Monday, February 28, 2011

Nice little TT for comparison

After a good 8 week build, averaging 15,280' of vert per week the last 4 weeks, I decided to look a little less at vert this week and do some faster running on rolling terrain that allows for much faster running. I went back to one of my favorite out/back trails this morning, a trail that I used to run alot a year ago. Today would be an Easy run out and a Tempo on the way back. There's 675' of climbing on the way out and 625' of climbing on the way back. When I had done this in the past an easy out effort would be about 49/50 minutes and a hard effort coming back would be 44/45 minutes, with my best being 44 flat. Going back through my blog I noticed I had my fastest time ever on this out/back almost exactly a year ago 2/27/10, 47:43/44:17 = 1:32:00. Today I'd be happy with 50 going out and 45/46 coming back. It took me a bit to get going this morning and even told myself I'd bag the Tempo coming back if I didn't feel better by the turn around. Within the first 30 minutes I'd see my HR was in the mid 130's going up some of the bumps and I was breathing like it was in the mid 150's. I thought for sure that this was not the day to be testing myself. Of course, what's been the usual the past few weeks was the usual again today, I was finally warmed up after about 35-40 minutes. Did the out portion in 48:32, well under 50:00 with an average HR of 128. Once I got moving on the back Tempo I started feeling really good and went 41:22 with an average HR of 146!! WTF's up with that? That's a good 2:30 faster than anything I've done on that trail before for a total time of 1:29:55. Needless to say I'm quite happy with where I'm at right now.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Week 8 - 15,915' (100,050')

50 - 1,750' - up/down on Bad Fork and Shut-In.
51 - 2,530' - up only on treadmill.
52 - 1,750' - up/down on Shut-In with a Power Ladder. *
53 - 2,150' - up/down on Bear Hollow Rd and a side road that was .9 / 650'.
54 - 1,900' - up/down on Shut-In.
55 - 1,400' - up/down on Shut-In.
56 - 4,435' - up only on treadmill @ 6%/6.2mph - (129,37,38,39,41,43,42,42,42,43,48,51.) **
I felt a strength this week that I have not felt in a very long time. I purposely held back a little bit on days 54/55 so I would have a better idea of where I stand on my Friday TT (treadmill test). Perhaps the strength has come from my new compression shorts that have been making me a little leaner and sleeker. Sort of comando-like.

* = Headed out on this day looking to go for about 80-90 minutes pretty moderate. Right away though I noticed a bounce in my step that I hadn't felt in quite a while. After about 45 minutes and still feeling great I decided this would be a good day to work on a little power. So I went to my favorite .5/440' hill where I could go all out on the ups and walk downhill for the recovery and not run out of hill. So I went :10,:20,:30,:40,:50,:60,:60,:50,:40,:30,:20,:10. I did the whole ladder in 16 minutes which is 7:00 of all out and 9:00 of recovery. Total vert on the reps was 550'.

** - After last weeks 12 miles at 6%/6mph I knew I had to step it up a little. I did not want to use the term too easy last week without uping the pace first to know for sure, so I'll say it now - Last week's TT was too easy. After a 1 mile w/u at 12% I got right into the task at hand. Making the jump from last weeks 6mph to this weeks 6.2 mph is a :20 difference in pace. I figured this was going to be tough and expected that 9-10 miles would be where I was at. Instead the 6 mile section, miles 5-10, went perfect with no change in HR or PE. I took this as a sign that another mile should be done. A little spike in effort on that mile, but not enough to stop, so a 12th mile was decided on to be the last. Another spike in HR and PE, but I was just where I wanted to be. My goal is to take this Friday TT to 15 miles @ 6%/6.2mph over the next 5 weeks and feel comfortable through the whole run.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Thanks McTim!!

Last week with a little bit-o-luck and EST on my side I won a pair of McDavid Arm Sleeves from McDavid's top Ultra Runner Tim Long. They arrived yesterday afternoon - perfect timing as I was able to try them out in ideal weather conditions - a 20 degree warm up in about an hour on this morning's run. As things warmed up I just rolled them down and let them be at my wrist for a while. I was running on a trail that weaved in and out of all sides of a small mountain and temps would easily change 10-15 degrees in 5-10 minutes depending on which side I was on. When it got cold I just rolled them back up my arm. Eventually the temp and myself warmed up enough to where they weren't needed anymore. They are very easy to put on and take off and can fold up to fit easily into a small pocket on the side of my shorts. I felt like I was able to stay warm when needed with an accessory that fit into the palm of my hand. I've always wanted to experiment with arm sleeves and after one time I can see how very often these will be used. Thanks Tim and McDavid!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Week 7 - 15,165' (84,135')

I can see why they call them the Blue Ridge Mountains.
43 - 1,000' up/down on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
44 - 2,000' up/down on Shut-In.
45 - 2,100' up/down on Shut-In to Sleepy Gap.
46 - 2,650' up/down on Shut-In (1,400'), then some up only on treadmill (1,250') *
47 - 2,215' up only on treadmill. **
48 - 1,400' up/down on Greybeard Trail.
49 - 3,800' up only on treadmill 6%/6mph. (119,131,133,133,133,135,134,136,137,137,141,144) ***
Another big week for me, my 3rd in a row now. Perhaps I shouldn't call these big weeks anymore if I'm feeling very capable of this. Was right around the 10:00 mark for time on feet and still feeling strong. Still not seeing any signs to pull back yet, so I'll keep doing what I'm doing.
* = Was feeling really good on the climbs on this run, but very weak on the descents. So I eased way up on the way back down the trail and went home to get a little more up only on the mill since every other part of me felt strong. What happened today led to a very important discovery in my training that I will talk about in the Side Note.
** = After a nice, easy and steep warm up I did 1h/1e for :30/3 miles at 6% with the hards being at 8mph and the easy at 4mph. I felt very controlled and thought that I may have picked the right speeds for the workout today because the max and min HR's for each 2 minutes were staying very much the same. The last rep my HR started at 129, then maxed at 157 at the end, then after the 1 minute recover at 6%/4mph it was back down to 129. Just for fun I decided to remember my 1 minute recovery from the last rep in :15 second increments - 157,153,147,138,129.
*** = Had every intention of doing 10-10.5 miles at 6%/6mph today. As a matter of fact, the first 15:00 were so bad that I must have said to my self 100 times during that 15:00 that I wouldn't run more than 30:00-40:00 today. After 30:00 though I started feeling good and after 40:00 I was into quite a nice rhythm. Then for the next hour my HR and PE hardly budged so I thought this would be a good time to go for the full 2 hours, something I hadn't planned on doing for another 4-5 weeks. Looking back at the 10 miles I did like this 2 weeks ago I noticed my HR being the same at miles 11&12 this week as it was for miles 9&10 2 weeks ago. Legs felt great and are very comfortable at 6 mph. It may be time to increase the speed of this run with the idea of building from 90-120 minutes again.
Side Note - I believe I discovered, perhaps, the most important run I do every week. During Tuesday's run (day46) the down hills were just tearing me up, my feet and ankles felt brittle, but every thing else felt strong. I looked back at the prior weeks and noticed that on Monday or Tuesday I always hit the mill for an easy up only run. The past 2 weeks I was out on the trails on Monday and Tuesday adding more downhill miles to my body, which caused the weak, brittle feeling I had Tuesday. I carry alot of mass. If the East Africans call this guy a fatty, then they would think I'm a contestant on The Biggest Loser. Anyway, it's very important for me to do less downhill vert than up vert simply because of the added stress it puts on my body. The mill can get a little boring, but I've learned how necessay it is for me to recover from the descents on the trail.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday School Ninja Bear

Since we've had quite a few snow days this winter the schools have decided to do a make up day today. Riley doesn't seem to mind and it's perfectly fine with me. Some of the snow days this year turned into some great afternoon weather giving us the opportunity to have some good outdoor time.
During one of the snow days I was out for a run when all of a sudden this bear came roaring out of it's cave and then did some ninja moves on me as I tried to get by. Luckily I had my camera ready to capture this ninja bear in action.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Week 6 - 15,530' (68,970')

36 - 1,900' - up/down on a mix of trails.
37 - 1,000' - up/down on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
38 - 2,380' - up/down on SI/HT/BRPW.
39 - 2,070' - up/down on SI/BRPW. *
40 - 2,850' - up only on treadmill @ 6mph/6%. **
41 - 2,530 - up only on treadmill.
42 - 2,800' - up/down on Shut-In with a 27:00 Tempo of 1,100'/200'. ***
Another solid week for me. I'd say I was in the area of 10 hours of running with no problems. Last Friday I had expected this week to be more of a recovery week and that's just how it started out. But, mid week I started feeling really good after 20-30 minutes of easy running so I extended a few of my runs and ended up with a week that would have been big for me anytime in the last 15 years. It was last year around this time that I learned that starting to feel good 30 minutes into a run is a good sign that my fitness is coming along. I expect this coming week to be more of a step back for some recovery, but I'll take the same approach and go with what it is.

* = Ran nice and easy on Shut-In for about 90 minutes, then jumped off the trail onto the Parkway and did 10 x :30 at about 6%-8% grade with a 1 minute easy jog between.

** = This treadmill run at 6mph/6% is sort of becoming a measuring stick for me. I'd like to keep this going once a week and have it be a comfortable 2 hour run by the end of March. This week was 90 minutes and last week was 100 minutes. Both were comfortable, but I know at 2 hours that would not be the case. I think I'll add 5 minutes a week to this run and by the end of March it should be a comfy 2 hour climb.
*** = This was a great way to end a big week. I had decided that if I felt good after an hour of easy running I'd throw in a Tempo run with some good climbing. I might make this a weekly challenge as well since this Tempo Course starts off with a 450' climb, then rolls with about 150' of up/down, then finishes with a 500' climb. I like how it's a big mix of grades and I need to concentrate on an even effort. I have alot of work to do on even effort though. I felt great on the first climb, then was moving at a good clip during the light rolling section feeling very controlled, but as soon as I hit the last climb it didn't feel like a Tempo effort anymore, I was just surviving. Perhaps I should have gone back to the song I was listening to during the first climb. It'll be a challenge learning an even effort on this section.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Week 5 - 14,510' (53,440')

29 - 2,350' - up/down on a mix of trails.
30 - 1,200' - up/down on Blue Ridge Parkway.
31 - 1900' - up/down on Shut-In.
32 - 2,530' - up only on treadmill.
33 - 2160' - up/down on Shut-In. 1h/1e x 10. *
34 - 1,200' - up/down on Blue Ridge Parkway. 3 mile test (137), then 7 x :30 strides. **
35 - 3,170' - up only on treadmill 6%/6mph. (132,136,137,137,140,139,140,141,143) ***
Big week for me getting in alot of vert as well as some quality. Very happy with what I discovered this week.
* = Did 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy for 20 minutes on grades between 12%-20% as well as some easy running before and after the reps.

** = There's a great section of the Parkway that's closed most of the winter and I took advantage of the first 3 miles of that section today which is a very even incline of about 300' per mile, about 5.7% grade. I decided I'd keep as close to a 10:00 pace as possible and see what kind of HR data I get -137 average. Then turned around and jogged back down for a few uphill strides.

*** = I wanted to extend a bit on what I did yesterday and get an idea of where I'm at. I really like the 6% grade after doing alot of 10%-20% the past month. I did notice the 10:00 pace right away, though. I've been doing alot of 14:00-20:00 paces over the steep stuff and it took a good 2 miles of this run to feel comfortable at the 10:00 pace. I'm very happy with the HR data, the fact that it stayed steady and just inched up each mile. The low HR is not as low as it might appear. My max is only about 170 and 150 would be getting into some good work. I can also say that my legs were more tired than my heart today - probably because of hitting a pace I really haven't worked with lately going uphill.
Side Note - Rick walks into a bar. Before him are 2 beautiful widgets, both of which he desires quite alot, but one just slightly more. One of the widgets is a sure thing while the other requires a little luck to get in to. Although Rick would be quite happy to get into either widget, the one that requires a little luck seems to be drawing him a little more, like the way any beautiful widget would motion with just the index finger. Perhaps it's the unknown that makes this widget slightly more desirable? The widget that's a sure thing would be quite an adventure and a true test of stamina and longevity. How long could Rick go before the shoulders drop forward and the back begins to slouch? Would there be enough oxygen in the blood to provide energy to the most necessary muscles that the widget would demand?
The choice to drop my name in the hat for the slightly more desirable widget would eliminate all chances of the sure thing. When Rick was in his 20's he would have chosen the sure thing, in his 30's, he'd had tried his luck looking to get into the widget with the intriguing eyes. What will he do in his 40's? Perhaps be patient and realize the widgets are sticking around for a few drinks, a decision does not need to be made at this very moment. But, the sure thing won't be closing the bar, there are quite a few people out there who'd love to get into this widget.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

High Altitude Living Chamber

Comes complete with 3 sleeping chambers at 8,500' of elevation, a loft, kitchen, dining room and great room.
Pikes Peak is your backyard playground.
This training facility is for sale or rent.