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!

 

 

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!

 

 

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

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!