Sunday, July 29, 2012

Week in Review 7/23 - 7/29 2012

Monday - Rest (feet still healing from blisters last week)

Tues - 4.38 mi; time 40:38; 9:37/mi pace.  Went out for an easy run, turned into an Ipod search and rescue mission...mission failed.

Wed - Speed day; 3.83 mi; time 33:53; 7:45/mi pace aside from cooldown; fartlek w/max pace 6:50/mi.

Thurs - Trail run.  6.44 mi; time 1:14; 11:35/mi pace.  112 degree heat index, and trail flooded due to heavy recent rains.  Some waist-deep wading took place.

Fri - Rest.

Sat - Trail run.  6.73 mi; time 1:06; 9:50/mi pace.  Very muddy conditions as the water level returns to normal.  Very humid, but great run overall.

Sun - Trail run/hike.  10.42 mi; time 2:17; 13:12/mi pace.  Legs felt heavy.  Cardio was solid, just not much energy in the lower legs this morning.  Trail was a mess with much damage from recent storms in the form of downed trees, washed-out sections, and flooding.  Still a great time.

Weekly total:  32 miles
Weekly time:  5:52
Mileage YTD:  1014 miles

It's been kind of a relaxed week running.  With the wicked blisters I got last week, I really didn't want to do anything too crazy until I was sure that they were healed.  The heat kicked back up this week, also, but I think at this point I'm pretty comfortable in anything up to 100 degrees.  The humidity still gets me, though.  I wish there were a way to get away from that, but I won't have to deal with that much longer.

My next residence will definitely bring more heat, but less humidity.  The family and I are heading Twentynine Palms, California for my next duty station.  Right in the heart of the SoCal high desert, I don't think the humidity will be an issue.  I will get some great running out there, and I'm really looking forward to that.  There's some mountains, and some great desert and canyon running, especially around Joshua Tree National Park. 

I've never really posted any pics of the trails around here, so I actually took a camera with me this time so that I could snap some to post.  My long runs happen on the Neusiok Trail that is located near Havelock, NC, in the Croatan National Forest.  You can get a taste of pretty much everything Coastal Carolina has to offer, such as some boggy swamp, some coastal hardwood, and thick wetland forest.  There's not too much as far as elevation gain is concerned (the section I ran today has the most, and I clocked 2675 ascent and same for descent), but it can get somewhat technical just because of the roots and log-hopping that takes place.  Anyway, here's the pics I got today, gives you an idea:

One of the boardwalks over the swampy areas.  They get pretty slimy, and often requiring walking over as not to slip.

The Neusiok Trail is part of the North Carolina MST (Mountains-to-Sea Trail), and there are several shelters for hikers along the route.  This is the view from one of those shelters.

While there are not major climbs, there's several of these little rollers (probably 20ish feet).

There are some very runnable sections of this trail, in fact, on good days, most of it is.

Nice flat open section.

If it weren't for the markings in some of the hardwood areas, it would be tough to know where the trail is in some areas that open up.

You can see where the recent storm damage is taking effect.

More flooding and downed trees from storm damage.

A good dry section.

Another boardwalk.  I believe the longest one on the trail is .25 miles.

I'll try to remember and take more pics as I get out on the trail.  There's a few other sections of the trail I plan on running in the near future, that are completely different from this one.  And, as I get out and run more trails in more locations, I'll be sure to include those!

Side note and un-related:  I tried two new flavors/brands of trail nutrition today.  The first was a Honey Stinger Vanilla was delicious.  I'm definitely going to have to get more of those.  The second was the Gu Roctane Cherry Lime flavor.  I like that the Cherry Lime wasn't too sweet.  I know for me and apparently many others, that as time goes on, I want less sweet things while running, and this fits that bill well.

Nice, relaxed week overall, with more to come in the coming weeks. 

In the meantime.....Keep Running!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big Day for me!

Just a quick 25th, 2012, I broke 1k miles running for the year!!!!  It may not be alot for some people, but it's the most I've ever done!

That is all...Keep Running!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Week in Review 7/16 - 7/22

7/16 - Rest

7/17 - MAF Run; 6.22 miles; HR 147; time 1:17; pace 11:50 mile.

7/18 - MAF Run; 5.82 miles; HR 147; time 1:16; pace 12:10 mile.

7/19 - Battalion Hike; 7.9 miles; 25 lbs pack, 30 lbs vest; time 2:27.  Physically, it was an easy day, however, I obviously wore the wrong boots/socks, because I managed to get a total of 7 blisters.  one on each heel, one on each forefoot, one on my left big toe, and one at the base of each Achilles tendon.  The ones at the base of the tendons have given me the most trouble, as they are about 1/2 dollar size.  They are going to take awhile to heel up good, so I'll keep treating them, and wait it out.

7/20 - Rest/blister surgery.

7/21 - Rest.

7/22 - Took the dog out for a hike.  4.14 miles; time 1:10.  Gear review to follow.

Total Weekly miles:   24
Miles to date 2012:    992

So I'm done for the Maximum Aerobic Function training for a bit.  I have a 15k trail race coming up in 4 weeks, and it's time to get some speed work in.  While I'm planning to use this as more of a training run than anything, I still want to perform well.  I'll start throwing in some fartlek and hill training, just to make sure I'm not going out there just to run it at a MAF pace.

The trail race I signed up for is the Qdoba Dino Series 15k, at Southwest Way park in Indianapolis.  I figure that if I'm going to be up there for some leave on my way out to California for my new duty station, I might as well get a race in.  It's just a small local series, but it should be a good fitness check if nothing else.

This was a fairly easy week, mostly due to the fact that I couldn't get any long runs in this weekend.  My feet are TRASHED thanks to the unit hike I had to do for work.  Such is military life I suppose.  It's probably going to take me a few more days to totally heel up, as my feet got pretty tore up.  I wore my favorite, most broken in boots, which in turn left me with broken up feet.  I'll keep treating them, and plan on still getting back on running hard starting in the coming week.  Note to self:  get new boots.

I got some new gear this week, and I'm pretty excited about it.  I paid a visit to my favorite website (REI) and ordered a couple things I've had my eye on for some time.  Both items are not necessarily geared towards running exclusively, but they will have their place.  I purchased the Black Diamond Distance Trekking Poles  and the Gregory Miwok 18 pack

Here's the description of the Gregory pack from

The light Gregory Miwok 18 pack is ideal for hikes, rides and other 1-day adventures. It handily stores and organizes gear for your on-the-trail activities.

  • Inspired by the bio-dynamics of the human body, the shoulder and waist belt suspension are attached with BioSync™ technology artificial tendons
  • These artificial tendons act as attachment points allowing harness to stretch into an ideal fit, moving with the body while in motion
  • On-the-fly, internal compression system allows you to keep pack compressed and snug against back; quick access compression straps are easily reached while pack is on
  • Back panel, shoulder straps and hip belt feature air-mesh to vent and wick away moisture
  • With rear zipper access for easy refilling, a sleeve for your reservoir (sold separately) and exit port system to manage the tube, this pack is completely hydration compatible
  • Front expandable, stretch-mesh pocket features 3-point compression system
  • Zippered fleece-lined MP3/electronic top pocket for storage of your portable music or electronics
  • Dual hip belt pockets stash snacks
  • Side mesh pockets keep water bottles and snacks within easy reach
  • Adjustable sternum strap and webbing loop for lashing on light gear round out pack features
  • The Gregory Miwok 18 pack is constructed from 70-denier? ultra-tear-strength coated nylon for water repellency and durability
And here's the description of the Black Diamond Poles from

The light and versatile Black Diamond Distance Z-Pole trekking poles sport a super simple and reliable folding design that is ideal for day hikers, trail runners and backpackers.

  • Innovative folding Z-Pole system offers simple, compact and reliable support with a concealed inner cord, single push-button release and speed cone deployment
  • Inspired by snow probes, speed cones at the end of each pole section ensure strength, stability and super fast deployment; each speed cone guides a pole section into place
  • A quick pull on the grip and the first pole section snaps and locks the 3 pole sections into place; flexible tube ends protect the Kevlar® center cord when folded
  • Easily replace and solidly secure pole tips with WaveLock™ tip connections
  • Right- and left-hand-specific straps are light, breathable and moisture-wicking; they feature breathable cut-out windows and easy rip-and-stick? adjustability
  • Light, non-slip EVA foam grips feature foam extensions that allow poles to be held low during short side hill traverses
  • Strong aluminum shafts stand up to everyday use on the trail
  • Pole baskets feature shaft catchers to secure pole sections when folded; note: baskets are fixed in place and cannot be switched out for snow or powder baskets
  • Black Diamond Distance Z-Pole trekking poles come with interchangeable, non marking rubber tips, carbide tips and a stow bag

I tested them a little bit today on my hike with the dog, and initial impressions are very favorable.  The poles are very light (12.35 oz per pair), and collapse into a very manageable little package.  Matter of fact, they fit perfectly into one of the side pouches of the Gregory pack. 

The pack is uber-comfortable.  I put it on, and it seems to instantly form to my body.  I didn't have much in it today, just some water and snacks for myself and the dog, but it just seems to fit me perfectly.  It's got plenty of space, without being too bulky, has what Gregory calls the Bio Sync system to help it move with your body as you move.  I have to admit, it has worked very well thus far.

Like many things, I can't give a full review on them yet, as I've only used them once for a 4 mile hike.  However, I do have a good test for them planned in about 4 weeks, so I'll keep my thoughts to myself until that takes place.  My plan is to use them for some fast-packing adventures, because I've become very intrigued in that whole concept as of late.  Once I get out west, I'll probably substitute some weekend runs for some fast-packing adventures in some mountainous terrain. 

Other than that, I'm keeping pretty busy right now just trying to get everything ready for the big move coming up.  The movers will be coming to pack up the house in two weeks.  Once that's done, the wife, kid, and dog will be heading back home, and I'll be left here in NC to finish everything up until I join them about two weeks later.  It's going to be a hectic few weeks!

That's all I've got for this the meantime...Keep Running!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Week in Review 7/9 - 7/15

7/9 - Rest Day

7/10 - Treadmill Hill workout 4.5 mi; 40:00; 2.5 mi hill program level 10; 2.0 mi speed/turnover work on 3 percent decline; 8:53/mi pace.

7/11 - Run 5.5 mi; 47:09; HR 173; 8:34/mi pace; crushed stone road.

7/12 - Run 4.23 mi; 41:25; HR 162; 9:47/mi pace; crushed stone road.

7/13 - Cycle 12.5 mi; 48:33; HR 150; 15.4 mph; MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) training day 1.  Tgt HR 140-150.

7/14 - Run 10.37 mi; 2:14; HR between 144-150; 12:56 pace; pace includes walking warmup/cool down of 12 minutes on either side; road.

7/15 - Early morning run 14.0 mi; 2:41; HR 144-150; 11:06/mi pace.

Total Weekly mileage:  51 miles
Total Weekly time:        7:52
Mileage to date 2012:   968

Started reading a new book this week; The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing by Dr. Philip Maffetone.  Seems like this is a book that many of the top endurance athletes go by as a sort of training bible.  The big thing is MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) training, which is basically training at your maximum aerobic heart rate.  Once you determine your heart rate, that pretty much sets the "pace" for you to perform at in order to determine a strong aerobic base.  I'm going to try it, sounds like a pretty sound and proven theory, so I'm hoping for good results. 

I've done it for three days now, and realize that obviously it's not a significant sample to determine how it's going to work for me.  But I have noticed, even based off looking at my training log, that with the cycling, maintaining at or close to 150 bpm is significantly more effort than what I usually exert on the bike.  That's probably a good thing, as the benefits will carry over to biking and running (and I'm still not totally convinced that I won't do some triathlons at some point in the future, even though right now the bike is just cross training). 

With the two days I've been running, I've had two drastically different paces while performing in the suggested HR zone.  I'm going to call the first one a fluke, and assume that my pace at ~150 bpm is not a 12:56 mile.  It's not that I think I'm that good, it's just that previous training logs with heart rate monitored tend to lean closer to ~11:00 mile at that HR.  We'll see as the weeks progress, but I'm looking forward to the results that this effort will bring. 

Oh, and I've signed up for another race, and may have another one in mind.  I signed up for the TNF ECS trail marathon in San Francisco.  I figure I'll be out in Cali, so it will be a good race to do.  If all goes well (or at least well enough), then after that, I think I may go for a spring 50k and launch my start in the ultra world.  I'm pretty pumped for the race, and look forward to getting into some hills.

I think I might do a 15k next month sometime (trail) since I'll be home on leave.  I think I'm also going to be doing a day or so of some solo mountain hiking/running in the Great Smoky Mountains.  It will be nice, and I'm looking forward to it.

In the meantime....Keep Running!

Week in Review 7/2 - 7/8

Let me preface this week's update with the fact that it was RIDICULOUSLY HOT outside, all day, everyday.  Morning, afternoon, evening, doesn't matter.  That sun was burning.  Add that to the fact that there was about 10000% humidity, and I sweat just thinking about it...

Now, that being said, here's the week in review:

7/1 - Rest day.  No workouts.

7/2 - 4.52 mi run; 39:14; Avg HR 160; 8:41 mi pace; road.

7/3 - Cycle 11.17 mi; 48:53; HR 144; 13.7 mph; road/trail.  Found a new trail today along the New River by the house.  Wish I would have known that was there years ago...

7/4 - Run 6.32 mi; 1:15; 11:58 mi/pace; No HRM; trail; probably the hottest day in the past two weeks.  Weather definitely affected pace.

7/5 - Run/Bike 3.7 mi; 26:10; Pace n/a; No HRM; trail/road; originally planned on being a cycle, however, tire blew once on the trail, and had to run the bike back; road/trail.

7/6 - Run 7.04 mi; 1:13; 10:26 mi/pace; No HRM; ran early morning to beat the heat; trail.

7/7 - LSD 13.1 mi; 2:10; 9:54 mi/pace; 156 HR avg; road.

Total Weekly Miles:     45.84 miles
Total Weekly Time:      06:33 hrs
Mileage to date 2012:   917 miles

A couple of different things I did this week; one, I found the trial near my house, which is awesome.  While it doesn't give me much of a length for a longer run, I can get around 7 miles out of it if I run to the "trail head" on the road from my house and back.  I'll explore around there some more next time I go out, just to see what else I can find...who knows, maybe there's more out there.

Next thing I did that was different, was on my LSD, I ran a loop that is around 2.6 miles, and pre-stocked my car with water to be able to refill my hydration pack/bottle when needed.  Made a big difference as much water as I was taking in during the heat, and that's just drinking to thirst.  I also (for the first time) started mixing my Clif Shots into a handheld bottle, which made it way easier to take, and then I could also portion it out over a longer period instead of trying to down a whole gel at once.  It definitely works better with the berry or citrus flavored gels.  Doing it with the chocolate ones tends to give it a chalky flavor, and doesn't mix up as well.  I may just start playing with liquid maltodextrin mixes again, as those seemed to work before, and it's way cheaper than gels.

I also finished Eat and Run by Scott Jurek this week.  Amazing book.  The story of his life and his rise to being an ultra marathon legend never ceases to amaze me.  I was also really interested in his nutrition, and I think the wife and I are going to try cutting out meat and dairy for a week, and see how it goes.  If everything is well, then maybe we will just keep it going.  I have to admit, the idea intrigues me.

I could spend pages and pages talking about Jurek's book, but I really feel like this is one that you have to read for yourself.  If you're a runner, or even if you aren't a runner, this is a must read.  He truly does have an amazing story.

That's all for the mean time, Keep Running!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Week(s) in Review 6/15 - 7/1

6/16 - Cycle in the AM:  4:07/14.5 mph pace.  Avg HR 123.  11.09 mi, 45:44.  Run PM: 4.17 mi / 39:00.  HR 149, 9:21/mi.  Ran in Merrell Road Gloves

6/17 - LSD.  14.33 mi, 2:26:38.  HR 149, 10:14/mi.  Finally an awesome LSD!  Used three gels on run, and felt better w/in minutes of consumption.  Different than usual, I ate a large breakfast this Sunday morning, and then took a nap, and ran later in the afternoon.  Had plenty of energy.  Took a post-run ice bath, and started using the BCAA recovery drink.

Total Weekly mileage (for two days):  29 mi (run and cycle)

6/18 - Rest post LSD.

6/19 - AM Run:  7.28 mi @10:19 pace (1:15); HR 155; Green Silence.  PM Cycle:  18.85 mi @15.0 mph (1:15); HR 134.

6/20 - Run: 6.2 mi @ 10:00 pace (1:03); HR 150; Green Silence.

6/21 - AM Run:  7.22 mi @10:02 pace (1:12); HR 158; Green Silence.  PM Cycle:  15.88 mi @ 15.2 mph (1:02); HR 135.  Hot Hot weather!

6/22 - Rest.

6/23 - Run: 7.5 mi @ 10:29 pace (1:18).  HR 160; Green Silence.  90+ degrees and a heat advisory.  High temps and high volume week explain elevated HR. 

6/24 - LSD Run:  13.66 mi @ 10:14 pace (2:19); HR 152; Green Silence.  Heat advisory again.  Ran early in the AM to try and beat the heat, but it didn't help much.  Fueling was good, decent overall run.

Total Weekly Mileage:  77 mi (run and cycle)

6/25 - Sick.  Great time to develop a Sinus cold.  Rest.

6/26 - Sick.  Still.

6/27 - You guessed it.  Rest

6/28 - Cycle:  14.10 mi @15.1 mph (55:53); HR 141.  Finally felt good enough to get out and do something.  Sinus pressure still clamping my head, but got a halfway decent cycle in.

6/29 - WAY TOO HOT.

6/30 - Run:  7.06 mi @ 9:23 pace (1:06); HR 158.  Ran prior to sunrise to try and beat the heat.  Temperature @ 6 AM was already 82 degrees, w/75% humidity.

7/1 - Run:  10.02 mi @ 10:34 pace (1:45); 158 HR.  Ran early morning again.  Heat index at completion of run was 102 degrees.  This weather sucks.  Other than that, great run.  Still a little sick, but feeling much better than earlier in the week.

Total Weekly Mileage:  32 mi
Mileage YTD:  871

So, it's been awhile since I've done a good update, but I've been pretty busy.  Two weeks ago, I had an awesome training week, and then I got sick.  I'm sure they are probably connected.  I didn't do a gradual increase to the mileage, so that's probably the reason why I got sick.  I'll remember that for the future, but I have to admit, I loved the fact that I was getting so much training in.  I know a lot of that reason was because I actually had the week off work, so around doing stuff at the house, I was pretty free to train whenever I felt like.  Hopefully, one day I'll be able to do that all the time.

The cycling is really catching on with me.  I dig being able to cover lots of distance in less time.  Triathlon in my future?  Possible, but not a focus at the moment.  I have realized that on the days that I do more cycling, I seem to recover faster from my running.  I'm going to use that to my advantage, and do back to back "longer" runs on Sat/Sun, and sandwich the weekend with cycling only days on Fri/Mon.  Instead of taking a complete day off for recovery after the long runs, I'm going to start using cycling to recover, as it seems to work well.

I've also started using a post-workout recovery drink, that's just Branch Chain Amino Acids.  I can't say for sure whether or not it's making a big difference, but initial feeling is that it works.  I'll follow up more later once I've used it more.

There's several things I owe you in the near future:

Recovery Drink review
Brooks Green Silence update
Nathan HPL 020 pack update
Eat and Run book review (almost done!) 

I'll work on pushing out some of those this week, but, I'll be camping with the family for the 4th!  Should be a good time, as long as the weather agrees with us.  Might actually get to squeeze in a few trail miles as well (fingers crossed).

In the meantime, Keep Running!