Monday, August 31, 2009

Back for the final push

Had a mid-training dip there coinciding with a hiking excursion up Mt. Katahdin here in MaineMt. Katahdin is Maine’s highest peak at 5267 feet and is considered a pretty rugged climb due to its remoteness, long approach, elevation gain, and steep ascent.  I went with my father, brother-in-law and two nephews.  We went up the Abol Trail and down the Hunt Trail which (for northbound thru-hikers) is the final 5 miles of the Appalachian Trail – Baxter Peak of Katahdin being the trail’s northern terminus.  There was one thru-hiker at the top who had finished the Trail that day.  He had left Georgia (Springer Mountain) on May 4th.


We had a beautiful day with low temps and bright sunshine.  I still managed to get a sunburn but nothing like my last trip up four years ago – so I consider it a success.  The loop was 9 miles but I managed to get 13 by running the two miles from the Hunt trail back to Abol to get the car then hiking a mile back into the woods to meet up with them to hike the final mile together (I descended a bit faster than them).


Needless to say, my quads were very sore for two days following so I didn’t run.  But today I was only slightly sore so I put in 90 minutes and got 12 miles for the effort.  10 @ 6:58 pace and 2 miles to cooldown.  Felt good the whole way but the calves have tightened up now so I’ll have to pay attention tomorrow to how they’re doing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

No Vacation Goes Unpunished

Vacation was too hot.  Running was not pleasant.  Now work is crazy.  85 miles last week:


Monday:            0

Tuesday:           20 @ 6:59 pace

Wednesday:      10 @ 8:52 pace

Thursday:          15 @ 6:38 pace

Friday:              10 @ 8:44 pace

Saturday:          20 @ 7:14 pace

Sunday:            10 @ 6:42 pace


Felt sluggish, heat is too much (yes, I know, I don’t know what heat actually is).  These are the worst days for running for me though.  Suffering since last Saturday’s race.


Speaking of the race:


The bad – felt horrible from mile 2 on.  I carried a small water bottle with me to help with the heat.  It didn’t help.  No speed, I was drained, and I lost one place at mile 5 – ending up in 6th in 29:40.  Ran most of the race a few yards behind a competitor, neither gaining or losing.  I wanted to close the gap but I was just hanging on.  I hate just hanging on.  This race was almost a carbon copy (time & place) of the last time I ran this race over five years ago.


The good – the five in front of me were the usual suspects that usually finish in front of me.  I wanted, of course, to have a better showing and finish with them but it was not to be.  The winner’s time was near the time I was shooting for.  Which means that the heat must have got to the top five finishers as well.


I think I need a string of cold days to make me feel better.  I haven’t had the urge to run hard for over a week.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Fabulous fog kept things cool. 20 miles negative splits. Felt good. Legs a little sore near end. 2:24:31.

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Fabulous fog kept things cool. 20 miles negative splits. Felt good. Legs a little sore near end. 2:24:31. 75:00 / 69:3

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beat the heat by running at 4:30 this morning. A good 15 mile progression run. 1:39:xx.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Heat woes

Full race report will have to wait until vacation is over. Home modem on the fritz so I'm snatching access where I can. But you can assume the heat bit me hard.

Licked my wounds for two days with no miles. Did 20 this morning after sleeping in (I'm on vacation) but paid for it when the heat showed up.

I'll have to get up at the normal time (3am) if I want to have a decent workout. Dog days of August! Hate them hate them hate them.

20 miles in 2:19:33. Everthing was fine until it warmed up.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tough tough race. 6th place 29:40 5 miles. Ran 10 at night to feel better.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Aerobic 10

Finally a decent workout. There is no doubt that I enjoy running aerobically much, much more than any other foolish type of run.

I have to be in to work early the rest of this week so the available time for training is down an hour. But that is alright since I've got a race on Saturday. After yesterday's disaster I felt like stretching the legs. So I went out for an easy 10 at a decent aerobic pace.

Didn't check the watch and just ran as I felt. It worked out to be a nice progression run with a fast finish. No splits since I didn't want to shoot for any specific mile times. I felt great the whole way. Didn't see any meteors since it was overcast here. Next two days will be recovery to set up for the race.

10 miles / 1:05:09 (6:31 average pace).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Slinking Home

Horrible x 800's

The Bad

I couldn't hold any speed today. The first few yards were good but then the legs just felt tired and tight and I couldn't handle the lactate that not only filled the legs but seemed to get into my gut as well.

I didn't even do the 8 required - bailing out after #6 when the right hamstring gave a little twinge similar to last Tuesday. Even so it was almost welcomed. Had a poor moment of actually being glad it twinged since I'd have to stop. Then I thought maybe I just imagined it, but I didn't.

The course - something wrong with it. What is generally just an annoying rise (right in the middle) during my normal workouts seemed to be a mountain during the 800. The length - is it long? The times were horrible for how I hard I worked - particularly on the first one. After that things just kept going downhill.

The Good

I still got a proper workout in. Regardless of the time or length or small rise the legs filled with lactate and that was the whole point of the run. Doing 6 instead of 8 only represents my lack of speed conditioning which is why I doing the workouts.

It also confirmed that it was alright to start doing these workouts 9 weeks out from the taper - I will need that long to get through this phase and reap the benefits. Especially since I'm only doing one per week.

So this was speed work #2. Got me a little concerned about my race plan on Saturday. I'll have to be careful not to overdo it in the first mile or two since I really suffer from early lactate buildup.

2:42 / 2:55 / 2:54 / 3:04 / 2:58 / 3:11 w/90 seconds jog/walk in-between. 2 mile warm up and 2 mile cool down.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Null

The newest phase seems to be a series of peaks and valleys.  Today I ran a short recovery run of 3.1 miles @ 7:31 pace.  Felt pretty good and wished the run was longer.  But I was resting the legs up for tomorrow’s 8 x 800 workout.  Yesterday, while nice and easy, the workout was still hard on the body because it lasted over 3 hours.  So a longer run this morning would have jeopardized tomorrow – or so I think.  Hopefully tomorrow will go well making these lower mileage weeks worthwhile.


This week’s hard stuff will be Tuesday and Saturday.  Saturday being a 5 mile road race.  Easy running in between.


Yesterday was a special run because Mike and I were joined by Trevor out of Fredericton.  It was a rare instance of the Canadians outnumbering the Americans during a Blind Moose run.  Trevor’s first 20 miler and he did great.  Things went swimmingly until the end.  I wasn’t really paying attention but there appeared to be some sort of discrepancy between Trevor’s Garmin and Mike’s Garmin.  Mike was the more liberal of the two calling for our run to be over a tenth or more before Trevor’s Garmin said so.  But Trevor force marched us into the void until his Garmin said we could stop.  I have no idea how far we went. 


In case you’re wondering, according to my watch, which is a $10.99 Rite-Aid special, the run had gone into overtime 24 minutes prior.  If only they had listened to me.

Friday, August 07, 2009

No news recovery

Just another recovery run this morning.  Nothing much to report.  The legs were tired and sore but that was to be expected.  Crawled around town for 4 miles @ ~10.21 pace for purposes of getting some blood flow into the legs.  Felt good when I finished.


Did another session of core work after the run.  Pushups / abs / stability / stretching.  No drills today as I didn’t feel like the legs were up for it.  That’s why I chose the slow jog instead.


Tomorrow I hope to get an easy run in – distance to be determined.  My normal workout time is booked so I’ll have to escape sometime in the afternoon.  That means how much time I will have and what the temperature will be are unknown.  I hope it rains.  That generally keeps the temperature down.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sweet 6:16

Today I ran marathon simulation #1 and it went very well.  I woke up motivated and felt great.  Even the soreness from Monday’s core work had subsided.  The plan was 20 miles with the first ten at an easier aerobic effort and then bring the pace up to ‘race pace’ effort for the final 10.


The first half went great.  I felt strong, easy, and relaxed.  It was a slight progression as I warmed up and got into the groove.  Split 1:04:19 (6:26 pace).  On the 2nd half I added a little spice to the pace and got on board.  A more focused effort and the relaxation was hard to come by at first – but I blame this on an uphill 11th mile (~6:25).  The next mile (my favorite mile 12) cruised through in 5:45 and then I had to work a little to gain the top of mile 13 (6:25?).  Mile 14 was just over 6:00 and mile 15 slipped under at 5:58.


Approaching mile 16 the endorphins kicked in and I knew it was coming.  First, the discomfort in my legs faded away and then I started feeling fresh.  And that old euphoric feeling went into high gear.  I passed mile 16 in 5:58 feeling on top of the world.  This helped with the uphill mile 17 in 6:15 and I was slightly over 6:00 for mile 18.


And then I entered the “two mile bubble” - where there are just two miles left.  The confidence returns and I usually start feeling good again.  Uphill to mile 19 in 5:59 and finished with a final mile of 5:49.  Second half split: 1:00:44 (6:05 pace).


Total time: 2:05:03 (6:16 average).  A brief moment of HOK when I finished then I sat down and drank a bottle of water.  After that, I refilled the bottle and walked my recovery.  Feeling good about this one.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

4 x mile

This morning’s speed workout went ok.  Not perfect since the right hamstring twinged on me in the beginning stages of the last repeat.  It was very similar to the twinge I felt on a hill workout with Eric a few weeks back.  I backed the pace off and ran the last repeat in comfort.  I took an ice bath when I got home.


Another hard time choosing where to run the repeats.  I didn’t want to run 4 miles before starting them so that left me without any flat options.  So I chose my beloved mile 2 on my standard course which is also the uphill mile 8 in the other direction.  I figured I’d run net downhill for two of the miles and net uphill for the other two.


The workout was 15 minutes warmup, short drills to loosen up, then 4 x 1 mile with 3:00 jogging recovery in between.  Splits:


#1:        5:05 (down)

#2:        5:26 (up)

#3:        4:55 (down)

#4:        6:11 (pulled up in the first quarter mile due to twinge – comfortable mile)


A good intense workout.  While running them it felt pretty hard, but after the jogging recovery I felt ready to do another.  The twinge on the last one wasn’t bad, but I worry that my inexperience with speed work will make me more susceptible to injury.  I’ve been stretching it and will ice it again tonight.  Recovery run tomorrow.


A pleasant cooldown in the morning sunshine made the total mileage 8.45.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Final 9

The final 9 weeks of training prior to the taper are upon me.  I am starting the switch to higher intensity, more recovery, more specific training.  It feels like the right time.  Hopefully a focus on my weakness and a greater specificity with the training will provide me the improvement that I need in order to maintain pace in the marathon.

For this cycle, I think I’ve discovered some paces that I can run and maintain with steady race effort.  I now need to narrow in on these paces and boost my stamina, mechanics, and efficiency while running at this effort.  After Tuesday’s tempo run, I’ve been dragging a little and I think it’s the accumulated fatigue and me touching the end of the string when it comes to aerobic improvement in the short term.  Now to solidify the gains.

So first up today was core work.  And I might have well announced that I’m the weakling of the bunch.  Pushups, abs, you-name-it, I did a little bit and I was wobbly after 40 minutes.  I did some drill work too.  It’s just not the same as cruising and letting the miles slip by.  But by starting now and doing this workout periodically, I hope to strengthen the right muscles that tend to fold on me in the final miles.

Yesterday, the blind moose got together for another 17 mile run.  These workouts are part of Mike’s recovery and while he might be recovering, they’re killing me.  I almost begged him to hammer out the last two miles so we could get the run over with.  It was hot, humid, and the horseflies were ripping the meat off my bones.  Instead, Mike held to his plan:  20 minutes with a Galloway walk to get the heart rate down.  I’m starting to be suspicious… he doesn’t seem to need any of these breaks and he knows I have trouble getting going again.  I think he’s up to his old tricks trying to wear me down.  If this keeps up he’s going to have to start telling me jokes.

I got in 12.4 miles in 90 minutes.  The humidity took me completely by surprise and I found myself in a dehydrated state by the time I got home.  That’s the reward I get for grabbing a few extra winks.  I should have got up at my usual time.  It would have been much nicer.

So it turned out to be a lower mileage week at 66.83 miles w/two recovery days embedded.  I believe with the higher intensity workouts to come and the recovery days that follow, the mileage will remain lower than the past 14 weeks.  Everything has a price.  The weekly mileage up to this point:

5/3        59
5/10      65
5/17      88
5/24      96
5/31      105       May = 388
6/7        55
6/14      98
6/21      108
6/28      86         June = 357
7/5        38
7/12      97
7/19      90
7/26      114       July = 370
8/2        66

Today: 0 miles / drill work / core work ~ 40 minutes.  Worked new muscles.