Tuesday, March 31, 2015


My "comeback" is going pretty well. I know that is kind of ridiculous considering I only took two weeks off, but I was feeling like shit and losing fitness despite training for at least a month proceeding that, so it has been awhile since I've actually felt like my runs were doing some good. I ended up running 28 miles last week, capped with a twelve mile run on Saturday.

I decided to do one giant loop from my house for my twelve miler, instead of the out and backs to Fanno Creek that have been a staple. That just didn't sound appealing and new territory helps the run go faster, so I plotted a quick route from my house that would take me in a giant squiggly square. It was mostly along roads I drive all the time (so I didn't get lost) which meant there was more traffic than I'd prefer, but it was still good to cover some new ground. Felt pretty good the whole run and while a little sore Sunday, nothing too bad!

On Monday I had a dentist appointment at 3pm (had to leave work early... darn it!). I was done by 4pm and temptingly close to Tryon Creek State Park. I've been wanting to try a trail run in there at some point and I figured there was no time like the present. So off to the park I went, changing in the car (sorry lady who pulled up next to me) and hopping out ready for some exploration. I grabbed a map at the visitors center and off I went.

There were lots of other runners in there so I didn't feel like an oddball by running. The only annoying thing about the whole run was there was a junction about every quarter or half of a mile, requiring me to pause and figure out which way to go. There are a lot of trails packed in those 658 acres, which is a good thing, it just required some navigation. Not that I was super annoyed with the quick breaks... the constant up and down nature of the trails tuckered me out pretty quick!

Surprisingly I didn't trip and the only casualty was some mud on my shoe when I misjudged a jump. I promptly went to a nearby creek to wash it off - trail runners you can laugh now. Overall I had a good time and the five miles really wore me out. It was a hell of a workout and probably akin to eight miles on a flatter surface. My 10:52 average was a reflection of just how hilly and challenging this run was. It was a great changeup from the normal routine though!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


"I've lost thissssssss much fitness in the last couple of months."
After the Shamrock Run on Sunday I didn't run again until that next Saturday. Why, you ask? Well, Katie and I went for a 14 mile hike on Monday after Shamrock and the combo of a 9.3 mile race followed by a 14 mile hike was pretty hard on my body. I was somewhat sore on Tuesday but very sore on Wednesday. Almost post-marathon sore. Not quite, but it was pretty crazy! Thursday I was still somewhat sore, and while I could have ran Friday, I decided to take one more rest day just to make sure.

Anyways, on Saturday I did ten miles for my long run. I thought about running with Coach Jim, but the 8am wakeup call scared me off. I woke up around noon and put the run off until nearly 5pm. Needless to say, I wasn't chomping at the bit to get out there, but I knew I had to get it done. Finally I got out the door and did an out and back along the northern part of the Fanno Creek Trail. I usually go south on the trail when I do long runs from my house, so the switch up to the north side helped a little. It was the first time I had run there since last October.

It went MUCH better than the ten miler I did two weeks prior. Around mile 6.5 there my legs were hurting and afterward it felt like I had run 16 or 18 miles. This ten mile run felt a lot more like a ten mile run should feel... my legs didn't really tire all that much and I felt pretty good the whole way. A touch more soreness than I would have liked the next day, but nothing major. Just a product of not doing a whole lot of distance recently.

I feel like I am back to being "healthy." I've lost so much fitness and speed though... I'm way back to where I was in like May 2012 in terms of speed and distance ability. I hope once I start training regularly again it'll come back to me faster than it originally did. Needless to say, I probably won't be setting a bunch of PRs this year, if any at all. Maybe I can run a 12k and PR that, otherwise, this will likely be a "re-building" year. I'm thinking if I did a half marathon a good "A" goal would be sub 1:45... kind of humbling with my PR is seven minutes faster.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


Rolling into the finish line in the wet and soggy Shamrock Run 15k.
Had a fun weekend hosting Katie from Runs for Cookies. I'd recap the trip, but she already did it better than I could, so you can read that here. Onto the race!

I got a decent amount of sleep before the race. Definitely not my worst sleep before the Shamrock... previous years I had been nervous about the race and the pressure to PR, but this year I knew I wasn't going to be close to PRing so I didn't really care. So I slept pretty well! Did have a couple beers that evening that probably didn't help the next morning, but I still would have sucked without them.

Early in the race along Broadway.
The weather was a bummer, after all that sunshine the previous week it poured all weekend so everyone was drenched and Katie had to spectate in the rain. At least we grabbed an umbrella! I timed the MAX perfectly again (I did this in 2013), hopping out and getting into the chute with minutes to spare. Really like doing that "close call" when the weather is shitty. Just don't ever want to be late... while the race is chip timed, I have a feeling trying to make a move from the back of the pack would be an exercise in frustration due to the race size.

Now, I expected to do "not well," but I didn't expect to do quite as crappy as I did. A good four minutes off the Zena 15k just 7 weeks prior! Ay poppy! All on a slightly easier course too. Oops. I don't feel bad though because I left it all out there. Maybe I could have absolutely killed myself for a low 1:12. That's about it. There was no way I was going sub 1:10 or getting close to that Zena mark. Just not in the fitness cards right now.

Let me talk about the race though. It started on time with the rain pounding down. After some weaving around slower runners and mini-lakes I settled into a groove about a mile into the race. Know this course by heart now and this first part is also a section of the Portland Marathon. First two miles came in about 7:20 each. Not bad, but off the 6:55s of last year. I knew a sub 1:10 wasn't in the cards at that point, my legs felt great but my breathing was labored.

A 7:49 up Broadway pretty much told the story of my day. Previous years that mile has been just slightly slower than the first two. This year the hill before the hill tuckered me out and I was already ready to be done. A year ago I was doing 7:40s on the tougher hills up Terwillager. Oh well. I just tried my hardest and that was enough. As long as you give it your all during a race there is nothing to be ashamed of!

Alejandro and I run up Terwillager.
The three miles up Terwillager went as such: 8:30, 8:56, 8:31. I knew when I ran 1:12 I averaged 8:30 so I was a little off that pace. That nine minute mile hurt. Little did I know, Alejandro was behind me most of this climb up the hill. He started behind me in the chute and slowly caught up. Anyways, he eventually caught me, we ran a mile or so together, then he separated down the hill. The hills weren't terrible, I didn't feel like I wanted to walk like in 2013, but I was just slower this year. Same effort, just slower. The bagpipers at the top of the hill were welcome to the ears.

I was hoping to be able to kill the downhill and still beat my 2013 time. My legs just weren't having it though. They started to tire and I could tell I lost some of the distance fitness I had built up. That ten mile run a week back was way harder than it should have been, so it makes sense. I needed to average about 7:00/mile here to not PW, but could only come up with 7:19, 7:26, and 7:10. The legs were done. 7:05 pace for the final third of a mile. Again, sounds like a broken record, but I gave it my all so I wasn't upset.

I rolled through the finish line and looked at my watch... a personal worst 15k by almost 30 seconds. Oh well. I still really enjoyed the race. I love to challenge myself and it is always fun to race with other people. Overall I was still way in the front of the pack. So good times. Another Shamrock in the books. Hopefully next year I'll be in better shape!

Official Results: 1:12:55, 7:49/mile. 573/5556 overall, 449/2590 male, 87/346 M25-29 (see? still pretty good!)

Friday, March 13, 2015


Hosting Katie from Runs for Cookies this weekend!
Some positive signs on the running front... after my tougher-than-it-should-be run at group on Monday I had a rest day on Tuesday, which was needed. Run group Wednesday was the least attended run I've seen at PRC in over a year. A total of six of us showed up to run (it started to rain after three weeks of sunshine) and I was not in a good mental space about the whole deal. However, I forced my ass out there and ended up feeling like I was halfway back toward the old Thomas. The 8:45 pace still felt too hard, but it was much improved from my previous runs. Hopefully my cardio is coming back.

I won't run again until Sunday at the Shamrock Run 15k. I won't do a whole preview of the deal, everything is the same as last year, so you can read my preview for that here. Unfortunately, my overtraining, two weeks off, and slower than hoped cardio recovery are not recipes for a PR or great time on Sunday. This year I was hoping to PR and possibly challenge my dad's time of 1:04:50ish but that is out the window. My main goal is to just run hard and do my best at my current ability level. I think breaking 1:10 would be awesome. I would like to at least beat my time from the first time I ran the 15k, 1:12:21. My time will be far off my PR but that's okay!

And finally, I have a visitor this weekend! Katie from Runs for Cookies is coming into town and staying with me. Originally she was going to run the Shamrock Run, but she had an injury setback and isn't quite ready to run a race of that distance again. Instead she'll be cheering on me and other racers in the Shamrock Run. The rest of the weekend should be fun shenanigans and I'm looking forward to it. She flies in tonight and leaves on Tuesday morning. I'll have a recap of everything sometime next week!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Me right now.
I knew that I wouldn't pick up right where I left off, but I do have to say I'm surprised how hard it has been to get back to running. Last night at run group an 8:45 pace for a 10k on flat ground (summer route!) was very taxing. I was still a little beat from my long run the day before, but that was more muscular... my cardio still sucks and doesn't seem to have improved very much.

To be fair though, it was only my fifth run back. My first was five miles, the next two were three miles, and my fourth was ten miles. So that's only 21 miles... I can't expect to get back that quickly. Still it is a little frustrating because even my "distance" muscles have deteriorated. My ten mile run on Sunday was probably the hardest ten mile run I've ever done. Around mile 6.5 my legs started to get tired and remind me of the end of long marathon training runs. By the end of the run I felt like I do after a 16 or 18 mile run during marathon training.

Anyways, I've decided to scrap the Eugene Marathon this spring. Luckily I never signed up. I'd have only seven weekends after Shamrock and I can't even run 10 miles comfortably right now. I'm going to pay close attention to my legs and if I need to rest a little more after Shamrock I will. Everything will shift focus to staying fresh for my fall marathons now. Shamrock is this weekend and all hopes or even attempts at PRing I think are out the window. I'll be lucky and happy to beat my 2013 pace of 7:46/mile.

Thursday, March 05, 2015


Might have had better
cardio here.
I knew it would be a little tough starting back up again after two weeks, but wow, your cardio does go fast! My first run back was five miles at Monday run group and done at an 8:48/pace. Felt like a sub-8:00 pace with the way I was struggling to breathe. Felt like a 40 year smoker! Was really surprising it was that bad after only two weeks. My legs felt fine but the lungs they were a-burnin'.

The next night I went out for three very easy miles around my house. Did those purposefully easy at 9:45/mile. Still was laboring to breathe somewhat. It wasn't hard, but it wasn't easy. Normally that pace is a walk in the park, but this night I actually kind of had to try. So not sure how quickly my cardio is going to kick back in. Only 10 days until the Shamrock Run at this point... I'm thinking a PR might be a tad ambitious, but we'll see.

Tonight I'm going to try to get out there and run a 5k at a faster pace. I would like to shoot for under 8:00/mile, but I'm not sure if that is too ambitious at this point. So I'll just go with whatever feels pretty hard and hope I can keep it up. My legs feel great, so it is nice to have those back. Just need the lungs to catch up. On Sunday I'll go for a long run of ten miles at something like a 9:15 pace or so. Just make sure I still have that distance in me before the Shamrock Run.

Monday, March 02, 2015


Three years ago. A 5k was the
limit of my capabilities back then.
Well, the party is over. Put away the streamers and de-spike the punch. I have to run tonight. Well, I don't *have* to, I choose to. And I'm actually kind of looking forward to it. This two week hiatus has been really good for me. My body feels so much better and I can tell my legs healed up nicely and they needed the time off. My massage was great and probably helped in that process too. I'm ready to go back out there!

I expect that my first run back my legs will feel fine and it will be my breathing that will be troublesome. Got to get that cardio back, I think that's the fastest to go. My legs should still be near where they were before the break. My group run is tonight, so I'll do the five mile route and go at a comfortable pace as there is no reason to push it out of the gate. If everything feels good I'll run hard one or twice before the Shamrock Run and then just see what happens.

Overall, I'm really glad I took the time off. I didn't gain any weight (yay!) and it helped clear some things up for me. Yes, my legs needed rest and they felt like death because of that. Yes, I am still "old" in general, so I was still a little stiff in the morning (#) or after sitting for a long time even after two weeks. It was actually kind of interesting to experience my body without constantly running... I didn't really know what to expect! I felt great but I know that continued non-activity would eventually be a net negative. Now to get back to it!