Week in review: April 23-29, 2012

Nothing much got done this week.

It’s not useful for me to assign a “good” or “bad” value to the week; the only thing that matters is the numbers and how I feel.  Right now the numbers are low and I feel even lower.

  • Runs:  1 for 18 miles, 2 hours and 36 minutes
  • Rides:  1 for 35 miles, 2 hours and 11 minutes

That’s the third lowest weekly total for me this year and the lowest in 6 weeks.

My eating was ok for the first few days but poor towards the end of the week.  I slept enough hours, but it’s easy to do that when I don’t care when I get up and I don’t have any workouts planned.  I just sleep until 6 or 7 am.

I blew an opportunity to put in a good amount of volume before the coming week, which I know will be difficult for me from a fitness standpoint.  This week I plan just to run for enjoyment.  No specific workouts, just running for the fun of getting out and seeing places.  I’ll be traveling, so I’m hoping to see some new sights and cities.

Right now, fitness really isn’t on the top of my mind, nor should it be.  I’ve got to deal with this crap feeling that I’ve got.  And it isn’t even physical, it’s more emotional and mental.  I don’t think it will “heal” like a broken bone, so I need to work more seriously at it.

I think it’s time for me to acknowledge that there is something bigger going on here, something more important that’s wrong.  I’ll be writing more on that in the very near future.

Below is the detail on my week in fitness.  It’s a short post.

Monday (April 23)

Zero.  No interest in running today.  The weekend was fun, but it was past.  This was just a lack of motivation to get out of bed and into running.

Tuesday (April 24)

Three days between my last workout and this one.  I was interested to see what would happen.  18 miles by doing 4 loops in Schooley’s Mountain park.  This time I added a twist.  The first two loops I’d run at MAF intensity, the last two loops I would run hard.

The first two loops were slow.  I did not feel good.

On the last two loops, I was weak.  I had very little strength to run hard uphill.

For every loop, on the downhill and walking portions (there are lots of rocks), my heart rate went super-low.  I have no idea why.

Average HR 144 for the whole run, including the hard parts.  Two hours, 36 minutes.

I have no idea what to make of this workout.

Wednesday (April 25)

Got out for a bike ride today, 35 miles.  I felt ok, not sluggish.  But again I just could not generate any force, power or speed.  It was a very different feeling compared to the past few weeks, where I was either sore or sluggish.  This just felt weak and slow.

Turns out that it wasn’t a terrible ride, but it just did not feel good.  Two hours, 11 minutes.

Thursday – Sunday (April 26-29)

Four straight zeroes.

No motivation whatsoever.  On Saturday and Sunday, I forced myself to at least get out and split some wood.  But it was really hard.


Week in review: April 16-22, 2012

This week was supposed to be a higher volume week, but my weekend family obligations sort of derailed that.  And I’m ok with that.  Caitryn had a once-in-a-lifetime event (first communion), and we had 30+ people to the house for a celebration of that plus 3 other birthdays.  So a big deal.  I traded volume for making sure I didn’t screw that up.  And 12 hours of workout time for the week should be enough for me to make progress.  Expecting more might be a bit greedy.

Here are stats for the week:

  • Runs:  2 for 26 miles, just over 4 hours, including the most intense run I’ve done in 6 months
  • Rides:  3 for 143 miles, 8 hrs and 21 minutes
  • Strength:  1 session that I probably won’t be doing again (more on that later)

If I had figured out a way to get the runs in this weekend, it would have been a great week and exactly to plan.  But I’m not going to go nuts thinking about it.  I’m just going to continue on Monday, trying to make things work.

I probably should report something about my efforts to “stay in the moment.”

From the not-a-surprise department, it works!  I am having much more fun putting my kids to bed, especially Callista (the two-year-old).  She’s crazy like any two-year-old who is just starting to figure things out.  Soon she’ll be running the house.  I used to stress out during that 60+ minute routine of putting her to bed.  But I’ve discovered that it’s actually pleasant when I just focus on that instead of trying to get it over with so I can do whatever I had planned to do next.

But it is hard for me to always stay in the moment.  This week, it was especially true for work, where I’m currently doing some computer-based training that’s pretty boring.  I (re-)learned that when I’m bored, I eat.  I expected some bumps in the road to focus, and overall my focus was better this week than in the past.  So progress there.

Details are below.

Monday (April 17)

This ride eliminated any concerns about the effects of few days off every once in a while.  It was the strongest I’ve felt in a long time.  63 miles in about 3 hrs, 30 minutes.  And while I realize that training workouts should not completely be measured by performance (they’re more about trying to evoke a response from your body), it’s nice to see an improvement in performance every once in a while.

Tuesday (April 18)

Went exploring today in Teetertown nature preserve.  Several of my runs include the ravine part of the reserve, but there is so much more to it.  My recent fishing trips with the kids motivated me to explore more of the preserve, as it is really interesting.  There are a few different types of workout I can get in this place, including:

  • Flat to rolling runs over longer distances in open fields
  • Trails with medium degrees of technical difficulty and short to medium but steep hills
  • Gravel surfaces for longer hills with medium grade inclines:  something like 1+ miles on a ~6% incline
  • One extremely steep trail section (12-15%) that is a tenth of a mile or two

In short, this place will be great for a bunch of different kinds of workout over the next 4 months.  I have no idea why it took me so long (almost 5 years) to discover this place.  Maybe it’s the sign that said:  “Caution:  Hunting allowed from September through February.”  But since it’s now April I’m not so worried about that.

Total time was about 2 hours, 47 minutes.  I’ll call it 17 miles but I don’t have any idea how long it really was.  I kept the intensity at MAF level.

Afterwards I did a strength workout that I regretted until Saturday.  3 iterations of:

  • Jumprope:  60 both legs, 25 each one leg, 60 both legs
  • Step-ups:  30 each leg
  • Single-sided stone squats:  7 with the stone on each side (total of 14 per iteration)

As the picture below suggests, I have a million rocks on my property, of all shapes and sizes.  So I have a ton of choices.  And does anyone need any rocks?  The rock I chose is in the center of the picture below.

I have no idea of the weight of the rock I decided to use.  That should have been a red flag.  My legs were sore for the next 3 days.  I need to re-think the objective of strength training for me, now that I’m about 16 weeks out from Pikes Peak.  I don’t think I should be doing anything new or crazy with strength workouts.  As I discovered this week, it might not help that much and could really disrupt my other training.

Wednesday (April 19)

My legs were really feeling sore from the workouts yesterday, so I cut short my planned ride.  Went 35 miles in 2 hrs, 12 minutes.  Given how sore my legs were, I tried to focus on easy gearing and high cadence.  That helped for a while, but I really suffered in the second half of this workout.

Thursday (April 20)

My legs were still sore, but I was ready to get some intensity in today.  I think yesterday’s bike ride really helped with recovery.  Enough so that I could do something today.  I returned to a staple training workout for my 2010 Pikes Peak effort, but I modified it slightly.  The workout was 3x over and back one of the hills in Schooley’s Mountain park.  The degree of technical difficulty on this trail is much less than the one I’ve been running on Schooley’s.  Each “over and back” includes:

  • About .6 mile hard effort (mostly uphill, some downhill).  Each of these lasts about 5 minutes.
  • About .3 mile recovery (downhill).  Each of these lasts 2-3 minutes.

So with 3 “over and back” repeats, I got just over 3.5 miles (6 x .6) of hard running in about 30 minutes.

My aim for these is what Jack Daniels calls “VO2max intervals,” which should be 95-100% of your max HR.

HR average for each of these hard efforts was 166-168.  So they might not be at 95-100% of my max HR yet.

I also put in a bit of progression work on the run home from the park, with my HR increasing every 3-4 minutes over the course of 17 minutes.  I maxed out at 175 in the sprint down my street to finish my run.

My legs weren’t feeling great at any point during this workout, but I was pleased with the intensity I was able to achieve.  I need to be able to sustain it for longer though.  That’s a major focus for the next three months.  About 9 miles in just under 1 hour, 21 minutes.

Friday (April 21)

Back to riding today.  My legs were actually feeling better than expected this morning.  The soreness from those ill-advised stone squats was finally subsiding, and yesterday’s interval session caused less lingering pain than expected.  So I added some intensity to this.  Again trying to focus on high cadence, easier gearing.

45 miles in 2 hrs, 39 minutes.

Saturday (April 22)

For a brief moment, I considered trying to sneak in a workout early in the morning.  But I had stayed up late the previous night (preparing for the party), and I was tired, and I didn’t want to take any chances.  So I skipped it.

Sunday (April 23)

More family stuff mid-morning through mid-afternoon.  Callista is in that mode where she wants to skip her afternoon nap.  Given her late bedtime last night (and no nap, and a ton of activity), she absolutely needed one today.  So I decided to make it a team effort – I took an afternoon nap too.

I probably could have figured out a way to get something in today, but I was mentally 0ff with no interest in fitness.  Hoping this is just a passing wave of dis-interest.  Took a zero today on fitness.

Week in Review: April 9-15, 2012

This was a different sort of week for me, a self-imposed rest week.  Or rest weekend.  After two straight high volume weeks, I decided to take a long weekend off.

It started with my decision to take a day off from running.  That felt good, so I decided to take two more off.  Those decisions were partly based on recognizing commitments and obligations beyond fitness and partly based on the need to simply disconnect from fitness.  I think that’s good every once in a while.  My performance had been slipping, so I’m hoping the rest will give me the opportunity to come back stronger.

I felt sluggish all week.  Not sure why, but one suspect is that I donated blood last Friday.  I don’t know how that affects fitness.  Perhaps it doesn’t affect fitness, but it temporarily affects performance.  How temporarily, I don’t know.

One other consideration – I am in process of transitioning to a higher volume approach to fitness.  More running, more riding.  In the past, I would run or ride only 5 days a week, and it was common for me to take 2 days (the weekend) off.  In that context, taking three days off really is not all that strange.

And I did actually manage to still get in a pretty good bit of volume, even in four days.

  • Runs:  2 for 30 miles, 4 hours 18 minutes
  • Rides:  2 for 80 miles, 5 hours
  • No strength work this week.  I will start to regret that if I don’t do it
  • Sleep:  Close to 7 hours average per night, almost 1 hour more than past weeks…so I did get some “rest”

9+ hours of workout time in a “down” week is nothing to sneeze at.

The other reason why I took the weekend off was a quick peek ahead in the calendar.

Looking ahead, I’ve got two fairly open weeks followed by a week of travel.  So the plan is to go big volume for the two upcoming weeks, making for two big volume (the past two), one down (this week), two more big volume (next two).

Oh, and I don’t feel pain in my right foot.  How about that.

Making my way through Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  It’s been more difficult than I anticipated.

Details are below.

Monday (April 9)

I had planned a longer ride today, but things at work got a little tight.  So I opted for a shorter ride, which ended up a good thing.  Classic spring day in the form of a rough wind…to the tune of 25+ miles an hour.  I would not have enjoyed a longer bike ride.  Riding straight into the wind felt like I was on a trainer.  No forward motion.  It was interesting to see what happened as I came into open fields (there are lots of those around my house with all the farms)—my bike was almost knocked over.  I felt sluggish on this ride, like I could not find my form.  Not sure if it was the wind or why, but I felt off.  35 miles, 2 hrs, 11 minutes.  Really off from a performance standpoint.

Tuesday (April 10)

Another step towards increasing the intensity.  Just getting slowly back into it.  On the flat crushed gravel of the Columbia Trail, I did 8 x half mile, with a quarter mile recovery.  These felt awful.  Like I couldn’t get going.  Times reflected that, ranging from 3:30 per to 3:39 per.  Including warm-up and cool-down, the total was 12 miles in 1 hr, 40 minutes.

After this run I spent a lot of time thinking about what I really needed to perform well at Pikes Peak.  I’m going to elaborate on this in future posts, but I was happy (maybe delusional) to conclude that raw speed wasn’t super important.  I don’t have much of that right now.  In the future, it will be more important to develop strength and endurance than raw speed.  So if I can only run an 8 minute mile now, it’s OK because when I run up the hill I will be running much slower than that.  More on this in the future.

Wednesday (April 11)

Back into the rocky trail at Schooley’s Mountain Park.  I almost feel like my training mantra should be “hills and trails never fails.”  When in doubt, I should just run a hill or a trail.  Hills for the strength, trails for the technical skills.  I really need to just plan for hills and trails each week.

Four loops on the 3.5 mile trail, MAF intensity.  Felt sluggish again, but at least this time I did not fall.  I did roll my right foot/ankle though.  Not sure if this was the pain I felt on Thursday.  18 miles, 2 hrs, 38 minutes (3 minutes slower than the same route last week).  Average HR 144.  The positive out of this run was that I did four loops, two in each direction.  For each pair of loops, the second was as fast as the first.  I hope that’s a positive…I need something positive.

Thursday (April 12)

Riding again today.  Thankfully, less wind.  45 miles, 2 hours 50 minutes.  Again, super slow compared to what I’ve been doing.  Just not feeling strong like past weeks.  It was a beautiful day and the ride was good for the soul.

Another positive about this ride—I have a real reason for wanting to get into the neighborhood of 3 hours for a bike ride.  I’m anticipating that 3 hours is about how long it will take me to run up Pikes Peak.  So any time I can get 3 hours of workout in, I feel like I’m approaching what I might do on Pikes Peak.  I believe this will help me build enough aerobic fitness to feel like 3 hours is not such a big deal.

Friday (April 13)

No workout today, as I described in this post.

So what did we do?  I took the two girls out Friday afternoon for an awesome day…we

  • Watched softball
  • Hiked through the woods to retrieve softballs
  • Invented some sort of game in the bleachers of the football field
  • Walked around a bit and watched some baseball

No question, the girls got more exercise than if Caitryn had been running track.  And they had more fun too.

Saturday (April 14)

Another family commitment for mid-morning.  I could have woken up early to get out for a couple hours riding, but I decided against it.  Just wanting a rest.

Instead, we went fishing.  Three or four fish (blue gills) in 3-4 hours of time, probably 2 hours of fishing.  If they keep wanting to go, I’ll keep taking them.

After we got home from fishing, I tried to burn a bunch of wood in the outside fire pit but stopped.  Too dangerous with dry conditions and a pretty stiff wind.

Dinner outside on the back porch tonight.  Need to do more of that.  It was nice.

Sunday (April 15)

Day off.  Spent the day with the girls and just reading.  Needing a mental break.

Week in Review: April 2-8, 2012

Mileage was the key theme for this week.  This week offered more opportunity to put in some time – my wife and kids were out of town and work was slow.  I put the time to good use:

  • Running:  5 runs for 73 miles, 11+ hours
  • Riding:  1 ride for 64 miles, just under 4 hours
  • strength:  1 strength workout (not counting Saturday)

Together with last week, this represents the highest mileage I’ve logged in a long time.  And I have been feeling fatigue and some aches.  But it doesn’t seem serious.  I should feel better as my body adapts to the mileage.  I could also get a lot of benefit by improving my nutrition and rest/recovery.  It hasn’t been terrible, but I know I’m not eating well enough or sleeping enough.  That will become a bigger and bigger constraint over time until I fix it.

I’m thinking through the balance of mileage and intensity that I need/want to go for.  This higher mileage has been almost exclusively at a lower intensity.  With Pikes Peak just under 19 weeks away, I think I need to start increasing my intensity.  I will probably start adding intensity in the coming weeks.  In last week’s review, I also suggested that 55-65 miles per week was about right for me.  I still think that’s accurate, especially when I’m at higher intensity.

One positive aspect of this week’s training were the back-to-back runs.  I managed to sneak in runs on Monday and Tuesday (this was three in a row considering that I ran Sunday), then again on Thursday and Friday.  Each set of back-to-back runs covered 28+ miles.  On the other hand, my running performance has been worsening over time.  I’m not sounding an alarm bell on that yet…there are too many things changing, especially the mileage (which keeps going up).

I could see next week being either another relatively low intensity week with lots of mileage.  Or it could be lower mileage and higher intensity.  I’ll just have to let it play out.

I’m watching a replay of Paris-Roubaix.  I don’t know what people think of pro bike racers, but I’ve got to give them credit for riding this race.  It’s vicious.

Details of this week are below.

Monday (April 2)

Treadmill “hill” workout.  The treadmill starts to take on an increased importance for me in the coming weeks.  I don’t necessarily like it, but it’s the best way for me to get the effect of a big uphill.  This run was 12 miles, with the last 11 miles coming at grades between 9-15% on the mill.  I was really happy with this, especially since yesterday’s workout was on a hill.  Two hill workouts in a row.  HR average 145, 2 hrs, 23 minutes.  That’s a long time for 12 miles, but it was a pretty steep incline.

Tuesday (April 3)

On the rocky trails in Schooley’s Mountain Park again.  Cool but not cold.  Breezy.  Perfect spring day.  This will need to be another staple run for me–to help develop technical skills.  It’s obvious that I need some work on the trails.  I fell a couple times towards the end…when I get tired, it gets harder for me to clear the rocks and roots.  This was 4 loops on a 3.5 mile loop.  Add the distance to and from the park, and the total is 18 miles.  2 hours, 34 minutes.  HR average 143.

Post-run:  Body weight leg strength workout.  Five iterations of:

  • Jumprope:  50 both legs, 20 each leg (single), 50 both
  • 20 step-ups each leg
  • 20 prisoner squats

Not sure what to expect tomorrow.  This body weight workout usually makes me feel bad.

Wednesday (April 4)

Felt better than expected getting up today–I must be getting a bit stronger on the body weight strength workout.  Glad to get on the bike today.  This was a new route that covered 64 miles, give or take a couple (I got lost).  Rode into Pennsylvania.  Really happy with this.  Even as I get more fatigued, I’m feeling stronger and stronger on the bike.  This has to be a good sign.  3 hrs, 57 minutes.

Thursday (April 5)

Easy running in Schooley’s Mountain Park, with 12 short hill sprints in the middle.  Took the dog and was able to let him off leash.  He’s like a pig in slop when he’s running off leash in a park like that.  He’s great to run with…stays close and is really a joy to watch run.  7 miles, 1 hr 6 minutes.  Did not wear the HR monitor.

Any time I can get onto a trail, it’s helpful.

The hill sprints didn’t feel great, but I wanted to get a bit of intensity going.

Friday (April 6)

Long run today…Columbia Trail to High Bridge.  This is a very different trail than the one in Schooley’s Mountain Park.  This one is flat and smooth.  The one in Schooley’s Mountain Park is hilly and super-rocky.  While this run didn’t help me develop trail running skills, it was nice to get off the asphalt and onto the crushed gravel.  Mostly flat (except the beginning and end).

I decided to kick up the intensity for about 2.5 miles towards the end of this.  Instead of my usual HR range near 145, I increased the intensity to an average of 156.  The running felt labored, even though I was trying to relax.  I felt really bad after this; the rest of the run was terrible.

21 miles in 3 hrs, 17 minutes.  HR average 146.

Afternoon:  Donated blood.  Wondering if I should work out on Saturday…was encouraged not to do anything “strenuous” for 24 hours.  Does a MAF run count as “strenuous?”

Saturday (April 7)

Woke up feeling weak and sore.  Felt better (as usual) after stretching.  Debated a ride, but decided against it.

Instead, decided to do a heavy bit of yard work.  4+ hours in the yard, divided pretty evenly between splitting fire wood and moving a large pile of rocks.  At some point I’ll take a picture of my yard.  I’ve got just over 3 acres.  One “benefit,” if you could call it that, is that I’ve got plenty of rocks to move around in case I want strength work.  I just go outside and lift some rocks.

Although I won’t log it as a strength workout, I don’t feel bad about taking the day “off” in the form of 4+ hours of outside work.

Sunday (April 8)

Debated whether to ride or run today.  I felt good enough to do either.  In the first 6 days of this week, I’d run 58 miles and ridden 64.  I get nervous when the running miles start to hit the upper 60s.  But I decided to run anyway.  The big driver for the decision to run was actually the coming week.  It’s setting up like I’ll be running Tuesday and Wednesday, so I reserved my ride for Monday.

Easy 15 miles, very careful not to risk  injury.  2 hrs, 18 minutes.  HR average 145.  Another beautiful day of weather.

Week in Review: March 26-April 1, 2012

Another week gone by.  Amazing that it’s already April.  The Spring Classics are upon us.  Tour of Flanders this week, Paris-Roubaix next week.  Sweet.

I’m abandoning the listing of all the food I eat in a week.  It’s not helping.  Since it’s not helping, I’m not going to subject myself to the tedium of writing it all down.  I have something else I’m going to try in an attempt to get my eating habits under control.  I think this could work if I do it consistently.  I will describe that later if it actually starts working.

I finished both The Fountainhead and Blah, Blah, Blah:  What to do when words don’t work.  I’ve already written about The Fountainhead.  I’m still trying to decide about Blah, Blah, Blah.  If you never read Back of the Napkin, I would definitely recommend Blah, Blah, Blah.  But if you already read Back of the Napkin, I’m not sure Blah, Blah, Blah is worth it.  I actually plan to use some of Dan Roam’s tips and techniques for thinking through a problem I’m dealing with right now at work.  I may have a better idea of whether I like it after I try a few of the recommendations.  I’m 100 pages into Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.  It started slower than I expected, but it quickly picked up speed and is really moving now.  I’ve got a goal of finishing that book in 10 days, which means I need to average 50 pages a day.  I think it’s achievable.  I need to do it; I have so many other things I want to read…

Since it’s April 1, I should probably also report some sort of monthly fitness totals.  Here they are:

  • 15 runs for 185 miles (average over 12 miles per run).  Almost 100% of this was at low to moderate intensity (HR in the 140s).  Effectively no speed work.  2 runs over 20 miles.
  • 7 rides for 336 miles (average 48 miles per ride).  All between 35 and 60.  Not bad, but I’m itching for a longer ride.

The month was odd for me.  It started slow, since I was just recovering from my foot injury.  Between travel and the flu-like thing I had for about 10 days, I never really got into a groove.

I hope this week starts me on a good streak.  It actually was sneaky good for me, fitness wise.  I started out in the doctor’s office, but finished nicely:

  • 4 runs, 67 miles, over 10 hours.  Long runs.  Nice.
  • 1 ride, 54 miles, 3 hrs, 20 minutes
  • one mini strength workout.  Seems mini but caused a lot of pain the next day…

Two days off this week.  I hope to take fewer off days but I’m being conservative given recent history.

Looking ahead to next week, I hope to repeat my running but increase my riding and strength work.  I think I can get by on 55-65 miles per week, especially if I can ride 2-3 times and do 2-3 strength workouts.  I plan to keep the intensity low-moderate again next week.  I’m under 20 weeks to go to Pikes Peak, so I will need to begin ramping up the intensity shortly.  Before I get too much into that, however, I’m looking to stabilize my mileage at low intensity.  Hopefully my legs will feel better in the coming weeks.

Details on this week are below

Monday (March 26)

Woke up feeling like the truck that had hit me for the past 2 days had left and gone somewhere else (like my wife who was starting to get sick).  I stretched in the morning and was ready to go, but I decided against it.  One more day of rest and a doctor visit before I get back after it.  Definitely feeling better though.

Doctor prescribed an inhaler for my cough, a “backup” antibiotic (which I never filled) and a heavy duty cough syrup for night time sleeping (which I never used).  I did the inhaler for a few days but then stopped when I felt better.

Tuesday (March 27)

Experienced the spring season in it’s full glory.  Went out in the afternoon.  Brilliant sunshine, breezy, temps in the low 40s.  Just perfect for running.  Did 3 loops in the rocks of Schooley’s Mountain.  Kept the intensity moderate, just hoping to avoid feeling sick and injured.  14 miles in 2 hrs, 5 minutes, HR average 145.

Wednesday (March 28)

Back to back days of running.  Today I was up and out at 5 am so I could get back before my 7-year-old got on the bus.  My bones were aching.  I was stiff and sore, which I attributed to covering 29 miles in less than 24 hours after covering only 17 TOTAL the prior week.  I knew I was running more than I had…I could feel it.  15 miles, 2 hrs 10 minutes.  HR average 144.

Thursday (March 29)

Another day where I was experiencing the spring season in its full glory.  A bit of everything on this 54 mile bike ride.  Overcast grey clouds, a passing shower, wind, bright sun filtering through.  At one point I remember looking to my right and seeing sunshine about a quarter mile away (while I was riding in cloud cover).  Just awesome.  Stronger than I expected, especially considering that I hadn’t spent much time on the bike recently and I’d just run a lot.  Covered the 54 miles in 3 hrs, 21 minutes.   Stretched in the afternoon which felt great.

Friday (March 30)

Back on the Columbia Trail heading to High Bridge.  Definitely feeling stiff and sore, but very pleased with this.  It wasn’t sickness, it was just volume.  I’ll take that any day.  Ended up feeling surprisingly good until about 20 miles into this.  Then it was difficult.  The elevation chart for this run is interesting.  Looks like a big bowl.  When I start to ramp up the intensity, this will turn into a great tempo run.  This time, 23+ miles, 3 hrs, 20 minutes.  HR avg 146.  You may note that the mileage is slightly over 21.  When I map a run, I always start at a place that’s a mile from my house.  It makes it more accurate, as I can’t pinpoint my house on a map.

In the afternoon, I took my 7-year-old to track practice.  And I also had my jumprope.  I felt good enough to do a bit of a body weight workout for my legs.  Four sets of:

  • Jumprope:  50 both legs, 20 right, 20 left, 50 both legs
  • step-ups:  20 with each leg
  • prisoner squats:  20

That was enough to put me into a good sweat.  Also wondering if I had over cooked it after running 23 that morning.

I’d love to be able to do more with the strength work, like actually use weights.  But at this point, I think adding weights would really cause trouble.  I’m not strong enough.  I’m planning to make that a goal after Pikes Peak is finished.

Saturday (March 31)

Sure enough, I woke up this morning having a very difficult time moving around.  50+ miles running, 50+ miles riding and an added mini strength workout was a lot for the past 4 days.  I didn’t feel bad taking a day off.  If it hadn’t been raining cats and dogs, I might have tried a ride.  But given the past few months, I felt good just to be healthy and not sick.  I didn’t want to push it.

Sunday (April 1)

Up early again today because I knew I had to get something done before 8 or the day would be lost.  Four sets of down/up the steepest hill I can reach quickly by running.  Distance-wise, it’s 1.5 miles.  Elevation gain is 630 feet over the 1.5 miles.  Four sets is about 2500 feet of elevation gain and loss.  Good stuff.  15 miles total in 2 hrs, 24 minutes.  This felt better than I expected, especially the uphill.  More importantly, the times were remarkably consistent–downhill went 10:39, 11:18, 11:24, 11:27; uphill went 18:24, 18:27, 18:11, 18:23.  HR average 144.

The 1.5 miles of this run is the part of that elevation chart I showed above — it’s from the 19.1 mile mark to about 20.6.  Just to give you a sense of the elevation there.

Week in review: March 19-26, 2012

Last week was up and down…a bit frustrating.

First, the moment of the week…my 7-year-old caught her first fish ever.  From what we can gather, it’s a sunnie/blue gill.  Caught in a pond that was about 5 minutes driving from our house.

I’ve never really fished.  I only got into fishing recently when my daughter expressed an interest in it.  My philosophy on parenting includes the idea that you expose your kids to as much as possible when they’re young, then you let them gravitate towards areas of interest, then you support them.  Well, my little one was interested in fishing.  So she got a fishing rod as a birthday present from her uncle, and off we went fishing.  We went once last year, and this was the first attempt this year.  It’s not easy for me–I’m terrible with the hooks, I get grossed out by putting the worm on the hook and I really don’t like taking the fish off there.  But she was thrilled.  So we are eagerly anticipating the start of fishing season on April 7th.  Our area is perfect for fishing–there are a million places to go all within close proximity.  So, fishing it is.

Fitness wise it was another frustrating week.  At the start of the week, I was just getting over being sick.  Mid-week was better, but by Friday I was back feeling sick.  Same stuff–chills, feeling like I got hit by a truck, fatigue, coughing, the whole nine yards.  Although I feel better today, I’m going to the doctor.  I’ve got to get this figured out.

All tolled, I got in:

  • 3 runs for a measley 17 miles, in just under 2 hrs, 45 minutes
  • 2 rides for 90 miles, 5 hrs 38 minutes

I feel like I’m taking two steps backward for every step forward.  Between the foot injury and the sickness, I’m not able to get into any kind of groove.  Pikes peak is 143 days from today, and if I don’t get into a groove soon I’ll have to start re-thinking my goals. 

I’m itching to run today, but I don’t want to push it.  I’d rather take an extra day off to make sure I close out this sickness.  Today is hopefully one final day off with a trip to the doctor.  Then I can get cranked up again tomorrow.

Gory details are below…

Monday (March 19)

Still unsure whether I was fully recovered from the weekend’s sickness, and having an early start for work this morning, I decided to try a short but hard strength workout.  I aimed mostly at the upper body, since I hoped to get a run in later in the day (once I arrived at my destination).  Came up with this:  squat thrusts (10 reps), 10 minutes of wood splitting, chin-ups (overhand and underhand).  All of these were done as intensely as possible.  Just over 20 minutes of this (two sets) left me breathing heavy and sweating like mad.  And I only did about 10 chinups total (including both sets overhand and underhand).  Wow is that weak.

In Philadelphia this week.  Back to my home town.

As the day ended, I had a decision to make:  attempt a quick workout or get to bed early and go a bit longer tomorrow morning.  I elected to get to bed early.  If the fitness center in my hotel had a step machine, I might have thought differently.  But no go.

Good start to the week of eating:

  • 7 am:  yogurt with protein powder, banana, orange
  • 1 pm:  small caesar salad with grilled chicken, apple
  • 9 pm:  salad (spinach, broccoli, peppers, onion, snap peas), sardines

I felt good about this eating day.  I could have easily caved at lunch and dinner, and also in the hotel where there were awesome-looking Philly soft pretzels freely available.  One of my favorite things!  For dinner, I decided to forgo the company dinner (and the handful of soft pretzels) for a trip to the grocery store.  I love it when there is a fridge in the hotel room…I was able to buy breakfast for the next couple days as well.

Tuesday (March 20)

Today I learned something about hotels and fitness centers.  After an hour on the treadmill, the thing basically just stopped.  I guess they limit the time people have on the hotel treadmill to make sure nobody abuses it while other guests wait.  Still pretty weak.  I could have just jumped on another treadmill (or restarted mine), but it was getting close to when I had to leave anyway.  Being new at work, I didn’t want to be late for a client meeting, so I elected to stop there instead of getting another 10-15 minutes in.  Total in the morning:  Just over 5 miles, including 4 miles at grades 7-9%.  HR average 143

In the afternoon, we got lost on the way from our client meeting to the hotel, which ate up about 20 minutes of time I would have spent on a second run.  Ended up still going out, only for about 35 minutes.  Just over 4 miles.  My heart rate monitor wasn’t cooperating, so I ended up just running.  It was probably harder than I should have been running, but it wasn’t super-hard.  I did manage to hold back from what I wanted to do–given the frustrations of the treadmill then getting lost, I really wanted to run all out for a set of intervals.  But I was worried about the potential for injury, so I just took it relatively easy.

Total on the day was about 10 miles and about 1 hr, 35 minutes.  Some good treadmill incline in there.

Eating was good until I went off the rails late in the day.

  • 6 am:   greek yogurt, kiwi, grapefruit
  • 3 pm:  salad with chicken, and veggies
  • 5 pm:  protein bar
  • 9 pm:   lots of bread, rack of ribs, french fries, a few chicken wings
  • 11 pm:  2 cookies

Wednesday (March 21)

These early meetings are hard on the fitness schedule.  Today was “getaway” day from the hotel, so I did a strength workout.  The strength workout is coming together.  I’ll probably stick with something like this for the time being.  The workout looked like this:

  • Warmup (Lunge Matrix, Myrtl)
  • Fast Abs core workout
  • Body weight legs (jumprope, step-ups, squats)
  • Cooldown (cannonball)


  • 6 am:  salad (spinach, broccoli, peppers, onions)
  • 8 am:  greek yogurt, blueberries
  • 1 pm:  sardines, blueberries, kiwi
  • 6 pm:  steak, green beans, broccoli, soda, some bread
  • 10 pm:  M&Ms, chocolate chips, cookies, sugar cereal, peanuts

Thursday (March 22)

Doulble workout today!

am:  Riding 36 miles.  This felt awkward at first, probably because I haven’t ridden in a while.  The awkwardness went away as the ride went on, and I got stronger as time went by.  I was disappointed when this ended.  2 hrs, 11 minutes

pm:  Run 7 miles.  Tried a trail that’s close to my house and my gym–Round Valley Reservoir.  It was really convenient to be able to use the gym’s facilities to change before and shower / change after the run.  The trail was great.  I will definitely be back to this trail.  Although I might wait to hear the outcome of this first.

I didn’t feel great, and I didn’t push it.  1 hr, 5 minutes HR average 144

  • 10 am:  leftover chicken, cabbage, cauliflower, peppers (think this was supposed to be heated up, but I had to take it in the car cold), leftover roasted veggies (zucchini, onion, cauliflower, tomato)
  • 1 pm:  yogurt with protein powder, banana, orange
  • 6 pm:  peanuts, pollock, roasted veggies (zucchini, onion, cauliflower, tomato), salad, asparagus
  • 8 pm:  M&Ms, sugar cereal, ice cream, chocolate chips, 4 powerbar recovery bars

Friday (March 23)

Woke up with a lot of stiffness and soreness, especially in my calves.  Wondering if I was suffering from some sort of delayed onset soreness from that body weight workout I did on Wednesday.   Decided to go for a bike ride, which ended up being great.  54 miles, on a route that I haven’t done in a while.  I started out feeling great, but ended up feeling really bad.  The last hour felt like it was 100% into the wind.  Not sure if it’s loss of endurance (I haven’t been out for this long in a while) or something else.

  • noon:  yogurt with protein powder, banana, orange
  • 2-4 pm:  6 or 8 powerbar recovery bars (lost track), handfuls of peanuts, sugar cereal
  • 7 pm:  Eggs, grapefruit

Feeling sick again.  Chills, fatigue, aches, coughing, congestion.  Perhaps the stiffness and soreness I woke up with was actually this damn “cold?”

Saturday (March 24)

Woke up feeling like crap.  Day off.  Towards the end of the day, I felt good enough to go outside and try splitting wood for a few minutes.  Not the greatest idea.  By evening I was not interested in anything but sleep.

  • 8 am:  Yogurt with protein powder, banana,  orange
  • 2 pm:  4 powerbar recovery bars, handful of nuts

Sunday (March 25)

Still feeling like crap.  Another day off.

  • 9 am:  4 egg veggie omelet (onion, garlic, peppers, tomatoes), orange, leftover roasted veggies (zucchini, cauliflower, tomato, onion)
  • noon:  smoothie (frozen banana, carrots, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, yogurt, OJ, lime juice), popcorn, nuts, sugar cereal, M&Ms, cookies
  • 6 pm:  leftover roast turkey, salad (asparagus, tomato, onion), salad (romaine, tomatoes)
  • 7 pm:  ice cream, cookies

Week in review: March 12-18, 2012

Well this week didn’t go exactly as planned.  It started off beautifully but went south as the week went on.  Hopefully, though, the week ended with me feeling good enough to start next week well.  I remember thinking that since I’ve added strength training to my repertoire, there really was no reason for me to have a day with no workouts.  Umm…how about that flu thing?


  • 2 runs:  21 miles, 3 hrs, 8 minutes
  • 1 ride:  45 miles, 2 hrs, 48 minutes
  • 1 strength workout:   lunge matrix, myrtl, core, squats

All of those came by Wednesday morning.

If there was a positive to the whole flu thing, it was probably that I didn’t feel like eating on Friday and Saturday.  Perhaps that’s a start to my turning around the eating habits.

And I got a lot of sleep this week.  55 hrs, average of almost 8 per day.  Of course 60% of those hours came on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  I know I need to work on my sleep habits.

I’m up to page 500 in The Fountainhead.  Through three out of four parts.  I guess that’s one other good part of having the flu–I got a chance to put a lot of reading in.  At some point I might have to write up a post about the core philosophy of the book and how it conflicts with some things that have long been important in my life.  I admit that I’m struggling with some of those concepts.

Incidentally, I’m also about 60% through Blah, Blah, Blah:  What to Do When Words Don’t Work.  I’m not entirely sure what to think yet.  I need to keep going and trying some of the ideas before I render an opinion.

I can’t do anything about the days lost to the flu.  I hope I can get back on the beam hard on Monday and stay on it.  The ascent starts in 152 days.  There isn’t time to screw around any more.

Monday (March 12)

Started the week with a 45 mile ride.  This one felt weird from the start, which was in complete darkness due to the change to daylight savings time.  Even with my light, I hit way more potholes than I usually do, including one that jarred one of my water bottles out of its cage.  After searching for about 5 minutes, I gave up on the bottle.

Overall the ride was ok.  My hands were freezing at times when I went down into the valleys.  I could feel the air get colder.  I wonder whether my hill sprints yesterday had an effect on my strength.  I just felt off the whole time. I was just thankful to get my bike (and myself) home in one piece.

  • 9 am:  yogurt w/ protein powder, orange, roasted veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, peppers, zucchini)
  • 1 pm:  salad (arugala, carrots, strawberries, red onion) w/ leftover steak, apple
  • 6 pm:  turkey and veggie chili, carrot salad, asparagus and broccoli slaw
  • after 8 pm:  chocolate chips, ice cream, popcorn, M&Ms, Girl Scout cookies

I noticed something interesting today that I might need to dig more deeply into.  I got extremely tired, like can’t keep my eyes open tired, three times today:

  • 10 am:  driving in to work…I actually parked my car after driving for 20 minutes and napped
  • 2 pm:  kept waking up after having pressed some random key on my keyboard like 350 times
  • 7 pm:  putting my 2-year old to bed and reading, or was she putting me to bed?

Notice a pattern?  This kind of thing has been happening to me for a long time now.  Sometimes it isn’t as obvious as today, but it’s been there.

Tuesday (March 13)

am:  Wanted to get up earlier, but got to bed late last night (lots of admin stuff right now).  Did a short run, 7 miles, at MAF intensity.  Wanted to get home to see my 7-year-old off to school.  Travelling today.

pm:  This week finds me in Indianapolis.  Ran 14 miles around the greenway that goes in and out of the city.  It’s a super-flat run, but that was ideal for me.  I haven’t done double-run days very often; I can probably count them on one hand.  But today I really wanted to get out.  It was beautiful here and a good day to run.  14 miles, just over 2 hours.

Total for the day:  21 miles in a bit over 3 hours.

  • 7 am:  Turkey & veggie chili, kiwi, carrot salad
  • 10 am:  4-egg veggie omelette  (red onion, yellow onion, garlic, tomato), orange, strawberries
  • 9 pm:  Salad (spinach, peppers, carrots, strawberries, red onion, seeds), sardines

Eating was perfection today.  Would like to bottle this day and repeat it over and over again.

Wednesday (March 14)

Woke up in the hotel with some time before my day got started.  Figured some strength work would be good.  I’m exploring the idea of doing strength work on the last morning of my out-of-town trips.  The strength work will typically fit my schedule more effectively (I usually don’t have much time in the morning when I’m out-of-town) and allows me to get on the bike the next day for more recovery.  When I’m out of town, I typically run a lot.  So to end it with strength then a next-day bike seems like a reasonable approach.  Today it worked out well.  I am taking the strength work slowly since I know I’m still new at it.

  • 9 am:  Scrambled eggs, banana, orange
  • noon:  turkey &  cheese sandwich, chips, soda, milky way, 2 chocolate pretzels
  • 10 pm:  2 bowls of life cereal, pistachios, M&Ms, ice cream

Managed to get an earlier flight home, which is always good.  I’m worried, though…got a huge headache like my head was exploding as we descended to the airport.  I don’t get headaches.  Ever.  This one lasted until Thursday morning.

Thursday (March 15)

No workout.  Starting to feel awful.  Got to work, but didn’t feel much better.

  • 9 am:  Kiwi, orange
  • noon:  burger with bacon, soda, chocolate milkshake
  • 5 pm:  2 DQ blizzards
  • 8 pm:  M&Ms, nuts, chips & salsa, klondike bar

Registration for Pikes Peak went well.  Now just waiting for acceptance of my qualifying information.

Friday (March 16)

Feeling really awful now.  No workouts today.  Sleep and hopefully I will feel better.

  • 9 am:  yogurt with protein powder, banana
  • noon:  2 powerbar recovery bars
  • 6 pm:  eggs, orange, klondike bar, chocolate

Saturday (March 17)

Still feeling bad, maybe slightly better but it’s hard to say.  No workouts today.

  • 9 am:  Sugar cereal (a few handfuls)
  • noon:  Fruit smoothie (banana, raspberry, peach, protein powder, yogurt, orange juice), popcorn
  • 4 pm:  2 powerbar recovery bars

Sunday (March 18)

Feeling better but not as good as hoped.  Another day of rest.  No workouts.  I did manage to split some wood towards the end of the day.  At this point, I’m going to declare my sickness over and hope my body agrees.

  • 8 am:  Sugar cereal (a few handfuls)
  • noon:  turkey and veggie chili, banana, orange
  • 3 pm:  2 powerbar recovery bars, M&Ms
  • 6 pm:  Meatballs, salad, roasted veggies (onion, squash, zucchini, tomato)
  • 9 pm:  Sugar cereal, chocolate