Sunday, August 31, 2008

8/25 - 8/31 total: 27 miles

8/25-27 (Monday – Wednesday)
Moapin’ around the joint. Tired. Uninspired. Over/underwhelmed.

Started a run at Mission Trails that turned into a hike. 5 miles, 2300ft. climbing.
I started running, was thrown a little off by a lot of construction/closed trails, etc.; then I hit the climb that goes from the visitors center off of Mission Gorge Rd. over to the Fortuna Peaks (very steep and fairly long). With the sun just then bursting through the morning’s canopy, it was just enough to encourage a little hiking towards the top where I hoped to run the more rolling parts to N. Fortuna. I felt so heavy it was sad. I didn’t even want to run down hill. I hiked. Actually enjoyed it. I hope CV is absolutely right about the leg/feet muscles not knowing the difference. Either way, a bad work-out/very satisfying work-out. I’m developing a strange yet very common form of schizophrenia.

Hooked up with some ultra runners (Jeremy and wife Kara). 10 miles at Iron Mt. with 3000ft. ascent. They charted a different loop than the one I ran last week. It was fantastic running with others! I felt quite good (strong) on the climbs. The weather cooled and I had fuel with me, unlike the run last week. I was finding that gear that enabled me to keep running despite unrelenting up! This was a good bit of feedback since I’ve been doubting my progress. Jeremy was very cool and suggested a race in October that might work. There’s plenty of racing this fall winter, so I’m going to just keep consistent and know when to push and lay-off. This week is an off week. I want to recover a little. But still train a little.

Starting next week, I’m going to use hours to measure my weeks. Partly because I’m going to start cross-training a little more and don’t want to feel like my weeks are getting soft. I’ve been consistently running 50 miles a week for 4-5 months. I want to start to really tap some speed and strength (strength!!). Mountains must be met with strength and endurance. I’m not running a 5k.

The ruminations will certainly continue.. . .

Went to the gym and did a little spun/run/flex the guns routine (I need to flex the guns more!!). 5 easy miles. But it was a pain. I’ve been running outside a lot more these days on really nice trails. The gym is tough in that it’s, well, the gym. Spun for a half hour but this week I’m not counting that. Remember, starting next week I count hours.

7 miles. Wasn’t even going to run. Getting all prepped for school that starts Tuesday and have pretty much put this week in the bank as a really off week even though it might have been the most productive in that I met some cool ultra runners and will be running with them soon. But I got in 7 miles, about 1000ft. up on the pavement. Yuck. Today I was fat guy. Wow. I will start to pass on these runs I’m afraid since the road beats me up, doesn’t have what I want. I averaged about 7:40 and had to work pretty hard – that’s the way it is for us slow guys – BUT I was feeling warmed-up when I got back home; I was ready to go. I guess that’s the story. I don’t have the speed, but the endurance is there. Friday’s 10 miler with 3000ft up and a couple of fellow runners suggested I have some endurance. The thing is: running on flat, especially flat road, makes me ill. I want to climb and run trails. I think the vision is manifesting itself. Be consistent!

I was thinking on the run about whether or not this analogy works: I’ve been running solo for a long time, grinding it out, coveting the mud, sweat and tears like it’s “my precious.” I did a ½ marathon avg. 7:00 min mile training on my own, without even blogging, without HRM, etc. This has been a super solo act, a massive monologue. I’m over this Golum act. It’s heavy. And might carry a little corollary sickness. But there’s a sweetness as well, hence “my precicous.”

The time has come to join forces with those defending Middle-earth (sorry about the allusions – I really dig the story). It too is a lot of work, but lighter and friendlier, which is terribly important. Am I in a cave fiercely suffering the weight of it all? Or joining my fellow Shire folk, reveling in the hard work, enjoying some old world ale, local produce and lively music?

And it’s not country music!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

8/18 - 8/23 total: 50 + miles

My computer is back from the shop so I can get honest some more.

Tuesday - 1 hr. bike ride to get my car at “the shop.” Then I caught Gordo’s post, which happened to be about Being Positive. Among the many things he says, this applies: “Movement -- one hour per day, every day, non-negotiable -- walking counts!”

So, I did my hour. Gots to pick my shit up the rest of the week! Racing plans still swirling. Nothing yet but something goes down within the month (stay in the moment, Matt – Run!). I will, homey. . . (now I’m talking to myself . . .but isn’t that what journaling is . . .?) Out.

Wednesday - 12.5 miles at Iron Mountain. Over 3000 ft. of up. Very rocky. Beat me up. Great work and there are a few different loops to do. I didn’t sprain an ankle or trip and break something? Wow. Really good stuff. Under hydrated and ran out of fuel in general. And I wore a dark blue baseball hat? I will do better next time. I will do better next time. I will do better . . . .

In the afternoon, I hit the gym for 4.5 miles and core work. Big day: 17 miles

Thursday – 8 miles at the gym on varying incline. Legs feel fine from yesterday although I’ve been craving salty protein. My favorite. A thought ran through my head based on what I’ve been doing lately: I prefer climbing. More pay-off and there’s that benefit for a guy who’s not real FAST. I haven’t done much climbing this year. Read this post and I’m thinking the same thing: I’m in need of some transformation . . .on many levels, one of which is to become a legitimate SoCal mountain runner.

Friday – 10 miles. Went to the track and did some testing with HRM. Terrible feedback. It was mid-day so quite warm, but my HR does not suggest I’m “fit.” My current paradigm is darkening. One of the miles around and around was 6:30, which felt pretty damn hard. I guess my training is like the Pacman video game. I’m just eating up hard miles but this doesn’t necessarily make one faster. I guess I should have easy day, track day/tempo day, long day. Whatever. I’m running a lot and fairly hard though I’m certainly not blowing myself up, nor am I feeling like I’m doing too much. Do I feel faster? Hell no. After the track I hit some hilly trails (right beside the oval), which resulted in about 1300ft. of up for the 10 mile run.

Saturday – 14 miles. Noble Canyon. This was my little Into the Wild and it's got me thinking harder about my program or lack thereof. I found a place to park and the trail-head by interpreting online directions fairly well and then a guy who was selling t-shirts for his wife and his trip to Africa gave me a spot at the little Bible college if I bought a shirt. Done. A mile from there to the trail head, so I had a little asphalt to warm-up and cool-down from my trek into Noble Canyon. At the trail-head I basically saw only mountain bikers. One guy was really cool giving me a run down of the basic lay-out, what to do at a few forks, etc. I started off and he snuck-up ahead of me as the trail immediately starts to climb. It was pretty rocky (steppy) for the mtb. I passed him pretty quick and could feel the altitude as I continued. I might add that I did not have that extra step when I got up that morning. It's a 45 min. drive from my house. My friend from Austrailia had surprised me by coming over the night before so we had a few brews. I wanted to sleep-in. Sorry, that's where this is going.

So, I pass the mtbiker. I reach the first little saddle and then head down and it gets killer. The best trails are

those nice sandy desert trails. Their packed but because they're sand, have that perfect giving texture. So this went down and rolled a little but then reached a spot where the trail starts to head-up. At this point there's a lot of rock. The trail in some sections was rock, jagged. I could see bike tire marks on patches of dirt in-between; it was gnarly. Not too bad to climb. Up I went. This climbed for the next 4 miles where I reached a point about 6 miles out (7 total) and headed back.

I was burned-out. Was I tired. Yeah. Tired of what? I don't know, but I wanted to get back to my car and head home. I realized that running solo all the time sucks. I simply have to find fellowship on the trail. This is common sense; it's fun to run with people, kill some of the miles with conversation, not to mention the fitness benefits one can get from running and doing a little talking. On such a remote trail run, I got a little spooked, too. I passed a cave that caused me to pick-up my pace quite a bit for a 1/4 mile. I was solo out there and it was pretty much out there. Who knows. I thought of Chris McCandless's journey, some of the things he wrote and such. One of the most poignant quotes is from an annotation he makes in his copy of Doctor Zhivago. Krakauer (likely correctly) suggests this is toward the end of Chris's life, faced with the dreadful realization that such isolation has a considerable disadvantage: "HAPPINESS ONLY REAL WHEN SHARED." That's the way I feel at this point about running. My "colleages" live in Colorado. I have not made a nice routine out of running with local folk. I've had invitations from local ultra runners, but I've failed to follow through. That's going to change. It has to. I'm over it. BTW, the run started at 3600ft. and I topped out at 4600ft. with a total of 2500ft. up. Between this and taking the road bike to climb Laguna . . . nice elevation work to be done.

I do need to mention that I won't be doing the Noble Canyon 50k. This was a real consideration with the idea that I'm unprepared, but need to put myself in positions to grow, to overcome the failure. Here's the problem. The trail was too rocky. The return trip beat me up, coming down the rocks. Or it was a bad day for me. But I want to spend more time on such a trail. Last week was big in terms of running techincal descents. I didn't sprain an ankle? Really? Insane. But Noble is really gnarly. If this had been part of my routine, I'd be much tougher in that respect. I run 50 miles a week, jump rope some, do some weights (not enough) but these rocks kicked my ass. So that's out for now.

GZ sent me some good homemade beer and underscored what I already know about my shitty program: "Re: monotony of training ... a suggestion: RACE. It breaks up monotony the way a dental hygenist breaks up plaque. It leaves you hurt and remembering why you brush your teeth (or rather train). Pick something that will be fun but will kick your ass. 5K. Whatever. I find that this can refocus and rekindle me real quick."

He's right and I've known this. I mentioned recently (probably to me myself and I) that summer off road racing seems to be a little thin in SoCal. Sure I could reach out a little, but the Xterra series literally starts in a month and goes through May. I need to go big so I can go big in the summer. That's way down the line. Right now I need to figure out how I'm going to get this ship right. I'll be talking to Lucho (I abandoned that plan over a month ago --HRM training): I need a serious plan. This includes my diet too. Right now, I just want to eat. School's about to start (excited/overwhelmed), I'm fat, slow and confused. I haven't even run yet this week (tomorrow's Thursday). Fuck. And listen to Lucho, all light, positive and donning those cool new dogs. And he's not taking anymore athletes (not that I'm definitely looking but I better get serious).

Sunday – 2+ miles and some jump roping.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

8/11 - 8/17 total: 50 miles

Monday –

  • 2 miles jump-roping and 200 crunches.

Tuesday –

  • 10 miles and 100 crunches and 4x20 second planks.

Wednesday –

  • Ran 9 miles in Penasquitos Canyon w/1700ft. of elevation gain. Kicked my ass. Thought I climbed more. Disappointed. Penasqueets is a grate place, of which I needed to be reminded. Lots of possibilities. I brought my mtb along to hit the trails after the run. Decided to go home and eat. Then I hit the road and biked 15 miles with 1600ft. of climbing. This was almost worse than the run since I haven’t been riding and I road the mtb. Hill repeats and I found a cool trail near my house which I’m going to run . . .a lot. Then I went to the gym and ran 6 miles. So 15 miles of running and 15 miles of cycling.

Thursday –

  • Ran 9 miles nice and easy. 100 crunches, Lucho cores, and planks.

Friday –

  • Errands. But I got in a nice quicky on my urban trail. Hill repeats. Each up and down is about .8 miles. Ended-up with 5 miles (quicky). The hot hills felt good, strong.

Saturday –

  • 10 miles, some hills, some tempo. Felt good.

Sunday –

  • Did my last bit of recon in Idylwild. I have a sick mountain run that starts off highway 74 and reaches the PCT. About 12 round trip, but there is a really nice meadow with a bunch of trails at the trail-head. I suspect the run starts at 4000 and goes to about 6000. We’ll see, my GPS and me. I drove the Pilot all the way to the PCT trailhead. It's like a fire road.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Some video for my "files". I missed the final of the 100 butterfly live; apparently there's controversy. Despite the protest by Serbia and review by Olympic officials, Phelps is gold. Unfortunately, we have to wonder. Granted, such video productions might be considered conspiracy theory. On the other hand, it appears that Cavic is okay with the results. I imagine he has an editor who polishes his prose, or he, a full blooded Serb, is more articulate than 90% of the English speaking population.

I sure hope everyone's on the up and up!

I have to add that there seems very little follow-up to this controversy. These guys do a great job of breaking it down: one needs a little luck to reach the top.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday - 0 miles (weekly total: 40 miles)

(Edit: Thanks to Allan Couzens for the borrowed quote.)

And I'm starting the week (Monday) with a big 0 too.

Time to cut back on the daily blogging; I'll keep track of my efforts and post on Sunday with the week's work. Maybe a weekly post will occur because I'm needing to get something down training-wise, so I can expand my reach on that end of things. You see, it's time to get serious. I mentioned my pledge to do core work. My diet needs some serious work (I've been tempted to ask a professional because I'm a derelict when it comes to food and drink). My work-outs need some tinkering, as well. That will unfold as the season starts. Yeah, I said starts. Until I can get myself to the Rockies for summer racing with the big dogs, the summer is all quiet on this western front.

In the next few weeks I'll most likely have a race to report. I can't wait. I need a real test in a real bad way. I have no idea how fit I am. And, no, running around the track with a HRM is not what I'm talking about. The racing really kicks into gear in September. So does school. Until I can learn another more mellow form of income, I'm carrying an overload once again. Sounds like I'm talking about my waist-line. Time to turn the corner.

This is how I feel. Yes, I'm getting a haircut. And pulling myself together in a big way.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Friday and Saturday - 15 miles

Friday was supposed to consist of Elijo Lagoon and San Dieguito, hopefully 15 miles. Needlesstosay, it would have been a trail run of soft and supple terrain. Unfortunately, it didn't happen, so I had to hit a local road run, emphasis on the word "road." 10.5 miles later, of which I ran hard, and ended up with 1200ft. of climbing, a little knee injury. No particular injury, but I pounded it. Felt okay after the run but had my acupuncture afterwards; her "work" revealed some serious discomfort in a knee that was fine! The road killed me. Looking back, I definitely ran hard. And there were some descents, but I've done it before. Did Thursday's killer work on the hills contribute? Probably, but not really. The road is out. I have to live this.

My acupuncture was epic. Sure it felt great. But more importantly, it was as if I was visiting a doctor whose sensitivity to the body is sterling. She checked my pulse at the outset. Said my pulse was "wet." We discussed that. I told her my concerns, she observed her own, threw some needles at me and then gave me a killer massage. She's an ultra runner; enough said. I recommend her.

In the end, she said I feel stable, strong. It was a great diagnosis. I was told about a year ago that I have arthritis, shouldn't run hills, etc. This from a number of different pros from a number of different disciplines. I like them all and learned a lot from them all. But Jen, the acupuncturist, is topping the list. She digs. And says I look fairly solid. I'll take it and run.

Saturday, today, I hit the gym and did some non-impact and core work.

I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE: I do not do core work.

It's become a rebellion. If I have time, I run. When I did triathlon, there was plenty to do. When I was a kid, people might ask, have you seen this or that movie? Movie? No. I went surfing, played ball, or smoked some ganga and cruised chicks. Core work? No. I ran 10 miles and bbqed some bratwurst . . . I know the core is tough work, but absolutely critical! I have been a gigantic wuss. It's over. I've caved. I will now accompany my large base and subsequent speedwork with an enormous core encounter. I'm psyched. I have some great ideas, but feel free, if you read this, to offer your own core routines since there are a ton. I'm going to lean on the plank with some of Lucho's suggestions.

Also, it's time to mix it up. I have been running only. I need to ride more. And swim. On that note, it's time to get back to this Olympic coverage. For the record, I'm drinking a Full Sail IPA. Not bad. Racing date coming soon. I've had enough of this layin' around in cruise control .

A few pics speaking to my gig . . .

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wednesday and Thursday - 15 miles

Wednesday - 7 miles. Nice and easy with a little bit of climbing. I worked-out at the gym and sweat so much it was ridiculous. Oh, wait . . . it's because I'm kicking ass. Whatever. When I go to the gym, I plan-on going through at least 2 shirts (WTF!).

Thursday - 8 miles. Hills. I have a little spot near my house with trails but it's all up and down. I will wear the GPS next time to gauge the elevation and no we're not talking about mountains, but we are talking about 6 minute hill intervals with a little technical shnizzle.

Nice day tomorrow. I do Elijo/Dieguito (with which I can hopefully render 15 miles of killer trail with some climbing). Then I get my second ever acupuncture. I've seen her once before and I think the potential is there.

Tell Jen about:

my thyroid
my hip flexor
my right arch
my respiratory system

Get to work, girl!

Then I pick-up my two nieces (5 years and 3 years). Then pick-up Jack. Then all hell breaks loose. Yeeeeah.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesday - 10 miles . . .at least

Rode the trainer for about 30 minutes or 10 miles - avg about 100 rpm. Then did the stair-master for 20 minutes, the elliptical for 20 minutes and ran 5 miles.

Confession: I have not been stretching. I do a lot of walking, which for me does a pretty good job of cooling things down, loosening-up the legs. But I did pull-out the roller yesterday to give my ITB and ass and quads a good mash. To be honest, I didn't feel the love. My legs feel good, strong. Even a certain little "bump" I used to have on my left cheek isn't there anymore. I do want to keep the hips and ITB good, which I got a nice little reminder about from Inov-8, but on the whole that's the way I roll anyway. I suppose the consistency of aerobic training contributes to this well being. I have the foundation (I'm knocking on wood again). Aahhhh, the consistency (segue). . .

Alan Couzens and Mark's Daily Apple (see "Best Health Tips" of the interview with MizFit) are both talking about consistency right now. GZ got some feed back about his training which mentioned the C word, as well. I'm certainly missing other references blowing-up around me, but the point is: Consistency is central to being successful. Hopefully, one's consistency consists of proven content. JW's got it; he lives by it. And some great diet tips occur on Olympian Simon Whitfield's blog; if I can be consistent on this end, I'll be mountain lion out there. On that last note, go pound some fat!

Cheers to everyone diggun' the dog days. . .

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday - 14 miles (Week total: 60 miles)

Saturday was a.m. to p.m. errands, getting things other than exercise done. Productive, but not. Of course, the week shaped-up to expect such a day.

Today, 14 miles of solid zone 2 with a little harder effort at the end, last couple of miles. Doubled my mileage from last week and I did a few harder efforts. I was actually going to have a follow-up test done on Friday at FitStop. Ken is a great guy, very professional; the little file he puts together before you even leave I found pretty thorough though I am not an experienced "tester." But I canceled the test and will reschedule for the end of August after this 6 week block of harder work-outs. I'm fairly confident the test will be more revealing after I've done some work on my top end. Ken was pretty "satisfied" with my base back on April 1st and suggested I start running intervals and such. I proceeded to start to really build my base. I MAFed more or less for the next 3 months though I'm certain I wasn't the most disciplined of sorts. Nonetheless, as documented here, the vast majority of my running was zone 1 and 2. Testing after that would have revealed . . .. ??? Perhaps (HOPEFULLY) it would have shown an increased ability to burn fat. The first test revealed a descent ability, according to Ken. I want to raise my LT. And my bet is that I'm that much more fit, so I should be burning more fat. I can't wait to see if my zones are altered at all. This is, again, all new (since spring 2008). I look forward to the rendezvous with my HRM at the end of August just to see the effects this speed has had on my MAF HR.

And aside from that, I'm itching to race. A race will make the training that much more fun and focused. I really miss that and have decided to pat my own back for still training so much despite no apparent end in sight though the fall and winter tends to heat up in these parts, race-wise.

I'm pretty stoked on the 60 miles. It feels easy right now. In a way, the harder running (as long as it's off-road) is easier on my joints. If this becomes "easy," I have "a chance." Anyways, ciao.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday - 11 miles

I followed through on the run I mentioned in my last post. I can't believe I've never been to San Dieguito Park. It's got running trails and would be a great place for kids. Is it worth the 25 mile drive up there? Yes. This is a great run, starting at the ocean, running the lagoon and then hitting a gradual hill that finds the Park trails and then becomes steep (I did a few hill repeats once I got there ~mile 5; needlesstosay I was pretty crushed). The little network of trails around the park seems like they'd work in getting some good short hill work. At some point, it's back to the lagoon, so the run is solid and enjoyable.

This is becoming a rather big week for me. Did not really intend it to be since my efforts are harder than I've been doing. In that case, I should probably be cutting volume. Oh well. As long as I don't go 15 miles tomorrow, I should be okay. Tomorrow will be a mellow, easy recovery run and perhaps Sunday I can throw down again. I'm finally consistently running hills. How is one to get good at running hills if he's not? I understand that during base, it's good to keep the HR low, but even later on when one's incorporating some harder workouts, "the coach" will generally prescribe not letting the HR get too high. Well, if one intends on running mountains and big trails, the diet has to consist of a lot of up and down. I remember reading how AJW likes to lean on his weekly 14 mile hilly tempo run. That's what you've gotta do. Sure he does 100s, but trail running is what it is. Beats you up. HRM? Stay in the car.