Monday, September 21, 2015

PDX Marathon: Week 16 (3 weeks out)

I felt better this week than I have the previous couple weeks. Happy with both my quality workouts, and I'm feeling strong and healthy. Based off the feedback my body's giving me from the progression of workouts over the past four months, I'm as confident in my strength and speed as I've ever been. All the hills and trail runs have done wonders for my running specific strength and toughness. Not to mention, the variation has likely helped prevent the inevitable repetitive running motion niggles and injuries that manage to pop up during most standard marathon training blocks. In the past I've had calf and Achilles issues that have forced me to miss time, and this block I've had none of that. I haven't really done any track specific workouts this time around, but I've worked in speed workouts via the Fartlek approach, which at the very least is more race specific. Ripping along at 5k pace seems easier to me than it did six months ago. I've also done a better job of working in longer lactate threshold sessions this time around, with multiple tempo runs of thirty minutes or longer. Threshold runs have not necessarily been my favorite in the past and as a result I didn't do enough of them in my opinion leading into a marathon. However, I've done a better job of sucking it up and embracing them this training block. So, in the past both hard Farltek and longer threshold sessions have plagued me and this block I've done pretty well with them. I feel fast and strong and healthy. My only concern in terms of fitness is my race specific endurance. I haven't done as many long long runs as I have in the past, and I've done even fewer long Marathon Pace runs, which could also explain why I'm feeling stronger.'s fine balance of accumulated fatigue and adaptation. Ideally, I would have done a couple more 20+ mile runs with a little more MP mixed in, but with the added strength and health benefits I'm experiencing as a result of lots of hills and trails, I'm not sweating it. I had to change something up, and I'd rather feel better than run down. I'm two weeks out from the marathon and my goal over this time span is to rest, recover, and replenish my body while maintaining the fitness I've accumulated over the last sixteen weeks of training. Have I done enough to go sub-3:00?

Monday, Sept 14:
Easy run (55min, 6.8mi) - Can't remember the run now, but I do know it was at lunch.

Tuesday, Sept 15:
Trail run (~60min, ~6mi) - Colin and I hit the Marquam circuit. Felt really good today. I'm sure some of it has yoga this morning. I think we're going to permanently switch to Tuesday trail runs to take advantage of our yoga strength. (Soloman XT)
Yoga (60min)

Wednesday, Sept 15:
Fartlek run (63min, 8.8mi) 5 x 5min hard (~6:00-6:10) w/3min easy - I crushed this workout. I can't believe how much I like these types workouts now versus this time roughly a year ago. It was definitely a mental boost to be able to hit this workout after the way I've been feeling the past couple weeks. Maybe it was the new Zantes, but for the most part I felt strong right through each repeat. I know my speed is where I need it to be. (new Zante)

Thursday, Sept 16:
Easy run (46min, 5.4mi) - Plain and simple down around Steel Bridge and back across Portland's new bridge, The Tilikum Bridge pedestrian/Tri-Met only bridge just down from our office. It's supposed to be a very special and cool bridge. Changes colors allegedly based on the depth of the Willamette River or something like that.  

Friday, Sept 17:
Easy run (48min, 5.8mi) - Same as yesterday but I added an extra cross over the river via Hawthorne Bridge. (old Zante)

Saturday, Sept 18:
Hard long run (99min, 13.5mi) 7 miles tempo @ ~MP + 1 mile @ 6:32 - I didn't feel great during this run, but I didn't feel awful either. My legs were a little off and I had to stop real quick to stretch a couple times, but I'm hoping that's mostly fatigue and if I taper, recover, and yoga right I should be good to go come race day. My slowest split over the last four miles was 6:44, so I guess that's pretty good. Overall, I'm happy with how this effort turned out as my last longer hard effort heading into the marathon two weeks from now. (Zante)

Weekly Totals:
431 total minutes
- 371 minutes run (6), 47 miles
- 60 minutes yoga

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

PDX Marathon: Week 15 (4 weeks out)

This was not a great week for me. I struggled on both quality runs. However, both of those runs were supposed to be tough and it was hot this week and...basically I'm as ready as I'm going to be and from here out it's time to start healing, recovering, and mentally preparing for the marathon three weeks from now. The work is done. I could've managed some things better for sure, like a couple more hard long runs and had more sleep, but overall I was consistent these past 15 weeks, and my workouts gradually progressed in intensity and duration, so I'm not complaining. I have a couple more quality sessions with speed mixed in over the last few weeks, but for the most part the hay is in the barn and it's time see what I've got come race day, provided I stay healthy. Excited isn't the right word, but I am looking forward to race morning. 

Monday, Sept 7:
Easy run (58min, 7.2mi) - Went from home up Vermont and down Terwilliger as if I was running to work. Crisp and moist out this morning. Felt like a typical Oregon fall morning. I like these types of days and this was a nice way to enjoy it. (Zante)

Tuesday, Sept 8:
Tempo run (85min, 11.4mi, 7mi tempo sub-MP/MP) - This was easily one of my most miserable runs of this training block. Everything was working against me. I wasn't motivated. My legs had leftover fatigue from Saturday. It was sneaky hot and humid out, and I had some residual lunch left to digest, which lead to ever-present GI issues. I intended to run 8-9 miles at sub-MP (6:30-6:40). Things started out great as I held back and did not run the first mile split too fast or too hard. However, things just gradually got worse form there. I hit the first four miles at my desired pace, but the effort to get there was more than I would've liked. I stopped after 4 miles tempo to take a drink, do a quick stretch, and rest my gut. I got right back into it and hit mile 5 in 6:53 or something, which was fine after a pit stop and it's still within my MP range. But, I knew it wasn't my day and to continue to push it like this with so many thing working against me would be stubborn, short-sighted, and silly. I did manage two more miles at 6:40 and 6:43 respectively, but it was a struggle. I still had a 2.5 mile cool down to get back to the office, and it was a slog. I was completely shattered. I've only had a handful of runs like this, but I suppose it makes you tougher in the end. Not a fan though, and this run had me questioning why I'm doing this. Ass kicker. (1500s)

Wednesday, Sept 9:
Easy run (47min, 5.8mi) - Lunch run. Still feeling run down. 

Thursday, Sept 10:
AM ride (20min) - Decided to ride to work today and take the long way home as an "off-day" workout based on my last two runs. Perhaps a break from the routine will give me some pep back both mentally and physically. Honestly, at this point I think it's mostly mental. Would rahter be on the trails I think. 

PM ride (48min) - Went old-school and took it up Westwood to Fairmount in roughly 23 minutes, which is right around my best time from Duniway Track. I was hurting for sure by the time I reached the top, but very glad I decided to opt for the cycle hill blast today versus any type of run, and especially any sort of hard effort. Still struggling a bit to be honest though. Felt tired cruising around Fairmount. Could have something to do with the heat.

Friday, Sept 11:
Easy run (60min, 7.8mi) - Lunch run up Tewilliger to Barbur for 30 minutes and then turned around and came back down. Took it real easy due to the heat yet again. Felt better today, but still sluggish. (1500s)

Saturday, Sept 12:
Long hard run (115min, 16mi,) 1mi easy, 10mi @ ~MP + 3mi @ sub-MP, 2mi easy - I totally improvised this run, mostly. In my ideal world this was going to be 16 miles at roughly MP, but I knew going in that was a bit too much likely. So, I basically just took off around the river from work with the goal off seeing how far I could go. I went 6:54, 6:57, 6:47, 6:43, and 6:43 before I took a quick pit stop to stretch and drink (legs needed it), and then jumped right back in and hit 7:04, 6:55, 6:48, 6:44, and 6:48. This was a turnaround point, so I took a quick stretch and drink again before I got back at it. I had zero intention of going sub-MP at this point but I noticed I was moving along pretty quick and rather than go another 5-6 miles at MP, I decided to just push it a bit and ride it for 3 miles. I hit 6:40 and 6:40, and was really struggling at this point, but I also reconnected with the riverfront path at this point and I happened to merge in behind an older Japanese gentleman who was ripping along. I used him to help get me through that last mile. My only goal was to stay on his ass and not lose ground, which I did. I think at some point he knew I was there, so part of me thinks he was using me as motivation too. We were were clipping along at roughly 6:30 pace for most of that last mile before we hit a gradual uphill for the last little bit, which dropped us to 6:34 overall. As soon as we got back to a main entrance, and my watch ticked that last mile, he pulled off and I eased back for my cool down. It was a cool experience, and it got me a bit excited for this upcoming marathon for the first time in months. I'm not down on it or anything, just not super pumped or immersed in a social running group culture like I have been the past four years, and it was good to be pushed, and tested, and kind of battling quite frankly. I like to compete. My cool down was not fun. It was only 9:30am when I finished and it was already getting hot and humid...for Portland. (Zante)

Weekly Totals:
- 433 total minutes
- 365 minutes run (5), 48 miles
- 68 minutes bike 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

PDX Marathon: Week 14 (5 weeks out)

I finished this post days ago and simply never got to publishing it. Better late than never I suppose. 

Monday, Aug 31:
Fartlek run (61min, 8.3mi) 6 x 4min Hard w/ 3min jog 
Intervals: 5:56, 6:02, 6:03, 6:01, 5:49, 5:55
- I felt pretty good for this run coming off a rest day on Sunday. I programmed my watch for an interval workout and while I'm doing the session I have no way of knowing exactly what pace I'm running, so I'm happy with my overall consistency of effort and pace for each 4min rep. This is the type of workout I hated and would've kicked my butt a year ago, but I'm loving these types of runs these days. Hoping to get one or two more of these sessions in before race day, perhaps 5 x 5min, and then maybe 6 x 5min.

Tuesday, Sept 1:
Very sick today - day off

Wednesday, Sept 2:
Trail run (66min, 6.5mi) - Marquam circuit with Colin. (1500s)

Thursday, Sept 3:
Trail run (72min, 7.5mi) - More Marquam, but lots of hills today and some up-tempo. I had 9 miles of tempo scheduled for today, but running trails with Colin sounded more fun so I went with my gut. Obviously, not the best choice for marathon specific training at this point, but whatever. (Zante)

Friday, Sept 4:
Easy run (54min, 6.4mi) - Very easy and very slow down to Sellwood Bridge and back along the waterfront trail after work.

Saturday, Sept 5:
Long run (167min, 21.3mi, 7:50 pace) - Took it deep this morning, but this was a very tough run for me. I knew I would only be "semi" into it, so I chose a new route. I took Terwilliger south to Lewis and Clark and then merged onto the path through Tryon Creek State Park. I ran through the park and out the south end to Lake Oswego and was still only at 6 miles or so. Then, I basically just ran all over Lake O and down Iron Mountain Road, and then arduously back up through Tryon Creek. This was a hilly route and I had some minor GI issues going on. It was definitely not my best effort ever, but I put the work in and got it done. (Zante)

Weekly Totals:
- 420 total minutes
- 50 miles, not very much

I got to tuck into this bad boy from Pine State Biscuits after my sufferfest long run on Saturday. For those who don't know, this place went from a little stand at the Portland Farmer's Market a few years ago, to a local empire of guilty pleasures these days with three locations around town that routinely see lines out the door. This beast happens to be The Chatfield - fresh biscuit, fried chicken, bacon, and cheese top with copious amounts of yummy apple butter. I'd never had one of these particular sandwiches before, and needless to say on this day it hit the spot. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

PDX Marathon: Week 13 (6 weeks out)

Monday, Aug 24:
Fartlek run (58min, 7.7mi) 5 x 4min hard / 3min easy - I was definitely fatigued from Saturday's long run, but nonetheless I drilled this run for the most part. I screwed up the setting on my watch again, so I had no idea at the time what pace I was running, but after reviewing the data I was running sub-6min mile pace on each interval except one, which was 6:04. That's about it. (1400s)

Tuesday, Aug 25:
Easy run (~50min, ~6mi) - Took Colin on his first bridge crossing run downtown. Very easy down to Steel Bridge and back. (K4)
Yoga (60min) 

Wednesday, Aug 26:
Hilly trail run (60min, 6.8mi) - Marquam circuit during lunch. Feel tired today. (P31)

Thursday, Aug 27:
Tempo run (56min, 9.3mi, 4/3mi tempo) 1mi easy, 4mi tempo sub-MP, 3min easy, 3mi tempo, easy - Hot, tired, lunch run. Not bad really, but I did have 2 x 4mi planned and just didn't have it in me on the second go-round so I cut it short. I'm okay with it. Been feeling good otherwise so c'est la vie. (Zante...zbest)

Friday, Aug 28:
Easy run (47min, 5.8mi) - Steel Bridge loop lunch run. (P31)

Saturday, Aug 29:
Tempo trail run (95min, ~11mi) second half tempo - Not getting back to writing this until Thursday now. This was a great run with Carter. Came back pretty quick (about 7min faster), but it was a net downhill and Carter's feet took a beating. Poor bastard chews on them to make things worse, so we have to put the "Cone of Shame" on him to keep him from paw fussing. Anyhow, bagged the long run today in lieu of some sleep, and also based on the forecast, which called for rain and high winds. Sounded like a good day to take the dog to Forest Park for some mud boggin in the woods. Turns out the rain didn't really happen, but then wind was nutty. The trees were fully swaying and cracking, and occasionally there'd be a loud crack and boom of a tree snapping and falling in the not to far off distance. Kinda scary, but definitely a unique and cool experience to be running through a forest during a minor windstorm. (TNF TRII)

Weekly Totals:
- 466 minutes total
- 366 minutes run, 47 miles
- 60 minutes yoga