Sunday, July 31, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending July 31 (Race "Test" Run)

Three weeks until my next race - the Leesburg 20k on August 21.  Starting this week I felt like I didn't have enough miles working at half marathon pace, so my plan is to get some miles at that pace and get used to it.

So, I'll start off this week's entry with a rant that it seems like ALL runners rant about - THE WEATHER!  It's been crazy hot and humid in DC this week.  My runs outside have been shit.  I was thinking I was a little "over-trained", or something was really "wrong", then I did my hard working on Thursday in the gym on a treadmill in a nice air conditioned room with a big fan blowing directly on me.  And guess what....I ran fine!  I did some work at 10k speed (1% incline on the treadmill as I always do) and it felt GREAT (well, as great as 10k intervals can feel).   And I know from prior experience that 1% incline on the treadmill is a pretty good indication of how I'd run and feel outside WHEN THE WEATHER IS DECENT.  So, this workout gave me a big confidence boost that my fitness is's just the weather sucks.

This is my first summer where I have some running experience, race and pace expectations, and solid goals I want to hit.  I didn't realize how much HOT weather affects my running and paces.  So...NOW I know.  I always thought those articles in Runner's World (or wherever) over-exaggerated the affect of heat and humidity...but I guess not!  So, I'm now a little more accepting of slower paces and feeling like shit when running in 90 degrees and 85% humidity.  I no longer feel the need to "find" the answer to why I feel bad and am going so slow...I KNOW the answer.

All I can hope for now is cooler weather on August 21 (race day), than we've had this week.  Weather report says it will cool off next there's always hope!  I also know that it is VERY hard for me to give up my goal pace on race day (which is calculated in perfect conditions) and adjust for hot weather.  It.  Is.  Just.  So.  Hard.  To.  Do!  Probably the reason I have yet to run a negative split race this year."

In one of Matt Fitzgeralds's books (I think "Run" - which is about running by feel), he recommends recording wether workouts "Build Confidence", "Neutral to Confidence", or "Reduce Confidence".  The idea is - you will improve, or feel like you are improving, when workouts build confidence.  I had two workouts this week that Built my confidence, and make me think I'm more fit than it has felt like the last few weeks as I've toiled in the heat and humidity.  They are:

Thursday workout with 10k pace intervals - I did this workout on the treadmill at work to get away from the heat and. I ended up doing 6 x 2:00 @ 6:15 pace with 1% incline - and I felt "good".  No issues, I felt in control and on top of the pace.  Confidence back.

Sunday I decided to run roughly the course of my upcoming 20k race as a long run / HM pace workout.  The plan was to run 8 miles easy, then mile 9-12 @ HM pace, then a mile or two cool down.  Like Thursday's 10k intervals, the run went well.  The weather helped, it was cooler than it has been in a long time (I ran from 6am - 7:45am or so), 70-73F with 100% humidity.   Confidence up.

In prep for Sunday's run, I watched the US marathon Olympic trials Saturday afternoon.  I was inspired watching Galen Rupp pull away at mile 20 to cruise to a victory, and Meb (at age 41) finish a close second.  Even more inspiring was watching Amy Cragg (who won the race), catch Shalane Flanagan (her training partner) as she collapsed at the finish line for 3rd place.  Shalane "bonked" hard around mile 23 and suffered tremendously to still finish top 3 - very inspiring.  Side note:  Meb and Lagat, both 41 qualified for the US Olympic team this year - Meb in the marathon, and Lagat in the 5k.  Very inspiring for me, at 49, working toward my much MUCH more modest goals.

On Sunday's run, about 3 miles into the 4 mi HM pace portion, I almost stopped and started walking.  I actually took two steps sideways, and about stopped, then woke up and pushed on, keeping my pace another mile.  That decision changed Sunday's run to Confidence Builder from Confidence Downer.  Definitely had Meb / Lagat / Shalane / and Amy in mind at that moment....

Rant on HM vs Tempo pace - in theory I know the difference for me.  HM is about 6:45 and Tempo is prob around 6:30.  But - when I'm running, and trying to "feel" the difference - I can't.  How I feel, the weather, and how I slept probably will make a bigger diff on my paces than the small theoretical diff in the HM vs. Tempo pace.  I'm sure as I get more experience I will know the difference, but right now I can't really tell.

Weekly mileage:  44
Long Run: 13.5
Weight:  138 (low end of my normal weight "range")

Daily workouts: (Harder workouts in bold)

Monday:  16 miles long run - re-scheduled from yesterday's fail.  9.5 miles on a hilly route around my house.  I had planned 16 miles, but about 6 miles into it I again realized (like yesterday) I don't have it.  I tried running at 6 am to beat the heat, but it still "feels like 85", and it was too much for today.  Upper body strength, core work, ITB rehab work.  Dynamic stretching and foam rolling.

Tuesday:  off.  First day back to work...sigh.  Ran the last 9 days.

Wednesday:  45 minutes easy plus 4 strides.  Finally started to feel better today - cough that has been hanging around is gone - still REALLY hot tho...hope this ends soon.  Ended up with 5.7 miles (8:00 pace).  Core work.  Dynamic stretching and foam rolling.

Thursday 10 miles with 4 x 2:00 @ 10k pace (6:15)with 2:00 recovery @ 10:00 pace.  Treadmill.  Inside with air conditioning and a giant fan blowing directly on me.  Felt great!  First good run in a it's been the weather stupid that's been slowing me down!  I feel re-invigorated to know my fitness is still there.  Upper body strength, single leg deadlifts, single leg squats, ITB rehab routine.  Foam rolling and stretching

Friday:  OFF.  Decided to take two days off from running this week.  Time zone change and still getting over a cold has kept me a little too tired, and afraid of overtraining.  I was able to work a half day today, and took an afternoon nap.  Stretching and foam rolling.  And.....feeling better.

Saturday:  41 minutes easy including strides.  5.1 miles / 8:05 pace overall.  Core work.  Rolling and stretching.

Sunday:   13.5 miles with miles 9-12 @ HM / tempo effort.  Miles 1-8 @ 7:45 pace, then 6:30/6:36/6:40/6:31 for miles 9-12. (Note: these miles were slightly downhill - about 10-15 sec/mi faster than flat).  Then, 8:30 pace or so for the 1.5 mi. cool down.  Most of this run was on the course of the 20k on August 21.  So, it was good to get a "practice" of what the course will fee like.   Upper body strength/hip strength and mobility/lotsa rolling/dynamic stretching.

Next week - back to my "normal" schedule as I'm back home and working a full week.....

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Training Log Week Ending July 24

I'm spending most of this week on vacation in Huntington Beach Calif (about 1 mi from the sand).  It's worked out that my runs have been more mid-day to early afternoon to fit in around the family stuff (fun in the sand and the ocean, walking around town, sightseeing, etc.)

I'm not really over the cold I had last week, but it's mostly down to just allergy / sinus symptoms.  I've decided to enjoy my runs this week and run each day based on how I feel.   Having FUN is my first priority on every run...

The weather has been great....sunny with the usual ocean breeze, nice and cool in the morning and warmer in the afternoons.

Weekly Mileage:  40.4
Long Run:  N/A (fail)
Weight:  ?  (Still on vacation)

Daily workouts:

Monday:  6.4 miles in a wetland reserve trail about 1/2 from the ocean on some cliffs.  Beautiful views, nice dirt trails, some single track,  Stopping every now then to watch the ocean, take in the sights, and soak it all in.  Total time: 55 minutes.

Tuesday: 3 miles in Huntington Beach harbor loosening up legs and seeing the sights.  25 minutes.

Wednesday:  9 miles from house to beach.....out and back at bike path on the beach....then back home.  Did 4 impromptu "up tempo" intervals along the beach.  I would speed up and draft on beach cruiser bikes as they went by at a slightly faster speed and keep up as long as I can without feeling like it was more than tempo effort.  It was pretty fun.  Interesting:  Doing this following a single guy or two guys - and they will speed up to drop me.  Catching onto a single woman - and she will speed up.  Two women, or a male / female couple - and they will generally maintain their pace.  Small sample size, but there it is.

Thursday:  4.2 miles around the harbor.  Nice easy run with great sights and nice ocean breeze.

Friday:  7.2 mi. in Bolsa Chica wetlands sanctuary.  Nice morning run before the rest of the family is up and about.  Some bird watching, ocean views, and sightseeing.  Easy and fun run.

Saturday:  4.6 mi.  Run down to beach, walk along the sand to say "Good bye" to the Pacific for this trip, then run back to the house.  Nice morning.  Travel back to DC this afternoon....sigh.

Sunday:  16 mi long run.  FAIL.  I had planned a long run today, but realized right away it wasn't going to happen.  Yesterday was a long travel day, and I didn't get home until 3 am local time.  I got about 6 hours sleep and headed out for my long run, but by then it was HOT.  "Feels like 104F" hot.  At 3 miles I was feeling like shit and way overheated.  So, I turned around and called it a day, finishing on 6 slow miles. I'll call it a "heat acclimation today" - as I'm back in the DC heat / humidity I haven't felt in almost two weeks.
Oh well - I think I made the right decision.  And, I'm off work tomorrow, so I'll get up early and see if I can get in a long run then.  Rest of today is doing NOTHING, so I can recuperate from the week and see if I can recover some for tomorrow's run.

I also did very little of my normal run related strength / stretching.  I'll get back to that starting next week.

This week was really active besides the runs - two rounds of golf, surfing, paddle boarding, lotsa walking, and generally out and about most of the week.  Back to work on Tuesday, and my "normal" routine.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending July 17

This week my legs are finally starting to feel "back to normal" after the races the prior two weeks.....and so of course, I caught a cold on a flight to LA......

This week I'm traveling to LA for vacation.  So, I get to do some running on the West Coast (talk about a long flight.... 5 1/2 hours from DC to LA, in coach with my two kids).

I'm staying at my parents house with my two kids and my brother and his two kids (all teenagers).  So, the challenge is to get out of the house and get my run done before everyone else is awake and wants to know "What are we going to do today?"  The time zone change is on my side (5:00 in LA feels like 8:00 am in DC) so getting up early is not as hard as trying not wake everyone else up.

The weather in LA is much easier for running than DC.  I'm staying by the beach, so temps are cooler and less humid.  New scenery and running routes helps too.  My parents are in a "55+" community, so there's lotsa old folks out walking early in the morning.  Every single one of them acknowledges me (a shirtless,  slightly younger guy, in shorts that are way "too short" running by early in the morning).  I get everything from "side eye" to hearty "Good morning!" along with one or two folks who want to know all about where I'm going.  My standard reply is "To the beach!" as I wave and keep on moving....once you stop you're gonna be there for 10 I don't generally stop.

Weekly Mileage:  20.4
Long Run: 8
Weight:  ?  (I'm on vacation!)

Daily workouts:

Monday:  38 minutes Easy / Recovery.  Shaking out the legs after 16 miles yesterday - on WOD in my standard weekly location.  Lotsa foam rolling, dynamic stretching, groaning and complaining (4.4 mi / 8:10 pace)

Tuesday: 70 minutes easy including 4 strides  (8 mi)

Wednesday:  Travel day.  No exercising, just cramped sitting....and getting sick.

Thursday:  In bed...sick.  This sucks.

Friday:  To the urgent antibiotics and other prescriptions...and back to bed.  Still sucks.

Saturday:  still sick.  still suckin....

Sunday:  Finally.  Running at the beach.  62 minutes easy.  still don't feel great, but got in 8 miles...which made me feel better!.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending July 10, 2016

This is a "transition" week of sorts for me.

Monday, I ran a July 4th 5k after running a half marathon the week before.  I'm using the rest of the week to recover / recuperate, and look ahead to my next race on August 21 (20k in my hometown of Leesburg, VA).  Separate post with label "Race Report".  Time of 19:15 with melt down in the last mile....

So, my "faster" workout this week, which is usually on Wednesday was moved to Thursday and not as intense as usual...and I still had to shut it down....just didn't have it.  Sunday was back to my Long Run schedule, doing 16 miles.  I feel like I have to be careful this week and watch for injury and / or overtraining.  My legs are pretty tired, and I don't think I recovered between the half and 5k, so I want to make sure I don't over do it, and run myself into the ground.

Total Mileage: 44
Long Run:  16
Weight:  141

Daily workout (bolded days are the harder work):

Monday:  6 miles total:  2 mile warm-up, 5k race, one mile cool down.  Foam rolling, stretching, eating EVERYTHING.

Tuesday:  OFF.  I need it. 

Wednesday:  50 minutes EASY including 2 strides (ended up with 6.3 miles, around 8:00 pace).  75F  and 100% humidity for 6:30 am run.  Nice.  Despite the conditions, first day I've felt okay since my half marathon 10 days ago.  Ran on WOD path in Herndon, never really stressing myself, just cruising along.  Upper body strength, core work, hip mobility stuff.  Foam rolling and dynamic stretching.

Thursday:  10 miles with 3 mi. at tempo.  Planned a 3 mile tempo today as part of the run....that didn't happen.  After about a mile I shut it down.  Still recovering from the 5k on Monday.  And today was really hot again, even at 7:00 was about 76F with 100% humidity.  I think I made the smart move to cut back on the Tempo.  Dynamic stretching, ITB rehab routine, single leg squat, single leg dead lift.  (1:17 total running time, 8:05 pace).

Friday:  35 minutes EASY.  Still feeling too tired and need the day off.  Rolling, stretching

Saturday: 42 minutes EASY.  Around the hood (5.2 mi; 8:00 pace) with a few strides.  Core work.  Rolling and stretching.  Really hot and humid.

Sunday:  16 mi. Long Run.  WOD path.  Overall pace 7:27 (1:59 overall time).  ITB work, upper body strength, Single Leg Squat.  Skipped single leg dead lift.  16 miles never feels easy, but I'm happy with the effort and pace.  Cooler weather and less humidity today....

Monday, July 4, 2016

2016 Mid-Year Review

At the office right now we are doing "Mid-Year Reviews", a chance to see how our performance so far in the year is marching toward our 2016 Objectives.

So, I thought I'd take a minute to do a running "Mid-Year Review".

On January 1, 2016 I was two weeks into a new training plan, which I purchased from Jason Fitzgerald at Strength Running.  I was coming off an ITB injury, and wanted a long, slow build-up to end in a 10k 20 weeks later.  A few days later I set four running Objectives for 2016, they are:

2016 Objectives:
  1. Injury Free.
    1. So far, successful. 
    2. I've been doing consistent core, ITB, and overall strength.  Every week, and I've but back my running efforts if I feel any niggle or concern, especially ITB.
  2. Improve pacing and form
    1. I've been getting better with pacing.  But still have a long way to go.  Each race teaches me something, but I have yet to have a "strong / negative split" finish in a race.
    2. Need to improve on this in the second half of the year.
    3. Form for me means to things:  cadence and posture. 
      1. My cadence is pretty good and consistent now, usually 180 or so on easy runs and up to 190 - 195 in 5k's.  I think this higher cadence helps me stay injury free, and be a little faster.
      2. Posture is getting better, standing tall most of the time.  I have to remember to keep this at the end of races when I'm hurting the most.  I do fall apart some, so this is something to work on.
  3. 5k in 18:36
    1. My best 5k time is 18:41, which I did in March.
      1. I've run 2 5k's since then, and haven't been under 19:00 minutes for various reasons.
      2. My best chance to meet this goal will be in September at the Dulles Airport 5k.
  4. 10k in 39:30
    1. I ran one 10k and finished in 39:57 - the race was in very windy conditions and it was long (6.3 miles).
    2. My best chance to meet this goal will be in the late Fall.
I have changed my focus some since writing my original 2016 goals.  I've decided to run longer races, doing my first half marathon in June.  And, I decided to run a 20k in August. more races in general.

This change will help with my objective of pacing, I think, as my different race lengths and paces will help me "feel" the different efforts better.  I'm also doing more weekly mileage than I had originally thought I would, which I'm told helps my speed.

But, this change does hurt my chances of meeting my 5k and 10k goal times.  I have fewer chances to peak for a 5k / 10k. 

The one objective I didn't have for 2016 is the most obvious..."HAVE FUN".  My change in focus is allowing me to have more fun, and after all, I'm not in the Olympic trials, and no one is paying me to "fun" is all it's really about.  And I'm having more fun this year than as Charlie Sheen would say "Winning"....

"Happy 4th" Everyone.  Have a beer and watch some fireworks.  Maybe break your usual "runner's diet" and eat a couple questionable hot dogs....what's more American than that?

Race Report: Firecracker 5k (Reston, Virginia)- July 4, 2016

Today I ran the Firecracker 5k in Reston Virginia.

I signed up for this race kind of on a lark a few weeks ago.  I decided it would be good to run a few races for "fun".  I enjoy racing, the excitement, the atmosphere, the people, the whole thing.

 I like this race because it's close to my house, well organized, and gets a good turnout.  The course is "okay".  It's the same course I get my PR on (18:41 in March in 45F weather).  The last half mile is all uphill, after the first 2 miles are up and down.  I don't think there's one flat spot on the whole course, but that's usual for Northern Virginia races that are not on trails or paths.

It's been 8 days since my first half marathon.  The day after the "half" I started regretting signing up for a 5k one week later.   My legs were thrashed for a couple days, and I tried to convince myself all week that I'm recovering, and I think I have been, but not completely.

Recently Galen Rupp was interviewed about competing in the 10k and marathon in the upcoming summer Olympics.  Galen said "He thinks he can do it because the 10k is 8 days before the marathon, if the order were reverse he wouldn't be able to do it".  Yesterday, thinking about the race today I was kind of wishing the order of my half marathon and 5k were reversed.  (Notice how I compare my races to the Olympics and arguable the fastest American 10k and marathon runner right now...hilarious).  And I'm 49, so I've been told I should allow more time for recovery than the younger "whipper snappers" around me.

Okay kids, I have some advice for you.  #1. Stay in school.  #2. Don't do drugs.  #3. Don't try to run a 5k eight days after a half marathon - and expect to do well.


I set my alarm for 5:30, immediately had my usual pre-race breakfast of oatmeal, milk, and coffee.  Then went for a half mile run in my neighborhood to wake up, get my legs and stomach moving, "processed" stomach, and left the house at 6:30.  My beautiful wife got up early this morning and went with me...which is always nice.  My personal assistant, I put all my race associated crap in a backpack which she will carry for me, and have ready at the finish line.  I always get a big welcome from her when the race is over too...all great stuff.  Plus, after the race, when I'm exhausted I have a driver to get me home.

Arrived at the race and parked around 7:15.  Plenty of time to do my 2 mile warm-up and 4 strides, say hello to a few folks I know, line up and be ready to go by 8:00 start.  I already had my bib so I had no stress.

This race had a BIG turnout, about 2,000 people.  Lotsa patriotic stuff, veterans, flags, etc.  For that alone, I'm glad I was there.  Like last week, I saw a few veterans running with prosthesis legs, very motivating and emotional for me.

The temp this morning was about 67F and 90% humidity.  Rain was threatening the whole time, but it never actually rained.   The clouds did keep the temp down, so that helped.

I really didn't know how much to adjust my pace based on the temps and how I was feeling....

So, how did it go?

Mile 1:  5:57.  And we're off!  I did my best not go out too fast and stay around 6:00 pace.  I usually go out too fast in the first half mile.  6:00 pace puts me on my PR pace, I just about got it right without checking my watch.  There were quite a few runners in front of me and I fought off the urge to try and catch them.

Mile 2:  6:03:  Soon after mile 1 I slowed a little, and got into a group of 5 other runners and started to get "kind of" comfortable, at least I had others to run behind which always helps me.  Around the end of mile 2, I was starting to REALLY feel the effort....but I went through 2 miles in EXACTLY 12:00, so that was good.

Last 1.1 in 6:35 pace: A little after mile 2 marker my right show was feeling loose, and then untied.  Damn it!  It was double knotted too.  Damn it!  So, I had to pull aside and re-tie my shoe and lost contact with the group I was running with, I was already feeling like they were going to drop me, and now that was that.  I kind of hit the wall at this point too, my legs were dead, I suffered up the hill that last half mile to the finish.

Overall time:  19:15.  Oh well.  I think I lost about 5 seconds with my untied shoe.  But really, today wasn't going to be a good day.  My legs never felt "fresh" and I was kidding myself going out in 6:00 pace the first two miles.  I was bound to crash.

39th overall, 4th in my age group by 6 seconds,  3rd place received a medal.  "Double terds!"

The Good:  Got in a good 5k effort for 2  miles.  Learned about racing two weeks in a row.  Spent some time with my wife.  Got to celebrate 4th of July with some true heroes.

The Bad: I wasn't ready for this race.  I've been dead all week. 

The Ugly:  I "feel" like I didn't give a full effort today.  I think emotionally I stopped trying the last half mile.  I don't feel good about that.....even more than the physical letdown.  I'm going to find the silver lining and say I leaned something from that too.

Next race - 20k on August 21.  "Onward and upward".

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Training Log - Week Ending July 3

With my first Half Marathon last Sunday, this week started out really EASY.

And...I'm going to run A 5K July 4 (Monday). guiding principle this week is the Hippocratic Oath: "First, do no harm".  Recover from the half and do my best to get to the 5k uninjured and feeling the best possible.

My legs were feeling shot on Monday and  Tuesday, so really held back on the effort.  Monday was more walking / jogging than really running.

With the 5k on July 4, I used my Wednesday workout to get my legs moving at 5k speed, but not too much work since I'm still recovering from the half.   Then, Thursday - Sunday was more by how I felt each day and not doing more than I'm ready for.  Sort of regretting scheduling a 5k eight days after a half marathon.  But, it's all new experiences for me, and I'm having fun, so we'll see how it goes!

So, did the best I could to get my legs recovered as much as possible for the race tomorrow.  I slowly started feeling better day by day.  By today's run, which is really just getting loose for tomorrow's race and doing a couple strides, I'm feeling "okay".  We'll see how it goes tomorrow.  The weather forecast for the race start tomorrow is 68F and 90% humidity.  Looks like it will probably rain a few hours before race it's probably going to be a tough one!  Look for my race report tomorrow.

Overall, kind of a funky week  with recovery and planning for a 5k on a Monday.

Weekly Mileage:  27
Long Run:  N/A
Weight: 140

Daily Workouts (Hard workouts bolded)

Monday - 30 minutes of EASY running with interspersed walking.  My legs felt pretty bad.  Losta dynamic stretching, hip mobility stuff, and foam rolling.  Treadmill in case I just wasn't feeling it half way through.  3.1 miles.....yeah really easy with walking.

Tuesday - 50 40 minutes easy including strides.  Quite slow, about 8:45 pace (4.5 mi) which felt much harder.  Still hurtin from the half on Sunday - as expected.  Upper body strength.  stretching and rolling.

Wednesday - 10 6 miles with 4 x 2' @ 5k pace (5:55) with 2' jogging recovery (10:00 pace) on treadmill @ 1% incline.  Cut down on my planned 10 miles, as my legs are still tired, but the work at 5k pace didn't feel that bad.  ITB rehab work.  No leg strength work.  Core work.  (total time running:  47 minutes)

Thursday - 35 minutes easy running on WOD trail.  4.2 miles (8:15 pace).  Still not feeling recovered from Sunday's race and the workout yesterday.  More like a "recovery run" today.  Stretching and rolling.  Hip mobility work.

Friday - 45 minutes easy.  WOD trail.5.6 mi (8:10 pace).  Little "pick up" at the end.  I want to say I'm recovering....could be more hope than actual......Stretching and rolling. 

Saturday - OFF.  Following my routine of taking the second day before a race off.

Sunday - 25 minutes easy including strides.  Rolling stretching, hip mobility.  3.2 miles (8:10 pace)