Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

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