Saturday, May 4, 2013

Week of 4-28-13: 73 miles (Provo City Half Marathon race week and Utah Valley Marathon Training Week 5 of 9)

Sunday: 14 miles of mostly singletrack trails with Chuck Konopa in ~2:15 (watch died with 2 miles to go).  We took it easy and hiked all of the steep uphills, which there were a lot of.  My place to his house to City Creek to Dude Peak Trail (.6 miles at a 40% average grade) to the ridgeline, most of the way up, down the 2nd to last offshoot, down into Bountiful, back through NSL to Bosho, up to the towers, down the front side gravel road, through the neighborhood, and back to my place through memory grove.  My garmin won't connect to my computer anymore (actually, it won't even charge properly half the time), so I can't get its reading for altitude, but Chuck's altimeter put the peak of the run at 63xx' atop a massively rolling ridgeline, with a low point of 43xx' at the bottom of Memory Grove and another pretty big climb out of North Salt Lake to the towers, not to mention all sorts of other rolls and ups and downs elsewhere.  Just counting point to point major climbs, it's high 3000s for vert, with all the rolls, it's got to be at least 4500'.  Not bad for someone who is basically a road dude at this point. :)  In any case, the pace was anywhere from 6:40 on a downhill mile to 16-ish on the mile that included the Dude Peak Climb, and actually that 16-ish mile was tough, while the 6:40 was conversational. Hah.

Monday: 6 miles, to liberty park, 1.25 laps (looped one quarter of it after the full lap), back to the aves, up to smith's, and back home.  Very lazy effort, barely under 8:00 pace.  Haven't had a day this short and easy in 2 weeks (since the recovery from BOSHO), so it seemed smart to allow some recovery.

Tuesday: 10 miles. Lunchtime: 4.5 miles. Drove to work in the morning, realized that if I gave up my parking spot to go home for lunch, there probably wouldn't be one when I got back (tons of closed spots... ugh...), so I jogged home and back to work to eat and let Holly outside.  Pm: Another 5.5 miles with Holly.  To, in, and from City Creek on roads.  Easy pace.

Wednesday: 10 miles @ MP, treadmill, 62:40 total.  Actually felt terrible for the first 4 miles or so.  It wasn't that the pace was too hot, but I got some weird sort of motion sickness from watching TV or something.  Fortunately, it went away and the last 6 miles just felt super relaxed and easy.  I could tell that I was moving fast, but it just felt effortless today.  I guess 2 short easy days in a row really makes a difference.  Did the first 9.7 at 6:18 pace and then couldn't resist the temptation of kicking the last .3 at 5:00 pace.  I finally signed up for Provo City half the day before, so this was really encouraging given a race coming up.

Thursday: 11 miles, 79 minutes, easy.  Aves to Liberty, most of a loop, then out the other side, down a ways into south salt lake, back, back around liberty, and back home (slightly more complicated to end at an even mileage, but no-one really cares, myself included. hah...)

Friday: 4 miles, 3.5 miles with Holly at very easy (8:00 pace) and then some pre-race strides.

Saturday: 18 miles.  Warmup + cooldown + Provo City Half Marathon in 1:15:33.  Massive PR (previous PR was 1:22:06 from SLC half in 2010), felt extremely smooth and just all around fantastic today, with energy left in the tank at the end.  Race is 900' net downhill (about 100' worth of roll), so it's not downhill enough to make up for the elevation (average right on 5000').  Flat at sea level for this performance would be worth low to mid 1:14, which still sounds absolutely ridiculous to me.

Got up at 4:00, had two bananas, a capri sun, and some powerade.  After letting Holly out and using the bathroom twice myself, I drove down to Provo around 4:30, getting there at 5:20, with just enough time to get my packet and get on a bus.  We got up to the start line an hour early, despite being one of the last couple buses, so I got to hang out in the cold for what felt like forever.  I used the bathroom two more times (that Cafe Rio from last night apparently didn't mix well with my lactose intolerance), warmed up by lightly jogging about 2 miles (estimate, no Garmin), and then finally got started.
My Garmin won't connect to my computer anymore for some stupid reason, so I don't have every single mile split, but I remember quite a few of them.

1: 5:46 - Really comfortable, the most downhill mile.
2: 5:47 - Once again, really comfortable, also quite downhill.
3: 5:49-ish - No longer quite so downhill, but still really comfortable.
4: 5:42 - Not as downhill as the first 2 miles, but I guess I had started to pick it up. 
4 - 6.2 - Still comfortable.  Had planned on just ensuring that everything was below 6, but everything stayed in the 5:40s rather comfortably.
6.21 Split - 35:48.  My PR is 35:07 from Des News '09, so this made me nervous.  Still, felt totally fine.
7 & 8 - Still in the 5:40s, surprisingly still not really hurting at all.
8 Split - 46:12, as I recall.
9 & 10, still in the 5:40s, starting to realize that I could hang onto this pace the entire time, which was really exciting.
10 Split - 57:48.  4-ish minute PR en route?  Even if I haven't run a 10 miler since 2008, wow.  Super stoked.
11: 5:52.  This mile had tons of roll and a really long climb, so I was OK with this being my slowest mile by 3 seconds.  Calves were just starting to feel slightly sore, but everything was very rhythmic and smooth.  Still felt totally relaxed.
12: 5:39.  Lots of juice left, time to hammer.  Basically almost net flat, but cranked out my fastest mile.
13: 5:40. Pushing it in.  Really excited about the prospect of sub-76.
Last .13 (Garmin had 13.13): 34 seconds, massive kick.  4:22 pace.  So much energy left.  Ridiculous.  Could've hammered out another 5 miles at sub-5:50 if I had to.

Finished feeling absolutely elated to have run a massive PR and faster than expected (anything under 1:18 would've been a good sign for Utah Valley Marathon in 5 weeks IMO, and my goal was sub 1:17).  Not only was it faster than expected, but it was a lot easier than expected.  If I had known that I was capable of this fast and willing to push it from the gun (ie, been willing to wreck myself), I could've probably taken a minute off, but for now, I'm very happy to be a 1:15 half marathoner.

Cooldown - 3-ish miles, some with James, and then some more by myself.  Didn't wear Garmin, so estimate.  I'm calling the total of 5-ish between the up and down 4.9 miles so my week won't end on a fraction of a mile (I hate this. hah.)

Total: 73 miles, with a huge PR.  I'm going to take this next week easy-ish to ensure a full recovery, even though my legs feel no different after the half than after a typical hard workout.  This next week will be in the 70s and I am not going to let myself push it past that, because I want to be extra fresh to hammer out another high 80s / low 90s mile week for week 7.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Week of 4-21-13: 95 miles (Utah Valley Marathon Training Week 4 of 9)

Sunday: 13 miles.  The original plan was for 13 miles mostly on trails with Holly.  However, it was too hot out and there wasn't enough water to be had, so I shortened her run to 8.  She wasn't interested in running fast today, and I didn't really care one way or the other, so it was very easy.  I dropped her off, and then went back out for another 5, all on roads.  Went a little harder,  but still easy, just a hair over 7.  It was nearly 70 degrees and I didn't have any water for myself, so I was pretty darn thirsty when I finished.

Monday: 14 miles, 1:40.  My place to South Temple to 5th East, down to the end of the road at 4500, which apparently was exactly 7.00 miles as I hit the intersection, and back.  Did mile 13 (a slight bit uphill) in 6:35, the rest mostly just a bit over 7:00.

Tuesday: 11 miles, 1:25.  2 x easy run, counts as interval training, right? :)  In all seriousness, I didn't have much time to run today.  I had enough time for an easy 5 with Holly around 6:30 PM (39 minutes), to, from, and a bit in city creek.  After that, didn't have time to run until 11:30, when I did 6 (46 minutes) in Aves / U.  Up 4th to cemetery, a sort of cemetery loop, had to come back halfway to get out up on 11th (was getting fenced into the cemetery at nearly midnight! hah...), then above Shriner's, up into the gated community, down the path to dry creek, out through JCC, back winding around north campus to south temple, and then back home.  Had a fair amount of climb and some slow early miles, but did the last one at 6:17 pace (net downhill, but with substantial climbs going from 2nd ave to 3rd ave and later from 3rd ave to 4th ave).

Wednesday: 16 miles, workout.  Left work via car, picked up Holly from daycare, dropped her off at home, and then ran 2.6 miles up to the track at the U (kind of humorous given that I work literally one building away from the track).  Workout was 4 miles, 3 minutes jog rest, 3 miles, 2 minutes jog rest, 2 miles, 1 minute jog rest, 1 mile, then of course the 2.6 miles home.  I wasn't sure whether I was going to do 4,3,2,1 with slightly increasing speed or 10 right at 6:00 pace, but quickly decided on the former, as it was quite windy and I felt that it would be hard to keep myself mentally engaged and right on pace the entire time by myself if I just did 10 hard miles straight.  So yeah, the goal was to do the first 4 miles at about 6:00 pace and then kick down a few seconds per mile each interval after that.  I hit it spot on and had a little more than I expected at the end.

Splits were:
4 miles - 24:01 (6:00 pace)
*3 minutes jog rest* 
3 miles - 17:52 (5:57 pace)
*2 minutes jog rest* 
2 miles - 11:46 (5:53 pace)
*1 minute jog rest*
1 mile - 5:37

I really didn't think I would end up having anything faster than 5:45 in me at the end, so I was pleased.

Workout was hard, but not extreme.  I was in control and it really didn't feel crazy except on the last lap of the 2 mile (pulled out an 86 after a bunch of 88-89s) and the 2nd half of the mile (85, 86, 85, 81).

The cooldown on the way home wasn't really fun, but it probably helped shake out my legs.  I don't usually do several mile cooldowns, but I intentionally planned the run this way to force a longer shakeout.

Thursday: 11 miles, quite easy (1:30, granted, with 1000'+ climb, and mostly on trail), all of it with Holly (her longest run in quite some time, if I'm not mistaken).  My place to Memory Grove, up to City Creek, up on the trail to the watershed boundary (ie, the end of the trail), back down, back to my apartment, up D to the cemetery, and back.  Garmin was acting up quite a bit and lost connectivity repeatedly on the trail over a 15 minute span on the way back.  It would frequently drop out for ~10 seconds, add on to my pace while counting time but not distance, and when it reconnected, it wouldn't seem to add even a straight-line worth of the missing distance, as it usually does.  At one point, on what was probably my highest effort mile of the run (still easy-moderate effort), the Garmin claimed I completed a mile in over 8:00 despite a net downhill of ~300' (ie pretty nice downhill).  When I got into a clearer area with less tree branches overhead and the Garmin stopped being stupid, I backed off, had a less steep mile, and ran 7:2x (very easy pace).  So yeah, ridiculous.  I think it's safe to say the 10.7 it gave me was more like 11 low, so while I'd normally try to go out of my way to get a complete mile, today I didn't.

Friday: 10 miles 1:05:xx.  Had no real plan except that I wanted to do 10 tonight.  Ended up running to the 700 side of liberty (a bit over 2 miles), lapping it a little over 4 times to end up on the 500 side (a little under 6), and then running home from there (2-ish).   1 mile easy, downhill, in 6:50-ish, then 7 miles at average 6:17 pace (a flat / very slightly net downhill mile to Liberty, then looping around the park a hair more than 4 times), then 2 miles easy, back, uphill, at 7:40 average.  Pace was a hair faster than goal marathon pace for sea level or at altitude with copious downhill, so it was somewhere between half marathon and marathon pace, a little closer to the tempo side of things.  Effort felt smooth and relaxed, but hard enough to tax me a bit.  Still, legs felt fresh and solid, despite this being a pretty big week for me.  Wore my awesome new American flag shorts, shoes, and nothing else, and got cat-called 6 times in the last 2 miles after my iPod died.  Ahh, Friday nights...

Oh, and got in a couple miles of hiking earlier in the day (Arapeen to the Living Room and back), while carrying a bunch of food in a cooler, which was surprisingly tiring. 

Saturday: 20 miles with Sasha Pachev, Chad Robinson, and Steve Ashbaker.  We did the first 2 miles at about 8:00 pace with a few of Sasha's younger kids, who are pretty fast (Jojo had a nice kick at the end).  After that, we went 9 miles up Provo Canyon, hitting mid 7s pace, gradually getting a little faster.  We turned around at mile 11 of the run, ran 12 still pretty easy (6:50 ish on the downhill), and then ran a bunch of faster miles.  From 13 to 18, gentle downhill, slight head/crosswind we hit as fast as 5:57 and no slower than 6:20 (~6:10 average), and then I really started to feel the big mileage in my week.  Mile 19 was mostly flat, but net slightly uphill, which I hit in 6:33, and then mile 20, with tons of uphill, was a massive struggle and I barely hung on to sub-7 pace.  It looks like a blow-up, pace-wise, but more than anything, it was a product of increasing grades.  I should mention that Steve and Sasha took off at mile 18, whereas Chad, who had picked it up around 11 rather than 12 and gapped us, was behind after about 16.  Overall, this is about what I expected from myself today.  The last couple miles were quite difficult as a result of all the mileage in my legs, but I managed to hang on somewhat well.

Totals: 95 miles.  332 miles in the last 4 weeks (83/week average).  Good totals so far, and have yet to have a discouraging run during this cycle.  Legs felt crappy-ish near the end of today's 20 miler, but that's understandable.  Otherwise, they felt good all week.  I think I'm probably going to race a half marathon next weekend, not to mention that this week was pretty big, so I have 2 good reasons to keep next week as one of the lighter ones in the cycle.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Week of 4-15-13: 73 miles (Utah Valley Marathon Training Week 3 of 9 / BOSHO Trail Marathon Recovery Week)

Well, if a 73 mile week with an exceptional workout and another good quality long run is low enough to help me rest up from a fantastic/hard-effort 4 hour trail race, that is a good sign.  I'm really happy with how this week went and I'm excited to push the envelope this coming week.

Sunday: 5 miles, easy, recovery.  Felt a new form of extreme confidence about my running abilities that I've never felt before, thanks mostly to my really great result the previous day.  Legs weren't feeling spritely, per se, but I was just really excited and happy to be running, even more than normal.

Monday: 6 miles, easy recovery.  Another easy day, with Holly.  Blew off grad school for the afternoon to ski, did the run afterwards. :)  

Tuesday: 9 miles, mostly easy, except 1 mile (the 6th one) at marathon effort.  Up to the U, to Sunnyside, lapped research park, and back.  Didn't actually get out the door until 11 tonight, so it was freezing cold and super windy.  It sucked at the time, but I'm glad that it wasn't more pleasant, because I probably would've run farther out if it had been.  My legs just felt a little stiff and tired during the last 10 minutes or so, so I'm glad that I finished when I did.  My marathon effort mile was mostly coming down foothill and partially on 1300 east, so I had a bit of an angled tailwind for 80% of it and a bit of an angled headwind for the last 20%.  Still, the downhill carried me nicely and I somehow split a 5:59 mile with ease.  Everything else was slow (maybe a 6:55 next fastest mile with a 7:58 slowest mile running up foothill into a headwind).  Running at 11PM sucks, by the way.  It's way too late and quite tiring.

Wednesday: 11 miles, easy, 79 minutes.  My place in the aves to 3rd east to 33rd south, to 7th east, back to my place.  Cold (mid 30s) and quite windy, not super fun, but legs are feeling better everyday after the marathon, so I'll take it.

Thursday: 17 miles in 1:46:40, treadmill.  First 4 on one treadmill with a fan behind me, felt super easy (essentially treadmill + tailwind), but at about 3.8, the belt started slightly skipping and I could smell smoke, so I hopped on another with a fan in front of me after 4 miles, which felt only marginally harder, but noticeably so (basically, a headwind).  First 8 miles at average 6:20 (~MP), alternating 6:18 and 6:22, next 2 at 6:00 flat (just a hair slower than tempo), next 3 alternating 6:18 and 6:22, 1 at 6:00 flat, and then 3 more alternating 6:18 and 6:22.  Really freaking hard workout, but I probably had 2 or 3 miles worth of MP left before the wheels would have come exploding off, and even on mile 17, I felt in control.  What makes me happiest about this is that it came 5 days after the BOSHO Trail Marathon race.  It took until the Wednesday for my legs to feel pretty normal again, but for this run, they felt great.  On Wednesday, I felt like doing a long workout on Thursday would be a gamble, but I definitely made the right call.  If I can hit 5 more super clutch workouts like this before Utah Valley, keeping my average mileage at roughly 80mpw and, most importantly, not beating myself up, I will be ready to rock.

Friday: 7 miles, easy.  My boss gave me a free pass to Brighton that was about to expire, so I skied in the afternoon, and then ran.  With Holly, to, in, and from City Creek.  About 3 miles worth on trails.  Legs felt pretty good after yesterday's workout, but I had a pretty typical altitude reaction (not feeling all that great, energetically) while running after spending time at 10,000'.

Saturday: 18 miles.  2.99 miles to get to Jordan River Parkway, 6.01 miles down the path, and then back the same way  First 9 mostly around 7:10, with one 6:45 thrown in (mile 8, just shy of marathon pace at altitude, sort of by accident).  On the way back, I split 6:29, 6:23, 6:21, 6:19, 6:21, 6:21 for my miles on the parkway (10,11,12,13,14,15).  The intent was to run about 6:35-6:40 for altitude adjusted marathon pace, but I kind of just got into a groove faster than that, so they wound up more on the tempo side of the tempo / MP continuum.  Did the last 3 back in 21:1x, all uphill, but not feeling hard.  Legs felt great for the whole 18 miles, although a pretty heavy rain (with a slight bit of hail at one point) opened up a few times (maybe 3 times for about 10 minutes each time), once at the start, once near the middle, and once near the end of the hard miles.  Not super fun in super short shorts and a technical heat gear muscle shirt, but I dealt with it.  Nutrition was one gel right before the turnaround, no water, no anything else.  Pretty cold out, so I was OK without hydrating.

Totals: 73 miles, with 62 in the last 5 days.  If I can run this much, with such an exceptional workout, while still fully recovering from a hard 4 hour race effort, that's excellent news.  I'm starting to feel very confident about the fitness that I'm building for Utah Valley.  237 miles so far in the last 3 weeks (79 a week average so far) and it feels very easy to sustain and build upon, even with high quality days.

This coming week is likely to be either the biggest or the 2nd biggest of the 9 week plan.  I did an easy 13 today to start the week and felt great, so I'm going to hammer out a solid workout and put in some good mileage.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Week of 4-7-13: 78 miles / BOSHO Trail Marathon Report (Utah Valley Marathon Training Week 2 of 9)

This week revolved around the long run, which was the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Marathon.  I had a terrible race there last year (I had food poisoning), so I wanted to be fresh and ready to pop a good one. Saying I did so would be a gross understatement.

Sunday: 8 miles.  Very easy out and back, to and in city creek with Holly.  Not flat, but still, a hair over 8min pace.  Legs were tired after yesterday (17.5 miles with tons of climb, then two hours of hard effort skiing).  Going to sleep a lot tonight.

Monday: 12 miles, treadmill.   First 9 miles at 6:22 (roughly goal MP, ever so slightly slower), next 2 miles at 5:56, last mile at 5:33.  Last mile was pretty ridiculously hard. :)  Nice to get things going again marathon pace / tempo wise.

Tuesday: 8 miles.  With Holly.  To city creek, up the single track towards the radio towers, but not all the way there, down the front side, through downtown, back home.  Pace was casual (only got down to ~6:50, even on the steep downhills).  Fortunately, yesterday didn't really beat me up and after "only" doing 28 miles in the last 3 days, I'm feeling pretty rested again.

Wednesday: 10 miles.  AM run!  To Kevin's, to Liberty, 3 x mile @ Kevin's sea level MP with .4-ish mile jog rest, back up 7th, back home.  Repeats were 5:40 (faster than it was supposed to be), 5:48, 5:48 for Kevin, but I was apparently saving a non-negligible amount of distance by running on the inside, so mine were about 3 seconds longer as I kept going until my Garmin clicked off a mile.  My legs could still feel the hard effort from Monday and running out the door literally 15 minutes after waking up, without eating, probably wasn't helpful, so this felt a little harder than it normally would.  It wasn't like racing by any means, but I didn't really feel relaxed, especially on the first one.  Oh well, still nice to put some fast miles in the legs.

Thursday: 8 miles.  East up the aves towards the U, got off at S, crossed to 1200E, criss-crossed over to Liberty, ran a lap plus a little extra to go use the bathroom in the middle, then back over to 200E, back up to the Aves, back over to E, and then back home.  6:45 pace with 400+' of climb, which would be low-mid 6:30 on flat (without altitude conversion), so roughly marathon effort.  In all actuality, it felt pretty easy, which was good.  I was sweating a fair amount despite low-mid 50s weather when I finally got out the door at 7:45 PM, but felt really relaxed.

Friday: 5 miles, roads easy.  Day before race!

Saturday: 27 miles Bonneville Shoreline Trail Marathon, 2nd place, 7th fastest runner in the history of the race (9th fastest performance, as Karl Meltzer has finished faster than my time in 3 of his 8 starts).

I wasn't expecting to run well here.  I haven't done much trail running since last summer, and I haven't run anything over 3 hours in ages.  Only 5 people here had ever broken 4 hours, and of the 3 that did it last year, 1st was the Speedgoat 50k record holder (before Kilian came out here) and a 2:35 marathoner (Kevin Shilling, 3:52).  2nd place was my good friend Adrian Shipley, a sub-32 10k who was in really peak form had been training 110-120 mile weeks for some time (3:59).  3rd I don't know much about, but his name comes up a lot in local trail running (Mick Jurynek, also 3:59).  In any case, I had beaten some of Adrian's trail splits recently, but don't have the huge mileage in my system, so I figured that 4:05 was the absolute best I could possibly run, and that was if everything aligned perfectly.  It never does for me on trails, so I figured anything under 4:15 was a pipedream.

Anyway, I got out to the race with like 1 minute to spare (after having to use the bathroom 4 times this morning, thanks to eating an entire pizza last night), and when the race started, I shot off the front.  Last year, the top guys had crushed the starting bit, so I was a little confused when I had 30 seconds on everyone within a half mile, but decided to just go with it.  I didn't really enjoy the rockiness of the Red Butte loop, but had 60-90 seconds on everyone when I came back by the start at 4.25 miles (1st aid) in 35:xx (lots and lots of techy climb already).  I cruised through and decided I was probably going a little hard, so I backed off slightly, but maintained a solid lead over everyone for a few miles.  I hit Dry Creek Trailhead at about 42 minutes or so, and kept my lead until eventual winner Ben Lewis caught me on "Uncle", an unbelievably steep climb that goes for about a half mile at 40% grade.  Everyone hikes it, as running is slower than walking on something that steep, but he was clearly stronger on the uphills and just hiked away from me.  I could see a couple guys a little bit back down the trail, but nobody else wanted to make a move.

I kept the pace up while running down the ridgeline to the 5-way (opposite of the Steeplechase course) and came out into the meadow still in 2nd, with 3rd place (Drew something) pretty close behind.  I had to refill my water and wash an exploded gel packet off my hands, so he left the station a second before me.  I sat on him for a bit and we ran about 6:20 pace from the meadow down to city creek, which felt extremely comfortable and easy.  When we started going uphill to the towers on the west side of city creek, he gradually started pulling away, but never got more than about a minute or two in front of me.   Cresting the radio towers peak, I could see that I was maintaining my distance from him, after he had somewhat decisively started gapping me, so I figured that he would eventually slow and I would catch him.

After dropping into the North Salt Lake Meadow, we took the obnoxiously difficult trail back up to the ridgline on the east side of the meadow, at which point I realized I was maybe gaining just a slight bit (probably just a couple seconds per mile, but enough that I could probably eventually catch him).  Coming up to the ridgeline, I eased off slightly on the effort and ran pretty smoothly until I got to the super steep plunge back into City Creek (better part of a mile, 40% grade).  I was pretty nervous about this plunge thrashing my quads, but I seemed to hold up OK.

I got down to City Creek, coasted the trail to the bottom, and was still gradually gaining on Drew, hitting the trailhead back to the meadow at 2:58.  I had figured that if I hit here in sub-3, I'd have a slight chance at a sub-4 if everything felt exceptional, but really didn't expect to get here in under 3:10, so I was pleased with my split.  However, I could see Kevin Shilling (last year's winner) getting closer to me.  At this point, knowing that he is an exceptional climber, I figured he would catch me, but I also figured that I could re-pass Drew to at least stay on the podium.  With that in mind, it wasn't a surprise when Kevin caught me on the steep climb back up to the meadow.  However, he never really pulled ahead of me, so after refilling our bottles (gatorade this time, as I had just recently finished my 6th and final gel and figured I'd need the calories), we pushed each other to catch Drew.  We finally got him a minute or two out from the aid station, and Kevin finally started to pull away on the steep climb back up to the main trail.

As soon as we got into some rollers, I immediately came back up on Kevin, where I stayed until we started going up to the 5-way.  At this point, I decided to just push it hard, so I put about 30 seconds on him going up to the 5-way, and then realized that I could probably hold him off on the rolling downhills to the finish, so I just started pushing hard from there.  My legs still felt great, so I figured I'd go for broke and try to catch Ben.  However, I never ended up coming up on him (he apparently pushed even harder and probably put another 2 minutes on me after the aid station) despite hammering sub-6:10 pace for most of mile 24 (still techy, but pretty downhill, with similar effort on the more rolling miles).  I figured that I needed to be off the Dry Creek trail with 6-7 minutes to spare if I was going to hit a sub-4 at this point, so when I got off with just over 6 minutes, I figured that I had a slight chance to make it in at 3:59:xx.  However, the story of the day was that I'm a poor climber right now, so I struggled up the last climb and couldn't quite close fast enough.

I finished in 4:00:26, 6 minutes behind Ben, having put 10 minutes on Kevin, and ~15 on Drew in the last 5-6 miles.
Ben became the 6th guy to enter the exclusive sub-4 hour club (which also includes Karl Meltzer, from a few years back, the first sub-4, Christian Johnson, 2 years ago, and Kevin, Adrian, and Mick from last year) while I became the closest to have missed out.  I was obviously a bit disappointed that I couldn't find another 27 seconds in a 4 hour race, but I ran a really exceptional race with almost no error, given my current fitness, so I'll take it.

I guess trail is easier on the legs than asphalt, as my legs feel really good afterwards, no worse than after a standard several hour long run.

Despite this really strong performance out on the trails, I am certainly still focused on road running.  I'm probably going to get in off the wait list for Speedgoat 50k in July, but I'll treat it similarly to this race - very far from a focus, but I'll still be happy to run well.  Despite the fact that I fully expected a massive blow-up today and I managed to prevent it, I should say that I more-than-fully expect a super massive blow-up at Speedgoat.  Bosho is a really hard course, especially for road guys, but Speedgoat, with its new course, boasting 12k' of gain on extremely technical trails, over 31 miles, is probably the most monstrously difficult trail race, course-wise, aside from the Hardrock 100.  I'm not planning much specificity for it, so it will undoubtedly hurt. :)   

In any case, I'm going to relax with some tasty drinks and a lot of ice cream for the rest of the day, and soak in the feeling of finally having run, essentially, my first perfect performance in a long race on trails, after 6 years of trail racing.

Nutrition during the race:
6 Powerbar Gels, 110 calories a piece, lots of sodium.
40 ounces of water
10 ounces of gatorade (somehow managed to not drink all that much, so I guess the cool weather must have helped).

For distance: GPS put it at 26-mid, but I'm always suspicious that it's slightly short in the more heavily wooded sections with tons of sharp turns between city creek and the U (plus some other people had it slightly longer), so I'm going to call it 27.  It's generally considered to be slightly long, so this is in line with the general consensus.

Totals: 78 miles, with 36 on trail, 12 on treadmill (might as well be road, just more controlled), and 30 on road.  A great week with a solid first workout back and a really stellar long run

Week of 3-31-13: 86 miles (Utah Valley Marathon Training Week 1 of 9)

I'm already in pretty good shape and I'm well rested at this point, so I'm going to run Utah Valley Marathon on June 8th and try to go for a sub-2:45.  My mileage was low last time and I ran sick, so I think I can eke out another 5 minutes with better training and good health.

Sunday: 15 miles, very easy casual run with Joe Dean.  My apt to memory grove to city creek to the very top of the road (last quarter mile sucked with a lot of snow) and back.  Easy pace, nice to just put another relatively long run in the legs.  Note that I did 16 the day before.

Monday: 8 miles, with Holly, 4th/D to B, up to 11th, down to city creek, up a few miles (on the trail), down Memory Grove, back up 4th.  Easy on the way up, MP for 3 of the 4 miles on the way back (Holly was sick of running fast after that and started dragging).  Started sprinkling with 1.5 to go and raining hard with .5 to go.  Definitely felt a little painful on my bare chest. Hah.

Tuesday: 10 miles.  9 miles with Holly.  First mile easy (including the climb up Rattlesnake Gulch to Pipeline, at a 20% grade), then 3.5 out at marathon effort and 3.5 back at marathon effort, followed by 1 more easy mile (mostly just back down Rattlesnake Gulch).  Note that I say "marathon effort" as I was actually not going marathon pace.  All of the "MP" miles were at a hair over 6000' on a rocky trail that, while generally flat, had a lot of bumps, mini-hills, and tight turns, leading marathon effort to net me only 7:02 pace, compared to 6:20 or so that I'm shooting to hit at Utah Valley.  It may not quite have been quite MP effort, but it was close enough, so w/e.  Got home, jogged a mile to and from the grocery store. 

Wednesday: 13 miles.  First, a commute run: 3 miles up to campus (longer way than normal, because I hate partial miles).  Because I'm crazy and have a super thick/stiff new pair of raw jeans to soften up, I wore them while running.  Also, wearing a backpack with wallet/phone/keys/running shorts/watch for my run later.  No watch, wanted it to be easy, which is hard to do on a several mile uphill when you pay attention to pace.  Next: 9 miles home via shoreline.  My building up to JCC, up dry creek, to the 5 way, down to city creek meadow the non-shortcut way, down to city creek, through memory grove, back up 4th.  Ran easy to JCC (.7), then tempoed moderately hard to the 5-way (a little under 4 miles with a lot of uphill) in 28:13.  The fastest time I had ever heard of was Adrian Shipley's 28:40 last year and I ran this wearing a backpack full of a several pound pear of super heavyweight jeans, wallet, keys, phone, etc (at least 5 pounds).  Adrian wasn't training for 10k stuff when he ran that 28:40, but it was right around the time he ran sub-4 hours for the very slow Bonneville Shoreline Marathon, putting him in very elite local Utah trail territory (the Speedgoat 50k record holder before Kilian showed up just barely broke 4 hours at Shoreline in a few tries, same with Karl Meltzer).  In any case, I'm really happy about how fluid that 28:13 felt and I think I can run sub-27 if I'm not wearing a backpack and I'm pushing all out.  After that, I picked up the effort and got down to city creek in 45:33 total (I think Adrian hit 48:xx last year).  Along the way, I hit a fastest split of 5:33 (downhill, but on quite rocky trail), so I was going hard.  Shortly before the end of the trail, it's too steep downhill to tempo, so I started into marathon effort.  This netted me 6:02 pace through Memory Grove and honestly didnt' even quite feel as hard as it should have.  It's not common that 6 flat feels easy for me, so I'm not sure what happened there.  Anyway, I hit 4th and jogged in easy from there to my apartment.  Afterwards, I went back to Memory Grove with Holly so she could play with other dogs and swim in the creek and jogged about a mile with her.

Thursday: 12.5 miles.  Holly was at doggy daycare and I have a lot to do tonight, so I figured I would just drive home, get in some miles and pick her up near the end of the run (her daycare is 3 miles from my apartment).  I started at my place, ran down to the bottom of the Aves, hopped on 4th, took that to 80, moved over to 3rd, went under the highway, and took that to Baird (3600-ish), hitting an average of just under 7:00 against a slight headwind until then (felt easy, although my legs weren't super happy after yesterday's hard effort).  I took Baird to State, and when I turned on State, I suddenly had a slight tailwind, so I ran 6:35 average until I picked up Holly.   I took State to 2100 (where a very obese woman screamed out her car window at me for being in the crosswalk while she was trying to turn across me, despite me having the walk sign), up to Main, down to Holly's daycare at 1500-ish, where I picked her up (first 9.25 in about 63-flat).  It was relatively hot and humid, so Holly didn't really want to run fast and we averaged about 7:40 for the little bit more than 3 miles to get home.  The pace was aerobically pretty easy the whole way, although I suppose I probably didn't need to do 12.5 miles on sore legs.  I'll probably run a little less tomorrow.

Friday: 10 miles.  Easy 71 minutes, southwest of downtown through the industrial areas, over to liberty wells, lapped liberty park, back west a bit, and then back up to the aves.

Saturday: 17.5 miles.  Mostly on Bonneville Shoreline, starting at Red Butte area.  Was a couple minutes late to meet up with Mark, so I figured he had left and I should just catch up, so I ran to dry creek without seeing him.  I realized that he was probably just late himself, so I doubled back until I found him.  We ran up to the 5-way together, I ran continued on down to city creek, went up the canyon a little way for a restroom, and then doubled back the same way, except that I took the steep shortcut out of the meadow above the canyon to run the same course as the Shoreline Marathon, which is apparently next weekend (and which I'm thinking about doing, more just casually than anything).  Anyway, I stuck to the road once I popped out at JCC and hit 6:20 pace for a mile near the end.  Otherwise, pace was pretty easy.

Skied for 2 hours later in the evening.  Last day of night skiing at Brighton, got up from 7 to 9 PM.  Skied pretty hard and had a blast, but was completely exhausted by the time I got home.  Not a bad Saturday. :)

Total of 86 miles (41 road, 45 trail), good week overall, perhaps a bit more than necessary on trail.

Training again: Week of 3-24-13: 47.8 miles

Sunday 3-24-13: 9.3 miles, 65:xx.  Half with Fritz, Kevin, and some Westminster guy named Oliver.   They all wanted to do 18, but as a loop, so I just went out with them to Cottonwood area and then turned around.  Pace was pretty consistent after a high-7 first mile (right under 7 most of the way).  Legs still feel a little heavy, but I think it's mostly a byproduct of having had no good quality purely aerobic based runs in 3 weeks.

Monday: 4.5 miles. Ran up the hill to the lab for work from my new place in 16:30-ish, ran back home later right on 6:00 pace.  Probably not quite tempo effort, but close enough.

Tuesday: 7 miles, With Holly.  3 miles hard, on trail (first trail run of any value since quite awhile back), from the City Creek canyon road up to 5-way in 26:54.  I don't know that I've ever run this under 32 before (granted, haven't done it in awhile or ever with reasonable fitness).  I followed the same path that Steeplechase does (ie, none of the shortcuts).  Came back down but in the meadow I took a game trail down on the Northeast side and followed up the canyon for a little while before crossing the creek and coming back down the road.  The uphill was run hard enough that I actually broke Holly on an uphill for probably the first time ever.  She was off leash and it took her ~20 seconds longer than me to get to the highest point.  On the way down, she was only willing to go a very easy pace, so I guess I tired her out pretty well. :)

Wednesday: 6 miles, easy, city creek trails with Katy and the pooch Holly.

Thursday: Off

Friday: 5 miles, 5 miles with Holly, mixed in 2 hard miles of climbing, which she didn't really like.  Over the last mile, she kept stopping behind me.  Poor pooch needs a haircut so she can deal with the increasing temperatures!

Saturday: 16 miles, My apartment at 4th and D to B, up to 11th, down the city creek road, onto the BOSHO trail, up to the 5-way (long route, no shortcuts), to the Jewish Community Center, all at about marathon effort in 60:xx (~8 miles, but with lots and lots of climb, hitting the downhill miles at just over 6:00).  Daniels tables calculate this as an equivalent pace of 6:30 if the course were flat, but that's not even factoring in all of the sharp hairpin turns, the rocks all over the trail, or the altitude, so it was a high quality effort.  Hit the bottom and was nervous about my ability to hold the same effort on the way back in my first long run in a month, but fortunately I ran into Mark Lehmkuhle, who was going really easy, so I jogged slowly with him back to the 5-way (3.5-ish miles) before he turned around.  I kept it easy from the 5-way down to the road (mostly around 7:00 pace on what was mostly just a series of pretty steep downhills).  From here, I ran down into Memory Grove and ran it in marathon effort from here (6:15s down the paved path towards the capitol).  I could tell that this was my first long run in a month - after 100 minutes or so, I just felt a little off energetically (despite eating 400 calories worth of cookies while running) and like I was close to getting a headache for the last few miles, but I was encouraged by my ability to still hold MP when I wasn't feeling great at the end.  And, it was only 16 miles, but with a ton of vertical mixed in (nearly 3000' by the end of the run), so it was definitely a "better" long run than just going out for a 16 mile slog with almost 10 at MP.

Overall, a good week to bridge me back to real mileage.

Running of the Leopards 5k (3 weeks late)

16:44, 8th place against some pretty fast competition (winner was a kid that recently took 2nd at Arcadia 2 mile's 2nd heat in 9:02 or something like that)

Race felt pretty meh to be honest.  Those mile repeats were still in my calves and I just "didn't have it".  In any case, this is only 10 seconds off my PR in slick conditions (probably not much of a factor) on a course that 12 seconds faster than a flat sea level track according to the Jack Daniels calculator.

1 - 5:24 (took it out in about 5:15 pace, settled into that effort, looking to split 5:15 at the mile, only to realize that it flattened out and then went slightly up at the end of the first mile).
2 - 5:35 (got really lazy at the start of this mile, saw I averaged 5:55 pace for the first minute of it and then had to pick back up).  This is the mile that killed what could've been a PR
3 - 5:12 (too little too late)
.11 - :33 (realized I wouldn't hit a PR, bummed)

Effort wise, it never really felt that hard.  I wanted to push it harder, but after a mile or so, my calves just weren't super happy.  In any case, this is the fastest time I've run in just about 4 years, so I guess that's good.  Even adjusted 12 seconds back, this would've been a 16:56, which would've still been my fastest since 2009, so I'll take it for now.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Training leading up to Running of the Leopards 5k on Saturday

I basically took the entire week off after Phoenix (a total of 2 miles of jogging).  I did 30 miles last week and still felt horrible on my first run back 8 days after the race (running sick really wrecked me more than normal), but after that shock to the system, I seem to be feeling pretty good again.

Running of the Leopards is coming up on Saturday and it gives me a good chance to have a shot at a 5k PR.  It's downhill (slight bit of roll with an average grade of -2%), but at an altitude of nearly 5000', so it's fast, but only ~10 seconds faster than flat at sea level, according to Jack Daniels' calculations.  With that in mind, I wanted to be really ready to go for Saturday and also wanted to be prepped for the pounding of downhill mileage.

Since the marathon, I've hit 2 key high effort workouts, one this past Saturday (14 days after the marathon), a 2 x 2 mile, and one just yesterday (17 days after the marathon), a 3 x 1 mile.

The 2 x 2 was run on a 4% average decline with a slight bit of roll in City Creek (bottom 2 miles) and my splits were 10:02 (5:02/5:00) and 10:06 (5:02/5:04) with a 2 mile jog warmup, a 2 mile jog back up the canyon in between sets, and a slow 1 mile cooldown.  Lots of rest, yes, but the emphasis was on doing it fast.  I felt that I did them at about 5k effort, only that my calves were still slightly off from 100% after the marathon, so I lost a slight bit of pace on the last mile.

The 3 x 1 was run on a 3.5% average decline with almost no roll in the bottom mile of City Creek and my splits were 4:49, 4:50, 4:50 with a 1 mile jog warmup, a 1 mile jog back up the canyon between sets, and a very slow 2 mile cooldown.  Running this kind of pace was relatively hard on my legs, but it felt amazing to throw down 3 miles that fast (would be 5:06, 5:06, 5:07 on flat at sea level).

Coming up to Saturday, the race will only have a 2% decline, so the pounding will be slightly less and hopefully it will not destroy my body.  I'm having a hard time selecting a goal, but here's the data I have in my mind: The faster of the two splits in the 2 x 2, on that course, would be worth 10:23 on an average 2 miles of the Running of the Leopards course.  If that 10:02 was a maxed out effort (it wasn't quite and I figured I could hold it for 5k if totally fresh), it would equate to a 16:42 5k at Running of the Leopards.  If I could indeed hold the same effort for the full 5k, it would equate to 16:10.

With that in mind, I think I'm going to go out chasing 16:10 or so and just hope that I don't blow up. :)  Sub-16 sounds like a slight possibility on a really spectacular day, so I'm probably going to go out in around 5:10 and just see what I can do from there.  Regardless of what I'm shooting for, it's just a 5k, so I'm going to run whatever I'm going to run and, unless I take it out in 4:50, I probably won't blow up too badly.  I am planning to push it from the gun and really try hard for a fast time, so we'll have to just wait and see what the result is.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Phoenix Marathon Race Recap: PR (2:50:00.1) despite being sick!

Phoenix Marathon in chip time of 2:50:00.1 (and a watch time of 2:49:59.x).  How annoying is that?  Haha.  Can't complain about a PR, but man that .1 hurts. :)

Leading up to the race, I got really sick on Wednesday leading up to the Saturday race (chills, bad body aches, headache, sore throat, sniffles, cough, but no fever).  Felt terrible all day, slightly better on Thursday (but very sluggish when I ran 4.5 miles), and about the same on Friday (although running felt somewhat OK), with my throat hitting a new low and being almost completely incapable of speech.  The night before the race I felt calm about the race, but it took me about an hour to go to sleep because I couldn't stop violently coughing.

Pre-race thoughts: Uneventful.  Woke up at 4:25 AM.  Ate 1000 calories worth of powerade, nature valley bars, and bananas between 4:30 and 5:30 for the 6:30 start (I think this was a great decision, as my energy was spot-on the whole race), but feeling pretty darn sick still.  My throat was super jacked up and I had a hard time talking, but I was OK energy-wise.

Splits and thoughts (all Garmin splits, race splits were a little longer, total of 26.36 instead of 26.21, running all the tangents pretty much perfectly):
1 - 6:19, downhill,
2 - 6:18, downhill.
3 - 6:24 mostly downhill, with a little uphill.
4 - 6:18, downhill. 
5 -  6:32, all uphill, should've run more like 6:40 to save energy, felt a little forced.  Accel gel right before 5 mile mark so I could suck down water afterwards, a bit of a mistake, as it has almost no sodium.
6 - 6:40, all uphill, slightly steeper.
7 - 6:16, part of the best 2 miles of downhill of the race.
8 - 6:16, same.
9 - 6:27 No major climbs or drops from here that seemed to play a huge part. 
10 - 6:22
11 - 6:25.  Mentally noted on this mile that I wasn't sure how things would pan out.  I felt reasonably relaxed, but wasn't confident that I wouldn't blow up, especially with those 6:16s in there. Powerbar gel with lots of sodium.  Legs were slightly feeling it already, so this was good.
12 - 6:30.  Decided this would be a good pace to settle at.  I realized that I was about .07 miles ahead of the markers, split-wise, at this point, but just running 6:30s in to the end would get me a sub-2:50.
13 - 6:31, hit halfway in 1:24:0x on my watch, 1:24:30 officially.  
14 - 6:30.
15 - 6:31.  A little after 15 miles, I realized that I could hang on and not blow up.  Another powerbar gel with lots of sodium.  Keeping the legs in the same place they had been since 11.  Starting to feel a little bit hot (training in sub-30 degrees is probably not ideal for a race that got into the 60s).
16 -  6:24.  Little injection of pace.  Caught back up to a guy who had recently passed me and he hung on my shoulder from here until 23.  I thought it was mentally helpful to have someone right there for so long.
17 -  6:24.  Another pretty decent one.
18 -  6:25.  Same.
19 - 6:29, as 6:24-6:25 was getting hard.  Another powerbar gel, calves and quads both starting to feel it a bit.
20 - 6:32.  Took a little while for the gel to hit, wasn't so pleasant.  Getting pretty darn hot.
21 - 6:24. Realizing that I was now .12 miles ahead of the flags, I had to push to hit a sub-2:50, even though my watch splits were perfectly fine.  Frustrating.
22 - 6:26.  Still pushing, perhaps should've hung onto 6:30s slightly longer, hurting.
23 - 6:31.  One more powerbar gel, things were starting to hurt a lot.  Dude on my shoulder dropped off.
24 - 6:42.  Wasn't sure what happened, but I think it may have had to do with my fellow competitor dropping off here.  I didn't sense that I had slowed down and thought my garmin was just a little off at the start of the mile (sometimes it yo-yos on current split pace for 30 seconds or so before it settles, once starting a new mile), but I was just hurting a lot.  Starting to cramp, was frustrated that I hadn't taken a powerbar gel instead of an accel gel at mile 5, because just a little extra sodium would've helped.  I was sweating profusely and very salty.
25 - 6:42.  Just hanging on, cramping...
26 - 6:31.  Realizing I had to push really hard to hit a sub-2:50, now that I was a frustrating .15 miles ahead of the flags, split-wise.  Cramping, but not caring.
26.21 - 1:21 (6:28 pace).  26.21 garmin split of 2:49:10.
26.36 - :49 (5:26 pace), legs were annihilated, but I realized I had to sprint all out to get under 2:50.  Final of 2:49:59:xx on watch, 2:50:00.1 on chip.  UGH!!!

Legs were pretty toasted at the finish, so after waiting for Bill and Spencer to finish, I drank a couple chocolate milks and hopped in an ice bath for 10 minutes.  It hurt like mad for the first minute everything went numb, but it was so worth it when everything got feeling back (much less pain from then until now, 5-6 hours later).  Interestingly, my voice was completely destroyed and when talking to anyone, I'd have to repeat myself a few times for them to understand what I was saying.  On top of that, my sinuses are trashed and I think I'm getting an ear infection, but it was worth it.  It's hard to say, but I honestly don't think being sick slowed me down much.  Maybe everything would've felt a little easier without being sick, but I really don't think it affected my time more than 2-3 minutes at the absolute max, based on how I felt on a number of runs in my last few weeks of training.  My 2:53:07 TM marathon would've predicted a 2:49 low here and this felt harder, but my pace was perfectly controlled there and the weather was hotter here after mile 15 or so, so it's not a perfect comparison.

Overall, I ran pretty smart and within myself.  One more shot of salt probably would've taken care of the cramping, which cost me some time from 23 to the finish, so in the future, I'll spend the $1.19 for another gel rather than using some freebie I have sitting around the kitchen.  I think this is probably the most perfectly executed marathon+ distance run I have ever run given my ability on that particular day (off the top of my head, this was my 15th marathon finish and 35th finish of a race of marathon or longer, as I used to race way way way too much).  I think a little more salt would've given me a finish time between 40 and 60 seconds faster, but we're talking hitting 99.5% of race-day potential, so that seems really good to me.  I only think that one of my mile splits was too fast (5 on the steep uphill), but that probably didn't make much of a difference.  The first half was easier, so a 60 second positive split seems like an even effort to me.  This was honestly a pretty uneventful race for me, which is always a good thing in a marathon.  I would argue that my 2:52:55 back in MN in 2009 is probably marginally stronger, given that this course was really easy and that one was really hard, but a PR is a PR no matter how you slice it.

Everyone I knew from Utah, and otherwise, rocked it.  I loved that Jake won and the 2nd place finisher wore a singlet that said "Team Jake".  Almost seems pre-destined as to how 1 and 2 played out. :)  Riley took 3rd, Utah Valley guys did great, and it was nice to see Spencer hit a 3:05 debut off of injury-marred training.  Bill, my old high school MN XC teammate who I stayed with down in Phoenix, barely trained for this, his marathon debut, (3 long runs of 16, 17, and a moronic 22 at 6:30, his ultimate best case MP goal pace, 9 days before the race).  In addition, he was the last starter, as he apparently slashed the living daylights out of his legs on barbed wire off the side of the course while trying to go to the bathroom in the dark right before the start, and it took 10 minutes for his calves to stop bleeding.  He took it out as I expected (sub-6 for the first 4 miles, despite having an absolute best case goal of 2:50) and had to fight massive blowups the entire time, but came in at 2:55 (gun time of 3:05... haha...), having to pass almost the entire field of runners to get up to 20th place based on chip.  If he learns how to train and race, he'll be really really quick.

What's next for me?  I'm going to take a week off and then get in a few speed workouts for the Running of the Leopards 5k in late March.  While I'm happy to have run a PR, I know that I can train harder and run faster in the near future, especially if I show up healthy, so I'm about 99% ready to sign up for Utah Valley Marathon in early June (starts at 6000', which is annoying, but the elevation drop roughly makes up for the altitude).  3 months seems like a good amount of time to recover, screw around with short stuff for a few weeks, and then throw down 6-8 weeks of solid mileage and workouts.  Since I didn't put in all that many miles for this one, I'm already feeling pretty ready to start training hard again, at least mentally.  Legs are still another story, as are my sinuses, which are still completely thrashed 2 days later, so I'm going to take the time to recover 100% before I jump back in.  No matter what, I'm going to make sure I hit 2:40s next time out!

Phoenix Marathon Training Weeks 10-14 of 14

Moderately crappy mileage-wise, I was lazy.  That said, I had consistent long runs and specific workouts.  Got really sick in week 14 a few days before the race (this happened too much this winter...).  I'll post the actual numbers whenever I get around to it (mostly just 50-60 mpw).

Monday, January 28, 2013

12-30-12 through 1-26-13: Phoenix Marathon Training Weeks 6-10 of 14.

Well, after weeks 1-5, I would say that 6-10 weren't quite what I wanted.  I got hit with a very lingering virus that wouldn't go away for the better part of 3 weeks, not to mention that SLC broke all sorts of records in terms of extreme pollution and air quality over the last month.  Until yesterday, I hadn't seen a blue sky in the city since before leaving for Christmas break, not to mention that the air quality was akin to directly smoking a cigarette while doing anything outside, ie making it quite disgusting and difficult to keep my mileage up.  Oh, and I've been logging things over a on a daily basis, so I've been less inclined to keep this updated.  In any case...

(a bad SLC inversion, this one we recently have was considered the worst in history, so it was worse than this...)

Week 10: 65 miles

Sunday: 11 miles in 1:15 with Fritz, Kevin, John, and Nate.  Legs were a little beat up from yesterday (20 miles), so it was harder than it otherwise would've been.  Pace started off slow and picked up a bit a few times.  At times, it felt harder than marathon effort, but only because it wasn't all that even.  After the run, I decided my legs haven't had enough of a beating this weekend, so I slammed down some Aspirin and then skied pretty hard for about 3 hours. Hah.

Monday: 5 miles, 27:56.  5 miles treadmill tempo, didn't have a lot of time before gym closed (early because of MLK day), so I hopped on and used the first mile as a "warmup" (ie, 5:52).  Did the whole thing in 27:56, pace for first 4 miles felt sustainable for somewhere between 10k and 10 miles, but of course this is a treadmill, so it's slightly fast.  Also, since I knew I only had time for 5 miles, I kicked it up in the last mile.  I believe I figured out the mystery of why 5:00-flat mile repeats on the campus gym treadmills seem so easy, even on a small incline.  Up until about 5:18 pace, each uptick made a noticeable difference in difficulty, but after this point, everything between 5:00 and 5:18 felt identical (tried to kick it up for a finishing sprint, but noticed that it didn't get any harder, so the treadmill probably just doesn't actually go faster than 11.3mph). Splits: 5:52, 5:36 (11:28), 5:38 (17:06), 5:32 (22:38), 5:18 (27:56).

Tuesday: Off, resting for a big Wednesday.

Wednesday: Marathon on a treadmill. Hah.  2:53:07, felt comfortable until about 22.  Actually, I took yesterday off to try to rest up my legs, but they were still a little beat up after my bonk-inducing 20 on Saturday, my 11 mile / skiing double on Sunday, and my 5 miles hard on Monday, so they weren't 100% going in.  The goal was to get to the point that the last few miles were pretty uncomfortable, but without beating myself up, so that I wouldn't wreck my training, and I think I accomplished that very well.  I didn't pay attention to pace much while I was running (just tried to keep it comfortable) and inadvertently ran 12 seconds off my PR from 4 years ago, which is really encouraging.  The only ill effects were that my stomach is a little beat up afterwards (very common for me since my stomach sucks) and a couple toes are marginally sore from taking the Kinvaras the longest they've ever gone.  Nutritional plan was supposed to be 4 gels (1 @ 5-6, 1 @ 10-11, 1 @ 15-16, and 1 @20-21), but I knocked one off the treadmill stand about halfway, it landed on the belt, and flew off the back.  When I tried to get someone to grab it for me about 10 minutes later, it was apparently gone (who would take a gel???), so I didn't get the last gel.  That said, I had about 300 calories from Gatorade during the run as well, so nutrition wasn't so bad.  Having the last gel would've been ideal, but I survived without it obviously (I think the finish would've been a bit more pleasant with those extra 100 calories, but w/e...).  Overall, I got exactly what I wanted out of this run, so I'm pleased.  

Converting to the Phoenix course, I consider the fact that this is run at 4500', but at 0% grade (ie, equivalent of 52.8' down per mile, ie -1% grade due to lack of wind resistance).  At Phoenix, with an average elevation of 1500', a net downhill of 850', with about 100' up and 950' down, this would be worth 2:49:56.  I think I'll be happy with a sub 2:47, so basically I would only need the equivalent of 3 minutes faster than today's effort, which is absolutely doable and not bad at all.  I think a faster goal would be a good idea, but in all fairness, I haven't raced a marathon in almost 4 years and I really don't want to blow up.  I have plenty of time to go faster in the future. :)

Thursday: 6 miles, Easy 45 minutes in NSL/Bountiful.  Legs had almost zero pep, but they also weren't that bad.  They kind of just felt a little heavy and slow, but not terribly beat up (quads were a little sore, but only marginally).  

Friday, 9.8 miles, Very easy 45, a hair under 6 miles (intentionally planned this to be 5.8 to balance out the .2 from the marathon as I hate not having an integer mileage total, basically because I'm weird), NSL and Bountiful, would've been happy to do more, but want to not be sore for Winter Series tomorrow (looks like I'll probably still be slightly flat after Wednesday, but oh well...).  Later (1AM), another 4 miles.  Went to a "crazy hat" party, where I demo'd a new music reactive LED hat I just built for fun a couple days ago: .  It was pretty fun, but a girl I met up with there was not OK to drive home and needed her car in the morning to do some MD student stuff, so I drove her home in her car and then jogged back to my car (from Sugarhouse to the U).  Hah.  This was kind of awful, given that I was wearing jeans, boots, and a down jacket literally rated for arctic exploration.

Saturday: 7 miles, probably a hair under 2 miles for the warmup (15 minutes or so), Winter Series 5k in 17:33, 2 mile cooldown (to the 1 mile marker and back).  Considering that I ran a "trial" marathon (~10 minutes off what I would peg as about my max capacity in 5 weeks at the real race) 3 days ago and didn't get nearly enough sleep after some festivities last night, not to mention the altitude factor and the fact that the smog was so disgusting and bad to breathe that the visibility was at times as low as .05 miles, I'll take it.  My legs felt average during the race, certainly not great, but not completely destroyed, although after the race, they just felt hammered. 5k is definitely not my best distance right now.  Hah...

Week 9: 40 miles, felt like garbage for a few days of the week.

Sunday: 15 miles, 1:53.  Started from Highland, did the first 7 with Jake, Kevin, Rob, Andrea, and Allie, then ran over to Sugarhouse Park for some laps (what was it, 5?).   I guess 5 laps makes sense considering that we were at 14.3 when we got back to Highland.  I hate ending at weird numbers like that, so I jogged the perimeter of Highland to get it up to 15.  I accidentally stopped my watch at 14.3 (1:48), but I would figure another 5 minutes or so for the slow/snowy extra bit, so probably about 1:53.  Not particularly quick, but I was sore from the workout and skiing yesterday, so it was enough to make my legs feel a bit beat and give me a light headache at the end (surprisingly similar to when I just haven't done any running of value and try to do my first long run back, but I suspect this was only because I only had a couple Sports Beans and a Clif Bar for breakfast beforehand, with the run starting at 11:30...)  What can I say?  I didn't get up until 10 and then just lay in bed on my computer for another 45 minutes. Hah.  (In hindsight, this is probably because of still being sick).

Monday: 1 mile, 8:0x.  Really frustrating.  Either getting sick again or still sick from 2 weeks ago.  Did about 1 mile, had a pounding headache and a totally sore body, so I decided not to fight it and went home to sleep for 10 hours.

Tuesday: 4 miles, Had to run across campus several times, so I literally ran.  Not really a good day of running, but whatever (felt like crap).

Wednesday: Off, exhausted, felt like crap.

Thursday: Off, exhausted, felt like crap.

Friday: Off, exhausted, felt like crap.

Saturday: 20 miles, 2:16:4x, Ran with Fritz, Kevin, Chad, and Adam for the first 10-ish (after starting a little late and having to run hard at the start to catch up as they had already taken off... hah..), and then Fritz and Kevin the rest of the way.  I think Fritz said it was 19.8 or 19.9.  My time was 2:16:xx (probably 40 something... had 2:17:0x, but forgot to stop my watch when we got caught at a light for 20 seconds).  Felt good up until 17.5-ish when I started to bonk.  It probably didn't help that my "breakfast" consisted of one gel and my nutrition during the run consisted of one more gel.  I gradually got dropped by Fritz and Kevin, but caught back up, until I got dropped again a couple minutes later.  At that point, I was just fighting to keep running, so I lost about a minute on them at the end.  Felt terrible afterwards, but whatever, lesson learned (how many times do I have to learn my lesson about actually getting out of bed early enough to eat breakfast before I do a long run? Hahaha...).  Bonking sucks, but I think it was more because of nutrition than fitness.  Still, today was a reminder that I should not be lazy over the remainder of my marathon training.  If I start to bonk at mile 18 when I'm doing 26.2 instead of 20, things will get a lot uglier.  As for my logging option, this effort would convert to 2:09:30 or so on the Phoenix course at lower altitude, so in all fairness, it wasn't all that far off marathon effort (based on the last few weeks sucking, I'm thinking that 6:20s will be a good goal pace for the gentle course at Phoenix).

Week 7: 56 miles (trying to get things going after being sick, but not quite ready, as evidenced by getting sick again in week 8).

Sunday: Eastern NSL and Bountiful loop starting by going up Orchard and then running all the way up the steep Eaglewood Drive, which felt absurdly slow today.  Legs were actually kind of sore after yesterday's 5k.  I also still felt like the virus was lingering a bit, which is getting extremely annoying.

Monday: Didn't feel good, was at work until 9:30, OFF.

Tuesday: 15 miles at an average of 6:13 (1:33:16) on a treadmill.  Split 10 miles in 62:28 (just under 6:15) and then did the last 5 in 30:48 (just under 6:10).  Last couple were getting pretty hard, but it was manageable.  I had probably 2-3 miles left in me at the end, but the goal wasn't to obliterate myself, so I stopped at 15 as planned (In hindsight, being sick probably hurt me as I'm pretty certain I could hold 6:15 for 20+ now).

Wednesday: 8 miles easy, about an hour, just breaking in some new Kinvara 3s.  I've been wearing shoes under 6 oz for awhile recently and I'm sick of buying new pairs almost constantly, so I decided to try these.  First thoughts?  Holy crap, that's a lot of sole under my foot. Hah.

Thursday: 12 miles, 8 miles in a blizzard, up Lacey, around Bountiful/NSL golf area, over to the southern tip, and back down with various turn-offs, about 10 minutes per mile due to the unbelievably deep snow.  Afterwards, jogged laps in a tennis court (also super deep snow) with Holly chasing me around for half an hour, another 3 or so.  First part was super epic.  The very south-eastern tip of NSL is almost entirely unfinished construction, so the roads were unplowed.  At one point, I crested a ridgeline, running through knee-deep powder, into a very strong headwind, and the only thing I could see in the distance was the super bright white lights on the oil refineries on the west side.  All of the elements combined and I felt like I was in some sort of supernatural post-apocalyptic setting.  I don't know how to explain it, but it was pretty darn cool.  Oh, and one mile of jogging across campus because I was running late for something earlier in the day. 

Friday: Really didn't want to deal with the snow and the weather was bad enough to close the U of U, so I couldn't run at the gym either.  So... just jogged 2 miles with Holly.  Lame, yes, I know.

Saturday: 11 miles, 3 mile warmup, 4 x mile with about 800-1000 meter jog between (varied for me, whereas everyone else did 1000), 2 mile cooldown.  Run at Olympic Oval in Kearns on the 442 meter track.  The "miles" were done from the 1600 meter mark, but lane 1 was closed in a couple spots and blocked by speed-skating coaches in a few other spots, so it was already a full 1609, if not a couple meters more.  Add in dodging angry slow track patrons (and a zamboni on one lap) and the intervals were probably a couple seconds slow.  Mine were 5:22, 5:22, 5:25, 5:24 (at altitude, remember, so these are good times for me), so pretty even.  While it was hard, I had 1, maaaybe 2, left in me if I had to.  That said, I'm not used to doing stuff this fast lately, so I was pretty sore afterwards.  Went skiing later in the day and it just hurt like crazy. Hah. 

Week 6: 18 miles, very sick.

Sunday: 1 mile, Literally jogged with Holly for one mile just to avoid making it an off day.  Really exhausted, turns out I was getting sick.

Monday: Holbrook Canyon, as far up as the snow would allow, and back, with Holly.  Tired, whole body was a little achy.

Tuesday:  Felt absolutely miserable.  Stomache pain, chills, very bad body aches.

Wednesday: Really didn't even leave bed.

Thursday: Slightly better, but still in bed for all but about 30 minutes.

Friday: Tried to prep for a 5k for Saturday.  3 easy miles, a mile at marathon pace, and a mile at 5k pace, plus some strides, to get my body used to running again for a race on Saturday.

Saturday: I picked this race because it was actually a 5k (exactly 5k, without being too short or too long) and pretty flat for Utah (high point and low point only 25 feet apart), so I was irritated when I showed up and the start/finish had been moved by .04 miles off the course, making it 3.18.  

I did a quick 2 mile warmup and roughly half of my fingers and toes went numb (crappy gloves and Nike Zoom Streak XC3, which are very porous mesh on the top), so I quickly grabbed some glove warmers (only had one pair, so I let my feet freeze) right before the race.  

I figured I could show up and run about 16:50 at altitude right now for an actual 5k given that I was forced to rest up due to illness.  However, I wasn't 100% recovered and just wasn't all that fast, so I ended up running 17:45 for 3.18 (17:19 for an actual 5k).  I have no idea what my splits were because the mile markers were seemingly randomly placed (first "1" in 6:39, second "1" in 4:22, last "1.1" in 6:44).  In any case, I won by a couple seconds shy of 3 minutes, so a win is a win.

They gave me a gift card for a free $60 massage, an all-day unlimited pass to Boondock's Fun Center (pretty awesome, right?), a big jar of gels, a box of Lance Armstrong branded honey stinger waffles (hah) and a trophy, so I guess I can't really complain.  As for my effort, it was actually a good honest effort unlike the 5ks I ran in November (a pair of even 17:30s on hilly courses in which I wasn't in that great of shape and felt unable to really push all out), so obviously I'm disappointed that this was slower after having 5 pretty solid weeks of training.  In all fairness, though, I was still sick enough that I could barely breath due to congestion after about a mile or so, so I guess I'll take this one with a grain of salt.

Totals: 179 for 4 weeks, obviously far less than ideal, but my body is good now and the air quality is back to normal after finally getting a big storm that drove it all out, so I'm not forced to choose between staying inside and breathing poisonous air anymore, which is nice.  I did enough to keep making progress by still ensuring that I got the necessary bare bones runs in (long runs and workouts), so I'm still confident about my training for Phoenix.  The next 3 weeks are probably the most important, so I'm glad to say that I'm off to a great start for week 11 (25 over the first 2 days and feeling good in a workout earlier today).  I would like to average roughly 80 miles per week over the next 3 weeks with 3 good quality workouts and 3 good quality long runs before cutting to ~60 on week 14 and then 25-ish prior to the race on race week.  After my treadmill 2:53:07 at altitude that was not as difficult as an actual marathon race, I'm confident that my seemingly cemented goal of 2:46 will be achievable.

Music for the past 4 weeks is Grieg's Two Elegiac Melodies for strings.  I saw this in concert with Sibelius' Violin Concerto, Enescu's Romanian Rhapsody, and Kodaly's Dances of Galanta at the Utah Symphony a few weeks back and it was fantastic!