Thursday, April 30, 2009

A (very) Little Speed???

Yesterday I did a 60-min spin on the bike trainer, pushing larger gears than I usually do. Today, I headed out into the sun and nearly 60 degree weather for my first "speed" workout of the year. I chose to do a moderate Fartlek workout (3.5 miles total). Ran the first mile slow, then ran segments of 2 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy the rest of the run. I would guess the hard segments were around 7:35-7:45 pace (overall pace of run was 8:15). I concluded that, at this point in my comeback, I have very little speed! I'm still going to focus on building up the mileage, and on cycling, but I may throw in another Fartlek or interval run or two before my 5k in June.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Today's run...and first Vidcast!

Ran a nice, easy 5.5 miles today...then took an ice bath. It was a rather eventful ice bath...

Monday, April 27, 2009

No run or ride today

All day Sunday I fought a sore throat and very low energy (as in feeling drained by walking up two flights of stairs). I feel like I have a little chest thing going on. The sore throat is pretty much gone today, but my chest still feels tight and I still have very little energy. I was going to ride today (actually, I also skipped my planned run on Saturday, too), but instead did 100 pushups and 100 situps. I did 10 pushups, 10 situps, then rested 60 seconds, repeating the cycle ten times. It wasn't much, but I felt a little better about missing my workouts. The days off may help my sore hip, though. I plan on running tomorrow, assuming I feel well enough.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Average bike ride, thoughts on running

This is the first week this year that I've done more than one bike ride outside. Most of my rides have been on the trainer so far, with maybe one outdoor ride per week when weather allows. This week, weather has allowed (at least by my standards as a wimpy cyclist...but I'll RUN in all kinds of cruddy weather). Didn't have much energy. Rode 20 miles in 75 minutes. Changed my seat position just a tad (a bit more forward and up), but my hips still protested a bit...especially my left (my "good") hip. Guess I need to continue adjusting. That's it for the bike this week. If time allows, I'll put in a run tomorrow.

I've decided to run a little, local 5k in mid June. I just need an event closer than the triathlon to keep me motivated. I won't be training for it specifically, so I don't expect to run fast. I'm guessing it'll be about 23 minutes or so.

As I've run and cycled so far this year, I'm learning that my heart isn't quite into the cycling nearly as much as it is the running. Yes, I'll train hard on the bike for the triathlon coming up in August, for which I'm doing the bike leg as part of a team, but injuries or not, I'm a runner through and through. I started running back in 1983, then on and off the next 26 years. Whenever I've taken a break, usually due to nagging injuries, I've nearly always done so with a negative attitude toward running, like a jilted lover in a co-dependent relationship, breaking up yet again..."this time for good". But as my body would heal and I'd start thinking about putting those shoes on again, all the good memories of running would blot out the bad, and I'd start remembering the feeling of well-being that can come from a good run. I guess it's an addiction. But with my history of injuries (possibly from training errors, possibly from biomechanical issues...or both), I don't want to fall TOO much in love with it again, for fear of having to put the shoes away again for the long-term. But I gotta admit...these measly 117 miles I've run so far in 2009 have been some of the most enjoyable since I started running all those years ago.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Not-So-Long Long Run of '09

Just ran 5.5 miles today, which is the farthest I've run this year. Yes, I know all you marathoners and ultra-ites could do that in your sleep, and that used to be a short run for me as well, but given the fact that I thought I was done running FOR GOOD back in '06, it's a pretty nice milestone for now. My hip started hurting about 2 miles into the run, then actually started feeling a little better after 3.5 miles. Not sure if that's because I cheated and took ibuprophen before the run or not. Also had a nice 12-minute ice bath after some post-run stretching. I focused on keeping my stride shorter than usual during the run. Ran at an 8:20/mile pace, which felt very comfortable. Hip issues aside, I felt like I could have continued on for a few more miles. I think the long bike rides have done a lot to build up my endurance & V02 max, which seems to cross over into my running. Tomorrow will be either an outside bike ride, or some time on the trainer indoors.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today's spin, and goals

Just wrapped up a 60 minute spin on the trainer. I can tell my body is becoming more efficient in transporting oxygen. It's taking less and less effort to do the same workouts. I'm still a little intimidated by the hill training that's to come, but I'll climb that hill when I get to it (boo).

As an aside, I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish as a runner, assuming my (relatively) old body holds up. I mentioned before that my best time in the mile was 5:01, back in 1985 when I was a senior in high school. It torqued me off to miss a sub-5 mile by two seconds, and to be honest, it still bugs me a little (not that I'm losing sleep over it). I've been wondering if I want to take a stab at that mark again. Could I break 5 at my age, with the proper training? Probably. Should I attempt it? I don't know. With my history of injuries, I might be asking for trouble. I don't want to become obsessed with physical goals and tear myself up trying to achieve them...yet goals are what keep me (and most others) going. I'd also like to run a marathon...and do a century ride...and probably a few more things that escape me right now. I think the best approach is to have some long-term goals that are pretty daunting, but have several "mini-goals" that are more achievable, on the way to those larger goals...and try to keep everything in perspective. Should I never run a sub-5 mile, or even a marathon due to injuries, I need to be able to live with it. But I'll be doing whatever I can to keep my body strong and uninjured as I pursue them.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Today's run

Put in a 4.3 mile run this afternoon. Legs were a little tired after yesterday's long bike ride, but I ended up running a pretty decent pace (8:07/mile). I sound like a broken record (remember those?), but my right hip was acting up a bit. My knee protested a little for a couple minutes during the middle of the run, then was fine.
Tomorrow will probably be a short (1 hour) ride, outside if the weather is nice.

Hornet Juice give-away!

Never tried Hornet Juice before, but I've heard good things about it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Awesome ride!

Just returned from a 35-mile bike ride in almost exactly 2 hours (17.4 mph avg). Thanks to Claritin D for helping me survive the major pollen population along the trail I usually ride. Came home with a little wheeze, but nothing too bad. Also came home with some relatively sore hips, probably ready to be stretched and iced. The legs and lungs felt strong, though. Will continue building a base for another few weeks, then will switch to some pretty serious hill training. If the hip(s) concur, I'll be doing a run tomorrow.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day off

Folks are in town, and my hip is pretty tender, so my guilt for taking the day off is assuaged a bit. May shut it down the rest of the week, actually. Probably not a bad idea anyway. After two and a half years of not running, I can say I'm excited to be back training again. And people are asking me if I'm losing weight (usually in a concerned fashion), so I guess I'm on the right track!
Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday's run

Well, this is always a dilemma. I'm feeling stronger and fitter. Legs feel powerful. I'm ready to increase the distance of at least some of my runs...BUT...and it's a big right hip is very sore. I ran 4.5 miles today at a pace of 8:07/mile. Felt great, but the hip protested more than half the way. When I finished, I was limping up my driveway. I stretched and took a 12-minute ice bath, which helped somewhat, but I'm not sure how to approach this. Backing off on the mileage and frequency is probably the answer...but I hate that answer! Hopefully I can avoid my past tendency to self-destruct and do what I need to do to think of the long-term implications.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today's ride

Went out for a pretty easy hour ride today on local (i.e. busy) roads. Rode 15.4 miles in an hour. There's one modest hill that was more of a struggle than it should be, so I know I'll need to do some serious hill training before the triathlon in August. Speaking of which, I'll be only doing the bike leg for this tri, as part of a team. The first 12 miles of the ride is uphill, so hill training is a must. As for the's a bit sore today, but not terribly so.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Today's run...with a slight change of plans

Due to some recent hip (and to a lesser extent, knee) pain and tightness, I had planned on doing a 4-mile run on a composite track a few miles away. I was going to try and run one mile in 9 minutes, 1 in 8, one in 9, and the last in 8, just to vary my pace. Well, I had a bit of intestinal distress this morning (no elaboration needed), so I wanted to stay close to home. I ended up doing a neighborhood run on a loop just a tad over a mile long, running on gravel and grass as much as possible, with the same pace variation I had planned on. The run ended up being three loops (3.1 miles) in an overall pace of 8:34/mile (HR was only 122 at finish). I had to cut it a mile short due to my right hip really getting sore and tight. I followed the run with some stretching and a 12-minute ice bath. The bad news is the hip, but the good news is that my right knee didn't give me any guff. I'm not sure if the cycling is aggravating my hip, or if it's just an IT band issue. I'll continue with the stretching and strengthening and back off on the mileage (and cycling minutes) a bit and see if this thing settles down. Gotta stay positive, though!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spin & plan of attack

Today is another typically nasty Seattle spring day. I stayed indoors and did an easy 60-minute spin on the trainer. My right hip and just above the right side of my knee are both a little sore, so this week I'm going to back off just a bit. My runs will probably be shorter and likely on different surfaces than the same old loop I've been running the last 4 months. I'm going to do some specific hip and IT band stretches and try to strengthen my gluteus medius muscles, especially my right side. I'm also going to focus on my core muscles - abs and lower back - to try and build a better "strength girdle". Even though I'm starting to see a glimpse of my old problems arising again, I'm trying to stay positive, proactive and not get discouraged.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Week 14 in review

Just finished a 4.5 mile run. My training week is over. Here's how it played out:
  • Total training minutes: 384.6
  • Minutes on the bike: 270 (4.5 hrs)
  • Minutes running: 114 (1.9 hrs)
  • Outdoor bike miles: 25 (1 ride, plus 2 rides on the trainer)
  • Running miles: 13.5 (3 runs)
My final run started as a bit of a struggle, but I chose not to fight it. I backed the pace down a bit and felt pretty good toward the end. I do, however, have some concerns. My right hip and outside of my right knee are pretty sore and tight (the hip in particular). I need to start running some new routes...probably some unpaved trails. I got some new insoles for my shoes, which seemed to work fine. I need to focus on stretching and strengthening exercises directed at my right hip and knee. This IT band problem has been a curse for many years. Someday I'll see a physical therapist and have my gait analyzed. Until then, I'll nurse myself along as best I can. Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, April 10, 2009

To be or not to be...allergies

Well, it looks like I may just be suffering from seasonal allergies. I feel quite a bit better today. Normally, I don't get floored until the grass pollens are up (late spring into summer), so this probably doesn't bode well for me. I'm wheezing when I inhale deeply and have the itchy eyes and stuffy nose (do I sound like a commercial?) Just going to take some Claritin and keep on training! Today looks to be a 90-minute spin on the bike trainer, which will give me 4.5 hours on the bike this week. Tomorrow I'll run either 4.5 or 5.5 miles, depending on how I feel. Got some new inserts for my shoes, so my blister problem will hopefully be a thing of the past. Train hard and have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Running with a cold

Didn't really feel up to it before going out, but I ended up having a good 4.5 mile run (8:24/mi pace). Breathing was a tad labored thanks to this little cold, but really felt strong. Was tempted to go 5.5 mi, but my right hip was getting tight and sore, and I'm having an issue with the insert in my left shoe (giving me a blister). All that said, I'm really pleased with how the recent workouts are feeling. Don't train with a HR monitor, but my pulse after the run was 142, which is in my base range. Tomorrow...either an outdoor bike ride, or a ride on the trainer. Happy training, everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Today's workout

I just finished a sweaty 90-minute spin on the trainer. I can feel my fitness level increasing this past week or so, even with these allergies or cold I'm fighting.'s where my personal challenge kicks in. I'm notorious for starting my training slowly and cautiously...UNTIL I start feeling like this. The legs feel strong, the lungs adapting, my mental attitude improving, etc. Then I go out and nail a tempo run (during base phase) at nearly race pace and think, "wow, that was amazing". Then, my base training shifts to basically various levels of tempo running and I've pretty much bypassed a very important phase of my training. Then I find myself overtrained and burned out...and likely injured as well. So my goal is to really fight that temptation to go out and "blaze" when I feel like I can and continue to build my endurance and overall fitness with mostly easy running and riding...until the time is right. I imagine I'm not alone with this dilemma.

Offroad trails

I'm looking for some good offroad running trails in my area (South Snohomish County, north of Seattle). Anybody know of any? Thanks!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Trusty Steed

2002 Fuji Rubaix

Base mileage run

Today's run was a bit of a struggle after yesterday's bike ride, but it was still a very nice 4.5 mile base run (8:20 pace). Sunny, mid 50's. Now...time to stretch and take an ice bath.

Monday, April 6, 2009

First outdoor bike ride of 2009

Just returned from a great ride! Had planned on riding 20 miles at an average of about 15mph, but ended up riding 25 miles at 16.5 mph. Felt strong. I guess the running and biking on the trainer is paying off.

Weekly summaries, 2009

Here's a little summary of my training so far for 2009. Starting slowly...

Wk 1: 3 runs - 4 miles / 1 bike trainer ride - 20 min
Wk 2: 3 runs - 4 miles
Wk 3: 3 runs - 5 miles / 2 bike trainer rides - 95 min
Wk 4: 3 runs - 7 miles / 2 bike trainer rides - 120 min
Wk 5: 3 runs - 7.5 miles
Wk 6: 3 runs - 10 miles
Wk 7: 2 runs - 7 miles
Wk 8: 2 runs - 7 miles / 1 bike trainer ride - 60 min
Wk 9: 1 run - 3.5 miles
Wk 10: 3 runs - 10.5 miles
Wk 11: no runs (groin inj. from basketball) / 2 bike trainer rides - 140 min
Wk 12: 3 runs - 11.5 miles / 3 bike trainer rides - 180 min
Wk 13: 2 runs - 9 miles / 2 bike trainer rides - 120 min

That's it so far. Not impressive, obviously, but I have a history of ramping up mileage and intensity far too quickly and getting injured. I'm trying to avoid that this time. I'm also doing a little strength training (mostly pushups, pullups, dips and situps...which I had to avoid when I pulled a groin muscle). At 5'11", I'm at 159 lbs. Will probably race at around 150. My current (and new) running shoe is the Brooks Defyance2, which I love. Doing my first outdoor bike ride today. Will probably ride around 20 miles at an easy pace. Base, base, base is what I'm all about right now.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

An introduction

Hi folks! Just a brief overview of who I am and what this blog is about:
I'm a 42-year old guy who ran track and x-country in high school, then on and off for the next 20+ years, fighting injuries much of the time. I finally threw in the towel in mid-2006. My right knee in particular was a mess. I had IT band problems in that leg as well. But...I couldn't stay away. Influenced by several runner-friends, I got the jones in a baaad way and gave in. I started running again in Jan 09. I'm currently in training for the bike leg of a triathlon (August 9, '09), but until the weather here in Everett, WA improves (don't like to bike in the rain & cold), I started running to build an endurance base. I'm paying special attention to stretching, ice baths (new for me) and proper shoes. After three months of pretty short (max of 4.5 miles so far) and infrequent (3 days/wk) runs, all is well. I'm cycling on an indoor trainer, but will soon hit the roads. After the triathlon, I plan on focusing on running pretty much exclusively, as long as I stay healthy. If so, I hope to run my first marathon in 2010. I never was a spectacular runner, with PR's of 5:01 in the mile, 39:06 in the 10k, and a long run of only 14 miles, but I do love it. I plan on updating this blog with my progress and challenges as I try to become a runner once again! Comments and/or advice is welcome. Thanks for stopping by.