Monday, June 12, 2006

Running in Redmond

I'm back in the land of Microsoft. Anyone who has never been to Redmond Washington would find it difficult to believe just how pervasive Microsoft is in this town. You can't run 100 meters without bumping into a Microsoft building (or complex of buildings). Microsoft has yet to take over the world, but they have certainly taken over this town.

Now that I've managed to build up my easy mileage to the 40+ miles a week range and held it at this level for 3 straight weeks, I've decided that my general aerobic conditioning is good enough and I'm ready to launched into a slightly more complete training cycle.

The basic cycle is:

Mon - 6 to 7 miles @ easy pace
Tue - 6 to 7 miles @ easy pace
Wed - 5 miles of Speedwork / 6 miles Tempo Run alternating weeks
Thr - 6 miles @ easy pace
Fri - Rest Day
Sat - 12 miles @ easy pace (I'll call this a long run)
Sun - 6 miles @ easy pace

This should keep my mileage up at the 40-45 range and start to introduce a bit of speed work into my daily diet of easy runs.

Actually, last week should count as a week 1 of my soon to found love for speed work. Running a 5k at a 7:25 pace is about all the speed I can see myself developing for the near future.

The speed work doesn't bother me (although I do have some trepidation concerning how well my arthritic big toe on my left foot will hold up); rather, it is the 12 mile long run that scares the crap out of me. I’ve certainly run 12 miles before, but never in the middle of the summer. It’ll take me nearly 2 hours to run this distance at an easy pace and assuming I get my butt out of bed and drive to trail head before 5:15 AM, I should be running in direct sun light for an hour and a half. Our overnight lows in mid-July are usually in the high 80’s. Two hours after sun rise, the temperatures are in the mid to high 90’s. This aught to be fun. Anyone care to join me?

This morning’s 6 mile run, on the other hand, was nothing like the hellish scene I painted above. At 5:00 AM this morning, the temperature was a balmy 55 degrees and the humidity felt like it was near 100%. I could see fog enshrouding the town of Bellevue a few miles to west and a few hundred feet lower. But in Redmond proper, the sun was slowly rising over the mountains to the east, the sky was a bright blue, the birds were chirping, the morning drivers were weaving; life was good.

My usual hotel was book, so I am staying at one of Marriott’s low end brands in Redmond (for $220/night). I left the hotel and headed for the bike trail running along highway 520. I stayed on this trail between 148th and 51st (yes I know they are at right angles, 520 bends from an east-west to a north-south road around 148th st.) The first few miles were very slow (around 9:45) but peaceful. I wasn’t in any rush and was really enjoying the cool moist air. If only there was a way to bottle up this stuff!

At 51st, I hung a left and exited the path. From this point, the bike path drops a few hundred feet into the older section of Redmond. My knees are not ready to start running down hills and my lungs aren’t ready to start running up hill, so I headed back over to 148th along 51st, turned right and continued running on the cement sidewalk. About ½ mile down 148th, I ran into a multi-use bridle trail crossing 148th . I’ve run by this point probably 20 times in the last several years and have never seen this trail … but this morning, it was there big as day. Wanting to get off the concrete as fast as possible, I turned left, crossed 148th and ran up the trail. And I mean up.

After a few hundred yards, the trail starts climbing quickly, culminating at a ridge line 2.9 miles from the hotel. For a moment, I though I was on top of Mt Humphries. At this point, the trail drops straight down for a 100’. There was no way I was going to run down this trail. Instead, I turned around and exited the trail onto some surface street. I don’t have a clue where I was, but it provided me with enough asphalt to continue my run out to the 3 mile mark. I turned around and followed the same course back to the hotel.

Shortly after returning to the hotel, the skies grew dark, the sun disappeared from view and typical Seattle weather ensued. It drizzled and rained most of the day and is still raining as I type. I can only hope that the rain lets up enough in the morning so I can get in another 6 miles before work in the morning.

Keep Running

Training for the week:

Sun – 7.4 Miles, easy, 9:18/mi pace
Mon – 6.1 Miles, easy, 9:22/mi pace


Ann Ewbank said...

Phil, your run sounds like it was a lot of fun! Do you use different shoes on the trail?

I am so envious of your cool(er) weather experience. Why, oh why, did someone put this city here? I've lived in AZ (Phoenix, mostly and Yuma for 3 years) since I was 13 and I *still* hate the heat!

I get to go to Seattle in January 2007 for a conference and am very excited to be there- and to run there! I've never been to Seattle before.

Amy said...

Wow, you have a good memory. Most of my posts would be something like "I ran up this hill...and it was kindof hot...and then back down the hill...and then, wow, I was done with 7 miles..."

Phil said...

Thanks Ann ... there is nothing like running in cool moist air. It just feels GREAT.

I think I posted somewhere that I actually tested out your idea that the heat was impacting my heart rate. If you go to my training log and plot Heart Rate vs. Temperature you'll see a nearly linear relationship between mean air temperature and heart rate for an easy run. As you suggested, I need to work a whole heck of a lot harder to hold the same pace when it's 90 than I do when the temperature is 55.

The folks in Seattle just don't know how good they have it.

To your question on my shoes, I wear the same shoes everywhere (ASICS Gel-Landreth II). I hiked 24 miles across the Grand Canyon in them, I train in them and I race in them. I've got just over 330 miles (350 if you count the canyon hike) on the shoes and the soles are just now starting to show signs of wear. I love these shoes.

Now .. I wouldn't run on the Christiansen Trail (Trail 100 running from North Mountain to Squaw Peak Park) in these. Most trails in central Arizona are way too rocky. One trip up Camelback Mtn would do them in. You really need to get a pair of good cross trainers to tackle the rocky trails in Phoenix.

As for me, I've sworn off trail running in Phoenix. 15 months ago I tripped and fell while running around Look out mountain. While laying on my back in the middle of the trail feeling around the essential body parts to ensure nothing was broken (I banged up my left knee on a large rock, but didn't break anything) I wondered just what the hell was I doing. I'd just turned 50 and had come very close to breaking something, or worse. I haven't run on a rocky trail since and have been perfectly happy.

Keep running,


Phil said...


Thanks the input. My memory isn't all that good and I have plenty of senior moments. I've bored all my non-running friends with running stories, so I use blogging as my outlet. It's people such as you that keep me writing.

By the way, I really enjoy your blog. I only wish I could write half as well as you. You are on my list of blogs that I check everyday. In fact, as silly as it sounds, I got a little worried about you when you didn't post for several days and was certainly sorry to read that you'd suffered a stess fracture in your foot.

I appreciate your readership.


Ann Ewbank said...

Oh, yeah, Trail 100 is brutal. I live right by the trailhead and sometimes I go out there and see people on their bikes, wondering how on earth they can navigate the rocks and washes. I trip when I run the roads!