Defn: a human male displaying evidence of devolution - exhibits distinctive "caveman-like" tendencies. This man often dribbles in public places; cannot drink a beverage without spilling it on himself, the floor or someone else; may also run into objects like lampposts & bushes; has a definite "sloopish & short legged" running style that is slow and low to the ground, often resulting in the dragging of knuckles.

These throwback neanderthals, along with their questionable diet, should clearly be avoided.

Monday, April 28, 2014

50K training week 8

On tap for the past week was a recovery / reset week.  40 miles.  4 runs.

Monday was a lap of Falcon Trail, 13 miles.  I went counter clockwise and managed to get under 60 minutes for the second time ever for the first half.  Effort fell off after that though and I wore out.  Tried to remember that it was supposed to be an easy week.  Managed a 1:52:XX which is still fairly speedy for me.  In fact I think in my top 5 fastest laps.

Tuesday off:

Wednesday: 15 miles on Santa Fe Trail.  Had a tempo type effort in mind.  Starting at Northgate and headed North for 7 1/2 miles, turned and came back.  First 5 miles at an 8 min avg.  Difficult but manageable.  Next 5 miles at an 8:30 pace.  Last 5 miles at a 7:30 average.  This was tough, especially the second to last mile which has some rollers in it.  But I pulled it together and pushed out the last mile to get the overall average back to 7:30.  All told it was 15 miles total at an 8 min avg.

Thursday: an easy 4 miles out the back of the apartment where I live where there are some winding single track trails through some open space and a pond.  A beautiful Spring morning with mist coming off the pond.

Friday:  Mt Herman - 8 miles.  This run has kicked my butt recently.  A combination of icy and snowy trails, mental weakness on my part and some fatigue mixed in there too.  Today it was pay back time.  The snow and ice was 90 to 95% gone from the trail.  I had no excuses.  I started out with the initial 1600' climb up the 1 1/3 mile to the summit, pushing hard, not looking at my watch.  Made it up in a good time.  I had actually forgotten what my Summit PR was.  Later I discovered I had taken about 45 seconds off that. 

From the Summit I made my way down the trail and got to work on trying to maintain a steady effort and really get after it when I could.  My next reference point is after I have come off Herman, connected to Mt Herman road for 1/4 mile and rejoined another trail that takes me to the South (high point) entrance to Limbaugh Canyon.  I got to the high point and I was noticeably faster there than I thought I had ever been before.  A nice boost to my confidence.

I pressed forward and with 5 miles to go I knew that with maintaining my steady effort I should be able to get a new PR.  The first creek crossing comes at near the half way point.  With 4 miles to go I knew I had a chance to not only get a PR - but maybe even come close to a long ago established goal of beating 1:45.  That would have been about 4 1/2 minutes better than my best ever.  I was now determined to go for it.  2 more stream crossings in the next 2 miles and I just ran through them rather than using the fallen log bridges nearby them.  The last crossing was a bit foolish to run through as it was about 20' long and knee deep.  The added weight to my shoes and the wetness made my feet slide all over the place for a while until the water wrung itself out.

2 miles to go and the traverse around the front of the mountain.  Lots of uphill's here where many laps prior I have resorted to walking a lot of the ups.  Not today.  I dug deep and kept working.  A half mile to go and a mean little uphill that reminds me that Mt Herman is not an easy run and will fight me to the end.  But after that it is downhill.  I looked at my watch.  Then looked again.  Wow....if I push then I can come in with a time that would be awesome in my mind.  Hammer down. 

8 miles.  2345' of gain.  Not only did I beat 1:45.  I crushed it.  A new PR of 1:39:52. 

Mt Herman will, I'm sure, win a few more rounds in future runs.  But Friday was a victory for me, taking 9 1/2 minutes off my previous best.  I was ecstatic, still am.  Until today - as I write this - but today's lap of Mt Herman is for next week's post.  As this week I am aiming for 70 miles.  Due to work and other commitments - will try to do 70 miles this week in 4 runs.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

50K training week 7

Really getting into the beginning of the heavy training blocks now for the big race coming up in 10 weeks, as a result - my body is tired, more-so the noggin than my legs.  But when I dwell on how mentally tired I am - I find myself coming up with excuses to run softer, or even not run at all.  Case in point - I was going to run 13 miles after work last Sunday, but it was snowing somewhat, so I bagged the run and read a book instead.

I have run in much worse conditions the past few months, but I just didn't want to this day.  As I then looked at other runs lined up for the week, I reshuffled things around but due to work schedules it meant that I would have 2 long runs on back to back days at the end of the week - when I would be even more tired.  So - the excuse to not run at all had the potential to upset later runs in the week.  I was not looking forward to Friday and Saturday.

Monday I did an easy and fairly unproductive 8 miles on Santa Fe Trail.  Just an out and back at an easy 8:40 pace.  In reality it was just a mileage filler.  Probably has some benefit down the road, but I couldn't on the day and can't now say it was a very purposeful run.

Tuesday was supposed to be a Mt Herman double lapper, 10 steps into my run I was looking for a place to lie down and take a nap.  I was so tired.  I had the day off work so I knew I could take all day - but again my mind was saying just don't run at all.  Adding to the lethargy was Sunday's snow was heavier on Mt Herman, especially on the Northern, heavily treed side which has yet to get the sun on most of it this year - so a snowy track made things even slower for me.  I plodded / shuffled / meandered around the first lap - my slowest time ever and I was battling the mindset to quit the whole time.  I finally finished the lap and decided that instead of bailing out on the next lap I would shuffle around for a few more miles.  I found another trail near the parking lot and went out that 1 1/2 miles and then back.  So I ended up with 11 on the day - at well over 3 hours.  Pitiful.

The possibility and likelihood of me just cutting the desired 65 mile week short was now there.  And frankly it didn't bother me much at all.  Next day I was only going to do 6 miles, then take Thursday off to try enjoy absorb a much needed rest day.  I parked at Baptist Rd where the Santa Fe Trail is really quite flat and went North 3 miles, intending to just do an easy recovery run.  I went out at an 8:30 pace, a little quicker than my normal easy run pace - and felt okay.  During these 3 miles I also came up with the idea that I had enough time (before work) to tack on the extra 5 miles from the day before.  I was actually feeling fairly fresh - so I continued on at the 8:30 average.  So, after 5 1/2 miles into the run I turned around and by now I was thinking I could turn the last 5 1/2 miles into a tempo run.  I wanted a 7:30 pace and got going - after a few steps I looked at my watch and it was telling me 7:20 average.  Okay, felt not too bad.  So I went with it - for 3 1/2 more miles.  Still feeling good.  2 miles to go, what else do I have?  How about try a 7 minute mile?  Sure enough, that was okay too.  Not easy, but still manageable.  1 mile to go, go time.  Last mile at 6:40.  Where that came from - especially being mile 11 of the run - I have no idea, but needless to say my mind funk was pushed aside. 

Thursday off. 

Friday, 22 mile long run on tap.  Started at Northgate trailhead and went North on Santa Fe Trail, up to Palmer Lake, joined the connector trail to the Greenland Trail and then followed that to the turn off to Kipps Loop.  That was 11 miles and a good place to turn around.  After going out at an easy 8:50 pace I then came back at an 8:40 pace.  Felt comfortable.  Last 4 or so miles the breeze into my face picked up, adding to the fatigue, but I managed to hang on and finish the 22 miles without slacking off the time.  A decent, but not great run just over 3 hours and 12 minutes.

Saturday: had the day off work and kids soccer games were not until noon - so I had time to meet up with Steve and we did a conversational lap of the Falcon Trail.  Was a good and easy run, 2:03, and made all the more better by sharing the trail with Steve - along with approx. 4 or 5 dozen other runners and Mtn bikers. 

So, 65 miles for the week.  A mental roller coaster that was not particularly great.  But that is behind me now and I look forward to a planned easy / recovery 40 mile week.

Monday, April 14, 2014

50K training week 6

5 runs for the week which went as follows:

Sunday: 5 miles easy in the afternoon after work (which is going well - 2 weeks in - so far so good).

Monday: Had the day off work so on tap was a Double Falcon.  Was snowing when I started and for some reason the road up to the parking lot by the football stadium was closed - so I maneuvered my way through the Air Force Academy to the Chapel Overlook Parking lot, which is almost the high point of the loop.  I had never started a run from there before and was expecting a tough finish for each lap because in either direction the finish is always uphill.  So the first lap, in which it snowed on and off and the trail was covered, I went clockwise at a comfortable pace - my goal was just to get the 2 laps in and experience 26 miles.  Just over 2 hours and 7 minutes for lap one - as I made the turn I then turned around and went counter clockwise.  For the next 3 miles it was quite snowy, but then the sun came up and soon the snowy trails melted away and even got a little muddy in places.  Lap 2 was tiring but with about 4 miles to go I found a mini second wind and managed to stay on track - so that my lap time was less than a minute slower than the first lap.  Overall time for the 2 laps, 26 miles and 3100' + elevation gain was a couple ticks over 4:15.  I have run the falcon double lapper twice before and this was my fastest time by over 10 minutes.  I will be doing several more of these training runs for the 50K coming up in 11 weeks.

Tuesday: Rest and recovery day.

Wednesday: My weekly Mt. Herman lap was on much better trails than the week before.  This time there was more snow and less ice, plus I had put the screws back in my shoes so I could get better traction on the icy spots.  It was still slick but much more manageable than last week and I completed my lap in a reasonable 1:52.  I was still a bit weary from the Falcon effort 2 days before.  I think it was good though because this loop is a tough one and to do it in this time 2 days after a 26 mile run was a nice achievement for me.

Thursday: 6 miles easy (9 min pace) on Santa Fe Trail - recovery run.

Friday: Parked at the Woodmen Rd trailhead and went North on the Santa Fe Trail 10 miles - which is almost to Baptist Rd.  Went out at a 9 minute average on a beautiful day to run.  I was feeling sluggish however, so at the turnaround 90 minutes in I tried to pick up the pace and do the return 10 miles at a tempo pace.  Alas - the goal of 7:30 pace went almost immediately out the window.  So I then just held on to 8 minute miles for the next 6 miles.  Then with 4 to go I was spent and just endured through till the end - finishing the last 10 miles at an average of 8:20.  For the 20 miles this meant my pace was 8:40.  This was a sure sign of being weary, a combination of being work weary and running 65 miles for the week.

65 miles: my longest week ever.  A 4+ hour run, an almost 3 hr and an almost 2 hr run included.  Needless to say or write that I think my endurance is building up, admittedly with very little speed - which I am mostly okay with.  On tap is another 65 miler before I take an easy week.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

50K training week 5 and Week 1 at the new job

Tired, long week with starting a new career - which I am getting more and more into every day - as well as running 60 miles - longest week of running ever.

2 days into my new job I called the other new part time job that I was supposed to start at this weekend and declined the job - schedules are just not going to work out, plus I can pick up OT eventually at the new place - which is requiring my full attention getting these first few weeks getting familiar with it.  But in short - I am excited about this new chapter in my life and as the pages unfold - where it will lead.  So far, I'm fitting in well and doing okay also - it seems.

But this is my running bloggy / journal - so on to that......

Sunday I stole a few hours to get in my loop of Falcon - I was pressed for time so I decided it was as good a time as any to throw my best effort at it.  2 days earlier I had run my second fastest lap (in either direction), that being in the clockwise direction.  Sunday it was counter clockwise direction - I consider this a better / faster time for me going this way, but other people consider clockwise faster.    I knew that if I wanted to break any previous good times, I needed to be as close to 60 minutes by halfway (which I had never got under in previous efforts) so as to then gun the 2nd half which has much more downhill.   I pushed hard the first half aiming for the magical 60 minute mark - in hindsight probably a little too much was spent early, as the second half I felt myself falling off the wagon.  But the first half exertion was worth it as I passed 6 1/2 miles at 57 1/2 minutes - an almost 3 minute advantage over previous bests!

I was stoked, but had a long way to go - including a tough and unrelenting hill going up past the fire station.  I basically just tried to maintain my effort for the rest of the way and try to get the uphill sections over and done with.  I was doing well, the fire station hill was manageable, albeit slow.  Then the meandering down towards the football stadium I managed to recover okay.  With a mile to go I was essentially spent - but by now so far ahead of previous best times I needed to see just how low could I go.  After the final uphill 1/2 mile till the end - admittedly that I almost had to walk up - I was so spent - I pushed with what I had left and made it back to the parking lot.  Of course the loop is just under 13 miles so I always run around the parking lot at the end of each lap to bring the total up to 13 miles.  After 13 miles a new PR: 149:48 - beating my old PR (in either direction) by 2 1/2 minutes.  Of course I am thrilled with that - especially because I have run a lap of this trail each week since Sept / Oct and too drop so much time off my previous best was really rewarding.

I recovered well with no ill effects on the sticks - which was good because Monday was my first day at work and it involved a lot of walking.  After work I then ran 20 miles.  Ending in the dark.  Started at 8th St Wal-Mart and went North on the Santa Fe Trail up to about a 1/2 mile past Woodmen Rd and back.  The first 10 miles were at a steady 8:45 pace.  The last 10 miles I dropped down to an 8:30 average for a few miles, but then fatigue caught me and I slowed.  Still ended with the overall average at 8:35 pace for 20 miles.  The last couple miles in the increasing darkness were especially tiring.

Tuesday a much needed rest / recovery day from running.

Wednesday I didn't work till the afternoon so in the morning I attempted a Double Herman (16 miles w/ 4800' of gain).  I bailed out on the second lap after experiencing way too much ice and several resulting hard falls in Limbaugh Canyon.  I did go back up to the summit for the second lap and then continued on exploring some other trails that lead off the main trail just before going down into the canyon.  After exploring I then took Mt Herman road back to my car - a  nice 3+ mile gentle downhill that rounded out 15 total miles and 4500'+ of gain.

Thursday it was snowing on a 6 mile easy run on Santa Fe Trail.  Going North for 3 miles into the oncoming , driving snow was a bit harsh, but after turning it was pretty nice to have the wind at my back - I even could keep my eyes open on the way back - not the case on the way up most of the time.

Friday worked out that I couldn't get a run in due to work commitments.

Saturday morning before kids soccer games I got some (moderate) tempo in for 6 miles on Santa Fe trail.  Didn't want to go too nuts so I ran an easy first mile, then a 7 minute 2nd mile, easy 3rd mile, turned around and did 7:30 pace coming back up for mile 4.  Mile 5 was recovery and the last mile was hang on and just finish - ended up a 7:20 pace for that.

So, 60 miles on the week with it starting out awesome on Falcon, by weeks end I was tired.  Next week I will hopefully be better adjusted to a new work schedule as I navigate another 60 mile week, including a "Double Falcon".