Friday, March 27, 2015

Tennessee 2015: Mar 22-27

Sunday, Mar 22:
Flew out to Nashville early in the morning.  Started the day by re-visiting the Parthenon and the campus of Vanderbilt, which I visited five years ago, when I did my post-college / post-injury comeback race of the Country Music Half Marathon.    In my old races, when I was still relatively new to it, I'd remember details about every mile.  Everything would be remarkable.  Nowadays, I remember less about each particular mile.  Perhaps I could conjure it up if I wanted to, but maybe the details are less remarkable after you've seen them repeatedly, or maybe I'm more able to get into the zone and just focus on how my body is feeling.

After that, I headed to lunch at M.L. Rose Craft Beer & Burgers.  One of my goals for the trip was to have BBQ, and they had a couple of my favorites, all in one dish: BBQ pulled pork over Sweet Potato Fries, with local beer bottle caps to add to my collection.

After that, I browsed a Whole Foods.  It's odd... I like to visit Whole Foods no matter what city I'm in, if I get a chance... I've been to NY's, Chicago's, and now, Nashville's.  I'll be adding Boston to that list next month.

After that, I headed to Percy Warner Park, which the internet suggested as a good trail running spot in the Nashville area.  I had contemplated just hiking it, earlier in the day, since I had already had three days in a row of running.  However, I couldn't resist doing a run there, especially since my Running Log for this year comes with a page with a map of the world, where you can pinpoint places where you've run.  I'm not sure yet how much international travel I'll get to do this year, but I'm certainly getting a good spread of North American cities (Los Angeles, Montreal, Chicago, and now Nashville).  Each had been pretty spectacular and unique for the city.  This park was good for what is was, which was a local park.  There were lots of trail networks within the park, and to avoid confusion or trail-hunting, I stuck with the most straightforward, largest trail, which happened to be a horse trail loop around the perimeter of the park.  It ended up being about 6.5 miles (I was expecting 8).  It was rutted from horse shoes and pluff muddy in some sections.  My once decent-looking shoes got pretty coated... there was no avoiding it.  The sights weren't spectacular (no waterfalls or stunning vistas), but the inclines/declines were pretty reasonable... challenging, but not too slowing.  It would be nice to live in that area, and to be able to take advantage of that trail often.  It did epitomize the area (woods, mountains), like the Parc-du-Mont-Royal in the snow epitomized Montreal, and Griffith Park with the Hollywood Sign and the Pacific Coast Highway Beaches epitomized Los Angeles and Lakeshore Drive and the Magnificent Mile with the Bean epitomized Chicago

After that, I checked into the hotel before heading out to the Grand Ole Opry, for a repeat of my first Nashville trip.  I visited the first time right after the half marathon, so walking was a bit hard then.  My legs were pretty tired this time, too, after 4 days of running in a row (2 days in a row used to be a big deal to me).  It was fun to re-visit, and it made me miss my Dad, since he had accompanied me during the first trip.  I facetimed him while I was there, though.

Rested on Monday.  Had more BBQ at "Judge Bean's" in Brentwood, TN.  Had brisket and pulled pork, with "Cowboy beans" and green beans.  Delicious.

Tuesday, Mar 24:
9pm treadmill run.  6.0 in 49:32, 8:15 average at 2 degrees of incline = 7:55 effort.  The run went surprisingly well and easy.  I had nearly decided to bike, instead, so I'm glad I went for the run, so that I could one of my weekday runs out of the way.

Wednesday, went out to Printer's Alley in downtown, which is known for restaurants and live music.  We stopped at Bourbon Street for Cajun food and Blues.  It was great, and it was another item to check off the bucket list... live music from artists trying to make it in Nashville.  Gil Gann was fantastic, able to play a wide range of music, with lots of feeling.  He's funny and entertaining, when he interacts with the crowd.  At one point, a random old white guy "Jersey Mike" asked the support guitarist if he could play along on the piano, and they let him, and it turned into an impromptu jam session.  The three of them were able to play together as if they practiced together all the time.  It was awesome to watch.

Thursday, Mar 26:
4.3 in 35:10, 8:11 ave @ 2 degrees incline = 7:51 effort.  Wasn't sure if legs would wake up enough to manage a run, but they did, once I forced them to run at 6am.  It ended up going pretty easily, although I stopped 0.7-1.7mi earlier than I could've gone, since someone came in and looked like they wanted to use the treadmill next.  It was ok, though, since I did some arm weights afterwards.

Friday, Mar 27:
55 min strength session in the hotel room, in the morning

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Digging in for 2nd-to-Last Week of Boston Training - Mar 14-21

Saturday, Mar 14:
This weekend, a 16 miler was scheduled.  I started with 6.1 in 53:30, 8:40 average, at the park, with the Zombies, Run! app.  I had flown back from Chicago this morning, waking at 3am, so I did this run once back at home, after getting in a nap.  I would've tried to do the 16 today, but I woke up from the nap too late.

Sunday, Mar 15:
16.4 in 2:41:05, 8:47 average, at the park.  Wore long sleeve tech shirt for sun protection, since it was at 4pm, and sunset was at 7:30pm.  Ate pesto bread at mile 8, with water.  Had the rest of the bottle of water at mile 12.  My right femur felt a bit stressed afterwards.  My calves and abs were even sore, which is odd.  And my quads were trashed, too.

I completely rested the next two days, to let my body absorb the training.  Work was tiring, in any case, feeling like a sustained sprint every day.  We have marathon-distance tasks, but I'm having to do sprinting efforts all day to keep up.  Sleep has been off, too, with naps required after work due to the exhaustion, and then not feeling tired and staying up late when it's time to sleep again.  Been craving more carbs, too.

Wednesday, Mar 18:
60 min strength session.  Usually, the full-body movements help to increase blood flow and recovery.  I get a bit of cardio effect, too.

Thursday, Mar 19:
With 3 days of no running, I figured it would be a good time to do a workout.  I didn't want to have any regrets about not preparing for the hills in Boston, so I did a hill session on the treadmill.  Going at 7mph, I did 2x[1/2 mile at 3 degrees, 1 mile at 5 degrees, and 1/2 mile at 7 degrees], followed by 1/2 mile at 5 degrees in 4:08.  It was challenging but doable.  4.5 in 38:25, 8:32 average = 7:19 effort with the 5 degree average incline.

Friday, Mar 20:
Decided last-minute to go for the run... nearly turned back while walking to the fitness room.  I had a bit of time, and my body was reasonably fresh, though, so no excuse.  Ended up with 6.0 in 49:24, 8:14 average.  Went easier than expected.  Glad I went through with it.

Saturday, Mar 21:
Since the week was coming to a close, I took advantage of the weekend and the ability to run outside and get in my potentially last run for this break week.  6.0 in 54:15, 8:57 average at the park, with Zombies.  My legs felt all used up from the training the past three days, so I had to take it pretty slow most of the times, and I had to push my legs hard on the Zombie chases.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've been getting more and more psyched about the race.  I got two pieces of gear from Running Warehouse, and I've started reading Boston books.

Looking at Facebook, I've also been missing Obstacle Course racing... I can't do them while training for Boston, since 1) I'd trash myself during the race, and 2) I don't want to risk injuring myself.  I can't wait to get back into it later in the year.  I like the feeling of having full-body strength, and I like the excitement and adventure of it.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Chicago/Wisconsin 3 & 4, 2nd 20 miler for Boston - Mar 1-13

Tuesday, Mar 3:
6am treadmill run in the hotel fitness room.  4.0 in 31:02, 7:46 average, 1 degree treadmill.  There was only 1 treadmill in the room, and two other guys came in a few minutes after I did.  I therefore kept it short and made it super progressive, going 8:20, 7:44, 7:41, 7:16, to try to give them the opportunity to use it afterwards.  Around this day, I started developing a bit of congestion.

Thursday, Mar 5:
Another 6am run.  Again, a guy waiting for the treadmill minutes after I arrived, but he ended up leaving mid-way, so I got in 5.0 in 40:57, 8:12 average, at 2 degrees = 7:52 effort.  During this workday, my ears started getting plugged, too.

On Friday, far more sutffiness... I get sick about once every 4 years, and my time had come again.  It ended up being mostly above the head, though, fortunately, and was mostly just congestion and some tiredness.  Flew home. 

Saturday, Mar 7:
The congestion didn't stop me from being determined to get in my 2nd 20 miler.  According to the Garmin, I went 20, although according to the Zombies, Run! iPhone app, I went 19.6.  Normally, I would go with the lower number and be conservative, then add on the extra lap needed to break 20, but this time, given I had already run for 3:13:26 and I was thirsty after going through my 1.75 bottles of water, I called it a day.  Close enough.  9:40 or 9:52 pace, depending on what distance you went with.  Went mid-day to the park, while I was feeling decent enough to do the run.  Normally, I would've gone in the morning or the evening.  I ended up running with a medium-weight jacket the whole time for sun protection.  It's ironic.  When it's cold, I wear sports bras because I love cold temps, but when it's sunny, I wear long-sleeved clothing.  I took a supplements like zinc, essential oils, turmeric, alpha lipoic acid, and probiotics to try to help my body along, over the course of the weekend.  I ate 2 cheese garlic bread slices during the run, and I liked it much better than the sickly sweet jelly beans from last week.  My legs had started getting tired halfway through the run.  I didn't bonk, but my legs were definitely not as fresh.

Sunday, Mar 8 - Flew back out to Chicago, after maybe 36 hours at home.  I somehow lost my Frommer's Day-by-Day travel guidebook over the course of the day, but I tried to hit the places that I remembered reading about in the book by following info on some apps.  Not the same, but it worked out ok.  I ended up doing a sort of architectural tour of Chicago, which I realized over the course of the day is really diverse.  The buildings come in all kinds of interesting shapes, and the architects there seem to have paid huge attention to details with lots of ornamental features on the buildings.  

I also went to Lagunitas brewery, which opened about 6 months ago.  They're still installing some of the equipment.  This place was very large-scale manufacturing plant-like, compared to the other breweries I've been to, which seemed more home-grown / local / scrapped-together / nano-brew-like.  They had a catwalk that did a loop around the building.  Because of all of that, the visual part of the tour was less fun.  You didn't feel like you were in and amongst the action.  I did like that the tour focused on the history of Lagunitas, rather than the brewing process, though.  Most beer tourists probably already know how beer is made, so it's nice to learn specifically about this particular brewery.

After the tour, I had a High West coffee, wood-aged coffee porter beer.  Unfortunately, I couldn't appreciate all of the aromas and flavors with the congestion.  

Tuesday, Mar 10:
4.5 in 37:12, 8:16 ave, 3 degree treadmill = 7:38 effort.  Did the run at night this time.  I was craving a run again after 2 days off.  

Thursday, Mar 12:
5.0 in 41:35, 8:19 ave, 2 degrees = 7:59 effort.  6am run.  When I travel for work, it tends to be a lot easier to get runs done in the morning, vs. at night, when I'm tired from the workday and digestion from a dinner out.

Friday, Mar 13:
60 min body weight strength session in the hotel room.  It had been about a week and a half, so this was overdue.  My planking ability suffered (2:45 this time vs. 4:15 last time).

Sunday, March 1, 2015

First 20, and Bare Minimum – Boston Training, Feb 12-28

Thursday, Feb 12:
Intervals at 2 degrees of incline.  4.6 in 33:50, 7:21 average = 7:05 effort.  The workout: 1 mi warmup in 8:05, 4x [0.5 mi in 3:21, 0.25 mi in 1:59], 0.6 mi shakeout in 4:24.  Pleased to pull it off with no issues.  Tried wearing the Brooks Pure Drift for the first time.  It’s my third shoe from the Pure* collection.  The PureGrit is meant for trails, although it’s notoriously slippery on wet surfaces.  It’s very well-cushioned and comfortable, though.  The PureCadence is firmer and feels durable, so I like to wear it on grassy runs.  The PureDrift felt the least cushioned, light, and very minimalist, like a racing shoe.  The toebox was super roomy.

Sunday, Feb  15:
Parents visited over the weekend, which always affects the schedule.   I told them that I had to get in a 20, though, and my dad came out and walked the trail out-and-back while I ran it, although it was sub-freezing temps and windy, so he took breaks in the car sometimes.  

I had an orange, a carrot, hot cocoa, and tea for breakfast.   It was so cold for the first 5 miles.  I ended up keeping my Survivor Buff around my face to breathe through the whole time, where the moisture would freeze up, making the buff stiff.  It became warm enough to take off at times, but I kept it on the whole time, anyway, because the sun was very strong, and I didn’t want to get burned being out there for over 3 hours, even if it was sub-freezing.   At mile 7, I had a bathroom break.  I had ¾ of a Clif Builder’s protein bar at mile 11.  The second half of the run went faster than the first half, as usual, though it was still a mental battle to get through it, as expected.  I listened to 2 hour-long podcasts, then switched to music when the mental effort of processing words and content, on top of the effort of running, became too strenuous.  20.3 in 3:15:03, 9:36 average.  

The ball of my right foot felt fractured the next day, though it improved significantly over the course of the day.

Wednesday, Feb 18:
6.0 in 50:30, 8:25 average, 2 degrees of incline = 8:04 effort.  The phrase “STRUGGLE BUS” kept playing in my mind during this run for some reason.  I think I first learned of it from my sister, although I don’t remember in what context.  It was kind of inspiring, though, because I pictured “STRUGGLE BUS” as a cooler and more under-dog-like version of the “I-THINK-I-CAN” train.   I was still a bit full from dinner, although it wasn’t too noticeable until I exceeded 7.2mph in the last 2 miles.  The first few miles went by really slowly, but from the 4th on, it picked up a lot.  Higher appetite in the past 2 days, maybe from the 20 miler.

Friday, Feb 20:
50 min strength session.  Work was hectic this week.  Good thing an easy week of 3x7mi runs was in the schedule.

Saturday, Feb 21:
6.0 in 49:54, 8:19 average, 2 degrees of incline = 7:59 effort.  30 minutes after dinner, but I had to get out and do a run… had only run once in the past 5 days.  Tummy was not happy at first, but it got better 30 minutes later. 

Sunday, Feb 22:
Did 9.0 in 1:17:56, 8:38 at the park.  Made it 9, not 7, to make up for the 2 6-mi runs which should’ve been 7 milers.  I did a Zombies, Run! app mission, too, to inject a bit of speed in this run. 

Tuesday, Feb 24:
Treadmill intervals.  4.0 in 29:25, 7:21 average.  1 mi warmup in 8:05, 4x [0.5 mi in 3:21, 0.25 mi in 1:58].  Soooo tired walking over to the fitness room.  Felt like crying at the thought of the pain ahead, because I was feeling exhausted mentally, although my body was otherwise fresh for running… pass-out tired feeling.  The run went by quickly, though, and felt guiltily short when I finished.  Good workout, though.

Wednesday, Feb 25:
65 min body weight strength session, with a record 4:15 plank, and record abductor/adductor leg lift rep counts.  I had felt too full from dinner and tired to run while the fitness room was open, so this was the alternative.

Friday, Feb 27:
5.0 in 41:18, 8:16 average, 3 degrees of incline = 7:38 effort.  Felt easy, because I had only run once in the past 4 days… bare minimal running here. 

Saturday, Feb 28:
Got in my long run before having to travel out again.  16.5 in 2:38:02, 9:33 average at the grassy park.  After a nap.  Ate a total of ~16 Jelly Belly sport beans at miles 5 and 11.  My body would’ve preferred something fatty like peanuts, chocolate, or a protein bar, but this what I had brought.  Oh well, it was practice for marathon racing, when I’d be bringing carbs.  Didn’t drink during the run.  It was a bit of a progressive run, with the last few laps being the fastest.  This was the second time I wore some new calf sleeves with magnets in them… don’t know if the magnets really do anything, but it can’t hurt, probably.