Archive for the ‘hill repeats’ Category

Killer hills

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

I didn’t run yesterday as I used the excuse of not having any gels to power through a hill repeat run. Well the gel came that afternoon, so no excuses remained. Actually I was fine with that as I knew I had to do some hills to keep on track with my fluctuating quality run plan.

So a note on the gel: I purchased a 26 serving bottle of Chocolate Hammer gel for $20 on Amazon. I use 3 oz gel flasks and dilute 1 to 1 with water. It takes some shaking to get it mixed up, but it is a lot cleaner and less wasteful than the individual servings not to mention cheaper. I really like doing my gels this way. The bottles I have a weird and are rounded so they don’t stand up but feel good in my pockets. I like the diluted gel as well. The chocolate was a little sweet, I have had espresso as well and I thought that was less so.

So in addition to my diluted gel I also brought a pack of Honey Stinger fruit energy chews. They are a bit like Sharkies only more jelly like, sort of remind me of the old jelly candies my Grandma had. They are ok, I don’t think I care for the Honey Stinger product lines so much. They are a bit too strongly honey tasting for me. I had some gels from them as well that I got as samples at the Portland Marathon and they were the same way, like eating a tablespoon of honey. Good but too honeyey. I had maybe 3 or 4 of them on the run to the hills and then the gel halfway through. I felt pretty good energy wise, good combination of gel energy and electrolytes.

So the hills were tough. My hill route I went on today has 10 or 11 hills about a quarter mile long of varying steepness. I zig-zag up and down along this three block long ridge. So down for three blocks, over one, up for three blocks and over one and so on. Halfway through I turn around and go up the ones I went down the first time through. The workout tapers a bit to the mid-way point with the hills getting easier, but the way back is murderous and by the time I near the end of the hill portion, the final two hills are brutal. Here is the run. I felt pretty strong throughout the run and my HR dipped pretty low on the recovery portions (130-140). My max HR was 185 for the run, but more often in the high 170s. It was a good workout and one I feel pretty rested from now that the afternoon has waned.

I missed my rebif injection yesterday, so I did it today after the run. I have been doing the shots after workouts for awhile now and so far I have bot seen any sort of issue with it. I am not sure if the exercise makes it any more or less effective, but there don’t seem to be any problems. Even today when I did my shot into my leg all pumped up after the hill repeats, no issues. I do notice that when I inject in the morning I sometimes have to take ibuprofen in the evening to cull a headache, but it doesn’t happen often. I do worry about taking so much ibuprofen and acetaminophen and its effects on my liver. But I guess I’ll deal with that when I have something concrete to deal with.

Watermark hill repeats

Saturday, June 19th, 2010

I love having one of those runs when everything seemed to go really well. Today my hill repeat run was one of those. I almost wasn’t going to do it. Temperatures seemed like they were rising but actually weren’t. Clouds snuck in and cooled off the afternoon, so I figured I had no excuse for not doing it. My schedule called for a quality run so off I went.

I have found a route that I like a lot that winds up and down the side of this sloped area. It gives me three blocks of varying degrees of uphill followed by five recovery blocks. Basically it zig-zags giving me ten up and downs along it for four miles or so. The uphills at the start (and end) are tough ones with the middle hills being the flattest. Once I got going it felt really good and I did my best to power up the hills. After the first five sets I turn around and go down the ones I went up on and up the downs. I gobbled an espresso gel which probably had something to do with the way I kept up for the second half. The final hill was hard, it is the largest and consistently uphill the entire way of  the series.

The watermark was in my heart rate. Previously my high was 186 which had risen from the estimated 184 I started with. After the first couple of hills I was starting to get pretty high HRs; over 180. I slowed into the high 170s as the hills flattened out. Once my return covered the easy hills my HR rose again. The third hill from the end was the first of the tough ones. I did a good job of powering up it. I didn’t want to slow down too much, I knew I was a bit anyway. As I neared the top my HR climbed over 180, then kept rising. As it got close to 185 or so I felt really strong and kept going. All of a sudden, 188. New Max HR. My recovery was really slow and I was able to bring my HR down to the 130s after my downhills.

The second to the last hill was progressively larger and I powered up with my new HR in mind. With a block to go my pace was ok, not fast but steady. My HR climbed again, soon 188 again. Then right as I neared the top of the hill: 189. Ok, that was it, no more setting Max HR. The last hill was slower, but I made it up despite indecisive drivers. Lastly, a mile back to the house for some proper recovery food and drink. After a whey protein bar and 24 ounces of G2 I felt pretty good. Also, was awarded a year contract with my largest client and invited to a meeting with a Vietnamese business delegation. So my proper recovery was followed with a celebration dinner at our neighborhood spot Toast. Great gnocchi!

I felt really good after this run, much like I have been after the quality runs I do. This run is 6.5 miles, though I think I might have missed a hill after the turn around. 6.5 or 7, either is a good distance. It was sort of nice not to spend a long distance on my feet for this run. I need to get it consistent so I can start comparing them.

Two lonely runs

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

My running partner is in her taper week before the San Francisco Half Marathon this weekend so I have been on my own. It is amazing how dependent you become on a running partner when you run regularly with them. The runs seem so boring if I am not yacking away with her. I used to run with music all the time, or with the radio, but I have been spoiled! They are no substitute!

So my first lonely run was a recovery run where I did my best to keep my heart rate at or near 70% of max (recovery ceiling) which for me is 143 bpm. On the run I was really happy with how well I did keeping it relatively steady. The reports I got when i got home showed more variation than I would have liked, but that is ok. I was also really happy with how fast I could go without going over that, at least for the first half. At one point I was able to keep up a sub 9 minute mile pace for several blocks before it started creeping up. The hills were torturous, I really had to slow down for them, but I was successful at keeping the hr down. Toward the end as I ran through the Reed campus class was just getting out. I was crawling along, but I decided to check the ego at the door and just do what I was supposed to. I was really tempted to jet past several smokers, can’t believe how many people still smoke. The run took forever, 1:26 for 8 miles but it felt pretty good. Despite the slow pace my legs were pretty sore.

So this morning after my slow run yesterday, I figured today was time for some pain! My plan was to do my hill run in Eastmoreland. I started out with a mile of warmup then hit the hills. Three blocks down, one block over and three blocks up. For the most part the pattern goes three blocks of hills, then five recovery blocks (one over, three down, one over to the next hill) so essentially I just criss-cross blocks along this ridge. On the hill portions I really step on the gas and try to do them as hard as I can. I maxed out my hr at 180 today, spending a lot of time in the upper 170s. The thing I am most happy with is is my hr drops considerably on the recovery portions, at times all the way into the 120s, mostly mid 130s.

This being the second time I have done this workout, I was especially excited to compare the two runs. Unfortunately I realized that they were really not identical as the first time I had run down to Reed to use the bathroom. Also they are doing sewer construction and on different blocks, so that sort of messed me up a little bit as well. But I was able to compare pace and hr. This time I did the run a bit faster and got my hr up higher. I still want o comb over the numbers and see how the recoveries compared. I just love the data you get out of the Garmin.

Speaking of the Garmin Forerunner 405, I just figured out how to customize all of my displays as well as my heart rate zones. Pretty slick. I am not going to go into how to do it, suffice it to say it is all in the manual and is surprisingly simple to do. I love this watch.

Um, make it three?

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

For all my talk about the value of resting and recovery days (maybe I have just been thinking that and not writing it, but I am pretty sure I have said on several occasions rest, rest, rest!) recently I haven’t been living up to it. I have been listening to my body though and have felt strong enough to do these multiple hard days in a row.

So my running partner and I chatted on our Wednesday tempo run and IM’d all day Thursday about doing a hill repeat run on Friday. At first I was a tad concerned because of the two hard runs (one solo) I had done already this week. But our long run the previous Sunday was on a reduced mileage week for my partner’s program and we would both have a day off on Thursday to recover. So I felt pretty good about the whole thing.

So Friday morning came around and I got the dreaded text “Too tired, can’t make it”. My first instinct was to go back to bed happy (especially since I hadn’t slept that well the night before) but I had already had a cup of coffee and I was pretty peppy. So I decided to go out and do it on my own. We had discussed several routes and I decided to do the one I wanted to try. I know the area pretty well, but wasn’t too sure how good of a hill repeat route it would be. It runs along a ridge that has streets running perpendicular to it, the blocks are about three blocks long. So it seemed perfect for going down one street then up the next alternating as far as the ridge went (the ridge drops down so eventually the hills got less and less before ending at Johnson Creek.

So after a quick bathroom break at the college I started my hills. The first ones were really steep and tough but I was just getting going so I wasn’t too concerned. However coming back to them and ending here would be a different story, but I wasn’t going to worry about that yet. So on I went, the hills were pretty tough, but I was able to push the pace pretty well. I found myself getting my heart rate up over 170 (into my 85-90% range) and then dropping down to 130 on my recovery blocks (one block over to the down hill, 3 down and then another over to the up hill, so sufficient for a recovery). Sure enough as I continued down the ridge, my hills flattened out a bit, but they were still effective as I would push even harder.

After five up hills, I decided to reverse course (I would actually hit six on the way back.) I crested my first hill on the return and realized that I would have the additional elevation gain of going back up the ridge, ugh. But I kept at it. I felt a bit tired, but still strong. HRs were still climbing high, but never higher that 175 and my recoveries were still dropping underneath 140. Sure enough as I neared the finish the hills got tougher and tougher. The last two almost broke me (actually it was the second to last that almost did it), but I made it. My final mile was run underneath my recover HR of 143 and was very enjoyable boosted by the successful completion of the run. I only wish my running partner had been there to enjoy the feeling (I knew she was going to be mad at herself for bagging all day (and she was!))

Overall my pace was really slow (over 10) but I felt great about the HRs I kept throughout. I look forward to improvement. Today we are scheduled for 11 miles at our recovery pace (actually we are going with out 70% HR counts- 143 for me and 151 for her.) It is totally raining, so I expect we will be very wet on this run. Maybe more on that later toady or tomorrow.