I have been tapering down my training in preparation for Goruck in addition to carb-loading. My training has been reduced to 50 pushups and 100 lunges every day and nothing more. My diet remains consistent and I generally feel good. My right ankle worries me a bit, but it seemed to hold up fine during the mock run.
Pete will be joining me tonight for some high-intensity hill sprints on Summit Ave so we can wipe out our glycogen stores. Everyone is extremely enthusiastic about taking on the Challenge. I was pleased to have recently experienced the familiar, unnamable dread of the forthcoming event.
I've calculated my resting heart rate as well. It came out to an average of 53bpm. I'll be conducting some more thorough observations so I can have a more accurate estimate, but that's a pretty good baseline regardless.
I went out for a trail run with my brother on the trails of Pennsylvania over the holiday weekend. I ran in my TrekSports and enjoyed it considerably more than running in them on pavement. The run was short, as you'll see, but definitely well-deserved. We ate way too much over that weekend.
Christian and I finally got together for some training, and it was glorious. We had wanted to organize what I called a "Mock Goruck run" which endeavors to approximate the conditions of the challenge - this based solely on deduction from the videos, pictures and blogs I've seen.
We agreed to meet at 8pm and to run from Union Square (42.358716,-71.146485) and run out to Castle Island (42.338213,-71.012793). Google Maps estimates it to be a bit less than 8 miles walking distance. We made it 12.
Note the Tough Mudder headband.
I was toting my four recently-acquired bricks, a hydration bladder full of delicious nuun-enhanced water, my camera, and an assortment of endurance foods. I'd put the weight at around 30lbs.
Here are the resultant data from the jaunt. I elected to display Speed instead of Pace, because it shows the impact of our sporadic sprints more distinctly:
The spike in my heart rate at the beginning was caused by an unplanned throwdown with an errant Pterodactyl.
The first dip is me waiting for Christian to show up, and the following generally represent stops for PT, jumping in the Charles and, finally, the brief break we took to soak in the glory of Castle Island on the water. Our average pace was about 12 minutes/mile, an estimate from averaging the paces from each individual run portion (1.53mi, 2.73mi, 2.02mi...).
Here is an overhead view of the run courtesy of Google Earth:
The overall distance of the run is impressive considering the fact that my previous unweighted distance record is just over 13 miles. I generally train alone, and the addition of a supportive buddy (who is just as - if not crazier - than me) was extremely helpful. The run was really enjoyable overall.
We stopped along the way to get our shoes soaked in the water of the Charles to make ourselves uncomfortable.
I am actually looking forward to being completely soaked before the run.
Our PT consisted of decline pushups, Spiderman pushups (declined as well), lunges, bear crawls through parks, flutter kicks, glute lifts, pullups on girders, handstands, cartwheels and juggling bowling pins in our teeth.
Exhibit A: Antics.
We made it out to the water and took a break of just under ten minutes to savor the achievement and snarf down some Clif Shot Bloks.
We were both feeling it in our knees, and had a similar tenderness in the right Sartorius, so we eased back into a shuffle for the run back into town.
The way back was dark and lovely. I experienced unadulterated hatred for one particular street which I hope never to see again. We made it through with few walking breaks until we were within bus range. Christian mentioned the possibility of taking a bus to one of the T stops. Silence. We shuffled past a bus stop, and then another. There was a beautiful, tacit agreement that we were not going to take a damn bus.
We made our way finally back to Park Street, our "finish line". We let out brutal war cries and loaded our spent bodies onto the trains home.
The ordeal was extremely motivating for me. I was strong, light, and had a great time punishing my lower body. Christian and I agreed that towards the end of the run we weren't winded, but our muscles were simply spent. My glutes were torched and my ankle began to gripe under the strain. I had no desire to stop, but I had to listen to my body to make sure I didn't get myself hurt.
I took away a great sense of accomplishment from this run; I feel ready. I felt the effect of having a buddy, and I can only venture a guess that this support is proportionately multiplied in a group. I am honored to have the opportunity to participate in the Challenge, and I am mentally prepared to give it my all.
I am still running almost every day, shorter runs (2-3 miles) with my Vibram TrekSports, longer runs (6-8 miles) with the New Balance 890s. My training will taper down soon, and I'll be stuffing myself with carbs as I did for Tough Mudder. Pete will be coming down to train on the 28th (high-intensity hill sprints), we'll be rucking off on Friday night at Cheers, and then it's on to the Challenge itself.
5-mile weighted run today with a friend. I put the 25lb vest in my backpack, so I thought I was running with 25lbs. I just weighed the backpack with the vest in it, and it came to about 32lbs. This is great news, and makes me feel a lot more confident about my joint and muscle strength under stress. I'm looking forward to seeing how the run feels with bricks instead of the vest.
My friend's usual pace (~11 minute mile) is a lot slower than mine (unweighted ~7:45-8, weighted ~9-10), so it was good to have her to keep me consistent. Here are the data:
The distance was fine. I actually pushed her a bit, but it ended up being a great run. I kept my head in it, and felt strong. My left ankle only briefly felt weak, but loosened up after running it for another mile. We did some small hills, and I would occasionally throw in a faster pace, but nothing too serious. I'm tapering my runs down a bit since Tough Mudder approaches.
My knees are still a bit sore from my 13-mile run, but I was plenty strong enough to tackle a hilly trail run this morning.
I went back out to Blue Hills, which was a major traininng location for me as I was preparing for the Shawnee Peak Challenge and Ruckus Boston. I ran in shorts and a sleeveless moisture-wicking athletic shirt, so I was chilly at first. I chose the outfit deliberately because I wanted to make the run more challenging. I knew that I would feel a lot stronger on the trails as compared to last semester, but the difference was striking.
Here's the chart of the run data:
The spikes in heart rate are caused by me running up very steep hills to the summits along the trails. This Google Earth image of the run does a great job of illustrating my path and my ascent:
I ran along the bottom red line to the end of the trail, at the Museum. I turned around and made a loop above the parking lot which included a nice little hill, hence the first spike. I then continued along on previously unexplored trails until I came to an imposing gradient to my right, and followed it with an adventurous spirit. I passed about two turnoffs onto huge, rocky hills before I finally broke down and took to running up one of them. The one I chose just happened to be the steepest, highest trail in the park.
You can see my total ascent value in the chart. I think the path from the bottom of the hill to the top ascends about 250 feet along a distance of about a half mile. It was brutal and I didn't run the whole way. I think my stopping was mostly related to the terrain and not so much my stamina, but I distinctly remember at least one instance where I was pushing myself too hard and had to slow down. In any case, I was considerably stronger today than I have ever been on trail hills.
I'm honestly not concerned about the event; I feel like Goruck has totally eclipsed Tough Mudder for me in terms of motivation and my general anxiety about preparedness.
I've begun a carb-loading pattern in my diet in an effort to store energy for Sunday. My goal for carb intake right now is 50%, which I'll raise to around 70% by Thursday, followed of course by a large carb-filled dinner the night before the event. I read and hear contradicting things about when the pre-event high intensity exercise should be performed (either the day before, or two days before). I'll probably do some intense hill sprints two days before the event and take Saturday off as rest.
The day started out in a mundane way. I had no plans to run since I am waiting on a buddy to go on a weighted jaunt with me some time soon. I mulled around the apartment for a while, eventually putting on a movie recommended to me by my trainer, "Running The Sahara". The movie is basically about three ultra-marathon runners who decide to literally run across the entire Sahara Desert, from the West Coast of Africa to the Red Sea. Needless to say it was inspirational. I began preparations for a weighted run, but decided at the last minute to go for long-distance, unweighted.
Here are the data to provide a basic understanding of what I accomplished:
Yes. 13.22 miles. This is almost TWO TIMES the distance of my previous personal record (6.73 miles).
It was quite a journey. Take notice of the changes in elevation as well; this is mostly a result of me following my trainer's request of trying out Summit Avenue. I also ran the entire path; no stopping, no breaks, no PT, just straight mind-numbing running the whole way with a few sprints interspersed to keep things interesting. I ran it with my New Balance 890s, which performed famously. The spikes in my pace are, for the most part and as usual, me having to stop at intersections. The trend in my heart rate fascinates me.
Here is an overhead view of the run:
I think the best way to make sense of this messy red squiggle is to explain each phase of the run. I'll further complicate things by adding a bunch of poorly-drawn convoluted arrows in an attempt to illustrate my path:
I began at the green dot and ran down to Beacon Street. I ran two sprints along the way, holding a consistently fast speed for a few seconds, then I would slow to my normal pace. I followed Beacon until the intersection with Summit Avenue which stands diagonally from Beacon with its imposing gradient. Here's what it looks like from the bottom:
The incline only lasts about a half mile, but it's nasty and I loved it. This leg of the run is responsible for the spike in my heart rate at 15 minutes in. There is a small park at the top of the hill, and the downhill portion was pleasant. About halfway along the downhill portion I suddenly turned and sprinted back uphill for about five seconds, then turned again and finished the hill. I'm pretty sure I only thought to do this because some people were watching me run.
I turned off of Summit Ave onto Commonwealth and followed it for a long while. I was feeling great at this point and had no interest in stopping any time soon. I had not decided the path of my run or the distance before leaving, my only plan was to run Summit Ave. Having done that and still feeling strong, I followed Comm Ave until I reached Boston University's campus. I noticed the water on my left as I ran along Comm Ave and decided it might be nicer to be out there, and that this could be my opportunity to turn around. I was sure to make a mental note that though I was turning around that this in no way meant I was preparing to end my run. This was 2.3 miles from the Summit Ave junction with Comm Ave, and about 5.5 miles into the run, which I didn't know at the time. At this point I also decided that I would pay no further attention to my watch to learn how far I had gone; I would leave that until later when I felt like I might be approaching ten miles which slowly developed into a more solid goal as I progressed.
I ran along the Charles on a path called Storrow Drive. It was at this point that a headwind picked up that would fight me for the rest of my run. I continued along Storrow Dr until I reached the Boston University Bridge where I ran into a roadblock. My only option was to take a flight of stairs up to the bridge and work my way back down Comm Ave, so I did. I was apprehensive about the stairs, but they didn't seem to faze me. I ran back along Comm Ave, passing Boston University's campus again with the headwind stronger than ever. I continued onto Brighton Ave, about a mile from the BU Bridge. Brighton Ave kept me relatively engaged, and I broke out my Clif Shot gummies and did my best to eat one. They taste good, and it felt like it was the right thing to be eating for this sort of exercise (being already over 6.5 miles into the run). I choked it down and chased it with some nuun-enhanced water from my hydration pack (I am so thankful to have both of these things), and charged ahead.
The path became more familiar once I reached Harvard Ave since I used to do weighted runs in the area. I turned off Brighton Ave onto Cambridge Street and followed it to a familiar intersection. I continued along, feeling strong, until I icame to a road called Winship which leads to my apartment. I decided to look at my watch to see how far I had gone, and it would have read just over eight miles which was already about a mile and a half farther than my previous personal record. With the goal of ten miles firmly planted in my mind, I resolved to run up Winship, down Chestnut Hill Ave, and then run to Boston College's campus and back which would certainly have me finishing with at least ten total miles. And so I did. I continued along, my pace now a bit slower than normal (you'll notice the slight slowing of my pace as I run the entire distance which I find just as fascinating as the inverse trend of my heart rate). I made it down to Boston College's campus, and turned around to come back up Comm Ave again, towards home. Then something amazing happened.
I decided at one point to run a hard sprint through an intersection, and it felt fine. Good, even. This was, ironically, ten miles into the run. As I was coming down from the sprint I had a curious realization. I didn't want to stop. I was overcome with euphoria and involuntarily a big dopey smile came across my face. I mentally agreed with this wild notion, as if it had been proposed to me by someone else. Somewhere, I believe, I was competing with the fact that my friend Pete recently completed a half-marathon (typically just over 13 miles). My thoughts went to how I might extend the run and there it was: the reservoir. I was quite familiar with it from before, and it was along the way.
I turned off Comm Ave, and made my way down to the windswept path around the ol' Res. The reservoir's path is about 1.5 miles around and I ran it at a good pace. I was kept interested in the run by the other runners, people walking along the path, and various other things. I made it back to the entrance of the reservoir, and made my way up Chestnut Hill Ave, meaning to end the run and call it a day. Then, again, something amazing happened.
A ridiculous song came on my iPod which repeats the phrase "don't stop". This song has served me quite well on numerous occasions in helping me persevere through a difficult run, especially the trail-running I was doing last semester. I laughed out loud at the song, and its outlandish suggestion that I continue running. But I began to consider, am I really tired? Do I really want to stop?
So I ran some more, resolving to attain half-marathon distance. The skies became cloudy as I passed my apartment. I begged for rain and it came to me. I looped around and as I was making my way back up to my apartment, in the final leg of the run, it began to rain on me. A sweet, chilling, heavy rain that seemed to wash away my fatigue. It was glorious. I broke the 13-mile barrier and slowed to an enthusiastic walk, smiling to myself. I barely made it up the steps in my apartment building, and allowed myself a few minutes of peace before running out on an errand.
I burned at least 1670 calories on this run, so I've been eating A LOT today. I actually need to go grocery shopping tomorrow because I basically ate all the rest of my food.
I am supremely pleased with the run, my performance, and the record itself. I won't shoot for anything longer than this for some time, but it was INCREDIBLY reinforcing to know that I can do this. Today's run represents the strongest mental resolve I have ever experienced, and it's fantastically motivating.
I'm going to crush Tough Mudder and I will complete the Goruck Challenge. I have no further doubts.
Firstly I've begun consulting a professional for advice on my running technique and training tips for Goruck. Hi Sarah! I'm confident that this will greatly reduce my risk of injury and most importantly keep my head in the game during the run. Technique is a big focus for me as well, but as my trainer pointed out, with the weight I'll be carrying I won't be able to worry too much if at all about maintaining perfect form.
I buckled, finally, and got another pair of shoes to be used in training and for the event itself. They are New Balance 890s and I knew I wanted them the moment I took them for a jog outside the store. The fact that they are neutral will help me develop my own sense of my form and not over-influence me in one direction. The weight of the shoe makes a huge difference as well. I was used to trudging along in my RocLites by inov8 which weigh in at 312 grams, or about 11 ounces. The 890s are 9.7 ounces which doesn't seem like a big difference, but it's definitely noticeable. The New Balance website does a good job of illustrating the difference a few ounces can make in the long run--pun very much intended. So my old RocLites will be set aside for trail running and my 890s take the forefront. The only thing left to do is see how they perform in the rain and submersion to judge water-retention, and then to finally break them in after another 15 miles or so.
Speaking of mileage, here are the data from today's run:
My heart rate was generally under control and I felt light and strong for the majority of the run. I wasn't experiencing cardiovascular exhaustion by the end of the run, my desire to stop came mostly from muscle soreness. I did buy a foam roller from the running store as well, so I'll be using that often.
Tomorrow will be a light calisthenic/recovery day then I expect I'll do a light run (4-5 miles) on Friday. My trainer suggested I do 4-5 mile runs on Monday and Friday, and a longer run on Wednesday (6-7 miles) and then progressively increase the Wednesday mileage to a point while keeping the Monday/Friday distance the same. I'm still planning on a weighted run on the weekend, but I might substitute that for some weighted lunges around the block since that seems to be particularly important.
Technique, technique, technique. I'm focused on improving my running form now, specifically in minimizing my tendency to heel-strike. I've been reading articles, watching videos with slow-motion analyses of the form, and just generally learning what I can about the theory.
I resolved to tailor my run today into something hinging on proper form instead of brute distance or weight. I went out with my hydration pack and my Vibram TrekSports so I felt light. I've run with my Five Fingers before, but never at quite the distance I did today; my previous bouts were short-distance (~1 mile) on the indoor track at school.
Here are the data from the run:
Lap 1 was the first half of the run, Lap 2 my trip back, and Lap 3 was my walking and stretching after the run. I maintained what I believe to be proper form for about 3/4 of the run, but ended up finishing the route still running, but with poorer form.
As I said, distance wasn't my main focus here, and I did stop occasionally - as you can see from the spikes in Pace - to stretch or get a feel for how my calves were holding up. This particular muscle group troubles me as I am running this way. I consciously critique and adjust my form as I run, trying with each step to land on the ideal and seemingly imaginary "midfoot" and roll into the toes. This seems to put undue strain on my calves. This might just be a result of my muscles not being used to this kind of movement.
In addition to the foot placement I am also meant to make a pedaling movement with my legs as if on a bike while bringing my heels up to my backside after each stride. It's a complicated motion and I found myself thinking while I was running: "I wish my track coach had done some work with the team to establish proper running form". Admittedly, as I was a pole-vaulter, I didn't do much running then and the running I did was all toe-striking long fast strides anyway. Still, I think any athlete whose sport involves running would benefit enormously from developing proper running form early on.
I'm looking into a Personal Trainer who might help me to correct my form. Strength training is still taking the back seat, and might have to remain there until after Goruck. The coming weeks will see TrekSport runs focusing on form, long unweighted runs focusing on endurance and distance, and long weighted runs focusing on mental grit and stamina.
As I mentioned in my previous entry, I've been taking cues from Ben O'Grady and incorporating a lot more running into my weekly routine. My strength training is almost nonexistent at this point, but it's entirely justified considering my current running ability and the intensity of the event for which I am preparing.
I have a bunch of data to share, and I'm pretty proud of my progress.
I've been going out for longer un-weighted runs simply to get a feel for the distance and I think it's paying off. Here is my run from this past Monday:
These data represent a run from my apartment to Jamaica Pond. I scouted the run on Google Maps before heading down there, and just made my way out. I didn't take exactly the route I planned in arriving to the Pond, but did eventually make it there. I felt light and strong for most of the run, and was just enjoying the exploration aspect of a new path. The Pond itself is about 2.6 miles from my apartment, and then about 1.5 miles around. I ran around the Pond, then made my way back up to my starting point with no walking breaks. I maintained a reasonably consistent pace with the exception of a few hiccups. 6.48 miles was also a distance record for me at the time, and I was quite happy about that.
Wednesday I went out and forged a new path north of my apartment, crossing the Charles. Here are the data from that run:
New distance record again! Almost seven miles now. This particular run felt more like an adventure than a workout. Rain was coming down hard that morning, and I was running muddy cracked-gravel paths along the banks of the Charles. I got a little turned around after finally finding a place to turn back towards my apartment, but my Forerunner has a Navigation feature that showed me an overhead view of my position relative to my starting point which helped me orient myself. From there it was simple to get home. No walking breaks this time, either. I do so enjoy running in the rain. My heart rate was significantly more controlled during this run, which is curious because I didn't feel particularly stable throughout. I ended feeling wiped out, but very accomplished.
And, finally, the data from this morning's run. Following Ben's advice I forewent my weight vest in favor of running with the weight in a backpack as we'll actually be doing in the challenge. Seems logical. I couldn't have known just how radically different it is.
Firstly, I was carrying more weight than the vest alone; the backpack itself containing the 20lb vest in addition to my hydration bladder in its own pack. I'd say I was carrying around 25 lbs.
As Ben mentioned, the weight sits completely differently on your body. Running with a vest - as it's evenly distributed weight over your torso and allows you to activate your spine in keeping a turning rhythm - feels easy compared to this. The backpack is not only heavy on the shoulders and compressing your back, but severely restricts movement of your torso when running. In addition to the restriction of movement the weight is concentrated behind you, rendering heelstriking a significantly more detrimental practice.
My backpack isn't built for this kind of use, either, so I was consistently adjusting straps and fiddling with zippers and the hydration tube while running. Not fun. My freaking iPod headphone cord was unruly, too, and wouldn't stay attached to my hip so I had to feel it tugging on my ears with every step. This latter concern, however, was easy enough to ignore considering the circumstances.
Here are the data from this morning's weighted pack run:
It was a spirit-crusher, but I survived. The mental game was intense and likely responsible for the majority of my inconsistency and the relatively short distance of the run. I'll be doing much more of this in the future.
I felt what I consider to be legitimate and unadulterated doubt in my ability to succeed at Goruck as a result of this run; hence "spirit-crusher". I need more of this, if only to prove to myself that I can get stronger and dismantle that ego barrier. Something that stands out is my outrageously high heart rate, especially during the middle portion of the run. My Forerunner was going crazy, warning me to chill out, and at the time I was not entirely resistant to the idea of slowing my pace. I did some walking during this run, but I never stopped. The peak around 23', and again at 35' represent walking or waiting at a traffic light. The huge plateau in my pace at the end is a period of time after I had finished running and was talking to a friend on the sidewalk as I was going back to my apartment.
I'm going to do A LOT more of this. Maybe 2 or 3 times a week, saving a long distance un-weighted run for the weekend. I think flipping the current setup would be the best way for me to get used to this style of running in a short time. I believe it's also worth noting that this was a solo run; I feel like had I been running with Pete or someone else who was also wearing a weighted pack it would have been much easier to persevere. Hopefully I'll get some of that in the next week or so.
I'm cautiously optimistic, but still very motivated.
I was planning on doing my normal routine to the gym on the 23rd, but I ended up just running instead. It was a great feeling to abandon my plan and run for so long. I think it's a distance record for me. I know I have a lot of improving to do in my distance running, but this run felt awesome, and by no means was I at the point of exhaustion when I finished. Here are the data from the Forerunner:
The path was interesting, too, because I found another small pond below the reservoir. I ran down and around it, then I made my way back uphill to the reservoir and ran around that as well. Something that stands out is my very consistent pace, with the exception of a few stalls. I'm not entirely sure what they are, except for the spike around 40' where I think I was adjusting my iPod. Overall I think this is a great pace and I'll strive to maintain it.
I've resolved to change my weekly schedule and incorportate a lot more running at the expense of the strength training. The lifting routines have been going much better lately, and I'm getting a lot stronger, but I think I would do well to prepare for more intense, longer runs.
I'll likely run Monday, Wednesday and Friday with strength training on Tuesday and Thursday, then a long weighted buddy run on the weekend with one day of rest. I'll also be changing my runs from weighted with the vest to weighted with a backpack at the suggestion of someone who had previously completed the Goruck Challenge (See Ben O'Grady's Review).
Peter and I had an interesting romp through this park on Saturday. I went weighted with the vest at 20lbs and Peter ran with his belt, although I'm not sure how much weight he used. Pete suggested we meet at a place called the Odiorne Point State Park. I arrived after fiddling with a recalcitrant GPS, we saddled up, and went out into the unknown "trails" of the park. Here's a satellite image of the path courtesy of my Forerunner's data and Google Earth.
There weren't really trails out there, but we did a lot of running on the beach, jumping from rocks, and in the deep snow. We would randomly stop and pick up heavy driftwood or rocks and carry them for a while. At two different points we carried heavy logs switching shoulders and holding it up above our heads. We picked paths somewhat at random which led to some turning around but also allowed us to discover some cool opportunities to do PT in the woods.
It was a great run for me overall. I felt strong and solid. Pete was having trouble with the constant stress on the ankles from the sand, rock and snow running.
Here's the basic data from the run. It was not feasible to keep a steady pace during the run, but we did very little walking.
I went for a run with my friend Peter around Fresh Pond today and it was wonderful. The pond is almost 2.5 miles around. I ran it with my weight vest at 20lbs.
Here are the data from my Forerunner. Breakdown after the jump:
Lap 1 was the first run around the pond. We maintained a good pace and my heart rate stayed under control.
Lap 2 was our break for pushups, flutter kicks and leg raises in the parking lot. I was still feeling fresh and strong when we finished this part.
Lap 3 was our second time around the pond. This one got to me. As we were running along, about a half mile into the run, I stopped and grabbed a thick branch from a snow bank and shouldered it. It could have only weighed five pounds at the most but it made a surprising difference; probably mostly a mental difference. I carried it for about a quarter of a mile or so and handed it off to Peter and we took turns. By the time I reached the mile mark I started to really feel it and actually said: "I'm running out of steam". Peter was relentless and encouaged me. I pushed through it and let him carry the log a bit longer than I should have to catch my breath. My heart rate peaked at around 190bpm with a shockingly high average of 181bpm. I'm going to have to work on this. To my credit, I didn't stop. I took the log back at 1.2 miles then we started cadence chanting around 1.4 miles in which helped me take my mind off the run. I gave the log back at around 1.5 miles and let Pete carry it to the end. I ran all the way to the end of the trail where we recovered and walked out to our cars to enjoy the sweetest pear I've ever had.
Lap 4 is just the walk to our cars.
I feel good despite my apprehension about my stinging shin muscle on my right leg. I thought it might be a precursor to the old familiar shin splints, but it seems fine for now. I'm glad I went out, and it made it far easier to run with a partner. I'm really looking forward to making a routine of this run and I know that it's great training for the upcoming events.
This morning's run followed the same path as my last weighted run.
The data from the Forerunner are a bit botched since for some reason it took forever to find a GPS signal. I still have the heart rate information, though, which is somewhat more stable than last time. This is with the 20lb weight vest:
Unfortunately my pace wasn't tracked until about 11 minutes into my run since it took so long to find a satellite signal, which threw off the averages.
The spikes in my pace around 14, 15 and 16 minutes are when I was forced to wait at intersections or behind someone walking slowly on the sidewalk.
My heart rate was more consistent this time, as was my pace overall. I ran the whole path (3.5 miles) with no walking rests. I felt loose and strong throughout the whole run. It was a good mental day so I was in the zone. I felt tight and sore when I stopped for my cool-down walk to my apartment but it went away with some stretching.
The runs are going really well so I'll likely change the routine soon, maybe within the next two weeks. Instead of adding weight, which I thought I would do originally, I think I'll just increase the distance and focus on keeping a consistent pace.
In other news: I've officially registered for Goruck Boston! It's really exciting, and gives me great motivation for my workouts. I'll eventually register for Tough Mudder Vermont, likely this coming week. I'll still be running Tough Mudder PA on April 10th with my friend.
Overall my training is going really well and I feel great.
My run this morning was phenomenal. I tracked it with my Forerunner 305 and the data came out reasonably well.
To summarize I ran 3.5 miles in 36 minutes while wearing the weight vest loaded with 20lbs. It is worth mentioning that I ran in icy rain, there are a few feet of snow on the ground, and puddles at the crosswalks that are well into shin-height depth. Glorious.
Something I noticed from the chart is that my heart rate spikes up into Zone 5 and stays there for almost the entirety of my run. This is obviously not preferrable. It must be directly related to my pace, so there's something to work at which I never would have known otherwise. My pace stays very consistent at around a 10-minute mile.
I divided the sections of my run by Laps on the Forerunner.
Lap 1 was a straight run from the apartment.
Lap 2 was a brief walking break.
Lap 3 was a section of pushups in the snow. 4 sets of 5.
Lap 4 was a short walk before I decided to run again.
Lap 5 was a brutal stretch of running where I was verbally chanting to pull myself through the last leg. It was horrendous and I loved it.
Lap 6 was a short cool-down walk from the nearby fire station to my apartment. I stepped in a giant puddle of icy water and it totally filled my shoes. Until that point my feet were kept relatively dry by my inov8s. I love those shoes.
Overall I consider the run a great success. It blows away my previous performances, even in terms of Shawnee and Ruckus. I estimate both events to be around three miles in length. I ran Shawnee in 30:10 and Ruckus in 29:34. Today I ran farther, with weight, and in horrible weather and despite it all, faster in terms of my pace. It's also worth mentioning that this morning's run was completed in absence of any competition. Very reinforcing.
This new workout feels awesome. Here's my updated Strength routine:
The entire routine is completed while wearing my weight vest currently set to 20lbs and two 20lb kettlebells when appropriate.
10 standard pushups.
20 standard lunges.
5 full extension wide handhold pullups.
Shadow boxing (dynamic stretching)
Each exercise, as previously stated, is performed nonstop for 60 seconds. 15 second rest between exercises. I've been using a little stopwatch for which I've developed a love/hate sentiment.
1. Kettlebell Pushups + Raise
Dip down between kettlebell handles, push back up. Bring one bell up above your shoulders to form a vertical line with both arms, hold for a second, then bring back down. Next repetition is for the other bell/arm.
2. Kettlebell Swings:
Standard kettlebell exercise. Feet a bit more than shoulder-width apart, swing kettlebell between legs up to chin level, then back down.
3. Forward Lunges.
4. Kettlebell Rows:
Shoulder-width stance. Bend forward at the waist holding both kettlebells close to the floor. Bring both bells up to the chest, then lower without touching the ground.
5. Side Lunges:
Can be done while holding kettlebells, but I don't feel like it's as beneficial for me at this point.
6. Kettlebell Pushups + Rows:
Same as previous kettlebell pushup, except at the top of the push you bring one bell up to your chest, hold, then lower the bell back to the floor.
7. Forward Lunges with upper body twist:
Just as it sounds. I twist to both sides during each lunge.
8. Decline Pushups:
Prop your feet up on a chair, couch seat or other relatively low surface. I recommend doing sets of low reps (4 or 5) and taking a few breaths before the next set. I usually tap out of this portion around 40 seconds.
9. Mountain Climbers:
Pushup position, bring one leg up to chest then back to starting position and alternate quickly. I can't yet do 60 seconds of this nonstop after the other exercises. I'm improving, though.
The Tough Mudder site recommends chinups but I change the type of pullup each time I do this routine. I usually break it into mini-sets of 5-6 pulls and then allow a rest while still hanging. This is awful with the vest after having done the other arm-intensive exercises.
The familiar old plank hold. Grin and bear it. This is cake for me without a vest, and without having done all the other exercises prior, but doing it with those things in place is quite a feat. I finally held out for a full minute today for the first time.
12. Oblique Plank:
Then they hit you with this. You're supposed to hold each side for a full minute. I'm up to 45 seconds on each allowing a 15-second rest between the sides.
Just standard bodyweight (or weighted) squats. I'm planning on substituting this for one leg squats once I'm strong enough.
I've gone trail running three times since my last entry, and each time went well. It's become something of an obsession.
The first couple minutes of the run are still the worst, but I attribute that to the lack of warmup before the run and the incline of the initial hill. The first of the three most recent runs saw me more motivated than usual. I grabbed a log off the ground around the 1.5 mile mark and ran it down the hill to where I usually rest. I took a short break, grabbed the log, and ran it back up the hill while people looked on. It destroyed my legs by the time I reached the top of the small hill, which was only a short distance, so I placed the log at the top of the hill and kept running. It certainly added a dimension to the run, but it made me wonder how the log part is incorporated into the actual races. In the videos and pictures I've seen it seems like the people are simply walking the logs up the hills instead of running. I figure that if I train by running I'll be a lot stronger in the walk, or I'll just end up running the damn thing up the hill anyway.
I also noticed that the trail run itself is longer than I initially estimated. The run from the beginning to the Museum section is about 1.5 miles, which makes the round trip around 3 miles total, which is perfect for these events. I'm running the three miles of trail hills in around a half an hour.
I was initially apprehensive about running this morning considering the forthcoming event's proximity. I decided to just run anyway and it seems like I got out unscathed. I slowed down by the end of the run because my calves were crying and I was worried about shin splints. They seem fine now; I think the protein shakes have a lot to do with avoiding that condition. My recoveries have been swift and I haven't had any soreness after even the most intense exercises.
I have another friend coming to visit this weekend, and Saturday is the Shawnee Peak Challenge. My friend will accompany me, but not to participate. I'm considering dressing up in some ridiculous costume which I'll likely find tomorrow. I'd rather not be another run-of-the-mill competitor with UnderArmour uppers, gloves, shorts and running shoes.
I'll be writing in again after the event with a full report. I expect it to be not only a great time, but a springboard for my training and a gauge of my current level as compared to the other competitors.