March 24, 2014

Spring has sprung

It's hard to beat spring weather in Utah. I wrapped up a solid week of training with some 800m reps on the track Saturday morning, then Andrea and I headed up to Alta where we spent the weekend backcountry skiing and enjoying life at the Peruvian Lodge.

Post workout PowerBar Protein Plus. When you're off candy, these taste good!
The Alta Peruvian Lodge is the best place ever
We'd live here if we were millionaires.

Twin Lakes Pass - where we found leftover powder from a storm 4 days prior!
Up, up, up...

And back down
Andrea bringing it home on hero corn/slush snow!

March 17, 2014

Winter/Spring Training Block #2, continued...

A few weeks ago I summarized all of my January/February workouts leading up to the Phoenix Half Marathon. This post is a continuation of that entry with two more weeks added.

Key Workouts:

Week of March 10:  8 + 4 x 5 minutes at LT/10K effort2 x 20 minutes LT Efforts; 18 mile long run at 83% MP with 3 mile AT finish.

Other stuff:
-Continuing to follow phase one of Jay Dicharry's program, probably 4X week. I'm about to start incorporating the phase two exercises at this point.
-8 x 100m strides twice a week
-Skiing on weekends

Here's how it looked when put together...

To summarize, the primary workouts during this block of training were the "by feel" LT efforts (green). I started with 2 x 20 minutes, worked down (in effort length), the rebounded back up to 2 x 20 minutes... the second time I ran that workout, I was a bit faster despite having some cumulative fatigue in my legs. Mission accomplished.

The secondary workouts were the combo sessions with hill repeats (blue). These were meant to (safely) get me moving faster, and strengthen the musculoskeletal system for the harder/faster track workouts in March and April.

I used long runs for aerobic support, but these weren't very specific, and won't be until I get closer to Grandma's Marathon.

The red workouts were faster than LT effort, and those were another way to transition into some of the faster track workouts that are coming next.

So, what's next?

I have 7 weeks until the Indy 500 half-marathon which is my primary target. I'll run a 5000m track race on March 28th, then the USA 10 Mile Champs on April 6th. Those are my only races before Indy 500.

Most of the workouts during these next 7 weeks will fall into two categories:
1) Multi-pace track intervals (400s, 800s, 1600s at 1500/3K/5K pace)
2) LT Shuffles (LT efforts with injections of 3K/5K pace). I'll post a more detailed explanation of the LT shuffles after I've done a few of them.

I'll probably get in 3 more long runs over this stretch, and will aim to keep those runs under or around 2 hours. Just aerobic support and setting up the foundation for when I begin some marathon-specific work in May.

PowerBar Team Elite

You may have noticed the PowerBar logo on the side of the blog. I'm excited to announced that I've been selected as a member of PowerBar's Team Elite for the 2014 and 2015 competition seasons. As I strive to realize my dream of qualifying for the Olympic Trials Marathon, I've realized that I need to be smarter about everything I do... especially recovery, and a huge part of recovery is nutrition. While we aren't unhealthy by any means, Andrea and I are making strides to clean up out diets, eliminate some junk, and replace those calories with quality sources. I've also been working hard to dial in my nutrition strategy during marathon racing. The PowerBar sponsorship will really help me in the areas of performance nutrition and recovery.

I've actually been an avid PowerBar product user since high school... I wouldn't endorse or promote a brand I didn't believe in. PowerBar makes excellent sports nutrition products, and I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge of nutritional strategies before, during and after competition... as it plays a huge role in our sport.

March 16, 2014

Sun and Ski

My job sent me to San Diego for a couple days at the end of the week (I know, tough break!). The meeting's host hotel was in Del Mar, near Torrey Pines, so I was able to get in a couple really cool trail runs in the Torrey Pines State Nature Preserve. Special thanks to Kristen of Two Little Runners for giving me some great tips on where to run in this area!

On Saturday, before heading home, I took advantage of the sea level to knock out my long run and wrap up another solid week of training. I'll do another training post this week, as I just wrapped up a block of training, and I'm moving on to some other types of workouts for the rest of the time period between now and the Indy 500 half marathon.

Andrea and I took advantage of another perfect, warm, sunny Sunday in the Wasatch Mountains. A great weekend of sunshine and skiing.

Stole this photo from here, but this gives you a great idea of what running at Torrey Pines is like.
And another beautiful spring-ski day...

March 8, 2014

Meadow Chutes in the Spring

Spring skiing. Warm, sunshine, powder. What else do I need to say?

The following day (3/9) we went for a short tour in the Twin Lakes Pass area. Sunshine and tank tops!

March 4, 2014

Phoenix Half Marathon

10th mile of the PHX Half Marathon

 I kept my Arizona win streak going by winning the Phoenix Half Marathon this weekend (1:07:00). Last year I won the marathon here. And on Thanksgiving I won the Mesa Turkey Trot 10K. Maybe I just need to always race in Arizona?

Fast Running Blog Recap

The weather was decent considering we were expecting much worse. There was some rain in the early miles and a bit of a noticeable headwind, but the major storm forecast was greatly exaggerated. The heavy rain actually came down later on Saturday evening... good timing! In some ways the overcast skies were nice (cooler!).

My plan was to run for the win and not worry too much about the time once we knew the weather forecast was looking a little crazy.

Jesse Armijo and I ran the first mile together, then he took the lead and put a small gap on me. For the first 7 miles, I was between 15-25 meters off his lead. It didn't seem like there was anyone putting pressure on from behind us. I kept thinking to myself "make a move at 10" like I did in the PF Chang's 1/2 last year. I started reeling him during the 8th mile and sensed an opportunity to put in a surge and take the lead just before the 9 mile mark. I ran the 10th mile pretty hard to open up a gap, then I had a big enough lead to back off a little the rest of the way. I ended up winning by a comfortable 52 seconds.

Andrea and my parents were out on the course in 5-6 different spots providing encouragement. They are awesome!

The time doesn't really reflect a big improvement since January, but I can tell I'm getting in shape now. The major positive "take home" was that around the halfway point of the race, I knew I wasn't settling for second place. I was thinking about the best strategy for how to win the race, and knew I was going to win the race.

The Phoenix Marathon is somewhat new to the scene, but it has already established itself as one of the best events in the Southwest. The marathon is a great course for Boston Qualifying, and they offer generous prize money to the elite runners in the marathon as well as a $500 bonus for sub 2:20/2:45. The half-marathon only has a few turns and has a slight net drop from start to finish, making it the fastest Olympic Trials qualifying eligible courses out there that I am aware of. Both courses are certified and sanctioned, so you know they are accurate (I've seen people make comments online that the course measured long - they just need to realize that Garmins aren't that accurate).

I've never felt the need to comment about a race t-shirt before, but I feel like I have to say something in this report. The shirt given out by the PHX Marathon this year is definitely the best I've ever gotten at a race. It's fitted and made of some sort of stretchy material that is really cool. That sort of attention to detail is what will help this race continue to grow. I know from speaking to the race directors on many occasions that they are always striving to improve and make the race experience as great as they can.

I'll circle this one on my race calendar for 2015. If I have the OTQ by then, I'd like to run this marathon again. If I don't, then it will be a great spot to go for the OT standard in the half-marathon. Especially since after this year's rainstorm, it is almost guaranteed that this race will have perfect weather for the next 20 years! I'd highly recommend this one as a great spring race destination.

Early miles of the race
Somewhere in the early miles on a rainy morning
With Jesse after the race
Awesome shirts!
Course Map