Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 Recap - so far

So there's still a week or so left in 2009, and I plan on doing at least some running and probably at least one weight session in the next 8 days. But I reached another goal today, so to summarize:

  • 1020.8 miles
  • 117 hours, 11 minutes, 57 seconds
  • 160 runs
  • Avg 6.38 miles per run
  • Avg pace 10:25/mile
  • 1000.0 miles ☺
  • 58 hours, 49 minutes, 25 seconds
  • 71 rides
  • Avg 14.08 miles per ride
  • Avg speed 17.0 mph
  • Approx 3 miles
  • No idea on time or pace
  • 13 Occurrences
  • 21 hours, 46 minutes
  • 40 Occurrences
This info will be very helpful when it comes to setting 2010 goals... which I currently do not have. But I will, shortly...

Friday, December 11, 2009

End of the sugar fast?

I'm seriously considering ending my sugar fast. I have two weeks to go and I've been doing it for two weeks. I had two basic purposes for trying this:
  • To see if I would feel any healthier by replacing refined sugar with more natural foods, like honey.
  • To see if I'd lose any weight.
I'm not entirely sure that 15 days is long enough, but I think by now I have a good idea. I don't really feel any healthier -- in fact, I think I feel a little less healthy. I'm gassy a lot, and I'm ironically a little more tired. I don't know that these two things are directly related to the change in diet or not, but they have coincided. And I haven't lost any weight, despite exercising the same amount (or a little bit more) than I was before... And I'm a little grouchy because I'm missing out on some really yummy food!!!!

So, has it run its course? Does anyone think that more time would yield more benefits? Would I feel more like making this a lifestyle change if I gave it two more weeks?

Now, to be fair, I have discovered some new recipes that I really like and that are a bit healthier than their sugar-laden counterparts... at least, I think they are. I'm not considering ending this and going on a junk food binge or anything, and I'll probably ease into the former "diet" gradually. Also, I think I'll be more moderate in general when it comes to refined sugar consumption if for no other reason than I now know of at least a couple of good alternatives.

So with all that in mind, what say ye, o blogosphere?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 4, no sugar

To recap, I going from the day after Thanksgiving to the day before Christmas Eve with no refined sugar. Today is day 4 of this experiment, and it's going rather well. Day 1 was particularly hard, because I hadn't planned for it and hadn't prepared any substitutes for the candy and snacks, etc., that are laying around our house perpetually, and especially this month of the year. Serendipitously, my sister emailed me a recipe for peanut butter bars the same day that Frayed Laces posted a similar recipe on her blog. I sort of combined the two into a really yummy snack that has been my fall back when I need a cookie-ish treat. Basically, this is my version of the recipe:
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • about 1 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 TBS unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Microwave the PB & honey together to make it more stir-able, then add oats, cocoa, and vanilla. Add dry milk until it becomes non-sticky enough to roll into a ball (about the size of a cookie-dough ball before you bake it). Refrigerate on waxed paper until firm. Enjoy.

They're goooooooooooood. They're not calorie-free or anything like that, but they're good. I think overall I'm running on fewer calories, mainly from missing the soda and all the candy that finds its way into my gullet. I will weigh in today as an official "beginning" weight after my run at lunchtime, and then again weekly and on the 23rd to keep track of any progress. I do plan on continuing to run and exercise at normal (for me) levels during this experiment. Keep ya posted.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Diet month and updates

Okay, so I think I figured out what's up with my foot. It's the shoes. The doctor suggested as much when I went in back in September, just before the marathon. However, he indicated the wrong shoes. Here's the deal. Today I went outside for a 5 mile run in my Nike Vomero 3s. It felt fine... for the first half mile. Yeah. Then it felt a little wanky. At the end of 5 miles, it was definitely irritating, if not a little bit painful. The day it started hurting, way back in September? Sure, it was after a 20 mile run in my New Balance 805s, but that run was a day after 6.1 miles in the Nikes. Then the trial run the next Thursday, when I only got through 2 miles before walking it in? Yeah, in the Nikes. The marathon? You know, where my foot hurt the whole freaking time? Again, the Nikes. Then, the next trial run 2+ weeks after the marathon... where I did only 2 miles on the treadmill because my foot started acting up... yep, you guessed it, the Nikes. Incidentally, I've done a few other runs in the 4-5 mile range in the last few weeks, NOT in the Nikes, and I've been great. Until today. 5 miles in the Nikes, and ouch.

So the Nikes are for sale. Anyone want a pair of slightly used Vomero 3s? I have 100.9 miles on them, still lots of life left (200-400 miles easy). Just not for me.

On another note, the lack of any real long runs or rides or anything in the last 6-7 weeks since the marathon is starting to take a toll on my waistline (yeah, Halloween has something to do with it too.) And Thanksgiving and Christmas and just December in general coming up aren't going to help, really. So here's what I decided to do: No sugary junk foods (including soda - oy vey!) for a month for yours truly. Now, there may be a sugary component to a meal, such as teriyaki sauce (lots of sugar there) on chicken, or something like that, but that will be it. There will be no candy, no non-diet soda (HFCS, that means you), no brownies, cookies, or pastries, no cinnamon rolls, no maple syrup, no hot chocolate, none of that. This will last from the day after Thanksgiving (I get to bring the cheesecake, and I'm not going to miss out!) until December 23rd (because Christmas Eve is the traditional family cinnamon roll breakfast, and I'm not going to miss out on that either!) So it's not quite a month, but still. Anyone who knows me will know this is a major undertaking for me, and I'm not entirely sure I'll be able to accomplish it, but this will be my goal. I'm going to allow myself 2 cheats for the month, just so I don't get derailed if I fall off the wagon for a shake or something just once. But only 2. That's it.

I'll be posting updates, including weigh ins, etc., as I go. This should be interesting (to me, at least).

Monday, November 2, 2009

4 miles! Happy Day!!

Today I decided to give the peroneal tendon another test. I've been sick for about a week, give or take, with a cold/cough/weakness fit that kind of came and went from last Tuesday through Saturday. Never got a fever or chills or aches, thankfully. So, since last Monday I've not only been off my foot, but I've been off of everything. I'm feeling about 90% recovered today, so I brought in running clothes and shoes and hit the treadmill (torture on a beautiful day like this one!) at lunch time. Again, I wanted to be able to stop whenever I wanted if I felt the tendonitis wake up.

I hit the treadmill and started off at an easy 10 minute pace... went a mile, no problem. Bumped up the speed to 6.1 (9:50 pace) and went another mile, no problem. My foot did feel a little wanky in a lot of places, but not where it's been hurting, and they all worked themselves out. In short, I ended up at 4 miles in 39:12, a 9:48 avg pace, and NO PAIN. BooYah!

After I stopped the treadmill and stepped off, I could feel slight tenderness where the pain has occurred in the past. (Hear that!? In the PAST! WOOHOO!) But nothing that's going to alter my gait or even cause any real discomfort. I will take it as a sign not to run tomorrow (at the least), but I will be back running now. And that's a good thing. I was starting to go insane.

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Goals....

So, 2009's marathoning season is in the books, and now I enter "maintenance mode" also known as "base building" in preparation for 2010. In 2009, for the first time I ran two marathons in a calendar year, setting 2 PRs and finally busting through that 5 hour barrier with my 4:34:40 finish at St George. I feel that at St George I ran what could possibly be my best marathon effort. Now I have to ask myself...

"What are you going to do next!?"

I wish the answer could be "I'm going to Disneyland!" but it appears that the finances thereto will be insufficient. However, that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about setting goals for 2010.

Should I aim to:
  • Run more marathons? (perhaps achieving a sub-4:30 or even target a 4:00 marathon range?)
  • Try a triathlon? (including open-water swim, something I haven't done yet)
  • Do a duathlon? (That's usually a run-bike-run format - like a tri, without the swimming)
  • How about a half-ironman? (There's one in Utah Lake in August...)
  • How about a bike race? Lotoja? 1000 Warriors? Something else? A century?
I'm just not sure. I did get approached at church last week to run in the 2010 Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay, which I think I have my wife talked into letting me do, which will be fun and won't require nearly the training commitment that a marathon (or any of the other above choices) would. But that's in June. The year is only just half over at that point. I need more goals to keep me going, keep me training.

What oh what should I do????

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Couple of weeks "off"

So I thought I'd throw a little update up here just to let anyone who follows know that I'm still around. Until today, I hadn't run at all since the marathon. I've been hitting the gym doing a full-body workout regimen that I'm growing fond of, and I've been cycling a couple times, both indoor and outdoor. I've been staying off my foot, as far as running is concerned, to let the peroneal tendonitis heal, and it's been feeling good. Last Saturday was my 11th wedding anniversary and I took my wife to Lagoon, our local amusement park, where we spent the afternoon and evening walking around and standing in lines and going on rides. After 5 hours of that, I expected to feel something in my foot, but to my delight, I was pain (and pretty much any other sensation)-free in my formerly-inflamed left foot.

So, with that bit of good news, I thought I'd try a short run today and see how it goes. I jumped on the treadmill at lunchtime and started off at a fairly manageable pace of 9:50/mile. My entire left foot felt kind of funny right off the bat, but not on the outside where the peroneal tendon is that has been giving me grief. As I ran, most of it kind of worked itself out, and it felt great to be running again! Not as great as it would have felt outside, but I'm taking baby steps here (metaphorically speaking). Anyway, at about 1.6 miles or so I began to feel the twinge in the side of my foot, so when I got to 2 miles, I pulled over and stopped. I could have run farther. It really wasn't to the point yet that I'd call it "hurting", but nevertheless, I decided to err on the side of caution and let it go. I tried using the eliptical, but that thing is just weird. For those of you that like that machine, I ask only, "Why? How!?" I couldn't stand it for any more than about 100 seconds and I was done.

I guess this means a couple of more weeks of no running and letting the foot really heal up all the way. That's frustrating, but I don't want another major setback, like the marathon turned out to be (as far as foot recovery is concerned). Looks like I will be doing a lot of weights workouts and biking (indoor and out when the weather permits)... which reminds me, I'm accepting donations for (and/or gifts of) winter cycling gear, including but not limited to:
  • arm warmers
  • cycling jackets (they're cycling-specific so they don't ride up in back when you're bent over on the handlebars)
  • cycling vests (see above)
  • leg warmers (not the 80s fashion statement)
  • full-fingered gloves
  • long-sleeved cycling jerseys
  • tights (think black lycra and warm, not ballet)
  • skull caps
  • balaclava

If you really want to give me any of these or donate to the cause, leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I'll be happy to provide you my paypal address and/or size information. And you'll have my eternal gratitude. What, that's not enough for you? :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

St. George Marathon 2009 Race Report

We drove down on Wednesday night, spent Thursday running errands and checking out Snow Canyon, Friday with friends in the area and a little swimming at the Washington City Rec Center (I even did a couple of laps in my board shorts with no goggles), and Saturday I woke up at 3:30 and headed to the early buses. Just missed the first two (there goes the massage fast pass!) and didn't win anything either. I'll take a later bus next time and sleep in a little. My foot hadn't been bothering me at all the time we'd been in St George, but I hadn't tried any running on it either.

With about 25 minutes to go, I entered the POP lines and shivered for a while, got done with that, put the warm-up pants in the drop bag, dropped it, and I was off, just next to the 5:00 pace group. I quickly left them behind and thought if I could just stay ahead of them, I'd be happy.

Nothing felt quite right for the first couple of miles. I wasn't warmed up, everything felt kind of wanky. My foot wasn't bothering me, though, so I figured I'd just go with it. My first couple of mile splits were really slow, but it had probably more to do with the crowds than with my self-control of not going out too fast.

1- 10:28
2- 10:53
3- 10:44
4- 10:30

About mile 3 my foot started to ache. I knew that walking wasn't going to make it feel any better, so I kept going. I felt certain I was headed for my first DNF, and I was mentally and emotionally ready to accept it. I think that kept the pressure off and helped, in some strange way, to keep me going. I figured once it got too painful to run, that'd be that. Fortunately, that point never came. It never really got better, but it never really got worse either.

As long as I was keeping it below 11:00 miles, I was happy. As I approached Veyo, I got to chatting with a guy (Travis) who was running his 2nd marathon and hoping for a 5 hour finish. He's from Texas, living in Syracuse, and works nearby in West Valley City. We chatted about our families, college football (he's an Aggie fan, I'm a BYU fan -- made for a fun chat), about work and running. He told me to leave him as we headed up the hill, and on I went. I trudged ahead and didn't walk at all, but made sure to take it really easy:

5- 10:13
6- 10:04
7- 10:13
8- 11:41 (Veyo hill!)
9- 10:50

In 2007, my first marathon and my first SGM, it was the miles after Veyo that did me in. The road keeps heading up. I was ready for it this year, and managed to control my pace, still feeling pretty good, except for the foot. My nutrition plan that had worked pretty well in training was to take a Clif Shot Blok and a swig of water from my fuel belt at every even mile marker, and a swig of Gatorade from the aid stations at every odd mile marker. This, I must say, worked like a charm. Cresting the hill around the half way point made my day. I really wanted to come in around 4:45, and I wanted to run a negative split, with the first half at 2:25 and the second at around 2:20. When I saw the clock at the half way point and it read 2:28, I looked at my Garmin and figured I was about 8 minutes behind gun time, putting me at about 2:20 for the first half... way ahead of schedule! I didn't know if I could hold the pace, but I did know that the second half is a lot more downhill than the first half, so I just kept going.

10- 10:56
11- 11:01
12- 10:33
13- 10:26
14- 10:40
15- 10:05
16- 9:54 (!!! This was not part of the plan!)

I knew the Ledges hill (or "Heartbreak Hill" as I like to call it) was looming at around mile 19, but I was still feeling pretty good. As I headed up that hill, I got to chatting with a lady from Southern California who lives only about 15 miles from where I grew up. She was taking it easy, shooting for a 4:30 or so which was slow for her. I told her I was on pace for my first sub-5, and she was very encouraging, saying that I could probably hit a 4:30 depending on whether there were any more hills. I told her it rolled a little after the Ledges, but nothing significant. She decided to take a little walk break, so I bid her adieu and kept trudging along.

17- 10:11
18- 10:16
19- 10:36 (Ledges hill - it seemed so much bigger in 2007)
20- 10:28
21- 9:38 (!!! Again, what the !?!)

I knew I wasn't going to be able to keep that pace up once I got into town. The last couple of miles in town are a mental challenge for me. You know you're close, but you're just not there yet. The crowds really were thicker than in 2007 (of course, it helps if you're there an hour earlier than I was then!) I just kept asking myself as I ran down Diagonal Street and 300 West, "Can I go any faster?" and I'd pick it up, little by little, but I was definitely starting to fade. I was twittering and texting my wife as I ran (yes, it's really not that hard!), and she told me she'd be just before the chute at mile 26. Sure enough, she was there. I stopped just long enough to high-5 the kids and kiss the wife, and I was off.

22- 10:17
23- 10:21
24- 10:18
25- 10:24
26- 10:22
26.2 2:30 (9:19 pace - a little kick for the end).

Overall time: 4:34:40 (garmin time was 4:34:45). That's a 29 minute PR over Salt Lake 2009, and over an hour better than SGM 07. I'm quite pleased with the result, wanky foot and everything. My foot's really been hurting since finishing the race, and I'm sore otherwise, but overall I feel pretty dang good. I'm hoping staying off the foot for a couple of weeks will let it heal right up and it won't be an ongoing issue. I've had foot pain in this area before, and a month or so off really did the trick then... I hope it does again. On to the next challenge!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Updates, taper, leaves, and leaving

So, for some updates...

Those of you that follow me on twitter or facebook will know that I've had some foot pain since my concluding 20 mile training run on Saturday, 9/19. I stayed off it for a few days, went for a bike ride, and it was feeling good, so on Thursday the 24th I took it out for another spin. Yeah, didn't go so well. So I gave a call to a relatively famous sports doc here in the SLC area by the name of Dr. Toronto, and I got in to see him on Monday the 28th. After a couple of x-rays and some poking ad prodding, he determined it was likely caused by my shoes and that it was an inflamed peroneal tendon with an accessory occicle. Basically that means I have an extra little bone embedded in a tendon on the outside of my foot, which isn't a problem, but can be irritated in the wrong shoes or running on the wrong surfaces, or a combination of all of the above. So, the idea is to reduce the inflammation and the resultant pain so I can run the marathon, and to that end I'm on prednisone for 5 days (Monday-Friday, and probably Saturday too). So far, knock on wood, 3 doses in and no real side effects.

So, I will be running the marathon (that was in doubt for a couple of days there as I was nursing an owie foot). And with any luck, I'll be gunning for something in the 4:40's, but again, anything under 5 hours will be success for me. My taper has been all of non-existent with the foot injury, consisting so far of a couple of bike rides, a few minutes of soccer, and one failed run. That's okay though, it's all good.

One of the bike rides was yesterday, when I headed up the road in City Creek Canyon at lunch. The Autumn colors are in full swing, and it was absolutely breathtaking to see the hues of some of the leaves up there. Some trees looked like they were on fire, so vibrant were the reds and yellows. Today, however, it's raining or snowing in the mountains, and I'm sure the leaves are going to take a big hit. Oh well, at least I got to see them once before the storm.

Tonight we leave for St. George, giving us a couple of days to rest and relax and recreate before the big event on Saturday. My next post will likely be my race report. Here goes!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Monthly recap - or - 3 Freaking miles? Are you kidding me?!

August was a pretty good month, training-wise. I finished with 114.7 miles running at an average pace of 10:20, 116.6 miles biking at an average speed of 14.4 mph (keep in mind that virtually every ride this month was in City Creek Canyon -- that is, climbing practice), approximately 1500 meters swum, and 1 hour, 42 minutes of weights work.

And did I mention that last week I ran all of 3 miles? That's not to say that was all I did, but that's all the running I did. Yeah, I had 50 on the schedule, and I did 3. Cool. I ended up doing weights only on Monday, biking on Tuesday, letting Wednesday's workout fall through to bring my wife lunch (take that all you ladies that think that my exercise always comes at the expense of doing nice things for my wife!), Thursday I got up early to run, and due to some surprise GI issues had to make a beeline for home when my previously-well-frequented porta-pottie wasn't at it's designated location (curse you, progress!), I did bike at lunch on Thursday, it's much easier on the tummy than running, and Friday I woke up with some weird back pain, which sidelined me Friday and Saturday.

So, in case you missed it, that's 3 miles running, 40 minutes in the gym, 26.9 miles biked. I did a little swimming Saturday, but I didn't keep track of it.

Yes, I'm 5 weeks from marathon day, and I ran 3 miles last week. Huzzah.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A dose of humility

You know, lately I've been feeling pretty good about myself, fitness-wise. I'm getting thinner, I've had a couple of really good long runs, I feel pretty strong on my bike, and I'm even putting in some time in the gym and even starting to see the beginnings of the results I want. So when the opportunity came for a free open-water-swim clinic in a new little reservoir in Herriman, I jumped on it. Swimming in a 15-yard pool just hasn't been conducive to getting into a rhythm that will let me know whether or not I can do this swimming thing. I need a bigger pool, so to speak, and a nice big open lake should give me that opportunity, right?

Well, sure. But it was cold. I was one of about 2% of the "class" that didn't have a wetsuit. And it was opaque. And deep. And I freaked. I swam what I could, and just had a hard time finding any sort of rhythm. I wasn't prepared for how completely different it is. It basically sucked.

But the good part is it gave me a demon to slay. A challenge to overcome. And one that's necessary for me to be able to complete a non-pool triathlon (or several). I think triathlons are a big part of my future, but I've got to nail this swimming thing down. I think my technique is pretty good, finally, but I've got to get the endurance and the open-water confidence down. Lots to work on, I'm definitely not there yet.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weekly recap

Time for a weekly recap. I did bag a couple of early morning runs, which I fit in later in the day, which means I did zero in the weights department. I'll get back on them this week, but it was good to have a run-focused week, I think.

Monday - Early run, 6.15 miles, 1:03:52, 10:24 pace. Lunchtime bike ride, 11.4 miles, 48:51. Avg speed 14 mph. Had derailleur difficulties that still need fixing, hence no more biking during the week.
Tuesday - nada.
Wednesday - Morning interval run. This was fun. 7.2 miles, 1:11:49, 9:59 pace. Afternoon swim, 850 meters.
Thursday - Lunchtime run, 6.1 miles, 1:03:05, 10:21 pace.
Friday - Lunchtime run, 6.1 miles, 1:00:55, 10:00 pace.
Saturday - Long run in the morning. 20 miles, 3:31:48, 10:36 pace.


Running: 45.6 miles, 7:51:29, avg pace 10:21/mile.
Biking: 11.4 miles, 48:51, avg speed 14 mph.
Swim: 850 meters
No weights.

Total time exercising: 9 hours 25 minutes 20 sec.

Would have been a killer week had I not slacked. :)

Friday, August 7, 2009

New Kicks

So, yesterday was my birthday, for those of you that didn't know already. And my wife and kids went all out to make it awesome, for which I will forever be grateful. My present was a new pair of running shoes. Since I'm always looking for bargains on closeouts, etc., I rarely end up with the same model twice. (There have been exceptions, I've run in 3 pairs of Asics Fortitudes, and a pair of New Balance 1060s followed by 1062s - a later incarnation of the same shoe). This time, I ended up with a pair of Nike Air Zoom Vomero 3. These are some pretty soft freaking shoes. They're like running on pillows. I took them out for a 6 mile run today and was consistently amazed at how cushioned they are. Cushioning may or may not be a good thing in the long run, but man, it sure is comfortable. I will keep you posted on the long-term results. I'll put in a couple of good long runs on them then stick them in the box and save them for marathon weekend, now just 56 days away!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A "cutback" week, sorta

This last week was my first easy week of my new and intense training plan for St George. Basically, that means there was no weights and no 2-a-days. However, after letting my long run last Saturday slide, I really wanted to squeeze in 21 miles of running between Monday and Friday so I could still end July on a double-century total (and I did, 100.7 miles running, 142 miles biking). And since I let that aforementioned long run slide last Saturday, I figured I'd tack it on to the end of my easy week, so I did 18 yesterday.

First, the July recap:

100.7 miles
avg pace: 10:29

142.0 miles
avg speed: 14.8 mph

Total weight training

Approx 2800 yards swimming.

Total time exercising: 32h 19min 26sec

Not bad.

Yesterday's 18 miler was really good. I tried Clif Shot Blocks for a change, cola flavor. I really like them. The deal is that 3 shot blocks are the approximate equivalent to one gel. So I took a shot block every 2 miles, and it worked out really well. I didn't feel like bonking at all. In fact, I felt rather strong the whole way. The last 2 miles of my route were uphill, and they were the only 2 miles where I was below an 11 minute pace. Average pace for the run was 10:49. If I can hold that pace for St George, I'll be very very happy. That would be a 4:43 marathon, or a 20 minute PR. I took 18 minutes off of my first marathon PR in my second, and 14 minutes off my PR in my third marathon. If I can PR by even 5 minutes I'm going to be thrilled -- 20 would be incredible. I am training my guts out, so hopefully it pays off.

Oh, and I'm down to 198 lbs. too. I'm hoping 200 is in the rearview mirror for good, and continues to fade.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


My run on Monday morning was mediocre at best, following a hard week of training last week. Tuesday morning's bike ride was about the same -- the legs were having a hard time getting going. Yesterday's run/interval/weight workout was pretty good -- that is to say, it beat me up nice and handily -- but the run wasn't anything special. Of course, it's hard to judge exactly how you feel when you're doing one minute on/one minute off repeats.

This morning I reluctantly, slowly, painstakingly dragged by rear out of bed and got dressed for my run. I didn't have any new podcasts loaded onto my iPod, nor did I have any audiobooks loaded on that I hadn't listened to yet. These are the things that typically keep me going while on a run, and I love the entertainment and potentially educational value I get from them. I debated about leaving the iPod at home completely, but in the end decided to go with the running songs playlist that's on there, which consists of pretty much any music I like with an up-tempo beat (for the most part -- there are a few slower songs on there, but they are among the elite of my favorite music).

And today, I was back to a sub-10 minute/mile pace for my 5 mile run. (9:57, to be precise.) Now this is a good thing, and I'm happy that the run went pretty well, but I really hope that it's not just because of the music, because I really like my podcasts and books. Hmmm... food for thought, I suppose.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another killer workout

I've been looking into trying some combination exercises and supersets with my weight lifting (when I do it) to add to my overall fitness, especially upper-body fitness that is largely neglected when one focuses on running (and to a lesser extent, biking and even swimming). So today, I mixed up my 3-2-1 workout today like so:

  • 1 mile run with intervals (2 min warmup, then 1 min fast, 1 min recovery, etc.) - 9:30
  • 3 sets of: push ups with one-arm rows, sit-ups with tricep extensions, DB deadlift to shoulder press, and DB front raise
  • another 1 mile run with intervals, but with only 1 min warm up - 8:59
  • 3 sets of: hammer curls, lateral raise, concentration curls, triceps kickbacks
  • another 1 mile run with intervals, 1 min warm up - 8:41
This was a nice butt-kicker that will (hopefully?) leave me nice and sore tomorrow. :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

First week down...

The first week of "serious" training is in the books. I only bailed on one workout the whole week, but it was a HARD week. It went like so:

Monday: 5 mile a.m. run, 13.3 mile lunchtime bike, evening swim with the kids (managed to get in 500 yards)
Tuesday: Lunchtime "confusion" workout, which works out to 3 miles run, 35 minutes of weights.
Wednesday: Lunchtime bike ride scheduled, bagged to run home at let my family in their locked-out house.
Thursday: 6.25 mile a.m. run, 35 minutes of weights at lunch, 400 yd swim with the family in the evening.
Friday: Bailed on the AM run, I was WASTED. 13.3 mile ride at lunch.
Saturday: 16 mile long run.


Swim: 900 yds
Bike: 26.6 miles
Run: 30.3 miles
Weights: 1 hr 15 minutes

A total of over 9 hours training. The long run really SUCKED on Saturday. It was hot and I didn't want to do it and I was tired because to get it done before the day hit 100+ I had to get out the door before 6 a.m. It was long and hard. And then this morning I got up at 5 for another run, I managed only 5 miles and it was SLOW too! (10:51/mile) As long as I'm consistent, though, my body will adapt. The first week of ANY new training program is supposed to be hard, right?

Anyways, it's in the book and week 2 has begun. Tally ho!

Monday, July 13, 2009

So it begins

Serious training for the St George Marathon began today with a 5:30 a.m. 5 mile run, and continued at lunch with a beautiful 13 mile bike ride in City Creek Canyon. My plan is two workouts a day, three times a week, with one workout a day the other three days, taking Sunday off as a "Day of Rest", if you will. Saturdays will be long runs or long bike rides on the cutback weeks. The rest of July will be essentially "base building" with only short speedwork sessions and lots of cross-training. In August and early September, I'll get serious about the running with double-digit tempo runs, double-ladder intervals (I'm excited about these... more info on this to come!), etc. All the while I'll be biking and doing weights, and swimming a little (usually a couple of laps here and there while the kiddies play in the 50' pool).


Thursday, July 9, 2009

I tri'd

As an almost-spur-of-the-moment idea, I decided to participate in the Pepperwood mini triathlon on July 4. I was told it was a 500 meter swim, a 3 mile bike ride and a 1.5 mile run. Piece of cake, except for that swimming part.

Turns out when I got there it was still a 500 meter swim, but they doubled the bike and run portions to 6 and 3 miles, respectively. That was fine by me, as it de-emphasized the swim a little and more nearly approached a standard sprint triathlon. So with almost no swim training, in I went.

I suck at swimming, but I was in the second heat anyway (12 athletes per heat, it was a small event - maybe 30 people - 6 lanes in the pool that you shared). I was dead last out of the pool, though I think I probably finished faster than some in the first heat did. Swim split was 14:36, and my effort was a combination of crawl, backstroke, and even a little aqua jogging.

T1 was fun, although putting on a cycling jersey over a wet body was harder than I thought, otherwise it was a piece of cake. I was there maybe 2 minutes. On the bike, I passed a BUNCH of people, many on mountain bikes and all kinds of two-wheeled contraptions. I almost caught the guy on the really nice Cervelo P2C triathlon bike (who was pulling 2 kids in a trailer)... but I didn't. :) Made up a lot of ground, had a decent T2 (note to self, get speed laces for the running shoes, and make sure your socks are right-side out so you don't have to screw with that in transition), and took off running. Bike + Transitions split was 24:34

My legs felt like -- yep, you guessed it -- bricks when I took off running, but I still did alright with a 30:27 run over 3 miles. The whole thing was a rather hilly course, so all in all I'm pleased with my 1:09:38 total time.

Not sure what "place" that is in the overall, but I was 2nd in my 30-35 age group (out of 4). No hardware -- not even a t-shirt. Did I mention it was free? Yeah, I'll be doing this again next year.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Double Century!

No, I didn't go on a 200-mile bike ride, at least, not all at once. But that's not what I mean.

What I mean is that June, 2009, is the first month that I have ever run over 100 miles and biked over 100 miles in the same month!


16 days running
101 miles
17 hours, 33 minutes, 7 seconds
Average pace 10:26 / mi
Average distance 6.3125 miles/run

8 days biking
122.1 miles
7 hours, 52 minutes, 23 seconds
Average speed 15.5 mph
Average distance 15.26 miles/ride

That's pretty cool. There were also weight lifting days and some light swimming thrown in there as well. Hopefully July will be as productive... with a scheduled camping trip and a couple of holidays, it's anyone's guess at this point.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More confusion

I'm trying out a foray into "extreme fitness", which for me, so far, boils down to mixing it up a bit. A good example was Monday's push-up/run day. After a bit of googling, I came across another workout that I tried today. It's called a 3-2-1 workout, and I freely admit to hijacking this from, however this is modified for my own usage. Goes like this:

  • 10 minutes cardio warm-up (no-brainer here... that's a mile run)
  • 3 sets, 20 reps each, of 3 exercises. I chose incline dumbbell press, shoulder press, and incline two-arm rows. 30 second rest between sets.
  • Interval cardio. I did a one-mile run with 2 minute warm-up, then 4 one-minute tempo intervals @5k or faster pace, then cooldown until I reach one mile.
  • 3 sets, 20 reps each, of 2 exercises. I did preacher curls and triceps pull-downs. 30 second rest between sets.
  • Repeat Interval cardio.
  • Core. 2 sets of 20 reps each: hanging leg lifts, laying leg push up things, and incline sit-ups. I didn't make it to the last set of incline sit ups, I had nothing left in the tank.

When I began the first interval session, I couldn't get my left arm to lift to my normal running bend. It hung a little lower than normal. This was a great workout, and I aim to do something similar 2-3 times a week, or more. We'll see how this goes.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Too much, too soon?

The previously-mentioned 45 mile week turned out to maybe have been too much. Last week I struggled to get in 8 miles, in two 4-mile runs. My legs were hurting pretty good around the shins/ankles. So instead I biked twice, did weights one day, and took Saturday pretty much "off" (walked around downtown with the family, no real "exercise", per se).

Today I went out for a 5-miler at lunchtime, with 15 push-ups thrown in approximately every mile. Yes, that's 75 push-ups total. I hear it's good to mix it up a little like that. More about my forays into "extreme fitness" in the future, once I get it figured out a little. In the meantime, I'll be throwing in a little cross-training into each run. I think. The legs were still a little tender today where they were really hurting last week. I'll bike tomorrow (and maybe some weights?), and see how they feel on a run on Wednesday. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 15, 2009

PR for longest week

So I ran last week on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (6 miles each, or so), biked on the indoor bike on Thursday, and ran 7+ miles of speedwork on Friday, all with the intention of a 10-15 mile run on Saturday, thus kicking off St George Marathon training with a 35 or so mile week.

Well, turns out on Saturday I got an opportunity to do the "run to work" thing, which is a 19+ mile run. As I don't have this chance every week, I decided to take advantage of it. I completed the run in 3:37:55, or an 11:11 pace. That's not too shabby, considering I wasn't planning on running anywhere near that distance, and I did it on tired legs from a 7+ mile interval workout the day before. That left me with a 45.2 mile week, a distance PR by 1.2 miles from peak-Ogden training time. I feel pretty confident that I could taper from this point and in 2 weeks get my sub-5-hour marathon.

Yeah, the only problem with that is that my marathon is over 3 MONTHS away. I've never done a 3 month marathon maintenance-type schedule before. I'm going to have to fiddle with my training plan now and see what I can come up with so I'll be even more prepared to run an even faster race at St George on October 3rd.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tempo Intervals

A couple years ago Powerbar teamed up with Chris Carmichael and released two free audio workouts for runners. In them, Lance Armstrong and Chris Carmichael blabber in your ear about how great all things Powerbar are and also letting you know when to speed up and when to slow down. Today I did the second of these workouts (I wrote about the first one here.)

Basically, with this one there's a 10-minute warm up, then four 20-second stride outs with one minute recovery, and then you start the intervals. Basically you run at tempo pace, or as Carmichael puts it, and 8 out of 10 difficulty, for 4 minutes, 6 minutes, 8, 10, and 12 minutes, with 2 minutes of active rest/recovery between each. I was doing this outside with no garmin, so I couldn't really imitate any specific pace, but I tried to keep it feeling like a 5k pace for each interval. I'm sure as I got to the longer and longer intervals I got slower and slower, but I tried to keep a constant effort.

Unlike the other CTS workout, this one royally kicked my heiney, but I kind of liked it. I'll come back to this one again and again, but probably on the treadmill to make the pacing a little easier to maintain.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Been a long time...

So long in fact, that I don't know when the last time was that I got up early on a weekday/workday to run. But today I did it. Because of an afternoon commitment that is going to force me to leave work a couple hours early today, I decided I'd work through lunch and get my run in in the morning. So I did it. I woke up at 5:10 and got dressed and out the door by 5:25 or so for 6.2 miles. It was a great morning for a run, too. Mostly cloudy, with the sun just peeking through as it rose, the streets wet from an overnight rain, temperatures hovering around 55º, a light breeze. This gives me hope that I'll be able to keep this up for longer AM training runs as St George Marathon training intensifies, and for some good 2-a-days where I can run in the morning and do a bike ride (or maybe another run) at lunch. I'm just glad I remember how to run that early, I thought I'd forgotten.

Now, I need to remember how to stay awake throughout the rest of the day...

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Art City 5k race report

What a fun race this morning! I woke up and was slightly dismayed to realize that I'd forgotten to bring my iPod down to my mom's house (where we slept over last night). I haven't run a race without an ipod since my first 5k back in 2002. Yeah, it's been a while. Oh well, alone with my thoughts for this one.

At one point I wasn't sure if I was going to run this race for my own PR or if I was going to hang with my kids and let my wife run for her PR. Well, she's been pretty sick and not sleeping well all week, so she wasn't thinking she could gun for a PR today, kids or no kids, and since she ran a 5k solo a couple weeks ago and set a nice PR for herself, she decided to hang with the kids and let me gun for my own PR.

At the start I lined up in the front-middle of the pack, next to the most ambitious stroller-pusher (they tell these guys to line up in the back, but they don't). I thought my placing was a little ambitious, considering my only goal was to beat last year's time (and PR) of 28:43. I knew that would place me squarely in the middle of "the pack" that was there to run, but I also knew that there were many that I'd be tripping over and weaving around in the first 3/4 mile or so that don't know how to corral themselves properly in a race of over 2000 entrants.

The gun went off and we were off. Sure enough, I was bobbing and weaving around many that were walking within the first quarter mile, but then I'm sure there were faster folks that had to bob and weave around me that were equally as frustrated. Turns out I really didn't miss the iPod at all, and I hit mile one at 9:31. Slower than I needed if I was going to PR. Granted, mile 1 has the only significant hill on this short course, so I expected it to be slow, but I've never been very effective at negative splits, so I was a little disheartened, fearing the PR may be out the window.

Nevertheless, I tried to pick it up a little on the back straight and ended up turning in mile 2 in 8:49. I've never run a sub-9 minute mile off of the treadmill, and then only in interval training, so I was pleased. Still not quite fast enough to PR, but if I could hold the pace, anything was possible at this point. Just before I hit the mile 2 marker I was completely cut off by a guy who was cutting over to the side of the road to high-5 a couple of spectators. I seriously hit the dude with my arm swing as it came forward, he cut me off THAT closely. Pissed me off, but I was glad I stayed on my feet.

Down the hill and into the stadium we ran. I noticed the mile 3 marker, which I don't think was quite in the right spot, but that's okay. I hit the split for mile 3 at 8:40. That's three consecutive negative splits (or two splits over three miles... you get the idea). Something I have NEVER done before, not even in training (I think). The last .1 zoomed by at a blistering sprint of 41 seconds (a 6:51 pace!!), for a total time of 27:43, or a PR by one minute exactly over my 5k time at this race last year. WOO HOO!

I missed the wife and kids' finish as I was getting the camera and blanket out of the car as they went by. Turns out I spent longer than I thought I had in the chute and they were faster than I thought they'd be. They finished in the 36 minute range. What a great race for them! Unfortunately, no one won any door prizes, again, but at least we had great weather to sit around and wait in. Can't wait to do this race again next year!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Still running, 3 times this week at 6 miles each. The Art City 5k is tomorrow, and if all goes well, I'd like to PR. I'm not sure how realistic that is. Last year I ran it in 28:43, and it's still my current PR (haven't run an official 5k since). A race report is surely soon to come, don't fret.

Today I rode the bike up City Creek Canyon again, to the water treatment plant, and for the first time, I never dropped into the "granny gear." You see, my bike came with a triple front chainring, and normally I need it on one or two steep spots in that canyon. Today that wasn't the case. Maybe it was the nice weather (about 69ºF and misty rain), maybe it was just determination, maybe it was my improved fitness, maybe I'm finally getting over this sinus infection that's been plaguing me for a good month or so now... who cares what the reason is. Now I'm going to have to start timing the climb, and see if I can get faster at it. A new challenge!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Measurable Results

It's been a long time since I've had a diastolic under 130. Usually I'm in the 135-140 range over 75-78 or so. Today while grocery shopping I took a break by the pharmacy and got a nice happy result:

Looks like not only am I headed straight out of the clydesdale class, I'm actually getting healthier too. Huh.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Running backwards

Yesterday I ran my favorite 6-mile loop in City Creek Canyon and the Avenues neighborhood of Salt Lake City, but I mixed it up a little. Instead of running up City Creek Canyon, across 11th Avenue and down Virginia St., I ran UP Virginia St., across 11th Avenue, and DOWN City Creek Canyon. This way, I end up running fewer uphill miles (about 2 instead of about 4 the other way), but obviously, since the net elevation gain/loss is the same, the uphill miles are steeper, and teh downhill miles are milder. I completely and thoroughly enjoyed this.

I think this is a good idea, to mix up your "usual" route every now and then by running it in reverse. No no, keep your eyes ahead of you, just run the route in reverse -- don't run backwards. It's a nice way to view your route a different way. It almost makes the same old neighborhoods look completely different. Try it. You'll like it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm alive -- and I'm in!

For some reason, my access to blogger from my work computer is spotty. Maybe it's related to all the troubles Google has been having lately, who knows for sure. But right now it's working, so here I am.

The big news around these parts is the successful playing of the lottery... that is to say, I got in to the St George Marathon for October 3rd. What does this mean? Well, for one, it means I'm going to redo the title image on the blog, as I won't be triathlon training this summer as I had anticipated. Rather, I will be focused on improving overall fitness and getting faster so that I can finally, FINALLY nail the sub-5 marathon in St. George. I'm going to be so bold as to train for and aim for a 4:45 finish. It will require me to push myself, but I think I can do it.

The plan? Long tempo runs, long interval runs, double-ladder interval runs, tempo-interval runs, and just a whole lot of miles too. Ready or not...

In other news, my darling wife ran a killer 5k last Saturday. It was her 3rd 5k overall, but the first run she's done without me or anyone else running with her. It was really her first chance to open up and see what she could do. I expected her to do well and come in around 35 minutes or so. Instead, she blew that away and finished in 31:22! What an incredible run! I was really proud, she was really tired and is now really sore. She said she nearly puked a couple of times, I told her that's the sign of a well-run 5k. Congrats again, babe! You ROCKED it!

Now I have to go running. It's nearly 80 degrees outside. Don't know exactly what I'm going to do....

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Lottery, and At Least It Waited....

.... until after the marathon. That's what people tell me when I tell them how sick I was last week. Tuesday I went out for my first post-marathon run, which went alright. It was just a quick 4-miler outside at lunch. When I got back, I started to eat my leftovers-lunch, and just wasn't all that hungry. For some reason, it just wasn't at all appetizing, so I left half of it on my plate (and in my trashcan). By the time I got home that evening, I had pretty much hit the wall. I choked down dinner and ran some errands, but by the next morning I had a 101° fever. Wednesday and Thursday I was pretty laid out. By Friday I was pretty much over it, but still really weak, which lasted into Saturday as well.

Part of all this downtime gave me time to think. I really really want to run a sub-5 hour marathon. I got really really close last week. I don't know when I'll be ready to try again, but I decided to go ahead and enter the lottery for the St. George Marathon in October. This was my first marathon back in 2007. As you know, I didn't get in through the lottery last year, so this would be my second running of it. They've upped the limit of runners this year, as well as eliminated the "second chance" option, so hopefully the odds will be better than ever. I know what to expect this year, I'm starting in a much better position, fitness-wise, and I know what to train for. I'll be ready this time. I'm going to shatter that sub-5 goal.

...... if I get in.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Oooooh so close.

For those regular readers (yeah I know there's like 2 of you), you'll know that it is my (seemingly never-ending) quest to run a 5-hour marathon. Yes, I can run faster than the 11:20-something average pace needed to accomplish this feat (feet?), but not for 26+ miles. At least, not yet.

The race started off well. I got to the starting line with about 5 minutes to spare, just in time to hear them send off the wheelchair/handcart racers. I didn't have time to meet anyone that I knew was running in one of the two events that started when mine did (the half- or full-marathon), other than my neighbor. I basically had just enough time to turn on my garmin, take off my sweatshirt and warm-up pants and stuff them in a bag for later pickup, and that was it. They boomed the cannon, and 5 minutes later I crossed the starting line in the middle of the back of the pack.

Mile 1 - 10:44. I was trying to start off slow, slower than this.
Mile 2 - 11:09
Mile 3 - 10:52 - I started settling into a groove here, feeling pretty good.
Mile 4 - 10:40
Mile 5 - 10:45 - This is where the half marathoners split off for a bit while the marathoners make a loop of Sugarhouse Park. That's a hilly little loop, but nothing I couldn't handle at that point. I let 'er rip on the downhills and just tried to maintain form on the short but steep uphills. At this point the sun was still behind the clouds and it was a GORGEOUS morning.

Mile 6 - 11:08 - most of Sugarhouse park actually occurred during this mile.
Mile 7 - 11:15
Mile 8 - 11:02
Mile 9 - 11:19 - This is the area where I think I could have/should have gone a little faster
Mile 10 - 10:49
Mile 11 - 10:56
Mile 12 - 11:06
Mile 13 - 11:15

Halfway split: 2:28:05 (garmin) - should have known at this point that I wasn't likely to hit 5 hours, but I knew most of the hills were behind me.

Mile 14 - 10:50 - This is really very good because I saw the family just after the halfway point and stopped for hugs and kisses.
Mile 15 - 10:57
Mile 16 - 11:29 - Van Winkle is a long, boring place to run.
Mile 17 - 11:31
Mile 18 - 11:15 - I think these miles should have been a little faster too, but this is where I faced my first realy mental battle when I was trying to convince myself not to walk. I was leapfrogging a couple of Gallowalkers repeatedly, but eventually left most of them behind.
Mile 19 - 11:25
Mile 20 - 15:14 - This is where I saw the family again and stopped and talked for a few minutes. I don't know how the boost I got from that rest and the emotional lift of seeing everyone there compare to how I would have done if I hadn't stopped for so long (probably around 3 minutes... yeah, I know...)
Mile 21 - 11:42
Mile 22 - 12:00
Mile 23 - 13:00
Mile 24 - 12:07
Mile 25 - 12:45
Mile 26 - 12:32
Mile .18 (Garmin) - 3:12. My 2 girls ran in with me at the end... not that I would have been any faster without them there. I had nothing left.

Total time: 5:03:09 (Garmin). 5:03:13 chip. I'm pleased, but not satisfied. The sub-5 marathon is going to have to wait. But I know what I need to do to get there. At least I ran the whole thing, minus about 45-50 feet at one guy's impromtu aid station around mile 21-22.

All in all, I loved the Salt Lake Marathon. I seriously don't know what all the fuss is about (minus the flak about the organizer dude).

Organization - 8/10 (not enough food in the finish shoot when I got there, but at least there was still plenty of chocolate milk. Yum!)
Course - 7/10 -- that d*** hill they threw in going up State St. to South Temple this year really needs to go. Bad bad bad.
Medal - 8/10 -- Nice size, very attractive, but it doesn't have the year on the medal, just on the ribbon.
Crowd support - 7/10 -- Sparse in parts, but great at the end, and my wife and kids made it great at mile 14 and 20 as well. Also there were lots of residents that came out of their homes on the route to cheer on runners and put up impomptu aid stations.
My training - 6/10 -- I think I did pretty well, but a few more miles wouldn't hurt, and I need to do more long tempo runs / interval runs in the last couple of months. This is going to be key.

Friday, April 17, 2009

T-minus 15 hours

By this time tomorrow the Salt Lake City Marathon will be but a happy memory. Tonight, I have quite the "to do" list, including charging the iPod, new batteries in the Garmin, find my white running hat, blister-proof feet with liquid band-aid, pin bib to shirt, cut my hair and shower, make 2 peanut butter & honey sandwiches for pre-race nourishment, gather GU and powerade for the fuel belt, ad nauseum.

So, hopefully I'll have good (that is, sub-5 hour) news to share tomorrow. Either way, I'll write up a race report when I get back, after I've showered and possibly napped. The good news is there's no hotel bed to toss and turn on tonight. No, I get to toss and turn on my very own bed. This will be wierd. At least I slept well last night.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Where I'll be...

Okay, so I know dozens of people running in one of the events at the Salt Lake Marathon. Most I know will be running the half marathon, but since we all start at the same place, I thought I'd post where I'll be in case you'd like to meet up at the starting area. I will be under the last tree as you exit the runners staging area and head up the road to the start mat. I labeled the map below as best as I can remember from last year, so I hope it's about right and they don't change much. Worse case, I'll have my phone on me and my number is 801-755-9628. I can't believe I just posted that on the Internet.

Disclaimer: I may leave said post to hit the porta-loo or get some water, etc. But I'll be back.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pretty dang perfect

Admittedly, it's still 6 days out, but this is looking just right...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Updates, a Podcast, and a Taper

So the last long run is in the books. It was a grueling, bonk-infested 21 miler last Saturday. My fueling plan was off, to say the least, but it's done. Now I'm smack in the middle of tapering, which I'm finding more enjoyable than ever, having run three times this week, 4 miles each, all outdoors. The thought of a treadmill just does not sound appealing at all right now. Fortunately Spring is here and I don't have to worry about it.

This past Wednesday I was honored to co-host the Runners Round Table podcast. That was a blast. We talked about running, cross-training, swimming and biking, and yoga. It was so fun, and I hope I get another chance to host again.

In other news, Devine Racing, the organizers (and I use the term loosely) of the Salt Lake City Marathon are proving their doubters correct and cementing for themselves a very questionable reputation in the eyes of runners everywhere. It seems they have a hard time paying their bills. Here we are, 8 days from the marathon, and they have yet to file an event permit with South Salt Lake, which houses about 2 miles of the marathon route. They haven't paid the police department there either, so who knows if we'll have course security support for miles 19-20. All that said, let's hope as a runner on April 18th, that all I notice is the news stories, and that I don't see any evidence of the apparent incompetence of everyone involved at Devine. I don't want to feel ashamed to have that name on my shirt and my medal, ya know?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Last Long Run... and it's gonna snow

Okay, sneak preview. Tomorrow is my last long run before the marathon, and it will be something in the neighborhood of 22 - 24 miles. And it's supposed to be crappy weather. My aim is to start out around 5:00 a.m., so I can be done by 10:00 a.m. allowing for plenty of time for traffic lights and a possible re-fueling stop.

Alternatively, I could head over to our clubhouse gym, which has a treadmill with a 30 minute time limit, and try that out... maybe put on a movie or something (or two or three)... however I'd have to restart that thing like 8 times, and 4+ hours on a treadmill does not sound like fun. There's also a nearby indoor 1/4 mile track I could run on, but 92 laps? I have no idea how I'd keep track, let alone how I'd stay sane. And it doesn't open until 8, so I'd be running until after noon, and I have something I want to do at 10...

So, I'm going to go ahead with the original plan, and head out the door -- rain, shine, snow, darkness, or otherwise -- at 5-ish a.m. and run from home to work, the long way. Why? Well, because I really need to get this last long run in, and because the marathon is in two weeks. You never know what April weather is going to throw at you, so I'm going to run in whatever I get tomorrow so that I'll be that much more prepared to run in whatever weather I get on the 18th. Get it?

Now, it will be just my luck that the 18th will have 85° sunshine and high humidity. And I didn't do any long training runs in my dryer.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's gotta be the shoes!

As someone who runs, and who makes it publicly known that I run (see twitter, facebook, this blog, etc.), I often hear from people phrases such as:
  • "I wish I could be a runner."
  • "Running hurts, why would you do that to yourself?"
  • "I tried running once... my shins hurt so bad I had to quit."
  • "I don't have the knees for running."
Oh, the shame! If these people only knew! Running doesn't hurt. Well, it doesn't hurt that much. Not if it's done right. And the first step is to GET THE RIGHT SHOES.

I'll tell folks this and they'll say "But I did! I went and got $150 running shoes!" And I'll ask where they bought them, and they'll say something like "Big 5" or "Sports Authority" or perhaps even, *gasp!* "the mall!"

Here's the thing... when you run, your foot goes through a certain motion called pronation. Pronating is the action of your foot's arch collapsing to absorb shock, your ankle rolling slightly inward, followed by the rolling outward as you push off with your toes. People pronate to varying degrees, based in part on how high the arch of the foot is. People with low arches tend to over-pronate, which can cause excessive stress on the ankle, shin bones and tendons, knee, and hip -- and various other muscles, tendons, and bones in that general area of the body. Fortunately, the running shoe companies have figured this out, and they now manufacture shoes specifically to counteract these biomechanics (big word, I know). These shoes are called stability shoes, because they provide extra support to keep the foot and ankle properly aligned while going through your natural gait motion.

I'm not going to go deeply into the different styles and purposes of running shoes here. The point here is to emphasize that until you have someone look at your foot who knows what they're looking for, you're very likely running in the wrong shoes for your foot, and that's what makes it hurt. If you need a stability shoe and you're in a neutral shoe -- or vise-versa, not to mention the intracacies of motion-control shoes, cushioned shoes, lightweight racing flats, etc. -- you are going to hurt yourself. So... GET THE RIGHT SHOES. And to do that, you need to go to your local running-specialty store so they can analyze your gait. Trust me here. I'm about to complete my third marathon and I've never had any significant running injury.

Feel free to email me or comment if you'd like more information on this topic. :)

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The latest

Here's the latest... I decided to make last week a de-facto cutback week, and bagged the Saturday run. I tell ya, if I do crappy at this marathon, it will be from not doing semi-long runs on my cutback weeks. Oh well. So this week I'm running 6 miles four times and then a long 22-24 mile run on Saturday -- and the weather's horrible, but that's part of the fun. Once this week is over, the taper starts, and let me just tell you how excited I am for the taper! Next week I'll run 6, 5, and 4, then two bike days, then 12 on Saturday. The following week will then be 4, 4, 2, one bike day, one rest day, then the MARATHON.

I'm so ready for this. Sub-5, baby.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Choices and burnout

Here's the deal. I'm getting to that point in marathon training where I'm feeling pretty confident and wishing the race were this weekend and not 3 weeks hence. I have been at this point for each of the previous marathons I've run, and I didn't run either of them as well as I'd wanted to. So I'm hoping I'm not experiencing the same kind of thing. This week it's been difficult for me to want to get any miles in, and consequently I didn't run at all on Monday. I did do 5 yesterday and 6 today, so I'm not too far behind, especially if I double up on Wednesday or Thursday.

As I mentioned, there's 3 weeks until the marathon from this Saturday. I can either make this week my last long week, and then do a 3-week taper before the big dance, or I can take it easy-ish this week and go long again next week, and follow it up with a 2-week taper. Or... I could go long-ish this week and long-ish next week, and then go with a 2-week taper. I'm leaning towards the first option or the last option -- three-week tapers just seem too long for me, since my max weekly mileage is still under 45, and doesn't look like it's going to exceed that point unless I build this week and next week -- which I think I'd like to do. Overdoing it? Maybe...

I tend to be more motivated by the possibility of overdoing it than by trying to maintain or take it more "sensibly" from now until race day.

So... am I more likely to burn out if I keep going long until a 2-week taper? Or would it be smarter and possibly less-motivating to play it safe and take an easy week this week -- or even go long this week and do a 3-week taper? Decisions, decisions....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A hard Saturday run, but I'm okay with that

Today I did 22 miles in 4:00:47, and it was hard. Really hard. Don't get me wrong, I ran the whole way, but I didn't finish as strong as I kind of wish I had. But I'm okay with that. Here's why...
That's the elevation profile from today's run. Note the steady 3% uphill grade near the beginning, and the intermittent 3% grades at the very end. And I still managed to hold a 10:57 pace (more or less) for the whole thing. (That doesn't count the pit stop at the grocery store at mile 15.5 to pick up more PowerAde.)

In contrast, here is the elevation profile for the marathon for which I am training, and in which I WILL finish in less than 5 hours.
Note the lack of any uphill grade greater than 2%, and that's just one little climb near the halfway point. Also, the uphills in miles 5 through 13 look scary, until you realize there's not a bit of them over 1%. I think I'm going to be ready.

4 weeks to go. I can do this.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

TIART - Spring Training

Okay, I'm going to try something that I've never done before, and that's contribute to the Runner's Lounge "Take It And Run Thursday". The topic of the week is Spring Training.

I love Spring Training, but then I've always been a baseball fan, ever since I can remember. These days, Spring Training means more than the return of the Dodgers to Vero Beach, Florida, however... (scratch that, they play their Spring ball in Arizona now... doh!) When the players report to spring camp, it means that the days are getting longer, the mornings are getting warmer, and the running starts to transition from the treadmill to the great outdoors once again. Indeed, Spring is a great time of year!

A couple of tips for those of us emerging from Winter treadmill hibernation:
  • Don't pay attention to pace. Treadmill pace and outdoor pace rarely match up evenly, so get your first few runs in at whatever pace feels right, and don't compare to what you've been doing on the treadmill all winter long. Chances are you'll be much faster (or much slower). Don't stress over it, and use this newly-established "outdoor" pace to gauge your progress from here on.
  • Dress for the conditions. Spring can be tough, because you can start a morning long run in chilly weather and warm up quickly as the hours go by. Dress in layers that can be tied around your waist as the day progresses, or plan your course to run past your house or a familiar place where you can ditch superfluous clothing.
  • Don't forget to hydrate! Especially on cooler days, you can forget to drink enough because you're not sweating much, and when you do sweat, the cooler air (and hopefully your hi-tech wicking clothing) will pull the sweat off of you into the air so fast you'll stay relatively dry. In these conditions it's easy to go too long between swigs. Drink up!
So there you have it; my first contribution to "Take It And Run Thursday". Enjoy! I feel honored to be participating in such a distinguished community of great runners!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Joe's Goals

I found this cool new website called Joe's Goals. I guess some guy named Joe made up the website, and it's pretty nifty. Basically it gives you the opportunity to set goals for yourself and keep track of your progress on a day by day basis. You type in your goals, and you can leave a check mark if you've accomplished it for the day. You get a total score for each day based on how many check marks you have for that day. Then you can pull up graphs and charts showing how you're trending, etc.

Currently I have 7 goals listed (the screenshot there is NOT my list), and I'm sure I'll come up with more. Chec it out. The URL is

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ramping back up!

So last week was an impromptu cutback week, to let a blister heal and take care of car problems (which didn't work out, but that's another story).

This week, I'm ramping the mileage back up, with runs so far this week of 4, 5, 6.75, and 5.1 miles. The last two of those have been outside on variably hilly terrain, substituting as speedwork for the week. This is a total of 20.85 miles for the week so far, with a 20 miler on tap for Saturday. Tomorrow will be a bike day.

Next week, we'll throw a 22 miler into the mix, and at least one double, which I didn't get to this week... yet(?). The marathon is 5 weeks and 2 days away. I think I'll be ready. I hope I'm not peaking too soon. :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Darn blister

During Saturday's awesome long run, I got a blister under my big toe on my left foot. This is a new occasion for me, as I rarely get blisters, and when I do they're always on the instep of my right foot. In that case, I'll just pop them with whatever's handy, and let them drain, cover with a bandaid or two for a day or two, and we're good to go. The skin seems to fuse back together where the water bubble was, and away we go.

This one is a little different. Because it's in a place where two sides of a wrinkle come together (that's not the right phrasing, but I think you get the point), it seems to feel bigger than it actually is. I've popped it a few times, and was able to run Monday and Tuesday on it, but Wednesday I tried putting moleskin on it for a barrier, but it didn't stick. I guess that part of my foot is sweatier than most?

So anyway, I'm taking a couple of days off to let it heal, which means that this week is turning into an impromptu cut back week. That's okay, because I pushed last week and got ahead of schedule anyway. I'm not completely relaxing -- I'm biking instead of running, and it's keeping me busy and my heart rate up. Hopefully I'll be able to get out for a shorter long run tomorrow... perhaps I'll try the moleskin again.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A pound of flesh...

Or, more accurately, a pound of fat. One of the common things one hears as one begins to research diet and exercise as relating to weight loss is that one pound of fat contains 3500 calories, and therefore to lose a pound of fat you need to increase your calorie deficit by 3500 calories to "burn off" a pound of fat, and therefore be one pound lighter.

I've been searching across the interwebs and haven't yet been able to find any concrete studies to back this up, but something about it seems fishy to me. It seems over-simplified, as if any calories we eat go into the same bank, regardless of the "quality" of the calories, or the source of the calories, and then any calories we burn, regardless of the way we burn them (weight training, cardio fitness training, breathing, thinking, etc.) all withdraw the calories from this same bank. I don't think this is necessarily the case.

When I started back at running in January of 2008 after slacking off after my first marathon, I weighed in at 225 lbs. Within a week I was down to 219. According to the "3500 calorie" theory, I created myself a calorie deficit in that ONE WEEK (?!?!) of 21,000 calories???!! Um, no. The running, totaling maybe 10 miles, may have added 1000-2000 calories to my "deficit" total, but nowhere near the 21,000 that the theory would suggest. I believe metabolism is more complicated than the theory suggests.

Does anyone have information or peer-reviewed studies, etc., that can back up the theory one way or another?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spring Fever

It is absolutely beautiful outside. Okay, so it's a little windy -- so much so that when I was running south, into the wind, I couldn't really hear the iPod very well -- but I can deal with a little wind. I still turned in a great 5.1 mile run today in the Avenues/City Creek Canyon in 50 minutes flat. It was 62°F outside (that's about 17°C for you metric types). The breeze actually helped it to not feel too hot.

I may have to run again later, just to soak up some more of the gorgeous weather!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Long run, nothing special

I went for a really long run on Saturday. It seems that every marathon training session will include at least one point-to-point run from home to work. It shakes out like so: My wife will come pick me up from work Friday afternoon for a family activity of some sort, so I'll leave my car at work. Saturday morning I wake up early, get on the running gear, and head out for what is usually a circuitous 20 mile route, and come pick up my car. This weekend, however, was the first time I'd attempted this since we moved further away from my place of employment. The result? It wasn't a circuitous route, it was pretty direct. But it was still 19.6 miles, which is about 2 miles further than I had scheduled for that week's long run. I finished it strong, however -- surprisingly so. This puts me weeks ahead on my training schedule, which is good. I plan on another long 20 miler this weekend, then a much-deserved cutback week.

So far, a very good start to 2009!

Weekly recap and February totals

Last week was a good week for me. Here's how it shook down:

Monday - 5.1 miles outside in the Avenues for a "hilly" run. 10:02 pace
Tuesday - 4 miles outside in the Avenues at lunch, pace 9:55; 4 miles on the treadmill that night, pace 10:00
Wednesday - Easy 2.5 on the TM as warm up for weights. 20 minutes of weights.
Thursday - 5 mile interval training on the TM - 9:44 avg pace w/ warm up and cool down.
Friday - Bike 15.76 miles in 42 minutes including intervals and a 400+ watt sprint.
Saturday - 19.6 mile long run from home to work. Pace 10:46. I loved this run.

Weekly total: 40.2 miles run, 15.8 miles biked

Totals for February:
122 miles run
80.4 miles biked
1 hr 35 minutes weights

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Weekly recap

For some reason, blogger won't open at work, so my normal blogging time is disrupted. :)

Anyway, here's last week's totals:

Monday: 5 miles at lunch, 6.1 miles that evening - 11.1 miles total
Tuesday: 1.8 miles, 15 minutes weights
Wednesday: 6 mile tempo run
Thursday: 4.5 miles easy
Friday: 14.6 mile bike ride
Saturday: 15.6 mile long run

Running: 39 miles
Biking: 14.6 miles
Weights: 15 minutes

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The first twice

I've done one two-a-day workout before, and that was last fall when I went for a morning run and a lunch time bike ride. I thoroughly enjoyed it. When triathlon training begins in earnest here in a couple months (post-marathon), I'll be doing more of those, as my swimming will always be taking place in the early morning, with bikes or runs later those same days.

Last week was a cutback week. For those that don't know, a cutback week is intended for your body to have a chance to recover and rest a little from the stresses of endurance training. It's also good to have the emotional and mental break from it that you need as well. So all of my runs last week were shorter, I let one day of cross training fall out, and then there was Valentine's Day...

For Valentine's Day, my gift to my wife was to paint our bedroom. Whoever lived there before us had had something odd screwed into the wall, and had not patched it or painted over the bad patch properly, and ever since we moved in we've been trying to decide what to do with those walls. Well, now they're a mossy/sagey green. This task, however, took almost all of the day on Saturday, leaving me no time to get in a longish run. (Remember, it was a cutback week, so the long run was set to only be 8-10 miles). Anyway, so that run fell through as well, leaving me with a 12 mile week. Not a good plan when you're marathon training.

So yesterday I decided to make up a little for lost time. I did a 5 mile run at lunch while watching the Tour of California on TV. Then, after the kids were in bed, I hammered out another 6 on the treadmill while watching The Client. It made for an 11.1 mile day. Not bad for a Monday. I may double up again today or Thursday, and I may throw in a two-a-day once a week or so, just to get the miles up there. As they say, there's no substitute for time on your feet when it comes to marathon training.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Am I bragging?

The way I see it, I'm a very average runner, as far as runners go. I guess as far as your average Joe is concerned, I'm sure I'm more active than "he" is, but still.

Allow me to explain. Those of you that follow me on Twitter or on Facebook will know that I post my runs in my "status" or as a "tweet"... mainly because I know that some people who follow me there are interested in keeping tabs on my training, etc. However, just about everyone I've ever really known is a friend on Facebook, and this last weekend, after posting the results of my long run, I got a comment that went something like this:

"Zach why do you post everytime you run with how far you went in your status report? I feel like I should be giving you feedback or coaching advice."

The guy wasn't someone that I know very well, so cutting him off from my Facebook updates didn't cause me a lot of inner turmoil or anything. I was just wondering if it comes across as bragging or something similar. I'm just using it as another way to log my training, and for those who are interested to follow along. It's by far not the only thing I post there.

Thanks for reading. I had to vent. :)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Weekly recap

Monday - 6.1 treadmill miles in the late evening after the kids were in bed. Watched the fist hour of "Oscar" with Sylvester Stalone. Great flick.

Tuesday - 5.12 miles outside at lunch in the Avenues. Great, hilly run. Took off my long-sleeved shirt and ran in short sleeves for the second half. Beautiful day.

Wednesday - 40 minute bike ride on the Cycleops. 14.2 miles.

Thursday - Interval run, 5.58 miles on the treadmill at lunch.

Friday - Easier bike day on the Cycleops. 10.8 miles in 30 minutes, early AM before work.

Saturday (today) - 14 mile long run in the foothills of the Oquirrh Mountains. 10:42 average pace. Long, hard run all the way to Copperton and back (the long way). Butt kickin.

Total: 30.8 miles running in 5:15:56
25 miles on the bike in 1:10:00
No weight training this week. Oops.

Looking forward to the cutback (rest) week next week!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Different Intervals

I tried a different interval workout today. This one was a Carmichael Training Systems workout that I got free in a Power Bar email newsletter a couple years back. At the time, there was no way I was going to do 50+ minutes of intervals, so I just saved it in my iTunes and kind of forgot about it. Well, last night, I dusted it off and loaded it onto the iPod to use today.

Basically, it goes like this:

10 minute warm up, including four 20 second stride outs, then 5 sets of:

1 minute hard, 2 minutes easy, 2 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy. Then a 10 minute cool down.

Maybe I didn't push it hard enough on the hard parts, but it didn't seem like it was as hard of a workout as the Get Fit Pod workout that I'd done the previous two weeks. I do love the coached workouts, though. It's nice to have someone yakking in your ear telling you when to speed up and slow down, etc. Today I ended up covering 5.58 miles in 55 minutes.

I think I'll keep this one in the repertoire for future interval sessions, but I think I'm going to favor the other one for now. And I'll constantly be scouring iTunes for other podcasts with coached running workouts.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

January Totals

January I had my 2nd best running month ever, second only to last April, the month before I ran the Ogden Marathon. All in all, in January I ran 106 miles in 18 hours, 57 seconds - an average pace of 10:12. I also biked 92.9 miles in 4:21:45.

I'm well on my way to achieving the 1000 biking and running miles for 2009.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


So on my new training plan, Thursdays are speedwork days -- that means either a tempo run or intervals. I had planned on doing two tempo runs and one intervals run during each three week "on" training cycle. (More about training cycles in a future post, I'm sure.) Well, last Thursday I tried an interval workout I had downloaded from the "Get Fit Pod" podcast. It basically goes like this:

  • Warm up for however long... I think the podcast has you warming up about 5 minutes as it introduces the workout, etc.
  • Find your base jogging pace. This is pretty much the pace you runs on a "normal" weekday run -- quicker than your long run pace, slower than an interval pace. I set this at 5.9 mph on the treadmill, or about 10:10/mile. Do this for 2-3 minutes.
  • Then the intervals start. The first is one minute all-out running.
  • Rest for one minute at your base pace (5.9 for me).
  • 2nd interval - 2 minutes of all-out running.
  • Rest again for one minute at your base pace.
  • 3rd interval - 3 minutes of all-out run-as-fast-as-you-can go-go-go running (see a pattern here?)
  • Another recovery jog - this time 2 minutes.
  • 4th, and longest, interval - 5 minutes as-fast-as-you-can-for-that-long.
  • 3 minute recovery period. They let you walk if you need to on this one. How generous.
  • 3 minute interval
  • 2 minute rest/recovery
  • 1 minute interval
  • 30 second recovery
  • 30 second interval -- this is the absolute fastest you can go.
  • Cool down.
I stretched out the warm-up and cool-down periods so that the entire run would be 5 miles for me today. Last week when I did this, I just extended out the cool down into a 4.5 mile run. Today I added to the front side of the workout as well. Let me tell you, this workout is KILLER, and it's fun to do on the treadmill. It definitely breaks up the otherwise monotonous 50 minutes that would be a ~5 mile run. I highly recommend it. I like to call it a "Spin Class For Runners." Try it!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Saturday's Run

Saturday I went out for a 12 mile run, with an icky long false-flat section that stretched for miles. One cool thing was, right at the end of this long uphill grade (We're talking like 6-7 miles of constant 1-3% uphill), I saw this very large bird take flight off the top of a power pole about 100 feet ahead of me. As it swooped down over the field to my left, the sun caught its head, and it was a gleaming white. The bird crossed over the road behind me and landed atop another power pole about 150 feet behind me. I had to stop and just stare, my mouth gaping open. I couldn't believe that I had just seen a freakin' bald eagle while out for a long run. I had only ever seen one in captivity before, never in the free wild. It gave me a boost to finish out the last 3.5 miles. What a sight!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Meteorology 101

Okay, basic physics: Hot air rises, and cold air falls. Typically, the higher in elevation you go, the colder the air gets, right? To escape the heat of a hot summer day, you head to the mountains, where it's cooler, right?

So, in a typical environment, the hot air near the surface of the planet rises, and as it does, it cools, which in turn makes the air fall (colder air is denser, but we've been over this already), so you get this stirring action (called convection) that keeps the air, shall we say, "fresh."

Well here in our high mountain valleys, it snows in the winter, which tends to keep the air around the ground area cold. Cold air falls, as we've discussed, but this air is already on the ground... so as warmer air aloft moves over us thanks to a nice "ridge" of high pressure, the cold air is trapped, because it's colder than the air above it, instead of warmer like it usually is (hence the term "inversion"). That was a long run on sentence, but if you read it a few times, you'll get what I mean -- if you're still awake at this point, that is.

Anyway, in this nice layer of colder air near the ground that's not going anywhere because it's colder than the air above it exist all the cars, factories, oil refineries, furnaces, fireplaces, etc. (and sublimating snow, which adds to the visibility issues), and since the usual convection isn't happening, all the particulates, pollution, water vapor from the snow, etc., just hangs in the air, and all of a sudden you have Salt Lake City doing its best Los Angeles impersonation, like this:

My point? You really don't want to be out running in that gunk if you value your lungs. So, I'm relegated to this:

*Sigh* 5 miles today. Here goes nothin'.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I had a great run last Saturday. I went out for the best 10-miler I've had in a long time. I managed to hold a 10:30 average pace, which I would LOVE to be able to maintain for 26.2 here in another couple months. It was cold outside, but nothing a few layers, a fleece vest, and gloves couldn't fix. Here's my splits:


You can tell where the long uphill mile was, eh? :)

Sunday is (always) a rest day, Monday I ran 4 on the treadmill, and Tuesday I ran 5 and change outside at lunchtime. It was PERFECT running weather... just over 40° and mostly sunny. I ran the hilly City Creek + 1 route, and finished in 50:35, which for 5.1 miles equals a 9:54 pace. A PR for that course, for sure.

Wednesday was a biking day on the Cycleops Pro 300 PT indoor cycle. I was reading a book and in about 38 minutes I went 13.45 miles. I really want to work on my cycling and get to the point where I can hammer out more watts on a more consistent basis. I average about 165 watts on a good ride. I'd like to get that up to over 200 sooner rather than later. We'll see how that goes, but I'm going to focus on it on my cross-training days (like tomorrow). I have 4 easy miles on tap today -- it's a cutback week on the training calendar for SLC. Tomorrow's another bike day, and Saturday will be 7 more miles runnin'.

Ya gotta love marathon training. You just gotta love it!

Friday, January 9, 2009

2009 Training Plan

Here it is, if you want to see what I'll be doing from now until the triathlon in September. I did forget to note the Art City 5k on here, but I'll definitely be running it... I believe it will be June 6th. So I may trade my cutback week and make that my shorter Saturday, and run 13 miles the week before, when I'm scheduled to bike 16.

I'm curious to know anyone's opinion. :)

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 Plans

These aren't the New Year's Resolutions... these are the plans.

I'm planning on trying something a little different and running the Salt Lake Marathon in April this year. This is only 14 weeks away, so I'm kicking the training into gear now. If all goes according to plan, I won't have a week of less than 23 miles of running for the rest of the season. And only very few weeks of less than 30 miles.

There will be some biking (and maybe even swimming) thrown in there as well. I really want to do the Daybreak Triathlon in September. It may be the sprint, it may be the Olympic distance, but I'd really like to get it done. It will depend on the funds available at the time.

I also plan on doing the Art City 5k with the family, and entering the lottery for the St George Marathon in October. And with any luck, I'll run the Hobble Creek Half Marathon in August. That oughta keep me busy for the year, eh?