11.5; update on foot

August 29, 2009

My foot didn’t hurt when I walked on it this morning. I think I felt a little burning pain one time, but it was so transient that I’m not sure I’m remembering right. Then I ran 11.5 miles on a loop that included the entire extant Fanno Creek trail system, at a constant 8:30/mile pace. It felt a little harder than I think an 8:30 pace should have. Shorter runs done at a deliberately slow pace often seem that way, though. Anyway, my foot didn’t hurt during the run, nor after. So, good news there!


The Left Foot Strikes Back

August 28, 2009

I woke up this morning (after a hill workout last night) with a left foot that hurt a bit. It’s an occasional mild burning pain, in the arch near the heel, present when walking. It hasn’t started the classic way for me, but other than that it feels just like — say it with me everyone! — plantar fasciitis.

I haven’t had even a whiff of PF for most of a year, so this is a little disappointing.  Last time, it was mostly in my right foot. Still, I’m optimistic it will go away as fast as it came. For the immediate future, this is just another signal that I’m to take it very easy and run very short on Saturday: perhaps just 10 or 12 miles.

Feeling a little draggy

August 27, 2009

I ran 7.5 miles Monday, the last four of them pretty hard (getting down a little under seven minute miles for the last one) and I’ve been feeling a bit tired and heavy-legged since. Wednesday was another 7.5 miles, at a slow 8:15-8:30/mile pace, and I just kind of dragged along.

It might be that my body is starting to ask for a bit of a break from the workout load I’ve been giving it the last few weeks. Forty miles a week might be nothing to other marathoners in my running club, but it’s a lot for me right now.  And the number of 20+ long runs I’ve done in the last few months is unprecedented. On the other hand, I might just be having some off days.

Either way, my long run this week is planned as just a 16 miler, so I’m in something of a recovery week. If I continue to feel run-down, I might shorten it up a bit more. I’d like to be in good shape for the half marathon the following weekend.

22.5; Portland Marathon Course Preview

August 22, 2009

This morning the training clinic ran their marathon course preview, a fun run that’s more or less over the last 20 miles of the marathon course. It’s been a few years since I ran it, so it was a good refresher course on what to expect. I actually ran 22.5 miles, since I parked more than a mile away from our start point (Nike Town on 6th and Salmon) and ran to the start and back from the car. Why’d I do that? For one thing, I wanted the extra mileage. For another, I was too cheap to pay for parking… and all the free parking is about a mile away from Nike Town.

The clinic had an enormous turnout today and so formed more pace groups than they usually have… from 2:50:00 marathoners on up by ten minute intervals. I ran with the 3:20:00 group. As always, the actual pace we do these training runs at was about 20% slower than race pace, meaning we were plodding along at around 9:30 per mile. Easy going.

The uphill portions of the St John's Bridge and approach. Click for interactive map.

The uphill portions of the St John's Bridge and approach. Click for interactive map.

Here’s a look at the big hill that comes during the 17th mile of the actual marathon, getting up and over the St. Johns Bridge. I recalled it as being kind of short and steep, but in reality it’s neither. It’s a moderate grade, but surprisingly long. From the start of the approach road to the crown of the bridge is a full 0.8 miles!  The bridge portion is considerable less steep than the approach road. Also, be prepared for a short but very steep downhill very shortly after you get off the bridge, followed by a few blocks of uphill.

Of course, I now know that it’s the miles after the bridge that get you. This time I’ll be more ready than I was in 2007. One hopes.

Another trip to the Nike campus

August 20, 2009

It was 97 degrees outside and time for another round of the free 3K cross-country series on the Nike campus last night. The format was a goofy team relay. Everybody in your team of four runs the first two laps, keeping together. Then the slowest person drops off and the remaining three run lap three. One more person drops off, and the fastest two run one more lap.

I formed a team with two very fast runners (17-minute 5Kers) and one fellow with similar speed to myself. I’ve seen him run in the heat before, though, and I thought he was a bit better at it than I was, so I ever-so-graciously volunteered to be the first to drop off. Yep, selfless, that’s me!

By the time we were nearing the end of the second lap, though, he wanted to drop too. I struggled to get enough breath to inform him that I was dying, and I’d still be the one dropping. I made it through my 1.5K in 6:15; it took me twenty or thirty minutes of coughing and a tight chest to really regain my breath after that. All in all, just pure torture, really.

Anyway, our #3 guy made it through one more lap and then our two fast guys took off. We ended up finishing third, behind a couple of high school cross country teams. Good enough for some prize tee-shirts. I take none of the credit.

Before and after the race, I did a loop around the wood chip trail they have around the perimeter of the campus. It’s two miles long, with footbridges over the main entrance roads.  It was the first time I’ve ran on that trail and I was surprised how nice it was, with a real variety of scenery along the way.

Tune-up half marathon

August 19, 2009

I’ve been looking for a race to enter the weekend of Sept. 5 and 6.  That’s four weeks before the marathon, and one week before my longest pre-marathon training run. (Probably 22-24 miles. I’ll run 16 the week after, starting my taper.) Ideally this race would be a half marathon on streets. It would serve as a tune up, a last check on whether my pace goals are realistic, and (hopefully) a confidence-builder.

I hadn’t had much luck finding a local race that fit the bill, though. The ORRC Wildwood Trail Trial sounds like a fun race and I’d like to do it some time, but as a 10K on trail, it didn’t entirely fit my needs. There were a few 5Ks and 10Ks out in the Gorge or way down south, but I wan’t going to travel for this.

Patience is a virtue. What should appear on the race schedules but the Run Portland Run half marathon, on the 6th. It’s a brand new race by a pretty new race outfit from California, and most of the stuff on their web site was written by someone who seems to talk only in “business-school buzzword gibberish,” but those red flags aside, it fits the bill perfectly. Not only is it a half marathon on the perfect day, but it also has an awesome route for people doing the Portland marathon. It’s an out-and back over the last six and a half miles of the marathon route, traversing it backwards (and uphill) first, then returning back to downtown. I’m signed up.

20 on a hangover

August 16, 2009

This training cycle has been going  unusually well. I haven’t been sick in ages and I haven’t had any injuries. My weekly mileage has topped 40 and if I stay on schedule, I’ll have five 20-milers (or longer) under my belt going into Portland on October 4th. I’ve been mixing in speed workouts and lots of hills.

Even my best efforts to sabotage Saturday’s 20-miler failed. I took Friday off from work to do some events for the Meetin “Celebration” — kind of a national Meetin convention — taking place this weekend in Portland. Basically I started drinking around noon and didn’t stop until 10pm. One could look at it as a determined experiment in deliberate dehydration before a long run. Even with that, the run still went OK.

The Training Clinic was only doing 16 this week, so I peeled off near the end and did five miles by myself. The first four of those went pretty well, but then, at mile 19, I found myself back at my car. That’s always hard, making it to the car and having to keep on going. I took that last mile as a pretty slow cool down and rewarded myself with a cupcake from Saint Cupcake when I was done.