Friday, August 27, 2010

Wednesday At Bradbury

Wednesday I ran on the east side trails. It was raining and I decided it would be a good time to test running without glasses. My thought was that during a heavy rain, I might have better visibility without them rather than them fogging up and being so wet that the ground is distorted causing me to run much slower.

Being near sighted, I assumed I would be able to see the ground in front of my feet well enough to negotiate the technical trails of Bradbury but would lose the clearness of seeing what is coming up ahead of me.

I found it much more difficult than I imagined as the depth perception of the obstructions such as roots and rocks were not very clear and I found myself running slower as I re-acted to the terrain rather than command it.

My hope was that as I progressed, my eyes would adapt more and the terrain would become much clearer.....that didn't happen. I managed to run without falling and actually I don't think I tripped once. I did however run much slower and it was a bit uncomfortable.

I guess what it boils down to is that on a day like today when the rain is not that severe, I would do much better wearing the glasses but on a day that is a pure downpour, I suspect I would have better visibility without them. The tricky part is deciding before the race or run which fits best.

I am at a disadvantage as far as information goes because the garmen wouldn't even pick up a signal so I have no comparison and no heart rate info. I can only go by my knowledge of the trails and the nano which reads a bit long. Of course running without glasses surely changed my stride a bit, I am not sure how the nano read today.
below is my best guess as to my miles and pace.

Nano read:
4.8 miles @ 48:16

I estimate the run was more like 4 miles @12:04 pace which seems more reasonable.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I have got to stop this.....something must be terribly wrong with me. You see I ran the O trail again and I suddenly realized that I really like this trail! It doesn't seem to matter how slow I start out, by the time I get to the end I am almost sprinting.

You know what else I realized, the last mile is much easier as far as the terrain goes than the first half. Why did I never notice this before? Perhaps it has something to do with hitting the O after racing 10 miles of tough terrain.

I just hope I feel as good as I have lately during the actual race. Now I didn't actually run it tonite completely fresh, I started by pushing a pretty good pace on some of the single track for a little over three miles before hitting the O, but still the deeper I got into the crazy twists and turns, the better and faster I ran.

In the interest of comparing, I restarted my watch when I entered the O to get a good idea of how well I was running it. I say approximately three miles first but I don't know for sure because the garmen just fails miserably at Bradbury.

The garmen read 2.46 and the nano read 3.48, so I called it three even though I think it was a bit longer than three. In the o trail the garmen read 1.19 and the nano read 3.17, but at least I know that trail is 2.4


3 miles @30:21 (10:07pace) heartrate av@141, max@160
2.4 miles @31:10 (12:59pace) av@147, max@157
1 mile cooldown, didn't check pace or even time it, but I surely understand Vs remark about sweating....I was soaked!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"O" Trail Repeats??

Sunday Mike and I headed for Bradbury, our plan was O trail repeats......what? Who is crazy enough to run that trail more than once a day? It seemed innocent enough when we planned it.

So, my thought was do a fairly fast first loop then slow the next two down to simulate the fatigued feeling and match my proposed pace at the end of the Bruiser.
A fourth loop would only happen if we had time and had any energy left after three.

We did about 3/4 mile warm up then jumped on the first loop of the O. At first I felt pretty tired and winded, but as we continued, things came together and I was pushing a fairly good pace....well at least for this trail.

The end came suddenly as I was enjoying the run so much that I lost track of where I was (which is quite easy on this trail). I finished the 2.4 mile in 33:33 so not too bad. I waited a few seconds for Mike and we headed back to the beginning to run the second loop. I wanted to run each loop in the same direction as the race to try and get more familiar with the trail.

On the second loop Mike decided to speed it up and run as fast as he could, but I decided to stay with my plan and start out much slower. In a flash he was gone and I enjoyed the mosey pace for a short while until I realized I was consistently picking up the pace.

Mike finished first at about 28:42, which was a pretty darn good pace and I surprised myself with a 32:26 finish......faster than the first lap, even though I started much slower. This means I ran the last half at a pretty good clip.

Even though the speed of the last half of my second loop felt really good, I still wanted to train closer to my expected pace for the race, so again I decided to start out slow. Mike was on board with that because he was feeling a bit spent from his speed loop.

As we started out slow, we discussed ways to pass on this trail and started practicing methods of passing without using a lot of extra energy. I passed him two or three times and each time he managed to pass me back quickly. Well the fourth time I decide to pass and then add a little sprint to create a separation and make him work much harder to catch me and pass again.

I passed him then hit my sprint. I separated pretty good then used the next corner to turn it on again and see if I could lose him. Right after the corner came a bit of a down hill so I felt compelled to continue with the quicker stride.

My full intent was to slow back down and let him catch up, but I was settling in real good and the longer strides felt comfortable and easy. By the time I hit the end of the O, I was sprinting pretty good and I pulled off a 29:28, which may not sound that fast but given the fact that the first third of the 2.4 miles I was running extremely slow, the last bit was pretty darn fast.

I didn't plan it this way but each loop ended up being faster than the last one and I actually felt stronger each loop. I could have easily done a fourth cool down loop but it was getting quite late and we had to get going.

On our way out, we ran into Ian and Emma,they were with Jim and planning on running the new connector to Pineland. Suddenly Blaine showed up with blood streaks down his face and his head all bandaged up. He fell and hit a stump pretty darn hard and was talking about finding a hospital to get it checked out. It proves that even the best can get hurt on these technical trails and a certain amount of respect is warranted.


1st loop 2.4 miles@33:33 141-156 heart rate

2nd loop 2.4 miles @32:26 139-160 heart rate

3rd loop 2.4 miles @29:28 150-161 heart rate

In the end, the best part was driving the old jeep CJ7 home as we were pretty hot and sweaty and the fresh cool air felt great!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Broken Plans...Confusing Results

One would think, upon reading my title, that I had an undesirable experience with my training. Of course that is exactly what we humans normally write about, it is in our nature to complain and I know I have done my fair share.

I plan a run, it doesn't go as planned, I complain and ramble on for ever it seems and then I find a way to rationalize my experience into some type of good training thing. Perhaps everyone does that, but they leave out the complaining part so it sounds more positive than whining.

My plan was to do an easy run on Bradbury East side trails last night.......well let me backtrack a bit, Saturday I ran the Beach to Beacon 10k, then Sunday I raced the Bradbury Mountain Breaker 9 miler.

Now I do not normally run back to back races and even though I didn't all out race the Beacon, I did run the race when I should have been resting for my mountain race. All in all I had a plan for the Breaker and I followed it quite well.

In the end I had a respectable time that gave me PR of about three minutes and though I felt sluggish during most of it, I think I accomplished a pretty good race. I suspect this whole piece is getting a bit boring as I already wrote about my race.....but the background is important as it leads up to my latest run.

Sunday afternoon I was dead tired and decided to take at least one maybe two days off before I ran again. For sure my Achilles needed to calm down after the hills of the 9 miler.

I spent Monday and Tuesday just swimming laps and water running. It actually felt good and it didn't allow my muscles to get too stiff. At the same time my brain wasn't thinking that I was lazing it.

I knew Wednesdays run would feel sluggish and decided to just hit Bradbury and do an easy three or fours miles on the Bruiser course just to work the body back into running trails. It was quite hot out when I left work and I almost canned the whole idea of running and hit the pool again instead.

For some reason I did end up at Bradbury but assured myself I would take it real easy and felt my body would demand it anyway, so I actually had no say in the matter.
When I first started running down the link trail, I felt tired and sluggish and my legs were not too solid......every thing I expected.

Once I turned onto the single track of the Lanzo trail, I just kept running faster and faster. Suddenly I was breathing near the top of my capability, hitting extremely high heart rate numbers that averaging up to 154(89%HR) with peaks at 162(93%hr) for the first three miles...... surprising because these are my normal racing numbers.

Funny thing is, I didn't feel like I was racing, I felt more like I was running comfortably hard and it actually felt extremely fast and doable. Usually when racing hard I feel like I can't go on and have to convince myself not to quit.

I stopped at the 5k mark just to double check my watch and my monitor to be sure I was reading it right. After 20 or 30 seconds I continued at what was going to be a cooldown pace, but before long I was running fast again...OK..well fast for me anyway.

I ran the next two miles faster than the first three and topped it off with a great kick. Though my average heart rate was a bit lower because of the slower start, my kick peaked my hear rate up to 173.......I haven't reach the 170s since last year.

What the hell happened? I somehow flicked some hidden switch and now I want to know how to do it slight disbelief, I rechecked my stats on both the Garmen and the Nano to be sure there was not something wrong and I found everything to be normal.

I wish I could put this run in the bank and make a withdrawal for my next race. It sure is funny how perceived effort and condition is totally relative to factors that seem way beyond our comprehension and control.

5.2 miles @49:07(running time)9:30 pace


8:24...173 (for .2 miles)

Monday, August 9, 2010

BtoB and Bradbury B

It may not be a fair statement to say I raced the quad B this weekend as I really didn't race the B to B as much as I paced a very important beginner. It does however qualify as a strain on my racing freshness for the Breaker, so I have a semi excuse for not doing as well as I would on rested legs.

That being said, I had a fantastic time running the Beacon as a run instead of a race. I actually was hardly sweating at the end. My wife raced it for the second time and it was her second race ever.

I went in with a plan to use my expertise to help here push her limits at just the right times to hopefully gain her a PR. It worked! She PRed by four minutes so I guess I proved I do know something about race stradegy and pacing.

The Breaker race was perfect from a participents point of view as Ian and Ryan did another outstanding job. It really made me proud to wear my trail Monsters shirt for all those out of staters to see.

As far as my race goes, I am very satisfied with my effort, my race plan and my results. Reguardless of of my freshness, I ran smart, stayed with my plan and actually PRed by 3 minutes. Not only a PR but I felt so much better this year.

The other exciting thing is that there were a bunch of places, I could have tweeked the pace a little and even done better. This was not the time or place though to push the envelope.....I am saving that for the Bruiser. This race was all about sticking to the plan and proving to myself I have some of the answers.

The only draw back to the day was that my son, who was heavy into training for this race and others, ran into a tough knee injury and had to pull from the race after a disapointing warm up run. I know it was a tough decision for him as we headed for the start line, but overall health and having a great fall of races was much more important.

One last thing........don't you just love that 3/4 mile downhill finish!!! This has got to be the most fun finish of any of my races.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Breaker course complete


Went to Bradbury with the intent to run the whole breaker course as a training exercise for next weeks race. The plan was to take it easy the first loop and then try to finish strong. I decided to speed walk instead of trying to run the two times up the Summit trail to help keep my energy level up.

The run felt great.....even though I was passed by a couple much faster runners (Alan and Andy) By the time I finished, they were all cooled down and relaxed at one of the picnic tables.

The first loop was quite comfortable except for the switchback coming down the mountain,I just couldn't seem to get into any type of rhythm on the downhill.
I finished the first loop in 1:01:36, I figured I would have to really speed up to beat 2 hours at this point.

The second loop started out good but I found myself a bit tired in mile two and really winded on the summit trail. As I was climbing the Summit trail, Alan passed me like a mountain goat heading for supper, I felt I should have been able to run at this point, walking was all I had though.

Once I crested and crossed the rock ledge, I suddenly felt pretty good. This is when I realized that I was looking at this course all wrong. It seems we all talk about the tough uphill climbs yet each one give us a huge reward after climbing.......a reward of a nice downhill. Something I sure could have used at Mt Washington.

My last two miles went well and I felt quite strong. This was good considering it was miles 8 and 9 of a pretty tough course. The second loop I ran @55:53 which was considerably faster than the first loop. I was pretty happy with the whole run.

total run 9.2 miles @1:57:29
Heart rate av..130, max..154

14:45....134-152(summit trail)
10:20....131-142(first half 1:01:36)
15:45....137-149(summit trail)
9:27....147-154 (second half 55:53)