Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Last week of 'down time'

After two or three weeks now of 50 miles max and just racing for workouts, I'm ready to start getting back after it next week. 'Coach' has been notified and we'll be formulating ideas the next few days.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty sore from the 5k. Normally I would have dragged myself out on the roads to get some recovery miles in but with this being my last down week for a while I made myself stay in and put the feet up. Easy running through Monday should have me refreshed and chomping at the bit to get back at it next week

Elusive Sub 16

My battles with the clock continued last night as I ran the 5k in 16:00.36! Slightly frustrating as I went through the bell only needing a 75 to seal the deal but couldn't quite manage it. However, this was a solo effort right from the start and it was very hot so I'll take it. I ran through the first 1600 in 5:05 which was right about where I wanted to be and I was feeling pretty smooth, but the wheels started coming off around lap 7 and my splits starting moving towards 77-78. Mile 2 was 5:09, mile 3 5:08. I did take consolation from the fact that I was the only person in the race that didn't get lapped by Jordan who ran a solo 14:59!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Elusive Sub 60

So this morning I headed up to PDS track for my weekly 400m attempt. I actually ran 6 miles before getting to the track as I wanted to get a head start on the mileage for the week. I did some barefoot strides on the football pitch before lacing up the spikes and running 60:56. So that’s three attempts, all within 14 100ths of a second of each other! Next week as the family will be out of town I will have more free time on my hands so plan to hit the track after work rather than 6 am. Should make a big difference!

On Saturday I actually ending up racing a trail 5k in Mcalpine. This was a very low key race but with $100 for the winner and the start being 2 miles from my front door I decided last minute to enter. So I rock up at the registration table with my $30 in my hand and who do I see in the line but friends and adversaries John Compton and Ben Hovis. Well that put the race in a different context right there! John has pushed Jordan close a couple of times this year and Ben usually beats me but is just getting fit again after injury. Whatever, I knew now that I was going to have to put a hard effort in just to get any money at all (it turned out they had only decided to enter last minute themselves and they were equally surprised to see me there!). I ended up running 16:35 for second and $50, John taking the W comfortably and Ben back in 4th. Interestingly (and somewhat unnecessarily we felt!!) the event timers decided to re-measure the already marked 5k course (that is used for the Footlocker South Regionals and the Wendy Womens’ Invitational each year!) so we started the race about 10 yards (6 seconds!) behind the ‘proper’ start line.

Sunday I ran just over 11 thoroughly enjoyable miles with Meagan, Jordan and Billy before they came to my house to watch the game. Lisa cooked up a fantastic ‘English’ breakfast and a few other people came over and we all had a good time, it definitely helped me get over the disappointment of England’s abysmal capitulation to the German team! This is a running blog so don’t get me started….

Tomorrow I am looking forward to a lie in, my first for weeks it seems! Even though I’ve been taking it easy the last few weeks, I’ve still been cross training on my days off so have still been up before 6 every morning. However I am skipping tomorrow morning’s run in advance of the 5k they are holding at the track meet tomorrow night. After relatively successful efforts at the mile and 2 mile over the past two weeks I am hoping to complete the hat trick with a sub 16 showing tomorrow night. It may even cool down a little for us….

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cross training

My slightly weird training schedule continues apace. Yesterday I headed to the JCC for a spin class! as I was told i had to pick up my 'pass' a half hour before the class, I had some time to kill so what better way to kill it than run 30 laps around the indoor track that encircles the basketball track. I am still leaning left two days later!

Then on to the spin class and it was brutal! Never having done one before I didn't know what i was letting myself in for. I must have been increasing the resistance too much when we were 'climbing' as I just couldn't complete the hills. I spent most of the hour just pedalling on a low gear trying to recover while everyone else just worked out merrily! The thing I couldn't believe was the instructor who was apparently doing the workout with us just talking away and telling us what to do, barely out of breath!

Then today I ran to the JCC, did my 1000 yard swim and ran back home. My own duathlon if you will!

Big weekend of football ahead!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Good news all round!

Ran 9:55 at the two miler and England and US advanced to the next stage of the World Cup! The US actually have a decent shot of getting to the Semis having won the group. Let's just say that one out of the US, Ghana, South Korea and Uruguay will be World Cup Semi-Finalists! For England to get to the same stage they will have to beat Germany and likely Argentina, but we like doing things the hard way!

Now that all the games are so important now, the World Cup is really hitting its stride! Add the drama of today's 4 matches to the ridiculous epic battle at Wimbledon which will go into a THIRD day tomorrow and you get in a nutshell why I love sport (and why I probably had about two hours worth of productivity at work today!)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jus' runnin'

So another week has passed since my last update and I’m continuing to enjoy this phase of unstructured training.

The Tuesday night track efforts ended up being highly satisafactory, a 4:37 effort in the mile followed shortly after by 10:16 in the 2 miles. The mile effort was particularly pleasing, helped no end by my ‘rabbit’ for the evening, Jordan, who being instructed to run laps of 70, took me through in 1:10, 2:20, 3:30 before kindly stepping off the track and I closed with a 67. I was pretty heavy legged for the 2 miler but gutsed it out on my own clocking 77/78s throughout. Tonight I’m just going to do the 2 mile race and I’m going to wear spikes, the intention being to get as close to 10:00 as possible. It will be 90+degrees and lots of solo hard work but that’s what it is all about, right?

The rest of the week saw some easy running, a swim, another workout with Jay and Spada and then a fairly epic 20 plus miler on Saturday, my longest run since 12/12/09 (T Road Marathon!). I wasn’t particularly beaten up by this run which was pleasing but reflecting on the week it doesn’t really read as one of someone who is taking some ‘down time’ so I really am going to chill out the next couple of weeks, with no more than one or two intense workouts per week and certainly no more 20 mile runs!

Yesterday I headed up to the track to repeat last Monday’s efforts and this time I was a whole 0.02 seconds faster than last week! So the sub 60 remains elusive for now

Other than that I had a really fun Fathers Day with a bit of swimming, Five Guys and World Cup action and continue to be engrossed with developments in S Africa, in spite of my country’s turgid efforts to date. Hopefully the US and England can both win tomorrow and advance to the last 16 but I am not holding out too much hope for my team!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

400m challenge

A few weeks ago, Tim put out a call to arms to a few of his running buddies. As this fits in well with my 'training on the hoof' outlook for the next few weeks, Monday morning I decided to head up to PDS track to make my first attempt at the challenge.

The other reason I did this was to get a feel for wearing spikes again as I intend to wear them at Tuesday's track meet. Since I left England I must have worn spikes about twice! Two years ago I purchased some brand spanking new New Balance LD spikes and within a 1000m of wearing them I blew my calf out and swore I'd never wear spikes again! So hear I was on Monday morning just getting a feel for running in spikes again.

I jogged up to the track, put my spikes on and ran around the track for a mile trying to get used to them. After the mile I did some 100m strides and decided I was ready to go! A minute later and I had posted a time of 60.44. I had hoped that I would sneak under 60 seconds but I was probably a bit tentative- I certainly didn't tie up in the final 100 meters. I plan to do this at least once a week for the next few weeks so we'll see what I can get my time down to. Try it yourselves and see how fast you can run a quarter!

All in all it was nice to put the spikes on and I am looking forward to lacing them up again tonight when I do the mile. I would like to run close to 4:40 but know whatever happens it is going to be very painful! Especially with the ridiculous heat we are enduring at the moment. If I survive that race I will try out in the 2 mile race a little later too- that is more my distance and I'll probably end up wearing my flats for that one!


So ultimately that phase of training was a little disappointing. I train to race and none of my races in this phase were much more than satisfactory. Having had time to reflect and talk to Tim about everything hopefully I can take lessons learned into the next training block.

This was the first time I had followed a '5k specific' training program. We could have gone with my typical training plan of longer intervals and tempos which has gotten me fit in the past but experimented this time with a lot of shorter, harder, faster workouts. I was able to meet most of the goals of these workouts and in fact absolutely nailed most of them, but possibly at a price as I felt pretty tired most of the time. In races I found myself not being able to hold a strong pace throughout. Friday night encapsulated that. I went through 2 miles in 10:17 but when I tried to put the foot on the gas during the third mile there was nothing there. That lack of 'power' is something Tim has assured me we will work on next time!

No regrets though, you don't learn anything unless you try it. For now it's time to kick back a bit and enjoy the next few weeks of unstructured training. I'm going to jump into a few track races at the Tuesday track nights and do some of the CRC workouts but other than that I'll be pretty much deciding what I'm going to do each day when I wake up!

Monday, June 14, 2010

China Grove 5k Main Street Challenge- race report

Friday night saw my last proper race of this training cycle- the China Grove 5k Main Street Challenge. Following the King Tiger race on the Saturday I took it relatively easy last week, hoping that all the hard work I had put in the past couple of months would finally come to fruition on Friday night.

Being a night race my usual pre race preparations had to be adjusted. I took the afternoon off work and managed to grab a nap during the France Uruguay match (not difficult!). At 5pm I grabbed my usual pre race breakfast and headed to Jay Holder’s house. He was kindly driving Jordan Kinley and I up to China Grove. We arrived in plenty of time and grabbed our numbers and better than usual goodie bags (technical tee included). The first good omen of the night came as I was immediately informed that I had won a door prize. I headed over to the prize table in eager anticipation- it was a cotton t shirt with the logo of a local running store on it…oh well!

We had heard that the course was straight out and back and flat and during our warm up this was confirmed, as Jay, Jordan and I jogged the whole course. There were a few undulations but other than having to do a complete turn at the halfway mark the course looked pretty fast! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t cooperating. It was still in the high 80s as it got dark and the humidity again left us all drenched on the start line. After a quick prayer we were off and immediately the race began to take shape. Jordan shot off into the lead in a group of three alongside fellow Charlotte resident Chris Lamperski and last year’s winner Ryan Woods. Jay followed closely behind them and I settled down in 5th place. The guys in front all appeared to be running sub 5 minute pace and I didn’t want any of that.

I came through the mile in 5:08 which I would have been happy with at the start of the race but it was already feeling a lot harder than I would have liked. Still this was the last race I would be doing for a while and I was going to make sure I left everything out there so I decided I should pull up to Jay and we could hopefully work together. For the next half mile Jay and I ran side by side. After a very tentative turn around at the half way mark we noticed we were catching Chris pretty fast, while Jordan and Ryan were duking it out somewhere up ahead in the darkness. As we pulled up to Chris he got back on the gas and hung in with us. He had clearly made the sensible decision to leave Ryan and Jordan to it and race us instead. Through the 2 mile in 10:17 and I was now starting to hurt. Chris and Jay were starting to pull away and try as I might I couldn’t seem to do anything about it. There followed possibly the hardest mile I have run all year. I was trying to put the foot on the gas but there was nothing there. I found myself looking at my watch almost every 30 seconds, just willing the race to be over. Up ahead Jordan put a late move on Ryan to take the race in a very impressive 15:05 and Chris outkicked Jay (16:07) for 3rd place. My third mile had gone out to 5:26 and I finished in 16:20, well short of my pre race expectation, the only saving grace being that I knew I had left everything out on the course.

My immediate post race disappointment was partially abated by the magnificent spread of fruit, cookies and pizza that greeted us and also by the company of so many other Charlotte runners who had come up for the event. We hung around for our awards and headed back to Charlotte. It was 1 am when I eventually got to bed and 6 hours later I was back out at it for a recovery run (with Jay!). After that it was time to kick back and get ready for the England USA game!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

King Tiger recap

Same position and virtually the same time as Great Harvest but more content with this one.

Was a bit rushed at the start. Babysitter turned up a little late and then I had to park further from the start than I would have liked so by the time I got to the start line I hadn't had much time to do any strides or anything. Boy, it was hot though! Everyone was drenched on the start line and the gun hadn't even gone off. "Eye of the Tiger" was oh so predictably piped over the tannoy and we were off.

My pre race scouting had picked out all the usual Grand Prix suspects. Kinley, Isaacs, Harris, etc. Compton who had come 2nd at the last race was absent but 2 UNCC athletes were unknown quantities and an old adversary Brett Howell had come down from Raleigh to race. Jordan floated off into the distance as usual, followed by Tretsky and the 2 UNCC guys. I settled in with Brett on my shoulder. I was hoping I could hit the mile in about 5:10 and without looking at the watch this is exactly what I came through in. By this time I had moved up to second, with Brett on my shoulder. We traded places back and forth through the next mile enjoying the favorable terrain as the sun beat relentlessly down and the humidity smothered. Mile 2 in 5:08 and I was just ahead of my pre race 10:20 goal.

I knew the third mile was going to suck though. Really tough hill which saps all your energy for the final push. Howell had gapped me at this point and with third place seemingly secured and the bigger race coming up on Friday I honestly pretty much went through the motions to the finish. I also had to act as course monitor as the last few corners were bereft of marshalls so I kept shouting ahead telling Brett where to go- that isn't exactly conducive to getting the competitive juices pumping either!

Over the line in 16:35 and enough time to turn around and watch the swathe of runners fighting for position at around the 17:00 mark. Isaacs had run his typical solid race to net 4th in 16:56 closely followed by Mcmahon, Harris and Arreola. Training partner Spada with another great performance in 10th. For the ladies, Queens 5k and 10k All American Nedlo was in first place, followed by Rogers and Crockford. Everyone was very hot and searching for shade!

I 'warmed down' with Nathan Stanford, Jordan and Meagan and it was nice recapping the race with them and discussing potential World Cup fortunes. We also came across a new first for me as we ran amongst the back markers of the race. A woman pushing a cat in a baby stroller! I know it was the King Tiger 5k but still!! Then we lined up for some awesome slushies and were able to start cooling down at last. I picked up my trophy, rushed across town to relieve baby sitter of her duties and spent the rest of the day hanging out with Sophie as Mom and Emily are up in VA this weekend.

So a satisfactory race all in all, leaving me optimistic that with a nice light week ahead I can finish off this particular phase of training with a decent showing next Friday night.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Relaxing start to the day

Last Monday we signed up for a family membership at the Jewish Community Center. With the girls just about to break up for the Summer, Lisa needed access to a pool over the holidays to keep her sanity. We have a pool at the bottom of our neighborhood but the Private School that owns it asks for a nice $400 fee to be paid to join! And all that is is a pool. This place which is about 5 minutes drive away has lots of other stuff and will work out cheaper over the three months. Today my planned rest day became a swim followed by a steam room and whirlpool bath. Living the life! I've never been a member of a gym before so I found it all very civilized. I aim to use it at least once a week over the summer. I think a bit of cross training will do me good. They have spin classes, cardio workouts, all sorts.

Training has been good this week. I had two nice and easy runs Monday and Tuesday and a kick ass workout on Wednesday. It's nice to be coming to the end of this particular training block and I just hope I can do myself some justice at last in my next couple of races. After that it will be time to chill out for a while. I'll do some of the track events on the three remaining nights, I'll go to the gym and I'll hop in to some of Aaron and Jay's workouts, but other than that I plan to just enjoy running for a while and kick back a bit. I'm sure the hunger for the next training block won't take long in coming round though!!

Nice short work week for me. Monday was off of course and I'm also taking tomorrow off so I can play with Sophie while Lisa goes to Emily's field day. Then Lisa and Emily are hitting the road for the weekend to go to Lisa's niece's baby shower so it will be time for a bit of Sophie/Daddy bonding. I've been able to bag a baby sitter at 6.15 on Saturday morning so no issues with the race I'm doing! Sunday I wasn't going to run long anyway and can just wait to head out when the girls get back.

I'm also getting very excited about the World Cup. Only a week to wait now!!