Timing and New Arrivals

4267_1554572271183They say that half of everything is timing. They also say that hindsight is 20/20. With that in mind looking back at the first part of the year this wasn’t a good time to start an aggressive training program for a couple of reasons.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I did a lot of soccer reffing at the beginning of the year. and it extended longer into the year than expected. I tried to start 5K speed training at the same time. I know know that this was less than ideal. I had to skip a lot of training runs to work soccer games and they aren’t quite as equivalent as I hoped. That was mistake #1. I think it actually lead to more mental aspect of running fast than fitness problems.

Once the seemingly never ending soccer season finally ended I was able to get down to the business of training and following the plan that Coach Corrie had laid out for me. It went very well for about a month. I was fairly certain that I was going to die during a few of the sprint workouts. Had what was probably the worst asthma attacks I’ve suffered in the past decade.red-card

The workout was repeat 400s and I only had to do 5. I was actually really excited for this workout even though my search for a track to do it on had failed. 400 was MY race in high school. I know how to run a quarter mile, or so I thought. I found a quarter mile loop in my neighborhood. Laced up the flats and set out on a short warm up to the loop. Coach V even came with to help time them. Temp was good but windy, I mean seriously windy. But I ran track in all kinds of weather. As my middle school coach, Coach Smith, would say, “We are an ALL weather track team.” besides when you are running a loop you have the wind at your back the same amount as its in your face.

We had previously worked out that i would need to run just under 1:30 400s to equal my goal race pace. and my thought was “no problem” I used to be able to go sub 50 seconds. Turns out that was 20+ years ago and a few things have changed. Namely about 70 pounds.

Lap 1:

The first one wasn’t bad came through at 1:23. The main concern I had is that it took all I had to pull that off. I was only suppose to rest for a minute before round 2. I stalled and waited 2 before I felt like my heart wasn’t going to explode.

Lap 2:

This one was somewhat predictably slower. 1:48 I was finishing into a headwind and it was taking a toll. Again waited 2 minutes and went again

Lap 3:

About half way though I was struggling mentally to keep going and walked a couple of steps before turning back into that merciless headwind. The I waited 3 minutes and noticed that coach V was concerned. It had taken me 2:30 to make that lap. And I was apparently starting to look pretty rough. I was losing control of my breathing. Which isn’t good for anyone but is of particular concern for an asthmatic. But did I stop. No, I’m just not built that way.

Lap 4:

I was completely mentally out of this workout at this point. I was beating myself up for taking so long on lap 3. I lost complete control of my breathing and then turned into the wind. A headwind feels like its sucking the air out of your lungs and doesn’t let you replace it faster enough. This greatly amplified the sever asthma attack that was continuing to get worse with each step. 1:52 Ok that was faster but I knew that I was paying for it. I waited about 5 minutes for try to regain my composure and not throw up as soon as I took another step. Coach V suggested calling it a day and reluctantly I agreed. I knew that once I stopped the asthma attack would get worse but I had to get out of this wind if there was hope of controling it.

So we walked home. She tried reassuring me that I did a great job on a very difficult workout made more difficult by the conditions. But frankly, I was pissed off at myself. For being so slow, for walking in a 400 m run, for letting Coach V and coach corrie down. And for letting an asthma attack get so out of control before I started taking it seriously. It took almost 3 hours of constant use of my rescue inhaler and meditation, I may talk about that in a subsequent post, to get to get a handle on it. In hindsight I should have gone to a hospital for it. It took another 3 days before I felt like I was breathing normally again

While I’m still not happy about that day but I know that one bad session does not have to invalidate a program or progress. I was still improving and more importantly having fun.

I felt like I was getting faster, too. During the group runs I was hanging with some of the faster packs, and occasionally leading.

This is where you might expect me to say something along the lines of , “And then disaster struck”. And as cool as that would be to say, it wouldn’t be true. Other parts of my life simply started to take over.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that coach V and I where expecting our 4th addition to the family. This coincided with the last month of the training. The last month of the pregnancy was exhausting for me, so I can’t imagine what is was like for coach V who stayed at her day job up until the day before baby Molly’s arrival. She wasn’t sleeping well do to being so uncomfortable, which meant I wasn’t sleeping well since i’m a pretty light sleeper. I also tried to pick up as many of the household tasks as I could to take some burden off her. So running just moved down the priority list.

The latest addition to the running support crew arrived on April 2 at 8:24 am. 6lbs 8 oz and 19 inches long, easily the biggest coach V has had to date. Coach V made the whole thing look easy. Completely natural birth, no complications at all and we where out of the hospital the next morning in time to get lunch.20190402_100852

Molly is now nearly a month old and we are still trying to re-establish routines and find the new norm for the house. The biggest challenge is Molly wants to eat constantly. I mean this kid is definitely mine she has my ability to eat anytime regardless of how long its been since she last ate. This isn’t the first go around with a baby for me or coach V and this impressive.

So, I think its safe to say that I’ve been a little distracted recently.

There is still time this year to work on my sub 18 5k goal and I haven’t lost hope. I have speed in this body somewhere. I just need to find it again.

I am struggling with staying focused during races. I’ve been running 5ks like I used to run the 400m dash. Go out fast and try to hang on. Its how I ran in high school cross country too. The issue seems to be that after about the 1.5 mile mark my brain starts screaming at me to stop and walk a couple of steps. The main problem is that once you stop and start to walk, even if its just a little bit, its hard to start back up. It also starts a cycle of wanting to stop more frequently. I know this is all part of the mental game and that my body can easily handle running 3 miles, but I don’t know how to get past this mental hurdle.

I recently ran in the Scottsdale Run the Runway. Coach V and Molly came to support me 4 days after she was born.

Talk about a flat course. Basically you start in the middle of the airport on a taxiway. Run to the end turn left to get on the runway. Go the length of the runway. Turn left back to the Taxiway and run back to where you started.

4275_1554572287538Before the race I bumped into one of the guys from the Embrace your Pace Group and decided to try to stay with him. I did alright for the first half. it was a rolling start so there was alot of dodging slower runners and strollers at the beginning. Aaron is a big believer in negative splits, which is kinda the opposite approach I’ve always used. However, with someone there who I know that I can stay with during the group runs I thought I would give it a try.

I made 2 errors.

Error number 1, we had just had a kid 4 days ago. I was exhausted. Turns out that birth is taxing even for the dad, although I’m sure its to a lesser degree than the mom.

Error number 2

This is kind of 2 errors in one. I had only been on 1 run in the previous 2 weeks. and that lead to the second part of the error. I kinda have 2 modes, going hard and seriously laid back. I have no concept of internal pacing. During the group runs I push myself to stay with people. Aaron has more pace disciple than I do and uses the group runs as “easy” run. So, my pushing after a month of intense training can stay with Aaron’s easy to moderate run. His race pace is..um..faster. Had I stayed with the training through to the race I may have had a shot of staying with him. After 2 weeks of nearly nothing I feel lucky to have stayed with him as long as I did.

It was really cool to see him at the end of the race cheering me to the finish. He did mention that the strength of my finishing kick was an inspiring thing to watch. Admittedly I can drop the hammer down when I need to, just not for very long.

But my kick is part of what frustrates me so much. I can get down under 5:30 pace during the kick to the finish. So to me that says that I’ve got the foot turnover and power to go fast. I’m just not sure if I don’t have the endurance or my brain doesn’t think I have the endurance to go that fast for 3 miles.

My high school coach always thought that I was subconsciously holding on to too much reserve. I think it it has more to do with going too fast at the start, and slowing down to a recharge pace in the middle. So, next race I’m going to try for a negative split. Its time to stop thinking like a sprinter and think like an endurance runner.

Until next time…C-YA!

PR and the Finishing Sprint

I FINISHED!

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Ready to Start…Sorta

I also set a new Marathon PR.  My previous best was 6:24 at the Chicago Marathon in 2011.  Saturday, on the most perfect day for running that I can imagine, I ran the 26.2 miles in 5:20:03.  Over an hour faster than my 2011 Chicago run.

While I didn’t quite make my under 5 hour goal I’m still extremely excited about the result.

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This was a very different type of marathon than the previous ones I’ve ran.  I’ve ran the Chicago Marathon twice and the Air Force Marathon at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH.  Those were much bigger races.  Chicago is one of the largest marathons in the world with around 36,000 people. The Air Force Marathon is smaller but still about 3,200 people.  Chicago is lined with people the entire coarse.  Air force isn’t as solidly lined with people but there is still a fair number and you go through a lot of neighborhoods. Both races are a lot of fun.AFM-Logo-Full-Color-No-Distances-super-small

Buckeye Marathon

The Buckeye is sparse.  Its very well staffed with volunteers and aid stations about every 2 miles.  But between the stations there is very little for most of the race.  The first 4 miles is through a nice looking neighborhood. Then there is a turn to the west and you stay on that road for the next 15 miles.  It is a road that has one main curve to the south and feels like its going through the middle of nowhere.  And its amazingly flat.  You can see for miles in all directions and see little in the way of civilization.  It kinda makes you wonder why its there.  Its a 4 lane divided road with little to nothing on it or near it.  Felt like the road that Field of Dreams inspired.if-you-build-it-1288x724

I paused my music for a little bit and just listened to the deafening silence and my shoes hitting the road for a little bit.  It was kinda nice actually.  I love running with crowds cheering and feeding of the energy of the fans yelling encouragement to people they have never met.  But there was something serene about the silence.  Very calming and peacefully.  I ran like that for about 2 miles before going back to my mix of Britney, Justin, and Pitbull.

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Me with the best support crew ever!

Ok, so more of a recap.  The first half felt amazing.  My half split was 2:22, which would have been a half marathon PR if I was running a half.  I had a small mental breakdown at mile nine, but pulled it back together to the halfway point.

Then I fell apart until about mile 17.  I just couldn’t seem to find a rhythm.  I eventually settled into an interval of .2 run and .2 walk.  The runs where still at a 9 to 10 minute pace, occasionally getting more toward 8:30.  I just couldn’t maintain it.  I tried slowing down to around a 12 minute mile but that was even worse.  Mile 22 my interval stopped working and I went to more a .25 walk and .15 run.  Every time I tried to extend the run I had very sharp pains shoot through my legs. Almost felt like an electric shock in my calves.

And then it came.  The ever elusive runner’s high.  At the Mile 24 marker I looked at my watch and knew that 5:30 was still up for grabs.  In 2 more miles I will have run my fastest marathon to date. And that triggered the endorphins.  My brain overruled my tired sore legs and I started running again.  Back in a .2 run, .2 walk.  The runs were getting down around 8:30 pace and the walks only slowed to about a 14 min mile.  Coach V was at the last turn which was about the 26 mile mark.  She said something encouraging about being almost done and joked about having a hard time keeping up because I was walking too fast.  And I basically said something to the effect of “Watch This!”

I let out a tremendous primal scream and took off at a dead sprint.  Every time I felt like my body wanted to quit I screamed again.  This was everything that was left.  I just let my sprinter brain take over and went.  I peaked out at a 3 min mile pace.  Yes, I have some speed when I want it, I used to be a sprinter.  Of course that was a short duration but still after a 26 mile warm up a 12 second 100 meter dash isn’t too bad. And if anyone reading this knew me in high school they probably aren’t surprised.

Afterward I felt great. As I said before I’m extremely happy with 5:20.  My legs where dead but I still walked over to thank the firemen and police at the finish that where helping with the event.  I changed into my post race kilt, fresh socks, different shoes, and the event shirt.  Pro Tip: Clean clothes feel amazing after a hard race like that.

Coach V took me to Texas Roadhouse for a post race steak and beer.  Possible the best steak and beer, Kiltlifter of course, I’ve had in awhile.  Of course that could be the endorphins talking.Buckeye Finish

I had a lot of random thoughts and musings including how to focus my training over the next several years.  However, I’ll save those for another time.

Until then…C-YA!

Hot Chocolate & Respiratory Infection III

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Saturday I flew to Indiana with my daughter to get her back to her mom’s place.  Amelia is an incredible flying partner and really a blast to go through airports with.  I had been warned that there were storms going through the Midwest over the weekend and to be prepared for an unexpected overnight stay.  We were met at the airport, I saw them off, and then went back through security to get some dinner and wait at the gait.  While eating I got an alert the flight was delayed.  Not surprising and it was going to be tight but my connection in Chicago was still doable.  I walked around the airport wishing that I could go for a run and periodically swinging by the gate just to check.  Its a good thing I did.  On one of my fly-by’s I saw that we were back to an “on-time” departure.  Got on the plane and settled in with the latest Runner’s World for the short flight.  I always get the latest Runner’s world to read on flights.

In Chicago is where the trouble really began.  The flight was delayed a hal hour, then an hour, then an hour and a half and this continued until my 8:30 flight was delayed until 11:30.  The whole time the gate personnel told us that they didn’t have pilots and where waiting on them to come in.  Finally, the flight canceled.  This was not looking good for the race on Sunday morning.  I got on my phone and quickly re-booked for the 5 am flight and resigned myself to meeting Coach V at the finish line.  American Airline was incredibly unapologetic about the cancellation and didn’t even offer vouchers for hotels.  I was simply told that there was an emergency shelter area set up in Terminal 2.

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O’Hare know how to decorate!

So, after giving the customer assistance people an earful, I went to the shelter area and was shown to a cot.  I think I got a couple of hours of sleep before I had to head back to the gate for my 5 am flight.

I have yet to be very successful sleeping on planes.  I continued to read Runner’s World and watched a movie.

To my surprise we landed a little early.  I called coach V and she was just heading to the start corrals. “You might be able to get here in time” Coach V seemed pretty excited.  And a plan was hatched.

She left my race bib at the information tent right beside bag check.  When I get there I checked my bag, got my number and took off.  I missed the start and they where just about to shut down the start line when I went through like a bat out of hell.  Coach V had a pretty good lead on me and while I knew that she was going to stay with the 14 min/mile pacer I still wanted to catch her as quickly as possible.  I caught up with her after about a mile and a quarter.

After spending the night at the airport, a 4 hour plane ride, and a Lyft to the race site I ran a 9 min mile.  IN BLUE JEANS!

OK, so, I was kinda impressed.

We did the rest of the run together at a walk run interval.  Coach V hadn’t trained for the run very much and being 5 months pregnant I was impressed she did it at all.  But, she REALLY loves chocolate.  Admittedly, it was really good chocolate.  And it was so nice to see her after the night I had.

That race was the middle of “the Taper”.  That magical time before a marathon when you scale back the mileage in preparation for the impending race.  And as the theme has gone for the year I got another respiratory infection.  It started on Thanksgiving day as a mild sore throat which eased off after a couple of days.

Then the cough started.  I tried to deal with it on my own but after a week and reffing a soccer game I decided to head to a doctor.  He confirmed the infection and started me on antibiotics and, my personal favorite, prednisone. Just what I wanted in the week leading up to the marathon that I’m trying to break my PR by over an hour in.

I have been jittery all week.  I’ve been having such a hard time focusing that its taking me 3 days just to write this. I’m not sleeping a whole lot and when I do it isn’t great.  Oh and I’ve reffed 4 of the 5 nights this week.

Yet I’m still hopeful that it will be a good run.  The weather is looking like it will be just about perfect for a run tomorrow.  I’ve been watching my diet this week and avoiding anything fried.  The soccer games mean that I’ve been running 6-8 miles every night but its all stop and go.  Light jogs, followed by standing, followed by full on sprints.  Its actually a lot of fun but mentally taxing.

My goal tomorrow is under 5 hours.  the trip, and Runner’s World, helped me think a lot about my running goals in the next several years. I’ve come up with some pretty aggressive goals over the next 4-5 years but I’ll save those for another time.

Buckeye Marathon

Tomorrow is the Buckeye Marathon.  I’ve never been more prepared for a marathon than I am right now.  Still I’m incredibly nervous and worried that the recent respiratory issues will create a problem.  But, still I’m hopeful.  Assuming I survive I’ll let you know how it goes.

Until then…C-YA!

Squats and Long Runs

I’ve mentioned before that I have been doing weight training at El Jefe as part of my marathon training.  I go to the power lifting class lead by coach Vinny on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Yesterday, along with most Tuesdays, was a squat workout.  In the middle of one of my sets Coach Vinny walks over and watches me as he does with everyone.

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Usually after watching for a little bit Coach Vinny will tell a person what they are doing wrong, how to correct it and what   they are doing that looks good.  I wasn’t ready for what he told me.

“You squat like an Asian!”

WHAT?!?  I don’t even know what that means.

He assured me that it wasn’t a bad thing and that he in fact liked it. Still this has had me perplexed since he said it.  What am I doing differently than everyone else?  This is where the internet comes in.

The Parallel (Western) squat:

Parrell SquatThis is what most of use in the US and non-Asian countries do. Definitions vary but generally it involves either the femur being parallel to the floor or the hip joint getting to just below the knee.  Kinda like siting down in a chair but without the chair.

 

 

The Deep (Asian) squat:

Asian Squat

This involves the butt getting as close to the floor as possible. Its a triple flexion movement, involving bending at the ankles, knees and hips.  Folding everything up underneath yourself.  Ultimately, it comes down to ankle flexibility.  If you have flexible ankle you have a shot at it.  Its VERY common in Asian countries.  And   having spent some time in Japan I can attest to that.  Its the default resting position over there.  According to Dr. Philip Maffetone in his book The Endurance Handbook, it is a more natural position and less stress inducing than sitting in a chair.

So, sounds to me like its a good thing its quite possibly the only time I’ve been accused of being flexible.  Dr. Maffetone did observe that the ability to comfortable deep squat is more prevalent in endurance athletes.  Maybe that means I’m approaching that level.

Speaking of endurance, how’s that for a segue,  I went on a 16.5 mile run the other day.  the schedule called for an 18 mile run but it was hot, I was hungry and I had an appointment coming up that I needed to get cleaned up for.

I was pretty concerned at the beginning since my knee had been sore for a couple of days.  But coach V wouldn’t let me out of the run so I thought I would give it a try.

The first 2 miles were pure agony.  I couldn’t get comfortable in my gait.  there was pain in my knee every time my foot hit the ground.  I tried to change my foot strike to no avail.  Lengthened my gait, shortened my gait, over exaggerated my knee movement, minimized its movement.  Nothing helped!

Then just after the 2 mile mark when I was about to tap out for the day.  It cleared. Suddenly there was no pain anywhere.  I have no idea what happened but I rode that wave through mile 6.  Felt like I could go forever.  Coach V and I stopped by home at mile 7 so I could use the restroom.  She was starting to get some pain from being on the bike for that long, probably had something to do with being 19 weeks pregnant, so she stayed home and I continued on.

Took about a mile to find the groove again but I found it. I coasted to mile 12 and then mile legs started screaming at me.  Just little short pains at first.  A minor spasm here, the precursor to a cramp there…just enough to interrupt my stride.  So I had to start walking more and drinking my water and the new Gatorade Endurance that coach V got me.  In total it took my 3:31 to go 16.5 miles.  That averages to 12:50 min miles but it was the last 4 miles that really brought that average down.

And on another topic….

Sorry couldn’t come up with a natural segue so that will have to do.

I finally found a gel that doesn’t make me wretch as some as it gets to my lips.  Hammer Gel.  Fueling during long runs is important and having a strategy to fuel is equal critical.  So, following the guideline in Marathoning for Mortals I am taking in about 100 calories every hour on the half hour.  Originally, I planned on doing this with just Gatorade chews since every gel I had tried to that point didn’t sit well with my stomach or sense of taste.

I got a couple of Hammer gels in a race swag bag and thought, “for free I’ll try it”.  I actually like them alot.

So…with the impending long runs and marathon soon to come I went to their website (https://www.hammernutrition.com)  and ordered a sampler pack with different flavors of gels.  14 in total.  I thought it would be goo to try several different ones so I can decide what I like and don’t from a taste perspective.

This is what I expected to get:

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This is what I received:

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Since I’m a new customer they sent me a welcome packet at no charge.  I’m seriously impressed.   This is bunch of stuff when all you are expecting is some gels.  I am still working on how I want to start incorporating some of it into my running routine being so close to the Marathon I may wait until after to start trying things.  But, I’m really looking forward to seeing if it helps with the post marathon and 15k trail run recovery.  I’m very impressed with this company so far and a lot of the literature they sent about the products lines up with the research I’ve been doing on endurance running nutrition.

OK, so, that was a lot of post.  I’m getting in new shoes tonight and can’t wait to try them out and then another pair of shoes on Friday.  That’s a story for another time.

So, tonight will be a run, not sure how far I’ll go but I’ll let y’all know!  Until then….C-YA!

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!

 

 

 

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!

 

Camping and Triathlons

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Time has a tendency to get away from us when we don’t pay attention.  Its been a very busy couple of weeks and I have not been the best at sticking to my training plan.

Basically, I haven’t gotten to the plan I wrote about last time at all.  But I still managed some runs.

I’ve got in 6 runs over the past two weeks including the second in the AZ Sunrise Series.  Several hikes and a short trail run.

We all (Coach V, James, Amelia and I) did a short run for national running day.  and then shared some Italian Ice afterward.  It was a fun little run sponsored by Tortoise and Hare.  They had 2 options, a one mile and a three mile out and back.  Since we had the kids with us we just did the 1 mile.  It was interesting seeing the different techniques the kids came up with for tackling the distance.  James runs intervals.  He would go about as fast as he could for a short distance then walk for a little bit.  Then repeat the process again.  In contrast, Amelia ran slower but didn’t stop, save for a couple of little breaks for water.  Amelia also started the quiet determined chant of “we can do it” with about a quarter mile left. They ended up finishing together and neither have had any coaching which made it interesting to watch.

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The second AZ Sunrise Series race was at the Scottsdale Sports Complex. I was actually a little disappointed with my performance.  It was a little slower than the race 2 weeks before by about a minute.  29:30 for the 5K.  The main issue that I had was when I stopped at the first water station I choked on the water.  Which flared up my asthma and my lungs never did recover.  I was also not in the greatest place in my head for racing.  Nothing bad just a lot going on and my head was in other places.  We were getting ready for a camping trip the coming Monday and my daughter was in town so I was thinking about other things.

I also have been drinking a pre-workout drink, C-4, before the races and I think I’m going to stop doing that.  Since I don’t train with it I’m not sure its a great idea.  Mostly, I was drinking it because of the caffeine content and easier to drink quickly before the race instead of coffee.

Also, its getting hotter here and I think that its time to switch my race shirt to the sleeveless or tank top.

During the camping trip I went on several hikes with the whole crew.  Including a 2.5 mile hike. That I went on a one mile trail run in the middle of.  I know that doesn’t sound like a lot of distance, BUT, coach V and I had two 3 year-olds and a 5 year-old with us.  That’s a pretty good distance for those little legs.  But they were troopers and did it.  Unfortunately, it was discovered that a camera was left on the trail when we took a small break.  So, I ran back about .3 miles to get it and then turned around and ran to catch up.  Overall it took me 14:28 to run a mile over some incredibly rough terrain.

Overall very good trip.  I wish I could have gotten in a couple of early morning runs but that my fault for not getting up.

For Father’s Day my daughter got me some cool clip on reflector lights for when I run in the dark, some Gatorade chews (daddy candy), and a book on using my stick roller and trigger point ball.  She also got me some gear to help when I use my smoker.  I used the clips like night and they are very cool.

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And Coach V came with me!  I always enjoy when she comes with.  It was a slow run but we mostly were analyzing form and establishing a baseline for where she is running.

Tonight we are going to a Good Form running clinic at Tortoise and Hare.  I’ll be really interested in what they have to save both for myself and Coach V.

We discussed a very rough training plan to get her going with running again.  She is mostly a biker. And as she puts it “Really Hates Running”.

The main reason for her needing to get up to speed as it where is that we are both doing a sprint triathlon in August.  It also means that I need to start biking more.  Which means I need a better bike.  I may have a lead on one I can borrow for a little bit before I buy one.

We are also two-thirds of a relay team for a tri in July.  Coach V will be handling the biking duties and I’m going to take on the swimming.  I really need to get in a pool and see if I still remember how to swim.  I was a really strong swimmer back in high school and I know most of the mechanics of good swim form from my time as the manager of the girls swim team in high school.  I’m not overly worried about it but a little practice would be a good thing.

This weekend is the third in the AZ Sunrise series and, unfortunately, I won’t be able to be there.  So, I’m taking their virtual option.  I plan on doing that tomorrow morning during the Thursday morning Arrowhead Loop Group run.  Still trying to decide if I’m going to run in the kilt for that or not.

Hopefully after this weekend my life calms down a little and I can get back to a more normal running schedule.  I’ve been lacking motivation a little recently and hope that its just because its been so busy.

Until next time…C-YA!