Summary Dec 5-11

Monday Dec 5, 6 Miles, 449′ 47m56s

Overslept the 4:30 wakeup call which meant leaving the house at 6:17 on a compressed schedule. Generally the legs felt okay but lacked any sort of snappiness as has been the norm since the Fallback 50K right before Thanksgiving. Fortunately my hip seems to have recovered better, and is substantially less sore.

Tues Dec 6, Warmup 1.5 Miles 59′ 12m, Workout –6.7 Mile, 174′ Tempo, 45m13s 

Pre-dawn solo Tempo Tuesday. Avg HR was 167 throughout the workout, and the first 3 miles felt exceptionally grueling, add to that a very dejecting 6:52 split for mile 3 made me rethink the idea of tempo runs in the cold-pre-dawn hours without a training partner around to push me. Final 3.7 miles felt better, but didn’t provide much more in the way of snappy splits despite the elevated HR effort. Afterwards my hip flared up a bit an felt tight for the remainder of the day — back to fire-hydrants and foam rolling. .49 Mile cool down 

Wed Dec 7, 8 Miles 745′ 59m59s

Forecast called for snow, so rather than doing pre-dawn battle with the snow-plow man I chose to sleep in and hit my run after work. Naturally no snow was on the ground when I got up, but conditions after work were ideal, so I can’t really complain. First two (downhill) miles out my front door were recklessly quick — especially relative to the “8 miles EZ” written in my plan for the day. Legs felt confidently snappy making for a very enjoyable outing

Thurs Dec 8, 7 Miles 338′ 51m

Negatives workout with JP. JP has been espousing his regular negative split workouts running from 8-830 pace down to a final all-out mile, so I finally got myself together and joined him for a 7 mile version. Mentally the need to consistently best your previous mile makes for an interesting workout from a pacing/effort calculation point of view, and the constant acceleration facilitates a sort of fatigue that for now feels more than a little unique. Splits were 8:29, 7:55, 7:27, 7:06, 6:54, 6:40, and 6:19.

1 Mile cool down (9m9s 39′) followed by 5 Mile Social run (44m43s 337′)

Fri Dec 9, 2.3 Miles, 259′ 19m56s 

Easy neighborhood shakeout. Generally fatigued throughout the day and wanted to take the chance to recover a bit before Saturday’s inevitable sufferfest.

Sat Dec 10, Warmup — 2.3 Miles, 180′ 18m3s, Workout — 13.1 Miles 1h27m33s

Typical Chatham loop Saturday course with Jay and Jeff. With Jay and I just starting our training blocks, and Jeff in between a PR and planning his next races no one was checking their watches until we hit mile five or six. Surprisingly we were only a few seconds faster than our agreed upon pace of “45-ish” although I still can’t seem to wrap my head around how much easier tempo runs seem to get after the first few miles. We finished the workout alternating 400m pace line pulls dropping the group down to a 5:59 final mile, and according to my watch, the last 10th got to 5:47 pace.

Sun Dec 11, 11 Miles 1578′ 1h52m1s Allamuchy TH>Overlook>White>Waving Willy>SBX>Cement Mixer>TH with Pack and Eric

Woke up feeling pretty stiff/fatigued from Saturday’s effort as well as ravenously hungry, with some disconcerted swelling in my necks lymph nodes. Overall effort was pretty relaxed on the mountain, and considering the vert over the course I’m actually quite pleased that low 10’s are possible with an avg HR of 135. Great day to get out with some friends and hit up some always stellar trails.

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Eric at the Overlook
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Pack’s first Allamuchy Ramble
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Mmm, Mate

 

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Healing

Few things are as frustrating as waiting, especially when you’re waiting for your body to heal, or just simply feel “normal” again, as I’ve been doing for the past week and a half. So what exactly has my strategy been for getting through this bout of ITBS? It’s really quite simple, starting primarily with an abundance of foam rolling, mostly to loosen up the tissue surrounding the IT band, all of which was surprisingly sore, like screaming in pain when I first started rolling kind of sore (and I’d like to think I have a pretty high tolerance for physical pain). Beyond that, I’ve been icing rather regularly, as well as stretching all of the supporting muscles (as it’s nearly impossible to stretch the actual IT band) and doing a handful of exercises designed to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings (whose weakness supposedly leads to ITBS…).

Right now, my leg/knee feels surprisingly… normal, there’s an occasional twinge here or there, but I can run down the stairs again (as opposed to limping like a geriatric old man) without any discomfort, and have even harnessed the gumption to ride the bike a bit, and spend some time picking things up and putting them down. As far as getting back into “real” training, I’m planning on taking at least a few more days of unaggravated existence before I ease into running again. I still have a pretty solid base level fitness, which I don’t think has regressed too much in the time I’ve taken off, and I’d much rather allow this to heal properly, than aggravate it again, which will only end up with more time on the couch. So, while I’m not running as much as my typical volume (zero miles at the moment…) I’m planning on using the bike a lot more, and considering finally getting a gym membership (no guarantees on the last one).

Otherwise, my strategy for the next race(s) is primarily the same as it was for the NF 50, run as much as I physically/mentally/logistically can, with an emphasis on trails and vertical gain. I’ve also decided that I should try to capitalize on the lessons learned at Bear Mountain, and am actively trying to spend more time doing core exercises, toughening up the soles of my feet (see: spending more time barefoot) as well as exercises designed for overall stability, and hill climbing strength. I have a few more tricks up my sleeve, but they’re very much in the experimental stages right now, so I’ll only allude to their existence at the moment, and if they seem to be helpful, I’ll write about them later (diet, mid-run fueling, hydration etc etc etc).

I also tried some “alternative” therapies

Recovery

It’s no surprise that a 50 mile race would leave me pretty beat up, after all, it’s quite a long distance to run, and definitely causes a lot of physical stress along the way. While all of my scrapes and bruises are for all intents and purposes, healed (okay, most of the scrapes are still showing, but they look way better, I swear!) I’m still feeling a good amount of the latent soreness/lethargy that you would associate with a sustained effort of that magnitude. With the help of my mortal enemies, the foam roller, and the stick, things are going okay, and here’s the recap.

Sunday things were overall really tight, and while I could move around pretty well, my overall fatigue level was surprising. I managed to eek out a half a mile running…. in a blisteringly fast 6 minutes before throwing in the towel. Then I spent the rest of the day drinking beer, lying on the couch, and watching reruns of Top Gear… Who says recovery isn’t fun!?

Monday I was feeling substantially better, albeit still rather sore/tired. So for the majority of the day, I didn’t do very much, just tried to eat my weight in protein/carbs/otherwise nutritious foods and drink as much water as I could, I also ran a single mile, somewhere in the mid 9 minute zone, it was tough, but didn’t feel as hurculean as the task seemed on Sunday. Also, my feet feel fine now, which is a pretty big deal considering how awful they felt at the end of Saturday.

Tuesday I’m beginning to feel increasingly human, as opposed to the zombie-like state I’d spent the previous two days in. I managed to muster up the energy to leave the house for a bit, run a mile in the 8min-ish area, and do some solid cooking. Walking down stairs in the early morning is still a bit troublesome, but getting better.

Wed, I’m almost back, ran 3.2 miles in the 8ish minute pace range, which felt surprisingly… normal. Still some latent soreness, and no sense of strength to push any harder, but it definitely felt good to feel like a runner, instead of a lazy couch potato.

Thurs. I’m planning on running the Broken Shin Loop tonight with the guys, although expecting to go pretty slowly, and hoping that tomorrow, or the following day I’ll be able to get out on the mountain for some “real” running, and begin training again very soon for my next race(s).

Early in the race, Shiggy
First few miles
Dave Franz (behind) Pacing and Motivating
Finish Line!

Finished

Summary April 15-21

Sunday April 15 1 Mile, 7:52 My legs are still feeling pretty beat up, and with Saturday being the last concert of the season, complete with all of the associated after-party-effects, doing very much running today just wasn’t in the cards.

Monday April 16 AM 10.1 Miles 550′ 1:19 Usual road loop around town. Typically I like this as a tempo run, but with some latent fatigue/soreness, moving “quickly” requires hurculean effort, and that’s assuming that I can run with any sense of quickness on my legs as they feel presently.
PM 1 Mile Barefoot 8:44 Nothing seems to cure the leg soreness than a bit of barefootin’

Tuesday April 17 AM 10.2 Miles 1480′ 1:23 Aside from struggling with the unseasonable heat, this felt like a pretty good jaunt through the power line trails. Legs are still a bit soggy, not quite 100% but feeling generally better than the past couple of days.
PM 1 Mile Barefoot 9:06 Trying to be more diligent about letting my characteristically tight left achilles tendon release fully to the ground, which, when I’m succeeding, generally leads to less soreness in the lower calf as a whole. (note: I’ve tried to concentrate on this while wearing zero-dropped “barefoot” shoes, but nothing seems as effective as going unshod)

Wed April 18 AM 1 Mile Barefoot Typical Wednesday, long day, keep the streak alive… see above for barefoot justification.
PM 2 Miles 14:39 I suppose moving a bit at the end of the day could help flush some of the mucky muck out of my legs.

Thurs April 19 AM 5.1 Miles 740′ 39:38 Quick jaunt up the power lines, everything is feeling normal, almost good (well, as good as it can when you’ve been stacking miles without a proper break for 4 months)
PM 9.2 Miles 700′ 1:11 Columbia Trail and outer loop of Schooley’s Mountain. Fantastic afternoon, albeit a tad on the warm side. Running uphill felt surprisingly strong, and I’m beginning to get more used to the summer-esque weather, and associated shirtlessness, brow dripping with sweat, and insatiable desire to jump in nearby streams (but they’re still cold, so maybe in a few weeks). I finally brought a camera with me, but to my chagrin, when I reached the summit, two young lovers decided to treat it like an hourly rate motel room, which… was rather hilarious, but robbed me of photographic opportunities, as well as a chance to thoroughly enjoy the view.
PM Part Deux 5 Miles 360′ 35:08 Broken shin loop at an unusually quick tempo. I’m unsure of exactly how we ended up dropping a minute per mile on our usually low-key ~8min pace Thursday night recovery run… I can only presume that with Dave having just run Boston, Jeff being en route to a <3hr marathon, and  Bob aggressively training for 5/10k's that no one thought twice about running faster. I'm pretty sure Jeff landed a CR in the 34:xx range, and all 4 of us PR-ed… not a bad "recovery" run

Fri April 20 11.6 Miles 1500′ 1:46 Allamuchy loop. Feeling generally like crap, heavy legs, tired, lethargic, hot, fundamentally every imaginable runners discomfort seemed to rear its head within the first 2 miles. Such, I suppose is another day on the trail, be wary he who feels too comfortable.
 PM 1 Mile Barefoot 9:02 Typical shakeout-like thing

Saturday April 21 15 Miles  1300′ 2:03 Road loop with a power line extension. Again, feeling like complete and utter shit. I think everything is subject to a certain ebb and flow, and I’m encouraged by the fact that when I feel legitimately bad (sour stomach, legs made of lead, tired etc etc etc) I can still manage ~8 min pace.

Totals: 73.2 Miles, 6,630′ Vert, 9h54m

Overall, kind of a frustrating week, and at the risk of being obvious, last weeks 30 mile run, without fully recovering certainly weighed in substantially this week. Admittedly, I did try to capitalize on the residual fatigue, and have never previously run this hard (or even remotely close to this hard) immediately following an effort of that length (both time, and distance). With that in mind, I really can’t be too frustrated, I did set a PR on the Broken Shin loop, and had some reasonably good runs, ion fact, none of my “bad” runs were even remotely close to my SKT (slowest known time) but rather were just on the high-end of average pace (or perhaps a few minutes slower than average…).  As for what’s next? I think I need to do some serious foam-rolling (and “The Stick” using) and have a beer. Next week begins some “front” tapering, where I’ll probably concentrate on some more highly specific terrain, but with a bit lower gross mileage, so that I’m only moderately sore leading into the taper proper.

Master Chef

Thinking Space

Summary Feb 5-11

Sunday Feb 5, AM 5.1 Miles, 42:04 Power Line trails, left calf/ankle has been sore, making technical terrain a little more difficult.

Monday Feb 6, AM 1 Mile, 9:32 Originally left the house to do ~5 miles, but my calf/ankle was really acting up, causing me to turn around at the half mile mark.
PM 2.0 17:02 Short shakeout run in VFF’s to try to diagnose the goings on in my lower left leg. Allowing the heel/achilles to fully relax seems to help a lot.

Tuesday Feb 7, AM 11.6 Miles, 1:42:43, 1500′ Allamuchy loop, powerhiking most inclines to take the stress off of my left calf. Powerhiking seems to be getting faster, as I’m losing very little time compared to when I run the whole course (~2-3 mins over 12 miles).
PM 2.0, 16:36 Continuing the shakeout, strangely, a slow-ish couple of miles at the end of day seems to really relax my left leg.

Wed Feb 8, AM 5.1 Miles, 38:42 Power Line trails trying to push the speed, new course record, and  positive I can run it much faster if I go all out.
PM 1.0 8:17 Neighborhood loop, cold roads are forcing me to give my Five Fingers a workout instead of going naked foot.

Thurs Feb 9, PM 1 5 Miles, 40:23 Broken Shin Loop with the guys, typical Thurs.
PM 2, 1.2 Miles, 11:00 John Needed to keep his streak alive, and traffic made him show up to the run just as we were finishing the five mile loop, so, Not to let anyone run alone at a social run, another mile tacked on for the streak.

Fri Feb 10, AM 11.6 1:45 1500′ Allamuchy loop. Mentally I had planned to use Fri/Sat as back to back 20+ mile runs, but halfway through the first loop, it was becoming obvious that doing a 20 today would be a total slog-fest. In spite of the week being relatively light, I’d been less than diligent with my hydration/nutrition, which seemed to catch up to me here.
PM 1.0, 8:23 Shakeout

Sat Feb 11, AM 21 3:18:18, 2900′ 21 Mile through Allamuchy with 1 crew stop at my car to replace a handheld, change my shirt, and grab a Gu. I often find that long runs done solo involve a tremendous amount of mental strength, especially when fatigue sets in. The run itself was very mercurial, ranging from about as tired as I’ve felt on a run, to several minutes later feeling great about moving through the woods, the body/mind are strange things (and how we operate metabolically is even stranger). In spite of feeling like I had been going rather slowly for the duration, I finished only ~1 minute behind my previous time.

Totals: 67.6 Miles, 9h58m vert 5900′

Strange week, with the nagging leg soreness, and fundamentally bailing out on two runs, but within the range of mileage I had hoped for, as well as surprisingly consistent times considering how slow I was feeling at times.

Split shorts in February…

Incline

21 miles in Snow…

Summary Jan 8-14

Sunday Jan 8, AM 5.2 Miles, 47:18 road running to retrieve my car after the Debauchery that was Freezing Cold Hash…. All I can say is… oof.

Monday Jan 9, 4.85 Miles, 42:48 Power Line trails, this route is becoming rather quick and familiar with each progressive run seeming a bit quicker. It’s also proving a great training ground for aggressive down and uphills, furthering my confidence, especially with regard to efficient injury-free high speed descent on technical trail.

Tuesday Jan 10, 9.2 Miles, 1:16:14 Run through Schooley’s Mountain, using access trail and outer loop. Originally intended a few more miles, but some lingering discomfort in my left ankle encouraged me to shave a few miles off and avoid a roll/twist.

Wednesday Jan 11, 10.15 Miles, 1:23 Hilly road-route through town, the parts on the ridge are nice, as well as the opportunity to stretch my legs with a more repetitive run, as opposed to the much more athletically engaging trail variety. Planned a double, but weather got the best of me.

Thursday Jan 12, AM 5.1 Miles, :47 Powerline Trail again, with a few tenths tagged onto the end to stretch out. Legs feeling rotten sore by this point in the week, No rest days since November, shortest run since 12/27 was 4.85 miles (Monday). PM 5 Miles, :44 Broken Shin Loop, hung with the crowd for the majority of the run, right calf uncharacteristically sore.

Friday Jan 13, AM 2 Miles, 14:30 Lack of motivation, sore, super-windy, officially abandoned pursuit of 70 miles for this week, sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you.

Saturday Jan 14, AM 10.15 miles, 1:15:19 I’d forgotten how fresh legs felt, running an average pace of 7:25 on hills barely felt like I was exerting myself, I think this bodes well for the future, and the emergence of a “rest” day into my training plan might be something I consider seriously. This also makes for a PR for this particular (and very new) loop. Having not felt like I was pushing myself at all during the run, I wonder what a pair of fresh legs, and a desire to run as hard as I can might do on this, and other courses.

Total miles:  51.65, 6h26m Far shy of my goal of 70 miles, weather, and prudence with regard to lingering soreness took most of the miles off, although that’s a rather weak excuse. Next week class starts in earnest, and hopefully I’ll be able to manage the mileage with coursework, I suspect my coffee intake will increase dramatically.

Schooley’s with the Sun
Limpy…. at FCH ’nuff said

Power Lines… trails are steeper than they appear

 
More power line, drops off dramatically about 5 ft from my shadow
Poor MT 101’s…..

It’s a good hurt… I Promise

Ouch, Ouch, Ouch, Fuck, Ouch, Fuck, Ouch, How much further? Fuck, Ouch…. that was what was going through my mind on this mornings ~10 miler, where Mile 2 felt remarkably similar to mile 25… Oh the joys of stacking mileage, forgoing rest days, running doubles, and being on pace for 140 miles in 14 days. Yes, that’s correct, I’m on pace to run 140 miles by midnight on Saturday… that means in 14 days, I’ll run 87% of the distance I covered in the previous 31… so much for prudent increases in mileage. If I stay on pace, that means that in January I’ll run 150% of the mileage I ran in December, no small feat, and certainly not the mileage increase that more sensible types would pursue…. although, seriously speaking, when have I ever been known to be sensible!?

All masochism aside, I thought I’d speak about first why I am pursuing these miles, and later, how I’ve been going about it. I’m NOT running this much with the intention of hurting myself (although if someone decided to go Tanya Harding on my knees this morning, I’m not sure I’d have complained too much…) If it was my intention to be masochistic/injure myself/facilitate an abundance of discomfort I could find much more efficient means of doing so. As previously stated, I actually enjoy maintaining a high(ish) weekly mileage, although, the first few weeks of it are typically a bit of a grind. The jump in mileage is primarily to pursue a strong base before I start introducing more functionally specific workouts. I’ve already mentioned my plans for the year involve pursuing Marathon and Ultra-Marathon distances almost exclusively (at least with the intention of competition…. I’m sure I’ll enter a few shorter races, but with less lofty expectations). This means that unlike runners of shorter distances, it’s advantageous for me to run in states of varying depletion/discomfort. In fact, I NEED to train my body to continue running even though my legs feel as if they’re on fire/being repeatedly stabbed my annoyingly fast midgets, and there is no way of getting used to this other than simply running a lot… even if that means running when my legs feel as if they’ve been repeatedly pummeled by a meat tenderizer.

Now, increasing your mileage by 40% from one week to the next is certainly not the most reasonable progression. In fact, it’s not something I’d recommend… period. As much as my “training” seems to be a result of flying by the seat of my pants, my body is actually quite adequately prepared for this sort of abuse. I’m very fortunate to have rather neutral bio-mechanics, and to be able to pay a lot of attention to small details/feedback that my body is giving me before, during, and after a particular run, both of these things seem to help me reduce the likelihood of overuse injuries. Also, as last weeks mileage demonstrates, I’m not running particularly hard right now. Some of my runs are fast(ish), but last weeks avg pace is ~8:45. The lack of “hard” workouts is deliberate. Yes, I’m running hills, Yes, I’m running some decent-ish tempo runs, but at no point last week, or this week am I intending on running full-out… more like ~80%. I expect this to be my M.O. for most, if not all of January, as I try to establish a strong base before integrating harder workouts (Hill repeats, up tempo trail runs etc).

That being said, knowing the strain that this is putting on my body, I’ve also been much more diligent about post-run recovery. Normally, my recovery process is not so dissimilar from 1970’s Canadian Hockey players… plenty of beer, fall asleep eventually. In spite of beer obviously being a fantastic recovery drink, this plan is less than ideal. The majority of my (plant based) diet revolves around whole foods. When I’m “training” (such an ugly word….) I’m substantially more diligent about what I put into my body, especially when it comes to hydration (3-5 liters of water a day seems to do it) and protein content. I also deliberately eat more frequently, and in smaller amounts, in an attempt to avoid the Food Coma my seemingly endless post-run appetite often induces(this allows me to function like a normal human throughout the day… rather than a bonk-induced semi-zombie). Other than that, I often wear compression socks (are they a placebo… or are they real…. the world may never know) and spend a good amount of time with Mr. Foamy. With that said, it’s time to return to the misery stick for a few hours, then back out the door for another 4-6 miles.