Failure and Training

I haven’t written in awhile because I was dreading having to admit this to everyone.  I mentioned in the last post that I was the swimmer on a triathlon relay team.

Mountain Man

It didn’t go well.  Let me start at the beginning.

The morning started well. I maybe a little more nervous than I normally am before a race, but as I usually am quick to tell people. Nervous is good.  Nervous means that you care. Nervous can help us focus and perform better.  I am more concerned when I’m not nervous going into things.

We left Coach V’s grandmother’s place in Flagstaff and went to Upper Lake Mary.  we got to the staging area. Got Coach V’s bike squared away, found Andrea, the runner, and got our timing chip.

The traditional method for a tri is swim, bike, and finally run.  So, I was up first.  I got into the wetsuit. I was told I needed due to the water temperature and it would give me some extra bouncy. Surprisingly it wasn’t to bad to get on.  I noticed right away that it was pretty tight to my neck but dismissed it as just the way these things are.

I walked to the start area  with the whole Embrace Your Pace gang that came up for the event and waited for the relay start.

When it was our turn I got in the water. submerged myself and thought this isn’t so bad.  water temp was mid to upper 60s and I was able to get off to one side so it wasn’t as  crowded.  A horn was blown and we where off.

I started off in with a freestyle stroke breathing on the third stroke until I ran into someone.  That wasn’t a big deal.  I put my head up, looked around and switched to my back more floating than swimming at that point.  But I was fine and actually thought it was kind of relaxing.

I flipped back over to swim for a little bit again and that’s when the trouble started.  On one of my breaths I took in some water and choked a little.  My lungs upon receiving the unexpected water decided.  “Nope, we are going to freak out and start an asthma attack immediately.”

Between the asthma attack, the wetsuit at my neck, and the thin air at 7000 ft I panicked.  Suddenly I couldn’t keep my head above the water, or at least that’s how it felt.  I seriously wasn’t sure I was going to make it out of that lake at point.  But one of the race volunteers in a kayak noticed my struggling and came over to let me grab ahold of the kayak and rest.

The asthma attack wasn’t letting up and without my inhaler with me I was afraid that continuing would be a bad idea, so I asked to get pulled out by the boat.  My race day was over.  I made it maybe 50 meters of the 750 meter swim.  Once on the boat I was able to get my breathing under control even before we got back to shore.  The folks on the boat where very understanding and supportive and I am grateful that they where there..  They had to take my chip so officially my team was no longer competing but they did tell me that the rest of the team should still do there events.

I was, and to an extent still am, extremely mad at myself.  I’ve NEVER not finished a race before.  Even when my back gave out at the beginning of a 200M dash in high school I got back up and finished the race, before passing out briefly from the pain.  And not only did I fail and not finish but I let the rest of my team down.  They where counting on me to do my part and I didn’t.  And its completely my fault.  I hadn’t swam seriously since high school, I’d never swan in open water, I wasn’t ready for the altitude, I hadn’t worn a wetsuit before, and I blew off training thinking that athleticism could carry me through.  My arrogance cost my team an official finish in the race and nearly cost me even more.

I’m still upset and a little pissed at myself.  But for me it seems to have come with some new determination.  Coach V and I are signing up at a pool so that I can start swimming laps and get used to being in the water.  I’m signed up for a reverse tri at the end of August.  Which means that the swim is last and its only 400M in a pool.  I’m looking into a couple of Tri sprints this fall.  A sprint basically means all the distances are shorter.  The only issue there is that I need to make sure it fits in with the marathon training.

The rest of the weekend in Flagstaff was really fun.  Went on a couple of hikes, both of which where cut short by rain.  And it was really fun seeing everyone up there and cheering the others on during the bike and run.

OK, enough about that.Rio Run 7-17

I’ve been taking training easy the past several weeks knowing that marathon training is coming.  But I’ve still been trying to make the Tuesday and Thursday morning group runs.  I got my donut key chain, which means that I made 4 weeks in a row.20180712_072538

I ran my 5th in the AZ Sunrise series this past Saturday. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as well as I hoped.  I started having a lot of calf pain and then knee pain during the second mile and had to walk.  Every time I would test out running and get back to full stride the pain started again.  I ended running the 3.1 miles in 30:03 which is a 9:41 minute per mile pace.  Not horrible but no where near the 25 minute 5K I did in Seattle a few weeks ago.

AZ Gilbert

Once I got home and took my shoe off my fourth toe on my right foot was extremely sore and very painful if it got touched.  On further inspection I found a good sized blister had formed UNDER the toe nail.  I felt relief almost the instant I popped it and now its fine.  So, I’m blaming that for the issues on the run Saturday.  That being said Coach V, and I agree, that I should get my calf looked at.  Its been causing problems off and on all summer.

 

Last Friday we started going to a cross fit gym, EL JEFE.  Coach V prefers that sort of thing to running and I really need to work on my upper body strength.  Other than the class being at 5 am it was fun in that hard work kind of way.  They also on staff have a running coach and a in house physical therapist.  So, I’ll probably be talking to them soon.

This morning I went on a bike ride with Coach V.  Its been well documented that I am not a biker.  However, my friend Stephen loaned me a bike and after looking at the seat on it vs the seat on mine I came up with a theory.  My seat SUCKED! so I switched them.

I wouldn’t say that I loved biking this morning but it wasn’t too bad.  a good seat can make a huge difference, apparently.  Who knew?!

Finished

So, that basically catches everyone up.  The bike was day one of marathon training.  I’ll post the whole plan later since this is getting a little long already.

Next up is an “easy” 40 minute run tomorrow.  Until then…C-YA!

 

 

Sunrise Series and Prednisone

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Its been awhile but the break is now over!

Saturday I  the first in the Airzona Sunrise Series.  This is a set of 7 5Ks in different locations throughout the Phoenix area.  There is another race every other weekend.  Last Saturday was at Kiwanis Park in Tempe, AZ.

It was a nice out and back course that curved around a pond and beside one of the canals.  Pretty fast course, although, it did manage to go uphill both ways which is an interesting feat in an out and back.

I ran it in 28:13 making it the second fastest 5K since high school.  Given that I haven’t ran much in the past month. (This brings my total in the past four weeks to 7 miles.)  I’m pretty happy with it.

Everything felt good for the whole race. I was tired afterward, but nothing felt injured.  I do need to work on speed but I think that this was a good baseline run.  The next race is on June 9th.  So, I’ve got two weeks to find some more speed.  The main thing that I think that I’ll be fighting is the heat.

It’s starting to get hot here in the valley of the sun.  as in today hit triple digits and I don’t think we will be turning back until September.  So, That should make things interesting.

Speaking of that ridiculous cold/upper respiratory infection.  One of the lingering effects of it was a sore throat.  It just wouldn’t stop.  I lasted 4 weeks total and added an ear ache in the past week.  I only just got rid of it thanks to some high powered medication.  Namely another round of stronger antibiotics and a little thing called prednisone.

Prednisone is an interesting thing.  It’s a steroid used to reduce inflammation.  Namely my sinus passages.  Yes it had gotten that bad.  But it has some side effects.  I’m hungry.  Like REALLY hungry.  All the time.  I ate a big lunch today and was hungry about 5 minutes later.  I’m also really thirsty.  Like I drank about 250 ounces of water today.  The most fun effect though is that I’m wired.  Its like drinking about 10 pots of coffee all at once and no crash in the afternoon.  I’m getting a lot done at work right now and will probably start attacking the house tomorrow evening.  I’m hoping that I can go on a run tomorrow night as well.

 

Until then…C-yafb_img_1527546568846

Patriots’ Day and 5Ks

HAPPY PATRIOTS’ DAY!

Also known as Marathon Day.

As I write this I’m watching the Boston Marathon Tracker as a friend of mine from college is running.  Looks like its kind of a cold and rainy day in Boston this year.  But despite that she is keeping a pace that I could only dream of.

Boston has been dream of mine since I started running marathons nearly 8 years ago.  Alas I’ve never really dedicated enough time and effort to training since I would need to cut about an hour and a half off my best time to even think about qualifying.

But I have plenty of time between now and my marathon the Buckeye in December.  The Buckeye Marathon is a Boston qualifier so maybe…….

Anywho…..

This past weekend I ran a 5K along with Coach V and the kids.  Well, I ran and the kids rode in the stroller/bike trailer while coach V pushed.

The Milk and Cookies 5K was a 1.5ish mile loop around the Scottsdale sports complex soccer fields.  It was a relatively flat course and a cool, windy morning.  Overall fun race.  and a pretty neat medal. And as always I was in my running kilt.

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I was hoping to run around 24 minutes but fell way short of that at 27:45.  I kind of over did the training going into Saturday.  And as Coach V reminded me.  “You’re not training for a 5k I’m training for a half in 2 weeks.”

So, I’m not too disappointed with that time.  I finished around when Coach V and the kids where about to start their second lap so I walked that lap with them.

James ran the Snickerdoodle dash which was a 50m run for ages 4 and under.  It was ADORABLE!  Especially the ones that went part way and then turned around to go back.  James did well and only paused briefly when he saw his sister on the side cheering for him.

James snickerdoodleHe is very proud of his medal.

We celebrated our achievements by going to my favorite post race restaurant US EGG.  They have the BEST protein pancakes (dramatic pause) in the world.  Along with bacon, eggs, hash browns, and as much coffee as I can drink, which is a lot, its the perfect post race breakfast\bunch.

M&C Group

On to Sunday!

The longest run of the training program. 11 miles.  We started off fairly early to avoid some of the heat here in the valley of the sun.  And Coach V picked a new running path for a change of scenery.  Nice path and I was feeling pretty good when the path ended.  Some construction caused the temporary closing of part of the finished path.  But the trail continued as long as you didn’t mind off roading it a little bit.  Coach told me to press on and that she would catch up.  I got back to a sidewalk well ahead at this point and decided to run along the road to get back on the path a little further on.  I took one wrong turn that looked like the path but was just an access road.  Luckily coach caught up and got me straightened out and back to the running path.  The end of the run was along a street to get back to the van.

It was along the street that I finally after weeks of running felt like I hit a groove and could run forever.  My mind quieted down, the aches and pains and twinges that I had been plagued with subsided and I was just running.  The traffic even seemed to quiet down.  I could even hardly tell that my legs where moving much less maintaining a 9:45 pace.  It was a very zen moment and I hope that I can find it again on race day.

About mile nine the euphoria was gone and my legs, mostly my calves, started screaming in protest.  The last 2 miles where amazingly agonizing.  If it hadn’t been for coach encouraging me I’m not sure I would have finished the run.  But I did in 1:53:27. A little slow but we did have to stop to figure out where we were going a couple of times.

To celebrate the end of the long runs we went to my favorite coffee place Dutch Bros!  Because nothing sounds better after 11 miles than a blended 911 (irish crème and 6 shots of espresso).

20180415_105234.jpgSo, I’m officially in the taper now.  I need to pay close attention to my diet over the next 2 weeks and try not to over train. So we smoked a tri-tip to start the week off right!20180415_171157.jpg

I do have one hard workout left on Thursday but its more about speed than distance.

I’m already getting nervous but I know that this is the most prepared that I’ve ever been for a half.  So, I’ll finish following the Boston Marathon and continue my rest day.

Until Tuesday’s run…C-ya!

Nutrition and Tough Mudders

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I’m sore.

In fact I’m very sore.

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

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

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

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

This brings a thought and a question to mind.

First the question.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did I mention I’m sore?

I also need to give a shoutout to my teammates:

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

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

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

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

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