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

Friday, January 01, 2016

So, whats the plan? Looking Forward to 2016.

 Well, I kind of have an idea and I will share it with you. This will certainly be a different kind of year because for the first time in 14 years I have no plans to run any ultras. In case you missed it , Ultraman has taken leave for an undisclosed amount of time but for sure he is not coming back in 2016. Beyond that, who knows?

 So what is going on? Several things were involved with that decision but we won't get into that other than to say  my heart just isn't in it right now.

 The first thing on the agenda is to stay healthy which is not getting off to such a great start. I may have to take off some time for the next week or two. I had hoped to return to the Ocean Isle Beach half Marathon coming up next weekend but that is now out of the plans. So with that let's assume I can resume running and training very quickly.

 No further plans for January other than train. Same goes for February unless I change my mind and find a 10k to run.  OK< back up a second. Goal # 1 is to run as fast as possible at Boston which explains why not much racing to start the year. I am going to maintain focus on the big picture. In years past I had done a lot of racing at least 20 to 25 a year. I did cut back a couple of years ago to focus more on quality than quantity and thats where I am staying.

 Now back to the plans. In March I am signed up for the Myrtle  Beach Half. Last year was the first time I hadn't been there since 2005 and if was still in February I would have probably skipped it again but the early March date fit my training. And thanks to Laura's influence I am returing to Wrightsville Beach again but this time I will just do the half for training. It is a good race and lot of fun and who knows, maybe someday I will do the Full marathon again.

 And then of course is Boston on April 18th. I am hoping for good health, good training and good weather all to combine for a great race !

 After April I don't have any particular race scheduled right now in May or June but the plan is to do some racing on the track, some mile and 1500m and maybe some 3k and 5k's I would really like to focus on getting as much speed out of the old body as possible. And I am sure I will find a 5k road race or two.

In July I am probably going to go run one of the classic road races, the Utica Boilermaker 15k if I can get in.

 August will be still concentrating on faster stuff either on the track or short road races.

 In September I am running the Virginia 10 miler in Lynchburg VA, another classic. If you don't know, I ran it for the 1st time in 1978 and had a fifteen year streak there. I ran it another two or three times but haven't been back since  around 1999 I think.. I am really looking forward to challenging those hills one more time.

 October is up in the air but I am considering the ATT 10 miler or maybe a couple of other road races.

 In November I have signed up for the Half at OBX. I have always run the Full including the first year in 06 and 6 other times. I just couldn't  go for personal reasons this past year but I decided I have to go back for myself and maybe even just to irritate some people. But instead of the full I wanted to do something different and focus on a fast half and hopefully make the podium and train for my next big attempt at the marathon.

 Which will be in December. Leaning towards Kiawah or Rocket City.

 And there you have it. Still a few blanks to be filled in and some things may change as they tend to do.

 I hope to share some miles this year with more of you and i really hope for more miles and fun with the best training partner ever. Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015, the year in review

  And what a strange year it has been.  In many ways it has been a tough one and yet in others a very wonderful and rewarding one. As the year began there were so many changes I was facing that I wasn't really sure what I wanted for the most part. I was in really a dark spot in my life continuing from late 2014, the worst in nearly 20 years. But I refused to give in to the darkness. Knock me down and I will fight my way back up and come back even stronger. So I learned to accept the changes forced on me and used the lessons learned with the help of a bright star to light my new path.

  Many things I thought I would be doing had no meaning anymore but they were replaced with new dreams as the year moved on but lets focus on where I was in January. Just two big goals and beyond that nothing much. Qualify for Boston and finish Western States. So that made it really easy to plan the first 6 months of the year, or at least I thought as you will see.

  January started off with just some awesome training. I was really suprised at how quickly I had gotten back into shape after the 2 month hamstring injury  in the 2nd half of last year. The workouts with Laura were amazing and  she was (and is) such a great motivator and cheerleader and refused to let me get down. So with things going well I decided to return to the Ocean Isle Beach Run for Food Half Marathon for a test. As usual it turned out to be a cold windy day at the beach but despite slowing the last few miles I ran a decent 1:45:17 and won my age group. a great confidence boost going into the final 2 months of training for the BQ attempt.

 February was a tough month with lots of training in cold and icy conditions but the training continued to go well. But I had some freaky things happen involving a fall out of my car and off a treadmill among others that started some issues with my upper hamstring not to mention some excrutiating pain from some cracked ribs. But somehow I continued to work. And I decided to race the sweetheart 5k in Rocky Mount. turned out to be a surprisingly hilly course but I ran a strong even paced race in 22:18 and a 2nd place AG award.

 Afterwards the hamstring issue was giving me more problems and things were getting iffy.  Then just as March arrived and just a few weeks to go I was in trouble. I had been seeing John Stiner at Stiner Massage every two weeks since the injury last Sept but I felt I had really screwed up. I called him and made an emergency appointment which I had to drive to in a snow storm but he was able to patch me up and with a couple of days rest I was able to run nearly pain free with a week to go before the race.

 I decided to forgo my plans to go for a pr and just try and get the BQ at the Wrightsville Beach Marathon and hope the body held up.  Tada ! Success. Not the sub 3:40 I was hoping for but the 3:48 was good enough. And it never would have happened if Laura hadn't been there helping me train and then being there for me in the last 5.5 miles of the race. You can get the whole story here at this link.

With the BQ taken care of it was now time to switch focus and prepare for Western States. An easy recovery week and then I begin returning to some trail running and adding in more hills.
 In the middle of April I had the Run the Rock 50k in raven rock State park. IT was a warm muggy day but I still ran and felt pretty good all day and enjoyed about 11 miles of it with Kara but I also had two bad stumbles which did even more damage to my upper hamstring/lower glute area.

 I needed some time off but I was so focused on wanting to be ready for WS so i pushed on. And then it just quit on me. By the end of the month after another trail run in Umstead where I had another fall I was in too much pain and the leg just wouldn't go. I was forced to take time off and hope for quick healing.

 Long story short, I had some serious damage to the area and the healing didn't come quick. I missed the entire month of May and Itried  a couple of test runs but barely made it 1/4 mile before the pain was telling me to walk back home.  Then June came and still the same. A test run two weeks before WS was another total fail so I didn't even try again.

 My dream of finishing WS was gone but I went out there anyway and gave it my best shot which wasn't very much of one limping and falling and re-injuring myself with a dnf at 16 miles.

 July was just another month of rest and healing but finally in the last week I went for a test run walk and made it a mile pain free and within two weeks I was able to run 4 miles and hope for a future in running was returning. It's a good thing I didn't have many plans for the Fall. I had signed up for the Columbus Marathon in October with hopes of improving on my BQ time but other than that the remainder of the year was wide open.

 August was just easy running as I begin to rebuild. I was pretty happy with how quickly my pace returned but the endurance needed some work.

 Finally in September I felt I was ready to resume the Fun Fridays with Laura. I think I had missed that more than anything during the layoff for the injury. I was a bit worried if I could run fast enough and not hurt myself but the first one went great just like always and we had a most wonderful time.

 I signed up for the Holden Beach Half Marathon but knew it would be a slow one as I had not quite returned to racing shape and no real long runs  yet. To add to it the day turned out to be nasty hot and humid and windy ! It turned into a death march and my slowest half in 38 years of running but at least I didn't hurt myself.

 In October I decided to skip traveling to Columbus because I knew I wasn't ready to  race a quality marathon. Instead I opted to return to Danville Va and run a half marathon. Wow, what a difference from the month before. Instead of 78 and humid at the start it was 29F ! I felt great and ran a 1:43 :15.

 In November I normally would be either going to Mountain Masochist or OBX. This year was suppose to a 10th Anniversary run but after the experience after last years race I just couldn't see myself returning and there was nothing to celebrate. So instead I chose to run the Battleship half marathon in Wilmington, a race I last ran back in 1999 !

 I had another good race on  a dreary cool day in 1:44 and was quite pleased with the consistent effort.

 I ended the month with my 12 consecutive Derby 50k. I had hoped it would be a pr attempt but I still didn't have the endurance to match the leg speed just yet and a freaky warm day that had me running shirtless guaranteed a slow day so I just made the most of it and had some fun.

 And that concludes the report for 2015. December had just been a training month to begin getting ready for next year but that is another post. Thank you for reading.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Summer in December or training update w/e 12-27-15

 The first official week of Boston  training didn't quite get off to the start I was hoping for. After running in long pants and the other winter gear last Saturday and Sunday mornings, Summer decided to make a return at the Winter Solstice.

  Monday was actually quite nice in the 50's and I got in an easy 6 along the Neuse at my normal pace.

 Tuesday and a return to the track. Hard to beleive it was in the low 70's and I was doing speedwork shirtless. Although I was hitting my splits ok for some 800's at 10k pace and 400's at 5k pace it was harder than it should have been.

 Wednesday I was busy and I needed a rest day anyhow with my upper hamstring a bit angry.

 Thursday am was just a miserable morning. 72F and 100% humidity. Bad enough in July but really tough when you are acclimated to colder weather. A decent pace again but it felt like work trying to breathe.

 Friday morning, Christmas morning.  Sadly no Fun Friday this week with just too much going on with the holiday but it was probably a good thing. I felt worn down and struggled for 6 miles at much slower than normal as it was in the low 70's and humid again. No way I could have even run 1 mile with Laura at even our normal warm up pace. At least the hamstring continued to improve.

are those snow clouds? 72F !!

 I was hoping to get in a long run on Saturday, at least 16 miles and maybe more. Another morning of 100% humidity and upper 60's though made for another slow one. I didn't feel bad but just got stuck in a slow groove about 20 seconds per mile slower than my normal. I decided to quit at 12 and save it for a better day.

 Sunday was another easy 6. I waited a little later and the sun came out making the 64F and 96% humidity feel worse but at least I had a bit of zip back in me. I'm sure getting an extra 1.5 hours of badly needed sleep helped with that.

 So, there you have it. A couple of good runs and some miserable running weather for a total of 42.5 miles for the week. The weather is looking like it will gradualy get back into more normal temperatures for the season and I hope with it I began to feel better and able to get in the miles and workouts I have scheduled. Until then, stay tuned. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

And now it's on. Training update w/e 12-20-15

 Well, sort of officially calling this the Boston training kick off week. so how do you start? With a day off ! Yes, Monday was another tough work day and no time even though I tried to get an early start. But rest was a good thing after the strong 16 on Sunday.

 Tuesday it was time to head to the track again. After a 2 mile warmup on the greenway I was ready to go or at least I thought I was. Felt way to hard on the first quick lap so I bailed on the planned 800's and 400's Then I started over again slower with the idea to do some mile repeats. That worked ok but I was still a little slower than planned and working harder for it.

 Wednesday was tight on time but I did get out for 5 easy and I felt surprisingly good as I finished up just at sunset.

 Thursday  was an easy 6 at home. I felt ok but the legs were heavy and no zip although the last mile was decent. Think part of the dead legs was from doing squats at the gym yesterday.

 Then it was fun friday once again ! Yay my most favorite day ! Laura and I were back to our normal time this week and we did the same route as last week

. A little slower this time but we did some pick ups in mile 3 and 4 and then did a slower recovery mile 5 before a strong push to the end.  Once again I somehow rocked another great run with her leading the way. Hard to call a 48:42 10k slow !

 Saturday was another easy 6 at home and freezing temperatures were back after a week of mild weather. I wore long pants and a jacket ! I felt sluggish too and was feeling the hard effort from Fridays hard tempo.

 On sunday, it was a bit warmer at 36F and I had hoped to get in some marathon pace work in a moderate long run. I was feeling pretty good and nailed the workout as planned. 5 easy , then 3 x 2 miles in 16:05, 15:58 and 15:59.

 So there is another good week in the books. 41.5 miles as I slowly build the mileage. I hope to get it back up into the 50's by january if things continue to go well.

Monday, December 14, 2015

enough with the recovery, time to get on with it. training update w/e 12-13-15

 After a great recovery week I was ready to ease back into training and ease it was to start. Due to time constraints and working both jobs I couldn't get in a run on Monday.

 Tuesday I headed to the track for a short but sweet workout. 2 mile warmup, 2 x 800 in 3:34, 4 x 400 in 1:43-1:44 and a mile cooldown. Hmm, a bit harder than expected but it was the first time back on the track in awhile.

 Wednesday was another tough day of work but I was able to squeeze in an easy 5. Surprised to set a segment pr going up house creek hill without trying to.

 Thursday was a planned easy day and I got it with another rest day caused by my car breaking down.

 Almost missed out on Fun Friday. Laura had a busy day ahead but messaged me that if I ould meet earlier we could run. Yay! Whatever it takes ! So a 5:45 start in the dark. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel and we didn't even talk about or plan a workout as we just decided to run and see what happened. Went the opposite direction for a change. Good warmup mile and as always happens I was soon cruising along at tempo pace with a 7:42 over the two hills.

  She wanted to detour through a neighboorhood she likes to do speedwork in and somehow I nailed a 7:33 and 7:39 through there. With about 1.5 to go we ran into Bill and he ran the rest of the way with us. A 7:53 back over the hills. ( I was getting a bit tired) And then in the last mile she had me doing surges and crushed the last mile in 7:20 ! Total of 6.2 at 7:43 average and my best overall with her !

 Saturday was an unseasonably warm and very humid morning. I went for an easy 6 at Anderson Point on the Neuse. I think I had more soreness from FF than I did from Derby !  Felt sluggish and a very slow opening mile down to the river but then I felt good and was crusing at my new normal easy pace and somehow ran an 8:20 back up to the point. Sweated buckets !

 Sunday I was hoping to get in a good long run targeting 16 on another warm humid morning. Wasn't really feeling it and was slow and easy until around mile 5 I finally felt smooth. After mile 8 I decided to see if I could do a bit of an easy progression and was happy the body responded well. After 14 I backed off again and was happy to get in the miles and average 8:54 pace.

 So there it is, a good transition week with 39.2 miles and now  time to get into the Boston training. Stay tuned for more training action !

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Turning 60 and a great training, err, recovery week.

So now I am 60 and moving into a new age group ! I do expect that I will continue to have a lot of tough competition but I am planning to  make the other guys work for it !
 I have been looking forward to this one for awhile now. 60 sounds a lot better than 59 but I'm done now. Lets not have any more !!

 But seriously, I sometimes wonder where the time has gone. I have to say that I am quite proud of where I am  right now. I never would have imagined that at this age I would be in nearly the best shape of my life, Sure, I can't touch the  20 and 30 year old pr's but I can at least be close to some from my 40's and early 50's. and as far as strength and fitness I don't know that I have ever been any been stronger or looked better in my life.  It didn't happen by accident though. If you know me you know that over the past 3 years I have been  doing core, body weight or free weight workouts nearly 7 days a week, sometimes twice a day in addition to all the running and the work has paid off.

 My weight is hovering around 138 now, only 3 pounds more than me at 25 and that is muscle. A little over three years ago I was 148 and no muscle and a  some love handles showing  around the waist despite running over 2,000 miles a week.

 In addition to the fitness I am even happier to be healthy. I know that anything could happen but right now I am  feeling great. I went to the Dr for an upper respiratory  infection after returning from California in the summer and other than that I had not been to a Dr for sickness since an ear infectioin in 1985 !!

 Enough of that for now, how about the "recovery" week

 Well, Ultraman left me some of his super powers while he is off fighting Superman.

 On Monday I took a rest day !

 Tuesday I had the time an desire and amazingly no soreness from the 50k so I went for an easy 4 at home. and wow, the pace was right where it would have been before racing.

 Wed was a  6 miler again at my now normal 8:49 average pace and no soreness.

 Thursday was an easy 5 at Crabtree in  yes,  8:49 average ! 

 I was looking forward to Fun Friday resuming but a little worried if I could hold a decent pace to keep up with Laura. I have never had a bad workout with her before. And, the streak of awesomness continued ! With no planned workout we just ran how I felt and ended up doing a great tempo run for 5 miles after an opening 8:20 mile. We were only off the course pr by 17 seconds but I ran relaxed the while time, no side stitch or nausea coming over the last mile or two. How cool is that ! what 50k?

 Saturday was another easy 6 at 8:47 average on the Crabtree Creek section from AndersonPoint. Notice the consistency?

 Sunday was a gorgeous morning and I went over toward Clayton and ran an easy half marathon for my birthday run in 1:56:23, an 8:53 pace.

So there you have it. A great week, a milestone birthday and big things to come. Stay tuned for a year end update coming soon and looking ahead to the coming year. !

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Derby # 12 and a little training thru 11-29-15

 With the race coming up I planned an easy week, almost a taper !

 Started off Monday with an easy 4 miles at home.

 Tuesday I hit Umstead for some hills. Felt really good and the hills seemed easy ! But maybe not the best thing to do before the race.

 Wednesday was a flat easy 5 along the crabtree greenway.

 Thanksgiving Day was another easy 5 along the Neuse on a lovely afternoon.

And Friday was a rest day !

  As for the race, I will spare you the long report . As expected the lack of long runs came into play and the great weather forecast the week before turned out not so good. with sun and low 70's

 I started off at my normal easy pace and after about a mile, Mark Johnson caught up to me and we ran that whole first lap together. I commented to him around mile 4 that I was ok but just not feeling it. This pace should have felt so much easier.

Early miles with Mark Johnson. Photo by Ginger Watson

 Finished that 1st 10,5 mile loop right on pace but I was already sweating so I took off my shirt. Can hardly beleive I would ever run Derby Shirtless ! Usually it's a battle to stay warm !

 By mile 14 and another trip over the Pappy Rabb hills I knew it was over and so after the easy next few miles at 17 I shut it down and began a run walk just to get it done with as little suffering as possible.

 A part of me just wanted to quit and save it for another day at the end of lap 2 at mile 21 but no way I was going to do that unless I was injured so off I went for lap 3, I actually took a little time to talk at the aid stations and get my bottle refilled on this last one. and then after leaving the last one with about 3.3 miles to go I suddenly began to feel a lot better and  picked up the pace quite a bit.

 So Derby #12 is in the books. As always a great little race. Thanks to Mark Long for putting on this gem and all the great volunteers, most of whom are friends. I think the spaghetti lunch afterwards may have been the best ever  and as always the best part is the post run socializing.

 I am very thankful that I made it through the entire race pain free ! So glad everything held up. Big thanks to Stiner Massage for keeping me rolling !

 I am 99.9% sure I want be back next year for #13 as I am taking  time off from ultras for the forseeable future but hopefully I can be one of the volunteers next time !

 I rested on Sunday to complete the week by the way but took a leisurely walk for 3 miles along the beautiful Neuse Greenway to loosen up a bit and enjoy the day.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Good- bye Ultraman.

 Yes, our good friend Ultraman  has to leave us again, probably to fight that pesky Superman one more time. Hope he can return someday but I don't know right now if he will.

 Seriously. No more Ultras, at least for the forseeable future. You people I told today I was retiring thought I was kidding but I am not. And no, this is not the usual joke we all say after a rough day.  Actually I made this decision about two months ago. During the 3 month layoff from the injury over the Summer I had a lot of time to think about what I really wanted to do in the coming year. Well, lots of things but I can't do them all so I have to listen to what my heart is telling me it wants to pursue right now and that is speed. Well, as much speed as a 60 year old can come up with.

  The plan right now is to recover and then begin training for the Boston Marathon in April and a few half marathons will be included in that buildup. I may never go back and I would like for this 3rd trip to Boston to be a fast one !

 After Boston then I really shift gears and get into some serious speed. I plan to race more short distance races and in the summer return to the track for the first time in 16 years and race some mile and 1,500's as well as some track 5k's.

 Beyond that I am not really sure and a lot depends on how those races go . Hopefully I can strike fear into the hearts of the other 60's age groupers LOL !  I may try next Fall and Winter to compete in some of the Running Journal Series races and see how well I can compete there but that decision will have to wait awhile.

 Over the past  nearly 14 years now I have completed about 80 ultras from 50k up to a 211 mile 3 day race as well as some pretty tough 100 milers. I have attained almost all the goals I set out to acccomplish so nothing to prove. I do still have a few dream goals but whether I choose to pursue them at some point I can't say.  The are so many events in gorgeous locations that I would like to run so who knows, maybe someday I will. I can say that the best thing about the ultras for me have been the many friends I have made along the way and many shared miles. I will miss that the most.

 So for now it is time to move on. I do hope many of you will still see me at some other events and continue to follow along as I embark on this new phase and maybe, just maybe someday the fire to run long will return.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Derby Preview and Training week ending 11-22-15

 Yes, it is about Derby time again. For the new readers, that is the Derby 50k, a sweet low key road run in the middle of nowhere put on by Mark Long and the Mangum Track Club. this will be my 12th year in a row in what has become my annual Thanksgiving weekend tradtion.

2014 about 10 mile mark. It was a bit cold.

 I have had some good runs there over the years including a few pr's. I've also had a couple of bad years and I have run with friends in the past in their 1st ultras. It had been a long time since I ran a fast one there, mainly because over the past several years I have either been coming off of an injury or I am a bit worn down from running OBX marathon which I have done 7 years. LAst year I was both coming off an injury, running OBX and then a fast 5 k the week before. No surprise after a fast first 10 miles I slowed down quite a bit !

  This year I was hoping to go for a pr since I didn't go to OBX  but there was the old injury bug keeping me out for 3 months. At least I am healthy now and the training is going great but I have not had time to build up with the long runs. So far I have only done a few 13 and 14 mile runs and then last weekend my longest so far of 16. I wish I could have gotten in a few 20 milers but now I will just have to do the best I can.

  Who knows? I still may have a long shot at the pr but everything will have to go perfectly and then a miracle on top of that. At least the weather forecast is looking great. I'll just run how I feel and see if I can keep from blowing up .

  So, I did have another awesome week of training last week.

 I started off Monday with an easy 4 at home .

 Tuesday was an easy 7 along the beautiful neuse greenway

 Wednesday another run from home on a foggy morning with some strides for a little zip.

 Thursday was an unseasonably warm morning with rain. I needed to get an early start so I drove to the neuse at trailhead. Just as I was walking to the start , Laura drove up. That was a nice surprise so we ran the first 2.5 miles together. As aways a bit quicker than my normal with a 7:38 second mile that felt easy. As she continued on I turned and headed back still averaging at my current BQ pace !

 And then it was time for Fun Friday !  It was a beautiful morning and we planned on some half mile repeats, aiming for about 7:15 pace. Well, I was having a great day and the slowest of 5 was at 7:12 and a couple were around 6:54 pace. We did a recovery mile and then pushed the finishing segment and I got a pr for that and the time for the whole 6 mile route was anothe pr by 15 seconds. I still have never had a bad workout with her and she continues to bring out the best in me and make me smile while iI feel like  I'm about to die.

 Saturday was a recovery day with an easy 5.

 Sunday was back to the neuse at the dam for a 10 miler. I didn;t want to go longer with the race coming up so I thought if I felt good I would do a little faster pace. I felt really good so after 5 I did a tun and burn with the last 5 at a bit faster than marathon pr pace.

 Ended up with another 43 mile week.

 So stay tuned. I hope to have a race report up for you soon. "Until then Happy Thanksgiving !

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A week of recovery fun ending 11-15-15

 After the race last Sunday it was time to take it easy for a few days. The last thing I want now with things going so well is to have to go backwards. The good thing is unlike after the Danville half last month, I was having no pains other than the normal soreness of a hard race effort.

 So I took off monday from any running but I did resume the cross training. On tuesday I was a little rushed for time but wanted to get out on a nice afternoon and was able to squeeze in 4 easy miles at a decent pace.

 On Wednesday I was really surprised to feel so good on my 6 miler in the morning. After warming up I averaged about 8:30 pace for the last 5 and it was almost effortless. I guess I really am getting into decent shape again and the cooler (finally) Fall weather is so nice. Thursday was almost a repeat of Wednesday with just about the same pace for another 6 at an easy effort.

 I was eager to resume Fun Friday with Laura and we were able to meet at the usual early 6:15 am at our normal place on the greenway. IT was perfect weather but only 5 days since the race so I didn;t know what to expect. We didn't plan a workout but just started running and just going to go with whatever happened. I was hoping to at least go sub 8 and after a warmup in 8:27 we just put it on cruise control.
 As always we were having a great time together and somehow I can still smile during a 7:33 mile with her. We ended up averaging 7:41 for the next 4 miles, the strongest tempo pace run snce the comeback and one of our best ever. In fact with a cooldown mile of 8 flat, we shattered the course record for the two of us by 30 seconds and it never felt like I was pushing too hard ! Woohoo !

 I put in another easy 5 on Saturday at the now normal pace, sub 9 average.

 Then Sunday it was long run day. So far the longest run has been 14 miles and I was hoping to get in at leat 16. It was a gorgeous morning and the temps were great, about 45 when I started and 55 when I was done.  I never really thought I was feeling all that good but I just kept ticking off solid sub 9 miles other than the ones climbing over the "hump"  a hill that is Umstead worthy where the greenway moves away from the river for about 3 miles and I felt strong and had a decent pace over them.

 So I ended up with 43 miles for the week. Looking forward to some good weather and some solid training in the week ahead. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Battleship Half Marathon and more good training news

 A week out from the race and I still wasn't sure I was going to go. Although the training was going ok now I still didn't feel 100% and I sure didn't want to risk hurting myself again.

On Monday I did an easy 4 that went ok and then Tuesday I went out for an 8 miler and felt fine. So I planned to meet Laura on Wednesday with the plan to run 3 with her and then run back easy by myself while she picked up to her normal pace. So after an 8:20 "warmup mile" we dropped mile 2 down to 7:38, a bit zippy. Thats when she asked me how far I planned to run and after I told her she said she was really hoping I could stay with her the whole 8 she was doing. How could I say no to that? So I said I would but we were going to have to slow it back down and she was happy to do it. So I had a great run, a lot of fun and we averaged just under  8mp for the whole run ! Wow, 8 at about my expected race pace !

 So on Thursday I went out for an easy 5 and feeling no pain or soreness left over from Wonderful Wednesday I was ready to commit to racing. An easy 4 on Friday and then I took a rest day Saturday and made the drive down to Wilmington. Went to pick up the packet and then a pre-race dinner with friends Ben and Tom.

  Got up Sunday and was happy that the cooler weather had moved in overnight. Saturday had been up into the low 80's and humid so 55F race morning was very welcome indeed. After taking the water taxi across the river I did my usual warmup routine. A mile jog, a little light stetching and then some strides 5 minutes before lining up.

  I felt good right from the beginning and after half mile we turned into the wind. Yes, the wind. about 12mph with gust near 20. And the first hill, actually one of the three bridges we would cross. I relaxed knowing now was not the time to be pushing anything and still was sub 8 so I had a good feeling about things. Mile 2 in the wind and across another bridge, and although it was not as much of a climb as the first one  was my time was even better despite nearly being blown sideways by a gust.

 Mile 3 was probably the easiest of the day with all flat or slightly downhill with the wind at our backs and it was my fastest split of the day. The next couple of miles through downtown we were sheltered from the wind so not a factor. A lot of brick pavement so I was having to really focus on not tripping and then at mile 3.5 a very steep hill away from the river which was Umstead Turkey Creek worthy but it was only a block long and then after a turn climbing again but more gradually for a couple of more blocks slowed me down to 8:05.

 The next 5 miles were pretty uneventful. I just had everything on cruise control, no hills and with all the trees, and twist and turns around Greenfield Lake the wind wasn't a factor. All 5 of that section were sub 8 and I was feeling great.  Most of my concentration was on running the tangents on this very curving road. It was a pleasure to run around the lake, a place I had logged 100's of training miles during the 80's and early 90's as well as the site of my first marathon back in 1981.

 My mile 10 split was great and then we came back out into an exposed road with the wind right in the face. Wow, I wasn't looking forward to that. Mile 11 was tough into it and I slowed to an 8:11 and then mile 12 included the big drawbirdge, every bit as long and tough as the one at OBX. It starts off steep on a spiral ramp and then eases off the grade a little after that on the actual bridge. I tried to hold pace as well as I could and really had to be careful across the grates of the draw section. It was a great relief to get off of them and then the 12 mile mark was just past the summit for an 8:18.

 At this point I knew I had the sub 8 race in hand, just had to get it over with. As always I can imagine the voice of Laura in my ear  and now she was telling me to throw myself down the biridge like she tells me to do on the much smaller bridge over the Neuse on our regular route, so thats what I did passing several people along the way.  I expected flat the remainder of the way so I was a bit disappointed to go around the curve and there was a small hill ! Grrrr. Took my momentum away for a minute and then it was time for the final push. I was still at 7:39 for mile 13 and then it was over. Woohoo ! Another solid half marathon in the comeback.

 I finished in 1:44:48, 5th out of 36 in my age group and  115th out of 1154 total finishers. Not too bad. I'm happy with that ! But I'm going to do a lot better in the coming months. Stay tuned for more exciting action !

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

I'm OK ! Really ! Training update for the past 2 weeks ending 11-1-15

 But I was a bit worried there for a little while. Everything had been going great and then the awesome result at the Danville half but I somehow tweaked the bum leg. The good thing was there was no pain in the previously injured area but the lower hamstring and glute were bothering me quite a bit for the next few days. I had rested on Sunday afterwards and only did an easy 4 on Monday but it was uncomfortable and got worse instead of better as I ran. I rested again Tuesday but still hurting.

  I was able to get squeezed in to see Kari at Run Raleigh PT on Wednesday thanks to a client cancelling with  her. A painful session but it seemed to help but I rested once again. Thursday I just ran 3 but still a lot of pain. I had a regularly scheduled appt with Stiner massage on Friday and was looking forward to it. That went really well, a bit painful  especially when he was leaning those sharp elbows into the glute. We talked about the race and both agreed that a big part of why things were hurting were due to the series of sharp 180 and 90 degree turns going onto and off the bridge with stops and starts in the last mile after cruising at race pace for the previous 12. I didn't run  that day and although I wanted to I  also rested Saturday.

 I was a bit scared to run Sunday but also eager to get back to normal so I went out for a test Sunday morning. I was very happy to have a lot of relief and it seems that the leg was getting back to normal. Only a slight bit of discomfort in the last 2 miles of an easy 6. I ended up with just 11 miles for the week but it was a recovery week anyway.

 I rested again on Monday mainly due to having no time working both jobs but that was probably a good thing. I was eager to go on Tuesday and got in a good 6 miler and the leg continued to improve. Another rest/long work day on Wednesday. Thursday was another easy 6 and more improvment.

   I told Laura I was ready to give Fun Friday a try. She was awesome as always and said we could just go slow or if I needed to bail just let her know because staying healthy is most important. Things started out well and while we were talking I told her  that besides the pain I just hadn't had any zip since the race so I wasn't expecting much. She insisted if I was hurting to back off.

  A normal warmup mile for running with her and then I was going to try a progression starting with 8 and working down to 7:40. Well, I must have been feeling really good because even backing off the next mile was 7:51, oh well lets just go with it. 7:53, 7:46 and 7:41 before I told her I was shutting it down and doing a cooldown mile. I think she was as excited as me at how well the run went and that I felt good doing it. A few minutes later she asked if I wanted to go for the last segment and I just said, depends on how I feel when we get there but I need to get the heart rate down. As usual she is a few steps ahead of me on the return so when I got to the beginning of the segment I just took off and passed her. She was surprised and just said ok then and caught me in just a few strides. Yay I was actually ahead for a couple of seconds. Only missed the segment pr by 4 seconds but my time for the whole 6 mile route was a 17 second pr and no pain !

 On Saturday I felt better than expected and had a nice 6 miler at home and the leg continued to improve. then on Sunday I drove into Raleigh and parked at Crabtree Mall. From there I ran 12 miles on the greenway during the City of Oaks marathon. It was great to see all the runners and a lot of friends running and volunteering and I had a strong, pain free workout with some hills on house creek.

 Ended up with 36 for the week and with continued iomprovement I expect to be back to normal mileage next week. Stay tuned !


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Danville Half Marathon and a great training week.

 With the upcoming race I didn't want to train too hard but I also hadn't planned on tapering for this one. I wanted to race well but this was just another step toward the bigger goals.

 I started off with an easy 4 miles on Monday due to time restraints and that  I had just done the hard turn and burn on Sunday.
  Tuesday was an easy 6. Probably would have done a few more or hit the hills but I had big plans for Wednesday.

Another strong workout with Laura
 Yes, it was Wonderful Wednesday. Since I couldn't run on Friday , Laura and I still wanted to share a few miles so we met on Wednesday with a plan to run a few together and then she would go on and do more miles at her usual pace. It went great as we ran the first 3 together at a pace much better than expected. When I turned around I decided since I felt so good to just go with it and ended up with a new all time best for that 6 mile route. I timed the cooldown mile perfectly to be back at the start as she finished her extra 2 miles.

 I followed that up with and easy 5 on Thursday and then took Friday as a rest day and drove to Danville after work. Did I mention the weather was great this week! Cooler and lower humidity in the afternoons.

 Ok, so what about the race?

 I had raced here in 2007 but it was in Sept then and very hot. This morning it was 34F as I was making the short drive to the start !
 The course was quite different than then also but still much of the race was on the greenway along the Dan River and flat.

 I lined up near the front with about 140 others in this low key but well organized event.
 I had done a warm up mile and wasn't feeling too spiffy. I had a realistic goal of 1:46-1:47 range and a fantasy goal of 1:45 but as we started I was having doubts and thinking 1:49 might be the target.
 Although we started on the road, the contour reminded me of the first mile of my favorite section of the Neuse Greenway with gentle short hills. My stride didn't feel just right and I was expecting 8:15 to 8:30 so I was shocked when I saw 7:51 ! Wow, I'm running better than I thought !

 Mile 2 started with a qtr mile hill that was nearly as steep as cemetery in Umstead so I just relaxed knowing that there were no more real hills to come. Once at the top and the highest elevation of the course I had a 3/4 mile easy slight downgrade to the river which I used to settle into a strong relaxed pace. That mile was 8:11 and I was quite happy with that.

 For the next 3 miles we ran along the river on short stretches of gravel , broken pavement and sidewalk while weaving in and out of parking lots and behind buildings and shopping centers ! Not the most scenic route and way too many turns but at least it was flat. And then finally we made it to the greenway. I was very happy to be maintaining a very even pacing just about 7:55 average.

 Right around the halfway point we began an out and back section of the course on the greenway which would bring us back to the old railroad bridge that would take us to the other side of the river to the finish. In 2007 we finished about 100yds past the bridge in front ot the train station but this year we would have to circle under the bridge with another half mile to go.
greenway passing under RR bridge 

 Ok, back to the race. At mile 7 I was still running every mile within about a 5 second range. With 6 to go I was telling myself all I had to do was pretend it was my normal 6 miles with Laura which right now  we are running around the pace I had run for the 1st 7miles of the race.

 By mile 8 I was confident there would be no blowing up this time but I still kind of expected to gradually slow down in the last miles. I made it to 9.5 and did the loop around a field and then headed back upriver on the greenway. I thought this might be when I would slow some  but I remained focused and the 7:55 ish splits just kept coming and over the next couple of miles I started picking off quite a few that were slowing down. And then with about 6/10ths to go we came to the bridge.

looking across the RR bridge
 Running across the old 3 span truss bridge would be cool but in order to do it you have to run up a steep narrow wooden ramp, make a sharp 180 turn on a small landing losing all momentum , run up another ramp and then make a sharp 90 turn onto the narrow bridge. After crossing the bridge it is a series of 3 sharp narrow 90 turns then a sweeping 180 to finally circle under the bridge and get back on the greenway with 4/10ths to go to the finish line. I was pushing strong but all those short compact turns cost me time and mile 13 was 8:09 and would clearly have been under 8 if we had not had to run that maze of ramps. ( RD said next year that they would eliminate that).

view of RR beidge from greenway

 I was so thrilled to finish in 1:43:15, my fasted half in over 15 years and much better than I dreamed I could do at this point. I am officialy done with referring to the injury now !

 So, you would think in a small race like this with that time I would make it to the podium ? Ha !  Turns out I was in the toughest age group of all ! I was 5th !!! Even with a 23rd overall placing !
 I would have been 2nd in the 45-49 ag by just 4 seconds. I would have been third in the 50-54 and if I was just 2 months older would have won the 60-65 ! Oh well, I am just happy with the great personal performace and knowing I still have some great racing ahead of me.

happy 1:43:15 finisher

 Stay tuned  for more running excitement !

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Finally some decent weather ! And that helps make for a great week of trainng

 Yes, after last weeks off the charts high humidity, rain and unseasonably warm weather, this week has been downright pleasant but still not quite what you expect. But hey, it was still nice !

 I got off to a great start, expecting to be tired from last Sundays long run but instead I had a really good 6 miler at home Monday.

 On Tuesday I went back to Umstead at the same time of day and ran the same route as last Tuesday. Wow, what a difference ! Just because of the much lower humidity I was a full 3.5 minutes faster and instead of dying on the last uphill mile I crushed it !

 Wed and Thurs were just more easy miles but I felt good although Thursday got hot and the humidity had crept back up.

  And then there was Fun Friday ! Yay ! I met Laura at the same 6:30 but for the first time in two weeks it wasn't raining ! Here is how I described the run in a facebook post.
"We start of slowly or it seems so. I look up at the crystal clear sky with the crescent moon and Venus lighting our path and it makes me smile.
That warm up mile is a full minute faster than my normal. And then it is time to work and we hit the lap button and up the pace. She soon says it is too quick but we hold pace and nail the first split. Then surprisingly the recovery is at my current marathon race pace.
The next several repeats are magical. Everything clicks, my stride is smooth and the breathing is strong and even as I am in the zone. We even share some laughs as each interval is faster than planned.
And then we cooldown enjoying the conversation and I notice our cooldown 1.5 miles is at my marathon pr pace.
We finish and high 5. Another quality workout in the log book. And I see it is over 1:40 seconds faster than I have ever run this 6 mile route"

 I was almost planning to take off Saturday but I felt good and had a great 6 miler from home.

 I have a race  next weekend so instead of doing a long run I wanted another shorter quality effort so I planned a turn and burn 10 miler. It was nice a cool at the start but I didn't have the zip I wanted on the easy 5 going out although I did feel ok and the pace was alright. Funny thing was I didn;t really start to feel good until I got mad  at mile 7 and really picked up the pace and ran strong over the last 3. Negative split by 5 minutes ! 

 So, another great week in the book with 46 total miles. Stay tuned and we'll talk more about the upcoming racing soon !