Saturday, January 30, 2010
On another front, the Injinjis are treating me well. I used them on my last run (Thursday's six miles) and I have no major complaints about them. I want to wear them on one long run (probably next week's Half Marathon, and then I'll file my complete review. My teaser for now though can be summed up this way: "What socks?"
Friday, January 29, 2010
That's the way sunset *should* look for all us weather wimps in Southern California.
On the running front, I think I'm fighting a little calf strain. It feels like I have a cramp in my left calf that never releases. It started during my run on Tuesday, and was quite uncomfortable about mile 5 last night. Today is a row day (I took Wednesday off), and I'll need to make a decision tomorrow morning whether I trust it on the scheduled 16 miler. I should play it safe. Face it - I've been running pretty consistently for well over a year, and a few missed runs isn't going to break me. Plus, if I do this right, I'm pretty confident of a PR at Surf City in a couple weeks. But it's also a 50 mile week, and there's something about being able to put that on my list of accomplishments that's pretty rewarding. Decisions decisions.
Oh the run? Six miles around the Upper Back Bay. Pace was 9:16 at an average heart rate of 79% of max. And I did get my stretching and core workout done. But with a sunset like that, who's paying attention?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
As mentioned, the rain was back yesterday. Nothing like last week's deluge, but wet nonetheless. I headed out for a 12 mile tempo run (2 mile warm up, 8 miles at a comfortably uncomfortable pace, 2 mile warm down) in the late afternoon. As I was heading out, the skies were spitting a little - everything was wet, but the rain was sporadic and light. No problem. Instead of throwing in the towel because it was wet outside, I put on my long pants and a long sleeve underarmour shirt and headed out the door to brave the elements.
I set out to go around the Back Bay - a loop with a short spur to my normal Saturday starting point is 12 miles. As I left the car, the rain fell with a little more purpose, but it was warm (55 degrees) so I set out. Just my luck - the further I went, the harder the rain fell. I hit the six mile point soaked, but feeling good and strong. I was clipping along at a 8:50 pace (I really do need to run a 10K sometime soon) as I headed behind the Newport Dunes Resort. And then - there it was again. The locked gate!!! How the heck can you close a trail? Foul weather? Give me a break! My mind started working. I knew there was an exit from Newport Dunes somewhere that would allow me to continue around the bay. Long story short, within a few minutes I was wandering around a storage yard in puddles up to my ankles. Yech! It was getting dark. My 8:50 pace had fallen off to 9:15. Double yech! I couldn't find the elusive exit, so threw in the towel and headed back to my car. The worst part? Squishy feet for 6 miles! Triple yech!
But, I did it. 12 miles. In the rain. Middle 8 at a 9:22 pace, average heart rate of 85% of max. Now if I can just get that wet dog smell out of my car.....
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The rain is supposed to be back tonight, even though it is crystal clear right now (6:30 AM). Unlike last week, it's supposed to be pretty light, so I'll get my 12 mile tempo run in regardless the weather. The only issue is where to run.
Monday, January 25, 2010
I also took the Injinjis out on their first trial yesterday. My initial reaction is pretty positive. The best part is their wicking ability seems *very*good. I'll do a complete review after next weekend's long run.
Here are the real chimpanzee feet:
Speaking of next weekend, we're into Week 11. On the plan:
- Monday: Erg 5K. Stretching and core work
- Tuesday: 12 mile tempo. Supposed to be raining. Sigh.
- Wednesday: Erg 10K.
- Thursday: 6 mile general aerobic run. Stretching and core.
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: 16 mile long run.
- Sunday: 6 mile GA.
Total: 40 miles running, 9.3 miles rowing.
The miles seem to keep going and going and going....
Sunday, January 24, 2010
With the flood channels still flowing, and copious amounts of mud still around, I decided to attack my 20 miler down on the beach. I started in Newport Beach, and ran down to the mouth of Newport Harbor. No rain today! What a difference a couple days make:
Here's the path today:
Saturday, January 23, 2010
- Family. Love being together in a room. We don't even need to be talking. Just sitting together does it for me.
- My wife. Twenty three years of marriage and 9 years of dating must mean something.
- Watching my own kids grow into young adults. Very happy and satisfying.
- Mountains. Something about being in the mountains away from people and civilization just makes me so peaceful and content.
- Mental stimulation. Anything that makes me think.
- A good pun. Especially if I don't get it for a couple of hours. If you see me break out in a smile for no apparent reason you now know why.
- Helping kids. Been a youth sports coach, cub master, assistant scout master. I love the looks on their faces when they do something that they didn't think they could.
- Related to #7 - doing something I didn't think I could.
- A good cup of coffee. Especially up in the mountains. Hot and dark. None of that cream and sweetener stuff.
- A nut flush. Always good for a lot of chips. Usually good for a win.
There you go. Anyone else up to the challenge?
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday: Erg 5K. Stretching and core.
Tuesday: 9 mile general aerobic.
Wednesday: Erg 5K. Stretching and core
Thursday: Hills! 2 mile warm up, 6 hill repeats, 1 mile warm down
Saturday: 20 miles
Sunday: 9 miles marathon pace
Total plan: 50 miles
I was up on the erg last night. Did a 5 minute warm up followed by three sets of 10 minute progressions. A 10 minute progression on a rowing machine takes the shape of rowing faster for a decreasing number of minutes. The first progression was 4 minutes at 16 strokes per minute, followed by 3 minutes at 18 spm, followed by 2 ' at 20 spm, followed by 1' at 22 spm. I followed with a 2 minute rest, then took off on the second progression at 4'/3'/2'/1' at 18/20/22/24 spm. Then another 2 minute rest followed by the final 4'/3'/2'/1' at 16/18/20/22 spm. Tack on a 5 minute warm down for a total of 8.65 kms.
I'm glad my workout was indoors. We finally got a bona fide storm. Notice how the tree that was next to the palms is missing the second time I panned right:
On the schedule today - 9 general aerobic miles. I've got the old shoes and a couple of layers packed. Hopefully it won't be raining too hard.....
Monday, January 18, 2010
About a mile later, I finally entered the park proper:
I crested a hill and Peters Canyon reservoir laid out in front of me. This reservoir is a leftover from the days that agriculture ruled the land here in Orange County. These days it serves as flood control, protecting the homes below from the infrequent storms that hit the region:
Speaking of storms - remember the storm I was talking about? You can see from the pictures that the skies were threatening. My hope was to get out and finish before the rains started. In fact, just as I entered the park, this stuff from the sky started hitting my hat. Two miles later, the skies were spitting, but it was warm out so I continued on the path around the reservoir:
Two and a quarter miles later, I reached my turnaround point. The foothills of Orange County were laid out in front of me as I reached the high point of my journey. I impressed myself. Despite the uphill push, wet conditions and unsure footing that comes with trails, I was still managing an 11:15 pace!
To wrap up - this was a *great* adventure. I pulled up a little short on mileage - 8.7 instead of 9, but I was happy with my 11:00 pace on my first real trail run. I will definitely be doing more of this!
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Speaking of hard work, yesterday's run was just that. Twelve miles were on the plan. The first six miles were wonderful - almost dreamlike. I was keeping a conversational, easy pace at 9:50. Honestly, I was barely breaking a sweat. I got to the turnaround point, took some calories (Clif Blueberry Crisp bar) and started back to CDM. About mile 8, things started hurting. By mile 10 I had to slow down. My heart rate was fine, but I was sweating up a storm and had pain in my quads like I was at mile 20. Not quite sure why. My cold? Overheating (I was wearing an Underarmour long sleeved tee)? I wrapped it up by slowly hobbling the last couple of miles. Then, about noon I went down for a 2 hour nap, was back in bed by 9 PM last night, and slept straight though until 6 this morning. My body is obviously trying to tell me something.
Today I'll be out for nine miles at race pace.Which reminds me, I need to revisit my current pace on the Garmin.....
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Honestly, the one thing that *does* have some of us concerned is the forecasted size of the storm. According to the forecast, as much as 8 inches of rain may fall next week. I realize for most of the country, 8 inches of rain is no big deal. Heck, south Florida can receive a quarter of that in an afternoon! But, we are just not capable of processing that amount of water out here. You need to keep in mind - the typical year's worth of rainfall here is around 14 inches. Here's what 4 inches of rain over three days did back in 2005:
If you look about 45 seconds into the video you see that the rescuers are laying across what looks like a divided trail? Well, those are the trails that a lot of us run on here! Of course - this isn't Mother Nature's fault. We're just not used to it, so we don't do things like realize that we *should* be sticking to higher ground.
The forecasters are saying rain is starting Sunday night. This time it must be for real. I went running last night (a quick and easy six miles) and got these pictures of the leading edge of the storm:
So, fellow Southern Californians - take it easy this week. If you are going to run in the rain, stay out of the flood channels (like the Los Angeles River, San Diego Creek, etc.). Stay off of the trails that run next to creeks. And take caution - just because it isn't raining where you are doesn't mean that the stream isn't channelling water from way upstream. That's water folks. Notice how it's sunny outside:
Friday, January 15, 2010
The plan is to do the same this afternoon. I'll take an easy 6 miles around the upper back bay - just get the miles in and enjoy the scenery. I need to because I'm hearing rumors of a wet next week - and you all know how this Californian reacts to bad weather!
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I'm feeling better today. Hopefully I'll get on the erg tonight.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Yesterday's workout was a 10 mile tempo run. One and a quarter mile warm up, 7 and a half miles in that "uncomfortable" pace zone, one and quarter mile warm down. I knocked out the middle 7 and a half in an 8:50 pace. I really faded in the last half mile as my cold took hold and turned me into the loogey man. A real ball buster workout. If the pain in my legs and lower body is any indication, then there were plenty of hydrogen ions released!
It used to be improvement was large and tangible. Distances that I hadn't hit before. Paces that were light years faster. These days, improvement is measured is much smaller increments. A lot of improvement these days are up in the brain, and not so much in my feet. Like last night - just the thought of hitting that distance at that pace had me higher than a kite. In fact, the brain was working so well that I had *nothing* left for my warm down. It was a struggle to bring that last mile in at 11:45. My point? Patience grasshopper (I know I'm aging myself with that saying). Not everything for us enthusiasts is measured in minutes and seconds.
I'm back on my ergometer (rowing machine) this evening. Looks like the workout is (drumroll).....
"Row for a total of 5000 meters at a sustainable intensity, varying your stroke rate as follows: row 1000 meters @ 25 spm, 1000 meters @ 22 spm, 1000 meters @ 25 spm, 1000 meters @ 28 spm, and 1000 meters @ 25 spm."
(Getting that sinking feeling...)
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
If sweat equity is any indication, this rowing workout was a winner. My shirt was wringable and I had sweat dripping - from my legs! The short bursts of power made this a perfect substitute for an interval workout on the track. In fact, I was just shy of 400 meters for every 1:40 that I was on. The biggest difference was the 20 second rest barely gave me time to catch my breath before I was off again. I was able to drive my heart rate up to between 80% and 85% of max. The final tally was 7.2 kilometers - just shy of 4.5 miles. And puddles on the garage floor.
Today's plan will be a 10 mile tempo run if my body permits. My throat is a little scratchy and my nose a little sniffly. All that after bragging to my wife last night how the Emergen-C had kept the colds at bay. Grrrrr.
Monday, January 11, 2010
This week is more of the same:
Monday: Erg 5 kms minimum. Stretching and core.
Tuesday: 10 mile tempo run.
Wednesday: Erg 5 kms minimum. Stretching and core.
Thursday: 6 mile aerobic run
Saturday: 12 mile long
Sunday: 9 mile pace run
Totals: 37 miles running, 6.2 rowing
Now to get caught up on all of your blogs. Have a great week!
Saturday, January 9, 2010
I was not going to let this run be like the previous week's run, so my fist stop was the local donut shop to grab some quick energy. What the heck, I was about to burn 3500 calories - what's wrong with a sweet sugar pill? I also had my fuel for the day packed away - two Hammer Gel packets with two Endurolytes attached and a Clif Luna Bar with two Endurolytes attached. I quaffed a couple of Endurolytes and was full of piss and vinegar as the group took off.
Stats - 9:05 per mile at 78% of MHR. This is well over a minute a mile faster than a year ago. I sure hope I'm not peaking 10 weeks early. One thing I can tell you - I really feel that running fewer days and miles and spending time cross training has left me feeling much fresher.
Sorry for the quick short post. I'm trying to get psyched up for my 20 miler this morning. I'm not going to repeat last weekend's debacle. Time for my apple fritter!
Friday, January 8, 2010
If you have never been in Northern San Diego County (North County as the locals call it), I would highly recommend it. It's country with gentle winding two lane roads through some spectacular scenery. There are a number of Indian Casinos in North County and I did the mini tour of four of them. For those who know the area, I started at Pechanga in Temecula (yeah okay - that's Riverside County), drove on Pechanga-Pala Road (not the freeway) to Harrah's Rincon, backtracked to Pala Casino, and then drove the 76 to Oceanside. About a hundred miles total. The weather was outstanding. The scenery was outstanding. Drove it with the top down and the stereo blaring! It was just what the doctor ordered.
Today it's back to the ungrind. It's petty amazing what just one day of relaxation can do. All you runners having trouble getting motivated - are you listening?
I'm back on the trail tonight for an easy four miler. Tomorrow will be the first of three 20 milers in preparation for the L.A. Marathon. Yikes!
Thursday, January 7, 2010
That is my big toenail. It has been hanging on since the Long Beach Marathon. My feet now *look* like they run. Thank goodness men don't wear open toed shoes..
On the workout front I was back on the ergometer last night. I was going to row a 30 minute steady state piece. I rowed a 5 minute warmup and then 20 of the 30 minutes before my arms turned to jello. I threw in the towel at 5.25 kms. Is my upper body really that weak? Ummm. Yeah. Sad to think I used to do 60 minute pieces a couple years ago. Oh well. Now I have something to work toward.
Speaking of erg workouts, if this is something that you are considering on a regular basis, I'd like to suggest a couple of resources for information on workouts:
- This web page on Concept2's website allows you to select a workout of the day. This is a good resource if you are looking to mix things up a little. A word of caution - you may end up with a pretty difficult workout. If you do, no problem, just click the "Workout of the Day" button again to get a different one
- There are a ton of good articles and information about training in general on Concept2's website here.
- If you're going to erg maybe three times a week (say you're injured or something), there are a couple of web pages on Concept2's United Kingdom website that lets you create your own training plan. For example, if you go here, you can create a training program (yes - they misspell it on their website) that is a sprint program -it would be like training for a 10K. Or, if you go here, you can create an 18 week weight loss program. Because this is the U.K., you'll need to convert your weight and weight loss goals to kilograms.
- There's also a great training guide here, albeit it's a pdf and not truly online.
Finally, if you're just looking to substitute a rowing session here and there instead of running:
- Intervals: Substitute a 500 meter row for every 400 on your schedule. Take a 2 minute active rest in between each interval
- Short runs: Substitute 30 minute steady state at a moderate effort (heart rate or effort) for every 3 to 4 miles on your schedule
- Long run: Just substitute the distance and pace. You will need to convert miles to kilometers, and pace to kms/hour
I hope these resources can provide some structure and guidance to make your rowing session a little more enjoyable. Yes. It's still an indoor machine. But, if the treadmills and ellipticals are crowded and the erg is sitting there all lonely, give it a try! And, if you are really hooked, make sure to visit Xeno Muller's website. You can purchase video podcasts that will turn any rowing workout into fun!
On tap tonight - an easy 4 miler. And no - I'm not sitting on that machine. I've got a big toe to break in.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
About that "10K Pace". I have been using some confusing terminology. Early on, I read somewhere that a "Tempo Run" was a run that was about an hour long run at a pace that approximated your 10K race pace. The rationale was that a properly run 10K was right at lactate threshold. So, what's this running farther than 10K at a "10K Pace"? After some plodding around on the Internet last night, think I found good definition from a reputable source: "Your Perfect Tempo". This article points out the real definition of a tempo run is a run done at a "comfortably hard" pace - one that is sustainable but where slowing down would be nice. That pretty much described last night's run! If you want to learn more about the almighty tempo run, read the article. It does a good job of describing why the tempo is such an effective training tool.
Finally, about that title - my 10K PR is 55:00. That breaks down to an 8:50 pace. Over 10K. Notice the average pace over the middle seven last night. I think it's time to look for a 10K around here. Preferably a flat one.....
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
A couple of you have expressed some interest in using a rowing machine. If you haven't used an ergometer before, I would highly suggest that you watch this video. I filched it from Concept2's website, the company that makes the rowing machine that you most often see in a gym. It's an excellent instructional video on proper rowing technique:
Do it right, and rowing is an excellent non-impact workout. Not only do you get the benefits of a great cardio workout (last night I hit heart rates over 160 bpm), but as you can see in the video, every large muscle group is engaged at some point during the rowing stroke. Thanks to my kids, I've had the pleasure of hanging around some athletes, and maybe with the exception of water polo players (what studs and studettes!), rowers have the best body definition of the group. No scrawny legs or t-rex arms on rowers! Do it wrong though, and just like running, injury will be chasing you out the door.
On tap tonight - 9 miles of tempo madness. I think that's 1 mile warm up, 7 miles at 10K pace, 1 mile warm down. Blech. I'm still sore from Sunday. Time to HTFU.
Monday, January 4, 2010
The weather this time of year in Southern California can be difficult to dress for. If it's 20 degrees outside, you can layer up for a run. But how do you dress when it's mid 40's to start and mid 70's by the time you're done? What I do is delay my start so that I don't have to worry about carrying discarded layers. So, I didn't make my way out the door until 10:30AM. The problem? No breakfast. I would find out later what a huge FAIL this would be.
On the plan was a 16 miler. It was an absolutely stunning day, so I decided to try a new route - a beach run:
I think a lot of other people had the same idea:
- Fuel fuel fuel. If the tank is empty at the start, it ain't getting full along the way! I should've had my apple fritter.
- Bad runs are as important to your training as good ones are. If nothing else, the bad runs will remind you of what you should be doing.
- You should be living in Southern California.
That wrapped up a short 29.5 mile week. Travel early in the week and my desire to keep my "I'm not using a hotel treadmill" streak alive, meant my running week became a three day week. Got my hill repeats in on Thursday though, so the week wasn't an entire loss.
On tap this week will be my new modified plan that I discussed yesterday:
- Monday: Ergometer! I'll grab the Concept2 workout of the day and pull the chain for a few kilometers. Stretching and core work.
- Tuesday: 9 mile tempo run. Yikes!
- Wednesday: Erg erg erg erg. Stretching and core work.
- Thursday: 4 mile GA run.
- Friday: Scheduled rest day
- Saturday: 20 miles. Note: grab apple fritter on my way to meet up with the group
- Sunday: 8 miles GA run
- Total planned: 10 kilometers on the rowing machine, 41 miles on the trails
Finally - anyone here follow Penny (@southbaygirl) over at Planet Ynnep Running? (If not, shame on you!) She lives on that hill over there. Did I say it was a spectacular day?
Sunday, January 3, 2010
First, some of you have told me I need to change the title of my blog. As much as I'd like to, I feel that I'm still a bit on the large side. Yes - I've managed to drop a lot of weight over the last two and a half years. As of today, I'm at 216 pounds. Yes - a far cry from the 260 I was at when I started this whole thing, but it's still 4 pounds more that I was at in October for the Long Beach Marathon. And at 5' 11", 216 is still too much to be carrying on my frame. So, here's goal #1:
- Drop 30 pounds and change the name of my blog by 12/31/2010
Love2Mags suggested something that is intriguing: 2010 in 2010. Mags - you had me thinking for a while. I mean really thinking. That one is almost too good to pass up. But, instead I really need to spend time working on some jiggly parts - core and abs. I can (a) spend time in the gym, or (b) spend time on my rowing machine. Ummm, (b) wins. I can combine some core and ab work with a great cardio workout. I'd like to row one to two days a week, and spend three to four days a week in my running shoes. So, goal #2 translates to:
- Run 1250 miles and row 500,000 meters (310 miles). That works out to an average of 25 miles run and 10 kilometers rowed per week.
I'll be reducing the days and miles run and starting up on the ergometer. Not quite sure what I'll be blogging about on rowing days. The color of the walls in my garage? Who knows. My son still has a Hudson single scull in the boathouse. Maybe I'll venture out on the water when it warms up.
I learned early on that training for a marathon and losing weight are mutually exclusive. Limiting caloric intake makes it tough to effectively train. So, the LA. Marathon will be my last this year. But, the weight loss should make for a little more quickness. In lieu of a marathon goal this year, goal #3 is:
- PR at 5K, 10K and Half Marathon distances
Once March passes, I'll start to race more and be more serious about shorter distances. Puke threshold? I guess I'll find out.
And finally, I really need to:
- KEEP IT FUN!!!!
I learned last year what happens if things start going sideways. This year I reserve the right to change up on the fly. If things becoming drudgery, I'll mix in some new stuff. Fresh = Fun.
So there you go. Keep me honest folks! I'm counting on it!
On the platter this morning: 16 miles. Uff.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
It's that time of year. Time to look back to see what went right and what didn't. This time last year, I set four goals:
- Build my base to 35 - 45 miles per week
- Put in 1500 miles during the year
- Run one marathon
- Keep it fun!
Time for accountability!
Build my base to 35-45 miles per week: FAIL. Actual weekly average was 29 miles per week. My inexperience showed when setting this goal. I didn't include things like marathon recovery, illness, etc. If I would have thought about it, to *average* 35 mpw means that I would need to run closer to 45 mpw during training. If I would have followed Pfitz to a tee for Long Beach, I may have had a chance. As it was, I only averaged 33 mpw during Marathon training! Ain't going to achieve my goal with that effort!
On the positive side, I did hit a couple of milestones. I put in two weeks over 50, 11 weeks over 35, and 30 weeks over 30 miles. Compared to last year (2008), my weekly mileage represents a 53% increase! Maybe that's why I'm a little faster now than back at the beginning of the year.
Put in 1500 miles during the year: YESSSSS! When I set this goal, I thought this would be a no brainer. After all, 35 miles per week for 50 weeks (yes - I did plan a couple weeks for vacation) is somewhere around 1750 miles. Plenty of cushion right? Well, maybe not so much. It took me to the last day of the year to get this done. On the positive side though, I found this goal kept me more motivated than any other over the last month of 2009. This was *definitely* the stretch goal.
Run one marathon: YESSSS! October 18, 2009 - Long Beach. Still get goosebumps thinking about it. I missed my time goal. I had to resort to a brisk walk at times the last six or seven miles. All those things that weren't supposed to happen. And it still provided a sense of accomplishment like very few other things have. How can so much go wrong but the end result still feel so right? Total. Positive. Experience.
Keep it fun: MEH. This goal I honestly have to give the waving hand to. It started out fun. Things were fun because I was so bad it wasn't hard to get better. Check it out - in the months of April, May and June, I set PRs at every distance. And not just by a few seconds:
- April 9; 25.24 5K PR (by 1:15) at the Costa Mesa Community Run
- June 6, 2009: 55:00 10K PR at the Wrigley River Run. And this was *after* stopping at the water station to talk to a friend. And walking during mile 4.
- May 3, 2009: 2:09:07 HM PR (by 9:52) at the Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon. This was the prime example of peaking at the right time
But after that, everything became an effort. The miles were big, the time commitment big, and the trails the same as I had been running for two years. Even though I PR'd at the Long Beach Marathon by half an hour, my inability to break 5 hours was a real downer. Every race after that was like a giant step backwards, culminating in the Shelter Island 5K that was 1:30 off my PR, and the Make Room for Santa 10K a full 1:30 slower than five months earlier. I let it get to me. Running became drudgery. It's easy to tell someone that they shouldn't be too critical of themselves - that it happens to everyone. Yeah - it's easy to tell someone. It's infinitely more difficult to put it into practice. It took the realization that if I dilly dallied any longer my 1500 mile goal was in jeopardy to get me out the door without force again.
In short - I learned a bunch of things this year. Some of it was about running. A lot of it was about myself. Face it - anyone can run. It took desire that I didn't know I had to keep plugging away. It took imagination and adaptability that I didn't know I had to make changes to my plans and techniques to keep moving forward. I guess it's not always as easy as just putting one foot in front of the other.
On tap tomorrow: goals for 2010.