Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I've been a bad blogger lately.  The last time I posted I left you all in suspense about my December running challenge.  Well I didn't complete it but I still logged some good mileage.  I could blame my multi-sport attitude.  At the end of the month I really wanted to ride my bike and swim so that's what I did.  It was probably for the best since I was really pushing the limit on my run volume.  The first day I skipped a run in lieu of a bike ride I was slightly disappointed in not finishing my goal but that sure was a fun ride. 

Over the holidays I woke up one morning and my right shoulder felt a little stiff.  I chalked it up to sleeping on it too long but for the next 6 weeks there was a slight impingement.  Obviously my swimming went down the drain.  Last week it started to feel better.  My mobility was increasing and I did a couple swim workouts of 1000 meters.  They felt good and I was excited to get back on track. 

Unfortunately when I was riding my bike home from watching the Super Bowl I round a corner, hit a hole in the road and rode off into a ditch.  I slammed hard on the same shoulder.  Instantly I could barely move my right arm.  My first thought was that I either damaged some ligaments or broke my collar bone.  After a trip to the doctor yesterday the latter was confirmed.  My right clavicle has a partial break near the acromioclavicular joint.  So now my arm is propped in a sling and the recovery is 6-8 weeks.  I'm hoping it's sooner but we'll see.  Hence the title of this post.  I won't be doing anything this week or the next but maybe I'll do some sit-up spinning afterward.  In terms of racing I'm glad it happened now rather than the middle of summer.  Once it's fully healed I'll have plenty of time to get back in it.  Until then I'm in chill mode.  On another note, GO HAWKS!!!!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Running on the Brain

Since I created this December challenge of running every day, I have been trying hard to listen to the feedback from body.  I want to make sure that I don't over do the stress.  There is plenty of literature available stating the benefits from increased mileage.  Such as a higher VO2, better lactate clearance and improved running economy.  For every article there is another, warning about overtraining and its signs and symptoms.  If you're a seasoned runner or a beginner, you more than likely have read about the 10% rule.  Basically it states that you should increase your weekly mileage by 10%.  If you're currently running 10 miles a week, then next week you could run 11.  It's a safe way for your body to adapt to the increased stress.  It also helps those overzealous types from doing too much too fast, something I have done in the past and believe me, it hurts.

Back to my main topic.  Like I said, I'm trying to be very conscious of how body feels.  Typically, with increased mileage there are little twinges or niggles in certain parts of the legs.  Maybe tight hips, soreness in the arch or a tingle on the outside the knee.  Sometimes a little extra stretching may alleviate the feeling and other times rest is the solution.  The more we listen the better our communication becomes.  I haven't heard much but I'm keeping my ears open.

Since my mileage is increasing this month I was curious what the rest of the year looked like.  So I went through my Garmin account and counted my monthly running totals.
January        46   
February      17   
March           40   
April             56   
May              52   
June             41   
July              50   
August          77   
September    116   
October        39   
November     62   
December     63- to-date

Yes, that's right I've run more miles in the past week than my third longest month.  This is even more reason to listen closely to my body because if I'm not careful, injury may follow.  Back in September I had the idea to run my first marathon at the end of the year.  I began running more but a slightly sore left knee and school starting forced lacing up the shoes to the back seat.  I could still run that marathon but not at the pace I'd like so the half might be a better choice instead.

After two years of getting back into the sport, I still feel like a beginner.  The biggest difference between now and then, is I am much more educated and motivated.  Challenges like this month will eventually lead to the achievement of goals.  If you're out there putting one foot in front of the other, you're moving forward.  Dang, I'm so cheesy.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

31 days of Running

December may not be the best month to try and run every day but I'm giving it a shot.  So far I'm on track.  I might even set a monthly record but I'm not trying.  Tomorrow will be tough because I ran further today than I planned.  I had to keep going to make it back to the truck and I was definitely getting close to hitting the wall.  My legs weren't moving as fast as I wanted and I started singing "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree" except with the words "Bonking Around the Chuckanut"  I even got in a few verses between gasps of air.  Tomorrow will be an easy day, 5-6 miles around Sehome with the Klicks crew.

12/1-  6  miles, 1,000ft
12/2- 11 miles, 800ft
12/3-  3  miles, indoor
12/4- 17 miles, 3,000ft

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holidays and Reflections

I almost don't know where to start.  It's been over a month since I posted here.  Sometimes I sit down to write, think about what I've been up to and it seems not worth mentioning.  All I seem to do is stick my nose in physics books, papers about forces on the body, psychology articles and analyses about how to run more efficiently.  Actually, those are all pretty cool to me.  Maybe I've never mentioned it here, but I'm in the process of obtaining my B.S. in Kinesiology with the goal of sharing what I've learned with others.  Two years ago, I fell in love with running, found the sport of triathlon and discovered a passion for healthy eating.  Everything I've done since then has been focused on learning as much as I can about those parts of my life.   

Yeah, I'm still a noob (that's gamer talk for "newbie," funny, I don't even play video games) when it comes to triathlon and there's a whole history about the sport that I love learning about.  It's great reading about the legends of triathlon, like Dave Scott, Mark Allen, Paula Newby-Fraser, Scott Tinley and many others.  Check this out for a bit of tri history Triathlon Legends.  

These were pioneers who were out there pushing their limits.  Not for money or fame but because they knew they had more inside of them to discover.  That is the most appealing aspect of this sport.  No matter your age, experience, PR time, or ability, there is always more to discover within yourself.  Everywhere I look, someone is striving to be more.  They are inspiring, whether they know it or not.  Sure the medals are great but what remains is the memory of digging deep, overcoming obstacles and sharing the experience with friends.  That's why training can be as fulfilling as the race.  How does it go?  "It's not about the destination but the journey."

Huh, this was meant to be a short blurb about a PR in a recent 5k I did and some photos of what I've been up to but it's turned into a bit of reflection.  Upcoming finals can have a strange effect on me.  Since the holiday is right around the corner, I'm thankful for my family who supports my decision to go back to school, strangers who write comprehensive blogs, classmates who help share the load and my great friends who work toward their goals and share their time.  You are all amazing and inspirational people.  Thank you for being you.

Well, I guess I can leave a few photos:
Lake Whatcom
Bellingham Bay

Falls on Stewart Mountain
The Sisters, North Cascades
Beaver chips, Lizard Lake, Blanchard Forest
The Salish Sea & the San Juan Islands

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Xterra Harvest Half

Yesterday I took part in the first race of the 2014 Xterra Washington Series.  Even though it is still 2013, the Nationals took place last month in Utah, so the points from this race go toward next year.  Now you may ask, "why should I try to accumulate points in the series when Nationals is open to anybody?"  Well, how about a free entry.  Xterra is giving free entry to all those who win their age group regional series championship and that is what I plan to do.  Who doesn't like free stuff?
On to the report.

It was a crisp Autumn morning.  Fog crept through the valleys, leaving the ground and surrounding foliage wet from its passing.  Men and women clad in fluorescent clothing lined up to receive their bib numbers.  I pinned mine to my shirt, jogged back to the car to drop off my jacket and did a quick warm up.  The race director went over a few rules about the course markings at the start line.  This was a fairly small race, so it was our responsibility to pay attention to the many turns along the course.  I positioned myself on the start line with the assumption that the trails would be narrow and difficult to pass on.  A five-second countdown and we were off.  10k runners would do one lap and the half marathon two.  I went out fairly hard just to get in the front.  The course description called for 2,000 feet of elevation gain over the race but I wasn't sure where and how I'd come across it.

This is what it two loops of it looks like.
Within the first mile I told some walkers there was a big group behind me and in that moment I missed a turn.  Luckily another racer yelled, "Hey, guy in the red!  This way!"  I turned around and laughed to myself a bit. (I thanked him at the end)  The two climbs in each loop were pretty tough.  I was taking little steps to keep my HR down.  Trying to get the legs going on top was difficult.  My quads felt like jelly and my hams were quite tight but they loosened up eventually.  I had a couple of limiters I used to pace myself.  Keep the HR below 190 on the climbs and aim for an average between 170-180.  That pretty much went out the window right at the start but that's ok because I've learned I can go hard for two hours without blowing up.  There was a lot of pressure in the first half with the 10k racers all around.  We were coming down the first descent and I was hot on the heels of two guys, sitting in 7th.  Down at the lake (the only flat portion) I made a move on the guys.  Then the climb started and I immediately slowed down.  It was 40% at one point.  My heart jumped in my throat and I felt like power hiking but didn't want to get passed either.  So I pushed through even though I was burning up energy fast.  They must have slowed down even more because I never saw them again.

Two loop course.

The next guy came into my sights around the end of the first loop.  I sat on his shoulder for about 4 miles.  He put in some surges on the rollers and the downhill sections that I had to push for.   As soon as we hit that first climb, I saw him touch his hand to his stomach and that's when I made my move.  I consider myself a decent climber and being the second half, I put some pesto in my step going up.  On the top I actively tried to shorten my step and increase my leg turnover to flush some of the lactic out.  It helped, if only psychologically.  

After that I had to push myself down and up a few more times.  I kept my ears open for anyone coming up but no one did.  My calves were starting to cramp up a little but I pushed through knowing I was almost done.  In the end I came in at 1:44:37 for fourth place.  I missed third by 25 seconds and first by 14 minutes.  It's crazy to think someone ran that course that fast.  Incredible!

Since I was first in my age group, that's 100 points for me going into next year.  Woo hoo!  Now, time for more stretching.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Race Weekend

Want to know how excited I am for the Ironman World Championship tomorrow?
  • In the past week I've watched enough YouTube videos to equal the amount of time for me to finish one. 
So in spirit of racing, I'm running in the Xterra Harvest Half Marathon.  It's being held partially on the greens of Bastyr U. in St. Edward state park and apparently there a few hills as the total elevation is listed at 2150ft.  Not too shabby for a park sitting on the shore of Lake Washington.

I'm curious how my body holds up.  I have some small growing pains in my knees and hips.  Some of you would call them repetitive-use injuries from ramping up volume too quickly and I would agree.  So I've taken it very easy the last couple of weeks.  Not really the taper I planned for but my body is telling me to lay off.  I hope that when I call on it tomorrow it'll feel ready to rise to the occasion.

Side note:  Running Totals this year.
Jan      46mi
Feb      17mi
Mar     40mi
Apr      56mi
May    52mi
Jun      41mi
Jul.      50mi
Aug     77mi
Sept  116 mi
Oct.      8 mi

See that three-digit number in September?  It shouldn't be that big.  Ask any coach or seasoned athlete and they'll tell you the same.  I'm proud of it but I'm paying for it too.  85 would've been right on target but 116 is asking for some pain.  Sometimes pushing the limit is what life is all about.  It's how we learn what we're capable of and become aware of our strengths and weaknesses.  Opportunities for failure are all around but knowing where they lie gives us the power to steer clear and move further down the road.   On that note, time to get that last IM video in before the weekend starts.

Monday, September 30, 2013


Holy spin class Batman!  I forgot how kick ass these classes can be.  The rec center at Western offers a variety of hour-long classes throughout the year.  I think it's great how they provide structured workouts that introduce students to new ways of staying active, like yoga, Pilates, crossfit, and other sculpting classes. I thought this was going to be a typical spin class where we do hill climbs, endurance intervals and up-downs for an hour.  So I planned to make it a tough bike workout for myself, based on HR zones but, after 30 minutes the instructor had us put the bikes away and grab mats.  She proceeded to destroy our quads and core with a HIIT workout consisting of jumping lunges, burpees, planks, pulsing squats and mountain climbers.

Now I've mostly been logging long runs and lactate-threshold runs lately, so this blew me up big time.  It was amazing and I'm still riding the endorphin high hours later.  Seeing a double rainbow through the liquid sunshine and changing leaves also had an impact.  I made sure to tell the instructor how tough and fun the session was.  Taking a day off from running is what I needed as my IT has been finicky the last couple of days.  I'm probably gonna feel it tomorrow.  So I'll probably stick to a long swim and a yoga class or two.