Monday, September 24, 2007

The week in review (9/16 - 9/23)

Okay, actually this will be the "last eight days" in review since I'm tacking on yesterday to last week for reasons that I'll explain later.

This was my last "tough" week before I start a 2-week taper leading up to the Crazy Horse marathon on Oct. 7th. I had a pretty aggressive schedule mapped out for this week considering the mileages I've been running lately, and I actually ended up having to tone it down a little because my body was just flat out tired by midweek. The week ended on a good note though, as you will see:

Sunday - Rest. And by that I mean physical, not mental. I went through an emotional rollercoaster as the Seahawks fell behind 17-0 to the Cardinals, came back to take a 20-17 lead and then ended up losing 23-20. I hate football....

Monday - 9 miles including 6x600m speed intervals on the track. This speedwork session felt much better than the one I did the week before. Hit all of the splits dead on.

Tuesday - 11 miles easy. The goal here is to run a moderate distance on tired legs to teach your body to run through fatigue, like you do toward the end of a marathon (well, hopefully it's at the end, if it's at the start you're pretty much screwed). Mission accomplished; the first 6 miles felt good and then I was tired, but not totally wasted, for the last 5 miles.

Wednesday - 8.1 miles easy. I had 12 miles on the schedule and set out to do just that but the speed workout from Monday caught up to me in a bad way. I was drained by the time I finished my first 6 mile loop. Stubborn as I am though, I refused to stop at 6 miles and headed out for another loop but then common sense finally took over my feeble mind and I turned back 1 mile into the loop.

Thursday - 6 miles in the morning, 4 in the afternoon. The goal here was to get some miles in without abusing myself too much. Mission accomplished again.

Friday - 6 miles recovery. Trying to get as rested as possible for the race on Saturday, which at this point I'm still telling myself I'm not sure I'm going to run.

Saturday - 1 mile warmup and a 5K race. Finished 1st overall, which sounds really impressive as long as I don't mention that there were only 9 runners. Oops. Ironic that I get a victory while running the slowest 5K I've run in over a year. I get an age group medal, plaque, and a bunch of food (much more than anyone should eat after a 5K) for my "effort". The plaque says "Top Male" which for some reason I find funny in a subtly sexual way. I think if I ever organize a race, the plaques will say "Alpha Male" and "Alpha Female".

Sunday - 18 miles. I usually do my long runs on Saturday but pushed this one back because of the race. Honestly, I wasn't really looking forward to it, but it ended up going great, which is usually what happens when I'm dreading a run. Since the race was in the evening and I ran this run early in the morning, I ended up logging 22 miles in about a 15 hour period. "Relaxed" in the afternoon by sitting in the car and listening to the Seahawks-Bengals game on our Sirius radio (we always get Vikings and Broncos games on TV around here). It was a great game, made even greater by the fact that the Hawks pulled this one out 24-21. I love football...

So, less than two weeks left until Crazy Horse now. The goal from here on out is pretty much to not hurt myself.

I raced....and won!!

So, I bit the bullet and ran the inaugural Dewey Decimal Dash 5K in Sturgis on Saturday evening. It's a fundraiser for the Sturgis Public Library and included a 2 mile walk and kid's run. For some inexplicable reason, the folks in Sturgis have a thing for starting races at 5 PM, right in the heat of the day. This was the third 5K I've run there (all different events) and the temps at race time have been 85, 100 and then 95 today. Not exactly conducive to a PR. Also, they have a thing for running these 5Ks up one particular street that includes a pretty good climb. Two of the three events have included this street even though there's a perfectly good, flat, fast route through the city park. In any case, we made the trip down to Sturgis and started off the festivities with the kids race, which my son and daughter (3 and 2 years old respectively) both ran. It was my daughter's first race. The race "course" was approximately 5 parking spaces long in the bank parking lot across from the library. My son, who routinely runs between 1/4 and 1/2 mile with me, was perplexed by this, but went with the flow. They both did great, although my daughter was a little unsure of the whole scene. She's shy and a bunch of strangers yelling and cheering was a little unnerving. The goody bags each of the kids got perked her up though.

The walkers took off just before the 5K started, my wife and sister in law with the kids in the stroller included. Once the walker crowd was gone, it was obvious that there wasn't going to be a high level of competition at this event. All of 9 runners remained to start the 5K. One of them was my sister in law's friend, Jake, who had run a 17 minute 5K in high school.....2 years ago. All nine of us lined up (believe it or not, not all in the front row), the bell rang, and we were off. The course immediately took off up a hill (it was basically uphill for the entire first half) and Jake took the lead with me close behind. I was wondering how fast Jake was going to push this thing and then, as we made the first turn at the top of the first hill, I took the lead. I heard him huffing behind me for a few more blocks and then he dropped back and that was the last I heard of anyone the rest of the way.

Ended up with my second victory ever, the first coming earlier this summer in a 4 mile race where I squared off with 6 other runners. Apparently, I'm quite the cherry picker. Can you tell that there's not much of a running community around here? Anyhow, I ended up running a 21:20, which is over a minute slower than my PR. I had absolutely no ambition to push it in the heat and, after I passed Jake three blocks into the race, I didn't have anyone to push me. Given the circumstances, it's an okay time and I ended up with some hardware and a great post-race meal, so I can't complain about that. Sub-20 will have to wait for another, cooler, day....

Friday, September 21, 2007

To race or not to race?

Tomorrow is the inaugural Dewey Decimal Dash 5K (clever, huh?), which is a fundraiser for the Sturgis Public Library. Bottom line is, we are going to Sturgis because we've already told the kids that they can run the kids' race and my wife is planning on walking the 2 mile walk. What is still up in the air is my status for tomorrow. I can't seem to convice myself either way whether I should run the 5K or not. So, for my own personal benefit, here are the pros and cons:

  • 5Ks hurt. No ifs, ands or buts about it. It's 3.1 miles of pure misery. I could say that I'll take it easy and enjoy myself, but I know damn well that that's a bald faced lie. As soon as the gun sounds, I'll be off chasing somebody who I don't think should beat me. This will lead to me running the first mile way too fast and, consequently, the last mile will hurt like hell and I'll swear that I'm never running a 5K again. Won't be the first time, won't be the last.
  • I hurt. I've had this lingering pain in my groin since......well hell, I don't even know. It just comes and goes, seemingly without rhyme or reason and it's here now. I was convinced for awhile that I had myself a bonafide hernia, but I'm not so sure now. It's definitely in the groin area, but it's more like way up in the nether regions where my leg, groin and butt come together. I'd include a picture, but this isn't that sort of web page. It feels like something is being pinched and generally hurts for the first tenth of a mile or so when I run and then magically goes away.....until I cool down afterwards. Then it screams again. Any doctors out there?
  • The course. One of my burning ambitions is to run a sub-20 minute 5K and this course is not conducive to that. Why go through the pain and misery of a 5K with no real hope of getting a PR?
  • The weather. It's supposed to get up to 90 on Saturday and the race doesn't start until 5:15. I've run two other 5Ks in Sturgis. Both started in the evening and the temps were 85 for the first and 100 for the second. Apparently they'd rather face the heat than get their lazy butts out of bed in Sturgis.


  • It will likely be a small race, especially since we're in the middle of high school cross country season, which should limit the number of high school punks who can smoke me. It's likely that I'll place in the top 3 in my age group. It's also likely that I'll be the only one in my age group.
  • Free food afterwards. It's food and it's free, how can you go wrong?
  • I like to race. It lights a fire in my belly. It floats my boat. It warms the cockles of my heart. It gives me an excuse to drink beer and eat pizza.

So, the cons outweight the pros 4 to 3 but in all likelihood this was a pointless excercise because I'll probably just end up running the damn thing anyway....and then cussing myself out for it as I slog through an 18 miler on Sunday. Why can't I have a normal hobby?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Music to run to

Today's a somewhat exciting day in that Eddie Vedder (of my favorite band, Pearl Jam) is releasing a new album in the form of the soundtrack for the movie version of Jon Krakauer's "Into the Wild". The book was based on a true story of a guy fresh out of college who one day just gave away almost all of his possessions and took off on an inexplicable journey across the country, eventually ending up in the Alaskan bush where his body was found by hunters. It's a great book and I'm really looking forward to the movie. I'm also looking forward to the soundtrack since I found out yesterday that it was done by Vedder. I have a dog named Vedder if that's any indication of my obsession with Pearl Jam....I have a Pearl Jam tattoo if you need any more proof. So, this brings me back to my original point, if there was one: music and running. I listen to my ipod most of the time during training runs, never during races. My wife doesn't understand this. I tell her it's so I can talk smack as I leave other runners in my dust. Really, that very rarely happens, so the real reason is that I like to hear the other runners around me so I can get some idea of whether or not they are struggling. The way a person is breathing during a race can tell you a lot about how they are feeling. Back to my point again; here are some of my favorite songs on my ipod right now:

  • Anything by Seether - don't know why it took me so long to realize how Nirvana-like they are, but I like em...a lot. They have a new album coming out soon. Love the new single, "Fake It".
  • Five Finger Death Punch "The Bleeding" - if you've seen the Kill Bill movies (which are awesome) you'll understand where they got their name.
  • Foo Fighters "The Pretender" - Dave Grohl is a genius. Their new album drops soon too.
  • Fair to Midland "Dance of the Manatee" - as the song title suggests this band is a little odd. It's like a fairy tale set to heavy metal. Odd but cool.
  • Anything by Hinder - one of the best new rock bands in world. They're first album has already spawned four or five hits.
  • 12 Stones "Lie to Me" - I was supposed to see them, along with Sevendust and Creed, in Salt Lake City a few years ago but Scott Stapp (Creed's lead singer) had laryngitis and they canceled the show. Sucky.
  • Soil "Let Go" - I like their first album and this first single off their new one sounds even better.
  • Serj Tankian "The Unthinking Majority" - This guy was formerly the lead singer of System of a Down. System rocked (I have a ton of their songs on my ipod too) and this song sounds virtually just like them. Anyone who takes frequent pot shots at George W. scores big in my book (oops, getting political here).
  • Pearl Jam, of course - I think I have "Hail, Hail" and "Corduroy" on my running playlist, two of my favorite songs of all time. "Hail, Hail" is also the ringtone on my cell phone.

Alright, that's it off the top of my head. Maybe you care. Maybe you don't. Maybe you're appalled.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Another week down

Another pretty good running week in the books. Not so good football wise as the Seahawks blew a big one. I know, they can't win em all, but my life would sure be easier if they did. Anyhow, back to running, here's how it shook out:

Sunday - Rest, watched/listened to football (which is sometimes a workout in itself)

Monday - 7 miles with 8x100m strides. Felt good.

Tuesday - 12.1 miles. Felt good.

Wednesday - 5 miles. First run in my new Mizuno Waver Rider 10s. Felt good (do you see a trend here?).

Thursday - 9 miles including 7x800m speedwork. First time I've done speedwork since sometime before the Missoula Marathon in July. I could definitely tell. I won't say that it felt good, because speedwork isn't supposed to feel good. It's supposed to hurt like hell and it did. For those who don't know, 800m intervals are sometimes used to predict a marathon time. You run a bunch of em (usually 8) then take the average of your time and for some people it translates to the time you can run a marathon. Make sense? Probably not....for example, my average time for the 7 intervals was 3 minutes and 25 seconds, which would translate to a 3 hour and 25 minute marathon. My goal for Crazy Horse is 3:30, so lookin good. Of course, it's just an estimate...

Friday - 5 miles with 6x100m strides. Felt good.

Saturday - 16 miles. Started out feeling great, hit a rough patch around 12 miles but then the last 3 miles felt great again. Finished strong, but as soon as I stopped I realized that I was really frickin tired and was pretty sore for the rest of the day.

Total - 54.1 miles

So, only three weeks to go until the Crazy Horse Marathon but I have two possible races coming up before then. This Saturday there's a 5k in Sturgis where I had hoped to break 20 minutes for the first time, but I've discovered that the course is not friendly (i.e. uphill for the first half). So, now I'm not sure if I'll even run it. Next Saturday is a 5-mile trail race in Spearfish. I probably would have won this race easily last year (when it was a 4-miler), but I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and ended up tacking an extra 2 miles onto the course (along with the guy who I had just passed for the lead). Ended up finishing second to last. I'm definitely running this one...some redemption is in store.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The week in review...

Pretty good week of running this week as I start to ramp the mileage back up briefly before tapering (again). Seems like all I've been doing all summer is a couple weeks of recovery followed by a couple weeks of training followed by a couple weeks of taper then a race. Wash, rinse and repeat. In any case, Crazy Horse will be the last hurrah for the 2007 marathoning season, so I'll be able to settle into some more consistent (high) mileage over the fall, winter and spring.

Sunday - Rest

Monday - 8 miles on a new route. It was nice althought the first 4 miles were virtually all uphill, albeit gradual. Consequently, the last 4 miles were all downhill and felt great.

Tuesday - 6.1 miles recovery

Wednesday - Rest

Thursday - 8 miles with 8 x 100m strides. First time I've done strides in way too long. Felt good, but more tiring than they really should have been.

Friday - 5 miles recovery

Saturday - 12 miles easy. Perfect running weather (finally): 50 degrees, a slight breeze, and overcast. It started raining later on in the day, but not while I was running.

Total - 39.1 miles. Should be up over 50 next week.

On a non-running related note, it was a great weekend of football. Be warned that even though this blog is mostly about running, now that football season has started you're gonna hear a lot about it, whether you like it or not. Friday night I watched Belle Fourche High crush Hot Springs 40-13 to improve to 2-0. Also on Friday night, my old high school (Chester, MT) won 50-8. On Saturday afternoon, we went to the Black Hills St. game to watch my sister in law's boyfriend play (he starts at tackle). They lost 14-3 to Wisconsin-Eau Claire, but it was still a pretty decent game to watch. At the same time, my beloved Montana Grizzlies were putting the smack down on Ft. Lewis 49-0. Then, on Sunday, the Seahawks kicked off the NFL season with a 20-6 win over the Buccanneers. So, all in all, a pretty successful weekend for the teams I give a damn about. Looking forward to a similarly action-packed weekend coming up.

Friday, September 7, 2007

I'm in the paper!!

Have you ever Googled your name? Well, I did yesterday and came across this article from the Hot Springs Star about the Lean Horse Ultra:

In true local journalistic fashion, there are several errors such as referring to the second place 100 miler by his hometown instead of his last name and claiming that I took second by 12 minutes in the 50K instead of 8. But, at least the Hot Springs paper actually had a story about the race, which is more than I can say for the local "big" paper, the Rapid City Journal, which only printed the results of the 100 miler a week after the race with nary a word actually written about the race. Way to keep a pulse on the local sports scene, Journal. I like high school football as much as the next guy, but there is actually other stuff going on. This is the same paper that recently referred to a 196 mile relay race (Hood to Coast) as a "marathon" several times. The runners out there will get the joke, for everyone else I'll explain briefly: a "marathon" is 26.2 miles. Any other distance is something else. Okay, I'll get off the soapbox now.

On a totally unrelated subject, fall is sneaking up on us and I'm pumped beyond words. I ran this morning in my perfect weather, 50 degrees with an ever so slight breeze. I'm also in day two of a four day stretch of football bliss: last night was the NFL season opener, tonight Belle Fourche has a home game against Hot Springs, tomorrow I'm going to Spearfish to watch Black Hills St. play Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Montana (my alumnus) is playing Ft. Lewis, and Sunday is the day I've been waiting for since last January, the start of the Seahawks' season. Perfect running weather and football....this is why fall is my favorite season.