Friday, May 29, 2009

New running trail found!

My wife and I had a picnic lunch today at a nearby park I'd never been to. Come to find out, there's a dirt-and-gravel trail that loops around it (through the woods) that's almost exactly a mile in length. It's also relatively hilly. I will be adding this trail to my running courses and using it EXTENSIVELY! I charted it on and it does indeed come out to almost exactly a mile. After too much running on pavement, this will be a nice break for my knees. And it's less than 10 minutes from home. Can't wait to run some laps on it!

Just when I think I'm getting into shape...

...I go and do my first hill workout on the bike! Wow - talk about humbling! Did a total of 7 repeats on 3 different hills, along with some other riding (15.9 miles total in 1 hour). Looks like I'll be backing away from the long base-building rides and focusing on hills and/or intervals until the race in August. I knew these hills would be tough, but I didn't realize how much differently my legs would feel vs the long, relatively flat rides I'd been doing. Quads and lungs were burning! It's almost like I'm starting my training all over again. One thing I did notice, though, was that my legs bounced back fairly quickly between the hill repeats. If I hadn't been doing the base work, I'm sure that wouldn't be the case. I'm still training for my 5k race next month, so I can't totally ignore the running in favor of the bike. It seems hard to focus on sharpening in both disciplines. My hat's off to all you hard-core triathletes. Maybe when this is all said and done, I'll sign up for a duathlon!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Early Morning Run

Got a busy day ahead, so I decided to get my run in early (6:15am). It was the first early morning run this year, and I felt SLOW. That's what I wanted today's run to be, so it worked out perfectly. 6.7 miles @ 55:56 (8:20 pace). Beautiful sunny, crisp morning. With my 5k next month (and most races, actually) starting in the early morning, I'll probably start doing most of my runs before breakfast. Okay, time for a shower & food!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nice Ride

Did my typical 35-mile bike ride today. Averaged about 17.4 mph. Went out fairly easy, but switched to my large chain ring after about 14 miles and kept it there, for the most part (I had been primarily using my middle ring on most training rides). I need to get used to that ring for the race in August. Legs felt pretty strong. I'm planning an easy 6-mile run tomorrow, followed by my first "hill day" on the bike on Friday. Looks like perfect weather the next few days, so there will be some "honey-do" yard work thrown in there, too. Nice upper body work, I guess! Taking a couple hours tomorrow to finally see Star Trek, though!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ahh! No iPod!

Went for a very rare iPod-less run today (it was acting up) and really enjoyed it! Was nice to go old school - the sound of my own breathing and footfalls among the breeze and birds. Ah yes...Thoreau is smiling in his grave (I won't mention the crappy traffic I had to dodge twice).
The run itself was 5.5 miles in a time of 44:05 (8:01 pace). Ran the first 3.5 at 8:00 pace, then ran 1 mile in 7:17, then an easy mile to finish. Not a great run, but not bad. Breathing was tough. May have been allergies. I really wanted to see what would happen when I ran a relatively hard mile after a few medium-paced miles, then how the fatigue would affect my last slow mile. I was pleased with how I was able to hold form and stride rate and relax my muscles and breathing that last mile (about 8:24).
We may be due for a bout of stomach flu to make its way through the family. My youngest had it two nights ago. If that happens, my training week may be cut shorter than it already is. But I'll cross that liquid-projectile bridge when I get to it. Sorry about the visual...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pre Museum

In August of 2006, my family and I vacationed on the Oregon coast. We mostly stayed in the Depoe Bay / Newport area, but I requested (okay, demanded) that I make a pilgrimage I had been wanting to make for many years. So one morning I loaded the family into our van and we drove down to Coos Bay to pay a visit to the Prefontaine Museum. It was a relatively small place - basically just a room - but it was worth the trip. I'll admit that I got choked up when I walked into the room. I had my shades on so as to not embarrass myself in front of my family (who didn't really understand the whole "Pre Mystique"). Although I knew who Pre was when I was running back in high school (early to mid 80's), I didn't really know that much about him until the early 90's. No, I don't worship his memory or even idolize him, but I recognize and appreciate the spirit and courage he embodied when he raced. He was truly a "pure guts" runner. May not have been the best in the world, even in his prime, but I would have never bet against him in any race. As an aside, it's exciting to see some American runners starting to show that spirit once again (i.e. Ryan Hall, Kara Goucher, etc).
I've posted some photos from my trip below:

Speeding Up (relatively speaking...)

Ran a challenging 3.5 mile fartlek run this morning. Ran the first mile pretty easy, then did five repeats of 2 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy. Overall time was 27:13, for a 7:47 pace. That's the fastest pace in my training runs so far this year. It didn't feel easy, though, but was pretty satisfying. Legs felt a bit sluggish, but no hint of any injuries. It didn't feel like I was running all that fast. Maybe that's a good thing. It would have been discouraging if I felt like I was blazing and ended up being slower than expected. I'm going camping w/the family this weekend, but I may have time for a Monday evening run after we get home. I'm thinking that maybe I can pull off a sub-7:30 pace in my 5k next month after all!
Have a happy & safe Memorial Day!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Running Book Library

Below are all running (and endurance training) related books I currently own. I'm separating them into two categories: training manuals and novels/biographies/stories. I'm also going to post a rating (scale of 1-5), based on my recollection of how much I enjoyed the book...although I admit that some of these are very vague to me. I have 37 books total (updated 8/14/17). Without further they are, in random order:


The Long Run Solution
by Joe Henderson
World Publications, 1976, 182 pgs.

Run Farther, Run Faster
by Joe Henderson
Anderson World Books, 1984, 243 pgs

The Competitive Runner's Handbook
by Bob Glover and Pete Schuder
Penguin Books, 1983, 544 pgs

The New Competitive Runner's Handbook
by Bob Glover and Pete Schuder
Penguin Books, 1988, 628 pgs

Scott Tinley's Winning Guide to Sports Endurance
(How To Maximize Speed, Strength and Stamina)
by Scott Tinley and Ken McAlpine
Rodale, 1994, 258 pgs

The New York Road Runners Club Complete Book of Running
by Fred LeBow, Gloria Averbuch & friends
Random House, 1994, 634 pgs

How to Train For and Run Your Best Marathon
by Gordon Bakoulis Bloch
Simon & Shuster, 1993, 270 pgs

Runner's Training Guide
by Runner's World Magazine
World Publications, 1975 (2nd printing), 94 pgs

Run With The Champions
(Training Programs and Secrets of America's 50 Greatest Runners)
by Marc Bloom
Rodale, 2001, 246 pgs

Improving Your Running
by Bill Squires, with Raymond Krise
The Stephen Greene Press, 1982, 206 pgs

Van Aaken Method
(Finding the Endurance to Run Faster and Live Healthier)
by Ernst van Aaken, M.D.
World Publications, 1976, 134 pgs

Masters Running and Racing for Runners Over 40
by Bill Rogers & Priscilla Welch, with Joe Henderson
Rodale, 1991, 178 pgs

Daniels' Running Formula
(Programs and Strategies: 1500 to Marathon)
by Jack Daniels, PhD / Foreword by Alberto Salazar
Human Kinetics, 1998, 287 pgs

Mark Allen's Total Triathlete
by Mark Allen, with Bob Babbitt
Contemporary Books, 1988, 173 pgs

Serious Training for Endurance Athletes
by Rob Sleamaker, Ray Browning
Human Kinetics, 1996 (2nd Edit), 304 pgs

The Lore of Running
by Tim Noakes, MD
Human Kinetics, 2001 (4th Edit), 930 pgs


50 50
(Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days...)
by Dean Karnazes, with Matt Fitzgerald
Wellness Central, 2008, 286 pgs

My Life On The Run
by Bart Yasso
Rodale Publishing, 2008, 270 pgs

To The Edge
(A Man, Death Valley, and the Mystery of Endurance)
by Kirk Johnson
Warner Books, 2001, 287 pgs

The Miler
(America's Legendary Runner Talks About His Triumphs and Trials)
by Steve Scott, with Marc Bloom
Macmillan USA, 1997, 258 pgs

A Cold Clear Day
(The Athletic Biography of Buddy Edelen)
by Frank Murphy / postcript by Hal Higdon
Windsprint Press, 1992, 197 pgs

UltraMarathon Man
(Confessions of an All-Night Runner)
by Dean Karnazes
Tarcher / Penguin, 2005, 280 pgs

Finding The Wheel's Hub
(Tales and Thoughts from the Endurance Athlete Lifestyle)
by Scott Tinley
The Trimarket Company, 1995, 189 pgs

The Perfect Mile
(Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It)
by Neal Bascomb
Houghton Mifflin, 2004, 322 pgs

Running Through The Wall
(Personal Encounters With The Ultramarathon)
by Neal Jamison
Breakaway Books, 2003, 304 pgs

Why We Run - A Natural History
by Bernd Heinrich
Ecco (Harper Collins imprint), 2001, 292 pgs

(The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine)
by Tom Jordan
Rodale, 1997 (2nd Edit), 168 pgs

Once A Runner
(A Novel)
by John L. Parker, Jr.
Cedarwinds Publishing Co., 1990 (4th Edit), 248 pgs

Born To Run
(A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen)
by Christopher McDougall
Knopf, 2009, 289 pgs

I Run, Therefore I Am-Nuts!
(Why We Carbo Load, Fartlek Train, Hit the Wall...And Love Every Minute Of It)
by Bob Schwartz
Human Kinetics, 2001, 245 pgs

The Four-Minute Mile
by Roger Bannister
Lyons & Burford, 1981/1994, 253 pgs

And Then The Vulture Eats You
(True Tales About Ultramarathons and Those Who Run Them)
by John L. Parker, Jr.
Cedarwinds Publishing Co., 1991/1999, 166 pgs

Sub 4:00
(Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile)
by Chris Lear / foreword by Jim Ryun
Rodale, 2002, 224 pgs

Duel in the Sun
(Alberto Salazar, Dick Beardsley, and America's Greatest Marathon)
by John Brant
Rodale, 2006, 203 pgs

Running on Empty
(An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America)
by Marshall Ulrich / forward by Christopher McDougall
Avery, 2011, 304 pgs

Eat & Run
(My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness)
by Scott Jurek (with Steve Friedman)
HMH, 2012, 260 pgs

My Marathon — Reflections on a Gold Medal Life
by Frank Shorter (with John Brant)
Rodale, 2016, 244 pgs

Marathon Man — My 26.2 Mile Journey from Unknown Grad Student to the Top of the Running World
by Bill Rodgers and Matthew Shepatin
Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2013, 322 pgs

Whew! I'm sure many of these are currently out of print. I've had a few of them for 25 years or so!
Okay, I know I made some ratings that would be considered total heresy within the running community, such as giving Once A Runner and Daniels' Running Formula three stars each. Honestly, I REALLY wanted to like Once A Runner more than I did. It just kind of fell flat for me. I'll re-read it just to make sure. And to be fair to Jack Daniels, his book just makes my head swim. The man is a genius, no doubt...but I just don't want my training to be so complex. For an ultra-competitive racer, his book is a gold mine. For me, overkill. I gave up less than half way through it. Also, there are a couple of dinosaurs on this list that are interesting reads if for nothing more than nostalgia purposes, and learning a bit of the mindset regarding distance running 30+ years ago (Van Aaken Method and Runner's Training Guide).

Okay, that's it. I'll round up my much smaller running movie collection and throw them on here someday.
If you have any comments on these books and/or recommendations, please post a comment! Thanks!

Bike Ride

Did a 35-mile bike ride today in 2 hrs & 8 minutes. Kept the effort & intensity pretty low, which was the plan. Didn't have much in my legs anyway. I'm planning on doing a 3.5 mile Fartlek run tomorrow to see if I can acquire just a little speed before my 5k next month.

Last night, I gathered my running book "library" and started documenting them. I'll try to post them in an entry (with all pertinent info, such as title, author, publisher, year, # of pages) along with some sort of rating system, based on my always questionable memory of how much I enjoyed them or got out of them when I read them. There are several I had forgotten I even had that I plan on re-reading soon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Born To Run

I just finished reading Born To Run, by Christopher McDougall. It's a very informative and inspirational book, and I'm happy to add it to my "running book library"...which I'll list on this blog someday. If you haven't picked up a copy yet, I'd highly recommend it. I first heard about it on the Brandon's Marathon podcast. Grab a copy - you won't be sorry. I inhaled it in a couple of days and will probably re-read it again this year.

Double Digits

Just banked my first 10-mile run this year. Started after the rain, finished just before a torrential downpour. Time was 1:22:56 (8:18 pace). Felt strong for about 8 miles, then was kind of dragging the last 2. That gave me a good opportunity to concentrate on maintaining good form and foot turnover. Back straight, shoulders back, head up...all that good stuff. Five months ago, I was only running 1 mile, three days a week, so this is VERY encouraging. My knee and IT band held up well, which is also VERY encouraging. It's becoming obvious that I don't have too many gears, but I can hold a decent pace for a long time. I suppose part of that comes with age (as a distance runner, anyway). I still want to work on some speed just to sharpen up a bit before the 5k next month, so this will probably be my last long run before then. It was really enjoyable, though, so I'm anxious to start building up the mileage later this year.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Interval Ride

Did a relatively short, but intense, ride today: 24 miles (out and back). At the turnaround, I did 10 miles of 1 mile hard, 1 mile easy. Really pushed the hard miles! Legs were screaming! Overall time wasn't impressive (1:26:46), but I wasn't concerned with it. Oh, and I kept up with my average of consuming one flying bug per ride. A little extra protein never hurt anyone, right?
I'll probably do a long, easy run tomorrow. Next week...hill repeats on the bike!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Long Friday Ride

Just returned from a 40-mile bike ride. Longest so far this year. It was a good thing I was going for distance and not speed. My legs had plenty of endurance, but no snap to them at all...probably since I've gone longer in my runs, spin & ride this week. The ride took 2:26 (16.4 mph avg). Neck and lower back were pretty sore, but otherwise things felt good. I'm really tempted to throw down a run tomorrow, but I'll probably take Sat & Sun as rest days and go shorter and add some intervals next week. I think it's about time to transition to more of a strength/power phase - especially on the bike. Hill repeats are coming soon. Not really looking forward to them, but if I don't want to get dropped in the first 12 miles of the bike leg of the tri, I need to do them. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Stretching out the distance

Ran 8 miles today, which is the longest I've run since 2004. Did it in 1:06:58 (8:22 pace...8:15-8:30 is my "cruise control" pace, apparently). It was an out-and-back course. Was very consistent: 33:31 out, 33:27 back. I only felt an IT band twinge a few times on the way out, then nothing on the way back. I tried to do some forefoot running for about a mile, until I felt a tweak in my upper right calf. I still tried to strike more midfoot than heel-toe. Maybe I'll give Newtons a go someday...when I can afford a pair!
For me, this distance is kind of a benchmark. If I can run an easy 8, I know I can do a double-digit run. Since my bowling team is competing for the title tonight, maybe I shouldn't have done my longest run in 5 years today...but man, if felt good! If I have the energy, I'd like to end my training week with a 40-mile bike ride tomorrow. Next week I'll keep things shorter, but more intense. I want to half-train for my 5k on June 13th. Not looking for a PR, but I don't want to embarrass myself, either.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Test in Patience

Cycling outdoors for two hours is a piece of cake. Cycling indoors on a trainer for two hours is sheer boredom...even while watching TV. It seemed like three hours. It was supposed to be stormy today, so I decided to use the trainer. It never rained the whole time. Oh well. Still benefited from the saddle time.

I think I'll take tomorrow off from running and riding and do some strength training. I'll probably run Thursday and ride Friday. That'll probably do it for the week.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Back in Action

I ended up taking the rest of last week off (no running or cycling Thurs-Sunday) somewhat guilt-free. Since I'm getting back into the swing of training this year, downtime is a bit hard to swallow. I just need to keep thinking long-term, though. I do think the layoff helped. I ran 6.5 miles today (longest so far in '09) in 55:53 (8:36 pace) and felt very comfortable...even with the very gusty winds. Avg heart rate was 142 - right where I want it. My right hip bothered me until about 4.5 miles. Not sure if the endorphins masked the pain after that or what, but I felt pretty good the rest of the run. Did a little post-run stretching, then took a 12-minute ice bath (with double the amount of ice...yow). No dramatic singing this time ;-) Just my iPod, some hot tea and banana.

I'm not basing my workouts on a written plan so far this year, so I kind of design them as I go. I think I'll make the rest of this week a long, slow distance week with both running and cycling. If the weather allows, I'll do a ~40 mile ride sometime this week (or a long spin on the trainer). Next week, I may throw in some short intervals. I'm not normally so "seat-of-the-pants" when it comes to training, but I'm more concerned this year with just staying "out there" and making sure the body holds up.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Down Time

I slogged through a 60 minute spin on the trainer yesterday...and it WAS a grind. Felt light headed, weak and nauseous. I think my body is telling me to lighten up. It's hard to write this, but I want to be honest in this blog. It would be nice to "man-up" and keep pounding out the miles, but my body just seems to need more recovery at this point. I've been increasing both intensity and mileage lately, so I suppose it's no surprise that I'm feeling overtrained. When I start seeing signs of increased fitness, as I have the last couple of weeks, my determination doubles. Then, it becomes hard to hold back and train wisely, as I should. I am a bit smarter this time around, though (I hope). In the past, I'd blast right through any feelings of weakness or tiredness, until I'd overtrained so much that it took much longer to recover. If I need to do just 1 run and 1 ride a week for a couple of weeks to get back on track, so be it. I love to train, so that'll be tough to live with...but I need to focus on the big picture this time around.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Today's (windy) Run

Man, it was blustery! Got in a little 4.3 mile run this afternoon. The rain abated, but the winds were GUSTY. I would guess they reached close to 40mph. Ran at an 8:07/mile pace. Felt a little spent, due to some hammer time on the bike yesterday. Looks like more rain tomorrow, so I'll most likely be on the trainer.

How Adaptable is the Body, Anyway?

I was digging thru a bunch of photos on my computer today and came up with four photos (left side of each split photo, above). I certainly don't post them here to try and impress anyone. These are from late 2005, when I wasn't running and was focusing on gaining weight and muscle mass. Thanks to a suggestion of a fellow runner on Twitter, I took some current shots as a comparison. Yikes! What an eye opener! I've lost a lot of mass and muscle thickness. As you might know, I started running in 1983. Even before that, I was a skinny kid. My body adapted well to distance running and I definitely had a "runner's physique". During the times when running and I "broke up", I often decided that I was tired of being scrawny, so I'd hit the weights pretty hard for several months. I'd put on 10-15 lbs and, for me, get fairly big. But I learned that my body doesn't want to be "big". When I'd start running again, it was like my body said "oh, I know this. Time to drop all this useless weight". The years of running have set my body up with a pretty high metabolism and I can drop 10 lbs pretty quickly when I'm getting back into "endurance mode". And that's exactly what has happened. I was 15 lbs. heaver in these photos than I am now, and for the most part, those muscles are gone. I do find it interesting, though, that the human body can change to that extent, even when it leans more toward a certain body type ("ectomorphic", in my case). For most people, and definitely for me, big muscles and endurance training cannot co-exist. And when I was bigger and stronger, I had no stamina. Yeah, I miss the muscles, but I love the endurance training and the feeling of being fit too much to give it up.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Another 35-mile Ride

Just returned from a really nice 35-mile bike ride on my regular out-and-back course (17.5 mph average). Went out at a moderate pace, then on the way back, from miles 20-30, I did intervals of 1 mile hard, 1 mile easy. Really hammered the hard miles. Not only is 35 miles seeming shorter, but a 17 mph pace seems almost pedestrian...BUT...I haven't started training hills yet. That'll be a new and challenging experience. Maybe I'll do 2-3 weeks more of these types of interval rides, then start pounding the hills. I hate to say it, but my running intensity is probably going to start taking a back seat to the cycling now. I really want to be ready to take on the 12 miles of uphill on the first part of the triathlon bike leg I'm doing in August. Lately, I'm actually enjoying the riding, so maybe I can stay focused. But after the triathlon, much more effort will go into running.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday Run

Just finished a 6 mile run in 50:52 (8:29 pace) which is my long run for '09 so far. Felt like I was running faster than I was. Avg HR was 150, which is higher than I like it to be for these kinds of runs. I'm coming off a hard bike ride, and a fartlek run the day before, so I'm a bit worn out. Tomorrow's a rest day, and I'll be taking advantage of it. Reclining on the sofa and watching some baseball are in the plans.

Summary for the week:
3 runs / 15 miles
1 ride / 35 miles
1 spin / 60 minutes
(plus pushups, situps, pullups, dips)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Great Ride!

Wow, what a day for a long (for me, anyway) ride! Sun, 70+ degrees...slow work schedule...why not? Rode my 35-mile course, from Snohomish, WA to Arlington and back. Went out conservatively and planned on riding back in the same fashion. Well, that didn't quite happen. At the turnaround in Arlington, I ran into a gentleman who asked if I'd like company on the way back. He was on a nice Cervelo Tri bike and was a 57-year old Ironman athlete with, I'd bet, single-digit bodyfat. He was in the middle of a 55-mile training ride. He's training for his fourth consecutive Ironman Coeur d'Alene. I've always trained solo on the bike, but this was a nice change of pace (pun intended). I would admit that he was above my current riding level, but as we cruised the 17+ miles back at around 20mph, I realized I had more in my legs than I thought. I felt stronger as we went. Due to my schedule (I take time off from work and ride mid-day usually), it would be hard to find a training partner. If I could hook up with someone just above my level every now and then, I'm sure it would benefit me. So Steve, if you happen to stumble upon this blog, thanks for the ride! You're a stud! Good luck at Coeur d'Alene, and shoot me a note if you want to ride again sometime.