Monday, May 30, 2011

Radio Silence

I am not ignoring my blog. There is so much I want to say, but all of it relates to or includes something that is still technically a secret. A lot of you already know, but I can't say it publicly yet. Nothing I write without including this piece of information could possibly be genuine or sum up what I am feeling. I hope to have something to say soon...and it will be an outpouring.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I don’t want this blog to become the long form version of my training log. The theme is supposed to be how running interacts with my everyday life; relationships, career, etc. But, right now, running is the only aspect of my life I think I can discuss in an open forum. So, at least one more entry will be a recap of workouts and an assessment of how things are going. My apologies for the lack of depth and substance.

I am nearly three weeks into my training plan from Mark Hadley and Maximum Performance running, and feeling stronger with each run. Hold that. Let’s go with ‘feeling stronger with each workout.’ I’ve felt like pure death on a couple of recovery runs, which means I am working hard. With each week, the workouts become tougher, yet I continue to complete them and gain confidence that it won’t be long until I race again.

May 7 (16 mile long easy run at Latta Plantation) – This was the first time in a long time Aaron, Caitlin and I ran together. Just the three of us. There’s something special about getting in a run with my two fellow Charlotte Running Club founders. You might think all we talk about is the club when we’re running together. But, you’d be wrong. We don’t talk about the club at all. It’s very refreshing.

May 10 (20X200 with 200 rest at JCSU Track) – I’d have to go back many training logs to find the last time I did 200 meter repeats. But, I am going to see more fast, short intervals this time around since no marathons are in the near future. On paper, 20 by 200 sounds pretty simple. They’re just really long strides right? Wrong. 200 meters is a long way when you are sprinting and I am not sprinter. I want to exceed my expectations in every workout, and in this one, I simply met my expectations. My fastest was 32 seconds. My slowest was 35. I did have lots of horses to try and keep up with. Aaron, Paul, Eric and Alex, who has quite the kick.

May 13 (4.5 mile progressive tempo from 6:10 to 5:50 from my house to the Booty Loop) – One more mediocre workout. I promise the good stuff is coming. Actually, of all the workouts I am going to write about, this one is the worst. I woke up feeling sluggish, not looking forward to doing this one on my own. I was moving slowly during the two-mile warm-up, and dropping down to 6:10 was a shock to the system. I should also point out it was pea soup humid and I was sweating before I got off my front porch. I hit the first mile in 6:06, but quite taxed. By mile two, I was actually on the Booty Loop and clicked off a 5:57. I didn’t think I had much more to give, but somehow hit 5:55. It did not get any better. My last mile, which even though was all uphill, was a disappointing 6:07 and my last half-mile was 5:58 pace. I trudged home, drenched in sweat and blood. Yes, blood. My socks would not stay up during this workout and the friction from the humidity tore up my heels something fierce.

May 15 (14.6 mile steady state run at McMullen Greenway) – What happens when you put Aaron, Paul, Stephen, Matt and I in the same work out? We crush it. We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather on a Sunday morning. We started out on the Great Harvest course, navigating the hilly 5k at roughly 6:45 pace. The goal was to average somewhere between 6:30 and 6:45 and I could tell early on, we’d be much closer to 6:30 than 6:45. As we headed back into McMullen, the pace slowly descended. By midway, we were in the 6:20s, and moving down. At one point, I mentioned I was going to shut it down at the prescribed 14 miles, but when that point came and went, I was still going. It was Stephen who kept us all going, throwing in surges and pushing the pace. When we finished, it was a real sense of accomplishment and I was happy to hang with such a tough crowd for such a long run. We had averaged 6:25 pace.

May 17 (5X1 with 400 rest mile at Providence Day School Track) – I was concerned that this workout would suffer because of its close proximity to the steady state, but it did not. It was raining pretty good when I met up with Paul, Mike, Billy, Stephen and Nathan at Old Bell. We immediately ruled out doing this at McAlpine, and considered sacking it all together. Fortunately, we chose to stick with it and just moved the workout to the oval. Paul was nice enough to slow down and guide me through the first three right on target. My goal for the whole workout was somewhere between 5:20 and 5:30. We went 5:29, 5:27, 5:23. On the fourth, I was pretty much on my own, but was still able to knock out a 5:20. On the final interval, I was able to manage 5:18. Sure, these aren't blazing fast times, but they are respectable and comparable to some mile repeats I did early last fall.

Riveting stuff, right? Don't get used to it. I have a feeling the next couple of entries will have some real meat.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Week 1: Back to the grind

As promised, my summer/fall training program started on May 1st and at this point is off to a good start. Although, I am hesitant to say such things because previous expressions of confidence have resulted in broken bones and twisted back muscles. Below are a few highlights:

May 1 (long run at Davidson trails) -- A big group of runners met to run at one of my favorite local running spots. I had 18 on the calendar, but only to prove to myself I could do it. Common sense prevailed and I ended up doing 16. After all, no marathons are in my near future. Plus, finishing the run sooner meant getting to Summit Coffee sooner, and that is the best reward for a successful long run.

May 3 (1,000s at JCSU) -- This was the first time I had stepped out on to a track for a planned workout since October 19, 2010. The absence did not go unnoticed by the gods of the oval. My plan called for 5X1,000 at 3:15 to 3:20 pace. Paul, who was preparing for a race, was kind enough to slow down and guide me through the first four. My legs felt ok, but my stomach reacted poorly to the hot, humid weather, the evening hours (I have become primarily, a morning runner) and of course, the intensity. I did hit all the marks, although my fastest interval was my second one and my slowest was the last one. I'll have to work to turn that around.

May 6 (8 mile tempo at the Landsdowne Loop) -- I walked away from this workout confident that I might not have lost as much as I feared. The plan called for an eight mile progression starting at 7:00 and working my way down to sub 6:00. I met a big group well before sunrise at Old Bell. Billy, Mike and Stephen had planned to do a 40 minute tempo at sub-6:00, while Paul, Alex and I would lag behind. Secretly, Paul and I had schemed to try and catch them. We started at 6:20 while the others took off. In no time, we were below 6:00 and descending. Landsdowne is a tough 2.35 mile loop, which I have noted in other blogs. Still, we were clicking off 5:45s through the hillier sections. Around 6.5, we spotted Billy drifting toward us. At this point, Paul dropped me on his way to 5:30s. I picked it up to 5:40 and set my sights on the unknowing target. Honestly, I didn't expect to catch him. Billy is fast and in good shape. But my will pushed me through. Around mile 7, I pulled up along side of him. We matched stride for stride for 100 yards or so, and then I took off. Billy ended up extending his tempo and doing the 8 miles as well.

For the first week back (Monday-Sunday), I logged 72.1 miles. Included in that total is the CRC Birthday Tequila 400, which I continue to not be good at.

The early assessment is that the endurance remained in tact better than the all-out speed. It will continue to be a week-by-week process, but for now, the summer looks like it will be a lot of fun!

Friday, May 6, 2011

I thought I was going to do a tri, but I am not

When I was hurt, I swam a lot. A lot. I mean, not Michael Phelps a lot, but coming from nothing it was a whole bunch. I got acceptably good at too. Again, not Michael Phelps good, but if you saw me when I started, you'd agree. I owe a bit of gratitude to the pool. It kept my aerobic capacity in decent shape and that made a world of difference when I started running again. But, for me it was a means to an end. I swam to keep myself in shape when I couldn't run. I can run now, so I don't need to swim. Not only that, I don't want to swim.

Ok, I miss it a little bit. I went from having a hate-hate relationship with it to a love-hate relationship with it. I admit, it can be really refreshing to get out of the pool after a 2,000 meter swim. Every muscle in your body feels like it got a workout. But, I don't miss it enough to justify adding it into a pretty crammed running routine. I know that my running and the maintenance I try to do to keep myself injury-free takes up a lot of my free time. and on top of a 40+ hour a week job, it leaves precious time for me to spend with the people I love and care about. And, I know that because of the 5:30am runs and the stressful workdays, I can be a little testy when the day finally ends.

I am passionate about running. If I can't do it, I am miserable. I will make sacrifices to run. It is my release. Swimming doesn't evoke the same kind of emotions or dedication. That is why it has never been a consistent part of my routine.

I guess it was a bit idealistic of me to sign up for Tri-Latta. It was February. I was hurt. I was swimming a lot and I thought that when I started running again, I'd keep up the swimming. And for a while, I did. When you run 30 or 40 miles a week, that's not too hard. When it increases to 60 or 70, for me, something's got to give. So, with less than a month until Tri-Latta, I have decided that is $70 that will be wasted.

I am racing that weekend. I have marked June 10th's China Grove Main Street Challenge as my first 5K. Paul told me on a tempo run this morning that four or five guys from Asheville are coming down. That means I'd better keep running.