Catch up and Coaching

Run 3-6-19

So, it’s been awhile. About 2 months actually.  And boy does it seem like it’s been a non-stop couple of months.  I keep thinking that I need to write a new post and then I get distracted with something.  Ok, mostly soccer.

January and February are pretty busy times if you are a soccer official in AZ. I was working 4-5 nights a week and nearly every one of them was 2 games.  Then just when I thought the season was over I got pulled into the post season tournament.  I was surprised mostly because of a rule that you have to have been reffing in AZ for 3 years before your eligible.  However, the AZ association, AIA, talked to the Indiana association, IHSAA, and they confirmed that I’ve been a ref for nearly 10 years and have been working their post season tournament for the past 5.

So, I worked the first round of the tournament and I thought that would be it.  I even put my AIA jersey away for the year.  Then I got a call that they wanted me to work the boy’s quarterfinal.

Then came the tournaments.  Over the course of 2 weekends I worked 17 fairly high level games.  It was a lot of fun but SO exhausting.  I also had a chance to talk with some higher rated officials who gave me some good advice on things to work on.

Bridging Soles

While all this was going on I started working with a running coach Corrie VanKampen and her coaching company Bridging Soles (https://www.bridgingsoles.com/).  After an initial conversation with her about where I currently am and reviewing my goals she developed a 12-week plan.  She agrees that the goal of an 18 minute 5K in 2019 is aggressive but is doable.  The basics of the plan is a lot of slow (conversation pace) running with some speed work sprinkled in.

I love having a coach again.  I say again but I haven’t had one since high school.  It’s great having someone to give encouragement and let you know that you are doing well and on a good path.  We talk either by phone or Skype once a week.  I have a tendency to be my own worst critic and am very hard on myself when I don’t hit the times that I’m supposed to on training runs.  Coach Corrie has been great at telling me that I’m doing well and developing more speed at a good rate.

Spring training

Which brings me to what Coach Corrie is calling my first practice 5K, the Spring Training 5K held in Surprise, AZ.  (Side note: this is my favorite name for a city.  I yell ‘Surprise!’ in the car every time that we go by the city limit sign.)

So…. Back to the run.  This was an evening run on a Friday night.  It was possibly the flattest course I’ve ever ran.  Officially there was 29 ft of elevation change. I’m pretty sure that the step off the curb was the largest change that I noticed. It started and stopped on the concourse of the KC Royals and Texas Rangers spring training Ballpark.  It was a lot of fun finishing there under the lights.  I also ran, pun intended, into a very energetic running from my home state of Indiana.  She’s was actually shocked when I told her I knew where Kokomo was and that I had been there!  And in case anyone was wondering the Beach Boys song is not about Kokomo, Indiana.  If you go there with that expectation you will be disappointed.

If I’m honest I was a little disappointed with my time.  28:08.  I think a couple of things worked against me.  It was a night race.  Which means that I was already tired from the day both mentally and physically.  My day job, I’m an engineer, has become a lot more demanding in the last couple of months.  Which is a good thing as I was starting to get a little bored, but it’s part of the reason I haven’t written as much on here.

I need to get in more miles.  Coach was letting me get away with using my reffing in place of long runs on the weekends.  I don’t like to do training runs on days I ref.  If I were to run before the games, then it’s not really fair to the kids playing to have a ref that is already tired.  If any of you have seen me after reffing all day you know that I’m in NO SHAPE AT ALL to run.  Not so much that I couldn’t physically do it although there would be hard from that aspect.  After a couple of games, I’m so mentally drained I can’t always decide what to eat after the games.  Reffing is very mentally tasking on top of the physical effort.  While it’s not a bad replacement I don’t think that its retraining my brain to think of a 5k as “a quick little jaunt through the park”.  I seem to have 3 speeds. Walk, sprint and long distance run.  I need to find another gear in between sprint and my current marathon pace.

I need to load new music on my watch.  I’m had the same very short playlist on my watch since last St Patrick’s Day.  While I still like the songs I need something else it’s become too predictable.  Last year once the runs/races got long I started carrying my phone and listened to tunes through Pandora or Amazon Prime so the playlist was always changing.  However, since the races only last about a half hour and I want them to only be able 20 minutes I’m not taking my phone anymore.

 

Last week on the advice of Coach Corrie I subbed out the prescribed speed work to see how fast I could burn a mile.  In my opinion it was not fast.  I did one mile, waited about 10 minutes to recover and then did another.  Mile one was 7:42 and mile 2 was 8:40. Again this was done at the end of the day (you would think I would know better) and in the second mile I started having some pain in my calf that radiated up into my knee.  Similar to the pain I had last fall.

I did learn several things during the runs.  First and foremost, I need to start doing the exercises that I was given for my calves last fall.  Second, my brain is a noisy place in the evenings.  Which is why I need to go back to more before work running.

The third is a little more difficult.  I found myself looking at my watch to see how far was left and thought “oh no, I’m only half way.”  Which seems ridiculous for someone who only a couple of months ago ran 26.  This got me to thinking I thought the same thing during the 5K at the 1.5 mark. The main problem with it is that it completely demotivated me and made the last half mile a struggle.  I instantly started feeling every ache and pain.  I actually thought I can’t do this at one point.  Yet last week I ran with the group on Thursday and barely noticed when we had gone 3 miles.

There is a mental game to running and I’m struggling with it right now.  I think the answer is to just run more.  Or follow the plan at least.

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This week I’ll be joining the Embrace your Pace group on Tuesday for the Rio Loop and Thursday for the Arrowhead loop.  Speed work on Wednesday and I’m not sure about my weekend running plans yet.  Until then…C-Ya!

Skipped Runs and Soccer

Reach-11-Sports-Complex

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.
Fusia Soccer
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!