Monday, March 28, 2011

March nearing an end

We are well on our way to finish out March in style by bringing a new baby home most likely before this week ends.  I'll be sure to update with pictures as soon as it is realistic for me to do so.

Running has been great recently and has really been key in dealing with some stresses at work and getting ready for a new baby.  My two year old son still doesn't value sleep as much as I'd like to see, but what are you gonna do :). 

I had a couple of interesting experiences running, first was on Wednesday.  I was completely wiped from work for various reasons and really didn't feel like doing anything but collapsing into a comma.  However, because, I've been in the habit of running nearly every day for the past three months, there is something natural feeling about getting geared up for a run.  I put on my running clothes like a zombie and stumbled my way out of the house with some water an a couple gel packs and started moving.  I felt like I was sleep-running the first couple of miles, but then the unfailing effect of increased blood flow and movement seemed to snap me out of it and by around mile 3 I was feeling revived from the dead.  I ended up putting in 10 miles instead of the planned 8 and felt twice as good when I got home from the run than I had only 1:30 earlier.  It is counter-intuitive that burning 1500 calories would actually revive you, but I think there is some insight into how our bodies are designed to function:  being outside and moving, not confined to many of the modern ways we end up spending our day (like right now typing at a computer :) ).

The second experience happened when I went out for a 2nd run on Saturday after I had just put in a 14.5 mile trail run that was supposed to be 17.5 miles where we got off track multiple times and had to bag the original route because of some time constraints.  It was snowing and 33 degrees with the ground absolutely drenched.  The day had ended, Zach was in bed and Alyssa taking a relaxing bath and for some reason I felt like I should get out for a run to finish the miles that I set out to do the beginning of the week.  This felt like a completely irrational desire given the conditions outside and the circumstances.  I even waffled on it a few times but ultimately put on my cold weather gear and headlamp and headed out.  The snow was falling in such large flakes initially that I could even see the ground with the head lamp on, so I ran most of the run with it off until the snow fell a little lighter.  Running in the dark in a Spring snowstorm at 8:30 at night made me wonder why I do it.  Why run?  And especially why subject myself to a run such as this?  The 4.66 mi that I ran we really insignificant in the big picture of things and I had nothing to prove to anyone in the process.  I have thoughts like this run through my mind during the run, but before I really had a good answer for them, I realized what it was.  I stopped thinking and just felt the movement.  My legs moving, the sound of soft footfalls on wet ground (tap, tap, tap, splash, tap), breathing in cold wet air.  There was something automatic and freeing just about the movement and the process.  I wasn't running fast or a particularly interesting route, but realized it didn't matter.  The run was worth it in and of itself.  Future races and hopes of success in those races weren't important and didn't provide any motivation for this run.  I feel like this run was most likely the first time I really "felt" like a runner.  Sure, I've self identified as one for a while now, but for this run I had no real reason to get out and do it other than for the pure enjoyment.  I had many good reasons NOT to run that night and no real benefits to run (4.6 miles flat miles were going to make me any stronger or more fit...probably going to bed early instead would have :) ).  Here is what I wrote in my running log that night: 

"2nd run. 33 degrees and snowing...wet ground. Not sure why I really wanted to run tonight, but it was one of those things that defy logic...I had every reason not to run tonight. Tired from a full day taking Zach to the pool then running 14.5 mi early afternoon and hanging with Zach afterwards while Alyssa was out. Looked outside around 7:30 and it had started dumping rain that turned into snow. Tossed around not going, but ultimately decided to go. Out in the wet snow, I realized what kind of a hold this human form of movement has on me. It was everything I'm not too fond of in a run: at night, in town, on roads, cold and wet, but I loved it none the less."
All said a good week of running.  It was my highest mileage so far this year and I felt great most nearly the whole we other than the little heel issue I'm still dealing with. This week I'm taking a few days off and hoping for a baby soon.  Here are the numbers and some pictures from the week:

6 runs
52.14 mi
8:07:55 h:m:s
5,471 ft elevation gain

Running with a storm on the way in the background on Saturday.

Turned out is was snow and it started to get close.  A curtain of snow slowly moved toward us.  Very surreal weather...typical Baker City spring!

The aftereffects of the moving wall of snow.

Great new climb I found on Sunday.  Too bad the rest of the route didn't work out as planned.

Have a good one everybody!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

No baby yet...

Well, no baby, but things are still going well over in Eastern Oregon.  Had a good weekend with my son Zach just playing around whether that was at home while mom was out to a baby shower or over at Papa and Grandma's house in the hot tub.  He really is a good kid:

Always a very happy kid (well not always, but most of the time ;) )I've been blessed to get to be his "Dada".  Still makes me happy every time he says it :).

The week of running went well even though I was working through a few sore muscles here and there.  I was going to tone down some of the vertical gain this week, but as is likely for me, I was continually drawn to get as high as the weather will permit this time of year.  It was rewarding to get in a few good climbs both getting back up to the Cell Towers on Friday for a 6.06 mi 1:12:40 run with 1,780 ft gain and hitting a new route up Trail Creek Rd off of the HWY up Dooley Mtn (pictures below) for 11.18 mi in 1:47:17 with 1,887 ft gain on Saturday and finished up the week today with 10.84 mi in 1:40:38 with 1,119 ft gain.  So having put in 4,786 ft in 26 miles over three days, was not necessarily the lighter vert week that I was thinking, but in the end I'm satisfied and truly enjoyed the time out, which is what ultimately matters in the end.  I'm also feeling pretty good physically as well and most of the soreness eventually worked is way out as the week went on.

Numbers for the week:

6 runs
46.66 mi
7:40:23 h:m:s
7,135 ft gain

Here are some pictures from the week:

My Mom and Dad with the pups on Thursday on the ridge south of the Interpretive Center.  They have been one of my most consistent running partners and supporters and will surely both make the jump into the ultra marathon distance this year.

My Dad and I.  Never thought we'd being running long distances a couple of years ago, as we were both either told or thought we were too big to be runners with me at 6'5 and him 6'4...slowly finding out we were limited only by self-imposed barriers and are having a great time running.

Heading up Trail Creek.  The route looked promising at this point with snow levels not as high as I expected.

Sign where I turned around, approx 5,300 ft elevation.  Still more climbing available after this, but snow was getting a little deep.

Looking back down the hill at my tracks from the sign post above.

My Mizuno road racing flats may not have been the best choice for the snow, but I've been working through a small issue with the back of my heel that has limited my footwear choices more than I'd like.

Hopeful for a good week and some baby pictures by the next blog post :)!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring! Sort of...

Well it has been quite the week.  We are still waiting on baby to come so will keep everyone posted on that.  Running wise it was a good week to finally get out back on some dirt and elevation as the weather is slowly warming (although very windy) and snow is melting.  This means mud, but I'll gladly take that at this point.  Numbers for the week:

5 runs
45.03 mi
6:57:23 h:m:s
5,340 ft gain

Most significant was a 12 and 14 mile back to back this weekend.  Went out on Saturday for 12.14 mi in 2:02:57 with 2,034 ft gain and followed up on Sunday with 14.01 mi in 2:11:43 with 1,708 ft gain.  Felt good to get in the type of runs I've been wanting to for quite some time.  My body felt pretty good both days and I was able to hold a consistent pace from beginning to end on both runs, so my fitness is slowly improving.  Picture below was from Saturday's run looking west over Baker Valley and the Elkhorn Mountains. 

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Mud, Still a lot of snow, and Spring on the way

Well I just ended this weeks worth of running on a high note with a great 10.5 miler (w/1,366 ft of elevation gain) with one of my most consistent running buddies Barry.  It was a very Spring like day over here reaching the mid 40's by the end of our run (around 12:30).  Here are the weeks numbers:

6 runs
42.33 mi
6:26:17 h:m:s
4,709 ft gain

Lastly I took my phone with me on my run up Elk creek yesterday and here are some pictures as well as a video from that run.

What the road looked like at the start of the run.  Hey if you don't like mud don't be a trail runner right?

 View of the Cell Towers from the South.  I have a staple climbing route (on my grandparents property) that peaks out at these towers but it comes from the North side (not shown here)

The obligatory photo of my furry running pals ;).

Conditions at the top of the climb were I turned around, approx 4,200 ft elevation.  Still some snow (about 6-10 inches).

And here is a little video at the top:

We are expecting a baby within the next couple of weeks so things are getting exciting around here. Take care everyone!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

February Summary

Just wanted to post my February numbers for those interested.  I haven't been posting any week by week training post like I did leading up to the North Face 50K this December, but I might do some of that when I get closer to racing the White River 50 mile race this July if it is interesting to anyone.

Here are the numbers for the month:

23 Runs
157.99 mi
26:26:56 h:m:s
23,550 ft elevation gain

While my total elevation gain was a little lower than last month (26,312 ft) I got in what I did in 7 less runs than last month.  Therefore, my average run was of a much higher quality than the previous month.  The best stat for this month has to be my Average (1:08:59) and Median (1:03:46) run times.  I'm definitely becoming more and more comfortable running longer.  I remember last year when I though anything over 45 min felt like a longer run.  Both January and February this year have been more significant training periods (by time and elevation gain) than anything I did last year, so things are looking good so far.