Saturday, March 30, 2013

Back to the grind

Today I did my second harder workout of the week and longest run in quite some time. With some solid easy miles on the days in between and a recovery run tomorrow that will take me over 40 miles for the week, I'm starting to feel like I'm getting back into the old routine and am looking forward to the process of getting into shape again.

Both workouts this week have been satisfactory in their outcomes but also reminders of the work I'm going to need to put in to get back to competitive race shape again.

Wednesday's 400s and 800s I was pleased I was able to show some decent low 5 minute pace turnover but had to work pretty hard to maintain it for the half miles!

Today a group of us ran the notorious Racefest Half course with its numerous nasty hills on the back half. I ran the first 6 miles of the loop with the group at a good sub 7 minute clip, then when we hit the lowest point of the course David Willis and I took off to run the last 7 at a hard effort up all the hills. At mile 10 David dropped me and Charlie had caught up with me so I ran the rest of the loop in with him. The average pace for these 7 miles was 6:18 and I was pretty much spent at the end!

Solid enough though and the knee was also very cooperative today, in fact it seems to give me more trouble on my slower paced runs than when I am pushing the pace a bit.

After 5 days running the last couple of weeks I am planning to get 7 runs in next week and get back up to the 50 mile range again

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Today's workout

Did this workout today but on the roads not track


Hard work :-)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Saturday double

I got to Blowing Rock mid Saturday afternoon. We were staying with a couple of other families at our neighbors’ parents’ mountain retreat which in a word was stunning, built into a hillside overlooking Grandfather Mountain. Knowing that the evening ahead was going to involve plenty of nice food and alcohol and that the weather forecast for Sunday was miserable, I decided to do Sunday’s planned run on Saturday afternoon instead. I hit up a horse path that started virtually outside the house and got 4 recovery miles in. My legs were sore but the surface was soft and the pace was very slow so I think I made the right choice- I certainly thought so when I woke up Sunday morning with a hangover and it was sleeting and foggy outside!

So that was 37 miles for the week on five days (six runs) and a little bit of ‘quality’ thrown in too, which was the goal I had for the week starting out.

This week I’m aiming to get in the low 40s on five days of running with a light workout tomorrow and a longer run on Saturday. After taking another day off yesterday I ran with some buddies in Mcalpine this morning and got about 8 slow enjoyable miles in. I’m still feeling a very slight stiffness in the right knee and wish the temperature would hurry up and climb out of the low 30s when I’m running soon because I’m sure that would help some!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tempo success

Looking back, I lied a bit in my last post, saying that if Friday’s run went well I would do a workout on the Saturday. Friday’s run generally sucked. My troublesome right leg was feeling crappy and I just ran about 5 miles before calling it in and not finishing off with the strides I had intended. So of course I still went ahead with my plan to work out Saturday.

To be honest though I did have a good excuse- it was too good an opportunity to pass up as many of Charlotte’s finest were meeting to parade their talents and polish off some final preparations leading up to Boston. Plus my family were out of town in Blowing Rock- I would be joining them later in the day- so I could sleep in before the 8am start and not have to rush back afterwards.

Most of the guys (and girls) were planning 10-15 miles at MP on the notorious PDS loop which measures at just under 4 miles and contains some good solid rolling terrain. Knowing that the fastest 4 or 5 of the 20 or so people who turned up for the workout would be shooting for a sub 6 minute pace, I decided I would try and hop in for the first lap and complete 4 miles in under 24 minutes. That, along with a 5 mile warm up and down, would give me a solid morning’s work if I could pull it off.

After a 3 mile warm up all 20 of us shot off to start the first (my only) loop. I soon found myself alongside Brad and Charlie at the front of the peloton and I settled in to what felt like a solid pace that I could maintain for the duration of the loop. Didn’t look at my watch at all, just assumed it was under 6 minute pace as I found myself at the front of the group. 23 minutes and change later I had finished my workout and pulled off to the side, waving through my fitter friends for whom the workout had just begun. I was pleased I had been able to average a 5:50 pace for the whole loop without noticeably hurting myself or feeling any pain during the run. Now admittedly this felt much more like a ‘as much as I had’ effort than a ‘tempo’ effort, but at this stage of my ‘comeback’ I’ll take it.

After a 2.5 mile cool down shuffle I waited by my car and stretched and refueled handing out fluids and encouragement as everyone else completed their own workouts. Tempo success indeed

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Starting to feel a bit like a runner again

There’s a couple of feelings I’m craving that will finally tell me I’m well on the road to recovery. One is a run where I’m not constantly monitoring how my body feels, I can just switch off and flow through the run and not worry about anything. Second is a run where I finish up and feel great, ready to head straight out again, plenty of gas in the tank. These feelings have essentially remained elusive to this point but I think there have been positive signs this week that I’m getting closer.

After getting back to Charlotte late Monday, I didn’t run again until Tuesday lunch time, which, with the time difference, meant I hadn’t run in over 48 hours. It appeared my legs had appreciated the rest as I had a far better run than any of my runs in England had been. So much so that it gave me the confidence to introduce a little bit of speedwork into the mix on Wednesday. Aaron, Jamaar and I headed over to the Dilworth speed loop and while Aaron was cranking out some 5 minute pace 800 repeats I jumped in and helped out for a minute or so at a time, ending up with over 11 minutes of running in the 5:10-20 range. Legs felt reasonable, lungs felt awful towards the end of each interval!

Another easy run today with the Dowd crew. I say easy but truth be told I was hanging off the back of the pack for most of this run even though we were hovering just around 7 minute pace throughout. Just another sign from my body that patience is key here. Tomorrow I will definitely be running solo, slower and shorter. If that goes well I intend to spin the wheels a bit again on Saturday….

A great trip home!

Since my last update a week ago I have been back and forth across the pond, had some good and bad runs, and am generally feeling better about myself and my next few weeks of running!

Thursday I took off work as I was flying out of Charlotte in the afternoon so I was able to sleep in and take the kids to school before I headed out for my run in Mcalpine. This ended up being 6 miles, felt pretty rough for the first half but legs had come round by the end. On Friday I was knackered from the overnight flight but wanted to get something in so headed out for 30 minutes on some old loops from my parent’s house. This run truly sucked as my knee and groin were achey and I generally just felt like crap, but my Dad did keep me company on his bike so that was cool. Saturday and Sunday were in a similar vein, I got the miles I wanted in but didn’t feel all that great (admittedly Sunday’s effort was always going to suck after imbibing a few warm ales the night before catching up with a couple of old friends). So I actually ended up at around 30 miles for the week, which I hadn’t seen in a long time!

Monday I spent all day travelling so had a planned a day off anyway. Other than the not so good running I had a great mini break in England. My brother brought his kids to stay the weekend so it was great to spend time with my nieces and my Mum is currently undergoing another round of chemo so having her two boys in the house all weekend was a good boost for her. Planning on taking the whole family over in the summer, just not quite sure how I’m going to pay for us all!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A run with Coach

Back in the day when I was a runner and actually training for races and what not, one of my best buddies served as my 'Coach', writing out training plans for me, acting as a mentor and someone to bounce ideas off, etc. He moved back to Cleveland a few years ago but pops down every so often on business and is in town this week as he is toeing the line in a 5k at Wake Forest on Friday night. So tonight I got to run with Tim and catch up, which is always a pleasure! On top of that, my knee which has been exceedingly troublesome the last few days, was a bit more cooperative this evening and I got 5 relatively pain free miles in. Tomorrow will be the true test of course but I'm certainly feeling a lot more positive than I was at the weekend!

Monday I headed out, could feel the knee immediately but it wasn't getting any worse so I did a couple of miles and had a good stretch after, Tuesday was 3 on the treadmill. Today was the end of my work week as I'm taking a couple of days off to visit Mum and Dad for the weekend. Looking forward to going home for the first time in three years!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Laugh or cry?

Don't know which one to do! Now I've got some knee issue going on! Feels like a mild case of tendonitis that shouldn't hold me back for long but come on give me a break! I thought tendonitis was an over use injury, maybe it's brought on by under use!

Became aware of the potential issue on Thursday as I headed out for some solo post work miles before meeting up for the monthly Trysports group run. After a few steps I could feel a dull ache in my knee and stopped to massage it out and carry on with my run. It felt better after that as my legs slowly came round but had definitely given me pause for thought. Sure enough as I headed out on a beautiful Saturday morning there it was again. This time the ache was gait altering so I pulled the plug and reluctantly headed back inside from the gorgeous weather. I managed a 4 mile run today and 25 miles for the week but could still definitely feel something as I headed out.

Let's see what next week brings!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Today I headed out for a second run in two days- first time I have done that in a while! It was 15 degrees warmer than yesterday am so pretty ideal. I went to the Dowd and met up with Aaron, Caitlin, Mule, Caleb and Philip and warmed up with them down to the Dilworth Speed Loop.

Once there, the gang rocked out some mile repeats while I just carried on at an easy pace shouting encouragement whenever our paths crossed. After about 45 minutes of jogging around I headed back to the Dowd, 6.5 miles in the bank, 12.5 for the week- by far exceeding my year to date weekly average and it's only Tuesday haha! Plan is to run Thursday and Saturday for the rest of the week and potentially Sunday too if all goes well. Baby steps

Monday, March 4, 2013

Critter run

Sunday's run didn't happen. Lightweight that I am, 2013's first excursion into town for a few adult beverages on Saturday night left me feeling the worse for wear for much of Sunday. I did actually lace them up at one point but stepping out the back door made me feel nauseous. 6 miles was not going to happen and I quickly returned to the safety and comfort of my couch.

So instead of going out to run in beautiful sunny conditions I deferred the run until this morning when it was 25 degrees and pitch dark. Luckily I don't go out on the town very often.

When I did eventually run today it was a fairly uneventful run and the leg was pretty solid. I layered up and headed off road into Mcalpine for 45 minutes, just me, my headlamp, some good tunes and the usual assortment of unidentified critters jumping in and out of the undergrowth. I was literally the only person in the park which is hardly surprising being that it was before 5 when I headed out the door.

Friday, March 1, 2013


After a day off yesterday I decided to venture out to run with the Friday morning Dowd crew for my first Dowd run in months! Although the plan is to do as many of these 'comeback' runs solo so that I can do them at my own (slower) pace and intensity, the set up this morning looked good as the crew were due to loop back to the Dowd after an easy 30 minutes to pick up later arrivals. As I was planning 30 minutes maximum myself this fit in well. Good company and 4.3 miles later I was back having a good stretch on the back porch of the Dowd with another pain free effort in the bank and the most optimism I have felt in a long time. On to Sunday