Monday, July 19, 2010

Out on my Feet

My run on Friday was a disaster. Though I was anxious about the run, I was also excited as Corey and I had an opportunity to run with Calvin and Evan I knew it would help time pass. Everything seemed to feel okay in the beginning. I stayed on pace and did not try to rush off, rather I cruised along never going too fast or too slow. As we neared the 10 mile mark, I was not feeling that great. My body seemed to lack any energy and my legs felt tired, weak. At the halfway point we dropped off Evan and picked up Hokan. I took time to eat part of a banana and a gel, a gulp of Gatorade and we were off. Calvin was only hanging for about 2.5 more miles and he’d be turning back. I struggled from the parking lot and felt myself really grinding to get up the first hill. Topping the hill, we had a brief downhill run and I was assessing my condition and trying to encourage myself to re-group. I needed to pull things together quick, the next 2 miles were all up hill, not steep, but a constant raising grade. My mind was really battling me as we ran. I hooked on Corey’s heels and locked in. Calvin dropped off, everyone said their goodbyes as he left the group. I was already in survival mode, I did not turn or wave, I just grunted. Things were looking dark for me and we were only at mile 12. What is going on.

At mile 13 I was done, out on my feet and completely wasted. I told Corey and Hokan, I am out. I may be stopping and shutting it down. It was just that bad, fatigue, lack of energy, weakness, I was in a fight and I was losing… badly.

Corey encouraged me to keep on going, I stayed the course, mostly due to pride. Mile 13 and 14 were difficult at best. The fluids at mile 14 did little to revive me and the gel was useless. I needed a jolt, and decide I would run into the Corner Deli for a coke. Corey and Hokan slowed the pace for me to catch up, but I never did recapture thedistance. Rather I watched as the distance grew. I had five more miles and no idea how I was going to finish the run. I thought how strong I had been the week before averaging 8:12 for 17 miles and here I was struggling at 8:23. Damn, pull it together. I gave myself a goal, it was less than a mile and I did this again. My 20 mile run was reduced to a series of 1 mile runs from mile 15 on. I did not stop, other than to replenish my fluids. My last fluid break a Holiday Inn breakfast bar, I ran in grabbed three glasses of mango juice and raced back out. I was on the home stretch, passing mile 18 and with 2 to go, I found renewed energy. My pace picked up and I felt confident I would finish. Corey and Hokan were already out of site, my goal was to get as close to pace as I could. I did not think it would be possible, as miles 15-17 were so bad. I was delirious and had no idea how fast or slow I was running during that time. Now however, each step now drew me closer to my finish and with a half mile to go, I began to sprint. I wanted this run done. Rounding the corner to my imaginary finish line, I saw Corey and Hokan, looking strong and fresh, they looked to have been done for a while.

I looked at my watch but had no idea if my time was slow or fast. My initial thought was too slow. Later I would learn that I was actually fast, 20 at an 8:23 pace. Good enough. The run really damaged me physically and mentally. But it also made me stronger, physically and mentally. I pushed for 8 miles when my body said not one more step. I ran when I could barely stand and I stood when my body wanted to fall. A good way to end week 4, I am glad it is over.

The weekend went quickly and on two occasions I lost track of the day. After affects of a taxing run. The highlight of the weekend was tubing with the family in North Georgia and going to the movies with Jack.

Monday brought the start of week 5 and the first time I had seen Jay in 2 weeks. He looked very thin and a bit frail from his bacterial illness. He ran strong as he Corey and I all started the weeks training together. Corey and I were running a 2 – 3 – 1 workout, 2 EZ, 3 at 6:14 and 1 EZ. Jay was easing back into the training with 4 x 1200. A good run and he was solid the entire time.

I felt challenged and sometimes at ease during my tempo workout. While driving home I realized I just ran 3 miles at a pace faster than my best 5K. Not bad. I hope to take this same strong run into Fridays 18 mile run at 8:11. I will be tested!

Weight 182.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How long you in for...

Wednesday. Monday I hit a good tempo run on the treadmill to start Week 4. The run was tough and I felt labored, but once I passed the halfway mark it seemed to get a bit easier. It felt good to run next to one of my buddies and see someone else that was grinding away at their workout, misery they say loves company, though I think I was the only one that was truly miserable as he seemed to glide effortlessly along the belt. Tuesday was a good solid day, for everything. I seemed to eat better and my workout was a good, tough swim, only 2500 meters. I will likely start to cap the workouts between 2500-3000 meters. Faster days on Tuesday and longer days on Thursday. I swam with Rebecca though she was typically 10-30 seconds ahead depending on the length we were swimming in the set. I felt bad that I was unable to give her a challenge and push her, but good that she was pushing me on every set. Our last set was a nice 2 x 200 with a speed pick up in the middle. We both commented on how much form we lost during the speed portion but as we reverted back to form for the last 50, our split did not drop. Swimming is so much technique and body position in the water, this was clearly proof. The remainder of the day was consumed with work, I did not move off my chair for the next 6 hours and it felt good to be so productive. The evening was uneventful and I was looking forward to a good night’s rest.

This morning I woke 5 minute before the alarm rang so I grabbed my gear and headed to the gym. The crowd was huge for our track workout, there must have been 10 people. Nice to see the dedication by so many. I went into today’s workout with a little bit of fear, at least concern. I had decided for the next few weeks I would try to hit the workouts for a projected marathon time of 3:15. This meant that I would be running the 5 x 1000 today at 3:44. Basically 45 seconds per 200 meters with the last one being 44 seconds.

My legs felt tired and stiff as we jogged down to the track. As we neared, I quickened the pace a bit just to better warm up. As everyone was mulling around I decide, it was time to go, clearing my watch, I was off. The first lap is always a little more difficult as the lungs have not completely opened and the muscle are still warming up. I kept my pace in check and hit my 200 time right on. My next 200 was a bit slow and from there I ran negative splits. The rest was a 400 jog/walk, that I did fairly quickly. Of the 5 X 1000, I hit my 3:44 mark on all but one, that one was fast, 3:42. Overall I was happy with my performance, the last 1000 was dead on hitting every split consistently, 45, 45, 45, 45 and 44. Perfect. Afterwards we all went for a bagel, and some friendly chatter.

The rest of my morning was consumed with work and a brief meeting with Jack’s orthodontist. Jack will be getting braces beginning July 27 & 28th. It will not be fun, but they will be off before he enters high school. The thought of him entering high school made me feel proud and slightly older all at the same time. Glad I am spending as much time with he and Wil as I can. The time goes by way too quickly.

Weight… 179.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

10 to 7

Wrapping up week 3. Building off a good day at the track, I wanted to continue to build on my fitness. Thursday was a strong day of cross training with Rebecca as we continued to inch the number of meters up by another 200. We have no interest in swimming 4500 meters, but 2500 – 3200 meters is good and provides the off day fitness that is important for our marathon conditioning. The day kept me busy, but my mind was really set on the next run, 17 miles. It seems once you get past 15 miles, you know you have serious work ahead.

Knowing the run was going to be a challenge, I made certain my body would be well rested. I put back-to-back nights of 7 plus hours of sleep. Though Jay was out for the week, I was happy to have Corey, Hokan and Calvin all join me for the first 10 miles of the 17 mile run. The pacing was a bit up and down and I know it was not my smartest run, but I enjoyed the company and did not mind that we goofed around with one another.

With 10 down and everyone off to stretch I was on my own. Part of me was missing the group, the miles just fly by, but a part of me was looking forward to the 7 solo miles. Not because I knew it would be easy, but because I knew it was going to be hard, physically and mentally and I needed to steel my mind to the pain and to the demons that creep in and tell you it is okay to stop. Not today.

I did give myself a small advantage, knowing I would be alone I wanted to run somewhere I could measure my pace, a weak link in my running make up, yep, and I know it. To that point I chose the Greenway, a simple downhill mile to the Greenway 2.5 out and back. The Greenway provides half-mile markers, and it is easy for me to keep my pace. The other advantage, it is flat and fast. On my run down, I cruised, leaning forward I let gravity take control my legs just rolled down the hill. Hitting the entrance of the Greenway, I felt rested, time to lock it in pace, focus on stride and keep my body relaxed. A quick mental check and everything seemed loose. I was looking forward to my next Gatorade stop, when I thought, hmmm, “I’m hungry”. The Gatorade will help, the miles are ticking by I have no gels, and I made a note to make certain I had fuel on the 20 mile run next week.

A quick glance and I can see that my pace is fast, certainly not a good way to run, but I am thinking about the last mile, a climb back to the gym and a cushion would be nice. Though I am fast, my pace is consistent and I take that as a positive during the last 6 miles. I finish on the hill weaker than I would like but I finish. I know next week I will need to feed better.

Running into Corey, I try with no success to do some math to see how I finished. I expected to be close or just a little over. I eventually quit trying to do the math, I am exhausted mentally and physically.

Later as I am working I see an email from Corey 8:12. Too fast. We talk about looking at adjusting my target time for Chicago… is that really what I am looking for? I like the idea, but decide to give it further consideration over the weekend.

Could I do it… I don’t know. Am I ready for the commitment that would be required, the reality is I am over committed already, something to consider.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mental mistakes will cost you

Day 17 – Chicago Marathon Training. Last night I went to watch my neighbor and his son as well as many boys I have coached in football play in the Dizzy Dean Baseball State Finals. They were in the winners bracket and needed only a single win to take the title as repeat champions. They jumped out to an early 4 run lead and things looked good… however the wheels came off in the second to the last inning. Mental errors, mistakes that should not have been made cost them the game and eventually the state title. They went on to lose the next game as well and ended up in second place, not bad, but frustrating. A good group of boys.

This morning, I woke up just before I was about to fall out of bed. I was literally right on the edge. I could sense it in my sleep and it woke me before the alarm went off. I laughed to myself thinking that I have not fallen out of bed in 20 plus years, but I nearly did today.

Getting dressed and feeling rested, I made my way to meet my friends for our track workout. I had a descending ladder workout, 1200, 1000, 800, 600, 400, I was fast on all of them. No discipline, mental mistakes, just like the boys last night. I was consistent, but my goal is to be consistent and on target, follow the plan and stay healthy. Mental mistakes are costly. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Day - 16 Chicago Marathon Training. I woke this morning and felt rested. Amazing what happens when you get to bed a reasonable hour. It was a peaceful sleep too, no wild dreams and no waking up in the middle of the night. It is possible that I did not move once my eyes shut until the time I woke up.

With the start of Week 3 delayed due to Jay being sick, today I hit the treadmill for the tempo workout alone. I considered a run out in the cool morning air, but the reality is, I need the treadmill to keep pace and not cheat by going too fast.

The workout was straight forward, 1 mile warm-up, 5 at 7:24 pace and a mile cool down. I hit the treadmill with a bit of caution, the last time I felt labored during this workout. Today I felt better rested, and by the second mile, I knew today’s run would be a breeze. I was sweating, but my breathing and legs felt good and breathing was well under control, a very positive start to Week 3. After running I put a concentrated effort into stretching and my core workout.  I have been neglecting both lately.

To stay on track, later today I will hit the pool. A nice 2000 meter lunch time swim with another training friend, Rebecca, who is also training for Chicago. Hoping Jay feels better soon.

Weight… I did not look too many ribs, chips, beer and junk over the holiday weekend. I’ll look on Friday.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Where is my spirit... have you seen my spirit

Day - ?... 15 Chicago Marathon Training. I have not yet fallen in the groove. I seem to be going through the motions, but I have not found myself fully committed. I have made all the runs so far, but my diet, well, way off. I have hit all my extra workouts, but not all my lifting or core. Week 2 ended strong, the 15 mile run was a few seconds better than pace, but I was weak in the middle miles. I did pick it up at the end, but again it was not a great run. I think the best part was the fact that it rained, it made the temperatures drop and brought a little fun to the run.

I need to find my running spirit.