Sunday, November 29, 2009

One Week To Go

One week from today will conclude another marathon journey. All the work is done. The hay is in the barn, as they say. The numerous 5 am runs consisting of easy runs, medium-long runs, fartleks, and tempos have come to an end. For now. The last week will be much lower in volume and I will have two more "leg turnover" workouts and the off to California on Friday morning. I am looking forward to the challenge. The marathon offers plenty of those in one form or another.

Today's medium long run went fair. Meaning about a 6 or 7 out of a 10. Not what I was looking for from a last longer workout. For some reason my legs felt heavy, there was wind, and I overdressed. All attributes to an "off" workout. I can take the good out of it and try not to think of any negative energy. Positive vibes all week. That will be my vision.

Here is the workout:
44:15 6.1 mile warm up
*6 mile at MP
3:40 .5 mile warm down
1:223:08 12.6 miles

Weeks Totals: 56 miles
Years Totals: 2655.1 miles

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ease Off

This weeks volume has been reduced a bit but the overall intensity has not changed much. I like that. In the past, the tapers have gone so horrible and I would welcome a different feeling this time around. My right groin, aka hip flexor, has given me as much trouble as I would like to tackle during this sharpening phase. I did manage to see the Chiropractor on Wednesday and that seemed to help a ton! As soon as my sacrum was adjusted the spasm in my right groin settled down. I took it very easy on Thursday and moved the workout to Friday morning. Thursday morning was the Gobble Gallop 5K in Duluth and it was another record attending year. I didn't want to risk damaging my hip flexor any more than what it was, so I chose to be one of the "Turkeys" for the event. I hope to get a photo up soon from the event, but what a different twist to a race. I managed to run with the kids during their run, do most of the one mile race, and about two miles of the 5K. Great times by all!

Wednesday: Easy running in Kenwood area, Chester Bowl, and UMD. Groin was tight.
50:34 6.5 miles

Thursday: Turkey Mascot day at 5K
~3 miles total

Friday: Tempo Interval workout
21:04 warm up
3 X 8 minutes at tempo pace (3 recov)
5:32, 5:36, 5:41 paces respectively
23:18 warm down
1:14:30 10.7 miles

Easy running on light trails. (ie: no rocks, or mud)
Sunny and cool.
52:10 6.5+ miles

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stubborn Groins

Since my spill a week ago I have had some residual tightness in the lower abdominal muscles and my right groin continues to be tight. This morning during the warm up my groin was so tight that it was altering my stride a bit. Once things warmed up I was ready to give my fartlek intervals a try. The first repeat felt absolutely horrid. I stopped and stretched a bit and that helped some, but for the most part I wasn't able to run as loose as I wanted and thus had to back off on the effort some. After the run I gave myself some time to do some focus stretching and that seemed to help tons. That will be my main focus for the next week and a half as almost all the work has been done up to this point and now I must keep and even keel and not get sick or injured.

Yesterday's recovery run went very slow and easy. I was quite stiff and low on energy. The morning was balmy and full of fog. Perfect for a Monday....

49:25 6.5 miles

1:12:52 10.2 miles
8 X 1 min. on/off farleks
*supposed to be at 5k pace, not quite there today with the groin.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Great End To A Tough Week

Yesterday I posted about having tight adductors and having a "less than desirable" run on Friday. Well, I made up for it this morning. I had a kick ass longer run with the last eight miles at marathon pace-ish.

The temperature was near perfect for race simulation. Grey skies and temps hovering near 40F, with no wind. I was dressed a bit too warm during the warm up miles but once I hit my turn around I stripped the pants and jacket and ran in shorts and a long coolmax shirt. Hitting my first split was interesting as I had to actually stop and run back in the woods to retrieve my clothes since some weirdo was watching me and he heading in the woods to see what I had left behind. I ran most of the first mile with a bundle of clothes under my arm until I could find safe stashing, and still managed to hit a 5:52. I felt very comfortable this morning on my MP segment and that left me feeling very optimistic of the potential at CIM in two weeks. Wow! What a feeling.

Here are the splits:
58:29 8.3 mile warm up (7:03 pace)
*8 miles MP
5:05 .7 mile warm down

Total: 1:49:35 17 miles

Weeks Total: 73 miles
Years Total: 2599.1 miles

Saturday, November 21, 2009

November Heat... Not For Me

This has been one of the best Novembers in terms of temperatures that I have witnessed in quite some time. I must note that I am referring to the afternoon temps. I run at 5 am and the temps are cold. Maybe a bit warmer than usual, but I am not wearing shorts like some of the "daytime" running pals I know.

This week has gone pretty decent except some nagging sore hip adductors and lower abdominal muscles. I believe that is due to last weeks fall on the trails and hopefully the next week I can concentrate a bit more on stretching and some easy ball work. I did manage to get a massage Wednesday and that helped out a ton! (i should do that weekly)

Easy morning miles that consisted of Kenwood area and down to Skyline then home. Running easy felt good. I would continue to be a bit concerned for Friday's workout. Not too sure what to expect from my legs.
1:00:04 8 miles (7:30 pace)

The plan called for one of three workouts. I got to choose whatever workout I felt I needed to focus on to get "the best bang for my buck". I picked the workout labeled strength workout. In the past I have really liked doing this type of workout, (long steady state miles 7-10 miles) and getting out there and banging consistent miles at "steady-state" pace usually felt good. I knew during the warm up that things would go differently than in the past. I just couldn't get my legs to loosen up and if I had more time I would have warmed up for another ten or fifteen minutes but I just didn't have the time. Instead I ran the first two miles a bit slow then I really tried to get on pace and hammer out the rest of the workout. Other than the first two miles I kept the chrono on my watch going and didn't lap count for individual splits. The funny thing was once I picked up the pace and really concentrated on staying relaxed the pace felt better than the slower pace I was running. Here are my splits for the workout:
Overall I was a bit disappointed in how things went, but I just chalked it up to running tired with very fatigued hip flexors/adductors. I need to get them relaxed soon!
21:18 2.7 mile warm up
16:21 2.8 miles (5:51 pace)
29:28 5.2 miles (5:41 pace)
(8 miles total at steady state)
17:54 2 mile warm down
1:25:02 12.7 miles total

Another beautiful day in Duluth. I made a vow last week to stay off the trails until the marathon is over but I couldn't resist. I run roads all week and the thought of hitting the trails on Saturday's in the daylight is so appealing. I did it and ran easy and managed to have a wonderful, easy run. No frills, just easy trail running.

1:17:47 9.3 miles (8:20 pace)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I guess I can't complain. There has been no rain, snow or any form of precipitation since Saturday. That's pretty good for this time of year. There has been an extreme amount of frost in the early morning hours until the sun decided to show itself. For the most part the grip has been decent until you run on car tracks. Then you better be prepared to slip as the frost turns to ice very quickly. Enough talk about frost. Boring.

Monday I took the opportunity to run really slow and keep the pace near 8:00/mile for about an hour. My legs were very sore, especially the hip adductors that I strained on Saturday. I made my way and I was hoping it was a good move on my part instead of taking a zero and resting. On Tuesday I found out that I did indeed make a good move and run on Monday. I think it helped loosen up some stiffness and the run was another easy day and I made the decision, much like two weeks ago, to take an extra day of rest after a really long run. By the end of the hour my legs were feeling pretty fluid and I was chalking up another run in the progressive column.

This morning I was to do some fartlek intervals at 5K pace along with a good warm up and warm down. All was feeling well until repeat 9 and 1o. That's where my adductors started to scream a bit and I decided to call it a morning after the tenth repeat. The warm down to the house was slow and I was feeling a little stiffness with my stride. Once I got home and stretched a little I felt great and will welcome tomorrow recovery style run with open arms.

I am at the point in training where any conversation about the marathon gets me butterflies in the stomach and the urge to head out and hammer out a run. I like and dislike this part of a marathon build up because one has to keep things under close monitor and not over do it, but I also must not get stale in my training. Just enough stimulation to keep you busy.

Here are the last three days of running:

50:00 6.5 miles (easy)

1:00:31 8 miles (feeling much better)

10 X 1 minute fartlek repeats at 5K pace
1:19:49 11 miles

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Test of Will

I didn't want my last real "long" run to be that. But I had no choice and it truly was a test of will. The run consisted of two loops from our house. The first was thirteen miles and the second near ten. For the first loop I used my IPOD with the purpose of distraction from all the discomfort I was feeling. It didn't work. Once I got to the house for the second loop I ripped those earphones out of my ears. No more of that! The second loop felt just like the first. I did as much concentration on a long run as I ever have. The good news, which I was able to pick out of the run after, was that my energy and legs actually felt very good, and if it wasn't for the other trouble I would have had an absolute wonderful run.

The problem I write about is one that I developed yesterday. On Saturday's I usually use the local trails to get off the pavement and allow my legs a little more recovery by running slow for near ninety minutes. Leaving the house under a constant drizzle should have been a major red flag. My goal was to run one complete loop in Hartley and one in Rock Hill. First was Hartley. Upon entering the single track just off the main trail I said to myself outloud, "what the hell am I doing running on wet, muddy, rutty, single track three weeks before a marathon?" I answered myself with a , " I'll just take it slow." So the run was going just fine and I was running slow. My legs were feeling great and I was over half way through the trail. I knew a small creek crossing was coming up and I wanted to ready myself for a quick splash and take a couple steps in the water to help wash off my shoes. As I was getting ready to pick my line to avoid any large boulders hiding in the creek I hit a beveled bank of mud and quicker than I realized I was fighting to stay on my feet. My left foot slid out from me sideways and the right soon followed and down I went on my right hip. ****! was my first word! It often is when things like this happen. I felt my left groin pull the most, and the right didn't feel much better. I started a very slow jog and knew something wasn't right. My low back started to cease up and soon I had all I could just to get out of the woods and home to a warm shower and dry clothes. I didn't want to do any stretching on freshly injured tissue so I just took the warm shower and loaded up the family to hit the movies! We saw MJ's, This Is It! Great show!!

The run this morning was all about keeping the groin muscles at ease and not to hurt them any further. I find it interesting that I could run long today, it just didn't feel all that great. I felt like I had done too many strength training exercises rather than a full blow injury. Let's hope it heal quick, as I have written off Hartly until after the marathon.

Here is how my weekend went.

easy running. felt tired at home. almost took a zero.
6 miles

Wet, muddy, rutty Hartley trails. Complete loop. Fell*
1:03:34 6.7 miles

Last real long effort. Same run as two weeks ago.
2:41:07 23 miles

Weeks Totals: 77 miles
Years Totals: 2526.6

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Insignificant Amount?

Running easy on Wednesday worked out to be a wise decision. My "altered" Wednesday loop is now a bit shorter than the original but I managed to add a small loop once I got to the house to make up the difference. My legs felt like they made the turn and were feeling ready to go for the next day.

This morning was a scheduled true "tempo" run. After an adequate warm up of near twenty five minutes I started to work into the pace with an end point of unknown distance. (the plan called for 5-7 miles and my last tempo was 4.4 miles two weeks ago) The early pace felt great, as my warm up indicated I was ready to make a good go at this workout. Something happened after the second and third mile though. I couldn't put my finger on it then and now just chalk it up to one of those days. The effort got more intense and my pace fell off. I tried to use some internal mechanism to relax my body, easy off on the shoulders, loosen the hip swing and it would last for a minute or two and then I would feel tight again. Repeat cycle over and over to the end. I didn't cut the workout short, which I almost did, and instead turned the workout into a "steady-state/ slow tempo" workout. (splits off by an insignificant amount) What's the difference right? By the way I felt the side stitch I knew was definitely working the right system. In the end I chalked it up to running with tired legs and a subtle virus that has left me a bit fatigued this week. Now I have two easy days of running and one last LONG run for Sunday.

Here is the last two days and the tempo breakdown.

Kenwood/Skyline loop with added time past home.
59:49 8 miles

22:50 2.9 mile warm up
6.3 miles of "tempo" running
5:28 first mile
5:32 for 2.3 miles
5:32 mile
5:30 mile
5:38 mile *up grade w/ stitch
25:12 3 mile warm down

1:22:55 12.2 miles

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November Mornings

The last two mornings have been spectacular for northern MN standards. The temps have remained cool, approx. 40F, but that is much better than snow and ice. What's has been great is the clear skies and sunrises I am able to witness once again. Lately I need all the "scenery" I can get because the darkness is moving in and I have been very tired the last couple day's.
Monday I made it through my recovery loop and felt beat up the entire way. That sucks. Tuesday I felt better but by the end of the run I felt tired again. Two weeks ago I felt the same and remained to have a wonderful week of training and I hope to repeat that pattern. Tomorrow will be an easy morning and I may mix a little trail into the morn.

1:03:40 8.2 miles

Out and back on West Skyline. Saw four State troopers surround a deer on Piedmont and shoot it (it had been hit by a car) right in front of me. Shit, that surprised me!
1:37:00 13.3 miles

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Mild Fall Temps and Mild Viruses

I'm not too sure what the percentage would be at this point in time but I am sure that all fifty states have the H1N1 virus tearing through on a mission infesting as many individuals as possible. That virus and many other "flu-like" viruses have made their way in and out of our office and my home. Friday I felt like another was trying to break me down. I had a sudden flush in my face and had the burn in the nose, like when you get dunked in water and not expecting it, and I was beginning to feel the fatigue. Damn, the bug had got me once again.

I gave it my all and immediately started my "remedy". A mix of extra strength acetaminophen, mucinex, and wash it down with air-borne water. I repeat this as much as needed, giving at least four hours in between, and in 48 hours I felt much better. I had a little nausea this morning to deal with, but that could have been due to the knowledge of knowing what was to come during my long run. One week closer to Cal International and now all I have to do is maintain and avoid the virus!

Saturday left me feeling down right shitty. I ran an easy loop through Rock Hill trails and did a complete loop on the Chester Creek trails. The pace was as pedestrian as I do when running trails and that didn't seem slow enough. Too many layers was one problem and having done the Yasso workout just twenty four hours earlier had to have something to do with it. I got the mileage done and refueled for the rest of the day.

Sunday was another finish-fast long run. (FFLR) These workouts are almost as nerve racking as the marathon itself. I have done a number of these now and realize that the effort isn't all that hard, it's just fatiguing at very similar efforts as the last 8K of a marathon. By then end of the run my legs feel very similar to the end of a marathon with the exception of recovery. Today, for example, I had run the final eight miles at or near predicted marathon pace and was looking for the finish tape. Within two hours after the run my legs felt great and no soreness to report. (unlike a marathon!) This leaves me very excited for the final four weeks of preparation as I have many important workouts left and will taper only with volume not intensity. Let's keep it rolling!

Here is a breakdown of the weekend.

trails, SLOW 1:12:29 8.2 miles

FFLR 1:51:52 17.1 miles
first 8.7 miles 7:11 pace
8 mile MP:
.4 mile ease down

Weeks Totals: 71 miles
Years Totals: 2449.2

Friday, November 6, 2009

One Last Yasso

Yesterday I did a modified loop from my old Rice Lake Road loop. Remember I posted a while back that a truck zinged me and almost put me in the hospital? Since that morning I have chosen to stop running that stretch of road because one never wins a battle with a high speed truck when one's running. The sad news about this was that an eighteen year old got struck by a CRV on Halloween night on the exact stretch where I was having my run-ins with the cars. Instead of a close call, he got hit and remains in one of the ICU's in critical condition and the driver is in jail held on possible vehicular manslaughter charges. I doubt anything will come of this in regards to repainting the road but damn, I knew it was going to be just a matter of time until something like that was going to happen.

My new loop is pretty nice and much more protected from the traffic. My legs felt super and I was just cruising in the crisp, moon lit, morning air. No surprises or issues and that set me up for a morning of YASSO.

The YASSO workout was my last until the next marathon build-up and that is OK with me. Someone once stated that this workout isn't that hard it just fatigues you with the length of the workout. This workout is very hard and yes it is one hell of a mental workout. Today I was thinking there would be no way I would finish the workout once the fifth interval was run. Wrong! I did finish, and I was very happy with my splits. I had a bit of a time figuring out lane three at the track, as lanes one and two had sheets of ice on them and made it impossible to run near those lanes. I finally found the proper hash marks to read and hit my 800 meter splits.

Here is the last two days and the Yasso:

Thursday: easy running Kenwood.
57:33 7.5 miles

Friday: warm up 32:20 4.2 miles
10 X 800 meters YASSO
*first split was unsure of finish line in lane 3
warm down 14:47 1.8 miles
13.2 miles total

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Excellent Choice

By taking an extra day of easy running post long run I am convinced that it was a good decision. My legs felt much better and the fartlek intervals went quite smooth.

Overall, this week is designed to be a lower volume week to aide in recovery and prepare me for this upcoming weekends marathon pace work. I did my usual warm up during the early climbs of Woodland Avenue and then started the intervals once I hit Arnold road. I managed to hit most of the intervals near 5:15 pace and the last few closer to 5:05 pace. The big difference with today's run was the "rest" interval of one minute was NOT a jog, as I kept the pace rather brisk at 6:30-6:50. Overall, I was pleased with today's effort.

Totals: 1:05:06 9.1 miles
10 X 1 min. on/off fartlek work

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Recovery and More Recovery

I managed to lay pretty low after my run on Sunday and spend some quality time with the family on the couch. Good stuff! Monday I felt surprisingly well and had a great easy run through Woodland and Morley Park neighborhoods. For those of you who had the opportunity, the ski was glowing with a perfect full moon. What a sight! Tuesday I woke up and I had planned on running easy again and it proved to be the right decision. Once I got moving I realized that running fartlek repeats would have been counterproductive.
The run finished and I was very happy with my decision and will look forward to some faster stuff tomorrow.

I managed to see an eight point and possibly a ten point buck right in the city limits. They know where to hide...

54:00 7.5 miles easy

58:00 8 miles easy

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Weekend Miles

This week I have been feeling like I have made a jump in fitness and the consistent weeks of running must be paying off. The next week will be a down week for mileage and then back to work for a few more then the slight taper will begin. I say slight because my overall volume will more than likely drop but the intensity will remain and that should give me a better chance to reach the starting line more fresh. Let's hope!

Saturday's run was with a group of six men from Rod's house, all of which I forgot their names but nonetheless it was a nice group to run with. (I haven't done that in years, as our winter running group is usually smaller than that) A combination of roads and trails forming the loop to Hawks Ridge gave me a nice opportunity to get some miles in and remain totally aerobic. Perfect for a Saturday.

Today's run was my longest yet on this build-up and it was great. I ran the first ten miles with Erik going out to Enger Tower and back. After a swap of clothing, a gel, and some gatorade I was off to complete the run with a loop up Howard Gnesen and home via Jean Duluth Road. My legs were getting a bit fatigued near two hours and that was when I opted for the second gel. Looking back, it was a good move as the last forty three minutes were just clicking as my overall pace quickened just a bit. I didn't want to run too fast as that was not the assignment for today's miles. What a feeling! Then, to come home and find out an American won the ING New York City Marathon was the icing on the cake. Six Americans in the top ten. What a great day for running.

group run from Rod's on trails and roads
1:31:54 11 miles (8:22 pace)

two loops, one with Erik, one solo
2:43:29 23 miles (last thirty at 6:30 pace)

Weeks Totals: 83 miles
Years Totals: 2378.6 miles