Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 19th-25th Training

Monday: 10.6 miles (7:18); 6.3 miles (7:20)

Tuesday: 7 miles (6:59). Was going to do a light fartlek but my legs felt like cinder blocks and I was crawling on my first pre-workout strides; 10.7 miles with 4x10s hill sprints (7:02)

Wednesday: 12 miles with 10 miles medium. Averaged 5:39 pace for the 10 miles. Felt really smooth and controlled after a rusty first couple of miles. Splits ranged from 5:30 to 5:50; 7 miles (7:32)

Thursday: 9.7 miles (6:44); 6.9 miles (7:43)

Friday: 8 miles (6:47); 9 miles (6:25)

Saturday: 10 miles with 6x.30ish mile hill repeats (Four up, two down).  Eased into these, with the first two being somewhat easy and the last two being tough the last 1/4 or so.  I was planning on doing four downhills but the last half of the second downhill was really tough and I was huffing and puffing at the end, so I knew that was enough for the day.  Ran decently well and I like using this workout as an introduction to speed because I get plenty of recovery in between the hills and the downhills let the speed come a little bit easier, while also toughening up the quads.  Averaged 87.49 up and 80.41 down. 6.5 miles (7:01)

Sunday: 20 miles (6:14). Really good long run.  Felt smooth and controlled and averaged sub 6:00 the last five miles...best I've felt on a long run in a long time; 2.9 miles (8:16). The slowest I've run alone in a long time but I was just trotting and my legs felt fine.  At least it let me know it would be dumb to do squats afterwards (which was my initial plan)

Week Total: 127.1 miles. This may have been my #2 highest volume week of all time.  Other than Tuesday, my legs felt really good the entire week and my hunger to train is getting stronger. My hip is fine now, except my quad is still a little bit swollen on that leg for some reason.

I think with one more strong base week, I'll be ready for some more structured fast workouts.  My fitness is slowly coming along and I feel like I'm at least sub 67 half-marathon shape right now.  With five months to go, that's perfectly fine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

New App

Even though I got lazy and retired from my Netflix Picks of the Week, I still like my movies and TV shows.  For you fellow Android users and IOS dorks, I recently got a new app for my phone called Play Box.  It has tons of movies, TV shows and is Chromecast and Apple TV supported.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 12th-18th Training

Monday: 6.2 miles (6:26); 10.1 miles (6:54)

Tuesday: 9.7 miles (6:28);  7.8 miles with 4x10s hill sprints (7:17)

Wednesday: 10.2 miles with 9 mile moderate progression (5:58). Goal was three miles at 19:00, 17:45, 16:30.  Ran 18:43 (6:13, 6:17, 6:13), 17:34 (5:54, 5:50, 5:50), 16:15 (5:29, 5:30, 5:16). First was super easy, second was still decently easy and the third was a little sluggish but I pushed some the last 1/2 mile.  But it feels more like rustiness rather than being in really bad shape. Like it's a neuromuscular issue rather than a fitness one. My right quad felt really heavy on the cooldown jog, which is probably the result of running into a trash can container on my run yesterday.  I nailed it right on my hip flexor, which is blue and purple. And it wasn't one of those normal, sissy trash-cans, but one of those stationary containers made of American-forged iron and I ran right into the top "ring" part.; 1.3 miles (7:49). Leg was killing me.

Thursday: 8.3 miles (7:17).  I was planning on about 10 with 4.5 miles out-and-back with a mile long extension.  My right hamstring was absolutely killing me, which is probably a result of me unknowingly changing my form the past few runs after the trash can incident, which took some stress of hip flexor and having the hammy take over. I struggled up the big hill before the turnaround and struggled more on the way down.  After that, my hip flexor was killing me and I gimped-jogged a few miles to someone's house that I knew so I could get a ride back to school.  The last time I needed a ride back to school was my first year of teaching when I attempted to make a four mile loop but I somehow missed the turn that was less than a mile into the run and I ended up running over five miles to the end of a road (didn't have a GPS). I then took a left and knew I was super lost.  Luckily I saw someone in a random garage and it turned out their cousin or someone worked in the cafeteria and they gave me a ride back to school.

Friday: No running. Took the day off to be safe.  I hate missing mileage for stupid stuff.

Saturday: 11.4 miles (7:07). I was going to run again but my leg was really stiff and swollen a few inches below my bruise.

Sunday: 20 miles (6:17). Motivated to get out the door after watching the US Half-Marathon Championships.  Diego Estrada was an animal, Jared Ward ran really well and I was happy to see Sean Keveren run sub 63 in his first half-marathon. Former Nashvillian, Brock Baker, also had a huge PR and ran under the qualifier and Brandon York, who I rabbitted at Indy Monumental also had a huge PR and qualified as well....great day for distance running. Felt good on my run but my leg is still a little bit swollen.

Week Total: 85 miles. I was hoping for 125ish until the trash can assault.  But maybe I needed the rest because I was getting a little worn-down. This week, I'll make up for it with some decent volume.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

2015 US Half-Marathon Championships Predictions (Better Late than Never)

It's way late but since I just read Lets Run's half-marathon preview, I figured I need to make mine before the race so I can either look like a genius or an idiot tomorrow morning. And after reading my predictions, maybe Lets Run will hire me to do future race previews because I am a one-time prediction contest winner (it was one year of the NCAA D1 XC predictions and I didn't even win a prize or anything) and my predictions are better than that other guy's.

I'm not going to waste any time giving an in-depth preview of the race because it's late and my arms are tired from washing and polishing my car (I'm a runner, not a power lifter).  So, I'll just state my top ten predictions and see how dumb I look tomorrow. Predicting the first major race of the season is tough because you don't know how sharp someone is. If someone is only 95% "fit" instead of 100%, they could go from potential top five to being outside the top 10.  But I'll do my best here.

#1. Meb. He doesn't even need a last name.  Mainly because that's what everyone knows him by, he's pretty much a running celebrity and I'm too lazy to look up how to spell his it.  While munching on some bacon, eggs and Cracker Barrel pancakes with Chris and Kevin Barrett today, we were discussing Meb. We were talking about how the dude is old and not only is he outrunning the competition, but Father Time as well.  But Father Time always eventually wins...but not this year. He may not have the 10k wheels he had back in the day, but he ran really well last year at this race and I feel is "young" enough to pull out another win.

#2. Shadrack Biwott. This guy never runs poorly in the longer stuff.  He's also coming off a 2:12 marathon this past October (was on 2:10 pace for about 20 miles) and seems to do really well on the flat, rhythm courses.  And Houston is a flat, rhythm course.

#3. Girma Mecheso.  I almost put him at #2 but he doesn't have the half-marathon experience.  He did win a US title at the 10 mile and 20k Championships but he will be facing a much deeper field here.

#4. Josphat Boit.  I don't like putting him fourth but he was pretty quiet the second half of the year. When he's fit, he's very fast and if I missed the race tomorrow and heard that Meb didn't win, Boit would be my pick.  He even beat Bekele and Bob Kennedy in the same race when a lot of the guys fighting for a top 10 spot tomorrow were still in middle school. But it's hard to gauge his fitness when he doesn't have many recent results.

#5. Jeffrey Eggleston.  I'll be interested to see how he runs here.  He's only like six weeks or something off his Fukuoka race, so he may not be too sharp.  He did run a ton of half-marathons last year and Lets Run pegged him to be pushing for a 63 something tomorrow since he ran so many 63-64s in his half marathons.  But those guys need to do their homework because he was sneakingly racking up points in the Competitor's Grand Prix and wasn't focused on racing fast, just earning some Benjamins.  And he rabbited the marathon here last year in a low 63 first half after coming off the flu, so it won't be surprising to see him run fast tomorrow.

#6. Matt Llano. Had a heck of a 2014, minus the Chicago Marathon.  But the marathon is a tough mistress, especially when it's your first one.  That performance undoubtedly fueled his fire and his training looks pretty solid compared to where he was last year.  One of his unclaims to fame is that I believe he's the only guy I've ever beaten in my predicted top 10. Bonus points if you can figure out the race.  I just found out today while doing some results hunting.

#7. Gabe Proctor. This guy is a future current stud and is one of my dark horse picks for the 2016 Olympic Marathon team.  He spent 2014 not only running really fast but getting his feet wet in competitive races.  Maybe he finishes higher than seventh and I put him here since Lets Run used bad logic by saying he is more likely to make another big jump compared to Llano since he is two years older than Proctor.  But going back in time, Llano was probably running more slowly 2-3 years than him, so he's on a sharper improvement curve. But whatever.  They are both very tough racers and will be in the hunt for Rio.

#8. Jared Ward. He's that guy that originally lost an entire season of eligiblity for jumping in what was a glorified fun run. But the public was outraged and he got his eligibility back just in time to compete in Regionals and Nationals.  If the NCAA continued to be idiots, his team would have been outside the top 10  at Nationals instead of finishing fourth.  But anyway, this guy is quietly making big progress on the roads and should be primed for a good one here.

#9. Diego Estrada. Hasn't dabbed much in the longer races but has the second fastest 5k and 10k PR in my predicted top 10 with a 13:15 and 27:32.  But this ain't no stinking track.  Maybe in his next big race, he can run under 62:00 but it's hard to do it in your first dance.

#10. Ian Burrell.  The fastest lawyer in the United States, maybe even in the entire world.  But if I'm wrong, don't sue me. I'm not sure how much his work has impacted his training but he ran decently well at the US Marathon Championships in October as well as the 2014 Houston Marathon where he whooped me by almost four minutes the last eight miles. Like several of the guys above him, he also brings his "A" game more often than not in the big races.

*Too late to count but I forgot about Aron Rono.  I would have put him tenth.

Random Facts About the Above 10

  • Half of the guys were born outside the United States.  With Meb from Eritrea, Biwott and Boit from Kenya, Mecheso and Proctor from Ethiopia and Estrada from Mexico. 
  • All but two live at altitude with Meb and Mecheso being the outsiders.  Mecheso is also the only guy that lives east of  Colorado.  


  • I believe Burrell is the only working man
  • Biwott, Boit and Proctor all train together as part of Andrew Kastor's training group in Mammoth.  

There's also some Nashville connected flavor in the race tomorrow.  Connor Kamm is the only current Nashville resident competing and he's shooting for 65:00 tomorrow.  He was hurt most of last year, got fit really quickly, then recently got hurt playing soccer.  But if he doesn't make a solid run a at the 65 flat, I'd be very surprised.

Brock Baker is also in the field and shooting for 65:00 as well.  He grew up in Nashville and is currently in Medical School at UNC.  He also ate breakfast at my house once.

Finally, I saw Sean Keveren's name on the entrant list.  Like Brock, Sean grew up in Nashville. He ran sub 23 for 8k this past fall and sub 13:40 on the track last summer.  I also gave him a whooping for trying to take me out in a Nashville race in the 2013 Boulevard Bolt.  The guy wants a rematch, so I'm hiding out until the Marathon Trials.  He's never run anything over a 10k but with an average race, he's very easily a sub 65 guy and may even compete for a top 10 spot.  But like Andrew Bumbalough, he will never train with me when he's in town.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

January 5th-11th Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:18); 6.3 miles (7:06)

Tuesday: 7.5 miles (7:02); 9.5 miles (6:32)

Wednesday: 8.7 miles (7:15); 8.3 miles (7:03). -13 windchill and it's the South. I was going to do strides today but that wasn't happening.

Thursday: 7.9 miles (7:13); 10.1 miles with 8xfootball field strides and 8x400m with 400m jog. 10 degree windchill and really windy. I was going to man up and run this on a down-and-back (headwind down, tailwind back) but the track was open, so I did them there.  Other than an outlier 72, I ran them all in 70 point for a 70.8 average. Goal was to run around that and I ran by effort.  I can tell I'm very, very rusty and it felt like I was driving in sixth gear, but needed to be in fourth. Not a bad start, I guess.

Friday: 10.1 miles (6:10); 7 miles (7:13)

Saturday: 9.8 miles (7:21). Ran this route about 40s slower than usual but my body felt like I just needed to shuffle my legs...have some achiness from the 400s and the mileage boost; 6.1 miles with 4x20ish second strides (7:19)

Sunday: 13.4 miles with axed workout (plan was 3x3.95ish loop at 6:20, 5:55, 5:30 pace). Ran a 3.9 mile warm-up, where I crawled through at just under 7:30 pace.  My legs felt incredibly lazy and I was glad the workout was going to be a progression type because my legs did not feel like they would be able to run 6:00 off the bat. The pace felt really easy on the first loop, even though my legs didn't have any pop to them.  As soon as I started the second loop, I knew I wouldn't be able to run a third loop unless I ran my butt off. Struggled a tiny bit on the hills on round two but felt good at the end.  I never like ending workouts early but I knew it would be too much, especially after bumping the volume as well as the intensity the past two weeks. Normally I hate changing workouts but it was an issue of doing what's best rather than sticking to a firm plan 6.9 miles (7:29); Ran this 1.5 hours after I was in a dead-to-the-world kind of nap and even though I had a strong cup of coffee before running, I felt half-asleep the entire run and could easily have fallen asleep on the side of the road if I wanted.

Week Total: 120.6 miles  Even though Sunday didn't go well, I'm happy with the week overall.  My motivation has been much higher than it has been and I haven't been looking for excuses to skip runs.  My iron is also looking good, compared to when I got it tested a month ago. I've been sleeping like a rock this week, so hopefully my body will start to absorb all of this work soon.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Top Nashville Area Marathon Times in 2014

Last year, I recorded the top five marathon times by Nashville area people.  To be eligible for the list, you had to live around 30ish minutes away from the state capitol (I was nice and included Murfreesboro). This year, I will continue the streak and do it again. Well, I don't think it's a streak because it's not considered one until you do it at least three times.  But to make up for my lateness, I'll soup it up and add pictures.  And since this is the South, ladies first.




#1. Gisela Lamke, 2:35:30, Mercedes Marathon.  I don't know a lot about her, except she really turned it on over the past year and is now running a faster pace for the marathon than she used to run for the half.  She's also about to have a baby and ran her 2:35 on a tough course.




#2. Jeanette Faber, 2:47:32, Country Music Marathon.  She has a PR of 2:32 but had some injury issues over the past year. She ran the 2:47 as a workout and I talked her into running the race less than three days before it.  She's either easily influenced or I'm very persuasive.  And look at those shoes!

Editors Update: Her best marathon of the year was a 2:43:57, which was run at the windy and rainy New Tapei City Wanijinshi International Marathon in New Taipei City, Taiwan.  I don't know how they fit the name of the race on their shirt. 


#3. Ashley Evans, 2:57:42, Indy Monumental Marathon.  She was planning on racing Chicago in hopes of breaking her 2:48 marathon PR but she took a page out of my book and became anemic. And I have no qualms stating that she's also the nicest and most friendly person on the list.



#4. Blair Burnette, 3:01:28, Boston Marathon. She took several minutes off her 2013 half-marathon PR and then doubled it in her first Boston Marathon, which is no easy feat.  It also appears she doesn't like to post running pictures on Facebook because I had to dig for this one. She learned her mistake from running in whatever blue shoes those are and ran her Boston time in a pair of Newton Distance Elites. Smart gal!



#5. Lindsey Dial, 3:02:09, Indy Monumental Marathon.  She's pretty fresh to the road racing scene as she used to focus on trail racing until she realized how stupid it was. She ran her marathon on a semi-bum hamstring, so I'm sure she's looking for some vengeance in her next one. And according to Facebook, she's also looking for someone who can build the below doghouse, so leave a reply if you can. 




Marathoning on the women's side has really picked up in this area and other than the half-marathon, it's probably Nashville's strongest female event.  There's also several more girls in the low 3:00 range, so I'm sure 2015 will be a cat fight!. And let me know if I missed anyone because you can only do so much Googling before you start to feel like a stalker. 


And now for the men...


#1. Scott Wietecha, 2:17:16, Houston Marathon. He's that guy who died really badly at Houston and had the top four women gaining on him from 35k to the finish. He also got outkicked by a 2:17 half-marathoner in that race.  After spending 2014 being extra whiny, he's looking for redemption.



#2. Joey Elsakr, 2:24:20, Indy Monumental Marathon. Nailed his debut with the second fastest last half-marathon in the field.  Being that he graduated from Duke and is in medical school at Vanderbilt, he was probably the smartest in the field as well.  



#3. Bill Martin, 2:28:57, Rocket City Marathon. Since we aren't Facebook friends and he rarely races, I had to settle for his high school 4x800m picture. I sent a friend request though, so maybe I'll update this. I also noticed he's #666 in that picture.



#4. Hunter Hall, 2:35:19, Rocket City Marathon. He knocked a couple minutes off his PR in what was his second marathon. One of his claims to fame is hitting on the entire Indy Monumental elite ladies field at once.  I don't think it went anywhere though. 


#5. Greg Kyle, 2:38:19, Indy Monumental Marathon. He's the tall guy and he used his tallness to be the off-and-on wind breaker for Alayna Hadley at Indy, before leaving her in his dust.  He's really improved over the past year and should be ready to run sub 6:00 pace in his next marathon.  Not only is that a fast time but the math is easy as well.

I think this is a pretty nice improvement compared to last year on the men's side but compared to the women, it seems like the Nashville area men are a little more timid of the marathon.  But word on the street is that after several months of injury riddled trumpet playing (he took up the trumpet when he got hurt), 65 minute half-marathoner, Connor Kamm, may make his marathon debut in 2015.  There's also rumors of Joey's med school BFF, Ben Li trying one as well. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

December 29th-January 4th Training

Monday: 11.5 miles with bombed workout. Plan was to run the first six miles or at a normal effort and then 10x90s on/off at 5:05/6:00 pace. Knocked out the first one ok at 4:50/5:59.  Second one things got slower with a 5:10, so I decided to just jog on the recovery and speed up to sub 5:00.  Barely snuck under on the next three and after running 5:19 pace on the next one even though I was struggling, I decided to jog it in.  I tried to be tough but it felt almost like a sprint.  Granted it was into a headwind but struggling that badly during that type of workout shouldn't happen; 6.3 miles (7:06)

Tuesday: 10.7 miles (6:46); 7.5 miles (7:41)

Wednesday: 9.5 miles (6:39); 6.9 miles (7:21)

Thursday: 11.5 miles with 10k race in 34:45. Course was really rough with over 841 feet of elevation gain with constant little rollers.  I planned to do a tempo effort at 5:15ish effort but after two miles, I gave up that idea because I was struggling.  Slowed it down a good bit and kept it a moderate effort.  With the past two crappy sessions, I wonder if my iron has climbed at all.; 6.1 miles (7:20ish)

Friday: 5.4 miles (7:28); 9.6 miles (6:41)

Saturday: 10.2 miles (6:55)

Sunday: 20 miles (6:18). 15mph winds didn't make this too fun.  Sped up quite a bit the second half and was running lower 6:00s even though it was into a headwind.  Hip flexors were getting worn out and I was pretty tired at the end.  Still, a good run, regardless.

Week Total: 115.2 miles. Second biggest week in 2014 (even though some of it wasn't). I was going to get over 120 but skipped a run on Saturday because I haven't gone over 100 in a few weeks.  Two crappy sessions but I'm happy with the volume. I don't have a real race planned until the end of February, so I have plenty of time.  And if my iron is still pretty low, I'll just pretend like it's altitude training.