Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer Days

About to head to Greensboro for the North Carolina USATF State track meet. We've got kids that I help coach participating in everything from the 100m, to 3000m, to the steeplechase... and all the field events. Should be a fun weekend. Blessed to be able to coach, and give back to the sport of running that I hold so dear. Great bunch of kids too...

Higher mileage the past two weeks. 81 miles last week, and 55 so far this week (Friday). Early morning runs to try and beat the heat and humidity. Two a days. Track practices. Drinking mucho fluids. Eating a lot.

Have caught site of some gorgeous sunrises the past few mornings, out over the marsh lands that stretch towards the Atlantic Ocean in Brunswick County. It's already very warm, and the humidity is draped over the landscape like a heavy, damp blanket. My shoes start to squish after 5, 6 miles since my socks are soaked through.

Went down to Ocean Isle Beach late yesterday afternoon and go some threshold running in. 4 x 1000m, pace averaging between 6:10- 6:15/ mile. Generous rest/ jog recovery of about 600m. Starting each new rep when the garmin beeps at the end of each successive mile. Hard in this heat though to get much more than just slogged out miles.

Ran a few miles with Peyton in the broiling sun Wednesday before practice. Talked to about that same thing, trying to get anything quality wise in during the teeth of this summer heat, and how hard that can be. He's ramping his miles back up after having some heart trouble. Itching to go...

I do sometimes catch myself questioning myself as to why I do all this. But then again maybe its the only good fight worth fighting for me. Or better yet, I don't know how to not do all of this at this particular point in my life. So I run on. And try and smile thru a bit of pain.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Biting it, moving on.

Had a poor race last Thursday night. 4 miler in the heat, downtown Wilmington. Went out too fast, especially in lieu of the conditions, and the course. Several steeper one to two block in length hills.

Knew it early on too. Glanced at my watch maybe .2 or .3 into the thing and was running a 5:57 pace. Didn't feel that fast, and I tried to kind of down shift a bit out of it, but I think some of the damage had been done. Had been planning on trying to run 6:15 miles. Which coming off an 18 minute 5k last month, and a 4:48 1500m last Saturday, I should have been able to do.

But I knew I had blown it out a mile or so in. Then it becomes a death march, and an exercise in trying not to fall back or lose too many places. Finished in 26:43. Still won my age group, and was still in retrospect not a bad time... but just not a smart or good effort

Though I shook it off quick and like a ball team on a win streak that can use a loss, overall it may have been a good thing. I'm not bullet proof and ten feet tall. I'm fallible again. I think part of what lends to the mistake is being a victim of my own shape. What I mean by that, is similarly 2 years ago I was in real good shape going into the Tri-Span 10k and did the same thing. I did not think I needed to adjust as much to the heat and the hills of the course, because of my perceived conditioning.

Onto training for the Iron Mountain 30 mile race Sept 5, a little under 12 weeks away. Saw Natasha Thurs night at the race which got the both of us amped again for what has become an annual pilgrimage to the mountains of southwestern Virginia.

Plan is for 10 solid weeks of running, then a 2 week taper. Ideally would love to average close to 70 miles a week for 10 weeks; perhaps five weeks on, one down, then four back up? We'll see. The best laid plans of mice and men. Need to also amp the ancillary work back up, ie core and strength.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Sometimes it's as basic as putting on a new pair of cool looking lime green Kinvara 5s and busting out the door for a run. Getting back to the primal joy of why we do this...

Those days when it's not about threshold miles, pacing, bursts, cut down runs, pacing charts, mileage totals. Or how this run fits into the grand scheme of it all training wise.

No, it's the simple sensation of movement and the very act in of itself. The connection felt with the world around us while we trod over and through it. I thought about my buddy Ryan up in Pennsylvania and his calendars. Back in the day he always had one pinned up somewhere with little numbers written in the day's boxes with the miles he had run. There was something so romantically wild and magically invigorating about it... the way he would look at it and talk about it... perhaps describing just how one of those numbers had been achieved.

One day last week I went for a run with my ten dollar wrist watch and glanced at it at about what would be one mile into the run and noted the elapsed time read 8:37. This is why we do this. Because this particular day on this particular run it took me exactly eight minutes and thirty-seven seconds to get from point A to point B. It wasn't fast, it wasn't slow... it just was.

Last Friday and Saturday I was blessed again to help coach the Cape Fear Flyers in a big USATF meet in Myrtle Beach, SC. This meet I took a little time to check out some of the field events like the shot put and javelin back behind the stadium. And the pole vault and hi jump inside the track. You can fall in love again with all of this twenty plus years later...

When the kids PR, or medal, or place. Or just have fun. And come up to you later and tell you about it again. Yeah, yeah. The smiles.

And I got to run too. The 1500m early Saturday evening, after a long, hot day of coaching. Since I was the only open/ masters runner they thankfully thru me with all the high school boys, including three from our team. Standing on that infield, I wasn't sure if I would be able to summon the physical strength to do more than just jog hard a few laps around the track. "Five minutes of hell" laughed Chris.  But I said a short prayer and sucked up some courage and stepped out into lane 8 on the waterfall start in turn two and waited for the gun to go off...

And I ran like hell, and afterwards realized that I loved every precious second of it. I told Chris to duck in front of me heading into turn 3 and said to myself to follow him round and round for as long as I possibly could. I held on thru the first 300m past the finish line, and back through 400m and one lap in. Made it through 800m still sticking a few strides behind him. Looking at nothing but the back of his white Flyers shirt. Hearing cheers and encouragement from coach Joe and Shawn, Elaine and a few of the kids every time we went by the front stretch. Which all kind of fuzzed sound wise into the whirling dervish of the whole thing, but I could hear certain specific voices even though I couldn't fully process all of what it meant in real time ...

Since then life became a task of clipping off a hundred meters at a time. Get to 700m to go, then make it to 600m. Keep taking it. make it to 500m to go. If you can take it next is 400m. All that matters then is to make it to 300m left in the race. Nothing more. Make it to 300m. Nothing else matters. Nothing. That is the task at hand. Good. You made it. Now get to 200m. Get there. It's just the back straight away. Nothing more. Nothing less. Keep taking it. Get to 200m. That's all that matters. Yes, yes... now run the turn. Into the turn. Keep digging. Keep taking it. Get to 100m. Get through these big turns and get to 100m to go. Don't lose sight of that shirt. That white shirt is there. You are taking it. You are taking it. Not backing down. You are doing this. 100m to go. It's just the front straight away. Last one. Count it down. Past lane markings. Clip those things off. Past the long jump pit you can see out of the left corner of your eye. Gotta be half way now. Finish it. Finish it. That white shirt is there. Looks to be moving a little faster. Go with it. Keep taking it. It'll be over real soon. You are taking it. You took it. You took it and did it. It's over.

It was over. It was done. I staggered about the track. Congrats from and to Chris. I think James too. Not sure, but probably. And Thomas too. I wasn't too far behind them either. Time?  Wow, nice. 4:48?  Yes on the score board it read 4:48.80 behind my name. I was pleased. I was high. I heard some congrats now.  Thanks, Thank you. I smiled.

I felt blessed. I feel blessed.

Because I love this. From every race to every easy run. And everything in between. Run on my friends.