way around? I'm mostly talking to myself here(because I need it and also because I don't post shoe reviews to draw people to this blog anymore), but my point is that the all-inclusive life is the one I'm after- live more, run more, love more, learn more, bitch less.

Obnoxiously positive self-talk quota: met.

35 minutes of easy jogging around campus. Work and school had me up at 5am and home at 6pm, so I shook out a measly jog. Not so much for fitness gains, but so I could have my back straight and my heart rate up for a while to make up leaning over a work bench.

...2 days of not jogging later.

7 miles: Treadmill hills + squats: 15 minute warmup, then 3x10 minute at 15% grade. 10 minute cooldown, then 3 sets of 5 squats. nice and tired after that. I realized I can't do an easy run on a treadmill. It has to be a sweaty, nasty grinder of a workout or I get bored and quit. When I'm on it I just sort of...think about running. Running in other places. Missing mountains. Looking forward to Zane Grey. Being terrified of Zane Grey. Why is airfare so expensive for Zane Grey? Mostly the "looking forward to" part.

My work gives us the lovely "option" of coming in at 5am so we can start the week off early. 4 hours of sleep and my 10th day of work in a row(don't laugh overachievers. I'm adjusting) put me in bed.

12 miles. Worked, made two huge burritos, took a nap, then went for a jog. 45 minute warm-up, then 2x15 minutes to get me back home. Not sure about any splits, but my watch read 1:22 from the door of the apartment and back. Mapped it out to an even 12 miles(6:45 pace). The way out was fairly easy, and the way back wasn't. I ran hard for the intervals. "Snot blown all over my face and jacket" kind of effort. I'm not going to get faster by looking pretty. Long runs have been a rarity this winter, so intensity will have to do until I get scared into doing a long road run.

Jury's still out on these Adios Boost, but so far, they're really great. 10mm drop shoes with plastic arches. Socks.
What am I becoming? 

Giving into weather and life-induced doldrums and sat around until it was time to go to work and watch other people workout.

23 miles? Shit. March had better be a good month for jogging.