Monday, July 4, 2011

June 26 - July 02

Weekly Totals ~ Distance: 28.72 mi. Time:  4:50:25 Vertical: 4,831 ft.
Monthly Totals ~ Distance: 86.75 mi. Time: 15:19:41 Vertical: 17,993 ft.

Running, this week, gave me the same nervously happy feeling you get when you're falling in love, or expecting something great to happen, or when you know that with beyond a doubt you've just won a judged contest in a landslide fashion. It's been a tough transition, mentally, to the Northwest terrain that I, now, call home. It's not anything negative, it's just different. For the past four to five weeks I've been slowly gaining momentum on the 'running habit' front, and I can't lie, it's been tough. I, now (May - present), average around 1,000 ft of elevation gain on any given run. Comparatively, in Georgia, this year (January - April), I averaged around 700 ft of elevation gain. Vertical is just another force to reckon with. The downhill depletes your muscles of tissue density, the uphill forces you into a state of mind that's neither on the run or in your body, and the flats are elements of surprise that are, now, no longer comfortable, but zones of recovery at faster paces. The change in physical environment is compliment by the outstanding running weather. It's mostly cloudy, temperatures rarely get over 78 degrees F, and it's relatively low on the humidity scale. As record temperatures sweep across the South, I'm here, wearing long sleeves to work, no shirt running, and catching glimpses of snow capped mountains that are less than a two-hour drive away on each and every run. 

At some point this week, during a run, I took a breath in of the cool morning air, exhaled, and watch the condensed carbon dioxide deposit assimilate effortlessly into the world around me and it was then, this simple moment, this moment that lasted less than a second, that the world seemed to slow down and my mind seemed to speed up and process information in a grand-scheme kind of way. It became the 'ah-ha!' moment that my Rhetorical Theory professor always described for us as we pulled apart historical speeches, categorizing each word, phrase, sentence, paragraph into an apropos artistic proof of either ethos, pathos, or logos. As Anton Krupicka most appropriately and eloquently put things: "Running, ultimately, distills life down to its basic elements. And that, I think, is a really valuable experience. Especially, in this day-and-age where life can get pretty complicated. When I'm out running everything is simple, in the moment, and totally makes sense."

Sunday, June 26 ~ Recovery Run - Home to Hazen HS Track (Out-&-Back)
Distance: 3.68 mi.
Time: 0:29:34
Vertical: 108 ft

By far the flattest run in a while. Moving up to Washington has somewhat altered my running, not only do I have to take into account mileage and time, but also vertical. In general, I average between 800 ft and 1200 ft. in elevation gain on any given run. This is by no means chance, but definitely by choice. After all, my backyard playground is a choice of three different mountains. But just like there's a need for different types of car tires for different types of terrain, distances, and weather, there's also, in running, a need for different types of training terrain, shoes, and focuses. Today, being a recovery day, I ran on flat terrain, wearing my recovery shoes, the Stinson by Hoka One One (review to be posted soon, I just need a little more mileage to give a sufficient claim to successes and failures and oddities) which won't make their debut in the United States until August or September, and focused on proper running form (cadence, forward lean, breathing, and foot strike) and maintaining a low intensity. I did manage to run a :30 negative split and stretched thoroughly afterward.

Monday, June 27 ~ Long Run - Wilderness Creek to Shy Bear (Loop)
Distance: 7.35 mi.
Time: 1:30:17
Vertical: 2,168 ft.

Planned to run with a co-worker today, but work (cordially) got in the way. Oh well, maybe later this week. I'm definitely in need of a running partner. Today's run, however was great. Ran a PR from base to summit (0:23:16), a straight-up hill ascent with a few long switch-backs that starts at an elevation of 408 ft. and peaks at 1,597 ft. a difference of 1,189 ft all in 1.65 miles. Which, I must be honest, is a bit stressful for the first part of the run sans warm-up. I do complete about 5 minutes of dynamic stretching prior to the runs here, but a 10 minute jog might be more helpful. After the PR peak bag I descend the Deceiver Trail (odd name, or I'm just smart, because it hasn't fooled me, yet) past a waterfall (Doughty Falls), that I haven't seen because I'm too lazy to venture onto the side trail, but I have heard it, and it sounds beautiful (good enough for me). A slight rise in elevation brings my heart rate back up after the (sort of) long descent and then it's onto the Shy Bear Trail. Maybe this is trivial, but I really like the name of this trail. Maybe I had a distant Native American ancestor with a similar name. Of course, 'Shy' isn't a title I tend to fall under or portray. Anyway, the trail meanders in an undulating fashion for a couple of clicks and then it's a quick rise and back to the Wilderness Creek Trail. The change of trails also means it's all downhill until the trailhead, literally.

Tuesday, June 28 ~ Cross-train - Exit 38, Interstate Park at Far Side
Distance: n/a
Time: n/a
Vertical: n/a

All day out on an open rock face about 500 ft above an interstate. Can't beat it.

Wednesday, June 29 ~ Base Run - Gene Coulon Park
Distance: 5.01 mi.
Time: 0:38:30
Vertical: 70 ft.

I planned on hitting up the trails after work, courtesy the sun doesn't set, right now, until about 9:30 PM and I usually roll out of work  by 8:15 PM. Even the most anticipated plans seem to run into setbacks. Setback is too strong. How about, 'oops, I forgot my trail shoes, headlamp, and I got out of work late.' Not worries, though. Running is about adapting to unforeseen circumstances. I laced up some road shoes, and hit the pavement and watched the sunset over Lake Washington. Aside from swallowing a piece of cotton, mindlessly adrift through the dry and windy Pacific-Northwest summer air, which basically gagged me and halted me mid-stride (the US may want to skip water-boarding for 'sudden inhalation during exercise of cotton choking', it's got to be worse. Or just end torture to begin with...not saying the US does, but I've heard rumors) , the run was great and I'm glad we paved roads, but the trail has much more meaning.

Thursday, June 30 ~ Off/Recovery - Rest
Distance: n/a
Time: n/a
Vertical: n/a

Skipped the run, tonight. I really wanted to go, but I have a longer trail run on Friday morning.

Friday, July 01 ~ Long Run - Squak Mountain
Run 1:
Distance: 8.68 mi.
Time: 1:32:03
Vertical: 2,484 ft.

Today's run is exactly what I needed. Almost. I could have done without the overgrown trail that has left my legs tingling from too much touch... but it felt great to run with somebody. The monotony of training solo has it's strengthens and it's weaknesses.

Run 2:
Distance: 4.00 mi.
Time: 0:42:56
Vertical: ???

After work, I went on an easy recovery run with Laura Kay and Max. We spent about ten minutes bush-whacking, and then found a better way to the trail.

Saturday, July 02 ~ Off/Recovery - Rest
Distance: n/a
Time: n/a
Vertical: n/a