Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Garmin premium softstrap HRM sux

My average HR for the mile segment of the Pineland 25K from the River Loop, through the field to the base of the Campus loop (location of the Pony aid station) yesterday was 173. This is about my HR max. I was running easy. My average HR over the 2nd mile of my run today was 77. This is the rate of a slow walk but again I was running easy on roller coaster singletrack. Apparently my "ez run HR" ranges between 77 to 173.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Pineland Double

Racing, or Fun?

I decided to double this weekend. My flow of thought went something like this. "I have no goal races this year. I'm running the 25K easy with friends. Jamie and Ryan and Scott jumped into the 10K. I want to race them. Jumping in the 10K can't keep me from racing any goal race since I don't have one. ergo - I'm going to jump into the 10K too." So my goal was to race the 10K and hope that I didn't aggravate my achilles enough to not run the 25K. I thought this would be about a 25% chance of making it to the 25K.

At the start of the 10K I decided that I was going to go for it. My only clues to my fitness level were that I couldn't keep a 25K race pace for more than about 2 miles 4 weeks ago and I couldn't keep a 5K track pace for more than about 1200 meters 2 weeks ago. Those are pretty big red flags, but I ignored them. Instead I went out at the pace that I should have gone out...last year. Jamie and Scott kept up, indeed for much of the first 1-2 miles we leap frogged each other. I think Ryan fell back pretty early. About the 2 mile mark, with more net downhill to go, I started feeling like the pace wasn't really sustainable but still felt surprisingly fit. By 3 miles I was toast and just like toast, nothing could untoast me. Not drinking at the aid stations, which I did. Not walking, which I did. Scott was long gone and had a good race on a hot day. Jamie and I continued to leap frog each other or it was more like reverse leap frog because Jamie was bogging down due to the heat. Somewhere around mile 4, I slowed enough that Jamie passed me for good and I had zero will to get dragged. I nearly DNFed at every trail junction that led to a shorter path to the finish but I kept hearing Ian's voice of rebuke in my head. So I kept running at a pace that was only slightly less than extremely painful and over a minute per mile slower than the same sections of my race last year, in which I was doing the 25K! Here are the splits for 5 of the common miles of both races (the first two are downhill while the last 2 are uphill):

2012 10K     2011 25K
  6:06         6:26
  6:37         6:28
  7:47         6:55
  8:26         7:23
  8:42         7:27

My foot felt little worse for the wear Sunday morning and I registered for the 25K. I did zero warm-up, as I wasn't racing, but this meant that I hadn't a clue how my foot would feel until I started running. I had decided about a week ago to run this at a 9 min pace with Mike Pratico and Paul Green. We were joined by Sam Kane, who skied for James and I on the FHS nordic team, and Pat Connolly, who is the dad of another skier on the team (Mike and I are also, of course, dads of FHS skiers). I was the pacer. The 9 minute pace proved too hard, especially on the downhill sections. We maintained a pace around 8:45 throughout, something closer to 830s on the downhill miles and 9s on the uphill miles. Our official pace was 8:48 but I kept my watch going while I ran around the Yurt aid station 3.5X while Paul was taking a bio-break. We lost Sam and Pat about 1/2way but they didn't finish too far behind us. We picked up a couple of extras in Oak Hill and paced them in. My foot felt mostly great the whole way - only slights twinges here and there. Weird. Almost makes me want to train for something.

Monday, May 21, 2012

at least I'm running

I was hoping this would be my first of a string of 60+ MPWs. But Thursday I started an ez road/trail run but had immediate and fairly substantial (4/10) achilles pain. Where had that come from? I turned around. Friday I planned to run but was swamped with grading and didn't run. So much for 60s. Wednesday was discouraging and really drove home the dichotomous choice I face - train to race and endure the pain or just have fun running and don't race at all.

Something to think about: I've been doing weekly 70-75 minute runs at my top aerobic pace (about 81-82% HRMax). These seem unusually hard - not like a tempo run but a rate that would be hard to sustain for, say, a marathon. Yet its 10-14 beats/sec lower than my HR during the Maine Marathon training runs. So why does it "feel" hard? My average marathon HR was closer to 17-18 beats/sec more. Could I sustain that now? It's easy to think of pace as waxing and waning but this comparative HR data baffles me, especially since its not like I've taken any time of from general aerobic work. I would have thought that 82% was easily sustainable its just that as I get fitter, the pace at 82% gets faster. So I can understand somewhat the variation in the ability to maintain pace at a specific HR (or VO2 percent) level. Regardless, I suspect this feeling is a consequence of the reaaaaaaalllllllly long time since I've done any regular tempo work or fast hill repeats and of course anything resembling 3K-5K track work hasn't been done since last summer.

Total Hours: 6:58:47
Total Distance: 45.9 mi.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Way back

Just like my west trip in 1976 to the Wyoming and Colorado. After experimenting with what does and does not aggravate the achilles, I've narrowed it down to running fast and yard work (pushing a wheel barrow or lawnmower). While the little fast running I've done in the last couple of weeks has only minorly aggravated the achilles, I'm a little worried about any kind of systemic ramp up to real training so, being risk averse, I've decided to not run intervals, TNR sprints, strides, fartleks, and sadly, races. I backed out of MD5K. I am going to jog Pineland 25K. In mid-June I'll re-assess.

Time: 8:35
Distance: 57.7

M East Branch trail
T TMR TNR @ Twin Brook
W HR test on track
R Twin Brook
F Back Cove/East End Beach
S Pineland 
S Community Park/Hadlock loop

          M     T     W     R     F     S      S
Sched Min 45    90    60    90    45    120    90
Sched HR  L0-1  L3-4  TT    L1-2  L1    L3-4   L1
Time (H:M)0:55  0:47  1:04  1:32  1:01  1:51   1:24
AHR       131   132         136   134   144   125
HR %      74    75          77    76    82    71
Miles     5.6   5.5   7.9   10.5  7.2   13     8

Sunday, May 6, 2012


One of the first pieces of advice that I read on insertional achilles is to cut a slit or a V into the heel counter of your running shoe. In fact, I've seen advice to do this prophylactically. I chose not to cut any of my new running shoes but I switched immediately to the Nike Frees (1st edition), which have a very soft, flexible heel counter, for my everyday shoe. After failure to find any pattern in what does and does not aggravate the achilles, I decided to cut a slit into my NB790s for my 10 mile run at Pineland yesterday. My feet felt great when I got home but I put on a pair of Wellies (rubber boots) to do some yard work and hadn't walked 50 yards before my achilles was screaming. I had worn these only a few days before with no pain so clearly there was a run X boot interaction. I switched into my slit running shoes to do yard work but the damage was done, my achilles was sore all evening. Today I woke up with zero achilles pain and ran 110 minutes in the same slit NB790s. Again, everything felt great. I then slit a pair of old NB 901 road shoes for yard work. OMFG, the 901s are considered a lightweight trainer but the heel counter was more earthquake proof than a tokyo skyscraper. It took quite the surgery to cut out a V (a simple slit wouldn't have done anything with the plastic stability plate in there). Regardless, it worked and my achilles feels fine. I'm a little hesitant to slit my new inov8 195s so I'll probably just run in old shoes for a while; hopefully not all season.

I've finished week two of easy running - no tempos, MP, intervals, fartleks, sprints, etc, although I did do strides at Twin Brook on Tuesday. And I did 4 x 800m hill repeats at 127, 132, 137, 142HR (all still very far inside my aerobic zone - less than 80% HRmax). I'm planning on running MD5K Sunday and I suspect my achilles will not be happy about that. And I suspect the 25K at Pineland will be even worse.

Total Time: 8:27
Total Miles: 55.9

M  Passive Recovery
T easy 1:10 (8 mi)TMR TNR @TB
W easy 1:32 (9.3 mi), Presumpscot River Westbrook
R Fast-easy 1:15 (9.7 mi), Back Cove/East End trail
F 4 x 800 slow to fast easy hill repeats 1:08 (7.7 mi), Brook Rd/Halls Hill
S  easy 1:33 (10.5), Pineland
S easy 1:48 (10.8), Presumpscot River Westbrook

            M     T        W        R      F       S        S
Plan (min)  45    75       90       75     60      120      90
Plan (HR)   L1    L3-4     L1-2     L4     L1-2    L3-4     L1-2
Time (min)        70       92       75     68      94       108
Miles             8        9.3      9.7    7.7     10.5     10.8
AHR               133      127      139    128     133      126
HR %              76       72       79     73      76       72

Thursday, May 3, 2012

dialing it back

I dialed back my spring training plan from a typical late phase race plan to an early phase base-building plan. I've decided to follow Hadd's method from the looooooooong LRC thread. Not sure at this point how high I'll get my mileage because 1) going forward, I will be running lots of slow singletrack, where it takes me 25 minutes longer to run 10 miles and 2) I'm afraid of doubles given the pain in my 2nd run of the day two days ago. Upper 50s should be easy enough but I'd like to see what I could do off of more mileage than that and I've never really been successful at consistently getting above high 50s.

The insertional achilles is frustrating to figure out. Some runs I never notice it, most I notice it in the first 1/2 mile and maybe the last bit if its a run > 1 hour. More perplexing is soreness* between runs. I ran 90 minutes Sunday on Falmouth singletrack and had zero soreness during or after. Monday was a rest day. Tuesday was an easy run at Twin Brook. Yesterday I ran 90 minutes on Falmouth singletrack and my foot was sore last night into this morning. Was it the rest day? Was it running 80m strides at Twin Brook (no sprints this week!).

*Soreness is level 1-2 on a 10 point scale, so the soreness is very, very, minor

Total Hours last week: 7:38
Total Miles last week: 53.1

M 27 min / 3.4 mi (77% HRmax) Brook Rd + 3 x 12s hill sprints
T 66 min / 7.8 mi (79% HRmax) TMR TNR @ TB, incl 4 x long sprints + 4 strides
W 67 min / 8.1 mi (76% HRmax) Falmouth road loop
R 74 min / 9.8 mi (81% HR max) Back Cove/East End Beach
F 62 min / 7 mi (72% HR max) Brook Rd
S 65 min / 7 mi (76% HR max) Pineland
S 96 min / 10 mi (76% HR max) East Branch/Community Park