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!

 

Missed runs and Refocusing

20180427_110636.jpgSo, its been awhile since I posted anything. That’s partially because I haven’t ran in over two and a half weeks. But I have a fairly good reason. At least I think it is.

Two days before the race I started to get a little bit of a sore throat. Not a big deal I thought. I started pushing vitamin C pretty hard and decided to take it easy. Friday I had a little bit of a sniffle but again didn’t think much of it.

Then came the plane ride to Indiana.

Flying with sinus issues is never fun. But, I’ve survived it before and was confident that I would again. As the nearly 4 hour flight wore on I began feeling worse and worse. I was getting colder and colder. Even my three year old daughter cuddling up next to me wasn’t warming me up any.

OK, I have a fever.

Then came the uncontrollable shivering.  Coach V was getting pretty worried about me at this point and started mentioning that a half marathon in less than 12 hours might not be a best idea.  I dismissed that thought at first because I’m stubborn and hated the idea of all this training and not taking my shot at a sub 2 hour half.  I was sure that the fever was about to break and that with some sleep I’d be fine.

We landed, got our bags, and I made the very tough decision that it would be better not to drive to Illinois get 3 hours of sleep and then run.  The better plan was to go to our friends in Noblesville and be able to sleep in the next morning.

When Anna pulled up to take us to her place she thought that I “looked like hell” and that it was a good call to not do the race.

They took my temperature right before we went to bed and I was still at 102.  Honestly, I thought it had come down quite a bit from earlier.

So, I slept until 10 I think.  Temperature when I woke up was still 102.  But it broke shortly after I took a shower and I was feeling somewhat human again.

The decision not to run was the right one.  Even though it killed me, metaphorically speaking, to bail on a race.  I think that it may have come close to literally killing me if I had run it.  Best case I would have been extremely disappointed with the result.

So, I suffered though the next week with a horrible cough, sore throat, and I completely lost my voice.  Which is fun when a lot of your job includes being on conference calls.  I was coughing so bad especially at night that I was waking myself up and couldn’t get back to sleep.  A whole week of only 3-4 hours of fitful sleep is not a great idea. Finally the next Friday my boss came by and told me to go home and see a doctor.

So, I did. and that’s when I was told it was an upper respiratory infection and that it would be a good idea to take a couple of days off work.  They also gave my antibiotics and REALLY good cough syrup.  Well, I call it really good but it was really effective.  It tasted absolutely horrible.

Now in week three of the illness that won’t quit.  I still don’t feel great.  my throat is still sore and I can’t hardly stand the thought of running.  And at the same time I am very eager to get going again.

I’ve taken this time to really think about where my priorities are in running.

I need to get faster.

Like I want to be ALOT faster.

That started with shorter distances and working on my form.  I’m going to incorporate hill training into my weekly routine and I am looking to find a track to do some speed work like pyramids and intervals.  If anyone reading this has ideas on increasing speed I’m open to try things.

I’m also doing more short (5k) races over the summer.  The race schedule for the year currently looks like this:

5/26– ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – KIWANIS PARK

6/9- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – SCOTTSDALE SPORTS COMPLEX

6/23- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – FREESTONE PARK

7/7-Spartan Stadium Series Sprint – University of Phoenix Stadium

7/7- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – ARIZONA FALLS

7/21- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – RIPARIAN

8/4- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – RIO VISTA PARK

8/18- ARIZONA SUNRISE SERIES – FOOTHILLS

12/2 Hot Chocolate 15K

12/9 Buckeye Marathon

12/15 Estrella Trail 10K\5K Challenge

Most of them I will do in person, 3 I’m going to do a virtual run since I can’t be there on race day.  I’ll probably add some more to fill in September through November.  Although that will be the height of the Marathon training so it might be best to lay off the races for a little bit.

Its a neat series with each race adding to a point total that makes you eligible for a drawing in the fall.

Hopefully my throat calms down soon and I can get back to it this weekend.  Until then…C-YA!