Saturday, June 30, 2012


After Tuesdays good run, Wednesday I took off for bowling league. That went well, I bowled above my average and my team won all four points that week. In the last two weeks we are 7-1, which is way better than we were doing (toward the bottom of the league). Oh, and one guy bowled a 300 in the league. That was the first time I ever saw someone bowl a 300, it was cool. They were on the lane right next to us.

On Thursday I ran an "easy" 10k with plans to run a fast 10k like Tuesday on Friday. I ran pretty consistent miles (averaged 8:40ish) and it felt pretty good. My legs didn't feel super "fresh," not quite as good as Tuesday, but fine.

We're going on an adventure Charlie!
So on Friday it was time for a "fast run." Things started off on the wrong foot, I forgot to band-aid my nipples (a post for another time). So I was worried about my nips getting raw and then it started to drizzle. Wetness is extra bad for the nips. In addition to that, I just wasn't feeling it. My legs felt old and tired.

Anyways, I started off well but then quickly fell off. My mile times plummeted (7:37, 7:39, 7:53, 8:08, 8:26) and I just felt tired. I was still going to complete the 10k because I hate using excuses and whatnot, but shortly after mile five I could feel my nips starting to hurt and I decided to pack it in early. I could have easily finished the six, but the nipples go from feeling a little off to bleeding within a mile or two. So I didn't want to risk it.

That set up my long run today, my third day in a row running. I wasn't looking forward to it because of the run on Friday. I felt like I needed to take time off. But I had a great night of sleep (11 hours) and since it was a long run, took it easy. Seriously easy, averaged 9:25, which is 20 seconds slower than my 15 mile run. It is also hillier, but still, I was taking it easy on purpose.

Glad to report the run went really well. I just decided to run my 10k route and then follow it up with the 5k route to make things easy. Didn't want to drive anywhere special today. My calf felt GREAT during the run, didn't feel it a bit. Really haven't felt it the last few runs, on the Friday crap run it twinged weird once, but that was it. So it is much better!

To recap, today's long run felt good and went well after a crappy run Friday and a good but easy run Thursday. Taking tomorrow off (although, I am taking Brandon to the waterpark, so that will be a workout in a way) and then running with the PRC group Monday. We'll see after Monday how I feel... if I still feel like a rickety old man I might take Tuesday and Wednesday off. Or maybe just a 5k Tuesday, easy 10k Thursday, then try a fast 10k Friday. Whatever, we'll see.

Topics to come:
 - Sensitive Nipples
 - My upcoming half marathon in Coburg, OR

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Today I ran another 10k after taking Sunday and Monday off. My calf was feeling pretty good and I decided I was going to push my pace a little. Get back to the "old" Thomas, pumping out a 10k under 8 minutes a mile.

Recently I was at Marshall's and happened to stumble across some running gear. I only bought one thing, a "running pack" to hold your cell phone, Gu, keys, and other small stuff. A lot of runners have them because where else are you going to put all that crap? I've been carrying it in my pockets but I would be lying if I didn't say it was annoying to have that banging around as I ran. When I would run races sans cell phone it felt like freedom.

So the last two runs I've ran with this pack (it is slightly less dorky than it seems) with my cell phone inside. I no longer can hear my mile times as I am running, which is a good thing and a bad thing. It's a good thing because I constantly feel like I'm going slow because I have no re-enforcement that yes, Thomas, you are running fast. However, if I am trying to shoot for a time goal (say under eight minutes a mile) I have no idea if I am hitting that pace. My times could be varying wildly and I wouldn't know.

Instead of listening to the music on my phone I've just been listening to the radio. It's a nice change up and I have presets on a little radio that straps onto my upper arm.Not a bad setup and a nice change from the phone.

Anyways, I felt great, like the old me, through five miles. Calf wasn't even an issue and I was hitting great times (as I would later find out). However, around mile five it started to act up and I had to adjust my stride up hills to avoid the "pull" feeling. So that was disappointing. It was better than last time I ran though. So as long as I keep not pushing it I should be good.

Today's time (last 10k time):
Mile 1: 7:42 (8:06)
Mile 2: 7:36 (8:05)
Mile 3: 7:31 (8:02)
Mile 4: 7:42 (8:21) Mostly uphill portion... crushed it!
Mile 5: 7:41 (8:04)
Mile 6: 8:09 (7:48) Calf limited me on this one
Homestretch: 2:09 (2:36)
Overall: 48:29 (51:02)

10k time today was 48 minutes flat... considering my Rum Run balls out 10k time was 47:31, not bad at all, especially being a gimp the last 20% of the run.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


My calf appears to be getting better. Yesterday I ran another 10k (I scrapped a "long run" to not push my calf), this time taking the revised course I made after my first 10k run. I liked the change and will keep it that way. All together it was 6.31 miles, which is perfect, I like a little cushion.

The calf felt pretty good, I could definitely feel it still being 'injured' but it wasn't as noticable as previous runs. I was able to push harder up the uphills and it didn't really threaten to pull or anything. I will say that it was sore after the run for a couple hours, but after that passed it felt great (as with all of today). So as long as I keep not pushing it too hard I should be healed up here pretty soon. I'll try to take it easy at run group tomorrow and stretch it out well.

Mile times were 8:06, 8:05, 8:02, 8:21, 8:04, and 7:48. After feeling pretty good through four miles I decided to push it a little the last two and was very happy to finish on a 7:48!

Friday, June 22, 2012


So yesterday my mission was to find my new 10k route from the house. Since I enjoyed my 5k route so much, it seemed natural to just extend the 10k off the 5k. I could always just do the 5k twice, but that would be BORING. Plus, it's fun to plan new routes!

The one has me starting at the usual place and then cutting through on Flagstone Drive to Rigert Road. I could just go all the way up 155th to Rigert and it would be about the same distance, but I like a little adventure!

Today's 10k adventure.

I turn up 170th after going west on Rigert and then head back east once I hit Bany/Hart. I make a little foray in one of the powerline parks to add a bit of distance then back onto Hart. Hart hits 155th, I head south, turn on Sexton Mountain, and am now on my 5k route.

I still needed to add a little bit of distance so instead of just heading down Murray like I do on the 5k, I decided to cut through the neighborhoods and two parks. Sounds pretty, right? Well the parks are there for a reason... they are each little steep hills that couldn't be developed.

After trudging up and down those (including about a minute of getting lost) I decided I didn't want to do that again. My route had enough hills and these were steep MFers. Eventually I hit Beard and resumed the 5k.

So injury update. My left calf is definitely strained. It was the one that cramped up during my 15.4 mile run and was giving me a bit of grief on my 5k Tuesday. Well, I stretched it out extra good before this run but it started giving me trouble about three miles in. It really only hurts and feels strained when I am running uphill, so I was reduced to a slow trudge up the hills. Any bigger stride and it felt like my muscle would tear. I could run the flats and downhills pretty much unaffected, so it's not too bad. I'll just keep stretching and taking it easy on the uphills and hopefully it'll heal up quickly.

Modified (final?) 10k route.
Since I wasn't a huge fan of those hilly parks, I need to modify my route a little bit the next time I run that 10k. I fiddled around with the area around those parks for a while, running through the neighborhood streets instead of the parks, but in order to get the distance I wanted I had to take too my illogical turns, long ways around loops, etc. It just wasn't working. Then I realized I could make up the distance anywhere I wanted, it doesn't have to be there.

After a quick tweak I added a little bit around the powerline park detour and then forgot the whole neighborhood/park detour. It's a simple change, gets the distance I want, and makes the Sexton Mountain/Murray part easy again. In fact, I run the whole entire 5k route except the stretch of 155th from Flagstone to Sexton Mountain, maybe 300 yards or so. As you can see on the map, if you cut it down 155th, there are two distinct little 5ks, but they blend together nicely into a 10k.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Yesterday I went on my first run since that 15.4 mile expedition. I skipped the PRC running group the night before; even though I probably could have done a easy three miles then, I figured I should just play it safe and not push myself. My legs deserved a break of at least a day.

Last night I went on a "recovery jog" on what I have determined is my new 5k course. One of the pains of moving, besides the actual moving itself, unpacking, changing addresses, etc. is finding new running routes. I had trusty 3, 4, 5, and 6 mile routes from my apartment. All with minimal car interruption! I don't know the roads around my new house as well so I just can't go for a five mile run without thinking.

Well, it feels like cheating, but I think I have found my new 5k. I really like it! Hills are unavoidable but the hills on this route aren't too bad. Goes up and down a couple times, so it's just not one big up and then one big down. It's simple and has a clever detour to avoid a Murray crosswalk with light. And the total distance is somewhere just north of 3.2 miles, just like my previous 5k was.

The actual run itself went well. For being just 48 hours removed from the giant run, I felt great. My muscles were fine, if anything my joints were the ones that were sore. I took it easy and seemed to loosen up as the run went on (8:40, 8:16, 8:13). My left calf, the one that cramped on Sunday, did act up a little towards the end. A couple of weird pangs but nothing major. I'll make sure it stretch it out extra well before I run next time. After the run I felt great and it seemed to fly by!

This week's long run will be on Saturday I think - and a lot shorter!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


As I explained, I was a hot mess those last two miles. People were looking at me concerned at times because I was run/limping with what I am sure was a beautiful expression on my face. I was able to keep a decent pace though, while I fell off a little, I was still going at a decent clip and at no point did I walk. It was a point of pride for me at that time, I was gonna, excuse the expression, get'r'dun!

The part of the Eastbank Esplanade over the river.
Once I got back to the car I sat down in the front seat with my legs out the side onto the street. This was after a brief warm down walk. They felt tired and hurt but nothing too bad. I could still get around and I wasn't at that point that some people reach where they collapse and can't even walk. I was fine and was driving within five minutes. Driving wasn't comfortable however, my legs were aching and I was trying to stretch them out at stoplights.

The drove home felt like the longest drive ever. There was definitely some time dysmorphia going on, it took FOREVER. I just wanted to get home and lay down! That half an hour seemed like two hours. Anyways, I finally got home.

Stairs were a challenge at first as I had to climb each one individually with both feet before moving onto the next. By the end of the night I could take them in the standard one step, one stair fashion. Basically my legs were just achy and sore and laying down really didn't help. They hurt whether I moved them or not. I considered taking some ibuprofen but held off. It sucked but was manageable.

I was fairly sore yesterday but able to get around fine. I'm even better today. I think I'll go for a nice easy 5k tonight to work back into things. My long run this weekend will definitely be shorter! I am thinking 10 miles tops!

So maybe it was stupid to escalate my longest run by four whole miles, but looking back I think I got away with it and it was worth it. Really good marathon training by continuing to run even when you are completely gassed.

Most marathon training programs, especially those targeted at first timers, have the long runs capping out at 20-22 miles. So on marathon day you are going to be running 4-6 miles farther than you ever have before. This was a mini-practice of that then. Crazy to think a marathon was a whole additional 11 miles!

The good news was I ran a half marathon and was feeling good at 13.1 miles. So my first half marathon in a month won't be a total shock. I definitely didn't run this at the pace I would tackle at half marathon at (I am thinking 8:30mi), so I would expect to be a lot more gassed after 13.1 miles then. This was very good training though!

Anyways, I bowled a 223 last night on sore legs just over 24 hours removed from this long run, so I can't be that damaged.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


My view of downtown for part of the run from the Eastbank Esplanade.

So today was my long run day. I plotted out a run that would take me about 15.25 miles according to gmap-pedometer (which is awesome). My previous high before, just last week, was 11.40 miles, so this would be quite the step up. I realized maybe I should take a smaller step, but I wanted to challenge myself.

Not to give too much information, but I woke up this morning and really hoped I would 'get the urge' because I hadn't gone since Friday morning. It didn't look like it was in the the cards though so I resigned myself to the possibility of shitting my pants. I also like to treat my colon as if it were a five year old child and I would be teaching it a lesson by running for a really long time and if I had to poo then too bad!

Problem with that is my colon is just me and doesn't learn anything, so I wouldn't get the smug satisfaction of teaching it a lesson as I duck-waddled back to my car with a boxer brief full of shit. Anyways, this was all avoided as I scrambled to find a working radio to use on my run (the same small library of songs on my phone was NOT going to cut it) and I got a rumble in my tummy. I tried not to concentrate on it, for fear of scaring it away. After about five minutes of pretending not to notice and get my hopes up it finally was go time. Yes! The day was looking up!

Feeling much more positive now, I drove down to the Sellwood area and parked right next to the Springwater Corridor. I was going to do the ten mile Sellwood Bridge to Steel Bridge loop, an uninterrupted loop along both sides of the river smack dab in downtown Portland. This is a really coop thing for our city to have and I was excited to try it for the first time.

The problem was, I wanted to do more than ten miles. So I added a short little loop onto the Springwater Corridor to get the mileage up. I would like to run the length of the Springwater Corridor one day, but this being my first time, a 2.5 mile loop would do. I had the option of doing this loop at the end of my run if I was still feeling good, or at the beginning of the run, which wouldn't allow me the option of tacking on more miles at the end... it would be necessary to get back to my car. So of course I did it first to not give myself an option.

That part went well, nothing special really. Ran over the pedestrian bridge (right) on McLaughlin I drove under so many times, thinking it would be fun to run on. It was. There was a great mix of people out on the trail today, a ton of bikers, but lots of other walkers and runners too. Groups of runners, families, solo people like me, we were all represented.

Once back from that loop I followed the Springwater Corridor Trail along the river next to Oaks Park. Once Oaks Park was past it was a really long time of not much to look at. Along the banks of the river, but a lot of the time my view was blocked by vegetation, and if it wasn't, well I hadn't hit downtown yet so there wasn't much to look at. To the right was a train track so nothing there.

I was listening to NPR on the radio. If you had told me two years ago that I would be running fifteen miles and listening on NPR on the way I probably would have slapped you upside the head. I guess I am old and boring now. It was Prairie Home Companion, which was mildly entertaining, might not have stayed on it but it was being broadcast from Eugene so there were a lot of Oregon references. It seemed like forever before the trail finally hit an urban area again, spitting us out right next to OMSI. That was the official end of the Springwater Trail, but about a block and a half away the Eastbank Esplanade began.

The beginning (or end) of the Springwater Trail near OMSI.
Right at seven miles, in a courtyard next to OMSI, I took a quick break to eat a Gu. It was the Tri-Berry and was alright. Not as delicious as I thought it might be, but still good. I was thirsty by now and thought for sure there would be a water fountain at OMSI, but no dice. Blast! Oh well, onward I charged. The whole stop was 45 seconds tops. I was feeling pretty good at this point, no complaints.

About two minutes after my stop I passed one of those bubbler fountains with four 'heads' and decided to take another quick stop to drink. I took about six gulps and then headed on my way. I figured I would drink again at some point in Waterfront Park and call it good.

So onward I went, nothing really notable. Eventually the Eastbank Esplanade actually has you in the river on a floating platform, that was pretty cool. I took a couple quick peeks at Portland, but for the most part I was just chugging ahead and listening to the radio. I imagined I would eventually have to climb up and cross the Steel Bridge on a sidewalk next to traffic, but it turns out the path takes you across the water and connects with Waterfront Park just ten feet above the water. Score! Also at this time the programming changed to Rick Steves. Double score!

Once I hit Waterfront Park I could definitely tell something was going on. It didn't take long to realize it was the Portland Pride Parade. I hit it just as the parade was hitting Naito Parkway. So that was fun to watch as turned and ran along the river in Waterfront Park. I wished I could stop, but I was on a mission. My next Gu was going to be at 11 miles (I made that up after stopping for my first one at seven miles - that was halfway from 7 to 15). Unfortunately this didn't hit until after Waterfront Park. The pride village plus Saturday Market made this place a zoo. I didn't have to slow down much despite the amount of people though, I just kept running through them. Not many other runners- I guess most wanted to avoid the crowds!

That helped distract me for a while and by the time I was through all that it was ten miles and I was still feeling good. I stopped at eleven miles to have my final Gu. Jet Blackberry won the 'berry' contest and it was pretty good. Right up there with Vanilla Bean. Finally my run was starting to catch up with me though, as I started again my legs were hurting some. I started to cramp up a little in my left calf. About 11.5 miles in I hobbled for a few steps and let out a choice word as I worked the cramp through me. The rest of the run it would threaten to cramp again, but never did.

After Waterfront Park the trail wasn't very scenic. I remember seeing HOW FAR away the Sellwood Bridge was. I thought about how crazy this all was. What was I doing? I chugged on. As you'll see, my mile times were pretty consistent so despite my legs being tired I was keeping up the pace. It wouldn't start to become a problem until I hit the Sellwood Bridge. I hit a half marathon in Willamette Park in under two hours at 1:56. Wohoo! Still felt pretty good at this point but these last two miles were going to be a bitch.

I finally hit the Sellwood Bridge. Every time I could peak at the river through the trees it was getting closer and closer. Really awesome to think how far you can go if you put your head down and give it some time. I couldn't even see the Sellwood Bridge when I turned around on the Steel, and four miles out it was a tiny mirage in the distance, but here I was, less than forty minutes later at its base.

Arriving at a small staircase to get up to the pedestrian walkway, I walked up the stairs. Wow, my legs were tired. I probably would have pulled something should I have attempted to run up those. My body started to fall apart at this point, mile fourteen. My legs were really screaming now and my left side began to hurt. I felt like I was running leaning sideways to make it not hurt so much. I slowed down a little bit. Really a trudge across that bridge. There is only a small sidewalk on one side and at one point I had to pause for about five seconds to let a bike pass me. Starting up again was hard but I made myself do it.

At the end of the bridge there were about forty steps back down to the Springwater Trail. I walked down these gingerly, one at a time. People along the trail were looking at me, wondering if I was alright. I was grimacing and limping badly. Almost there, it was a mental challenge now. Finally I reached the bottom and started to run again. Well, it was more of a shuffle, but dammit, I was going to do this. My radio had long since faded to static but I didn't care. My full concentration was putting one foot in front of the other.

As I passed people on the sidewalk they were looking at me funny. I was really grinding now. Almost there! I took a wrong turn but didn't realize it until a very colorful intersection seemed to scream at me "hey dumbfuck, wrong way!" I whipped out my phone and course corrected on the run no problem. Almost there. The last half mile or so I actually felt better and my pace actually picked up. A shot of adrenaline as my body knew the finish line was close. Finally my car was in sight and across a busy street. I slowed to a walk. I wasn't going to dart across the road in my poor mental state.

Wohoo! I had done it! I walked gingerly back to my car and grabbed my water bottle. That second water fountain never materialized and I was THIRSTY. After downing the 16.9 ounces in record time I dragged my screaming legs into the car and headed home.

I'll post tomorrow about that drive home and muscle aftermath because this post is getting ridiculously long. What a run! I was (am) in pain but feel very accomplished!

Final run: 15.40 miles in 2:19:03, 9:01/mile.

Mile 1: 8:30
Mile 2: 8:31
Mile 3: 8:52
Mile 4: 8:37
Mile 5: 8:40
Mile 6: 8:40
Mile 7: 8:51
Mile 8: 9:00
Mile 9: 9:01
Mile 10: 9:10
Mile 11: 8:58
Mile 12: 9:22
Mile 13: 9:08
Mile 14: 9:41
Mile 15: 10:08
Final .4:  3:57 (9:52 extrapolated)

Friday, June 15, 2012


I am definitely getting some tired legs. Recently I've ramped up my mileage and it is starting to catch up with me. I am also taking less rest days than I used to.

Yesterday I ran a relatively flat six near my old apartment and I could definitely tell my muscles were fatigued. Still ran a good time, averaged 7:38s, but my legs were the ones complaining (the old lung/leg question). Breathing-wise I felt like a million bucks running that pace but my legs were tired!

This is to be expected, my recent weekly mileages have crept above 25 and if all goes to plan I will run 32 this week (eek!).

Needless to say, I've scaled back my run today, I am going to do an easy three. And I mean it this time! Lots of times when I try to take it easy I end up only running about 20 seconds a mile slower, but I'll be gunning for like 9:00s today and only do three miles. Have to save up for Sunday, I am planning 14 miles. Maybe that is a stupid too far escalation, my previous high is 11.4, but I'll take it easy.

In non-running news, my roomie John taped up his whole room last night to get it ready to paint. He's not moving in until the end of the month, but must take care of a hideous shade of yellow in his room first. Honestly, this is like the morning after a bender dehydrated piss yellow. It's awful; I honestly don't know how anyone could have picked it! Reminds me of the Uck "highlighter" jerseys from a few years ago. You remember those, right? It was only 89 uniform combos back.

These things! Last play of the game... shhhhhhhank! Beavs win 30-28!
Oh hey, I wrote a blog post about this!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


 This looks pretty flat huh? Yeah, not so much.

So it turns out I moved somewhere pretty hilly (I'll do a post about my new house later). My apartment was located on a hill, but once you got off that hill it was pretty flat. It was great for speed training, only a few slight hills were really in the way.

Needless to say, everything looks flat on Google Maps. So when you are plotting a route you're imagining it as flat. Not the case. Really there is no flat run from my new place unless I wanted to run short laps around my neighborhood. That's alright though... my Monday night runs with the PRC group are flat and I'll probably stop somewhere for a flatter run around once a week also.

Not that this is a bad thing! I need hill training and running on these hills (they aren't THAT bad unless you climb up to Cooper Mountain) will build my strength. Running on flatter courses will then seem easier!

Monday, June 11, 2012


The Fanno Creek Trail... site of six of the eleven miles. 

Weekends are now time for long runs. Most marathon training programs have one long run a week and naturally this falls on weekends for us workin' folk. While I am not training for a marathon yet, I am training for a half and want to ramp up my mileage anyways. There is a certain pleasure you get knowing you 'ran a long ways' and really these runs aren't any harder than other runs, they just take longer.

This weekend was moving weekend for me- I had recently closed on my house and needed to move my stuff from the apartment. Since Sunday was moving day, I needed to get my long run out of the way on Saturday. I had spent most of Saturday packing up my apartment with the help of Libbie. Once we had enough of that I took her out to Thai food as a thanks for helping me.

This was a huge mistake because I gorged myself on spicy Pad Thai after only having a Clif Bar to that point (it was after 3pm by the time we ate). I was uncomfortably full. I had to lay down for a good ninety minutes because my belly was not happy with me. Anyways, before I know it 6:30 rolls around and I still haven't run. I'm still full as fuck but strap on the shoes anyways. Gotta get it done.

I decided to run to the Fanno Creek Trail path from my apartment, a route I tested out earlier in the week. It is 2.5 miles to the trailhead, so I ran there and back with some flair for a six miler. This time, I would be doing my usual loop on the Fanno Creek Trail, which is just over six miles. Typically I drive to the trailhead, but I learned a shortcut under 99W from my Monday running group and it was only 2.5 miles from my apartment. 2.5+6+2.5=11 ... sounds good to me! Plus, you could run the whole thing without stopping theoretically... you had to cross a couple roads, but no major ones.

Anyways, I finally get to running. It is nice outside, partly sunny, and my stomach is behaving itself for the most part. Since I will be running 11 miles, my goal pace was 8:20/mi, which allowed for slower uphills and about 8 minute miles on the flat parts. The Fanno Trail is pretty much all flat and the elevation gain/loss was on in the way there. Mostly downhill the way there, mostly uphill the way back (see chart below).

The first six miles were mostly uneventful. Besides burping up Thai a couple of times I was feeling pretty good. Running a little bit slower is the aspect I probably enjoy most about these runs. My legs felt good, my lungs felt good, my stomach hurt a little but was manageable.

About six miles in I planned to stop for water and a Gu. Well, there was no water fountain in that whole damn park, I was scanning for over a mile and didn’t see anything. So I decided to stop anyways and eat my Gu. This was completely ridiculous, I had 1400 calories of Pad Thai in my belly and I was going to squirt a little Gu on top. I really wanted to try another one though so logic went out the window. I had the strawberry banana flavor... it was good but vanilla bean was still better.

The whole break lasted about 90 seconds. I was really thirsty now but there was still no water fountain. I knew of a water fountain about 2.5 miles down the trail so I figured I'd stop there for a drink. My tummy was a little more unhappy now, trying to remind me I was full and don't put anything else in me please. I started burping up chunks of semi-digested Thai at this point. It was pretty gross. I wasn't allowing it to affect my pace though, but I really wish I could have just vomited at this point. Would have made things easier!

I get to the water fountain and I am parched. I'm almost nine miles into my run and still feeling pretty good, sans belly. I drink about six gulps from the water fountain and it tastes so good. My belly did NOT like that though. The water pushed me over the top. The stop was less than 90 seconds before I was off again.

Now I can really feel my belly. I am counting down the last 2.5 miles. I really want to barf. God, why did I eat so much Thai food? The hills at the end are almost a relief. I slow down to and trot up them (see photo to right - nothing like Cooper Mountain!). I can feel that my legs are tired. I pump my fists a little at the 10 mile mark. First time in double digits! I plod on. My belly still really hurts. On the small downhill portions I am mostly taking it easy, I can tell my legs are tired. Finally I go up the last hill and then head down to the apartments.

I let myself loose on that last downhill and have got to admit, it felt pretty good. I think I had a small shot of adrenaline for finishing because I was feeling good. I took a short little warm down walk and then headed back to my apartment. My belly feels better now that I am not running. My legs are definitely tired and I have to take the stairs slowly. I feel good though, very accomplished. A hot bath never felt better!

Final run: 11.44 miles in 1:34:56, 8:18/mile.

Mile 1: 8:43 (easy start to warm up)
Mile 2: 7:50 (downhill)
Mile 3: 8:02 (flat)
Mile 4: 8:00 (flat)
Mile 5: 7:58 (flat... look how steady these are)
Mile 6: 8:21 (slight uphill near Fanno Farmhouse? Fell off a little)
Mile 7: 7:48 (made up for it)
Mile 8: 8:05 (chugging along)
Mile 9: 7:59 (under 8 in mile NINE!)
Mile 10: 8:41 (after water... begin trudging uphill)
Mile 11: 9:39 (more uphill)
0.44 mi: 3:54 (8:51/mi - uphill then downhill finish)

Friday, June 08, 2012

LONG HILL RUN - 6/3/12

Course route on this fine Sunday

I have been recently increasing the length of my runs, particularly those on weekends, in order to prepare for a half marathon. The first half marathon on the schedule is through the rolling wine country and will have sizable hills, so I've been more open to hills as well (instead of avoiding them like the plague).

Luckily enough (or unluckily for lazy Thomas), my new townhome is right next to many hills, some small, others large. I can't really go out for a "flat" run like from my old apartment. This will be a good thing in the long run, even if it will make certain runs harder.

I did a variation of this long run two or three weeks back and it was definitely a challenge. I did the same route from my house to the park, then back on the exact same loop. At 8.2 miles it was a mile and a half longer than anything I had done before. Due to the hills and longer nature, I took a more relaxed pace (9:09/mi) and that left me feeling good at the end. It's always nice to end a run feeling like you could have kept going; I might feel that way more often if I wasn't always pushing myself speed wise on my weekday runs!

Anyways, this run would be a variation on that earlier run, instead of going back the same way I came though I would be looping up a bit to explore new turf and add some mileage.

The first half of the run was the same, some ups and downs and then about 8/10ths of a mile in beginning the slog up Cooper Mountain. I think the overall elevation gain is about 475 feet. This was still a huge challenge (it is pretty unrelenting, not many "flat" breaks) but I noticed it was easier than last time. Needless to say, at the top, I was still completely exhausted.

Elevation profile 

Once you recover from the hill its pretty flat to the park though, with only one mini up and down, so by the time you hit the park you are feeling pretty good (the park is about 2.5 miles in). The loop in the park is about three miles, the first half mostly downhill, the last half mostly uphill. This uphill is easier than that first hill though, not only is the gain not as much, roughly 325 feet maybe, but there are more "breaks" where it evens out and allows you to catch your breath.

By the time I hit the top of the hill I took a quick pre-planned break. Mind you, I NEVER take breaks in my runs, they are always non-stop affairs (I get pissed if I have to wait for traffic for like three seconds). However, since this run was going to be over nine miles and I don't have portable water, I needed to make sure I stayed hydrated. I was feeling great at this point even though I just climbed up the hill in the park. I took a quick pee, drank out of the water fountain, and then tried a Gu for the first time. It was surprisingly good and gave me a bit of a boost (that I really didn't need).

The break only lasted two or three minutes before I was off again. This is where the course varied from my previous run. The directions were pretty simple... head north until I hit the T, right at the T, then right at Rigert Road. I found it pretty easy. Most of this stretch had sidewalks but there were a few breaks where I had to run close to traffic on the shoulder. Nothing too bad and I felt comfortable in the daylight. Not a night route!

It was then a long slog along Rigert. I was feeling great at this point, not tired at all (wasn't going my usual "Tempo" pace but it wasn't a casual pace), and my legs felt good. It's rare when your lungs and legs both are feeling good. Literally nothing felt bad. This is as close to the runner's high I have ever been. I felt like I could run a marathon at that point. It was really an elating mile or two.

Eventually by the time I hit 155th my body seemed to know I was close to home and started to complain a little. Not too bad though, I weaved my way down Emerald street to add a little distance and make crossing Beard possible without pausing at a crosswalk. I eventually wound my way back to the house, running past it a little bit to hit 9.25 miles.

I felt great at the end. My legs were tired but my lungs felt great. I'd be a little sore the next couple days, but really not bad. A very fast 6 mile run the day after with the PRC Running Group (7:40ish a mile) was probably more of the culprit for that than this run!

Funny how your body seems to know how far you are running. If I only do a 5k, at the end of 3.1 miles it wants to be done. If I'm doing six miles, it’s fine until about mile five and then wants to be done. For this run I felt great until cutting into Emerald, at which point my body was like "okay, that's good." Maybe I am just really good at pacing myself so I run out of gas at the right time... ha!

Final run: 9.26 miles in 1:19:49, 8:37/mile

Mile 1: 8:08 (relatively flat first mile)
Mile 2: 9:55 (slog up the hill)
Mile 3: 8:07 (flat to downhill)
Mile 4: 8:17 (downhill in park)
Mile 5: 9:45 (uphill in park)
Mile 6: 8:47 (uphill to flat)
Mile 7: 8:09 (flat)
Mile 8: 8:02 (flat... this was the "high")
Mile 9: 8:21 (body knew it was getting close to home)
.26 mi: 2:18 (8:50 extrapolated... slightly uphill)

Monday, June 04, 2012


So, I think I am going to go back blogging. The reason I stopped blogged in the first place was... wait for it... Facebook. That started to document my life so I fell off the blogging train. That still will be the place where my "life" is being updated. I am not going to post about Beaver games or everyday stuff on here.

Instead, the blog will be re-purposed into my running blog. It turns out a lot of runners maintain blogs - to write race reports and track their training. I don't think I am going to post about every little run or anything, but races and long runs probably. Maybe, we'll see where this takes me. I am excited to start utilizing it again!

So, the blog may have been optimized for screens running 1024x768 back in 2004 but I am keeping the same theme. I worked hard on it dammit. That is 100% custom shit - plus, I am lazy now.

You'll see a couple posts backdated from this one... while I am writing these later on, I wanted them to be posted at the correct date.