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 12th 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 !

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Where is the sun anyway? Or training in the dark, rain and humidity.

 Considering the nasty weather I have actually had a pretty good week of training again.

  Everyday had at least some rain and the first of the week some unseasonably warm temperatures. Monday Tuesday and Wednesday were just miserable with the high humidity, warm temps and the dewpoint matching the temperature. Just some easy miles at home on Monday and Wednesday. I made my way out to Umstead to get in some hills on Tuesday. Just horrid conditions but I was running a decent pace. 5 miles in a deluge fell for the next 15 minutes and the trail was a flowing river almost immediately due to everything being saturated. I really struggled up the last uphill mile.

 I decided right then that Thursday would be a rest day. I was feeling worn down, legs were dead and I wanted to be fresh for  Fun Friday am.

  Yes, Fun Friday. 6:30 start in the dark again and the temperature was great at 54F but not so great was the wind and pouring rain ! No worries, there was work to be done and fun to be had !

  Laura and I did a slow (for her) warm up mile in 8:29. Then the plan was for a descending run from 8:00 down to 7:30. Well, another fail. Got off to a fast start. Hard to judge in the dark and the rain you know and even after backing off the 2nd mile was 7:41. So why not just keep it rolling from there? Next one including the turn was 7:36 and then 7:31.  Since we were faster than planned she tells me I can just jog it in if I want to. And I was feeling like that was a good idea but I always try to give 100% plus when I get these chances to run with her so I just kept it going. I think it made her happy !

  The whole time she is keeping up the encouragement and little tips to squeeze out as much speed as possible out of me. I was trying to make it last one fast one but with a headwind up over the 3 rolling hills in that mile I just missed with a 7:33. Awesome workout as she always brings out the best in me.

 Saturday I got in more muggy miles and then finished up with 14 on Sunday am. It was off the charts muggy again. 100% humidity, 63F with 63F dew point. Just took it easy for the 1st 10 and then picked it up finishing with the last mile in 8:03, about 8 seconds faster then marathon pr pace.

 So, finished up with 43 miles, some good workouts and looking forward to some much improved weather in the coming week. Stay tuned !

Monday, September 28, 2015

Going through changes and taking it easy... or maybe not

After 4 weeks of steadily increasing mileage with last week at 47 and a 15 day streak going, I decided this would be a cut back week. And it was ..... in quantity. I did take a rest day on Thursday and my total for the week was back down to 40 but honestly I can't say it was an easy week.

 It did start off that way with an easy 4 on Monday but then on Tuesday morning I made a decision to go to the track for a little test. It was a year ago August that I last set foot on a track and although I didnt go all out , I put up some decent numbers for a couple of qtrs, a couple of halves and a mile.

 Then I had another great workout on Fun Friday with Laura. This week we did 5 x half mile. Originally planned on trying for 7:30 pace but we did them all between 7:16 and 7:24 pace. Oh well, I felt great anyway ! The conditions were ridiculous. Dark and raining, I had to take off my glasses and with the lights reflecting off the wet asphalt it was very disorienting and surreal. I just tried to go where she went and hoped we didn't run into anything ! And yes, it was wicked fun !

 Finished up the week with my longest run so far on the comeback trail with 14 muggy miles. On my previous longer runs I was beginning to struggle by mile 10 but finally today I felt strong to the end , running faster the last 3 miles and a negative split overall.

 I spent a lot of time thinking about changes this week. Change can be good. Some changes I look forward to. Others are  not so good and sometimes changes are forced upon us. I have had a few of those this year and really struggled with them, not understanding why. But in the end I just had to realize that there was nothing I could do but accept those changes. It was and is hard but thankfully I have had a couple of good friends help me through the process.

 SO, what does that have to do with a training update and running? Well for one thing I have along with those changes had a different outlook at some of the goals I had and the reasons for doing them. In a couple of cases the motivation and reason for those goals are gone, dead, but from that new opportunities have opened up. And in other cases totally unrelated I have been giving a lot of thought to what I really want to do and achieve in the next year or two as I reach the landark 60 year old age group later this year.

 I'm still thinking and I'm sure I may change, there is that word again, my mind some more but right now I have an idea what direction I am leaning towards for 2016. But you will have to wait quite awhile before I reveal any of those ideas. For now, lets concentrate on what I am doing first and that is focus on the Derby 50k in November and then get in the best possible shape for Boston next April. I think that is enough to focus on and worry about for now ! But stay tuned ! Big things are coming !

Monday, September 21, 2015

Feeling happy/ training update w/e 9-20-15

 I am finding myself in a good place with my running and my life right now.

 Finished up this week with the most mileage so far since April and everything still feels great. We had some cooler and drier air for most of the week and that always helps. There were several highlights during the week. On Wednesday I finally returned to the hills of Umstead fully expecting to get my butt kicked by the hills but despite 82F, with the lower humidity I felt great and handled the hills quite well.
  On Friday I had yet another great workout with Laura Frey. I was only going to run 5 with her but she convinced me to go ahead and join in for 7 and I am glad that I did. I felt great, ran tempo pace for most of the run and finished with a pr on the last .4 mile segment.

  Then Sunday I went out for a longer run but started a bit late and the humidity was back although not nearly as horrible as last weekend. I was able to run 13.1 iles a full 9 minutes faster than at the Holden Beach half last Saturday !

 Looking forward to more cooler weather and some more good miles in the coming week.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Holden Beach Half Marathon and training update

  With several strong weeks of training behind me and a half marathon coming up I was cutting back a bit on the training this past week with low, slow mileage and a day off as well as cutting back a bit on the cross training. Well, I was taking it easy up until Fun Friday ! If I had been in shape and planning to go all out at the race I would have skipped the run with Laura but since I was going to just be using it for training I didn't want to miss out on the chance to get in my run with her. As always we had a great time. No speedwork this time but the 4 miles we shared were at a bit faster than marathon pr pace ! Never an "easy" run with her !

  When I had planned on racing at Holden Beach I was expecting to be in great shape and having a chance to go for one of my fastest times in  many years but of course now I am barely back to just running 13 miles, let alone racing it so as I prepared for the run my new plan  was just to get in a good workout and hopefully a decent time. Well, when I walked out Saturday morning at 5am to drive to the race any hope of a decent time was gone as it was already 78F and a dew point of 73 making it miserable and sticky just standing around.

  After checking in I went for a slow one mile warmup and by the end of that I was already sweating so I ditched the singlet I was planning to run in and went to line up. It was a narrow starting area and I was a bit of a ways back. Not too much of a concern since I had no plans to run hard. But it did turn out to be an aggravation as it took me about a quarter mile to work my way around a lot of very very slow runners.  And as soon as I had clear running we started up the bridge over the waterway. This one is a bit steepr than most of the other bridges along the coast because it has to reach the standard height for boat clearances in only 1/4 mile where most climb for about 1/2 mile. I felt good and relaxed over the top and then coasted down the otherside. Got to the mile in 8:14 which really surprised me. with the slow start and climb and the effort feeling so easy I expected it to be 9 or slower .

   A short turn around and then back over the bridge to the island where the remainder of the race would be much different. The next 5.5 miles were straight as an arrow down the beach road directly into a 11-14 mph headwind. The good thing is that the breeze was at least giving the illusion of a bit of coolness but I was still sweating profusely. Each mile was gradually slower as I tried to keep the effort relaxed. As much as I appreciated the winds cooling effect I was having to use just that much more energy and after just a few miles I could feel it's draining effects and every mile my pace was getting slower.

 I made the u turn just before the 7 mile mark still feeling halfway decent but my shoes were already squishing with every step from the rivers of sweat pouring out of me and now with the breeze at our backs we now feeling the full nastiest of the  humidity.

  By mile 8 I was toast. The weather and my lack of training had done me in and shortly after I packed it in and began adding walking breaks every half mile. It was a long slow miserable last 4 miles and I seriously was ready to just quit and walk it in at mile 10 but I decided to just keep going and taking it easy and get the finishers medal.

  I have to say that I have actually felt better and run at a faster pace the last 4 miles of several of my 50 milers than I did in this one. Too bad it wasn't held on Sunday instead. We had the  temperature about 15 degrees cooler and a low dewpoint making for excellent running compared to anything in several months. I was going to take a rest day but it was so nice I couldn't resist getting in an easy 4 miler. That gave me a total of 39 for the week. I plan to take it fairly easy for most of the upcoming week and then get into some real focused training for racing this Fall. Time to get serious again !

Monday, September 07, 2015

6 weeks and it keeps getting awesomer. ( is that a word lol !? )

 Yes, here I am 6 weeks out and things really are going much better than expected. I got in 40 miles this week, the most so far and everything feels good.

  I met Laura again for another version of Fun Fridays and we did a little re-introduction to speed. After a warmup we did 3 minutes on at about my previous 5k pace with one minute recoveries. Despite the horrod humid conditions it went very well and I was a bit surprised at the pace. But I was suffering on the last one.! Still very happy with the first one back.

 I will be cutting back and tapering a bit this week .
 Here is something i posted on Facebook this week that is a good sign that things are looking good entering the cooler air and Fall racing season.

"8:45 is the new 9 : 15 pace. Again.
For some reason, last winter the pace for my normal easy runs became about 30 seconds per mile faster than in the previous 10 years or so. How did this happen considering my mileage had been fairly consistent for the previous 10 years?
Well, I have a few theories.
For one thing I was no longer running with slower training partners. I had trained my body to run with an unnatural stride length to adjust to the slower pace.
Secondly, I began running weekly with the Honey Badger who is definitely much faster than me.
Thirdly, I began getting treatment at ‪#‎stinermassage‬ . We have been working on imbalances, posture and correcting some issues with my form, mainly with trunk rotation. And I was very tight in the hip flexor before.
So now just 6 weeks back running and although my fitness and endurance aren't quite back to prior to the injury my easy pace is already back and that is with the awful humidity we are having.
So, I am happy and confident that once we get into the Fall, some good things are coming!"

Sunday, August 30, 2015

5 weeks and all is well !

 Actually better than well.

 5 weeks ago I was afraid to even try running again after having dealt with pain for months and all the failed attempts to start going again. I could not have hoped that things would be going so well with the comeback  this quickly.

  Last week I was able to get in 34 miles including a 10 mile run and my pace on all the shorter runs were as good as before the injury !

And then this past week was even better ! I ran 6 days and began adding some strides and surges into some of the runs to prepare for some faster workouts coming soon. I ended up the week with 38 miles with a 12 miler to top off the week.

 But the best thing was I finally was able to resume Fun Fridays with my amazing training partner Laura ! I wasn't sure that I was really quite ready to handle the pace I need to hang with her but we were ready to give it a shot and it went much better than I could have imagined ! The pace was about 15 to 20 seconds a mile faster than I expected and the effort based on my current condition was definitely tempo pace. We actually had to back off  a little after the 2nd mile ! It was work but I finished knowing I could  go for a bit more. I am looking forward to many more of these runs as I rebuild and go beyond where I was last Spring.

 I have big plans for later in the year and everything is right on track.

 I would like to give a shout out to Stiner Massage for helping keep me healthy  so I can pursue my lofty goals.

Monday, August 17, 2015

3 weeks after the comeback began and all is well !

 Things continue to go very well and even better than I could have imagined after 3 weeks. From  a 2 miler of 1 minute run walk intervals I am now running at my normal  easy training pace.

  I was able to run 6 days this week with a 2 mile walk on my rest day.  Two 6 milers and on Friday I went the longest distance so far at 8 miles and still no pain issues. and of course this is all in the miserable humid conditions of August in NC. I never expected to be this far along as I finished up with a 32 mile week !

 I am lookng forward to continuing to slowly build back up to  my normal 50 ish miles per week over the next few weeks and maybe, just maybe there is still a chance for a decent race sometime this Fall.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Training update 8-10-15 or hopping down the comeback trail

The picture was taken  just after finishing my first non stop run last Sunday, a 3 miler. Giving thanks for finally being back on the road.

 I am very pleased with the progress so far. After that first non stop run I have been able to drop any walk breaks .  I took off Monday and  just did a 2 mile walk and then ran 3 days in a row, feeling stronger each day. Went for another 2 mile walk on Friday.

  On Saturday I decided to try for 6 miles. I was feeling a bit tired on the hills but oterwise no problems and a decent pace. I thought about resting Sunday am but woke up feeling very good so I went out for a 3 miler. Decided to test the legs a bit and laid down a 7:35 mile two ! I was sucking wind but it felt so good ! I ended up with 20 miles for the week and still no pain while running.
 The legs are doing great but I am still feeling it with my breathing and the heart rate is a bit higher than normal but I am sure I'll get that back in shape quickly. What amazes me is I am already averaging about the same pace for these easy runs as I was 3 months ago ! Now I just have to be careful as I slowly build the mileage bac up to pre-injury levels.

 Thanks for caring and stay tuned. Big stuff coming !

Monday, August 03, 2015

A training update 8-3-15. Finally !

 After re-injuring the not healed injury at Western States. I promised myself I would not even try to run again until I had several days of no pain doing normal everyday stuff.

 Over the weeks I kept up with the core, body weights and free weights on a regular basis but otherwise tried to be very careful not to do anything to aggravate the  injured area which is kind of hard with a hamstring/glute issue.

 I was surprised how quickly the trauma I inflicted on it at WS startd feeling better but then it became frustrating. I would have a day or two of hardly any pain at all and then it would seem to be just as bad as before. This  pattern would repeat for the next 3 weeks but each time I had a few good days it would hurt again but I did feel like it was feeling a lot better on the good days and not as bad on the bad days.

 So after exactly 4 weeks  and a few good days I decided it was time for a test on Sunday July 26th. I began by walking 1/2 mile and then alternating one minute of running and one minute of walking. I was prepared to bail and walk home at the first sign of pain but I was thrilled to complete 2 miles with no pain at all.

 On Monday I went for a 2 mile walk and then Tuesday I went back out this time walking 1/4 mile and then alternating 2 minute run with one minute of walking. Again no pain !

 Wednesday I took another 2 mile walk and then Thursday I walked another 1/4 mile and then 3 minutes of running and one minute walking for 3 miles ! Another 2 mile walk on Friday.

 On Saturday I eliminated the walk at the start and then did 4 minutes of running with one of walking for a total of 4 miles ! I was so happy to go that far and be pain free !

 That night Laura messaged me and asked if I was going to run again on Sunday. I had planned to walk again but it depended on how I felt in the morning.

 Well, I had a good night and woke up feeling good so I decided to give it a real test. Back to back runs and this time no walk breaks. Success ! 3 miles non stop and pain free. The hip felt more stable than it had since before the injury started back in April ! And the pace was decent with the last mile at my pre injury easy run pace.

 So, I am so happy to be able to get back to running some but I am going to take my time building back up to normal. I really don't want to take another step back. I love this stuff too much and really don't want to ruin a chance for some strong running in the Fall so today I just walked again.

 Stay tuned and hope for more good news soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trust in the Light

 I've written a little bit of fiction but this is a true story.


   Life was good for the runner. Each day on the roads and trails brought joy to him as he confidently moved along, bathed in the light that surrounded him like a halo. All around were hundreds of  stars, some a bit brighter than others, but there were a special few that shone with a magnificent glow, surrounding him in their warmth and brilliance. Such was the comfort that the light brought to him that even in the darkest of night the light was like a full summer moon casting shadows on every step reminding him that he was never alone.

   Then on a day that seemed like any other, without warning one of the lights suddenly  vanished and his world in an instant had become much dimmer. The runner was stunned, not able to comprehend what had just happened and then just as quickly another , then another and yet another one flickered and was gone.  He stopped dead in his tracks asking himself why? What could have caused this to happen? This can't be real ! I must be in a dream, no a nightmare. With the disappearance of the light , his world seemed to be turning to twilight. He turned to the remaining bits of light as if to ask for help in understanding but they too began to fade, then recede and in a moment they were gone. All that was left were the many tiny stars that seemed so far away with the exception of one that stood out a bit brighter.

  Barely able to see now in the near total darkness, in desperation he turned and tried to find his way back from the direction he had come.  For hours it seemed he stumbled along searching for some faint glow that may lead him back to where the light may have gone but there was not a glimmer to be seen.  Near panic came over him and several times he fell as he searched in vain until at last he collapsed in a heep as despair and the darkness crept over him. Cold , alone, confused and feeling that  all hope was lost he tried to make sense of it all. But there were no answers, just silence as  dead as the darkness around him. Inside he felt like the black pitch of the deepest cavern, a place that sadly he had been before but had trusted would never enter again. But now his thoughts had turned even darker if that was possible.

 And then, he noticed there was  a faint glow coming from behind him. He turned to face it as it came nearer and began to gain in brightness and in an instant  he recognized it as the bright star that he had always enjoyed watching from a distance as it streaked across the sky. Ever closer it came until it shone so brilliantly that he was nearly blinded and like a fire it began to warm him. A voice came seemingly from the light  directly to his heart and simply said, "I believe in you". Slowly he stood, still feeling a bit confused. He turned back once again to the direction from which  he had come and all he could see was total darkness, blacker than coal and it sent a chill down his spine.  Then turning once again to the light, it was as if the star had read his mind as it softly said "trust me".  And he looked around and there was a new  path opening up before him full of hope and promise. He had no idea where it would lead him but he began to run, slowly at first but soon with confidence he began to push the pace and joy filled his heart. He would trust inthe light.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Whats up for the 2nd half of the year?

 As I was writing the plans for 2015 in my annual early January post, for the first time in many years I had no idea what I wanted to plan for myself after Western States for the remainder of the year. Well of course I was going to plan on returning for my 12 Derby 50k but beyond that I just didn't know. So many options but nothing speaking to my heart.

   Some options were to return to Mountain Masochist. Or find another 100 miler and go for another pr. Top of the list was maybe a 24 hour and go for the 100 pr and the 24 hr pr in the same race.
 But then after Wrightsville Beach Marathon in March things changed and  a plan started coming together. So here is what I have in mind.


 Originally this was to be a recovery month and start training for a fast Fall marathon. Of course at the time I had no idea I would be injured so this is now just a month of healing.


 Hopefully I can began training normally.


 Holden Beach Half Marathon

 Even without the injury this was the only event planned up to this point. Of course at the time I signed up I was expecting to be building on the great condition I was in during the Spring. Now I face the reality that I will be just getting back to normal training by then but if everything goes well I will give it a good run.


Columbus Marathon,

 And this one was meant to be a pr attempt or at least one last shot at a 3:40 before I officially age up. I don't think that will happen now but just maybe I can get back to Wrightsville Beach shape by then.


 I would have been returning to OBX  for a special anniversay run and celebration but circumstances have changed and I can't see myself returning there again.  But what this allows me to do is actually head into Derby the last week of the month fresher than I have been for many years and if the training does go well I hope to give the 50k pr or at least the race pr a go.


 Probably nothing but easy running and recovery and prepare to go into hard training by the first of 2016 for Boston.

 So there you have it. A lot less going on than in many many years but it reflects my focus of less quantity and more quality. At least for this year ;)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Mid-Year update

 The first half of the year is behind us now so lets take a little look back  and see what has happened so far. 

  The plan was to focus on training and quality rather than quantity of events and the year started off as planned and was going quite well. I ran the Ocean Isble Beach Half Marathon on a cold windy early January day. Despite the conditions and running slower than I had hoped, it was good enough for an age group win and a confidence boost that the training was on track.

I  continued to have  some great workouts and especially the Fun Fridays with Laura THE Honey Badger who had taken me on as sort of a project Lol ! We were having lots of fun and I was getting stronger every week.

 Then On Valentines Day I did the Sweetheart 5k in Rocky Mount to test my speed and get in a workout. It was a surprsingly hilly course but I ran strong and got 2nd in my age group.

 Then in March after suffering a setback with an injury that curtailed my training plans I was able to get my Boston qualifier at The Wrightsville Beach Marathon with Laura pushing me the last 6 miles.

 Then it was time to get back into ultra mode to prepare for Western States. I had a strong run on a hot mid April Day at The Run For the Rock 50k and some fun sharing some miles with Kara but some stumbles aggravated the already fragile hamstring and hip issues. A week later I was hobbling and have been unable to train since then.

 Of course I made the doomed attempt to run Western States but it was such a disappointment to be in such great shape only to come up lame 8 weeks before. But things happen and not always like we want or at the opportune time. Now it's time to heal.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Western States 16, or a miracle to make it that far. 2015

 Yes, not much of  race to report I'm afraid. Things went about like I expected but I had to give it a shot anyway. After 4 years of qualifying, waiting for lotteries and the expense of entering I was determined to do the best I could.

  It helps being on Eastern time for these Western races. I was awake at 2:30 am but that is like 5:30 at home and about my normal time to get out of bed so I was in no rush.  I took my time getting everything ready and then hopped in the car for the 45 minute drive to Squaw Valley. I had plenty of time and with no need to warmup so I just took my time to mosey on over to the start. Under the circumstances I was very calm. Either I had a miracle coming and would finish while suffering a world of hurt from the no training of the previous 8 weeks  or I was just in for  a world of hurt. Either way I was prepared for what would  lay ahead of me.

  It was much warmer at the start than 2007, probably near 60F already and I was comfortable in just the short sleeves. The gun sounded and off we went up the ski slope service road and I immediately settled in for what I knew would be a long slow 4 miles of climbing. Despite the altitude of 6'000 plus feet I was having no problems on the climb although I think I was going slower than 2007. I didnt even bother looking at my watch. I would get there when I got there. In all that 1st 3.5 miles the course leveled out just enough to run for maybe 3 or 4 minutes total. Near the top I was begining to feel a bit fof the effects of nearing 8,000 ft.  The sunrise behind me over Lake Tahoe was a beautiful sight.

  I finally reached the escarpment trail, the last 1/2 mile to the 8,700 ft summit. I remembered it was steep but not THIS steep. The first few hundred yards are a bit ridiculous and combined with the soft dirt I was struggling a bit and my feet kept slipping out from under me as I was nearly on my hands and knees anyway. I was barely going when I fell and my water bottle spout went right into the dirt and I was picking dirt out if it the rest of the day !

 After about halfway the gradient eased off quite a bit and I made good time and finally arrived at the top in exactly the time I had predicted of 1:20:00 so that was a good sign. A quick picture and then it was time to see if I was actually going to be able to run as the trail quickly turned down the mountain.
 I was very happy that although there was some pain it was manageable and it didn't seem to get any worse after a mile or so. The question stilled remained though , would it hold up for another 95 tough trail miles? And would my out of shape body carry me even if the leg held up?

 After a mile or so the trail does a lot of up and down. On the elevation chart it shows mostly down but beleve me there is still a lot of climbing in these early miles and they are mostly very steep. And it is almost constant up and down with very little flat. I had passed several people but I was being very cautious. One runner that I was leap frogging with kept telling me to look and enjoy the view but I explained to him that I knew it was gorgeous but I had to keep my eye on the trail and as slow as I was going I didn't not have time to take in the scenery. Perhaps someday I can come and take a slow hike up here because this section through the Granite Chief Wilderness is indeed a beautiful place.

  I was still feeling good as we passed through a few sections of ankle deep mud, and a few little creeks and already my mostly white shoes were a mixture of black mud, and grey and brown dust. Suddenly I had a little stumble and right away I could feel the injury and the pain level increased. I really didn't need that and I was begining to worry. Anymore like that and it would definetely be a short day for me.

  In this area there were a couple of spots where springs were pouring down the trail and we were basically running through a creek bed. I was being so very cautious when suddenly at only the 8 mile or so point in the race when my lead foot hit a slick spot just at the bottom of of a downhill and it was like hitting ice. The sudden jolt and over extension sent a tearing sensation from the original injury site of the upper hamstring attachment and all the way down the leg to my knee. I yelled out in pain and it nearly made me throw up I was hurting so bad. I just stood there for a couple of minutes trying to gather myself. At this point I didn't even know if I could walk out of here. There is no way to get to you here but by horseback !

   I slowly begin to  move. In my heart I knew my race was over but I was finally able to walk  normally and I wasn't quite giving up yet. After a mile or so of walking the pain had eased off a bit and I was able to shuffle some. Amazingly I was able to climb practically pain free but as soon as I tried to run on the flats or downhill I had to shuffle and I couldn't go more than a minute at a time. Not looking good.

 I made it to the first aid station at mile 10.5 under the cuttoff so I was quickly in and out determined to go until I could no longer move. By now I knew I was nearly in last place  but I didn't care as long as I could move and make the cutoffs. Although it was  only 8 am it was already feeling hot and I was now in an area exposed to the sun. I was still climbing well and pain-free but the running was getting slower and more painful soon after leaving Lyon ridge.  I was looking forward to getting to cougar rock but I couldn't recall just how far it was.

 I finally arrived at the rock and  it was as I remembered it. Once I topped out I looked back and could see no one coming behind me although I figured there had to be a few more that hadn't passed me. I kept hoping to see the next aid station but I was nearing the cutoff and nothing in sight.  By now even my shuffle was a struggle and then I heard footsteps and voices coming up quickly behind me. I didn't need to look back to know it was the safety sweeps one of which was former multi year race champion Tim Twietmeyer and then I heard the 10 minute warning horn just ahead.

  I couldn't see it yet but I tried running as much as I could but I limped into the aid station with 6 minutes on the cutoff and my heart was broken. They asked me what I wanted and I told them a new leg. They were trying to be helpful but I told them I was done. They of course wanted to encourage me to keep going but when I explained my injury and told them I would have to run the next nearly 7.5 miles in the same time it just took me to cover 5.5 miles and the way the leg was going I would probably never make it anyway. They agreed then that I was being smart and then the medical people took over and wrapped my leg in ice and ace bandage while the aid station captain snipped my wristband off.

 Then they left me alone and I allowed myself about 30 seconds of tearing up and self pity. And then I was fine. I came and I gave it my best shot and thats all I could do.

 Look for anoother post soon with a bit more about the weekend experience.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Training update 6-23-15

  It has been awhile since I posted a training update or much of anything and there is a good reason for that. I haven't had any training to update.

 Everything was going well and I was in awesome shape and just getting into preparations for the 100miler this month when the hamstring and glute on ny right side decided it was done. Strange thing is that it is the opposite leg from last years injury.

  Sadly it seems that although the running had something to do with it , the main cause was a series of incidents going back to February that set it in motion but on April 29th on an easy 5 miler which I should have skipped the final nail in the coffin was hammered in. Apparently some tearing in the upper hamstring atttachment area and  possibly the lower glute.

  I have been getting regular massage and physical therapy to workon correctiong some imbalances and posture issues but there is not much they could do other than that. It is just a matter of time and healing.  I went for a few short test runs, definitely too early and each time it seemed I was right back to the beginning so I have just been trying to be very careful and  trying to put as little stress as possible on the area. The god news is that I finally feel like progress has been made.

 Of course I have continued with my normal routine of working out everyday rotating with core and either weights at the gym or body weight stuff at home. due to the nature of the injury though I was unable to do any stair climbing or ellipitical because everytine i tried although at the time I was doing I felt no pain, afterwards the area will be angry and inflammed and cycling killed the butt ! So no cardio.

 I hope to have some good news soon.