Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

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.