Monday, April 27, 2009

20 miles at Pineland uggg!


Though I original plan was to do my long run yesterday with the Trail Monsters, Because there was a prediction or rain showers for Sunday, I decided to uncover the pool and get some yard work done and run Sunday that point a little rain wouldn't affect me.

My plan was to run at least 4 1/2 hours and possible 5 hours if I felt good. The was a big question in my mind about the 5 hours because I ran a 4 hour trail run last weekend and I used a lot of energy with Satudays work. Even as I started this run, I could feel the tired muscles.

The first 2 hours went very well, I started a bit slower and walked more. I was in no hurry as I wanted to get that 4 1/2 in. I was suprised that there was more wetness and mud than last weekend, esspecialy after yesterdays hot sunny weather.

I should have known that the fun wouldn't last and in hour three I started fadding fast. Suddenly I couldn't seem to get comfortable walking or running and the downhills started causing some tweeking in the quads.

As I finished hour three, I was hoping desparately for a second wind, which never came. I found myself looking forward to the walk to relieve the running and looking forward to running to relieve the walking. Surely the walking muscles were very tired today. the downhills were bothering my quads so much that I started spreading the stride and semi sprinting which actaully felt pretty good.

Near the end of the fourth hour I just couldn't find a comfortable pace walking or running...I just wanted to stop completely. I trudged along knowing that I would not make five hours but still hoping to reach the 4 1/2.

Finally the brain began to give up and realize that the muscles would just plain not support and more trail running, so I quit and labored back to my truck. Though discouraged, I did aqccomplish a second 4 hour long trail run in as many weeks.

With the race only four weeks away, I find myself questioning my capability to run 31 miles. The four hour mark seems to be my breaking point right now. I am out of time now for any change in training. I will have to hope for a bit of luck and an exceptional effort at the race. Perhaps if I taper well I will have a bit extra in the tank.

20. miles @4:19:15
Damn tired today!
The only noticable difference between this and last week is that my downhill speeds were faster and my heart rate was considerably lower this week? Well besides the fact that I bonked big time.

Friday, April 24, 2009


My plan today was to rush home after work and get a good solid...semi fast 5-7 miler in, then rest friday for preparation of a long trail run Saturday........I got the rushing home part down pat but schedules are prone to change.

My wife met me at the door.....she was super hungry and had not planned any supper yet....hmmnn...."could this be a hint?" I pondered. I couldn't remember what the married edicate book said for this situation so I countered with, "hey you want to go for a short run before eating?"

She re-countered with "I am too hungry, I want something soon." (apparently she read the book)

I am thinking this is one of those life altering decisions. The right move here will set the stage for the next few days.....was it so important that I get this 5 mile run in? Is this one of those times that I should and need to compromise?

Do I run my life or does running run it? It would be so easy if my wife had the same passion as me. I am not complaining though as she has been very supportive of my 3 and 4 hour loss of whole weekend days, her eating supper while I clock in a few quick miles.

Not only that but she has started running and being the early stages, she is running 2 miles at a time and mostly 2-3 times a week......the bug is starting to take hold and it is only a matter of time before it grabs hard and changes her life as she now knows it....I suppose I can wait.

So....I suggest house of pizza for a sandwich and beer.....hhmmmnnn my brain does like the thought of a beer. She doesn't hesitate very long and the next thing I know I am chowing down on a chicken parm sandwich and enjoying a cold one...or two.... plan, I will rush home Friday night and pop off a quick (but not to strenuous)run.....yeah that's a good plan and it would make for good training on Saturday...running double days with one being a long run. all makes sense now and the beer was pretty darn good.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

When Is It Going To Rain?


Suprise.....raining today. Stopped at pineland for a 4-5 mile tempo run. I wanted to speed things up a bit and work the trails a fair amount faster than last Saturday's long slow run.

The rain didn't bother me that much but the soft ground did. It was tiring as my feet would sponge and give way as I tried to push off my toes. This really took the freshness out of my legs and affected my cardio.

My intent to run 4 or 5 fast trail miles (8-8:30 pace) turned into a much slower 8:50- 9:50 pace "not so speedy" 3 mile run. A bit disapointing to say the least.

I suppose I can blame the conditions because my heart rate was high enough to prove to me that I was working hard but just with no visible results. I am sure the workout helped strengthen just didn't feel like it.

I had problems tonite with the garmen as it kept losing signal (I think because of the overcast) so I had to estimate the distance a bit. The Garmen read 2.5 miles and the Nano registered 3.22 miles.....I called it 3 miles....I suppose that is close enough.

3 miles@ 27:50.....(9:18 av pace)

Cooldown .75 @ 15:05 pace. 140 heart rate to 112 My lower right back bothered me a bit during the cooldown ...not sure why.


It was quite nice all day and I looked forward to a nice 5 mile run on the road to experience same steady speed. Unfortunately the skys opened up at about 4:25 and it continued raining on my way home.

After yesterday, I just didn't feel like running in the rain and tonite it just felt chilly to me. So I decided to hit the treadmill and work on hills along with a tempo run.

I ran a mile hill workout at 10% grade and 3.5 - 4.5 speed with a kick at 5speed.
Though my average pace for the mile was 10:17, I started at 14:10 and kept speeding up until I was running 8:29 with a kick of 8:07.

I worked hard on the hill section and felt pretty satisfied with the results. Next I dropped the grade to 4% and kept the speed on 5 mph for a 3.1 run. The splits were odd as I slowed down in the third mile from the second even though I felt like I was running faster.

3.1 miles @26:04..(8:25 pace)

I finished the workout with a .75 mile cooldown walk.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pineland long run


My plan today was to run 4 hours and hopefully around 20 miles. It would be the first time running with the Nathan vest and actually my very first time using a mouth piece for my fluid intake.

This was an important training run for me as I only have a little over a month before the 50K and I need to get in a couple quality long runs, also I need to run alone to concentrate on my own pace and stradegy. I figured today's performance will tell me right where I am as far as condition goes. If I can't finish this 4 hour run then I am in serious trouble for the 50K.

The only time I have run longer than 3.25 hours was my marathon race in 2006. I ran 4:01:32 the so my hope was to at least beat that time today. I felt very prepared and had a battle plan that should allow me to accomplish the task.

I decided to keep my heart rate between 130 and 140 for the first 2 hours. That equates to about 70- 73% of max. Then kick it up 10 or so for the next hour. After that whatever I could muster and still finish.

The first 2 hours went pretty good. The conditions at Pineland were better than I expected with fairly dry trails and minimal mud. There were a few gooey spots but nothing really wet. I found that the 130-140 Heart rate was fairly easy though on some of the hills I was reaching 140 even while walking.

I had gel packs, E-caps and perpetuem packed in my vest and a PB&J waiting for me in my truck to eat at the two hour mark. The vest was pretty comfortable right form the start but hearing the sloshing of the water seemed to bother me as I was running. Oh, I didn't really feel it but the noise was iritating.

I liked the capability to keep my mouth wet with the bite hose though after the fact I realized I did not have it open far enough and didn't drink quite enough during the run. I guess that is why one trains in the first place right? Don't want to make these kind of mistakes during the race.

After 2 hours, I felt pretty good though I wasn't that hungry only ate half the sure tasted good! The whole morning threatened of rain (it never did)and I wore my hat the whole time. I usually don't like wearing a hat but noticed it did a good job keeping the sweat from running down into my eyes. I am thinking of getting a real lightweight one for the race.

In the third hour I kicked up the pace and ran between 140 and 150 heart rate (80-83%), this felt much better on the legs and I settled in quite well. The faster pace did concern me a bit and I hoped it wasn't a mistake in the long run. The last thing I wanted to do was peeter out before finishing.

Now I started seeing some activity and passed a few other runners. I was quite glad that I had the Nike with me as the tunes kept me from getting bored, thinking about the run and how much further I had to go.

I passed the 25k mark just shy of the three hour mark. This was about 11 minutes slower than my 25k last year but for a training run and the fact that I had another hour to go, I felt I was doing quite well.

The faster pace was definately draining my energy more and the body felt it. Knowing I had already finished three hours and only had one left helped a lot. I had no plan for pace in the fourth hour as I figured my condition at that time would control the pace.

As it turns out, the third hour pace was still working for me and I continued that in the fourth hour. I could feel a lot more fatigue though and it seemed I looked forward to the walking at times. Mile 17 and 18 were the toughest points of the run. It seemed like the four hour mark was so far away.

Mile 19 I perked up a bit. I knew I was in the last two miles and suddenly it did seem reachable. I picked up the pace and stayed pretty much in the 150-155 range for that mile. In the last mile I could smell the end and it felt great. Though I could feel slight cramping in the quads, some pain in the ankles and slight twinges in the hamstrings, I was able to pick up the pace and run my third fastest mile of the 20.

I ate the other half of my sandwich when I finished and I must say it was very enjoyable. The taste buds were so excited! I actually felt quite good at the end and could have banged out a couple more miles if I really needed to.

I was fairly satisfied with my energy level and fueling for this run. It will work as a good template for the 50K. I am not sure I would change much other than perhaps consuming a little more water.

You can see my splits checking out the running ahead icon on the right of this page. Click on the 20 mile run.

20 trail miles @ 4:04:25
12:14 average pace
139 average Heart rate, 158 max
Not extremely technical but constant rolling hills.
1 cup of coffee (before the start)
3 gels pacs
2 e caps and antifatigue per hour
1 ensure
2 flasks (5 oz each) perpetuem
1/2 PB&J
34 oz water.


I was suprisingly not too lame today though my body "knew" it ran a long run yesterday. My plan was to get in an easy run of a couple miles just to work the leg muscles a bit.

Well, schedules seem to never work out and mine seemed to be deteriating as far as running goes. I had many things to catch up on, I had loads of yard work and ended up baby sitting my daughters puggle in the afternoon.

I was itching to go out into the woods so when it came time to take the pup for a walk, I went to the pit near my house and figured a nice walk in the woods would be nice.

For the first 5 minutes or so the pup was pretty interested in sniffing around then suddenly he seemed to want to move at a much faster his nose was on a mission. I figured what the heck and started jogging deside him.

We ended up jogging over 2 miles with only a few stops for his nose. Funny how things work out, I got my easy run in after all. The only thing was that I had on dugarees and a pollo shirt so I had to change out of the sweaty clothes when we returned home.

2 dog jogging miles
easy single track trail
Nice sunny warm day.......who could ask for more.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Squeezed in a run


Got home late today but still had time to squeeze in a short run. I was not sure how my left calf would feel as it had been pretty tight all day. I really didn't want to take another day off so I figured what the hell, it's only a few miles.

I decided to run my "pit loop" which is mostly trail and about three miles. I like this loop, it has some technical aspects and a decent long hill in the second mile but is flat for the last .6 mile which allows for a fast and strong finish.

I started quite slow to warm up and settle in but knew in the back of my mind I would end up running faster as I always do on this loop. This is the first time this spring running it. I found a lot of obstructions like branches to negotiate and suprisingly still some small patches of lingering snow.

I did ok with a finishing time of 25:40 not bad for an easy run but quite a ways from my best of 20:39 .....perhaps in a couple months I will be back in that speed range. After the 50K I plan on speeding things up a bit to prepare for the Beach to Beacon race.

3 miles (mostly trail)
25:40---(8:33 pace)
av HR 156 .... max 164

8:13 (7:29 kick)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Am Waiting For "That run"


Every so often, but not by any schedule, I suddenly have that run you know the one I mean? Like the perfect storm when every thing falls into place. Regardless of the weather or the terrain, you feel absolutely comfortable......

Not too hot, not too cold, but the perfect temp. You are running hard and can hear your own breathing but are somehow outside the realm of consciousness. Almost floating in a way as you are in a special place, a zone that separates your thoughts from your task.

Everything is right and your brain expands all your senses to be at maximum capability. The air smells fresh and perfect, absolutely full of clean oxygen, the sun tickles your face as it peeks around the trees in a flickering fashion.

Every turn in the trail seems to allow you to run even faster and harder as you negotiate the terrain. The hills seem non-existent and you swear you are running on a soft blanket of air.

You are breathing very hard but you have enough breath, there is no deficit, somehow you can generate plenty of energy and oxygen. You wish at this very moment that you could continue forever and think for sure you could if you didn't stop.

That experience has only happened to me a few times in the 7 years I have been running but I can remember the feeling well. As I sit here and vision the wonderful event in my head, I wonder when it will happen again. I hope it is soon as I not only long for that day but wish I knew the secret to make it happen more often.

It should happen more often as I am not as serious as I used to be (of course my current speed shows evidence of that) I try now to enjoy more of my runs and go out for the fun of it rather than having every run a speed training run. The trails have taught me that.

I know there is a toggle switch somewhere in my head that has the distinguished capability to put me in that zone. I do know that learning how to let myself run slower has brought me much closer to it, yet the payback is loss of speed in shorter races like 5ks and 10ks.

Training for the 50K has allowed me to slow down and take more time to enjoy my surroundings. If I gain nothing else than that, I have still gained a lot. I know it will be the toughest run since I started and I know that there is a possibility that I might not finish well or even finish at all.

My goal is to start the race with the intent to squeeze as much enjoy as I can out of every step.....if I can do that, whether it is to step across the finish or only manage a few steps, I will be able to say I enjoyed the experience.

My training has fluctuated immensely and I have many unanswered questions. I do not fully understand my desires which in turn brings a cloudiness around me. I find myself wondering often if I am doing the right things or if my body is up to the task.

A good example is my run the other day. I took a week off from running as I had surgery. I ran a relatively hard outing Tuesday night but not out of the ordinary for the last few months. Wednesday I was lame as hell....didn't make sense, I only ran 7.5 miles at a moderately hard pace, I should have felt fine the next day as I am training for much longer distances.

Anyway, instead of running my planned 7-8 mile run last night, I ran a very easy 2 miles with my wife (which was quite enjoyable and another step forward for her) I could feel the tightness in my left calf (even at the slow pace) and reassured myself that it was the right thing to do. I think running the 8 miler at a moderate pace might have been a step backward for me.

I am either getting much smarter at reading my body or becoming much lazier. Either way I had no trouble convincing myself to stop after the two easy miles and have a relaxing evening. I was fine with that decision .....that is until this I am regretting it and kicking myself for not running longer.

Last nights run:
2 miles @24:40..... 12:20 pace (10:30 pace running)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Decent Run...Finally!


Well I thought about it all day as my plan was to finally get in a decent run since surgery.I didn't run Monday night not because it was my normal scheduled day off but I had to repair my mom's car and deliver it back to her. So tonight is the night.

I decided to run a double 3.2 loop so I could compare to two weeks ago (before surgery) It is a good training loop with 4 rolling hills, some dirt and tar surface, a long gradual incline with a gradual decline.

This allows me to monitor mile pace and at the same time compare loop time. The last time I ran it, I ran negative splits and felt very strong at the end with a time of 51:24 (no stopping between loops)

Tonight was a bit different, I ran positive splits and felt quite fatigued at the end. My first loop was very close in comparison to the last run but my second loop fell way off and at the same time my heart rate was much higher this time. I guess this tells me that I am still recovering so I am not too upset. My time of 52:45 is not that much slower.

After the second loop I stopped long enough to catch my breath from the kick then continued at a somewhat slower pace to finish off the whole run at 7.5 miles. I felt very good at the slower pace of 9:48, which helped me feel better about the positive splits.

It was perfect Tee shirt weather at 50 degrees and sunny. There were a couple open spots though that the wind picked up and was a tiny bit chilly. I felt very good about this run as I wanted to stop after the fist loop but was able to push myself to comtinue and still tack on an extra mile.

7.5 miles @ 1:03:31----(8:28 av pace)


3.2 @26:06---(8:09 p) Heart rate...157-173(two weeks ago 26:00)
3.2 @26:39---(8:19 p) kick@7:06...HR...158-164( two weeks ago 25:24)
1.1 @10:46---(9:48p)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Feeling Fresh?

Last week I ran a total of 4 miles and that was on a treadmill.....sounds crazy doesnt it? Most runners I converse with ran all kinds of miles and many ran some fun and fantastic trail races.

I feel left out and deep inside (even though I do have an excuse), I feel like I let myself down in a way. Yeah, I can say my body received a much needed rest as I have been stepping it up a bit in the last month, but my brain thinks I should have done something ....some type of other workout rather than running.

I could have biked or worked out with weights....but instead I just didn't feel like doing anything. It is almost as though I used the surgery excuse to be lazy.
I suppose the recoup was harder than I thought and I needed the rest but how do I convince myself of that.

Somehow it seems I have lost something...perhaps the edge on my training and I guess I fear this week off will set me back in some way. It may be the simple fact that the 50K is coming up real quick and I don't feel ready for it.

It is so difficult to be ready for something you have never done...... I can't predict how I will feel.....wether I can finsh at all. I can only hope I have trained well enough and run smart enough to accomplish the task.

I am running tonite and I suspect I will feel much better after finishing my run and realizing I have not lost anything because of a week with no running. I guess I just have to get that behind me.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I'm "on the wagon"


Had surgery yesterday, for 4 1/2 hrs I was sleeping away as drills were churning and pumps were sucking. This was a pretty long time coming as I had an industrial accident last year and lost many of my teeth.

The drilling was to set implants into the jawbone and within a few months, there will be new teeth mounted on them. Unfortunately there were a couple problems and it seems though I thought this would be the last surgery (other than mounting the teeth), but it looks like there may be a need for more.

Anyway, I am not going to run much, maybe a couple miles Saturday and Sunday (easter) I will be out of I guess I am "on the wagon" for this week...I will call it a recovery week.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Catching up

Treadmill run 4x1 mile @5% grade .25 recovery between then half mile cooldown
Total 5.5 miles


Long 3 hour run/ trail workout. I could have run at Pineland with the trail monsters today (which would have been lots of fun) but instead decided I needed to do my long run without time in mind. I just signed up for the Bradbury trail series and I had an itching to run there, besides, It is more important at this stage to get in the 3 hours with as tough a workout as I could muster up.

Well be careful what you wish for!!! Tough was a light word for the conditions on the mountain. There was a mixture of snow,mud,water,wet ice, sometimes all at the same time. The snow on the trail that was not water covered ice, was soft on top, crusty underneath and in many places there was running water or mud underneath that.

I took the screws out of my northface trail running assuming they would not be needed. It was great when crossing the rocks and open trails but I missed them dearly on the packed snow and they make automatic retracting spikes? If so, I sure could have used them on this run.

The sudden action of the ground giving way and finding myself in calf deep mud or knee deep crusty snow or worse 2 foot deep cold water, caused me to worry a bit about injuries. Consequently I ran a bit slower pace than I knew I could handle. The rain covered ice caused me to struggle with the hill parts of the trail. When I finally hit the open parts of the trail with solid ground, it felt good to open things up a bit and push the pace.

There was a couple times that a boat would have been a good thing to have with me. The two times I made it to the rock at the summit gave me a look at a huge foggy blanket instead of a beautiful view to the ocean. After two trips to the top, I crossed the street to the east side with the hopes of some better trails with less snow.

That didn't happen and I spent much of the time postholing the snow only to find a foot of cold water waiting for me underneath. Other times I was sliding around the wet ice on the snowmobile trails and still dodging the deep mud areas.

Now, don't get the idea that I didn't enjoy the run as it was a great experience and I could feel the core work, the leg work and serious balance work with this run. I came close but somehow did not go down once....perhaps that just means I didn't try hard enough.

This picture doesn't show it well but the ice is covered with fresh rain and I don't think anything is slipperier than that.

Here is a very odd looking tree.....what the heck caused it to grow this way?

This picture was taken after an ice "bridge" gave way and dropped me strait down into the flowing 2 foot deep water lurking underneath. Yes it was quite cold and I was actually lucky I didn't break anything.

Total run 3:08:15 and 12.1 miles giving me an average pace of 15:34 ....seems slow but the conditions were quite tough.


My son was home for the weekend and I ended up running with him. I was still quite tired from yesterday but figured I would take it easy and see how I felt running a bit fatigued.

My left calf was quite tight, the right glute was sore, my right ankle was a bit sore from twisting in on the mountain and all my upper body muscles were lame. I thought for sure this woould cause a tough run and work against me but actually it went quite well and I felt very strong the whole 8 miles.

This was suprising as it was the same course that kicked my butt last weekend. My pace was over a minute per mile faster and I powered the mile long hill like I was out for an easy run. I had plenty left for a decent kick at the end, so Go figure huh?

8 mile run 1:10:30 ....8:49 pace.

Four hours later I was off for a run with Mrs. Pathfinder and enjoyed her company for 2.6 miles. Overall a very productive weekend and giving me 30.6 miles total for the week. I think I deserve a nice easy relaxing night and plan to do just that.

2.6 miles walking the hills 12:13 average pace. Running pace average 10:30. Not bad for her second run hey?

Proof of spring!!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My Wife Is A Runner!


Today was was my wife's first run (other than running a mile in her workout group a few times). That is right, we went out last Friday and bought running shoes along with a bunch of running attire. She has said so many times that she wishes she could run but she is just not a runner.

I disagreed with her many times as anyone can be a runner. One day I was talking about signing one of the kids up for a race and she comented that I never think of signing her up.

What! She thinks I need to hear that twice.....I sat down on March 15th and signed her up for the Beach to beacon. HAHA....she was so surprised. Honestly I wasn't sure how she would take it, but she liked the idea and we started planning her new excercise routine.....running.

So last night was the big event. When I arrived home, she already had her new running shoes on (to break them in a bit) and we suited up for the run. I reminded her that time was not an issue and neither was constant running. Walking at her desire was acceptable.

I decided on two miles as a good starting distance and off we went. It was great!
I took a video while running and we traveled 8 tenths of a mile about halfway up the first hill before we walked.

We walked to the crest and started running again. After the first mile we hit the second hill and walked that. At the crest of the hill it was no problem getting her to start running again.

It was really fun and I think she enjoyed it. The two miles went by so fast. We walked a bit and headed home. She did some stretches and I could tell she felt good about the run. I am pretty excited and I think this will be a great thing for her.


A short video.

Total miles 2
25:01 12:30 pace
running pace average 11:10