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Stalking 50

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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:07 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Glad to see your body is holding up to the increased training load, Mark. And suffering through below freezing temps... Have to admit the image of you "shedding your pants after a few miles" is probably being wildly misinterpreted by my brain.

Tell Alec it's all about DotA, not WoW. Wink

I'd be able to give you an update on my body condition, but my planned rest day was disrupted by cop chaos at work last night (big stakeout of dangerous guy ends up with dangerous guy shot dead by cops) that stretched well into this morning. I finally left work about 3:30 a.m. after posting the story online (the downside of a 24-hour news cycle) and made it to bed at about 4. Got about 5-6 hours sleep but feel like a zombie and need to be back to work in three hours. My early morning Sunday run might be in jeopardy. Suspect

I'm trying to imagine how your brain twisted that simple sentence, Mike. And every new thing I think of gets funnier. Thanks for that!

Had to look up DotA. Hand't heard of it. Alec isn't into the whole battle arena thing yet - well, not much, anyway - but I could imagine him wanting to do it after he's gotten bored with adventuring in WoW. He has many quest likes yet to be played.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Dave Wolfe on Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:43 am

50 is too far for me. So I admire your sneaking up on it. The age wasn't bad.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sun Jan 27, 2013 1:33 pm

@Dave Wolfe wrote:50 is too far for me. So I admire your sneaking up on it. The age wasn't bad.

Since we are the same age, Dave - I liked that comment. And of course, Mark - keep up the good work.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:19 pm

@Dave Wolfe wrote:50 is too far for me. So I admire your sneaking up on it. The age wasn't bad.

Hi, Dave! Nice to have you back. My brain would boggle if I thought about getting ready for a 50-mile event, let alone actually doing it, so it makes sense to break it up into manageable pieces. Sort of like eating an elephant: one bite at a time. Very Happy

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:
@Dave Wolfe wrote:50 is too far for me. So I admire your sneaking up on it. The age wasn't bad.

Since we are the same age, Dave - I liked that comment. And of course, Mark - keep up the good work.

Thanks, Michele! I'm not too worried about 50 the age. It's not how old you are on the calendar that counts, anyway. It's how young you feel inside.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Sun Jan 27, 2013 3:33 pm

Speaking of feeling young... I ended up sleeping in like a teenager this morning. Finally rolled out of bed at 10 (I usually get up at 6 or earlier to run on Sunday) and made a leisurely breakfast. I needed the extra sleep: It's been a rough couple of weeks at work, what with everybody on our editing team getting sick but me last week, and lots of chaos this week - capped by an officer-involved shooting that extended my Friday evening shift until 3:30 a.m. Saturday. I was running on adrenaline, and I could tell: I was twitchy and irritable, and I was getting heart palpitations so much that I even briefly considered going off caffeine.

Pairing that with a fairly rapid buildup in miles (from 5 to 20 to 32 to 34 in the past four weeks) meant my body was trying to manage a lot of physiological stress. I decided at work last night that pushing that 34 to about 40 in this state would be pushing my body -- and luck. Better to drop my 6- to 8-mile run this morning and be rested for what will probably be a 16-miler on Monday.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:14 pm

Good to see you're still taking in the long view and not yet getting pulled in by the neurotic minutia of a training cycle. But c'mon, Mark, what was for breakfast?!
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:18 pm

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Good to see you're still taking in the long view and not yet getting pulled in by the neurotic minutia of a training cycle. But c'mon, Mark, what was for breakfast?!

Grape Nuts. Very Happy

Actually, it's kind of funny that you mentioned the whole "neurotic minutia" bit. Because as you wrote that, I was probably staring at a calendar trying to figure out how to build the progression of my long runs through February, taking into account early release days from school and the President's Day school holiday. (And trying to NOT think how in the world I'm going to make this work when I'm driving to trails on Monday and running 4-6 hours....)

Oh well, I'll figure it out when I need to. In the meantime, I'm stalling. It's about 40 outside, rainy and breezy... and likely to be that way all morning. So I might as well embrace the day in all its soggy glory. Sixteen miles, here I come.


Last edited by Mark B on Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:48 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:57 pm

Long Run: 16.25 miles

Weather: Constant rain, cool, some breezes. 40-42 degrees Gear: Altras, tights, T, pullover, jacket, hat, gloves. Fuel: About every 45 minutes, taking Gu or half a PB granola bar two-pack each time. Took S-Cap before, 90-minutes in, then after. Carried water.

I didn't know how my overstressed body was going to cooperate with my planned 16-miler today, so I took a page out of the ultra playbook: "Start slow, and slow down from there." I was wildly successful going slow (which is actually something of an achievement) and even more successful at keeping my heart rate at - or even slightly below - where it really ought to be. I'd ease along, and walk when my HR hit 143, or throttle back to a jogging shuffle and see if I could bring the HR down without walking. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. The result was average HR splits from 132 to 139, with only one mile at 140, when I was climbing the hill out from the greenway. The splits were slow (mostly in the 11s), but I'm totally okay with that. I'll get a little faster as the months roll by and more mitochondria come on line.

The conditions were classic Pacific Northwest winter: wet, wet, wet. It rained the whole time, and a breeze picked up partway through that froze my hands for a while, but it got better when the breeze died. Luckily the rest of my gear was dialed in just right, with clothes that kept me warm even while wet.

Funniest part of the run: About two hours in, as my mind was wandering, I suddenly realized that I'd called Whitney by the wrong name (Wendy) in a post several weeks ago - and that Mike had pointed it out, and that I'd completely missed my faux pas. What. An. Idiot. Anyway, I headed back to the shelter of the restroom before the last leg of my run, fired up my iPhone, found the offending post and *finally* apologized for being a doofus. (It's not easy to enter text with a dripping wet iPhone case, btw.) Whew! Glad I got that off my conscience. Well, mostly. What a Face

As far as the stress bit went, I swear I could feel it melting away a few miles in. Or maybe it was washing away in the rain. Either way, I feel better now.

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 135
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:40 pm

Barefoot Run: 3.1 miles

Weather: Rainy and cool. 43 degrees, 98% humidity. Gear: Bare feet, tights, pants, long-sleeved T, pullover, jacket, hat, gloves (shed). Fuel: Pre-run snack and coffee (didn't sit well)

Rainy and cool this morning, but I wanted to make sure to get in a barefoot run this week no matter the conditions. Besides, it gave me a chance to try out my trick of overdressing to keep the feet comfy when it's not nearly freezing.

Overdressing doesn't help as much when it's 43, and raining. My feet were pretty uncomfy for the first third-mile lap but got better as the run progressed. My body ended up overheating a bit, and the volume of clothes left me feeling constrained. Got it. Next time, not so much clothing.

One thing about going barefoot in the rain (especially when it's not quite light outside) is that it keeps you honest. Form defects you can get away with on dry pavement, or dirt, become evident when your skin is soft, damp and chilled. I felt discomfort in an area that has blistered before when wet, and I played around with different things to prevent it. I didn't blister, so I guess I did something right. Smile

I also took the run much slower than normal, with a heart rate in the low- to mid-130s and a pace around 11 minutes or so. Just as well, since this was essentially a recovery run after my 16-miler on Monday.

I prefer running on dry pavement, even when it's colder, but wet works. Good thing, considering where I live.



Average HR for entire run: 134 (no walking warm up or cool down)
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:17 pm

@Mark B wrote:Barefoot Run: 3.1 miles

Weather: Rainy and cool. 43 degrees, 98% humidity. Gear: Bare feet, tights, pants, long-sleeved T, pullover, jacket, hat, gloves (shed). Fuel: Pre-run snack and coffee (didn't sit well)


Hehehe - this just seems like an oxymoron to me. Lots of clothes and no shoes. LOL.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:45 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:
@Mark B wrote:Barefoot Run: 3.1 miles

Weather: Rainy and cool. 43 degrees, 98% humidity. Gear: Bare feet, tights, pants, long-sleeved T, pullover, jacket, hat, gloves (shed). Fuel: Pre-run snack and coffee (didn't sit well)


Hehehe - this just seems like an oxymoron to me. Lots of clothes and no shoes. LOL.

Hey, who you callin' an Ox? Very Happy

I agree, it most look silly. A neighbor's daughter came out when I was doing a barefoot run when it was nearly freezing out, and I swear I saw her shake her head as I went by. Still, it does help - and running in cold, wet conditions barefoot is a great way to encourage your body to run gently. It makes 'em extra sensitive.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Wed Jan 30, 2013 5:34 pm

Walk: 2.2 miles

Weather: Overcast, drizzly. 48 degrees

Quick lunchtime walk, getting in at least part of the walk I missed yesterday. It also makes today a bit of a double day, though not exactly at impressive volumes.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Dave Wolfe on Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:01 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:
@Mark B wrote:Barefoot Run: 3.1 miles

Weather: Rainy and cool. 43 degrees, 98% humidity. Gear: Bare feet, tights, pants, long-sleeved T, pullover, jacket, hat, gloves (shed). Fuel: Pre-run snack and coffee (didn't sit well)


Hehehe - this just seems like an oxymoron to me. Lots of clothes and no shoes. LOL.

Better than no clothes and lots of shoes.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:53 pm

@Dave Wolfe wrote:
@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:
@Mark B wrote:Barefoot Run: 3.1 miles

Weather: Rainy and cool. 43 degrees, 98% humidity. Gear: Bare feet, tights, pants, long-sleeved T, pullover, jacket, hat, gloves (shed). Fuel: Pre-run snack and coffee (didn't sit well)


Hehehe - this just seems like an oxymoron to me. Lots of clothes and no shoes. LOL.

Better than no clothes and lots of shoes.

Good point! Smile
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Thu Jan 31, 2013 2:59 pm

Low HR Run: 60 minutes (5.27 miles)

Weather: Foggy/overcast, cool. 44 degrees, 99-100% humidity. Gear: Altras, shorts (!), long-sleeved T, jacket, hat, gloves (shed). Fuel: Nada. Carried water.

I got a very pleasant surprise this morning. A couple, actually. First off, it was mild enough to wear shorts and ditch my pullover. Technically, 44 and foggy isn't mild, but my body's gotten acclimated. Anyway, it was nice. Second, I had a much easier time keeping my HR at my target, though it felt like I was sort of poking along at a relaxed pace.

Then, when I hit my first post-warmup mile, I saw the split. 10:04 @ 138 AvgHR! Sweet! It's been a while since it was so easy to go so fast in shoes. To be specific, it's the fastest since Dec. 13, the week before I donated blood last. I had some normal fall-off in subsequent miles, but my HR was right where it was supposed to be.

So, what's it mean? Well, probably several things. Mostly, it seems that my red blood cells have probably rebounded back to pre-donation levels. But I probably have more mitochondria on board, too. And I also am probably figuring out my gait in these zero-drop Altras, which means I'm probably landing more efficiently, ANNND I wasn't weighed down and constrained by extra clothing!

Or, I just had a good day. No matter the reason, I'll take it.Very Happy

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 132.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Alex Kubacki on Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:35 pm

Looks like you're getting in some nice runs in some crappy weather. Just a chance to build some mental toughness getting out there. Doing great.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:44 pm

@Alex Kubacki wrote:Looks like you're getting in some nice runs in some crappy weather. Just a chance to build some mental toughness getting out there. Doing great.

Thanks, Alex! The weather here tends toward the wet and chilly, but at least we don't end up with a sub-zero wind chill like some parts of the country. For that, I am eternally grateful that my ancestors headed west. Smile
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Fri Feb 01, 2013 3:58 pm

Low HR Run: 90 minutes (7.83 miles)

Weather: Nice! Partly sunny. 45-48 degrees, 88% humidity. Gear: Altras, shorts, long-sleeved T, jacket/vest, hat (gloves on only briefly). Fuel: Had PB granola bar right before run, got sugar rush. Water on run.

I was hopeful that today's longer low HR run would be as zippy as yesterday's - and that anticipation probably helped make sure that it didn't happen! My HR was elevated +10 bpm before I started the run (excitement? the granola bars I ate just before?), so I wasn't overly surprised when the first mile after the warmup came in at 10:29 rather than 10:04 yesterday. Oh well. These runs are about maintaining a target HR and letting speed come with improved fitness.

In that, I was pretty successful today. I slowed a bit more in the next mile but hit a zone where I was able to average a heart rate of 138 and pace of about 10:50. I slowed a bit going up Llama Ridge, and again going through the ravine, but I was also able to get my wandering HR back to where it was supposed to be simply by slowing down - even going uphill.

When you look at the charts showing elevation change and compare it against HR, I think it looks pretty promising.



It helped that it was a nice day. Morning fog was clearing out, so I ended up with a decent dose of sunshine (Vitamin D!) and was able to shed the sleeves of my jacket. It felt nearly springlike! Nice.



Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 134
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:36 pm

Mount Hood 50 update: I checked the waiting list for the race this morning, and it looks like I've moved up from No. 24 to No. 21. Woot!

The cutoff date for dropping from the race and getting at least a 50% refund is March 1, so I should get a better sense by then of my chances for getting in. The RD told me already that they went 50 deep in the wait list for last year's race, so my chances are very good. I'm still crossing my fingers and working to build up the miles. I should break 40 this week and be at the 20-mile long run point by the end of February.

I'm still doing all my runs on the road - getting miles seems a higher priority at this point - but I'll start working in trails and more hills in March.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  T Miller on Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:04 pm

@Mark B wrote:Mount Hood 50 update: I checked the waiting list for the race this morning, and it looks like I've moved up from No. 24 to No. 21. Woot!

The cutoff date for dropping from the race and getting at least a 50% refund is March 1, so I should get a better sense by then of my chances for getting in. The RD told me already that they went 50 deep in the wait list for last year's race, so my chances are very good. I'm still crossing my fingers and working to build up the miles. I should break 40 this week and be at the 20-mile long run point by the end of February.

I'm still doing all my runs on the road - getting miles seems a higher priority at this point - but I'll start working in trails and more hills in March.

Fingers crossed, I hope you get in Mark.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Dave Wolfe on Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:25 pm

Time to start training like you've been accepted to race (but you're probably doing that already).
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Sat Feb 02, 2013 6:49 pm

@T Miller wrote:Fingers crossed, I hope you get in Mark.

Me, too, Tim! Thanks. If I don't make it in, I guess I'll just have to find another event this summer/fall. I haven't picked a Plan B event (because I'm pretty confident I'm getting in Mount Hood), but I don't think it'll be that hard to find something that'll work.

@Dave Wolfe wrote:Time to start training like you've been accepted to race (but you're probably doing that already).

That's absolutely true, Dave! The whole theme of the blog "Stalking 50" revolves around sneaking up on this race, getting ready the whole time, but doing so in a way to where I can catch it unawares. Very Happy

Well, that and keeping myself from going totally OCD about it...

Clicking this link will get you back to the post to where I outlined my strategy. There may be a few tweaks (I didn't mention increasing hills in the build phase, for example.), but it's 99% on target.
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:25 pm

MAF Test (sort of): 5.5 miles total, testing for 3 miles

Weather: Foggy and chilly. 37 degrees, 99% humidity. Gear: Altras, tights, T, pullover, jacket, hat (shed), gloves (shed). Fuel: Grape Nuts and coffee before (did NOT sit well). Some water during.

After my surprisingly zippy run earlier this week, I thought it might finally be time to do another MAF test. I should have waited. I felt slower on the first mile of the test, guessing I was at about 10:20 instead of about 10:04, which is what I did on Thursday on uneven terrain. I was shocked when it read 10:40 instead.

I know, I know. I have been talking about patience. And how building endurance, not speed, is important. Still. I also use MAF tests to gauge stress levels on the body. I'd gotten to sub-10 barefoot and near 10 in shoes before I donated blood. To still be that far behind now makes me wonder if I'm pushing it too hard. Maybe.

Also, this wasn't a great morning for a test. My HR was slightly elevated from the start, and it was foggy - which meant it was exceedingly humid. I'd dressed for the cold (about 37) but after a couple of miles was getting uncomfortably warm in my tights. It might have gone better in shorts. Also, it was the end of my longest training week since March 2011, which means my body is stressed. Annd... I felt a little nauseous after the run (as do the rest of my family), so there's a chance that something else might be going on.

So lots of excuses/reasons. But there was a silver lining to this, however. After the first mile at 10:41, the second mile came in at 10:47, which isn't much of a fall-off, and the third mile came in at 10:48. Not fast, to be sure, but consistent - which is a very good sign if my goal is to build endurance.

My buddy's knee started acting up and I'd lost interest in the test, so we ended the testing part of the run there and walked/jogged another mile and a half with his dog. I'll keep at it - and put in a step-back week soon - and see how I'm doing a month from now.

Average HR for entire run: 131
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Mark B on Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:18 pm

Long Run: 14 miles (stepback)

Weather: Mostly cloudy, cool, muggy. 45-49°, ~90% humidity. Gear: Altras, shorts, long-sleeve T, jacket/vest, hat (stowed). Fuel: Grape-nuts snack before. Gu at 45 min, granola bar at 1:30, 2:15. Got a little bonky. S-Caps before and every hour. Carried water.

I've had a good build-up over the past month, extending my long run from 12 to 14 then to 16 miles last week. Part of me wanted to push it up to 18, but wiser parts inside of me (and friends) suggested a stepback. I dithered for nearly an hour this morning trying to decide what to do, then settled on trying for 14-16. A slight complication was that, while I did 16 miles last Monday, I did it fresh without a run the day before. Yesterday, I ran 5.

I did my run in the Salmon Creek Greenway, and almost opted for 16, then decided on the fly that 14 would be enough. Probably the right choice. My legs were feeling it in the last couple of miles, I nearly bonked, and I was feeling pretty snarly by the time I was done. The overall time of this run and my last 14-miler was pretty close, which is fine; my average HR for this run was 3 bpm lower, however, which is better. Smile

Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 136
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Re: Stalking 50

Post  Seth Harrison on Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:22 pm

Hey Mark, after skimming though all 4 pages of you blog, it looks like the ultra training is on track. I'm glad to see there's no been no real setbacks. I might have missed it, but is there a back-up plan if you don't get into Mt. Hood? As for Mt. Hood, I did glance at that elevation profile you posted...yikes! Did I read correctly that these are the types of hills you enjoy?
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