Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December 22nd-28th

Monday: 10.7 miles (6:36)

Tuesday: 8 miles (6:56)

Wednesday: 6.4 miles with bombed workout.  Was going to run two of my 4ish mile loops at a medium effort, working from sub 6:00 to 5:30s and after two miles in the low 5:50s, I knew today wasn't going to be a good day for running…15mph winds, steady rain and temps in the upper 30s;  12.3 miles (6:55ish)

Thursday: 10.7 miles (6:38)

Friday: 10.7 miles with 8 miles medium at 5:39 average. First two loops in 22:33, 22:06.  Decent run for the effort level, even though the fatigue became pretty progressive the last mile and the harder push the last .13 miles wore me out.  I figure I have a little over three months to run twice this distance at 10s a mile faster, which I feel is realistic; 6.1 miles (7:08)

Saturday: 9.1 miles (6:38); 3.4 miles (7:29)

Sunday: 8.4 miles (6:38). Lame. Woke up to do twenty miles, with 14ish warmup and then an easy fartlek mixing in marathon pace running with moderate running.  It was 40 and raining then, so I was going to run in the early afternoon, and it was still raining and even colder.  I was about to start at 2:00ish but company came over and when they left around 3:00 I headed out the door.  Felt really lazy, sleepy and didn't want to run at all, so I turned around and took a nap.

Week Total: 85.8 miles. Another lazy week and I'm glad this year is about over. At least I got a new car.

Friday, December 26, 2014

December 15th-21st Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:43); 6.3 miles (7:49)

Tuesday: 8 miles (6:42); 7 miles (6:39)

Wednesday: 6.5 miles (6:21); 7.2 miles (6:47)

Thursday: No running. Super busy day

Friday: 9.5 miles (6:20); Skipped second run. 40s and pouring rain

Saturday: 18.9 miles (6:22). Really good long run. I was going to do 20ish on Sunday but Joey Elsakr texted me Friday night and some company sounded like a good idea.  The effort felt slower than this and I even ran on some of that grass stuff I hate; 3.2 miles (7:25)

Sunday: 5.4 miles (6:56); 10 miles (6:43)

Week Total: 91 miles. Not 100+, like I wanted, but 91 miles with 1.5 skipped days isn't bad. I've literally eaten almost entirely junk food for the past week (downfalls of working in an elementary school around Christmas) and I start my two week school break next week. I'm going to use that time to get in a good training groove and quit being so lazy with eating, running and even posting.   I need to make out a rough training plan for the spring, which I'll post on here.

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 8th-14th Training

Monday: No running. Stayed home sick

Tuesday: 5.3 miles (6:56)

Wednesday: No running. Didn't feel good.

Thursday: 8 miles (6:41); 7 miles (7:08)

Friday: 9 miles (6:42); 6.8 miles (7:15)

Saturday: 9.8 miles (6:33); 5.4 miles with strides (7:12)

Sunday: 4.3 miles (7:01). Was planning on 20 but was feeling really tired and winded.  Maybe the past three days of mileage after the sickness wore me out or something.

Week Total: 55.6 miles.  Hopefully my last week under 100 miles for a very long time, but that's starting to sound like a broken record.  I found out my iron is low, so instead of jumping into a speedwork phase, I'll extend my base.  I notice low iron the most during hard intensities, so trying speedwork now would be disastrous. I'm making a good training plan for the spring and will post it soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December 1st-7th Training

Monday: 5.3 miles (6:44); 10 miles (7:01)

Tuesday: 10.2 miles with bombed progression run. Plan was 3 miles at 6:10, then 5:45 and then 3.6 at 5:20 (would finish at the parking lot).  First two sections weren't too bad but anytime I had the slightest hill, I would go out of breath.  Averaged 6:07 on the first and then 5:45 on the second.  On the third, I ran .60 miles at 5:29 pace before calling it quits.  I don't know what's up with this inability to run moderate efforts; 7 miles (6:58)

Wednesday: 8.9 miles (6:50); 7 miles (6:57)

Thursday: 7.7 miles (6:44); Skipped Run. Was going to run but ran out of gas (literally).

Friday: 7.5 miles (6:37); Skipped Run. Rained the rest of the day

Saturday: 9.4 miles. I was going to run an easy session of 6x2:00 on/off but my legs would not go at all.  Just jogged. Skipped Run. Was going to run in the evening but I had some out-of-town company.

Sunday: No running. Coming down with a sickness or something. Again.

Week Total: 73 miles. Another garbage week.  I hate 2014. I'm also 90% sure my iron is low because I get some distinct symptoms when it is and I currently have all of them. I was going to run Rocket City Marathon as a steady long run this weekend but not anymore.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

November 24th-30th Training.

Monday: 6.2 miles (7:19); 9 miles (6:40ish)

Tuesday: 10.1 miles with 5 miles of .15 on/.35 off. Ran the .35 off a little faster than normal and averaged 5:55 for the fartlek with the faster portion in the lower 4:30s. Since I'm coming off a sickness and am in a semi off-season, I just wanted to introduce the legs to a little bit of faster work without having to dig at all.

Wednesday: 9.4 miles (6:42); 6.8 miles (7:17)

Thursday: 9.7 miles with 5k in 16:40. Jumped into a Turkey Trot and won some money and a pair of shoes at the local shoe store, so I ended up getting Ellis a pair.  Felt like crap on the warm-up and the effort was harder than I would have liked.  Granted the course was hilly and I ran "tactically" but running a 15:40 would have been pretty tough today. I was planning on running again but Mary was in the room for the last 10 minutes of a crime show I was watching and she got too scared to stay home alone.

Friday: 9.7 miles (6:40); 6.8 miles (7:25)

Saturday: 20 miles (6:16). Bribed Brock Baker with breakfast if he came to my place to run.  The plan was 10 miles normal and then progress the pace from 6:00-5:30ish the last 10.  I felt really, really rusty on the faster miles and after a little over 6.5 miles at 5:52 average, I sissied out and we ran easily the last few miles. Normally these kind of sessions come really easily to me but it felt like I was running on soggy grass or something and my legs just wouldn't respond. Since Brock ran a solo 24:10 5 miler on Thanksgiving after a 119 mile week, I didn't feel as guilty backing off.

Sunday: 6.3 miles (7:11); 8.8 miles (7:02)

Week Total: 109.8 miles. Not bad for a missed second run.  I'm hoping the rough end to the week was due to my sickness the week prior (which really wore me out) and that my body is in a state of catch-up.  Hopefully brighter things and more volume are ahead this week. I closed out November with 394.7 miles opposed to the 478 in the November of last year, which also included a lot of intensity. But I still have 5.5 months to get in shape.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

November 17th-23rd Training

Monday: 9.7 miles (6:42); 6.3 miles (7:44)

Tuesday: 8.2 miles (7:29); 8.5 miles with strides (6:42)

Wednesday: No running. Started coming down with something…headache, congestion, super-worn out

Thursday: 8.4 miles (6:32); 7 miles (7:08)

Friday: No running. Same stuff as Wednesday but worse and I also lost my voice.  Took a nap and then slept for 11 hours.

Saturday: 17 miles (6:52) +1 mile at the cross country meet (I'm counting that crap). Ran the 11.2+5.8 loops with Brock Baker.  Those loops are insanely hilly and probably Max King approved.  Felt pretty drained and then felt like death afterwards.

Sunday: .8 miles (7:30)

Week Total: 66.9 miles. Was shooting for 115+ but the sickness came for me.  My throat started getting really sore in California, so the travel wore me out or something.  Everyone at work is catching it, so I'm not too much of a sissy.

Monday, November 17, 2014

November 10th-16th Training

Monday: 9 miles (7:04); 6.3 miles (8:07)

Tuesday: 7.9 miles (6:59); 7.6 miles (6:59)

Wednesday: 10.1 miles with 9 mile medium progression. Ran each three mile section in 18:13 (6:04, 6:11, 5:58), 17:07 (5:45, 5:40, 5:42), 15:53 (5:20, 5:16, 5:17).  Felt pretty smooth and had some strong winds but since it was an out and back on only two roads, I had a nice tailwind as well; 6.8 miles (7:20ish)

Thursday: 6.1 miles (7:26); 9 miles (6:40)

Friday: No running. Spent the day traveling and a nap when I arrived seemed more appealing than a run.

Saturday: 19.6 miles with Temecula Half-Marathon in 71:26. The course didn't have certification this year and old faithful marked it as 13.28. Course climbed for four miles, dropped for 6.5 and then climbed the rest of the way.  Ran with Ryan Cosens until about 10.5 miles when I surged some and broke away.  I died on the last mile but was able to hold the victory.  The pace felt really easy on my lungs but my legs never felt good at all and I was flat the entire time.  I guess all of the traveling and racing is catching up with me.

Sunday: No running. Traveled home and sitting on the couch sounded better than running in the pitch black with 35 degrees and raining conditions. 

Week Total: 82.4 miles. Another yo-yo mileage week but not bad for five days of running. And if you take out Sunday, I had 102.4 for the past seven days, with runs on six of those days.  I think all of the traveling and racing is catching up to me, so that's the last long race for a while. Granted I never had a flat out race but running a lot of higher effort and high volume sessions without much of a base catches up with you.

Indy Monumental Marathon Rabbitting Duties

A few months ago, I committed to pacing the 2:18 group at the Indy Monumental Marathon.  I had the same duties a year prior and it went well.  I wasn't too worried because it's a blazing fast course and usually has ideal weather. And if I were in somewhat decent shape, running 20 miles at 5:15 pace would be a great training stimulus.  But after a terrible summer and a dragging butt early fall, I bailed from my duties.  The last thing I wanted was to have to race 20 miles all-out, run too slowly and let the other guys down.  In races, you just run for yourself, so you really don't impact other runners.  But when you're pacing, you hold other runner's destiny in your hands.  And that's not something I wanted to do unless I were pretty confident that I could do my job.

But the Rock N Roll St. Louis Half-Marathon went better than I thought and a couple days later, I received an email from the race staff asking to reconsider.  I'm usually a pushover and after changing my duties to 30k instead of 20 miles (would 1.4 miles really make a difference?), I was back on board.

But with a few days to go, the weather forecast was looking terrible.  Yeah, the upper 20s/low 30s temperature was actually pretty decent, but the strong wind from the north wasn't.  Especially since you run mostly north for 13 miles of the marathon course.  I was really worried that would destroy me, so I emailed back and forth with the race staff acting like a whiny baby.  I had a narrow time range I had to hit in order to get compensated and I thought the wind would be the 2x4 that destroyed this camel's back.  I was now back in my pre-St. Louis scenario in that I didn't want to race 20 miles, come up short and let down other runners in the process.  But I was going to try anyway, even though it seemed like a potentially disastrous idea.

After arriving in Indy, I checked into my room and then was off to the athlete meeting and met the crew of guys who were counting on me to pull them through 30k on pace: Michael Eaton, Tyler Andrews and Brandon York.  They were also worried about the wind but we agreed to re-evaluate things in the morning.  I also met up with Steve Chu, who put a whooping on me at Bolder Boulder and his buddy Nick Purdy for dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery.  I knew I should probably eat something a little carb heavy but the macaroni and cheese was 14 bucks and the brisket stuffed hamburger sounded much better. 

My biggest dilemma on race morning wasn't the weather but what to wear.  I'm a diva with this kind of stuff and I looked around to see what others were wearing since I'm pretty insecure.  I was leaning towards a t-shirt with arm sleeves but everyone else seemed like they were going with a singlet and arm sleeves.  Since I'm easily peer pressured, I decided to go with the singlet as well and was hoping the 18 degree wind chill wouldn't be too bad.

The race plan was to go with 5:15s at the start because we would have the half-marathoners to draft off of.  When they turned off a little over seven miles into the race, I'd slow to 5:20s until the tailwinds arrived.  It seemed like a pretty decent strategy and compromise.

I knew the biggest issue would be the half-marathoners making the initial pace feel too easy, so I was really going to concentrate on the pace and rhythm.  When the gun went off, everyone shot off with the 2:18 crew right on my butt.  If I went out too fast, it'd be hard to slow back down.  But if I went out too slow, the group would be a little antsy, which may result in me yo-yoing the pace.  And to make matters worse, solar flares or the buildings or something was screwing up my GPS because it was reading 5:35 pace.  But alas, the first mile marker arrived and I went through in 5:14.  Not bad!

While I was planning on having a steady stream of half-marathoners to pass/run with, the race developed into two very distinct packs with the group I was leading about 10 seconds behind the front pack after the first couple of miles.  That meant I would have to battle the winds a little more than anticipated.  But while we were downtown, the buildings created a swirling effect, which gave some unexpected tailwinds in some areas. So I will blame running the next four miles between 5:11-13 on that. 

At this point we would run down a struggling half-marathoner every once in a while and were finding our rhythm. Steve Chu was also helping out with pace some, which helped me keep the right rhythm. The first fuel table was going to be somewhere around 10k, so I gave the people behind me a heads up to look for it because last year, they would really sneak up on you.  My only gripe with the race is that they only use one table, so you have about 15-20  bottles on a small, square table which makes it nearly impossible to find your bottle while humming along at race pace.  Eventually I saw the table and after scanning every bottle as fast as I could, I grabbed what I thought was my Tum-E Yummy bottle.  But this one was covered in some lame Frozen stickers, so it wasn't mine.  I asked the group if it was anyone's and since no one claimed it, I took a sip of what looked like water with dissolved gel but my stomach wasn't having it, so I dropped it.  I later found out it was fellow Nashvillian, Joey Elsakr's.  And the worst part is that I was the one who talked him into using those bottles. My bad.

Joey in an egg race?  Now you see what Obamacare has done to Vanderbilt's Medical School curriculum.

When the half-marathoners broke off, we saw a lone Kenyan, who turned out to be Edward Tabut, about 20 seconds ahead.  Over the next few miles, we locked into 5:15-5:16 pace and were slowly reeling him in.  When we caught him, instead of tucking into our pack, he didn't want us to pass and shortly afterwards, threw in a long, hard surge, which put a big gap on us. I didn't have any background info on him but thought he was either going to be a stud at win easily or have that move come back and get him later.

Stolen off Lindsey Hein's instagram. Brandon, ?, Michael, Tyler, myself and gloveless Edward

At 20k, the second fuel table popped up and I decided to not even look for my bottle.  I didn't want to grab the wrong one again and by skipping the fuel, I wouldn't be tempted to finish the race.  Not very logical but it seemed like a good idea at the time.  We went through halfway in 69:03, which was right on pace.  I thought for sure, we would have tailwinds after this and we would click off 5:10s with the same effort but that never happened and we were running the same splits. Bummer.

And at this point, the pack was slowly falling apart until it was just me and Brandon York chasing Edward.  He was getting a little bit antsy and would check his lead after every turn and watch us.  Eventually I decided to give him a friendly wave the next time he turned around and caught him around 16-17 miles.  I crossed the 30k with Edward in 1:38:17 with Brandon five seconds back.  Since my duties were officially over, I stopped and waited for Brandon and then ran with him for a little under a mile.  I could tell he was hurting and starting to crash, so I told him to try to stay as smooth as possible and not try to fight it yet.  When you start to hit the wall, there's no winning, only losing less.  And if you fight against it with over 10k of running left, it will get very ugly.

I jogged the last half mile to the 20 mile mark, where I expected to meet my ride back to the start.  Tyler went by me a little while later, followed by Michael about 200m or so behind Brandon.  At this point, I thought the Kenyan had the easy victory and wasn't sure how the other guys would place because there was still a lot of racing left. 

At the 20 mile marker I saw a bunch of kids in their mid 20s dressed up in costumes and cheering on the runners.  They offered me a beer and since you should never turn down a free beer, I accepted. I hung out/shivered with them for about 30 minutes before I realized I probably missed my ride that was supposed to take me to the finish.  I was agitated that I now had to jog another 6.2 miles to the finish and I went on my way.  That is until I saw Jamie Dial a few seconds later who saved me and gave me a ride back to the finish.  Yeah, I had to sit in the back of a hatchback that wouldn't shut all the way, which included a trip down the interstate but the possibility of death by road rash sounded more appealing than finishing up the marathon.  Even if I got a cool medal.

After making it back, I found out that Micheal Eaton won in a time of 2:19:49 to outkick the Kenyan by eight seconds with Tyler right behind.  I was amazed he rallied back that hard and was also surprised that the Kenyan died so badly.  I would bet nearly anything that cute little surge he did when we initially caught him cost him the race.  I think Michael was bummed about his time, but considering I heard he had a pit stop, and with the weather, I feel like it was easily a 2:18:00 performance.

Overall, I consider it a pretty good day for me.  I ran 30k at just over 2:18 pace without fuel or water and felt like I could have gone to 22 fuel-less miles until I was over 5:20 pace.  I felt bad that no one knocked out the OTQ but it was just one of those days.  Tyler was actually using the race for a long run at just slower than marathon pace in prep for CIM in a few weeks.  I believe the long fast run is an underutilized workout for elite/sub-elite types and is a great way at preparing for the marathon distance, especially 5-6 weeks out from your peak race. Brandon had a first rough dance but that's how the marathon can be.  But I expect to see Michael, Tyler and Brandon in LA in 2016. You can click on their names and ready Tyler's and Brandon's race recaps.

Even though I stole his first fuel bottle, Joey ran a phenomenal marathon debut to finish in 2:24 (which was his goal before the weather went to crap) and he also had the fastest last half-marathon in the entire field even though he was mostly solo.  I was also happy for my friend Wade Oliver who ran a five minute negative split to run a lifetime best of 2:47 at 47 years young.

Even though the weather was rough this year, the race normally has stable weather and you'll have a hard time finding a faster marathon course.  I feel it's the perfect race for the person trying to get a OTQ, BQ or a PR.   And the thing I appreciate about the race is that they do an excellent job of supporting the emerging elite and always make sure there's a competitive race up front.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 3rd-9th Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:43); 6.3 miles (7:03)

Tuesday: 11 miles with 10.18 medium at 5:39 pace. Wasn't sure how I'd feel after the 30k at 5:16 pace, but it felt pretty smooth and controlled.  Even decided to be a man and run up the 1km hill instead of stopping at the 4-way stop.

Wednesday: 9 miles (6:32); Busy day, cold and raining so I punked out on the second run

Thursday: 10.1 miles (6:08). Decided to run a little faster than normal easy. Super windy; 7.6 miles (6:55)

Friday: 8.8 miles (6:53); 6.2 miles (7:41). Was dragging butt for some reason

Saturday: 8.7 miles with 2.94 miles in 14:58. Jumped into a 5k but it was majorly short.  Windy and hilly, so kept around 5:00 effort as a shortish tempo.  Felt pretty flat today; 6.8 miles (7:04)

Sunday: 20 miles (6:12). Really smooth and easy.  Wore long-sleeves and only checked my watch after every mile split.

Week Total: 109.8 miles. Not bad since I was shooting for around 110.  Happy with how quickly I recovered from last week and trying to get extra sleep and two massages a month has really been helping out.  Next week I'm running the Temecula Half-Marathon, which is my fourth half in eight weeks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fittish Article on Yuki Kawauchi

When I first heard about Yuki Kawauchi, I thought he was one part insane and one part a moron.  He was not only racing a high quality marathon pretty much every month but running world class times.  I always thought he should back off to the cliche 1-2 marathons a year and try and pop a 2:05.

But everyone has different motivations and running well is the combination of being in shape not only physically but mentally.  Sometimes the correct training is what appears to be incorrect physically but works well for the individual athlete's mind. Being in great physical shape is worthless if the mind isn't ready to follow.

But after reading the Fittish article on Yuki Kawauchi a few days ago, I understood and somewhat related to the reasoning why he does what he does.  He doesn't want to follow the normal Spartan way of distance running where you hide out in the woods for months on end only to pop out a couple of times a year.  If he did, he wouldn't enjoy it and would be racing much more slowly.

He brings back a little bit of that old Japanese Samurai Bushido and I'm definitely a bigger fan after reading the article. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

October 27th- November 2nd Training

Monday: 9.7 miles (6:44); 5.5 miles (7:02)

Tuesday: 7.9 miles (6:32); 5.3 miles (7:07)

Wednesday: 9.4 miles with 12x1:00 on/off. I felt fast and like I was moving quickly but I only averaged about 4:47 pace on the fast portion.  But I tried to keep it controlled, so I'm not that mad; 6.3 miles (7:15ish)

Thursday: 7 miles (7:00ish).  Had a massage after Running Club, so I couldn't get in a second run.

Friday: No running. Travelled to Indianapolis and had no time.

Saturday: 20.5 miles with 30k at 5:15ish pace. Paced the 2:18 group and with a 14 degree wind chill, with 15 mph winds, I was pretty nervous about it.  But I felt good running and went through 10k in 32:29, half in 69:03 and 30k in 1:38:17.  Unfortunately, no one got the qualifier.  I'll write a recap this week.

Sunday: 6.8 miles (7:16). Hip flexors are completely shot but other than that, everything feels great.

Week Total: 77.9 miles. Super low volume week but I had a great session on Saturday.  I really think I could chase my PR with a month of training and that's with no structured and consistent workouts since last December.  But Im not going to race a marathon until I'm ready to run really fast..hopefully that's in April.  This week, I'll run mostly base training type stuff and get in some decent volume, which I'll continue to increase for the next 4-6 weeks.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Rock N Roll St. Louis Half-Marathon

Wow, that was a busy weekend.  On Friday, I drove three hours to Knoxville for the Elementary State Cross Country Championships. It was our first year there and the girls finished fourth, with the boys seventh (they were missing two of their top 3).  And the impressive but frustrating thing was that our school has no fifth graders.  But it was a great experience and after the race, I had to drive back to Nashville so I could hop on a plane and head to St. Louis for the Rock N Roll Half-Marathon.

My only goal for the race was to win a little bit of money.  Individually, money only went to the top finisher.  But they also had time bonuses for sub 67, sub 66 and sub 65.  Since the course had a fair bit of climbing, sub 65 was out of the question.  Even if I ran on the short and downhill Stanford track, I don't think I would be able to pull that off right now.  I thought sub 66 would be too tough, so my goal was to shoot for 5:05s and hang on to run under 67 minutes.

My flight was only an hour and I arrived at my hotel shortly after six.  My roommate for the night was NAZ Elite runner Ben Bruce.  When I heard he was racing, I told the elite coordinator to move his room to Ferguson but since he was actually running the full, I didn't mind him staying close to the race.  I've always been a NAZ Elite fan and appreciate the info they put out there.  I also like the simplicity and effectiveness of their training and sometimes I steal some of their ideas when I put together my own training.

Race morning, I woke up around 4am and stole some of Ben's coffee and oatmeal and ate a Powerbar.  The weather was an ideal 40 degrees, which would make the sub 67 chase a lot easier. After jogging around for a couple of miles, I did my usual drills and was ready to race, other than being too lazy to knock out any pre-race strides.

To be honest, I was expecting to just chase the clock and wasn't too worried about anyone else.  Not because I'm a cocky jerk or anything but because I heard there weren't any other guys going for the time bonus in the half.  I knew the first few miles contained some climbing, so I was reminding myself not to get frustrated if I have a few 5:10s early on because the downhills would come.

Thousands filled St. Louis streets early Saturday morning
Jimmy Bernhard, KSDK-TV

The first mile looked worse on the elevation map than it felt and I came through a hair under 5:00 with a guy right on my butt. He was a persistent little bugger as he was still there at two miles even though I sped up to a 4:56 split.  I was worried I was running too fast, especially on a rolling course. But the pace felt smooth and I decided to somewhat stick with it because it would hopefully drop the other guy and my main goal was to win since the overall win was worth more than the sub 67. The whole killing yourself but hoping it kills the other guy first idea.

But this dude would not die and through the next few miles, he was never more than five seconds behind me.  Normally when you gap someone a few seconds, they hang in that position a mile or two and then get mentally broken and give in.  This guy was going nowhere, which made me keep things honest and pushed me but it also worried me a little bit.  I wanted time to mentally relax some and focus on the pace and splits instead of worrying about the guy not too far off my shoulder.

The rollers continued and I hit 5k in 15:36 with a three second lead and went through 10k in 30:43 and had a six second lead.  Well, the timing pad was a good bit ahead of the 10k sign, so it was really like 9.9k or something if you want to get fancy.

The hills were starting to get a little bit tough.  I wasn't going into oxygen debt or anything and still felt strong but instead of just focusing on my running, I would always think , "dangit, here comes another hill'.  My negative thinking must have stole my mojo because I ran my three slowest miles of the race consecutively and I went from about a ten second lead to having the guy pull up beside me.  Right when he did that, I had a flashback to the night before when I told Ben that I would go home depressed if I ran 67:01 and got second.  I did not want that to be reality, especially since all of my cross country kids knew I was racing today and they'd probably ask me how it went.  Who wants to let down an army of third and fourth graders?

When he pulled up beside me, I decided to stick with him no matter what.  It also gave me the mental kick in the butt I needed and made the increased pace feel a little bit easier.  It felt like he did a small surge or two but I wouldn't give him any room.  When you're behind someone then work so hard to catch them, it's really mentally draining. Normally in those cases, you catch the dude and pass him.  But I was hoping he didn't expect me to hang with him. I wanted him to get some confidence and underestimate me a little bit and then hopefully shatter his dreams right when the time was right.
Hopefully someone gets this picture

My plan was to wait until the last mile and try to throw down something really fast.  But about 11.5 miles in, I decided to surge down a long downhill and dropped a 4:52.  I ended up putting about five seconds on him over that half mile and continued to stay somewhat on the gas.

With about a half mile to go, I had about a ten second lead but I started getting a really bad side stitch.  Not one of those cramping things but the ones that feels like gas pressure or something, which was probably a result of my Philly cheese steak and fries from the night before.  I was hoping it wouldn't get worse and cause me to slow down enough to give Zachary some hope and adrenaline for a final push.

But I was able to manage it OK and it was time to make the final turn, which turned out to be a right instead of the left I took.  I only lost a couple of seconds and was back on track until fail #2.  There was a divider fence to separate the two races.  Everyone was on the left side and someone told me to go to the right, so I did.  Whoops, wrong side.  I slammed on the brakes, backtracked a little bit and was in the right lane.

Thousands filled St. Louis streets early Saturday morning
Running in the wrong lane;
Jimmy Bernhard, KSDK-TV

I didn't know how fast I was running.  I knew I probably had sub 67 sealed and figured I was around 66:30 or something.  When I saw the clock not too far ahead, I saw 65:40. I turned on the boosters because I didn't want to run 66:00 and miss out on some money, and crossed the line in 65:52 feeling pumped.

I struggled to run 67:XX on a flat course eight days prior and I ran over a minute and a half faster on a much tougher course, with an easier effort.  Maybe this 65:52 would have been like a 64:30-65:00 on a flat course with an all-out effort.  I was also happy I didn't die on the hills and it seems like over time, I'm becoming much better at them in races when they used to be my kryptonite. Hopefully this is a sign of good things to come because while I ran much faster than expected, I don't feel like I'm in "shape" at all.

Thousands filled St. Louis streets early Saturday morning

I was also really impressed with Zachary Meineke, the second place finisher.  He ran about a two minute PR and only runs like 50 miles a week.  If that guy gets in some good winter training, he will break 65 next year.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

October 20-26 Training

Monday: 8 miles (6:35); 6.3 miles (7:16)

Tuesday: 8.4 miles (6:42); 6.8 miles (6:57)

Wednesday: 9.5 miles (6:33); 3.1 miles (7:22)

Thursday: 9.4 miles (6:08). Weird run.  I was going to run nine miles around 5:40ish pace but the road is out-and-back, it was really windy and my legs weren't having it, so after a little over a mile into the moderate part, I decided to just jog.  And since I was pushed for time, I cut it from 10.2 to 8.7 (furthest I could run and be on time).  But I wasn't paying attention and ran down until 4.7 miles, which meant I had to make up over 1000m, so that meant 6:00ish pace.  I started pushing some and was running sub 5:50s and making up time.  But a little under two miles to go, I noticed one of the male boxers of some breeder/puppy mill was out of his cage and staring me down in the middle of the road.  I stopped and looked for ammo but could only find small rocks.  Then the running gods blessed me as I saw a four foot metal chain with a stake attached at the end right by my feet, as well as a square piece of wood that could be a good gladiator shield. I picked up the chain and was doing my best swing and staring the guy down as I prepared for battle.  Eventually he backed down/pitied me and went back to his yard. Before you call PETA, I've stopped my car a few times in the past so I could get out and carry a turtle across the street and a couple of months ago, was even bit by a snake while trying to help him cross the street. But I made it back to school on time, averaged low 5:40s for the 4.7 miles of running and felt ok; 6.8 miles (6:55)

Friday: 7.5 miles (7:00ish); 7 miles (7:15ish)

Saturday: 10.3 miles with four mile race in 21:02.  Ran a low key race and tried to average 5:15 pace.  Felt good.; 5.4 miles (7:05)

Sunday: 20 miles (6:17). Best long run since Houston.  It was effortless and I had to slow down as I wanted to cap it at around a 6:20 average.  Super foggy the entire time and you literally couldn't see 100m ahead of you.  It looked like the setting of The Mist and I either heard one of the Mist monsters or a cow having a baby/being slaughtered/having a seizure. Great ending but it still bothers me.  What a difference a minute makes.

Week Total: 108.5 miles. Decent week I guess considering it had no intensity really.  But I'm in a weird base phase right now, so it's no big deal.  This weekend, I'm being an idiot and rabbiting the 2:18 group at the Indy Monumental Marathon for 30k.  If the weather is good, the first 13.1 miles should be easy at the prescribed 5:15 pace.  Maybe it will get tough the last 5k or so but I will run as hard as I need to in order to run the pace.  Hopefully it's not flat out!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Middle Half

The Middle Half-Marathon was my first half-marathon race and I ran it back in 2010.  While I was in no-mans land the entire race, I ran really well, even though I was wearing knee length running shorts. It's a great race, which is why it sells out so quickly but the time frame just hasn't worked out for me to run again the past few years.  But since I'm not training for anything in particular right now, I decided to take another stab at it.

Knowing I had the Rock N Roll St. Louis Half-Marathon eight days later, my goal was to place as high as I could without overdoing it.  I knew Patrick Cheptoek was showing up and I knew I wasn't going to try or even could, beat him.  Justus David was also racing, who is a tough dude.  Brandon York was coming for a progression run and was gunning for 68 something.  So my goal was to try and get second if I without killing myself.

When I got to the line, I saw the three I was worried about, along with Joey Elsakr and a couple of unexpected Kenyans. I went from feeling I'd finish in the top three to not knowing if I would be able to win anything. First world problems.

With all of the tough guys now in the field, my goal was to relax in the back and follow the pace and see if I could drop someone late without overdoing it.  When the race started, Festus Chemaoi shot out like a canyon but we all let him go.  I hung in a pack with Patrick, Justus and some Kenyan I've never seen.  It felt like we were going 4:50ish pace so I was surprised to see a 5:06 first mile.  We stayed together (after passing Festus) and got in a good groove splitting 5:05-5:06 with one outliying 5:02 for the next five miles.

I felt a pace increase in the seventh mile, so I let them put some distance on me.  They put on 4-5 seconds on me that mile but I came through in 5:04, so I was still running a decent pace.  I was worried I was going to go home worn out and empty handed but I paid close attention to what was happening in front of me.   I was watching the pack and noticed Justus was watching over his shoulder a lot.  I took that as a sign that he may fall off shortly, so that kept me going.  After being eight seconds behind them at eight miles, I ended up catching them shortly before ten miles.

I then felt confident that I would be second or third and I took my spot in the back of the pack.  At 10 miles, Patrick put in a patient and increasing in intensity surge, so we let him go.  Right away the random Kenyan fell back and it was just Justus and I.  Since I dropped him a few weeks ago, I thought I'd be able to do it again.  I tried throwing in a few surges here and there but the dude wouldn't crack.  My legs were starting to get a little worn and unresponsive and with third place almost sealed, I backed off the pace and let Justus go and went from a 5:01 11th mile to a 5:25 for the next one.  The next mile was closer to 5:30 and I crossed the line in 67:29 with Justus about 15ish seconds ahead and the other dude about the same distance behind.

Justus definitely took me by surprise but that's how racing is sometimes.  While this course is dead flat, the roads were really wet from the rainfall that morning, which also made it pretty humid that last 10k.  Maybe in a best case scenerio, I could have hammered and finished a little under 66:30, which is slower fitness that I thought I currently had, because I felt like I was in sub 66 shape.  Maybe I ran a little bit harder than I wanted but I'll take another stab at it next week.

I was glad to be able come to this race again because it's a great course, run very well and the post-race food is also good.  I also appreciate how deep the awards go as they also award wheelchair, Masters, Grandmasters money, as well as money for the residents who live in that county.  In a sport that is diminishing prize money, it's always nice to see races that still support it. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 13th-19th Training

Monday: 4.4 miles (7:12)

Tuesday: 8.4 miles (6:49); 5.6 miles (7:03) with 3xhill blasts at 10.8 average

Wednesday: 4.6 miles (6:48)

Thursday: 9.6 miles with 8x2:00 on/off.  Goal was to ease into this slowly and not kill myself or run really hard really.  Just wanted to get the wheels rolling a little bit. Ended up doing eight and I didn't run under 5:00 pace until the third and averaged 4:53 for the faster portion.

Friday: 8.6 miles (6:42)

Saturday: 6.1 miles (7:47)

Sunday: 16.6 miles with Rock N Roll St. Louis Marathon in 65:51. Good race because I was worried about breaking 67 on this course.  Felt strong and had a lot left in the tank at the end.  I'm behind on some recaps and some other stuff but will have a few non-training posts in the next couple of days.  I've been a busy man.

Week Total: 63.9 miles. Was going to use this as somewhat of a down/peak week and was going to start base training for a few weeks.  While I will still log mostly easy mileage, I will throw in some races here and there until I start structured training in the next six weeks or so.

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 6th-12th Training

Monday: 5.5 miles (7:07); 8 miles (6:56)

Tuesday: 10.6 miles (6:35); 4.5 miles (6:30)

Wednesday: 9.4 miles with attempted workout. Plan was a 6400m progression starting at 5:10 and dropping down 5s per mile, followed by a couple 400s.  Ran 5:07, 5:03 and then came through 1200m in 3:45 before stopping.  The first two were insanely easy but I was getting really dehydrated even though it wasn't that hot. Was going to just add on some extra 400s but I was dumb and didn't realize the increased intensity would make me even more dehydrated, so I stopped after 300m in 48 on the first one.; 5.3 miles fartlek with 4 miles of .15 on/.35 off. Jogged to the 4-way stop (.70 miles) and straight into the workout without any drills or strides.  Wanted to turn it over without pushing too hard to make up for the slack workout a few hours prior.  6:09 pace for the four mile fartlek and averaged 4:12 on the fast portion.  Felt smooth.

Thursday: 9.1 miles (6:39); 6.1 miles (7:00ish)

Friday: 6.3 miles with strides (6:55)

Saturday: 18 miles with half-marathon in 67:29.  Ran The Middle Half and since I'm doing another half next weekend, my goal was to place as well as I could without much damage.  I was hoping to finish second since Patrick Cheptoek was there.  Justus David was there again, as well as a couple other Kenyans, Brandon York and Nashvillian Joey Elsakr.  Festus Chemoi shot out and we all let him go and I hung in a pack with Patrick, Justus and some Kenyan I didn't know. We were pacing machines because other than a 5:02, we ran 5:05-5:06 the first six miles.  I got dropped in the seventh mile but still split 5:04.  I didn't want to go home penniless, so I tried to stay focused and caught back up to the three man pack around 8-9 miles. The tenth mile was the slowest mile yet with a 5:10 and then Patrick surged and the newbie Kenyan dropped.  Justus ran off my shoulder and I was hoping to break him but he was persistent and it wasn't worth killing myself to potentially win a little bit more money and fry my legs for next week.  I let him go the last two miles and finished with a 5:29 and 5:25.  Legs didn't feel very snappy at all today but it was a little humid and the roads were wet from the rain.  The early pace felt really smooth but my legs lost all their pop the last 5k.  Maybe if I ran this flat out, I could have run 66:30 or so, which isn't too bad for where I am right now I guess.

Sunday: 9.4 miles (6:56)

Week Total: 92.2 miles. I'm at an awkward point in training right now.  I'm using these next two races to race and get a little bit of money (hopefully), so it's almost like a mini peak or something even though I haven't really been training that hard or am I very fit.  After the races, I'll go into a high mileage mode before starting to hit it pretty hard in December.  So this week will be relatively light as I freshen up.

I was looking forward to seeing all of the Americans duke it out in Chicago.  I thought for sure, there would be a ton of sub 2:15s, with a lot of guys in the 2:11-2:12 range but a lot of guys struggled home that last 10k.  It was a bummer to see that happen but that's the nature of the beast sometimes.

I had three runners I coach in there. Kevin was shooting for 2:50ish and ran 2:47, Leigh was shooting for sub 3:40 and ran 3:37 and Tom was shooting for a sub 2:50 and struggled home with some cramping in 3:09.

Monday, October 6, 2014

September 29th-October 5th Tranining

Monday: 3.6 miles (7:09).  Could tell that I was getting sick or something because my legs felt abnormally weak.  Woke up that night with a super-jacked up stomach. 12 wake-ups later and the scale was in the 120s.

Tuesday: No running. Stayed home from work and felt fine but still had a jacked up stomach. The only brightside is that when I'm sick, I allow myself to eat whatever I want because I figure the calories will help me or something.  Ate a lot of ice cream, ramen and a doughnut.

Wednesday: 5.2 miles (7:39). Died an ugly death.

Thursday: 5.9 miles (6:54); 5.8 miles (7:12)

Friday: 7 miles (6:43); 5.4 miles (7:06)

Saturday: 10 miles (6:56); 5.4 miles (6:58). 

Sunday: 20.3 miles with 4.72 mile fast finish (5:16 average). Ran a rolling 14ish miles and then ran to the end of LSC and back, followed by up-and-down Bison Way. Was 6:18 average at the start and felt really good during the first 14.  Plan was to hang at 5:20 and ran the first four between 5:17-5:19 without much effort and ran the last .72 at 5:12 pace.  Good run and felt smooth.

Week Total: 68.6 miles.  Super low mileage week again but I couldn't help it.  Everyone around here is getting it, so I had to pay my dues.  It completely stole all of my mojo even though I wasn't feeling badly and I wasn't back to "normal" until Saturday.

The US Marathon Championships were fun to watch even though it was a complete bummer to see Jeanette have to drop out.  She works so hard and is the type of person you root for. Going into the race, I thought the paper favorite was Ian Burrell, my favorite was Tyler Pennel and I thought those two, along with Sergio Reyes would all finish in the top 5.  I wasn't too far off!

You have to respect Scott Smith for making that bold move with such a big pack remaining, especially shortly before the long hill.  I would have been completely scared to do that, but he was an animal and it paid off for him in the end. When he first made it, I expected him to finish outside the top 5 and maybe even finish somewhere around 10th, but he hung on to third. But I can't let another Scott beat me in a marathon, so I will show no mercy at the Olympic Trials if we don't meet up before then.

For some reason, people get so pumped when a guy with super fast 5k/10k credentials moves up to the marathon.  The qualities that make those guys fast in the shorter stuff are the qualities that may not let them get really fast in the marathon  What I get pumped about is when guys with fast half-marathons but "modest" 5k/10ks move up.  Those are the guys that will thrive in the marathon distance.  The Tyler Pennel's, Gabe Proctors and Matt Llano's, etc. have much more upside in my opinion than the Chris Solinksy's and Luke Puskedra's.  Maybe I will eat crow after New York though.

It was also bittersweet seeing so many guys run well and pop off those 2:15s-2:17s when I'm sitting at home, out of shape.  Houston this past year is the only race I've ever had that chews away at me, so hopefully I will get redemption sometime soon. I still don't understand how I died so badly because I was in killer shape.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September 22nd-28th Training

Monday: 8.4 miles (6:38); 6.3 miles (7:21)

Tuesday: 7 miles (6:49); 4.5 miles (7:15)

Wednesday: 10.2 miles with 16x1:00 on/off. Goal was to average about 4:40 on the fast portion and I ended up right at that, starting pretty slowly and easing into it. Quads felt really flat and it was hard to push, so I was happy with the pace because it felt much slower than that. When I'm fit and ready for this type of workout, I can hammer really, really hard and am hating life the second half but today, I wasn't able to push that hard.  But I was able to recover really well and didn't feel very worn out by the end; 8 miles (6:56)

Thursday: 9 miles (6:56); 6.8 miles (7:15)

Friday: 8.4 miles (6:58); 3.1 miles (7:45). I was planning on seven miles but my legs have been absolutely trashed the past couple of days and my body was revolting. Even though I was planning to watch a movie once the fam fell asleep, I was out before 10pm and slept over 10 hours and only got out of bed because of guilt. I guess last week's travelling finally caught up.

Saturday: 11.5 miles with 8000m tempo in 25:51. Despite it warm and a little humid (80/60 dp), it went really well.  I was just going to do 6400m but it felt so easy that I would have felt guilty if I stopped there.  Splits ranged from 4:57-4:59.  Afterward, jogged 1000m and did 2x200m with 200m jog in 29 low but back in the ol' college days, I could finish out in 26s without killing myself. Guess I traded out my old motor for a more fuel efficient one.  Great workout and the only bad thing was the sunburn I got on my head; 4.4 miles (7:21)

Sunday: 15.3 miles (6:18).  I had my 20 mile route planned but around 12 miles, I started getting insanely hungry, so I decided a couple of bowls of Chocolate Toast Crunch and cutting it short was better than bonking.  I don't have a marathon race planned for quite a while anyway, so the long run isn't as important.  But I was happy that I felt really good before the hunger strike and probably would have averaged close to 6:10 by the end; 6 miles (7:18)

Week Total: 108.9 miles.  Decent week for feeling like crap and then much better by the end.  I may enter a marathon as a long run this weekend if I'm feeling ok...most likely, nothing faster than 6:30 pace.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Seotenber 15th-21st Training

Monday: 6.3 miles (7:02); 9 miles (6:36)

Tuesday: 8 miles (6:34); 10.4 miles with 9 mile medium progression. Goal was three miles each at 6:15, 5:50, 5:25.  Ran 18:34 (6:07, 6:13, 6:14), 17:16 (5:45, 5:46, 5:45), 16:14 (5:27, 5:22, 5:25). Hit the times pretty well my it felt like I was running faster than I wasn't particularly hard, it just felt like I was flying and my quads were pretty tired.  Afterwards, my quads were really worn out the rest of the night. 

Wednesday: No running. Spent all day travelling.  Like over 16 hours and I still have a six hour drive tomorrow. 

Thursday: 3.3 miles (8:08). Would have liked more but I was supposed to drive to Tamarindo early in the morning and four hours later, I finally left.  Ran within five minutes of arriving.

Friday: 4 miles with strides

Saturday: 13.6 miles with Tamarindo Beach Half-Marathon in 70:46. Warmed up with Tibor for a half mile literally over 11 minute pace.  Had to get an early spot on the line, so I didn't do anything else, or cooldown.  Race went well.  Hung with the pack through the halfway point and at the turnaround, took the lead and kept it steady for a smooth win.  Super humid but pleased with the time because this felt closer to a 72-72.

Sunday: No running. Had a 6am flight and didn't arrive home until after 13 hours later.  I'm not running after that.

Week Total: 54.6 miles.  About 50% of what would be ideal but I had a ton of travelling to do, which killed my volume. Fun but tiring week. Deena is insane.

Heroes in Recovery 6k

I've never run the Heroes in Recovery 6k because it always falls on the same day as the Commodore Cross Country Classic, hosted by Vanderbilt University.  And also (mainly) because I didn't know it had money.  So while trying to whoop some college kids is fun, I'd rather go home with a little bit of a heavier wallet.

Going into this race, I knew I was way out of shape.  I think I only did like one tempo run since the spring, which was really ugly the second half.  But I still wanted to give a hard effort, so my goal/hope was to hang around 5:00 pace (assuming good weather and a fast course) and gain a little bit of confidence.

After an hour drive, I was finally in Leipers Fork, TN, which is a really pretty place. There's lot of rolling green hills, wide open land and nice houses.  I would love to move there but I'm too poor. After registering, I met up with Jeanette Faber and a guy named Nash to do a little bit of a warm-up. We ran a little over a mile down on the course and while it was pretty, it didn't look like fun.  It was down-and-back and as far as I could tell, the first half was uphill.  At least there was a decent tailwind that would help push me up them.

Before I got back to the car, I noticed a lot of the faster runners in the area were coming out of the woodwork.  First, I saw Ryan Snellen hanging around his 1990s or something Cadillac.  He was a sub 14 guy several years back and gave me a whooping in a 5k in 2011.  Then it was Ryan Chastain who is a talented guy and ran right at 68:00 for his half-marathon debut a few years ago, off of 30 miles a week. Then it was Geoff Musick who ran under 15 minutes a year ago and whooped me in a ten miler in 2010. But I think all three of them haven't been training too hard lately, so I still felt fairly confident that I could win with a good effort.

While pinning my number, I saw my second worst fear at a money race, Justus David (Patrick Cheptoek is #1). Justus was a 14:00ish and sub 29 10k guy in 2013 and is probably about 20 pounds lighter than me.  He's been struggling with an achilles injury over the last year or so, but ran a sub 25 8k in early August, so I knew he was probably getting pretty fit. While I enjoy good competition when I'm in shape, when I'm just chasing dollars, I like the fast guys to stay at home.

I was 90% certain I had no chance to beat Justus but I was going to see what happened anyway.  I tried to get my mind in the right state and get ready and accept that if I destroyed myself, maybe I could pull it off.  As a long-distance runner, I have a lot of trouble with the really intense efforts and embracing that sharp, middle-distance pain.  But today, it would probably be necessary.

Justus normally likes to follow the pace and win at the end.  So my plan was to keep the pace honest and not let him relax.  When the gun went off, I immediately pressed on the gas.  My GPS was saying I was running around 4:50 pace but it was uphill, so it wasn't a big deal.  I was glad to see Justus running behind me, instead of drafting and stealing my tailwind. We went through the mile in 4:53 and I wasn't feeling that bad, despite nearly 70 feet of elevation gain.

The second mile was even tougher with over 100 feet of gain and with a couple little downhills, it had quite a big of climbing.  I noticed Justus was breathing a little bit hard and shortly afterward, he gave me a small lead.  In a one-on-one race, if someone is running with you and then is suddenly a few meters behind, they are either peeing or close to breaking.  So once I smelled a little blood in the water, I started hammering.  At the turnaround, I had about a 100m lead and came through the second mile in 5:03.  I lost over 10 seconds from the first, but it was a tough mile.  With the third mile having a lot of downhill running, with over 130 feet of drop in the last 1000m, I was able to start rolling without much effort. Even though I now had a somewhat tough headwind, I was able to go through the third mile in 4:30 and double my lead.  I don't know if I've ever run a mile that fast in a road race and if the wind would have been reversed, I bet it would have been close to sub 4:20. Maybe I'll go out there in shape one day and run sub 4:00 for the mile if I don't rip my hamstrings first.

The last mile I relaxed just a little bit but kept up a somewhat decent effort.  Sometimes when you're flying nearly effortlessly, the pace feels relaxed and you enjoy the moment.  I ended up crossing the line in 18:10 and according the my GPS, ran the last .77 miles at 4:50 pace and sealed the victory by a minute.  The rest of the local shootout went: Chastain, Musik and Snellen.  Jeanette won the women's race to beat literally one of the top Master's in the world and Nashville resident, Sonja Friend-Uhl.

This race was a really fun event, was run really well and a huge confidence booster on a tough course (580 feet of gain and loss).  For feeling very out-of-shape, hopefully this points to much brighter things to come.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

September 8th-14th Training

Monday: 8 miles (6:54a); 6.3 miles (7:13)

Tuesday: 8.5 miles (6:53); 6.6 miles (7:11)

Wednesday: 11.1 miles with 12x.15 miles on/.35 miles off. This is a workout I like to do when I want to get the wheels going but not have a real workout...sort of like doing 200s on the track, except it's on the road with bigger recovery.  During a marathon cycle, I sometimes like to run 10ish miles moderately (90-95%) in the morning and then run 8x.15 in the afternoon on heavier legs.  During a marathon cycle, I feel speedwork is really overrated, so this let's you keep in touch with your speed with some cumulative fatigue built in. Anyway, I avereaged 4:19 on the fast portion which isn't too fast but I was on the greenway and half were into the wind.  So even though I ran slower than I thought, it felt like I was running really fast and I had good power and turnover, so I took that as a good sign; 7.7 miles (7:11)

Thursday: 8 miles (7:09); 9.1 miles (6:46)

Friday: 8.4 miles (6:47); 5.5 miles with strides (7:09)

Saturday: 10.6 miles with 6k in 18:10. I didn't know anything about the course but was hoping to run a hardish effort and run 5:00 pace if I could, assuming it was a flat course.  Well, the course was uphill the first half before coming back down with a good tailwind on the way out and tough headwind on the way back.  And right before the race, I noticed Justus David showed up, which bummed me out because there was some money on the line.  I decided to take it out hardish and we went through the mile in 4:53.  The second mile climbed a lot and when I was given a small gap, I pushed the pace pretty hard to increase my lead and came through in 5:03.  I had about 20s on the turnaround, ran the third mile quick in 4:30 and ran the last .77 on my GPS in 3:44 to win by a minute.  Felt really strong and never really struggled.  Really pleased with this performance and I didn't even struggle on the hills; 4.5 miles (7:30)

Sunday: 9.5 miles (6:33). I was going to do a long run but my legs weren't feeling it all.  Guess I'm fitter than I thought but don't recover as quickly as I would like.  I was going to run more later, but I had an insanely busy day.

Week Total: 103.9 miles.  A little lower than I would like but cutting the long run 11 mile short will do that to it.  Regardless, good week overall and the best I've felt in a while.  My hgb is up to 15.5 now, with a "normal" baseline of about 16.0, so things are looking better.  I'm headed to Costa Rica this weekend for the Tamarindo Beach Half-Marathon.  It should definitely be an interesting experience.  I was also happy to see Ryan Hall finally get a coach, so hopefully he can make a comeback for the Trials.  I wish he would have stuck with Canova but maybe Jack Daniels can bring some consistency.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

September 1st-7th Training

Monday: 8.1 miles (6:46); 6.3 miles (7:08)

Tuesday: 9.8 miles with 3.91 tempo run in 20:57 (5:13, 5:19, 5:24, 5:01). Originally planned to run a four mile progression, starting from 5:25ish and working down to lower 5:00s by the end.  I got out quick and rather than the play and slow-down/speed-up game, I decided to keep it a straight tempo at 5:15ish. First mile was surprisingly easy, second mile was into the wind and after turning around, it got rough.  Almost stopped at three miles, but decided to at least make it back to the stop sign. With how easy the first mile felt, I thought I'd run pretty quickly on the way back with the tailwind.  It was insanely hot (temp in low/mid 80s with d.p. in the low 70s), so I think that was an issue.  And since I went from smooth to dying so quickly, it shows my specific fitness is pretty poor.  But hey, I was at least happy to finish my first tempo run in a very long time; Skipped 2nd run.  Pouring rain. 

Wednesday: 8.1 miles (7:03); 9.9 miles (6:37)

Thursday: 9 miles (6:43); 6.1 miles with 4xhill blasts (7:11). About hard a panic attack when I thought I was done with the first sprint and realized the grass was higher than my normal "finish line". Eventually I found out and made a leaf my new finish line.  After the first hill sprint debacle, I averaged 10.91 on the last three.

Friday: 8.5 miles with 8x.30 mile "hill" with jogdown recovery. Ran this sucker at 4:30am to avoid the lunchtime heat. Even though it was 72 and 72, it was much more tolerable.  I wanted a moderate stimulus since I'm transitioning into faster stuff now, so this fit the bill.  Overall, it was a good session and I averaged 4:47 pace on the hills, which climbed 45 feet in the .30 miles.  I was able to recovery really well in between and the sixth felt as easy as the first, even though I was running much faster by then (only ran 5:10 pace on the first).  Ran the last one pretty hard in 4:29 pace and got wobbly quads the last 100 feet or so; 4.6 miles (7:10); 5.4 miles (7:21).Wanted some volume today, so had to run a triple to do it.

Saturday: 9.1 miles (7:10ish); Skipped second run. Had a really bad headache

Sunday: 20.2 miles with 16.03 miles moderate at 5:39 pace.  Ran four loops and then a small extension.  Four laps were 22:42 (5:48, 5:52, 5:47, 5:15), 22:02 (5:37, 5:38, 5:41, 5:06), 22:09 (5:36, 5:40, 5:43, 5:10), 22:13 (5:38, 5:44, 5:43, 5:08) and then .33 at the end at 4:42 pace. First lap was super easy, second was really smooth.  On the third, I wanted to save some for the fourth, so I backed off a little bit on the hilly portion and on the last one, my legs started getting pretty achy. Weather was pretty decent at 70+65 and cloudy and I didn't even need a water break.  My GPS doesn't like this loop and after tracing my route, it came out to be 16.25 miles. After this season, my legs were super achy the rest of the day; 3.1 miles (7:23)

Week Total: 108.2 miles.  This would have been close to 120 with all of my planned runs.  Tuesday was ugly and nasty but I was happy to bounce back Friday and Sunday. I feel like my fitness is slowly climbing back and I'm going to start jumping in some low-key races to ease back into things.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August 25th-31st Training

Monday: 3 miles (7:24); 5.5 miles (7:16)

Tuesday: 7.5 miles (7:00ish); 4.8 miles (7:09)

Wednesday: 8.9 miles (6:42); 6 miles (7:16)

Thursday: 5.4 miles (7:03); 10.6 miles (6:45)

Friday: 10.2 miles with bombed workout. Goal was to run 10x2:00 on/off at sub 5:00 on the fast part. Legs didn't want to work at all, so I didn't force them to.  Was running over 5:20 pace and about halfway through my fifth, I decided to just run slowly the rest of the way back.  I figure my legs/body still aren't 100% from last week's virus.  The only good thing is that I wasn't breathing hard or anything on the "fast" part.  My legs just went on strike; Skipped second run. Had a lot of stuff to do and since my legs weren't feeling it today, I didn't feel guilty skipping this one.

Saturday: 9.6 miles (6:38); Skipped second run. Pouring rain all evening and my parents were in town.

Sunday: 20 miles with 10x90s on/off (6:06). Plan was to run until St. Blaise (13.5ish) at around 6:25 average and then run the fast portion around 5:20 and the slow at 6:20ish.  Was 6:18 at the start of the fartlek and even though most of them were into a headwind, I averaged 5:14 on the faster part and 5:52 on the slower part.  Felt really strong and feel like my old man strength is coming back.

Week Total: 91.5 miles. Hopefully this was the last low week for a while.  Now that my sickness is gone and I have a few races picked out, hopefully things will eventually return to normal. I'm taking a patient approach to things and hope to be training hard and consistently in another month and pretty fit by the start of November.  I'll get my blood tested again this week to make sure my hemoglobin is still climbing and that my iron levels are ok (last time, hemoglobin climbed but iron dropped).

Before my summer of crap, I was hoping to be pretty fit and run well at the New Haven 20k, which was this past weekend.  It's kind of a weird race because no one really peaks for it and the people who have an October marathon are probably entering the race with heavier training legs than someone with a later or no marathon planned.  If someone is 1-2% off their game, they go from fighting for a top three spot to struggling to finish in the top 10. It is my kind of course and the weather conditions would have benefited me but I was sleeping in my bed when the race started.

My son also turned one on Thursday and we had his party on Saturday.  He's turning into a good-looking chap.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

August 18th-24th Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:46); 6.3 miles (7:15)

Tuesday: 7.4 miles (6:44); 6.2 miles (7:10)

Wednesday: 8.9 miles with 5x1/4 mile hill. Freaking hot.  Temp were approaching 90 and the dew point was a very balmy 78.  I even had a random car stop and offer me for a while and some old lady on a bike said I needed to take it easy.  Plan was 8 hills with jogdown recovery, hopefully starting at 80ish and working down to 75ish by the end. Ran 81, 81, 82, 84, 83.  It felt easy but yet I couldn't breathe and my legs were crapping out.  I was dying badly enough to call it a workout.  This was my first hill workout like this in a couple of years.  I hate hills; 8.4 miles (7:05)

Thursday: 7 miles (6:51); 9.1 miles (6:42)

Friday: No Running. Felt like crap at lunch and bummed around when I got home.  Low-grade fever and chills.

Saturday: No running.  Kind of a bummer because I was planning on doing a 5k that had some decent money. I was hoping to run but my fever came back after I got done mowing the lawn.

Sunday: No running. I was hoping to run by today but I was still dragging butt.

Week Total:  62.3 miles. Bad week but what can you do?  My Running Ahead log goes back to 2010 and four out of the five years around this weekend, I've been sick.  And in 2009, I ran a race in early September coming off a sickness, so late August is turning into my Kryptonite.  Normally my wife and I rarely, if ever, talk about running but she pointed out that I went from taking naps, being a bum and running a lot to getting 5-6 hours of sleep a night, adding in working full-time again while being exposed to over 700 kids and still running a lot. What could I expect? But I'm still in that training limbo period right now, so it's not a big deal. On a good note, my hemoglobin is still climbing.  It was 12.7 about six weeks ago and now it's 14.6.  My baseline is 16.0ish, so I should be back to my normal levels at the end of September.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 11th-17th Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:53); 6.1 miles (7:23)

Tuesday: 7.6 miles (6:40); 6 miles (7:10) with 4xhill blasts at 11.02 avg.

Wednesday: 10.1 miles with a bombed workout. Plan was 6-8x3:00 on/1:00 off at 5:10 pace.  Got a little cocky and thought I could run 5:10 into the first three, which was a strong headwind. On those three, I went from tired to dying and ran 5:08, 5:14, 5:21 pace.  After the turnaround, I ran 5:08 with the tailwind but I was struggling.  And since I shouldn't be dying so early in this type of workout, I decided to jog it in the rest of the way.  After Saturday and Sunday, I thought I was starting to come around some but maybe I got too greedy and needed a little more recovery; 7.7 miles (7:07)

Thursday: 9 miles (6:49);5.4 miles (7:02)

Friday: 7.5 miles (6:58); Skipped run. I was going to do a little fartlek on my 10.6 mile course, but I didn't get home from work until 6:30 and since I felt like crap on my lunch run, I called it a day.  Mentally draining week.

Saturday: 10.6 miles (6:39); 5.7 miles (7:07) with 4xhill blasts at 10.80 average. 

Sunday: 16.9 miles with 12 miles medium at 5:44 average. I was thinking about one of three goals for this one. The hardest would be to run the first two loops at the same speed or faster than my run on the course 2.5 weeks ago and then add a third loop even faster.  Number two was to beat my overall average from 2.5 weeks ago, which was 5:41.  The last and the one I ended up choosing was to run my last two laps as fast or faster than last time and add the stimulus of an initial loop a little slower than the others. When training is unpredictable or you are unsure of your abilities, it's always good to choose something attainable.  Loops were 23:03, 22:31 and 22:02 with an extra .24 miles at 4:49 pace at the end.  Last time was 22:51 and 22:03.  Close call on the last because I didn't remember what my last times were. Happy with this because it felt easier than last time and the MI was over 15 degrees higher.  And to totally dissect everything, I also think this was long.  My route is basically four straight sections with three left 90 degree turns. The map shows I ran 10-15 ft. more to the left than I did, which ended up majorly cutting all of the turns. After I traced the roads, it came out to 12.21 miles. If that's true, I ran over six seconds a mile faster; 5.1 miles (7:26)

Week Total: 106.6 miles. Terrible initial workout but happy with yesterday. It was also the first full week of school which is a new stress my body has to get used to.  I'm getting a lot less sleep as I'm waking up a couple of hours earlier than I'm used to and my body is thrown out of it's rhythm. I also can't do my "morning" runs until 11:00am, so I'm running in much warmer weather. Hopefully this next week will be better.  I feel like things are slowly improving and hopefully by early October, I'll be in sub 65 half-marathon shape.  Maybe it's wishful thinking because I'm so slow now but the heat slows you down a lot and hopefully by then my hemoglobin will be out of the gutter and back at my baseline.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 4th-10th Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:42); 6.3 miles (7:43)

Tuesday: 10.1 miles with 8.5 mile medium progression. Goal was three miles each at 6:20, 5:55, 5:30.  I did this two weeks ago but since it was sunny and mid 140s, I thought it would be a little tougher.  Ended up going 18:31 (6:08, 6:15, 6:08), 17:40 (5:54, 5:50, 5:56) and 13:55 (5:31, 5:35, 2:49).  First section was insanely easy, which I had on this out-and-back route because it means a headwind on the way back. Shortly before the turnaround, a couple of dogs came out barking.  Now, I've spent the last six years battling the dogs on this route and feel like I finally established myself as the alpha on the road.  But these were a couple of new dogs on the black and haven't learned yet.  I gave them some confidence and kept on slowly running away and after a few seconds, I went turned around and went kamikaze on them and came out with a TKO victory.  After the turnaround, I noticed the not so nice headwind, which made things difficult, especially up the gradual uphills.  Last section was tough from the get-go and I was hurting and dying on the hills after two miles.  I called it at 2.5, because my legs were crapping out and I figured I got enough stimulus on the run; Skipped second run. Felt like crap the rest of the day...stomach pains, nauseous, etc.

Wednesday: 8 miles (6:41); 9.1 miles (6:50). 33 years old.  32 was a terrible running year, hopefully 33 will be better.

Thursday: 9.4 miles (6:50ish); 8.1 miles (7:17).  Ran on the treadmill since it was storming outside.  First time in a few years and I absolutely hate them.

Friday: 8 miles (7:12). Same effort and route as two days ago but much slower.  Legs were wobbly with no tension and I was struggling the entire way.  I blame the stupid treadmill; 7.7 miles (7:11)

Saturday: 10.2 miles with 3.91 miles of 1:00 on/90s off. Ran to the main road and back, which gave me 10 "fast" sections and nine slow ones, with the addition of one second on a 10th. Averaged 6:01 pace for the whole thing and 4:44 pace on the fast ones.  Normally, I'd run 20x1:00 on/off at a much faster pace but being it was my first structured speed workout in five months and really hot, I'll take it.  I was happy my legs felt fast for once...not speed wise but they felt ready to work; Skipped run. It was storming again and I didn't to mess with that treadmill again.

Sunday: 20 miles (6:24). Swampiest run of the year and it was the first long run this year where I was slinging sweat out of my shoes with every stride.  Was going to do my normal route but when I started the second loop, it looked like there were rain clouds covering the entire back section.  Since I didn't have future meteorologist, Tyler McCandless with me, I decided they looked enough like rain clouds to me, so I turned around and did the Boomer Route again.  The good thing about that route is that when you're running easily and are fresh, you really open up on the downhills and aren't tired enough to struggle on the uphills.  But the bad thing about it is that it will kick your butt the second time (or if you run fast).  I struggled on the hills, as expected but felt really good besides that.  And at the end of the run, I didn't have my normal post-long run fatigue; 3.1 miles (7:31)

Week Total: 109 miles.  Not a bad week with a couple of skipped runs.  I'm still way-way out of shape but am slowly returning.  I may try to ramp it up a little more this week.

Monday, August 4, 2014

July 28th-August 3rd Training

Monday: 8.7 miles (7:11); 6.3 miles (7:07); Weights

Tuesday: 8.7 miles (6:51); 7 miles (7:03)

Wednesday: 6 miles (7:40); 9.2 miles (7:19)

Thursday: 11.2 miles medium with 8 miles at 5:41 pace. Did two hillyish loops and was hoping to work from 6:00-5:45 pace on the first and 5:45-5:30 on the second.  Ran the the two loops in 22:51 and 22:03 with an extra 38 seconds after the end to finish up at eight miles.  Felt really good and smooth and this isn't much slower than my first medium route on this route last year.  Hopefully I'm coming around some; 4.1 miles (7:36); Weights

Friday: 8.2 miles (7:03); 6.8 miles (7:18)

Saturday: 9.5 miles (7:13); 5.9 miles (7:28). Was going to knock out some hill blasts but when I tried strides, it felt like someone was hitting me in the groin with a baseball bat whenever my left foot pushed off, so that was enough incentive to not run them. I convinced myself it was a hernia.

Sunday: 11.6 miles (7:38). Plan was 20 with some surges thrown in towards the end but I started feeling feverish and run down, so I turned around a little over 10.5 miles in and shuffled back home. My potential hernia was absolutely killing me as well, so I went to urgent care and it turned out to not be a hernia but a bacterial infection (and low grade fever was one of the symptoms of it). The doctor told me no running for a few days and gave me some antibiotics, so we will see how I feel.  I spent the rest of the day hamming it up and whining/lounging around.

Week Total: 103.2 miles. One of these days, I'll have no interruptions.  I got some more blood tests on Tuesday to see if my hemoglobin has risen any but I haven't seen anything yet.  Hopefully it has because I feel better running wise.  I also ran on grass some this week to get less pounding.  I absolutely hate running on grass.

It's back to work, 5am wake-ups and the real world this week. Party time is over.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

July 21st-27th Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:48); 6.3 miles (7:06); Weights

Tuesday: 8 miles (6:42); 7.4 miles (7:15) with 4xhill blasts (11.10 average)

Wednesday: 11.4 miles with 9 mile medium progression. Goal was to last longer than two weeks ago, where I died a miserable death.  Same goal of three mile segments in 19:00, 17:45 and 16:30.  Ran 18:46 (6:15, 6:11, 6:20), 17:38 (5:56, 5:52, 5:50) and 16:22 (5:27, 5:27, 5:28).  First section was easy, even with some rollers.  Second wasn't that bad and I was happy with the third.  I had to push some the last 1/4 mile to make sure I broke 5:40 because I was 5:35ish at that point.  But overall, I'm pleased because I ran an extra mile, felt stronger and ran faster.  And the misery index was over 15 degrees hotter.; 6.8 miles (7:18); Weights

Thursday: 9.4 miles (6:49); 6.1 miles (7:08)

Friday: 10.6 miles (6:47); 3.4 miles with strides (7:20); massage

Saturday: 11 miles with 4 mile race in 22:15.  Since I have a double this weekend, I wanted to win as easily as possible.  I took the lead from the beginning and the high schoolers weren't very fiesty.  Had about 10 seconds at the mile in 5:30, which was nice and easy.  Ran 5:25 the second mile, which increased the lead some more, so I relaxed and ran 5:41, 5:39 the last two to win by about 20 seconds; 3.7 miles (7:19)

Sunday: 9 miles with 10k in 34:10.  Jumped on a last minute triathlon relay since a group needed a runner and I'm a pushover. Sad part was the course was about a minute short.  Got there at 6:15am and didn't run until about 4.5 hours later, which was already over 90 degrees with a dew point in the 70s.  Course was very hot and hilly and after a 5:09 opening mile, I decided to just keep it steady and I was still really struggling.  I poured water on my head at every station and it was ice cold on my head but hot by the time it reached my butt. I was planning on running again in the evening but I was so drained from the heat.

Week Total: 102.1 miles. This would have been much higher with a Sunday long run but oh well.  I was happy to nail my progression and I'm feeling much better day-to-day.  Got my blood test results from 2.5 weeks ago and my hemoglobin dropped into the 12s and my hematocrit dropped to 37 (normally I'm a 16/48 guy). The hematologist didn't say much, so I spent an hour researching every thing on my blood test and am 90% sure I have hemolytic anemia, hopefully as a result of the pounding of running.  It makes sense because I put on some weight, took several weeks off and jumped right into pounding on the concrete in shoes that were too beat up.  I went to my work clinic today and got them to do a haptoglobin test, direct Coombs test, peripheral blood smear and to rerun my CBC, thyroid and iron panel.  The hematologist makes over $300 G's but I had to do the work on Google. Go figure.

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 14th-20th Training

Monday: 9.1 miles (6:54); 5.6 miles (7:36)

Tuesday: 8.4 miles with 6xhill blasts at 10.95 avg. (7:17); 6.7 miles (7:04)

Wednesday: 10.2 miles with 6.57 miles at 5:47 average. Goal was to work from 6:00 to 5:40 pace.  Got out a little quick and hung around 5:50s. The middle half had a tough headwind, but it gave me 15 seconds when it turned into a tailwind.  Started out feeling pretty easy but got a little tough at the end.; 6.8 miles (7:02)

Thursday: 8.6 miles (7:09); Skipped second run because the chicken I was smoking was ready about an hour ahead of schedule and I had some friends over for dinner.  The running gods punished me for skipping my run by making me step on a hot piece of charcoal in my socks, which burned a hole right through them which resulted in me throwing the shears I was holding across the backyard.

Friday: 6 miles (6:58); 1.1 miles (7:22).  Planned on a light workout but I wasn't feeling it, so after a mile, I walked home.

Saturday: 9.1 miles (7:24); 6.8 miles (7:10)

Sunday: 20 miles (6:18). Good run in some muggy weather considering I only had three sub 6:20 miles during my entire 20 miles two weeks ago.  Started rolling pretty quickly, made myself back off some and felt pretty strong even though I only had about 10 oz. of water.  Hit that rough long run spot, where you go from feeling good to having the fatigue creep in faster than you like around 18 miles.  Good confidence booster and I even chewed the same piece of gym for 20 miles, which is probably a record or something.

Week Total: 98.3 miles. Not bad volume for missing two runs.  I would have been around 115 with those in, which would have been a great week.  Hopefully something will be figured out at my hematologist appointment this week because I still haven't seen any test results from it yet.  Depending on how those look, I may jump into a race this weekend even though I'm way out of shape.

Friday, July 18, 2014

15 Deadly Improvised Prison Weaons

Here's some good info if you ever get thrown in the slammer for jaywalking on a run or something:

Keeping up with inmate improvisation is an endless and thankless project. It seems nothing brings out the ingenuity in a person like an endless sea of days spent staring through bars and thinking about freedom.
Photographer Marc Steinmetz must have understood this when he set out to create the fantastic photo essay we've printed below, showing some of the most cunning and creative improvised weapons and tools built by inmates in his home country of Germany.
All images and captions, Marc Steinmetz photography
SHOTGUN - made from iron bedposts; charge made of pieces of lead from curtain tape and match-heads, to be ignited by AA batteries and a broken light bulb. On May 21, 1984 two inmates of a prison in Celle, Germany, took a jailer as a hostage, showed off their fire power by letting go at a pane of bullet-proof glass, and escaped by car.
SHIV - disguised as a wooden crucifix;found in an inmate’s cell in Wolfenbüttel prison, Germany, sometime around 1994; intended for use in an escape or as a general weapon. At that time a lot of crucifixes were fashioned in prison woodshops until jailers finally figured out their true purpose.
IMMERSION HEATER - made from razor blades; found in a cell in ‘Santa Fu’ jail in Hamburg, Germany. Jailbirds use these tools to distil alcoholic beverages forbidden in prisons. Your typical inmate’s moonshine still includes a plastic can containing fermented fruit mash or juice, an immersion coil of some sort, a rubber hose, and a plastic receptacle for the booze.

KNUCKLEDUSTER - with padded handle, made from a rasp that was presumably stolen from a prison workshop. The weapon was found in a cell in the prison of Wolfenbüttel, Germany, sometime around 1993.

HASH PIPE - fashioned from an empty horseradish tube; confiscated in ‘Santa Fu’ prison in Hamburg, Germany. Smoking implements are the most common illicit items in prisons. The range of materials they are made of mirrors the inmates’ great imagination.

DOUBLE-BARRELED PISTOL - This gun was found along with other homemade firearms in the cell of two Celle prison inmates on November 15, 1984. The weapons had been made in the prison’s metal workshop. They were loaded with pieces of steel and match-heads.

LADDER - made of steel rails from bookshelves. On October 10, 1994, inmates Gerhard Polak and Raimund Albert used this ladder during their successful escape from ‘Santa Fu’ prison in Hamburg, 

MACE - This instrument was found in 1997 in the metal workshop of ‘Santa Fu’ prison in Hamburg, Germany, where an unknown inmate manufactured and hid it. It is either a weapon, or, attached to a pole, might have been designed to push away barbed wire from the top of a wall during an escape.

NARCOTICS CACHE - In a hollow space inside his artificial leg a prisoner in open detention frequently smuggled narcotics into ‘Santa Fu’ prison in Hamburg, Germany. Around 1984 his behaviour finally got the attention of the jailers who gave the prosthesis a check.

WHIP - with razor blades. The grisly weapon was found around 1996 in ‘Santa Fu’ jail in Hamburg, Germany, in the cell of a drug addicted inmate after his failed attempt to extort a higher Methadone ration by threatening a female prison officer with a knife.

DUMMY SUBMACHINE GUN - made from a grease injector, wood, a rubber sleeve, and tape. The mock weapon was found in 1994 in a prison workshop in Wolfenbüttel prison, Germany, after jailers were tipped off that an escape attempt was being planned.

RADIO TRANSMITTER/BUG - made of radio recorder parts by an inmate of Wolfenbüttel prison, Germany (battery is missing). Prisoners occasionally manage to install gizmos like this one in guard-rooms to be prepared for upcoming cell searches. Also suitable as a means of cell-to-cell communication among inmates. A standard radio serves as a receiver.

GRAPPLING HOOK - with segmented extension rod (13 segments, overall length: 4.5 meters); rope made of leather and string. This cleverly conceived tool assisted two inmates in their escape from Ludwigsburg prison, Germany, on August 19, 1987. The attached rod enabled them to place and retrieve the hook and thus negotiate two prison walls in succession.

DUMMY PISTOL - from blackened cardboard; found on June 23, 1988, in an inmate’s cell in Stammheim prison, Germany, after a fellow prisoner tipped off the jailers. The dummy was hidden in an empty milk pack and was most probably intended to be used for taking hostages in an escape attempt.

SAW - made from a wooden coathanger and a jagsaw blade. The tool was confiscated in the therapeutical section of Hohenasperg prison, Germany.
To see more of Steinmetz work, visit his website at: