Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 25th-31st Training

Monday: 6.1 miles (7:20ish)

Tuesday: 6.3 miles (7:01);  9.1 miles (6:43)

Wednesday: 6 miles (7:10); 11 miles (5:48) with 10 mile medium progression (5:40). Plan was four miles at 24:40ish, three at 17:15ish and three at 16:00ish. Normally I would do this about 10 seconds faster, but slowed it down because of the fatigue I've been having. Ended up feeling surprisingly good.  Last 1.5 miles were a little tough but not too bad. Ended up running 24:12, 16:47, 15:42.

Thursday: 6 miles (7:11); 11 miles (6:46)

Friday: Skipped morning run. Was raining and I chose a nap instead; 14 miles with 10.67 miles medium (5:33). Plan was to run this in 5:30s and then do 4x1:00 hard/easy afterward. Skipped that segment because I felt that while good on paper, it would be overkill based on how I was feeling.  Hamstrings were insanely tight for a while.  Hit a rough patch at four miles, but made myself hang on.  Pace felt really slow on my legs but still a little bit tiring.  Was pretty dizzy/light headed at the end, so hopefully the issues aren't coming back again.

Saturday: 6 miles (7:29); 9.2 miles (6:40)

Sunday: 20 miles (6:07). Good long run.  Was initially planning on doing this at 6:25ish pace and if I felt good, throw in a short, moderate fartlek.  Decided to just run a little steadier instead.  Effort felt really relaxed and ran sub 6:00 pace the last 13 miles without any intentional pace increase.

Week Total: 104.7 miles. Decent weeks for a couple of skipped morning runs. Happy with my moderate workouts and my easy pace has been decent, but I think that's a result of having much less intensity, which makes me more fresh.  Pre-Boston Bail, my plan was to knock out 125-130 miles this week before tapering up.  Ran a full thyroid and iron panel on Thursday, so hopefully I find something out this week.  I've been taking my temperature a few times a day with my fancy new ear thermometer and it's never been above 96.3, which can occur with a slow thyroid.  This week, I'll throw in another moderater, longer workout and run a 5k race as a hard tempo, along with a long run.  My weight is the highest it's been in a couple of years.  Hoping I can blame that on the thyroid and not the copious amount of pizza, candy and ice cream I've eaten this week.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Netflix Movie Monday

I've always been somewhat of a Jack Black fan.  I loved Saving Silverman (one of my favorite movies of all time) and like most of his other movies as well.  When I saw that "Bernie" was on Netflix, and that it was listed as a black comedy, I decided it was the movie for me.

Bernie is based on the 1996 murder of 81-year old millionaire Marjorie Nugent by her boyfriend?, Bernie Tiede, in Carthage, TX. Sounds pretty gruesome but the movie is actually pretty funny.

Bernie is an assisant funeral director in Carthage and everyone in the town loves him.  He goes the extra mile for everyone he comes across, is a faithful member of the church and is the type of man I wouldn't mind Kate marrying (besides the murderer part).

After Marjorie's husband dies, she turns into quite the sour witch.  She beats people with brooms, is rude to everyone she comes across and makes Clint Eastwood look like Mr. Rogers.  Bernie feels bad for her, so he does his best to know that she is cared for and eventually, she opens up to him and the two become in inseparable.

Marjorie has plenty of dough, so they travel the world together and become quite the item.  Eventually, she starts to turn mean and possessive, even to him.  At first, Bernie does his best to smile and tolerate it until one day he snaps and shoots her in the back with the "armadillo gun" and then throws her in the freezer for nearly a year before he gets busted.

The movie mixes in a little bit of documentary format as members of the community are interviewed throughout the movie.  It's funny to to see them portray the typical East Texas stereotypes as they talk about their views, stereotypes and thoughts about the situation.  It's also interesting to see what people's true views of good and evil really are.  Like most indie type movies, the film started to drag on for a bit but overall, I thought it was good watch. 

March 18th-24th Training

Monday: 5.9 miles (6:53); 5.6 miles (7:10)

Tuesday: 10.2 miles (6:24);  7 miles with 8xhill blasts (7:23)

Wednesday: 4 miles (6:48); 5.3 miles with a bombed workout.  Plan was 3x4 mile loop at marathon pace, with steady 1k jog recovery in between, followed by 150mish steep sprints down a grass hill.  Winds were super strong and went through the first mile in 5:30, followed by 1/3 of a mile at 5:40 pace before I bagged it.  Super frustrating.

Thursday: 4.3 miles (6:53)

Friday: 5.7 miles (6:48);  9.4 miles (6:44)

Saturday: 8.8 miles with 5k in 15:15.  Didn't know how I would feel.  Course was mostly flat with tons of turns.  Miles were 4:42, 4:56, 5:06.  First mile was sort of tough and could tell I backed off as the race progressed.  Wasn't hard as I thought, which is a good sign I guess; 5.4 miles (7:09)

Sunday: 22.5 miles (7:10ish). Wow, what a terrible long run. Met up with Max Paquette, Lauren Hagans and Dave Milner at Vaughns Gap.  Ran 7:20ish pace or so for about 10 miles than Max and I went to add in more miles.  The plan was to run 2:10, so we ran to Steeplechase, with plans of running the Judicata course and then heading back.  As usual, I got lost several times and added an extra 30 minutes. Felt bad because Max has a marathon in two weeks, oops.  But I felt like crap the second half. I would frequently get dropped on the hills and had to walk for a while shortly after 20.  Got home, felt like crap and had a fever for the rest of the day.

Week Total= 96.1 miles.  Terrible week.  Hopefully I figure out this potential thyroid issue.  I had some big plans for the spring and really don't want to have to end the season yet.  I probably should have taken time off after Houston. Oh well.  Hopefully this week I'll get in some moderate mileage with a steady run or two. I'll try to get some more blood testing as well.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Frustrations of a Distace Runner

Just a few weeks ago, my training was going perfectly.  Tom King was a bigconfidence booster, I was destroying my workouts and I felt like I was in much better shape than before the Houston Marathon.  After Houston, my original plan was to take some time off, come back slowly and then attempt to break 14:00 and 29:00 for 5k and 10k on the track and then peak for the USA Half-Marathon Championships.  It sounded good on paper but I decided to go a different route.

My new plan was to jump into a speedwork cycle since my speed was pretty neglected over the past few weeks and then do a short marathon-specific cycle before hopefully smoking some fools at the Boston Marathon.  It wasn't the most logical choice but after Houston I was on a mental high.  I spent so much time training, beat some solid guys and it was my first "real" race in six months.  I didn't want to have to give myself a pat-on-the-back and then start over again.  I wanted to continue to strike while the iron as hot.  I then emailed someone in the BAA and left it over to fate.  If I got some travel money and a hotel, I would run.  If not, I would take a break.  Two days later, I was entered.  I emailed Jeffrey Eggleston, who can drop fast marathons left and right without much recovery in between.  He gave me some solid advice, my marathon recovery went much faster than expected and then I made my Boston training plan. 

Boston is more about racing the course, than racing people.  It drops over 400 feet from start to finish but will wreck you if you don't run it correctly.  The first mile drops 130 feet and then has a ton more downhill running through 15 miles, followed by rolling hills from 16-21 and then some more downhill running.  While researching the course, people frequently talked about how their quads lock up and stop working the last several miles with the last few miles being a death march.  Bob Hodge went from 20th place to 6th place over the last several miles one year and the course definitely rewards those who are patient and bide their time, much like how I like to race.  Again, I used other people as resources and got some good advice from my Monday night training partner, Doug Boomer and my Hood to Coast teammate, Nick End.

But running the course correctly doesn't mean much if you don't prepare yourself to run the course.  My training plan included a lot of running over hills, with a downhill focus.  All of my long runs end down a rolling two mile downhill, which drops about 200 feet, which would be a good tool.  It even had a replica of Heartbreak Hill just before the downhills started.  I also planned some fast long runs (about 90-95% of marathon pace) over some really rolling terrain, was going to do severely downhill strides on a grass golf course and do a lot of fartlek running over hills.  I also had some tempo runs with a long downhill finish planned.  Heck, I even took my chances by meeting a potential weirdo off Craigslist to buy a squat rack/bench with plans of doing slow, eccentric squats to prepare my muscles for the eccentric contractions from the downhills.  But the guy was actually pretty nice and not a weirdo, even though he had more than his fair share of  assault rifles hanging up in his living room. I'd hate to break into his apartment.

As mentioned earlier, training was going really well and I was enjoying the challenge of trying to set up the ideal training for the course.  The field was also really deep with a ton of guys in the 2:12-2:18 range,  which would give me a lot of guys to hopefully chase down.

But about a week and a half ago, something was off.  I felt light-headed and dizzy 24/7, would struggle anytime I ran something at a fast pace and also quickly put on 2-3 pounds even though I cleaned up my eating a good bit (I was trying to enter Boston at a lighter weight than I've been in the past...less weight to carry up, less pounding on the way down.)  I thought for sure it was low iron but my iron was fine.  But my TSH reading came back about a point higher than it usually is.  I contacted two very fast runners that also struggle with thyroid issues and they gave me good advice and felt like my TSH was high.  One of them even gave me their phone number, despite never meeting him in really life.  Runners are a friendly bunch.

As soon as I thought I potentially had hypothyroidism, I did what any rational person would do and convinced myself I had every symptom Google said you could have.  I had the muscle aches, weight gain, my body temperature is normally 96/97 and over the last few weeks, my hands have turned purple whenever it's been cold outside.  My hands and feet are always cold and my favorite form of attack on Mary (besides Dutch Ovens) are to touch her stomach with my hand while she's sleeping, which usually results in her waking up with a yelp.

I'm trying to get in to see an endocrinologist this week and honestly, I hope it's not a thyroid issue.  My running has been going really well over the past few years and I don't want to play lab scientist with hormones in my body until I figure out the right dose.  In running, slowing me down five seconds a mile will kill me, and that's a real reality when trying to figure out the right dosage.

So unfortunately, Boston is out.  I'm completely bummed because I was fit and looking forward to being part of such a prestigious race.  Hopefully I can be ready in time for the Country Music Marathon in four weeks and to be honest, I had plans of doing a Boston, Country Music Marathon double, with just 12 days rest.  Dumb, I know but I was up for the challenge.

Ideally, I'd like to get in some decent, easier mileage this week and then transition to some faster workouts.  I'd like to still run the Country Music Marathon, as a long run, much like I did at Rocket City, then hit the track for an assault on sub 14, followed by a solid race at the half marathon championships.  After that, a nice, long break!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Netflix Movie Monday

This week's movie is probably my least favorite movie that I've picked so far.  Yeah, Troll 2 was terrible, but it was an amazing type of terrible that deserves praise and respect.  I was drawn to The Frighteners because it was directed by Peter Jackson (you know, The Lord of the Rings guy).  It stars Michael J. Fox, as Frank Bannister, who after a car wreck that kills his wife, is able to see and communicate with ghosts.
He goes into depression mode after his wife dies and becomes friends with a few ghosts.  Obviously the man has bills to pay, so he starts a a ghost hunting business and gets his ghostly friends to haunt houses, so he can make some cash.  Frank's luck turns for the worse when the spirit of a mass murderer is unleashed from Hell, and can put whoopings on both the living and the dead.

Before the mass murderering ghost kills people, he marks them with a number.  Frank can see the numbers so he knows who the next victim will be and does his best to protect them.  This lands him in hot water with the police and he is viewed as a suspect.  Frank is then on the run from the police, while trying to save the marked individuals.

This movie is listed as a comedy-horror but it's only a little bit funny and not that scary.  But hey, it's Michael J. Fox's last live-action movie before going into semi-retirement.

March 11th-17th Training

Monday: 5.9 miles (6:46); 12.2 miles (6:57)

Tuesday: 6 miles (7:01); 12 miles with 11 mile medium progression (5:35) over hills. Goal was four miles in 24:00ish, four miles in 22:20ish, three miles in 16:30ish.  The times were just guidelines because the route is pretty rolling and some sections are faster than others.  Ended up running  23:38 (6:02, 5:55, 5:49, 5:52) 22:12 (5:25, 5:31, 5:44, 5:32) 15:43 (5:32, 5:04, 5:07).  The 5:44 in the second section was up a long hill and the first mile of the fastest section was insanely rolling.  The whole time, I was either going up a massive uphill or down a massive downhill.  The second mile was mostly downhill and I could tell my quads were banged up from the downhills.  The last mile was either gradually down or gradually up, with a little over half of it being up.  Felt a little flat at first but loosened up.  Pushed the last half mile a little bit to get some hill running on tired legs.  Not a bad run.

Wednesday: 3 miles (7:55) 3.4 miles (7:00ish); 10.7 miles (6:56)

Thursday: 4 miles (7:00ish); 9.8 miles bombed workout. Plan was 20x1:00 hard/easy.  Felt dizzy on the warm-up and my legs were trashed from the get-go and would not move, so I stopped after eight reps.  Frustrated that I had to end a workout but it's probably a result of being too greedy on Tuesday. I had this workout planned for Wednesday, with nothing but easy runs leading up, so I probably should have stuck with that.  But if you're never having bad workouts, you're not training hard enough or your goals aren't big enough; 3.2 miles

Friday: 5.3 miles (6:52); 11.4 miles (6:53)

Saturday: 9.8 miles (7:30); 6 miles with 6xhill blast (7:30).  I haven't had any near street confrontations in quite some time, so it was time once again.  When I run, I don't want cars to do just drive and I'll move around you.  I was running through my 'hood when a big white truck was driving down the road.  It looked like he was going to turn into a driveway, so I crossed the road.  Well, he was also trying to back-up, I guess into his driveway or something. I kept on running and hear someone yell "Are you an F-in idiot? (internet edit).  I stop my watch, turn around and walk on over asking him what he was talking about.  He then said "I almost hit you, Jesus Christ." I then replied "I saw you the whole time dude. You need to relax." I then waited for him to respond, but he didn't say anything and I was on my way.  I didn't see how big he was, but I felt like I had the advantage.  I had my night vision going on (just got done running around a pitch black area), was semi warmed-up, while he probably had tight hip flexors from sitting in his truck.  I was also wearing racing flats, which would result in faster footwork and a faster doubleleg if I decided to take the brawl to the ground.  I was also wearing running clothes and since he had a big white Ford, he probably was wearing bulky camo pants, cowboy boots and some kind of oversized John Deere shirt. I definitely could have taken him.

Sunday: 9.9 miles (7:00ish).  Bombed workout here. The plan was a short warm-up, 18 miles of rolling hills in the 5:30s and then a short cooldown.  But lately, I've felt like complete crap.  My legs are really achy all of the time, but the main annoyance is that I feel light headed and my eyes feel a little out of focus and it's like that 24/7.  Almost like the feeling you get when you're insanely hungry but I'm not hungry. I really think it's low iron but I played it safe and ran easily.  Well, more like I chumped out and was a headcase; 3.4 miles (7:20)

Week Total=116 miles. Feeling pretty bummed about whatever I have going on. I'm getting my blood tested Monday and should know by Tuesday.  But if anyone wants to take a bet, I will bet a McDonald's McDouble that my iron is low.  Sometimes I freak out and think it's low, when it turns out to be fine.  But the weakness this time is the same exact thing I've had in the past. 


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tom King Half-Marathon

The Tom King Half-Marathon is probably my favorite Nashville area race.  Most of the running crowd around Middle Tennessee come out, the weather is usually pretty cool and the course is flat and fast (even though it's pretty boring.)  This was my third time doing the race and I was really looking forward to it.  Going into the race, my main goal was to attack the course record of 65:19, set by my former college teammate, Maciek Miereczko.  We went back and forth in college, and he ended up running 2:14 for the marathon a couple of years after graduating.  While the Americans were slaving away the 100+ mile weeks during the summertime in order to get ready for the fall cross country season, he would take several weeks off and play full court 3-on-3 basketball.  That sounds like slacking but he would play to 100 by ones.  One time in college, I was running through a pretty nice neighborhood on a weekend and ran into him.  Not literally, but he was standing in someone's front yard, peeing behind a tree.  Gotta love the Poles.
Maciek likes his beer

I knew breaking the course record would be tough.  I felt like I was in close to 64:00 shape, and definitely would be able to break 65 if I had someone pushing me.  I was hoping Justus David would show up, so I could have my shot at revenge but he's been hurt.  I was also hoping Patrick Cheptoek would make it down because I'm 0-4 against him, but felt like I was ready to give him a run.  But he had a class, so he was a no show as well.  But you never really know who will show up to a race, all you can control is your own effort and destiny. 

The weather that morning was nearly perfect. It was around 40 degrees, with a 7mph wind.  I stopped by McDonalds to get my token coffee and also ate a Powerbar Irongirl bar (don't judge) as well as a Powerbar protein bar.  I knew conditions were set up for me to run fast, so I wanted to take advantage of them.  On the line, I couldn't tell if any other guys were ready to run sub 65, but I saw Lanni Marchant (2:31 marathoner) and told her that she was going to tick off a lot of guys (she ended up finishing third overall).  When the gun went off, I tried to immediately find my rhythm and lock in My plan was to run just under 5:00 pace and hang on as long as I could.  I was prepared to go all-out if needed, but I was hoping that I would finish with some gas left in the tank. On a flat course like Tom King, you can really put a whooping on your body if you hammer all out. There's not much muscle mix-up and it's the same motion over and over at a pretty high rate of speed.  I wanted to be able to train hard the next week, so I didn't want to have to take several easy days in a row afterwards.

The course is pretty simple.  You start in front of LP field, cut a left and follow the mostly flat road all the way into Shelby Bottoms.  After a couple of miles, you hop onto the greenway for a little over four miles, before making a U-turn and coming back the way you came, except for a small extension at the end of the park.  You also finish inside LP field and get to watch yourself on the jumbotron, which is pretty cool.  On a course like Tom King, it's a good idea to work into your pace.  There's a ton of people who go out over their heads in a half-marathon, so it's fun to chase them down.  With the long straightaways, it's easy to see who is in front of you and shortly before the turnaround, you can check out your competition and see who looks like they are about to drop back.  If you go out too hard (like I did in 2011), you have a lot of people who can pass you, which is really unmotivating and that long stretch on Davidson St., well, feels VERY long.

I was alone from the start and even though the lead bikers were in the middle of the road, I hugged the inside of the left lane.  I knew breaking Maciek's record was going to be tough, so I needed to take every second I could get, and running the tangents would definitely help.  I went through the first mile in 4:54 and felt pretty good.  It was a little bit tough but I could tell I wasn't really loosened up and would feel better a few miles down the road.  I went through the second mile in 5:01, which scared me for a second because I wanted all of my miles under 5:00.  But that mile included a mini hill, so I didn't stress about it too much.  Finally I entered Shelby Bottoms.  This is a pretty boring part of the course because it's the equivalant of running on a treadmill in front of some trees for several miles.  It's the same thing over and over, but luckily it's pretty much completely flat, so it's easy to lock into your pace.  I was clicking off all of my miles just under 5:00 and wouldn't let my mind drift for even a second.  I completely focused on running the tangents in perfectly straight lines.  Normally, I'm not such a tangent Nazi, but I knew every second would help out.

Finally, I made it to the turnaround!  After making my attempt at a quick U-turn (which I'm usually terrible at), I was headed back towards LP Field.  After a couple of minutes, I saw Chris Duncan and Lanni Marchant coming towards me, followed by a guy I coach, Olaf Wasternack.  Shortly after they went by, traffic greatly picked up.  I'm not a big fan of this part of the race for a couple of reasons.  With runners coming towards you, it's hard to run the tangents, so you just hug the right side and hope for the best.  The incoming runners also make me extremely ADD.  I usually have a lot of friends that run Tom King, so it's really hard to focus on maintaining your pace while seeking out the people you know so you can cheer them on.  If I was following the pace of someone else, it wouldn't be too bad, but this year, I had to focus on keeping my sub 5:00 pace.  I felt a bit like a jerk that I was so focused on myself this year, but I had buisness to take care of.  I ended up running that portion really well and was also able to catch several of my friends on the way down.

After running against traffic for a few miles, you take a right turn for a little mini-extension around the Nature Center.  I was getting near 10 miles, so I switched my GPS screen to see my total time to (beforehand and usually in races, I only have my individual mile time on the screen.  I hit the lap button at the mile marker and it starts back off at 0:00).  I went through 10 miles in 49:13, which I guess is an unofficial state record because the official record is 50:09, but it doesn't count since there wasn't a timing mat there.  But my mile split that time was 4:46.  That didn't make much sense because I didn't feel like I picked it up.  But hey, a 4:46 sounds good, so I just went with it.  I ran 5:15 the next mile which shocked me. Was I starting to die already?  I picked it up a hair because I didn't want to lose the record in the last two miles but after running the next mile in under five minutes, I realized that someone probably put the mile marker a little bit early (which shows in my GPS data, because the 10th mile was short, and the 11th was way long).   Finally, I was on my way towards the stadium.

Every year, I get tricked at this part. I think I'm almost done but I forget how far you have to run around the stadium and then you have to through, before heading to the grass.  At this point, I was passing some of the 5k runners and thne I finally made it onto the grass.  Running 13 miles on pavement/concrete and then running on plush grass was a huge change.  It's like punching a wall for a while and then punching a pillow.  I made sure not to slip and as moved around the 5k runners and finally it was time for the homestretch.

I could see the clock getting close to 65:00 and I would have really hated to run 65:00, opposed to 64:59, so I gave a little burst and crossed the line in 64:56.  I was 17 seconds off my PR but it felt much easier than the 64:39 did last year.  It was also under the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying standard of 65:00 but unfortunately that doesn't open up until August.

Overall, it was a great day for racing.  A lot of people set PR's (all three guys I coach did, great job Olaf, Chris and Jeff) and you can't beat the post-race buffet they have afterwards, where I ate my weight in apple danishes.  This race was a confidence booster for my races to come and I look forward to what the spring brings.

Balanced out splits: 4:54, 5:01, 4:57, 4:59, 4:55, 4:56, 4:56, 4:52, 4:57, 4:58, 5:02 (I adjusted the last two because the 10 mile sign was in the wrong spot), 4:57, 5:00

Monday, March 11, 2013

Netflix Movie Monday

While browsing through the Netflix selection this weekend, The Imposter stood out to me.  I've always been a fan of crime shows and this seemed like a real life version of some Law and Order episode, so I decided to give it a go.

The Imposter is about a boy named Nicholas, who was 13 when he disappeared from San Antonio, TX.  Usually in missing person cases, if you don't hear back from them, it usually doesn't turn out well. Three years pass and his family expects the worst.  However, they get a call from Spain saying their son was found and is being held in a group home.  

Their "son" is actually a man in his early 20s named Frederic Bourdin, that has a history of taking on the identities of lost children all around the world.  A family member flies to Spain and somehow believes that the dark-skinned, brown-eyed Frenchmen is actually their long lost blonde haired, blue-eyed relative.

They travel back to Texas and somehow, everyone, including government workers, is fooled into believing Frederic is really Nicholas.  Everyone except a gray-haired, country private investigator who believes it's "all in the ears."

The movie is more of a documentary type flick.  Frederic, Nicholas' family and other people dealing with the situation are interviewed and the crazy story is told.  It's a bit messed up how some people in the movie are and there's plenty of head scratching movements, but it was an entertaining watch.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 4th-10th Training

Monday: 5.9 miles (6:55); 9.1 miles (7:19)

Tuesday: 4 miles (6:52); 11.7 miles with 5xhill blasts (6:55)

Wednesday: 4 miles (6:39); 14.1 miles with 10x3:00 steady/fast, 1:00 easy. Goal for the fast portion was 5:00 pace but I didn't have my pace showing on the Garmin, only the time of each interval.  Ended up running 7.49 miles to average 5:20 pace for the fartlek and a little under 4:55 pace on the fast part.  There were really strong winds today and I ran down and back Lower Station Camp (3.55 roundtrip).  Wanted to work into the pace, so started pretty relaxed.  Fought a strong headwind on the way back and after turning back around, my hamstrings were pretty tired, so I backed off a little. The wind must have been strong because I ran back down 18 seconds a mile faster than the headwind way.  Hamstrings started aching into the headwind again and I was starting to get pretty tired but I just wanted to finish up.  Good workout, considering the wind, even though my hamstrings were super achy for some reason.

Thursday: 4 miles (6:51); 11 miles (6:56)

Friday: 6.4 miles (6:42); 7 miles with strides (6:54)

Saturday: 17.8 miles with Tom King Half-Marathon in 64:56.  Led from the gun and was going after Maciek Miereczko's course record of 65:19 (old teammate).  Plan was to lock in 4:55-5:00 pace.  Felt good for first 11 miles, then started to get a little tired.  Ran hard, but controlled and could have run under 64:30 if I hammered really hard.  Calves pretty tight at the end.  Balanced splits: 4:54, 5:01, 4:57, 4:59, 4:55, 4:56, 4:56, 4:52, 4:57, 4:58, 5:02, 4:57, 5:00. 3.1 miles (7:25)

Sunday: 5 miles (7:22); 10 miles (6:50).  No soreness, but glutes and adductors are pretty worn out.

Week Total= 111.7 miles.  Was shooting for 110-115 but ran a little less than I wanted on Monday and Tuesday.  Good week overall.  Felt decent in Wednesday's workout and had a good effort on Saturday.  Plan to ramp into the 120s next week with a quality long run, some short intervals and maybe a moderate progression.  Just have to see how I feel.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Good Healthiesh Recipe

I've been trying to clean up my diet lately (story of my life), so I've been trying to make "better" choices.  I've been going to the candy jar once a day at work, opposed to several times a day.  I've been eating the occasional salad instead of driving by McDonalds for a McDouble and small fry.  I even ordered a small ice cream, when the large ice cream was only like twenty cents more.  I had to battle my sweet tooth and financial logic on that one, but I reigned supreme.

We don't have too many snacks at my house, but two of my go to snacks are snack crackers covered in honey and cake frosting spread over cinnamon grahams.  Both of those only take a couple of seconds to make and taste way too good.  Heck, even our Fiber one bars are really nothing but sugar, chocolate chips, some oats and a whole lot of fiber.  It's pretty much just a candy bar with some added fiber, but you get tricked because you think it's healthy.  Too combat all those cravings, I decided to start making my peanut butter oatmeal bars again, which are very easy to do and really aren't that bad for you. 

Throw all this crap in a bowl.  If you have a mixer that was given to your wife by her mother-in-law for Christmas, but you actually use it a ton more than she does, then it works perfectly.  If not, use a little bit of muscle and stir it yourself.

-Three cups oatmeal

-Half a cup of peanut butter

-One cup of milk

-Four scoops of chocolate protein powder.  I guess you could use any flavor, but chocolate works the best

-A few dashes of cinnamon

-Several packets of Splenda/Stevia/whatever.  I didn't have that stuff at my house, so I just used a little bit of sugar and some honey

-A few shakes of salt.

-Super sweet tooth addition (I try not to do this): a lot of chocolate chips

Stir all that stuff and when it's good to go, spread it on a baking dish and throw it in the fridge and it's ready to be eaten whenever you want.  The texture is similar to no-bake cookies, so drink something with it so you don't choke to death.  What you can also do (what I prefer) is to roll them into balls and keep them in the freezer.  There's not much liquid in there, so they don't get very hard, and are ready to eat right out of the freezer.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Race Judicata 10k

For the past two years, I've run the 10k at this race (and did the 5k/10k double last year).  I debated running the double again because it would be a really good hill training stimulus but I decided to pass on it.  My goal for the race was to run it as a pretty hard tempo run and keep my mile splits between 5:00-5:10.  The course is really hilly, so that would be pretty tough.  I've always felt that the pace someone can run here for 10k is the same pace they can race for a flat half-marathon.  Tough course!

Friday morning, I woke up feeling like crap.  I didn't have enough time to prepare for a sub, so I went in for half the day, so I could rest the second half.  As the day went on, I started feeling really badly with chills, body aches and a low grade fever.  Finally, 10:30am rolled around, and as soon as I got home, I was in bed.  I felt pretty miserable the rest of the day and didn't get out until my alarm went off at 6:00am the next morning.

If I didn't already sign up for the race, I would have skipped it.  But since I'm pretty cheap and hate throwing away/wasting money (I prefer to call it being financially conservative), I wanted to at least think about running.  I got out of bed, threw on a hoody and did some easy jogging up-and-down my street.  I was leaning towards staying home but I ate a small breakfast (no appetite), took a shower and still was debating it.

Against my better judgement, I hopped into the car and was on my way.  I almost turned around before hitting Davidson County, but decided to drive a little further.  Finally I was there and got there in time to see Connor Kamm win the 5k in an easy 16:08.  He was doubling back in the 10k, which worried me.  You got $100 for the win, which was my main hope/justification for running today.  I also talked myself into believing that being sick made my body weaker, so the hills would be harder on my body, which would help more down the road.  I met up with Connor and jogged about two miles for my warm-up and his cool-down/warm-up since he was doubling back up.

We talked about our 10k plans and he wanted to start at a 5:30 effort and work down.  My pre-virus plan was to run it as a pretty hard tempo run, so I told him I was planning on running hard.  Granted my "hard" in this race was going to be much slower than anticipated but I knew I had to build an early gap, in hopes he didn't chase me.  I finished up the warm-up, did a couple half-hearted strides and was nervous about how it would all go down.

When the gun went off, I shot out pretty hard.  Fortnuately, Connor let me go.  My legs didn't feel like working but I knew I needed to press the pace.  The first mile drops a good bit and I figured I'd hit it around 4:45.  When my watch got around that time, I was looking for the mile marker and after 5:00, I got a little worried because I thought I was running really slowly.  Finally, I convinced mysely they forgot the mile markers and got ready for the second mile, which is the toughest mile on the course (has a 1000m hill that climbs a couple hundred feet.)

When I started to climb, I tried to focus on my usual hill running cues: stand "tall" (I have a tendencey to lean way too far forward), focus on a good knee lift and increase my leg turnover.  I was really scared of this hill because I'm a bad enough hill runner as it is, and the sickness was toying with my emotions.  I had visions of having to walk up the hill and then getting passed by Connor and then John Ramsay.  And to make matters worse, this course isn't drop out friendly, so I was not enjoying the moment.

I really hate that hill. Just when you hope you are close to being finished, you make a turn and can see it   climb around the other way.  That image always gives me a quick kick in the soul.  I finally made it to the top, checked over my shoulder and I couldn't see Connor but I kept moving hard, just in case.

After climbing the second mile, you get a nice, steep half-mile downhill.  I enjoy downhills (who doesn't), so I opened up and let myself benefit from the extra gravity.  After the downhill decent, you cut a quick left, which is one of my least favorite parts of the course.  You run down (well, techincally, you run up) for about half a mile, make a 180 turn and then come back down.  I hate this part because I hate all things uphill but also because I always get scared that I ran down too far and missed the turnaround.  This year, I didn't have that problem.  A couple of hundred meters after making the turn, I saw two girls standing by the first cone that reminded runners to keep to the left.  I passed it and one of the girls told me to turn around. I stopped and asked if they were sure and they seemed pretty convinced.  I knew it didn't make sense but figured that they changed the course somewhere else.  I made my quick turn, saw I had about 30 seconds on Connor and then tried to push the pace again, as I descended another half-mileish long hill.

I was feeling pretty confident at this point but knew the dreaded "golf course" hill was coming up shortly.  Even though I hate nearly all uphills, I really hate this one.  It's about 1000m long and comes in three climbs.  On paper, it's not any worse than the hill in the second mile, but you are much more tired five miles (well, 4.5 because of the turnaround debacle) into a 6.2 mile race than you are in the second mile (after a downhill first mile).  I did my best to trot up it and every year, I always find it ridiculous how slowly I am running up the thing.  Finally, I made it to the top, finished out the last 3-4 minutes and crossed the line in 29:10, with Connor finishing up his long day about 1.5 minutes behind. My GPS said the course was 5.65 miles and gave me a pace of 5:10, which is exactly what I wanted.  In most road races, my GPS measures a little bit long but anytime I run at Percy Warner, it measures short, so who knows how far it was.  I was just happy to be able to win the race and not feel like death.  Unfortunately, the death feeling came back and my fever came back and I went to bed early, after puking up my McDonald Chicken Nuggets, which remarkably were just as white and the same exact shape they were when I ate them six hours earlier. 

I really like this race because of the difficulty of the course.  It's also a great fitness test two weeks out from the Tom King Half-Marathon.  Hopefully they will bring the mileage markers back.  Last year, a few were in the wrong spot and this year they were missing completely.  The course is USATF certified, so putting them in the right spot should be a pretty easy thing to do.  That's my only old man gripe about the race for now.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Netflix Movie Monday

I've been struggling with coming up for a good selection this week.  All of my favorite movies on Netflix are more well known films.  But I think it's important to find the lesser known hidden gems.  Tonight, while running with my summer/winter/spring break training buddy, Vance Pounders, he mentioned the movie Safety Not Guaranteed.  I remember seeing this movie several years ago and really enjoyed it.  I guess you can call it an "indie movie".  Normally indie movies are too over my head and lose my interest over the course of the story.  Most Hollywood blockbusters spend more money on blowing crap up than indie flicks do on their entire movie.  But occasionally I will find a good one and Safety Not Guaranteed fit the bill.


In the movie, three magazine writers (Jeff, Darius and Arnau) investigate a person who placed an ad in a Seattle magazine that said:

"Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 91 Ocean View, WA 99393. You'll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before."

Thinking the guy is a crack pot and would make some good reading, they track him down.  The time traveler's name is Kenneth and he is a clerk at the local grocery store.  The perfect cover! Kenneth is convinced that secert agents are tracking his every move but he gives his trust to Darius, who he feels is a good time travelling candidate.  He gives her training execises, I guess to get her in time-travelling shape, whatever that is.

Kenneth's mission is to travel back in time to prevent the death of his girlfriend.  Obviously he didn't watch The Butterfly Effect because traveling back in time never turns out very well.  Does this guy have a real time machine? Is he just a nutbag who has ingested too much red 40?  Guess you'll just have to find out. 

February 25th-March 3rd Training

Monday: 5.9 miles (6:52); 5.3 miles (7:21) Planned on 10.8 miles but my legs felt like spaghetti and felt really weak

Tuesday: 9.6 miles (6:35); 6 miles (7:03)

Wednesday: 3.4 miles (7:19); 4 miles (6:46); 9.6 miles (6:26)

Thursday: 4 miles (6:43); 14 miles with 6x1600m with 400m jog recovery in 28:07 (4:45, 4:44, 4:41, 4:40, 4:39, 4:38). After not eating very much the past few days, my appetite came roaring back.  Downed some girl scout cookies and a granola bar on my way to Nashville (met up with Connor Kamm for the workout) and after the warm-up, I went to Connor's classroom and ate several cups of cereal because I was feeling so weak. The goal was to start around 4:45-4:50 and work down. First couple felt flat and then I loosened up. The pace was a little fast but I recovered really quickly and never had to force things.  I feel like I could have done two more at around the same effort and maybe four more if I wanted to push really hard.  I led the first one, ran beside Connor on the outside of lane one on the second interval, set the pace for the first 800m on the third and the last three, Connor led for the first 800m, before I took over the pace (went out in 2:21-2:22 those last three).  Pretty good workout. Pre-sickness, I was planning on hammering this but since I'm just coming back, I wanted to a moderately hard stimulus without killing myself.

Thursday: 5 miles (7:00); 12 miles with short warm-up and cool-down and 11 miles medium (5:30). With missing the long run Sunday and not hammering too hard yesterday, I felt like a medium run over some rolling hills would be good.  Goal was to average 5:40, which I stayed around the first three miles, but then I got rolling on the downhill portions.  Felt really smooth and pleased with the effort. 

Saturday: 9.1 miles (7:01); 5.9 miles (7:18)

Sunday: 20 miles with 5 miles fast at the end (5:58).  Felt really good early on and made myself put on the brakes because I was running sub 6:00 pace a few miles in.  Came through 14.5 at 6:11 pace and then started the fast portion.  My goal was to run under 5:10 average but I wasn't sure how it would be because of the hills.  Ended up averaging 5:13 with balanced splits of: 5:09 (equal rolling), 5:09 (equal rolling), 5:38 (1000m hill that gains about 150 ft), 5:07 (downhill), 5:03 (downhill).  I was a little bummed with the average but I was running hard.  I thought I would run sub 5:00 for sure the last two miles but there was a headwind running down Saundersville.  I'm probably also a little tired from the Thursday/Friday combo, which I really felt on the big hill; 3.2 miles (8:02)

Week Total= 117 miles.  Glad to have the sickness past me and I was able to get in a few good sessions this week.  I had a seven day period with only 65 miles and one hard day, but what can you do? Before catching that virus, my plan was to hammer the past few weeks and take an easy week this upcoming week in preparation for the Tom King Half-Marathon but since I missed some time, I'm going to have to train somewhat hard this week and go into the race with tired legs. Big picture over little one.