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Thought much about this little red line on my runs this week.  Like doing just under 14 laps on Pete's spread out over close to 100 miles of trail.

Thought much about this little red line on my runs this week. Like doing just under 14 laps on Pete’s spread out over close to 100 miles of trail.

To see Strava files, if you do the Strava, find me as “Whyte Nynsha”.

To see more of the Running Logs select from “Running Logs” in the category toolbar to the right.

Saturday 1/18: 18.1 miles / 3:08:00 / Ele’s 4,124 ft.

Major bonk today!  The original goal for the run today was to get in something similar to last Saturday’s 20 miler, I knew the overall pace would likely be a little slower than last week’s, but 20 miles or so at a consistent aerobic pace was my mark to hit. I set out with the body feeling a bit ragged from yesterday’s harder tempo after the Pete’s climb, but I figured I would just try to settle into a comfortable aerobic pace and lock into that for the rest of the run. Slowly, the power department started to shut things down. I had brought a few bloks with me, but I knew that this type of bonk that was coming on would only be fixed by a double stack of pancakes and lots of maple syrup, and that in the past when I’ve been on the bonk train taking in a gel or blok only makes the low of the bonk hit even harder and lower. Also figured that my body has shown good metabolic efficiency on my runs lately so I knew things wouldn’t get too bad and that running while bonked at an easy pace today should hopefully only improve the fat-burning ability of my body, and the lower pace meant lower impact on the body. I managed to plug along, though at a very slow and easy pace, similar to my rejuvenation runs. I tried to figure out the why and how of the bonk, and what makes sense is lack of good caloric recovery after my more intense runs Thursday and Friday. Due to some unhappy gut issues I was not able to eat in the hour or hours right after my runs, the prime window for glycogen repletion for muscles. The energy levels felt a little off this morning before I left and that was already a sign. I did my best to make the most out of what I had, or had not, and figured a long slow run won’t kill me, and honestly have found they sometimes do more than one might think. Also, I know from experience that mentally it is good to know you can make it home and finish the long run in that sort of state, knowing that comes in handy if you find yourself on a big run in the wilderness bonking your face off which happened to me a few times this summer, and it just gives you that piece of mind to not go too crazy or panic, to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and enjoy the scenery until you get home. We’ll see how things feel tomorrow, the stomach felt better today so I was able to refuel right after the run, which will help. The forest was amazing today, so warm up high with plenty of blue sky. Was happy to be out in it and did my best to savor the leisurely pace. Runs like this are humbling, and educational on many fronts. I think as runners we focus so much on fueling the muscles, we forget that one of the biggest glucose users is the brain, and if the brain senses a shortage it does its best to try to stop the body to find food, rest, or walk. What is interesting is that hitting the wall and bonking actually starts with the brain being glucose deprived and then it not sending good mojo for the body to keep working. Amazing how powerful that little nugget between the ears is.

Sunday 1/19: 10.9 miles / 2:21:00 / Ele’s 4,770 ft. 

Today’s run focused on getting some vertical in. Warmed up the first 15 minutes or so at a very easy pace, the air was frigid along the park and I wanted to ease into today’s run gently. Made my way to the base of Pete’s. The first goal today was two laps on Pete’s, each under 19:30. The legs weren’t feeling super snappy, punchy, or pizzazzy today, so what I really wanted to focus on was keeping a consistent pace for each effort, not taking it into the red, and generally feeling like I was maintaining a workload effort that felt like a bread & butter pace. Running Pete’s is never easy, though today my efforts felt “comfortable”, and by that I mean I felt like I was in a exertion level where I was not worrying about blowing up, blowing chunks, or blowing my wad too soon. Just able to focus on good breathing, good fluid body movement, enjoying the sweat dripping off my brow, and I felt mentally very focused and not distracted (unlike yesterday where my mind was going crazy in Bonktown). The times from my Re-Pete’s today reflect that I did indeed achieve my goal of consistent, bread & butter, efforts, 19:18 the first round and 19:15 the second, so nice even to have a little faster on the second go. After Pete’s I added on the climb up BTI and back down for a little more vert. Overall, I noticed that my legs didn’t, and don’t now, feel totally lactic acid burned or flamed out. So it’s nice to know I’ve developed enough strength, efficiency, and aerobic capacity, for this type of vertical bread & butter run without totally shutting me down after. I also felt that today’s run I finished with something left in the tank, mentally and physically, which is something I should aim to do more of! Overall, a nice day, I’ve come to realize that generally I do and will feel like total crap the first 10 – 15 minutes of my runs, and to not worry about that, as today was a good example where I felt like crap the first mile, only to have a positive outlook, sensations, and overall good mojo from the run. This amazing weather doesn’t hurt either, so beautiful out in the forest, warm, sunny, oh so nice.

Monday 1/20: 11.9 miles / 2:28:06 / Ele’s 5,046 ft.

Today’s goal was to run a route very similar to yesterday’s route and perhaps tack on just a bit more to see if I could break 5,000 ft. of vertical, which I did in less than 12 miles today, Ashland trails are made with the real stuff. The meat of it being two laps on Pete’s with the usual goal of under 19:30, and generally trying to get more bread & butter vertical in. Took the warm-up very easy again today as I knew there would plenty of time to “do joyful work” later in the run. The legs felt more tired today than they did yesterday, which makes sense, still, I felt the workout I had planned would be manageable and attainable. The pacing on Pete’s was similar to yesterday, actually ended up going a little faster on the first lap, likely due to the fact that I was feeling a little tired and therefore probably ran a little harder worried that I might not make the 19:30 cut, though I ended up more than minute under that so it was more me over-thinking it. The first go was in 18:23 and the second lap was a 19:19. Second lap felt easier, and I took the pacing a little more even, at least it felt that way. Tried to go a little faster on the descents, still not fast by any means but it felt better in some ways to carry a little more speed down. After the re-Pete’s I dropped down the shorter backside, came back up, and then did the BTI bit before running home. Overall a solid run, managed to finish feeling like there was a little left in the tank, not as much as yesterday, but still, something left there. As usual, no water or calories on today’s run and energy levels felt consistent throughout. Legs feel more spent after the run today than they did after the run yesterday, though that makes sense since I had an easy long run Saturday before Sunday’s run.

Tuesday 1/21: 10.2 miles / 2:09:04  / Ele’s 4,363 ft.

Went out for today’s run with the goal of doing another set of re-Pete’s, with the goal again of consistent pacing, repeatable efforts, and not digging too deep into the red. Took the warm up very easy. The legs actually felt about the same today as they did on yesterday’s run, which is good, unfortunately I have a nagging little goblin pain in my upper right hip that was a bit angry and flared up today, I think it is actually the hip and leg strengthening exercises I did after yesterday’s run that aggravated it. The goes up Pete’s went fine, ran them in the “comfort” bread & butter zone, 19:20 the first go and just squeaked under 19:30 with a 19:29 the second go, which effort wise felt easier than the first time up. Did my best to open it up on the downhills off of Pete’s today, downhills are something I need to improve on, so I am starting to work on this more. Makes the descending more fun that’s for sure, especially with the trail as dry as it is. Not sure if I will try to continue the re-Pete’s streak tomorrow, it is a good goal and intention, but I don’t want to force it or overdo it, otherwise I’ll pay for it later and I am already pretty happy with 3 days of re-Pete’s in a row on top of the other climbing in the runs.

Wednesday 1/22: 10.7 miles / 2:04:25 / Ele’s 1,945 ft.

If I look at the numbers of the last handful of days, even though my training log weeks start on Saturdays and end on Fridays, I’ve got a total of 24,040 feet of vertical from last Thursday’s re-Pete’s session to yesterday’s re-Pete’s, a pretty decent number for me in six days, and I do think it is wise to take some easier runs to let the training settle in. Even if I wasn’t crunching the numbers I would know that my body needed something easy today. Today’s run was very mellow, and that was the plan from the get go. I could tell waking up that things were tired and beat. I am getting better with the zen of the slow, easy run. It takes an effort to shift focus and thinking, rhythm and expectations, for these types of runs since they are a real shift in gears, mentally and physically, from the usual more workout and ‘structured’, or goal oriented type runs. It does help to have such amazing, warm, and sunny weather. The route today was up the trails to top of Caterpillar and then back down much the same way. Focusing on trying to keep the body loose and easy, comfortable, yet not sloppy. Keeping that intention of good form and biomechanics can actually sometime be harder at slower speeds. The right hip still feeling tight, though a little better than yesterday, and it feels better than yesterday after the run. Hopefully another easy day or two should have it well on the way to being cleared up.

Thursday 1/23: 12.1 miles / 2:01:19 / Ele’s 2,318 ft.

Another amazing day of sun and warmth on the trails. A strong south wind even brought the warm air down to some of the lower elevations and cleared out some of the haze that was resting in the valley. Taking the easy run yesterday was a good idea, I felt a bit better in all regards on today’s run. The right hip was less sore, legs less tired, and the body felt a little more energetic. Which is all a good sign after an easy day of running. When the body responds well to an easy day it is a sign that recovery is taking place, and that the body is processing the previous workload and getting stronger as a result. One thing I discovered in cycling was that if I did not feel better, more rested, or in some way recovered after an easy day, then it was a sign that my body was overtrained and much too fatigued, that I had over-cooked it. That is one lesson I am taking into the running, to learn that timing of when to rest and when to push that little bit more. Am happy I was able to back off and let the recovery start. In cycling, when I did get too deep into the workload or stress from consecutive workouts it would take far too long to dig myself back out of the hole and finally recover, ultimately compromising the benefits of all the work I had done up to that point. So I think that I was wise not to keep pushing the re-Pete’s and instead take some easier days to recover. Took today’s run still very easy, exertion wise the effort today felt about the same as yesterday, though the overall pace was higher and the body felt less ragged overall, so again, signs that recovery is on the upswing. Took a long walk in the sun this afternoon and the hip felt much better than on my walk yesterday afternoon. Tomorrow will likely be another easier outing to let things get back on top before the weekend, got to remember to be patient.

Friday 1/24: 14.3 miles / 2:09:18 / Ele’s 3,243 ft.

Amazing weather for this Aloha Friday. Went out up Road 2060 with the goal of locking into a bread & butter pace if the body allowed. Started off easy and then slowly got into the pace on the climb up Rd 2060, energy systems felt better today and I felt I was close to an easier bread & butter pace so I locked into that and tried to keep it consistent for the rest of the climb up to the base of Horn Gap trail. By the end of the climbing the right hip was feeling a little sore and painful so I decided it would be best to take it easy on the descent, went at a comfortable pace and tried to keep the hip from getting too tight or wobbly. Would have liked to maintain the bread & butter pace for the whole run but am happy that each day things are feeling better. Would really like for this hip issue to be done, may need a couple really easy days or a day off to really get the healing done, just hard to do that with all this good weather! Lots of water trucks and forest service trucks flying up and down the road today, controlled burns going on up behind Ostrich Peak area.

Weekly Totals: 88.2 miles / 16:22:00 / Ele’s 25,809 ft.

Lessons from the week:

Overall I was able to follow up last week’s respectable totals with another solid week.  Took a lot of walks in the afternoons rather than spending time on the bike or bike trainer, the weather was so nice to be outside in an easy and mellow way this week after the morning runs, so the total time for the week was lower in that regard, but still solid hours on the runningSpent a good deal of time on Pete’s this week.  Always good for the overall leg strength and a good way to get the climbing to be stronger and more efficient, putting pennies in the bank one lap up Pete’s at a time.  Great weather, warm, sun, blue skies, made getting out a no brainer.  The right hip issue is still lingering and I am thinking that taking a day off might be necessary if it doesn’t show more sign of improvement soon.  Writing this up and looking back at the last few weeks, and thinking about how I’ve been feeling lately, and it feels like the mojo core reactor needs a little easy time to rest, rejuvenate and rebuild.  This is one of those times where the old me might have tried to soldier through a nagging injury and some fatigue, only to detonate a week later in meteoric fashion.  My goal this next week is to do it smarter, recover sooner than later and get all rested up and healed up so I can resume some more solid running.

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Serious inversion layers this week blanketed the Rogue Valley in an icy cold swath.  Though once above on the trails it was mid 50's, bluebird skies, sun on the face, and sweat on the brow.    Mt. McLoughlin pictured here framed by some madrones and firs on Hitt Road.

Serious inversion layers this week blanketed the Rogue Valley in an icy cold swath. Though once above on the trails it was mid 50’s, bluebird skies, sun on the face, and sweat on the brow. Mt. McLoughlin pictured here framed by some madrones and firs on Hitt Road.

To see Strava files, if you do the Strava, find me as “Whyte Nynsha”.

To see more of the Running Logs select from “Running Logs” in the category toolbar to the right.

Quotes/mantras/wisdom for the week:

“Abraham Lincoln once said that if he had six hours to chop down a tree, he’d spend the first five hours sharpening the axe.”      -from Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman

Saturday 1/11: 20.0 miles / 3:06:06 / Ele’s 4,497 ft.

Woke up this a.m. feeling a need for a long run. My late start was rewarded with the only lengthy dry, sunny window of the day. Wasn’t expecting too much from my legs, the goal was just to get out and have a solid, positive, consistent long run with some elevation. The weather was windy, sunny, and warm enough. Made the climb up to Four Corners and just a bit beyond on Bull Gap Road. The climbing felt good, able to find a consistent pace. The combination of doing the bread & butter runs as well as the long, slow rejuvenation run last week gave me a good idea of what exertion level would be right for today. Given my mileage, vertical, and that I took in no calories or water for the run I am happy with my average pace. There is always the hindsight where I think, oh, I could have pushed harder here, or gone faster there, but it’s not a race and I achieved my goals for the run. Took the lower Bull Gap singletrack back down to four corners. Tried to be loose and comfortable on the decent and things felt good all the way down. I climbed up 2060 Rd. for just a short bit before heading home to get the legs used to that transition after a long decent and climb prior. Happy with the fact the energy levels stayed high enough throughout the run despite taking in no calories, body has become more and more efficient with the fueling. Also happy with my ability to stick to an even pace and make it through the run without any major lows or lulls. Saw Ryan and Willow out on the trail which is always a nice little boost for me when I see them and talk, even if briefly.

Sunday 1/12: 14.2 miles / 2:46:08 / Ele’s 4,844 ft. 

Cracked close to 5,000 ft. of vertical in about 14 miles today, and two of those miles were flat, the rest I think is fair to say were up or down, maybe both? Legs felt slow and tired for the first couple miles of the run after yesterday’s longer outing that had some decent vertical too. Took an easy warm up from home and then an easy climb up the first section of Bandersnatch. Once I got on Pete’s though the legs warmed up a bit, the mind loosened up a bit, and the breathing felt good. As usual, aimed for my working goal of sub 19:30 on each, 18:50 the first go and a 19:12 the second go. Happy enough with those times considering they were working efforts and not full gas, and that the legs were not fresh or snappy. Worked on longer stride length intervals on the second time up. Took it easy on the way down each time and didn’t do too much lollying around near the top or bottom between each go which I think helped keep the legs flowing, even if it hurt a little more at the start of each round. After the second time down I climbed up Jabberwoky, the first 1/8 mile burned like a mother after the re-Pete’s, found a rhythm and effort that worked and made my way up, took it comfortable on the trails down and then did a couple faster miles on the road around the park and the legs and energy felt surprisingly good considering, able to run 7:03 and 6:28 without too much laboring or grimacing and felt I could have done a few more at that pace. Wanted to finish today with at least a little something left in the tank and that was accomplished. Again, no calories and no water on today’s run, the lows and dips that I did have in energy and focus today came within the first hour, the rest of the run things felt even keel and fine, could have done another 1/2 hour or so before a bonk likely hit. Happy with another solid day of vert and volume for the weekend, including Friday’s run this has been a good three day block of runnings.

Monday 1/13: 13.8 miles / 1:54:15 / Ele’s 2,848 ft. & 50:00 on bike trainer

Took a little while for the legs and the body to warm up and loosen up this morning. Things were feeling a bit rough around the edges after the weekend of running. Once I got into an easy rhythm things started to feel better. The weekend block of running started with some intensity on Friday’s run, and then Saturday and Sunday I focused more on volume and vert, getting some good longer runs in with plenty of climbing. Overall I could feel some of the fatigue of that volume in my legs today. However, none of my runs on Saturday and Sunday had any really intense efforts as far as exertion. Climbing up today my legs were telling me that although they were tired, they did want to unwind and push things at some point. I ran up at an even pace and figured that if things still felt motivated by Catwalk I would try for an effort there. Things did feel good so I opened it up a bit and managed to set a new PR/KOM on the Catwalk segment, running a 14:12, beating my old PR from November which was 16:02. Just at the top of Catwalk I figured I would keep the legs rolling and see how long I could ride the wave. Ended up running at tempo to milepost 19 on 2060 Rd. which was a good workout right after climbing Catwalk at an effort, that part of 2060 is false flat to slight uphill so it was a good burn. Was figuring I would ease off there but decided that I would turn around and just keep rolling it, the road was now downhill and from there to four corners and down the Loop Road I let things go free and wide open down to the flattish are past Caterpillar. Overall I was surprised and happy with the effort, a solid climb from the bottom of Catwalk to the top, right into a couple of faster tempo miles which was good for the legs and the turnover, and then straight into one of the fastest downhills I’ve run in a while. Starting more or less with the catwalk climb around mile 6 my splits were: 9:53 (bulk of catwalk climb), 7:20 (finish of climb straight into false flat tempo), 5:51 (2060 Rd. tempo), 5:26, 5:06 (last two Loop Rd. downhill). A solid 5 miles of work in there. Overall for the run my avg. pace was lower than my bread and butter runs last week, not by much, but still, a good pace considering the beginning and end of the run were more mellow. Will be interesting to see how the legs feel tomorrow after the downhill pounding today.

Tuesday 1/14: 11.2 miles / 1:55:10 / Ele’s 2,115 ft. & 30:00 on bike trainer

I could feel the last few days of running in the legs and body today, and mentally I was ready for an easy day just to cruise the forest easy. The goal was a rejuvenation run similar to last week, the mantra on the climbs, “not strain, no pain” and the mantra on the descent, “no punishing, no pounding”. Took the climb up very easy to the top of Caterpillar, enjoying getting into the sun above the inversion layer, blue sky, bright sun on my face. Just as I was turning to descendI saw Omer, and we ran the rest of the descent together, which was really enjoyable. We had some good talk and it was nice to have the conversation on the descent. Probably took the descent faster than I would have alone for this run, but it was nice to talk and listen and let my body just do its things. Took another mile at the end through the park really easy, felt better at the end of the run than at the beginning, still, I might need another one or two of these easy runs this week to let the harder runs from the last few days settle in.

Wednesday 1/15: 10.1 miles / 1:52:55 / Ele’s 2,208 ft.

Had another easy run today since I woke up feeling like my body could use it. Am working on erring on the side of being kinder to my body rather than erring on the side of overdoing it. Took it slow and easy, no pain no strain, on the climb up. Really intense inversion layer today made it cold and frosty to start, but gloriously sunny and so so warm up high. Topped out on the Pete’s Peak via up the backside from Caterpillar and found myself wishing there was a sun-deck with a chaise lounge, espresso, and the rest of the day off to just soak it all in. Took the downhill very very gentle as well, no pounding or hammering. Made it back with the legs feeling better than when I left. Overall I think this easy run was much needed today, the legs felt slow and heavy, energy levels were low, and I needed that easy run. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Thursday 1/16: 8.8 miles / 1:48:07 / Ele’s 3,674 ft.

Legs felt better this morning after taking the last couple days easier, my gut has been feeling a bit off lately, not enough to put me out, but enough to dampen a little the quality of how the body feels out running and the energy levels. My goal today was to get a couple laps in on Pete’s. Ran straight to the base through the cold freezing fog inversion layer, eager to climb up and get into the sunshine and warmer weather. The goal today, as usual, was to run each lap up under 19:30. My first go was 19:08, second go was 18:39. Not often that I run the second faster than the first, and the second go felt easier. On the second lap I did work on some longer stride intervals, I think these are good for recruiting the muscles in a different range of motion and to a different degree than the normal short and quick climbing stride, which translates to a greater range of strength and power for the stride on flatter runnings. Took the downhills easy and comfortable. Energy systems felt a little off today, some brief little spells of feeling a bit dizzy and out of sorts. Still, happy enough with two trips up Pete’s and the amazing warm sunshine up high thanks to the inversion. Great views of Mcloughlin and Mt. Ashland from the top of Pete’s. As an easy afternoon activity I opted for a walk in the afternoon to enjoy the sunshine rather then inside on the bike trainer.

Friday 1/17: 11.1 miles / 1:42:22 / Ele’s 2,063 ft. & 40:00 easy on bike

Wanted to run today’s lap up Pete’s with the goal of going a bit harder than either of my efforts yesterday since I only planned to do one up today. Warmed up and the legs felt more or less average after yesterday’s re-Pete’s. On the run up Pete’s I tried “attacking” some of the steeper sections with longer, more powerful strides until almost the point where my legs were too flamed out to run another step, then I would back it off to shorter strides and recover and wait for another section to go hard on. More glorious and warm sunshine at the top and all the way up. Ended up with an 18:00 on the nose for today’s effort, happy with that time. Took it super chill on the way down the trails via Caterpillar etc. and saw the Kem family doing a forest friday, a bunch of smiling faces! Did a progression workout of 3 miles right near the end of the run on the flat gravel road above the park, times for those three miles were: 6:27, 6:11, 5:49. The brain was kind of in a blah state so it took some pushing and prodding to get the legs turning over for this faster bit. The first mile felt the hardest, getting the legs rolling faster and working hard after the easy downhill off Pete’s. After the first mile my goal was two more miles, each progressively faster. The road above the park is great for this, not super long so you have to do u-turns at each end mid-mile, but still, a natural surface, some slight undulations, more exciting than the track and fairly consistent. The next two miles of the progression came a bit easier mentally and physically as I got more focused and locked in on my breath and movement. Was nice to get those faster miles in after having done Pete’s earlier in the run, I think that variation in type of terrain, while still going hard, whether hill or flat, ultimately makes my running stronger and more resilient. Overall, happy with the running today, I felt a bit tired and uninspired heading out the door to start the run and it was nice to push things hard and let the lactic acid burn some of those blues away.

Running Weekly Totals: 89.2 miles / 15:06:00 / Ele’s 22,249 ft.

Bike Stationary Trainer Total Time: 2:00:00

Total Time: 17:06:00

Lessons from the week:

Happy with another solid week of running, 22,249 ft. of vertical and just shy of 90 miles is a quality set of numbers for me.  A new PR/KOM on catwalk by a solid chunk of time over my last PR, my average times up Pete’s are dropping, and I came close to breaking a 5:00 mile on some downhill work after a good tempo effort up Catwalk and out Rd 2060.  Looking back on the week I started this block with two days of longer runs, both of which I felt consistent and solid on, followed my Monday’s run that involved some high intensity efforts and some fast downhill turnover.  Am starting to really find the right way to do my recovery/rejuvenation runs and I finished the week with some quality workouts on Pete’s and a little 3 mile tempo that let me know I haven’t forgotten completely how to run on flatter terrain.  Overall I felt like the week’s workload was manageable for my body, had a couple low spots here and there energy and/or motivation wise, though those were in the morning before the run and were quickly dissolved once I got into the day’s run.  Had some gut issue during the week that kind of threw things out of whack a bit, but feeling a bit better now.  The weather was great with the inversion and I am feeling like the body is developing a solid base from all the aerobic running, and still getting plenty of return from the couple of more intense efforts that come up during the week.  The longer runs on the weekend have been good, more of those to come hopefully.

Spent a little less time on the bike trainer this week as I opted to take a few walks in the afternoons as a mellow afternoon activity rather than sit inside and spin.  I think in general the walks are a bit more restful than the spin sessions.  Keeping on top with the Bikram yoga 3-4 times a week, and just bought a foam roller as recommended by Shaggy which should help roll some kinks out.

Here is an excerpt from and article via irunfar.com, written by Joe Uhan, that goes along with my post last week regarding training intensities and the importance of using high intensity workouts sparingly mixed with lower intensity aerobic running:

Intensity Matters: Fuel Selection and Inflammatory Stress

The answer to the undead pain puzzle lies in intensity. Most runners and sports-med professionals agree that faster running is more stressful, yet most would cite that mechanical stress–higher speeds equal higher forces–as the primary reason.

But what about chemical stress?

With any activity, we have two primary fuel sources: fat and sugar. At most efforts, our bodies burn a mixture, but ultimately prefer to burn fat. We have lots of it, and we’re wired to ‘go slow all day’ with everything we do. However, as a part of our survival, we’re also equipped with the ability to go really hard for short periods of time. At any given time, we have about one to three hours of fuel to go at high intensity, and that fuel is sugar.

While sugar burning is a fast-acting, convenient, high-octane fuel, chronic use has its drawbacks. When the body shifts away from fat to sugar burning, the body responds by secreting inflammatory chemicals. The body, perceiving this high-intensity activity, releases these chemicals to preemptively repair any possible damage that may occur from such intense efforts.

A primary chemical consequence of prolonged sugar-burning exercise is increased cortisol production. Cortisol is a stress hormone secreted in higher volumes with sugar-burning exercise; its primary role is to mobilize more sugar into the system, as well as other energy forms. In small doses, cortisol has positive effects. But with prolonged and excessive secretion, cortisol can, among other things, decrease tissue healing and dampen the immune system. There are other inflammatory byproducts from the sugar-burning process, but cortisol is the primary culprit.

So when a healing runner exercises at a high-enough intensity to burn predominantly sugar, the result is more than mechanical stress: they inadvertently flood their system with inflammatory, tissue-weakening chemicals. These chemicals attack the healing tissue (and often the sensitized nerve tissues around the injury). The result is ongoing pain and poor tissue healing. There’s the rub.

Aerobic and Anaerobic: A Tight Balancing Act

Most runners recognize that sugar-burning–high-intensity running (or any other physical activity)–must be done sparingly. But how, precisely, do we know when we’re fat versus sugar burning?

Aerobic fitness is defined by the maximum intensity and duration of exercise we can partake while using fat as a dominant fuel source. Fat burning requires a lot of oxygen and a lot of cellular mitochondria to process, but with more practice (training), the body can burn fat faster, and longer. But when the demands of activity out-strip what fat can provide, the body shifts to more and more sugar. But it is not an either-or, all-or-nothing scenario. Rather, it is a dynamic ratio of fat and sugar at various intensities.

However, for each of us, at any given fitness level, there is an intensity level at which our body shifts completely to sugar burning. This is referred to as the anaerobic threshold (AT). Beyond this point, we are burning pure sugar and the above-mentioned chemical stressors are most acute. Healthy runners are usually able to strike a balance of easy, fat-burning running with more intense exercise. They quickly learn what intensities are sustainable and stay within those limits.

But for injured runners, that system can be completely disrupted:

  • The fit, healthy runner might burn mostly fat at eight-minute pace.
  • The injured runner, due to lost fitness, has diminished fat-burning ability: eight-minute pace may now be entirely sugar-burning.
  • The fit, healthy runner, pre-injury, had consistent running mechanics.
  • The injured runner has learned a faster, more efficient stride, but the learning process drives her to run too fast–7:30 pace–beyond even her previous fat burning, and far beyond her current fitness.
  • Running fast (due to better mechanics, or impatience, and/or excitement to run again) burns sugar, creates chronic, systemic inflammation, and perpetuates pain and slows recovery.

It becomes a painful cycle that must somehow end.

Intensity Guidelines for Metabolic Stress Management

Phil Maffetone, DC, was one of the first sports medicine professionals to recognize the role of training intensity on injury incidence and recovery–and quantify it. Besides using it as a guide for optimal training, he devised and uses his ’180 Formula’ to ensure athletes maximize fat burning and minimize sugar-burning and its accompanying stresses.

The 180 formula, simply put, is the optimal heart rate-based exercise intensity at which fat is still the dominant fuel source. The formula was derived from the thousands of respiratory metabolic tests he conducted with athletes over the past 30-plus years. The general rule: 180 minus your current age. This is an estimate based on the average of those laboratory results. And based on those thousands of results–and the various athletes, injured and healthy, he tested–he developed several caveats, including:

  • If you have or are recovering from a major illness (heart disease, any operation or hospital stay, etc.) or are on any regular medications, subtract an additional 10.
  • If you are injured, have regressed in training or competition, get more than two colds or bouts of flu per year, have allergies or asthma, or if you have been inconsistent or are just getting back into training, subtract an additional 5.
  • If you have been training consistently (at least four times weekly) for up to two years without any of the problems just mentioned, keep the number (180–age) the same.
  • If you have been training for more than two years without any of the problems listed above, and have made progress in competition without injury, add 5.

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Had a flash back this week to one day this summer when I ran the Loowit trail circumnavigating the beautiful, mysterious, and majestic Mt. St, Helens.

Had a flash back this week to one day this past summer when I ran the Loowit trail circumnavigating the beautiful, mysterious, and majestic Mt. St, Helens.

To see Strava files, if you do the Strava, find me as “Whyte Nynsha”.

To see more of the Running Logs select from “Running Logs” in the category toolbar to the right.

Quotes/mantras.wisdom for the week:

“Do joyful work.”

“Clarity, love, abundance, growth.”

Saturday 1/4: 14.4 miles / 2:13:24 / Ele’s 2,843 ft.

Had a little post-PR melancholy today after my effort on Pete’s yesterday. It is quite an interesting phenomena that anyone who tracks their PR and times has experienced. I knew going into the run today that the legs would probably be a bit sore and tired. Had a great massage from Shaggy again yesterday, followed by a Bikram session which helped the legs to feel some life in them today. Shaggy is working to help free my hips up more, which I am really noticing in my runs, and it feels great. The legs and mind were a little haggard this morning, and I made my goal to just get out and run at an even aerobic endurance pace, enjoy the sun, and not worry much about anything other than running and sunning. To be honest, and in retrospect as I write this up now in the evening, I can say that I would have probably been better served to do a shorter, flatter run with some time on the bike today as oppose to the hillier run I did take. After last week’s solid block of running it is hard to realize and acknowledge when the body needs a break to catch up and recover. Today the body was calling out for it, I answered, kind of, need to work on that.

Sunday 1/5: 12 miles / 1:43:12 / Ele’s 911 ft. & 1:05:00 on bike trainer

Today’s run was the type of run I should have taken yesterday, slow, easy, flat. Last week’s total volume, vertical, and intensity was much higher than the previous two weeks of running so it would make logical sense that my body is in need of some recovery time. Legs felt pretty flat and heavy today, low energy and a bit of low motivation. Luckily the weather was very warm, very windy, but the wind was a warm one. It took me a few miles to figure out a proper pace, the strong headwind and tired legs had me feeling like I was fighting the pace and the elements. The flatter running was good, the pavement not so much. Maybe I should have stuck with some easy laps around the park instead. I find recovery runs like this one hard because it requires a different mentality and approach than a normal run. I do need to keep reminding myself of the intentions of a recovery run, and that it should feel and be, easy, enjoyable, light, and pleasing, both physically and mentally. Sometimes I think it is easier to go out and blow your brains out on lactic acid than it is to take it easy and mellow. Though I know I had nothing in the tanks for a hard effort today. The last 4 miles finally felt like my body and mind had loosened up enough to take in the views, the air, and actually settle into enjoying the slower pace.

Monday 1/6: 12.5 miles / 1:49:18 / Ele’s 2,798 ft. & 55:00 on bike trainer

Legs felt better today than they did yesterday or Saturday, which is always an affirming feeling after an easier run the day before, which I had yesterday. Today’s run was to try to find a bread & butter pace/effort on the trail. I feel like I’ve done enough on the roads in the past month to know what a solid working aerobic pace is for those bread & butter road runs, so I am trying to find that same working zone on a more vertical hilly run. Made my way up the trails at an even pace, focusing on having more kick at the top than at the bottom if any difference in pace/exertion at all. I did this same run on Saturday, my times were faster today and my legs felt fresher than Saturday’s go. The climbing felt good, making sure to train and not strain, and go at a pace I could hold without reaching. I tried to open things up a little more on the downhill, and felt good about that. The inner right thigh was acting up a little bit after that hard descending, but at this point I’ll fight fire with fire. Overall, happy with the feelings I came away with after today’s run, and I think this was close to what I could call a bread & butter pace, plus or minus a handful of seconds per mile on the pacing. I think that consistency with these types of runs help build up my running engine. They are hard enough to acquire training load and create a recovery/strengthening response, but not so hard that it compromises my running the next day or later in the week. So ideally with these consistent runs I could have the energy and desire to add a couple harder, more intense effort days in, for example a tempo workout on the road or some harder climbing efforts.

Tuesday 1/7: 12 miles / 1:43:48 / Ele’s 2,626 ft. & 20:00 on bike trainer

Did not sleep well last night, felt like I had a fever coming on Monday night, then had a pretty bad and hot night’s sleep. Woke up feeling out of it and still hot with a somewhat unhappy stomach. Not too achey though so I figured I would go fight the flu out with a run to see if I could work it through, likely something I picked up from the first day back with the kids at school. The goal today was to go for another hilly bread & butter paced run, and in short I managed to do so, similar mileage/elevation as yesterday and my mile/minute pace was actually a little faster today, likely due to running the downhill faster. My original plan was to do the same route as yesterday, though I decided part way up that I would go up the Loop Road to Four corners instead of using Catwalk. The climb up I felt really hot, sweating out whatever was going on inside me, the energy levels felt ok considering. A couple nature stops that could only be described as explosive, but resulted in the stomach feeling better. Made the climb up to four corners at a more or less steady effort that I aimed to go at a similar output to yesterday, though I felt like I was fading in the last 1.5 miles or so. Turned at the top and the legs responded well to just letting loose and opening it up a bit more than I have been the last few days on the downhills. Felt good to have after the feverish, hot, sweaty and fuzzy headed feelings I had on the climb up. Overall the run felt kind of like a fever-dream, half awake, half in a zombie like flu stupor. The rain coming down towards the end felt good on the face and made the forest smells amazing.

Wednesday 1/8: 9.8 miles / 2:05:06 / Ele’s 3,660 ft. & 1:00:00 on bike trainer

Went to bed early last night and got a good night’s sleep, feeling like the method of fighting fire with fire yesterday ran whatever flu/stomach bug I had through me. Felt a bit tired today, hard to get the legs turning over, took the first 1.5 miles or so really easy to warm things up gently and save my mojo for the workout on Pete’s. I don’t think I would have done, or would want to do this workout on much more tired legs than I did today, much more tired and I would have been better served to take an easy run, but there was enough desire in my heart to get my legs moving and make it happen with the mantra of “joyful work”. The goal today was two efforts up Pete’s, with the working goal of sub 19:30 on each climb. In the past my working goal has been sub 20:00, but I reason that if I want to improve my PR to sub 17:00 than I should lower my working goal time as well. Ran a 18:48 the first go and 19:11 the second. Took it very, very gentle on the way down after each one, which is still a pretty good workout for the front of the legs and the hips. The legs felt pretty flamed out today, especially by the end of the run, so it was nice to take the last couple miles after Pete’s through the park really mellow and easy to have a longer cool down than usual. Still, it’s always funny to see how long this short of a run takes, though the total vert tells the story. Tomorrow and or Friday should/will be an easier day to let the last few days’ worth of running sink in and let some recovery happen before the weekend’s runnings. The forest was smelling great again today after some light rain, the temps are still warm enough for the short shorts and a light layer on top. On another note, a co-worker told me to try eating some madrone berries, I tried some out at the end of my run today, right of the tree into my mouth, amazing little sweet treats!

Thursday 1/9: 13.5 miles / 2:30:17 / Ele’s 2,923 ft.

Last few days of running has caught up with me and the workout on Pete’s yesterday sealed the deal. Still, the weather was nice enough this morning, and I had the time, and desire, to just get out and be in the forest. Decided I would do a very, gentle, easy paced long run and see how it made the legs feel tomorrow, kind of an easy long recovery run. Definitely recovery pace today, which is even slower when it’s recovery on a hilly route, the duration of the outing though was longer than what I would classify as recovery. On the slow climb up I made it a goal not to strain or push, and the goal on the way down was to not pound or punish the legs. The climbing legs were feeling pretty well zapped and by the time I made it to four corners I was feeling pretty low on energy and a bit bonked out. Made the descent just about as slow as my ascent, stayed true to keeping it strain and pounding free for the whole run. Finished feeling about as tired as I started, though a bit more hungry than when I began. Overall I would say that today’s run was a nice time to just be outside and hear the birds, see some snowflakes coming down, and just take the forest in. Also probably one of my first easy runs where I went easy from the get go and did not try to push myself hard at any point in the run. Made for a good lesson in patience, slowing the mind down as the body was moving slower than usual. Will be interesting to see how the legs feel after this tomorrow, hopefully they will have received some rejuvenation from the low intensity of this run. Keeping it mellow I opted for some walking later in the day instead of the indoor spin session.

Friday 1/10: 11.8 miles / 1:51:40 / Ele’s 2,650 ft.

Wasn’t sure exactly how the legs were going to feel today after yesterday’s very easy but long duration run. Was pleasantly surprised that yesterday’s run had indeed brought about some rejuvenation to the legs and the mind. Nothing felt achey or too sore, and overall I would say that the legs and energy felt much better today than compared to how it all felt yesterday. The goal for today’s run was to get in one good go up Pete’s, which I did right after the warm-up. Put in some climbing there, wanted to put in some good effort but not dig too deep into the intensity, running a 18:47 today, achieving what has become my new “working goal” of sub 19:30. Overall the legs felt way better going up than they did yesterday. On the way up Pete’s I worked some more on longer, more powerful strides. Kept things rolling after the top and cruised down easy on the backside of Pete’s. The next goal of the run was to do a “progression” workout on Caterpillar segment. Kind of like doing intervals, but a little more fun in that the goal is to run each successive effort a little faster than the previous. I’ve been reading more and more about this type of workout out lately and figured I would give it a go. The Caterpillar segment is well suited because of its length and some climbing, and there is a nice recovery between efforts via coming down on the Loop Rd. The goal today was 3 efforts, starting with an effort that felt hard but not too hard, then using that time as a benchmark for the next two. Ended up achieving the goal there with times of: 6:36, 6:26: 5:56. The last one felt tough but not terrifyingly so. Ran the rest of the run at a comfortable pace, I wanted to make sure I finished feeling like there was something left in the tank for the weekend runs. Overall, satisfied with the run today, some good efforts, I had fun with it, the legs and energy systems were on board, and I am happy to know that in the future long, easy paced runs, even hilly ones, can be rejuvenating.

Weekly Running Totals: 86 miles / 13:57:00 / Ele’s 18,411 ft.

Bike total: 3:20:00

Overall total time: 17:17:00

Lessons from the week:

Satisfied with my mileage, vertical, and overall volume for the week.  Another solid week of training after last week’s big week.  Slowly finding the happy balance of mileage, vertical, and volume, as well as types of runs in a given week that is sustainable and keeps me motivated, healthy, injury-free and improving, both physically and mentally.

I picked up one of Lydiard’s books yesterday and came across this page with some valuable points and insights that apply to any athlete’s training approach, especially endurance athletes, the passage is titled, “Key Points”, summarized below:

Key Points

-Only one or two key sessions each week would concentrate on the respective energy system or pace being developed.  Other sessions of the week are restorative and aerobic.

-Distance preparation (5k-10k) would have far less emphasis on the top of the pyramid, and the most intense efforts would generally be at VO2 max level.

-If high-intensity efforts are run too frequently, harm is done to the developing aerobic systems at the enzymatic and cellular levels.  The individual tolerance will vary, but many good runners respond to and improve with one such session a week.

-This diagram below is similar to the one in the book, basically shows that the form of Lydiard’s training pyramid is the same regardless of the athlete, however, the bigger the base, the higher the peak, makes sense.  But it takes work, years of work, so be patient and enjoy your running!

Endurance Fig 1

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Even big mountains need pampering from time to time, as shown here as Mt. Rainier takes a soothing cloudy bubble bath that would make Oprah jealous.  The weather this week had my mind looking forward to some of my summer objectives.

Even big mountains need pampering from time to time, as shown here as Mt. Rainier takes a soothing cloudy bubble bath that would make Oprah jealous. The weather this week had my mind looking forward to some of my summer objectives.

To see Strava files, if you do the Strava, find me as “Whyte Nynsha”.

To see more of the Running Logs select from “Running Logs” in the category toolbar to the right.

Saturday 12/28: 15.7 miles / 2:22:00 / Ele’s 2,751 ft.

Did two runs today, a longer run in the morning and a shorter evening run, both at easy paces to keep the right adductor on the healing and recovery path.  These easy runs don’t seem to be hurting the leg, not sure if they are helping exactly, but it is nice to get out and run regardless.

A.M. Run 10.2 miles, 1:33:00, 2,275ft.  Looking forward to getting back out on the trails here in Ashland, it has been a while since all the snow and ice. The goal today was to get out and see how the right leg felt, had a great massage from Shaggy last night and we determined it is an angry, knotted, twisted-up adductor on the inner right thigh, probably caused from all the road miles I did the weeks prior to and during all the snow and ice covered the trails. I wanted to try and see how a minimum of 6 miles at an easy pace felt, the weather was great, kept getting warmer as I climbed up Road 2060. The leg was feeling better and on the way to getting to where I can hopefully run harder and more hills soon. I took the pace comfortable, and very easy on the downhill, I could feel it a bit at times through the run, but never enough for it to be painful or to alter my running form. Looking forward to things being back in full force hopefully soon. Nice to get out in the nature under blue sky, lots of birds singing today! Crazy to think that a month ago I was up there in single digit temps skiing on fresh snow.

P.M. run 5.5 miles, 49:00, 476 ft. After this morning’s run and not feeling sore or tight in the leg I was optimistic about a nice sunset run with friends out on the road, cruisy comfortable pace, some nice sun, the leg felt fine after this morning’s run and it was nice to get out in some sunshine and run with friends.

Sunday 12/29: 12.7 miles / 2:00:00 / Ele’s 2,468 ft. & 1:00:00 on bike trainer

The goal today was to go for another 10 mile or so run, hoping that the leg would allow for the distance and if things were feeling good maybe try to bring a little intensity into the run to see how the leg reacted to that. With the trails being clear here now in Ashland it feels good to get off the roads, and get back to some more vertical in the runs. I aim to be careful as my legs gets back to 100%, and also considering that the past few weeks have been lower mileage and lower amounts of vert, so I want to bring the vertical back in wisely and slowly build it up as oppose to overdoing it this first week back and paying for it next week. The leg felt ok this morning, a little ‘twingy’ as I walked down Strawberry to Granite to start, but once I got warmed up things were feeling better. Climbed up BTI and Alice at a comfortable pace. Air was warm, sun was out, and I decided that I would put a little intensity into the run for a short effort up Caterpillar. Leg felt fine for that, and I did an easy out and back on Toothpick trail, down the road, then went for another effort of similar intensity on Caterpillar, not sure why the Strava doesn’t show both efforts on Caterpillar, maybe the second time I did not start or finish in the right spot? We’ll see how the legs feels from that tomorrow and that will be a good gauge of how things are healing up. Range of motion felt and power felt good on the uphill and downhill parts of the Caterpillar segment. Took it very conservative on the downhills. I saw the Dingers, first time I’ve met them in the flesh after ‘meeting’ on Strava, always fun to see that network of runners here on the trails. Overall I am pleased with today’s run, some positive sensations and good vibrations starting to return. Now if only this inversion could last until April or May…

Monday 12/30: 12.8 miles / 1:53:17 / Ele’s 2,128 ft. & 50:00 on bike trainer

The goal today was another 10-12 mile run with some elevation, hoping that the leg would be fine and happy after yesterday’s run and putting in more vertical the last couple days than previous weeks. Jessica and Nikki have both been crushing the trails lately and seeing al their QOM action had me all antsy-pantsy. I set out on today’s run with the mindset that my leg was healed up 99%. I do think that with injury it is important to acknowledge and be aware, yet also be ready for that time when things are cleared and healed, when it is time to move forward. Otherwise it seems injuries can become my “story”, or mental dialogue, that begins to define my physical body and mental outlook. Of course there is the reality of more acute injuries where this does/doesn’t necessarily apply, but for niggles and nags I think this is true, eventually the body will heal itself, and it’s time to start rolling again! Set out at a bread and butter endurance pace and got the legs and lungs warm and moving. The leg was feeling good, 99% as I had hoped, so I figured I would take another effort, this time harder, on Caterpillar. Things felt good, legs light and loose, and the thrusters were there, enough to get a new PR and beat my old KOM by 25 seconds or so. I think the intensity work on the bike trainer has helped to keep the mind/body used to a high heart rate, high turnover type of scenario, even if the exact movement does not exactly translate to running. Took it easy for a mile or two after the effort just to see how the leg would respond. Opened it up a little more on the downhill than I have in the past few days. Overall I am satisfied with today’s run and looking back on my the previous week I feel like I did an alright job in being mindful of my injury, figuring out how best to help it heal, listening to my body, and being ready and open to moving forward in confidence once things started feeling better. Shaggy recommended rolling on a tennis ball to help loosen up the muscles around the hips, I did that last night and I think it helped some. I have another massage with him Friday so that should help even more.

Tuesday 12/31: 14.0 miles / 2:11:01 / Ele’s 3,339 ft. & 1:16:00 easy bike ride

The goal today was to get another 12ish mile run in at a bread and butter type pace. Felt a bit tired and a little achey this morning so wasn’t sure how the run would go, but as has been the case lately once I started running things felt better after a couple miles, just need a bit more warm-up for the lungs, legs, heart, and mojo this time of year, which is to be expected. I hadn’t ran up Jabberwoki trail in a quite a while so I headed that way after a little up on lower bandersnatch. Jabberwoki was fun, really pretty back in the little valley and nice now that they thinned out the forest, more light coming through. I wanted to try to claim the KOM for that section which includes the climb of Caterpillar. Managed that at an even effort and enjoyed the stair-steppy profile of the climb. Dropped down into Reeder from there, the usual balancing act across the 4 inch spillway dam was even dicier than usual due to a crusty layer of snow on the top. Took the steep trail from Reeder up 2060, legs felt spiked after that steep pitch but was able to find a rhythm from there to 5 mile marker. Back down Hitt to home via Strawberry Park. I wanted to try to keep the effort consistent today, did that fairly well, a couple lags here and there. Tried to open it up a little more today on the downhills, especially down Hitt, leg was a little twingy on that but not too worried about it, and focused on trying to be fluid and loose and the downhill. Overall a nice run, legs felt good, getting back to some vertical and it is great to be back on the trails on the regular. As with all of my runs lately I took no calories and felt fine, no lows at all, my body is really becoming more efficient with fueling. Really enjoying these warmer, sunny days that we have been having here lately. Nice to be able to get out in short-shorts and smell the forest smells and feel those warm pockets of sunshine that are more like spring and less like winter.

Wednesday 1/1: 17.1 miles / 2:43:10 / Ele’s 4,326 ft. & 40:00 on bike trainer

Wasn’t expecting anything spectacular from the legs today after the last couple days of running and given that I’ve ramped the mileage up this week as compared to last week. My goal was to go out for around 12 miles at a comfortable, consistent pace. Legs felt a little slow and tired overall, but there was enough there to enjoy the sunshine and get some miles and vertical in. The leg felt a little twingy and twangy part way up Catwalk and later on the descent down the Loop Road. Though it did seem to lessen here and there and feel ok by the end of the run. I think taking it easier on the intensity helped keep it from getting worse. Did my best to keep things open and loose on the downhills, I am really trying to improve on that with my downhill running. I think I sometimes keep my hips and body too tight and tense on the downhills which means slower speed and more strain on the chassis than there needs to be. Crossed paths with a group run at the bottom of BTI. I was ready to get home at that point but ended up running a few miles with them and caught up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while and ran with some new friends I’ve met here which was a nice addition to the solitude I had earlier in the run. Checked out “Rob’s Trail”, with group, which is a Pete’s Punisher style in your face climb. Also has some great views and some really cool old madrone and pine trees on the ridge. I’ll look forward to getting some more runs up that steep trail and it will be nice to have another tough climb on the options list. Didn’t take any calories or water on the run. Felt a little energy dip on the climb up Catwalk but just ran through it and felt better after and felt ok even in the last 30 minutes of the run, though I was thirsty. Was definitely hungry and ready to refuel once I got home but not a drastic wreck or bonk case. Overall I’m happy with today’s run, actually finished feeling a bit more energized than when I started, had a good even pace. I ended up running longer than planned, but not by much, and I felt like I made it home with a little something left in the tank which is important.

Thursday 1/2: 10.3 miles / 2:00:24 / Ele’s 3,658 ft.

Yesterday’s run was the longest run I’ve had in a while, and had a good chunk of climbing too, though overall I would say I did the run at a comfortable pace. Given that I knew there would probably be at least something left in the legs for today’s run. The climbing this week has been feeling good, and not aggravating the injury I was dealing with last week. After feeling fine on the steep pitch of Rob’s Trail at the end of the run yesterday. I figured today would be a good one to get out on Pete’s Punisher, it had been a few weeks, equals a long time for me, since my last run up Pete’s. Did Bandersnatch at an easy pace to warm things up a bit, then came down BTI and over to Pete’s. The goal today was to run a sub 20:00 as usual and see how the legs felt. Felt good to be breathing deep up the trail, the weather was great, sunny, warm enough for shorts and t-shirt. The first steep pitch went good and I ran at an effort that felt like I wasn’t reaching too deep, I had a respectable split at the 3 Wise Men and at the false summit crest. Legs were feeling it by the last 1/4 mile, ran an 18:05 on it which is a time I’m happy about after the last couple weeks which involved low elevation and mileage. Took some paces at the top to enjoy the views and amazingly warm sunshine, so nice for January, nice enough even for April or early May. Took the descent down Pete’s very easy as to be kind to the leg and save some juice for the next climb. Made my way over to Rob’s trail that I was introduced to yesterday, another tough climb like Pete’s and in some ways tougher because there a re fewer flat bits. I extended that climb on the ridge all the way to where it connects to Road 200 above the Log Decks. Surprised that is not a segment, going to make one here from today’s run for it, called it Mojo Mathematics: Momma Bear Ascent (Rob’s Trail), fairly close to the stats for Pete’s, segment starts just past yellow gate on 2060 then climbs Rob’s Trail to the ridge up to Road 200, 1.4 miles, 1,372ft. gain. That climb felt as “good” as I expected it to feel, such great scenery and trees there. Met up with the road and took the downhill comfortable back home. Overall today’s run went better than I thought and felt at the start of it. Such a nice day to be out running, breathing was good, legs felt decent enough to enjoy the climbing, energy levels fine. On another note, I picked up 3 gel wrappers on Pete’s today, a little disappointing to say the least, especially on a trail that is run almost exclusively by locals. Remember to respect your trails and the land! Don’t litter and pack your trash up tight and secure. Squirrels take note of litter bugs and drop pine cone bombs on their craniums.

Friday 1/3: 13.6 miles / 2:08:37 / Ele’s 2,984 ft. *New Pete’s Punisher KOM/PR

Squeezed a new PR/KOM out of the legs for Aloha Friday, very pleased with today’s effort on the climb, posted a 17:04 on the Pete’s Punisher segment, taking a solid 0:26 off my old PR, which is more than I would have expected to shave off at this point. A sub 17:00 go on Pete’s is getting closer to being a reality, breaking the 17:00 barrier is the next benchmark in time, and fueled partially by Joe Jackson’s Outside Online article, read the first part. Wasn’t sure how the legs were going to be today after yesterday’s steep climb efforts and since today marks the 7th day finishing up this training block, putting me over 21,000 ft. of climbing and a handful of miles shy of 100 miles total for the week. Although I will say that sometimes I find my body can pull out some good mojo even in the middle of solid block of training. I knew going out from the start of the run that I wanted to get back up on Pete’s as the objective for the day’s run. My goal is always to go sub 20:00 on Pete’s, and I expected that today’s effort would be a bit easier and slower than yesterday’s. However, I left myself open to just seeing what happened as I climbed. Pete’s never feels/is easy, so regardless, it always takes a certain amount of aggression and desire to have a go on it, whether for a PR or just as a training climb. My split at the 3 wise men was healthier than yesterday’s and I was starting to think I might have gone out too hard too soon. I decided I would just ride the wave as long as it carried me and see if I could make it to the top before detonating. On some of the steeper pitches I did my best to focus on taking longer, more powerful strides, I wouldn’t call them leaps or anything, just trying to get some more force and power in my climbing movement, I do think the quicker short shuffling strides are a good and efficient way to tackle a big climb, but I want to see how working in some of these longer stride intervals affects my climbing speed and strength, which should also translate to more muscle recruitment and speed on flatter tempo runs. I did my best to keep the pace from dropping, thinking that if I could maintain I would at least go faster than yesterday. At the false summit my split was still good, though my brain was a little too oxygen deprived to do the math to know if I was coming in close to a PR time, the sunshine rallied me hard to the end and I finished as fast as I could to the top. Ambled around a bit at the top, still so warm up there right now! Then took it very very gentle down the backside and ran easy the next few miles along down to Reeder. Made some longer stride work up the steep pitch from Reeder to 2060 Rd. and then a comfortable aerobic endurance pace down the hill and back to get my hat and jacket. Finished the run with a couple flatter/faster miles at 12 and 13, the legs felt like they needed some quicker turnover on flat ground after all the climbing and it felt good to get that mini-tempo interval in at the end of the run. My legs were a bit more sore and tight than usual, at the end of the run, am thinking this might be due to the longer stride work I did on the steep climbs. Overall, feeling good about the last couple days more intense efforts amidst a week of getting some good miles and climbing in.

Weekly Totals: 96.2 miles / 15:19:00 / Ele’s 21,654 ft.

Time on bike/bike trainer: 3:47:00

Total Time: 19:06:00

Lessons from the week:

The stars aligned and the mojo meteor finally landed this week.  A relief and positive shift after last week’s energy was spent managing my injured leg and frustration that generally comes with being a gimpy horse that just wants to run, it was nice to get a solid week of running in.  It is nice when time off of work, good weather, and good energy all come in the same time and same place, like it did this past week.  The warmer weather here in Ashland really mad each run a pleasure and a fun time in the sunshine.

Had some solid runs this week, very stoked about Friday’s PR on Pete’s Punisher, the time shows improvement and more speed has come around, even at the end of a long week and definitely not on fresh legs.  I would like to say that if I were to give Pete’s a go on rested legs and a psyched psyche I could break 17:00.  Soon enough though, patience is one of my things to carry in this new year.  The true thing about PR’s is there is no finish line, you just keep getting faster until you can’t anymore, simple, brutal, and honest.

It was nice to be back out on the trails for all my runs.  However, I will say that I think the tempo runs on the road have helped my speed and efficiency, and I plan to do those once a week to keep that rolling.  I will say that running too much on the road is not easy on the body, and I think the source of most of my running related injuries have come from extended stints of running on the road.  I will probably get back into those tempo runs this week or next, I want the legs to be all ready and set for that type of poundings.

My mileage this week scratched the chin of reaching 100 miles and I am happy with the total vertical gain for the week.  Add the time on the bike trainer, Bikram sessions, and some core work and I would call that a good block of training, especially considering I have two more days from this weekend right on the heels of it.  Next week will call for a rest day and a couple lighter days to get recovered and set for the next round.

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To see Strava files comment and I’ll post a link, or, if you do the Strava, find me as “Whyte Nynsha”.

To see more of the Running Logs select from “Running Logs” in the category toolbar to the right.

Saturday 12/21: 15.1 miles / 1:56:25 / Ele’s 693 ft. & 45:00 on bike trainer

Wanted to take an longer and easier paced run today. Settled into what felt like a comfortable pace and didn’t worry too much about looking at the watch for pacing, wanted today’s run to be more by feel and less by pacing. I figure I will probably get some more intensity later this week when I head up to my home trails in McDonald forest. Legs felt a little sore for the first 1/2 mile but then loosened up just fine after they got warm. Right thigh was less sore than expected and overall less sore after my run today than compared to after my run yesterday. Kept the pace comfortable for the whole run and overall body felt average. Looking forward to getting on some trail as I do feel like all this road running has been a bit harsher on the body than what I am used to doing. Wanted today’s run to be aimed at a good aerobic base-building run, didn’t want to go deep as to save some mojo for later.

Sunday 11/3: OFF

Took a walk in the morning and a two hour nap which was about all I had energy for today.  Feeling tired, drained, mind and body on vacation.  A sign that I need more days like this on the regular.

Monday 11/4: 10.9 miles / 1:36:00 / Ele’s 2,079 ft. & 50:00 on bike trainer

Nice to get back into MacForest and into the wet mossy world of the rainy Willamette Valley. After spending two hours in the dentist’s chair this morning I was eager to get out into the nature. My main goal today was to get the legs moving again in some sort of mojo inspired fashion and see if I could claim some KOM’s out my back door in the ever continuing saga of Strava big dick swinging contest. All the road running the last week and generally feeling a bit tired had my head in a fog and yesterday’s total lack of activity was equally positive and frustrating. I figured having a nice run in the rain amidst the forest and putting a few harder efforts in for some KOM’s might be enough to blow out some old crusty cobweb pockets that have been lingering due to winter blahness. Had a little warm up and then went out for Upper Dan’s and the upper Patterson segments, a couple new KOM’s and some easy running in between the efforts. Legs felt alright, nice not to feel any nagging pains or strains and be back on the natural surfaces. It was nice to get back under the thick of the trees.

Tuesday 11/4: 3.1 miles / 30:05 / Ele’s 594 ft. & 1:00:00 on bike trainer

Titled this run “Failure to Launch” on the Strava file.  Legs and body felt really low and tired today, and the right leg pain I was having last week came back with a power that made my leg feel dead. Didn’t make it far on today’s run before the pain and low energy had me stop and walk home, annoying to say the least. My body’s way of telling me I need a break off the running to let my leg heal and body rest. Made it home and took out my anger and frustration on the bike trainer in a cloud of steam and puddle of sweat. Gonna take the next few days off the running and let the body get back to normal, leg heal up, mojo get back online.

Wednesday 11/4: 3 miles / 27:00 / Ele’s 150 ft. & 2:00:00 on bike trainer

After yesterday’s run ended in walking home with the nagging inner quad on the right side I decided the next few days would be rest and recover, well, as it goes with stubborn people… I had a session on the bike trainer first thing this a.m. and got all hot and sweaty so I figured I would make the short jog down to the bridge and have a Christmas Whyte Nynsha dip in good old Jackson Creek. On my way down the leg felt ok so I figured I would keep running through the forest a bit to see if it had miraculously healed overnight (hey, it’s Christmas, anything can happen, right?) Leg felt ok for the first 2 miles, I could notice a bit on the uphills, I stopped after 2 miles to pee and when I restarted things really seized up and it was a gimp fest to the Whyte Nynsha splash and then home. Rest. Rest. Rest, that leg, no running for a few days, this time I mean it.  Made up for the lack of running by seating and spinning my blues furiously away on the bike trainer.  Split this into two sessions, one a.m. @ 1:15:00 and one afternoon @ 45:00. Had some good intense efforts and some puddling action.

Thursday 11/4: 8.3 miles / 1:26:00 / Ele’s 1,255 ft. & 1:45:00 on bike trainer

Had an easy run in the a.m. with no Garmin after a 1:25:00 bike trainer session.  Leg was feeling better this morning, did another bike trainer session in the early a.m., and then while things were still warm and flexible I went out for another dip in the creek and decided to run a bit very easy to see where the leg was at. Optimistic overall as things are feeling better today than they were yesterday and able to run the 3.5 miles without feeling any pain, though I know if I ramped it up effort wise I would have payed for it. Didn’t take the garmin because I really wanted to just be going by feel and makes sure I was focusing on that and not the numbers, however low and slow the were.

In the afternoon Patrick and Johnny invited me out for an easy run in the forest, gladly gave into the temptation since the leg was feeling ok during and after this morning’s run. Total mileage was probably closer to 5 miles since the Garmin took a while to lock in. A nice run with the two Brothers and it was a good way to get my mind off dwelling on the leg while running, overall a good run with some positive sensations, the leg is getting there, probably another few days of easy runs and hopefully be back to full force.

Friday 11/4: 5.4 miles / 1:03:44 / Ele’s 957 ft. & 1:40:00 on bike trainer

Another easy run in the forest, this time with my Sister, nice to get some running and talking in with her out in the forest. Did the run after my a.m. bike trainer session and the leg is feeling better again today, am hoping things will be 100% go in the next few days.

Weekly Totals: 45.8 miles / 7:00:00 / Ele’s 5,728 ft.

Bike Trainer Total Time: 8:00:00

Total Time: 15:00:00

Lessons from the week:

Slightly up and down with the running this week, much of it brought about by all the road running and pounding the week prior.  Was looking forward to getting a solid chunk of miles in but the fatigue and injury bus ran me over and made me shift my focus.  Had a couple glimmers of good runs, but overall I felt like I was more in recovery mode than anything else.  The bike trainer was a good way to keep me from going crazy, had some good sessions with that this past week getting some intensity, volume, and spinning the blues away into salty puddles on the floor.  Overall, the volume in hours was there, just not as much of it from the running.

Looking forward to the leg fully recovering and getting back to the snow free trails here in Ashland.  Shaggy’s massage on Friday really helped, as did taking easier runs and being gentle on it.  If there is one thing I am constantly being reminded of, in my own reflections here, and in what I read, it is the importance of two things: consistency and patience.  Those two qualities are powerful in any training approach, and for all aspects of training.  Consistency and patience are great forces when applied to the workouts themselves, recovery, nutrition, and keeping the mojo high.

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All I want for Christmas is a little taste of summer...

All I want for Christmas is a little taste of summer…

To see Strava files comment and I’ll post a link, or, if you do the Strava, find me as “Whyte Nynsha”.

To see more of the Running Logs select from “Running Logs” in the category toolbar to the right.

Quotes/mantras.wisdom for the week:

“Train, don’t strain”. -Alfred Lydiard

“Only so much effort, employed at the right time and in an appropriate manner, has any real impact.” -J. Brown

Saturday 12/14: 13.1 miles / 1:33:23 / Ele’s 681 ft. & 35:00 on bike trainer

Today actually felt like a real honest to goodness run out there. I managed to find a route that was 99% snow and slush free, though it was all on roads, I’ll take what I can get for now and be happy with it. It felt good to finally get some real miles in without dealing with the softening snow. The legs felt a little slow to warm up, but once things got rolling I settled into a nice rhythm, hitting around my bread & butter pace for the run, kind of rolling course today. An out and back from the park area and down East Main and back up to Siskiyou, I might make that out and back section another segment course since it is about the right length for future bread & butter runs as well as tempo type runs. Happy that the right calf and the rest of the body felt no nagging pains etc. Overall, the body was feeling better today and happy to be out running, the goal was to do at least a solid 10 miles, but also to be sure not to over do it since I was feeling low and tired last week, wanted to finish feeling like there was some mojo left in the tank. Ended up with just over 13 miles for the day and happy with the workout. After the run I met up with my friend Sergei and we did a rad little Whyte Nynsha Polar Plunge action in the iced over reservoir, very nice and invigorating!

Sunday 12/15: 13.1 miles / 1:30:57 / Ele’s 676 ft. & 35:00 on bike trainer

Made another run on the same route as yesterday, betting on that being as clear as yesterday. The trails and surrounds are still quite covered and at this point I would prefer to run on the roads as oppose to skating around on the trails, it will make them that much sweeter once they are clear. Legs felt fine today after yesterday’s run, finding that I generally feel better in the last 1/2 of these runs than in the first 1/2. Wanted to run today at a bread & butter pace, similar to yesterday’s, which again tends to be around low 7 minute miles. Energy systems feeling better than last week. Pace was a little higher today than yesterday, at times I noticed that I was putting out that extra bit of effort, other times it felt just the same effort wise as yesterday even though the pace was faster. Overall am happy with the run and the feeling during it today.

Monday 12/16: 13.1 miles / 1:32:12 / Ele’s 679 ft. & 50:00 on bike trainer

Another run on the course of yesterday and the day before. Feeling like it’s going to be a while before all the snow melts out on the trails, which is fine for now as I am not minding the road running and I know it will end soon enough. Legs felt a little slower and body a bit tired this a.m., though still managed to get out somewhat early, for me that is. Knew heading into the run that the pace today would be a few clicks slower than yesterday and probably similar to what I did pace wise on Saturday. Once the legs got warmed up things felt fine and I did my best to settle into a pace that felt productive and not get too worried over checking my pace on the watch. Was shooting for an easier feel than yesterday’s run while keeping my miles below 7:30. On the way back I decided to put a mile effort in at mile 12, that part of the run is undulating terrain, gentle rollers with a long false flat finish, the goal with that mile was to go sub 6:30 just to see how the legs would respond to an effort and because something was calling me to it, go that mile in 6:08, and felt good to get that intensity in towards the end and have a little cool down mile to finish the run. Again, the last 1/2 felt better than the first, then again, doesn’t it always? Easier to run towards the finish than to run away from the start. Pace was about the same as Saturday’s run, a little faster.

Tuesday 11/4: 13.8 miles / 1:40:09 / Ele’s 869 ft.

As can be seen in the route map, I took the same route as the last few days, adding the extra bit that I ran to and from home instead of starting at the park. Wasn’t sure how the legs would feel on the fourth day in a row of this run, so I started out gently and planned to run an easier pace than the past days, but still shoot for sub 7:30 miles which I was able to do. Legs felt better than I expected, hoping that today’s slightly easier pace will help the legs feel better tomorrow or later in the week. Overall this felt like a good aerobic paced bread & butter run. Legs felt a bit heavy and slow towards the end but that is the sign that it’s working…

Wednesday 11/4: 10.2 miles / 1:22:14 / Ele’s 689 ft. & 1:00:00 on bike trainer

Could tell in the first two miles of the run today that legs did not have it. Tired, a little achey on the inside of the right thigh, and just didn’t have any spunk, pep, or liveliness to the legs. Still wanted to get some miles in so went for an easier aerobic pace that didn’t feel too painfully so, a pace that I could kind of just zone out to. Was easier to do this run once I settled in my ind on the fact that it would be an easier outing, sometimes it is hard to ignore that part of myself that tries to convince me I am weak and I should push harder and forget about the easier runs and rest. Anyways, managed to keep it easy the rest of the run. Had a session on the bike trainer later in the day, threw a little interval in there for about a 12:00 TT type effort and that actually seemed to help the legs feel a little better, we’ll see, tomorrow may be another easy day.

Thursday 11/4: 10 miles / 1:25:08 / Ele’s 991 ft. & 40:00 on bike trainer

Feeling tired again on the run today, a little low in the energy department and generally feeling a bit run down. Took it easy again today, but I am thinking I might take tomorrow off and just have an easy walk, a short run at the most, so that I can enjoy the coming two weeks of winter vacation and some good runs in Mac Forest up in Corvallis. Would probably be wise since I have been feeling low and tired the last couple days. I think the mojo is a bit down from all the road running and I also think my body needs more recovery time from the runs earlier in the week, it seems that block of four runs, Saturday-Tuesday, caught up with me on Wednesday and it is taking me a couple days to get back to square. Maybe it would be wiser to space those runs apart with easier days between instead of what is happening now with the needed easy days in a row.

Friday 11/4: 7.7  miles / 51:27 / Ele’s 380 ft. & 30:00 on bike trainer

Wasn’t sure if I would run at all today, given that the past two days I felt pretty tired and worn out. Slept in a bit this morning, took a walk around town, and figured I would have a run if the body called for it. Ended up feeling up for it middle of the day and figured just to run at whatever pace felt comfortable for somewhere between 5 – 10 miles. Legs felt better than the last two days, more energy, more juice. Still not 100% but moving in a better direction. Felt nice to get out and run at a faster pace and enjoy that breathing and quicker turn-over. The right quad still feels a bit achey and sore, especially in the last mile and immediately after the run.

Weekly Running Total : 81 miles / 9:55:00 / Ele’s 4,965 ft.

Bike Stationary Trainer: 4:10:00

Total Time: 14:05:00

Here is a great article I came across this week via http://www.ultrarunning.com

By 

11/28/2013

Food for Thought – Ultrarunning requires some mental stamina and the question, “Can we feed the mind with any special nutrition?” seems intriguing. Certainly lack of food can produce some pretty negative thoughts and a bad attitude, but is there some food that can help us think positive thoughts and improve our race strategies and therefore performance. Does the mind only require intellectual nourishment for sound decision-making and a good outlook?

The Science – Looking at this from the brain’s side, glucose is virtually the only fuel the brain uses, unlike our muscle tissue, which uses both glucose and fats. The brain also does not store any glucose – as glycogen, as the muscles do – and is totally dependent on blood glucose for its energy supply. In order to function normally, the brain requires a relatively normal blood glucose level. So what happens to an ultrarunner when he or she is running hours and hours with an increasing demand for glucose? If our ultrarunner does not ingest adequate amounts of carbohydrate (glucose) along the way, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) sets in. And with prolonged hypoglycemia comes central nervous system fatigue – the progressive shutdown of the part of the brain that drives the muscles. Bad news for attitude and bad news for performance.

In one of Tim Noakes’s studies from The Lore of Running, he found that two percent of marathoners, six percent of those who ran 50 kms and 11 percent of those who ran 100 kms were hypoglycemic. He cites the symptoms as a “reduced ability to concentrate, a sudden feeling of weakness, and the intense desire to stop running. Typically, the athlete senses the impossibility of completing the race”. Sound familiar? Obviously foods containing glucose would have helped these athletes perform better, but an explanation of the mechanism of action might make this concept easier to understand.

The main supplier of glucose into the blood is the liver. This happens directly from its own store of glucose or indirectly by a process known as gluconeogenesis (the production of glucose by the liver from substances other than carbohydrates, for example, proteins). Training also helps the liver’s ability to produce glucose from circulating blood lactate. However, because the liver is so small compared to the body’s muscle mass and only stores about 250 – 500 calories of glucose, it could never keep up with the muscles’ demand for glucose when exercising hard or long. In a trained athlete, this amounts to three or four hours of running at a moderate pace. And the muscles are prevented from using too much circulating blood glucose in order to protect the brain. Fortunately our body has provided the muscles with other ways of obtaining glucose; namely a good supply stored in its own tissues and the ability to use fat as a source of energy. And remember, the supply stored in the muscles can be doubled if post-exercise carbs were consumed within thirty minutes or so. But even this generous supply will only last about five to six hours. The rate that the liver releases glucose and the muscles take it up during exercise is increased six-fold from a resting state. When tissues increase their rate of usage faster than the liver can produce it, blood levels fall and body function is impaired. In order to prevent brain drain and preserve our mind’s ability to think and strategize effectively in an ultra event, it becomes crucial to ingest carbohydrates during the race. If the muscles become fatigued, the brain will reduce the number of muscle fibers activated and in order to continue running, the ultrarunner will have to slow down. This is the body’s way of surviving. It may limit the runner’s physiological capabilities, but preserve the neurological function of the brain. Exhaustion, in this case, may be defined as a decrease in signals from the brain to the muscles, not a direct change in glycogen levels in the muscles – in other words, central fatigue (see “Demystifying the Bonk, UltraRunning, August 2008).

More recent research is pointing to central fatigue, due to neurochemical changes in the brain, as the most common reason that runners stop running. Aside from very highly motivated runners, most people don’t usually push themselves to complete muscle failure. J. Mark Davis, a professor of exercise science and the director of the exercise biochemistry laboratory at the University of South Carolina, explains that during prolonged exercise, the brain’s production of the neurotransmitter (a chemical that carries signals from one neuron, or brain cell, to another) serotonin increases steadily. Elevated levels of serotonin can cause feelings of tiredness, sleepiness and lethargy. The rising levels of serotonin are caused by increased delivery of tryptophan to the brain and what’s interesting, Davis says, is that the increase in free tryptophan in the blood is very much related to the increase in free fatty acids in the blood.

“While many people believe that the increase in free fatty acids is very important to delaying fatigue in the muscle,” says Davis, “we think it has a negative effect in terms of central fatigue.” To make matters worse for the ultrarunner, the brain’s production of dopamine (the neurotransmitter responsible for generating feelings of excitement, reward, motivation and pleasure) begins to drop even as serotonin levels are rising. Davis is beginning to investigate new nutritional approaches to prevent dopamine levels from dropping, but one thing runners have been using for years to delay fatigue is caffeine. Most scientists agreed this was due to caffeine’s ability to increase the blood level of free fatty acids available for metabolism. Recent research by Davis and others, however, indicates that caffeine plays another, perhaps more important role, in delaying fatigue by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain.

The Solution – The time to ingest carbohydrates is before exhaustion occurs. Our intestine cannot process carbohydrates and deliver them fast enough to keep up with the high rate of usage by the muscles. The amount of carbohydrates to ingest is approximately one gram per minute of exercise, ideally every 15 – 20 minutes or so. Start with this amount and experiment. Our bodies cannot absorb more than 240 – 280 calories per hour so don’t try to replace all carbohydrates lost – however, athletes are able to increase the absorption rate with practice and training. Caffeine may help with brain fatigue later in the race. Read the labels on the sport drinks, gels and bars you consume. Feed your brain and improve your mental edge for a better performance in your next race.

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Whyte Nynsha shown here in his preferred season, the warmth of summer...   Maybe I just need to have a polar bear plunge to bring out some of that mojo for the winter.

Whyte Nynsha shown here in his preferred season, the warmth of summer… Maybe I just need to have a polar bear plunge to bring out some of that mojo for the winter.

To see Strava files comment and I’ll post a link, or, if you do the Strava, find me as “Whyte Nynsha”.

To see more of the Running Logs select from “Running Logs” in the category toolbar to the right.

Quotes/mantras.wisdom for the week:

“There are no short-cuts to the real achievements in life”.

Saturday 12/7: X/C SKI 13.7 miles / 3:48:50 / Ele’s 2,730 ft.

The snow is still in town in a major way.  With about 6-8 inches here in town I figured I could either pretend like it was not there and try to get a run in, and probably frustrate myself in the process, or, I could get the X/C skis out of storage and take pleasure in all the white stuff.  I chose the later, and was amazed by the fact I was able to ski from my door!  One thing is for certain, skiing is SLOW!  You can see by the pace, time, distance on the route that it is not fast, especially uphill!  It was nice to get out on a familiar route, yet in a not so normal way, and in not so normal weather.  Climbed up Road 2060, someone had broken trail for the first 3 miles, after that it was just me, so broke trail for about the next 3 miles through the virgin fresh powder.  Hard work and slow going, but a beautiful way to enjoy the quiet and solitude the forest offers when it is covered with snow.  Crazy to think that exactly a week ago I was on the same route running in short-shorts and a shirt with no inkling of snow or winter.  Also neat to be able to see all the animal tracks, from the 4 mile marker on I saw a handful of bear tracks crossing the road, none of them were very fresh, but still very cool to see.  Also neat to see the prints from the deer when they were leaping, basically compact sets of four prints separated by 12 foot gaps, they got some hops!  Didn’t see any cougar or wolf tracks behind those deer leaping tracks…  Many squirrel and rabbit tracks too.  Made it up just shy of the Ostrich Peak road cut off, I turned around and knew I would likely finish in the light of dusk.  Body wise it was nice to get out and move differently, got a lot of upper body in with the poles on the up and the down, right calf still sore and tight, though I think the skiing is less tough on it than running.  Would really like that calf thing to clear up soon, maybe it will require some complete rest?  Anyways, a nice day out, finished cold, tired, and hungry, as the outing ended up being a bit longer than planned.  Feels good to warm up and cozy up inside after a day out in the snow and nature.

Sunday 12/8: X/C SKI 14.3 miles / 3:40:00 / Ele’s 2,868 ft. 

I knew today would be another great day for the sticks.  Clear blue skies and low low temps meant the snow would stay dry and light and the sky would be amazing.  Headed out with the goal of enjoying the trail I broke yesterday and possibly going higher towards Horn Gap.  Thought about taking a drive to ski on Mt. Ashland but it’s not often we get good skiing right out the back door like we have it now.  Used my longer poles today which made a huge difference, much more comfortable.  Did not see any other people today.  Enjoyed the trail I broke yesterday and climbed further to a bit past mile post 7 on the Road 2060.  Sometime this winter I would love to ski the whole marathon loop road.  Today would have been a good day but would have needed an earlier start, some food, and water, which I had none of the above today.  It would be quite a day to do that whole route, especially since one would have to break trail most of the way.  Saw that some bears crossed my tracks last night or this a.m.  And what is cooler, is that on the way down I could see that bears had crossed my path within that trip, some of them within 30 minutes, pretty cool!  Right calf feeling a bit better today, the skiing is better on it than the running.  A nice day out for the Sunday, skiing uphill is slow going, lots of upper body work too!

Monday 12/9: Stationary Bike Trainer  1:15:00

Another day of snow on the ground. No new snow in the last few days. Went out for a walk this morning, it was very cold and the roads and trails had become fairly icy due to the freeze/thaws we are starting to get. The calf is slowly feeling better and I am really now at the point where I want it to be back 100% soon, so I decided to stay off the skis, and stuck the road bike on the trainer and churned out some imaginary miles on the “Hamster Wheel of Sweat.”. Felt kind of nice to just zone out to some loud tunes in the earphones and get some good intensity in and the heart rate up with a few intervals during the session.

Tuesday 12/10: 5.5 miles / 52:14 / Ele’s 623 ft. & 1:15:00 on bike trainer

Did another hamster wheel session on the bike this morning. The weather warmed up a little bit today and I hadn’t been out to run since Friday when we had the big dump of snow. Wanted to get out this afternoon just to get some running into the body, get that movement back to the legs after all the x/c skiing over the weekend and the bike trainer. Running in the thawing ice and snow was not easy, kind of like a mix between running in sand and running on marbles. Got out for some easy miles above the park on the snowy road. Pluses: calf is finally feeling close to normal, no tightness during or after the run today, the temps are warming back up, the sun was out for a moment. I was reminded how much the bike trainer can tire the legs, I have not done that for a while and the last two day’s session made more legs more tired than expected and I could feel that on my run today!

Wednesday 12/11: 8.5 miles /1:16:48 / Ele’s 0 ft. & 50:00 on bike trainer

Had a vision that the SOU track would be melted out, in the sun, and perhaps provide some solid, even ground to run on for once. I showed up to the track only to find that it was still completely under 4 – 5 inches of snow. I decided to make lemonade out of all the lemons and did my best to make some ovals. Unfortunately I had worn my RC 1400’s which provided no traction. Was another lesson in patience with the slow, awkward snow running. All the heavily tracked areas had frozen to become uneven and slippery. The back stretch was powdery, soft, and involved some high step strides. My initial goal was to make it through 5 miles, ended up with 8.5. All the skiing, bike trainer, odd snow running, has left my legs feeling a bit off. Still, nice to get out and have that running motion going on.

Thursday 12/12: 5.5 miles / 49:19 / Ele’s 561 ft. & 1:00:00 on bike trainer

Legs and body have been feeling pretty discombobulated the last week. Legs have felt sore, achey, and tired, all in new places, and I’ll attribute that to the xc skiing over the weekend and the the bike trainer workouts I’ve been doing each day. Despite that I still feel like my body is in a state of slight fatigue and general winter blahness. Kind of coming down from the high of all the good weather and running before the weather turned cold and snowy. With all that in mind I am trying to just accept where I am physically, how I’m feeling, and knowing that things will come back around in time. I also think I may be overlooking the workload that the biking workouts this week and long skis over the weekend put on my body that was already feeling tired and worn down last week. Moving on… really felt like my body just needed a gentle easy recovery run, a real one, where going easy is my intention and aim from the get-go. Feel like I did well with that today, finishing the run feeling better than when I started. An easy 5.5 miles around the park still slogging through the snow and ice.

Friday 12/13: 5.2 miles / 42:01 / Ele’s 501 ft. & 35:00 on bike trainer

Had the excitement of running on something other than snow and ice today. Trying to get my energy levels back on top after having been feeling low and tired most of the week. Took an easy 5 miles out on the roads, things starting to thaw out a bit, and nice to have some moments of not having to look out for and worry about every foot placement. Again, felt better at the end than at the start of this run, hoping these shorter runs will get me back rested and on square. Overall, despite the low amount of running miles, this week has actually been a higher volume week if I add in the hours of XC skiing and bike trainer.

Weekly Totals: total combined time 16:05:00 

X/C SKI: 28 miles / 7:29:00 / Ele’s 5,598 ft.

Running: 24.7 miles / 3:41:00 / Ele’s 1,685 ft.

Bike Trainer time: / 4:55:00 /

Lessons from the week:

Despite all the snow covered roads and cold temperatures, this week actually ended up being one of my bigger volume weeks in terms of overall time.  Granted, much of it was spent XC skiing or on the bike trainer, I had a very low volume week running wise.  On the positives, the lower miles of running helped to clear up the nagging calf issue I was having at the end of last week and the beginning of this week.  It was also not much of a week to be running as the trails and roads were, still are, covered with snow and ice, which made any real running seem out of the question.  Sessions on the bike trainer added some good intensity to the week, maybe a bit too much to start off with since I had not been on the bike like that in a while, I could really feel it in my legs when I did go to run last week, the legs felt tired, slow, achey, and sluggish.  I will add that the skiing over the weekend also kicked my butt, another instance of doing something I haven’t done in a while, working my body and muscles in new ways and feeling sore and tired as a result, makes sense.  I do think I will keep the bike trainer in the mix, though I will learn how to make it so it does not hinder the running so much.  My runs this week felt pretty mediocre, hard to really know since a lot of the time was spent dealing with the snow, still, my legs and body just felt sort of out of it and in an odd state.  Looking forward to when this snow finally melts out, even enough to get a proper run in on the roads and lower trails.

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Dolomite dreaming...

Dolomite dreaming…

To see Strava files comment and I’ll post a link, or, if you do the Strava, find me as “Whyte Nynsha”.

To see more of the Running Logs select from “Running Logs” in the category toolbar to the right.

Quotes/mantras/wisdom for the week:

“Greatness is a lot of small things done well, stacked up on each other.” -Ray Lewis

“You will only get what you work for, nothing more, nothing less.”

“Work hard, have fun, no drama.” (holding this one over for another week)

Saturday 11/30: 26.0 miles / 3:27:33 / Ele’s 4,223 ft.

Wanted to sneak in a long run on the Road 2060 Loop before the cold/wet weather front moves in sometime soon. Wasn’t sure how my body would respond to a longer day after finishing off a pretty high volume climbing week. The goal was get some solid Lydiard bread and butter aerobic base running in. I knew the 2060 Loop would be good since the climb is fairly constant, though never too steep, and the rolling 12 miles across the top is always challenging, mentally and physically, because there are no hard spots, it’s got plenty of downhill, and so there are no excuses to let up or go easy, just honest running. My goal was to run the first mile up 2060 based on feel and then check the Garmin for my pace and let that dictate the pacing for the rest of the climb to the top of Horn Gap. The 12 miles of rolling terrain on 2060 road across the top I aimed to average between 7:00 – 7:30 min/miles, since that has seemed to be my pace on the Holy-Rolly section on longer runs the last couple weeks. I didn’t want to go much faster than that for fear of blowing my wad and training harder than is beneficial for my progression, and I didn’t want to go slower than 7:30 because I knew 7:30 would be plenty reasonable. Ended up pretty close to that pacing, a few miles in the high 6 min range and the rest low to mid 7 mins. Fuel wise things went well, ended up taking in 60 calories for the whole run, one blok at 1:30:00 and another at 2:20:00, felt the lowest around miles 11 and 17, energy levels actually felt pretty solid at the end, probably could have done another 5 miles without needing more calories had the nag in my left leg not put an end to the run. Air and temps were cool enough to warrant not having to take a water bottle along, always nice to do the longer runs with free hands. I was a little worried going into today’s long run after yesterday’s mega-bonk fest on the last bit of McLoughlin, and the fact that I started today’s run a little later in the day than usual which can sometimes mean I am more prone to needing calories on the run, however, all went well and happy to have had a good constant pace on limited calories. I find that the Garmin really helps to keeps tabs on all this, allowing me to compare my pace with my perceived exertion and let that be an indicator of my energy levels. Pacing up to 3:00:00 felt great, definitely a doable pacing without feeling like I was reaching for every mile. At about 3:00:00 I dropped my effort down a few notches because of some knee/inner thigh tightness in my left leg that was aggravated from the downhill bits. Was a little frustrated with this since I was keen to finish the run where the LLTM course finishes to compare my time, but alas, I erred on the side of listening to my body, what a concept! It really started to feel stiff and tight so I backed off quite a bit on Bandersnatch and the road home as to finish the run without causing more pain. Overall I am happy with today’s long run, got back into the watershed and saw some cool animal prints on the road, some nice vistas and skies, good bird songs and forest smells. The body and mind were both on board for most of the run today and the breathing and upper body felt really nice the whole way. After looking at my Garmin file I am not quite sure how the LLTM course is a full 26.2, I started my watch about 1 mile before the starting line and stopped it just shy of the finish area, and came up with 26.0 for today’s run.

Sunday 12/1:  21.5 miles / 2:26:26 / Ele’s 1,037 ft. 

The goal for today’s run was to try and get in another long run after yesterday’s effort, assuming the left hip and knee felt ok, and see how two back to back runs over 20 miles felt. Made the plan to do the Holy-rolly course back-to-back, with the option of cutting short after the first rep if the leg was feeling naggled still. Did Bikram, icing, and more stretching after the run yesterday and that really helped. Ran easy down to the start of the Holy-Rolly course, leg felt ok so I knew at least one rep would go fine, it seems it is the steep downhills that really aggravates the knee and hip. I decided that hitting my miles in the 6:40 – 6:55 zone would be my goal for the run today, whether it was one or two reps, that is right around my tempo for yesterday, slower than if I was doing a threshold run but fast enough to keep it honest solid miles to build the engine. Looking back at my mile splits it was just about right on that pace. Overall each rep on the holy-rolly course was almost the same, first one at 6:46 avg/mile and second was actually slightly faster at 6:45 avg/mile, so that was good and consistent and shows me I was running at a proper pacing, felt I could have done another 10 miles at that pace if I had some calories, water, and the intention to.First outbound trip felt good, no problem with the pace, and I knew the return would be fine since it is a net downhill, the second outbound I had a little harder time on the small rolly climbs as the legs were feeling a little gassed, but I think that was a little mental too since it was my second outbound and it still felt like I had a ways to go. The second return went well, stayed on pace and made a good strong finish rallying up the gradual incline up Water St. and through the park. Overall, very satisfied with my effort today. I can tell my body is becoming more and more efficient, I did not take any calories on the entire run, felt a couple  lows at around 1:20:00 and 1:45:00, and again, used the Garmin to help pace me through those and stay on pace. No water either, weather was just right for it.  Finished the run with the legs feeling pretty tired and heavy, a good sign of a solid day out and what Lydiard says to look for after these types of long runs.

Monday 12/2: 13.6 miles / 1:40:56 / Ele’s 921 ft.

The wave of sunshine and vertical was a good one, I had a long, exciting, and fun ride the last couple weeks. Lots of good strong runs, plenty of vertical, volume, and some quality threshold runs in there too. Today the weather shifted and the wave I was riding finally reached the beach. Today’s run my goal was just to get out and see how the legs were feeling, I knew that after all of yesterday’s pavement pounding things might be a little sore, on top of the left hip/knee healing up, which it is. My goal today was just to do a comfortable 10 or so miles at a 7:00 – 7:30 pace, and easier effort bread and butter run. The legs were pretty slow and heavy today, they were fine to run, just not into doing it quickly. Did the tempo with a twist segment, 12.4 miles with a little hills here and there at a 7:26 avg./mile pace. Seemed about right for what I assume Lydiard would call an aerobic bread and butter 1/4 effort run. Kept with the pacing and finished the run actually feeling a little better than when I started. Though I do think I will take at least the next couple of days for some similar easy paced, less vertical runs. Looking back at my running logs for the last few weeks and I am feeling, and seeing, that a few easier days in a row would be wise! Did some lunchtime Bikram which helps loosen and realign and that felt good.

Tuesday 12/3: 14.1 miles / 1:45:39 / Ele’s 1,113 ft.

Took another easy day today, pretty much the same route as yesterday. Left leg/knee hip is feeling better again today which is a good sign. Overall the body still felt a bit tired today, I think I am in a bit of a recovery/processing mode catching up to all the running the last couple weeks. Took the same route as yesterday with the same 7:00 – 7:30 min/mile pace which seems to be a pace I can lock into for these aerobic easier bread and butter type runs. These longer, easier paced runs are a nice way to get the miles in but I don’t feel too wiped after. Though today I will say the energy systems felt low and depleted, legs still a bit heavy and I didn’t feel like I had a lot of pep or fuel to burn. Imagining that in the next couple days, after some more easy runs, the mojo will start coming back around. I am reminded to be patient, the body takes time, and to know that I can still enjoy the running amidst that time.

Wednesday 12/4: 14 miles / 2:02:11 / Ele’s 2,642 ft.

Today was another day where my goal was to just get out and aim to run at an even, comfortable pace. First day back on the trails after a few days of pavement in a row. The flatter running did help to fix up the knee and hip issues I had after Saturday and Sunday’s runs. However, I will say that I feel all that pavement pounding was a bit tough on my body and today it was nice to get back on some soft trails and in the forest. It was a cold day with some sun out, they were doing quite a bit of controlled burning back in the watershed, it filtered the sun and gave everything an erie apocalyptic glow. Climbed up Bandersnatch and the road to Caterpillar, the climb felt fine, right calf a little tight from all the road running. Took the pace pretty casual as I am trying to see if some easier paced runs in a row will help me actively recover from the climbing last week and my back to back longer tempo runs on the weekend. I do think part of my tiredness is related to some sort of stomach flu I must have picked up from a kid at school, the b.m.’s have not been pretty the last couple days and the energy levels have felt low, like my body is working on fighting something off. Legs felt about as I expected on the climb up, took the down conservative as I didn’t want to put too much stress on the left knee/hip too soon, it felt fine, so healing is happening. After the descent I did 2 miles up Rd 2060 and then back to home. Overall it was nice to get out and get some more easy miles in, feel like the body is recovering slowly, moving in the right direction, just have to be patient and know that rest and some easy days are what will allow me to keep the progression positive and moving forward.

Thursday 12/5: 6.6 miles / 1:05:32 / Ele’s 833 ft.

Woke up this morning feeling like a 2 on a scale of 10. Felt slow and tired to get going this morning. Went out needing an easy recovery run and feeling pretty tired and worn down. Made it a very very easy pace in the cold cold morning chill. My right calf was tighter than it was yesterday, the cold weather probably not helping it, not sure what is going on there with the calf. Overall I felt flat out drained and tired, legs slow, no pep in my step, no zing, no spring. Still feeling a bit sick and off in my guts and body, wondering if whatever stomach thing I have is passing through or getting more intense as I just did not really feel any positive sensations on the run today. Hard to not be frustrated on days like this, but I do have to take stock of, and reflect back on, the many great days of running I’ve had in the past few weeks, and wonder if in some way my body is tired out and calling out to me for a bit more of some real rest and recovery. Working on keeping my head up, honoring what my body is telling me, listening to my body, and looking at the big picture that at the end of the day it is all about running to feel better, and sometimes that means taking it easy for a few days. Not overly worried about the whole situation, just hard to have these lows after some good highs. All part of the learning process so the key will be to learn something from this that allows me to train smarter in the future to prevent this from recurring. I know that taking proper rest on a regular basis is usually my achilles heel, I am more prone to wear it down to the bone than I am to ease off. Finding that balance is key. In hindsight I would have been smart to have taken Monday completely off or very light and easy after the weekend, though I instead convinced myself running 14 mile days would get me recovered up.

Friday 12/6: 7.5 miles / 1:00:06  / Ele’s 926 ft.

Wasn’t even sure if I was going to run today after how I had been feeling the last couple days. The snow was really coming down mid-day and by the afternoon it was like living in a snow globe. I took a long walk this morning just to get out and move and see how the body was feeling. Looking back on the last few days and the way I seemingly imploded from tuesday-thursday I do think I had some sort of stomach/sickness that was piled on top of my training load, it really all just had me hitting the wall and feeling like I had no “go” juice. Today I decided to get out and run, Mother Nature was putting on quite a show so I dressed warm and planned to just have a run to get out and enjoy the scenery and the quiet the snow brings. Running in the snow also made me less hypersensitive to the pace of the run, it all felt, looked, sounded so different than normal, so it was a good way to get out and have a run and make it easier to not dwell on the funk my body has been in the last few days. I noticed my calf was still a bit tight, though better than yesterday. Did a couple loops around the park and felt some glimmers of hope that my body was swinging back to the direction of kicking whatever bug I have and recovering. A nice steady pace, no major hills, just an easy cruise. My calf was tightening up a bit towards the end of the run, still, better than yesterday. Had a good massage with Shaggy later in the afternoon, followed up by some Bikram, so things should feel different tomorrow a.m. Still lots of snow on the ground, about 6″ here on the hill, will be interesting to see how that is tomorrow.

Weekly Totals: 103.3 miles / 13:39:00 / Ele’s 11,695 ft.

Lessons from the week:

Cracked 100 miles this week, though the vertical was on the low end for what I’ve been putting in the previous weeks.  Hard to come off a week with such great weather and running, then have a weekend of solid back to back longer runs, and then have a hard time the rest of the week. Sometimes it seems like a few bad days makes it feel like it has been weeks since I had my last good workout.  Though in reality it is far from true, and in the long run a few easier days will help all the big runs really settle in to my fitness.

Here is an excerpt from and article by Andy Jones-Wilkins regarding the topic of patience, and its place and importance in training and running.  He sums it all up pretty well, that spiral we can psyche ourselves into of always wanting more, faster, longer, harder…  Yet, we truly must learn to enjoy where we’re at, let the training “sink in”, and not be in too much of a hurry to get faster, stronger, better.  Usually I find that the mind changes much more quickly than the body.

“I remember back to the late-‘80s when I first started running. It seemed like with each run I got faster, more efficient, and more joyful. I quickly started signing up for 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, and the like and seemed to enjoy one PR after another. Inevitably, after a move west and a series of significant life events, I discovered trail running and ultramarathons. At first I was humbled and awed by the sheer tenacity of these rugged trail runners. In my circumstance, these were mostly old desert rats who seemed intent on going out weekend after weekend with no other goal than to spend hours in the mountains. It was alluring and tantalizing to me and I quickly made the transition to ultras.

As with my progression in road racing, I quickly got faster, more efficient, and more joyful. Then, about the time of my first 100-mile race, the 2000 Angeles Crest 100, I hit a plateau. I stopped getting faster. I felt like I had reached my limit. At that point, on the advice of my running mentor, Tom Nielsen, a switch went off and I realized that the immediate gratification days were over and now, in order to find continued success, I must learn patience. In the subsequent three years, I learned the importance of rest, periodization in training, and, for lack of any better way of putting it, the importance of letting the training come to me.

It turned out that in my decade long build-up, I had been in a cycle of more, better, faster and was never allowing myself to just revel in the training and, in the wise words of veteran ultrarunner Tim Fitzpatrick, I never allowed the training to just “sink in.” Once I understood the need to do that and found a way to integrate a patient approach with my training, I embarked on a seven-year joy ride of training and racing between 2004 and 2011 that only ended when injury got the better of me.”

On another note, training the body to be more fuel efficient, especially on long runs, is not an easy task.  It is something I have been working on more and more the past few weeks and I feel like my body is adapting well and figuring out how to be more fuel efficient.  My two long on Saturday was at a good tempo, 26 miles, some good climbing, and I did it all on 60 calories.  The next day I did a solid 21 mile tempo with zero calories.  I know that had I tried to do that a few weeks ago I would have likely bonked hard and not been able to complete the runs.  I can pretty much guarantee that in this pursuit of fuel efficiency, you will at some point experience at least one mind-altering psychedelic Alice-in-Wonderland who pulled the fucking plug out of the wall bonk.   But I think it is these bonks where your body begins to learn how to fuel itself, like the mother wolf who eventually stops feeding her young pup so that the pup learns to hunt and fend for itself.  The body is similar, if you keep feeding it during the effort it won’t learn to use the fuel you already have and be more efficient.  It takes a certain amount of courage to enter into these long runs with limited fueling.  After time I find though that the confidence in making it through builds and it becomes easier, and faster as the body and mind adapt.   You’ll finish runs with a sense of smell like a wolf, the sweet smell of pine sap and musty moss will make your mouth water.  I have found that refueling immediately after the run is a top priority.

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For those math folks out there who enjoy the natural and real application of numbers as much as I do.  Our dimensions follow the same golden ratio that designs all of nature, we are part of the big picture, enjoy your time running through it!

For those math folks out there who enjoy the natural and real application of numbers as much as I do. Our dimensions follow the same golden ratio that designs all of nature, we are part of the big picture, enjoy your time running through it!

To see Strava files comment and I’ll post a link, or, if you do the Strava, find me as “Whyte Nynsha”.

To see more of the Running Logs select from “Running Logs” in the category toolbar to the right.

Quotes/mantras/wisdom for the week:

“Work hard, have fun, no drama.”

“You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.”

Saturday 11/23: 11.2 miles / 2:13:50 / Ele’s 4,531 ft.

After yesterday’s long run and a good Bikram Yoga class later that night I decided to sleep in and had a later start to the run. Sun and warm air were on in full force, a nice day to get out of the tights and into the short-shorts. Main goal today was a double up on Pete’s, aiming for each effort to be at a steady pace, not too deep on the intensity, and ideally sub 20:00 each go. After reading more and more of Lydiard, and thinking logically, I think it makes sense for my training to keep the high intensity efforts, but use them more sparingly so they are even stronger efforts. I hadn’t done Pete’s in a while, well, since last weekend, which is a while for me. And I was eager to see how it would feel after last week’s mileage. I did not want to hit to high on the intensity level, as I find these kind of reps on Pete’s limit my ability to recover and runs the next day or two following suffer as a result. I figured that if I can back off 8 – 10% on my perceived effort I could keep my body working hard, but not too hard. Legs felt good, power was there, foot contact was solid, breathing felt great, ran 18:56 and 19:39, taking it very easy on each descent, which is a good workout for the anterior leg muscles. I felt well within a sustainable working pace and for those times today my perceived effort was less than it normally would be, so much so that I half considered doing a third rep. I remembered a Lydiard point, which is to always keep something in reserve when training, you don’t want to drain the tank or the mojo. I finished off with a comfortable pace up BTI (surprised there is not a Strava segment for that climb) then down the Loop Road to the co-op and a sack of dates before the last bit running home. Food wise I had just one blok at the top of Pete’s after my first go, energy systems felt good through the run. Felt like I could have plugged away for another hour at least at that pace when I finished.

Sunday 11/24: 15.9 miles / 2:38:38 / Ele’s 5,865 ft. 

Wow, an amazing day of sunshine and nature here today in the Rogue Valley!  Woke up to sunny clear skies and a desire to go higher.  Decided a visit to the Mt. Ashland Church of Vert was in order as the wind was calm and the inversion was on, set up a rendezvous with Ryan and Willow to meet at the top.  The legs felt reasonably good and enthusiastic after a Pete’s double yesterday.  I wanted today’s climb to feel steady and strong, my goal was to work with what I’ve got rather to struggle, strain, or strive for something I don’t got, basically, enjoy the present moment.  I did the same run a couple weeks ago and had a royal bonk about halfway up.  After the last couple weeks of limiting fueling on my long runs and feeling better and better with that I do think this approach is yielding some benefits, that my body has started to become more fuel efficient and learning to use fats as fuel.  To contrast, when I did this run two weeks ago I had about 450 total calories and felt weak and bonkish, as oppose to today’s run, where I took in 30 calories for the whole run, one blok at about 1:10:00, and felt like my energy levels stayed consistent with no dips.    My time today was slightly faster that my go two weeks ago, and on top of that my perceived exertion level today was less than that of the previous run up.  So all around lots of good sensations in the legs, mind, lungs, and body.  The one blok today was probably more of a psychological dose than anything else.  I did feel a little depleted towards the end of the run, probably would have done some more bloks had I planned another 30 – 60 mins.  Overall I felt like my pacing and effort was steady and strong.  Breathing was good the whole run, I never went deep into the intensity bag.  I felt like I was riding a nice wave of positive momentum and vibrations the whole way up.  I will take a some time to look at my splits in comparison from the two runs on Strava.  No snow the whole way except for the power hike section of the ski slope to the top, where there was a couple crusty crunchy inches.  The weather at the summit was calm, clear and warm.  Warm enough that I was able to roll the last bit from the summit to the lodge shirtless in just my shorts and be comfortable and warm, quite an amazing feeling in late November at 7,000 ft.  Had a really nice time at the park lot at top relaxing in the sun with Ryan and Willow, enjoying some amazing views of Mother Shasta, good conversation, good air quality for this time of year, and getting some Vitamin D.

Monday 11/25: 15.2 miles / 1:36:36 / Ele’s 879 ft.

Legs and body felt somewhat recovered from the weekend’s two vertically oriented routes. This morning I wanted to get out for a threshold run and get some quicker miles in. I set out for the usual course on the 9.9 mile Holy-Rolly segment. The legs weren’t feeling totally rad, but good enough that I knew I could enjoy some faster running. I set my goal to run sub 6:30 min/mile pace outbound for the segment and return at sub 6:00 min/mile for the inbound. Going out under 6:30 I knew would be very do-able, though again, the legs were slow to warm up and respond. Made all my outbound miles for the segment under 6:30 as planned. At the turn I knew I would really need to turn things up a notch to make every mile coming back under 6:00, especially since the first two have a couple minor rollers thrown in. Once I got the body up to the next notch or two things fell into place better than I though, though not easy, just felt like I got in a good enough zone to stay focused on finishing the return miles under 6:00 which I did. After that I decided I would see if I could produce a couple more low 6:00’s making loops on A Street and bike path. Slowing thing down from sub 6:00 to low 6:00 made a noticeable difference, and I think if I got my timing right I did the first 13.1 miles of the run in just around 1:20:00, which felt like a solid half-marathon workout. In hindsight I could have pushed it a little harder if I had a 13.1 mile course segment already made up. Took a couple easier miles to cool down and get home. No calories on the run, though probably would have used some around mile 10 if I was planning to run much further, breathing felt great, and the sun was so nice. Felt like I was fighting my body during the first 5 miles of the run, and working with my body for the last 8 or so miles of the workout. A good threshold run and felt nice to have the added amount of energy to extend it but still like I had left something in the tank when I got home. Lydiard says these runs are good once or twice a week. In review I broke 1:00:00 on the Holy-Rolly segment and managed a 6:21/mile avg. pace for the whole 15.2 miles which included the cool down. A solid effort that I feel good about.

Tuesday 11/26: 9.6 miles / 1:33:45 / Ele’s 2,171 ft.

Yesterday’s run definitely felt like an “effort” run. Wanted to take today easy and mellow. Goal was to go out and run where the legs took me between one and two hours. Started climbing 2060, sun was out, forest smelled like pancakes and maple syrup, air was warmer up high. Plugged along at a very comfortable pace up to Hitt Road then made a real gentle descent. No breakfast before the run and no calories during, trying to do this once a week on my recovery/easy day to see if that improves fuel economy in harder runs.

Wednesday 11/27: 11.5 miles / 2:08:53 / Ele’s 3,667 ft.

Woke up with the legs feeling average. It popped into my mind that today would be a good day for a double on Pete’s. Running out there my legs felt a little stiff to start. Not as peppy as I would like after an easy day. In hindsight, I do think that although yesterday’s run was done at a very easy pace it still had enough sustained vertical to put a little workload on the system. I also noticed that my soleus and achilles were actually a little stiff this morning, which is very rare for me, and I think it is due to the slow pace up the climb yesterday. The slower pace I feel changes my bio-mechanics enough that it puts the stress and load on my legs differently than if I was running faster and harder. Anyways, ran out to Pete’s and decided I would do the first effort as hard or as easy as I felt like going. Legs slowly warmed up to the effort, the air was warm, and breathing felt great, body felt loose and easy. Ended up posting a 17:31, just 2 seconds away from a new PR/CR. The good take away from this is that exertion wise I did not feel like I was running 100% effort, more like 92%, so it bodes well that things are improving! Took a clif blok at the top, like rewarding the good dog, the only calories for the run and probably not really necessary. Took it very easy on the way down after walking off the effort for a couple moments at the top. The second go I aimed for the usual sub 20:00 effort. On the way up I decided to throw in a couple ‘bursts’ where I upped the intensity about 10-15% for 1-2 minutes each effort. Ended up with a solid 18:35, going at what felt like 85%, which is good for my second effort after breaking 18:00 my first go. After Pete’s I came down and did some easy aerobic miles on the road above the park, legs enjoyed the flat aerobic cool down and it felt really nice out there, like I could have done those 7:00 min/miles for the next five hours… Remembering though, as Lydiard says, and I am finding to be very true, to always leave something in reserve, don’t empty the tank completely. Happy with my efforts on Pete’s today and some more signs that my running is getting stronger. Will be interesting to see how I feel from this workout tomorrow.

Thursday 11/28: 18.1 miles / 2:48:27 / Ele’s 5,945 ft.

Treated to a glorious day of sunshine and much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving day. Getting up high to make the most of this amazing weather was a priority so made plans to meet Ryan and Willow up at Mt. Ashland again. Took the usual route up, via Bandersnatch – Caterpillar – Loop Road to Bull Gap Road and Upper Bull Gap trail. Instead of going up the ski slope for the final pitch I decided to take the longer, and sunnier, way around the backside of the mountain to the summit. The climb up was good, legs and body felt better than expected after yesterday’s two solid burns up Pete’s. Felt like I set and maintained a good solid pace for the bulk of the climb. I made a segment that is from the gate below Bandersnatch to the Mt. Ashland Lodge, as I wanted to compare the past few efforts of climbing Mt. Ashland. Today I managed that section 5 minutes faster than Sunday’s summit run, despite the effort feeling very similar. I also set a new PR/CR on the Four-Pillar-Snatch segment which also indicates the faster pace of today’s ascent. Hit the lodge and got onto Road 20 for the last few miles to the summit, legs and body started feeling a little sluggish at this point, but was close enough to the end to put that drama aside and finish feeling good overall about the day’s run. Had a nice little survey and some yodels from the summit before running back down to meet up with Ryan and Willow where we basked in the late November warmth, it was nice. Calorie wise I only had one blok on the fly, 30 calories, at 1:30:00 into the run. The last 20 minutes of the climb felt like I could have used a little something, especially if I had been planning to run much further. Overall, happy with the run today, climbing felt good, breathing was great, focus and my head were into it, all systems go, a nice feeling when it all syncs up out in the forest on a beautiful day.

Friday 11/29: 9.1 miles / 2:45:14 / Ele’s 4,018 ft.

Continuing to milk this amazing late November weather and getting up high. After my two summits of Mt. Ashland this week, and each time at the top looking across to McLoughlin, I answered her call and made the drive to the trail. I ran McLoughlin a bunch this late summer/early fall pre-Garmin, My best time up this summer was a 1:07:50 up and a 48:40 down. I knew that with the snows up high and possibly down low today would not be the day for a new PR/FKT, but I was excited to be out there as always. Only one other party and they were on there way out as I started in so I had her all to myself. Hit snow way earlier than I expected, basically had about 1 mile of bare trail on the trail that connects to the PCT before it was all snow running to the summit, crunchy careful strides made it a bit slower going than usual. Ended up using the ridge most of the way up above tree line because the trail was covered in drifts of snow. All the snow on the approach and on the mountain proper made it slow going and even more ticky-tacky stepping than normal. Ended up being more of a power hike than a run from the treeline on up. Lots of jumping from rock to rock to avoid post-holing in the snow. Hardly any wind, full sun, amazing views, really superb day up there above the crowds at Wal-mart. Was feeling bonkish by the time I hit the summit. Enjoyed the view for a bit then made a glissade and scree slide down to the southwest side which is always a treat, cut over to the ridge, and made a very tedious slow go of it through the snow, rocks, and icy trail in a very depleted, full on bonked, out of brain sugar high. Thought about taking some calories in but figured with the slow pace I wouldn’t crash too hard and it would be another ‘fuel economy’ training day. A good summit to finish a big week of vertical that started last Saturday! Reckon we got one or two more days of this before the next front hits. Nice to sneak this one in today, nature time is the best time.

Weekly Totals: 90.6 miles / 15:46:00 / Ele’s 27,076 ft.

Lessons from the week:

Looking at the weekly totals for this block seems like it could have been summer.  Two summit trips up Mt. Ashland (thanks to Ryan and Willow for making that happen and finish so enjoyably!), and a McLoughlin Summit, some solid efforts on Pete’s and a good faster tempo workout, all in all very satisfied with the week’s running and how my body is processing it all.

Rest and recovery days really need to be honored, respected, and treated as such.  In general, I am finding Lydiard’s approach to training much more sustainable.  More volume, less frequency of high intensity workouts, means I feel more fresh and I am enjoying my running more than ever.  My long runs are more aerobic and my shorter intense efforts are feeling stronger and faster than ever.  Which means I want to run more, and I am, a wonderfully positive and productive cycle.  This weeks recovery run was at a very easy pace but I think had more vertical than needed and the slower pace climbing put undue stress on my knees and hamstrings (See Wednesday’s run report).  Live and learn, the lesson here is recovery runs should be easy and mostly flat, period.

Overall I am seeing improvement in my running.  Times on regular “effort” segments are dropping.  It is good to remind myself to be patient, gains and growth are exciting and motivating, though, there is almost always some plateaus here and there as well as the inevitable slowing of the exponential growth curve, it is rarely linear.  With all that said I will also add that I am enjoying my running more than ever, which, regardless of my times, is really what I am shooting for.  The sensations of running, breathing, and being outside are really getting me “high”.  Even the faster, harder days out on the pavement are proving to be more exciting than I could have anticipated.  Consistency, patience, joy and excitement, those are what help keep the mojo strong.

Last week a couple of my runs were plagued with stomach issues and “emergency roadside evacuations”.  On top of that I have had seemingly inescapable back pain for the past few months.  Persistent runny nose and sinus congestion, upset stomach, gastric reflux while running  To cut to the chase I narrowed it down to the whey protein I was using on a regular, often daily basis.  Literally within 24 hours of taking the whey protein out of my diet I felt relief from all of my symptoms, backache gone, runny, stuffed up nose gone, no more bloating or stomach pain, my first solid poops in a while…  It really feels like I had been running the last few months with a parachute on and someone finally cut the cord free.  The effects from my body’s sensitivity to the whey were not enjoyable, 99% of the time I would wake up so stiff and sore in my back that I could not reach down to put my pants or socks on.  None of it added up to me then, I sleep on a good mattress, I do yoga, I exercise, eat a healthy gluten-free mostly vegan diet free of refined sugars, no alcohol, no drugs, so what was it?  The reason I am sharing this is in the case a reader comes across this post with similar symptoms.  My best way of describing it all was as a constant underlying discomfort.  Bloating, diarrhea, back pain (which created a domino effect of poor posture, poor breathing, which affected various aspects of my health and mental well being).   I feel happy to be out of pain, knowing what the cause of it all was, and I also feel frustrated with myself for not putting these pieces together sooner, would have made so many of the miles I have run the past months more enjoyable, as well as time after the runs, as in the rest of my life.  Although all the toilet time I had in the mornings did get me caught up on quite a bit of reading.

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As the weather turns wintry my thoughts sift back through the summer.  How I miss the simple life, wake up, eat, stretch, run a mountain or two, swim in a cold lake or river, lay in the sun, eat, rest, sleep, repeat.  Visual inspiration for the week and a reminder that perhaps I can make my every day a bit more simple in ways.  Thanks to my friend Matt Crawford for this photo gem from our bro-fest in Les Tets!

As the weather turns wintry my thoughts sift back through the summer. How I miss the simple life, wake up, eat, stretch, run a mountain or two, swim in a cold lake or river, lay in the sun, eat, rest, sleep, repeat. Visual inspiration for the week and a reminder that I can make my everyday life a bit more simple in ways. Thanks to my friend Matt Crawford for this photo gem from our bro-fest in Les Tets, sunrise over String Lake, Teewinot, Mt. Owen, and the Grand Teton visible.

If you do the Strava, find me as “Whyte Nynsha” and to see more of the Running Logs select from “Running Logs” in the category toolbar to the right.

Saturday 11/16: 18.9 miles / 3:10:57 / Ele’s 4,736 ft.

After a great massage yesterday afternoon from Shaggy at Therapeutics in Motion, followed up by a solid Bikram Yoga class, and finishing a week of almost 19,000 ft. of gain I was uncertain how the pistons would be firing today. I knew it was likely they would not be tip-top or even near it. Still, planned to get out for two up Pete’s, with my friend Pete. A couple easy miles before I met up with Pete, and the legs were feeling a bit slow, heavy, tired might be a good word. This made me focus all the more on my form and trying to carry my upper body light. Fake it ’till you make it kind of thinking today, hoping that at some point that mojo groove would find me and I it. We headed up Pete’s and my mantra for my two ascents today were straight from Lydiard, “Healthy, Intelligent, Training”. I didn’t want to go too hard at all on these, didn’t want to do too much damage since I already felt like my body was playing a bit of catch up from last week. Did the two up Pete’s and found some good “healthy, intelligent” sensations. After Pete’s #2 I headed down the trails back towards home at an aerobic pace that I would call just a little harder than easy, if that exists? Just 3/4 mile from home, and smelling the barn, I saw Chad and Amy who were out for a run, we all decided it would be best for me to run along with them just an easy little loop around the park, which ended up including a couple steep little pitches that seared the legs a touch. Considering I ate just two bloks in the first 1:10:00 and nothing after I felt un-bonkish, so a good couple hours working on the fuel efficiency a la Lydiard. While the pace was not high, this run had some good hill work on Pete’s and aerobic running to help get volume in for the engine.

Sunday 11/17: 20.7 miles / 2:38:47 / Ele’s 2,610 ft. 

The goal today was another long run at an aerobic pace, basically a good solid engine improving run. I knew I would not be running on fresh legs due to yesterday’s run. The plan was a warm-up, then start the long segment at the reservoir cutoff and climb up 2060 to the Horn Gap entrance gate, turn around and then link up to the Holy-Rolly segment via running through the park and town. I took it pretty conservative on the climb up 2060, my climbing legs were a bit tired and I wanted to focus on finishing this run strong so erred on the side of taking it easier than pushing it. Comfortable pace on the 2060 down and then linked to Holy-Rolly segment. I’ve been doing my sub-threshold runs on on the Holy-Rolly segment at around a 6:22/mile pace, so I was aiming for a 7:20-7:30/mile pace on this segment today, ended up right at 7:31/mile pace for the segment, pretty close to my target. I figured this would be good to do this at the last half of the run since I would know what a comfortable pacing should be on this 9.9 mile segment. I wanted to run this whole route minus the 1 mile warm-up as one continuous segment so I can compare times and pacing for future, similar workouts. Created an 18.8 mile segment, Mojo Mathematics Long Course #1: Hill to flat, averaged 7:53/mile today on what I would call tired legs. I would also like to create a segment that is a reverse of that, do the Holy-Rolly to 2060, to compare splits and pace with the hill at the end since I would probably run the hill harder in that order? Fueling wise I wanted to work on getting my body to fuel efficiently, especially at these aerobic paces, I took in just 3 bloks, 100 calories, for the whole run, taking one blok at 45:00, 1:15:00, and 1:50:00. A few minor dips felt here and there but not terrible and ran through them fine. Legs felt pretty heavy and tired at the end, a sign of glycogen depletion as prescribed by Lydiard.

Monday 11/18: 11.4 miles / 1:29:46 / Ele’s 2,019 ft.

Legs and body feeling better than anticipated after the weekend of longer runs, could very well be Mr. Lydiard is correct in that the lower intensity longer runs are easier for the body to recover from. I also really made getting some calories in right after my runs a priority, even if it was just a few dates. Went out today wanting to put in a solid effort uphill. Chose Bandersnatch after a warm up around the park, had a good run up Bandersnatch, setting a new PR/CR at 12:17, taking about 0:53 off my last PR/CR, the legs held on to the end and felt like I paced myself well enough, shooting for a VO2 max style effort. After that effort I ran it aerobic to recover up to Caterpillar and decided that if I felt for it I would do another effort, though the goal was a less intense effort by about 20% than what I had done on Bandersnatch. Felt like one of those efforts where I kept slowly ramping up as I got into it, fast enough for another PR/CR. Flipped it at the top and ran down and home keeping the pace faster than I would on a long run. Overall, happy with today’s run and my harder efforts, legs felt snappy and not heavy, energy systems felt good too, no calories on the run and finished with something left in the tank.

Tuesday 11/19: 6.9 miles / 58:48 / Ele’s 1,032 ft.

Woke up feeling a bit tired, I can really tell the difference from the harder workouts and the long and steady ones, as far as how I feel the next day. I wanted to get out and run some, keep it easy, short, and mellow. Got out for a little run through the park, 1 mile up 2060 and back around. Some nice birds out there chirping, legs felt tired and heavy, that was to be expected. As usual though for this type of run I felt better towards the end than at the start. I also wanted to create a shorter segment I could use for timing in the future, I will create it here, starting by the playground in the park going up the road to 1 mile marker on 2060 then back around to finish near the park office, segment called Mojo Mathematics: Park Plus 1, it’s 5.5 miles and I think would make a good course for some efforts in the future.

Wednesday 11/20: 13.5 miles / 1:25:40 / Ele’s 857 ft.

Slept well last night and woke up with the plan to do a run on the 9.9 mile holy-rolly course, goal of doing a sub-threshold tempo run that Lydiard says are good to do once or twice a week of 1 – 2 hours per session, he says to do these at marathon pace, hard for me to know exactly what that is for me on a road course with no real climbs to speak of, but I feel averaging around 6:15 – 6:30 miles of these types of runs feel about right effort wise. I am getting the pacing on this course figured out a little better each time, today wanted to start a little more conservative and focus on finishing the last few miles strong, this approach helped and I got a new PR on this course and came close to breaking 1:00:00 for the 9.9 miles, averaging 6:08 miles. It is definitely a harder pace than my long run aerobic type pace, not as hard as a hard climbing effort, and slower per mile than what I could try to squeeze out on the track. It is hard to go out and run a course and not have that temptation of going for a PR every time, today I really wanted to pace right and run by feel, which still made for a fast time, though I do think those runs should not be much harder pace wise than what I did today, it would probably serve me more to keep that pace in the low six min/miles and work on extending the length of the run. Did the holy-rolly course and legs felt good enough to keep things moving so I took a route up through town and around the road on the back of the park to extend the session a bit and put a small climb into it at the end to see how that felt on the legs after the previous 10 miles. Felt better and better as I climbed the hill up to the road behind the park. Created a new segment for that extension of the holy-rolly, called Mojo Mathematics: Tempo with a twist, 12.4 miles, did that in 6:15 per mile average today. Again, no fueling taken during the run, energy felt good, legs started feeling a little heavy towards the end, would probably need to have a little something if I was to go much further at that pace.

Thursday 11/21: 12.2 miles / 1:47:00 / Ele’s 2,631 ft.

Cold, sunny, clear and beautiful weather this morning. Nice to see the sun out in full force after the gray yesterday. The goal for the run today was to go out for a solid aerobic run, maintain a constant effort, keep it easier than yesterday’s tempo run. I decided a climb up to Four Corners would be good, I’ve been wanting to make a segment that goes from the bottom of Bandersnatch – Caterpillar – Loop Road to Four Corners, made that segment from today’s run, called Mojo Mathematics: Four-Pillar-Snatch, it is 5 miles and will make a good segment for timing an extended climb. The legs felt decent enough after yesterday’s strong tempo run, though the pace was definitely not high, as you can see that in the difference in my effort on Bandersnatch PR earlier in the week and my ascent today, more than a 4:00 difference, which is about a 25% longer time. So in reality it is pretty close to what Lydiard says to shoot for in these types of run, if you take my 12:17 effort as “95%” then today is somewhere around “70%”. I felt a bit light headed and bonky for the first 45:00 of the run, probably a little depleted from yesterday? I acknowledged that and knew that usually it doesn’t get too much worse unless I go past two hours in that sort of state. Made a steady aerobic “65%” pace all the way up to Four Corners, then took the road and BTI back. Was a nice run overall. Working on Lydiard’s style of “bread and butter” longer runs which help to build the aerobic engine, and nice to do that on an extended climb. Bonkish feeling did not get any worse after the 45:00 mark.

Friday 11/22: 21.3 miles / 2:39:08 / Ele’s 2,531 ft.

Another beautiful sunny day in Ashland, meant a cold cold morning. I was slow to start this a.m. which was fine since it gave some time for the frost to melt out and the south wind to pick up and bring some warm air and inversion factor. Air quality was also better today than earlier in the week. Inversion factor made the upper hills nice and warm, felt good. Earlier in the training week I did a run that was up 2060 to Horn Gap gate then down to the holy-rolly course, I made a segment for that section, 18.8 miles. The goal today was to essentially do the opposite of that route and see how the pacing and times compared. I wanted to go out for a harder pace than my run yesterday and get a nice long run in. My goal on the first flatter section, the holy-rolly course I’ve been using for my threshold tempo runs, was to do my outbound 5 miles at sub 7:30 min/miles and inbound 5 miles at sub 7:00 min/miles. I figured this should be a good aerobic working pace for that portion, usually rolling 6:17ish min/miles outbound and 6:02ish on threshold runs for those bits. That pacing goal felt good as I started out, and on the return I had enough to keep it under 7:00’s without pain or strain. After the flat section I made my way up through town, the park, and then to where I stashed my water. Ideally I would have grabbed the bottle and drank on the go, but since I had not felt like eating up to that point due to a grumpy and angry stomach, I decided to stop and try to take in some calories and water while not bouncing up and down. It ended up that I managed the whole run on just the two bloks (60 total calories) and water I had at that stop 1:20:00 in, and overall I actually fared way better than I expected with that amount of fuel. Body might be getting a bit more used to be efficient on these longer runs. After the pit-stop I continued onto the second part of the long course, climbing up 2060 to Horn Gap gate, I wanted to go by feel for the first mile and let my Garmin tell me my pace, I decided I would then aim to keep that pace to the top, after the first mile of climbing I was just under 10:00 min/mile pace, cruisy and aerobic, I decided that sub 10:00 would be the goal for the rest of the climbing miles, and averaged around 9:30ish for the rest of them, it was nice to set that goal by feel first then use the Garmin to hold to the pace, seemed like a smart approach. At the gate I flipped it and made the goal of sub 7:00 min/miles for the rest of the course. Was able to finish feeling strong and not totally wiped out. I created a segment for this route today minus the warm-up to the start, Mojo Mathematics Long Course #2: Flat to hill. Total of 20.8 miles.  Legs felt decent enough, it was my stomach that was really giving me some hell today, frustrating to say the least. Would have liked to been able to do this run with maybe just one stop for water, though today had to throw in a couple stops during the run to “off-load some flawed merchandise” along the side of the road/trail. Kind of broke up my rhythm a bit. Finished the run at the co-op for a $2.00 bill worth of bulk dates to munch on while I cooled down and walked home in the sunshine, a nice way to finish.

Strava and the Garmin are a great tool to compare stuff like this:

holy-rolly segment Sunday with hill first: 1:14:26 (7:31/mi.)

holy-rolly segment today with hill last: 1:12:31 (7:19/mi.)

reservoir cut-off to Horn Gape gate today: 34:40 (9:19/mi.)

reservoir cut-off to Horn Gape gate on Sunday: 34:56 (9:23/mi.)

So, I must have had some lag time in those couple of extra miles today since:

Sunday’s Mojo Mathematics Long Course #1: Hill to flat: 1,833 ft. gain / 18.8 miles @ 7:53/mile avg.

Today’s Mojo Mathematics Long Course #2: Flat to hill: 1,853 ft. gain / 20.2 miles @ 8:08/mile avg.

Both day’s segments clock in pretty close, though overall I would say that despite my stomach issues, today’s effort felt easier and came to me more smoothly than Sunday’s.

Of course it is important to realize these are the first comparisons, and to focus equally as much on the overall sensations for the run that day, still, the data is fun.

Week Total: 104.9 miles / 14:11:00 / Ele’s 16,416 ft.

Lessons from the week:

After two solid weeks of climbing I felt more motivated to put in volume this week and get in some less vertical miles.  Otherwise, I would keep trying to one-up my previous week, and, before I know it, resort to climbing up and down trees to log as much vertical as possible.  Came in just over 100 miles this week, though to be honest I felt more tired after all of last week’s vertical than I do after the volume of this week.  I put in 23 more miles and 2 more hours than I did last week, logged about 2,500 less vertical.  It could also be that after all of last week’s climbing my body was happy to roll some flatter miles and recover better between those types of runs.

In the past I have taken at least one day completely off running a week.  Usually on that day I will do some walking/hiking and yoga.  However, this week I wanted to try taking an easy run as opposed to the day off, since I feel in some ways running easy for an hour is better for me all around than walking for the same amount of time or longer.

I am starting to see more and more proof in Lydiard’s training methods.  If I reflect back on the couple months of running, September and October, I would say that my frequency of high intensity sessions was too much, I was not allowing for enough recovery time from session to session, gains seemed slow and came with much effort.  As a result, I was also lacking some of the volume and fitness to be gained from longer, slower paced runs.  In addition, the stimulation and workload placed on my nervous system as it psyched up – endured – and then recovered from this approach was draining and unsustainable for any extended length of time.

I notice a dramatic difference in how my body feels the day after an intense effort as oppose to the day after a longer, easier paced effort.  In the scope of the type of running I enjoy, the type of races I do (though infrequent), and my goals for my running,  I realize there is not a huge need for intense sessions on a regular basis.  Even more true as I am realizing that much of Lydiard’s methodology was based on working with “middle distance” runners, which for most trail runners is considered a very “short run”.  Really the greater emphasis should be placed on building the engine up.

Another note, bears leave very, very large piles of shit on the trail this time of year!  Did you know that during their hibernation their body instinctively creates a colonic plug of fur and nastiness that essentially corks them up for the duration of their sleep?  I can only imagine how euphoric their first dump feels when they wake up in the spring and “pop the top” off that.

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