Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January 22 - January 28

Weekly Totals ~ Time: 3:20:55 Distance: 24.48 mi. Vertical: 1,723 ft.
Weekly Averages ~ Time: 0:40:11 Distance: 4.90 mi. Vertical: 345 ft.
*does not include the 4+ hour hike.

I have been on a roll, twenty-three days in a row of running. Conveintantly I didn't realize the streak until I uncharacteristically started to feel less and less motivated to get out of the door. For at least 20 days I felt great every day, and every day I was eager to run, and every day felt better and better. However, sometime between Jan. 20 and Jan. 23, I began to notice that my running start times were becoming later and later. I would feel fine during the run, but only after a first mile that felt like shit. It was an unmotivated-feeling, not an injured feeling. I was losing motivation to get up and out the door. Rough patches are no big deal, though, and fairly common during training, so I didn't take notice of the fatigue too much. But after three days in a row of no motivation to get out the door, I took a look at the numbers. My mileage started dropping under 50 miles a week and my vertical came crashing down, too.

To help solidify the need for a very down week, -funny how these things workout- myself and two other crazies trekked up Cougar Mtn. (Wilderness TH - Wilderness Peak) after an intoxicating good time at the bar. At 2:00 AM we took our first steps to what would become a 4+ hour adventure up debris filled trails...and fittingly with no headlamps or flashlights. With the use of my own backhand knowledge of the twist and turns, and occasionally the light from the display on my camera we meandered through the night with laughter, slips, falls, more laughter, and all through ankle+ deep snow. Toasting to a great adventure at the re-defined summit (after a 2 hour and 20 minute ascent we just stopped when we completely lost the trail) we made our way back down, stopping often to wonder if we had wandered up the way route we were descending. At 7 AM, I walked through the front door of my apartment, Laura Kay fittingly questioned "how long were you gone?", I answered truthfully, "awhile...too long" <snickering at the recall of Dominic W. and Simon Q. trusting my knowledge of the lay of the trail and actually going straight from the bar to the mountain.> I crashed down on the comfortable area of the floor that I decided to call my bed and as my head zoomed below the armrest of the couch I spotted the orange Black Diamond headlamp that may have saved the evening at least 2 hours...I'm glad I forgot it, too be honest.

4 hours later I roused myself out of an exhausted fetal position, laced up the running shoes, and ran, got back home, went rock-climbing and took the next day completely off. This proved to be the right move. Amazing how good times can even force recovery days. Better than injuries, I suppose. Either way, I took the rest of the week conservatively and just made sure to feel recovered before next Sunday.

Sunday, January 22 ~ Home Loop
Distance:3.11 mi.
Vertical:93 ft.

Base Run+. Had to hit the roads for a quickie before the belated company holiday party. Legs felt good and the last mile would have been well under 6min had I not had to jump into the slush covered sidewalks a few times, stop, and wait for oncoming traffic to ease up.

Monday, January 23 ~ Hiking
Distance:3.45 mi.
Vertical:1,552 ft.

Pictures at the bottom.

Monday, January 23 ~ Home Loop
Distance:5.62 mi.
Vertical:306 ft.

Base Run. Following a 4 hour hike early this morning I was 95% sure that I wasn't going to run. But I laced up the sneakers after 2 hours of rock-climbing and hit the pavement for a dreaded 3 miles. After the 1st mile, my mind and legs woke up and I negative split the run and added an extra 2.6 miles.

Tuesday, January 24 ~ Off/Rest (1st of the year!)
Distance:00.00 mi.
Vertical:0,000 ft.

Yeah right.

Wednesday, January 25 ~ Commute to Work
Distance:2.67 mi.
Vertical:44 ft.

Recovery Run. After yesterday's first full rest day of the year I was much more motivated to hit the road, but I did it conservatively. What better way than a short run downhill. Only issue: smog. Washington is by far the cleanest state that I've lived in and smog is very low, but it really takes a toll on my lungs. Sierra Vista, Arizona may have been cleaner, but that's because nothing is around and you're 5,200' above sea level.

Wednesday, January 25 ~ Commute Home
Distance:2.66 mi.
Vertical:412 ft.

Base Run. If you run to work, you have to run home from work. For me, that means an almost entirely uphill journey. Good thing I have a soft spot for ascents. Surprisingly, I ran only 3 seconds slower than my commute home; but good enough for a commute home PR!

Thursday, January 26 ~ Off/Recovery/Lazy Day
Distance:00.00 mi.
Vertical:0,000 ft.

Lazy day.

Friday, January 27 ~ Lake Youngs Trail
Distance:10.40 mi.
Vertical:868 ft.

Recovery Run. Pre-run, bummed about not running last night. Mid-run, amazed at how much better I feel compared to the beginning of the week. Post-run, already looking up snow covered trails for a possible sunrise adventure tomorrow morning. 134 avg heart, definitely in the recovery zone. Laura K. and Debbie O. make Friday morning recovery runs seem like a big 'reset' button. Mad props to them putting up with my constant chatter for an hour and forty minutes.

Saturday, January 28 ~ Off Day
Distance:00.00 mi.
Vertical:0,000 ft.

Two more days to rest. Not going to run Sunday, either.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January 15 - January 21

Weekly Totals ~ Time: 7:53:56 Distance: 46.13 mi. Vertical: 4,911 ft.
Weekly Averages ~ Time: 0:59:14 Distance: 5.77 mi. Vertical: 614 ft.

Needed to ease things back at the beginning of the week, so the mileage is on par, but the vertical is definitely sub-par for my norm. The weather this week has been fantastic. I'll never understand why people bury themselves inside watching the news channel that reports on everyone else being outside and why they should be inside. Sure, getting in the car and driving like conditions are dry when there is snow and ice on the ground isn't the best move. Hell, I even slid off the road...going uphill. No car damage but it did solidify that two feet are better than four wheels in winter conditions; at least for me. I had so much fun interacting with the weather and environment around me, this week. The trails were lonely, and full of curiosity.

The next two and half weeks will be tough. I'm going to pull myself away from the trails and mountains and hit the asphalt most days because the Hilton Head Half-Marathon incorporates nothing that I train on, it's flat and on the road. I have a feeling the bridge is going to be the only place that I'm truly comfortable. Good thing the race goes over it twice! I have no idea how I'll perform during this race. I envision getting to a point that's sustainable for 13.1 miles to 20 miles and not being able to really pick it up. It's just a product of the type of training I've etched into my physiology from this past year. I'm looking forward to seeing how 10:00 min./mi. up mountains translates into 13.1 miles that's completely flat. Evidence of a good amount of difference in pace is in my 'recovery' runs, which are done on the road and 'flat'. I generally can run at an easy intensity between 7:15 min./mi and 7:45 min./mi. and feel noticeably recovered the next day. How fast the pace can go is going to be my real interest. I don't do a lot of work on foot speed these days, and my leg turn-over rate will surely meet a plateau point before my cardio. 13.1 miles isn't a big deal in terms of mileage, quickly covering 13.1 miles is my going to be my nemesis  Elevation gain is probably around 50' to 100' which presents a problem for training unless I want to run a 1.50 mile out-n-back that is essential flat...not going to happen. Basically, I'm just going to make sure I'm used to an increased foot turn-over rate, stay off the major climbs, and stay on the road. I'm not going to 'peak' for this race, or really any race this year. I'll take two days of easier running right before and an easy day after, but other than that no change. I'm really excited about racing something so different than what I'm used to and more importantly, and the reason I'm flying across the country for a half-marathon is that I'm going to be able to visit with good friends and family that I haven't seen since May 2011. Why? Just because. The pictures below aren't specific to the day they're next to. Enjoy.

"all men and women in our state [should] enjoy the same privileges that are so important in my life," - Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen

My home state [Washington] is on it's way to join the ranks of six other states that support same-sex marriage. This is a huge step in civil rights and should be celebrated by all and continued by others. A person should never be jailed by society by being forced to fulfill the belief that gender is the foundation that facilitates an appropriate medium of companionship. To say, "you may love only your gender opposite or no one at all," nullifies the patriotic claim etched in the hearts and minds of so many Americans, "give me freedom or give me death;" if we believe the later and enforce the former than we are all living dead. To find out more on how you can become involved click the link below.


Sunday, January 15 ~ Home
Distance:5.65 mi.
Vertical:294 ft.
Base Run. I ran through what felt like a snow globe, today. 1in. to 3 in. on roads around the casa. It was a tough shoe decision, but I went with the Skecher GoRuns and they will receive an A in the "snow on road" department.
Monday, January 16 ~ Cougar Mtn.
Distance:3.44 mi.
Vertical:1,294 ft.
Recovery Run. 1,300' of Gain. It was a stop, go, run, hike, take pictures recovery day in the mountains. My body is definitely feeling fatigued, so I'll be playing more than anything for the next few days on the trails.
Tuesday, January 17 ~ Home
Distance:3.15 mi.
Vertical:84 ft.
Recovery Run. My legs are feeling much better, today. Still an uncomfortable amount of fatigue, and heart rate seemed a little high for the pace, but I should be good by tomorrow to hit the snowy trails. The slushy sidewalks won't cut it, tomorrow. Even if I need to hike more than run I'll be outside in the mountains for the predicted snowstorm.
Wednesday, January 18 ~ Cougar Mtn.
Distance:7.09 mi.
Vertical:1,047 ft.
Base Run. The clouds heading East are much lighter now that they've left 6 - 10+ inches of snow on the Issaquah Alps and the rest of Seattle, WA. The snow was great to run through, and the further you get into the wild the more likely you'll be blazing the trail. Turned out to be the case after a mere mile into the woods. Took some great videos and great photos. 
Thursday, January 19 ~ Home + Cougar Mtn. (Run #1)
Distance:10.11 mi.
Vertical:1,411 ft.
Base Run. After two hours, one mountain, and several down trees I managed 10 miles of running. I know "bad weather" is suppose to keep you inside, but seriously this {Washington} is the best running in the country, right now. Don't hunker down people, Tune In, Turn On, and GET OUTSIDE!!
Thursday, January 19 ~ Home (Run #2)
Distance:4.01 mi.
Vertical:134 ft.
Recovery Run. The roads are a mess, but not as messy as the sidewalks. After a few 'almost' sprains, because of hiding ice chunks below the seemingly soft slush, I jumped into the middle of the road and ran straight down the yellow lines.
Friday, January 20 ~ Home
Distance:9.00 mi.
Vertical:509 ft.
Base Run. It was tough to get out the door, but after the first mile I went exploring through the night and the planned 5 mile run became 9 miles. It was just nice to get out and breath in the cold, but slowly warming, air.
Saturday, January 21 ~ Home
Distance:3.69 mi.
Vertical:139 ft.
Recovery Run. 140' of Gain. I had much bigger, err...longer, plans today, but when I got home from a shortened work day I had just finished a burrito, sat down my eyes shut and I woke up 45 minutes later and decided my body was telling me, "Only 3 miles, tonight!" It was a good run, sidewalks are awful so street running is a bit dangerous, but the strobing headlamp seemed to help. I didn't get hit, so that's a plus.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January 8 - January 14

Weekly Totals ~ Time: 8:07:37 Distance: 47.91 mi. Vertical: 10,823 ft.
Weekly Averages ~ Time: 1:09:40 Distance: 6.84 mi. Vertical: 1,546 ft.

I have been tired, this week. Not sure if there is a main culprit, but next week is going to have some lower mileage at least for the first half of the week. Running has been relatively un-stressful, but it's becoming easier and easier to talk myself out of a 2nd run. I'm not the type of person that has a set plan, with numbers, and miles, and vertical. I do have loose goals, but as far as running twice a day I feel much better the next morning if I put in a slow 3 miles to 5 miles on the road to close out the day. I haven't been able to wake up as early as I need to put in a run in the morning, and this has resulted in one run right before work or right after and my motivation is just on a downward slope. It's not so far down that I can't get out the door, but identifying these little changes can help prevent catastrophes.

Other than the onset of waning motivation I'm really becoming confident that I'm starting to get much more adapted to running in the mountains. In the beginning, one day a week and I was set, now I'm comfortable with two days in a row or three total days. Specifically, I'm talking about runs under 10 miles with more than 1,000 ft of vertical gain. This week, I ran three times on Cougar Mtn. or Squak Mtn. and twice on Tiger Mtn. Just a caveat, though, one Tiger Mtn., day was a 5 mile day with about 10 minutes of hill repeats on a 14% grade and I don't necessarily consider that a mountain run, but I did run well the next day on Cougar Mtn. and Squak Mtn. Even set a new personal record (PR) on my ascent from the Squak-Cougar Corridor to Wilderness Peak, 0:22:37. -I say this every time, but one day I'm going to really try to lay down a fast ascent. Sub-20 is very doable, sub-15....um, well, I'll just take it one second at a time. All my PR's have been relatively tame running adventures and I either didn't know I was going faster or I did, but didn't care to hurt. I'm not exactly obsessed with PR's, but I do find them motivating. I find it more motivating that I'm setting them under training conditions. I'm not starting the runs with time goals in my head, I'm not checking splits at landmarks, and yet I'm still getting faster and faster while my heart-rate is staying relatively the same.

Favorite run, this week: Saturday, January 14 ~ South Tiger Mtn.
Night time trail runs are great, especially with snow involved. I love the danger of downhill descents with nothing but 100 lumens in a beam 10 feet ahead of your stride. The crisp air of the mountain top acting like a filter as it expands your lungs with pureness. Seeing nothing but dark silhouettes of an on coming tree line that's only visible because of the light pollution from far off cities (Seattle and Tacoma, in my case) reflecting off the bottom-side of the low floating nimbostratus clouds.
Max F. and I post-South Tiger Mtn trail run, this week.

Sunday, January 8 ~ Home Loop
Time: 1:10:15
Distance: 9.38 mi.
Vertical: 501 ft.

Base Run. Planned for 5 mi. to 8 mi. and ran away with 9.3 mi. Pace varied with intensity, but stayed very even. Contemplated running another 5 miles, but talked myself out of it to save some legs for my off days from work and hopefully get in the mountains.

Monday, January 9 ~ Cougar Mtn.
Time: 1:53:21
Distance: 9.77 mi.
Vertical: 2,974 ft.

Base Run. Fog oozed through the shallow valleys of Cougar Mtn. and provided lonely trails. Wilderness TH - Wilderness Creek Tr. - Peak, 0:23:37. Descended to base of De Leo Wall, ascended, descended, and ascended Wilderness Peak, again. Legs felt good, mind was sharp and it there was a heavy mist.

Tuesday, January 10 ~ Home Loop
Time: 0:40:21
Distance: 5.16 mi.
Vertical: 275 ft.

Recovery Run. It took all day to fasten the Hattori's to my feet and run. Rock-climbing, yesterday, is definitely the culprit. Temperate was cool, and until I almost got hit by a car the run was great. I posted this to Facebook in a fuming rage: "I will never accept an apology after you miss hitting me while I'm running because I jumped into a road full of cars causing them to swerve out of the way. I will never stop cursing you out after you cut me off in your vehicle to 'apologize' and stop mid-sentence to say, "I'm trying to apologize. Shut your mouth or I'll punch you in the face, so I can." That's why I continued to scream, 'fuck you' repeatedly. I don't care that your kids and wife are in your SUV. It's my life, asshole. Get off your cell phone while you're driving."

Wednesday, January 11 ~ South Tiger Mtn.
Time: 1:02:27
Distance: 5.23 mi.
Vertical: 1,551 ft.

Hill Repeats. 2 mile warm-up run with Laura K and Erin S. 10 minutes of hill repeats on 14% grade. 2.25 mile cool-down. Repeats ended up being about :40 with 1 min rest. Probably going to do about 20 minutes of repeats, next week. Form is feeling strong.

Thursday, January 12 ~ Squak Mtn. & Cougar Mtn.
Time: 1:24:34
Distance: 8.16 mi.
Vertical: 2,809 ft.

Base Run. Motivation was waning early this morning, but after the first ascent of Squak Mtn. my legs and mind started working together. A 17:30 descent later, and I decided to tag the Cougar Mtn. summit, and very much to my surprise I set a new ascent PR from the Squak-Cougar Connector to Wilderness Peak: 0:22:31. Elated I signed the book and made a jovial descent. Temp was below freezing except at base of mountain.

Friday, January 13 ~ Cougar Mtn.
Time: 0:46:14
Distance: 3.50 mi.
Vertical: 1,317 ft.

Recovery Run. Just a slow jog up Cougar Mtn. to Wilderness Peak. Kept the intensity very low, said 'hello' to everyone I passed, and decided with a lot of spring in my step and not a lot of speed. Such a beautiful connection with Cougar Mtn. Definitely will run easy, again, tonight. Hopefully 10 miles, but we'll see how I feel when I hit the pavement.

Saturday, January 14 ~ South Tiger Mtn.
Time: 6.70 mi.
Distance: 1:10:23
Vertical: 1,396 ft.

Base Run. Forgot my watch...oh well, Max F. had his Garmin on. Decided today that I wanted to run through some snow, so after work I headed to South Tiger Mtn. for a very dark, wet, and cold trail run. Snow accumulation at the top was crunchy and about 1/2" thick, perfect.

Friday, January 6, 2012

January 1 - January 7

Weekly Totals ~ Time: 8:28:26 Distance: 54.87 mi. Vertical: 8,985 ft.
Weekly Averages ~ Time: 0:56:30 Distance: 6.10 mi. Vertical: 998 ft. (9 runs)

Week 1 of my sophomore season, done. This may seem premature, but the year is already flying by. Usually, for me, that feeling doesn't root itself until after the May doldrums. I'm content with the fast pace, though. This week I put in some good miles, and had a great start of the week in the Issaquah Alps. Ascending Cougar Mtn. on Sunday, and Squak Mtn. on Monday (5,500' of combined vertical gain) instilled a healthy amount of fatigue that forced me to concentrate on form for the rest of the week. Overall, a solid first week performance that will definitely be repeated a lot, this year.

Sorry for the late post, I'm sure everyone was on the edge of their seat.

Sunday, January 1 ~ Cougar Mtn.
Time: 1:06:31
Distance: 5.70 mi.
Vertical: 1,735 ft.
Base Run. First run of '12 and I have to say it wasn't great, but it was good. Headed up Wilderness Peak and ambitiously cranked out at personal record pace...three quarters of the way up this youthful tactic caught up to me and I eased up realizing my mistake. Ascent time: 0:23:11; not bad, but not my fastest. Sat down on the large cedar bench for about 2 minutes and reset myself. Momentarily I decided to call the run off early, but a few strides later the trail caught my interest and I finished out the planned loop, only excluding an extra ascent. I'm laugh at my ambitious attempt now that I'm sitting rested in front of the computer screen. What the hell was I thinking?

Sunday, January 1 ~ Home Loop
Time: 0:24:23
Distance: 3.15 mi.
Vertical: 93 ft.

Recovery Run. Truthfully, that was barely a recovery run. Heart Rate was a beat away from a typical base run. Run #2 on Day #1: success. Shins are a little more fatigue, but hey, a full week without a mountain ascent followed up by 1,700' of vertical gain will make the legs a little more noticeable. Wind howled sporadically, and the street traffic was noticeable subdued.
Monday, January 2 ~ Squak Mtn.
Time: 1:43:24
Distance: 9.55 mi.
Vertical: 3,380 ft.

Base Run. Headed up Squak Mtn, today, for a double ascent. First, Central Peak; descending to May Valley; Second ascent, West Peak; descending back to S.R. 900 and a warmer than the surrounding environment car. The wind, fog, and heavy mist rolled in on the ascent up to West Peak, combined with the sunset the temp dropped quickly. Great run, not sure if I'll head out again tonight.

Tuesday, January 3 ~ Home Loop
Time: 1:03:54
Distance: 8.27 mi.
Vertical: 383 ft.

Base Run. First thing I thought of, this morning, "My legs feel tired. Should have run a recovery run, last night." Instead of hitting the mountains for a third day in a row I ventured around the asphalt pathways and pressed on until my legs felt good. First four miles, tired, sluggish, uncoordinated, and labored breath. Last four miles, 8:03, 7:40, 7:26, 7:17; fresh, fluid, coordinated, and no change in breathing.

Wednesday, January 4 ~ Home Loop
Time: 0:25:44
Distance: 3.17 mi.
Vertical: 87 ft.

Recovery Run. A lazy day and a lazy run. Only took on an easy 3 miler, tonight. Rain held off, wind did not. Not sure what's on the training block tomorrow, but hopefully I can get off the asphalt.

Thursday, January 5 ~ Squak Mtn.
Time: 1:03:22
Distance: 5.94 mi.
Vertical: 2,040 ft.

Base Run. Easy intensity climb up Squak Mtn. from the May Valley parking lot. Felt great on the climb until about 1/2 mile from summit and things just felt hard. Kind of strange. 37:11 ascent time seems a bit slow, but the body felt good. Really enjoyed the fast paced descent.

Thursday, January 5 ~ Home Loop
Time: 0:41:11
Distance: 5.65 mi.
Vertical: 305 ft.

Base Run. I probably consider tonight's weather my perfect running weather. Shivering start, but warmed up to feeling cool the entire run. Not a lot of sweat. Legs felt great. Shins bother me on asphalt, but nothing alarming. Breathing was on target. Heart rate stayed low, and a few sub-7min/mi. to finish things off felt easy and relaxed.

Friday, January 6 ~ Lake Youngs
Time: 1:38:11
Distance: 10.30 mi.
Vertical: 865 ft.

Recovery Run. Wow, new personal low average heart-rate today for a 10 mile run = 129 bpm average. Perfect intensity for recovery on the feet. I say this every week, "Friday morning recovery runs" are a highlight of my weekly running. Ran in the NB minimus trail and they felt great on the wet, often muddy, path. Only a few downhills that require foot placement focus. They won't make you faster or injury free, but if it feels good I don't see anything wrong with wearing them.

Saturday, January 7 ~ Home Loop
Time: 0:21:46
Distance: 3.13 mi.
Vertical: 96 ft.

Base Run. Just a quickie. Honestly, I wish I had planned my morning and evening better to put in a few more miles. Not sweat, though. Ran the last mile up-tempo: 6:15 min./mi.