Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 19 - June 25

Weekly Totals: Distance: 18.31 mi. Time: 5:23:12 Vertical: 5,587 ft.

The numbers just seem small, this week. And truthfully they are, but it's patience that built Rome and patience that builds high-mileage, injury free weeks later in the training.

Sunday, June 19 ~ Cougar Mountain ~ Redtown Trail Head to Coal Creek Trail
Distance: 3.78 mi.
Time: 0:48:04
Vertical: 449 ft.

A great recovery run with LK and Charlie on a beautifully maintained trail. At the trail head is an old, abandoned, and very tempting coal mine. Every time I pass by the smell engulfs my nostrils like smoke from a campfire.

Monday, June 20 ~  Cougar Mountain ~ Wilderness Creek Trail to Wilderness Cliffs Trail
Distance: 7.03 mi.
Vertical: 2,608 ft.

After an enticing recovery run yesterday, my legs felt recovered, springy, and my mind free and adventurous. I wanted to run about 10 miles, but as I started to muse over why I set a mileage requirement when I know better I realized that I was losing sight of how to run. More importantly how I run, by feel. I love numbers, and I love to analyze what I've done, but it's too early in the season to start putting requirements on training. Post-run I didn't run the distance I had originally planned, partly because at the second summit, just after the turn-around, I erroneously tweaked my ankle and after a 2 mile descent it still wasn't feeling well so I called it day.

Tuesday, June 21 ~ Mount Rainier ~ Paradise to Panorama Point (hiking)
Distance: 4.00 mi.
Time: 2:15:00
Vertical: 1,309 ft.

If the day is clear, you can always assume I'm at Mount Rainier. This mountain just captivates my attention and is a great way to break up the training by adding in some post-holing up the hillside. The snow was mushy and it was packed with tourist. I guess I added to the tourist total, but I like to think I've been here enough to be considered a semi-local, at this point.

Wednesday, June 22 ~ Off day
Distance: n/a
Time: n/a
Vertical: n/a

It's too early in the season to leave myself fatigue, so mandated off days will be around for at least another 4 weeks. <sigh> I really don't like off days.

Thursday, June 23 ~  Cougar Mountain ~ Wilderness Creek Trail to Wilderness Peak

Distance: 3.50
Time: 0:45:01
Vertical: 1,221 ft.

The run felt great tonight. The sun was slowly fading over the horizon, but the closer I got to the peak the brighter it was. The hill running has felt this good for a while. I'm glad things are taking form. I'll probably take the rest of the week off, just to preserve the, "I can do more..." feeling.

Friday, June 24~ Off day
Distance: n/a
Time: n/a
Vertical: n/a

Saturday, June 25~ Off day
Distance: n/a
Time: n/a
Vertical: n/a

Overall, the week went well. The running is starting to take priority it's just the being patient with it that wrecks my mind. C'est La Vie.

Monday, June 20, 2011

June 12 - June 18

Weekly Totals: Distance: 20.52 mi. Time:  3:36:38 Vertical 3800 ft.
No cycling this week

As a new race is approaching and my first four weeks of training will be focused on building a healthy pattern of training. Too many times I talk with runners, elites to beginners, that set strict mileage, time, and pace requirements early on in their training season and mid-way through the training they're burnt out, not focused, or even worse, injured. Some will say it's their shoes, some will say it's work and they "just don't have enough time", some will describe a freak accident almost as if they're selling the story to themselves. Irregardless, the main reason for early season failure is that runners -well, most athletes- place the wrong priority on training aspects. It doesn't matter if you've been running for 10 years or 10 days, the first priority of training is building a habit. Time, pace, distance, weight-loss are all benefits of consistent training. Usually, a good training habit will  take about 8 weeks, after about 4 weeks you can begin adding in other training priorities, but there's no need to rush things or focus on the benefits. I've decided to race the Cougar Mountain 50k, this October. One thing to keep in my for this race: it's going to be hilly. 7,000 ft.+ is the rumor. The trick is to balance the uphill running with intensity. Sometimes it's better to walk than run, and pace...well, it can vary between 7:00 min./mi. and 15:00 min./mi. So, with that variance in pace the miles for each run will generally take a bit of a backseat during training and time on feet will be a strong focus.

This week went well. But toward the end, Friday and Saturday, friends from Atlanta were visiting and although we did a great deal of climbing on Friday, running didn't really get to happen. No worries, though. Sorry, no pics this week.

Sunday: Hazen High School Track ~ Recovery Run
Distance: 2.03 mi.
Time: 0:15:45
Vertical: 0 ft.

Wore the recovery shoes, today, and ran eight circles around 400m of rubber. Felt good. Really concentrated on running with a higher cadence.

Monday: Cougar Mountain ~ Base Run
Trails used: Redtown Trailhead - Cave Hole Tr. - Coal Creek Falls Tr. - Quarry Tr. - Fred's Railroad Tr. - Klondike Swamp Tr. - Coyote Creek Tr. - Coal Creek Falls Tr. --reverse (out-n-back, today)

Distance: 8.09 mi.
Time: 1:19:43
Vertical: 1,208 ft.

My first long run in a while, on hills at least. I didn't sleep last night, only about an 1:30. Got up around 2:00 AM and just waited for daylight to break. It was wet, cold, and drizzling. Wish I had worn gloves on the trail. It was nice to put some miles on my legs at the mountain.

Tuesday: Hazen High School Track ~ Recovery Run
Distance: 2.10 mi.
Time: 0:17:05
Vertical: 0 ft.

Took the recovery shoes out for another spin around the track. Even though the pace may seem slow, I think going even slower may be more beneficial.

Wednesday: Cougar Mountain ~ Base Run
Trails used: Wilderness Creek Trailhead - Long View Peak Tr. - Deceiver Tr. - Shy Bear Tr. - Wilderness Creek Tr. - Wilderness Creek Trailhead --
Distance: 5.68 mi.
Time: 1:02:46
Vertical: 1,645 ft.

A great loop run, today. Scared two people, on accident, after sneaking up on them in the dense woods of Cougar Mountain. The rain forest like environment with the undulation of the hills makes it tough to see anything ahead or behind you.

Thursday: Cougar Mountain ~ Hill Repeats
Trails used: Wilderness Creek Trailhead - Wilderness Creek Tr. - Wilderness Cliffs Trails (hill repeats, here) - Wilderness Creek Tr. - Wilderness Creek Trailhead 
Distance: 2.62 mi.
Time: 0:41:19
Vertical: 947 ft.

Just a shitty day. Didn't feel well. Set out to do controlled half-mile hill repeats and wound up feeling sorry for myself and only doing minute long repeats. I may switch Tuesday's recovery run and Wednesday's base run to help cope with the extra fatigue and get the most out of the hill repeats. Better to be conservative.

Friday: Marymoore Park ~ Rock Climbing
Distance: n/a
Time: 4:00:00
Vertical: n/a

I haven't been rock-climbing in quite a well. And when I say rock climbing I mean climbed for more than an hour. Today, was four hours worth of crimpers, tired legs, and sunshine!

Saturday: n/a
Distance: n/a
Time: n/a
Vertical: n/a

Went out too late last night with friends, and to work too early to run in the AM and didn't prioritize a run. Life happens.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

June 05 - June 11

Weekly Totals: Distance: 35.42 mi. Time: 5:01:30 Vertical: 5,896 ft.
Run Totals: Distance: 22.03 mi. Time: 3:55:39 Vertical: 5,099 ft.
Bike Totals: Distance: 13.39 mi. Time: 1:05:51 Vertical: 797 ft.

I started this week off with the expectation of increasing my running mileage to just shy of thirty miles, however, with back-to-back days of some large vertical runs it just didn't happen and by the end of the week, I just didn't feel it would be smart to push it. I hate and love the conservative game. On one hand, I know success takes time and on the other hand, I want to attack, attack, attack, until I conquer. So, there needs to be a balance. With next week being my first week of official training for the Scott Cougar Mountain 50k I didn't really care to enter the training fatigued. I took a lot of pictures on a hike this week, so I've posted quite a few pics from it and you'll get to see the beauty of the Wilderness Creek Trail and Wilderness Cliffs Trail on Cougar Mountain, a trail I will train heavily on during the next five months in prep for the race. I'm pretty stoked about my decision to enter this race. I train heavily at Cougar Mountain and I've got until October 30 to prepare for the rumored 7,000 ft. of elevation gain.
Yes, the camera was level.
No, the trail is not.

Sunday, June 05 Marymoore Park ~ Outdoor rock-climbing wall
Distance: n/a
Time: n/a
Vertical: n/a

I missed all climbing last week, so this week after work I headed straight to the wall. I took a co-worker and taught him out to safely belay and we climbed two full routes. Nothing over the top, but just enough feel a slight pump. It felt relieving to be outside on the 'rock'.

Monday, June 06 Cougar Mountain ~ Wildside Trail to De Leo Wall Trail
Bike -
Distance: 5.76 mi.
Time:  0:27:55
Vertical: 379 ft.
Run -
Distance: 5.01 mi.
Time: 0:48:39
Vertical: 855 ft.

I commuted a lot on the bike, today. My run felt good and I ran in some shoes not even on the market. I'll be posting a pre-release post on them sometime mid-week, next week.

Ariolimax columbianus,
Pacific Banana Slug
Tuesday, June 07 ~ Hazen High School Track ~ Recovery Run w/Laura Kay
Bike - 
Distance: 7.63
Time: 0:37:56
Vertical: 418 ft.
Run -
Distance: 2.18 mi.
Time: 0:20:33
Vertical: 0 ft.

Another nice day of bike commuting. I rode to the lake to enjoy some rays of vitamin-D, which is important because usually the clouds seem to block out the light and leave nothing but the UV. The run was nice because I got to preview the track I'll be using for some track workouts and I got to run with Laura Kay.

Wednesday, June 08Cougar Mountain ~ Wilderness Creek Trail to Peak
Run -
Distance: 5.85 mi.
Time: 1:11:33
Vertical: 2,226 ft.

Quite an uphill day, today. When I first ran this route I walked several times. Today, I ran the loop twice and didn't even need a break. Definitely a good sign that I'm getting my climbing legs back up under me.
Just a little uphill running, today.

That's about the average incline of the trail.
~ Wilderness Creek Trail on Cougar Mtn.
Thursday, June 09 ~ Squak Mountain ~ May Valley Trail to Central Peak
Run -
Distance: 5.19 mi.
Time: 1:00:42
Vertical: 1,584 ft.

I don't really know why I ran here today. I was just so pumped about the run yesterday that I felt like going uphill again, and that completely back fired. Worst run I've had in Washington. I walked, talked to myself, and even got tired of running downhill. I was glad to get in the car and go home.

Friday, June 10 ~ Cougar Mountain ~ Coal Creek Trail
Run -
Distance: 3.80 mi.
Time: 0:34:12
Vertical: 434 ft.

My legs were fatigued when I started, but worst of all, mid-way through the run I was doing the 'three-year-old potty dance' and lets just say it was your typical rain in Seattle. What a rookie mistake. Always use the bathroom before you run. Saying to yourself: 'It's just a thirty minute run' makes no sense. Good thing the leaves are always damp here. (wink)

Saturday, June 11 ~ n/a
Distance: n/a
Time: n/a
Vertical: n/a

I almost went running today, but decided to just relax.

My drive to work. When it's sunny, that is. Only a ferry ride away from Seattle, WA.
Olympic Mountain Range
First Bridge on Wilderness Creek Trail.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

May 29 - June 04

Weekly Totals: Distance: 37.50 mi. Time: 4:31:09 Vertical: 3,269 ft.
Run Totals: Distance: 25.86 mi. Time: 3:42:44 Vertical: 3,113 ft.
Bike Totals: Distance: 11.64 mi. Time: 0:48:25 Vertical: 156 ft.

It's interesting the way things work out sometimes. I wound up taking two rest days this week, and in general I will say that I don't tend to fret about having rest days because when you take training, irregardless of the activity, too seriously it's easy to forget about the benefits of enjoying what you're doing. That being said, I love to run and I love running. -Yes, those are two separate entities.- And this week I turned up the focus, ran more, rode less, but didn't feel quite as satisfied. Why? I can tell you that I wanted to run more mountains, but I also wanted to run on some flats. My flat day left me feeling way more sore than I anticipated, and I haven't been rock climbing in a while. I didn't get up in the morning to run like I hoped each day, and I only rode my bike to a run once this week. I felt out of control. But I shouldn't. I should congratulate myself for running through the mud, the rain, the sunshine, the wind, and everything else. I should congratulate myself for feeling smaller and smaller the closer and closer I got to the top of the mountains before me. I should congratulate myself for breathing in-sync (not the band) with my footsteps as I ran freely and in solitude down some of the steepness terrain I've ever run on. I should congratulate myself...

Sunday, May 29Cougar Mountain ~ Wildside Trail to De Leo Wall
Run -
Distance: 4.00 mi.
Time: 0:40:57
Vertical: 601 ft.

I really did want a flat run, today.
I really wanted to find a somewhat flat trail, today, and run a bit longer without the stress of the uphill. Comparatively speaking, I did...sort of. From the start to just over 1.3 mi. I hadn't gained any real elevation. Some negligible hills are always going to be in the mix, but nothing substantial. And then I got curious. I've learned a couple of things about myself, as a runner, curiousity on the run usually ends in a harder than planned effort, and keeping with this plight of success I ventured absentmindedly onto the De Leo Wall Trail. I can't exactly explain what I imagined, but I know it was in-between flat and undulating. Hindsight, the name seems to spell out exactly what was to come. From 1.3 the trail went up, up, up, and somewhere after the third up I realized that if 'Wall' is ever in a trail name, don't take it on a flat day. I gained about 400 ft in .6 miles, which is right on par for a good climb day, not a flat day.  The trail was mostly single-track and offered some great turns coupled with steepness for practicing technical descents. I'll definitely be back for some uphill laps.

Monday, May 30 ~ off day ~

Not much to write about here. Just kind of ran out of time after debating to run or not to run.

Tuesday, May 31 ~ Lake Sammamish ~ Pickers Farm Trail to East Lake Sammamish
Run -
Distance: 8.01 mi.
Time: 01:01:05
Vertical: 59 ft. (finally a flat day, ha)

I drove around like a tourist to find this flat trail.
Lake Sammamish
I woke up fairly early today and went right back to sleep. In general my sleeping habits consist of between three and four hours of sleep a night, with one day a month that I'm just unusually able to sleep for eight to nine hours. The unusual day of rest was today, for me. So, after I awoke from my siesta I went in search of a trail that I had been told about last week: 11 miles (one-way), crushed gravel and along the eastern side of a lake, which also meant it was flat. After driving around like a tourist, wrong turns and stopping at green lights to look down a road included, I finally found a parking lot and just got out and ran. My main focus, today, was on foot cadence. I shortened my stride, ran from my hips and tried to average around 180 steps per minute (spm). This will inevitably cause some hip-flexor irritation if you haven't been doing this all along, and it definitely did for me. Around mile five, to be exact. But this change in stride pattern will invariably allow for a more efficient stride over longer distances, so it's worth the adaptation.

Wednesday, June 01 ~ Cougar Mountain ~ Red Town Trail to Indian Trail
Run -
Distance: 4.48 mi.
Time: 00:36:34
Vertical: 355 ft.

Brand new and covered in Cougar Mountain dirt.
Scott eRide Grip
The stereotypical vision most people get of what Seattle's weather is like was exactly the weather today: drizzle, wet, and cold. It wasn't the kind of rain that you had to turn on your windshield wipers, unless you were driving over 50 mph. The temperature was just above, I'm cold, and the trail was covered in run-off ponds. The forests in the Pac-Northwest are so dense I often feel like I'm running through a rain forest or some real life version of FernGully: The Last Rainforest, but obviously without a cute, black-haired, 'I wish I was Tinkerbell' fairy flying around. The trails weave in and out from each other and I can't wait to write about the first day I actually get lost. I scored some new shoes today at work, so it was nice to really break them in well. Glad they worked.

Thursday, June 02 ~ Squak Mountain ~ May Valley Trail to Central Peak to Forest Rd.
Bike -
The uphills are just so much more gratifying.
Squak Mountain State Park
Distance: 11.64 mi.
Time: 00:48:25
Vertical: 156 ft.
Run -
Distance: 5.50 mi.
Time: 00:53:59
Vertical: 1,792 ft.

Another nice commute to the trailhead, and I have to admit I felt comfortable on the bike. This week, so far, I've really been concentrating on my cadence (foot speed) and really trying to improve the norm. Any time you change, or emphasize, an aspect of something that's, in general, a constant you're bound to gain some soreness; and my hip-flexors are no exception this week. Good thing I have a 5.82 mi. bike ride to loosen things up. I hit the trail at an easy pace and too my dismay it was a much faster pace than I thought, which is great, because it still felt easy. I climbed, climbed, and climbed some more on a very wet, very slick, and very narrow trail. After getting almost to the summit I ran past a hiker that informed me about a forest service road that goes straight back to the parking lot. I wasn't looking to cut mileage, but I need to work on my downhill cadence, stride, and technique because I don't want to lose to someone because they beat me downhill. (Not necessarily what happened, but the overall winner did put some time into me on the downhill.) Anyway, I found the road and bombed as fast and as comfortably as possible. And a 5:55 mile was to show for the efforts, plus I reached a 4:00 min./mi. pace at one point. I'll definitely be back here for some hill repeats.

Thursday, June 03 ~ Cougar Mountain ~ Coal Creek YMCA
Distance: 3.87 mi.
Time: 00:30:09
Vertical: 306 ft.

I had all intentions of running today, and then I left work late. A quick call to my little brother and I was off to find a new trail to get in a quick 30 minute jog. Instead of going to the Red Town Trail I stopped just shy to explore a flat section of trail situated just off the road and somewhat hidden by some overgrown vegetation. Turns out, it wasn't as long as I expected so I had to put in a couple of minutes on the asphalt, which probably isn't all that bad for me. My splits were negative, but importantly the run felt good.