Sunday, November 23, 2008

Almost Turkey Time

Another week in the books and one week closer to my first marathon. This week will be a short one with only two days of work before a nice long Thanksgiving weekend. Last week I was able to get in some good runs along with one where I got a bad side cramp and had to slow down for my last two miles. I get these randomly but more often than not they come on when I am running hard.

Monday: 5 miles w/ four half-mile intervals

1 mile warm up: 8:31 -- .5mi 4:02 -- .5mi 3:06 -- .25mi 2:04 -- .5mi 3:19 -- .25mi 2:04 -- .5mi 3:03 -- .25mi 2:34 -- .5mi 3:13 -- .75mi 5:42.

Tuesday: 5 miles @ 8:20 AP

Thursday: 6 miles @ 8:02 AP - after a warm up mile I picked up the pace but after three miles at an average of 7:27 my side cramp started acting up and I had to stop for a couple minutes before running the last two miles at an 8:40ish average.

Friday: I decided to ride the trainer and watch Knight Rider since my legs were hurting a bit and I was still a bit worried about my side starting to act up again. I set up the bike and turned on the tv then spent the next 45 minutes working up a sweat and watching Michael Knight save the day (with the help of Kitt of course). Sometime soon I need to move my speedometer sensor and receiver to the back tire so I will be able to see my average speed on both the trainer and the roads.

Saturday: 16 miles in 2:17:17 - 8:35 AP

This was the longest run I have done by myself so I was really focused on keeping a relaxed pace and not going out too hard and regretting it in the end. I started off nice and easy then eased into a nice rhythm; my pace for the majority of the miles was pretty consistent. Here's a breakdown of the miles:

8:59; 8:38; 8:40; 8:46; 8:35; 8:41; 8:46; 8:44; 8:29; 8:23; 8:35; 8:32; 8:30; 8:20; 8:22; 8:17

My left calf started bothering me around mile 10 but it never got really painful; it sort of hurt but wasn't painful. Once I got home I ran a nice cold ice bath and sat in it and read for a while. After that pleasant experience I took a shower and went out to grab some breakfast.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Two Very Different Long Runs

Last weekend Jen and I ran 17 miles for our long run and it was tough for me. It wasn't the rain or the route, it was my calf muscle. At around mile seven it started feeling a little tight, sort of a mild charlie horse. As we progressed through the miles it steadily got worse. Every time we stopped to cross a street or fill our bottles I tried to stretch it out. By the time we were at mile 15 it was really hurting me; I was very happy when we finally got back to our apartment and I was able to hop in the ice bath, take some aleve, and use the foam roller. The next day we rode our bikes about sixteen miles in North Portland to check out a new route and my calf didn't bother me too much - I think the riding was a good way to get some blood flowing without stressing my muscles too much.

Monday I had five miles on the schedule but thought it was in my best interest to bag the run and instead ride an hour on the trainer. I was excited to watch an episode of the new Knight Rider but I had forgot that I was already up to date so instead I settled for the last half of Lawnmower Man and some Jeopardy. I had Tuesday off due to Veterans Day so I partook in a few recovery adult beverages; after a couple my calf started feeling a bit better.

Tuesday I got back out on the trail with Jen to do tempo miles with her - we ran seven total with three at tempo - she did great and it was nice to push her along. I always have to remind myself to tone down my inner high school track coach and use positive reinforcement instead of good ole fashion yelling (combined with positive reinforcement).
Wednesday was an off day so I spent the evening stretching and using the foam roller; my calf was starting to feel better but I was a bit worried about how it would hold up on the weekend long run.
Thursday I was back out on the East Bank Esplanade for 6 miles - I think my pace was around 8:14 (yes, I know what it was I just don't feel like getting up and looking at my Garmin). My calf was feeling better but for some odd reason I got one of my painful side cramps. Always on the right side, always in the muscles - it's different than a normal side cramp and it really sucks. I stopped and streched a bit and a little while later it was feeling fine.
Friday my calf was still a bit tight so I cut my run short from the planned five to three easy miles - I felt fine the whole time which was great. One of the factors making this run good was the new shoes that were delivered - check out the comparison between the old and new:
I still need to change out the laces but other than that they are perfect.

This morning Jen and I got up early and headed out for our last 20 mile run. We decided to run up along the Columbia River in North Portland (right across the river from Vancouver). It was cold and foggy to start which was nice because we stayed nice and cool and the fog helped save some of the scenery for later in the run. We kept our pace in the 8:40's for the first 10 miles and just cruised along. My calf was bothering me in that way where something is in the back of your mind but in reality it is just fine.

The fog lifted around mile 11 and a few minutes later we could see Mt. Hood in the distance. It's a huge mountain that seems to loom over the Portland area; even though it is 60 miles away it seems like it's much closer. This picture doesn't do it justice but you can see what a beautiful day it turned out to be (the girl in the foreground is always beautiful no matter what the weather is like):

By the time we got to mile 15 I was feeling great; the leg was fine, no side cramp, and I was about to have my Vanilla Bean Gu which always puts me in a good mood:

We continued on and picked up the pace each mile for the next five miles. Around mile 17 my legs were getting tired but overall I still felt great. I pushed hard on my last mile and it came in at 7:20. By the end the sky was completely clear and we could see Mt. Adams and Mt. Saint Helens in addition to Mt. Hood. This was a great 20 mile run, especially since the run last weekend was so tough on me. I'm getting excited about the marathon which is just three short weeks away.

Friday, November 7, 2008

One Week Closer

This week is the second to last in my training for CIM which means I have one more 17 miler and another 20 next weekend then the taper begins. This week I cut my Monday run short because I was a little sore but then I made up the miles on Wednesday on an interval run with Jen. Here are the stats for this week so far:

Monday - four miles in 33:18, 8:20 AP
Tuesday - nine miles in 1:12:36, 8:04 AP
Wednesday - eight miles w/ Jen (intervals) in 1:09:30, 8:21 AP
Thursday - OFF
Friday - six miles in 49:35, 8:16 AP

Tomorrow we are heading out from our house which means we will be able to ice right after our run and make a nice breakfast of french toast with fresh berries, powdered sugar, and whipped cream - and a nice big cup of coffee.

The forecast calls for rain but I'm already learning that the weather forecast in Portland is really only accurate if they are talking about an exact point in time; as in "it's raining outside" or "it just stopped raining"; other than that they are just offering up a best guess.

It's 10:30 here in Portland - I wonder how many folks in Clearwater are lying awake in bed staring at the ceiling thinking about their race tomorrow. I'm rooting for Potts but he just did Kona so he might have a tough time winning this year.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Holy Darkness it's Cold in the Northwest

Soooooooooooo, it gets dark early in Portland; and it gets cold too..............and it seems to rain quite a bit as well. Looking at this in a more positive light I realized that this means that the days are long in the summer and c+r=s or cold + rain = snow, so it's not all bad.

Monday morning I was standing at the bus stop reading my book (currently reading The Great Gatsby) and I noticed two things: 1) my bus was late; and 2) there were a lot of buses crammed full of people. A little while later I noticed that these buses were Max shuttles which made me realize that something was wrong with Max. I figured that this was somehow delaying my bus and I wondered just who these people thought they were. Did they somehow think that their getting to work was more important than me getting to work? I mean of all the low-down things. A few minutes later I was back in my book glad for the delay since I was able to get in some additional pre-work reading. Around 8:10 another passenger found out that the Steel Bridge was out of commission and that was the cause of the bus delay. He said that another bus should be there in about 15 minutes; since it is only a 20 minute walk I headed out via the Broadway Bridge. The following picture is looking at downtown Portland from the Broadway Bridge:

The training has been coming along well (other than running in the dark and rain after work) - we ran 20 last weekend and so far this week I have done four, nine, and eight. This weekend will be 17 in the rain (according to then we have another 20 next weekend before the taper starts.

I'm looking forward to taking some time off in December and January before starting to base build for the upcoming tri season - my training officially starts in March. I'm also looking forward to eating a ton of food for Thanksgiving - we will be having Thanksgiving in MT for the first time in seven years.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

First Time at Twenty

This weekend Jen and I ran our 20 miler on a nice flat route. It was still a tough run once we got to about 16 miles. It was raining lightly the whole time which actually wasn't too bad. Sure we were wet, but our feet never really got soaked through and we both had our hats which kept the rain out of our faces. Here I am at the turn around:

Our average pace for the run ended up being 8:54, the first half was 9:13 and the second half was 8:34.

Today we took our mountain bikes out for a ride down the west side of the river. Like Saturday, the weather was overcast but it did not rain nearly as much. After our ride we spent some time in the hot tub then watched the new Indiana Jones - meh. It was pretty good but I didn't think it was nearly as good as the old ones. Following are a couple of pictures I took today when we were out riding.

Looking up the river to the South Waterfront:

Fallen leaves in a park on the ride today:

This week I ran five times; three miles on Monday at a 9:15 pace, seven on Tuesday at a 7:41 pace, seven on Thursday w/ Jen at a 7:49 pace, three on Friday at a 7:45 pace, and 20 on Saturday. Overall I am getting a little muscle sore but nothing is bothering me that bad; I hope I can say that in a couple weeks. After this weekend we have one more 20 miler then we start our taper for the race on December 7th.