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Growing Old Is Not For Sissies

 

 

Workout enough and you’re eventually going to become injured. Once you do, the big question is what do you do to get better? Do you take a break and go a period of time with no activity. Do you dial back the amount and/or intensity? Do you keep going and hope to work through it? Of course, when things are broken or severely strained, no activity is necessary. However, what about aches and pain?

Over the winter, I did something to my feet that was probably tendonitis that come on after running on hard packed lumpy snow. For a week or so, it was bad enough that I usually had to wear sandals or shoes on all non-carpeted surfaces. I also made sure my running was on an artificial surface track or outside on the streets when snow wasn’t an issue. Even though I didn’t cut my mileage back, those two things allowed my feet to recover. At some point, my feet stopped aching and I could walk around barefoot again.

Then, heading into May, prior to starting the taper for my mid-May marathon, I was feeling a new round of tendonitis in both ankles and it was also reaching in tentacle-like fashion into the tops of my feet. Since I was doing my peak training followed by the normal pre-marathon taper, it eventually took care of itself. In fact, I was able to qualify for Boston at that race.

In the last week or so, my right knee has flared up with a new round of tendonitis. There also seems to be a muscle strand that is running from about that knee up the front of my leg (quad) and into my hip that’s tweaked. I’m not sure if one is the reason for the other. The good news with a self-diagnosed condition of tendonitis is that once you start to workout and the muscles get loosened up, the pain is greatly reduced or even gone. Then, once you’re done with the activity and things start to tighten back up, the pain creeps back in. The timing of this may be ideal. Weird, I know. It may actually help me focus on just going and running up a 14,000′ mountain for fun rather than actually trying to do it quickly (i.e. a sub 4:15:00 to qualify for Wave 1 in a future race) and possibly causing real damage.

There’s really two parts to this story. The first part is that with the normal aches and pain of working out and getting older, most activity can continue as it normally would and your condition should improve. The risk for me by taking the safer way out of not working out would be that I may fall into old bad habits (i.e. eat too much/not move enough) longer than necessary. The second part of the story that when these things flare up so close to race day (11 days from today), the negative chatter in your head increases. Insert the standard “what doesn’t kill you…” line here. So, here’s the data from the last couple workouts:

Today’s Workout

Distance: 10 miles

Time: 1:25:42 (8:34/mile)

Yesterday’s Workout:

Distance: 4 miles

Time: 35:39 (8:54 mile) + 90 minutes of men’s league soccer

Tomorrow’s Workout:

Distance: 4-5 miles

 

Bringin’ the Heat…er Cold

 

Wow! Flip the calendar to August and the heat from the 2nd hottest month on record in Minnesota is gone. The 90’s have been replaced with the 70’s for daytime highs. The mornings have seen the steamy, humid 70’s replaced by the upper-50’s. How much does this temperature change impact running times? According to running guru Jeff Galloway, he suggests to “slow down by 30 sec a mile for every 5 degree temperature increase above 60F.” So, let’s do a little math here. By cooling down just 10F, I should speed up about a minute/mile. On my July 22nd run, I did 16 miles at an 8:39/mile pace. Suddenly, 10 degrees cooler would bring those times down to just over my marathon race pace. Want more proof? Check out the raw data from this weekend’s two runs:

Yesterday’s Workout-

Distance: 6 miles

Time: 43:10 (7:11/mile)

Yesterday’s run was a pace run. As such, I’m supposed to be running it at my marathon race pace. Earlier this year, I qualified for Boston by running 7:24/mile at the Fargo Marathon. I hope to improve on that time at this fall’s Twin Cities Marathon. To go sub-3 hours, I would need to be at 6:54/mile. I don’t know that that’ll happen, but by continuing to go 7:11/mile means I should be able to shave off several minutes to start approaching that goal.

Today’s Workout-

Distance: 12 miles

Time: 1:38:55 (8:14/mile)

My workout today was just your basic mileage workout. Having blasted my legs on the treadmill mountain marathon on Thursday and in yesterday’s pace workout, I just ran at a comfortable pace. Today’s comfortable pace was 25 seconds/mile faster than that July 22nd workout. See what I mean about the difference the temperature makes?!?! I felt comfortable the whole time, didn’t mentally fight it and really enjoyed my run more than any run I had in July.

Though I don’t want winter to make an early appearance in a place that gets its fair share of cold and snow, I can handle another few months of these kinds of temperatures. Nature’s air conditioning is awesome. Bring it!

Tomorrow’s Workout-

Optional 3 miles

+

90 minute soccer match

 

Upon Reaching the Summit

Upon reaching the summit of Pike’s Peak, the reward will look something like this:

File:Pikes Peak summit to NE 1.jpg

Photo courtesy of Wikipedian user “Kbh3rd”

With the climb, the temperatures will likely change from approaching the 70’s F down below at the start to being 50 degrees at the top. Some years, the difference has approached 50 degrees. Since there isn’t room for many cars at the summit, the race sets up shuttles to take runners back down the mountain. As a result, there may be some waiting in addition to the time it takes in cooling down, stretching out and re-fueling. Since conditions can widely vary and change quickly, it’s important to remember the Boy Scouts motto and “Be Prepared”.

Here’s my checklist for the post-race drop bag that will meet me at the summit:

  • long sleeve shirt
  • sweat pants
  • wind breaker
  • socks
  • warm hat
  • gloves

I also will be making a checklist for things needed during the race. From what I understand, there’s some overlap between the post-race list and the in-race list. For example, it’s not unusual to have a short sleeve shirt needing to be replaced by a long sleeve shirt as you approach and move above the treeline. Anyway, I’ll figure out what’s needed and share those items in a future post.

Fill ‘er Up Friday (Final Edition)

I’ve behaved on my “lifestyle change” or food intake for the past week. I weighed in today for my official weekly weigh-in. The result was a whopping 173 lbs. In other words, I’m at my 20+ yr low. Funny, it’s barely normal from a BMI perspective. My goal for my October marathon is to be in the 165-170 lbs range. In order to get there, my daily food goal is:

1,700 calories

+

Calories burned from working out

Of course, today (Fridays) is the exception to that goal…anything goes. Not only does anything go, today is my normally scheduled rest day. After running 8 consecutive days, it’s a well-timed break.

Here’s my Friday food:

Breakfast: 11 pieces of thick cut bacon (770 calories), English Muffin with butter and jelly (240 calories) and Gatorade G2 low cal (40 calories)

Lunch: Culvers Medium Malt w/ Heath & Caramel (1,071), Five Guys Little Bacon Cheeseburger w/ Mayo (730) and half of a regular fry (310)

Dinner: Jack’s Mexican-Style pizza (1160), Kirkland’s Tortilla Chips (420), G2 (40)

So far...4,781 calories total

Water: 96 ozs

One thing you’ll notice is that I pretty much only drink water. I will mix in a low cal Gatorade G2 or old-fashioned lemonade, but that’s a small minority of my fluid intake for the day. I used to drink excessive amounts of water and Diet Mt. Dew prior to February. When I say excessive, I mean excessive. It wasn’t uncommon for me to drink 3-4 32 oz Nalgene water bottles and another 2-3 24 ozs Diet Mt. Dew bottles. In other words, some days I would approach 200 ozs of fluids in a day.

For the weekend, I have 6 miles planned for Saturday, 12 miles planned for Sunday and possibly filling in on a soccer game Sunday night. In other words, a little break before a tough week of training for my last week before heading out to Colorado in advance of the big Ascent.

Cheers for the weekend!

Treadmill Almost Mini-Marathon…Part Deux

Yes, it was a late training session due to life. Here’s the raw data from the treadmill:

Time: 2:30:00
Distance: 10 miles
Vertical (vert) Climb: 5,797 feet (11% grade)

The repeats looked like this:

  1.  60:00 to do 4 miles at 4 mph and 2,320 vert
  2.  60:00 to do 4 miles at 4 mph and 2,319 vert
  3.  30:00 to do 2 miles at 4 mph and 1,158 vert

But that’s not all, folks. Then there was this:

Stair stepper: 20:00 to do .86 miles

Not surprisingly, there’s not a great way to prep your legs for the climbing during that first repeat. I tend to walk on the treadmill at a moderate pace for 5 minutes to start. Then, I stop the treadmill to stretch. The initial mile took a little experimenting to get the muscles stretched out and develop a rhythm. Additionally, at the pace I was going, I was in between a light jog and solid walk. By the end of the first repeat, I had it figured out and felt pretty good.

Then, to make sure the treadmill didn’t go haywire and lose my data, I stopped the treadmill to reset it. Between stopping the machine and getting a quick swig of water, I would guess it probably gave me a 2 minute break.

As I started the second repeat, I felt like I was just a wrong stride away from cramping up. By this point, I was jogging .75 miles before walking the last .25 miles. Then, it was wash, rinse and repeat. It was about here as well that my iPod started misbehaving. Do iPods really only last a year or so before they’re toast? I was able to get back into my rhythm despite that cramping feeling and that feeling eventually went away. Of course, now with no iPod and moving too quickly to play any games on the treadmill computer, I had to mentally fight through the monotony.

After that second 4-mile repeat, I took time to reset the treadmill again and this time refill my water bottle. My legs were approaching jello when I was walking to/from the water fountain…on that flat surface. I would guess I probably got about a 3 minute break this time.

The last repeat gave me that cramping sensation again. I was also periodically checking my heart rate the whole time. According to the charts, I was usually right about where I should be on the top end (80% of max) of the range. However, by this last repeat, my heart rate started to jump. It didn’t get anywhere near being dangerous, but I was definitely gassed and my heart rate bore that out. By that second (and last) mile, it was actually easier to keep jogging as opposed to walking at all. Somehow, I managed to grind it out to hit my goal of getting in 10 miles at the average incline that the race will hand me.

I got another quick break to drink some water, wipe down the treadmill and get another towel before hopping on the stair stepper. In all, it was probably a 5 minute break.

Finally, I hopped on the stair stepper to somewhat mimic the “16 Golden Stairs” at the race. During the race, you basically run 12 miles and the climb varies on how tough it is. However, at the end, there’s the climb to end all climbs. Rather than continuing to jog, you basically stair step up series of rocks. Though these “steps” don’t take up the entire 1.3 miles to the top, but the last mile does give you 1,000 vertical feet to climb. Put another way, you have almost 13% of your vertical climb over the last 6% of the race. I think that qualifies as cruel and unusual. I don’t usually do a stair stepper, so I just did what my legs would let me. It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be because it required me to use different muscles and I didn’t exactly try to kill it with my pace.

In the aftermath, I’m still encouraged that I should be able to finish the race. The discouraging thing is it will likely take me longer than I had hoped. Considering how drained I was tonight after doing 10 miles on the treadmill + .86 miles on the stair stepper, let’s look at the race. Throw in running on a trail, uncertain weather conditions and the lack of oxygen for the last 2,000 feet of vertical climb over the last 3 miles of the race and all of that can add up to delirium.

The reward for that hard work tonight is quads that are barking as was the case from the last treadmill session and throw in a splash of blown out calves. Oh yeah, I can’t forget the McDouble, small fry and caramel sundae from McDonald’s in order to get some protein and carbs in my system within 30 minutes or so of finishing my workout.

Tomorrow:

No workout, but it will be another entry of Fill ‘er Up Friday. Does anyone want to place a friendly wager as to whether or not I can consume more than 4,000 calories?

July In Review

Looking Back

Total Mileage: 223.6 (new personal record- old record 206.5)

Wasn’t July one of the warmest on record in Minnesota? Yes. I don’t think I would have beaten that old record without mapping out my July runs in late May or early June. I actually had a s-t-r-e-t-c-h goal of 237.5 miles with a core goal of 198 miles. I’m wired to move from point A to point B without having to think too hard. By having the plan laid out well in advance, I’m able to easily see my daily number and do it. When my life calendar starts to fill up, I can easily look at the days to anticipate the bumps and make adjustments.

It also helps to have a race paid for and on the calendar. By doing so, I force myself to put together a plan with definitive start and end dates. Within that context, I can put in meaningful miles all with a goal in mind. It also, once the race has been run, gives me permission to take a period of time to slow down and/or do nothing to allow my body to recover before the next race.

Mizuno 3rd pair (nos. 1 & 2 are retired): 58.6 miles for the month & 472 miles overall

Mizuno 4th: 135.5 miles & 246.25 overall

Adidas track: 29.5 miles & 263.85 overall

What’s up with all the shoes? I tend to rotate 2 pairs of shoes for my mileage and have one lighter pair for my “speed” workouts. The reason for rotating two pairs of shoes is to allow the cushioning in each pair a day to recover between uses. Since I’m running 6 days a week with speed workouts happening usually once a week, my shoes need recovery time just like me. The benefits to me will hopefully be fewer injuries and longer lasting shoes. Additionally, I have the flexibility to change shoes depending on the type of run I will be doing. Here’s what Mizuno has to say about rotating.

Weight: 175 lbs

Looking Ahead

Race Day on August 18th

Core Mileage Goal: 182.3

Stretch Mileage Goal: 221.3

Weight Goal: 170 lbs

I’m Tired and Going to Bed

Today is the last day of July. I plan to do a monthly recap, but not tonight. Let me give you the basics. Here’s a snapshot of today’s workout:

Distance: 9.2 miles

Time: ~1:20:xx (8:54/mile) (my watch is charging)

Today was my 6th day in a row working out. That’s normal as I usually have one off-day each week. In that time I’ve done over 55 miles + played a full 90 minute soccer game. I’ll have to go back into my calendar to check, but this may have been my highest mileage week of any 7 consecutive days. I can definitively say this month will go down as my highest mileage month ever at over 220 miles. Oh yeah, I have 3 interviews for 2 different jobs tomorrow beginning at 8:30 am. Needless to say, I will expand on some of these factoids tomorrow as I head into the last 3 weeks before race day. Some areas to explore:

  1. Shoe mileage and rotation
  2. Workout plan (general thoughts)
  3. August plan
  4. Goal setting
  5. Food/Diet
  6. ???

I wish you all a spectacular last month of the summer…I’m tired and going to bed.

Tomorrow’s workout:

4 miles of recovery

+

maybe a little more if I feel good

Drop Dead Dread

 

 

Dread is the operative word here. I had a 19 mile run scheduled for today.  I was absolutely DREADING it. Why? The possible heat, maybe. Feeling tired from 2 hard workouts the prior 2 days, maybe. Closing in on my highest mileage month ever during one of the hottest months in years, maybe. Still fighting the tail end of that sinus cold, maybe. I could go on. Here’s a snapshot of today’s workout:

Distance: 19 miles

Time: 2:46:00 (8:44/mile)

The run itself wasn’t bad, but I still had to fight it a bit. I was targeting 8:45/mile. I started this morning at the tail end of some mild rain showers. Since conditions were cooler than what they have been, the first half the run went fairly well. I was running around 8:30/mile and on some of the bigger hills my legs didn’t collapse. I’ve gotta chance.

Around mile 10, I did start feeling a bit tired, but it wasn’t really impacting my pace. Also, the rain was stopped and there was maybe a hint the sun was somewhere up there. This point is where mentally you start to think of excuses to not finish. Of course, being 9 miles from home helps you quickly ignore those negative thoughts. I’ve gotta chance…maybe.

Mile 14 was the first time the clouds were mostly broken up and the sun started pounding. I was 1.5 miles from my last water stop. With the sun beating down and temperatures quickly rising, I really needed that water. Not only is all the negative chatter growing, but your clothes are drenched with rain and sweat adding a thick layer of discomfort to the mix. Okay…just let me get to at least 17 miles (1 more than last weekend).

Out of the water stop, some trees provide periodic shade and the clouds start coming back in. My pace now is firmly around that 8:45/mile target. So, not is great as it had been, but still acceptable. I get to the top of the last big hill at mile 17. I just have 2 miles and two decent hills to finish. In reality, if I can make it 1.5 miles, the last 1/2 mile is downhill. Take me home, please!

Miles 18 & 19 dragged on, but whatever. I held on and got it done.

In the end, between personal and family sickness, warm training conditions and an already high mileage month have led me going through one of those periods where I’m not in the best frame of mind. I’m hoping over the next 2 weeks with my mileage being a little lower will get me through this “dread phase”. I need the batteries recharged to be ready to do the Peak.

PS- The hills I speak are tiny compared to what I’ll encounter running up Pike’s Peak. Hence, more treadmill work between now and race day.

Tomorrow’s workout:

3 miles of recovery in the AM

+

a hot steamy men’s league soccer match in the PM

 

Kan’t Keep Up With The Kardashians

I had a decent workout today. My cold is not as bad as it has been, temperatures are a little cooler and I took it easy. Here’s today’s workout:

Distance: 9 miles

Time: 1:08:04 (7:34/mile)

I should clarify why I say I took it easy. Today was supposed to be a day of running my route at or near my race pace for my October marathon. My race pace should be around 7:15/mile. I clearly was a little short of that number. Normally, I have Friday’s off so I can go for it IF I have a pace run on Saturday. Since I had to make up a missed track/speed workout yesterday, my legs didn’t feel fresh. So, I choose to run slower today and in order to have a shot to complete my long run tomorrow. Clearly, I kan’t keep up with Kim, Kourtney, Kloe and Momma Bear and it doesn’t bother me one bit(e).

Looking ahead, I plan to do at least one more treadmill mountain marathon prior to the Ascent. That will likely be this week on Thursday. Otherwise, I continue to follow my normal marathon training schedule in order to hit the mountain in the best shape possible. Since I can’t control my body’s response to altitude or the incline, I choose to focus on the things I can control…like being fit.

Tomorrow’s Workout:

19 miles

Quick Workout Update

With my post on Fill ‘er Up Friday, I’ll be brief about today’s workout:

  • Targeted workout: 6 x 800m + 4.5 miles
  • Done at a normal track,  I was unexpectedly locked out and ended up running through the nearby neighborhood.
  • Actual from my Garminwatch:
    • .75 mile jog for a warm up + .25 miles in between each rep (1.25 miles)= 2 miles
    1. .50 miles @ 3:02
    2. .75 miles @ 4:34 (forgot which 1/4 mile mark I was to stop at)
    3. .25 miles @ 1:25
    4. .50 miles @ 3:12
    5. .75 miles @ 4:30
    6. .25 miles @ 1:35
    • Cooldown: 2.51 miles @ 21:01 (8:23/mile)
  • Of interest (and reason why ideally you do 800 meters [~1/2 mile]) are the two .50 mile reps shown above. Wacky factoid is that if you do the proper marathon training, your 800 meter reps can predict your marathon time. If you can do a 3-minute rep for 800 meters, that translates into a 3-hour marathon. Of course, with improper training, you may be able to do a 3-minute rep over 800 meters not come even close to a 3-hour marathon. With my goal of breaking under 3-hours in the marathon, my 800 meter reps suggest I’m close.
  • Tomorrow’s workout: 9 miles
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