Tuesday, March 04, 2014

15, 14: Grab Bag

Monday Feb 17, 2014.  1100 yardish swim.  I'm shifting towards making Monday a leg rest day and using swimming to kind of kick off new training weeks.  I've had a strict training plan for the last couple months, but I'm seeing places where it consistently isn't working, so I'm going to adjust it a bit.

Tuesday Feb 18, 2014.  5.4 mile run.  Huckleberry and Sibley.  I took this one deliberately slow to taper for this weekend's race.  But it was good to get the hills in, to loosen up some tightness from pushing the climbing on Diablo on Saturday.  A body was found in Redwood on Saturday night, on fire.  I spent most of this run thinking about that, since Redwood was my main running spot all of last year (I've shifted a bit to Huckleberry/Sibley to get in a particular harder climb).  Bizarre.

Thursday Feb 20.  5.1 mile run.  I ran out to the Emeryville Marina and back over lunch.  It was a fun mix of half mile fast intervals, walking to loosen up, and repeating.  I had contrary goals of backing off to not push things too hard while kicking speed up to get ready for Saturday.  I ran a lot of half mile intervals well below 8 mins/mile, which is currently fast for me.  The end result is tight calves and sore heals.  Lots of foam rolling to do before Saturday.

Friday Feb 21.  1200 yard swim.  Just moving before the race to get my heart rate up and to
loosen up.

Saturday Feb 22.  31 mile run at ITR's Chabot 50k.  First 50k!  I ran it rather slow, feet were surprisingly sore pretty early, but I kept steadily at it.  More elsewhere.

Monday Feb 24.  1000ish yard swim.    This was a rushed workout over lunch at the start of what's became a very busy week, with two high-impact new arrivals coming within the next month.  It's good timing though, since my legs will benefit from the rest.

Wednesday Feb 26.  Probably a half mile walking fast, around a shopping mall, of all places.  Having had not enough time to run (or sleep sufficiently) this week, I parked at the opposite end of the mall from where I needed to run a five minute errand just to get moving.  I think this week's collected errands are taking a bigger toll on me physically than the 50k.  In part because I'm also mentally off balance from not getting outside enough.  There's some exploring planned for the weekend that should make up for it.  I also signed up for my first 50 mile race in the wee hours of the morning before bed.  It'll be in December, as the next big challenge for myself after Hawaii.

Thursday Feb 27.  4.3 mile run.  With not-running-or-exercising-much-at-all-this-week frustration building up, I ran later at night from home, down through Montclair Village, and back.  I've never run down the hill and back up--I just typically head for the trails.  Legs were very stiff, but I ran through it, letting them loosen up over time.  I ran quarter mile intervals going back uphill to keep the pace up.  It was some of the fastest uphill running I've done, and it didn't feel like much of an effort.  I backed off mostly to avoid having my legs tighten up too much.

Saturday March 1.  5.9  mile run.  East Ridge and Pool trails loop at Armstrong Redwoods.  More in another entry.

Sunday March 2.  1.8 miles hiking and 2.6 miles running.  PL and I were exploring for the day, starting at the mouth of the Russian River, and working our way down to Bodega Bay.  I took the chance to hike around with my camera, and I threw in some running too, just to have fun with it.  There was a group of harbor seals hanging out at the mouth of the Russian River, many were playing around.  We made 6 or 7 stops, along with a seafood sandwich stop in Bodega.  Great weather shift from morning rain to fog and drizzle to sun.

I'm not sure what to call this two week stretch of running (I didn't do much swimming or cycling here).  I ran my first 50k, took it conservatively, and finished it well.  Then life through a bunch of stuff at me.  And my next couple runs were road/trails I haven't run on.  This ends this phase of training, which has been focused on ramping up trail distance and difficulty.  I have no races in March (I back out of a planned 50k because of a conflict), and I don't plan to race again until late April.  I have to continue increasing cycling distance, but otherwise, I plan to use the next couple months to just have fun.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Armstrong Redwoods

PL and I set out for a quiet weekend, not having much of an agenda.  Which usually means hiking, cooking, reading, sipping coffee, watching movies, and other active and inactive things.  The main point is to get out of the house and the myriad parts of life we manage from home.   On these trips, I also like to get in a run or two in new places.  

We went to Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Preserve for the afternoon and took a short hike on the valley floor.  With all the rain, it was quite humid, quite green, and filled with redwoods, with the oldest at 1400 years old.  Reading up on it later in the day, the valley is classified as rain forest.  

After the hike, I ran a loop up and out of the valley, around and back down.  The climb was long and steady, very humid, and steeper than I expected.  But quite runnable today—the forced time off during the week worked in my favor.  

Climbing out of the valley, the East Ridge trail eventually leaves the redwood forest and climbs though grassy hills and other forest types (I’m not the best at identifying most trees).  The views up here were amazing.

After the climb, I ran a long steady downhill stretch on the Pool trail.  Returning to redwood valley, it crossed a handful of streams before returning to the central redwood grove of the park.  This was one of my most fun downhill runs ever, with others having been in Huddert county park and on the Coastal View trail.  Getting back to the main redwood grove, I explored parts that I missed on the hike.

I also used this run to break in a new pair of Altra Olympus shoes.  I picked these up to add in some high cushion trail shoes to the mix.  Everyone seems to love Hokas right now, but the other Altras I’ve been running in have done such a good job at getting rid of unnecessary foot pain/injury that I went for these instead.  They have this interesting design that makes you want to run instead if you happen to be walking.  Especially uphill.  As a result, I was able to push a little harder than usual when running uphill.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Chabot 50k

I ran my first 50k at ITR’s Chabot trail run last Saturday.  I picked this as my first 50k because I know the trails, have experience racing here, and it’s an easier 50k course.  

But within two miles of starting, I knew it was going to be a long race for me.  A faster run during the week had a much bigger impact on my feet than I expected.  My heels were sore pretty much from the beginning of the race until the end.  Early race soreness and stiffness usually works itself out by about two miles, but not this day.  

For the first 20 miles or so, I was holding back my pace quite a bit, since my only real goal was to finish the 50k distance.  The last 10 miles were a mix of running through foot pain, walking, and just enjoying the process of constantly moving.  I call it pain, but it wasn’t at the level of really hurting, more so a constant irritating tightness that I knew would turn to pain if I didn’t keep my pace down.  I finished in 6:59, well over what I expected.  As a first 50k, it felt somewhat anticlimactic.

Otherwise, this was a mostly internal race.  I had music on for most of it, and I used the time to think through things happening in the rest of life.  The trails were familiar, and with running slower this time, it became a very meditative day. 

I ran with a new hydration pack this time too, a minimal Salomon 1.5L pack.  I was looking for something smaller that would ride higher and be easier to refill.  The velcro arm straps failed a few times, until I realized that having a clip snapped in too high was tugging one sleeve out.  After adjusting the clip, it behaved itself.  If the velcro continues to behave, this might become my goto racing pack; I like how it rides.