Tuesday, September 29, 2009

9/28 Run - And On The 10th Day He Ran

I had originally planned to get back on the road and test out my abdominals on Thursday. By Wednesday, I decided to push it to Saturday. Not due to any aches or twinges in particular, but just the realization that if I went out early and aggravated things I'd be deadlined for longer.

I slept in Saturday and then spent 6 hours on a ladder priming the north side of the house. It was enough of a workout I deferred this Sunday. Then slept in again on Sunday and then spent another 6 hours on a ladder painting the north side of the house. :)

Finally got out about 9 on Monday. ~50 degrees, and drizzling as I warmed up, rain stopped in the first half mile though. Rainy season is back. Going to have to get used to it again. :)

No twinges, or anything that concerned me during the run; which was a nice easy out and back on 35th (so as flat as I can get) for 3 miles and then a slightly hillier out and back for a 4th mile. Left side of my abs was definitely tired by the end of the run, which I tried to run at 143 bpm (75% MHR) or under to make sure I kept the intensity level down. Abs felt stiffer than usual, kind if like a healing muscle I guess...

I'll only run every other day this week while I see how things are healing, then start trying to add some mileage next week. Wednesdays run should be between 4 and 6, depending on how things feel.

4.02 miles in 40:53 (10:09/mile) @ 143 bpm avg.

And, before I forget again, I must thank Johan, with Archie Grand, for an absolutley fabulous new notebook. These are really fun. Drop by the site and take a look!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's An Abdominal Strain, Yay!

Got a quick visit to the doc (ARNP, actually) yesterday, and she says it's just a mild abdominal strain, no apparent hernias. For paranoia's sake she's going to do some blood work. Apparently the pancreas is in there on that side, for example. I was super worried that since I had had a hernia already that I might be predisposed to more, she says that's not the case.

When she palpated the abdomen the super sore spot was the spot in the upper left that wigged out on the run. Some mild soreness in other places but nothing serious.

She said "take it easy" and to "use my best judgement" as to when I start running again. I'm going to try to be a mature adult, and not just an endorphin addict. :) I'm going to try a slow 3 miler on Thursday. I seem to be getting better each day, so better safe than sorry.

Trying not to plan the rest of the year until I know better how long this is going to take to heal. I'm thinking that if can run Thursday, I'll spend some as yet unknown amount of time running every other day, possibly increasing my mileage as it progresses. We'll see what that means for Carkeek and Seattle. It may mean that I place my speed goals on the back burner and simply finish each one, assuming my abdominals cooperate.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

9/18 "Run" - aka Holy Crap, what the hell is that!

Last run before Tunnel Medal Marathon on Sunday. I've had mildly sore abs all week, between the tempo runs and the Workout at Work program, so between that and the shin thing, I took Thursday off and decided to run Friday.

9:30 run, low 60s, and the first 1/4 mile is just fine, then the ab soreness starts to kick in. By 3/4 of a mile I'm sore but working through it, by 1 1/4 I'm wondering where the eff the knives came from. By 1.6 I'm walking the 1.5 miles home, and trying not to take deep breaths.

Most of the pain was high in my left abdomen, above the belly button, but below the ribs. It's pretty much gone, but I'm pretty sore, and I get some aches and pains lower on either side. I'm hoping it's not another hernia, but that's probably just me being paranoid.

After a sanity check from Val, I'm bailing out of Tunnel Medal Marathon. Better to listen to my body, and baby it a little. If everything heals up and it's nothing serious, we'll see if Pigtails offers her December marathon and try for that instead. I'm bummed since I was really looking forward to a low key, 'social' marathon. Better safe than sorry, and I hadn't paid for it yet.

1.6 miles in 15:50

9/16 Recovery Run

Another not so great recovery run on Wednesday. A little faster than it should have been, since it felt better for my lower legs to run faster than it did slowly.

Noting spectaculary interesting to report about it.

Counter-clockwise around the block, comfortable temps, about 10:00 at night.

6.17 miles in 57:30 (9:19/mile) @ 147 bpm

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

9/15 Tempo Run

Same route as the last two, clockwise around the 'block' starting at 110th.

Got out very late, 10pm-ish. Val and I were talking about her health, and fitness, and Biggest Loser, Kaitlyn, etc. All over the pace. :) I had to force myself out the door, as I have had to do for all of these tempo runs, but was glad I did.

My shins finally seem to be healing and cooperating again, no major aches or pains, during the run or after, only some minor stuff coming down the hill on 100th (which just confirms I need to work on my hill running form).

Pushed hard, and was able to pull the average pace for the tempo component only 2 seconds off the max I'm supposed to be running these. Good improvements in just a few weeks. I think another few weeks of this, and them maybe add a mile to the distance for the tempo run.

Which begs the question: when do I increase my pace? I've picked the pace range based on McMillan's recommendations from my last 10K time. If I don;t want to race to check my 'settings' when do I bump the pace? As usual, more research required.

6.19 miles in 51:04 (8:15/mile) @ 158 bpm avg

9:09 @ 140

7:51 @ 161
7:46 @ 163
7:50 @ 165
7:48 @ 168
--7:49/mile @ 164 average for tempo

8:58 @ 154

0.19 - 9:09/mile @ 162

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

9/13 Long Run

I know I've asked myself this before, but when am I supposed to consider a run a "long run". :) I don't have the energy to dig through my archives and see what I said last time. I'm going to say this one was. :) Not at 3 hours yet, but it was a lot of work.

Out on the road at around 6:15. I thought the temp was a little cool, and confirmed that when I passed the billboard at the church declaring it was 50 degrees at mile 1. It was 64 ~2:20 later, on the way back in. (The temp for the day maxed out at 84 that I saw, glad I ran early. :))

Ran this unfueled again, and it went much better than last week, even with the longer distance. I think I was probably towards then end of my reserves at around 16 or so, but was able to push on through it. Don't know if I'll go much further unfueled. I think I've proved to myself that I can do it, and established a sane distance for it. I need to work on fueling at the new pace too. I had no interest in GUs and water consumption was a challenge again. My stomach just didn't really 'feel' it.

Really felt the last few miles in my larger muscle groups, quads, hamstrings, glutes, and especially my core. I'm glad I've started the "Planks at Work" program. I think it will help. Skipped doing them on Monday since I was still sore from the run. Really had to push through to keep the paces up for these last few miles.

Val brought up the idea of BCAAs for aid in recovery again. Need to reexplore that. I vaguely remember that there was some thought that it should help endurance athletes, just like it does weightlifters. More research required. Again. :)

How long is normal for a horses tail? I passed a horse property, and one of the horses had the longest tails I think I've ever seen. (Not that I've seen a lot.) All the way down to its 'calves' (whatever the correct term is...). Well groomed, but long.

What is it with kids and fashion these days? Saw a girl crossing the street, in 84 degree weather. In short-shorts and flip-flops. And a sweatshirt. Zipped up. WTF?

Interestingly the heartrates for this run were clustered in 3 very distinct ranges that I don't think correlate exactly to paces. I noticed a similar behavior on Saturdays run. The fact that the first 5 miles averaged 143 bpm @ 9:16/mile is amazing. I couldn't have come close to that pace a few weeks ago at that HR. It's probably a good thing that I've increased the intensity a little, I think it's encouraging some improvements. My best pace at that HR range when running <=143bpm was something like 9:45/mile.

miles 1-5:9:16 @ 143
miles 6-13: 9:12 @ 152
miles 14-17: 9:05 @ 159

17.34 in 2:39:07 (9:10/mile) @ 151 bpm avg


The fine folks a POM Wonderful offered me a case of their juice to try a few weeks ago, and I'm a little behind. :)

POM wonderful is a 100% Pomegranate Juice. It has all sorts of wonderful anti oxidant effects, loads of vitamins, etc. Their site covers it all. It was a hit with all three members of the household. The flavor is very unique, and for me the only way to describe it is something like a blend of strong Grape juice and Cranberry juice. but not quite. :)

Very tasty, but we've knocked out almost all juices from our diets as we try to control the calories. Kaitlyn liked it, but it's not a swap for her favorite, apple juice. :) Thanks POM. Great product, and once we work through what we have, we'll probably buy some more. :) If you're a juice person, get a small bottle and give it at try.

Cholesterol and Running

I had my annual with my cardiologist on Friday, and that made for a very good day. It was nice to see some confirmation that all the health benefits that running, exercise, weight loss, etc... are supposed to give you are occurring.

I can only quote the doc on last year's number (after only a few months of running) but then my HDL (good cholesterol) was 139 (> 140 is desired). This time it was 54!!!! Running and 6 Fish Oil horse pills a day, apparently total cholesterol was 145 (well under the 200 maximum), and LDL (bad cholesterol) was 79. Admittedly this is with the help of Vytorin, but I've got some pretty crappy genetics to fight here.

This stuff will save your life. I got off blood pressure meds after 6 months of running. Hard to argue with that. Hard to argue with the following numbers, too.

The numbers are before I started running and losing weight ((8/27/07), and Friday (9/11/09), both with Vytorin.

target 8/27/07 9/11/09
Total Cholesterol: <200 148 145
Triglycerides: <150 146 63
HDL (good) >40 37 54
LDL(bad) <100 82 79
Risk Ratio <4.0 4.0 2.69

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Upcoming Races

I realize I haven't been mentioning my race plans, because I didn't really have any, other than Seattle, so I thought I'd update things. So I was looking at my training calendar last Thursday, and I realized that if I ran the races I had planned/was considering I could qualify for the Marathon Maniacs.

So here's the plan:

Next weekend (20 September) I'll be running the Tunnel Medal Marathon. I was considering the Oktoberfest Marathon 2 weeks later as I looked at the calendar but as a Nic pointed out when I asked him and Betsy about Maniac membership: hotel + $95 vs. $25. And it still falls in my 90 day goal window for the Maniacs.

Kind of a spur of the moment thing. Surprisingly I'm not particularly worried about it. I'm just going to run it as a long training run, not 'race' it. I figure it eats up my goal mileage for the weekend, all in one day. :)

On Halloween, I'm going to try my hand at my first 12 hour race, the Carkeek 12 Hour. The same pair of endorphin dealers above suggested the race on Facebook, and well... I'm just a sucker. :)

Val's cool with it, but her response could be best paraphrased as: "Cool, go run your legs off. Then come home and take your daughter Trick or Treating." :) She is encouraging me to go the entire 12 hours though. It's all about the relentless forward motion. The course is a ~2 mile loop with 430 feet of gain per loop, so it's pretty tough. My goal is to do the whole 5:1 run:walk walk the uphills thing, as long as I can, and then switch to whatever keeps me moving to get as much mileage as I can. I'd like to keep the Run:Walk interval and pace relatively high for the 'marathon' and possibly my first ultra at 50K. Anything after that is gravy.

I need to get out to Carkeek Park for some practice runs, but scheduling has been a pain. I really need to figure out if I need to need some trail shoes for this, and if I do I need to get them broken in. I also need to look at a different, thicker, jacket instead of my super bright windbreaker. I suspect the weather may be a little less than comfortable.

The final run of the cycle, at least for 2009 will be the Seattle Marathon. I'm training for a 3:45 finish, since all my other races say I should be able achieve that. Hopefully Carkeek doesn't mess with this goal too much.

And then next year I'm pretty locked in on doing the Mount Si 50 Miler in April.

9/12 Medium Long Run

Don't remember what the excuse for not running Thursday was, but I deferred it till Friday. Than on Friday evening, after fighting with my iPhone for an hour trying to get it synced and some new tunes loaded, I realized it was 9:45. And I still needed to run. And I needed to get up at 6 so I could do my Saturday run.

So I bagged it. And then decided that to heck with it. If I can't my mileage during the week, I'll just do it during the weekends. So Saturday is 14 now. :) Sunday might be 17 instead of 14, we'll see.

Go out a little late between waiting for my intestinal tract to wake up, and then fiddling with Training center and Sports Tracks trying to decide if I should try a slightly different route. On the road at mid 60s at about 6:45.

The first 5 or 6 miles of the run weren't the most fun I've ever had on two legs. Hard to keep my pace, shins ached, just off my feed. But once I crossed some threshold, my shins stopped sniveling and everything started working properly. Ran through Mill Creek backwards, and had to do the upper loop twice, which was kind of neat since they are finally finishing the paving and sidewalk on Seattle Hill Road, so I got to watch some of that as I ran by.

Last two miles I sped up, as I seem to do on most of the long runs. I decided to not fight it and just let it flow. I thought I was running close to GMP (Goal Marathon Pace) for those two miles (8:45, 8:40). Not so much. Actual GMP is 8:34. Maybe next time. :)

Hauled a long a couple of GUs, but didn't need them. Probably not drinking enough on the run, I'm coming back in with bottles with water in them. A lot of it is related to the need to pee at mile 7. :)

14.2 miles in 2:09:55 (9:08/mile) @ 153 bpm

Been pretty tired today, both from run and long week, so it's been pretty lazy. Lots of playing outside, and I took Kaitlyn with me to Borders to pick up the new book "The Runner's Body", by the guys who do The Science of Sport blog. Also snagged "the New Rules of Lifting" (we have NROL for Women for Val, great book on strength training. Also picked up a copy of Total Immersion, for when I get back into the swimming thing.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

9/9 'Recovery' Run

After last week's self induced unpleasantness I decided to be a little more sane, and kept my pace a bit lower (Long Run pace (9:04-10:04), tending towards Easy Run (9:04-9:34)) and to just run the much less hilly, albeit boring, out and back on 35th.

I probably should have run this more slowly, but it actually hurt more to run slowly. If I sped up to around 9:30 or so the feeling that someone was beating my shins with baseball bats subsided to a dull numbness that allowed me to get the mileage in.

I managed to catch almost every light that I could on this run, which was especially unpleasant as my calves would tighten back up, and then starting running would aggravate the shins until things worked themselves out again.

So all in all, a fairly unpleasant run. Good psychological training for the last 10K of the marathon I suppose. :|

What this has identified with some over thinking, is that the problem is not really the increased intensity, or mileage. It's lack of stretching and supporting training. I briefly considered that maybe I should switch to a cross training day after Tempo Tuesday to recover. Which isn't a horrible idea, necessarily, but it doesn't address the root cause of the problem.

Which as far as I can tell is classic shin splint issues, weak muscles in the front of the lower leg, and over tight muscles in the calf. Possibly combined with oddball form issues from poor core strength.

While I admit that going back to my workouts is a necessity, it's just not going to happen for a bit longer due to time constraints. But... I can use my foam roller twice a day again, and more importantly I can do front planks, which both work my core, and stretch my calves.

So, until I can get back to the gym regularly, and possibly beyond, I'm going to turn into one of 'those' people. The crazy workout/health people you work with. I've got an Outlook reminder every hour on the half hour. I'm going to do about 2 minutes total of SOMETHING. So far today it's been 1 minute front planks, followed by 20 pushups. Calves already feel looser. We'll see how long I can keep it up. :)

6.19 miles in 1:00:33 (9:46/mile) @ 143 bpm
(A little lower, first mile was 9:21, all others were between 9:40 and 10:04)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

9/8 Tempo Run

An evening run on Tempo Tuesday. On the road ~9:30. Weather was nice and pleasant, low 60s.

I'm planning in just rerunning last week, without the shin pain and long run bonk I hope. :)

Actually hit 49 bpm for a sample period standing at the light waiting to start. So much for being HR elevated in the evenings. :)

Run was really good despite some mild fears it wouldn't be. Almost identical to last weeks run as far as total time, even with a more controlled cooldown mile. Paces were more consistent as well.

The cooldown mile was more painful than the fast running. Downhill really aggravated my shins, and the slower pace seemed to let me cool down and get achy and sore. A bit frustrating.

6.17 miles in 51:52 (8:19/mile) @ 158 bpm avg

9:08 @ 143

7:53 @ 163
7:50 @ 163
7:56 @ 166
7:49 @ 168
--7:52/mile @ 165 average for tempo

9:11 @ 150
0.17 - 9:10 @ 159

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

9/6 Medium Long Run

On the road a touch earlier to account for the extra mileage. But not much. :) Got started around 6:45. Around 55 and a light rain. Headed out around Mill Creek, the 'right' direction. :) For whatever reason, this is the direction I prefer on this route.

Not that it helped. :) Apparently, dinner the day you run 11, before you run 14, should be something more significant than half an Auntie Anne's pretzel, and 10 Mrs. Field's Chocolate Chip Nibblers. :) My Mom was over visiting and kicked Val and I out on a date to see Harry Potter. Scheduling messes with lunch, movie times, etc meant that we ate poorly. :)

First 6 miles or so were right on pace (9:11/mile average) (with 2 a touch over (downhills)). About mile 4 or 5 I started fighting a cram in my left hip flexor (again), that lasted for 3 miles or so. And then I hit the wall. And slowed down. :) Which probably helped the hip flexor, come to think about it.

If I had brought nutrition, I might have been able to fuel my way out of it, but I haven't needed it for the 10 milers, and didn't figure I'd need it for this run. Not only that, all the GUs were up in the closet in the guest room, and waking my Mom up didn't seem very nice. :)

Bruce pointed out that in addition to fueling issues, the cold and wet may have affected things too, by increasing my need for fuel to stay warm. Good lesson in preparedness. That being said, even after the bonk, I was able to stay in the target range for long runs (9:04-10:04), so that's good. :) Last 8 miles averaged 9:36/mile.

14.22 miles in 2:14:04 (9:25/mile) @ 155 bpm

9/5 Medium Long Run

Saturday's run was pretty uneventful other than it being the first run in the rain for a long time. Welcome to training for a late fall marathon. :) It was 59 and lightly drizzling when I left the house and got on the road around 7. It turned to real rain abut half a mile in. And then would do rain intervals of about 30 minutes. :)

I ran the Mill Creek route, in 'reverse'. Nothing particularly interesting. Nowhere near as many runners out as last Saturday. It was a pretty good run, with the appropriate levels of tolerable discomfort. :)

Val helped talk me into doing the sane thing and took Friday off as well to try to recover my shins, and it seems to have worked. Too much mileage added, and a significant increase in intensity. I know better...

11.19 miles in 1:42:46 (9:11/mile) @ 157 bpm

Faster than last weeks runs on the same route, but about 5 points higher on HR

Friday, September 4, 2009

9/2 Run

This was a brutally unpleasant run.

I totally misjudged the amount of recovery I'd need from Tuesday's run, and ran this as an 'Easy' Run (9:04 - 9:34). Then I decided that since I missed a training run at Carkeek and all of it's hills, I would make sure this was nice and hilly.

I hate not knowing my route, and this turned into a slog as I tried to add mileage, while uncomfortable and wanting to quit.

My shins screamed at me from the start of the run, and only stopped whimpering about 4 miles in. I took Thursday off to try to appease them and it appears to have helped. I think it's a combination of mileage, shoes, and being out of whack. My back is arching oddly, and something I read recently pointed me to to being a poor core strength, over-strong hip flexor issue. I'm stretching my calves to relieve some of the pressure on my shins, and starting to do planks again to try and get my form back into whack.

So. Lesson learned. 10% rule good. Stretching good. Core training good. RECOVERY runs (10:00 - 10:34) after Tempo runs REQUIRED!

6.13 miles in 57:11 (9:19/mile) @ 153 bpm

Only 40 more feet of elevation than my regular loop, just a bigger hill right in the middle. :) Don't know if I'll run this route again. Maybe if I just double up in the middle and do the hill twice.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

9/1 Tempo Run

Tuesday was the first tempo run of the new training cycle. And really, ever. :)

I wasn't sure what I was going to be capable of, so I went out with the goal of doing 1 mile warmup, then 4 at either Steady State Run(8:07/mile to 8:21/mile), or Tempo(7:47/mile - 8:07/mile ), paces, then ~1 mile cooldown, per McMillan.

Getting Garmy set up for the McMillan paces is going to be a pain, so I just wrote the ranges on the back of my hand and checked regularly. I was surprised that there was not way to set a pace range easily, on the watch. You have to set up anything other than an HR workout as a custom workout in Training Center. And to get the paces you want, you have to customize your Pace Ranges.

Using Garmy for Paces is a little frustrating. It definitely doesn't like sudden directional changes, and seems to lag a little on changes to pace. (I think it only samples every 4 or 8 seconds, based on the TCX file, so I think that makes sense). It would almost be better to have it ping you every minute or .1 mile with your actual pace from the last mile marker or something similar.

Surprising myself, since I felt a little sluggish, I was able to have a great tempo run, even keeping pace on all the hills on the route around the 'block', which was difficult.

Here's the profile for the 'block' (clockwise)

6.17 miles in 51:16 (8:18/mile) @ 157 bpm avg

9:12 @ 143 - Warmup

7:59 @ 160 - 80% Uphill
7:46 @ 162 - A second faster than goal. All downhill.
7:54 @ 163 - 95 % Uphill
7:51 @ 168 - 60 % Uphill, then a nice steep downhill
Average pace for Tempo component: 7:53

8:55 @ 151 - Downhill. And hard to come down from the speed, anyway.
0.17 - 1:38 (9:36/mile) @ 159

177 feet of elevation gain over the route. A good hard workout.