Time for Trilliums

March 28, 2010

Trilliums near the trail

In spring, the trilliums bloom in Portland’s forests. 2010 looks like a good year for them. The pictures are from Saturday, on the Terwilliger trail. It was an amazing sunny and warm March day. I saw a little furry forest mouse on the trail too. Sunday I ran on Wildwood and the flowers looked good there too, if a little less dense. The weather had turned around, though, and it was rainy and muddy.

I ran eight miles both Saturday and Sunday, rather than doing one long day. This was an attempt to avoid angering my left knee. Recall, I had runners knee on my left leg and sciatica on my right this week. The sciatica kept me from running much this week, and that was probably the biggest favor my knee could have gotten, since left to my own devices I’d probably be too stubborn to give it enough rest time. I don’t know if a week is enough rest time either, but at least it will be another five days before I have a long run scheduled.

Big trillium patches surrounded both sides of the trail here.


Three days and counting

March 25, 2010

I’ve only missed three days of running so far. How come it feels more like a month? Oh, right: because I’m a running addict.

Pass the methadone, please.

Runners knee visits again, plus a sciatica flare-up. Waaaah.

March 24, 2010

Oh boy. This is definitely one of those weeks.

First, my knee felt funny again, at the end of Monday’s run. And then still felt funny Tuesday morning. Let’s face it: my runner’s knee is back. It’s mild; I haven’t felt any sharp pains. Mostly just a stiff discomfort. But I can tell it’s not right. I’ve started doing the leg lift exercises nightly, and I feel like a dope for having stopped doing them completely in the first place. (See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-adv/newsweek/article9.html for the exercise I’m talking about.)

Shortly after that, my sciatica flared up. By last night, it was pretty bad. Even if I wanted to test the knee, it doesn’t look like I’ll be running today.

Good times.

Thanks WordPress

March 22, 2010

Well, I had a post up about my 20-miler on Saturday, but WordPress ate most of it. Here was the route:

Here was a picture from along the way:

And here was the gist of it: 20 miles; 7 miles slow, 5 miles of hills, 5 miles of fast finish. I pushed pretty hard in the last bit. My knee felt a little funny after, but I think it’s OK.

Instead of obsessing about how far I am in some pretend cross-continent run, this year I’m obsessing about artificial mileage targets

March 18, 2010

Yes! I’m 20 miles ahead of the Pace Bunny!

Maybe that needs some explaining. Earlier this year, I joined RunningAHEAD’s “2000 Miles A Year” group. It’s one of a number of special user groups on the site for people trying to reach a target number of miles in a calendar year. One of the features of the group is that you can track your progress versus that of the “pace bunny”, a fictional character who runs the right distance each day to hit exactly 2000 miles come the  New Year, in other words about 5.48 miles a day.

Springing Forward

March 17, 2010

Daylight Savings Time! If you’re an after-work runner like me, you love the spring clock change, because all of a sudden you don’t need to carry a flashlight or wear goofy reflective clothing. For those of us who go to WAMR, it also means that we switch to the summer route. In winter, we run on moderately hilly streets; in summer, on near-flat bike paths.

My Garmin wasn’t behaving well during Monday’s run, so I’m not sure of my mile splits… but I’m pretty sure most of them were sub-7:00, with some partial-mile splits at around a 6:40/mile pace. I was pushing it. It was fun not having to worry about the hills. Don’t get me wrong. I love hills. I love what hills do for me, anyway. I think making your way at moderate speed up a hill strengthens your legs in a way even a blisteringly fast run on a flat cannot. But I also love seeing how fast I can go.

Tuesday’s after-work run was an easy jog on my regular hilly route around my neighborhood. It was nice to see it by daylight.

20 on Wildwood

March 14, 2010

My plan for Saturdays leading up to Eugene is to alternate (long slow hilly) trail runs with (long faster flat) road runs. Yesterday was a trail day. I planned to run an out and back on Wildwood, from mile marker zero, near the zoo, to mile ten, out past the NW 53rd trailhead. These are the busiest, most urban, and hilliest sections of Wildwood. When I say “urban”, I don’t mean that you are running through city streets — it’s still a run through peaceful woods, but there are more road crossings, and occasionally you can look up on a ridge and see a house. The hills include the climb up to Pittock Mansion and more than a few other major hills.

I was trying to go slow. The hills slowed me down further. (Though I did run them all; no walking.) Carrying my hydration pack slowed me down a little further yet. The whole 20-mile journey took me three hours and 32 minutes, which is a plodding 10:36/mile average pace. Actually, that’s not a bad pace at all with those hills. I felt strong and good all the way through it. My legs didn’t hurt immediately afterwards, like they used to after similar runs. I think that’s because I have a much better base of weekly miles now. I was in good shape the rest of the day too, not wiped out like I have been sometimes — including last week. All in all, an excellent workout.

That capped a 43-mile week. I’ve gotten over 40 miles eight of the last nine weeks, which is pretty great for me.