Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No real hunger to go running for the past few days; I've skipped three group runs and a race since Saturday. I've only gone once, and cut it in half. Life is like that, sometimes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Just finished week three of a four week recovery plan. 40 odd miles, which felt pretty nice. A bit of soreness in the morning that resolved itself fairly quickly. One week to go.

Week after next, my first short race of the season, hopefully to be followed by a turkey trot and jingle bell run. I'm getting hungrier. I want to put in some harder, faster miles. I want to earn some PRs this year, even though I've scored bunches in most of the races I've run. It's easy- they were all new distances.

So I guess I shouldn't sulk. I'm sure I'll have a recap at the end of the year, but so far I've set a PR in the 3 mile, 4 Mile, 7K, half marathon (2X), full marathon (trail), 50k, and 40 mile and Olympic distance Tri.

Huh... the only race this year that I didn't set a PR in was a 10K, and I think it's because I went from an extremely flat and fast route last year to a pretty hilly route this year. And I still have a couple of 10Ks left as possibilities.

I may have to do some uptempo runs in the next couple of weeks, just for fun. I wonder how I'll do...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sadly, I'm not hungry

So, my 40 mile race went well.

I published in livejournal because I'm an inconsistant git, and am out of practice of posting here. No surprise. Anyway, I did it because I wasn't really sure that i could- there was a lot of training and things come up along the way, and all that good stuff.

My plan was to do this race, recover, and then start off from a base of maybe 50 miles per week. I wanted to to build up distance till 70 miles per week was normal, and then incorporate speed work in preparation to try to qualify for Boston.

But I'm not hungry to qualify for Boston, and that's a pretty big stumbling block. Maintaining a 7:15 pace for a marathon isn't so easy if you don't really have a hunger for it. Perhaps I'll get it when I've recovered from the ultra, but right now I'm not even certain which races I'd like to do. There are bunches of halfs and full and stuff that I could do, but... well. You know how it goes. Too many choices can be harder to deal with than too few.

Decisions, decisions...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fatigue is setting in...

From this last November to April, I had been doing a pretty consistent, moderate to high milage schedule. A few weeks were about 30 miles, but most were in the 40s, 50s and even one or two in the 60s.

My body adapted. I didn't feel sore, achy, or even all that tired. I just did it, and it was good.

May and June kind ruined that for me, and now that I'm building miles again, it's getting tough. My muscles aren't all that pleased, and I'm feeling sore after runs that back in the day were pretty shrug worthy.

All part of the game, but still.... I would have thought that I'd have learned by now.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Hungry Duck Half- the return to duckland!

2nd annual Hungry Duck Run in Brighton, MI. It just so happened that I was able to come home on Thursday, run the race on Friday, and do a few more nostalgic type runs on Saturday and Sunday. Oh, and hang out with family. But that's not the focus of this blog, right? ;)

Anyway, it was a perfect day for a race- mid 50s, a little wind, crisp and beautiful. PR weather, as a good friend of mine called it. And it seemed to be exactly that... three of us who ran the half got PRs; I improved my half marathon time by 5 minutes, which was kind of nice.

I went out with the idea that I'd shoot for a 7:30-7:40 pace for the first half, and then cut it down to a 7:25-7:20 pace for the second half. They way it worked was I did the first half in ~49 minutes, and the second half in ~48. Meaning a 7:25/7:15 split, in rough terms. Wish is pretty good, when all is said and done. And quite pleasing, really.

It got my a 3rd AG award, which was nice. But it would've landed me in 7th if I were 35 rather than 34. So, as I've often stated in the past: "I'd better get faster before I get older"

Yay fun races!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Week in Review

Today I started training for the Triple Lakes 40 Mile. it was a good week, and having something for which to train makes all the difference in the world.

Let me see...

M- rest
Tu- 6
W- 6.25
Th- 8.25
F- 9.0
Sa- rest
Su- 6.75

Total of 36.25 miles in 5:24:14; an average pace of 8:57. it's a lot easier to run these days with heat only being in the 80s.

My plan for next week is to run 38-40 miles, all things going well. I have my VO2 max test on Thursday, which may screw up my group run with Godiva. But thems the breaks. If I'm lucky, I might be able to get there in time to catch up, if I push hard enough. I will almost certainly catch them on the way back, if everything goes well. If the test doesn't take too much out of me.

I guess that'll be my speed workout. I might do some speed play between now and then. But only a few pick ups just to remind my body that it can go fast.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

VO2 max with LT

So I signed up for a VO2 max test with lactate balance. They may even be able to hook me up to a EKG for kicks and to see if my heart might want to flip into a-fib.

it's pretty exciting... I'm thinking I'll probably test in the 40s somewhere. I push against the O2 deprivation spot pretty easily and regularly even when running an "easy" run.

it's funny- they fellow with whom I talked to in order to set up the eval is someone that I fitted into shoes. He really likes them, so it appears that I did a satisfactory job.

I want this to help me in my training for the 40 miler.
I want to have an excellent training cycle and do it again in six months to see if there are any improvements.
I want it to be an enlightening experience, and a lot of fun, too.
But, as with everything, I'll take what I can get. :)


I'm getting excited about running in a way I haven't been in a while.

Goals are a nice thing. New PRs, new distances, new experiences- they have a way of getting the juices flowing. Even though this has been a year of new for me- I really haven't been intensely excited about much of anything since Umstead in March. Not coincidentally, that was when I last updated this blog.

Even though I've run and done well in a number of races, I wasn't really deeply excited about them... I knew I could PR in the half marathon. I knew I could finish an Olympic distance tri. They were more just things to fill up the time.

But I'm far more excited about the possibility of doing a 40 mile trail run in October than I have been about... well... many things. I think I'm more excited to go home July 4 weekend. But it's very different.

I'm not wholly sure if I can do it.
I'm going to be very excited to try.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Marathon training...

Decisions, decisions. The only thing I'm good at is indecision, so this makes life interesting.

First off, there's a trail marathon in 16 weeks. October 4th, which is a weekend I have off, and would seem to fit pretty well.

There is, however, a 40 miler. same place same time. Uh-oh.

Also, there are a couple of other marathons later on in the year that are tweaking my fancy- either of them would be a decent place to BQ, if BQing is possibly in the cards for me.

plans are swirling and swirling...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Switching back to LJ

I think I'm going to be moving my training blog back over to my spot on Livejournal. This was a fun experiment, and I like the interface better than LJs, but I think when I'm trying to compartmentalize my life between training here and everything else there, both suffer. So starting with my Umstead Marathon race report.

That is, if I survive. :)

Of course, I'm also dividing time by jumping on the twitter bandwagon but that's a different sort of writing.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Foam Roller

A few weeks back I got a foam roller from Amazon; it's been an interesting addition to my training. Mostly I use it to work on my IT band, calfs and hamstrings, though I suppose I'll be adding my quads sometime soon.

But it's painful, like a good massage is painful. And it's the first time I ever truly, actively felt a muscle knot go away. After I located it, I just rested my body weight on it and said I'd count to 70, bear the pain, and move on if nothing happened. Right around count 30, I was able to relax the muscles around the knot. Near 65, the muscle started spasming. At 80, the muscle knot was in its death throes. At 90, it had melted away, and felt... well... a little weird.

There have been times after using the roller that I've felt taller on my right side, if that makes sense. There have been times when I've been in enough pain that I've wondered if I'm damaging myself. But I've never felt anything like the muscle knot going away, before. I've given massages that have coaxed knots to give up the ghost. I've had massages done to me that have cured both a screwed up gait and what I thought was unrelated pain.

I can't say that I'll love my foam roller as much as my Garmin. But if I use it regularly and intelligently, it may be just as useful as, say, Gu. Which is pretty high up, just under proper shoes, good socks, and apparel. :)

Monday, March 3, 2008

U minus 5

Five days to the Umstead marathon.

Five days to see if this new methodology of run training will work out well, or leave me splattered against the wall at mile 18.

Five days to freak out about every little ache or pain, real or imagined, carbo-load, worry about nutrition, ponder every step of every run, pour over the map and over think everything.

there is nothing I can do, as of now, to make my fitness for the race any better. but there's an awful lot I can do to mess up my race experience.

The time I cut off from my two road marathons will be my test. In Detroit I went from 4:46 to 3:39, a 1:07 drop. It's my goal to go from 5:13 (at the '07 trail marathon) to 4:06. If I can beat that, then I'll have figured that my training was a success. Granted, the terrain is more difficult.

But what's like without a little challenge? :)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Coach Bubba 4M

A couple of things keep me humble about my race today:

First, a 11 year old kid blew me away by two minutes; in a four miler, that's a pace 30 seconds faster. I don't know about you, but 30 seconds per mile is an awful lot. Asking three seconds less per mile out of myself would have been an awful lot.

Second, the field (at least, in my age group) wasn't as strong. Of the five people who had times that would have beaten mine last year, none showed up this year. Of course, other people did, but when I looked at last year's results before the race I thought I had zero chance.

But I was pleased. I got within my goal time range (26-28 min). I pushed myself, though not too hard, and my last mile was my fastest. I only really dropped pace when I hit hills. I started with about fifty to seventy people in front of me and realized in the first minute or so that it was a mistake- I passed a few when I kicked my pace up a bit and passed a bunch more when we first hit the hills.

I kept my form fluid. I didn't let my breathing get too out of rhythm with my foot falls. I tried to keep my focus on the race, and run my own race rather than try to keep up with someone else. And it went well, especially since this was my final blow out week before beginning taper for the Umstead marathon.

My Stats:
Time- 27:20 (7:30 PR!)
Pace- 6:50
2/21 AG
16/101 Gender
20/267 OA

Friday, February 22, 2008

Raceday strategies #312

Race tomorrow; a 4 miler. I looked up last year's competition and this year's pre-registrations- all the people in my age group who could blow me away don't appear to have signed up before hand.

The first four guys in my AG ran the four miles faster than my VO2max pace. Heck, they were faster than my 800 meter pace. But if they don't show up, and no one faster than me takes their place, I should do well... unless the 34 miles I ran yesterday and today really do me in. :P

Two weeks to Umstead! Monday begins the taper!

Oh, and I saw "Spirit of the Marathon" yesterday- good flick. Lots of fun. Wish I could have gone to see it with close running friends, but at least I got to see it, right?

Friday, February 8, 2008

training and food, food and training...

Four weeks before my marathon. Two weeks to get speedy, two weeks to taper. And I'm pushing myself pretty hard right now... not redlining, but significantly harder than when I was exclusively base training. I may hit 60 miles this week, some of it at LT, some of it moderate, a bit of it easy.

The part where it hurts the worst? Food bill. I'm trying to go for high nutrient (and calorie) high satiety and relatively low cost foods. But last weeks I spent almost 20% of my earnings on food. Some of that was going out, sure. But I spent more on food than on furniture last month, and I bought more furniture in January than I ever have in my life.

*sigh* I guess I need to be a bit more industrious about clipping coupons, or something...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Whining and complaining without reason...

So, I haven't spent all that much time whining about how much I miss my Michigan friends and family. I think I can sum it up best this way- yesterday Michigan has 12" of snow dumped on it. Today it's 60 degrees in North Carolina. If you offered me a choice between running here (beautiful and perfect) and there (cold, dangerous and miserable) there would win hands down.

Oh, and my family is having a random get together today, too. Life is like that...

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mental discipline

I think the key to running a good race and -maybe more importantly- training well is being able to maintain focus throughout the whole period of time your exercising.

My example is this- for the past few months I've been working pretty hard on base training- a lot of easy miles at a relaxed pace, letting my body build the infrastructure necessary for peak training. Blood perfusion, mitrochondria, efficient fat burning- these are all things that I'm told increase during base training stress upon the body. And I've been pretty good at doing this: "I'm going to run at 60-70% max effort for as long as it seems a good idea" type thing.

Yesterday, however, i tried my first tempo run in a while, and it felt really good. I shot for a certain RPE, and I was able to stick with it- for the most part. I found myself sort of swinging back into my relaxed speed from time to time, mostly out of habit. I wasn't maintaining mental focus. I'd catch myself, and speed up, but I'd have been happier if I didn't have to remind myself to speed up.

But it's good training. And I'm sure I'll get better at it. :)

As an aside, smoothies are a very nice recovery drink! I especially like how the simplest one- four ingredients and a blender- can be done quickly and easily. And I beginning to wonder how they might taste with alcohol...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Umstead Marathon

So, I had my first group run at Umstead Park this Saturday. It went well... single track running is probably my favorite type- the added element of danger is always appealing, ya'know? :)

But I found out something dangerous- the Umstead Marathon had a number of cancellations (about 10%) and so they decided to open up those spots this morning.

So, after due deliberation, I signed up. Now I have to prepare. Six weeks until the marathon, basically a month and then a taper. Ought to be interesting!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Work out timing...

I think I'm figuring my workout schedule.... at least until it changes (next month, probably) and I have to refigure it out.

Starting work at 10:30 gives me enough time in the morning to do a nice run- up to eight miles if I get up early enough. But if I want to do two a day, I can hop over to the Duke East Campus and do laps on their run/walk trail. It's 1.65 miles (according to Garmin) so doing it three times will make for a good five miler.

I've found that the local SCA branch does a run/walk thing here on Monday evenings 30 minutes before I get off work- I might be able to join them! Who knows? If there are some serious runners out there, they might want to run longer, so I'll have company for a half hour or so.

That'd be nice. I'm noticing that I'm writing "It was a great run, but it'd have been better with friends" in my workout log a lot. But then, I figure there are very few things in life that aren't better with friends...

My second loop starts from my apartment complex, takes about a half mile to get into the Duke Forest, and runs around there for about 4.5 miles or so. It starts off easy and gets progressively more difficult, but ends on a downhill and then some flat road running.

I like it because it's nice, wide and well maintained trails, which is better for me when I haven't had coffee yet. The main challenge is keeping my heart rate in zone 1 or 2 while doing some of the big hills. It's also well used- other runners, people walking their dogs, which leaves other things to avoid...

Last but not least, here is a map of the Frosty 50K- I know, this post has been map heaven, but I figured that it might be a way to give clue to at least what my running has been like here in NC.

Anyway, time to go look for my first group run. I tried to go to one yesterday, but sadly made a number of wrong turns (or failed to make right ones) that had me going about 30 miles out of my way. That's what I get for trying to drive unknown roads to an unknown place at 5:45 in the morning without coffee. The first turn I made was going in the wrong direction (south not north) on an interstate (not that I was in the wrong lane, mind you. I wasn't that out of it...

Thursday, January 10, 2008


So I was running along a road that parallels trails not far from my apartment complex. I heard some rustling, and I saw a runner in a gray sweatshirt a bit behind and off to the side of me. About a minute later, I hears some similar rustling, and I saw a gray squirrel running behind me- same course, same speed, same color gray.

My first thought was the most obvious- of course the runner had turned himself into a squirrel.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Frosty 50K

I am now an ultra runner! yay! :)

The Frosty 50K is a double out and back horseshoe shaped course around Salem Lake in Winston-Salem North Carolina. I signed up for it mostly as a psychological tool to keep me from freaking about about moving to a new area where I didn't know anyone, leaving friends, family, and the familiarity of home behind.

So instead of freaking out about the holidays or how to get all my crap stuffed into my car, I freaked out about doing my first ultra instead. It seemed like a good idea at the time. :)

And no, before you ask- I didn't have any idea, really, of how to train for it. I had been on the path of adding base miles, hitting 61 miles a couple of weeks ago and calling it good. My longest run was 16 miles. Most of my running was in Michigan, a land of snow and ice since about Thanksgiving... a slightly different environment than the Carolinas.

To add to the mix, I've been on the "I have to cook when I'd rather be running?" diet- also known as the "single male who doesn't like to eat out and thinks of a bowl of canned soup as pretty appetizing" diet. Once I go shopping "for real" I'm sure I'll have more options. But this last week has certainly been a negative calorie one.

Anyway, one of the Blue Planet Runners was kind enough to shelter me the night before and offer me not only a place to sleep, but also food (!) and a running partner for the first 25K. It's amazing how quickly 15 miles can go when someone's is telling you all the joys and difficulties of doing a relay around the world to raise awareness of clean drinking water. Of course, mutual interests in Firefly, religion, random life events also helps.

It was a beautiful course, around a beautiful lake, on a beautiful day. Temps ranged in the 30's to the 40's- just about perfect. And the set up made it easy to drop off things like jackets and gloves, grab Gu or whatever else from your race bag. Also, the lake was useful to jump into after the race, though it was bloody cold. I mean, in the 30s cold. Definitely more painful the last few miles of the race, but also very much worth it.

Little things stick in my mind- passing the same puddle four times and watch it go from being frozen solid to mostly thawed over the course of the race. Or how I was mostly passed at the beginning and I was mostly passing at the end. Or how when I started to think of my friends whom I left in Michigan, I became maudlin until I distracted myself by counting left foot falls.

To keep myself from the "ready to be done" syndrome that makes the last few miles of any race difficult, I didn't look at any mile markers or at my Garmin when the mile lap feature beeped. I just tried to keep my pace right around the 9-9:15 range- happy enough to go slower if the terrain called for it, but also willing to let myself relax through a down hill and let gravity dictate my speed.

About three quarters of the way through, my hamstrings felt pretty tight. I stretched them. It helped. I felt little aches and pains though out the race- after a down hill either my IT band or popliteal tendon or something on the side of knee would ache. And then it would go away. It was just like every other run, only a little moreso.

And then I was done. A cup of hot chicken broth in one hand, and a cup of coffee in the other. some stretching, so wading into a freezing lake and some hanging out with said blue planet runner and friend- it was a wonderful and amazing experience. And yes, I am geeked about doing another one. Or maybe a 50 miler one of these days.

... just... not right now. I have laundry to do, and food to buy. :)

Oh yeah, the stats!
Distance- 31 miles
Time- 4:52:42
Pace- 9:27

BTW I hit the halfway point at 2:30, so yay negative splits! But my Garmin also said I hit mile 31 at 2:18, and that I went 31.68, but that's neither here nor there...