Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Over doing it...

Days off work can be dangerous. Especially when wedded to a high mileage week, speedwork that needs to be done, and a love of running trails at night.

So yesterday, I did my Q workout- four 1200 meter intervals at a 7:02 pace with ~ two miles of warm up and cool down for a total of about eight miles. Again the snow and ice covered path made it a little difficult to hang onto the pace, but I ran hard and was fairly happy with the result.

About eight hours later I was back out on the trails, doing my typical 10 miles trail run... slowly. Seems my stomach either disagreed with dinner, or was just unhappy with me on general principles. made for a difficult run, in more than one sense. it's been a while since I was that happy to see my car, even though it was a beautiful night- silent, still, and moon lit. I probably could have navigated the forest without my lights, but I wanted to be sure of my footing.

I did have an running companion for a minute or so- I think an owl was entranced my my lights, or something, because when it cut loose with it's call it scared the bejesus out of me. A few seconds later up the trail, it cut loose again, and then a third time. I tired to shine my light up to where I thought the sounds came from to see if I could catch its eyes, but never saw them. In retrospect, I think it was a good thing. Deer eyes I've caught when out on a run can be scary as hell. I have no idea how much more scary big eyes would be gleaming out of a tree some 30 feet up.

I got myself a new running toy, too: katoola micro spikes which make running at night on ice a not-too-insane of an idea. Or less-insane-than-it-sounds kind of idea. Think of a cross between Yak Trax and Crampons, and you might know what I mean. Or just hit the link. that works, too.

So anyway, I did ~18 miles yesterday, four of them relatively hard intervals. Today I skipped out of my group run because I'm feeling kind of beaten. tomorrow I've got a ring in the new year run, friday 15 miles on the schedule, maybe seven on saturday and ten on sunday. with the seven I did on monday, I should be up to 63. If not, I'll figure out something...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

week three in review

This Daniels and Daniels training regimen is teaching me lots. Like when i do these week in review write ups- it's typically just after having my shot. You know how you shouldn't drunk text? Well, I guess it also applies to blogging. With texting, likely only one person is reading you. With blogs, it's a little different.

except, of course, when only one person reads your blog. So I should be safe. BTW, Hi, one person! *waves*

(And yes, i really did wave. One thing about me is that I have a very low tolerance for alcohol)

Anyway, this week. it was a good week, with a step down to 49 miles, a couple of good interval sessions, a Fat Ass, and a nice easy night trail run with lots of ice any snow. Four runs all together, which is less than normal, but I got my goals. And it's been fun.

I've already written up two of the four; the other two were good, solid runs but nothing outside the ordinary.

But I was struck by this thought, today, as I was listening to Jim Butcher's Academ's Fury- A quote out of the books is this: "Big things are made of little things." Walls, books, laws, societies- they all obey this law. I thought of runs as the same thing- one step in front of the other. Many steps equals a mile. many more equals a marathon.

But I also thought of training in the same manner- one run in front of the other- all working towards the same goals of a successful race. Or health and fitness, or whatever. But the rule applies.

So I had four relatively stressful but in a good way runs this week. All of them were helpful in my training, and all of them were fun. Next week I bounce up to 63 miles. I'm really looking forward to it!

24 Miles...

If I do 24 miles before thursday, it'll mean I'll have run 6000 miles in three years.

6000. That's a lot of miles. A lot of running. If I can keep at that rate, in nine more years I'll have reached 24,000 miles. If I remember right, that's roughly the circumference of the earth around the equator.

Which is pretty neat, and not a bad goal....

Oy. Achiness.

Out of the choice of the 50K or the 30K, i chose 30. Or rather, 29. Well, almost 29. If my garmin is slighly inaccurate, I did 29 for sure. Unless, of course, it's inaccurate short instead of inaccurate long.

Anyway, the Annual Fat Ass 50K (or, as I liked to think of it- the Boxing Day 30K) went well. The Screw shoe gave me traction, the hills were more ice covered rather than the 4-6" of slush people encountered last year, and I did most everything right except whom I chose to run with.

I decided to go out with pretty much the lead group. I really should have known better. They might not think of themselves as fast, but 11:30s on extremely treacherous (as well as fairly hilly) ground is more than I should have tried. If I wanted to do 50K.

So i did 17.9 miles, or 28.8K, in 3:27 and called it good for the day. Good times!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Mile Intervals

On Saturday of Sunday of each week, i work to figure out what I'm supposed to be doing for the next week when it comes to my training. I know I should be better at this, and plan at least a few weeks ahead, but it's kind of like Christmas. It takes a little bit of work to open the presents, and it's always a surprise to discover the plan. Sometimes though, once you've deciphered Daniel's code, you almost wish you hadn't.

So, for this week, two Q workouts. Q1 was written this way- 20 min E pace + 5 X (5-6 min T pace with 1 min rests) + 1 hour E pace. This translates practically to: run two miles slow and easy, run moderate/hard (7:45 pace) for five minutes, rest one, repeat four times, then run for easy another hour or so.

Not too bad.

Q2 was like this- Run a mile at I pace with 5 min recovery for up to 6% of weekly mileage.

Turns out, according to the charts, my "I" pace is 7:02.

Right. My earlier intervals in the preceding weeks, running "hard" for four minutes turned out to be a 7:03 pace. On clean pavement. And not suffering the effects of overindulgence during the weekend.

Luckily, 6% of my weekly miles turns out to be about four miles, so that leaves me with only three intervals. Not so bad. And there are times you just have to shrug and deal with it. Trail is slippery and snow covered. I'm going to try to run faster and longer than I have in months, possibly all year. And my throat feels kind of sand blasted from vomiting four times Sunday night.

It'll be okay.

So I did my little warm up, hit the lap button to start the intervals, and started running hard. it went well. The snow was difficult, and I watch pace slip away as I tried to run uphill with poor traction, but I persevered and finished the first interval in 7:06. Not exactly what I had hoped for, but not too far off. I thought to myself- if I can keep myself from slipping much slower than 7:15, I'll be happy.

five minutes of easy jogging flew by. then the second interval. Bits of twists and turns, but no hills, and I hit the mile mark in 7:02.

Nice! Technically, according to Garmin it was 7:01.85, but I won't quibble about 15 hundredths of a second. Again, and five minutes flying by. Final interval.

I start off too fast, and look down to see a 6:35 pace for the first tenth of a mile.... bit too fast. I dial it down, let my mind unfocus hit a hill and think: "oh, am i glad I don't have to do this during an interval!" Then I realize- um, oops. So I see my pace has fallen off to 7:25, and figure I have a lot of work to do, starting by conquering the hill.

I kick it up, happily take advantage of the downhill on the other side, and try not to let me mental focus slip again. My breathing gets ragged. I lose my rhythm. And my throat hurts. But I hear the final beeps letting me know I'm seconds away from the end of the interval and finish something close to strong.

I look down. 7:02. I do a painful sort of shuffle jog for a minute or so, then tighten up my form, do my two miles of cool down, and hop in the car.

It was okay. I have another Q workout this week that should be easier, and a decision on whether I want to do the Fat Ass 50K, or some fraction thereof.

But the week, it has started off well.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Week two down, 16 to go!

... well, almost. I figure I won't have time to update tomorrow- it's going to be a busy day. All I have is a 10 mile easy run, though, so it shouldn't be a problem.

And I did the two Q workouts happily, so that's the important thing.

The first Q workout sort of happened by accident. Originally, I was supposed to run easy with my running group, then retire to the treadmill to do a tempo run of 20-40 minutes. What actually happened is I liked up with a guy in my running group who chose a pace right within my tempo pace. Worked out well.

The second Q workout was intervals. I just did them by feel, and the average of the five were fairly close to the intervals I did last week. I knew that I wasn't going to be able to maintain that sort of regularity, though. Two of the intervals were sub-7, though, so that was good. Perhaps I'll be able to make them all so by the end of the training cycle. I certainly hope so.

More thoughts-
It's easier to run at a high cadence on flats. Without snow. In lighter shoes.
Need to work on running mantras, and how to distract myself when the time is right.
If I want to do something more than an easy run, there may be people out there who are interested in the same thing. Keeping up with them might be exactly what I need.
I still don't know if I want to do Bayshore, either the half or full. North Country 50 mile is also an option on the table, but I'm not certain how big of one.

next week- 49 miles total. The two Q workouts, both intervals. The first is a two mile warm up, 5X 5 minutes at 7:41 with a one minute rest, and then an hour easy as cool down. The second is 3X 1 mile at a 7:02 pace with five minute rest interval. I'm going to assume a two mile warm up and cool down, though it's not specifically mentioned in the text.

Difficult on Christmas week. I'll see what I can do. oh, and I want to do the Fat Ass 50K on Saturday. That's going to be interesting to try to fit in...

Winter Wear

Figuring out what to wear in the winter can be... interesting. An exercise in problem solving, at the very least.

And even though I made up my handy-dandy chart to help me figure it out, real life will always be a little more... fluid then legalistic world a chart inhabits. It can never address the issue of a precipitous drop in temperature. Or a significant wind direction change. Or understand the fact that hail driven by 30+ mph winds hurts.

Or, if you prefer, humans don't always run at steady state speeds. We get tired, slow down, and get chilled. Or we hurt something, slow down, and get really chilled- adding insult to injury.

Or we do what the training program tells us. For instance, intervals.

Two mile warm up, four minutes hard and three easy, repeat five times. Four minutes might not seem like a long time, but it adds up. And my body got pretty warm. And Indian spring's middle four miles are protected from the wind by trees- a wind that is generally in my face on the way out and at my back on the way in.

Sadly, it didn't work out that way yesterday. I was mildly uncomfortable- on the ragged edge of shivering uncontrollably, but was generating just enough heat during my 'cool down' run to avoid it.

But it was uphill, and into the wind, and after a successful though tiring interval session. The only thing I think I might have been able to do to make it more comfortable is wear my pack away vest. Let it bounce on my hip during the intervals but wear it on the warm up and cool down. Hm...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sapping the will...

I took up counting during running when I was training for my second ultra.

It was a way to pass the time, and try to keep my cadence at something approaching 180 steps (90 strides) per minute. I've been given to understand that running along at this cadence is a good way to keep from overstriding, which has led to all manner of issues for people in the past and me in particular.

So I count, and have my garmin bleep at me every minute so I have some idea of how I'm doing.

Yesterday I forgot my garmin, and things became a bit different. I wasn't counting, which let all manner of distracting and will sapping thoughts flood into my head. It became difficult to run at all, and almost impossible to run well. Flats became difficult, and I was walking the uphills a lot more than I was running them. A pleasant, easy run through the woods because a slogfest.

At times each step became a struggle, and if I had been on a track I would've probably just given up, jumped into my car, and gone home. I really didn't want to be there, which is a pretty sad state of affairs. Most of the time, trail running is what I prefer to do most.

So three thoughts occur to me from this experience- the first is that I'd better start working on other mental techniques to keep me going. The second is that next time, I'd better not forget my watch. And lastly, in light of my last post, I guess the irony gods wanted to teach me a lesson.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Wanted to do my tempo run this morning, time carefully planned out. Sadly, a deer culling at my local metropark ended that plan.

Oh well, such is life. Probably safer to do it on a treadmill anyway. Sadly tho, it's not the intensity level that's going to be the issue on the treadmill, but the boredom.

Still, like I've said, the treadmill is great for developing two things in running: a sense of pace and mental toughness.

Pace because it does not let you cheat. It will not let up.

Mental toughness because of the aforementioned boredom. It's terribly easy to run through the woods without a sense of time. In comparison to running on a treadmill, it's a vacation.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Week one down, 17 to go!

Well, I had 56 miles on my schedule. According to Garmin, I got 55.2. Close enough, right? :)

the first week went well, although I take a few lessons from it:

1. The shin thing is still an issue. keys to dealing with it- proper warm up, work on form, possibly foam roll.

2. Don't back load the week. It's not a good idea. The last three days of the week shouldn't have been 2/3 of my miles.

3. I don't like the idea of a Monday rest day. There are too many opportunities for a good group run. But the weekend can take a lot out of a fellow.

4. Fencing might be good cross training, but my body feels well beat up. I'm not sure it's the best idea I've ever had.

5. Running on ice is hard on the glutes- stabilizing works some interesting muscles.

6. Jack Daniel's is quite tasty. And a nice reward for a week relatively well done.

Next week my two quality workouts are a tempo run and intervals. For the tempo, 20 minute warm up, 20 minutes at a 7:32 pace (or 40 at 7:47) and 20 minutes cool down. The intervals are like last weeks- 3 minutes easy and 4 minutes hard. No long run.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hitting the 2K mark

Missed it in '07 by 60 miles.
Missed it in '08 by 104 miles.

Today,however, I hit 2000 miles for the year- for which I am most heartily grateful. Sickness and injury have played roles in foiling me before- and they've reared their ugly heads this year, too- but I made it. So, yay me!

Anyway, it was an interesting run, even for all that. It was supposed to be 14 miles or two hours, whichever is less- but running at Pontiac, in the snow, is usually always quite slow going.

I did the first 10 in Saucony Razor, which worked quite well. it's a tank of a shoe- vibram outsole, waterproof upper, and water resistant gaiter which let me run through some treacherous terrain without difficulty. heavy, though- mine weigh just about 16 oz, which makes for a hard time when it comes to keeping a cadence in the 90 strides/minute range.

Still, they kept my feet warm and dry, which is a lot better than the alternative. Cold and wet is no fun at all, believe me! But I had a funny realization today- essentially we keep our feet in mittens year round, expect when we wear sandals. Or Vibram five fingers.

Which leads me to the next four miles (well, 3.25 really. I ran both out of time and out of light, neglecting to bring my own). I decided to see if the Vibram Flow that I purchased would really work for winter conditions. The neoprene upper, I thought, would go a long way towards keeping my feet warm. And their light weight would make life easier when it came to cadence.

Anyway, I donned my Vibram flows with Injinji socks and started back down the trail. It helped to have gaiters on, too. and they worked fine, for a while. Up hills was a little tough- even with vibram outsoles, they tended to slip on the snow and ice. But it was really difficult with the puddles. Ice and snow covered puddles, which none the less had a decent amount of water in them.

Soakers are no fun in slippers, especially when the real temp is 20, and the wind chill makes it feel like its about three degrees. it wasn't so bad when I was running, but afterward I felt like my toes were encrusted in ice.

Turns out, they were.

Still, all in all it was a really nice, fun run. I know better now, than to use the five fingers on the bridle trails until they completely freeze over. And the Razor really works well. So... yay!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Q1 week one

Daniels' schedule is a little different than most. instead of charting out exactly how much you should do each day of the week, he suggests a certain percentage of max volume and two quality workouts (Q workouts). the rest are supposed to be easy, aerobic miles.

so today was the first of my interval sessions. it wasn't a difficult session- essentially, do something between 4.5-6 miles ofrunning four minutes hard and three minutes easy pattern. Warm up and cool down. No problem.

except I started having that shin thing again during the first mile. talk about annoying. So I stopped and stretched and thought that I'd go to 1.5 miles- if it gets better, i'll continue the workout. If it gets worse, I'll call it a day.

Thankfully it went away, and at two miles I started the program. it went well- I ran at something faster than my 5K pace, i think, but not straining if you know what I mean. I my paces for the up temo bits were 7:25, 7:02, 7:02, 7:02, 7:02 and 7:02.

So I was pretty pleased with my consistency. i also counted strides, and found myself at the 93-96 strides per minute (186-192 steps) which is... pretty good. better than i thought. No problems with my shins after that first mile. And it just felt... fun. :)

Next Q workout is a long run- 2 hours or 25% of my weekly mileage (14 miles) whichever is least. Seven miles per hour is about an 8:36 pace (if I've done my math right) which is certainly doable on a paved surface. not so likely on trails. Hm... I'll have to see what happens.

Monday, December 7, 2009

18 weeks to Martian, 18 shots in a fifth. coincidence?

And, strangely enough, 18 holes in a round of golf. According to my sources, the fifth and golf were given to us by the Scots. Interesting, no?

So anyway, in honor of an ex relationship, I'm dedicating this training cycle to Jack Daniels. I've wanted to try this for a while now, but was lacking the proper inspiration.

So, here we go. Let's see what happens.

Oh, and I know it's obvious, but it had to be done.

It's time to indulge...

... in a little self destruction.

18 weeks to martian. 20 weeks to the trail. Pretty much everything now has been base building. A few rough patches along the way, but mostly just running easy, lolly-gagging, and not trying all that awfully hard.

Everything going well, that's all over.