Saturday, February 15, 2014

Tough Training Week (2/09-2/15)

Sunday (2/09): 7 miles
Last day at Homochitto for the weekend. This morning Kyle, Grits, and I did the Mills Branch trail. It was such a great weekend with perfect weather for trail running. It was great to spend the weekend in a single track state of mind. Core strengthening at home.
Monday (2/10): 10 miles
Went up to Tunica for some hill repeats. Two mile warm up then 16X300 meter repeats. Two mile cool down. Avg: 1:36 min/repeat. These hurt, really hurt. I think my legs were exhausted from running hilly trails all weekend. After this workout, I don't want to see another hill for at least a week. This workout was particularly exhausting as it was lightly raining and about 36 degrees. This day I was really questioning what I have been doing to myself, then I realized I'm not just chasing the dream but living it.
Tuesday (2/11): Day off.
Wednesday (2/12): 12 miles
Two mile warm up. 7 mile tempo. Total time: 41:46, Avg pace: 5:57 min/mi. I was pretty happy with this workout, as I wasn't far off last week's pace. Even though I started off feeling rough, I found my stride after a few miles, which seems to be the trend with these workouts. Three mile cool down.
Thursday (2/13): 8 miles
Another grueling workout that was tough to finish. No barefoot drills as I have been having a nagging knee and the drills don't help it. Core strengthening at home.
Friday (2/14): 5 miles
Did an easy five on Hooper trails with Maureen as part of our Valentine's date. Our love of plants and running brought us together so it seemed fitting to go an trail run date since we haven't in so long. Still felt rough today, the knee was particularly sore.
Saturday (2/15): 20 miles
Today was a pretty solid run. I intended on doing three Beast loops and then some but the late start forced me to run only two loops then the remaining mileage on the flats. My knee felt decent throughout the run; however, there were some technical spots that hurt it but on the flats it was fine. Over all today, I felt really tired and didn't have my usually pep in my stride. Today also made me realize while I run a lot of flats to increase my speed, I also need to focus on maintaining my technical trail skills.

Weekly Total: 62 miles
While I'm happy with making it through another week, I'm not so happy with how my body is handling everything. This week I only had two "green" days and three "yellow" days in a row. I really think I'm breaking down which is what I want to happen, but I have some parts hurting that are borderline injuries so I think its in my best interest to back off a little. So, next weekend I may take a few days in a row off and give my body some much needed rest.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Training Week (2/01-2/08)

All in all this week was very good. It was my fourth consecutive week of training which is very rare. I usually complete three weeks and have to bike the next due to sickness, vacation, stress, or fatigue but not this week. However, I had one "red" day this week. I use a color coding system that I learned from reading a training article by Andy Jones Wilkins. Basically, you have three colors: green indicates the workout was executed perfectly, you felt great and could have ran harder. Yellow is a borderline color. It indicates you completed the workout but you were very tired and struggled to get through it. Red is a bad color. You don't want many red days. Red is for a failure to complete a workout for reasons such as: fatigue, injury, equipment malfunction, etc. I put a colored square on every calendar day, this makes it easy to distinguish any trends in my training, such as over training. It is okay to has some yellow days, as its normal to be very tired after previous hard runs; however, to many yellows days in a row can be concerning. Red days must be taken care of immediately. Thursday was a red day, so I listened to my body and took Friday off.

Sunday (2/02): 6 miles
Easy six miles on the flat. These went by fast. Every now and then you get one of those amazing runs were everything feels right and goes right. I was easily dropping low and sub sevens, feeling like I hadn't ran twenty miles the day before and sixty miles the previous week. Barefoot drills/strides and core work at home.
Monday (2/03): 10 miles
Two mile warm up. Speed workout on track, 12X400s. Averaged 71 secs/repeat. Very happy with this workout. I also think my times would have been faster had there not been a soccer game going on. I kept having to swing out into lane 5 and 6 on the back straight away dodging unaware high school kids and soccer balls. Two mile cool down.
Tuesday (2/04): Day off.
Wednesday (2/05): 11 miles
Two mile warm up. Seven mile tempo. Two mile cool down. Splits: 5:45, 5:52, 5:53, 5:55, 5:55, 5:53, 5:44, total: 41:03.97, Average Pace 5:51 min/mi. I started this workout feeling terrible, very tired and sore from Monday's effort; however, after hitting three miles only twenty seconds off my current PR, the miles started getting easier. This workout was a big break through for me, as all my miles were under six minutes especially considering the footing was sloppy from all the rain.
Thursday (2/06): 5 miles
Terrible run today, definitely a red day. I guess I ran too hard yesterday and Monday. So no core work and no drills as I was just too tired. I tried running in my new New Balance 910s, they felt fine the past few days walking in them but today around 4 miles I could feel the blisters forming on my heels. WTF?! I thought everything was healed up but I guess not. I'm really unsure about what to do at this point as I have gone through three different brands of shoes over the past two weeks and nothing is fitting properly. So, I think I'll be returning the New Balances soon.
Friday (2/07): Day off.
Today I headed up to Clear Springs, MS in the Homochitto National Forest for a weekend of trail running. I arrived early enough to get in a late evening run but after Thursday's affair, I decided to listen to my body for once and take an extra day off using my time to gather firewood while it was still daylight instead.
Saturday (2/08): 22+ miles
I couldn't decide what shoes to use this day. My old Salomon Sense Mantras fit fine with no rubbing but they are significantly worn out and offer little protection at this point. So, I used my new Scott Sports T2 Kinabulas recommend by a really fast friend, who knows what he is talking about. I was worried at first as I have only ran warm ups and cool downs in them but after two hours of running in them my feet felt great so I figured why stop there, how about another two hours of running? The first loop consisted of running from our campsite, running a small portion of trail along the lake then running Tally's Creek with Kyle Cassidy and Grits. We ran back to the campsite where I got a snack, refilled my bottles, dropped of Grits, and left Kyle and everyone else for their trail work day while I headed out for some more single track. This time I ran to Richardson Creek and completed that trail; however, I got a little lost at an intersection and ran about twenty-five minutes extra on Mill's Branch Trail. Finally 3:49.27 later I was back at camp. I'm estimating my distance to be 22 miles but in actuality it was probably a mile or few longer, but 22 seems a safe estimate. While the distance was pretty short compared to the time spent running, I still achieved my main purpose of getting some time running. I also realized that a sub 4 hour 50km here is really going to hurt! Time to start cranking those hills. Very happy with this run as I originally had 16 miles planned and was only going to do about 12 if I was having shoe issues.

Weekly Total: 54 miles

Monday, February 3, 2014

Training Week and Chicot Adventure (1/26-2/1)

This week I realized that my next race is a very hilly and tough 50km. Oh no. The plan for this week was to cut out intensity and concentrate on increased, slow mileage to hopefully allow my legs to recover. It was nice not worrying about pace or split times for a week. It allowed me to just enjoy the trails and leave behind all the stress of racing and running hard. I feel it’s important to have weeks like this to let your mind unwind, relax, and remember why you love running so much.

Sunday (1/26): 5 miles
An easy 5 miles on the flat, followed with barefoot drills and strides.
Monday (1/27): 12 miles
Easy twelve miles on the Beast.
Tuesday (1/28): Day off.
Wednesday (1/29): 12 miles
Twelve miles on the Beast through the ice. The trail was basically iced over about an inch or more thick throughout. It was very fun but exhausting. These types of runs are more about time spent running than how fast you can finish.
Thursday (1/30): 7 miles
Easy seven on flat. Still a lot of ice on the Beast and road to trailhead. Some skips and strides followed with a tough core workout at home.
Friday (1/31): 6 miles
Training runs in the AM suck!! My form is terrible and my body hurts.  I'm one runner who needs coffee and food before going out for a run. 
Saturday (2/01): 20 miles
 Went camping at Chicot State Park on Friday night. That's why I had to get my mileage done in the morning. I bought myself a new backpacking tent for my birthday so I was ready to test it out. We enjoyed some beautiful weather with a light rain that evening. Unfortunately, I made a terrible mistake and left my birthday cinnamon rolls Maureen made for me outside in a large Rubbermaid container that I keep cooking supplies in. The cinnamon rolls themselves were also in a plastic container. Around 11 pm, I heard a lot of loud noise. Raccoons were getting into all our supplies, opening the ice chest and everything else. I stuck my head out of the tent and saw that everything looked in order except for the paper towels on the ground. Remembering that I had put them away, I got up and checked everything. The lid was still on the kitchen supplies, but when I opened it, no cinnamon rolls! The whole container was gone! I found the cinnamon roll container opened in the nearby ditch. Damn you animals! These animals have had some practice! We shoot for an early start the next morning but don't hit the trails until ten. Louisiana is a crazy place; just two days before, I'm running over inches of ice and sub-freezing temperatures. Today it’s humid and I'm sweating like crazy. Murphy's Law took over today; it was just one of those days where you have to roll with the punches and get through it. I caught up with Maureen and Grits as they drove ahead to a different trailhead to pick up where she left off last time we came. Grits tried running with me and I nearly killed him with the heat. After 4 miles, I had to turn around and run him back to Meaux. Finally, he stayed with me and I was able to get into a groove. At mile 13, I took a sting from a red wasp on the shin and then things only got worse. Heels were hurting, toes were getting rubbed raw, so I had to stop and doctor my feet around mile 15. This whole run I felt terrible and could never get into a really good rhythm. At one point, I had to stop to walk for a minute. The trail was slop for the first and last 4 miles due to the melting ice from previous days. In the end, I gutted it out and got through in 2:44 for about 20 miles. It always could have been worse. Overall, it was a decent week. I think this run was particularly tough for a few reasons: the accumulated fatigue of the past weeks, lack of decent sleep this week, trail conditions, and temperature. I am happy to have completed three consistent weeks of training so far this year. The accumulated fatigue is taking its toll but making me stronger. I am also very fortunate to have a girlfriend that loves trails and camping, who is willing to spend nights in the woods so I can run different places. She also started her own blog to share her love of photography, check it out! A Photo or Few

Weekly Total: 62 miles
Birthday cinnamon rolls before the raccoons got them! Photo: Maureen Thiessen, A Photo or Few

Photo: Maureen Thiessen, A Photo or Few

Photo: Maureen Thiessen, A Photo or Few

Snow/Ice on the Beast, this past Wednesday Photo: Maureen Thiessen, A Photo or Few

Snow/Ice on the Beast Photo: Maureen Thiessen, A Photo or Few
Snow/Ice on the Beast Photo: Maureen Thiessen, A Photo or Few

Snow/Ice on the Beast Photo: Maureen Thiessen, A Photo or Few