Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Run on

Into week3 of phase II of the Jack Daniels 5-15k Training Plan. Long view- its month 1 of a 7.5+ month trek to Boston.

Today's workout 3 x 10 minutes LT pace w/ 3 minute recovery jogs. Another challenging workout-in fact they are all tough, challenging workouts, which not only build my physical conditioning but mental fortitude as well. Its not easy-nor should it be. If I want to achieve maximum results, I need to give maximum efforts.

So I try to take them one workout at a time, one week at a time. And inside the workouts, 1 rep at a time, and inside of each rep 1 minute at a time (or even smaller time/ distance increments)

Pace during the LT work bouts averaged about 6:20- a shade slower than what my target of 6:10 would be. But I'm pleased and fine being right there, as my fitness naturally dropped off a bit during the second half of the summer when I was running easy with much reduced volume.

Plus it is still end of the summer in the south like weather, though this morning wasn't too bad with temperatures in the low to mid seventies and tolerable humidity levels

Headed to Colorado-my next run will be between 5,000 and 7,000+ feet tomorrow morning. Eagerly anticipating hitting some familiar trails southwest of Denver again.

Sketching out the next month plus XC workout schedule on notepad before I leave. Lot of reps on Mondays, and endurance on Wednesdays w/ VO2 max intervals thrown in. And more endurance and hills in the CB State Park on non-race Saturdays.

Living the dream. Or trying to. To paraphrase Francis de Sales "desiring to thoroughly be what I am and being very good at that, while bearing the crosses that I may find there.'

Run on friends-

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Running thoughts

Last night at XC practice went on an easier paced 4 mile run with a couple of the older kids on the team and one of my fellow coaches. Was nice getting out and about and away from the somewhat monotonous loops we run a lot on the grassy areas between soccer and baseball fields.

This morning went on a seven mile recovery run-started out along the boardwalk in Carolina Beach-then ended up doing most of the miles back on the trails of the CB State Park. Legs were a bit beat up from the 12.4 miles ran yesterday (8+ and a harder workout in the morning)

Have learned over the course of the last few years to enjoy the easy paced recover runs (9-10+ minutes per mile pace). Something that many runners I have found tend to struggle with. Maybe its just a matter of getting used to running slower-or convincing oneself that they are deriving more benefit from the slower pace, as its allowing the bodies natural process of healing itself to take place.

Still reveling in the high from getting into the Boston Marathon. Enjoyed the whole process from the first day registration was open (for runners 20+ minutes faster than their BQ time), right through today where those between 4:59 and under are hoping (and praying) that they get in. Touching to receive so many well wishes and compliments via social media.  Plus I can recall being a bit jealous last year of the love and attention friends in the running community here were getting.

I told an old friend last week that I just want to train(run), coach, and write about it. Those things together in various combinations bring me a sense of purpose and fulfillment like perhaps nothing else ever has for me. Makes me feel like I am right where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing. Trying to appreciate all the attendant moments as the journey unfolds, and as more is continually being revealed.

We all have a human need I think to feel some kind of purpose-or some existential yearning as to just why we are here. The ultimate answer lies inside the mind of God, or in the secret of the universe depending on one's individual conviction. But I know when I am running, or in some way involved with running, I get just a little bit closer perhaps to some answers which ultimately lie behind the veil.

And its infinitely interesting to me as well-so I'll keep on searching, keep on running, and keep on doing what I know how to do....

Monday, September 18, 2017

Boston bound

Got the email confirmation yesterday that I had been officially accepted into the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon, to take place in April 2018. Words will fail to convey all this means to me, since it would require an in depth articulation of where I have come from over the past eleven plus years.

For back then, in what seems like a previous lifetime, I was an active alcoholic and drug addict marked for an early death. I had been reduced to living life like an animal, bereft on any sort of human dignity, or any semblance of that precious commodity called hope.

Today-things are much different. Though those demons still lurk, they do so far beneath the surface most days. My thoughts are occupied with training schedules and mileage totals. Upcoming races, an how I can best serve all the kids I am fortunate to coach. In fact, that is what I spent most of yesterday doing-coaching and race directing a cross country meet. Maybe there are no accidents, and it was quite fitting that I got my Boston letter of acceptance on such a day.

It's what I will be doing again this evening-coaching. And this morning I spent an hour plus of my day running. A hard workout too:  4x 200m, 2x 400m, 800, 2x 400m, 4x 200m. As I chase after what may seem impossible- faster times at the age of 43.

But nothing is impossible. Not out here, on the roads and on the trails. With a full and grateful heart, I reach towards the promise of new days and new adventures.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Phase2 WO1

Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer-and I officially cannot wait for fall, and fall weather. After a five week modest build back up of mileage, I felt like I was ready to move into phase2 of the Jack Daniels 5k-15k Training Plan I am following. It's the same plan I used the first half of 2017 with much success.


To backtrack, I had allowed my mpw to fall into the 20s (and one week even below 20) in order to have some much needed extended rest from a hard Jan-May training, and then a heavier race schedule culminating with three in seven days the first week of July. But all in good fun, and part of a 50 races in 50 states challenge I have embarked on.

So then in August I have been winding the miles back up thru the thirties, and into the low 40s per week, and doing striders on average every second run. Plus some longer run in the 1:15-1:45 time range. 2 of them with Peyton. But no real hard running since the Battle of the Border XC race July 22nd

Today the first workout in Phase2 was 5 x (200,200,400) with equal distances rest. Ran through the farm and then on the roads to Kure Beach, and back to Carolina Beach along a route I use often for workouts. Planned on getting out a little earlier in the morning, as it was already a bit hot at 7:30. Though the humidity was tolerable.

Took the workout pretty well, hitting the 200s around :40 and the 400s anywhere from 1:17- 1:27. Worked hard, and dry heaved at the end of the last three 400s. Was reminded quickly of how demanding physically and mentally these sessions are. Putting on the big boy pants again! 

One run, one workout-and I'll take it from here. But it felt good to be back out getting after it.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Running in a T Storm

What fun, early Saturday. I got back to the Carolina Beach State Park just after sunrise (not that the sun was visible). A cluster of thunderstorms had drifted up from the south-instead of hitting snooze and going back to sleep, I decided to run anyway

Which was fun, in a slightly diabolical way. Sloshy my way along the trails. Constantly wiping water from my brow. Counting the seconds between flashes of lightning and the sound of thunder. Feeling at one with all the other animals, at the mercy of mother nature just like me.

Ended up getting over 12 miles in, 5 w/ Isiah one of the older boys and best runner on our Flyers XC team. We managed to get lucky and run between storms. Fell once, while trying to leap over standing water on the main road thru the park (after a short while I realized how fruitless it was to try and keep my shoes dry, so I would just run straight through the water ponding on the ground).

It felt good to be alive, and good to be a bit crazy, and good to be a runner yesterday morning. And for that I am grateful.

Much love
GZ

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The challenge

The run today was fairly brutal-made the mistake of not getting out early enough to at least offset some of the sun's heat. In the woods and on the trails of the Carolina Beach State Park it's somewhat tolerable when running an easy pace. But when I did 6 x :30 at around 5k pace I felt like I was about to faint near the end of each burst.

Nonetheless I survived. And it can't be too much longer as the calendar hits the back side of August until we will get somewhat of a reprieve from the nearly intolerable and incessant humidity and subsequent heat indexes we've been enduring the past several weeks. Fall can't get here a moment too soon.

But there is camaraderie in our collective suffering-we runners commiserate and also find ways to persevere. We adapt, and grow stronger-and perhaps can appreciate the changes in season a little more than lay people when they do finally arrive.

Truth be told, it also gives us a little something extra to rally against. For if all of this was easy, I suspect we might move onto something a little more challenging.

Run on my people, through whatever mother nature and life throws at ya...

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Dog Days

August in coastal North Carolina. Damn near intolerable humidity-an invisible wet blanket in the sky. Runs become slogs, exercises in survival. Pace is almost irrelevant. Shorts, socks, shoes are soaked half way into runs. Yes-the dog days of summer are here once again.

Sunday I ran 75 minutes, mostly on the trails of the Carolina Beach State Park. The last few miles I felt like I was barely moving. By the time I got done my pulse was racing-close to 180. I comforted myself somewhat by the fact that at least I wasn't training for a fall marathon or ultra this year. And reached out with some words of encouragement on social media to many of my friends in the local running community who are several weeks into their respective marathon training plans.

Got up early Tuesday and ran the 8.4+ mile Copas Road loop in Shallotte from my Dad's house. Enjoyable run, and did beat some of the worst heat by getting out there at 6:30am as the sun was just beginning to rise. And was blessed with beautiful views out over the marshes and Shallotte river near where she empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Threw in 6 x 150 in/ and out striders in the last two miles of the run. Which did get the heart rate real elevated again. Want to get in 40 miles this week, which will be my first 40 mile week since early June. Spent some time yesterday reviewing my training log from the first half of 2017. Think I may have tapped somewhat unwittingly into a formula for success-built off the Jack Daniels workouts in his 5-15k plan, combined with long runs I was doing at the time to prepare to pace the Wrightsville Beach marathon, and help Amie train for her own WB marathon race.

Instead of doing 90 minute long runs as called for in the plan, I was doing 17, 18, 20 milers, at a pace say a good minute and a half or more below my marathon pace. This I did during the first 2 months of the JD plan, after which my long runs returned to more "normal" lengths or time spent running.

Who knows right?  But interesting food for thought.  And we are always learning...