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.
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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!

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!

Nutrition and Tough Mudders

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I’m sore.

In fact I’m very sore.

I actually brought my stick up to my desk an have already used it twice this morning and probably will again soon.

The past weekend was perhaps one of the most physically grueling weekends that I’ve had since I stopped helping my family with their farms.

SO, why am I so sore. Let me start with Friday Night. A friend of ours who really likes to play board and card games is in from Ohio. So we (Adam, Vicky and I) went over to Vicky’s parents as soon as I got home from work to play games. The trouble that I didn’t realize was that everyone else had dinner before we went. Vicky’s parents being the gracious hosts that they are had cheese spread, crackers and even a little pizza to nibble on while we played and offered my several bottle of beer to wash it down. On top of the burger King I had for lunch meant that it was a whole day of horrible eating.

As I mentioned in the previous post I moved me Sunday run to Saturday. Which meant the I got up and went on a 9 mile run with the intent of keeping a 9:45 pace. This did not happen. We took off with Vick and Adam on bikes and me running. the first mile felt ok, not great but I did keep an 8:45 min/mile pace. Mile 2 everything started to tighten up and hurt but still managed a 9:26. And then I really started to feel bad. I spent the next 7 miles stopping occasionally to try and stretch my calves. I nearly got ill in mile 7 and almost tapped out. However, thanks to the encouragement from Adam and Vicky (who I’m going to start referring to as Coach V on these runs) I kept going and finished the distance.

This brings a thought and a question to mind.

First the question.

When training for an event such as a half marathon or a full is it better get in the distance of the long runs and sacrifice the target pace or hold the pace and not get the distance?

I realize that hitting both would be the ideal but as I demonstrated Saturday I wasn’t going to hit both. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

The thought has to do with nutrition. I know that I ate horribly on Friday and I think that had a pretty dramatic effect on the Saturday run. the nutrition side of things is not something that I’ve ever paid much attention to.

As a high school cross-country runner and track sprinter it never mattered much. I was eating everything I could to maintain my weight. I actually would eat to dinners a night most nights. One at a friends house right after practice and another at mine. (he was doing the same thing)

Now the advantage that we had is that our mothers are both amazing cooks and they where feeding us good balanced meals but as a 17 year old your not paying attention. The adults took care of little details like that so that we could worry about more important things like school, running, cars, music, girls … that sort of thing. although girls didn’t become a real distraction until college, but I digress.

Even in my 20s I didn’t have to really pay attention to what I ate. although by in large I was fixing in myself I mostly stuck with the type of things mom made. I’ve always loved fruits and vegetables. I’m actually a pretty good gardener. Almost anytime I have fruit I claim its one of my favorite fruits. And my love of pasta is nearly legendary among my friends and family.

Fast forward to now and I’m having to be careful how much I eat. What I eat seems to have a much larger effect on how I feel and now I’m noticing performance differences based on food.

Getting old sucks. There I said it. It is however inevitable. So, I’m going to start looking into what I should be doing diet wise. What does a runners diet look like? How can I fit into my lifestyle and family’s needs? If any of you know of some good resources let me know and I’ll review it and report back with what I learn.

Ok, enough with the boring stuff. On to Sunday!

I along with Coach V and Adam ran in Tough Mudder Arizona. And one of the really cool things is that we adopted an abandoned running who would have had to run alone named Katie.

A tough Mudder is a 10-12 mile non-competitive run with 20+ obstacles. They are all about teamwork and comradery with your fellow Mudders. Most of the obstacles you will be helped either physically of encouraged by complete strangers. It is one of my favorite things to be a part of.

The obstacles are designed to test you both physically and your grit. that ability to overcome fears and get the job done. I have seen many people especially new Mudders approach an obstacle with hesitation and fear. But with the help and encouragement of everyone around they time and time again accomplish things that they never dreamed they could. Usually they get to the other side and beaming with pride look back and say “huh, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.” It reminds me of how much of running and really life is about our attitude and ability to set fear aside to just get the job done.

It true is an inspiring thing to see and a humbling event to be a part of. I always feel like kind of a badass for a few days afterward, even when I am so sore that typing is a challenge.

Did I mention I’m sore?

I also need to give a shoutout to my teammates:

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Coach V (aka Vicky) who got me started on these things even though I thought it was kind of gimmicky. And inspires all of us to fight though. Hopefully, I can continue to keep up with her.

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Adam who hates running but loves the obsticales (well most of them). I hope someday to have a quarter of his grip strength. He also has a youtube channel about board games specifically the game Dominion. You can find him there at AdamHorton01

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And Katie who we just met but by the end felt like an old friend. You are always welcome in the Mudder Band! And I look forward to running with you again soon.

So, I’ve got a lot to do this week between training, nutrition research and a few life things going on. The next run is Tuesday so until then….C-ya!

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Backwards Routes and Knee Pain

Thursday mornings I have a group that I normally run with. The only issue, well I say that but there at are couple, is that they run a 4 mile loop. This because an issue when your training program calls for 8 to 10 miles. The other issue is that they start at 5:30 am. I’m told this will make more sense once it gets hot here.

So to solve one issue I had to make another worse. I got up at 4:15 AM so that I could run the loop before the group runs it. I do not like getting up that early as Vicky discovered. Anyway I got to the place and ran the loop. Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the first loop in time to meet everyone for my second loop. So, I decided to run the loop backward and just turn around when the main group met me going the other way.

This leads me to a question. Do you have a route that you run so regularly that you don’t have to think about it? Its just so engrained that you seem to finish and wonder, “did I really just finish?”

Now try to do it backward. Its amazingly difficult. At least it was for me. nearly every intersection I started wondering if I was suppose to turn there. It was so disorienting that I thought I must have missed something and was lost.

Fortunately, I wasn’t and the group found me. I turned around and ended up with a 7 mile run instead of the full 8 to 10.

It wasn’t a great run for me. After several weeks of runs getting stronger and faster I finally had a ‘meh’ run. Pace was 10:42 min/mile I had ALOT of knee and calf pain in mile 2 which took me 12:33. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep the night before, maybe I was just due for a non-steller run. Maybe I have actually done something to my right calf and knee.

I’m moving the weekend long run, 9 miles at 9:45min/mile, to Saturday. Sunday I’m running in a Tough Mudder with Vicky and a friend from Ohio, Adam. It should be a good time since I enjoy these kind of events and Adam is a fun guy to be around. I’ll let you know how the long run and the Mudder go.

Until then….C-ya

Playlists and Half Marathons

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I went on a 4 mile run during lunch again on Tuesday. This was actually the back up plan. I’ve been told about a group that meets at 5:30 am on Tuesday just down the road from my house and runs 4 miles. Unfortunately, I just missed them because I like to sleep. So, I just went to work early and ran over lunch.

It was a pretty good run. Running beside an airport is fun as I mentioned last week. I’m kinda an airplane nut. I was an aircraft mechanic at one point in my career before moving to engineering. I ran 4 miles at an average 9:12 min/mile pace. But I’m kinda inconsistent. Mile 1 was at 8:20; 2 at 10:05; 3 at 9:40 and 4 at 8:40.

I have a couple of thoughts on why. during mile 2 I had a good amount of pain in my calves and right knee. I actually stopped a few times to try to stretch it out. it mostly worked out for mile 3 and by 4 it felt pretty good again.

Also was my playlist. I noticed that when Oh Yeah by Great Big Sea came on my pace increased. It increased a lot. It played at the beginning of the run and again during the last mile. Something about that song just gets me going. Its got a fairly brisk tempo and it drives really hard.

I’ve heard of people tailoring there running playlist to their running tempo but personally never thought much of it. I’m thinking that it might be a good idea. So, I need to figure out how to find the tempo of songs so that I can try to keep my playlist fairly even. I know that I can be influenced a lot by what I’m listening to so maybe this will even out my pacing.

If any of you out there know how to find tempos let me know. Thanks!

The other topic for this post is my training. After a really long search Vicky and I have determined that there are no half-marathons in AZ mid to late May except trail runs. Don’t get me wrong I like trail runs but I wanted to do a road race. We started looking out of state and found one at the end of April in Illinois. I know that’s a long way from AZ but I’m going to be back in the midwest for a little bit at the end of April anyway.

This has presented a new issue. The training program I’m using (Project 1:59) is set to conclude in mid May. Which means by moving up when the race is I need to move up the training. Instead of being on week 2 I should be on week 4.  So, I need to see if I can jump a couple of weeks.  We’ll see how this goes.

Until then…C-ya!

St. Patrick’s Day Runs and Basketball

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HAPPY MONDAY!

Ok, so I know that Mondays usually aren’t’ the most fun but it means the start of week 2 for Project 1:59 and I had a great weekend.

So lets start with Saturday. Saint Patrick’s Day. I’ve always found this to be kind of an interesting day. I am of Irish decent, relatively recent even. So on one hand I love this holiday. Its actually one of my favorites in many ways. I love Celtic\Gaelic music. Corned beef and cabbage is one of my favorite meals and its always been the ushering in of spring, at least until I moved to Arizona which never gets to winter.

But on the other side is everyone thinking that the holiday is just about drinking really bad dyed green beer. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy a good beer and there is nothing wrong with whiskey. It is a day of feasting celebrating the life of Saint Patrick but sometimes I feel like the focus becomes the Irish are all drunks. While many of us drink and some do quite abit I feel like this misses the point of celebrating the life of the man who brought Christianity to the Irish people.

OK….enough of that. My celebration of St Patrick started with a 4k run Saturday morning. The Kiss Me I’m Irish 4K in Glendale. 4K is kind of a strange distance but I thought it would be fun as a speed run to see how fast I could go over a relatively short distance.

Despite an equipment problem that caused me to stop twice I did really well. I have been using a little pouch strapped to my ankle to carry my inhaler during races. I’ve had it for almost 15 years and Saturday the elastic finally died. it came undone once and I reattached it. Then again about a quarter mile later it did it again. So I took it off and held it in my had for the rest of the race.

Why don’t I just keep my inhaler in the little pocket that my running shorts have? Well there is a simple answer for that. I run races in a kilt! No, that’s not just a St Patrick’s day thing. I run all my races whether its a 5k, Tough Mudder, Spartan, or marathon starting this year I run in a kilt.

Why do I run in a kilt? Because I can. I also have decided that I really like it. it’s different, except last Saturday, and I have found that I have fewer chaffing issues in it than running shorts. Probably has something to do with airflow.

Anyhizzzle……

I ended up running a 19:40 which works out to 7:55 min/mile and that was good enough for 2nd in the Male 35-39 age group. The idea of placing in my age group is still a new one to me. And before you ask there were more than 2 people in the division. There were 19 of us. So I feel like second is a pretty good accomplishment.

I also developed a theory about the Scottish military and its use of bagpipes. Bagpipes where originally used to convey military orders during battle. and I think I know why the ancient Scottish armies where so formidable. often they went up against an enemy with superior numbers and better weapons. But they were still victorious. The movie Braveheart wants us to believe that they were a fiercer and had more to fight for than those who opposed them. I think they where trying to get away from the bagpipes.

“You want me to fight my way though that larger force with just this sword? Are ye Mad?” Enter the bagpipes. “Right, if I do it will you stop the infernal racket?”

And for some reason over time we have decided that we like it. Its great to run to also.

And with that segue here was the playlist for the run

Oh Yeah; Great Big Sea

Within a Mile of Home: Flogging Molly

Finnegan’s Wake; Songs for Ceilidh (This is a friend of mines band)

Ever Time I Write a Song; Songs for Ceilidh

Screaming at the Wailing Wall; Flogging Molly

Sunday……

I had intended to get up and go on a long run with Vicky on the bike again. Instead I watched basketball. I am a boilermaker. I spent 6 years at Purdue as a student and then lived in the Lafayette Indiana area for another 8. So I watched the Purdue-Butler game. And nearly died. That was a hard fought, hard played game on both sides. it was Indiana basketball the way it should be. Fortunately if your a Purdue fan Mathis hit that 3 near the end. But Butler has nothing to be ashamed of there, it was a great game by 2 fantastic Indiana teams.

I then watched Michigan State fall to Syracuse and Texas A&M make UNC look like a junior college team.

Finally at 5:30 we headed out for the 8 mile pace run as the training schedule calls for. As usual I started too fast although I got it under control pretty fast. I’m teaching Vicky how to analyze running form and she even took a video of me running.

As I understand it a runner should be close to symmetrical. the arms should swing the same amount and be held in a similar position. there shouldn’t be excessive head movement and it shouldn’t be head perfectly still either. Feet should hit in the same spot on the foot and for the same duration.

I’ve got a couple of little issues.

I hold my left shoulder higher than my right. My left arm stays tucked in while my right swings out and the movement in general is more exaggerated. I know that My left shoulder has some issues and I’m actually in therapy for it. Hopefully that helps even that out some.

I’m actually a little more concerned about my legs and feet. I hit fairly flat on my left and up on my toe on my right. I think this is causing my right calf to be tight and actually have some veins that bulge when I run. I’ll probably get this looked into more after my shoulder.

But it was a good run that finished with a trip to a pizza place so I can’t complain. I ran 8.22 miles in 1:21:57 which is a 9:59 pace. the training plan’s goal was a 10 min/mile so I stayed pretty close.

Up this week is a Tuesday 4-8 mile run, Thursday 6-10 and Sunday 7 miles at a 9:55 pace. Sunday may not happen since I’m running a Tough Mudder that day which is around 11 miles with obstacles. We’ll see. I also plan on going on a couple of bike rides and some weight training. Until then C-ya!

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