Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Week of 06/16/2014: Race Week!

As with most people's training plans, a lot of hope goes into race week.  Most people try to visualize success, what crossing the finish line will be like, etc.  Not too many people think of the various scenarios through which they might DNF, and that is precisely what I did on Saturday.

(Link to Race Report Coming)

Monday 06/16/2014

Scheduled:  REST

Tuesday 06/17/2014

Scheduled:  5 Mile Recovery Run
I missed my morning run so instead I ran four miles on the treadmill.  I did some intervals, mostly just alternating between easy and insanely easy, though I did throw in 4 x 400 m at HMP just to remind my legs that there is a race coming up.

One of the pre-marathon taper jitters that I have heard other people complain about is the feeling like they have suddenly gotten fat - They feel bloated and sluggish.  I definitely experienced this in the first mile or so tonight, until I got into the groove and apparently began thinking about something else.

Wednesday 06/18/2014

Scheduled: REST

Thursday 06/19/2014

Scheduled:  5 Mile Recovery Run
Skipped, Rested.

Friday 06/20/2014

Scheduled: REST/TRAVEL
I traveled with the family, we stayed downtown at Holiday Inn & Suites.  Fortunately we were checked in and settled prior to the 5k, which closed up some of the streets.  We made it over to the convention center (DECC) and had a wonderful time at the expo and the spaghetti feed.  Back at the hotel we swam with the kids in the pool for a bit before heading back to the room for the night.  I was head down by 10PM.

Saturday 06/21/2014

I did not sleep all that well before the race.  I had three devices with alarms set to wake me, though I hardly would have needed them.  I woke up to use the bathroom at 12:45 and 2:50, and when the first alarm went off at 5:45, I was up like a shot.

(Link to Race Report Coming)

After I was back and cleaned up, I took the family to the Duluth grill for some burgers.  We took the kids swimming in the hotel pool ( I spent some time soaking in the hot tub and swapping stories with some runners from the Fargo area).  Later on for dinner we had some Sammy's pizza in our room.  I didn't think that I would still be hungry after the mid afternoon burger feast, but I still wolfed down probably the biggest hunk of anyone.

All in all I was a little sore but the discomfort was manageable.  I think my pride was the biggest casualty of all.

Sunday 06/22/2014

Scheduled: REST
I was in bed by 10:30 PM and I did not stir again until I needed to use the bathroom 8 hours later.  Then I went back to bed and slept another 3 hours for good measure.  Miraculously, the children never stirred until after 9AM.  We had breakfast at the hotel and used the pool again for a bit before checking out.

Before leaving Duluth we walked around the now mostly vacant canal park and had lunch at Grandma's.  During our walk my wife took lots of pictures of us and the kids.  Even though my disposition was OK, I was still a little too morose to muster up much of a smile for pictures.  Post marathon blues are a real thing, and post DNF blues are another animal entirely.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Week of 06/09/2014: The Madness Deepens

It felt like I skipped a whole lot this week (I did) but in reality I only missed 5 of my 27 scheduled miles for the week.  All in all things are going OK, sore areas are starting to feel better, and I'm starting to think that I just might survive this thing.

Monday 06/09/2014

Scheduled:  REST

Tuesday 06/10/2014

Scheduled: 6 Mile Recovery Run

Wednesday 06/11/2014

Scheduled: 8 Mile Recovery Run

Thursday 06/12/2014

Scheduled: 5 Miles Spd, 5 x 100M striders
Instead ran an 8 mile recovery run.

Friday 06/13/2014

Scheduled: REST

Saturday 06/14/2014

Scheduled: 8 Mile Recovery Run
Lots of rain all day today.  I managed to sneak this run in during a window of time in the early evening where not a single drop fell.  No sooner than I was in the house than the floodgates re-opened and it was coming down cats and dogs again.

Sunday 06/15/2014

Scheduled: REST
Ran an easy 6 miles.  It was a beautiful partly cloudy day.  Felt great.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Week of 06/02/2014: In the midst of life, we are in Taper

OK, it is official; something broke inside my head.  I have lost enthusiasm for writing these posts, and I have reduced enthusiasm for getting up early in the morning to run.  If I hadn't gotten my Saturday long run in in the evening, I might have skipped that too.  I'm almost to the starting line, just trying to hang on.

My right knee and plantar fascia are still bothering me.  They aren't painful, just bothersome.  They make me wonder what the late stages of the race are going to be like.  I am in full blown taper madness right now.  Anxieties be damned, I am going to run this thing.

Monday 06/02/2014

Scheduled:  5 Mile Recovery Run

Tuesday 06/03/2014

Scheduled: 8 Miles Vo2 Max, 5x400m @ 5k
Instead ran a 6 mile recovery run.  54º, Clear.  Felt great during & afterward.

Wednesday 06/04/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run

Thursday 06/05/2014

Scheduled: 4 Miles Spd, 6 x 100M striders
Instead ran a 6 mile recovery run.

Friday 06/06/2014

Scheduled: REST

Saturday 06/07/2014

Scheduled: 12 Mile Long Run
Ran it.  I would have thought with the reduced mileage and the rest days that this run would have come easier, but by the end I could really feel it in my knee.  Again, not pain, just some discomfort.  The kind that makes you wonder what will happen at twice the distance.

Sunday 06/08/2014

Scheduled: REST

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Week of 05/26/2014: End of Training, Taper begins

Grandma's is less than three weeks away and I am a little concerned that my longest run for it will be last week's 18 miler.  At this point I need to concede that I have skipped enough of my training mileage that the race outcome is going to be affected, hopefully just in the ease of which I finish, not by my goal time or whether I finish at all.  A side by side comparison tells me that I do have more hay in the barn this time around than I did for Twin Cities in 2012; hopefully I will enjoy at least a better (if not optimal) experience than I did in that race.

I think that like my plantar fascia, the knee issues that I am encountering due to my iliotibial band is something that I will be able to manage.  Taper starts next week; though since I gutted the heaviest part of my training schedule I don't feel like I am tapering down from much.  And after the race I have allotted myself three weeks of recovery before training for Twin Cities begins in earnest. So really, aside from a couple remaining mid distance runs and the race itself, I have a fairly easy six week window that I am entering.  

The time now is to enjoy the anticipation of the race experience and to forget about any pangs of guilt over skipped mileage.  My feet and my knee are more than enough to worry about without having to try to sooth my conscience as well.

Monday 05/26/2014

Scheduled:  8 Mile Recovery Run
I rescheduled my skipped 20 mile long run from Saturday to today.  I got through the first five miles with no issues, though by then my hat was soaked and the sweat was coming off the bill in steady drips.  I practiced my on the go nutrition with gels (1 per hour) and overall felt pretty good.

Around mile seven that pesky knee twinge started up again;  I tried varying my stride and doing knee rises but it did not go away.  The sensation was more one of discomfort than pain, though I could easily imagine the later stages of the run, when everything starts locking up under the best of circumstances, that the knee might squeal to a halt like a rusty gate hinge, and leave me broken down on the side of the road.

The ten mile mark is at an intersection two miles from my house, so I knew that I would have the option to either turn right and continue with my run for the full distance, or turn left and cut the run off at twelve miles.  By ten miles there really wasn't any change either way, and in the end I decided to let discretion be the better part of valor and opted for the safety valve.  The good news is that the rest of my body (feet, ankles, etc.) handled the distance quite well.  The knee itself was only a discomfort, never a pain (though it did tighten up after the run when I had rested for a while).

Tuesday 05/27/2014

Scheduled: 7 Miles GA, 7x400m @ 5k
Time constraints again forced me to cut my Tuesday workout way back; furthermore I decided to do another simple run on the treadmill at a very easy pace to see how the knee responded.  I could feel the twinge of discomfort the entire time though it never really became painful.  So for the moment things seem manageable as long as I do not over-do it.

Wednesday 05/28/2014

Scheduled:  10 Miles MLR
Continued discomfort on the outside of my right knee.  Turned off my alarm in the morning and gave it a test drive to the bathroom and back.  I laid back in bed and did some additional reading and research on Iliotibial band syndrome, followed by some of the stretching exercises that I learned.

Thursday 05/29/2014

Scheduled: 5 Miles Spd, 6 x 100M striders
Skipped my miles again today, rested and stretched.
I'm really getting sick of writing that in my reports.

Friday 05/30/2014

Scheduled: REST
I stuck to my guns today and took my rest.  Not only of my body, but also ensuring that I got proper sleep.

Saturday 05/31/2014

Scheduled: 18 Mile Long Run
Thunderstorms and torrential downpours kept me indoors today so I ran a reduced workout on the treadmill.  I ran two 5 mile sets of intervals, the first run at recovery pace with 400m intervals run at HMP and the second run at HMP with 400m intervals run at 5k pace.

My right knee twinged during the speed intervals the first couple of miles, and then things got better.  But the twinge came back, along with general sloppiness of form, when I started succumbing to fatigue in the back half of the second set.

What I learned from this workout is that
1) the rest and massage seems to have made the overall running experience better,

2) No matter how you look at it, the back half of Grandma's is going to be a wild ride, and

3)  If today's HMP was my GMP, I would need to reconsider my goals.  As it is I think that my GMP is still do-able.

Sunday 06/01/2014

Scheduled: REST
I was tempted to get out there and make up some of my missed weekly mileage today on my planned rest day.  The rain helped convince me to go back to sleep; the treadmill never even crossed my mind.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Week of 05/19/2014: Averting with Disaster

Another low mileage week, with a a potential knee injury thrown in for good measure.  At this point it is more of a symptom, hopefully my countermeasures (See Sunday below) will be effective and not derail me too much, seeing as race day for Grandma's is less than four weeks away.

Monday 05/19/2014

Scheduled:  8 Mile Recovery Run
I rescheduled one of my rest days to today in order to continue recovery from yesterday's arduous long run.

While most of the foot and ankle issues have gone back to 'normal,' I did notice some issues today that either weren't there yesterday or that I just didn't notice-

  • Stiff/sore left shin
  • Stiff/sore right quadriceps
  • Stiff/sore hamstrings on both legs
  • Also, on my upper body my shoulders are still a little sore from toting the Camelback for 18 miles
  • Lastly, I think that something on the Camelback is rubbing me right in the small of my back about where my HRM strap goes - I get an irritation after long runs back there

Thus ends the list of my complaints.

Tuesday 05/20/2014

Scheduled: 7 Miles GA, 7x400m @ 5k
Time constraints caused me to cut this workout way back; also with my laundry list of complaints noted yesterday I decided to ease back into things.  I just did a simple 3 mile run on the treadmill at a very easy pace.  Things never really got comfy though they did loosen up a bit.

Wednesday 05/21/2014

Scheduled:  10 Miles MLR
After yesterday's run I noticed some tenderness in my right knee.  I am now well at the point where I am paranoid about hurting myself in the weeks leading into the race, so I rested ad slept in today.

Thursday 05/22/2014

Scheduled: 10 Miles 6@MP, 4 @HMP
Slept in again and rested.  Knee feels OK.

Friday 05/23/2014

Scheduled: REST
After skipping two straight days I decided that I better get back to it.  I did a 5k jog to a nearby cinder track, did a calibration of my Garmin and then did a magic mile (All out effort), followed by a 5k jog home.  Total 8 miles.

Saturday 05/24/2014

Scheduled: 20 Mile Long Run
Holiday weekend, the only way that I could have gotten this run is would have been to get up super early and be out the door hours before anyone else planned to stir.  Alas.  Re-scheduled the run for Monday the 26th, called it a rest day

In terms of fluid & electrolyte loss, I did do quite a bit of yard work, which was not a running workout, still felt like one by the time that I went in & hit the showers.

Sunday 05/25/2014

Scheduled: REST
I did have notions of getting in a makeup run first thing in the morning to atone for one of those skipped 10's from earlier in the week, but I ended up taking the rest.

I don't know if it was my all out mile from Friday or my yard work from the day before but my glutes and hamstrimgs are feeling very stiff.  Most likely the knee tenderness reported earlier this week is the early signs of Iliotibial Band Syndrome.   I will incorporate more stretching and look into some strength training to address it.  In the mean time it seems that I have inadvertently have taken one of the recommended countermeasures:  Reduce mileage.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Week of 05/12/2014: Not a lot better

I did better this week but still did skip some key speed workouts.  All in all I got 36 of 52 scheduled miles in.  But 50% of that mileage came in one chunk.  As I discovered in 2012, making the weekly long run too high of a percentage of my weekly volume can lead to disastrous effects.  History was repeated, read on.

Monday 05/12/2014

Scheduled:  10 Mile Recovery Run
55º, Overcast, rainy.  I due to schedule constraints I needed to cut back this run to 8 miles.  I felt pretty good on it, in fact I averaged 1 seconds per mile faster than my normal recovery pace.

Tuesday 05/13/2014

Scheduled: 7 Miles GA, 7x400m @ 5k
Skip.  :(

Wednesday 05/14/2014

Scheduled:  10 Miles MLR
39º, Clear, Calm.  I have seriously had it with this cold weather business, can we all just start wearing our shorts now, please?  The run went well, the ten mile threshold is a lot more routine these days.

Thursday 05/15/2014

Scheduled: 7 Miles GA, 7x400m @ 5k
Skip.  :(

Friday 05/16/2014

Scheduled: XT (Swimming)
No surprise that I skipped the swim (at this point in the program it would have been a bigger surprise had I showed up).  I did miss out on the opportunity however to get a makeup run in for one of my skipped speed workouts.

Saturday 05/17/2014

Scheduled: 18 Mile Long Run
I slept in and re-scheduled my long rung to tomorrow morning.  I got up with the kids and took them over to the parkway so that we could observe the 2014 Blaine Triathlon and cheer for the participants.  I participated in 2012 (The inaugural year) and 2013, but this year I opted to not do the race, as with marathon training I didn't feel that I could get the swimming and cycling workouts in to do it justice.  It turned out that was a great idea, as it was really cold and would have been a miserable swim.

It was a great morning, however, to get the kids out on the parkway and cheer for cyclists and runners:

I meant to get a makeup run in later in the day, but with family things and whatnot it never materialized.  The mornings are my time, I need to make the most of them.

Sunday 05/18/2014

Scheduled: REST
18 Mile Long Run - 52º, Clear, calm.
In today's run I learned all the finer points of dehydration-induced Cardiovascular drift, and the subsequent psychological effects.  I left the house with the 3 liter reservoir in my Camelback Mule fully topped off.  The run started out well and routinely enough, though I did notice some foreshadowing when the brim of my hat started dripping before I was even four miles into the run.  Usually my hat doesn't start dripping until six or seven miles in, which told me that I was sweating more than usual.  I kept taking light pulls on my water during rest intervals, and really didn't notice any issues for the first ten miles.

Around ten to eleven miles into the run I started to notice fatigue in my feet and ankles, and some stiffening up in general.  My perceived effort went up as well, and at the twelve mile mark I made the call to dial back my pace by 15 seconds per mile.  But in truth, some events were already well underway by that time.  By the time I was twelve miles into the run I was constantly thirsty; My thirst was greater than my ability to consume.  If I had drank as much as I had wanted I would have thrown it back up.  It was necessary to maintain the practice of taking smaller sips more often.  Also starting at mile twelve my heart rate jumped up, and even though I could still run as fast as before, I could not run as far as before without taking a rest.
I was able to maintain the revised pace through mile sixteen, until the wheels fell off the bus completely.  I knew that even though I still had two miles to go that my run for the day was finished; it was now a matter of just getting home.  So for the last two miles I went into a 1:00/3:00 run/walk pattern.  The problem with long walk breaks late into a long run like that is that you tend to tighten up; the run segments were murder to initiate.

I made it home and sucked the last drops of my three liters in the driveway.  Inside I found that my family was just about to sit down to waffles for breakfast.  I have eaten some good waffles in my life but that one tasted like a gift from God.  I had some lockup issues with my knees and my ankles as well as a lot of discomfort in my right plantar fascia.  Immediately after the run it felt like someone had cut off my feet and that I was walking through a field of broken glass and rock salt.  Later, it merely felt like I still had my feet, but that someone was whacking the bottom of my right foot every time that I took a step.   The worst of it was over by six hours after the run; by bedtime I was feeling much better though dog-tired.

All of this makes me a little nervous as there is a 20 miler looming on the calendar.  I am assessing my goals for that run; I do not care so much about my pacing at this point as I do about finishing the run with a shred of my humanity left.  There is no confidence to be bolstered by the psychological breakdown that comes with a crappy run.  My best hope is to learn from this and do better next Saturday.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Week of 05/05/2014: Going Rogue

I delayed writing this post because the truth was just too embarrassing to admit:  I dropped off the radar for the majority of the week and completely skipped all but one workout.  It was a terrible blow to my program.

Next week I'll try to d better, and to quote Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."

Monday 05/05/2014

Scheduled:  10 Mile Recovery Run
50º, Overcast, light breeze.  The big question on my mind this morning was how my legs and feet would respond to another double digit run after last Saturday.  And as I headed out, I did notice some discomfort in my knees, but nothing to abort the run over, or cut the distance.  I ran steady recovery pace splits throughout and covered the entire distance quite comfortably.

Undoubtedly the increased training mileage will be the defining factor in the difference between my TCM 2012 and Grandmas 2014 experiences.

Tuesday 05/06/2014

Scheduled:  6 Miles GA, 6x400m sprints
Skip.  :(

Wednesday 05/07/2014

Scheduled:  10 Miles, 7 Mile Tempo @ MP
Skip.  :(

Thursday 05/08/2014

Scheduled: 6 Miles GA, 6x400m sprints
Skip.  :(

Friday 05/09/2014

Scheduled: XT (Swimming)
Skip.  :(

Saturday 05/10/2014

Scheduled: 18 Mile Long Run
Skip.  :(

Sunday 05/11/2014

Scheduled: REST
No makeup runs (Though I did have visions of trying to get in yesterday's scheduled long run.  In the end I slept in).

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Week of 04/28/2014: Going Postal

This was a cold and rainy week here in MN.  I got forced indoors onto the treadmill for the first time in quite some time.  I also missed some mileage during the week, but for what it was worth I got at least one of my speed workouts in plus a hard tempo run.  Later in the week I got back outside and ran at least one run in the rain and sleet.  I also got my long run up to 16 miles this week.

Grandma's is right around the corner, it's no time to let up!

Monday 04/28/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
For the second Monday in a row I took a pass.  I did wake up with enough time to get the run in; I lay in bed and listened to the rain and the wind take turns pelting & shaking the windows for quite some time.  By then there was still enough time to get the run in on the treadmill; I lay there longer and continued to listen to the sounds of the storm outside and all the other native sounds that our house makes when everyone is asleep.

I have no idea what my resting pulse was during this time; I really ought to have checked it, as it was a very relaxing morning.

When I got home from work tonight my new Air Pegasus were waiting for me.  I transferred my Superfeet insoles from the Asics over to them and moved my Garmin foot pod over, I plan to try them out in the morning.

Tuesday 04/29/2014

Scheduled:  6 Miles, 6x100m sprints
I kept it inside on the treadmill today, first run ever in the Air Pegasus.  Due to time constraints (Read: I overslept) I had to cut it short to 5 miles in order to start work on time.  The shoes themselves felt good, I would say at this point it is too early to tell but they seemed comparable to the Lunar glides.  Time (and some real outdoor runs) will tell.

After a several day layoff, my left shin acted up almost immediately and took over 2 miles to settle down.  The good news is that everything else responded well.  No plantar fascia stiffness afterward, the only post run soreness at all is a little bit across the top of my left foot.

The weather is still unseasonably crappy (If that's not a proper meteorological term, it should be); when I took my daughter to school today it was freaking SNOWING again.  And I intend to run outside tomorrow come what may.  I guess that I'll have to adopt the post office creed:
"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

Wednesday 04/30/2014

Scheduled:  10 Miles, 5 Mile Tempo @ HMP
34º, Rain/Sleet, 10mph wind with gusts.  It was nowhere near as bad as I expected, though it was still cold of course, and there was simply no way to not get wet on this ride.

I started out with a pretty simple strategy, run the first 5 at marathon pace and a negative split on the back at half marathon pace.  The front half went as planned, but around midway through the second mile of the HMP tempo I could tell that I wasn't going to be able to hold it up the whole way.  In the end I held on through mile 8 and then rant the last two miles at an easy pace.  In all fairness I was going to have to run those last two miles at an easy pace in any case, but at least it was nice to be able to choose to do so and more importantly not experience a blowup.

The run broke down then as follows:
  • 5 miles@MP
  • 3 miles@HMP
  • 2 miles@Recovery
Also today was the first outdoor run for the Air Pegasus.  While I like them, they are definitely not as cushy as the Lunar glides.  I will keep them in the stable for runs of 10 miles and under, and continue using the Lunar glides for my long runs.

Thursday 05/01/2014

Scheduled: 10 Miles, 9x100m sprints
I knew it wasn't going to happen the second that the alarm went off this morning - I wasn't just still tired; I was BEAT.

Not  'At least go use the bathroom first and see how you feel' tired,
Not  'Play cutesy games with the snooze button to eek out an extra 20 minutes' tired, but wooped out, draggedy-ass BEAT.

So I re-set the alarm for as late as I possibly could without being late for work, and I went back to sleep.

Friday 05/02/2014

Scheduled: XT (Swimming)
41º, Mostly Cloudy, Calm.  6 Miles @ Recovery pace.

I skipped XT (Yet again) to get some makeup miles in.  I did not want to push myself as I have a pretty big run planned for tomorrow so today was just run at recovery pace.  It was a lot warmer (& thankfully drier) today.  My mind is wandering toward short-sleeve shirts...

Saturday 05/03/2014

Scheduled: 16 Mile Long Run
56º, Partly Cloudy, Windy.  This was my longest run since the 2012 TCM.  The early miles felt really good; the pace was ridiculously slow, the walk breaks completely unnecessary, and the wind nothing to worry about.  The wind was at my back from miles 4-10, and even at 10 miles when I popped a gu I still felt pretty good.

On the 11th mile I turned a corner and went face first into the wind, and that good feeling began to dissipate.  Running into the wind was more of a chore now; in mile 12 I went up and over a freeway overpass on my otherwise flat course.  In mile 13 my ankles began to stiffen up, and the previously insanely easy pace came at an increased effort (Though I never had any issue maintaining a steady split throughout the run).  By mile 14 my ankles had stiffened up to the point where the walk breaks started to become almost more of a hassle than they were worth; in those later miles it became quite uncomfortable to resume running after a walk break.  This was familiar territory to me, as I had experienced my share of long run discomfort while training for the 2012 TCM.  However, unlike my 2012 long runs where I would experience pain, this experience was merely uncomfortable.

Mile 16 came easily for me as I knew it was the end, and there was a bonus .4 tacked on to get me to my door.  In the end I was able to hold my pace throughout the run and never actually blew up (Though the gears were smoking, I assure you).

Later in the evening my wife and I went out to see a movie, and about an hour and a half in my feet had swollen up to the point where I needed to undo my shoelaces.  After the movie it was an interesting experience coming down the stairs to exit the theater.  In not too much time however I loosened up again and I was more or less fine for the rest of the night.  This also differed from my 2012 experience; momentary discomfort vs. extended pain.

All in all I feel like I am on track for the race in June - Only 7 weeks away!

Sunday 05/04/2014

Scheduled: REST
Aside from a little residual stiffness from yesterday's long run I felt pretty good today - Stiff plantar fascia in both feet first thing in the morning, which went away with some stretching.

I had it in my head to get a makeup run in at some point, but I ended up taking the rest as scheduled and spending time with my family.  Even the mailman takes Sundays off, I guess.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Week of 04/21/2014: No Such Thing as a Bad Run

The hardest part of marathon training for me is to find the balance between active training, getting proper rest, maintaining a good family life, and having a full time job.

By and large since I got into the serious portion of my 2014 Grandma's marathon training, I have been completing all my midweek mileage.  However, this week marked the second time that I have skipped a long run.  This differs from my 2012 TC training, where I did every long run but was notorious for missing out on midweek mileage.

I have reconfigured my long run schedule; fortunately there was still some wiggle room in the ramp up to accommodate missing this week.  But that wiggle room is gone now, and I cannot afford to take any more long runs off.  Hopefully I can complete this training program more or less intact with no further mileage gutting.

Monday 04/21/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
When I woke up this morning I still felt  little beat up from yesterday's 8 miler.  I decided to take a rest and will make up the mileage later in the week.

Tuesday 04/22/2014

Scheduled:  6 Miles, 6x100m sprints
34º, Clear. It felt good to go faster after so many recovery runs and marathon pace tempo runs. I ran the sprints faster than 5k pace (I could not have sustained for 3.1 miles) and breezed through the rest of each mile, coming in at a few seconds under my HMP for each.

I felt very good afterwards - little to no stiffening, knees are good, left foot is good, and right plantar fascia has only minimal discomfort.  Overall I think that physically I am in a good place right now.

Wednesday 04/23/2014

Scheduled:  8 Mile Recovery run
44º, Mostly Cloudy.  A good & uneventful run, accompanied by a beautiful sunrise.

Thursday 04/24/2014

Scheduled: 10 Miles, 6 Mile Tempo @ MP
42º, overcast, light rain.  I ran this midweek long run by the book, with a 6 mile tempo @ marathon pace.

It continues to amuse me that my mood can swing so much over the course of a couple of miles; I of course felt fine during the first 4 easy miles, I felt great for the first 4 miles of the tempo, and then in the last 2 I began to struggle a little bit - I was keeping the pace but it wasn't as effortless as the middle of the run was.  And when something stops being effortless, I am inclined to be less enthusiastic about it.

So it's weird how an otherwise "Good" run can be marred by negative thinking.  For me this is one of the reasons that I run with earbuds & listen to music.  As attractive as it may sound on the surface, even I don't want to be stuck alone with me inside my head for too long.

With the unexpected early retirement of the Asics GT-1000's, I have been left vulnerable on the shoe front - I lucked out today that the hard rain didn't start coming down until after I was finished, and thus will have a dry pair of shoes to use tomorrow.   But my luck cannot hold out forever, so I 'expanded the herd' tonight and pulled the trigger on a pair of Nike Air Pegasus (Last year's model) purchased cheaply on eBay.  I needed another pair of shoes anyway, there was no way that I was going to make it all the way through training and then Grandma's on one pair of shoes.

Friday 04/25/2014

Scheduled: XT (Swimming)
32º, Foggy, Calm.  6 mile Recovery run.

I decided to make up the run that I skipped on Monday.  It was a perfect bookend to yesterday's run:  Yesterday I started out fine, felt great in the middle and felt crappy at the end.  Today I started out crappy, felt fine in the middle and felt great at the end.  I don't get to run in fog very often, so today's run was pretty neat.

Saturday 04/26/2014

Scheduled: 16 Mile Long Run
I took today as a rest.  I woke up late and by the time I had my wits about me there was no way that I would be able to get a 16 miler in before my family was up and moving.  We spent the entire day at the Mall of America, celebrating my son's birthday by letting him go on unlimited rides.  We didn't get home until 10PM; by then it was raining and I had no interest in running both in the dark and in the rain, when my bed was right there and so inviting.

Sunday 04/27/2014

Scheduled: REST
Given the late night (By my tame standards, at least) the night before, I slept in and got my rest today.  I had it half in my head to maybe get out for an easy run in the afternoon for at least some of the mileage that I skipped yesterday.  But by afternoon it was not only raining but thundering as well.  I ignored that fact that I have a treadmill in the basement and took my rest day as planned.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Week of 04/14/2014: A watched pot never boils.

I got in 44 miles this week, and for the first time in 3 weeks, all of my scheduled miles, though not on the days of in the format that I had scheduled them.

It's 9 weeks out from Grandma's; I still have a lot of work to do before then.

Monday 04/14/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
One thing that I've noticed is that with my recovery runs they seem painfully slow.  So slow that it is actually difficult to maintain the pace without constantly looking at my watch and slowing down or taking a break.  So for today's run just for fun I opted to not look at my watch a single time throughout the run.  I could still feel my lap alert buzz so that I'd know when another mile had passed, but I made no effort at all to monitor my pacing.  I just ran at the speed that I felt like.

It was still a recovery run, mind you, so the effort level was very minimal.  Basically I slowed to a walk at the top of every mile to take a pull from the water bottle, and I took a minute or so (Again not looking at my watch) walk break somewhere in the middle of each mile.  The result?  I was within a second of my normal recovery run pace!

I guess it's true what they say how a watched pot never boils.

Tuesday 04/15/2014

Scheduled:  10 Miles, 5 Mile Tempo @ GMP
18º, Clear. At the halfway point I started a 3 mile tempo @ marathon pace, the last 2 I kicked up to HMP.

I use the term HMP loosely, because while I know for fact that I could hold my half marathon pace over a continuous 13.1 mile run, to start with an easy five miles and then turn up the heat like that made the same pace feel cruel and unusual by the end of the run.

It felt good to finish; those are exactly the kind of workouts that non-runners tend to look at only for the physical returns on the investment.   But the value of 'mental toughness' workouts cannot be dismissed.

Wednesday 04/16/2014

Scheduled:  XT (Swimming)
The pool is closed on Good Friday, so I moved my XT workout to today and scheduled a recovery run for Friday morning.  It seems my XT laziness follows me to whatever day I schedule it, as I woke up, could have actually made it to the pool today but instead said, "Forget it" and re-set my alarm for a more reasonable wake up time.  In my defense yesterday's workout was pretty hard and I really did need the rest.  It seems pretty obvious by now that I need two rest days per week, not the one that I have scheduled.

On other (cold) fronts, it's SNOWING today.    Depending on how much of it comes down as rain and/or melts, we could get 3-5".  I have no idea yet how that is going to affect my scheduled tempo run for tomorrow, will have to keep my fingers crossed.

Thursday 04/17/2014

Scheduled: 8 Miles, 6 Mile Tempo @ HMP
We got around 6" of wet, heavy snow yesterday into this morning, forcing me to stay indoors.  Since long treadmill runs drive me nuts I kept it down to 6 miles today with a 5 mile tempo @ HMP.  I definitely take less of a beating on the treadmill and felt surprisingly fresh post-run.  I am seriously considering doing all my speed workouts on the 'mill.

Friday 04/18/2014

Scheduled: 6 Mile Recovery Run
The sidewalks outside were still pretty sloppy, and I wasn't too keen on the idea of another day on the treadmill.

I'll admit it, I slept in and skipped my run today.

Saturday 04/19/2014

Scheduled: 14 Mile Long Run
44º, partly cloudy.  I actually felt better throughout and at the end of this run than I did for the 12 miler the week before.  I ran the first 8 at recovery pace and then the final 6 as a marathon pace tempo.

I stiffened up quite a bit afterward, but the days plans (Easter egg hunts for the kids and what have you) kept me on my feet and moving around for a good portion of the day.  I managed to lay down and rest for an hour or so in the afternoon.  When I got up and after loosening my stiff right plantar fascia, everything was good - I felt "normal."

When I trained for Twin Cities in 2012 the long runs would knock me out for the rest of the day, both physically and emotionally.  So it was a pretty cool feeling to bounce back.

Sunday 04/20/2014 - Happy Easter

Scheduled: REST
Since I took Friday off I decided to get in an 8 mile recovery run in the evening.  It was 75º and sunny, shorts and T-Shirt weather.  It was just a little too far to run on just one water bottle, yet short enough to seem a little silly to use the camelback.  Between the slight dehydration toward the end and yesterday's soreness re-emerging, I was a little uncomfortable by the end of the run.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Week of 04/07/2014: Exhaustion:1, Dread:0

Winter has actually been banished from our lands.  The snow is melted everywhere except for small patches that cling shamefully to the north side of houses.  That is not to say that seasonal afflictions are not still running rampant across our lands; my daughter was good enough to share her cold with me.  The affliction made an attempt to migrate into my lungs, which kept me off the roads for two days this week.  I managed to beat it back, and ended the week on my longest run of the year so far.

Monday 04/07/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
I opted to sleep in in the morning, and with my skipped Friday & Saturday workouts from last week it looked like I was perched to go plunging headlong back into the abyss of laziness.  but the weather today was phenomenal, and I opted to get my run in after work.  It was beautiful running weather, all but the last mile the sun was high enough to keep me warm and my sunglasses on.

I did wear the Asics GT-1000' for this run, and even though things didn't bother me too much during the run, the stiffness the next day convinced me that it is definitely the shoes that have been causing the problem.

Tuesday 04/08/2014

Scheduled:  10 Miles, 8 Mile Tempo @ GMP
I knew as soon as I woke up that running in the Asics yesterday had been a mistake.  It felt like somebody had been working over my right heel and plantar fascia with a pickax while I was sleeping.  I did my gentle stretches and was able to get things down to a dull roar.  I donned my gear, laced up the Nike Lunar glides and headed out the door.

I took it especially easy in the first couple of miles, and allowed everything the time it needed to loosen up.  The plan was to start an 8 mile tempo at the two mile mark but I really didn't feel up to it.   Instead I changed my plan to start the tempo at the 5 mile mark and just make it a 5.  About midway through the third mile I surmised that it was taking a lot more effort than it should have been to hold my pace, so at mile 8 I backed off to recovery pace for the last 2 miles.

I'm not sure how much of it can be chalked up to sore feet and how much to just general crappy feeling from getting over a cold, but in any event it wasn't my best day out there today.  But in the end I did get the run in, and a three mile tempo is better than a zero mile tempo.

Wednesday 04/09/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
As of last night my cough was getting more and more persistent; I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and pulled the plug on my planned run for today.  By this evening I loaded up on Nyquil  & decided to set my alarm for tomorrow and see how I feel in the morning.

Thursday 04/10/2014

Scheduled: 8 Miles, 6 Mile Tempo @ HMP
I woke up at 4AM, ahead of my alarm.  I was still pretty loopy from the cold meds, also I had that tingly feeling that I get in my legs, that in my imagination I equate to the sensation that accompanies the microtears in my muscles knitting themselves back together and getting stronger.  I have no idea if that is what is really going on or not, but it is a nice vision and who am I to argue with positive thinking?

In any event between my buzzing head and my tingling legs, I decided to re-set the alarm, sleep in and skip running this morning.  The plan for the rest of the week is to get in my swim tomorrow morning, my long run in on Saturday and do a makeup recovery run on Sunday.

Friday 04/11/2014

Scheduled: XT (Swimming)
OK so that Nyquil is serious stuff.  Two nights in a row where I took it, woke up once in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and when it was time to actually wake up, was nowhere to be found.  By the time I actually regained consciousness this morning I had been snoozing my alarm for over an hour and I was supposed to already be in the locker room getting ready to swim, not still at home in my bed.

I plan to get back on track with my regularly scheduled long run tomorrow and a makeup run on Sunday.  I haven't decided if that will be a recovery run or to make up the missed tempo run yesterday or not; a lot of that will depend upon how I feel after the long run.

Saturday 04/12/2014

Scheduled: 12 Mile Long Run
47º, Overcast, rainy & windy.  After a couple of days off it felt really good to get back out on the road again.  That temperature was deceptive, I nearly attempted this run in shorts.  But somewhere in the back of my mind I thought to myself about how cold it can get over the course of a long run.  The back of my mind and my ass must be closely connected, because my ass thanked me later.  the rain was very light and didn't bother me much, though with the wind the dampness made things a little uncomfortable, even in tights.

I did somewhat make up the missed Thursday workout insofar as I opted to make the last 4 miles of this run a tempo @ marathon pace.  Strange thoughts permeate my mind during long runs, especially in the later stages.  I had mapped out my course on Google; I knew that it was a 12 mile course.  But somewhere in my head when I got within a mile of home this thought emerged (perhaps more a sense of dread than a thought), that I was only going to cover 11 miles instead of the 12 that I had planned.

As  I got closer and closer to home I started thinking about a trail loop up ahead, that I should hang a right on it & add another mile onto my run to ensure that I covered the distance.  I don't know whether or not I had temporarily lost my faculties due to exhaustion brought on by the tempo run, but I can say for certain that it was the exhaustion brought on by the tempo run that caused me to keep going straight when the trail presented itself.  You could have told me that there was a pot of gold 50 yards down the trail and I wouldn't have turned for it.

Not long after that the lap alarm went off on my watch:  12 miles.  Exhaustion:1, Dread:0.

Sunday 04/13/2014

Scheduled: REST
Earlier in the week I had notions of running a makeup run today.  I certainly woke up early enough to get a run in.  But as I lay in bed doing circles with my feet and checking for aches and pains I determined that my tired feet and ankles would benefit more from the rest than they would from the miles.  So, I stuck with the planned event of the day, which was to rest.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Week of 03/31/2014: Seriously.

Out of base building phase, Tempo runs begin!

Monday 03/31/2014

Scheduled:  5 Mile Recovery Run
46º, Overcast.  This recovery run went quite well - It was my first run in my new Nike Lunarglides.  I don't know if it was the new shoes or all the stretching that I did on my rest day yesterday, but there were no real issues during the run today - nice and smooth the whole way through.  I still look at the soles of those Nikes and wonder how on earth they are going to last for 500 miles; they seem way too soft to survive that long.

Tuesday 04/01/2014

Scheduled:  7 Mile Tempo Run 5 @ HMP
My daughter has been sick again this week so I was up a good chunk of the night with her.  I ended up sleeping in and doing this run in the early evening.  It was nice to run in the sunshine and actually wear sunglasses.  My right heel started acting up mid to late in the run.  I kept my HMP throughout the tempo portion; aside from the foot discomfort it was a good workout.

Wednesday 04/02/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
Right plantar fascia was super tender this morning, even more so than usual.  I did lots of stretching and soul searching, and in the end went out and did this run.  It was slow going (By design) and things loosened up a couple of miles in.  But that right heel never really felt "Good," and tightened up again not long after I finished.

Thursday 04/03/2014

Scheduled: 10 Mile Midweek Long Run
37º, Overcast. It could just be me, but I think that I feel a lot better running in the Nike Lunar glides than I do in the Asics.

Making time for a 10 miler on a workday morning is no small thing for me.  When I turned off the lamp on my side of the bed at 9:30 last night, my wife's eyebrow went up.  She wanted to know why I was turning in so early.  I told her that I planned on getting up at 3:30 for a long run, and the last thing I remember her saying before I drifted off was, "You're nuts."  As  I got dressed in the dark a few hours later, she rolled over, looked at me and stated, "So you are serious." and promptly fell back asleep.

A 10 miler in the dark on a midweek morning is as serious as you can get.  My last marathon experience (The training program and the whole thing) started out with a lot of promise; I had the end in mind, and hung on to that mental imagery up to and well into the race, when my physical limitations finally brought my daydreams crashing down.  Starting is easy; the end is what we make of it.  It is the middle, all the drudgery miles run on lonely roads in the early morning, that allow for those dramatic finish line crossings that we all daydream about.  But to run those middle miles we have to be serious.


Friday 04/04/2014

Scheduled: XT (Swimming)
Old man winter got one last laugh in overnight.  For all I know the pool was open, but I had no interest in getting up and trudging in.  I took it as a rest day instead.

Saturday 04/05/2014

Scheduled: 12 Mile Long Run
Between the standing snow outside and a mild cold that I have been fighting I opted to skip this run.  I adjusted the ramp-up of my subsequent long runs in my plan accordingly. I was briefly tempted to do makeup mileage on the treadmill today and tomorrow but opted against it.

Sunday 04/06/2014

Scheduled: REST

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Week of 03/24/2014: The Point of No Return

Last week of base conditioning; next week off to tempos!  In preparation I actually ran my first tempo this week.  As I begin running longer distances I have been running multiple laps of my shorter courses; in doing so I have noticed a psychological effect that comes from passing a bailout point and realizing that there is nothing to do, but to go forward and complete the run.  Maybe it's just me, but it feels like the miles go by easier after you have passed the point of no return.
My 12:30 GMP for Grandma's is clearly low hanging fruit; I am fine with it though.  5:30:00 will still be a PR time for me, plus it goes hand in hand with my plan of being prepared, enjoying myself and not blowing up on the course.  I didn't accomplish any of those things in the 2012 TCM.
I intend to enjoy Grandma's experience in June and then put it to work to set a more ambitious goal for TCM in October.

Monday 03/24/2014

Scheduled:  5 Mile Recovery Run
10º, Partly Cloudy.  This and the previous (Sunday's) runs went really well from a comfort standpoint; I think that I got away without proper stretching for a long time, and if I continued pushing it I may have injured myself.  Most likely I would have, since even now I have little nagging issues that I could only imagine worsening as I ramp up my miles.

Tuesday 03/25/2014

Scheduled:  8 Miles, 6 Mile Tempo @ GMP
12º, Clear & windy. Ran the first 2 miles nice and slow, for the next 6 I bumped up to my GMP (Goal Marathon Pace) which, in all fairness to runners everywhere, is still pretty darned slow. This run did not kill me.  My 12:30 per mile GMP appears to be extremely do-able at this point, 12 more weeks of training should make it more so.
One challenge that I have faced this winter compared to years past is that I have been running shorter circuits closer to home, doing multiple laps in the case of longer runs.  The nice part is that I can bail out halfway through a run if it is going bad.  The not so nice part is that on runs where I really just need to buckle down and get through them, that bail out point looks awfully tempting.

Such was the case today on the fifth mile when I went past the turn that would lead me back home.  It was cold and windy, and my butt was numb.  It was very tempting to turn in and cut the workout short.  Once I got past the turn I noticed that not only did I feel better, but I realized that I must have been contemplating ditching at some subconscious level for some time.  Even though my butt was still numb, I felt a whole lot better after I had passed the point of no return.

Wednesday 03/26/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
09º, Partly Cloudy.  A beautiful run under a pre-dawn sky. Typical first two mile issues, everything loosened up in the third mile and the run went well from there.

Thursday 03/27/2014

Scheduled: 5 Mile General Aerobic Run
37º, Overcast & drizzle.  What a difference a 30 degree temperature shift makes! No outer shell, no beanie, no balaclava today. Ran in the rain, sloshed in the puddles, thankful that there were no ice patches. I ran the first mile at 12:30 as a warmup, ran the rest sub 12. The shins bothered me a little bit, but no issues on my plantar fascia or my ankles. A day off from running tomorrow to swim and then my long run on Saturday. Great week so far!

Friday 03/28/2014

Scheduled: XT (Swimming)
I skipped my cross training and caught up on sleep this morning. It snowed an inch or two of wet sloppy snow last night and froze up into an icy crust this morning. I am hoping that the sun will melt most of it away prior to tomorrow morning's 10 miler.

Saturday 03/29/2014

Scheduled: 10 Mile Long Run
20º, Clear.  A good morning for a run, tough it took the better part of 3 miles for my shins to loosen up.  There were about 4 nice miles in the middle, before my hip flexors, my hamstrings and my ankles started to tighten up during the last three.  On all my long runs so far this winter I was able to get away with just a 20oz water bottle; today I drained it and was starting to hurt a little by the end.  Will definitely need to start using the camelback on 10+ mile runs, and bring along some nutrition - I wasn't bonking quite yet at the end, but the tank was definitely low.

Sunday 03/30/2014

Scheduled: REST
Nice restful day.  Went for a 2.5 mile walk with the kids.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Week of 03/17/2014: Clever title goes here

I don't have a lot of clever quips about training this week.  I got to bed late a couple of nights midweek, and it caused me to choose between getting enough sleep or my miles in.  Clearly I need to be disciplined enough to do bot, so that is my goal for next week.

Also, I needed to do some body sleuthing to determine the cause of some leg discomfort.  I need to do more stretching (especially calves and hamstrings), and get serious about doing some core strengthening.

Monday 03/17/2014

Scheduled:  4 Mile Recovery Run
25º, Overcast.  The run went fairly well, though it was difficult to stay at recovery pace, my body wants to run about :45 to a minute per mile faster.  I'm glad that I finished the run when I did, as when I left for work freezing rain was coming down.

Tuesday 03/18/2014

Scheduled:  5 Mile General Aerobic Run
I skipped my morning run to catch up on much needed sleep and ended up running this in the evening.  First off, for the fist time in hundreds of uses, my Garmin 610 flaked out on me.  During the first mile I was seeing an average lap pace that would indicate that I was moving around 25 miles per hour, which gradually eased out to a first mile split of 10:41 (Which I knew wasn't right based on my surroundings when the lap alert chimed).  Later when I uploaded my run to Garmin and could see my map I confirmed that the first half mile or so appeared that I was moving via helicopter.  So at first glance I am not impressed with the recent firmware update.

Secondly, I was bothered during much of this run with a tight left shin.  I needed to stop several times to stretch it.  Before mile 2 was done I concluded that my planned 12:00 pace was going to be untenable and even began considering ditching the run and cutting it short.   Thankfully I did not and in mile 4 I started to feel like my normal self.  In the fifth mile I opened it up a little and ran it in 11:40.  There may be people who can just run without a warmup or stretching, but I am not one of those people.  Lesson learned.

Also, conditions for this run were 28º and snowing, the snow just beginning to accumulate.  Maybe not perfect conditions for some, but for me it was a lot of fun - I love running when it's snowing.

Wednesday 03/19/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Recovery Run
I changed this to a rest day and rescheduled this run to Sunday.

Thursday 03/20/2014

Scheduled:  5 Mile General Aerobic Run
I cancelled this run and extended my rest.  Legs felt a lot better today.

Friday 03/21/2014

Scheduled:  XT (Swimming)
Got in a quick 1000 yards in the pool this morning, had an appt. that I needed to get to.
Did my traditional 500 warmup, followed by a 500 cooldown.  No main set.

Saturday 03/22/2014

Scheduled:  8 Mile Long Run
09º, Clear.  It was a beautiful clear day for a long run, though with the slight breeze it was cold enough to send me scampering back into the house for my balaclava before I got started.

I thought that I had been doing a good job of stretching, but the first 2 miles of this run really let me know that I have been neglecting my calves and hamstrings.

Sunday 03/23/2014

Scheduled:  REST
07º, Clear.  I ran a 5 mile recovery run as a makeup to one of the midweek runs that I skipped.  I actually meant to run a 6 but I was about a half mile in when I realized that I had turned on to my 5 mile route instead of going straight on my 6.  The first couple of miles today were much better.

The easy pace plus the added stretching between yesterday and today paid off.  I was feeling good enough by mile 4 that I was considering tacking on a 2 mile loop to work it up to a 7, but in the fifth mile my butt started getting cold.  Since my butt is directly attached to the tight hamstrings that have been wreaking so much havoc on the rest of my legs lately , I decided to call it a wrap before I overdid anything.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Week of 03/10/2014: Back on the Horse

While licking my wounds last Sunday, I re-formulated my training plan and strategy for Grandma's.  Fortunately there is still time to work a plan.  What it requires is a firm commitment to run all my training miles, and to adust my expectations regarding my pace (& ultimately my finish time).  In short I will NOT be averaging 11:30 miles at Grandma's in June.  While I do think that it is possible that I could condition myself to run 12's, I am not sure how much I would enjoy it or what kind of shape I would be in after I finished.

The plan then, is to complete my 'unfinished business' from the 2012 TCM.  I intend to pace at 12:30, finish at 5:30 or better, and most importantly, finish well (All smiles, all wheels on the wagon)  Almost as an omen that this is the right plan, the same 5:30 pacer from the 2012 TCM will be pacing the 5:30 group at 2014 Grandma's.

I can re-evaluate this plan over the coming weeks, there is still time at this point if I really think that my GMP (goal marathon pace) could/should be faster.

Monday 03/10/2014

Scheduled:  REST
I extended my recovery from Saturday's race into Monday.  Overall most pain had subsided but my quads were still bothering me.

Tuesday 03/11/2014

Scheduled:  3 Mile Recovery Run
I ran this one indoors on the treadmill, and I took it extremely slow.  As in I only walked the first and third miles, and the second mile was barely a light jog.  My heartbeat barely got over 100 during the entire thing.  But what is important is that I got some blood flowing down to my sore leg muscles and got them used to the idea f moving again.  They felt pretty good afterward, though the quad pain lingers on.

Wednesday 03/12/2014

Scheduled:  4 Mile Recovery Run
Back outdoors!  18º, Clear.  I took a nice easy run on my oldest route (out and back to a stoplight 2 miles from my house).  The pace was light and easy, which was good considering the number of ice patches that I encountered.

Thursday 03/13/2014

Scheduled:  5 Mile Recovery Run
23º, Partly Cloudy.  Another light and easy paced day.  Even though there were a few clouds out I could still make out a bright red Mars hanging overhead in the pre-dawn sky.  It was really a beautiful time to be outside.  Again, the ice patches require constant vigilence.  Running outdoors this time of the year is not for the careless.

Friday 03/14/2014

Scheduled:  REST
Fridays are normally my swimming days, but this week is spring break and the middle school where I do my lap swimming was closed this week.  I took advantage to get in an extra day of rest.

Saturday 03/15/2014

Scheduled:  6 Mile Long Run
19º, Clear. Again, this is a tricky time of the year to be running outside.  During the daytime the snow & ice patches melt and re-freeze over night; the result is that the surface conditions are never exactly the same two days in a row.  You cannot simply "remember" where the ice is today based on where it was yesterday or two days ago.  So as before, I had to be very careful to watch my footing.  All of this was fine considering that the theme of this week has been very light and easy running.  The surface conditions have actually worked in my favor considering my tendency to run recovery runs at too fast a pace.

Sunday 03/16/2014

Scheduled:  REST
Enjoyable day off sleeping in, with the kids climbing in and joining us before we woke up for good.  A nice time at church and an al around good day.  Back out on the trail tomorrow!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Week of 03/03/2014: Dress Rehearsal

This just in:  Winter sucks!  I hope that spring really is around the corner.

I missed the majority of my workouts this week due to lack of sleep.  My daughter came down with what turned out to be strep throat, and I spent most of my nights laying with her in her bed, tapping her butt and stroking her head, trying to help her get comfortable and stay asleep.  The net of all that was that by morning I was in no mood or condition to work out.

All that and Saturday was my big 10 mile race.  After 3+ weeks of blowing off my training it would have not been a surprise that my performance suffered, but what I experienced was a breakdown just as bad (and perhaps at a micro level worse) than the breakdown in the 2012 TCM.

The question that I am left to ponder is really a simple one - Do I want to continue to undertrain for my events and then fail miserably at them, or am I willing, truly willing, to commit myself to the proper training, so that I can really throw down the best possible effort, and have something besides a black box crash analysis to go over for these race reports.

I better mull it over quickly, as this week I also laid down my money for Grandmas.  I am officially registered for two marathons this year.

Monday 03/03/2014

Scheduled:  4 mile Recovery run
I slept in the morning and ran this on the treadmill in the evening.

Tuesday 03/04/2014

Scheduled:  6 LT (4@HMP)
Skipped.  The evening workout followed by a morning workout thing.  So I slept in the morning and then life got in the way in the evening.

Wednesday 03/05/2014

Scheduled:  4 mile Recovery run
Skipped.  Around 11PM or so my daughter got restless, lots of tossing turning and whimpering.  She wouldn't settle down unless I lay next to her the entire night.  By morning time there was just no way that I was going to get up and run.

I officially threw my hat into the ring and registered for Grandmas today.

Thursday 03/06/2014

Scheduled:  Rest
I had visions of a makeup run, but it just wasn't in the cards.  My daughter was restless and whiny for the entire night so I basically slept right up to the point that I had to get up for work.

Friday 03/07/2014

Scheduled:  XT:  Swim
Third straight night of restless kid syndrome.  by the time 4:30 rolled around I said screw it and went back to sleep.

Saturday 03/08/2014

Scheduled:  Race - 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile
I blew up.  And then I died.  Race report here.

Sunday 03/09/2014

Scheduled:  4 mile Recovery run
I was still in a lot of pain after yesterday's debacle.  It was a day to rest, lick wounds and re-assess the Grandmas training plan.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Race Report: 2014 100% Irish for a Day 10 Mile

I got up around a quarter after 6, my breakfast was 2 english muffins with butter & jam, and a cup of coffee.  I drove down to the race site, parked about 2 miles away in a church parking lot.  I was really surprised with the road conditions, they were icy and rutted.  I made my way to the starting area, made use of the portapotties (they were plentiful), and enjoyed pre-race hot chocolate.  The sweats drop off was at the bandshell, and as I removed my warmups I got the first hint that the wind coming across the lake might be a problem.  Fortunately that omen never came to pass, as the sun got up higher, and the wind stayed mostly calm the weather conditions were never really a factor.  In the starting area it was obvious in my vicinity most people were running with one or more people that they knew.  As I typically do I kept quiet and just observed others.  Everyone was in good spirits, and it seemed like a good bunch to race with.

Once the gun went off it took almost 90 seconds to cross the starting line.  A lot of start/stopping, in typical Minnesota rush hour fashion.

The first mile felt pretty good, I intended to run it around 11:00 but ended up just over 10:30.  "All good," I thought to myself, if it stays this way I'll just run even splits throughout the race."  Split - 10:38

The second mile has a couple of hills on it, and I made a mental note that this stretch was going to really suck on mile 8 when we come back around Harriet for a second lap.  Also, I noticed a strange ever s slight numbness in my left foot, almost like it was going to sleep.  It didn't hurt, it wasn't bothering me, it just felt a little weird.  If I had the benefit of knowing that this was foreshadowing, I would have taken the time to stop and re-tie my shoe.  Split - 10:33

The third mile was where the first signs of trouble showed up.  My heart rate was still up from those hills in mile 2.  I dropped off my pace a bit, but my heart was still going 160.  Split - 10:58

Miles 4-6 it was very obvious that my primary goal of a 1:45 race were not in the cards, and I switched to my fallback goal of 2:00.  But as each mile went by my times were going up, and it was not looking good.  Around this time I began talking to some of the people around me.  The one nice thing that I have found about running off the back of a race is that the nicest people are usually back there Average split - 12:10

Miles 7-9 is where the wheels really came off the bus.  I could no longer even maintain an easy jog, recovery run pace.  I took walk breaks to get my heart rate down.  I took walk breaks to go up hills (I was right, those hills on mile 8 sucked) I took walk breaks to rest from walk breaks.  In the 9th mile I felt a sharp twinge in my left ankle that lasted for a couple of steps and then went away as mysteriously as it appeared.  The numbness in my left foot from mile 2 had been constant and accepted by my brain as "Normal" for the time being.  Even at this point I did not link the two. Average split - 13:30

In Mile 10 I caught up with one of the runners I had befriended earlier in the race.  She was also struggling (It was her first time covering 10 miles in a single run at all, much less in a race).  I was determined to finish the last mile running the entire way, so I pulled this runner along with me, talking her through.  I countered her negative talk with positive talk (which actually helped me tremendously, because I had been having some pretty negative internal dialogue for the past hour at that point).  About a half mile to go I started to get a shooting pain in my left knee.  I sucked it up and we crossed the line together.  I wished her well and went off to get my warmups.  Split - 13:07

  • My plan was to run a 1:45 race - average 10:30 per mile throughout.  Start with a slower first mile, make up the difference in miles 2-3, and then run even 1:30 splits the rest of the way.  My fall back strategy (Assuming that I couldn't hold the pace) was to run a 2 hour race (Average pave 12:00 per mile) 
  • I was not able to hold to this strategy - it was apparent only three miles into the race.  I switched to my fallback strategy, and for a mile or two thought that I had a chance of achieving it.  But as I started needing more and more frequent walk breaks (See 'Conditioning' below) it slipped away from me.  By the 7th mile I accepted it for the train wrek that it was.   
  • I ended up over 18 minutes off my primary goal and almost 4 minutes over even my fallback goal. 
  • There is no doubt whatsoever that I had seriously cut back my miles in the weeks leading up to this race - I was not ready to maintain my goal pace over the distance.
  • I could not get my heart rate to settle down, it was redlining throughout the race, even after I had conceded my pace.  I had to take ever more frequent walk breaks and nurse myself to the finish line like an overheating car.  The worst was when I would go past race volunteers posted along the course and get a "Lookin' good!"  from them.  I don't think that they were intentionally being patronizing, but all in all it was pretty embarrassing since I was doing anything but 'looking good.'
  • Hindsight tells me that a combination of my calf muscles being too tight and my shoes improperly laced created a chain reaction of events resulting in irritation of the tendons on the top of my foot.  Adjusting for my foot caused misalignment in my knee that over the distance resulted in the shooting pain. 
  • The week leading up to the race my daughter came down with what turned out to be strep throat.  I got poor sleep the entire week as I cared for her at night.  While I have not gotten sick, there is still 100% certainty that I was exposed to the virus.  So to my mind sleep deprivation and a busy immune system definitely contributed to the breakdown.
  • If I am serious about running two marathons and running them "well" this year, I definitely need to stick to my training plan and get my miles in with no more excuses.  Also, I don't have specific hill workouts planned.  These need to happen, because those hills were not even all that big but to me they were killers.
  • For the conditions I went with a full beanie, light fleece gloves, last year's long sleeve 5K jersey over a Nike pro combat hyperwarm long sleeve shirt, tights, Nike running socks and my Asics GT-1000's.  
  • I was fortunate in that it was not very windy, as my gear was not wind resistant.  A good add to the list above would have been a light windshell to keep my torso and arms warm.
  • I am convinced that at least part of my leg issues can be attributed to the top laces on my left shoe being cranked down too hard over the top of my foot.  I will be looking into lacing alternatives for my shoes.

The two mile walk back to the car was a nightmare.  The top of my left foot still hurt, my left knee still hurt, and the plantar fascia on both feet felt like they were on fire.  All that plus I was stiffening up.  The next day I had DOMS in my quads.  All said I really need to look into my conditioning plan.

There are a few things that I would have done differently - Gotten my miles in, stretched properly, paid attention to what my body was telling me earlier on.  As for whether or not I will ever do this race again, my answer has to be "Maybe." It is definitely a special time and place of the year.  I find myself wondering how I would have felt about the day if I had just run the 5K and really opened it up.  As for how it helps me to prepare for the next event on my calendar (Grandmas), it served as an eye-opener.  I need to re-asses my race plan, ensure that I am able to get my miles in and get to the start line prepared.  I don't like blowing up in races nd would prefer not to have it happen ever again.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Week of 02/24/2014: National Rest Week

In response to how good the rest at the end of last week felt and the just plain ridiculous amount of snow that we have been getting, I declared this week a "National week of rest."  In doing so I am focused on getting my nightly routine (& thus my nightly sleep quantities) back on track, as well as letting my feet get a reprieve from the pounding.

Next week will be a moderate week ending in Saturday's 100% Irish for a day 10 miler.  I am not where I hoped to be speed wise, but I have no doubt that I can cover the distance.

Also, this week I decided not to do the 2014 Blaine Triathlon.  The driving reason is that with all the focus on running events this year, I will not be properly conditioned for the swim or bike legs.  I'm not great at triathlon to begin with, and it's not worth the cost of the entry fees or the wetsuit rental to suck at something even worse than I normally do.

Monday 02/24/2014

Scheduled:  REST

Tuesday 02/25/2014

Scheduled:  REST

Wednesday 02/26/2014

Scheduled:  REST

Thursday 02/27/2014

Scheduled:  REST

Friday 02/28/2014

Scheduled:  XT:  Swim
Got in 2000 yards in the pool.  Main set:  2x: 50-100-200-100-50

Saturday 03/01/2014

Scheduled:  REST
I got out and cross country skied a little under three miles with my son.

Sunday 03/02/2014

Scheduled:  Rest day

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Week of 02/17/2014: 'Snowmageddon' continues

We just keep getting snow dumped on us.  This week was just plain ridiculous, I was forced inside all week.  Later in the week I opted to skip my long run and nurse some wounds.

Monday 02/17/2014

Scheduled:  6 mile Recovery run
Winter drags on here in MN, we got several inches of snow this morning.  I kept it inside and ran my RR on the mill.  6 12 minute miles really stretched my limits of tolerance when it comes to treadmill boredom

Tuesday 02/18/2014

Scheduled:  8 mile LT 4 @ HMP
Stuck inside on the treadmill.  Actual mileage was a 6 mile run with 2 @ 5K pace.

One of the problems with treadmill running (At with least my particular machine) is that the controls make it difficult  to dial in the pace, especially once you are on the 'move.'  As such, I tend to deal in whole MPH numbers rather than fractions.  For example, the top end of recovery pace or the bottom end of Aerobic for me is a 12:00 mile, or a 5MPH pace.  the next setting up on my treadmill is a 6MPH or 10:00 mile pace.  That is only 15 seconds per mile slower than my 5K pace.  My half marathon pace or ideal tempo pace is therefore some fraction in between 5 and 6 MPH - I'm thinking somewhere in the 10:45-11:00 range.

Because I can really only easily deal with whole numbers, I ran my tempo portion at a 10:00 per mile pace.  I cut the tempo portion short at 2 miles instead of the planned 4.  I was still doing OK aerobically (I did not go over 150 bpm) but I noticed that physically I was starting to get a little wobbly and was requiring more and more noticeable balance correction.  I didn't want to get shot off the back at 10MPH, so I pulled the plug at 2 miles and ran my warm down at a 12:00 pace.

Another thing that I have noticed is that my treadmill's speed seems somewhat responsive to my input - what I mean is, that the first two miles that I ran at a 12:00 pace were slightly faster than 12:00 miles, and the last two that I ran after I was fatigued from the tempo run were closer to 12:15 miles.  Either me or the machine, it seems that one of us gets tired over time and runs slower.

Wednesday 02/19/2014

Scheduled:  Rest
I took it, and it felt good.

Thursday 02/20/2014

Scheduled:  9 mile GA run
Continued my rest theme into this morning.  Heavy snowfall predicted, forcing any evening run inside onto the treadmill.  Arrrrrgh.

I did my full 9 on the mill.  Just to break up the boredom I ran the first 1/4 of each mile @ 10:00 pace and then backed off to 12:00 pace rest intervals for an average pace of 11:30 per mile throughout the run.

When I 'trained' for the 2012 TCM I did not do a lot of mid distance runs and virtually no tempo or speed work.  While I have not experienced the necessary success that will allow me to rightly say that that approach is a recipe for disaster, my 2012 TCM performance certainly backs such a claim.  What running those 9 intervals taught me was that the first 6 were really only a necessary base, I needed to break myself down to a point where I had to run the last three in a fatigued state - Those last three 440's were the real workout.  Learning to run in distress and ignore discomfort.

I also discovered that my treadmill will stop when the timer reaches 99:59.  :-/

Friday 02/21/2014

Scheduled:  XT:  Swim
We got around 10" of snow overnight.  Schools closed and thus the pool.  That was OK, because I was wiped out from last night's run.

Saturday 02/22/2014

Scheduled:  11 mile Long run
Took a rest - plantar fascia and right heel bothering me.

Sunday 02/23/2014

Scheduled:  Rest day

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Week of 02/10/2014: Our winter of discontent

I got a lot more miles in this week, but it didn't stop me from petering out later on in the week.  The missing workout thing is still early enough on in the program that I can bounce back from it, but the trend started in January is not a good thing.  I really need to buckle down.  Skipping a swim in favor of rest here and there is not going to kill me, but not getting my miles in is a recipe for a repeat performance of the 2012 TCM.

I'm really getting sick of the sidewalk conditions around home, and more to the point the association's lack of diligence in keeping them clear.  We pay good money for a service that is not being provided in a timely fashion.  I think that most residents are shellshocked at this point and staying indoors and thus are indifferent.  I can't wait to be able to run on a clear path again.

Monday 02/10/2014

Scheduled:  4 mile Recovery run
I ran my scheduled recovery run this morning.  It was -11º & cloudy, I ran it @ 12:15 pace overall.  What really happened was that I ran the first 2 miles at or slightly under 12:00 and I ran the second half around 12:30.

The cold didn't bother me much, but my body required a lot of convincing (about 1.5 miles of it) before it acquiesced and accepted the fact that the run was going to happen whether it liked it or not (Yay, endorphins)

Tuesday 02/11/2014

Scheduled:  7 mile R+s 5x 100m strides
Ran my workout as scheduled/designed.  7.27 miles, 12:20 overall pace.  I have discovered that if you find yourself outside in the dark at 5:30 AM running 7 miles when it's -12º, it really isn't all that much crazier to toss in 7x100M striders.

The only real problem with running in the cold is that after 5 miles my base layers are pretty well soaked, and it's only then that the cold actually bothers me.  Not the type of cold experienced by the majority of people who just bolt between their car and a door for a few seconds, but a profound cold that really hits your core.  The kind where when hot shower water hits you, it's room temperature by the time it runs down your legs - know what I'm talking about?

Wednesday 02/12/2014

Scheduled:  6 mile Recovery run
16°, cloudy with light snow.  Almost a 30° difference between this morning and yesterday.  Nevertheless I felt clunky all through this run:  Tight in the knees and ankles at the beginning and an added bonus of soreness in my lower back right above the hips.   As per usual, the ankle and knee stuff went away after I got warmed up, but the back thing was still bothering me late in the run.

I will remember to include the affected area in my light stretching  that I do throughout the day I don't really set aside a designated stretching time or routine that I follow religiously.  I tend to do it more ad-hoc.

The sidewalk conditions were still bad, and the new snow didn't make them any better.  So to error on the side of caution, I listened to my body and kept it down to a near walking 12:45 pace.

Thursday 02/13/2014

Scheduled:  8 mile GA run
My body said "Go back to sleep," this morning, and I listened.  I will try to get in a makeup run on Sunday.  Not sure how that will go considering the distance I intend to cover on Saturday.

Friday 02/14/2014

Scheduled:  XT:  Swim
Another "Go back to sleep" morning, so I did.

Saturday 02/15/2014

Scheduled:  10 mile Long run
19º, Cloudy, light snow.  Recovery run @ 13:00 pace.  I tried the old Sauconys to mix things up, this was apparently a mistake.  My left shin really acted up and took three miles to settle down.  By that time I had already made up my mind to cut the run short at 5 miles, regroup and try again tomorrow.

Sunday 02/16/2014

Scheduled:  Rest day
Once again I observed my Sunday tradition of late & kept it a rest day.  Weather-wise the temps were OK but I slept in in the morning, got caught up in things in the afternoon, and at least for the forseeable future, sunday nights are 'Walking Dead' nights.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Week of 02/03/2014: Commited

This was a week of commitment - two major races registered for!

I'm still having trouble getting my workouts in - the cold has had something to do with that as well as my need for shuteye.  It's hard to believe that just a couple of years ago I was able to function on just 5 hours or less of sleep per night.

Lastly my weight has poked up north of 240 again.  Obviously I would like to reverse that trend.  

Monday 02/03/2014

I pulled the trigger today and registered for both the 2014 Twin Cities Marathon in October and the 100% Irish for a day 10 miler in March

I skipped my scheduled 6 mile recovery run in the morning, ran an easy 3.11 on the treadmill tonight.  It was only half the mileage that I wanted to get in for the day, but something is better than nothing, and it allowed me to get to bed before midnight.

Tuesday 02/04/2014

Another 6 mile RR scheduled for this morning, took matters outside and ended up running 4.50 of it.  timing wise my pace was only a few seconds per mile faster than last night's treadmill run, but based on my heart rate, this was an aerobic run all the way.

It was -02º and thus a little nippy. Far and away the worst part was the part at the beginning that I spent standing around and waiting for my Garmin to find the stupid satellites. Also, I was just in a beanie, so for the first 3/4 of a mile or so I was really wishing that I had worn my balaclava, though things eventually settled down. All things being equal if it is that cold or worse, I think that I would go for the second layer on my legs.

Wednesday 02/05/2014

My daughter woke up in the middle of the night (around 3AM) asking for a glass of water.  Heading back to bed afterward I could just feel it in my bones that getting back up at 4:30 for my scheduled 6 mile recovery run just wasn't in the cards, so I skipped it.  I had things to do in the evening, so a makeup run didn't happen.

Thursday 02/06/2014

Got in my scheduled 5 miles this morning, despite it being -09º.  The sidewalks were clear only in the most rudimentary sense, in that the snow on them wasn't as deep as the boulevard.  Still there was about 3/4" of packed snow on them, which gave just enough to replicate that dream we all have where we are being chased by some terror, and we cannot run away fast enough.  In this case I wasn't being chased but nevertheless I could not run fast enough, plus it took more effort to do so.  All the same it was a delightful run, and the predawn skies were beautiful.

Friday 02/07/2014

Skipped my scheduled swim for this morning (Actually slept through alarm to be more accurate).

Saturday 02/08/2014

I went snowshoeing with my son at William O'Brien state park in the morning - it took us quite some time to cover the 1.6 mile loop but I was just happy to get him out for his first outing on a pair of snowshoes:

Did a run in the evening - Started at the Lake Harriet bandshell, did a lap around lake Harriet followed by a figure eight around Calhoun & Lake of the Isles.  10.1 miles total, I call the route "The Ant," maybe you can see why:

Sunday 02/09/2014

I considered doing a makeup run today but in the end stuck with the planned rest.

Sunday night weigh-in:   240.2