Monday, March 21, 2016

March Training

Warm weather here in southeastern North Carolina the past week. Nonetheless, got some quality runs and workouts in.

Last Tuesday a meandering 12+ mile run mostly off road on the inner island trails and the Carolina Beach State Park trails. Slow to moderate pace and effort throughout the run, which included 2 x my hill circuit by Sugarloaf hill in the state park. Good cumulative fatigue by the end of the run, especially since 90%+ was on soft surfaces.

Wednesday evening put down 10 miles on the road course I use on Pleasure Island. 3 mile warm up (though by the 3rd mile I had dropped the pace down to 7:09/mile), followed by a 10k at steady state pace, and a short cool down. Averaged about 6:40/ mile, and was quite pleased and a bit pleasantly surprised by how the workout developed. Felt like I could have gone a little faster, and run a little longer without straining myself too much on the exertion scale. Though I did work fairly hard and was drained by the end of.

Friday ran 17 miles with Amie. Mix of roads and CB State Park trails. Probably about 65% roads/ 35% trails. Averaged around a 9:30/ mile pace. Longest run I have done since last July/ August. Legs held up pretty well, did have some more reoccurring pain in my inner right leg above the ankle, which I now think might be plantar fasciitis. Haven't had a visit from that particular sneaky devil in quite a long time. Mentally the run went ok, did struggle a bit in the middle miles with the all too familiar thoughts of how far we still had to run miles wise. Long runs still can be a bit of a challenge for me, and I sometimes need to adopt a better mindset I think going in to- though not quite sure of what specifically I should change.

But as runners we all have our weaknesses. Plus I have become re-invigorated not on only by doing, but reading again about the implicit importance of regular long runs in any runner's weekly and monthly training schedules. Whether or not one has a long race on the race calendar or not.

Thursday and Saturday were easy/ recovery runs that including striders. Ended the week with 61 miles- highest total also since last summer.

Monday celebrated my 42nd birthday by running 42 laps on the UNC Wilmington track with my good friend Colin (was his idea, and I jumped at). 2 miles warm-up, followed by alternating "on" and "off" 400s for 26 more laps, or 6.5 miles. The "on" laps we started at 1:40, and slowly progressed down to where the last 2 where run at 1:20, and 1:15. Again, good cumulative fatigue in the workout, and again was happy with how I felt, in that the "on" 400s didn't seem too difficult until the last 3 or so. Concluded with 8 more laps or 2 miles to bring the total to 10.5 miles, 42 laps. Happy birthday to me!

Hope everyone's running and training is going well as we head into springtime. Happy running!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lo Tide 5K

Start line. Beautiful morning in coastal NC

5Ks are brutal tests of speed and endurance.  We redline early on- our only respite is the finish line. If it were a boxing match, the challenge would be to not hit the mat.  Inside the maelstrom, our running psyches have to find a way to pull our fallible bodies to safe port. The only way- is forward.

Seconds tick by as we near the end like unforgiving reminders of our limitations as runners. Stand there and count to ten- it doesn't seem long, but to us athletes striving to squeeze every ounce out of our legs, arms, and hearts- it's an eternity.  The margins of error are strikingly infinitesimal.

Pacing, splits, when to pass, when to kick. Don't go out too fast. But don't leave anything in the tank. Jolly good fun.

I ran the 12th annual LoTide 5K race in my hometown Carolina Beach, NC this past Saturday. Finished with a time of 18:55.9, 5th place overall, and 1st in the 40-44 AG. The Cape Fear Flyers team that I was a member of won the team title, beating 30 other entrants.

Flyers team celebrating post-race

Several of the kids I coach had awesome races. Paxton was the 3rd place overall F with a time of 21:15- not too shabby for a 7th grader!  Zac set his 2nd consecutive PR with a time of 19:32 (he's only in 7th grade as well). Our Flyers athletes won the 9-U AG male and female, as well as 10-14 AG male and female.

Each year I get excited/ nervous for this race since it is on my home turf. There's something electric, and stimulating about racing on the very roads that I do a lot of my everyday runs on. Or it's almost surreal-  covering the same terrain in an actual competitive foot race, which I've become so infinitely familiar with the past decade or so.

Flying by the same yards and houses and dogs all there exactly like they were the day before, and the day before- but today it's so wildly different. My senses are heightened and finely tuned. I see it all and I know it all so well- though I don't really see any of it on a race day. But it's so engrained inside of me that visual confirmations are not necessary.

The leprechauns and ferries and Irish dandies all there again too. It's a party. We celebrate St. Paddy's Day a little early. We raise tens of thousands of dollars for those tender souls afflicted by the scrooge of cancer. Later that afternoon my Dad tells me he thought of my Mom just before the race started. She lost her life to cancer, but man did she fight. Just as hard as us runners fight to be the best versions of our running selves on this particular day.

Like I told my friend and fellow coach Elaine post race- I feel so blessed and grateful after each of these races at our tiny little outpost in the world. Blessed and grateful not only that I can run and participate in an activity that I love, but that I am able to share in the joy, tears, sweat, pain of all those around me for one more glorious day.

My goofy self at the awards ceremony

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Dumb Run?


Perhaps. I set out late afternoon Wednesday to run about 8 miles, with little thought of doing any of it at a harder effort. To put in context: this week is to be an easier week volume and intensity wise. I'm coming off a 5k race last Saturday and a good stretch of work-outs and increased volume, plus am racing another 5k this Saturday that I'd like to run as fast as possible for my current fitness level.

Anyhow, long story short it was of the nicest days we've had here in southeastern NC perhaps all year. The quintessential wow it feels like spring out chamber of commerce weather. And a few miles into the run I found myself laying down a 7:10/ mile. Ended up running 4 harder miles (for once I got going I just couldn't stop right?), and feeling a bit whooped afterwards. Not only physically, but mentally as well in lieu of my transgressions.

Then again, what does one run really matter?  Probably not a whole hell of a lot. Plus I'm not trying to peak for this race, and overall I'm pleased with where my training is. So I was able to let go of my minor folly rather quickly, and enjoy a short cool down walk on beach.

This morning I ran 3.5+ miles which included 5 x 150 in/ outs. Priming the pump for tomorrow's Lo-Tide race. Legs felt responsive, almost a bit scary so. Like most amateur athletes, I have my superstitions and believe in jinxes.

We shall see tomorrow. I've got a bunch of race bibs and T-shirts to distribute to some fellow coaches and kids. God I love race stuff!  A pile of crisp bibs, new race Ts, a plastic bag of safety pins.....
In less than 24 hours we all jump into the breach-

Monday, March 7, 2016

Cardinal Strut 5K

Heading down the final stretch to the finish line

Ran the Cardinal Strut 5K in Wilmington on Saturday. Time was 18:52, placed 4th overall out of about 200 runners, and won top Masters award.

Was pleased with the effort, though was hoping my time would have been a little bit faster. Splits were good: 6:04, 5:55, 5:57.  But somehow (poor tangents run?) ended up at 18:52. Nonetheless, was an enjoyable morning spent competing on the Cape Fear Flyers team, composed of me and a couple fellow coaches and kids.

Two of which, Zach and Paxton set their respective 5K PRs in the race. Was stoked for both of them. Not only are they talented young runners, but they are fine upstanding young people as well.  I continue to look forward to seeing their careers unfold.

A fairly cold morning greeted us athletes pre-race. However by the time the guns went off for the 10 and 5Ks, the temperatures, buoyed by sunny skies, had climbed into the 40s. Took off a long sleeve shirt I was wearing moments before the start, and raced in what is becoming a favorite get up of mine of a short sleeve T-shirt and gloves. Wore my Saucony Kineta Relays that I have been for the last few road races, though did swap out the yellow shoelaces for black ones. Hence black on black (shoes are black).

Felt fairly strong throughout the race. A gap opened early between me and the 3 runners ahead who would finish 1st though 3rd. So ran by myself from about a 1/2 mile in, save for some of the 10K runners that I passed.

Was my first 5K in about 3 months, and I never fail to be reminded while in the middle of its agonizing roar, just how hard and painful they are. 5Ks become an exercise in maintaining. Maintaining focus, maintaining will power, maintaining pace. Showing courage in the face of adversity. Hoping that the running Gods will help me fight thru the inevitable temptation to just slow up a bit. Counting off blocks, tenths of miles. Finally getting within ear shot of the finish line area. Making visual contact with the spectators. Seeing the clock.

All of which I did.

A friend asked me the night before if I have any pre-race rituals. Instead of answering in terms of training or diet, I responded on a spiritual note.  I remind myself how blessed I am to be able to compete the next day. How blessed I am to be able to participate with other like minded beautiful people in an activity which I and countless others truly love. And to hopefully never take any of this for granted. For life can change as fast as the precious numbers ticking off on a finish line clock.

Enjoy being able to run and compete my running friends -

Flyers family celebrating post-race

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Snapshot - training.

Post long run. Me, Amie, Peyton

Good stretch of running, specifically work-outs completed.

2/18: Track meet. Hoggard High School.  800m 2:25, 1600m 5:35

2/20:  Run for Ray Trail Race: 8+ miles, 61:00+.  Hard race effort, moderately technical trails, lot of small hills and turns.

2/23: 4.3 steady state effort on Fitness Trail (7:25, 7:08, 6:59, 6:32).  Legs recovering from Ray+ windy/ rainy morning.

2/26: Progression run. 20 min w/u. 20/10/5/5 minutes at progressively harder effort and faster pace. Last 5 minutes at mid 6 min/ mile pace. 15 min c/d. 9.7 miles

2/28: 16.2 mile run. 8:21 pace. Southern Brunswick County. 3/4+ of run on soft surfaces (mostly grass) side of roads.

2/29: 9 miles, mostly Carolina Beach State Park Trails. 2 x 1 mile hill circuit. 5 x :25 striders at < 5k pace.

3/2: 4.7 miles steady state roads Carolina/ Kure Beach. (6:38, 6:41, 6:52, 6:38, 6:45 (pace)). Last 2.7+ miles into 10+ mph wind.

Overall, I feel pretty good. Legs have a fair amount of pop in them. Slowly increasing mileage. Averaging 1st 2 months of 2016 43+ mpw.  Health is pretty good. Some on and off pain inside right leg above ankle. Occasional discomfort returns in left achillies tendon and bottom of right foot.

Solid core work, and some upper body strength work. Consistent general strength and mobility work post runs. Lunge matrix+ leg swings most pre-run

Diet: Pretty good.  Am trying to cut back on sugar.

Mental outlook: Excited about training. Feel energized with how training philosophy has evolved to where it is today. Increased emphasis on aerobic and long runs. Dilligence and attention to ancillary work especially gsm and core. Looking forward to Flyers track season and coaching long distance team.

Upcoming races: Cardinal Strut 5k this Sat and Lo-Tide 5k next Saturday. Not focused too much on specific times.  Looking forward to racing with/on Cape Fear Flyers teams.

Happy, healthy running and training my friends- May you enjoy the journey you are on.