Monday, March 28, 2011

Week In Review

It's three weeks until Boston as I type this. Three weeks! Excitement grows as days pass. My training with Rebecca has been going well. Last week was to include our final long training run - the twenty miler. Unfortunately, we wouldn't complete it. My left foot had some other ideas.

Since Stu's 30k I've had some achilles tendon and lower calf tightness. I iced, stretched, and rested (as much as a person that runs every day rests) it and by Monday it was feeling better. Tuesday morning I met R for our standard Tuesday 5. Wednesday, we pushed the pace (it's all relative) and got in some hump day speed. Evidently, neither of us slept well that night, for we had a tired Thursday morning. I closed out the work week with a nice little Vibram mile, on TGIVFFF.

Heading into Saturday morning I was feeling optimistic; thinking that after twenty, I'd tack on a few more and perhaps end up logging 22-23 miles, finishing with some tough hill work home. This run also gave me an opportunity to try out another handheld with honey water. I picked up another 22-oz Nathan quick draw handheld. To balance out my right hand, I filled this new bottle with a mixture of honey, water, and chia seeds. About 1/4 cup of honey, a heaping tsp of chia, and water.

 1 GU1 handheld
The bottle of honey water provides roughly the same caloric/carb intake. Note the lack of sodium and potassium. When on longer runs, I've got the Endurolyte capsules to take care of this. One capsule packs 40mg and 25mg respectively. Instead of carrying 3-4 GU packs and taking them every 45-60 minutes, I take slow sips from the honey water after every mile or two. The chia seeds are supposed to really absorb water, to prolong hydration and retain precious electrolytes.

Armed with my honey-chia-water, I joined Rebecca on Saturday morning to head out for what I figured to be just under 4 hours. Earlier that week, I'd picked a course that started out downhill and then had some really low rolling hills, but was mostly flat, for the middle of the run. We'd finish up with a few climbs and then a gentle descent. All part of trying to Brad Pitt our training.

The first 10 miles went great. It was a bit windy, but the terrain was favorable, and we were pacing quite well. Then, just after mile 10, I rolled my ankle on some broken asphalt. I cursed at first. Then I swore some more. I walked it out. We ran for a bit. Eventually I decided to call home and get a ride. Better to live to run another day.

After getting home, I spent the rest of Saturday afternoon rehabbing the ankle. This called for a strict regimen of BRICE. You know the standard RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation)? Yeah? Just add BEER. This went on for hours. It was excruciating. Putting my foot up, drinking beer, watching basketball and playing Wii. Yup. Rough.

Sunday, Rebecca was going to make up for our aborted mileage. She went down to the WB rail trail for a few out and back on our favorite segment. I went out on the opposite end of the trail for an out and back of my own, to test the ankle. Surprisingly, it felt pretty good, even with the ice encrusted uneven terrain.

So here I sit, foot in a bucket of ice. Lots of preventive icing, "resting", and stretching in the next few weeks, as we taper down to Boston. Despite the minor achilles and ankle woes, this training cycle with Rebecca has actually gone quite well. Three weeks now.

Three weeks. Run, run, run!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Week in Review

After the 19 miles on Sunday 9 days ago, I failed to stretch enough. I know this, because my Achilles tendon and calf were tight, tight, tight during Monday's One Mile Streak Preserver. Monday night, I broke out a bucket of ice and an ice cold beer and that seemed to have some positive effects. I ran a nice and easy five miles on Tuesday morning, trying to alternate between rpace (Rebecca pace) and something a little faster. On Wednesday, I wanted to mix it up, so I set out to try the "run 2 miles, walk 2 minutes" technique I had read about on some other DM posts. The achilles tendon, however, had other ideas, as I had to stop short on this planned 8 miler.

No point in getting injured. I decided to scale back the mileage and really concentrate on stretching and icing the foot. Thursday was a surprisingly icy planned 5 miler that I cut back to 3 to rest the foot. On Friday, I managed to get in a quick VFF run. Achilles actually felt pretty good, just in time for a nice dozen on Saturday with Rebecca. We took it nice and slow, in zone 2, and I finished it up with an ice bath. Achilles felt pretty good.

Miles for Miracles
Sunday, I made my way over Doug's house for the 36k For Miracles one-day event. If you hadn't heard, Doug is raising money for Children's Hospital in Boston, and put together a virtual challenge. On Sunday, he set out to run a 5k, 10k and half-marathon. Participants could race against on Dailymile and be eligible for prizes. Almost $1,000 was raised for this awesome cause, but there's always room for more help. If you can help, please visit the donations page here.

I ran the 5k course, in reverse. I ran into Doug about half way and shouted something unintelligible at him - my special form of encouragement. The route was hilly, and I was pretty happy that a) the achilles felt good and b) I maintained even sub-9 splits. After the 5k was over, I went back out to support him during the 10k effort. A great day to be involved with an awesome runner for a wonderful cause. Also got to see Mary and Tom McManus at the house, which was an added bonus.

So...I lowered the mileage, upped my stretching and icing, and I think the tendon and calf are on their way to feeling much, much better. All this without ending the streak, which now sits at 134 days. I'll leave you this week with a couple of Brooks Running videos that I found while surfing around on Youtube one night last week. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.

Until next time: run, run, run.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Week In Review

Last week was a bit of a tough one. Still hit by the stomach bug I encountered on the morning of Stu's 30k, I struggled to get out for a sore streak preserver of one mile on Monday. Still sore on Tuesday, I met Rebecca for five miles. Wednesday we tackled some hills and Thursday was another nice five miler with warmer weather and less soreness. Friday, I ran a pensive mile after seeing the news from Japan.

Saturday, I was scheduled to run with Rebecca. Her Boston training 19 miler. But the stomach bug had hit me again with a vengeance on Friday night, and I had to postpone it. I was able to get for only a short test run. Spent the rest of the day resting.

Sunday, I went out with Rebecca for her 19 miler. Lots of walk breaks for me during this run, which is fine. I feel like I need to mentally prepare myself, now, for what I'm sure will be many walking breaks while training for and running VT50 later this year. My stomach felt fine during the 19, and afterwards, I met up with some of the other NERTs down at the Armsby Abbey for a fantastic brunch. If you like fine food and beer, I highly recommend checking them out!

For the better part of this week, my stomach was unstable. My achilles tendon and calf continue to bark now and again. I really need to focus more on stretching, especially after the long runs. I opted to skip the ice bath on Sunday, and I was feeling it in the calf today. Right now, I've got my foot plunged into an icy bucket, and I'm enjoying a nice beer. Not a bad way to spend a Monday night for a distance runner.

A couple links this week -

First - if you haven't already, you need to go check out what my friend Doug is doing for Children's Hospital Boston. Less than a week left until the Virtual 36k Challenge. Challenge him in a 5k, 10k, or half-marathon, and help raise money for a fantastic cause at the same time.

Second - if you're a Dailymiler that rocks a headband, you might be interested in showing your DM spirit and helping the Special Olympics by purchasing a custom Dailymile Bondi Band. All proceeds go to charity.

Lastly, as the warmer weather approaches, I am getting antsy for some trail running. Here's another one of those xtranormal clips.

People often ask, why is that guy so awesome? Because he is a trail runner!

Until next week: run, run, run.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Week in Review

I've been following Rebecca's training program (Higdon Novice 2). The week was a step-back week, calling for only 13 on the weekend. I got out on Monday in the KSO's for my daily mile. Tuesday, there were signs of spring during five miles as the sun rose. Another five on hump day. Plan called for eight, but I wanted to save some miles for Sunday. Thursday, things changed. Stomach virus in our house.

Thursday's out and back was tough on broken sleep. Friday and Saturday, I got out for the daily mile to keep the streak alive and legs fresh for Stu's.

Stu's 30k

If you don't know Stu's, google it. You can also read last year's race report. Either way, let me put this out there -

Maybe it was the hills that made me sick to my stomach Sunday morning. Maybe it was the virus. The hours leading up to the race were, shall we say, less than ideal. I felt depleted going into the race, but happy not to be running, to the bathroom.

By the time I grabbed my number, ran back to the car, and made my way back into registration, it was nearly time to run. I saw Doug had set up a NERTS/Dailymile corner, complete with sign. It was great to see some familiar faces in the gym. We had a few minutes to chat before walking over to the start.


I like having multiple goals for a race. My primary goal for every race is to run happy and complete the race. Then I set a couple of goals. One that should be doable given where I'm at, and one that should be a bit of a stretch.
  1. Run happy and finish the race
  2. Try to beat last year's time of 3:17
  3. Try to beat 3:00
Last year's time works out to about a 10:33 average. I figured that I could float around the 10:15 pace pretty easily for the distance. If feeling really well, maybe I could take a crack at coming in under three hours. Maybe.

The first 14

I started off running with fellow NERT Alett. We talked a little for the first mile or so and then I drifted back. I'd make up time on the down hills and be back with Alett. The first 14 were mostly like this. Around mile 7, I slowed down in preparation for the longest up hill stretch of the course. I felt surprisingly good after 10 miles, and was even offering up high fives to the kids around mile 11.

East Side Meltdown

I had been consistently around 09:30 for the first 13 (09:13, 09:25, 09:20, 08:59, 09:00, 09:26, 09:18, 09:31, 09:37, 09:51, 09:29, 09:36, 09:23). Mile 14 came in at 09:55.

I was feeling good. Goal #1 met thus far. I was well on pace to beat my time from last year. I started playing with the numbers.
OK, I'm a third of the way there in under two hours. Even if I run a 10:00 flat for the next 10k, I'll still come in under 3:00.

In mile 15, I began to notice that my left achilles tendon and lower calf were really tight. I was also battling a small bout of side stitches. I slowed my pace to try and breathe through it. Eventually I slowed to a walk. Then I had to stretch the leg for a few seconds. Fifteenth mile - 12:29. I started to run again. The calf would bark. I would try to breathe through it. Eventually I decided it smarter to just take some walk breaks. Mile 16, 17: 11:09, 10:21. By the time I got to the last two hills, I was taking my time. No point in injuring myself. Mile 18: 13:40.

The last bit up the hill and to the finish, I was happy to get back sub-10 at 09:45. This was due solely to the fact that I had some NERTs and family cheering me in at the finish. I turned it on and came sprinting across the finish line.

Afterwards, a group of us went to a local restaurant for some post-race food and beer. Guinness was listed as an appetizer at this establishment, which earns extra points in my book.

Thanks to Melody and Sandy for coming out. The kids had fun and it was great to capture some of the great NERT faces. You can see the pictures here.

I finished strong, and ended up with a 10 minute PR over a hilly course on a rainy afternoon with me not feeling 100%. I'm happy with that. Did I mention it was day 118? =) Ran 37 miles on the week. I'll definitely need to watch the achilles and do some better pre/post stretching. But all things considered, not a bad week.

I'll leave you with a funny coincidence. Earlier this week, I shared a joke image -

Notice my number from the race?

Until next time - run, run, run.