Saturday, July 8, 2017

Tri-Span 10k

Brutal. One word is all that is needed to describe the weather conditions for the race this year. Even at 7am-gun time-the temperature was 80 degrees in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. But coupled with humidity rates well into the 90s, the heat index was 90 degrees. Almost impossible to run hard for any amount of time or distance, let alone race ten kilometers.

But we did. Like we do every year. As a friend from my local running club aptly stated-its the race we all love to hate. Short rolling hills, and three elevated bridge crossings just add to the sadistic challenge of the annual event.

I clocked a time of 41:05, my slowest there in three years. Though good enough to win top master's for the third straight year, and a top ten overall finish of 8th place out of 300+ intrepid racers. Much props to us all for getting it done.

And I wanted to bag it about half way in. Plan was to try and break 40 minutes here, which I have only done once several years ago, when miraculously the weather was tolerable. If memory serves cloudy and about 70.

Not this year. The humidity just lays like a wet sponge along the Cape Fear River, which the course crosses over twice, and pretty much parallels the entire six plus miles.

Started out ok- mid six minute miles the first two, then coming off the first bridge and downhill I tried to lay down the hammer. Third mile of 6:08 though kind of did me in-for when I got into the "killing fields", and exposed area in the blazing sun, near the Battleship Memorial, I felt like I had already just about emptied the tank. Not a good feeling with two to three miles, and two more uphill bridges to climb to go.

But I battled the voices that told me to bag it, quit, etc.-though it wasn't too pretty as I ran hi six minute miles into the finish. Held my place though, and upon sober reflection, I did pretty much about all I could do. It was also my third summer race in seven days, on top of multi-state travel-could tell early on my legs didn't have too much pop, and that I am due for a break.

It's also nice to get humbled yet again by the sport I so dearly love.

Friday, June 23, 2017

1st half 2017: wrapping her up

I started following a plan in Jack Daniel's book Running Formula back in the end of January- a general 5k to 15k training schedule. For the most part I followed the weekly progression of the workouts, as he lists either two or three specific ones, as workout 1,2 etc. One of the bigger differences I did make, was to extend what would be a 7 day typical runner's week, to a ten day week-once I hit the third phase of four, and the weeks contained three quality workouts.

This I did after having a conversation with Rick Pop over breakfast after we had volunteered at a local Wilmington half marathon. Not right after- as I was in phase 2 then. But it served to remind me that as older runners (he's 51, I'm 43), we need to allocate more rest and recovery into our schedules-much different then say what a twenty something year old would do. Plus I recalled reading that the great marathoner Meb K does this. So if it works for him...

And most everything I do revolves around recovery. That is, before I engage in a workout, a series of runs, race, etc. etc.- I need to know when and where the recovery will occur. If not, a good bit of the strenuous effort put forth running hard can be wasted. Or not as maximized as fitness gains, without the proper recovery and if needed, complete rest.

The one other tweak to the plan that I did involved the weekly long run.  The plan calls for a 2 hour long run every week- which for most people like myself I ran on a Sunday morning. I paced the Wrightsville Beach marathon (3:40) March 25th, which made it necessary for my long runs to be longer leading up to. After, and wanting some level of recovery, and a mental respite from such long runs- I usually kept them under an hour and thirty to an hour and forty five minutes.

But in summation- I loved this plan and exceeded some my own expectations and goals road racing. The highlights were 37:54 at the Cooper River Bridge 10k in Charleston, SC (also a week after pacing the marathon). And a 17:41 at the Teacher Trot 5k in Wilmington, NC. (which got me 3rd OA in a pretty fast and deep local field).

I have a few more summer races, two next weekend mainly for adventure and fun with Amie, as we are heading to Maryland and West Virginia to continue on our quest to run a race in all 50 states. The hard workouts, harder training though I am wrapping up-and I can sense, especially mentally that I am ready for an elongated reprieve from the more arduous demands of our sport. Plus its getting quite hot, and the humidity as been through the roof in coastal NC.

Happy summer running all-enjoy, and be safe! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Soggy fun

Been enjoying the past two runs that I have taken. Not that I don't always enjoy running-but I'm at a point in my running schedule (long term) where I'm easing out of a period of harder training. Less worry about weekly mileage, paces, all those good things we as runners keenly focus on-and more in tune with the aesthetics and simple pleasures of the individual runs.

For instance I got up early this morning to put in some easy miles, predominately in the Carolina Beach State park. Quite humid at 6:30am, and a brief but real heavy downpour swept across the island. The rains slackened as I headed out-first looping a section of the boardwalk adjacent to the beach and the always majestic Atlantic Ocean.

Later I splashed my way through some of the single track trails-enjoying the sights and smells of a sopping wet wilderness which I traipsed through. I had an hour to spend doing that which I love, and was in no particular hurry for it to come to an end. Blessed indeed are those fortunate enough for such daily communions.

As I've said and written before-running in something we can fall in love with time and time again.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Blueberry Festival 5k

7am gun time in the sleepy small town of Burgaw, North Carolina. Awoke to a thunderstorm about 4:30am, but skies cleared well before the start of the race-but the humidity stayed put. Such is summer running in the south.

Finished with a gun time of 18:00.5-though my garmin had the course at 3.15mi, and the consensus of some friends who ran was that the course ran a bit long (anywhere from 3.15-3.20). I mention gun time, since I'm hoping if/when chip times are posted later that I'll be under the 18 minute barrier for the second straight 5k race.

Very pleased with splits and overall effort. 5:50, 5:43, 5:41, 5:20 (pace)- couldn't script much better. Positive adjustment from going out too fast two weeks ago in a four mile race in warm conditions (first mile 5:41, fell back in 2nd and 3rd miles to low 6s).

Finished 5th OA and 1st 40-44 M. Some fast times at the front-top 3 males all in the 16s.

Post race at the town festival treated to fresh blueberries, a blueberry muffin, and brought home some blueberry cobbler for later.

Next up a 5 mile race Sunday July 2nd in Columbia, MD. Next step in the race all 50 states quest.

Run on my friends...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Oak Island 10K

Top 3 Males Oak Island 10K
Ran a 38:52.4 last weekend at the Oak Island 10k. 3rd place overall, and 2nd male overall. Won a beautiful framed water color painting.

Colder and quite windy morning. Fortunately didn't affect the race too much- but was tough at certain sections like between miles 2 and 3 which were right into the teeth of the wind. Before the race the Chittys, me and Makayla sat in the car to stay warm after we our packets.

Ran fairly even splits. Started out at about 6:20/ mile and continued with consistent miles in the 6:10- 6:15 range. Felt strong throughout- ran by myself from about the 2 mile mark on. Top 2 finishers were about 20-25 seconds ahead of me. Felt like I was closing the gap a little the last mile and a half or so, but couldn't make up the gap that had been established early in the race.

Crossing the swamps between miles 2-3

Felt like it was a testament as well that my training is right where it should be, and is paying some dividends. Especially the aerobic runs, and some of the lactate threshold runs that I've been incorporating more into my training plan.

Put down a 65 mile week this past week. Which included 20 miles on the Ashley High School track for Relay for Life. Longest run, and highest weekly mileage total since the end of last summer.

The Cape Fear Flyers track season has started as well. Which has kept me busy putting together a staff of 20-25 coaches, and preparing for my job as head long distance coach. Got in some harder 600m intervals on grass and dirt with some of the older kids Wednesday night. We'll be back at the track starting tomorrow night

Happy running, racing, and training all!  Enjoy the process-

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Into April

Post run- our last off season workout

4 straight 60+ weeks. Feeling good.

Looking forward to racing a 10K next Saturday morning at Oak Island. Goals are to be sub 40 (ideal goal sub 39), and place in the Top3 Males.

Getting ready for Track & Field season. Have a parents and coaches meeting this Monday evening. Been working with head coach Shawn to put together a staff of 15-20 coaches, and hoping for close to 100 kids.

Decided to donate a full scholarship for one athlete in honor of my Mom. Hope it can become an annual thing. Shawn told me of a HS Junior in Brunswick County if need of, and deserving one. So here goes.

Last off-season run was Saturday morning. Ran primarily with Owen, Cian, and Isiah- we got in 8+ miles and they were flying at the end. Paxton and Riley ran 7.5 miles- for Riley that is the farthest she has ever run without walking. Also Zach was racing the mile downtown while we were running in the Carolina Beach State Park. He ran a 5:28 on a road course that is not flat- and on a windier morning. Feel like the goal of the off-season program has been met. That several of our kids are in good shape heading into the start of the season.

As for me been getting more aerobic running and some lactate threshold mileage as well. Ran 4 x 1200m Tuesday evening w/ a 400m run/ rest- though keeping the recovery pace at a decent pace, not a slow jog. Concept (recovery not slow) picked up from the Jay Johnson fartlek type workout where alternates between hard (say 10K pace) running, with the recovery staying up at a steady state type pace (say 1/2 marathon+).

Thursday evening went 11.5 miles total. 1.5 mile easy warm-up, followed by my 10 mile CB- North end loop. Worked the pace down til at miles 5 and 6 I was running low 7s. Then ran the next 3 miles at lactate threshold, averaging about 6:20- 6:25/ mile. Tough- solid, draining work-out. But again reminding myself during the harder grind to run fast, but in control.

Followed that with a 10+ mile run Friday evening in 1:21. Closed the last 2 miles in the 6:50s/ mile. Sort of a medium- hard run on tired legs, to kind of gauge recovery fitness and see where I'm at in terms of work load and its effects on overall fitness.  Something I like to do on occasion when I feel I'm in better shape, and/or getting close to a down or reduced mileage period. Which I plan on doing next week.

Saturday morning another 11 miles, 3 + 8 miles with the Flyers kids and fellow coaches- all on the trails of the CB State Park. Then capped the week with 13 miles running with Amie on roads and trails.

Happy running and training my friends, keep challenging yourself-

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Grinding it Out

Post run in the Carolina Beach State Park

Into April we roll. Just completed the 3rd of 4 planned weeks of 60+ miles per week. 61, 62, 63; and god willing another 60-65 this upcoming week.

Long run today with Amie- 15 miles. All over Pleasure Island, mostly on the roads. Averaged a low 9 minute per mile pace, which is a bit faster than the previous 2 long runs we have done of 17 miles where we averaged about mid 9 minutes/ mile. Not to say that pace on those longs run is highly important-it's more one of those things as a data freak runner I notice and make note of.

Overall I feel pretty good physically and spiritually. Have adjusted well to the increase in work load, though I have decreased the ancillary work some. When grinding out the mileage one must adhere to the daily discipline of not only getting out the door to get the runs in, but the uptick in the lengths of runs each day.  As I have been staying true to one of my goals which is to obtain all (for now) of my mileage thru singles, or by running only once per day.

The concept I read about in the book Running with the Buffaloes by Chris Lear. And I also have touched upon in previous blogs. In a nutshell, the theory is that there are larger fitness gains by running longer daily runs, as opposed to segmenting the mileage by doing 2 a days on some days of the week. IE if I want to get 12 miles in it's better to run one run of 12 miles (which can include any kind of workout within said mileage), than say running 7 miles in the morning and 5 miles in the evening.

Though once weekly mileage totals hit certain higher levels it becomes increasingly difficult to get the week's totals all via singles

Anyhow- also getting a fair amount of aerobic capacity/ development runs in. Last Wednesday I ran 10 miles in 1:09, after a quick one mile warm up. First mile was in the low8s, after which I brought the pace down into the mid/ high 6 minute/ mile range for the last 7 miles of the 10. Felt pretty strong-was a solid, steady, workmanlike effort. Pace did slip back up the last 2 miles to about the 6:50 range. Also consciously aware of running fast/ hard but in control- a concept explained in further detail on Nate Jenkins' blog (see my website list). He talks about how the best runners can run very fast but do so in a manner where they are shall we say making it look easy, since they are not out of control.

Friday evening ran 11 miles total. On the inner island trails and on my normal route to Kure Beach and back. After 5 miles at about an 8 minute/ mile pace, I put down the next 3 miles at fast lactate threshold, or approximate 10k pace. 6:20/ mile. Again, felt fairly strong and efficient while doing so-but working hard and concentrating on the not so easy task at hand. That's one thing I have always appreciated about running fast- is that it sharpens my focus singularly on what I am literally doing moment to moment for the most part. Since if my mind starts to drift too much, my pace usually will follow and fall off.

Last 2 Saturdays ran 8 miles on the Carolina Beach State Park trails with some of the Flyers kids I coach, and some of my fellow coaches and parents. Excited for the beginning of Track and Field season in a few short weeks. A couple of our athletes who have been diligently training this off season are poised to have great seasons. In the words of coach Joe Lancaster "giddy-up!"

Happy running and happy spring all!  Lets all keep on doing what we are doing, and be grateful while enjoying the ride...