Saturday, April 28, 2012

"Runners Knee"

After my Rocket City Marathon fail, I planned on running the Mississippi Blues Marathon. I was really fit and wanted to take advantage of my fitness. Unfortunately, I got a bum knee and had to miss a few weeks of training, which further rained on my winter marathoning parade. 

I'm a really analytical person and like trying to find the cause behind things. I wasn't sure what caused my knee problems. Overpronation? Weak quads? Tight rectus femoris? However, I found the most help from a poster on that gave me a ton of detailed, in-depth information about my injury.  She felt it could potentially be a secondary issue as a result of something else.  Having a kink somewhere in your kinetic chain can have a rippling effect and cause pain in a totally different area. 

While you can't diagnose someone or something over a computer (unless you're on Skype with your favorite medical professional), she thought an anterior tilt of my pelvis could have been playing a role.  That rung a bell because I've always felt like I lean too far forward when I run.  As a result, my hip flexors and glutes don't do their fair share of the work, which wreaks havoc on my illiotibial band and hamstrings, both of which were chronically tight.

After starting some core type work, some psoas and hip flexor stretches and focusing on running more "tall", with a more aligned pelvis, my injury slowly disappeared.  My hamstring and illitiobial tightness also went away and now when I run, my glutes actually get tired.  Those first few weeks of regular training, they were constantly tired and run-down because they were finally being activated.  Whether it was a neuromuscular or muscle strength issue, I don't know...But at least it went away. 

To make a long story short, here is a great post about runner's knee, which debunks a lot of myths about the issue and looks at the real causes:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 16-22 Training

Monday: 8 miles (7:01); 4.2 miles very easy

Tuesday: 10 miles medium progression with 4-3-3 mile segments in 24:40 (6:10), 17:15 (5:45) and 16:00 (5:20).  Times were: 24:38 (6:09, 6:05, 6:12, 6:12), 17:09 (5:47, 5:40, 5:42) and 15:41 (5:12, 5:17, 5:12). Happy with this workout because about a month ago, I was struggling to run this workout 10s a mile slower but this time, it was really easy; 6.8 miles (7:16)

Wednesday: 5.1 miles (6:24); 8.9 miles. I was at a track meet, so I had to run this in three different runs. It's not ideal, but it's reality.

Thursday: 8 miles (6:53); 3.4 miles (7:33). I will never run with the baby jogger again!

Friday: 3 miles (7:16); 8.6 miles with 5k track race in 14:26.  This was my first track race in over seven years and my first 5k in quite some time. I've only done a couple "fast" workouts, so I knew I wouldn't be very sharp, but still felt I would at least break 14:40. My plan was to keep all my 1600m splits under 4:40 and I ran: 4:35, 4:36, 4:41. I led from the gun and felt good through 3k, but struggled that last 1k and just wanted to be finished. I think going from feeling strong to feeling like crap so quickly shows that I'm not very fit yet, so hopefully I have a good bit of room to improve. Maybe if the weather would have been 10 degrees cooler and if I would have had a pack to run with, I could have run 14:10-14:15, but who knows. I do know I won't eat fried chicken and several pieces of pie the day of a race because you will feel like throwing up that entire last 1600m. Lesson learned.

Saturday: 9 miles (7:13); 4.5 miles (7:40)

Sunday: 10.4 miles (6:24). The plan was a 20 mile run with a moderate fartlek the second half, but I was feeling a little bit off and could tell that workout would have been too much for today.  Maybe I'm still a little worn out from the 5k and with a big race next weekend, I didn't want to take any chances.

Week Total=89.9 miles.  The volume was a little bit lower than I would have liked but you can't always chase numbers.  I'm pleased with how the 5k went and hopefully the weather will be good next weekend so I can make a run at sub 66:00 at the Derby Half in Louisville.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Vanderbilt Invitational

After hiding from the track for over seven years, it was time to return to my roots.  I used to love the feedback the track gave me.  I knew how far I ran, how much further I had to go and the exact speed I was running.  For some, it's sensory overload, but as an analytical junkie, it was made for me.

These past couple of years, I've focused on the roads.  My schedule doesn't really allow time for heading to a track for a hard workout, so I've been a slave to the roads. While I don't get to run with them as much as I want, there's a solid group of guys who train together in Nashville.  The club's elder, Ted Towse proposed a youngans' vs. seasoned veterans grudge match over 5000 meters at the Vanderbilt Invitational.  I've always loved a good bet, so I was definitely in.  The youngans' team was comprised of Connor Kamm (the 2010 D3 National 5000m champion), Ken Sullivan (3:45 1500m guy, who is getting back into it after starting law school) and Ryan Chastain (has run 14:34 and 3:48 1500m).  All three of those guys weren't in great shape yet but if they were, the race just wouldn't be fair. They were going against myself, Ted Towse (one of the fastest old guys I know) and Jeff Edmonds (chasing PR's, despite graduating college 13 years ago.)  I figured the race would be very close and would come down to the wire.

I was just coming off my base training phase and only got in one or two solid "speed" workouts.  But endurance usually reigns supreme, so I felt I could run under 14:40.  My race plan was to try and run each 1600m segment under 4:40 and finish up the last 200m the best I could.  While I felt I would be able to break 14:40, I secretly was hoping to break my eight year old personal record of 14:29.

Mary had her teacher-of-the-year luncheon that day.  When it comes to food, I can eat pretty healthy if "bad" food isn't there.  But if it is...oh boy.  Before it was all said and done, I downed a few pieces of fried chicken and had to sample the pecan pie, apple pie and the fudge pie (twice).  I spent the rest of the afternoon with a full belly and was hoping it would disappear by race time.

I warmed up with Connor and Ryan and put on my first new pair of track spikes in about 10 years.   I was seeded first, with a couple of other guys seeded under 14:50 but unfortunately, those guys didn't show up. I was hoping some college kid who just read "Once a Runner" or recently got a sweet new running tat would be pumped up and take the early pace.  When the gun went off, I kept it relaxed and waited to see what would happen.  We covered the first 200m in 34-35, which was the pace I wanted but I was hoping someone else would be setting it.  I then accepted the lead, crossed the first lap in 69 seconds and then got focused on my quest.

My legs felt like they were turning over insanely fast but I felt in control.  I continued to click off the 68-69 second laps and ran the first 1600m in 4:35.  The second 1600m was much of the same but after about seven laps, I started to feel the beginning of the wobbly legs and lung-searing burn that the 5000m requires. I went through 3200m in 9:11, which gave me a 4:36 second 1600m.  I then knew sub 14:40 was in the cards and made my assault on 14:30.

Over the next two laps, things went from primarily in control to misery.  While training for the long events, I try to train myself to stay relaxed and press through things but in the 5k, things are forced and you must make them ugly.  They say lack of conditioning will make a coward of us all, and that statement became true.  I quit worrying about my time and just wanted to be finished.  Instead of making a run at a potential sub 14:20, my goal was now just to set a new PR.  My legs hurt, my breathing was going down hill and I felt every bite of fried chicken and pie in my stomach,.

I crossed the line in 14:26, giving me a three second PR.  I was a little bit lukewarm about it at first, but after reflecting, it was a decent performance.  I think going from feeling good to being in pain so quickly shows I'm not in great 5k shape.  When you are fit for an event, you don't go from white to black like that.  You're able to hang in strongly and stay in the gray portion for quite some time.  And if the weather was 10 degrees cooler, along with having some company the entire race, I felt like that 14:26 would have been a 14:10-14:15. 

Ted and Jeff also had strong races but we ended up losing the bet to the youngans' by a mere four seconds.  Before the race, I pegged Ken at around 15:30 but he showed me up with his 15:16 to spoil our parade.  Overall, it was a fun race.  I felt a little bit like a lab rat in a cruel experiment and much prefer the openess and freeness of the roads, but I'll return to the track again at the Music City Distance Carnival on June 2nd.   Maybe I'll be able to get another 5000m PR this year.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

April 9th-15th Training

Monday: 6.9 miles (7:19); 6.2 miles (7:08)

Tuesday: 10.2 miles with 20x60s fast/easy. Started out somewhat controlled and gradually worked into it. Averaged about 4:25 pace on the fast portions and upper-mid 5:30s for the entire 40 minutes. I'm happy with the session because this was my first extended speed workout in quite some time. It was also quite a bit faster than when I ran this workout in September; 5.8 miles (7:09)

Wednesday: 4.5 miles (6:31); 9.5 miles (7:03)

Thursday: 10.1 miles medium. Nice and smooth. (5:48); 5 miles (7:20)

Friday: 8 miles (6:53); 4 miles (7:27)

Saturday: 11 miles with 10k race in 30:50. I ran one of my favorite races, the Purity Moosic City Dairy Dash. My plan was to run it as a tempo run around 5:00 pace, so.
First few miles were really easy and I feel like I'm in sub 30 10k shape. Splits were 4:52, 4:59, 5:01, 5:02, 5:03, 4:52. ; 3 miles (7:22)

Sunday: 20.1 miles (6:18). Legs felt great and never got my "end of the long run" fatigue that I normally get.

Week Total= 104.3 miles. Great week or workouts. I'm still a couple of weeks away from being really fit but I'm getting really close. Most likely will race a 5k this week.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Purity Moosic City Dairy Dash

Even though this was only my second year running it, I really look forward to the Dairy Dash. The course is flat, there's a ton of people, the food is awesome, and it's very well run.  Not to mention, winning ice cream instead of a medal is an excellent trade-off.

A couple of weeks ago, I debated running this race all-out and trying to under 30 minutes. I never ran a serious 10k when I was in great shape, not to mention being a 29 minute 10k guy sounds a lot cooler than a 30 minute one. I felt like I had the fitness but with a race scheduled next week, I decided to run it as a tempo run and try to run just under 31:00.

Last year, I was able to win this race over Alex Moore (who lost his chip) and this year, I didn't know who would show up.  I did my usual 15 minute warm-up and ran into Connor Kamm on the line.  Connor was the D3 National Champion in the 5000m a couple of years ago and is starting to get back into the swing of things. He wanted to run around 32:00, so I figured I'd be alone.

When the gun went off, we ran together for a bout a 1/4 mile before I started slowly pulling away. I hit the first mile in 4:52, which was faster than I wanted, so I slowed it down some.  There was some construction or something going on, so this year, you ran out-and-back on the greenway portion.  I like that way better because last year, it felt like I was stuck on that thing forever. Not to mention, there was a headwind on it, which turns into a tailwind after the turnaround. I was cruising along right near 5:00 pace with my next two miles in 4:59 and 5:01.  The pace felt a little quick but I was still able to relax.

After the turnaround, I was able to see a lot of my running friends racing, which always makes the running easier. I continued to stay in my rhythm with my next two miles in 5:02 and 5:03.  I knew I was starting to slightly slow down and I didn't want to run over 31:00, so I picked it up a little bit over the last mile to finish with a 4:52 last mile and 30:50 for the entire 10k distance.

The 30:50 was technically a PR but for the last 10k of the Team Nashville 10 Miler, my last 10k was around 30:40.  Overall, I was plenty pleased with my time and the effort I laid out.  I feel like I definitely could have run under 30:15 if I went all-out, if not under 30:00.

After the race, I was able to devour a ton of mac-and-cheese, ice cream sandwiches and chocolate milk.  Sadly, the Krispy-Kreme donuts were gone before I could attack them.  I really enjoyed running this race for the second time and look forward to next year!