Monday, March 31, 2008

Snowed in...

The snow fall in the higher elevations left us doing our weekend runs in town. I live at about 450 feet and snow was falling off and on all day Friday. We normally like to do our hill repeats on the Gorton Creek trail in the gorge but that trail is definitely under a blanket of white. Instead we used Saltzman road in Forest Park. The total length of the road is 2.9 miles and climbs about 1000 feet so not too steep but it would do the job. Kris, Stacey and I all had 2X30-35 minutes at AT on an incline after a nice warm-up and .5 miles at M-Pace. Darin decided to join making our group 4. As we were heading down the road chatting in our Black Saturday outfits we ran into Caroline, Liz and Kamm all dressed in their Black Saturday shirts doing hill repeats too! That was really cool. It was an intimidating group all dressed in black looking very strong and focused. Although we appeared intimidating in our minds the other folks out walking dogs and running didn't seem to act scared. :) Hmmmm, six woman running down the road, dressed alike and screaming happy things to each other would be scary to my husband.....maybe that's why we lost Darin for awhile..........any whooo.

When we arrived at the bottom of hill, turned and headed up Kris was out like a rocket. Darin gave giggle as she shot up the hill. Since I have seen this before I just said, "Go get her"! This would be the first time I have had hill repeats long enough in duration to get me all the way to the top....I hoped. I settled in and watched my heart rate climb steadily as my legs got in the groove. Within about 4 minutes I had settled into threshold at about 171 beats. I can go as high as 174 but no lower than 171. I moderated it off and on as I reached my familiar landmarks at 1.3 miles and 1.9 miles. I seemed to be about 1 minute ahead of schedule from my past times so this could be a strong day. A day when I see the fruits of my labor as they say. Motivated, I reached my last familiar marker at 25 minutes and I knew I was close the top. I arrived at the gate in 28 minutes! This is great for me. We all ate gel and drank liquids then sprinted off down the hill. Since the incline is not really steep and it's a gravel road the downhill can actually be RUN! As we descended Kris confessed she reached the top in 25 minutes and ran out of road. We said, "No worries, you can just go down farther onto the paved road". She replies with a sly voice, "You guys always have an answer, don't ya". Laugh, laugh, laugh but she's right. When we got to the bottom Stacey and I just stopped at the gate as Kris continued on the road, walking down it like a lost puppy. We waved her further yelling, "Go at least 2 minutes down to get 5 up"! She was walking very sloooowwww, looking back as we continued waving her down. She clearly didn't want to go as Stacey yells, "It's lonely at the top.....keep going". I said, "You can try to catch me"! She replied with a determined, "Don't think I won't". We turn and head up for number 2. Within about 1 minute here comes speed demon Kris! I yelled as she passed, " need to go down farther"! The second repeat seemed easier. I reached my landmarks about 30 seconds faster than the first that is something for me to get very excited about. At the top I was 1 whole minute faster! Great day of training.

Sunday was supposed to be 5 hours in the gorge and Stacey and I had plan. At about 3 p.m. in the afternoon the sky's opened once more dumping pounds of hail on Portland then after that lots of rain and snow mix. Ring, ring, ring goes my phone and it's Stacey in her car laughing so loud I could barely make out what she was saying. No way were we going to get out to the gorge on Sunday. If it's near freezing in Portland and there is any precipitation that means snow in the mountains! We figured we would be spending all day dealing with a lot of ice. The snow wouldn't be so bad but the icy rocks would be slow going. We decided to use Forest Park for our 25+ mile run and use the fire lanes for hill work. I came up with a 26.88 mile route that I thought we could do under 5 hours so the plan was in motion. It was freezing in the morning and off and on snow but at least it wasn't raining. We headed out for the first 12.5 miles up and over the highest point and back to the car for a re-fuel. The trail was the sloppiest I have seen it in a long time......isn't it almost April?????? We worked hard on the 12.5 miles and climbed nearly 2000 feet on very tired legs. We got back to the car, switched some clothes, picked up more fuel and as the sun peeked through we were off for the last miles. This next section would be the muddiest of all leaving our feet sinking about 4 inches in soft stinky slop. We are generally very accustomed to running in water and mud in the PNW but this late in the season the mud is supposed to b a thing of past.....well not this year. Our legs twisted and turned as we pushed the pace leaving already tired legs beat! The last hour of the run was an ultra moment. A time when you are just spent but you can't give in to the notion of being done because there are more miles to travel. We had one more fire lane to conquer then 2 miles of mud back to the car. We continued to fuel but instead of being very focused we became rummy and everything was funny when nothing was really funny??? It became one of those times when your muscles sort of feel like mush but the contraction needs to be there so when your running you have to remind yourself to flex into the landing not peg leg through. A time when you're not sure if your legs are alive and will hold your body as you move slowly but think you're sprinting. We were both having a true ultra moment. Ahhhhh, the car was in sight and we have no energy to even change our muddy boots or take a picture of the mud fest. We just climbed in and talked about ice baths!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Let the sun shine in.....'s snowing in Portland! Isn't is supposed to be spring? All the pretty blooms on the trees are flying away as the snow and freezing rain hits them like bricks. This means the gorge is for sure getting covered again instead of melting like it's supposed to making it tough for us to do hill repeats on our usual routes. I guess this could be a good thing, forcing us to be creative and establish some new territory but I would like to get on some familiar training routes.

Spring break is almost over and Alex is hoping for snow days. :) Bill and I headed to sin city for 3 lovely days of eating, drinking, gambling, staying up way to late and taking in the Elton John Red Piano show. It was a blast to hang out in 80+ degrees and do nothing but have fun. Of course what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas but we found we are much to old to get very crazy. We had to come home to detox! Although we were in full, "do whatever we wanted" mode we did make it to the gym one day. We ran and lifted weights but the other days we did nothing but walk a hundred miles. :) We left last Saturday night right after my long run in the gorge where we rocked the trails cutting about 20 minutes off our previous time on the same route. I think the gang is getting their trail legs back and it felt great. So I had no quilt going to Vegas and completely slacking.
This week I had to do a track workout consisting of 2X1000 and 1X1200 meters so I could get avg. heart rate for every 200 meters. There is a reason for this! Scott is going to have me try something new which will simulate the track sessions but on an incline. I think this will be extremely challenging. Since the track sessions are at max or over threshold I will need to simulate that same work load on an incline. Since I won't have any markers like the track we will use heart rate to drive the workout. So........I need to find a hill that is super steep, a knee knocker and run up it like I would run on the track. The total interval time will be somewhere around 5 minutes and definitely not more. At each time interval, like 45 seconds my heart rate needs to match what I did on the track. As I was doing this I was thinking, "Oh my this will be challenging". It's definitely a strength workout for both the muscle and the cardio systems. Driving uphill at near max will most likely feel like I am pulling a truck. But......if I can do this I think I will achieve a new perspective of hills. In addition, it will most likely move my perspective of a hill repeat workout. Here were my numbers. As you would expect my avg. heart rate climbed getting higher after each repeat. The 4:04, 4:00, and the 4:44 were my total times for 1000, 1000 and 1200 meters. Those number are 2 VDOTs higher than what I should have been doing.

Thursday was a tempo workout but no threshold just M-Pace running. My M-Pace is 7:48 and so is Stacey's. We met for the run which was nice because the weather was so crummy and cold I am sure I would have doing mental battles to get my butt out the door. Since Stacey was coming I had no excuses and when we got ready for the tempo portion which was supposed to be 6-7 miles worth we both said, "It's 7". I tailed Stacey most of the time as I watched her surge and slow for 7 miles.....I think she needs a higher VDOT, ha, ha, ha. I felt my Wednesday night leg workout with Mark but was able to get my numbers and better. I kept reminding myself of the lesson I supposedly learned during my OC training.......FASTER IS NOT BETTER! Here are my results. I was happy to get these paces but also disappointed that I couldn't control my workload for this run or my track run. This is so difficult for me. The track workout was way to fast but my tempo was only moderately over pace.
This weekend is my first official back to back that includes hill repeats. Tomorrow is 2X30-35 minutes at AT on an incline and the total run will be 2.5 hours. Sunday is 5 hours in the gorge....Yeah! We are going to try to stay on some of the lower trails to avoid a ton of snow travel....we may be doing some out and backs by the looks of things. I hope everyone is having a great spring break and rocks this weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Smokin fast or smokin something...

This is a recovery week but as usual still contains some good quality workouts. Tuesday was my first trip back to the track since OC100K training. I only had to squeak out 8X200 meters each in 44 faster! Kris joined me and it was great to have company. We did the first 3 together and I was hitting numbers like 44, 43, 42, 44 and my heart rate was getting near 177. That is just about perfect for me. Kris on the other hand was barely breathing hard and when she said she could talk to me during the sprint I called her a sandbagger. She decided to push it a bit and she saw numbers like 38, 36 and even a 34, very nice! I was able to easily maintain my sub 44 and my body felt good. I was actually surprised at the amount of spring in my step after Chuckanut 50K. I seem to have bounced back nicely, maybe it was the 2 days of 5000+ calories post race that sped up my recovery. Tuesday evening was a shakedown run while Alex practiced Baseball and again I felt strong.

I have to confess that I have been a big slacker in the gym when it comes to legs! I haven't done a really good leg workout in a very long time. So long I can't remember when. Why????......well truthfully it's because I haven't been able to perform the exercises without killing my legs so much my runs suffer and because I seem to get my hip in an uproar every time. My lack of understanding on how to perform the exercises properly is costing me. I decided I needed some help and a real education on how to become "one" with my leg muscles and their weakness. Mark agreed to take me through a comprehensive leg workout that he swears will make me very strong but won't jeopardize my running. So.....last night I met with him for 1.5 hours and he worked every single muscle below my waist in every angle. He showed me proper form and corrected me constantly. Muscles were shaking and firing that I didn't even know I had. My range of motion was horrible on my squats so we worked on that. I have some really bad habits! He also taught me how to breath correctly while performing the exercise. I was worked when I left! Given that I had a tempo run today I was anxious to see if I would pop out of bed or need to launch myself onto my feet. Surprisingly I felt good! Taking full advantage of my lack of soreness I did my tempo first thing this morning just in case I get hit later with rigamortis.

This was my first flat tempo run in over a month if you don't count Champoeg 10K. I had a 15 minute warm up, then 15 minutes in 3A or 8:48 pace, then .5 miles at M-Pace which is 7:48, then 20-25 minutes at 7:16 pace. The 3A and M-Pace portions were awesome and I felt like I was on fire! The AT portion at 7:16 was tough! I felt really strong but my leg turnover seemed slow and my heart rate climbed to 176. I just toughed it out and pushed as hard as I could. When it was all said and done I felt great, a real peaceful excitement to be back in control of my body. Leona Divide 50M will be my next event and I want to do well so I will be setting a lofty goal for that race. Anyone out there who has run the race and could give an idea for a goal I would be grateful to hear from.

Now for an update on my "practice" my yoga practice that is. I have been doing Yin Yoga and for those who know anything about Yin know that it's long sustained stretches geared mainly for the hips. Not a lot of places teach it around here so I have a couple of DVD's that are great and very convenient. The DVD I purchased has 3 really long practices and 6 shorter ones. Yin is supposed to be a cooling of the body vs. Yong that creates heat. Since most of this makes me roll my eyes Kris told me I am turning my Yin practice into a Yong practice.....ha, ha, ha. Just what you would expect from a type A personality, fidget, get irritated, roll the eyes and basically act impatient. I try to relax into the long poses but it's hard and hurts. Alex likes to cross his legs, sit in front of me and pretend he's the guy on the DVD giving instructions in a very meditative state. Then when the 3-5 minute pose is done he can help me get out the of pose! Good stuff for my tight hips and legs but I am still not drawing any chi from the earth like it promises. :) I guess that will take time too!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Chuckanut Mountain 50K

We got lucky on race day in Bellingham, WA. When we arrived at the start on Saturday morning it was raining consistently. Deciding how many layers to wear and how many pairs of gloves to put in my drop bag was the biggest concern I had. I knew this would be a strong and consistent run but just how fast or slow I wasn’t sure. I set a goal for 5:42 because last year I ran 5:45 and had a great race with no prior events like OC100K on my legs. Though training for OC100K gave me better leg turnover my ability to maneuver up and down on trails was for sure compromised. Even though the training should translate I was sure my trail speed was down based on the few training runs we have done in the gorge.

Decked out in our “Black Saturday” shirts Steve, Micheal, Kris, Trisha and I were ready for whatever the day brought. We were already having so much fun that the relentless rain couldn’t dim our smiles. As we began lining up the rain slowed. After Krissy gave us the “Go” the rain stopped and we were treated to a dry Chuckanut. I have run this race two other times in pouring rain. The runners were all fast on the 6.3 miles out to aid station 1. This is nothing new for this course since the first and last 6 miles are on rolling bike path which is all runnable. I ran the 6.3 mile in a comfortable 53 minutes. I felt like I was running steady and not overdoing it. With a quick crew from Darin I was on my way to the first climbing portion of the race. Last year I did really well on the climbs running almost everything except the “Chinscraper” on the backside. I was anxious to see what I would be able to run today. As we leave the aid station our first bit of climbing is done on single track with nice switchbacks. Last year I ran all of this but this year it was a different story. I was forced to run/walk most this climb because my legs and glutes lacked the endurance and strength. Towards the end of this section is some of funnest down hill running on the course! It's generally always muddy, somewhat steep and curvy but a total blast to barrell down. If you grew up on skis this is fun! I arrived at aid station 2 slower than last year. The section is 4.2 miles and I was 5 minutes slower….ouch! I was working hard but could only go as fast as my legs would allow. After aid station 2 we continue to climb for another 2.9 miles but instead of single track trail it is a perfectly graded gravel road. The pitch is totally runnable if you are in shape for it and last year I busted up this road running the whole thing. This year I was able to run about 60% but broke up the running with 10 steps of walking when it made sense. To my surprise I was 1 minute faster implementing this approach? My glutes seemed to be my biggest demon of the day as they were already very fatigued at mile 13.4.

(photo by: Glen Tachiyama)

At aid station 3 I caught up with Kris who had just arrived and was rummaging through her drop bag. We left together to run the ridge trail. This section is long and takes almost 2 hours to complete for my fitness. Right after leaving we ran along the high cliffy ridge on a very technical trail with large smooth slippery rocks. It rolls along but the ups and downs are quick but steep. With the slippery rocks navigation and footing are important or you will be sliding down on your bum and it’s not soft! Kris and I rocked this section but when a tree split the trail I chose the right side and Kris took the left beating me around and busted so far ahead I couldn’t catch her. I watched her take on the downhill like a was exciting to see her having so much fun on her 3rd 50K. She was strong and determined as was I but she out played me and I never saw her again. After descending down the ridge we are dumped onto and old creek bed or jeep road. It’s hard to tell which it was or is now but the mud was abundant. With a slight upward grade this section can be nagging and take a lot of focus and determination to run. I tried to stay on task and propel myself to the last big climb up “Little Chinscraper” named after the famous climb at Wasatch 100M. Since I have run Wasatch 3 times I am very familiar with the real “Chinscraper” so I know what’s coming. Fortunately Chuckanuts version is shorter and not as steep as the real deal but it’s a knee knocker for sure. Since my climbing skill is weak right now I was expecting to dog this hill but I was surprised to find myself right on the heals of other runners. I was still slow on this section compared to last year but only by 2 minutes. At this point I determined my hiking skills are pretty (photo by: Glen Tachiyama) good it's the uphill running that will need some attention. Once at the top (aid station 4) I gave Darin one of my handhelds, filled another with water, grabbed gels, dropped my hat, drank a Red Bull and got pumped for the last 10 miles. This next section is mine! I love these 3.6 miles downhill and I ran it fast last year but this year I knew I could beat my 7:24 pace. I also had 3 girls on my tail and if I wanted to shake them this was my only chance. I needed to gap them now because I knew I didn’t have any gapping talents in me for the last 6.5 miles. I busted down this section in 26 minutes or 7:14 pace passing runners like they were standing still. This was about the best running I did all day. I could feel my quads talking to me but, “Hey”…..I only had 6.5 miles of rolling stuff to the finish. I didn’t need to stop at aid station 5 and I didn’t want to give anyone I passed the opportunity to get me back easy. I knew how hard these 6.5 miles of rolling bike path was on tired legs. Last year I did it at an 8:54 pace which is fast for me so how would I do this year? After leaving the aid station I took a quick glance to see who was creeping up on me and none were woman but there were 3 men hot on my heals. I cranked up my music, shot another gel and tried to focus on a short but swift stride. With tied up hips, whipped quads and non-existent glutes my turnover was slow but seemed fast. I tried to keep my arms moving to force my legs to move which helped a lot. Within about 10 minutes I was passed by 2 guys I creamed on the downhill but I held everyone else off with my sub 10 minute mile finish. Arriving at the last turn heading for the finish line I glance at my watch and see 5:45 but by the time I crossed the line it was 5:46 or an 11:09 overall pace. Micheal was waiting at the finish for me but Kris was already dressed as she came running out of the building screaming with excitement. Huge hugs for all of us to each other, very warm feelings on job well done. It was so cool. Kris finished in 5:38:??, Micheal in 5:39:?? so we were all so close to each other. Steve finished in 6:14 and Trisha battled hard for her first every 50K in 7:55.

I was pleased with my race. I felt strong and healthy but my time reflects my trail fitness at this point. Scott believes that the road will translate and for many I am sure it does. For me it comes down to a lack of trail running strength. I am a super efficient road runner, a good climber and a strong down hill runner. I lack efficiency on the rollers. I need practice, practice and more practice to be good at that. Chuckanut Mountain 50K is a great race to determine your ultra fitness early in the season. The current course offers it all, rollers, long and short climbs, long descents, flats, single track, gravel road and technical trail. By the time you’re finished you will know your strengths and weaknesses. It’s perfect timing to get training plans in order for long spring and summer ultras. Yesterday I learned that my single track running needs work along with my long steady climbing and my ability run run rollers isn't great. I felt pretty good about the technical stuff and the flats. My glutes will be getting a workout in the future because they lacked the strength and endurance necessary for serious trail running. Another wonderful thing about Chuckanut is the reunion of runners. A ton of friends were there and it was great fun to hang out, talk and getting post race massages. What a great road trip! Seeing Trisha complete her first Ultra race on such a tough course was just the icing on the cake.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

There will be an answer....

Let it be, let it be! You must download that song onto your IPOD.

This is the motto I am adopting for my current fitness level. Yes, I am in good shape but I have big ideas for myself. When all I ever want is more time and the months to slow I find myself begging for speedier results. Very conflicting huh? That's why I downloaded the song "Let it be". Last nights American Idol Brooke White sang the McCartney tune behind the piano and I had downloaded it just hours before her performance.....crazy! I thought she rocked so I will have to download her version too.

After my 10K on Saturday Micheal, Steve and I headed to the gorge for a 3:45 run. I needed to do 40 minutes of AT work so I chose the climb to Angels Rest for that portion of the workout. I wanted to see how long it would take me to reach the summit. My legs felt the 10K but after about an hour of running we started up Angels Rest. I worked hard but was limited by legs not my cardio. My glutes were simply tired! It took me just over 37 minutes to get up there. Micheal said we summited in around 36 at the tail end of one of our 8 hour runs. Wow, those were speedier days! Steve beat me to the top with his very fast power hike and I wanted to kill him! He likes to sleep during his 100M races so he practiced his best sleeping pose on a nearby log. I haven't combed through my archives yet to see if Micheal's 36 minute summit is true but I believe him. After 3 hours of running I was pooped and my legs were very tired. On Monday my left quad was actually sore from the 4,400 feet of climbing and descending. It was good to feel soreness in my quads, it's been along time!

This week is Chuckanut Mountain 50K but since I am training through the race that means no taper and business as usual. Monday Trisha and I did Hot Yoga and it was just what my tight body needed. The heat did not impact either of us. It was nice to step into a 105 degree room for 90 minutes of challenging poses and pretty much tackle it with ease. Our endurance training definitely came in handy. During the class I became one with all my tightness. :) Tonight Alex joined me for a Yin Yoga class and showed off his 11 year old flexibility even calling me, "sad".

I did a steep strides workout with Kris on Tuesday. I ate her dust every repeat. She was able to get quite a bit farther than I each time and I actually think she got stronger with each repeat. Kris is a powerhouse for sure and it was really evident on Tuesday as I watched her spring up Firelane 1 with great control and speed. I felt like I was pretty speedy but it was slow motion next to my DFF. Tuesday evening was a shake down run while Alex practiced baseball. I am really enjoying the evening runs because They are truly slowwwwwww.

Tomorrow is hill repeats, legs and an evening run. Friday we drive to Chuckanut, do a shake down run, eat then I will be off to sleep. I am going to try to run Chuckanut in sub 5:42. I think this is doable but definitely a stretch goal. After Chucky I will do a few more flat tempos utilizing VDOT numbers which Scott lowered today based on my 10K time. I was using VDOT 48 and he moved to 47 or 46 depending on how my track workout goes in a couple of weeks.

On the nutrition side of things I have been doing well but can't crack the 14% range for body fat. I think I can get to 13.?????% but it will take time and as long as my lean muscle mass continues to climb and not decline I am satisfied. Still loving the energy and recovery the good nutrition provides. A few chocolate or cookie craving here and there but nothing over the top or that lasts for days. It will be interesting to see how my plan changes when late April bring those long back to backs. The quantity of nutrients will again increase and it will be interesting to see how Mark designs a program to ensure I can eat it all. I see lots of liquid in my future. :)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

A little road...a little trail!

What a week! We have been sooooo busy with basketball every night due to the end of season tournament. Now baseball season starts and our first practice was Friday on top of just other regular life stuff. By Thursday I was wondering how you super moms and dads do it? For all of you that have more than one I am thoroughly impressed because it takes an army to get everything done.

Thank goodness for a new month! The Sundermeier clan has been riddled with every virus and bug out there and for most of February this house was more like an infirmary than a home. I was happy to turn my calendar to March with a new found respect for health and wellness.

My workout schedule is heating up again and I am feeling more energy and excitement. My body feels like it’s coming back from OC100K. This last week I started doubles. Both Tuesday and Thursday I have an evening recovery run. Since Tuesday is either track or steep strides followed by legs the evening run is intended to help me rebound faster so I can hit it hard again on Thursday. For the month of March my Thursday's are almost all hill repeats at threshold with the longest workout being 2+ hours with 2X35 minute repeats. On the last week of March I have a flat tempo instead of hills. The Thursday evening run serves the same purpose as Tuesday’s…..aid in the recovery process in order to go at on the weekends. Along with doubles I have bigger back to back runs with hill repeats again on Saturday. Sunday’s are longer sessions and less intensity but when I compared March this year from the same time last year I noticed even more intensity on Sunday’s. Last year I might have had 15-20 of AT work during a Sunday run but this year I am seeing 25 minute sessions and sometimes more than one. That will be a tall order I think?

I love the steep strides workout on Tuesday and feel my knee drive is returning. This week’s session was much easier than last weeks as my body adapts to the new motion. I have a few aches and stiffness talking to me in my hips and even a bit of twinge in my knee but they are nothing to get excited about, more like adapting twinges vs. injury twinges. I do have my foam roller and massage ball living right smack in the middle of my walkway so there is no way I will flake out on using them.

I have always had a love-hate relationship with hill repeats and nothing has changed. I still find myself in an anxious apprehensive mood as I drive to the trail head. I never feel like I know exactly what’s going to happen that day except I do know there will be pain and agony involved. If you are doing the workout properly there is simply no way to avoid the pain and agony but hopefully the workout will yield a warm pleasant feeling when it’s all said and done. The goal is to work the threshold line, the point at which your body stops using oxygen and goes anaerobic. The purpose is to push that line, not over and not far under. The ultimate benefit is to push that line out a bit farther making all your zones more efficient and you a faster runner with less output. As you can see if you are doing “hill repeats at AT” there is just no way to go home without suffering. The best hill repeats are ones where you reach the top at the same time for each repeat. If you can’t maintain the time, you’re going too fast thus beyond AT…..not good. There is nothing sweeter than reaching the top both times in the same split with the same heart rate but faster than the week before….now that is progress! So far my repeats are not exactly the same for each and my efficiency on the hills is weak but I am close. I am so impatient and have such high expectations that I have to remind myself to be more at peace with process and let my body adapt. I expect myself to be right back where I left off last season if not better when in reality that’s not going to happen. All of this creates frustration, anger and behavior that would make a 3 year old seem mature. The only difference is I am almost 41 and I know to throw my tantrums in private! Any who… Thursdays are becoming more of a mental challenge vs. a physical one.

I have been hitting weight room like a gym rat! I have also started forcing myself to do yoga on Wednesday's, we will see how long this will last. I simply can't stand the talk track used my most yoga instuctors. For me is too airy and lacks substance but I know the movement is good for me. As long as I can focus on the moves and block out the mind control I should be fine. I really need the scheduled stretching so this will be my vise until I feel like I need ear plugs. Hmmmmmmm. now that's an idea, ear plugs. I think I might try it. Yesterday (Fri.) I got my upper body crushed. My abs are toast as well. Going to the bathroom poses a bit of challenge due to the need to bend at the waist so I am using my arms as aid but they are not that reliable right now. After the workout my arms were so spent I couldn't use the pen to sign my name for payment so I hope Sean gets his money. :)

Today I ran the Champoeg 10K which is part of a 30K race out in my OC100K training ground. I wanted to see where I was at now for a VDOT. I honestly thought I could run it in 44 minutes but I got 45:04 or 7:16 pace. I was maxed out with a HR at 176 most of the run. My legs felt pretty good and strong but that was as fast as they would go. It was fun to be back to my OC training ground with my quarter mile markers still in place I felt like I had a secret weapon. I think my hidden markers were the reason I was able to win 1st girl masters, second overall and the neat plaque above...ha, ha, ha. Darin and I drove out to run while Trisha, Leah, Cole, Alex and Hagen (dog) cheered us on. Darin’s training is in full swing for Boston and he had a very speedy time! The Beast was running the 30K and as we were driving out I got to pace him in my car and get a few shots. He was modeling his new Hagg Lake shirt and if I might say Beast, it looks great on you. :) He pretended to be pain but I know this was just a warm up run for him.

Tomorrow is Gorge again…..yeah! Since I raced the 10K at above threshold I only have 40-45 minutes of threshold to do tomorrow. Micheal, Steve and I are all heading to Angels Rest again and I plan to do my threshold up Angels Rest to see how fast I can climb to the top. It will definitely be under 40 minutes but how far under…..maybe 37 minutes????? I am curious! The total run tomorrow will be 3:45. I am excited to continue practicing my downhill running and this route is perfect for that.

Chuckanut 50K next weekend! This race will be part of training so no taper. I will still do hill repeats on Thurs. then go at it. I hope I can do the same time I did last year since I had such a good race and really felt like it was a fast time for me. That will be my goal! We have a huge group traveling down for the run and I am looking forward to a fun filled road trip!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Big girl running......

Before the afternoon snow showers in the gorge we got in 2:45 hours of running and climbing over 3,200 feet. It was nice be back on technical hilly terrain but my street legs struggled after about 1.5 hours of serious running. Tom was already out warming up when the rest of the gang arrived. For many of us it’s been months since our tender feet have felt the love of gorge trails. With the immense amount of snow this winter all our routes are touched if not covered with snow but Angels Rest was clear and so was the traverse over to the Larch Mountain trail. This was a perfect trip for my less than 3 hour run. Micheal, Kris, Stacey, Steve, Tom and I were all ready to get going and when we crossed the street for our 1,600 foot climb Tom was off like a rocket reaching to top in near record speed. The rest of us worked the climb but saved ourselves for the threshold hill portion to come at the end of the run. Even though Tom blazed the ascent he still showed no signs of slowing as he tore the technical downhills. All of us were commenting, wondering when his terror would end. Snow levels were around 2000 feet on Saturday but no precipitation was expected before noon. On the back side of the traverse we ran into our first small snow field but it was short lived.

My workout consisted of 3A and 3B for the first half then 2X10-15 minutes of AT work on hills with a 3 minute rest in between, pound the downs. The climb to Angles summit was uneventful and relatively easy. The traverse to Larch Mountain trail was fine but once we hit the switchbacks down I was a fumbling klutz! My feet were so out of place, my quads were quivering and I felt like a beginner. It seemed like yesterday we were on this trail cruising a lightening speed like we owned the place. Saturday I was a beginner but a really happy one.

Once we hit the Larch junction we turned and started the 2X10-15 minute threshold work. My HR needed to read 171-174 and I worked to get my legs to power my cardio again feeling like a beginner. The trail itself provided an almost perfect break for the 3 minute cool down. The switchbacks up to Angels traverse came at just the right time for the next 15 minutes. I love this section of the trail and I love switchbacks! The threshold was very hard and my legs felt spent but I managed to finish it just in time for the first snow flakes. The falling snow was beautiful but we all chanted, “Thanks for the pretty sight but please don’t stick”! The last 35 minutes of the workout was all downhill approximately 2000 feet of descent on good technical but blazing trail. I was pooped! My quads were spent and I pranced down that last 2.2 miles like Paris Hilton’s dog in a dress, prissy and ridiculous, it was embarrassing. When I was done I was completely satisfied and thought I my legs would be talking to me the next day for our 1.5 hour recovery run.

Since this is hill season we started our next day run at the Zoo. It was slow but an absolute blast and to my surprise I wasn’t sore or too fatigued! Scott is a genius! He knows just how much is enough, pushing me to my limit but not quite over. We had a group dog pile just before we finished. Yes....Micheal looks likes he is in pain but I am not that heavy....come on, faker!

It was a great Build 1 training week. My body seems to be coming around after OC100K and after a bunch of medical tests last week that yielded good news I am feeling very alive!