Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 30

Tonight was one of those nights that I couldn't wait to get home and run because when it's cloudy with a light breeze and temps are barely cracking 100 that means the running gods are smiling down on me Still the humidity was up there and there was also a chance of rain.

Not hesitating when I hot home I was changed, loosened up and on the road for an easy 4+ miles. Even though the temps were lower, since I'm back to running at a max of 132 bpm, the pace was going to be down there too. But an hour running is an hour running and the only thing that matters is keeping the HR down.

I really need to get into the habit of walking the first quarter or so to bring the HR up slower because I was already into the mid 120s before I even hit the half mile mark. Have to get the muscles up to speed slowly.

The amazing thing about the run was how much I was in the now. We all know how our minds can tend to drift especially at the slower paces but tonight I was locked into it; with very few exception I was totally focused on the task at hand. No boredom or frustration, no thinking about this or that, my only concern was my breathing, HR and my form to some extent. Everything else was going to have to wait.

The miles may have been slow but they were quality and my HR never once got over 132 bpm. Put this bad boy in the win column. It even started to rain just as I was finishing up.

So another month is behind me but there are plenty of miles still ahead. I'll be kicking off July with an easy 30 minute run and am looking forward to adding another brick to the foundation.

June total -  119.5 miles

Sunday, June 28, 2015

June 28

Figuring things out for yourself is probably one of the most fun things in life. I've always been fascinated by how things operate and if you give me the time, the tools and the basics, generally I can work through any problem. At times I may over-think things and get sideways but after I step away and come back with a fresh mindset I get back on track.

This same curiosity is why I find the Maffetone Method or MAF is such a great fit for me. When I first came upon it and then read his book 1:59 I thought I somehow missed the training schedule and diet plan. Well you cant miss what isn't there. Confused? Well this will explain it.
The Maffetone Method is simple yet vast because that’s the nature of humans. It’s built on principles, not processes. In essence, it’s a holistic approach to help the individual figure out what makes him or her tick.

By taking this journey you become responsible for your own destiny—and capable of managing it: the reward is that you can be healthier than you’ve ever been, fit enough to reach your athletic goals, and live out your days with an unwavering quality of life.
So there are basics; do the MAF Test, follow the 180 Formula, eliminate processed carbs and sugar from your diet, reduce stress in your life and get plenty of rest. Pretty simple, huh? Really what it comes down to is this.
Training = Diet + Workout + Recovery
Well lately I have gotten away from the simplicity of MAF and battling the heat has gotten me all wound up as. I run to relieve stress, not create it so it's back to the beginning for this boy. Fortunately I've been very good with my diet (although I do need to intake more fat and less protein to get to a better state of ketosis) as well as getting semi-adequate sleep (certainly room for improvement). 

In all honesty, a big part of the problem has been between the ears but the tinkering and overtraining has exacerbated that as well. Time to step back and get my mind right.

Since I was only going to be running for under 90 minutes I decided to sleep in a bit but I was still up, out and on the local track before 7. With the temps in the upper 80s and a light breeze it was quite nice but a bit humid after last night's haboob (get your mind out of the gutter, its a dust storm) so I was hoping for a good run.

I started out walking the first lap before starting a light jog for lap #2 before picking up the pace over 3 and 4. I was a bit surprised that I got the 1 mile about 30 yards before I got to the start/finish line but I was going to have to live with it. Stupid GPS.

As I got going for the first mile I had the pace display shut off so I was quite astounded that it cam in at 11:20. This was very encouraging given that I never got above 131 bpm and haven't been this fast even at 137 bpm. It's probably a good time to mention that I also went back to 180 - age (49) to get my MHR.

I was equally as happy with miles 2 and 3 at 11:23 and 11:49 but somewhat surprised that mile 4 was faster at 11:30 since I should be getting positive splits throughout. It also could do with the wonky GPS or just that I was more focused during the last mile. Running slow laps by yourself on a track is BORING and I did catch myself in the mid-120s a lot on mile 3.

And that was that. The outcome was actually better than expected and I believe a lot of it had to do with where my head was at. Hopefully this carries over through the rest day tomorrow and the 1 hour run on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how 132 bpm in 100+ degree temps goes.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 27

It's not supposed to be near 90 degrees when the sun hasn't even come up yet but that's what I was looking at at 4:30 in the morning. At least there looked to be some cloud cover and by the time I was ready to hit the road at 5:45, the temp had dropped a bit to 85.

The plan called for 13 miles today but with the expected heat and the way the runs have been going lately the distance was TBD. Plus, I've been reading Phil Maffetone's latest book and have been rethinking my training; I may still be going at it too hard.

Today was all about keeping the HR below 137 bpm and for the most part I was successful. Granted there were the occasional blips but they were mostly momentary so I was able to keep a consistent pace in the high 11s/low 12s for the 8 mile loop.

I felt pretty good as long as the sun stayed behind the clouds but as I was approaching the break at 8 it came out full bore and I could feel my strength being sapped as the temperature came up. Fortunately it was time to take a breather, drink some cold water and down half a banana that I had set out in a cooler before I was on my way again.

Unlike last week I was feeling alright and was looking forward to doing the full 13 but my HR had other plans just past the 9 mile mark. With the sun beating down and the temp coming up I was struggling to keep it in check so at the 9.5 mile point I made the turn for home. No need to get hung out like I did 2 weeks ago. Besides, 11 miles is nothing to sneeze at and would be a 2 and a half hour outing anyway.

By the time I got to the 10 mile mark it was tough to stay under 137 so I decided not to force it and walk the final mile. I certainly had enough left in the tank to run/walk but there was no need; a quality cool down in the one-teens was just as good and quite likely better.

The best thing about this walk was that it gave me some time to evaluate my training.

I'm sure that a lot of it has to do with the conditions. Looking back at past years I can see that the heat certainly has an effect on endurance and speed but I should be doing better than this. One conclusion I came to is that when everything is taken into consideration, I may be running at too high a max HR.

While 137 has suited me well in the past, I feel as though an adjustment down to 132 bpm may be needed in the short term. This, after all, is my true MAF HR and may be what I need to get back to full aerobic training. This with the addition of more fat to the diet along with the vitamin D supplement should kick my fat burning engine into overdrive. Or so I hope. I also need to stop sweating the little things in work and deal with the priorities. This will do wonders for my stress level too.

Finally I need to run to time, not distance right now. For the month of July I'm going to scale it back to about 6+ hours of running a week with my long run no more than 2 and a half hours. This is more than enough road time and will still net me about 30 miles a week. This will actually be an increase over the last 2 weeks where I've taken extra rest because I've been feeling the fatigue from the harder weekend runs earlier in the month.

With only 76 days until the race, it's time I get my poop in a group.

Week ending June 27th - 25 miles

Thursday, June 25, 2015

June 25

Unlike yesterday where I had somewhat cooler temps due to the cloud cover, tonight was going to be a full on sunny run with 100+ degree temps and my good friend the wind. Honestly I wasn't going to run as my TFL felt a bit stiff after the 45 minute ride home from work and I wasn't really looking forward to running in the heat but I got a moment's worth of motivation and quickly changed into my gear before I changed my mind.

As expect it was going to be a slow hour long run but the body doesn't know distance; only duration and effort so it was once again up to my body to dictate the terms. Not surprisingly my HR came up faster than I would have liked but it was still under control for the first mile. I wish the same could be said for the rest of the run.

For the next 3+ miles it was a battle to maintain a HR under 137 which made for a very inconsistent outing. Evey time I though I was in control it would come back up and I would have to back off further. Still I feel like I'm adapting somewhat to the conditions and I don't feel like I am working as hard as I was last week. This is also reflected in my splits.

The last mile was the toughest though and I needed to walk my HR down on a few occasions but it is what it is. As long as I'm seeing improvement and feel pretty good I just have to stay the course. And my TFL? Well once I got loose, I didn't even notice it. Also, now that I think of it, I didn't stand quite enough today. Mental note for tomorrow.

At least tomorrow is a rest day before I'm up before dawn again on Saturday. But if that's what it takes to BQ, so be it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June 24

After taking an unscheduled day off yesterday I really wasn't planning on running tonight either. Between the heat, TFL, working late and just feeling sort of meh lately I got a bit of inspiration as I got close to home with a few good songs as well as the realization that it was cloudy and only in the high 90s with a bit of a wind.

As soon as I got in the door, I got changed and got ready before I had a chance to change my mind. Soon I was out the door and realized how windy it was as it pushed me along. The plan was to get in a different route that I though may be about 3 miles which would be for a nice change.

I started off great but I probably brought my HR up a little too fast but I was happy to be out. The wind was still, about 12 mph,but for the first mile it was at my back and at my side. It wasn't until I turned headlong into it that I realized just how strong it was; it almost stopped me in my tracks at one point. Fortunately I was at a place where I could make a turn toward home as opposed to facing another half mile if the gusty headwind.

In the end the run turned out to be only 2.1 miles but it felt good and gave me another route mapped. At just over 26 minutes, it was close enough to the half hour I was shooting for anyway. I was also happy to have kept it short because the TFL felt good but there was still some minor tightness.

Tomorrow may or may not be of an hour run, we'll just have to see how it goes.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

June 21

3:30 came early again and once again I answered the call. I even slept a little better last night probably thanks to the couple of glasses of wine I had with dinner. Still I was up and felt ready to take on another run. I also woke Christine up so she could get out and do her 1st Annual Run for Bob 5K in memory of her late Papa Bob before the heat got too bad.

We both got ready and hit the road just after 5 as the sun was coming up. It was a little warmer than yesterday with temps in the low 80sso it was good that we were out this early. I was going to try to pace her for the first half mile somewhere in the 14s but that was a bit ambitious for her at this point so I went on my way.

The warmup mile went great, actually one of the best in a long time. My HR came up evenly and by the time I hit the 1 mile mark I was in my stride in the low 130s. I was really in a grove with a few bunny sightings until I came to a 4 way stop where a few cars just blew through the intersection for which I expressed my annoyance. This threw me off and caused a n HR spike but didn't take long to come back down.

Miles 2-4 were as good as I've had lately although there was a brief niggle in my right achilles that went as quickly as it came. Right at the 4 mile split I made a turn to the east and although its a different route than yesterday this is a 2 mile stretch that also has a slight incline and usually has a headwind; such is life. At least there were more bunnies which brought the total to 13, a new PR.

I also found the source of the asshats who blew the stops earlier as I came upon an all-nighter that was wrapping up. There were still a few cars parked on the street, some with sleeping occupants, as well as a few diehards still living it up. There were about 100 chairs around tables so it must have been one hell of a bash. Ah, the good old days.

I was planning on 9 but just as I passed the 7 mile mark, mister TFL gave me a hint that it was time to wrap it up and with that I downshifted for the final cool down mile. In all I was very pleased with this solid 8 mile effort as well as the weekend in general; two days of quality miles is a good thing.

What's even better is that I have a full day today as well as tomorrow to rest before I'm back at it on Tuesday, most likely in the heat.

Oh, and if you are wondering, Christine PRd her 5K in 48:11. Great job Grasshopper!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

June 20

Another day, another run and with the alarm set for 3:30 my hope was to be on the road at 5ish as the sun was coming up to beat the heat. Believe it or not, I was.

For the first time in a week I was actually running in reasonable temperatures, low 70s, and it felt wonderful.This also made for a good warmup mile where I was able to bring the HR up gradually and was right where I wanted to be at the 1 mile mark.

Lately on my Saturday runs I have been focusing on pace but given the stress from the heat I decided to make today a MAF run and keep the HR under 137 bpm as I was hoping to get in 18 good miles. We seemed to be off to a good start.

My biggest concern for the run was that I hadn't slept very well. I was tossing and turning all night and woke up frequently. This wasn't helped with some of our cats being shits either. Still a lot of the sleep issue had to do with the bad run I had last Saturday as well the the early wake up.

For the most part everything was going well with only a few HR buzzes in the first couple miles. That is until just after mile 3 when I let my mind drift and spiked my HR to 151 dwelling on something that annoyed me at work yesterday. Time to walk for a bit and get in the now.

Once I was back at it I was doing ok once again but the miles were still slow. I was into that slight incline portion of the route and as usual was going to be dealing with a headwind for the next 2 miles as well. That's alright I thought, just need to press on.

When I made the turn north, I was now entering the easy portion of the run but I really wasn't into it. Sure my legs were feeling it as it was starting to warm up but I was feeling pretty good. Really it was more that I still had last week's run in my head. I wasn't confident that I was going to be able to do 18 which manifested into doubts about my ability to BQ. Let the mind games begin.

After fueling with ENERGYbits at mile 7 as normal I was doing ok and was prepping for loop number 2. The plan was to stop outside the community at the cooler I left out, rehydrate, have a banana and be on the way.

Unfortunately just before I hit the break after mile 9, I could feel my TFL starting to tighten up. We've been here before and this was a cause for concern. Then, when the break finally came, to add to the suck, the banana was so overripe it was mush. I also tried to keep my legs loose and moving but after a minute or so they began to feel like mush too. That was it; timer stopped, run over at 9 miles.

Now, I could take this as a defeat but I didn't. It was still a quality run which is more important than pushing through and crashing and burning. I was actually happy that I got some miles in and it was not even 7 am. After uploading my results to Garmin Connect, it was back to bed to get some recovery in.

Tomorrow is another day and who knows what that will bring.

Week ending June 20th - 20.4 miles

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June 18

What doesn't kill me makes me stronger and it was another hot day in the desert but the run must go on. At 108 when I started the run I was prepared for another slow one but my mind was ready to deal with it so off I went.

With the pace as slow as it needs to be there isn't any warmup or cool down miles, just one steady slog.It was definitely a struggle to keep the HR under 137 bpm and the Garmin was buzzing quite a bit but I never got above 139 so that is a win in my book even if it did take a few walk breaks to do it.

I'll tell you now that I'm really looking forward to Saturday's run even though it means being on the road by 5 am. It will be about 30 degrees cooler so it will provide me an opportunity to run a bit faster even though I've decided to make it a MAF run instead of pushing the pace. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

That's it for now and happy that tomorrow is a rest day.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Ma!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June 17

Where you mind goes your body will follow. Or something like that.

Now that the shock of running in 100+ degree temps has worn off, my head and body had a good idea what to expect as the mercury was at 106 as I hit the road after my regular routine to get ready.

Unlike last night when my body freaked out a bit, tonight was a much easier transition. HR still came up quick but it was under control as I poked right along. While the plan called for a couple three pace miles with warmup and cool down, I was not going to put my body through that type of stress and opted for a somewhat less than 3 mile MAF run instead.

The run wasn't very exciting in the mid-12s but I was able to keep my HR under control save for the last half mile when I had to deal with a stiff headwind. Come on already, isn't the heat enough? Still, I got it done and felt good about it. Low stress runs are good and I'll be back at it to battle the heat for about an hour again tomorrow.

I'd be remiss in not mentioning that Dr Phil Maffetone's latest book, The Endurance Handbook,
just came out last week and I began reading it today. While it probably will not contain a lot of new information, it will reinforce what he teaches and I'm excited to see what nuggets of wisdom I'll uncover. As most of you know, I happened upon the Maffetone Method last September and I am a smarter runner because of it. I highly encourage everyone to check out his body of work; you will learn that through proper diet and training that you don't have to run yourself into the ground to get faster and stronger.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June 16

It's really a good thing that the body does not know distance, only duration because with the temp hovering around 105 at the start of tonight's run, it was going to be a slow one; a real slow one.

Now while the plan calls for a certain mileage, it more because it's a distance I know I can run in a given time. Tuesday's and Thursday are roughly 1 hour runs and depending on a variety of factors I can generally cover 5-7 miles in this time. Lately, due to the heat it's been 5 but 1 our running under 137 bpm is 1 hour running under 137 bpm no matter the distance.

Tonight it was my hope to get in 5 but when my HR spiked to the 140s then 150s in the first half mile I knew that was out the window. As much as I would like to say it is no big deal, it did get to me which increased the stress, as well as my HR and made for an aggravating first mile.

Mile 2 wasn't much better but since I was resigned to keeping it super slow I was able to catch my HR before it got too high and for the most part was able to head it of at 137/138 bpm. It was finally as I got into mile 3 that my body started to adapt a little and I was able to run for a little longer before I would need to do a short walk. It also didn't hurt that there was a bit more shade and that I saw a black kitty lounging on the grass in one of the green spaces.

When it was all said and done I managed to get in 4.2 miles in just under an hour. Nothing spectacular but it was a good effort none the less and every mile counts..

Is running 13 minute miles when it's over 100 and fun? Not really but I feel a whole lot better than I remember feeling after trying to blast out 3-4-5 mile runs in the 8s last summer in the heat and couldn't understand why I was getting slower even as I pushed harder. And I won't even mention the nagging injuries.

The important thing to remember is that it takes time to adapt to environmental changes and the harsher the change the more traumatic it is to the body. Running in the heat is rough but if I take it slow. I'll be fine. It's also important that I continue to maintain a proper diet and get plenty of sleep. With only 87 days until race day I just need to train smart, listen to my body and check my ego at the door.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

And Now A Word From Our Sponsors

Ok, I'm not really sponsored but since I've taken today off, I figure why not take the opportunity to do a short review of some of the products that have been helping me on my quest for a BQ. So without further ado, here we go.

Skora Running

Skora Phase
Probably the best shoe you've never heard of.

My first foray into Skora was with their very minimalist Phase model; a light, zero drop (all of their shoes are), minimally padded shoe (11 mm stack height). The first thing you will notice about them is their asymmetrical lacing (laces go off to the side) which is the reason I was drawn to them. I had been running in Newtons previously but had been developing TOF pain from the laces pressing on my extensor tendons. This was immediately cured although there is a bit of a transition even from a low, 4 mm, drop like the Newtons.

These bad boys are fast, light and wear incredibly well. In fact, my first pair has over 500 miles on them with plenty of life left on the sole. The upper mesh is starting to tear so they are in semi-retirement now that I have another pair I bought in January.

These are my go to race shoe. While I wouldn't use them as a distance trainer, they are just fine for the repeated pounding of a half marathon. Still I prefer to keep them for training runs under 7 miles just because my feet tend to get a little sore if I go any further. I also don't go off road too much since I can feel every stone  which my feet don't seem to like.

Skora Tempo
If it's a padded shoe you want, Skora has a show for you as well. Noticing the trend shift to the ultra padded, maximalist shoe, Skora has been wise to develop their Tempo model. At a 22 mm stack height it offers just enough padding for those who desire it.

Released in April 2015, it is still zero drop with asymmetrical lacing and under 8 oz. One addition that Skora made to the Tempo which I was unsure of at first was a bit of arch support. It felt strange at first but after a few miles the first time out I didn't even notice it.

Also on the first run they felt somewhat clunky but this too went away after I logged a few miles in them.

To me it is the perfect shoe for long runs and I do not get any foot pain even into the 20+ mile realm. My PF issues have seemed to gotten better since I've been using it for my long runs. Is it the arch support? No idea but the why isn't important. I just know what I feel.

The only real problem I had with them was a blister I had developed on the side of my left foot just below my big toe but this has more to do with the way I run and was cured by adding a pair of Injinji socks under my regular socks. A bit of Vaseline doesn't hurt either.

These are the shoes that I hope to BQ in and with only 180+ miles on them they look almost as good as new. Just a bit on the dirty side.

Skora Fit
My favorite Skora shoe though is their Fit. Like the rest of the line it is zero drop and asymmetrically laced and offers a bit more padding than the Phase at 16 mm stack height. They are also different from any other Skora model in that they have a 3D printed upper where the Phase and Tempo are mesh. Still it is quite breathable.

Putting on these shoes is like putting on a comfy pair of slippers and they are a joy to run in. With 400+ miles on them since December the soles look as good as new but the upper looks like it is staring to split where my foot bends. This is the same issue I had with a previous pair at 375 miles that Skora had me send in for evaluation and replaced. I hope this is something they have worked out on the newer models because I love, love love this shoe.


If you are looking for an all natural, nutrient dense, plant-based, fuel source then ENERYbits may be for you. Made from spirulina algae, packed with protein and loaded with 40 nutrients these little guys are a true superfood and unlike gels they contain no sugar. Now this isn't really a fair comparison since ENERGYbits are real food and not some man made concoction. What I do know is that you don't get the rush or crash like gels, just a steady source of energy.

I like to take 15 tabs pre-run and then go with 15 every 7 miles. This is lower than the recommended amount of 30 per serving but after some experimentation, this seems to work well for me. I also start off my day with 15 bits in my morning smoothie

The one thing you will not get, as I mentioned before, is any sort of rush from taking them; basically you don't feel anything at all. That said I notice a significant difference in my energy level in running with these and without. My immediate post-run recovery seems to be better as well.

Speaking of recover, they also offer RECOVERYbits which are made from chlorella algae. These too are all natural, loaded with protein and nutrient dense. Chlorella algae is said to be a great aid to your body by boosting the immune system as well as helping to remove toxins.

Since I am not a medical profesional and neither ENERGYbits or RECOVERYbits have been evaluated by the FDA, use your own judgement.

If you do want to see what bits are all about feel free to contact me for a sample. I'm also a brand ambassador and you will receive a 25% discount at energybits.com when you use promo code HalfFast.


Yes, this is my own entry into the running gear market. We all know and have stories of drivers narrowly missing us as we run in the daylight, yet so few runners wear reflective gear when they run in the dark or low light. Why?

With 2 adjustable LED lamps that can be set to white or red light, on a reflective waist belt, the Run-Bright unit helps you be safe and be seen and is a great alternative to head-mounted or handheld lamps. Just strap it around your waist and run. What could be simpler.

Garmin Forerunner 310XT

If you are looking for a watch that has it all, this is the watch for you. It may be somewhat overkill for just running and is big and on the bulky side but this also allows for an easily readable display at a glance.

With just about any metric you need available, variable warnings and programmable routines I probably only use a small percentage of what the watch is capable of.

With the added HRM it has given me a better grasp of how I am training and with Garmin Connect I can geek out over my stats to see exactly how the run went. It has also allowed me to train to the Maffetone Method which has help me improve as a runner greatly.

The watch has not been without it's problems though. The first one needed to be replaced under warranty due to trouble acquiring a satellite read as well as a incorrect readings on the charge level. I also just had the HRM monitor replaced for erratic readings. In both cases Garmin took care of it. Just be warned that dealing with their customer service can be frustrating at times.

Inside Tracker

There is one piece of gear that almost all recreational runners overlook; our own bodies. Even though we try to eat clean (or not) and think we are healthy, how do we really know?

Sure, Mark Cuban created a firestorm of controversy when he tweeted that people should get quarterly blood tests and was completely berated for it. But was he that wrong?

I may not be an elite athlete but that doesn't mean that I don't want to do my best. After all isn't that the purpose of eating right, getting plenty of sleep, waking up early on weekends to log long runs and all the other things we do as runners? Why wouldn't you want to optimize your diet for better performance?

So I just had my first test done and for the most part I'm in the optimal range for what I had tested in Performance. It came as no surprise that my total cholesterol was elevated given that I eat a high fat diet and that I could use more sodium in my diet but what was a huge surprise was how deficient I was in Vitamin D.

One thing I didn't know until recently is how big a role Vitamin D plays in athletic performance and this certainly explains a few things in regards to training performance and my weight. I'm just happy to have discovered this with enough time to do something about it before race day.

So there you go. I hope this is helpful to you all and I'd love to hear your feedback

Saturday, June 13, 2015

June 13

Sometimes you know from the moment you get out of bed that a run is going to suck. Today was one of those days.

I was in bed around 9:30 and 4 am came really early, although I didn't actually roll out of bed until almost 5:15, but from the get go I felt tired. Even after my smoothie and some coffee I still felt sluggish but I was ready to hit the road by 6:15 which was going to help me beat the heat. Or so I thought.

As I got out the door it was only in the mid-70 but for whatever reason my HR came up quickly although I was running in the 12s. It got worse as I started to pick up the pace, after the 1 mile mark, when my HR went into the mid-140s. On past long runs I would stay easily under 140 bpm for the first 10+ miles so this was not a welcome development.

Through this though I was where I wanted to be on the next 3 miles as I cruised along in the mid-9s. Even on next few miles, when I was just a few ticks over a 10 minute pace, I was satisfied with the outcome but damn I felt like I was working hard. It may have been in the low 80s by this point but it's not like this is extreme by any means.

What was more of an issue was that BBW had been in my head the entire time. I felt like I was winning the battle but every time I knocked him down, he came back with more. Not only was this run physically tough but it was mentally taxing as well.

BBW may have been onto something though because as I came towards the end of the first loop where I would take a short break to switch out my bottles for cold full ones and take in some extra hydration too, I seriously contemplated just calling it a day. Instead, I took the break and was back on my way, which in hindsight was a mistake.

Over the next 2.5 miles I struggled to keep going. I would just focus on a point not too far down the road and urge myself to get there before turning back. Finally as I crossed the wash which would be my last option to cut it short for a while, I made the turn and began to head home.

I was drained by now abut figured I could make it a slow jog home. Unfortunately my legs though otherwise and even having a bunny cross my path wasn't enough to keep me running. There was nothing left to do but walk and try to figure out what went wrong. The real suck part was that I had a couple miles ahead of me and the mercury was beginning to rise. At least I had fluid with me and after 45 minutes I was finally home with 14+ miles behind me.

These type of runs happen but they are becoming all to frequent. The normal inclination is to get back out there and I do have 9 miles on the schedule for tomorrow. There is always the option of making up the lost miles but that is not smart training.

What is smart training though is to forgo the schedule and let my body recover. It's obviously telling me something and maybe it's because of this new article on overtraining that has me spooked but I've decided to sleep in tomorrow and skip my run.

A man's got to know his limitations; or something like that. Right now I just want to sleep.

Week ending June 13th - 37.6 miles.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June 11

If there is one disadvantage to getting out of work and on the road an hour earlier with my new schedule is that the temps haven't started to come down yet.

With summer back in the desert, it was going to be in the high 90s for what was looking like a 5 mile slog. Another predictor of a slow is when my HR is at 94 bpm before I set foot outside the door so I just had to take what the run was going to give me.

Try as I may to keep the HR down on the warmup mile I was already at 130 by the time I hit the half mile mark and by the time I got to the first split, I was already up to the high limit of 137. This with an 11:48 mile. Yes, it was going to be that slow.

The only thing I had going for me was there was a light breeze to make it a little more bearable and with the sun still shining bright I decided to go shirtless to soak up some much needed vitamin D. [I got back my Inside Tracker results and found I'm very D deficient but that will be the subject of some future post.]

There's really not much more to it than that. For the next 3 miles I struggled to keep my HR under 137 while still maintaining some semblance of good running form; it's damn hard to run slow correctly that's for sure.

That said, they may be slow now but come the fall when I'm fully heat adapted these miles in the sun will have me flying. Granted, Geneva IL has seen it's share of hot September days with highs in the 90s, the worst I can expect at the 6:30 am race start is somewhere in the upper 70s with high humidity. Bring it on!

Well that's it for now. Tomorrow is a rest day and then it's a scheduled 18 on Saturday with the alarm set for 4 am. Yeah it sucks but sacrifices must be made otherwise I'll be fighting near 100 degree temps. I'm also going to give Generation UCAN a try so we'll see had it goes.

Oh, did you notice the fancy new countdown clock? (===>)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

June 10

First off, sorry for no post on last night's 5 mile run. I was working on getting acclimated to my new phone and there was nothing much exciting to report anyway. I ran, it was hot and I was slow. Tonight it was still hot but with it being a pace night the HRM warning was turned off for the 7:35ish miles.

The warmup mile went well and even saw a bunny in the first quarter mile so that was a good omen. As I brought the speed up gradually, I was at a 9 minute pace when I hit the first split. From here I continued to come up steadily and was soon where I wanted to be.

Even though it was a warm one I felt strong and smooth. With this being the 4th run with pace miles, I am way more comfortable with it and was able to keep at a more even keel. I was pleased with the 7:44 pace on mile 2 but it should have been better. I lost focus and drifted off which cost me some time towards the end of the mile.

I still felt great as I made the turn toward home just after the split while I motored along. I could really tell that my endurance level is getting better which also correlates with the fact that I have been eating super clean the last week plus. Amazing what happens when you take in the right fuel.

As the Garmin buzzed at the 3 mile mark I was almost disappointed that the pace miles were over. This is a far cry from the first attempt  4 weeks ago when I was sucking wind at the same point. I'm quite looking forward to upping the distance to 3 pace miles next week but for now I will take the 7:32 and closed the run out with a cool down mile.

Well that is that and I'll be back to MAF miles tomorrow. Now it's time for bed.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 7

Up and at it early once again with an assist from Christine. It seems with the light rain and heavy sweat, my cell phone crapped out with the screen no longer functioning. This sucks because I also use my phone as an alarm clock, among other things, so I'll need to get it replaced soon. At least I qualify for a new phone, for a fee and contract of course.

Initially scheduled as a 13 miler, today's run was scaled back to 9 instead. After re-evaluating my plan, I came to the conclusion that I was trying to force way too many miles and had to scale it back. I still think I will need to cut it back even further so we'll see how it works out.

It was another nice morning although the sun was out so things would heat up quickly. The tradeoff is that this keeps the humidity low and makes for an easier run.

I was on the road by 7 and the warmup mile was one of the best in a while. I kept it slow and the HR came up steady so I was quite happy. As I got into mile 2 I could tell it was going to be a 10+ pace day but that was ok since Sunday is more of a recovery day and I was happy just to coast along anyway.

Since I was out so early, it was more peaceful than normal and as I got to the 2 and a half mile mark I had my first bunny sighting of the day. This was a good sign I thought and soon I spotted another. By the time I hit the 4 mile mark, the bunny count stood at 3.

Not much exciting happened over the next 2 miles other than having to slow down to keep my HR below 137. My TFL began to let me know it was there but it was really nothing more than a slight niggle.

However, not long after I turned onto the farm road past mile 5 the bunny bonanza began. As I ran down the dirt road I spied 1 bunny, then another. Soon I was through the farm and back onto the road where I saw a bunny scamper through the brush. Then I saw another and finally one more just before I got to the 6 mile split for a 5 bunny mile. Sadly there would be no more bunny sightings over the last 3 miles but still the 8 spotted is a new PR.

With the run 2/3 done I made the turn onto what is normally an easy stretch since it's a slight downhill. Usually I stick to the road but the wide shoulder had been recently graded so I decided to hit the dirt to give my feet and ankles some additional stimulation. This didn't turn out to be such a great plan as I struggled to keep my HR down on the softer, uneven terrain and after a half mile I abandoned it. Noting left but 1.5 miles with a cool down mile to bring the run to a close.

This really was a good run and while I was feeling I could go longer, I stuck to the plan. There is no use in over-training and by no means do I want to peak too soon. It felt great to be done before 9 and now I have the rest of the day to relax. With tomorrow being a rest day, I'll be 100% when I'm back on the road on Tuesday night.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

June 6

Another Saturday means another long run and with 26 or 27 miles on the schedule, the alarm was set for 4am with a few expected snoozes added in. It turns out there were a few too many snoozes which meant I was probably going to start later than I was hoping for. Still after a great smoothie, coffee and a good warmup I was ready to roll. Or was I? Somehow my Garmin discharged and the Low Battery warning was on.

Take 2

After about 30 minutes the Garmin was charged to 30% and I was off again. After putting out a cooler with some extra water, half a banana and an orange slice I started only to have my Nathan 4 fuel belt fall off. What else was going to go wrong?

Today still looked like it was going to be my lucky day. Even though temps were in the 70s there was plenty of cloud cover with intermittent spits of rain. I wasn't sure how long this was going to last as it looked like there was clear skies far off on the east and west so I was just going to take it while I could.

From the start I felt very strong. It's probably a combination of many things; great diet all week, plenty of sleep, 2 days off from running but mostly I think it's the cooler temps. After the initial warm up mile I clicked off miles 2 and 3 in a comfortable 9:19. This was going to be a nice run I though to myself.

The rest of the first look went just as well. Even though 4 and 5 have were slower (9:26-9:27) on the slight incline with a headwind, I was still feeling alright. The next 4 miles produced negative splits of 9:16-9:15-9:13-9:11 which made me real happy and as I came to the end of loop 1 the weather was still holding although it was noticeably warmer and more humid.

It was time for a quick break as I ate the banana half and took a little extra water in. I also dropped the 2 empty bottles since I wouldn't be needing them and was off again.

I was moving along quite well through mile 13 (9:17-9:05-9:20-9:32) but as I got into mile 14 the headwind picked up quite a bit and took some of my steam away with my first 10 minute mile (10:01). My legs were starting to feel heavy as well so I knew it was on.

As I got into miles 15-17 I was working a lot harder to keep my pace below 10s with little success (9:52-10:11-10:22). I would still have flashes of quickness in the 9s but I could feel them starting to go as I was beginning to plod along. Now I began to contemplate whether I should cut the run at 18 and as I approached the 17 mile mark my legs made the call as my TFL began to ache. No being a hero today as I went into cool down mode for the last mile plus and called it a day. At least today was a victory in that I was nearly 6 minutes faster (17 seconds per mile) than I was 2 weeks ago when I did the same loops.

Unlike then there will be no evening run. Doing that messed me up for over a week so never again. The goal is not to win training, the goal is to BQ in September and while I have some serious doubts, with a little over 3 months of training, that I can do it, I'm not going to do anything to jeopardize my chances.

Week ending June 6th - 32.3 miles

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June 3

So today is National Running Day whatever that means. It's not like runners need a special day to run, we'll do it whenever the schedule says so or the mood strikes. We celebrate every run regardless of the day.

Festivities aside, the plan for tonight called for a 1 mile warmup with 2 7:35 miles followed by a 1 mile cool down. Now I may be playing it too safe but I've decided that when in doubt I should err on the side of caution so one of the pace miles got eliminated. After all it was still 95 degrees when I got set to head out and I'm not adapted to the heat as of yet.

Unlike last night, the HR didn't spike although it got into the mid 120s rather quickly; still I think my body is adapting a bit. The first mile went smooth enough and I was still battling over whether I should do the original 4 or stick with 3. Thankfully my legs took over and opted for 3. When the Garmin buzzed at the 1 mile mark I was almost up to speed and within no time I was cruising along in the mid-7s.

Given the heat I felt pretty good and at times got too fast. Alternately, I would back off too much which means I really need to get better at pacing. I was feeling much smoother than I did 2 weeks ago when I last did pace-work and probably could have done another mile with no problem. I even had water. I'm beginning to like this wiser runner; he's not trying to kill me. Still I can't say I was sad when I hit the 2 mile mark in a slightly too fast 7:29. I'll take it.

There was nothing left to do but cool down and I was happy that I got my HR down to the mid-130s by the time I finished up. I was pleased with the run on the whole and happy I did what I did. There are plenty of hot days left to increase the miles on. For now I'm just going to ease into it.

The plan for tomorrow is to run for about an hour so it will be a 5-6 mile night. Will be interested to see how my body is adapting.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June 2

With a new month comes the beginning of a new cycle as things heat up in the Valley of the Sunburn and the temps get into the 100s for the foreseeable future. I've also done some thinking and reconsidering my original plan to run a crapton of miles leading up to my BQ attempt in September.

Well it doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure out that at a year short of 50, this probably isn't the best approach since I begin to feel myself breaking down as I pass the 150 mile mark in a month. I also tried this tactic last summer, albeit with less miles but harder runs, and I was toast by September. Fortunately at that time I found Phil Maffetone's book 1:59 and discovered I didn't have to run myself into the ground to get faster and stronger.

The initial plan called for 7 miles but that got scaled back to 5 instead. The stepback week did a world of good and I'm not going to screw it up. Plus it was 98F at the start with a stiff wind out of the west so I knew I would be on the slower side and didn't want to run much over an hour anyway.

Even before I hit the road my HR was higher than normal and once I got out the heat was a shock to the system as my HR spiked to 140 bpm almost immediately. Luckily it came down after I slowed my roll and I was on my way.

I was feeling pretty comfortable and with my HR back where it should be I began to pick up the pace as I approached the 1 mile mark. Wouldn't you know it, almost immediately the Garmin buzzed me that I was over 137 bpm again. Time to slow back down.

After about a quarter mile I was in the low 130s again and figured I'd give it another shot at picking up the pace. But you guessed it, another spike. This was going to be a very slow one but it didn't mean that I still couldn't get in some quality miles.

From here I just plodded along with the only excitement was seeing a bunny run through the wash as I made the turn at the midway point. At least the wind would be at my back for the remainder of the outing. The final mile was certainly the best of the bunch. The sun had gone down enough that I would be in the shade from here on and this allowed the temperature to go down a couple degrees. Hey every little bit helps.

So summah has hit the valley and what doesn't kill me just pisses me off. The way I see it, I'm fortunate I can run. One of my Twitter running buds, Alex, is having achilles surgery tomorrow so while he's laid up, 1 mile of every run is for him. The dude is a badass in my book dealing with 2 forms of cancer and still running like a beast. Heal up fast bro.

Tomorrow will be a sort of speed day with a couple race pace miles on on the schedule.