Review and Goals

 

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I feel like I’ve moved from the realm of casual runner into a more a serious category.  The year started off with some fairly intense training for a sub 2 hour marathon attempt in May.  That training included the beginning of this blog as I wanted to document the workouts and my thoughts on them and it provides accountability.

Several mistakes were made.  Number one: whereas may is the start of the road racing season in Indiana, my home for the better part of 37 years, in Arizona the longer races are non-existent.  Something about it being too hot or something.  I had to accelerate the training plan by a month to run a race in Illinois on one of my weekend treks back to Indiana.  This proved difficult along with adjusting to a new job, a new relationship, and life in the desert I didn’t do the best job of sticking to it.  Although I didn’t do too badly either.  The main problem came as the race approached I got a cold that turned into an extremely high fever on the plane ride to the Midwest and respiratory  infection #1 for the year.

During the training for the half I ran in several races.  I know that a lot of the more serious distance runners, especially the longer distances advise against it but I find  it helps me to stay motivated.  Speaking of motivation.  I found a group to run with in the Embrace Your Pace group.

It’s a great bunch of people.  I started running with them after asking about groups at the local running store.  Tortoise  and Hare Sports and just showed up not knowing anyone.  They where all very welcoming and have a very wide variety of paces from the very fast to the more leisurely.  They welcomed me and treated me as if I’ve been running with them for years.  And several, ok most, of the them are a little nuts.  A lot of them run triathlons, several marathoners,  some super fast 5k runners, even some folks doing ultras.  Even with so many doing very intense running they are still incredibly approachable and willing to help anyone.

I had never even dreamt of doing a triathlon but between these guys and coach V I did my first sprint tri.  Still not sure what I think about them but I’m willing to try again.

Over the course of the summer I mostly ran in a 5K series that had a race every other week.  I peaked out mid series with a 24 minute time.  Not super fast but I was happy with it.

 

At the end of the summer started marathon training and respiratory infection #2.  Another round of antibiotics and prednisone for the win!  It did slow the start of training down a little bit but after a few days on the drugs I was able to really get going.  I chose several races along the training to coincide  with some of the long runs.

This was the most intense and consistent training that I have done for a race since high school.  I had the “high” goal, as Somone would put it of running a sub 5 hour marathon and the fallback of being under 5:30.  The training went well and several of the races during the training went very well.  My best half marathon time came at the Craft Brew Half of 2:29 and a grey and drizzly  morning.  I had signed up for the race 6 days before the run after my 20K run was canceled  due to weather.  I set out with a goal of 2:30 so I was really happy with the result.

I also completed the Spartan trifecta by running the Beast while marathon training.  If ever there is a run that will test your endurance and grit it’s a Spartan Beast.  Between the elevation changes and the obstacles it was kind of  grueling. I believe the marathon is still a more mentally tasking races but the Beast was good prep.

 

A week before the marathon respiratory  infection #3 struck.  I went into the doctor faster this time and once again got antibiotics a prednisone.  He was confident that we could get it cleared up before the race although I was still concerned about some to=f the lingering effects.  The last couple of weeks before a marathon is suppose to be pretty easy running.  Its known as “The Taper”.  I’m not very good at it.  Its hard when you have been running and building for the past several months  to not go out a run much.  It probably didn’t help that the tapper was at the beginning of high school soccer season.  Officiated 8 games in the week leading up to the race.  Keep in mind that a soccer game has me running between 3 and 6 miles per game.  It’s all stop and go but still not really resting.

On Race day I was feeling good and really surprised  myself in the first half of the race.  The second half was a grind but coach V and Jeannie where along the route to cheer me on and I sprinted the last quarter mile.

I’ve been told most of my life running that if you can sprint at the end you weren’t working hard enough during the race.  I don’t believe that.  My ability to push and sprint at the end has nothing to do with how much energy I have left or how much was expended in the last 25.9 miles.  I’m a sprinter. Always have been and always will be.  There is a surge of adrenaline and endorphins that hit my like a freight train when I turn the last corner and can see the finish.  No matter how exhausted I am I can always get my legs to go back into the 400m dash form and go.  This has resulted in several collapses once I’ve crossed the line but my brain can always out rule the fatigue if the end is near.

I planned to take a couple of weeks off running to let my body recover from the marathon but I’m about as good at that as I am the taper.  Trying to rest and recover during the height  of soccer season doesn’t work very well. Then just when Christmas break starts and I have nothing scheduled for a couple of weeks…respiratory infection #4!  Because why not finish the year with another one.

This time we are getting serious and having things tested to figure out why I keep getting these.

I also learned a lot about running. From the mechanics that are involved to nutrition and how caffeine  effects the body an hydration. I’ve also learned how much I still don’t know but I’m working on that.

2018 was a good year running. 22 races, including the marathon, a Tough Mudder with my friends and a Spartan Trifecta.

El Jefe

El Jefe hosted a goal setting event where several of us gathered and talked about where we wanted to be in a year.  Not just fitness related goals but life in general.  Somone lead the group discussion of goals and dreams by having us write out 3 to 4 ideas of where we wanted to go in 2019.  She encouraged us to have a personal goal, a professional goal, and a fitness goal.  We also talked about high goals and low goals.

The high goal is the ideal.  The where you truly want to be or accomplish. These should be obtainable but a definite stretch to do it.  The low goal is along the same lines but a less of a stretch.  For example in the marathon I mentioned my high goal was under 5 hours and my low goal was 5:30.  While I didn’t get my sub 5 goal I was still very happy with the 5:20.

We also talked about what is motivating us and how those motivations help drive us to get our goals.  And that if our goals and motivations don’t align it likely that we won’t get our goals.  This is why most New Year resolutions fail so quickly.  They don’t align with what motivates us.

So, my high goals are to pay off my consumer debt, credit cards, car loans, etc. and 25% of my student loan.  Without going into details this is a good sized number.

Now for fitness.  I’ve got some big plans  Actually, my goals go beyond 2019 to 2025.  I want to qualify and run Boston by the time I’m 45.  This year the qualifying  time for the 40-45 age group was  3:15.  So, I’ve got my work cut out for me.  BUT, I have a plan!  Well, it’s the start of a plan.  This year is to get my 5K time to sub 18.  Its faster than I’ve ever ran a 5K including when I was in high school cross country.  Its an aggressive goal but I feel like the main issue I have right now is speed.  If I can get under 18 I’ll also be looking at finishing in the top of my age group.  Even when there are more than 3 people in it.

The 2020 goal is a 10K under 40 minutes

2021 is a half under 1:30.

2022 a full marathon under 3 hours.

That is the ideal progression.  Although I’m ok if the 1:30 half doesn’t happen until 2022 and the full in 2024.  But I want to be in Boston on Patriots Day in 2025 or sooner.  Its aggressive but I think its doable.

The low goals are just scaled versions of the high goals.  Pay off the consumer debt and a 5K under 20 minutes.

Then the hard part. How am I going to do this?

The financials sound easy. I plan on going out to eat less, taking my lunch to work instead of buying it in the cafeteria and reffing as much as I can.  The eating out less has the extra benefit of eating a little healthier which will help with the fitness goal.  And while I don’t make a whole lot from reffing its more than I had and definitely helps.

As for the running.

I’m actually contacting a coach to get a little bit of help with how to go about doing this and I’ve got some people at my gym, El Jefe, who are going to help hold me accountable and check on my progress as the year goes on  I’m viewing health as a part of this goal so figuring out why I’m getting sick all the time will be very important this year..

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So here is to a new year of running.  I hope that everyone has an injury free year and that you beat all of your goals, and not just the running goals.

Until Next Time…C-YA!

 

 

PR and the Finishing Sprint

I FINISHED!

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Ready to Start…Sorta

I also set a new Marathon PR.  My previous best was 6:24 at the Chicago Marathon in 2011.  Saturday, on the most perfect day for running that I can imagine, I ran the 26.2 miles in 5:20:03.  Over an hour faster than my 2011 Chicago run.

While I didn’t quite make my under 5 hour goal I’m still extremely excited about the result.

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This was a very different type of marathon than the previous ones I’ve ran.  I’ve ran the Chicago Marathon twice and the Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH.  Those were much bigger races.  Chicago is one of the largest marathons in the world with around 36,000 people. The Air Force Marathon is smaller but still about 3,200 people.  Chicago is lined with people the entire coarse.  Air force isn’t as solidly lined with people but there is still a fair number and you go through a lot of neighborhoods. Both races are a lot of fun.AFM-Logo-Full-Color-No-Distances-super-small

Buckeye Marathon

The Buckeye is sparse.  Its very well staffed with volunteers and aid stations about every 2 miles.  But between the stations there is very little for most of the race.  The first 4 miles is through a nice looking neighborhood. Then there is a turn to the west and you stay on that road for the next 15 miles.  It is a road that has one main curve to the south and feels like its going through the middle of nowhere.  And its amazingly flat.  You can see for miles in all directions and see little in the way of civilization.  It kinda makes you wonder why its there.  Its a 4 lane divided road with little to nothing on it or near it.  Felt like the road that Field of Dreams inspired.if-you-build-it-1288x724

I paused my music for a little bit and just listened to the deafening silence and my shoes hitting the road for a little bit.  It was kinda nice actually.  I love running with crowds cheering and feeding of the energy of the fans yelling encouragement to people they have never met.  But there was something serene about the silence.  Very calming and peacefully.  I ran like that for about 2 miles before going back to my mix of Britney, Justin, and Pitbull.

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Me with the best support crew ever!

Ok, so more of a recap.  The first half felt amazing.  My half split was 2:22, which would have been a half marathon PR if I was running a half.  I had a small mental breakdown at mile nine, but pulled it back together to the halfway point.

Then I fell apart until about mile 17.  I just couldn’t seem to find a rhythm.  I eventually settled into an interval of .2 run and .2 walk.  The runs where still at a 9 to 10 minute pace, occasionally getting more toward 8:30.  I just couldn’t maintain it.  I tried slowing down to around a 12 minute mile but that was even worse.  Mile 22 my interval stopped working and I went to more a .25 walk and .15 run.  Every time I tried to extend the run I had very sharp pains shoot through my legs. Almost felt like an electric shock in my calves.

And then it came.  The ever elusive runner’s high.  At the Mile 24 marker I looked at my watch and knew that 5:30 was still up for grabs.  In 2 more miles I will have run my fastest marathon to date. And that triggered the endorphins.  My brain overruled my tired sore legs and I started running again.  Back in a .2 run, .2 walk.  The runs were getting down around 8:30 pace and the walks only slowed to about a 14 min mile.  Coach V was at the last turn which was about the 26 mile mark.  She said something encouraging about being almost done and joked about having a hard time keeping up because I was walking too fast.  And I basically said something to the effect of “Watch This!”

I let out a tremendous primal scream and took off at a dead sprint.  Every time I felt like my body wanted to quit I screamed again.  This was everything that was left.  I just let my sprinter brain take over and went.  I peaked out at a 3 min mile pace.  Yes, I have some speed when I want it, I used to be a sprinter.  Of course that was a short duration but still after a 26 mile warm up a 12 second 100 meter dash isn’t too bad. And if anyone reading this knew me in high school they probably aren’t surprised.

Afterward I felt great. As I said before I’m extremely happy with 5:20.  My legs where dead but I still walked over to thank the firemen and police at the finish that where helping with the event.  I changed into my post race kilt, fresh socks, different shoes, and the event shirt.  Pro Tip: Clean clothes feel amazing after a hard race like that.

Coach V took me to Texas Roadhouse for a post race steak and beer.  Possible the best steak and beer, Kiltlifter of course, I’ve had in awhile.  Of course that could be the endorphins talking.Buckeye Finish

I had a lot of random thoughts and musings including how to focus my training over the next several years.  However, I’ll save those for another time.

Until then…C-YA!

Hot Chocolate & Respiratory Infection III

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Saturday I flew to Indiana with my daughter to get her back to her mom’s place.  Amelia is an incredible flying partner and really a blast to go through airports with.  I had been warned that there were storms going through the Midwest over the weekend and to be prepared for an unexpected overnight stay.  We were met at the airport, I saw them off, and then went back through security to get some dinner and wait at the gait.  While eating I got an alert the flight was delayed.  Not surprising and it was going to be tight but my connection in Chicago was still doable.  I walked around the airport wishing that I could go for a run and periodically swinging by the gate just to check.  Its a good thing I did.  On one of my fly-by’s I saw that we were back to an “on-time” departure.  Got on the plane and settled in with the latest Runner’s World for the short flight.  I always get the latest Runner’s world to read on flights.

In Chicago is where the trouble really began.  The flight was delayed a hal hour, then an hour, then an hour and a half and this continued until my 8:30 flight was delayed until 11:30.  The whole time the gate personnel told us that they didn’t have pilots and where waiting on them to come in.  Finally, the flight canceled.  This was not looking good for the race on Sunday morning.  I got on my phone and quickly re-booked for the 5 am flight and resigned myself to meeting Coach V at the finish line.  American Airline was incredibly unapologetic about the cancellation and didn’t even offer vouchers for hotels.  I was simply told that there was an emergency shelter area set up in Terminal 2.

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O’Hare know how to decorate!

So, after giving the customer assistance people an earful, I went to the shelter area and was shown to a cot.  I think I got a couple of hours of sleep before I had to head back to the gate for my 5 am flight.

I have yet to be very successful sleeping on planes.  I continued to read Runner’s World and watched a movie.

To my surprise we landed a little early.  I called coach V and she was just heading to the start corrals. “You might be able to get here in time” Coach V seemed pretty excited.  And a plan was hatched.

She left my race bib at the information tent right beside bag check.  When I get there I checked my bag, got my number and took off.  I missed the start and they where just about to shut down the start line when I went through like a bat out of hell.  Coach V had a pretty good lead on me and while I knew that she was going to stay with the 14 min/mile pacer I still wanted to catch her as quickly as possible.  I caught up with her after about a mile and a quarter.

After spending the night at the airport, a 4 hour plane ride, and a Lyft to the race site I ran a 9 min mile.  IN BLUE JEANS!

OK, so, I was kinda impressed.

We did the rest of the run together at a walk run interval.  Coach V hadn’t trained for the run very much and being 5 months pregnant I was impressed she did it at all.  But, she REALLY loves chocolate.  Admittedly, it was really good chocolate.  And it was so nice to see her after the night I had.

That race was the middle of “the Taper”.  That magical time before a marathon when you scale back the mileage in preparation for the impending race.  And as the theme has gone for the year I got another respiratory infection.  It started on Thanksgiving day as a mild sore throat which eased off after a couple of days.

Then the cough started.  I tried to deal with it on my own but after a week and reffing a soccer game I decided to head to a doctor.  He confirmed the infection and started me on antibiotics and, my personal favorite, prednisone. Just what I wanted in the week leading up to the marathon that I’m trying to break my PR by over an hour in.

I have been jittery all week.  I’ve been having such a hard time focusing that its taking me 3 days just to write this. I’m not sleeping a whole lot and when I do it isn’t great.  Oh and I’ve reffed 4 of the 5 nights this week.

Yet I’m still hopeful that it will be a good run.  The weather is looking like it will be just about perfect for a run tomorrow.  I’ve been watching my diet this week and avoiding anything fried.  The soccer games mean that I’ve been running 6-8 miles every night but its all stop and go.  Light jogs, followed by standing, followed by full on sprints.  Its actually a lot of fun but mentally taxing.

My goal tomorrow is under 5 hours.  the trip, and Runner’s World, helped me think a lot about my running goals in the next several years. I’ve come up with some pretty aggressive goals over the next 4-5 years but I’ll save those for another time.

Buckeye Marathon

Tomorrow is the Buckeye Marathon.  I’ve never been more prepared for a marathon than I am right now.  Still I’m incredibly nervous and worried that the recent respiratory issues will create a problem.  But, still I’m hopeful.  Assuming I survive I’ll let you know how it goes.

Until then…C-YA!

Squats and Long Runs

I’ve mentioned before that I have been doing weight training at El Jefe as part of my marathon training.  I go to the power lifting class lead by coach Vinny on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Yesterday, along with most Tuesdays, was a squat workout.  In the middle of one of my sets Coach Vinny walks over and watches me as he does with everyone.

El Jefe

Usually after watching for a little bit Coach Vinny will tell a person what they are doing wrong, how to correct it and what   they are doing that looks good.  I wasn’t ready for what he told me.

“You squat like an Asian!”

WHAT?!?  I don’t even know what that means.

He assured me that it wasn’t a bad thing and that he in fact liked it. Still this has had me perplexed since he said it.  What am I doing differently than everyone else?  This is where the internet comes in.

The Parallel (Western) squat:

Parrell SquatThis is what most of use in the US and non-Asian countries do. Definitions vary but generally it involves either the femur being parallel to the floor or the hip joint getting to just below the knee.  Kinda like siting down in a chair but without the chair.

 

 

The Deep (Asian) squat:

Asian Squat

This involves the butt getting as close to the floor as possible. Its a triple flexion movement, involving bending at the ankles, knees and hips.  Folding everything up underneath yourself.  Ultimately, it comes down to ankle flexibility.  If you have flexible ankle you have a shot at it.  Its VERY common in Asian countries.  And   having spent some time in Japan I can attest to that.  Its the default resting position over there.  According to Dr. Philip Maffetone in his book The Endurance Handbook, it is a more natural position and less stress inducing than sitting in a chair.

So, sounds to me like its a good thing its quite possibly the only time I’ve been accused of being flexible.  Dr. Maffetone did observe that the ability to comfortable deep squat is more prevalent in endurance athletes.  Maybe that means I’m approaching that level.

Speaking of endurance, how’s that for a segue,  I went on a 16.5 mile run the other day.  the schedule called for an 18 mile run but it was hot, I was hungry and I had an appointment coming up that I needed to get cleaned up for.

I was pretty concerned at the beginning since my knee had been sore for a couple of days.  But coach V wouldn’t let me out of the run so I thought I would give it a try.

The first 2 miles were pure agony.  I couldn’t get comfortable in my gait.  there was pain in my knee every time my foot hit the ground.  I tried to change my foot strike to no avail.  Lengthened my gait, shortened my gait, over exaggerated my knee movement, minimized its movement.  Nothing helped!

Then just after the 2 mile mark when I was about to tap out for the day.  It cleared. Suddenly there was no pain anywhere.  I have no idea what happened but I rode that wave through mile 6.  Felt like I could go forever.  Coach V and I stopped by home at mile 7 so I could use the restroom.  She was starting to get some pain from being on the bike for that long, probably had something to do with being 19 weeks pregnant, so she stayed home and I continued on.

Took about a mile to find the groove again but I found it. I coasted to mile 12 and then mile legs started screaming at me.  Just little short pains at first.  A minor spasm here, the precursor to a cramp there…just enough to interrupt my stride.  So I had to start walking more and drinking my water and the new Gatorade Endurance that coach V got me.  In total it took my 3:31 to go 16.5 miles.  That averages to 12:50 min miles but it was the last 4 miles that really brought that average down.

And on another topic….

Sorry couldn’t come up with a natural segue so that will have to do.

I finally found a gel that doesn’t make me wretch as some as it gets to my lips.  Hammer Gel.  Fueling during long runs is important and having a strategy to fuel is equal critical.  So, following the guideline in Marathoning for Mortals I am taking in about 100 calories every hour on the half hour.  Originally, I planned on doing this with just Gatorade chews since every gel I had tried to that point didn’t sit well with my stomach or sense of taste.

I got a couple of Hammer gels in a race swag bag and thought, “for free I’ll try it”.  I actually like them alot.

So…with the impending long runs and marathon soon to come I went to their website (https://www.hammernutrition.com)  and ordered a sampler pack with different flavors of gels.  14 in total.  I thought it would be goo to try several different ones so I can decide what I like and don’t from a taste perspective.

This is what I expected to get:

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This is what I received:

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Since I’m a new customer they sent me a welcome packet at no charge.  I’m seriously impressed.   This is bunch of stuff when all you are expecting is some gels.  I am still working on how I want to start incorporating some of it into my running routine being so close to the Marathon I may wait until after to start trying things.  But, I’m really looking forward to seeing if it helps with the post marathon and 15k trail run recovery.  I’m very impressed with this company so far and a lot of the literature they sent about the products lines up with the research I’ve been doing on endurance running nutrition.

OK, so, that was a lot of post.  I’m getting in new shoes tonight and can’t wait to try them out and then another pair of shoes on Friday.  That’s a story for another time.

So, tonight will be a run, not sure how far I’ll go but I’ll let y’all know!  Until then….C-YA!

Half Marathons and Spartans

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SO, Its been awhile.  A LOT has happened since the beginning of August.  I’ll do a quick recap.

The last of the AZ Sunrise series.  Foothills Park, Glendale.

This was basically my home turf.  The race start line was 3 mile from home.  Since I was scheduled for a 6 mile run that day I decided, along with coach V, to run to the race location and she would meet me there to drive me to breakfast.  Along the way I ran into a group of fellow embrace your pace runners and stayed with them for a little bit.  about a mile longer than I should have and barely made it to my race in time.  The time wasn’t great 32:14 but given that I ran 4 miles before the 5K I don’t think it was too bad.

 

Next up was the Anthem Sprint Triathlon.

As most of you may recall my last attempt at a tri did not go well up in flagstaff.  I was also dealing with a calf problem that was becoming worse.  Needless to say I was pretty nervous.  I jokingly told people that I would be happy if I was under 2 hours.  I was doing pretty well on the 5K run until about mile 2 then my calf started to act up and forced me to walk for awhile.

The bike was miserable.  I do not know how to maintain speed going up hills.  and as many others noted I look extremely uncomfortable on a bike.  And that is because I am. I need more practice at it. I find it difficult to motivate myself to bike when I dislike it so much and would rather be running.

The swim.  This is what nearly took me out last time.  This was a little easier since it was in a pool.  I was told that I have pretty good form but I need to quit stopping everytime I get to the end of the pool.

Remember I said I would be happy if I got under 2 hours.  I finished in 1:59:59!  I couldn’t have gotten closer to 2 hours if I tried.  And in the interest of full disclosure Coach V finished in 1:51.  So, yeah, I have some work to do on triathlons.

South Mountain 20K

The next race was suppose to be the south mountain 20K.  However, there was a little rain that morning and it was a little chilly, by Arizona standards.  So, they canceled it.  Still a little annoyed but they where really nice and apologetic about it.

Craft Classic Half

Since I was all ready to do a race I found a half marathon the next weekend over in the Fountain Hills area.  Turned out to be a really nice run.  Since I was just using it as a training run for the full I didn’t feel a lot of pressure and was able to enjoy the scenery a little.  the morning was overcast and cool, which was perfect.  The downside was that the course was WAY hillier than I expected.  I went in with what I thought was a fairly obtainable goal of 2:30.  That was before I saw the hills.  The nice thing about hills is that after you go up you generally get to come down.  I LOVE downhill running.  Having been a sprinter I am pretty good at turning my legs over quickly and can charge a downhill.  During training runs I try to charge the uphills and go easy to walking the downhills.  Its my own form of hill training.  Although, I should do more to seek out some hills to train on.  But that will become evident later.

Still the run felt really good.  I did a good job of keeping myself fueled during the run and had a good little kick at the end.  I’ve discovered a gel that doesn’t upset my stomach.  Hammer Gel.  so far I’ve done well with all the flavors I’ve tried and am a big fan of the espresso, but I do have a bit of a coffee problem.   My time was 2:29:55.  So, I bet my 2:30 goal.

Spartan Beast

I’m starting to really enjoy these kinds of runs.  Yes, I view them as runs not races.  I do them to help break up the monotony of running on the road.  The comradery of the people who run them. The challenge of the obstacles. The inevitable hill work.  But not as much for time.  But I still like to do my best.  So nearly 7 hours to go 13.1 miles even with the obsticals.  That was some of the most brutal terrain that I’ve ever faced. I don’t wear my Garmin on these kinds of races so I’m not sure what the elevation change was but I’m guessing  it was a lot.

It was also a TON of fun. I only failed 2 challenges.  The twister and the rope climb.  Someday I’ll figure out that darn rope.  I could do it in high school but I’ve completely forgotten since then.  This was the most prepared that I’ve been for one of these types of races and that was due in no small part to the coaches at El Jefe where I’ve been weight lifting for the past several months.

 

I’ve had a lot of fun getting to know the weightlifting group and feel much stronger than I have since I was helping on my families farms.  So a big thank to coach Jett and coach Vinny for their patience in teaching me how to lift properly.

This also was the last race that I needed for the coveted Spartan Trifecta.  Which means that I’ve completed a Sprint, Super, and Beast in one calendar year.  I’m actually pretty proud of it.

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That catches everyone up on the racing that I’ve been doing to past couple of months.  Of course I’ve been going on training runs although I’m not sticking to the schedule as well as I should.  Hopefully here in the last 6 weeks of training I can get back to more regular running.  My work schedule changed a little and I can’t make the morning group runs anymore.  This has really bummed me out and demotivated me a little.  The Spartan did a lot to get my resolve back.

Last weekend I went on a “short” 8 mile run.  Honestly, it did feel kinda short.  Although I could feel my knees for most of the run and toward the end my right knee.  I’ve actually been having some pain just walking this week.  But Monday evening I went on a short run with coach V in anticipation of her Olympic Tri next weekend and my knee felt fine.  There is a close to .5 mile loop in my neighborhood that we ran.  I did 5 laps and coach V did 4.  I did 2 “speed laps” in the middle.  Ran an 8:20 mile and that included 2 stops to look for coach V.  I topped out 5:10 min mile and actually held that for a little bit according to the Garmin.  So I still have some speed in there somewhere.

And now for some random pictures from the past few months of training!

Couple of shorter training runs this week and next weekend is the first of 2 serious distance training runs.  The 18 mile run!  should be interesting.

I have a lot of other things to talk about but this is already getting kinda long so I’ll save them for another time.

Until then…C-ya!

 

 

 

Marathon Training and Max Heart Rate

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Marathon training has begun!

I modified a training program that I got from the book “Marathoning for Mortals” by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield. It was recommended by a good friend of and best running I know named Susan Barth. It is a great book for anyone looking to run a half or full marathon.  Lots of good information about gear, nutrition, and training.

Marathoning for Mortals

In the back of the book are also several training plans for all levels.  I’m for the first time trying the “Run” plan.  Previously I’ve done the walk-run and run-walk plans which are basically interval plans with different amount of walking vs running.

This time is running.  The plan is a little different than I’ve done before in that it is more time and effort based than mileage based.  Most training regimes I’ve followed before have given me a specific mileage to run on any given day.  This differs in that instead of telling me to run 6 miles on Thursday it wants me to run 40 minutes at between 60-75% Max heart rate.

Which leads me to an interesting topic.  What the heck is my Max Heart Rate?  The old standby method is to subtract your age from 220. Being 37 that puts my max at 183.

Another method says to multiply your age by .7 then subtract from 207.  So for me that would be 207-(0.7*37)=181.9 or 182 because who can count .9 of a heartbeat anyway.

Yet another is 210-(0.5*Age) which for me yields 191 bpm.

Here is a calculator that using several methods. for my age it gives me a range of 180 for 191.  Heart Rate Calculator

These are all estimates and its a good place to start.  The best if you want a truly accurate number is to perform a cardio assessment.  Basically what you are going to do is push yourself hard and see what your peak heartrate is.

Again there are several ways of doing this.  My favorite, and I use that term loosely, is by running a hill.  You’ll need a heart rate monitor and find your “favorite” hill.  Warm up holding a moderate pace for 10 minutes.  Then, and this is the fun part, attack the hill as fast as you can for 3 minutes.  Rest for 3 minutes and then attack the hill as fast as possible again for 3 minutes.  Use the highest reading during the second run as your max. Which for me is 196.

The basic idea is to push as absolutely as hard as you can and see what happens.

Ok so here is the training plan, today is highlighted in Yellow:

Training 8-8The weight lifting and Power lifting are classes at El Jefe Crossfit.  These are great! I’ve always been hesitant to lift weights because in the past they have always strained my back.  I never was taught how to lift properly when I was a younger.   The coaches at El Jefe are very patient and eager to teach me how to lift properly and encouraging me to push myself.

This feels like an ambitious training schedule but with the help of Coach V, and the addition of Coach Dubreil and Coach Valdez from El Jefe I feel like its doable.  Although I just realized there are 2 Coach V’s.

Up Tomorrow is the 40 minute run in the morning and powerlifting in the evening.  The morning run will be a little different.  I need to do a 5K speed run to submit for the AZ Sunrise series virtual run from last Saturday.   Until then, C-YA!3479_1533749052790

Failure and Training

I haven’t written in awhile because I was dreading having to admit this to everyone.  I mentioned in the last post that I was the swimmer on a triathlon relay team.

Mountain Man

It didn’t go well.  Let me start at the beginning.

The morning started well. I maybe a little more nervous than I normally am before a race, but as I usually am quick to tell people. Nervous is good.  Nervous means that you care. Nervous can help us focus and perform better.  I am more concerned when I’m not nervous going into things.

We left Coach V’s grandmother’s place in Flagstaff and went to Upper Lake Mary.  we got to the staging area. Got Coach V’s bike squared away, found Andrea, the runner, and got our timing chip.

The traditional method for a tri is swim, bike, and finally run.  So, I was up first.  I got into the wetsuit. I was told I needed due to the water temperature and it would give me some extra bouncy. Surprisingly it wasn’t to bad to get on.  I noticed right away that it was pretty tight to my neck but dismissed it as just the way these things are.

I walked to the start area  with the whole Embrace Your Pace gang that came up for the event and waited for the relay start.

When it was our turn I got in the water. submerged myself and thought this isn’t so bad.  water temp was mid to upper 60s and I was able to get off to one side so it wasn’t as  crowded.  A horn was blown and we where off.

I started off in with a freestyle stroke breathing on the third stroke until I ran into someone.  That wasn’t a big deal.  I put my head up, looked around and switched to my back more floating than swimming at that point.  But I was fine and actually thought it was kind of relaxing.

I flipped back over to swim for a little bit again and that’s when the trouble started.  On one of my breaths I took in some water and choked a little.  My lungs upon receiving the unexpected water decided.  “Nope, we are going to freak out and start an asthma attack immediately.”

Between the asthma attack, the wetsuit at my neck, and the thin air at 7000 ft I panicked.  Suddenly I couldn’t keep my head above the water, or at least that’s how it felt.  I seriously wasn’t sure I was going to make it out of that lake at point.  But one of the race volunteers in a kayak noticed my struggling and came over to let me grab ahold of the kayak and rest.

The asthma attack wasn’t letting up and without my inhaler with me I was afraid that continuing would be a bad idea, so I asked to get pulled out by the boat.  My race day was over.  I made it maybe 50 meters of the 750 meter swim.  Once on the boat I was able to get my breathing under control even before we got back to shore.  The folks on the boat where very understanding and supportive and I am grateful that they where there..  They had to take my chip so officially my team was no longer competing but they did tell me that the rest of the team should still do there events.

I was, and to an extent still am, extremely mad at myself.  I’ve NEVER not finished a race before.  Even when my back gave out at the beginning of a 200M dash in high school I got back up and finished the race, before passing out briefly from the pain.  And not only did I fail and not finish but I let the rest of my team down.  They where counting on me to do my part and I didn’t.  And its completely my fault.  I hadn’t swam seriously since high school, I’d never swan in open water, I wasn’t ready for the altitude, I hadn’t worn a wetsuit before, and I blew off training thinking that athleticism could carry me through.  My arrogance cost my team an official finish in the race and nearly cost me even more.

I’m still upset and a little pissed at myself.  But for me it seems to have come with some new determination.  Coach V and I are signing up at a pool so that I can start swimming laps and get used to being in the water.  I’m signed up for a reverse tri at the end of August.  Which means that the swim is last and its only 400M in a pool.  I’m looking into a couple of Tri sprints this fall.  A sprint basically means all the distances are shorter.  The only issue there is that I need to make sure it fits in with the marathon training.

The rest of the weekend in Flagstaff was really fun.  Went on a couple of hikes, both of which where cut short by rain.  And it was really fun seeing everyone up there and cheering the others on during the bike and run.

OK, enough about that.Rio Run 7-17

I’ve been taking training easy the past several weeks knowing that marathon training is coming.  But I’ve still been trying to make the Tuesday and Thursday morning group runs.  I got my donut key chain, which means that I made 4 weeks in a row.20180712_072538

I ran my 5th in the AZ Sunrise series this past Saturday. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as well as I hoped.  I started having a lot of calf pain and then knee pain during the second mile and had to walk.  Every time I would test out running and get back to full stride the pain started again.  I ended running the 3.1 miles in 30:03 which is a 9:41 minute per mile pace.  Not horrible but no where near the 25 minute 5K I did in Seattle a few weeks ago.

AZ Gilbert

Once I got home and took my shoe off my fourth toe on my right foot was extremely sore and very painful if it got touched.  On further inspection I found a good sized blister had formed UNDER the toe nail.  I felt relief almost the instant I popped it and now its fine.  So, I’m blaming that for the issues on the run Saturday.  That being said Coach V, and I agree, that I should get my calf looked at.  Its been causing problems off and on all summer.

 

Last Friday we started going to a cross fit gym, EL JEFE.  Coach V prefers that sort of thing to running and I really need to work on my upper body strength.  Other than the class being at 5 am it was fun in that hard work kind of way.  They also on staff have a running coach and a in house physical therapist.  So, I’ll probably be talking to them soon.

This morning I went on a bike ride with Coach V.  Its been well documented that I am not a biker.  However, my friend Stephen loaned me a bike and after looking at the seat on it vs the seat on mine I came up with a theory.  My seat SUCKED! so I switched them.

I wouldn’t say that I loved biking this morning but it wasn’t too bad.  a good seat can make a huge difference, apparently.  Who knew?!

Finished

So, that basically catches everyone up.  The bike was day one of marathon training.  I’ll post the whole plan later since this is getting a little long already.

Next up is an “easy” 40 minute run tomorrow.  Until then…C-YA!