Tuesday, September 29, 2009


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


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


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.
  • 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