Monday, September 22, 2008

No measure

Race Report

Ran a local 10K race on Sunday: 43:53 which was a minute faster than my previous PR. I went in with instructions to try and do 40:30 so even though it was a PR I felt a little disappointed. Another case of finding a comfortable level of pain and then just settling in. I ran about 5 meters behind the first place female for most of the race (foreshadowing for Vegas?!?!?!?) until the last mile or so where she opened the gap to about 100m. Finished 11th overall and 6th in the AG which was M20-35! The whole race I knew that if I wanted to meet my goal I would have to pick it up and pass her but I couldn't, or more accurately I wouldn't. The thought of passing her, blowing up and getting passed again made a perfect excuse and kept me from pushing ahead when I had something left in the legs. After a day and a half of reflection on Sunday's race, Kerrie Wlad's comment on Lucho's blog today really hit home for me. Tim was writing about the anticipation of pain and how that can be a limiter for performance. I was reading the post thinking about my race and about last week's tempo run. I ran 3 miles at 6:40 pace in training and then raced at 7:00/mi. The fear of blowing up all over the race course kept me from even trying to hold goal pace. Then I read Kerrie's comment:

well princess, it's time to toughen up! ditch the numbers, shut up and just run.... you know how to suffer so that's not an issue, you know you can endure discomfort, so just stop focusing on those external limiters when you are racing. and if you do blow up, just make sure that it is pretty spectacular, like crawling/projectile vomiting spectacular. i think that i broke 40 min for a 10k for the first time when i was 12, almost 13...and i wasn't super fit and i didn't know much about racing/training(not like now ;) ) but i just wanted to WIN. there was a little tv for the prize and i desperately wanted a tv. it was pretty simple.

A couple things:
1) she called Lucho a princess. That's awesome!
2) she broke 40 minutes as an out of shape 12 year old. That's ridiculous!
3)She's 100% right.

It was pretty simple and it still is. I wanted to avoid failing more than I wanted to succeed and as a result did neither. Lesson learned.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I just wanted to write a quick post to say thank you to everyone who stopped by the blog with words of encouragement for my upcoming race in Vegas. The comments were so moving that I printed two copies: one is taped to the mirror in my bathroom next to my training schedule and the other is on my bedside table next to my alarm clock so I can see them on those mornings when I just don't feel like getting up at 5AM to run. Happy training!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For Beth



It's on!

This is why people think we're crazy

That's how I spent my Sunday morning. Take special care and notice the start time of the first lap. Yeah, that's the good stuff. Nice, long 22 miler Sunday morning. Felt good for the most part. As with all long runs there were times that it hurt and I felt like stopping but that's the name of the game. My instructions were not to over think this run so I set the Garmin to only display time and distance so I would know 1) when to eat and 2) when to turn around on my out and back route. I was pretty happy with how things turned out. Better average pace with a lower average and max HR.

This next chart, and the accompanying instructions, is why people think runners are nuts. My instructions were basically as follows:

Think of the steepest hill near your house
Run there
Run up and down it until you puke
Run back

The chart doesn't include the 'run there' portion (6 miles) The 'until you puke' portion is about mile 2 1/4. Hard hill repeats + lots of water right after you finish = predictable result. Training is fun! And to think I voluntarily trade my hard earned cash for these kinds of instructions. Crazy is not too far off!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pick it up!

20 minute WU with 4-30' pick ups at the end. Fast but controlled were my instructions. Then a three mile tempo in 20:30. Works out to 6:50/mi pace. I was up late last night watching 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' and I was soooo tempted to sleep through my alarm. The thought of having to explain to Lucho that I skipped my workout because I was 'sleepy' got me up and moving. Another intangible benefit of having a coach. Tempo chart below:

This run was tough. I did it on a track near my house that's not exactly flat. There's a drop of about 15' in the first 200m and a climb of the same amount in the last 200. It becomes more and more noticeable as the laps pile up. I made a deal with myself that if I wanted to stop running I would have to do it on the down hill stretch. No copping out on the uphill portion. And of course on the downhill section the legs got rolling over, it hurt a bit less and I didn't feel like stopping anymore. Around the back stretch, legs and lungs complain a bit more and the deal making begins again. It worked really well for me to break this run up into smaller portions rather than thinking of how far I had left to go in total. I just focused on running smoothly with good form to the next line on the track (every 10m?) instead of saying "OK legs, I know you're burning but we've only got another two miles". I've found that strategy to be about as effective for keeping me going as the spectator at the marathon who yells "You're almost there!" at the 22 mile mark! Good workout for both the legs and the mind.

Today, two songs jumped out at me. They sound totally different but both have a sexy vibe.

'Wolf Like Me' is frantic, insistent, overt and a little rough. It reminds me of a drunken backseat hookup. Except for a slow section in the middle, a pretty good song to run to.
Spoon's track has a seductive rolling beat but it's not really that great to run fast to. It's got a more laid back, bluesy red wine rhythm. It could be the soundtrack to a 'For Your Eyes Only' sort of photo shoot. For that one night a year when endurance athletes stay awake past 8PM. Click the player to fire it up or the song title to download. If you like either of these and want the whole albums (which are both very good) drop a comment and I'll throw them in the Box as well.

22 miler tomorrow should leave my legs trashed just in time to take the day off on Monday. Big shout out to Gunner who's lighting it up at the Grand Columbian Triathlon this weekend in Electric City, Wa.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It works!

Click the Link to DL. More to come. n

Content Sharing!

OK, so I was thinking that it wasn't much good to have all these musical recommendations without a way to actually hear the songs so I set up a account so that I could have a spot to host this stuff so you guys could get at it. I'd done this a while ago with the same intention so now I'm going to follow through with it. Hopefully I'll build a nice little library. I believe that account size is limited to 1GB for the free account so be sure to DL anything that you enjoy as it may not be there the next time you go in! The account has a feature that allows multiple users to add content to the Box and once I get that figured out I'll let you know.

Sunday Long Run

A post race 20 miler was on tap for Sunday morning. Lucho wanted me to run the first hour between 140-145 BPM, take the average pace over that time and then hold that pace for the rest of the run even if my HR started to climb a little. Average pace for the first hour: ~8:35/mi.

I finished the 20 miles in 2:45 with an average pace of 8:17/mi. That's a five minute neg split between the first and second halves. I've attached the 20 mile totals and the mile splits for anyone who might be interested. HR was starting to creep up there towards the end but I still felt pretty good. I've got a 22 miler on tap for this weekend so I'll find out how good I feel after cracking the 20 mile barrier.

Lots of time listening to podcasts this week and two songs jumped out at me. The first is from a hip hop artist named Shad. The track is called 'Rock to it' and it blew me away. I'm not typically a hip hop 'fan' but this was pretty great: a simple beat and clever lyrics. Shad was nominated for the Polaris Prize this year and after hearing this I can see why. The song isn't up at MySpace so I'm not sure where to check it out.

The second was a song called 'Secret March' by a group called 'The Wet Secrets' (dirty name!). This song is up at MySpace so click the link to check it. Good beat, fantastic chorus!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Race Day

Saturday was the Canadian Off Road Triathlon Championships and I headed up there with Gunner to throw down in the 10K trail run. The group that organizes this event really has their hands full. They run 6 events on Saturday! Half and full tri and du, as well as a 5 and 10K run. Pretty impressive.
Race report is as follows: They didn't have the start of the run course marked so I had to wait through the whole pre-race meeting to find out where I needed to be. By the end of the meeting, they still hadn't said where the run was starting so I asked. By this time, we were about 5 minutes from the start of the race. So, no warm up to speak of. The course was two loops with an out and back section. One loop for 5K and half du's and two loops for everyone else. At the start line (which was made in the gravel by the starter with his foot. Sweet!) all the duathletes, half duathletes, 10K, and 5K runners all lined up together. It wasn't really clear who was running what race. The gun went off and two guys, Kelly Guest and one other dude, took off flying. I got stuck behind a small group of about 4 guys. I found some room to pass at the top of the first climb and rolled along by myself for the next mile or so. Two guys passed me on the next climb and I was suffering, mentally and physically. My legs were not ready for that much climbing. 2200 feet over a 10K course had my calves burning! Last year, there were only 7 runners in the 10K race and the winning time was 48 minutes. I had secretly hoped to win the race this year, and sitting in 5th (or worse, at that point I couldn't say for sure) had me feeling beaten already.

There were two things that kept me running: I didn't want to drop any more time to the guys that passed me on the climb. I thought that I had enough to catch them on the second lap if I could keep them close. The other was a kid that I passed coming down the first climb that was hanging on my shoulder. He was about 15 and running with his dad and there was no way that I was letting him go by me.
So, I kept rolling along by myself working to keep an eye on the guys in front of me. Approaching the turn around, Kelly passed me going back out for the second lap and I knew he was long gone. I surged a little to try and catch the two guys in front of me before the turn. I got there just in time to see them running off into transition. Two half duathletes. Oops. Probably shouldn't have chased them. Another lap to go, and I felt like that kid was still pressing somewhere behind me. Ran the whole second lap looking over my shoulder. It's a windy, hilly course and another athlete could be right behind you and it would be tough to see them. At one point, I was running down a fire road while Mel McQuaid, Jordan Bryden and another male elite were riding up heading out on the bike. They were flying! I was so busy watching them hammer that for a minute I forgot that I was supposed to be racing. Woke up and ran it in to the finish. 51 minutes was good enough for second place behind Kelly who clocked in at 39 minutes and about 5 minutes ahead of third. Kelly is an animal. He finished the run leg of a relay in 40 minutes about 1/2 hour later. When I crossed the line, I saw the kid and his dad sitting in the grass looking fresh and rested. Oops. I guess the kid only ran the 5K. I was running away from someone who wasn't there the whole second lap! Whatever keeps the legs moving, I guess.
All in all, I had a good time out at the lake, even if I wasn't super happy with my run. I definitely learned the value of a good warm up in a race like this. As well, I learned a lot about running my own race and not getting caught up in what's going on around me. I spent alot of mental energy getting down on myself for dropping spots to athletes who weren't even competing in my event. If any one knows of a good book on mental toughness for runners, or has some tips, tricks or resources that might help me to develop some strength between the ears, I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Quick Update

Saturday's race was tough but good. Ran into second place behind Kelly Guest but it wasn't even close. He hung 13 minutes on me over 10K. Sunday was 20 miles with a huge negative split. More later, including a couple sweet songs that I found today.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Product review, musical highlights and one more sleep

Only one more sleep until the Buntzen Lake 10K trail run. Legs feel good, a little tired from coming into the weekend with no rest but I'm looking forward to getting it on! The schedule that Lucho put together for me says 'Race effort-hold nothing back". Who am I to disobey my coach?

I bought a pair of earbud headphones a few weeks ago that just would not stay put in my ears no matter what size bud I was using. So, I took them back to Wal-Mart to exchange them for a new pair. I picked up some from Sony and they are super sweet! The loops that go around your ear keep them from slipping or falling off and are made from rubber that is flexible, soft and barely noticeable. Another great feature is the clip on the cord that keeps it from bouncing around, getting tangled, pulling on the headphones when running etc. Priced at $20 I would recommend these for any runner looking for a good pair of comfy slip free headphones.

This week's musical theme seemed to be 'Songs with a crescendo'.
In no particular order, standouts from the week were:

Andrew Bird-Darkmatter
Okkervil River-Unless it's kicks
Modest Mouse-Parting of the Sensory (with an honorable mention to 'Missed the Boat' for the lyrics "We floated round on bubbles then thinking it was us who carried them")
Led Zeppelin-Dazed and Confused

And I'll throw out a little country yee-haw to JW and include:
Neko Case-Maybe Sparrow (just DL the whole 'Fox Confessor Brings the Flood' album)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Charts on demand

The last five miles of an eight mile day that Tim had me do last week. The first three miles were just gradual builds and I reset the Garmin before I started tracking the intervals. Six 400s in 86' and four 200s in 42' both with 100m walk, 100m easy jog recovery. A mile and a half of easy jogging afterward to top it up to eight miles for the day. Solid.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Race Week!

This is the view looking down on where I'll be spending my day this Saturday. This weekend is the XTC Canadian National Offroad Triathlon Championships at Buntzen Lake in Port Moody. Gunner is going to throw down in the full distance triathlon event and I can't wait to see him unleash all that furious fitness! He's as fit as I've ever seen him.
I'm going to toe the line in the 10K trail run and I'm super pumped about getting up there and letting it all hang out. Figuratively speaking, of course.

I've attached the course description for the run this year. Font's a little small but give'r a click and it should be legible. Last year the field for the trail run was comically thin (I think 7 runners) so it will be interesting to see what things look like this year.

Either way, Saturday will be awesome because after the race all of us are headed back to the Gunn's townhouse for a little BBQ action, free meat provided by Jamie's folks in Saskatchewan who ship us a half a beef every spring! Organic, free range, grass fed strip loin anyone? Good times.

You know you're a nerd when....

Is it wrong that one of the highlights of my labour day weekend was getting new socks? Bought my first couple of pairs of Balega Enduros and they are plush. Put some miles on in them this morning and I already feel a little faster. I'm pretty sure it's the socks that make this guy such a beast!
This morning was a scheduled recovery day with an easy 6 miler at HR less than 150. The idea was to just get the legs moving and allow them to soak up some of the heavier training from the weekend(which I'll cover in a bit. Be patient!) Walked from the townhouse to the road and fired up the trusty ole 305. I know that elsewhere on the interweb there is a lively debate raging about the necessity of 'gadgets' in running, but for me buying a Garmin with HR resurrected me (for better or worse) as a goal oriented runner. Again, is it a bad sign that the more numbers I can look at at the end of a run, the happier I am? I feel like if I go to the bike rack after school someone might shake me down for my lunch money.
Anyways, the 305 found the satellites and the HR monitor fired up and showed 57 BPM, which is about 10 beats lower than normal. Didn't think too much of it, just chalked it up to being well hydrated and rested. Shuffled down the street for half a block, and when I looked again the HR read 159 AND CLIMBING!!! By the time I was 1/2 mile from my house, the Garmin said 192 and I was toddling along at about 12 minute miles trying to get the HR to drop. At that point, I actually wondered if I might be having a heart attack. Ok, not really, but what the ???? If I stopped to walk, it would plummet to about 100 BMP but as soon as I started to jog again, BANG back up through the roof! I told myself that I would run another mile or two and if it didn't settle down, I'd call it a morning. Sure enough, another 1/2 mile later I'm bumping up against 8 minute miles at 140BPM. Weird. If any of you have experienced something like this I'd love to hear about it.
Overall, training is cranking along and the body is holding up well under the added stress of increased intensity. No lingering pains, no missed workouts, no sleeping in. Still hovering around 50 miles per week and feeling good. One thing is for sure: having a schedule that doesn't just include more long miles at 135 BPM sure helps to get me up and out the door.
This week had two pretty tough workouts back to back on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was an eight mile progression run laid out as:
2 miles @ 8 min/mi.
2 miles @ 7:45
2 @ 7:15
2 @ 7:00.
Hit the paces right on the money and felt good about the effort. This is the first time I've run guided by pace rather than HR in a progression run and the difference was noticeable. I had the Garmin setup to only display pace and distance so I wouldn't be distracted by HR data while I was running. I really felt a jump in perceived exertion when I crossed below 7:30/mile and looking at the HR graph later, there was an uptick in BPM at that pace. And truth be told, the 7:00 pace felt hard. But hey, if it was easy it wouldn't be worth doing!
Sunday was 2:20 at somewhere between 8:00 and 8:40 without the HR monitor. Started off slowly and built towards that pace range. Ended up averaging around 8:20/mi overall with the later miles being closer to 8:00. Total distance about 16 miles and with some more water and a couple more gels could have carried that pace for another 10 miles no worries. If I ever figure out how to do it, I'll throw some workout graphs from the Garmin software up here. There's a good one from last week's track session!