Monday, February 7, 2011

Training Week 1/31-2/6

I am continually amazed that a post I wrote back in 2009 on hamstring tendonitis continues to get major hits. It is the most highly visited page on my blog. Interesting.


Growing up in South Carolina, I was (and still am) a huge Clemson Tigers fan. My dad's held football season tickets at Clemson for 40+ years. Clemson's in my blood. When I read this story about Clemson football legend William "The Refrigerator" Perry, my heart really sank. I don't understand why some people, despite how gifted they are, seem bent on destroying their own health and themselves, and in the process breaking the hearts of those around them. Sometimes I think an extreme gift, such as Perry's athleticism and charisma, can also be an extreme weakness.


The week of 1/31-2/6 marked my first week of quality and 70+ miles in a long time. The plan was to do an interval session and tempo run. But as you'll read below, the tempo run didn't happen. My body isn't used to going fast, and so Wednesday's speedwork session kind of left me sore and tired for a few days afterward. But, all in all, this was a solid week.

AM: 6.65 miles/54:27 on the treadmill, plus 15:30 on the stationary cycle, at the HOA gym. I still refuse to take for granted how my left foot is feeling (pretty good), and so I felt a moderate effort along with some cross-training on Monday--after two long runs in the previous weekend--were in order.

This was one of those rare days when getting in a run was next to impossible. I had a 7:00 a.m. meeting at work, had to work all day, and then had a 5:00-7:00 p.m. work event. "Well, you could have run after getting home," you might be saying. I wanted to spend time with Anne and Noah. I hadn't seen them all day. "Well, you could have woken up at 3 or 3:30 and gotten in a run," you may counter. True. But why do that when I don't have to (yet). Been there, done that. I'll save that for May, June and July.

AM: This was speedwork day--my first speedwork session in several months. With the temperature a crisp negative 17 in the Front Range, I opted for the treadmill at our HOA gym, thinking I could get in some nice intervals at around 5:35-5:40 pace. To my dismay, the Life Fitness treadmills in the gym max out at only 6:00/mile. Someone obviously adjusted them to avoid excessive wear and tear. Damn, I thought. So I made the most of the situation and cranked out the following over a distance of 9.1 miles:

Warm-up: 8:01/1 miles
Mile: 6:00
800 meter recovery: 4:00
Mile: 6:00
400 meter recovery: 2:00
Mile: 6:00
400 meter recovery: 1:56
Mile: 6:00
400 meter recovery: 1:57
1200 meters (3/4 mile): 4:30
400 meter recovery: 1:58
800 meters (1/2 mile): 3:00
400 meter recovery: 1:58
400 meters (1/4 mile): 1:30
Cooldown: 16:05

My foot felt great and I felt great--maybe too good. At no point was I ever really working super hard, which isn't what you want in an interval session. You want to work hard. And so my hope for next week is to get to the track assuming Mother Nature cooperates. If not, I'll head back to the treadmill and "McGyver" a speedwork session on one of the 6:00/mile treadmills.

AM: Man, I was sore this the hips and legs. And to top it off, the temperature was negative 2 degrees. So I headed back to the HOA gym for treadmill work. 8.75 miles in 1:08:29. The level of soreness I felt strongly suggested that my legs haven't yet caught up with my aerobic capacity. Tuesday's tempo run wasn't that hard from an aerobic standpoint, but it obviously torched by legs.

AM: The plan today was a tempo run, but I woke up still a little too sore from Wednesday. The good news was that the temperature was *only* 17 degrees and we had about 2-3 inches of fresh snow. So I headed out for 9.3 miles in 1:16:39 and had a great time on my dirt road loop course, which got me up to 6,350 feet. The snow made it hard to go much faster than 8:00/mile.

AM: 16.25 miles/2:06:05 in the Parker hills. My goal was to maintain a steady pace for the entire run, which I did. From my doorstep, I ran up Canterberry and Buffaloberry, and then headed east on Parker Road. Then I turned north on Delbert and west on Buck Board and got back onto Tomahawk via some hilly dirt roads. Just shy of 4,000 feet of total climb and descent--all at 6,100-6,400 feet.  Overall, I felt pretty strong and steady.
PM: 4 miles/31:47 on the treadmill with some yoga.
Total for the day: 20:25 miles

AM: 12.5 miles/1:49:39: Tomahawk loop. Very snowy, slick conditions. Impossible to go fast. The higher points of Parker got about 6 inches of snow overnight and the roads, especially going back up Buffaloberry, were slick. I should have worn my MicroSpikes--they would have made a huge difference. Overall I had a great time except when running against the nasty wind coming in from the north. Total ascent and descent about 3,600 feet all at 6,100-6,400 feet.
PM: 3.5 miles/27:49 with some yoga
Total for the day: 16 miles

Totals for the week:
  • 70.2 miles running
  • 4.0 miles cycling
  • 9 hours, 33 minutes, 6 seconds of training
For the year: 271.3 miles. This time last year I was at about 400 miles! But on the bright side, my foot, while still far from perfect, is much better. The new orthotics are working well for me and I'm confident that I can continue to increase my mileage over the next several months. I'm also thinking the yoga I've been doing is paying off, though I've dealt with some tightness in my hamstring tendons over the past several days. So, all in all, I'm happy with how the week went, especially given the slow start and a total miss on Tuesday.

My goal for this week is 75 miles with intervals and a tempo run.


I just registered for the Mount Evans Ascent on June 18. This is a very popular 14.5-mile race that takes you to the summit of 14,264-foot Mount Evans just outside of Denver. The road you run is the highest paved road in North America. I am obviously really stoked about this race. Since June will be my mega-mileage month, I may turn the Mount Evans Ascent into a nice training run and run back down to my car.

My race schedule for 2011 is mostly finalized with a few question marks. One of the big question marks is the Eisenhower Marathon on April 9 in Abilene, Kansas. I'm not yet ready to decide whether or not to run Eisenhower. It depends on my foot, the weather forecast (especially when it comes to the wind), and if I think I can set a new marathon PR. If I think a marathon PR isn't possible, I'll skip the Eisenhower Marathon. But I'm really anxious to see how I'll feel going hard at sea level....


On Friday night, Anne and I watched the movie "Secretariat." I'll rate the movie a strong B. Anne is very passionate about horses--as passionate about riding as I am about running. Secretariat (the horse) was spectacular. He won all but one race, including the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes for the Triple Crown in 1973--the same year I was born. Check out the video below of Secretariat at Belmont--probably the greatest effort by a horse in all of history. He won by 31 lengths and never slowed down--he wanted it badly and wasn't going to let any horse get in his way. The heart of a champion, indeed.

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