Sunday, May 20, 2007

100 mile week

It's been a while since I had a 100 mile week. It didn't hurt that I had vacation all of this week.
5/14 - 11 miles - S ridge/E ridge run in Whittier Hills - saw 3 deer
5/15 - 19 miles - New road loop I thought I'd try - won't try again since I picked up a lot of thorns running along an old railroad bed. I'll try the modified version next week.
5/16 - 8 miles - After staying up (working) the night before and then going into work in the morning, ran the 8 mile shortened Rowland Heights loop (mentioned before). Why shortened? I only had my Vibram Five Fingers and my heels have been sore (tendonitis-wise) so I cut out that one rocky hill.
5/17 - 18 miles - ran to the Seal Beach pier.
5/18 - 11 miles - full Rowland Heights loop - saw 1 deer. I think this took about 2 hours which isn't the usual leisurely pace (2:10).
5/19 - nothing - Niece's wedding.
5/20 - 33 miles - very evenly paced, 13 minutes faster than last week, no caffeine, only day old rice and some Clif Shots and water. With my heel soreness, I decided to stretch a little bit, just grabbing my feet with my hands (not using weight). Not much leg soreness, nothing was really hurting, not worn out, very pleased with the workout and pleased with the week.
I'll try my 100k time trial on one of the next two weekends. If the weather is supposed to heat up by 6/2, I'll try it on 5/26 or 5/27 instead.

Monday, May 14, 2007

That's better

5/9 - Ran to Seal Beach pier (18 miles - road) with good energy level.
5/10 - 8 mile version of Schabarum Park loop at an aggressive pace. One slightly macabre note: saw the bottom 12" of a deer leg on the trail. Also met a woman who said she had just seen a bobcat. I have never seen one in the Habitat Authority.
... relatives visiting ...
5/13 - 50k completed (let's not talk about the time). The pace dropped off at the end. My goal was to complete the workout without any caffeine.
5/14 - slow 11 mile hilly run. Saw three deer and several tarantula hawks. One slightly amusing thing: I startled a ground squirrel and it ran across the dirt road. I also startled a rabbit which went flying past the squirrel.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

On seeing the first rattlesnake in spring

5/7/2007 - Forecast high for the day is 90.

Started on my 11 mile trail route on the south side of Schabarum Park in the Puente Hills Landfill Native Habitat Preservation Authority, wearing my old Montrail Masai's which I hadn't worn for at least a year. The sun was already out at 6:30 in the morning. The first little climb goes ok. I always have to warmup my lower legs in this area but today they're a little better than usual.

Next through the spot where there really isn't a trail - the wild mustard plants are just beaten down from a few folks passing through. I'm a little worried about stepping on a rattlesnake here when it gets warmer but usually rattlesnakes like to be exposed to the sun. This section drops down to the Skyline Trail, a.k.a.
Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic Trail. As I curve around the first little ridge, I realize it's covered with wild mustard and its yellow flowers. The next ridge is covered with plants with purple and white flowers. Coming around this ridge, I see a skunk walking toward me on the trail, so I stop and say "Good morning." No reaction so I say it again. This time, the skunk looks up and sees me. Then it decides to continue foraging off the side of the trail. That works for me so I proceed on my way.

As I pass behind Schabarum Park, I see the horses. Someone is out feeding them this morning. I see the usual assortment of morning hikers, some of them familiar faces. Then comes the long climb back up to the ridge. I always say something to people as I'm coming up on them so they won't be startled. Sometimes they're startled anyways.

Up on the top of the ridge, I see a guy with a Boston Terrier and tell him about the skunk and let the dog sniff my hand. Then comes the long descent to the farthest point on the loop; the horse crossing by the Buddhist temple. The houses next to Hacienda Road have some dogs. I pass by the spaniel on the descent undetected but the German Shepherds notice me. After the turnaround, the German Shepherds are gone but the spaniel comes out and barks. If they weren't behind fences, they'd probably be a lot friendlier.

Now I'm on the last big climb. My legs have been dead recently and this is where I start to feel it. No wait, the previous climb was slow too.

Back on top of the ridge, I see a little 10 inch or so gopher snake. I check the tip of the tail first (no rattle) and then the head (not a triangle). It isn't interested in moving unlike the San Bernardino Ringneck snake I saw last week. I start counting curves on the trail so I can tell the guy with the terrier where the snake is. When I finally see them (4 left hand curves later - from their point of view), I tell him about the little snake but not the location.

Now I hit the turn where I take a different route back. There is a steep little climb and then the dirt road starts winding around before the long gentle descent starts. This is where I see the first rattlesnake this spring.
It's about the same size as the gopher snake and a similar color. I check the tip of the tail. It has a little amber rattle, about half the diameter of a pencil eraser. I check the head. It's a triangle. This snake doesn't want to move either. It's just trying to warm up in the morning. I see the tongue flicker out twice, then I continue on. I take it easy on the descent.

When I turn off the main road onto the last side road and start the last little climb, I enter my favorite part of the route. I'm not sure why this is my favorite but it's close to the end, it's shaded, and the surface and contours of the road are nice. I've run barefoot in this section before. When I get to the final downhill, I try to avoid stepping on the ants at an active anthole in the road. A couple of minutes later, I'm back at the car and find that I'm going to be late getting to work.

The nice thing about running trails is that even when the running isn't so good, the run itself can be rewarding.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

I hate to be negative, but...

Had another disappointing workout today. Planned to run 35 and finished with a slow 16. I was just not up to it. The probable causes/excuses are hot weather and the last 2 weeks have been pretty poor. OK, but I still have 4 weeks left until my planned time trial. And I did the proper recovery after the run - eat/soak in a cold tub/nap. So I'll attempt to get back into it with the approach I used before Jed Smith when I ran an ok 50 mile race, specifically 2 to 3 20 mile runs per week plus a long run on the weekend and whatever on the other days. Wish me luck.
On the plus side, my daughter let me know that she has alternate plans if I don't run this 100k in Europe in September. She was planning on going along.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Starting a little past halfway

ok so I've been running for a while. I continue to figure out new things and sometimes I remember them.
Some things I've learned are...
- I can avoid chafing by wearing shorts with no liner and Vaseline or Desitin on what Johnny Knoxville calls "the gooch." This works well enough for a marathon and for practice runs of up to about 20 miles. For longer runs, either long tights and Desitin in the aforementioned locale and where the seams contact the skin or quarter tights worn wrong side out w/ Desitin.
- Relax Balance Turnover as keys.
- Pick up my heels.
- Don't overstride/Keep feet under me.

Things I'm learning include
- Stretching correlates positively with lower leg injuries (i.e. it causes them).
- It looks advisable to put in runs at 60% to 70% of the target distance.
- Preliminary results indicate that tea with sugar and rice result in a smooth energy curve and no abdominal distress. Just read that Kenyans get about 23% of calories from ugali (corn meal), 20% from sugar, 14% from rice, 13% from milk (in the tea).
- I like long runs, up tempo runs up to maybe 20 miles, and hills.
- Intervals just don't agree with my right hip/hamstring.

I've hit PR's as recently as last year (9.12 miles in an hour, 8 times a 1 km, 500 ft hill in 1:59:57, my one marathon so by definition a PR, the only 5k time I can remember, etc.) but this year I'm kind of flat in spite of having fewer injuries. I'm interested in RUNNING 100 km on the road but without results so far. I'm planning to try a 100 km time trial in a month. Ran a 44 mile run a week and a half back and spent a good week afterwards feeling worn out. Ran 40 miles a week prior to that and had no such problems so I'm still running into little mysteries. So I think for now I'll try to limit my long runs to 40 miles, every other week and try to get in some up tempo runs and hill runs in between. One other factor (here comes the excuse) is that my work schedule has been all over the place the past few weeks. It should return to normal next week which means that I can run in the morning before work.