Thursday, March 31, 2016

Shamrock Run 15K - March 13, 2016

62:30...600 feet of elevation gain...This is not an easy race by any means. I came into the day feeling pretty fit, albeit nursing a heel injury (more on this at the bottom). Not sure the injury had an impact on my time.If I'd known my PB for this race was 61:54 back in 2010 (34 yrs old) I probably could've come close to beating it today, which leaves me a little disappointed I suppose. That said, I didn't enter the race with that kind of mindset. I've done some focused hard efforts over the past couple months, but nothing like my previous few years of training. I wanted to use this race to motivate me to train through the winter, which it did, and I wanted to get a solid, long, hard effort in as an indicator of my true fitness. Over the last four years I've become such a better runner I'm kind of shocked I didn't take down my PB even though I was't focused on it. 

My pre-race plan worked flawlessly. I parked at work, changed, and jogged down to the start line along the waterfront as a warm up. The sound of the national anthem filled the air as I approached, which gave me just enough time to do a couple strides, hop the barrier, and nudge my way to the front of the pack. To this point I still hadn't said a word to anyone. I was doing this race ninja assassin style.

In true Shamrock fashion it was miserable out - rain, wind, and cold. Just like Boston last year. I couldn't believe the number of slow bodies I had to pass right from the gun. Like really slow. After the first couple hundred meters I settled in all right. I could tell mentally I wasn't really into it though, and my breathing felt just a little labored for the pace we were carrying 6:30ish. 

This race starts to go uphill after the first few miles. It's a gradual climb up Broadway and then gets worse up Terwilliger. Broadway is always sneaky tough, and I found myself thinking negative thoughts already at this point. Race rusty.

The race gets real nasty when it turns onto Terwilliger. I stopped for 5 seconds to stretch out my leg, and then forged ahead. I've trained multiple times on this road at fast paces and know exactly what I'm getting around every turn and over every bump. This should be my strong suit, but today it wasn't. By the time we hit Terwilliger we had been going at a pretty decent clip for 3 miles, which obviously makes the hills tougher when you get to them, but I didn't expect this much of a struggle. When I couldn't hit expected pace and it was hurting, my head started playing games, which makes you less relaxed and your breathing more labored. Things get tough at this point. 

Grinding up Terwilliger

On the second to last steep little uphill, I turned to my left in obvious pain and the guy next to me whom I had seen earlier chatting up everyone, yelled out me, "Let's get up this hill!" Rather than attacking with him, I backed off a bit. Not into it today. I stopped and walked for maybe 10 seconds. So weak. 

When I did start back up I was ready to rock. I think I caught most everyone who was around me when I slowed down. By the time we hit the last hill the wind and rain were pelting us at full force as we crested the top. It was nuts.

From here it was roughly three miles gradually back down Barber to the finish. I ticked off some pretty decent splits on this section, and caught the lady I had targeted way in front of me going up Terwilliger as someone I wanted to catch and beat. I don't know what stuck out other than she looked fit and she was wearing an orange tank top. She stood out and seemed tough. I found something to race for. It always happens if you stick it out. There's always somebody to race. I've stopped and walked in many a race, including a 5k that I've written about, but I've never quit.

From mile 7 onward, with the help of a downhill grade, I hit splits of 6:00, 6:19, 6:11, and 6:00 the last third of a mile. Orange lady and I yo-yoed for most of it. I past her for good with about a mile to go. Yay.

The downside was I ended up getting past by some dude who was behind me with a half mile to go and nearly got taken out by a bus. He had to come to a full stop. He tracked me down. Passed. I caught up and re-passed with a couple hundred yards to go and couldn't hold on. Devastating. Turns out he was 40 as well. Doh.

I didn't speak a word to anyone the entire morning until the end. Shouting "let's get up this hill" man came up and introduced himself after the race. After a couple pleasantries, I grabbed my race medal/beer opener and started jogging back to work, partially as a cool down, but mostly because it was freezing and raining sideways.

I will come back someday in the next couple years to take down my existing PB here. A true testament to superb fitness would be to go sub-60min on this course. That may be a long term goal.


P.S. (3/25/16) - I took 12 days off from running in a row after this race. My heel was killing me. The combination of up tempo and a significant downhill portion just wrecked it. I went for an easy 5 mile tester run today during lunch because it was starting to feel better. It hurts. Not much improvement. I could be off for a while.

P.S.S. (3/31/16) - Still sore and no running, but it feels like it's getting better.

Saturday, March 5, 2016


February was an up-and-down month for me. First and foremost, my heel has been hurting me consistently and it doesn't really seem to be getting any better. Running and standing on it extensively throughout the day certainly doesn't help. I saw the doc a few days ago and his assessment still is that it's a deep contusion. We looked at the area with an ultrasound and my fascia is inflamed and about twice as thick as it should be. Shamrock is in a week, so I'm going to have an easier week upcoming and run the race. After, it might be time for 2-3 weeks off in an attempt to let my heel recover some before I start ramping it up for the Tillamook Burn 50k on May 1. Originally, my intention was to run the Vernonia Half-Marathon on April 10, but it's probably wise to skip that. We'll see.

The road Altra Instinct 3.5 shoes I have mostly been running in have not done my heel or my fascia any favors. I think I like them, especially the room for my toes and forefoot, but the zero drop is just putting too much stress on my injury. I wear basically the exact same shoe for the trails (Altra Lone Peak 2.5), but it's a different type of running apparently, and quite frankly, the Lone Peaks just feel more comfortable.

Injury concerns aside, I had a good month of speed and hill focused training. My mileage was down, but that's not necessarily a bad thing when ramping up the fartleks and tempo runs. Although, I couldn't go bust out my fastest 5k or 10k ever, I am happy with where my fitness is. My longer tempo runs are feeling smoother and my fartlek/VO2 max efforts are like butter. 

March was supposed to be a month where I focused on hill blasting and ramping up my long runs, but I'll probably have to adjust based on my heel. I was hoping to have an outside chance of showing up to The Burn 50k on May 1 supremely fit in terms of speed and endurance. Probably won't happen. My #1 goal is to manage and recover from this injury intelligently. If I can still run while doing that, then great. If I have to take some time off to get better, I hope I have the sense to do so because my ultimate #1 goal is to be healthy, fit, and peaking for the Mt. Hood 50k on July 10. 

Monthly Totals:
- 26 runs @ 1689 (65min avg)
- 199 miles

Monday Feb, 1:
Easy run + 8 x 20sec surges (48min, 6m) - Bridge run at lunch. Surges felt nice. 

Tuesday, Feb. 2:
*VO2 fartlek run 6 x 3min hard w/2min easy (60min, 8m) - Sellwood Bridge loop from work at lunch. Haven't done this kind of run in a while. Felt pretty good for the most part, but reps 4 and 5 were tough. Feels good to move like this again though. I'm digging the combo trail/road speed training. Best of both worlds for me these days. I hit the reps right where I wanted pace wise, and I was damn consistent. Happy with it.
*rep paces: 6:15, 6:00, 5:54, 6:06, 6:07, 6:06

Wednesday, Feb. 3:
Trail run with Colin (63min, ~7m) - Lots of mud up there. Bit longer run for us and a little more climbing.

Thursday, Feb. 4:
Easy bridge run (50min, 6m) - Post-work tension release run.
Yoga 60min

Friday, Feb 5:
Easy run + 7 or 8 surges (51min, 6.2m) - Another lunch tension release run. Ran through the industrial district on the east side of the river and came back along the eastside esplanade. Through some surges in.

Weekly Totals:
- 5 runs @ 272 minutes
- 33 miles

Sunday, Feb 7:
**Bomber hilly long run (135min, 17m) - Huge run up to Council Crest for early morning zen in the sun, through the west hills a bit, down Vista, and back up into Washington Park and the rose garden, down the other side of the park, to PSU, and back home via Terwilliger. Held a pretty good running pace - 7:56 overall. Not sure this was the best idea in a brand new pair of Altra road shoes. I have been running in a pair on the trails, but 17 miles of zero drop road running is much different than trail...and right off the a brand new pair. My calves are paying the price. So is my left heel, which has never fully healed from smashing it on a rock while trail running in August, and again in few weeks ago. It was almost normal before that second bang. Could be looking at x-rays soon and another trip to the doctor.

Monday, Feb 8:
Easy run home (63min, ~6.5m) - Ran home with Colin through the woods, up Terwilliger, and through the sneaky woods off Sunset. Good run. Felt much longer than 6.5m. My calves are sore. Knees too. Yoga tomorrow will be nice.

Tuesday, Feb 9:
Easy run (44min, 5.5m) - Bridges after work.
Yoga (60min)

Wednesday, Feb 10:
Hilly easy run (55min, 5.5m) - Can't really remember this run now, but there were hills involved and so was Carter.

Thursday, Feb 11:
Easy run + 6 surges (52min, 6.5) - Starting to run my easy runs a little faster at times now that I'm getting back into shape. I think I threw some surges in there too. I felt mostly recovered on this one. Probably should've gone tempo.

Saturday, Feb. 13:
*Medium-long fartlek run (88min, 10.5m) - Sun River exploration run with Colin. This place is littered with bike paths. We out along the river to the airport, at which point there were sections of the path with too much snow, so we improvised. It was a fun run and just about perfect weather wise, with a slight breeze. I knew I wasn't getting a long run in this weekend, I threw down some up-tempo sections (4) of about 3 minutes hard. It was a good run and a real workout. 

Weekly Totals:
- 6 runs @ 437 minutes
- 51.5 miles

Sunday, Feb 14:
Easy run with #2 in the stroller at Sun River (51min, 6.25m) - This was a great run from the house to the village along the bike paths. Made a quick pass of the lodge on the way to the village store to pick up wine for dinner and dessert. 

Tuesday, Feb. 16:
Easy trail run (54min, 5.5m) - Think this one was with Carter after work.

Wednesday, Feb 17:
*Tempo run (55min, 7.5m w/5m tempo) - Started at the gas station at the base of Terwilliger and ran close to Shamrock race pace 2.5m to Beaverton/Hillsdale Hwy, and came back faster since the return is net downhill. Felt mostly good. Legs still getting used to moving that pace for a continuous time. 

Friday, Feb 19:
Trail run with Colin (70min, 7m) - We did a lot of climbing on this run. And of course Mahoney bombed the downhills. I was tired after this one.

Weekly Totals:
- 4 runs @ 230 minutes
~26 miles 

Sunday, Feb 21:
Medium-long run (92min, 11.6m) - Took it down into Tryon Creek and back. This is a tough run.

Tuesday, Feb 23:
*Fartlek run (72min, 9.5m w/ 5 x 4min/2min hard/easy + 1 x 3min) - This ended up being a crazy run. First, I kinda killed it on the 4 min hard reps. Felt good throughout and was mostly hitting my paces (6:10ish) when I checked the watch. To be honest, I thought this would be a much harder run, but it went pretty good. I got back to the base of the foot bridge, and realized I only had 2 minutes to run up the stairs, across the bridge, and a few blocks to work before I was locked out at 5pm. Having run this dozens of times I knew this was likely a 3 minute distance. I went for it nonetheless. Didn't make. Ended up running up the hill to meet up with Greg to get the fab for work. All told, it added about 20 minutes to a tough run to begin with.

Wednesday, Feb 24:
"Easy" trail run w/Carter (52min, 5.5m) - Went the traditional route from work at lunch. I was feeling yesterday.

Thursday, Feb 25:
*Tempo run (60min, 8.3m w/6m tempo) - Bridge run at lunch down to Broadway Bridge, around and back. I was aiming to do a progression tempo run, but there were too many obstacles and barriers to maintaining a consistent speed. That said, I thought it worked out pretty well, and my last two miles were my fastest at 6:30 and 6:25. Feeling pretty good at this point. Splits: 6:55, 6:59, 6:40, 6:46, 6:30, 6:25.

Friday, Feb 26:
Easy-ish trail run with Colin (53min, 5.5m) - We took a different route (first left up the ravine) up to OHSU, then back to the main trail down to Terwilliger and back. I like the trail up to OHSU much better than our traditional switchback route. It's more runnable. 

Weekly Totals:
- 5 runs @ 329 minutes
- 38 miles

Sunday, Feb 28:
*Long trail run w/lots of climbing (130min, ~14m) - Took Carter on this one. Started at the Marquam trailhead on Terwilliger and took it 3.2m to the top of Council Crest. Then we crossed down the road/trail to the zoo and up into the Hoyt Arboretum. Connected up with Wildwood from here and went up again to the Pittock Mansion, and back the same route to the car. I couldn't find my wallet before we left so I was tripping out a bit. I needed this run and it felt good after about an hour, but I couldn't settle in and find a groove for so long I managed to convince myself I needed to cut this run a bit short due to a late start and guilt over dragging the dog along for this long. All told it was a good effort and a decent challenge. My legs were certainly feeling Thursday's effort. Should've gone an extra 20 minutes though.

Monday, Feb 29:
Easy run (48min, 6m) - Bridge run at lunch. Felt good.

Tuesday, Mar 1:
Easy run (51min, 6.5m) - Up Terwilliger at lunch. Rain and wind. Like big wind. Busted out 12 pull ups at the track on the way back. Been doing the occasional pull up session on the rings at the school by work and the track when I can. Also trying to incorporate more pushups at work and randomly at home. Only upper body strength I get these days.

Wednesday, Mar 2:
*Tempo run (60min, 8.5m w/7m tempo) - I felt good on this run. Took it down the eastside of the river to Sellwood and across the new bridge! So much sidewalk space. I had it in me to make this a true progressive tempo run, but my paces were thrown off a bit by navigating the bridge. Nonetheless, I finished strong and my last two miles were two of my fastest. This was my last long-ish hard run before Shamrock. Feeling pretty good other than my injured heel.
Splits: 6:45, 6:44, 6:39, 6:42, 6:37, 6:41, 6:25

Thursday, Mar 3:
Easy run (49min, 6m) - Bridge run at lunch. Heel is sore from yesterday. Saw the doc today. He still thinks it's a deep contusion. We used used the ultrasound to look at my fascia and it's definitely inflamed around the base and heel of my foot. It might be necessary and prudent to take some time off after Shamrock.

Friday, Mar 4:
Medium-long run with Colin (83min, 9.5m) - This ended up being a pretty great run. We ran down westside river trail to Sellwood and showed Colin the new bridge. Then we took it up into Riverview Cemetery for the Colin's first time. A decent amount of climbing here. We came out on Terwillger and then took a new trail section down under Barbur and I-5. The downhill sections were murder on my foot. We came out on Iowa at the base of Corbett and ran back up and over the hill to work.  

Weekly Totals:
- 6 runs @ 421 minutes
- 50.5 miles 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

I'm Back...sort of

Well, life has gotten in the way of my blog posting. I could go into detail and explain why I just "disappeared" to the blog world three weeks prior to the Portland Marathon in October. But why? There are many reasons, however the most relevant is I have far less time. 

The marathon did not go as planned. Stupidly, I broke the cardinal rule of running: Do not try something new on race day. In this case, I went out and bought cheap candy because I had grown tired of the gels I was using in training. Gu. Gross. In a stroke of genius, I left it until the night before the race and in a panic couldn't think of a place (REI duh.) that would have the Honey Stinger gels I so desired. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Not surprisingly, I experienced extreme GI distress at mile 10 after whacking back my first round of candies at mile 7.I landed in the port-o-potty on four separate occasions during the race, not to mention the battle that went on in-between each pit stop. And the cramps. Oh, the cramps. 

Ultimately, I gritted and grinded it to the very end, but I pretty much knew by mile 22 I wasn't going to break 3 hours. And, that's my ultimate goal at this point in the marathon. I finished in 3:04, which is still my second best time over 26.2. I think was fit for the cause otherwise. Too bad.

I followed up the PDX Marathon with the Silver Falls 50k in November. Much more fun. I belong in the forest running up and down mountains. Holy cow was it a tough race though. Yet again I had some GI issues (had to sacrifice a glove in the woods as I watched runners pass me by). Despite this unfortunate circumstance, I was holding 5th overall until mile 29 or so. Sounds odd saying it, but I put a hard push in (maybe 7min. miles) from roughly mile 26 to 28 along a flat-ish creek path, but I just couldn't drop the dude behind me. After a rough, gut-check of a climb up to the top of the feature waterfall of the state park (South Falls - pictured below) around mile 29 my legs were done. Done in the sense it was hard for me to even pretend to run. Even so, I basically ran hobbled through the last aid station at the top of the falls in my last effort to demoralize and drop the dude behind me. For a second I thought it might've worked. However, I had to stop and walk for a bit at this point for fear my legs were about to completely seize up. The dude behind me named Justin (met him afterwards) was simply stronger at this point and passed me as I was walking. I'm normally strong at the end of races, and I tried to "chase" him down, but in the end he was better on the day. I finished 6th overall in 4:44. My buddy Alec finished 2nd overall and just a minute off 1st place in his first, and perhaps last, ultra-marathon. He had completed a 100 mile mountain bike race a few months earlier so this was nothing.

I chill ran when I felt like it from early November to basically the end of December with a few killer runs through the woods sprinkled in here and there as I felt the desire. 

For now my only "plan" for the blog is to track my running for 2016. That's pretty much it at this point. I figured I was using it as a training log anyway, might as well try and publish it monthly with a little extra detail added to it and see how it goes. There's upcoming races for 2016 that might spark a race report or two, but other than I'm just going to try and post monthly training logs.

Here goes.

Saturday Jan 2:
*Long trail run (107min, 11+ miles) - Forest Park, ran some new trail.

Monday Jan 4:
Easy run (63min, 7m) - snow and ice storm yesterday made for treacherous conditions today. Ran with Colin along Terwilliger after checking in at work for a couple hours.

Wednesday Jan 6:
*Tempo fartlek run (69min, 9.5m) 2 x 2 miles w/ 3min easy - Was feeling a little stressed at work, but felt great on the run. I decided to go old skool and ran the Sellwood Bridge loop. After a 4 mile warmup I busted out a 2 mile tempo at 6:30 and 6:24. After the jog recovery I hit another 2 mile tempo at 6:17 and 6:22. I was pushing it a little too hard probably, but I don't care. I'm planning on running the Shamrock 15k this March, so I'm going to have to get used to breathing hard. Hoping to bust out a sub-60min performance. Tough task on a hilly course, but most of it's along Terwilliger so I should be able to train hard along the course whenever I like right from work.   

Thursday Jan 7:
Easy run (50min, 6.4m) - Up Terwilliger from work.

Friday Jan 8:
Epic urban trail run (60min, 6+m) - Ran with Greg and Colin and dogs from Greg's house up through woods and into the Marquam Trail circuit. This was an epic and unexpected run. Some sketchy muddy sections and still a little snow and ice higher up in the shadier sections, but yeesh the decent was epic. We did a lot of climbing. 

Saturday, Jan 9:
*Epic bomber long city run (110min, 13.5m) - Took off for an evening long run at 5pm over and down Terwilliger, through PSU campus, up at stairway to heaven into the West Hills near the Goose Hollow MAX stop, and then up the long slog of Vista Ave through more West Hills to Fairmount, then around and down. This was a fantastic run. Old School.

Weekly Totals (Sun-Sat):
5 runs @ 352 minutes
42 miles

Monday, Jan 11:
Easy forest run (49min, 5.5m)

Tuesday, Jan 12:
60min yoga

Wednesday, Jan 13:
*Hard trail run (60min, ~7m) - Colin and I took a new route up into the Marquam Circuit. Lots of climbing on this run mixed some up-tempo running. Good workout.

Thursday, Jan 14:
Easy forest run (50min, 5.5m)

Friday, Jan 15:
*Climbing trail run to summit of Council Crest (70min, ~7m) - Colin, Carter and I took it to the top of Council Crest after work. Lots of climbing on this run. Colin was mashing it on the downhills so this ended up being a bit of a tougher run than I expected when we started. All good though.

Saturday, Jan 16:
*Tempo run (67min, 9m) 35min easy + 1 x 2.25m tempo + .75m easy + 1.5m tempo - Basically I ran from home down to the beginning of Terwilliger at which point I intended to turn around and run 4.5m tempo home. This is an uphill section and the heart of my upcoming Shamrock Run 15k goes right along Terwilliger so I intend to do several "hard" training sessions along this road. I wasn't really feeling it today after yesterday's harder than expected run, so I modified a bit. I'm sure I started running back up Terwilliger too fast as well. Listened to my body and backed off to easy for a bit and then hit it hard home for 1.5 miles. Mile splits: 6:59, 6:44, 7:47, 6:44, 6:16

Weekly Totals (Sun-Sat):
5 runs @ 296 minutes
~34 miles

Tuesday, Jan 19:
*Tempo run at lunch (~45min - no watch, 6m) - Tillicum bridge, back over Hawthorne bridge, down to Steel bridge and back. Picked up the pace for roughly 3.5 miles after a 2 mile warm up. Felt mostly okay. These types of runs are probably are lot more effective without a watch for me at this point. Body still adjusting to running fast on the road. 

Wednesday, Jan 20:
Easy birthday trail run (~55min, ~6m) - Traditional route with Colin.

Thursday, Jan 21:
Easy bridge run (~45min, ~5.5m) - Down to Steel Bridge and back across Tillicum. Felt run down today. Not enough sleep, a few tougher runs this past week, and more stress at work all factors.

Friday, Jan 22:
Easy bridge run (~50min, ~6m) - Beautiful, warm day for a city run with Colin after work. This was a nice run for the mind, body, and soul. 

Saturday, Jan 23:
**Bomber hilly trail run, hard on the uphills (113min, ~13m) - Parked at Hoyt Arboretum and basically followed Wildwood up to Pittock Mansion, down to the creek (can't remember name), back up and out Wildwood. This was a fantastic run and a perfect day for it. Caught a break in the rain as the dense fog burnt off and broke up to partial blue skies over the crept in through the trees as the cityscape sat in the background. It was perfect out. Lots of folks out on the trails this afternoon. I hammered the uphills pretty good.

Weekly Totals (Sun-Sat):
-5 runs @ 308 minutes
~37 miles

Sunday, Jan 24:
2 mile hike with the girls at Gales Creek Campground along Gales Creek Trail. Such a beautiful spot. Isla in the backpack. Everybody was happy. I'm going to run here.

Monday, Jan 25:
Easy bridge run w/ 10 x 20sec surges (~45min, ~5.5m) - such a beautiful, warm, sunny day out. It felt like spring. Surges were a nice addition.

Tuesday, Jan 26:
Yoga (60min)
*Progressive tempo run (50min, 6.8m) - 4 mile tempo effort up Terwilliger (2.5m) and back progressing in pace from 7:15, 6:52, 6:45, 6:35. The last bit was downhill so it's not as impressive as it might seem, but nonetheless this was my best, longest effort since last fall so it's a good sign. Felt pretty good most the way. Right leg got a bit floppy.

Wednesday, Jan 27:
*Medium effort hilly trail run (70min, ~7.5m) - Felt like spring. Good stuff with Colin and Carter.

Thursday, Jan 28:
Did I run today?

Friday, Jan 29:
Easy trail run (50min, ~6m) - Ran with Colin and Carter after work. Some decent hill action.

Saturday, Jan 30:
*Long, hilly Gales Creek Trail run (97min, ~10m) - Took Carter to Gales Creek Campground to run the Gales Creek Trail I found last weekend with the girls. This place is epic. It was snowing and water is running off everywhere in this amazing second growth temperate forest wonderland. Lots of creeks flow over this trail and this time of year (particularly this heavy rain/snow year) they're raging and there are massive washed out gullies where huge flows of water from past heavy rains have taken out the trail. Lots of downed trees everywhere as well. I was hoping to run a large section of this trail as it's a major part of the Tillamook Burn 50k I just signed up for on May 1. Not as runnable as I thought it would be, and 4 miles in I came to a gully that seemed un-passable for the time being. It was huge. The water was raging and the "easiest" possible spot to cross looked like a waist deep effort. I turned back and headed straight up the Story Burn Trail for a mile or so. Kind of an epic day, but woulda been better with some fellow runner dorks. I didn't even make it to the longer climb of the race route due to washout. It's going to be an arse kicker.