Virtual races and Spartans

 

 

Wow, so its been a little busy here.  Lots to recap so I’ll just get to it.

 

I have now done 2 virtual runs in the AZ Sunrise series.  The first one I did during the 4 mile Arrowhead Loop Run on Thursday morning.  It was a pretty good run.  finished in 27:22 which is a 8:47 pace.  It really helps to have people that you run with on a regular basis to help pace.  I pushed pretty hard to stay with the lead group for as long as I could.

A couple weeks later we took a short trip to Seattle.  So, with I was up in the cooler weather I did another 5K for the July 7th AZ Sunrise run since I was going to be running a Spartan that day.

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Running in Seattle was great.  Thanks to Coach V’s years up there she knew some good places to run.  She took me to a trail     That was a out and back run with only 1 turn that I had to pay attention for.  I’m calling it a trail because it was heavy wooded with REALLY tall trees but it was paved so no risk of tripping on roots and rocks.  Even though I did it in the afternoon it was beautiful weather for running.  Sunny, warm but not what a guy from Arizona or Indiana would call hot.  I pushed really hard on this one and was rewarded with a 25:46 finish.  Average pace was 8:17 and the first mile was 7:14.  I haven’t had a mile split that fast since high school.  I looked up where that would have put me if I had ran that in the actual race.  I would have been 4th in my age group.  I’m pretty excited by that and am very curious to see what will happened in a week and a half at the next one.

On to the Spartan.  I ran a Spartan Super back in February.  A super is around 8 miles with around 25 obstacles\challenges.  To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of it.  While on the road and trails I’m pretty competitive and have very specific goals that I’m pushing myself to meet I view these kind of runs as just screwing around.  I’m just out there to have some fun.  The Tough Mudders have more that feel to me.  While I do take it seriously, I’m not worried about finishing times and have the most fun when I’m helping others on the course.

Spartan is a little different.  Almost everyone I talked with there was taking it very seriously.  I was criticized for drinking coffee before the race because “the caffeine will make you muscles need more oxygen while your running”.  That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that.  I’ll need to look into sometime.  But, frankly who cares.  I know a lot of runners that have a serious coffee problem.

Des Linden in an interview I think with Runner’s World talks about getting a bag of coffee beans to take home from everywhere she goes on vacations.  And she won the Boston Marathons during the worst weather conditions in recent memory.  She, along with her Husband and another couple run a coffee company, Linden & True Coffee. (https://www.coffeebylt.com/)

Ok, I’ve gone on rants about coffee before so I’ll stop now.

I need a refill anyway.

Anywho…..

This was a Spartan Stadium Sprint which means that it was basically a 5K with 23 obstacles.  I had a blast!  one 2 obstacles that gave me issues. I can’t climb a rope.  I used to be able to but I’ve forgotten how to do it somewhere along the way.  and the “multi-rig” which is just swinging from rings suspended by straps.  The only issue I had is that the rings where so close to the ground that I could reach them while standing on the ground.  So, every time that I swung between rings my feet dragged across the floor.

It took me 1:13:45 to complete. I could have gone a lot faster but since we where winding around the University of Phoenix Stadium I couldn’t tell how far it was between each obstacle or how much more I had left in the run.  So, I keep to a moderate jog to conserve my strength.  Next time I’ll push harder.

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And riding that kind of euphoric, that was pretty easy, feeling I signed up for a Spartan Beast in October.  That will give me an extra “Trifecta” medal.

Yes, I know, I have a running for the bling problem.

Tomorrow I will run my 4th Arrowhead Loop in 4 weeks. which means that I get a doughnut keychain.  I’m really excited about this.

This weekend should be interesting.  I’m on a triathlon team as the swimmer.  I haven’t swam seriously since I was in high school and would swim practices with the girls swim team.  And I’ve never swam like this in open water.  Or worn a wetsuit.

I had a chance at the beginning of the week to go on an open water swim but I got the time wrong.  I was told they where meeting at 4:30.  I assumed PM, they meant AM. Opps!  I’m hoping tomorrow night to go get some laps in at a nearby pool just to see if I remember how to swim.

I haven’t been very good at all with training runs.  As I mentioned I’ve been going to the Thursday morning Arrowhead Loop Runs. I also did a workout with Coach V’s trainer in Seattle, Chris Reilly.  Great workout but it kicked my butt.

I think that after the fairly intense training that I did for the half I needed the break.  Marathon training starts on July 23 and I’ve got a pretty aggressive schedule set up for that.

And now to finish watching England and Croatia!  Until next time C-YA!

 

Camping and Triathlons

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Time has a tendency to get away from us when we don’t pay attention.  Its been a very busy couple of weeks and I have not been the best at sticking to my training plan.

Basically, I haven’t gotten to the plan I wrote about last time at all.  But I still managed some runs.

I’ve got in 6 runs over the past two weeks including the second in the AZ Sunrise Series.  Several hikes and a short trail run.

We all (Coach V, James, Amelia and I) did a short run for national running day.  and then shared some Italian Ice afterward.  It was a fun little run sponsored by Tortoise and Hare.  They had 2 options, a one mile and a three mile out and back.  Since we had the kids with us we just did the 1 mile.  It was interesting seeing the different techniques the kids came up with for tackling the distance.  James runs intervals.  He would go about as fast as he could for a short distance then walk for a little bit.  Then repeat the process again.  In contrast, Amelia ran slower but didn’t stop, save for a couple of little breaks for water.  Amelia also started the quiet determined chant of “we can do it” with about a quarter mile left. They ended up finishing together and neither have had any coaching which made it interesting to watch.

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The second AZ Sunrise Series race was at the Scottsdale Sports Complex. I was actually a little disappointed with my performance.  It was a little slower than the race 2 weeks before by about a minute.  29:30 for the 5K.  The main issue that I had was when I stopped at the first water station I choked on the water.  Which flared up my asthma and my lungs never did recover.  I was also not in the greatest place in my head for racing.  Nothing bad just a lot going on and my head was in other places.  We were getting ready for a camping trip the coming Monday and my daughter was in town so I was thinking about other things.

I also have been drinking a pre-workout drink, C-4, before the races and I think I’m going to stop doing that.  Since I don’t train with it I’m not sure its a great idea.  Mostly, I was drinking it because of the caffeine content and easier to drink quickly before the race instead of coffee.

Also, its getting hotter here and I think that its time to switch my race shirt to the sleeveless or tank top.

During the camping trip I went on several hikes with the whole crew.  Including a 2.5 mile hike. That I went on a one mile trail run in the middle of.  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of distance, BUT, coach V and I had two 3 year-olds and a 5 year-old with us.  That’s a pretty good distance for those little legs.  But they were troopers and did it.  Unfortunately, it was discovered that a camera was left on the trail when we took a small break.  So, I ran back about .3 miles to get it and then turned around and ran to catch up.  Overall it took me 14:28 to run a mile over some incredibly rough terrain.

Overall very good trip.  I wish I could have gotten in a couple of early morning runs but that my fault for not getting up.

For Father’s Day my daughter got me some cool clip on reflector lights for when I run in the dark, some Gatorade chews (daddy candy), and a book on using my stick roller and trigger point ball.  She also got me some gear to help when I use my smoker.  I used the clips like night and they are very cool.

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And Coach V came with me!  I always enjoy when she comes with.  It was a slow run but we mostly were analyzing form and establishing a baseline for where she is running.

Tonight we are going to a Good Form running clinic at Tortoise and Hare.  I’ll be really interested in what they have to save both for myself and Coach V.

We discussed a very rough training plan to get her going with running again.  She is mostly a biker. And as she puts it “Really Hates Running”.

The main reason for her needing to get up to speed as it where is that we are both doing a sprint triathlon in August.  It also means that I need to start biking more.  Which means I need a better bike.  I may have a lead on one I can borrow for a little bit before I buy one.

We are also two-thirds of a relay team for a tri in July.  Coach V will be handling the biking duties and I’m going to take on the swimming.  I really need to get in a pool and see if I still remember how to swim.  I was a really strong swimmer back in high school and I know most of the mechanics of good swim form from my time as the manager of the girls swim team in high school.  I’m not overly worried about it but a little practice would be a good thing.

This weekend is the third in the AZ Sunrise series and, unfortunately, I won’t be able to be there.  So, I’m taking their virtual option.  I plan on doing that tomorrow morning during the Thursday morning Arrowhead Loop Group run.  Still trying to decide if I’m going to run in the kilt for that or not.

Hopefully after this weekend my life calms down a little and I can get back to a more normal running schedule.  I’ve been lacking motivation a little recently and hope that its just because its been so busy.

Until next time…C-YA!

Old Bikes and Speed Plan

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Last Thursday I went on the 4 mile run with the group.  And Coach V came and ran with me.  And by ran with me I mean that we started at the same time and finished at the same time.

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Still, it was great to have her out there with me.  I tried staying with a couple of the guys that are always near the front of the run.  I stayed with them for the first mile and a half before I fell off a little.  Still the first 2 mile where at a 8:54 pace.  Which for me is pretty good and really consistent.

The third mile was horrible.  My calf tried to cramp several times.  My breathing got out of whack.  Just not a good feeling mile.  Still managed a 9:25 mile.  The third mile was much better.  Partially because I knew that the end was near.  The last mile I ran a 8:34.

So……Here’s the plan.

I’m going to run 3 days during the week.  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  I’ve gotten word of a 4 mile group on Tuesday mornings.  Wednesday I’ll do speed work. Either hills, fartlek’s, or pyramids.  And then the Arrowhead Loop group run on Thursdays.

Saturdays will be a bit of a wildcard.  Every other Saturday I am signed up for a 5K in the AZ Sunrise series.

The guys at breakfast are trying to get rid of my excuses for not doing a triathlon.  As I’ve mentioned several times on here I’m not a biker.  The guys on Thursday believe its because my bike is from the Carter administration (1970s for those who don’t know who that is).  I have a mid 70’s Schwinn.

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Its not a bad bike.  Technology has just past it by.   One on the guys has offered to let me borrow one of his bikes that doesn’t fit him to get me started.  Which is nice since they can cost a lot of money for something I’m still not sure about.

They also invited coach V and I to a weekly open water swim that they do to practice for tri’s and some rides that they go on.

The swim part doesn’t worry me that much.  I’m a pretty strong swimmer and comfortable in a pool.  Haven’t done much in the way of open water but how hard can it be?

When I was in high school I was the manager of the girls swim team.  Which I know doesn’t sound like it would do much for my swimming ability.  It was great for my social life though.

Anyhizzle…..

Once or twice a week the coach would let me swim the practices with them and I was always in the inter-squad meet that they would do a couple of times a season.  I used it as off season training between cross country and track season.

I also plan on doing weight training on Monday, Friday and one of the days on the weekend.  I need to get my upper body strength built up so that I can do better at the Spartans and Tough Mudders.

My goal is to get under an 8 minute mile average for 5ks and try to take as much of that speed into the marathon training as I can.

And all in the Arizonian heat.  Should get interesting.

Until then….C-YA!

 

Sunrise Series and Prednisone

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Its been awhile but the break is now over!

Saturday I  the first in the Airzona Sunrise Series.  This is a set of 7 5Ks in different locations throughout the Phoenix area.  There is another race every other weekend.  Last Saturday was at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, AZ.

It was a nice out and back course that curved around a pond and beside one of the canals.  Pretty fast course, although, it did manage to go uphill both ways which is an interesting feat in an out and back.

I ran it in 28:13 making it the second fastest 5K since high school.  Given that I haven’t ran much in the past month. (This brings my total in the past four weeks to 7 miles.)  I’m pretty happy with it.

Everything felt good for the whole race. I was tired afterward, but nothing felt injured.  I do need to work on speed but I think that this was a good baseline run.  The next race is on June 9th.  So, I’ve got two weeks to find some more speed.  The main thing that I think that I’ll be fighting is the heat.

It’s starting to get hot here in the valley of the sun.  as in today hit triple digits and I don’t think we will be turning back until September.  So, That should make things interesting.

Speaking of that ridiculous cold/upper respiratory infection.  One of the lingering effects of it was a sore throat.  It just wouldn’t stop.  I lasted 4 weeks total and added an ear ache in the past week.  I only just got rid of it thanks to some high powered medication.  Namely another round of stronger antibiotics and a little thing called prednisone.

Prednisone is an interesting thing.  It’s a steroid used to reduce inflammation.  Namely my sinus passages.  Yes it had gotten that bad.  But it has some side effects.  I’m hungry.  Like REALLY hungry.  All the time.  I ate a big lunch today and was hungry about 5 minutes later.  I’m also really thirsty.  Like I drank about 250 ounces of water today.  The most fun effect though is that I’m wired.  Its like drinking about 10 pots of coffee all at once and no crash in the afternoon.  I’m getting a lot done at work right now and will probably start attacking the house tomorrow evening.  I’m hoping that I can go on a run tomorrow night as well.

 

Until then…C-yafb_img_1527546568846

Missed runs and Refocusing

20180427_110636.jpgSo, its been awhile since I posted anything. That’s partially because I haven’t ran in over two and a half weeks. But I have a fairly good reason. At least I think it is.

Two days before the race I started to get a little bit of a sore throat. Not a big deal I thought. I started pushing vitamin C pretty hard and decided to take it easy. Friday I had a little bit of a sniffle but again didn’t think much of it.

Then came the plane ride to Indiana.

Flying with sinus issues is never fun. But, I’ve survived it before and was confident that I would again. As the nearly 4 hour flight wore on I began feeling worse and worse. I was getting colder and colder. Even my three year old daughter cuddling up next to me wasn’t warming me up any.

OK, I have a fever.

Then came the uncontrollable shivering.  Coach V was getting pretty worried about me at this point and started mentioning that a half marathon in less than 12 hours might not be a best idea.  I dismissed that thought at first because I’m stubborn and hated the idea of all this training and not taking my shot at a sub 2 hour half.  I was sure that the fever was about to break and that with some sleep I’d be fine.

We landed, got our bags, and I made the very tough decision that it would be better not to drive to Illinois get 3 hours of sleep and then run.  The better plan was to go to our friends in Noblesville and be able to sleep in the next morning.

When Anna pulled up to take us to her place she thought that I “looked like hell” and that it was a good call to not do the race.

They took my temperature right before we went to bed and I was still at 102.  Honestly, I thought it had come down quite a bit from earlier.

So, I slept until 10 I think.  Temperature when I woke up was still 102.  But it broke shortly after I took a shower and I was feeling somewhat human again.

The decision not to run was the right one.  Even though it killed me, metaphorically speaking, to bail on a race.  I think that it may have come close to literally killing me if I had run it.  Best case I would have been extremely disappointed with the result.

So, I suffered though the next week with a horrible cough, sore throat, and I completely lost my voice.  Which is fun when a lot of your job includes being on conference calls.  I was coughing so bad especially at night that I was waking myself up and couldn’t get back to sleep.  A whole week of only 3-4 hours of fitful sleep is not a great idea. Finally the next Friday my boss came by and told me to go home and see a doctor.

So, I did. and that’s when I was told it was an upper respiratory infection and that it would be a good idea to take a couple of days off work.  They also gave my antibiotics and REALLY good cough syrup.  Well, I call it really good but it was really effective.  It tasted absolutely horrible.

Now in week three of the illness that won’t quit.  I still don’t feel great.  my throat is still sore and I can’t hardly stand the thought of running.  And at the same time I am very eager to get going again.

I’ve taken this time to really think about where my priorities are in running.

I need to get faster.

Like I want to be ALOT faster.

That started with shorter distances and working on my form.  I’m going to incorporate hill training into my weekly routine and I am looking to find a track to do some speed work like pyramids and intervals.  If anyone reading this has ideas on increasing speed I’m open to try things.

I’m also doing more short (5k) races over the summer.  The race schedule for the year currently looks like this:

5/26– ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – KIWANIS PARK

6/9- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – SCOTTSDALE SPORTS COMPLEX

6/23- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – FREESTONE PARK

7/7-Spartan Stadium Series Sprint – University of Phoenix Stadium

7/7- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – ARIZONA FALLS

7/21- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – RIPARIAN

8/4- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – RIO VISTA PARK

8/18- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – FOOTHILLS

12/2 Hot Chocolate 15K

12/9 Buckeye Marathon

12/15 Estrella Trail 10K\5K Challenge

Most of them I will do in person, 3 I’m going to do a virtual run since I can’t be there on race day.  I’ll probably add some more to fill in September through November.  Although that will be the height of the Marathon training so it might be best to lay off the races for a little bit.

Its a neat series with each race adding to a point total that makes you eligible for a drawing in the fall.

Hopefully my throat calms down soon and I can get back to it this weekend.  Until then…C-YA!

 

Flights and strollers

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So, I’ve gotten a little behind. Last weekend I went to Indiana to pick up my daughter for the week. I’ve been a little distracted.

But I stay with some friends in Indiana who are huge into Crossfit. They enjoy nothing more, that may be an exaggeration, than taking their friends to classes at there gym when they visit. SO….I went to the cardio class with Anna at Three Kings.

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It was diffidently challenging. the thing I found interesting is that I had a really hard time getting my heartrate into the target zone that the workout prescribed. I think that I’ve got my conditioning to the point that a 30-90 second burst, even when I go all out, isn’t enough to get my heart going.

Anna tells me that Matt, has the same issue. I suppose that its a good thing. I also didn’t feel as dead afterward as I did the last couple of times they took me with them. It was a good workout and pointed out that I need to do a little more than just run.

So, on the plane ride back I did a little research. I figured out that I need to start the marathon training on July 21. Which means between next Monday and then I can change my focus a little bit.

Strength training is one of the things that I need to work on more. Coach V is more of a lifter and she can help me with that. I’m hopping to build strength in in arms and core. When I was in high school I didn’t have to worry about lifting as much since I was helping on the family farms. there was a point when I could carry 225 lbs and squat lift 150 lbs in the form of feed bags. The crazy thing was I could essentially do that all day because I had to. I could also throw 90 lbs well over my head repetitively for 14 hours a day for several days in a row. Hay is heavy. I think that now I could maybe manage one hay bail and I would pay for it for a week.

I also want to concentrate my running more on speed and form than distance. I know from the videos that Coach V takes on the long runs that I have a couple of problems with my form. Tortoise and Hare has good form running clinics about once a month hopefully I can go to that and get a little help with my form.

As far as speed is concerned I think keeping to shorter distances and hill work will go a long way toward improving my speed.

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Sunday, I went for an 8 mile run. It was hot and slow about an 11 minute mile pace. But had the newest member of my support crew along in the trailer behind Coach V. It was great having her along. A little voice saying “good job daddy” every time we passed was great. Coach V also said that she said good morning to everyone they passed.

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Today I went for a short 1.5 mile run just to stretch out and move a little. I put Amelia in the trailer and pushed it. All I have to say is that I know have a TON of respect for all the parents out there who run pushing a stroller on a regular basis. That is some seriously tiring work.

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I’ve got one more run before the big day Saturday. I’m getting pretty nervous but having my daughter here this week is a good distraction from the running stuff. I’ll be doing 4 miles Thursday morning with the group. Until then….C-ya!

A donut and Bike Attempt 2

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So, its been an interesting week.

I felt really good after the long run last weekend.  And then Tuesday I got sick.  I could barely eat.  I think I had a handful of fries Tuesday night and I had to force myself to do that.

Needless to say I didn’t run Tuesday.

Thursday I was feeling much better so I got up and went for the 4 mile run with the group.

That felt amazing.  I was able to get into that same groove that I found on Sunday during the long run and just went.  I was almost disappointed when I got to the end of the loop.  I held a pretty consistent 9:10 mile.  If I can hold that pace for the half I’ll finish in 1:59:59.   So I rewarded myself with a blueberry donut!

I actually don’t think that I’m going to meet the under 2 hour goal.  Skipping forward 4 weeks in the training plan was just too much.  But I’m going to take a shot anyway.

I’m also a little concerned about the weather on race day.  The high for Champaign, IL next Saturday is 65.  They probably think that sounds amazing after the “spring” that the Midwest has had this year.

Today in Phoenix the low is 60 and I’ve heard people complaining about this recent “cold snap”.

Add in some humidity and it should be interesting.

So, Thursday night Coach V decided that we needed to go on a training ride for her tri on May 5.  So we set off on a 12 mile training ride.  I finally after having it for years attached a water bottle to the bike.

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I’m still not a biker.  And maybe I’m doing it wrong.  Is it even possible to bike wrong?  I know that its suppose to be easier on the joints due to the low impact as compared to running.  But it hurts my knees.  And my back.  And my hands. And especially my butt.  Seriously how do people sit on those hard, little seats?

Anyway…….

This weekend I’m flying to Indiana on Friday and back on Saturday.  Then Sunday we will have a delayed Easter with my daughter and an easy 8 mile run.  Until then….C-ya!