Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Chance Half Marathon

I was talked into running today's Last Chance Half Marathon at the last minute by my friend Arthur. I'm glad he talked me into it. The race was in Bellingham, WA, mostly on the Interurban Trail. The course is fairly hilly (with a couple of pretty steep ones). Nice, pretty course, though, with some good views. Ended up with a nearly 2-minute PR, unexpectedly - especially after Tuesday's hilly trail run. Arthur paced me, and he being faster helped me to keep my pace up. I likely would have run it slower on my own. I have no idea of placing yet (it's pretty low-key and low-turnout, so it doesn't really matter). I worked on a Gu from about mile 7 to mile 9, and drank about 15 ounces of Heed along the way.

Here are the numbers:

Finishing Time - 1:42:17
Avg. Mile Pace - 7:48
Avg. Heart Rate - 148

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lord Hill trail run

Did a trail run at Lord Hill (and, yes, it was hilly) with 3 fellow runners (Tony C., Kendall K, and Kelsey K.). 11.62 miles (so says the Garmin) in 2:14:19. Time included walking steep hills and stopping to wait for people a few times. Fun run! Cold, though (27 when we started). My running streak will end today, at 19 days. I'm resting tomorrow, then running a Last Chance half marathon in Bellingham, WA on Thursday. I'll run it as a training run instead of for time. Should be fun. And cold.

Oh, one extra thing I wanted to mention. If you're like me, you may NOT want to take a 15-minute ice bath after a 2+ hour run in 27 degree weather (especially if you're as lean as I am, w/o natural insulation). I think I nearly got hypothermic after the bath. Was shaking so hard, I couldn't hold a cup of tea. I bundled up in several layers and closed myself in the bathroom in front of a wall heater for 40 minutes. Live and learn. Hopefully it helped my legs recover, anyway.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Woke Up This Morning...

...with a wine glass in my hand.
Sorry, guess I channeled Peter Frampton for a second.
Actually, I woke up this morning with a tight, slightly swollen and tender left knee - probably due to a combination of my current running streak and wearing shoes on my recovery days that should be officially retired by now. I took ibuprofen and iced the knee for 15-20 minutes. I have another short, slow run scheduled for today...which I'm going to do, but I'll be wearing my newer Defyance 2's instead of my old pair (with 465 miles on them).
So with today's run, the streak will be at 18 days straight. Other than this knee, no other problems have cropped up. Tomorrow, I should be meeting with a couple of guys to run the trails at Lord Hill (near Monroe, WA). Should be around 11 miles. Looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Weekly Totals

Another week of great running is in the books. I've run 17 days in a row, which is a new PR. During this streak, I've run 96.5 miles. I see no sign of the end of this streak, since my body has responded well, and my legs feel stronger than they have in quite awhile.

Here's how this week panned out:

Runs: 7
Miles: 42 (high for 2009)
Long: 15 miles (PR)
Time: 5:56:41

I ran a strong 6-mile tempo run on Saturday (7:12 pace) in my new Brooks Launch, which I'm loving so far. Monday was a hilly trail run, Wednesday was the long run, and the rest were short recovery-paced runs. So far, this formula seems to be working, so I'm sticking with it. I'm three weeks out from the Nookachamps Half Marathon in Mount Vernon, WA. Who knows what the weather will be like, but I'm looking forward to it. I like running races up in that area.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Interesting Article

Just came across an interesting article, by John Raucci. He covers breathing techniques, minimalist footwear, aerobic training and thoughts on Arthur Lydiard, diet, and mind-body connections. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says, but I find the article very thought provoking.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Good Week

Just wrapped up a nice week of running:

Runs: 7
Miles: 40
Time: 5:52:50

While the paces were slow for the most part, the mileage was good. For me, anyway. I hit 40 miles for the first time since 1991. I also have a 10-day streak going. So far, the body feels fine (knock on wood). Probably due to keeping my pace relatively slow. Not sure if I'll try to keep this streak going or not. It'll really depend on how fatigued I'm feeling and whether or not I start to feel little injuries coming on.
I ended the week up in Birch Bay, WA, where we stayed with my in-laws at their time share condo. My final two runs of the week were little morning 4-milers along the waterfront, which were very enjoyable.
It's hard to believe that Christmas is in 5 days. I hope the holidays are treating you well!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

First Run in Brooks Launch

Today was my first run in my new Brooks Launch. Six miles. Got rained on, but still a good run. Shoes felt great. Picked up the pace the last 3 miles (final mile in 7:15) just to see how they'd feel close to race pace. No complaints! They're definitely more "minimal" than the Defyance 2's I usually run in. Felt lighter and more responsive. I seemed to be landing more fore/midfoot than I usually do (and I normally land pretty much midfoot). Didn't wear my Superfeet Green inserts, as I'm trying to wean myself off of them. I'll probably continue rotating 4 pairs of running shoes, so these won't get action every day. Eventually I'll race in them, though.

But I can certainly see what all the fuss is about, though! Thumbs up!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Prepare for Launch

I just picked up my first pair of Brooks Launch today (thanks Arthur!) and I'm anxious to try them out. I put them on as soon as I got home and they fit like they were made for my feet. I now have 4 pairs of running shoes currently in rotation. Not quite up to Imelda Marcos standards, but it should keep me going for awhile. The Launch are lighter and lower-profile than my regular training shoe, the Defyance 2's. The Launch will make their debut on my 6-mile run tomorrow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Old Race Shirt

Here's the photo the editor of Northwest Runner took of me after the Christmas Rush 10k on Saturday, Dec. 12. I'm wearing the race shirt I got in the inaugural race back in 1983 (with my other shirt rather awkwardly bunched up underneath it!) And, man, I look old and tired. Which, ironically, is exactly how I felt after this race!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Back To Where It All Started

In December of 1983, I ran my first road race. It was the inaugural running of the Christmas Rush 10k in Kent, WA. I was 16 at the time and, frankly, didn't run very fast (46:28). I had just finished my first season of Cross Country and was still very new to running.

Fast forward to today, for the 27th Annual Christmas Rush 10k (and 5k run/walk). My race number was 834...which gave me a chuckle, since I first ran it in '83, and it was my 4th time running it. Anyway, it was 27 degrees as I lined up at the start. This year, the race directors went with an out and back course, rather than the usual loop for some reason. More on that later.

My goal was to go out a bit slower than I did in my previous 10k (when I went out at 6:39). Mission accomplished, with a 6:49 first mile. My legs felt good, but even that early, I was having problems with my breathing. My lungs felt very tight, and later in the race, I felt like I was breathing through a straw. Due to the cold and stagnant air, the air quality has been pretty bad this week. I'm beginning to think that I'm sensitive to that, or maybe I've got mild asthma. I ran mile 2 in 6:58. At about this point, I got tired of fighting my heart rate strap, which apparently wasn't tight enough. It finally dropped down to my stomach and became useless. Mile three clocked in at 7:01. At 20:46, I was still running at sub-7 pace, but was starting to feel some fatigue. At the 5k mark, I tried to hit my lap button on my Garmin, but pushed the start/stop button by mistake. It took me nearly a mile to realize this. I could already tell that this probably wasn't going to be my day, but for some reason this took even more wind out of my sails. I guess I rely too much on that stinkin' Garmin.

So I had to run the rest of the race without having any idea of my pace or heart rate. There were volunteers at the mile markers, but, for some reason, they were calling out times that were nearly 2 minutes slower than the actual time.

At around mile 4 1/2, the consequence of having an out-and-back course reared its ugly head. The 5k runners and walkers started 10 minutes after the 10k runners, and here is where we ran head-on into them. There was a sea of mostly walkers, many with strollers and little kids darting all over the place (and people talking on cell phones, for crying out loud!), and us 10k-ers had no choice but to dodge and weave through the mob as best we could. It would have been a good idea to have several volunteers along the 5k course reminding them to stay to one side of the path. So that was basically strike 3 for me, mentally. I pretty much cashed it in and quit racing. My pace slowed quite a bit. My initial goal was to run under 44 minutes, but by now I expected to cross the line in 45-something. I managed to come in at 44:47. Better than my first 10k this year, but 41 seconds slower than my most recent. I obviously don't have all of my mile splits, but my first 5k was 21:31 and my ugly second half ended up being 23:16.

After the race, I walked by the booth of our regional running magazine (Northwest Runner). One of the guys (the editor, I think) noticed my 1983 race shirt and asked to take my picture. He said it'll probably be in the next edition of the magazine. He was really impressed to see a race shirt that old. I didn't notice any other runners with old shirts. I definitely got some quizzical looks & a couple of questions about it.

So in summary, I'm a bit disappointed, but relieved to be done with my shorter races for awhile. I'm ready to move up to longer challenges, but it was fun to come back to where it all started.

[EDIT - This was actually the 5th time I've run this race: 1983, '84, '87, '91 and '09]

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Signed Up!

Well, I did it. I am officially signed up for my first marathon (May 15, 2010). And while I was at it, I signed up for a January half marathon and a March half marathon. I can't say my wife was happy to see me writing three checks last night. Merry Christmas to me, I guess.

I'll probably treat one or both of the half marathons as long tempo runs leading up to the marathon. I wouldn't mind getting a PR in at least one of them, though, but I don't want to wipe myself out in either race. I'll also throw in a 10k or two (as speed work) before the marathon. As for the rest of 2010, the schedule is up in the air. I may try for a fall marathon, and possibly my first ultra somewhere in there. I have committed to running as part of a relay team in July in Spokane, but I don't have any details yet.

So as 2009 winds down, I'm eagerly looking forward to running and racing in 2010! I hope '09 has been good to you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Progression Run

Today's run was a progression run (each mile faster) on the hilly mile trail around Willis D Tucker park:

8:58
8:05
7:39
7:26
6:59
8:19 (cooldown mile)

Good, but tough, run. This was my last hard workout before next Saturday's 10k. It was nice and sunny, but a chilly 29 degrees.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Good Week

I just wrapped up what I would consider a solid week of training. My key runs were a rolling hill 7 mile run on Monday, a tough 6 miler (including three hard miles) on Wednesday, and a 12 miler on Friday. I ended up with 5 total runs for 32 miles. I had a little IT band twinge during and after my long run. Since then, I've been icing, stretching and foam rolling quite a bit. I've got a 10k next Saturday to end my racing for the year. I'll lighten up on the miles next week so I'll be fresh going into the race. I hope to break 44 minutes. We'll see...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wednesday Speed

It was beautifully sunny and cold this morning as I headed down to the Centennial Trail in Snohomish for my weekly speedwork, which consisted of intervals:

1 mile warmup: 8:21
1 mile hard: 6:42
1/2 mile easy: 4:10
1 mile hard: 6:40
1/2 mile easy: 4:05
1 mile hard: 6:39
1 mile cooldown: 8:00

Tough workout! With my lungs being tight & congested, I wasn't sure what I could do. The hard miles ended up being a bit faster than I expected. They hurt, though. This will be my last structured speedwork before my 10k on Dec. 12th.
I just looked back at an identical workout I did on Sept. 23rd, in which I ran 7:16/7:03/7:01 for the hard miles. I'm encouraged that even this old guy (okay, not THAT old) can get faster!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Runners, by Roger Hart

Thought you might enjoy this as much as I did.

Monday, November 30, 2009

November Wrap-Up

My family and I spent the last few days in Spokane, WA. It's our annual tradition to spend Thanksgiving with my Dad, Stepmom, Sister and Brother-in-Law. Had a great visit (aside from my ugly fall while ice skating...right onto my left hip. Ouch). Ran a couple of times while we were there - once with a guy I met via dailymile.com (Keith). Like myself, he also ran the Spokane Half Marathon back in October, albeit 9 minutes faster than I did. Anyway, he talked me into running on a relay team next July. The race starts in downtown Spokane and ends on top of Mt. Spokane (34+ miles). Should be fun.

November was a good running month. Here are the numbers:

Runs: 22
Miles: 116.7
Races: Fowl Fun Run 10k - 44:06

This was my highest mileage month of the year so far. In past years, when I've tried to "get back into running", I bumped up my mileage far too quickly and became either overtrained, injured, or both. It's for this reason that it took me so long to get my mileage even up to this modest amount. December will likely be a bit higher.

I hope everyone here in the U.S. enjoyed their Thanksgiving. I've probably got a couple of extra pounds to run off in the next few days!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tempo Tuesday

Today I ran a total of 6 miles; 3 of which was run at "tempo" pace. Actually, it was probably more like a time trial. I started with two warm up miles (8:42, 8:44), then three hard miles (7:00, 6:49, 6:55 - 20:44, for a 6:55 pace), then a cool down mile (8:27). The hard section was tough. I struggled to hold my form. One thing I need to focus on is relaxing when I'm running hard - especially my upper body (shoulders, neck, head). I tend to tighten up, which wastes energy and makes it harder to keep my form in check. I am happy with my progress, though. It's been awhile since I could run three miles at under a 7:00 pace, especially on my own. I may do one more speed workout before my next 10k (Dec. 12th), then switch my focus to primarily building up my base and, particularly, my long runs as I start training for my first marathon on May 15th of next year.
Have a great Thanksgiving week, everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Long Run Friday

I ran a very enjoyable 12 miler today. First time over 10 miles since the Spokane Half Marathon, on Oct. 11th. Even though I could have done without, I practiced my on-the-run nutrition. I started drinking Heed at mile 4, then drank every 2 miles after that. I also ate my first vanilla Hammer Gel (which I liked); 1/3 of it at mile 4, 1/3 at mile 6, and 1/3 at mile 8. It all worked perfectly. Never had any stomach issues, and I'm really getting used to the belt. I'll run a 3.5 mile recovery run tomorrow, for a weekly total of 31 miles...which will be my highest week of the year, embarrassingly enough. Even during my buildup to the half marathon, I topped out at only a 30 mile week. I'm still slowly building the miles this year just to keep my legs (primarily my IT band) from rebelling. After next month's 10k, I'll be focusing on increasing my long runs and weekly mileage in my marathon buildup.
Have a great weekend...and good luck to those of you racing - especially my podcast & blogger friends running the Philadelphia Marathon. Run strong you guys and gals!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fowl Fun Run 10k

Today was the Fowl Fun Run 10K, in Mount Vernon, WA. The race started at 10:00, which was kind of nice, since it was a cold, clear morning (36 degrees at race time). I ran a warmup mile and decided to go with just shorts and two tech shirts (long sleeve on top of short sleeve). I wish I had worn my gloves, as my hands got cold during the race.

Before the race, I told myself to go out at or slower than the 7:00 first mile during my last 10K, back in September. Did I listen to my own advice? Ha! Since when have I done that? I hit the 1 mile mark at 6:39. Crap. Funny how the first mile feels so effortless. I backed off the pace after that. Here were my splits:

6:39
7:08
7:13
7:11
7:04
7:00
(1:02 for last .2)

Final time: 44:06, for a 7:06 per mile pace. I ended up beating my previous 10k time, back in September, by 53 seconds. Aside from the first mile, I'm please with how consistent my splits were, compared to my last 10k. Even though I was hurting during the final 2 miles, I managed to pick up the pace just a little.

My first 5k split was 21:48, which is faster than my 5k race I ran back in June (22:20). In fact, my second 5k split was also faster, at 22:18.

I placed 23rd out of 127 runners, and 5/10 in my age group (20/67 for men).

During the awards, I won a large pumpkin pie in a drawing. My family came along with me, which was really cool. The best part of the whole experience was both of my daughters saying they wanted to run the 2-mile next year. They saw a lot of kids doing it and I think they finally believe that they can also do it. I'm going to hold them to it, too!

I'm pleased with how my "running resurrection" is progressing this year. I'm still not speedy, but I'm seeing improvement, and enjoying every minute of every mile!

Oh, one final note. I made a point to go around and thank every volunteer at this race. They all really appreciated it. I would strongly encourage you to thank your race volunteers. Don't worry, I'm not on a "high horse", as I never used to do this myself, and I've only volunteered at one race (a 50k last weekend), but I'll do so from here on out. I also cheered and clapped for the lead runners during the race as they came back by me after the turnaround. I probably looked like a dork, and it might have cost me a few seconds and some valuable breath, but as corny as it sounds, I'm so thrilled to be racing again that I get caught up in the excitement.

Okay, enough for now. Next up is the Christmas Rush 10k on December 12th, followed by another half marathon or two early next year.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Article

Interesting little article on elite Juneau ultrarunner Geoff Roes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Parenthood: Pushing vs Encouraging

Last Sunday, after returning from church, I asked my oldest daughter (10) if she wanted to go run an easy mile with me. I've been wanting to get her out to try it so she can learn how to pace herself (like most young kids, sprinting is the only running she does). She is built like a distance runner - tall, lean with long, strong legs.

At first, she was open to the idea, but the more she thought about it, the more moody she got (and started copping an attitude). She then decided she did NOT want to do it. "I can't run that far...you'll get mad at me...you'll push me...", etc. I'm mindful of the fine line between pushing and encouraging and wouldn't have pushed at all. I wasn't happy with her decision (and, more so, her attitude), but I backed off. The thing is, I know that PHYSICALLY, she could do it, and do it well. Psychologically, I guess she's not ready for it. As an avid runner, I want her to get interested in distance running at a young age. But I know that if I push it on her, she'll get turned off and want nothing to do with it. I just need to find creative and encouraging ways to hopefully get her interested. Who knows...my youngest daughter may be the one who gets interested. It would be great if both do! I just need to take the right steps & not push.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Bit Of Speed...In A Downpour

On Monday, I ran a little interval workout in the rain: 5 miles, starting with a 1 mile warmup, followed by 4 miles of 1/2 mile fast, 1/2 mile slow. The fast segments were:

3:35
3:27
3:15
3:14

The final two were tough; the last one being slightly uphill.
This is the last "fast" running I'll do this week, until Saturday's Fowl Fun Run 10k, in Mount Vernon, WA...which will also probably be in the rain. 'Tis that time of year here in the Pacific Northwest.

Friday, November 6, 2009

10 Mile Run

A cold, windy, and, for the last mile, wet run. First time in double-digits since the half marathon on Oct. 11th. Not feeling very peppy today, but gutted it out. Kept it fairly easy (8:23 pace). Unfortunately, I was back to the burning lung/coughing scenario I thought I was through with. Guess I still have "up" days and "down" days. Had a little more tweakage of the rt knee (IT band), which is a little troubling, since I noticed it the other day, too. Going to have to really work on the foam roller and stretching program to keep it at bay. Also may have tied left shoe too tight, since I seem to have a bone bruise on the top of my foot that hurts quite a bit. Hopefully it'll go away soon. Haven't taken an ice bath for over a month, and for some reason, they're not all that appealing at the moment!

I'll be volunteering at the Ron Herzog 50k tomorrow. If you're running it, good luck, and I'll see you there!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mids

Today I ran a mid-week, mid-distance, mid-pace run. "Mid" enough for ya? 7 miles @ 8:09 pace.
I wanted to run about 1 min/mile slower than 10k race pace. Might have been just a tad quick, but effort-wise, it was right on target. Felt strong toward the end. Also found a solution to my Garmin 305 heart rate monitor issue (where it reads far too high for the first 2-3 miles). Got a tip from a runner on the RunningAhead forum to put aloe gel on the contacts. It worked beautifully!

I think I'm finally at the very end of a long illness. Any coughing I'm now experiencing seems to be for the purpose of loosening junk in my chest, rather than from still being sick. My breathing and lungs felt strong during the run...finally.
Beautiful day. Sun, 58.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tempo Run & Training Plan

Today's run started with a 1-mile warm-up, followed by a 3.5 mile tempo run in 24:57 (7:07 pace). I started too quickly (6:59), then just tried to hang on. It ended up being a slightly faster pace than my 5k race back in June. I struggled the last mile or so, but I think I may FINALLY be near the end of this prolonged illness.

---

Over the weekend, I tried to design a training program that I can use for the foreseeable future. Roughly, it involves running 5 days/week. Here's how I laid it out:

Monday: Speed (fartlek, intervals, tempo, or hill repeats)
Tuesday: Short run at "recovery" pace (roughly 2 min. per mile slower than 10k race pace)
Wednesday: Medium-long at "easy" pace (roughly 1 min. per mile slower than 10k race pace)
Thursday: off
Friday: Long run (roughly 40-50 sec/mile slower than half marathon race pace)
Saturday: Short run at "recovery" pace
Sunday: off

I'll do strength training (something I've been neglecting) twice per week. On "race weeks", I'll probably drop the long run in favor of the race. This is all subject to change, but I'm going to go with it for the time being. I may even use a close version of it when my "official" marathon training begins. Given how my body has reacted to running so far this year, this plan seems sensible, but I'm open to any comments or suggestions.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Last Two Days

On Friday, I ran an easy 8 miles, which was the longest I've run since my half on 10/11. It felt harder than it should, thanks to the chest/lung stuff I've been fighting. Yesterday, I ran an easy "recovery run". I'm still learning about the purpose of different types of runs. So far this year, I've put in plenty of "easy" runs...but they weren't exactly "recovery" runs. So yesterday, I set out to run at a slower pace than I have all year: 3.5 miles at a 9:19 pace. I was proud of it. That's about a minute per mile slower than my "easy" runs. This type of run, long overdue, will be important in my arsenal as I start marathon training early next year. It's a great way to get in the miles, while helping the legs to actively recover from hard runs (i.e. hills, speed, long). I'm not sure why it took me so long to come around on this. I guess one positive thing about having an illness that seems to hang on forever is that it can force you to back off on the pace. My heart rate was nice and low, too.

Miles this week: 20.5
October mileage: 75.6

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Speed Work...Finally...and a Garmin HR Monitor Issue

Got out to the Centennial Trail in Snohomish and ran a total of five miles, which included a 1 mile warmup, followed by 4x .5 mile fast, .5 mile slow. The fast half mile segments were:

3:24
3:23
3:14
3:25

I tried to keep them at about 5k race pace. Legs felt good, but chest & lungs are still a mess.

Okay, this has been irking me since I got my Garmin Forerunner 305 about a month ago. The HR monitor doesn't seem to settle into an "accurate" reading until about 2-3 miles into the run. Even when I'm running very slowly and KNOW that my HR is likely in the 130-135 range, it immediately jumps up to about 165 and holds there until that 2-3 mile mark, when it suddenly drops down to where it should be. I can remember ONE TIME when it seemed to read correctly the entire run. Does this happen to anyone else? If so, is there a way to get it to work properly? It's frustrating and, obviously, not very helpful.
Thanks!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Hills Are Alive...With the Sound of Couging

Decided I was tired of running the same course six times last week, so I made the short drive over to a local park to run my favorite hilly, 1-mile dirt/gravel loop. I had planned on going 5 miles, but cut it short at 4. My legs feel fine, but my lungs and chest are still a mess. I coughed quite a bit and had that tight, burning sensation most of the time. I hate going to the doctor, but I might find my way there this week. I've basically been sick with something or other for about a month now. I think I'm susceptible to upper respiratory infections. I had one for two months last fall (when I wasn't yet running), for which the doctor put me on antibiotics. Might be time for a little deja vu, unfortunately.
Tomorrow, my plan is to run some half mile intervals within about a 5-mile run. Hopefully I can follow through on that. I'm itching to pick up the pace!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rest is Best

Alas, the mini running streak came to an end at six days after yesterday's fatigue-filled run. I decided to give in to this war I've been waging against whatever illness I've had. My cough won't go away & I've been feeling weak & tired, so I'll probably be visiting my doctor soon. It's supposed to be rainy all day tomorrow (Monday), so the odds are, I'll be taking tomorrow off as well. I just want to get healthy again! This is getting old!
Congrats to those of you who raced this weekend. I've read a couple of good reports so far!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 6

Last night I had a slight fever of 99.9. My normal body temperature is about a degree lower than normal (usually 97.3-97.5), so it was noticeable. I had the chills, followed by the usual sweating. The fever broke sometime during the night. So, did I run today? Did I continue my silly streak, along with my "battle" against this illness? Why, yes I did! And I felt pretty sluggish and tired, too, even while only running 3.5 miles at an easy 8:43 pace. I'm not sure if I'm trying to channel my inner Nietzsche, but I may continue for a 7th day tomorrow, even with this cruddy cough...as long as the fever doesn't return.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Another Decent Run (While Sick)

Ran another 4.5-miler today. I haven't pushed the pace since my half marathon (coming up on 2 wks ago) and my legs were itching to let loose a bit, so I threw in a little surge during mile 2 (6:52). It felt awesome! I also pushed the pace up a 1/4 mile hill at about mile 4. What strikes me as odd is that I've been sick all week, but my runs are going fairly well. I've never been a "streak" runner (I once ran 16 days straight back in 1985), but this was my 5th day in a row and I felt stronger than in my earlier runs this week. I plan on keeping it up, although I'll probably continue to keep the pace and distance down until I get over this crud.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I Should NOT...

...be running (have a head/chest cold with a bad cough & feel weak), but I'm waging war against this illness! It seems like it doesn't get any better when I lie down or sit on my butt, so I'm going to run (albeit short and slow). This was my 4th day in a row of running while sick (4.5 miles today at an 8:44 pace). Hope it doesn't put me out of commission for the long term. I know...I'm not being very smart. I'm just really ticked off.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

You've Got To Be Kidding, Part 2

Well, I indeed DID listen to the voice that said to run anyway! Just got back from an easy 4.5 mile run at an 8:38 pace. I'm waging war on this "perpetually being sick" crap.

And if you don't see a post from me again, you'll know what my stubbornness did to me...

;-)

You've Got To Be Kidding...

Went out for my first run yesterday since the October 11th Spokane Half Marathon. Ran an easy 3.5 miles, then did some strength work. I took last week off to let my body rest and recover from both the training and racing, as well as the illness that beat me up for over 2 weeks.

So...

Last night, I started getting a cough. Again. My youngest daughter stayed home from school yesterday with a fever. My oldest daughter woke up with a fever this morning. I still have a burning, raspy cough that started last night. My wife, while holding up the best, is also under the weather. I thought I was done being sick, but it appears I'm going from one crappy illness to another. This is @#$%&* frustrating!

Part of me is saying "screw it. I'm going to run anyway". But that's probably not the part of me I should listen to. We'll see how this plays out. I'm not happy, in case it's not clear.
;-)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thumbs Can Get Sore From Too Much Twiddling

I've taken this week off from any exercise...and it's killing me! I was over the soreness from the half marathon by Wednesday. The effects from my cold are nearly gone (still tired at times and have just a very slight cough). Monday I'll strap on the running shoes and start training for next spring's marathon. At this point, I'm leaning toward the Windermere, once again in Spokane. It falls on May 15th, which gives me a full 30 weeks of training. To keep me focused for that long haul, I've got 3-4 10k races and 1 or 2 half marathons lined up along the way. My recent half marathon went well, but this time I want to focus on slowly building a bigger base, and running SLOWER during my long runs and my easy runs. Like most recreational runners, I tend to run my easy runs at too fast a pace. I'm going to fight that tendency. But, by the same token, I will also put the appropriate effort into my intervals, tempo runs and "B" races, too...all while staying injury-free. Sounds great, doesn't it? Hehe. We'll see. As for mileage, I roughly mapped out a plan that'll take me up to a 50 mile week, along with a 24-mile long run before the marathon. If I can run more miles while staying healthy and NOT overtraining, I will. I would just rather err on the side of caution, so 50 is the tentative "high" week in my plan.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Photos from Spokane Half Marathon

Spokane Half Marathon - October 11, 2009
About 8:00am, before the race. It was in the low 20's, but felt like MINUS 20!


Right before the start. There were 804 finishers in the half marathon.


The finish. They had me at 1:44:09, but was actually 1:44:04...but what's five seconds among friends? I had a nice coughing fit after this.


My sister Andrea and I. Andrea (and her husband) ran in the five mile race.


Waiting in line, after the race, to pick up my t-shirt and other post-race goodies. Still VERY cold outside!


This is the elevation profile of the race...not my EKG readout.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spokane Half Marathon, October 11, 2009

Well, I now know why the half marathon has become such a popular distance. I really enjoyed running it for the first time on Sunday, October 11th. The Spokane Half Marathon started at 8:45am...and it was FA-REEZING! The temperature at race time was about 24 degrees F (about 19 with wind chill), but the skies were crystal clear. By about mile 3, I was comfortable in my stocking cap, tights, long sleeve tech shirt over a t-shirt, and gloves. My new Brooks Defyance 2's with my old Superfeet Green inserts performed perfectly.

I've been suffering from a head and chest cold for nearly 2 weeks and, as I had feared, it did affect my running. Up until the day before, I wasn't even sure if I'd run it at all. But by 5:30am on race morning, I decided I felt good enough to take a shot at it. I'm glad I did.

The course was very scenic and featured a variety of terrain - road, sidewalk, paved trails, and, briefly, gravel trails. It was also quite hilly, including the infamous "Doomsday Hill", which came at about mile 9 of the race. There were a couple of shorter, steep hills before Doomsday, then a slight downhill (to offer a false sense relief), then over a bridge and up Doomsday for about 3/4 of a mile. As an aside, Runners World ranked Doomsday Hill as the #6 most daunting climb in a U.S. road race. Even upon cresting the hill, there's a gradual uphill for another mile or so. With this head and chest cold, i could feel that hill sap what energy I had left. I wanted to kick it into high gear for the last 5k, but that desire turned into "just hang on". With about 3/4 of a mile to go, there was another short but steep uphill that just about did me in. I fought my way up it, then turned right and ran through Riverfront Park toward the finish with what I had left. As I ran toward the finish line, I started thinking about how, just a few years ago, I thought my running days were over, and about how much I really love running. I got a big, goofy grin on my face and pumped my fist as I ran across the line and into the chute.

Here are my official race stats:
Time: 1:44:04
Pace: 7:56/mile
Overall place: 107/804
Age group: 13/34
Men: 81/258

Splits:
8:17
8:00
7:37
8:14
7:45
7:43
8:11
7:43
7:46
8:20
7:50
7:58
8:14
(7:04 pace for last .1)
Note: You'll notice that my splits are all over the place. I'm sure it's obvious which miles contained the uphill portions.

My dad, stepmom, sister and her husband (the latter two ran the 5-mile race) were waiting at the finish line to greet me. It was great to have them there, braving the freezing weather, and supporting me. Right after finishing, I had a coughing fit for a couple of minutes. While I didn't cough during the race, I did have some "nose issues". Let's just say I left a lot of myself out on the course!

In hindsight, would I have done anything differently? Probably not. I wanted to go out slow, and I did. I had some trouble drinking from the little paper cups, though. I've been using bottles in training, so even when pinching the tops of the cups, I still ended up with more liquid up my nose and down my shirt than in my mouth. How would I have done if I was 100% healthy? I don't know, but if I had to guess, I'd say I probably could have gone about 1:41-1:42 or so. Back when I decided to sign up for this race, my rough goal was to break 1:45, which I did. So I've chosen to be happy with my result, even given the illness. Hey, it was a PR, after all!

A day after the race, my hips are quite sore. There was an uphill section of at least a mile where we had to run on a very slanted paved shoulder. As I ran it, I remember thinking that my hips would probably hurt later because of it. The good news is that my IT bands, which had been historically troublesome, held up just fine.

That was my "A" race for 2009. My plans now are to take the rest of this week off to rest my sore hips and get 100% healthy, then slowly start building the biggest base I can before running my first full marathon sometime next spring. Leading up to the marathon, I'll probably run 1 or 2 more half marathons and a couple of 10k races.

I want to take a minute to say a big thank-you to everyone who has been supportive and encouraging as I've trained for this race...especially with the doubts and worries I've had due to this illness. I also really appreciate the advice I've gotten from so many of you so far this year in the online running community (and, locally, from my friend Arthur). I know for a fact that it has helped me to stay out there, running more or less injury free this year, as I continue becoming a runner once again.

(photos to come soon)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Off To The Race

I'm loading up the truck and driving to Spokane this morning (across the state, 5 hours away). I'll be running the Spokane Half Marathon on Sunday. I ran another short 3.5 miles yesterday and am STILL trying to shake this head/chest cold, so my mantra for this race will be: GO OUT SLOW! I'll post a report after I get home on Monday. For all of you running races this weekend, good luck!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Short, Quick Run

I ran a short 3.5 miles today, but with some speed included. Starte with 1 mi easy (8:35), then 2 miles at sub-half marathon pace (7:14/7:09), then finished with 1/2 mi easy (4:20). My lungs burned from still being sick, but legs felt decent. Couldn't have run the 1/2 marathon today, though. Hope I get better before the race on Sunday. I was pretty wiped out, post-run. Probably shouldn't have run today. We'll see if it comes back to bite me.

Monday, October 5, 2009

From Bad to Worse

The high I got from Friday's 10-mile tempo run was followed by a pretty extreme crash. Over the weekend, I got much sicker. The cold dropped into my chest and I've had a deep, burning cough and little energy to add to the head cold I've fought for more than a week. I don't know if it would've gotten worse on its own, or if pushing myself for 10 pretty hard miles, followed by an ice bath, pushed my body over the edge. I hope this thing starts clearing up soon. I'd love to get in a couple more runs before the Spokane Half Marathon next Sunday.
I'm going to take a walk with my wife here shortly just to keep moving. I can't just lay on the couch!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Surprising Run!

I've had a head cold all week. I ran on Monday, then took the next three days off to rest and recover. Today, the cold is still kicking, but I needed (or felt I needed) to get out for a run, since my half marathon is coming up on Oct. 11th. I had scheduled a 10-mile tempo (or race pace) run for today. I ran my out-and-back course, with the intention of turning around wherever I thought I should (yeah, right). Of course, I got to the five mile mark before turning around. I ended up running the 10 miles in 1:17:41 (7:46/mile pace). I felt much better than I expected, although the last couple of miles were tough. And I wish I had had some tissues out there (I won't go into details, but it was a bit messy, thanks to the head cold). For the first time, I carried my Nathan hand-held water bottle...and I wasn't really loving it. I'm sure it'll take a few more runs to get used to it, but I think I actually prefer my belt. I switched hands every mile, but my arms and hands still got tired.
So...this run built my confidence, which I felt I needed going into the race - especially with this cold. Now I'll put it on "cruise control" from now until the race, doing a few more easy runs before taking the last 3 days (or so) off before the race.

(EDIT: the blisters I got on my 14-mile run a week ago are gone. Taking the last 3 days off due to my cold helped them heal. I ran in my new shoes again today, but used my old inserts...so it was the new inserts, not the new shoes, that caused the blisters. Good to know)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Uh-oh

I haven't been sleeping well for over a week and finally caved to drugs. I bought some Unisom and took one last night. I still woke up early, and with a very sore throat. I thought it might just be a reaction to the Unisom, but now I'm convinced that I am indeed sick. Hopefully it's just a cold...but even if it is, they tend to hang on for awhile. So...my last bit of training leading into the Spokane Half Marathon is up in the air. I've got an easy 4.5 mile run scheduled for tomorrow, then a 10-miler at race pace scheduled for Friday, with an easy 8 on Sunday. If I can't get those in, I'll just go into taper mode next week and hopefully have enough strength to run well at the race. I don't have a tremendous mileage base built up, so I'm a little nervous about missing the rest of this week's training. Fingers crossed...

Monday, September 28, 2009

Duct Tape - So Far, So Good

Thanks to all those who sent recommendations on how to tape blisters. I went with duct tape for today's hilly 6-mile run and it held up perfectly. I rubbed some bodyglide on the actual loose skin where the blisters are before taping my feet so it wouldn't stick and pull off the skin (thanks L.J.). I taped from the top left side, under, then over the top right side of each foot (in other words, just short of a full wrap-around). When I got back from the run, my feet were just sweaty enough to make for easy removal of said tape.
As for the run, it was mostly to get in some hill work. The pace was between an easy run and a tempo run: 6 miles, 48:27 (8:04 pace). Even though the blisters may not be an issue now, I have a new concern. The past couple of weeks, I've noticed an increasingly sharp pain directly under my left knee cap. It's mostly noticeable going up and down stairs (or steep inclines), and when squatting or lunging. I don't feel it too much while running, but I'm a bit worried about it. Other than that, the half marathon training is going well. Less than two weeks away now!
Oh, as for last week: 4 runs, 27 miles.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Any Ideas on Dealing With Blisters?

I did a little 3.5 mile run this morning (with my new Garmin 305 - very cool), and I'm still dealing with the blisters in my arches from Friday's long run, where I ran with new inserts in new shoes for 14 miles. My half marathon is 2 weeks from today. I'm going to keep training as planned (so "stop running" isn't an answer I'll consider). If you have any suggestions on how I might tape the blisters or anything that might help me avoid making them worse (I've already switched back to my old inserts), I welcome your comments. Thanks!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Long Run - Blisters (cont'd)

Look upon the ugliness, my friends, but don't cry for me, Argentina. I actually started feeling the rubbing and discomfort at about mile three of this 14 mile run. At that point, I could have turned around, made it an easy 6, gone home with tiny blisters and re-scheduled my long run. But nooooo! I was feeling really good (aside from the blisters, that is) and decided to take a chance that the damage would be minimal in order to get the run in on schedule. This year, my "comeback" to running, I've been pretty diligent in training properly and nursing my body along gently to avoid any injuries. The incidences of me being a bonehead are fewer and farther between, but alas they still exist. Oh well. Guess I'll drain & dress these and hope they don't interfere too much with the remainder of my training before the race. Live and learn.

Long Run: Confidence (and Blister) Builder

"Wed, Dec 23, 1987: 14 miles (4 x 3.5 mile loop) in 1:45:00 (7:30/mile pace)."

That was taken from my running log back in 1987. It was my longest run ever. It only took me 22 years to match that distance...because I did it today, albeit quite a bit slower (1:59:02 - 8:30 pace). I went out slow and ran a very manageable and steady pace, wearing my fuel belt. I drank Heed 3-4 times during the run and ate a couple of Shot Blocs at mile 7. The only negative to this run was the decision to wear my new shoes (Brooks Defyance 2, same as my previous pair) with new green Superfeet inserts. I wore that same combination for 350 miles previously without problems, but for some reason, these new inserts rubbed pretty bad blisters into the arches of both feet. Hopefully putting my old inserts into the new shoes will work. Don't want to miss any training leading up to my half due to this blunder. They're pretty sore and tender right now. I'll take tomorrow off and run short on Sunday and see how they feel. Aside from the blisters, this run was a good confidence builder, as my endurance was good and I know I could have run it at a faster pace.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Weigh-In

I haven't posted any of my "weekly weigh-in" stats here in a couple of weeks because, frankly, it's boring. But I thought I'd post a quick update today. Here were this morning's stats:

Weight (lbs): 147.0
Waist (inches): 30.2
Bodyfat %: 9.5
Resting HR: 43

I'm pretty happy with these numbers. Two weeks ago, my weight had dropped to 145.4, which is borderline for where I want to be (between 145 & 150). Last week it bumped up to 145.6. It's been several weeks since I've seen 147. The better news is the bodyfat percentage, which is the lowest ever. My scale probably isn't 100% accurate with that measurement, but I just compare it to itself. Back in January, it said I was 14.3% bodyfat. Currently, I'm carrying 132.9 lbs. of mass and 14.1 lbs. of fat. In the last two weeks, my mass has gone up exactly 2 lbs. while my fat has dropped by .4 lbs. I credit that to doing deadlifts during that time. I used to do them frequently (getting up to 305 lbs. max), but not much this year. I think they'll be a good core exercise, as long as I keep the weight fairly light and don't injure my back. And it looks like it might keep my mass from getting too low.

Today is a rest day before running my 14-mile long run on Friday.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Nice Interval Run

For the most part, the soreness in my legs is going away. I can still feel it a bit if I get up to walk after sitting for awhile, but during my run today it was a non-issue. Ran a warmup mile, then 1 mile fast, 1/2 mile slow x 3, then a mile cooldown. Felt strong during the fast miles.

I'll take it easy tomorrow, either with a bike ride or short, slow run, then a 14-mile long run on Friday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Easy Run With Sore Legs

After taking yesterday off, I went out for an easy 3.5 mile run this morning. My quads and calves are still pretty sore from Saturday's 10k race and Sunday's romp up and down Tiger Mountain. The plan is for a fartlek run tomorrow.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Initiation

Got my first "Trail Runner's Badge of Honor" this morning. Nothing major, fortunately. I bit it (on a root) while running down Tiger Mountain, near Issaquah, WA. I ran with my friend Arthur. About a 6 mile round trip. My quads and calves were feeling it on the way up (partially due to yesterday's race, partially due to not being used to running a lot of hills). Got pretty steep near the top. Really enjoyed it, though. I can see myself eventually transitioning into more of a trail (ultra?) runner in the future. As far as long distance trail runs are concerned, I want to work into them gradually. So far, I've avoided any major injuries this year. I hope to keep that streak going for a long time!

I ended the week with a very modest total of 21.7 miles of running and 20 miles on the bike.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Race Report

Ran the Airport Run for Hope 10k this morning in Arlington, WA. Flat course, mostly on trails. Wet and muddy! Rained hard before, stopped during race, then a little rain afterward. Went out a bit fast, but met goal of breaking 45 min (barely) with a time of 44:59 (7:14/mi pace). Still not feeling very strong after a week of some kind of crud & had bad side stitch from miles 3-5.
Splits:
  • 7:01
  • 7:08
  • 7:03
  • 7:36 (enter the side stitch)
  • 7:23
  • 7:15 pace for last 1.2

Fun race, though. Finished 8th overall and 3rd in age group. Met ultra runner Tim Stroh (friend and competitor of my ultra friend Arthur). Tim took 2nd in my age group and beat me by about 2:50 (he's coming off the Plain 100 mi ultra race last weekend). Next up: Spokane Half Marathon on 10/11!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Check Your Bed

I try not to whine about all of my aches and pains here, but I'll mention this one as it relates to my bed. I've had lower back problems off and on for years. I try to stick with a stretching program that seems to help. Don't always remember to do them every day. Something else that has helped alleviate the pain is a Sleep Number bed we bought a couple of years ago. Even though my "number" isn't the most comfortable, my back likes it set to 100, which is the firmest it gets. My wife sets hers at about 60 and wonders how I could sleep on "a rock". Well, the last few nights, my back pain flared up again. I used to check my number every night before bed, but it seemed to hold the 100 setting consistently (when I used lower settings, it seemed to fluctuate more). Last night I checked for the first time in a couple of weeks and my 100 had dropped to 60! That explains the back discomfort. So word to Sleep Number owners - check that number frequently...especially if you have a back as picky as mine!

Later this morning, I'll head out for an easy 20-mile bike ride. Still in "fighting off undetermined illness/taper" mode.
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 14, 2009

5 Mile Hilly Trail Run

This morning, I headed over to Willis Tucker park to run the hilly dirt trail around the park (1 mile loop). It wasn't the best run ever. Wanted to start slow and run each lap (mile) faster. First mile was the right time (8:00), but it didn't feel as easy as it should have. Then I ran the second mile a bit too fast. So I decided to turn it into a modified fartlek run and alternate easy and hard miles:
8:00/7:21/8:01/7:11/8:06 (overall time of 38:40/7:44 per mile pace). My chest & lungs still feel tight. Also felt just a hint of pain on the outside of my right knee. When I got home, I stretched, used the foam roller, and took a 12 minute ice bath. This will be my last "hard" run before my 10k on Saturday. Depending on the weather, I may do an easy bike ride tomorrow, then run easy on Wednesday. I'll probably take Thursday and Friday off so I'll be well rested for Saturday's 10k.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Saturday Morning Long Run

Had a good 10 mile run this morning. This will be the last "long" run before next Saturday's 10k. I'll run my hilly trail loop on Monday; probably 5 miles with each loop (mile) getting faster, then an easy run on Wednesday and that's it. I should be pretty fresh for the 10k...which, incidentally is just a tune-up (a "B" race) before next month's half marathon. That's what I keep telling myself, anyway. Sure, I'd like to run well, but I'm not going to push to the point of exhaustion. It should be fun and low-key with a pretty low turnout.
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Feeling A Bit Crummy This Week, But The Show Must Go On

Been feeling sick, with very low energy levels last couple of days, thus the previous 2 days off. Decided to go short today and throw in one fast mile. Here's how it played out:
1st mile slow (8:04), 2nd mile fast (6:29), last 1.5 miles slow (11:58 / 7:58 pace). Still felt a little out of it, but ran the fast mile faster than expected. It took a lot out of me, though. Was going to go 4.5 miles, but I shut it down at 3.5. My plan is to run 8-10 miles tomorrow morning...SLOWLY, depending on how I'm feeling. I hope this crud goes away soon, since my 10k race is a week from tomorrow. The race is a "B" race, though; just a tune-up for the Spokane Half Marathon next month. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Today's Run

Today's easy run.

NY Times Article on Ibuprofen Use

I don't use ibuprofen before or during exercise (although I probably would have considered it for a marathon or ultra - both of which I have yet to run), but if you do, here's an article that might be of interest: Does Ibuprofen Help or Hurt During Exercise?

BOOK REVIEW: Dean Karnazes 50/50

I just finished reading Dean Karnazes' latest book, 50/50 (subtitled "Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days - and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance!"). My review can be summed up in three words: 'eh, not bad'. It wasn't as compelling as I had hoped. There are little sidebars with "helpful tips" - some of which are actually interesting and helpful, some of which made me laugh out loud. In the book, Karnazes accounts in varying detail each of the 50 marathons he ran in 50 states in 50 days. Some of the stories were interesting, but after awhile, my interest began to decline a little. Due to scheduling demands, only 8 of the marathons were "real" scheduled events. The rest were run mostly over the courses of actual marathons (usually with 10-50 locals who signed up to run with Dean). I don't really fall into either the "Dean Lover" or "Dean Hater" camp. I respect his abilities and the attention he's brought to ultra running, but sometimes he's too over-the-top (i.e. a "stunt runner") to be taken seriously . The kicker [SPOILER ALERT] was after his last marathon in New York, when he decided to pull a Forrest Gump and run back across America...because NOBODY BOOKED HIM A FLIGHT OUT OF NYC! Huh? At first, I though it was a joke. Nope. Well, he abandoned the run somewhere in Missouri and flew home. A bit over the top? Yeah, probably. But to be fair, he seems to be a sincere and friendly guy (although I've never met him) that intensely loves to run, and who am I to question his motivation. And as a small business owner myself, I salute him for finding a way to make a living doing what he loves to do. I think one of the main reasons he's controversial among the hard-core ultrarunning community is that he appears to be seeking out celebrity status...which seemingly isn't the modus opperandi among that usually low-key, laid-back, happy-go-lucky group.
In my Running Book Library, I gave it 3/5 stars. Worth reading, but not a "must read", IMHO.

I'm currently reading Kenny Moore's book "Best Efforts - The Long Blue Line, Volume 1". I'm about halfway through it, and it's fascinating! Might be the best running-related book I've read in years! I'll post a review after I finish it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

(Oops) Tempo Run

What was supposed to be a relatively easy 5-mile trail run with hills turned into a fairly quick tempo run. The time was 38:23 (7:40 pace), which was about 30 seconds per mile faster than I wanted to be today. On the last 1-mile loop, a high-school girl started running (looked like she could be a cross-country runner) at pretty much the same pace I was. I gradually caught up with her, just running my own pace. She glanced over at me. I apologized (didn't want to be a 42 yr old guy creeping out this poor girl) and picked up the pace all the way up the hill to the end. I was pretty winded when I finished. In hindsight, I should have backed off my pace as soon as I saw her in front of me, but I guess the ego got in the way and took over. So now my week will have to be re-shuffled. I had intended running an interval workout tomorrow. Not gonna happen now. It'll be an easy run, with possibly a scaled back interval workout on Wednesday, bike on Thursday, short run on Friday and medium-long run on Saturday. Hey, stop yawning!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Recovery Run

I ended the week with a slow and easy 3.5 mile run (8:49 pace / 119 finishing HR), for a 25 mile week (plus 20 on the bike). The legs feel GREAT after yesterday's 12-mile run.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday Long Run

Sunday, October 6, 1991: "12 mi - 1:31:54 (7:39/mile pace). Tough, but good. The longer I run, the better I feel...marathoner?"

The above was taken from my running log book 18 years ago. Even at the age of 24, I was starting to realize that maybe I'm more suited for longer distances. Well, that goal of becoming a marathoner has yet to be realized. That was the last time I had done a run of 12 or more miles...until this morning. I strapped on the new fuel belt & iPod and ran 12 miles on the Centennial Trail down in Snohomish. Weather was perfect - 67 and sunny. I drank thrice; one time was at mile 5 when I also ate two Shot Blocs. Never had any stomach issues (I had never eaten during a run before so I wasn't sure what to expect). The only thing about the run that bugged me a bit was the fuel belt. I learned that I could either wear it loose and low and have it bounce around like crazy, or wear it tight and have it creep up my stomach. I chose the latter and dealt with a bit of breathing issues (not major), pushing the belt down every once in awhile. For a training run, no big deal. But during a race, when I'm breathing hard, it could be a problem. I'm still going to look into a hand-held bottle soon. I probably didn't even need to carry anything for 12 miles, but I wanted to see how it would all work and if I could eat and drink efficiently while running.
My time was about what I expected (1:41:14 - 8:26/mile pace); maybe a tad faster. Fastest mile was 8:18, slowest was 8:41, when I was eating & drinking. Was a little faster coming back than going out. Took a 12-minute ice bath when I got home. Calves are a little tight, but aside from an occassional tweak during the run, the legs held up nicely.
Assuming I feel okay in the morning, I'll do an easy 3.5 mile run to end the week.
Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Great Wednesday Run, Testing Fuel Belt

Got a good night's sleep (assisted, unfortunately) last night and decided against getting up before 6am to run. Instead, I was out at 10:00am for a 4.5 miler. I ran the first mile slow (8:10), 2nd mile fast (6:37), last 2.5 miles slow (19:45) for an overall time of 34:33 (7:41 pace). First of all...wow! My goal was to run mile 2 in 7:10-7:15. Had no idea it would be that much faster. Second of all, this was my first time ever wearing a fuel belt (Brooks Waterboy A/S). Worked okay, but it kept creeping up my abdomen and settling right below my ribcage, which caused some breathing issues. I'll play with the tightness of the belt the next time out. Instead of using the bottle that came with it, I chose to use a fairly cheap Nike bottle that uses an auto-seal on the nozzle (there's nothing to pull open or push closed), so you squeeze to shoot liquid out, but otherwise it stays sealed. Or it's supposed to (it works great on the bike). When I'd drink and replace it on the belt (it sits horizontally), I'd feel drips on my leg for a couple of minutes. If it's just water, it's not a big deal (other than losing precious liquid), but if it's sports drink, I'm looking at a sticky mess on my leg after awhile. So next time I'll probably use the bottle that came with the belt & see how it goes.

I was planning on taking tomorrow off, but I might go out for a very short test run to see if I can get the belt to work comfortably before Friday's 12-miler. I want to focus on that run, and not have to fiddle with the fit of the belt the whole time.

Have a great day & run strong!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

August Totals

Here are my running and cycling numbers from August:

Runs: 15
Miles: 86.5
Total run time: 11:58:15
Average pace/mile: 8:18
Long run: 10 mi

Rides: 6
Miles: 142.4
Total ride time: 9:33:25
Avg. mi/hr: 14.9
Longest ride: 35 mi

Races: 1 (bike leg of Whisky Dick Triathlon, Aug. 9)

Total run/bike time: 21:31:40

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Hill Run

Man, it's FOGGY this morning! It's supposed to burn off, but the mornings are starting to look and feel like autumn already.
I ran my favorite little 1-mile hilly trail around a local park this morning, for a total of 5 miles (40:11). I didn't intend to, but I ran each lap (mile) increasingly faster:
  • 8:17
  • 8:07
  • 8:03
  • 8:00
  • 7:42
Finishing heart rate was 132. I felt surprisingly strong this morning, especially considering how horribly I slept last night. I felt like I was holding back, even on the last lap. I guess that's a good sign, given how wiped out I felt on Saturday after my 8-miler. This whole week will center around Friday's long run of 12 miles. I haven't run that far since 1991. I'm really looking forward to it!

EDIT: After posting this entry, I noticed in my "official running spreadsheet" that today's run put me at exactly 7,000 lifetime running miles. While that number isn't 100% accurate (I ran some modest miles during 7th and 8th grade track that weren't recorded, and about half of my '95 miles are estimated since I had a hard drive crash that year), it's what I'm officially recognizing. For someone who has run on and off for 26 years, that's a pretty paltry amount. Just goes to show how much time I've taken off during that time due either to injuries or disinterest (mostly the injuries). But it also means, hopefully, that I haven't beaten up my legs and joints that much, relatively speaking. Here's hoping for many thousands more miles of running to come!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thoughts on Recovery

Today is a scheduled day off for me - from both running AND work. I made note on my Facebook page that this month, I've worked more hours than the previous three months (May, June, July) COMBINED! Although I must admit that in May, I worked a grand total of 9 hours. I'm self-employed, and with the current economy, my business has taken a beating. Fortunately, things seem to be turning around, for now, anyway. I say all this to bring up the issue of recovery. This month, as my work has increased dramatically, I've also increased my running mileage and intensity quite a bit. I don't know if it's just me, but I don't seem to recover as quickly as I think I should. Granted, I'm in my 40's now, have a family and, as I mentioned, have the stress of self-employment. Yesterday morning, I ran 8 miles at a fairly easy pace. It started feeling harder as the run progressed. I wasn't actually struggling to finish it, but I could tell that fatigue was setting in - more so than in previous long runs. I'm pretty sure that Thursday's speed session took a lot out of me. Yesterday I ended up taking TWO naps during the day. I was wiped out. I'd like to do some strength training today, but I don't know if I have the energy.

What are your thoughts on recovery - particularly if you're in my age group? How do you deal with balancing an increase in mileage and/or intensity with the need to stay fresh enough to run effectively...and not get injured and/or sick?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday Morning Long Run

This week's long run was shorter than last week's: 8 miles. Time was 1:06:47 (8:21/mile pace). I felt a little fatigued during this run. I didn't sleep well last night, and I think Thursday's speed session took more out of me than I expected. Still, I managed to log the miles today without any injuries or problems. Money in the bank, I guess.
Next week, I think I'll skip the speedwork and focus on an even longer run of either 11 or 12 miles. I feel the need to work more on my endurance at this point in my half marathon training. I'll likely do a hilly run early in the week, plus a couple of easy runs, then the long run on Friday.
Enjoy your weekend and run strong!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Week 34 Weigh-In

Here are this week's body comp stats, and the changes from last week:

Wt (lbs): 146.0 (-.4)
Waist (inches): 30.3 (+.3)
Bodyfat %: 9.9 (-.1)
Resting HR: 44 (+1)

Glad I'm not a betting man. After several days in Spokane, eating like there's no tomorrow, I was sure that I'd be up a pound or two. Instead, I lost nearly half a pound. My waist is up a bit, probably due to "pizza bloat" after last night's pizza. My resting HR has slowly crept up from 40 to 44 over the last few weeks. Not sure what to make of that. I keep saying this, but I need to get this weight loss issue under control. I think my "race weight window" is probably 145-150, which I'm within. But if I'm still dropping while eating plenty (and not running over 30 miles/week so far), then I'm not sure what to do. I hate to stuff myself or eat when I'm not hungry.

Oh well...I'm taking the day off from running today, then doing my long run tomorrow morning. Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Speedwork Thursday

At 10:00 this morning, I ran 6 miles on the Centennial Trail in Snohomish, where it was sunny and about 68 degrees F. Instead of doing speed work on a track this week, I decided to run them as part of this run. I ran the first mile as a warm-up (8:25), then ran 4 x 1/2 miles hard, 1/2 miles easy. Times were as follows:

3:23 hard, 4:13 easy
3:19 hard, 4:19 easy
3:20 hard, 4:13 easy
3:15 hard, 12:31 (1.5 mile cooldown)

These were HARD, but I was happy with how it all played out. First of all, these were true half miles (as opposed to the 800's on the track last week), and I didn't stop and rest in between each, as I did last week. I just slowed down and ran easy half miles until the next hard one. During the last hard segment, I had a nasty side stitch. I was surprised to have run it so fast, for me, anyway (6:30 mile pace). The total time for the run was 47:01 (7:50 mile pace). I'm not currently using a heart rate monitor, but my finishing HR was 150...but that was after the 1.5 mile cooldown. Still elevated above my usual finishing HR, but post-hard segments, it was likely much higher. Overall, this run was a confidence-builder.

My plan is to rest tomorrow, then run 8 miles on Saturday morning. Next week, I'll probably forgo the formal speed work. I may run some hills instead, then bump my long run up to either 11 or 12 miles.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rest Day

Well, I do feel a bit better this morning, but I can tell I definitely need a rest day. After spending several days out of town, not sleeping especially well and running a hilly course 3 times in 4 days, my body is sending me a message. After dinner last night, I laid on the couch to read and rest and quickly fell into a deep sleep. I ended up going to bed at 9pm. My throat isn't sore like it was last night, so I'm hoping it was just fatigue and not a cold. That soreness in my tendon behind my left knee is still there, so there's another reason to rest. Like I hinted at a few posts ago, the boost in running mileage after doing more cycling than running might take a more gradual effort on my part, given the injuries I've dealt with in the past.

If I feel up to it tomorrow, I'll do some sort of tempo/speed/fartlek workout, then maybe take Friday off, then do my long run on Saturday.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Run in the Country, the Trifecta

This morning was our last in Spokane. I was on the road at 6:10am for the same 6-mile hilly run, which I ran in 48:27 (8:05 pace). I attacked the hills a little more than in the last two runs.
We just got home from the cross-state drive. I now have a troubling tickle in my throat and feel pretty fatigued. Hopefully this will pass with a good night's sleep. I also noticed that a tendon behind my left knee is tender. I'm guessing it could be from flying down the hills and probably pounding my legs too much. I need to work on my downhill running technique, I'm sure.
If I feel better tomorrow, I may do some trail running with my friend Arthur, who will be running his 4th Cascade Crest 100 mile trail race in the mountains this coming Saturday.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Run in the Country, Part Deux

At 6:15am this morning, I went for a 6-mile run on the same course as Saturday's run, with almost the same time (49:04 today; 49:11 Saturday). Perhaps my average pace is starting to speed up, but I wanted to run this slower than I did (around 8:30 per mile instead of the 8:11 I ran). The effort felt lower than some recent slower runs, so maybe this is a sign if my fitness improving. My finishing HR was 130, which I was happy with. I may run this route again before we head for home tomorrow. I'll be back over here in October to run the Spokane Half Marathon (my WWFOR race).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Run in the Country

I'm here just northeast of Spokane, Washington. My dad and step-mom live on some acreage out here in the foothills, not far from Mt. Spokane. At 6:15 this morning, I headed out for a 6-mile run (49:11) over rolling hills through beautiful and peaceful farm country, with wheat fields all around.
About two miles into the run, 22 turkeys ran across the road in front of me. No, there wasn't a political convention taking place (ba-dum-bum. I'll be here all week, folks). No traffic, just the sun rising over the hills and a steady breeze undulating through the acres of wheat. There are several reason I run, and this morning was one of them. I could run forever out here.

This run gives me 30 miles for the week. It's the most weekly mileage I've run so far this year. In the past, that mark has usually been my "danger zone" - where my body starts breaking down. The difference between then and now, though, is that I have 8 months of moderate running and cycling behind me, whereas other times I'd ramp up to this mark much quicker. Still, I'm going to play it safe and back down just a bit next week. I'll shorten my long run and possibly substitute a run with a bike ride. It probably wouldn't be a bad idea to do that every few weeks.

Going for a short family bike ride later this morning. It's beautiful over here! Sun and mid-80s. Time to enjoy the last bit of summer!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Recovery Run

Did a short and slow run this morning. 4.5 miles in 38:53 (8:38/mi pace). Finishing HR was 127. Kept it slow intentionally, but after yesterday's 10-mile run, I didn't have much juice in my legs, anyway. Felt pretty good, though. No aches and pains.
We're off to Spokane for a few days. I'll try to get in a run or two while we're there, along with a bike ride.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Weekly Long Run

Ran a nice 10-miler this morning. Time was 1:24:32 (8:27 per mile pace). It was an out-and-back course. I wanted to run negative splits and did: 43:13 out; 41:19 back. Took me a few miles to get into a groove. Got a little tired the last mile (which is a slight uphill), and I noticed that I need to work on stretching and strengthening my hip flexors, which got a bit sore and tired the last couple of miles. Afterward, I did some stretching and took an ice bath.

I was happy that the legs felt good enough to do a long run two days after my first interval workout in years. I guess I didn't overdo it on the track, fortunately.

I think 10 miles is about the max I want to run without carrying any fluid with me. Guess I better invest in some sort of hydration system pretty soon.

I'd like to build my long run up to an "overdistance" amount; i.e. over half-marathon distance. I want to have plenty of endurance built up for the race.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Weekly Weigh-In

Got an unusual schedule this week, so the weigh-in is one day early. Here are the ever-so-fascinating numbers (and changes from last week):

Weight (lbs): 146.4 (+.2 lbs)
Waist (inches): 30 (-.5")
Bodyfat%: 10.0 (+.3%)
Resting HR: 43 (+1)

The good news is that I didn't lose any more weight...and my waist is the smallest it's been since I started keeping track about 18 years ago. The "bad" news is that my foray into a sub-10% bodyfat measurement only lasted one week. That figure isn't exactly accurate, anyway, but my scale is pretty consistent with itself. And it's usually pretty close to my caliper measurements, which I don't often take. So...the carrot cake and ice cream indulgences this past week haven't done too much damage. Still need to focus on getting in some smaller meals in between the 3 main meals, especially with the long runs and mileage increases coming up.

Speaking of long runs, I'll be doing mine tomorrow instead of Saturday. Hopefully yesterday's track work won't detract from it. I've really been looking forward to the long runs!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Track Workout, Plus a Question

Well, I did it. I got back onto the track for a speed workout. First time in many years. It hurt a bit, but I really enjoyed it. After a 1.5 mile warmup, I ran 4 x 800 meters with 2 mins rest btwn each, followed by a 1.5 mile cooldown (5 miles total on the track). My splits for the 800s were:

3:27
3:22
3:26
3:20 (3:23.8 avg)

I wanted to run them in 3:30 (about a 7 min pace), but my track pacing skills are very rusty. As expected, my body was saying "what the heck are you doing? No lo comprendo!" (Yes, my body is often bi-lingual during times of stress). These weren't exactly "race pace" intervals, which they probably should be. There's no way I can currently sustain a 6:46 pace for anything over about 1.5 miles right now (my 5k race pace back in June was 7:12), so I'll probably have to back off the next time I do these. After my cooldown laps, my right IT band was barking a little - probably from the speed, as well as running 20 laps counterclockwise, which put more stress on the outside of that leg, so I stretched, used my foam roller and took an ice bath when I got home.

As my title suggested, I have a question for those of you who have done this: is it smart for me to start doing speedwork while I'm also trying to build up my mileage for a half marathon? Given my history of injuries, I'm a little nervous, but I really want to work on both, if it's realistic. Thoughts?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Beautiful Monday Morning!

Got out at 6:30am on a beautiful late summer morning for a little 4.5 mile run (8:21 pace; 128 finishing HR). Tomorrow morning I'll be doing a workout I haven't done in years - track intervals! I'm excited to do them! I'm planning on a 1.5 mile warmup, then 4x800 meters at around 3:30 each (with 2-min. rests), then a 1.5 mile cooldown. I don't necessarily need to do speedwork to train for my first half-marathon, but I'm really eager to do some. Not enough to be an injury risk (hopefully), but maybe enough to boost my threshold and average pace just a little. My current plan is to do this once a week, at most, and the rest of the week will be composed of a hill run, a long run (getting longer every other week), plus a couple of short, easy recovery runs. And if time (and energy) allows, I'll throw in an easy bike ride for cross-training purposes. This is all subject to change, of course.
Enjoy the rest of your Monday!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Morning Long Run

I hadn't run 8 miles or more since my 10-mile run on June 27th (aside from my run/hike in the mountains on 7/31), so I was very eager for this morning's run. It was 54 degrees F. and overcast - just right. I ran 8 miles in a very comfortable 1:07:21 (8:25/mi pace). My body felt good, but my hip flexors got a little tight toward the end.

This week was my highest run mileage week of the year so far (25.5), which also felt good. So week 1 of my official half marathon training is in the books. Now, I have a weekend full of work to contend with. Enjoy yours!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Official Race Photo

Just purchased my "official" race photo...

Friday Run

Ran an easy 3.5 miles this morning in 29:18 (8:22 pace), with an average heart rate of 123. I'm looking forward to a long run of 8 miles tomorrow morning.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Weigh-In Day

Once again, it's time to bore folks with my weekly weigh-in stats (and changes from last week). I do this more for my own "journaling" than anything else.

Weight: 146.2 (-1.0)
Waist: 30.5" (-.2")
Bodyfat%: 9.7 (-.4%)
Resting HR: 42 bpm (+2 bpm)

I'm currently at my lowest weight of the year. The blinking red "warning" light hasn't yet come on, but I need to watch it. Don't want to go much (if any) lower. Body fat is the lowest ever. I wanted to get under 10% and finally did it. It might be a challenge to keep my weight up, since I haven't even begun running decent weekly mileage, nor the string of bi-weekly long runs leading up to the half. Don't want to just stuff a bunch of junk down my pie-hole, so remembering to eat mini-meals between regular meals will be important.

I'm heading out a bit later for my first bike ride since the race. This one will be an easy cross-training ride of around 16 miles. It'll be nice to ride easy for a change!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Whisky Dick Triathlon Pics

Yours truly, applauding the first swimmers out of the water, waiting for Dave...who wasn't far behind the leaders.

Yes, I know I have a 1992 helmet. I'm a nerd.

Dave coming out of the water.

In T-1, getting ready to ride.

Over the timing mat, then on the bike and up the hill. And up. And up.

Coming into T-2.

I was very wobbly at this point. Both glutes had cramped and I had trouble running with the bike.

Arthur getting ready for the run leg.

I was in a bit of a daze here, so Arthur took off my timing chip himself and placed it on his leg before heading out for the run. And to further my nerdiness, I forgot to remove my rear light before the race (unnecessary added weight). Hey, you never know when a full-blown solar eclipse is going to hit.

Arthur with a strong finish.

3 in a Row

This morning was the first time I've run three days in a row in a long time. It was an easy 4.5-miler (8:34 pace), which finally put me over 300 miles for the year. Not much, but it's 300 more than I thought I'd ever run again. I'll take tomorrow off, then run short and easy on Friday, then do a long-ish run Saturday morning. I haven't yet decided if I want to do any specific speed work leading up to the half marathon on Oct. 11th. I want to make sure I re-build my base and endurance first and foremost. If I can meet that objective and still squeeze in some speed work, I will. Happy training!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Brooks Cascadias / Today's Run

Today I ran an easy 5 miles on a local trail (where I did my hill training for my 5k a couple of months ago). I wore a pair of 2008 Brooks Cascadias, given to me by my friend Arthur. They're still in pretty good shape, with little evidence of wear. Not sure how many miles he put on them before passing them on to me. They felt good on my feet, but my knees felt a little sore by the end of the run (the soreness subsided soon after I finished). The soreness may be due to back-to-back runs after not running much the last several weeks. Anyway, the shoes felt light, very neutral and more "minimal" than I expected. They didn't feel like they had as much cushioning as my regular training shoe (Brooks Defyance 2). Just one run in the Cascadias isn't enough to make a good judgment, but I think I'll end up wearing them at least once a week (probably only on trails), just to mix things up.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Official Race Results Posted

The official results from yesterday's Whisky Dick Triathlon have been posted. Here's the scoop:

Total finishers: 107
Our finish: 2:58:14; 23rd overall; 2 of 5 in Men's Team division
Swim leg (Dave): 24:09; 13 of 107 overall; 2 of 5 in Men's Team div.
Bike leg (me): 1:52:25; 49 of 107 overall; 3 of 5 in Men's Team div.
Run leg (Arthur): 40:26; 8 of 107 overall; 2 of 5 in Men's Team div.
Our transitions: T1 - 44 sec; T2 - 29 sec.

Here were the fastest times for the solo athletes (reminder: 1 mi swim, 28 mi bike, 10k run):
Overall: Ryan Brown (m, 34): 2:27:45
Swim: Alysia Hill (f, 21): 20:59
Bike: Ryan Brown (m, 34): 1:23:13
Run: Nick Johnson (m, 23): 38:53

This morning, I got out for my first run of August. Just an easy 4.5 miler at an 8:41 pace. It felt good to run again. My hams/glutes are still really sore, so I think I just strained them while biking up the hill yesterday. Fortunately, they weren't an issue while running.

I just realized that the Spokane Half Marathon is only two months from tomorrow! I've got my work cut out for me. I'm really looking forward to both training for it and running it, though.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Race Results

When you have a triathlon that has become legendary for the difficulty of its bike course, with the first 12 of its 28 miles being unrelentingly uphill, with a persistent headwind nearly the entire course, and you have a total noob who has never raced on a bicycle in his life, who happens to be a runner, volunteering to do the bike leg as a part of a team, you have to wonder about the guy's sanity. How's that for a run-on sentence?

Earlier today (August 9th) my teammates and I (dubbed "Three Dads-a-Sweatin') raced the Whisky Dick Triathlon in Ellensburg, WA. It was my first triathlon and first time racing on a bike. I'll give the final results first, then break down the individual legs, along with some detail.
Distances were: 1 mile swim, 28 mile bike, 10k run. We finished in 2:58:14, placing 2nd of 5 in the Men's Team division, and 23rd overall, among both teams and individuals, out of 107 finishers. Our splits were:
Swim (David): 24:09 (13th overall)
Bike (yours truly): 1:52:25 (49th overall)
Run (Arthur): 40:28 (8th overall)
T1 was 44 seconds, T2 was about 29

David (my brother-in-law) was amazing! He was out of the water much quicker than I expected. Not being a swimmer myself, I don't really have a reference for his time as it relates to a 1-mile open-water swim...but I know it's fast. He was a freestyle sprinter in high school and was a bit concerned about pacing himself. Obviously there was nothing to be concerned about!

After getting the timing chip from Dave and onto my ankle, I took off on the bike and tried to pace myself the first few miles. For some reason, I had trouble regulating my breathing. A little of it was probably adrenaline, a little was just the toughness of the hill (the first 12 miles are uphill).
At about mile 5.5, the grade became so steep that I had to drop into my bottom chain ring...which I NEVER used in my training rides. That was one flaw in my training. Since the hills I was training on during my repeats were relatively short, I could stay in the low gear of my middle chain ring and be fine. I did that as long as possible today, but if I hadn't dropped down, I knew I would have bonked big-time. So I shifted. The chain didn't budge. It just made a grinding noise as it rattled against the derailleur. I tried to force the issue and off came the chain. That smooth move cost me about 2-3 minutes. Had to hop off and get it back on the low ring THREE times before it finally stayed. Once that was done, my legs rebounded just a bit and my breathing came more under control, but the hill just kicked my butt. There were long sections where I could only average 9-10 mph. And once I finally crested the hill, the headwind kicked my butt some more. My rough goal was to crest the 12-mile hill in 60 minutes. It took me 63, for an ugly 11.4 mph average. I did manage an average of 19.6 mph the last 16 miles...but even then I was passed several times. For the last 10 miles or so, I fought an ever-tightening left glute muscle. I could tell I was losing some power on my left side as a result. Maybe it was caused by the hill climb, maybe from not ingesting enough electrolytes and sodium. Whatever the cause, I was truly humbled out there.

When I pulled into the transition and got off to run, I was incredibly wobbly. That's when BOTH glutes cramped up. Arthur took the timing chip off of me himself and got out of the transition quickly, while I racked my bike and fought my locked-up glutes. I went to high-school with Arthur and ran track and x-country with him. The last few years, he's gotten heavily into ultra-running, placing 7th in last year's Cascade Crest 100 mile trail race (which he'll be running in again later this month). A 10k is short for him, so to knock out a 40 minute split was impressive & my hat's off to him.

And with that said, I'll say this - our placing was really a credit to our swimmer and runner. I had a pretty rough go of it out on the bike. Yes, I can use the excuse that I've never raced on a bike, I'm really a runner, there was the hill, the wind, yadda yadda, but I know I could have trained more effectively. I got lured away from the bike back in June to train for and run a little 5k race...which I honestly enjoyed, but I know it set me back on the bike.

I almost feel a little guilty for saying this, but I'm glad to officially be "off the bike" and getting into my half marathon training. I've REALLY missed running the last few weeks.