Monthly Archives: September 2006

rest up?

i’d told myself that after the race in utah i’d rest up – maybe take a week off of running.  i had the same problem after new orleans in feb though – i’m just too ‘up’ to rest.  also the weather here in seattle has been great.  you just can’t let that opportunity go by.
tonight i went running with some of my eastside runner friends.  this crowd is called the ‘bashers’ (don’t know why).  they tend to be mostly masters runners, a bit older than i, and pretty fast too.  i like running with them because they push me harder than i anticipate running.  tonight was no exception.
we did about 5 miles.  we started out slowly enough, but by the time we were running in, we were porbably going at about a 7:20-7:30 pace.  my right ankle and calf were pretty well cooked.  so i really should rest now, or i’ll have to anyway.
beyond running …
have gone through a bunch of the pictures i took in utah.  for someone who takes so many pictures, i don’t think i have a very good yield.  i probably took about 800-900 pictures last week – most of them experiments with different exposire values, and camera features like bracketing that i hadn’t used very much.  there wasn’t a whole lot else to do in logan, and it was a lot of fun.  but a lot of the pictures were kinda throwaways. 
out of these many experiments came some nice photos too.  i mostly used my new 105 mm macro lens, and my 18-70 midrange lens.  other than shooting pics at the usu volleyball game, i mostly kept the 70-200 f2.8 lens holstered.  i found myself looking for ways to use the new lens that were fun.  not sure the results have tons of artistic merit, but i’m posting some of them as a photo album here.  let me know what you think – particularly if you’ve got some constructive criticism.

at the top of utah

i’m writing this from my hotel room in logan utah.  yesterday, i ran my fastest marathon so far : 3:40:24.
i’d highly recommend the race to others.  it was beautiful – the first 14 miles wound down through blacksmith fork canyon.  there were lots of volunteers on the course, always plenty of gatorade and water available.  when we came into town the traffic was controlled.  and the people in town were very very friendly to the 2000 runners and their families who invaded (quite a few came from out of town).  can’t say enough nice about the race.
up front i need to say that the first 18 miles were downhill.  and that 1-2% grade was definitely a factor.  i think all of my mile splits were under 8:50 – many of them were closer to 8:15.  also – until the late miles, i kept my heart rate below 160.  going downhill definitely helped that.
but i negative split too.  i ran the first half in 1:51 and the second in 1:49.  that meant i held back on the hill, and turned it up on the flats.  also – i  ran at least one sub-8:15 in last few miles.  that’s when my heart rate was pushing 175, and my legs were jelly.  that’s where i think my training was the big factor.  after running poorly at deadwood in june, i revisited my regimen.  i structured my running a lot more – doing at least one speed workout per week (two when i wasn’t running really long).  until i got hurt right before top of utah, i kept to the schedule faithfully.  doing all of those 800 meter repeats gave me the confidence to know that i could speed up when i needed to.
however, the bigger difference was the form changes i implemented based on danny dreyer’s chi running book.  five or six times yesterday, i checked in on my cadence, confirming that it was constant (around 79-81).  several times per mile, i made sure i kept a straight spine and that i had a bit of a forward lean.  then i’d soften my legs and think about how my foot and arm motions formed two wheels.  each time my heart rate would rise, i’d shorten my stride a bit, and breathe air into the bottom of my lungs (trying to relax).  these are all little things, but they added up to more efficient running.
not sure what race is next – i’m going to enjoy this one for a bit before deciding!

on my feet again

turf toe is what i got the other day when i face-planted while running.  essentially i sprained my left big toe.  i’ve been holding my breath, hoping it got better quickly – because at first it hurt a lot – almost too much to walk.
kris mentioned the injury to her chiro the other day, who then suggested that i get in to see an orthopedist post-haste.  i did so, but by the time the appointment rolled around i was already miuch better.  so the discussion with the doctor was more talking about running (he’s a fast miler).
so in a fit of irrationality, i took off for a 90 min run on cougar mtn while driving back from the doc.  it was really nice, but probably not altogether wise.  the toe flared up a bit while i was out, but i was able to manage it.  i’ll go for an easy 6-7 tomorrow, but opt out of the mile repeats i was planning.
feel pretty lucky about this.  apparently some cases of turf toe waylay you for months.


the last two weeks before a marathon are all about trying to stay healthy.  i might have blown it today.
i went out for an easy 3 1/2 mile run after work.  it was just was the doctor ordered – a way to stretch out a bit and enjoy the fading sunshine.  i did a loop i hadn’t done in months.  there’s a steady uphill of about a mile, and a nice 1/2 mile stretch along a trail.  as i ran along the trail i kicked a bit harder than usual, and ended up flat on my face in the dirt.
okay – head fine, ribs fine, knees fine.  got up and tried to run but couldn’t.  i think i may have sprained the big toe on my left foot.  i hope i didn’t, that it’s more minor.  right now, i can’t walk on that foot without tensing it.  it will definitely crap up my mechanics, assuming i can even push off on that foot.
looks like at least two or three days of rest before i’ll know much more.  sure would stink if i can’t run in utah.

am i ready?

this morning, i did my final long run before the top of utah marathon in three weeks.  i ran 26.5 miles over rolling hills in the redmond watershed preserve.
first of all, it’s nice running there again.  the preserve’s been closed for most of the summer, as a gas line running the length of it is replaced.  the uw x-country team ran there this morning too.  they ran past us fast, chatting up a storm, making us old folks feel like we were standing still.
second of all, 26 miles is a hell of a long way.  i was fine until about 19.  then my hamstrings tightened up, my calves tightened up, and i forgot to shut off the negative messages for a while so i whined to myself a bit.  at the very end, i threw in 3 minute-long accelerations – running at about a 7 min/mile pace (my training pace for the rest of the run was closer to 10 min/mile). 
i checked in on my cadence several times – it got slower over the course of the run (down to 74 from 80).  i did belly-breathing early, but forgot to do it later in the run.  i leaned carefully, trying to keep my column straight.  and i did another mind trick that i read about in this month’s runner’s world magazine – touching each fingertip to my thumbtip over and over as i ran – both hands at the same time.  it’s a little harder than it sounds and keeps your mind off of the seemingly endless slog through the woods.  little things like that can help, but they have no purpose other than taking the focus off of your physical state.
it got warm today.  right now it’s about 84.  it climbed into the high 70s when i was running.  this is supposed to be as warm as it gets in logan later this month.  i drank lots of sport drink – about 58 oz of accelerade and another 48 of gatorade (including the 16 oz i chugged down right after finishing).  that’s a lot more than i have been drinking.  i felt kind of bloated for it too – but being hot, i was very thirsty.
i only had company for the first 5.5 miles.  ram, kim, leslie, laine, and the two marks all bailed on me after that.  most of them are planning to do races in the midwinter, so their mileage is going to be lower.  it was a bit of a bummer not to have company, but i’ve been mostly training solo for utah so i’m used to it.  conundrum – i like social running, but really like the results i’m feeling from my more structured training (which i’ll never convince anyone else to do at the same time).  so – yeah – i run solo.
of course the run finished me for the day.  kris and the girls buzzed all over the house cleaning while i sat on my back end talking about being tired.  that only works sometimes, but i really meant it today.
overall, a pretty good run.  i am a bit concerned about how i’ve been tightening up – but since i’m not stretching at all afterwards, what else would i expect?

back from mosquito country

flew back to seattle the other night.  very nice to be home.  our trip was mostly relaxing, and the flights were nicely uneventful.
as things turned out, the weather in the midwest was really nice.  it got warm some days, but not ‘collapse into a pool of sweat’ type of warm.  we enjoyed some nice visits with people too.
it’s nice when the kids get to reconnect with their cousins there.  so far, they’re able to pick up where they left off previously.  i wonder if/when that stops.
dad’s birthday was last night.  we had a great dinner at his favorite vegetarian restaurant.  my brother flew up from SF this week – it’s been nice seeing him too.
getting ready for a long (hopefully 26 mile) run tomorrow.  may go to the watershed, or i may run from home out to there, and suck it up on the hills.  oy.