29 January 2013

Howe Street stairs

Another winter of Howe Street stair workouts are in the bag! HUGE thanks to Jim Kodjababian for keeping me company year after year after year. I might walk these stairs alone but run them? Ha! No way. Running takes knowing someone else is suffering as much as you. Heck, sometimes just showing up takes knowing that someone else will be there and that they are depending on you.

ASIDE - Once again my fancy, very expensive, very unreliable GPS watch decided to malfunction! I called Garmin and they said it must be part of a bad batch and offered to replace it with known good stock. That was a relief as I have already replaced this unit once at REI and simply started having exactly the same issues.

27 January 2013

Squak Mt with Seattle Running Club

Okay, time to start fresh and hopefully put yesterday's suffer fest out of my mind. Ditto for all that heart scaring nonsense... :)

ASIDE - I find it amazing how people can be so selective about what they believe. INCLUDING ME. People sure are stupid at times all the time.

First of all, a big shout out to one of my newest readers: Angel Rossi Mathis. That means at least two people read this blog; if you count me. Angel was in attendance today along with her husband Tim Mathis and not only does she read this blog but she kept up JUST FINE, she also told a very touching story (while running uphill!). Nice.

The story was prompted by me asking her how long she has been running. I'm always curious to see what kind of progression is 'normal' as I am nothing if not super shallow and need to compare myself to others constantly. Turns out Angel has been running for three years almost to the day. THREE YEARS. And she has already completed what seems like exponentially more ultras than I have. Three years ago she and Tim were sitting on the couch watching some triathlon on television (they spent a lot of time watching television apparently) but this particular event was for some kind of special athletes that were not as able as the average guy. As they were sitting there living vicariously through others they sort of turned to each other and said, "We could do that..." Watching these people with challenges that you and I don't have apparently was an inspiration.

How easy was it to get started? Not very. Their first run was like 10 minutes long and it ruined them but now three years later they are entering a 100 mile trail run. Nice.

26 January 2013

Cougar Mt ring trail run

Today I met Daniel Paquette, Jon Robinson and Edgardo Balansay for a lap around Cougar Mountain. I gotta say, for a small park there are a lot of trails up here.

Turns out I must have thought all that Polish food and drink was a little too awesome yesterday  because I did not feel very chipper this morning. I also slept like garbage. Oh yeah, and my left ankle is still pretty suspect and my right side twinges when I go up stairs.

But I had just taken three days off from running and was itching to get out there. Here's hoping it's the right decision.

Right from the gun the pace is quite a bit faster than I wanted. I'm doing my best to hang on but I'm wheezing pretty hard and am way in the hurt locker in the pain cave feeling fat and slow. That first hill was pretty much a sign of things to come.

25 January 2013

it's my birthday

So yesterday was utter crap.

I went to the gym to try for a mellow treadmill run and after about 10 steps my right side complained so loudly that I climbed off. No problem I thought, shit happens; I'll just do some stretching. That hurt almost as much! In the end I decided to self-medicate and treated my SAD with a tan at the gym before going home and then taking the bus to work. Sometimes you just need to do what you need to do.

But that was yesterday. Today is my birthday and that meant I got to do whatever I wanted.

On this day that meant starting things off with a massage from Tucker 'the MAN' Roy at Mobility Plus Healthcare. This guy really helps fix me up.

As we chatted and I told him about my ankle woes he suggested an x-ray. He also suggested that I might look into an adjustment from Dr. Michael 'I used to be an UFC ringside doctor' Li. Of course Dr. Li had to see the x-ray results before he could start wrenching with my foot so as soon as I got off the massage table I put in a call to my doctor to see if they could get me a radiology appointment right now. And you know what? They got me in at 1:30. Boom. I promptly scheduled an appointment with Dr. Li for 3:00 PM. My day was filling up!

Did I mention I had to meet the carpet installers at our old house and let them in so they could replace the carpet? Here is what my day looked like.

  • Ride downtown for my massage.
  • Ride up Capitol Hill to let the carpet installers in.
  • Ride to the Polyclinic for my x-ray.
  • Ride back up Capitol Hill to check on the carpet installers - they were not done yet.
  • Ride back downtown to get my chiropractic adjustment.
  • Ride back up Capitol Hill to lock up the house after the carpet installers had left.
  • Ride home.

I got all that done and it only totaled 18 miles! Did I mention that it was sunny out? Damn straight. I also managed to squeeze in a trip to Trader Joe's for some snacks and then went across the street to the Central Co-op to eat, stay warm and read the newspaper.

Then Shelley and I met some friends at the Polish House for authentic Polish food and Polish beer (which comes in .5 liter bottles!). It was awesome!

Not a bad day to turn one year older.

23 January 2013

core | bike commute

Rats.

Today my ankle started to ache a bit, got really swollen and my right hip [I keep calling it my hip but really it's my right glute/hamstring.] is acting up again. So I opted for some more active recovery in the form of a mellow bike commute.

Did it help? Nope. Riding actually made my left ankle hurt more. C'mon body, get with the program here!

In an effort to get this shit rectified I went and saw Neal Goldberg at FootWorks PT. Guess what... I have been doing all my core work WRONG. Nice. Of course the right way is 10 times harder. It seems I have been getting super sloppy in my subconscious quest to do this stuff more or faster or something. Something not very productive obviously. I'm grateful for the tune-up and the reminder that you need to remember why you are doing what you are doing.

Neal also advised me to get an x-ray for my ankle as you can never be too careful.

The ride to work was nice but the ride home was wet. At first I was about to throw myself a pity party but then once I hit the road I had a good time for some reason. I did not freeze, I had music and I guess sometimes it's fun to ride in the rain. :)

22 January 2013

Howe Street stairs | bike commute | Fleet Feet run

How about them apples... Days like today make me feel freaking ALIVE. Not because I did any of my workouts at some incredible pace or even that I posted any PRs, but just because I CAN do them. I take way too much for granted and today as I rode home after the Tuesday evening Fleet Feet run I felt awesome. Awesome to just be alive I think.

Then again, maybe all the endorphins had just gone to my head.

21 January 2013

treadmill run

Active recovery is a good thing.

I'm not very used to doing it while running but I need to. My brain still thinks that running will be more abusive to my body than cycling or some other lower-impact activity but as my running mentor has told me countless times, my muscles and fitness will adapt way faster than all the connective tissue and if you want to stay injury free you need to gradually build up the strength of your connective tissue. Go too fast and you hurt something like your IT band. Which I have done. Not fun.

The goal of active recovery should be to increase suppleness and ideally you feel better at the end of the work out than when you started. Today I did just that. Half way in I felt like I could have gone faster but I held back and kept it mellow.

Slowly, ever so slowly, I am learning. :)

20 January 2013

Cougar 10 + De Leo w/Seattle Running Club

Having blasted myself yesterday I was just looking for more miles today but nothing extreme in terms of effort. The answer? The weekly Seattle Running Club trail run of course! Nice.

And for a change Brian Morrison from Fleet Feet Sports was there to lead us; it was great to finally talk to 'the man'. The only thing that was not so great is Brian is a much better/faster/fitter runner than I am so his leisurely pace was a bit taxing for me. I did hang on but only because he stopped at every intersection (and there were a ton) to mark the route. I did have a highlight which was running about 95% of the De Leo wall. And we went up the steep way. A first for me.

It's funny to me that I thought Brian was a quiet guy. Not so today. :) He talked up a STORM. Blah, blah, blah Scott McCoubrey; blah, blah, blah Scott Jurek; blah, blah, blah Justin Angle; blah, blah, blah hiring at Fleet Feet Sports; blah, blah, blah the pub run. I tried to pretend we were having a conversation but really Brian was writing a novel and I was squeaking in one-word replies/prompts so that he would keep it up and not run any faster... None of what Brian said was boring and I learned a ton, I guess he loosens up quite a bit in his element.

I had a good time. Thanks Seattle Running Club.

19 January 2013

Squak Mt Cougar Mt trail run

Well... today I decided to get back at it; 'it' being trail running that is. I tagged along with Jon Robinson and Daniel Paquette and headed out for the old Squak/Cougar combo. Here is the breakdown.

  • Ouch...! These guys are both much faster than I am and I was OTB pretty quick.
  • We were experiencing a temperature inversion and so it was freezing at the car and relatively warm up on the mountains. Kinda fun to not be chilled at the top for a change, especially because that is when you are the sweatiest.
  • The trails were in extraordinary condition. It has not rained in a week and they were dry yet soft and the traction was excellent. There was very little snow.
  • This route is ALL up and down, holy cow.
  • My left ankle was fine - no issues. I could still feel my right hip but after yesterday's massage it was much better and never got worse.

18 January 2013

bike commute

Oh man is Tucker Roy good at what he does... I finally got that massage I was longing for and it was uncomfortable (my body is messed up) but oh so good for me. Before and after was like night and day. Thank you Tucker.

ASIDE - this guy has some heavy hands and if you are an athlete looking to get fixed be prepared to feel it. So worth it though.

Otherwise I just rode to and from work.

Actually, I managed to get in a little detour on the way to work. I cruised down Post Alley past the Gum Wall and continued all the way south through the Harbor Steps and down the stairs. I had to slow down a little so as not to throw my chain off (my single speed just has a chain tensioner) but still, good urban riding times for sure.

17 January 2013

bike commute | core

Yesterday's run discouraged me quite a bit. :( In hopes that it would help, I just rode to and from work today.

On the upside my weight has been going DOWN which is awesome. Do I sound like a girl? Shelley says I do. But hey, in my defense I had let myself slide just a bit during the holidays and all I'm trying to do is get back to where I was.

On the way home I had to run more errands which was again super fun on the bike. It was FOGGY and DARK and my headlight was reflecting off of the water droplets that were suspended in the air. Very cool. For some reason riding home today felt incredibly liberating... Probably because I was on the road, on the sidewalk, total urban freestyle. Did I mention it was fun? It was. :)

I did forget to turn my GPS on after one stop coming home. Oh well, what should have been 10 or so miles was only five. I even re-created the route on MapMyRide but the file I exported from there I was not able to upload to either Garmin Connect or Strava. Bunk.

16 January 2013

treadmill run | bike commute | core

After two days off of running [Stairs don't count as 'running', right...?] I figured it was time to give it a go again.

Not.

Oh man, my right hamstring/glute/IT band was one big shooting pain. I started off relatively mellow and came this close to walking but managed to run through this. At the end I felt better than when I started but I did NOT feel good. I obviously need to get help so once I got to work I promptly scheduled a massage and an appointment with my PT.

On a humorous note, when I was about 20 minutes into my run the guy from the front desk at my gym comes up to me and wants to say something. I had my iPod in and it was cranked so I had to take the ear buds out to hear what he had to say. "Hey, I'm really sorry to ask but I think your treadmill isn't balanced or something and we just had a guy from another building call to complain about the noise... would you mind moving one to the left or right?"

Oops.

I did notice the treadmill was not as solid feeling as I am used to and it kinda rocked when I landed on it but I had no idea it was making so much noise. I shut it down and moved left for my last ten minutes. Sorry everyone...

15 January 2013

Howe Street stairs | bike commute

Sometimes you just know the scheduled workout is going to suck and today was one of those days.

I think I went harder than I thought last Saturday and two days of easy movement was not sufficient to let me bounce back. Did I take the day off? Ha! Nope, I plowed through the workout anyway. I mean c'mon, I had Jim Kodjababian depending on me for company and just can't let your friend down.

Needless to say I was shattered at the end of this stair session. On the last runner I had to walk the flat sections between the flights after I got half way up. That has only happened to me once before.

What doesn't kill you... or something like that. Here's hoping anyway.

14 January 2013

bike commute | core

What with my left ankle not being healed up all the way and my right hip (glute? hamstring?) acting up way more than I wish it would I figured a nice bike ride was just what the doctor ordered.

The weather is quite cold and I honestly have not been out in these temperatures in some time so figuring out how to dress took me a while. It took me so long I was late to work. :(

Core was really hard - everything from the plank to the hip abductors/adductors. Ouch. But I need to get back in the grove as my back was fully baked after the Bridle Trails run.

13 January 2013

cardio

Oh man am I moving slowly today after my run yesterday... My back is still very tender and my quads are really tight.

Usually I have taken a day or two totally off after a hard effort (mostly due to laziness) but I firmly believe in active recovery so this is me trying to practice what I preach.

I hit the elliptical trainer and then did some stretching. And I feel MUCH BETTER. Not great or anything but I'm very glad I did this.

12 January 2013

Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival 50k

Good grief... as I sit here with my warm tea and pajamas on the morning of the Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival I don't mind admitting that I am extraordinarily nervous about this stupid race! Not that the run itself is stupid, I feel stupid for getting so worked up about it.

Last weekend I sprained my left ankle something fierce and that really put a damper on this week's training. That, and this is only my second 50k ever. Did I mention the forecast is for mid 30s at the start and for upper 20s at the finish? And the reason it will be getting colder is that the race starts at 3:00 PM so we're also going to be running in the dark most of the time.

To top it off I had a time goal before I hurt myself, that being to go under five hours.

Bring it. [He says meekly...]

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thanks Carla

I was at my gym the other day chatting it up after getting sweaty and my friends asked me what I was doing this weekend. I told them I was running the 50k distance at the Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival and that it would be cold and since the race started at 3:00 PM it would also be dark most of the time. I got some very different reactions.

One friend rolled his eyes and made some comment about running with a sprained ankle.

Another friend said something like, "You'll be running in the dark? Cool."

11 January 2013

treadmill run

With just one day to go before Saturday's 50k and not wanting to do nothing I did a mellow indoor run. Whatever. It feels like this week has been a bust. All the guys I look to for inspiration are out there logging pretty large miles every single day and I'm twiddling along on elliptical trainers.

Of course everyone says to focus on YOUR game plan and not to get sucked into what anyone else is doing but it's hard sometimes. Such is the human condition. :)

On the bright side my weight is not going up.

Once again my left ankle felt fine but I got a twinge in my right hip. Seems the rest of my body is not working while my ankle is healing.

I got in another solid 30 minutes of stretching at lunch and it was much needed.

10 January 2013

cardio | core

Not wanting to take any risks I went indoors for another easy, low-impact workout today. If nothing else I will be very well rested for Saturday's 50k.

I did some cardio at the gym in the AM and the got down to the IMA at lunch for my full core routine. I forgot any kind of watch so to time my plank I just counted. Oh man is it hard to keep counting slowly when your body is shaking... :( But I did it. The plank was pretty darn hard as were the hip abductors and adductors but it felt good to get this done.

09 January 2013

treadmill run

After yesterday's successful (read: pain-free) stair session I thought about going for a run outside but then thought better and opted for indoors figuring it would be pretty hard for me to roll my ankle on the treadmill... Luckily I was right.

But all was not well. I warmed up for five minutes and the upped the tempo just a bit and right when I did I got a sharp pain in my lower back! Crap. I was able to run through it and by the end it was almost totally gone but what is going on? Perhaps I have been favoring certain muscles after my injury or perhaps I am just super tight (I am super tight) and so this is a manifestation of that? Glad it was not any worse.

At lunch I got down to the IMA for 30 solid minutes of stretching. It felt great (read: it was really hard). Need to work more of that in for sure.

Looks like my weight on Monday was not an anomaly. Rats.

08 January 2013

Howe Street stairs | core

Nice.

My left ankle is healing up pretty quick. Hopefully I don't get a nasty surprise in the next few days but I'm optimistic.

I met Jim Kodjababian at the usual house of pain (read: Howe Street stairs) and got it done. I figured this was a good workout to test my ankle with as there is not that much flexing and if needed, I could just walk all the flights. I didn't need to walk. Yes.

Then at lunch I got down to the IMA and did my core routine. Ouch. The opposite of easy today is what that was. And now I sound like Yoda.

07 January 2013

cardio

After dorking up my left ankle Saturday I wanted to check it out and see if running is an option yet. I figured the best way to test it was with a low impact exercise that did not flex the ankle too much so opted for the elliptical trainer.

It felt pretty good!

One thing that did NOT feel good was my left calf. I think that since I was not able to stretch that leg after spraining my ankle and since I sat around all day Sunday letting it continue to get tight it's no wonder.

Anyway, progress! I hope this injury does not set me back too much.

I jumped on the scale for the first time in many weeks and had a fright. And here I thought I was doing pretty well during the holidays. Not.

06 January 2013

Pilates

My friend and massage therapist Jenny Dailey is learning how to be a Pilates instructor. I just got a private lesson.

In the 60 minutes that I spent in the studio there was probably about 30 minutes of actual work but what I did was not easy and I hope to get better. Plus, once I learn the basics we can do more work and less learning.

05 January 2013

Western Washington Fat Ass 25k

It's that time of year again, the time when people joke about how casual they are taking their running and about how little they have trained and how fat they are and then go out and drop their friends on a big hill.

Running is not so different than cycling at times.

I have participated in the WA Fat Ass run two(?) times? The first time I hiked it with Shelley and two friends several years ago and then last year I ran one loop with some other friends and this year I was back to try one loop again. With me was Edgardo Balansay who is really taking to trail running! I believe this was going to be his longest run ever? Nice.

This event has no official timing, results or support. Unless you count doughnuts.

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04 January 2013

core

I went to my gym and got in a full core workout! Not easy after all my slacking but it felt good when I was done. And it was good to catch up with everyone at the gym. The social aspect of the gym has got to be a HUGE draw for me... I say whatever works/gets the job done.

03 January 2013

Howe Street stairs

After yesterday's tempo run I was not sure how today would go but it ended up being okay. For sure I was not able to go 100% but I was able to go perhaps 85 or 90%? Effort is hard to gauge. Usually when I run stairs the first runner is always the worst and then they get better until #4 when they drop off again. Today #2 was the best and the rest were lackluster. That tells me I was pretty tired.

Thanks to Jim Kodjababian for the company (as usual), it's so good to have friends out here doing this workout with you.

Just four more weeks to go and then we're done with this.

02 January 2013

Green Lake tempo run | core

Since no one was able to make it out to Cougar Mountain today I joined Bill Huggins and Bradlaugh Robinson at Green Lake for some tempo running.

Ouch.

This run exposed my big weakness - going fast. I can't do it. We ran around the outer trail once to warm up and then hit it on the paved inner trail. I lasted about 1.25 miles and then was off the back. Dang.

I managed to finish the loop but was a couple of minutes behind by the end.

Bill had said we were doing doing three miles at pace so after three I turned around but never saw him or Brad. Turns out Bill meant he was just going to slow down after three and those guys ran a second lap. I have lots to learn.

At least I got to the IMA at lunch for some core. God was that hard, I have been gone a looooong time.

01 January 2013

Gold Creek Pond snowshoe

Shelley and I got out for our first snowshoe of the year today! Sort of a late start (for me) but what the hell... it was still lots of fun.

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