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