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.