Monday, June 27, 2011

Week Ending June 26 - Getting Back on Track

Mon. June 20 - Day Off.

Tues. June 21 - 7 miles in 51 min (7:17 pace).  I turned 28 today.  I was feeling a little bummed out about that (birthdays are kind of depressing) so I thought some trail therapy was in order.  Went up after work for a quick Headquarters-Summit loop.  Felt pretty good; I was cruising well, in my opinion.  Nice little birthday present to myself.  Then I had a gathering at the house.  It was nice to have everyone over; I haven't seen some folks in a couple weeks.  The Pabst was delicious.

Wed. June 22 - 6.5 miles in 45 min (6:55 pace).  In an attempt to vary my workouts, and since I had done a tempo run last week, I decided a good alternative was to do a long interval workout.  My objective was 4 x 1200m with 4 min jog rest.  I wanted to run the intervals between 5:40 and 6:00/mile pace, meaning I wanted to hit the intervals in 4:15-4:30.  I got excited and did the first one in 4:07, then came back and ran 4:21 and 4:24 for the next two.  By then I was pretty cooked; it was pretty warm outside and this was the first interval workout I had in...years?  I decided to pack it in after three.

I was thinking, in hindsight, that maybe intervals in June are not the best idea.  Right now my focus should really be on increasing my mileage comfortably in order to build a decent mileage base over the summer so I can be in shape for some longer races in September and October (my goal races being Jelm and Silent Trails, while I am flirting with jumping in the Top of Utah Marathon with Jeff).  I think a tempo or fartlek once a week is a better alternative; work on my lack of threshold while not burning myself out too soon.  That said, I think Dr. Dan is going to make me do intervals this summer.

Thurs. June 23 - 8 miles in 62 min (7:45 pace).  I left work a little early in order to get up on the hill for a longer run.  Went out Headquarters to Brown's Landing and in on Summit.  I got hailed and rained on a little by a thunderstorm that was a little south of the area.  That was actually refreshing; I love the smell of that forest after some rain.

Fri. June 24 - 3.5 miles in 25 min (7:08 pace).  Ran to the UW track at lunch and did 8x100m barefoot strides on the infield with Josh.  Then I ran home.  Quick and easy little loosen-up run.

Sat. June 25 - 5 miles in 35 min (7:00 pace).  I got up dark and early to get over to Cheyenne for the Superday 5K at the ridiculously early start time of 7:30 am.  I figured it was time to return to this race after a four year absence.  Plus it was a good reason to catch up with some friends; Bish, Gabe, Cramer, Jerry, and Scooter were all there.  We went out pretty fast (or at least what felt pretty fast) in 5:22, then I backed off and hit 5:46 on the second mile and somewhere around 5:40 for the third.  I finished 5th overall in 17:29, making it my first sub-18 5K since the 2008 Wyoming Race for the Cure (I think) *EDIT: I ran a 17:20 at Race for the Cure in August of 2009*.  So, that's certainly a step in the right direction.  However, I did notice a strange "coincidence" regarding my racing at Superday.

I first ran Superday in 1999 at age 16.  I first won the race in 2002 in a time of 17:29.  I then placed third in both 2003 and 2004 with times of...17:29 each (that's the same time at the same race three years in a row).  I then won again in 2005 in 16:48 and 2006 in 16:20.  This is my first time back since, and I run a freaking 17:29.  I've run the race nine times, won three times, and run 17:29 four different years.  That's weird to me.  Does that actually happen?

Sun. June 26 - 15 miles in 117 min (7:47 pace).  The return of the Sunday long run!  I love long runs on the trails.  I went out Alder Trail to UW, out Headquarters, across Brown's Landing, down the backside of Headquarters onto Headquarters Road.  I stopped and munched a granola bar before hopping on Pole Creek.  I decided a foray up the Bitch was in order and I felt pretty good and smooth on the climb.  I came in on Summit, then UW to Alder, down Middle Aspen and finally up Pole Creek to finish the run.  I felt really good for the whole run.  It was a beautiful morning in Wyoming!

Week's Miles: 45
Running Time: 5:58

June's Miles: 155
Year to Date: 659

Gear: Asics Speedstar 4 (434 miles, about to be retired) New Balance Trail 100 (311 miles)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Experiments in Hydration

One of the things I have been concerned with in regards to my current attempt to move up to longer races and subsequentially train for longer races by going for longer runs is staying hydrated.  For most of my running career, I've never run for more than two hours at a time and never have raced anything longer than 25K.  In those situations, I have never felt that carrying water was really necessary.  I can go for two hours without needing a drink, and most races have aid stations with water, etc. every 3-5 miles or so.  If I have ever absolutely needed a drink, it is available.  However, I have been thinking about, preparing for, and experimenting with different hydration techniques in an attempt to teach myself to run with water and to be able to ingest and utilize liquids and food mid-run.

After years of racing on the track, I had developed a mentality to be as fast and light as possible.  Nothing extraneous, nothing wasted.  Shorty shorts, racing singlet, and light racing spikes or flats.  Obviously getting a drink is not even a thought when racing 5K or 10K on the track.  So, even on longer runs on the weekend (usually between 13-18 miles) we never carried water or even worried about it.  We would get a drink when we got home from the run.  This strategy no longer works.  First, my runs are getting longer, and therefore staying hydrated is becoming more of a concern.  Second, I'm doing most of my longer runs up on the trails in the mountains where water isn't readily accessible (unless you like giardia or the pumps at various campgrounds are actually working).  And lastly, after years of training my body to operate with a nearly empty stomach (gorging ourselves the night before a track meet and cutting off water consumption at least an hour and half before the race), I have focused on training my body to take in fluids and food while running.  That has been a little difficult.

A couple of years ago, I decided to address the hydration issue and purchased an REI singleshot waistbelt that holds a 20 oz. waterbottle.  It also has a little pocket for storing things.  I bought the waistbelt because I didn't want to carry something in my hand, like a handheld water bottle.  The only time I ever ran with things in my hand was on relay teams and those batons drove me nuts.  For awhile, I didn't mind the waistbelt.  I used it on longer trail runs and typically had little trouble with it.  However, that changed when I carried it during the Greenland race.  It drove me bonkers right from the start; it eventually chafed the hell out of my hips and lower back, I got sick of reaching behind me and fighting to get the water bottle out of the holster, and I feel like it slowed me down a little.  Therefore, I decided maybe it was time to try something else. 

Last weekend I stopped in at REI in Fort Collins and picked up a Nathan Quickdraw Plus handheld.  I thought, "what the hell?" and gave it a try.  I took it up with me Tuesday on a seven-mile trail run at Happy Jack.  While seven miles is too short a run to concern myself with having a readily available drink, I just carried it in order to start getting used to it.  What I discovered was that I didn't completely hate it.  I found it to be a lot less cumbersome than the waistbelt and I liked having the water in-hand and easily accessible.  I also found that it made me focus on my form and swinging my arms a little more.  One of the things with the form workouts we've been doing with Coach Sanchez is that he has us carry batons in order to make us work on swinging our arms for better form.  The handheld is sort of an extention of that.  

While one decent experience does not a convert make, I feel like over time I can get to where I maybe don't notice the handheld so much.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Week Ending June 19

Mon. June 13 - 6.5 miles in 51 min (7:46 pace).  I went out at lunch with Jeff and Patrick.  My objective today was to get a few miles in on an easy run.  Since Patrick was taking it easy in preparation for Big Horn this weekend, he helped me accomplish that objective.

Tues. June 14 - 7 miles in 45 min (6:45 pace).  I did a 15 min warm-up to the UW track, with 4x100m strides. Then a 3-mile tempo run. I lifted this workout straight out of Jack Daniels. Based off the average pace of my runs (~7:40/mile), Daniels' suggested tempo pace is 6:03-6:20/mile. I did the workout at the track because a) Daniels suggests it and b) its been so long since I've done a tempo that I wanted somewhere that I could set and monitor a pace without worrying about terrain (a big mistake we always made with tempo runs in college). On the flat track surface, you can be assured that you are doing the workout exactly as it is intended. So, I ran the first mile in 6:18, found a comfortable cruising pace, and ran mile two in 6:09, and mile three in 6:04. Felt smooth the whole way. I feel confident I did the workout correctly and well. I'm pretty happy with it. I did another 4x100m strides barefoot on the infield grass, then a 10 min jog home.

Wed. June 15 - 11 miles in 84 min (7:38 pace).  Jeff picked me up after work for a trail session.  I feel that I need to bring back the mid-week long run, and this took care of that.  At my suggestion we did the big Pole Mountain loop, consisting of going down Pole Creek, then continuing past the turn-off for the Bitch and going straight onto Blair Wallis, then up the north Headquarters trailhead, onto the Brown's Landing and in on Headquarters.  It's a good loop and contains a decent amount of climbing when run the direction we went.  I felt pretty good on all the climbs.  No repeat of the disastrous Trudge Loop run from the previous week.  Started to get some stomach cramps toward the end, but they didn't impact my run.

Thurs. June 16 - Day off.  In retrospect, considering my weekend schedule, I should have run this day.  Oh well.

Fri. June 17 - 5 miles in 35 min (7:00 pace).  The return of the Friday form workout with Coach Sanchez!  Slightly tweaked program consisted of 8x200m form strides with batons in hand with 200m jog rest (e.g. 2 miles of track work).  I felt stiff and not very fluid on this one, but considering we haven't met up for a form workout since the end of April, I'm a little out of practice.  

Sat. June 18 - 5 miles in 37 min (7:24 pace).  I squeezed in a quick run before leaving for Denver for the weekend.  I did my south Laramie alley loop into the prairie for a short loop before heading home.  I didn't feel great on this run, but it was early and...well, that's my only excuse.

I went south to partake in the Westword Music Showcase in downtown Denver.  One outdoor mainstage and 150 local acts spread across many venues in a few-block radius.  My main mission was to once again (for the 6th time) see Murder By Death.  As to be expected, they were good, technical difficulties (Sarah broke BOTH her cello bows) aside.  

Murder By Death
I also took in Take to the Oars at Stoney's, featuring an old friend from high school, Mike, on the guitar.  It was good to see him onstage, kicking ass and following his passion.  That guy deserves it. 

And, I think this is unanimous, The Sword kicked everyone's ass.  I love stuff that is all kick-ass guitar riff.  The way rock should be.

The Sword
Sun. June 19 - No run for me.  Woke up and had breakfast in Denver, stopped at Centerra for some shopping, had lunch at Mt. Fuji in Fort Collins and then stopped in Cheyenne for dinner with my fam.  Busy day, but a good one.

Week's Mileage: 35
Running Time: 4:20

June's Miles: 110
Year to Date: 614

Gear: Asics Speedstar 4 (424 miles) New Balance Trail 100 (281 miles)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Week Ending June 12

Mon. June 6 - Day off.  Still sore from Pilot Hill.

Tues. June 7 - Didn't run for some reason.

Wed. June 8 - 8 miles in 59 min (7:25 pace).  I was still a little stiff and sore from Pilot Hill.  I went out into the prairie, east on the single track and then came back into town on the Old Quarry road.  Loosened up pretty well by the end.

Thurs. June 9 - 8.5 miles in 65 min (7:38 pace).  Another run out in the prairie.  There were threatening clouds in the sky, but they cleared up for the hour or so I was out running.  I ran out to the fence line and came back in on the single track.

Fri. June 10 - 11 miles in 90 min (8:10 pace).  I went up to run the Trudge loop with Jeff, Patrick, and Josh in the afternoon.  From the start I didn't feel very good; very sluggish and crampy.  I'm not used to running at three in the afternoon anymore, and it hurt.  By the time we got around to Devil's Loop and started up Skeleton Trail, I was done.  I lost all ability to run uphill.  Every time I started to push off with my calves, they cramped and burned like I was in major oxygen debt.  This was my first real run up on the trails of the year, and the 1500ft. elevation difference was definitely felt.  So, I fell apart and just walked climbs and jogged the rest of it.  There is something about that loop that makes me its bitch.  Bad day at the office...

Sat. June 11 - Didn't run.  I didn't feel good all day.  Think I was still reeling from the previous day's run.

Sun. June 12 - 11 miles in 87 min (7:54 pace).  I decided to give the trails another try.  I went up to Tie City with Dr. Dan where we met Chris Schabron for the first running of the Silent Trails course this year.  I felt 100% better on the trails than I did on Friday.  We took it easy down Pole Creek, and even the Bitch didn't suck too bad.  Made the climb in 13:47, which isn't too dang bad for the first foray of the year.  Felt strong on the second half, especially up the backside of Headquarters where I usually struggle.  It was a beautiful morning on a beautiful trail with great running company.  Nice to get a little group of Hungry Dogs together for some training!

Week's Mileage: 39
Running Time: 5:01

June's Miles: 75
Year to Date: 579

Gear: Asics Speedstar 4 (400 miles) New Balance Trail 100 (270 miles)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Week Ending June 5

So, where the hell have I been?  Not doing things like I should have.  The lack of motivation carried over a couple more weeks.  I then took a weekend trip to Missouri Valley, IA to visit the fam, and intentions always being good, but rarely followed through, I didn't run the three days I was out there.  I followed that up with a week of just being lazy.  Not sure what that was about.  I decided last week that I should do a little work, what with Pilot Hill mere days away.  That went as well as could be expected.  Here's a brief tally of the previous few weeks before I summarize this past one:

May 16-22: 22.5 on three days run (this is the week I went to Iowa).

May 23-29: 14 miles on two days.  Plain lazy.  Weather was still crap (as it was all spring), and I spent Memorial Day weekend playing in the garden and doing chores.  Fun!

Mon-Tues May 30 and 31 - Didn't run.

Wed. June 1 - 9 miles in 71 min (7:53 pace).  Met Jeff for a lunchtime run.  Can tell I took the previous five days off.  Very sluggish going.

Thurs. June 2 - 8 miles in 59 min (7:22 pace).  Got up earlier than usual in order to beat the predicted gusting wind.  The wind picked up throughout the run, but wasn't too bad.  I felt pretty good going out east on the singletrack, and nice and loose coming back into town on Old Quarry Road.  I like when runs go better than expected (and better than I deserved).

Fri. June 3 - 3 miles in 20 min (6:40 pace).  I ran from home to the UW track, did 8x100m barefoot strides on the infield, then ran home.  Quick and easy pre-race workout to loosen up a bit.

Sat. June 4 - 16.5 miles.  Pilot Hill 25K.  Started the race strong and smart; going out pretty conservatively with Chris Schabron and Dr. Dan.  The wind was coming pretty strong out of the southeast, making the first four miles on the flats a little more challenging.  The three of us Hungry Dogs tucked in together and traded off fighting the wind.  When we reached the bottom of the Staircase (where the real climbing begins) I fell off a little.  Chris looked strong, and soon passed Dan on the way up.  I decided that I should just find a comfortable pace and stick it out for the duration of the climb.  Made it to the top in decent shape in 6th place in 1:09.  Then the fun part, descending!

I took a handful of pretzels (thanks Jeff!) with me and began down.  Nothing super exciting happened for the first five miles or so.  I was out in no-man's-land; Dan was about 4-5 minutes ahead of me, and 7th place was about 4-5 minutes behind me.  I made it to the fenceline feeling okay; then I did fall apart a little.  The last mile, mile and a half were a jog; I just found a pace slightly faster than walking and made it work.  About a quartermile from the finish I realized I was going to be pretty close to the two-hour mark, and since I ran a 2:00:02 on this course two years ago, I really wanted to break two hours.  So I mustered a little remaining energy and sprinted (uphill!) to the finish.  I crossed in 6th place in 1:59:07.  Huntington won in 1:45, Chris was 4th in 1:51, and Dan was 5th in 1:54.  Four Hungry Dogs in the top six with one bringing home the crown.  Not a bad showing for the Club.  

Now Huntington has a mission: TRIPLE CROWN!  All he has to do is win Jelm in September and Silent Trails in October.  Only one other person has every pulled off the Triple Crown in one year.  Who was that?  Oh, right, IT WAS ME!

Sun. June 5 - I went up to the Snowys to see what we could see.  And what did we see?  An unbelievable amount of snow.  The Medicine Bow range got nearly 200% of normal snowfall, and with the cool spring, not much of it has melted yet.  So, now that the temps are back up in the 70s and 80s, we are in for a bit of a deluge.  I hope people in West Laramie are stockpiling sandbags.  
Snowy Range

Anyway, I got to do a little snowshoeing in t-shirts on June 5th.  Hoofed it up from where the road was closed near the Brooklyn Lake turn-off to the base of Brown's Peak.  Then back down for some Bear Tree pizza in Centennial.  Pretty much the perfect day.

Week's Mileage: 37
Running Time: 4:39

May's Miles: 111
June's Miles: 37
Year to Date: 541

Gear: Asics Speedstar 4 (384 miles) New Balance Trail 100 (248 miles)