Saturday Morning 14

December 31, 2007

Saturday morning I got up and out before sunrise for a fourteen-miler along the banks of the Willamette. I did the counterclockwise loop from the east side of the Sellwood bridge, with a four mile out-and-back extension out Front Avenue at the north end. This is a flat route, and I wanted to run it at my marathon pace, 9:00 per mile or a little faster.
Total 14.0 miles in 2:04:43, for an average 8:54 mile.

Mile splits 8:59 8:50 8:53 8:54 9:02 8:53 8:53 8:57 8:54 8:56 8:43 8:45 8:35 9:14.


Goodbye Kentucky

December 28, 2007

Yes! With 1080.6 combined run and walk miles so far on the virtual trans-America run site, I’ve made it through Kentucky at long last, and have crossed the Ohio River into Illinois. I was also gratified to find that I hit a milepost with a picture right across the river:

Those cars are waiting, I think, for the Cave In Rock Ferry. Now why would they want to go back across to Kentucky?

Not much to report

December 27, 2007

Not much news on the running front this week; I did run my usual six miles Monday and Wednesday, but Saturday’s trail 20 did take a lot out of me, and I’m having a little trouble with my left hip/groin area and both sciatic regions. Nothing major, but enough that I didn’t run today, and might not tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be in shape for a planned (flat!) 14-miler on Saturday… I was planning to do it at my planned marathon pace (9:00 per mile) but I might ease up some if I’m still gimping along.

I’ve been eating little but turkey all week, so I should be in good shape :-)

19.6 miles in muddy and wet Forest Park

December 22, 2007

The route I had planned for today’s 20-mile run wasn’t particularly easy, and the pouring rain and frequently muddy trails didn’t make it easier. In other words, it was the perfect race-specific training for Hagg Lake and beyond. It was also my most taxing workout since the Portland Marathon, and may have even been harder in some ways.

In the cold and rain, I ran 19.6 miles in about 3:30:00, for an average 10:43 mile. I’m surprised it was that fast. My Forerunnner GPS wasn’t keeping a lock in the trees, rain, and hills, so I couldn’t tell what my pace was along the way. I felt like I was running slower.

The first 1.7 miles was the steep descent from Pittock Mansion north, past Cornell Road then down to Balch Creek (absolutely beautiful with all the rain turning it into a glowing white cascade) and the Stone House. Since I was just warming up, I couldn’t attack the downhill, but I could think about what it was going to be like coming back up it 18 miles later! I wasn’t feeling particularly strong.

After the Stone House, the Wildwood Trail goes mostly uphill for a couple of miles, then finally levels out into the more mild and frequent rollers that comprise most of Wildwood past milepost eight. I was doing all right, getting pretty wet and very muddy. There were enough muddy puddles that jogging right through them was the only option. My shoes and socks were soaked and foul, of course, but in the end, my feet and toes have come out 100% fine. Although I did have a certain shoe problem later…

After about an hour, more than five miles in, I took a short planned walk break and decided to have one of my Clif Shots — mocha flavor, with caffeine. Mmmm black viscous delicious oh so sweet goo. With a buzz. Great! I’ve cut caffeine out of my day-to-day habits, but this run called for it.

Nothing notable happened the rest of the way out on Wildwood, and, before I was expecting it, I reached the Koenig Trail, my turnoff. It wasn’t until I was lying down and resting at home, long after the run was over, that I remembered I was supposed to have gone another quarter-mile past Koenig and back! That’s why my distance was 19.6 instead of 20.1. Lying in bed, quads and calves stiff knots of discomfort, I entertained the idea of getting dressed and running a half mile around my neighborhood, but I’m just not quite that dumb. Close.

Koenig was a poorly-maintained very narrow pretty short very steep downhill connector trail that took me to Leif Erickson, and then a couple hundred feet northwest on Leif, continued down the hill to end at the Maple Trail. I headed back southeast on Maple, taking my second walk break and munching on a Kashi snack bar.

Soon Maple climbed back up to Leif Erikson, around milepost 4. The gravel and rock of Leif felt hard and strange on my soles after a few hours in soft splashy mud. I was headed to the Wild Cherry trail right near mile zero of Leif, and for once I didn’t appreciate how visible the milepost markers every quarter of a mile were: I’d rather have just zoned out without thinking about distances remaining. It didn’t help that those fast runners populate the road, zipping by you like you’re standing still. We hates them, we do. It was at the start of my run down Leif that my MP3 player/FM radio gave out. I think maybe it got some water up the microphone port? It was working intermittently, then not at all. I hope it dries out and gets better — it’s an iRiver e10 and its fm radio pulls in stations phenomenally well.

There’s a porta-potty on Leif right where the Wild Cherry trail intersects it, and I went ahead and peed there… I guess I was keeping hydrated successfully. Yuck, shiver, gross, porta-potty. (The “Honey Bucket” brand.)

Wild Cherry provided a pretty steep and very muddy climb back up to Wildwood. Huff huff puff puff. After a few miles of rollers on Wildwood, the downhill back to the Stone House began. The downs were OK, but every time I hit an up, the muscles on the front of my quads hurt. Yep, those last 1.8 miles were going to be a ton of fun! I also started getting annoyed by just how very much water and mud my running pants had soaked up and held onto. Especially around the ankles — slap slap slap slap. Maybe it was the three hours of hard work addling my mind, but I thought about getting some — errrk! — running tights for any future really long cold and wet runs.

Past the Stone House then up, up, up. I think I walked two steep uphills, maybe 30 yards each, but I kept up a shuffle of a jog for the rest of it, and my leg muscles came through for me, resigned, I guess, to their unhappy fate at the end of the whip wielded by my slave-driver of a brain. It was hard, hard, work, and I have rarely been so glad to make it back to my car.

The risks of running in the mud

December 22, 2007

I read a lot about ultra running and trail running, so as to (a) waste time and (b) be prepared for the things that might happen to me out there. But I have never seen anyone else mention what happened to me today.

So I finished up my 20-mile trail run and drove home. Soaking wet, I kept the heat cranked all the way up in the car, which almost but not quite kept me warm. By the time I made it home, I was really cold, and was desperate to force my stiffened legs upstairs, get out of my sodden clothes, and take a shower. I eagerly started a hot shower and began to undress.

Painfully bending down to take off my shoes, I tugged on my lace ends. Nothing. No movement. No untying. Solid as a rock. I lace my shoes securely and tight around the ankles. (It wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t tie a knot that would keep closed.) If I couldn’t get those laces untied, I wasn’t getting out of those shoes. I’m not sure if it was ground-in dirt particles causing extra friction, or a result of soaked laces getting slightly dried during the ride home. In any case, I just couldn’t work on the problem for long. I was cold! And bending over hurt!

Yep. You see it coming. I pulled my running pants and underwear off over my shoes and got into the shower, filthy stinking shoes and all.


December 20, 2007

I had myself scheduled to run 14 miles this Saturday and 20 the next, but Mom’s going to be visiting next weekend, so I moved the 20 up a week. Which means I probably should have taken it easy during last night’s run. I guess I did take it easy, a little — at one point I looked at my watch, said “I shouldn’t be running this fast”, and slowed down some — but it was still six miles at around an 8:40 pace. I’m looking forward to Saturday, and my new longest trail run. My planned route is to start at the Pittock Mansion, take Wildwood north until a quarter mile past the Koenig trail, return to the Koenig and take it down past Leif Erickson to the Maple Trail, Maple south back to Leif,¬† Leif¬† south back to the Wild Cherry trail, Wild Cherry back up to Wildwood, and south on Wildwood back to the start. I think that’s 20. I should double-check, but doing trail junction math is kind of a pain. I started thinking about writing a program to make it easier to figure out loops of certain distances in Forest Park. [Update: the way I had it before, according to my double-checking, was 19.8. I added the slight excursion to the Maple Trail to bring it up to 20.1.]

I also signed up for The Race For The Roses half-marathon in early April, for fun, and because a MiPL event was posted for it. The route looks relatively flat and covers a lot of the same ground that the Portland Marathon did, and it shouldn’t interfere with my training for the Eugene Marathon.

If I can get a minute per mile faster every nine months, pretty soon I’ll be finishing races before I start

December 17, 2007

I’m trying to do runs that push my speed on Mondays. Today I had to run at lunch. I went over the pedestrian bridge to Cook Park, then followed the trail along the river west, until it came out on 108th. Mostly flat asphalt and pavement; some gravel in miles 2 and 5. The first and last miles had a lot of stopping at crosswalks. Total of 6.0 miles in 49:27. Mile splits 8:32, 8:04, 8:21, 8:19, 7:52, 8:19. Not quite as fast as last Monday, but I didn’t have the incentive of running with others this time… plus my legs didn’t feel great going into it. So I’m happy happy.