Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Stress Fractures SUCK!!!

Yes, it's been forever since my last post, and I have a tendency to not write when I am hurt.  My thoughts are, who cares about someone whose hurt and on the sidelines...?  I'd much rather be writing about awesome workouts and races that have a lasting memory.  But, injuries happen to all of us, and they leave lasting memories on us as well.

My latest injury was another stress fracture in my right tibia.  This time, I felt like a caught it early and took sufficient time off (8 weeks).  My question is, why the heck do I keep getting an injury on the same leg in the same region?  There must be an imbalance or something causing extra stress to that area, but the docs don't really know.  I'm doing physical therapy at Quadra Health Institute once a week, so that seems to be helping my imbalances a bit.  I have also taken the very slow approach of running again.  Or, at least I believe this is a slow approach...

This past summer I felt like training was going really well.  I never got up to 100 miles a week, but I had some quality workouts.  Things seemed on track for a solid half marathon in September and a full marathon in Chicago.  The timeline of events went something like this: end of August I felt a little pain in my right tibia, took 2 weeks off, ran for 2 weeks into early September thinking the pain was an acute injury and had subsided, realized it was getting worse the more I ran, stopped running, went to a podiatrist and continued to not run for 8 weeks, the end.

On November 16th, I ran for the first time for 15 minutes to test it out.  I was out of breath, tired but thrilled to not have any pain in my leg.  For the remainder of the week I ran every other day for 15 minutes for a total of 6 miles in the week.  The following week I doubled my mileage to 12 miles, kinda crazy, I know!  Then last week I kept going with a whopping 18 miles and a 30 minute continuous run.  Everything seems to be going well, I'm not feeling pain in my leg when I run, but I have noticed that afterwards I have a weird feeling.  It's very similar to my last stress fractures, as it's been commonly called "Phantom Pain".  This pain or feeling is typically caused by a build up of calcium in the area of the stress fracture pressing outward on nerves or tissue.  After doing quite a bit of research, it's been reassuring to know I am not getting hurt again, and that this sensation is very common.  However, I am not going to be stupid and go crazy with my training.  Going into my 4th week of running give me confidence to keep training, but only with a conservative approach.  I don't really have a rush to get back into things, so I'll slowly increase my base and race when I feel ready enough to.

To conclude this past marathon cycle, I have failed miserably in an attempt to qualify for the 2016 USA Olympic Marathon Trials.  However, I still feel that my best marathon time is ahead of me, and that I have many more amazing races to come.  I know I can't do the same thing I have in the past.  I've gotten older, so therefore I should be wiser - I know I'm not that wise yet, but am aiming for that wisdom.  So something has to change, which will be my training and training philosophy.

"If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got."
-Mark Twain

Monday, August 3, 2015

La Luz Trail Race & Week 5

Not the most miles logged, but another week completed with an annual trip up the Sandia Mountain along the La Luz Trail.

My only workout this week was on Wednesday, and that was a nice little track session with some of the guys. After that track workout, I seemed to gain a little more confidence in my training, as well as my speed. I know there are only about 68 days left and I have enough time to be race ready, but I need to be in 2:17 shape for all this to pay off. It can be defeating just thinking about a time, which is why I enjoy feeling stronger and faster throughout this marathon segment. Things are going in the right direction. 

La Luz Trail Race

The Guys at the Start. You can almost see the finish - it's at the top...
As an annual sacrifice to the mountain running Gods, I force myself up the Sandias in the La Luz Trail Race. This year, I finished 3rd overall, which was great compared to last years awful 26th place finish - granted that was the furthest I ran post stress fracture. So, this years race was much better in comparison. I started off kinda quick going up the road in 3rd place, but then got passed by Sal and another dude. Once we hit the trailhead and after a few switchbacks, I got passed by Solomon and another dude. I actually felt pretty good, so I stayed with them until the second water station. At that point, I got my second wind and passed Solomon and left those guys. I believe I was in 5th place at that point and slowly caught one more guy and then Sal just before the rock slide. Now, the rock slide sucks, so I probably lost some time going through that segment, but whatever. Once you get to the staircase; and all the cheering dukes, the finish is within reach. I was hoping to get a pr on that course, but a 3rd place finish and second fastest time for me was good enough, and a good sign to me how I'm getting stronger compared to other attempts at this dreadful race.

Up, Up, Up, The Staircase

Dukes that Ran

Our amazing Team!!!

Week 5 Training

Mon - am. 11 miles
Tues - pm. 9 miles
Wed - am. 4x1000m + 4x400m w/200m jog recovery 1000m's(3:08, 3:04, 3:06, 3:05) 400's (69, 68, 68, 65) Total: 9 miles / pm. 6 miles
Thur - am 10.5 miles / pm. 9 miles
Fri - am. 11 miles
Sat - Off
Sun - am. La Luz Trail Run. 9 miles 1:32:55.  Total w/warm-up & cool down: 13 miles

Total: 78.5 miles

I need to be running more!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Week 4 of Marathon Training

Another solid week in the log. After all that traveling last week, this week felt great. It's always a good feeling to be back in a routine and sleeping in your own bed. 

As for training, I felt that things are starting to pick up, and that my fitness is slowly coming around. I had two workouts this week; one tempo run on Wednesday, and a long run workout on Sunday. That Sunday run was a little intimidating at first, and I was really nervous beforehand. It was another Jack Daniels workout, but it was a pretty big one, with longer bouts of recovery, which to me can be difficult since we'll be on our feet for so long. Nevertheless, it went well. And it was great to have so many guys at this past Sundays long run. 

So if you're wondering what torturous workouts I did, here they are: Wednesday was a 3 mile, 2 mile & 1 mile tempo repeat. Sunday's long run was a 4 mile warm-up followed by 2 mile tempo, 3 mile tempo, 2 mile tempo & 1 mile tempo with 1 mile recovery in between. Interesting and tough! Well, it went well and the week was great! Onward to the next week. 

Week 4
Monday - 11 miles
Tuesday - 12 miles
Wednesday - am.w/u 2.5 miles (5:21, 5:28, 5:25) (5:28, 5:21) (5:15) c/d 3.5 miles. Pm. 6 miles. Total: 18 miles
Thursday - off
Friday - am. 11 miles pm. 6 miles
Saturday - am. 11.5 miles
Sunday - 4 easy, (5:28, 5:24) 1 mile easy, (5:25, 5:25, 5:27) 1 mile easy (5:21, 5:28) 1 mile easy (5:18) 5 cool down. Total: 20 miles

Total: 89.5 miles

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week 2 & 3 of Training

After writing my first version of this post, and finding it erased/not saved, I'll make these last 2 weeks short and quick. 

Week 2 was just shy of my 100 mile goal by 2 miles. I was happy to get some quality workouts in, but my paces are no where near where I would like them to be. I know it's a "long process" and consistancy is key. But after not really having any solid training under my belt in the last year, it's going to be a hard reality. I feel that my body needs to get toned down again, and much stronger. I don't really have much time, so I'm not going to squander any of it fooling around until after Chicago. Which probably means, a huge limit on my delicious beer consumption. That makes my taste buds sad. 

Week 3 was ok. I spent a lot of time driving. 1725 miles from Wednesday to Sunday. My first priority was to get Arlene to Las Vegas, NV. After that I got to spend some time in Flagstaff, AZ with my buddy Nick (Mr. 2:11 Marathoner) and his wife. I loved my time in Flagstaff. The thin air, trails, and people make that town a haven for running. Nick also convinced me to race a 7 mile road race - granted it was all up hill. The Snowbowl Hill Climb was a great race to get your ass kicked in. I believe you start at 6800' and climb to 9300'. It sucked, but was awesome at the same time. After that race on Sunday, Arlene and I drove back to rainy Albuquerque. 

I know I have to be patient with my training and just stay the course as Chicago is on the horizon. Besides, it sure feels good to be training hard, but now I just gotta train harder. 

Week 2
2 workouts
Tue - 8x1000m 3:11 avg. 
Sat - 4 easy, 2x2 miles (5:28, 5:40) (5:28, 5:25), 7 easy 2 mile tempo (5:32, 5:42), 1 mile easy. Total: 18 miles
Week Total: 98 miles

Week 3
1 workout, 1 "race"
Tue - 4x2 miles w/2 min rec. (5:33, 5:28) (5:28, 5:25) (5:28, 5:42) (5:32, 5:23)
Sun - 7 mile hill climb
Week Total: 73 miles

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Post Wedding Training - Week 1 of Marathon Training 1

Now that Arlene and I tied the knot, it's time to start focusing on the Chicago Marathon, which is in 13 weeks from today...

Bring on the Miles!
What we did all week...
I have a lot of catching up to do, since after the wedding, Arlene and I only ran a whopping 8 miles over the course of 8 days, and no we didn't run 1 mile a day, it was more like only two days of running.  So because of that, last week was a tough one.  I planned on doing a big workout on Wednesday, but that turned into an epic fail.  I rallied the rest of the week and had a decent long run workout on sunday with the guys; granted, I died the last 2 miles and crawled in, but it was worth it.

This weeks focus is to get the miles back under me and finally hit that "hundo" mark, and keep building from there.  I don't have a whole lot of time, so everyday is important.  I don't want to be in the same situation I was in all fall and spring.  Summer is where it's at, and as a summer theme song, I'll have to refer to Maroon 5's song of, "This Summer's gonna hurt like a mother******"

Week 1

Mon - 3.5 miles in La Jolla (Our last day of our honeymoon)
Tue - 9 miles
Wed - 6 miles w/u 3x1 mile (5:30, 5:27, 5:42) 2 mile c/d
Thur - am. 11 miles. pm. 6 miles total: 17 miles
Fri - am. 9 miles
Sat - am. 11 miles. pm. 5 miles
Sun - 4 miles easy, 4x1 mile w/1min jog (5:44, 5:32, 5:26, 5:10) 8 miles easy. total: 18 miles

Total: 83.5 miles

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Getting Back Into Rhythm

After a wonderful school year and countless hours spent thinking about a wonderful wedding, it was time for me to get back into "real" training.  I needed to decide on a marathon that I will do this fall, and come up with a training plan for that race.  And since the window to qualify for the Olympic Trials is slowly closing, I've decided on the Chicago Marathon in October.  I believe there will be a ton of guys looking to run the standard, and that race gives me roughly 4 months of training from after the wedding.

As soon as school got out, I finally got the motivation and energy to build up the miles again.  If I can recall, I was only running about 40 miles per week since the beginning of the year, and hadn't wrote a single mile in my running journal since my stress fractures in March of 2014.  So, I need to get back into a routine and get my act together!  I finally logged some miles in my journal at the end of April to keep myself accountable, and to my surprise, my mileage only stuck around 40/week.  But with school over, things are looking brighter.

I need to keep posting on this blog as well, so this will be the first of many weeks leading up to Chicago, and an OTQ time.  Also, after racing the Rock 'n Roll San Diego half marathon last Sunday, I now have a pretty accurate account of my fitness and where I should be training... (slow), but it's a start.  And in case you're wondering, I ran 1:10:54.  One of my slowest half marathons ever!  It sure is a kick in the ass, and now I have zero excuses to get back out there and train my brains out!

Racing outta shape, and too cheap to buy the photos...
With the Fiance at the finish!
Week 1 of marathon training:

Mon - drove back to ABQ
Tue - pm. 10 miles
Wed - am. 7 miles / pm. 9 miles
Thur - am. 4 miles / pm. 11 miles (bonked in the heat)
Fri - am. 6x1 mile w/3min rest (5:36, 5:30, 5:34, 5:25, 5:26, 5:23) 10 total
Sat - am. 12 miles in the foothills
Sun - am. 18 miles

Total: 81 miles

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mountain to Fountain 15k

When people ask me how this race went, I have 2 scenarios that run through my head.  One, is that the race was ok for me and a starting point to see where I was in my awful training leading up to this point.  That awful training was about 10 days off, due to bronchitis, and very minimal running.  The second response would be simple - the race sucked and I sucked!

Well, it wasn't a complete failure of a weekend.  I enjoyed the road trip to Phoenix, and got to see some old friends in the race.  More importantly; as Arlene would say, I needed to get my hands bloody.  When translated, meant, I needed to get murdered out there to really know where I am at, and what I need to do from this point onward.

So what do I need to do?  Well, for starters I need to be running a lot more.  With spring in the air, I think that will be comforting since I was a little dormant this winter.  I need to race more and set my sights on getting faster again so I can handle the marathon training leading up to Chicago in the Fall.  I need to log my mileage again.  This is the first time in over a decade that I actually don't have a physical running journal to log my miles and thoughts.  Lately, I've just been plugging in the miles in my phone.  That could work, but I need a place to be accountable - this blog can even help too.  So heres to another week of training.  And in case anyone wanted to know how the 15k went, it was awful and the results speak for themselves...

Week of March 2

Monday - 6 miles
Tuesday - 6 miles
Wednesday - 2 mile warm up 4x400m w/200m jog recovery. 71 average. 3 mile cool down.
Total: 6 miles
Thursday - 0 miles
Friday - 0 miles
Saturday - 6 miles
Sunday - 3 mile warm up. M2F15k (5:21, 10:31, 5:22, 5:28, 5:29, 6:22, 5:55, 5:41, 1:38) 2 mile c/d.
Total: 14 miles

Week Total: 38 miles

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A long awaited post of the past and the present

Like many of my old posts, I usually start off with my favorite choice of phrases; "well, it's been a long time since my last post..."  And since it has been a long time, I guess I could sum up what has happened since that glorious day at Mt. Taylor.

After that ultra marathon, I attempted to get into shape and hit the roads.  I set my sights on the Rock and Roll San Antonio half marathon, which didn't go too well, but well enough for the shape I was actually in.  I would use that lousy time as a benchmark as to where I was at and what I needed to do leading up to another important race - USA Cross Country Championships.  From December till February, that seemed like plenty of time to get ready and get in good shape for my favorite event.  Cross Country is something that I pride myself at being good at, and a place where I love to grind.  And since it was coming up very quickly, I should've been training very hard for.  Unfortunately, I was struggling to get the workouts needed, and made a last minute decision to not race.  That decision made a lot of my teammates concerned and worried.  Hell, it made me worried why I didn't prepare myself for the 2 months leading to that race... Needless to say, I wasn't in shape and didn't want to run in a race that I always look forward to.  A race where I can usually grind it out with the best of them.  Instead, I chickened out and kept my scalp attached for another day.

That other day is coming around the corner.  And regardless of sickness or however "outta shape" I may think I am; I will be racing a 15k at the Mountain to Fountain 15k in Arizona.  This will be another "test" or "benchmark" of my already well known fact of where my fitness is.  And when this race is over, I can finally set my sights to everyday training.

I think I lost a bit of that get-up-and-go mentality over the last few months and after the idea I being healed from my stress fractures.  Someone told me that it would take almost a year to fully get over my injury, and after spring break, it will be a year since I got diagnosed with 3 stress fractures.  Since that year, I either lost something or became overly worried about something.  And if I don't put in the correct training and attempt making the Olympic Trials in the Marathon, I will just be, "a has been."  That is something I do not want to be labeled as, so something has to change.

First off, I have to be 100% healthy and ready to put in the work.  I need to know that I am capable of logging in the volume and intensity without any major setbacks.  At this point, my fractures are more than healed, so all that's left are minor ailments or any sickness that old man winter has in store for me.  After that, it's train, train, train.  Day in and day out!

I'm very excited to run another road race next month.  I am also excited that I am motivated to race a track race this spring and take a shot at a fast half marathon before our wedding!  And after the honeymoon... (cue the sexy music) all my focus will be lasered in on the Chicago Marathon and a sub 2:18 Olympic Trials Standard.