Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Knowing When (to say when)

I capped off my thirty three mile week with a long run on the Silver Comet Trail.  The Silver Comet Trail and I are old friends.  I can probably count the number of run-only workouts I’ve done there on one hand.  Bike workouts, however, are another story.

Matthew’s second tournament of the year was this past weekend.  In order for me to get to his game on time, I had to get up at 5:30 AM and be feet down running at 7 AM.  Totally nailed it.

For the first part of my run, I felt like total crap.   Drinking six light beers the night before will do that to you.  About half way through, the endorphins over powered the yuck feeling, and I actually began to enjoy my run.  I spend so much time training alone, it was nice to be out on the trail with other peeps, even the triathletes that were buzzing me, a bit.

Sports Tracks corrected my distances and indicates I ran a 9:37 average pace over 13.2 miles, well below my target pace of 9:58.  I kept my effort high the entire run and successfully resisted the urge to slack off at the end, completing my last mile at a 9:40 pace.

Despite finishing strong, I was exceptionally sore on Monday, and despite sleeping well Sunday and Monday night, I was sore Tuesday as well.  Last week, I decided to move two of my runs per week to the softer treadmill.  One of those runs is my Tuesday easy run with strides.  Well, this run did not go well.  I was sore, somewhat dehydrated, and I didn’t eat enough before running at lunch.  I took a walk break at mile three and managed to salvage the second half of the run.  I canned the strides.  Yes, I want to get faster.  No, I do not want to hurt myself.

Last night, I was reading the latest issue of Runner’s World, and a little snippet caught my eye.  The article was about overtraining.  It mentioned that age groupers are less likely (by twice) than elite athletes to over train, but it also said that elite athletes almost never stick to the canned schedule.  They make adjustments as necessary to remain healthy, active, and progressing towards their goal.

On paper, I might appear to have enjoyed my jump from a 27 mile week to a 33 mile week, my body is telling me that I *might* be over doing it a bit.  I have a six mile hill run schedule for tonight, no pace target.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I cut it short, or turn in a few 13 minute miles.

Happy hump day, y’all!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hips don’t Lie

I tried something new.

Which begs the question:  what could possibly be “new” five years into this endie experience?

Let me tell you.  The day I stop learning new stuff about my passions is the day I take the celestial dirt nap.  For those of you in the know, that will not happen (voluntarily) for at least five more years :-)

It would be foolish of me to say that during this entire triathlon experience, I have always felt rushed.  That’s just not true.  However, many many times, I’ve always felt “hurried” to squeeze in my workouts.  This resulted in a “get in, get done, get home” attitude.  I’ve decided to slow it down a bit.  Stop and smell the roses.  Enjoy myself more.

What’s the big deal you ask?  I warmed up.  I took five minutes of my precious time and actually warmed my legs up properly before starting my workout, and I didn’t include that distance in the mileage.

It was wonderful.  Sure, my digits were off a bit, but I’m a smart guy, and I did the math.  I ran at about a 9:40 (treadmill, 1% grade) pace for four miles, versus the prescribed 9:58 pace, but my level of effort and heart rate validated my speed.  I focused on running from my hips.

Have you guys ever done this?  It was pretty cool.  This stems from my cadence training as well.  I find its easier to keep my cadence at 180 steps per minute if I run from my hips.  One of the things I also notice was that it was easier.  My heart rate barely climbed above Zone 2, and while heart rate is not a factor for me this training year, it was comforting having that corroboration.

After my 4 miles, I did 4 “strides”.  I ran for 20 seconds at 8 mph.  That was fun too.  In the past, I always thought strides were meant to be done during the workout.  After actually researching them, I came to realize that they were meant to be done at the end of your workout.

Never stop learning.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Domestic Goddess

It was not exactly my idea of a recovery week.  What’s up with that?  Recovery week on a running training plan is just different from a recovery week on a triathlon training plan?  My mileage for this week came in at 27 miles, just 3 miles shy of the previous weeks mileage.  Serzly.  Haven’t they heard of the 60-70% rule?

I capped my week off with a hot muggy 10 miler, and I left the house at 8 AM.  I swear I heard the blue jays screeching in the yard.  They only come through when the seasons are changing.  I am SO ready for some cooler weather.  BRING.IT.ON….

The local soccer tournaments are in full swing, and for the first time in about 10 years, I find myself sitting at home with nothing to do.  I would be lying if I didn’t say I miss running the pitch, but with each passing day it becomes clearer that my decision to abstain from reffing was the right one.  I came to reffing late in life, and I just don’t have the attitude nor the patience to do it well any more.  It’s time to move on.

It’s kind of funny.  I never realized how much I had neglected my home over the last dozen years, until I find myself with a lot of free time on my hands.  I cut the bushes.  I vacuumed, washed clothes, grocery shopped, cooked dinner, all without the direct supervision of Teh Bug.  Last night, I whipped up my famous Mongolian Beef recipe for myself and the kids, while Dee Dee got a blue cheese crusted filet mignon, made special by yours truly.  I think this was the first time I cooked a filet perfectly, and I was excited to learn a new cooking technique.  Ahh, well…..

This week, things start to twist and turn a bit.  My Tuesday runs call for strides at the end of the run, and my Friday runs have some miles at marathon pace.  I’m super focused on listening to my body.  I’ve been eyeing my stats with some concern.  I have over 100 miles in the last month, and I’m already at 85 miles for August, versus 59 for the whole month of July.  If my legs don’t feel somewhat recovered before each run, I’m going to lighten up the mileage a bit.

Have a great week, y’all!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Not so Bad

I admit to being selfish.  Thursday is my off day, under usual circumstances, and I wanted the day off.  I got it into my head that I really needed to get my run in Wednesday.  Actually, my plan called for a 1 mile TT on Thursday, but I’m just not excited about leaving a lung on the track.

Having not slept well in 3 days, I was mentally exhausted when I got home.  Dinner and some time with the family perked me up, plus I changed into my running clothes the minute I got home.  At 8 PM, I left the house to try and run.

It has been a little cooler in these parts lately, and much less humid.  I started off with a run one minute walk one minute routine.  I did that twice, and I was thinking the leg felt pretty good, and then it started to hurt.  It wasn’t a sharp pain.  It was just a dull ache, the kind of pain you have when your calf cramps during a race.  That’s what it felt like to run last night, a permanent cramp in the right calf.

After twice repeating Run 1/Walk 1, I did two sets of Run 2/Walk 1, then I felt well enough to just run.  The longer I ran, the better I felt, and I only really felt it on the up hills.  Funny thing…  I felt the tightness all the way from my heels up and into my hammies.

I got my five miles done.  I did not permanently injure myself.  My pace wasn’t too far off the norm.  I’m happy.  Today, I get to do nothing.  That one mile TT just ain’t happenin, and I’m fine with that.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just Dayum

well…  I’ve done gone and tweaked that same muscle in my right calf I hurt reffing soccer back in June.  Why do these things happen during the most innocuous of movements?  I opened the bathroom door to leave, made a left, struck my right leg out to make a left turn down the hall way and OUCH!

Fortunately for me, it wasn’t nearly as painful as it was at the soccer fields.  I’m debating right now whether or not to run on it this evening.  Last time it happened, I reffed the whole weekend with it like that.  This time?  meh…  We’ll see how I feel this afternoon.

I wore my Vibrams on my 4 mile run yesterday.  Only, I was a little smarter.  I did the first two miles in the K-swiss, then stopped at the car to slip on the Vibrams.  I then did two more miles in those.  Everything was fine.  My pace was a wee bit slower in the Vibrams, but other than that, it went really well. 

I don’t think my little calf issue today had anything to do with it, but you never know…


Monday, August 15, 2011

Leaps of Faith


We all have them.  They come big.  They come small.  They come every where in between.  My challenge for the weekend was to get my mileage in, despite having to travel to Birmingham, AL for my son’s soccer tournament.

Using the interwebz, I identified some possible running routes for my 5 miler on Saturday, and my 12 miler on Sunday.  Basically, I wanted to run around the campus on Saturday before my son’s game.  Sunday, I thought I would just run from the hotel to the soccer fields, about 8.3 miles, and tack on some extra at the end to get in the required mileage.

My mouth fell open when we pulled into the parking lot at the host “hotel”.  It was billed as an “Inn and Suites”, but I suspected trouble the moment I saw the sign with the words “extended stay” on it.  Never the less, we checked in.  The facility was more like apartments than an inn.  The first thing we saw after passing through the gates was the van with the shattered glass.  It was getting dark, and there were gangs of teenagers roaming the facilities, and all different kinds of denizens hanging around outside.

It took all of ten minutes to decide to leave, but the damage was done.  We went up the road a bit and checked into a better hotel.  The next morning, we tried to get to the soccer fields a tad bit early, but failed to do so.  That only left my 40 minutes or so to get in my five miler.  I wasn’t up for a five mile run at an 8 minute pace.  I settled for 5 miles at an almost 9 minute pace instead, and missed the very start of my son’s game.  Fortunately for me, there was a small trail right outside the soccer fields.  There were tons of runners, and I was super excited to be running along Shady Creek (it was shady!), on a new trail, with a bunch of running peeps.

The long run on Sunday was just a no go.  I was not comfortable running through that part of town, that early in the morning in unfamiliar territory.  Instead, I opted to run on the treadmill after my return to Atlanta.  I did 12 glorious miles on the dreadmill at the gym.  I consumed two bottles of Gatorade, and promptly chaffed my nips and my nether regions.

Dayum, these little reminders are painful.

and that my friends, wraps up a thirty mile week for me.  I think that’s my second or third thirty mile week ever.

I am putting a lot of faith in this running plan, and in truth, I’m feeling kind of torn.  Going from 10-15 miles a week of running during tri season to 30+ miles a week of running only is a serious leap of faith, and fraught with peril.  I do not want to injure myself.  I am, as of yet, uninjured, ever.  There is also a part of me that questions whether sub-4 is the proper goal for me?  My marathon PR is 5+ hours.  Sub-4 seems imminently reasonable, but is it truly challenging enough for me.  Based on my half marathon back in March, I wonder.

I haven’t been sticking strictly to the paces in the plan.  I have allowed myself some freedom to up the speed when I felt good.  The high mileage and the need to “do it all again tomorrow” has kept my free spirit in check.  Still, one does wonder.  I guess I can always run harder than planned in the last 5-6 miles of my race, eh?

Have a great week, y’all!


Friday, August 12, 2011


-- with an appreciative nod to Tea…

Less you think all is rosy in my world…  We wouldn’t want that now, would we?

The day after my Vibram’s run, those small muscles that were complaining began to knot up, especially in the calf area.  How ironic that I should get an email from a good friend, stating that she was “holding her breath” after my 3 mile run in Vibrams, having not done 1 or 2 miles.

Yea, I’m a risk taker.  I like to push the envelope.  I like to introduce chaos into order.  Sometimes the effort falls flat.  Sometimes, something wonderful happens.  Often, I’m in trouble.  That’s a risk I’m willing to take.

I woke up at 5 AM on Wednesday for my hilly run.  All of these runs specify “no pace”, which is nice, because I can go and trash myself on the hills with no pressure.  Good thing too, because me legs were not happy.  That afternoon, I experienced the beginning of Delayed Onset Virbam’s (eeeeebul) Soreness.  Walking was starting to hurt.

Still, I had all day Wednesday to recover.  Thursday was supposed to be an off day, but I need to go to Birmingham this weekend for a soccer tournament.  At the last minute, I decided to get my “easy” run in at my son’s soccer practice, in the 90 degree heat.

The lessons are reinforced, not learned, because I knew this already.  I’m still planning to run in my Vibrams, after my legs heal.  I’ll just start out at 2 miles :-), and stop at the car to put my old shoes back on, until I get my mileage up.

In the mean time, I need to put 17 miles on my legs in Birmingham Saturday and Sunday.

Have a great weekend, y’all!


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Back To Basics

Before I went to bed last night, I laid out my last pair of clean running shorts, a technical t-shirt, and I dug my Vibram Bikilas out of the closet.  The schedule run for today was three miles, and if I ever was going to introduce the Vibrams back into my training, now would be the time.

When I woke up this morning, my legs felt very tired, more so than anticipated.  I stubbornly clung to the idea of running in the Bikilas, despite the trepidation I was feeling.  I’m in my third week of marathon training, and I just don’t want to do anything stupid.  With the dogs all squared away, I slapped the VFFs on my feet and headed out the door.

It was noticeably cooler this morning.  Temps were in the 70s, and we had a nice breeze.  My Garmin synched way too fast this morning, and with no more excuses, I took off running.  I made it about a minute before slowing to a walk.  There’s a small climb out of my neighborhood, and I always use that for my warm up.  At the entrance to the sub-division, I started running again.

Running in Vibrams is just different.  Landing on your heels is not an option.  I am still dealing with nagging heel pain on my right foot, making a heel strike doubly not an option.  Even though my desired pace was 10 minute miles, I let my pace goals go.  Instead, I focused on my form and landing on the pad of my foot.  I could just tell the difference in how my body generated power in the Vibrams versus the K-swiss.  I hit my first mile in 11:34, but the Garmin buzzed a bit later than normal.

Somewhere in this process, my legs shook off the soreness, and I hit my rhythm.  It showed in my second mile, coming it at 9:34.  I made a conscious  decision to take it easy up the hills on the way back, turning in a fine 10:34 for the third mile.

I thoroughly enjoyed my Vibrams today.  It was like running free, effortless.  If I didn’t feel them between my toes, I wouldn’t have even known they were there.  It’s been a little more than an hour since I finished my run, and I can feel the small muscles in my legs complaining.

Shut up.  I’m happy.  We’re going to do more of this.

Smartly of course….


Monday, August 08, 2011

Operation Sub-4 Summary Week #2

It just didn’t seem right.  You could feel my father’s presence every where.  The vacation home just wasn't the same without him being there.  Still, you don’t want to damper the family vacation too much.  We seem to go on vacation together every couple of years, and wasting it was just not an option.  After giving it some thought, we decided to cut our vacation short by one day.  Originally, we had planned to return to Atlanta on Wednesday, spend Thursday at home, then back to work on Friday.  The new plan was to drive to Mobile on Tuesday, spend Wednesday with my Dad, then drive home on Thursday.

Once again, I woke up early on Tuesday morning to get my run in before we left.  Sleeping in late was not high on my vacation priorities.  I was out the door by 8 AM.  Anything after that is just downright asking for trouble.  Originally, I thought I had to do five miles, but after checking my schedule, I was delighted to see another four spot.  Unlike my last four miler, this time, I carried a Gatorade with me.  It actually helped a little.  Hitting my required pace was difficult, but on the upside, I probably sweated off eight pounds.

We left shortly after lunch for the 3-4 hour drive to Mobile.  Dee Dee wanted to take the scenic route, so we travelled Highway 98 to Pensacola before getting on I-10 to Mobile.  We got there early enough for me to visit my father a couple of hours that evening.  Wednesday morning, I got up early and drove with my son Jimmy back across the bay to the hospital.  We spent all day with him.  He was very tired.  He’s not rambling as much as he was, but he just didn’t seem all that better to me.  Still, if you paid attention, you could see some improvements in his mind and functioning. 

Unfortunately, I missed my five mile run Wednesday.  I got up early on Thursday to make it up.  I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea or not.  Rest days serve a purpose, and putting 24 miles on my feet over four days may not be a good idea.

If you were wondering if the heat and humidity in Mobile is better/worse than Panama City Beach, I can tell you:  bout the same.  I carried a Gatorade again and ran some hills.  By the time I got back, I was soaking ass wet.  After showering and rousting the the boys, we drove back to Atlanta that afternoon.

Saturday, my legs actually began to feel like their old selves.  I ran the hilly route in my neighborhood, and they held up fine.  I was ecstatic to hit my pace target, but I was very mindful of my long run on Sunday.  I didn’t want to be too aggressive and muck up my next days workout.

The alarm went off at 6 AM for me on Sunday.  I was craving something different.  I wanted to do my long run at either the Silver Comet Trail or Cochran Shoals.  I decided on the latter since it was a little closer, and almost perfectly flat :-)  I got to the park along the Chattahoochee around 7:30 AM.  Good thing too, the park was filling up fast.  I filled up my Fuel Belt with Gatorade and took off running along the river.

The temps were in the 70s.  The sky was overcast.  I even felt a few rain drops along the way.  The humidity was still pretty bad, but humid and seventy is a far cry from humid and eighty.  The run went rather well.  I was supposed to do 9 miles at a 10:04 pace, but I came in at a 9:42 pace over all.  I don’t want to hold myself back or anything!  There were just tons of people running in the park and along Columns Drive, and that always helps make it interesting.

With my Sunday long run, that brought my mileage to 28 for the week.  I see my highest mileage week ever in my not so distant future.  This week will prove interesting.  We are shaving a mile off my first run of the week, but adding 3 miles to my long run on Sunday.  Happy training!

Let’s make it a great week y’all!


Friday, August 05, 2011

Operation Sub-4 Summary Week #1

I have returned from vacation.  Boo!

This is significant in that it has been a long, long time since we have all been able to take a vacation together, sans the daughter, as she had to work.  We went to Panama City Beach last Friday, and planned on staying through Wednesday.

As most of you know, vacations have a way of tossing a few wrenches into the training plan gears.  I, on the other hand, view vacation as an opportunity to get my workouts in without the usual time induced stress.  I especially get excited when I travel to someplace flat, like Panama City Beach.  I awoke early Friday to get my 4 miler in before the drive down.  Little did I know, that was to be my “coolest” run of the weekend.

Saturday, I awoke at the beach at what I thought was a good time to run.  I left the trailer around 8 AM and immediately noticed the heat and the humidity.  It wasn’t especially hot (around 81 degrees), but the humidity was something awful.  Normally, when I run for an hour or less, I don’t worry too much about hydration.  Bad idea…  Fortunately for me, I was smart enough to carry a few bucks with me.  On the way back, I stopped at the shop-a-rob and bought a Gatorade.

The family and I spent the rest of the day at the beach and the pool.  I spent quite a long time body surfing, which while fun, is not necessarily conducive to running.  This, I found out, on my long run Sunday.  My Dad’s place is in Venture Out, next to the State Park.  I followed Thomas Drive down the beach towards The Boardwalk where Ironman Florida is held.  Using my God-given abilities of foresight and prescience, I drank a Gatorade before I left, carried one with me, and bought another one while I was running.  It was barely enough.  I should mention that I thoroughly enjoyed the over 50 feet of elevation change on my run :-)  By the time I got home, I was just soaked in sweat.  It looked like I had taken a shower, and my legs where chaffed something awful, as I quickly found out when I returned to the beach that afternoon.

That long run wrapped up 25 miles of running for the week.  That is a lot coming off where I was with my triathlon training, almost too much.  This pretty much reinforced a lesson I already knew.  Triathlon fitness does not run fitness make.  I’m cutting myself a little slack on the training paces until my body gets used to this running stuff!

Have a great weekend, y’all!