Friday, February 27, 2009

Tempo Thursday - Again

Well - I'm back into a training cycle! I made it to this week's Scheduled Rest Day in decent enough shape. I'm physically tired (slept an extra hour this morning). If I include the days I trained at the back end of last week, I'm at 7 days in a row. I have a short "long" run on Saturday (9 miles this week), which will put me into triple digits for the month of February. This is the first month over 100 miles since last November. Now to just keep myself healthy so I can stay here!

Yesterday's run was an indication that things are close to being back to pre-injury/illness days. I went out the San Diego Creek Trail for a 45 minute tempo run. I break my tempo runs into a 10 minute warm up at heart rate below 85% MHR, a warm down in the same range, and the rest of the run at LT (between 85% and 93% MHR). I ended up doing 4.83 miles at an average pace of 9:18 (includes warm up and warm down), and all within the desire heart range. I felt pretty fatigued when I was done, but I'm not complaining. A couple of weeks ago I would have been sucking wind during the warm up!

There was one thing I caught myself doing during my run yesterday that I need to work on. I found that I tense up during a run. I felt like I was not bending my knees and actually shuffling along. I know that if I relax and let my legs take care of themselves, I will probably run more efficiently. I'm going to be watching that over the next few weeks training. In the meantime - good luck to all those racing this weekend!

And now for some fun stuff, Nikemom is having her T.G.I.F. Foto Friday again. This week there's a theme: "America's Next Top Runner". I submit for your approval:

This was taken last year at a local 10K/5K/Kid's run that benefits local schools. I have yet to see a photo as cute as this one!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Better Shot at "Recovery"

After Sunday's "recovery" run, I was wondering what Wednesday would have in store. Sunday was miserable. I found the entire run difficult - especially holding my heart rate down in the recovery range (less than 75% MHR). To do so, I found myself plodding along (literally) at an 11:40 pace. I was dreading yesterday if it was going to be another run like Sunday.

But it turned out to be much better. I ran an even (albeit slow) pace throughout. Yesterday's run was pretty effortless. I maintained an average heart rate of 133 bpm (72% MHR) at a 10:30 pace. It was just the boredom that was numbing. I've been looking for some variety in my routes, so yesterday ran one of my least favorite portions of the Newport Back Bay trail. Make a note - let's put this two mile out and back route low on the list of preferable routes.

On tap today - 45 minute tempo run. Think I'll head out the San Diego Creek trail and "enjoy" the afternoon headwind running back to the car!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Back to the Track

It's been ages since I've done intervals. In fact, looking back at my training log in SportTracks, the last time I hit the track was December 9th! Since then I've been fighting injuries (hip abductor/groin strain, a root canal caused by my bike accident several months ago, and my bout with spondylolesthesis), a nasty cold, and travel commitments. So it was with some trepidation that I laced up my shoes and made my way toward the oval. On the schedule was an 8 X 400 VO2Max workout. I usually do a 2 mile warm up, will do a 400 rest lap in between each interval, and do a 1 mile warm down. That would mean a total of 7 miles for this workout. I rev'ed up the iPod and started running round and round and round and....

The track at the local High School can be quite busy. Yesterday was a prime example. Bill Sumner, the Cross Country and Track coach at the High School, uses of the track for his Youth Track Club and for us Cal Coast runners. His Juniors were out when I started, and the older folks showed up by the time I was done. Add the local public, and it can be like rush hour on the track. I'm glad I had my Garmin, because I just stuck to the outside lanes and put in the miles. At least I didn't need to count laps and try to figure out how much over 400 meters I was running on each lap.

Oh - about the workout - I was surprised when I was done. I managed a little over a 10:00 pace (including all the warm ups, warm downs, rest laps, and bathroom break). Which isn't too bad considering how long it's been since I last did any VO2Max workouts. Speaking of VO2Max, I managed to spend about 8 minutes of yesterday's workout above 90% MHR, so I was able to spend a little time in VO2Max zone. Now I need to buckle down and get myself to the point where I am spending more time in the VO2Max zone on these workouts. Once I can get 12 to 15 minutes in VO2Max, I will start counting these as quality workouts. Until then, I'll chalk them up as getting back in shape!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Back to Four Mile Monday

Did my scheduled four miles yesterday. Goal of the workout was to keep it in the aerobic zone and to be a bit speedier than Sunday's recovery run. I was a little concerned before I started because I was physically pretty tired all day yesterday. I actually toyed with taking a nap around lunch time. I had to force myself out the door as the evening kept dragging on. Final stats - kept it at 79% MHR while upping the pace to a 9:38. Actually felt pretty good throughout the run. This morning I'm a lot less sore than I was after Sunday's short recovery run!

Not much else going on from a running perspective yesterday. I will be heading to the track tonight for some 400 yard intervals. The exact workout will be two mile warm up, 8 X 400 intervals at 5K pace with 400 rest, followed by a one mile warm down. That should total 7 miles. I'm sure I'll be dragging after this one!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Slow and Easy

I wrapped up the week yesterday with a four mile recovery run. A slow recovery run. Like, REALLY slow. Goal was to keep the heart rate below 75% of max. I think my body is pretty fatigued because to do that I had to drop my pace into the 11:40 range (I did maintain my heart rate at 74% of MHR). I checked my old data, and found that I normally run a slow four mile recovery run about a minute per mile faster.

I wrapped up last week at 26 miles. The coming week will be more challenging with the addition of some speed work:

Monday: 4 mile easy run
Tuesday: 2 mile warm up, 8x400 at 5K pace, 1 mile warm down
Wednesday: 4 mile recovery run
Thursday: 45 min tempo (10 min warm up, 25 min at tempo, 10 min warm down)
Friday: Scheduled rest
Saturday: 9 mile long run
Sunday: 4 mile recovery

This will put me at 32.5 miles. I'm looking forward to getting back on a structured schedule.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Twelve Mile "Workout" (Ugh)

As seemingly effortless as Friday's run was, yesterday's 12 mile long run was everything but. I seemed to be working hard every step of the way.

One of my near term goals is to break 2:00 in a half marathon. Based on my current 10K PR, I am almost there (McMillan estimates a 2:02 half). But based on my past performances (So Cal Half), I start having trouble about 9 to 10 miles in. So, the speed is there. I just need to be able to apply it for 2 hours.

With that in mind, I'm going to try to make sure that the majority of my miles are aerobic (heart rate less than 80% max) or less. That means that other than Tuesday and Thursday speed sessions, I'm going to try to keep my heart rate down, which naturally means that pace will be during training.

So yesterday, with this in mind, I tried to make sure that I stayed below 80% MHR. It seemed that I was working hard the entire time. I was continually slowing myself down to make sure that I kept my heart rate low. The minute I stopped paying attention to that target, my pace would naturally speed up, and my heart rate would increase. I 'm pretty sure this is good news, because it means that I am more comfortable running at a faster pace.

The worst part was that at about mile 8, my stomach started rumbling! Don't ask me why, but I was hungry! I hadn't put any gels or snacks in my fuel belt when I started, and I was now going to pay the price! I buckled down and tried to tough it out (as if I had a choice), but ended up bonking at mile 11. I brought the last mile in at a shuffle/walk, but I did finish. Average heart rate over the run - 79% MHR. Total time on the course - 2:18. This means that despite bonking and slowing down to stay aerobic, I was only three minutes slower that my other LSD runs!

I'll finish up this week with a four mile recovery run and some gym time this afternoon.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ramping it Up For Next Week

Not much to write about today. I put in six miles yesterday. Kept it nice and simple and on the easy side. I got to watch a beautiful sunset as I ran along the Lower Back Bay. Things seemed pretty effortless for a change. I slowed myself down several times to stay within the workout's target heart range. When I was done, things ended up better than I was thinking it would - average pace 10:02, average heart rate 147 bpm (79% MHR), which kept me in the middle of the aerobic zone. Based on the way I feel and the effort that I'm putting into workouts these days, that's right where I need to be.

I'm getting ready for my 12 miler around the bay today. This along with my four planned miles tomorrow will put me at 26 miles this week and on track to 32. 5 planned for next week. I'll also get run some intervals on Tuesday Track Day. Plus Tempo Thursday will be back in all it's glory!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Back Home - Time to Get Started Again

I'm writing today's entry while sitting on a plane on my way back to Orange County. I am brand loyal to United Airlines. The advantage is whenever I fly, I am automatically upgraded to economy plus (5 inches of extra leg room). The disadvantage is sometimes it's not always easy to get from point A to point B. Well, that was my week this week. Flying anywhere from my local airport (John Wayne Airport here in the OC - yes - we really do name airports after movie stars!) means that I pretty much have to fly through Chicago or Denver. So, on Tuesday I was in transit for 6 hours from OC to Chicago to Cleveland. My flight to Knoxville the next day took almost 7 hours to fly from Cleveland to Chicago to Knoxville, even though it's only about 500 miles from Cleveland to Knoxville. You get the idea. It means that I spent a lot of time in airplanes and the Red Carpet Club this week. It also means that I didn't get my hotels until after 11PM each night. So, no treadmill running. Boo hoo!

All that idle time though also meant that I was able to catch up on some of my reading. Right now, I'm about 200 pages into Bob Glover's The Competitive Runner's Handbook. The first part of the book (about 160 pages) is boring. If you've read a running book, then you've seen all of this stuff before. Glover spends a lot of time and a lot of words describing various types of workouts. He spends a lot of time discussing what the appropriate pace for each type of workout are based on your current fitness level (based on historical race performance). He spends some time presenting different training plans. Basically, it stuff that I have read elsewhere. And frankly, Pfitzinger does a better job describing the science behind this stuff in Advanced Marathoning.

But, then the book takes a decided turn for the better. Part IV begins the discussion of specific race training and strategies. So far I have read the first couple of chapters - the 5K and 10K. I'm not as interested in the 5K stuff, but right now 10K is probably my favorite distance. The book so is worth the strategy he lays out for the 10k. The one thing I have really been missing in my racing "career" is race day strategy. I go out and run. I start too fast and end up paying for it during the final mile of the race. I am looking forward to my 10K in a month to give Glover's strategy a try. I'll keep updating as I get further into the book.

Oh - and just in case you think that all I do is bash other areas of the U.S. because I'm from Southern California - I was in the Great Smoky Mountains yesterday. We sure don't have anything like that in California!

Now - back to running this afternoon

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Well, nothing about running in this post. I'm in my hotel room in Knoxville TN. The weather here is like back home. In the low 50's. Although the wind is blowing pretty hard.

I flew from Cleveland through Chicago today. It was in the upper 30's and pouring in Cleveland. It was in the 20's and snowing in Chicago! I had to actually walk outside to get to our plane at O'Hare this evening. Wow! I do not see how some of you Eastern folks can put up with it!

The thing that I just love about living in Southern California is I can travel around and experience the rest of the country. But I know that it's only temporary, and that eventually I can go back to a sane climate. Yeah - there are other things that are wrong with Southern California, but the weather isn't one of them!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nothing Spectacular

About yesterday's run. As planned, it was an easy four miles on the Lower Back Bay and then off to the gym for some stretching and light core work.

Final stats for the run - 4 miles with an average heart rate of 144 (78% MHR). Pace at that HR was a 9:38 mile. The only thing that I found myself doing was starting and stopping (actually speeding up and slowing down) often to catch my breath. I don't know if it was the cold (I know - relative term) or if I'm struggling aerobically, but it was a little annoying to feel like I had to catch my breath even though my heart rate was below 85% of max. I think what I need to do is concentrate more on the slow stuff right now to rebuild my base.

I am eager to get things back in motion. I feel like I've lost quite a bit of aerobic capacity over the past couple of months. Things that seemed pretty easy back in November seem a bit labored these days. I think that now that I'm back on a structured plan, I will start feeling improvement with consistent training.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I Needed My Recovery Run

Yesterday I had delusions of grandeur. I was a legend in my own mind. Maybe even megalomaniacal. My plan said four mile recovery run. Damn it! I knew I could put in six miles! About a mile and a half in, I realized I really did not want to run more miles today. Why? Because despite what I was trying to convince myself of, I was tired! My legs were slow and heavy. I felt like I was lumbering my way down the trail. So, at two miles, I turned around and headed back to the car. After all, fours miles *is* pretty close to six miles. Right?

When I got back and looked at the data, it wasn't as bad as it felt. Average pace was 10:31 (pretty consistent with other recovery runs) and my average heart rate was below 75% MHR. So, the first week of my new Half Marathon cycle finished up at 21.3 miles. I lost 10 miles due to my back (Monday and Tuesday), so I'm pretty much on schedule.

This week I'm travelling. Normally, I try to get workouts in at my hotel, but I'm travelling every evening starting tomorrow - getting into Cleveland at 9:30 PM tomorrow, Knoxville at midnight Wednesday, and back here to OC at 10:30 PM Thursday. So, I think my week will stack up this way:
  • Monday: 4 mile easy run, gym for stretching and core work
  • Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: Rest/travel
  • Friday: 6 mile easy run
  • Saturday: 12 mile long run
  • Sunday: 4 mile recovery run, gym for stretching and core work

This will put me at 26 this week - still a few miles less that I want to be at for a base, but considering I have to take 3 days off...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Long Run (Semi) Saturday

Yeah - semi long. On the schedule was a nine mile 3/1 run. In Higdon terminology, a 3/1 run is one where 3/4's of the run is at LSD pace (75% to 85% MHR), and the last quarter at target pace (in my case Half Marathon). So, this wasn't really a long run, but it was what was scheduled to wrap up week 1 in Higdon's Advanced Half Marathon plan (actually I do have a 4 mile recovery run today).

The run was decent. I felt strong the entire way. I ran the first 6.75 miles at a heart rate between 75% and 85% MHR. We were on the Lower Back bay trail, which meant that I was going to need to climb 'The Hill". I heeded the words of my doctor and pulled up to a walk as I headed up the hill back toward the start point. The walk contributed to an 11:26 pace for that mile, which put the kabosh on the goal of HM pace for 2.25 miles. But - my back is fine and pain free for the first time in several weeks!

On tap for today - 4 mile recovery run. I'll be back tomorrow morning!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tempo Thursday

Yup. Back to it. After Wednesday, I decided to step it up just a little and get a 40 minute tempo run in. This is the first workout other than a straight mileage run since late November. I put in a 10 minute warm up at a 9:24 pace, followed by 20 minutes at a 9:00 pace and a final 10 minute piece at a 9:40. It really didn't seem that fast. My average heart rate was 85% MHR, which means that I was probably pushing LT during the 20 minute piece. That makes for a successful workout in my book!

This week also kicked off my next Half Marathon training cycle. Right now I am planning to run a half on the weekend of May 3rd, 12 weeks away. I'm in the process of modifying my training plan to get rid of hill work in the first half of the plan. I will probably substitute intervals, exchanging speed for strength. This plan has me averaging 32 miles a week over the plan. I'll see what I can do to lengthen my non-race weeks to 40 mpw. At that point I think I'll be ready to transition into a marathon program when this one is done.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Four Miles and a Doctor's Visit

I've been off the running circuit for a couple of days. For the past few weeks (ever since my ski weekend) my back has been bothering me. I never had back problems before, so this is a new experience. Unfortunately, my wife is an expert at back problems (she has a couple of compressed discs that she deals with on a daily basis). So, she "convinced" me to see a doctor to make sure there is nothing serious going on.

I wanted to make sure I saw a Sports Medicine doctor. I've read horror stories about folks seeing their doctors and being told that the solution is quite simple - stop running. I someone who sensitive to why folks like us run. I visited a doctors that we've used for two of my kids for various sports injuries in high school. I made my way to his office for a series of xrays and an exam. I was hoping that he would be understanding about my desire to run. Little did I know that he is the Medical Director for the Surf City Marathon!

Well, the bottom line is I have a condition called spondylolisthesis. It's more a condition than an injury. The bottom line is my L5 vertebra is not aligned properly with the S1. The pain I am experiencing is being caused by inflammation of the L5 nerve. For now, my therapy is wet heat (i.e., jacuzzi) 20 minutes a day, ibuprofen (600 mg three times a day), and a new stretch added to my stretching repertoire. I do this for 7 to 10 days and we'll reassess. The best news is that I am cleared to train with two conditions - no hills (up or down) and nothing longer that 10 to 12 miles at a time.

So, armed with the diagnosis, my wife had no choice than to let me go out for my easy 4 miler late in the afternoon. Things went quite well. Kept my heart rate right at 75% MHR. It felt good to get out on the trails again.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chinatown Firecracker 10K Race Report

As races go, this one would score a big thumbs down. Not because it was difficult. Not because of the hills. Not because of pot holes, debris across the trails or the other things that the race organizers can't control. But for two reasons. First off, no mile markers. Other than the Start/Finish line there weren't any on the course. No halfway marker. No one mile to go. Nothing. Top it off with water stations without cups. This race will not go on the top of my list.

If I do this one again, maybe I'll just show up for the opening and the exhibits and pass on the actual run. Opening ceremonies were second to *NONE*. I don't care what you think, but a 1,000 running Elvi can't hold a flame to a hundred thousand firecrackers and a lion dance to bring in Year 4707, the Year of the Ox.

The after race exposition was also good with plenty of water, fruit and bagels. There were also vendors galore giving away everything from cans of Coca Cola Zero, various recovery and sports drinks, Starbucks, etc., etc. And the scenery. From Elysian Park the views to Downtown L.A. and Hollywood were to die for!

Oh - and the last bad thing - my performance. Yech. 1:01:55. It's been over a year since I last took more than an hour to run a 10K. But a number of things conspired against me this weekend (yeah right - not my fault!). I got to the start line, fired up the Garmin and got the dreaded "Batteries are low" warning. I think the warning should have read "Ha ha! Your batteries are dead!" I've never really practiced racing by feel, so I wasn't sure whether I could have pushed harder at the beginning or not. Then came the hills. Two and a half miles and a 700 foot elevation gain kind of hills. Nonstop up and up. I didn't want to blow up in a 10K, so I slowed my pace as I headed up. How slow I had no idea. Sure would have been nice to have the Garmin.

With all the recent rains, the scenery was spectacular. The race took off up Broadway to Elysian Park Drive, where we really started climbing. But, the hills were green, the air crisp and clean, and the skies were blue. A great day for running! We continued climbing to Elysian Point. From there the views of Downtown were great!

At this point, our 3 and a half mile downhill began. We headed on down (at points very gingerly dodging potholes, running water, puddles, and sand washed across the road) and back into Chinatown for the finish. I had to actually pull up a couple of times because the hills were so steep (downhill) that my back started screaming in pain as I pounded the pavement. I was disappointed seeing the clock, but knew that I had given it all I had on this day.

Once the race was done, I was on my next hunt. Breakfast! My back was hurting so I wasn't in the mood to walk down from Chinatown to Olvera Street, so I climbed in the car and drove to El Tepeyac in Boyle Heights (East L.A.). This restaurant has been around for about 50 years now. If you didn't know about it, you would not think to stop here for food. The outside is not spectacular, and the insides are about 1000 square feet of old kitchen tables and a counter. But it is an institution in Los Angeles. Their specialty are burritos, with the flagship being Manuel's Special, so large that it takes two 12 inch flour tortillas to create it. In fact, El Tepeyac is going to be featured on the Travel Channel's Man v. Food program. The episode is supposed to be aired on February 18th.

But, I was on a search for menudo. El Tepeyac's is not the best I've ever had, but it is still pretty darn good!

If you are interested, more photos and video are at my Flickr site here:

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Unscheduled Rest Day

Well, it was cold and wet outside!

Yes. I took a day off. On tap was a recovery run, which while I know is important, is not exactly the most motivating type of run to do. So, link that with cold wet weather and the need for a haircut (for my son as well), and you can guess what happened to the run. So it looks like this week will only be a 26 miles of 30. The four miles isn't really going to make or break me. Plus, did I say it was cold and wet outside?

Tomorrow is my 10K. I am a little apprehensive because my back pain flared up today. My last couple of weeks are the first time that I've felt like I've been able to put together a meaningful streak of miles. But those miles are not specific to a 10K. So, I'm hoping that I'm able to put something together that's at least respectable.

I am especially looking forward to post race. I may have mentioned before that I am a native Los Angeleno. Born and raised here. One of the things that comes with living that long in L.A. is a taste for Mexican food. And on a Sunday morning that means Menudo! (No - not Ricky Martin). Now that I'm down south in Orange County (about 40 miles away), I don't get a chance to grab the great Mexican food I grew up with. So after my race tomorrow I will have a decision to make - La Noche Buena or El Tepeyac. Stay tuned!

Friday, February 6, 2009

I'm a True Californian!

So yesterday I decided to head out and try to get my run in before the skies opened up. I pulled up in my car and got out to get things going. It was 55 degrees, windy and raining. So I did what any other sane Southern Californian would do - headed to the gym and put in six miles on a treadmill! Honestly Easterners and Midwesterners (Jean, Adventure Seeker, Addicted to Pavement, Beach Runner and others), I don't know how you do it. Maybe it's different because you can bundle up and stay dry, but I am honestly in awe. I couldn't handle 55 degrees and a little rain. By the way, what's that little tick mark ("-") you all put in front of the temperature?

As far as the run - pretty easy since it was all inside. I cranked the incline up to a one, and put in 6.1 miles in one hour at an average heart rate of 78% MHR. I was dressed to stay warm outside, not to run inside so ended up a sweaty mess, but I got the miles in.

Oh - I missed yesterday's blog post. I was installing a new development environment on my computer and it was pretty much tied up all morning. Wednesday's run was 4 recovery miles, which I whipped out at 73% MHR. Nothing else Earth shattering about that run.

On tap today is another 4 mile recovery run, followed by a rest day on Saturday.

Finally, Adventure Seeker is having Foto Friday. So, I thought I would post one of me here to join in the fun!

Here's me at the Southern California Half Marathon a month ago:

Here's one of the places I get to run:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Six More Miles Underfoot

Sigh. Something is finally going right. Yesterday's plan was six easy miles. I wanted to keep my heart rate around 80% MHR. I wasn't sure whether I was going to be able to pull it off. My back was *killing* me. In fact, I was having trouble lifting my left leg to climb in my car. I decided that I would avoid as much hill running as possible and head out the San Diego Creek trail. I would have a couple or three underpasses to negotiate, but I wouldn't have to face any long (meaning quarter mile or more) inclines/declines.

I started out gingerly. But, just like Monday, within a few hundred yards everything was comfortable. I checked my heart rate - low in my Garmin range 3. Next thing I know, the miles started melting away. It didn't seem like long and I was at my turnaround point! I grabbed a drink at the water fountain at the turn around, and took off back to my car. I started to run at a comfortable pace on the way back. Next thing I know, I'm running an easy 8:30 pace! Wow! No pain! Within a few minutes of course, I was up above 85% MHR, so I had to force myself to slow down. In fact, at many points on my way back I had to force myself to slow down to keep my heart rate in my training range. This as all good! The stats - 6.22 miles, average pace 9:52 (after forcing myself to slow down and taking some walking breaks so my heart rate would drop), average heart rate 81% MHR.

I was concerned about the Chinatown Firecracker 10K that I have scheduled this Sunday, but after yesterday's run, maybe there is hope! On tap today - four more miles at recovery pace. Then I think I'll hit a 6 miler like yesterday's on Thursday, a 4 mile recovery on Friday and rest on Saturday.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Crane has Arrived

And it's hoisting the train back on the tracks (no wise cracks about needing a crane here!). The goal yesterday was an easy four mile run. I got out a little after 5PM and whipped out 4 miles in less than 40 minutes with average heart rate at 80% MHR. It felt good to get a decent workout in!

It's also nice that the days are getting longer. It wasn't too long ago a run starting at 5PM would have had me in full lights and reflective gear. Last night I wrapped up and got back to my car right as dusk. I made my way over to the gym, got my stretching and part of my core workout in. My big problem now are some lower back spasms. My back actually feels pretty good during and after my runs. Yesterday it was even okay going downhill as long as I didn't try to move laterally. Later in the evening though it started flaring up again. I'm going to take some ibuprofen today to see if that helps.

Finally - I got some new reading material yesterday! Got my copy of "The Competitive Runner's Handbook" by Bob Glover. I've heard lots of great things about this book! I can't wait to dig in!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Four Miles of Recovery

For those of you who don't want to believe that slower is better, I'm the proof today! If you recall, I've been mentioning some soreness that I've had in my back for the last couple weeks. It was starting to be a nuisance - hurt to sit, hurt to lay down, hurt to bend, hurt to move laterally. About the only time it didn't hurt was while running! How do people with back spasms handle it?

So, I was a little hesitant to head out for my run yesterday afternoon. I decided to do the San Diego Creek trail because it has the least elevation gain/loss of my normal running routes. Since Saturday was my long run, yesterday's run was at Recovery Pace, with average heart rate at 65% to 75% MHR. I stepped pretty gingerly at the outset, but by the time a few hundred yards had passed, I felt pretty good. I settled into a pace that kept my heart rate within range and finished the run. I managed a 4.3 mile run at an average heart rate of 73% MHR. And felt good the whole way. I finished up the week with 30.4 miles at an average pace of 10:55. Not too bad.

Now for the best part - my back pain has started to subside! I am feeling much more comfortable this morning. Maybe I was pushing too hard all this time?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Around the Bay - I'm Coming Back!

Went out yesterday for my first double digit run since the Southern California Half back on January 10th. Before that, it had been December 7th since a long run! I am hoping my string of injuries and illnesses are done and that I can get back to putting some miles in. The good news is despite my lack of miles and the holidays, I have managed to keep my weight in check.

Yesterday's run was a 12 miler around the Newport Back Bay. My pace is a little off - 11:37 (duh), but I managed to average a heart rate of 80% MHR, with a max of 158 bpm (85% MHR). And once I got back to the car and got a Clif Bar and a Gatorade in me, I felt pretty good!

My next physical challenge is this sore back I've been nursing since my ski weekend. I did something to the muscles in my lower back, and it's not getting better. My first couple of steps are gingery, but once I get going everything seems to be fine. Running feels fine with one exception - downhills. The pounding going downhill is a little uncomfortable, and I am finding that I need to hold back a little whenever I'm coming downhill. This is going to be an issue this weekend at the Firecracker 10K in Chinatown - especially since the run is four miles of downhill. I am hoping that my workouts over the next week will help to strengthen things. Maybe I'll take my wife's recommendation and try some Motrin this week.

On tap today - four mile recovery pace. This will put me at 30 miles this week. I'm coming back!