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.


  1. Those were some big runs last week! Yeah man... having a plan and sticking to it(and making necessary adjustments) is key. I have a hard time staying motivated to train unless I have a pretty detailed plan. I don't think you have anything to worry about. You have been getting out there pretty consistently on all kinds of terrian. Even if you feel it hasn't been ideal you are definitely stronger and smarter than when you started. Once you do decide (and stick to) a plan you will be killing it. Just think of the summer as your base training and now it's time to get serious and kick some ass when when the Xterra series starts next month.

    have you cracked your GZ Pale Ale yet? Mine is in the fridge... it's on this weekend.

  2. Couple of things ... even in ruts, if you are basically consistent you will reap long term gains.

    I was thinking after I made the race comment yesterday that part of the glory of racing is the community aspect. Getting out there with folks will help spice up training because, as you say, will help the miles melt away. Additionally guys seem to, after a few miles, want to kill each other. Not something to do all the time but it can be fun and it will make you faster.

    You are getting stronger ... sometimes that is hard to see in the week or the month you are in but it is happening. Get out at races, mix it up with people, do some psyco plyometrics, make a race for yourself (uhh ... to the tree and back 100 times) and suddenly ... I think ... the fire will be back there.

    Stay steady.