January 26, 2009

Saturday’s run was supposed to be 18 miles on the Wildwood Trail, done as an 11 mile out-and-back to the north followed by a 7 mile one to the south. After five miles or so, I started feeling my left calf act up, right along the back of it, up high near the back of the knee. Whatever happened last Saturday was still lingering. I decided to cut the run short at 11 miles to give it a better change to heal. The leg felt worst on uphills and was nearly unnoticeable going down. Since then, I’ve iced it a couple of times to try to hurry along the recovery.

It had been a while since I’ve done the farthest section of Wildwood, between Germantown and Newberry roads.  That really is a nice trail in there. It seems like there are more fir trees and less maples, and the trail seems to have better drainage and a more interesting route. There’s one pretty hefty climb, up to the BPA road, but other than that it’s mostly rollers.

Sunday afternoon I felt myself coming down with a cold. Training would be too easy if not for illness and injury, right?


Training update

January 23, 2009

This week I ran six miles on Monday and Wednesday nights and another four during lunchtime on Thursday. All of these runs were pretty slow and none of them felt great, probably because I’m still recovering from Saturday’s 22-miler. I think I’m reaching that point in my training where I’m balancing on the edge of productively overtaxing myself or doing too much and becoming chronically fatigued or injured.

Leif Erikson Drive Map and Elevation Profile

January 18, 2009

Saturday morning I ran up and down the entire length of Leif Erikson drive for the first time. Leif Erikson (sometimes spelled Leif Erickson instead) is an 11 mile dirt and gravel road, closed to cars but open to bicycles, that winds through the lower slopes of Forest Park.

Leif Erikson Drive, Portland. Click for larger. Map data from Google, the blue line showing the path is from my GPS.

Leif Erikson Drive, Portland. Click for larger. Map data from Google, the blue line showing the path is from my GPS.

Here’s an approximate elevation profile; mile 0 is the Thurman Street trailhead and mile 11 is Germantown road.

leif-erikson-whole-elevThe run took me about three hours and fifty minutes, which means I averaged around a ten minute per mile pace. My left calf was cramping a bit by the end, and the tendon in the back of my left knee (in the poplitea fossa: the “kneepit”) is still a bit sore today.

22 milers

January 16, 2009

I’m doing 22 miles tomorrow (up and back the whole length of Leif Erickson) and that got me thinking: how many times have I run at least 22 miles? I dug through the data and the answer is only seven.

  1. A Portland Fit training run, 9/15/07. Planned as a 21-miler, I stretched it to 22. I got a blister on my feet from wearing a new brand of shoes. Sauconys aren’t for me. But the run wasn’t too awful.
  2. The 2007 Portland Marathon, 10/7/07. Missed my goal by nine minutes and had a miserable last four miles.
  3. 25.5 miles on Wildwood, 1/12/08. Ran out of water. Miserable last five miles.
  4. Another 25.5 miles on Wildwood, 2/2/08. This was supposed to be the 30 mile through-run. The freezing cold got to me first.
  5. Hagg Lake 50K. (31 miles, 2/23/08.) It was a lot of work, but thinking back, some of those training runs were worse.
  6. A 24.3 mile training run for the Eugene Marathon, 4/12/08. The best of the bunch, ran strong the whole way.
  7. The 2008 Eugene Marathon, 5/4/08. No, wait, this was the best of the bunch.


January 13, 2009

Back a couple years ago when I was taking Zoloft and getting started running, I’d often get a nice runner’s high.  Today, without pharmaceutical assistance, it almost never happens. But last night was an exception. About halfway through our six-mile run, there’s a long moderate hill. It goes on and on and I’m usually huffing and puffing by the top. Yesterday I found myself just floating up it. When you were a kid, did you ever do that thing where you stand in a doorway and press out and up hard against the sill with straight arms for a minute or so? Then when you leave the doorway and relax, your arms just seem to float up on their own volition, effortlessly beating back gravity? It was a lot like that.

Shortly after I noticed how effortlessly I was making it up the hill, I also noticed that I was feeling pretty happy and good. Both effects lasted for the rest of the run. I was pushing off hard and getting my legs high off the ground with every step; my breathing was deep but relaxed. The group was me and three fast runners, and we finished up with a 7:53/mile average pace (including an 8:30ish mile one).  My last 0.8 mile, downhill, was on a 6:50 pace. That was maybe the best run I’ve ever had.

Saturday’s Run

January 12, 2009

I ran 15.6 miles Saturday morning, on the Wildwood Trail section north of the NW 53rd trailhead. There are a couple sustained hills in that section, but it’s mostly short rollers or easy slopes. My average pace was around 10:08/mile, which is fast for me for trails. I pushed the downhills, tried to keep my leg turnover fast on the flats, and took it easy uphill. It was a good run, other than one incident.

At the halfway point, I rolled my right ankle badly. It took a few minutes of standing and walking to decide whether to keep going or whether to hike up to a road and call for a ride. Pretty soon it was feeling OK, though, and I finished the run without difficulty. Predictably, my ankle was a little sore the next day, but I was able to go on a long walk, and today it feels even better.

Pier Park Trail Runs

January 9, 2009

I’ve sent in my registration for the six-hour Pier Park Trail Run, taking place in North Portland on February 7.  That’s exactly two weeks before the Hagg Lake 50K, so I’m viewing Pier Park as my last long training run for Hagg.

The Pier Park event is also offering  three hour and six mile races, all held on a 1.01 mile loop through the park. I used to think this sort of event sounded like a nightmare. Running around the same mile as many times as you can in the time limit? Hellish, right? But as I’ve talked to people who’ve done 12 and 24 hour races (and longer) I begin to see some of the advantages. You get an aid station every mile. That’s a big plus and also means you don’t need to carry anything. It’s less expensive to organize, so the entrance fees are lover too. (This one’s $45 with a tech tee shirt.) It’s more social, maybe, since there are more chances to run with someone, even if they are a lap behind or ahead.