Sunday, April 29, 2007

59:13 :: 8 miles

Recovery run. Very easy today, with about half of the run on soft dirt trails, which was a nice change. Really windy today, which slowed things a bit and helped to keep the effort low. 7:15-7:30 pace felt just right, which struck me as a little bit odd considering how easy everything felt yesterday. Heart rate for the run averaged 130, which is very low, even for a recovery run. Standing around heart rate was hovering around 60, so I decided to cut the miles and go really easy on the effort to make sure I'm 100% for Tuesday's workout, as well as the back-to-back on Friday and Saturday. Good run.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Marathon Practice

Forgot to mention that yesterday was a marathon drill. Each Saturday until the race (two total), I want to practice my planned routine, including eating, sleeping, warm up etc. in order to establish a bit of a habit and mentally prepare for the race itself.

I woke up at 4am, had a large-ish bowl of rice chex and milk, then rested again until around 5:30. The rest of the morning, until 8am, when I started the run, I made up my drink and filled my bottles. I'm using a custom blended powder mix that will provide me about 700 calories per liter, which I will take in from four different 250ml bottles along the course. During today's run, it took me about a full mile to down each bottle, but I'm hoping to bring that down a bit so I don't have to manage the bottles for so long. I'm using wash bottles, which are really nice for directing and controlling the flow versus a typical sport bottle. I need to cut the tip back a bit more to get a quicker flow, and I should be able to get the 250 down in less than three minutes. I also practiced with cups and figured out a better way to take in water, so that was a nice little 'breakthrough'.

No stomach distress or stitches from the sport drink, which was good news. I think everything went as well as it could have. Next week will be a slightly better test, as I will be running the last ten miles of my long run at marathon pace. That should be an excellent test of the drinks and the mechanics of consuming them on the run.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

2:14:29 :: 21 miles

Long run. Really good run. Ran relaxed all the way, picking up some speed toward the end even though I was trying hard to back off. I really felt like I was jogging the last four miles, though they were coming in under 6:20. Legs felt very fresh through 17 miles, then a small amount of fatigue gathered, but didn't amount to much. By the time I decided to end the run, I felt like I could have continued at that pace for a long time. No soreness to speak of, no fatigue...hell, I didn't even want to stop! =)

Overall heart rate averaged about 147, with the first fifteen at 143, and the last six around 152. Recovered to 120 in 1:05, and just about to 110 in 3:00--never quite got there and stopped timing. Standing around heart rate before the run was 57, so a bit elevated from yesterday's run. Temps were warm (60+ the last few miles), the sun was out, and I was overdressed at the end, which may have contributed to the slow recovery.

I discussed with Mystery Coach the value of doing a longer, marathon duration run (2:30) versus the 2:10 that was prescribed for today. I had been reading Buddy Edelen's biography recently, as well as Ryan Hall's blog (which I found yesterday...thanks Fatboy!), and both had mentioned some variation on either covering the marathon distance or duration several weeks before the goal race. I had also been dithering over the missed long run from a few weeks ago, when I was supposed to go 2:15 to 2:30, but ended up bonking and stopping around 2:00. I felt a 2:30 run today would be good mentally, and it couldn't hurt from a 'familiarity' standpoint. One of the reasons that training works, in my opinion, is that the body and the mind become familiar with the efforts that they are put through--they understand what is coming, what is expected, and they deliver the performance. It fits in nicely with the Central Governor model that Tim Noakes has proposed, and it makes sense to me.

Anyway, nothing can quite prepare you for the marathon as well as running a marathon. That is a classic conundrum. So, I decided to go with the Mystery Coach, as I usually do, and cap the run at just a touch over the recommendation, since I was still feeling fine. There is a much more key back to back coming up next week, and it will be important for me to be 100% recovered going into it. Today was a day to do no harm.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Friday, April 27, 2007

1:06:11 :: 11 miles

Two mile warmup in 13:03, then seven miles at MP, as follows:

5:43(151) | 5:43(154) | 5:41(156) | 5:42(156) | 5:45(156) | 5:37(159) | 5:41(160)

Recovered to 120HR in :56, and to 110HR in 1:09. Two mile cooldown in 12:50.

I'll add some commentary later...have to get to work! Good run.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Thursday, April 26, 2007

54:48 :: 8 miles

Easy run with a couple of quicker miles (6:05, 5:48) in the middle. Legs feeling good. Heart rate was 50 before starting, and recovered to 120 in :36 after the faster miles. Recovery seems good going into the next two days of workouts (7mi@5:45 / 2:10 long run).

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

1:43:08 :: 15 miles

Easy run. Wanted to go a few more miles today to get out of the 10-12 rut. Sometimes it seems like I'm neglecting the long aerobic efforts that got me where I am, so it's nice to revisit that aspect of the training. Fifteen isn't incredibly long, but it's important to keep the easy work easy at this point, too.

Heart rates in the 132-140 range. A couple of quicker 6:30-ish miles, but mostly 6:50-7:00 pace. Listened to the iPod and just chilled. Nice run.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

1:03:32 :: 10 miles

Evaluation run. Standing resting HR was 50 this morning, so I appear to be recovered, and I felt fresh as well. Easy three miles to warm up in 20:39, then four miles at 5:40-5:42 pace, trying to duplicate this workout to check progress. Each of these workouts comes on the third day after a significant workout, the first, a back-to-back MP series, and the second, a half marathon at MP with a fast finish. Here's a comparison:

March 12 - 5:42(157), 5:42(161), 5:40(162), 5:41(163) | 1:06(120), 1:28(110)
April 24 - 5:42(153), 5:41(157), 5:40(159), 5:41(159) | :42(120), 1:03(110)

Everything is better--heart rates are lower at the same paces, recovery is significantly faster, the legs feel strong and light, and the mind doesn't seem to concern itself with the effort. Put simply, this time it felt like a run rather than a workout.

I did notice the stride was a bit klunky this morning, which was expected after two easy days. I'm happy that it's consistent, and that I know I can do some light strides and a couple of moderately paced miles on that second day to get rid of the kinks without tiring myself. Also, during the cool down, I noticed somevery slight soreness in the quads and ITB areas--probably lingering muscle damage from the half. I've been religious about the cold baths after hard workouts, but I'll do another one today, which will hopefully help speed the mechanical aspect of recovery along.

Good day!
Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Monday, April 23, 2007

54:54 :: 8 miles

Easy run. Legs felt good today, not snappy yet, but better than yesterday. Heart rate was still up (about 57 this morning), so I elected to go a bit shorter this morning and maybe put in a four miler after work. Averaged 134 heart rate for the run--the same as yesterday, but the pace was a bit quicker and felt better overall.

Today is the first day of my new job. I'm pumped! On a Monday!

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Sunday, April 22, 2007

1:17:09 :: 11 miles

Recovery run. Legs felt really good through nine, then got a little bit tired. Heart rate averaged 134 for the run. Recovered to 120 in :25, to 110 in :35. No soreness at all, no tweaks either. There's a 'tingle' sensation in my legs that reminds me that yesterday was a hard day, and my standing-around heart rate was 60, but other than that, I feel really good.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Earth Day Half Marathon :: Photos

Just a few photos from the race...

Lift and Go

Final Stretch


Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

1:14:26 :: 13.1 miles :: 9th place

Sorry for the delayed report--my best laid GPS-and-text-message-enhanced plans fell apart! The plan was carried out, and the race went well. I went through ten miles in 57:21 according to the watch, and probably 57:45 according to the course markers. I wish I had done manual splits, as it would be nice to know the last 5k based on the course markings, and not the GPS. I guess either could be inaccurate, but I'm betting the course was way closer. Anyway, that puts the last 5k at 16:33 by the watch, and 16:41 by the course. That was around what I thought I could do, so I was happy with that finish.

I felt great overall, both through the first ten marathon pace miles and the last 5k. The weather was difficult at times, with the full complement of cold, rain, and wind during the race to keep things interesting. In the first four miles, we had some serious rain and wind, which made me worry a bit about hypothermia. I've never been soaking wet in 40F temps, let alone in 20 mile an hour winds. Not fun. During the third mile, we crossed the 10th Street bridge, which represented the worst of the course. The wind barrelled down the tree-lined Mississippi River canyon, driving the cold rain so hard that it appeared to be bouncing off of the bridge railing back up into my face. I was between groups of runners at the time, working my way up through the early speedsters. At just under five miles, I was in no man's land by around ten seconds. I had to make a decision to use some hills that were coming up to bridge the gap to a group that appeared to be running around my speed. I was able to make up the gap, and by six miles, I was settled in with another runner, John, a 2:27 marathoner. We had a good conversation over the next several miles, which was surprising to me considering the pace we were running. The wind was still a factor through nine miles, but it felt like a light breeze compared to the gale that hit us while crossing the bridge.

At ten miles, I set out on my own to reel in anyone I could, and over the next three miles, I would get one, and get close to another. It took a bit to figure out how fast I could push, but once I did, I felt like I was flying. I had another runner in my sights for the last quarter mile, but he was looking back and adjusting his effort to hold me off. I kept hammering as hard as I could, but I would only get within three seconds or so.

Here are the splits from the GPS:

5:43(157) | 5:46(161) | 5:49(163) | 5:38(163) | 5:35(165) | 5:41(164) | 5:55(163) | 5:45(161) | 5:49(161) | 5:42(160) | 5:32(167) | 5:14(170) | 5:12(172) | :34(175)

Good run.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Thursday, April 19, 2007

40:05 :: 8 miles

Okay, so this totally didn't work, although it should have. My wife was able to post to her blog via the cell modem, but I couldn't. Go figure. Anyway, here is what I tried to post on Thursday, while driving down the highway.


ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US! I figured out a way to use my GPS tracking phone as a modem for my laptop, so I am more mobile than EVAR! I'm actually driving, er, my wife is driving, down the interstate right now with a 19.2kbps connection to the series of tubes that make up what the kids call the intern-net. It takes a good bit longer to get a webpage loaded, but hey, I can't complain.

Props to NEXTEL/Boost Mobile for opening up their packet cellular networks for dial-up. Those money-grubbing bastards at Verizon, et al., can SUCK IT.

Okay, this is a running blog, not a geek manifesto...

I wanted to get a workout in on the lighter side of moderate effort today, because I know it will leave me feeling flat if I run easy for three straight days before the race. I also wanted to get a few more quicker miles on my racing shoes, just to get the calves adapted a bit more. I ended up doing a 2-2-2-2, that is, 2 miles at 6:45, 6:15, 5:50, 6:15. Everything felt good, and I should be ready to go.

Once again, you can follow the race live, starting at 9:00am Central Time (US) on, and I will post a quick place and time to the blog a short time, maybe as soon as half an hour (we'll see), after finishing. This will be really, really geeky, and really fun.

By the way, if you are a total technology dork like me, you might enjoy checking the website right now and watching our van go flying down the highway. Cheers!

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Earth Day Half Marathon :: Finally racing! Kinda.

The race starts at 9:00am CDT on Saturday. You can find more info here, if you like.

The plan for the race is to run the first 10 miles at marathon pace, and then go as I feel for the last 5k. So it's not really racing so much as it is a workout. While it will be tough to hold back with pride and prize money on the line (especially if it's raining--I run soooo good in rain), I know it serves the goal, which is to run my best at Fargo next month. My goal for this race, then, is to run somewhere in the 56-58 minute range for the first 16k (not sure yet which marathon pace, goal or current), and then scorch the last 5k, hopefully feeling strong, and hopefully still coming in with a good placing.

Updates to the regular blog will likely not happen again until Saturday afternoon, as I am between jobs right now and I just lost my phone yesterday (bummer!). Basically that means I have no mobile data capability, so no pictures or updates to the blog via phone this weekend.

However, I will be able to shoot up a short text message to the blog after the half marathon this weekend with place, time, and maybe a sentence or two of commentary. I will also have my fauxjack on during the half, which will be uploading GPS data to this website, live, on the race course. I still have a fair amount of programming to do to make it more functional and better looking, but it's good enough for government work. It should be in better shape for Fargo.

Thanks for following the blog. I know a few of you, hell, probably all of you have been waiting patiently, for what seems like forever, to see me run a race and actually do something besides train constantly! Well, here we go...
Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

1:28:00 :: 13 miles

Easy run. Felt great before, during, and after the run today. Heart rate standing around before the run got down to 47, which is crazy. Usually if I'm well recovered, I'll see 52-53. The run felt really good, with the pace right around 6:45 for the most part, slower the first mile and faster the last. Overall heart rate averaged 138, so it wasn't quite a recovery run, but it was awfully close. In any case, I felt recovered from yesterday before I even started, and I feel good now. Good day.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

1:29:40 :: 14 miles

Volume and speed workout. The schedule for today looked like a lot of fun on paper, er, on e-mail--10 minute warmup, 30 minutes at 5:45 pace, 15 minutes at 6:15 pace, 3-4x1000m at 3:07 (5:01 pace), then a cooldown.

Everything went to plan, which is very encouraging. 1.45 mile warmup, then 5.25 miles (5:44-153, 5:44-157, 5:42-158, 5:43-159, 5:43-161, 1:23-162), followed by 2.4 miles (6:11-153, 6:16-152, 2:32-154), and 4x1000m on 5:00 (3:07-168[120-1:16], 3:07-163[120-1:15], 3:06-164[120-1:12], 3:05-164[120-1:19]).

Recovery to 120HR was 1:19 (following the last 1000m rep) and to 110HR in 1:36, then a two mile cooldown on the treadmill. This recovery looks pretty good compared to other workouts. I definitely felt good today. The first two miles of the 5:45 pace segment had me feeling a little tired, but that sorted out and the pace began to feel easier. The 6:15 segment was a bit difficult to hit exactly right, but I was close. That felt a bit odd--not really slow enough to feel like I was getting a rest, but not so fast that I couldn't get some recovery. Then, boom goes the dynamite, it was right into the first 1000 after a steady 55 minute run. Surprisingly, (or not surprisingly if you are the Mystery Coach), I felt great. I hit the mark right on pace. The next one started a touch slower, but ended about the same, and felt about the same, but three and four were like melted butter on a fresh from the oven caramel roll. I haven't experienced that sense of easy speed in my legs for years. The first 300 meters of the last two reps were completely ridiculous! I would put the effort for all four of the reps equal to the effort of the middle four of the 7x1000m I did last week. A fair amount of oxygen debt for the last 500m, but quite relaxed and controlled compared to last time--and nearly ten seconds per rep faster. Quite an adaptation in just a week. The recoveries were similar as well, and it's a good thing I wasn't out there with last week's instructions, because I felt just fine after four, and the recovery to 120 was leaving me with better than 30 seconds to spare.

Great workout today. Really enjoyable with a good mix of pace work and moderate speed.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Monday, April 16, 2007

1:22:25 :: 12 miles

Easy run with progression. Did a five mile progression (6:50,6:24,6:18,6:13,5:56) just to do something a bit more up tempo, trying to avoid feeling flat after two days of recovery running. Followed up with seven miles easy on the treadmill just to get on to a soft surface and avoid some pounding on the legs. Just a touch of soreness in the quads still from Saturday's long run. Good run.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Sunday, April 15, 2007

59:30 :: 8.5 miles

Recovery run. Felt surprisingly good today. My heart rate standing around before the run was 57, which is about five bpm off of my 'fresh' heart rate. After yesterday, I took this as a good sign. When I'm really stressed following a hard workout, my standing heart rate can get up to 62-63 bpm, so maybe yesterday didn't beat me up as much as I thought it would. Or maybe the cold bath is the bizzle dizzle.

First mile was comfortable and slow in 7:30, and it felt like the pace would stay there for the run, but by the third mile I was down in the 6:4x range at 135HR. Other than a couple of windy stetches, the pace and HR were consistent, and the legs felt really good until around seven miles. I noticed some soreness at that point, and decided to just stop at an hour. The point of the run was to assist recovery, so I didn't want to beat my legs up any further. Overall heart rate averaged 133, so it was a nice, easy run.

I jumped in to another cold bath after, which should alleviate some of the soreness, and will get some rest today. I might do an easy half hour on the bike later, just to get the blood flowing. Good day!

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Saturday, April 14, 2007

2:01:04 :: 20 miles

Long run with MP miles. The longer I wait to think this run over, the better I think it went. The goal was 10 miles at 6:20 pace, then 8-10 miles at 5:45 pace. I went at this workout with the thought that it would probably put in me in similar discomfort to the late stages of the marathon, and mentally, I needed to be focused when it got tough. I wasn't disappointed.

The weather was fantastic--nearly perfect. Almost no wind, and 29F at the start. The first ten went by a bit fast in 1:02:42, with fairly even splits, but a drifting heart rate. The previous day's workout was doing its thing.

6:14(139) | 6:16(145) | 6:17(145) | 6:18(146) | 6:19(148) | 6:17(151) | 6:18(151) | 6:17(152) | 6:13(153) | 6:13(156)

The MP portion was a challenge from the start, although at mile two I felt very strong for a time. By mile 14, I was beginning to feel the creeping fatigue and telling myself I just had to be strong mentally and muscle memory would take care of the rest. 15 and 16 were a fog of effort, but I managed to keep the pace even though I felt like I was slowing considerably. The pace made a very real deflection at mile 17, and no amount of willpower was going to change it. Ventilation was way up, oxygen debt had started to incur, and I was slowing. I wouldn't have called it a bonk in the sense that I'm used to--the feeling of muscles with no gas and the brain not wanting to continue. This was more like picking up a ten pound bag of sugar and carrying it along for the run. The legs still turned over, the brain was allowing me to go on, the effort was similar, but the pace just slowed.

5:46(163) | 5:45(163) | 5:46(166) | 5:46(165) | 5:47(165) | 5:48(166) | 5:53(165) | 5:57(166) | 5:57(165) | 5:56(167)

Recovery to 120HR in 1:36 and to 110HR in 5:15. I extended myself today, hopefully not too far. I suppose I could have stopped at 18, knowing that Mystery Coach had allowed for that, but I felt like I could continue, and that it was somewhat a point I had to make to myself that when the running gets tough, I need to know that I'm not going to quit. It's a lesson I haven't learned often enough yet, and a lesson that pays dividends in a race like the marathon. After last week's short (failed) long run, I needed to believe that I could stick out a tough situation, and today, I did.

That said, I wonder if I could have been a bit tougher, and dug down to keep the pace under 5:50. The heart rate slowed a beat over the mile when the pace slowed, which makes me wonder if the cause was as much as lapse in focus as it was physical fatigue. Sucking air like I was running 1000 meter reps was very real at the time, so maybe not. I'm putting too fine a point on it, but it's worth mentioning.

Twelve hours later, I am definitely depleted and tired, but no soreness to speak of, probably thanks to the 15 minute cold bath (50F water fully covering the hips and legs, and yes, that too. And yes, it was extremely uncomfortable), and the recovery drink. If anyone out there is not using some kind of recovery routine following their harder efforts, you would do well to start. A recovery drink (4:1 carbs:protein ratio--pick your poison), light massage, and cold water baths work wonders.

Have a good weekend!

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Friday, April 13, 2007

1:09:51 :: 11 miles

MP-10 workout. Went well, but felt a bit flat. For some reason, getting too much recovery leaves me with the same feeling as not getting enough. If I find myself in this situation again, I may throw some strides or a quicker paced mile onto the end of the second easy day's run to see if that helps to avoid the problem.

Mystery Coach had a fever, and the only prescription was more volume. The order of the day was 7 miles at 5:37-5:42, which should have put the heart rate in the 157-159 range. The fit was near perfect, except for a deflection to 161 for the last mile--not sure what that was about. After a 2.5 mile warmup, here were the splits:

5:34(156) | 5:38(158) | 5:37(159) | 5:40(159) | 5:40(159) | 5:40(159) | 5:40(161)

During the last mile, I fooled around a bit with the pace/HR and found that 5:44 pace put me back at 158-159, but I decided running even effort was more important than even heart rate.

The recovery was good today, hitting 120HR in 51 seconds, and 110HR in 1:25. 1.5 mile cooldown. Overall, a good workout. Ran the seven mile segment in racing flats. They felt good throughout the run, although for some reason today I wasn't getting the 'light, fast' feeling from them. Did the cold water bath for the calves and a recovery drink.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Thursday, April 12, 2007

54:15 :: 8 miles

Easy run in preparation for Friday and Saturday's back-to-back MP workouts. Pretty much 6:40s at 135HR until the last two or three miles, which got down into the 6:25-6:30 range around 140HR. Legs felt good, but I'm tired from poor sleep on Monday and Tuesday. Last night was better, which should help tomorrow morning feel better.

Tested the live GPS setup this morning. Very comfortable, and I didn't even remember it was there after a few minutes. It uploaded points every minute for a while, but then had a few dropouts for some reason. Lots of work to do with it yet, but the physical aspect of carrying the phone without interfering in any way with running is taken care of. Cool.
Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

1:29:58 :: 12 miles

Easy run on the treadmill. Felt *great*. No muscle soreness from yesterday, stride was smooth, no undue fatigue, heart rates in the mid 130s. Really nice run. Ran the whole distance in racing flats. I have 70-80 miles on them now, so they should be broken in nicely. I do need to gradually use them at faster paces before the marathon to get the calves adapted, however. What feels good at seven minute pace is a different story at sub-six.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

1:03:38 :: 9 miles

Interval workout. The plan was 1000m reps in 3:12-3:15 on 5:00, repeating until the heart rate fails to recover to 120 during the rest period. This is one of those workouts that Lydiard got strange looks about--you quit when you're done. Needless to say, that can be intimidating.

Mystery Coach cautioned me not to be disappointed if I only got three reps, so that told me this was going to be a tough one. With that in mind, I thought five would make for a good day. I put in a fifteen minute warmup, feeling just okay, and then started in on the 1000s. The first two were good, right on time, the third was the fastest of the day, the fourth started to burn a bit, five was more of the same with some wicked oxygen debt, and six and seven included all of the above. Those were TOUGH. Eight was just...okay, I'm hoping at this point you're all screaming at your computers for me to STOP!! Let's look at the numbers...rep time(avgHR)|recovery time to 120HR

3:15(161)|:45 - 3:14(160)|:46 - 3:14(162)|:67 - 3:13(163)|:70 - 3:15(164)|:71 - 3:14(164)|:79 - 3:15(162)|:67

For some damn reason, I started to hit my stride on the seventh rep! I still recovered well within the 5:00 after number seven, and by the looks of it, I probably could have gotten nine or ten today. The legs and lungs were really feeling it, though. The only thing getting me through the last couple was guts. Each rep added about 100m of lactic acid burn and oxygen debt. By the seventh one, I was starting to feel the pain around 300m all the way through the finish. Even though my legs were like lead, and my pace felt like a crawl, I kept clicking off the same times.

I started number eight, did about 400m, then thought better of it and shut things down for the day. One and a half miles on the treadmill to cool down. I should have learned something from the hill workout two weeks ago, and the lesson applied today. I don't think I'm boasting to say that my fitness may exceed my strength right now, and there's no shame in stopping at 'good enough'. I'll get another shot at this workout, so no need to do something stupid today trying to max out. I'll take a solid workout over an awesome workout, an injury, and a few goose eggs in the log.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Monday, April 09, 2007

1:30:32 :: 13 miles

Easy run. Ten miles outside at 6:35-6:45 pace, 135-140HR, then three miles on the treadmill in about 23 minutes. Legs felt good, stride was smooth. Ready for a workout tomorrow.

Quick perosnal note. I haven't been as responsive to e-mails or comments as I would normally--sorry for that. The relationships I've built through this blog have contributed greatly to my improvement, so I like to keep my readers happy! I recently got a new job, which I'll be starting next week, so I have been busy tying up loose ends with my current employer and getting ready to move on. All this change leaves less time for blogging, but things should settle down again in a couple of weeks and get back to normal.

Also, a quick gadget announcement--Luddites, avert your eyes. I'm getting a Garmin Forerunner 305 today, replacing the flaky 301 unit. I'm expecting better, more consistent performance out of the GPS as well as the heart rate monitor. We'll see. Reviews have been excellent over the course of the year it has been available. Finally, I'm experimenting with live GPS via cellphone, and I hope to have it working for the half marathon in a couple of weeks. All of the information is there to provide live pace and distance updates to a Google map, but the programming has to be worked out, which will be a bit of a challenge for me. If I can make it work and make the cellphone a seamless part of my race gear, it could even be online for Fargo. One step at a time, though...
Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Sunday, April 08, 2007

1:13:09 :: 10+ miles

Recovery run. Ran about five miles with my wife for the first time since we had kids--it's been several years. That was a lot of fun, however, she is too fast for me! She was doing a long run with MP finish (7:05-7:10) and I was just hanging on for dear life the first fifteen minutes. =) Good times.

Legs felt a bit tired, but the soreness is gone. I got going as fast as 6:40 pace, but I think 7:00 was the sweet spot today. Good run.

Happy Easter!

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Saturday, April 07, 2007

2:01:21 :: 19 miles

Long run. Another crappy day, with winds steady at 20 and gusting to 25, and temps in the high teens. At least the sun was shining. Hit the wall just over 17 miles, and stuck it out through 19 to at least get two hours out of it. I knew I was taking a chance eating my Coco Wheats 75 minutes before my run, but I did it anyway because I was starving. This is the third time that I have bonked pretty hard around 17 miles after eating just before a long run. I think I've established a pattern. Kind of neat.

Anyway, the run was supposed to be 2:15 to 2:30 at 140-145 heart rate. I failed miserably to achieve either the time or the heart rate. I stayed between 140-145 for the first three miles, then 145-148 through ten. Anything under 150 was feeling like an uncomfortably slow jog, so after ten I settled into a more comfortable heart rate, which ended up being 152-154. The pace didn't change much even with the increased effort, but it was more comfortable. Hit mostly 6:20-6:25 feeling really good until just over 15 miles, when the fatigue started creeping in. I knew I was in for a bonk at 16 when my hamstrings and shins started to feel the tingle of glycogen depletion, then by 17.5, it was full on. I looked at the watch and saw 1:52 and knew it was going to be a struggle to make two hours, let alone 2:15, so I just made a commitment to getting 19 and made the best of it.

Recovered to 120 in :38, and 110 in 1:03, which was decent. I think this was a good workout, even though it was screwed up a bit. The extra time at MP heart rates isn't a bad thing, and I don't anticipate any additional recovery time from the effort. Not getting the extra 15-30 minutes of training on those upper level fibers was a give up, though. I don't want to repeat this fueling mistake again.

Have a good weekend, everyone.
Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Friday, April 06, 2007

1:24:00 :: 13 miles

Marathon pace run. The run was a mixed bag. Legs felt good, but the stride was clunky. No fatigue in the legs, but the heart rate was jacked. It was just that kind of day.

Weather was, again, terrible. Fifteen degrees with an 18mph north wind. To top it off, my GPS was screwed up and kept recording the miles incorrectly, even though skies were perfectly clear. It's time to get rid of that thing and switch to measured courses and a heart rate monitor with a stopwatch.

My wife identified that we are affected adversely by a cold before we even experience symptoms. Last week, she had a problem with her heart rates escalating by 6-8bpm during a workout at the same efforts she was used to, but when the workout was over, she recovered to her low heart rate (120 for her) in less than a minute--very quickly. Today, I experienced the same thing. Two days ago, I had a tickle in the back of my throat that told me I was getting the cold she just had, so I started taking zinc for it. Even though I have remained symptom free, I have had two workouts (Wednesday and today) where my heart rate was higher than normal for the effort and pace I am used to. Initially, I thought it was the three days of biking, causing me to miss out on two strong aerobic workouts. After today, I believe it is the cold.

The workout was 9 miles at 155 heart rate. Mystery Coach has been advising me (if it wasn't obvious), and since the calf problem cropped up, he has been concerned about overstressing the leg as well as carefully managing recovery. 153-155 HR today got me 5:52 to 5:56 pace, which would be disappointing if there wasn't a good reason. Just like in my wife's example above, I recovered to 120HR in :36, and to 110 in :53, feeling like I had just finished a nicely up-tempo jog. Even though the GPS was screwed, I was able to get some times on the loop, which indicated 5:48 pace at 157HR. I'm comfortable that a 157HR today is equivalent to 153HR on a normal day, which tells me I'm still making progress in spite of the brief delay due to the calf problem. Next week's workouts should give tell me if I am right about that, or just blowing smoke.

Earth Day Half Marathon is April 21--coming up quickly. Then, finally, the Fargo Marathon.

So, end result, the weather, the GPS, and the heart rates were a bit frustrating, but I got 9 miles in at 155HR as planned
Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Thursday, April 05, 2007

1:17:00 :: 10 miles

Recovery run on the treadmill. Everything felt good, but when running slow feels this comfortable, I know I need the recovery. Hamstrings are a tiny bit sore, probably from the poor traction.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

1:18:13 :: 13 miles

Absolutely horrible conditions today. Several inches of snow yesterday, so roads were 80% compacted snow and ice. Traction was the biggest factor today. Here's the weather right now, about an hour after the run.
I had to wear my cold gear again, although I was able to get away without a facemask. So I had that going for me, which was nice. Enough excuses! On to the workout...

Two mile warmup in 13:01, then two miles in 5:38(157)|5:45(164). This felt good, about the right effort, but it was the first of four reps. Recovery mile in 6:18(155) had me feeling a bit extended. Two miles in 5:52(164)|5:52(165). Went by effort on this one, relaxed a bit too much. Experimented with a longer, east-west loop. Wind was just as bad, and traction was worse, so back to the Homer Loop. Recovery mile in 6:21(160), felt okay. Two miles again in 5:48(165)|5:46(167). Tried to maintain the same effort on the 1200m loop. Traction was still poor, but slightly better, and I could pick the best path after a couple of loops to avoid icy spots. Recovery mile in 6:22(162). Final two miles in 5:46(167)|5:39(168). Extended a bit for the middle part of the second mile (.25-.75) to more of a strong tempo effort, otherwise just tried to maintain effort.

Recovered to 130 in :50, 120 in 1:26, 110 in 2:52 while walking. Heart rates have been higher in general since the three day 'break', and this recovery is not encouraging. I'm expecting I will see things back to normal in another week or so, following a long run and another 8-10 mile steady MP effort. It's amazing how quickly that aerobic edge can dull.

Excluding environmental conditions from consideration, the legs felt like a bit of a limiter on today's workout, as well as the lungs. This is the first time I've felt that touch of fatigue coming from the quads. It brought a little smile to my face--it felt almost normal. The Left Leg was about the same. I felt the hamstrings today more than the calf, but otherwise no change.

Solid workout today, feeling a bit humbled by the results, but also self-satisfied for sticking it out in this weather and getting the work done. Back when I was in high school, Fatboy (frequent commenter and good friend) and I were doing some hill reps out at Hawksnest, as featured in my profile pic, on a very windy day. At some point, probably earlier in the workout than I would remember, I started bitching about the wind, eventually yelling out "GODDAMNIT THIS IS F**KING RIDICULOUS" or something similar. Fatboy let me have it for that, and I've never forgotten that incident. Thanks for the lesson, buddy. Today, I redeemed myself.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

1:09:48 : 10 miles

Easy run on the treadmill. No change with the leg, and nothing special to report about the run. This is probably a good place to talk about the leg issue...

I went in to the doctor at the recommendation of the PT. She wasn't able to find any reason for the sensations in my leg that she could do anything about, so She suggested I see an othopedist who deals with sports. Unfortunately, the guy she recommended is out until April 16th, so I had to track down a doctor, any doctor, even an OB/GYN, as it turned out, who could get me a referral to someone who could diagnose my problem.

The hunt for a doctor took the better part of the day, but finally I was able to see a GP/baby doctor in the late afternoon. He checked me out, quite obviously didn't listen to my symptoms, and told me to stop running for 7-10 days. Before he could make his way out the door, I did my annoying patient thing and pulled out a couple of research papers about Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Popliteal Arterial Entrapment Syndrome (PAES), explained my symptoms for a second time, pointing out how well the symptoms matched up, and asked for a color doppler ultrasound to rule out both.

Following a slightly stunned, and what I would classify as a mildly painful expression, he asked, "Can I have these?" in reference to the articles, and excused himself to speak with his nurse. Two minutes later, he came back and told me a radiologist would see me right away for an ultrasound.

So, I got that done by a technician with 22 years of experience, and she found no evidence of DVT, but she hedged a bit when I asked about arterial entrapment. I didn't know it at the time, but the ultrasound was specifically to rule out DVT, and there was just a cursory effort to locate any arterial flow problems. Additionally, the tech isn't legally permitted to 'diagnose' or provide the patient any detail on the findings due to liability concerns. Good ol' USA! SUE EVERYONE! Even if they're trying to be helpful.

In the end, I got half the test I wanted, and I only got that because the doc didn't want to get sued when I collapsed and died in the street from a pulmonary embolism from a DVT that he completely missed.

I haven't noticed any improvement in my symptoms. My leg still feels like it fell asleep and is just waking up again--like the feeling you get just after the pins and needles go away, as if the blood flow is not quite back to 100%. It's not affected by the running at all, which is fine, but of course it leaves some lingering doubt about if I will still be running in a week, two weeks, six weeks, etc. Many of the reasons for impaired arterial circulation are mechanical in nature, and require a mechanical solution (i.e. surgery). Lucky for me, I am a Googling idiot, not a doctor, so the self-diagnosis I make is generally an order of magnitude worse than what I actually have. This increased negative expectation makes it all the better when the actual diagnosis comes back and ends up being much easier to resolve than what I came up with.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Monday, April 02, 2007

1:10:53 :: 11 miles

Moderate run. Two mile warmup in 13:50, then alternating miles in 6:10(141), 6:25(141), 5:58(152), 6:26(149), 5:48(159), 6:15(153), 5:32(167). Getting weak GPS signal warnings throughout the run, so I was checking some miles manually. All are within a few seconds. Two mile cooldown on the treadmill.

Calf is slightly more 'full' today than yesterday, and hip is slightly better than yesterday. Stretching helped again today. Still no pain, just odd sensations. I'll get another visit in with the PT today.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury

Sunday, April 01, 2007

40:53 :: 6 miles

Well...I'm cautiously optimistic after a six mile run. One mile walk/run progression on the treadmill after some good hip and hamstring stretches in 9:42, then ten minutes wait to see if any changes resulted. No increase in symptoms (no pain, only pressure calf to hip), so I hit the loop outside for five additional miles at a comfortable, but relatively brisk pace, in 31:11. Felt good the whole way, with the exception of the 35F temps in 25 mph winds which drove the steady freezing rain into my face.

Experienced a slight tightening in the hamstring for a short time after finishing the run, but otherwise no positive or negative change in the symptoms. Did the cold bath on the calf again just to be safe, as there is still some muscular soreness in the lower leg. Very likely that is from the massage on Friday.

My big problem is, regardless of the fact that running doesn't cause pain, the symptoms are still there and I have no solution in sight. Pain-free or not, my leg can't continue to feel this way if I am going to feel comfortable going forward with training. I have trained for periods of time waiting for 'the other shoe to drop', which it inevitably does, and generally when it does, there is a longer term layoff in order.

What can a person do, though? I can be patient and experience no improvement, or I can move ahead with tentative steps and hope this goes away as mysteriously as it came on. I don't know. One day at a time, I guess.

Run Two | Weather | Supplemental | Nutrition | Sleep | Injury