Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shuffling along in Yeovil

I finally got to Yeovil England late this afternoon. We stopped off at Stonehenge on the way to Yeovil from Heathrow this afternoon. I’ll post pictures as soon as I get home this weekend and can get my hands on the correct cable. The weather here is beyond fabulous; 68F (20C) in the late afternoon. Although the job responsibilities are crushing and I’m not quite prepared for my discussions tomorrow, I took off an hour and ran a quick 5 mile route through the back roads (they are all “back roads) in the farming country south of Yeovil.

Running along two way roads that we in the US would call alleys with hedge rows towering on either side was certainly interesting. When the hedge rows thinned out and I could see the country side I was awe struck. What a beautiful place; just miles and miles of rolling hills. On top of the scenery, the drivers are friendly and are actually paying attention to what they are doing as they drive slowly down these narrow farm lanes.

I did reasonably well on the run, although my Garmin had a tough time with all the trees and hedges and dropped out several times along the way. I was happy to have it though. I did have to stop once and consult the map to ensure I was heading along the correct road. I’m use to country roads splitting in France, but the signage isn’t the same here in southern England. I dumb ass like me could easily get lost.

Even though this week’s training schedule is certainly blown, I’ll be in heaven if I can get one more run in before I leave.

Hope your week is going as well

Training for the week:

Mon – Travel Day
Tue – 5.5 Miles, Easy, 8:48/mi pace

Monday, August 28, 2006

California Weekend

We took out youngest daughter to a soccer tournament in Irvine California this weekend. Being paupers, we drove the nearly 400 miles from Phoenix to Irvine on Friday afternoon, getting to the hotel after 9:00 PM.

We had 8:00 AM games on both Saturday and Sunday morning, which meant I needed to get my daughter out of bed at 5:30 both days to give her time to shower and dress before the team meeting at 6:00. I knew that I wouldn’t have time to get in a run in the morning. We also had afternoon games at 1:00 on both days. Since I’m the team’s manager (which means I deal with all the non-coaching tasks for the team), I had things to do between the games to ensure the parents knew what was going on, where they needed to be, etc. My only chance for a run would be late afternoon on both days. Not enough time for a long run, but I was confident I could get in a couple of decent runs none-the-less

Saturday afternoon I took an 11 mile run through the low coastal hills between the Pacific Ocean and Irvine. Temperatures were about what I have to put up with in Phoenix; somewhere north of 83F (28C). However, I usually run in the heat before the sun rises. Running uphill in the full sun of the afternoon was a different story. Although my pace was slow, I did have a great time running along the bike path into Sand Canyon and then into Bonita Canyon.

We finished the soccer tournament by winning Flight 1 in our age division and then drove down to Carlsbad California to visit my mother-in-law. Actually, my wife and daughter visited with her. I (after a short visit) took the opportunity to run along the coast highway from my mother-in-law’s place to my sister-in-law's apartment. Running along the coast was a little cooler than the Irvine, 78F (26C), but the sun was out in full force again. The first two miles were real strong, but I was dragging on 3, 4 and 5. Still, I was running along the coast. Great scenery, lots of people running and biking, hard to beat. Mile 6 was a climb up off the coast into the hills where my sister-in-law has an apartment. I did about as well as expected running up the hill. Once I got to the top on Mile 7, my pace picked up and I finished fairly strong.

We drove back to Phoenix through San Diego Sunday night and got home around 11:30 PM. Monday is my usual rest day and since I got home so late on Sunday night, I took the opportunity to sleep in. I need to leave for Yeovil England this afternoon and won’t be back until late Friday night. I’m bringing my running gear, but I don’t suspect I’ll get in too many miles this week.

Keep running

Miles for last week:

Mon: Rest
Tue: 9.0 miles, easy, 9:06/mi pace
Wed: 8.0 miles, easy, 8:31/mi pace
Thr: 8.2 miles, 6.0 mile tempo, 7:48/mi pace + WU/CD
Fri: 2.0 miles, easy, 10:30/mi pace
Sat: 11.0 miles, easy, 9:17/mi pace
Sun: 7.0 miles, easy, 8:59/mi pace

Total for the week: 43.2 miles

Friday, August 25, 2006

I've had better days

Perhaps it was the lack of sleep or the fall out from my tempo run yesterday, but this morning's run was less than steller. After rolling out of bed 30 minutes later than usual, I decided to cut my planned 8 mile jaunt to 5 miles (I still need to get to work afterall). However, after only a mile, it was pretty clear that I would have been better served staying in bed.

I knew I was dragging when I looked down at my Garmin somewhere around 1.2 miles into the run and saw 11:20 in the clock window. 5 minutes later I stopped for a little walk. I got myself running again but quickly slowed to a walk. I repeated this several times until two miles had passed. At 2 miles, I turned off the Garmin and walk the mile back to the house.

Tomorrow will be a new day. I'll be in California, where the temperatures are sure to be cooler. We'll see how things go.

Keep running

Mon: Rest
Tue: 9.0 miles, easy, 9:06/mi pace
Wed: 8.0 miles, easy, 8:31/mi pace
Thr: 8.2 miles, 6.0 mile tempo, 7:48/mi pace + WU/CD
Fri: 2.0 miles, easy, 10:30/mi pace

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tempo Running

I can’t believe it, but according to my training log, my last up-tempo run was nearly a month ago. Of course I’ve run at least one 5k in-between which probably counts for something. I don’t really like tempo runs, my confidence level is low and I get about as nervous about running these as I do before a race. This morning was no different.

Since I had schedule a 6 mile tempo run, I decided to do this one on the street instead of the track. Running 25 laps around a 400m track at a constant pace just didn’t sound all that appealing this morning. So, instead of getting in my car, I walk over to the starting point for most of my loop runs, guzzling water as I walked down the hill.

As I started the warm-up, the demons in my head came out to play; questioning my sanity and letting me know that I couldn’t possible get warmed up and maintain any pace below 8:00/mi for more than a mile or so.

After 1.2 miles of slow jogging, sweat had already started dripping from the brim of my hat. After all, it is still August in central Arizona and it’s just going to be hot at 5:00 AM. I walked around a bit and adjusted my Garmin trying to screw on enough courage to start. I finally ran out of excuse why I shouldn’t run and took off.

Looking down at my Garmin after the first ¼ mile I noted that my average pace was a hair under 6:30. Of crap, I can’t keep up this pace for very long. It’s way faster than my best 5k pace. I backed off the pace and finally settled into something closer to 7:50. Completed the first mile in 7:38 (due to the fast start) and was feeling pretty good. That feeling wouldn't last long.

Shortly after starting the 2nd mile, my left glut acted up … now what’s wrong? The voices in my head again started up the usual chorus .. “you’re too old”, “no way you’ll make it around 6 miles”, “give up now, it’s still a short walk home”, yada, yada, yada .. you know the story line. Interestingly, what kept me going this morning was you. I just wasn’t going to write in this blog that I failed to complete a simple tempo run; but I needed something to distract me and get my mind off failure.

My karma must have been very strong this morning because within seconds, a woman exited a side street 200m in front of me and proceed to run in the same direction as I was moving. Now I had someone to chase. She wasn’t running all that fast and I was gaining on her quickly, but she turned at the next major street before I could catch up with her. And then, as if this had been choreographed, another turned onto the same street and took the 1st person's place; only the 2nd woman was running much much faster. Based on my slow closure rate, I’d say she was running under an 8:00/mi pace.

I checked my Garmin, my lap pace was holding around 7:50 and the voices had gone back to sleep. It was just me and the other runner. I NEVER see people out running at this time of the morning, so this was a real treat. It probably took 4 or 5 minutes to catch up with her. I know women don’t enjoy strange guys coming up from behind, so as soon as got within 20 feet of her, I called out and let her know that I’d pass on the right. We exchanged pleasantries as I went slowly by her (amazing how fast some people are .. .she didn’t look like she was pushing it at all) and nowI had additional motivation to keep going and not get caught (yes, my ego was in full control). This took me through 3 miles, at which point, I started up a slight ½ mile incline and onto mile 4. I had to push a little harder to keep the pace up, but did OK. Mile 5 included a short semi-steep hill, but I had already projected myself onto the 6th mile, so I didn’t really notice it.

Mile 6 was like any other last mile of a run; I needed to pick up speed, but I had a huge semi pull out in-front of me just as I started to accelerate. The truck pulled out a safe distance in front of me and saw me all the way; unfortunately, he was moving very slow and forced me to slow down and run around the back side of the truck. I probably lost 2 or 3 seconds in the process. As soon as I cleared the truck, it was smooth sailing to the finish.

Mile Splits: 7:38, 7:51, 7:50, 7:55, 7:48, 7:43

Thanks for your help this morning. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Training for the week:

Mon: Rest
Tue: 9.0 miles, easy, 9:06/mi pace
Wed: 8.0 miles, easy, 8:31/mi pace
Thr: 8.2 miles, 6.0 mile tempo, 7:48/mi pace + WU/CD

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tough guy (with minivan)

My 8 mile easy run around Cooper’s Loop started out better than expected. Although the temperature and humidity were as high as yesterday (82F/32C), I had more of spring in my steep from the moment the clock started and quickly worked into a nice steady pace under 9:00/mi.

With the sound of the wind in my ears (more of a rustling sound actually), I managed to work myself into a state of bliss that my friend Thomas calls “Zenning Out”. I was thinking about a trip I need to take next week and wondering how the heck I was going to get ready for the trip, get everything else I need to do done, get my soccer team ready for a tournament this weekend and (of course) keep up with my blog.

I was somewhere in mid-thought when the side of green minivan appeared directly in front of me. I dodged around the back side of the minivan and uttered a rather loud expletive, followed quickly by a somewhat negative salutation. The minivan had pulled out of a parking lot while making a right hand turn and didn’t bother to look right before plowing into the street, and into my path. With my luck, this was the one cretin in Phoenix driving with the windows down. The driver took umbrage with my greeting and started his own string of cursing. This isn’t unusual; a normal reaction when one does something stupid and needs to cover up the fact by blaming the other guy. However, what was unusual is that he jumped out of his minivan and started chasing me down the street.

You’ve got to picture this. I’m cruising along at an 8:30/mi pace, I’ve got a 75lb dog on my left and some moron wearing jeans and tennis shoes is trying to chase me down after giving me a 40 foot head start. Just wasn’t going happen for him. He gave up after 10 or 20 steps and I imagine slinked back to his car.

The worse part of the incident was the adrenaline rush that came after. It felt as if someone had poured cement in my veins. I could feel my heart racing and the chemical passing through my thighs and lower legs. It took another ½ mile before the heaviness left my system and I got back in the groove.

The tough guy in the minivan aside, this was a pretty good morning. I finished up the 8 mile loop at an average pace of 8:31/mi, which is faster than my easy pace; so I know that I pushed things a little this morning. Of course, I’ve got a 6 mile tempo run scheduled for tomorrow on the track. This is the longest and fastest tempo run I’ve tried to-date, so I would have been smarter to back off a little this morning; but then again, hindsight is usually perfect.

Hope you are having a great week

Training for the week:

Mon: Rest
Tue: 9.0 miles, easy, 9:06/mi pace
Wed: 8.0 miles, easy, 8:31/mi pace

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Slogging through 9 miles

Another monster thunderstorm rolled across the valley last night, dumping water everywhere and jacking up the humidity. Since Phoenix is now one massive “heat island”, the morning temp at 4:30 AM was 83F (23C) dispite the initial cool down following a storm. The heat in the ashpalt, cement and buildings just evaporates more water and increases the humidity.

The sweat was literally dripping off my hat this morning before I had completed the first 2 miles. My initial pace felt pretty good, despite the heat and humidity (at 4:30 AM no less), but I started to feel my energy drain after 6 miles. The 7th mile was all down hill, but it was all I could do to hold pace and I just gutted out miles 8 and 9. There was no joy this morning. Tomorrow will be better (although the forecast is calling from continued storms through this week)

Hope your week is going better

Training for the week:

Mon: Rest
Tue: 9.0 miles, easy, 9:06/mi pace

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Running the Santa Cruz


This weekend we drove down to Tucson (home of Mike and Angie) again to install our 2nd daughter at the University of Arizona (UofA). She is now living in one of the UofA dorms, only a ½ mile from her older sister. Now that we have two children in college, we are taking donations … any domination will do :)

Although I was up well past mid-night again on Saturday night, I managed to sneak in a 10 mile run before taking everyone out to breakfast on Sunday morning. We were staying at the Marriott adjacent to the west side of the campus. From the Marriott, I ran down the hill west to the Santa Cruz River and headed north along the paved trail on the east side of the river. The Santa Cruz River has been sucked dry from excessive ground water pumping, so it is little more than a large drainage channel; although it was once a flowing river. The paved trail stopped a mile down the river, but the trail continued as hard packed dirt strewn with stones beyond this point. I dislike running over this type of surface since it is very hard on my toes, but it beats the heck out of dodging traffic on the main roads.

The run went fairly well considering I’m still recovering from my blood donation on Friday and a total lack of sleep the last three nights. I didn’t break any land speed records during 1 ½ mile run down the hill, averaging just above a 9:00/mi pace. My muscles finally warmed up by the time I hit the river trail and I held 9:00/mi for miles 2, 3, 4 and 5; however, I had some trouble getting back in the grove after the turn and my pace ballooned up over 9:10 for miles 6 and 7. I settled back into a 9:00/mi pace again for mile 8 and then started climbing back up the hill for miles 9 and 10.

The funniest thing happened on the way up the hill; the hill didn’t look as steep going up as it did running down. I ran mile 9 in just over 9:00 min and mile 10 in 8:53. I extend the run for an other 0.3 miles beyond 10, running this section at an 8:53 pace, which helped bring the average pace for the whole run down to 9:01. Not too bad considering all I really wanted to do this morning was stay in bed.

I also ran across (almost literally) a fellow sleeping under one of the underpasses along the river trail. I must have scared the crap out of him as he woke up with a start as I pounded the pavement towards place of slumber on the path. He’d fallen asleep again by the time I got back to this point on the return. I must have been much quieter on the second pass because he didn’t stir at all. I also ran by a fellow sitting on an old tire under a Palo Verde tree doing a cross word puzzle. Other than the scruffy beard and unkempt hair, he would have fit in with any of the thousands of people sitting in Starbucks throughout Tuscon at that very instant doing the Sunday Crossword puzzle. I haven’t a clue how he managed to get a paper where I found him; that’ll have to remain a mystery.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:55/mi pace
Wed – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:34/mi pace
Thr – 8.0 miles, easy, 9:16/mi pace
Fri – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:46/mi pace
Sat – 8.0 miles, easy, 9:16/mi pace
Sun – 10.3 miles, easy, 9:01/mi pace

Total for the week: 50.3 miles – 6 runs

Other random Tuscon pictures:



This is the view of the Santa Catalina Mountains across the top of UofA



This is my oldest daughter's house in Tucson. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but the inside is incredible. It has real paster walls and real hardwood floors.



The front room of the same house, with 4 high school freshmen we had with us for dinner



Oldest daughter and boy friend (center) along with other friends

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Last Mile

I’m blaming this morning’s performance on my blood donation on Friday. I’m sure that the overall sluggishness had nothing to do with going to bed after mid-night and rolling out of bed at 4:30.

By the time I’d jogged through the first mile, I knew that this wasn’t going to be fun morning. Everything felt wrong. Through the first two miles, my right calf felt tight (where did this come from?). The arch of my left foot started aching on the 3rd mile (this is an old injury from an Adventure Race I did 2 years ago) and my right foot started falling asleep on mile 4. By the time I got to mile 5 I had waves of pain passing through my left foot emanating from the big toe. I was a mess.

On the other hand, the dog was certainly enjoying the relaxed pace since I was having trouble running 9:15 miles; slowing down to a 9:30 up the hill. As I passed through the end of mile 7, I decided that the only goal achievable, besides surviving to run another day, was to finish the last mile in under 9:00. I put my head down and picked up the pace, finishing in 8:54 (go me!)

I know the aches and pains were a result of my tired legs literally pounding the pavement with an awkward gait. If there was ever a morning that I should have stayed in bed, it was today. Of well, the ego reigns supreme.

I hope your weekends are going great!

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:55/mi pace
Wed – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:34/mi pace
Thr – 8.0 miles, easy, 9:16/mi pace
Fri – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:46/mi pace
Sat – 8.0 miles, easy, 9:16/mi pace

Friday, August 18, 2006

8 Mile Repeats

One more time around Cooper’s Loop (with Cooper). The dog seems to be getting use to the pace or at least I didn't feel as if he was dragging behind me. The morning temperatures are still over 83F (28c) here in the great South West, but it must be much drier because my shirt was only soaked down to my belly after 8 miles instead of completely soaked through (I know … lovely image).

Since I was scheduled to give blood this morning at 7:00 AM, I had to get up and out of the house even earlier than usual and managed to make it out the door around 4:55 AM this morning. If you had suggested that I’d be out exercising at 4:55 in the morning a few years ago I’d have you certified as completely nuts; but there I was running down the dark streets of north Phoenix with my dog in tow well before sun rise.

My pace this morning was much stronger than yesterday; completing the first mile in less than 9 minutes. I held this pace for the next 3 miles and slowed down a little as I started climbing the hill through mile 5. Interestingly, I got distracted thinking about a work related problem running down the back side of the hill on mile 6 and didn’t pick up any additional time. The legs must have gone back to the same cadence as the first 3 miles automatically. I usually pick up 30 seconds on my average on this jog down the hill.

I broke the rules and looked down at my watch as I started mile 7, a flat road through a residential community. Doing a little mental gymnastics I figured that I could finish 8 miles under 1:10:00 if I only pushed myself on the last two miles. Why 1:10 was important is anyone’s guess, but sometime around 6 AM this morning, it was important to me.

I finished up mile 7 in 8:41, only a few seconds faster than mile 6; so I knew I had to get my butt moving on mile 8. I completed mile 8 in 8:05 but this wasn’t sufficient to get below my irrational time target of 1:10:00. I finished the 8 mile loop in 1:10:07.

This is my "easy week" and my training calendar has me running two more 8 mile loops before I can start up again with any speed training or longer runs. We’ll see what absurd mini-goals my ego imposes tomorrow.

Keep running

Training for the week

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:55/mi pace
Wed – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:34/mi pace
Thr – 8.0 miles, easy, 9:16/mi pace
Fri – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:46/mi pace

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why rush?

Another run around Cooper’s Loop this morning, with the dog in tow. Instead of charging along with the wind in my face as I did yesterday, I held back for the first 3 miles and just enjoyed the run. Don’t know what the splits were(they are in my Garmin, but I haven’t looked yet), but I imagine I was running somewhere around the 9:20 range. I picked up the pace on mile 4 and mile 5 running closer to a 9:00/mi pace and then settled back down for the final 3 miles. Overall average pace for the 8 miles worked out to 9:16.

Somewhere along mile 3 a diesel truck drove by and the mild odor of diesel exhaust caused me to have vivid memories of one of my favorite places to run; along La Garone River in Toulouse France. In the mornings, you can run for miles along the river with virtually no one else about. It’s very peaceful. It’s funny how a disgusting odor brought up such a lovely image.

Keep running

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:55/mi pace
Wed – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:34/mi pace
Thr – 8.0 miles, easy, 9:16/mi pace

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cooper's Loop


I’ve christened my new 8 mile run “Cooper’s Loop”. Named after my black lab who has had to run this course twice in two days without regard for his preferred pace. Of course I don’t have a clue what pace he wants to run, but I suspect it is a tad slower than we set today. When we are going nice and slow, he either runs directly on my left foot or slightly out in front. When we push up the pace, he tries to run directly behind me as if he is trying to draft behind me.

The first 100m of this course are uphill, which gets my heart beating really fast during the first 30 seconds. Although this is followed by an similar downhill on the other side of the hill, overall, the first mile is up. The next 3 miles are flat with only one traffic light of any significance. I hit this light both Tuesday and Wednesday, but it cycles quickly and doesn’t break up the flow of the run. Mile 5 is all uphill with another light half way up. I reached this light just as it turned red today and had to wait nearly 2 minutes for the signal to change. The traffic on the cross-street is too fierce to attempt a sprint across against the light; unfortunately, I really struggled trying to get back in gear once the light turned green. The combination of waiting around and running uphill were too much for my legs.

The final hill crests right after the 6 mile mark and its all downhill most of the way back to the house. Mile 6 flys by, although traffic along this section is moving along at 50-60 MPH, so there was plenty of car generated wind pushing me back. The dreaded mile 7 is a straight shot down a residential street. No cars to speak of and several nice people out walking their dogs in the morning before the sun heats up the landscape. Mile 8 is back out on the main roads with the end point in sight for the last 1/2 mile. This provides extra motivation to pick up the pace after an hour on the road.

We finished up this morning with an 8:34/mi average pace. This is certainly the fastest I’ve ever covered 8 miles in a training run. It will be interesting to see how I feel on Thursday morning. I didn't have a clue I was running this fast while I was on the road.

Hope your week is going great.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:55/mi pace
Wed – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:34/mi pace

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Easy does it

This week is an easy week on my training schedule. Although my plan calls for six 7 mile easy runs, I missed two good runs last week due to hamstring problems; therefore, I think I’ll probably bump up the mileage a little as the week progresses.

I really like my new (and improved) 8 mile loop and decided to take another shot at it for an easy run this morning. Temperatures are still elevated in central Arizona and the humidity is relatively high; well over 50%. However, the sun is coming up later and later and I’ve got plenty of time to get in an hour in the morning before the sun edges up over the McDowell Mountains.

This morning’s run was totally uneventful. No snarling dogs, no erratic drivers, no mean people, just plenty of running. Although the run started out very sluggish, with my thighs feeling as though they’d already run 20 miles before I took one step, everything loosened up after the first mile and I settled down into a nice sub 9:00/mi pace for most of 8 mile loop.

With any luck, I’ll be able to repeat tomorrow.

Have a great week running.

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 8.0 miles, easy, 8:55/mi pace

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Uncharted Territory

The weather gods cooperated this morning and kept the temperature relatively low (83F/28C) and humidity in check (51%) and a thin layer of altostratus clouds hanging in the eastern sky kept most of the sun's direct light from toasting my skin after sunrise.

I mapped out an 8 mile loop north of my house for my attempt to increase my long run out to 16 miles. Once again, the Phoenix street grid system provided a nearly perfect loop (7.99 miles per lap). This course raises and falls 200 feet over the 8 mile loop and includes main roads with wide bike paths as well as narrow neighborhood streets.

I started out with 3 very slow miles (9:35, 9:22, 9:22), wanting to be careful not strain my hamstrings. I picked the up the pace to around 9:07 over the next 3 miles while running up the hill and felt strong as I topped the hill on the 6th mile. I held mile 7 at about the same pace and slowed down a little on mile 8 at the end of the 1st loop.

I stopped briefly at the end of the first lap and filled up with water from my thermos before heading out on the 2nd lap. Mile 9 was ok, but I started filling my head with all sorts of negative thoughts on mile 10. I had bonked on mile 10 last week. There was no reason to suspect I’d bonk again, but it has been 3 weeks since I’ve run over 10 miles in one run and the negative thought gremlins were working overtime. To overcome the negative voices screaming in my head, I forced myself to think about anything except running. I was delighted once my Garmin beep at the completion of the 10th mile; I’d made it past 10 and could get on with the rest of the run in silence.

I climb back up the hill over the next 2 miles, with mixed results. I completed mile 11 in 9:05, but mile 12 took 9:31; at least I was still moving forward. 13, 14 and 15 sailed by, completing both 14 and 15 in 9:05 . Then it was on to mile 16.

I’ve never run 16 miles, so I was in uncharted territory at this point. My pace picked up considerably on this flat section on the course as I turned the corner and started heading home. I actually felt as if I was being pulled along by a rope tied to my waist. At this point in a run, I usually feel as if I have a 50 pound weight tied around my waist, so this was a nice feeling. I hope I can figure out how to make it happen in a race! There is a short hill at the very end of this run, but I kept charging ahead and finished the last mile in 8:28.

Despite my hamstring problems at the beginning of the week, this turned out to be a fairly good week of running. I got in two good 8 mile runs and my first ever 16 mile run, plus the strangest speed session (sans watch) on Thursday. I hope your week has gone well.

Training for the week

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 6.0, easy, 9:03/mi pace
Wed - Rest Day
Thr - 7.3 miles, 5x800m w/400m recovery
Fri - 8.3 miles, easy, 9:11/mi pace
Sat - 8.3 miles, easy, 9:02/mi pace
Sun – 16 miles, long, 9:16/mi pace

Total for the week: 45.9 miles

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Drowned Rat

8 miles scheduled, 8.3 miles completed. Our summer monsoon season is in full swing and we had another large storm roll through the valley last night, driving down temperatures. In fact, the temperature was a relatively cool 77F (22C) this morning. Of course, the humidity was sitting around 83% and the dew point was 72F. At one point, I could see actual fog hanging over north Scottsdale, 10 miles to the east of me.

My run this morning was, for the most part, unremarkable. My left hamstring performed without complaint, although both quads were sore by the time I got back to the house. My mile splits were nice and even, with the exception of mile 7. For the second day in a row, mile 7 was 10 seconds slower than the average. This mile is a straight flat section; my strength must start to wane after I get through the first 6 and then pick up after 7

This morning’s picture was taken 20 minutes after I got back to the house. My light blue running shirt is completely soaked, as was every other piece of running gear. I don’t know how you folks living with this sort of humidity do it day in and day out. I know I complain about running in 97F (36C), but running in this humidity is something else altogether.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Training for the week

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 6.0, easy, 9:03/mi pace
Wed - Rest Day
Thr - 7.0 miles, 5x800m w/400m recovery
Fri - 8.3 miles, easy, 9:11/mi pace
Sat - 8.3 miles, easy, 9:02/mi pace

Friday, August 11, 2006

8 Miles to success

I think I’m back on track. This has certainly been a slow week so far. My plan for the first 4 days of the week was:

Mon – Rest
Tue – 9 miles, easy
Wed – 9 miles, easy
Thr – 7 miles with 5x800 intervals
Total Miles - 25

My actual performance was somewhat less impressive:

Mon – Rest ( yep … I got this done without problem)
Tue – 6.0 miles, easy (what’s a few of miles between friends)
Wed – Rest (almost as much fun as 9 miles, but very necessary)
Thr – 7.5 miles with 5x800 intervals (yes!)
Total Actual – 13.5

The two biggest problems: total lack of sleep (as in … trying to stay gainfully employed by working late into the night and then getting up early to run) and the pain in my left hamstring. I’ve worked my way through the sleep problem (at least until the next crisis erupts) and I actually started paying attention to my hamstring as many of you have suggested for the past week. I’m icing it twice a day, applying compression with a 3” wrap, and performing easy stretches each night when the legs are nice and toasty warm.

Something must be working because I actually achieved my target distance this morning with an easy 8.3 mile run. The first mile felt very sluggish; however, the post-run Garmin dump revealed that I ran the first 6 miles within a few seconds of each other; nice and steady. The 7th was 10 seconds slower for no other reason than it was and the 8th was 20 seconds faster even though I had to charge up a short hill (go figure).

My left hamstring performed about as I’d expect. It was stiff getting started, but loosened up as the run progressed. I felt none of the twinges of pain that plagued me yesterday. Once I got home, I fixed breakfast and went outback to read the paper before the rest of the house awoke from their peaceful slumber. I also filled my ice pack and iced the hamstring for 20 minutes. As I sit here 7 hours later, I realize that I haven’t had any residual pain or stiffness (unlike yesterday). I think this is good.

I have another 8 miles planned for Saturday with a 15 mile planned for Sunday. I’ll just take it one day at a time and see how it goes.

Shirtless Guys: I received several comments on my suggestion that guy’s over 40 with excess body flap shouldn’t consider going shirtless. Not too surprisingly, the approvals / disapprovals voiced in the comments split along gender lines. One male suggested that I wouldn’t have voiced a negative opinion on shirtless running if I had come across a woman doing the same. I beg to differ. Although certainly unqualified to say one way or another, I can imagine that running topless for 7 or 8 miles might be physically uncomfortable (setting aside our rather prudish attitude towards women’s anatomy) and probably no more attractive than seeing a slightly over weight guy jogging about. However, the point is, I shouldn’t really care. If you all (either gender) want to go running naked in the streets, please don’t let my opinion stop you. In the end, its all running, it’s all good.

Have a great weekend.

Training for the week

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 6.0, easy, 9:03/mi pace
Wed - Rest Day
Thr - 7.0 miles, 5x800m w/400m recovery
Fri - 8.3 miles, easy, 9:11/mi pace

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Timeless 800m repeats

I took Wednesday as another rest day. I was suffering from a sore throat and general lack of sleep. Long gone are the days when I could party late into the night and still get up early without falling asleep mid-morning. Unfortunately, I’ve been trying to live on 4 to 5 hours of sleep for the last week (without the benefit of a good party) and have certainly felt the negative effects. So I managed to get to sleep before 10 PM last night and set my alarm for 4:45 this morning

Today in Thursday, so it must be track day. This is my favorite training day. I don’t have a clue why I enjoy running around a track. It must be the anticipation of seeing if I’ve made any improvement during the week, or the thrill of testing myself against the clock. What ever it is, I haven’t missed a track day since I found the track at Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) earlier this summer.

I woke up feeling good, got out of bed, searched the house for my Garmin, running shorts, head, etc (someday I’ll learn to get my gear together the night before) and got to track before 5:30. My 75 lb black-lab blocked my exit anticipating a run. He still can’t read a calendar and never remembers that Thursday is track day and he can’t come to the track. In addition, he didn’t get a run on Monday or Wednesday, so he was thoroughly annoyed that he wasn’t going once again. But rules are rules.

For the first time this summer, I was not the first person on the track. There was another gentlemen (about my age) slowly jogging around the track in the #3 lane. I’ve seen this fellow before. He runs way too fast for 100m and then walks 100m and repeats around the track. At least he was in lane 3 this morning.

I started my 2 mile warm up in lane 8 at an easy 9:30 pace. My left hamstring gave me a couple of twinges during the first lap, but settled out completely before I had a mile on my legs. Somewhere along the way on the third lap my Garmin ran out of power and turned off. NOW WHAT WAS I TO DO? I only brought the Garmin along to time my 800s and I didn’t have a back up. Should I can the entire training session and substitute an 8 to 10 miler in its place; or perhaps go home and read the paper? My mind quickly cleared and I figured what the heck, no one was forcing me to run 800s with a watch. Do them watch-less.

Running the first 800 without a watch was down right weird. I got up to speed and focused on my stride and cadence, getting around the first 800 without problem. The 2nd 800 was about the same as the first; just a nice controlled fast (fast for me) pace around the track in lane 1. On the recovery lap of the 2nd 800 I noticed that my running partner was now doing his walk / jog routine in lane 1. I caught up to him again 500m into my 3rd 800 and decided to use this as a learning experience for my friend, who was by now walking in lane 1.

As I approached within 10m, I called out, “track”, no response. I quickly repeated, “TRACK”. He heard me the second time and turned around, not really knowing what to do. He stepped into the #2 lane as I passed and said, “sorry”. “No problem”, I returned. However, I had also dramatically increased my pace as I went by him in my best macho-idiot form. This 100m sprint took its toll on the 3rd 800 and I was huffing and puffing dramatically well before I finished the 800. My little heart was just pounding up a storm on the recovery lap, sweat was dripping off my forehead, and my shirt and shorts were completely socked by now.

The 4th and 5th 800s dragged. Although I felt as if I ran the first 3 somewhere close to my usual 3:30, the 4th was probably in the 3:40 range and I have no idea how slow the 5th 800 turned out, I just wanted to get it finished by that point.

During my 1.5 mile cool down several other runners showed up at the track. It must have been recreational running day in North Phoenix and my invitation got lost in the mail. I've never seen so many people at this track early in the morning. The first guy to show up immediately took off his shirt and started slowly jogging around the track. What is about us males that makes us think this is attractive. Note to all guys over 40 (myself included), watching your flab bounce around in the breeze is not attractive; even when you are thinner than 90% of the population. God invented running shirts for a reason.

Next a guy and girl (probably college age) showed up and started with the usual stretching routine on their cold muscles. I’m glad this works for them. After 2 or 3 mintues of stretching, they proceeded to jog slowly around the track in lane 1. Oh well, at least they had their shirts on. I passed both of them during my cool down and exchanged pleasantries. After my run-in with the soar-puss on Tuesday, it was good to see that most people in Phoenix believe in some from of social etiquette, even if they don’t know how to use a track.

I got home in time eat breakfast and put up with an intense interrogation from the dog before I had to get ready for work. As I peeled my socked shirt and shorts off, I realized how ready I am for this summer to be over, fully realizing that it will be another 6 weeks before the morning temperatures are only frightfully high instead of totally insanely high low.

Hope all is well with your running.

Training for the week


Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 6.0, easy, 9:03/mi pace
Wed - Rest Day
Thr - 7.0 miles, 5x800m w/400m recovery

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sleepy Time

Not much to report today. I woke up this morning to a bright pre-dawn sky. I laid in bed a few minutes pondering the situation trying to figure out what was wrong with this picture (I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed) … ah … it isn’t suppose to be bright outside at 4:30. In fact, on this part of the planet, it should be down right dark at 4:30. It was, of course, well past 4:30. I’d slept in until 5:30 again (need to stop doing this). This late start put any thought of an 8 to 9 mile run out of reach and I knew that I'd have to settle for 6 at best.

I evidently had been thinking too much about the fabulous run I had this past Tuesday in Redmond and not enough about running in central Arizona. Opening the front door and stepping into the reality of running on the desert durning summer monsoon season hit my system like a brick. The first breath of hot muggy air was down right depressing, and it didn’t get much better as the sweat immediately started dripping, drop by drop, off my forehead as I plodded along on the first mile. It wasn’t too long before my shirt was socked. I’m sure you all just love running in soggy cloths. Just what is in “dry weave” fabric anyway?

My left hamstring let me know it was still having difficulties over the first couple of miles. Nothing too painful and no danger of a pull; it was just very tight. It eventually warmed up and stop complaining; however, my toes quickly took up the slack and started wailing about leaving the shoeless confines of a warm bed. They don’t always like to get pounded in the morning, but gave up complaining at some point during the run. (I guess I was just feeling old and cranky today)

I took a slight detour to ensure I could get in a full 6 miles on one loop back to the house, which took me down streets I don’t normally run on. The traffic on a couple of the streets was much heavier than my normal route; which could have been a result of my late start more than anything else. I also found a car smashed up from the left rear forward with what was left of the driver’s side mirror strewn over the road way. Now there is one car owner that was definitely going to have a bad hair day once they got to their car this morning (you just gotta love drivers in Phoenix).

After 4 miles of running through my own personal sauna, I picked up the pace and headed home for the last 2. I ran by a woman walking just before I passed the street leading up to my house and continued straight for another 2/10 miles to get out to 6.0 miles for the run. The woman didn’t return my “good morning” as I passed her and was even less excited about seeing me when we met up again as I walked back to my house. She put on her baseball cap as she approached and pull it low on her forehead to hide her eyes. I guess I did look quite frightful with all the sweat, wet running shirt and generally haggard look. But this is my neighborhood and I’ll be friendly if I want!

Hope your week is going great … keep running

TRAINING FOR THE WEEK:

Mon – Rest Day
Tue – 6.0, easy, 9:03/mi pace

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Another hot day in Phoenix

I set out this morning to break through my 15 mile long run barrier, but didn’t quite make it. I slept in and got a late start at 6:30. In rushing out the door I forgot to eat a power bar (I just can’t face breakfast before a long run) nor did I bring along a gel pack should I need a few more calories after 10 miles or so. I did remember to fill my water thermos and hid it in its usual location along my route.

The first 5 miles went by without incident. I was a bit stiff after yesterday, particularly my left hamstring, but it warmed up after a couple of miles. I dropped my dog off at the house after 5 miles, ran down the hill to my water bottle and took a large draught and headed off on the rest of the run.

I was really feeling strong at 6 miles and getting a bit cocky at 7. The sun was very high in the sky at this point and the temperature was already over 90, but I was feeling good, so what did it matter, I was getting going to get out to 17 miles. However, things started to change after 8 miles.

Somewhere along the 9th mile my toes started to complain and my heart felt like it was racing. I can deal with the toe pain, but the heart rate was more bothersome. I slowed my pace down to accommodate the high HR, but by the time I got out passed 10 miles, I understood that I was over heating and wasn’t doing myself any favors continuing. So I pulled up and walked the mile back to my house.

All in all, despite the lack of a long run, I had a good week. I got in two great 8 mile runs in Redmond on Tueaday and Wednesday and posted my 2nd best 5k time on Saturday. I also managed to get in over 46 miles during the week with 2 rest days. I can’t complain too much. At some point, this heat will break and I can get back to running longer runs on Sundays without having to start at 4:30 or earlier :)

Have a great week running!

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest / Travel day
Tue – 8.1 miles, easy, 9:05/mi pace
Wed - 8.0 miles, easy, 9:02/mi pace
Thr – 7.5 miles, 5x800m intervals w/ 400m recovery, 7:05/mi pace
Fri – Rest day
Sat - 3.1 miles, warm up, 9:37/mi Pace; 5k, race, 6:58/mi pace; 6.3 miles, cool down, 8:57/mi Pace
Sun – 10.2 miles, easy, 9:24/mi Pace

Total Mileage for the week: 46.3

Saturday, August 05, 2006

5K Race Report


It’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood. This week Arizona picked up the tail end of a tropical storm off of Baja and found itself inundated with rain. Phoenix didn’t get hit as bad as Tucson (see Angie's blog), but we got much more rain than usual for this time of the year. All this rain seems to have cooled things off considerably. The morning temperature for our little local 5k this morning was a tepid 83F (28c); far better than the 93F+ (34C) we suffered through two weeks ago. The skies were clear and the rain had cleared out the dust and pollution out of the air.

Gun time this morning was 6:30 (we start early out here in the summer). So I got up at 4:30 to go through my usual routine necessary to calm down enough to actually run. I still don’t know why I go so hyped up before a race, but I do. I was up at 3 times during the night looking at my Blackberry to get the current time … of course I slept through one snooze cycle once the alarm finally went off.

I left the house at 5:15 for the short drive over to the race site. The course this morning was a simple loop on packed dirt around the outside of 4 recreational baseball fields, out to an access road for a mile and then returns along the same route. It’s an easy course with plenty of room to pass (or be passed in my case). Folks tend not to get all bunched up at the start.

I got to the check in desk at 5:40 and picked up my bib number and timing chip and used the porta-potty (this is part of the pre-race routine) and headed out for a slow jog around the 5K race route. Heading out, I was especially worried about my left hamstring that had been giving me difficulty over the past week. I’ve been stretching it every night before bed and whatever I did last night worked. Both hamstrings felt fine and my toes felt fine (which was good since I had forgotten to take any Tylenol before I left the house this morning). All body parts seemed to be working OK

I got back to the start line from my warm up around 6:20 and walked over to the starting chute. I looked around for my friend David who dragged my sorry butt around my 1st 5k this summer, but he was nowhere to be found. However, I did spot Bill. Bill normally crushes me in these events and I don’t try to keep up with him. Two weeks ago, I kept Bill within 10 seconds of me for the first 2 miles, but lost him as he accelerated during the last part of mile 3. With no one around to race with, I was resolved to run my own race and not worry about anyone else. And as I’ve done in the last two races, I decided not to pay any attention to my Garmin; setting it up to auto-pause. This way, it keeps track of my pace for post race analysis, but I don’t get hung up on starting it as I cross the start line or turning it off when I cross the finish line. It just operates in back ground.

The field this morning was considerably smaller than race #4; no doubt owing to the fact that this race was held in the far north end of Phoenix at the edge of civilization. It’s a 40 to 50 mile drive to get to this spot from the communities in the far East Valley (Phoenix is known as the “Valley of the Sun”) and many folks don’t bother with that sort of drive for a 6:30 AM start. But there were still 465 happy people lined up and ready to go.
The gun went off at 6:30 and we started the race on a dirt course around the outside of the baseball fields. This is Arizona, so there was plenty of dust kicked up during the starting burst out of the gate. It was bad enough for me and I got to the start line 4 seconds after the gun went off. I can only imagine that the dust was quite dense by the time the 465th person crossed the line.

The course proceeded around the baseball park to the access road on the west side of the property and headed south into the desert. The road was paved with a very course asphalt so there was no trouble with footing and no dust! I had burst out on the start as always, but quickly got into my rhythm with a short stride and high cadence (high for me). I was getting passed by faster runners every 10 seconds or so, but I felt as if I was passing more people than were passing me and the pace felt really strong. The hamstrings must have been operating without too much stress because I didn’t give them a thought and started day dreaming during the first mile which, I think, indicates that I was relaxed. For the most part, I was motoring along nicely.

Somewhere around the mile 1 marker I looked up and realized that Bill was only 10 seconds in front of me. I was a bit shocked since I had expected him to be long gone by now. I must be maturing (it was bound to happen). None of my old macho-idiot tendencies erupted and I stayed in my own little race. A year ago, I would have tried to run him down at this point … only to crash and burn later.

I took another time check on Bill at the turn and was still 9 seconds behind him; no worries. I went around the turn myself and hit and slowed considerably. After running a nice smooth cadence for 1.5 miles (plus a few meters), going into the little stutter-step maneuver around the marker took its toll. It took 100m before I got back up to speed and dialed into my pace. I know every course can’t be a looped course, but I really HATE these little turn-arounds. On the other hand, everyone has to do them, so I might as well learn how to do it right.

At the mile 2 marker I was still feeling strong, although very conscious of the sun beating on my skin (you just got to love running in Arizona this time of year). My buddy Bill was still 9 seconds in front of me and appeared to be running strong. When we made the turn back on the dirt track to complete the loop around the baseball fields, I was only 8 seconds behind him and it was finally time to start kicking it up a notch.

I knew I had less than a half mile to go, so there was no sense holding the nice conservative, comfortable pace any longer. It was now time to run. Unfortunately, Bill seemed to have the same idea and started pulling away. Bill, of course, hadn’t the faintest idea that I was now trying to chase him down. He was simply running his race, oblivious to the 175 pound maniac running 8 seconds behind him. I cut the gap down to 4 seconds as we passed the 3 mile marker and kept on trucking (again, Bill having no idea that he was participating in this foot race). I had my little legs spinning about as fast as they were going to go, but I just couldn’t catch him before we crossed the finish line. I ended up finishing in 21:38, 2 seconds behind Bill.
Although my time was 2 seconds slower than the 5k I ran 2 weeks ago, I’m feeling very good about my time. Since this race is the last of series, I was able to compute the average time difference between this race and the last of all individuals that finished ahead of me in both races (yes, I am a data junkie). The average difference between the two races was 14.2 seconds slower. That is, I only slowed down 2 seconds compared to much better runners slowing down by 14.

On a happy note, my friend Beth is back and running. She hurt her back trail running in Phoenix a few months ago and hasn’t raced since. She ran this race and ran with her husband. Slower than her normal blazing pace, but she got all the way around. Beth is standing to my left in the picture at the top of this post.

Keep Running

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest / Travel day
Tue – 8.1 miles, easy, 9:05/mi pace
Wed - 8.0 miles, easy, 9:02/mi pace
Thr – 7.5 miles, 5x800m intervals w/ 400m recovery, 7:05/mi pace
Fri – Rest day
Sat - 3.1 miles, warm up, 9:37/mi Pace; 5k, race, 6:58/mi pace; 6.3 miles, cool down, 8:57/mi Pace

Thursday, August 03, 2006

800s on the oval


It's Thursday, therefore you can be sure to find me at PVCC's track at some ungodly hour of the morning. This morning I had the entire track to myself for the front end of my warm up, but people (by people, I mean walkers) started showing up before I had completed two miles. In addition, another gentleman (probably my age) showed up to run. It always good to have some company.

The warm up went slower than normal. Usually I have the same problem every time I step on a track - I go too fast; but not this morning. With my trip to Seattle this week and additional work pressures I've haven't been sleeping much at night; 4 to 5 hours at most. I think the lack of sleep caught up to me this morning.

I sort of stumbled around the track for 8 laps at a 10/mi pace. I couldn't believe my watch. My time on each lap of the warm-up was about 2:30, sometimes more. Throughout the warm-up, I continued to feel tightness in my left hamstring. I hoped the feeling would go away after a couple of miles, but no such luck. At the end of the warm up I stopped and took a big hit off my water bottle, thinking this would be refreshing - it wasn't. But it was time to run 800s.

My goal time for each 800 was 3:19. This seemed doable. I'd done better in California last month, so why not today. 30 feet into the first lap I realized I wasn't going to meet this target. My left hamstring tightened up, restricting my stride and my cadence wasn’t near high enough to make up the difference. I was nowhere near on pace to make 3:19 and pulled up before I'd gone 150m. I simply continued to jog around the track determined to try again, at a slightly slower pace.

Once I got back to the start line, I took off again; but much much slower than my first attempt. I hit the 200m mark at 50+ seconds and the first 400m at 1:45. I finished the first 800 in 3:31. The pattern repeated for all 5 800s, except the 3rd. On the back stretch of the 2nd lap, I started day dreaming and lost focus; resulting in a dramatic slow down. I tried to recovery, but couldn’t make up the entire time deficit. I must have AADD.

Final 800 times: 3:31, 3:30, 3:35 (oops), 3:31, 3:32

This afternoon I looked at my running log and realized that this morning's performance was the nearly the same work-out I’d done on the same track on June 27th. So, other than the senior moment on the 3rd 800, I did ok. My hamstring also felt a lot better after I’d finished.

I have another 5k scheduled for Saturday morning in North Phoenix, so I’m taking Friday off as a rest day. I’ll be back with a race report on Saturday.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest / Travel day
Tue – 8.1 miles, easy, 9:05/mi pace
Wed - 8.0 miles, easy, 9:02/mi pace
Thr – 7.5 miles, 5x800m intervals w/ 400m recovery, 7:05/mi pace
Fri – Rest day

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

River Running in Redmond

Took another 8 mile run from my hotel to the Sammamish River this morning. As was true yesterday, so was it today: low humidity and 53F (12c). Weather you just can't beat. And as was the case on Tuesday ... no one out running!!!!!! I basically ran the same course as I did yesterday except that I turned north along the river, instead of heading south. Unlike yesterday, I didn't have a bicycle to chase down on the hill climb along mile 6, so I plodded along at a blazing 9:28 pace. The hill raises 300 feet in 1.3 miles the 520 freeway ... with an average gradient of 4.4%. The first 0.4 miles is much steeper ... closer to 6.6%; no wonder I was able to chase down a bicycle yesterday.

Not much else to report today. I flew back to Phoenix this afternoon. America West (aka US AIR) is using the crappy old 737s they picked up from the merger with US Air for this route now. I've got nothing against Boeing airplanes, but the seat pitch on the US Air planes feels like 15 inches which is a bit tight for me. Fortunatley, I got an upgrade this afternoon, so at least I was comfortable.

I included a few pictures from Redmond this week for your enjoyment.

Keep running

Training for the week:

Mon – Rest / Travel day
Tue – 8.1 miles, easy, 9:05/mi pace
Wed - 8.0 miles, easy, 9:02/mi pace


PICTURES FROM HEAVEN



Half way down the 1.3 mile hill heading towards the Sammamish River



The Sammamish River at the South Trail Head



Sammamish River Trail 1 mile from South Trail Head




Sammamish River Trail looking south with Mt. Rainier in the background




My place for pizza in down town Redmond. Doesn't look like much, but has a great little bar with plenty of Mack and Jack beer on tap.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The future is now

I’ve seen the future. No, I’m not clairvoyant; I’m just spending a few days in Redmond Washington. Temperatures are in the low 50’s. Yes … a spot in the continental US with morning temperatures in the low 50’s. This is what fall will feel like for the rest of us. (of course, fall in central Arizona doesn’t start until mid-October, but that’s a completely different issue)

It’s been a couple of months since I made my way to Redmond and my daily easy run mileage has increased dramatically since I was here last. Longer runs require new courses, so I got a chance to see a few areas of town formally unreachable from the hotel.

This morning, I followed the pathway along the 520 freeway north (ish) towards down-town Redmond until it ended at the intersection with Lake Sammamish Pkwy. Crossing the parkway, I found another trail running along the Sammamish creek (which we would call a river in Arizona). This is an idyllic trail running along the side of the creek with morning birds chirping and unseen animals (probably not coyotes) rustling in the bushes. And as is usually the case with these public works projects … there was absolutely no one on the trail. Doesn’t anyone get up in the morning in this town? I followed the path south until it ended in a large park and ran around the park a bit until my Garmin indicated I had completed the first 4 miles and turned around to head back.

The most remarkable thing about the run up to this point, other than the mongo hill I had to run down along 520, was the fact that I was dry … completely dry. I’d just completed 4 miles at a 9:00/mi pace and I was DRY. Nary a drop of perspiration graced my brow. I must have died and gone to runner’s heaven. Again … where is everyone? With weather like this I’d expect the entire running community in Seattle would be out on the trails. Perhaps I’d missed the NO RUNNERS allowed signs :)

The first mile of the return was pretty much the same as the run out. However, once I crossed Lake Sammamish Pkwy and started heading up the hill, the fun really kick into high gear. I’d missed the light at the intersection; however, just before the light turned red, a bicyclist brushed by me without comment and scooted across the road under the yellow and headed up the hill and out of sight. Why he felt it necessary to give me the brush back, I don’t know .. no sorry, no excuse me … no nothing, he just kept peddling

After the light changed to green, I took off up the hill and begin the 1.3 mile climb. The first 200 yards is very steep, probably well in excess of 15% (it looked straight up after 100 yards) but then settles down to a nice 5-10% grade for most of the climb. When I turned the corner after the initial nightmare climb, I notice Mr Brushback only 100 yards in front of me peddling in his granny gear (no disrespect intended to grandmothers). I was gaining on the SOB. It only took a few hundred yards before I caught up to his bicycle. A quick look down at my Garmin indicated I was trotting up the hill somewhere around 8:45/mi pace at this point.

I exchanged pleasantries with the axxhole as I surged by him, leaving the impression that this hill was no problem at all and wished him a good day. I was feeling pretty smug after catching the bicycle on the hill until another rider blew by me. Oh well … guess I not all that tough after all.

I eventually got to the top of the hill and increased the pace a little more on the rolling hills heading back to the hotel and finished the last mile in 8:24. I did start sweating on the climb and my shirt was a tad damp after 8 miles, but I certainly felt like I could turn around and do it again. I don't think I'd have thought this in Phoenix.

We’ll see if I can actually do it again tomorrow morning. My hamstrings took a beating on the climb out and are a bit stiff this afternoon. Everything else seems to fully functional. I’d send some of this weather to everyone if I could, but in the meantime we just need to focus what it will be like when everyday is like this

Keep running

Training for the week

Mon – Rest / Travel day
Tue – 8.1 miles, easy, 9:05/mi pace