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Building A Better Bumblebee

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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Tim C on Sat Feb 14, 2015 3:55 pm

That is simply gorgeous - and looks VERY challenging!
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:32 pm

Tim C wrote:That is simply gorgeous - and looks VERY challenging!

Yeah, it's kind of a butt-kicker.



You do two 25K loops from the start/finish line. Each loop has two big climbs in it, the first climb being mostly steep with a very steep section near the top (we're talking maintaining three points of contact in a couple of spots), and the second climb being quite steep the whole way. The downhills, obviously, are steep, too. Not a lick of truly flat ground except at the start/finish area.

When I ran the 25K last time, I managed the uphills pretty well but utterly failed on the downhills -- my feet and ankles were too weak and unprotected for the terrain. I hobbled in the last several miles.

This is why I've been focusing so much on barefoot running and PT work for so long. I have no intention of doing this race barefoot, or even in sandals, but I want my feet and ankles to be as strong as I can get them. I think it'll make a big difference.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Tom H on Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:02 pm

Mark B wrote:Thanks, Nancy!

As to the weather, I was just seeing today that while we have near-normal rainfall at lower elevations, we have record-low snowpacks up in the mountains. That obviously doesn't bode well for this summer. They're talking about water supply for fish and hydropower, but I'm worried more about wildfire. Those fuel moisture levels are going to be low-low-low when summer rolls around. pale

Sounds like you are getting too much into our weather pattern.  Right now the Sierras here in CA are only at about 27% of normal so it is likely we'll be getting into some steeper restrictions next summer.  And you are right about the wildfire concerns; it has been ugly.  Hope we all get some serious rainfall in the coming months!


Congrats on signing up for that 50k!  Great to have a goal, and now with that terrain you can craft a really gnarly training plan!


Last edited by Tom H on Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  mountandog on Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:03 pm

certainly looks intense.  the scenery helps
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:28 am

Tom H wrote:
Mark B wrote:Thanks, Nancy!

As to the weather, I was just seeing today that while we have near-normal rainfall at lower elevations, we have record-low snowpacks up in the mountains. That obviously doesn't bode well for this summer. They're talking about water supply for fish and hydropower, but I'm worried more about wildfire. Those fuel moisture levels are going to be low-low-low when summer rolls around. pale

Sounds like you are getting too much into our weather pattern.  Right now the Sierras here in CA are only at about 27% of normal so it is likely we'll be getting into some steeper restrictions next summer.  And you are right about the wildfire concerns; it has been ugly.  Hope we all get some serious rainfall in the coming months!


Congrats on signing up for that 50k!  Great to have a goal, and now with that terrain you can craft a really gnarly training plan!

There as definitely been a Northern California feel to our weather this winter, Tom. Here's hoping it doesn't persist into the summer, if only because that'd greatly increase the chance of California getting a too-big taste of Sonoran Desert conditions.

Weird talking about this as the Northeast looks like it's sliding into a new Ice Age, but it's all related, I suppose.

Anyway, thanks on the congrats! I didn't expect that I'd be as excited as I am to have signed up. So that's a good thing.

mountandog wrote:certainly looks intense.  the scenery helps

The scenery is amazing, as long as heights don't bother you. There are some significant cliffs in sight from the trail.



Obviously, there's a lot of power hiking required on those climbs. Even that can leave you gasping for breath. But the downhill running potential is amazing. Thankfully, the downhill sections are far away from the thousand-foot drops. Smile
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:41 pm

MAF Test: 6.5 miles total, with 5-mile test.

Weather: Clear, cool. 37-43 degrees (high humidity). Gear: Luna sandals, shorts, long-sleeved T, jacket, hat, gloves. Did a slow strip tease as the run progressed and I warmed up. Ended with just shorts and the T. Fuel: Corn flakes and coffee before. Water during.

My second MAF test under my new stricter heart rate regimen. I've been seeing some improvements in pace over the past couple of weeks, so I was eager to see what that translated to on the track. I couldn't have picked a much better day for a MAF test. It was cool out, with little wind and clear skies. I dressed as light as I thought I could manage, which had me a bit chilled at the start, but I was able to shed clothes as I warmed up.

Had a bit of a complication when I had a code brown just as I finished my warm-up mile. I headed to the porta-john and took care of that, then took another lap to get my heart rate back up to the proper level before starting.

I felt like I was struggling a bit, so imagine my surprise when I looked down after the first mile when I saw a split that was 54 seconds faster than a month ago! "Holy blankity-blankity-blank!" I said (or something like that), and I got very curious to see what the next mile would bring.

The second mile came in at 12:26, 53 seconds faster than last month.

Well, okay then! My mission then became that I could do every mile without slowing into the 13s.

Mile 3: 12:21. (Slightly faster because I had to pause to take a leak, which lowered my HR a tick, which let me go a little faster.)
Mile 4: 12:32.
Mile 5: 12:30.

Mission accomplished, and then some. I finished with a big smile on my face. As much as I might sometimes hate working this part of my range, it's doing what it's supposed to do. My HR averaged 130 for all but Mile 5, but I've found that's to be expected when I'm trying to run as close to a target as possible.

Here's how the two tests compare:



Not bad. Not bad at all.

I finished up with a 5-minute walking cool down.

Average HR for run: 128
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:49 pm

That's a pretty significant improvement for a month.  I wish I could shave close to 10% off my times...  Smile

I'm still jealous of your 50k.  And would definitely be running it if I was still on the better coast.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Tom H on Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:52 pm

Looks good Mark.  Refresh my memory on why you are doing Ultra LHR now - was it injury related?
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Tom H on Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:52 pm

Mike MacLellan wrote:That's a pretty significant improvement for a month.  I wish I could shave close to 10% off my times...  Smile

I'm still jealous of your 50k.  And would definitely be running it if I was still on the better coast.

Hey Mike, we are only a short flight away . . .
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:57 pm

Tom H wrote:Looks good Mark.  Refresh my memory on why you are doing Ultra LHR now - was it injury related?

Because Mike pointed out that Mark was being generous with the formula. What a Face 


Tom H wrote:
Mike MacLellan wrote:That's a pretty significant improvement for a month.  I wish I could shave close to 10% off my times...  Smile

I'm still jealous of your 50k.  And would definitely be running it if I was still on the better coast.

Hey Mike, we are only a short flight away . . .

I'm not sure that 6hr is short...  Longer than the race would be for me, anyway.  But if I was able to get out to CA for some time around then, I'd definitely drive up for that race.  Alas, it's not happening this year.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Sun Feb 15, 2015 3:08 pm

Mike MacLellan wrote:That's a pretty significant improvement for a month.  I wish I could shave close to 10% off my times...  Smile

I'm still jealous of your 50k.  And would definitely be running it if I was still on the better coast.

Thanks, Mike! It's some nice positive reinforcement, that's for sure.

That 50K is kind of scaring the crap out of me at the moment. I counted the weeks until the race and then looked at a standard 50K training plan... and saw I'm nowhere near the miles I should be now for what the "experts" say. I've seen folks do very well going into ultras "undertrained," so that might be what I'm going to have to do.

Of course, if things go poorly getting ready, I'm sure the organizers wouldn't object if I moved to the shorter distance. But I'm going to press on in the hopes of being ready come race day. Training on the course itself ought to be a big help.

Tom H wrote:Looks good Mark.  Refresh my memory on why you are doing Ultra LHR now - was it injury related?

Well, technically, it's not "ultra" low heart rate. It's actually what my HR target should be according to a strict reading of Maffetone. It's 180-age, though I just realized I cheated by 1 bpm setting my target at 129. I'm such a rebel. Very Happy

(And yes, Mike gets the credit/blame for keeping me honest.)

Now, if all goes well and I don't get injured and continue to improve, I could in theory add 5 bpm to the HR, which is the "if everything is going great" adjustment. But last year wasn't great, so I'm erring on the side of lower, even if it does make me crazy.

Tom H wrote:
Mike MacLellan wrote:That's a pretty significant improvement for a month.  I wish I could shave close to 10% off my times...  Smile

I'm still jealous of your 50k.  And would definitely be running it if I was still on the better coast.

Hey Mike, we are only a short flight away . . .

It'd be great to have you, Mike. Heck, you'd even have a place to stay.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:52 pm

Shoot 50K is only 8 more K tha a marathon - no problem!!!  You'll be fine and you are making great progress!
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  ounce on Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:06 pm

Mark B wrote: "Holy blankity-blankity-blank!" I said (or something like that)
I've never SEEN such language on your blog, Mister.  But, it is your blog.  Embarassed   And gratz, by the way.

As far as Beacon Rock, I don't see much reason why you can't do it.  4.5 hours for each 25K or 5 miles every 90 minutes x 2.  Just don't ask me to pace you.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:31 pm

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:Shoot 50K is only 8 more K tha a marathon - no problem!!!  You'll be fine and you are making great progress!

You're probably right, Michele. The 20-week plan starts off at 16 miles and builds from there. It has 7 runs of 20 miles or more in it, with two at 26 miles. Probably not gonna happen. Still. That doesn't mean I can't get ready.

ounce wrote:
Mark B wrote: "Holy blankity-blankity-blank!" I said (or something like that)
I've never SEEN such language on your blog, Mister.  But, it is your blog.  Embarassed   And gratz, by the way.

As far as Beacon Rock, I don't see much reason why you can't do it.  4.5 hours for each 25K or 5 miles every 90 minutes x 2.  Just don't ask me to pace you.

Can't do much about all the hiking up the mountains (there are people who can run them, but they're the ones who are in contention to win the race), but proper conditioning and gear can help you make up a lot of time on the downhills. Smile

Didn't get a run in today, thanks in part to having wife and kid home -- and the fact that the kid got braces put on his uppers this morning (the lowers will come later), and that we had to help him on a family history project by visiting the local historic site where his great-great-great-great grandfather worked back when it was a Hudson's Bay Company post. We got a park ranger (it's a National Historic Site now) to completely geek out on searching company records, which was fun. Smile

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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  nkrichards on Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:44 pm

Mark B wrote:Thanks, Nancy!

As to the weather, I was just seeing today that while we have near-normal rainfall at lower elevations, we have record-low snowpacks up in the mountains. That obviously doesn't bode well for this summer. They're talking about water supply for fish and hydropower, but I'm worried more about wildfire. Those fuel moisture levels are going to be low-low-low when summer rolls around. pale
Yes, it's been an interesting winter and will be an interesting summer.  We're going to have to share our irrigation water with the spotted frogs...  Like you I'm concerned about wildfires.

Hey...I'm doing my first hill workout tomorrow...at Smith Rock SP.  Could be a bit more challenging than I'm ready for but Maura agreed to scale back if necessary.  The weather is supposed to be fantastic so the views should be awesome.

I'm a bit concerned.  I'm learning to enjoy running in the rain, running on trails, running on hills...  Next thing you know I'll be leaving my shoes in the closet... affraid
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:55 pm

nkrichards wrote:
Mark B wrote:Thanks, Nancy!

As to the weather, I was just seeing today that while we have near-normal rainfall at lower elevations, we have record-low snowpacks up in the mountains. That obviously doesn't bode well for this summer. They're talking about water supply for fish and hydropower, but I'm worried more about wildfire. Those fuel moisture levels are going to be low-low-low when summer rolls around. pale
Yes, it's been an interesting winter and will be an interesting summer.  We're going to have to share our irrigation water with the spotted frogs...  Like you I'm concerned about wildfires.

Hey...I'm doing my first hill workout tomorrow...at Smith Rock SP.  Could be a bit more challenging than I'm ready for but Maura agreed to scale back if necessary.  The weather is supposed to be fantastic so the views should be awesome.

I'm a bit concerned.  I'm learning to enjoy running in the rain, running on trails, running on hills...  Next thing you know I'll be leaving my shoes in the closet... affraid

Oh, perish the thought! That'd be crazy! Wink

Smith Rock is a gorgeous place to run. Jealous! I hope to do the race out there one of these years, but my dance card was filled this year by Beacon Rock. Since I'd already paid for it (due to deferring the Oregon Coast race last year), it was a use it or lose it proposition.

Enjoy the run! You know... I have shucked my shoes to run barefoot around La Pine State Park, so who knows? Very Happy
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Tue Feb 17, 2015 5:46 pm

Walk: 2.3 miles

Weather: Ridiculously nice. Sunny, mild, a breeze. 59 degrees. Didn't even need to wear a jacket.

Squeezed in a lunchtime walk at work, heading down to the Columbia River. This weather we've been having is simply nuts: It reminds me of a winter day in Southern California, not Southwest Washington. Sunny. Shirtsleeve weather. Crazy.

I did some core and calf work this morning, and I could feel a bit of it out there.

I've been doing a poor job on the strength work, trying to focus on bigger efforts on fewer days. I think I'm going to try doing a little less more often - maybe even most every day - and see if I can make it a habit.

(I also walked 1.15 miles yesterday at Fort Vancouver as part of a family history project Alec is doing for school, showing off where his great-great-great-great grandfather spent some time back in the 1830s.)

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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  nkrichards on Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:53 am

Mark B wrote:
(I also walked 1.15 miles yesterday at Fort Vancouver as part of a family history project Alec is doing for school, showing off where his great-great-great-great grandfather spent some time back in the 1830s.)

I just finished reading "Astoria" by Peter Stark.  It's about John Jacob Astor's attempt to set up a fur trading emporium in Astoria.  You might enjoy it.  I think Alec might even enjoy it.  I struggled with the first couple chapters...a lot of names to remember...but once the story started to unfold it was a good read.


Weather is unbelievable for this time of year isn't it!  Better enjoy it while we can as I'm sure it won't last...
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:11 pm

nkrichards wrote:
Mark B wrote:
(I also walked 1.15 miles yesterday at Fort Vancouver as part of a family history project Alec is doing for school, showing off where his great-great-great-great grandfather spent some time back in the 1830s.)

I just finished reading "Astoria" by Peter Stark.  It's about John Jacob Astor's attempt to set up a fur trading emporium in Astoria.  You might enjoy it.  I think Alec might even enjoy it.  I struggled with the first couple chapters...a lot of names to remember...but once the story started to unfold it was a good read.


Weather is unbelievable for this time of year isn't it!  Better enjoy it while we can as I'm sure it won't last...

That book sounds quite interesting. My ancestor was an ordinary guy, but he crossed paths with folks whose names are in all the history books of the Pacific Northwest. The ranger we talked to at Fort Vancouver got pretty excited hearing about it. Smile
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 18, 2015 1:11 pm

Barefoot Run: 3.1 miles

Weather: Overcast, cool. 41 degrees. Gear: Bare feet, lightweight pants, long-sleeved T, jacket.

Barefoot laps around the block, a little faster than last week. Nice to see progress. I don't think I did a very good job relaxing into this run - the temperature was just cool enough to cause me to tense up slightly - but it still went well.

No walking warm-up or cool-down. Average HR for entire run: 129
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Nick Morris on Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:40 pm

All this talk of nice weather has me wishing for Spring!! I am going miss not taking my trip to AZ this Spring. Keep up the good work. The fact that you are progressing is a great sign of things to come!!
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:20 pm

Nick Morris wrote:All this talk of nice weather has me wishing for Spring!!  I am going miss not taking my trip to AZ this Spring.  Keep up the good work.  The fact that you are progressing is a great sign of things to come!!

Hey, Nick! It sure feels like spring here, except for the fact that everything is still dormant. Kind of an odd situation. What makes it even more odd is that we have near normal rainfall totals but virtually no snow in the mountains. This does not bode well.

Thanks on the good wishes. It's nice to see evidence of progress. I am eager to see just how much progress I'll be able to make before the inevitable plateau.
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:20 pm

LOW HR Run: 90 minutes

Weather: Overcast, mild. 55 degrees. Gear: Luna sandals, shorts, T. (!) Fluid: Nuun in handheld.

Parts of the country are in the deep freeze, but we're in an early spring right now. I took advantage of it for a jaunt out on my Llama Ridge route. I got closer to Larry and Moe this time, thanks to continued improvement, but I'm not quite there yet. Still, the progress I've been making has me confident I'll be saying hello to them soon enough.

Comparing my last two three FOUR runs on the same route:

Jan. 22 (6.07 mi)


Jan. 29 (6.27 miles)


Feb. 12 (6.51 miles)

(Ignore the HR strap goofiness in Mile 1)

Feb. 19 (6.68 miles)


From 16:31/mi to 13:40/mi in Mile 6 in about a month? Not bad at all.

I wasn't perfect keeping my effort level precisely on target, but considering the various dips and rolls of the terrain, it was pretty close. I'll take it.





Walked first and last 5 minutes. Average HR for entire run: 126
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  ounce on Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:39 pm

Progress for you, too! 

But only a fourth of the needed snow in the mountains for y'all?
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Re: Building A Better Bumblebee

Post  Mark B on Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:16 pm

ounce wrote:Progress for you, too! 

But only a fourth of the needed snow in the mountains for y'all?

Worse than that in a lot of places, actually. We're at normal rainfall, but it's been to warm to put snow in the mountains.

Here are some graphics that show just how bad it is.



And as bad as it is in Washington, it's worse in Oregon:



Much of the water for hydroelectric power, irrigation, river navigation and fish habitat traditionally is accumulated in the form of snow over the winter months. It melts slowly as the summer progresses. That would have happened this year, had the freezing level been lower when the moisture came in -- but they were nearly all "Pineapple Express" systems coming straight out of the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii (as opposed to the North Pacific), so at all but the tops of the volcanoes, it rained. Neutral

A horrible year to be a skier, of course, but this summer could be tricky. Remember: It rarely rains here in the summer.

Oh, and all that rain should have actually plowed into California, where they have huge systems of reservoirs to capture rainfall runoff. But the jet stream had other ideas. So their massive drought continues, and the Midwest and East freezes.

We're all warm 'n' springy here -- daffodils are blooming already -- but we're worried.
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