Sunday, October 28, 2012

Week of 10-22-12: 43 miles, 4500' gain.

I would have liked to have kept the mileage increasing, but my week was insanely busy with work and I ended up not getting home until after 9 pm several nights, so I had very little time to run.  In hindsight, it's not that bad to have had one down-week after my first 4 semi-legitimate weeks in awhile.  I have the  drive to be training hard again, but throwing in some down weeks here and there will enable me to push for a later peak, which seems desirable at this point.  I originally figured I'd try to get a peak in December, but that seems way too soon, probably 1-2 months before I'd be ready for a fast marathon if I trained hard through then.  There's nothing of note, racing-wise, to peak for in Jan/Feb, so if I could push for March or even April, that would be good.  For right now, I'm just enjoying getting some speed back.

Monday: Off, wasn't home until 10 pm.
Tuesday: 8 miles.  1 mile warmup, 3 miles in 18:12, 2 min rest, 3 miles in 17:53, 2 min rest, 1 mile in 5:25.  Last mile was really really hard.  Got home after 10:00 after getting my work and run done. :(
Wednesday: Off, wasn't home until 9 pm.
Thursday: 8 miles, 1500' gain, JCC to 5-way and back with Heidi Madsen, a speedy female undergrad from the U.  I knew the evening would be horrible, so we fit this run in at 6:30 until 7:45 in a relatively serious snowstorm.  The pace wasn't super fast, but that was mostly a result of the atrocious condition of the trail (slush, deep mud, ever-deepening snow, heavy winds, freezing temps, etc)  and finished literally a few minutes before sunrise, which was apparently at 7:50.
Friday: 5 miles, 1000' gain, with Holly, 0:4x.  Wildrose loop + run up to the city creek ridgeline.  Nice and easy, was testing out some old XC spikes in the mud, + had to make it to a date at the symphony shortly after finishing.
Saturday: 7 miles, A little ways up Bountiful Blvd over to Mueller Park Canyon and Kenny Creek Trail, up the trail, and back, 2000' gain.  Unbelievably obnoxious mud.  The trail is cut in a fashion that allows all the moisture from melting snow to drain into it, so it was pretty absurd.  My Nike Zoom Streak XC 3s that I bought for $28 busted through in the right side of the right toe box on the way down, so my feet were ridiculous when I finished.  Brought Holly along and she loved it, but has never been more dirty in her life.  Haha.
Sunday: 16 miles to and on Jordan River Parkway, down to West Valley and back.  First half in 53 min, second half in 47.  The last few miles were extremely difficult.  Fortunately, this run is basically flat other than a very minor hill at the end, which was helpful, but I really didn't have more than a couple minutes left at that pace at the end or I would have been toast.  Felt pretty close to all out, which was slightly less than encouraging, but thinking about it, I suppose a 16 mile run with the 2nd half at just under 6:00 pace should be quite encouraging to me.  Still, I know that I need to work my speed strength a lot.  I can run slow literally all day and night long, but I need more runs like this where I'm pushing a fast pace over the second half, especially when I start getting tired, and I also need more tempo work.  That said, I think the treadmill work has been helping, so I'll continue to do some of that.

Totals: 43 miles, 4500' gain.  Kind of meh, but it was relaxing and it's not like I was hoping to do this little.  Fortunately the work-related situations that caused this to happen were maybe a once in a year type thing at most, so it's not going to be a pattern.

Music for the week is the absolutely stunning 18th variation from Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini.  I had the great pleasure in seeing this whole piece played live by the Utah Symphony Orchestra and Lukas Geniusas, along with Shostakovich's October, Borodin's 2nd Symphony, and the Suite from Rimsky-Korsakov's The Tale of Tsar Saltan on Friday.  This is of course best as listened as a whole, but given that I sincerely doubt anyone who reads this has the interest in sitting here and listening to a 24 minute piece of music, here is a highlight:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week of 10-15-12: 63 miles, 10,000' gain.

Monday: 4 miles, :3x, 500' gain, easy, with Holly.  A scab on one of her paws was bugging her, so she made me slow to a walk a couple times.  Not a problem though, as it was suposed to be really easy.  Didn't get the exact time as I had to stop my watch a couple times for Holly and forgot to restart it on time once or twice.

Tuesday: 17 miles: 1:50, on a treadmill.  Alternating between 7:00 and 6:00 pace (or slightly faster) every mile.  Started and ended with the 7:00 pace.  Legs were not quite 100% recovered from Sunday's outing going in, which made this harder.  Also, I threw in a 5:56 and a 5:52 on miles 4 and 8, plus a 5:42 for mile 10, just to bring up the effort a bit and to tire my legs faster.  Mile 16 was 5:52 and it was really hard.  Everything else was within a second of the goal pace (always faster if anything, never slower).  Once again, this workout is based around marathon pace (6:30 would be my goal if I were to run at 4500').  Since I'll be running at lower altitude, this would correlate to about 20 seconds per mile faster, although I think the treadmill makes it about 10 seconds per mile easier as it sort of helps you along ever so slightly.  Therefore, this seems to be reasonable for a goal pace of 6:20 at lower altitude.  I had actually been questioning my desire to run a marathon in December, although that was more back when the hip was still acting up, so at this point, now that it hasn't given me any grief in about 10 days, I'm thinking the marathon is a good goal once again.  We'll see.

Wednesday: 3 miles, :30, flat.  Recovery.  Sore.

Thursday: Off.  Didn't plan it, but ended up not getting home until pretty late, so I just stayed in with the pooch.

Friday: 10 miles, 1:5x, 3500' gain (3100' net from lowest to highest with a little roll, especially on the ridgeline).  Forgot the total time exactly, but it was a hair under 2 hours.  Ran the difficult combination of trails from JCC to the log-book on Little Black in 52:24 at a relatively hard effort, but not all-out (did it once before, back in April, which felt like a harder effort, and it took me 62:07).  "Unkel" split was 24:58, also a PR.  I had previously done 25:xx a couple weeks ago (without doing the rest of the climb up Little Black) when wearing a watch without seconds, so it seemed like I had to go under 25 to be sure it was a PR.  I didn't push it much for the first half of that, so that was encouraging.  After hitting the log-book, I went back along the ridgeline and over the crags, going a little ways past the true peak before turning it around.  Took it easy coming down the face of Little Black, which I'm not really comfortable pushing going down, since it's a very steep descent with very loose footing, but once I got on more solid footing at the top of Unkel F, I pushed a bit harder from there.  The time sounds slow for 10 miles, but this is an extremely difficult route.  I actually consider this to have been my second hard effort run of the week.  This actually made the hip slightly sore on the climb for the first time in about 2 weeks, but nothing too bad.  Quads hurt more than anything.  Guess I'm not really at full strength right now, which isn't surprising, but it's coming along nicely.

Saturday: 15 miles, 2:31, 4000' gain.  Moderately easy effort.  Bonneville shoreline from the south-eastern tip of NSL up to the ridgeline, trailhead by some park (don't remember the name) up via the weird spiderweb of interlinking trails, starting with a slow and very roundabout traverse up to Wildrose Loop (legs didn't feel very good at the start since the day before was hard).  From there, followed some trail whose name I don't know up to the City Creek ridgeline.  Followed that extremely hilly and undulating net-uphill trail all the way to the end, and then continued on a bit past, trying to bushwhack through some game trails to get to Rudy's Flat.  I really just wasn't feeling it and wasn't 100% confident that I knew how to get to Rudy's Flat from there, so rather than getting lost in the middle of nowhere, I turned it around and took another trail down into North Canyon, one that I had taken when getting lost up here about 2 years ago.  I wasn't 100% sure where it would pop out, but knew that it would end up in North Canyon below Rudy's Flat somewhere.  After following it for awhile and being surprised at how it appeared completely unused, I found a section of the new gas pipeline installation (ie, easy to climb), so I went a bit out of my way and climbed the 500' of vertical just to get my bearings (still confused about this, as I should have been overlooking the main North Canyon dirt road or trail at this point, but didn't see it).  In any case, I went back down to the trail, continued down, and eventually popped out near the old abandoned cabin near the bottom of North Canyon.   I then took a roundabout road route back to my car back in North Salt Lake so I could run by and admire all of the mega-mansions in the south-Eastern area of Bountiful.

Sunday: 14 miles, 2000' gain, 1:49.  Moderate effort.  Start of North Canyon dirt road, just at the top of Canyon Creek Road, up to the North Canyon Trail, up to Rudy's Flat, down Mueller Park Trail, then back on the roads.  The last ascent back up Canyon Creek Road wasn't very easy.  Haha.  Quads were screaming at me on a lot of the ups, as this was the biggest I've done in awhile (in terms of all of mileage, time spent running, and vertical gain), but it was still an exhilarating, even rhapsodic experience.  Every once in a while, I have a run that is just beyond fun and today was one of those days.  The beautiful foliage, all the various wildlife that I came across on the trail, the scent and chill of fall at dusk, and the music I was listening to (Rachmaninoff and Scriabin) all combined together to give me a wonderful experience.  I don't know how many more times I'll get to run some of these trails before the snow comes down and I assume I will have a whole new landscape to train in shortly, but for now, runs like today's are what I run for.

Totals: 63 miles, 10,000' gain.  A nice improvement, plus well over half came between Friday and Sunday.  I should be able to improve on it this coming week (well, distance, probably won't seek to do more than 10k' climb) if I don't get too busy with some work stuff that could take up a lot of time this week.

Music: I listened to a lot of Scriabin tonight.  The 3rd movement of his piano concerto is particularly lovely: 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Week of 10-8-12: 50 miles, 4000' gain.

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 7 miles.  1 mile warmup, 5 x mile, 1 mile cooldown.  On a treadmill, so it was possibly inaccurate (seems pretty fast), but my miles were 5:27, 5:18, 5:18, 5:09, 5:08 with 3 minutes rest between each (probably too much rest, need to cut that down to 90-120 seconds next time).  Calves were pretty sore afterwards since I haven't done anything this fast in a long time.  I genuinely felt like I was going super super fast, but at the same time, the effort level was lower than I expected.  I've always felt that higher pace reps just seem easier on a treadmill, so I doubt I could replicate this on a track.

Wednesday: 9 miles, 73 minutes, with Holly, 1500' gain.  Started in some small little cul-de-sac off of Eagleridge Loop (just south of the golf course in Bountiful), followed a maze of indirect trails I've never run on before, eventually getting up to Wildrose Ridge (I think that was the name?), followed yet another maze of pretty indirect trails and eventually popped out on the City Creek Ridge.  After a little while up there, I finally recognized where I was on the ridge, took the long way around, followed the dirt access road by the towers up there, down to the bottom one, down BoSho Trail, and back through Bountiful to my car.  Moderately hard on the uphills, easy on the downs (Holly didn't really seem to want to run fast on this run).  I had never previously run over half of this loop, but it was pretty fun, so I'll have to do it again at some point.

Thursday: 10 miles, 7x minutes, 600+' gain.  Don't know the exact time because I restarted my watch with 2.8 miles to go to see what tempo pace would be over the last few miles.  Standard NSL/Woods Cross/Bountiful loop.  Decided to tempo in the last 3-ish miles, but the legs just still felt kind of thrashed after Tuesday's workout, so anything under 6:00 pace didn't feel very good.  Still, the last 2.8 was split in 16:30 even.  Not all that quick, but like I said, the legs were sore, so I didn't want to push harder.

Friday: 4 miles.  2 mile easy, 1 mile @ 5:30 on treadmill (legs felt better), 1 mile easy.

Saturday: 6 miles. 2 mile warmup + Dracula's Dash For Hope 5k + 1 mile cooldown, total 300+' gain, 200' during the race.  Yes, that's actually the name of the race.  I decided a few days back that I wanted to see what I could run for a 5k.  Despite the treadmill most likely being generous on Tuesday, I figured I could run somewhere in the ballpark of 17-flat for a 5k right now on a perfect course in good conditions (PR is 16:34, although that was definitely soft at the time as I once split 16:35 in a 10k).  Anyway, there were 2 5ks I could find around the SLC area on Saturday.  One had a crappy looking course and the other, Dracula's Dash for Hope, had no course description, so I took a gamble on the latter.  Of course, after I signed up, I received an email with the course description, telling me that it was an all-grass XC course consisting of 3 laps.  A quick google map of the area showed 3 significant and steep climbs for the course, which would prevent any sort of rhythm, so I decided to scrap my plans of pushing for a fast time and just figured I'd go for the win instead.  Race day morning, I got out there a bit early and ran the loop once and also did some additional jogging around the area + strides.  Unfortunately, I hadn't run a 5k in 3 1/2 years, so I was nervous about having to run fast.  Starting the race, I was actually nervous enough that it took about half a mile to get my breathing and heart rate properly controlled.  By this point, I was trailing the leader (an 18 year old kid) by about 10 feet, as he had taken off like a rocket over the first quarter mile.  Knowing that I wasn't exactly going to run a fast time on a 5k course with 200' of climb, 12 (4 per lap, not exaggerating) extremely sharp 90-180 degree muddy turns (it had stormed the night before), and a generally very slow long grass surface, I decided to have some fun with a tactical race, so I snuck right up to his shoulder and just sat there.  He had long since slowed down, so we came through the first mile in somewhere around 6:20. Hah...  I continued to sit on him for about a half mile more, until I decided it was time.  Going up the steepest hill of the lap, I kicked into a sprint, immediately taking the lead and putting myself 100 feet in front within a few tens of seconds.  Coming around a sharp turn shortly thereafter, I noticed he had fallen back a lot and I knew the race was mine, so I slowed it down to what felt like a nice slow trot again.  I held a similarly easy pace for the rest of the lap as well as the 3rd one, constantly having to run way out of my way, off the side of the course, to go around the groups of people just out walking the race.  The course was over a minute slow (Daniels tables put it at 49 seconds slow, not accounting for the grass/mud surface and all the sharp turns and having to run way out of my way to lap people, which have to add another 20-30 seconds), and I also figured I was running a minute slower than I could've done had I been in an actual race (honestly, the pace was easier than a tempo workout), so while 19:21 sounds absurdly slow, I can't complain.  I got the win by 81 seconds (all put on in the 2nd half of the race), my first win in several years, and I'm still confident that I can run somewhere in the ballpark of 17 flat right now if I find a fast course and run it hard.

Sunday: 14 miles, 1:40:01 (the indiglo on my watch is broken and I finished after dark without a light, so I had no idea of my time until I finished, otherwise, I wouldn't have let myself end in such a time), 1500' gain.  My apt in NSL up Center to Orchard, over to Eaglewood, up to Eagleridge/Bountiful Blvd (1000'+ climb), all the way up Bountiful Blvd, along the very rolling road, to where it turns down 400N, down to 500W, back up to where it becomes 89, and back.  Map My Run called it 13.93, but I'm giving myself the extra 7 hundredths of a mile for having to jump back and forth between sidewalk and road repeatedly to avoid construction and other slower pedestrians.  Hah.  Took it out pretty easy, but began to pick it up a couple miles in.  At sea level on flat, this effort translates to 1:31:31, which is not bad considering that I took the first 2-3 miles at an effort a minute or so per mile off what I was doing the rest of the time.  In all honesty, my legs didn't feel all that fantastic when I finished, but it definitely wasn't race-level effort.

Totals: 50 miles, 4000' gain.  Speaking of race-level effort and distances in the low-teens, I'm debating going out for a half marathon next weekend.  If I did, anything under 1:23 would probably have to be considered a success due to the fact that I hadn't done any fast running in several years prior to 3 or 4 weeks ago.  I'd also like to throw in some more 5ks and a 10k or two at some point, so I think I'll probably just be doing lots of "for fun" shorter stuff in the near future.  We'll see.  This week is slightly lower mileage than the last two, but I did a bit more quality work, which I'm OK with.  If you'll notice, I didn't really mention the hip at all.  It really didn't hurt, almost at all, this week.  I'm continuing to notice a weird trend in which harder effort running doesn't hurt it at all, while I'm more likely to feel some twinges on easy days.  This is an odd predicament to be in, but it actually seems like harder running is better for my body than easy running, at least for the time being.  Go figure.  I'm going to continue to kind of just run on feel, but my mileage has been remarkably consistent over the last 3 weeks now (53, 54, 50), so I doubt it's going to change that much.  If I do the half marathon (or anything else, possibly another 5k) on Saturday, it will just be more for fun than anything, although I'd be willing to push myself hard in a 5k if the right situation presented itself.  Running anything under 17:30 would be a nice confidence boost right now, but I imagine that if I raced a 5k, pushed hard, and ran slower than that, I'd be pretty disappointed, so I'm going to be selective about when I let myself really go for it.

Music for the week is the incredible Piano Concerto by Charles-Valentin Alkan, as orchestrated by Karl Klindworth.  This recording features the unknown Dmitry Feofanov on piano, as on my CD of it. This is a pretty uncommonly played piece, especially considering that it was originally intended for solo piano (and more frequently played as such), so I'm not sure that I've even heard of other professional recordings of it with full orchestra.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Week of 10-1-12: 54 miles, 5000' gain.

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 15 miles, flat. 14 mile workout in 1:30:xx, alternating 7:00 pace and 6:00 pace, no rest, except the last mile, instead of 6:00, was 5:36 + 1 mile cooldown.  Felt pretty good, although the last mile of 5:36 hurt.

Wednesday: 9 miles, 2000' gain, 1:18 easy run on roads.  Started down in NSL at 4300', ran a really undulating route up to the south-eastern area of Bountiful, ran a lap of sorts of the Eaglewood golf course, partly cross country style on the golf course itself), and then ran all around the neighborhoods there, capping out at 5600' before popping back down to the "poor side of town", ie where I live while in grad school. Hah.  Right leg was a little touchy at the end of the run, so I iced up super well and did even more stretching than normal when I finished.

Thursday: Off.  Leg had been touchy when I finished on Wednesday and I obviously need to be mindful of staying healthy, so I decided to take another day off.

Friday: 8 miles, 2000' gain, 1:01.  JCC up dry creek, up Unkel, total time of 25 min to the top (wasn't wearing a watch with seconds, only minutes, but my previous fastest was 28:5x, so this kind of came out of nowhere), along the ridgeline to the 5-way, and back on BoSho.  About 61 min total.  Was pushing moderately hard, but didn't feel like I was racing at all, so I was happy with it.  Leg stuff was 95% unnoticeable.

Saturday: 15 miles, 500' gain, 1:42.  NSL to Redwood, down to North Temple, to downtown, small around gateway, back up 400 to beck, up beck/89, and back to my apt.  Was taking it pretty moderate (about 7:00 pace for the first 10), but picked up the last 5 miles to what felt like marathon effort.  I know exactly where 5 miles from my apartment is on this route, but don't know any of the mile split points in between, so doing the last 5 based on effort without knowing my pace until I'm done is a good gauge.  These last 5 miles are the hilliest of the run (250' climb, 100' drop), and are at an average of 4300', ie, significantly slower than sea level, but running what felt like marathon effort got the last 5 done in 32:04, which corresponds to 30:21 on flat at sea level.  This isn't to say that I could go out and run 6:04 pace for a marathon right now as my legs wouldn't hold up to the pounding at this point, and it's certainly possible that I mis-judged marathon pace, but this gives me confidence regarding my ability to run well in a totally flat road marathon in a couple months.  Leg was 100% fine, but I had taken 2 Aspirin beforehand as I didn't really feel like getting stranded in West Valley on the off chance that it completely blew up on me (seemed extremely unlikely to happen, as it hasn't previously happened, but you never know).

Sunday: 7 miles, 500' gain, :44.  Nice and easy run out west on Center Street, south when the road ends, and a little over a mile down that way before turning around.  I debated doing more, but I just felt kind of tired today (for whatever reason I woke up quite early despite going to bed pretty late and couldn't get back to sleep, so this is probably why).  Hip was slightly iffy, but not all that bad.  In general, it's better than it was and generally trending in the right direction, but I wish it would improve more quickly.

Total: 54 miles, 5000' gain.  I ideally would've liked another 6 miles or so, in the spirit of building mileage and hitting 60 miles, but I still had a really good workout on Tuesday, and that's the most important thing for now.  I don't really care very much about my weekly elevation gain for the time being, but I'll continue to pay attention to it out of curiosity.  I also have to be careful not to overstress my hip until it is legitimately 100%, which is why I took 2 days off.  I would say that the hip is slightly better overall than it was last week, but it's still not 100%.  Consistent weekly long workouts and staying healthy are what I see as the keys to me being successful when I finally run another marathon, so this week is as good as it could have been.  One other interesting fact that I've come to realize recently is that faster running seems to cause significantly less hip issues than slower running.  It seems that stretching helps, so I figure that running faster, given a relatively similar stride rate in either case, involves a longer stride which must stretch my hip more.  Who knows.

Music for the week is one of the most insanely fantastic symphonies of all time, Scriabin #3, ie "The Divine Poem".  Take that, runners who post hipster garbage!