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!

 

 

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!

 

 

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!

 

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!