Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is It An Oxymoron?



I have been doing this.........Hmnn, I'm thinking, is it an oxymoron? Not Trailmonster so much as least on week days? I guess it makes sense as I have been working on tempo runs and speed workouts during the week and the icy outdoors just creates too much of a chance of injury when it comes to sprinting workouts.

I suppose the treadmill verses icy cold excuse seems pretty valid when talking about intervals, yet somehow I feel a bit sissy when I think about my week night running. There is surely a trade off when running indoors. I try to make up for it by keeping the grade at 5% minimum.

Sure I get to watch the news, I don't take the chance of falling and derailing my training and I am able to work on twitch muscles, but am I getting as much out of it as if I was running out on the trails? Is my core suffering on the flat even surface of the treadmill? Is my form and stride suffering indoors?

When I first started runing In 2002 and 2003, I ran most of my PRs, I didn't run track, I didn't have a treadmill, I didn't have any idea how to train......I just went outdoors, I ran each run hard and pushed as fast as I could at the end for a kick. In the process I usually only ran 2.5 - 3.5 miles three times a week and a long weekend run of 6-8 miles. I averaged only 15-20 miles a week and I ran my first half marathon at 7:26 pace with my longest training run preceding the race of 8 miles.

I ran my fastest 5k @6:32 pace(20:18), my fastest 10k @7:06 pace (44:06) and my fastest half marathon @7:26 pace (1:37:26). My only draw back was that I was sore a lot and had quite a few injuries such as PF, hip soreness, calf cramps, pulled hams......I didn't run SLOW miles. Even my long runs were as fast as I could muster averaging my 8 milers at 7:45-8:20 pace.

Now that I am much more informed about runing and training, one would think I would be popping PRs out like crazy......yet I struggle to run at a pace I would have considered near a walk in 2003...My average pace last year for 5k up to 10k was 7:45 on the road. I better, stronger, smarter?

I can tell you this, I have no pains or injuries right now, I am training for a 50K trail race, I have learned to run slower and I think smarter in gearing up for that race, so can I live without the excitement of speed right now?

My workout was a supposed to be a 5 mile tempo run with a solid speed up and kick in the middle three miles. Instead I ran a 6 mile tempo with a kick at 5 and then a small kick to finsh the 6th.

6 mile tempo run (1 easy, 4 tempo, 1 easy) 51:25 (8:26pace)
5% grade and 5-6 speed.
4 tempo miles @32:56 (8:14pace)
7:25 (kick@6:13)
8:55 (kick@7:34)

3/4 mile cooldown walk.
Tomorrow night.....sprint intervals

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dissapointing run


Even though I planned a long run for Sunday, ran tempo and speed runs during the week, I just felt like running this morning. I went down on the treadmill and ran a three mile hill workout. It is the longest I have run on 10% grade and actually it felt pretty good. I increased the pace as I went along and used hand weights while running to work on core.

3 miles 10% grade @ 3.5-4 speed
splits: 11:42, 10:30, 9:40 (9:14Kick)


My body remembered yesterdays hill run this morning and not in a good way. I felt a bit more lame than I planned and experienced a small shutter when I looked at the temp outside. Though 17 degrees is not seriously cold, my body complained at the thought of running in the cold this morning.

I originally planned a 14 mile run at 9:10 to 9:20 pace. A little fast I think for this stage of my training but it was only a plan and subject to change. I convinced myself to suit up and hit the road after I spent a few minutes deciding wether to hit the road, the trails or just the treadmil.

I didn't feel that good, wasn't extremely excited to be out running and I felt quite tired. I thought perhaps I would settle in and in the end be glad I ran.
I left the house at 7:30 Am and by the time I finished the first mile, I knew that a 9:10 pace would be out of the question.

I encountered a lot more ice on the roads than I anticipated and a surprising amount of morning traffic caused me to run a bit more cautious than normal at this time in the morning. I knew I was going run much slower than planned and doubted I would make the planned 14 miles.

I figured I would just ramble along until I felt I had enough and then head home. I usually run a similar loop when running long on weekends so I could compare my speed and energy. Today instead, I decided to head in different direction.....sort of a way to fool my brain so I wouldn't harp on feeling slow and tired.

I decided on a 10 mile run and then perhaps a 2 mile cooldown if I had any energy left. It was nerve racking as I ran a 10 mile race two weeks ago and comfortably ran 9:15 pace after a 5K warmup.

My splits were all over the place and stopping at 5 miles to suck down a gel didn't help the stats. I only averaged 80-84% of heart rate and honestly should have felt like I was on an easy sauntering jog.

In the past, I would normally run 8 mile long runs at about 8:30 pace. Funny how my training this year has me feeling dead tired at 9:30 pace. It is so hard to get used to running slower and my brain was not satisfied with the pace as I look at my stats. Problem is, I am not sure I could pull off a run that fast now. I think I am getting too used to running slow.

I somehow labored through the first 5 miles then sort of zoned out for a few miles and pushed a bit on the last two. I did get 9 miles in with a kick and then jogged a
two mile continuation/cooldown to finish off the run at 11 miles. Not quite the 14 miles I wanted but still a pretty good workout and honestly, I felt like I had run 20 miles. Technically this was an 11 mile run as I continued two more miles after kicking at the end of nine.


9:51 --- 134 av-- 181 max.
10:05 --- 138 -- 146
9:36 --- 142 -- 149
9:25 --- 143 -- 149
12:30 --- 125 -- 150
9:55 --- 140 -- 146
9:09 --- 145 -- 150
10:14 --- 145 -- 150
10:30 --- 141 -- 160 (8:45 kick)

two mile
10:13 --- 139 -- 146
10:31 --- 139 --152 (9:11 kick)

I guess the splits tell it all, the body was tired, beat and not into a long run this morning. I was glad as I walked a half mile cooldown on the way back to my house that I forced myself out to run. Honestly though, it should not have felt this tough.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm in the swing of things

last nite was another very satisfying workout. My training called for a 5 mile tempo run but because I didn't do any sprinting on Tuesday, I decided to work some sprints in.

I don't mind mixing things up and actually hate to do the same thing over and over. The thing that is hard though is convincing your body to push beyond to get better which is what intervals are all about. It seems the start is the hardest as once I have a couple sprints behind me, I start feeling better.

I started with a .25 easy warm up then a 2 mile run to get a sweat going. After the run my plan was at least 4x400 at 7:30 pace then probably a 2 mile cooldown.
After my 4th 400, I figured I would throw in a couple more so by the time I was finished, I ran 8x400.

I then ran a 1 mile easy run with a .5 mile cooldown. When I was done, I had banged out over 6 miles and accomplished a pretty good interval workout.

.25 warmup
2 mile easy run 4% grade @ 5.5 speed 8:22 pace (6:54 kick)
The plan 8x400 @1:58 7:30 p) with 100 revovery
.26 1:58-- 7:32 pace 100 recovery
.25 1:57-- 7:38 pace 100 recovery
.25 1:56-- 7:31 pace 100 recovery
.25 1:55-- 7:26 pace 100 recovery
.25 1:52-- 7:19 pace 100 recovery
.25 1:51-- 7:10 pace 100 recovery
.25 1:52-- 7:21 pace 100 recovery
.25 1:51-- 7:15 pace 100 recovery

1 mile easy 5% grade @ 5 speed 8:45 pace

.5 cooldown then stretches.

Total miles 6.25

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Feeling strong

Feb 17 2009

My first real workout related to my training schedule. Actually I am starting a week late but I don't see that as an issue as I have a pretty good base right now.
This workout is supposed to be speed related. A 5 mile tempo run.

Instead I decided to ramp it up a bit and after a short warmup ran 3x mile only stopping long enough to adjust settings. After the three miles I ran a 2x 1 mile hill workout then a cool down.

I felt very strong through out the run and had plenty left in the tank in the end.
This is probably the first treadmill workout that gave me the feeling of accomplishment compared to running outside.

.25 warmup jog.

3x 1 mile @ 5-5.5 speed and 5% grade. kicks at the end of each mile.
splits: 8:41 (7:09kick), 8:28 (8:15kick), 7:55 (7:45 kick)

2x 1 mile hill workout
1st mile 11:44 pace 8% grade3-3.5 speed walk/run
2nd mile 10:22 pace 10% grade 3.5-4 speed all run with 9:40kick

half mile cooldown

Total workout 5.75 miles

Monday, February 16, 2009

Serious Trainings A Comming

I hired my son to pack down the trails behind the house so I could try and get a run in while babysitting. Ok, I didn't actually have to pay him as he loves riding that snowmobile. Anyway I figured if it was packed pretty good, It would be solid enough for my daughter's pug to run the trails with me. I had to find a way to get in my run this weekend.

As you see by the picture below, he was more interested in dragging sticks around than running beside me. In despiration I would grab the stick from him and throw it. He would take off like a rocket with me trying to hold on to the leash while attempting to keep my feet under me. I only wish I could have thrown the stick a little further. I guess I can call it a sprint workout.

I gave up after awhile as the progress was slow. I only wish my daughter had trained him jog along side her. So I gave up and opted for the treadmill instead. I popped off a decent 7.5 run with a 1 mile 10% hill cooldown. So, not all was lost but I have to start being a little more serious about my training and not allow these interuptions.

My weekend at a glance:

3 mile run and gym workout including lunges, side stepping on the treadmil and upper body free weights. I finished off with a 1 mile snow trail cooldown.

1 mile sprint runs chasing a dog who was chasing a stick.
7.5 mile treadmill @ 5% grade and 4.5 - 6.5 speed
9:40, 9:30, 9:23, 9:23, 9:14, 8:28, 7:59, 7:42,
1 mile @ 10% grade cooldown fast walk.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A beautiful sunfilled NOT run

I spent quite a bit of the day today outside. I couldn't help it! The snow was melting, water dripping off the roof and a warm tingling sensation grew at every spot the sun touched. One Damn beautiful day.

I found every excuse I could to leave my desk and venture outside. That spring like air would hit me and all I wanted was to go for a run. Of course I couldn't and I just suffered with the desire. I thought perhaps I would get out before the rain started and enjoy the warm air.

It was not to be in the cards today and I did not have a sunfilled run....hence the title. It was starting to rain on my way home and the chill crept back in. It was not all that bad as I planned interval training tonite anyway and that is difficult on the dark slippery the treadmill was feeling wanted and special tonight.

I did a decent warmup then ran 2x800 and 4x400 with .1 recovery jogs. I set the treadmill at 4% grade and 6 mph. This allowed me to hug the 7:20-7:30 pace and though that is normally slow for me with short intervals like this, I felt it big time. I had no desire to go any faster. My body was quite happy with the slower run during my mile and a half cool down at 9:20 pace.

Apearantly I have been spending too much time this winter running slow miles as my fast twitch muscles and my cardio level did not appreciate the faster pace. I think I will have to get cranking on the speed if I want a good showing at the Irish Rover in March. I fear it will not be a PR event this year.

I feel I am not in the sprinting shape I had hoped for when contemplating my training for the winter. I now have the tough task of pushing myself to accept that horrible feeling of running too fast. Otherwise I will not do well in the 5ks.

Perhaps it is too much to ask for while training for the 50K? Can I accomplish both, a long grueling 50k and still sprint some PRs? Does one realm of training discount the other or support it?

I guess at this point I have to concentrate on training well enough to just finish the 50K nevermind worry about speed or time. I sometimes find myself wondering why I want to put myself through that. Why make myself run a times I am excited then there are days that I don't understand why I signed up. I don't think that is normal, most ultra runners I talk to are itching to get on those long races. They don't seem to ever doubt their desires.

When I start my long runs I am excited about the ultra and can't stop thinking about it.....then as I become more and more tired, I start doubting myself and my capabilities. I remember biting at the bit to start the 25K last year but struggling when the last couple miles almost got the best of me. I came dangerously close to a DNF......That is one dirty word as I have never had one.

Perhaps I am just a bit worried as I have signed up for the possibility of a great accomplishment but at the same time a huge potential to have my first DNF. I guess it is that unknown that causes one to question their capabilities.

2x800, 4x400 with .10 recovery jogs between
1.5 cooldown and .50 warm up
Total miles 4.8

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

OK, Got the darn videos to load up finally. I was surprised how long it took. Again don't judge these as it was my first attempt. The first one I did not hold the camera very steady and my breathing was louder than I thought it would be. I had hoped for my run up to surprise the wild Turkeys. There was at least 20 of them and I thought them scattering upon my approach would be pretty cool. As it turned out, only a few actually flew away and the rest just walked around the corner of the tree line.

This next one is a mess also, I thought I had the camera angle right but I guess not. I suppose the only bright point would be the comparison to how well the next ones come out. I don't think I can do much worse.

It's OK, I know you are laughing with me .....not at me!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Sad Video Attempt

After watching Dan's video last week (breakheart trail running), I decided to give it a try. Actually he made it look very attempt did not fair so well. First I tried to video a bunch of wild turkeys as I ran up to them.....I had this great vision of many fluttering wings and the sky cluttered with the twenty or so birds scurrying in all directions....It didn't quite go as planned.

Then I shot a video of myself talking about my run. This one failed misserably too as I didn't even get a full shot of my face. Oh well next time will be better. For the sake of laughter is good medicine I am showing the videos anyway.

I finally decided to try scew shoes instead of yaks, so I screwed my Northface trail runners and went out for a 2 mile jog. They worked very well and so I planned a long run with them on Sunday.

Feb 07 2009 My son bought a new snowmobile so we went out in our field and spent hours trimming branches. It was quite a workout and we both decided that a trip to the gym would not be needed today.

Feb 07, 2009 Sunday Though I was still feeling affects from my cold and sore throat, I was itching to get out and run. I spent the whole week trying to take it easy and get over the sickness. After my short run Saturday, I had no trouble breathing only slight hacking and coughing and I felt good running. I figured I would just head out with the intent of a long run and play it by ear.

I felt great at the start and followed the snowmobile track to the old railroad bed behind my house. From there I hit the powerlines and ran south toward Yarmouth. The track on the power lines was pretty good, packed down but still was giving way as I pushed off. This was a bit tiring as it caused me to work a lot harder.

As I was getting ready to turn down the trail to Val Hala Golf course I saw a flock of wild turkeys up ahead and had my first attempt at shooting a video. After that failed, I followed the trail to Valhala. Up until this point I was feeling pretty good but as a huge cross wind hit me, I worried about my layers and if I had worn enough.

The golf course was very mealy and difficult to run on. I met a snowmobiler and tried to run on the edge of the trail and instead of being out of his way, my right foot sunk to my knee and the momentum of running threw me down in his path. Lucky for me he was riding safe and had plenty of time to stop and wait for me and my embarrassed face to get out of his way.

I followed the trail to Twin Brooks and found some well groomed cross country trails there. I jogged around the trails for a bit, met and said high to at least 10 dogs, raced a cross country skier for a bit..(I won, though she might not have known we were racing) and then headed back toward the golf course. Or at least I thought I was going to find the trail I came in on.

Finding the trail was not so easy as I thought for sure I could meet up with it without going back to the parking area. Well, I was wrong and finally backtracked to the railroad tracks.

By the time I arrived back at Val Hala, I was spent. So I shot my second video, drank some perp and a power gel, then headed back the trails to home. Mile 8 was my toughest as I seemed to hit a wall. I could feel the power gel kick in and the last mile and 3/4 was much better.

Overall I felt pretty good about the run as I lasted 2 hours and wasn't bothered much by the cold or sorethroat. I was spent though and looked forward to lazing around the house for the rest of the day.

I plopped in front of the TV for a couple hours and my daughter showed up with her little dog. They were itching to go out for a trail walk so we threw on the snowshoes and we kicked a fun little 3 mile snowshoe tromp. I figured I would probably be sorry for going back out but surprisingly I felt fine.....actually better than when I was lazing on the couch...go figure!

9.75 miles 2:04:32 11:58 pace
hr av 137 max 155 (sure felt harder!)
Mile 8 was my slowest mile at 3.8 mph
Mile 2 was my fastest at 7.3 mph
Average 4.4 mph.

P.S. If you made this far without becoming completely bored, you have probably noticed that there is no video at all....well it didn't up load so I guess my attempt failed even worse than I originally thought. I will try again.....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I hate being slapped

Sunday after the long tiring run, I was totally exhausted. It seemed at the time that I shouldn't be this tired. Yeah I ran further than I probably should have as my longest long run up till then was 9 miles.

But I ran a lot slower and I took a couple days off before Sunday to be sure I had rested legs. When I got home from the race and stepped out of my truck, the legs were very stiff and I started coughing ---a lot.

I assumed that the cough was because of the 2 1/2 hours running in the cold temps...sucking in all that cold air. It almost felt like the cough I get on cold track workouts when I have not cooled down properly.

What didn't help was that an hour after I got home I was strapping on the snowshoes to treck over to the building next door to clean the snow off the roof. My legs really didn't like the trip as the snow is so deep. Picking the legs strait up to walk forwad was tough.

The coughing became progressively worse as the day wore on and the body energy was dwindling. The was no doubt now that some sickness has slapped me asside the head! By bed time it was apearant that the cough was a sorethroat coming on. I read somewhere than when you wear your body down through extensive exercise the immune system supresses and sickness can develope.

Perhaps that is what happened as I didn't feel sick at all until after the race. Then the next day when I felt tired and sore I couldn't tell if it was from the running 16 miles Sunday or the sickness....perhaps a combination of both.

I guess I'll take a couple days off and see how I feel (cough..cough)

Monday, February 2, 2009

10 mile race

Feb 02, 2009

My plan seemed simple for this race at least in my mind ... run a 5k at current half marathon pace, a little rest then run a warm up, race a 10 miler with slightly tired legs at 80-85% heart rate (145-155) then immediately after the race finish with a 5K cooldown. If I accomplished that, I would have totaled 17 miles. I guess one problem with this plan is that it violates the milage increase rules of 10% per week as my longest run at this time in my training is 9 miles. The second problem is that I don't end up with a faster time and have to settle for a slow showing in the race.

I arrived in Cape Elizabeth at 8:00 and at that time the temp was 12 degrees. I didn't start the day too well, as I was stepping over the guard rail, somehow my right foot didn't make it and my shin/ upper leg landed on the rail with all my body weight. The pain was quite severe and it took me a few minutes of walking around to get rid of the limp. I took a look and found a pretty nasty gash with a good amount of swelling. I hoped this would not affect my race.

I figured I would put on one extra layer for the 5K than the race. I ran in reverse of the race just to get an idea of how much ice was on the last 2 miles of which 1.5 miles of it was up hill. I figured this would be a good workout for my 5k as I remember both times I have run this struggling in those last two miles. The plus was that I wasn't bothered much by the banged up shin.

I ran 1.75 miles down the course then turned around and ran back the hills. I was actually quite surprised as the hills seems easy .....quite easy as a matter of fact. Perhaps my hill running on the treadmill has helped more than I thought. I finished the 5k at 9:46 pace, though my kick got down to a pretty speedy 7:02. I decided to put in a good kick as I was looking to run the 10 miler on "not fresh" legs.

After a walking cooldown I rested for about 15 minutes, sucked down a power gel and then ran an easy .75 mile warmup waiting for the race. The warm up felt good and the legs actually felt quite fresh. I lined up about 3/4 way back from the start and this ended up being a mistake as the crowd just hung at the starting bell. I timed 38 seconds to the start and then we "surged" for the first 3 tenths of a mile.

My intent was to be close to people running my pace so I could settle in and not get sucked up to a faster pace than my plan as few people would be passing me. I accomplished that but paid the price for the first half mile.

The first two miles seemed slow then I started settling in and passing at will. I found that passing on the snow/ice patches worked to my advantage and was glad to have the trail experience here. Most runners were very cautious at these spots and I just powered right by them.

I was wearing the brooks cascadia trail runners and I think it was the perfect shoe for these conditions. I stopped at mile five took a couple ecaps and drank a gatorade. I felt good during mile six and and blamed that on the gatorade or perhaps the short rest. Though when looking back at my pace in six, after deducting the stop of 20 seconds, I actually ran a few seconds slower than mile five.

The rolling hills in the first 6 miles did not seem to affect me at all though I began to feel the fatigue in my legs and arms (some of this I attribute to the roof shoveling yesterday) as my arms were very tired after. When I hit the mile 9 long hill, I instantly remembered the last two races .....damn that 9 mile hill seemed least 2 miles I figured (though it was not my slowest mile of the race). The only plus I could think of when I started mile ten was that it was almost over and that this was actually mile 13 for me.

The continuing hill still worked at my legs and breath to a point where I was merely hanging on. Honestly I figured at this slower pace, I would be cruising these hills. Finally I crested the last part of the hill and tried to dig deep to find a little more speed. The down hill finish was very welcoming it allowed me to put out a pretty good kick (7:04)and pass a half dozen runners. I was very glad to stop running at that moment.

I took a dozen deep breaths, walked back up the hill and started my (after race 5k)
This was a lot tougher than my brain had imagined. I ran reverse again and was not too happy with that decision as I ran back up that mile 10 hill. My legs became very spongy after the first mile, the cold for some reason had penitrated my core so I decided to call it quits and head back. My 5k turned into a 2 miler.

Upon returning, I walked off the sponginess and plopped into my truck for a drink and some rest. I was quite spent at this point and felt I might have been better off to rest for 10 of 15 minutes before running the secnd 5K. Of course I planned on running fatigued so I guess I crossed that bridge.

In the end I ran a total of 16 miles just 1 mile short of my goal. Overall I am satisfied with the day.

5K run 30:19
9:46 pace 144-158 HR (7:02 kick)

.75 mile warm up 11:00 pace

10 mile race (net time) 1:33:09
9:16 pace 152-164 HR (7:04 kick)
Splits: 38 seconds to start from bell, 9:41, 9:34, 8:58, 8:47, 8:59, (20sec stop) 9:06, 9:14, 9:14, 9:40 (mile 8-9 hill), 9:19, (last .1 mile kick down to 7:04)

2 mile continuation
9:57 pace 146-147 HR

Cooldown walk/jog