Monday, August 31, 2015


From Hood to Coast this weekend. Needless to say, I'm glad I didn't run it this year!
That picture above is from the Hood to Coast relay this last weekend. Runners certainly got an experience to remember. The storm at the coast was so bad (70mph+ winds) they to move the finish line and there was no after party. Everything they had set up on the beach was pretty much blown away and destroyed. Quite literally the opposite of the year I did it, when we were greeted with an unseasonably warm and sunny beach at the finish.

None of my tickets won... surprise.
Thursday night I went to the Discovery Run at Road Runner Sports in Tualatin. Another month, another event of not winning for Thomas. I've also noticed that the distance between the checkpoints has greatly decreased from last year. The first time I ran it last year I did 6.25 miles to hit all the checkpoints. This last Thursday I hit all the checkpoints in three miles and about only a half hour of running. Maybe they were getting complaints from walkers/slower runners about the distance? Regardless, I can't really make this a "quality" run anymore, so I'll just have to run it for fun, which I have been doing.

This weekend I went camping for my birthday. Originally I was going to do it the weekend of August 14-16th, but that ended up being Laurel's wedding weekend, so I moved it to this last weekend. Unfortunately that meant we lost a few campers due to Hood to Coast, but also picked up one or two. It was a pretty laid back weekend. We missed the wild weather up north on the coast and in Portland but still had a few sprinkles at night and overcast conditions during the day. Not the usual sunny and beautiful weather we expect in Roseburg during August.

Not that it kept me from swimming or anything, but it was still a bummer. Camping was still great though. One thing I didn't do was run. I was planning on it, even packed my stuff, but it never happened. I think I knew I had an "out" by just running 12 miles on Monday (I was only going to run 12 in Roseburg anyways) so I just put it off. I did end up running twelve miles today, running from my house to PRC, then the normal 6.5 miler at PRC, then back home. Unlike the last two "my bad" 12 mile runs on Monday after a weekend of inactivity, this one went quite well. I averaged 8:50/mile and felt strong. No random shin splints or over the top body fatigue.

Monday, August 24, 2015


Me, looking quite fat and happy. I think this is before the fall, around mile seven or so.
Notice that I said epic fall, not epic fail. The run this weekend actually went really well, except that whole "falling" thing. It was my second twenty miler of the training cycle and honestly wasn't a big deal. I was pleasantly surprised at how well my first twenty miler went and I'm even more pleasantly surprised at this one. A week after a sixteen miler that felt way too hard it was a nice shot of confidence. Overall it feels like I'm back in some sort of groove in this whole marathon training thing.

The run itself started at Mountain Hardwear in downtown Portland. I parked in my trusty Smart Park and rolled into the store right at 8am. I wasn't looking forward to this run but Glenn surprised me by showing up and running with the 3:30s, so that was cool. Overall the 3:30 group was really big, at least 15 of us, so it was a fun run. Lots of chatting and people kept pretty vocal the whole run. The weather might have had something to do with us feeling so fresh. It was kind of overcast and hazy (partially from smoke from all the wildfires blowing in) and it never got really hot until later in the day. So most of the run was in 70 degrees or so and not direct sun.

So, what you all came here for... around mile 9.75, right before the turnaround, I biffed it hard. We were running in new territory (everything after mile nine was new to me) and I was feeling really good about that. I was kind of floating along, making jokes about not seeing the same old shit again when I went down HARD on a set of railroad tracks. My most violent fall ever. I stumbled many steps, my face just a couple feet from the ground, thinking I could save it. After about the fourth step I realized I was going down. And I went down hard and with a lot of speed.

The next day... nothing too major in the end.
All my weight landed on my right arm (I guess I kind of tipped to the right). Since I tripped on the railroad tracks I got to smash into rough, really coarse gravel that surrounded them. Umm, owww. The whole group stops even though I'm toward the back because there is no way to miss this epic of a fall, I'm sure it sounded like a car accident. Like any good runner, the first thing I did when I came to a stop in the gravel was stop my watch. I then groan, roll over, and look at the damage. Arm is kind of torn up and bloody but nothing major. I pop up and give everyone a double thumbs up. After making sure I was okay, the group carries on.

The fall gave me a shot of a adrenaline that lasted for a few miles. Honestly I kind of just got back into the groove and forgot about it. Another girl fell just as hard around mile 14 so there was something in the air today. I kind of know what road rash fells like now though, the multiple scrapes with a bruise underneath and a burning sensation to boot. I cleaned it out real good when I got home and by the next day I couldn't really feel it.

My body felt pretty good those last few miles. A little better than the twenty miler before. All told it was an easier run than the sixteen the week before. Go figure! Due to a bridge lift detour the run ended up being 20.2 miles and I didn't even mind those extra tenths. We ran it at a 9:35/mile pace too, which was kind of nice. Probably my fastest twenty miler. All in all it left me feeling good about my prospects this fall. Get it, fall. Heh. I'll stop.

Thursday, August 20, 2015


The Ambassador Bridge, which you cross into Canada very early on in the Detroit Marathon.
Things have seemed to round into form lately after a two week swoon where my body felt like it was going to shut down. Whatever the cause of that was is hopefully over as I've gotten a couple solid weeks of training in. The biggest challenge this summer, other than my old man body, has been the weather. Normally it's hot when training for a fall marathon. However, this summer it has been record hot. Check out this article from the Oregonian. This summer has seen the most 90 degree days of any summer ever in recorded history. Yikes!

Unfortunately, I've used that as an excuse to not run many days. I just can't bring myself to get out there and run when it is so hot. However, the weather is not a valid excuse. You still run, you just run with water and slower if you need to. The last couple of weeks I have shifted my focus and stopped giving into excuses. I haven't been perfect, but my training has been better. The last couple of weeks I've felt much better about the Portland Marathon. I might not be PRing it, but I can certainly run it and run it at a decent clip.

Also, just in the last few days, I found out that I'll be running the Detroit Marathon by myself. At first this was a huge bummer. I was really looking forward to running a marathon at a slower pace and helping to pace someone. I wanted to feel what a 4:30 marathon felt like... would it be a more pleasant experience overall or would I get just as tired and sore due to that extra hour of running? Well, hopefully one day I'll be able to see. However, it won't be this year.

PRC. It was a hot one. No excuses!
Once I starting thinking about it, I was kind of excited to run Detroit a little harder. I think most of the pressure will be off when I go to Michigan two weeks after Portland. Hopefully I'll run a good time in Portland (sub 3:45?) and be content with it. The only way I think I'll feel a lot of pressure in Detroit is if I blow up at Portland and have a really bad race. Not a mini-blow up like last year, but walking most the final six miles over four hours type of deal.

Otherwise, Detroit should be an empty slate. I'll pretty much not run at all for two weeks after Portland (maybe a small run or two after taking at least an entire week off). Hopefully this'll allow my body to recover from the marathon. At that point I should be recovered AND in good shape due to my recent marathon. So, the hope is, I'll be able to run Detroit at the same clip and perhaps even feel better towards the end of the race. There are a lot of potential issues though, like lack of sleep adjusting to the East Coast, not my own bed, traveler's bowel, etc. So we'll see.

Long story short, I was already feeling more focused and determined before learning about Detroit, but now I'm even more so. I'm actually kind of excited to see what happens. I usually train for months, do one marathon, then back off. So this'll be a new experience. I highly doubt multiple marathons will become routine, but it's worth a shot. Plus, ever since I've heard about Detroit, I've wanted to do it. I'd be a little more bummed if I planned to run the Omaha Marathon with someone and then had to run it on my own, but Detroit? That's fine by me!

Monday, August 17, 2015


Blue was the color of the day. Can you spot me?
The up and down cycle of marathon training continues. After last week's surprisingly good twenty miler, this week's sixteen miler seems like it should have been a walk in the park. That is not the nature of marathon training though and these down weeks are built into the schedule for the very reason that your body gets run down and needs a little break.

Not that sixteen miles is a break. Long story short, I did it, but it sucked. My tempo run on Wednesday might still have been in my legs as they didn't feel nearly as good as last week. On Thursday, the day after the tempo run, I did three miles with Katie B. in Murrayhill that were pretty hilly. It was supposed to be an easy, recovery type jog but it was anything but. That one I can surely blame on my tempo run the day before though.

Anyways, the sixteen mile run was the same old shit. Run from somewhere in downtown-ish Portland, go to the waterfront, then south on the Springwater Corridor until we had to turn around. One fun bit was Libbie was doing one of the aid stations, but other than that it was the same crap. Thankfully a lot of people showed up and I got to chat with my 3:30 group pals. Had a couple fun conversations on the way back that help distract me from the fact my legs were complaining so much.

The worst part about this route, from RoadRunner Sports on 23rd, was the final mile and a half are uphill and fraught with many stoplights. So while your legs are aching and you just want to be done, you have to run uphill and keep having to stop to wait for traffic. Finally got it done though. I'd say my legs were in worse shape than after last week's twenty. However, they did recover pretty fast, and I felt pretty good the rest of the day and not really even sore on Sunday. Marathon training is still on track and I'm feeling fairly motivated at the moment! Onward!

Thursday, August 13, 2015


I've been needing to do speedwork for a while. This fact has been floating around in my noggin but rarely have I felt good enough to do it. Well, after a boost of confidence after the twenty miler and a body that didn't feel 90 for once, I was all set to do a tempo run yesterday at PRC. After feeling bad about doing an "easy run" Monday I pretty much made plans with Alejandro to run fast today. Once committed, I couldn't back out. I was even looking forward to finally pushing myself.

Well, yesterday rolls around and it's freaking hot. It was 90 degrees at 6pm when we started running. Alejandro was the one trying to back out (he had legitimate excuses) but I was stubborn. I was going to do my tempo run. I realized the heat was going to slow me down, but that didn't mean I shouldn't do it. If anything it was great training that would make me even stronger. So out we went. I was targeting something like a 7:55/mile pace. I hadn't run under 8:00/mile in seemingly forever so the 7:55/mile in that weather seemed like a good challenge.

7:55 would have been a challenge. Instead, my miles went: 7:26, 7:26, 7:33, 7:36, 7:41, 7:28. So it was a super challenge. Once we hit mile six, Alejandro, another guy that joined us, and me slowed down to a 9:00ish pace for a "cool down" mile. Six miles was torturous enough and a hell of a workout. Overall, it wasn't as bad as I thought. That pace felt quick and challenging, but not impossible. The heat was soul sucking though. It didn't bother me for the first few miles but towards the end I was starting to feel it. All in all I was really glad I did the run and it gave me another boost of confidence... I am not in the shape I was last year, but I am not in horrible shape either.

All runs under 8:30/mi(!) in the last two months.
When I got home I was curious about when my last tempo run was. Turns out the last time I "ran fast" was July 15th! That was a 10k on my "home loop" done at 7:58 a mile. The week before, on July 9th, I did intervals on the Southridge track, averaging 7:18/mile. Good two weeks of workouts there. However, before those, my last tempo run or intervals was June 11th! A four mile tempo at home. Meaning in the last two months I've only done four speed workouts. Oops. All told though, my marathon legs seem to be rounding into form and this latest tempo went pretty well so, all given, I'm doing pretty well.

Monday, August 10, 2015


A majority of the 3:30 pace group at the end of the Marathon Course run. I think we started out with ten.
This last weekend was my first twenty miler of this Portland Marathon training cycle and my first twenty miler this year. I was a little anxious about this run due to my lack of running the last two weekends. After a moderately successful 19-miler on July 18th I didn't run over twelve miles for twenty days. Each of those twelve milers was miserable too and caused issues with my mid-week running. Needless to say, I needed a confidence boost and this run certainly delivered.

Most marathon training plans have a final twenty mile run before you step down for two weekends before the race. So your long runs go something like: 20, 14, 8, marathon. Why do I mention this so far out from the marathon? Well, I used that to convince myself I wouldn't be horribly out of shape and unable to do this twenty. If you can take "two weeks off" before the marathon, then you can't loose that much fitness in two weeks. As long as I got back on track, I should be fine.

Thankfully, the logic seemed to work! I know it doesn't directly translate and I shouldn't slack off again, but this run actually went really well. Got that boost of confidence I needed. My body felt pretty good before, during, and after the run. During the run I started noticing my legs tiring around mile 12, and they started to really be noticeable around mile 16, but nothing out of the ordinary. A normal feeling twenty miler. Afterward I was able to get up the stairs to and from my car in the parking garage just fine too. So that's very encouraging!

I feel like I've done the marathon course training run more than just one time before (maybe we did it with Coach Jim once?) but I really enjoy this run. First of all, it's a different course and not one of those same stupid out-and-backs we do ad nauseum with PMC and Coach Jim. Not that there is anything wrong with them, they are fine routes, I've just ran on them so much it's very nice to get a change up from that. Also, this run is really well supported, we had six aid stations along the route well stocked with candy, chips, pretzels, sports drink, and water.

Later that day I went to Oaks Park with Brandon and walked around a bunch. My legs felt pretty good and I think it was good for them to walk around and loosen up. I also gave myself a little self massage to try and break up some of the gunk that collects on your muscles after a long run. Overall, I think a lot of the issues I've been having with my legs feeling like shit can be addressed by stretching regularly and doing this self massage. I should also probably invest in a foam roller. It doesn't really make sense how on Monday twelve miles can leave me limping but on Saturday I can run twenty and feel pretty decent after. Hopefully that's the key.

Anyways, I hope to get a solid week of training in. I wrote up a marathon training plan way at the beginning of this cycle but haven't been using it. There would be a lot of red. I'm just going to wing it. Get my two runs in with PRC during the week, do my long run on the weekend, and then hopefully get my ass out the door on my own either Thursday or Friday to hopefully do some speedwork. I have no idea if I'm on track for a 4:15 or a 3:45. Guess we'll find out in eight short weeks.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015


Well, I've had a couple shitty weeks of training. Last week I had the shin splint and didn't run much. This last weekend I had planned on doing PMC on Saturday but the way the weekend evolved the only time I could see Brandon was Saturday morning, so I picked hanging out with him instead. I told myself I'd run on Sunday (it was over 100 on Saturday anyways). Well, needless to say, I didn't run on Sunday despite my best intentions. I just can't motivate myself to run long distances by myself.

So on Monday I ran twelve miles again, the second straight week of doing that to repent for my weekend inaction. This time I didn't get a shin splint, but the run was equally as terrible. Here it is Wednesday and I'm still super sore and limping around. It feels a lot like my "overtraining" episode earlier this year, but it doesn't make sense for it to pop up now. I was feeling like crap in general on Monday and I probably pushed my body past where I should have. It was a really awful run.

I'm hoping this doesn't turn into another deal where I have to take time off. I don't have time for that now. The fact that running 8:45s at run group Monday felt like sprinting was also a concern. After feeling pretty good about myself a few weeks ago, I'm feeling pretty screwed for these upcoming marathons. I have a twenty mile run this Saturday with PMC. I will not miss this run. If I can do this twenty mile run without much trouble, then I'll feel pretty good about where I am. Hopefully my body is just in a temporary funk.

UPDATE: Ran seven miles at group Wednesday. Felt okay. Harder than it should have been though. When I got home I stretched and did some self massage. I felt pretty good the next day, not really sore at all. Today, Friday, I feel much better. I *think* I might be out of the funk. Tomorrow's 20 mile run with PMC is going to tell me a lot!