Sunday, May 31, 2009

Back on Home Turf

Last Long Run! (real long anyway)

The trip to Seattle was good for many reasons and I managed to keep "minimum" training while on foreign soil. That's often the result when I travel for that amount of time but this time I had to at least maintain on the low end of my volume and thus a recovery week was created.

This morning I was to do my last real LONG run and keep things aerobic. I got a hold of a running pal, Rod, whose running schedule doesn't quite match up with mine most days and he and I did a trail loop down to the bottom of Lester Park and back before I was off on my own to finish up. The trails left me a bit tight in the hip flexors but once I hit the roads and got my stride back things loosened up and I managed to finish the last 6-8 miles at or near 6:30 pace. I managed to complete the run on only small amount of fluid and no gels and still feel very good! Legs so far are recovering well and I will need to take at least one super-easy day Monday and possibly Tuesday as well.

Totals: 3:06:14  24.2 miles (last 6-8 at 6:30 on skyline)

Weeks Totals: 74.1 miles
Years Totals: 1171.9 miles

Last run in Seattle and I made it another run to the Pier district where I found some new areas to run and follow up on my stand bye bike path for some quicker fartlek intervals of thirty seconds. Legs are feeling pretty decent and I am looking forward to getting on the plane back to Minnesota!

Totals: 52:25  7.3 miles   8 X 30 seconds fartlek 

This was the morning of the conference that has the 5K "fun run". I didn't register early and attempted to yesterday to no luck. He said, "we are closed for this year." What! I didn't quite hear him right.? He mentioned that this was a record year and they had over 500 registered runners and they had no more bibs to give out. OK with me, I really didn't need to race a 5K anyway. 
Instead, I ran a loop down by the Piers and found the race start and just ran a few out and backs before making my way back to the Hotel. I was going to jump in the race just to get some faster miles in but I decided against it and just do some faster repeats tomorrow. 

Total: 1:06:40  9.1 miles

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Almost Yasso

Yesterday I walked out to the Seattle Running Company and asked one of the sales staff where the closest track was and he was pleasant enough to show me a map and write the directions for me. From my Hotel it was a near perfect 2.5 miles, good for a warm up and cool down.
As the title says, Almost Yasso, I didn't quite have the same luck as I did on my last Yasso effort. I think the main thing was I had it in my head that the times HAD to be faster. They were, but it was in my head the entire time of the warm up. Since my arrival I haven't been able to get my body on the same pattern for meals, drinks, and of course pooping. The other thing was, and I am sure this had ALOT of play in my end result, was the ability to endure this type of workout. If you haven't done this workout, make sure you incorporate it into your next marathon plan. It's a bitch on the last three or four repeats. I had a really good workout going and on the seventh repeat I fell apart. My legs felt like lead, and my mind was shutting down and telling myself to stop at eight. I wasn't sure if that was the wimpy side of me, I'm sure it was, or the rational side of me and "listening to my body", as I wasn't reacting to the workout the same as the last time. I felt I was working too hard to maintain pace on the last few intervals, and to press on and bang my head wasn't the goal of the workout. I feel by doing eight repeats I did accomplish something and to do two more repeats at five seconds slower would have been pointless. Having said that, I do feel I am on target to have a decent marathon given the workouts, races, and long run work.
Here is a breakdown of today's Yasso workout.
Interval Times: 2:32, 2:32, 2:31, 2:31, 2:33, 2:32, 2:35, 2:31

HERE is the first yasso I did end of April.

Totals: 1:19:06 11 miles

I forgot about the two hour time change going as far west as Seattle. I woke up at 4 am local time and decided to stay in bed another hour before venturing off on a run. After reading a map and asking the front desk person for running routes, (front desk people NEVER know where to run. i have gone to this conference four years now and the front desk person thinks a two mile route is running. I guess it is for most of the fitness population but I continue to get weird looks when I tell them I am planning on running for eight to ten miles...) I made my way out to the streets in efforts to get near the "water", is it ocean, bay, or what? I eventually found the bike path that the front desk person was telling me about and I was pleasantly surprised to have as much distance as I had at this point. After an out and back of near three miles I made my way back to the Hotel and ended with an hour of running. Good for the first day in foreign land.

Totals: 1:01:00 8 miles

Woke as usual and made my way out the door for an easy, general aerobic run of an hour or so. Out to Martin road and back via Vermilion and added a small loop at the house to get in the mileage. No frills and the legs are feeling pretty decent.
Later this afternoon I am off to Seattle for a A.C.S.M. conference and will be challenged with trying to maintain marathon training in foreign land. There is always the treadmill, but as you know this had been my last ditch effort for running.

Total: 57:42 8 miles

Monday, May 25, 2009

Easy Street

Just easy miles with the dog then I added a loop just to get in some extra time. The legs feel really good, much better than I predicted.
Off to do some trail walking with the family.

Totals: 49:00   6.5 miles

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Finish Fast Long Run

Today's workout was one I have been waiting for since the Fargo half marathon. This workout had me thinking all week that I better be well rested and "ready" for a hard effort. I remember reading an article about Kahlid Kannouchi (sp?) back a few years ago and he was mentioning how he gets more nervous for certain long run workouts than he does for the race itself. I would put myself in a similar place this past week. In the beginning of the week my legs just didn't feel very fluid and at times felt like I needed a day off. Then I remembered to increase my carb intake and that seemed to help a lot. My mind was playing games with me telling me that it was going to be extremely difficult to maintain pace the last few miles. Lesson learned, don't let your mind rule your game.

The day started off with yet another spectacular sunrise and minimal wind gusts. After getting some toast in the system and a little coffee I began to gather my supplies and make my way for the beginning of the marathon course. Today's workout would finish at the eighteen mile mark. My wife and son would meet me on the course and serve as a spectacular support crew.

The task was as follows: Run the first ten miles "easy", or one minute over predicted marathon pace. (I would have to say that in the end this would be my hardest task. Keeping the pace under control that long definitely trains one to be patient in the early miles of the marathon.) Once I got to the ten mile mark the "work" began. I was to run the final eight miles at predicted marathon pace and the last two increasing pace to get to 10K pace in the closing mile. I have to admit, that type of long run had me take a few extra trips to the bathroom in the morning.
After warming up through the early miles I found holding 6:50's very easy and the HR showed it. Once I saw my family out on the course at mile seven the pace quickly dropped to 6:40's and I had all I could do to hold off until mile ten. I got some fluid from Lucas at mile nine and told them to see me at twelve, as the work would begin in one mile. Mile ten to eleven was covered only on perceived effort and was a bit slow running at 6:12. I thought to myself, "wow, a bit off and not sure if I can pick it up twenty seconds per mile for seven more miles." Once I did pick up the pace it was amazing how well I felt. I locked into pace and managed to hit the splits pretty well. I had just a bit of headwind to battle but nothing too bad. The only time I struggled was from twelve to thirteen while I took in a gel and some fluid. Once that was in my stomach for a few minutes the green light was on for the finish! I managed to run  few splits a bit fast and that is not necessarily a good thing. I've always said, "just because you can, doesn't mean you should." After hitting the last mile I made my way to the lake's shore to attempt to soak the lower legs in the ice water. I made it three minutes at max! Cold doesn't describe the pain Lake Superior causes this time of year.

Here is a breakdown of the workout:
First Ten: 6:56, 6:56,6:47,6:51,6:49,6:47,6:41,6:36,6:51,6:24 (HR under 135)

Last Eight: 6:12,5:52,5:55,5:50,5:44,5:47,5:41,5:36 (HR 149-155)

Total: 1:54:42  18 miles

Weeks Total: 75.6 miles
Years Total: 1097.8 miles

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trail Enjoyment

The early morning sunrise and warblers songs had me ready to head out on the trails. The more the morning hours clicked away the more I wanted to just sit and drink pot after pot of coffee. Once my wife returned from her trail run I decided to head out and see how the legs would react to the terrain. (I haven't run many trail miles this spring)

My first section of trails were on the Hartley trails and I was happy to find them clear and dry. After making my way via Kenwood Avenue to Chester Bowl, I completed all their trails and proceeded to the Rock Hill wood chip trails where I would finish the mileage and complete the time with another 'looper', Jess. After one loop and some catch-up chat we parted and I made my two minute jog to the house. Legs felt good and I am happy to do some longer slower miles on such a beautiful day.

Totals: 1:29:38   10.6 miles   (8:27 pace, trails)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Carbs are Good

The last two days I have really focused on increasing my carbohydrates. In past training cycles I have found myself feeling a bit too fatigued and once getting some serious carbs ingested I seem to get vast improvement. I'm still waiting for my legs to feel great, but they do feel much better. 
This morning I ran in the cool, crisp morning sunrise over to the Enger golf course and back while including 6X1 minute at 5 minute pace. Towards the end of the run I was feeling pretty good and hope I have made the turn for the better.

On a side note, I had an hour massage last night and wow did that help. A person never knows how stiff they are until they get worked on. I plan to go one more time in early June and hope to keep loose until race morning. I kept thinking, if our employers would pay for massage twice a month, our working people would be more productive and happy. Just a theory, but I bet I am on the right path...

Totals: 1:11:10   10.4 miles  ( 6X 1 minute fartleks)

Just another easy day of running in hopes to get my legs back. I managed to run a short section of the SHT before logging some miles on Hawks Ridge and eventually making my way back home. No surprises or excitement.

Totals: 55:36  7 miles   (7:56 pace)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Perplexed... Blame It On The Wind?

As I was waking up this morning I watched the morning news and Shannon said the winds were coming out of the NE at 12-15 mph. Having lived in Duluth now for the last thirteen years you would think I would know what that actually means in terms of wind "strength". To me, that doesn't sound like a lot of wind. Wrong!!

 As I made my way through the warm-up miles into the wind I noticed that I was still feeling a bit less than peppy. I tried to keep a good mindset and just work into the faster miles. First mile: 5:54, felt like a 5:40. I didn't have any better luck with the next two miles either. It was at that point where I decided to make sure I completed the workout based on effort and not to worry too much about time splits. I finished the so-called "tempo" section with the following: 5:54, 5:47, 5:48, 5:44, 5:25, 5:32

I had a very long three mile warm down to think about this workout and what it means. I am not really going to dwell on it. We all have "off " days and hopefully this was mine. I know I can hit the splits I was looking for and for some reason the legs, breathing, and conditions just didn't match. The only other minor problem I had was my lower gastroc's. (calves) tightening up during the final miles of the up-tempo. Stretch and monitor those!

Totals: 1:23:07  12.4 miles

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Need For 48

This morning I noticed I just didn't have the zip in my legs and immediately called for another day of "easy" running before heading into a true workout type of run. I need to do a tempo run of 6-7 miles and this morning just wasn't in the plan. That's OK, as taking an extra day to recovery from longer efforts is something I need to do. This week will hopefully be W, Friday workout days. Legs felt much better than yesterday, just not "pace ready". Tomorrow should be good.
I did a loop up Woodland, Howard G. to Kenwood, through Chester and home.

Totals: 1:06:20  9.1 miles  (7:17 pace)

As usual, I did my regular "recovery" day and ran the Martin to Vermilion loop. Nothing special, just a bit more fatigued than normal having done twenty yesterday. I'll have to see about the workout tomorrow morning.

Total: 1:02:22   8.1 miles  (HR 125,  7:34 pace)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Second 20

This morning was only my second twenty miler of the training phase so far and it went as well as I would have liked it to go, especially one week after a half-marathon. I made my way out to Jeremy's, joined he and Jay Lee and made our way to the Munger trail to proceed to run south for an hour or so. We turned at 63 minutes and returned in 57. Once back at Jeremy's we added a loop and I added a final to make it twenty. My legs were just a bit heavy feeling but I was able to run pretty comfortably at 6:40 pace on the return trip. 
This was the first long run where I could wear shorts comfortably. Pretty sad, being May and my legs are whiter than white. The only error of the morning came at the turn around where I hit my watch for the split and it messed up that mile and when the next mile registered I was half a mile short. So, at the end, when my watch read "split 20" I thought I had twenty miles in, and I had 19.5. No big deal.

Totals: 2:19:20   19.5 miles  

Weeks Totals: 71.2 miles
Years Totals: 1,022.2 miles

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Snow in May

I woke up this morning to the howling of the wind. Huge gusts! Just the type of weather that makes you want to stay indoors not go running outside. After waiting and stewing for a bit I decided to call Erik and he was looking to get out for a jaunt himself. Perfect timing! I went to his house and we ran from his drive right on to the trails and proceeded to run a loop out to Hawks Ridge and back via the SHT. Given the wind and temps, (yep, there was snow flakes falling), the run was great and I continue to be amazed how comforting having a running partner makes the less than ideal running conditions effortless. Thanks for the run Erik.

Totals: 1:06:16  8.1 miles  (8:14 pace, trails)

Just a pleasant loop out for easy running. Ran up to Kenwood and looped out a bit before making my way via Rice Lake Road to Skyline Blvd. before coming home. My legs felt very good and I think yesterday's harder effort was a good choice. No aches or pains and that's a good thing!

Total: 1:01:27   8.5 miles

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wind Gusts

I woke up to wind gusts that were howling like mad. I knew that doing a specific pace-type run outside would be more than challenging. One up and alert I decided to do the workout on the treadmill and see how my legs would adjust. After two of the three mile warm up my legs really started to loosen and I could tell I would be able to try the workout. I did a segment of 5 miles at just over marathon pace. After not running on the treadmill for some time I found it difficult handling the temperature. HOT. My heart rate and my breathing was in great shape and I was just a bit fatigued in the legs in the early miles, but never got any worse. For the week following a half marathon I was very happy with how things went.
I ended the morn by taking the dog out to the trails for a little run as my warm down.

Totals: 1:12:00   10+ miles (5 miles at 6:00 pace on TM)

Easy running out to Martin road and back via Vermilion. My legs didn't quite feel as good as yesterday and I may need to run easy yet another day.
 I will focus on fluid intake and good nutrition and see if that helps as well.

Total: 56:45   7.7 miles

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Urban Wildlife

Yesterday it was a smelly skunk. This morning while running west on Skyline Blvd. I saw a black bear cross my path. This is in the middle of the city! By the time I had crossed where he did I wasn't able to get a good look but from where I saw him he was a big one.

My legs continue to improve at a rate I have never experienced before and it's kind of nice. Just a little residual fatigue left but no sore spots to be concerned with. I may take one more middle-distance easy day tomorrow and take it from there. I saw my buddy Chris ripping up the track this morning so I joined him for a couple laps in between intervals. It's always nice to see a familiar face in the early hours.

Totals: 1:20:05  10.8 miles   (HR 128  7:24 pace)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ease Back

Yesterday was a day off from running. A good day spent with the family for mothers day.

This morning I made my way out to a beautiful, sunny, cool morning and proceeded to make the "short" recovery loop through Woodland Ave. and Vermilion road. The only near mishap was a determined skunk that was not willing to wait to cross the road in search of some fresh garbage. Once I saw those black and white stripes heading my way I had to kick it into high gear and sweep past his destination. Close call. 

My legs felt pretty decent. Actually they feel the best I have ever felt after a half marathon. I plan to continue to take a few easy days and then look for a workout later in the week. Six more weeks to go!!

Totals: 50:00   6.6 miles

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Fargo Race Report

I learned of the growing popularity of the Fargo Marathon after Eric, the 2008 winner, gave his detailed report. Going into the training cycle for Grandma's this year I had no intention of going to Fargo, buy after looking at all the half marathon options out there I decided against waiting for the difficult Stillwater half and moved the date up two weeks and made my decision on Fargo. A good decision!

After making the five hour trip with my dad as my travel and support companion we checked into the motel room that Eric had reserved from earlier in the year and wasn't going to need the extra room. (this was also the only reason that this race would fit the schedule as all the motel room in the immediate area were full) We walked across the field to the Fargodome and picked up my race packet, made a quick cruise through the expo, and returned to the room before heading back out across the street to catch some dinner. After a movie and a snack it was time to attempt to get some shut-eye.

The morning was cool, clear, and very little wind. (I hear this is a rarity in Fargo) The wind would pick up modestly at the race time, as would the clouds cover the sky, and the gun went off! After surveying the field in the first quarter mile I knew that the main pack of the full marathoners was moving too slow. Except one runner. Four half marathoners, along with me, and one lone marathoner, ultimate winner Pete Gilman,  would take out the pace at a steady 5:30 clip. After three or four miles we looked back and no chase pack was in site. The course was all within the city limits and there wasn't a block that didn't have a spectator on it. Crowd support was amazing! We had a nice pace going and the little wind we had to contend with at our backs until the 10k mark. At this point the course started its way back north towards the dome and we were bucking the headwind. I told Pete I hoped we could maintain a decent pace for him and offer a wind block if he liked and he replied back, "If we maintain this it will be perfect." Up until this point I had many short spurts of stomach stitches and it was beginning to take it's toll on me. I had my GPS on but I put on some setting where only the overall mileage and current pace were showing and it was a bit hard to judge how the pacing was going because of the tree canopy on the city streets. Each mile was being measured but after the first five or six miles I stopped paying attention to it. So I had a feeling that the pace was much slower than I had hoped and was just running on effort and not to stitch.

At about ten miles or so we had an aid station and not long after that I looked up and the group had twenty or so meters on me and Pete was pulling away. One guy went with him and the rest of us were being strung out. As crappy as I was feeling it was kind of fun to watch the lead full marathoner busting up our little half marathon pack and he had sixteen miles to go! Impressive Pete. I took a little Powerade and my stomach was feeling better. At eleven miles I had caught the three guys, passed one of them and stayed with the other two and heard him say, "that was a 5:40." I was now a bit pissed. We just maintained through twelve and at that point I had the plan to press no matter how I felt. Slowly picking up the pace I managed to drop the two fellas I was running with and got to the point I couldn't hear their footsteps. I just concentrated on driving forward and staying relaxed. I looked up the street and saw Pete making the split to loop and head back out for his second loop. "Good luck Pete" I thought and set my focus on the last quarter mile to the parking lot of the dome and into the arena. I was a bit surprised to see the clock read 1:12:-- as I made my way towards the finish line and I  now had to duck under 1:13. I crossed the line and looked at my watch to see 1:12:57. I closed the final mile + in 5:30. (GPS reading was 13.27 miles) For the way I felt I was very satisfied. I would like to think if I hadn't had all the stitches I may have been able to hold 5:30 pace, but who knows. I'm very happy with the results and the actual work I have done up to this point in my marathon training. 

Once recovered, my dad and I watched the jumbo screen and listened to the announcers call out the status on the marathon. They mentioned that the "Kenyans" were making ground on Pete and there would be a race to have. They did make some ground but Pete held on strong and managed to get the victory in 2:24:30ish and keep a minute lead cushion.

One day off today, and I should be able to run some decent runs on Monday and Tuesday and get ready to resume full training by the end of the week. My legs feel super today, the best ever after a half  marathon, and hopefully this is a good sign heading towards June 20th.

Weeks Total:  57 miles (six runs)
Years Total: 951 miles

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fargo 1/2 Marathon

Just a quick note and report to follow.

I managed to run 1:12:57  7th place overall.

Full results HERE

Friday, May 8, 2009

Getting Ready

Easy running this morning with the dog. Legs feel much better today and tomorrow will definitely be interesting.
Race report tomorrow.
Results off race link or online race results

Totals: 32:02   4+ miles easy

I didn't want to miss any workouts this week but with the race this weekend I wanted to ease off just a bit. I compromised and did a mile less on the tempo segment and a little less on the warm up and cool down. I managed to keep the workout total to about ten miles and finished feeling fair. Not great, just fair. It leaves me a bit concerned about the result on Saturday. I started thinking about it and I really can't do anything about it except find a decent pace/rhythm and stick to it. It is what it is...

Here was today's workout:
2.5 mile warm up, 4 mile tempo, 3.3 mile warm down
tempo: 5:30, 5:38, 5:30, 5:41 

Total: 9.8 miles

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Much Better

I just ran my usual hour loop out to Martin road and was very happy to have my legs and overall energy feel much better today. Surprising because when the alarm went off I really didn't want to get up. I felt much more tired compared to other days. Just shows that you shouldn't listen to your body while in bed, just get up and see how things are once your feet hit the ground.
I did a few striders in the middle of the run just to stretch things out.

*on a side note... I have had two fox cross my path in the last week while running. I was once told that having a fox cross your path in front of you was good luck. Maybe a sign for me?

Total: 56:18   8 miles + strides X 3

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Recovery and Fartleks

I felt pretty good after yesterday's recovery and was ready to hammer out some Fartleks. I was to do up to 12 repeats of one minute with the intensity a bit faster than 5k pace. After a half hour of warm up I worked my way through the first repeat. I felt too good as the split was under 5:00 pace, should be near 5:10 or so. *I managed to get in 11 solid repeats and had to bail on repeat 12 because of overall fatigue. About half way through the intervals I felt like I wasn't recovering and that may reflect a little left over fatigue from Sunday's run. Anyway, I averaged the intervals near 5:10's or just under and had a nice warm down. The goal for the day is push the fluids and recover.

Totals: 1:24:27   12.4 miles  (11.5* X 1 min at 5K pace with 1 rec.)

After yesterday's twenty I was a bit slow this morning but amazingly no major aches or pains to deal with. Just a little fatigue that should shake out the rest of the day. Another beautiful morning run that was a bit crisp with temps in the low 30's.
Total: 57:20   7.7 miles   (7:28 pace)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

First Sign of Real Spring

This morning was another trip out to west Duluth to Jeremy's house to get in a longer effort. It was on the books to get up to twenty miles if I was feeling well. That's what I wanted to run more for my mind then my legs.  As I was getting ready to depart I was trying to figure out what to wear and I even brought a winter hat and gloves! Those two articles of clothing were left behind and I decided on a light long sleeve shirt with a tee underneath. Smart idea as I would be shedding the long sleeve and just running in the tee for near half of the run.

We made our way to the Western Waterfront trail and ran out west, following the RR tracks for some time before landing in Morgan Park. From there we continued west and ran out past Gary while making the turn at an hours time. After the return trip I ended up added an extra half hour before calling it quits. I felt good and had just enough fluid and e-caps to make the experience a good one. No aches or pains to worry about and will be looking forward to next weekends event!!

Totals: 2:29:09   20 miles  (HR 132  pace 7:28)

Weeks Total: 78.3 miles
Years Totals: 894 miles

Saturday, May 2, 2009


I like to use mornings like this for an extra day of easy running before the Sunday long run. My hamstrings were a bit tight last night after work and I wanted to do some super slow easy running and try to flush out the legs and follow with a good circuit of stretches in hopes to get all the kinks out. My legs felt a little better after all of that and I hope I can fuel up and have a good one tomorrow.
Ran down to the Lakewalk and up via Chester Bowl trails.
Total: 1:16:32   9.8 miles   (7:49 pace)

I took it easy and ran the Martin road loop and tried not to look at pace and ran super easy. My legs felt pretty decent after yesterday's track session. The only issue as of late continues to be the apparel for the morning. Quite often I over dress but that just keep me loose I guess. It's better than freezing.
Total: 56:40   7.6 miles  HR 129