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 !