Saturday, November 26, 2011

November 20 - November 26

Weekly Totals ~ Time: 3:12:43 Distance: 22.60 mi. Vertical: 2,774 ft.
Weekly Averages ~ Time: 0:32:07 Distance: 3.77 mi. Vertical: 462 ft.

Weekly training is still on cruising pace. Almost doubled my total weekly mileage of last week. Success, right? The chest cold has finally subsided, so the miles were a lot easier to come by this week. Other than that nothing too exciting on my front.

I've got to give a few big shout-outs and congratulations to a couple of folks I've been coaching, this season: Robert B., Adam E., and Ed B. My training season for these guys ranged from 16 weeks to 20+ weeks. They all three came to me with goals, a desire to work hard, and motivation to improve themselves. It's not easy to train consistently, but these three athletes made it their goals and on race day it paid off.

Ed B., is the type of athlete that doesn't complain...well, at least not to his coach. The man always has a smile on and has every bit of passion about running as he has about golf. I, personally, consider golf a ruined walk in the park, but Ed proved to me that even a good round of golf can be used successfully as cross-training. There were a few times during designated rest weeks that instead of going on a walk Ed took to the greens. I always strive to learn things from my athletes and Ed taught me, this season, that even golf can have a useful purpose. All joking aside, Ed sets his goals high, has fun, and knows when to dig a little deeper. Congratulations on your 2011 Atlanta Half-Marathon finish, Ed.

Adam E., launched into full stride about six months ago when he asked me to help him achieve a goal he had in mind, "I want to run a marathon." It's always a unique feeling when a non-runner comes to me with this goal. It's always doable, but it's up to the individual. I can never stress to the athlete enough that, running doesn't always feel great and to run a marathon you've got to put in the time regardless of work, weather, and lack of motivation. Adam explained to me that he wanted this for himself and that nothing was going to get in his way. If you knew how much outside interference was attempting to derail his training, believe me you'd be speechless. The man put in the time and effort even through some tough times and crossed the finish line wearing his heart on his sleeve. Talking with Adam after his marathon he confessed that he cried, but he didn't care how cliche it may have been or who was watching. Like I told him, there's nothing wrong with taking pride in your accomplishments. Congratulations on your 2011 Philadelphia Marathon finish, Adam.

Adam E.
Adam E.

Robert B.

Robert B., Rocky B., and Adam E.
Evan (another trained marathoner) pacing Adam to the finish line.
Sarah B. and Robert B.
Robert B., set three Personal Record's (PR), during the Philadelphia Marathon: a 10k, Half-marathon, and Marathon PR. Robert also set a new PR in the 5k during the training season. Robert wanted to Boston Qualify (BQ) at the Philly Marathon, and for him that meant setting a 30 minute PR in the marathon by going sub 3:05. Having already obtained the well deserved, and earned, title of ultra-marathoner with a successful finish at the Sweetwater 50k in April I knew it was possible. Sure cutting 30 minutes in a marathon sounded far-fetched, but having coached and trained with Robert I am well aware of his potential and his ability to follow a training plan consistently. Although we fell short of BQ by a few minutes, Robert did cut-off 25 minutes from his previous marathon best. Robert, like a true racer, has already started the search for the next attempt and I'm going 'all-in' that he gets his goal. Congratulations on your 2011 Philadelphia Marathon finish, Robert.

If you're interested being coach, please send me an email: Prices vary depending on event, time, and specific request. Personal online coaching is also a great holiday gift, by the way.

Training Week Notes:
Sunday, November 20
Time: n/a
Distance: n/a
Vertical: n/a

Monday, November 21 ~ Home Loop
Time: 0:39:52
Distance: 5.12 mi.
Vertical: 277 ft.

Base Run. 275' of Gain. I'm sick, and it's really picking away at my patience. This pace and distance should feel like an easy stroll, but it doesn't. I've run much faster and longer on the same course at a much lower heart rate. Not the case, today. Oh well, at least I got out there. Legs were restless from only running twice last week.

Tuesday, November 22 ~ Home Loop
Time: 0:42:07
Distance: 5.13 mi.
Vertical: 265 ft.

Base Run. 275' of Gain. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, felt awful. Today, it's rainy much colder and felt a lot better. Still not fully over the cold, but I'm noticing some progress. I slowed down about 30 sec a mile to help combat the illness and ran at an easy HR without sacrificing too much pace. Much better choice.

Wednesday, November 23 ~ Couch, ha.
Time: n/a
Distance: n/a
Vertical: n/a

Thursday, November 24 ~ Fort Steilacoom XC
Time: 0:27:47
Distance: 3.80 mi.
Vertical: 157 ft.

Base Run. 150' of Gain. Quick, easy run around JG's old XC stompin' ground. Weather wasn't that fun, but we got it in.

Friday, November 25 ~ Cougar Mtn. & Commute Home

Run #1
Run #2
3.22 mi.
2.66 mi.
1,268 ft.
407 ft.

Run #1 ~ Wilderness TH - W Peak - W Creek - Wilderness TH
Base Run. 1,200' of Gain. Quick trail run up to Wilderness Peak before work. Felt great all the way up (23:25). Haven't been on the 'hills' in a while, so it really felt nice. The trees have lost their leaves and the sun breaks through the slender poles. Been rockin' the NB 101's lately just because they've been feeling great.
Run # 2 ~ Commute Home 
Recovery Run. 400' of Gain. Easy run home from work, tonight. Had a good amount of spring in my step for the one-way ticket up to the house. Got to love working 2.6 miles from home. Especially since it's all uphill from work to home. Broke out the Saucony Hattori's for the quick recovery run.

Saturday, November 26 ~ Commute Home
Time: 0:20:39
Distance: 2.66 mi.
Vertical: 400 ft.

Base Run. 400' of Gain. An uphill commute is a good commute. Two nights in a row with PR commutes home. Nice to see progress in the easy foot speed category. I really did nothing today except sit and stand at work, so the legs did feel sluggish until about mile 2. Of course, at that point there's only .6 miles left. Rocked the Hattori's, too.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

November 13 - November 19

Weekly Totals ~ Time: 3:33:50 Distance: 13.70 mi. Vertical: 5,177 ft.
Weekly Averages ~ Time: 1:11:17 Distance: 6.85 mi. Vertical: 2,589 ft.

Wow, last week, I was enthralled with confusion as to how I ran 50 miles during a week that seemed so, well, lazy. This week, I don't know where the days went. I do know that my nose has run more miles than my legs. I'm confident enough in this statement that I'd say I've logged at least 50 nose blows, this week. It's upsetting, to a degree, to see such low totals, but I have no need to fret. I don't have a goal race, yet, so training, although still a priority, doesn't have much emphasis on what type of training. I don't want to lose too much fitness, but that will only come with a full stop. I've started rock-climbing a couple of times a week, so that's adding to some fitness totals, but until I set out a goal race I think I'm comfortable with a cruise-control of whatever happens, happens style of training. Of course, 5,000 ft. of vertical in 13.7 miles is a pretty good miles-to-vertical ratio, haha.

Upcoming Race Thoughts:
  • I will be running the Bridle Trails Twilight 50k, but not with any focus, in January
  • February, has two options: Sweetwater Sweetheart Trail Half-Marathon (Georgia), or the Hilton Head Island Bridge Run (South Carolina)
  • The Mountain Marathon is slowly rooting itself as a priority race, in March. Partially because of the kick-ass logo design. That may seem superficial, but you can't argue with the aesthetics.
  • April - August, I have no race plans, but I would like to take a shot at the Wonderland Trail. I want to make it a group outing, though. Not ready for the solo attempt, yet.
  • If you have any suggestions for a race/run in 2012, leave a comment. Join the Facebook page, as well: Uphill Both Ways, Preferably

Wonderland TrailMountain Marathon Logo

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 06 - November 12

Weekly Totals ~ Time: 6:32:36 Distance: 50.21 mi. Vertical: 3,379 ft.
Weekly Averages ~ Time: 1:05:36 Distance: 8.37 mi. Vertical: 563 ft.

Just over two weeks after the 50k and I'm already back at a 50 mile week. I've got admit, the distance sneaked up on me; and had it not been for Erin S. wanting to hit her first 60-mile week (congrats, by the way) I may have fallen about 5 miles short. I'm not excessively tired, but toward the end of the week I was running low on motivation. The runs were great, but the desire to get out and do them is wavering.

The lack of desire is a part of training, though. It can be a sign that you're over-training, a sign that you're not recovered, or it could just be a mental stalemate between enjoyment and fatigue. It happens to all of us, and I don't plan on giving in, but I will make a little more effort in the next few weeks to mix my running up. I've been sticking mostly with the flats to work on leg turnover, but I need to do more of what I really enjoy: mountains.

The weather is slowly setting-in, here, in the Pac-Northwest. I've been warned by most everyone here that the winter's aren't fun. I'm going into the season, however, with optimism. I don't enjoy running in the rain, but  I do it. I do enjoy running in snow, ice, and wind. I think there is something raw, something uninhabited, natural, empowering about running in weather that sends most indoors. Maybe it's a power-trip on my part, maybe not. Either way, I'm ready for it. Courtesy this being a late blog post here's a video I put together from a recent run (11/15/11):

Sunday, Novemer 06 ~ Off/Rest Day
Time: n/a
Distance: n/a
Vertical: n/a

Monday, November 07 ~ Home Loop
Distance: 5.04 mi.
Vertical: 273 ft.

Base Run. Set out this morning just to stretch the legs on the asphalt. The increased turn-over will be a focus for the next few months, so I'll be putting in a little more road running. Overall, my heart rate was slightly above normal, my legs felt good. No lingering fatigue, and my mind is ready to get back into the groove.

Tuesday, November 08 ~ Lake Youngs Park
Time: 1:29:49
Distance: 12.31 mi.
Vertical: 1,003 ft.

Up-tempo Run. 2 mile warm-up (8:00 min./mi.), 6 miles tempo (6:51 min./mi.), 3 mile cool-down (7:39 min./mi.). Leg turn-over, leg turn-over, leg turn-over. It felt great to stretch the legs this morning around the Lake Youngs Trail. First time there, and it's a great undulating piece of trail...and really easy to follow. The increased pace felt surprisingly comfortable for not having done any work like this in more than 6 months.

Wednesday, November 09 ~ Home Loop
Time: 0:45:04
Distance: 5.10 mi.
Vertical: 292 ft.

Recovery Run. Felt great in the morning, didn't run. Felt okay in the afternoon, didn't run. Didn't feel well in the evening, did run. AM priorities left me behind schedule and as the day went on fatigue crept in slowly like the chill of an early fall night. However, I laced up and hit the streets around my 'new' recovery loop (add 2 miles from last season's 3 mile course). Felt great mentally. Physically, I was a little behind pace.

Thursday, November 10 ~ Newport Hills Park
Time: 0:36:59
Distance: 4.63 mi.
Vertical: 288 ft.

Recovery Run. Evoskin Thursday is back on schedule. Felt great, glad to have gotten out there and clicked off laps about 2 miles of laps around the soft, turf soccer field. Great night for it, too. 1.35 mile Warm-up and Cool-down (road).

Friday, November 11 ~ The Balanced Athlete
Time: 1:18:57
Distance: 11.11 mi.
Vertical: 448 ft.

Base+ Run. It's 11/11, so at 11:11 AM I ran 11.11 miles. About a mile from the finish I realized I should have run 1:11:11 for the distance, but it was too close to make up the lost time. The weather was windy, rainy, and cold. The increased turn over is starting to feel a little more natural, and much less forced.

Saturday, November12 ~ Lake Youngs Trail
Time: 1:42:28
Distance: 12.02 mi.
Vertical: 1,074 ft.

Base Run. The temps of dropped, the clouds are back, and the mist is steady. Perfect training conditions, seriously. I freakin' love this place. Ran with Erin S., today, and helped her cap off her first 60-mile week. Congrats. Legs felt fresh, and once again, I was late and had to wake-up on the run; which also made for a trail bathroom break. Wet leaves are much better than dry leaves.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Cougar Mountain 50k Race Review

Moving to Seattle, Washington, this May, has really influenced my 're'-dedication to running. Taking a five year training hiatus has shortcomings, but it also has advantages. Like the mindset I took in June, "Whoa, a 50k race over and around two mountains...I'm in." Having not really ever been exposed to this type of terrain for any extended period of time I didn't really have a base of where/how to start training for such a vertically demanding event. So, I did what any runner would do: I started running uphill; a lot. I joined Washington trail hiking sites, like: Washington Trail Association and Hiking With My Brother. I purchased Map No 203S from Green Trail Maps. I started subscribing to ultra-running blogs and other noted mountain-runners, Andy HenshawAnton Krupicka, Dakota Jones, Geoff Roes, Joe Grant, Joe Gray (local, friend, and volunteered to pace/run with me around Squak Mtn. and some of Cougar Mtn.) and Timothy Olson. This goes on, and on. It's not as obsessive as it is assimilating, though. The long break from training has given me the upper-hand when it comes to understanding how to train properly. Completely immersing myself in my goals is just the way I train. Distance first, and then speed. Successful plans are years long, not seasons. My training was consistent, varied, and unusually satisfying in terms of success.

Week Prior to Race Day
Weekly Totals ~ Time: 01:50:09 Distance: 12.63 mi. Vertical: 2,005 ft.
(Those numbers look like a total joke, but I think it helped.)

The week prior to the race I found myself hitting the refresh button on hoping that with each new update it would somehow move Saturday's perfect forecast to Sunday. (To no avail, by the way) I also spent most of the week playing Madden '12 on PS3 and even ventured to the new rock climbing gym.

(Go full screen and click HD)
Day of the race, no improvement.
Which brings me to a more 'lesson learned' piece of advice: having fun the week before a big event is crucial, getting carried away with it, however, is not a plan for success. I didn't push myself physically too hard, but the final attempt at the start of a route landed a baseball size bruise on the inside of my right leg just outside of the knee. A few inches toward the center and my knee would have been crushed and the race definitely wouldn't have happened. It was a neat dyno, though, and I did complete it. No pain no gain, right?

This all happened on Monday. Thursday I set a new PR for total time up-and-down Squak Mtn. and Friday was just an easy 5 miles on the road. By Saturday night the bruise looked just as bad as it did Monday evening, but I could at least run the flats and uphills with relatively no pain...downhill, well, I had no choice but to laugh at the unusual and untimely injury. Every step was followed up with, "Damn, that was a cool move. Damn, why did that other hold have to be there?"

Race Day
Course Map and Elevation Profile
(Click for larger image)
The fog trampled over the mountains around midnight like a pack of coyotes. Bringing with it a blanket of misty, cool, and windy conditions. On race day, there would be no exceptions to a stereotypical Pacific-Northwest fall day. A tease of sunshine and "warm" weather the day before would soon be a distant memory that felt like a stomach ache from eating too much of a good thing.

I arrived at Sky Country trailhead about an hour before the start to drop off some on-course electrolyte replenishment and then retreated back into the car to think about the next few steps of time and avoid the cold. The starting area of races always seems to be the coldest spot in the area and although I enjoy the cold I don't like shivering for more than a few minutes before a race.
Only a little coffee left before
the start.
Sort of listening, here. Mostly
Getting a closer look
Eric Bone, race director, gave a final few instructions about the upcoming course and that someone had messed with the flags the night before and he tried to correct everything, but that we should be aware of any potentially unplanned detours. I stood patiently in a parka and short running shorts not really paying attention. I did my homework on the course and knew 99% of the turns. I didn't plan on rattling off quick miles from the start anyway, so I was sure I'd be following people. Plus, the 20-mile race started at the same time, which presented it's own mental challenges, by the way. Section 2 and Section 3 (I mentally divided the course into three 10 mile sections) I knew like the back of my hand from spending a month of training between the two sections.

As the start began we cruised around the traditional start loop of the Cougar Mountain Trail Series, a quarter mile around a grassy, usually wet field; and then we darted into the wet, foggy forest. The trail was surprisingly not too slick, and the field spread out quickly. Which is good, because the last thing to worry about is getting trapped behind a line of runners on single track trail. The first section went by relatively quickly mentally, plus I had the courtesy of running with Brad D. for most of it. The ultra-running community is by far the most casual, friendly, and laid-back community. The yearn for competition and success is embodied by tact, patience, and overall happiness. Hopefully Brad D. and I can grab some training miles together over the next few months. He's apparently a pretty good chef, too, so I can't wait to grab some grub at his place.
Laura Kay says I'm in this pic...
Mass start and a good depiction of
color on this fine Northwest day
20-milers coming through
A 1,000 ft. descent from Wilderness Peak to S.R. 900 finished off the first section. You're then cascaded into a valley between Cougar Mtn. and Squak Mtn. There's no where to go but up, and up. Joe G. volunteered to pace/run with me around Squak Mtn. and more, so I picked him up at the aid station. "My" fans were also cheering for me here, in full force, Erin S. Christy M. and Laura Kay Y. braved the miserable weather...actually they took a field trip to get coffee and sweets <can't blame 'em>...while I slowly plodded up, around, down, up, and down Squak Mtn. with Joe G.

Squak Mtn. houses 75% of the total elevation gain for the entire 50k. 4,000+ ft. of vertical gain is no joke. Compressed into 10 miles it becomes a painful reality that I'm not a mountain goat. I would have gladly traded in my two legs for four legs to push through two mental bonks on this section. When you're hiking up an incline and your heart rate is holding steady at 160+ it's tough to grasp that you're not even on the steepest section, yet. My pacer kept it real, though. Constantly reminding me to walk, eat, drink, and not make decisions until the downhill. The West Peak of Squak Mtn. is nothing that can be taken-on easily, and coupled with freezing temps, heavy fog, and no panoramic view it can be a drag physically and mentally. After reaching the summit and having my nutrition kick-in things felt much better and my legs loosened up. Hindsight, I needed to grab a vest at the base for the drastic weather change up top. Lesson learned. We quickly descended and I changed my shoes (Montrail Rogue Racer to old Brooks Cascadia), socks (Wool Feetures! to Wool Feetures!), and shirt (Craft LS to NIKE LS) for the remaining eleven move. My legs had gotten cold enough on Squak that they began to randomly 'cramp' until they became warm again. Capri's are a must next year...or manpri's (ha).
1,000 ft. descent after 9 miles.
Only 22 miles and 6500' of gain
Getting my race number recorded
Alright, ahead of schedule,
feeling great, and ready to
chat, run, and eat.
I came through the first twenty miles about 15 minutes ahead of schedule, so I took my time on the next 1,000 ft. climb and at the remaining aid station. Should have paid more attention to the time, but at some point you're just logging the foot steps hoping you're going in the right direction and time becomes irrelevant. Your mind is your biggest enemy at painful times, and your mouth is the medium of exchange between irrational thought and how illogical thoughts can be. At some point, I just started talking and when I started talking about food I was quickly reminded, "Trey, you're talking kind of loopy. And food, right now, is not what you should start thinking about." Simple and effective advice.
Ascending to the grave (Squak Mtn.)
with Joe.
Looking for dry clothes
Dry shirt = warmth
I rounded the top of the final major climb, De Leo Wall, and cruised the downhill into Aid station 5, talked, talked some more, grabbed some Mountain Dew, and headed for the finish line. Only one more climb and then it was flat. I crossed the line in 6:05, Laura K. forgot to take a picture and proceeded to tell me that I should fake run in so she could get one. I wasn't in any way going to toy with the idea, so I smiled and said, "yeah right." Coincidentally someone else did grab a photo of me just past the finish line.
Wardrobe change mile 20
All smiles after a successful
Squak Mtn. tour
Climbing out/away from hell.
11 miles to go.
In summary, it was a 6-hour adventure, 11th overall, and the race definitely provided me with some great evidence that I'm training properly. It has been a year since I picked up running, again, and it's nice to start seeing results. I'll start to lay out my next year's racing schedule soon, and more thoroughly pick through the 135+ hours, 775 miles, and 149,683 ft. of vertical gain data I've accumulated since May.
Laura Kay 'crewing'. Only three miles
until the finish.
Finisher Photo
Eric Bone, Trey Bailey, Joe Gray