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!"