Sunday, June 25, 2017

Sunday

     After the track yesterday we drove up into the higher country and camped on the Arkansas River. We hiked for over two hours which was perfect recovery and I woke up today feeling great. I can't sleep at home but on the ground next to a roaring river I sleep like I wish I always could.  
     I've been mulling over where I want to place my energy or focus for the remainder of this summer. My "A" race (and last outdoor race of this year) is in 9 weeks. I'm 100% sure that lifting weights is something that can't be neglected as a masters runner in ANY distance but it definitely detracts from performing quality sessions. So, with 9 weeks I think I'm going to stop lifting and replace it with one hill session per week and keep the plyo sets. Then after August I'll resume the strength focus. The best thing about all of this ruminating is just that, I'm thinking months ahead about my running which means it's going to stick. I am positive that next summer I'll make even more gains. More experience, more strength and fitness, more skill and technique.
     The indoor track season begins in Colorado on December 6th and indoor was easily my favorite in college. It looks like there'll be about 7 indoor meets over the winter.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Track. Nailed it.

The workout:
        3 X (200/ 100) All 4 point starts.
Results:  28.6/ 13.8
               26.7/ 13.8
               26.6/ 14.3

   I rested 60 seconds between the 200 and 100. The loading only peaked in that time and my legs began to tighten up, which is the point of the short recovery. My last 100 in 14.3 felt as hard as finishing a 400 race. Very tough to stay relaxed and keep form. It helps to focus on bringing my knees up and lifting my recovery foot over my opposite knee. Think bicycling type movement or revolutions. Another concept I've been working on is not pointing my toes on the recovery and foot plant and making sure my feet/ ankles are dorsiflexed in those phases. This ensures less braking and lessens the load on my hamstrings.

Friday, June 23, 2017

One of those days

     I woke up feeling much better but still not positive I would be able to hit the goal splits for today's track session. Legs a little heavy and hamstring tight. My left knee has been achy the last couple of days. I'm fairly certain I pissed it off doing plyos.
     I headed down the mountain in maybe the heaviest fog I've seen up here yet. Visibility was no more than a few feet. Half way down it started pouring rain and it was 50 degrees. All that added up to make it easy decision to turn around and bag it. Ultimately it was a good call. I'll give the knee and legs an extra day and hit it tomorrow.
 It's currently 48 degrees and foggy which is my favorite running weather! I wouldn't be surprised if we dipped into the 30s tomorrow morning.  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Drills, stretching, supplements and psychology

     My fatigue is much better today but still not resolved. It's pretty wild how such a brief workout of 4 X 100 meters can be so stressful. Intensity is KING when it comes to stimulation. Both hamstrings are tight but not bad. I've had HHT (high hamstring tendinopathy) in my left hamstring for the past month or so but it hasn't hindered my training. I sit on a lacrosse ball in my car and massage every night which has mitigated it well. Every week it seems to fade a little more. I slept in today and woke up at 3:45 in a good head space.
     I jogged down to the soccer field and went through my typical warm-up and stretching routine and by the end my legs were firing well. Still a bit dead but I was moving quick. I extended my stretching routine out to 20:00 which felt great. I haven't been a fan of stretching but as I've done it more and more I'm gradually changing my views on it. Like everything in this sport it isn't for everyone but if it works for you then go with it.
     On the training plan for tomorrow is 3 sets of 200 (rest 1:00) then 100 (rest 8:00). The rest interval after the 200 is the key to this session and deceptively difficult. Once you finish a hard effort your HR continues to rise and your lactate increases as it floods through your body and will peak at about 30" post interval. IMO this is harder than running a 300. The goal on the 200's is 29"/ 28"/27". The goal on the 100's is 14"/ 13"/ 13". Not sure if I'll be recovered enough by tomorrow to do this so I'll wait and see. I'll get through the warm-up and drills and then do 4 X 50 meters before deciding. If I'm rolling the 50's comfortably in 6"-6.5" then I'll probably give it a go.

     Here's a pic of the supplements I'm currently taking.
    B complex which I've taken forever. Helps with CNS recovery, muscle tissue repair, and red blood cell production. Master Amino Pattern (amino acids) which has had the most noticeable impact on my recovery than anything. I started taking this back in ~2011 and it's one thing I budget for every month. I joke that I'll buy my running shoes from a thrift store so I can buy MAP. But it's not a joke. Maltodextrin which falls into that same category as stretching. If it works for you then go with it and maltodextrin works for me. Always has. I take in 60g of carbohydrate before hard sessions and then another 60 immediately post run to start the recovery process. Creatine is a new one for me. I tried it back in ~1998 or so but couldn't really afford to keep with it. I've come back to it because of the type of training I'm doing. There's been enough research on it for me to give it a shot and see how it goes, so far I think it's made a difference. It might be a little placebo effect which is fine and good too.
     I find the whole idea of placebos interesting in that it points out the power of our mind. I believe  that our minds are a very underrated aspect of training and racing and it edges into being more important than our body. Everything starts with our brain and thought processes. Touch a hot stove and a signal is sent to your brain, processed, then returned to your hand where you then feel pain. The will to train begins in your mind and without that will you won't train effectively. Training effectively is how you get fast and training effectively is about discipline, execution and dealing with suffering and fatigue... all that begins in your brain. The psychology of sport is also far more complex than the physiology. What happens to muscle tissue during training is pretty much the same in every person and how to manipulate training to exploit muscle tissue is basic knowledge. But each person has one hundred billion neurons in their brain and each person's development is completely different. How your psyche responds to a workout is utterly unique to that person. The key to excelling in running is figuring out your mind, not your body.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Knackered central nervous system

 I woke up today with fairly heavy CNS (central nervous system) fatigue from the past several days. This has become a familiar feeling but has usually come about after just one to two days of hard training, this time I got in many before it hit me which shows improvement. Before I started training for sprinting, CNS fatigue was never really an issue. It was there for sure but with ultrarunning it isn't as severe an inhibitor to improvement as it is with sprinting. That's because of the expectation of performance in training. With ultrarunning you can wake up exhausted but that's typically OK, your performance for the day is usually just logging more miles or doing more moderate efforts. With sprinting however there are finer expectations and for a noob like myself those come down more to neurological development than muscular or metabolic. I liken it to sprinting down a ~4% grade hill. It's very unlikely that you'll approach Bolt's world record in the 100 even with the downhill because you can't move your legs fast enough. Or spin a bicycle up to 200 revs. That doesn't take superior strength or power or Vo2 max. It simply takes coordination.  
      Refined movement patterns or muscular coordination is not as critical when you're running easy or slow. Not even if you're running tempo. Get into higher intensities or nearer your absolute max though and it becomes more critical to have every motor unit in every muscle group working in coordination to drive you forward. In order to develop this economy you can't be too fatigued to do the very specific and technical work required. Yesterday's workout was aimed at developing that coordination but if I were to attempt the same workout today I wouldn't be able to hit the required speeds and therefore wouldn't be training the appropriate system.
     For the 400 there are other systems or aspects that are just as important as economy of movement. Strength, power, lactate tolerance, endurance (endurance for a 400 looks quite different than what most people think of endurance), these are all important and I could go out today and probably pull off one of these workouts, but looking at the past six days I've done plenty of work and see little benefit to not being patient and resting.
 CNS fatigue is a somewhat general term and like any "fatigue" there is a spectrum of severity. At it's most severe you are essentially over trained but that can take weeks and weeks to achieve and also involves other systems including endocrine. If you're approaching true over training you'd be a complete wreck on every level. A fatigued CNS takes a bit more time to recover than simple muscle tissue. Again, there are varying degrees of fatigue but at even the mild end, where I am, it'll take around 72 hours to freshen up enough to do another speed session. In that recovery period it's important to avoid stressing the CNS with exercise that requires immediate/ fast movement under load. Heavy lifting and of course sprinting are the main ones. More things to avoid are stress and lack of sleep. Unfortunately I have "sleep maintaining insomnia" which means I wake up early. These days it's between 2 and 3 am. Sleep is huge when it comes to healing or resting our CNS for obvious reasons so I'm going suffer a little with this. Stress is a tricky one. Emotional stress is far more detrimental to our health than physical yet it's not an easy fix like just going to bed early. Learning to let go of things you can't control or changing your perspective of a situation is useful and not that tough to do. Be positive rather than negative. Avoiding simple sugars or inflammatory foods like gluten can help and also supplementing vitamin B's. If you're a distance runner then avoiding excess volume is a good idea. Reducing stimulant use, like coffee, will help. You really only need to reduce it, not eliminate it. Unless you smoke meth. Then you should probably just eliminate it.
     Symptoms of CNS fatigue can be tricky to recognize if you don't know what to look for. Start off with recognizing your previous training loads as having the potential to bring it about. If you're jogging 20 miles a week then I'd guess you won't have issues. But if you have high stress in your life, lift heavy and/or have a high volume of intensity then keep an eye out. I would very much liken how I feel today to a hangover. I quit drinking alcohol over 3 years ago and thankfully haven't felt a hangover since, but I remember it. I can feel fatigue in my legs of course but it doesn't feel profoundly different than after most solid workout days so I don't think you want to use that as your gauge. I'm talking about the central nervous system which means brain and spinal cord. One test I've read about is to tap your finger on your leg or desk as fast as possible for ten seconds and count the taps. You of course need to establish a base line number but a drop in that number shows a certain level of CNS fatigue. Measuring grip force is another but how do you do that? The best way really is to look at your log book and watch for changes in mental state.
     One last thing. I wrote that for ultrarunning you can wake up exhausted but that's typically OK. What I'm talking about is performance specifically, not that CNS fatigue isn't an issue or a detriment, I'm more saying you can get away with it and still develop specific fitness like endurance and metabolic economy. With sprinting and even fast intense race distance like 5k and 10k you can't take it nearly as deep and expect to improve. Yesterday I wanted 100's in under 13 seconds yet when I trained for Leadville I wanted to run 12:00 miles for 24 hours. That's a massive disparity in every way. Not even the same sport. The main thing you must do is avoid fatigue levels that limit performance expectations.         

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

4 X 100 meters with a new (unofficial) PR

 Started off the morning with this...

 The workout was 4 X 100 meters out of a four point stance (imaginary starting blocks). Racing 400 meters has an odd aspect to it in that you can go 100% max effort for the first ~5-7 seconds (depending on your fitness type and level) and it won't affect your race. A well trained runner like Jeremy Wariner or Alison Felix can hold this phase longer. The term "go ugly early" is used in describing the start. In a 400 race effort the alactic energy system is going to burn out regardless of how violently you start so it's considered free speed to max out the opening meters. My main problem however is that I'm muscularly weak from an explosive start perspective. Hex bar dead lifts and box jumps with a weight vest have been my main focus for addressing this but my starts are still pathetic and awkward.
     Today's workout though shows that I have probably improved. 3 weeks ago I ran 100m in 12.8 out of blocks. Today I ran 5 X 100m in 12.63, 12.80, 12.63 again, and 12.94. I ran a first one with a flying start in 11.86 but won't count it. All were on 5:00 rest.
      Then I finished with 4 X 50m on the infield turf with flying starts to work on absolute top end. The focus here was central nervous system coordination and hitting absolute maximum speed. It feels awkward and ugly! I was hitting low 5 seconds on each.
      I have to time these myself so I use a handheld stopwatch that allows me to hit the start/ stop button with one hand. Trying to hit the button on my watch while maxing out speed doesn't work even a little and doing a four point start is impossible. Pics below show what I'm talking about. I'm doing my honest best to time these accurately.






       

Monday, June 19, 2017

Masters track/ update

     Hello! It's been a LONG time since I've posted a running update. The latest with me is that my motivation and mojo have come storming back, as strong as it's maybe ever been. For the last many years I've wanted to gain weight and get stronger which I've done an OK job at but I also wanted to be able to run if I had to. Be functional. In January, over 4 years post Leadman, I started to run with the sole purpose of not sucking at Ragnar SoCal in April. I didn't suck and my motivation to continue stuck.
     Masters track appealed to me because I love lifting and I definitely love intensity and the track. So I promptly lost my heart rate monitor and Garmin and began focusing on the 400 meters. I did my first track race since 1991 in Boulder on Jun 1 at the Boulder Road Runners Summer Track Series and kicked it off with a 100 meter dash. I figured since my last race was 100 miles it'd be a fun way to break the ice. I went 12.8 stumbling out of the starting blocks, my first time ever using blocks and my first 100 race ever. Then I ran the 400 thirty minutes later and went 58.6. This off of just 10 speed workouts.  
     That race really sparked my motivation and training picked up. Last week I ran 56.8 in the 400 and I had a little too much left in the last 100. My execution was great, but I could have started a touch faster.

     I essentially took a 4 year break from consistent running and I haven't focused on running fast for over 25 years. I've been training for the 400 for about 9 weeks now and I'm very psyched to run a 56 400 so soon. I have many weaknesses and I'm working diligently on correcting them. Recovery has been the biggest issue. 6 weeks ago I was borderline injured constantly and now everything is healthy and I'm adapting quickly to what I call violent running.
     I'm not going to promise to keep blogging but I will give it a shot. I want to get back to posting training logs and also talking about the various aspects of training. Masters training in particular.

 My workout for Sunday-
 Wu) jog easy for 1/2 mile down to the soccer field at my kid's school. Dynamic stretch routine with core and hip activation. Drills. My drill routine is still evolving but it's focused primarily on high hips and knees, dorsiflexion with a "bicycling" movement (foot over knee). Then 4 X diagonals relaxed but building.
 4 X 40 meters out of a 4 point stance (pretend starting blocks) on 3:00 recovery.
4 X 100 meter hills. I bought a 50 meter tape measure so I could measure out all my hill work. I did these in front of my house on ~4%-5% grade at 8200ft altitude. Splits were all 14". Recoveries 3:00, could have maybe taken more.
Jog back to the soccer field.
 4 X 40 meters again on 3:00 recovery. Hip and hamstring stretches.
 Jog home.

 Tomorrow is on the track. I drive down to either Ralston High (dirt track) or Monarch High (rubber). The plan tomorrow is to work on speed with 4 X 100 meters in 12.5-12.9. Considering that I RACED a 12.8 a few weeks ago this might seem impossible but sprinting is weird like that plus I've made great gains since then. I'm confident I can hit those times. Rests will be 5:00. The idea behind this session as it relates to the 400 is to improve critical speed. I split 26" in my last 400. In order for me to split 24" I need to improve my 100 speed.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

American flag saddle and fly rod case.

The cover tooled and ready to wet form onto the bare saddle (Fizik Arione)
I stretch and tack the leather over the saddle and let it dry. 
This is sort of my first attempts at painting. I use a dye that soaks into the pores of the leather and is instantly permanent.

Very tiny stars.
Done. 
Fly rod case. This was my practice piece for painting. I was trying different colors and seeing how well it took to the leather. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Sugar skull saddle

  This is the second sugar skull saddle. The first one is my own saddle.

My saddle above and the new one carved and tooled. 





Done. Turned out nice! 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Leather American flag and bicycle seat.

I decided to try colored dyes on a second American flag. This one turned out exactly how I wanted.




The patina is what I was wanting. It's sort of washed out, weathered. 

Next, a saddle for a Marine. I was quite honored to do this one. The design is a Marine Master EOD badge.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

American flag

Lining out the tracing. I made the flag using correct flag ratios... too much maths for my feeble mind but I did it. 

Cutting 50 identical stars was quite challenging! 



I worked the flag in sections mainly because you have to keep the leather wet and it dries quickly. 

Done. I added quite a bit of shading to break it up and give it character and depth. The dye really brings it out. 


I'm not happy at all with how the dye turned out. Hopefully it will lighten up as it dries over the next day or two, but as is I consider it a fail. It's OK but not what I intended.  

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thursday Releathered baseball.

This is my second attempt at recovering an old baseball. My first attempt was a fail because I tooled my son's name into it and the piece shrunk. You have to wet the leather in order to cut and tool. I got to the last ~30 stitches and the leather piece was obviously too small. This time I left it dry and didn't try to tool. But got to the very end (108 stitches if you're curious) and pricked my finger and got a drop of blood on it. Still. Turned out OK.
Blood stain. Once I finished I soaked it in water and then let it dry which sucked the leather down tight. I like this leather undyed and natural.  

But dyed it anyway.  Immediately after application. 

This is after it's dried. You can still see the blood stain. 

Done. 

I've been biking every morning and keeping it fun. Which means I'm not using any electronical devices.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday bike and stuff

Got out before the sun and didn't ride Bacon Strip. Instead I headed up towards Golden Gate Canyon State Park which is about 5 miles from my house but climbs Twin Spruce, a solid 3 mile climb. It was 48 degrees starting out and I froze! Tried to stay near MAF but the grade and my gears didn't allow it.

 Last night I did a run session with 14 X 60m strides. It felt so good to run fast. These were on a soccer field as diagonals. The first ~5-6 felt awkward at just 5:00 pace but by the end 3:50-4:00 pace was feeling smooth.



9000ft up near Golden Gate Canyon State Park. This huge meadow is tucked right into the mountains. One of my favorite spots up here. 

My post workout food as of late. Greens, almonds, cashews, walnuts, avocado, salt and pepper. 

New bike stand/ clamp. Yep, bolted straight to my deck rail. The clamp comes off so I'll be able to take it inside.  


Obligatory saddle pic. I redyed it to a darker brown, less red 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Thursday ride in pictures



I titled this ride "Drawing Straws On A Boat" thinking about GZ. 

I like this shot. 


I'm so artsy. 


I love the symmetry of switchbacks. That's South Boulder Peak peaking through the trees. Notice how "rough" the dirt roads are around my house. 


Looking down Eldorado Canyon towards Wyoming. 


Obligatory saddle shot. 

More rough roads.