Sunday, July 7, 2013

7/1/2013 through 7/7/2013

I had dead legs shorten my long climbs on Thursday and Saturday.  I'm going to blame that on the generally low mileage I've been running since Bishop (roughly 50/week), lack of vertical and particularly bad week last week (32).  In the end, I got in 8 runs for 65 miles this week.  I also came up with a new workout this week which I call Negative Mile Split.  After the warmup, the idea is to split each mile faster until you can't or don't want to anymore.  I ran just 3 miles on the clock with splits of 9:23, 8:13 and 7:03.  The 7:03 is probably the fastest accurate mile split I've had recently.  I was amused that the difference between the splits was 1:10 both times.  I can see a wide range of variation for this workout.  I also see this workout adapting to how you feel that day.

  • Mon: Laguna Canyon: 12 mi, 1907 vertical
  • Tue: 10x800 on a rough track, 3:42 average
  • Wed: Bolsa Chica - 10.2 mi, 9:43 average
  • Thu: Part of Maple Springs Truck Trail (dead legs) - 10 mi, 2021 vertical
  • Fri: El Dorado Park (road) - 10.2 mi, 10:18 average
  • Sat am: Part of Harding Truck Trail (dead legs) - 4.4 mi, 991 vertical
  • Sat pm: Negative Mile Splits - 5.1 mi in all
  • Sun: Rose Hills Road hill repeats - 5 miles, 1635 vertical

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bishop 50k

I ran the BHS 50k on May 18th.  This was basically intended to be a confidence builder.  I expected that I would either do ok or have problems.  I figured the outcome would be the same either way: either I'd have the confidence to start running 50k workouts on weekends (if I did ok) or I'd feel the need to do 50k workouts on weekends (if I didn't).  This is how it worked out.

I drove up Friday morning and checked in at the Millpond campground, site of the race start and where I was camping out that night.  Then I hung around Bishop until the pre-race dinner.  The couple in the adjacent campsite (Matt and Karen) was also there for the race - Matt was competing (got 2nd in the 50 mile) and Karen was going to ride her mtn bike and pace a bit.  My cardiologist told me I should acclimate before the race.  I thought hanging out at 4000' was adequate.  It was very windy in the evening when I was setting up the tent but not  that bad the rest of the time.  At about sunset, I went for a walk out the back of the campground to check out thee start of the racecourse.  I was reminded that it was pretty sandy (I've run the 50 mile 3 times in the past-Bishop was my first ultra).

On race morning, I ate my oatmeal, got ready and went to the start line.  I didn't recognize a lot of people.  I figured I'd go with a DFL start to avoid going out too fast.  So I started out at a reasonable pace.  I wearing some Moeben sleeves but had already warmed up by the time I past my car that I took them off.  My friend Flaco  was fiddling with his knee wrap when I got done dropping them off.  I started back in running an easy pace.  In this first part of the course, I eventually recognized a guy who had run my race - Rafael.  We were running a similar pace so we were talking a bit.  After a ways into the race, the long climb starts that is the trademark of the BHS ultras.  No more conversation at that point.  So this also means that I was climbing in elevation.  Just before the 10 mile point, I saw my friend Tracy and stopped and chatted for about 20 seconds.  Just after that, the altitude started to affect me.  I think I walked from about 11 miles to the turnaround at 17 miles.   We were at 8000' at that point but for some reason, I got acclimated at that point.  I was able to run easily at this point.  Pretty soon I was pulling away from the pair I had been chatting with.  I caught up to another guy and ran with him for a little while.  Then on a downhill into the next aid station, I started pulling away strongly.  The long downhill to the finish starts at that point and I found I could run it pretty strongly.  So I started hauling and running right over any rocks.  I passed at least 10 people in the last 16 miles of the 33 mile 50k :-).  I saw some pictures from the race at 30 miles and I had a smile on my face.  I finished in 7:21 something, 4th in my age group.  Nothing earthshaking but certainly a confidence  builder.

Post race, I've had some good workouts but 2 1/2 weeks later, I still have yet to get back in the swing of things.  So the lessons learned are these.
1) My workouts are adequate to run a 50k and possibly a 50 mile in spite of not running a long run.
2) I won't name names but I notice that I'm not the only one dealing with problems.  Certainly there are people out there with greater difficulties than mine.
3) It's taking me a while to recover from the race.  This mitigates against entering a lot of races - certainly ultras.
4) I need better acclimation to altitude next time.
5) I really enjoyed getting back out on a race course.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Keep It Up

First of all, I really broke one of my New Year's resolutions which was to post weekly.  Oopsies.  However, the good news is that one of my excuses has been that I've been busy - running!
Let's start at the start.  My younger daughter told me a little story that my wife wanted me to 1) build up my arms and 2) grow a mustache.  Of course, this was a complete fabrication.  I was already working on my upper body so I took this as an excuse to grow a mustache.  And I wanted to model my mustache after the great runners of the 70's: Prefontaine, Shorter but especially after the course record holder for Angeles Crest - Jim O'Brien.  So this prompted me to Google Jim O'Brien Angeles Crest and read some of the articles.  I saw one video on Flotrack where he was talking about meeting Arthur Lydiard in a shoe store and talking to him for 2+ hours.  I read about some of Jim's philosophy regrading ultra running as related by Joe Franko in a Larry Gassan article.  At this point (late March) I had been stuck in a rut of running 40 to 50 miles on a good week.  I'd have a good workout here and there but didn't feel like I really was doing all that my body would allow.  So I guess I just started out by trying to run 10 miles a day for a week.  That week started out with a run up Harquahala Mountain in western Arizona.  I kind of expected to have some days where my legs were dead but got through the week with 7 10 mile days.  I extended that on to get through the month of April only missing 1 day (when I had a 2+ hour dentist appt) and getting 66 to 70 miles per week.  At the same time, I've come close to tripling the amount of vertical (climb) per week, starting at just under 3500' and getting just under 9700' this past week.  My experience in the past was basically what Frank Shorter said - "Hill training is speed work in disguise."  And presently, when I do my 2 hour track runs, the limiting factor seems to be my lower legs, not my cardio capacity.  So my near term goal is to be able to perform my 3 targeted workouts per week: Monday - 14 miles in 2 hours on the track, Thursday - 3500' of vertical on a particular hill in Whittier in 2 hours (or close) and Saturday - do one of the mountain runs.  Otherwise, keep the mileage steady until I'm consistently hitting those goal workouts.
Along the way, I run into various problems and then come up with a fix.  So in trying to do everything right, I've come up with this list:

  • I have two sets of exercises mainly to work on core and upper body strength.
  • Use the foam roller after workouts on my legs.
  • Stretch after workouts
  • Eat something right after a workout.  After yesterday's mountain run, I ate a tamale, chocolate soy milk, bagel and baked potato on the drive home.
  • Get enough sleep.  Can be difficult during the week.
  • Keep the callus on my foot in check.
The next thing I'll add to the list probably will be drills and warmups before the track workout.  I severely negatively split this workout last week and I need to do something to start at a faster pace.

So I've been consistent over the last 5 weeks in miles run but have been progressing in terms of vertical.  Those numbers are 66.8/3487, 69.7/7562, 66.3/5545, 70.2/6472, 74.2/9697.  So I'm going to keep my workouts pretty consistent, trying to improve the pace on Monday and Thursday in particular and putting a lot of effort into recovering from each workout.

Monday, February 18, 2013

2/11/2013 - 2/17/2013 - week of the meteor and Oscar Pistorius

Nothing remarkable from me for the week. I was just trying to set myself for a good repeat on the 2 hour run the following Monday. 45 miles for the week.
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Laguna Canyon trail run - 9.1 miles Laguna Canyon trail run - 9.1 miles 12xRose Hills Road hill climb 10.1 mile easy run in Tempe, Az along a canal 10.3 mile easy run in Tempe, Az along a canal, along with 8 short hill repeats in the middle of it.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

14.25 miles in 1:59:51

The reason I put that for my title is that is my best workout since my heart attack and for a couple of years before that. The first 7 miles averaged roughly 8:30 and the second 7 averaged under 8:20. I miscounted laps on one of the later miles, giving me that extra .25. What I'd really like to do is run 14 miles in 2 hours on a weekly basis. So we'll see what happens. I missed posting last week so here are the last two weeks (the 14.25 makes up for what the rest lacks).
1 x 1k6 repeats - Rose Hills Road (muddy)12 repeats - Rose Hills RoadEasy 11.8 trail, pm gym10 miles in 1:29:36Easy 11.8 trail
10 miles in 1:27:28Med Ball throw and kickEasy 11.8 trail14.25 in 1:59:51Rest

P.S. I've been doing a set of 15 (now 16) exercises most weekday mornings.

P.P.S. I just went back and looked and saw that I ran 14 miles in 1:57:50 on 1/22/2012. My pace this week was about 3 seconds per mile faster and of course, there was that extra quarter mile. That workout was on the same track - Cypress College.

P.P.P.S. The 14 miles wasn't that difficult. I kept keying on 1) Lift your heels and 2) don't wallow or in other words stay tall, especially on my feet and hips.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Stupido, Tonto

Actually more like one step forward, two steps back. My weight was back up to 143 this week from 138. I focused on eating complete protein with each meal and after a workout. I also increased how much I ate for breakfast. That helped eliminate the dead legs I've been feeling.

After the rain on Friday, I tried running Harding Truck Trail on Saturday but it was pretty muddy and slippery. So instead I made the mistake of going on a 17 mile road run. That left me with the usual small but persistent pain in my right soleus. I think it's best if I just stay off pavement. So here's what happened this week.

10 miles on track in 1:33:01 with a big speedup over the last 4 milesFailed interval workout at Larwin Park7.6 mile out and back in Laguna Canyon7.6 mile out and back in Laguna Canyonnothing (rain)17 mile road run to Seal Beachnothing (pain in soleus)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Trail Maintenance Causes Erosion

I did my usual Sunday run on Silverado Motorway. My legs were pretty dead last weekend but were ok today. I noticed that someone did trail maintenance sometime during the week. This consisted of the usual cutting brush and putting in water diversion dams. They also installed some of these metal drain pipes like those installed on Harding Truck Trail after the big fire.

While running and thinking about these actions, I decided both these actions would exacerbate water caused erosion rather than limiting it.

  • Cutting brush is obvious. If you remove brush and especially if you kill the plant, you take away brush that slows the flow of rain and you kill roots that would help hold soil in place.
  • The idea behind water diversion dams is that if rain runs down the trail and causes erosion, a water diversion dam will divert water off the trail before the water picks up too much speed. However there is little erosion of the trail due to rain. The only water related erosion on this trail is where water is diverted off the trail down the side of the mountain. One of the gullies that results is about 15 to 20 feet deep. So by diverting water off the trail, they'll just cause more of the same erosion. The drain gutters that they put in will just speed up the water and focus it on a particular spot on the hillside, causing even worse erosion. If you want a good indication of what this will do, look at what has happened on Harding Truck Trail.
This shows one gully off Silverado Motorway caused by the diversion of water off the trail.
This link shows pretty severe erosion at about the 3 mile mark of Harding Truck Trail, pretty obviously caused by one of the rain gutters installed since the fire

Enough of that negativity. I was back down to 138 pounds this week and had a few days where my legs felt dead. I have a strategy though and the main idea is to get complete protein, for instance by mixing peanut butter with my oatmeal.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
10 miles on Oxford track in about 1:33 5x1k 9.1 mile Irvine trail loop 3xRose Hills Road climb - foot was tight Nothing (went to Cirque Du Soleil with family 10.5 Trail loop in Rowland Heights. Stopped and rested on one climb Silverado Motorway in 1:43 - not bad

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Figured out a good Irvine trail

I've worked in Irvine for a while and haven't found any good trails which would compare with those in Habitat Authority. I'm talking about something like a 10 mile loop (NOT PAVED) with hills in a fairly wild area. The Puente Hills in the Habitat Authority area (by Whittier/Hacienda Heights/Roland Heights/La Habra Heights) are about 700 feet higher than the surrounding area. It's not difficult to find a trail or dirt road with a significant amount of climb - 400 to 500' - in a mile or less. So although there are some hills in Irvine - for instance off Portola Parkway - I had not found any hilly remote areas with accessible trails. The Quail Hills 1.7 mile loop is pretty flat, not that remote (it borders the 405) and it's only 1.6 miles long (boring). I had also run along the crushed granite path that borders Shady Canyon. Crushed granite is nice because it doesn't turn to mud when it rains but otherwise, boring. So I was browsing through the area via Google Earth and started looking at the trail which started across the street from the Quail Hills trailhead on the south end of the sports park. I got around to exploring it this week after work and it's pretty good. The route I took is 9 miles with what Strava says is 1.6k worth of climb, about evenly split between the initial out-and-back and 4.3 mile loop at the far end. I've also figured out another option which would add 2.6 miles on to the loop. The far end goes through the Nix Nature Center in Laguna Canyon (with bathrooms and water and even maps). Coming back from the nature center would have been confusing with various roads splitting off from the one I want to stay except for 3 things: 1) I can usually figure out which road I should take 2) I had my phone with Google Navigation and 3) they have very good signage on the road which keeps you going the way I wanted to go. On Wednesday, I finished in the dark which wasn't much of a problem. The last fairly steep downhill is not perfectly smooth but I didn't have problems with it in the dark. On Friday, I cut 19 minutes off my time and 0.3 miles of detours I took on Wednesday and finished before it was dark.

One thing to mention is that there are plenty of wildlife cameras next to the trail. There's one by the really expensive homes that has a flash which bewildered me (lightning?) on Wednesday. I figured out the source of the flash on Friday so the next time I run through there, I'm definitely going to "moon" it.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had been losing weight on the new diet. That got turned around once I told my wife about it but at the end of the week, I got tired of packing myself with food. So now, I'll eat per my appetite and see what happens to my weight.

Also ran half of what used to be my easy hill repeat workout in Whittier - repeats of a 2.5 mile loop with 689' of climb as I recall. That seems like a good candidate for Thursday workouts when I can get up there with at least an hour of daylight. I used to run 4 washing machine loops (counter clockwise, clockwise, counter clockwise, clockwise) in what I recall was close to 1:50. I'm interested to see how close I can get that to 2 hours.

My legs were sort of dead this past weekend. I had to walk on stretches up the Silverado Motorway this morning. In the recent past, running Silverado Motorway on Sunday set up some good track runs on Monday so I'll see how that goes tomorrow.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
4.5 miles on track. Just didn't feel like it. 2xS Loop in Whittier, 5 miles, about 1.4k Irvine Loop, 9.4 nothing (rain) Irvine Loop, 9.1, allegedly 1.6k 5x1k, averaging about 4:50 (legs dead), "A" drills Silverado Motorway, 6.2 miles, 2k (legs tired)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

137 pounds

I got all the way down to 137 pounds due to the vegan diet. I weighed 145 pounds as a high school senior running cross country and track so that seemed light. We adjusted my diet, eating more potatoes, beans and grain and I gained back 3 pounds.

I repeated a couple of old mistakes 1) focusing on mileage and 2) therefore running a lot of flat road runs. And while I was doing that, I neglected my exercises. After a week and a half of that, my soleus got sore again and the backs of my knees started having some little problems (lower hamstring). So last week looked like this.

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
El Dorado Park - 10 nothing Irvine Figure 8 Loop - 10 El Dorado Variant - 10 nothing nothing "A" exercises