Sunday, September 21, 2008

Most of Mountains to Sea

Orange County has a Mountains to the Sea trail although not as long as that of North Carolina. The Orange County one is 22 miles long including a loop in Weir Canyon. I ran the (mostly) paved portion of it between Chapman Ave (Irvine Park) and Newport Back Bay on Saturday. I parked at Harvard Park and ran two out and backs - 20 miles to the beach and 16 miles to the Taco Bell up at Chapman and Jamboree.
I wanted to bump up my long run to about 36 miles this week but I was still suffering a little from Wednesday's workout. Somehow a 36 mile run with only one stop back at the car seemed like the perfect solution. Actually, it worked out well. As long as I could get started on the second part, I just kept going until I stopped at Taco Bell for an iced tea, then I was forced to keep running, even if it was at 5 mph.
A bunch of volunteers were cleaning out trash from Newport Back Bay. One piece of trash was a mine (used to blow up submarines) apparently left from WWII. I heard on the news that morning that a WWII era bomb blew up in Europe so I told one of the volunteers that they might want to take it a little more seriously then just letting it sit by the side of the road. Does that mean I've turned into a boring old man? I saw what looked like a men's cross country team with some women too in Irvine. I assumed it was UCI and not Concordia since I didn't see Alma Escobar but now it looks like she's transferred to San Diego State.
Anyway, since I wanted to bump up miles but didn't feel like pushing the pace, I left my watch at home and did an exploration run. The result was an interesting day and I got in my miles.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

16 miles under 2:00

I hit one of my milestones for the year last night. I wanted to get my 16 mile run on the track under 2 hours. This is the same workout I skipped last week because my knee was sore. I ran this last night in 1:57:48 (7:22 average) with only one mile slower than 7:30. So anyway, my current schedule of 20+ road miles on Monday, 16 miles on track on Wednesday and 50k+ on Saturday has been yielding consistent improvements.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bad week but two good workouts

Blah, blah, excuse, blah but I ran back to park and ride from work on Monday (21 miles) and was just cruising. Also ran 50k today (Saturday) again with very even splits and the last lap the fastest. And faster than last week by probably 15 minutes. My other big workout is on Wednesday. That's a track workout - 16 miles with a current goal of 2 hours. My fifth mile was 7:25 but my left knee started hurting on the last lap so I stopped. I'm blaming it on crashing my bike on the way to the track. I turned quickly, my pedal hit the ground and then I hit the ground. My bike is a fixed gear which means I can't coast. I also changed the crankset recently from 160 cm to 170 cm for mechanical reasons - that made me more prone to pedal strikes. Blah blah excuse blah.
I've decided to take iron after each of my big workouts. Iron seems to be my key for avoiding dead legs so I'll try to take it a little more often than once per week.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I'm back

I'm back in the sense that my running is going well. Therefore, I'm posting again.
I got 100 miles last week. That didn't happen this week but my runs are improving steadily. In the weeks prior, I had been hitting 60 to 70 pretty regularly. This week was 78. My right foot was sore on Tuesday and my right knee today so I took those two days off.

I had lower leg issues for a while but those are pretty much gone. I'm being a little more cautious now to avoid injuries. I write the alphabet with each foot both forward and in mirror image each morning before getting out of bed. Also, when my right ankle was bothering me on a run, I'd rock it back and forth quickly when standing and that seemed to help. The other thing I'm doing consistently now which helps is stretching - soleus, gastrocnemius, hamstring hip and back, quadriceps.

I ran a 6 hour race a few weeks back which was my first race in 11 months. I was able to run the entire race despite the weather getting hot by dowsing my head every 1.25 mile lap with water.

Practices have been going well. I finally decided that I could run home from work so started doing that. Most of the time, I can get someone to take my laptop home but a couple of times, I've had to run home with it in a backpack. It's either 21 or 22 miles depending on whether I run to Park and Ride or home. So now I do a long road run on Mondays. Wednesdays are a 16 mile track run. The goal is to break 2 hours and my progression so far has been 2:11, 2:06 and just under 2:04. Saturday is a 50k (for now) road run. I faded towards the end on the first week. My legs were dead on the second week and I only finished 23 miles. This week I ran 50k at a very even pace, staying within 30 seconds of 36 minutes for a 6.25 km loop. I hope to speed it up but hitting an even pace is a first step.

The dead legs reminded me that I need to take iron when running more miles. I used to take one pill every week. I think I'll go with 2 pills per week for now.

So a few lessons learned and now some optimism about the coming races. I think the next is going to be Helen Klein on 11/1.

Happy trails,