Sunday, December 31, 2006

It's a gruel, gruel world

Someone let the air out of the 2006 balloon as 21 miles of slippery footing made today's long run a little bit of slog near the end.

21 miles in 2:54:56 (8:19 pace). HR 137.

I pulled up behind Mike's parked van this morning in the dark gloom of pre-sunrise. Mike emerged dressed for the weather but also fitted with the darkest pair of sunglasses I've ever seen. I doubted if he could even see me. So I called out to him, "Mike, you're wearing sun glasses!" "I know," he replied. "I expect it to be a sunny day."


We were rewarded three miles later with a blinding glare from a large sun towering over the maritimes and reflecting its rays off the crystal bay which further disoriented me. Mike didn't seem to mind it at all.

Elwood and I continued bravely into the light and snow.

We felt ok until we made the turn at 9 miles. The wind had picked up and it would be 9 miles into the cold, cold wind before we could turn out of it again.

With 5 miles to go, I felt like I was just a head riding precariously upon a body and legs that were carrying me around the lake. Mike used the term "falling forward" which seemed appropriate for today.

But the run is done and in the log. It cannot escape.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A good week to end the year

Another 'aerobic power' workout was on tap this morning. 10k of the hard stuff brought my Parrott predictor down another 9 minutes to 2:44:05.

Scheduled workout: 10 miles w/embedded 2 part workout:

Part 1 - 3 x 2k @ 5:55 per mile pace w/3 minute recovery
Part 2 - 10 x 400m @ 5:40 per mile pace w/1 minute recovery

Purpose: Aerobic Power

Results: 10.3 miles w/10k high octane. Part one:

3 x 2k @ 5:34 pace (avg) w/3 minute recovery between. Splits:

2k 6:57 (5:36 pace)
2k 6:53 (5:32 pace)
2k 7:04 (5:41 pace)

*** rest for 5:39 ***

10 x 400m @ 5:20 pace (avg) w/1 minute recovery between. Splits:

1. 1:19
2. 1:22
3. 1:18
4. 1:18
5. 1:20
6. 1:20
7. 1:22
8. 1:21
9. 1:20
10. 1:16

A warmup and cooldown added makes the total 10.3 miles. The hardest part was the very first 2k. I ran it too hard and I felt it. But once I rested, it was easy to run a similar effort for the 2nd one. By the third, I was a little tired and very glad that the required pace wasn't anywhere near so fast so I 'relaxed' a bit more in the beginning of the repeat and ran it slower overall.

The 400's were ok. I felt much better once I hit #6 - I could see the end. Tough workout overall, but afterward I felt good and pleased that the quicker paces are coming a little easier as time goes by.

Next week, I am only scheduled for 2 up-tempo days - 1 aerobic resistance and 1 aerobic power. The reason is the next 'resistance' run is longer than 10 miles, thus I need a 15 mile day (Wednesday) to complete it. (I don't juggle daily mileage. This way I can maintain balance and maintain the weekly mileage). This gives me an opportunity to have a reduced intensity week while gradually introducing longer MP running into the program. My last week like this was the week of 11/27.

I was pleased and surprised by the 9 minute drop in the Parrott predictor this week. A 2 day 'power' / 1 day 'resistance' week, I thought I'd be short too many fast miles to do this. But then I realized that as my program progresses, the tougher workouts are getting longer. For example, instead of 2 x 3 mile 'aerobic power' workouts, it was 2 x 10k. So I got in 20.1 miles at or below MP this week. Short only 6 miles, the predictor took the best 6 remaining (Christmas 15 miler @ 7:28 pace) and calculated. Next week I should have only 14 miles near MP so expect a bump.

Tomorrow Mike and I finish the year with 21 miles. What better way? He'll be floating having conquered 3000 miles for 2006. Next week, Marc is to join us. He's just back from injury so I'm not sure if he'll be doing the whole 21 or not. Either way, it will be great all of us getting back together.

Training this week: 102.3 miles. Feeling good.

Friday, December 29, 2006


Another good 18 miler. Unheard of.

I got out late today. My 18 miler generally starts between 4:15 - 4:30 but I had to spend some quality time with the woodstove this morning and I didn't get out until 4:45.

Scheduled workout: 18 miles easy. Target: none. Purpose: Recovery/volume.

Results: 18 miles in 2:14:43 (7:29 pace). HR 138.

Things definitely have changed for the better. I'm almost down to 1 slog per week - maybe two occasionally. But the 3 x slog per week era is o.v.e.r.

6 x comfort loop this morning in the biting cold wind. Loops are great when there's a steady wind. Here are the loop splits:

23:34 (7:51 pace)
22:47 (7:36 pace)
22:21 (7:27 pace)
22:19 (7:26 pace)
22:06 (7:22 pace)
21:37 (7:12 pace)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday MP training

The 2nd 3rd of my life began with an aerobic resistance run. Excuse me for saying, but these 'resistance' runs are hard.

Scheduled workout: 12 miles w/embedded 50 minute progression from 6:40 - 6:02.

Results: 12.19 miles w/embedded 50 minute progression from 6:54 - 5:59.

I decided to split the progression into 10 minute progression segments of 6:40 / 6:30 / 6:20 / 6:10 / 6:02. Here is how the progression actually happened:

Warmup 24:16 (2.46 miles) 9:52 pace. 137 HR

#1 10:00 (1.45 miles) 6:54 pace. 151 HR
#2 10:00 (1.56 miles) 6:23 pace. 155 HR
#3 10:00 (1.61 miles) 6:12 pace. 161 HR
#4 10:00 (1.61 miles) 6:12 pace. 166 HR
#5 10:00 (1.67 miles) 5:59 pace. 170 HR

Cooldown 15:37 (1.83 miles) 8:33 pace. 137 HR

The 50 minute progression came to 7.9 miles with an average pace of 6:20. Average HR 161.

The first 10 minutes, I had trouble getting up to pace. A lot of this section was uphill and I miscalculated how much this would slow me down. The second 10 minutes went better. The watch lets you know when you're going too slowly - so the goal is to keep the watch quiet.

As you can see, instead of running a 6:30 pace for #2, I ran a 6:23. While this was a little too quick for this segment, it made the transistion to the next level that much easier. When the watch beeped and then squawked about my pace, I just had to increase the tempo slightly to silence the slowpoke alarm. Over the next 10 minutes my pace must have drifted upward as it didn't take much to enter lap #4.

Segment #4's pace averaged out too slow as I struggled to keep the pace up. But luckily, I found some extra fuel for the final 10 minutes and easily kept the alarm at bay by going sub 6.

The hardest part of the run was actually the 2nd segment. Doubts crept into my head about whether I could really increase the speed every 10 minutes for another 40 minutes. But once I got the pace up, it was easier to hold then I had anticipated. And believe or not, while I was working hard on the last segment at 5:59, I was surprised when my 10 minutes was up. I guess I was concentrating so hard on keeping my pace I forgot how long I was doing it.

When that final 10 minutes was over, I breathed a sigh of relief. What a bear of a workout. But it is done and in the log. The HR's look good, the average pace looks good, and the fact that while it may have been 'uncomfortable', it was within my ability and it just took a little willpower to accept that fact.

I feel like there's a small milestone here. The average pace happened to be my goal MP. The average HR happens to be within 3 bpm of my Wineglass HR. So what we have here is the beginning of something good. I'm getting my speed and HR to converge on MP where they need to be. Over the next few months, we'll be working on extending this effort level (HR 160's) to the marathon distance.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

So ends part one of three.

I ran my last run today as a 34 year old. Tomorrow I embark on part 2 of the Andrew triliogy called my life. (Intending, of course, to live to 105). So 35 -70, let's see what damage we can do.

The damage this morning was the typical 15 mile slog that accompanies a tired runner. The aches started in the right ankle and migrated to the left calf by the end. I think I have a screw loose. It rolls around and it's getting lodged here and there. Bother.

15.19 miles in 2:05:39 (8:16 pace). Avg HR 130.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


That was the code word today. On the schedule: 10 x 1k w/2:45 rest. w/u & c/d to total out 10 miles. Purpose: Aerobic Power. Target Pace: 5:58.

At first, I was little troubled by my new Garmin. I had put the workout into the watch and included a 'target range'. Well, it was obvious from the beginning, that the watch and I were not going to be friends for very long. It was beeping at me for going too slow and then it beeped at me for going too fast. The trouble was, I couldn't read the message it was saying on the screen. Eventually, I did figure out that one message says "Speed up!" and the other says "Slow down!". But it wasn't helpful at the time.

I love the watch. And so far, the only flaw I can tell is that it doesn't have different tones for going too fast or going too slow. It's the same. Now you'd think I'd know by feel whether I was going too slow or too fast, and eventually I did. But at first I was one confused runner.

Also, the watch continually beeps at you if you're going too slow. But... if you're going too fast it bothers you only for a little while, then it gives up on you. So the first time that happened (lap 2), I thought I was 'in the zone' because of the silence. No dice. I was rocketing much too fast. At the end of that lap, I was worried that I might have ruined my workout.

But I didn't. The workout was completed, and it was done somewhat comfortably. I ran in the pitch dark on the airstrip. The length is 3/4 mile so I had plenty of room to do 10 x 1k without seeing where I was going. The trouble, however, is the wind. It's a headwind going out, and a tailwind coming back. Therefore, my odd numbered laps are slower than target pace, and my even numbered are faster than target pace. But it averages out in the end - and the tailwind "break" is so enjoyable.

So the results were 10 x 1k w/2:45 rest between repeats at an average pace of 5:50 per mile. Average HR of 158. A warmup and cooldown complete the workout for a total of 10.23 miles. The weather was rain, dark, and about 34F. Wind from the southeast at 10mph or so. Here are the splits:

1. 3:45 (6:02 pace) 153 HR
2. 3:20 (5:22 pace) 159 HR
3. 3:42 (5:58 pace) 160 HR
4. 3:22 (5:25 pace) 159 HR
5. 3:48 (6:07 pace) 161 HR
6. 3:32 (5:42 pace) 154 HR
7. 3:52 (6:14 pace) 161 HR (shoe came untied)
8. 3:37 (5:50 pace) 151 HR
9. 3:46 (6:04 pace) 161 HR
10. 3:28 (5:35 pace) 158 HR

I began into the wind and ended with a tailwind. This accounts for the extreme variance of pace. But also, I tried to 'relax' a little as the workout progressed. My hamstrings were a little tight this morning and I wanted to be sure that I didn't do anything foolish. Also, the purpose of the workout is to get volume at 5:58, not beat the clock. You can see that lap #8 (with the wind) I was really relaxed (relative to the others).

All in all, pleased with the workout. Seven of the ten repeats had similar HR averages, so I think the effort was comparable for 70% of the workout. Looks like I took a little break on #6 & 8. I'll try to correct that next time.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Since I didn't want to be underfoot...

I ran 15 miles - I had to try out my new Garmin. Very nice. I've always wanted one. Now I can have just as much fun as Mike.

Yesterday I ran a nice easy 21 miles with my good friend, Mike. We both felt pretty good. The last miles were silent as is becoming normal on all our long runs. Today was beautiful and I ran it all alone. No one was about and I got the rare opportunity to run 15 miles at noon on a weekday.


Yesterday - 21 miles w/Mike. 2:50:22 (8:07 pace). HR 136.

Today - 15.34 miles. 1:54:37 (7:28 pace). HR 143.

(Notice that my time today is down again, similar to Friday. Something has happened...)

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Too dark to see the dreary

The start of a 3 day weekend, I thought I'd be sleeping in. But no, I awoke at 3:40 and was wandering about the house as usual. I could hear the rain drip-dripping off the windows and the house was cool. A raw morning.

Reports were to expect freezing on the roads. They were right. Some parts of the course this morning had a layer of a slush & ice combination. Luckily, there weren't many of these spots and they were only a few feet long. So when I hit them in the dark, I was through the danger before I could lose my footing.

Scheduled workout: 10 miles medium paced progression run. Target paces: 7:27 - 6:20 [85% - 100% MP]. Purpose: Aerobic Resistance.

Results: 3 x 5k progression w/warmup & cooldown for 10.2 miles total.

I decided on the 3 x 5k progression using the target paces when I considered the weather. The 5k tempo course was calling my name so I thought I would try to incorporate it. The start and finish of the tempo course is about 2/10ths of a mile apart and the 5k split today seemed like a good division between 'progressions'.

Generally, on this type of progression run, I try to run each mile successfully faster - building up to the maximum pace in the final mile. Today this was not appealing and I can't say exactly why. So I opted for a 3 x 5k progression:

Lap ..... Target Pace....... Actual Pace ...... Time
5k.......... 7:27 ....................7:17................... 22:37
5k ......... 6:53................... 6:41................... 20:47
5k .........6:20.................... 6:14................... 19:23

Recovery between the 5k progressions were 2:25 & 2:48 respectively. Instead of increasing the pace with each successive mile, I tried to hit the pace squarely on the first mile and keep it steady. It worked out very well on #1 and #2. Lap #3, however, was a little more difficult. I went through the first mile too quickly. The headwind for mile 2 slowed me down so I hit the split just under the correct average. Unfortunately, this meant I ran the 2nd mile slower than the target pace. So I focused on the last mile and with the help of an obliging tailwind, brought it home it time.

The whole workout was in the dark. A little worried at first when I hit the slush but I got used to it quickly when I realized: A) where it was, and B) that it didn't pose a real hazard. The rain drizzled on and on and the wind blew slightly - just enough so you knew it was there. The temperature hovered just below 40F and the whole scene could only be described as dreary.

Except I couldn't really tell since it was dark. And this was a good thing. When I got home, showered, and warmed up with a hot cup of tea, I looked out onto lightening scene. Yuck! What an awful day for running! Drizzle, cold, slush, cars splashing. Just awful.  I know I would not have liked to have been just getting going just then, long weekend or no.

On dreary days, I recommend running before sunrise.


Well, another good day to report. Felt good. Quads are sore but not bad. Calves need to be stretched before each run now. Left foot sore afterward. Knees ok. Hamstrings slightly tightening if running too fast. Basically, the whole gambit grumbles a little. None of it is loud enough to do anything about besides some ibuprofen, ice, and rest between workouts. The engine is humming smoothly and the fatigue is hiding on me. Eye of the storm perhaps?

Today ends the week with 104.9 miles. My best week yet this cycle. The Parrott predictor dropped this week to 2:53:37 as my fastest 26.2 miles got a little bit faster. Friday's 18 miler was the biggest contributing factor to this week's drop. At 7:20 per mile it created a nice floor.

A little note on the Parrott predictor. As you know, the predictor adds up your fastest 26.2 miles of training during the week and claims this is a fair predictor of how fast you can run a marathon. For me, it has proven pretty close in the past. I like it because it fits in with a comment made in an article I read that basically said that Olympic marathoners run 25% of their workouts at or near MP. Reading Lydiard and Canova, you start to see this same philosophy come out if your weekly mileage is slightly more than 100 miles per week. This means that every week, you'll log about 20 - 30 miles at paces that are near percentages of goal pace. Thus the predictor becomes pretty accurate and can also give you an idea of how you are progressing towards your goal.

For me, I have yet to run anywhere near 26.2 miles per week at 6:20 per mile. This is because I can't (yet). My fast days currently add up to about 16 - 23 miles of faster pace running. (Tues, Thurs, Sat). The way my schedule reads, if I run two 'resistance' runs and one 'aerobic power' in a given week, I'll have 23 miles or so of faster running but at an average below race pace (resistance runs work up to MP but not beyond). On the weeks that have two 'power' runs but only one 'resistance' run my faster mileage drops to about 16 miles with an average pace closer to MP. The problem is the predictor needs another 10 miles - and it gets them from the volume miles.

As I get stronger, these volume miles will have better average paces and the Parrott predictor will fall. That is what happened this week when I scored 18 solid miles at 7:20 per mile. The predictor grabbed the missing 3 miles (2 resistance runs this week/1 power run) from that good workout keeping the prediction lower. Here is a look at my training since Wineglass:

Week........Miles.................. Parrott.................. Comment

10/1 .........26.2................... 2:57:03 ................ Wineglass marathon
10/8 ..........0.0..................... n/a ........................Rest week
10/15 ......56.0................... 3:29:20.................. Recovery week
10/22 ......52.2................... 3:44:01........................... " "
10/29 ......72.6................... 3:33:06 ..........................." "
11/5 ........61.2.................... 3:18:33........................... " "


Start program

11/12 ......100.5................ 2:59:50................ Week 1 of program
11/19 ......102.0................ 2:56:16............................. #2
11/26 ......103.3................ 3:02:36............................. #3
12/3 .........85.1................. 3:10:17 ................ Busted 18 miler/took day off
12/10 ......101.4............... 3:34:04 ................ Deleted 'hard' days to recover
12/17 .......104.9.............. 2:53:37.............................. #6

The first thing you should notice - the numbers don't lie. Running hard 3 days per week produces Parrott predictions very close to my current marathon PR. Sort of a 'proof'. The validity of these numbers of course comes from reproducing the results with sustainable training week after week and (hopefully) with an improvement over time.

So I expect that the predictor should go up a little over the next few weeks as my body digests some of the rigors of faster volume training (thus possibly slowing my overall averages) and perhaps another drop in a few weeks once I get another bloom of capillaries/mitochondria/whatever.

Tomorrow: 21 miles w/Mike - slowly!

Friday, December 22, 2006


I've been so busy hunched over, shoveling, shoveling. Another load of coal into the furnace, 1 mile at a time, 100 miles a week. Over and over, shovel, shovel, shovel.

Getting hot in here.

Then it appeared up ahead on the tracks. I didn't notice.

Another shovel.

The train raged.

Another shovel.


I felt the thump and heard the clang of debris clatter off the sides of the engine as the train smoked on through. We just broke through the first wall.

18.1 miles in 2:12:49 (7:20 per mile). HR 150.

And it was easy.


A history of Fridays:

8/18 18 miles 8:44 pace
8/25 18 miles 8:28 pace
9/1 18 miles 8:07 pace
9/8 18 miles 8:25 pace
9/15 7 miles (busted 18)

***October (marathon recovery)***

11/10 6 miles (busted 18)
11/17 18 miles 8:53 pace
11/24 18 miles 8:32 pace
12/1 18 miles 7:53 pace
12/8 10 miles (busted 18)
12/15 18 miles 8:40 pace
12/22 18 miles 7:20 pace

Generally, by Friday I am just tired. Worked over, accumulated mileage, and the daunting distance of this particular workout usually does me in. I suffer through, thinking of all the benefits I might one day enjoy. However, today I jogged out there and got moving early and never let go.

Over the past few weeks I have noticed a steady drop in the heart rate on my easy days. My easy 138 now is an easy 129 and so on. But today I was able to run up at a 150 average HR with no stress, pain, or fatigue for the distance. My modus operandi has been to run MP style runs at the high aerobic level (80 - 90% maxHR) and then run recovery efforts on the off days (65-70% maxHR). I couldn't "handle" running my easy days in the low aerobic zone (70 - 75% maxHR) because I wasn't recovering fast enough. This might be changing.

Not long ago, I paid a heavy fatigue toll for my 100 mile sins. But I pressed on into the fog and have been enjoying clearer days. Granted, there are still patches of fatigue to go through and injuries to avoid or tend, but it is getting over one of the most limiting factors in distance running that is producing these benefits - getting through the fatigue.

Now to keep building.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Go figure

Scheduled workout: 12 miles w/embedded 20 minutes @ 6:05 pace. Purpose: Aerobic Power.

Results: 13.97 miles w/embedded 20 minutes @ 6:04 pace. Tempo HR 172. Felt great.

Last night the blues had a hold of me as my lower body ached - particularly my quads. The gnawing ache of muscles worked hard can drive one mad. There's no relief. Sitting, walking, lying down.

Last night the ache spread to my calves, my knees, and remained in the quads as well. In the middle of the night I awoke to the general discomfort from legs grumbling.

At the alarm, the chorus had quieted somewhat, but the lingering memory kept tolling in the brain. I consciously prepared for 12 slow miles. Hazily, I wandered about the house doing the morning routine: woodstove, coffee, woodstove, computer, woodstove, trash out, woodstove...

I was lacing up my sneakers when I noticed it. An inkling, a hint, that the body was preparing for the standard 'hard' day routine without my permission.

My thoughts kept going over the 'tempo' course. No, that's not right, I'm not doing tempo today. My hands automatically set the 'count down' timer to 20 minutes. No, that's not right, I'm not doing tempo today! I put on as little winter clothing as possible so I could run fast. No, that not right, I'm not doing tempo today!?!

The body was in control, it wanted speed, and it was going to have it.

What could I do? I went out fearing the cry about to come from the legs. No cry. I warmed up for 3 miles at an 8:02 pace. Then my hand reached over, hit the split, and the engine turned over.

Up immediately at pace, all soreness disappeared as the heart did its job collecting and distributing O2 to the waiting cells. The footfalls were light, the arms worked it, and a sense of relaxation came over me.

Surprised, I focused on staying relaxed and let the pace finds its own way. This really helped. I hit the little hill at mile two without any fatigue and no noticeable decrease in pace. By 5k (18:55) I was glad this was only a 20 minute effort, but I cranked up the volume to bring the average pace down just a notch.

Go figure. Did my pace as instructed without pain or stress. These 100 mile weeks are making me loopy.

Finished out the run with another 7 miles or so with Eric at an easy pace.

13.97 miles 1:51:52 w/3.33 miles @ 6:04 pace.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Must blog

Not much to say but I thought I better put my run on the blog.

Ran an easy 15.45 miles this morning. Total time was 2:28:xx (9:15 pace). HR 127. Temp w/wind chill 6F.

Not a slog, a nice easy jaunt with several stops here at the house to stoke the fire up to acceptable levels. (The time reflects these stops - totaling about 10 minutes or so)

Felt good. However, as the day wore on, my quads have bothered me and I'm feeling a little low. I should have blogged about the run earlier, I would have had more nice things to say.

Not sure if I'll do the 20 minutes hard tomorrow. I'll check with the quads. That particular workout is tough on them and I don't want to end up injured. I've had quad issues before - notably just before the '06 Holyoke Marathon and in the middle of training December '03 or '04. I can't remember. Anyway, I do remember it brought on the winter blues for me.

If I don't do the 20 minutes hard, I'll do all 12 miles easy.

Marc's calf acted up again today. Even Lydiard Mike had a rare one. That alone is enough to get any us of down.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The numbers don't lie

Today's workout was a repeat of 12/5. This time, no ice but a stronger NW wind. I ran again by feel, pressing into the wind on the way out, and keeping up a steady strong tempo on the way back.

By the time I got back to the house I felt like I had enough. I felt the same way two weeks ago. So when I checked the log, I shouldn't have been surprised to see that I ran an almost exact time and heart rate as I did on 12/5. Still, I'm always amazed at how close those numbers come in.

On 12/5 I ran 1:08:56 (6:32 pace) with an HR of 161.

Today I ran the same course (10.55 miles) in 1:08:37 (6:30 pace) with an HR 162.

Felt good except for mile 9. It's a rough section of road that needs to be repaired. No shoulder to speak of and the traffic sort of 'bottlenecks' here. To top it off, it's uphill and when someone was pulling a garbage can on wheels down their driveway, I thought it was the sound of a dog picking up speed to chase me. I twisted around with a jerk at the sound and it sort of broke my stride and killed the mile. I am glad it wasn't a dog though.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Wet Wood & The Monday Surprise

Wet Wood

Met up with Mike for the weekly long run at Boyden's Lake. Mike pushed the pace a little early. This had the effect of getting us back to the cars four minutes earlier than usual. 21 miles in 2:46:06. A 7:55 pace, we scooted along watching the beautiful sunrise, enjoying the mild weather, and comparing notes on our respective training. On several occasions Mike would observe our arrival at a landmark earlier than expected. He sounded surprised. Sly fox.

Since I had a captive audience, I decided to amuse Mike with my 'wet wood' theory. I described that burning fat is like burning wet wood. It will burn as long as the furnace is hot. Our supply of dry twigs is limited; our supply of wet wood unlimited. It takes a long, long time to get the furnace hot enough to consume this awful, abundant fuel. But when the cast iron's glowing red, be assured the fuel will burn. It's the peat moss of endurance.

These high mileage weeks keep adding more wood to the coals. Throw the dry twigs on and you get a roaring blaze that quickly extinguishes to charred embers never to be rekindled. But slowly tend the stove, over and over, with constant attention and care, and the heat won't die. It burns so hot, the wet wood ignites like dry kindling.

Safety becomes a factor. Burns, dehydration, singes, and the flush of constant heat dog you. But we adapt and keep adding, adding. Soon, when the time is right, we'll throw the right amount of dry twigs and damp fuel on the pulsing coals for one horrific fire that melts the enamel and produces a marathon PR.

Or so I told him. After listening patiently, he said, "Let's just make it over this hill, shall we?"

Nevertheless, Mike endured my imagination and we made through our 21 miles. Not that he has much choice. There's literally, nowhere to go. Just ask Marc.

The Monday Surprise

Today's workout was a big surprise. I felt great.

Usually, I slog through the Monday recovery 15 as payment for the long run the day before. But not today. I made it through 15.6 miles feeling wonderful in 1:59:19. My HR stayed low at 140 and my pace averaged 7:39.

It was dark the entire run and I thought maybe the fatigue would jump me from behind on some bleak stretch far from the house. Nope. I cruised home to victory. Recovery/volume with ease. Now that is novel.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Back at 100

Today's 10 miler put me at 101.4 miles for the week. It is good to be back.

Easy run, 10.4 miles in 1:21:52 (7:52 pace). Average HR 142.

Today's singers: Left quad, left toes, right calf. I've forgotten what it's like to run without my chorus. My personal iPod on permanent 'shuffle'.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The bonk that didn't.

Hah. I should have bonked and blogged, but I got the better of it.

Victorious, I stumbled to the end of my Friday 18 miler, so happy to be done without folding. There was a large question mark this morning before I started. I was tired. The alarm went off at 3:30 but I just laid there - until 4:05. In order to get the run done in time, I need to leave the house around 4:18 or so. This left me just enough time to let one cat out, load the woodstove, get dressed and leave. No coffee, no down time, not awake.

I popped two ibuprofen for lingering soreness and I shuffled out into the dark wet morning fearing the worse. It was last Friday that I found myself 3 miles from home, in pain, on fumes. All at 7 miles into an 18 mile run. So today, I decided, like it or not, I'd run 6 x 3 mile loops to get the 18. A little boring perhaps, but when you run over 2 hours in your workouts 4 times per week, you get used to long periods of lonesome. So I guess it doesn't really matter if I run the same short course over and over. After all, some people run their long runs on a track.

Staying on the comfort loop gives me comfort (no doubt). I'm within crawling distance at all times. And to keep my mind occupied, each time I pass the house I can track the morning progression of the daughters by seeing which lights have been switched on in the house. First, the eldest daughter gets up to read. I think she dreams of reading and wakes extra early to get a few more pages in. Her light comes on first. She'll be in bed, her cat looking over her shoulder, reading yet another story about horses and their adventures. I don't know if you know this or not, but horses it seems, get into many scrapes, overcome daunting adversity, and generally perform good works across the country. Brilliant, helpful, courageous, and kind - the perfect gentleman is an animal.

On the next loop, I see the youngest has gotten up. Her habit is to go down by the woodstove and just sit in front of it for about 30 minutes. (This is why it is imperative that I have that woodstove burning!) She will not stir from this position until she is ready. Ever since her infancy, I have known: Better do what she says, it will be better for you. Luckily, Meg is quite fond of me and treats me well.

But this is not the only house I can keep my eye on during my multi-loop runs. My poor parents live on this loop and I can track their morning progress as well. I love to entertain them with updates on their rising habits. It makes them nervous. Ha ha!

What else is there to do on an 18 mile run, round and round the town, but keep an eye on your relations?

Anyway, while I may have responded, "It feels so good to stop" when asked about my run this morning, I am happy that it went pretty well althought I was tired, I ran slowly, and I managed to get the hiccups. But... no wall, no bonk. It was work but instead of a slog, I felt like I was training and helping my long term prospects. Tomorrow's 10 will see me back in the triple digits.

Training: 18 miles in 2:36:08 (8:40 pace) Low HR of 132.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Lazy Hundred

That's how I described this week's training to my friend Marc yesterday and we both laughed. I guess it's good to think doing one hundred miles per week is not too stressful if one takes the 'hard' days away.

It is stressful however, as my previous posts about fatigue have shown. But today's 12 was so smooth I forgot what it was to be tired.

I ran easily and met up with Eric at around mile 5. We ran together for 4 more then he sent me off for my final 3. 8:20 average pace with an average HR of 137.

Left leg today gets the honors for being the most bothersome. Hamstring a little sore in the final miles. Otherwise, not bad. I'll continue with this easy stuff through Monday before kicking up the dust next Tuesday. That's if I'm ok.

Whenever I'm hurt or otherwise having a problem running I look at the intensity chart:


And choose a component to adjust to get the needed relief. Last Friday on the busted run I obviously adjusted distance. Then immediately changed the frequency by not running the next day. But now I have added back the distance and frequency but have toned down the speed component until next week. It helps me to look at my running in this manner.

Training: 12.4 miles in 1:43:25. Warm out today at 43F.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Let's talk about mile 10 - 10.25.

It was great. A wonderful sunrise view of the Passamaquoddy Bay looking northward where the St. Croix River delivers it's last bit of fresh water into the salty basin for recycling. Wisps of cool clouds were scurrying about the sky, trying to organize. My stride was smooth, heart rate low, and my mood lifted by a sudden dose of endorphins.

Then it was over.

15 miles in 2:08:36, several bathroom stops, no ibuprofen, sore calves, quads but ok. Sleepy, creaky, and stiff legged.

Except for that nice quarter mile.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A breath of fresh air

Doing this week at a reduced intensity (no 'hard' days) so this morning's 10 miler was relaxed. I enjoyed it. A little chilly outside, but the sky was clear, the moon bright, and I felt pretty good. No fatigue to speak of and the legs felt ok on the ibuprofen. After the run they felt a little tight but not too bad.

I don't know where all the fatigue goes. When it's here it's all encompassing. Then it's gone.

10.4 miles in 1:28:03. (8:28 pace). HR of 132.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The waves of fatigue are rolling now

After Friday's bagged run at 10 miles, I followed my rule and took Saturday off. The right leg in the calf area is very tight and needs to be tended. Not only was the leg tight, but I was very tired and felt like I needed to rest for a day.

So Saturday morning, instead of sleeping through my normal training slot, I awoke with all kinds of energy. I don't know where it came from, but at 3:30 I was awake and ready to go. But I have rules to follow so I didn't go out onto the roads, but just sat around twiddling my thumbs. Perhaps I needed only the last 8 miles off from the previous day's run, I thought. But the leg was still very tight and it was a very good idea to enforce the rest.

I got out mid-morning and got the legs massaged. This helped out. The leg isn't so tight now but it wasn't a magical cure. I rested the rest of the day in preparation for Sunday's long run with Mike.

I made it to St. Andrews only a little late, and Mike and I had a nice 4 loop jaunt around town. My right leg was very tight, but more manageable as the run wore on. I think it was because the rest of me started to get weary thus reducing the leg's relative importance in my world of hurt.

By the time I got back to the house, I was beat. The waves of fatigue were rolling strong now and I had to fight off sleep as the day progressed. I'd be up, then down, then up, then down. That 20 miler had me tired. It felt similar to when Marc and I started our first weekly 20 milers a few years ago.

By 8 o'clock I was toast and asleep as soon as the head hit the pillow. But the fatigue didn't abate. This morning at 4am I had a hard time getting out of bed and my 15 miler was an absolute crawl. My leg felt 'ok' but that's about as good a comment it deserves. I'll be dialing down (or deleting) the speed component of this week's workouts so I can get the leg back on track.

Scheduled workout: 15 miles easy. Purpose recovery / volume.

Results: 15.1 miles in 2:15:00 (8:56 pace). Right leg sore. Whole body fatigue washing over me. At one point I considered the desirability of just lying down on the pavement.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Another Deposit

If miles were nickels...

Scheduled workout: 15 miles easy. Target pace: none. Purpose: Recovery / Volume.

Results: 15.6 miles in 2:19:11 (8:55 average pace). 129 HR

The "real" running time was 2:11:42 (8:27 pace). 3 x 5.2 mile loops in bright moonlight and a beautiful sunrise. Pace splits:

Loop 1: 8:52
Loop 2: 8:20
Loop 3: 8:08

It felt very nice to be running easily and relaxed this morning. The first two laps went very well and the last one did until near the end when I started to feel a little tired. Plus the temperature dropped 8 degrees while I was out there (and I think it was all on the last loop). I started at 18F and ended at 10F. I would prefer it the other way around.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The more you train, the more you gain.

So said my 9 year old daughter this morning as I groaned off my shoes after this morning's hard 10. And she is right.

Scheduled workout: 10 miles - Medium even paced run @ 90% MP (7:02 pace). Purpose: Aerobic Resistance.

Results: 10.55 miles in 1:08:56 (6:32 pace). HR 161. Felt great.

I ran today's resistance workout a little fast but I couldn't help myself. I woke up 12 minutes to 4 just raring to go. I at least had some toast and coffee, got the house warmed up a bit, and then I was out the door in the 18F air. The moon was full and bright and it lit up all the ice. It was like having the sun up it was so bright.

Today's workout called for a steady effort for 10 miles and I knew running up and down hills on ice just wasn't going to cut it. So I decided to run out to Pleasant Point along the highway and back. If I ran near the middle of the road there was very little ice. This way I could get the pace down where it needed to be without pulling a muscle or falling down. The only danger was the traffic encountering a determined runner demanding a right of way.

Traffic isn't too bad early in the morning (or any time of the day for that matter - this is Downeast Maine after all) so I had a good feeling this would work out just fine. The only trouble is, I am not sure where the exact mile markers are so checking the pace was not an option. Also, it was rather cold so once I hit the start button, I really didn't want to undo the wrist velcro and get my arm cold just to check the time. So today it was all by feel.

Obviously, my time indicates I haven't a clue how I feel. I suspected I was running much quicker than I needed to be but I felt so good and the breathing was nice and easy so I just went with it. The run out to Pleasant Point was into the wind. Not a tough one but I knew I'd get a benefit by having it at my back on the return trip. So even though I don't know the pace splits, I'm guessing I averaged 6:45 going out and more like 6:15 coming back.

I really enjoyed cruising along, watching the sun rise, and letting my thoughts wander all the while keeping up a pretty good tempo and breathing easy. It is still slower than my goal MP so there's a lot of work to be done. I'd like to be running this effort at a 6:20 pace by springtime if possible. We'll see if the miles will bring it to me.

Another reason for the quicker tempo was the little doubts bouncing around my head about what pace I was actually running. Many times - especially yesterday - I get to thinking that I have a handle on how fast I'm going and then the loop pace split spits out something slower. I'm not disappointed as I realize it's all part of the program. But when I get out there on target pace days, I zip along trying to 'hit' the pace and wind up a little quicker (but still aerobic).

Ice thwarted, workout in the log.

"The more you train, the more you gain." - Princess Madeleine

Monday, December 04, 2006


The weeks are passing faster now and I find myself once again back at Monday. And that means 15 miles.

Scheduled workout: 15 miles easy. Target pace: none. Purpose: Recovery/volume.

Results: 15.6 miles in 2:11:22 (8:25 pace) w/137 HR. 3 x 5.2 mile loop. Pace splits:

Loop 1. 8:50 pace
Loop 2. 8:24 pace
Loop 3. 8:02 pace

Ran a little quicker than usual and my HR was a little higher than of late at the same pace. Most likely a reflection of the hard work put in yesterday. I've been feeling stronger so I'm trying to bring my off day pace down a little bit to better optimize my aerobic conditioning.

This week's quality on tap:

Tuesday - 10 miles @ 7:02 target pace [90% MP]. Purpose: Aerobic Resistance

Thursday - 12 miles w/embedded 20 minutes @ 6:05 pace [104% MP]. Purpose: Aerobic Power

Saturday - 10 miles progression from 7:27 to 6:20. [85% - 100% MP] Purpose: Aerobic Resistance

Doesn't seem like a lot when I write it out but it feels hard enough doing it. Tomorrow will be a challenge since it'll be the first day this season with bad footing from the ice we received today.

In fact, the ice arrived with a flourish at mile 2 of my 15 mile run this morning. I turned the corner at the mile marker and felt some rain start to come down. "Oh, there's some rain," said I. Then it poured. "Oh, there's a lot of rain!" as I reached back for my hood to give me some protection. While fiddling with the hood, the rain turned to ice and started pinging me. I was all over road trying to dodge the incoming pellets (like it did any good) when out of the west, a strong gust of wind blew everything sideways, me included.

My run had gone from a simple damp, dark run in the chilly air to fighting the elements - and I still had 13 miles to go! But then it was over. Like it never happened, the ice stopped, the wind ceased and all that was left was the crunch of ice under my feet. Eventually the rain picked up again but in a light drizzly sort of way that wasn't that noticeable.


And finally... an addendum to yesterday's story about Marc's freezing frolic. He ordered me to not quite retract my story, but at the very minimum let it be known that in no way did the 5 mile walk in the bitterest of winds detract from his enjoyment of joining good friends for a couple of workouts. Popsicle or no, he'll be back to run Boyden yet again and he hopes for colder weather.


Is anybody else tired?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Where Mike & I try to kill Marc.

In a most shocking display of blissful ignorance and an amazing failure of mental aptitude, Mike & I trotted off into the biting wind and left Marc to find his own way home. It didn't occur to any of us that running gear only protects you when you're running. Limping 5 miles back to the car in the blowing cold - on a lonely, desolate road - populated with unhappy canines - wet with 7 miles of sweat - and wearing only nylon and other thin polymers - is a most unwise activity. And friends don't let friends die in shallow ditches on Maine's back roads.

Well, some friends don't.

Mike and I were oblivious to the real walking hell that constituted Marc's soujourn back to the cars as we vocalized our sympathy to one another and occasionally uttered 'poor Marc!' as we climbed yet another frozen hill. In the end, he lived. That's good.

The Story

Marc pulled a calf muscle coming down the steep hill at 7 miles and it laid him up by the time we got to the Sipayik trail. A down & back, we left Marc to 'walk it out', and Mike & I headed down the beautiful paved trail along the Passamaquoddy Bay. When we turned at the end, we were confronted with the extreme nature of the wind today. It was cold.

I was properly dressed with my Goretex jacket and one thin layer underneath. Mike on the other hand was dressed in Nylon with more layers than I, but he suffered more. He immediately picked up the pace in what he claimed was "the only way I know how to stay warm".

We had been running 8:30's or so, I'd say, to this point. Maybe even slower. We had been chatting up a storm as we enjoyed the bright sunshine and the wind at our backs. Now the effort was increased and unfortunately, the pace didn't have a 1:1 corresponding drop. It dropped a little, but our effort into the wind was much harder than what the watch was giving us credit for.

We came back upon Marc at the beginning of the path. I thought something must be wrong as I had hoped to see him jogging slowly down the path to meet us. All the time, I was under the impression it was his knee that had acted up. But here, we found out that the old calf injury from two years ago was the culprit. A quick group meeting determined that: 1) the new injury was due to overcompensating for the bad knee (now how do we know that? and why are we discussing this now?); 2) Marc needs to bow out of this workout and 3) he will walk back using the cutoff road ~ 5 miles.

Marc was in good spirits. He's a hardy soul, ready for most things, and even predicted having enough time, after he reached the cars, to go get us some tea or coffee. Mike and I had over an hour left to go (we now had gone about 11.5 miles or so) so off we went. Marc boldly marching behind us on his way back.

As it turned out, and he can tell his trekking story himself, it was "the most awful experience I have had in a long time". Other comments he made were just as frightening: "You just be glad you weren't there with me!" and "uggh mahgbug, brrg mphff, aacck!" He was attacked by dogs, demoralized, driven to run on the injured leg from desperation, re-aggravated the injury, and at last was reduced to a frozen popsicle. He found himself, at long last, at the car unable to work his hands to unlock the door. Heat beckoned from within, the wind blew without. The options were this: Lie on the ground and die or get the car unlocked somehow.

We found him inside the car. Very unhappy.

Meanwhile, Back on the Roads

Mike and I pressed on. The pace kept quickening once we were over the most grueling portion that involved total exposure to the strong icy wind and up a steep, long hill. We hit the top like conquerors and we never looked back. We pressed on into the wind bringing the pace down to 7:43, 7:36, 7:28, 7:26 and I think a final mile of 7:10 (all uphill). Mike has the correct splits but that's the gist.

We finally got out of the wind with two miles to go. And we were ready to be done. I wasn't cold, and I think Mike had warmed up some. But the winter effort was enough to say 'enough'. This was our first taste of the new winter. Perhaps we'll be better acclimated in a few weeks. It was still shocking nevertheless.

All Together Again

Marc had arrived a mere five minutes before we did. So he was still frozen. The good news was, he was no longer alone and it didn't take long with the heater to thaw him out. He could barely talk from the cold. His hands were like ice. I now have serious doubts to whether he will want to come down and run with us again. None of us realized the trial that walking back would entail. We'll have to come up with a different plan for this type of scenario. It could happen to any of us.

I think the reason we were so low key about it when it happened was we thought that this might happen anyway. Marc's been having problems with his knee. It allows him to run one day but not the next it seems. So, mentally, we were prepared for the knee to act up. To us, calf or knee, it was all the same. Marc was rightfully calling the rest of the run off for himself and would meet us back at the cars. No problem, we knew it might happen.

So I feel badly. He didn't seem too keen on a repeat weekend in January when I suggested it as he left for home.

The good news? He's had this injury before and it does heal with a week or so of 'no running'. You can't run through it, and 7 -10 days off does the trick. So that's what's next for him. To think, he went through all that trouble with his car to get down here, and he's handed a 5 mile Artic trek across Perry, Maine on a bad leg.

With friends like us, he doesn't need enemies.

Training: 21 miles 2:51:43 8:11 pace. Biting cold wind from the west. Felt great. Nice low heart rate of 134.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Running hard at Sipayik

I am very glad I moved the aerobic power workout to today. I had a good workout yesterday and today I awoke feeling ready to tear down the Sipayik trail. This Saturday's workout is similar to last week's except instead of 3 x 5k, it was 5k, 4k, 3k all at increasing speeds. The Sipayik trail (which is paved with soft tar) was a good choice today. The wind was not too bad, the temperature about 40F, and the weather clear. And to top it all off, Marc is down and joined me on the trail. He did his own workout and we met up at the end for the cooldown.

Scheduled workout: 10 miles w/ embedded 5k @ 6:02 pace, 4k @ 5:57 pace, 3k @ 5:52 pace. 3 min recovery in between. Rest of mileage as w/u & c/d.


3.1 miles in 18:10 (5:52 pace)

Rest 7:37 (3 minutes is not an option for me just now)

2.5 miles in 14:25 (5:46 pace)

Rest 8:35

1.9 miles in 10:35 (5:34 pace).

Warmup / Cooldown of 3.5 miles brought the total to 11 miles.

I felt wonderful today. When I was running into the wind I would be right on target pace but as I turned out of the wind I would maintain the effort and thus drop the pace considerably for the final push. This time I felt much more in control than last weekend and felt a lot faster. My last mile in the 3k effort was in 5:28. I stayed relaxed and when the legs started to feel weary, I would just press on and sure enough, they just wouldn't quit. I'm starting to see some positive effects of the 100 mile weeks. (I feel enough of the negative effects!)

Speaking of 100 miles, today ended the week at 103 miles. I ran 377 for the month of November.

Marc's knee was feeling good today so he got in a progression run while I did the speed work. We are going to meet up with Mike tomorrow for an easy 21 miles.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Small Adjustment

Last night as I was pondering the enormity of today's scheduled workout (18 miles w/embedded Aerobic Power workout) it occurred to me that the aerobic power portion of the workout was only 12k long.

That is less than 10 miles and therefore there is no need to run this workout on such a long day. Unlike Wednesday's aerobic resistance workout that was 13 miles long, this workout did not need to be moved to the normally staid Friday 18 miler. So I moved this workout back to where it belonged: Saturday. Saturday is one of the normal 'hard' days.

I guess I had originally scheduled this workout for Friday because I was following the hard / easy alternating aspect of the plan without thought as to the necessity of combining such a long day with such a hard workout. Easy enough to correct. Instead of Saturday being 10 miles recovery, it is back to being a 'hard' day for this week.

I felt much better when I realized this. It was going to be the equivalent of doing two workouts in one which is not advisable. So every third week when I am faced with an aerobic resistance workout that exceeds 10 miles, I will only put that workout on a longer day and keep the aerobic power workouts where they belong (since they do not exceed 10 miles as far as I am aware).

Scheduled workout: 18 miles easy. Target pace: none. Purpose: Recovery/volume.

Results: 18.6 miles in 2:26:31 (7:53 pace). Avg HR = 135.

I was feeling very good this morning after a good night's sleep. Last night I was so fatigued, I went to bed at 7:45. So my 3am wakeup was no problem and I was out the door even a little early at 4:05am. Generally, I awake at 3:45am and scurry to get out the door. This can make for an unpleasant run if I'm not fully awake.

But today I felt great. In fact, I ran faster than usual. I usually run an 8:5x pace for this workout but today I scooted along. My HR is staying nice and low and I like to see that. My plan was to run 3 x 5.2 mile loop and add one 3 mile loop at the end. I did the prescribed loops with the exception that the 3 mile loop was inserted a little earlier when I caught up to Eric.

He was doing a bunch of the 3 mile loops so I ran one with him and then we parted later when I went off to finish my last 5.2 mile loop. Here are the splits:

5.2 miles 41:27 (7:58 pace)
5.2 miles 39:26 (7:35 pace)
4 miles 35:03 (8:46 pace) - running with Eric
4.2 miles 30:33 (7:16 pace)

I decided to go out a little faster and see where it took me in terms of fatigue and such. Surprisingly, I felt very good and was sort of glad the workout was progressing a little faster than normal. There's nothing like getting home sooner.

At the end of loop #2 I spotted Eric running up ahead and when I caught him I thought I'd run with him. My legs were feeling my pace a little bit so I thought this would be a good time to just settle back and have a chat with a friend. We ran together for 4 miles as the miles slid away in conversation.

When it was time to part company, I was feeling rested up from the nice 4 mile break. So I brought the pace down somewhat to finish out strong. When I finished I was no worse for the wear. Another nice 18 miler. If this keeps up, I'll lose my main workout to complain about.

I didn't fall asleep on my commute this morning either.