Slough…

Rub some dirt on it and get back in there. ~ Coach Sanders

Another long week on the work-front but managed to get in quite a few high-quality runs. Capped the week off with a 20-mile effort on Sunday. Felt okay for most of it but faded pretty hard at the end. Guessing this does not bode well for a particularly blazing time at Denver but whatchagonnado? Just having fun on the 17th will be plenty and knowing me, I’ll put in a decent go for at least a good portion of the race.

Now on to the slough run… I used to take the day off after longer/more intense efforts but have grown to really appreciate  a short, easy run the following day. This run usually lasts between 20 and 30 minutes and works really well to shake off any soreness/tightness and get the legs moving again. I have found that it decreases my recovery time markedly and gets me moving back in the right direction. During the lead-up to the ’08 Silver Rush, I even did some doubles which seemed to have a similar, positive influence.

Any helpful recovery tricks up your proverbial sleeve?

~stubert.

Vests are handsome…

Nathan HPL-008 Race Vest
This doesn't make my butt look big.

Put on approachable airs this summer in our dapper Brisbane Vest, a breezy and brilliant choice for the 19th century gentleman’s mild-weather wardrobe. ~Gentleman’s Emporium

Since I am all laid up, I thought I’d provide a gear review for all you runners out there just dying to know what I think about stuff. So for this installment of Stu’s Reviews™ I bring you (drumroll)… The Nathan HPL #008 Race Vest. (You can stop drumrolling now.)

I had been trying to move exclusively to a bottle system for hydration but found that either I would start to chafe  from my running belt on longer runs or would simply not be able to carry enough water to get me from station to station. After talking with Charles Corfield, I decided to give the Nathan HPL #008 a try.

First impressions:
From the very first run, the 008 felt incredibly natural and comfortable and immediately felt like “my” vest. The reservoir holds 1.5 liters of water (about 2.5 regular bottles) and rides well in the pack. Little details make the 008 work really well with a small stash pocket on the back (big enough for a light jacket and gloves); a mesh pocket on the front for energy gel and a zippered pocket up front as well for a camera, extra food, etc.; and a cool reservoir retention system to help keep the bladder upright and kink-free.

Overall impressions:
After using the 008 for over a month, I have come to really appreciate the benefits of the Nathan vest system. So much so that I purchased a second vest (the larger, HPL #020). Occasionally, I will get some light chafing under my arms but this, I think, can be attributed more to using arm warmers than the vest. One note, do not cut the reservoir tube until you have used the pack a couple of times. What seems like ample length when empty, turns out to be just about right when the reservoir is full. Overall, the vest is unbelievably comfortable, keeps my hands free, provides ample storage and is a great addition to any ultra runners go-to gear.

This puppy should set you back ~$80 and can be found both online at a variety of vendors and through many local shops.

~stubert.

Get up, stand up…

Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that! ~ the Queen

Tues 2 March: 00:40, 4.9 miles, Boulder Creek Path surges
Wed 3 March: 1:48, 12.5 miles, Westview loop tempo
Thurs 4 March: 00:39, 4.4 miles, Mtn. Meadows/Beav easy

Still rolling consistent mileage. I felt a little whooped going into Wednesday’s tempo run and slightly blah about the whole endeavor. Once we got rolling, however, it ended up being a decent effort. I blew up quite dramatically at the end but still managed decent splits. Lessons: Pay attention to what your body is yelling at you, time your kick, push through the finish. One out of three isn’t great but gaining the knowledge of the other two makes up for their absence during the effort.

These runs aren’t all about time on my feet. They work as training for my head as well. Getting up for a daily run can be difficult. Some days, my brain tells me to just bag it, to take the day off and everything will be right with the world. These are the days that when I pull on the trainers and get moving, I can make that big, wuss part of my brain shut up for awhile and then I realize how much better I feel for having ignored the naysayer in me and gotten out for awhile. It is rare that I feel worse after having gone out for a run. And that is a big part of why I do it.

Americans are an “all or nothing” kind of society. Sometimes (when embracing the “all”), this works to our advantage and great discoveries are made, records are broken and we really shine. Unfortunately, the “nothing” takes over much of the time and we are left with generations of couch potatoes with carpal tunnel syndrome or video-game-thumb. I can’t count how many times I have had people ask me about running and comment that they would like to run a marathon (or half marathon or whatever) but that they just don’t have enough time. So they do nothing.

My advice is always this: If you only have 15 minutes to run, go run for 15 minutes. That’s it. Sure, the bigger goal may still loom out there but running 15 minutes will get you moving in the right direction where sitting on the couch will get you nowhere. It’s the same advice I give people who want to go vegan but just can’t give up food-item-x. So eat less of food-item-x… you will be doing yourself a favor and helping the planet. Strap on the trainers and go out for 10 minutes. That’s 10 minutes more than nothing. Which is much more than just a start.

~stubert.

Variety…

It is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness. ~ Seneca

Wed: 1:34, 11.25 miles, Snowpacked and icy Boulder road tempo
Thurs: 00:20, 2 miles, Treadmill session with Janet
Sat: 00:32, 3.4 miles, Treadmill surges
Sun: 3:47, 23.5 miles, North Boulder Hygiene loop
Tues: 00:50, 5.86 miles, Boulder Creek Path surges

Playing a bit of catch up after a hectic week and jam-packed weekend. Still have some residual tightness in my right glute/hamstring I am trying to sort out but have gotten in several great runs despite the wackiness.

Last Wednesday, I missed hooking up with the crew due to work obligations and had to wait until later in the afternoon to get in my scheduled tempo run. It was pretty chilly (15°F or so) and snowing when I started from central Boulder and made my way west on the Creek Path. I tried to keep my heartrate below 150 (and actually, at the time, thought I was doing an okay job of this) but the splits don’t lie and I guess I pushed it a bit on the warm up. Not a big deal given the weather. Had to keep the blood flowing for sure.

Once I reached Eben G. Fine Park, I headed onto surface roads and started my tempo after about 35 minutes of warm up. It was definitely game on after that as I rolled up 4th and dropped down Kalmia. One thing I do love about Boulder is that they tend to pay more attention to bike paths than the streets and Kalmia was a bit of a mess. Lots of snow-covered ice and slippery sections made for interesting and exciting running – particularly at tempo pace. I fared quite nicely, however and ended up with a solid effort for the day. Blew up just a smidge toward the end after getting stuck at a light or two, losing my mojo a bit and getting a bit chilled but all in all, a great run.

Thursday, I had a session with Janet Runyan and, given that it was all of 7°, we opted to hop on the treadmill instead of driving around with her windows rolled down. Janet has me pretty dialed in at this point and I showed her a couple of new tricks I have been employing to try to help drive my hips forward and she pointed out a some other techniques I could use to relax a bit more and get a bit more grounded. I can’t really say enough good things about where she has gotten me over the past 9 months. My form has improved, my fitness is way up and, though I am still nursing a few goofy aches and pains, I am feeling like I am definitely on the right track for a great year in 2010.

Saturday, Rach and I went to see the Met’s broadcast of Der Rosenkavalier. Fantastic opera and amazing performances. We even managed to get home in time for me to jam over to the gym for a quick run on the treadmill. Only did 32 minutes and 3 surges but it shook out some of the kinks from sitting most of the day. Glad to have that resource available for sure.

I met with the group on Sunday this week for my long, slow run. We hooked up in north Boulder and spun a quick loop on clear surface roads and snowpacked side roads then headed west and back north to Hygiene. These roads are quite familiar from my days racing bikes and I never even conceived that one day I would be running the same routes on which I spent so much time perfecting my sprint and chasing down breaks. Pretty cool, actually.

I actually felt amazing for the first two hours of the run and spent most of that time spinning sub-10s and chatting comfortably with Janet and Art Ives, a top-five Leadville finisher and all around nice guy. He also coaches runners and is never at a loss for amazing stories and solid advice about how to improve my game. We burned a lap southwest of Hygiene then Art headed back to Boulder while Rebecca and I spun one more circuit then followed. By this point, my heartrate was staying up for some reason but I felt okay so am guessing there was some interference or something. Maybe I was working harder than I realized but I was breathing comfortably so I am not sure what was going on. I was pretty ready to be done once we got back to the cars, to be honest, but it was a great run for sure.

I was a little sore afterward and had a good soak in an ice bath once I got home. Stretching, compression socks, lots of fluids and some killer grub from Rach did the trick to get me feeling much better very quickly.

Mild soreness on Monday dissipated by Tuesday and it was a gorgeous day for a run. I was down in Boulder anyway and took advantage of the spring-like weather (mid 50s, sunny, no wind) for a jaunt up the Creek path and some surges. Felt maybe a little clunky to start but kept a mellow 9:15 pace for my warm up then did 8 1×1 surges. Dropped back down for a sub 9 finish that felt really amazing. Almost mechanical in how I was turning over the legs with power and efficiency. Hoping that I get that feeling more and more as the season progresses. Really a fun run.

So that brings us up to date. Sorry for the lapse… hectic has been the word that best describes my world right now. But getting out for a run always seems to bring everything back into focus.

~stubert.