Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 30

When you really think about it, there really is much difference between a good run and a bad run. When it comes right down to it, isn't it just a matter of perspective?

Take today's 8 mile run. The goal was to do 10 miles in an hour and a half with miles 2-9 at or near an 8 minute pace. Well after the 1 mile warmup, which I forgot to start off by walking, mile 2 was a little slow but seeming to go according to plan. Unfortunately that was not going to last for long. As I approached the 3 mile mark I was loosing some of the pep that I had in my step.

From here, my pace just continued to slow as my legs just seemed to have nothing. Now this isn't a good thing by any stretch of the imagination with a 26.2 race that needs to be run at 7:40 or better in less than 2 short weeks but there are also a few things in play that have me feeling ok with it.

One thing that I have to remember is even though I fueled with UCAN and ENERGYbits prior to the run, I am still in a fasted state so other than this very low amount of carbs (20ish g) my body has nothing to draw on but my stored fat. However, although I am fairly well fat adapted after months of no sugar and low carbs there really isn't a lot to assist the fat conversion to energy.

Another factor that I have to consider is that it's been 2 weeks with no running. Sure, I've been getting quality time on the beast but there is no substitute for being out there and getting in those miles. I'm just going to have to hunker down and get some speedwork in this week.

It was a beautiful morning out there as I was out well before the sun came up. The temperature was around 80 but with last night's storm the humidity was on the high side. With the full moon there was enough light to see without needing my Run-Bright LED lights (==>) although I still wore a flashing red arm band (coming soon).

I was really hoping that this was going to be one of those great runs that was going to exceed expectations but isn't every run a good run? Just being able to get out there and run is not something that everyone has the ability to do so I consider myself lucky to be able to do so.

Determined to not let this run get me down so even with my energy low and my PF starting to make itself known, there was nothing left to do over the last mile but fartlek. It started with a hard run to the next light pole. Since that was going so well I pushed for the next one, then the next one. I was able to keep this up for over a quarter mile before I needed to back off. After catching myself I did one last half mile effort before it was time to cool down.

And there it is. Nothing left to do but rest up today and tomorrow before getting back at it on Tuesday. Since this is the last day I'll be running in August, it looks like the 100 mile for the month streak is broken at 5, or is it? Even though I only logged 50.3 miles, the nearly 16 hours on the elliptical over the last 2 weeks would be good for 70+ miles at a 13 minute/mile pace so I say the streak continues.

So as much as this run is a disappointment on some levels and does not bode well for my chances of a BQ in 2 weeks, on any given day anything can happen when you dream big. You never know until you try.

As Dr Jim Afremow recently told me "It's all there for the taking - GO TAKE IT!" and I'm going to listen to his advice.

August total - 50.3 miles running/15.8 hours elliptical

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August 29

In a way I consider this the most important weekend leading up to the race. With only 2 weeks until race day, today's elliptical session was going to be a 3 hour 20 minute dress rehearsal as far as nutrition was concerned. My biggest worry going in is the dreaded bonk.

I remember back to my first 26.2 when I did the Lost Dutchman Marathon in February where I was cruising along nicely when at 20 miles I was done; I hit the wall and hit it hard. I learned a few things during that race and I've been trying to lean more as time goes on.

The plan was to take 2 scoops of UCAN in water about 30 minutes before I started with a single scoop in a couple ounces of water at 1:15 and 2:15. I was also going to supplement this with 15 ENERGYbits at 50 minute intervals.

For the workout itself it was going to be nothing exciting with a 15 minute warmup before just trying to keep a steady pace from the next 2:50. The HRM warning was also shut off so there was no distraction or concern about where I was as long as I was comfortable.

I was moving right along but, because of a brain-fade, forgot my bits until the 58 minute mark. I was feeling great and getting into the playlist I put together last night as well as the video of last year's course. It's a nice change of pace to have the distractions for these past 2 weeks since I stopped running with music about a year ago. I'm toying with the idea of having it during the race but I'm leaning against it. Even though there is going to be pacers and I won't have to worry about that, I still want to stay in the now as much as possible.

The first real test came when it was time to fuel with UCAN.The one thing I forgot was to shake it to get it mixed properly and had to fight to get it out. In all I probably got about 90% of it but now I know better. I should have been prepared for this since filled a couple 2.5 ounce pouches last night and they had settled overnight, won't make that mistake again.

With that behind me I got back in the groove. My HR was comfortably in the 145-150 range and I was feeling pretty good. The next fueling with bits went off without a hitch at 100 minutes and at this point I took the opportunity to run out to the kitchen to refill my water bottle. Can't do that on the road.

As strong as I was feeling I could tell I was developing a bit of a brain fog as I was having some trouble calculating some intervals for the race. This little mental struggle aside, my head was in as good of a place as my body and this time remembering to mix up the UCAN prior, that fueling went smoothly as well.

It wasn't until about the 2 and a half hour mark that my feet were beginning to hurt at the sesamoid bone at each big toe. This was more so on my left foot and at times was quite painful but I was not going to give in to it. Fortunately on the bottom of my monitor I have the reminder, "Pain is Inevitable - Suffering is Optional" and this kept me going.

There was nothing left to do but push the pain out of my head and to press on to the 3:05 mark before I would begin the 15 minute cool down.

With that workout behind me I have to say I was really please with the way things went. I learned something very important about using the pouches for UCAN which would have been a big issue if it happened during the race.

So things are looking good on all fronts. Diet-wise I'm down 10 pounds in 13 days which is ok but I still would like to drop another 5. This means I"ll need to extend the fast a few extra days but I will begin to add in some vegetables.

With tomorrow comes the real test as after 2 weeks on the elliptical, it's time to get back on the road. While my PF still isn't 100% it is very much improved. The goal for tomorrow is 10 miles at 8 minute pace for miles 2-9. I need to be careful to not build this up too much though. Sure it will provide for a good status check but if I don't hit the mark I've set it's not the end of the world. It will just be a bad run.

So it will be early to bed as I want to be up by 3:30 and out on the road by 4:30-5 before the sun comes up. With temps expected to be in the high 80s even at that early hour, I want to be done before it gets too hot.

And speaking of weather, the long term forecast for race day is looking like it will be in the upper 50s for the 6:30 start. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and will be watching closely but this put a smile on my face. Could the stars be aligning? I sure hope so.

Week ending August 29th - 8 hours 50 minutes elliptical

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 27

Once again it was up early to get in a 30 minute morning session on the beast. Nothing too exciting but my PF was a little cranky when I woke up. It's definitely better with whatever pain pretty much limited to one spot at the point where my heel and arch meet. Once I found the trigger point just above my ankle and massaged it out, all was good.

As for the workout it was 5 minutes on 1 and 5 minutes on 2 to warm up before the meat of it on 3 for 10 minutes with the HR above 130 bpm. I was able to stay mainly in the 130-135 range with only a couple times at 137 so that made me happy. After a 10 minute cool down it was in the shower before I headed off to toil on the cube farm once again.

After work it was back at it; this time for 1 hour. This was going to be even less exciting as the goal was to stay below 132 bpm but at least I had a newly arrived pair of Skora Fit to break into the rotation.

So with a 15 minute warmup it was onto 30 minutes where I was in the 125-129 range for the most part. I only hit 1322 a couple times although I did jump to 134 momentarily where I got into the music and was going to fast. It was bland but it was done and I closed out with a 150 minute cool down.

I know my posts have been pretty boring lately but not much happens when your in a room by yourself. I have to say that I'm proud of myself for resisting the urge to hit the pavement and as much as I love to do it Saturday, that just doesn't fit the plan. More than anything I need to heal and besides I want to try a fueling strategy and I'll be best suited by doing it on the beast.

If things work out and I'm feeling alright, maybe, just maybe, I'll hit the great outdoors for 10 miles on Sunday.

All I can say is that I'm getting stronger everyday.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 26

With no morning session on the schedule today, it was back on the beast again tonight as much as I didn't want to. If I had my druthers I would have just gone out for a run but Christine put the kibosh on that so the beast it was.

The plan for tonight's 1 hour session was to do an easy warmup for 15 minutes starting at the lowest resistance and jumping by 1 every 5 minutes. When I hit 15 minutes I went up to 4 and for the next half hour pushed as hard as I could. I even went up to 5 on occasion for a good burn in my legs. There was no HRM warning tonight; I needed a good, tough workout. With the hard work behind me, there was nothing more to do but a 15 minute cool down.

There you have it, 1 more brick laid. The plan is to get up and do a 30 minute morning session before heading off to the cube farm followed by an hour on the beast after work.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 25

This is going to be quick. Garmin Connect is being a PITA and the watch puked both of today's sessions to boot.

Anyway I actually managed to get out of bed early and ride the beast, my new name for the elliptical for 30 minutes this morning. It was a pretty good effort wit 5 minutes on 1, 10 minutes on 2, 10 minutes on 3 with my HR in the 130s followed by 5 minutes on 2 and 10 minutes on 1. It was steady and uneventful with some mellow music to drift into.

The added bonus was that I was showered in time to catch the IAAF World Championship women's 1500 meters, with Genzebe Dibaba crushing the last 800 and running away with the gold. Unfortunately it didn't go so well for the US ladies with Shannon Rowbury finishing 6th and Jenny Simpson finishing 11th after losing a shoe.

After a day in the cube farm it was back on the beast, this time for an hour. The plan for tonight was to keep the resistance at 2 the entire time save for the first and last 10 minutes which would be at 1. The goal hear was to shoot for faster turnover while keeping the HR in the 130s. I would have to say it was quite a success and I was happy with the result.

I'm also happy that the PF is feeling better although I still get an intermittent pain and have a tender spot in my heal. I really itching to run but I know I have to give it a few more days at least. I'd rather be 100% and will myself through the race than try to do it injured. Been there, done that with my first half; it was no fun running 13.1 with a screaming Achilles.

My only concern is that my legs aren't getting nearly the work they need but I'm still maintaining good aerobic training. If all else fails I'll just have to count on my heart, lungs and head to carry my legs. I know they'll be up to the task.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 23

The life of a runner is like shampoo instructions but instead of lather, rinse, repeat it's run, eat, sleep, repeat or in my case elliptical, eat, sleep, repeat. Sure most of us have other obligations; work, family, life, but let's be honest running consumes most of our thoughts.

So after another descent night's sleep it was time to get back on the elliptical. I was in bed early enough and fell asleep pretty quickly but was awoken up in the middle of the night by a dull ache along the side of my right calf. It was not shin splints, it was more off to the side, but it was enought to keep me awake.

Finally I did get back to sleep but was shortly awoken by not only that ache but also a dull ache in my  right glute as well. After a bit of tossing and turning I was back to sleep for a good 7-8 more hours.

After futzing around and having my coffee with UCAN and later some ENERGYbits it was onto the elliptical for 90 minutes. The plan was just to stay in the 130s for an hour, after the 15 minute warmup and followed by another 15 minute cool down. As a precaution I taped up the PF and have also added an insole for some additional padding.

This was by far my best effort on the beast. After figuring out what works and what doesn't over the past week, I learned that I was best to stay at one resistance and use speed to keep the HR up as opposed to trying to stay at the same rpm and increasing/decreasing resistance. By doing this, I was able to keep in the 127-134 range with an occasional jump up to 137. I think I momentarily hit 138 twice.

Nothing like a great workout especially with a rest day tomorrow. Things are looking up and yet another brick has been added.

Another thing that I didn't realize until today is that the 7 hours I put in last week was the most time logged training since early June. Need to keep up the momentum because time is running short.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

August 22

One of the nice things about training indoors is that it gives me the opportunity to sleep in on weekends so I did just that, getting about 9 good hours of sleep. Let me tell you, it sure felt good.

The plan for today was for a good 2-2.5 hour session on the elliptical again today. and for motivation I found how to loop You Tube videos so I was going to have a continuous loop of the Last Chance BQ -Chicagoland course although it now appears that they changed the course direction for this year. That's neither hear nor there, still have to run it either way.

After downing my coffee, infused with UCAN, it was time to hit it. Since I'm still fasting the plan was to take it easy and not overdo it. I wasn't too worried about keeping the HR up as much as I was getting in the time.

For the first 10 minutes I went at the lowest resistance to get warmed up before I jumped to 2 and then to 3 after 15 minutes. I could tell this was going to be a bit much but I wanted to see how far I could push it.

For the most part it was a pretty steady session over the first hour and a quarter where I would from time to time bump it up to 4 or go in reverse at 2 or even go normal at 2 depending where my HR was at. As I was approaching the 1 hour mark though I felt like I was tiring out and started to loose focus. I was leaving the door open enough for BBW to make his voice heard.

I wasn't going to have any of this so at 1:15 I took a quick break, peed, hydrated and got back on the machine. For the next whatever I pretty much just kept it at 2 and focused on the course video on my monitor. The fatigue was gone, with a little help from some ENERGYbits, and with my mind back on track I just had to make myself keep going.

On more than one occasion I wanted to end early but I talked myself into pressing on. Not so much because I was tired, on the contrary, I felt pretty good. It was more out of boredom. Still, with the race only 3 weeks from today, I need to build some endurance. Finally I settled on 2:15 as being a good time to stop.

I really don't know how people do the long treadmill sessions day in and day out, it would kill me. Sacrifices must be made though. I'm much better off doing this low impact training and letting the PF heal up as opposed to trying to push myself to the limit when I am less than 100%. And it is feeling a lot better.

Other than that, I'm happy with the way the fast is going as well. I'm down 5 pounds since Monday and hoping I will be down another 10 by next Sunday. It makes such a big difference to run lighter and I want every advantage I can get.

Tomorrow is another day and I will be at it again after a good night's sleep.

Week ending August 22nd - 7 hours elliptical

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August 20

Not much to say about tonight's hour on the elliptical other than it was pretty boring. At least it was more of a recovery effort so I kept the resistance on the low side and for the most part stayed below 130 bpm.

One of the benefits of the elliptical though is that I can close my eyes and visualize the course and the race and get into the moment without falling on my ass or running into something. This breaks the monotony as well as keeps me motivated.

I'm happy to report that my PF is feeling much better. I'm still getting the work in but without the forces that you deal with with running. Now I just need to resist the temptation to not get out and run before I'm really ready.

Thankfully tomorrow is a rest day because I could use one.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19

So much for getting out of bed to get on the elliptical this morning. I was feeling a bit achy and frankly I just wanted the extra sleep. I'm sure a lot has to do with the fast but hey, I've lost a couple pounds with a long way to go. Just have to push through it.

I did get back at it tonight and had planned on doing an hour but once I started I could feel the fatigue even at low resistance so I decided to do the best I could. Still I went through the normal routine to warm up for 10 minutes and increase the resistance as high as I could without getting over 137 bpm.

I have to say that it was a bit of a struggle but i keep pushing for 5 more minute. At first I decided I'd shoot for 30 minutes, then I talked myself into 35, then 40 before finally settling on 45 minutes. It may have been shorter than I wanted but it was still quality with about 30 minutes above 130 bpm. Gotta get that fat burning.

Tomorrow is another day and I'm not even going to attempt to get up early; don't want to overdo it. This boy needs his recovery and I'll just hit it after work.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August 18

It was up before the sun to get on the elliptical once again. After Sunday's session I was a bit surprised that aside from a slight ache in my left quad I has no soreness which is a good thing.

Really not much to say about this other than I wasn't very successful at my attempt to do the bulk of the workout in reverse. Even with the resistance set at 2 it took less than a minute for my HR to come up to 137 so I had to be satisfied with mixing these in every 5 minutes or so. I probably could have pushed the HR a little more but I also don't want to overdo it since I'm using new muscle groups. Definitely a nice change of pace though and 30 minutes on the machine is a fine way to get the fires stoked before a full day on the cube-farm.

After work it was back at it, this time for an hour. Once again it was nothing too exciting. After 15 minutes of warming up I got into the routine but made it a point to work the resistance higher. I still threw in some short reverse intervals but like in the morning I could only do them for about a minute before the HR got too high.

Not feeling any ill effects from the am session I worked my HR mostly above 130 bpm for about 30 minutes and felt some good burn in my legs to boot. I'm sorta enjoying being in from the heat with a fan on me and music playing in the room to motivate me. I just hope this doesn't screw with my form too much.

It's time for bed now and if everything feels good I'll hit it again for another double tomorrow.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

August 16

The human body is an amazing yet unpredictable piece of machinery. By all indications I should have been feeling the effects of yesterday's run in my PF but for whatever reason it's been feeling better than it has in weeks with little or no pain. Go figure. Even so, I decided to stick to the plan of using our elliptical instead of running which gave me the opportunity to sleep until 9:30 which meant I got about 11 hours of sleep.

In doing some checking on the interwebz last night it turns out that the machine we bought at Walmart years ago is probably one of the lowest rated units on the market but whatever. It works and that is really all that matters. We don't need anything fancy with a bunch of pre-programmed garbage anyway. Yeah, the stride-length is short and it's a bit wobbly but those my only complaints.

To keep myself from being bored I put on some music; nothing like a little 70s/80s metal to keep you motivated. There's really not much more to say about the effort other than I can see that there may actually be some benefit to using it. As I was going along, especially when I took the resistance up, that I was getting more of a burn in my quads and glutes so it'll be interesting to see how I feel in the morning.

With the first workout of 90 minutes behind me, I have to say I was pleased with the result. I also feel like this will be a nice change as well as keep me out of the heat. One other thing that I had forgotten about is that you can also pedal in reverse. Since numerous studies have shown the benefits of running backwards this will allow me to strengthen other under-used muscles as well.

This won't be the only change in my training either. With the race almost here, it's time to drop some weight. Right now I'm sitting at 155 which is 10-15 pounds heavier than I want to be. Even though we've been wery good with our diet, we do low carb-high fat, I've put on about 5 pounds this month.

To change things up we're going to be doing a Protein Sparing Modified Fast for the next 2 week. Basically, no carbs, no fat and about 9 oz of lean protein daily; that's it. Some supplements are also needed, potassium, magnesium and sodium, to make up for the lack of these in lean meat and we'll also be using ENERGYbits (==>) to help us out here as well.

We have used this diet in the past for a quick weight loss after the success Christine had when she did it under a doctor's supervision years ago, losing 81 pounds in 6 months. I tagged along at that time and lost 40 pounds in 3+ months. I have to tell you though, it sucks. Although it's true that ketosis is an appetite suppressant, that only goes so far especially when you are around food. Fortunately this is only for a couple of weeks.

Time to become a lean, mean running machine.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

August 15

With my PF flaring up I decided to rest it up so this was my first time out since Tuesday. It was feeling ok but stupid me forgot to tape it up and didn't realize it until I was ready to go. I thought about putting it on but since it was starting to get light outside I didn't want to loose the 10 minutes or so that it was going to take.

The goal was to get out by 5 so I wasn't too far off with, getting out the door at 5:25. Even still temps were already near 90 and it was almost 30 minutes until sunrise. I was hoping to get 3 hours/18 miles in but that was TBD. I just wanted to have a good run.

Under the cover of darkness the first mile went great to get warmed up and by the time I hit the 1 mile mark I was right where I wanted to be. For the next 5 miles I was cruising along  nicely in the mid to upper 10s with my HR right around 140 bpm. Now if this would only last.

Somewhere around mid-mile 5 my PF started to flare  and as the sun started getting higher in the sky, I was beginning to heat up. Since I was doing a 6 mile loop I left out water but feeling like I still had enough, I foolishly didn't stop to fill up. This would come back to bite me later.

I was feeling pretty good still but right around the 7 mile mark my HR started to elevate so I slowed it down a bit. The sun was getting to me now so when I got to the irrigation pump near mile 8 I though it would be a good idea to soak down my Mission Enduracool. Wrong! While it felt good in the moment it broke all momentum I had and got me to start walking.Now this in itself isn't bad but it caused my PF to stiffen.

After walking for a half mile I started back running but everything I had going for me was lost. Nothing left to do but embrace the suck. I was out there doing my best and wasn't going to let it get me down. I was simply going to take what the run was going to give me.

Over the next 4 miles there was some running but mostly walking. My PF was none too pleased with me and I was getting low on water to boot. Mental note, you never have enough water, always refill when you can.

The nice thing about walking was that it gave me some time to think. What I really need more than anything is to give my PF some serious time to recover; something more than a few days. Now with the race less than a month away (==>) I still need to maintain my fitness so I'm going to be spending a lot of time on our elliptical. This will also keep me inside and out of the heat for the most part too.

So it was a good run and a bad run all in one. The first 6 were exactly what I wanted but the last 6, not so much. Still, any run is a good run and this also put me over 100 miles on the year.

This was a good week for my battle against BBW as well. The other night I was lamenting my current mental state regarding the race and would up getting some sage advise from The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive author Dr Jim Afremow via Twitter. It's a great book, which I am re-reading but Jim gave me a couple points to focus on that have swung the pendulum for me. I can't thank him enough. Now to get my body healthy.

And with that one more week is in the books.

Week ending August 18th - 25.1 miles

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August 11

So here we are 30 days out from race day (==>) and my head is not anywhere close to where it needs to be right now. I need to get over this pronto because the flight is booked, the hotel is paid for and there is no turning back now.

Should I be able to do it? Based on my half times, there's no doubt I'm capable of it on paper but when I do the math I just can't wrap my head around the though of running 7:40s for 26.2 miles.

What I really need to do is quit whining, lock BBW away and re-read Dr Jim Afremow's great book The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive to get my poop in a group.

The pity party must end now.

I also need to inject a little more fun back into running so tonight I decided to a 1 hour  fartlek. Fortunately there is a lot of greenspace in the community I run through so between that, the road and the horse paths I get a nice variety of terrain to run on too.

So after the warmup I just did my thing. I went fast, I went slow, on the street, on the grass and even a bit of weaving between trees and bushes. It was definitely a nice change of pace to to have an agenda of no agenda for once. Don't get me wrong, there is a time for aerobic buildup but with only 2+ weeks before the taper, I need to fatigue my legs a bit

So that is that and now it's time to get to bed. I'm up later than I want to be especially since I've got a 30 minute pre-dawn run on the schedule for tomorrow. It should be a perfect morning now that the storm has rolled through.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

August 9

Woke up this morning and the PF felt pretty good so today's 90 minute run was on with a couple strips of KT Tape for insurance. I probably could have gone out yesterday but I try to stick to the rule of when you feel ok take one extra day. It was going to be another warm one with temps already over 80 and with not a cloud in the sky, it felt even hotter.

The schedule called for a run under 137 bpm but since I missed yesterday's free run I decided to shut off the HRM warning and get it in today. I even had some thoughts about going longer but knowing that was not going to be a good idea I only brought enough fluid for a 90 minute run to put the kibosh on that.

With a good warmup mile behind me it was time to pick it up. My goal was to keep the pace comfortably fast, which I was hoping would be somewhere around 10 minutes.

For the next 4 miles I was pretty much on point knocking the miles off in 10:01, 9:56, 9:57 and 10:06. It wasn't until the 5 mile mark where the combination of the incline, headwind and sun started to cause me to overheat a bit so I backed it off to a 10:18 mile 6.

Mile 7 was going to be the last fast mile and I wanted to see how hard I could push it. I was really hoping to do the entire mile in the mid-8s but after about 4 tenths at that pace my HR was up to 174 and I knew it was time to slow down and get into an early cool down. For the next mile I jogged my HR down a little and walked the last half mile to complete the cool down.

I have to say that in all I was happy with the run. My PF was not too much of an issue although it was a little more achy than I would have liked; maybe a 3 or 4 on a 1-10 scale. What was really the big surprise was the shear blister on the bottom of my left foot just below my big toe. I hadn't been lubing up my foot with Vaseline lately and hadn't had any issues so I thought I was safe. Well I guess not.

I'll be interested how the PF feels tomorrow but as of right now, it's not too bad. Tomorrow will also be a rest day too so I should be fine to get back at it on Tuesday.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

August 8

Part of training smart is to know when to listen to your body. Well after the double on Wednesday my body told me to take a few day of because my PF was pissed. I'm not sure if it was the result of running faster or maybe it was just the shoes. Could there be some correlation between running in my Tempos and my PF flareups? After all it was hurting from the morning run and I hadn't run in them in a while. Also, as I think about it, I seemed to have more PF pain before I shelved them too.

Anyway, there will be no long run today and I'll play tomorrow by ear.

Week ending August 9th - 17.3 miles

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 5

It's been quite a while, January to be exact, since I've gotten out for a morning run before work but with race day less than 40 days away, it's time to add some fatigue to the routine.

It was an absolutely beautiful morning and since sunrise was still a ways away, it felt a lot cooler than 83*. Of course I had my Run-Bright led lights (==>) as well as a new arm light that I will be offering soon. With the days getting shorter, don't be caught in the dark; run safe and run bright.

I knew this was going to be a fast run right out of the blocks. With the cooler air my HR was staying low and when I hit the 1 mile mark I had come up gradually to the low 130s and was already turning low 9s. Mile 2 was even quicker as I spent the first half effortlessly in the mid-8s. My HR was easily staying in the 133-136 range and it took a cough to send me momentarily to 138. It was time to slow down at this point and begin the cool down anyway. I really wish I could have gotten in some more distance but I had to get ready for work and 30+ minutes was going to have to be enough.

And a day of work it was although I felt like I had more energy than usual. Maybe it had something to do with getting the fires stoked early. I felt really good although my PF was on the cranky side for most of the day. Nothing a strip of KT Tape wouldn't take care of though.

The plan for the 2nd run of the day was to get a warmup mile in before 2 miles close to race pace  and finishing up with a cool down mile. For this run however it was going to be 20 degrees warmer with full sun. After a good warmup mile I was off. It's been over a month since I've done any real speedwork so I was a bit surprised to smooth I felt.

Even though I completed this mile in 7:49 I was about 15 seconds slower than my go and my pace was all over the place, ranging from 7:20-8:20. Mile 3 was a repeat of 2 as my pace was again inconsistent as I clocked a 7:51. I felt smooth enough at time but towards the end I was a little gassed. Running fast in extreme heat will do that to you. This time around I was happy that the run was almost over. It was just a matter of a cool down on which I walked a little extra.

So today is done and tomorrow will be another easy hour at 137 bpm. Count 2 more bricks added to the foundation. It will be interesting to see how my legs feel in the morning.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August 4

Going to keep this short because it's late and I'm hoping to get in an early run before work tomorrow. We'll see how that goes.

As for tonight's outing it was back at 137 bpm for a 1 hour run and it was hot; 104 hot. The funny thing is that it didn't feel all that bad out there tonight and I'm guessing that was due to the 14% humidity and a nice wind. I even broke out the Skora Tempos for the first time in a while just because.

The great thing about going at the higher HR is that the warmup flows a bit better. I was still able to take it up slow but I didn't have to be as concerned about keeping it way down, especially in the heat. The miles just clicked along tonight although once I got past the 3 mile mark I had to slow way down.

I was quite please with the run and quite happy with the choice of shoes. They still feel clunky compared to the Fit and the Phase but the extra cushion was a nice change of pace.

So there you have it. Now let's see if I can get up early for a short one in the morning.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August 2

After completely going off script for the last 2 runs, I was  back to the book for today's MAF Test. Christine and I were out the door shortly after 7 to head to the local HS track to get in our work. I was happy for her too because this was going to be her first non-DM run in over a month. With the temps already in the low 80s, moderate humidity and not a cloud in the sky, it was going to be a hot one.

For the first lap around the track we walked together but we parted as I began the warmup part of the test with an easy trot to bring up the HR  and gradually increased pace over the course of the mile.

One observation I made from the last MAF Test in June was that the faulty GPS readings skewed the stats and I was actually about 15-20 seconds slower per mile than I though which explained some things. This time around I made sure to turn the Auto Lap on the Garmin off and do them manually.

This time out I was working with a MHR of 137 bpm so I really didn't know what to expect having been doing all my runs at 132 for the last month. What I do know is that I like running at 137 a hell of a lot better. It actually allows me to run instead of plod which makes for a more comfortable run.

The 4 mile test went as it should with the splits getting slower as it progressed. Mile 1 was definitely the best and I never got above 137 bpm. On miles 2, 3 and 4 there were momentary jumps to 138-139 but that is bound to happen when you are trying to stay as close to the target HR as possible for the entire run. There were also times when I dropped down to 132-133 and had to pick it up which made for some inconsistencies.

I really can't say that I'm unhappy with the result although I would have liked to see less of a differential between the splits.

Split Distance Time Best Pace Avg HR Max HR
2 1 11:08 9:20 134 137
3 1 11:22 9:53 135 138
4 1 11:43 10:19 136 139
5 1 11:55 10:43 135 138

That's it for now; just going to relax and enjoy what's left of the weekend. If everything feels good I may just run tomorrow.

In case you're wondering, Christine got in a good 4.3 miles of mostly walking. Not being used to the heat was keeping her HR elevated and spike whenever she tried to run. Still, 4 miles is 4 miles; she did great.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August 1

Here we are in a new month and the countdown to an attempt at a BQ (==>) is getting real. That doesn't make it any easier to drag my butt out of bed when the alarm goes off. Still after it was all said and done I was on the road by 6:45.

When I got out the door it was 80 degrees with a light breeze and not a cloud near the sun. Humidity was near 70% which is hot for the desert but it was still a pleasant morning for a run. On the schedule was a two and a half hour MAF run at 132 bpm but that was up in the air and subject to change. I'm so tired of running slow.

Once I was at it, the warmup was the same old, same old as were the next 3 miles. It was at this point that I was fighting to maintain any sort of running while keeping my HR down; the heat, humidity and sun were making sure of that.

It was at this point that I decided I had enough of the slow slog and upped my HR alert to 137. I was going to do this next week but enough is enough and I just want to run. I was hoping I could stay comfortably under this rate but that was going to be determined.

This plan worked out well for the next mile or so but soon, although I felt comfortable, I was having a hard time staying under 137 so I jumped to 142 to see how that would go. Just like the last bump, it worked for a little while so it was up to 147 after fueling up on some ENERGYbits (==>).

Still this latest rise in the alert was not working as my legs just wanted to go. Finally I said screw it, turned off the HR monitor and ran.

It's true that I spent a good portion of my life being very unhealthy and sedentary but I excelled at running when I was younger and having been living clean for the last year plus now, I feel like I have gained a lot of it back. Even my doctor, who I just saw last week, said that I am in excellent health and that I'm younger than my age.

When I first picked it up I was feeling great but then I began to notice a little discomfort in my right PF as well as a niggle in my left glute. Soon enough though the niggle went away as my legs got stretched out and the PF was hardly noticeable.

For the next 2+ miles I ran for feel, occasionally speeding up and slowing down, with not a concern about HR or pace. And it felt damn good. In the end I'm happy I did it because if for any other reason, it was fun and after all isn't that why we do this?

I closed it out with a good cool down with an extended walk of over a half mile and a smile on my face. I still have some doubts but I feel better about my chances at a BQ after this 11.4 mile outing.

I may regret this change of pace but part of MAF training is figuring out what is right for me alone. I'm still going to train smart and do the majority of my running below 137 bpm but I'm also going to let it loose at times too.

Tomorrow is another early day with track time for a MAF test at 137. I'm even going to drag Christine out of bed so she can get out and off the DM for a change.

Week ending August 1st - 27.6 miles