Friday, January 28, 2011

Week 4 - 9,680 (38,930)

22 - 0' - Flat 8 miles - see previous post.
23 - 0'-5 miles flat with a 20 minute Tempo thrown in the middle. *
24 - 0' - 3 miles flat.
25 - 2,530' - up/down on Shut-In and Hard Times.
26 - 3,800' - up only on treadmill (119, 133, 139, 142, 142, 145) **
27 - 1,900' - up/down on Shut-In.
28 - 1,450' - up/down on Shut -In with 3 x .5/440'. ***

This was a pretty good week, especially mixing it up a little with some flat stuff. The really good news is that there's no problem getting in the 9,000'-10,000' of vert per week with a quality flat run thrown in there. Starting to feel a little fitness come back. Most of my runs are done at a pretty moderate effort and I feel it starting to come back around.

* = Used a car to figure out a 5 mile block route (in Florida), then programmed my MP3 player with a handful of songs that totaled about 20 minutes. After a casual warm up I started the music and ran hard until it was over, then jogged very easy the rest of the block and back to the house. There are lots of fun/creative ways to train without a watch.

** = Some interesting HR stuff here compared to the exact same run done last week. HR started much lower the first 2 miles this week, but by the middle and end it was pretty much the same as where it was last week. I'm thinking of increasing the speed by a 10th of a mph for each of the last 3 miles next time I do this.

*** = Had a lot of fun this morning doing a few hill intervals. This half mile climb averages about a 17% grade. The first 1/4 mile gains 250' for a 19% average and the 2nd quarter mile gains 190' for an average of 14%.

Side Note : The treadmill can be a little boring especially being on it for 86 minutes. It's a big help having the music as well as the HRM. A benefit of the treadmill that I hadn't realized before is being able to practice lowering my HR while at the same speed and incline. I'll look down at my HR and see it at 141 with an average for that mile at 139. My competitive nature, with about 3-4 minutes left in that mile, will be to make sure the average does not jump up to 140. I'll try and relax as much as possible and will see my HR drop 2-3 beats just from concentrating on that. Pretty cool.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

HR Comparison Up vs. Flat

Matt got me thinking a little about the effort I run at on the treadmill at 12% grade. I thought that a nice flat run with time, distance and HRM data would be a fun experiment. The MP3 player was a nice addition to a flat run on sidewalks without much to look at this morning. I must say though, not having to run on boring, flat, breathing car farts all the time doesn't make it so bad when it necessary once in a while. It's kind of a nice break from the usual and I had fun with the music and data.
After a 2 mile warm up with Tima (who wanted nothing to do with a leashed run on a sidewalk) 20 minutes and average HR of 118, I dropped Tima off at the house and got right into a 5 miler with an average HR of 141 and a time of 40:53. Before the run I thought that my 12% grade at 4.2 mph would translate to about an 8:00 flat pace, so it was pretty close. Felt pretty good, but it wasn't difficult for me to notice my body is more efficient running up, than flat at the same HR.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Week 3 - 11,850' (29,250')

15 - 1,000' up/down on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
16 - 1,850' up/down on a mix of trails - lotsa snow.
17 - 1,900' up only on the treadmill.
18 - 1,400 up/down on Shut In. *
19 - 3,800' up only on treadmill.(129,138,139,140,141,145) **
20 - 1,900' up/down on Shut In. ***
21 - 0' **** (3 miles flat)

I was suprised how strong I felt this week and decided to go with it a little as well as do a some experimenting and comfirming some numbers on my perceived efforts.
* = Wore a HR monitor on this up/down run keeping my HR the same for the up and the down. I wanted to see 2 things here 1) How fast I need to run downhill to keep the same moderate HR as when I'm going up and 2) Note the difference in time between the ascent and descent. Results - Although my HR jumped around alot, especially coming down I did manage to see an average of 140 for the ascent and descent. I ran 39:31 up and 26:37 down.
** = My staple treadmill run is 3 miles at 12% grade mostly to just get in some quick/easy vert. I decided to go for 4 miles on this one and also wear a HRM to see what was going on. The 3 @ 12% feels like a very even effort so I wanted to see if that was what the HRM thought as well. This run was going so well I decided to do a 5th, then a 6th mile without much of an effort change. I do think that a 7th mile would have started to show some bigger differences though.
*** = Planned on doing my staple 1,400' run this morning, but again felt strong so I did an extra rep on a .65/500' hill that averages about 15%.
**** = Heading to Florida this afternoon and will be there F-M. This will be a great opportunity to do some faster flat stuff with a little more turnover and stride length.

Side Note - Received a MP3 player for my birthday and love it. Tried it on the trail for the first time today and as much as I enjoyed listening to the music I felt very unaware of what was around me. I kept turning my head and looking around all over. I quickly realized how much I use my ears out on the trails to have a constant awareness of what's going on around me. I wouldn't say I'm paranoid, but I certainly feel alot safer having all 5 of my senses working togather while I'm out on the trail. The MP3 player will be a great listen for the treadmill.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Gnarly, snow-filled descents

I am easily the worst downhill runner around. I do whatever I can to avoid the downs and when I do them it's often done at an easy and cautious jog at the same pace as the ascent. But when there's enough snow covering the rocks and roots creating a soft, fluffy ground I'm like a kid going as fast as possible and completely out of control without a worry in the world. The last mile of the ascent portion of my run today and the first mile of the descent had 600' of elevation change. After trudging up this final push I immediately turned around and took off. I must've went from 42 to 22 in about a minute. Nothing like a gnarly, snow-filled descent to take 20 years off my age! Tima cought the same wave of energy and took off like a puppy. She was GoneManGone nearly going hips over head more than once. Funny how a little snow can take my least favoriute part of mountain running and turn it into the best part.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Week 2 = 9,100' (17,400')

Woke up this morning to a big fat goose egg - it was 0 degrees F. I was hoping for a -1, to be just Left of the Dial - one of my favorite bands. I used to wear a Replacements t-shirt underneath my shirt during soccer matches.

This was a tough week not being able to be stimulated during the runs. Late Sunday night/early Monday morning we got dumped on, our 3rd snow storm in a month. Between all the snow early in the week and then the partial melt/refreeze sequence roads have been pretty bad and the kids have not had school all week. We've been having a great time, but had we known we'd have a week off of school we would have planned a trip to visit family in Florida. My Grandfather turns 95 in a few weeks so we'll be heading down there for a Birthday Party next weekend.

8 - 1,550' up/down on Shut-In
9 - 1,550' up/down on Shut-In
10 - 1,900' up only on Treadmill
11 - 1,200' up only on Treadmill
12 - 850' around neighborhood *
13 - 1,200' up only on Treadmill
14 - 850' around neighborhood *
* = I have a hill in my neighborhood that is an 85' climb on both sides. One side is .2 miles and the other side is .4 miles. I did a series of up and overs on this hill - was only a little more enjoyable than the treadmill.

My Grandfather and the fish he caught a few months ago off my Uncle's (his son) dock on the inter-coastal.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Week 1 - 8,300'

Most of the trails I'll be running the next few months I've already recorded data like, vertical and distance so I feel no need to wear a watch on most of these runs. I'll wear one if I don't know the total vertical, but will not be timing any of these runs. Instead, I'd like to try and notice some sort of change from start to finish, like the note (*) in todays run. After all, time is just a man-made tool to measure change anyway.

1 - 900' - up/down on Shut-In
2 - 900' - up/down on Shut-In.
3 - 900' - up/down on Shut-In.
4 - 900' - up/down on Shut-In.
5 - 1,400' - up/down on Shut-In.
6 - 1,900' - Treadmill - 24 miles @ 1.5% - Just kidding GZ - 3 miles @ 12%.
7 - 1,400' - up/down on Shut-In. - * Light dusting of snow at trailhead when I started, but had melted by the time I finished.
First lesson learned for 2011 - Starring contests and pretzels don't mix.
Kayle, our 4 year old daughter, and I were having a starring contest while eating some pretzel sticks with our faces no more than 8-10 inches apart. In an attempt to make Kayle blink I opened my mouth to show her my chewed up pretzels. She burst out laughing which sent her mouthful of chewy, wet pretzels straight into my face . I think I lost twice at there.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Since the racing itch still doesn't seem to flare up like it used to and the thirst for balance has me deaf in one ear I've decided to go for the half million this year. I had a load of fun doing the 150,000' in 100 days and thought a longer, more balanced approach for a full year challenge could have huge benefits. When I decided to do the 150,000' last June I was confident in having the ability to be able to physically put in the vertical. The big challenge was going to be fitting it in with the crazy schedule I had. For this 500,000' I have the opposite situation, I will not be dealing with all the logistics of travelling and should be able to keep a very balanced approach throughout the year, but am wondering how difficult this will be physically. I am starting this year at a low point in fitness. I was very sick for 4-5 weeks in Nov/Dec and have just started running again about 2 weeks ago. I like this situation though, I think this way I can see a balanced build, hopefully peak during the summer, then enjoy the Fall with some relaxing runs in a state of some nice fitness. This would all be ideal and a much more balanced way than gettng out and trying to do 1,370'/day or 9,590'/week. Although there seems to be great balance in numbers that way, it creates a lack of balance in my life. Balance takes creativity and adjustments. Watch a kid balancing, hopping from one rock to another. Observe how the arms are out and the adjustments made each time she/he leans too far in one direction. That's balance! A goal of 1,370'/day is just plain drudgery. My plan is to let the 500,000' come to me, never forcing the numbers. Sure, I will put myself on trails/routes that help me get to 500,000, but I don't see myself going out for a 5,000' run just so I can be at 250,000' on July 1st ;-)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

As Per Spective

I have a hard time comprehending big numbers. Like 7,000,000,000 - this is what the worlds population is or is very close to being right now. To better understand some of these large numbers I break them down into smaller number with almost real life circumstances. To better understand what 7,000,000,000 is I attempted to figure out how long it would take me to count to 7,000,000,000 - I came up with 111 years. This helps me understand a little more what this number actually means.

I did the same with some of the 2010 totals that were posted by a few guys. GZ and Nick both ran 4,100 miles this year. That would be like running from San Diego to NY, then NY to Miami. Nick also did 655,850' of vertical which would be like doing the PPM course 84 times in 1 year. It's also 125 miles of vertical. Picture yourself in an airplane at cruising altitude about 6 miles up, that's pretty high, right? Well, now picture that at 21 times higher, that's the total vertical Nick ran this year.

Then there's Tony who ran 6,285 miles and did 1,108,100' of vertical this calender year. His milage alone would have taken him from Seattle to Miami and then back to Seattle. His vertical would have been like going from sea-level to the top of Everest 37 times, or the PPM course 141 times. It's also 210 miles of vertical, the International Space Station orbits between 173-286 miles above the earth. It's that fact that puts Tony's vertical in perspective for me!

For me, this year, I'll be trying to keep a better balance so I can keep things in perspective for myself. I'm hoping to make the most out of the 52 weekends I have with my family as well as the 365 mornings and nights I have with my kids. My goal is to be there every morning for my kids this year. Well, unless they are with the grandparents giving Maureen and I a little alone time!