Sunday, August 21, 2016

Training??? Week of August 15 to 21, 2016

  I have to start with a bit of Olympic talk.  It has been amazing as someone who started competitive running in the 1990's to see the current state of US distance running is amazing.  Again and again you heard and read about how Americans would never win Olympic medals again. We couldn't compete with the Africans.  Look at us now!  It isn't just the medals either.  The women in the Marathon, 3 in the top 10! Top 10 in the Olympics is the real deal.  Jared Ward, largely viewed as the 'other guy' on the marathon team gets a 6th in the marathon in a field with a dozen or so sub 2:07 men running 2:11:30 in 72 degrees with 94% humidity.  That is real racing!  From top of the team to the bottom it is amazing how far we have come.

  Ok my running or lack there of…

Monday- bikram yoga 90mins

Tueday- bikram yoga 90mins.  One 2.2 mile run of 4mins jogging 1min walking, 15:22 total time

Wednesday nothing of note

Thursday bikram yoga 90mins, one 3.1 mile run of 4mins jogging 1min walking, 22:36

Friday bikram yoga 90mins

Saturday 30mins of 4mins jogging 1min walking around phillips fields

Sunday Nothing of note

 Other than that each day I do 25 to 35 mins of exercises to help with injury recovery.  Each days set are different and they range from stretches, to body weight strength stuff, to drills, to mashing(self massage with a lacrosse or accumobility ball).

  Hope you're running more than me!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Where I've been and where I'm going.

  I finished out the spring training well and feeling upbeat about my slow but steady improvement.  I had an awful 5k at the BAA 5k but the workouts were coming along and I expected things to start to look up.
  I also began working with Anna Willard, yes the former world #2 in the 800m and Olympic steeple chaser, on changing my muscular system and form through a very involved system of exercises, massages and stretches in hopes of fixing the coordination.  Now obviously anytime you do something that is going to change your form it comes with a huge risk of injury.  I knew this going in but decided to push on because what I really want is to race marathons again and without change that wasn't going to happen.

  After a couple of months I was starting to see some changes in my form.  Coordination was about the same but my flat 100m sprints before workouts were getting much faster.  In fact some of the fastest I have ever done.  However this increased speed was not coming from an even change in my form and I got hurt in mid may.  I felt a pain on a workout in my low butt/ high back of leg area.  It was quite sore on my run the next day.  On that Sunday I raced the Travs Trail 3 mile.  One of my favorite races. I was in a good bit of pain on the warm up but decided that I would gut it out and take a few days off after.

  It turned out to be a lot more than a few days.  I could barely walk for a week.  MRI's would reveal that I had caused a stress fracture at the base of the pelvis where the hamstring attaches.  This would be pretty slow to heal.  During this time I continued to do the exercise from Anna and continue to work towards fixing the coordination problem.

  I have started to jog a little bit over the last couple of weeks but I'm a long way from any real training. I'm also starting a new job in a week or so and am more than a little worried about how I'm going to fit everything in.  I want to get back to a reasonable training level, for me about 100 miles a week plus or minus about 20 miles.  I also spend about 30 minutes a day on the new exercises. I try to go to a 90 minute yoga class once or twice a week, an hour exercise session with Anna each week and an hour of treatment with her associate Brad each week.  This combined with writing lesson plans for a whole new curriculum, and doing the normal test corrections and day to day homework associated with teaching and you can see how I'm a bit nervous about trying to get through the day with enough time to make a healthy dinner and find enough hours of sleep to actually absorb the work I'm doing.

  As it is I don't have the most exciting life. Basically my social interaction with the world beyond Melissa and Uta is Facebook and Twitter. But one thought I have for how to get more done is to quit both of those.  So I think I'll start firing out the blog because the comment section at least gets me a little bit of a window into the rest of the world but it isn't as easy to lose 30mins mindlessly scrolling.

  I hope you are all well. I hope your running has been and is currently going better than mine.

Sunday, February 28, 2016


  Some of you may already know my brother, Brennen, killed himself on Wednesday night.  He was a veteran who served in Afghanistan.  Sadly he was one of those who did not come home whole and who has been fighting depression since he returned. He lost that battle this week.
  There has been an outpouring of support for myself and my family from all corners of our lives that has been humbling and overwhelming and I'll be thankful for it for the rest of my life.
   I have a feeling I won't be posting here for a while but I wanted to take advantage of this platform for two things.
  First to say thank you publicly to everyone who has reached out in so many different ways to myself and my family.  It has meant the world.
  Second my Brother left his girlfriend and her son, whom were dependent on him, in a bad place. Though they had been together more than ten years they had never married so she does not receive any VA benefits and Brennen didn't have insurance.  My parents and I are able to pay for simple funeral services that my brother wanted but we have set up a gofundme account, Brennen's gofundme.
  This account is to help Brennen's girlfriend with all of the basic expenses that are left and that are sure to come up in the coming months.  So many have already helped out and I consider each donation to be a personal favor for which I am eternally grateful. So thank you for your support, your understanding and your love.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Training February 15 to 21, 2016

Monday AM valley spofford 6 mile solo, 0 degrees a bit cold for Uta,  41:45.
               3PM road 10, first 6 with Uta in 43 mins then solo for 4, 69mins total time.  Low back was tweaked a bit after AM run- weird it has been great for almost 2 years.
               5PM Bikram yoga, 90mins hot yoga, skipped sit ups and was careful on forward bends. Back felt much improved after.

Tuesday AM 6 miles, valley spofford loop, with Uta, in around 45mins- Uta just wanted to shuffle along- she is usually less bouncy when Melissa and I are around the house all day for a few days.
                PM 3.1 warm up, strides with jog back.  I actually timed these strides and was shocked that they were around 20 seconds.  I kinda assumed my strides off the track were always short.  Seems maybe they are always long.  By this point it was raining pretty hard and I was having a hard time staying warm.  That combined with how poorly my last two hard sessions had gone had me feeling very nervous.  Moneghetti Fartlek around glendale loop- covered 3.89 miles, 5:07 pace.  Huge improvement from last weeks abysmal 3.80.  Honestly I was hoping for 3.85 so this was real nice.3.1 cool down

Wednesday AM 18.2 miles, same loop as Sunday.  Worlds of improvement. 1:55:26.  Felt pretty good. Calves shredded.  Struggled to toe off well after 14 or 15 miles,  Feld coordination threatening in the last mile or so.  good run.
                    PM bikram yoga, 90mins hot yoga, put the back to rest.

Thursday AM valley spofford 6 mile with Uta, 41mins, calves really shredded.
                  PM 3.1 warm up, skipping warm up, light drills, strides, 3 mile tempo run in 15:22- 5:12, 5:10, 5:09, focused on taking it a little easier and feeling strong.  Still not without some trepidation as that was the plan last Saturday and I died after a 5:14 first so this was a good step in the right direction.  1min recovery then 8xhill sprint- estimating around 100m. with jog down recoveries.- all jog downs were 49 or 50 seconds all the reps were in 20 seconds except the 6th which slipped to 21.0 and the last which dipped down to 19.9. Focus on toeing off and keeping shoulders back with good power. tough to do calves very tired. 3.3 cool down, 23:45.

Friday AM valley spofford 6 mile with Uta in 44mins
             PM raliegh tavern 10, 67mins
             5PM bikram yoga, 90mins hot yoga

Saturday AM Raliegh tavern 12.2 miles in 1:19
                 PM valley spofford 6mile  solo, 41mins calves very tight still but on right side this has brought in the ITB as well.  Did a lot of foam rolling and exercises

Sunday AM 3+ warm up, skipping warm up, light drills, strides, Race USATF- NE 5k 3rd place in 14:55. 3.5 cool down in 26mins.  splits(220yard laps on this track not 200m) were very consistent- fastest was 35.4(twice), slowest was 36.8. mile- 4:48.7, 2mile- 9:34.99, 3 mile- 14:24.5

 111 miles for the week, two decent workouts, one race. Made it to yoga 3 times thanks to being on vacation from school for the week.  
  The race;  On the positive side 14 straight years of at least one sub 15 5k race is checked off the goals for the year list, My 2016 goals . I was also happy that although the pace became hard to maintain it never felt fast.  I felt controlled and steady.  That is a much better place to work from than when you feel like you're flying and the splits tell you that you're crawling. I ran very consistently and was hurting but I didn't get a great effort out.  That is to be expected given the lack of racing and track work that I'm doing at this point in the year.  In terms of fitness I would say this is a slightly better performance for me than the Jax half and the super Sunday 5 mile.  On the downside 14:55 is pretty slow even without doing track work and I have a long way to go to get real fit.  So out the door again tomorrow and hopefully build on the consistent last couple of weeks and keep chipping away for a while.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Update on Coordination Struggles

  My coordination problem has, unfortunately, defined my running career.  At least from my perspective.  It has followed a few trajectories along the way with very distinct turning points.  Some of which were so clear that I new them the instant they happened and others I only saw in retrospect.

 The problem started in late January 2007 during an alternation workout, actually it was one of the better sessions I have ever run.  It happened on the last effort of the workout.  I was so far gone I just thought it was a symptom of being on the edge of darkness.  Quickly it would become a much bigger issue. Killing a couple workouts before I got mono and was forced to take a 6 week break.

  The problem seemed in a holding pattern during the build up to the Olympic Trials.  It was always there but it would only bother me in the very late stages of specific workouts.  As such I was able to get very fit in spite of it. I even was able to race well in races where I lost the coordination.  I lost coordination just after mile 7 at the BAA half and still finished top 10 in 1:06:17 which was a solid time on that course.  I have little doubt I would have been sub 1:05 without the issue but I ran well.  At the trials I lost control of it coming up to the 19th mile mark.  It cost me.  My last 10k was 32:56 with out the hobbling effect of losing the coordination I have little doubt I would have been able to match my previous 10k of 31:26.  So I would have been able to run perhaps mid 2:13's.  I may or may not have been able to catch Dan Brown.  In the scope of things it was a minor difference.  My time was slowed more by the hills than by the coordination on that course and the difference between 6th and 7th at the trials is small.

  In January of '08 I was following a schedule Canova had sent me.  I was sure with some treatment and focus the leg would sort itself out.  Instead as my fitness soared my leg crashed until by march or so I couldn't do any of the long workouts.  I also ran an abysmal half in Houston.  I hit the the 5 mile mark in 24:05 feeling good, shortly there after I lost control of the leg and hobbled in with a 1:08:22.

  At this point I changed tactics. Avoiding fighting the coordination in training and still trying every treatment I could find to fix the problem.  For the next three years the pattern stayed the same.  Slowly, ever so slowly, my leg got a little worse and little worse.  I was forced to learn new ways to train.  I worked well around it.  I set PR's at the mile, 3k, 5k and 10k.  I qualified for two USATF national indoor championships but all the time I was tortured by the knowledge that my best at 5k was middling on a national level at best but that a guy like me who has a 58.8 400 meter best in shape to run sub 14 for 5k is ready to kill a marathon. BUT I couldn't run one.  I could barely run a 10k.  By late 2010 I couldn't even do that anymore with any consistency, particularly I struggled it if was flat.

  In January 2011 I had surgery on my low back.  By march I was back running.  The improvement was HUGE.  I could race 10k with no problems, even if it was perfectly flat.  Half marathons became what 10k's had been a 50/50 shot at getting by.  I could do training runs longer over 9 miles again.  I could do tempos up to 10k, sometimes more.  I thought it was just a matter of time before I worked back to being fully functional.  I was wrong.  For two years this is where I held.  The biggest victory was that pre surgery I knew it was only a matter of time before running would be taken from me completely and now I was not losing ground. I still searched for an answer but for the most part I was resigned to the fact that I would at least be able to keep running on some level but that I would never get to do the long workouts or races that I loved best.

  In November of 2014 I raced Josh Mcdougal.  He told me about his success in combating the problem by focusing on ankle flection and thoracic posture.  It was a lighting bolt.  I felt my ankle had been fixed by my back surgery- my disc had been cutting off nerve function to the ankle area.  The improved posture caused a huge jump in what I could do without coordination.

 I still had bad days but I had good days.  I did a 20 mile HARD for the first time since 2007.  I completed real marathon workouts.  My fitness surged.  I dnf'd at Boston but that was diet and fitness related not because of coordination.

  Over the next year I struggled with health, mostly due it seems to diet, and my coordination stayed about the same.  I could, on good days, do a lot.  On bad days I could still struggle on an easy 12 mile run.  With my diet issues sorted out I started running well again late last fall.  The mileage back up.  The workouts back in the mix.  I managed a 36k hard, on grass.  Still at times it seemed no matter how hard I held my shoulders back it wasn't enough.  A few times I lost coordination and I swore my shoulders were pretty damn good.  More and more I was realizing I was in a new holding pattern.  I had been since January.  I could get through half marathon races.  I could do half marathon length tempos.  Longer on soft surfaces but doing so was VERY hard because of the amount of focus and work on my shoulders needed to do so.

  Then it hit me. "If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains however improbable must be the truth."  It was impossible that for nerve function I somehow needed to run with my shoulders behind me.  The problem must be elsewhere….  What was it McDougal had told me. Thoracic and Ankle!  I had assumed my ankle was totally fixed. Yet I was running better on soft surfaces.  On soft surfaces you inherently toe off more.

  Monday I started focusing on toeing off more.  It was hard.  My calves are weak.  By wednesday I did my medium long run.  A weekly slap in my fast in terms of coordination.  I generally do 16.  I don't generally lose coordination BUT I do fight it constantly.  Flexing my spine/shoulders back again and again.  Feeling the coordination threatening to go from 10 miles on and struggling so hard to stay ahead of it.  This time I ran and ran.  My calves were begging for mercy by 14 or 15 miles but for 18 miles I didn't have any sense that I was going to lose coordination.  All this and my shoulders were in Good position but not forced way back.  I didn't have to do any isometrics while running to force them back more.

 This may not be the last step in this long journey and it is going to be a couple awful weeks on my calves but this is another huge step in the right direction and I'm feeling very upbeat about my chances of really racing a marathon this year.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Training February 8 to 14

Monday 6AM road 6.2 with Uta in 43mins
               10AM -I don't do many 6am/10am doubles these days but I had a snow day and the snow was starting to fall so I decided to get out before it got bad- 10 miles 71 mins pretty slick. eyes kept getting frozen shut by the snow
               5PM 90mins of bikram yoga

Tuesday 5AM shoveling and snow blowing.  Honestly I was betting on a delayed opening and we didn't get it so I had to do the clean up so we could get the cars out and go to work instead of a morning run
                PM 3 warm up on curve treadmill in 23:34, skipping warm up, light drills, 6 laps of indoor track(6/10 of mile) with 1 or 2 short strides on each loop, 3 miles of sprint/float/sprint- about 80m/80m. splits- 1-5:10.98, 2-10:17.43(5:06.45), 3-15:12.87(4:55.44), 3 miles and 4 extra laps cool down

Wednesday PM Road 18, first 6 with Uta, focus on toe off- see summary- 2:03:18.

Thursday AM 6.2 with Uta, 45mins
                  PM 3.1 miles warm up 23mins, strides and light jogging, Mona Fartlek on glendale loop,  only covered 3.8 miles, personal worst for this loop. Long day in general and it was very cold, wind chill -3, there was a long stretch into the wind and some ice on the loop.  All that said the real issue was my calves were shot. 3.1 cool down 23mins

Friday AM 6.2 with Uta, very cold, wind chill -9, 45mins
             PM road 12.2 solo, 1:21:13, focus on toe off.

Saturday AM 3 mile warm up, light drills, skipping warm up, strides, 3 mile tempo run- AWFUL- it was very cold and my legs were sore from toe off focus this week but that doesn't explain this shit, 1-5:14, 2- 10:34(5:20), 3-16:01(5:27), 3 mile cool down

PM 6 miles with Uta, cold, 39mins

Sunday Noon 18.2 miles in 1:58, one of the worst runs I have have ever had, it was very cold but I was crushingly tired.  Just wanted to stop and curl up in a ball and die.  was supposed to do 22.  lucky to survive 18

Summary  113 miles for the week, 1 decent workout, 2 shit workouts.  Need to get bloodwork but I'm fairly certain my iron is too high.  I have been taking iron for a few years without a break and my numbers have been slowly coming up.  I haven't had my ferritin tested in a long time but each of the last few times it has been the highest I have ever had.  I did some research and apparently like too little iron you can see symptoms as an athlete before you get to being medically out of the zone and the symptoms line up very well with what I'm struggling with.  I'll have the doc do a full work up but I'm guessing my ferritin will be very high.   Hopefully I'll come around over the next few weeks just by stopping supplementing.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Training February 1 to 7, 2016

Monday AM 10k in 45 with Uta, sore throat.
               PM 10 miles in 66 felt like I was flying, that's not good. still had sore throat.

Tuesday AM 10k with Uta in 42. sore throat
                PM 3.3 warm up with Uta then another 1/2 mile of jogging with strides mixed in. Mona fartlek- only covered 3.87 miles- 5:10 mile pace.  5k cool down. No pop at all just slogging. sore throat, exhausted.

Wednesday Off sick- fought through the last one and that didn't work so trying a different approach.

Thursday off sick

Friday off sick.

Saturday- feeling a bit better but not great.
                 AM 90mins bikram yoga
                 PM 10 miles with Uta and Mark Larosa in 68mins.

Sunday AM 3 mile warm up, skipping warm up, light drills, strides, race RaceMenu Super Sunday 5 mile, 2nd place 24:50, splits- 1- 4:58, 2- 9:54(4:56), 3- 14:47(4:53), 4- 19:59 (5:12)- wicked side stitch- 5-24:50(4:51).  I don't get side stitches often and I haven't had a bad one in a long time.  This thing killed me I felt like I couldn't breath. It started to let go in the last mile but never fully subsided. Though obviously it was MUCH better.
                 PM 4 miles with Uta in 28:07

Summary Obviously a crap week. Not sure what to make of the race.  If I hadn't stitched up and I had run the 4th mile in the range of the 3rd and 5th I would have been about 20 seconds faster and very happy with that.  As it is I just don't know.  The time isn't that good but it isn't that bad.  On the plus side it checks off one of my 2016 goals extending my streak of sub 25 5mile/8k races to 13 years.
  I'm feeling much better sitting here now and hopefully that was my last cold of the year and I can get some consistency going.