Monthly Archives: September 2012

An Unusual Drill, And Some Hopping and Jumping

Took the daughter with the running group today, and she comported herself like a champ, scaling some pretty tough trails with a bunch of dogs and a septuagenerian 5k runner.

Some more work on form. We did 30 second strides (they just call them ’30s’), which were challenging. These were done on the winding, but relatively flat asphalt (with some concrete mixed in, no doubt) service road, Vista Del Valle. On the way down, after the steepest part of the descent, the woman that often leads the runs had me run with a stick held in both hands, in front of me. First, close to the body, then on another 20 second run, held out in front of me. She was trying to get me to relax my shoulders and chest, and also to work on the legs without the interference of my arms, which tend to flap around a lot. My legs, she said, are following some of the erratic motions of my arms. So I tried to keep my knees up, and feet slightly wider apart than usual, all whilst holding a stick in front of me. It was awkward. I was glad when it was done.

Then, to my surprise, after most of the descent was done, she led us over to a flight of stairs, about 60 steps near the Old Zoo section of the park. Here she had me jump up the steps, 3 at a time, without stopping. Then back to the bottom and hopped up them, one at a time, hopping on one foot. Then down the steps on the same foot, while concentrating on form, keeping the foot pointed forward (quite challenging for me, especially with the fatigue of the run and just having hopped up the stairs). Then again with the jumping up the stairs 3 at a time, which seemed much easier and steadier after hopping on one foot. The legs gave out once or twice on these steps.

It was hard work, and, as usual, a very satisfying workout. And it almost goes without saying that the park was just glorious.


From the first, coach was engaged today, “What’s your mileage at?”  Told him what I’ve been up to. He worked with me today on form. Got me to keep head up, stand up straight, shorten step, tuck in the arms, watch where the feet are flying — quite a lot to think about at once. And he had me running next to the fast runners, watching posture and cadence. I was honored to get any such attention. All the stuff about form makes perfect sense to me, but not something I’d likely focus on on my own.

We went up the steps to Amir’s Garden twice, which was brutal. I think I might have actually whimpered during one of the recoveries, I was breathing so hard. And both ways we ran 15 second strides or sprints or whatever they are. It was a tough workout. I had the autopause setting on the Garmin on for this, and noted that after 9:30 minutes of running, we had run .9 miles — and I would have been quite happy to call it a day at the top of the hill.

Afterward I was asking what a good time for running 1000 meters would be for me. He reckoned about 3:20, which is about a minute faster than I ran them on Thursday. Now, I’m not going to go out there and kill myself next time — but having the expectation ratcheted up — that’s a very interesting stimulus. And I have been having some soreness from my Thursday time trial. Mostly in the calf muscles, but also in the left hamstring, more like the loin — I don’t know the real name of the muscle. His advice about running the 1000s — start with 8. Rest for same time as it takes to run the 1000 meters. This part I’m very happy to hear. I was running them slow, but with a shorter rest, just two minutes. And he said, the hardest one is the first one. Your whole body will be in shock. You can’t even believe you ran it that fast. And then you do it again.

I will be translating this advice into some kind of reasonably sane workout next week, I hope.

Confound It

Another 5k time trial. Five 1k laps with two minute walking recoveries after a .75 mile warm up, and a few miles to cool down. This was about what I thought I could do. But want to see what I can shave off. To confound things, I ran this with the Asics, not the Bondis. A 21-minute 5k is a nice improvement over where I started (see About section), but remains a time scoffed at by one of my running group compadres. I’m confident I can shave 30 seconds off, as this was hard, but hardly destructive.

1:06        7.51 miles        8:49 min/mile

or (with the fluff taken out)

21:31        3.11 miles        6:56 min/mile


lap 3     7:00 min/mile

lap 6     6:47 min/mile

lap 8     6:47 min/mile

lap 10    7:11 min/mile

lap 12     6:54 min/mile


Some Kinds of Happiness Are Measured Out in Miles

1:27        10.01 miles        8:46 min/mile

Went into the hills, looking to spice things up — and bit off a tad more than I might have liked. Was not exactly sure there was a route that was quite right, heading off in a particular direction… So, hills from 2.5 miles to 7.5 miles. Quite substantial in the beginning, and only letting up moderately along the way. By mile 9 it’s clear I’m pooped. My goal had been to maintain a 8:15 pace, a little faster than my fartlek-y 10 miler last week. So the pace was whack, but the effort was good.

Again, once I’d accomplished the 10 mile mark, I let myself walk the remaining mile or so back to the car, which was pleasant.

Here are the lap paces:

8:11   7:57   9:15   9:03   8:57   10:01   9:24   8:17   8:38   8:00

Sky Run

41:11        3.65 miles        11:17 min/mile

These are the numbers of a run into the sky. Amazing vertical hiking, running, and stumbling. Literally breath taking. There were some sprinty bits and some uphill pushes. And my wife met the running group. And my daughter has hedgingly agreed to hike with us next Sunday. (There was tailgating with sangria post-run.)

Purple Death and Other Trails

Ran with the group. A quite steep, aerobic hike up “car canyon” for warm up. Followed by 15 second strides on the service road, Vista Del Valle. Then more aerobic scrambling up “Dee Dee’s” ridge, followed by some pushes up the hill when there was any traction on the trail. By the time we are up top we are well above the inversion layer, looking down on Bee rock, at least 1000 feet vertically from where we started, and have only come .8 mile. Back down the winding trail down they call “purple death.” Some nice sections of downhill sprinting and cruising. Altogether satisfying. About 3 miles.