Monday, February 27, 2012

The Journey to a Barefoot 50-mile Endurance Run - Weeks 11 and 12 of 18

Sorry for the delay in posting.  It's been a crazy two weeks.

So, update on the illness... I ended up with the flu two weekends ago.  I've felt great for the past two weeks. 

The mileage has been a real challenge lately.  I've continued to get good speed work in, but the long runs have suffered due to my nearly month-long illness. 

On President's Day Weekend, I managed to get a good 6+ miles in on Saturday while training my group.  Sunday, I was pretty tired, so I took a day of rest.  Monday I went out for a goal of at least 20 miles (with a goal of 24, if I could manage).  I planned a nice loop run that would keep me out of "short-cutting" back home for at least 18 miles.  Well, as it turned out, at the 7.25 mile mark the road I planned to take around a delta island was a private hunting ground and private road.  So, I had to turn around.  This turned out to be a good thing at first because I had to use the restroom and needed some food.  I stopped off at my house at just under 15 miles to use the restroom and grab a quick bite to eat. 

After leaving the house, I was starting to feel severely sapped of energy.  By mile 16, I felt like heading home.  I chalked it up to the mental game that often happens.  I always tell people that distance running is 98% mental and 2% physical (if you've been training).  I forced myself past a couple of streets that would have led me home.  I calculated that I needed to get to about 17.25 miles before turning around to hit a total of 20 miles for the day.  I got to 17 and I was DONE.

I think that it was my first official "BONK" that I've ever had during a run.  On the way home, I forced myself repeatedly to try and run.  I could barely get 50 meters at a time before having to walk.  I wound up at my house with 19 miles for the day.  Overall, I am not upset by this.  I needed to get close to 20 and I did that.  Being sick and not running much for a month really takes a toll on endurance.

Last week, I tried to get back on schedule.  I had great intentions and here it is BUT ...

Tuesday's run went great with the group - 4 miles.

Wednesday night I went out for a 6 mile run - at 3+ miles I came upon these little guys... I'm going to digress for a moment . . .

I was on a dark stretch of road behind a construction site, near a park but just outside the neighborhood of houses.  I saw the dogs and stopped running (I've been chased a few times before).  The black one ran out into the street a little scared.  I looked around for someone walking them, no one to be found.  I started walking slowly.  The white one ran up to me and started licking my toes.  It was then that I realized she was only a puppy.  As soon as I knelt down, she jumped all over me very excited.  The black one came running over to join in the fun.  I felt for collars - check.  But no tags - :(

It was late, about 9 pm.  The road is a thoroughfare out of the neighborhood so cars go at least 35 mph.  I couldn't leave these guys out on the road, so I coaxed them to come along with me.  They happily ran with me for a shortened route home (just over a mile).  So.... they've been with my family for almost a week now.  They were not microchipped.  I've put signs in and around the neighborhood that I found them.  No calls.  So, we're in the process of looking for a good home for them.  I wish we could keep them, but we already have 2 large lab mixes and a small yard.  So for now, we're just enjoying their company (most of the time - puppies like to chew on expensive stuff).

Back to running...

Saturday, I had a good 7+ mile run with my group.  However, the flu hit my house again - my wife and son falling victim this time.  Sunday came and I felt a bit achy.  I can't believe it.  I get the other strain of flu within 2 weeks of the first!!!  I think the flu hit me lightly - I felt a bit better today.  I do have  a slight cough again, but I'm hoping it's part of this new allergy thing I've been having.

Exciting news - there is a training run on the American River 50 course in March covering about 23 miles.  I'm going to be meeting up with Jason Robillard and hopefully a few others to run the course.  Looking forward to it very much.

Have a great week everyone! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Journey to a Barefoot 50-mile Endurance Run - Week 10 of 18

Cough - DONE! (I think)  Friday came down with the flu . . .  grrrr....

So, basically a full week of training down the tubes. 

My training group ran on their own on Saturday.  I'm such a proud coach!  They did awesome!  Me, on the other hand, I was in bed for nearly 3 days straight with dizziness and nausea.  On a lighter note, I finally got the time to watch Spirit of the Marathon.  Great documentary about the Chicago Marathon. 

It's a new week and I'm feeling better than I have in about a month!  I ran with the crew today on their second tempo run.  They all did great.  I also set a personal best (or the fastest mile I can remember).  I ran the third mile in 7:12.  Most of that mile was run at a 6:30 pace.  I can't remember ever running so fast in the past 5 or 6 years since I started seriously running.

I'm very optimistic about another personal best on my half marathon time.   My best marathon time looks like it will also be taken down a few pegs too if this trend continues. 

I have never been much for speedwork, but this training group has really inspired me.  In my efforts to give individualized attention to my runners during training sessions, I leapfrog up and back between groups of runners.  This forces me to push my pace almost to my absolute limit.  Two weeks ago, I pushed a 6 to 7 minute pace for a half mile to catch my front runners.  Today I pushed that pace for a full mile, in addition to pushing similar pace runs to catch my mid-group runners.

With the passing of the flu bug and the cough basically gone, I'm REALLY looking forward to a good serious week of training.  I got my 4 miles in today.  The rest of the week goes as follows:  Wednesday - 10 miles, Thursday 8 miles.  Saturday and Sunday are 22 and 10.  I really am looking forward to a good 20+ mile run because my month-long bout with illness came during the weeks when I was supposed to be hitting the 20-mile mark several weekends in a row.  Now, I can get down to business!

Final note, I'm looking into doing some serious stretching work with my foam roller as well as some cross-training bicycle work.  Lastly, I need to work on my core.  I'm hoping to get 1, if not 2, good days of core workouts each week in the final half of my training for the race.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Journey to a Barefoot 50-mile Endurance Run - Week 9 of 18

Well, I have reached the halfway point in my training.  I did my Tuesday and Wednesday runs without incident.  Thursday was a little short on miles.  I was dog sitting for my parents.  I figured that their border collie would love a nice 8 mile run.  However, being in a new neighborhood with all those new smells turned out to be too much of a distraction.  We ended up stopping every 50 yards or so.  The 8 mile run turned into about a 5.5 mile run/walk.

The good news was that the cough was nearly eliminated by Friday and I felt things were looking up.  Saturday morning, I was a bit sluggish on my warm up run before my training group.  However, during the group run, I did manage to push my pace down into the 6-minute range for the first time that I could remember.  I was able to hold it for a good half-mile to catch my front running group.  That was the good news.

Sunday, though, turned out to be bad news.  Cough, mostly gone, but aches and chills hit.  Damn - some kind of flu bug hit me just before noon.  By Monday morning, I was miserable.  I called it quits after a half day of work.  I slept pretty much all afternoon and night.  I managed to get back to work on Tuesday (today) and run with my group for almost 4 miles.  I was even able to break back into the 6-min/mile range for steady bursts of time.

So, I'm feeling cautiously optimistic about my training right now.  I know I need to get some serious weekend miles in if I could just shake the various illnesses.  Fortunately I still have most of 2 months to go for training.  Still time to rack up some good trail miles and hills.

Training for this week (if I can manage)
T/W/TH - 4/10/8   S/Sun - 22/10

Oh, another bright spot this week - I published my latest minimalist shoe review at  The shoe is the SKORA Base.  Take a look!