Monday, March 30, 2009

The Friendly Factor

And a Good Morning to You

This weekend I had a friend coming down from Seattle for the day so I was up at 5:45 on Saturday morning to have some coffee and breakfast before heading out around 6:50 for my long run. I had 12 miles on the schedule and wanted to run them at a GA pace that felt comfortable. When I stepped outside it was chilly and just starting to rain, but the time I was done the temperature had fallen a few degrees and the rain was steadily coming down.

Typically when I’m out running I try to nod or wave at the other runners and cyclists I see out on the trail and I usually get a 50% return on my investment. On Saturday I received an almost 100% salutation return in the first hour of my run which surprised the hell out of me. I guess people that get up early to run on a cold rainy day are happy to see someone else out there getting their miles in. Towards the end of the run I started encountering larger groups and weekend warriors who were not as quick to provide a return greeting or salutation.

After my first mile I stopped for a quick stretch then settled into a pace in the high 7’s with a couple miles creeping down into the 7:30’s and a couple right above 8:00. The run felt good and before I knew it I was on the home stretch.

Total = 12 miles in 1:34:12 – 7:51AP

Tired Mid-Week Legs

Wednesday morning of last week I was up for my first pre-work run in a long time. I had changed my schedule around a bit and ran eight miles on Monday evening so I would only have to do four on Wednesday morning. Once I headed out I was glad I had switched the miles around this way. My legs were feeling very heavy and I never felt like I was able to loosen up; I trudged through the run and ended up with an AP of around 8:35.

Wheels on the Bike Keep on Turning

Last week I got out on my road bike for the first time since August; Jen rode with me after work on Thursday and we did 20 miles at an easy pace. It was fun to be outside riding and I was glad that Jen decided to join me.

Every Pirate Loves a Wine Party

Saturday night we went to a wine party at Emily’s place where we enjoyed some great food, friends, and wine. Since I’m not a big wine drinker I filled my glass with Captain Morgan and managed to have as good of a time as everyone else. The bottle that Jen picked out ended up winning which meant that we were going to take home six bottles of wine as the prize. Of course we decided that sharing was the better course to take and by the end of the night everyone managed to finish off all the bottles of wine. So yeah, 12 bottles of wine, 10 people drinking wine, four of which were driving and/or racing the next day, so basically six people drinking 10 bottles of wine…………let’s just say that everyone got their antioxidants and then some.

What’s on Tap

This week I’m scaling back the running to do a sort of mini-taper for the Race for the Roses Half on Sunday. I’m planning on running it as a training run with Jen but I still think taking it easy this week is a good plan; even though I’m not running it at full bore it will still be fast enough to regret trying to run it on tired legs. Tomorrow morning I will be on the trainer again but I hope to get out for a road or mtb ride on Thursday after work. Of course swimming is in the cards a few times this week as well. I’ve really been slacking on my swimming lately and the May 31st ows will be here before I know it.

Quick Recap
Run: 30 miles
Ride: 60 minutes trainer, 20 miles road
Swim: 1,100 yards
Push ups: 509

Have a great week and remember to question everything you hear on Wednesday!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Let the Games Begin

Today is the start of my training plan for the Lake Stevens 70.3 in August and since Monday is going to be my OFF day I was able to sleep in this morning. I’ll be running after work today and every Monday for the next few weeks so I won’t actually have an official rest day until after the Eugene Half Marathon in early May.

Last week I took it pretty easy (aka I was lazy) and didn’t get in any yardage at the pool. I only got in a couple short rides on the trainer as well. However, I didn’t slack on my running and had some great weekday runs capped off with a really good run on Saturday. Before I get into the weekend run, here are the stats for the mid-week miles:

Tuesday – Seven miles, 53:19, 7:37 AP
Wednesday – Seven miles, 55:50, 7:58 AP
Friday – Four miles, 33:47, 8:27 AP

On Saturday I had 12 miles on the schedule and I wanted to run two warm up, four at 7:30 AP, four in the 7-teens, then two as a cool down. I really wanted to run the second four mile leg in the low 7’s but I was a little freaked out by that goal so I settled for something in the 7:15 range. The weather was great – high 40’s and partly cloudy, by the time I was done it was in the mid-50’s and sunny. I kept it easy for the first two miles and about halfway through the second mile I started picking up the pace so that the transition to my first faster mile wasn’t so abrupt.

Miles one and two: 8:19 and 7:47

I settled into a nice relaxed pace which felt easy but fast. As the miles went by I was really happy to see how consistent I was running. My paces used to be all over the place on most of my solo runs but lately I have been able to keep them all within a few seconds of each other; Saturday was no exception:

Miles three to six: 7:31, 7:32, 7:29, and 7:36

I ate my Vanilla Bean Gu right before the turn around so that I didn’t have to mess around with it when I started picking up the pace. The next four miles were tough but once again I was able to keep a consistent pace and get them all done; and they were all in the low 7’s!

Miles seven to ten: 7:04, 7:02, 7:06, 6:59

I slowed down to run out the last two miles nice and easy and when I was done I took my time stretching out. After that I blended up a recovery drink which was a little over a cup of chocolate milk, about 12 ice cubes, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a heaping tablespoon of vanilla protein powder from Whole Foods. I forgot how good recovery shakes can be.

Miles 11 and 12: 7:50 and 8:00

Total Run: 12 miles, 1:30:19, 7:31 AP

While drinking my recovery shake I knocked out my push ups and am happy to say that I’m finally confident enough to move onto week five of the plan. Week four was pretty tough for me but after repeating it four times I was able to complete all the sets.

This week I ran a total of 30 miles, rode the bike for an hour on the trainer, and did 423 push ups.

Sunday we drove out to the coast and spent a fun day hanging out, checking out the beach and the ship wreck at Fort Stevens, and enjoying the drive along the Columbia and the ocean. I’m sure Jen will post some pictures of the trip on her blog.

Two weeks till the Race for the Roses Half Marathon where I hope to pace Jen to a PR. She has been having some great workouts lately and I am confident that if we follow the plan of taking it easy in the first part of the race to bank some energy she will be able to push hard through the second half and set a new PR.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Red Rain (Shamrock Run 15k Race Report)

Today was the Shamrock Run 15k which turned out to be a bit tougher than I thought. A large part of that was due to the first 4.5 miles of hills; a painful side cramp at mile eight played another part. I sometimes get very painful side stitches on my right side and today was one of those days. I knew it was bound to happen in a race eventually but since today wasn't an A race day I wasn't too bent out of shape when it happened.

The day started out rainy and windy and fairly cold. We walked over to the start line around 8:00 and had time for a warm up run before giving our sweatshirts and rain jackets to my parents. We lined up toward the front and ten minutes later we were on our way.

Mile one: Getting in a groove

I new I didn't want to start out too fast because of the hills; and because that's just a stupid thing to do even if there aren't hills. I settled into a groove and was passing quite a few people. AP: 6:58

Mile two: Let's start climbing

Mile two slowly climbed uphill along Broadway which runs right through downtown from north to south. I kept reminding myself not to push too hard and I did a pretty good job at that. I was still passing people at this point but not as many as during the first mile because the crowd was starting to thin out. AP: 7:23

Mile three: Welcome to the Jungle

Mile three started climbing up Terwilliger (sp?) and I knew that this mile and the next would be pretty tough; and they were. I slowed down a bit and tried to keep a solid stride as I climbed. By this point I wasn't passing many people at all but no one was really passing me either. AP: 7:40

Mile four: More of the same

Mile four was just as tough as mile three but knowing that the hills were nearly over really kept me going. AP: 7:39

Mile five: Hmmmmmm, still hilly

At this point the constant climbing stopped but now the hills were rolling. The elevation at the start was approx 22 feet and at the highest point, which is right around mile 4.5 was approx 550 feet so at this point any downhill stretches were nice. I tried to relax on the downhill stretches and keep a solid pace on the uphill sections. AP: 7:15

Mile six: Time to pick up the pace

Mile six started with a nice downhill stretch then it flattened out and started a very slight downhill. I wasn't too tired but could feel a bit of a side cramp starting on my left side which isn't the source of the mega-pain cramps so I didn't worry too much about it. AP: 6:53

Mile seven: Ah shit, here comes the pain

Towards the end of mile seven I felt a cramp starting on my right side and I started to worry. I had been cruising along pretty well and was on track to get a pretty good time but I knew that if the cramp in my right side got any worse I was going to have to stop. AP: 6:58

Mile eight: Walk it out

I decided right away that I was going to walk and stretch my side a bit to try to get the cramp to go away. In training I have tried to gut it out and push through the pain which inevitably leads to the cramp getting so bad that I have to walk for a few minutes and then it bothers me for a few days. Today I decided to just deal with it and walk when I needed to. In mile eight I walked three times and when I was running I kept a very easy pace. AP: 8:51 (boooooooooo)

Mile nine: Turns out walking was a good decision

Well, I wasn't able to pick the pace back up to pre-cramp levels but the cramp never got any worse and I was able to push out a descent mile nine. AP: 7:36

Last little bit: Well, it wasn't what I wanted but..............

The last leg of the race was fairly flat and I was keeping a pretty good pace to the finish line. I was glad that my cramp didn't get to Defcon 5 (which means that SOB sticks with me for days). AP: 6:58

My final time was 1:10:43 and the distance on my Garmin was 9.51 for an AP of 7:26 - my AP on the posted results will be a bit slower but whatever, it's a PR since it's my first; and this will give me a chance to beat that time next time around.

Pre-race raingear:

Coming down the final stretch - me in white:

Me again:

Finisher's Donut:

Jen had a great day and I think it gave her a nice confidence boost for the Race for the Roses HM which is coming up on April 5th. Check out her blog for the full report.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

This weekend is my first race of 2009 and my penultimate race in my 20’s. Since it’s a new distance (15k) I’ll have a PR for sure which is always cool. I would like to run an average in the low 7’s to give me a confidence boost for the half in Eugene. The first four miles are a climb but it really isn’t too bad till miles three and four. After that it should roll a little bit then decline for the last three or so miles. The last mile is basically flat so at that point I’ll just try to hold on to my pace and not die.

This week I didn’t make it to the pool but I wasn’t too torn up over it – Tuesday we went out for dinner and drinks with friends and yesterday my parents arrived for the weekend so I opted to hang out with them instead of hitting up the pool.

Quite a few Portland bloggers are running Shamrock this weekend – the majority of them are running the 15k except for Emily who is running the 5k and should smash her old PR. After the race it’s breakfast with the folks then a nice relaxing day of whatever we feel like.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another Brick in the Wall

A couple weeks ago I read something that I’ve really been trying to keep in mind during my workouts. Basically it said “To be a good runner you can’t think in terms of days and weeks, it takes months and years to reach your full potential”. Of course it was written much better than that but you get the gist. I’ve been reminding myself of this every time my goals start to get a little out of control. For example, my goal for the Eugene half is a sub 1:35:00 but when I’m feeling fast and running strong in training I start to think that going sub 1:30:00 is totally reasonable. This of course is a total recipe for disaster. It reminds me of a dream I had recently where I had talked myself up as an awesome tennis player and next thing I knew I was facing off against Pete Sampras. I remember thinking “what in the hell did I get myself into”. Luckily I woke up a bit later and was relieved that it was just a dream; pushing too hard in the first miles of a race to hit an unreasonable goal can be a nightmare that unfortunately, you can’t wake up from. But I digress – back to training talk.

Last weekend Jen and I ran up at Lacamas Lake in Camas and had a great run. She had some goal pace miles lined up in the middle (14 miles total with 7 at race pace) and she totally nailed them. I was responsible for keeping tabs on our pace so we ended up with a difference of about 35 seconds between our fastest and slowest miles; yeah, I’m not the best at keeping a steady pace – that’s Jen’s expertise. The trail had some little rollers in it and in the last couple miles I could really feel it in my hip flexors when we would run up them.

Sunday we headed out to Multnomah Falls and hiked to the viewing platform at the top. The trail is a mile long and climbs 700 feet; a perfect trail to try to run up sometime in my opinion. Since it was the day after a long run, and I had jeans on, and I really don’t think I could do it right now, I decided that this was something to keep in mind for the future. Here I am on the bridge that crosses the lower falls:

Before I get into this week, here are my totals from last week:

Swim: 0 -- Bike: 75 min on trainer -- Run: 31.5 mi -- Push Ups: 366

And my Feb totals:

Swim: 10,100 yards -- Bike: 5:30:00 trainer -- Run: 107.5 mi -- Push Ups: 1,370

This week I started with six easy miles Monday evening after work followed by a repeat of day one, week four of the pushups challenge. I’ve really hit a tough spot with this week and I have a feeling I’ll be repeating it a couple more times before I move on.

Six miles – 49:04 - 8:11 AP

Tuesday morning I was up before work for an hour on the trainer – nothing exciting to report here. I watched the end of Alien vs. Predator II – Requiem. It was pretty good, but then again I’ve been hooked since Arnold, aka “Dutch”, battled the original Predator in the jungles of Guatemala. After work I headed out to the pool for masters.

Trainer – 60 minutes
Swim – 2,250 yards

Wednesday after work was another Tempo run of six miles. I felt good through the miles and never felt that I was working so hard that I would not be able to complete the distance.

Last week I ran five tempo miles at 6:28, 6:57, 6:48, 6:48, and 6:56.

This week’s miles came in at 6:42, 6:55, 6:44, 6:46, 6:35, 6:41 – miles one and eight were 8:30 and 7:44.

I was really wore out after the run so I only did two sets of 25 push ups before making a quick sandwich and heading over to the Rose Garden to meet some co-workers for the Blazers game.

Eight miles w/ six at Tempo: 56:36 - 7:04 AP

I hope everyone has a great Friday and a fun weekend – if you are racing, good luck!