Sunday, March 30, 2008

Mike Runs

Art show at the gallery where I work this week, so definitely a shortage of posts. It ended up being a decent week, though between altering the Tuesday workout and feeling like I needed to move the long run back a day things could have been better. I'm feeling miles and miles from my marathon fitness when it comes to bagging longer runs, but the daily paces are coming around with a bit more ease and I'm actually getting in my strides and accelerations/sprints.

At the moment I'm gearing up for a 5K on the track on April 11 and a 5K cross-country race a week later. I'm thinking about adding the local Race for the Cure 5K as a workout with an intentionally slow first mile, but I have yet to bounce that off Mystery Coach so I can't say for certain.

Hope you all had a good week.

3/30, 15 miles, 1h41m, 6:47 pace, felt good
3/29, 10 miles, 1h10m, 6:58 pace, delayed the long run
3/28, 9 miles, 1h1m, 6:53 pace, 10x300 jog/100 sprint, w/last mile at 5:44 pace
3/27, 11 miles, 1h17m, 7:00 pace
3/26 pm., 6.2 miles in 43 minutes, felt easy
3/26 am, 9 miles (see post below)
3/25, 14 miles, 1h34m, 6:48 pace, felt good
3/24, 10 miles, 1h11m, 7:04 pace, w/12x300 jog, 100 sprint
Total: 84 miles in 8 sessions

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Quick Change

Thought I had an appointment today to see whether or not I have a hernia, but as I was driving down the hill into town towards the doctor's office I looked at my intake packet and realized I was a week early. Guess this is how my mind works when I'm a bit stressed out. At least I had enough extra time to post today due to my snafu.

Last week ended with 78 miles, which was much less than planned. Hopefully this week will be a bit better, but I'm more concerned with starting to ramp up for a 5K on the track on April 11 and a 5K cross-country race on April 19. The race on the track will be another attempt at sub-16, but judging by today's workout I still have a ways to go in that regard.

Mystery Coach assigned another 3 mile run consisting of descending 400's, starting at 1:33 and dropping down to 1:13 on the 9th lap before backing off a little for the last few. It was very similar to this workout from last Thursday, but this time around I had to alter it before I bombed out.

The plan/The reality

Asterisks explained: While I felt fairly calm and relaxed on the 1:19, I really started going over the aerobic edge on the 8th repeat. I felt like I was clawing towards the line just to hold pace, and when I noticed I was falling off pace while I ran out of breath I decided to call it after the 1:17 and finish up with four relaxed and fast 400's with a minute rest. I did this because the legs still felt good and seemed ready to do more work while the lungs seemed past their limit. It was an on the spot audible, but at the time it felt right and when the 9th 400 went by in 1:12 without having to strain after taking the short rest it felt like the right decision. I ran the last three in the same fashion, and while I wasn't checking any intermediate splits I could tell I was running each one a little faster. The final repeat found the legs wobbling a bit on the last turn, so it seemed as good a time to quit as any.

I need to email with Mystery Coach to try to interpret this, but I'm guessing the results today point to me missing something towards the top of my aerobic range. I think the weekly back to back sessions during marathon conditioning normally help take care of this, but that sort of work just isn't possible during the racing season. We'll have to come up with some sort of compromise, and ideally the goal workout today worked towards that end with its continuous nature (before I altered it).

On the health front, things down under seem to be holding steady with the I.I.U. regimen. I'm bummed to have to wait another week for the exam, but I'll make do.

3/25, 14 miles, 1h34m, 6:48 pace, felt good
3/24, 10 miles, 1h11m, 7:04 pace, w/12x300 jog, 100 sprint
3/23, 8 miles, 54m, 6:50 pace

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bad News

Our son's love for the garbage man came back to bite us last evening when he realized he'd left his beloved trash man action figure at a friend's house. Yes, he sleeps with a sanitation worker action figure. Anyone have a problem with that?

Anyway, he took the news with just a sad pout and watery eyes at first, and after a few minutes we thought he was over it. -At least we did until he walked up to the screened front door and yelled out "Trash man, WHERE ARE YOU???" a few times. Poor kid.

I'm dealing with some bad news of my own, and unfortunately it's affecting the running a bit. Back in October I had a hydrocelectomy to rid myself of an annoying condition that probably started after an inguinal hernia operation I had when I was three months old. I didn't mention what the surgery was for back then, as I thought it would require a few days off and a few days of easy running.

Needless to say, I have the same thing going on again, only worse and more painful. Apparently I'm in the lucky 1% that have a recurrence after the first surgery, and this time it's actually getting in the way. Mornings are better, but by the end of work it's usually pretty painful, which makes the evening runs either sparse or nonexistent.

It seems a resolution for this is still a few weeks off, as I'm off to a different specialist to make sure I don't have another inguinal hernia like our pal Patrick (actually I think he had a few different hernias if I remember right). It was either that or he had some warts on his knuckles removed, I forget now.

The pain this time around also seems to cloud the diagnosis, and I'm considering getting a full work-up with blood and urine to complement the sonagram I just had, just to rule out epididymitis or some other infection (which I'm suspecting is present given the symptoms). I'm skipping links for all this nastiness.

As it stands, I'm running long or fast when it doesn't hurt much, and short and/or slow when it does. I'll do a double if I don't think it will kill the run the next day. If a workout falls on a bad day I'll move it if needed. This doesn't help with my planned mileage increases, but it is what it is. My strategy, which seems to be helping, is the "I.I.U." method: Ice, Ibuprofin and underpants. Yes, running in tighty-whities seems to work.

I'll eventually end up with either a hernia surgery and/or another hydrocelectomy, and hopefully it will work this time.

As for the running, yesterday's 12x100 sprint/300 jogs and one downhill 700 seemed to be pushing the limit of the jostling, and today's 18 went off without a hitch.

Oh, I finally updated the log too.

Training: 3/22, 2h, 6:43 pace, felt good but legs a little tired by the end
3/21, 10 miles, 1h9m, 6:53 pace, w/12x100 sprint/300 jog and 1 downhill 700.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Off the Map

Out of sorts and short on time this week. Here's what I've been up to:

3/20, 12 miles, 1h20m, 6:45 pace
3/19 pm., 6.2 miles in 42:46
3/19 am., 9-ish miles, w/3 mi. of consecutive 400's: 1:26, 1:29, 1:28, 1:26, 1:21, 1:22, 1:18, 1:18, 1:14, 1:21, 1:25, 1:32, tired during the 1:14 and after
3/18, 3.5 miles, 25m, 7:07 pace. Poop.
3/17, 12 miles, 1h23m, 6:59 pace, dragging a bit
Miles for the week: 105 in 11 sessions
3/16, 16 miles, 1h50m, 6:57 pace, tired by the end
3/15, 9 miles, 1h5m, 7:12 pace, w/12x300 jog, 100 sprint

Last week ended with 105 miles, which was on target with Mystery Coach's plan. Sunday did find me more tired than I wanted to be though, which I guess can be expected after bumping the miles a bit.

I ended up with maybe four hours of sleep Monday, so Tuesday was a disaster. I felt horrible from the moment I woke up, but I still struggled outside and started the run. I turned around at 3 miles and called it a day though.

Wednesday was a fun workout, with a 3 mile run of timed 400's. Goal on the left, actual on the right


I look forward to trying this one again, as I enjoyed speeding up throughout. Today was 12 miles, quicker than planned but I just felt good. I like feeling good.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Time is the Enemy

Music, kids and work seem to be taking up whatever time I have outside of running, but I've been doing a fair amount of the latter.

3/10, 10 miles, 1h15m, 7:25 pace, lots of hills and trails w/Lucas and Jason
3/11 am., 12 miles, 1h22m, 6:53 pace, felt good
3/11 pm., 5 miles, 39m, 7:54 pace, (yeah I'm doing these evening runs slow now)
3/12 am., 12 miles, 1h24m, 7:02 pace w/10x100 accelerations/300 jog, plus 1x800 fast downhill and 1 mile towards the end at 5:55 pace
3/12 pm., 6.2 miles with the gang in 43m
3/13 am., 12 miles, 1h23m, 6:59 pace, felt surprisingly good
3/13 pm., 6 miles, 45m, 7:35 pace
3/14 am., 12 miles, 1h27m, 7:16 pace, lots of hills/trails, felt surprisingly bad

I'm trying to avoid the "wound up state" mentioned in Mystery Coach's post below, and going even easier than usual during these evening runs will hopefully help. It's been a good week so far, though I'm guessing the fatigue I felt this morning can be attributed to doing three doubles in a row tis week, which hasn't happened in awhile.

More soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Ask the Mystery Coach

If I am trying for a sub-2 hour half marathon, what should my pace be for long runs?

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

This general question lends itself to two answers and with the two answers an important (perhaps the most) underlying principle of Arthur's system.

Arthur observed that a runner could not race and do fast work continually or else the runner would become jaded mentally and physically. Arthur had two very distinct phases in his program where his athletes did "no" sharpening work or racing. The one most runner recognize is the 10 weeks of marathon running the second was after the track racing period where the runners would "train off" with easy running (an hour a day 6 days a week and one day 2-2 1/4 hours) for 4-8 weeks. Both of these periods allowed the runner to recover from the "wound up state" of racing and speed work while still allowing for development.

This "wound up state" allows a runner to ignore fatigue which is good news when you are in racing season but bad news any other time. Most runners can identify with this "wound up state" but have a hard time controlling what they should be doing during it (the body fools the brain into thinking it is not fatigued). Arthur saw that only six weeks of sharpening combined with time trails and controlled racing is all that is needed to get to a "wound up state". After this the emphasis was on hard racing and "comfortable" training efforts.

When you identify that you have entered this wound up state is the time to stop doing hard workouts (even if you feel that you need them). It is when runner ignore this point that they become "jaded" as Arthur observed and it is time to go back to that "train off" phase and allow for the deep recovery that every runner needs at least a third of every year.

So what are the two paces for the long run that "afunrun" ask about? Initially until six weeks before the race it should be at a pace that allows for completing the long run easily (as a guess without knowing more about this runner's background 10-12 minutes a mile for up to two hours). Then with six weeks to go run parts of the long run so that put some effort into it working on a fast relaxed pace, jog a mile then repeat until you have had enough. By following this that "wound up state" will show up and get you ready for a good racing performance.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Scenes From a Race

Our own unofficial kids' race

Finn celebrates cracking 17 for 5K

Our not so young hero brings home 6th place

By the way, Kiera took all the pics. She always does, but I often forget to give her credit. She seldom forgets to remind me.

The results tell the tale. 6th place, 35:23, 6th place overall. I stayed in contact as best I could on the winding uphill, and I did manage to close in on 4th and 5th, but in the end I just held my place from about mile 3. This was a fun and difficult race on undulating terrain and through six water crossings. The fact that I was able to run the same pace as I did for a flat 10K in January is encouraging, but those guys in front of me just seem to be getting stronger and stronger.

Training: 3/9 pm., 10 miles w/6.4 mile race
3/4, 16.5 miles, 1h58m, 7:14 with a bunch of hills
Miles for the week: 86 in 9 sessions, not bad

Saturday, March 08, 2008

10, 10, 10, 10, 10

Yeah, it's just been that sort of week with the morning runs. Five days at 10 miles through the week, plus a slow six miles with the Running Shop group Wednesday evening and a very slow four miles this morning to loosen me up for the leg-breaking 6.4 mile race this evening in Sabino Canyon. I've watched this race a few times, but this is the first time I've raced it. I run through parts of this canyon at least six days a week, so I'm pretty familiar with the route. It's an out and back race up the paved road into the canyon, almost all uphill for the first half and the opposite for the return home. I've only been tracing the first mile and a half out though, since going any further requires running through ankle-deep water crossings where the road's "bridges" cross Sabino Creek. Our bridges actually dip instead of rise for some reason, so even a small rain (when combined with the recent build-up of silt in the creek beds) makes for soggy shoes. I'm guessing we'll cross the creek and get wet three to four times on the way up and the same on the way down, which will be a good test for the racing flats.

This race is included in our club's grand prix series, which I'm trying to win this year. My steady decline over the years is unsettling though, as I went from first in '05 to second in '06, then finished last season in third. As you can see here, this unfortunate trend seems to be continuing even as I run the same speeds or faster.

The race plan is to run aggressively but not stupid. I think my strength certainly trumps my speed, and my final leg of the relay last week showed me that if can concentrate and use my strength to keep my body in the right position, running quickly downhill is still a possibility even when I'm fairly fatigued. I don't think I'll gain ground during the second half, but I should be able to maintain my position. This of course means I need to run with enough courage to put myself into a good spot by the turnaround half-way. We'll see.

As far as the training goes, I've spent the week trying to stay out of trouble while rebuilding from the relay.

Mo: 10 miles, 1h9m, 6:52 pace
Tu: 10 miles, 1h9m, 6:54 pace
We: 10 miles, 1h10m, 7:00 pace
We: 6.2 miles, 45:24
Th: 10 miles, 1h13m, 7:14 pace
Fr: 10 miles, 1h12m, 7:08 pace
Sa: 4 miles, 30m, 7:29 pace

I felt quite good Monday and Tuesday, but I really found my legs tired and dragging on Wednesday. I'm guessing I overestimated my recover and went too fast on those first two days, but by Thursday I started feeling good again. Next week is the first of three weeks of higher mileage during a break from racing, and I'm looking forward to putting the time in.

Have a good weekend, and don't forget to get your training questions to Mystery Coach at: mysterycoach AT gmail DOT com

Thanks for all the recent comments, and special thanks to the Fast Running Blog gang for their sportsmanship and friendship. Hopefully I'll see some of you later on in the fall or winter for a marathon.

As far as the training

Monday, March 03, 2008


The ankle has felt better and better with each passing day, but it was with some trepidation that I slipped on the flats for my last leg of the relay after seeing the conditions of the "road" I'd be on for 5.5 miles. It was pretty much washboard dirt and gravel interspersed with collapsed veined sections where water had eaten away the surface, which made for bad traction and plenty of opportunities for ankle snapping. Still, I knew I'd really have to roll over the second half of the course in order to finish with a good time, so I opted for the racing shoes.

Once I finally crested the sadistic peak in the middle of the profile, I threw all caution to the wind and started bombing the twisting downhill with abandon, skidding along whichever edge of the road gave me a better line through the next curve. After about a minute of this I knew whatever strain I'd had was long gone, and it was a great feeling to just let loose and fall through the hills.


The legs don't feel quite as trashed as I'd imagined they would, so I enjoyed 7 easy miles yesterday around 7:30 pace and 10 this morning at just under 7 minute pace.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sasha's Revenge

View from the end of leg 27

Ragnar Relay, 181.7 miles, starting at 6pm Friday

1. Fast Running Blog / St. George Running Center 17:04:37
2 The Running Shop 17:46:35
3. Google 18:50:01

Sasha and his Fast Running Blog friends took us to task early and continued to turn the screw throughout the race. We kept it fairly close (6-7 minutes back) throughout the first 12 legs, but by the end they were well out of reach when they took the well-earned victory.

I had a great time with our fantastic team, and I'll post some pics and video once I get it sorted out. Right now I'm out the door for a slightly sore and very slow recovery run. I was truly inspired by the great running by our team out there, as everyone really seemed to put out their best efforts, leg after leg. Special thanks also go out to Sharon Bart and The Running Shop, who sponsored us for the race, and to my pal Lucas for putting it all together.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Leg 1, 2/29 7pm., 6 miles, 33:46, 5:38 pace
Leg 2, 3/1 2:11am., 7.08 miles, 40:24, 5:42 pace
Leg 3, 3/1 7:29am., 5.5 miles, 33:11, 6:07 pace (500 feet climb over 3.5 miles)
Throw in some warm up and cool-down, and it came out to around 22 miles for the trip