Saturday, July 18, 2015


How to recap the past few months.

During training for the Ogden half, managed to overtrain somewhat, then caught the spring flu from my kid.

Made it to the start line with a brand-new inhaler.  Coughed two minutes before the start; threw out back.

Ran ("ran") the race anyway.  It was 40 degrees, and rainy, and miserable, but I'm glad I managed to get to run down the canyon; the race is usually sold out so it's no guarantee I'll get to do it next year!

Took a week off; returned to building a base.  Became more and more tired.  Still wheezy.

Appear to have developed anemia, and more worryingly, asthma.  Working with docs for a solution.

TL;DR: this sub-2 is going to be harder than I thought.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

So, this blogging thing

Man, I'm not good at it.

I did, however, today run the longest I ever have:  14 miles.

Fourteen is a lot of miles for a newbie.

More soon!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Trying to run while having a job

Last week I had to travel for work.  The hotel where I stayed had a nice exercise area, but I know from experience that my personal limit on the treadmill is about an hour, plus time would be somewhat limited.  

So I planned this for last week, meaning to move the long run forward a couple of days:
Monday: easy, 50-60 minutes.
Tuesday: easy, 50-60 minutes.
Wednesday: easy, 80-90 minutes.
Thursday: off (travel day)
Friday: 50-60 minutes
Saturday:  8-10 hill repeats on the treadmill. (Wednesday's workout from the following week.)
Sunday: off (travel day)
Monday: 90-105 minutes (the long run)

Wednesday would get the fartlek run originally scheduled for today.

What actually happened.
Monday: 6.2 miles, easy (treadmill)
Tuesday: Eight inches of snow meant no chance to get to the road, trails, or gym.  Half an hour of Jillian Michaels, half an hour of weights.  Good workout, but not a run.
Wednesday:  So I woke up at 5AM to get to the gym.  I figured the roads would be slick,but they weren't, but I was already committed to the treadmill.  I should have come home and changed and run outside.  I wasn't feeling motivated, my body was stiff and sleepy, and by the time I managed to get out the door and warmed up, I would have had at best 70 minutes for an easy run, so I pushed a hard 50 minutes instead. 5 or so miles, with hill intervals.
Thursday: My flight got in at midnight instead of 2PM.  I got to the hotel by 2AM.
Friday:  hahahahahaha run wasn't happening.
Saturday: 3 miles + weights.
Sunday: 3 miles + core.  Flew home

Today: screw it.  Warm-up, 10 x 1 min fartlek 1 one minute recovery, cool down.  5.4 miles total.

Best laid plans gang aglee up in here....

So, I'm just pretending the weekend didn't happen.  Trying to make up mileage is a recipe for injury.  For whatever reason, the long run is the "workout" that bothers me the least.  I missed this weekend.  But I really have no fear that I'll pull two hours on Saturday with no trouble.  Long runs are mentally easy -- you just run gently, and don't stop till you're done.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Minimalist Movement Went Flat Because It Was a Trend.

Hixson argues that minimalism went flat because "[the runners who switched to minimalism] were either unprepared or continued to run with poor technique and didn’t reap the benefits they thought were theirs."   I think this is wrong.  I think it went flat because it was a trend, straight up, and trends simply don't last.

I liked Born to Run like everyone else I knew in 2009, and why not?  It's a great tale of a completely insane race, and it holds out the promise of being special to every middle-aged hobby jogger out there.  You have the lineage, it says.  You and all human beings are to the manner born, the manner of running free and easy.

A lot of my friends -- as an educated late-20 something at the time, I was basically the target audience -- fell in love with the book.   Vibrams seemed like the sensible path for a bunch of city dwellers, and away they went.

A solid majority developed stress fractures.

Now, you can say this is a case of too much too soon.  And perhaps it was, although my friends adhered scrupulously to the guidelines.   You can say they ran with poor technique, but the thing is, they weren't getting injured in traditional shoes.  I believe that many runners could benefit from changing their running style, but the minimalist movement, or at least elements of it, seemed to argue that people should change their style solely to fit the ideal promised by a book.

If you think about it, this gets it backward.  Most of us attempting to run in minimal shoes aren't naturally talented human runners, and years of sitting, injuries, weight gain, years of living have left their imprint on our bodies.  For many of us, starting slowly and easing into isn't enough.   Why not buy shoes that work, instead of those that fit a story?

I never went fully minimal.  When I started running in fall 2013, I began by walking in a pair of Vivo Barefoot I had bought at the height of the craze.  Then I ran in Altra Torins, and learned that I have better rearfoot control in a zero-drop shoe.

Unfortunately, I also learned that better rearfoot control is not good rearfoot control. My hip has to take up the slack, and while I don't have weak hips, they aren't strong enough to control a foot that developed bunions at age 13.

I'm fit.  I foam roll, mobilize, everything, but I do not have good feet for running.  They are fine and flexible, but trying to pretend they're really strong doesn't make them rigid.  I believe the lighter shoe might have worked well, if I had different feet.  No amount of toe exercises is going to change bone.

I can't believe I'm alone.  I'm glad the trend happened -- it's nice to have lighter shoes, and I really like the 8mm offset Saucony adopted across the board.  But the trend didn't last just because it was a trend.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Heavenly for now.

The Northeast is under what the local news was calling the Siberian Express this morning, with record low temperatures, but here in Utah we have record highs.  My tulips and daffodils are sprouting, which is no surprise, but my entire landscape of waterwise plants are peeping up, too, and I'm trying to convince the yarrow and lavender that February is NOT an ideal time to send up shootings, but they just point to the western feather and the hyssop and say "says you."

We are going to be so dried out come summer, but in the meantime, it was a gorgeous day for a hike with the kid.  He was very excited to see the Ergo come out and we headed out for a hilly two mile hike.

Hiking with a toddler on your back is interesting.  I'd recommend it, but I'd admonish anyone who tries to remind themselves that a 25-pound squirmy baby is not the same as a 25-pound pack, and that of course a toddler is going to squirm.  To touch the boulders bordering the trail, to play head-shoulders-knees-and-toes, to grab at branches.

 For safety's sake, I'd recommending hiking poles, except that it turns out that the toddler loves those, too.

Monday, February 16, 2015


I'm a little upset that my easy paces are so slow lately.  There are some good things; I'm finishing runs energized, and I'm running mileage in the high-20s without an injury.  I'm running now what was my peak mileage during my first half training cycle.

So I'm improving, clearly, and I have no hip pain, which is huge.  But somehow I'd thought that mid-way through February I'd be at least holding 9:30 as an easy pace, and instead I'm just getting slower and slower and slower.

Now, I'm not sure that it's a problem that I'm getting slower if I'm simultaneously building up mileage and re-introducing a strength program.  I don't start speedwork for another month, and so I'm trying to be patient with base building.  But I feel like I've lost the ability to run paces I ran ten weeks ago, and it's a little demoralizing.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Week Three: Keep on Shufflin'

Planned: 50-60 minutes, easy.
Actual: Big fat zero, zonk..

Honestly not sure what happened here.  Maybe the race caught up with me; maybe I'm underfueled.  But in any case I couldn't manage to get up at 5AM to get the run going, and then work was just too busy.  By 5pm I was dragging; by the time the baby was asleep and I zombie-walked through the dishes, I just decided to call it.

Planned: 40-60 minutes, easy,
Actual:  56 minutes (11:15)

The weather here in Northern Utah has been unseasonably warm, which is creating a total #firstworldproblem for me.  I always wear my reflective jacket when I'm out in the dark; it's a bright neon yellow reflective shell with wide reflective strips. The delicate piping on most gear doesn't strike me as enough protection, and I have too much going on to have time to get hit by a car.  I also have  headlamp and two handhelds as I like to see where I'm going and don't have the best night vision.

Nerding it up, yes.  Anyhow, the trouble is that at 40 degrees (in #$%^ing February!) it is not warm enough to wear the jacket alone over a sports bra, but putting it over a shirt means sweating to death.  At least I'm a visible ball of grossness, but honestly, if this weather continues I'll have to find a harness instead of a jacket.

Planned: 70-90 minutes, easy; strength program.
Actual: 72 minutes (10:20); completed strength program

Hey, look at that!  I hit a respectable-for-me easy pace!  I ran along the mostly flat trails up on the bench, and the loop I chose happened to be seven miles.  I'd hoped, initially, to run closer to 90 minutes but I didn't get out of work quickly enough and eventually just wanted to come home.

Planned: 50-60 minutes, easy
Actual: 57 minutes (11:14)

5:30 AM start again.  It was a nice morning for a run, and I'm feeling a bit more confident running in the dark.  Near the end of my run I saw two charming gentlemen also decked out in headlamps and handheld lights; they shouted hello and I was warmed by their greeting and by our light-up fellowship.

Planned: 105-120 minutes, easy
Actual: 112 minutes (11:06)

Apparently my body's new thing is to have no speed but maintain nearly perfectly even splits (11:16, 11:16, 11:20, 11:06, 10:58, 11:18, 10:55, 10:54, 11:22, 10:40) for ten miles.  I really have no idea how I managed just over (just!) two hours for a half in September.  But the run was easy, with no pain or tightness, and I wrapped it up with a strength workout with my toddler as a coach: ONE, TWO, FOUR, FIVE SIX SE'EN AYCH NINE TEN.

Total Mileage: 27.3