Patriots’ Day and 5Ks

HAPPY PATRIOTS’ DAY!

Also known as Marathon Day.

As I write this I’m watching the Boston Marathon Tracker as a friend of mine from college is running.  Looks like its kind of a cold and rainy day in Boston this year.  But despite that she is keeping a pace that I could only dream of.

Boston has been dream of mine since I started running marathons nearly 8 years ago.  Alas I’ve never really dedicated enough time and effort to training since I would need to cut about an hour and a half off my best time to even think about qualifying.

But I have plenty of time between now and my marathon the Buckeye in December.  The Buckeye Marathon is a Boston qualifier so maybe…….

Anywho…..

This past weekend I ran a 5K along with Coach V and the kids.  Well, I ran and the kids rode in the stroller/bike trailer while coach V pushed.

The Milk and Cookies 5K was a 1.5ish mile loop around the Scottsdale sports complex soccer fields.  It was a relatively flat course and a cool, windy morning.  Overall fun race.  and a pretty neat medal. And as always I was in my running kilt.

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I was hoping to run around 24 minutes but fell way short of that at 27:45.  I kind of over did the training going into Saturday.  And as Coach V reminded me.  “You’re not training for a 5k I’m training for a half in 2 weeks.”

So, I’m not too disappointed with that time.  I finished around when Coach V and the kids where about to start their second lap so I walked that lap with them.

James ran the Snickerdoodle dash which was a 50m run for ages 4 and under.  It was ADORABLE!  Especially the ones that went part way and then turned around to go back.  James did well and only paused briefly when he saw his sister on the side cheering for him.

James snickerdoodleHe is very proud of his medal.

We celebrated our achievements by going to my favorite post race restaurant US EGG.  They have the BEST protein pancakes (dramatic pause) in the world.  Along with bacon, eggs, hash browns, and as much coffee as I can drink, which is a lot, its the perfect post race breakfast\bunch.

M&C Group

On to Sunday!

The longest run of the training program. 11 miles.  We started off fairly early to avoid some of the heat here in the valley of the sun.  And Coach V picked a new running path for a change of scenery.  Nice path and I was feeling pretty good when the path ended.  Some construction caused the temporary closing of part of the finished path.  But the trail continued as long as you didn’t mind off roading it a little bit.  Coach told me to press on and that she would catch up.  I got back to a sidewalk well ahead at this point and decided to run along the road to get back on the path a little further on.  I took one wrong turn that looked like the path but was just an access road.  Luckily coach caught up and got me straightened out and back to the running path.  The end of the run was along a street to get back to the van.

It was along the street that I finally after weeks of running felt like I hit a groove and could run forever.  My mind quieted down, the aches and pains and twinges that I had been plagued with subsided and I was just running.  The traffic even seemed to quiet down.  I could even hardly tell that my legs where moving much less maintaining a 9:45 pace.  It was a very zen moment and I hope that I can find it again on race day.

About mile nine the euphoria was gone and my legs, mostly my calves, started screaming in protest.  The last 2 miles where amazingly agonizing.  If it hadn’t been for coach encouraging me I’m not sure I would have finished the run.  But I did in 1:53:27. A little slow but we did have to stop to figure out where we were going a couple of times.

To celebrate the end of the long runs we went to my favorite coffee place Dutch Bros!  Because nothing sounds better after 11 miles than a blended 911 (irish crème and 6 shots of espresso).

20180415_105234.jpgSo, I’m officially in the taper now.  I need to pay close attention to my diet over the next 2 weeks and try not to over train. So we smoked a tri-tip to start the week off right!20180415_171157.jpg

I do have one hard workout left on Thursday but its more about speed than distance.

I’m already getting nervous but I know that this is the most prepared that I’ve ever been for a half.  So, I’ll finish following the Boston Marathon and continue my rest day.

Until Tuesday’s run…C-ya!

Diesel and Nerves

Thursday Morning 4-13-18

I’m actually getting a little nervous.

Not so the half that I’m training for but the 5K “fun” run on Saturday.

I did a 3 mile run on Wednesday and did a lot better than I thought I would and on the Thursday morning run I though I was taking it easy and averaged 9:14 min miles.  I even had to stop and walk a little bit after a diesel pick-up went by.  I think I’m going to try for under 24 minutes.

Which bring me to something I want to mention here.  I HATE diesel trucks.  I’m cool with the semi tractors and farm equipment never really bothered me all that much.  In the city anyway the drivers are some of the more annoying to share the road with.  they are a lot noisier and if you are a city dweller I’ve never understood there point.

However, I can overlook all those issues.  The smell, however, just kills me.  I know that if they are tuned correctly they burn pretty clean as compared to their petrol cousins.  but so many of them aren’t.  Even when they are though, that diesel smell.

I know that a lot of it comes from being asthmatic.  Burning diesel will send me into an instant asthma attack every time.  What I don’t understand is that I’m fine with petrol exhaust and even jet fuel.  I worked for several years as an aircraft mechanic and had very few problems.

Do any of you have problems breathing around diesel exhaust or is it just me?

Anywho….

Tomorrow is the 5K and I’m going to see how fast I can do it.  and then Sunday I have the last truly long run before the Illinois half on 4/28.

Until then….C-ya!

NOT a biker and Sub 8 miles

This week’s schedule got a little weird on me.

Monday despite all the running around over the weekend I felt GREAT. I was itching to run all day. But I needed the recovery. So, I went on a bike ride with Coach V and the kids. She is training for a tri the first weekend of May so the kids trailer was hooked up to my bike.

I have not rode a bike in almost a year. I have a vintage Schwinn from 1973. Its a heavy all steel bike. Add to that the 2 35 pound kiddos and the weight of the cart and I had my work cut out for me.

I am not a biker. I’ve always kind of wanted to be but it can get quite expensive and those seat! OMG those seat are the worst things (pause here for dramatic effect) in the word!

On top of it being uncomfortable about 3.5 miles into the ride the darn thing came loose.

Despite all of that it was a little fun. The kids at one point just started signing. Which was cute. And it was a good non-running workout.

I’m going to keep periodically trying to bike but I’m still skeptical.

We finished the evening with a 1 mile run so that coach could work on the transition from bike to run. She thought it felt awkward. I most felt relieved to be off the darn bike and back to something I know.

Generally on Tuesdays I run during lunch. I don’t particularly like getting up early and I was still recovering from the weekend. Besides on Tuesdays I normally run during lunch anyway. Well this Tuesday I had several meetings get scheduled over lunch fairly last minute. So I didn’t get to run. I have other commitments on Tuesday night so no joy there either.

SO I moved the run to Wednesday. It was suppose to be a hill training run. For other reasons I worked from home and there are no hills nearby. So I decided, since I’m running a 5K this weekend to see what a 3 mile run would look like.

I made a couple of mistakes.

  1. I waited until 11 am. Its starting to get hot here in the valley of the sun and 11 am was already approaching 90 degrees F. But its a dry heat right?
  2. I, for reasons I’m not really sure of, decided to eat several pieces of beef jerky and a cheese stick before heading out for a speed run. This is dumb, don’t do it. about mile 2.5 my stomach started to cramp hard.
  3. Its trash day. So what does that mean? It means that once I left the major roads that all the neighborhoods back up to I had to run right by everyone’s trash cans. I found myself in a debate over whether the full but closed cans or the emptied but open can had a worse smell. I eventually decided they were both really bad and it didn’t really matter so I would hold my breath as I went by. This is extremely hard to do while running.

Despite these mistakes that was the fastest 3 miles that I’ve ran since high school. For those of you who follow me on Strava you may have seen that I averaged 7:57 min/mile. that’s a little ridiculous since when I started this I was really excited about a 9:30 min/mile for just 2 miles.

Mile 1 was 7:33. I don’t’ even know what to say. I’m supper excited by that.

Saturday I’m running the Cookies and Cream 5K in Scottsdale. Coach V wants me to see how fast I can burn it. I’m both nervous and excited.

But before then I have another training run tomorrow morning. So, until then…C-ya!

Skipped Runs and Soccer

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Last week I wasn’t feeling very well. I had swollen lymph nodes and a sore throat. I mentioned in the previous post that I cut my Tuesday run short because I got ill during the run.

So, for that and one other reason I skipped the Thursday run and got some more sleep. It was wonderful but I felt kind of guilty about it all day. But sometimes health is more important and I had a major event over the weekend that would make up for it.

Friday I didn’t go to work. I took the day off so that I could spend the entire day out in the warm….oh who am I kidding…hot Phoenix sun and run around with a great bunch of guys and gals.

No, this wasn’t some kind of mass group run or race. It was a soccer tournament. I am a soccer official (that’s football for those of you outside the US). I’ve actually been a soccer ref for 8 years and its a lot of the reason that I run. Running helps me to keep in shape for soccer. Its a lot of fun to run around the pitch with the “kids” and help them to learn to love the beautiful game.
Fusia Soccer
This was an elite level of U19 to U13 (that basically translates to 12-18 year olds) girls. Even the younger kids are playing at a very high level. There where college coaches and scouts from all over the US. I was told by the coordinator that 90% of the girls here will go to college on some kind of scholarship to play and mostly at D1 colleges.

What that means for me as a ref is very competitive, fast paced, and very, very fun games to officiate. At this level they all know what they are doing and play very clean, with just occasional and tactical fouling.

It also means a lot of running.

On average a game will involve me running 6 miles or more. Its all stop and go. At any given time you may have to sprint half the field (about 55 yards). There is also jogging at various speeds and sometimes very fast changes of direction and speed. You have to be ready to change what your doing at any time.

And you have to be watching for fouls. Which is a VERY involved process to determine the type of infraction, what the penalty is, if a yellow card or red card is needed.

Add in the screaming coaches, obnoxious fans and sometimes whiney players. It is very mentally and physically draining.

Over the course of 3 days I ran 8 games so assuming 6 miles a game that’s 48 miles. So, I’m a little tired and sore. Although no where hear as bad as I was afraid I would be. I’m looking forward to getting back to training on Tuesday although I am thankful that tomorrow I could just be a bum and sit on the couch.

Not that I will. Until next time…C-ya!

10 miles and ewwwww

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SO, I haven’t written in a few days. Sorry, life got in the way a little bit and I managed to get a cold.

Anywho…..

Saturday I went on a 10 mile run. for those keeping track that’s a 5k under a half marathon. Coach V came along as she does on Saturday runs along with a very short support staffer\cheerleader\pacer. Her 3 year old son. He rides in a cart pulled behind the bike while I run. He did a great job. at one point he wanted out of the cart. And really who can blame him I think we were about 6 miles in. So he got out and ran with me until declaring that he was tired and stopped. Coach V picked him up and I kept going.

It was an overall good run. Had a little problem with my calves in mile 3 but got them worked out. and at about mile 8 a horrible stiff pain formed between my shoulders to the point that when I tried to turn my head in mile 9 I had to stop for a second. the pain was blinding, literally.

There may be a couple of reasons and it mostly has to do with my own stupidity. Coach V videos me on the long runs so that she and I can analyze my form afterward. (I should probably load them up here sometime.) We noticed a couple of things in previous runs.

1: My left foot hits flatter than my right. I thought that my right leg was just shorter. So, last week I asked the chiropractor to measure my legs. Turns out they are only aobut an eighth of an inch different. She believes after some analysis that I hold my hips in such a way that my right leg appears higher than my left. So, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to change that and hold them more level.

2: Couch V and I noticed that I hold my right shoulder higher. So I tried to level that out as well.

3. I don’t swing my arms evenly. I was told by a coach years ago that running should be symmetrical. If something is happening on one side and not the other something is wrong and there is wasted motion and therefor effort. It is probably important to note that I was trained as a sprinter.

Instead of trying to change one part of my form on a short run I decided to change everything at once on the longest run I’ve been on in a couple of years.

This is a bad idea. It was too much all at once and I think that is why I had pain in places I normally don’t. But the folks at AFC Physical Medicine and Chiropractic helped me with both the between the shoulder pain and my calves. They are also helping to level my hips and the chronic low back pain that I always have.

And with that on to Tuesday!

Tuesday’s run was both horrible and great. The Project 1:59 training schedule called for a 5 mile run and during that run 10 times run 100m at faster than race pace. I decided to do the 100m “dash” portion on the .25 and .75 of every mile. Mile one went well had a 9:12 min mile and the dash portion I got to a 6:30. The first dash in mile 2 went the same and then at 1.5 I got sick. Actually stopped at one of the doggy waste things that my neighborhood has and got sick. I decided at that point to abort the run for the day and ran home.

My stomach if fine now but I still have a sore throat. I need to get better FAST. Not only just to stay on my training but I have a soccer tournament that I’m reffing on Friday and Sunday. I’m pushing vitamin C pretty hard and drinking even more water than normal. Hopefully I can get this knocked out pretty quick.

Tomorrow is a 4 mile negative split run. This should be interesting. Until then C-ya!

Injuries and Holding the Form

I’m really hard on myself.

I don’t so much mean mentally, although I am that too, I mean physically.

This became pretty evident on Thursday’s run.

My calves are beginning to have issues. The area directly behind my ankles have become extremely tight to the point that I had to stop and walk for a little bit on my Thursday run.

I mentioned this to my physical therapist on Friday and she did some soft tissue work and used a cold laser on it. It feels a TON better now. Thank you Optimal Living

I was talking to someone earlier in the week about the injuries I’ve had over the years. These are just the major issues. I’ve dislocated my right shoulder 3 times and my left 2 nearly 3. I’ve broken my right ankle. Severely spranged my right wrist. Dislocated my pinky finger. I’m fairly certain I’ve broken several toes, although I can’t confirm that one. I’ve dislocated my knee and I’ve had 5 concussions. And I have some defects in my lower back.

I’m a little beat up.

The knee is a funny story. Ok, I think its funny.

My last year of college I decided to join the Purdue Marching Band on the drumline. For those wondering I am NOT a drummer. They needed cymbal players and since that’s what they needed and they claimed they could teach me to march and play I agreed to help them out in that position.

I enjoyed the heck out of my marching experience although I am glad I only did it one year. its a HUGE time commitment. I also don’t think that my body could have taken another year of it. 2 of the shoulder dislocations and the knee dislocation where during that one season in the Purdue AAMB (All-American Marching Band).

So, the team was pretty good that year and we went to the Sun Bowl in El Paso Texas over Christmas break. We did countless parades, pep rallies, rehearsals and other random gigs over a 5 day period. I loved my bandmates and am still great friends with many of them. Spending that much time with them all was incredible but exhausting. Athletically speaking the marching band is no joke. And on top of that I felt like most of them weren’t taught much about the importance of stretching, nutrition, and especially hydration. As a student athlete in high school I was taught to stretch before and after activity, I was given some basics at least about nutrition and that hydration doesn’t mean a large glass of water right before an event. The band, at least when I was in it weren’t really talked to about that type of thing. But that’s a tangent that I may go on later.

After the parades, rehearsals and other gigs the game itself was upon us. We did amazing during the pre-game drill playing a show filled with music from Queen. as we where in the stands I knew that my knee was getting close to its limit. it was sore but not to the point that I would consider not going on. During halftime we did a patriotic set that was a huge crowd pleaser finishing in a shield on the field. I just happened to be in the middle of the field on the 50 yard line. And I knew that my knee was hurt. It was screaming at me but all I had left to do was play the school fight song, “Hail Purdue” and get off the back of the field. This turned out to be final straw.

“Hail Purdue” starts off with an intro that was march in place then all at the same time start marching at a pretty good clip. Normally we would just march forward and the form would collapse into the sideline until we where all off the field and the song was over.

On this day, due to things with the bowl game we needed to go off the back of the field. Which meant we marched in place. took one step forward flipped and marched off the back. It was a maneuver we called a TTR (To The Rear). I’ve done this hundreds if not thousands of times at different points through the season. BUT never on artificial turf.

Purdue shield

So I played the intro, thankful that we would be done soon, stepped off, and made one little mistake.

When one does a TTR is important to stay up on the tow of the foot you step off one and shift your weight to that foot as your turning. Keep in mind that this happens VERY fast. I planted my whole foot with all my weight. So when I did the flip turn MOST of me turned. My foot stayed pointed at the press box as the rest of me tried to turn. Something had to give. Since I marched in combat boots my ankle was safe. the next joint that could give was my already strained knee. And it did.

I’m told by the rest of the drumline that they could hear the POP/CRACK over their playing and I was down.

I did quick evaluation of the situation as I was falling. “I’m falling. There is ALOT of marching band still behind me that may or at not see me. If I can get back to my spot I can hold the form and people won’t notice. I MUST get back to my spot and hold the form.” And with that on a dislocated knee I got off the ground and got to my spot. It was perhaps the most excruciating thing I’ve ever pushed through. But I held the form. Until I crossed the sideline. Then I passed out. I’m told that I managed to fall on my back.

When I came to there where a bunch of people around me stripping my uniform off. A guy in an ASU (Arizona State University) shirt told me not to move and that they would take a look. A eerie calm came over me. there was nothing for me to do but lay there.

Once the uniform was off, we wore shorts and a t-shirt under it, they looked at it. The guy came up to my head, introduced himself as a doctor with the ASU team and told me that it was dislocated. He also said that he could get it back in place but that it was going to hurt. ALOT! He asked if I wanted a count or should he just do it.

“Just do it.”

And with that he nodded. Suddenly I had a guy holding down my chest, a guy on each arm, two people on my left leg and one on my right thigh. He then grabbed my foot by the heel and ball. Without warning it felt like he twisted it and shoved it in all at once.

I screamed.

I screamed so loudly that the teams on the field stopped and looked over to see what was going on.

It hurt. It hurt a lot. When asked to rate pain on a scale of one to ten that’s my 11.

Luckily, they then gave me a shot and I don’t remember the rest of the game.

I’m told that I had a hilarious running commentary. I wish I knew what I said.

So, why tell this story here. Well, I’ve taken a couple of lessons from it.

1. “Whatever pain I’m in it could be worse.” Of course there are different kinds of pain and not everyone reacts to it in the same way. There would have been no shame in stopping and waiting for the injured player cart to get me off the field but that wouldn’t be my style.

2. “Half of everything is luck, the other half is timing.” Good doctors are amazing. Turned out that was one of the top knee specialists in the country. So I go pretty lucky there. If there was a time to injury my knee that was a pretty good one. and I had an entire semester that I didn’t really need to do much athletically to rehab it.

3. “You’ll pass out before you die.” This is something one of my teachers used to tell me before cross country meets but this drove the lesson home. Not sure why but I find that kinda comforting.

4. “Hold the form.” No matter what you are doing others are counting on you to give your best. Even when you maybe fall short of the goal or reaching that PR, others will appreciate that you gave everything you had.

Next run is Saturday. a 10 mile run at 9:45. this will be a tough one. Until then…hold the form 🙂

Recovery and Hills

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Today I did my run on the dreaded treadmill. That bane of every runner. The necessary evil that we must endure when the weather is too bad to be outside. But wait I live in Phoenix! The weather this time of year is as close to ideal as it gets.

Well, today there where a couple of factors that made the dreadmill, as my cousin calls it, an attractive alternative to the usual run outside. First, I’m still in recovery mode from the weekend. the 9 mile run and tough mudder where kind of hard on the old body and I’m still pretty sore.

Reason number 2: I’ve basically been up since 2:30 am. Adam, who ran the tough mudder with Vicky, Krista, and I had a 5 am flight. This meant that he wanted to be at the airport at 3:30, which lead to leaving the house at 3, and in turn meant getting out of bed at 2:30. Since I basically work at the airport I just went to the parking lot and tried to sleep in the truck. As you can imagine that flew like a lead zeppelin and at 5 am I gave up and went inside to start working. Coincidentally I got a great parking spot today. This lead me to think that I would just do a light workout.

Reason number 3: This is probably the best reason. As mentioned I work at an airport. Airports are notoriously flat places. Today’s training schedule called for 9-10 hills. Basically sprint up the hill for 60 seconds and then slow down the hill. Rinse and Repeat. So I could use the incline on the dreadmill and seriously up the speed to simulate a hill.

So that’s what I did. 10% incline at 7 mph for 60 seconds the flat at 5 mph for 2 minutes. Made for a nice 30 minute workout. I coupled that with a 2 mile warmup @ a 9:20 pace and a 1 mile cool down at about a 15 min/mile pace and it was about an hour. Not bad for a long lunch. Actually I felt like it was a pretty hard workout.

Couple little odds and ends here. I’m still needed to look into the nutrition side of this running thing. I’ll keep you all posted on what I find.

I have officially signed up for a half marathon in April.  The Christie Clinic Illinois Half Marathon on April 28 at the University of Illinois.

The dietbet folks have started a new thing called runbet. Same basic concept you choose a challenge, pay into it and then follow the training challenge submitting your runs either through runkeeper of with some photos. At the end if you make the challenge then you get your money back plus a portion of the extra from the folks who didn’t make it. I know for the dietbet it was a pretty good motivator.

Next run is 8-10 miles on Thursday. Until then…C-ya!