Sunday, April 29, 2007

Talk About The Passion

After threatening rain this weekend, I'm happy to report that it ended up being a beautiful weekend. At times, a bit too chilly / windy / hilly but I was loving every minute of it!

The Saturday ride ended up being a serious climbfest with Steven- when he gets that glazed look in his eye and starts mumbling about hitting hills, I know it is going to be *ON*. Let's just say he didn't disappoint in that regard- ouch! When we weren't going up, we were dealing with wind but got a slight reprieve as the last 45 minutes to his house wasn't too bad. My inaugural run off the bike started off very ugly- the first mile came in a hair under 8 min/mile but then the legs came around and we cranked out the remaining 3.3miles to bring the ave pace down to 7:21/mile. This ride was also a nice test of my new hydration / fueling goal to down at least one bottle an hour. We did 5 hrs and I drank 5 bottles (350 cal/bottle). I also ate 1.5 Cliff Bars and finished the ride feeling pretty strong. It was nice to finish a long workout without any dehydration issues. I typically end up losing 4-5lbs on a long ride *NOT GOOD* which can really foul up recovery, post-ride so i will be pushing the hydration hard. I don't think calories have been an issue but the hydration needs some serious work (especially while racing) so I'll have to apologize in advance for all the extra bathroom pit-stops Steven!

Sunday I met Tom and Jessi at Hagg Lake for an "easy" 2 loops around the lake with Jessi. It was a nice mix of easy / steady work- she did a monster workout the day before but was still throwing down the hammer at times. It's all good though, it kept me on my toes! I really think it's hard not to "push" on a tribike...I'll need to remember that when I finally get mine on the road. We ran a hilly 6 miles off the bike and finished the last 2.5 miles together. I was able to run a 7:37 pace over some pretty solid hills for the first 3 miles which was a plus after the killer workout the day before.

The body is holding up well after a big week. I had 20 hrs scheduled but came in at 22.25 hrs because of some extra time that popped up in my schedule Friday. The only "new" issue is a sore right achilles along with my continuing issue with my left heel - will need to monitor it.

Week 18
22.25 TOTAL Hours
Swim 3.5 Hrs
(11,500 Yrds - 4 swims. I should have hit 14K but I got to the pool late today and only had 30min so got in 1.5K in 24min. Focusing on 500 / 1000 yrd repeats)
Bike 13.0 Hrs
(200 Miles - 5 rides focusing on HILLS via road or Computrainer right now - was able to get in 2 additional hours on the bike vs. the schedule. 155 road miles / 45 CT)
Run 4.25 Hrs
(33.3 Miles - 6 runs including 2 off the bike. Left Heel is still sore, will continue to nurse it. Also, will keep an eye on my right achilles- darn feet!)
Weights 1.5 Hrs
(2 x 45min sessions of low weight / hi-rep AA sessions. These sessions wrecked me! Looking for this to get better as my body adapts)

That's all I've got. I've had a pretty good endorphin high all week and looking forward to taking another pull next week to the tune of 22.5 hrs. Hopefully all goes as planned.

I hope you are all out there feeding your passions and counting your blessings! Thanks for reading.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Going Long

Thanks for all the Boston love - I really appreciate it!!

I've officially switched to the dark side and in full tri-mode right now. The good news is that having done some higher volume in years past has allowed me to jump right into a 20+ hour week without too many speed wobbles, granted the BIG volume is this weekend. The funny thing is that the one thing that is killing me, literally, is the measly 1.5 hrs of weights I have done this week. 2 x 45 min sessions of easy adaptation back into lifting and I am SORE! Yes, it has been a long time since I've moved any plates around. I'm sure it'll get easier but right now, me no likee! ;-)

Re: consistency, all it took was for me to get my plan on paper and all my obsessive compulsive tendencies came right to the surface. You'll have to kill me to miss a workout now thru IM Canada! Ok...get thru one week first eh!? Seriously, nice to have a structured plan though and no messing around this year. That 11:15 at IMC was a big wake-up call last year.

This weekend should be a good one...Steven and I are taking a big pull on the bike in the form of 5 hilly hours on Saturday and I plan on doing a couple loops of Hagg Lake with Jessi on Sunday. You all know Jess right? Did I ever tell you how cool she is? (Hang onto her Tom!) I have been waiting a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time to get some of these:

The Easton Attack TT aerobar - 350 grams of carbon sexiness. Unfortunately they have been backordered since October'06 and Easton is filling the orders painfully slow (at the rate of 1-2 bars a week). I have been waiting now for 2 months with no end in sight when Jessi came to the rescue. She pulled a pair off her shelf at Triumph and is bringing them down this weekend. They were one of the very few shops that actually had the bars in stock. Yes..basically the equivalent of getting the golden ticket in Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. I am really looking forward to FINALLY getting my tribike dialed in and throwing down some serious mileage.

Can't leave you without some good music....Jeff Buckley *RIP*, truly a musical genius. Scott Matthews must be channeling JB based on the similarity in style. Maybe hard to catch here but more evident when you listen to their albums. Go ahead, give it a won't be sorry.


Enjoy your weekend...I'll be chasing those endorphins. Hope you're doing the same!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

2007 Boston Race Report

I just got back from Boston today. I can truly say that facing the brunt of that Nor’easter has given me a new appreciation for the weather here in Portland...rain and all. A Northeast storm takes it all to another level. Literally. Being the eternal optimist, I was still hoping that "the weather" would completely pass by the start of the race. I flew in from Portland on Saturday evening and met Deb who was flying in from SoCal. Having checked the forecast, we knew the storm was expected to hit on Sunday so we took the opportunity to drop everything at the hotel and made a last minute decision to hit the North End for dinner. We went to one of our fave spots, Cibo for dinner (awesome if anyone is in the area)and Caffe Vittoria for some java and yummy cannolis before calling it a night. The North End was hopping as everyone in town probably realized that it might be a long time before the weather was that nice again.

As expected, the storm hit on Sunday. As we waited for the T to take us to the race expo that morning, we got hit with some seriously icey wind / rain. Having lived in Oregon for awhile now, I don't mind rain at all but those Nor'east winds can definitely take all of the fight out of you. We hit the expo and wrestled with an umbrella in the wind / rain while walking around town a bit, had lunch before shutting it down for the night. I was pretty much glued to the tube for several hours watching the weather forecasts for Monday morning. It didn't look too great initially but they were predicting the worst of it to pass before the start of the race *yes*.

I set the alarm for 4am race morning and when I woke up, the wind was howling and it was raining buckets…Victory At Sea conditions out there. Not the kind of morning you want to face when you are racing. I'm glad I brought most of my crap weather gear and ended up dressing for a typical inclement weather bike ride vs. run. I had trishorts on for wind protection, full thermal tights, thermal long sleeve top, gloves, wool socks, and goretex jacket. Deb asked me several times if I really wanted to head out there as it looked really bad, but this is what we do right!? She always supports me in whatever I choose so with her in my corner, I knew it was all good. Even with all the layers, I was still shivering as I waited for the T to move the runners to the bus shuttle stop. We then had to sit in the rain before taking the bus out to Hopkinton for the race start. It was pretty miserable out there as the wind was still howling and the rain was coming down pretty hard. Not the typical upbeat mood on the bus out to Hopkinton as we all wondered how the day would turn out. They had tents set up for the runners out on the grass but they were pretty muddy and the wind was slashing through them. I saw some people sneaking into the school gym and was able to squeeze my way in before they shut it down to any further people. I was very lucky to get into the warm, dry gym because the thought of spending several hours in the wind was not good!

I laid out in my spot on the gymnasium floor and chatted up a few people and relaxed a bit after cursing my poor planning, once again, as I forgot to bring any reading material or my ipod. I’m glad they moved the start up to 10 am though, as it was time to head out for the race start soon enough. Another plus was that the weather forecasts seemed to be spot on as the rain seemed to be letting up a bit and the wind wasn't as gusty. I was very suprised to see all the volunteers and crowd support out there- those locals are a hardy bunch! I squeezed my way up to the 4th corral and jumped in for the start. My plan was to use my garmin to keep my pace in check over the first few downhill miles of the race. I figured i could maintain 7:30's pretty comfortably and after a few false start/stops we all made it over the start line and started running.

My goal was to go out comfortably, run the downhills VERY conservatively, and try to keep as close to a 7:30 pace to hit my projected finish time (more on that later).

A good bit of adrenaline here...Boston always has an amazing start. Even though I was up in the 4th corral, a mass of people had already spread out as far out as you could see. Here, once you got even a slight bit of open space, it is easy to push it a bit on the downhill and destroy your quads without even realizing it.

I "thought" I was doing well. Pace felt comfortable, EVERYONE was flying by me in the first 3-5 miles (I probably should have had one of those slow moving farm equipment signals on my back) but stayed loyal to my garmin and was clicking off the 7:30's. The weather ended up being AWESOME through the first half of the race. It felt like a typical training day in Oregon as the weather seemed to improve as the day progressed. Granted there were some exposed spots where you'd get slammed with some harsh headwinds but I just looked for any human shield who happened to be in my area code to "block" until it passed. I actually overheated so had to stop at one point to take the jacket off and used the stop to refill my bottle also. I felt much better with the jacket off and the tights were probably overkill too but I'm sure if I didn't have all the gear on, the weather would not have turned in our favor...such is my luck! ;-)

After suffering through the heat at Boston the last couple of years, this was a welcome change. I could just imagine the 2K plus runners who didn't pick up their bib numbers kicking themselves as the weather actually ended up being perfect running weather. If you check my splits here (bib #4167), I was right on 7:30 pace. 5k, 10k, 15K, 20K, 1/2 Mary..still averaging 7:29 pace...I was feeling good. I got a nice rush running through the "Wellesly Scream Tunnel". The women of Wellesley College were out there cheering us on and you can't help but get a lift from all that energy. It's truly amazing how you can start to hear the faint roar when you are still nowhere near the college only to get enveloped into a wall of sound as you run by the loooong line of women cheering you on at the top of their lungs. Very cool.

Not sure when it happened but beyond Wellesley, I started getting some pain in my left forefoot that had me a bit worried. The one thing I did not want to do was injure myself even further doing this race. My quads started protesting at this point which really bummed me out too. Steven and I have done several runs out at Hagg Lake which is much hillier, both up and down, then the Boston course and I have finished 20 milers out there pretty strong without any quad pain so not sure how Boston can just destroy you when there really aren’t any significant up or downs. I think it is just a combination of the consistently rolling terrain and the adrenaline from the race. You can get yourself into a world of hurt without even realizing it. I thought I had learned my lesson in past years though and was running the downs conservatively but now, in hindsight, I’m thinking I probably could use some help on my downhill form. I was worried about my left foot and probably applying the brakes which, in turn, loaded up my quads. At 25K my pace dropped to an overall 7:38 average and it was all downhill from there. Each successive 5K was pulling my overall pace down as my legs turned to wood. After Heartbreak Hill, any downhill would just destroy me. It was pretty demoralizing too as everyone seemed to be catching a second wind through all the crowd support here in the last 4-6 miles of the course. I was having a hard time maintaining an 8:20 pace here and to make matters worse, we got hit with some serious headwind in certain sections.

At this point I was basically running on rims as the wheels had completely fallen off. Not a pretty sight and I was never more happy to see the finish line. To give you an idea of how destroyed my quads were, my last 2.2K was ran at an 8:40 pace! Usually you have something left to give back to the crowd but I surely did not. I got passed by a ton of people in the last mile.

Official finish time was 3:28:26 at a 7:57 average pace.
50 seconds per mile slower then my qualifying marathon in February. A very humbling day out there to say the least but that is the Boston Marathon. I feel very lucky to have finished the race. No excuses, definitely can't blame the weather since it was pretty good except for the few spots where we couldn't hide from the wind. There's always next year right?!

After a quick shower, Deb and I headed out to the North End for a nice dinner for a great ending to a tough day at the office. The weather seemed to get worse on Tuesday and was pretty bad today as we were leaving Boston.
*It's that brutal, icy wind I tell can cut you right to the core!!*
Deb and I still had fun running around town on Tuesday though. It was a bummer as we boarded our separate planes to go home but loved the time we got to spend together.

I also appreciate all the "votes of confidence" on my predicted finish time. *Group Hug* ;-) Unfortunately, we can only have one winner and that would be Curly Sue. She predicted a finishing time of 3:28:48!! Uhhhh, not sure if she is psychic but that is 22 seconds off my actual time. Pretty amazing, I'd say. Shoot me your address Su, you are a winner!

Sorry for the looong post but I appreciate you all following along. I hope all is well out there and your days are getting warmer!


Friday, April 13, 2007

Weather Alert

WHOA...skirough, in her comment, mentioned a letter sent to all racers and how it was going to be an "interesting" race. Not sure how much fun I'll have out there but I'm sure it will be "interesting". Also, I'm hoping the weather forecasts are off - it wouldn't be the first time that's happened.

I just found this in my inbox:

April 13, 2007
Weather Advisory - 2007 Boston Marathon
The Boston Athletic Association's medical team recommends the following precautions and advice for participants in Monday's Boston Marathon:
The most up-to-date weather forecast calls for a predicted Spring storm on Monday, including heavy rains (potentially 3 to 5 inches), with the start temperatures in the mid to upper 30's. Wind will likely be East (in the face of the participants for most of the race) in the 20 to 25 mile per hour range, with gusts to as much as 50 miles per hour. This will produce a wind chill index of 25 to 30-degrees Fahrenheit.

Assuming they are correct in their forecast, I'd say that would add AT LEAST 30 minutes to any predicted finish time. I know I'll be looking for any drafting pacelines forming out there...misery loves company and taking turns in the wind sure beats facing it for the whole 26.2

If you happen to catch this, feel free to revise your initial projection in this post. No hard feelings! ;-)
Yes, I'm used to running in cold / wet but running in HEAVY RAINS and 20-25mph headwinds isn't usually part of of my training week! I gotta remind myself that I love this stuff right!?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the captain has put on the fasten seatbelt sign. Please settle in for the bumpy ride ahead.....


Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Hey all,
Thanks for the well-wishes in my last post! I just caught the weekly episode of "The Office" (hilarious) and figured I'd carry over the betting theme of the episode to my race in Boston so step on up!

Whoever can come the closest to guessing my finish time at Boston will get some token gift. No, not a car or anything that will require insurance when I send it. ;-) Also, I'm sure it'll probably have a swoosh on it so beware if any of you break out in hives when you get in contact with any Nike products! The beauty is that the price of admission into this contest is zilch, zero, nada. So step on hurt feelings on my end so guess away via a comment to this post.

**Update also since Jessi asked- no over / under penalty in your guesses. I will be basing this on whomever is closest to my finish time, regardless of whether their guess is over or under. So no, you can't use the "Price Is Right" strategy and guess 1 hour assuming that everyone is guessing "over" my finish time!!**

For any lurkers who may choose to participate, let me provide some background for this lil' run on Monday.

My running was coming along very well this year. I PR'd in early February with a 3:07 finish at the Pac Shoreline Marathon. I felt pretty fresh during the race with no issues except for the hot weather. Speeds at all training paces had bumped up a notch. I was running pretty decent mileage in the 50's- high 60's - life was good!

I'm currently running injured. I'm having issues with my left foot that has severely limited the mileage in the last 1-1.5 months leading into Boston. The latest issue is some forefoot pain in the last week that seriously had me questioning whether I should do this race. It seems to have backed off a bit but I'm still wondering how it will feel when I'm 15-16 miles into the race!

Has anyone seen the current weather forecast for Boston. It's almost funny...I said ALMOST. Depending upon where you look, they have forecast WINDY conditions with either RAIN OR SNOW. It just sounds nuts to me after the heatfest at Boston for the last 2 out of 3 years. Not the best conditions for running but hey, I'm from Oregon and have learned a bit from training with Steven. You gotta just get'er done!

Ok, so that's a cliff notes version of the pertinent facts. Here are my finish times from the last 3 Boston Marys:
04 3:38:22
05 3:29:59
06 3:22:33
Don't forget, Boston isn't a PR course and anyone who has hammered their quads on all the downhills early only to end up a mess in the last 5 miles can surely relate!

Ok, don't be shy. I'll go first...barring this silly injury, I'd be shooting for a sub 3:10 finish based on how my training WAS going early on but I was dealt a new set of cards and it ain't pretty. With the low mileage, injury, headwinds and rain / snow- I'm going to guess 3:17:30. Pretty ambitious based on my current fitness but I really believe in this runner! ;-) Here's a recommendation for anyone trying to win this lil contest- you might want to pad that number just a bit!!

#4167 is out! I'll see you on the other side.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Calm Before the Storm

One more week down as I head into race week for Boston. This should be a very light week coming up in the training dept. It's all about getting that final bit of recovery / taper and allowing my feet to heal a bit. The current weather forecast for race day is 44deg and rain. As long as it's not pouring, that is perfect in my book. It sure beats the high 80's a couple years back!

Back to my training, I had a slight scare when I started having forefoot pain during my run on Friday. A bit scary because it was a sharp pain (vs. a typical ache) on each left footstrike. I spoke to my PT friend Matt and he is thinking it is probably due to the number of changes I've made lately to my shoes, etc. I was fine all week until Friday though, and I'm thinking my short speed session on Thursday put me over the edge. After a mile warm-up, I ran 7 x 1/2mile repeats @ 6/min pace to get a bit of a V02 push before shutting it down. No problems, no pain until my run the following day...hmmm. I was "supposed" to do a 10 miler this weekend but ended up cutting it short and ran 6 miles instead. I didn't have any pain but didn't want to take any chances with the episode on Friday.

*Keeping my fingers crossed* I am just hoping I can get thru this marathon and *promise* to take it easy on my feet in case anyone is listening up there!

In other news, I did get in a 3 hour bike with Steven on Saturday...I know, probably not helping my taper but it's all about the bike right?! I'm not sure what dark cloud Steven has over his head or maybe it's a combination of us planning a workout together that does it but it rained consistently for our entire ride. What's new right? We seem to get rain every weekend for our workouts! Mother Nature was up to her cruel tricks since she gave us BEAUTIFUL weather this past week - reminding me of how great the summers are up here. Friday was even a bit hot in my opinion but I'll take those blue skies all day long. So waking up to rain on Saturday didn't do much for my motivation. You gotta punch the clock though so we got it done. Good thing because it ended up actually being a pretty nice ride. No flats this week either!

For the week:
1 Swim (going to ramp this up after the marathon)
4 Runs
3 Bikes

I guess I actually need to ramp it up in all depts after the marathon and open the door again to constant endorphins,the all to familiar fatigue, spinning endless circles, running countless miles, and losing count on swim laps as I gear up for Ironman Canada.

Ain't nothing like the feeling you get shelling yourself from stacking 20's (20+hour training weeks). I'm looking forward to the push.

Here's some quick video motivation....regardless of your passion, just get out there and move. It's a beautiful thing.

Hope you all had a great week and nice Easter.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Taper Time...I Made It!

A ton going on so I must apologize for the lack of boring posts on my end! ;-)
I finally got my blood lactate tests and they validated my training zones for the most part..well, maybe the Friel Zones are bit high (word of warning for anyone using the friel zones, may want to dial them back 3-5 beats) but that has been thrown around for awhile now. My blood lactate was under 2.0 mmol until I hit 7:03/mile pace. It jumped to 2.8 mmol at 175HR / 6:40 pace. This was my marathon HR but definitely wasn't running a 6:40 pace. At least I know I can look to run at an effort that coincides with approx 175 HR assuming weather,etc being equal. My OBLA (4mmol BL) took place at approx 6:20/mile pace & 180 HR. This would equate to a AT HR.

Training has been going ok considering my "glass feet". I went to a new podiatrist on Thursday and really looking forward to working with him. He definitely has a different viewpoint from any other foot doc I've been to. I was ready to plunk down $$$ for new orthotics when he stated that he would rather try another course of action, ie weaning me off the orthotics. He was definitely of the camp that most foot issues are due to shoe companies overbuilding shoes with unnecessary features which result in weakening the feet. Similar to the "pose-running" school, he recommended working up to running in a shoe that provides the least amount of built in support / correction (racing flat). He does the bulk of his running, including 2+ hour runs, in CROCS!!

Nice to get a doc who is truly enthusiastic about what he does and who shares a love of running. I figure it is worth a shot if I can eliminate the orthotics. He placed some metarsal pads in my shoes (these made a huge difference in the cushioning under the ball of my feet) and instructed me to open up the shoes to allow my feet to naturally spread.

Here you can see the $4 dollar metarsal pads that were placed in my running shoes

Here's the result of my exacto knife surgery on my shoes. I cut out some of the midsole and both sides of the shoe for a nice roomy fit. Funny because they really weren't "bothering" me before but they are MUCH MORE comfortable and I plan to wear them at Boston, "air-conditioning" and all.

Other then that, just rolling along with the workouts. Last weekend, had a great ride with Steven on Saturday although he left out the part where he had to wait while I fixed not one but TWO flats within 20 minutes of each other...ugh! The day after I ran a questionable 20 miler...questionable because I wasn't sure how my feet would hold up over 20 miles! They did ok *thank god* and finished in 2:39 for around a 8 min pace...wasn't pushing it at all.

This week I ran daily (7 workouts) and had 5 cycling workouts with the big doughnut hole for swimming. I figure there'll be plenty of time to get in the water here soon. The feet are still holding up pretty well *knock on wood* with the only issues when i push the intensity a bit. I did my last longer race pace workout yesterday: 15 miles in 1:47:50 for 7:11 ave pace. I pushed the intensity up a bit for the 1/2 mary distance and was running in the 6:45-6:50 pace on the flats and slower on the rollies / hills but still finished 13.1 miles in 1:33:10 for a 7:07 pace before finishing out with a flat 1.9 miles home. Average HR was 174 (ave HR last marathon was 175). Too bad I'll have to run an additional 11 miles on the 16th. ;-)
That will be the x-factor with the drop in mileage. Even though I ran every day this week, my mileage only hit 52 miles. I didn't want to take the risk of injuring my foot any further. Next couple of weeks I plan on keeping the frequency up while dialing back the distance even further.

Gotta love the taper!

Hope life is treating you all well.