Saturday, December 21, 2013

End Of Season

The racing season/year is officially over. Last weekend I participated in the USATF Club XC Championships in Bend, OR. As expected, it was a very challenging course made of hills, turns, technical sections and one large climb that we encountered on each of the 5 laps we ran. I have to say it was one of the toughest courses I have run and the competition was fierce. I ran in the Masters division and placed 44th overall and our team placed 4th. A great time was had and we had wonderful weather!

I'm not too sure what the main culprit was, but I developed a side stitch mid-race and I never got rid of it. That has happened to me before in cross country races and I'm not sure why. It really seemed to come on with the pounding downhill sections. Had that not happened I'm thinking I could have placed about 15 or more places higher. Oh well, life goes on.

Besides the last race of the year, I will focus on getting my legs back and settling into a long base-phase of training starting next week. The plan is to slowly build up the miles and get 2 medium long efforts during the week and a longer effort on the weekends. I had a lower leg/ankle injury that was still nagging me so I have to make sure that get attended to and keep the legs, specifically hamstrings and low back in check.

Here is the last two weeks prior to Club XC.

NOV 25-DEC 1st
Gobble Gallop 5K = 16:22
Weeks Total: 69 miles

DEC 2-8th
first week of serious snow
had to hit the treadmill
did one workout of 10 X 1 min on/off @ 5:20 pace
90 minute run on weekend
Total: 51 miles

DEC 9-15th
Race Week!
easy running, striders on treadmill once
Race in Bend, slowwww 44th overall
Total: 29 miles

YEARS TOTAL: 2537 miles

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Two Week Wrap Up *2 Races

The last two weeks reminds me of college days and racing weekly. I had a nice build up to the race last weekend and then recovered well and raced this morning in Duluth.

I have been feeling a nice groove and really managing my miles and recovery the way I like. It's that type of feeling you as a runner never want to go away. Each day passes and I have no troubles getting out of bed and pounding out the miles. I credit some of that to my training partner David Hypo as he and I manage to get together a few times a week to keep each other sane. It really helps. The last two weeks really have no major workouts as I managed to squeeze one in before my first race last weekend and then the current week I have saved it for this mornings 5K. Tomorrow will be a nice trail recovery run in the fresh snow of Hartley Park. Here is my mini race report of the last two races.

Last weekend a group of 10, including my 8 year old boy, loaded up and drove to Des Moines IA. We were to take part in the 35th Living History Farms cross country race. If you haven't made the trip, it's a must do. 7500 runners with a mass-start headed for one continuous 7 mile loop through fields, gravel wagon roads, single-track, river crossings and a finish that looks like a movie set from the old west 1940's.  The folks down in Urbandale really know how to put on a race. I've participated twice now and I have to believe I ran in the warmest and coldest years. Back in 2001 it was near 70 F and we sat around in shorts after the races eating the many donuts they have to offer. This year it was 7F (with a -4F windchill) and the coldest they have on record. Maybe?  As the gun sounded I was just focusing on staying upright and not get trampled. After a couple hundred meters it was all clear and I settled into my pace and enjoyed the energy of the mass. We rolled out into the corn fields rather quickly and had plenty of time to spread out before any single track. The first couple river crossings were not a big deal but the third was thigh deep and COLD! I found myself with plenty of energy and I kept passing people the entire race. I figure I was in the top 50-60 at the mile marker and then managed to finish 26th overall and 1st Master runner by a click of the watch. Yep, I passed a master runner with 400 meters to go and held him off. I actually felt like I was racing out there. What a year to remember for those race organizers! Let's hope for a bit more heat next year.

My second race of the week came this morning as I participated in the 8th Gobble Gallop 5K down superior street in Duluth, MN. I was on the fence all day yesterday as I was fighting a head cold and really didn't want to push a hard effort and make the cold worse. The day consisted of pushing fluids, airborne, OJ, and plenty of vitamins. I hit the sack early last night and hoped for the best. When I woke up this morning I felt very good and was immediately ready to race. I took a hot shower, took in some tea, airborne and made my way down to the race start. The racing conditions had the potential to be terrible but having the road crew scrape the road and having the sun come out the footing was actually pretty decent. (just before the race I changed in my truck and the outside temp was 20F)
This race tends to go out very quickly, much like Fitgers 5K, as the street is a nice gradual downhill and people really tend to get excited and crank for the first 1.5 miles. I had every intention to hold myself back and try to run even splits. That's very hard to do when the pack is leaving you in the dust but if you are true to yourself and keep in touch with your limitations it is a must if you want to have a decent end result. At the turn I made a conscience effort to pass a group of runners and keep rolling until I couldn't hear footsteps any longer. For the most part it worked and I managed to clip two more runners in the last half mile to close out the race for 7th place overall and 1st Master.
Each race I take something away, good or bad, and learn from it. Today, I was happy I ran a nice even pace and pushed when I wanted to push and the end time was pretty decent as well. For the shape I'm in I really can't be disappointed. Last week I told my training partner, "If the conditions are good I will run 16:25." I ran 16:22 and the conditions were not the best. I'm in tune with my body and I have two more weeks before loading up a plane and heading for USATF Club Cross Country Championships in Bend, OR. I have high expectations and I am willing to take on the personal challenge of those expectations. After all, that is what allows me to get up each morning as the alarm sounds. Good night and see you on the early morning trails...

Here are the last two weeks miles:

November 11-17
last good week before race week
did two workouts plus long run
one day of LONG hills one of cross country style repeats in Rock Hill
Long country, hilly run

Total: 71 miles

November 18-24
*race week
Easy running with one day on the track doing my leg pick-ups at 12 X 100 meters at the end of a 6 miler. This workout is purely for leg turn over and speed.
Race on Saturday. Living History Farms
Sunday off/ day of rest.

Total: 44 miles

November 25-December 1
*thus far 34 miles
5K race 16:22

Years Total: 2388 miles

Friday, November 15, 2013

Porkies Marathon and the Rest of October

The last blog entry I had written was just about a week from my Porcupine Mountain Marathon. My little injury I had in September had settled enough and I managed to race without too many problems. The rest of October was getting my legs back, even though it was a trail marathon it took a week or two to get back into the swing of things.

As for the race, it was about as tough as I imagined and the weather was worse than I was hoping for. In my build up to the race I had plenty of longer trail runs to make me confident in racing the marathon distance. What I didn't have confidence in was my fueling and pacing as I have not done one of these races before (since 2004, and that was a bomb of a race) and I just didn't feel like the pace was going to carry so fast. I had done a couple training runs on the trails during the summer months and I felt like breaking 4 hours was going to be a challenge.

The night before the race (and most of the preceding week) it rained hard. It was raining at 0300 the morning of the race and it stopped an hour or so before the gun went off. With all the moisture on the trails, out of "safety" concerns the race course for the marathon was altered to having us loop the half-marathon course twice. I wasn't too upset with the decision but we did unfortunately miss some of the most beautiful trails of the park with this adjustment. Once the race got underway I made my way towards the front runners and let a few take us up the first climb. The pace was a bit more brisk than I would have gone out and I was thinking that the front runners were "rookies" to the area and the hills would come back to haunt them later so I let two go in hopes to catch them on the second lap. (that never happened as they were legit trail runners) The one thing I was most happy with my race was how I managed to keep hydrated and fueled. I felt awesome the entire race and actually pushed the downhill miles at the end much faster than the first lap and made up some ground on second place. I ended up 3rd place and 1st Master runner in 3:28:20. Much faster than I would have thought I could run on those trails and a true testament how much faster the course could be if dry. I really enjoyed myself but in the same time I will probably not do this race again, especially if it remains to be on the same weekend as Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. I love the trails, but love to race the roads and I missed not being at TCM.

The rest of October was getting my quads back as they took a hit on those downhills, then focusing on Club Cross Country Championships in Bend, OR December 14th.

Here is how the month of October went:

Sept.30-Oct 6th
*race week 46 miles
ran 20 + miles then the marathon on Saturday
3:28:20, 3rd overall, 1st Master

October 7-13
recovery week
did 5K with Lucas and Kari *he had huge PR
18+ miles

October 14-20
working on foot *old Sept injury still
28 miles

October 21-27
starting to get the groove back
ran all 7 days
60 miles

legs are better but left lateral ankle is still bothersome
ran CC race in cities. MN Masters CC Champs
2nd place, just under 22 min. for 6K
56 miles

November 4-10th
Feeling ok to push a bit
doing hills and LT work each week
Woodland Hill X 4 at LT with fast downhills
4 miles LT at 5:40 pace Sat
68 miles

*I am feeling better and picking up momentum. I feel like I can push some workouts a bit but still feel like I need to be careful not to over do it. I want to be healthy and strong at the starting line in Bend on December 14th. There are 4 weeks left to train and I hope to make the best of them.

YEARS TOTAL: 2273 miles

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Be Thankful and NEVER Give Up the Fight

The last few weeks of running have been moving along nicely. I've been on a constant climb in mileage since my little set-back in early September. I had good fitness at the time of the injury and I knew if was patient, listened to my body, I would come out of it in decent position for my race in early October.

 Going through an injury is never fun. It's really easy to get in a grind of negative thoughts and feelings. The thought of all the hard work one puts into these events and all the thoughts of "getting out of shape" are a constant battle mentally. The one thing I try to surround myself with is positive energy. I read tons of running news and articles. Sounds like it would bum a person out being injured but I find it to work in the opposite way. I see how others are doing and I make a deal with myself to get back at it as soon as I can. I also have a loving wife and child, as well as excellent running partners that keep me going in positive ways. I have sucked up all that energy and I now find myself sitting pretty decent heading into next weekend. Such a lovely place to be...

I was running some single-track this morning, getting some fresh, sunny air, as my head needed a good ol fashion fog-clearing diet, as I may have made just one too many "trips to the canoe" last night at a friends wedding reception. (those of you that were there know exactly what I am referring to) At any rate, it was amazing as to how great I actually felt. I mean, yesterday I had my last longerish type run of 2 hours and I felt like complete shit after 70 minutes. I had all I could do to get back home to the barn. This morning was just the opposite. I had fresh legs and the desire to crank out some serious miles. I held myself back and enjoyed the feeling of bottled-up energy. That is also a good feeling.

This got me thinking how beginners or even general population people that are trying to get back into shape, or trying to loose some extra weight, often get lost in the battle of will. There are many people that can keep at it and make the progress they desire. There are many that start and soon fall victim to the demands of daily "life" and quit. If you go to any local gym or YMCA I am betting that the drop-off rates are very high after a month or two from initial sign-up. But, if there is any hope of making your goal it is necessary to push through some rough days as well as heading out to do what activity you do on days where you want to rest. Rest is good, but being lazy is another thing. Don't be afraid to try. I have reflected on this topic in the past and I am going to bring it up again. One never knows what kind of performance their body is going to have unless you get going and try. Give your body a chance and tell your mind, the one that's telling you to take a day off, to go bother someone else. You need to try. Some days I head out and think that I will only go a mile or two. That's ok. I try and soon I am returning home with 7-8 miles in the books.  Now I'm not saying all this just to brag or say, "hey, look at me I never take a day off." It's not that at all. I am writing all this to give you an idea that you just have to go out and try and somedays you are going to feel on top of the world. YOU DONT WANT TO MISS THAS FEELING. It's a feeling that keeps me going every day and I want you to experience this as well. Get out there and bust a good one!

Here are my last two weeks. I will post a race summary and maybe some pics of the race when I return. My banner photo on my blog is an excellent picture of where I am running. It's going to be amazing...

September 16-22nd
*great week. 6 runs with long 3:50:00 run(24 miles) on Sunday
Total: 62 miles

September 23-29th
super week. legs are good. 7 runs
Sa/Su 2hr/1:20 weekend
Total: 64 miles

Years Total: 1998 miles

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Minor Setback- Still Have Time

I managed to have a great month of August for training and in the end it got me. Snuck up on me and bit me before I knew what was happening. I thought I had such a good handle on my body and the feedback it was giving me. Then, without notice, I was on a long run and within 4 steps I went from head up and smiles to a limping, gimpy achilles scorching halt. I had a feeling of fire along my lateral ankle bone and a very spasmed lateral calf muscle. What the hell just happened? I sat and stretched and it helped minimally. I spent the rest of the next week with minimal to no running trying to ice the ball of muscle in my calf. This last week was only slightly better and I managed to jog every day but nothing special. Oh, and I had to stop every run to stretch out my hamstring in order to finish the runs. Finally on Thursday I made it into the Chiro and had some work done that made my stride and back feel much better. I'm still not 100% but I think I have a good lead on a hibernating hamstring issue. Lots of stretches and my run this morning was the best I've had in two weeks. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and I really need this to go away so I can focus on my trail run coming up in three weeks. Please...

August 19-25
Week: 63 miles

August 26-Sept 1
Week: 75 miles

Sept 2-8
Week: 9 miles

Sept 9-15
Week: 46 miles *trying to get back at it

1872 miles

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Trails Are Perfect- A Three Week Summary

I've managed to let three weeks pass again without any updates but here it goes.

I started to climb up in milage three weeks ago and managed to squeak into the 70's with a very decent long run on the trails of East Duluth. Lester is amazing and COGGS fail to disappoint. I finished the week tired and my hip flexors calling for help. I hit the big Gitch for an icing and that seemed to help some. Since I had been on a slow climb up in mileage, along with a little fatigue I decided to follow up the next week with a rest week.
I usually do three up weeks and follow with one down but my legs were calling for a little help so I gave it to them. I've learned at an older age to listen to my body a bit closer and usually i work out the kinks quickly.

After last weeks easy running and beer slug fest on Sunday, I managed to buckle down and work on gaining some volume once again. Rising out of bed at 0430 is tough and now I have to limit my snooze alarms because I have to get out the door to allow myself the time to get in the volume I desire. That's been the only bummer in this quest. I knew it was coming, but boy did it approach quickly. I am referring to the morning darkness. It is now officially headlamp season and I will wear a headlamp until next spring on most of my weekly morning runs. The summer daylight left me too soon. This weeks running went about as well as I could have asked and I will attempt to have another similar week. The highlights of the week were a hill climbing session at Chester Bowl. Loops up and down the creek trails will be one of my staple workouts for the next three or four weeks. The other two highlights were a 6 X 1000 meter LT repeats on the track and this mornings 3 hour run. It's my first three hour run in quite some time and I had a very nice mix of roads and trails. My legs responded nicely and my stomach accepted the nutrients I gave it so I am pleased with that. Getting in the proper energy and actually having your stomach accept it is half the battle.

I hope you all are having excellent health and training. Shoot for the stars!

Here are my last 6 weeks milage per week:
61, 53, 64, 73, 55, 79

Week July 29th-Aug 4
Total= 73 miles

Week Aug 5-11 *rest week
Total= 55 miles

Week Aug 12-18
Total= 79 miles

YEARS TOTAL: 1679 miles

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Catch Up and New Goals

I was going to try to review what I have been doing for the past 5 weeks but I rather attempt to start fresh and with hopes of blogging more often. After the poor running at the USATF Half champs it took me a few days to wrap my head around the idea of new goals and getting back to the grind with my training. I like the long runs and I really enjoy the LT workouts, so I found a goal race in October to go chase and hopefully this summer will unfold as planned.

In a quick summary I have been building up my mileage slowly and have now been clicking along pretty decent the last three weeks. I am getting in a weekend long effort and one to two workouts mid week. My goal race is 10 weeks from yesterday and I feel like I am getting right at the point of really doing some decent workouts in the weeks to come. The plan from here on out is to run right around 70 miles per week and get in some solid long, hilly efforts along the way.

Here is just a weekly summary of my last five weeks:

June 24-30th
~20 miles *slow stuff post race

July 1-7
46 miles

July 8-14
61 miles

July 15-21
53 miles

July 22-28
64 miles


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summary Leading To Half-Marathon Champs

I've neglected blogging my miles since I got the new Nike+ running watch that has this nifty website for tracking all your data. It seems like double work by blogging miles when all my data is on another website. The one thing that a blog allows is a bit more detail of events and more space to describe how I am feeling and what's going on. (For those very few that give a rip!)

Since my last posting, I managed to run some minuscule miles and not really get in the work I had anticipated getting in prior to the Half-Marathon Championships I ran  yesterday. For some reason just as the pollen was gaining force I developed what I term a chest "virus" that also settled in my sinuses a bit. It was very unfortunate in timing and I definitely felt a lack of overall motivation and ability to train during those two weeks. I had extreme fatigue and had difficulty breathing for a lot of my runs. I managed to get in small amounts of faster work, but nothing like I would like to do prior to a peak race. I hate to be making excuses for what I call an under performance yesterday but I do feel like I could have made two minutes faster had I had better training leading up to the race. In the end would it have made a difference in my overall placing? Not much. But, it would have made a difference in how I felt which is my number one concern. As I stated in the past, as I age I don't mind slowing down. It's inevitable. But, as I slow down, I still want to feel like I am "racing" and not just plodding down the road. Yesterday I felt somewhere in between. At times it felt really good to be racing down the course and there were times where I wished I had just a few more miles under my legs. In any event, I finished happy and still hungry to train. I now have some decisions to make for the rest of the summer and fall. I committed to a race in early October and as long as I can put in some decent miles things should go well.

Here is the quick summary of my weeks leading up to race day.

May 6-12 *last good week of training before getting sick
Total: 65 miles w/ 2 workouts, long run of 19

Total: 48 miles

May 20-26
Total: 40 + miles, *missed a day without Nike watch somewhere

May27-June2 *sickness begins
Total: 5K race 16:23
          40 +  miles

June 3-9 *still sick/ ? allergies
Total: 50 miles + workouts

June 10-16th
Total: 47 miles *minor workouts

June 17-23rd
Total: 37 miles
          *1:14:09 1/2 marathon

Years Total: 1228 miles


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Post Race Recovery

Two weeks have passed and I am starting to finally get my legs back. The first week was one of rest and no-care nutrition. Good timing as I had another birthday mixed in there and birthday treats are the best! My quads were pure hell for 4-5 days where walking down stairs was quite the act to witness. I wasn't brave enough to have a massage and my lovely finally worked out some kinks on Thursday, Friday and Sunday the week following. Since then I haven't received massage and my running has resumed quite well. I do have a massage appointment for next week and that will be the true test to see how things have progressed.

This past week I ran 20-25 miles, mostly at the end of the week, and those miles felt better with each passing day. I look forward to the next week and hopefully get the green light to resume regular training after another warm up week.

Here are my two week following Boston:

April 15-21st
M: 26.2 miles race
H:0 *very light massage
F:0 *a bit more massage
Sa: 2 miles 17:45! ouch!
Su: 0 massage
Total: 28 miles with race Monday

April 22-28th
M: 27:00 5K Boston Run down lake walk
T: 0 *massage
W: 23:00 3 miles
H: 28:00 3.5 miles
F: 48:00 6.2 miles
Sa: 2 miles with Lucas 21:05
Su: 49:30 5.7 miles with Jignesh
Total: 23 miles

Years Total: 901 miles

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Boston Marathon 2013

2013 Boston Marathon
*it beat up my quads, but it didn't get my heart

I've been delaying this entry for many reasons. Mainly the time allowed me to process the experience and really, to allow for some serious reflection of the entire weekend that found a tragic and powerful ending on Monday, April 15 2013 @ 2:09 pm.

I've wanted to take part in America's finest, most history-filled marathon event for many years. I finally made the commitment in 2012 and followed through with it. I can honestly say it was by far my most memorable marathon to date. I didn't run a personal best as I desired but, there is so much more to Boston than a PB. The B.A.A. is a first class organization and, with the assistance of the fine volunteers and the people of the greater Boston area, they gave me an experience of a lifetime. From the expo, packet pick-up to the shuttle buses and staging/starting areas, nothing was left undone. They have thought of it all and do it right. Once the race got underway the citizens that lined the course to cheer were simply amazing. Near constant fan support from Hopkinton to Boylston Street kept me running, as walking just wasn't an option. Again, simply amazing.

As I crossed the finish line I felt deflated more than any other marathon I had previously ran. It wasn't a feeling of overall exhaustion rather, my legs (quads) were left somewhere back on the course near the base of the Newton Hills. The amount and degree of downhill running was beyond any thoughts I had going into this event. I had read numerous articles on how to race the predominantly downhill course. I scoured the internet for tips on how to train so those hills wouldn't get the best of me. I talked to others that had ran the race in years past. Nothing prepared me for what I experienced that day. People told me, "there are a lot of downhills" quickly followed by "don't worry about Heartbreak Hill, it's not that bad." They were right about that, the uphills were a blessing after all the pounding that left my quads rubberized and soon had my IT Bands locked tight so running down the backside of Heartbreak was near impossible. Once I got to mile 23, I stopped and used someones cell phone to call my wife to explain to her I was not going to be on Boylston as we discussed. I wanted her to wait for me and not head to the family waiting area until I had passed. (she never got the message, but did wait to see me turn down the famous Boylston off of Hereford Street) After I had called her I had a moment where all I wanted to do was slow to a walk. That happens in a marathon and it's easy to do. It's immediate relief from the agony you are feeling at that point. Human nature says, stop. But, I knew that it would be extremely difficult to get moving again and even if I kept jogging at the slow, painful pace I was doing, it was still TWICE as fast as a walk. So I kept running. The fans would call out my number and scream, "come on 813, you are going to make it. You look great, keep it up." Liars. But I knew what they were trying to do, and it worked. The finish line came a bit later than I wanted but I can say, the final 385 yards were as amazing as I thought they would be. Looking back at my Garmin results I can see the last bit and how much I picked up the pace just on adrenaline.

Boston took a bite out of my quads. I will get revenge as I am planning on returning to Hopkinton in 2014 and racing that same historical course in hopes to conquer those hills. And when I do, and when I turn off of Hereford Street and on to Boylston Street, I'm sure there is going to be a different feel. The energy I can image is going to be nothing short of ecstatic and the victims of this years disaster will be honored as I go bye the two sites. I'm hooked, and now Boston has me the third Monday in April for awhile.

*I am not going to address the horrific, selfish act of two individuals that took so much energy, exhilaration, honor, strength, courage, and good ol fashion fun from some 27,000 runners and their families and friends that day by ending the race in the 4:09 hour. There is plenty of media to read, and at this point most of us has had their fill. I still lay awake at night thinking of that day and I am so ever grateful. But I am also still angered. I will go back and celebrate with my peers the way we were supposed to. I hope to see you there!

Here is the GARMIN data for the race: CLICK HERE

April 8-14th
M: 0 rest/ ice foot
T: 7 miles, ice foot
W: 0 treat/ice foot
TH: 0 ice foot
F: 33:00 4.5 miles, 4 X 30 sec at 5:30 pace
S: travel
Su: 3 miles on treadmill plus strides

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Not The Taper I Wanted

The one thing I can say is the last 15 weeks have gone quite well and relatively uninterrupted, until this past week. I was to have one final week of mileage and one last MP workout to finish out the "plan", then taper slowly for one week and race on Monday. With the continual right arch discomfort I've been having, and not really mentioned it too much in the past because it hasn't kept me from training, I decided to take a stand and really attempt to get that arch feeling better and try to increase my odds of a good race come April 15th.  What that meant though was a forced taper earlier than I would have liked but getting my foot feeling as good as possible was/is number one priority. I have had a decent training plan and now realize I am not going to get any fitter, and quite honestly I could risk further injury, so I made the decision to take every other day off this past week and aggressively treat my arch. It's working. I have run the last two days and felt pretty good. As long as things don't get too ugly on the course in Boston, I still feel like a new PR is possible.

I'm sure I will have a moment to write a few words this next week but just in case I don't I plan to run easy every day this next week except Saturday, which is a travel day. The legs felt good today and so it continues for a week. That feeling of bottled energy, anxiety, excitement, and often feelings of self-doubt. It is all too common to sit around and feel like you could have done so much more and that one workout should have been this pace, not that pace, but really, if you get to the starting line healthy you just increased your odds of having a good race. The last marathon I ran, including my Boston qualifier, I ran so much less than what I have done this winter and I ran very respectable. I hope to repeat that.

My number for the race is  #813. I'm in wave 1, corral 1. The elite women have a 25 minute head start and I will be lining up right behind the elite men for a starting time of 10:00 am EST. (that's 9:00 am in Duluth Hypo)

Here is the rest of the past week:

M: 0, therapy
T: 53:00 7 miles
W: 0 poor sleep, head cold persists, therapy/sleep
Th: 1:15:00  11 miles with 8 at 5:56 pace
F: 0 miles therapy
Sa: 36:00  5 miles easy *foot better
Su: 1:10:00  10 miles w/ 3 X 3 minutes at 5:52 as test

Total: 33 miles  *let the taper begin

Years Total: 836.4 miles

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

End of Week and 2 Weeks to Go

The rest of last week looked like this:

Th: 1:10:00 10 miles, loop out to Enger and back
F: 1:25:00 13 miles w/ 10 @5:56 mi. *legs tired but good
Sa: 1:00:00 8 miles easy, park point
Su: 1:58:00 16 miles, country roads, hills, neg split run 6:20's w/ Hypo

Total: 65 miles (6 runs)

Years Total: 803.4 miles

This week I have been really trying to behave and get my right leg and arch under control. I have been ignoring a bit of a nag in there somewhere and I figured I need to get things under control very quickly.
I took Monday off of running and tended to a sore arch and it was worth it. I ran this morning and felt good and had just a bit of residual soreness. I also ran in new shoes and that had to help a bit as well.
The rest of my training is going to look pretty boring so I may not post until after the weekend and then just because I am going to be all jazzed up next week with the taper I figure I will be blogging a bit more.

Week April 1-7
M: off  am/pm work on arch/legs
T: 52:00  7 miles *feeling pretty good

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Litte Banged Up

The 20 miler last weekend that included a bunch of hills, and a lot of downhill running made for a slow, tight, and concerning week. I was feeling as though I may have over done it on the 20 miler but as I was running it I felt very much in control. I think it was a combination of things that ultimately lead to me feeling tired and stiff, but I fought my way through the week and continued to have an overall decent week of running, albeit a bit more tired than I would have wished for.

I had a Chiro appointment and a massage appointment on Tuesday and that always feels great. The long pace run was moved up to Thursday and I forfeited my intervals for the week in order to gain a bit more recovery. The weekend running went very well, and Sunday's long effort got me out of bed and running by 0515 in order to get the 18 miles I had planned in before my wifey had to go to work. It was during that long run where I realized I had a minor, that could be major if not attended to, issue at hand. My entire right side was failing. I had upper glute/hip, hamstring, calf, and most concerning a very tight fascia in my right arch/foot. I have never had plantar fasciitis before so I don't know what it feels like, but by description I didn't think I had that going on. (possibly a minor or beginning of PF?) The tightness loomed and my right arch did not get any better for most of the long run and I found downhills most tender.

On Monday, which is normally an easy hour + to flush out the gunk from my legs, I decided on taking a zero and focusing on stretches and strength exercises. I did 45 minutes of yoga, plyometrics and stretches that focused on my lower body. Most of my Monday at work felt decent but some stiffness remained and the areas of concern needed more attention. I made a chiro appointment and focused on more stretches and exercises.

I had a decent run yesterday and this mornings interval workout went quite well.
The visit with Adam went well and I feel like I am on my way to quite the week. I feel very energized and ready to close this training out and focus on the race. To get a little excitement in the air I received my Boston Marathon Runners Passport and papers in the mail. I'm getting psyched!

Training for:

March 18-24
M: 59:20 7.5 miles easy, SNOW, skyline
T: 1:07:00  8+ miles easy
W: 1:00:00  8 miles
Th: 1:24:00  12.5 miles w/ 9 mi @ 5:55 pace
F: 1:00:00 7.6 miles, easy trails, roads
Sa: 1:13:45 10 miles, roads/trails eagle lk loop
Su: 2:05:00  18 miles *arch is sore!
Total: ~72 miles

Years Total: 738.4 miles

March 25-31
M: off- 45:00 of plyo's, yoga, stretches to lower body
T: 1:00:00 8 miles easy, 2 X 30 sec @ 5:15 to test legs, all ok
W: 1:07:00  10 miles w/ 3 X 1.5 miles @5:40 pace/  pm= Chiro

Sunday, March 17, 2013

This Phase Is Working

Three weeks ago I switched to the "strength" phase of training. I am now feeling like I am indeed getting fit. I realize it isn't just the last three weeks of training that allows me to feel this way, rather, it's the last 11 weeks total that have allowed me to make what I call a huge jump in fitness.  For one, the MP (marathon pace) runs I do on Friday's have just come together nicely and I nailed this weeks without a hitch at the end of a tough week.

This weekend was looking like a disaster weather-wise and I managed to sneak out to some country roads on Saturday on top of 8" of fresh powder elsewhere and had a very decent recovery run. Then, after tons of sun on Saturday afternoon the roads cleared, as if the running gods were listening to my constant pleading for just a chance for grip on the open roads in order to keep me of the damn dreadmill.  Thank you! It worked. Albeit I started my run at a less-than-ideal -7F! Oh well, that's what they invented Buff's and thick mitts for. I once again made my way to the lovely hills of W. Tischer and got myself over to Lester River Road where I proceeded to pound my quads, on purpose, down the three and a half miles to Superior street to simulate a little Hopkinton miles. From there I jumped on the Lakewalk and proceeded to run to Lemon Drop hill and finish my run on the Grandma's course all the way to Lil' Angies.  In the end I made it 20 miles and was very pleased with how I felt.

This week was a great week for me. Though, not a lot of miles on some peoples standard, I ran a year high and had three amazing workouts throughout the week. I don't mention the easy days much but I had some amazing easy days of running as well. I just love to ease off the gas and just run some miles while getting lost in my thoughts of racing, travel, friends, family, and of course, warmer days...

This weeks volume:

March 11-17th
M: 1:04:00  7.7 miles, easy jog around UMD area
T: 1:20:00  10 miles, trails, Eagle Lake rd.
W: 1:09:00 10.5 miles  2X3 miles @ 5:40 pace
Th: 1:07:00 8.8 miles, country roads, snowmo trails
F: 1:25:00 13 miles w/ 9@ 5:56 pace
Sa: 1:03:00 8 miles, easy, fresh snow
Su: 2:20:00 20 miles, country, LRR downhill, Gmas course
Total: 78 miles

YEARS TOTAL: 666.8 miles

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Change of Plans

This weekend I was to test my fitness at a 10 mile race in Minneapolis. That didn't happen. I made the decision on Friday after hearing of the possibility of freezing rain and/or rain for much of the lower region of the state. In the end, the race would have been fine, they didn't get freezing rain or anything that early in the morning, but I would have had to deal with horrible weather on the drive home so I guess it was a safe decision. I had an uncomfortable feeling in my legs on Friday's run and I guess that was in the back of my mind too, so mentally I was not 100% to give a good effort. Instead, I found myself on my snowshoes slogging out a slow, quad burning jog/hike in fresh POW that we received Friday night.  Today I needed another solid long run so I hit the treadmill. Not my favorite but I had an amazing run and was happy with the outcome. All in all another great week of running and one more week closer to heading out to the big race. I just have to keep at for about three to four weeks then a little taper, then the race. I can't believe it's that close!

Here is the weeks details:

March 4-10th
M: 1:14:25  8.5 miles  Hartley/UMD arch sore
T: 51:41  7 miles treadmill + weights
W: 1:08:00  10 miles 3X2 miles at 5:45
H: 1:10:20  9 miles Vermilion/W. Tich
F: 1:13:30  10.2 miles W Skyline
SA: 1:22:20  ~7 effort snowshoe
SU: 1:58:30  17 miles 2X4 mile in middle (6:25/5:55)

Total: 69 miles

Years Total: 588.8 miles

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Near Scare and Township Running

Often the two topics listed in the title can go together and refer to the same thing. I have to say, you have to be on your toes (not literally but attentive) when you run in the townships. Let's just say the cars out there are not really friendly to the "athletes" that often venture out to the clear, hilly routes they offer. But today I had a wonderful time and just a few odd looks. The title refers to my two highlights of the week. First, I was on a routine recovery style run on Tuesday morning and decided to give West Skyline a try and was committed to a 10 mile out and back. I had just made my turn around and I was passing over a bridge and just as I crossed the other side I hit a mean patch of black ice and damn if I didn't bite the pavement quicker than you can say Shit! I took most of the blow with my right knee, which in the process took a huge chunk out of my new running pants, grrrrr, along with the skin on my knee. What I didn't realize was I gave my lower leg/ankle quite the twist in the process. That little twist would have me taking it easy a couple of days to follow but after some ICE treatments and stretching I was back on track for a good week. Whew! Thankful for that.

As I eluded to earlier, today I ran out on some Township roads. I ran through Hartley trails to warm up and then hit the roads to Howard Gnesen road and on to W. Tischer to Jean Duluth. I managed to hit the new Lakewood one-stop, can't place the new name right now, and scored myself a 20 oz. water and washed down my green apple Powergel. I then hit Medin to make myself hit some snowmobile trails through Lester. Since it was downhill I still managed to hit 7:00 pace on snowmobile trails through the park until I hit London road. I then cranked down the pace to finish in a step-down pattern which shook things up a bit in the legs. I felt good and thus far have been recovering very well.

So, here I sit some 6 weeks out from Boston and I realize I only have about 4 good weeks of training before I have to really scale back the work and pay attention to staying healthy. It's amazing how the body can get fit when you listen to it. I am not doing high volume but I feel like every day has a purpose and I take advantage of my time out running. When it's time to recover, that is what I do. When it's time to kick it up a notch, I do. To get to Hopkinton healthy is a must. I want to be ready to run with my head up and take in the experience. I know the last 10k is going to be tough, they ALL are, but I still want to be able to really look up and see the beauty that surrounds me. It's Boston! Enjoy it and make the best of my fitness is the goal.

I sure hope you all had a wonderful weekend and took advantage of some fitness in your area. We had stupendous weather once again and the daylight is getting longer and warmer. Get out there and never give up. Remember, today might be that day where you feel invincible and those are the ones that keep us coming back for more.

Here is my week:

Feb. 25th- March 3rd
M: 58:10  7 miles, trails and roads really easy
T: 1:11:45  10 miles  *fell on ice, right knee/lat calf took a hit
W: 58:00 8.3 miles 4 X 1 mile at 5:40 pace (cut short with spasm in calf)
Th: 38:00  5 miles *ICE right lower calf/ankle
F: 1:12:00  10.2 miles 7 miles @ 5:56 pace
Sa: 1:04:00 6.5 miles on Hartley trails easy w/ Dave Hypo
        34:00 4.5 miles pm run to cemetery and back/ easy miles
Su: 2:00:00 17.2 miles *last three 6:14, 6:11, 6:05 miles

Weeks Total: ~69 miles

YEARS total: 519.8 miles

Sunday, February 24, 2013

From Doubt to Confidence

The last time I wrote I was coming off a decent long run that had me running some quick miles the last 30 minutes or so. It was a blustery day with slick roads but I managed to get in a pretty good run. The week following was one of ups and downs with the downs taking command for most of the week. Thoughts of doubt were creeping in my mind and I felt like I had taken a huge step backwards. For some reason, a reason I will explain in a bit, I was feeling a bit "shot". Weird, because I finished the Sunday run and went to bed feeling like I was headed to a strong progression week. I started the week with a much shorter, easy run than I am used to taking. I called it at 34:00 and shifted my energy to lifting weights for a half-hour or so. The next day I opened my eyes, made my way downstairs and decided on a big, fat zero for the day. Too tired and I was now feeling extremely tired. Not too sore, but just really tired. If I remember correctly I went to bed at 7:55 pm that night. Wednesday that week I rebounded and had a decent ladder workout and hit my splits with ease. Sweet! I'm back. Not so fast, as the rest of the week remained extremely fatigued and listless. To get out and run was a struggle the rest of the week and by Saturday I realized I was battling a good ol' fashion virus. Duh! Most of the people at work had some form of "bug" they were fighting and I am sure I had a hit of it and it just wore on me. Having said that, I only missed two running days and I finished with a decent 15 miler on Sunday that had my legs singing the praise once again. It's amazing how those viruses can take a toll on you, even oh so slightly.

This last week was a very nice progressive week that had me moving everyday. My shortest effort this past week was 60 minutes and I hope to repeat that for a few more weeks. I decided once again on just one true "speed" workout instead of two for the weekdays. I wanted to make sure my legs were going to accept the increased running and I can say they handled things quite well. My mid-week workout was 11 miles with 7 at 5:56 pace on the treadmill, and this weekends long run was 20 miles on the roads. Overall a very good week in the right direction.

The next phase of training starts tomorrow. It's referred to as "strength" phase. I will continue to do my MP efforts once a week and will now add some longer intervals at a pace closer to true lactate threshold (LT). I tend to do much better during this phase of training and I hope history can repeat itself. For now, my main goal is to get the legs recovered well from today's long run. Right now I feel great. We will see what song I am singing on Tuesday morning when I wake up 48 hours post-long effort.

I also wanted to give a shout out to all those friends that did the 2013 Birkie races this past Saturday. I took a quick look at the results to see a lot of familiar names. It's nice to see and I am proud to know you all! Recover well and enjoy a pint!

Here are the last two weeks of training:

Feb 11-17th
M: 34:00 4 mi, easy + 2 sets of weights
T: 0 too tired!
W: 1:14:00  11 mi, ladder workout at 5:18-15 pace
Th: 1:00:00  8 mi, west skyline
F: 1.5 miles tread, tired, + 2 sets of weights
Sa: 1:02:00  7 miles, roads
Su: 2:02:00  15.3 miles *legs improving a lot

Week: ~ 47 miles (2 days off)

Feb 18-24th
M: 1:01:00 7 mi, trails Hartley
T: 1:00:00  8 miles tread
W: 1:13:00  11 mi, 7 @ 5:56 pace
Th: 1:05:00 8 mi, Hartley. pushed hills
F: 1:00:30  8 miles, roads/Hartley
Sa: 1:00:00  *snow! SHT snowshoe  5 miles
Su: 2:47:30  20 miles  *last three miles up from lakeside, 8:10 Glenwood mile

Week:  ~67 miles

Years Total: 451 miles

Sunday, February 10, 2013

There's A Storm Brewin'

I would like to say the above title is an analogy to how my fitness is improving but I don't want to jinx myself. (even though I feel myself shaping up nicely...)  No, there really is a good ol' fashion snow storm in the works and it is smacking us as I type. The weather "experts" are calling for 8-10" of the white stuff to nail Duluth! Bring it!! I really don't want snow as it really mucks up a persons marathon training. I will press on and become creative with my training for a week or so. After all, I do have the dreadmill to fall back on for more specific training days and possibly next weekends long run. YUK! Let's not be ahead of ourselves quite yet. There may be perfect outdoor running by next weekend.

As for the last two weeks I start with the week following my half-marathon "pace run". For those of you who can't understand why someone would pay for a race and use it for a training run needs to give it a try. Really, its a lot harder than you think. Mentally, that is. Physically, one usually is ready to crank out some fast miles until reality sets in and you realize you are not quite as fit as you thought you were. Early season races are perfect for the faster training runs. The courses are closed to traffic, you have others around to help distract from the grind of the miles, and you have suffice aide. In addition, it really allows you to dial in the pace you desire for future races and get a feeling for where you are at in your training cycle. For me, I needed to understand if running 6:00 per mile will be a reality come April 15th. With the half I did, I feel like, all injuries kept away, that it is a serious reality. I like that, because if I do, it will be a personal best (PR)!

After the half-marathon my goal was to have un-interupted training, another reason not to race. I managed that with a few easy trail runs Sunday thru Tuesday. I was surprised how tired my quads were, but by Wednesday I was ready and did a 5X1000 meter workout and nailed it. The weather that week kept me to a few days in the gym, but I did manage to get out and run a couple days with windchills near the  -20F mark. I finished the week with a nice mix of trails and roads for 16 miles.

This last week I managed to catch some sort of GI virus that took me out for a day. Feeling a bit of nausea is never good when needing to run, so I took a day off. It was a quick buggar, thankfully, and I was good to go the remainder of the week. My highlight for the week was the 7 miler at 5:56 pace. I felt like that was a strong run for me and I'm really headed in the right direction. Today's long run was another solid effort, one in which I did solo and that always is good on the psyche.

We, (I) have 9 weeks to go and I feel like I am in a good place. I'm still not doing a lot of volume but I am running good, quality runs. My recovery are truely run at a slow pace and that has been setting me up for good quality, faster days of training. I have two more weeks of speed, then switch gears to strength oriented work. I love that shit!!

Here's to a marvelous week of training people. Keep it up!

Jan 28th-Feb 3rd
M:41:00 5 miles  (woodland, anoka, hartley)
T: 45:00 5 miles (trails, feel better)
W: 1:09:00 10 miles  5X1000 meters @ 5:18 pace
Th: 1:09:00 9 miles (skyline, -20F)
F: 1 mi + weights at gym. *tired so no running
Sa: 1:15:00 8.6 miles (sno mo trails)
Su: 2:04:00  16 miles (trails/roads)
~55 miles for week

Feb 4-10th
M: 1:05:00 7 miles (-13F hartley run)
T: 0 miles GI virus
W: 55:00 9 miles -4X1200 meters @ 5:18 pace
Th: 1:05:00 6 miles snowshoe run. *maybe too much for recovery day?
Fr: 1:14:00 11 miles w/ 7 mi @ 5:56 pace
Sa: 1:15:00 9.5 miles recovery day (roads/trails)
Su: 2:04:42 18.3 miles *ave 6:49 pace
~61 miles for week

YEARS TOTAL: 337.1 miles

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sticking To The Plan

I'm not sure if I had mentioned in past posts but I have been looking at a couple of marathon training plans and with the fresh reading of Hanson's Marathon Method and the past programs in my files I have come up with a new, fresh approach to my next 26.2. The main difference with this plan is the usage of "speed" workouts in the early phase and switching to "strength" style workouts the last 6 weeks. The entire 12 weeks I will do one marathon pace effort and slowly build the mileage up to a respectable 10-12 miles. The other days of the week vary a bit in pace but really a lot of aerobic miles are run and for me really keeping tabs on my body and maintaining my recovery days like they should be.

The last two weeks have gone great with the small exception of two days I was feeling a bit ill I had to scale way back which hopefully will NOT come into play come April 15th. My long runs are going well and I have to be patient and not to over-do them too early. That's the hardest thing for me when marathon training. Patience. Each week should allow me to get stronger and I need to trust the system. I will work.

This past weekend, (yesterday), I managed to run a half-marathon at marathon pace effort and I was very proud I stuck to the plan. It would have been super easy to pound out and chase a few runners in front of me but I didn't. I kept a solid pace and despite the cold temps slowing me some I feel like I am well on my way to having a solid performance in 11 weeks. We were talking after the race and trying to dig up some articles as to how much cold temps, it was 5F with slight wind the entire race, effect ones performance. I am sure it is a fair amount, much like extreme heat.

Anyway, here are my last two weeks. I hope to recover quickly after yesterday's effort since it was a bit long this early in the program but I managed not to get too sore as I ran a solid, slow recovery run in Hartley today with minimal soreness. Keep it up people! Spring is right around the corner.

Jan 14-20th
M: 50:00 6.5 easy treadmill plus weights X 2
T: 1:06:00 8.5 miles roads/trails
W: 1:01:00 8.5 mi.  8 X 400 meter @5:20 pace (sick :()
Th: 0 illin
F: 1:03:00 9 mile w/1 at 5:55 to test
Sa: 2:01:00 15.6 miles snowy!
Su: 55:00 7.1 miles tread, easy

Total: 55.2 miles

M: 50:00 6+ mi. easy trails (-17F, -40F wind)
T: 1:09:00 10 mi. 6 X 800 meter @5:20 pace
W: 1:00:00 7 mi. Hartley
Th: 40:00 5.3 mi. plus weights
F: 55:00 7 mi. roads/Woodland
Sa: *MP effort 13.2 miles (14 mi total) 1:20:00/6:09 pace ave.
Su: 1:07:10 7.6 mi. Hartley

Total: 57 miles

Years Total: 220.8 miles

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Road Challenges

I'm training for a spring marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. That in itself can be a very difficult task. Do I wish I was in Arizona where all I could feel is the dirt and sand grinding on the bottom of my shoes? Dang straight! But, I'm not and I will make the most of it. That was the number one concern when I started pursuing this Boston Marathon thingy. The last few "winters" in Duluth have been mild by weather standards but when it comes to hammering out a 20 miler, all a runner wants is good footing. If you are from the south or other regions without snow and ice, believe me, it's something you shouldn't take lightly. It's nice!  This morning I could think of only a couple places where my odds of finding clear pavement were high. I chose the one that would also have the least amount of traffic and made my way out west on Skyline Blvd. I nailed it! Very little traffic and clear pavement the entire way. I had to deal with a bit wind but really, minimal for what we can experience here at the 'head of the lakes'.

Once again I found myself feeling really well at my turn around point and looking to crank the pace down on the return trip. I held back, which was a really nice feeling, and stayed aerobic for the returning miles. In the end I ran equal splits on what I would think is a harder return trip because of some climbs that are not there on the way out. I'm a little freaked-out as to how well my legs are responding to the increase in volume. Each day I take a deep breath and hope I remain to feel good. This weeks work is done and now I start the week with a recovery day Monday and an easy mid-distance run on Tues with some striders. I will continue to add some weight work at least twice a week and I really think that is helping me. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend of working out whatever that may have been. Keep pushing yourself. Don't be afraid to take chances and see what you can do. You might surprise yourself.

Remainder of week ending Jan. 13th:

Friday: Woke up to rain/ice. I really didn't want to hit the treadmill so I took a chance on              
            Skyline Blvd. It was ICE. Good thing I took my Get a Grips as I stopped just    
            after the mile and put them on. They helped a ton and had a good run.
            1:01:00   8.1 miles
Saturday: Everything freezing, more trouble with ice. I decided on the snowmobile trails
               north of town. Good move. Wore the grips again and had a wonderful run.
               1:09:00  9.1 miles rolling hills snomo trail
Sunday: Out and back on Skyline. Wow! What a run! Feeling great.
             2:10:30  18 miles  (2F with wind when I left)

Weeks Total: 62 miles

Years Total: 108.6 miles

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Making Progress

I feel like this week thus far has been a great step in the right direction. After Sunday's long run I gave myself two days of rest while feeling very good. My legs recovered well and Wed I did my steady-state run with 2 additional miles. Those runs are becoming very comfortable and something I look forward to each week.

It looks like a cold snap is heading this way so I better get ready to hunker down and get ready for some challenging runs.

Week: Jan 7-13
M: 50:00 trails easy
T: 45:00 @ 7:30's + weights
W: 1:02:00 9 miles w/5 @ 6:00's
TH: 52:00 easy Hartley

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Solid Weekend

The weekend went about as good as I could have asked. Saturday I ran a loop in Hartley on the single track and did a little fartlek with the hills. My legs felt very fluid and quite strong on the hills. *always a good thing... On Sunday I made my way to Superior street and ran out on scenic 61 for some added miles before making the return trip. My first long run over 2 hours this year and I was happy with the outcome.

The next week I will continue to work on my consistency and continue to bump up the miles on my weekly steady-state run. *currently running them on treadmill

Sat: 1:09:00  trails with fartlek
Sun: 2:02:00  16.3 miles

Week:~47 miles

Year: 47 miles

Friday, January 4, 2013

The New Year. Bring It!!!

My December was fair. The rest of the winter months have to go well if I have any chance of accomplishing my goals heading to Boston Marathon on April 15th.

I'm trying not to get too worked up and "worry" about time goals but for me, this year, I do have a time goal and I am going to give it 100% effort and hopefully everything else falls into place. All I can do is try right?

I noticed that for the first time in 5 years I haven't hit 2K miles. My highest is probably 2009 when I ran just under 3K and I PR'd at the marathon and ran some other decent races for the last year of my 30's.  I don't really equate the "lack" of miles this past year to having a bad year, but I would rather term it "unfortunate" in terms of results. I trained quite well and for the first time in many years hit the track and actually got some speed back in my legs. The problem was I pushed too hard the last week prior to the race and it resulted in a DNF, thus no results from all the work. By time I got the injury under control I had lost a bit of fitness and I finished the year with two less than desirable results. The good news is my current running health. Other than the foot thing a week ago I feel like I am ready to hit the miles and ramp up to marathon mode. I CANT WAIT! I love the feeling of heading out the door and not returning for 2.5 hours with a serious appetite. Marathon shape is like nothing else. The quest is on...

Here is my work thus far this week:

Dec 31st-Jan 6th:

M: 31:00 4+ miles (weights)
T: 43:00/ trails with Kari/ headlamp run
W: 1:09:00/ Hartley singletrack headlamp run
Th: 49:00  7+ miles w/ 3 miles @SS pace (5:55-6:00)
F: 0 rest day/ exercises

*on to the weekend!