Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Facing realities

As I was chasing (forlornly) after David and Jesse during this morning’s ultimately successful mile repeat track workout, I started thinking about how the getting fit process was taking a lot longer than my usual comeback journeys. Usually at this stage I would be seeing quick progress from week to week, bouncing back to pre-injury shape in fairly quick time. This time it appears the process is going to take a lot longer! Two major factors contributing to this I reckon.

One, and key, is that I have to remember that this comeback is following the longest lay off I’ve had from quality training since I started running more seriously give or take ten years ago. So I’m working from a lower base point than ever before. Two, I have to face the reality that I am getting older! This is the first time I have really thought about this as a concern! As I was a late starter taking up running I have tended to see improvement year on year on my training and performance, especially in the longer distances. Approaching 40, it may be that some of my best days are behind me. Obviously that’s not the way I am going to think but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a concern.

So what to do? Patience and belief in my training are the key words here! Be patient enough to not expect to be running low 16 5ks any time soon and believe in the training plans Tim and I are working on. I’ll get there……

In the meantime here’s a brief recap of my training since last week’s post (I’ve started using Dailymile to post my workouts so have changed the link on the side of my blog from r2w but I’m not sure it works unless you are registered on that site anyway). Regardless this is what has gone down since Thursday’s long run

Fri- 6 easy including strides and drills. Was going to take a rest day and do this Sunday but a planned night of revelry on the Saturday and a yucky Sunday weather forecast made the decision to bring this forward from Sunday an easy one

Sat- 10 including 6 mile AT tempo in 35:23. Compared to my (faster) 6 mile tempo run of three weeks ago this was a much more controlled performance and far less taxing. Coach has emphasized the need for me to stick within the assigned pace ranges for my workouts so I will make sure to do that rather than trying to hit times I believe I should be capable of and screwing the workout up!

Sun- off. It rained all day and I was hung over so good call! Total for week 58 miles (last 8 weeks since the ‘comeback’ started have been 25,31,37,42,51,35,52,58. 60 planned for coming week)

Mon- 8 easy. Felt sluggish and tired still

Tue- 9 including 4*1600 at JCSU track. Felt better today and hit the prescribed 5:20s fairly comfortably although the very brief one minute recoveries between each one made this workout very challenging!

The rest of the week will include a couple of easy days (with strides and drills on one of those days), a Saturday rest day, a long run Thursday and an LT Tempo workout Sunday. Onwards….

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Training update

Since the disappointing race below, training has been solid and thus:-

Sat 4/13- OFF
Sun 4/14- 9 miles steady. Total 35 miles for what was a cutback week

Mon 4/15- 8.5 easy. Horrific events in Boston
Tue 4/16- 4 easy am/7.75 pm including 12*400 off a minute at JCSU (average 72)
Wed 4/17- OFF
Thu 4/18- 7 easy
Fri 4/19- 5 easy. Was expecting to race an evening 5k but it got cancelled because of a forecast storm that never came. I was pissed
Sat 4/20- 10.5 including cross country 5k that I jumped in at the last minute. Repeated performance of previous Friday and lost to someone who had run 2:45 at Boston just five days prior. Hanging up the racing shoes until feel fit enough to compete to an adequate level
Sun 4/21- 9 easy. Total 52 miles for the week


Mon 4/22- 8.2 easy am/2.67 very easy pm- helping out with Try Sports ‘Run For Boston’ event
Tue 4/23- 8 including 4*800/400 off 1 minute/3 minute. Did on roads. Half miles were 2:33 down to 2:26, quarters were 72/73. Felt some wheels under me at last, good crew helped
Wed 4/24- 7.4 easy
Thu 4/25- 15.4 ‘long’. Longest run since October and felt good

So other than the race (which confirmed that I am indeed in 17 low shape right now and that the previous race was not an aberration) training has started to get solid. As noted above, Tim sent me some new schedules to follow. These were received with the usual enthusiasm and it’s good to have some structure and method back in my training. No real goals for now, just to try and get back into decent 5k shape. I received news last week that I am being sent to Sydney in July by work for a few weeks so that will create a natural end to this training block. I will target a couple of good race performances before I head to the other side of the world. Sydney will provide a fantastic training environment in its own right (I’ve been before) but I will be working long hours and living on the Company dollar (read eating and drinking more than usual!) so the goal there will be to just get in as much solid training in as I can so that I can kick on again when I get back to the US in August.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


I’ve been hesitant to update the blog this week. I’m not eloquent enough to put anything meaningful together about the horrific events at Boston, and giving details about the runs I’ve done this week seems such a selfish endeavour in the grand scheme of things. Who on earth cares about my track workout I did on Tuesday night when all that went on at Boston has happened. Actually it’s made me question my motives for writing this blog in the first place but perhaps that’s an argument for another day.

Suffice to say I was as horrified as everyone else about Monday’s cowardly attacks. I’d spent the morning tracking all my friends and their brave assaults on the famed Boston course. As usual there had been a mixed bag of results but I was proud of everyone of them and jealous not to be out there myself! Then the news started feeding through and I spent the rest of the day just hoping that no one I knew had been caught up in it all- they hadn’t directly but I’m sure there will be some lasting psychological scars to overcome.

The response from the running community has been phenomenal (not unexpected) and I feel proud to be considered part of ‘that community’. All we can hope for now is that the perpetrators will be brought to justice soon and that the people injured during the incident recover as well as possible. Crumbs of comfort to the families of the deceased I know…..

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Town and Country 5k

Goal- Sub 17, blow some cobwebs off, win some cash

Actual- 17:22, blew some cobwebs off, won a beer koozie

As you can see, I only met 1 of my goals for this 'comeback race' and that one was a guaranteed achievement as long as I finished the race. The other two were actually jeopardized on Thursday before I even toed the line.

Firstly, after my run on Thursday morning I had decided that it was time I re-introduced my weekly strides and drills routine I always used to incorporate as an important part of my training. This was all well and good until I woke up on Friday with significant muscle soreness in my left groin from using muscles I obviously hadn't recruited in quite a while the day before. All day at work I was conscious of the soreness and during my pre-race lunch hour 'walk' I was debating whether or not to pull the plug on actually racing. Of course, that debate lasted all of five minutes and a few hours later I was warming up for the race and it seemed fine- 'there' but not likely to impact my race.

The 'winning cash' objective had also been thrown into jeopardy on Thursday. I went to the store to excitedly pick up my new team singlet and hoodie and discovered that Trysports shoe guru and stud runner Cody was also using the race as a comeback of sorts from his own injury issues. It happens that our respective PRs over various distances are very similar but Cody has a significant advantage in the age department. If I was to snag a victory now I was certainly going to have to work for it. The new goal became hang on to Cody for as long as possible and see what the legs had got later in the race.

This strategy lasted all of 100 yards. As soon as we turned the first corner on the course, Cody started to pull away and I didn't feel comfortable trying to match his early pace. Within half a mile I could pretty much tell the race was over unless he blew up majorly- not very likely in a 5k dash. Meanwhile third place was way back so I pretty much settled in and worked as hard as possible for the rest of the race, never looking at my watch, just running a good hard effort that I could take some feedback from later. The course was solid- tough but not overly challenging- an out and back with a significant downhill early on that was always going to be ugly when we returned later on. As we approached the three mile mark I glanced at my watch for the first time and saw 16:40 and was pretty disappointed to see that time- I ran my last Half Marathon just over a year ago at a much faster pace- but at least the race was nearly over!

Coming into the finish line

The victor and I post race, showing off our groovy new colours

Although disappointing and one of my slowest 5k times ever (I can count the number of times I haven't at least gone under 17 minutes in a race on one hand) it was still good to get out there and get that first race out of the way. The groin soreness was probably an issue, it was relatively humid and windy and I ran on my own on a tough course in a state of disinterest for much of the race. All valid excuses but all missing the real issue coming out of the race- that I'm really unfit and need to put some good solid weeks of training together to address that! Looking forward to it!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Speed Loop reality check!

As I mentioned briefly at the end of my last post I’m planning on racing this Friday night in a local 5k that Trysports are sponsoring. With that in mind today I decided I would do a workout which might give me some sort of idea of the pace I may be able to hold on to for 5k right now. I was going to do 2 * 1 mile (2:30 recovery) and the some quarters to finish off In the back of my mind I had 5:20 as a ball park figure to shoot for and see how it felt. However, I had managed to recruit speedsters David and Brad to help out so I knew that I would be setting out harder than originally planned! Came through the first mile in just under 5:15 feeling pretty taxed, second one was just under 5:17. I was 5-10 seconds behind the other guys and it certainly felt a harder effort than 5k pace. We walked back over to the start of the speed loop and did 4*0.25 miles up and down Dilworth Road. The first one was a little fast at 71 seconds and the other 3 were a bit of a struggle in 73,71,73- felt like I was going through the motions a bit and didn’t have the heart or capability to latch on to the back of the other guys who were running closer to 70.

All in all happy I was happy with the times but well aware that I was pretty taxed to achieve them and that I was comfortably behind David and Brad for the whole workout. No apparent trouble from the glutes or knees though and I’m looking forward to the process of getting fitter the next few weeks! Friday night will just be a another step along that path

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Back in the 50s

That goes for both my weekly mileage and the thermometer gauge! Signs of spring at last (we'll soon be moaning about the heat) and a corresponding spring in my own step after a pretty decent week of training at last.

After a rest day on Wednesday I doubled on Thursday- nine with the Dowd group in the morning and four after work in the cold, miserable rain. This was supposed to be the monthly Trysports team run but the inclement weather left me as the sole representative. On the plus side I was able to pick up some new shoes at the store before the run (Pegasus 29) and have loved running in them so far!

Friday I got some early miles in with Boston bound Brad to make it 18 miles in 24 hours but the legs didn't feel bad at all and I was looking forward to completing my second workout of the week on Saturday. Before that I treated myself to a massage on Friday night where it was noted that my left quad was very tight. I mention this because usually when I get a massage it is my IT bands and glutes that are the problem areas so I was happy to hear that the extra work I've been doing on those areas is apparently paying off.

Saturday I had a 6 mile tempo effort on tap. With the family being out of town for one last night, I was able to sleep in and take full advantage of the suddenly improved weather conditions. When I met Aaron and Matt at 8:30 it was sunny and about 50 degrees with a slight chill in the air. Perfect! After a three mile warm up we launched straight into our respective workouts. Matt and I locked into slightly under 6 minute pace (I was hoping to hit about 35 minutes for the whole run) while Aaron sprinted off into the distance- he was doing 2 miles hard and then jumping in with me once I caught him during his recovery. This ended up being at the 2.75 mile mark. We ran together for the next three miles before Aaron left me in the dust, switching gears while I was stuck at tempo pace pretty much just hanging on for the end! 35:02 with splits of 5:56,55,51,48,48,44.

Fairly happy with it, though it was certainly a hard effort and I was pretty spent at the end again. However, in contrast to last weekend, I seemed to recover a lot quicker. Today's shakeout run was fine and I ended up running a little further than originally planned. Not getting ahead of myself, I'm consciously cutting back a bit this week and am excited to toe the line at a low key 5k next Friday night.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Break

As the kids are on Spring Break, Mom has taken them to stay with her parents for the week. Although it sucks for me not being able to see them for a few days, there are some undeniable plus sides to them being away! Main one being I get to run when I want, where I want.

After Saturday’s hard effort I was able to sleep in on Sunday and do my recovery run a lot later than would have been the case had the family been home. Regardless this run pretty much sucked. I was planning on five miles but after a couple my knee was starting to get a bit sore so I called it in after 4 and walked the rest of the way home. In days past I would have sucked it up and finished the run off but I saw no point in pushing the knee any more than necessary. 42 miles for the week including a workout and a long run with some quality so all in all a good week with just a hint of caution that I need to monitor the knee situation.

Monday I was understandably a bit nervous heading out but my worries proved groundless as I completed a 55 minute jaunt with David and Derrick from the Dowd with no apparent issues. Another point to note for this early morning run was the 60 degrees temperatures which meant that nothing more than a t shirt and shorts were required- signs of Spring at last??

Tuesday I decided was workout day so I headed to the Speed Loop and did 6 * half mile with fellow Trysports ambassador and blogger Bill, Mike and Joe. After last week’s fairly light workout where I managed to hold a 5:10 pace fairly comfortably albeit for short intervals, I decided I should shoot for around 2:35 for the half mile intervals on tap this week. Although the first one was a little slow as we got adjusted to trying to run fast at 6am and my legs still had some residue from Saturday in them, the rest were pretty much on pace and I finished with a 2:33 and feeling like I had worked very hard but hadn’t gone to the well. Baby steps, now I just need to extend the length of time I’m able to run at this pace without taking a rest! Day off Wednesday, back at it tomorrow