Thursday, April 30, 2009

Powered by Bob's!

Is this normal? That was the question I asked myself as I loaded my car at Cash and Carry with my main grocery's. When I got it all loaded I started busting up. I don't know but at the time it just seemed hilarious and a bit crazy. 5 dozen large eggs, this huge bag of Bob's Redmill Oats, a box of yams and 5 pounds of asparagus. I refrained from purchasing the 20 pound of brown rice because I am still eating the bag I have. Of course I buy all sorts of other food but that's was my Cash and Carry shopping list and I meant it. This bag of oats is only $29! The tiny bags at the grocery store are around $5 so it's a bargain. Believe it or not it won't take me that long to chow through this bag. I sort of feel like a tough girl shopping in bulk...I don't know why but it seems kind of bad a__. It's pretty sad when my version of bad a__ is shopping in bulk....oh well. Fortunately I have other friends who eat like this so I feel very normal. :) I called during my personal laughing attack and found comfort.

I am ready for Miwok! We leave tomorrow and I am pretty excited. The weather looks just like PNW weather....rain and 50 degrees. Sounds like I will feel right at home. This week was a cut back schedule. I still had a track workout yesterday but the rest are recovery and strides. Last weekend was also cut back. Saturday was a 90 minute trail run nice and easy 3A only. Sunday I did have 2.5 hours in the gorge with 2X20 minute of hill threshold work. I felt really good on that run.

I've done Miwok 3 other times and only once did I have a good day. Unfortunately I took a wrong turn that day which was about a 2 mile mistake. I got in in 11:40ish. The other two Miwok runs were just struggles. This is a hard distance for me. I think I go out too fast and that extra 12 miles beyond the 50M distance is not easy for me to gauge. The biggest issue I seem to have at this race is managing myself for the long haul. I go out too fast, have a bad patch, pull through it for a good finish but the bad patch takes it's toll and sucks up a lot of time. I am hoping I can keep this in my small head on Saturday, plan my race better and pace myself more appropriately. Miwok is a fabulous course and it has a certain appeal that makes you want to go back year after year. If you are a good downhill runner this is a great course to show off your descending talent. Ask Olga who posted an awesome time a couple of years ago....she can fly downhill. I am not a great downhill runner. I have my moments but for the most part I am just okay. For me to do well here I need to run hard down those open roads and make the most of the gravity. My goal time for this race is 11:15. That's a big stretch for me since my other times have been, 11:40ish, 11:30ish and 12:10ish.

The best part about this trip will be when Bill and I arrive in Vegas to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary! I am so excited to relax and have fun. We won't be exploring any of the Vegas trails we will be laying by the pool, drinking wine and eating everything that was not on my Cash and Carry list. :) We might be doing some dancing but that only if we can stay up past 11. We are both excited to go but are sad we will miss a couple of Alex's games but his grandparents will be taking lots of pictures.

My big 12 year old is deep in Majors Baseball. They get serious at this point and it's been non-stop baseball practices, games and a tournament. It is one of my favorite sports to watch. At this age is real baseball with strategy and the kids are getting good. Alex hit 3 home runs at the tournament and one over the 250 foot fence. If a ball player hits it over the fence they team gets to come out and and congratulate the hitter when they cross home plate. It was awesome and I was so happy for him. My hands and throat hurt form all the clapping and screaming. Seems my boy's got some natural speed posting the fastest run time in the league. Although he's got speed and strength he is super laid back and non-competitive. He would rather cheer for someone else and help them compete. This year he has some of most fabulous coaches. They are constantly talking to kids about competing and staying in game no matter what the's never over until it's over. They are teaching them how to compete rather than focusing on just the win. Of course the ultimate outcome of serious competing is winning but their approach and words are very insightful. At this age the kids easily become dissappointed and lose motivation but they are teaching them to think differently and it's working. I thought about ultra running and how that's the main thing to remember. It's never over, stay in it, pull out of it and you can then walk away from the finish knowing you gave it your best no matter what the outcome. It's never over until it's over. :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Girls Day out & First Black Saturday!

Thursday was girls day out. A longish trail run now replaces my Thursday tempo run. Susan, Trisha and I headed to the gorge for what was to be a very nice day. Susan planned on spending 6 hours out there while Trisha and I had shorter stuff. Trisha was out for 3 hours and I was out for only 2. The weather is definitely making a change around here. It seems like we have had such a cold winter and spring here in Portland. I think everyone is excited to see the sun more and feel warm.

I had my first track workout on Tuesday. It's been a long time since I have done any Z5 work and my lungs felt the burn for sure! After a 30 minute warm up I had 5X800 meters. My goal time was 3:13 per 800. The first one was very challenging and came in at 3:20. The second one was much better making my goal time but...yikes it was hard. I had to do some serious mental talk to get myself to complete this workout. In the big scheme of things this is not a long workout but man I whined to myself a lot. I felt much better as I continued and my stride started to open up. I also felt better mentally when I made my goal time which made the battle in my head lesson. All the rest of the 800's came in between 3:11-3:15. I was happy when I was done but I was disappointed in my mental toughness. It seemed weak and kind of an out of body having a conversation with myself in third, all that for 5X800 meters.

I had no aftermath from the track. I wasn't sore or fatigued so when Thursdays trail run came around I was ready to go. Being out in the gorge during the week feels really special. It truly is special because without awesome husbands none of us would get the opportunity. Taking over the morning duties and getting kids off to school so we can hang out on the trails is a treat.

Saturday was going to be my first official Black Saturday with hill repeats of 2X25 minutes. I was contemplating where I should go. On Thursday I scouted out Angels Rest to see if I could find an area where I could get 25 minutes of solid climbing. Since I was on my own for this workout and it was relatively short I decided to use the Angels Rest trail. I was pumped and ready to see how these repeats felt. I headed out early to beat the hiking crowd. Angels Rest is really close to Portland and draws huge crowds on a sunny day. I got there early and did my warm up on the road then headed onto the trail. I started the repeats just before the first steep climb. I stashed my stuff and took a water bottle and my headphones. Check out my new has features. It's a tank top with over sleeves. It's lighter weight than the sleeves you see runners wearing but also covers your shoulders. The sleeves have thumb holes and the tank has a side pocket for a gel or two. Whoever came up with this was really thinking....way to go Lululemon. Okay enough fashion talk. I was strong as I headed up and had to slow myself down. I used my heart rate as a guide keeping it between 170-174. I reached my destination in what seemed like 2 minutes and began the descent. I flew down getting back to my spot in 13 minutes. I re-fueled and headed up for number 2. I still had plenty in the tank but could feel the work I had done. The goal is to make it to the previous destination in the same time. I accomplished that but my second descent was 1 minute slower. I am not sure why except I got lost in my music and wasn't focusing. I headed home feeling really satisfied. When I look back at my previous times and think about how I felt I am definitely stronger. I am certainly reaping the reward of a leaner body. Since weight to muscle ratio is a big indicator of speed and strength I must be getting some benefit there. Since I have very little natural speed I need to work all the angles. I also think my body has very recent memories of the gnarly Coyote trails. :)

When I had my call with Scott last week he said, "Become one with the Ruckle". He is talking about Ruckle Creek. Uhgggggggg.....I don't like Ruckle Creek so therefore don't use it. It's a long, steep and pretty rocky trail in the gorge. It travels 5.8 miles and takes you up to 4,500 feet to the Benson Plateau (the spooky woods......think Blair Witch Project). The Benson is the vortex of the gorge. It's easy to get lost and turned around in there unless you are super familiar with it. I haven't been on this trail for years because it's not one of my favorites but I guess it's time to get a better attitude. If that's part of the recipe for Hardrock then I will become one with it. So....Sunday Micheal, Darin and I headed to Eagle Creek where we accessed the 400 over to the Ruckle Creek trail head. I knew we would hit snow near the Benson. Those woods are dense and see very little light. The only way the snow is going to melt is warm rain which we have had little of this year. We made our way up the first portion of the steep trail. It wasn't as bad as I remembered. As we continued to climb it just got more and more beautiful. When we reached the first opening we saw a bunch of deer and it seemed like we were in the middle of the most amazing woods. I think the warm sun was making me high. We chugged along the narrow rocky trail and my opinion began to change although I was not going to verbalize any of it until we did the descent. Lots of noises came from the woods....deer, bear, cougar....who knows but there was definitely noises. Darin turned early to get home while Micheal and continued our quest for the Benson. The trail got steeper and we started crossing patches of snow. It went from patches to a sea of snow. We followed footprints and found the wilderness boundary sign. Still thinking we would find the connector trails on the Benson onto the PCT we meandered around but kept a close eye on our footprints since there were no others. It was a flat sea of snow with big trees and no markers. We gave up and headed back down. I think we were both a bit disappointed to find so much snow, no footprints and no markers. We made it to 3,900 feet. We began the descent and it was steep in sections but overall it wasn't that bad. Both of us can't believe how much our perspective has changed since out last outing on the Ruckle at least 3 years ago. I think we can easily become one with Ruckle. All the great loops we can do off that trail will be fabulous Hardrock training. We needed more time so we headed out the Eagle Creek for about 25 minutes. Wow....the people were amazing. There was a ton of folks out there but we busted out 25 minutes then turned and headed back to the car.

That was the end of a Peak week (4 week cycles). Since I am running Miwok in less than two weeks I have a cutback schedule this week. I will have some M-Pace work along with some strides to get the legs charged.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Soaking wet!

After Saturday's 10K Micheal and I headed for a 3.5 hour run in the gorge. Steve is injured so he started earlier and we were to catch him. I love the chase game. It's a real motivator for me to push hard and it's fun! It was pouring and I mean pouring. Fortunately it was a warm rain which means snow melt...yeah. Thank goodness it was around 47 degrees or we would have been frozen. I felt really strong and since real training has started again it's time to push the second half of the run. That means some threshold stuff on the hills, lots of 3B (breathing hard but sustainable) and pushing the downhills. We had picked a great route with 16 miles and just shy of 4500 feet of ascent. By the time we were ready to start pushing our clothes must have weighed 5 pounds with all the water they were holding. We weren't the only fools....oops I mean dedicated ultra runners in the gorge that day. We saw Liz busting up the hills as she continues her prep for WS100M. She looked strong and determined but very wet. :) You know your soaked when you spend zero energy crossing creeks when you know the water is going to spill into your shoes. The energy I had for the second half was noteworthy! Strong on the climbs running all of them and even my downhill running is setting on nicely. I haven't felt strong on the downhills since I injured my knee last year. I suspect most of the deficiency is mentally driven but it's real and I need to shake it. Sunday was the beginning of more good things to come. Even Micheal who busted out a double dog on Friday in 3 stinken hours said, "Nice downhill". Extremely wet but satisfied we literally rung out our clothes and basked in the glory of one fine training run. We never did catch Steve. That guy can simply walk fast! He said he only had to wait 5 minutes before we showed up.

There are 12 weeks of training left before Hardrock. With 6 weeks Peak Phase training (later) that means 6 weeks for the Specificity Phase. This phase brings some changes to my schedule. M-Pace and T-Pace runs will be limited. Hill repeats and track workouts (Wednesday's) get added. In addition a longish 3A/3B trail run (not a cruiser by any means) will be added during the weekdays (Thursday's). The threshold work will be done on hill repeat days and now I get to do some higher intensity Z5 work at the track. The Sunday runs now also include some threshold work but not a ton. I find the Sunday threshold stuff to be the most challenging but extremely rewarding and satisfying if I can actually make it happen. For weight training another leg day is added. My weight training for this phase goes like this:

Monday: Upper body
Tuesday: Lower body after run
Wednesday: Upper body
Thursday: Upper and Lower (more functional movement stuff for lower) after run
Friday, Saturday, Sunday are OFF

This is a funny play on words.....I do the Hammered stuff on Tuesday and Thursday nights if I can. This is an area I need to watch. I can really get carried away with the weight room. I really love the gym work and the results are quick and noticeable so it draws me in. I tend to not give weight training the same value as running meaning I think it doesn't count and doesn't stress my body. However I have justified the over indulgence it has it's consequences and they tend not work in my favor when I over do it. My body breaks down and my runs suffer. With my focus now needing to turn fully to quality runs and making the most of the trails I need a hall monitor for weight room. Mark at Sledge Athletic Solutions will be a key allie in my quest to be very strong, stay lean but keep my focus in the right direction. However I try to get side tracked he keeps reminding me where my head needs to be.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Reaston to run 10K

Today was baseball and racing all in the same park. What are the odds of that? Darin and Trisha's first event took place this morning. The Reason to Run 10K, 5K and kids runs was held at Cook Park which happened to be the same park Alex was going to play his game. I did the 10K which started at 8:30 and Alex played his game starting at 9:00. It was fun to run right by him while he was out there fielding.

Cook park has some nice bike paths with some trails woven throughout. The rain held off and it was perfect running weather. This was an all out effort from the start. My time was 44:16 or 7:08 pace and I got first place. I was in third place for about 2.5 miles but those rolling trail sections played to my strengths and I moved into first place right around the 3 mile mark. Bill would pop out and snap a picture here and there while he watched Alex's game. By the time I hit mile 4 I had a good gap going and the bike path gets very rolly in the last two miles. I knew I could hold the lead but the gal behind me was not giving up without a fight. I was really strong and felt the extra gear when I needed it. This was the most in control 10K effort I've ever run. It was fun to win! I collected a cool plaque for my efforts. Tomorrow it's off for a late Easter run in the gorge. I sure hope that bunny has all those eggs hidden. :) Who will get the golden egg???????

Darin and Trisha did a great job on the event. The shirts are probably the best logo I have seen on a race shirt and the prizes were amazing ranging from shoes, socks, $100 gift cards and jewelry. Nice work Reason to Run.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Let it never end!

There's some pretty exciting stuff going on around here....sunshine! Not only sunshine but warm temperatures hovering around 70 degrees. Both Saturday and Sunday were amazing day's considering it's been darn cold and pretty rainy around here. Everyone is out including me! Since I live in the PNW I have a serious appreciation for the sun. I thinks that's a good thing but in the depths of cloud cover and rain for four months in the late winter I need to be reminded of that.:)

This weekend was the end of my first Build 1 week. I feel like I have come back strong from C2M. Though I am still on the short side of time on my feet I had a lot of quality in my schedule with 2 M-Pace runs (my M-Pace right now is 7:30 pace), one T-Pace run (my T-Pace right now is 7:02) and one longish run. Tuesday was the first M-Pace run and it was tough to hit my marks. Tight hips and sluggish muscles made the first couple of miles a mental challenge. Once things got loosened up and in gear it went well. For my T-Pace run Scott had me do cruise intervals. I always look forward to this kind of workout. It's designed to build up lactic in the muscles then give you a small amount of time time clear it but not completely then hit it again. The purpose of the workout is to train your body to deal with the lactic build up more efficiently. My workout went like this: Total of 90 minutes with 30 minute warm-up then 3X15 minutes at 7:02 pace, with a 2 minute jog down in between. That's a total of 45 minutes at 7:02 pace then the cool down of 5-10 minutes. When my T-Pace workouts go well on Thursday's it's a really good sign for the weekend.

Saturday I had another scheduled M-Pace run. This was longer than Tuesday's 75 minutes. I needed to do 2 hours with 5-7 miles at M-Pace. It was really nice to have company on this run. Micheal joined me and of he is easily able to run 7:30's. When I have someone along who is faster it seems to free me up from the mental part of the workout and all I have to focus on is the run. Training partners are the best because just when I think I might not be able to achieve my goal they motivate me to go for it! We easily knocked out the run and had to throttle back on the pace, nice! After the run it was off the the baseball field for opening day. I LOVE watching the baseball games. They are long but I really enjoy watching Alex participate. The basketball games are fun to watch as well but since I know nothing about basketball it's hard for my brain to keep up. I get baseball! At This age they are getting super competitive. It's seems like a big switch very fast but I guess that's how it goes when high school is just around the corner, yikes! Time flies! I love watching Alex grow up but I am not sure how I am going to handle his Independence. I think that's a mommy want them to grow up and become young men but not really. :)

The sun was incredibly energizing and made for a great run in the gorge on Sunday. Only 2.5 hours for me which was the perfect amount for my quads. I can still feel them from Coyote....all good stuff but it's taking a bit for them to come back full strength. Darin, Susan, Micheal and I soaked up the dry trails and the gorge made me super anxious for the those long running days. I am very motivated right now which is always a welcoming emotion but if I dont' keep it in check I can get myself in trouble fast.
Lonn, you inquired about running time split between flat and hills. I would say around 50/50. Most of my recovery runs are done on the trail but sometimes I use a treadmill on the random setting around 7. If I do hit the trail for those runs I choose a relatively flat to mild rolling section. All my M-Pace runs and T-Pace runs are done on Lief Erickson which is a rolling gravel road but I do all the pace portion of those runs on the flat section to get accurate paces. The weekends are usually all hills but on recovery weeks or lighter weeks I might do some faster road stuff or gently rolling trail. I think doing the flat stuff definitely helps my speed. I have to do all I can to maintain my tiny bit of trail speed and the road stuff helps with running economy and is a reminder for my body.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Hardrock Training Starts!

Even though I am still number 11 on the list I am pretending I am in the race. With that said it's time to get back in the game and start training. Coyote Two Moon was really fun but very difficult on my not so trained body. The two days following the race I was so full of water I just had to get on the scale and see how much I was holding. It was the weirdest edema I have ever experienced. The water settled in my legs and my face. Nothing in my arms and mid-section. When I hopped on the scale I estimated 12-14 pounds of fluid had found a home in my body. I tried everything to get it moving such as lying with my legs elevated, consuming lots of water, resting and even some light activity but none of that showed any immediate benefit. When I arrived on Tuesday for a workout with Sarah she looked at me and was speechless. She was so concerned she called her dad who is a doctor to describe what she saw and ask it I was was not a good look. :)Although the site of my huge face and legs was disturbing it was also hilarious and we got a good laugh out of it. Now for the best part. It was all gone by Thursday! I have no idea where the fluid went but it disappeared. Thursday night was my first run after Coyote. I had to lead the Lululemon running group so I sheepishly laced up my shoes and prepared to fake my way through the run by pretending I was fine. It was a tough go. The uphill to Forest Park from the Pearl was hard on my destroyed legs but the trip home was brutal. The downhill back to the store was right down painful on my quads and knees. I was happy to have faked my way through the 6.5 mile run but was thrilled to see the store at the end. When I woke on Friday I felt like a new person so maybe the stretch of the run helped knock the recovery in high gear. Though I was completely disturbed by the amount of fluid I collected after the run I am overall extremely pleased by the rapid recovery.

Last week was my second week on a recovery schedule but I needed to start adding some mild quality back by the end of the week. It was Spring Break for us so we headed to Deer Valley for vacation. Bill and Alex did some serious skiing while I opted for some mild workouts and good down time. The weather was not its usual sunny but cold. Instead it was sort of sleety/rain/sun combination. That meant for less than perfect Utah skiing which bummed Bill out big time. He was hoping for the usual perfect snow. It was so nice and relaxing. By the end of week I was doing 60-75 minute runs with 10X30 second strides. Saturday called for my first real quality workout. I did a 75 minute M-Pace run with only 3 miles at M-Pace. It was a bit of a clunky start when it was time to do the 7:30 pace but by the end I felt in good working condition.

March was birthday month for a bunch of us. Unfortunately Lisa and I are the only Pisces among a sea of Aries! Mark, Micheal, Gretchen and Sarah are all Aries. We are not only out numbered but our sensitive side takes a beating with those rams, ha, ha, ha! We celebrated with some Cosmic Bowling in which I did much better and it's harder in the dark with blinking lights. :)

Monday was the start of Hardrock training. I am going to start off with 4 week cycles and continue that until it gets to be too much then I will drop down to 3 week cycles. I can generally do three 4 week cycles before I have to switch. As the volume of the weekend runs ramps it seems I need that recovery week sooner. On another note: I got a couple of questions about my weekly mileage. I used to plan all my training by miles but after working with Scott I have changed to hours. For Coyote the highest mileage week I got was just over 70 and that was only once. Due to all the quality in the workouts I don't need to have the huge weeks to get the job done. In the past I would do several weeks of 90-110 miles and my speed increased at first but the plateau came fast along with fatigue and minor injuries. I think both methods work well depending on your goals. For Hardrock I will have more weeks in the 70 and 80's closer to end of the training.

Getting back in the game this week felt really good. The training is my favorite part of the racing process so I am excited to get going again. Last year Kris was doing some ultra running and was an awesome tempo run partner with her competitive drive and camaraderie. We really did well when we did those runs together. She joined me yesterday for my M-Pace run and though she had no intention of running the M-Pace portion before she knew it she was making we work hard. It was great. It's seems to be motivating to have partners for those harder runs or at least the presence of another runner seems to make me step up and do my best.