Monday, March 29, 2010

Big Miles Before American River

Here are the last two weeks of running lined up together:


M- AM 72 min, 10 miles

T-  AM 63 min, 9 miles

W- AM 91 min, 14 miles @ 6:30 pace

     PM 41 min, 6 miles

T- 140 min, 18 miles

F- AM 43 min, 6 miles

     PM 43 min, 6 miles

S- 115 min, 15 miles

S- 75 min, 11 miles

TOTAL: 95 miles, 11 hrs 23 min, 7:11 min/mile


M- AM 66 min, 10 miles

     PM 42 min, 6 miles

T- WORKOUT, AM 8 miles @ 6:40, 8 miles @ 6:30

                      PM 8 miles @ 6:40, 8 miles @ 6:30

Actual:  AM 8 miles (50:38), 8 miles (49:37)

+ 2 mile warmup and 2 mile cooldown (28:12)

PM 8 miles (50:28), 8 miles (50:01)

+ 2 mile warmup and 2 mile cooldown (29:36)

Total speed workout miles: 32

Avg min/mile during workout: 6:16.75

Total miles run: 40

Avg min/mile total: 6:28.09

W- AM 46 min, 6 miles

     PM 44 min, 6 miles

T- AM 89 min, 12 miles

     PM 42 min, 6 miles

F- AM 96 min, 14 miles

     PM 42 min, 6 miles

S- CRUD, 168 min, 17 miles

     C2 Yoga, 75 min

     PM 40 min, 6 miles

S- AM 139 min, 16 miles

     PM 48 min, 6 miles

TOTAL: 151, 18 hrs 42 min, 7:25 min/mile

So, I've been off of the blog for a brief stint.  Mostly, I had nothing to write about.  The week after Salida was a bit boring with mainly recovery miles. This week was quite a bit different.   Originally, I had intended for the weeks to be somewhat similar mileage-wise (somewhere around 130).  But two days after Salida I felt some muscle soreness that told me I might want to back off a little before proceeding to the serious training.  So, after a full week of recovery I was ready to start my last week of high mileage before American River.

This week was not only going to be high mileage, but also quite experimental.  I had been given advice from several people on how to train for this race.  Some said long tempos would do the trick.  Others said high, consistent mileage is the key.  I also heard a few people tell me that quality is the biggest factor.  What I ended up with was a mixture of all three.  

On Monday I decided to get in a solid 16 with my roommate to start off the week well.  There isn't too much to add to that, other than I felt great from the lower mileage week.

Tuesday was a mixture of craziness.  It was my day off of work and I had chosen to do my big workout for that reason.  Seeing that it was warm and sunny outside, I changed my plans a bit to avoid driving to the start of my workout and ended up running 2 miles to warm up.

Once I got to mile marker 31.5 on the Sante Fe Trail, I took off my jacket and knotted it into the handhold on my water bottle, setting it next to the marker.  I had originally wanted to do 

the first of four 8-mile repeats at 6:40 min/mile.  The first mile was on pace, but felt way too comfortable.  I began to lengthen my stride and without much more effort found myself hitting the 2 mile mark at 12:50.  Even though this was much too fast, I still felt great and decided to keep up the effort for the rest of the way, hitting 8 miles in 50:38.  At this point I caught my breath and took a gel and a swig of water.  The next round was a bit faster (49:37) and by the end I was desperate for a drink of water.  Reaching down to my jacket for my water bottle, I noticed it was no longer there.  Someone had actually taken the time to unknot my jacket from the water bottle, and just steal the water bottle.  Cost of jacket: ~ $100.  Cost of water bottle: ~ $22.  This will rack my brain for weeks, months, maybe even years. So, after the second 8-mile jaunt I ran home 2 miles, empty handed, and took an ice bath and a nap to prepare myself

 for the next workout. 

Running back out to the start, I met my friend Harsha at the mile marker.  He was going to run one of the 8 mile time trials with me and it felt great to have some company.  So we set out at a comfortable pace.  However, by the second mile the pace had increased significantly and Harsha's left hamstring was starting to bunch up.  I learned shortly after this that he had already run for 2.5 hours that day.  He told me to go on, and I made my way to the 4 mile turnaround point.  Coming back, I saw Harsha again and he joined me for the last 3 miles or so to the finish.  On the way we met Larry on his bike, and he paced me the entire way back to a time of 50:28.  Setting out north for the last 8 mile split, it began to rain and I tried to stay as close to Larry as I could to avoid the cold rain.  At this point I could feel my body start to become indifferent to the discomfort I was feeling.  I felt the same at 7 minute pace as I did at 6.  As I noticed this, I began to push harder and harder.

By the time we made it to the 4 mile mark, the rain had increased and it was getting windier by the second.  Harsha met us there and I took a quick sip of gatorade before heading back alone.  As I entered the final mile the rain turned into ice pellets and I hammered a 6 flat mile to get to my rain jacket as soon as possible.  I crossed the line in 50:01.  After quickly putting on my jacket and retrieving my water bottle (this one didn't get stolen) I ran home very awkwardly, being pelted by freezing raindrops the entire time.  Being in my apartment for only about 10 minutes, I heard my neighbor exclaim, "HOLY SH*T!!!".  I ran outside, and to my amazement saw a winter wonderland.  About 2 inches of snow had fallen in that short amount of time.  All I could do was laugh.  What an interesting day....

The rest of the week went by very well.  I had a few longish runs on my own and one with CRUD in another blustery, frigid outing.  And to cap off the week, I finished a 16 miler with a new friend named Peter Maksimow.  He is new to the Inov-8 team, and will definitely be a threat this year at Mt. Washington.  Check out his profile here.

Altogether, I think this week went very well.  I managed to rack up a personal record for the amount of miles run, as well as getting in a very solid workout in preparation for American River.  The key points for success were: I had 4 runs that were 1:29:00 or higher, a 40 mile workout, ran 151 miles and scheduled in 7 recovery runs. If I can manage to recover well this week I believe I will be a very dangerous competitor in this race.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Yesterday was a really fun day.  I got to race against a few really great runners, as well as see a bunch of friends I've made over the last couple of months.  Anyway, here is my report:

The day started off by loading myself into the van of runner friend Harry Harcrow.  He and his wife were kind enough to let me tag along on this adventure, and I was more than happy to ride with someone who'd been to the course before.  On the way I got a detailed course description and some wonderful views of the Collegiate peaks.

Once we arrived, I rushed to slip on my trusty Mizuno Wave Ronins and make my way to sign up for the race.  I was still unsure at this point whether or not I would be able to sign up still, since it was 8:40 already and I'd heard there were limited spots left.  But, the day before I'd told myself I'd just run the course anyway and treat it as a training run.  As I made my way over to the Race Day Registration booth, I saw a few other people lined up and knew that I'd made it.

Harry and I jogged our way over to the starting line, where we ran into a few other CRUD members.  We all exchanged "hello's" and toed the line for the start.  I glanced over to my right and saw everybody I'd mentioned in my last posting huddled into one group.

As we began the race, Tim Parr immediately shot out into the lead, and from that point it was a race for second place.  Don't get me wrong, I made an attempt to keep up, but gave up the fight about 5 miles into the 8 mile uphill.  Doing so sent me into a pretty deep oxygen debt and forced me to even walk up some of the steeper parts to catch my breath.  I also decided to drop my handheld bottle at the 3 mile aid station, which happened to have all but one of my gels stored in it.  BAD MOVE.

With about a mile to go before the top Nick Clark and Dan Vega caught up, and on the next big hill passed me without effort.  At that point, I didn't really care about the rest of the race, I just wanted the hill to be over, and I wanted something to eat!  After the 8 miles of uphill, we then reached the cusp and began a very arduous descent to the turn around.  I was struggling to keep up with Nick and Dan but found it impossible to sustain my knee drive with so much mud sticking to the bottom of my shoes.  I eventually found that running in their footsteps made it a lot easier.  I still didn't gain any ground though, these are two guys that do very well on downhills.  Anyway, as we neared the turn around point I saw Tim coming back the opposite way without so much as a bead of sweat on his forehead.  This actually made me laugh out loud as I thought about my own internal struggle just to keep one foot in front of the other.  I just hoped that the other two guys in front of me didn't look the same way.

At the turn around point I figured I was about 200 meters away from Nick and Dan.  This lead increased as I gulped down 3 glasses of gatorade/water and ate a gel.  But, for the amount of time I wasted, I gained back plenty of energy and decided to see if I could catch the pack.  I probably gained about 100 meters back but slowed down as the climbs became steeper toward the top, and their lead grew as they crested the hill and began to bomb down the other side.  Once again, I found that running in their footsteps was the easiest route, and actually gained a bit of ground on them on the less steep downhill grade back down to the turn-off point.  But, having no gels or water bottle, I had to stop and quickly gulp down some gels and water before making my way up the snow-covered jeep trail.

After about 2-3 miles of attempting to gain ground on Nick and Dan, I'd made my way back to within 100 meters.  At this point I decided to make a surge on the uphills and just let my legs coast on the downs.  This worked really well and I eventually regained my position with the pack.  Shortly after, I cut my way between Nick and Dan, and a few minutes after that began to hear Dan's breath behind me get fainter and fainter.

Nick was still powering up the hills and cruising down.  It was really a struggle to keep up with him, but I felt that I needed to at least give it a try for 2nd place.  I would try to surge up a hill, and he would immediately cover it on the downhill.  I would then try to surge on a downhill and he would surge to avoid me passing him.... a VERY strong competitor.  Talking with Nick afterward, it appears we both had the same thought during this exchange, which was "when is this dude gonna break!"

This continued until the steep and technical downhills where he maintained the lead the whole time.  I was really impressed with how agile he was after the 20+ miles of mud and posthole snow we'd run through.  It was at this point where I had already begun to think of ways to describe how I'd lost to Nick in my blog :) But, just as we were nearing the final stages of the technical downhill, I looked back and saw Ryan Burch about 300 meters behind.  This sent me into a wave of panic and I began to high-tail it all the way back up to Nick.  I said, "Burch is 300 meters behind us".  I think he heard something like "Burch is 3rd blah blah".  Regardless, we both began a mile plus sprint downhill before the road section.  This is where I made a final surge and somehow got away from Nick.  I must have looked back about 20 times in the half mile to the finish because I was so spent.  I don't think I could've covered one more move on his part.

So, as I crossed the finish line the RD called out 3:18:15.  I was a little bit disappointed with my choices at the beginning of the race, but eventually found out that Tim Parr was only 5 minutes ahead (he was most definitely taking it easy).  Overall, I think this was a really good chance to see what kind of guts I had to fight for a position.  Also it was well worth it to get some downhill speed and a chance to compete against some superb athletes.

This is probably going to be an early season race I attend for years to come.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Pre Race Jitters

Here is a look at the last two weeks of mileage heading up to Salida:


M- AM 65 min, 10 miles, (hot yoga)

     PM 40 min, 6 miles

T- AM 78 min, 12 miles, (C2 yoga)

     PM 28 min, 4 miles

W- AM 66 min, 10 miles

     PM 40 min, 6 miles

T- AM 71 min, 10 miles (C2 yoga)

     PM 40 min, 6 miles

F- AM 67 min, 10 miles

     PM 41 min, 6 miles

S- AM 189 min, 21 miles 4,665 ft of gain

     PM 46 min, 6 miles

S- AM 36 min, 4 barefoot

     PM 13 min, ~2 miles

TOTAL: 113 miles, 13 hrs 40 min, 7:15 min/mile


M- AM 105 min, 15 miles

     PM 43 min, 6 miles

T- AM 49 min, 7 miles

     PM 42 min, 6 miles

W- AM 112 min, 15 miles

     PM 40 min, 6 miles

T- AM 40 min, 6 miles

     PM 40 min, 6 miles

F- 85 min, 12 miles

S- Salida Marathon, TIME:

S- SOLO, __ min, 6 miles + 2 barefoot

TOTAL: 113 miles, 

I didn't realize how much competition would be in this race when I decided to enter a few weeks ago. Actually, I haven't even entered yet, my plan was just to show up.  That should be a sign of how seriously I was taking this event.

I'm not worried about this news, though.  On the contrary, I'm quite excited.  This is going to be a perfect test to see how hard I can push myself before American River.

Some of the competitors (that I know of) are: Timmy Parr, Ryan Burch, Nick Pedatella, and Nick Clark.  Each of them has their own impressive record, and will likely be pushing for the number 1 spot to add to the list.

Similar to my outlook toward signing up for this race, I also have a lack of plan.  The only thing I have in mind is that fact that I probably need to push the pace early on in order to even remotely have a chance at staving off Parr and his impressive speed (Olympics Trials marathoner, 31-flat road 10k), since the last 7 miles or so is all downhill.  Yikes.  Nick Clark and Ryan Burch also seem to have impressive sub-50 miler speed, with Burch running a 3:11 last year, and Nick having a few early CR's this year.

Needless to say, this will be an exciting race to take part in, as well as being a great tune up for my main goal this year.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mizuno Breath Thermo

I have been wear-testing this new line of gear from Mizuno this entire winter and have been very impressed with the results.

Since the middle of December, I have worn both the Breath Thermo upper and tights in many different conditions and have never had a bad thing to say about them.  Simply put, this is the best cold weather gear I have ever owned.

Tights: While many other brands of tights consist of a thin layer of spandex and a pocket for your key, Mizuno tights are lined with the company's patented Breath Thermo layer.  This not only keeps you warmer, but also gives the tights a soft feel that never chafes.  One might think that with an extra layer added into the tights that they might bind or restrict movement when lengthening stride. I have never experienced such a problem, having worn these while doing tempo runs on flat roads and extended hill climbs up steep mountain trails. I can honestly say that I've run close to 600 miles in these tight since December, and have been comfortable and content for every single one of them.  Great tights!

Fleece 1/2 Zip:  This is a garment I have worn for about 60 days consecutively, whether I am running or relaxing, inside or outside.  This piece of gear, more so than the tights, responds to the surrounding environment. Okay not literally, but its loose fit allows for more thermoregulation.  It heats your body with the thermo technology, but is loose enough to allow air flow.  On colder days (especially when its windy) you can combine this with a with a jacket layer and you'll stay toasty warm.  Once again, this is a product I've used in varied conditions and the only place I've found it uncomfortable is in temperatures above 50 degrees (when its not needed).

Overall, I am ecstatic to have found such a great set of winter gear to run in.  In my opinion, nothing that can compare to the Breath Thermo technology when it comes to battling the cold.

Now, I'm off to find a pair of Breath Thermo gloves!