Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Heat

I skipped running a couple of days last week because it was just too damn hot.  Now that I am older and hopefully wiser, and the fact that I have several training mesocycles under my belt I have a new philosophy.  "It isn't about the single workout or single effort, but is the culmination of all of the workouts or efforts that creates the summation of the improvement."  This is my creed for this training session.

So what does that mean to me you ask?  Well, let's say the boys head down to the ole high school track for a session of mile repeats.  You know the boys, your usual training buddies that like to run their big mouths.  You have a plan and you are going to stick to that plan.  You know your pace, you figured it out last night.  You memorized your splits, you even wrote them on your arm so that you would nail them.

Your off and there you are hanging right there with the boys.  I mean you have too, you don't want to be the wimp of the group.  You round the last turn of the first quarter and hit the straight away.  You feel your legs getting tight and you know your breathing is just too fast.  As you cross the 1/4 mark you glance at your watch, whoa! way too fast.  But do you slow down?  Hell no, your not gonna be that guy.  You finish the first mile 35 seconds faster than planned.  The tall guy says "How was the pace?"  Everybody in the group is bending over trying to find their left ventricle.  Everybody says, "Pace is fine, no problem."

What a bunch of idiots we are.  Cause next week we are so burnt out that I end up skipping a few days and the rest of my week is shot because I had to keep of with the fellows.  Not this season no way.  If I have to run on my own with my buddies this whole season, so be it.  I'm older, wiser and more disciplined and I'm not gonna get sucked into that whole Saturday morning macho vortex.  What is important is looking at the whole week as one long workout.  Put enough effort into todays workout to get a good training effect but you have to leave enough in the tank so that you can hit all of your workouts for the entire week.  Recover on the recovery days.  Rest on the rest days.  And push it on the hard days, but not race effort.  One days effort doesn't make us 3:00 marathoners.  One years steady efforts will make us a 3:30 or less marathoner.

So, I have really been trying to watch my paces and hit the goals but honestly, it just ain't happening.  I don't know if I'm just slow or if I have too many miles on my legs, but I want to think it's the heat.  The Pftitz plan that I am using this cycle calls for 18 miles w/ 12 at marathon pace.  Sorry Pete but it's not gonna happen.  I mean there isn't any way I can run 4 miles at marathon pace in this heat and humidity.  Does that mean that I am be too aggressive with my attempted marthon pace?  Don't know but I guess we'll find out soon enough.

I ran 17 miles the other day and the start temp was 74 and the ending temp was 82.  I thought I was gonna die.  I mean it was really tough.  2 weeks earlier I ran 21 with a starting temp of 67 and an ending temp of 72.  Great run, great day, great recovery.  Can 7 or 8 degrees really make that big of a difference?  What about 30 degrees?  What can I really expect if marathon day is in the high 40's or low 50's?

You know what?  There isn't anything that I can do about any of it except get out there and run today and tomorrow and the next day after that.  So, I'll just stay out there and keep hitting the pavement and and lying to the guys about how great the pace is and keep smiling.  Cause I can run and that's all I need.

Monday, July 19, 2010

End of a great week

Saturday was an off day.  Not really planned but we had the wife's parents in town and the boys had an early morning swim meet and I never did get a run in.  It was supposed to be 4 to 6 miles of recovery so I didn't feel guilty about missing the day.  The boys both did great at the meet, the younger son finished butterfly for the first time without a disqualification.  Not DQing when you are 7 is a big deal in butterfly.  Normally if you can just finish legally you can place.  Great job little buddy.  The older son is 10 and is just a bundle of muscle.  He literally has no fat on him and is solid as a rock.  When he swims he just tries to power through the water.  For 2 years I have been working with him to just slow down and glide through the water.  I told him that swimming is all about technique and he finally had a breakthrough day.  He looked smooth and even.  He had powerful pulls underwater and man he was cruising.  Slow, easy, and powerful got him a first place finish.  It really is about technique.  Cool job big man.

Sunday was a 15 miler scheduled.  I ran with my Doctor training buddy and no one else showed up.  The weather was mid 70's at the start and around 86 at the finish.  Legs felt good as well as energy levels but I could tell that it had been a long week.  There wasn't any pep in my step and I kept telling myself that there shouldn't be any pep left after 50 miles in a week.  There shouldn't be any pep left during the race at mile 23 either and that was the purpose of the training.  To push through and carry on when you are tired and fatigued.

I am feeling fitter and stronger than I have in years.  The consistency and the volume of training is really naking a difference.  5 miles isn't even enough to get going anymore and 10 or 11 seems like a normal days work.  The last remaining bits of fat around my stomach is really hard to lose but it does seem to be slowly melting away with the long runs.  My core is definitely getting stronger and I can really tell that I am engaging it a lot more during hard efforts of long runs because I am sore the next day.  I can tell that after hard and long tempo runs my ribs and sides hurt from the prolonged hard breathing and the use of my core muscles to keep my form erect and strong.

The hills definitely seem easier and I don't even notice them unless they are major hills.  I am looking forward to a few sessions of hill repeats in the near future.  This should be the last week of my Endurance Mesocycle.  Next week will begin the Lactate threshold + Endurance Mesocycle and that's where the real fun should come in.  I hope this will be a big week mileage wise, we'll see how the dedication goes.  I am taking a rest day today, not because I feel that I need one but because I had to take Big buddy to summer camp for the week.  I wanted him to know that he was more important than running so I stayed home and helped him get ready.  I guess when I start winning prize money we might evaluate the priorities but I don't really see any Nike contracts in the future, unless they want to sponsor a good looking man......?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Running Camp

So several of the guys in the neighborhood run for the High school track and cross country teams.  They are away this week at Running camp.  Before they left we talked and they told me that they were scheduled for 55 miles for the weeks.  Little girls.  I told them that my Docotor friend was off this week and we were going to have our own little running camp this week and really get in some miles.  So they old man training camp has went well and we have had some great fun.  We should both hit the low 60's and I can feel it.

This morning consisted of an 8 mile run with 3 1/2 miles of tempo.  The air was thick and humid but we had yesterday off and were ready for the challenge.  The first three miles were nice and slow with around a 8:30 pace.  The plan was to run a 45 minute tempo run at half marathon pace.  Problem was we weren't that great at communicating to each other exactly what that pace was going to be.  So we hit our start mark and we were off. 

Now the route was my normal battlefield tour road loop which would consist of a 3 1/2 mile lollypop loop that had some decent rolling hills.  We took off at a 7:30 pace and were superisingly consistant.  My friend and I both are very good at maintaing even paces so they was no pulling or tugging on the pace.  Basically stride for stride smooth running.  The thing that I did notice was the difference in the breathing techniques that we both had.  I breath faster almost in cadence with my stride while my buddy breathes deeper and slower.  I mean how many variables are there really in this equation, is fast breathing better than slow?  Mile 1 of the tempo portion, 7:29 split.  I felt the effort but I still felt strong.  The rolling hills seemed to glide under my feet.  Mile 2, 7:31 spilt.  Everything was fine until we hit that last long slow grade.  It was about mile 2 1/2 and I just went anerobic.  My breathing went nuts but I would slack off on the pace.  That's what's greater about running with an evenly matched buddy, you can really puch each other.  I finally made it to the top of the hill and tried to recover but it wasn't happening.  It was about a mile to the end of the loop and I was just hanging on.  I would glance over and I could tell that my friend was hurting but he wasn't goning to slack off.  (NOTE: My friend is 10 years older than I am and he is an awesome athlete.)

When I saw the bridge that served as the end of the lollypop loop I told him that was it.  I knew that another hill was around the turn and there was no way.  We eased up and walked and I thought I was going to pass out.  I could just feel the mitochondria growing in my cells.  I am getting stronger with each workout and it's really cool feeling the difference.  We slowly jogged the last mile and a half in and I was literally craving my Endurox.

Great run Doc!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


6 miles recovery today.  The temps were around 77 but the humidty was like 95%.  You could cut the air with a knife.  Ran with a friend today because he is off all week.  He said it was going to be his running summer camp.  After the easy six at around 8:40 pace, we headed to a grassy community field near the house.  He wanted to get me running some plyometric drills, barefoot.  I really liked them, I just hope that I won't be sore tomorrow.  Some gentle 50 yards jogs to get started, then some strides, all barefoot mind you.  Then some high knees, some but kicks, sideway slides, and lunges.  The lunges hurt.  Everything was 50 yards down and 50 yards back.  Then I walked the 1/4 mile home barefoot.  They felt good.  I could feel the stretching with the drills.  All the long distance has me tight and I know I need to work on the flexibility.

The Garmin 305 quit working today and I freaked out.  I couldn't get it turned on.  I really have gotten dependent on it to help me with my pace.  Got online and found out that it had just locked up during charging and needed to be reset bu holding down the mode and reset button and then hitting the power button.  Whew! cause I really didn't want to spend $200 to get a new one.

Tomorrow, 12 miles middle distance around 8:30 to 8:45 pace.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday July 12

11 miles with my friend this morning.  Last 3 were fast, 7:40 down to 6:40 pace at the finish.  Got caught in a 2 to 3 mile downpour.  Felt great.  Starting to feel strong and get my lungs back.  Trying to bike 30 miles tonight with an easy recovery run tomorrow.  No deep thoughts today but I am going to try to at least start logging my workouts here to keep me honest.

How do I know that the color blue to me is the color blue to you?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What to write about

The last few weeks have really been crazy.  My business is going really bad, running has been great but not steady as I would like.  The weather has been hot, the kids have been so much fun.  There's just so much that I want to get at that I don't know where to begin.  So I think I'll just make a list about topics that I want to talk about in the future and then I'll pick a day and work on knocking them off the list.
  1. Being proud and in love with my family.
  2. Business and the economy suck.
  3. What is truly being happy?
  4. What I experience during a run, the five senses.
  5. Short haircuts - buzz cuts
  6. Watering the lawn?  How much water is green grass really worth?
  7. Good friends
  8. The perfect pork barbeque
  9. Nothing stays the same.
  10. 4th of July Yorktown 8K
  11. Swim team summers with the kids
  12. Fall marathons
  13. Job search - What do I want to do?
  14. Backpacking
  15. Making memories with the kids
  16. How did I get this old?
  17. The whole country is spoiled rotten
  18. What really is the point of having all this stuff
  19. Working with my brother and father
  20. Quiet mornings on the back porch
  21. My Girlfriend - Jill
  22. My new bed - the floor, and my back has never felt better
  23. I'm not a triathlete

Friday, May 7, 2010

9 is the New 5

Our life is made of of routines, standards constants.  When I started running again 10 years ago my standard run was a 3.2 mile loop around a nearby neighborhood.  Some days I would do the loop twice or add onto the loop but when I review my log books from back then I repeatedly see 3.2, 3.2 , 3.2.  When you come around the corner and see the car there and you know that you don't have to run anymore it is really tough to keep going, so you stop and write down 3.2.

Then I moved to the other end of the city, only 2 miles from a National park.  My new standard became a 5.1 mile loop.  I love loops because once your 2 miles in, there isn't really any turning back.  I'd park my car and run my old standby, the Surrender Road 5.1 mile loop.  This became my new minimum, my new standard.  Oh there were lots of days that I'd run more, but the go to favorite, the workhouse run, became the 5.1 loop.  No more 3.2's, I had advanced past that meager distance, I wasn't a beginner anymore, I was a 5.1er.

Several weeks ago I started run from my home to the park, running my 5.1 loop and then home again.  It was cleaner, simpler, easier.  No cars no mess, just out the door and start running.  Sometimes fast, sometimes slow.  Some days I'd add on the French loop for 3 more miles but manly just the run to the Park and then my old friend the 5.1 loop.

I reviewed my schedule this morning and noticed that there weren't anymore 5.1's in my log but a bunch of 9's and 12's.  The 2 miles from my house to the park and then the 2 miles back streched my runs to 9 miles.  I still get to see my old friend everyday but after I get a good warm up.  My relationship with 5.1 was always casual and the first mile or 2 were always slow and easy.  Now I have a feeling that we are going to get serious a lot more often.