Sunday, June 22, 2014


I've sort of been missing in action in the blog-world as of late - action being the key word! Man, has it been a busy month! But it is taper time now, so I got to sleep in till 5:15 this week!! It may sound early, but it is an hour later than most days.

Of course the last month has been filled with lots of training, but the real shock to the schedule was the kids baseball and softball. These sports have about three fold the time commitment of soccer, plus this is the first time we have had two kids playing, and Mac was a coach for Liam's team. It was a real shock to the family schedule! But it was fun watching them play and both kids improved a lot. We also managed to get in a trip to the Channel Islands National Park to celebrate my dad's 70th over Memorial Day weekend.
Play Ball!

Grandpa turns 70 on Santa Cruz Island with Megan and cousins Luke and Brooke

I don't usually do "training log posts" but my last peak week gives an idea of what life was like for training. And maybe you'll understand why I haven't been blogging! Also, because people often ask me how I balance work, family, and running. Balance??? That sounds so calm and pleasant! It's more like juggling chainsaws! Basically, just make sure your don't mishandle one so badly that you cut off your hand, otherwise, I figure whatever technique gets you by is just fine. Instant macaroni and late night runs on the treadmill may not be glamorous but they get the job done!

Week of June 1 - June 8: Last Peak Week for Western States

Monday - 5 am: Track (12.5M). 4x1200m (4:26, 4:21, 4:18, 4:21); 2400m tempo (9:19); 4x200 (0:40). My first interval is always my slowest, no matter what we do. I am an ultra-runner: slow to warm up! 4:18 is faster than I did any 1200's last year, but I was upset I couldn't hold it. 40 second 200's are pretty much the slowest 200's I have ever done, but I was coming off a little calf tweak from the week before and didn't want to push it.

4:00 pm - gym: SQUATS!! Back squats working up to 7 x 95#; 30 kettle bell swings; 45 thrusters at 45#, plus some mobility, hip stretches and the "lizard lunge".

5:00 pm - Home in time to pickup Megan for her softball game. Mac took Liam to music and they both came to the game after. Home at 8:15. Scramble to get everyone in bed including myself!

Tuesday - 4:30am start; easy 16 miles

pm - No kids activities! Easy 3.5 miles on the TM after kids in bed

Wednesday - 5am: Downhills on Crestview Road (0.5M @10% grade); 4 repeats of hammer the down and hike back up, with an extended cool down to 13M

pm- gym: Deadlifts!: working up to 8x155#; then alternating 10 deadlifts@105# with 10 lunges (45#); some stretching and a little upper body work (don't worry - I am still a T-rex!) Home by 5:30 so Liam and Coach Mac could get to baseball practice and I could stay home with Megan.
Did some prowler pushes, too! These are great for the hammies!

Thursday: (25M) My day off work (yeah, I work, too! But I am fortunate to only work 4 days a week with Thursdays off most weeks). Left home at 5:00 am to drive down to McDonald Forest. Met one friend for 7 miles, and to another trailhead to meet another friend for a ten mile loop and then headed back the direct way to my car. My Garmin said 24.92 miles when I got there, so of course I ran up the road for 0.08 miles just to make it read an even 25.00. Yes, I know it is stupid, but I can't help myself! Easy pace with some good climbing. 4:22

pm- take Megan to practice; watch Liam's game, pick Megan up, see the end of Liam's game and once again scramble to get everyone to bed!

Friday: 5:30 am: 10M with 20 minutes of tempo (3.2M); first day of heat training: 30 minutes sauna and People magazine! I mean, I couldn't miss Kanye and Kim's wedding coverage now, could I?? (I swear I only read this stuff when I am heat training!).

pm- Mac took Megan to music; Liam and I goofed around the house.

Saturday: Now this day was crazy! 6am: 15 miles easy. My goal was 8:15 pace or slower as I knew I needed an easy day. We slipped a little with an average of 8:07, but overall a good recovery day.

Home by 9 am - shower; pack up kids
9:30 - Leave to kids piano recital
11:15 - Tear out of the piano recital before the clapping ends to get Megan to 11:30 warm up for her 12:00 game. The regular score keeper didn't show up, so I got to pay extra close attention to this one while I kept the books. Mac and Liam left early to get to Liam's game.
2:30 - leave game, take Megan to ropes course party. Deal with a melt down because Mac didn't pack any tennis shoes for Megan and she had to wear her cleats to the party.
3:00 - Watch Liam's last game of the season (got there at the top of the third)
5:00 - The whole family celebrates Megan's softball season at the team picnic
7:30 - we arrive home looking like zombies!

Sunday: Up at 4:00a, off to Dennis and Sharon's at 4:30a and then off to the Beacon Rock 25k. 25k sounded like the perfect distance to race for a little tune-up three weeks out. With 3,700' of gain, it offered a few nice climbs and descents. With 95+ miles on the legs already for the week, I knew I'd be tired going into this one, but I still had my sights set on Amy Sproston's course record of 2:36, as I figured she probably didn't race this one all out either. I could feel the fatigue on the opening 4 mile climb, but could push through and hang with several of the lead boys (full disclosure: many were running the 50k). "Just like Bath Road," I kept telling myself. Of course, I got left in the dust on the downhill trail section, but caught a few back when the downhill hit forest road. I can do downhill, just not technical downhill; it makes me go into pansy mode. I don't like it, but I also don't like feeling like I am about to fall on my face! I should've studied the course map a bit more because I was so confused as to where I was and how we would get back to the aid station on the middle loop! Thankfully, James Varner does a great job of marking his courses, so I was only lost in my head. I got back to the aid station with 11.5 miles on my Garmin and 1:55 run time, but they said it was still 5 miles back to the start. I knew it was mostly downhill, but I was going to have to push it to get under 2:36. I gunned it down the road hard for about a mile when I caught another runner. He let me know it was only 4 miles to the finish from the aid station, so it looked like I'd get the record. But, hey, didn't I come for the quad pounding? So I kept my foot on the gas till the end for a 2:25:13 CR and 7th overall. The great after party, sunshine, and pizzas were calling my name, so my cool down consisted of changing my clothes and flopping on the grass.

Race start! I'm on the left right next to William Emerson.

Up on the clouds and we aren't even to the top yet!

Post race sunshine!

I had planned to hit the afternoon yoga class after I got home to stretch everything out, but Mac texted right as I was getting in to Salem that he and the kids were at the Rogue Valley Brewery and did I want to join them. Umm, yeah, that definitely sounded better than yoga! I did get in a little snail's pace three miler on the treadmill that night just to get the legs moving and get the junk out, before hitting the pillow hard.

All said and done, I had 114.5 miles for my biggest week ever (and one of the most stressful!). Definitely, good for the confidence and definitely good that softball, baseball, and music are over!

These past weeks mileage was way down and the gym sessions were replaced by lots of sauna time. Plus, I copied what I consider to be one on my most important workouts from last year: The skip-your-Sunday-run-and-take-a-three-hour-nap-instead workout! Trust me, it's a good one, and when I do it, I know I need it. Sometimes a day off is better than slogging through a run just to put a number in the log book. Knowing when to back off is just as important as knowing when to push a little harder and I think giving in to a nap every now and then instead of a run has helped keep me pretty healthy through all the hard training the last few years.

May is in the rearview, and with mid-June comes the onset of the Western States hype and loads of speculation. I have no idea how the day will unfold. To be honest, my track record doesn't really make me a good one to bet on: I've had two mediocre races, on abysmal race and one out of this world race at Western States. I think of myself as a consistent runner, but I have been anything but consistent at this race! That being said, I feel ready and I know I have a great race plan to rely on. Cool temps definitely favor the speedsters, so I am once again hoping for a scorcher! Hmmm, better go check and accuweather again, because I haven't done that in the last 30 minutes!

See you in Squaw! Can't wait to see how the day unfolds.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Titus van Rijn - Salem, OR Edition 2014

(Thought I'd post my Titus van Rijn race report here. The event is a self-directed one hour track time trial and like all timed races the goal is to see how far you can get. This is my 5th year since 2009 and I've improved my score every year except for 2011, when I ran nine days after Miwok. I don't ever taper or rest for this, but just incorporate into my training. Over the years, the event has been a nice little test of fitness and a great workout all wrapped into one. Unfortunately, I didn't do it last year, so I can't compare this year to last, which would have been kind of fun. Anyway, here is my report and the results from the Salem contingent. For a bunch of old folks (excluding Josh and James) running around a track at 5 am on Monday morning, I think we did pretty good! There are five days left to compete for anyone who is interested!)

Salem, OR sits smack between two of the most venerable Track and Field sites in the US, with “Track Town USA” Eugene, and the hallowed Hayward Field, about 50 miles to the south and Portland, with its fabled Nike campus and the Project Oregon team, about 50 miles to the north. Salem has almost no track claim to fame, with the exception of Nick Symmonds, a Willamette University graduate. But there are a few dedicated runners who are doing their best to bring track glory to Salem, at least in the small and obscure world of the Titus van Rijn One Hour Distance Classic.

Last year Salem did not participate because our group could not find a mutually agreeable date. Things hadn’t changed much in a year: two people were gearing toward a marathon, another wanted to fit it around a 50k; there were a few vacations and other life events. Basically there was no good week that suited everyone. It was decided that interested runners could turn our usual Monday morning track session into their 1 hour time trial, so Salem’s event actually took place over three different weeks. At the conclusion of the final day, black cherry soda was awarded to all. We also upped the ante by providing “incentive beverages” (ie. beer) for those exceeding the 9.5 and 10 mile marks. I had a personal TVR best, but I missed my free beer by 21 meters. I maintain that if the incentive had been free cheesecake, I would have made it. ;) Maybe next year! -Pam

Salem, OR - South Salem High School Track, May 5 - June 2
Dan Meireis, 56 - 15450m
Brian Villarette, 39 - 13599m
Pam Smith (F), 39 - 15279m
Don Gallogly, 46 - 16675m
Josh Zielinski, 31- 16481m
Mike Tyler, 47 - 16000
Angie Smith (F), 41 - 13975m
James Dunning, 32 - 13300m