October, 2017

I slid through October with moderate results, squeaking in 100.2 miles to increase my streak of 100+ mile months to 3. Summer 2014 was the last time I had accomplished that so that says something about my recent quesi-consistency (or maybe more about my overall lack of consistency).

September-October are my favorite months to run, I think. Summer breaks and we start having cooler mornings but still have some daylight. It’s just more comfortable for running. Also reminds me of cross-country, my true running love. I first started “running” running my freshman year of high school and while I stunk, we had a great coach who preached inclusion and teamwork so I never got overly discouraged. I hit a growth spurt a couple years later and got a little better and even though I’ve never been great, I am still running many years later. Anyhow, autumn just smells of running to me.

I did get in my first snow run of the season. After work one evening, there was some build-up of snow on the trees but the ground was clear so run through an odd scene where the tree canopy over the trail was white up high but a lot of the lower vegetation green was still showing. Didn’t have a camera with so I did not get a photo of it.

I started out the month registering for the Bjorklund Half Marathon in June, 2018. This is run at the same time as Grandma’s Marathon.This will mark my 4 year in a row that I’ll run it.I ran the full in 2012 but ran neither in 2013 because I injured myself on my last long run of the training cycle. I had planned on doing the full and was in pretty good shape.

Plan for November is to keep sneaking in some miles–going to have to suck it up and run in the dark. I have started to occasionally look at treadmills because it would simplify the logistics so much. Could get my shorter runs in that way without too much tedium.

Smile!

September, 2017

As predicted, my September training was much spottier than in August. My wife (teacher) and children went back to school so my schedule lost a lot of flexibility. And due to he tilt of the planet, we lost a lot of daylight–by the end of the month, my morning runs end before sunrise which helps decrease my motivation.

But I still got in over a hundred miles, first back-to-back 100-mile months in a few years. That explains my mediocre performances as of late.

I did start to include some of this

in my runs to prepare for a time-trial. Mostly semi-structured, on the trails, not-quite-intervals but not fartleks sessions.

One thing I learned, after running slow, easy, and basically pain-free in August, is that even a small amount of speed/hills, brought back some of the nagging aches and pains. Achilles, calves, and hamstring all whispering “ouch”. I still have some ability to shuffle faster but body doesn’t rebound nearly as fast as 20 years ago.

And as far as my faster shuffling, I had the opportunity to visit my old college track and get in the time trial I was training for.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. My last mile TT was a few years ago and I ran about 6:00. I was fearing that I would be quite a bit slower. But after going out the typical too fast, I squeaked by with a slight sub-6:00 mile. I did use the hidden mile start line so I ran a full 1609 meters.

Considering the amount speed work I have not done the last decade, I am only moderately disappointed in my performance. But it also leaves me with some mild optimism–the first 809 meters were in 2:54 so, with some specific training, I think a 5:45 is a reasonable goal. Still clinging to the idea that I could train to do a sub 5:30 in a race.

But unless I am going to join a gym with an indoor track (no plans to do so), that will probably have to wait until spring as soon the footing and temperature won’t make running fast on the tundra very practical or safe.

The nagging aches are reminding me that I need to do more strength work. That has been something I know I should be doing but have neglected.

Moving forward, I still think I’m running some half this fall even if I have not registered for run. I have been knocking off my weekly long runs of 13.1+ so the distance is not a problem. But mostly bunkering in and planning on doing a lot of LSD in the near term.

September Goal: Time-Trial Sub-6:00 Mile

Since I’m not currently bound to any specific race goals right now, I can willy-nilly re-focus my training as I please.

My biggest running regret of all time was not running cross country in college. But beyond that, I wish I had ran a sub-5:00 mile. My high school PR was around 5:16 on what I later realized was rather minimal training.

Five years later, I got into the best shape of my life but didn’t race much. I only have a 5k Win! of 18:40 and a flat, fast 5 mile in 29:58 to show from that period. Pretty sure I could have gone sub-5:00 at that time.

But I never did.

Now, too many years later, I’m curious how fast I could do a mile. Part of me still believes (hopes!) I could still train for a sub-5:00 but I intellectually I know that’s probably no longer possible. But for awhile I’ve wondered what I could do if I really focused on it for a period of time.

A month isn’t really that long but I figure if I did a few workouts, maybe 1 a week, that helped prepare me for a time trial, that would give me a reasonable idea of what might be possible.

Just going off memory, I think I last really time-trailed a mile it was a 6:00 effort around 2012. I think the fastest mile I’ve run in the last twelve months was about a 6:20 as part of a 20:0x 5k (might have been short) right around a year ago. So I think a 6:00-6:20 time trial seems reasonable at the next of the month.

I’ll roll in some workbouts into a few of my runs this month with the goal of preparing for the time trial. Just enough so that the faster pace is not completely foreign to the body. I’ll mostly continue running easy, building base.

On this morning’s run, I included some reps to get the legs used to running faster. I did three or four pick-ups where I ran faster until my heart rate monitor signaled I was above 150 then counted 10 strides and checked my Garmin to see what pace I was at and then shut it down and recovered.

I also included two longer reps with the goal of running sub 6:00 for the distance. I did about a 200 at 5:08 pace (according to Garmin) and just over a quarter at 5:45 pace. Those actually were easier than I thought they would be. Hard but not all-out.

I plan to include similar work in my Tues/Thurs runs as long as I’m feeling good. I’ll extend the timed portions.

August, 2017

I don’t remember how I came up with the idea to run every day in August but I did it. Finished with 161.2 miles in 31 runs. My highest monthly mileage since September, 2012.

Because my goal was to run every day, I made sure to run easy. Other than one long, hilly run and a few tempo miles, I was fairly strict about keeping my heart rate at 150 or lower. The amazing thing is–most of my aches and pain have gone away. I was nursing a hamstring at the beginning of the month and I felt it on one early run but it feels fine. Even my Achilles feel decent in the morning. I’ve never run this much and felt this good.

I have had to throw a couple of faster bouts in just to keep my sanity but overall the easy miles treated me well.

I plan on ending the streak soon–with summer just about over, my schedule changes and I lose some of the flexibility (and daylight) to run at my convenience. Although I hope to build off of this streak. Instead of doing 1 long run, 2 hour runs, and 4 easy, short runs, I’m going to try to do 1 long, 2 hour runs, and maybe two easy, but slightly longer (about 3-4 miles) runs. I’ll lose some of my mileage but the extra two off days will be good for recovery & give me some needed scheduling flexibility.

Some of the things I learned were:

  • Even at my ripe old age, I can still run every day if I take it easy.
  • It is so nice to have a shower at work. I had one at my previous job but do not have one with my current employer so I’ve been the stinky, what smells like bay wipes? guy. Luckily I’m a nerd in a cube that doesn’t interact a lot with other flesh & blood people.
  • The extended summer daylight hours are the bomb.
  • I feel like I need to do some strength work after all these slow miles.
  • Carry TP on early morning runs and plan to run either in close proximity of port-a-potties or secluded spots.

 

Reboot, v4.0

Blogging

After a hiatus, back to the blog.

This is the fourth rendition of the blog. It started as Sisurunner.wordpress.com, moved to MuddyCalves.com, then TundraRunning.com. I recently switched web hosts and decided to start over from scratch. I might try and restore the Muddy Calves version at some point but not urgent.

Anyhow, enough about how the sausage gets made.

Overview

Overall, I’m in a mediocre place with my running and really have been for the last few years. I have been logging about 800 miles a year so not flat-out bad (I’ve had some 200-300 mile years) but not quite enough to be where I would like to be.

I have run a some halfs the last few years and have not done awful but still not where I would like to be. I’ve got the excuses ready–a toddler, a blood clot, a short bout of grad school, a couple of job changes, and old age but really I just haven’t been dedicated enough.

But I have learned one thing: how to enjoy a race.

Knowing that I have not in top condition, I have taken a different attitude into the races I have done, run hard but enjoy it. I’have giggled my way, probably to nearby runners’ befuddlement, through much of the races. I will still put the hammer down for the final 5k on a half but it is still more in fun than trying to maximize my performance.

I may be turning into a fun-runner. *gasp*

That is a shift in thinking for me. While I have always enjoyed the health and therapetic benefits of running, the competitive component has always been the primary attraction for me.

Current Training

After a hamstring injury/strain in June, I’ve worked back up to doing a 13.1 long run. I am focues right now on base-building and running pretty religious at a sub-150 heart rate for my easy runs.

My plan right now is to do a three week rotation of my long runs:

  • 13.1 mile slow run
  • 13.1 hilly run (working the hills)
  • slow, long run of increasing distance (starting at 13.1, increasing by 1 mile each week).

Twice a week, normally Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’ll do a one-hour run. If I have anything that is bothering me, I will run these easy (sub-150 HR). If I am feeling chipper, one of these (preferrable Thursday), could include some tempo work (7:40 pace).

For the month of August, I am trying to run every day. I am not a streaker–I ran 456 straight days once and it wrecked my running–but for one month only, I am planning on running a minimum of 2.3 miles each day. I choose the odd distance because that is what my average daily milage has been for the past 12 months so I figured that would make a good minimum.

When I did my 456-day streak, I set a minimum of 1 mile but that is just a warm-up, doing at least 20 minutes makes me feel like I actually did something. All of these are run at sub-150 heart rate.

Goal Race

Because I have been nursing the hamstring, I have not picked a target race but think I will run a half this fall. Or maybe a 10 miler (Carson Park 10 miler?).