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.