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...

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ny running

Got some runs in this week in the Albany NY area-enjoyed the cooler temps and much lower humidity. Did a harder 4.5+ mile progression run late Monday afternoon. Was cloudy and sixty seven degrees, though was a bit windy. First time since July 22nd XC race that I have run harder for any sustained distance-felt good to knock off some rust.

Also got five striders in near the end of the run-5 seconds in, 10 seconds down, 5 seconds out. Starting to incorporate into runs, likely about every other day (or run).  Got up real early Wednesday-started the run at 5:20am under the cover of darkness, and an air temperature of 54 degrees that almost made this southern runner salivate heading out the door. In the second half of the run incorporated 5 x 25 seconds at about mile pace.

Friday I was back in North Carolina, and back running in my beloved Carolina Beach State Park. A little under five easy miles, with 6 striders on the roads headed back home.

Priming my fast twitch muscles and leg turnover to get back into another Jack Daniels training plan this fall. Hit weekly mileage total of low thirties last week, and on par for about the same or slightly more this week. Feel good, and ready to let her rip a bit more soon.  Increased mileage and intensity.

Plus its XC season soon. Been diligently planning and working-and hope to be ready to go for our first official practice Aug 30th. Going to run again this Saturday with the Cape Fear Distance Project. Hope a few more kids will come out.

Goal is Tallahassee in December, and the USATF National JO XC Championships. Think we have a good shot to qualify several individual runners, and hopefully a team or two.

In the words of my dear friend and fellow coach up in Jacksonville NC Joe Lancaster- "giddy up!"

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


The last few weeks I have been mainly just doing some easier paced runs varying in length from say five to about eight plus miles. Trying to get back onto the trails and softer surfaces as much as I can, especially when I'm at my home in Carolina Beach.

Did race hard two Saturdays ago at the Battle of the Border event-which is a cross country race between my Wilmington Road Runners Club, and our brethren to the south, The Grand Strand Running Club based out of Myrtle Beach. Ended up running six and a half miles at Indigo Farms, as a large pack of us at the front got lost.

Raced the first three miles hard-the first two miles around 6:50, and the third sub 6:30. Conditions weather wise were abhorrent, with a race time temperature (8:30am) approaching ninety, combined with humidity levels above ninety percent. In fact one runner had to be taken off the muddy dirt and high grass trails in an ambulance-fortunately he was ok.

The last three miles I and a pack of "lost" runners ran an average of a low seven minute per mile pace. My Club won-a squeaker-and reclaimed the title, which makes us three for five in the annual affair. My legs, especially my hamstrings were definitely feeling some after effects. But all for a good cause, and some smashing old school fun. Finishers are given popsicle sticks to make their places.

Hit the farm Sunday evening, and some of the adjacent neighborhoods, and the Carolina Beach State Park Monday morning. What beautiful conditions too- as mother nature granted us a most unusual reprieve-with temps in the sixties and seventies, and much lower humidity rates.

Only ran a hundred miles in July-so I'm starting to get the itch to get back into more of a training mode. Will do so probably in two weeks. I get a bit squirrelly mentally when on some down running, but I know its important for my long term running health.

So for now I bide my time, and look ahead with eager eyes to the latter part of summer, and another fall running season.