Tuesday, December 31, 2013

38,764 + pushups for 2013

 This was something I really hadn't expected but once I got into it I began to enjoy adding another challenge to my fitness goals.

 Here is a link to how it all started.

 But if you don't want to read that then here is the short version. Last Fall I had noticed that I felt weak in general and had noticed I was slouching a bit especially when I was running tired. I had neglected any core or strength training  for a long time and decided it was time to get back into it. I began with just 10 -15 minutes of core and shortly after that Amy issued a 30 day plank challenge via Arrichion. We did that for actually 37 days until the end of 2012.

  I began the 100 pushups challenge on January 1st. The first workout I did 78 total with  amax of 25 in the last set. I never imagined that after I reached that goal that it would get to this point. I did my first 100 on may 2nd. On Sept. 23rd I did my most ever in one workout  with 520 and then on Sept 25 I did 1,000 in one day. Started out with 300 in my regular workout and then did 700 more in sets of 50 through out the day.

 In addition to the pushups I added pullups and dips to my routine. when I first began I could do 1.5 pullups ! Now I regularly do 60 in a workout, usually in sets of 10 or 12.  I haven't tried to see how many I can do in a set but I took a 2minute test that Bill Gentry did and I was able to squeeze in 40 in that time.

 Then beginning in October  I began adding some free weights to the program. I typically do the body weight work every other day 3 days a week and every 4th day I add the weights. Not really looking to bulk up but just keep up some strength. And as for the whole muscle vs fat stuff. Well when i began the program at the beginning of the year i was around 147 to 148 lbs. As of today I weigh 136 and running strong as ever and feeling and looking better than I have since my late 30's !

  And lets not forget the core. I have continued with that all year too. I began a 200 situps challenge on January 29th. At that time I could do  a max of 32. Now i can easily do the 200 even at the end of a regular workout. I usually average about 400 per workout.  Right now i alternate with my other core routine which is usually 30 minutes of leg raises, crunches, stability ball work, planks and a wide mix of other stuff  including kettlebells that I switch around to make every workout a little different. And no, I am not even going to bother going back and adding up all the situps, pullups and dips for the year !

 So a typical  2 week cycle  looks like this.
Mon: pullups, dips and pushups. aka body weight day
Tues. Situps
Wed.  body weight day + free weights'
Thurs. 30 minute core
Fri:  body weight day
Sat: off if I am doing a long run
Sun: situps
Mon: body weight + free weights
Tues. 30 minute core
Wed. body weight
Thurs: situps
Fri: body weight + free weights
Sat: rest
Sun: 30 minute core.
 You get the idea.

 I also do some yoga , usually 30 minutes average but I have been slack with that the last couple of months. A lot of that was due to the hamstring injury and now with me running more and working more hours but I hope to get in at least a couple of yoga workouts each week this year

Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking ahead to 2014

 Once again I find myself very excited about the upcoming year. After  all these years I still love running and racing and training more than ever. After several years with no injuries I had to deal with one for most of the 2nd half of 2013 so I am really hoping to avoid that mistake. I was on pace for my highest mileage year ever and even with the down time I had a great year. Looking forward I have a goal of making 2014 my best.

 So what is in the plans for the new year?

 Absolutely nothing but training and having fun.

  The Myrtle Beach Marathon. This is what all the training is for right now. This is probably my last shot at going for a Boston qualifier for at least a year so it's do or die. It is not going to be easy because to guarantee a spot I need to get that 5 minute cushion which means with the newer qualifying standards I must also run a marathon pr. Sounds nearly impossible when you consider my pr was way back n 2006 at MB and now I am 8 years older. That may not mean so much in your 20's or 30's but in your 50's it is tough ! But I am committed to the training and I will give it my best shot and hope that Amy and I can achieve the goal that we have both worked so hard for the past 1.5 years.

  After Myrtle Beach I am returning my focus for the remainder of the year to ultra's. Of course  I have done several each of the past few years but this year it will be my main focus. So with that said my only race for March may be the Umstead Trail Marathon  which I will do for fun and training for the 100 in April. I am not decided yet but I may also do the Tobacco Road Half Marathon for fun and training also.

 Yep, the first weekend of the month I am returning to the Umstead 100 and if the weather will cooperate I plan to give it my best shot and go for the PR. I am already mixing some practice loops into my training ! I also plan to return to one of my favorite trail races the last weekend of the month, the Promise Land 50K++

 Well, right now if nothing comes up and I don't come to my senses very soon I plan to travel to New Jersey and run The 3 Days at the Fair. Yes, a 72 hour race.  I have been wanting to try a multi day ultra ever since I began doing ultra's back in 2002 but I've never gotten around to it. This should be the year. We won't talk about goals right now ;)

 Not really sure what I'm going to do but probably a return to the Boogie 50 miler

 If nothing else comes up quickly that gets my interest , I will probably be back at Grandfather Mountain Marathon.

 Aug: Nothing but fun and training. Maybe Medoc Meltdown?

 Pine Creek Challenge 100 miler in PA. If I go it will be for another 100 pr attempt and hope for good weather in this beautiful location.

 If everything goes according to plan I will take my first trip overseas to run the Lake Garda Marathon in Italy. No plans to race hard but I will run with my camera and take lots of pictures !

Tough decision here. I would like to return to Mountain Masochist 50 but I also would like to do the Croatan 24 hr the same weekend. Still plenty of time to think it over and see what a couple of the Angels have planned. Most  likely finish up the month with my 11th Derby 50k

 Probably nothing as usual but training and recovery and dreaming of big things for the next year!

 So that's it. train hard, stay healthy and share as many mile as possible with the Angels and friends.

 Stay tuned

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013, The Year in Review

 Only a couple of days left in this year so I guess I can go ahead and post the review. Definitely a year of highs and lows but as always I like to focus on the good and leave the negative behind and move forward.

 Here is a link to my post on the first half of the year.

  July :
 This was a good month for me. I had my highest mileage month of the year and was well on my way to my highest  yearly total. I returned once again to one of my favorite events , The Grandfather Mountain Marathon. It was special this year, not because I had a great run although I think I felt better than almost any other year I have run it other than 2006. What made it special was that there were 4 of my Angels running and I got to run at least a few miles with all of them and shared the whole race with Jenn in her first time in the race. I had  especially wanted to because she had run the reverse with me when I did the double in 2010.

  I started off the month with a fast 5K and 2nd place in my age group but it was the beginning of the downfall of my running for the next several months. I would have been fine because no damage was done in the race but the stupid stuff I did over the next three days all came together to injure my hamstring. I took it easy for the next couple of weeks but probably should not have run any before heading to NY and the Beast of Burden 100. The pain was bad from the first few miles and eventually the leg just gave out on me and I had to drop at mile 37.5. It was still a great trip sharing the journey with Jenn and visiting Niagara Falls.

 I gave the leg a lot of rest and it was getting much better as the middle of the month came and I was preparing to run The Run For The Fallen Half Marathon. The leg had felt much better in the days before and I was pain free during the warmup but within the first mile the other leg began hurting, I assume from over compensating from the other leg injury. By the time it was over I had to slow way down thanks to the pain and the leg refusing to move at the pace I wanted. I was well on the way to first time under 1:40 since 2006 so it was frustrating but the worst thing was that I was now injured worse than before.

 Again I had to cut way back on my running but I had a BQ attempt at The Wineglass Marathon in Corning NY in the first weekend of the month. I could only hope to get through it without making things worse. My conditioning was not nearly what I had hoped due to the lower mileage and inability to do any fast paced training   since August. The first 15 turned out better than expected. Very little pain and on BQ pace and feeling good but suddenly at mile 16 the leg just gave out on me and sharp pain followed. Once again disappointing but another great trip to a beautiful area with friends Karla and Frank and Rebecca and Ronnie.

 Two weeks later I had a very important race to run, the Tussey Mountainback 50 miler in State College PA. I needed it as my last chance to qualify for the Western States lottery . I didn't run a step in the two weeks between races and was just hoping and praying the leg would hold up to the finish and that I was still in condition to run the necessary time to qualify. Finally a success ! I was in pain pretty much the whole time but otherwise I felt very good and was able to maintain the pace I needed and the leg held up. And amazingly enough the pain actually eased off the last 10 miles and it seemed to be the beginning of the injury actually starting to improve !


 I mostly took it easy after the 50 miler but gradually worked my mileage up a bit   leading up to the OBX marathon. The leg was improving some but some days were better than others and I was still having some pain. My only goal was to run the race with Karla and have fun and not hurt. I ran the first two miles with Amy just for fun and to get her on pace for her BQ attempt and then dropped back to run the rest of the day with Karla. We had some fun but my conditioning was down and I had a slow recovery from the 50 miler so  had to let her go at mile 16 . At least I was able to run it with almost no pain at all and was no worse afterwards and like  after the 50 it seemed to be improving even more.   Another great trip with friends as I was once again a guest of the Howells, and was able to share much of the time with Amy, Karla and Frank.

  My last planned event was to return for my 10th consecutive Derby 50k and get my  special finishers chair. I was successful in  that I  felt good, had fun and ran pain-free !


 No events but I am happy just to be running nd training normally again. I was afraid that with the injury as bad as it was in Sept and Oct that if I could just make it through Derby that I would have to take off a month like I did at the end of 2008 to  let things heal up and start over again. So you can imagine how happy I am that instead I am already over 200 miles for the month for the first time since July and I am actually able to be training for a BQ attempt at Myrtle Beach in February. But that's another story !

Sunday, December 22, 2013

update on injury and training

 It's about time to post the year in review and  the outlook for  2014 but first I thought I would fill you in on whats going on with the training. If you have been a follower at all you are probably aware that I have been struggling with some hamstring  issues since doing something stupid in August which caused my dnf at Beast of Burden 100. Just when I thought I was over it  things got worse during and after the half in Sept. Repeat for Oct and Wineglass marathon, finally going well and then as bad as ever. Took two weeks off hoping to just get through the 50 miler in Pa. later that month but it was hurting just as bad after the two weeks. Then strangely about the 40 mile mark as I posted in the race report, the pain eased off and has now gotten gradually better through the OBX Marathon and then the Derby 50k. How strange is that ?

  To be honest I was worried and almost planning on taking off the month of December to rest and heal like I did at the end of 2008 when I had a similar injury.  Doing so would not only have made me miserable but my plan of going for a Boston qualifying time at the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February would have been about impossible. Instead, ever since Derby 50K things have been going remarkably well !

 I was almost shocked at how great I felt after Derby and was back to training normally almost right away with virtually no pain. I could tell my conditioning was off but it seems to be coming back quickly. In the 3 weeks since then I have been able to get in some good long runs, some strong hilly runs at marathon race pace and nailed a couple of tempo runs at the pace I need.

 You may have noticed that I have not raced any events in December for several years for a variety of reasons and I don't have any plans   to race anything between now and MB this time around. I am totally committed to   being in the best shape I can possibly be to go for that BQ. I am not following any specific training plan but just doing the type of workouts and mileage that I know I need to get me in pr shape. And to BQ it is pr or bust for me.

 At this time I have just 8 weeks until race day so it's going to be pretty intense training for the next two months so I hope and pray that the body will hold up and I can achieve the goal. It has been about a year and a half since I got into this trying to get my training partner Amy into Boston so this may be our last shot at it for awhile. After MB I am looking at a full schedule of some long ultra's again with at least 3 to 5 events of  100 miles , 24 hr or multiday events with several more shorter ultras so if I don't qualify at MB I don't see another shot for at least another year.

 So with that wish me and Amy both good luck over the next 8 weeks.!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

10th Derby 50k finish and counting ?

 10 years in a row is a long time to do anything with so many things that can come up to break the streak. The only race that I have done more times than Derby is the Virginia 10 miler in Lynchburg. I had a 15 year streak for that race from 1978 thru 1992 but with the early 90's came the dark years and very little running and the streak was broken.  Hope nothing like that ever happens again and if I ever do break the Derby streak it will be because of something good coming up. Otherwise I plan to return as many years as possible to this great little event that Mark Long has directed for our running pleasure all these years.

 I was very excited this year to be returning to run and claim my 10 year special finishers chair despite being a bit disappointed knowing that due to recent injuries I was not in shape to race it hard. I met up with my dear friend Jenn the Ultra Angel at 5:15 to share the  2 hr ride to the Derby Community building. As always it's great to meet so many familiar faces, some of which have been here from the beginning as participants or volunteers. Of note is the only one going for finish 11, Tony Rouse. I met Tony way back then and we have shared many miles in races over the years. And Bill Keane who was also going for #10. My first memory of actually talking to Bill was in the middle miles of the Beech Mountain Madness 50k in 03. Always a pleasure to hear the stories from his decades in the sport.

 More often than  not its a bit chilly at least for the start and this year it was in the upper 20's so I was dressed a bit more warmly than I would have been if I was going for the pr. My plan was just to start off easy until  aid station 1 near the 4 mile mark and then assess the situation. I stuck with that plan and ran the first couple of miles with Fred Dummar. The pace was easy but it wasn't feeling that easy so  I already knew there was not going to be anything close to a fast time. Even though I know a pr was a fantasy I was hoping to  at least run around 5 hours.

  As I came into the aid station I didn't need anything yet so I just spoke to Susan and the Professor who have been bravely standing in the cold wind here  for many years, then ran on. Things weren't feeling any better by the time I made it over to AS 2 which was staffed by my friends the Akers and Angels Amy and Jenn. Gotta love races where you are friends with just about all the volunteers ! I told them as I passed through that there would be no miracles today and moved along. Strangely enough at mile 8 I suddenly began to feel pretty good and the pace seemed quite comfortable. I actually ran strong up the mile long hill and then ran strong back to the start/finish. I grabbed a delicious cookie that Liz Crepo and daughter had cooked for us and went back out on loop two feeling confident that I just may have a shot at that 5 hour time after all.

  I had planned on ditching the vest but it was not getting much warmer and the wind along Pappy Rabb and Derby Road was bone chilling so I stayed wrapped up. I did run strong for the next few miles but after one more trip up the hills and then into the wind again I knew that if I tried to push it then I would probably blow up and memories of my wretched run at OBX just three weeks before were fresh in my mind so at mile 13 I backed off again. The remainder of the lap was uneventful. Everyone was spread out over the course so I didn't really have anyone to talk to but just tried to enjoy the day and put the miles behind me. My time for the 2nd loop was only a few minutes slower than the first and after 21 miles I was still running ok if just a bit slow. Another yummy cookie and it was off for the last lap and claim my chair.

  And although I was slow I still was running nearly all of the last lap with just a couple of short walk breaks on the hills and through the aid stations. When I got back around to the mile long hill with 2.5 to go I was beginning to feel tired and it was my slowest mile of the race but once I got back onto Derby Road for the last 1.5 I had a resurgence of energy and ran strong the rest of the way at a pace a bit faster than any other mile since mile 22 so I was very encouraged by that as I prepare to rest up and begin training for new challenges in 2014.

  Big smiles as I was greeted by Mark and other fiends at the finish.  Before I could claim my chair though I had one more thing to do. Yep, it's become a tradition of it's own now. I dropped down at the finish line in the road and did 41 pushups, one for each mile and one for each finish.  Guess I'll have to do 42 next year.

  Got my chair and then went inside to enjoy another delicious spaghetti dinner from the church ladies and hang out with old and new friends sharing our stories of the day. That is one of the things that makes this event so special.

 Big Thanks to Mark and all the volunteers over the years that give us the opportunity to enjoy a little run every year on Thanksgiving weekend. Hope to see you next year !