Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Real Work

Yesterday's painting-schlepping beat me down a bit yesterday, so my planned 10 miles with preliminary speedwork turned into 10 easy miles. I guess I take the amount of time I spend sitting down at work for granted. Still, it was another nice run along the river. I'm missing the old routine a bit now, and I'm ready to come home. Two more days of running in Reno before the return flight.

Back to packing, hope everyone had a good run.

Training: 10 miles, 1:07:45, 6:45 pace. A bit tired

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Guy Could Get Used to This

Another pleasant morning along the Truckee River in Reno, Nevada. If anything, this trip to a cooler climate has made me feel much better about how the conditioning phase of my training has been going so far. If you haven't noticed, I can get a bit neurotic about my training paces, and it's been a little hard to ignore that more and more of my general aerobic runs or easy days have been getting slower as the weather in Tucson gets more and more oppressive. Running with temps in the mid-70's (Fahrenheit of course) or higher along with 70+% humidity stinks, just ask Eric. However, I've noticed that since I've been in Reno that the runs have been getting both faster and easier with temps in the mid-60's and humidity down under 30%.

Today I could really feel the benefits of a more hospitable training environment, as 12 miles just flew by this morning. I've been doing an out and back run along the river I mentioned, and as usual I took the first half at what felt like a relaxed pace. When I turned around and checked the watch I was surprised to already be under 6:40 average pace. This same low level of exertion would probably have me at 6:50-7 minute pace in Tucson, and I barely had a sweat going. It's nice to be writing about a few runs like this.

Mystery Coach made a point of reminding me twice to take it easy on the paces while in Reno, so I tried to maintain the same speed to the end. Since just about all of my runs are progressions it felt like I was holding back, but I still inadvertently sped up a little on the way back.

If I can go back to Tucson on Thursday night feeling like I did this morning, I'll feel like my short break from the heat and the steady structure of the past several weeks will have really helped me. Today life if good.

Training: 12 miles, 1:18:48, 6:34 pace. 2 inches above the road today

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Hold My Place

It's been a busy stay in Reno so far. The gallery I work for was involved with an art auction, which means plenty of running around and time on my feet. Jeez, it's like work or something. I have just a minute to check in before my faithful muffin shop (and the only place I can find with free wi-fi) shuts down.

As far as running goes, I've just been trying to hold my place since I flew out on Thursday. I've gotten in 10 miles each day, and I spent yesterday's run doing some fartlek sessions of 4x 1:30 with a 1:30 rest, then 3 x 2:00 with 2:00 rest. This is my first tentative step into some faster preliminary speed work, and a few more sessions like this will serve as a bit of a bridge between the conditioning work and my hill phase. The rest of the runs have just been relaxed affairs, and I'm enjoying running with temperatures in the low 60's for a change, even if it means running at a higher elevation.

The next two days should also be very busy with work, but hopefully I'll start getting in a few longer runs. I'm missing the wife and kids tremendously, and living out of a hotel/casino is a bit of a drag.

The week:
Mo: 7 easy
Tu: 13 w/10 at 6:08 pace
We: 17 w/last 5 at 6:08 pace
Th: 10 easy
Fr: 10 easy
Sa: 10 w/fartlek
Su: 10 easy/moderate
Total: 77 miles in 7 sessions

Training: Today, 10 miles, 1:06:13, 6:37 pace
Saturday, 10 miles, 1:04:33, 6:27 pace, w/4x1:30(1:30) and 3x2:00 (2:00) 5:30 down to 5:08 pace
Friday, 10 miles, 1:06:53, 6:41 pace
Thursday, 10 miles, 1:08:53, 6:53 pace

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Off to Reno

I catch a flight later this afternoon for Reno, Nevada, where I'll be spending the next eight days while working at an art auction. I've been doing this for a few years now, and I've managed to make the most of the situation. There are some decent running routes along the Truckee River, I've found free internet access at a bagel-muffin-coffee place, and I arrange for borrowing or renting a bike to get around all week instead of renting a car. The work days are long, but without the family I find myself with much more free time and more hours to sleep. The blogging might get a bit spotty depending on my schedule, but since I have several easy days planned there won't be too much excitement to report. I do get dreadfully homesick on these trips, though it is nice to see some movies and get some reading done for a change.

Today was the second day of this week's back to back workouts, and I was set for 10 miles steady followed by 5 miles at 6:08-6:12. The legs were a little tired, and after one easy mile to start I settled in at 6:47 pace for the 10 miles while trying to dodge the large swarms of bugs that have taken over our zip code. When it came time for the 5 mile effort I was optimistic, and when the first mile went by in 6:04 I figured I would be in good shape. I didn't have individual splits, but I finished the 5 miles at a cumulative 6:08 pace, which is what I was hoping for. The breathing was under control throughout, and while the legs started to fatigue at 3.5 miles, I never had any thoughts that I would bail on the effort. This time the heart rate was 148 immediately afterwards, which seemed a bit more appropriate.

Lots of packing to do and our daughter is home sick from school, so that's it for now. Hope everyone had a good run.

Training: 17 miles, 1:53:00, 6:39 pace, w/ 10 miles at 6:47 pace followed by 5 miles at 6:08 pace

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Squish, Squish

I didn't blog yesterday because I just couldn't take another day of writing about a bad run cut short. I woke up tired, and as I stalled in the kitchen beforehand I just didn't want to run. This is a foreign feeling for me, and in retrospect I should have just bagged it right there. I ended up dragging around for 7 of my planned 10 miles before calling it, and I simply never settled in.

Thankfully, today was a different story. 10 miles at the usual 6:08-6:12 was the original plan, but an email about my last few bad runs to the coach resulted in an audible calling for 6:10-6:15 pace if I needed it. I decided to hit the same course that worked well for me last week, and somehow the workout today went down without a hitch. The fatigue seemed gone, and I felt like the runner I know I am.

6:07, 6:12, 6:08, 6:10, 6:12, 6:06, 6:11, 6:06, 6:05, 6:08 (6:08 avg.)

The lower and higher numbers pretty much correspond with net uphill or downhill miles, and like last week it just came together well. The only onion in the ointment was the heart rate of 140 immediately afterwards. During a good spell where I feel like I'm recovering well and in balance, a lower heart rate like this would make me happy. However, as the coach says, "An elevated HR or a depressed HR on a distance run means you have not recovered fully from a previous workout. Sounds inconsistent, it's too low, it's too high and it means you're fatigued. I've seen it too many times in too many athletes to be a quirk. What I think is going on is the first type of fatigue is caused by calling in new muscle fibers which are not as efficient causing a greater demand on the heart and the other is when there are not enough fibers to call on which means the fibers don't fire and the demand on the heart stays low because nothing is creating a demand."

Looking back to my heart rate evaluation runs of 150-155BPM I see this-
7/5: 10 miles at 6:12 pace
6/7: 8 miles at 6:05 pace
5/17: 7 miles at 6:15 pace

Even if I give myself the benefit of the doubt and add a few beats on to compensate for taking my heart rate immediately afterwards instead of during, the reading today shows that something is off if I'm suddenly running 10 miles at 6:08.5 pace at 140-145BPM when a few weeks ago I was running 10 miles at 6:12 pace with a heart rate of 150-155BPM.

I think tomorrow's run of 10 miles followed by 5 at 6:08-6:12 pace will tell the tale. Are those muscle fibers just tired or are they missing in action?

Training: Today, 13 miles, 1:23:02, 6:23 pace
Yesterday, 7 crummy miles, 49:46, 7:07 pace

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Just us Guys

Thanks to everyone out there for the kind birthday wishes. It ended up being a fairly mellow day, which is what I was hoping for.

The end of this week has found me dragging a little, probably due to the after-effects of the bonk on the long run and getting out of my normal routine with half of the family gone.

Saturday called for a 2 mile evaluation, and I felt pretty tired on the way to the track. The two miles went by in matching 5:26's, and the heart rate was right at 160 afterwards and 120 after a minute. While I was happy with the times for the way I was feeling, I really started to drag on my way home. I ended up cutting the planned 12 miles to 11 and chalked it up to some deeply fatigued muscle fibers.

Today I had the option of either an easy day or another hilly run up Sabino Canyon. Since I'll be missing this run next week with a trip to Reno I decided to give the hills a go, but I would skip the moderate effort up the hills and down if the legs didn't agree. Things actually went fairly well, and I found myself at the top at about 3 seconds per mile slower than my usual average. As I headed down it felt good to stretch the legs out, but again I started feeling tired between 9 and 10 miles. Like yesterday I ended up calling the run at 11 miles.

The fatigue isn't forcing me to slow down so much as it leaves my legs feeling empty, if that makes any sense. I hate to say it, but it's similar to the creeping feeling that comes into the body a mile or two before it feels like the glycogen is gone. When I'm rested and the training is balanced I sometimes think I can tune in to this, and I get some satisfaction from the feeling that the body is starting to burn more fat and lactate rather than primarily stored carbs and glycogen. On good days I actually try to speed up here to make the most of the time between about an hour and 90 minutes of running.

Unfortunately, during the last two days when the switch has flipped I just haven't had much left. I have an easy day planned for tomorrow, and with some good sleep and a return to less of a "bachelor-diet" I hope to be ready for the back to back workouts on Tuesday-Wednesday before I head out of town.

Here's how the week went down:
Mo: 12, Hill run up Sabino Canyon
Tu: 10 easy
We: 13, w/10 at 6:07 pace
Th: 23.5, bonk
Fr: 12 easy
Sa: 11, w/2 miles at 5:26 pace
Su: 11, Hill run up Sabino Canyon
Total: 92.5 miles in 7 sessions

Hmmm, a closer look at the week reveals what might be part of the problem. Real life dictating the running schedule is always a drag, and if I take the 2 mile evaluation run on Sunday before this week started into consideration I'm looking at just 2 easy days over an 8 day period. I should make it clear that this isn't the work of the coach, but rather my own scheduling changes due to Kiera heading out of town. Also, adding the hills back in was my idea as well, though the coach approved if I felt I was up to it. He probably won't give me the choice next time, and I wouldn't blame him. The evaluation runs aren't particularly stressful on their own, but when followed by a day running up the Canyon they start to take a bit of a toll on me.

Like Lydiard says, there are no short-cuts to the top. This is equally applicable to a runner trying to get by on less as it is to a runner trying to squeeze in an extra workout where it just doesn't fit.

Training: Today, 11 miles, 1:13:19, 6:42 pace, hilly run up Sabino Canyon
Yesterday, 11 miles, 1:16:07, 6:55 pace, w/2 miles at 5:26 pace
Miles for the week: 92.5

Friday, July 20, 2007

It's my Birthday

I turn 36 today and I celebrated with an easy 12 miles on slightly heavy and sore legs. Finn is a bit needy today, so this is all you get for an entry. The little guy misses his mom, but I can hopefully keep him occupied. Together we'll find some kind of trouble to get into.

Training: 12 miles, 1:24:58, 7:05 pace

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Blow Up

At least I got it out of the way, and hopefully there will only be one of these this cycle.

At 18 miles I was at 6:43 pace for the run, but by 23.5 miles when I got to Kiera's mom's place to pick up Finn the average pace had slipped to 6:50. That's quite a crash, though the last 4 miles were uphill. At about 22 miles I stopped along the side of Craycroft Road to gather myself and have a short "What the hell am I doing here" moment as I squinted up to the top of the seemingly endless hill through the clouds of construction dust and exhaust (this road has been under construction for years). I still couldn't see the stoplight for Territory, which was my "one mile to go" sign. It was 8:30 now and the sun was cooking, and while the breeze was in my face it was about as comforting as opening up an oven door and peering inside to see if the chicken looks done. I shouted a few expletives (out of character for me), which caused the dog-walkers a quarter mile up to turn around and stare at the nut with his hands on his knees.

There was nothing left to do but continue on, albeit slowly. The stoplight appeared, I rolled down the remaining hills and crawled up one last false-flat, and I reached Kiera's mom's front door.

As I sat in the pool and cooled off I tried to take it in stride. I overreached today and was humbled. I didn't feel very good from the start, and instead of taking the pace down to 6:43 pace early I should have run the first half at 7 minute pace and sped up on the way back if I felt good. This run was more about time on feet than speed, and I didn't go into it with enough respect.

I did have a gel at 13 miles when I started to realize I wasn't going to go any faster, but it seemed to hurt more than it helped. Two miles later it felt like I was coming down from a glycogen boost and honestly if I had to do it again I would have skipped it. I did feel drained after the run, and for some reason I really had a craving for soda. I take this as the brain jonesing for glucose, so I listened. Two Mountain Dew's and an order of french toast later I'm feeling good again.

On a more positive note, I'm spending the next four days at home with our 2-year-old son Finn while Kiera and our daughter take a trip to visit her sister. Lots of guy-time and probably some big messes ahead.

Training: 23.5 miles, 2:40:15, 6:50 pace. Bonk.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"This is a Happy Place"

Our 4-year-old daughter smiled and said this after performing one of about 100 "mermaid jumps" into the water at the Edith Ball Aquatic Center here in town. This is the pool I mentioned taking her to last week, and with temperatures at 104 or so we returned yesterday for a few more hours in the water under the giant sun-shade.

This morning I remembered this and smiled, as I found myself feeling the same way mid-way through mile 7 of the 10 mile effort as I headed down the main road in Sabino Canyon. Brow-crinkling worry lifted as I moved past the walkers squinting into the sun while heading in the opposite direction. Maybe this is what 10 easy miles yesterday and 7 full hours of sleep gets me.

The run clicked today, and I enjoyed it much more than when I did the same workout last week. The plan was the same: 10 miles at 6:08-6:12, but instead of wearing out my one mile loop I did a few out-and-back trips along Sunrise, up into a neighborhood north of the canyon, then back down past the old shooting range and down through the bottom portion of the canyon. Two of these trips left me with only 1.5 miles on my usual loop. I could feel the redline a bit on the steeper uphill sections, but it only seemed to affect my breathing as the legs were able to keep turning over. I'm looking forward to the days ahead where these uphill sections hopefully won't even register as a blip on the exertion scale.

Arthur Lydiard's conditioning phase is sneaky this way, creating incremental gains in general endurance and stamina that don't even seem apparent until they are tested. My condition seems to be improving after several weeks of staying under the maximum. The good days are getting better and the bad days aren't so bad. Mystery Coach is good at keeping the efforts from getting ahead of my fitness, and I'm finding that I'm starting to feel refreshed by the evening before a key workout.

Yesterday Lucas came by for an easy 10 miles, and it was actually nice when the Garmin ran out of juice after only one mile.

Training: Today, 13 miles, 1:22:09, 6:19 pace, w/10 mile effort-6:07, 6:13, 6:09, 6:06, 6:10, 6:04, 6:10, 6:02 (happy place mile), 6:03, 6:04 (6:07 avg.)
Yesterday, 10-ish miles around 6:50 pace (dead Garmin)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Welcome Back

Eric wins!
Greg is back but we might have to stay on him to keep him around. Same goes for Ingo.
Wayne is also back in touch. It's good to have all these folks around.

I just finished week 8 of my conditioning for the Twin Cities marathon in October; Here's how it went down:

Mo: 13 easy
Tu: 13 Hilly moderate run in Sabino Canyon
We: 10 miles easy
We: 6 miles easy
Th: 13 w/10 at 6:08-6:09 pace
Fr: 16 w/4 at 6:05 pace
Sa: 12 easy
Su: 12 w/2 miles at 5:30 & 5:23
Total: 95 in 8 sessions

I came out of this week feeling pretty good, and I enjoyed a run through pouring rain yesterday. It started to fall just as I started my two mile effort on the track, and by the end of the run I had that wet dog feeling I imagine Thomas experiences almost daily.

This week changes things up a bit, as I did my hilly run up Sabino Canyon today instead of taking an easy day after my evaluation run so that I can do my back to back workouts Wednesday-Thursday before Kiera and Haiden head out of town.

Oops. Haiden is tugging at me to have a "family race" through the neighborhood. I can't pass this up just to type about my silly runs. Have a good day.

Training: Today, 12 miles, 1:20:33, 6:45 pace
Yesterday, 12 miles, 1:19:51, 6:39 pace, w/2 miles at 5:30 and 5:23
Miles for the week: 95 in 8 sessions

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Words from the Coach...All in One Place

Don't you sometimes wish you could skip all the drivel about my daily runs and the photos of my children and just read the good stuff posted by Mystery Coach? Well now you can with this long overdue (and hopefully frequently updated) index of his posts on this blog.

The Feedback Loop, posted 6/4/07: The coach uses some data from Mark's post about a session of track repeats following the guidelines found in this post on H.A.D.D. training.

Mike's Schedule Explained (The Conditioning Phase), posted 5/24/07: This one is a must-read if you're interested in how the coach is structuring my 10 week conditioning build for the Twin Cities marathon in October in the mold of Arthur Lydiard's training methodology.

Bio-Med in the Year 1979, posted 5/18/07: "Training properly is more than picking a number (whether it is miles, a certain pace, a percent heart rate,etc) it is studying your reaction to that number . So for heart rate monitors noting when some heart rate is not expected is is a good use but as a device to set goals for your training they are of limited value."

The coach describes the purpose of one of my heart rate evaluation runs and cautions against some of the pitfalls that go along with only looking at the numbers instead of the greater whole.

The Cheap Shot, posted 4/7/07: Here the coach takes David Costill's quote that "Lydiard ruined more athletes than he helped" from Jason Carp's article, Miles to go Before I Sleep to task. The Cool-Running gang gets into a good discussion on the same article here. Nobby Hashizume and others who knew Arthur chime in with some good comments.

Activating and Conditioning, posted 2/3/07: A detailed explanation of the coach's "Fiber Theory" regarding the optimal integration of duration and intensity for balanced training. I go back to this one often.

Groundhog Day, posted 2/2/07: "Back in 1993 Bill Murray stared in a movie titled "Groundhog Day" where patterns happen over and over again until he realizes he cannot escape Groundhog Day. Many runners live "Groundhog Day" and repeat the same training over and over again because they do not evaluate their training and create a method of progression."

A good quote by Renato Canova can be found in this post, as well as a yearly schedule for Arthur's boys that shows they weren't just running slow and long all year 'round, as some suggest.

Axiom Number One, posted 1/24/07: The coach says it best-"Proper training is not about numbers, it is about analyzing how the workout felt then responding to what the workout is telling you. Every workout (even the easy or morning runs) is an evaluation of where you are and where you want to go. Arthur understood this very well and in almost every speech he gave, talked about reading your body and not the numbers in a schedule."

I love this post, and not just because he's talking about Eric for part of it.

Arthur's Speed Work, posted 1/12/07: "Arthur probably caused the most turmoil in the minds of runners when he talked about speed work (the anaerobic capacity type not the leg speed type). How many? "Until you're tired" How far? "From here to that tree" How fast? "What ever feels hard" Not exactly the clean mathematical precision of a physiologist's 5 X 1000 Meters at VO2 max velocity with 500 meter jogs. Yet, while working with runners over the last thirty years Arthur's method produced superior results."

What's Next for Mike, posted 1/6/07: "A good training schedule should be based on feedback and discipline. One of the strengths of Arthur's system was evaluation of exercise and the discipline to complete the steps before moving on. Jumping ahead to another level before completing the previous one only undermines your condition. It is important to understand where you are and what you should be doing next. When you read the next section on what Mike's plans are take them in the context of what he has done and his next set of goals."

Planning a Stamina Build-Up with the Lydiard Method, posted 12/27/06: The title of this one pretty much says it all. If you've been running for awhile and you're thinking about trying Arthur Lydiard's training, this is a good starting post along with the next post down.

A Model for the Lydiard Method, posted 12/25/06: "The model that is going to be presented here is just that; a model that will help you with your training and understanding of Arthur Lydiard's training methods. It is not a new theory, you'll see by some of the quotes that many of the great coaches think in this model's framework even though their methods differ from Arthur's. Arthur has often been accused of talking in ambiguous and confusing statements. This model will help explain those ambiguities and help you, as Arthur said, "balance" your training."

LIsten Up-Words From the Coach, posted 11/10/06: 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."

This post addresses Greg McMillan's article about the "new" (isn't everything old new again eventually?) marathon training regimen, which inserts some speed work earlier than usual in the traditional training pyramid. As Lydiard's yearly schedule shows, there might be something new under the sun but this ain't it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Hey, I CHOSE to get Dropped

My pals Shane and Catlow decided to join me for day two of the weekly back to back this morning. The plan was the standard 10 miles followed by 4 miles at 6:08-6:12 pace, and while I usually try to run the 10 around 6:40 pace the legs seemed more content to keep things in the 6:50's. We ran down into town where we were able to get a drink at my brother's hose, and while I didn't feel great I knew I could get back up the hill and through Gut-Check Alley without falling apart. The test would be the 4 mile effort, and I was hoping to set myself up to feel smooth the whole time and not find myself drifting over the redline. An optimal run like this should leave me feeling like I could add on at least a few more miles at the faster pace, which seems to be happening a bit more often.

When we started the effort I found myself at the back, even though I was the pace monkey with the workout and the GPS. Shane seemed much happier running 6 minute pace, and Catlow seemed like he could go either way. I hit the first mile at 6:04 and made the decision to stick to the plan, which meant getting dropped. Soon enough I was shouting to the guys to announce the turns and give them approximate splits as they drifted a bit further ahead.

No one likes getting dropped, but this was good practice for holding back early in the marathon. I actually felt good, and several times considered trying to close down the gap, but the fear of Mystery Coach having spies planted along the route was enough to keep me running close to the assigned pace. The effort was a net downhill, so when I finished the four miles at 6:05 pace I felt I was in the ballpark on pace.

After I caught up with the traitors/running partners we rolled back to the house, where Kiera had just emptied the oven of a tray of her famous banana/chocolate chip/coconut muffins. I thought about reminding Shane and Catlow about not dropping the host, but they did drive all the way out to the house at 5am so I cut them some slack.

I would have liked to have run faster for the first 10 today, and I realize doing too much on Wednesday probably kept that from happening. Still, I'd rather give back time for not allotting enough recovery during the easy portions of a run than during the efforts. Actually, I'd rather not give back time at all, but until I can get the balance right perhaps it's inevitable.

Training: 16 miles, 1:48:10, 6:46 pace, w/10 at 6:54 and 4 at 6:06

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Good, Then Bad, Then Good Again

Ten mile effort at 6:08-6:12 pace this morning in now-typical warm and muggy conditions. I knowingly put myself at a disadvantage for this one by doing too much yesterday, but for some reason two runs and a Pilates session seemed like a good idea at the time. The second run was my pal Jason's last group run with the Running Shop, otherwise I would have let the guys fend for themselves while they ran 10K in 102 degree temps. As it was I enjoyed the company, and at least we got sandwiches afterwards.

I got out a bit later than usual today as Finn decided he was done sleeping at 4:30 this morning. I hung out with him while Kiera got her run out of the way, so the streets were busy when I finally started a little after 6.

After two miles of easy warm up I got to it with the intention of running fairly even splits. Usually I just set the watch to track my average pace for the whole effort (10 miles today), but this sometimes results in me "banking" time during the earlier miles, then not wanting to slow down later when I put myself close to or over the aerobic edge. In other words, I screw up, run too fast early, and die a bit at the end. By tracking each mile I could take them one at a time.

For the first three miles I was in it with a 5:59, 6:15 (trying to make up for the first one), and 6:08. For the next three miles I wrote a blog post in my head about how I quit this workout after 6 miles because it felt a bit tough too early (6:08, 6:09, 6:11). For miles 7 and 8 I realized I was still running the loop on pace so I erased the first post and started another about how I finally relaxed and settled in to the correct pace, although it still was a bit difficult (6:08, 6:08). For the last two miles I did my best to pretend I wasn't doing a workout (or writing about one) and instead just focused on trying to stay relaxed. This actually worked until the last half mile or so, and I just grunted it in from there (6:11, 6:08).

Overall pace was between 6:08 and 6:09, and I ended up with 13 on the day with the warm up and cool down. Again, this would have probably felt easier with a lighter day yesterday, and I'm trying to rest up for the long run tomorrow. As the weeks start to get a little more difficult the margin of error keeps shrinking, so this will probably mark the end of me running Wednesday nights or the beginning of a different day to start the back to back workouts.

Training: Today, 13 miles, 1:22:54, 6:23 pace, w/10 mile effort at 5:59, 6:15, 6:08, 6:08, 6:09, 6:11, 6:08, 6:08, 6:11, 6:08
Yesterday am., 10 miles, 1:10:26, 7:03 pace
Yesterday pm., 6.2 miles around 7 minute pace

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Cheap Date

I'm at the end of my long weekend, and of course I've waited until the last minute to get through the drudgery that dogs any time off (yardwork, laundry, dishes). Still, it was a nice three days without work and with a little relief from the heat. We've had a bit of rain here and there, which hasn't really lowered the morning temps so much as it has kept things in the mid 80's until 8 or so. This beats racing the burning sun home as temperatures climb 5-10 degrees an hour once it reaches 6am.

Yesterday was an easy 13 on fairly tired legs. Not too much to note about the run save for me just not wanting to speed up at all once I got going. Today found me feeling better, which was a good thing since I was joined by Jason, Toby and Lucas for the usual Tuesday run up into Sabino Canyon. Jason has been taking a bit of time off, and the rest unfortunately had a similar effect to him strapping a jet pack on. Once the road really started to tilt he just danced away from us, and while it was a little demoralizing I still made it up to the top about half a minute faster than I ususally do as I tried to keep him in sight.

The way down found all of us opening up a little bit, and by the time we got out of the park my three companions were ready to call it a day just shy of 11 miles. This left me wandering the neighborhood by myself to reach 13, but mercifully they saved a few of Kiera's scones for me once I got back to the house.

I'm a bit worried I overcooked it a little today, and with two runs tomorrow I'll really have to make sure I ride the brakes to get ready for Thursday/Friday.

On a non-running note, one thing I like about our city is the fact that it realizes kids get hot and bored during the brutal summers here, and it offers some pretty cheap fun to keep them entertained. Yesterday afternoon I was able to take our daughter out to a public pool geared towards kids (zero-entry, water-spray features and covered by a sun-shade to boot) and to the Children's Museum for the combined total of $3.25.

Training: Today, 13 miles, 1:24:17, 6:31 pace
Yesterday, 13 miles, 1:30:09, 6:57 pace

Sunday, July 08, 2007

One Week Closer

Ran the weekly 2 mile evaluation at the track again this morning, and the results were very similar in both pace and feel to last week's effort. After two easy miles to the oval I hit 5:29 and 5:26 for the effort, then stepped off the track and noted the heart rate was again at 160. After 30 seconds or so it was down to 120, so it seems that things are still relatively in check. I do think the second mile would have been a few seconds slower if not for me running through a small swarm of flying, biting ants right before the last straight. One wedged itself in the corner of my eye with 150 to go, so I accelerated a bit with one eye squeezed shut in an effort to get to the finish where I could dig it out and stop it from biting me. Fun stuff. Come to think of it this might have affected the heart rate reading too, as uttering a string of expletives while checking the pulse probably isn't the best way to get an accurate reading.

I felt good enough today to stretch the planned 10 miles to 12, and when I got home and added up the runs for the week here's what I came up with-

Mo: 13 easy
Tu: 13 moderate up and down Sabino Canyon
We: 10 easy
Th: 13 w/6 at 150-155HR (6:12 avg. pace)
Fr: 22.5
Sa: 12 easy
Su: 12 w/2 mile evaluation at 5:29, 5:26
Total miles: 95.5 in 7 sessions

Aside from grumbling about the weather I'm happy to have this week in the bank. It's nice to see the miles adding up without any doubles, and I think playing Wednesday conservatively by going easy and short in the morning and skipping the second hot run really helped me finish the week feeling strong.

The goal for this week is to just stay on track and perhaps get a little more sleep. I think the endurance and stamina are finally starting to move in the right direction, as staying out past 10 miles is getting mentally easier with each passing week.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend and didn't get lost on their long run. This guy did and all he has to show for it is a giant eagle trophy. Patrick is a bad-ass, and it will be a pleasure finishing Twin Cities 10 minutes behind him this fall.

Training: 12 miles, 1:19:07, 6:36 pace, w/2 mile evaluation in 5:29, 5:26

Saturday, July 07, 2007


Tucson finally saw some rain last night, which really thickened the air this morning. I ran an easy 12, which included a nice stretch of 4 miles with my pal Lucas. The legs were a bit cranky at first, which gave me a good excuse to really ease into the run slowly.

I'm looking forward to three glorious days off from work starting tomorrow, and this evening should be fun as Kiera and I will actually leave the house together without the kids for a double date with Angie and...I guess I call him "C" if I take a cue from her blog. Hope "C" likes carne seca cheese crisp.

Training: 12, 1:24:21, 7:02 pace

Friday, July 06, 2007

Time on Feet

In the comments yesterday Abadabajev wondered why I'm not acclimated to the heat here in Tucson. The truth is that I am, but I think the body is just forced to slow down a bit when it has to divert more blood to the skin to keep me from cooking (as Eric mentioned in the same comments). I can still run, I just get bothered by having to slow down. It has been much hotter for the last week or so though, as usually our morning temperatures are in the low-70's or better.

As far as trading my weather for what Thomas seems to wade through for 9 months of the year, I guess I'll take what I've got. I still think poor Phil has it worse than most of us, as Phoenix is only one or two degrees away from bursting into flames.

I posted the temperature this morning because I thought it was laughable that it was so hot so damn early. One of the small rewards for getting up at 3:15 should be cooler temperatures, so when I saw the weather stats I just felt I needed to share them (somehow complaining about it makes it easier for me to get out the door, lucky you).

With 2h30m on the schedule today I made a decision to start slowly and to keep a 20oz. bottle of gatorade outside the garage door for a pit-stop halfway through. After a few miles between 7 minute and 7:20 pace I finally started to relax and just lost myself in the run. I traveled the Slow Down loop and added some sections to get me back to the house after 12 miles. After quickly downing the whole bottle of sportsdrink I headed back out, and I could feel the pace starting to quicken a bit with each mile. Finally, at about 21 miles in I approached the crossroads where I get to choose either heading back into Sabino Canyon for one more big hill or running towards home early and adding a flat loop. Like an idiot I chose the hill. I do get a sense of satisfaction from finishing these runs with hills, as I honestly think it does toughen me at some level. Down to the end of my street and back to our house got me past the goal time, and five minutes later I plopped myself in the tub for a not-quite-ice bath. I've been working on the ice machine in the refrigerator and I couldn't spare more than a mixing bowl full of cubes. Still, it felt good. If I can't run as fast as Eric, perhaps I can at least recover as fast by borrowing his methods.

All in all this was a good run, and even with the heat and the added stress of yesterday's 10 miles of fun I felt much better than I did at the end of my 2h20m run two week's ago.

Training: 22.5 miles, 2:31:41, 6::45 pace

Tucson Weather at 3:53 a.m.

Guess it's time for a long run. At least the moon is up.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Numbers Don't Lie...or do They?

Some possible answers:
a.) God I hope so
b.) If they don't lie, just throw in more numbers to confuse the issue and make excuses in an effort to make yourself feel better.

Today was a 10 mile evaluation run where I kept my heart rate between 150-155 beats per minute. This was my third go at a run of this type, though the first time it was 7 miles and the second time it was 8 miles. Here are the results for all three runs with the same heart rate guidelines-

5/17, 7 miles at 6:15 average pace (no individual splits)
6/7, 8 miles at 6:03, 4, 4, 3, 7, 7, 8, 1 (6:04 avg. pace)
7/5, 10 miles at 6:10, 01, 07, 10, 14, 15, 18, 14, 16, 16 (6:12 avg. pace)

So, the short story is that I went from averaging 6:15 pace at 150-155BPM in May to 6:04 in June, then back down to 6:12 in July. Even if I take out the last two miles to make a more direct comparison with June's run I'm left with a 6:11 pace, or 7 seconds slower per mile than I was running a month ago.

While I was a bit ticked off to see the splits sliding off after three miles or so (mile 2 had a little more downhill), I will take some consolation from these factors (and in cases excuses)-

1. I was relaxed and never felt like I was pushing too hard, so no increased perceived exertion at the same heart rate.

2. I'm coming off two weeks of 93 and 90 miles, so perhaps I'm dealing with a bit of residual fatigue as I re-acclimate to the increased volume.

3. It was 88 degrees when I finished the run. Yes, I started before 5 this morning, but after a record high yesterday and some late evening clouds causing a bit of an inversion I was slapped in the face with heat when I opened the garage door.

My first two go-arounds with this workout found me running in 60-68 degree temps, so this was a big change. I'd love to just blame the weather and leave it at that, but of course my obsessive nature and delicate runner's psyche won't allow it. However, I'm withholding declaring my running career over until I see how both the long run tomorrow and the subsequent recovery goes.

And yes, I'm being sarcastic.

Training: Today, 13 miles, 1:23:43, 6:23 pace, w/10 miles at 150-155HR: 6:10,01,07,10,14,15,18,14,16,16 (6:12 average)
Yesterday, 10 miles, 1:07:57, 6:48 pace

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hills and More Hills

Back into Sabino Canyon for another hilly run today. The legs felt pretty good most of the way, but I had to coax them a little bit to maintain the turnover on the downhill sections. I squeaked out an extra mile for 13 total before I had to be back for Kiera's run. I'll be doing a bit more of this since I'll be skipping the usual evening run on Wednesday with the holiday. When I was stirring some powdered gatorade Haiden said, "You can only have gatorade if you run 6 miles." I told her I ran 13 and she said "You can have LOTS of gatorade."

Training 13 miles, 1:26:27, 6:39 pace, hilly run up Sabino Canyon

Monday, July 02, 2007

Original Toes

It's always nice when a good guy gets a win.

Our son Finn often wants to be about two inches taller than he is, and he exercises this desire by constantly standing on my feet while I'm doing things like preparing food at the kitchen counter. He's also found that by jumping off of my feet it's an easier reach to my lap when I'm sitting on a chair or the couch. Normally this is only nominally annoying, except for when he grinds his heel across the top of my foot, which pulls out the individual hairs growing there.

Finn's behavior wouldn't be so bad, except for that I've been trying to get back to my "original toes" (a phrase that grosses out Kiera to no end when I begin to elaborate on its meaning). If all I had were callouses on the ends of a few of my toes it wouldn't be so bad, but when I start getting the small callous-blister-large callous sandwich happening it's time to take action. Add in a few double-layered toenails (most likely caused by bumping against the callouses), and things just get worse. Now that things are taken care of I'm left with some temporarily vulnerable digits, and Finn has been doing his best to march double-time on them. Ahhh, parenthood. They learn your weaknesses quickly.

The run today felt easy, possibly because I avoided a few of the more serious hills I ran last week. The legs appreciated the shorter run yesterday and took me around the Slow Down loop without complaint.

Training: 13 miles, 1:27:16, 6:43 pace

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Leaving Something on the Table

Week 6 of conditioning is in the books, and the last two days found me feeling pretty fresh. Yesterday I dogged along for 12 miles with recovery on my mind, and by the end the legs still felt like they had more running in them. Today was another go at a two mile evaluation run, and luckily I was able to get out to the track before the weather got too bad (not like my 8am start last week). I ended up hitting 5:27 and 5:26 for the miles, which was surprising given I put out the same effort that only got me 5:39 and 5:35 last week. The heart rate was the same 160 afterwards, and while jogging around Sabino Canyon to get to ten miles for the day I actually felt fairly fresh. In the back of my mind I considered adding two more miles, but in the end I decided to exercise caution for a change and head home while I was still feeling good. Here's how the week shook out:

Mo: 13 easy
Tu: 12 moderate, hilly run up Sabino Canyon
We: 10 easy
We: 6 easy and damn hot
Th: 12 w/9 at 6:10 pace
Fr: 15 w/10 at 6:33 and 4 at 6:10 pace
Sa: 12 easy
Su: 10 w/2 miles in 5:27 and 5:26
Total: 90 in 8 sessions

I'm down three miles from last week, but a 15 mile run instead of 20 will do that. If I can stay on this path for one more week without incident I think I'll be getting somewhere.

Have a great weekend.

Training: Today, 10 miles, 1:05:33, 6:33 pace, w/2 miles at 5:27 and 5:26
Yesterday, 12 miles, 1:24:28, 7:04 pace