Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

10 myles - 1.12:43

Kaysville - 11:00 a.m.
upper 30s, no wind, a little snow on the road
mind/body - relatively good
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 1 hour+ - easy effort

Actual workout: 10 myles - 1.12:43 - 7:16 avg. - easy effort

After two consecutive 2.5+ hour runs I just wanted to get out and spin the legs. I was surprised once again at how good I felt. I contemplated going longer but I know from past experiences that I'll get injured from over-doing it. I'll take tomorrow off while I go skiing at The Bird

Monday, December 29, 2008

22 myles - 2.33:40

Utah - 11:00 A.M.
upper 30s, cloudy, slushy roads
mind/body - hesitant/responsive
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 2.30-2.45 - easy effort - back to back long runs

Actual workout: 22 myles - 2.33:40 - easy effort - 6:59 avg. Went South this time along the back roads into Centerville via the Legacy Hwy path.

This run was a confirmation that the mind is the only limitation! I was real hesitant to get out the door - basically told myself not to expect too much and I would turn around if I didn't feel it. To my surprise I hit my first mile in 6:50, which was faster than all the myles yesterday. I kept checking the watch and kept hitting at or below 7 min/mile with minimal effort. I still felt good the last mile with a split of 6:42! My second half split was 1.17:02 which was a little slower than the first but still promising. I ate a total of 4 GU Roctane gels every 45 minutes and could tell when they were wearing off. This is a good sign because it shows my system is accepting this type of energy source and I can only hope it will continue to respond beyond the 10 hour mark. My confidence is growing....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

20 myles - 2.23:10

Utah - 10:30 a.m.
30s, snowy/slushy roads, no wind
mind/body - eager/refreshed
easy effort

Prescribed workout: 1.15-1.30 - easy effort

Actual workout: 20 myles - 2.23 - easy effort - avg. 7:10

Ahhh the fresh smell of farm! Utah is where I grew up and the roads I ran today is where I cut my teeth on running. I trained on these very roads 28 years for my first marathon at the age of 11. It was nice to be back home and remincse a bit. Talk about urban sprawl!! All the old farmers are selling out to developers because their kids don't wanna run the farm, kinda sad. Although with the development they took the old railroad line and turned it into a really nice pathway that extends for about 8 myles.

So I did a little more than I should of today but because of the holidays I have to do my back to back long runs (2.5 hrs) today and tomorrow. I averaged 7:10/mile and I honestly felt really, really comfortable there. I didn't encorporate any walk/run combo because I felt so good. My confidence is growing... We'll see how I feel tomorrow.

I ended the week with 75 myles for a total of 9 hrs 28 minutes

Friday, December 26, 2008

12 myles - 1.22:53

South Platte River Pkwy - Noon
mid 30s, stiff North wind, partly cloudy
mind/body - fearful/eager
Hard effort

Well the workout didn't go as planned but partly due to the wind. In this case, time didn't matter as much as much as knowing my effort.

Prescribed workout: 15 minute warm up/cool down with 30 minutes @ 5:50 LT pace in the middle

Actual workout: 12 myles 1.22:53 avg 6:54: 25 minute warm up - actually felt fast and light on my feet so I was eager but it didn't turn out that way - 30:32 for 5.1 myles for an average of 5:59 (last time 30:02 for 5:53 avg). It was a North wind so I had the wind at my back going out with my first and second myles @ 5:43 and 5:51. Breathing and form were relaxed. I didn't realize how bad the wind was until I turned around so I was forced to lower my head and chop my steps thus my turnover was more rapid. I honestly couldn't get below a 6 minute mile coming back - Cooked in the end! I headed back to the car for a return trip of 27 minutes.

One thing these LT workouts are doing for me is building confidence. I run stronger when running longer and it seems as though I'm cruising at a faster pace. Each week I'm fearful of these LT workouts but I think that's in part due to fear of not seeing progress. Sure they hurt and that's the other part of the fear, no one likes to hurt. In the end though I would rather hurt more now than hurt later in a race - the race is the celebration!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

7 myles - 54:07

Treadmill - 3:30 P.M.
mid 20s outside - hot and steamy in the garage
mind/body - good
Hard effort

I contemplated taking the day off after a long day yesterday but with the upcoming Holidays and travel to Utah I had to get it in today. My body felt relatively good, which means that my fitness is coming around.

Prescribed workout: 30 minutes @ 6:45 pace with 4% incline

Actual workout: 54:07 - 7 myles for an average of 7:43. 15 minute warm-up at 7.5 MPH then bumped it up to 8.5 MPH with 4% incline BUT for only 25 minutes. Cooled down for 20 minutes to make it an even 7 myles.

I didn't make the full 30 minutes because I felt like I was pushing a bit out of my range i.e. lactate started to spill over... 8.5 MPH works out to be a 7:03 average but with a 4% incline the effort is more like 6:24. To hit 6:45 I had to be at 8.9 MPH and I don't think I'm ready for that yet. Here's a good chart to determine effort with added incline.

I find it extremely more difficult to sustain a pace on my TM as opposed to the roads and after doing a google search it looks like I'm not alone. After I get back from Utah I'm going to test my treadmill for accuracy as my TM is a least 9 years old. At any rate - awesome/tough workout!! It'll make those Christmas treats go down with less guilt.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

23 myles - 3.14:16

HR urban trails - Noon
teens, cold wind, mud/ice/snow
mind/body - recovering from cold
easy effort

Felt decent today despite the cold temps and the cold in my nose - Although I think I've finally turned the corner (fingers crossed). With the looming back to back long runs coming up for the next few weeks I decided I would back up my 1.30 run from yesterday with my long run of the week. I basically just left the house not really knowing where I was going only that I needed to get 3 hours in. I ended up hitting everything from dirt roads, icy/muddy trails, upscale neighborhoods, asphalt, and even a little grass on the golf course.

Prescribed workout: 3 hour run @ or around 8:30 pace with the a run/walk combo.

Actual workout: 23 myles 3.14:16 with a 8:26 pace. I skipped the first walk at 28 minutes and then hit everyone after that for a 28/2 ratio. Every time I walked I ate a GU Roctane gel for a total of 6 without any GI upset. I felt great the entire time! I honestly think eating something every 1/2 hour is gonna cure me of my late race blunders. In addition, one of my sponsors Nathan Hydration sent me a new pack to try out - It's called the Blizzard (obviously for cold weather) - worked like a charm!

Gee whiz with all these long runs and regimented training you'd think I was training for a winter flat, sea level 100 mile race.....

Monday, December 22, 2008

13 myles - 1.34:03

HR urban trail - Noon
upper 20s, slight North wind, partly cloudy
mind/body - clearing up
easy effort

This truly was an "easy" effort. My methods in the past to measure effort have basically been rudimentary but having a coach has shed some light. Paul told me if it's an easy effort then I should be breathing in during 3 steps and then breathing out for the next 3 - exactly measured 3 steps several times during the run today. Today I also measured my stride rate/length for efficiency - very efficient runners should be hitting around 180/minute. I measured 5 different times - one foot for 30 seconds x 4 = strides/minute. I hit 44, 44, 45, 43, 46 which gives me a stride rate/min of 176-180. I've always considered myself as an efficient runner so this rate comes as no surprise.

Prescribed workout - 1.30 easy effort with 8-10 strides at the end

Actual workout - 13 myles 1.34:03 easy effort for an average of 7:14/mile. This route has a little elevation and the trails were a little mucky with snow/ice/mud so I feel very good about this pace. Afterward I did 6 strides of about 20 seconds each. The cold is slowly making it's way out so all I'm left with now is a sniffling/stuffy nose. I actual felt better running than I did laying around the house this morning.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

12 myles - 1.33:19

Treadmill - 11:00 a.m.
10 degrees outside, maybe 50 in the garage?
mind/body - still sick
easy effort

Still sick, now with a sore throat. I couldn't go outside because it was told cold being sick. I decided on the treadmill for the simple fact that I didn't know how far I was gonna make it. Turned out OK. It seemed like the longer I was running the better I felt so I'm hoping to run the cold out - only time will tell.

Prescribed workout - Easy effort 1.30 with 8-10 strides afterwards
Actual workout - 12 myles easy effort 1.33:19 for an average of 7:43/mile. For the last mile I bumped it up to 10 MPH for 20 seconds and then back down to 7 MPH for 40 seconds to create about 6 or so strides.

For the week I end with 66 myles and despite the cold feel like I'm pretty fit. Next week I'll hit the mid 70s with a long run of 3 hours and probably a couple of LT workouts.

Friday, December 19, 2008

11 myles - 1.24:27

Daniels Park/Sanctuary Hill - 12:30 p.m.
stiff North wind, upper 30s, a little mucky
mind/body - Miserable!
easy, mixed in with hard effort

I'm sick! Talk about a death march! I had no motivation or energy to do anything so I barley made it through the workout. I guess it's these kinds of runs that make ya tough right? Reminded me too much of when I DNF'd at Wasatch in 06 for feeling the same way.

Prescribed workout: 1.15-1.30 with 8-12 x :30 to :45 seconds up a minimum 15% grade at the end.

Actual workout: 1.24:27 for a total of 11 myles. I did the short work at the midway point and then ran back. I did 8 x :31-:33 seconds with a 14% grade - the bare minimum. I made sure I ran strong - meaning I drove my knees and exaggerated the arm movement.

In the past when I've felt this way (stuffy nose, fever, aches, chills) I have always made myself run because I figure I would run out the cold, but I dunno.... You tell me - would you run or would you skip the work out?

In addition, yesterday I went to the gym because I was starting to feel like crap. I rode the stationary bike for 15 minutes then did upper and lower body as well as core. My routine to start is 2 x 20 reps - light weigh. I wanted to get it in but wanted to start light. Over and out....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

12 myles - 1.21:12

South Platte River Pkwy - 2:00 p.m.
30's, icy patches, partly cloudy
mind/body - eager to get it over with
Hard effort

I couldn't stand to think about putting this workout off another day AND since the weather was nice I went for it. It's supposed to get back down to zero over the weekend so I have to get em in when I can, right? When I said ooooofffhhhh yesterday, I really meant it! Just like high school track workouts - dipping into the red and happy to be done.

The prescribed workout was to be a warm-up/down 15-20 each with 30 minutes @ 5:45 pace in the middle. I went out to the South Platte river pkwy because it's a paved path with mile markers every 1/2 mile. This way I'll know exactly what pace I'm running rather than guesstimating. A 25 minute warm up to the start and then out and back 20 seconds beyond the 2.5 mile pole which means I ran about 5.1 myles in 30:02. My first 1/2 was 2:47 so I backed off and settled into an easier pace after the lungs started working. First and last mile splits were 5:53/5:56 respectively for an overall average of 5:53. I was really happy to be done and pretty much tapped. I walked a couple minutes then cooled down just over 26 minutes back to the car.

I now know that 5:45 is a little fast for me at this stage but with a few more LT workouts it should be easier to hit. I think my LT is right around 5:55 right now.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

10.5 myles - 1.19:43

HR East/West trail - 2:00 p.m.
20 degrees, still frozen, partly cloudy
mind/body - good
easy effort

Give me 20 degrees and I'll take a run outside any day! In fact, after yesterday on the treadmill, give me MINUS 20 and I'll take a run outside! It seems so much harder to sustain a pace on the treadmill, doesn't it? Maybe my TM needs some tuning but that 8:12 pace on the TM seemed a lot harder than my 7:35 pace today in the snow.

Having said that though, the snow was perfect for running in today; not too deep, melted a bit from the sun to make it sticky, and the ground underneath was still frozen. The prescribed run was an easy effort between 1 - 1.15 hours. Went a little over but this run normally takes me around 1.12 so I'm not too worried.

I've got a pretty busy day tomorrow so I might take the day off and then get back at it on Thursday with the 30 minute run at 5:45 pace... oooofffhhh not looking forward to that!

Monday, December 15, 2008

20 myles Happy B-day - 2.44:00

Treadmill - noon
3 degrees outside!, everything frozen, warmer in the garage
mind/body - dreading it
easy effort

What a day to remember! First and foremost it's my son Myles first birthday - Happy Birthday son! To commemorate his birthday I hopped on the treadmill to run 2 hours and 44 minutes - the exact time he was born a year ago. I have never run sooo far on the treadmill! 82 laps on the track! A while back I was going to try and run a marathon near his b-day at or under 2.44 but I chickened out so this is what I resorted to - I should have gone for the marathon PR!

The prescribed run was 2.45 easy pace running 8 minute/mile while adding a run/walk combo. I have never walked in a training run on a flat course but I was intrigued to try it. I set the treadmill at 7.5 mph for 28 minutes then took it down to 3.8 mph for 2 minutes and then back up to 7.5 mph and so on... I continued this for entire run. Ended up with a 8:12/mile. Each time I walked I ate an GU Roctane for a total of 5 gels in 2.44 - I felt good even when I was done! This really was an "ah-ha" moment for me - most of the time I will run the same pace in my training runs which is below LT but above easy pace - I considered it a medium effort. My coach has given me specific weekly plans that are easy or hard - no medium. I like it and have a funny feeling it's gonna take me to another level!

On another note, Squaw Peak posted their lottery results and it looks like I made it in. Meltzer, Belshaw, and Shilling (all previous winners) showed up on the list as well so it will be a fast one! My race schedule is shaping up nicely. So far Way Too Cool, Miwok, and Squaw Peak.

Jaxon wanted to get in the mix so Dad helped out

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Serving Size

I must admit this is a very untimely post since we just finished the day long pig out known as Thanksgiving. It's no secret that American's have healthy appetites but it's probably due to the healthy serving sizes we give ourselves every meal and not even know it. Hopefully some of you find this helpful as we wrap up the eating season and eventually help with good eating habits.

In the two previous posts for the Nutritional Facts label I went over carbohydrate/sugar ratio in which sugar should account for less than 50% of total carbs. Then I followed it up with good fat/bad fat in which 20% of calories should come from fat and of that no more than 20% saturated fat. So far the example label has lived up to a pretty good food coming in with 16% sugars from total carbs. and only 3 grams of saturated fat. But the caveat here is "per serving".

All nutritional facts labels are set up on serving sizes. You'll notice in this label the serving size is 1 cup but there are two (2) servings per container. That basically means if you eat the entire container you have to double all the numbers listed on the Nutritional Facts label. The ratios don't change - meaning that the sugar/carb ratio is still good but your consuming twice as much sugar as you once thought. Now for the entire container instead of a measly 3 grams of sat. fat, you have doubled it and almost reached your limit of 11 grams per day. Having said that, Mac n cheese is still a pretty good food but in very small quantities.

Have you ever spent a day measuring all your food to correspond to the appropriate number of servings per day? Do you know what 4 oz of chicken looks like? How 'bout 1 ounce of cereal? Well it happens to be that 4 oz of chicken gives you one serving of the meat group and 1 ounce of cereal is one serving of bread group. I have spent an entire week measuring my food and to be quite honest I was shocked at how much I was actually eating. Granted I burn a ton of calories running and really shouldn't be skimping but if you're one that wants to lose weight then you better know what and how much you're eating.

I recommend two things if you want to eat healthy and/or lose weight: 1. Take one day out of your life and measure all your food to know what serving sizes look like and 2. Go to this website to find out what the appropriate number of servings for each food group is for you. It really does vary from person to person and is dictated by the different lifestyles we lead.

So in summary of all the Nutritional Facts label look for 3 things: Fat/saturated fat content keeping saturated fat to less than 20% of total fat. Next look at the sugar/carbohydrate ratio and make sure sugars account for less than 50% of all carbohydrates (measured in grams). And last look at the serving size and the amount of servings per container. Obviously there are other things on the label you need to look for, particularly if you have a medical condition, such as sodium for hypertension or fiber for diverticulitis. The main point is know what you're eating.

Thanks for reading

10 K - 50:19

Lone Tree loop - noon
fresh snow, 10 degrees, snowing
mind/body - good/fresh
easy effort

I woke up this morning with the temperature right at 2 degrees - chilly! The good thing is that all the mud is frozen, the bad thing is everything else is frozen - including me. The prescribed run was to be a 30 - 60 minute easy run to finish the week. I finished the recovery week with 43 myles. Now I'll ramp it back up for the next 8 weeks - probably topping out around 90 myles. My race schedule for 2009 is starting to take shape as I officially registered for Way Too Cool 50K on March 14th. I've also got my eye on a couple races for the late winter/early spring but won't register until I'm confident with my training in the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted

Tortilla eating contest - I won with 4.9 torts in 5 minutes (Tim actually had 5 torts in his mouth but puked so I won by default)

Moral of the story is that headbands make you fast in ev-er-rything!

Friday, December 12, 2008

12.5 myles - 1.32:23

Daniels Park - 2:00 p.m.
mid 40s, partly cloudy, muddy
mind/body - pretty good
easy effort

Gotta admit my hamstrings were a little sore today from the LT workout yesterday. I really didn't want to go running but once I was 20 minutes into it I was happy to be out there. The prescribed run was 1.30 at an easy pace - turned out to be a 7.23 pace which I'm completely comfortable at. Afterward I did a few strides, which basically are an exaggeration of the stride length and arm movement. I'm off skiing tomorrow so I'll get a little cross training in with those long cruiser runs.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gettin caught up

We're coming up on the end of the year and I've been reminiscing quite a bit about my year in running. In 30 years of running - no question my best year yet. The problem is how am I gonna get better next year? It's human nature to up the ante soooo (wait for it........) I've decided to hire a coach for 2009. I've been training by myself with my own methods for 20 years so it's time to try something new. I've hired the best in the business - former Pearl Izumi-Smith teammate Paul DeWitt. Paul has decided to focus his efforts on coaching rather than racing for (at least) 2009. Paul is the former record holder at Leadville 100 and current record holder at Heartlands 100. In the past I've done decent at 50 miles and below but the 100 mile race has always stymied me and so I think Paul will be perfect for the job. Not to mention he lives relatively close so training runs with him will be easy to come by.

I am 100% committed to the workouts Paul will send me on a weekly basis. Not only will you get to see what kind of training Paul creates for me but you'll get to see the results too. But don't copy them because he has a very extensive questionnaire that is required before hand so the training is tailored to each individuals strengths and weaknesses.

So here are two of my workouts this week so far:

Tues - In the SLC at Liberty Park: 15 minute warm-up, 20 minutes at 5:45 pace, 15 minute warm down. Total around 7 myles 51:06. The 20 minutes at 5:45 pace was just like a 5 K run - not hard enough to go beyond LT but breathing pretty hard and happy to stop.

Thurs - Back in Colorado: 10 myles in 1.13:27 with 8 x 1:30 at 5:15 pace. Whew this was tough! I was into LT - don't know if I was at 5:15 pace but I tried to think about running the mile back in high school. This was pretty much as hard as I could go without actually sprinting. Last 20 seconds of each one hurt me.

So there you have it - pretty much caught up except for one item - Nutritional Facts. I still have one post I want to put out on the Nutritional Facts label. I will have this out no later than Sunday. You'll want to read it because it deals with serving sizes and ties in the two previous posts.

Monday, December 8, 2008

8 myles - 55:05

Grigs out/back - 10:00 a.m.
mid 40s, cloudy, no wind
mind/body - relatively good
easy effort

Had to get a quick run in after a conference call, before the storm, and before I have to get to airport. Pleasant run with an average of 6:53/mile. Didn't push to hard as will be theme all week. I intend to make this week a recovery week and then get back at it. Saw a couple 4 or 5 point bucks hanging out together, kinda cool to see them effortlessly jump a 5 ft fence.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

10 K - 43:07

Lone Tree Loop - 12:30 p.m.
mid 60s, clear, a little muddy
mind/body - good
easy effort

Brian Fisher invited me to go run Mt Falcon this morning @ 7 a.m. but I couldn't pull myself outta bed. When Brian called last night for the invite he said "it's gonna be nice and easy".... yeah right! Any time Brian and I get together we seem to push it a bit and in the end it's always a good workout. I wasn't too sure I was up for that after running 5 days and 64 myles this week already. I turned to my 10 K easy route over at Lone Tree just to spin the legs - 17:26 for the 2.7 mile loop/6:27 pace.

I had to make my run quick because America's team is set to do battle with the Steelers today - think back to the late 70s when this was the biggest rivalry in all of sports. How 'bout dem Cowboys!! Gotta go...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

10 myles - 1.11:14

Daniels Park - 11:00 a.m.
mid 50s, a little muddy, clear
mind/body - tired
easy effort

Nothing of significance to report. Legs felt a little tired and really didn't feel like running but it was a nice enough day to get out. So far this week I've logged 64 myles and will probably run 6 tomorrow for a total of 70. This is my 5th week in a row of 60+ myles, I should probably cycle through a down week next week to let the body recover a bit. I don't think I'm gonna make it to 3000 myles for the year because I would have had to log 80 myles for all weeks this month. No sense in beating myself up just to get it, there's always next year...

I'm going to Utah next week for two days on business so I'm hoping my friends in SLC will read this blog and let me know what the trails look like in the SLC foothills. I'm looking either Millcreek (pipeline), Grandeur, City Creek (BST), or Red Butte - any advice?

Friday, December 5, 2008

18 myles - 2.04:07

Platte River out/back - 2:00 p.m.
mid 40s, overcast, a little damp, no wind
mind/body - feeling good
medium effort

It was about a month ago when I said I would try a 20 mile test run under 2.10 before Thanksgiving to determine if I was ready for a marathon PR - glad I didn't move forward with that....

Today I ran the course that I trained on for American River - all bike paths. I made a half-hearted effort to see where I was at but it didn't turn out like I hoped. I made the 9 mile turn around in 59:41 (6:37 pace) and felt great but that was all down hill - 1634 ft of downhill. The real test was to come back in the same time - didn't happen. I came back in 1.04:17 (7:08 pace) but really bonked at the end. I realize I was climbing but the effort seemed a little much and didn't have any water or gels. I figure if I want to get in the 2.40 range for a marathon then I should be able to do this course under 2 hours - even with the climbing. And I should be able to make a negative split - end with fast legs.

So I'm not ready for a marathon PR in the 2.40 range but that's O.K. - it's only December. If I can do something like this every two weeks (showing progress) I should be ready sometime in February. That's sets me up for a fast WTC in March - probably break Uli Steidl's record of 3.18.... Phhhhffffttttt - yeah right!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

12 myles - 1.23:59

HR east/west loop - 11:00 a.m.
low 20s, cloudy, South wind
mind/body - better than yesterday
easy effort

OK so maybe I didn't tell you the whole story yesterday why I left my watch home. In all honesty it was nice not to know time and yes not knowing did get me out the door. But what I didn't tell you is that I was feeling a little nauseated all day and really felt a little under the weather so I couldn't bear to look at the watch to see who slow I really was going. You see that dopy looking turtle on the top of my blog - I was much slower than that guy yesterday. So there you have it the full story, nothing but the truth. No stealth training going on here

Today was a totally different story; felt much better and faster. The weather is kind of crazy right now, from 20s to 60s and back to 20s today. Almost all the snow has melted and I thought the mud would be frozen but not so. The East/West trail was a muddy mess so I got back on the road and did a modified loop off the trail.

In other news, tonight I'm participating in a tortilla eating contest against my friend Tim Hola (who has several eating competitions under his belt). Since I'm Mexican and I do have a big mouth I'm counting myself as a 5:2 odds favorite - sorry Tim...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

10 myles - no time

Daniels Park - 3:00 p.m.
66 degrees!, clear, wet road
mind/body - struggled to get out the door
easy effort

No watch. No tunes. No HR monitor. Just me and the road.... and a few cars. Doesn't get any more pure than that ....except for maybe being on the trails. Although couldn't get on the trails today because they were sloppy from all the snow melt. I can't believe two days ago it was in the 20s and snowing, today it was high 60s and clear - welcome to Colorado!

Being a slave to time can be burdensome by giving me a feeling I have to perform each time - as I have posted before. It's nice just to get out and give the legs a spin without the watch hanging over my head. Try it sometime if you haven't already. It works best for those days when you just don't feel like running, like me today.... Old Jedi mind trick to get you out the door. You'd be surprised how far you get.

Monday, December 1, 2008

14 myles - 1.40:16

HR urban trails - 10 a.m.
40s, partly cloudy, mucky/messy-snow/mud mix
mind/body - good
medium effort

Boy did I feel good today - fast! Time wasn't great but trudging through snow/slush mix prevented anything faster. The worst part about today was cars driving past with no regard for me on the road - sometimes I wonder what they're thinking.... On the contrary, they're probably wondering what I'm thinking?? No harm, no foul right? Just increases my cat-like abilities by dodging slush balls...

In other news, I signed up for two races today: Miwok 100K on May 2nd and Squaw Peak 50M on June 6th. These races are significant because SP 50 was my first ultra back in 2004 and Miwok was my first DNF back in 2006. Gives me a chance to redeem myself and see how far I've come in a span of 5 years - I have high hopes!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

11 myles - 1.34:13

HR east/west loop - 11 a.m.
6 inches fresh snow, snowing, high 20s
mind/body - good
medium effort

Ahhhh - something about fresh snow on the trail! Much harder work breaking trail but certainly more peaceful. About an hour and a 1/2 worth of high knees to get ready for the Turquoise Lake 20 mile snowshoe run in January, although no snowshoes. I intended staying out longer but I knew my son was waiting at home to go sledding so headed home content with an hour and 1/2 workout. Gives me a total mileage of 68 for the week, 265 for the month, and 2646 for the year. Pretty good considering it's the first month back training and I've only averaged about 250/month for 2008. Might as well go for 3000 for the year...

Friday, November 28, 2008

12 myles - 1.24:13

HR urban trails - 11:30 a.m.
mid 30s, dry, partly cloudy
mind/body - feeling blue
easy effort

Black Friday/after turkey day blues! Yep sho ded eat my fill of vittles! Had a little bit of everything to include: eggs, pancakes, salad, sushi, butter beans, fruit, bananas fosters, chocolate covered strawberries, AND all the usually turkey day stuff - I was STUFFED! Bilbo Baggins and Frodo would have been proud! You know that feeling of when you've eaten too much and you stand up only to find out you can't stand up straight.... that was me! As for the rest of the family, Nicole stuck to the omlets and traditional turkey day stuff, Jaxon chowed down on crab legs, bacon and a whole bunch of chocolate dipped stuff, Myles either smashed everything in his hands or chewed it up and spit it out cause all he wanted was breast milk. Fun times with the family on Thanksgiving.

Now the fun part of trying to run a day after - it must be done! Today was proof that eating bad usually results in a bad run. Maybe "bad" is not the right word but more like "awkward" or "uncomfortable" or "slow" - maybe those terms better describe how I felt today. Oh well I'd do it all over again. Isn't that why we run, so we can eat more?!?!

The family on Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

20 myles - 2.24:12

HR urban foothill trails - 9:00 a.m.
clear, dry, mid 60s
mind/body - good
medium effort

Had to get a big run in today in anticipation of the big meal tomorrow! I always feel much better pigging out when I've worked for it and besides it was a real nice day today.

I tried something relatively new the last couple of days: 2 workouts spread out by only 12 hours. I got this idea from PI/Smith team mate Paul DeWitt. When Paul is getting ready for a hundred he will do 4 runs, 2 hours in length each time within 36 hours. I did a very scaled down version yesterday and today by doing 1.15 (10 myles) last night and ~2.5 (20 myles) this morning. I like the concept of running on tired legs, not to mention a tired mind. Bring on the Turkey... and ham... and stuffing... and candied yams.... and pumpkin pie.... and mashers... and lots of rolls - did I leave anything out? We are headed down to the Brown Palace and I guarantee I will eat my moneys worth!

On a totally different note, I got a strange phone call the other night. A girl by the name of Amy Martinez called saying that she works for the Discovery channel and wanted to follow me around for a week with a camera... she said my story was very interesting?? I asked her "what story" and her reply "we think it would be interesting to follow around a former cop who was hooked on meth and came clean!" WHAT!?!?! I told her she had the wrong guy and that was that. I thought for sure I'd been a victim of identity theft but check out THIS story. Thank goodness for middle names...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2008

16 myles - 1.58:18

HR urban foothill trails - 11:30 a.m.
60s, clear, dry
mind/body - lethargic
easy effort

Highlands Ranch has a very nice system of new trails in the urban foothills that were begging me to step on them. Check out the link above to see my home course. Today was a good day to mix things up and get in a long one because my shift at Arby's starts a little later than usual. And besides when ol man winter is away you've gotta play!

I linked a couple different loops together to step on every inch of the HR trail system with a total of 700ft of elevation gain. I didn't feel particularly fresh when I started but I've noticed I really come into my own about 30 minutes into my runs and today was no different. I averaged 7:23/mile but would consider it an easy effort based on breathing but then again I don't think running 16 myles is ever "easy" - it's all relative.

Look for a post later today on the 3rd and final post regarding nutritional facts. It's gonna come late because were gonna be busy with a special on roast beef sandwiches for the holidays!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

51 myles - 5.32:07

Highline canal to CT - 6:30 a.m.
20s to start, 50s to end, dry, clear
mind/body - eager
Hard effort

Pretty impressive eh? Watch out Krupicka and Skaggs here comes FastED! My fastest time over this distance with an average pace of 6:30/mile - I think I can hang with those boys now.... as long as I can use my bike again!

Yep, that's right I said bike! 33 myles worth of bike and 18 myles of running. This is the same adventure Tim and I had set out to do last weekend but got thwarted by thorns. Slimed up the ol tires this time without incident.

We left Tim's house in the pre-dawn light and literally froze our hands off, it was probably around 25 degrees but when going ~17 mph the wind is pret-ty cold. I had all of our belongs, nutrition, and hydration in my Nathan 759 backpack which was the same one I used in Mtn. RATS - very comfy! The bike leg was across Chatfield dam and then Waterton canyon to the start of the CT at Lenny's rest. From there we ran the entire 1st segment of the CT over to the Platte River townsite and back. Man is it beautiful back there! On the way out we did not see a sole on the trail as we ran under the canopy of the pine trees. And although it's beautiful it has a few stout climbs both ways - around 43oo ft of elevation round trip. There was a little bit of snow on the trail but for the most part pretty dry. Getting back to the bikes I was really starting to get into a rhythm running and really dreaded getting back to the bike. New territory for me but Tim is no stranger to this (10X Ironman Hawaii) so I told him to take it easy on me for the ride home. Thank goodness the trail heads down for most of the way home because I really started to feel it.

At the end of the day here are the numbers:
  • 1st bike - 16.5 myles 1.26
  • 2nd bike - 16.5 myles 1.24
  • Total bike - 33 myles 2.45
  • 1st run - 9 myles 1.21:38
  • 2nd run - 9 myles 1.20:20
  • Total run - 18 myles 2.41:58
The adventure thwarted the first time was a huge success the second time. Along the way I only ate 3 gels, 1 bottle Succeed Amino, and a Hammer bar - probably not enough so I will take more next time. I have a feeling this is going to be a staple workout for Tim and I moving into 2009. I know there are several ultra runners that cross train with the bike that swear by it so I think I'll give a try every once in a while. Now it's time for eating part to begin - thanks for reading!

Friday, November 21, 2008

9 myles - 1.00:54

Lone Tree Loop - noon
mild, high 50s, dry trail
mind/body - just gettin' out the door
medium effort

I intended this to be an easier run but as I got over to the 2.7 mile loop there was a guy ahead of me that looked like he was going at a pretty good clip. The competitor got the better of me as I kept watching him look back and then look at his watch, for some reason I knew he knew it was on. It's always good to do a temp check and I guess that's what this was. He looked the part; slender, short shorts, some race shirt - you know what I mean.

I was getting closer and knew I'd make the catch but was he toying with me? The longer it took me - the harder I pushed. I finally passed on a hill in which he had stopped to play with his IPod - hmmm was he really playing with his IPod or just letting me get in front so he could chase? Well now in front I pushed even harder and never saw the guy again. The games we lonely runners play for entertainment...

I ended up with 2 loops: 17:35/6:30, 17:24/6:24. And this is no flat loop, it's got about 350 ft of elevation gain/loop so I feel pretty good about these times. This is the same loop course that I have done 10 loops to get ready for WTC last year - 10 loops (27 myles) in 3.24:07. Rest assured I'll be back at in February to see if I can beat my ghost...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

16 myles - 1.51:38

Daniels Park - 11:30 a.m.
mid 30s, frosty, fog
mind/body - eager
medium effort

Sho ded fee-yal maadeh fein!

Must be in the air - crisp, clean, foggy, rocky mountain high, Colorado air that is. I stuck with my theme of getting fast legs at the end, kind of been my speed work the last couple of weeks. Since I fade in races I've been going LT (or close to) the last couple myles of my longer runs - maybe it'll make me tougher in the mind too. Today I did the last 3 in 19:17 (6:31, 6:24, 6:22). The point was NOT to get to LT but see what pace I felt comfortable without going into the red. When I was thinking about this during the run I thought I would be about 6:30s so I was pretty close. My hope is to build up to a 30 mile training run with the last 5 sub 6:20 going into WTC in March of 09.

And just for the record I ran yesterday 10 myles (1.10:07) in 70 degree weather. From 70 to 30 in a day: They say if you don't like the weather in Colorado - just wait a day. Very true.

Monday, November 17, 2008

11 myles - 1.17:08

HR East/West trail - noon
very nice - low 70s, dry
mind/body - seems fresh
medium effort

With a longer workout yesterday (3+ hours total), I was going to take the day off but I just can't pass up these nice days. I started sluggish but came into my own after about 1/2 hour. I believe a workout the day after a longish day is the best for fitness - not only of the mind but the body as well. I averaged about 7 min/mile and felt very comfortable. This is my 5th week since my break so I think maybe next week rather than increase my mileage I will cycle through a lesser mileage week.

Good fat, bad fat

In keeping with the nutritional facts theme, my goal is to review the entire nutritional facts label so that each of you are able to look at foods and determine if it's a healthy food or not. Last week I reviewed the carbohydrate to sugar ratio, this week I will review fats.

Despite what you might think there are types of fat that are good for you and happen to be necessary for healthy nutrition. They key is finding the good fat in the right proportion and staying away from the bad fat - for the most part.

Here's the label again. Last week I said that as far as carbohydrates and sugars are concerned mac n cheese is a good food. Sugars should be less than 50% of total carbohydrates -16% in this case. Now let's see if mac n cheese lives up to the bill as a good food as far as fat is concerned.

There are many types of fats but the FDA only requires the manufacturer to list total fat, saturated fats, and trans fat. Recent tables indicate that if you consume a 2500 calorie diet/day then about 20% of the calories should come from all fat, which turns out to be 55 grams (500 calories) of total fat. Of that 55 grams, saturated fat should make up no more than 20%/day - around 11 grams. So as it turns out mac n cheese fits the bill as a good food for fat as well - 2 for 2. But there's a catch that I'll discuss in subsequent posts.

Total fat includes: saturated, unsaturated, monounsaturated, trans, polyunsaturated, omega 3, 6, 9, and hydrogenated fats. Without going into the chemistry, all you need to know is that it's harder for our bodies to break down saturated, hydrogenated, and trans fat - i.e. it takes more energy to break them down and are more easily stored in the adipose tissue for easy weight gain. Make sense?

For this one food item of mac n cheese the total fat is 12 grams with 3 grams (~20%) coming from saturated fat - pretty good ratio. Try to keep each and every food item to less than 20% saturated fat and the whole day should workout to less than 20%. The trick is to keep the total fat around 55 grams/day.

I often look at fat content because as an endurance athlete a high fat diet may be deleterious to performance, fat may replace carbohydrate for the fuel source, and fat has caused me gastrointestinal distress before. Not only that but high fat diets can cause heart disease and high cholesterol. As an athlete your body needs quick energy and the best source for that is carbohydrates. Even though fat contains more energy, it takes longer for the body to breakdown fat and that doesn't work when your in the middle of a workout or race. The longer the event, the more likely you should include a fat source.
  • Sources of food with a little bit of good fat include: veggies, fruits, beans, natural whole grain products
  • Sources of food with high good fat include: nuts, seeds, and avocados
  • Sources of food with high BAD fat include: whole milk, cheese, candy, desserts, crackers, and potato chips.
So in summary, keep your fat intake around 20%/day with less than 20% of that coming from saturated fat. Good fats: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, omega 3, 6, 9. Bad fats: saturated, trans, and hydrogenated. Hydrogenated is usually lumped in with saturated but look for both terms. And last, don't eliminate fats altogether because most of our major organs need them as an energy source.

This kid knows good nutrition!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What's an adventure without a mishap?

I don't think you can classify it as an "official" adventure if everything goes as planned. I've never had a plan called to perfection and that includes today's adventure.

Tim Hola
and I have been talking about this one for a while and today we tried it: Leave Tim's house on Mtn. bikes and ride 15 myles to the start of the Colorado Trail, ditch the bikes/gear and run 21 myles to the Platte River and back. Didn't happen that way. More like: Leave Tim's house in the pre-dawn hours, try an unknown path to the trail and the rest is pretty much down hill.....

About a mile into the ride Tim says, "I've always had bad luck with flats going this way." Sure enough about 1/2 hour later his front tire was flat and mine was riddled with thorns. I tried pulling 3 or 4 out with a hisssssing sound so I left them in. I didn't have a pump or spare tube, Tim did but the spare went flat about an hour into the ride. We turned around and ditched the bikes/gear along the lower portion of the Platte River and did a modified loop back to his house. And just to add to the adventure we ran through the Platte River on the way back to remind us of the ol' Coach Weber races out there.

So at the end of the day we improvised and got a better than expected workout in. One hour on the bike (~10 myles) and then a 2 hour run (~17 myles) back to his house. Lesson here is be adventurous with new things (or paths) but listen to your instinct - I should have listened Tim. We're gonna try it again next weekend - I hope it's as good of weather as it was today!

Below is the elevation and pace of our run

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Gettin caught up on a couple runs

Looks like ol' man winter has rolled into town - nice little snow storm over the last couple of days. In reality I don't mind at all. In the winter it's always cold to start but after about 1/2 hour the body really starts to warm up. I've learned over the years how much clothing is too much clothing and I always seem to gauge my clothing vs. what I wore during Hard Rock. Last year it dipped into the mid 20s; sloggin' through snow and ice cold rivers in the middle of the night and I had shorts on. Don't get me wrong, I was cold but I didn't freeze to death. Having said that, during training I never wear pants unless it's zero and the wind is blowing and I rarely leave the house with a jacket on.

The last two days have been the typical gettin' in the myles runs: yesterday 12 myles in 1.23:33 for an average of 6:58, today 10 myles in 1.13:07 for an average of 7:19. Tomorrow I'm going on an adventure with this guy. We are riding our Mtn. bikes from his house to the start of the Colorado Trail (~30 myles) and then ditching our bikes and running to the Platte River and back (~21 myles). We did an adventure race a couple years back and really enjoyed it and are thinking about another one in 09 - we'll see if time allows us to fit it in.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

11 myles - 1.19:19

HR - East/West trail loop - noon
upper 40s, SW wind, still dry
mind/body - not really into it
easy effort

Boy I tell ya I slogged through some myles today - didn't really want to be out there. I don't know whether I just had an off day, if the speed work is catching up to me, or if I'm just gettin' old. I would probably say a combination of all 3. Ended up with an average of 7:12/mile, in which I felt a lot slower than that.

On another note, I'm narrowing my 2009 race schedule down to 6 actual races and then the monster Colorado Trail adventure in September. I've got about 9 races to choose from right now and ultimately it will depend upon when my son is on break from school. He goes year round with 9 weeks on and 3 weeks off so I'll have to wait till his schedule comes out before I make any concrete decisions. And just to be clear it's not just "my" decision, my wife has equal say and has to give me the go ahead.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

14 myles - 1.36:08

Daniels Park - noon
mid 50s, overcast, dry
mind/body - very good
medium effort

It's no secret that I tend to start too fast and fade towards the end of any race so today I thought I'd mix it up a bit. I decided that I would do a little speed work for the last 3 myles of my run on somewhat tired legs. I would have been happy to hit 6:15s/18:45 for 3 myles but I did a little better than expected. I hit 5:53, 5:56, 6:05/17:54 for the last 3 myles - not too shabby eh? I think this approach will help the fading thing for shorter races (marathon and 50K) but probably won't do much for those 100 mile beasts....

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Don't always believe what you read

This is the first in a series of posts dealing with nutrition. Nutrition labels can be very misleading and very tricky to understand what you're really eating. This week I'll focus in on carbohydrates and sugars.

Here's a prime example of a label being misleading "always Fat Free". Is that true? Technically yes but what they're not telling you is that this form of sugar is stored in adipose tissue (fat) if not expended.

Each of us have what is known as carbohydrate craving and is determined by energy expenditure and metabolism; i.e. if you exercise more it's higher. Endurance athletes have the luxury of not only having a high energy expenditure but also a high metabolism so most of this energy never makes it to the adipose tissue.... unless you eat a lot of it!

Candy is considered empty calories, meaning they offer no nutritional value. To top it off the sugar that candy, soda, and most anything sweet that is processed comes from High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). I'm not going to go into detail about how this "chemical" is produced, if you want to know more you can read here. Just know that it's not natural and there are a lot of chemicals involved to make this product. But having said that if I were to choose a "lesser evil" candy then it would be Red Vines as a "treat".

When looking at nutritional facts the one thing I focus on is the percent of sugar grams contributing to the total grams in carbohydrates. If 100% of the sugars grams account for all the carbohydrates then the carbohydrates are all sugar; as in most candy and pop.

Ideally in all foods with nutrition facts the rule of thumb is to have no more than 50% of the grams of carbohydrates coming from sugar. It requires a bit of calculation but it's easy math so don't fret. In this example of macaroni and cheese 16% of the of the "Total Carbohydrate" are coming from sugar - that part is good. Does it mean that Mac and cheese is a good food? Not entirely!

In the coming posts I will go into the other parts of this label so you get a full understanding of the nutrition facts.

So in summary: don't always believe what you read, know what you're eating, keep the percent of sugar grams to 50% or less, and keep your treats to being only a "treat".

13 myles - 1.37:40

HR/Grigs modified loop - 10:00 a.m.
mid 50s, partly cloudy, still dry
mind/body - good
easy effort

I was a little hesitant to get out the door because of the effort yesterday so I just decided to "saunter" my way around the local trails. I really took it easy and just enjoyed my time on the trails with a half million other runners. I guess the word is getting out that these prime outdoor days are numbered and everyone wants their share. I don't mind though - it's good to see so many people staying fit. I averaged 7:30/mile and felt very comfortable doing so. Later today I'll post some nutrition tips

Saturday, November 8, 2008

12 myles - (10 - 1.01:54)

South Platte Pkwy - 10:00 a.m.
mid 50's, mild wind, partly cloudy
mind/body - eager
Hard effort

Have I ever mentioned that I hate speed work? Today was a good reminder that I would rather spread the pain over an extended period of time and distance rather than hurt more for shorter - I hurt me today!

I drove down to the South Platter River parkway with Jaxon to test my speed on a flat pathway. Jaxon rode his bmx bike and offered up aid whenever I needed it. Jaxon had a great time and even commented afterwards saying that was more fun than he thought it was going to be.

Mile 1 and 12 served as warm up and cool down respectively with the middle 10 being my tempo work. My intentions were to come in under 1.05 for an average of 6:30 or less but as I got going I made a concerted effort to go all out for as long as I could. You know the feeling; can't talk, lungs burning, legs weak, taste of blood in the mouth - kinda reminded me of my high school cross country days. I'm almost fearful of these kinds of runs because part of me doesn't want to know what kind of shape I'm really in and how much work I have to go. As it turns out I made it through 7 myles pretty good and then really started to hurt - at least now I know.

Here are my splits:
  • mile 1,10: 6:05, 6:18
  • mile 2, 9: 6:03, 6:06
  • mile 3, 8: 6:14, 6:15
  • mile 4, 7: 6:07, 6:13
  • mile 5, 6: 6:10, 6:18
  • 1.01:54 avg 6:11
A little better than I expected and well on my way.... as long as I can stay motivated. Remember I'm looking for 6:15s for 26 myles so I'm not quite there but making progress. If you're looking to challenge yourself and really, REALLY wanna know what kind of shape you're in then go as hard as you can and see how many myles you can make it; you'll know when you've cracked...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

11 myles - 1.13:17

HR east/west trail - noon
mid 40s, dry, South wind
mind/body - eager
medium effort

Things seem to be coming around with the body - primarily the Achilles. I had no pain and very little tenderness as I woke today - good sign to keep runnin'!

This route has about 800 ft of climbing on trails so I'm more than pleased with the time - a little less than 6.40/mile. I made a decision today about the upcoming road marathon for a PR - I decided that I will do a trial run of 20 myles on a flat paved surface right before Thanksgiving. If I get under 2.10 then I'll try for my PR if not then I'm gonna move back to the trails and train for a spring 50K. I find myself dreading the speed days and I just don't want to feel like that when running should be enjoyable. I'll keep you posted.

On another more important note, look at these pictures!! Myles was hamming it up for the camera - I may be a little biased but probably THE cutest little boy on earth!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

12 myles - 1.23:39

Daniels Park - 11:30 a.m.
40s, South wind, little damp
mind/body - felt good
medium effort

Well the perfect days have come to an end - for now. Colorado has a tendency to be erratic in weather patterns - it could be 80 degrees tomorrow followed by a blizzard the next day. But at any rate it was still pleasant once I got going. This route has a pretty steep, short climb that I call the Sanctuary hill and it's the first time I've been down it since mid-summer so I wasn't sure if I had any climbing legs yet. I was quite surprised to climb good and recover fast - maybe I should stick to the climbing and leave the flat stuff to the fast guys... Achilles felt pretty solid today, I applied some heat this morning and massaged it pretty good so maybe that will be the trick - thanks for the tip Grae

Starting Sunday I am going to add a new weekly post entitled "Nutrition Tips" I have a degree in Nutrition so I might as well divulge some of that knowledge and give some tips to the endurance athlete. As I start to post information, let me know if it's helpful or not. I appreciate any feedback

Monday, November 3, 2008

9 myles - 1.03:17

Chatfield Res. - 3:00 p.m.
Gorgeous, just gorgeous (Boston accent)
mind/body - eh, iffy
medium effort

It's been nearly a year since I've been out on this loop so I stopped by on my way home. For all you runners that work outta your car - always have a bag of running stuff. Or if you sleep in your car then having a bag of running stuff probably isn't a problem.

The days here in Colorado just don't get any better than this! We have been fortunate to have many days strung together that is nearly perfect for anything outside. I felt fast around the flat 9+ mile loop and felt like I could have gone another. An average of 6:55/mile.

As a side note, my Achilles has been acting up again and I'm not sure what to do about it. I wake up in the morning and can barely walk then it loosens up throughout the day. As I begin my runs I have a noticeable limp but feel great about 1/2 hour into my run. No swelling or bulges, just very tender. I may be forced to take more time off and go back to PT to get ready for 2009. I looked back at my running log from last year when I had the same problem, I ended up taking 6 weeks off in a row. This year as my Achilles became sore in September I only took 3 weeks off. Was it enough rest? Before I get too far along I want to make sure it's gonna last the entire year. I'll keep you informed about my aging body...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

12 myles - 1.26:52

H.R. East/West trail - 1:00 p.m.
too nice to pass up
mind/body - good
medium effort

Just couldn't let the day pass me by without taking part in it. My 2nd - 1.5 hour run this week for a total of 51 myles. Third week back training sticking close to the 10% rule of adding mileage. The run was pretty uneventful but I did throw in a few 30 second interval sessions just to keep my legs honest.

On a side note I've been experimenting with nutrition a bit, primarily with gels. I know how important it is to consume carbohydrates within 30 minutes of finishing a run. During that time the body has the highest degree of carbohydrate uptake to rebuild glycogen stores and start the recovery process. If that's true I want to teach my body to consume the carbohydrate source I'll be using in longer races for greater acceptance and utilization. My experiment is simple, as soon as I get done with a run of 1.5 hours or more I will only consume gels and water for one hour. After that time is up I'll then add my favorite recovery drink. There's no science behind this, it just makes sense to me. I'm not even sure if there's a way to measure if it's working other than not bonking in a race. I'll let you know.

Friday, October 31, 2008

6 myles - no time

Lone Tree loop - 1:00 p.m.
Too nice to pass up
mind/body - good
easy effort

I list this as an easy effort but really had to think about it while I was out there - was it easy? I've evaluated my effort lately because of the comment AJayDub posted about easy effort.

For me, I base my effort solely on breathing: not breathing hard, conversational pace then it's easy; can't talk during a run, good sweat then it's medium; if I'm breathing hard, good sweat, and I get the taste of blood in my mouth then I know it's hard. Very rudimentary.

I've been running for nearly 28 years and outside of high school I have never had a coach - I just run based on feel. Having said that, I've learned there is a 2 degree separation between my easy and hard efforts - 2 degrees meaning 2 minutes per mile. Easy effort is around an 8 min pace, hard effort is around a 6 min pace. I physically can't go slower than 8 min/mile unless I walk (which is usually the case in 100s), it hurts too bad.

So there you have it AJayDub, with a 2 degree of separation I don't get much faster than I'm running right now, no matter the season. So I'm far from being "the man". I'm waaaay behind a long list of very talented runners in the Ultra field to include you AJayDub. I'm just happy to be out there with you all.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

10 myles - 1.06:39

Daniels Park - 5:00 p.m.
nice day, no wind, dry, mid 70s
mind/body - good
medium effort

AAAHHHH nice to be back in Colorado - Good run today! Same run as last week where I try to hit 6:15s on the way back. Last week I hit 6:21s and felt good. Today I came back in 31:21 for an average of 6:16/mile. Progress. The goal is 6:15s for 26 myles so not quite there yet...

Spent the last week in San Francisco running through the city and a little bit of trail. My hotel was right on Union Square so I ran the trolley tracks on Powell and Hyde to the pier. From the pier I went across the Golden gate and onto the Coastal California trial. Nice runs, beautiful scenery, but waaaay too early. Because of the conference I was attending I had to be out the door by 5 a.m. to get in a good 2 hour run - had the streets to myself. Coming from altitude, it's really a strange sensation to run hills at sea level: my lungs don't quite get the workout my legs do. Which, for me, confirms the theory of live high-train low. I'm really looking forward to Miwok in 2009.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

8 myles - 55:47

Grigs - Nooner
bit chilly, clear, a little wet
mind/body - good
easy effort

Another great run today! Not much more to say than that. I really held back a bit because in the past I've pushed too hard and paid the consequences of being injured. Now that I'm a little older (and wiser) I realize the importance of mixing good, hard runs with easy runs. So I'll count this one as an easy run and hit it hard(er) once I get to Sausalito over the weekend.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

10 myles - 1.07:47

Daniels Park - 4:00 p.m.
30s, a few flakes, erratic wind
mind/body - eager
medium effort

We've all had our fair share of good and bad runs. The bad run is trying to figure out what you ate the last day and a half that makes you have to ditch in the bushes only to forget your TP. The good run is feeling like you can conquer the world and it's problems. The endorphin rush gives you little tingles in your head so you grit your teeth and go faster without any extra effort. ....hmm if I could somehow bottle the good run and feed it to the world - the world would be a harmonious love fest!

Well today was one of those good runs. I never know when it's gonna happen, it just does. I started my run just going through the motions of warming up, hoping to get done before it dumped and then the tingles came on. I don't know about you but I talk to myself quite a bit during my run and I said "hey I feel pretty good, let's push the pace at the turn around". I did 5 myles in 31:47 (6.21/mile) and felt good doing it. Not the 6:15 I had hoped for but it's gettin' there.

Monday, October 20, 2008

11 myles - 1.16:15

HR East/West trail - nooner
upper 60s, mild wind, dry
mind/body - kinda lethargic
easy effort

Took a little break from the books and got out on the trails. This is the 3rd or 4th nice day in a row - can't waste 'em! Body felt a little funky today but I managed to get through the run just fine. I didn't go particularly fast, just kind of sauntered my way. I'm heading to San Francisco the later half of this week for just about a week so I'm planning on getting over to Sausalito to get some runs over on the Miwok course. I intend to run Miwok next year because #1 it's just absolutely beautiful, and #2 I didn't get to see the entirety of the beauty last time.....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

4 myles - 25:57

Grigs - 4 p.m.
70s, clear, dry, no wind
mind/body - good
medium effort

Just a quick speed check today to make sure my pace is still right. I intended to go moderately slow for 3 myles and then 6:15 for the last to get a good feel for it. I hit 6:05 for the last which surprised me because I felt good and wasn't breathing all that hard - albeit only 1 mile, it's a start.

On another more important note, Myles started crawling almost 10 months to the day he was born. It took a while but he's pretty excited that he can go get his favorite ball all by himself. I remember when Jaxon started crawling, we were so excited.... until we realized that it was a monumental task keeping him outta everything. I have a feeling it's gonna be 10 times worse with Myles.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

10 myles - 1.08:12

Daniels Park - 10:30 a.m.
70s, no wind, dry
mind/body - relatively good
medium effort

Very nice day to run with the temps in the 70s and dry, my favorite time of the year to run. Days like this are limited so they can't be wasted, and with the number of runners I saw on the roads, nobody was wasting today.

Yesterday I was going for the trifecta (swim, bike, run) but I was interrupted by a friend who wanted me to go mtn. biking when I got home from the gym, I obliged. I went for 1/2 mile swim in the pool and then got on the stationary bike for 35 minutes (10 myles). Then went on the mtn. bike for 15 myles around the local trails instead of a run. Either way I had about a 3 hour work out yesterday.

Today I felt good to start but felt a little fatigued in the end. I mixed up the pace today with 10 x 30 seconds @ 6:15/mile pace. In high school I was usually dead on when the coach wanted us to hit specific splits on the track so knowing my pace I think I was pretty close to my goal today.

As many of you know I'm a pretty symbolic person so for the last couple of weeks I've been searching for road marathon in December. My son Myles was born on December 15th last year @ 2:44 p.m. so I decided to commemorate his birthday this year by running a road Marathon in 2.44 or less. That's 6:15/mile. My road Marathon PR is 2.50 right now so I think with a little speed work a 2.44 is doable. The Marathon I'm thinking about is the Zappos Las Vegas Marathon on December 7th. I haven't talked to the wife about it yet so it's still up in the air. If I can do this then I'll probably have some pretty fast spring 50K times.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

8 myles - 55:13

Grigs - 11:00 a.m.
mid 60s, North wind, partly cloudy
mind/body - good
easy effort

I went to the pool yesterday and did 34 x 50 m with 30 seconds rest between sets and when I left the pool I was totally worked. I was averaging 45 seconds per 50 m (don't know if that's good or not) and stayed pretty strong throughout. The breathing is coming along but I still don't think I'm doing it right. Jaxon also came to the pool with me and did 10 laps (20 lengths).

So today when I started running I felt aerobically good. My first split was 6:36 and my perceived effort felt more like a 7 min/mile. I think as a result of swimming yesterday my lungs are working much more efficiently when I run. I also feel my posture when running is a little more upright. I'm gonna try to maintain swimming 3 times per week but when I'm running 80 myles per week I know that's gonna be tough.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

6 myles - 41:28

Grigs road - 3:00 p.m.
low 60s, overcast, calm
mind/body - refreshed/a little stiff
easy effort

Ahhhh - feels soooo good to be running again! As good as breaks can be for rejuvenating the body and soul, running again makes me feel so much more alive! Everything is in perfect harmony when I'm running and feeling good. First/last splits: 6:47/6:40. A little bit quicker today with less aches. The legs are coming around and feeling like they were 20 years old again.... OK maybe not but they feel good!

Now that I'm back in the saddle again I need to start eating better as well. For the last 2 months I've been consuming around 3000 calories a day, packed with more saturated fat than I need. So now it's time to scale back to around 2500 calories per day and limit my fat intake. The best way I've found to do that in the past is to eliminate all fried foods - period. It's harder than you think. Think about everything you put in your mouth and find out how it came to be. Where did it come from? Was it grown? Was it processed? How was it processed? Whole foods is the key to eating better and in turn feeling better when I run.

Monday, October 13, 2008

6 myles - 42:26

Grigs - 9:00 a.m.
partly cloudy, low 50s, mucky
mind/body - good, sore
easy effort

Whoa!! What's this? -said the legs. A little lactic acid build up from the run yesterday; a measly 6 mile run at that! Doesn't take the legs long to get de-trained does it? I was a little slower today due to being sore but warmed up nicely. First/last splits were 7:00/6:51. Considering this was an easy run I feel pretty good at this pace.

On top of my run, I went for a little swim right after just to see how I would feel. I did 17 laps (1/2 mile) in 30 minutes so pretty much the same pace at which I would do a mile. I did more reading online, this time on body position in the water. Everything I read said to make your body as if it's going downhill, meaning keep your head lower than your butt. So much to think about but to be honest I had more fun swimming than I did running today.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

6 myles - 42:10

Grigs out and back - noon
cool weather, mid 50's, cloudy
mind/body - refreshed
easy effort

Back in the saddle again and it felt good! My lungs felt good but my legs were wondering what the heck was going on. A few minor aches but that was to be expected not having run in over 2 weeks. Achilles didn't have any pain whatsoever so it's a good start. I didn't push the pace at all and still had a 6:48/6:43 first and last splits respectively. Actually I felt like I was going faster than that but maybe its because I'm used to going so slow in the water. And even though I'm running again I still plan on going to the pool 3 times per week because I'm having fun with it and it's such a good aerobic workout.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Who ya gonna vote for?

Just my personal opinion and believe me I am no political expert.

I am just about sick of this whole presidential election! Did you happen to see the debate the other night? Just answer the damn question! Rather than answer the question they wanna act like two bickering siblings. Who's better to lead our country right now? Neither one of these guys, they just have the most money to run an effective campaign against each other. Obama is probably smarter and a phenomenal public speaker but really doesn't know anything about the mess we've created overseas. McCain really doesn't know anything EXCEPT the military and wants you to believe he will avoid war at all costs. Has there ever been a President that hasn't taken us to war? I believe there are better leaders in this country that are more capable of getting us outta this mess but either don't have the money or are way down the list as far as political hierarchy. Does anyone out there really believe that the problems we are facing in this nation will be fixed in 4 years? Don't kid yourself! Each President that is elected is elected because he promises to help you and I personally right now - they don't tell you that our kids, kids are the ones that are gonna have to pay for it. The economy, war, health care, whatever the problem we are facing was set into motion decades ago by promises made by previous Presidents. Remember Reganomics?

What's the answer? I dunno, you tell me? I just know that I am sick and tired of the whole Presidential election, primarily the negativity associated with it. We may be witnessing history in the making but I want no part of it! The President really doesn't lead the country anyway.... it's the people under him that tell him what to say and what to do, right? How 'bout we make them both President?

On another note, much more important stuff is going on..... like my swimming! Looks like I've created a pattern of swimming 3 times per week about a mile each time. This week I went Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for an hour each time. Yesterday I really concentrated on my strokes per length. I did some reading online that says strokes per length are important for economy in the water. Looks like I'm around 16 strokes per length which really doesn't mean anything to me yet but probably will the longer I do it. And also yesterday I followed some sort of workout that included 5 x 100 m and 10 x 50 m. During the 100 m sets I took 1 minute and 30 seconds rest between sets and the 50 m sets I took a 30 second rest.

Last but not least, I will be resuming my running this coming Monday. I've taken two weeks without running a step and my body feels great. I'm eager to get started again! I've also arranged some testing to be done, such as VO2 Max, running economy, and fuel utilization. This will help me focus my training rather than just going out for run at the same pace every time.

Hope all is well!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bronco game on Sunday

Our friends from Utah came into town to see the Broncos play.... why? I dunno? Aric Manning got tickets from a connection of his. Great seats, 8 rows off the field and the Broncos side. Jaxon's second game and Myles first. But as you can see on Myles face, he is not too happy to be dressed in such dreadful colors. Compare to when he is dressed in Cowboy blue and silver - how 'bout dem Cowboys!! Anyhow, the Broncos squeaked another one out. I now know how Ed Hocules was paid off... Before this game I saw the zebras come out of the Bronco player lounge with Martini's in their hands. Just remember you Bronco fans - winners never cheat.

On another note, went swimming again yesterday. 6th time in the pool. (I'll stop counting when I get to 10) I just want you all to know I'm still learning and still eager to get in the pool. Jaxon went with me again, he did 9 lengths. I did 36 laps in 54 minutes this time. A little bit quicker, meaning less rest between laps. I successfully turned underwater without snorting a bunch of water. Now I just need to learn to turn closer to the wall so that I can push off. I also did 4 laps without rest. The last two laps were as fast I could go and felt great. I'm not sure how many calories I'm burning but I am sweating in the pool and completely spent by the time I get home so I know it's a good workout. Stay tuned....

Friday, October 3, 2008

36 laps - around an hour

5th time in the pool so far. It took around the same amount of time to swim a mile as the previous mile swim. I attempted to turn underwater today without looking like a bafoon but I failed - I looked like a bafoon. I snorted a bunch of water, over-rotated, and was facing the same direction I was swimming. I watched the guy in the lane next to me but couldn't quite pick it up.

My breathing is becoming more normal and less hyperventilating but I still find myself completely anaerobic after 2 laps, thus I have to stop. (and just so you know, 1 lap is 2 lengths of the pool which is 50 meters) I'm breathing out both sides every other stroke while trying to keep my head in the water. Lots of things to think about but it's coming along. The last two laps today I went all out and honestly I felt better than when I go slower... maybe because I'm breathing quicker and more normal - I dunno?? Also today I got cramps in both my feet, which my mom told me she would always get.

All in all I learn something every time but most of all I'm enjoying the time spent with Jaxon. He's off track right now and is as eager as I am to get to the pool. Today he stayed in my lane the entire hour either kicking with his board or entertaining himself with these floaty things that you put between your legs.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

36 laps - 56:00

Before I give an update of the past two weeks, I've got to explain the photos. This is one of Phil Mendoza's pacers at the Bear - Greg Shadow. Sorry Greg I cut your face off but it was dark. I guess there's not much explaining to do if you don't know Greg because you wouldn't understand. Greg paced Phil from Tony Grove to Franklin and it was timely because Phil needed a pick-me-up. See the dollar? Greg did a little dance for Roch Horton at Franklin - crazy stuff happens in the middle of the night! This has got to be one of THE best pacer outfits EVER! If you've got a photo of something better, I'd love to see it.

So after I decided not to do the Bear, I still had my travel plans which dropped me off in SLC on Thursday. And since I plan to go back to the Bear next year I decided I would help out as much as I could but most of all hang out with good buddies. I ended up pacing Phil Mendoza from 39 to 47 and 61 to 75 straight through the night. I was more than happy to help Phil. Not only is he a good friend but he has helped me countless times during the past couple of years. In fact, I remember the first time Phil paced me at Wasatch in 2005, he said "I will never do a hundred" Well we all know this ultra thing is highly addictive so I kept telling him it was a matter of time. Phil finished in 33.34 minutes for his first hundred - nice job Phil! I'm proud of ya!

As for me, for the past couple of weeks my Achilles has been sore so I have decided to take a month completely off from running. That month basically started after I paced Aric at Wasatch for 60 myles so that means I'll start back running minimally during the second week of October. In the meantime I have been swimming and riding a mtn bike to stay active and not become morbidly obese. I've been to the pool 4 times now and today I finally reached 1 mile... in 56:00 minutes nonetheless. I know it's slow but I took Tim Hola's advice thus I'm trying to concentrate on one thing each time I go. So far my breathing is better and becoming more natural, I'm breathing out of both sides every other stroke, I'm cupping my hands as my arm goes through the water, I can make it 4 lengths of the pool before I have to rest (100 meters). So as you can see this swimming thing is a learning process and it's fun learning. I find myself eager to get in the pool and become more efficient. The next thing I'm gonna work on is turning underwater. I'll keep you posted on my progress but for now it's 1 mile in 56:00. Oh and btw - Jaxon went to the pool with me today and he did 12 lengths of the pool - I'm pretty proud of him!

Last, I want to tell you about a book I just read. It's called Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales. It's a book about people being in life or death situations and why some people die and why some people survive. It's a very scientific approach to understanding the mind and how we are wired. So for Christmas this year, all my family and friends are getting a copy of the book so they can better understand why I do what I do. Any ultra runner or endurance athlete always gets the question "why?" This books explains a lot of that and maybe now some of you who know me will understand me. I've never been able to put it into words why I do endurance events but Launence Gonzales did if for me so now I don't have to. Here's an excerpt from his book:

"D.H. Lawrence wrote that every year you pass an anniversary unaware: the anniversary of your own death. I've seen it so many times before, as adventurers circle and circle the spot marked X where they meet their own death, taunting it, teasing it, playing with the big cat. Never fool yourself into thinking you can tame it.

Sure, we do it in our ordinary lives, too - you can get killed on your lunch break - but we do it blindly. In our adventures, we engage fate deliberately. We choose a relentless and indefatigable opponent, while others pretend to be safe. We feel that our experiences are much more real, while seeing the masses as deluded in their complacency. When well-trained people are fetched off by fate during a well-planned and thoughtful expedition, there is no more ignominy in it than when an ordinary Joe gets hit by a bus. No one says, "He shouldn't have been walking there." But a climber named Karl Iwen, unfamiliar with Three Fingered Jack, a volcanic mountain in Oregon, which he was descending, left his companions, left the trail, left his ice ax strapped to his pack, and ventured out onto the snow, where he treated his companions to a spectacular show as he slid into the couloir and did a 600 foot impulse control, or what I call "the rapture of the shallow."

The perfect adventure shouldn't be that much more hazardous in a real sense than ordinary life, for that invisible rope that holds us here can always break. We can live a life of bored caution and die of cancer. Better to take the adventure, minimize the risks, get the information, and then go forward in the knowledge that we've done everything we can.

No, some people would rather not see it, but the bull is there for all of us. Some of us choose to pass the cape in front of its horns. To live life is to risk it. And when you feel the rush of air and catch the stink of hot breath in your face, you enter the secret order of those who have seen their own death up close. It makes us live that much more intensely. So intense is it for some that it seals their fate; once they've tasted it, they just can't stop. And in their cases, perhaps we have to accept that the light that burns the brightest burns half as long.

But I believe that if you do it right, you can have it all. I adhere to what my daughter Amelia calls the Gutter Theory of Life. It goes like this: You don't want to be lying in the gutter, having been run down by a bus, that last bit of your life ebbing away, and be thinking, "I should have taken that rafting trip..." or, "I should have learned to surf..." or "I should have flown upside down - with smoke!"

Pete Conrad was the third man to walk on the moon. He died in a motorcycle accident on an ordinary day. It took him a while to die as he went to the hospital. I wonder what he was thinking. I hope it was: I did it all."

AMEN! Couldn't have said it better myself