Saturday, December 31, 2011

Closing out the year

Friday was a ten miler with friends at Mcalpine, today was a 16 miler with friends at McMullen. Feeling very spoilt as Monday I'll be solo doing lots and lots of quarters. The temperatures are just about to plunge too. Joy.

Still, heading into 2012 I can't complain. I'm feeling as fit as I've been in a long time and am excited to hopefully see what a few months of consistent and sensible training may bring.

Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 recap

I always like to reflect at the end of the year on how the past twelve months have played out. It helps me identify things I did well, things I need to improve on and helps me set my goals for the coming year. With that in mind, here’s a brief month by month recap of a year of the Captain’s Log!


Miles- 256


CRC Hangover Run 5k XC (16:33- 2nd)
Winter Flight 8k (26:54- 4th)

Injuries- None of note

The year started off with me eschewing the marathon focus of most of my friends and training to run a fast 5k and 10k in the Spring. I had gotten in about 5 weeks of solid work after recovering from my November 2010 Marathon and was ready to hit the road running on January 1st. I opened up with a solid showing at the CRC hangover run with John Compton showing me a clean set of heels. This was to be the start of a regular pattern for the year ahead! Winter Flight was another solid enough effort (and another thrashing at the hands of John ha ha!)


Miles- 278

Races- None

Injuries- None of note

February was my highest mileage month of the year in spite of its brevity. I avoided racing and got some good training in before the important races in March and April that were going to kick in


Miles- 235


Get Your Rear in Gear 5k (16:14- 1st)
49er Classic 5k (track) (15:31- 4th)
Shamrock 4 Miler (21:19- 3rd)

Injuries- Strained calf after 4 Miler

March was a bittersweet month in many ways. Sweet in that I was able to set a new 5k PR at age 36 and prove that Winter training had gone well and that I was all set to roll at the Richmond 10k in April, bitter in that I followed that Friday evening race with a hard race effort at the first GP race of the Season literally the next morning and paid the price with a slightly strained calf that set me back a few days and ultimately proved costly at Richmond. In hindsight I could have just ‘jogged’ the 4 Miler to get the bonus points for the GP series with minimum effort but at the time that wasn’t really an option with it being the first race of the Series and me having no idea of how the rest of the year was going to pan out. So no real regrets.


Miles- 251


Ukrops 10k (33:02- 20th)
Run For The Money 5k (16:55- 1st)
Museum Mile (4:42- 7th)
Skyline 5k (15:53- 2nd)

Injuries- None of note

This was a month that started pretty badly but finished strongly. I was disappointed with my race in Richmond but it was another awesome race experience there and I will be back in 2012! I was on course to meet my goal time half way through the race but an inexplicable side stitch hampered my run and the week I had been forced to take off in March came back to haunt me. The Run For The Money race was my yearly good running deed of raising $1,000 for the Catawba Lands Conservancy (they may well need to find a replacement winner next year if this race clashes as it typically does with the Racefest 10k which I plan on running this year. The Museum Mile was a fun and novel event that I hope they are able to put on again next year and Skyline was a race where I reaped the benefits of racing aggressively, nearly beating long term nemesis and king of the roads Bob Marchinko for the first ever time in the process. We would meet again later in the year.


Miles- 257


Falafel 5k (16:13- 1st)
Twilight 5k (16:09- 2nd)
Great Harvest Bread (16:20- 2nd)
Run For Peace At Home (16:31- 1st)

Injuries- None of note

Now it was time to start focusing on my next race which was decided to be the USATF Masters 10k track race in July. It was a busy month racing, with a couple of local races that I was able to jog to the start line, pick up the wins and jog home and two more GP races where John Compton again destroyed me. However, safe in the knowledge that he was unlikely to complete enough of the races in order to be a factor in the end of year standings, I was finishing far ahead enough of my other rivals to already start thinking of getting that elusive overall GP victory that I was after.


Miles- 271


Summer Track Series
King Tiger 5k (16:08- 1st)
Summer Breeze 5k (16:06- 1st)

Injuries- None of note

With training focussing towards the track 10k in July, the Summer Track series gave me the opportunity to get plenty of track work in. The highlight a 9:50 2 miler, the low point a horrible 5:01 in the Championship Mile, most of these races were done as part of a larger workout. 2 more solid wins in the Grand Prix Series and overall victory was closer. The second of these also saw me crowned as 'Fastest Male in Mecklenburg' ha ha!


Miles- 265


RFYL 4 Miler (20:51- 2nd)
USATF 10k (33:28- 1st)

Injuries- None of note

A good month! Two weeks out from my goal race I was able to take advantage of a sudden cool down in temps to set my second PR of the year and also beat Robert Marchinko for the first ever time. Then it was on to a hot and humid Cleveland where I became National Masters Track 10k Champion after a good tactical race. Robert was second to make it a CRC 1-2 and I spent three hours immediately after the race trying to produce a sample for a random drugs test!


Miles- 229


Blue Points 5k (16:31- 5th)
Rock N' Run 5k (16:14- 1st)
OrthoCarolina 10k (34:14- 3rd)
Greek Fest 5k (16:24- 2nd)

Injuries- Sick the week before Greek Fest (only illness of year)

With my goal race out of the way and the Carolina temps continuing to rise and rise, I took this time as a chance to chill out a bit, cherry pick some races and generally just ease off a bit. To be fair, my relaxed approach led to some pretty average racing this month but at least my batteries were getting recharged and I could focus on finishing the year strong. Blue Ridge relay loomed...


Miles- 262


Blue Ridge Relay (2nd Team)
Hit The Brixx 10k (33:52- 1st)

Injuries- none of note

Blue Ridge Relay was my favorite race of the year and one of the best running experiences of my life. CRC's epic adventure is recapped here. A week later I was able to recover sufficiently to lead the 10k from gun to tape and virtually seal the Grand Prix. As September came to a close I had my sights set on a final training push for the year towards the Thunder Road Half.


Miles- 65

The mileage says it all. Hopes for the Half were shot as my knee finally gave up on me and I pulled the plug on the year. I jogged around the final Grand Prix race of the Season to clinch victory but otherwise took a few weeks off to get my knee fixed and renew my appetite and start thinking of goals for 2012.


Miles- 214


Fix4TheDay 5k (16:55- 1st)

Injuries- none of note

I gradually upped my mileage through November and reintroduced some speedwork, including the race which I was able to jog from my house to and pick up some shoes in the process :-) The next goal race was selected- Myrtle Beach Half in February 2012.


Miles- 280

Races- none

Injuries- none of note

With 2 runs left in 2011 this month should actually end up being my heaviest mileage month of the year! Concentrating on building my mileage and gradually increasing the intensity of my workouts at the expense of any racing at all, I am hoping I can stay injury free through this training block and be in a good position to attempt a PR at Myrtle in February. My tune up races will be the CRC Winter Classic 8k and Cupids Cup 5k. The post Myrtle plan is to return to Richmond for unfinished business in the 10k and also run the Race Fest 10k before getting ready over the summer for a 4th stab at the Marathon in the Fall. I'm looking forward to representing the 'TrySports' racing team after RFYL chose to discontinue their sponsorship program and also to many runs and workouts with my mates in the Charlotte Running Club!

Happy New Year all!!

More hay in the barn

After a much appreciated lie in on Wednesday morning, it was time to hit the track again after work. I headed down to Community Middle School track where I was to meet Anna and Greg for some company at what was a new running location for me. The track was decent (especially for a public middle school!) although I had to wear a headlamp as the lighting was minimal down the back straight. On tap was 4 sets of a mile plus 400, with 30 seconds between the mile and the 400 and a lap jog between each set,. Tim had set me the goal of sub 5:25s for the miles and sub 75s for the quarters and I averaged around 5:21/74 for the workout without ever feeling I was going to the well. I returned home to my empty house and fuelled up and got as ready as I could for my next run which was to be the Thursday morning Dowd run. After an expectedly sore and tired run the following morning it was good to reflect while showering before work that I had got another good 20 miles of work in since leaving my desk the night before.

For the rest of the week I am planning on getting another 10 or so in tomorrow including my weekly strides and drills and then 16 for my long run on Saturday, in so doing reaching my 65 mile goal a day early leaving Sunday as a no run day, which the fam will appreciate seeing as they get back from VA on Saturday. Next week will be challenging as I will have my busiest work week of the year and need to get 70 miles in. However if I can get 65 in on 6 runs as I plan to this week then that gives me hope that I shouldn’t need to run any more than 7 or 8 times next week. Onwards…..

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

All the small things

We all say we are going to change and improve things in our training but rarely do we actually do anything about it for one reason or another. Usually I fall in to that category. I say I’m going to do something, start doing it, but then slowly fall off again. Usually because your improved fitness gives you a sense of invincibility- I’m getting fitter so I must be doing alright, why bother with all the other stuff, let’s just carry on as I am doing.

Well this time I have made some little tweaks to my schedule and habits and I really do feel it is benefitting me so far in this training block. I’m trying to eat a bit better and get more sleep and I’ve been taking my multivitamins. I’ve been doing yoga classes twice a week at work and keeping on top of my core exercises and strengthening the leg muscles that need to fire when you are running but can’t be targeted by running alone. I’ve been doing my drills and strides once a week after one of my easy runs and finally, and perhaps most significantly, I’ve been making sure to refuel immediately after my hard workouts and long runs with a good recovery drink. First time I’ve really used these products and I really feel I’m reaping the benefits. My recovery from workouts is seeming much better than before!

Whether it is down to one of the above measures in particular or just a mix of doing all of them, I can definitely say I’m feeling happy with how training is going and how I’m feeling on a day to day basis. Long may it continue….

Post Christmas training

After my long run on Saturday I took Christmas Day completely off. In fact I didn't even leave the house at all, just enjoyed the day with Lisa and a couple of very excited girls and their new toys.

By Monday morning I was itching to get back out there and had a workout on the plan- 6 miles tempo, plus a fast mile at the track. With John and Brad for company on a beautiful crisp Carolina winter morning, I was able to put in a solid effort running just over 34 minutes for the 6 miles and then a mile in 5:13.

Tuesday was the usual Miners Run fare and 4 of us hardy souls hit the trails at 5:30 am in pouring, cold rain, splashing through the puddles and mud at Mcalpine. A fun run in miserable conditions!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Longest run of 2011

This morning I headed out at 6am through the back of my neighborhood and down 51 towards McMullen. Ben, who was going to be doing a workout there, met me for a couple of miles before we met up with a large crew of CRC runners who were doing their own long run. I ran with them for a couple of miles before heading home the way I had come on my own again. By the time I was done I had been running for just over 2 hours and covered 18 miles, my longest run of 2011- that's what a marathon free year will do to you! I felt pretty decent throughout and with a day off tomorrow I'm looking forward to working out on Monday morning and burning off some of tomorrow's inevitable excesses.

Home by just after 8 I was able to tell the girls they would have my undivided attention for the next 48 hours with no runs planned! Later in the morning someone in our neighborhood posted on FB that they had 3 free tickets for the Panthers game so two hours later I was at the Bank of America stadium with Emily and Sophie, leaving Mom at home to cook up some treats! It was the first time the girls had been to a game and they seemed to enjoy the experience, helped enormously by the fact that the Panthers were up against a woeful Buccs Defense who Cam, De Angelo and Stewart took apart with ease! Then it was back to the house to finish off preparations for tomorrow's big day. The kids are so excited, it's going to be a great day

Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Miners Run

For those that don't know, the Miners run originated and is still held every Tuesday from 5am onwards, so called because of the need for headlamps as we negotiate the trails of Mcalpine. This morning Anna and Greg joined me for a Friday version. It was in the 60s and I barely needed the t shirt I was sporting.I'm on a 'down week' so only needed 5 miles or so today. I followed this with my weekly session of strides and drills that I am trying to incorporate into my routine. My legs felt good and ready for some hard work tomorrow when I have 18 on the schedule- my longest run in months.

(Recapping my daily run is an attempt at starting to update this more frequently)

I finished work at 2 today and am looking forward to the next few days at home with the family!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Training is the goal right now

Well it looks like I only update this on a monthly basis now so I guess this can be considered December's entry. I actually have quite a lot to say so it may be a long one. I also plan to update this more frequently in 2012 (you've heard that before).

So what has the Captain been up to I hear you ask? "Not much" he replies using one of his 'Americanisms' that he has picked up. In other words nothing much of note is happening, life and running following a satisfactory course. Busy but motivated and happy at work, enjoying my daughters growing up faster than imaginable at home, getting lots of nice runs in with friends at ungodly hours in between. Life is good as they say.

So, running.... I'm in the fourth week of my Myrtle Beach HM training block and progressing nicely. I've got my mileage up into the 60s (and will soon be in the 70s) and have been completing my designated workouts and long runs satisfactorily. My knee issues seem to be a thing of the past and I am trying to take better care of myself between runs, eating and sleeping better, doing some yoga classes (!) and trying to incorporate some strengthening exercises into my routine.

It's funny, I love racing and for one reason or another I haven't actually 'raced' in three months now. In fact, before Myrtle in February I only have two 'warm up' races on the schedule, too- the inaugural CRC 8k race at the end of January and then a 5k the week before the Half. I mentioned this to Coach and he expressed his happiness with this situation and is excited to see how this turns out. In his words "training is the goal right now". I'll keep you posted with how this all progresses the next few weeks as I head towards Myrtle....

In the mean time I'd like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Cheers!!