Monday, June 29, 2009

Last run in the Pacific NW for awhile

Did my usual 5:50am run this morning on my neighborhood course. Ran 5.5 miles in 43:54 (7:59 pace) with a 1-mile surge of 7:01. It was sunny, but still a cool 46 when I went out. Tomorrow we're headed to St. Petersburg, FL for a vacation. The running down there won't be quite so enjoyable. Even with getting up to run early, it'll still be quite humid. I'll just reduce the mileage and/or pace & grind away. Incidentally, my new vacation book (and new addition to my running book library) is Bart Yasso's My Life On The Run. I'm looking forward to reading it.
My bike is going into the shop today to get prepped for the race in early August, so I'll pick it up when we get home and get in a few more hilly training rides.
I ended June with 66 miles of running, which is pretty modest, but it's the most in a month this year so far. I'll likely total fewer next month, since I'll be doing more cycling.
Have a great Monday!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Beautiful...and COLD...morning run

I started my 10-mile run this morning at 5:50am...wearing shorts and a tank top. Not a big deal normally, but it was 45 fricking degrees this morning! That said, I'm totally sold on the morning runs now (in summer...when it's not raining, anyway). It was beautiful. Blue sky, sun rising over the mountains, mist hovering over the fields and ponds around the Centennial Trail in Snohomish. Hardly any traffic adjacent to the trail. Bunnies every few miles. This is my out-and-back "long run" course (where I often bike), and when I started I wasn't sure if I'd go 8 or 10 miles. Okay, I really knew it would be 10, unless I felt horrible at the 4-mile mark. Fortunately, I didn't. Ran it in 1:21:28 (8:09 pace) with a finishing HR of 139. Time for some stretching, breakfast, then hopefully back out into the sun to enjoy the day. It'll be a perfect day for the Rock N Roll Marathon here in Seattle. Good luck to everyone running in it!

Here's how my training week looked:
Running - 3 runs, 20.5 miles / 2:44:37 (8:01avg)
Bike trainer - 2 rides / 120 min (incl 5 x 3min intervals)
Cycling - 1 ride, 25 miles / 1:31:41 (16.4mph)
Walking - 60 min
Strength training - 60 min

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Bike ride, plus some questions for you folks

Finally got my bike off the trainer and outside for a ride today. Ended up putting in 25 miles around local neighborhoods, including some challenging hills. I'm learning that my hill running is better than my hill cycling. Hopefully I can change that before my race.

Now...I've got a couple of questions for you. Lately, after getting off the bike, my lower back has been very tight and very sore. In fact, the two weeks I didn't ride, I slept better than usual because my back didn't bother me. Well, now the back pain is back. I've never been "professionally" fitted on my bike, but have adjusted the saddle, handlebars, etc, based on what I've found online. Do any of you more experienced cyclists have any words of wisdom regarding why my lower back isn't liking the bike lately?

The other question is more frivolous. When I was a kid riding with my dad in our car, my sister and I used to play "slug bug", where we'd punch each other when we'd see a Volkswagen Beetle. I once commented to my dad that I never realized how many VW Bugs there were on the roads until I played that game. From then on, he'd refer to that phenomenon as "you just have to look for the Volkswagens and you'll see them". I know there's a term for that, but it escapes me. Okay...all that said to get to this point: I've been noticing a LOT more runners on the roads this year than I have in a long time. Yes, I started running again in Jan. of this year, but even the years I haven't run, I was still tuned in to noticing them, being a long-time runner. I think I read or heard recently that running seemed to increase during times of economic downturn. Not sure if that's the case or not. Are any of you noticing more people running lately, or is it just me?
Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another (quick) morning run

After a pretty lousy night of sleep (wind noise outside, plus a sore back), I was up again at 5:00. I hopped in my truck and drove to Willis Tucker park to run 5 miles around the 1-mile hilly trail. It was cool and breezy, but felt good. I didn't set out to run progressively faster miles, but that's what happened: 8:01/7:50/7:48/7:46/7:28, for an average pace of 7:47/mile. That's approaching tempo run territory, and it's the first training run this year that I've gone faster than 8-minute pace. I probably pushed too hard, since my finishing heart rate was 152 (over 10 beats faster than normal). I made the mistake of saving my splits and noticed that, after 3 laps, I was getting faster each time and decided to continue that trend. There was something else I was going to write that seemed important to me while I was running, but it's gone now. Ah, those brilliant yet fleeting thoughts that grip us during our runs...oh well. Must not have been THAT important.
I ended up doing my strength training yesterday afternoon. I may do some pushups and call it a day, training-wise.
Train hard & smart!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another spin

As I had predicted, I ended up staying inside this morning for a 60 minute spin on the trainer. I included 3x3min of "hammering" after the first 30 minutes. Later this week, I WILL get out for some hill riding. I'll be running again tomorrow morning, possibly back on my recently-found hilly trail which helped me train for my 5k. Any way I can strengthen my legs for the uphill portion of my bike leg, I'll do it.
Also did 3 sets of 25 situps this morning and will do some other upper-body and core work later today, along with some stretching and foam roller work.
I've probably beaten this dead horse one time too many, but I'm finding it really difficult to switch my focus to cycling. After getting a taste of road racing again after so many years, I'm itching to get out and train hard in my running. I've got a 10k planned for September, but I'm kicking around the idea of running an 8k next month. I probably shouldn't, since I'll be tempted to back off on the cycling and focus on the running again...which probably isn't wise, since the triathlon is on Aug. 9th. I'm grateful to even HAVE this little internal battle, having not run for so many years.

Hey, if you can make it, swing by the runner's round table today at 1:00pm PST for an open mike show. I may actually call in!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Morning run, pre-6:00am!

Sing with me..."oh, what a beautiful moooorrniiing..."
I got up at 5:05, had some water and a granola bar, then hit the road at 5:50 for a very refreshing 5.5 mile run @ 44:14 (8:02 avg pace/mile). It was a brisk 50 degrees, but I wore my shorts & tank top anyway. The sun was rising into a light blue sky, peppered with a few sparse fluffy clouds. Wow, I'm so poetic this time of day.
I'm really enjoying the morning runs & will be sad when summer's over and I either run later, or venture out in the cold dark.
Now I think I'll take a quick ice bath, then I'm taking the day off to go to the zoo with the wife and kids. There's a new penguin exhibit that everyone's talking about, so the kids are anxious to see it.
Oh...back to training - I did decide to do a 60-minute spin on my trainer yesterday afternoon after my aborted ride. It was pretty steady with exception of a couple of 3-minute surges. After I was done, I realized that my back brake was sticking and I was pedaling against even more resistance than I though!
Tomorrow should be another bike ride...outside, I hope.
Enjoy your Tuesday!

Monday, June 22, 2009


Well, I honestly tried to get in a long-ish bike ride today, but was thwarted by the good folks trimming the brush along the paved trail I do most of my rides on. I got one mile into the ride before being stopped and told they were shutting down the trail. I thought about driving home and riding around my neighborhood, but the traffic gets pretty nasty, and I don't like riding in traffic. So...I'll do a few pullups, dips and situps for good measure, then get back to work (which I need to do anyway) and plan on riding tomorrow.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Earlier and earlier

Got up at 5:15 this morning. Far too early for a Saturday, if you ask me, but I'm adjusting for the time change when we fly to Florida soon. Down there, I'll only be running early in the morning due to the heat, so I need to get used to getting up and running early here on the West coast. Anyway, I was out the door before 6:00 and ran 5.5 miles. My morning pace is starting to get faster as I adapt to it (8:09). Here's how the week ended, training-wise:
3 runs - 18 miles @ 2:28
1 bike ride - 25 miles @ 1:31
2 weights workouts - 40min total
I wasn't able to get the planned bike rides in, but will make an effort to get back out there next week.
Enjoy your weekend & happy Father's Day to all the fathers!

Friday, June 19, 2009

No ride today; weight issues

I'm self-employed and have ridden this economic roller-coaster the last few months (mostly heading straight down). Thankfully, some work has come in, but it's got me hopping to make deadlines, so I won't be able to get out for today's planned bike ride. Oh well. It looks pretty wet outside (finally) anyway.
Yesterday I checked my weight (which I do once a week) and was kind of surprised. I'm down to what I call my "race weight". I reached it a bit quicker than I expected to. Now I need to hold it there and not let it drop further. Here were the stats:
Wt: 149.8
Waist: 31.5"
Bodyfat%: 10.7
Resting HR: 45
I've now lost 14 lbs since January. I'm 5'11", so yes, I'm thin. In fact, my wife told me yesterday that I'm starting to get too skinny. We've been married 14 years, and she's been with me through a couple of these "running comebacks", in which I easily (sorry) drop weight. This is also the point where friends and family members start asking me in a serious & concerned fashion, "are you okay?" I'm built just like a pro marathoner (if only I could run like one!) In fact, when I ran track and xc in high school, I was 20 lbs lighter than this, and at the same height! I had no muscle (thankfully I do now). Some of my friends called me "Ethiopian Man", and not because of my Scandinavian complexion. Yes, it got to me, so right after I graduated, I tried to gain weight. I started lifting weights a few years later and have "bulked up" off an on (most recently in 2005), but that's really not who I am. Running is in my blood. If I have to be thin & look a bit gaunt, I'm sorry to those who are concerned. I feel healthier and more fit than I have in a long time. That being said, I'll be monitoring my weight pretty closely now that I've reached my goal. If that means I have to lift the ice cream embargo, so be it!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

8 miler in the A.M.

Got up at 5:25, drove to Centennial Trail in Snohomish (where I do most of my bike rides) and ran 8 miles. For the most part I kept the pace pretty gentle, but on a whim I decided to throw in one hard mile, just for kicks. Here are the splits (I'm sure you'll figure out which was the hard mile): 8:32/8:27/8:29/8:26/8:11/7:07/8:09/8:16. That hard mile made the final two pretty difficult, but I held form and got it done. Heart rate was a bit high at the end (145), but overall a good run.
My right hip bothered me on and off. I'm starting to think that it may be a bit of hip bursitis rather than IT band-related. My knees are doing well. I'm stretching the hip & using the foam roller, but it seems to be persistent. It's not bad enough to cause me to stop running, but I'm worried that it might escalate.
The plan for tomorrow is another easy 25mi on the bike, before riding hills next week.
Happy training, everyone!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Longer than 5 years

I just checked my old running logs today and I was mistaken about when I last ran a race (before last Saturday). It was Dec. 6 of 2003 (not 2004), so I guess it's been 5 1/2 years since I last raced. No biggie, but for some reason I was thinking it was in '04. It was interesting reading my entries in my logbook leading up to that race. I think I was overtraining quite a bit. I ended up running a 22:08 in that 5k (not much faster than the 22:20 I just ran) on MANY more miles than I've put in so far this year. I remember running a very hard hill workout the week before, plus another one a few days before the race, and not really tapering. My entry on race day says I had some kind of chest virus & had trouble breathing. If you don't keep a training log with notes on how you're feeling, I would strongly suggest it. I just need to refer back to mine more often. It gives you a good idea on what type of training works and what doesn't. Currently, running a bit less, combined with cross training, seems to be working well for me. I'd love to run MUCH more, but I'm more concerned with not injuring myself like I have so many times in the past.
I'll be doing some weight work today, then will run again tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Free shoes

I'll jump on this free shoe giveaway bandwagon!

Morning run

I'm starting to come around on these morning runs...during the summer, anyway. Woke up at 5:30, drank some water, ate a couple of strawberries and hit the road a little after 6. Ran 4.5 miles at a comfortable 8:19 pace. The legs felt pretty good for my first post-race run (and yesterday's bike ride). Had a little discomfort in my right hip near the end, but I stretched and used the foam roller afterwards.
Now it's time for the nature portion of the blog. Part of one of my running courses goes around a local pond. During my morning runs, there is usually a great blue heron standing near the edge of the pond. I'll run by it and off it flies to the other side of the pond. Then I'd get to that side and it would fly back across...and so on repeatedly. I found myself apologizing to it aloud after awhile (the nature-lover that I am). My family often takes walks in the area and we've been watching a duck family. The babies are a few weeks old now. This morning, in addition to this family, I saw a brand new family of little yellow peeps. My kids will be excited to see them. So, between the glimpses of nature, the robins singing out, and the sun rising, it was a perfect way to start the day. Well, with one exception. I haven't had my coffee yet. That'll be taken care of in a few minutes. Have a great day & thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Easing back into the saddle

I rode a non-eventful 25 miles today on the bike. It was my first ride in 2 weeks. It was a great post-race recovery workout. I'm planning on taking it pretty easy this week, with a couple of rides and a couple of runs. Next week, I'll up the intensity on the bike, including some hills. Time to take a ride on the "pain train". Woo woo! Okay, I stole that from the "Terry Tate - Office Linebacker" videos (look them up, they're hilarious).

I want to share a little more about my re-entry into running and what things seem to be helping to hold my body together in this whole process. Back in 1997, I had an MRI on my right knee. The results showed a partially-torn meniscus and degenerative cartilage. But that's not when I gave up running (which the obviously non-running doctor suggested). I added another couple thousand miles to that damaged knee. I did take certain years off between then and now (doing a lot of mountain bike riding, at one point), but what really put the kibosh on my running was - I think, anyway - my right IT band (the knee issues probably played a role, too, since that knee would completely lock up after a run). I say all this to touch on something you're probably well aware of, and may be taking yourself...and that's glucosamine. I've been taking it for about ten years now and, outside of my IT band flareups, I have not had ANY knee-related pain since I started running again in January '09. I swear by it, and will likely take it the rest of my life. I don't know if there's one "blend" or brand that's better than all the others, but I take a Costco brand that contains MSM. Recommended dosage is two per day, but I've been taking just one a day for the last 3 years or so. I'm certainly not qualified to dish out medical advice, but I HIGHLY recommend taking it - especially if you're a masters runner.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First race since 2003 this morning!

Well, where to start? I've been anticipating this little 5k for months now. I'll give you the short story first: I finished in 22:20 (7:12 pace) and finished second place OVERALL! Okay, so there were only about 40 runners in the 5k, but I didn't expect to place at all! What was even better was that the guy who beat me was 44, so us old guys held off all the young'uns. MASTERS POWER! WOOHOO! My goal was 23:00, so I'm happy there (not a PR, but for not racing for so long, I can't complain). The course was hilly, and I could definitely tell that the hills I've been running REALLY paid off! The longest hill was on the way out, starting probably around the half mile mark. At that point, I was probably in 5th or 6th place. That's where I passed everyone except the leader and held on. There were no mile markers, so I had to just go by perceived exertion. I wanted to go out slow, and felt like I held back some, but I have no idea how fast it was.
So, if you can't tell, I'm JACKED about getting back out there and running more races! I'm not really suited for 5k's, so I'll be looking for longer races. I'm planning on a fall half-marathon (not sure which one yet), with maybe a 10k leading up to it. Next up is the bike leg of the Whisky Dick Triathlon on Aug. 9th. Talk about hills...the bike leg starts with 12 uphill miles. Time to hop back on the bike (while still running a little...'cause I gotta!) starting next week.
Hope everyone enjoyed their races this weekend!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Doo dee dooo (twiddling thumbs...)

Been getting antsy. I suppose a true taper may not be all that necessary for a 5k in which I don't expect to get anywhere close to a PR, but I want to feel fresh for tomorrow's race. Yesterday, I did three sets of decline (feet on a chair) pushups. Today, I'll mess around with some dumbbells (Yikes. I guess that could be interpreted in a couple of ways) and maybe take a walk. It's been 5 years since I've run a road race. Shortly after that, I became chronically injured and figured that my running career was over for good. Tomorrow's race is pretty special to me just for that reason. I'd love to run well, but (as hokey as this sounds) just running it is a victory. I've learned to not take the ability to run for granted. Even though it could all come crashing down eventually, I'm loving every minute of every run this year! Good luck to everyone running a race this weekend!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Last Run Before 5k

Went out at 6:15am for one final (and SLOOOOW) run before my 5k on Saturday. I ran 3.5 miles at a pace of 8:39/mile (avg HR of 138). It didn't feel quite as easy as it should have, but I'm not yet a morning runner. I'm trying, though. I'd love to keep it up all summer. It's excruciating to do morning runs during the "dark months" here in the Pacific NW, so I may not continue these beyond September or so.
Yesterday, I did a quick resistance workout:
Pullups (3 sets), Decline (feet raised) Pushups (3 sets), DB shrugs (2 sets), Situps (3 sets), Hanging dips (3 sets), DB curls (2 sets).
I'll do a little workout tomorrow similar to yesterdays, take Friday off, then see what I can muster for the 5k on Saturday.
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Last "hard" run before the 5k

This morning, I ran a 5-miler on my new course. I alternated easy miles with hard miles (3 easy, two hard total). Total time was 40:39 (8:08/mi pace). The hard laps were pretty tough (7:44 and 7:36). I wasn't feeling particularly peppy this morning. The plan for the rest of the week is an easy bike ride tomorrow, a short and easy run on Wednesday. I'll rest on Thursday and Friday, then run the 5k race Saturday morning.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


My family and I went to "family swim" time at a local community pool. Every few minutes, I'd sneak over to the lap lane and do a few laps. Managed to get in 400 yds total. Not much, but enough to get my heart rate up & work the shoulders & back a little. I used to swim quite a bit back in '97-98 (one period when I was too injured to run), but the last few years I haven't done much swimming at all. My current decent level of fitness from running and cycling doesn't necessarily carry over to the swim. I couldn't go more than two full laps before stopping to rest. I remember when I started back in '97 that it took a couple of weeks to adjust and get to where I could do my full workout without stopping. I don't plan on swimming regularly right now, but if (God forbid) I get too injured to run again, I'll be back in the pool, along with the cycling.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Back to running!

Before today, my last run was Monday of this week. It seems like WEEKS ago! It was great to get back out there. I ran the same 1-mile trail as Monday, five laps, with almost the identical time (40:33; 8:07 pace), but with a slightly different format. I ran the first three miles slowly (8:22/8:18/8:18), then a hard fourth lap (7:17), then finished with an easy lap (8:17). For the hard mile, I wanted to see if I could run a 7:30 & ended up going a good deal faster. It wasn't easy, and I probably couldn't have held that pace for even another mile, but it was reassuring to be able to go faster than I thought I could (it's a hilly loop, so I likely would have been a bit faster on a flat course). Thus, I'm sticking with my 7:30/mile pace goal for my 5k a week from tomorrow. I followed the run with a bit of stretching and an ice bath. My right IT band and hip were bothering me just a little during and after the run.

It's been a rough week. Not to get too personal, but my business is really struggling right now in this economy. Plus, I had the intestinal virus issue a couple of days ago, followed by having my email account accidentally shut down by Verizon (still is). Then yesterday, my wife and kids got rear-ended while driving our relatively new (and not cheap) Odyssey minivan. They're fine, and unlike most stories you hear, the driver at fault IS insured and very cooperative. I say all this to make a point about running. I'll start by saying that I do have a strong faith & beliefs (which I won't get into on this blog) that give comfort and solace...but, to a lesser yet very significant degree, running provides me with something much more valuable than I had ever really understood. I don't know if I'd call it an "escape" from reality, but it really clears my head and relieves stress. It calms my nerves. It provides an energy outlet (which I DEFINITELY need, since I'm antsy and restless by nature). I've run a (to some runners, measly) 8000+ miles in my "running life", yet the psychological benefits of running are so much more apparent and valuable to me know than ever before. When I finished today's run, I felt elated. Yes, it was probably the endorphin release, but the feeling of well-being blotted out the worries (at least temporarily) that rattle around in my noggin. Although I love the increased fitness, trim waistline and more abundant energy that running provides, I'd keep running just for the mental benefits alone!
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Intestinal problems, email problems, oh my!

Yesterday was rather interesting. I woke up with apparently some sort of intestinal virus. Made several frantic trips to the bathroom before things settled down by around noon. Thus, I had to bail on my planned bike ride. It was also a day of Verizon-filled fun. We just switched to the "Triple Play" plan (or whatever it's called), and also switched my business phone line to a cell phone. Well, all of our email addresses (including my business) were associated with that line. Somehow our email account was shut down (we still have internet access, obviously). I had just sent out a promotional emailing for my business the day before, so perfect timing on that front. Well, after nearly 2 hours on the phone with two different tech guys, I still have no email (except for a temporary account). It's supposed to be back online within "24 to 48 hours". Who knows if emails sent to me/us while things are down will eventually show up. Nice job, Verizon. Thanks.
Sorry for the digression. It was a really frustrating day. My inability to train has added to my grumpiness, too. I did manage to do some strength training today:

1 set of 8 pullups
DB overhead presses: 25lbs x 10, 10, 10
supersetted with:
DB lateral raises: 12lbs x 10, 10, 10
DB bent rows: 35lbs x 10, 10, 10 (per arm)
DB overhead tricep extensions: 35lbs x 10, 10, 10
DB curls: 25lbs x 10, 10 (per arm)

I did a different strength routine back on Tuesday of this week.

I'll be doing a 5-6 mile run tomorrow morning on my newly-found trail. Will probably keep it pretty laid back, but may throw in one hard mile in the middle.

I do my weigh-in and measurements on Thursday mornings, so here are those stats:
Wt: 152 (down 2.2 lbs from last week, possibly from the virus thingy)
Waist: 31.5" (down almost an inch)
Bodyfat %: 11.6 (same as last week)
Resting Heart Rate: 50 (up 5 from last week...maybe from stress)

When I put away my running book library, I found one more book that I somehow missed. I started reading it yesterday. It's...

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

I'm positive it's no longer in print, but it has a very Zen-like message about running long distances for fun, enjoyment and mental escape rather than always trying to run faster & race the clock and yourself. I'll add it to my original post.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Morning run...on a trail!

For the first time this year, I did a trail run. A hilly trail run. The trail is a 1-mile loop around a local park. I ran five loops, alternating easy/hard laps. I pushed the uphills on the hard ones. Overall time was 40:31 (8:06 pace) with a finishing heart rate at 146. It was a tough but enjoyable run. I was surprised I ran as well as I did, given the fact that I woke up just after 3am and hardly slept from then until I got up at 5:50am. A nap will be in order today.
This week and next week I'm cutting down on my mileage but increasing intensity. In fact, this week I'm only doing today's run, a hard bike ride on Wednesday, and another hard run on Friday. Next week, one run and one ride, then my 5k race that Saturday. It's going to be hard to train so little - especially with the weather we're having in the Northwest! But I want to be rested & ready for the race.