Thursday, November 30, 2006

Acclimate!!!

While most of Tucson is no doubt cursing the recent developments in the weather, I'm pleased to say Mother Nature is doing me a solid. The kids woke before sunrise, and a quick check of the temperature showed 31 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the sun made it over the horizon the mercury had dipped to 27, which is when I headed out the door for my last workout. Duncan warned me some time ago about the potentially freezing starting temperatures at the marathon in Sacramento, and mentioned I should try my best to acclimate to running in colder temps. This is easy to say but hard to do when the average temperatures in Tucson during my runs have been hovering around 50 degrees.

Not so today. A freak winter storm brought sunny skies but a piercing cold. I'm talking about the kind of cold that brings out freaks that look like this. I ended up wearing two light long-sleeved shirts, shorts, gloves and a cap (tights are reserved for 25 degrees or colder). The cold air shocked my lungs as I started the workout with 10 minutes at 6:30 pace. This was followed by two sets of 5 minute accelerations with ten minutes at 6:35 pace or so in-between. The five minutes was spent with one minute at 5:50, 5:40, 5:30, 5:20 and 5:30. The goal was to get through all the gears and remind all the muscle fibers that they are still "on call" for the weekend. The first set found me feeling a little rusty with the combination of the cold and a day off, but by the recovery portion I was moving along smoothly. The second set flew by with no trouble at all, and after an easy mile I took another two minutes to practice getting up to around race pace and staying there before cooling down. All told it was seven good miles at a fairly brisk clip, but sandwiched between two days off it will hopefully serve the purpose of keeping the fire lit for Sunday without burning me out.

The toughest part of dealing with the cold was the bike ride to daughter Haiden's school with her perched on the kid-seat behind me. I neglected to wear gloves or a hat, and while cruising the downhill in the shade of Sabino Mountain with the wind on me my teeth were chattering. Haiden was tucked behind me, out of the wind and wearing two jackets, a hat and gloves, so she arrived without a complaint.

My sleep has been great this week, and all in all I have quite a sunny disposition given the task ahead of me. This cycle really has been the favorite of my three go-arounds with Lydiard training, and I really find myself looking forward to Sunday. Thanks for reading.

Training: 7.25 miles, 45:27, 6:17 pace, w/2x5 minute accelerations and 1x2 minute acceleration

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It Hurts to Say it . . .

but I'm not running today. Mystery Coach has both today and Friday scheduled as "off", and since he's been right about the hard workouts I'm inclined to follow his advice on recovery as well. I didn't stash away an extra running kit in the trunk in hopes of making it out to the evening run at the Running Shop, though I'd love to join them.

To keep my mind off missing a run I had promised our daughter an early trip out for a muffin, though we settled on a bagel place instead. As luck would have it the weather was actually quite nasty this morning with wind and rain, which made trading the usual run for a warm meal and a few cups of coffee with good company a pleasure.

My thanks to everyone for the encouraging comments about the upcoming race. The general feeling seems to be that I need to be patient and get myself to the last 10K in good shape, which seems like good advice. I do have an unexpected ally for the race in this gentleman, who was put in touch with me through Ian and Duncan. It seems this fellow is looking for a fast marathon and the two of us are shooting for the same pace, so hopefully by working together we can push each other to great races.

Well, without a run there simply isn't that much to write about today, though tomorrow will be my last workout to "run through the gears" before the race on Sunday. Have a good day.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Little Sharpening

I'm on cruise control this week, with mostly short runs and shorter anaerobic efforts. Today called for either a mile of 50 sprint, 50 floats or 100 sprint every 200. I chose the latter, as it would be simple to jog the curves on the infield of the nearby track and sprint the straightaways. Running these on grass really makes things easier on the joints, even though it slows me down a touch. The mile went by in 5:35 or so (I added 100 meters to make up for running inside lane 1), and I spent the cool down miles running on as much dirt as I could find in Sabino Canyon.

Since Lydiard doesn't elaborate specifically on the taper for the marathon in his books I've been re-reading my Pfitzinger "Advanced Marathoning" book. He's quite into loading carbohydrates for three full days before the race, and the one time I followed his advice and plan to the letter I felt quite good until mile 23 so I'll probably adopt a similar strategy. I am intrigued by Greg's old-school carbo loading which includes a fasting from carbs for a few days prior to loading up on them, but since I've already changed so many things regarding my taper I'll forego inserting yet another variable.

One thing I've enjoyed about this taper is the welcome absence of frantic comments begging me to taper. I haven't eased off this much before a marathon since my run in May of 2004, but strangely enough aside from a freak out on Sunday afternoon I've been pretty calm about things. Busy at work so that's it for now.

Training: 7 miles, 47:41, 6:50 pace, w/1 mile of sprint 100, jog 100.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Final Week

I finished the week off with 5 miles yesterday afternoon, though in retrospect I should have just taken it off. I had been resting on the couch with the timer set for 20 minutes after the rest of the family had left for the grocery store, and in that time I had managed to fall into a deep sleep when the watch beeped. A race, two trips to Phoenix and back and and my last marathon pace workout had worn on me over the weekend, and I should have taken feeling sleepy as a sign to bag the run. Still, five miles would make it an even 50 for the week, so I pulled on my running clothes and headed out. While the weather was great, my body felt like I was still asleep on the couch. The first mile was a struggle at nearly 7:30 pace, and for most of the second mile I contemplated just heading back home. As the run progressed I started to feel better, but by the end of it I was glad to be done.

I think everyone has at least one run like this towards the end of a marathon preparation, where running over a minute slower per mile than marathon pace actually feels tough and clouds of doubt over what exactly goal pace should be roll in. I chalk it up to nervous energy, and hopefully a dreadfully ordinary week at home will put everything back to right. Normal diet, normal work hours and hopefully more than the normal amount of sleep are all planned.

Today I was back to my old self after crawling into bed at 8:30 last evening. Getting a solid 8 hours of sleep at home after the previous night on the torture-bed at my parents' place was a relief, and the 8 miles spent this morning on the "slow down" loop was similarly restful. Instead of feeling like I'd lost fitness (which was a thought yesterday), I felt like I was finally soaking up the training I've been through over the last 17 weeks.

Training: Today, 8 miles, 55:12, 6:54 pace
Yesterday, 5 sad miles, 36:15, 7:14 pace
Miles for the week: 50 in 7 sessions

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Chasing the Fine Line

I did my last true pace workout this morning with Lucas over my familiar time trial course. The plan was to work down from 7:30 to 6:30 pace over a two mile warm up, then run two sets of three miles with paces of 5:55, 5:45 and 5:55 with two miles of "recovery" in-between at 6:30-7 minute pace. Two miles of cool down at the end would make it 12 miles.

The calves were a bit sore from the race on Thursday, which I blame on sprinting up some of the short, steep hills on the course. The quadriceps also had a touch of soreness, but I knew that would go away as soon as we started running. The first set passed in 5:52, 5:43 and 5:54, and I spent the middle part of the interval trying to get a handle on how my body responded when dropping the pace to a bit faster than predicted marathon pace. While it did take more work and concentration, the 9 second pace difference didn't seem to overwhelm me too much. Strangely enough, the second interval felt a bit better than the first, with miles passing in 5:53, 5:44 and 5:51. After the second mile at 5:44 I really didn't feel like easing up to much for the last mile, but when I did I could really feel the burden lessen when I got back to 5:54 pace (we sped up a little over the last 400, which brought the pace back down).

Probably the best part of the workout was the cool down, as I honestly felt quite ready for another 3 mile session. With eight days to go until the race and only two days after a tough 5K this is a good feeling to have. Have a nice weekend.

Training: 12 miles, 1:16:39, 6:23 pace, w/2 intervals of three miles, two mile recovery. 5:52, 5:43, 5:54 and 5:53, 5:44, 5:51

Friday, November 24, 2006

To the Old Guy Go the Spoils

Being 35 gets you more schwag. Daughter Haiden holds the booty from the awards table.

Results are up for the 5K Turkey Trot, and while I only managed to shave 11 seconds from my time over last year I really enjoyed the event. Having the whole family there and getting to watch my wife race with Angie and the rest of her team (the women had a separate race before ours) made it a special day, as did running for my own team. Kiera has forbidden me from posting her pic on the blog, but luckily enough Angie posted their team photo on her site (Kiera is on the viewer's far right) so I'll take advantage of the loophole.

As far as race execution goes, I went out hard in an effort to shake Grand Prix leader Dan (I'm currently 2nd), but he was having none of it. A little over a mile in I threw in one surge out of a tight corner to try and lose a small pack behind me, but the effort immediately cost me. I knew Dan was close at the end of loop one of two, but I didn't know he was right behind me until a hand grabbed my singlet from behind and pulled right after the jump pictured here. I instinctively reached my arm back and smacked the offenders forearm, only to hear "Sorry Mike" from Dan himself. He was just trying to keep himself from falling, which in retrospect would probably have been my only chance to beat him. As we closed in on mile two he came around me, and I couldn't respond as I was over the redline and the legs were already a little shaky. Dan is a great guy and a formidable runner, so I couldn't ask for more as far as a nemesis goes. He enjoys beating me only slightly less than I've enjoyed the very few times I've beaten him.

At this point in the race I just tried to hold things together and did my best to not lose any places. One more runner did slip by a bit past mile two, but I pressed on to the finish. By the time I took the second series of water jumps I was beat, and this photo proves it. I mentioned to Phil the other day that his shoulders looked tight in a photo he posted, and he mentioned that it was taken during the last .2 miles of a 10K. The photo here was taken within the last 200 meters of the race, and is a perfect example of how not to run. I've posted before about not running like I'm sitting in a bucket. This is from that old "bucket" post- "When I start to tire, I tend to start literally "dragging my butt", where my back straightens out, my hips lower, and I almost look like I'm about to sit down with each step, shuffling with bent legs. When I start to do this I tell myself two things; 'Get out of the bucket', and then something I read that Deena Kastor's husband tells her just before she starts an interval in a Running Times article, something like "chin level, head back, everything forward". Those words help me rotate my pelvis just a tad forward and lean my upper body just a little bit, which makes me lift my knees up (if I don't want to fall over). It also helps me come down a little more on my mid-foot and less on my heels. Driving with the knees hopefully gets me to straighten my rear leg on take-off." The pic further above where I'm still in front of Dan shows better form, though my arms are up high to get my balance after jumping over the water.

Posture lessons aside, it was a fun race and I can't wait to do it again next year. Today I ran 8 miles easy after sleeping in (the wife and kids are up in Mesa with the Grandparents), and tomorrow is my last real specific pace workout. Enjoy the day.

Training: Today, 8 miles, 55:36, 6:57 pace
Yesterday, 6 miles, including 5K race in 16:38

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Trot


And this was the easy part!

9th place, 16:38, but beaten by my arch nemesis/Grand Prix leader. Dragons win! Great morning with the whole family. My wife fielded her own team and the kids got to watch both of us race. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I'm a Small, Small Man

Not running in the morning yesterday bugged me all through the workday. Would an easy run have helped me gain fitness at this point? No. Nonetheless, when the opportunity arose for me to get in an easy six miles before dinner I took it. A warm evening run in and around Sabino Canyon followed, and as the sun set mid-way through I was left with navigating the last half mile trail out to the parking lot in close to total darkness. Just feeling the blood moving through the veins at at a quicker rate and the feeling of a light sweat made any traces of agitation slip away along with the day's light.

I don't think I decided to run in some effort to keep a streak alive, but there is most definitely a psychological component to it. I'm at the point where leaving for work without getting out for some kind of run is like forgetting to brush your teeth- it bugs me and makes me even more difficult for others who have to deal with me.

This morning I took on an experiment proposed by Mystery Coach. Ever since he prescribed a few days of easy running instead of two previously planned workouts I'd been bugging him to run something fast. He relented with the suggestion of a mile of 50-50's, a Lydiard sharpening staple workout. Since I was on a time crunch (we were sitting for my brother's kids this morning) I couldn't make it to a real track, so I did the workout on the grass infield of the junior high's rock-hard track. I dropped a rock on the sideline at 0, 25, 75 and 100 yards. I jogged out to the first rock (25 yards), sprinted to the third rock (50 yards), then jogged 25 yards to the end, turned around and started again (continuing the jog to 50 yards before sprinting at the first rock). 31 U-turns aside, it was a good workout, and running this on freshly mowed grass made it quite easy on the legs. Hopefully this will get the legs primed for a good effort tomorrow at the Turkey Trot.

As far as plans for the race go, I'm treating this as my last V02 max-type workout before the race. Anyone who follows Pete Pfitzinger's training is familiar with the last 3x1600 workout ten days out from the marathon, and most programs have some sort of "blowing out the pipes" workout at a similar juncture. Most Lydiard schedules have either a 5000 meter or 3000 meter time trial here, so I feel I'm staying pretty close to the program while still representing for my team. As long as I can stay upright and not twist or tweak anything I figure I'll have a decent showing.

Training: Today, 7 miles, 50:20, 7:12 pace w/1 mile of 50 sprint, 50 floats
Yesterday, 6 miles, 42:12, 7:02 pace

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Big Nothing



Second summer in Tucson. Gotta love that ryegrass.

I might get out for a short, easy run this evening, but so far a big zero for the day. The last time I was in this position was July 29, when I was easing up for a half marathon in Chicago that never materialized. The coach had scheduled this as an off day, but after pestering him enough I did get his blessing for a short run, though sleep is the priority right now. Unfortunately, no one told the kids this, as Haiden and Finn each woke up twice. Kiera and I split duties on this, but nonetheless it made for a long night. Fortunately, both kids then slept until 7:30, which allowed me to sleep later than I have since...hmmm, how old is Haiden again?

A morning conference at Haiden's school and work afterwards eliminated any chance of a morning run, and I should probably take the whole chain of events as a sign to just take a pass on running today. However, we'll see how things go this evening. As I pack up and sort out the remains of the art show the posts will remain short for a few days. Enjoy the day.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Easy Day

Not much to report this morning, as the run was just an easy six in unseasonably warm weather. If left to my own devices I probably would have run more, but I'm doing my best to listen to Mystery Coach during the taper. The idea is to get myself right after a hard stretch of runs and work at the end of last week. After finishing the run today I felt like I had just completed a warm up rather than a full run, which was probably the point. By Thursday I should be quite ready for the 5K Turkey Trot, where our Dragons team will be facing off against our arch enemies, aptly named the Dragon Slayers. Cookies and punch will follow.

Training: 6 miles, 42:18, 7:03 pace

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Taper, week one of three

A few of the train cars started to tip off the tracks this past week, but hopefully a quick change in direction will put things back to right. Here's how the week went down-
M: 7.7 miles, recovery from time trial
Tu: 9 miles, ditto
We: 10 miles, w/4x1000 in 3:14, 3:14, 3:16, 3:14
We: 6.2 miles easy
Th: 10 easy
F: 10 miles w/6 at 5:52 pace
Sa: 14 miles, 7 at 6:44 pace followed by 5 at 5:49 pace
Su: 11.5 easy
Total: 78 miles in 8 sessions

My troubles started when I made the mistake of running on pretty much a concrete track for intervals on Wednesday, which really put the hurt on my glutes, hips and lower back. I was short on time, but I should have held off and just run these in the evening on a better surface. I would have missed the slow evening run, but that really offered no training benefit.

My second mistake was not arranging my week to take into account the three days I spent working 12-14 hour shifts at work. My job usually involves sitting, talking and typing on the computer, except for short bursts like these when we have an art show and I'm forced to stand, move furniture, mop, and do actual work. Doing my last back to back marathon pace workouts on day two and three of these shifts was unwise at best. I never told the coach about these three days, so we didn't think to reschedule my hard training days around them. As a result, while I was able to finish the Saturday run on pace it ended up taking way more out of my physically than it should have. This run felt like work.

As Lydiard always said, "Everything matters". The training pattern needs to weave in and out of the life pattern, and I threw things out of balance in that arena this past week.

All that being said, an easy run with friends this morning seemed to bring both my head and my legs back to where they belong. Having eight hours of sleep in the bank and being finished with the art show made getting up a pleasure this morning, and I spent a bit over 11 miles happily running in a group of 6. We wound through the neighborhoods by our house at a relaxed pace and shared stories, and Kiera greeted us afterwards with a tray of scones. Even though I had to spend most of the day at work, things just don't get much better than this.

The coach is suggesting a general backing off this week after learning about me burning the candle at both ends a bit from Thursday through Sunday. I know he's right when he says I won't lose a thing by doing so, but I'm feeling so good at the moment that I can't wait for the next workout. I hope everyone had a good weekend.

Training: 11.5 miles, 1:23:05, 7:14 pace

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Not Pretty but Done

14 miles this morning, with 7 miles at 6:44 pace and 5 miles at 5:49 pace. If the point was to fine tune my redline, I certainly floated above it at about 3.5 miles into the 5:50 effort. Luckily for you, I'm slammed at work so I won't go on and on and worry publicly about it in my normal annoying fashion. It's done. Have a good weekend.

Training: 14 miles, 1:31:20, 6:31 pace, w/7 miles at 6:44 pace followed by 5 miles at 5:49 pace. Dead legs

Friday, November 17, 2006

Busy Busy

It was hard getting out this morning after a long day at work yesterday, but since I had the first of my back to back efforts scheduled I couldn't just hang around drinking coffee. Ten miles with six at 5:54 pace was the plan, and after about two and a half easy miles I hit the watch and got right to it. I'm starting to fine tune where I hope marathon pace to be, so I tried to pay close attention to how the legs and lungs felt as I drifted along. Unfortunately I had spent the evening moving furniture out of the gallery where I work, polishing the floors, then moving it all back into the gallery, so the legs were not too happy. Still, outside of that sluggishness things went well, and the body fell into a steady rhythm at 5:52 pace. While I was technically a little fast, this just felt like "the pace" for the day. The only time the breathing got a little heavier was just past mile 4, which coincidentally was where the cumulative pace dropped to 5:51 for a bit. As soon as I backed off a touch and got back to 5:52 things were quickly put back in check though, so I didn't worry too much about it.

Tomorrow is set for 12 miles, with the first seven at 6:45 pace and the next five at 5:50. I'm hoping being a few seconds too eager today won't put me in the hole towards the end of this workout.

Crazy at work, so that's it for now.

Training: 10miles, 1:04:34, 6:27 pace, w/6 miles at 5:52 pace

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Do NOT Let Me do that Again

At 3:30 this morning I was absolutely convinced that it would be better to skip a track workout entirely rather than to ever set foot on the rock-track again. My lower back, glutes and hips were in full-scale revolt when Finn woke us up with a cry (we think he was cold since he went back down after Kiera gave him an extra blanket). The stiffness and soreness kept me from getting back to sleep, as did my worrying about the art show I'm working this weekend. Ordinarily work doesn't penetrate my thoughts while off the clock, but the three major shows we do each year are an exception.

Today's run was a break between the repeats yesterday and the last real back to back workout set that starts tomorrow. With this and the extra 10K I ran last evening in mind, I headed off at a leisurely pace with the goal of staying out for at least an hour. I found as much dirt as I could to give the bones a rest, and after the first two miles ticked by at 7:35 pace things started to speed up naturally. I ended up getting in ten miles, with the last four or so going by at a steady clip.

I'm excited about the next two workouts, as I'm finally running the back to back days at marathon pace or faster. Tomorrow is 6 miles at 5:54 pace and Saturday is 7 miles at 6:45 pace followed by 5 miles at 5:50 pace. These are shorter workouts, but the paces are certainly getting more serious. I'm working on finding out exactly what pace I'll be shooting for come marathon day, and by the end of this weekend I think I will have narrowed it down.

Training: Today, 10 miles, 1:10:30, 7:03 pace
Yesterday pm., 6.2 miles, 43:50

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Delayed Departure

Our 17-month-old boy split his lip falling off a tricycle on my watch last evening, and he's been a bit sour since. I was sweeping outside while the kids were playing and I should have been more watchful. Finn's goals in life are to climb higher than he should, get into things he shouldn't, and make as much a mess as possible en route. He's the kind of guy who will most likely have trouble staying put during a marathon taper or similar.

I tried to put the boy back down when he woke at 5:30, but by 6 he was awake for good so we hung out for awhile in his room to give he rest of the family a bit more time to sleep. All these shenanigans meant I wouldn't have time to drive to one of the decent tracks in town for my workout, so instead I did a long warm up, changed shoes and ran the half mile to the junior high track near our home. The surface is terrible on this track, and I take every opportunity to avoid running on it. Since the workout was a short 4x1000 I figured my back and quads could take the strain, and while the potholes with concrete showing through are plentiful in lane one and two it didn't prove too much of a problem. Goal time was 3:15, and I hit 3:14, 3:14, 3:16 and 3:14, with about three minute recoveries. Guess I spaced out a bit on number 3, but overall I was pretty happy with the workout. I didn't have too much spring in my step, but I can probably blame that on the dead track.

Work is a bit nuts this week so most of the posts will be a bit short until next week. Good running to you all in the meantime.

Training: 10 miles, 1:09:40, 6:58 pace, w/4x1000 in 3:14, 3:14, 3:16, 3:14

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Nothing Better

Got out early today, well before the the sun or the kids made it up. I even brought along tunes for a change of pace, since I was out for a recovery cruise. Bob Mould's Workbook album seemed a perfect complement, and brought me back to 1989, which was when I graduated from high school.

I began this run by shaking out all the tufts of hair from a old sheet into the trash can. Kiera had cut my hair the night before, and we both remarked on how much more grey there seemed to be this time around. I felt old as the all the wiry grey hair fell from the sheet into the dumpster outside, and I wondered for a minute as I laced up the shoes just how much longer I can continue to improve at this sport before time inevitably takes its toll. Maybe Workbook wasn't such a good album to bring along after all.

After five minutes or so of running all of this was forgotten as the cool air filled my lungs and the last remaining bits of soreness and stiffness left my legs. I moved backwards through time over the nine miles, slowly at first and then incrementally faster as the run progressed. The crows feet around the eyes flattened out, the mystery pains shriveled up and disappeared, the blood drained from around the neuromas in the feet, leaving the impinged nerves unemcumbered.

I finished the run much younger than I started, and as I turned the music off and opened the garage door Mould's "Compositions for the Young and Old" echoed in my head.
"Things used to be so simple a long time ago, now everything is so expensive and complicated."

It doesn't always have to be. Just go for a run.

Training: 9 miles, 1:00:49, 6:45, forcing myself to slow down the last 3 miles

Monday, November 13, 2006

Taper in Disguise

I don't think many who reads this blog would say I have over-tapered for my last two marathons. In fact, if I took a poll I'm quite certain the opposite sentiment would be expressed by most. The coach advising me has noticed this too, and when he began writing me about his ideas on a longer taper I started to get nervous. I was dubious about a three week taper, but I decided that since the advice he has given me thus far has definitely been working, I would give him the benefit of the doubt.

It's only today that I realized he tricked me.

I'm actually doing closer to a three and a half week taper, which he managed to disguise by only highlighting the last three weeks on the schedule as such. I'm thinking back to my Friday and Saturday, which were both quite easy days. Yes, I was resting up for yesterday's big time trial, but in retrospect I was also starting to pull back for the big event itself by not putting in a day at 12 miles plus on one of those days. Coaches are sneaky.

Today Lucas came by for an easy 7.7 miles, and while I expected to feel pretty broken down I wasn't sore at all. The muscles did feel a bit "thick" though, so we kept the pace mellow. I'm glad to be feeling good.

Training: 7.7 miles, 55 minutes, 7:08 pace

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Marathon Time Trial, Run as Advertised

The wife is back after being gone for 9 days. The shoes are off but the soles are still smoldering. 15 miles run in 1:28:42, or 5:54 pace with splits of-
5:59, 5:56, 5:55, 5:54, 5:53, 5:54, 5:52, 5:52, 5:54, 5:48, 5:54, 5:52, 5:55, 5:51, 5:50
I tried to ease into the effort, but as usual I didn't start relaxing until about the 4th mile or so. I was feeling a bit thirsty at 9 miles so I ran off the 1 mile course a few blocks to retrieve a gatorade bottle from my driveway without stopping, which proved comical and not unlike the Chasing Kimbia guys at Chicago (just a minute per mile slower) when they were missing and dropping bottles. The mile in 5:48 actually put me in the red a little as I was chasing back to pace, so I made a conscious decision to back off a little at mile 11 to get back into the groove. By the time I finished mile 12 I knew I would be able to finish without too much trouble, and for the last two miles I pushed the gas a little bit.

Throughout the run I was constantly checking my breath and evaluating the legs, and both for the most part were in pretty good shape. Don't get me wrong, this was a damn hard workout, but it was nice to gain confidence in my ability to hold the pace as the miles went by. I did just about all of this run over a one mile loop which is pretty much half uphill and half downhill, though it's fairly subtle. I found that when I didn't concentrate I didn't increase the pace enough on the downhill portions, which in turn made the uphill portions more difficult. For a true even effort around 5:54 pace it takes running 5:50 pace for half of the loop and 5:58 for the other half. Since the California International Marathon has a lot of rolling terrain I'm paying special attention to this kind of running. While I originally planned on a three mile cool down plus a two mile warm up, I cut the cool down to just one mile since it took me a good 9 minutes or so to run it.

Between having Kiera back and getting this run finished I feel a huge amount of weight has been lifted off my shoulders. While I only get one day off before working straight through until Thanksgiving, I'm going to do my best to enjoy it. Bye for now.

Quick note: For those interested in Arthur Lydiard's training, check back to the post from Mystery Coach on Thursday, which is now followed up with some informative comments.

Training: 18 miles, 1:51:56, 6:13 pace, with 15 miles at 5:54 pace.
83 miles for the week in 8 sessions, guess I'm already tapering

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Siren Song of Speed

I've spent the last two days on my "slow-down" loop, running 8 miles yesterday and 6 today. I've had good luck with this pattern in the two days before my last two races, so hopefully I can repeat the pattern with a good run tomorrow. I'm at the point where the legs seem almost fatigue-proof, so when I found myself feeling a little sore on the run Wednesday night and Thursday morning I went back to the log to see why. Intervals Sunday, 14 on Monday, intervals on Tuesday, a double on Wednesday including a 12 mile run at 6:34 pace, and a set of anaerobic hill charges on Thursday. That's a bit of a load for me, and it seems apparent that the (relatively) fast run on Wednesday morning probably did more harm than good.

The problem is that I simply do not want to slow down, and I'm at the point in my training where the legs can quickly betray me as they did on Wednesday. Until now I've felt I've had a good handle on my recovery needs, as I naturally tended to slow down on my "off" days between workouts and anaerobic training. Now that the endorphins are pumping and I'm feeling the positive effects of the training to this point, the legs want to move fast every day. Thus I consciously put the brakes on for both today and yesterday, backing back off the pace whenever I started drifting under 7:10 per mile. This is honestly getting hard to do, but with tomorrow's workout I feel I really need it.

I'm set to try 12-15 miles at 5:54 pace tomorrow morning, in what will be my "dress-rehearsal" for the marathon in three weeks. Some of the books by Lydiard explain this final time trial, and I've gone over it so many times in my "Running to the Top" book that I can almost recite it from memory. It goes something like "With five weeks to go you can back off a bit, but four weeks before the marathon a time trial can be run, anything from 20K up to the full distance. Understand you will run the actual race faster, as you will be more rested. This run will offer a huge boost in fitness and is sufficiently early enough to make adjustments in pacing or strategy." Again, this is from memory as I'm at work but that's the general drift.

With my available time I'm doing this a week late, but that's honestly how I prefer it. I'm still debating whether or not to wear my race shoes for this one, as they are already broken in from all my fall racing. Wish me luck.

Thank you for all the comments on the coach's post yesterday, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Training: Today, 6 miles, 43:12, 7:12 pace
Yesterday, 8 miles, 57:36, 7:12 pace

Friday, November 10, 2006

Listen Up- Words from the Coach

My last post and the comments it generated has brought the "Mystery Coach" out from behind the scenes for a post of his own. I feel greatly indebted to this man for all the help and direction he has given me during this training cycle, and for the wisdom he has shared with me regarding Arthur Lydiard's training. I feel honored that he asked to address this topic on my blog, and I now yield the floor. Comments and discussion on this are encouraged and welcome.

First I'd like to thank Mike for letting steal a bit of his blog space. The comments to "Different Strokes" which deals with the Greg McMillan article on the "new" marathon training method caught my attention. The Running Times article and the comments show a need to explain Arthur's methods and how they relate to this "new" discovery.

First in regard to aspect of speed before stamina if you were to look at Arthur's original schedule as he used in New Zealand it looked like this:

12 weeks X-country schedule
6 weeks Road Racing (2 mile schedule)
10 weeks Marathon conditioning
6 weeks hills
10 weeks Track Schedule
4 - 6 weeks track racing
2- 4 weeks off training

Three fourths of the year has speed training or racing. If you look at the cycle going on year after year that speed is always before and after the relatively short conditioning phase. Everyone is always looking for what piece is the secret. The real secret was Arthur's ability to evaluate and balance the training with the correct amounts at the right time. He never was very far away from speed development and his runners were training to be racers not trainers.

Second, in regard to "marathon conditioning" and specific marathon training. Marathon conditioning is not "specific" marathon training. Arthur should have called it steady state conditioning because the name leads to confusion. Steady state conditioning is in Arthur's words "You develop the capacity to run and run and not get tired; you can go out and run it the next day". If you want to find your true steady state pick a course and run it every day for a month, same pace, same
direction. ( As a general guideline most runners can run about 10 seconds per mile slower than marathon pace for about 7 miles day after day although for beginners 2-3 miles may be the limit) If you run above your steady state you'll find out about 10 days into this test. Most runners are shocked at how weak their steady states are because they have been lulled into the mantra of "hard" "easy". Hard-easy has its place during the speed work phase.

Third, Arthur's hills are used for muscle fiber activation and serves the same purpose as you see in the Running Times article's speed block. Now, Daniels (using reps in his system), Rosa and McMillan have discovered what Arthur was teaching 40 years ago, first you activate the fibers then you condition them. Running hard hills for stamina is not what Arthur recommended during this stage.

When you get to the final training phase, this is where you use speed work and coordination work (very long runs and marathon paced runs) for specific marathon training. It only takes 6-8 weeks of this peak training to get in top marathon shape. Speed work during this stage is used to speed up your metabolism to improve the transfer of oxygen across the muscle fiber walls and the processing and buffering of waste products. Any type of fast running will do this. Run hard and lower the oxygen level inside the muscle fiber (running hard will lower it to less than 2% where as steady state running brings it only down to 50% or so) then let the muscle recover. Most runners jump into this phase too quickly and overwhelm the muscle fiber before the metabolism has a chance to speed up. It is this speeding up of the metabolism that is worth 10-20 seconds per mile pace wise. Now you can see why this only needs to be done during the final phase.

This should make it a bit clearer on what you trying to achieve and why this "new" training is only a take on what Arthur's system had already incorporated.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Different Strokes

Evan recently asked me what I thought about this article in Running Times. It was written by Greg McMillan, who is on the board of the Lydiard Foundation.

Anyone who reads this blog knows I try to train within the framework of Arthur Lydiard's method. My training log is divided into the different phases of training, starting with endurance and conditioning, followed by hill training/strength work, then anaerobic conditioning and race pace awareness. An outline of how I'm approaching is phase is available here.

McMillan writes about the "classic" periodization plan as a pyramid starting with aerobic base building (endurance), followed by strength (hills/stamina), then speed and compares it to a new model that places a "speed" phase directly after base building, then follows that with a strength phase. Several coaches have used this "new" method with success, though Lydiard training is certainly more similar to the "classic" method.

The author writes that by placing the anaerobic work earlier in the training "...the goal is to raise your speed so that in the marathon workouts you are never limited by your speed, but instead you are fatigued simply by the duration of the workouts." I guess my problem with this is that I don't believe that anaerobic workouts actually make you faster, so I can't follow his trail of logic. Yes, I realize it sounds crazy so I'll repeat it another way. I don't believe that running fast intervals makes you a faster runner; Rather, I believe they serve the purpose of teaching you to run more relaxed at your existing faster paces. I think "speed" is determined by a laundry list of different factors: endurance, stamina, strength, lactate tolerance, running economy, V02 max and biomechanics to name a few. Oh, I almost forgot genetics and an athlete's natural allocation of fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. Since I disagree with his premise, I don't feel this "new" method is for me.

Another argument for keeping anaerobic training towards the end of a training cycle comes from Arthur Lydiard's books. Lydiard believed that endurance took the longest to build during a training cycle and lasted the longest, which is why it's placed first in the training. He also believed that anaerobic conditioning could be maximized in a period of 3-6 weeks, but its benefits would be short-lived when compared with endurance. I worry that doing speedwork too soon will lead to staleness, and that too much speed training too soon would actually take a toll on overall endurance and stamina by dragging down the quality of the longer runs of the week. Andrew made an insightful comment not long ago about this.

The last reason I have to offer is simply my own experience. I suffered from early burnout and a serious plateau after a season of dedicated club-type training, which usually included one tempo run that inevitably went down too fast and one day of intervals, all starting too early in the season.

What I've noticed through this training cycle is that I've gotten a huge boost from the small amount of anaerobic training I've done over the past two and a half weeks, and suddenly the paces I've struggled with are coming to me with greater ease. By saving this faster training to the end, I think I'm getting that feeling that Lydiard mentions about "putting the icing on the cake." There is certainly a psychological element at work here as well, and waiting until near the end to get on the track has worked as a great motivator when I finally got to lace up the "fast" shoes.

I'll close by echoing Greg McMillan's words from the article as far as different approaches working for different people. The coaches and athletes mentioned in the article are obviously getting good results their way, but I've found that Lydiard's traditional pyramid seems to fit me. Let's hope I can prove it come December.

Oops, I almost forgot to mention the run today, which was up to the end of hilly Sabino Canyon Road. I was able to check out the flood damage first-hand while putting in 6x1 minutes of "hill charges", which are pretty much exactly what they sound like. "Look, the road is getting steep. Ready?? Charge!!!" The legs were actually a little sore today, which I attribute to the intervals on Tuesday and the somewhat faster run on Wednesday. In retrospect I should have run slower yesterday, even though I felt good. I also got out for 5 slow miles last evening, as Angie was kind enought to drop by and watch the kids. Kiera left me some cookies to bake up, which hopefully made her trip up to our neighborhood worth it.

Training: Today, 10.25 miles, 1:11:19, 6:58 pace, w/6x1 minute hill charges at a strong effort
Yesterday pm., 5 miles, 37:28, 7:29 pace

Gone too Long

The wife has been gone since Friday, and while both kids are now completely well and sleeping better they are definitely missing her. Haiden's teacher reported that she seemed a bit sad at school and she had a tearful meltdown at lunch where she cried "I miss my momma!" for awhile. Our son Finn has had enough of me at bedtime (usually Kiera and I split up and she puts him down). We'd somehow misplaced his "Goodnight Moon" book, and while at first I thought that was the problem I'm seeing now that he's looking past me to the door. I'm sure he's thinking it will open anytime and his mom will be back.

Finn has been slow to start talking, and "daddy" is about all he says. He's kind of babbled "mama" before, but not in a way that's convinced Kiera that he's saying her name. Today I heard it clear as a bell and emailed this link as proof.

On the running front, I headed out this morning without any specific pace in mind. I wanted to be sure to recover before a day of "hill charging" tomorrow, but the legs felt good right out of the door. I ended up doing a progression run of 12 miles where I started at 7:15 pace and worked down to an average pace of 6:34. The legs are still feeling good, and a second night of more than eight hours of sleep is only making things better. Have a good day.

Training: 12 miles, 1:16:48, 6:34 pace

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Stars Aligned

Happiness is 8.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep after a fun day off spent in the backyard and at the park with the kids. Both kids are feeling much better. Kiera's mom came over extra early this morning so Lucas and I could fight through an interval workout on the roads around my house, so we headed out to my time trial course and marked out quarter miles. I say "fight" because I often find myself at odds with parts of his workouts; specifically the short recoveries. When I read his schedule I had thought it said 3x1 mile with 4 minutes rest, then 4x800 with a 400 recovery. Apparently I read what I wanted to read instead of what was there, namely 2 minutes recovery after each mile.

Still, since he'd come all the way across town I decided to at least start the workout with him and just run by feel as far as recoveries were concerned. Simply put, I'd run the next rep when I was ready. He wanted to run 5:15 and I was thinking 5:18, but what's a few seconds between friends?

I'll keep it short as work is busy. Miles of 5:16, 5:15 and 5:11 followed, with a recovery of 2 minutes after the first one and 2:30 after the second. I simply could not believe how good and fresh I felt, even with the shorter recoveries. I even joined Lucas for two 800's in 2:30 and 2:27, and both felt worlds better than any of the 800's I ran on Sunday though the last one filled up the legs enough to call it a day. This was the first time I put the Asics DS trainers to the road for a workout (I'd only raced them and used them on the track), and no doubt their go-fast feel helped a bit.

The mind and body are simply feeling good right now, and sitting here now the legs again feel great. It's coming together.

Training: 10 miles, with 3x1 mile in 5:16, 5:15, 5:11 (2 and 2:30 recovery), then 2x800 in 2:30, 2:27 (400 recovery)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Many Thanks

Quick post as the kids have me on the ropes today and I just don't have the energy. I don't want to go into details, but suffice it to say that last night was probably about the worst I've had since Finn came home from the hospital after being born. I was up so many times that it was almost comical...Almost.

Even though this is a tough week for me, I'm really thankful for all the help I've been offered. Angie has offered sitting, as have Lucas and Jason the Dragon. Kiera's mom has been a godsend this week, coming over early in order for me to keep up my training and taking great care of the kids. She's also been caring for both Haiden and Finn while I've been at work. Other family has been chipping in as well, as evidenced last night when my sister-in-law brought over pot roast, homemade mac and cheese, biscuits and dessert. This was a lifesaver.

I really do have a great support system, though sometimes I think I tend to take it for granted as much as I lean on my wife. With Kiera gone I've definitely learned to appreciate the friends and family I'm lucky enough to have.

Speaking of friends, after lamenting my occasional bouts of comically bad luck- the most recent of which was the realization that my free airline ticket to the marathon in December was not usable, Phil came to my rescue. I had the pleasure of meeting Phil after a recent 8K race here in Tucson, though we'd been emailing occasionally and posting comments on each other's blogs for some time. Phil was kind enough to offer up a free ticket for me to fly to the California International Marathon in Sacramento in December. Apparently Phil was an incredibly frequent flier in the not-too-distant past, but to spend some of his miles on some 35 year old, futilely chasing an eventual sub-2:30 marathon dream was an uncommon act of friendship and generosity. Thank you Phil, I hope I can someday find a way to repay you above and beyond breakfast and a car-load of scones on your next trip down (Kiera knows about the last part already).

Last but certainly not least on my appreciation list this week is the coach who has been helping me along through this training cycle. Thanks to him I believe I've gained more of an understanding of Arthur Lydiard's training during the past 14 weeks than I did in the last year. I also feel that I'm more fit than I've ever been, if somewhat sleep-deprived.

I did make it out for what I assume was a bit over 14 miles today. The Garmin would not wake up so I started out with a measured 8 mile loop with the stopwatch, which I covered at 6:55 pace. I stayed out for what I guessed was another six miles or so on unmeasured loops and called it a day at 1:37:00. The legs are feeling pretty good but I'm really hoping for some rest tonight. I'll recap last week tomorrow.

Training: 14 miles, 1:37:00, 6:55 pace or so

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What Weekend?

Arthur Lydiard seems to take a fairly loose approach to intervals. Lots of quotes can be found where runners have quizzed him on how many repetitions are optimal, and what paces will give them the biggest gains. The answers often seemed like part of a comedy routine. How far? "To the next tree". How many? "Run them until you finish one and say 'Gee, now that one really got to me'." How fast? "Enough to get the blood moving and to tire you out but not enough to overwhelm you."

These aren't direct quotes, mind you, but I've read quotes from Lydiard that were very similar to these in articles and in his book "Running the Lydiard Way". When I read an email from Mystery Coach about the intervals I was set to do today it had the same advice about quitting when the time was right and not over-doing things. I think we were both a bit concerned about the toll the last two long runs had taken on my body, and there are still plenty of fast workouts to run in the near future.

With this in mind I headed to the track for 6x800, and I planned to run each repetition at 2:34 or 2:35. Kiera's mom came over to watch the kids at 8, and by the time I got to the track it was already 9. While I skipped breakfast, it probably wasn't wise to since I was running so much later than usual. The warm up took forever, and by the time I finished a few strides I wasn't too optimistic. 5 x 800 in 2:32, 2:34, 2:31, 2:32, 2:33 followed, each with about equal recovery. While I would have liked to have done all six, the legs really seemed to fill up on number five so I called it quits and ran a slow cool down. Perhaps I could have run all six if I'd gone a bit slower, but the pace I was running felt natural enough so I just kept at it.

On the homefront Haiden is feeling a bit better, though her appetite still isn't what it should be. Finn caught whatever cough/sore throat/fever thing she had though, which meant he woke 4 times during the course of the night. Kiera got out of town just in time.

Training: 10 miles w/5x800
Miles for the week: 93

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Daaaaaddddyyyy!!!!

My first of eight nights of putting the kids down to sleep without my wife seemed to have gone well. Finn likes to kick the wall next to his crib for a few minutes after being put down, but after banging out a few sentences of baby morse code he was out. Haiden had a cough but seemed fine enough, and she was soundly asleep at 7:30. I crawled into bad at 8:30, which was something I'd been looking forward to doing since finishing the long run that morning.

At 9:30 the screaming starts from 4-year-old Haiden's room. I know, I know, you've read more than enough about vomit on what is supposed to be a running blog so I'll keep it brief. A full change of bedding, one bath and two stories later we're back to even, although it's now close to 11. The poor sick girl is exhausted and so am I, and she's asleep again by the time I pull the fresh blanket over her.

12:30. "Daaaaaadddyyyyy!!!!" She's sobbing and soaked again, although my towels and containment devices have kept the damage to a minimum this time. A quick substitution of one blanket and a turn of the pillow will get us through the night, though the laundry pile seems humorously daunting for me only playing single parent for 7 hours so far. All Haiden wants to do is get back to sleep at this point, so I try to hurry things along.

Aside from an early wake up call from Finn, which is solved with a quick diaper change and some water, the night passes. Haiden is up at 6:15 and crawls into her mom's spot in the big bed, and we talk about how she's feeling. I'm guessing it was either something she ate or a quick stomach bug as she doesn't have a fever and she seems to be doing much better.

Kiera's mom comes by at 7:30, giving me time to get out for a slow ten miles before heading to work. For some reason my head is pounding, and I blame it on a poor night's sleep. It is beautiful here though, especially around Sabino Canyon where I spend much of the run, and while the legs are sluggish at first they finally come around at about 8 miles as the headache recedes. I've been advised by the Mystery Coach to either run 10 or so very easy in one session the day after these back to back efforts or to split the run into an easy double of 6 and 4. What seems to happen is that I'm quite ready to shuffle home after 6 miles, but if I keep at it a little longer I usually feel much better by 8 miles. From this point two more miles is easy, and I'm done without having to bug anyone to sit for the kids while I run in the evening.

Tomorrow I hope to end the training week with a workout of either 800's or 1000's on the track, though I might back off my target paces by a second or three depending on whether or not the legs are fully back from yesterday's effort. Don't expect a post as I'll most likely be knee-deep in children all day. Sounds like a pretty good Sunday to me, come to think of it.

Training: 10 miles, 1:12:28, 7:15 pace

Friday, November 03, 2006

I'll Remember This One

With just the standard cup of coffee and a quart of water in my belly, I headed out the door at 5:15 this morning for my longest run since the marathon in June. The goal was a steady effort for two hours and forty five minutes, so I figured with some luck I'd end up with 24 or 25 miles. This was the last morning my wife would be home until next Saturday, so it was my best opportunity to get a run this length in. Yesterday's seven miles at marathon pace seemed to be pretty well flushed from the legs, or at least that's what I told myself in order to get out the door feeling good.

I tucked a bottle I mixed with powdered gatorade near the porch before I headed out with the intent of visiting it once or twice during the course of the run. Since it was still pitch black outside and would be for much of the run I decided to stay close to home with multiple loops of two to five miles.

I tried to just relax for the first ten miles and found that I was averaging 6:50 pace to that point. After a quick swig of gatorade I was off again, and while I tried to move a little quicker for the next seven miles I still tried to run comfortably. When I made my second and last stop for a quick drink I was averaging 6:47 for the 17 elapsed miles.

When I headed out for what I figured would be the last eight miles I had in my head that I would try to increase the pace if I was still fairly comfortable when I hit 20 miles. I hit that number three miles out from home and saw that the average pace had clicked down to 6:44, and since I was still getting faster I decided to put the clamp down a bit. Here I hit the lap split to get my pace for the last five miles, and when mile 21 passed at 6:20 pace I was amazed. I really didn't think I would have anything in the tank at this point, with no breakfast, no gels and a workout from yesterday in my legs. Fortunately I quickly forgot about all that and got back to business. Each mile got progressively faster, and when I reached mile 24 and I was right around 2:40 I figured I'd go ahead and make it an even 25 miles. When I slowed to a stop in the driveway I checked and found that I had averaged 6:14 for the last five miles, and better still, I knew that I still had a mile or two in me at that pace or faster. However, it would probably take the promise of a cheeseburger to get me to run any further.

This was a good day, and I'm really starting to feel very positive about my condition. Even without any breakfast I seemed to be free from any sort of blood sugar or fuel issues towards the end, and in fact I felt like I was just waiting for the right time to speed up like Andrew described in his marathon report.

Days like this can be few and far between, and one happening towards the end of my highest volume week just five weeks out from the marathon bodes well. Now back to the eating. Have a good day.

25 miles, 2:45:55, 6:38 pace, with last 5 miles at 6:14 pace

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Mr. Mom

Day one of the back-to-back workouts this morning, which meant the usual 10 with 7 at 6:04 or so. I spent last evening running 7.5 miles with Lucas which included an unscheduled run to the top of one of the University's parking garages. We ran easy, but I was a little worried that the 18 plus miles total for the day would affect me this morning. When my two mile warm up found me trudging at 8 minute pace when I started today's run I thought the workout would feel tough, but once I got up to speed things started clicking along. I ended up averaging just under 6 minute pace for the 7 miles of effort, and as soon as I finished I checked my pulse and came up with 156. The last time I bothered to track down my "threshold" heart rate I figured it at 170 or so, though that was more than a few years ago. For the middle of my highest volume week of this build I guess being 14 beats under threshold after 40 minutes of effort is fine. Trying to add in heart rate to the pace numbers dancing in my head is just too difficult so I usually just ignore it, though I probably will start checking my resting heart rate in the last month before the race.

By the time I rode back after taking Haiden to school on the bike the legs felt like they'd had the day off. I'm hoping they feel the same after the long run tomorrow, which is set for 2:45 or so. With any luck this will stretch out to 24 or possibly 25 miles, so it will be interesting.

My wife is leaving for 8 days starting tomorrow afternoon, which will make the next week or so very interesting. Her mom has agreed to help with the kids while I'm at work, which will be a godsend, and I'm currently in negotiations with friends and family over additional babysitting duties so that I can fit my runs in. Frankly, the coming week scares me much more than any marathon.

Training: Today, 10 miles, 1:04:43, 6:28 pace, with 7 miles at 5:59 pace
Yesterday pm., 7.5 miles easy in 52:30 or so

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Bad Luck

I often joke about the Salkowski curse, which is basically a cloud of improbable bad luck which likes to invade my otherwise charmed life. Take the other evening, for instance; I had just entered the California International Marathon online through Active.com on the last possible day that offered an early registration discount. I added the $10 bus fee for transportation to the start and paid Active's gouging fee, then I pushed "submit" after reading the part about "no refunds for any reason".

The next website I visited was Northwest Airlines, as I was set to use the voucher the Penguin sent after stiffing our team for the Chicago Distance Classic this August. This voucher allegedly provided each team member with a free roundtrip airline ticket good for anywhere in the continental U.S..

I'll cut to the chase. Northwest Airlines doesn't fly to California, New Mexico, Utah or Nevada from Arizona. I call the number on the voucher and get laughed at by the Northwest's phone rep. I'm so upset at this point that Kiera tries calling for me but ends up with the same story. Also, the ticket is only good until March of next year so unless I want to do another marathon before then I'm out of luck. I looked into going to Austin in February, but of course Northwest only flies there out of Phoenix, which means an extra two hour drive both ways plus long term parking. No thanks. So I'm out another $280 or so for what was supposed to be a free flight, which is a real drag around the holidays, and of course it's too late to get my money back from the race.

I've worried that the Salkowski name and its bad luck would be passed on to the kids, and today's bike ride to school with Haiden in tow was a test. Just as we were careening down the big hill on Sabino Canyon Road, Haiden's Hello Kitty lunch purse is somehow jettisoned from the sidepack under her seat and comes to rest in the middle of the road. By the time we stop and turn around I'm sure it's too late, as two cars are rounding the bend and heading straight for it. Magically, the first swerves at the last minute and avoids it, and the second keeps it centered between the two front tires and rolls over it without squishing it. We retrieve the purse and finish our ride to the school, with me thinking that at least Haiden has escaped the Salkowski curse for now.

As for running, I got out for two miles then joined Lucas for 9 more early this morning. The legs feel so good that I'm hesitant to even mention it for fear of something going wrong. Another six miles are planned for this evening. Have a good day.

Training: 11 miles, 1:07:22, 7:02 pace. Started slow, progressed down from 7:40's