Sunday, March 27, 2016

Recovery and countdown to Boston

 Hard to believe but only 3 weeks now before I head to Boston for the marathon. More thoughts and  details on that coming in a couple of weeks.

I started off this week taking a rest day after last Sundays race but I did get to the gym for some weights. Overall I was feeling pretty good and no problems from the race but I am being a bit more cautious these days. When I did get out for a run on Tuesday it went very well with no soreness.

 I did another 5 on Wednesday and felt a bit better and then on Thursday was a great 6.  One of my best "easy" runs in awhile with the pace being what had turned into my normal easy pace last year before the injuries, about 8:45.

  Friday I decided to try some hills again and went to Umstead, hoping things would go better than my last attempt at hills. And it did. A strong 6 and although the last climb was certainly getting tough overall I did well and even got a segment pr on a short section of corkscrew without trying !

 I rested Saturday, well after a Bikram Hot yoga class with Laura. I wanted to have fresh legs for a long run attempt on Sunday. With the injury recurrence in Jan and then being sick I have only gotten in one  long training run of 15 miles to go along with the 2 half marathons. not exactly how I had planned to prepare for Boston !

 So Sunday despite the rain I headed out with hopes of getting in 18 miles. I was feeling pretty good and holding a steady pace by 13.5 so I made the decison to do the last 4.5 over the hump. My heartbreak hill.  A lot longer and higher than anything in Boston but great training.

 So I ended up with 40 miles this week in 5 days of running. Very happy with that at this point and everything is working well. In addtion I had 2 weight seesions at the gym, 3 Bikram you classes and one core workout.

 Stay tuned as the excitement keeps coming !

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon 2016

" I think if I can breathe that I have a really good shot at running 1:48 to 1:49."

" Yes, breathing always seems to help ! "

 Just a couple of thoughts from messages talking to a couple of friends.

 After suffering through Myrtle Beach Half two weeks ago, I went straight to the pharmacy to pick up my antibiotic prescription. No way am I taking a chance on this turning into pneumonia like the Honey Badger if I can help it.

 Fortunatley I had no more fever after Monday but I was still coughing and tight in the chest for the whole next week. I finally went out on Saturday the 12th for a test run. The first half mile was a struggle with gasping and some coughing but then it got better. I only had a week before WB so I just wanted to take it easy and hope I would feel like racing in another week.  4 and 5 milers on Sunday and Monday each felt a bit better but then on Tuesday I had one of the worst runs in a very long time which didn't do anything for my confidence.

  I rested on Wednesday and then Thursday went out and hoped for the best. Wow, what a difference. Felt great and one of my best runs since starting back a couple of months ago.  One more easy 4 miler on Friday and the decision was to go ahead and race !

 So I drove down Saturday afternoon to pick up my race packet and hang around to watch the 5k before making preparations for the early wake up to get on the race shuttle.

 I arrived at the shuttle area at 5:30 and was pretty happy with the weather. 44F but a bit windy. 10mph with gust around 15mph. Finally arrived at the start about 30 minutes before the start so I went out and did my warm up mile and felt pretty good. But then 10 minutes before it began to rain. We got lucky though, as it was a light rain and would stop by the time I reached mile 3 so I never really got wet. But lets back up a second.

 Ok, so the first mile was a bit slow dodging slower runners and the fact the race makes a couple of turns very quickly which causes some backups. I just relaxed and didn't let it bother me. Plenty of time to make it up later.  Mile 1 in 8:38. I settled in to a comfortable pace and was quite happy to hit mile 2 in 7:57. That felt pretty comfortable and after mile 3 in 8:06 and mile 4 in 7:55 I was gaining confidence and even allowed myself to  think maybe a miracle was happening and I might be able to hold on and maybe run 1:46 !

 But then the next mile into the wind and an 8:13 and I gave up that thought pretty quickly. From that point on I ran what I feel was a very good consistent effort and pace with most of any variation due to which way the wind was blowing. Mile 6 was 8:03 and 7 was 8:16. Mile 8 was 8:10 and it was about this point on the course last year that Laura met me to run in the last 5 miles of the marathon. I smiled at that memory and was thinking how great it would be to have the company again. I was sure the result would be much differnt today. No blowing up the last few miles !

 Mile 9 was 8:18. I was feeling good but about ready to get this thing done. Something screwy with the mile markers at 10 and 11 but when I hit 12 I had averaged 8:11 for those 3. Still staying very consistent. I was trying to do the math in my head as to whether I still had a shot at beating my pre race goal. With about 1.5 miles to go we turned onto the main road and directly into the wind. I thought I had a shot at 1:47?? but I didn't like having to push into the wind to do it.

 So in the last mile I started doing my surging trick that I learned from Laura where I pick up the pace for 10 second burst every couple of minutes and then with half mile to go I just let it go.Tta da ! Success ! Better than I could have hoped for ! 1:47:53 ! Turned out to be good enough for 2nd  out of 15 in my age group and 314 out of 1809 total finishers. Not bad coming off yet another injury for the month of January and then being out sick with an upper respiratory infection for a week ! The future is looking bright again !

 In addtion to the little bit of running in between the races I was also able to get in 4 Bikram workouts, 3 weight sessions and a couple of core and body weight workouts. I have to really feel bad to miss my workouts !

 Stay tuned. 4 weeks to Boston !

Monday, March 07, 2016

Myrtle Beach Half Marathon and some training updates

  When I signed up for this race a year ago I was looking forward to competing in my new age group and take the strength and speed I had been building to attempt a fast time and possible podium finish while using it as a tuneup for  Boston. Well, as you know if you are a regular reader plans haven't gone quite like I would have hoped. I was out for about 3 months last summer so I had to rebuild. Then things were going great, I had a couple of really good Half marathons in the Fall and then boom, yet another set back for 4 weeks to start the year.

 But things have been progressing well the past few weeks and although I knew there was no way to come close to the 1:44 I ran in November, I thought maybe 1:51 was realisitic and if things went really well I might dip under 1:50.

 So, imagine my disappointment to wake up on Friday morning before the race with a 101.6 fever and feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest with a sore throat ! Hours later I finally dragged myself out of bed and decided to go to urgent care to get checked out. With Laura really sick and out of it with pneumonia I didn't want to take any chances.  A check for flu and strep were both negative and the fever was contained so I went to work and although I wasn't 100% I decided to go ahead and drive to MB.

 I arrived at the expo late at 8:15 pm and then went straight to my hotel and went to bed with a 4:30 am wake up call looming.

 Crap, I woke up with the chest feeling worse than Friday but no other symptoms so I headed to the start. A not too cold feeling 38F as I did a warmup mile. Hmmm, not so good. Legs felt great but breathing hurt. Not sure how long this is going to work for me. I should have probably gone back to bed but I was determined to give it a shot.

 I began at a comfortable pace, legs still good but the breathing was harder than it should be this early. Somehow I missed my first mile mark. I was not running with the garmin so I needed manual splits to check my pace. Decided to keep up the effort and finally at mile 2 I was shocked to see I was averaging 7:40. Whoa, I haven't run a mile that fast since the last Fun Friday with Laura right before the latest injury. I sure didn't know I had that in me. I backed off the effort and hit mile 3 in a more sane 8:18, feeling ok but my lungs were not too happy.  I took off my hand socks because my hands were already sweating and aimed them towards a clothes collection box two lanes over. How cool it was to watch them fly across the road, loose their momentum and drop straight into the box !

 The next few miles were pretty steady at just over 8 minute pace. At the 6 mile water stop their was a little incident when a clueless 30 something guy stopped dead in his track and then without looking turned and walked right into me. A collision was unavoidable but my instant reaction was self defense as I shoved him off of me without loosing stride. He spilled his water and hopefully learned a lesson.

 My split at 10k was about 8:05 pace but I knew I was going to be slowing down. At mile 7 we turned to head back and thats when everyone noticed it wasn't quite as calm as they thought. We had about a 9mph headwind the rest of the way. Nothing terrible but enough to feel it and with the cold my hands were soon hurting and I was wishing I had some gloves back. It made for some miserable running for me the remainder of the race.

 I continued to slow down but got into a groove that was tolerable around 8:50 pace. I was really hurting now and it was a struggle with myself to keep going. A part of me wanted to slow way down and take some walking breaks with nothing to prove but I was also driven by a couple of  personal goals. One I won't mention and don't ask was a real motivating force but it was causing me to put myself through a lot more pain than I wanted for at best a sub par time for me. The other thing driving me on was knowing that even feeling like this I had a shot at that sub 1:50 if I just kept going hard.

 With about a mile to go my friend Mike Walsh passed me with some encouragement. I thanked him and told him I felt rough. I was going to be so close so about every minute I channeled the Honey Badger and threw in a 10 second surge. Mile 13 was my fastest since mile 8 but it wasn't enough. My final time was 1:50:15. As soon as I crossed the line I felt like a truck had run me over and parked on my chest. I was very happy to exceed my expectations while running obviously sick but I was thinking that was a stupid thing to do and now I was really going to pay for it.

 I gathered up my food and drinks from the finishers tent and  after a brief moment visiting with Don and Wade I slowly walked to get my warm clothes and then trudged to my car. I didn't think i would make it I was hurting so bad. How did I run and breathe like I did just moments earlier and now I can barely walk and gasp ? Well, I Hope I never have this situation again. I spent the rest of the day hacking up gunk and listening to my chest rattling. Not good. 2 days later now I am beginning to feel a little better after starting on some antibiotics Saturday afternoon.

 Ok,so how about the last couple of weeks before getting sick and racing? Well the week ending 2-28 I got in a strong 38 miles including my longest so far, a 15 miler with a good average pace and a strong finish. Also had another 4 bikram classes, 2 weight sessions and a core workout.

 The week of the race I got in 3 runs and all of them were great ! Feeling strong on hills, nice average pace and the legs and everything clicking. I only did one Bikram class with the race pending and one body wieght workout. Only took a two day taper for the race since it wasn't a primary focus for my training.

 So there we are. I am obviously going to take it easy this week and get well before I resume any hard training but stay tuned. I will get better  !