Saturday, April 30, 2011

In the heat of the moment

This morning I joined a group of Texan runners for run on the trails of the North Shore. First loop was a 12 mile loop on the easier loop. We covered the it in 2:08. The heat was slowly overtaking me. I started the run sweating mildly and by mile 6 I had ceased to sweat. By mile 10 I had cleared the entire 20 ounce bottle. My skin was dry and only urinated out 5 ounces.

Knowing I had another loop planned I slowed the pace to conserve my energy. Once we reached the trailhead I consumed another 20 ounces then soaked my buff bandana to cool my neck and head.

We headed out for a light two mile loop. Feeling good I but still dry I decided to run the technical loop with Michelle. The loop was amazing and challenging. At three miles I had finished almost all of my Cytomax and mentioned we needed to turn back. Within a mile of the turn around I finished the bottle. I stopped at a stream soaked my buff again and cooled my body. With a two mile push back I knew better than push it. I ran the downs, jogged the flats and power walked the ups. Figuring cramping was soon to occur I held back enough in case I missed a turn and ended up lost for additional miles.

Once back I knew my day was over it had been almost three hours since I had produced any sweat and a total of maybe ten ounces of urine. 

Its always better to back off and come back the next day to have a more productive run. My run in Michigan on Thursday was in the upper 40's; today in Texas it was near 90 with the humidity.

Still enjoyed the beauty of trails and companionship of the runners.

The attached picture is an actual section of the trail that was a short bamboo forest. An amazing section! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dynamics of the group run

Tonight I got a chance to run with a new group of runners. Ironically, about one mile from my house.

I find it interesting each time I run with a new group. One the route is unknown. So you are at the mercy of the other runners to find your way back. Secondly, you have no idea what the pace will be each mile.

Well tonight I was told that they like to push the last half of the seven mile around 6:45. To me that sounded good. At mile two I noticed the 7:15 pace was very conversational and easy for them. Mile four the speed picked up and I picked one of them to follow. As the distance past the pace quickened and soon it was only us two. Now I realized hang in there for three miles, just three more.  Entering the sixth mile I felt it was going to be a challenge. The last mile we clocked a 6:10 pace.

This group was definitely was a speed workout. I will for sure be back to run with them again.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Hit the training grounds for the local high school xc teams. A nice all hill 3 mile loop.

Met up with Keith at 8 am for an easy four loops.  Gradually building my runs back up to avoid any unnecessary time off for injuries.

Each loop was about the same 30 minutes. Leaving my legs feeling like I could do another. Next week I will be hitting a 20 miler then two weeks later doing a 50 miler fat ass run. At that point start doing the back the back longs. 

Today was just about enjoying the trails with some good company.

The attached photo was taken by me using branches to make a homemade tripod. Not too shabby. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Into the Groove

This week I feel like a runner again. I got out there and logged five decent runs. Staying consistent and running on a daily basis is making me happier each day. Some runs I take in the views of trees, trails, sky and all. Other moments I take in the smell of fresh pine, a log fire or whatever floats along. In other times, it is spotting deer and giving a friendly game of chase.  All the reasons that I run are returning to me and now I see again what I was missing out on for the last several months by allowing feeble excuses in keeping me from my daily runs.

Another part of it is that I switched to a basic Timex Ironman watch. Since I use a few common routes I know where the splits are and can use the watch to track those splits. Several things are nice about taking a break from the Garmin 310XT. First, the weight of it becomes a bit annoying. Second, I no longer worry about having to charge it constantly. Finally, the best part for me is that instead of worrying each mile about my pace; I run on feel and check it at the end of each mile. Not surprisingly, I am able to hold a tempo run, step up my progressive run and let loose on the track 400m.  Yesterday I hit the track looking to land 4 x 70 second laps. Running the effort I thought was needed I landed close with 74, 77, 78 & 80.  Tonight on my progressive run I picked up every mile by 10 seconds for all seven miles.  I pick up a bit of excitement after reviewing each split knowing that I was close and have more energy to give. I am sure throughout the split it varies, but my overall split is what I looking to achieve.  Not a bad $30 investment!

Another thing is that my coach aka 11 year old daughter Mia (who by way is no easier than any Big Ten/Pac Ten cross country coach) told me she is ready to ride her bike this summer while pacing me on long runs. The previous year she logged well over 100 miles. Now she said she is ready to log more this summer. The first run with her was brutal. The first several miles all she did was complain that I was barely moving. Nothing like having a child ridicule you over your eight minute per mile pace for 15 miles. She is also very instrumental for track workouts. Yesterday she blew the whistle for me at three specific times during each lap for me to gauge whether I was ahead of pace or behind.  After finishing the first lap I asked her what the time was and she said, "74 seconds, but you barely looked like you were running the last 100m you really need to get your feet moving!" Knowing her I was thinking "thanks coach can't wait to do the next three and see what feedback I get from those."

All in all, this month is shaping up and my excitement is really building for Leadville and all the training runs that are involved in preparing myself for that race. Reading all the ultra running community blogs can really make you look deep inside and remember all the good things about running; especially trail running. Every year since I started running in 2005 has been better than the last. And each year I can't believe it can get any better.  Keeping that child-like joy in running is my fuel and right now my tank is full. Time to hit the playground!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Test Track

Took it to the track today for some practice 400m. Looking to see if I can PR in the mile next month. Last year I was able to hit a 5:28 mile.

So today I got out an old whistle, stopwatch and my 11 year old coach. She sounded the whistle at 18 seconds, 36 seconds and 60 seconds. Two out of the four laps I cleared 200m in 36 seconds. The final corner heading into the headwind eliminated my chances of flat 70 seconds everytime.

In the end I logged 74, 80, 77 & 78 for a total of 5:09. Between each lap was a two minute jog.

Next week I will do a final practice then the first week of May put my feet to the test.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Identity Crisis

The last several months I just haven't felt the desire to run. Part was because of injury and part was me being lazy.

I think once I got behind the 8 Ball of not running I started to lose my identity. People who barely know me would ask "are you still running?"  I would answer yes without referencing my last run then walk away like "wow I haven't ran in x amount of days." When my response to the question would normally be" yesterday or this morning." Instead of running I let the downwhirl spiral continue.

Tonight on the run I was taking in the surroundings and realized that I enjoy running and it is who I am. All those people asking where signs for me to step up and be me.

I am going to bring back the runner in me and make the most out of the remaining part of 2011. I know there is only one race on the books but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy all the training runs. 

Hi my name is Steve and I like to run daily & far. Want to join me?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Raining on the trails

April is my turning out to be my month to build my base back up. Today was a day of trail running at Maybury S.P. with all the rain the ground was muddy. I logged only nine miles today bringing my month to date mileage to 60 miles. Building it up slowly this month so next month I can increase even more and get some speed sessions too. Best part was being covered in mud from mid thighs to ankle. The kind when you take your socks off there is a huge noticeable difference plus the mud caked into the toenails.

Going to rest the next two days then hit several more runs next week. A good mix of trail, dirt roads and some roads too. In May I plan to try for a new mile PR....that will be interesting.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The feel of the Earth

Tonight took out the new Montrail Rogue Racers for a short six mile trail run. Very nimble shoe which gave a soft but stable feel of the Earth with every footstrike. The thick mud surrendered to the grip the shoe and keep me pushing through. Hills gave way to a rapid turnover and the straightaways were just fun. This year I am sure I will have many enjoyable trail runs with these shoes!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Living on 34th Street

Got home from my trail run tonight and on my porch was a new pair of Montrail Rogue Racer. Thank you Montrail for the shoes!!! Nothing like a new pair of shoes in the spring season of trail running. They feel great and will have another after my first run in them. Plus a quick write-up.