Half Marathons and Spartans

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

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

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

 

Next up was the Anthem Sprint Triathlon.

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

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

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

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

South Mountain 20K

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

Craft Classic Half

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

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

Spartan Beast

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until then…C-ya!

 

 

 

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.

Three kings

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!

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!