Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday - 10 miles and pictures

a.m. 5 miles, avg. HR 142. flat.

p.m. 5 miles, avg. HR 150. w/climbing.

Jack is becoming a photographer (Mama's boy!)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday - 8 miles

Avg. HR 141, pretty much a cruise, 8:30 pace. I've done about 45 miles and most of it has been on the dirt/rock slopes. Body feels pretty solid after yesterday. I'm looking at a 50k in August along with any other shorter off roadies that come within striking distance.

Last night I had a radical dream about snakes. Yikes!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday - 20 miles. . . sorta

Technically I covered 20 miles today, but the last 4 were despite a physical meltdown. Nutrition obviously comes into play always, but even more so when the body is being asked to extend itself.

a.m. 12 miles, 1:41, 1400ft. climbing, avg. HR 151 which means this solid run was Aet even though I pushed the pace some and had some very warm climbs. I know my HR was affected by the heat and dehydration. Body felt good, but the feet were a little beat up since the Rancho Penasquitos trail is very rocky in spots. So I recovered well last night. Felt good.

Then I ate lunch and waited a little too long and ate a little too much. A turkey salad (cabbage and spinach and olive oil). And a bunch of grapes. . . . .

Afternoon I ran 8 miles and felt like I was going to blow chunks most of the way. My HR was low (130) and I could pace myself pretty well (8:20), but the body my system was pretty squeamish. I need to really watch what I eat on such a day (every day). Even though my salad might seem okay, I should think about eating less food, easier to digest (my wife had taken the quinoa I'd planned to eat today!). Oh well, it's a learning process.

2 days: 35 miles and lots of stretching. Gots to get lighter and stronger. Ride your bike. Ride your bike. Lift. Stretch. And eat like a freakin champion!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday - 15 miles

San Elijo Lagoon, 1400ft climbing, avg. HR 146. My toes and the few traces of p.fasciitis gave me a little hesitation, so I really kept things under control besides my OCD on the HR data. In all, I felt heavy perhaps because of my feet and the two days off, which consisted of chores and chowing down. But the Garmin data was good. The climbing was good fun and the HR was very much a positive sign - the recovery days preceding certainly have a lot to do with that. And my pace was better than I expected. GPS rocks.

I entered the lagoon on the B&L side, over the train tracks. But I only stayed on that side and just ran around there, coming out somewhere near Ranch Santa Fe. Does anyone know how to access some of the other parts of the trail? Are there other parts? It was definitely a nice venue, but I want to wander around a little more. The Cardiff breeze is nice; I need to ride my bike up there, stash it somewhere. and then run. Gasolino es mucho shito.

I wanted to do 20 today, but was a little knackered afterwards. If my recovery goes well tonight, tomorrow I go big(ger). If I'm sore, I hit the bike and go. . . and stretch . . . and do "a little intensive calf stretching + massage for [my] soleus and gastroc" (Lucho). I'm hearing a lot of good things about calf raises.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sunday - ?? Week total: ~40 miles

Today I ran with just a stop watch because it was only important that I return in an hour to start the bbq. I ran the hilliest stuff around my house and felt like I smoked cigarettes, but ended up doing okay on some steep stuff. I pushed it. No HR!

My road shoes are killing me. I'm afraid the mileage is moving me either into a wider fit, or a bigger size. Errrr.

Happy Memorial Day. . .

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday - 15 miles

a.m. 8.5 miles, 8:08 pace, avg. HR 143. This was a great run. The HR is just a beautiful thing. That's MAF, but there were some sections I ran at ~150.

Noon 6.5 miles, avg. HR 146, but much slower. Just a cruise.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday - 8 miles

This was a flat run that kicked my white butt. I took Thursday off because I have a sick 4 year-old and I'm slammed at work. . .but that ends really soon! I didn't want to push it and looking at the HR, it was, again, an echo of what Lucho has said over and over. Fitness can mean difficulty getting the HR up. I'm just such a freshman. . .

Avg. HR 140, 8:30 pace. It was a tough run, but nothing wrong. For most of the run, my HR was around 130 and I just huffed and puffed, pretty slow. I turned it up a little and I mean a little. It was just about burning fat. Felt good.

As for this whole low intensity "movement," check-out the discourse amongst Gordo, ChuckieV, Alan Couzens, and Lucho. This is serious. I don't think they're conspiring to write about this subject in some of its many manifestations, but the theme is there. These coaches take great care in how they manage and prepare their many athletes, who are not all IMers. MAF is about health and balance, i.e., happiness. It just so happens that such a disciplined focus builds an indispensable foundation for competitive athletes at all levels. My wife, a pretty big skeptic, has been building her MAF resume for about a month now and feels pretty good about her routine. Even though the scale has been "a little slow" to respond, Lucho had a very scientific response to one of his readers that put my wife's questions to rest. For example, weight gain/retention in the face of consistent MAF exercise can be the result of one's body storing glycogen since it's burning fat so efficiently. This is great stuff. . .for the world!

I just hope people have an ear to this symphony of experience and insight.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wednesday - 6 miles

I found a nice a little hilly trail run close to work. I've run there before, but I made more of it; there's more on the line. This is definitely the beginning of a new phase in the training. Although I will continue the Aet work (w/MAF recovery), it's time to groove hilly trails.

Avg. HR 152, about 1000ft. climbing and I did it in my new dogs! I'll have more feedback as I work them in, but first impression is "amazing." Along with the trail training, it's time to get specific. So go the shoes.

I got some GREAT feedback on the Saturday race. Having seen the more updated results, it does get me pretty psyched to really get to work. I especially like the updated mileage of the damn trail (21.77k) and the different age group results. Wow. Pumped. Someone reminded me of how an early season "disappointment" can parlay into that much more focus and commitment. Of course, I'm not disappointed given the results, but I am given how I fared out there on the hills.

Sunday we hiked a little and I took Monday and Tuesday off. Today felt great getting back at it!

Another photo of the insane weekend. Pulling-up to my house from Temecula: my family rocks!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Vail Lake Xduro

In the end, this was a very memorable day. From the suffering during the run, to hanging with some good people after the race, to a very emotional ride home and kickin' it with my peeps . . . it's just one of those days I'll never forget.

If you've been reading this little blog at all, you might've noted all of the aerobic training/MAF/Aet talk. I've been building my engine so to speak and since I'm relatively new at endurance running, all in all I'm in the process of getting myself in shape to run hard at some organized events. Being the competitor that I am, of course I want results; but that's a ways off considering all of the experienced runners in SoCal alone whose lives have included running, perhaps as a cross-country, track, or long distance runner. Either way, my athleticism has always been there (I played college soccer), but so has my lifestyle of guy-at-the-beach-burning-the-hippy-lettuce-drinking-beer. Now, at 39, I want to be a very legitimate trail runner. Other than a 1:31 1/2 marathon under my belt, this is all new.

The aerobic training focus has really helped me remain pretty healthy and encouraged a more consistent approach to the sport, which are paramount (health and consistency) to being at all successful. So I'm pretty happy so far with the training, etc. And of course I can't wait to keep building. Tim Luchinske lives in Colorado, but has really helped me get a grip on this approach - he's encouraged me push my limits in terms of mileage. I've been building. I'm going to keep going. This summer will, hopefully, include some real strides in mileage. And a lot of that mileage is going to be on the trail. I have to enhance my ability to run hard on trails/mountains. That's my long term focus. The aerobic fitness is coming along, so it's time to run that machine off road.

Which brings me to yesterday's 21k trail race at Vail Lake in Temecula. I had pretty low expectations since my training has consisted almost entirely of aerobic running and what are my expectations anyways? I'm the FNG (f'n new guy). I ran Boney Mountatin 21k in Jan. and Mission Gorge 15k in Feb. That's my trail running experience. So Vail Lake was my third trail race. Again, that's my focus now and for as long as I can imagine. All that is affiliated with the trail and its people float my boat. But I digress.

My expectations for Vail Lake were something along these lines: my fitness would enable me to run pretty hard, but as the race wore on I would get stronger. My diet of Long Steady Distance would surely support such a visualization. From looking at some elevation profiles and talking to people who had some experience with the route, I conceived of some early climbing, especially on The Dam Climb, but by mile 3-4, the course, although steadily up and down, trends down toward the finish. So, I suffer early on the big climb, but recover because of my fitness and then progressively get stronger.

I arrived pretty early and was able to get fairly comfortable talking with other runners, listening to music and checking-out the facility. I did a little warm-up about 30 min before the race. The body felt great. My feet felt good (despite a little recent plantar fasciitis) and the rest of me was ready to go, too.

As the gun sounded, we were off. Right away, I settled-in a few seconds behind the first pack that included Beth and Katya Meyers. We climbed the first little incline and then headed down where we crossed a dry stream-bed and then hit a little rolling section leading to The Dam Climb at about mile 3.5. Running along this relatively flat section, I was running comfortably sub 7 min/mile and my HR was around 180. It was the first time I'd been able to open-up, and although going-out too hard and blowing-up is always a possibility, my perceived fitness and research suggested that there would be some tough early stuff, but the course would get more forgiving and I would get stronger. I knew the heat would affect HR, perhaps dramatically, so I wasn't too concerned with that. Besides, I wasn't about to "save myself" for later. It was on.

As we started to climb Dam Climb, the suffering began. The temperature was climbing (running a race had a lot to do with the relative temp.) and I soon realized that the climbing was going to be pretty consistent. Part of this realization came during and later while talking to people about how this course is the Xterra West bike course. The cyclist will recall the up and down of the course differently than the runner. The runner has to hit all of those climbs. There is some recovery on the back side, but with another climb approaching quickly, this up and down became the basic ingredients of what we might call a heroin sandwich, i.e., pretty hardcore/knarly/hideous with the accompanying heat working its way to the mid-day three digits.

So the first mistake in my approach to the run. The hard part is early and the course would get relatively easier later. Having made that mistake, the second and terribly significant flaw in my reasoning becomes apparent: I was not going to get stronger as the race wore on. I underestimated the climbing (more on this later!!), so needlesstosay, I was in trouble.

By about mile 6 I was hurting pretty bad. Up to that point, my HR hadn't gone below 170. Granted, I went out hard and stayed that way as long as I could (thinking I would slowly recover and maintain because of my fitness: See "My mistakes"). But now the heat and the steady dose of climbing kept things pretty nasty on the perceived exertion end. I was starting to hate life.

Miles 7-10 were simply hanging-on, over-dosing. I didn't take a water bottle with me and I don't think I missed it much. Perhaps I could've kept my neck/head wet, but the stations, as promised, seemed to arrive in time. The end of the race had a little twist that made I'm sure most of us pretty insane. As we summited we thought was the last climb (the back of the first little ascent of the race), the arrows directed us up a ridge that climbed fairly quickly and what probably made the race over 13.5 miles. It was sick. At this point, I was pretty depressed by the whole affair. I was suffering, getting passed by a few folks, and generally felt so out of shape it was a little embarrassing. Finished in 2:15:47, 24/110. Yuck.

The course could accurately be described as a roller coaster, but the day was an emotional roller coaster, as well. I suddenly had a lot of doubt in myself; my perceived fitness coming in didn't seem to meet the challenge. Reality bit me in the ass. But I won my age-group. It's a weird kind of twist to a very intense (Xterra) experience. Because I'm 40 in 2008, they put me in the 40-44 age group. Of course, I know the way the race unfolded and the way I competed. I was weak, truly beat-up. But they threw me a bone and I am very grateful for that twist of fate. It is a win, and I will count it as such, but I also know that I got kinda lucky. It was a very small field.

I'll take it. And I have some things to work-on! I noted before the race that I can't wait to take my training into the hills and the trails. I didn't do any but a day or two of hills in the last three months. Jack, Ang and I went on a hike this morning and I watched some runners hitting the hills there. It really dawned on me how feeble my training was in preparation for A LOT OF F'N HILLS. I ran on a lot of flat terrain to really gauge my MAF/Aet progress - how fast I'm going at specific HRs. I will test later this week because I know I've made a lot of progress - I suspect my splits will be sub 8:00 at 150HR. But I need to hit the hills/ trails, rattle snakes/heat and all. I will look at the race calendar to organize these work-outs, but having realized I did practically no extended hill work, no wonder I became a big fat mess at Vail Lake. And as for the mess, it was almost entirely due to me "cracking." My body was fine. My legs and feet felt pretty good afterwards and today I'm not even feeling much residual affect. Again, we hiked this morning. So, no more "treadmill guy." It's time to get nasty . . . at Aet!

Thanks to JW for taking the pic!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I found my USB cable

A little Pismo Beach, some pics of Disneyland w/our niece, Zoe and hiking w/Jack in Torrey Pines Reserve. These belong to earlier posts. It was bothering me. . .

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday - 4 miles

Just did a little 30 min at about 8:00 pace with 5 1 min accelerations. The best thing about all of this was that my avg. HR was 139, below MAF. This would've been a good weekend for another Aet test. I might really like the results. Hopefully, I'll like the results of this 21k trail run. Everything's pretty much a go even though the race, in a way, has already started. I'm racing my son's newly acquired cold. Did a few errands today, one of which was a stop at my sister's where her 3 kids, of course, have colds. Sat on her porch in the 80-90 degree heat to avoid the incubator. Swung by the running store for some boob greese (BodyGlide) and then hit the run where those little germs, I'm afraid, got left behind. Now, just get through this evening and hit the freakin' road to the freakin' trail! The best part of all of this? Despite the fact that I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS RACE, I almost can't wait to get back to training even more.

Giving thanks. . . .

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Wednesday - 7+ miles

About 58 min. incorporating some race pace intervals. Instead of 2x 3min on 3 off, 2x 2 on 2 off, and 5x 1 on 1 off, I forgot the breakdown and ended-up doing 2x 5 on 5 off, 2x 3 on 3 off, and then back to the car. I started with about 20min warm up. I felt wimpy during the 5 min intervals, but the hurt will help. I'm done for the week. I'll stretch and move my legs and HR at the gym the next couple of days, but it's all done. Time to wait. Anticipate.

And put together my Xduro Vail Lake CD for the ride up in the early Sat. dawn!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday - 5 miles

Avg. HR 143, easy trail run with ~1000ft. up and 1000ft. down. Today was to be an easy 30-45min. run. The climbing and the heat probably weren't what the doctor ordered, but I'm glad I did it. The tickle in the throat subsided, but there were other concerns brought-up by today's run. First of all, although the MAF approach has improved my aerobic/fat burning system, I simply haven't spent much time at all with a sustained elevated HR. The little bit of trail/climbing I did today (at a very mellow pace) just got me thinking about that. I almost caught an edge a few times, turning an ankle. Hmmmmm. Am I just not trained for a brutal, hilly, hot, off-road 21k?

Just a few of my thoughts during the first part of the run while I tip-toed through the little single-track sections, anticipating rattlers. My HR was up, it was hot and this was simply the kind of running I hadn't been doing. Hmmmmmm.

But I got more comfortable as my little 5 miler went on. True the climbs will beat me up, but I will recover quickly, something I've noticed and something James Walsh said is so key for him, why his aerobic training is so important. Enough said.

After Vail Lake, my training will turn more and more to the trail. Although there are so many more opportunities to elevate HR, what goes up must come down. In fact, the benefits of downhill running are clear.

So, in the end, it was a day of additional concerns and additional reasons to be stoked about the race and the next phase of my training. I can't wait for Saturday's TEST.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday - 10 miles

Great run. I mentioned that I'd be doing a little research re: work-outs this week. The feedback was fairly consistent and a huge reminder of how generous these guys are; a huge lift. I did 10.27 miles in 1:24, avg. HR 147. The idea was another Aet run, the staple I've been living off of for a good month now, following, of course, a few months of MAF. The run consisted of grass, a little sand and trail. There was a lot of wind and it got a little cool. Considering all of the elements, I am really stoked. The data is good for me - I've been minus a monitor for a few runs lately, so although these runs feel strong, my HR is staying right where it needs to be.

Also, my body felt really strong. No pain in the feet, legs, etc. Really strong. The only concern is a little tickle in the throat that started last night. I'm probably off tomorrow unless I feel great in the a.m. Then it's a little 5 miler or so. Otherwise, I'm off just to make sure I don't F this thing up.

It's 8:00 and I'm off to bed!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Week log 5/5 - 5/11

Sunday and Monday - off

Tuesday - 7 miles ~56:00. Ran without HR monitor. Breathed through my nose almost entirely (though I did hump a few slopes). Definitely an aerobic run with just that little bit o freedom to glide. Felt good.

Wednesday - 8 miles, avg. HR 135. Lucho's told me a few times how these work-outs will become more difficult the fitter I become. Again, he's right. I'm simply running faster at the lower HR. Followed run with a kale/spinach/tuna salad + ingredients. These last two weeks before the race will include a much cleaner diet. Shouldn't I be eating this way all the time? The better I treat myself, the more grateful I am. I am grateful!

Thursday - 7 miles, avg. HR 147, 8:15 pace. Just a solid Aet run. I did some lifting and elliptical, as well. I can't wait for the 17th.

Friday - 10 miles w/o HR monitor. It was Aet all the way but I definitely did a some comfortable tempo.

Saturday - off. Had to proctor an exam in the morning and traveled in the afternoon. Went to Palm Springs to celebrate Mother's Day with wife's mother, my kid's Nana. Classy gal.

Sunday - 7 miles Treadmill w/o HR monitor. Very comfortable, ~pace 8:15. About 1.5 2.0 grade. Just getting it in on Mother's Day at a hotel in the desert. I thought I might get out and rip some of the trails I used to train on when I used to live down there. But "breakfast in bed" and keeping an eye on my boy took precedent over my ripping a 2 hour trail run! Either way, the killer brunch at Rancho Las Palmas was pretty decadent. Lots of veggies and maybe the best spinach salad I've ever had. This was key after the previous 2 days of eating like a spooner.

Total - 39 miles

A so-so week. I got in about 40 miles but feel like I didn't run enough. Monday would have been a big trail run, but I just didn't feel it. Oh well. At this point, I want to run hard and I think my "base" training has been enough give it a good go next weekend. I did mix-in a tempo run or two this past couple of months, but this race's prep includes, really, NO SPEED WORK. This will be a good race to see how strict MAF/Aet work facilitates a big, off-road effort.

Last week's total mileage was just over 40 miles.

After reading some interesting stuff about race peaks, I have some questions. Generally, I should maintain the frequency, but cut the duration. But Lucho has recommended that I run at my limits right on through Vail Lake since I really have no expectations because I'm just building my aerobic engine and seeing how my body fares in "the trenches." Between TL and JW, I oughta have a good design for the week.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Saturday - 6 miles

Avg. HR 123. I ran really easy, and it felt good. This might be what they call a massage run (Lucho).

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday - 8.5 miles

I did the same run today as yesterday, but I was really that much faster today and had a lower HR. I'm kinda stoked. But I have to be honest; I rode the mill the last two days, so those numbers need that asterisk. Keep in mind I started running MAF oriented schema a while ago (a couple of months), and have pretty much graduated to running as much Aet as i can . The mills are programmed to run for 35 minutes before shutting down just in case one has an heart attack. On my second "split" I did 4.3 miles in 33:00 minutes - I guess i got so "high" that i just hit stop because . . . Aside from the pace computed by that machine (7:40), I was "working." For that little "run," I went 7:40, avg. HR 145. On the first 35:00 "lap," I did around 8:15 pace, but added some incline and my avg. HR was 137. So, the point is that my aerobic system is coming along as promised by Lucho and Chuckie V. As I've said before, check those guys out.

Before any of that occurred, Jack and I did a quality hike along Torrey Pines State Beach and then ascended into the Reserve. We've done a hike or two, but this was pretty big for the big guy. The trail weather was warm, he was fired up, and it was tough to keep him from trail running. By most accounts, the kid should be in a position to win Western States about 10 years in a row - that would be a bad joke, but you get my point. No need to go into detail here - I still can't find my camera USB! It was great. We did a few errands, and then hit the gym.

And as for more defense of the treadmill at the gym. It's f'n boring. There are similarities between it and the trainer. You're pretty isolated, steady, and end-up sweating a lot. That was the case today: I was on the high, steady cadence machine. Quite frankly, I good give a shit about the pace; my leg turn over was "training" and the fact that I was 100% aerobic is even better. It's like swimming laps.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thursday - 8.5 miles

Avg. HR 144. 8:15 pace, but I was under 8:00 during parts. Kinda worked me. Legs are sore, which I tried to work-on with some stretching; there's a concept. I'm pushing through the pain. Otherwise, feel pretty good.