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.