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.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

50K training week 13 - my mini olympic week

Ok so the Olympic thing for me, as you will see below in this weekly check in - is a stretch, in reality the closest I have ever and will ever get to Olympic level happened 15 summers ago - when I spent the Summer landscaping the US Olympic Training center in Colorado Springs.

But this is my blog and I can put whatever I like on the Title.  So, picture with me the Olympic circles - the logo with the 3 circles on top, interconnecting with 2 circles below.  Keep that in mind as the report unfolds......

Sunday: An easy and refreshing 3 miles on the open space trails behind my apartment. Just a comfortable pace and short run to start out a long week of training - my most ambitious ever.

Monday: An early start and a beautiful morning to get 1 of 3 long runs in for the week.  This being the shortest, flattest and easiest of the week.  Started at Northgate and went North on the Santa Fe Trail, up through Monument and on to Palmer Lake.  Felt good the whole 9 miles up at an easy 8:50 pace.  Stopped the watch at Palmer lake for a few minutes to release some ballast and then decided to get after the pace a little for the return 9 miles.  8:10 pace seemed a nice goal so I set out at that and found it really coming easy, so I upped it to 7:55 pace.  As the morning warmed and the miles clicked by it became a good challenge - but I succeeded in holding it throughout the whole way back.  18 miles on the day, 705' of elevation gain and a total time of just over 2 1/2 hours.

Tuesday: a rest day

Wednesday:  I was off work and therefore ready to get to running work.  On tap - my first ever attempt at a "Triple Herman".  This is not an Olympic Ice Skating move, or an X Games Skateboarders trick - this is three laps of Mt Herman and Limbaugh Canyon.  The goals going in were 1) Finish.  2) Keep moving.  3) Work on Hydration and fueling.  4) Time goals were to hopefully get in under 6 hours for the 24 mile, over 7000' of climbing.  5)"A" time goal was lap 1 = 1:50, Lap 2 = 1:55, Lap 3 = 2:00.

Lap 1 started well with a summit time of just over 37 minutes - this is a 1.25 mile climb, gaining almost 1700' right off the bat.  It gets the majority of the lap climbing out of the way to start with - but with that puts one immediately into "worked" mode.  The rest of the lap is a lot of descending over rocky terrain, 4 stream crossings, running past a shooting range which is always a little hair-raising and throw in another 700' of gain throughout.  At the time I got started on lap one I didn't see anyone else on the trails until I had about 2 miles to go.  Lap 1 completed in 1:50 and a few ticks.  As I made the lap turn I kept the clock running as I refilled water bottles and soaked 1/2 a bagel in water and slurped that down.  Onto lap 2.

Going back up the Summit I was slower than the first time but still managed to keep decent forward momentum, passing a hiker about 1/5 mile below the summit on his way up.  I ended up gaining the summit  in just over 40 minutes.  By now other hikers had made it up top - coming the "easier" way up the trail from Mount Herman Rd.  The Air Force Academy Graduation had just started and people were coming up to see the F11's doing their thing a little later.  Lap 2 progressed well.  Getting my shoes soaked through the puddles and high flowing streams was a little uncomfortable, yet at the same time the cooling it gave to my feet was nice.  Lap 2 ended up in 1:54:45 - right on track, a pleasant surprise.   A quick refill of fluids and inhaling of a banana and I set out on the next Summit.

It was warm now, I was tired and the climb up was tough.  Momentum was much slower and I was feeling dehydrated despite my efforts to keep on top of that.  I decided to dunk my head in a small creek, so cool and refreshing and the water looked clean and clear enough.  So I drank some, knowing it was risky and could get me a bit sick.  But in growing up in New Zealand where we did it all the time I knew enough about how water does filter itself to some degree if you drink it at the right places - at the base of the fastest flowing sections.

Anywhoo....3/4 mile up I passed the same hiker as before who was on his way down now - he asked me what was I thinking doing 2 laps and I replied, well I'm actually on my 3rd.  He was floored and yet impressed, also very encouraging.  It was a good boost and I kept shuffling up.  I'm not sure of my summit time for the 3rd lap, definitely several minutes slower than the previous 2 laps.  Lots more people up top now and the Air Force Thunderbirds were doing their thing to the South.  I caught a few glimpses of them at times.  Was cool.  A group of hikers I had passed on their way up on my lap before recognized me and I had the same quick conversation with them as the hiker a few minutes earlier. 

As I made my way down through Limbaugh Canyon it had clouded over and even dropped a few rain drops on me, which was nice.  I stopped twice more at creeks with cleanish enough looking a fast flowing water - small drinks and dousing the head.  With 2 miles to go and a rolling traverse across the front of the mountain I was dragging, trying to stay within reach of my goal of a 2 hour lap.  Some brutal, albeit small sections of uphill knocked me back behind the schedule.   Finally, with 1/2 mile to go I realized if I could sprint then I might make it.  Sprint?  After over 5 1/2 hours?  No thanks.  Wait.  Why not try?  So I threw myself at it and barreled it back to the finish.  2 hours exactly on the button. 

Time goals achieved, total for the 24 miles was 5:45 and 7200' of gain.   My most challenging training run in a very log time - if not ever.  Certainly if I don't include Pikes Peak / Barr Trail training runs.

Thursday: 4 miles easy recovery run on the Apartment open space trails.  Legs felt okay, albeit a little weary, but I kept the pace very easy.

Friday:  A "Double Falcon".  This is my nemesis.  I bonked the last time on lap 2 - taking 1/2 hour longer than lap 1.  I have yet to really nail pace, hydration and fuel on this run - and as a result, I have walked away from it feeling defeated.  Today I was trying to be smarter with all 3 aspects.  The issue was 2 days earlier I had run the Triple Herman.  So, going into this run I was weary to say the least.  My goal was to just finish - stay working at a manageable and hopefully consistent pace throughout - forgetting about any time goals.

Immediately upon starting out (clockwise) I felt sluggish, but I welcomed this because it reminded me to not try to push, just let the effort come and try to keep it steady.  And steady it did come as I got into the grove of things.  I carried extra fluids and fuel than in previous attempts and also just ran a lot more by feel than watch watching.  Lap 1 completed in 2:09, not fast at all but also not too bad - as I kept the clock running in the parking lot - I refilled both water bottles and ate another water soaked 1/2 bagel.  I decided that instead of turning around and doing lap 2 on the more difficult counter clockwise direction, I would stick with going clockwise.  This was a mental check in the positive for me.  I ended up taking 2 running minutes at the halfway point.  Then I set out and after a few sluggish minutes to get rolling again I managed to get into a good and manageable rhythm. 

The temperatures didn't get much above low 70's during the run, and a breeze picked up - contributing to a successful 2nd lap.  Including the 2 minutes standing still at the beginning of the lap I completed the lap in the exact same time.  Taking out the 2 minutes at halfway - I actually ran this lap 2 minutes faster. 

But the time all adds up - to a 2 lap total of 4:18, 2640' of gain.

So, 75 miles for the week and I completed the Olympic rings of 3 loops of Mt Herman, 2 loops of Falcon Trail.  The Russian Judge gave me passing grades for my Triple Herman, Double Falcon efforts.  Feeling good now, knee pain is still observable but it is getting much, much better.

On tap - 60 miles for this next week and then heading towards a taper.  4 weeks till race day and I am getting a little more excited - plus with a really solid week under my belt, the most miles and most hours on my feet for a week ever - feeling a little more confident, albeit a little weary.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

50K training week 12 - into the swing of things

With the knee coming around, not right but not as bad as it was a couple of weeks ago - along with the need to log some important miles with race day getting closer - the goal this past week was 70 miles.

Started early Sunday with a "Double Herman".  16 miles with over 4700' of gain.  I had only completed the double once before, failing 2 other times due to icy conditions once, and mental weakness the other.  Today I had no excuses and I was going to get this done unless my leg fell off.
Legs held up well, the knee is painful but tolerable when running.  After a few miles it seems to do better. 

On the prior double lap I had come in just under 4 hours.  It was back in May when fitness was at a lower level and the track was a little more wintery like.  Today I not only wanted to finish, but beat that time.  Lap one started well and I gained the summit in just over 35 minutes, a zippy time.  I was feeling good, didn't feel like I was pushing too hard so with a good time under the belt to get up to 9060' I was encouraged.  The rest of the lap I just tried to maintain a steady effort and was rewarded with a first lap time of 1:45 - well and truly under goal pace.

Lap 2 the fatigue caught up somewhat but not too greatly - lap 2 completed in 1:47 1/2.  So a new Double Herman lap time - beating my old mark by over 26 minutes.  Tired but happy, very happy with that.

Monday: 10 miles was the goal for a recovery run - cut it short to 5 as I was feeling the effort and my knee just didn't seem like it was up for it.  Thought I made a smart decision to cut it short.

Tuesday: off

Wednesday: Another double on tap, this one a double Falcon - 26 miles.  I wanted to also set a pr on this one, previous best was 4:15 or so.  Lap one I pushed a little 2 hard and was rewarded with a 2 hour flat lap.  Problem was I had nothing left for lap 2 and bonked big time.  This resulted in a bunch of walking and I ended up with a 2:30 lap.

Thursday: off.

Friday: 18 miles on Santa Fe Trail.  Out at an easy 9 minute pace, back at 8:30 pace.  Felt really good and easy both directions for the whole way. 

An encouraging run to end the week, 65 miles.  Not trying to dwell on Wednesday's result.  Encouraged by Sunday and Friday's efforts.  Up next - the last big week: 75 miles.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

50K training week 11 - almost but not quite

So after shutting the running down during a miserable and painful 3 miles the Wednesday before, I laid low with no running, replaced by a bit of misery eating, till Monday this week - in the hopes that several days of complete rest would heal the knee nemesis.  It wasn't until Sunday that the discomfort that I had felt was mostly gone.

So on Monday, with a late Spring snow blanket on the ground of 4 to 6" - I did an easy lap of the Falcon Trail.  I took it slowly and enjoyed the soft footing in the snow.  My knee was talking to me with some protest for the first 4 miles or so.  But eventually it got better and I was able to move without too much discomfort.  Was a fairly slow lap - just under 2 hrs, 7 minutes.  After I finished the knee felt good for a few hours, I iced it and put a wrap on it.  Seemed to respond well, was a little sore into the evening, but nowhere near as bad as it was last week at this time. 

Tuesday: with still some snow on Santa Fe Trail I slogged out 4 miles, knee was actually quite sore for the first 3 miles, the last mile was better.  Later in the day, caught a flight to Nashville, TN to surprise my sister for her birthday.

Wednesday: Warm and humid in TN.  Got 15 miles in on some roads and along a scenic paved trail.  Was raining off and on, which really added to the humidity.  The running on the concrete and blacktop was not something I went into with great joy and anticipation - expecting my knee to protest a great deal.  But I survived it (running an easy 8:30 pace throughout) and the knee came through okay.  No really noticeable discomfort after - although I did wrap it for a while.

Thursday: back to CO, no running.

Friday: 8 miles on Mt Herman.  Still a fair amount of snow on the trails here after the snow from earlier in the week.  So it was a little slippery in spots, but no ice, so it was manageable.  Ended up with a time of 1:44:20, my 3rd fastest lap.  Knee was about 90% during the run and after it was fine with no issues.  The lap time was reassuring to me that I haven't seemed to lose too much fitness.  The lack of pain in my knee after was much more emotionally satisfying.

So, 40 miles on the week.  Knee is almost right - not 100% yet but a whole lot better than a week ago.  Taking today off and then will up the workload again next week.  6 weeks to go till race day.  Will attempt to play it smart on the knee - but still need to get some concentrated training in during the next few weeks.  So I need to walk / run a bit of a fine line between training hard but not overcooking the tender knee.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

50K training Week 10 - a nemesis returns

Last week was a foray into 70 miles - new territory for me.  I had never run that far in a week before.  In that week I had a 26 miler on Wednesday, a 24 miler on Friday - coming through both unscathed, albeit a little weary.  Saturday was a rest day before jumping into another 70 miler this week.

Sunday: 6 miles.  Was feeling like a tempo run was a good idea.  Started out at Hwy 105 on the Santa Fe Trail and headed up to Palmer Lake at an 8 min avg.  3 miles up and the effort was solid in the 240' of gain.  I turned and decided to go faster on the way back, taking advantage of the beautiful day and the slight downhill.  I managed to push out 3 consecutive 7 minute miles which was good.  It was quite an effort, especially because I have not run that fast in weeks, instead I have been focusing on long, slow distances.  But this felt good.

Monday:  26 miles.  I was tired at the start, which was fairly early due to needing to get done and off to work.  But I also left early enough to not have to push the pace - instead just have a goal of getting it done in under 4 hours.  Started at Northgate on the Santa Fe Trail, went North through Monument, then Palmer Lake, caught the connector trail onto the Greenland Trail and went across to Kipps loop.  Went up and over the saddle and after 13 miles on the feet, turned and headed back.  I had slowed a bit going up the saddle, so my average pace was about 9:15.   I increased the effort only slightly on the return 13 miles - just bringing the overall average down a little.  Finished in 3:56 - time to spare and time to get to work.

That afternoon my right knee began to hurt.  By the evening it was really painful.  I woke up during the night and it was really sore - the pain actually waking me up.  I iced it and eventually went back to sleep.

Tuesday: a planned rest day.  I wore a brace on my knee, trying to keep some compression on it.  Still very sore.   Iced it when I could, wrapped it up frequently.  Woke up again in the night in pain.  It had not hurt at all on Monday's run - why it started hurting after I don't know.  All I can think of was that it was my meniscus that I had torn and had surgery on a couple of years ago.  I didn't know if it was torn or really inflamed due to all the miles. 

Wednesday: 13 mile loop of Falcon Trail on tap.  The knee was feeling a little better in the morning, tender to touch, but seemingly okay as I got ready to get going.  I started out clockwise pretty slow and immediately it was not right.  I kept going, slowly, hoping that as I warmed up and got looser the knee would feel better.  I was running as lightly on my feet as I could, but things didn't get better.  At 1 1/2 miles I decided it was not going to get better - in fact, it likely would get worse.  So I stopped, turned around and walked back to my car.  Jogging occasionally, but walking almost all the way back.

Iced it immediately and wrapped it back up.  I decided then it was more important to stop chasing miles, but to heal up.  It has taken till today (Saturday) to stop hurting, but even now there is a little niggle there.  So I will not run again till Monday. 

I had originally planned a 75 mile week this week, followed by a 40 miler.  I am going to switch that and try to do the 40 miler this week - seeing how things go and then decide what to do the following week.  I am travelling out of town for a few days this week so actually cutting out some miles would help with things too.

This knee nemesis is frustrating, but I am hoping it just needs the 5 days of complete rest to get right.  So far it is helping.  The 50K is still 7 weeks away - so if there is a good time to take some time off it is now, with a good base established already.  If the knee improves as it seems it gradually is - then I shouldn't be too greatly affected in the training department in getting ready to run June 28th.

That being said, I am curious to see how Monday's run goes.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

50K training Week 9

This was an ambitious week on tap for me, not just because I had 70 miles for the goal, most miles in a week for me ever - but to also do it in 4 runs.

Sunday: 12 miles.  Was a snowy morning with the foothills covered and flurries when I started.  From Northgate on Santa Fe up through Monument at an easy 8:55 pace, turned as the snow and wind picked up and came back at an 8:05 avg (wind and snow assisted).  Just a run, nothing to really work on aside from getting miles in when I could.

Monday: Happy Birthday to me (46, groan).  Off to Mt Herman, expecting to see snow from the day before, but very little evidence of it.  Fresh off a 9 1/2 minute PR on it just a few days prior I was curious to see if that was an anomaly.  Friday's PR also included a summit PR for me, but of course I had forgotten what that was by Monday - only remembering the lap time.  So when I summited in 33:46 I knew it was a decent time, just couldn't remember if it was a new best.  Turned out upon checking it out later that I had sliced about 30 seconds off Friday's time to the summit.
There was a little residual snow up top but nothing slippery so I was able to keep tracking at a decent clip.  As I was passing by a few other marker points along the trail where I did remember the previous run and the accompanying times I realized I was real close to Fridays effort.  Cool.  Mental boost.  I kept at it and low and behold ended up taking about 3/4 of a minute off Fridays time.  A new PR of 1:39.  Looking back at this run I think I could of actually made the summit a bit quicker, not just because I stopped to pee on the way up, but because I was expecting more snow and so I held back a bit to conserve for when snow may come and trail conditions would have slowed me down.  That never really happened.
So, all that to say, I think I could beat my summit and lap time still.  But that is for another day.

Tuesday: off

Wednesday:  Double Falcon.  26 miles.  Was a breezy and sometimes quite brisk run with temps not really threatening to get over 40 - especially the wind chill not getting up there.  First lap I went clockwise, not pushing hard, just trying to be steady - ended  up with a 2:06 lap, which was about a minute faster than last time I did a Double Falcon a couple of weeks ago.  Lap 2 I was a bit more fatigued than I wanted to be, both physically and mentally - I'd like to blame the wind, but it was more me than that.  So, lap 2 in the counter clockwise direction was closer to 2:10.  So a combined 2 lap total (along with a few laps of the parking lot to bring the total up to 26 miles) was 4:16.  About a minute slower than 2 weeks prior.  I'll call it being consistent rather than a run that shoulda, woulda, coulda been better.  Will look to do better next time in a couple of weeks when I have another crack at it.

Thursday: rest and recovery day.

Friday:  From Northgate on Santa Fe Trail, up past Monument, then through Palmer Lake and connected on to the Greenland Trail.  Followed that North to Kipps loop, where I went a mile up the saddle before turning and heading back the way I came.  Went out at an easy 9 minute average and then came back a little quicker because it was more downhill than up.  12 miles out and back makes 24 for the day and a time of 3:32 ish.  It started out cool but by the time I was done the temps were getting toasty. 

So, 70 miles for the week.  Felt like a good achievement to get 26 on Wed, then 24 on Friday.  Hopefully that will help build up the endurance-o-meter.  These next few weeks I am looking to work on that along with getting some more vertical in (Double Herman in the mix).  Speed / tempo?  Not likely.  Lots more miles?  Yup.  70 on tap again for this upcoming week.