Friday, February 28, 2014

Kevin Castille Article

In last month's Running Times magazine, there was an article on the life and upbringing of Kevin Castille, who is an insanely fast Master's runner.  I've only been in the same race as him a few times, but every time I race him I get nervous.  Yeah, there shouldn't be anything wrong with losing to a guy who can run under 29 minutes for the 10k and the guy seems like a nice enough fellow. But who wants to get beat by a Master's runner? No offense to the 40 and up crowd but it's always very "humbling" when we get smoked by you.

At 41 years of age, Kevin is running times that make really fast college guys envious.  He definitely had a non-traditional upbringing and seems to have a simple approach to life and training, which I'm always a fan of. Life without running is complicated, so don't let running make it even more so.

The article is a great read and motivates me to train hard in case we have a showdown at the U.S. 25k Championships again this May.

Monday, February 24, 2014

February 17th-23rd Training

Monday: 6.3 miles (7:09)

Tuesday: 6 miles (7:03); 10 miles (6:19)

Wednesday: 5 miles (6:49); 14.1 miles with 10 miles of alternating 1/2 mile fast with 1/2 mile moderate in 51:10 (5:07 total average and 4:55 and 5:18 segments average). Was dreading this one but got started really quickly and had trouble slowing down, especially on the moderate portions.  I debated speeding up the fast parts but since I don't have to be in shape until April, I decided to keep it cool. Felt really strong at the end and never had to force the pace at all.  Faster than when I ran this in mid November, when I had some company with me.  I'm better shape than I thought but am still pretty rusty.

Thursday: 8 miles (6:34); 7 miles (6:47)

Friday: 5 miles (6:46); 10.5 miles with 4 miles tempo in 19:46 (4:56 average). Legs were beat up on Thursday and felt pretty heavy and flat from the start of this.  Only had a 1.49 second range from my fastest to slowest mile but I had to stay focused on the pace the entire time, with the last mile being a little tough.  A little frustrated I had trouble with this pace but I'm not sharp and ran pretty hard 48 hours ago.  I debated doing a couple .3 mile gradual hill repeats afterwards, but knew it would be too much.

Saturday: 6.8 miles (7:23); 5.5 miles (7:15)

Sunday: 26.6 miles with Cowtown Marathon in 2:35:05.  Anyone under 2:36 split a 25k purse and 27 of us did, so I got a little bit of money.  Felt really smooth and effortless with a two pee stops and a two mile cool down at the end. Fun race but I'll write a recap later.

Week Total: 110.8 miles. Decent week I guess.  Feel about a month away from being in shape but I'll get there.  I have three weeks until Gate River so I'll do some workouts this week to get semi-ready for that.  I'm on a pretty decent team for the race and right now am probably in the worst shape out of the three of us.  So the pressure is on!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

New Page

People are always hunting down fast courses to run on. I'm frequently in the same boat and sometimes it's hard to find information on the difficulty of a course other than the elevation data.  So anytime I run on a half-marathon or marathon course, I'm going to list it on the "Half-Marathon and Marathon Speed Ratings" page. And even if I have an awesome or terrible race there, I'll do my best to remain bias free.

Monday, February 17, 2014

February 10th-16th Training

Monday: 8.5 miles (6:36); 6.3 miles (7:03)

Tuesday: 8 miles (6:36); 7.1 miles with 6xhill blasts (7:05)

Wednesday: 5 miles (6:51); 13.9 miles with 20x400m with 1:00 rest in 65.60 average. Eased into the effort and hung around 64-65 the second half.  Recovered well in-between the intervals and the pace felt nice and smooth.  Rough headwind on the backstretch.  Not a bad first speedworkout back.

Thursday: 8 miles (7:03); 6.6 miles (7:19)

Friday: 10.2 miles (6:18)

Saturday: 13.2 miles with 10x3:00 on/1:00 off at 5:15 average and a little over 4:50 pace on the fast portions. Legs felt like booty today.  It felt like I was trying to put my foot down on the gas but my tires were flat.  My upper hamstrings/inside of quads/hips were still pretty tired from the track workout and wouldn't fire.  When I'm in shape, I can really attack this workout and put a hurting on myself, but today, I just felt flat. Not a very good workout but it's still early; 2.9 miles (7:35)

Sunday: No running. Mary, Kate and I all woke up with the puke bug.  Highlight of the day was somehow managing to pass out while getting ready to toss my cookies at the toilet and waking up with a bruised head and a head size dent in the metal trash can.

Week Total=89.7 miles.  Another week of around 90 miles, when I was planning on making this 110-115. I'll get my mileage back up one of these days.  I feel pretty out-of-shape and hopefully will get my act together so I don't get completely smoked at Gate River.

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 3rd-9th Training

Monday: 5.6 miles (7:03); 7.8 miles with two hill circuits. For the next six weeks or so, I was planning on doing some hill circuits. The plan for today was six circuits, which totaled a little over .4 miles, with a the first .15 flat, followed be a .25 mile hill. I just used mailboxes and other landmarks but I did what I estimated was 100m of running, 50m butt kick, 100m running, 50m bounding, 100m running, 50m high knees and then about 150m of running.  I was going to do 10xsquat jumps at the end, but I was trashed after the first one. Midway through the second, I was absolutely dead and had no power at all, so that was enough of that.  While I can usually predict how I respond to running workouts, these things are more of a wildcard.  I've been fine without them and don't want to tinker around with stuff since my training usually goes pretty well. So bye-bye hill circuits and I'll make up the slack through squats, hill sprints and some new drills.

Tuesday: No running. Bad headache at lunch and 35 and raining in the afternoon. No way bro.

Wednesday: 5 milers (6:34); 11.9 miles with 9.27 mile progression.  Plan was three miles at 18:15, 17:00 and 15:45. Ended up at 17:43, 16:29, 15:35 through three miles.  First section was pretty easy, second felt like I was jogging and I struggled the last 1.5 miles or so on the last one.  My legs were moving slowly, but I was breathing hard.  But I had a 12 mph tailwind on the second part, which was a headwind on the last 1.5, so that explains things.

Thursday: 10.2 miles (6:05);6.9 miles (6:46)

Friday: 3 miles (6:32); 7.7 miles with 4xhill blasts (7:16)

Saturday: 9.7 miles with 5k in 15:23.  Ran the Hill Yeah! 5k.  I thought I'd break 15 but it wasn't going to happen. I was alone from the gone and the course was hilly (271 loss and 270 gain), with some snow on the back roads.  I died on the hills on the first mile and came through in 5:01 I was like, "seriously", so I pushed some more and came through the second mile in 4:56.  The last had a couple climbs but a generous downhill and I came through in 4:42, before a steep uphill finish.  It was hard to find that 5k zone and with the snow and hills, I kept on finding myself getting lazy.  But my power seemed pretty weak and I really need to work on speed and aggressiveness right now; 3.4 miles (7:31)

Sunday: 20 miles (5:55). I woke up early to run but wasn't feeling it, so I delayed it until the afternoon. Procrastinated until I had less than 2.5 hours of daylight left and then I was on my way.  Got rolling really quickly, with my first sub 6:00 mile in the fourth mile.  I was feeling really smooth and went up the unofficial Heartbreak Hill at a pretty good clip since I am now the King of Mountain on this slope on Strava and I don't want to give up the throne yet.  Last four miles were in the 5:30s with no intentional pace pick-up. Really good run.

Week Total: 91.1 miles. Was planning on sneaking into the 100s but the day-off killed that. While I'm not fast now, I'm starting to feel pretty strong.  I'm even starting to eat better and am buying foods that I can't even pronounce.  It couldn't have come at a better time because my jeans I bought before Houston are so tight that I have to do some high rep squats while wearing them before I'm secure enough to wear them outside. And to top it off, my mom asked if I've put on some weight lately.  So I guess it's now going to be easier to walk by all of those Girl Scout cookie tables I've seen everywhere lately.  Maybe next year, Samoas.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Netflix Pick of The Week

Ever since I saw the first two movies in the Evil Dead franchise, I've been a big Bruce Campbell fan.  I'm still a little bit upset he came to Comic Con in Nashville and I didn't know about it.  Maybe we will one day.

The pick for this week is a movie I saw in an independent theater, back in my home town of Columbia, SC while I was in college  The place even sold Blenheim Ginger Ale, which is my favorite soft drink, just ahead of McDonald's Coke (they store theirs in tanks, instead of using syrup, so it's much better).

But the movie this week is Bubba Ho-Tep, which stars Campbell, as Elvis Presley, who now lives in a nursing home.  So no, Elvis didn't really die.  The real Elvis temporarily switched places with an Elvis impersonator and the fake Elvis died as the real Elvis.  So you think the real Elvis could have just taken on his role again and shown his documentation? Wrong, all of the proof was destroyed in an explosion Confusing, I know.

The movie also stars Ossie Davis, who believes he is JFK and says that after the assassination, he was patched up, dyed black and ldropped off at a senior home by LBJ.  Life is good in the nursing home until an ancient Egyptian demon takes residence in the nursing homed, donned in cowboy gear and goes after the souls of the old people. Why old people?  Well, they are slow and the demon isn't exactly in his prime.

The demon is wreaking havoc in the nursing home as he swallows the souls of Elvis' and JFK's(?) friends.  It's up to the duo to destroy the Egyptian cowboy mummy demon and release the souls of all the recently departed old people so they can go to their final resting place. Now that's a story line.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Spring Training and Racing Plans

After two weeks of laziness combined with some extra pounds and easy jogging, it's now time to get back to work. Well, somewhat. I'm hopping on board a little earlier than most people would but I plan on having a shortish season, followed by a nice break. Here's what I'm looking at doing, with a rough timeline.  While things appear pretty on paper, reality seldom has them go that way

  • Increase my mileage to around 115 a week or so.  I won't need as much mileage training for the longer stuff.
  • Incorporate stuff at 10k pace or faster with extra recovery.  I don't want to jump right into the intense stuff right off the bat so I don't become stale before my season ends.  The key is to stay in touch with faster running so I can transition to it easier down the road and also because I feel you should stay somewhat in touch with your speed, nearly year-round. 
  • Incorporate longer, moderate running.  While I'm training for shorter races, I'm still a marathoner, so it's important to not lose the metabolic adaptations I've made.  I was listening to the Mark Hadley podcast on RunFanRadio a couple of weeks ago and the host, Ben Rosario, mentioned that you just can't train however you want and then try and jump into a 12-week  or whatever marathon cycle and expect to be ok. I spent a long time teaching myself to turn from a 5k runner to a marathoner and I don't want to go backwards. Yeah, I'll sacrifice some of my speed in the shorter distances, but who cares?
  • Run a little bit of marathon-pace stuff.  If I were coming off a half-marathon cycle, opposed to a marathon cycle, I'd run a good bit more marathon-type stuff during this time.  But I feel like I covered my bases pretty well over the last couple of months, so I only need to stay in-touch with it, rather than build it.
  • Spend more time on strength/power.  I've been lazy on my hill sprints for quite some time, so I will jump into those and be consistent with them.  I'll also add the lunge matrix before my runs, the myrtle routine after my runs and get back to my squats.  I may even go all out and sell my weights/squat rack and join the gym up the road. 
  • Shift to some quality work at half-marathon pace without killing myself.  Stuff like 4-6 mile tempos, longer fartleks with short rest, longer intervals on the track, etc. 
  • Make my shorter speed days harder by extending the intervals/shortening the rest.  Instead of doing something like 6x1 mile at 10k pace with 3:00 rest, change it to 2:00 rest. Instead of 20x400m at 5k pace with 1:00 rest, speed it up to 3k pace or even a little faster.
  • Get in some fast races
  • Keep the mileage steady
  • Keep around the moderate running
  • Continue strength/power based stuff

  • More work at half-marathon pace.  Old-school training has you ramp up on speed as the season winds down but that doesn't work well for me.  I feel you should spend a lot of time at the pace you plan on running for your peak race.  Running more than 5% slower or faster on your harder days, during your last training cycle, won't have much carry-over value for that specific race. 
  • Throw in some marathon-specific workouts.  Marathon pace is probably about 4% slower or maybe even slightly less if you have a huge gas tank, than 25k pace, so this fits into the proper workout intensity for this time period.  It will also help keep me "marathon strong" for the fall. 
  • Set some PR's
  • Ramp up the mileage some as intensity falls
  • And yes, keep around the strength/power stuff
  • Peak

I'm also focusing much more on the little things this season.  More time using my stretching rope, use my Stick/foam roller/PVC pipe more, more strength stuff and drills and I may even cough up the cash and get a monthly massage.  Watch out.

And here are the planned races I have for the Spring.  I will probably jump in a couple more as workouts but as of now, these are the races I'm ready to go all-out in.

March 16th: Gate River 15k (USA 15k Champs).  I won't be too sharp for this one and I don't really have a time goal.  It's been a bucket list race for the past couple of years and my goal is to go out there and compete, really, really hard.  And of course I will put some guys on my hit list once I see the entries.

March 23: Middle Tennessee Shootout 5k. This is a first-year Nashville race that is on a fast course. My friend is putting it on and is doing his best to make it a quality race.  I'd like to attack the State Record (14:13) here if I can.

April 4th: Stanford 5000m or 10000m.  Hopefully I get into the meet because the track is short and downhill.  If I get in, I'll shoot for at least sub 14 or sub 29.  If I don't get in, I'll run the Sea Ray Relays 5000m the next week.

April 19th: Derby miniMarathon:  I ran 64:39 here two years ago when I was just shooting for sub 66. The course is flat and fast and if mother nature cooperates and if training is going well, I'll shoot for a new PR and maybe even sub 63:00.

May 10th: USA 25k Championships.  After this race last year, I vowed to never run this race or return to the state of Michigan again. Ever.  But 25k is a good distance for me and I want to go for some revenge. So I guess I'll be heading up there again and will make it my peak race (and not run a marathon two weeks beforehand again).

May 26th: Bolder Boulder 10k Uphill, 10k, at altitude...what am I thinking?  This will be on my running break but I will still race it all-out.  Newton wants all of their guys to race it, so I'm going to jump on board.  I also saw that a teacher with 16 years of experience and a PhD. makes over $97,000 in the Boulder Valley School District.  Anyone have a hook-up for a PE and Kindergarten Teacher? And a house that isn't half the size of the one I have now at double the price?

Monday, February 3, 2014

January 27th-February 2nd Training

Monday: 5.5 miles (7:15)

Tuesday: 10.6 miles (6:21)

Wednesday: 5.3 miles (6:19); 8.1 miles (7:08)

Thursday: 10.2 miles (5:56)

Friday: 8 miles (6:12); 6.5 miles (6:58)

Saturday: 6.8 miles (6:48); 10.6 miles (6:01)

Week Total: 71.6 miles.  Was a little lazier than planned this week and skipped a few runs because I just didn't feel like running.  Will start some faster stuff and ramp up the volume some next week.  But I'm surprised my easy day pace has become so fast.  I guess it shows the effect of cumulative fatigue and with no hard sessions, I'm relatively fresh every day.  I'm jumping into my first race of the season, the Hill Yeah! 5k this weekend.  I'll just use it as a rust-buster and get a solid effort in.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Netflix Pick of the Week

Last week, I started watching Bob's Burgers on Netflix.  They only have the first two season, but I went through them pretty quickly.  Bob's Burgers is a cartoon that comes on Fox and is about the happenings of Bob and his family as they try to run their burger joint.  It's actually a really funny show and even Mary likes it!

If you couldn't tell from the title of the show, Bob is the main character.  He owns a burger joint and is a normal guy who just wants to make his burgers without much shenanigans.  While the dude can make pretty tasty burgers, he constantly has bad luck with everything and has trouble keeping his business afloat.

Linda is Bob's wife.  She reminds me of a mixture of an elementary-school room mom with that kooky aunt that a lot of you had growing up (I don't have any kooky aunts). She's a loyal wife, always loud and overly excited and can be a pretty big pushover.  

Tina is the oldest kid in the family and takes the role of a socially-awkward nerd.  She mumbles a lot, groans even more and loves horses, butts, and Jimmy Jr.  

Gene is like a more ADHD version of Chris, from the Family Guy.  He is always loud, easily manipulated and identifies more with the fairer sex.  He also likes to jam out on his old school Casio keyboard and make farting and other sound effects.

Louise is my favorite character in the show.  She's the youngest child but normally is the boss of her siblings. She's aggressive, manipulative, has a dark sense of humor and doesn't take any crap.  She also always wears pink bunny ears.

The show has done really well and has just been renewed for a fifth season, which means I have some catching up to do.  It was written to take over the void King of the Hill left (another good show).  And with episodes being less than thirty minutes, it's the perfect thing to watch while I'm feeding Ellis.