Thursday, August 29, 2013

Soggy Morning

We had a brief thunderstorm overnight, very bright and noisy but with only a little rain after all that.  Nevertheless the rain was just sufficient to make the grass trails wet and slippery, so I ran on the paved trails today.  Though the storm was over, the weather was still a factor: hazy, heavy air, with the dew point and the temperature equal at 72.

Oatmeal beneath.
I started out easy, with a run/walk ratio of 20/20, but found myself pushing harder as I ran the 5.6 miles.  I adjusted to avoid running downhill, and to run continuously when going uphill - this is good training and helps avoid injury from the downhill pounding.  Except for the heavy air and the resulting overly-sweaty running clothes, this run felt great.  No pains.

Loops: 3.53 mi in 39:05, pace 11:05; and 2.07 mi in 21:34, pace 10:25, overall 1:00:39 for 5.60 mi, pace 10:50.  I'm happy with that for today.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hot Recovery Run

We went out at seven again, to run four miles in the cool of the morning, but the temperature was already 80 degrees with a dewpoint of 72.  Yuk.  I'd rather it were 32 and snowing.  Really.

I had a very nice, easy run though, a recovery run after Sunday's 17 miles.  No pains to mention.  The time for 4.03 miles was 47:54, for a pace barely faster than 12 minutes per mile.  Good enough for today - it's a masterpiece.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Seventeen Miles

Sunday, August 25, 2013:

I’ve never been so glad to get back to air conditioning in my life!  We ran in the park as usual, but with a forecast in the high 90's we started early enough to be at the park before the gates opened at 6:00 am, and were running by 6:05.  The temperature was already 79 with a dewpoint of 70.  My visor cap was dripping from sweat within three miles.

I ran 3.5 miles on the paved trails first, while the sun came up, to avoid running on the rutty, irregular grass/dirt trails in near-dark.  Then I ran a loop of 6.3 miles and another of 7.1 on the grass trails, each time returning to the car to refill my water bottle.  The last loop was difficult for me, very hot, and the 20-ounce bottle that I was carrying ran out before I finished.  The sun melted my stamina away, and the only saving grace was a nice 10-mph breeze, without which I might have quit early.  Though I was trying to do a 20/20 run/walk, I walked more than that in the last mile or two, and felt like I was finishing a marathon. Uff-da.

Sunny Morning in the Park
Photo by Sunshine
Whining:  I found myself leaning to the left today, starting around mile four or five.  I don’t know why this happens, except it’s probably related to a lack of "core strength."  I should work on that - I wonder if I will.  It happens only once in a while, usually on a long run or a marathon (happened in Honolulu), but once it starts, it’s hard to fight it.  Further, my body wants to turn in the direction that I'm leaning, and toward the end of this run I had trouble landing my feet where I meant to put them, not exactly what you want on a rutty trail.

More whining: Both knees hurt a little bit in the middle of the run, seemingly in the knee joints themselves.  This was not a familiar feeling; at least I don't remember it in the 11 years since I started running. Caused by the heat?  Happily, though, the pain went away.

Loops: 41:25 (3.53 mi, pace 11:44), 1:18:34 (6.33 mi, pace 12:25), 1:30:19 (7.09 mi, pace 12:44), total 3:30:18 for 16.95 mi, average pace 12:24.  It'll do for today!

Saturday, August 24:

The St Croix Valley Runners now meet at Browns Creek Park on Neal in Stillwater, 7:00 am.  We had a big group this morning, at least a dozen runners.  I ran with Charley, who wanted to go short and slow, as I did.  We finished 2.4 hilly miles in 25:14 for a pace of 10:31, better than I needed to do, actually, with a long run scheduled for the next day.

Thursday, August 22:

Afternoon In The Sun.  After returning from Mayo Clinic we three went for a short run in the park in 84-degree temps.  I ran 3.3 miles in 36:49, for a pace of 11:09.  That's faster than I intended to go, with the temperature so high, but for only three miles it wasn't a problem.  I did have to stop for a "natural break," for which I was punished by the thorns of a buckthorn shrub.  I was eight minutes away from a porta-potty but I wasn't going to make it.

As usual, I ran the uphills and walked the downhills, to minimize the pounding on bones and joints.  No pains today at all.

Tuesday, August 20:

Short recovery run.  I ran 3.01 miles in 34:17 for a pace of 11:43, plenty good for today.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fifteen Miles

We got an early start this morning, which was a good thing because the sun was full strength and the day warmed quickly.  I did three loops totaling fifteen miles, stopping at the car for water after each, and got a little slower with each loop.  The temperature was about 60 when we started and 77 when we finished three hours later.  There is some shade on these trails, but not a lot.

I really do love running here,
all the more when fall comes.
I felt good but not great today, a little more tired than I expected to feel.  Maybe I shouldn’t have run yesterday.  On the other hand it’s probably good to train on tired legs, though I wouldn’t race like that.  The warm air and hot sun were factors too.  The resulting 12-minute pace is OK for me these days, considering the difficulty of the trails.

I took four gels along the way, and carried water, drinking more of it than I had expected.  I actually ran out, but got a refill from a handy spigot in the parking lot.  I’ll have to remember where that spigot is.

Whining:  Zero!  That’s very nice.

Loops: 1:33:41 for 7.97 mi (pace 11:45), 47:43 for 4.03 (pace 11:50), 37:19 for 3.01 (pace 12:24), total 2:58:42 for 15.01, overall pace 11:54.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Three Easy Miles

Prairie restoration in process on the right of the trail
We're preparing for a 15-mile run very soon, so a three-mile jog was all that was on the menu.  To guarantee that I would run slowly enough, I stopped to take a dozen or more photos of the trail as I jogged along.  Time 35:30, pace 11:48.

Whining: Zip.  I felt great today.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

False Alarm

Yesterday’s shin-splint pain was nonexistent today, a very encouraging result of course.  Four miles on the park’s grass/dirt/sand trails, dodging horse droppings and gopher holes.  I ran/walked 30/20 on the flat, but ran continuously up hills and walked down them, for a time of 45:45 and a pace of 11:21.  Plenty good.

Whining: Absolutely zero.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shin Splints Again

Wednesday, August 14, 2013:

Or not - I’m not sure. Last night something happened in my sleep, and I woke with a pain in the right tibia, maybe three inches below the top of the bone and at least an inch toward the medial side. Location is approximate, because the pain is internal to the bone and cannot be located by palpation. The pain is significant, even causing me to limp a little at first, though it got better.

Oddly, though, it doesn’t hurt to run, leading me to suspect that this injury is not the same as the one which I first noticed on July 10, though it does seem to be in the same place. Anyway I ran 3 miles in 34:48 for a pace of 11:34. I’m a little surprised that the pace wasn’t better, because I did run up most of the hills, but of course I also walked down the other side of them.

Whining: None during the run - only the shin splints before and after.

Tuesday, August 13:

Five-mile Recovery Run. I determined to take it easy and almost did so, but I felt great so I did run up a lot of the hills. 5.2 miles in one hour and six seconds, for a pace of 11:33.

Sunday, August 11:

Half Marathon Run. This is officially a "long run" for me. Our next marathon race is eight weeks away, so it’s time to build up to a 20 mile long run. 13 miles today, 15 next week, you get the picture. Running in the morning is just wonderful these days, usually about 60 degrees, and today was no exception. I ran one loop of 6.88 miles and another of 6.33. I carried water, and took two Clif Shot gels along the way.

I am SO impressed by the boost that the gels gave me. I use the mocha flavor with 50 mg of caffeine, and that combination really helped today. 13.2 miles in 2:30:52, pace 11:26, a bit faster than last week’s 11-mile run. I doubt I could have kept the same pace going for another half marathon, but if I could it would be very close to a 5-hour marathon, on a rather difficult, hilly, grass/dirt/sand trail.

Whining: The left-foot sprain, right-leg shin splints, and right-knee PFS all showed up, but only briefly. Most of the time the run was pain-free and very enjoyable.

Friday, August 9:
Thirty-mile Week. We were in the park again today, where I ran four miles in about 45 minutes. I didn’t record the time, so it’s a guess. No problems. I ran into Mike the park director and we had a short chat. He convinced me that the sand the is on the trails in spots is natural, a result of erosion. The soil is very sandy, and I suppose the dirt part just washes away, leaving the sand, or vice-versa.

Thursday, August 8:

Five Miles in the Sun, 58:51, pace 11:19.

Wednesday, August 7:

Tartan Terrible 2013. I run this funny little 4.3-mile race every year. It’s sort of a steeplechase-ish race, over hill and dale, mostly trails, some smooth and some rough, even through a water hazard. I don’t know why I like it, but I do. About sixty runners this year, raising a little money for the 3M Club Running Club. This year I ran/walked a 60/20 ratio and finished in 46:25 or so, about 40 seconds slower than last year. The race was almost that much longer, though, with the finish line moved a couple of hundred feet, and I was particularly careful to avoid injury this year, so maybe I wasn’t really any slower. But I wasn’t any faster, either.

Whining: Zip. Pace was 10:48.

Tuesday, August 6:

Two days after the 11-mile run we went back to the park, where I ran 5.05 miles in 1:11:37, for a pace of 11:50. Good enough. No whining to speak of.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Eleven Miles

Eleven miles isn't really a long run, but lately it is for me.  It’s the farthest I've run since our last marathon in May.  Today was the perfect day for it though, 64 degrees with a little breeze.  I ran six miles on the park’s grass trails and then five more on the paved trails, using a 30/20 run/walk ratio, modified so that I ran up most hills and walked down them, to minimize the pounding on feet and knees.

Post-run breakfast/lunch.
Quinoa underneath this time
Whining: The right knee with PFS bothered just a little toward the end of the run, but not enough to limit my pace.  Otherwise the run was energizing and quite enjoyable.  NO complaint from the recently-sprained left foot.  That's in the past now.

Lots of people descended upon the park today for rowing competitions on the nearby lake.  My route took me past them twice - dozens of cute little rowing shells that didn't look like they could possibly support the people who would race in them, and many more young, fit athletes waiting their turn to race.

Splits:  1:11:58 (6.05 mi), 28:23 (2.51 mi), 28:02 (2.51 mi), total 2:08:24, average pace 11:36.  The pace on grass/dirt/sand trails was closer to 12 minutes/mile, and the pace on the paved trails was closer to 11.  No surprise there.  I still like the grass trails better.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

St Croix Valley Runners

The St Croix Valley Runners now meet at Stillwater's Brown's Creek Park, every Saturday at 7:00 am.  This morning there were just seven of us, with many regulars running in races, but that was enough that we could split up into speeds and still have a running partner.  The weather was perfect, 55 degrees, sunny, and very little wind.

Charlie and I ran a 2.4-mile loop at perhaps a 10:30 pace, running continuously, and then I ran another loop of about 2.3 miles by myself, using a 30/20 run/walk much of the time and running continuously some of the time, particularly on one long uphill.  I didn't have my watch, but I think I ran for about 51 minutes, which would make the overall pace about 10:51.  That's OK for today.  Longer run coming up.

The second loop was shorter than the first because I ran a shortcut using the old railway, now just a gravel trail, that will become a part of the Brown's Creek Trail connecting the Gateway Trail to Stillwater.  Signs say that the trail is closed, but this piece was easy running, about four tenths of a mile from Neal to McKusick Road.

Whining: None at all.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Nine More Miles

Friday, August 2, 2013:

Don't you love fresh-fruit season?
There is oatmeal under there.
Five more miles on the park's paved trails, with a 30/20 run/walk ratio.  The sprained left foot felt pretty good, the original pain gone, but there was a little pain that I interpret as arthritis.  It seemed less localized than the original sprain, and appeared even when running straight and flat.  It went away pretty quickly, however.  I think it will disappear in time.

A little over 29 miles this week.  Plenty.

Laps: 27:39, 26:36, total 54:14, distance 5.02 mi, pace 10:48.

Thursday, August 1:

Ran/walked 20/20 most of the time, 30/20 some.  No pains while running, although I do feel some ache in the sprained left foot at other times.  This does not feel bad - just healing.  3.9 miles in 44:41, pace 11:28, exactly the 5:00-hour marathon pace.  106 miles last month - it was a 31-day month!