Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Coping With Covid 19

 It's been awhile since I've written. Having the marathon cancelled in the last days after posting  my weekly training took away my incentive to write anything. But I was asked to write an article for the NC Roadrunners newsletter so here is what I've been up to.

  Like many of you, I was preparing to race the Tobacco Road Marathon in mid March and had been detailing my training as I would be attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon for the 1st time since 2016 with blog post and posting to social media.  I had been watching as many events begin cancelling in the weeks leading up to the race but was hoping that the race may go on before the big shutdown. Well, that didn't happen and although I searched I couldn't find any other races as one by one like dominoes falling, all events around the country were cancelled. All dressed up and no place to go. Sigh.

 Fortunately, one thing I have learned after many years in attendance at the school of hard knocks is that worrying over things that I have no control over is a big waste of time and energy. Time to move on. But what would that mean? Move on to where? Anyone that knows anything about me can tell that I am driven by making big audacious goals, some very long term, some short term and then putting a plan into action to achieve those goals. That of course under the circumstances is just an exercise in frustration as there is no way to look into the uncertain future to find any thing to target.

 So, what to do in the meantime?  Virtual runs have zero appeal to me so that was never an option. What I did decide to do was just have fun and just do workouts as much as I wanted,when I wanted.  A friend had began biking and so I decided after 11 years since I last rode while competing in triathlons that I would dust off and lube theold bike and take it out for a spin. I had so much fun that I was soon shopping for a new bike and splitting half my training time riding myself back into decent shape. And through it all I've continued to do my core workouts and yoga at least every other day. No one knows when racing can resume and as I write this more events for July and August are cancelling but until I can once again compete I'll keep in top shape and be ready to go. I still have some big dreams so stay tuned sports fans.

Saturday, March 07, 2020

The Final week of training. Well actually tapering.

 What seemed so far away now seems too close. Race day is next Sunday the 15th so I'm either ready or I'm not. I'm going to be cautiously optimistic about this because overall the plan has gone quite well. I drew up a plan at the beginning of this and with only minor adjustments I've been able to stick with it. I'm not saying that I felt good on every run but all the key workouts were just about perfectly executed. The only thing I would do differently would be to have a couple of 20 -22 mile long runs but although I had them planned things just didn't work for me to make them happen. I just have to hope I have enough endurance and muscle memory in the aging bod to carry me through those lat 10 kilometers.
  This past week was mostly a recover and start the taper week but I did do my last hard 10x 800 yassos on Thursday. Here is what the week looked like.

Sun: rest
Mon: 3 slow and easy at home in 27:44
Tue: rest
Wed: 6 at marathon pace on the Neuse in 53:50
Thu: Track day 10 x 800 in 3:52-4:00 with the average about 3:54. Total of 8.5 miles with warm up, cool down and recoveries. 1:12:33.
Fri: rest
Sat: 8 miles on the turkey creek loop in Umstead in 1:14:59

 And whats up with the wind ! Everyday ! Windy!

 My upper arm/shoulder thingy is still painful but showing slight improvement so again I avoided and weights and calisthenics. I did manage two core workouts and two yin  yoga sessions. Hopefully I can improve on that after the race.

 Wish me luck !

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Only two weeks to go ! How are things going?

  Well, after last weeks struggle in the Raleigh Half I was beginning to wonder. I rested a couple of days and decided to just run easy the remainder of the week, skipping a planned track session and hope for a bounce back at the Ellerbe half. It seemed to pay off with a strong effort on the hills. That was a much needed confidence boost. I'm resting today and going forward I have one more hard workout planned and other than that just some easy miles and nothing longer than maybe 10 next weekend. I'll call this the taper. Here is what I did. 33.2 miles.

Sun: rest
Mon: rest
Tue: 6 easy but strong Umstead miles in 53:52
Wed: 5 easy Neuse River miles on a warm humid day in 46:02
Thu: 5 miles easy at Salem Creek in 45:24
Fri: rest
Sat: 1 mile warmup, Ellerbe Half in 1:54:41, 3 mile cooldown.

Still doing some cross training. 2 yoga sessions and 3 core workouts. Only one dumbbell workout. My upper right arm is hurting too much right now so I'm just going to have to let it heal. IT even bothers me running which is not a good thing. It's so frustrating because the strength was really coming along nicely.

 Thanks for reading and stay tuned.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Three weeks until the Qualifier. Only time will tell.

I got some mixed signals from the past weeks training but overall it was positive. 42.2 miles for the week is pretty good and that included two half marathon distances. The real problem is the lack of the really long training runs which I was afraid of would happen. As race day approaches I'll just have to hope that the overall quality of my running over this past 2.5 months will be enough to overcome that. Here's what happened.

Sun: 13.1 miles in 1:56:55 on the Crabtree Greenway. A great day and confidence boost.
Mon: 5 miles easy  in 44:15 on Crabtree and felt good.
Tue: 5 more easy at Umstead in 45:59. Felt ok but skipped the big hills.
Wed: 6 miles on Smith Creek/Dunn Creek greenways in WF in 53:39. This was a little speed and strength workout I will sometimes do on race weeks. I call it the 444. It's 4 20 sec hill sprints , 4 x 440 at about 5k race pace and 4 x 20 sec strides with and easy warm up and cool down mile.
Thu: none
Fri: none.
Sat: 13.1 in 1:59:21. See the race report for the details.

Still a bit slack on the cross training but my attitude is improving towards that. It would sure help if the shoulder/upper arm thing would quit hurting so I could really do what I want with it. I did get in two bodyweight/calisthenics workouts and  two core workouts of 20 and 25 minutes. I fell off completely with the yoga. That's a bit unsettling because before I started this marathon thing I was doing 5 nights a week of 45 minutes to an hour. Must re-focus.

 I have the Ellerbe Half Marathon next Saturday. The long range weather forecast looks good. Hopefully I'll feel good and get in a few extra miles. Until then lets train !

Saturday, February 22, 2020

That went well until it didn't. The Raleigh Half Marathon.

 A couple of weeks ago I was wondering why I entered this race and wishing that I hadn't. I had already been signed up for the Ellerbe Half which is next weekend and I really didn't need to be racing two weekends in a row this close to my marathon. Somewhat reluctantly, I made the decision to use this race as a workout rather than going all out but exactly what kind of workout I really didn't know until just before the  race started and by mile two I changed that plan.

 Since I wasn't racing and with the 22F starting temperature I didn't do my normal pre-race warmup and planned to just go easy the first two miles. Mile 2 is just over the summit of the big hill and at that point I would do 2 miles at race pace (8:15-8:20) with half mile recoveries at marathon BQ pace (9:00-9:07). Well, with a slight downhill start and getting caught in the flow of runners as we narrowed down onto the greenway at 1/4 mile, I went out faster than planned in 8:39 and even mile 2 up the hill was barely slower than I'd planned for the slow recoveries(9:11).

I took off then and began moving by people. I didn't feel all that good and somehow ran mile 3 in 8:03. Too fast. Already I was regretting wearing a jacket as I was sweating so I zipped it down to allow air flow and decided then to just alternate faster miles with MP miles, Hit mile 4 and failed at that too. Too fast that is in  8:49. Took off again and now I'm sure all the runners I was leapfrogging were probably thinking I was some sort of novice that didn't know jack about pacing ! Next sequence was another fail with mile 5 another 8:03 and mile 6 another 8:49.

 Despite running too fast in each segment I still wasn't feeling all that good. Mile 7 is probably overall the hardest one the course as it goes up to and around Anderson Point Park so I took another easy mile through there. The hills along with a pee break gave me a 9:27 which would have been just about right without the break. I took off again and started seeing runners behind me now on the out and back which is always fun. Saw quite a few friends over the next couple of miles. That mile 8 was 8:17, finally one on pace !  At this point I didn't want to run hard anymore so the plan now changed to just running BQ pace the last 5.

 That went ok for about a mile. 9 was an 8:54, still a tad fast so I backed it down slightly but then by 9.5 I started feeling some stomach pain. I didn't feel like I was going to throw up but the pain was similar. Mile 10 was a 9:21 and then I slowed way down to 9:49 for mile  for mile 11 and couldn't believe how hard it felt. I took a couple of short walk breaks and then walked all of the steep hill so it was a terribly slow  10:26. With  a little over half a mile to go I was passed by the 2 hour pace group and of course they were encouraging me to come along with them.  I wasn't much interested in time but just getting it done without feeling worse. Mile 13 was 9:58 and then finally I was done. That was a lot harder than I planned. I actually ran the course faster last Sunday on an easy training run.

 Looking at the results I was surprised I was still 4th of 11 in the 60-64 age group and even more surprising was there were no 65-69 runners and only 1 over 70 ! But I think that maybe that could be because they don't give awards to age groups? Anyway, they do a great job putting on this event and depending on whats going on next year maybe I'll come back ready to rumble.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Just one more month until marathon day.

 And with just 4 weeks to go I wish I could say what a great week of training was just completed but let's not try and fool anyone, especially myself. Not that it was bad but once again, no long run which is definitely what I need more than anything. I did have 31 miles for the week which isn't terrible and thankfully I felt good on all of them and my average pace is good, right at marathon goal pace. The weather overall continues to be pretty good for the training so no excuses there. Something is lacking in my motivation and I feel a big part of that is lack of training partners. But I press on.

Sun: 7 easy miles on the Neuse in 1:04:59
Mon:  6 easy on the Neuse in 53:39
Tue: 6 easy in Umstead. Really good day in 53:39
Wed: 6 miles on the track in 50:07. Felt great in a workout of 5 x 1K at 10k race pace.
Thu: rest
Fri: 6 easy on the Neuse in 53:48
Sat: Rest.

 This was my slackest week yet in cross training. I've been plagued by shoulder pain for a long time now and it was really bothering me a lot lately so I backed way off on the calisthenics and body weight stuff. Only 1 workout this week. I did two core sessions and only one yin yoga session.

 I'm heading out now for a medium long run if things go well as soon as I finish this. The rest of the week will be pretty easy as I have the Raleigh Half Marathon next Saturday.

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Week 8, and then there were Five.

 Wow, time waits for no one. What seemed so far away is barely a month from now. Some days I feel I have this in the bag and others the doubts creep in and I wish there were more weeks to train. But you work with what you've got so I hope to take advantage of the remaining time and continue with some quality running.

This week was not a high mileage week mainly due to the fact that I decided that tomorrow(Sunday) would be better for me to attempt my long run. I still got in a decent 30.5 miles in 5 days. Early in the week my quads were a bit sore but on my track day Wed I could tell during the warmup that it was going to be good. And it was. A real confidence boost. Best of all it's all pain free running.

 So here is what I did.

Sun: 4 miles easy in 37:16 at Crabtree Mall to Shelley
Mon: 5 easy on a freaky 73F day in 46:31on the Neuse
Tue: 6 more easy in Umstead in 55:32
Wed: Yasso 800's on the track. Did 8 averaging about 3:53. Total 7.5 miles in 1:05:17
Thu: Rest after 7 days in a row.
Fri: 8 easy on the ATT in 1:15:02
Sat: Rest again.

 Another decent week of cross training even though both of my shoulders are painful which really puts a damper on the enthusiasm to workout. I pushed through and did four calisthenic/body weight sessions, two core workouts and two 40 minute sessions yin yoga.

 Wish me luck this coming week, especially on getting in a good long run tomorrow. The weather looks great for it. And heads up, I've got the Raleigh Half Marathon coming up in just two weeks now and the Ellerbe Half marathon the following week.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

Marathon Training Week 7 update

 And now just 6 weeks to go. In a way I wish I had a couple of more weeks but on the other hand I'm getting excited to race and see what happens. I'm quite pleased with the way the past week has gone. Despite having sore quads from the long run in the Uwharrie mts I felt pretty good all week and ran some decent paces without pushing it. I got in 5 runs for a weekly total of 37.3 miles. Here is how it went.

Sun: Rest
Mon: 5 easy on the greenway in 44:56
Tue: 6 in Umstead in 54:46.
Wed: rest
Thu: 9 miles in 1:17:52. Included 3 x 2 miles at half marathon pace. 16:36, 16:22, 16:34.
Fri: 5 easy on Cary greenway in 45:14.
Sat: Medium long run of 12.3 miles in Umstead in 1:53:48.

 Cross training was ok with  2 bodyweight/calisthenics workouts, 2 core workouts and 4 yin yoga sessions of 40 min to an hour.

 The coming week calls for more work with a mid week yasso 800's planned and hopefully a good long run next weekend. Looks like a warm week ahead so we'll see how that goes. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Week 6 and we are about halfway there.

 Yep, 7 more weeks to go until Marathon Day.

 This past week was a good one and a bit of a confidence boost. I had 39.2 miles for the week with only four days of running but that was mostly good quality stuff. As I've said before, one of the hardest things building back the mileage is mentally facing the long time alone running. Once you've been keeping runs between 60 to 90 minutes for a long time, it's easy to talk yourself out of staying out for 2 hours and more but it's coming back to me.
 Here is how the week looked.

Sun: 8 miles in 1:11:28. Solid run at BQ pace
Mon: none
Tue: none
Wed: 6 miles in 51:34. This was a great track workout as I started with the yasso 800's. 6x 800 in 3:53 to 3:55, which is about my lactate threshold pace now.
Thu: 6 easy along the Neuse in 54:29
Fri: none
Sat: 19.2 miles in 3:20:02. My longest run in 18 months and my initiation into The Fellowship of Idiots. Up to the top of Morrow Mountain and back. Ran well the whole way other than short walk breaks on the steepest parts of the hills.
Sun: none

 Another decent week of cross training also with 4 bodyweight/calisthenics strength workouts and  2 core workouts but I was slacker with the yoga. Not sure how that got away from me but I'll get back to work on that this coming week.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Week 5 of Marathon training. Back at it.

 I finally felt like I had recovered completely from the 25k race weeks ago with the zip returning to my legs. The week started off with temperatures well above normal and I ran my track workout shirtless but by Friday it was in the 40's again for highs. The weekly total was only 32 miles but I got in some quality miles and that number should grow over the next few weeks until I race again.

Sun: Rest
Mon: 6 miles in 54:30 along the Neuse
Tues: Rest
 Wed: Great workout of 5x1K at 10K race pace. 6 Miles total in 51:50
Thu: 4 easy at Smith Creek Greenway 36:18
 Fri: Strong 12 along the Neuse with a nice negative split. 1:48:49 (9:04 pace)
Sat: 4 easy from home in 35:37.

 Cross training was great this week with two body weight workouts, two core sessions, 1 weights and core workout at the gym. Got a little slack with the yoga with only two 40 minute sessions.

 Looking ahead if things go well I could have my biggest mileage week in a couple of years helped by doing the 19.7 mile Fellowship of the Idiots run next Saturday. Stay tuned for that one.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Week 4 of marathon training. Recovery.

 This was planned as a recovery week after last Saturdays 25K race which was my longest race and run in 18 months. The good news is that I had practically zero soreness and no aches and pains. The bad news is it seems to have worn me down more than I expected. I think a lot of that is due to the warm and humid conditions. Ended up with 26 miles for the week with no long run or workout. Hopefully I'll be feeling up to resuming the harder training in the coming week.

 Sun: Rest
 Mon: 4 easy in 36:23 along the Neuse.
 Tue: rest
 Wed: 6 easy in 54:54 along the Smith Creek Greenway
 Thu: 6 easy along the Neuse in 53:40. Finally felt a little zip.
 Fri: 5  easy in 46:13 from Mill Bridge Nature park. Sluggish.
 Sat: 5 miles in Umstead. Super slow and tired. 49:04.

 I did a decent job off keeping up the cross training this week with four body weight workouts, one core session and four 40 to 45 minute yin yoga sessions.

 Time to move along. BQ is waiting as long as I do the work.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

week 3 of marathon training.

 This 3rd week was not so much a training week as a taper and race week, starting with a day off and ending with the Salem Lakeshore 25K. The race didn't go as planned. Not really sure why. I went out at a reasonable pace but just never felt right. Maybe the 100% humidity on an above average warm day was a factor. Anyway, I got in the miles and the longest run since August 2018 so I'll take that as a positive. Here is the weekly runs. No workout this week.

 Sun : Rest

 Mon: 5 easy 46:10
Tue: 6 easy in Umstead 54:30
 Wed: 4 easy 35:59
 Thur: 4 easy with strides 36:17
 Fri: rest
 Sat: 15.5 race 2:27:27.

 I kept the cross training light this week also with two 30 minute body weight sessions, no weights, one 20 minute core session and one 45 minute yin yoga.

 I'll take it easy a few days to recover from the race and hopefully resume normal training . See you next week.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

2020, Here I come. Looking ahead.

 I am thankful and happy to be heading into the new year in good health and in decent shape and with confidence for some good performances. Once again, I have nothing really epic planned but there are several goals, a couple of which I had for last year but failed to achieve. The first big goal is to get a Boston Qualifier and until that is done I can't make a lot of plans for  beyond March right now but I can put a couple on the calendar. Goal #2 is to return to The Cotton Row Run 10k in Huntsville and improve on my 2018 time, hopefully with a sub 48 time or better and a podium would be nice. I had to cancel the attempt last year due to a  nagging calf injury. And the 3rd big goal is to go back to the Virginia 10 miler and run my fastest time there in about 20 years and finally make the top 3 in my age group.

 So here is what I'm looking at for the year so far. Mostly speculation at this point but I'll post an update sometime in the Spring when I know more. Could be some surprises if things go well in March.

Jan 4th: The Salem Lakeshore Frosty 25K
Jan 25th: The Fellowship of the Idiots. Not a race but an organized 19.7 mile run to the top of Morrow Mountain and back.

 Feb 29th: The Ellerbe Half Marathon. Hopefully a sub 1:50 on this hilly course and hang out with MTC friends

 Mar 15th: The Tobacco Road Marathon. This is my BQ attempt. Aiming for 3:55 but 4:00 should guarantee a spot in Boston. Until this is done I can't commit to too many other events but I'll post a few things Im definitely doing and a few others that are good possibilities.

 Apr: Depends on the marathon but if I come close but need another attempt I'll schedule one towards the end of the month. Otherwise I'll do a few shorter races this month.

 May: Cotton Row is on memorial Day.

June: ?

July: Maybe Grandfather Mountain Marathon. It's been several years. I've wanted to give the Senior Grandmasters title a shot since turning 60  but twice had to cancel due to injury and then last year I went to Boilermaker. Maybe this will be the year. I really wanted a sub 4 if I could have gone in 2016 but I don't know if I'll ever have that in me again.

 Aug: Maybe return to the High Country Half or just some 5k's

 Sept: Virginia 10 Miler is the last Sat of the month.

 Oct: Probably a half marathon or two. Maybe a 5k in the mix.

 Nov. I'm planning on a Fall marathon. Will either be Mid to late Nov or early early Dec but nothing picked out just yet.