Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weekly Summary 7/25 through 7/31

M1s  These guys can move... and will run you over

-A New Job and A New Focus for Training-

This week I started a new job where I work pretty much exclusively with Army Soldiers.  My job is to make sure that the new entity moving on base has the supplies they need.  More specifically, I'm working with communication, power and force protection equipment.  The team of soldiers I am working with and for are awesome.  I have learned more in one week about the Army than I have since I have been in the military.  The work is tangible, it is working directly with people daily and we are getting things done.  Needless to say, I'm enjoying the new job and it's challenges.  I'll cover the changes with regards to running at the end of this post.

AM 1:09; 9.1M, 138Av Hr;
Slept poorly last night due to napping too long Sunday and a little anxiety about working with the army this week.

Felt good on the run. The bottom of my foot was sore yesterday possibly from being bruised on some rocks during my long run Saturday. Great news was that it felt better today. Would hate to have to deal with an injury right now.

1:09 is the fastest I've done my morning 9 mile loop, I believe! 

PM:30, 4M, 138Av Hr, 1,050Ft;
My afternoon treadmill run at 5.5% grade. My foot was bothering me again and I was feeling tired. 
All day Tuesday and on and off Wednesday

AM  As has been the case recently, I woke up tired, unmotivated and flat not to mention the bottom of my left foot was bothering me.  The icing on the cake was walking out the door to an unexpected sand storm.  No Tempo, back to bed.

PM :53, 7.5M, 139Av Hr;
The foot wasn't hurting this afternoon... I think the morning off really helped. Ran a chill 2 mile warm up, then a 3.2 mile tempo at 5:40 pace and a 2 mile cool down. Needed a little break. Back at it tomorrow.


AM :30, 4M, 1,050ft;
Sand storm continues along with the lack of get up and go I'm used to...  Did my afternoon routine run on the T-mill. 

PM 1:05; 9M, 475Ft;
Strangely I was sore today.  My body has just been off.  Luckily there was a strange movie about Oliver Twist on while I ran. 475ft of climbing at 1% grade at a decent clip, but still not myself. 


AM 1:12, 9M, 1,425Ft, 153Av Hr;
Woke up this morning again not motivated, tired and contemplating "alternative" running ideas. I slowly got going, the warm up was rough and so was my general mobility routine. I felt totally off. I still headed into the Pit. Once moving and especially after a few intervals into it I woke up. My split at the halfway point was still pretty slow at 21 minutes.

As a reference point, 40, 39:30 and 41 are my times on the first 3 Pit sessions. 

On the second half of the workout, I started to feel that extra gear I've been looking for over the last two weeks on this workout, go figure. Splits were all faster than 1:17 out 1:29 back and I finished with a total timeof 39:51!
This was great news. My second half average splits were faster than any other average splits for this workout. Average Heart Rate was 153 and 173 for my max.
Great end to a bad start!

PM :30, 4M, 1,050Ft;
Regular afternoon T-mill run.

Friday- Turning The Corner!!!

AM 1:27, 11.15M, 634Ft, 136Av Hr;
This morning was the first day since last Tuesday where I woke up and felt ready to run. It was a relief to get over whatever the heck was going on with my energy and body.
Ironically, this was the hottest morning in the 6 weeks I've been here with a reported overnight low of 97. I did 3 miles on the dirt, stopped at the gym and ran 2 miles at 6% grade for 634ft of climbing. I was tired from the Pit yesterday and my mouth was desert dry the last 3 miles, despite drinking a liter of water before and during my run.
Two tanks with a serious mount for a canon, one 1950s medical tank.

Saturday- Best Long Run Yet!

AM 2:50, 23.12M, 2,033Ft, 151Av Hr;
Didn't get to sleep until 9pm, but when I woke up a little after 3:30am, I was actually motivated, not to tired and ready to run... two days in a row now! Was running at 3:45am.
Ran to the stadium track and rounded off a mile warm-up in the dark at 9:02 pace, then hit the treadmill for 7 miles at 7:30 pace at 5.5% grade for a total of 2,033ft climbing.
This was the BEST I have felt on the treadmill since I have been here. The first 3 miles flew by no problem, which never happens. I was actually running on a treadmill looking out into the dark at 4am with no music, no TV and pretty much totally by myself at the gym. The last 4 miles went pretty well but not as mgaical as the first 3. I watched kids huck themselves off a skateboard ramp 9 stories tall at X Games... amazing. 

Right at 5am I began the 15 mile section of my run on the dirt and sand looping around the base.
I felt great. Splits were good, my body felt good, my energy levels were good.
On the begining of my favorite section of the loop, I encountered tanks driving on a gravel road in front of me. This week the Army has been doing some live fire exercises with their tanks. I was nervous about crossing the road and furthermore being to close to where they exit the base and getting harassed... luckily it wasn't an issue, but it certainly was cool to see these awesome tanks.
Also pretty cool was finding a whole pile of recently shot aluminum (not brass) 30MM bullet shells while running through my favorite fields. I took a few for my desk, they would also be awesome "shot" glasses.

Last time I felt really good on my long run, two weeks ago, I had a killer tailwind for about 6 miles, today it was just slightly breezy, so the splits weren't quite as fast but I managed to keep pace right around 7 flat for a longer duration, 10 miles.

Here are my splits:
1) 9:02
2-8) 7:30 Treadmill 5.5% grade
9) 7:50
10) 7:36
11) 7:34
12) 7:20
13) 7:33
14) 7:16
15) 7:00
16) 7:07
17) 6:57
18) 6:54
19) 6:58
20) 7:05
21) 7:01
22) 7:07

Average pace: 7:21 with 2,033ft climbing.

While the whole run was very comfortable and came easy, the last 1.5 miles I started to get very hot and tired. I drank 30oz with 2 servigs of EFS Lemon Lime on the Treadmill, then 3.5 OZ of EFS Berry Liquid Shot and finished (on the last mile) my 50oz of water in my Nathan water pack, so a total of 80oz of water today in under 3hrs!

Next week I'll do 24 miles with 8 on the treadmill at 6% grade. Things are coming along.
Wild Iraqi Melons.  I couldn't believe it... no, I didn't try one.


AM 1:26, 11.24M, 633Ft, 135Av Hr;
Easy recovery run. 3 miles on the dirt, 2 miles on the T-mill for 633ft climbing. Felt pretty good. Faster by about 3 minutes than the same run Friday with a slightly lower heart rate.

Weekly Summary & Status Check-

Due to the stomach bug, I lost nutrition, then energy which resulted in about a 7 or so day period of less than "on" training.  It only resulted in not doing one harder workout, but I was flat and unmotivated the whole time.  I turned the corner halfway through Thursday's workout and I'm running and feeling better than ever now.

Mileage: 92
Feet Climbed: 8,350
Total Time Running: 11:32
There are 3 kittens that live around my new office.  Despite all sorts of warnings against stray animals, I enjoy their company.

After really thinking about it, I made a significant transition this week with my running... and it wasn't planned whatsoever! 

This winter I was extraordinarily motivated and driven to train as hard as possible (often times TOO hard).  I was motivated by the results of my first Ultra, TNF 50 in SF, to find out what my body could do running on trails and by the fact that winter running in Boulder is downright awesome largely in part due to Chataqua Park. 
This spring motivation and focus was to race well at Nueces/USATF 50 Mile Championships.  After meeting my goals at USATF, I was ready to test myself racing "for real"... the summer season, more competition and my first 100 mile. 
Then came word of my 6 month deployment to Iraq at the end of April.  My focus then changed to getting time in the mountains running in CO and more importantly, spending quality time with Maggie and Felix.  Then I was off to Spokane WA and NJ for military training.  Out there, training was sporadic.  I raced the Dirty German 50M and the Wachtung Trail Marahon within two weeks of each other without any real race specific lead up, I was out late with friends, doing military training all day and drinking.  The races were fun, but my body was hurting before, during and  after these races and training was as far from focused or planned. 
The last week in NJ, on my way to Iraq (in Arlington VA) and for the first week and a half in Iraq I only did a handful of runs and accomplished a mandatory re-set. 
After catching my breath and getting established in Iraq, I was on a mission to:
A)Begin, for the first time since April, a focused training block and more importantly:
B)Absolutely crush the idea that I couldn't train for Trail Ultras in Iraq 
I did just that.  In 5 weeks I got my mileage up to over 100 miles in a week, with two focused hard workouts/week and over 8K of climbing.  Then came, rather I wanted it or not, the transition.
I had accomplished my goals and then my body mentally and physically was ready for a small breather and some new direction.  I was tired, got a little stomach bug, my foot was bothering me and I didn't realize it at the time, but mentally, I needed some new focus and goals. 
I'm over my ailments and have a new focus: racing The Iraqi White River 50M either Sunday the 21st of August or Sunday the 27th of August.  Over the last 5 weeks I've gotten my body pretty close to race shape and now it is time to start focusing on racing.  I'll continue the training routine I have now for a week and a half to two and a half weeks depending on which date works best and then have a week and a half taper. 
My pacer. 
The race will mirror The White River 50 Mile in distance and total altitude climbed.  I picked White River because it was a race I planned on doing this year.  More details to come when I pick which Sunday to run the race.  
Ready to Rock. 
Iraqi Whiter River 50 Aid Station Volunteers

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Weekly Summary 7/18 through 7/24

Everything you want: Full Fat, Great Taste and a Long Life

First 100 mile week in Iraq!  This week had some great workouts and a few that didn't go as well as I wanted.  Work was also a challenge, as I took on a new job for 4 days that was much more stressful.   

AM 1:12, 9.28M, 133Av Hr;
Felt pretty good this morning despite being up late. Was really, really bummed to see the US Women's Soccer team loose to Japan... the US was the better team. Ran a sub 9 min/mile on the first mile! Morning recovery run loop counter clockwise. HR was good at 133 for the average.

PM :29, 4M, 1,050ft, 139Av Hr;

Very rushed on this second run at 3pm. No stretching, no core/push ups or situps. Long night at work afterwards too... dinner after 8pm.

Tuesday-  SPEED!
AM 1:38, 12.52M, 140 Av Hr; 
Morning Speed Workout. Warmed up, did general mobility and was ready to roll on the desert dirt. Today I planned on doing 12 x 400 meter repeats vice the 10 I have done the last two weeks. Week one's average pace was 5:10, week two 4:59 and today I hoped to hit 5 pace for the average on 12.
Felt good and felt fast on the way out. On the way back it started to hurt and I began to question my choice in going for 12. The last 3 intervals were in the category of giving all I had.

Pace for the 12 x 400M:

1) 5:04
2) 5:00
3) 5:04
4) 5:02
5) 4:57
6) 5:00
7) 5:02
8) 4:50
9) 4:51
10) 4:48
11) 4:41
12) 4:46

Average pace 4:54

I was very happy to knock out 12 at a faster pace today. I hope next week it will come a bit easier for the last few. The cool down was a bit of a struggle home.

PM :30, 4M; 1,050ft, 137Av Hr;

Felt surprisingly OK on this 4 mile treadmill run. 3 sets of P-ups/S-ups.
One of two "bodies of water" on base I call Heart Lake (named after Heart Lake by Roger's Pass).  A highlight of many runs.  Yes, it used to be for sewage treatment.

AM 1:16; 9.3M, 128 Av Hr;
Hottest morning yet.  Overnight lows are now around 90.  I was slow and tired from yesterday's great workout. A little concerned about a full recovery for the Pit tomorrow...
Good low Av Hr though.

PM :31, 4M, 143 Av Hr;
I was exhausted on this run. Had to get off the mill at 20 minutes for an emergency visit to the restroom.  I had some stomach funk all day.  At this point I knew The Pit wouldn't be visited at full strength, even the HR pointed to this conclusion.  
Too tired for core or push up sit ups.

Thursday-  THE PIT!
AM 1:15, 9.15M,  1,425ft, 147Av Hr;
As I mentioned already, yesterday was pretty rough. There was a stomach bug going around the office and I got a mild version of it (a few had it REAL bad). I hit the bathroom 6 times yesterday. By the time I did my second run yesterday I was really worn out from not absorbing my food.

Far exceeding the initial difficulty of getting out of bed, today I was really dragging. Once warming up, I was running very slow and felt weak. I considered taking the day, but I really didn't want to. I then considered trying the workout in the afternoon on the treadmill.... that would be horrible. So I concluded to just try and do the workout.

After general mobility and strides I still felt exhausted.

The first interval or two I was happy to see that I wasn't totally dead, but it was a bit slow. I pushed through the workout and was happy to complete all 15 intervals in just under 41 minutes. Last week I completed the 15 in 39 and change, first time just over 40 minutes, so not bad, feeling the way I did.  I have another gear on this workout, as I mentioned last week and I will find it soon.  

Next week, I'll be ready to hit this hill workout strong.

PM :30, 4M, 1,050Ft, 137Av Hr;
Easy treadmill 4 miler.   Last ten minutes I was feeling real weak and tired, like I was bonking.  At least my HR was back down a bit from yesterday's second run.

AM 1:28, 11.2M, 525Ft, 133Av Hr;
Felt better today. Ran 2 miles, then hit the treadmill for 2 miles at 5% grade for 525ft of climbing in 15 minutes. Hit the dirt for another 7 miles. Feeling recovered from the funk of the last few days.

Saturday- Long Run

AM 2:46, 22.3M, 1,550ft, 146Av Hr;
Got a decent night of sleep and woke up at 3:45am, running at 4:00am. Warmed up a mile and then did 5.6 miles on the treadmill @ 7:35 min/mile pace at 5% grade for 1,478ft of climbing. I drank 25 oz of water with one serving of EFS lemon lime mixed in while on the treadmill. I prefer the EFS powdered drink mixed with a lot of water.

Headed out for the big loop at about 5AM. A little hotter today than previous weeks. Drank 40oz more of water, and 3oz of EFS liquid shot. 
The loop went well, but I was pretty tired from the the big week and the extra mileage on the treadmill to start with.  I wore my white hat to keep some of the sweat out of my eyes.  No snakes today.

Here are my splits:

1) 9:24... dark, at 4AM shuffle!
2-7.5) 7:35
9) 7:39
10) 7:37
11) 7:22
12) 7:41 Crawled under an old fence and ran through some brush
13) 7:18
14) 7:12
15) 7:18
16) 7:19
17) 7:03
18) 7:03
19) 7:14
20) 7:17
21) 7:17
22) 7:15

Average pace 7:29, Average HR 146, 1,550ft total climbing

I was pretty happy with this long run after this challenging week. I am certainly more tired after the run than I was the last two weeks. HR was a touch higher and average pace a bit slower than I would like to see, but pretty good considering the climb, dark, and terrain (dirt/sand/gravel/brush) I ran on. 

AM 1:26, 11.25M, 550Ft, 134Av Hr;

Got out of bed 30 minutes late today, but luckily it was breezy and dust clouds blocked the direct sun from becoming scorching hot.
Went from a 9:09 first mile to the treadmill for 2.1 miles of climbing at 5% grade at 7:30 pace, back to running on the dirt at 7:50 pace, :40, :30, :20, :10, :07 for the last mile. 
CHUs... Containerized Housing Unit

Weekly Summary-

Miles: 101
Feet Climbed: 8,250
Time Running: 13:02

It was a diverse, but great week.  The 12 x 400M repeats on the dirt with an average pace of 4:54 two days after a solid long run and solid week, was very encouraging.  Getting a one day stomach bug the next day made for an uphill battle for pretty much the rest of the week.  I made the 100 mile mark, but didn't have to add any miles outside of my original plan for the week.  I'll stick with this week's framework for next week without any increases in climbing, mileage or repeats, but hopefully see average heart rates stay the same or lower, have a better day at The Pit and add a mile to my long run.
Felix Schlarb with his Mom and Grandparents

Days and weeks are clicking by.  I'm amazed at my son Felix's growth and development... he is crawling all over the place now!  My wife continues to get hotter, I swear and my friend's adventures in the mountains more wonderful sounding.
Congratulations to two of my better friends in the world having their first kids: Jeremy and Tiffany Wolf with baby Autumn and Rob and Kelly having baby Riley.  Also cograts to Chris and Karl for completing the Trans Alp mountain bike race.

Lastly, looking to put a 50 mile race on the calendar for the weekend of the 20th or 27th of August out here in Iraq.  All are welcome.  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weekly Summary 7/11 through 7/17

MRAPs.  Early AM is the only time I can get a pic without Army guys hassling me...
Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles.  These bad boys are huge and make the old school Hummers look silly.  That apparatus in the front is to defeat IDEs before the vehicle comes through.  There are quite a few things the MRAPs do to prevent IDEs from killing our troops.

AM 1:12, 9.17M;
Planned on running a few miles on the treadmill in adition to 7 on the dirt this morning, but both gyms had lines for the treadmills. I will have to run directly to the gym (at 5) to get a couple miles climbing in. I'll do some climbing on my second run today on the treadmil.
Nearly ran under 9 minutes for the first mile. I have promised myself to continue to run by feel, but still it bothers me to run that first mile so slow on the flat sea level dirt. My recovery runs are speeding up though overal.

PM :30, 4M, 1,090ft;
Easy run on the T-mill at 5% grade, 1090ft of climbing.

Felt really good this afternoon, but was tired and in bed at 8:30.
What I think I saw....  Scan Eagle UAV
Getting Snatched-Up... Still don't understand how this works!

AM 1:24, 11.3M;
After a relatively good night of sleep, I felt pretty good warming up this morning. 
On my warm-up I pass the flighline where I frequently see aircraft flying to include UAVs (unmanned air vehicles), this morning I saw a very unique UAV that I have never seen before. This UAV had no propeller (like a Preadator) and no landing gear. It's fuselage was similar to a Preadator with the bulbous front, but the wings were swept back and had winglets. The UAV approached the runway and made no noise what so ever. I was confused by how it was powered and also how it would land with no landing gear. I assumed it was either going to have the landing gear pop out late or just do a fly by. I looked away for just a moment and when I looked back, the UAV was dangling from some sort of line attached to a very tall crooked crane like a fish out of water. The crane proceeded to lower the UAV to the ground. This whole occurance stopped me in my tracks. I have no idea how the UAV was "caught" by this "hook" or rope or magnet. Crazy. The UAV, from my quick estimations, had to be at least 15' long by 15' wide, but it could have been smaller or bigger as it is hard to tell how large something is that is flying by you, but regardless, I can't understand how this landing scheme works out.

Anyways, I proceeded to warm up and do general mobility with three strides at the end. Just like my last speed workout 2 weeks ago, I did 400 meter repeats with 600 meter recovery jogs 10 times based off my Garmin's interval workout feature.
My goal today was to run a 5:05 to 5:07 average. Last time I had a 5:10 average.


Average pace: 4:59

A little windy on the way out (as seen by the splits), at my back on the return.

Very happy with this workout on the mixed terrain. Next speed workout, I'll do 12 x 400 meters.

Cooled down 2.5 miles.

PM :29, 4M, 1,090ft;
A very rushed 4 mile easy run on the treadmill at 5% grade, 1,090ft of climbing.

AM 1:15, 9.51M;
I didn't sleep to well as it was really hot in my room... as in sweating while laying in bed. Not sure what is up with my AC. Felt OK on the run, certainly flat from yesterdays two runs. Still working on the last part of my morning recovery run loop... I keep getting turned around.

PM :26, 3.5M, 924ft;
A very sweaty (gym was crowded and I had to run in the hotter room of the two rooms) 3.5 miles at 5% grade, 924 total feet climbed.

AM 1:14, 9M; 1,425ft; 
It has been a stressful last few day for me combined with a great week of training thus far. My sleep was relatively good and I was excited to hit the pit, but I certainly was feeling grogy and I wasn't exactly feeling excited to get the workout started.

Did general mobility after warming up to the pit along with 3 strides. I stuck with the same format for the workout: start on top of the 30' steep hill, run down, up the 12ish foot hill, then the 50ish foot road out of the pit. I ran "harder" down on even intervals, doing 15 in total and finished the interval on top of the 30' steep hill.

My goal today was to run 15 intervals faster (40:05) than last time.

Splits "out" ranged between 1:11-1:18, running "back" splits were between 1:18- 1:33. 1,425 ft total climbing.

I made my goal with a total time for 15 intervals coming in at 39:42. On the longer up hill section of each interval I felt like a didn't have a gear I normally would have. The lack of the next gear at today's workout I blame partially on a big week and stress, but also that I'm only on week 3 of solid training. Hope to see that gear soon.

PM :29, 4M, 1,056ft;
Did this afternoon run at 12:30... 6hrs after my hill workout due to work schedule and a Shakra Khan (spelling?) concert in the gym that will close the treadmills at 3pm.

I felt surprisingly ok for only a 6hr recovery, this weeks training and doing a hard hill workout this morning. SOAKED head to toe from this run.

5% grade, 1056 ft of climbing.

AM 1:20, 10.24M, 580ft;
This morning I did a 2 mile run over to the gym where I did a 2 mile run on the treadmill at 7:24 pace and at a 5.5% grade to get a little extra climbing in on this recovery run. I'll make this my regular routine for Fridays.
Did another 6 miles around Speicher for a total of 10.24. It was a bit windy out today. The legs were noticeably sore from the Pit yesterday, but my energy levels were pretty good.

AM 2:28, 21.47M, 1450ft, 146 AV HR;

Last night my neighbor was in his room and listening to music as I was trying to go to bed. 8pm is really not too late to be listening to music and in the note I left him, I told him I went to bed at 9pm. I turned on my clock radio to static, put in ear plugs and tried to fall asleep, I was close but couldn't pull it off. At 9pm, my neighbor courteously turned off the music and shorty there after, I fell asleep. 3:48am came quick and as usual, I hit the snooze once. I was in the dark and running with my Nathan water pack, reflective belt, sunglasses, 50oz of water, ID, 3.5oz of 1st Endurance EFS Liquid Shot and toilet paper at 4:05am.

The plan was to meander in the dark over to the gym, if it was open, and run 4 or so miles at 5.5% grade on the treadmill then make my perimeter loop run back to the start. Luckily the gym is indeed open 24hrs a day and after a mile warm-up, I did 4.56 miles at 7:42 pace at 5.5% grade with 1,355ft of climbing on the treadmill.

I then began my journey around the base at about 10 minutes to 5am. The legs were feeling flat, energy ok, but certainly not feeling peppy. As I got a few miles the energy levels were ok, but my legs felt "not there" as they did last Saturday.

I was a bit nervous about my estimations for this long run, the total time it would take and not being late for my ride to breakfast and work. The pace was pretty good, but it wasn't feeling as "easy" as last week.

I came to the transition point where I go from buildings, roads and fences to the open desert... my favorite. I was really looking forward to this. From here I had a cross wind for a few miles on the open plains then a 90 degree, turn and then the wind was at my back for about 5 miles where I effortlessly ran just under 7 min mile pace. On the final turn I was feeling great and decided to try and keep pace under 7min miles and inadvertently ran a 6:44. The last two miles I kept if more relaxed but the pace still was just under 7 pace. So the last 7 miles were sub 7... I received my heart rate monitor in the mail (thank you Maggie!) and wore it for the first time today. Average heart rate was 146, max 165, which is pretty good considering a little climbing, a big week, 6.5hrs of sleep and legs that felt heavy and a bit sore.

1) 9:04
2-5) 7:40avg, 1,355ft climbing on treadmill
6) 7:40
7:) 7:40
8) 7:33
9) 7:20
10) 7:45
11) 7:11
12) 7:10
13) 7:12
14) 7:14
15) 6:57
16) 6:58
17) 6:54
18) 6:54
19) 6:59
20) 6:44
21) 6:59
22) 6:55 (.79M)

Average pace: 7:22
Climbing: 1,355 + 95 = 1,450ft
Avg HR: 146BPM

AM 1:25, 10.65M, 560ft, 127 AV HR;
After a good night of sleep, crazy dreams and forgetting to turn my alarm on, I was running through the desert a bit late at 5:40am.

The body was slow and tired, with a 9:23 first mile. Ran over to the gym after 7 miles for a couple miles of treadmill climbing: 2 miles at 7:30 pace, 5% grade, 560ft of climbing then back to my room. 127 average HR, 140 max... pretty happy to have my average under 130BPM.  Looking forward to see where my heart rate is for all my runs next week.
What I call the "Pink Marshmallow Plant"


 The end of week 3.  Things are going well running, better than I would have expected actually.  I'm running more miles, ran sub 5 min/mile pace for my speed workout on the dirt, reduced my total time for my 15 hill repeats, ran further, faster, with more climbing on the long run and did more climbing on my afternoon runs.  Pretty happy.
I've been doing some goals setting with the help of my massage therapist, Marcus Allen, who placed in the top ten at a marathon in North Carolina last weekend.  I plan on doing an ultra in mid to late August... in Iraq.
 The family is doing well.  My father in law and mother in law, Patrick and Ginny, are in Boulder visiting Felix and Maggie.  The family is out hiking in the mountains, staying up in Vail and Aspen and having a great time.

Total Miles: 96.8
Total Feet Climbing: 8,175
Total Time Running: 12:22

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weekly Summary 7/4 through 7/10

Diamond in the rough.  One of two flowering plants I've found in Iraq.
Second focused week of training here in Tikrit Iraq:
4th Of July 10K Stars
AM 1:14, 10.5M; Did a 10K tempo like run this morning. I put on a 5K and 10K for our office 4th of July party.  We had an awesome mix of guys run the 10K, (from left to right) Marcus, an English teacher at the Iraqi College, Simon, an interpreter, Miller, Pacini and Cash, all advisors like myself and Josh, another english teacher.  Times ranged from 46 to an 1:02 for the crew.
I set the course the night before, both races were out and back (only one lady, Steele, ran the 5k). I warmed up a mile and a half to the start where I directed the runners on the courses. After warming up I stood around for about 10-15 minutes and didn't finish my warm up routine, which resulted in a less than brisk pace for the first few miles.

My goal on this first tempo workout was to just run at least sub 6:20/mile pace, or no slower than 38 minutes... pretty conservative, but at this point, I'm shooting for a progressive build to my training.

I ran comfortably the first mile or two into a 10-15mph headwind.  I felt like I was running faster than 6:17 pace, but I was comfortable. Second mile felt comfortable and then starting into the third mile I decided to push the pace to get under 6 pace. On the way back, I stayed under control, but pushed myself to maybe 75% effort. Each mile was steadily faster with the last mile around 5:30 something pace and the last .2 I ran in 5:00-5:05 pace.

Overall a great tempo. The run wasn't to taxing and an overall productive session and foundation to build from. I'll alternate this temop workout every other week.

1) 6:17
2) 6:11
3) 5:56
4) 5:49
5) 5:37
6) 5:32
.2) 5:07

PM :23, 3.1M, 818ft climbing; Easy run on the treadmill at 5% grade.
Iraqi Sand Storm this week, yeah, I drive and take pictures. 

PM 1:35, 13M, 2,000ft climbing;
Last night I had a little bit of a sore throat and woke up with a sore throat as well. I also felt a little more groggy and even had a little flem. I got dressed, went outside and found that there was a mild dust storm with visibility down to maybe 600 meters. Apparently it is not healthy to run in a dust storm while in Iraq (a lot of toxins in the air from pollution...ALL of the electricity is from diesel generators outside the buildings), so I decided to hit the gym and do the treadmill. On the way there, I decided it would be best to just go back to bed for a nap instead.
All morning and early afternoon I felt tired and out of it. I took two 20+ minute naps and by 4pm was feeling better. I headed to the gym and decided to give the treadmil a go.
I wanted to get in a little climbing today since tomorrow will be an easy day. I warmed up for 3 miles at 7:30 pace at a 1% grade then ramped it up to 5% grade for 3 miles, followed by 2 miles at 7:00 pace at 1% grade, 3 miles at 7:18 pace at 6% grade and then 2 miles at 6:58 pace at 1% grade.

Overall I ended up climbing 2,000ft with an average pace of 7:18... pretty happy with the medium hard workout on the treadmill.

AM 1:20, 9.85M; The legs were beat up this morning. 9:40 first mile, 8:30 second and then down to 7:30 by the end of the run. Took a wrong turn and had to run an extra .85 miles, which felt like a really big deal. Tired from two harder days in a row (13+ miles each run too). Need a true recovery day tomorrow.

PM :26, 2.6M, 680ft; 
Short easy run on the treadmill, 680ft climbing at 5% grade.

The "PIT"
AM  1:18, 9.4m, 1365ft;  Did the "Pit" workout for the first time today! Last week, after some investigating,  running in The Pit, I probably won't have "deadly force" administered or get ran over by huge trucks.... and get a good hill workout in.  So to The Pit I went. 

With the help of Cashwell, I spent a half hour at the pit with a huge spool or rope trying to estimate the total climbing distance of running 3 separate pitches of dirt and road. 
The Start and Finish of each hill interval....on top of this 30ish foot hill.

Warmed up and did some general mobility. The interval starts on top of a 30 foot or so dirt island in the middle of a large gravel pit. I run down the steep 45 degree slope across 20 feet of flat, up a 15 foot loose dirt embankment (where my shoes fill with dirt).
Part 2, 12ft+ loose dirt scramble
 From here I begin the 150 meter 40 foot climb to the top of The Pit.
Out of The Pit road

From the top I jogged back down and then up the 30 foot island (climbing the island is a decent effort) to start the next interval. After finishing an even numbered interval, I pushed the recovery run to train the down hill running quad muscles.

I did 15 of these repeats in 40 minutes. Pretty solid workout that is fairly entertaining, especially for the Iraqi desert. Intervals ranged from 1:13 out, on the last one, to 1:20. For the return run I cocked between 1:18 to 1:34.

After about 10 intervals the short and steep loose dirt climb section began to become a little more "runable" with a bit of a path.  Cool workout I look forward to doing next week. 

PM :22, 3M, 718ft; Easy afternoon treadmill 3 miler at 4.5% grade, 713 ft climbing.

AM 1:15, 9.12M; I'm finding my first mile is almost always 9:30ish in the morning here. Not sure if this is just from doing a lot of good running, not being awake, not quite adjusted to the consistent training regiment, or whatever. The second mile is usually right at 8:30 and then speeds up to eventually 7:20-40 pace on the last few miles.

My legs were sore and heavy the last half of the run from yesterdays run in the pit. 10-12 mile per hour wind from the north, north west slows me down on the way out.

Overall felt fine considering another big week.

AM 2:38, 20.4M, 100ft; Woke up at 3:50am, snoozed once and then was running at 4:08am. Unfortunately it was slightly hotter this morning than most mornings. Last night was really hot with temps over 115 and the sun was pretty much covered due to high winds kicking up sand... last night was the windiest sand/dust storm since I have been here (3 weeks).

It was dark for the the first 30 minutes, but I could see well enough with the lights around buildings and things. I decided to run the opposite direction as last week on the 18ish mile loop around COB Speicher. Running the opposite direction, I go through the more built up part of the loop first, leaving my favorite open desert running for the second half.
Iraqi Sunrise

I felt much better this morning than I have all this week. After the obligatory 9+ minute first mile, my splits got faster while keeping true to the sustained easy aerobic effort (I'm waiting for my heart rate monitor in the mail that I left at home).

Mile 2-4 = 8 something pace
Mile 5-7 = 7:40ish
Mile 8-20 = 7:29-7:08 pace
Anti-Aircraft artillery shell?

On my voyage across the desert plains, I found a huge anti-aircraft artillery shell laying in the sand. The shell's diameter was bigger than a small bottle of Advil, but a bit smaller than a bottle of pop and about 8" long. Also a bit exciting, while adding a few extra miles on at the end of the loop, at the last moment I spotted a small desert camouflaged snake... right as I stepped over it. Pretty sure the snake was some sort of viper. I stopped and tried to find it for a picture, but he had snuck away into the desert immediately.

AM 1:20; 10.05; Last night a new neighbor moved into my trailer complex that I share a wall with. This new neighbor enjoys listening to music. I try to get to bed at 9 so I can get close to 8hrs of sleep, but I couldn't fall asleep with the music. The walls are so thin and shoddy that I could actually see the light coming through a vertical crack in the paneling. I'm not a confrontational guy, so I tried to sleep with the ear plugs, but I could still hear the music loud a clear. I checked my email, moved my bed away from the wall on the floor, etc... At a little after 10:00pm I banged on the wall, no change, again and again and finally the music was turned down.

So sleep wasn't great last night. I think I'll have to leave a note on my neighbors door strongly recommending headphones after 9.

Anyways, the run was slow both from the 20.4 mile long run Saturday, but also a lack of sleep. By mile 4 I was feeling good and added an extra mile to get 10 vice the standard 9 I have been doing.

The best wife and son in the world on top of Green Mountain
Weekly Summary:
A great week of running for me.  I ran more miles, more climbing, faster paces and felt better than I did overall compared to last week.  Really missing Maggie and Felix.  Maggie and Felix went and climbed Green Mountain on our anniversary this week, it was Felix's first ascent up Green.  Nothing could make me happier than having my family enjoy an afternoon on top of such a special mountain, this meant a lot too me. I have the best wife and son.     

Total Miles: 91
Total Feet Climbed: 5,681

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Weekly Summary for 6/27 Though 7/3

My Favorite "Trail" to Train on.  Not exactly Green Mountain.
It felt great to nail my first training week in Iraq.  My running world has transformed into a totaly different situation.In all honestly, I'm more focused now than ever on running.

My daily routine is to get up at 4:50AM, run, skype with Maggie and Felix for 20 minutes, eat, work for 12hrs with an hour and a half gym break where I run a second run and/or do strength work, eat dinner, skype Maggie and Felix for a hlaf hour and then go to bed (9:00PM).  This is the set routine with Friday ending work after 6hrs (half day) and Sunday getting the morning off (half day). 
My ride into Tikrit Iraq from Qatar.  I was the only passenger on the flight. 
AM 1:13, 9M; Easy recovery run after an 18 mile long run Sunday.  I was VERY slow from the start running nearly a 10 minute first mile.  Yesterday's long run took it's toll.  I got started too late on the long run yesterday (6:00AM), only drank 20oz of water in the 100+ degree weather and I didn't strech afterwards either.  Didn't feel like I was "running" until around mile 4.  By mile 6, I felt OK.  I'm definetly at the begining of a training cycle too. 
Saw 3 fox like coyotes and a jack rabit on my run today, pretty cool.
Did 3 sets of push-ups, sit-ups with general mobility drills and 3 strides. 
The Stadium.  Did 40 reps up the stadium.
Parade Stadium. 30 reps here with a dry-heave stop due to the excessive pigeon poop

AM 1:13, 8M, 1507ft; Hill Intervals.  I did 40 reps up "stadium" stairs then jogged (3-4 minutes) over to the second "parade stadium" and did 30 reps.  Cooled down 2 miles.  I ran hard up the stairs and medium hard down (to build those muscles as well). 
Stadium stairs are 19.6ft up and Parade stairs are 24.1ft up, therefore teh 1507ft of climbing today. 
Total time of intervals was 33 minutes. Was considering doing a few more on the Stadium stairs on the way back, but decided to build into my training and not rush it.  I have plenty of time, I don't want to rush it for all sorts of good reasons. 
On the 17th interval at the Parade stairs the 2" thick pigeon poop covering the last 4 or 5 stairs got to me, I dry heaved and had to take a 3 minute break, before returning to finish the last 13 repeats. 
PM :26, 3.5M, 740ft; Easy run on treadmill.  With the temperature reaching over 100 everyday, yes, everyday, until September at least, my afternoon run will pretty much always be on a treadmill.  I'll take the opportunity to do some steady climbing on my afternoon runs via the treadmill.   Felt good on this run at a 4% grade my average heart rate was around 138.

AM 1:15; 9.13M; Started the run at 5:10am. My legs were a bit stiff/slow from the stair repeats yesterday. My overall energy levels were high, but legs were not spry.

PM 23:11, 3.1M, 747ft; Easy run on treadmill. 7:30 pace at 4.5% grade so 747Ft climbing.  Did 3 sets of push-ups and sit-ups.

AM  1:28, 11.01M; GREAT interval workout. I was pretty flat on the warm up, with my calves sore from the stair workout on Tuesday and maybe from the 4-4.5% grade 3 mile second runs, but after some general mobility and 3 strides I loosened up.

I ran my 400m repeats (with 600M jog recovery) out on the flat dirt... as seen in the first picture on this post. The dirt fields/desert prarie has good footing most of the time with some mavunvering for a couple dips, some weeds, etc... every once in a while. 

I used my Garming GPS watch to do the 400/600 interval. At first I was disapointed I couldn't see the timer, just the distance to go with a beep countdown, but in hindsight this is awesome: RUNNING BY FEEL AND EFFORT ONLY! On a track or pavement I would have been at least 2-3 seconds faster/400.

Here were my splits (in mile pace), average was 77.5/5:10 pace. My goal was just to run under 80, on this first week back, so I was happy to exceed my goal and expectations.

1) 5:16
2) 5:16
3) 5:17
4) 5:23 ???
5) 5:17
6) 5:07
7) 5:01
8) 5:00
9) 4:57
10) 5:09 (obstacles)

PM 23:27, 3.1M, 743Ft; Easy run. A little flat from the morning workout. Ran at 4.5% grade for 743ft of climbing. Did 3 sets of push-ups and sit-ups and MSU core circuit. 

AM 1:15, 9.05M;  It was a bit cooler (82?) and windy on this run. Legs sore and heavy, ran a bit slower today to ensure recovery for tomorrow's long run. 

The unbelievabely powerfull Iraqi morning sun

AM 2:30, 19.25M; Awesome long run loop!  Started running today at 4:18AM. Ran with my nathan water backpack, 3OZ of EFS 1st endurance liquid shot, 50oz of water, sunglasses and camera. Great loop around COB Speicher Iraq. This is the longest loop available, bascially I followed the permitter as closely as "I'm allowed".  1st 3 or 4 miles were slow running into the wind and waking up, then found my grove around 7:30 pace. I was glowing with satisfaction at work after this one.  3 sets of push-ups, sit-ups and MSU core circuit. 
Yeah, I trespass from time to time, but no here... deadly
AM 1:15, 9M; Slow recovery run after yesterday's long run.

A great first full week of running and training in Iraq!!  It felt so good to be back to a routine and focused in on my running.  Iraq posses some serious challenges, but again, I have a lot less distractions and really not much to do but run, work, skype and email.  I really miss my friends and the mountains and in just over two weeks, I've gained a new level of appreciation for both.  Most of all I miss my wife Maggie and son Felix.
I've never been in a situation like this for such an extended period of time.  I expect to come out of this deployment with some new found discipline, determincation and most importantly, a phenomenally strong appreciation for all the things I love about the USA.  I'm pretty passionate about using the next 5.5 months to explore new levels of discipline and determination.  Maybe it is a bit sick, but I get butterflies in my stomach and my hair stands up on the back of my neck when I think about this battle.  Next week, I'll get into a bit more of what the heck I'm doing, with regards to work, here at COB Speicher, Iraq as well. 

Weekly Totals:

84.15 Miles
3,739 feet of hard earned climbing