Sunday, September 26, 2010

Roller Coaster Training

Last Sunday I ran the Grandma's Minnesota Mile that resulted in a decent time. I then woke up the next morning and did my long run that I had missed because of the race. On Monday I woke up and hit the roads by 0405 and did an out and back on West Skyline. The miles clicked off without any problems and I was feeling like things were on the rise.

For the remainder of the week I battled getting out of bed and running decent mileage. I wanted to run medium long on Thursday and long one more time on Sunday to have a solid week. Neither happened and I managed to take two days off of running. On one of the days off I followed a "egoscue" strength video to loosen up my back and that worked very well.

On Saturday I hooked up with my buddy Rod and we did a near 10 mile pace run for his preparation for a Half-Ironman in three weeks. The run felt very good and I managed to roll out 6:20-6:30 miles without any hesitation or issues. Then on Sunday I woke up with intentions of running for a bit over 2 hours and I was so stiff and sore just the thought of running was far-fetched. After some stretches and self-motivational thoughts I meandered out the door for a pathetic 90 minute run that felt just horrible.

All these feelings and thoughts leave in a very uncomfortable position heading into a 26er. I want to remain as optimistic as possible but I also want to be realistic and be ready for finding a way out of that race come damage time. Really, I guess there is no planning that kind of thing and I will just deal when and if the time arises.

Here is the lame week of training that was:

2:05:16 17.5 miles

0 miles
egoscue video for back and core

57:23 8.6 miles
(4) steady state: 6:35 warm up

0 miles, sore

38:04 5.2 miles
recovery that felt really good

1:05:51 9.8 miles
6:20-6:30 pace

1:32:00 13.2 miles
felt horrible, lot's of abdominal soreness

Weeks Total: 54 miles (5 runs)
Years Total: 1977.7 miles

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Turning The Corner

It seems like my back has taken a turn for the better. I woke up yesterday morning feeling a bit more flexible and had a decent trail run with Dave S. To have my legs feel light and snappy has been a rarity but I had to keep things under control on the trails as I really wanted to rip a couple of loops in Hartley but held back and did an abbreviated version and made the trip home just under an hour. A gorgeous day for a trail run.

This morning was the Grandma's Minnesota Mile. Four years strong, the race is growing and the field was as competitive as ever. For some reason the race organizers felt it was necessary to have the Masters that were chasing the $500.00 top prize run in the open elite wave. Wow, what an eye opening. I didn't want to take it out too hard but being close to 10+ seconds behind at the 400 meter mark made that difficult. I passed the 1/4 in 64 seconds! Just about 6 seconds too fast from what I was going to do. Once I rounded the corners past Fitgers I had the downhill segment to cruise and allow my breathing to catch up with me. I may have slowed too much, and ultimately cost me the top prize, but I managed to hit the half mark in 2:14. I missed the clock at 3/4 mile but I'm sure it was much the same and as I made my move to run strong up the final stretch I saw the clock tick past 4:29.... then I had to sprint with all I had left. I saw the clock last at 4:34, probably turning to 4:35 but my recorded time was 4:36.8 seconds. A new PR!
I came away from the race happy as I figured it would be very difficult to hit sub-4:40 as I had near zero confidence going into this race. The way I felt during the race was weird. I was running all I could and it felt a bit harder than tempo pace but the unfortunate thing was I had no other gear. I couldn't find that deep, low end fast turnover I needed to catch the next guy. I'm sure it's from the lack of long runs and workouts. The next two weeks will hopefully get me some more strength going into TCM. I plan no true taper, just a few easy days prior to the race. I need all the training runs I can get in.

52:30 6.6 miles

4 miles warm up. 1 mile race
5 miles total

Weeks Total: 38 miles (6 runs)
Years Total: 1923.4 miles

Friday, September 17, 2010

Week In Stride

I've managed to make it through the workweek fairly well but remain to have a fair amount of lower back discomfort in the morning. It's feeling very stiff and after some stretching and exercises it allows me to go out and train but once I'm done it gets stiff again and remains like that all day at work. Once I get rid of the low back problems I believe I can step up the training and will find myself in a really good position to get in some quality workouts and possibly have a good race yet this fall. (I have a few on my radar I may go chase if all my cards fall in place.)

It's amazing what a couple of emails and comments from friends can do to a persons perspective. Sunday I was willing to throw in the towel and scrap the whole racing season. Then I heard from a few pals that truly understand what I am going through. I just needed to hear it! I will pick myself up from this funk and soon be on my way to excellent fitness! I'm just not sure when that will be...

In about 36 hours I will be getting ready to march downtown Duluth and ready myself for the Duluth Minnesota Mile. Back in July it sounded like a good idea. I would have the entire summer and fall to train and come September I would find myself in kick ass shape and set a new PR. Well, throw in an abdominal incision or three and the whole summer was screwed! I will not back out of my commitment as I wanted to but it may not be pretty. There will hopefully be a true "masters" field to compete with or else I will look like that kid that was picked last in gym class to play on the team as I chase true paid "elites" down superior street. In any case it will be interesting.

So far this week the mileage has been cut down and I remained to take one day off. On Wednesday I woke to my alarm and just couldn't fathom the thought of getting out of bed, let alone run down the road. I managed to get in some quality runs and the rest was just plain ol' jogging in the morning. I will update after the mile on Sunday and hopefully I will have good things to report. I will be keeping my fingers crossed the entire time.

Despite the crash on Sunday I found myself feeling well and not too sore. I did manage to eat like a horse on Sunday at my sister-in-laws at a birthday party so I imagine that helped a lot. I kept the run short and sweet and had a good one.
38:45 5 miles (Morley)

Two day lag. I didn't have it in me to go to the track and throw down some 200's and 400's. Instead I ran a road loop out in Woodland and did a series of 1 minute on 30 seconds rest. I did 6 X 1 min at 5:40-5:30 pace just to blow out the rust. They felt decent, but as soon as I slowed down the back got tight.
101:03 8.6 miles

morning of death. no running. very tired.

To UMD track and did a series of 200's at 34-35 seconds. They felt very good and for a few I felt like I had some power being generated in my stride. That always feels good.
8X200 meters with 200 rest.
56:25 8 miles

Easy road loop in Morley. I had everything I could do not to be sprayed by a skunk in the cemetery. Had I forgot my headlamp, I would be one stinky guy right now. LUCKY!
38:08 5.2 miles (7:20's mostly)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Borderline Misery

I like to think of myself as an optimist. In most circumstances I can find the "good" that can be overlooked. This past week has been a test to see just how optimistic I can remain. My back continued to give me grief all week and despite another Chiropractic visit on Friday little has changed. I know my glutes and hips are tight and that may be the source of my discomfort.

The other problem I continue to battle is a continuous feeling of "no pep". No matter what run I do, fast or slow, I feel mostly shitty. They say a lot of surgeries need a minimum of 6-8 weeks before one can expect to join their overall activities before the procedure. This week will be 8 weeks since my appendectomy. Who knows??

Because of the above issues I continue to take at least one day off a week and this weekend I scrapped my racing plans to race/run the City of The Lakes 25K. I just didn't have it in my heart, or legs for that matter, to drive down to the metro area and race a LONG run. That race can take a lot out of you when you are ON your game, let alone zapped like I feel. Instead I ran a longer effort at home and nearly had to walk home. I believe I started the run a bit depleted and I continued to crash from there. With two miles to return to the house I had everything I could do not to walk. Much like the last few miles of a marathon, I felt zapped and ready to be done. A good Ol' fashion BONK. All I can say is Hammer Gel and Co. could go out of business tomorrow and I could care less. They make useless products! (I'm just pissed because one of their gels couldn't get me out of my bonk because they don't put anything worthwhile in their gels)

With all that said, a lot of racing is in question. I am not too sure I will continue this season. I'm tired, sore and quite frankly pissed off I can't get in a decent week of training and trying to cram any worthwhile training before a 26'er just isn't working. I haven't given up YET, but I will give myself another week or so and honestly if things are not any better I will probably pull the plug on the entire season.

Here is the rest of the week:

Tuesday: up Woodland, Arnold, Martin, Riley, and home via Vermilion.
1:11:00 9.3 miles easy

Wednesday: Lakeside loop with 3 minute pick-ups.
8 X 3 minute at 5:20 pace
1:00:20 8.6 miles

Thursday: 0 miles, too damn tired and cold to get out of bed.

Friday: I made up a quick decision to hit the UMD track.
8 X 400 meters at 70-73 second pace with 200 jog rest.
49:07 7 miles

Saturday: out and back on west skyline.
49:22 7 miles

Sunday: Bonkfest! Roads and Trails of Chester, Lakewalk, Lester, and SHT.
2:00:20 16 miles

Weeks Total: 60 miles (6 runs)
Years Total: 1885 miles

Monday, September 6, 2010

Victory 10K

Well, the race wasn't victorious for me, but close. I managed to get second in the "masters" as a tuned-up Pat Billig showed up and took top honors. I did manage to nab 1st in the 40-44 age group. Not too sure what that's worth but I did get knocked out of $150.00 by 20 seconds or so. Oh so close... (you know what they say...)

My back is better but it remained to take a little coercion to get moving this morning. I did a slow, longer warm up and followed it up with a series of stretches that allowed a little release and the ability to stride out some. I am finding out that the root of a lot of my problems are, at least what I believe, the piriformis muscles in my glutes. They are very tight and the next four weeks I must spend some time attending to them if I have any prayers of finishing 26.2 miles. Next weeks 25K will really put things in perspective. I'm not too sure I want to know...

The race unfolded about as well as I could have hoped. I didn't want to go out too hard and dive into oxygen debt. I did that all too often in my younger years and paid the piper big time during the last two miles. Today I went out with a group that rolled through the first mile in 5:24. Right where I wanted to be, maybe a few ticks fast but I managed to think of it as "time in the bank". It's been a few years since I last ran Victory and that time allowed me to forget about the upgrade second and third miles. The third split was slow at 5:41 and I was shocked because I made a conscious effort to break out of a group of four that I had been running with and chase the next few guys ahead of me. At the turn-around I kept a positive state of mind and when I made the subtle turn to the straight the third mile made sense. From that perspective you could see the now downhill and the grade that caused the slow third mile split. I managed to crank out the fourth fairly well and hit the marker at 5:19. The fifth mile I was still chasing three guys and split in 5:23, still moving pretty decent. I had some mental let-down the sixth mile even though I had caught one of the three runners on my radar and he kept me going as well as I could. Mile six was 5:31. We both traded positions over the last mile and 0.2 tenths with he getting to the tape first. I crossed the finish line in 34:06 and was quite pleased with the effort. I wanted to run 33:45 or faster but it just wasn't in the cards today.

Totals: 10K race: 34:08 (i had 34:06)
warm up and warm down of 24:00+ each
~11.5 miles total running

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Right now my spine is the only thing limiting me to crank up the miles and pace. Sitting in the van at Ragnar was the start of trouble and then having my dog pull me in an awkward direction on Monday, fresh off a successful Chiropractor visit, put my right lower back into hell for the remainder of the week. Each morning I feel the will to quit the sport and pick up my banjo. Each morning I take a little time, drink a cup of joe, go through a series of stretches and next thing you know I am heading out the door for a run of unknown duration. Thankfully I have been able to resume some decent training and I hope I can nail a few more workouts, long runs and an occasional race or three.

Saturday I made a connection with Dave S. and Dave H out at Lester trails. I wasn't too sure how things were going to feel after Friday's 2:20:00 but the trails are the best place to test things. We made our way up on the ski trails and managed to find mostly dry single track to make our way to the top of the park. My legs were quite fresh much to my surprise and the hour chipped away very quickly.
Total: 1:06:37 7 miles trails

Sunday I woke up feeling just as many days this week. I followed my morning routine and sure enough I was making tracks down the road once again. The main difference was that I knew I was going to have a good run after half a mile. My legs were fresh and minimal back stiffness with running. The course for the day was down the SHT and Hawks and back via same route plus a short segment in Hartley. Today was one of the very few where I actually had to hold myself back from running too hard. As long as I can drag my carcass out of bed tomorrow I think I can give the 10K a decent effort.
Total: 1:08:34 8.7 miles trails

Weeks Total: 52 miles
Years Total: 1825.6 miles

Friday, September 3, 2010

Meat and Potatoes

Vacation weeks are always difficult to maintain training volume so often I resort to the "meat and potatoes" of training. I'm way behind in training volume and workouts heading into the last four weeks of preparation for Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. This may very well be the least prepared I have been for a marathon. I keep having people tell me that things will be alright and I will have to rely on training "muscle memory" and experience. I guess the main thing will be for me to mentally be ready and gut out another 26 miler come October 3rd. Maybe the last four weeks will be magical.

Tuesday I woke up in the camper feeling mighty rested after near 10 hours of sleep. I may have mentioned but I have been sleeping 9-10 hours a night after my little all-nighter relay last weekend. This week I definitely caught up! As I made my way outside all I could do was soak up the 80F sun and drink coffee. After Kari and I polished off a french press of coffee we all showered and made our way to the nearest park and ride to make a day at at the Great Minnesota Get Together. We had a super day, drank a few beers and took in some unwanted calories of various forms. The last item I ate was a deep fried Reces Peanut Butter Cup. OK at best.
Total: 0 miles running
"a few" of walking at state fair

Wednesday I made my way out after yet another stellar nights sleep. I got out on the nearby asphalt trails and managed to do a impromptu workout. After 2 miles of warm up I slowly worked into 6 X 20 seconds hard (4:45 pace) with same rest. I then bumped up the interval time and did 8 X 60 seconds at 5:00 pace with 30 seconds of rest between. It felt good to get in some speed to the legs. With the warm up and warm down I ran a bit over an hour.
We made it to our first ever Twins game. Target field was amazing and what a good time! I can't believe people pay $7.00 per beer 12 oz's. Crazy....
Total: 1:02:00 9 miles

Thursday I woke up and my back was a bit tight and with the recent rain all I could do was drink coffee and start to dismantle the campsite. We had a window of sunshine and I wanted all the tents and matts to dry if possible. Once we arrived in Duluth and unpacked I made my way out to do a little "shake-out" run and call it at 4 miles. My legs felt very good and my back was holding it's own.
Total: 28:40 4 miles

This morning, Friday, I made a quick decision to make the day a long run effort and have the weekend to rest before making my way down to the Victory 10K on Labor Day Monday.
The weather was horrible. Mid 50's F along with on/off drizzle. (what happened to the 90'sF we had on Monday and Tuesday!) My buddy Erik and I did the first hour on trails and a few road miles. Once I dropped him off at an hour I added some more loops of trails in Rock Hill before doing an out and back on Skyline and finishing my last two miles with one more loop of Rock Hill. My back did well but I fatigued fairly well in the abdomen, hips and upper hamstrings. A few more long runs and this should minimize. The distance was fair but time on my legs was key for the day. Overall a very good run.
Total: 2:20:21 18 miles
*mostly trails, terrible winds!