Monday, January 28, 2013

Week in Training - January 21 to January 27

Some weeks of training are awesome.  You get all the desired miles, hit every quality workout like a champ, overcome inclement weather and feel the way Galen Rupp looked this past weekend. This was not one of those weeks.  This was a week that started with a small, nagging twinge (a.k.a. "pain") and ended in a full blown case of "it hurts to walk".

Yeah, I'm officially injured.  On the "DL" as they say in baseball..........but without the fat paycheck.  Disabled List?  Is that really a thing among runners anyway?  Last I checked we didn't have benches to warm or teammates to pick up the slack and take one for the team.  Instead being an injured runner is a much lonelier affair.  Your fellow runners go on, build up more miles, get faster while you sit at home and contemplate the road to recovery.  Ok, maybe not all runners do that; but I do.

So here I sit, typing instead of running or cycling or skiing or snowshoeing or something.  Did I mention it hurts to walk?  Let's see how I got to this place.  Sunday, January 20 - my first speed workout of 2013.  5x 800m at 5:30 pace.  Felt great.  All is well; great way to end the week; feeling like the aforementioned Mr. Rupp (but looking like a guy who runs the mile about 90 seconds slower).

Monday, January 21 - Our President is waving to the assembled masses on his way to being sworn in for 4 more years and I'm out running 8 miles.  All is well until about 6 miles when I feel a tightening in my right butt-cheek.  Humm, that's interesting but not exactly painful.  It gets a little tighter those last 2 miles but doesn't blow-up in catastrophic fashion.  Perhaps I dodged a bullet?

....or not.  By mid afternoon this little twinge actually hurts for real but not in a bad way.  At the time I thought it was a minor strain and would heal-up so long as I didn't race or do intervals on it.  Since I was back on the core strength bandwagon after a holiday break, I went to The Dailey Method in the late afternoon.

Tuesday, January 22 - I woke up feeling pretty good with no real pain in the butt (cheek) but decided to play it safe and ride my bike (48 miles) instead of running just in case.  While still a bit sore, this didn't seem to make things worse so perhaps I was out of the woods.

Woodside, California

Wednesday, January 23 - Raining - nice!  Again, I opted for a flat, 45 mile road bike ride to give my butt another day to get with the program.  Nice strategy, but Mr. Gluteus Maximus decided my idea of an easy day was not so much.  About 25 miles into the ride I could feel a little muscle next to my tail bone getting tighter and tighter.  Over the last 5 miles it was actually hurting quite a bit - particularly when I'd get out of the saddle.  Shit.

This is where your salt comes from (look it up)

Thursday, January 24 - Yeah this thing hurts but core strength is good for you - right?  It's most definitely very low or even no impact so how's about I do another 1 hour Dailey Method workout?  It didn't hurt once I was warmed up and working out but later that day it was screaming and I knew something was really, REALLY wrong.  Time to heat, ice, pop some Advil, stretch gently and wait it out.  This shouldn't take long - right?

Friday, January 25 - No workouts.  My butt pain still hurts - a lot.  That first step on my right leg when getting up after sitting for a few hours hurts the most.

Saturday, January 26 - No workouts.  Still hurts.  Hurts to walk.  Double shit.

Sunday, January 27 - No workouts.  Pain.  Really?  Still?  WTF?  Need to get a doctors appointment first thing on Monday.  In the meantime I'll drink away my sorrows........with coffee.

(Mono)Chromatic Coffee is now where Barefoot Coffee once was in Cupertino

So that's where I am on this Monday.  Not training.  Taking Advil.  Gentle stretching.  Hot tub.  Ice, heat, ice, heat, etc.  Waiting for my Friday doctors appointment.  Waiting sucks the most.  What is it?  Dunno.  Sacral stress fracture?  Maybe.  Torn muscle?  Dunno but that feels more likely.  Stay tuned and in the meantime don't wait for me; go on; save yourselves; run some miles; I'll be just fine.......sitting the computer.....not running.  :-)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Week in Training - January 14 to January 20

This was a week of multiple conveyances - for training and transportation.  A veritable Planes, Trains & Automobiles but without the slap stick comedy.........or Steve Martin.  Let's begin with some stats for the week:

Training: 41 miles of running.  70 miles of road biking.  1 hour of Dailey Method core strength.  6000' of ascent.  11 total hours.

Transportation Types: feet, bicycle, automobile, bus, airplane (Boeing 737), streetcar (Skoda 10T) light-rail (Siemens SD660) and heavy rail (Caltrain EMD F40 / Nippon-Sharyo).

Tri-Met light-rail train and solar panels near the PSU campus.

A trip to Portland, Oregon, where I was giving a snowshoe presentation at REI, was responsible for the doubling of my usual methods of getting from point A to point B.  It was also an opportunity to visit family and friends in my former hometown and savor many of its outstanding purveyors of food and beverage.  Uno Mas, Barista, Stumptown Coffee, Clive Coffee, Water Ave Coffee, Bridgeport Brewery, Kenny & Zuke's, VooDoo Donuts, Lardo and Tails & Trotters.  Call it an +Anthony Bourdain style "Layover".

Monday: 8 mile easy, flat run.  25 mile easy, flat road bike ride.

San Jose to Portland via +Alaska Airlines Timbers themed 737.

Tuesday: travel day - SJC to PDX - no workout.  90 minute snowshoe presentation at the Pearl District REI store.  Coffee at Stumptown and scored a maple-bacon donut at VooDoo.  Lunch at Uno Mas and picked up some pork chops at Tails & Trotters.

Portland, Oregon - my coffee mecca.

Wednesday: hilly 7 mile road run (850' of climb) around Council Crest Park in Portland, OR.  No views on this cold, damp, foggy and cloudy day - burrrrr!  More coffee at Water Ave Coffee and oogled espresso machines and equipment at Clive Coffee.  Dinner at Bridgeport Brewery with Taplister founder +Kerry Finsand and Jenn.  I don't follow big, stadium oriented pro sports but when given the opportunity to see a Portland Trailblazers game count me in......even if they do lose.  Thanks Jenn!

My favorite coffee shop in Portland - Barista

Thursday: hilly 8.5 mile road run (1000' of climbing) over to Washington Park and back up Vista Drive.  Again, cold, damp, foggy and.......wait, what's this?  Sun!!  Coffee at Barista, breakfast at Kenny & Zuke's and lunch at Lardo.  Time to fly home - PDX to SJC.

Downtown Portland & Willamette River.

Friday: 10 mile flat road run (@ 7:35 pace) around Moffett Field in sunny California.  Dailey Method core strength class..........first one in over a month.  Time to rip the bandaid off.

The sun makes a rare winter appearance on my last morning in Portland.

Saturday: 45 mile hilly road bike ride (3800' of climbing) up to Skyline Drive.  Skyline was freshly chip-sealed this past Fall and I was hoping a few month of use would clear the excess gravel and smooth the surface.....but no.  Skyline is now bumpier, rougher and still has large gravel in the shoulders and center-line.  No more KOM's on this segment for a while.

January in California - time to water the lawn.

Sunday: First running intervals of 2013.  8 mile flat run on gravel with 5x 1/2 mile intervals at 5:30 pace.  It felt good to get my first speed workout behind me......until the next day when I pulled a small muscle in my lower back while running.  A reminder to slowly increase the number and duration of high intensity workouts this year........and get back to a regular core strength routine.

Want to create your own layover in Portland?  Check out +Google Local Portland for fresh ideas on what to do and where to go.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Running, Rollerskiing, Road Biking, Snow Skiing, Snowshoeing and Holidaze

Ok yes, it's been a while since I last posted.  So much travel, so many workouts, where to start?  Bend, Oregon - let's start there.  Kelly and I drove up to +Visit Bend for a 2 week vacation of winter outdoor activities, good food, craft beer, family, friends and television-free living.

Crawl before you walk.  Roller-ski before you snow ski.

My original workout plan for Bend was to bag as many activity types as possible including non-winter sports like kayaking, canoeing, mountain & road biking.  Since downtown Bend is often snow-free and warm(er) in winter than the nearby mountains, I thought this should be an achievable and fun challenge.  Unfortunately old-man winter had other ideas.

Following the train up Rt. 97 north of Klamath Falls, OR.

The day we made the almost 10 hour drive from Mountain View to Bend a big winter storm hit the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Northern California.  This caused I-5 to be briefly closed North of Redding, CA and brought over a foot of snow to the Rt. 97 corridor through Central Oregon.  After arriving one day later than planned my first strength/endurance activity was shoveling snow........and this would not be the last of such "workouts".

I finally put these Gore-Tex +Salomon Speedcross with gaiters to good use.

Another first (but not last workout type) would be running in the snow - 7 miles in partially packed powder from Phil's Trail - home of the 2012 USA Half Marathon Trail Running Championships.  In fact, of the 8 runs I did those 2 weeks, all would be on snow covered trails and roads.  Of course the real reason for being in Bend was to take advantage of the world class cross country skiing.  Too bad I didn't check the grooming report on our first Monday of skiing.  We arrived at Meissner Snow Park to find no grooming - only deep skied in tracks not suitable for our race-bred skate equipment.  That oversight resulted in 3 miles of difficult double-poling.

How do you caption this nordic awesomeness?

The next day grooming equipment was running so I got in 12 magical miles of skate skiing.  By the end of the trip I'd skied 85 miles including one classic ski - my first in several years.  The lesson in that was (1.) classic skiing is hard and I need to practice more but also (2.) I still know how to wax skis. One out of two isn't too bad.

Skiing in tracks at long last.

Beer!  What can I say that hasn't already been said by everyone including the New York Times. 14 craft breweries in Central Oregon.  My growler runneth over and I took a tour of +Deschutes Brewery for the first time.

Deschutes Brewery

The other major activity of these 2 weeks was snowshoe running.  Bend will host the 2013 Snowshoe National Championships and I'm helping to organize the event.  One of my responsibilities is to design the course so I spent several workouts scouting existing snowshoe & ski trails and blazing a new trail through 3+ feet of steep & deep powder.  One section of this trail climbed 325' and took me 17 minutes to go 3/10's of a mile.  Fortunately, runners will go down this during the race.  Total snowshoe running in 2 weeks was 4 workouts for 18 miles.

Race Director "Super" Dave Thomason and yours truly.

For the 2 weeks in Bend I did a total of 21 workouts and shoveled snow about 5 times.  Since the snow never did melt in town and the temps were rather cold I wimped out and didn't canoe or kayak on the ice-free Deschutes River.  Mountain Biking would have been possible but not fun with 1 to 2 feet of snow on the trails and road biking......well that would have been suicidal.

Mt. Shasta as seen on the drive home to California.

Has living in California made me soft in the face of real winter weather?  Absolutely.  Despite having grown up and lived most of my life in Northern New York and New England I was glad to be back in sunny, warmish California.  More than mild winter weather, I really missed road biking.  In fact, the first workout I did back in California was 26 miles on the road bike.

Portola Valley, California

Since then I've been back to my usual routine of running and biking - trying to slowly increase my mileage while staying healthy.  This included my longest run since getting hurt in the Fall - a 10 miler around Moffett Field.  I also hit the trails (snow-free) for the first time in a while including a 9 mile trail run with some hard tempo up the PGE trail (933' in 1.8 miles). In addition to harder runs I'm also ramping up the distance and intensity on my road bike.  Yesterday I rode 67 miles with the Thirsty Bear Cycling Team in chilly (but snow-free) Marin County.

+Suunto Ambit - the +Cadillac of running watches.

New for 2013 I've resurrected my Movescount account to track my training.  Salomon sent me a new Suunto Ambit so I'm retiring the Garmin Forerunner 405CX from primary use.  So far I really like the Ambit - it's much more than a watch - a training instrument would be a more accurate description.  In addition to GPS, the Ambit uses a barometric pressure sensor and accelerometers to measure location, speed, elevation and distance.  So far its just as accurate as the Garmin for road running but I'm starting to see more accurate data from the Ambit on technical trail runs.  More comparisons and reviews to come on this blog.  In the meantime, for a great review of the Ambit, check out this article on +iRunFar.