Sunday, May 26, 2013

Inspired Miles

Greetings from the mountains of Tennessee. We were fortunate to be able to see my family this weekend and enjoy some relaxation time in Pigeon Forge. The mountains are beautiful and the temperatures are perfect. We were able to drive most of the way to the top of Bluff Mountain. It was just a short hike to the top where there's a fire watch tower. Man, you could see forever and I didn't even go to the top. Here's a shot from a lookout along the roadway.

The week of training was capped with a splendid half marathon from Pigeon Forge's Patriot Park to Sevierville. I wanted to run to the top of Bluff Mountain (6+ miles and 2000' of gain to the top) but I needed to save my legs for the hills of Dollywood. It all worked out as it was raining and cloudy on Sunday morning. So I wouldn't have been able to see the sunrise over the Smokies.

I've talked before about adjusting my heart rate training zones. I used Friel's lactate threshold test and his recommended percentages. This dropped my training zones by roughly eight BPM. Of course, that meant running slower... for a while. Today's half marathon distance was done in Zone 2 with three minute surges every twenty minutes to lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR). This is my usual plan for long runs that I learned from Coach Jeff with PRSfit. It's a great way to stay aerobic and still get some fast twitch training.

The great news from today was the excellent improvement in pace. In February and April, I ran the same distance with AHR of 160-162 and an average pace of 9:45-9:47. I've been increasing the total training volume. So my legs certainly weren't well rested. However, I was able to roll in the new Zone 2 with an AHR of 154 and an average pace of 9:25. Twenty seconds faster with 6-8 BPM lower heart rate. That is heart rate training doing its thing!

I titled the post "Inspired Miles" for a couple of reasons. First, it's Memorial Weekend. I think about my time in the Navy. I was fortunate to not have lost any shipmates but I know many have fallen. This is not about supporting a war or policy but it's about remembering those that have volunteered to protect our nation. Second, I was listening to Run Run Live 3.0 podcast while running. This was Chris's post-Boston recording. He was only a few kilometers from the bomb site when he was pulled from the race. The passion and emotion in his voice was strong. I pushed a hard mile eleven as he read his closing statement and I thought about the victims of the bombings.

Keep moving forward. For Chris, do epic stuff.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ramping the Volume

It's that awesome time of year. Sun starts rising before 6 a.m. The temperature is still relatively cool. I just love ramping my training right now.

I have been adding a half hour every week for the last several weeks. I am now at a steady 6-7 hours of training.  However, this week we'll have me at eight hours. Eight hours is my happy spot for training.

Also with this great weather, I've been able to ride my bicycle. I bought a road bike last summer. Really enjoy a nice two hour ride even though I'm still not real fast. On a long ride my average speed is 13-14mph. I'm going to start adding some tempo workouts on the bike to get the speed increased.

Last week was a bit of a step back week. I did a 5k race on Saturday. So I dropped the volume with a short taper. I did really well at the 5k race. I was quite pleased with a second place age division and a new age group PR. I ran the race in 23:42. My only disappointment in the race was that I did not run the final mile and a half as fast as I could have. I felt like I had too much in the tank at the finish line.

The 5k race was also my wife's first 5k. She enjoyed the day and did a run walk for 38 minutes. I don't know if she's hooked but I do know that she had a good time. I think we'll do another 5k in the fall.

I have been traveling this week. Fortunately, I was able to bring my road bike. I had a great ride from Independence to South Chagrin reserve on Monday and a nice flat Rails to Trails ride on Wednesday near Elyria. Both of the rides were around 2 hours. Also got in a couple of runs one was a tempo with negative splits and then a really nice trail run yesterday that was definitely not the fastest thing I've ever done. Great day to enjoy the trails!

I'm headed home on Friday with plans for a half marathon distance on Saturday morning. I'm still trying to finish a half marathon every month. This will be an easy pace. Maybe. We'll see what Andre has on his training plan.

Keep moving forward.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Back in the Saddle

Many friends on social media have been complaining about a late winter. However, we hit a stretch of awesome weather in Kentucky before a rainy weekend. I was able to thoroughly enjoy it. My work travels came to an end at the perfect time.

Tuesday was 73F and sunny. I had an appointment near Fort Knox and decided to stop on the way home for some trail goodness at Jefferson Memorial Forest. As usual, JFM didn't disappoint. I have not had the opportunity to run there since last fall. I usually run the Horine section but decided to head to Siltstone. I'd heard it was quite challenging and those folks were right. However I thoroughly enjoyed the hour. (

The trails at JFM are mostly single track and hard packed dirt with plenty of rocks and roots. We have very few of the groomed crush gravel trails that I see in Ohio or the Rails to Trails. You get a great workout of the support muscles in your lower legs and feet. I couldn't certainly tell on Wednesday that I have not been on the trails for a while.

Friday was Oaks Day. For those from any other metro area, this is a holiday in Louisville area. So I took a vacation day and relaxed like any other endurance athlete. I went for a two hour ride on the roadie. I needed to drop a package at the local office but wasn't really in the mood for a half century ride. No problem. I threw the bike in the truck and started from the commuter lot at Southeast Christian Church. (

I had to laugh at myself. Most folks load the bike and head toward my house to ride in the country. Honestly I think it is absolutely beautiful out here. However it's nice to have a break from the hills and ride some flats.
Energy levels are returning after the crazy stretch of travel. Thankfully. I was getting tired and irritable. Plus I missed being home with my family. Glad to be back in the saddle.

Keep moving forward.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Slackin' Blogger

What kind of blogger waits six weeks to post a new blog post? Heh. One that spent eight weeks traveling, training, working and being just too darn busy to think about writing. I did sit down a couple of times to write but just couldn't get the fingers moving. Anyhow, travels have slowed and I've been home for a week. Weeee.

I've managed to keep most of my training on track. I did drop a bit in total volume as I was skipping weights and yoga but the mileage was still there. I'm still hitting a half marathon distance each month. My first quarter half for time was 1:57. Considerably slower than my PR from last September of 1:49. However, the stress of work and life definitely had me running a bit slower. No worries. Just keeping the heart rate in training zones and moving forward.

My wife and I decided to enter a 5K race. If you know me, you know that I'm not big on spending money for races with the for-profit race companies. However, we wanted to support the local spring festival and got registered. We'll be running the streets (well, she'll be walking quickly) of Mount Washington KY on May 11. I'm actually looking forward to laying down some speedy miles. I'm pressing for three 7's. Hoping the energy of other runners will scoot me to a sub 22 finish.

Training will keep steady with another peak mileage for a June 15 half marathon. My running buddy and I will at least start together. His PR is 1:58. I'm going for sub 1:50 this time. We're still working on an exact course. Probably start from the front of Southeast Christian Church and wind through the streets of Plainview and Douglas Hills.

Keep moving forward!