Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Waking Up

I It's summer time; hot days, sleeping in, resting, reading, house work, naps and of course - training. I would like to say sleeping in fits into that category of summer life, but to avoid complete dehydration and death, I don't mind getting up earlier than I would for work and hitting the pavement. This summer has already started off on the right two feet. My mileage has safely been increased from where I was last month, and I've already circled all the races I want to run this year in my imaginary calendar. Those imaginary red circles on the calendar will be a bullseye on gauging my fitness and pushing myself towards a fall marathon. I can talk and write all I want about racing, but we all know injuries lurk around each corner. So, I need to be diligent about injury prevention and building my mileage up slowly. 

I miss the weeks when I could climb from 60 to 80 to 120 miles with ease and carelessness. But, I will triumph in small success, like completing a workout or getting in another long run or running on a new trail in the mountains. New peaks shall be conquered and in that process those bullseye will be hit as the summer ebbs and flows. So, it's time to wake up and continue running. 

Last weeks training:

Mon - 5 mile trail run
Tue - 9 miles 
Wed - 2 mile warm up, 4 mile tempo run (5:41 avg.), 3 mile cool down
Thur - 11 miles
Fri - 8 miles w/strides
Sat - 9.5 miles
Sun - 16 miles

Total: 68.5 miles 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Getting ahead of myself - Injuries

We all tend to do this a lot - start planning for races before you are even ready to run.  Circling those far off race dates in the calendar, in hopes that you will be on the starting line, or just day dreaming about the possibility of crossing off one of your bucket list races.  Well, at least I do.  I tend to do this all too often, especially when I am not running.  The unknown of when I "will be training" seems to make the possibility of any race just a registration click away.  My wife can tell you that, when I am hurt, my race options seems to double throughout the season - "Honey, I want to do this race, oh, and then we can do this race.".  I guess the mind moves way faster than the body, but this seems to help with the mental aspect that I am not running.  The hope that I will be back training again is the light at the end of the dark and torturous tunnel.  And with the thought of races, comes the reality of training and getting stronger; running with your friends, and pushing each other to achieve a goal.  Those are definitely not occurring when you are cross-training by yourself, or sitting around waiting for your injury to heal.  Or thinking, "I'm not a competitive cross-training, why am I do this?".  But the fact of the matter is, that you, or I, will be able to run again, and enjoy all the aspects that it entails.  And know that these auxiliary workouts are going to get you healthy and running again.

As for me, I am still cross training with my trainer - Lawrence, twice a week.  My massage therapist - Laura, is continuously making my muscles and tendons feel like rubber, and I have seen a Dry Needling guy/Doctor, named Nick Speegle who will stab me a few more times this week while sending electrodes through those wonderful metal needles.  The goal of all of this is to heal my left achilles and test it out on Friday.  My achilles has been bugging me since forever ago, and it has really flared up recently after the marathon last month.  So I thought, it would be best to fully heal it and start off fresh this year.  I still have plenty of time left (the rest of my life, I guess) to figure out what races I really want to do, and until then, I will focus on the important aspect of recovering and healing.  Once that is accomplished, then I can break out the red marker and start circling all those races dates... or more importantly, all those sunday long run days with the Dukes Track Club.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Post Phoenix Marathon and Onward

After taking a much deserved week off, and this past week of easy trotting around to reflect more clearly on my performance from the 2017 Rock n Roll Arizona Marathon, I've decided I need to jot some things down.  I know my performance of 2:35:37 isn't much to write home about compared to my previous times, but it was an all-out effort and a stride in the right direction as I set my sights on faster times to come this year.  After toeing the line in Arizona and coming across the finish, I was pleased to feel stronger and fitter than the abysmal effort that occurred in Boston last year (I don't even like to mention that marathon).  Honestly, I wasn't ready to run a marathon in Boston, so I set my sights on Arizona as a lower key race to get the wheels back.

As I look back at my training, I know I could have done more... we always think we can do more.  And I feel it was enough for my body at the time.  Now, I know I can start to push the envelope a little more for a spring marathon, and reevaluate the training that proceeds that race.  I am not getting any younger, and perhaps my best marathon days are behind me, but there is still a carrot leading me to accomplish a huge goal, and that would be to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials.  Those standards came out earlier this year and they seem within reach, even for this old man.  It's truly a privilege and honor to be able to just run freely.  I never seem to forget how quickly it can disappear, or how we can take it for granted.  All I have to do is step out the door and enjoy the freedom of being outside.  It's a gift, and I don't want to take it for granted.  And with that gift, comes a small personal goal.

Olympic Marathon Trials Standard (rumored):
Men - "B" Standard 2:19:00 Full Marathon

With the right attitude and smarter training, a sub 2:19:00 is within striking distance.  It sure is easy to talk about, or write about, so in the meantime I'll just focus on improving upon my most previous marathon time and strive for something in the 2:20s this spring.  Right now, I feel excited to train more effectively for a spring race, and hopefully I make another step in the right direction.  As for my training for Arizona, I was able to accomplish the following:

- Over the course of 15 weeks, I only averaged 55 miles a week
- Over the course of those 15 weeks, I averaged 6 miles of tempo runs a week
- Longest run was 23 miles
- Cross trained twice a week for the duration of 15 weeks

After looking at that raw data... there's plenty of room for improvement and more importantly, HOPE.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Base Building

Okay, base building is a simple concept, yet I don't think I've done this correctly in the past 1-2 years.  So, this summer feels like a great opportunity to build my base mileage and gear up for whatever I feel I need to race in the fall.  And, unlike my training leading up to Boston, I didn't really have a base which can sure explain a lot from that outcome...

So far, things are going well.  My mileage is not where I'd like it to be, but I guess that's what happens when you start off slowly.  And, I'm not too worried about that.  My ultimate goal is to build slowly towards 90 miles a week in singles, and then see how the body feels.  Once that magic number is being plotted down in my running journal, then I can start to incorporate some workouts.  It's no secret formula, it's just a matter of being patient and diligent about the mileage.  My body seems to be holding up with minor aches and pains here and there, but that's expected as well.

On the near horizon, I have La Luz mountain run and hopefully test out the legs with a road 5k in August.  And I'd love to see some 80-90 mile weeks mixed in there as well, but it's tempting not to try a workout.  I really do miss those tempo runs, or speed sessions, but ultimately I don't have a major race planned this fall, so I'd better just stick to my gut and build those miles!  I sound like I'm trying to sell myself on this plan, but I haven't just run miles without workouts in a while.  I think my body needs that.  And to mentally change it up, I've been plotting out new runs and routes from my house.  Right now, I've got a sweet 10-12 mile loop.  And of course, I've been hitting the foothills a little more.  Onward and upward!

La Luz Start... 2009... I think

Monday, May 23, 2016

Getting Ready for Summer Training

As summer is approaching at super sonic speed, and my body is starting to feel recovered after my death march of a race in Boston, I can honestly say I'm excited to train for another marathon.  The cataclysm of a race in Boston was humbling and stocking.  I feel I will forever have some PTSD, or some extensively repressed memories from that "race".  It was a stock to know I was never in the shape I thought I was in. In fact, I probably had no clue what shape I was in and could've just picked a random time out of a hat.  Instead, I incorrectly guessed I was in 2:30 shape.  And with the weather being a little warmer and dryer than usual, I knowingly went out even faster than my self-prescribed time.  I believe I latched on to a 2:28 group and dumb heartingly strolled along for as long as possible; which was only about 9 miles.  After that, the rest was a painful blur.  It was a long crawl home to the finish, and two distinct things came to mind after I was painfully lifting one leg after the other.  One thought was the fact that I wasn't injuring myself in the slow and miserable process I called, running. And the other thought was how actually grateful I was to be on the pavement in Boston, running in the Boston Marathon.

The thought of running in the Boston Marathon is a dream of mine and many runners alike.  Of course, my dream of racing Boston wasn't to see the hour mark tick anywhere near 3 hours.  But I was still beyond appreciative of being able to run the distance and make it from start to finish without hurting myself.  The only thing I hurt was my reputation, and that will take some time to heal.  Otherwise, I saw zero reason to quite and drop out.  I've never dropped out of a race in my life, and I sure as heck wasn't going to drop out of the Boston Marathon.  I thought to myself, I may never get the chance to race/run in Boston again, so you better not drop out.  I have my pride of running quick and putting everything I have on the line in most of the races I compete in.  I hate losing, but to me; the worst thing than losing is giving up for the shake of not winning.  I've talked to a lot of people after the race, and I've gotten a lot of congratulatory compliments, but of course I know I ran beyond what words could describe as horrendous.  "Like Crap" or "I don't even know what happened" are my usual responses to most people who have an idea of how slow I ran.  But, deep down it was a learning experience and I learned a lot.  I learned you can't average low mileage and only one 20 miler and expect to run a fast marathon.  I learned how important all the workouts shape and build you as a runner.  And most importantly, I experienced how well you need to tune into your body and ask it to do something that's incredible.

Just before the screaming women of Wellesley College

So moving forward with a healthy and recovered body I can look to the sunrises of about 70 days of solid work-free training.  It'll be like I'm a professional runner once summer roles around in a sheer 3 days away.  I have my eyes set on the New Mexico road 5k championships this summer, along with many miles of training for a Fall Marathon.  The options are still there, so I haven't decided on what would be the best choice.  Part of me would like to run a lower key marathon and attempt to win one.  And another part of me wants redemption and attempt the fastest course possible with the best opportunity for a fast time.  It's still undecided.  The main factor that has been decided is some solid training.  I'll be looking to build my aerobic threshold and concentrate solely on marathon specific workouts this summer.  I'd like to get comfortable again with longer tempo runs and consistent mileage.  I also have been weary of a stress fracture recurring, so I won't be too aggressive with the double days or ├╝ber high mileage.  All in all, I have a great feeling about this summer and I'm excited to be back training again.

Prior to the Carnage

Pre-Race racing kit

An Old Roommate from College (Mike Crouch)