Sunday, December 30, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

I have two New Year's resolutions.
  1. Post to this blog every week.
  2. Start doing eye exercises.
I'm often discouraged by my lack of consistency and so don't post to the blog. However, I think posting on a regular basis will serve as encouragement during the week - like having someone else on the track when I'm running.

Secondly, doing ankle exercises and core exercises outside of running have yielded results: I don't have problems with my right ankle and soleus anymore and I have better posture when I'm running. So I'm going to add eye exercises since I've noticed some deterioration there.

This week's workouts
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
4 miles (track) 10 miles (road) 10 miles (road) 10 miles (road) 10 miles (road/dirt) Maple Springs Truck Trail - 14 miles paved/dirt, 3000' vertical Nothing - right knee a little sore

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Started vegan diet

My older daughter was home last weekend and my two daughters were watching the Forks Over Knives documentary. I doing things around the house and half listening to the TV. At some point, it caught my attention and I sat down and started watching it. They kept repeating "plant based, whole foods diet" and then detailing various studies that led them to that conclusion and illustrated its benefits. After a while, my thought was "Why haven't my doctors mentioned this?" So the next day, I started on a vegan diet. My breakfast didn't change a bit - oatmeal with almonds, raisins and tea. Lunch was a little different - no eggs in the salad, no yogurt with my fruit and a peanut butter and raisin sandwich. Supper was different. That was Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday were a little difficult. On Wednesday in particular, I was getting frustrated and a bit apathetic at work. On Thursday, I worked from home so I could get something from the kitchen whenever I liked. I kept notes on what I ate. And that night, my wife made fried rice with avocado and that hit the spot. On Friday, I took way too much food to work and was in a great mood all day.

As far as workouts were concerned, first off - this week was somewhat disrupted. The election was on Tuesday and combined with my slow commute home from LA, pretty much canceled the Tuesday workout. Secondly, we were supposed to go sign some documents directly after work on Thursday so that nixed plans for that workout. Finally, we had rain this week in So Cal which means the dirt tracks aren't necessarily usable. In spite of that, I got in what currently pass for my long runs - 10 miles on pavement on both Monday and Wednesday and Harding Truck Trail on Saturday. The first difference I noticed on Wednesday was that my leg (right soleus/ankle) wasn't bothering me. This could have been for a variety of reasons. However on Saturday, the run was definitely better. This run is - generally speaking - a 9 miles climb followed by a 9 mile descent on a rocky fire road. The previous week, I felt worn out about a mile before the top and felt pretty thrashed at the end. In fact, I made a note in my log questioning whether getting thrashed on Saturday was dragging down the rest of the week. This week, I felt fine pretty much throughout, even getting a little knee lift throughout. I felt a little beat up in the last mile but much better than the previous week. Another more subjective difference was that things looked different. Part of this was due to having rain during the week. So a lot of tracks were visible - deer and even what I think were mountain lion tracks. The other thing to note is that I didn't have a particular optimistic frame of mind going into either my Wednesday or Saturday workouts, thinking that it was quite possible in both cases that I might not put in a full workout. What happened though on the Saturday workout at least was that I started the usual monologue in my head about whatever subject and kept my mind occupied that way. So pretty soon I realize - hey there's the 3 mile point and the run keeps going well after that. I didn't time it but I felt like I was moving pretty well by my current standards.

So in summary, I had some expected rough parts figuring out how to implement the diet as well as some (expected) skepticism from my wife. But even within a week, we've figured out some solutions (dishes) for this diet. And finally, I've seen some physical improvements which could be related. So it's going well so far.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thank Goodness for Triggerpoint Foam Rollers

Looking at my log, I started my most recent struggle on 8/13/2012. I ran up Silverado Motorway and aggravated my sore soleus and ankle on the right side. I injured that soleus in college. I think my achilles is partially detached on that side - at any rate, I can feel a bit of a groove running down the middle of that soleus. So obviously, I've been running on that for years including all of my post-high school PRs. But every so often, it gets aggravated. My daughter came down to SoCal to compete in the Great Catalina Dory Race.
From The Great Catalina Dory Race, Sep 16, 2012
She gave me a Triggerpoint foam roller and also told me to start doing calf raises, pressing through the ankle flex. In addition, I've been doing various exercises for my lower leg - point/flex foot, ankle circles, balance on my forefoot, balance on a ball on one foot. But the critical improvement has been using that foam roller every day.
From Foam Roller
My leg has been getting more and more solid over the past week. I ran a flat 15.5 miles yesterday and it only bothered me a bit between 12 and 13 miles. Then today I ran up Silverado Motorway and it only bothered me a little in the last 100 yards.
From Silverado Motorway, Oct 21, 2012
10/1/2012Larwin 9 laps, A, B7th, NE loopLarwin 9 laps, A, B6xturnbull - 49:32off6 on HTT9xWorkman Hill in 32:38
10/8/2012Bike commute from IRVBike commute from LAoff2 Signal Hill LapsoffMaple Springs Truck Trail9xWorkman Hill in 32:02
10/15/2012"A", "B", 5x1k (5:25, 5:13, 5:01, 4:49, 4:46)7th, NE loop - about 70 minutes5k in 26:14 - 5:33, 5:28, 5:20, 5:07, 4:466xturnbulloff15.5 - 4xhome loopBedford

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Consistency, Inconsistency, Too Bad

Well I had 3 or 4 pretty consistent weeks but that was a while ago. I really can't seem to push my mileage more than 50 per week for more than a week. But too bad, I'm not going to worry about it. I'm just going with the workouts that seem to work including (gasp) riding the bike. So now most Tuesdays, I ride 29 miles home from downtown LA and Fridays I'm going to ride 24 miles home from Irvine. The latter definitely affects my Saturday workout but oh well. This week I switched my weekend road run to Saturday and did a reduced trail run on Sunday. So I'm going with that for now and still trying to get some consistency. Today, I ran up in the Whittier hills. I saw 7 tarantula hawks - big black wasps with orange wings - and 5 rattlesnake tracks all in the same place, I guess from an indecisive snake. I found a poor little dying lizard that apparently had just been run over by a mountain bike. Those little lizards seem so innocent. I passed 6 mountain bikes on the next climb as a tiny measure of justice. On Thursday, I went back to my usual hill repeats off Turnbull Canyon in Whittier.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Jokes for the week

Just to give you an idea of the sort of jokes I make...

To my wife and mother-in-law (and spoken in Khmer),
"Jovena (the cat) wakes up at 4 am; I wake up at 4 am.
Jovena takes naps; I take naps.
Jovena eats grass; I eat grass."
Almost true - I had been pulling weeds in the backyard and eating the little seedpods of the Oxalis.

When my wife wasn't feeling too great,
me: "Do men have anything to do with menopause?"
wife: "Yes!"

To a co-worker,
"You're at your best when you're sarcastic and abusive."
True. He's been given both my approval and our manager's encouragement to needle me when I get temperamental with the other guys in the group (because I find it useful and it comes naturally to him). That's the abusive part. Then this week when I spammed him by pasting 30 rows of text in a group chat that was useful only for one guy, he replied with "Oh great, now I have crap all over my screen." which I thought was a good comment (in a way) supporting focused communications. BTW, he thought the joke was funny judging by the chuckling.

After crashing my bike and scraping up my hands, side, left elbow and leg ,
to my wife: "Don't worry; The bike's ok."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Titus Van Rijn

My next "race" goal is the Titus Van Rijn Invitational - a friendly postal competition where a friend of mine sets a couple of dates between which you run for an hour on a track and send in the distance. I didn't run last year because I was recovering from surgery or the year before because I was sick, probably a precursor to my problems. Other than those two years, I've never run less than 8 miles. I think I have an outside chance at running 8 miles (or at least 12.8k) this year but I need to improve. I ran 14 miles in 1:57:50 back in January. I think I'm probably capable of squeezing out 7.5 miles at present.

I got in a couple of pretty consistent weeks, running 1 hour on Tuesday, 17 mile road run on Thursday, then hill repeats and a mountain run on the weekend. Then this week, I started commuting home from downtown LA on the bike. This turned out to be tougher than I recalled and I didn't do myself any favors in several respects (< 20 pounds pressure in my back tire, crooked seat, etc). Going out 6th street, then Whittier Blvd was pretty much a sprint workout with all of the stop lights and the cars providing motivation. Then I still had to go maybe 15 miles more (with a pretty hefty laptop and clothes in my backpack). Of course this is on a fixed gear (GT Tequesta).

So after that, the big running workouts this week were
  • Wed - 13 miles in just under 2 hours. As I recall, I picked the pace up the last 4 miles or so. I'd like to get this to 14 miles next week.
  • Fri - 2 x 3 miles, averaging 8:01 pace. I'm generally pleased with this pace and hope to improve on this gradually.
  • Sat - Short hill repeat workout. I didn't want to wear myself out half a day after the Fri workout.
  • Sun - 11 mile fartlek run on roads with 2 x 1 mile in the middle at 7:05 and 7:08. This is new. I think I can add a few more intervals eventually.

The 2 hour run has been a good preparation for the TVR in the past so that's the over-distance run, the tempo workout on Friday s/b basically race pace, and then I have fartlek intervals at faster than race pace. So I think this is a pretty good mix. I think I'll stay with this basic set until TVR (possibly with some more easy runs and another hill workout), then maybe switch into a marathon or ultra-marathon mix.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Oh that's good. No, that's bad.

When my girls were little, they had a book I would read where something would happen and then it would say "Oh, that's good." then "No, that's bad." So I felt a bit like that this week.

First of all, I started getting consistent back in January with a couple of hill repeat workouts per week followed by long runs. Then I felt the precursors of plantar fasciitis coming on from the hill repeats. I think my mistakes were 1) I jumped from 3000' gain to 4000' gain in the hill repeat workouts and 2) I was trudging - running while tired.

Oh, that's bad.

Then, I didn't help the problem when I went out and ran 30 miles to see if I could get through it. I did get through it (Oh, that's good) but it wasn't pretty and I ended up with sore feet (Oh, that's bad). So I've been thrashing around since then.

I go to my cardiologist and he has me start taking Diovan. I knew this was in the works. He says that after bypass surgery, the concern the cardiologists have is enlargement of the heart or as he says "baggy" and Diovan is one drug that's supposed to address this. I take that (80 mg) once at night. The other drug I have to treat high blood pressure is Metoprolol/Lopressor. I've been taking 25 mg (half a pill) in the morning and 25 mg at night. He has me taking a quarter pill at night for 2 weeks to gradually get me off Lopressor for the nighttime dose. So my last 12.5 mg pm dose was last night. There have been 3 effects during this transition:

  1. My blood pressure is low. When I told him about my 30 mile run, he asked me what my blood pressure was (dunno). So 5 minutes after a recent 17 mile run, I took my blood pressure. Couldn't get it. So took a shower and ate something. An hour later, I took my blood pressure. 98/62. That explains why I was getting light headed when I stopped. "Oh, that's bad. No, that's good." or at least it is better than having high blood pressure. Today, I did a 14 mile mountain run - so 7 miles up (2700' climb) and 7 miles down. Not long after I started going back down, I started feeling off. I realized my blood pressure was low. So I decided to speed up to make more of an effort and to put my thighs to work so they would help pump blood. Then I figured that I would have to lighten up my steps if I didn't want to beat up my legs. That led to me running with better and better form so that was really good.
  2. I've been having abdominal issues (diarrhea). I went out for a run a week ago after pooping (running is not pretty) 4 times before leaving the house. I didn't even start because I was still having abdominal issues. "Oh, that's bad." Yes it is but since then, I stopped eating in the morning before my weekend runs (no pun intended). I drink a large mug of hot tea with 4 heaping teaspoons of sugar and that seems to do the trick. I've had enough energy and have not had the abdominal issues. "Oh, that's good."
  3. My libido is back. "Oh, that's good." Yes it is.

Finally, this past week, I've had some little complaints from my heart. This happened early on after my surgery and has come back a little. The first time is when I ran 4 miles at 7:50 pace. This was the first time that I had averaged under 8:00 for quite a while and the first time that I felt like I was pushing my aerobic capabilities since surgery. There was one time during the third mile and once during the fourth where I got a little complaint. Both times I thought I was pushing or straining a little bit and just relaxed to fix it. I finished the run as planned but I still felt a little strained 2 days later and didn't run much. Today on the long climb, there were a couple of little complaints and I backed off a little each time. This may be due to the new drug or my body adapting to it. But the main lesson I take from it is not to strain during a workout. I think I've mentioned that in the past I've liked to do run to failure workouts where I can't run at the end of them. I just can't do that any more and I'm not sure that I profited from them at the time. So now, I'm think that I should stay relaxed, keep good form and not get exhausted during workouts. So yesterday when I was doing hill repeats, I had planned to do a maximum of 8. However, I found my legs getting fatigued on the 7th so I made that the last one.

So when I have these revelations and learn (or re-learn) lessons, I get hints that I'm on the right track when they remind me of coaching tips I've read. I've read from several sources not to run to exhaustion or words to that effect. Bruce Fordyce comes to mind. However, I've also read that Paul Tergat would run hill repeats until he's ready to faint. Also, I recall from my powerlifting days that I thought of workouts as practicing form with enough weight to make it interesting (and I used plenty of weight). So besides avoiding exhaustion and monitoring muscle fatigue, I'm going to practice my form, specifically relax, stand tall and lift my feet. The results over the last two days is that shortly after my workouts, I've felt like I could go right back and run some more.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but they also work in lieu of toilet paper

That means I got in a long trail run today.
I'm reporting for two weeks. Last week - life intervened. Life also intervened this week but I managed to get my workouts in for the most part.
    Last week, I missed my long run because I had to help my daughter with important errands on Thursday. Also missed Saturday because of weather, at least that's my excuse. Sunday however turned out to be a good workout - back to "Run To Failure" since I was unable to run the mile home from the track.
  • Tue, 1/17 - 13 Turnbull Canyon hill repeats, 3k+ climb, 7.5 miles
  • Wed, 1/18 - Easy but hilly 4 at Signal Hill
  • Sun, 1/22 - 1 mile warmup, 14 in 1:57:50 at Cypress College - 8:25 pace. I did 8:34 pace for 8 miles last year (post-op) so this is improvement. I think I'll run on the track every other Thursday.

    This week (and last), I was working a lot. I worked 13+ hours on Tuesday so I delayed my hill repeats until Wednesday. I did 4k worth of climb on both hill repeat days which had an effect on both subsequent days.
  • Mon, 1/23 - 2 easy in the park
  • Wed, 1/25 - 17 Turnbull hill repeats, 4k climb, 9.8 miles
  • Thu, 1/26 - 10 miles road. Right hip was bothering me so I cut the long run short.
  • Sat, 1/28 - 17 Turnbull hill repeats
  • Sun, 1/29 - Whittier/Schabarum trail loop - about 19 miles. I didn't bonk like the previous time but my pace was pretty pathetic at the end so I didn't lengthen it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Back in the saddle - last two weeks

I was still recovering at the beginning of last week but was on vacation this week and had plenty of opportunity to get in the workouts. And the workouts are going to change slightly to be like this:
  • Tue - Hill Repeats or possibly intervals
  • Wed - Easy 4
  • Thu - Long road run (17 miles) or long track run (16 miles)
  • Sat - Hill Repeats
  • Sun - Long trail run

The goal for both hill repeat workouts is 4k' climb in 10 miles.
The Thu run is going to stay at around 17 miles.
The Sun run hopefully is going to grow to 50k as preparation for 50 mile races.

Since John Davis proposed the Baldy Peaks 100 mile run and I started training for that, I've found that hill repeats not only prepare me for mountain running, they also improve my speed. And the other thing I'm finding these days is that you can run the next day.
So -

  • Tue 1/3/2012 - 2x2k in Twyla Reid park (I was still recovering)
  • Thu 1/5/2012 - 17 miles (Seal Beach run)
  • Sat 1/7/2012 - 4xS Ridge (2k' climb, 5 miles)
  • Sun 1/8/2012 - Whittier - Schabarum Park loop - 19 hilly miles (I bonked)
  • Tue 1/10/2012 - 5xS Ridge (2.5k' climb, 6.25 miles) - felt very comfortable. Could easily have done more.
  • Wed 1/11/2012 - 4 miles easy at Signal Hill (hilly)
  • Thu 1/12/2012 - Harding Truck Trail - first time in a long while, maybe a year. 3300' climb, 18.3 miles
  • Sat 1/14/2012 - 13xRose Hills Road (new and really like it). 3k+ climb, 7.8 miles
  • Sun 1/15/2012 - Seal Beach run - 17 miles. Probably cut about 1 min/mile off previous pace.

So obviously from the Sunday run, I'm feeling pretty good. I was pretty much over the cough from December until the 1/8 run. That brought it back.

The advantages of the new Rose Hill Road repeats are
  • Much less likely to get kicked out because the park is closed compared to S Ridge hill.
  • Nice surface, even climb. This plus the shorter distance allows me to run this repeat better than S Ridge, both up and down.
  • Not as popular as S Ridge. Minor advantage but this reduces distractions.

Rose Hills Road:

Harding Truck Trail (to 9.15 mile mark):

Monday, January 2, 2012

End the year - with a whimper

I got sick - the same cold everyone has been getting. On 12/21 I tried going for a 6 mile jog. That run exhausted me to the point that I got chills. I started recovering a bit on Xmas when I ran 3 times this hill in Whittier. I think I should be mostly recovered this next week although I am going to slowly ramp up the interval workouts on Tuesday.

Gary and Pam Hilliard are the new RD's for the Orange Curtain races. These are scheduled for 3/3/2012 so I plan to run the 50k. I think I should be running 50k on the weekends by then if things go well.