Friday, May 25, 2012

A pain in the arse

Howdy folks, I figured an update from the Captain was in order as I emerge from my down time and get ready to launch into my next phase of training- hopefully….

As you know I took a whole blissful week off after Twilight. I still seemed to wake up early every morning but instead of having to groggily lace up and get out of the door I was able to make myself a proper breakfast, play my moves on Words With Friends and spend some time with my kids before I went to work. By the Saturday of course I was itching to get back out there and back out there I have been since then with a week of ‘easy’ running.

The first couple of days felt a bit weird as my legs adjusted to being back out there. Then for a couple of days I felt good; refreshed and eager. By the middle of the week however I just didn’t feel great. My legs felt heavy and achy and it was a chore to get out the door and run. I didn’t know what was going on. I soon realized the source of my problems though, hence the title of the post. It appears the glute issue I have been fighting and largely keeping under control on my right side has made its way over to my left side so it looks like the first few weeks of my new training phase I’ll be preoccupied with keeping on top of this and hopefully it won’t impact me too much. I felt good on my run this morning so am in a better mood than I was yesterday!

Tomorrow I am going to exert myself fully for the first time since Twilight. There’s a 5k in my local park and I rarely pass the opportunity up to run from my house, strap the flats on, get a good workout in and jog home after. Ben has alerted me that some of his all-conquering High School track team will be out there throwing down an end of season blow out so it should be fun mixing it up with the youngsters

Monday, May 14, 2012

A weekend of contrasting emotions

After Man City beat Newcastle last week leaving themselves just needing to beat a very poor QPR side on the last day of the season I decided that I wouldn’t even bother watching the final games yesterday as it was a foregone conclusion that they would win and clinch the championship. A few days later and the curious side of me had negotiated a deal with the pragmatic side of me that I could at least watch the games until Man City went 2 goals ahead and then I would switch off and do something else. How I wish I had listened to my pragmatic side now! The two goal lead never came, so I watched every single minute up to the agonizing inevitable injury time goals City scored to clinch the League title. As their winner went in I was sick to my stomach and in a complete daze, stunned that we had come so close only to have it grabbed away from us at the last. It being Mothers Day I realized that I couldn’t let this spoil Lisa and the kids’ days so I immediately got out in the yard and cut the grass so that I could focus on something else and not take my bad mood out on them. And with a heavy dose of irony the heavens opened just as I was finishing up, soaking me to the bones. Not a great day!

The weekend had started off pretty well with a solid showing at the Twilight 5k. I ran 16:18 to come 5th behind Bert, some kid I didn’t know, Greg (who had pipped me at Skyline but well and truly crushed me at this race- fit alert!) and just behind Brad who I had just pipped myself at the last GP race. As I hauled my tired body over the finish line I slumped down on the floor and lay in a heap for a while, completely spent and already looking forward to my training break! Since the race I haven’t run a step and don’t plan too until the weekend. My body and mind need the rest and I’ll be ready to attack my training with vigor when I start back up again next week.

Saturday and my weekend got better as Lisa and I were able to drop the kids off at a neighbor’s house in the afternoon for a sleepover and we were able to go out for the night and celebrate our 13 year anniversary together. After a nice long lie in and breakfast at our hotel on Sunday morning, it was time to head home and turn the football on……

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fall Marathon announced as season winds down

Philadelphia, Sunday November 18th

Yes, I have chosen Philly for my 4th attempt at 26.2. After weighing up a few other options, the pull of a bigger city marathon and the opportunity to run alongside Jay and a whole plethora of Charlotte’s finest distance runners who are also making the trip proved decisive. In my previous 3 marathons I have progressed from 2:43 to 2:38 to 2:35 and the aim will be to maintain that improvement in November. A long way to go and hundreds of miles to be run before then but I’m glad I’ve made the decision early and can focus the rest of the year’s training around it.

Speaking of which, I have just over a week of my current cycle to see out. After the knee injury that blighted October last year I went straight into Myrtle Half Marathon training and carried on after that race in February to take in Richmond 10k and Skyline 5k in April as goal races. The first two races both ended with 1 second improvements over my previous best US times, the 5k last Saturday was (as documented below) significantly less successful and the final evidence I needed that it was time to wind down what has been a six month block of training and regenerate before heading into the next cycle refreshed and ready to work.

After the Twilight 5k next Friday night the plan is to take one whole week off, follow it with a very easy week and then hit the next training block. This block will take me through to the end of July before I take another couple of down weeks, leaving me a 14 week build up towards Philly starting in mid August. The upcoming week of entirely no running will almost certainly be the first ever time I have taken some extended time off voluntarily and not because of an injury of some sort! I am looking forward to it and so is the family!

Since the race on Saturday I had a nice long run with friends on Sunday, took Monday off, did Miners Run on Tuesday, a mile repeat workout yesterday and Dowd run today and all things considered have felt pretty decent on each run. Coach was in town for the past three runs so it has been good to get some runs in with him. Yesterday we headed to the track to do his planned workout two and a half weeks out from the Cleveland Marathon that he is racing. I ended up doing 2*2 miles and 2*1 miles with one lap recoveries at an average pace of 5:17 which I was pleased with (Tim went on to run an additional mile and a half). It would appear that I’m in great 10k shape right now, just unable to convert it to 5k!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Skyline recap

Skyline is always one of my favorite races on the calendar. It is run on one of the faster (certified!) courses you’ll find in Charlotte, has good prizes and takes place in April when the temperatures are usually still amenable to fast running. Despite personally running a disappointing time on Saturday, the 2012 edition of this race impressed again, with notably fast times (the top 10 were under 16:40!), excellent t shirts included with the race entry, great post race food and drinks and very good prizes. A good start to the 2012 Grand Prix Series indeed!

I was pretty confident I could sneak under 16 for this race but immediately from the start of the race I could tell it was going to be a bit of a struggle. Bert shot off into the distance (a view we are going to have get used to over the next few months- come on John Compton, Bert needs someone to race against!) and I headed up the ‘chase’ group, alongside Brad Belfiore (Boston 2012 survivor) with Brad Popple (low 15s guy when fully fit I believe) just behind us and then the main peloton behind him.

The race starts up a sizeable hill and the first mile continues gradually uphill up 7th Street. If you can get through the first mile in good shape there’s a good possibility you can get a fast time as the second mile is largely flat and the third mile is mostly downhill. Unfortunately I was already feeling pretty labored through the first mile which I hit in 5:16 (last year when I ran 15:53 I had gone through at 5:09). As we turned back towards the city on 5th Street Brad was still alongside me which surprised me to be honest as he had just run Boston (expect good things from this guy when he’s fully recovered!). On Thursday we had done a recon of the course so knew that 5th Street was ‘under construction’, all rutted and ready to be resurfaced, so as planned I jumped on the sidewalk and ran on that instead of the ‘road’. Through two miles in 10:31 (last year 10:16) and stealing ourselves for the final descent to the finish line. Bert was now practically out of sight (he went on to win the race by almost a minute) and Brad (at last!) had dropped back a little. I didn’t look behind so had no clue what was unfolding behind me, I was just running as fast as I could towards the finish line which unfortunately for me wasn’t very fast

I turned on to Elizabeth and the fast descent to the finish line. Soon I heard footsteps approaching on my right and it was no other than Greg Isaacs who quickly floated past me passing on his encouragement as he went! I tried in vain to latch on but to no avail and now all I was concerned about was getting to the finish line in third place at least so that I could pick up the $75 on offer and the skyline print. Fourth place and I’d win my age group but no cash or print! The third mile was 5:10 (last year 4:59) and I finished in 3rd place in 16:12, just in front of Brad Popple and the fast finishing peloton! Billy Shue (PR!) and Mike Mitchell (1:14 recently at Race Fest) closed out the TrySports Ambassadors team so we notched the team award and free dinner at Chipotle!

I have to admit I was surprised as much as impressed by Greg’s run for second. Normally at this stage of the season Greg is running in the 17s and comes on later in the year; this year, having already run 4:44 at the Museum Mile last week, he clearly means business! In fact everyone looked in darn good early form and if this is a sign of things to come over the Summer then the Grand Prix Series should be fun and competitive (Bert excepted!). Next up, Twilight 5k a week on Friday. Always a war of attrition because of the evening heat and tough last mile, this year’s race could be even tougher and tighter than usual! Looking forward to it!