Kilts and Podiums

20200314_0702200A couple of weekends ago I ran in the Glendale 1K Kilt Run and the Kiss me I’m Irish 4K.  I had a blast at both of them.  I’m a little surprised that they still held the events with the recent fears over the COVID-19 virus.  Although in the midst of all the media coverage of the spread of the virus and the panic that it is starting to cause I was very happy to have the sense of normalcy that comes with a race.

20200313_180904First up was the 1K Kilt Run.  This is a fun run, which means no timing or awards, to attempt to break the record for the most people in a kilt doing an organized activity.  We didn’t get the record, but it was still a very large crowd.  It has a festival like atmosphere with a live band playing Celtic music before the race and during for the people waiting on their loved ones to run/walk the just over a half mile.

I decided to see how fast I could go.  I even wore my track racing flats, although given that the course was wet, the racing flats don’t have much grip in the corners on wet brick.  At the start I felt a little like a Flinstone.  My feet were moving, but I wasn’t getting anywhere.  I was at the front of the crowd right from the start.  There were about 8 people in front of me as we went around the first corner.  Unfortunately, I slid out a little and thought to myself that I will need to slow down around the corners.  Then something happened that I’m not used to, I started chasing people down.  I zeroed in on the person in front of me and started closing the gap.  Most races when I’ve gone out fast, I end up flaming out and getting passed.  This time I wasn’t flaming out and I actually was gaining both speed and ground to the next person.  I finished an unofficial 5th place and was the only one over 25 in that group.  I was pretty pleased with myself.  It felt great and I started to get the feeling that I used to when I was running the 400, of the world dropping away.

20200314_080342Saturday morning, I got up early and headed back to Westgate Mall for the Kiss Me I’m Irish 4k.  Coach V didn’t think it would be a great idea to take the whole troop out for this one, so I was on my own. My plan was to go out at a little more than a comfortable pace and try to maintain it, but most importantly I was out there to have fun.  The 8K and the 4K share a lot of the same course at the beginning and with only a 10-minute start difference we quickly caught the stragglers from the 8k.  This made it almost impossible to tell who in front of me was from my race and who was in the 8k.  So, I just tried to keep going at a steady pace until I was a little over half-way then I started trying to pick up the tempo.  My calf did not appreciate the added speed and started complaining.  The complaints turned into a bit of an angry roar, so I decided to walk a few steps.  Doing some small lunges stretched it back out and I was able to take off again.  Next thing I really knew the finish was in sight and I dug down for whatever was left in the tank and got a pretty good sprint going.  I came across the line, was handed a bottle of water and my metal by a gloved volunteer and started a brisk walk to the car.  The RunBet distance for this weekend was 3 miles and I wasn’t going to have another opportunity to run.  I kept my watch tracking and headed to the car.  I stopped briefly to drop off the water and grab the kilt run metal for from the night before for a picture and started a light cool down run around the parking lot and back toward the finish area.  Once I got my 3 miles in, I decided to go see what my race time and age group placing was.  I was in a bit of disbelief with what I say.  I was the 19th overall male and the first in the 30-39 age group.  My first thought was that can’t be right, so I checked the bib number and sure enough it was mine.

20200314_085431I’m fairly sure that this is the first time I have ever won my age group in any race.  I’m very pleased with this result, but what makes me more excited is that it’s working.  In just 3 weeks training with the SRC I’ve drastically dropped my per mile time into a range that I haven’t been in since high school, 7:30 min/mile.  If I can hold that for another half mile then I’ll have my 24-minute 5K by the end of April.  It means that not only is the speed still in me somewhere but it’s starting to come out again.

There is still a lot of work to do.  Even once I get the sub- 24 min 5K I’ll still need to drop another 4 minutes by the end of the year.  And I’m certain that they will be harder to drop than these 4 look to be.  But I believe that I have a good routine in place and some great people to train with and help me along on this journey and hopefully I get to help some others along theirs in the process.

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The next several weeks look to be some trying times.  My daughter is in from Indiana which I love but it will make going out and training more difficult since I want to spend as much time with her as I can.  And then there is the COVID-19 virus.  Unfortunately, I am in one of the more at-risk groups to have a sever reaction to it.  Some days being asthmatic really sucks.  I’m taking all the precautions that I can, no I’m not buying 3 years-worth of toilet paper, but there is only so much a person can do.  So, if you are in one of the groups that I normally run with and you don’t see me for a few weeks it not because I don’t love running with you all, and believe me when I say that I miss the group either SRC of EMYP. I’ll be doing what I can on my own and trying not to go to stir crazy.  Feel free to drop me a note if you are wondering how we are doing.

My next scheduled race is the Hippity Hop 5K in mid-April assuming that they are still able to hold it.  My hope is that this scare is over by then and that my family (of which you are all a part of) comes through unscathed.

Until next time…C-ya!20200314_080352

Streaking and Inch-stones

 

Frozen FeetI’ve decided that this year I’m gone to try streaking. I’ve seen articles about it in magazines and I’ve heard others talking about how they can’t imagine not streaking once they started. What finally convinced me to give it a try is when my therapist, Yvonne, talked about it.
Wait…I’m talking about running or some type of aerobic activity every day. What were you thinking about?
Anyway, I’m talking about going out and doing some type of activity for at least 10 minutes every day. For me sometimes that is running, sometimes it’s walking, and this time of year a lot of the time it’s soccer. The point is that everyday I go out and do something. Now I know that this doesn’t seem like a whole lot since I go on a lot of runs, but I usually don’t do something athletic every day. So far, I’ve had a streak going since 12/31/2019… 28 days. Runner’s World encourages people every summer to streak for a month or two with the hope being that once you set the habit up it will continue past the challenge.
There are sites set up to help encourage run streaking like Run Bet. Similar to diet bet where you put a little money down on losing a certain amount of weight by percentage in a given amount of time. RunBet has you put some money down and you follow a prescribed by the challenge distance for a set amount of time. For instance, I signed up for one that starts mid-February and lasts 4 weeks. During that time, I have 5 runs of a varying distance that I have to do every week. The main caveat is that you can only log one run a day. At the end of the challenge all the money is divided up by the number of people who completed the challenge. Not something that you will make a bunch off of but it’s a fun little way to help motivate yourself to get out consistently.Marshmallow Mile

Along with starting a streak the local running store Tortoise and Hare Sports began the annual Frozen Feet challenge in association with Brooks. Which is a challenge to walk or run at least mile every day for 6 weeks. It needs to be a purposeful mile. Meaning that you can’t count just the general walking around that you do during the day, you need to go out with the intentional of completing a mile. Throughout the event they are holding some events such as a marshmallow mile. Think of a beer mile and just substitute the beer for marshmallows.

In line with the re-aligned 2020 goal of a 5K under 18 minutes. I’ve done 2 things. The first being I’ve started working with a nutrition coach. Jet, yes the same one who coaches me lifting, at Kilo Barbell Club is a certified nutrition coach through PN coaching. After talking with me about where I am and the ultimate goal of running significantly faster we decided that the main goal of the nutrition coaching should be to lose weight. The main thought being that I’m carrying too much extra weight that isn’t geared toward helping me run. Admittedly, I have gained a fair amount in the past year. When I started working with her on nutrition I was up to 200 lbs I’m now at 188. I’m not only changing what I eat but how I eat.

Second, I’ve broken the main goal down into sub goals. There is a basic tenant in engineering. If you have a problem that appears to be impossible to solve, break it down into smaller pieces until you have a problem you can solve. Solve that, then go on to the next, and then the next, and so on until the problem that was too big is solved. Another way to put it is the old line of: How do you eat an elephant? Which of course is properly answered as: One bite at a time.

So, I’m going to break the end goal into milestone and inch-stones. We use this system in my day job and I don’t know why it’s just occurring to me that I should apply this principle to my running. For the uninitiated milestones are the major accomplishments or tasks that need to be completed on the way to a goal or as I call it at work a deliverable. Inch-stones are a further breakdown of the milestone into even smaller accomplishments on the way to a milestone. We also use what I call mile markers, these are set point on a calendar used to measure where we are on our way to the milestones and to make any adjusts necessary in the inch-stones.

Ok, sorry, I became an engineer there for a second, hopefully I didn’t lose anyone. The way I see my running goals are as follows. The end goal is to qualify for Boston by 45. So that will be the “deliverable”. I believe that to achieve that goal I have the following milestone that I have to hit. I need a 5K under 18 by the end of 2020, a 10K under 40 by the end of 2021, a Half Marathon under 1:30 by the end of 2022, and then 2 years to increase that to the Full marathon under 3 hours.

So, for now let’s just look at the 5K milestone. My current 5K time is 29:57 set on Jan 11 this year. That will be the start point. My inch-stones then will be, April sub 24 minutes, June sub 22, August sub 20, October sub 19, December sub 18 with Mile Markers in March, July, September, and November.Year of the 5k Jan

Up6086 tomorrow is the Mesa 10K. I know, I just spent all this time talking about 5Ks and I’m running a 10K. Originally this was going to be the 10K year that is until the injuries and mono. I signed up for this a year ago with a discount code. Here is my plan. I’m going to take the first mile easy. And by easy, I mean nearly walk. Then I’m going to run miles 2, 3, and 4 as if it was a 5k. Then just jog or maybe do intervals for the last couple of miles. (note: this was meant to be posted on Friday.  I did well on the 10K but more on that later)  Until then…C_YA!

 

 

New Shoes and 2019 Goals

Let me start by saying Mono sucks! But, I’ve got some other things to talk about before getting into that.

20190929_070152.jpgI got new shoes! And its a departure from my normal Sauconys. Enda Itens. Enda Sports is a company from Kenya. They got their start from a Kick-starter campaign and have been producing shoes for about 2 years. They build shoes with the philosophy that the big corporations have sold us on over complicated and over engineered running shoes. Basically, I like the philosophy of “Keep it Simple”.

I’ve now done numerous training runs and several races with them and I love them more every time I wear them.  Generally, I forget that I’m wearing them, which is a very good thing. It means that they aren’t bothering me or causing any issues for me to become conscious of and I can focus on the other aspects of running.  The other great thing about them is that, relatively speaking, they are cheap, about $100.  Honestly, I can’t say enough about these shoes.

Kilo LogoOK, enough gushing about shoes.  The back half of the year was a rough one for me from a health and running perspective.   I got a membership at Kilo Barbell Club and began lifting 3 days a week.  I’m not a weight lifter and generally have no idea what I’m doing.  Jet and Keven are very patient with teaching me how to lift properly and getting me to rest between sets.  I had no idea that the rest between sets was so important.

Just as I was getting into the swing of lifting, I went to the doctor after having a sore throat for a week that I couldn’t shake and feeling exhausted to the point of not being able to get through my work day without taking a nap.  Turns out, I somehow contracted the Epstein-Barr Virus better known as Mono.  This was the beginning of October.

As I stated above, Mono sucks.  I was exhausted all the time no matter how much I slept.  My whole body was achy, I wasn’t allowed to do any exercise.  No running, no biking, no lifting, nothing!  It was brutal.  To add some extra stress, I got a new manager on the first day I had to be out from this.

Luckily, I have a somewhat flexible job and was able to work from home as I was able most days and go into the office just a couple of times a week.  Not ideal, but it was better than being out completely.  Unfortunately, this came right as we where preparing to move across town and my daughter from Indiana was here for 3 weeks.  Needless to say I was little to no help packing and Coach V should be nominated for sainthood.

Finally on Nov 13, 1 month, 2 weeks, and 1 day after my last run I tentatively went out for a short run.  A slow 2 mile effort around my new neighborhood at a 10:37 average pace.  It felt AMAZING!

Running Is My TherapyStill feeling a little hesitant to get back at it too fast, I started working full days at the office again and Thursday I joined the group for the Arrowhead loop run.  The more I did the better I started feeling.  This is when Coach V put forth the theory that I was no longer fighting mono but depression.  Coincidentally, I was listening to an audiobook titled Running is my Therapy by Scott Douglas.  And as I thought about it, I think she was right.  I use running to help keep my mood level and the ADHD in check.  It clears my head and helps me to stay focused throughout the day.  In the book Mr. Douglas discusses studies that show the effects of running (aerobic activity) to be very similar to antidepressants.  That is all well and good, but can be taken too far.  I had become so dependent on running that when it was taken away I began to struggle.

In my profession we call this a single point failure.  That means the entire operation can grind to a halt if one piece is removed.  It is something to be avoided.  When we find those we work to find ways around them as contingency plans.  I have no contingency plan for running.

He also talked about a therapist in California that does something that they call running therapy.  After a search in the Phoenix area I found a counselor, Yvonne Lewis from  Creative Quiescence, that does running therapy.

The premise is to have a talk therapy session while on a light run.  The thought is that it can be a little less intimidating to talk to someone when you are side by side and doing some other physical activity.  If you go on group runs or have a training partner you probably talk about everything under the sun. Including some things that are very personal and you probably wouldn’t talk about if you were to just sit down with someone over coffee.  This approach appealed to me since I get very uncomfortable talking about my feeling and emotions.  As you have probably noticed I don’t mind telling stories.

I’ve been to 3 sessions with Yvonne and I feel like I’m getting a lot out of them.  Generally the session starts in her studio with some talking about how things have been since the last session and how I’m feeling in general.  Then we go outside and run or walk at a conversational pace.  She has me focus on mindful running and listening to what my body is telling me.  This is a small departure from me telling my body to be quiet and get moving.  Although it turns out I was already practicing some mindful running without knowing it.

10492_6077274_enm967002334ramWe talk about running and how I run or react to situations running or reffing and how that might be translating to other areas of life.  She is very good at guiding my thoughts to come to realizations and insights.  All in all, I like it and feel like this is helping my running and other areas of life.  I know that therapy can be intimidating and mental health has become a hot topic, but it is important and getting help if you are struggling there is just as important as going to PT for a calf injury.

2019 is over and my goal accomplishment rate was 50%.  In a previous post I talked about my goals and having high goals and low goals.  I had 2 high goals for 2019.

  1. Pay off my consumer debt, credit cards, car loans, etc. and 25% of my student loan.
  2. Get my 5K time to sub 18.

And the Low goals of:

  1. Pay off the consumer debt
  2. 5K under 20 minutes.

I’m happy to report that I knocked #1 out of the park.  I have cleared the debt completely with the exception of my mortgage.  So, put a big fat check on that one.

The fitness goal didn’t go so well.  Not to make excuses but the baby coming in April, 2 injuries in May and June then Mono in October, these goals just were not in the cards for this year.  And I’m OK with it.  Basically, I’m just pushing the 5K goals out a year.  That leads to the announcement of:

2020: The Year of the 5K!

There are a couple of steps that I have already started toward that end but I’ll go into more detail on those next time.  Until then…C-YA!

 

Spartans, Swiss Days & New Goals

So, its been awhile. Life has a way of getting extremely busy especially during the summers. And add to that I wasn’t able to run the majority of June and I haven’t felt like writing much.

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I was able to do the Spartan Stadion Race. While I wasn’t able to do it as quickly as I would have liked I had a blast doing it. That was mostly do to having someone from to run it with. Dr. Ryan, my chiropractor, did the race with me and was a lot of fun to run with. I probably would have slacked off it I hadn’t been trying to keep up with him. Managed to cut 10 minutes off my time from last year and reinforced that I still don’t know how to climb a rope. One day I will conquer my nemesis the rope!

After the Spartan I started running a the 2 min on/off cycle and only for around 2 miles. Until the end of June when one of the guys, John, goaded me into running with him. We maintained an ok pace, around 10 minute miles but we ran for all 4 miles. Came to find out that he had already done several miles before the group got there and continued for a couple more after. But, it was what I needed.

John also encouraged me to come out to the bike rides as a way to build fitness. So, I thought lets give it another try. Attempt #3 went a lot better. I took the old Schwinn and met up with the group. and it didn’t go too bad. Although, the guys did tell me that I was fighting the weight of the all steel bike and that a newer little bike would be amazing things to both my comfort level and ability to keep up.

The weekend while at a used sports equipment shop I found an aluminum Cannondale from the 90’s. On the first test ride with no adjustments I knew that they guys where right. The Cannondale was so much easier to ride than my Schwinn. So we got it. John had a set of clip-less pedals that he wasn’t using and told me I could have them. I just needed to get cleats and shoes.

Being attached to your pedals is kinda interesting. I feel like it didn’t take as much effort to get the same power per stroke the trade off being when you stop you have to remember to un-clip. If you don’t you slowly fall over. I’m happy to report that I remembered to un-clip before I stopped every time. However, three quarters of the way through the ride after having stopped I forgot to push off and get moving before clipping my right foot back in and slowly fell over on my left. I’m told this is a right of passage that everyone goes through. I was just bruised and had a couple of scraps so I was able to continue. And I dare say that I actually had fun.

I have now purchased a bike jersey and shorts to go along with my shoes. And since the group usually rides on Wednesday’s the jersey is hot pink and the shorts match. Why? Because on Wednesday’s we wear pink!

At the end of July I ran in the Swiss Days 5K with several of my cousins and brother. I knew that there was no way i could stay with my speedster cousins having only been back to running for 3 weeks but I still wanted to put up a decent time. My family did very well. I got 18th in my age group with a time of 28:46. Given that I’m still rebuilding from the injuries to my foot and calf I’m pretty happy.

received_2082643498696906On the way home from the great Indiana road trip we stopped for the night in Albuquerque, NM and I found a great little 5K to run.  The Rudi Cancer 5K.  This is an annual run to benefit cancer research in honor of Kevin Rudi.  Compared to a lot of the runs I do this was very small.  About 60 people, mostly family and friends of the Rudi family.  His mom came and introduced herself to us and was extremely friendly.  Even though most of the field already knew each other they were all very welcoming.  It was one of the most challenging 5k courses I’ve encountered.  The entire first mile was uphill, the second was downhill and then back up for the third.  It was brutal, but a lot of fun.

It has got me re-evaluating my goals for the year. Between injuries, newborn, work, and we are trying to sell our house and find a new one, I’m not sure that my goal of sub-18 5K is reasonable.  I just don’t have the time to train without sacrificing time with my growing family.  So, this year my revised goal is to get my 5K under 24 minutes.  But, don’t think that I’ve given up on my quest for a sub 18, its just going to move to 2020. All the rest of the goals will then push back 1 year.  So it will look like this:

received_476802426218927-12019 5K under 24 minutes
2020 5K under 18 minutes
2021 10K under 40 minutes
2023 13.1 miles under 90 minutes
2025 26.2 miles Under 180 minutes

Due to the longer distances involved I’m going to give myself 2 years for both the half and full marathons.

There is SO MUCH more that has happened since the last post but that will have to wait for another time.

Until then…C-ya!

 

More Injuries and Addiction

I’ve been reading a lot of books on running and the personal stories of various runners.  They have been written by various levels of runners, although they are all faster

and perhaps more serious than I am.  From the instructional 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald and Endure by Alex Hutchinson to the historic Born to Run and Natural Born Heros by Christopher McDougall to the inspirational North by Scott Jurek, and Let Your Mind Run by Deena Kastor, and the combination of inspiration and instruction of Run Forever by Amby Burfoot. Then my personal favorite, the humorous and inspirational The Incomplete Book of Running by the host of NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, Peter Sagal.peter-sagal-the-incomplete-book-of-running

All these books have had some great advice and given me things to think about on my own running journey.  While I’ll never be going for an FKT on the Appalachian Trail, or any other trail for that matter, or competing for a chance to podium on an international race.  I’m still extremely surprised when I get a podium in local 5ks and that is usually because they are small races.  It has made me realize that every runner, regardless of level, has a story.  Whether it is a health scare, overcoming addiction, therapy, or any other host of reasons, we all have something that got us started.

But, for all the host of reasons that we get started we all seem to have one thing in common, other than running of course.  The year that no matter what we did we were plagued by injury.  Sometimes it’s not a whole year, sometimes it’s longer.  For some of us it signals an end to running, some come back even stronger.  Almost all of us realize what running means to us and reflect on what running has brought us, especially those who have been doing it for a long time.  I mean what else do we have to do but think about running while we aren’t able to.

All my life I’ve battled things that, according to most, should have stopped me from running. Inflamed growth plates in my heals, the flattest feet known to man, knee problems, a list of injuries three pages long. I was told during my junior year of high school track by a doctor that I should stop running forever due to a back problem. And last but not least, asthma.  And not just the mild variety. As a kid I was as bad as they get.  I could only play outside for a couple hours a day at one point because I couldn’t be out in the pollen for longer than that without my lungs seizing up.

I actually think that the asthma and back issues are what have driven me to continue running for as long as I have.  And even with all the of injuries, most of which came through my own stupidity and lack of self-preservation, I’ve always recovered and carried on.  They have never strung themselves together in any way that would keep me down for more than 3 weeks.

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Unfortunately, I’m not as young and able to heal as I once was.  I talked in my last post about having plantar fasciitis for the second time in my right foot.  That stopped me from running completely for 3 weeks and then, at the advice of my physical therapist Charlie, a very slow return.  I’m very happy to report that my right foot feels amazing.  It’s not completely recovered as I still feel a little fatigue toward the end of 3 mile efforts, but it is less each time out.  I have been using a walk run method again suggested by Charlie of 2 min on and 2 min off.  This has been extremely effective and I’m maintaining an average around 11 minutes per mile.  Given that I walk for a good portion of the run is pretty good. It’s also further pointed out that I have no sense of pace.  Some of the runs are well under 8 min/mile and some are around 9:30. And it’s not that the first run cycles are really fast and then they slow down.  They seem to be random.

donut-1024x1024 About a week ago I went to Tortoise and Hare for the monthly donut run.  I was having a really good run.  I was even gaining on one of the faster runners when it felt like someone stabbed me in the calf.  Luckily, it was at the end of a run cycle, so I stopped and tried to stretch it on the curb, then walk it off.  However, at the next run cycle it was back within a few steps.  Did I stop and head back?  Hell NO!  I adjusted my foot strike to land on my heel and that seemed to help.  So, I soldiered on, albeit a little slower.  It also felt super awkward.  I finished my three miles with a noticeable limp.  Later that day, I found myself in my in-law’s pool swimming laps with a 4 and 6-year-old taking turns riding on my back.  Nothing like swimming with a moving 40 lbs weight on your back.

Over the next couple of days there was a dull nagging pain, so I decided that I should rest it and took 5 days off until the Thursday Arrowhead loop.  Which come to think of it is where the plantar started.  Hmmm…

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Anyway, I was glad to be back running and Coach V even came with Molly in a carrier to walk while we all ran.  I intended to take the 3-mile cut of the 4-mile loop, but during the first 2 min run something stabbed my calf again, but this time the pain was more intense.  I walked the rest of that run cycle and the next trying to stretch as I was walking.  I also decided to turn around at the mile mark and head back.  A smarter person would have turned around right away, but I’m not too bright when it comes to injuries.

The new part is that I noticed some bruising around where the pain was.  Since no good can come of that I called Charlie and will get it looked at tonight.  I fear that he is going to tell me to lay off running for a few weeks again.

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The issue is that it’s going to start getting difficult to be built back up for the Swiss Days race and the speed I would like to do that in if I can’t get back to training soon.  In the meantime, I now have a carrier for my bike, so I can join the group for rides to try to keep\rebuild my fitness.

Coach V and I have been talking about addiction recently.  This have been mostly due to helping a friend who realized that she had a problem and has decided to get some help.  Meaning she must move across country.  So, we helped her sort through, pack and load her stuff into a U-Haul for the move.  We have also talked about the number of endurance runners who have had similar type problems in their lives and how running, in some cases extremely long distances, have helped them manage the addiction and overcome it.  There was an interview once where Robert Downy Jr. claimed that he simply replaced one addiction, namely drugs, with another, going to the gym.  He apparently will go workout 2 to 3 times a day, sometimes more.  Maybe that’s what those runners are doing.  Maybe that is kind of what I’m doing.  I’ve had a couple of issues in the past.  Poker being one of them.  I nearly failed out of Purdue because I was playing so much.  I never viewed it as an addiction because I was able to decide to quit playing one day.  After a letter from Purdue stating that if I didn’t get my grades up they would kick me out and meeting a girl that told me she wouldn’t be interested in someone who failed out of school,  I just stopped and didn’t play again for 3 years.  And I’ve never played with the frequency or stakes that I used to.

A couple of other things developed after poker that I’m not quite ready to go into on a forum that is as public as this, but there were things that replaced poker.  I never thought of them as an addiction, but they could be.  I never got involved with any kind of drugs.  Not for lack of opportunity, just never interested me.  Coach V has suggested that perhaps running is an addiction I have.  According to her I get irritable, moody, and jittery if I haven’t run in a few days.  I don’t think that I’ve taken it to an unhealthy level, but it does explain some things.

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It might be somewhat telling that I’m not scheduled in a road race until the end of July and its driving me a little nuts.  I’m scheduled to do a Spartan Stadium Sprint at the Arizona Cardinals Stadium in a couple of weeks with my Chiropractor, 

so maybe that will take the edge off a little.

Until then…C-YA!

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!