Sunday, August 21, 2016

Time for a little training update w/e 8-21-16

 Well, it has been 5 weeks since my last update and three weeks since my mile race report so here is a little update on what is going on.

 It's hot and muggy, thats what. Ok it is summer in NC. This year I am really happy that there is no pressure to run a lot of miles so I'm not beating myself up just to see big weekly numbers. As it gets a bit cooler and less humid I have plenty of time to ramp up the mileage for Fall and Winter racing plans.

 After the mile race last month I have'nt done anymore speedwork. I felt it was time to take a break after 8 weeks in a row of alternating a week of speed and a mile race. I am learning something new !

 So most of the running has been at a slow, easy pace but I have tried to add some more hills into the mix and less greenway to get ready for The Virginia 10 miler and its brutally hilly course next month.

 The past 5 weeks have been 16, 13, 25, 24 and 13 miles, way off my normal but I'm not sweating it. Just when I'm out in it !

 Otherwise during that time period I have been to 21 yoga classes, yeah 4 times a week ! I've only made it to the gym only 4 times for weights but I've done 27 other workouts of tibetans, body weight, core and boxing stuff so I'm feeling fit, strong and healthy.

 Speaking of healthy I finally got a physical a few weeks ago and the report is I'm heathier than the majority of people half my age so something is working !

 Stay tuned for more exciting news soon. I'm looking forward to getting in more mileage soon and I have my last mile race, this one on the roads again in just 3 weeks. Can't wait !

Sunday, July 31, 2016

6:31 mile or turning back the clock 17 years

This was going to be my last opportunity to race a mile on the track this year in my quest to beat my time of 6:32 from way back in 1999 and I was about to bail on it. With the heat wave of 90F + days and high humidity I was doubting there was even the slightest possibility it was going to happen so why bother taking the time to drive to Chapel Hill to suffer for nothing? But, hey I love this stuff so I just decided to go and give it my best anyway.

  When I arrived at the track it was still about 90 and the sun was bearing down during my warmup. I could barely breathe in the thick air. I checked the weather and the humidity had climbed back to 81% and with the dewpoint of 79 lets just say it was miserable. I wet my head to cool off as much as I could and then went back on the track for a few strides just before the gun. Thankfully a cloud covered the track just minutes before the start taking some of the edge off the heat.

   I just tried to relax as the gun went off hoping to keep the first lap around 1:37 but I doubted that was even possible in these conditions. I had a bit of trouble getting around a slower runner in the first curve but as soon as I did I had open track ahead of me but tried not to push it and try to make up any time lost. As I approached the first 400 I was expecting to be slow, around 1:40 so when I heard 1:34 I was very surprised. Could this really be the night?

 I settled in just trying to maintain on lap two but it was so hot and I was breathing so hard and already my legs were getting heavy. I was thrilled to hit 800 in 3:12, a 1:38 split time for the 400. This was exactly the time I had gone through 800 in the Pop up mile in much better conditions. I had a good cushion but would I fall apart this time?

 Lap 3 once again proved to be the slowest in 1:42 but 4:54  for 1200 and I  still had a shot if I could just hang on. The problem was I felt like dying and just packing it in but there was no way I could do that. Only a quarter mile of hurting to go. I was going for it or they would have to scrape me off the track. With 150 meters to go I just thought back to my workout the week before when I was able to relax and somehow find a little more speed. But was it enough? Then miraculously  with 50 meters more I somehow dredged up a kick and crossed the line in 6:31 ! Somehow under these awful conditions I was able to run the last lap in 1:37.  A few gasp and then a celebration ! I then  went straight to my phone to message the results to Laura who was eagerly awaiting the news since she couldn't make it to watch.

  I couldn't be any happier with the results, especially under these conditions. For years I was even afraid to try and race an all out mile because of the risk of injury but all summer with the speedwork and now 4 mile races my legs and hips feel stronger than they have in years.  And I really feel I have a lot more speed in this old body but no more track this year. Now, I look forward to building on this as I get ready for some Fall road racing again ! But no Ultras !

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

6 months of Bikram Yoga

This is a posting I would not have imagined I would ever be writing if you had asked me a little over 6 months ago. but, if there is one thing that is certain in this life it is change. Some are positive some are negative. Some are by choice and others times change blindsides you. I am happy to say this one was by choice and definitely has been a positive.

 About a year ago Laura began taking classes and fell in love with it. Everyday I would see here posting about it and it soon became obvious that she was committed to it and showing the same hard work and dedication that she puts into everything. Still, I had no desire to join in. I had dabbled in some yoga over the years , first being introduced to it while in high school. Although I have always been a believer in the benefits I just never was able to be consistent with it and would soon loose interest.   As far as hot yoga, I really had no interest in that. I took one hot flow class about three years ago and that was more than enough for me.

  Laura continued to go on a daily basis and practice more at home and I was amazed to see how rapidly she was improving. So after many invitations to join her I finally agreed to give it a shot on January 7th after once again having to take time off from running due to another hip issue.

  My goal for that first class was to just stay in the room for the full 90 minutes without passing out in the heat. Most classes are at least 105F and I think everyone knows I hate being hot !

 That first class was tough but I made it through and felt quite a sense of accomplishment. Everyone was encouraging and Laura was raving about how well I did. She is so nice to me like that.  It was obvious to me that I had a whole world of improvement to make but strangely enough I enjoyed it enough to go back for more. After all , I couldn't run so I may as well get in a workout and enjoy some time with Laura since we couldn't run together.

 I was able to make it to quite a few classes over the next two weeks trial period and by then I was committed to sticking with it as I was already beginning to notice some positive changes.  After the first month the new challenge became how to keep up a regular practice while returning to running again.  No matter what, running is and will always be my top priority for my workout time.

  Fortunately with a flexible schedule I have been able to maintain both while making it to at least 3 or 4 classes a week and my running has continued to improve. As long as I stay on top of hydration the yoga is a all a positive.

 One of the first benefits I noticed once I began was a slight increase in my stride and my feet were getting stronger. I used to have some soreness and tightness in the hip flexors but that is now non-existent. I have certainly see some increases in flexibility in some areas but I have so far to go. After 40 years of running and spending nearly 2 million miles driving during that time this old body was in need of some work !

 I think the biggest benefit though has been with my posture and the strength in my spine and  back. although I didn't have the worst posture in the world I certainly needed some work done. since I became aware of it I had done some exercises that did make some improvements but i still had to think about it or I would be slumping again. and then about 2 months ago I noticed  that it just felt natural now to be standing up straight. It's just there now and locked in. I have had several people say that I look taller. I can assure you I have not grown but with my stronger spine and core I am using my full height.

 I have progressed quite a bit with some of the postures but in others I sometimes wonder if I will ever get any better but then just when I start to get discouraged, a small breakthrough will occur.
 I hope and plan to continue for many years to come.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Track Mile and a training update W/E 7-17-16

 Still having fun training and racing in the summer. I'm not piling up the miles in the heat as in years past but thats ok because I'm enjoying what I am doing now and things continue to go well.

 I began the week with easy 4 miles and then got in a Hot Yoga class and finished up the day with the Tibetans Rites and body weight routine.


 Got in a very slow humid 6 miles at home and tried to rest as much as possible while getting work done.


 In the morning I got in a short weight workout. I didn't want to do too much with the track meet in the evening. The race went pretty well. It was hot but I still ran well, with better pacing. Just missed beating my time from two weeks ago by 2 seconds even with the heat and a congested last lap where I had to weave around at least 20 lapped runners. 6:37. If things go as planned I will have one more race to try and get the 6:30 I want.


I got in a great yoga class with some nice improvements and then decided to run on the way home from work in the afternoon. It was a hot one, 96F but I felt ok and ran a decent 4 miles.


No time for much of anything but I was able to do the tibetans during a slowdown at work.


 Finally able to get in a yoga workout with Laura. We had fun as usual slinging sweat. I went for an easy muggy 4 miles before heading in to work.


 Finished the week strong with another yoga class with Laura, free weights at the gym and then tibetans at home after work.

 So that was 21 miles for the week, four  Bikram Yoga classes, two weight sessions at the gym, 3 days of tibetans and one body weight day.

Monday, July 11, 2016

It's been two weeks so time for another training update

 Week Ending 7-2-16

 Started off this week with another rest day mainly because i was planning to race on the track on Tuesday.

Tuesday I rested as much as possible and then ran the track race which I reported on this blog.

 Wednesday morning I got in a good 5 miles at home and then did the Tibetan Rites after work.

 Thursday was a good day. Another good 5 miles at home and then finally made it back to Yoga. then after work I did the Tibetans and added in my body weight stuff which I have not been doing enough of the past few weeks.

 Friday I went for a 10 miler but it was so muggy and I never felt very good. Feeling the heat and just worn  down. did my Tibetans after work again.

 Saturday I was able to share a good Yoga class with Laura and then Tibetans again in the evening.

 Sunday I was happy to have another great Yoga class with laura and then afterwards i went for an easy slow hot and humid 4 miles. more tibetans in the evening.

 So I ended up with just 26 miles for the week but mostly good stuff with the race.  got the tibetans done 5 days,  3 bikram Yoga classes and 1 body weight session.

 Week Ending 7-10-16

 Started off the week with a god run at home. Great to finally feel good after several yucky runs. Even did some strides. did the tibetans and body weight after work.

 Tuesday morning I had a good 4 miles at home and then had a good yoga class. After work i did the Tibetans and banged away on the  boxing bags. It was great to finally get back into that.

 Wednesday morning was track day. already upper70's sunny and near 100% humid but i was able to get in a great workout matching my splits form previous track days despite the conditions. A good confidence boost. In the evening was more body Weight and Tibetans.

 Thursday  I got in a good yoga class and had fun with Laura.  easy day at work so i came home and did the Tibetans and more boxing. Then I joined n for the first time in over a year with the NCRC social. Got in a good 3 miles with Mike Walsh.

 Friday I planned on running 10 but felt blah and shut it down after 7. Decided I didn;t feel like doing anything else but restiing after work.

 Saturday I took a rest day from running but got in a good body weight, tibetans and boxing workout in the afternoon.

 Sunday I made it back to Yoga and then got in a good 4 miler in the heat after work. Mostly easy but decided to test myself on a segement Laura created for us when we first began to run together. I hadn't tried to go fast  on it since last December with her so I was very happy to beat my best by 6 seconds in the heat.

 Ended up with 29 miles for the week plus  5 days of tibetans, 3 body weight and  3 boxing.

 I mustsay  am pretty happy with the way things are going right now and glad to be getting back some consistency with the body weight stuff 

Monday, July 04, 2016

Looking forward to the 2nd half of 2016

  Not too much has changed with my plans since the first of the year but I have pretty much finalized the racing schedule.

  Well a bit of a change is coming this weekend. I had signed up and was looking forward to a trip to New York and the Utica Boilermaker 15k. I really hate to miss it but life has gotten in the way of that happening this year. But as I posted in January, I am looking forward to getting on the track some over the summer. Right now I am hoping to get to at least one and maybe two of the Carolina Godiva TC all comers summer series this month.


  Still nothing  on the calender for this month. It just depends on if I find a 5k close by but right now I'm leaning towards no races.


 In keeping with the speed theme for the summer, I have entered the Oak City Mile on the 11th. I hope to build on the work done on the track this summer and take a shot at the podium but I expect some tough competion for that one.
  And one I am really looking forward to is the Virgina 10 Miler on the 28th in Lynchburg. Back in the day this was my favorite race on a very challenging course but it has been about 15 years since I have been. Just hope to run strong and if I can make the podium I would be thrilled.


 Just one race this month, The Octoberfest 8k in downtown Raleigh. I've never done this one mainly because of ultras and or marathons but this is the year.


 It seems odd not to say I am running the Derby 50k after a 12 year streak but no ultras this year. Not even Derby. But I am returning to OBX for the 8th time but no marathon. Nope this year I am dropping down to the Half and focusing on running my best in years and getting on the podium there. sure hope we get good weather !


 And then I finish off the year with a trip to the Kiawah Island Marathon and hope to get a strong BQ.

 Well thats it. Right now the body is holding up well and enjoying the faster paced speedwork. I think if I can just keep playing it smart I can achieve the remaing goals I have for this year as part of the master plan.

 Stay tuned !

Friday, July 01, 2016

Lets review the first 6 months of 2016

 Looking back at my forecast for the year I posted  in early January I have to say things are going a lot better than I thought they would at this point and there were a few surprises along the way.

 As you who read this stuff know, I was out with an injury for almost all of January which was really putting a damper on my upcoming plans and I was a bit frustrated. I am quite happy to say that I am pleased with my current condition and feeling a bit more optimistic going into the 2nd half of the year. More on that soon but now lets look back.


No running and I had to cancel plans to return to Ocean Isle Beach. The one good thing is that with no running I finally found time to join Laura for a Bikram Yoga class. Turned out to be a great thing and I am still going regularly. More on that soon also.


I was able to start back running but not much training. Just trying to get in miles and stay healthy


 I was really hoping to crush this one at the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon but with the lack of training my new goal was to get in a solid workout. And then Friday before the race I wake up with 102F fever and an upper respiratory infection. With ibuprofen and an inhaler I got the fever down and decided to go ahead and give the race a shot. Probably a big mistake. Somehow I ran a very respectable 1:50 half marathon but I hurt so bad afterwards. Felt like a truck was parked on my chest.

 Two weeks later it was time for the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon. I was off the antibiotics a few  and the breathing was about normal but only a few miles since MB. Wow, the race went great ! I felt fine and dropped my time down to 1:47:53 and placed 2nd in my age group in a large race.


 Time for Boston. Went in way under trained but made the most of it. Went, enjoyed the experience and ran better than I should have expected in 4:12.


 I had nothing at all on the calender after Boston other than the idea I wanted to run some shorter stuff through the summer including maybe some track races. I had always thought the Medoc Spring Race sounded like fun so I decided this was the year. Despite practically no single track running in a year I had a very strong run and placed 33rd and got one of the hats that only go to the top 50 finishers.

 Two weeks later I was running for the RRCA State Championship at the NCRC Classic 10k. A great day where everything just clicked. I ran 47:42, my fastest 10k in probably 25 years and won the Senior Grandmaster Award !


 Only a couple of weeks before I entered the Rocky Mount Mills 5k. A miserably hot and humid day but I ran well and got a 2nd place age group award in 23:03. Gave me confidence I could run faster very soon with some decent weather 

 2 weeks later was an event I had just decided soounded like fun, The Raleigh RunDown Downhill Mile. I wanted to race some miles on the track but this seemed like a good time. Had an awesome race. With the assist from gravity and good weather I crushed a 6:04 !

 I ended up the month with my first track race in 17years.  A good experience just missing my goal by 3 seconds. With better pacing I feel confident I can get below 6:30.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sir Walter Pop Up Mile

 One of the things I was looking forward to this year was getting back on the track for some racing, something I haven't done since 1999. In my post on looking ahead back at the first of the year, one things I didn't mention is that one of my goals is to beat the time I ran in that last race which was 6:32.  Pretty audacious to think I could do that at age 60 but I have always felt like if I worked on my speed it was within reach. Running that 6:04 in the down hill mile two weeks ago was a real confidence boost but I know it was going to be a lot harder on the track.

 So finally the day arrived and I was very excited but a bit nervous. I arrived at the track and was happy to see quite a lot of friends and familiar faces as I began my warmup. It was very cool that Kris Vegh, a former co worker and NC State runner caught up to me and slowed down to run some with me.

 Just as I finished a mile I saw that my cheer quad, Laura and her 3 kids had arrived as promised. This was going to be great !. I got some water and talked to a few people and then it was time for a few strides and make my way to the start. Wow this was all happening so quickly. I lined up  a few feet behind the young and faster crowd and then we were off.

the start

 I really didn't want to go out too fast but it was hard not to with the adrenaline flowing and trying to make sure I was able to get into position along the inside lane. Isabella was positioned around the middle of the backstretch cheering so I waved and then I got to the 200m mark and , whoa this is quick ! But I felt good and kept going. Julian was in the middle of the curve and I waved to him. I was hearing quit a few people calling out my name and cheering. There were a lot from the running community and it seemed like a very large group of present and former co workers from Capital Run Walk, most of whom ran for NCSU or area high schools. This was great !

  I came into the first lap and saw Laura and Sophia there and then I saw the clock. 1:31 for the 1st 400 m. Way too fast  ! I really needed to be more around 1:36- 1:37 but I was on the same pace as the downhill mile ! This was going to really hurt. 

  I tried to back off a little  and that was easy  ! By now I was already working hard and having doubts. I could still hear the cheers but I was focused dead ahead on the track  trying to hold on. Lap two was a 1:40, or 3:11 for 800. I heard Laura call out I was still on pace for about 6:24.  Only 800 to go but I was working so hard. I tried to do the math and I knew I had a shot but I couldn't slow down at all. Lap 3 has always seemed the hardest and tonight was no different. My body was screaming at me to slow down but I was trying to just hang on.

lap 3
  I could feel the power leaving my legs so I had to back off just a hair.  Oh, that lap seemed to take forever ! Got to lap three and my split was 1:44. A bit disappointing with 4:55 for the 1200. I heard Laura yell out make it hurt. LOL I had already done that ! But I just had to hurt for one more lap. And it did. It would have been so easy to back  it down and just say I didn't have it in me today but I couldn't do it. Not and let myself down and not for my support team so I just pushed on.

 I could hear Bella yelling and then out of the corner of my eye saw her turn and make a dash toward the finish line. Just go  !  And then with about 120 meters to go I  began to go as hard as I could. So many cheers but it was all tunnel vision and pain, focused straight ahead. I began to tie up with about 30 meters to go but just dug deep and hit the line in 6:35. The cheer squad was waiting for me but all I could do was gasp and make death noises while Laura was telling me how awesome it was . I felt like collapsing in a heap but thankfully no dry heaving and I quickly recovered. I had picked it back up to 1:40 for that last lap.

flying into the finish

 It only took a moment to get over the disappointment and feel happy, proud and excited with what just happened. I came so close missing my goal by just 3 seconds in my 1st track race since 1999 ! When I was 43 years old !!  And thats after just 3 speed workouts. I really feel like now that with a bit better pacing and more experience I can get below 6:30. How far below remains to be seen.

most awesome cheer squad and friend

 Stay Tuned  ! 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

How about a training update for the past two week ending 6-26-16?

 I had started off the week with my 2nd track workout . It went quite well with all my splits a little better than the week before plus I did a couple of 400's and was very consistent. That gave me a lot of confidence for the upcoming race on Friday night.

 There really wasnt too much more running that week because of tapering a bit for the race and I only ended up with 16 miles total for the week. I was able to make it to 3 Bikram Yoga classes, once to the gym for weights and I did body weight twice and 4 days of the tibetans so it was overall a good week. and of course as I shared in the report I had a great run in 6:04 and first senior grandmaster.

 This past week has gone well also. Started out with a solid 10 miler on Monday, another great track workout on Wednesday with some 800's along with the 200 and 400's. I got in 3 more good runs all at a strong pace and easy effort so very pleased with that. Total for the week was 31 miles. Not really concerned right now with getting more mileage with the shorter faster races.

 And another good cross training week with 4 Bikram yoga classes, 5 days of tibetans, one body weight and one trip to the gym for weights.

 Looking ahead, if things go as planned I will be racing a mile on the track this coming Tuesday. If so it will be my first track race since 1999 and I hope to beat the 6:32 I ran then. No nice downhill advantage this time !

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Raleigh RunDown Downhill Mile

     Since I was planning on running some shorter races and maybe get on the track this summer,  this first time race looked like something fun to do so I added it to the calender.  I haven't really had much time to prepare with any speededwork but I got in two pretty good track sessions the past couple of weeks that went well so I was really getting excited as race day approached. Not having raced a mile since 1999 I was a little anxious and with the downhill I really didn't know what to expect other than the strain of racing nearly all out for 6+ minutes. My last  mile race in 1999 was a 6:32 and I was hoping to beat that and had a goal of maybe 6:25 and a  6:20 would just be awesome.

  I arrived early and was happy to see that it was going to be a cool 70f, overcast and a slight tailwind. Really couldn't ask for  better conditions ! I chatted with a few friends while I waited for my training partner Laura to show up. She seemed as excited as I was and was bringing all 3 kids to be my cheering squad.  As soon as they arrived I headed out to do my usual warmup routine while they headed out onto the course. The womens race was at 7 and then we men would go at 7:20. I watched the women start and then headed out for some last minute strides.

  As I lined up with the 81 other competitors I was gettting a bit nervous.This is going to hurt !
 I know most of these guys are ones that specialize in the faster stuff and I really don't want to get caught up in going out too fast. There doesn't appear to be too many in my age group but looks can be deceiving. I only recognize one that I have competed against but I am not sure if he has turn 60 yet.

 So this is what goes on in my mind. After the false start that is ! Yep, the gun malfunctioned.

 Boom, and we're off. Get up to speed. Wow, everyone is going out fast ! Don't go crazy.  There goes Tim. Well unless he falls down or crashes hard I'm not going to beat him. Hope he isn't 60 yet. 100 meters and I glance at the garmin. Whoa, 5:15 pace? Doesn't feel that fast and I know its not reliable for current pace but I decide to back off just a little.

  It seems like no time and I can hear Isabella screaming go Joey from the 1/4 mile mark well before I get there. I am so happy to have her there and as I aproach the mark I give her a wave and then hear the split, 1:29. Woohoo, this is great, I'm feeling pretty good and well ahead of my goal. Bella takes off running along the side walk still screaming go Joey go. I glance over and she just keeps running along and cheering. This is awesome.

 I'm on cruise control now and settled into a pace I am hoping I can hold and in what seems no time there is Laura and Sophia up ahead cheering for me. I am smiling inside and I wave and see Laura is snapping pictures of course. As I passed the half mile split in 2:58, I  think I tried to yell out sub 6 to her but I'm not really sure if the words came out between the hard breathing.

 And just as I remember, the 3rd 400 is the hardest for me to hold pace. Halfway home but the effort is getting harder and harder. I concentrate on just trying to maintain while fighting off the fears of tying up or crashing. No, I'm going to do this ! Just go. I finally approach the 3/4 mark and I see Julian up ahead cheering me on. The visual I have at this point is that he seems to be uphill ! I see Jon Odgers just past him but I am trying to figure out where the split marker is and who is the one calling out times. Finally I hear a guy calling times and it looks like about 4:32.  Slowing down and that miracle sub 6 is gone.

 But only a qtr mile to go so dig deep ! I see Tim up ahead. No way I can catch him. But wait, I think I have closed the gap a little ! Go, but wait, less than a qtr to go there is no way I'm catching up but just go hard anyway ! I round the curve and I can  see the finish and I get tunnel vision. I keep hearing voices calling my name but I don't know who they are. I'm just focusing on that finish and going as hard as I can. I glance  at my watch. Nope, no sub 6 but then 50 yards later I see the official clock and for a brief moment I think if I can sprint I got it. But no, just a little too far but it doesn't matter ! I am crushing my goal ! I strain for every second and I hear footsteps behind me but I just push harder and there it is ! 6:04 !!!

 I glance back and the footsteps I heard just happened to be the guy I suspected was in my age group  just 3 seconds back and he immediately comes over to congratulate me.

 As Louise Guardino mentioned in the report I was so happy I was dancing. After I quit gasping that is.   I hang around for a few minutes talkng with friends and then begin jogging back up the course to find Laura and kids. They are all excited and she is dying to hear the time. Quite a few people have be telling her I went 6:0X and I am just grinning so hard as I tell her.

 It wasn't later until I was at the awards that I found out I did indeed win the 1st place Senior Grandmaster award. Turns out it was just me and the guy 3 seconds back in our division !
 I couldnt be any happier with the results and that the body held togethern in this all out effort. And it was so wonderful having my #1 cheering squad there for me.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

More training fun and heat w/e 6-12-16

 Not quite officially summer yet but it is sure feeling like it !

 The all out effort at the 5k left my legs a little tired and stiff but I got in some easy miles at home on Monday.

  Took a break on Tuesday  and then Wednesday morning I got to the track in the morning for some real speedwork. It was warm but the humidity was lower and a little breeze helped. I did 3 sets of 4 x 200 with 200 recoveries and 2 minutes between sets. Really happy with the workout. I hit the paces I wanted with no problem and was pretty consistent from start to finish. I wanted to try and ease into it slowly with 7 mp down to 6:30 but the first one was about 6:32 pace so I just went with it. They all ranged from 6:36 down to 6:16 pace ! Very happy at this point in the training.

  Thursday was a run on the greenway in the upper 80's but some shade and low humidity again made it bearable and the pace was about normal for an easy run.

 I was going to rest again on Friday but found time and decided to hit Umstead. 88F but once again not overly humid and mosty shade and my pace was really strong. Only problem was I was already dehydrated from yoga a few hours earlier and I probably sweated out another couple of pounds.

 So on my Saturday attempt at a longer run I was feeling the effects of cumalitive dehydration and the humidity was back on a very warm morning and I crashed at mile 7 and walked it in.

 So no run on this 93F Sunday afternoon ! Ended up with just 29 miles for the week but some good quality until Saturday.

 In addition I did 4 Bikram hot yoga classes and I did the Tibetan Rites on 4 days.  A busy week with work and family obligations cut into my time so no trip to the gym or body weight stuff this week. Maybe next week. and I do have a race coming up next Friday night. Its a one mile downhill race ! Should be interesting and painful although the pain won't last long. I have not raced a mile since 1999 ! Stay tuned  !

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Rocky Mount Mills 5k and a little training update

  It's been two weeks since the 10k and now I was ready to drop down a bit further in distance and pick up the pace with my first 5k race since Feb 2015.

 This was going to be a flat fast course and I had hoped to be able to run sub 22 or at least get close to that but the weather had other ideas. With a late 9am start, plenty of sunshine, nearing 80F and with the moist air lingering with humidity near 100% it was not going to be conducive to fast running.

   With about 30 minutes until the start I did my usual warmup mile and was drenched. Drank some water and made my way to the starting area and did a few strides before lining up with 5 minutes to go.  Right on time we were sent off and I quickly fell into a long comfortable stride. I felt fine as we headed down a wide flat straightaway for about 3/10ths and then made a u-turn onto the pedestrian bridge leading onto the greenway. It got a little congested here and already some of the less experienced runners were slowing down quite a bit so I spent the next half mile or so carefully making my way around and trying not to slip on the slick as snot boardwalk at the beginning of the greenway.

 I was pleased but not surprised to hit the 1 mile in 6:57 but it wasn't long after that I began to feel the effects of the humidity and the course moved back out into the sun. I just kept digging trying to hold pace as much as possible on what seemed to be a very long mile 2 . The distance was right by the race sign and my garmin but it was just my deteriorating pace that made it seem that way. I had hoped to be around 7:15 but it was a disappoiniting 7:32 and my hopes of sub 22 were dashed and some quick mental calculations told me unless I was able to hold pace it would be close to go under 23.

 1/4 mile later and I was just hurting and it was so tempting to back off the effort but I just sucked it up and tried to hold on until about half mile to go and then I began to push it. By now I was making the death sounds scaring anyone around me. I actually expected mile 3 to be over 8mp but it was 7:42 and I still had a very long shot at breaking 23. I gave it all I could but come up short in 23:03 and instantly began dry heaving. Wow, these 5 k's hurt. But I recovered quickly and went to check the results before doing my cooldown. 29th overall out of 406 finishers and 2nd in the 60-64 age group. Not bad under these conditions and at this point in the training. I'm not sure when or where the next 5k may be but if I can get some better conditions sub 22 is happening !

 So, what about the training the past two weeks? Well after the 10k two weeks ago I took a rest day and then just easy running the rest of the week other than a fun fartlek run on Thursday. Just 30 miles for the week along with 4 Bikram Hot yoga classes, 2 weight sessions, one body weight day and I did the 5 Tibetan Rites all 7 days !

 The next week leading up to the race was again mostly easy running and it seemed everyday I ran was muggy and miserable. On Wednesday I went to the track for my first real start of some speedwork. I didn't want to do much or too fast so I just did 6 x 400 at avg around 7:30 pace which turned out to be just a bit slower than my 5k race pace.With the race I kept the mileage low and ended up with just 28 miles. In addition there were 4 more Bikram classes, 1 weights session and I got in 5 days of the Tibetan Rites.

 Looking ahead I hope to get in some good runs, more workouts and increase the speed a little. Next up is a downhill mile on June 17th. that should be interesting ! Stay Tuned

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Running Younger.

No, it's not really normal for someone that has trained and raced for nearly 39 years to actually be able to compete at age 60 with the results they were running 10 years earlier. But  I have been told I am not quite normal in many ways. So, how am I doing it?  I'm not quite sure I understand it myself but I have some ideas that I will share with you.

 For those of you that follow or know me then you are aware that this really began in mid to late 2012. After struggling to show any improvement for a couple of years I was  resigned to the fact that I was really getting slower and no more pr's were coming and I wouldn't ever touch the times from my early 50's. About that time I decided to make another attempt at qualifying for Boston which would require me to run another 5 minutes faster than I had two years earlier.

 I never was able to run that time due to some bad luck with weather and injuries but it was what set things in motion. With that training I was able to shatter my 50 mile pr in 2013 and then in 2014 I shattered my 100 mile pr and also ran my fastest half marathon since 2006 and my fastest 5k since the late 80's !

 Ok, so here is what is causing all this.

 Desire. Attitude. Confidence. Belief. Motivation.

 Before anything training wise would work I had to have an attitude adjustment. The desire was already there because after all these years I still love working hard, training , racing and competing. But now I had to put the hard work first. No excuses.

 Success breeds confidence and with each success I began to believe that anything was possible.

 Motivation? I  still don't even understand what it is exactly inside of me, something from my past that drives me but whatever it is I have learned to embrace it. Of course many outside factors stoke the fires inside even more but I'll keep them to myself.

 Ok, Joey, we get that but can you give us some more specifics in what changed ?

  Well, to start with almost 3.5 years ago I began to add body weight exercises and core work to my routine working up to 6 or 7 days a week for about 30 minutes a day. Soon after I began adding free weights a couple of times a week.

  I cut back on the amount of races, especially the ultras which allowed me to recover more fully and put  more into my quality workouts. Most days I run easy and don't concern mysef with pace but if I have a scheduled hard run it is going to hurt. Going back to belief for a second one of the biggest factors as I have said many times before was when I started running with Laura Frey. She believed  in me more than I did myself and pushed me harder than ever before and I learned so much and gained even more confidence. Even though it has been 5 months since we have been able to run together she still keeps me motivated to get the most out of my workouts.

   Less is more. Along with not as much racing I am not trying to pad my mileage just to be looking at big numbers in the logbook which keeps me fresh. And I don't overdo the speedwork. I have found that just doing a few pickups in the middle of some easy runs helps keep the legs ready to turnover when the time comes without wearing me down. When it is time for real speed work I am prepared.

  And finally Bikram Hot Yoga. Once again thanks to Laura, because I can say with 99.9% certainty that I would never have set foot in a Bikram studio the first time if not for her and seeing the results she was getting. I will probably post more about the yoga soon but for now I will say that my stride has gotten longer, my posture is very much improved and my breathing is stronger and more relaxed than ever after 5 months of regular practice.

 Any questions? Feel free to ask.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

NCRC Classic 10k and training update

 Well, something I'm doing  is definitely working. I don't run many 10ks and really there aren't too many around compared to other distances these days. It used to be the most popular distance in my younger days.

 In May 2009 I ran 49:37 and in May 2011 I ran 48:53. I was in really good shape both of those years but this weekend I ran 47:43 on a much tougher course .
  So how, at age 60 did I run faster than I did 7 years ago and 4 years ago? Ha ! Just a teaser. I'll post more on that in the near future.

 I was really looking forward to this one, my first 10k in 4 years and the first shorter road race of this new phase of my running and racing. I also was hoping to have a shot at the RRCA State Championship for Senior Grandmasters.

 For those of you that follow along you know my mileage has been about 2/3rds of normal, around 35 per week on average and no speed work this year other than a few strides and one unplanned tempo run.  I did get in some hill work but no hill repeats and I did two test runs on the course, one of which was 86F and humid.  Going in I would have been very happy if I could just break under 8mp average.

 So , on race morning it was about 60F at the start and near 100% humidity. Could have been worse. and at least the sun wasn't out ! I did my usual 1 mile warmup about 30 minutes before and then with 10 to go I did another couple of minutes slow with 4 pickups and made my way to the start.

 The race starts down a steep downhill for almost 1/2 mile so I was moving pretty fast even though I was holding back a little so I wouldn't beat my legs up too soon. After reaching the bridge over Crabtree Creek the course begins to climb. A bit steep for 1/4 mile and then the next 1.25 are a long gradual incline to the airport overlook which is the highest point in the park according to my topographic map.

 So anyway I feel ok on the hill and holding back. No need for oxygen debt in the 1st mile. I expected 8 minutes or a little slower but had 7:37 ! Whoa ! Game on !

 Just tried to hold steady effort over the next mile which I hit in 7:54 ! Wow, that is about the hardest mile on the course and I was still sub 8 and by now I am feeling great, in the zone and already confident that there would be no slowing down.  Mile 3 and I kept finding myself smiling. I made that split  in 7:31 and was thinking, I can run like this all day ! Woohoo.

 I held back just a little on mile 4  knowing that after that I would be mostly downhill for awhile and could really open it up. Mile 4 was 7:46 and then I put the hammer down. The next mile I have always called "Easy Street" because of the slight downgrade which is very conducive to faster running. And indeed it was. 7:17 ! And I still had another .75 of downhill before having to climb back up the monster at the end. I was near a couple of other runners almost the whole race and we leap frogged a few times but now the young lady took off and was gone. Ok, not a problem. Then there was  a man I guessed mid to late 40's he passed me but I reeled him back in and thought that was that.

 I got to the bridge and buckled in for the climb.The first .2 is so steep that my heels never touch the ground. I was slowing for sure but still feeling strong. About then the guy passes me back but I can't push any harder and he eases ahead. No worries, I have the Senior Grandmasters wrapped up and I'm running much faster than I dreamed so good for him !

 Finally hit mile 6 in 8 minutes flat and shortly after the hill levels out a bit and I make the turn with about 200yds to go and push it in. Needless to say that I was ecstatic with my time and result.
Turns out the man who finished 9 seconds in front of me was 53 and first Grandmaster so not only was I State Champion in the 60 and over but for the race I was 2nd place in the 50 and over age group ! Woohooo !

 Ok, about the training.
  On MondayI took a rest from running but did a Bikram class that went for 2:05:00 and I sweated 6 lbs.

 Tuesday was another regular Bikram class and then a strong 6 miles of hills in Umstead.

 Wednesday was morning body weight, then weights at the gym and an afternoon 5 miler on the Neuse.

Thursday was another yoga class and I started up a new routine of the 5 Tibetan Rites. I had plenty of time to run in the afternoon but I had very little sleep for two nights in a row so I rested after work.

 Friday was tibetans, a yoga classs and then a great 6 miles on the Neuse. Amazing what a solid 9 hours of sleep can do.

 Saturday was a long work day but i got in 4 easy miles at home and just some light stretching at work.

 Sunday was the race of course and then 2 hours later I went to Bikram ! And I actually felt pretty good.

 So there it is , 29 miles for the week, 5 Bikram yoga classes, one weights and one body weight session. Not bad for a Senior, Grandmaster.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Getting into a bit of real training now. Update week ending 5-15-16

 I had no soreness at all from the Medoc Trail Race and got started on the week with a strong 6 miles at home on Monday.

 Tuesday was another 6 at home but I was feeling a bit tired even though the pace was still normal.

 I was rushed for time on Wednesday but had already decided to take a rest day.

 Thursday afternoon on a hot and humid day I went for a test run on the course for next weekends 10K in Umstead. I ran well even with the heat and being dehyrated from the start. More on that in a minute. The final finishing hill is nearly a half mile and the first 200yds are so steep my heels never touched the ground ! That is going to be a fun way to finish a race !

 Friday I stopped at the neuse greenway on another muggy day. Not quite as bad as Thursday and with the flat course my pace was quicker.

 Saturday I ran from home in the morning. Nice and cool but still humid.

 And Sunday I was ready to get back to putting in  a bit more distance. It was near perfect weather and as good as you can expect in NC mid May. About 50F and lower humidity. I felt good and put in a very consistent 12 miles at 8:46 pace which was my longest run since Boston 4 weeks ago.

 Ok, about that being dehydrated before Thursday and Fridays runs. I went to two bikram Yoga classes with guest teacher Mary Jarvis. Or normal classes are 90 minutes but these lasted 2:15 and 2:25 and Thursdays was off the charts hot and humid. I lost 6 lbs even after drinking almost 3 lbs of water during and immediately after class.  Lost another 6 on Friday so it was tough rehydrating fully. Finally got caught up Saturday !

 In addition to my best week this year with 41.2 miles, all averaging between 8:44 and 8:57 pace and the two Bikram classes I had a body weight day, 2 weights sessions and a core workout.

 I'm ready to start adding in some workuts and not just putting in the miles now but with a race next weekend on the hills that will be a hill repeats day and no speedwork just yet.

 Stay tuned for more fun !

Monday, May 09, 2016

Medoc Spring Trail race and a training update.

 With training going fairly well after Boston I was getting excited to give the Medoc Spring Trail Race go. The race, a 12k on the trails of Medoc Mountain State Park is modeled after the Dipsea race in California with handicapped race start times based on age and gender. If you are interested in more info click on the links provided.

 I had run on the course a week before and there was already some mud and standing water in some places and with all the rain up until the day before the course was not runnable as planned with the river out of its banks in much of the low lying areas. The RD and crew did a fine job of coming up with an alternate route allowing the race to go on but the new course although only 6.6 miles instead of the original 7.4 was going to be a bit more difficult with 2 trips up to the summit.

 I knew going in this was going to be a real test. I have only been on trails twice since getting injured in April 2015 and there was going to be some serious competition from seasoned trail running specialist. In fact some of the toughest would be starting in my corral including eventual winner Pete Gibson who just the week before set a new USATF State record for the mile in 5:15 ! The race gives awards to the first 50 to cross the line including a hat with your finishing place so I was hoping to get one of those.

 It turned out to be a gorgeous morning with upper 50's and not too humid by the 9am start time. I went for a one mile warmup and felt a bit like a slug. Not a good sign normally but somehow I can usually race well when I feel like that ! And so it was.

 Once our group started with an 11 minute head start on the young guys  I just let the fast ones go so I wouldn't get caught up in the excitement and go out too hard.The course turns onto the trail after just 50 yards or so and right away was a bit of mud and a short steep uphill. From then on mostly a slight downhill grade with a few slight ups and by 3/4  into it some serious mud and ankle deep standing water. Fortunately it wasn't shoe sucking or really slick so I just splashed through. I was a bit surprised and quite pleased to hit mile 1 in 8:26, a pretty fast pace for me on single track.

 The next half mile was more of the same and then we crossed over the bridge and immediately had to wade through mid thigh deep water to get to the summit trail. and then up we went. On the original layout we would have not had to do this climb but oh well. Steep?Yeah. How about 175 feet in 2/10ths of a mile with  bit at a 29% grade with railroad tie steps. Needless to say I walked most of that until it began to level out. The next 1/4 mile is almost flat on an old dirt road. It was dry and fast although still some roots and rocks to look out for. I was very happy to hit mile 2 in 10:11 even with the walking up the mountain !

 I had already caught up to several runners but was having a couple pass me and at this point I had no idea what place I was in. All I knew was I was feeling good and had mostly flat and downhill for the next mile so I was pushing the pace as much as I could. Once the trail turned back to single track, even with the mostly down hill, the footing was still pretty tricky with lots of roots and some rocks along this section. Pretty soon the leaders started coming back up so I was counting spots. I passed mile 3 in 8:42. The last bit of trail down to the bottom was a muddy mess but I plowed through as best as I could. The u turn was slick too ! I was in about 25th place at that point.

 The next mile including all the mud and climbing back up the mountain was my slowest of the day in 10:45 but as soon as it leveled out a bit I was pushing hard again trying to reel in a couple of runners and hold off as many of the younger guys as possible. Even with the steep downhill I was only able to hit 8:51 but I was really happy with that. I am a lot more cautious now and no way was I going to bomb down that rocky descent.

 The next mile was about the flattest overall but it is really constant slight up or down and a whole lot of roots but by now I was feeling at home on the trails and seemed to be back in the groove like I was years ago when I ran trails every week. By now I could see several people ahead and I could hear quite a few behind me and I knew most of them were trying hard to catch me so I was giving it all I could. I passed one more runner right before the 6 mile mark which I ran  in another   8:51.

 We began the slight climb away from the river and then made the turn out of the woods onto the grass field. I felt my energy waning on the wet thick grass but I didn't want to give up and let anyone pass me. Volunteers were there counting us as we went by. I was 34th but the next 4 were right on my heels within seconds of me. I was thinking I would lose another 3 spots but I didn't want to give in easily. I noticed I was gaining on a runner about 30 yard ahead so I just focused on catching them and suddenly I had a surge of energy return.

 I made the pass and the footsteps behind me seemed to have faded. I hit the pavement with 200 yards to go and just hammered.  Yes, Laura I was making that death sound !   But no one was gong to catch me without suffering ! And they didn't  ! I held all of them off and finished 33rd. One of them came up to me afterwards and said he thought he had me coming out of the woods but then all of a sudden he noticed he wasn't getting any closer and then I was just gone ! Woohoo ! Yes, it feels good to be racing hard and no pain !

 This is a really cool race and they do a great job with it. If you like trail racing I highly recommend it. But with that siad, it is back to the roads now with a 10k in two weeks . More on that later

 Leading up to the race I hadn't been able to do any real training. Mostly recovering from Boston so most of my runs were just easy and I haven't done anything longer than the 7.5 a week before since Boston.  I only ran 3 six milers the week before the race and then an easy 3 the day after giving me  just 28.6 for the week but that is cool with me.

 In addition I was able to get to 3 Bikram hot yoga clased, 2 weight sessions at the gym, one body weight workout and one core workout so overall a very good week.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

More recovery and getting excited for whats coming

Recovery from Boston is about done and I'm getting excited with the schedule of events coming up for me. It looks a whole lot different than anything I have been doing for many many years. Yes, I entered and ran pretty well in a few shorter races each year but as you can see from the schedule below, I have nothing planned until at least Mid Autumn that is longer than 10 miles.

May 7th. Medoc Spring Races 12k
May 22nd. NCRC Classic 10k
June 4th. Rocky Mount Mills 5K
June 17th Sir Walter Raleigh Rundown Mile
July 10th. Utica Boilermaker 15k
Sept.11th Oak city Mile
Sept 24th Virginia 10 Miler
Oct.15. Octoberfest 8K
Nov. 13th. OBX Half Marathon
Dec.10th Kiawah Island Marathon.

 In addition to the races above I am hoping to compete on the teack at a few pop up miles and all comers meets and see what kind of speed I can find. But more on the races coming up soon.

 As for the past week of recovery and training, I got in a decent amount of miles, 35.7 but they were all at easy pace.

 Monday was a rest day from running and about 45 minutes of core and stretching at work.

 Tuesday was Hot yoga followed by an afternoon trial run of the NCRC 10k race coming up in a few weeks.

 Wednesday I got in 6 strong but easy miles at home.

 Thursday was back to hot yoga in the morning and 6 unseasonably hot and humid miles along the Neuse. 

 Friday started with a morning weight session at the gym and then a fun recon lap of the Medoc Spring Race course coming up next weekend. Enjoyed the challenge and the puddles and mud.

 Saturday I met Laura for Yoga in Durham and then right after i squeezed in a dehydrated 4 mies before work on House Creek. Easy other than the infamous Hill heading up to the pedestrian bridge over 440.

 And Sunday I was happy to be able to have yet another yoga class with Laura followed by an even more dehydrated 6 miler along the Neuse. Felt really tired even though the pace was slow so I am scheduling a rest day.

 So thats where it is for now. Over the next few weeks I will start some actual training I hope but for now with the next two races on trail and hills I will focus on hills and some strides and then begin with some speedwork at the end of the month.

 Thanks for reading and stay tuned !

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A bit of recovery from Boston and on to new adventures.

Most weeks don't start off with a race, but then Boston is a bit special !  I have been able to recover quickly from my marathons and ultras for many years now but I was even surprised at finding I had practically zero soreness after the race and some lingering pains actually have improved ! Even so, I am being a bit more cautious these days so I waited a full three days off before trying to run.

 Tuesday I did nothing but walk around Boston for a couple of miles like I had done nothing. Even stairs were no problem !

 Wednesday was mostly an easy day with a body weight workout.

 Thursday I was back to Yoga. I was expecting a bit of a struggle with it but had a great class.

 Friday started with weights at the gym and then on the way home I was eager to get in a run. I was expecting a slow dead legged 4 miles but I felt amazing. No soreness and I had zip so I went 6 and the pace was as strong as my normal  everyday runs. And it was fun running in a thunderstorm !

 Saturday Was another Bikram class with Laura. I struggled a bit with a bit of lingering fatigue and a bit dehydrated but had some good stuff happen too. Later in the afternoon I stopped at aUmstead for some single track. Other than the 16 miles of limping at Western States last June I haven;t been on a trail since last April !  It was a bit tough but I took it easy just wanting to get used to dodging rocks and roots again which brings us to the new adventures mentioned in the title. I am racing The Medoc Spring Race coming up in 2 weeks. I'll give more info about that as we get closer.

 I finished up the week with an easy 6 miles at home and another weight session at the gym.

 So I actually had 44.2 miles for the week but that includes the 26.2 on Monday .  And included 2 Bikram yoga classes, 2 weights sessions and one body weight day.

 Hope to get in some good training in the week ahead but I will take it day by day and I already plan to start next week with a day off of running. Stay tuned !

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Boston Marathon 2016. Making new memories.

  I was really having a hard time feeling any enthusiasm in the last days leading up to this years trip to Boston but  I was ready to open up a new chapter on this race and make some new memories. Only problems were I was under-trained and not too confident that my body was ready to hold up to the challenge. And then my training partner Laura , who was responsible for me even being able to go was staying home after 2 months of no running thanks to a persistent bout of pneumonia. Nope, not what I was hoping for at all.

  So, I hopped on the plane Sunday morning determined to make the most of it and give it my best shot and try to have a little fun. Words cannot describe the joy I felt when I landed in Boston and got a message from Laura that she was waiting for me at the expo ! What a wonderful surprise and my mood insantly changed a 100 shades brighter !

 After a bit of a fiasco navigating the public transoportation system ( my fault, not theirs) I finally was able to meet her and pick up my race packet around 3:30. I had no need or desire to spend anytime in the expo so we went for any early dinner, got some photos at the finish line and then I headed back to my hotel to get some rest and make preparations for the next morning.

  With the 10:50 am start I had  was in no rush and was able to sleep until my normal time despite having to get to the shuttle buses and then the ride out to Hopkinton. I wasn't really sure what to expect from the weather. Everytime I looked about every 12 hours for the days leading up to the race the forecast had changed. Now it was looking like a bit warm, close to 70. I'm glad I chose to go with a singlet ! Well, whatever the weather there was a race to be run.

  My plan was to take it easy for the first half and see what was left in the tank. I had a fantasy goal of running my new qualifying time of 3:55 and a more realsitic goal of sub 4 but finishing without dying and running my fastest of three Bostons would make me happy !

 So what about the race?

 Everything went about as expected. It was getting very warm for the start and in fact the high for the day was about the time my wave started. That had me a bit worried so I was going to try to be a bit more conservative and make sure I began hitting the water stops early. The first downhill half mile was steeper than I remembered and although I was holding back it was still an 8:45 mile.

 I really had to go so at 1.7 I stepped off the road for a quick pee and then was back on my way again with mile 2 in 9:05. After that I was really consistent with the effort and the pace only varied a little to reflect the ups and downs. Even though it was warm I never felt like I was being stressed and in fact was feeling quite relaxed. I was amazed that my average over the next many miles was around 8:51, a bit under my needed qualifying pace and I  was feeling like I was out for an easy joggy jog ! I was barely breathing unless I was going uphill !

   Finally around mile 6 the wind started picking up a little bit and made it feel quite a bit cooler. I just relaxed and held steady trying to enjoy the surroundings and cheering fans while my pace stayed remarkably consistent.   By mile 10 it was obvious that the temperature was dropping and I was feeling good and no longer worried about over heating. Now I was looking forward to the trip through Wellesley. Once again they didnt disappoint with loud cheering and offers for kisses. I picked out the prettiest  young lady I could find , grabbed a quick kiss, thanked her and hurried along passing the half in about 1:55:30, a 2 minute cushion on my BQ pace !

  It was still too early to try and push as the miles rolled by and my thoughts turned to the Newton Hills looming ahead. I was slowing slightly but still every mile was buildng more of a cushion. Until 17. A lot of uphill grade but no major hill and apparently I backed off the effort a bit  too much with a 9:33 ! Bummer. and then mile 18 which includes the first real climb after making the turn at the Newton Fire house. I felt pretty strong and ran that mile in 9:11 and feeling confident I wasn't' going to blow up.

 How quickly things can change ! After mile 19 I crashed head first into the wall ! I didn't feel terrible, just no energy and my calves were shot. I was worried they would start cramping but thankfully they never did. Even the slightest upgrade and all power was gone. And I had forgotten how much more climbing there was until topping out at mile 21.

 So I just settled in, accepted what the situatioon was and tried to get it over with as little suffering as possible while still trying to run as much as I could.  I can't say I like being passed by so many people over the last 5 miles but the crowds were wonderful. No qualifier or even sub 4 was coming today  but I  was going to finish and it was still going to be my fastest Boston by a long shot.

 The last 5 miles were quite slow but the crowds were fantastic and grew bigger as the course moved closer into the city. Boy howdy, you can sure see that Citgo sign from a long ways off but I knew it marked  1 mile to the end and I was ready to see Boylston Street. And then finally the turn right on Hereford and left on Boylston and the roar of the crowd. I tried to look as good as I could
as I crossed the line.

 I got a little emotional for just a second and was getting choked up but then I just started smiling as I accepted my finishers medal and made my way through the food and water tables.  I was ready to get on my warm clothes from my gear bag and hurry over to meet Laura in the family meeting area. My phone wasn't working so I couldn't contact her. Luckily I was still feeling great and walking at a fast clip.  Laura was already waiting when I arrived and was surprised to see me looking so fresh and moving so well. We spent a little time getting a few pictures and then it was good bye as she had to get home to family and I had to catch the train back to my hotel.

 All of my 5k splits had been very even for the first 30k so I  am very happy with how I paced myself. Considering the january injury and March upper respiratory infection I am more than pleased with the outcome. My time was 4:12:10 beating my 2011 horror of 4:33 !

 Not sure if or when I will return but you never can tell. right now it is on to new adventures.  Stay tuned !

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The hay is in the barn for Boston and other cliches.( Training update w/e 4-10-16)

 Yep, only a week and a day until the Boston Marathon. At this point there is not really anything I can do to get in any better shape so I intend to be a bit cautious the next week. But hopefully I can get up a blog post just for Boston next week. Until then , here is whats up.

 After a really good week of training and fun at Umstead last weekend I started off this week with a nice 5 miler and  I did make it to the gym for some weights.

 Tuesday was a morning yoga workout. I had planned about 8 miles late afternoon but got called into work so I was rushed for time. Went out for a quick 4 but was shocked at how fast those 4 turned out to be. Averaged 7:47 with the last 2 at 7:30. I haven't run anything close to that fast since my last run with Laura in December before having to take off nearly all of Jan. I really didn't think I could even come close to that pace ! Yes, a big boost in confidence there.

  Wednesday was a very busy day so no run but I  started off with early morning weights.

 Thursday was another morning yoga class and then in the afternoon on a beautiful but windy day I got in that 8 miler I missed Tuesday. Nice strong pace again.

 I started Friday off with a body weight workout at home and then got in a strong 6 miler on the way home from work.

 Saturday morning I had another great Bikram yoga class with Laura before heading to work. I had time to run afterwards but i was tired and the wind was blowing 35 mph so I just went home. Wimped out? Maybe but hey, I am sort of tapering you know !

 And if you are wondering, I am doing rabbit pose under there.  Laura was wondering if there would be enough room but with her incredible flexibility and height in that wheel pose it was no problem at all.  Rabbit is one of the few I can do halfway decent. Here is what it looks like.

 So Sunday morning I got in my last 12 mile sort of long run and then did a 30 minute evening core session with a little bit of yoga stretching.

 So ther you have it. another good week. 3 Bikram yoga classes, 2 weights, one body weight and one core and 35 weekly miles. The most awesone thing about those 35 miles is the fact that the slowest average for any of the runs was 8:51 for the 8 miler. Other than the tempo run the other miles were all around 8:45 which somehow over the past year has become my new normal.

 Check back in a few days for hopefully a Boston preview.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Umstead and Boston plus training and tapering.

Last week was a very busy one with lots of work and my Dad in the hospital most of it but somehow I was able to get things done and get in some fun and some good training.

 I managed two bikram yoga classes, 2 body weight sessions, one weight workout at the gym and 36.4 miles of running in 5 days.

 Over the weekend I was able to get to Umstead to volunteer for the 100 miler. This is such a wonderful event and I look forward to being involved each year whether it is racing or just helping out. My first time helping was in 1998. I didn't return until  I ran it for the first time in 2004 and since then I have been back every year. Its much like a reunion with friends I have met from around the country as well as so many local friends.

  This year I helped Friday in registration, Saturday morning at the aid station two and then returned on Sunday am for a 4:30 to 8:30 shift in timing. I love the variety of opportunities to be a part of it. I really needed to be there this year especially for my soul and I was rewarded and refreshed although there was still a sense of sadness for a couple of reasons.

  After my morning shift I went out for a hilly training lap of the course. It was a gorgeous day, around 50F and sunny and calm. My confidence is still a bit low and I almost bailed and avoided Turkey Creek and make it a shorter run  but I'm glad I didn't. Instead I chose to run the lap in reverse which would give me a chance to see all the runners still out on their last lap and cheer them on while I got in my workout.

  It was great ! I saw quite a few friends out there, got several hugs and I felt great ! What Hills !
 definitely a great run, a lot of fun and a confidence boost going into Boston.

 Yeah, Boston. Only two weeks to go. I wish I had at least 6 weeks so I could be closer to the shape I was in Decmeber but I have to face the reality. So I will do the best with what I have and just try to not do anything stupid. As far as tapering goes, I can't taper much with my training still lower than normal so I am just going to keep doing what I have been doing to maintain my current condition.

 Stay tuned to see what happens next week !

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Recovery and countdown to Boston

 Hard to believe but only 3 weeks now before I head to Boston for the marathon. More thoughts and  details on that coming in a couple of weeks.

I started off this week taking a rest day after last Sundays race but I did get to the gym for some weights. Overall I was feeling pretty good and no problems from the race but I am being a bit more cautious these days. When I did get out for a run on Tuesday it went very well with no soreness.

 I did another 5 on Wednesday and felt a bit better and then on Thursday was a great 6.  One of my best "easy" runs in awhile with the pace being what had turned into my normal easy pace last year before the injuries, about 8:45.

  Friday I decided to try some hills again and went to Umstead, hoping things would go better than my last attempt at hills. And it did. A strong 6 and although the last climb was certainly getting tough overall I did well and even got a segment pr on a short section of corkscrew without trying !

 I rested Saturday, well after a Bikram Hot yoga class with Laura. I wanted to have fresh legs for a long run attempt on Sunday. With the injury recurrence in Jan and then being sick I have only gotten in one  long training run of 15 miles to go along with the 2 half marathons. not exactly how I had planned to prepare for Boston !

 So Sunday despite the rain I headed out with hopes of getting in 18 miles. I was feeling pretty good and holding a steady pace by 13.5 so I made the decison to do the last 4.5 over the hump. My heartbreak hill.  A lot longer and higher than anything in Boston but great training.

 So I ended up with 40 miles this week in 5 days of running. Very happy with that at this point and everything is working well. In addtion I had 2 weight seesions at the gym, 3 Bikram you classes and one core workout.

 Stay tuned as the excitement keeps coming !

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon 2016

" I think if I can breathe that I have a really good shot at running 1:48 to 1:49."

" Yes, breathing always seems to help ! "

 Just a couple of thoughts from messages talking to a couple of friends.

 After suffering through Myrtle Beach Half two weeks ago, I went straight to the pharmacy to pick up my antibiotic prescription. No way am I taking a chance on this turning into pneumonia like the Honey Badger if I can help it.

 Fortunatley I had no more fever after Monday but I was still coughing and tight in the chest for the whole next week. I finally went out on Saturday the 12th for a test run. The first half mile was a struggle with gasping and some coughing but then it got better. I only had a week before WB so I just wanted to take it easy and hope I would feel like racing in another week.  4 and 5 milers on Sunday and Monday each felt a bit better but then on Tuesday I had one of the worst runs in a very long time which didn't do anything for my confidence.

  I rested on Wednesday and then Thursday went out and hoped for the best. Wow, what a difference. Felt great and one of my best runs since starting back a couple of months ago.  One more easy 4 miler on Friday and the decision was to go ahead and race !

 So I drove down Saturday afternoon to pick up my race packet and hang around to watch the 5k before making preparations for the early wake up to get on the race shuttle.

 I arrived at the shuttle area at 5:30 and was pretty happy with the weather. 44F but a bit windy. 10mph with gust around 15mph. Finally arrived at the start about 30 minutes before the start so I went out and did my warm up mile and felt pretty good. But then 10 minutes before it began to rain. We got lucky though, as it was a light rain and would stop by the time I reached mile 3 so I never really got wet. But lets back up a second.

 Ok, so the first mile was a bit slow dodging slower runners and the fact the race makes a couple of turns very quickly which causes some backups. I just relaxed and didn't let it bother me. Plenty of time to make it up later.  Mile 1 in 8:38. I settled in to a comfortable pace and was quite happy to hit mile 2 in 7:57. That felt pretty comfortable and after mile 3 in 8:06 and mile 4 in 7:55 I was gaining confidence and even allowed myself to  think maybe a miracle was happening and I might be able to hold on and maybe run 1:46 !

 But then the next mile into the wind and an 8:13 and I gave up that thought pretty quickly. From that point on I ran what I feel was a very good consistent effort and pace with most of any variation due to which way the wind was blowing. Mile 6 was 8:03 and 7 was 8:16. Mile 8 was 8:10 and it was about this point on the course last year that Laura met me to run in the last 5 miles of the marathon. I smiled at that memory and was thinking how great it would be to have the company again. I was sure the result would be much differnt today. No blowing up the last few miles !

 Mile 9 was 8:18. I was feeling good but about ready to get this thing done. Something screwy with the mile markers at 10 and 11 but when I hit 12 I had averaged 8:11 for those 3. Still staying very consistent. I was trying to do the math in my head as to whether I still had a shot at beating my pre race goal. With about 1.5 miles to go we turned onto the main road and directly into the wind. I thought I had a shot at 1:47?? but I didn't like having to push into the wind to do it.

 So in the last mile I started doing my surging trick that I learned from Laura where I pick up the pace for 10 second burst every couple of minutes and then with half mile to go I just let it go.Tta da ! Success ! Better than I could have hoped for ! 1:47:53 ! Turned out to be good enough for 2nd  out of 15 in my age group and 314 out of 1809 total finishers. Not bad coming off yet another injury for the month of January and then being out sick with an upper respiratory infection for a week ! The future is looking bright again !

 In addtion to the little bit of running in between the races I was also able to get in 4 Bikram workouts, 3 weight sessions and a couple of core and body weight workouts. I have to really feel bad to miss my workouts !

 Stay tuned. 4 weeks to Boston !

Monday, March 07, 2016

Myrtle Beach Half Marathon and some training updates

  When I signed up for this race a year ago I was looking forward to competing in my new age group and take the strength and speed I had been building to attempt a fast time and possible podium finish while using it as a tuneup for  Boston. Well, as you know if you are a regular reader plans haven't gone quite like I would have hoped. I was out for about 3 months last summer so I had to rebuild. Then things were going great, I had a couple of really good Half marathons in the Fall and then boom, yet another set back for 4 weeks to start the year.

 But things have been progressing well the past few weeks and although I knew there was no way to come close to the 1:44 I ran in November, I thought maybe 1:51 was realisitic and if things went really well I might dip under 1:50.

 So, imagine my disappointment to wake up on Friday morning before the race with a 101.6 fever and feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest with a sore throat ! Hours later I finally dragged myself out of bed and decided to go to urgent care to get checked out. With Laura really sick and out of it with pneumonia I didn't want to take any chances.  A check for flu and strep were both negative and the fever was contained so I went to work and although I wasn't 100% I decided to go ahead and drive to MB.

 I arrived at the expo late at 8:15 pm and then went straight to my hotel and went to bed with a 4:30 am wake up call looming.

 Crap, I woke up with the chest feeling worse than Friday but no other symptoms so I headed to the start. A not too cold feeling 38F as I did a warmup mile. Hmmm, not so good. Legs felt great but breathing hurt. Not sure how long this is going to work for me. I should have probably gone back to bed but I was determined to give it a shot.

 I began at a comfortable pace, legs still good but the breathing was harder than it should be this early. Somehow I missed my first mile mark. I was not running with the garmin so I needed manual splits to check my pace. Decided to keep up the effort and finally at mile 2 I was shocked to see I was averaging 7:40. Whoa, I haven't run a mile that fast since the last Fun Friday with Laura right before the latest injury. I sure didn't know I had that in me. I backed off the effort and hit mile 3 in a more sane 8:18, feeling ok but my lungs were not too happy.  I took off my hand socks because my hands were already sweating and aimed them towards a clothes collection box two lanes over. How cool it was to watch them fly across the road, loose their momentum and drop straight into the box !

 The next few miles were pretty steady at just over 8 minute pace. At the 6 mile water stop their was a little incident when a clueless 30 something guy stopped dead in his track and then without looking turned and walked right into me. A collision was unavoidable but my instant reaction was self defense as I shoved him off of me without loosing stride. He spilled his water and hopefully learned a lesson.

 My split at 10k was about 8:05 pace but I knew I was going to be slowing down. At mile 7 we turned to head back and thats when everyone noticed it wasn't quite as calm as they thought. We had about a 9mph headwind the rest of the way. Nothing terrible but enough to feel it and with the cold my hands were soon hurting and I was wishing I had some gloves back. It made for some miserable running for me the remainder of the race.

 I continued to slow down but got into a groove that was tolerable around 8:50 pace. I was really hurting now and it was a struggle with myself to keep going. A part of me wanted to slow way down and take some walking breaks with nothing to prove but I was also driven by a couple of  personal goals. One I won't mention and don't ask was a real motivating force but it was causing me to put myself through a lot more pain than I wanted for at best a sub par time for me. The other thing driving me on was knowing that even feeling like this I had a shot at that sub 1:50 if I just kept going hard.

 With about a mile to go my friend Mike Walsh passed me with some encouragement. I thanked him and told him I felt rough. I was going to be so close so about every minute I channeled the Honey Badger and threw in a 10 second surge. Mile 13 was my fastest since mile 8 but it wasn't enough. My final time was 1:50:15. As soon as I crossed the line I felt like a truck had run me over and parked on my chest. I was very happy to exceed my expectations while running obviously sick but I was thinking that was a stupid thing to do and now I was really going to pay for it.

 I gathered up my food and drinks from the finishers tent and  after a brief moment visiting with Don and Wade I slowly walked to get my warm clothes and then trudged to my car. I didn't think i would make it I was hurting so bad. How did I run and breathe like I did just moments earlier and now I can barely walk and gasp ? Well, I Hope I never have this situation again. I spent the rest of the day hacking up gunk and listening to my chest rattling. Not good. 2 days later now I am beginning to feel a little better after starting on some antibiotics Saturday afternoon.

 Ok,so how about the last couple of weeks before getting sick and racing? Well the week ending 2-28 I got in a strong 38 miles including my longest so far, a 15 miler with a good average pace and a strong finish. Also had another 4 bikram classes, 2 weight sessions and a core workout.

 The week of the race I got in 3 runs and all of them were great ! Feeling strong on hills, nice average pace and the legs and everything clicking. I only did one Bikram class with the race pending and one body wieght workout. Only took a two day taper for the race since it wasn't a primary focus for my training.

 So there we are. I am obviously going to take it easy this week and get well before I resume any hard training but stay tuned. I will get better  !

Sunday, February 21, 2016

I'm liking the trend. Training report w/e 2-21-16

 Yes, I am liking the way things are going but a bit disappointed too. I am very happy with how well the legs and hips are holding up. I'm still not 100% but it is so nice to be able to start running and not be in pain.  What's disappointing is to look back and see how well I was running a year ago and knowing that I am probably 2 months away from being in near that kind of shape again. But it is where I am at and nothing to do but look forward and give it the best I can as always.

 I started off the week with an 11 hour work day and no run but I did get in a body weight workout immediately upon arriving home.

 On tuesday I had a Bikram yoga class and then in the afternoon on a perfect day for a run I did a 6 miler and felt better than I could have hoped. No pain and the best pace since the return to running.

 Wednesday was another long work day but I got in 4 easy  ith some strides early before work and then stopped at the gym for weights on the way home.

 Thursday was another good day starting with Bikram and then a strong 8 miles on a hilly windy course.

 Friday was another morning Bikram class and a late afternoon easy 4.

 Saturday was my long run day. Got in 12 miles, the most since the return. The pace was good with a negative split but I never felt all that good. Did a core workout at home in the evening just because.

 On sunday I did an easy 3 mile recovery run and then headed straight to Bikram Yoga.

 So there you have it. Bumped the mileage up a little more to 37 for the week. Including longest so far, fastest average so far since the return and some strides to get ready for resuming some speedwork soon.
 A body weight, free weights and 4 bikram yoga classes totalling 6 hours. Continuing to learn to enjoy these and the progress being made. I'm really happy that Laura finaly persuaded me to do these classes. This completes 6 week since I began doing them.

 See you next week I hope !

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Now we're getting somewhere ! Training report w/e 2-14-16

 I must say after this week I am finally getting a little confidence back. I was really worried with how hard it seemed to start back running yet again 3 weeks ago. This week has been oh so much better. The legs and hips and glutes are doing a lot better and feeling solid and trustworthy again and I'm seeing some nice improvement in the fitness.

 I started of with week with, tada ! No running

 ON Tuesday I made it to the greenway on a very windy afternoon for a solid 6 miler.

 Went back Wednesday afternoon for another 6 miles in the opposite direction with more stiff winds. I felt great and for the first time since the comeback I averaged under 9mp at about my normal easy pace !

 Thursday was another day off from running.

 Friday although I wasn't quite sure I was ready for it I headed over to the tough hills at the Art Museum. It was tough but I had a pretty good effort and seemed to get stronger near the end of the 5 mile run.

 On Saturday I was hoping to get in at least 8 and maybe even 10 miles. A very cold morning and more stiff winds but I felt strong and made it the whole 10 with the last mile my fastest into the wind ! And best of all and very surprising to me was the average was just under 9mp.

 Sunday was a really cold day, around 22F when I decided to run which was after my Bikram yoga workout. I didn't exactly plan it that way and was just about to run early when I got the message that we were doing the 8:30 yoga class. I had 10 minutes to jump up, change and grab all I needed to carry with me for the day !

 So after the class I had to decide when and where to run. I decided since I was driving right by it to run in Umstead. hmm, not sure how  smart  of choice that would be  with just an hour rest and dehydrated from sweating out 5 lbs in the hot room. Well again it turned out well. I felt pretty good and had a nice run with another strong finish.

 So, a great week with 32 miles, all feeling good and quality pace.

 4 classes of 90 Minutes in Bikram Hot yoga. Seeing some improvement here too. Some big steps in some poses and a little more flexibility in some areas makes it exciting and worthwhile.

 And I was able to get in a good body weight workout and another weight session at the gym.

 Stay tuned and look forward to another exciting week of training with the runner formerly known as Ultraman !

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Another step forward, training week ending 2-7-16

 Another bit of progress with the return to training the past week.  I was able to run on 5 days, mostly just easy stuff. Overall I still don't quite feel myself but a couple of the runs things felt like they were beginning to click a litle bit and I was able to stretch out a little the last mile of those two. I got in a 6 miler on Saturday, the longest since returning last week .

 In addition I was able to make it to 4 more Bikram yoga classes. I am seeing some progress in some of the poses and a little more flexibility in places. I am learning to embrace the new challenges !

 I haven't gotten completely away from the other cross training but the yoga certainly takes up a lot of time and energy. I did get in one core workout, one body weight session and one trip to the gym for weights. Funny thing is that I felt stronger with the weights than I have in awhile soi I guess cutting back a little has helped in some way.

 I really hope to continue to build the mileage a little more in the coming week so stay tuned and wish me luck !

Monday, February 01, 2016

Running again ! training update w/e 1-31-16

 Yes sports fans, I went out for a test run on Monday morning. ended up going 3 miles and everything held up ok.  It did feel a little awkward running again and it was slow but if I can stay healthy that will change quickly I am sure. Over the course of the week I got in 5 runs for a total of 19 miles and each one was a little better. It was a strange weather week too. that first run was at 30F and there was still some ice around from the weekend storm. And the final run on late Sunday afternoon was 66F !

 In addition to the running I got in another 4 Bikram yoga workouts and one weight workout at the gym. 

 Looking ahead I plan just more easy miles in the next week or too before I try to increase too much or worry about the pace but stay tuned and maybe soon you can see something exciting !

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Training update w/e 1-24-16, or not

 As I mentioned in the post of looking forward to the year, I had tweaked my hip and upper hamstring . Turns out to have been a bit worse than I hoped. I was thinking a week off and I would be good to go but it has taken much longer. I tested things on the 7th and although i had a decent pace for 5 miles it hurt the whole time. I have not even tried to run since. It has been feeling much better for the past week now and I am ready to give it a test in the next day or two. I really needed to get things going again for my sanity and for Spring racing !

 I have not been completely idle as you would expect. I have kept up with the core and body weight and/or free weights nearly every day and in addition I have introduced something new to the arsenal,  Bikram Yoga.

 Yes, it's true. Although I have dabbled in some yoga in the past including almost a year of 30 minute workouts 4 or 5 days a week at home a couple of years ago I have never done a class before. Well, actually I did. Nearly 3 years ago I went to a hot yoga class at Arrichion with a friend. It was a 50 minute flow yoga. I lasted 45 minutes and decided I had enough of that !

 Then several months ago my #1 training partner Laura began going to Bikram and fell in love with it. I think she has missed maybe 2 days in nearly 6 months now.  I had been considering giving it a shot so why not now ? So on the 8th I met her at the studio with one goal , last the entire 90 minutes.
 I did survive and what a workout  ! I did have to take several short breaks but I did at least one set of all the poses and despite sweating over 5lbs of water I kind of enjoyed it. Much different than the other class I had done before. Since then I have been to 9 classes in two weeks. I have already noticed a lot of improvement but I have so very far to go.

 Although I can't see myself doing it 7 days a week I do plan to try and get in at least 3 classes a week , maybe 4. It is time consuming and can be hard to squeeze in a class everyday and once  do run again I need that time for training.

 For those that aren't familiar with Bikram Yoga it is a 90 minute session with 26 poses bookended by breathing exercise. Every class is just like the one before it, never varying from the routine. The room is typically around 103-104 F
 Here is a chart of all the poses.Each pose is done twice before moving on to the next. If you click on the picture it will zoom so you can actually read it !

 I do hope to have some running for you on the next update but for now, namaste