Friday, October 30, 2009

10.30.09 - Race tomorrow!

Today's Training (10.30.09)
AM Rowing 10K (38:56.3), 31 spm, AHR124/MHR131...
AM Running 8M treadmill (53:27), i=1, AHR120/MHR128
PM Running 6M treadmill (38:21), i=1, AHR124/MHR129

Running Totals: 14M day / 71M week (109M/L7) / 459M month
Rowing Totals: 10K day / 60K week / 226K

I felt a little sharper today, and ready to run at as fast of a pace on the treadmill as my MAF HR limit would allow.  And looking back at the past 10+ weeks, I haven't run quite this quick (6:23.5/M on my afternoon 6M run) until now.  I think in a number of cases, I felt that the pace was getting a little quick, so I've done several treadmill runs at a 5% or higher incline to slow things down a bit, while still elevating my HR to the right level.  Today, I felt more recovered and ready to run faster.  That's good.

Tomorrow morning, I'll be escorting RG during the Eerie Erie 5K.  It looks like the streets should all be clear and from looking at, she should have 35 degrees & partly cloudy when the gun goes off.  This will be her 2nd race (Bolder Boulder earlier this year was her first).  I'm confident we'll do fine.  I've been trying to coach her on keeping things comfortable and under control early on, and building into a strong finish as the run/race goes on.  Tomorrow will be a good test as things get more exciting with all the people around, the gun going off, and everyone else sprinting out like idiots (yes, I've been one of the idiots - admit it, we all have!).  But if I can help keep her running conservatively for long enough, she should reap the psychological rewards as she's passing lots of people in the final minutes of the race.  Full report tomorrow...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

10.28.09 & 10.29.09 - Basement Games

Today's Training (10.28.09)
PM Rowing 10K (38:53.7), 31 spm, AHR123/MHR130...
PM Running 5M treadmill (40:28), i=5, Climb=1320', AHR123/MHR130
PM Running 15M treadmill (1:43:59), i=1, AHR118/MHR125

Wanted to run at night while watching the Nuggets opener, but only planned on running 10M.  As often happens, the first few miles dragged on, and I wondered how I'd ever make it 10M.  But as I neared 10M, I started thinking "I should do 12M instead."  And as 12M approached, I started figuring out how much longer it would take to get to 15M @ 7:00/M pace. 

Running Totals: 20M day / 47M week (114M/L7) / 435M month
Rowing Totals: 10K day / 35K week / 201K month

Today's Training (10.29.09)
AM Rowing 15K (59:38.9), 30 spm, AHR121/MHR126...
AM Running 10M (1:08:57), i=1, AHR120/MHR128

After last night's longish run, I knew I was going to have to summon some mental toughness to get through this morning's workout.  I just kept telling myself that I would be done for the day after the run. 

Running Totals: 10M day / 57M week (108.5M/L7) / 445M* month (*new high - old high: 436M 10.09)
Rowing Totals: 15K day / 50K week / 216K month

I just got an e-mail from my brother (Mike) re: the marathon he's got lined up for December.  Looks fun, and apparently they have hills in the midwest, too.

My mind goes back to the marathon from time to time.  As in most areas, I have unfinished business there.  I'd at least like to get UNDER 2:30 (PR of 2:30:49 from Chicago '02).  I don't really see myself running a marathon Olympic Trials qualifier at this point - the old "B" standard of 2:22 was tough (as it should have been), and the new single qualifying time of 2:19 is likely out of reach.  But I'll admit there's an allure to the marathon.  All this is a ways out, but a fall 2010 marathon is something I'm considering.  After some late winter/spring track racing, I plan on racing some on the roads (Bolder Boulder, Boulder Race Series) but could start prepping for a fall marathon in early summer.  That one's a work in progress.  I'd like to figure out a time for another extended period of MAF base training - and if that was pre-marathon, that could very well eliminate summer racing.  But I could wait 'til after the marathon, but if I spent a good 3 months doing that, it would get in the way of XC in the fall and early indoor track racing.  So I don't know - something to kick around. 

My late winter/spring race plans consist of local college track races @ CU, CSU, UNC, School of Mines, and possibly the Drake Relays.  My racing will focus on 5000m, but I'd like to be ready to run a fast mile at the Drake Relays Masters Invitational Mile, which would require me to have previously run a quick mile/1500 (4:35/4:20 based on the '08 standards) before that.  If possible, in addition to the Drake Relays, I would love to get to sea level again for a 5000m.  I haven't thought much about times so far, as I haven't raced in a LONG time.  I'm once again hopeful that my long hiatus from racing/serious training will work in my favor versus whatever loss of performance my aging will cause.  Who knows?  I've run 14:46 @ sea level, and 15:09 out here.  Are those long gone performances, never to be seen again?  I really don't know, but look forward to finding out.   

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

10.27.09 - Inside Day (probably one of many to come)

Today's Training (10.27.09)

PM Rowing 10K (39:27.0), 31 spm, AHR120/MHR124...
PM Running 6M treadmill (41:21), i=1, AHR117/MHR121
PM Running 6M treadmill (41:06), i=1, AHR116/MHR121

Running Totals: 12M day / 27M week (115M/L7) / 415M
Rowing Totals: 10K day / 25K week / 191K month

I've recently received some light peer pressure from my circle of running friends re: jumping back into racing, specifically the Club XC Champ's in December.  I'm very comfortable telling folks "thanks, but no thanks - I'm doing my thing through the end of the year."  It's nice to be "back" enough that people want me to race.  I certainly haven't done the type of training that would make me feel comfortable to race.  In the past, if I'd done this amount of training, I certainly would be lining up races, but I would also be doing LT runs, intervals, hills, etc.  I have done nothing of the kind at this point.  Through this past Sunday, I've done 10 weeks & 1025 miles.  Every mile I've run has been purely aerobic, which my guesstimate pegs @ sub HR130.  I've been working in strides so that it's not a shock when I start asking my legs to start turning over quicker on a regular basis (January and beyond). 

The training I'm currently doing is certainly an experiment, as I've never trained like this before.  But I see it as an investment; as money in the bank.  And it's odd to me that people can "get" the discipline of training (running every day, putting in the miles, getting up every morning, "living the life," whatever), but not necessarily want to commit to the discipline of sticking with a certain type of training over a long period of time.  Don't get me wrong.  I was the first one to jump back into racing shortly after a break in running.  I've often done things in training on a whim (a 40M treadmill run comes to mind).  But I've really come to appreciate using some of the science and/or training methods that are out there.  When I trained to race 5000m on the track, I learned that one of the key areas I needed to focus on were V02Max based workouts, and that usually meant 5 x 1000m with 2:00 rest.  The reasons behind this workout were: a) anything longer was tough to hold "V02Max" pace & tougher to recover from, and b) anything shorter and I wasn't maximizing the time during each repeat spent at a "V02Max" improving intensity.  When I trained for my last couple of marathons, I was operating under the theory that in addition to improving general endurance, the big key was improving my lactate threshold.  So I had a lactate threshold test, and got the pertinent training HRs and paces to work from, and proceeded to do tempo runs dictated by those numbers.  Now I'm not a pro, not a scientist, and I'm very aware that I know only a small amount of the training science that's out there.  But if the information's out there, and I plan on spending 2 hours a day preparing to race my best, why not go about it with some science and reason behind it?

I realize that the way I've chosen to train may not be the best way to go about it, and is certainly one of countless ways of getting it done.  But I'm embracing this training system and trying to maximize what I can get out of it.  That's my whole idea, I guess - pick a system and embrace it.

All that said, I am looking forward to tempo runs, intervals, running long runs with higher rates,!  I love running.  But I'm still at a point in my life where I run to race.  And I haven't raced since July 27, 2006.  I turned 40 on April 17, 2009, and have yet to race as a masters runner.  There's nothing I'd rather be doing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Today's Training (10.26.09)

AM Rowing 15K (59:27.3), 31 spm, AHR116/MHR120.
AM Running 7M tread (56:39), i=5, Climb=1846', AHR116/MHR120.
PM Running 8M (59:01), AHR119/MHR126. 111th/Erie Pkwy - Arapahoe Ridge area loop - 111th Pkwy + 2 strides.

Running Totals: 15M day / 15M week (116M/L7) / 403M month (I think this is the first time I've had back to back 400M months)

Felt pretty decent today, considering the long run yesterday.  A long run on the treadmill (for me) is easier to recover from.  The run in the afternoon was classic, cool, sunny Colorado - a beautiful day.  I plan to keep the week to 90-95M, but I'll add more rowing to the mix.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

10.25.09 - Long treadmill run & a short, snowy run outside with my daughter

Today's Training (10.25.09):

AM - Running 22M treadmill (2:25:54), i=1, AHR123/MHR131. Watched "Casino Royale" (James Bond).  The run pretty much went smoothly - I didn't feel great, but I felt solid and the time went by relatively quickly.
PM - Running 3M outside w/ RG (31:46). We ran from the house to Thomas Res, did 2 loops, and ran back home, which is conveniently exactly 3M.  I think we chose the perfect moment to run, as the snow appeared to be at its peak while we were out.  We both got a bit wet and cold, but by mid-way through I think we were both enjoying it.  RG was excited about the hot chocolate and a Smores Pop-Tart waiting for her at home after the run.  By the end of the run, she was really haulin' down the road. 

Running Totals: 25M day / 123M week (*most ever*) / 388M month

So, GZ were talking earlier, and I started ranting about how they have the state championships set up in Colorado.  I don't know the history of it, but there our FOUR classes at the Colorado State XC Meet.  Over the years of following the results from afar (I've yet to make it to the meet - I'd like to), I've always had the feeling that EVERYONE gets to run at the State Meet.  I realize that's not true.  GZ and I kicked it around, and he apparently was from a similar state (Connecticut) that leaned towards just opening up the State Meet to anyone who could drive to the meet.  I grew up in Illinois, and we had a State Meet system that leaned more towards the elitist setup.  We had 2 classes back then (I graduated in '87, like GZ), and just last year they expanded it to 3 classes.  Here's a quick breakdown between CO & IL using the 2008 boys meets as examples:
  • Illinois
  • Population = 12.9 million
  • 1A State Meet - 20 schools, 167 finishers, top 10 range: 15:03-15:38 (3M for all divisions)
  • 2A State Meet - 21 schools, 175 finishers, top 10 range: 14:56-15:22
  • 3A State Meet - 25 schools, 210 finishers, top 10 range: 14:18-14:38
  • 66 total schools / 552 total finishers

  • Colorado
  • Population = 4.9 million
  • 1A/2A State Meet (combined?) - 11 schools, 68 finishers, top 10 range: 16:01-17:44 (5K for all divisions)
  • 3A State Meet - 18 schools, 122 finishers, top 10 range: 15:28-16:47
  • 4A State Meet - 25 schools, 196 finishers, top 10 range: 15:08-16:07
  • 5A State Meet - 24 schools, 186 finishers, top 10 range: 15:20-16:19
  • 79 total schools / 572 total finishers
 So Colorado has roughly 40% of the population of Illinois, and yet they have more schools, a few more runners, and more championships awarded.  And while I realize it's a team sport, and I could probably figure out some way to compare the differences/depth of the top teams between classes and states, etc - having watched the results over the years in CO, it always seems like someone in a lower class runs a faster winning time than a higher class.  And if you look at the '08 results, you can see that the 4A winner is 12 seconds faster than the 5A winner, and the same goes for the 10th place finisher.  Very rarely would you see that in IL - although it will probably happen more now that they've opened it up to 3 classes. 

Discuss amongst yourselves...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

10.24.09 - Bounced back, took it easy on treadmill

Today's Training (10.24.09):

AM - Running 13M treadmill (1:29:15), AHR117/MHR120. Watched "Flight Plan" - decent entertainment that occupied my brain while I cruised away on the mill.
Running Totals: 13M day / 98M week (120M/L7) / 363M month

Felt pretty recovered after yesterday's struggle.  Made sure to eat well (too well?) yesterday, and it seems to have helped. That's always the struggle as I put in high miles and lose weight. I'm usually dealing with a caloric deficit - that's how weight loss works, right. 

So, tomorrow's plan is to run long on the treadmill (20M+) and go for a short run with RG (3M?).  She's planning on running the Eerie Erie 5K a week from today on Halloween.  She's always just done the "Goblin Run" there - a once around the track "race" for the kiddos.  This year, she wants to do both....we'll see.  KG will probably do the Goblin Run, though.  Maybe she can help him get around the track.

Friday, October 23, 2009

10.23.09 - Uggghhh...

Today, I was beat.  Whooped.  Sleepy.  Dead.  Tired.  Felt like ass.  It happens.

Today's training (10.23.09)
  • AM - Running 13.5M (1:52:38), AHR113/MHR124. Teller Farm (Arapahoe TH) - White Rock - Gunbarrel Farm - 75th (54:32) & back (58:06).  From the first step, I knew it was going to be a long, slow slog.  My legs were toast, and by the time I turned around, I was having a really hard time getting my HR to 115.  Ouch.  Beautiful Colorado morning, though. 
  • PM - Rowing 10K (39:20.2), 31 spm. AHR123/MHR128. I was surprised that I was able to rally myself to do this rowing workout by mid-afternoon.
  • Running Totals: 13.5M day / 85M week (119M/L7) / 350M month / 2290.1M year
  • Rowing Totals: 10K day / 36K week / 166K month / 2153K year
This was one of the rare days when I wasn't really recovered enough to do what I wanted to do.  While I don't have the quality workouts to recover from, I still can have the occasional difficulties with this level of mileage - which is fine. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

10.22.09 - Back to Blogging

OK. I am bowing to the occasional, though consistent, pressure from GZ to start blogging again. I plan on keeping up with it, but we'll see...

I assume I'll be using this forum for discussing my training, musing on the wacky world of running (and the wacky world as well when necessary), and just documenting some of the day to day happenings in my life.

So, what's been going on with my running (and yes, it is MY running)? Why have I not raced since July 27, 2006 (~3 years & 3 months ago)?

I had foot surgery over 1 1/2 years ago - removing a sick sesamoid bone from my big toe joint that had apparently been stress fractured for over 2 years. That actually followed over 1 1/2 years of life without racing (and more time than that of pain free running).

The recovery from the foot surgery has come in fits and starts. My first post-surgery run took place on September 24, 2008. I finished 2008 with a grand total of 348.5 treadmill miles. I first ran outside on February 3, 2009. But based on how my foot and form felt, I rarely had the confidence that I'd be able to progress to actual TRAINING anytime soon. I also spent a lot of time on the Concept 2 indoor rowing ergometer and Precor elliptical machine. So while I hadn't done much running "training" since 2006, I think I could say that for much of the time, I'd stayed "fit."

So I was running in 2009. Through July, I had put in the following months of mileage:
  • January 224M
  • February 178.4M
  • March 182M
  • April 89.2M
  • May 147.5M
  • June 146M
  • July 194M
Then a few things came together. In early August, I happened to start putting in a little more mileage, and had a short trip to the Tetons with the family and in-laws. I had a 13.2M (2:04:20) trail run up & back the Cache Creek from Jackson. And I had an epic 20 mile Lake Solitude hike in the National Park. When I came back, I found myself increasingly motivated to put in some bigger miles and potentially take a stab at a comeback. The other element that came in to play were some of the discussions with GZ and Tim on MAF training.

The more I discussed it, read about it, and thought about it, the more it seemed to make sense for this point in my running. I had (and have) no races lined up. I was still coming off of a long-term injury break. And I wanted to try something different. In numerous back & forths with Tim, I settled on a MAF HR "window" of 115 to 130, and have been very loyal to those numbers for the past 2 months. I'll detail the training a little more in a future post, but the MAF training has allowed me to run every day and post the following weeks since (keep in mind, I still do a fair number of miles on the treadmill - more on that later):
  • 91M
  • 95M
  • 102M
  • 92M
  • 106M
  • 96M
  • 120M
  • 106M
  • 94M
While I've run some 100M+ weeks in the past, this stretch of consistent mileage is pretty unprecedented for me. The beauty of the MAF training (to me) is that a) there are no "quality" runs or workouts to recover from that inhibit my ability to pile on the mileage, and b) there is no worry about piling on too much mileage and not being recovered for the next quality run/workout. That, and the relatively low intensity of the daily workouts have apparently been kind to my feet. As a side note, during this same 9 week period, I've also posted the following weekly totals on the rowing machine: 16K, 16K, 24K, 36K, 32K, 48K, 40K, 50K, and 58K (all @ with the same HR "restrictions").

I've committed to continuing my MAF base building through the end of 2009, and I've found no reason to derivate from that plan. Again, I'll soon post some more details and the progress of my training over the past couple of months, and what I hope to transition into after I'm done with this "block" of MAF work. So, more later...

In the meantime, I did want to mention seeing this blurb about the Des Moines Marathon from over the weekend. It reminded me of running the Joe Colton's Off Road Adventure Run back in 2005. GZ and I headed up there, and learned from the race director that there was a good chance we could get stopped by a train during the race. Not knowing how the race would play out (or even if a train would affect the race), it was interesting musing on the possibilities. I thought about one ideal turn of events with a train showing up - seeing the train, and either passing the leader or extending my lead and outracing the train, leaving my nearest competitors stuck behind the train while I recovered from my mid-race surge. But there were less exciting options - losing one's well earned lead, getting run over by the train, or having the train actually STOP on the tracks. As it turned out, I ended up running in 2nd for much of the 15 Mile race that year, probably trailing by close to 2 miles at points in the race behind Kristian Agnew (1:22:21 to 1:31:42). And I had to deal with the weak mental mindset of hoping for a train to slow him down. No such luck... But this weekend's Des Moines Marathon does make me laugh at running's place in things. I realize that Des Moines is not Chicago, or the Olympics...but can you imagine a train affecting the result of the SuperBowl or World Series?

Today's training (10.22.09):
  • AM weigh-in: 169.4#
  • AM - Rowing: 10K (39:34.7) 31 spm, AHR120/MHR125...
  • AM - Running: ...8M treadmill (55:04) i=1, AHR116/MHR122
  • PM (1:30) - Running: 7.5M (52:42), AHR122/MHR129. Home to Thomas Res (.79M), 8 x .71M Thomas Res loops (5.68M), Thomas Res to Home (.79M - 7.26M total), 5 x strides on path behind house.
  • Running Totals: 15.5M day / 71.5M week / 336.5M month
  • Rowing Totals: 10K day / 26K week / 156K month
As promised, I wanted to kick around what I see as some of the benefits with the MAF work I've been doing. First, I've done a couple of traditional MAF tests on the track, although Tim mentioned that I haven't fully recovered for them - need to figure that one out a little more. Otherwise, I think I've kept everything the same from one to the next - here's my 2 results:

MAF track test #1 (@ Erie Middle School track 09.10.09 - 3M WU)
  • 8K (36:01), 7:14.7/M, AHR128/133 (7:54@MAF+/28:07@MAF - in trying to keep HR right below 130, it can be quite easy to go "over the top." Again, my MAF "zone" has been 115-130)
  • 7:08.7(AHR128), 7:12.6(128), 7:14(128), 7:13.5(128), 7:12.2(128)
  • Weight = 179#
MAF track test #2 (@ EMS track 10.09.09 - 3M WU)
  • 8K (34:29.1), 6:56.2/M, AHR127/131 (2:17@MAF+/32:01@MAF - better control on keeping HR under 130 this time out)
  • 6:53.2(AHR126), 6:53.7(127), 6:53.8(127), 6:53.7(127), 6:54.7(128)
  • Weight - 173#
So obviously, my time/pace has dropped a good chunk from #1 to #2. At the same time, my weight's dropped 6 pounds - which has to be considered. Overall, I weighed in at 187.6# on 08.17.09, and this morning was the first time in a LONG time that I came in under 170# - 169.4#. So, shedding close to 10% of my body weight has obviously been helpful - both to my health (especially my foot), and to my running efficiency. I think the relatively low intensity work has allowed me to train at a relatively high volume, and I've simultaneously been able to eat rather sensibly - which I've had significant issues with over the years. This all adds up to the 18.2# drop in weight.

One of the questions I keep kicking around in my head, is why I'm able to put in this type of volume while staying healthy. My educated guess is that in the past it's been either too much intensity (quality), or better put, too much quality before I've established a necessary amount of structural strength. So, based on that theory, I'm currently building my structural strength, so if that when I begin working in the quality runs and workouts in the new year, my body will be much better prepared to handle it. I haven't had to worry about it yet, but I'm still not sure what the plan will be come January. I figure to start working in lactate threshold (LT) runs, V02 Max based interval workouts, and depending on how my foot feels - some hill work. The current plan is to focus that training on maximizing my track 5000m performance, while being able to race well below (1500/mile) and above (10K). More later...