Slowly but…

Slow and steady wins the race. ~ Marge SImpson

Been really just recuperating over the past few weeks and started running some longer, more focused efforts in the last week or so. One mistake I made after the Denver Marathon last fall was to jump back into hard training too early which resulted in having to take some extra down-time to get my legs back. Post-Boston, though itchy to get going again, I resolved to not make that same mistake.

I have been following Mark Plaatjes’ orders and took two weeks REALLY slowly then added a regular regimen of somewhat reduced duration workouts over the last couple of weeks. This past week featured an increase in intensity with mile repeats on Saturday followed by what turned out to be a good 1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3 pyramid workout on Tuesday. I felt a bit slow but my spits proved otherwise. I backed off going purely by pace on this one and just tried to hang with some of the faster runners in the group. They typically would gap me after about 15-30-seconds of each interval then I would maintain that distance through the remainder. My last set was still strong where others were fading so I am marking it up in the “plus” column for the overall effort.

Wednesday’s run was a good one as well. Tried to rally the #DenverLunchRun crew but people were either tapering for this weekend’s Colfax Marathon, stuck in meetings or too ill to get out in cold, rainy conditions. Twenty minutes before I was scheduled to head out, it was pouring rain and high 30┬░ temps. Not fun weather in which to start a run but by go-time, the rain had tapered off a bit. I definitely came back wet but at least I was able to get my core temp up before getting too soaked. Stayed warm throughout the run, Cherry Creek Path was a ghost town and it felt good to be out braving the conditions. Some training is more mental than physical and this run definitely counted in that arena.

I signed up for the Bolder Boulder race on Memorial Day. It will be good to get in a short effort with a lot of people. Hoping to use the race to hone some skills which I currently am lacking and get some more experience with race day focus and big crowd racing. The course is difficult and I am not sure if I will be rested fully to run a PR or not but my big plan is to not get too frustrated in the early going, work the course and see what kind of finish I can put together. Still targeting my schedule for June and July in prep for the SFO Marathon and am excited to get rolling on some longer runs with faster finishes in the weeks to come.

Stay tuned for more…

~stubert.

Four to go…

You see? This is what happens when you drink all day and skip lunch. ~ Malory Archer

As I close in on the first big race of the season, I am starting to feel my fitness coming along well. Boston is 4 weeks from today and I had a decent week of running in preparation for the event. Saturday wasn’t good but the rest of my workouts for the week went pretty close to plan.

I drove to Gunnison on Monday to get in a couple more days at Crested Butte and to see my dad, Donna and cousins who were in town for a few days of skiing at the Butte. I skied very easy, not wanting to risk injury at this stage of the game then did a quick, easy run around Crested Butte after skiing. Honestly, I felt great for some reason. The side roads at the Butte were a mess and one over-zealous police officer gave me some grief for running on the road (vs. the snowpacked/icy sidewalks), I had a good run. Did 6 or 7 surges and managed to get in 5.5 miles in 45 minutes. Super easy. At altitude. Go figure. Then I gorged on Donita’s food and headed back to Gunny for a quick yoga session and bed.

I have been doing yoga with Rach on a regular basis for the past several weeks and am pleased with the results. It seems to be helping me get more limber and is a good way to get in some easy stretching and even some strength poses (depending upon what program I am following). I definitely feel like it is improving my general fitness and works to augment my running. Glad Rach asked me to join her!

Tuesday, I got up early and braved chilly conditions to get in a decent hill workout. I didn’t really select my venue well so the run didn’t go exactly to plan (ran out of hill) but all in all it was a good run and I managed to feel like I was putting in a solid effort throughout. I jammed back up to the Butte for another easy ski then headed back to the Front Range. Travel and running hard are not a good combo (in case you were wondering) but I did some yoga with Rach when I got home and that made everything feel better for sure.

Wednesday called for an easy 1.5 hours so I hit the trails on South Table Mountain for what turned into a bit of a mixed-effort run. Definitely didn’t feel super but just stuck with the plan and enjoyed my evening run on the dirt. Friday I did a quick road run at lunch that felt really good but Saturday’s workout was truncated. Just wasn’t feeling that great so decided to not push it and focus on Sunday’s run. Did a long-ish yoga session to make up for it.

Sunday I jammed down to Boulder to run with Mark Plaatjes and the group and was greeted with mild temps but pretty decent, steady winds. We started at Pott’s Field and made our way North to Jay, east to Cottonwood, then South to the Bobolink trail at a fairly mellow pace. From Marshall Road, we headed up the mesa, over to the Community Ditch Trail then over to Big Blue Stem where we dropped back down to Marshall Road. From here, we put the hammer down for 30 minutes at marathon pace. I did very well for about 4 miles then my last mile was a little off. Finished in 3:34 with 25.85 miles under my belt in challenging conditions. All in all a good run and a solid week of training.

Four to go…

~stubert.

Whoops…

Try this trick and spin it, yeah. ~ The Pixies

Forgot to post, apparently. Time does fly when one is having fun.

The last couple of weeks have been interesting. I seem to be in a bit of a plateau and was fending off a cold which I managed to avoid. Whacked down some extra Zinc for a few days and paid special attention to rest and diet. So far, this week has been a lot better with strong, easy runs on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and a killer hill repeat workout on Tuesday. I am all teed up for a half marathon on Sunday and am hoping to do well. Given the timing of this race in my training cycle and my lack of taper, I am certainly not expecting earth-shattering results but if I can put in a good, steady effort, I’ll be super happy.

Two weeks ago I raced in the final event of the Winter Distance Series, the Snowman Stampede 10-miler, and it was an interesting event. I felt really rushed getting down to the race so my pre-race preparation was abbreviated then I just never really felt super well during the event. There was a fairly steady headwind on the outbound portion of the race so I battled that solo for the first half then just couldn’t get into the zone on the way back. Ended up a minute off my previous race time but still managed 3rd in my age group. All in all, a decent effort and a fun day racing.

I followed that up the next day with a big, 22-miler that was equally interesting. I started feeling pretty bonky about 2 hours into the run (depleted from the race) then battled fierce winds the second half of the run. Ended up finishing the last two miles at a decent clip (downhill… good sign) and ended up with 3:15 for the day. So again, not a bad effort. Good to see what I can do when fatigued and fun to do a course that approximates Boston in some ways.

I think that teed up my flat performance the following week so overall, not too concerned. We are about 6 weeks out now from Boston so I should be feeling a bit on the tired/crappy side on occasion. I know this hard work will pay off come race day.

~stubert.

Another Solid Week…

Another solid week of training for nothing in particular. At this point, I am thinking I’ll finish up the year of racing with a 5K on Thursday in Boulder then a 10K in December. Neither is really a good race distance for me but it will be fun to see what I can do in some shorter-distance events.

This past week featured some good, fast running. I have managed to keep the running streak alive and as of yesterday, had logged 23 days in a row. Funnily enough, that wasn’t really planned but once I got teed up, I decided to see where running every day took me. I can say that my desire to run outside hasn’t waned but getting on the treadmill has become a bit of a chore. Lucky for me, the weather has stayed nice this past week. We did have some snow but it didn’t affect me too much and I was able to run in Denver a couple of days.

Here is the week in review:

Monday, 11/15: 00:45, 5.30 miles, Treadmill with 6, 20-second strides
Tuesday, 11/16: 00:45, 5.35 miles, Treadmill with some pick ups
Wednesday, 11/17: 1:12, 9.90 miles, Denver loop tempo
Thursday, 11/18: 00:26, 3.48 miles, Holbrook Park loop
Friday, 11/19: 00:52, 4.19 miles, Mt. Galbraith trail
Saturday, 11/20: 1:35, 12 miles, Teller to Water tower tempo
Sunday, 11/21: 1:25, 9.39 miles, Treadmill and A-Basin ski
Total: 7 hours, 49.61 miles

There were several highlights this week including Wednesday’s Denver loop where I ran from the office in Lakewood, around Mile High Stadium and back around Sloan Lake. A nice little run with some fun hills and decent, urban scenery. Friday, I ran with my buddy, Brad, who paced me to the finish at Leadville this summer. Great to get out with him. And Saturday, I joined Mark Plaatjes and his crew for a fun tempo run in Boulder.

People tend to get all uppity about Boulder but there are few better places to live if one likes to have access to terrific trails, peaceful roads and a veritable cornucopia of talent with whom to run. In the past two weeks alone I have seen big-name race winners out on the trails (Roes, Krupicka, Africa, etc. ) and got to run with a former world marathon champion (Plaatjes). The same holds true for cycling or skiing and there is a lot to be said for the benefits of living near such a desirable town. Sure, it may cost a bit more, but in my mind, it’s worth it.

~stubert.

Hmmm…

Stu Swineford on Bear Peak
Boulder is WAY down there.

Strikes and gutters. ~ The Dude

Interesting week of running. Felt a little wonky all week but kept with it and capped things off with a 14+ miler today that took me a LONG time to complete. Logged quite a bit of climbing though and given the crankiness of the bod, am going to chalk it up in the “win” column. Thinking some of the grumpiness may be due to logging too many miles in shoes that are a bit too supportive. Going to remedy that ASAP. It was a gorgeous day out there with summertime-esque weather, a fast-moving rain/sleet/wind storm and everyone and their dog (quite literally) out there working the trails. Even ran past Tony Krupicka and Geoff Roes between Bear and SoBo. Going the other way, of course.

Here is the week in review:

Monday: 00:30, 3.66 miles, treadmill shake out
Tuesday: 00:45, 6.0 miles, treadmill surges
Wednesday: 00:57, 7.9 miles, Sloan Lake repeats (800s and 1-mile)
Thursday: 00:35, 4.0 miles, treadmill shake out
Friday: 00:20, 2 .0 miles, treadmill shake out
Saturday: 00:56, 5.9 miles, Casa Trails w/exploration and surges
Sunday: 3:23, 14.25 miles, Front Range Four: Flag, Green, Bear, SoBo
TOTAL: 7:26, 43.73 miles

All in all a decent week. As you can see, I am logging quite a bit of time on the ‘mill. Really enjoying having the flexibility it provides but certainly would prefer to be able to run outdoors more frequently. Work this week was a bear.

Trying to figure out plans for 2011. I am definitely running the San Francisco Marathon in late July and my primary goal for the year will be to crank out a sub-3 marathon so I am trying to target a good race during which to do that. In the meantime, I am hoping to run some 5K, 10K and halfs and would like to toss in a 50-miler somewhere for good measure. I also may give the Red Hot 50K another go since it kinda kicked my ass last year. If you have any recommendations for fast marathon events, let me know.

~stubert.