Sunday, December 25, 2016

whatcha been up to since Kiawah? Training update

 Its been two weeks since Kiawah Marathon and I'm feeling pretty good. I took two days off from running and  then was happy to have a good 4 miler with no soreness and just a little tightness at 8:53 pace. Mostly just easy running for 5 days and 28.5 miles for the week with all under 9 minute pace.

 The next week due to work and weather I only ran 4 days but I got in 36 miles in those 4 days and all under 9mp including my 14 miler. I did my first hard run earlier in the week and it went much better than expected. An easy 3 followed by 3 at 7:25 average.

 In addition to the running I had no break from the cross training with 8 Bikram Yoga Classes over the two weeks including one on Christmas morning. I've been making time to stop at the gym on the way home from work and some days right after my run and it's paying off. I got in three weights sessions and 9 other workouts of stretching, core and body weight stuff.

 The year is quickly coming to an end so I'll have the  yearly recap post up soon. I'm going to delay the looking ahead just  a bit but I wont hold you in suspense too long. There will be a few surprises and also more of the same as this year. Until then, stay tuned. It's going to be fun !

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Crashing head first into the wall. Kiawah Island Marathon

   Earlier in the year when I signed up for this marathon it was the final part of a grand plan. Focus on speed early in the year and gradually race longer until I was ready to crush a fast time and get a Boston qualifier to cap off the year. Everything was going just as planned but for one thing. Somewhere along the way I kind of missed out on getting any long runs into the training schedule. I had decided a few months before to make the OBX half the focus of my year and I added the ATT 10 miler a few weeks before that when I should have been getting in some 20 milers. Now as race day approached looking back I had just one 14 miler since April and that was 7 weeks before race day. Hmm, I think it might get ugly towards the end.

   So after getting some work done Friday am I began the long drive to Kiawah arriving for packet pickup just before dark and then headed to find my hotel and make final preparations.  It was going to be a cold start but the forecast was looking near perfect. 35 at the start and low 50's for the high.

 To get to the start  you have to park in a grassy field just off the island unless you are a guest at the resort. I was pleased to find that the shuttles were large luxury buses and they were quick and efficient getting us to the start very quickly. I was able to get inside the expo to stay warm until a few minutes before the start which was just a short walk.

 As I was lining up I found Joe Schlereth and Kathy Lee, a couple of ultra running friends so it was nice to see some familiar faces. As we started my plan was to go easy and then settle in to about an 8:50 pace and see how long I could hold that. My normal easy run pace these days is around 8:45 to 8:50 and thats about what I need for the BQ so I knew I should be able to at least get in a good bit of distance before falling apart. A smarter person would probably go slower and do some run walking with my lack of long distance this year but no guts no glory right ?

 Kiawah is about as flat as possible and I got off to an easy start letting the half marathoners and fast people go on while I tried to just relax and settle in for the long morning ahead. I hit mile 1 in 8:47, slightly faster thanIi wanted or expected but it was all good, I'll just back off a little. Mile 2 in 8:45. Ok, slow it down just a little bit. Mile 3 in 8:34. Ok, maybe I won't slow down. I had to laugh to myself a little. In my conversation with Laura Frey after yoga on the Thursday before the race  we discussed my race plan, I had told her I was going to hold back and just run 8:50's and not go out looking for a fast time. She said no you won't, you will be rolling 8:30's   I guess she was right as I decided to just go with what felt comfortable which was mid 8:30's to low 8:40's for the next many miles.

 Around mile 5 the wind picked up as forecast but it was only about 10mph and with the many twist and turns on the course and a lot of protection from trees it wasn't going to really be much of a factor. By now I was comfortable and settled in clicking off the miles almost effortlessly. Mile 10 was an 8:59 thanks to a short pee break and my split there was 1:27:00 or about 8:42 pace. This was
awesome. By now the half marathoners had split off and the field was getting spread out. Every now and then were some nice homes and then more bike path and trees.

 Nothing much to say for the next several miles. I was stuck into the same groove of about 8:42 average and loving life. I'm not sure what happened with mile 14. It was a slower 8:55 but I still felt fine and then I was right back to hitting upper 8:30's again. Hmm. Oh well. Around mile 15 the faster runners were coming towards us from a keyhole loop section and I spotted Sonny Ali looking strong as he was trying to go for 3:10. We high fived and then soon after I saw Jay Soffian.

 My pace and effort was still steady and I hit mile 20 in 2:54:20 making the 2nd 10 miles just 20 seconds slower than the 1st 10. Pretty consistent pacing huh? At this point I was feeling confident and surpried that I may just pull this thing off and get a BQ and with enough cushion to get me a guaranteed spot. I slowed to an 8:57 for mile 21 but  that was fine. I told myself not to worry, that I didnt need any more cushion. I slowed a little more to 9:18 at 22 but still plenty of cushion and I still was feeling ok. And then BAM !  Headfirst into the wall. Mile 23 wasn't too bad but at that point my calves said, OK, we're done here.

 I tried my best to convince them to keep pushing off but to no avail. It was actually a miracle that they never cramped. Each mile got longer and harder and slower but I didn't want to give up hope but I just couldn't hold pace and had to resort to taking a few short walk breaks. I was doing the math in my head but by 25 I had lost all of my cushion and the miracle BQ was not going to happen today. Now if I could just salvage a sub 4 at least. Barely. I finally crossed the line in 3:59:23 and was totally spent. I'm still amazed at how I could feel so good at 22 and by 24 feel like death !

 Unlike Boston where I was walking normally after the race and Laura said I looked like I hadn't done anything,  here I had to sit and then do a slow shuffle to go get my drop bag and then had to lie down inside for 15 minutes before I could change clothes. Yeah, not a good idea to do these things without the proper training.

 No worries though. I m feeling great , recovering quickly and back to training and that BQ is going to come in the Spring ! Stay tuned !

Friday, December 09, 2016

Kiawah Island Marathon preview and training update

 When I signed up for this one early in the year the plan was to come off of a strong Autumn of building up from the shorter races and use the speed built over the summer to crush a fast marathon and BQ. Only problem with that plan is somehow along the way I seem to have left out all of the long runs in the training.  Since Boston in April I have done one 14 miler about 7 weeks ago and the half marathon 4 weeks ago. A couple of 12 milers and thats it. Hmmm. Things could get ugly towards the end.

   So, here I am in really great shape for racing up to the half but really unprepared for the long one.  But miracles do happen, and in fact most of the 2nd half of this year has been a miracle so maybe it won't get too bad. The plan now is to just go out easy and use it as a training run. Nice thing is that my current BQ pace, 8:58 is actually slower than my easy training pace up to the half. Lately I have been running about 8:45ish  for easy runs. Who knows, maybe muscle memory and a good day will let me carry that pace all the way. Or not. We shall see.

 The course has been changed but still remains perfectly flat and the weather is looking great. About 34F at the start and warming to the upper 40's. Marathon racing weather !

 Here is a link to the race website.

 The training has been going well since the 5k two weeks ago. I had no soreness or downtime afterwards and followed up with a strong week of training getting in 34 miles and all at a strong pace. Also had 3 bikram yoga classes, some more yoga homework, 2 weights sessions at the gym and tibetans on 4 days.

 This week I've only gotten in a couple of 5 milers but both were awesome with my stride feeling strong and smooth at 8:30 pace and easy effort. Also got in  3 more bikram yoga classes,  another weight session, a body weight day and more tibetans.

 Staye tuned and look for results soon ! And wish me luck, I'm going to need it.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Foot Locker 5k XC South Regional Masters

My race which included all the open runners as well as masters would be the first of a dozen spread out every 30 minutes throughout the day. The good thing with that was I had nearly perfect weather, mid 40's and the wind had not picked up. The only downside was my cheer squad would not be showing up until around Noon.

 I did my usual warmup routine and then lined up ready to roll. I had guessed I could realistically expect to run about 22:30 on this course if things went well but my training since August had been centered around the half marathon so I would just have to wait and see if I still had a bot more speed in me.

 We got off to a clean start and as I expected with most of the masters in the 40ish group and a lot of serious runners in the open event, I found myself near the back of the pack. Experience has taught me to be patient and I have a very good sense of pace so I stuck to my plan. The course is marked every 2/10th of a kilometer and by .4k I could already feel that I was going to have a good race.

 The course is a straight shot and flat as a pancake for the first half mile and I was hoping to hit the first K in 4:30. Boom ! Nailed it. And I was already beginning to pass some runners. I made it to the first mile in 7:14 feeling strong. I was just trying to maintain the effort and pick off spots one at a time.

 Finally made it to the one hill and just put my head down and tried not to slow too much knowing it is only about 200 yards long and the halfway point of the race is just about at the top. Felt strong and  then ran as hard as I could down the other side which is short and steep without falling on my face !   Just before exiting the woods there is another short hill and I just powered up using my momentum and passed a few more.

 The 2 mile mark is on the backside of the pond and I hit it in about 7:21 only slowing a little from the first mile which was great considering the hill. Now I just had to bear down and hold on for the final mile. As is usual with these short races , things start to hurt that last mile but I stayed focused on trying to hold pace and and pick off a couple of more runners. With about 1/2 mile to go I pulled up by a man that looked like he could possibly be my age. It was a bit funny because he was making nearly the same death noises I do so I was hoping to pass him but I just couldn't wear him down and by the time we were back at the pond with 1/4 mile to go I was in a world of hurt myself. I hit mile 3 in about 7:09 but my garmin was a bit off from the actual marker and was probably closer to 7:15.

 I tried to kick it in but I couldn't catch the guy. Later I would learn he was only 55 and he finished not quite 2 seconds a head of me. It took them awhile to sort out the results but when it was finally posted I was 47th out of 72. They don't do age group awards but I was 2nd of  the only 3  seniors .

 It was a fun event and very professional. I'm glad I finally got a chance to race on this course that I had trained on for so many years. Whether I ever return i can't say. Too many things on the racing calendar this time of year and too few years to do them.

 I enjoyed watching the HS runners competing and the championship races were both very exciting. I was able to figure out the best vantage points for spectating so I was ready when the Frey girls finally showed up for there 1:30 race.  Laura and I watched the start and then she went to claim a spot near the finish line and I moved onto the course where I would be able to see them in 3 different spots.

 It was a lot of fun to watch them racing hard and Iwas so proud of them and especially Sophia's   toughness near the end when a girl passed her with about 1 tenth to go. She could have given up but instead she gave it all she had and reclaimed the spot and her pace for the race was probably over a minute per mile faster than during the regular xc season at her school

Friday, November 25, 2016

Foot Locker XC Regionals preview and training update

 A bit strange in a way that I am here but I'm pretty excited about it. In case you don't know, this race is a qualifier for the National Championships for HS xc and has been held now for 37 years. So what am   doing here? Well turns out they also have an open and master division race the same day and actually my race is the first of about a dozen races.

 Back in the 90's I used to commute to Charlotte every other week for 2 or three days and I discovered McAlpine Creek and its xc course and over that decade I logged 300 to 400 miles in workouts. Then last year Laura brought her daughter Isabella here to race and that when I heard about the open race. How cool would it be to actually race on this course that I trained on so many years ago. The only problem was it is held on the same day as the Derby 50K. After a 12 year streak of fun there it was going to be hard to miss but since I had already committed to no ultras this year I knew it was time to do something different.

 And so her I am, ready to race hard on a xc course. Thing is they don't even have age group awards. I will be competing with everyone from age 40 and up and most of the guys that run these events are hard core xc and short distance guys. They don't even list the ages of the competitors in the results. But I'm here to have fun and run as fast as I can and if I can finish halfway in the field I will be thrilled.

 The course follows the same route as I use to run but it is all a wide crushed gravel surface now where there used to be some natural dirt and a few roots and a short section of single track. Only one hill but its short and hard. Otherwise a flat course so times are pretty fast.

Looking down the only hill. Pretty steep ! About halfway in the 5k course

 And after my race I get to hang around and watch some of the best youth and highschool runners in the South and especially Isabella and Sophie in the 11-12 year old race. So exciting !

 Here is a link to the race website.

 As for my training since OBX, I took a couple of days off and just easy running for a week with only 21 miles. This week I've just done 17 but I did get in a pre race track workout geared toward this event. And I sure wasn;t slack in my cross training. since I was not running much I made it to 6 Bikram yoga classes last week and 2 so far this week. In addition over that time period I made it back to the gym for a couple of weight sessions and another 8 body weight or stretching workouts. Feeling strong and ready to roll !

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Boom ! Nailed it ! OBX Half Marathon

 I was trying to come up with a title for the race report and those three words summed it up as well as any.  At the end of last year as I was planning my racing schedule for the coming year I had already made up my mind that this would be the goal race for the Fall and nearly all of the 2nd half of the year was geared toward being in top shape for this one.

 The race is along the beautiful Outer Banks and was started in 2006 to bring tourist into the area during the off season. I was there for that first race  running the full marathon and returned on 6 other occasions. I couldn't go to the 10th anniversary for personal reasons but made up my mind I was going back but do the half for a change. After all, this was the year of running shorter distances anyway.

 In my mind I had set a goal of running 1:40 and hoping that would be enough to get me on the podium and as I like to put my goals out there, I made that prediciton in my January looking ahead blogpost.  But I knew it wouldn't be easy. Last Fall I was running in the 1:44 range but felt I had faster in me if things went well.

 But, things sure didn't start off well this year as I missed almost all of January with a recurrence of my nagging hamstring/hip/glute injury. I slowly returned and was happy to see  a quick recovery but in March at Myrtle Beach I woke up with a fever of 101.2 and an upper respiratory infection. I ran like an idiot anyway  and somehow ran 1:50 and then felt like I had a truck parked on my chest.

 Two weeks later after antibiotics and pracically no running in between I ran  a 1:47 at Wrightsville Beach. Finally after that everything began to fall into place. My injuries were finally gone in part thanks to beginning yoga at the first of the year and I was finally able to train with confidence. But I had my work cut out for me if I was going to drop my time that much. I had some pretty amazing things happen after that and achieved every goal I had set for myself over the Summer and early Fall.

 After having a great race at the NCRC event, ATT 10 miler in late October, three weeks before OBX, I felt in my heart that I could do what  I  had set in motion  last Winter. I messaged my training partner Laura and told her 1:40. It's going to happen.

 So finally the weekend of the race arrived and I had a plan.  The course is about pancake flat other than going over the Baum Bridge over the sound into Manteo at mile 10.   I just needed to run smart and stay within a few seconds of goal pace so I could get to the bridge feeling strong and once  I hit the top then throw myself off the bridge ! Ha, thats a joke from one of our training runs. Not literally jump off but use the downside to start the push to the finish with a strong fast last 5k.

 The weather on Sunday morning was near perfect. 44f at the start and only reaching a high of 50F and only a slight wind of 6-7 mph, mostly a tailwind ! Everything was falling right into place. I did the usual warmup routine and then lined up near the front, eager to be underway.

 At the gun I fell into a comfortable pace ignoring those around me as always and hoping my sense of pace was strong today. Goal was to maintain between 7:35-7:45 and I hit mile one in 7:31 so I eased off just a little bit. I felt good but did not want to get too excited. About that time Charles Akers passed by and we spoke for a bit before he moved on ahead.

 The mile 2 marker was off and had me a bit angry but I just kept going and hoped that things would even out at mile 3. It seemed to and I had slowed down too much at just over 8 mp for those two miles.  By now I was really feeling relaxed and smooth so I picked up the effort just a little and hit 4 in 7:41. After that it was almost too easy and I began to roll off a series of 7:33 and 7:34 miles. By mile 6 I just knew that I was going to have a great day. Just stick to the plan and don't get greedy.

 The spectators and volunteers were all saying I looked great and I was feeling it. My stride which I have worked on the past couple of years felt long and strong and I was just on cruise control. By mile 8 I began to steadily pass people and then I hit mile 9 with the bridge looming ahead. I wanted to run about 8 flat to mile 10 and just keep the effort steady.

 The recent weeks of hitting the hills in Umstead were paying off and I hit mile 10 in 7:58 ! Right on schedule and then it was hammer time. I did throw myself off the bridge and in my mind I was starting a 5k race.  Trying to redline as close as possible, I could feel the effort but still relaxing and already excited for the celebration to come. 2 miles to go and its really starting to hurt now and soon I turn into the bit of headwind but I just dig deeper. 1 mile to go. Lungs are starting to burn and I'm starting to make my death noises but I keep pushing. I got this ! And then finally there is the finish line and I know the goal is waiting for me. 1:40:35 ! Boom ! Nailed it ! Just as if I'd had a premonition of the day. And the last 5k? 23:11, exactly 7:30 pace and the fastest 3 miles of the race !

  As I passed through the chute a volunteer said I was the first of the "young guys" but I know a lot of people don't look their age but it was encouraging. Although they had my results up quickly there was nothing on placement yet so I went to change into dry warm clothes. Yes, even at 50 degrees I was sweating a lot at that effort. I got changed and then  I pulled out my phone and went online to check the results. Woohoo ! Yes !! 1st in age group out of 40 finishers and 66th overall out of 1954. I did it !

 After that I walked back to the finish and found Charles so we talked while waiting for Blanca to finish. Then I went to enjoy some post race food and wait for the awards ceremony. The finish line amosphere in downtown Manteo is about the best of any road race I have particiated in so it was worth waiting around for.

 So there it is Boom ! Nailed it !
 A goal, a plan and a lot of hard work and smart training all came together to make a dream come true. On to the next one !

Friday, November 11, 2016

OBX Half Marathon Preview and training update

  I'm feeling quite a bit of excitement as I start my road trip to the Outer Banks to race this Weekend. As I was planning my year of racing for 2016 I had chosen this one as one of my big goal races. Starting last Fall and in the early Spring of this year I had been racing well at the half distance so i was curious to see if I could put things together progressively moving up from the mile over the summer and building up to this event.

  I have raced in the Full Marathon here 7 of the first 10 years. Five of those were for fun with friends but twice I was going for a BQ and blew up miserably !  I'm hoping that my attempt at a fast time will not end up as an epic failure as those two races did !

 The course is flat and fast with the exception of the Baum Bridge across the sound to manteo which is between mile 9 and 10. If  get to that point in good shape then I am confident of a good race.When I was signing up for the race not only was I looking forward to a fast time but I have high hopes of winning a spot on the podium in my age group. That will depend on not only having a good race but depends on who shows up as always.  This race usually has well over 2,000 finishers so if i am successful it will be the biggest race by far that I win an award. So hold on and wish me luck !
 The race does have live tracking so if you're interested just google OBX marathon for info.

 As for the training the past two weeks, I had one of my best weeks of running last week with 36 miles and a strong track workout. This week I've only put in 12 so far but I  had another another good track workout focusing on race pace.
  I'm still getting in a lot of yoga with 8 regular Bikram classes, one  advanced class and some more work at home. The free weights are still not happening right now but I am still getting in a couple of body weight sessions every week and I am feeling fantastic !

 Stay tuned for results and more !

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Training is great and lots of Yoga ! W/e 10-29-16

 So after the race I took a couple of days off from running and then a couple of easy runs. On that Friday, I got in my longest run since running Boston in April, a 14 miler on the hills of Umstead. I felt great and my pace was about what my easy short run pace used to be on flat ground ! Gotta love the way things are going! Only 28 miles for the week but it was a recovery week.

 In addition I had one of if not the biggest yoga week so far. I made it to 5 Bikram classes plus went with Laura to a special Yin Yoga class and did another couple of 1 hr sessions on my own gving me about 11 hours worth of yoga. Really loving the classes and the benefits I am gaining from it.

 Not much in the way of hard training coming up becuase i have my big goal race of the Fall, OBX Half Marathon coming up in two weeks so hold on for more on that soon !

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Smokin on the American Tobacco Trail 10 Miler

 As I mentioned in my preview I had not planned on running this race until after doing so well in Lynchburg. With the way things have been going for me this year I was feeling confident I would be able to achieve my goal of beating my time here from 10 years ago but the other goal of making the podium was going to be tough with the level of competition signed up to race.

  I arrived at the race site in plenty of time to pick up my bib and do a little socializing. The weather was nearly perfect  with a starting temperature in the 50's and low humidity and the wind hadn't started picking up yet. I did my usual pre race warm up and then headed over to the start with just a few minutes to go. The women had just started 10 minutes earlier which helps to thin out the crowd on this narrow course so by the time we caught the slower runners and walkers it would not be a problem passing.

  As expected  all the fast Seniors I expected and a few more that I didn't know if they would be competitive or not had shown up to race.  And again as expected as soon as the race started Kevin and Robert were gone. Mike was just ahead but my main concern was to settle in and not get sucked out too fast in the first mile. I stayed very relaxed and was thrilled to hit the 1st mile in 7:24 and it felt a slower. Yes, I think it is going to be a good day !

 The legend , 71 year old Wade Clark was just ahead too. What an amazing runner ! By mile two I was holding steady and caught up to Mike. It was pretty cool running alongside of him and knowing we were both having the same goal of fnishing in front of the other !

 Around mile 3.5 I finally eased by Wade but he was still lookiing strong.  Around the same time I passed a couple of others that were possibly in my age group. At mile four Mike stopped for water and for a moment I thought maybe he was slowing but just about the 5 mile mark there he was right beside me again. My time at the half was still well ahead of my goal pace and only about 30 seconds slower than my fantasy goal.  I saw John Tate at the turnaround  and exchanged a quick greeting and then  Mike made a move and gradually began to pull away.

 I was hoping to keep him close and my pace for mile 6 was right where I wanted, 7:39 even with the sharp u turn but he was not coming back to me. It was a  bit strange the next few miles. I still felt pretty good and my turnover seemed the same but now my splits kept getting a little slower each mile. Although it appears basically flat, the whole trail has about a 1% grade to it and most of the return was back up that grade and it just slowly zaps the speed out of you. I was really trying to drop the pace but the extra effort was not making me go any faster. And at times it would seem like I was beginning to close the gap on Mike but then he would find more energy and open the gap again. And to make it even harder I noticed the forecasted wind had picked up and was right in our faces the last two miles.

  Finally I was able to see the finish line and although those last 3 miles were slower I knew I was going to beat myself from 2007 !

 It would be awhile before the results were ready so I spent more time hanging out with friends and talking to my fellow seniors. Turns out because the race doesn't duplicate awards after taking out the first 3 Senior Grandmasters, I was left in first place for the  age group ! Not exactly the most rewarding way to win but I'll take it ! And a big congratulations to those other guys. They are certainly on another level than me. But I think I might can take them in a hundred if I ever decide to race another one !

 Oh, and my time was 77:07, which was 41 seconds faster than I ran 10 years ago ! The amazing year of turning back the clock continues ! Stay tuned for the next adventure !

Friday, October 21, 2016

American Tobacco Trail 10 Miler preview and training update

 So, just what have I been up to since the Virginia 10 miler? Well, after racing strong on that very hard and hilly course I was curious as to what I could do on a flat 10 miler so I decided to enter this one. This race is put on by the North Carolina Roadrunners Club and this will be the 10th edition. I ran that first one back in 2007 with a time of  77:48. 

  My goal for this year is to continue the turn back the clock performances and beat that time. The weather forecast is about perfect so I think I have a good shot at doing that. I would like to say I have a good shot at the podium if I do but to be honest I will be very lucky and in a real battle to get 3rd. There are only 6 or 7 in my age group on the entrants list but it is some of the toughest competion of just about any race I have been in this year. At least two men aged up that are truly on another level than me (but I'm pretty sure I could take them in a 50 miler ) Another man  has been very close to my times and two years ago out sprinted me in a 5k and although I am not too familar with the other names on the list I think a couple of them are very fast. But thats ok, I am really competing with myself and even more so my 50 year old self ! 

 The training has been going quite well these past four week.I took an easy week after the race and then got back to work.  Mileage has been 28, 35, 29 and so far this week 21 so still not really getting in much in the way of long runs. With the longer race distances now I have changed my speedwork to stuff more specific to whats coming. I have done some tempo intervals on the greenway and have been back to the track a couple of times. Instead of 200's and 400's like I was doing in the summer I am doing mile repeats and 800's now and the workouts have been great !

  And as always in addition the the running I am still working hard with the cross training. I'm still seeing great results in the Bikram Hot Yoga and attending three or four classes per week and I have added a little more stretching and yin yoga that seems to be helping. Also doing the Tibetan Rites  four or five days a week and my body weight stuff at least 3 times per week. With all the extra stuff I haven't made it to the gym for weights in the past month but i hope to get back to that soon.

 So, that's it for now. Stay Tuned for race results and more training. This party is just getting started  

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Virginia 10 Miler- Where Southern Hospitality Meets The Road

 If you read my preview then you know I was pretty excited to finally be returning to this classic road race for the 20th time but my 1st since 2002. Like so many things there have been a lot of changes but the great course, the volunteers and race organization are still among the best in the country.

Just after the climb at 5 miles

 My main goal in this was to have some fun on the challenging course and see how fast I could run in comparison to my previous races here. And  I was hoping if things went well I might even make the podium, something I would never have imagined would be in a race this large and with such a competitive history.

  Race morning was a bit more humid, about 80% and warm in the mid 60's than I had hoped this late in the month but I still felt I was ready. I did my usual warmup routine on the adjacent E.C. Glass High School track and made my way over to the start with 1400 other 10 milers and about the same number in the 4 mile event. I was surprised to see Raleigh friend Laura Berry and Nick Meeker in front of me so I wished her luck in this her first time racing here. She would win her age group !

  As the race began I just tryied to relax. No point in pushing things here, just letting gravity help get me settled in. After a short little hill at qtr mile the next 1.25 are all downhill and most of that is pretty steep. You can get a little cushion but have to be careful and not pound the life out of your legs this early ! I was hoping for around a 7:30 first mile and nailed it in 7:27.   All well and good but how would the 2nd mile be when the first big uphill comes?

 I continued on at a relaxed pace to the bottom of Farm Basket Hill as it is called and at 1.5 it was time to start the half mile steep climb up to mile 2. I was feeling pretty strong and hoping for a good split and finally topped out in 8:04. This was great ! Maybe my fantasy of sub 80:00 was a possibility !
 Mile three is gently rolling but mostly uphill and I maintained pace just a little over 8. By now I was feeling really good and and settled into a nice groove and confident it was going to be a good day. Mile 4 has one short but steep hill and then a nice gradual downhill. Just before approaching the point where the races split I was passing one of the 4 mile racers . He was making the death sounds like I make near the end of some of my hard races when I am giving it all I've got in the last mile. I had to smile and was thinking  yep, thats probably going to be me at mile 9 !

 But right now I was on cloud 9 and with a 7:45 mile 4 I added a little to my cushion. And I knew I would need it in the next mile. Just about the 4.5 mark the course makes a loop through Riverside park. A slight uphill and then down down down. But the climb back up is brutal. For those of you familiar with North Turkey Creek in Umstead, the 5 mile mark is right in the middle of a climb like the steepest on on that trail. Up on your toes for the first 100yards and then not nearly as steep for another qtr mile after you pass that mark. I was happy to feel strong going up. Those training runs in Umstead in the weeks before paid off !  8:01  !

 The next 3 miles as we were heading back were mostly uneventful. I was staying pretty steady but losing a few seconds of my cushion each mile hitting between 8:05 and 8:10.    About the 7.5 mile  point a man that looked like he could be in my age group passed me so I tried to hang on just behind him. Right at the 2 mile point we both passed another grey hair but he was slowing.

 We started down the steep half mile downhill to the bottom and I was trying to maintain contact but not beat my quads up too bad. 19 previous times have taught me to save a little for that last long climb. We hit the bottom just a few strides apart. Now it would be who had the strength for the climb. Well, it wasn't me. I  just didn't have too much left and could only watch as he gradually pulled away. NowIi just had to settle in and try to finish as strong as possible. The sub 8 dream was truly just a fantasy today.

 To give you an idea about the last 1.5 miles, imagine running powerline in Umstead 3 times !  Slowly I trudged on but had to take about a 30 second walk break to get my heart rate under control and  find a pace I could hold the remainder of the climb. Despite that mile 9 was still a 9:16.

 It was such a beautiful sight when I came over the final bit of the hill and the slight curve and the finish line came into view. Just a couple of hundred yards of pain to go. I passed a 20 something man bent over throwing up  and I thought that I could have advised him not to drink the gatorade when you have a tough 1.5 mile clmb ahead of you !

 It seemed to take forever but I finally finished in 83:07. Slightly disappointd for a few seconds but that quickly turned into a big smile ! That time was faster than any of the races in my  4 year streak from 1999 through 2002 ! The miracle year of beating my younger self continues !

 After getting some food and drink I found a printout of my results and was amazed and delighted to be 2nd in my age group out of 37 ! But I'm afraid the next day after making time corrections  I was moved back to 4th so I just did miss making that podium !

 This is a wonderful race that will always be very special to me and I would recommned to anyone looking for a great experience on a challenging course.  I'm sure i will be back but not going to make a comittment as to when right now.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Return to A Classic. The Virginia 10 Miler

  It was in my first year of racing, 1978 that I saw an ad in Runners World for this race. It looked fun and challenging so my brother and I decided to give it a shot. In those days before the internet we had to send in an SASE for an application. I'm not sure how much of a deadline there was but it had to be at least a month before because they would mail you out a pre-race Booklet with all the entrants and pictures and results from the previous year.

 And then about three weeks after the race you got a results booklet in the mail !

  My racing experience was very limited so it was quite exciting to go to the pre race festivities including a panel discussion with the world class athletes. This race was one of the early classics with a rich history of epic racing in the 70's and 80's and was  a big part of the fuel that helped the growth of the first running boom. The people that raced here is a who's who of that era. Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Craig Virgin, Lasse Viren and Rod Dixon who set the course record in 1980 which still stands. And the women  just as strong with Julie and Mary Shea, Grete Weitz, Jacqueline Gareau, Anne Audain among others.

 So back to the race. In those days it was mid September instead of the last weekend and it had a 10 am start. And it got hot ! 88F. I had a hip injury over the summer and was woefully unprepared and my brother was not much better off but we were ready for the challenge.

 And what a challenge it was ! We had never covered 10 miles and we thought we had run on some hills until we saw this course. Yikes. Not a flat place anywhere and just the last 1.5 miles gains 200ft. Brutal. I don't remember many details but just know it was a tough miserable day with lots of walking up that last hill. My time was 1:47:03.

 So what did we do? Signed up right away for the next years race, determined to improve . And that begin a 15 year streak until life got in the way after 1992. But I did improve and have some wonderful memories. Eventually I learned how to pace properly for the course and improved my course pr to 1:08:15. To put that into perspective as to how hard the course is, the same year on the flat Cherry Blossom 10 miler I ran 1:04:42.

  Eventually I was able to return for another 4 year streak from 1999 to 2002 but after that I never made it back. By then my focus was on ultra running and it just never was able to make it back onto my schedule. Until now. With Ultraman still off in another galaxy I decided to make my return this year after 14 years away. I am so excited although I really don't feel I am quite ready and the weather is going to be warm and humid. But I'm going to soak it all in and give it my best. Wish me luck !

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Oak City Mile and a week of training

 I was excited for the last of my summer of miles but I really wasn't liking the late summer weather.  I arrived about 1pm for packet pickup and talked to some friends before heading out 30 minutes before the race to do my warm up. How convenient it was to have a one mile certified course for my warm up ! This gave me a chance to see the course and plot my strategy. There were no 1/4 mile markers but I could tell from my pace about where they would be. By the time I was done I was already soaked in sweat. With 10 minutes to go I found a short flat stretch of road that was blocked off to do a few strides and then headed to the start. It was now 92F and sunny !

 After less than 100yds the course begins an upgrade to about the .3 mile mark so my plan was to be sure and hold back a little bit and not go into oxygen debt too early. But, wow everyone took off like crazy !  I just let them go but it still felt like a really hard pace.  I don't know how many were behind me but I know there weren't many. As I came close to my estimated 1/4 mle mark, I   glanced at my watch and it seemed  was about on pace. I was already beginning to pass a few , mostly younger school age kids and a few other less experienced runners.

 After cresting the hill its a little steeper down to the turnaround and I was hoping to push it but with the heat and already feeling the effort , I wasn't going much faster but still passing a few more.  I passed the half in about 3:16, pretty close to what I was hoping for. Now I just had to make it back up to the hill without blowing up. It was hard but I passed yet a few more people and the whole time I'm fighting with myself to not back down. Only 2 more minutes of pain !

  Finally at the top and I knew just around the bend I would be able to see the finish. Push it ! With about 300yards to go I passed one of the few men I saw that may have been in my age group. He was toast as I flew by. I just didn't know if there may have been someone that didn't look old ahead !
 I gave it all I had and finished in 6:41. For a nano second I was disappointed not to be closer to 6:30 but with the heat and not so flat course I was very pleased with my effort.

  Turns out that was good enough for 1st in the 60-64 age group. Ok, so what if I was the only one ! At least no one older than me was faster and I only finished 6 seconds behind the 55-59 winner. Overall I was 65th of 97. Not bad for a race full of mostly younger guys.

 So, thats it for mile races for this year. Who knows what next year will bring? As for now I will move up the distances a bit for the Fall. Next up is The Virginia 10 miler on the 24th. I'll be doing a preview of that in a few days.

 I felt great the day after the race and got in a really good week of training including a good hilly 11 miler on Friday, the longest since Boston ! Ended up with 31 miles for the week which is the best since June. And as always I have been doing and loving a lot of cross training. I was able to get to 4 Bikram hot yoga classes,one weight session at the gym and 6 other body weight workouts. I'm feeling great and looking forward to a strong racing season ahead

Saturday, September 10, 2016

3 more weeks of training and Oak City Mile Preview

 I'll be racing in the Oak City Mile on Sunday 9-11 , my first time for this event held on Hillsborough Street and the last of my mile races this Summer. Oak City is a fairly flat course for Raleigh with only 47 feet of elevation change on the out and back course.

  After my last track race I took a month off from doing any speedwork to give the legs  and body some recovery but I returned to the track two weeks ago for some sharpening. I was pleasantly surprised on an 80 degree muggy, sunny morning to run my most consistent and fastest average 200's workout of the year. Then I followed that up this week with some strong 400's and my best 200's in many years. I expect the race is going to be very hot with a high predicted of 89F for the 2pm start. Even so I am hoping to run close to my goal of 6:30.

 I did get my weekly mileage up slightly with 24 and 25 mile weeks helped by a few days of cooler drier air before the heat came back with a vengengeance this week. Sitting at 14 this week with just the race tomorrow. Not running today !

 And as always, lots of other stuff. Still getting in about 4 hot yoga classes  week with 11 classes this 3 weeke period. And I got in another13 workouts of  body weight, tibetansand other fun stuff. A little slack on the weights with time for just 3 visits but made it twice this week.

 Stay tuned for the resuts and plans for the coming weeks !

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Time for a little training update w/e 8-21-16

 Well, it has been 5 weeks since my last update and three weeks since my mile race report so here is a little update on what is going on.

 It's hot and muggy, thats what. Ok it is summer in NC. This year I am really happy that there is no pressure to run a lot of miles so I'm not beating myself up just to see big weekly numbers. As it gets a bit cooler and less humid I have plenty of time to ramp up the mileage for Fall and Winter racing plans.

 After the mile race last month I have'nt done anymore speedwork. I felt it was time to take a break after 8 weeks in a row of alternating a week of speed and a mile race. I am learning something new !

 So most of the running has been at a slow, easy pace but I have tried to add some more hills into the mix and less greenway to get ready for The Virginia 10 miler and its brutally hilly course next month.

 The past 5 weeks have been 16, 13, 25, 24 and 13 miles, way off my normal but I'm not sweating it. Just when I'm out in it !

 Otherwise during that time period I have been to 21 yoga classes, yeah 4 times a week ! I've only made it to the gym only 4 times for weights but I've done 27 other workouts of tibetans, body weight, core and boxing stuff so I'm feeling fit, strong and healthy.

 Speaking of healthy I finally got a physical a few weeks ago and the report is I'm heathier than the majority of people half my age so something is working !

 Stay tuned for more exciting news soon. I'm looking forward to getting in more mileage soon and I have my last mile race, this one on the roads again in just 3 weeks. Can't wait !

Sunday, July 31, 2016

6:31 mile or turning back the clock 17 years

This was going to be my last opportunity to race a mile on the track this year in my quest to beat my time of 6:32 from way back in 1999 and I was about to bail on it. With the heat wave of 90F + days and high humidity I was doubting there was even the slightest possibility it was going to happen so why bother taking the time to drive to Chapel Hill to suffer for nothing? But, hey I love this stuff so I just decided to go and give it my best anyway.

  When I arrived at the track it was still about 90 and the sun was bearing down during my warmup. I could barely breathe in the thick air. I checked the weather and the humidity had climbed back to 81% and with the dewpoint of 79 lets just say it was miserable. I wet my head to cool off as much as I could and then went back on the track for a few strides just before the gun. Thankfully a cloud covered the track just minutes before the start taking some of the edge off the heat.

   I just tried to relax as the gun went off hoping to keep the first lap around 1:37 but I doubted that was even possible in these conditions. I had a bit of trouble getting around a slower runner in the first curve but as soon as I did I had open track ahead of me but tried not to push it and try to make up any time lost. As I approached the first 400 I was expecting to be slow, around 1:40 so when I heard 1:34 I was very surprised. Could this really be the night?

 I settled in just trying to maintain on lap two but it was so hot and I was breathing so hard and already my legs were getting heavy. I was thrilled to hit 800 in 3:12, a 1:38 split time for the 400. This was exactly the time I had gone through 800 in the Pop up mile in much better conditions. I had a good cushion but would I fall apart this time?

 Lap 3 once again proved to be the slowest in 1:42 but 4:54  for 1200 and I  still had a shot if I could just hang on. The problem was I felt like dying and just packing it in but there was no way I could do that. Only a quarter mile of hurting to go. I was going for it or they would have to scrape me off the track. With 150 meters to go I just thought back to my workout the week before when I was able to relax and somehow find a little more speed. But was it enough? Then miraculously  with 50 meters more I somehow dredged up a kick and crossed the line in 6:31 ! Somehow under these awful conditions I was able to run the last lap in 1:37.  A few gasp and then a celebration ! I then  went straight to my phone to message the results to Laura who was eagerly awaiting the news since she couldn't make it to watch.

  I couldn't be any happier with the results, especially under these conditions. For years I was even afraid to try and race an all out mile because of the risk of injury but all summer with the speedwork and now 4 mile races my legs and hips feel stronger than they have in years.  And I really feel I have a lot more speed in this old body but no more track this year. Now, I look forward to building on this as I get ready for some Fall road racing again ! But no Ultras !

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

6 months of Bikram Yoga

This is a posting I would not have imagined I would ever be writing if you had asked me a little over 6 months ago. but, if there is one thing that is certain in this life it is change. Some are positive some are negative. Some are by choice and others times change blindsides you. I am happy to say this one was by choice and definitely has been a positive.

 About a year ago Laura began taking classes and fell in love with it. Everyday I would see here posting about it and it soon became obvious that she was committed to it and showing the same hard work and dedication that she puts into everything. Still, I had no desire to join in. I had dabbled in some yoga over the years , first being introduced to it while in high school. Although I have always been a believer in the benefits I just never was able to be consistent with it and would soon loose interest.   As far as hot yoga, I really had no interest in that. I took one hot flow class about three years ago and that was more than enough for me.

  Laura continued to go on a daily basis and practice more at home and I was amazed to see how rapidly she was improving. So after many invitations to join her I finally agreed to give it a shot on January 7th after once again having to take time off from running due to another hip issue.

  My goal for that first class was to just stay in the room for the full 90 minutes without passing out in the heat. Most classes are at least 105F and I think everyone knows I hate being hot !

 That first class was tough but I made it through and felt quite a sense of accomplishment. Everyone was encouraging and Laura was raving about how well I did. She is so nice to me like that.  It was obvious to me that I had a whole world of improvement to make but strangely enough I enjoyed it enough to go back for more. After all , I couldn't run so I may as well get in a workout and enjoy some time with Laura since we couldn't run together.

 I was able to make it to quite a few classes over the next two weeks trial period and by then I was committed to sticking with it as I was already beginning to notice some positive changes.  After the first month the new challenge became how to keep up a regular practice while returning to running again.  No matter what, running is and will always be my top priority for my workout time.

  Fortunately with a flexible schedule I have been able to maintain both while making it to at least 3 or 4 classes a week and my running has continued to improve. As long as I stay on top of hydration the yoga is a all a positive.

 One of the first benefits I noticed once I began was a slight increase in my stride and my feet were getting stronger. I used to have some soreness and tightness in the hip flexors but that is now non-existent. I have certainly see some increases in flexibility in some areas but I have so far to go. After 40 years of running and spending nearly 2 million miles driving during that time this old body was in need of some work !

 I think the biggest benefit though has been with my posture and the strength in my spine and  back. although I didn't have the worst posture in the world I certainly needed some work done. since I became aware of it I had done some exercises that did make some improvements but i still had to think about it or I would be slumping again. and then about 2 months ago I noticed  that it just felt natural now to be standing up straight. It's just there now and locked in. I have had several people say that I look taller. I can assure you I have not grown but with my stronger spine and core I am using my full height.

 I have progressed quite a bit with some of the postures but in others I sometimes wonder if I will ever get any better but then just when I start to get discouraged, a small breakthrough will occur.
 I hope and plan to continue for many years to come.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Track Mile and a training update W/E 7-17-16

 Still having fun training and racing in the summer. I'm not piling up the miles in the heat as in years past but thats ok because I'm enjoying what I am doing now and things continue to go well.

 I began the week with easy 4 miles and then got in a Hot Yoga class and finished up the day with the Tibetans Rites and body weight routine.


 Got in a very slow humid 6 miles at home and tried to rest as much as possible while getting work done.


 In the morning I got in a short weight workout. I didn't want to do too much with the track meet in the evening. The race went pretty well. It was hot but I still ran well, with better pacing. Just missed beating my time from two weeks ago by 2 seconds even with the heat and a congested last lap where I had to weave around at least 20 lapped runners. 6:37. If things go as planned I will have one more race to try and get the 6:30 I want.


I got in a great yoga class with some nice improvements and then decided to run on the way home from work in the afternoon. It was a hot one, 96F but I felt ok and ran a decent 4 miles.


No time for much of anything but I was able to do the tibetans during a slowdown at work.


 Finally able to get in a yoga workout with Laura. We had fun as usual slinging sweat. I went for an easy muggy 4 miles before heading in to work.


 Finished the week strong with another yoga class with Laura, free weights at the gym and then tibetans at home after work.

 So that was 21 miles for the week, four  Bikram Yoga classes, two weight sessions at the gym, 3 days of tibetans and one body weight day.

Monday, July 11, 2016

It's been two weeks so time for another training update

 Week Ending 7-2-16

 Started off this week with another rest day mainly because i was planning to race on the track on Tuesday.

Tuesday I rested as much as possible and then ran the track race which I reported on this blog.

 Wednesday morning I got in a good 5 miles at home and then did the Tibetan Rites after work.

 Thursday was a good day. Another good 5 miles at home and then finally made it back to Yoga. then after work I did the Tibetans and added in my body weight stuff which I have not been doing enough of the past few weeks.

 Friday I went for a 10 miler but it was so muggy and I never felt very good. Feeling the heat and just worn  down. did my Tibetans after work again.

 Saturday I was able to share a good Yoga class with Laura and then Tibetans again in the evening.

 Sunday I was happy to have another great Yoga class with laura and then afterwards i went for an easy slow hot and humid 4 miles. more tibetans in the evening.

 So I ended up with just 26 miles for the week but mostly good stuff with the race.  got the tibetans done 5 days,  3 bikram Yoga classes and 1 body weight session.

 Week Ending 7-10-16

 Started off the week with a god run at home. Great to finally feel good after several yucky runs. Even did some strides. did the tibetans and body weight after work.

 Tuesday morning I had a good 4 miles at home and then had a good yoga class. After work i did the Tibetans and banged away on the  boxing bags. It was great to finally get back into that.

 Wednesday morning was track day. already upper70's sunny and near 100% humid but i was able to get in a great workout matching my splits form previous track days despite the conditions. A good confidence boost. In the evening was more body Weight and Tibetans.

 Thursday  I got in a good yoga class and had fun with Laura.  easy day at work so i came home and did the Tibetans and more boxing. Then I joined n for the first time in over a year with the NCRC social. Got in a good 3 miles with Mike Walsh.

 Friday I planned on running 10 but felt blah and shut it down after 7. Decided I didn;t feel like doing anything else but restiing after work.

 Saturday I took a rest day from running but got in a good body weight, tibetans and boxing workout in the afternoon.

 Sunday I made it back to Yoga and then got in a good 4 miler in the heat after work. Mostly easy but decided to test myself on a segement Laura created for us when we first began to run together. I hadn't tried to go fast  on it since last December with her so I was very happy to beat my best by 6 seconds in the heat.

 Ended up with 29 miles for the week plus  5 days of tibetans, 3 body weight and  3 boxing.

 I mustsay  am pretty happy with the way things are going right now and glad to be getting back some consistency with the body weight stuff 

Monday, July 04, 2016

Looking forward to the 2nd half of 2016

  Not too much has changed with my plans since the first of the year but I have pretty much finalized the racing schedule.

  Well a bit of a change is coming this weekend. I had signed up and was looking forward to a trip to New York and the Utica Boilermaker 15k. I really hate to miss it but life has gotten in the way of that happening this year. But as I posted in January, I am looking forward to getting on the track some over the summer. Right now I am hoping to get to at least one and maybe two of the Carolina Godiva TC all comers summer series this month.


  Still nothing  on the calender for this month. It just depends on if I find a 5k close by but right now I'm leaning towards no races.


 In keeping with the speed theme for the summer, I have entered the Oak City Mile on the 11th. I hope to build on the work done on the track this summer and take a shot at the podium but I expect some tough competion for that one.
  And one I am really looking forward to is the Virgina 10 Miler on the 28th in Lynchburg. Back in the day this was my favorite race on a very challenging course but it has been about 15 years since I have been. Just hope to run strong and if I can make the podium I would be thrilled.


 Just one race this month, The Octoberfest 8k in downtown Raleigh. I've never done this one mainly because of ultras and or marathons but this is the year.


 It seems odd not to say I am running the Derby 50k after a 12 year streak but no ultras this year. Not even Derby. But I am returning to OBX for the 8th time but no marathon. Nope this year I am dropping down to the Half and focusing on running my best in years and getting on the podium there. sure hope we get good weather !


 And then I finish off the year with a trip to the Kiawah Island Marathon and hope to get a strong BQ.

 Well thats it. Right now the body is holding up well and enjoying the faster paced speedwork. I think if I can just keep playing it smart I can achieve the remaing goals I have for this year as part of the master plan.

 Stay tuned !

Friday, July 01, 2016

Lets review the first 6 months of 2016

 Looking back at my forecast for the year I posted  in early January I have to say things are going a lot better than I thought they would at this point and there were a few surprises along the way.

 As you who read this stuff know, I was out with an injury for almost all of January which was really putting a damper on my upcoming plans and I was a bit frustrated. I am quite happy to say that I am pleased with my current condition and feeling a bit more optimistic going into the 2nd half of the year. More on that soon but now lets look back.


No running and I had to cancel plans to return to Ocean Isle Beach. The one good thing is that with no running I finally found time to join Laura for a Bikram Yoga class. Turned out to be a great thing and I am still going regularly. More on that soon also.


I was able to start back running but not much training. Just trying to get in miles and stay healthy


 I was really hoping to crush this one at the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon but with the lack of training my new goal was to get in a solid workout. And then Friday before the race I wake up with 102F fever and an upper respiratory infection. With ibuprofen and an inhaler I got the fever down and decided to go ahead and give the race a shot. Probably a big mistake. Somehow I ran a very respectable 1:50 half marathon but I hurt so bad afterwards. Felt like a truck was parked on my chest.

 Two weeks later it was time for the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon. I was off the antibiotics a few  and the breathing was about normal but only a few miles since MB. Wow, the race went great ! I felt fine and dropped my time down to 1:47:53 and placed 2nd in my age group in a large race.


 Time for Boston. Went in way under trained but made the most of it. Went, enjoyed the experience and ran better than I should have expected in 4:12.


 I had nothing at all on the calender after Boston other than the idea I wanted to run some shorter stuff through the summer including maybe some track races. I had always thought the Medoc Spring Race sounded like fun so I decided this was the year. Despite practically no single track running in a year I had a very strong run and placed 33rd and got one of the hats that only go to the top 50 finishers.

 Two weeks later I was running for the RRCA State Championship at the NCRC Classic 10k. A great day where everything just clicked. I ran 47:42, my fastest 10k in probably 25 years and won the Senior Grandmaster Award !


 Only a couple of weeks before I entered the Rocky Mount Mills 5k. A miserably hot and humid day but I ran well and got a 2nd place age group award in 23:03. Gave me confidence I could run faster very soon with some decent weather 

 2 weeks later was an event I had just decided soounded like fun, The Raleigh RunDown Downhill Mile. I wanted to race some miles on the track but this seemed like a good time. Had an awesome race. With the assist from gravity and good weather I crushed a 6:04 !

 I ended up the month with my first track race in 17years.  A good experience just missing my goal by 3 seconds. With better pacing I feel confident I can get below 6:30.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sir Walter Pop Up Mile

 One of the things I was looking forward to this year was getting back on the track for some racing, something I haven't done since 1999. In my post on looking ahead back at the first of the year, one things I didn't mention is that one of my goals is to beat the time I ran in that last race which was 6:32.  Pretty audacious to think I could do that at age 60 but I have always felt like if I worked on my speed it was within reach. Running that 6:04 in the down hill mile two weeks ago was a real confidence boost but I know it was going to be a lot harder on the track.

 So finally the day arrived and I was very excited but a bit nervous. I arrived at the track and was happy to see quite a lot of friends and familiar faces as I began my warmup. It was very cool that Kris Vegh, a former co worker and NC State runner caught up to me and slowed down to run some with me.

 Just as I finished a mile I saw that my cheer quad, Laura and her 3 kids had arrived as promised. This was going to be great !. I got some water and talked to a few people and then it was time for a few strides and make my way to the start. Wow this was all happening so quickly. I lined up  a few feet behind the young and faster crowd and then we were off.

the start

 I really didn't want to go out too fast but it was hard not to with the adrenaline flowing and trying to make sure I was able to get into position along the inside lane. Isabella was positioned around the middle of the backstretch cheering so I waved and then I got to the 200m mark and , whoa this is quick ! But I felt good and kept going. Julian was in the middle of the curve and I waved to him. I was hearing quit a few people calling out my name and cheering. There were a lot from the running community and it seemed like a very large group of present and former co workers from Capital Run Walk, most of whom ran for NCSU or area high schools. This was great !

  I came into the first lap and saw Laura and Sophia there and then I saw the clock. 1:31 for the 1st 400 m. Way too fast  ! I really needed to be more around 1:36- 1:37 but I was on the same pace as the downhill mile ! This was going to really hurt. 

  I tried to back off a little  and that was easy  ! By now I was already working hard and having doubts. I could still hear the cheers but I was focused dead ahead on the track  trying to hold on. Lap two was a 1:40, or 3:11 for 800. I heard Laura call out I was still on pace for about 6:24.  Only 800 to go but I was working so hard. I tried to do the math and I knew I had a shot but I couldn't slow down at all. Lap 3 has always seemed the hardest and tonight was no different. My body was screaming at me to slow down but I was trying to just hang on.

lap 3
  I could feel the power leaving my legs so I had to back off just a hair.  Oh, that lap seemed to take forever ! Got to lap three and my split was 1:44. A bit disappointing with 4:55 for the 1200. I heard Laura yell out make it hurt. LOL I had already done that ! But I just had to hurt for one more lap. And it did. It would have been so easy to back  it down and just say I didn't have it in me today but I couldn't do it. Not and let myself down and not for my support team so I just pushed on.

 I could hear Bella yelling and then out of the corner of my eye saw her turn and make a dash toward the finish line. Just go  !  And then with about 120 meters to go I  began to go as hard as I could. So many cheers but it was all tunnel vision and pain, focused straight ahead. I began to tie up with about 30 meters to go but just dug deep and hit the line in 6:35. The cheer squad was waiting for me but all I could do was gasp and make death noises while Laura was telling me how awesome it was . I felt like collapsing in a heap but thankfully no dry heaving and I quickly recovered. I had picked it back up to 1:40 for that last lap.

flying into the finish

 It only took a moment to get over the disappointment and feel happy, proud and excited with what just happened. I came so close missing my goal by just 3 seconds in my 1st track race since 1999 ! When I was 43 years old !!  And thats after just 3 speed workouts. I really feel like now that with a bit better pacing and more experience I can get below 6:30. How far below remains to be seen.

most awesome cheer squad and friend

 Stay Tuned  ! 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

How about a training update for the past two week ending 6-26-16?

 I had started off the week with my 2nd track workout . It went quite well with all my splits a little better than the week before plus I did a couple of 400's and was very consistent. That gave me a lot of confidence for the upcoming race on Friday night.

 There really wasnt too much more running that week because of tapering a bit for the race and I only ended up with 16 miles total for the week. I was able to make it to 3 Bikram Yoga classes, once to the gym for weights and I did body weight twice and 4 days of the tibetans so it was overall a good week. and of course as I shared in the report I had a great run in 6:04 and first senior grandmaster.

 This past week has gone well also. Started out with a solid 10 miler on Monday, another great track workout on Wednesday with some 800's along with the 200 and 400's. I got in 3 more good runs all at a strong pace and easy effort so very pleased with that. Total for the week was 31 miles. Not really concerned right now with getting more mileage with the shorter faster races.

 And another good cross training week with 4 Bikram yoga classes, 5 days of tibetans, one body weight and one trip to the gym for weights.

 Looking ahead, if things go as planned I will be racing a mile on the track this coming Tuesday. If so it will be my first track race since 1999 and I hope to beat the 6:32 I ran then. No nice downhill advantage this time !

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Raleigh RunDown Downhill Mile

     Since I was planning on running some shorter races and maybe get on the track this summer,  this first time race looked like something fun to do so I added it to the calender.  I haven't really had much time to prepare with any speededwork but I got in two pretty good track sessions the past couple of weeks that went well so I was really getting excited as race day approached. Not having raced a mile since 1999 I was a little anxious and with the downhill I really didn't know what to expect other than the strain of racing nearly all out for 6+ minutes. My last  mile race in 1999 was a 6:32 and I was hoping to beat that and had a goal of maybe 6:25 and a  6:20 would just be awesome.

  I arrived early and was happy to see that it was going to be a cool 70f, overcast and a slight tailwind. Really couldn't ask for  better conditions ! I chatted with a few friends while I waited for my training partner Laura to show up. She seemed as excited as I was and was bringing all 3 kids to be my cheering squad.  As soon as they arrived I headed out to do my usual warmup routine while they headed out onto the course. The womens race was at 7 and then we men would go at 7:20. I watched the women start and then headed out for some last minute strides.

  As I lined up with the 81 other competitors I was gettting a bit nervous.This is going to hurt !
 I know most of these guys are ones that specialize in the faster stuff and I really don't want to get caught up in going out too fast. There doesn't appear to be too many in my age group but looks can be deceiving. I only recognize one that I have competed against but I am not sure if he has turn 60 yet.

 So this is what goes on in my mind. After the false start that is ! Yep, the gun malfunctioned.

 Boom, and we're off. Get up to speed. Wow, everyone is going out fast ! Don't go crazy.  There goes Tim. Well unless he falls down or crashes hard I'm not going to beat him. Hope he isn't 60 yet. 100 meters and I glance at the garmin. Whoa, 5:15 pace? Doesn't feel that fast and I know its not reliable for current pace but I decide to back off just a little.

  It seems like no time and I can hear Isabella screaming go Joey from the 1/4 mile mark well before I get there. I am so happy to have her there and as I aproach the mark I give her a wave and then hear the split, 1:29. Woohoo, this is great, I'm feeling pretty good and well ahead of my goal. Bella takes off running along the side walk still screaming go Joey go. I glance over and she just keeps running along and cheering. This is awesome.

 I'm on cruise control now and settled into a pace I am hoping I can hold and in what seems no time there is Laura and Sophia up ahead cheering for me. I am smiling inside and I wave and see Laura is snapping pictures of course. As I passed the half mile split in 2:58, I  think I tried to yell out sub 6 to her but I'm not really sure if the words came out between the hard breathing.

 And just as I remember, the 3rd 400 is the hardest for me to hold pace. Halfway home but the effort is getting harder and harder. I concentrate on just trying to maintain while fighting off the fears of tying up or crashing. No, I'm going to do this ! Just go. I finally approach the 3/4 mark and I see Julian up ahead cheering me on. The visual I have at this point is that he seems to be uphill ! I see Jon Odgers just past him but I am trying to figure out where the split marker is and who is the one calling out times. Finally I hear a guy calling times and it looks like about 4:32.  Slowing down and that miracle sub 6 is gone.

 But only a qtr mile to go so dig deep ! I see Tim up ahead. No way I can catch him. But wait, I think I have closed the gap a little ! Go, but wait, less than a qtr to go there is no way I'm catching up but just go hard anyway ! I round the curve and I can  see the finish and I get tunnel vision. I keep hearing voices calling my name but I don't know who they are. I'm just focusing on that finish and going as hard as I can. I glance  at my watch. Nope, no sub 6 but then 50 yards later I see the official clock and for a brief moment I think if I can sprint I got it. But no, just a little too far but it doesn't matter ! I am crushing my goal ! I strain for every second and I hear footsteps behind me but I just push harder and there it is ! 6:04 !!!

 I glance back and the footsteps I heard just happened to be the guy I suspected was in my age group  just 3 seconds back and he immediately comes over to congratulate me.

 As Louise Guardino mentioned in the report I was so happy I was dancing. After I quit gasping that is.   I hang around for a few minutes talkng with friends and then begin jogging back up the course to find Laura and kids. They are all excited and she is dying to hear the time. Quite a few people have be telling her I went 6:0X and I am just grinning so hard as I tell her.

 It wasn't later until I was at the awards that I found out I did indeed win the 1st place Senior Grandmaster award. Turns out it was just me and the guy 3 seconds back in our division !
 I couldnt be any happier with the results and that the body held togethern in this all out effort. And it was so wonderful having my #1 cheering squad there for me.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

More training fun and heat w/e 6-12-16

 Not quite officially summer yet but it is sure feeling like it !

 The all out effort at the 5k left my legs a little tired and stiff but I got in some easy miles at home on Monday.

  Took a break on Tuesday  and then Wednesday morning I got to the track in the morning for some real speedwork. It was warm but the humidity was lower and a little breeze helped. I did 3 sets of 4 x 200 with 200 recoveries and 2 minutes between sets. Really happy with the workout. I hit the paces I wanted with no problem and was pretty consistent from start to finish. I wanted to try and ease into it slowly with 7 mp down to 6:30 but the first one was about 6:32 pace so I just went with it. They all ranged from 6:36 down to 6:16 pace ! Very happy at this point in the training.

  Thursday was a run on the greenway in the upper 80's but some shade and low humidity again made it bearable and the pace was about normal for an easy run.

 I was going to rest again on Friday but found time and decided to hit Umstead. 88F but once again not overly humid and mosty shade and my pace was really strong. Only problem was I was already dehydrated from yoga a few hours earlier and I probably sweated out another couple of pounds.

 So on my Saturday attempt at a longer run I was feeling the effects of cumalitive dehydration and the humidity was back on a very warm morning and I crashed at mile 7 and walked it in.

 So no run on this 93F Sunday afternoon ! Ended up with just 29 miles for the week but some good quality until Saturday.

 In addition I did 4 Bikram hot yoga classes and I did the Tibetan Rites on 4 days.  A busy week with work and family obligations cut into my time so no trip to the gym or body weight stuff this week. Maybe next week. and I do have a race coming up next Friday night. Its a one mile downhill race ! Should be interesting and painful although the pain won't last long. I have not raced a mile since 1999 ! Stay tuned  !

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Rocky Mount Mills 5k and a little training update

  It's been two weeks since the 10k and now I was ready to drop down a bit further in distance and pick up the pace with my first 5k race since Feb 2015.

 This was going to be a flat fast course and I had hoped to be able to run sub 22 or at least get close to that but the weather had other ideas. With a late 9am start, plenty of sunshine, nearing 80F and with the moist air lingering with humidity near 100% it was not going to be conducive to fast running.

   With about 30 minutes until the start I did my usual warmup mile and was drenched. Drank some water and made my way to the starting area and did a few strides before lining up with 5 minutes to go.  Right on time we were sent off and I quickly fell into a long comfortable stride. I felt fine as we headed down a wide flat straightaway for about 3/10ths and then made a u-turn onto the pedestrian bridge leading onto the greenway. It got a little congested here and already some of the less experienced runners were slowing down quite a bit so I spent the next half mile or so carefully making my way around and trying not to slip on the slick as snot boardwalk at the beginning of the greenway.

 I was pleased but not surprised to hit the 1 mile in 6:57 but it wasn't long after that I began to feel the effects of the humidity and the course moved back out into the sun. I just kept digging trying to hold pace as much as possible on what seemed to be a very long mile 2 . The distance was right by the race sign and my garmin but it was just my deteriorating pace that made it seem that way. I had hoped to be around 7:15 but it was a disappoiniting 7:32 and my hopes of sub 22 were dashed and some quick mental calculations told me unless I was able to hold pace it would be close to go under 23.

 1/4 mile later and I was just hurting and it was so tempting to back off the effort but I just sucked it up and tried to hold on until about half mile to go and then I began to push it. By now I was making the death sounds scaring anyone around me. I actually expected mile 3 to be over 8mp but it was 7:42 and I still had a very long shot at breaking 23. I gave it all I could but come up short in 23:03 and instantly began dry heaving. Wow, these 5 k's hurt. But I recovered quickly and went to check the results before doing my cooldown. 29th overall out of 406 finishers and 2nd in the 60-64 age group. Not bad under these conditions and at this point in the training. I'm not sure when or where the next 5k may be but if I can get some better conditions sub 22 is happening !

 So, what about the training the past two weeks? Well after the 10k two weeks ago I took a rest day and then just easy running the rest of the week other than a fun fartlek run on Thursday. Just 30 miles for the week along with 4 Bikram Hot yoga classes, 2 weight sessions, one body weight day and I did the 5 Tibetan Rites all 7 days !

 The next week leading up to the race was again mostly easy running and it seemed everyday I ran was muggy and miserable. On Wednesday I went to the track for my first real start of some speedwork. I didn't want to do much or too fast so I just did 6 x 400 at avg around 7:30 pace which turned out to be just a bit slower than my 5k race pace.With the race I kept the mileage low and ended up with just 28 miles. In addition there were 4 more Bikram classes, 1 weights session and I got in 5 days of the Tibetan Rites.

 Looking ahead I hope to get in some good runs, more workouts and increase the speed a little. Next up is a downhill mile on June 17th. that should be interesting ! Stay Tuned

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Running Younger.

No, it's not really normal for someone that has trained and raced for nearly 39 years to actually be able to compete at age 60 with the results they were running 10 years earlier. But  I have been told I am not quite normal in many ways. So, how am I doing it?  I'm not quite sure I understand it myself but I have some ideas that I will share with you.

 For those of you that follow or know me then you are aware that this really began in mid to late 2012. After struggling to show any improvement for a couple of years I was  resigned to the fact that I was really getting slower and no more pr's were coming and I wouldn't ever touch the times from my early 50's. About that time I decided to make another attempt at qualifying for Boston which would require me to run another 5 minutes faster than I had two years earlier.

 I never was able to run that time due to some bad luck with weather and injuries but it was what set things in motion. With that training I was able to shatter my 50 mile pr in 2013 and then in 2014 I shattered my 100 mile pr and also ran my fastest half marathon since 2006 and my fastest 5k since the late 80's !

 Ok, so here is what is causing all this.

 Desire. Attitude. Confidence. Belief. Motivation.

 Before anything training wise would work I had to have an attitude adjustment. The desire was already there because after all these years I still love working hard, training , racing and competing. But now I had to put the hard work first. No excuses.

 Success breeds confidence and with each success I began to believe that anything was possible.

 Motivation? I  still don't even understand what it is exactly inside of me, something from my past that drives me but whatever it is I have learned to embrace it. Of course many outside factors stoke the fires inside even more but I'll keep them to myself.

 Ok, Joey, we get that but can you give us some more specifics in what changed ?

  Well, to start with almost 3.5 years ago I began to add body weight exercises and core work to my routine working up to 6 or 7 days a week for about 30 minutes a day. Soon after I began adding free weights a couple of times a week.

  I cut back on the amount of races, especially the ultras which allowed me to recover more fully and put  more into my quality workouts. Most days I run easy and don't concern mysef with pace but if I have a scheduled hard run it is going to hurt. Going back to belief for a second one of the biggest factors as I have said many times before was when I started running with Laura Frey. She believed  in me more than I did myself and pushed me harder than ever before and I learned so much and gained even more confidence. Even though it has been 5 months since we have been able to run together she still keeps me motivated to get the most out of my workouts.

   Less is more. Along with not as much racing I am not trying to pad my mileage just to be looking at big numbers in the logbook which keeps me fresh. And I don't overdo the speedwork. I have found that just doing a few pickups in the middle of some easy runs helps keep the legs ready to turnover when the time comes without wearing me down. When it is time for real speed work I am prepared.

  And finally Bikram Hot Yoga. Once again thanks to Laura, because I can say with 99.9% certainty that I would never have set foot in a Bikram studio the first time if not for her and seeing the results she was getting. I will probably post more about the yoga soon but for now I will say that my stride has gotten longer, my posture is very much improved and my breathing is stronger and more relaxed than ever after 5 months of regular practice.

 Any questions? Feel free to ask.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

NCRC Classic 10k and training update

 Well, something I'm doing  is definitely working. I don't run many 10ks and really there aren't too many around compared to other distances these days. It used to be the most popular distance in my younger days.

 In May 2009 I ran 49:37 and in May 2011 I ran 48:53. I was in really good shape both of those years but this weekend I ran 47:43 on a much tougher course .
  So how, at age 60 did I run faster than I did 7 years ago and 4 years ago? Ha ! Just a teaser. I'll post more on that in the near future.

 I was really looking forward to this one, my first 10k in 4 years and the first shorter road race of this new phase of my running and racing. I also was hoping to have a shot at the RRCA State Championship for Senior Grandmasters.

 For those of you that follow along you know my mileage has been about 2/3rds of normal, around 35 per week on average and no speed work this year other than a few strides and one unplanned tempo run.  I did get in some hill work but no hill repeats and I did two test runs on the course, one of which was 86F and humid.  Going in I would have been very happy if I could just break under 8mp average.

 So , on race morning it was about 60F at the start and near 100% humidity. Could have been worse. and at least the sun wasn't out ! I did my usual 1 mile warmup about 30 minutes before and then with 10 to go I did another couple of minutes slow with 4 pickups and made my way to the start.

 The race starts down a steep downhill for almost 1/2 mile so I was moving pretty fast even though I was holding back a little so I wouldn't beat my legs up too soon. After reaching the bridge over Crabtree Creek the course begins to climb. A bit steep for 1/4 mile and then the next 1.25 are a long gradual incline to the airport overlook which is the highest point in the park according to my topographic map.

 So anyway I feel ok on the hill and holding back. No need for oxygen debt in the 1st mile. I expected 8 minutes or a little slower but had 7:37 ! Whoa ! Game on !

 Just tried to hold steady effort over the next mile which I hit in 7:54 ! Wow, that is about the hardest mile on the course and I was still sub 8 and by now I am feeling great, in the zone and already confident that there would be no slowing down.  Mile 3 and I kept finding myself smiling. I made that split  in 7:31 and was thinking, I can run like this all day ! Woohoo.

 I held back just a little on mile 4  knowing that after that I would be mostly downhill for awhile and could really open it up. Mile 4 was 7:46 and then I put the hammer down. The next mile I have always called "Easy Street" because of the slight downgrade which is very conducive to faster running. And indeed it was. 7:17 ! And I still had another .75 of downhill before having to climb back up the monster at the end. I was near a couple of other runners almost the whole race and we leap frogged a few times but now the young lady took off and was gone. Ok, not a problem. Then there was  a man I guessed mid to late 40's he passed me but I reeled him back in and thought that was that.

 I got to the bridge and buckled in for the climb.The first .2 is so steep that my heels never touch the ground. I was slowing for sure but still feeling strong. About then the guy passes me back but I can't push any harder and he eases ahead. No worries, I have the Senior Grandmasters wrapped up and I'm running much faster than I dreamed so good for him !

 Finally hit mile 6 in 8 minutes flat and shortly after the hill levels out a bit and I make the turn with about 200yds to go and push it in. Needless to say that I was ecstatic with my time and result.
Turns out the man who finished 9 seconds in front of me was 53 and first Grandmaster so not only was I State Champion in the 60 and over but for the race I was 2nd place in the 50 and over age group ! Woohooo !

 Ok, about the training.
  On MondayI took a rest from running but did a Bikram class that went for 2:05:00 and I sweated 6 lbs.

 Tuesday was another regular Bikram class and then a strong 6 miles of hills in Umstead.

 Wednesday was morning body weight, then weights at the gym and an afternoon 5 miler on the Neuse.

Thursday was another yoga class and I started up a new routine of the 5 Tibetan Rites. I had plenty of time to run in the afternoon but I had very little sleep for two nights in a row so I rested after work.

 Friday was tibetans, a yoga classs and then a great 6 miles on the Neuse. Amazing what a solid 9 hours of sleep can do.

 Saturday was a long work day but i got in 4 easy miles at home and just some light stretching at work.

 Sunday was the race of course and then 2 hours later I went to Bikram ! And I actually felt pretty good.

 So there it is , 29 miles for the week, 5 Bikram yoga classes, one weights and one body weight session. Not bad for a Senior, Grandmaster.