Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Training Since Mid October 2015

  I'm including the first few weeks here to give you a sense of my baseline fitness and what my training had looked like going back to labor day.  These couple weeks are pretty representative of that time frame.  I had one or two decent weeks mixed in with over 110 miles but mostly this is about what it had looked like. I include the October 11 race to show the fitness that work had given me.

Sunday October 11 raced Great Island 5k, flat but crazy turn 5k- upwards of 50 or so turns on the course, finished 2nd in 15:10, 3rd placer Andrew Huebner is a 2:17:05 trials qualifier though he is not in top form.

October 12 to 18

Monday AM 4.1 mile recovery run 30mins
                PM 4.1 mile recovery run 30 mins

Tuesday AM 4.1 miles
                PM 5 miles in 40 mins

Wednesday AM 4.1 miles
                     PM 3.5 warm up strides, Monaghetti fartlek on Glendale loop, covered 3.84 miles in 20mins, 3.3 cool down total bit over 10 miles.

Thursday AM 4.1 miles 28mins
                  3pm 2 miles with middle school team
                  5:30pm 10 miles in 62mins

Friday AM 4.1 miles in 29mins
             3pm 2 miles with middle school team
             5:30pm 10.6 miles in 68 mins

Saturday off moving day

Sunday AM 5 miles 35 minutes.  had hoped for second run but moving and getting set up prevented it. 

October 19 to 25

Monday AM 4.1 miles 29mins
               PM 5 miles 35 mins

Tuesday 3pm 3 miles with middle school kids
                6pm 3++ warm up strides, moneghetti fartlek around glendale loop covered 3.97 miles in 20minutes 3++ cool down.

Wednesday PM 14. 6 miles in 1:34

Thursday PM 4 miles in 32 minutes

Friday 3pm 2 miles with middle school kids
             6pm 6.5 miles in 48 minutes

Saturday AM Race great bay 5k, 2nd place 14:40, 5k warm up, drills, strides, 37 second hard effort, splits 4:49, 9:32(4:43), 14:13(4:40), got out kicked.  Pushed from front from the mile mark on.  I wanted the time so I went for that and hoped it would get the win as well but it didn't long cool down including some uptempo stuff with 1st and 3rd place finishers. total 13 miles

Sunday AM 15 miles in 1:37
              PM bikram yoga

October 26 to November 1

Monday PM 10. 6 miles in 71:11

Tuesday PM 20minutes easy with Uta and Melissa

Wednesday off due to life.

Thursday PM 3.5 mile warm up with strides, 3 mile hilly tempo 15:24, 1:30 recovery, 4x400m hill repeats with jog down recoveries(~2mins each) reps-1:33, 1:36, 1:35, 1:35, 3+ cool down. This can be viewed as the start of real training from here on I start doing more then just running.

Friday PM 12 miles in 1:17

Saturday 2pm 4k warm up, 32k around phillips fields in 1:47:54, average pace 5:25 per mile.  This needs to be viewed in context.  First I'm an aerobic monster. Second I had done a 30k on the fields at 5:29 pace on October 4.  Third I respond to this type of training like no other so I improve at it very quickly.

Sunday AM 5 miles in 35 mins
              PM 5 miles in 35 mins

November 2 to 8

Monday AM 5.3 miles in 37 mins
                PM 10.4 miles in 68 mins
               later in PM bikram yoga

Tuesday AM 5.3 miles in 37 mins

Wednesday PM 3.5 warm up with strides, Moneghetti fartlek around glendale loop covered 3.94 miles in 20mins 3 plus cool down

Thursday AM 5.3 miles in 38mins
                  PM 8.7 miles in 56 mins

Friday AM 5.3 miles in 37 mins

Saturday AM bikram yoga
                 PM 5.3 miles in 35mins

Sunday late AM Race USATF-NE xc championships, 8th place 31:12, felt strong to about 4.5 miles then just couldn't seem to go. Had that feeling like if I slowed down just a bit I could run all day but as soon as I pushed I was shit out of luck. 3 warm up, strides, 30 second hard effort, splits mile 4:52, 2mile- 9:58, 5k-15:37, 8k-25:05, 4 mile cool down.

November 9 to 15

Monday AM 5.4 miles in 39 mins
                PM 12 miles in 1:17
                XT bikram yoga

Tuesday AM 5.4 miles in 39 mins
                PM 3.5 warm up with strides, moneghetti fartlek on glendale loop 3.95 miles in the 20mins, 3+ cool down

Wednesday PM 16.5 miles in 1:46:17

Thursday AM 5.4 miles in 39 mins
                  PM 3.5 mile warm up, strides, 5k tempo in 15:23, 1:30 recovery, 4x400m hill repeats with jog down recoveries, 1:38, 1:42, 1:41, 1:41 2 mile recovery.

Friday AM 5.4 miles in 39 mins
             PM 12.3 miles in 1:20

Saturday AM 4k warm up, 36k around phillips fields in 2:01:30- 5:25 pace. very windy.  Best long run I have had since the 2007 Olympic Trials.

Sunday AM 5 miles with Melissa and uta in 36mins
              PM bikram yoga

November 16 to 22

Monday AM 5.6 miles in 40mins

Tuesday AM 10k in 46mins

Wednesday PM 3.5 miles warm up, moneghetti 3.97 miles in the 20mins, 3 plus cool down.

Thursday AM 5 miles in 36mins
                  PM 15 miles in 1:37

Friday AM 10k in 46mins
            PM 12.6 miles in 1:22

Saturday AM 4 mile warm up, drills, strides, 8k tempo around phillips fields at half marathon goal pace, 24:33, 2k splits- 6:11, 12:21, 18:29. 1 mile cool down.
                 PM 5.2 miles with melissa including 2 miles in 11:12.

Sunday AM 22.3 miles, first 20 in 2:13 including 6 miles with Melissa, then 2 miles in 10:03(5:01.8, 5:01.2) then 0.3 easy back to house. total time 2:25:33

November 23 to 29

Monday AM 10k in 46mins
                PM 10.2 miles in 68mins

Tuesday AM 10k in 44mins
                PM 3.5 miles warm up with strides, moneghetti fartlek covered 3.88 miles in the 20mins, 3 miles cool down

Wednesday PM 16.5 miles in 1:47

Thursday AM  3 plus warm up, drills, strides, 5k tempo in 15:07, last mile in 4:47, 1:30 recovery then 4x400m hill repeats with jog down recoveries, 1:38, 1:38, 1:39, 1:39, 2 mile cool down.
                  PM 5 miles with a crazy full stomach in 38mins really quite proud I didn't puke.

Friday AM 10.3 miles in 68mins
             PM 6 miles in 42mins

Saturday AM 13 miles including 62mins at 5:30 pace over hilly loop, felt good but really struggled with coordination on slippery roads(it was raining)
                 PM 4 miles in 28mins with Melissa and Uta

Sunday AM 10.2 miles with Melissa in 73mins
              PM 7.3 miles in 47mins
              XT bikram yoga

November 30 to December 6

Monday AM 10k in 47mins
                PM 3.5 mile warm up with strides, moneghetti fartlek around glendale loop covered 4.02 miles in the 20mins, 3++ cool down

Tuesday PM 16 miles in 1:46

Wednesday AM 5 miles in 38mins
                     PM 3 mile warm up on woodway curve, drills, 3 miles of sprint float sprint around 160m indoor track 80 on 80 off, 16:10, 3 mile cool down.
Thursday AM 10k run in 46mins
                  PM 16 miles in 1:44

Friday AM 10k run in 45mins
            PM 10 miles in 66mins

Saturday AM 4 mile warm up, strides, 10k tempo on phillips fields at goal half marathon pace, 30:43. 2k splits- 6:08, 12:17, 18:25, 24:36. 4 mile cool down
                 PM 10k with melissa including pacing her for her 6k tempo in 21:15.

Sunday AM 22.3 miles, first 20 miles in 2:07:38 then 2 miles in 10:00 (5:03, 4:57), 0.3 miles easy back to house

December 7 to 13

Monday AM 10k in 46 mins
               PM 10.1 miles in 67 mins

Tuesday AM 10k in 45 mins
                First hiccup- I tried a new shoulder exercise and it was way too much for me- almost impossible for me to explain how week my mid back and shoulder region- lower traps, rhomboids are. Anyway I threw my upper back into spasm and by mid day I could barely breath.

Wednesday off All I did was go to bikram yoga which didn't fix the problem but made it like 50% better which was awesome because that took it from real pain down to I just couldn't do shit.

Thursday 3:30pm Accupuncture.
                   6pm 4 miles with Uta in 31mins back/shoulders much better.

Friday AM 10k 47mins
             PM 6 miles in 41mins

Saturday AM 13 miles in 1:21
                 PM bikram yoga

Sunday Second hiccup. I was planning to go for a fast long run but I woke up feeling like I was coming down with a cold.  Bad sore throat and a head ache.  If you live in the Northeast you probably know a nasty virus has been going around and laying people out.  I teach and most of us have pretty awesome immune systems but this had been laying people out.  However Melissa had some crazy immune supplement mix of zinc, vitamins A, C and B6 with garlic, ginger and licorice extracts that I had taken earlier in this cycle when started to get sick and it kicked it fast.  This time I was not so lucky.  I got a tough chest cold.  Thing is I didn't feel sick.  I just was coughing something awful.  I took some easy days and off days to try and get healthy if I had it to do over I would just train full miles and strides. I will be taking this supplement whenever I feel sick from here on out.  I really was shocked how good I felt considering I was sick.  
             AM 15 miles in 1:41

December 14 to 20

Monday AM 10k in 46mins
                PM 6 miles in 42mins

Tuesday AM 10k in 46mins
                PM 10 miles in 67mins

Wednesday PM 12 miles from my school in 1:14- parent conferences today so I don't have time to go home and run.  I run from school between the end of the day and the start of conferences. I had hoped to have time for 16 but I had an unplanned early meeting with a parent right after school so I had to settle for 12

Thursday AM 10k 44mins
                  PM 12 miles from school, second night of conferences, 1:15

Friday AM 4.1 miles in 31mins

Saturday AM 4 miles in 28 mins

Sunday AM 7 miles in 53mins.  I had planned to try and sleep a lot and take it easy just running with Melissa for a few days to kick the cold.  I executed the plan but didn't get the desired result.  I think this was a mistake. I should have just kept running full volume.

December 21 to 27

Monday AM 5 miles in 37mins
                PM 10k in 43mins

Tuesday AM 5 miles in 37mins
                PM 10.3 miles in 70mins

Wednesday 1pm- half day at school. 16.1 miles in 1:41
             Went to new chiropractor Melissa knows who is very good with exercises and she gave me new exercise to activate lower trap. Huge help for posture!

Thursday AM 12.1 miles in 1:19, only one run because of family get together for Christmas Eve

Friday Merry Christmas!!! AM 7 miles in 48mins including a 5:24 mile with Melissa
            Noon 11.6 miles in shorts and a T-shirt!!! in 1:12.
I was feeling pretty good by today.  Still coughing but not nearly as bad.  However I was feeling very confused about how to approach training for the next week.  I have a goal race now only 9 days away. I haven't run fast for nearly 3 weeks. I need to get back in the swing but at the same time taper.  I am very good with setting up full cycles but a spot like this I just didn't have a solution.  I must have settled on 15 different plans.  I should have called Gary Gardner. That is my normal fall back.  Gary doesn't use the exact same methods I do but he more than understands what I do and he is one of the absolute best when something goes off plan at figuring out the best way to adjust and balance things.  I can't tell you how many times I have gone to him with a seemingly intractable problem I just couldn't figure out and he thinks for 10 seconds and then has the perfect plan that ends up saving my cycle.  Anyway it was Christmas and I was doing all the family stuff and what not so I didn't call him.  All this is to say I'm not confident in what I ended up doing.

Saturday AM 10.3 in 70mins

Sunday PM 13.7 miles with last two miles at goal half marathon pace. first 11.4 in 1:12 then 2 miles in 9:41.8- bit quick.  I run on the roads so I don't have a lot of splits for these things. (4:54.3, 4:47.5) actually didn't feel that bad considering I have done zero speed for weeks. 


 So there you have it my training for this half marathon.  Not ideal but the course and competition look ideal.  I keep trying to remind myself that I have run a handful of 1:07 to 1:08 halves here in New England off worse or similar training on much tougher course in much tougher conditions.  Also I keep reminding myself of a story from my good friend Tommy Neal.  Tommy was training for the Gary Bjorkland half marathon as a qualifying attempt for the 2012 trials and he joined that group that Scott Simmons put together that was advised by Canova.  The week of the race Tommy gets to sit down with Canova for a while and go over his training logs.  At the end Canova says to Tommy who has best in the mid 29's for 10k, 49 something for 10 miles, and low 2:20's for the marathon that the good news is that he has not been training he just runs a lot.  This means that Canova thinks he can improve in leaps and bounds with a few adjustments because the volume he is running shows he can handle heavy training.  But poor Tommy is panicked his race is that weekend.  He tells Canova as much.  Canova asks what the course is like and what time Tommy needs to run.  Canova says something like 'well it isn't a sure thing but 1:05 isn't that fast and a person could certainly run that sort of time on just a lot of running.'  The result.  Tommy ran 1:04:59 and qualified for the trials.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

What I've been up to and what is next

I'm on Christmas Break this week so I will try to post a few blogs.  If you want the pure training blog that will be next.  I'll give my training of the last few months but for this one I'll just talk about what I have been up to since my dnf at Boston in April.

  After Boston my recovery was pretty quick.  Both physically and mentally.  I think that the mental side was key.  Keeping control of the leg that long was a huge emotional boost and so I got back to some moderate running after a couple of weeks.  However there were some troubles looming for my running.

  Melissa and I had decided to sell our town home.  We bought it as a short sale at the bottom of the market and the condo market where we were was flattening out a bit while the single family home market was showing no signs of slowing.  Our realtor showed us a bunch of comps that told us if we could update our kitchen, very out of date, we could get a much higher price.  To max profit we did a lot of the work ourself.  This dominated our life.  I even had to take a week off from running to get the job done which I NEVER do.  Also during this time frame I was more and more feeling run down and exhausted.  Even after we finished the reno I just couldn't seem to get the ball rolling.  As summer arrived I just was flat as ever.  I only worked part time all summer but I wasn't really able to train at all.  I was running but only 60 to 80 miles a week most of the time with almost no workouts and almost no races.  I ran a 15:17 5k at the York Days 5k on July 26.  That is a flat fast course and I had great competition the whole way and actually lost.  What was worse is that I was surprised I could run that fast based on what I had been doing.  I just kept chalking it up to the stress of selling the house and trying to buy a new one.

  At the end of the summer I got a horrible stomach virus.  Already living at the low end of my race weight, 162.  I dropped 13 pounds in a week.  Obviously some of that was water weight but the point is I was wrecked.  During this time I went to the doctor. I see a doctor in Melissa's office. The two of them had been arguing all summer about my vegetarian diet so he ran some extra blood work when I was there.  It turned out he was right.  I had stripped my body of pretty much all its creatine and was deficient of proteins as well.

  So around labor day I began supplementing with creatine and eating meat again.  Steadily I felt better. Still easy to exhaust but with a little bounce in my legs. I had a couple good weeks of training and then ran a 31:39 for 12th at the cow harbor 10k but given the conditions, hot, and how I had been doing just a couple weeks before this was a big step in the right direction.

  Also by October we had sold our town home and made enough money to pay off Melissa's rather excessive student loans and still be able to buy a single family home complete with fenced in yard for Uta and have less monthly expenses then we had in the town home.  A pretty big win all around.  Over late September and early October we moved twice, out of our place, stayed in Melissa's parents house and then finally into our new place.  Despite this I was doing some decent workouts, though my mileage was low. I raced a few races over this stretch culminating in a solid 14:40 5k, 13 straight years with at least one sub 15, and a 31:12 effort at the USATF-NE cross country championships.

  At this point I was actually happier with my training finally coming around and how I felt in workouts, not totally dead, then I was with the racing which though better than it had been was obviously sub par.  I had originally planned a late fall half marathon but I decided instead to begin looking for a winter one as I needed to actually train for a little bit.

  I found the Jacksonville bank half marathon scheduled for January 3rd.  Richard Fannin was putting together a field for this usually sleepy race so I asked to be added in.

  I didn't have a ton of time but I was already fairly fit.  Most importantly I had been able at this point to do a 25 or 30k fundamental tempo run which was really helping my fitness.  I would soon stretch that out to a very strong 36k, about 22.5 miles, at under 5:30 mile pace.  In that weeks that followed I did a few decent workouts, a monaghetti fartlek where I covered over 4 miles, a 24:33 8k tempo and a 30:43 10k tempo.  Then I got sick and and though I was able to keep running I didn't do any workouts for the last three weeks.  Finally Sunday, now a week out from the half marathon, I did a 13 mile run with the last two miles at half marathon pace.  I was able to run 9:41 without it feeling too bad so hopefully I'll be alright next weekend.  Though in the long run I don't really care if I am or not.  I'm healthy.  I have found a training cycle that I can maintain around my job and with yoga I am healthy.  Also in the last few weeks I have got some exercises that are helping continue the improvement in my posture while running which should continue my progress forward on the coordination front.

  Looking to Jacksonville I am aiming to run with the main pace group which is going at 4:55 a mile. The course is flat and with 60 men entered looking for a sub 1:05 there should be just a huge group to hang in with.  A sub 1:05 from the front on even a 'fast' New England course is a really tough effort but on a super flat course in a large pack running together it is not nearly as high a bar so I am optimistic that despite my poorly timed cold I have a decent shot at qualifying.

  I'm also equally excited that Melissa has had the breakthrough of a career over the last couple of months and I have paced her through some sessions that tell me she is ready for an absolutely huge PB so I figure even if I am not able to slip under 1:05 it should be a good day.

  After Jacksonville if I qualify I will do a few marathon workouts.  I have done enough fundamental tempo's that I should be able to do some good workouts without any problems.  Actually if I qualify I will be quite optimistic about running well in LA.  Being a natural marathoner combined with my training if I can hold coordination for the full race, which seems increasingly likely, I should only slow about 5 to 6 seconds per kilometer over the marathon distance.  For example I averaged 3:08 per k in my tune up half for the Olympic Trials and averaged just under 3:12 per k in the trials on two courses of similar difficulty. So a 1:04:59 would mean targeting a 2:13:30 to 2:14:12 marathon.  I know that sounds crazy but keep in mind the '08 trials was a hilly course.  Had it been flat I would have targeted a 2:10.  Also even with the loss of coordination I think I would have run 2:11 high or 2:12 low on that day had the course been faster.

  Point is I'm not saying I am fitter than I was in the fall of '07.  I am saying the LA course looks faster than the NYC course and it is possible I could run a faster time than I did on that tougher course if I hold coordination the whole way, which I did not in NYC.

  The last part is key.  Based on workouts leading up to the 2008 NYC marathon I thought I could run 10 seconds per mile faster then I had at the trials the fall before.  The NYC course and the trials course were of similar difficulty and I used the same courses and same workouts to get ready as I had the year before only I was running 10 to 12 seconds per mile faster.  Thing is the coordination was getting worse and worse and by shortly after 10k I was peg legging and my day was all done except the crying.

  There are three keys to running a fast marathon. 1. the general fitness to do so. 2. marathon specific fitness-this is the achilles heel of most americans.  You really, even if you are not a natural marathoner, shouldn't slow down more than 5% from your half marathon pace to your marathon pace, if you are properly prepared and the courses are similar. This means a 1:02:14 is equal to a mid 2:10. Think of how many americans run in that range for the half and just how few are sub 2:11.  Before people go crazy on me for this look at the top kenyans and Ethiopians of the last decade since switching to the Italian system in the lat 2000's the 5% slow down is pretty standard.  Also a guy like Meb has a bigger slowdown but on different courses.  He would run 1:01 on a flat fast course then 2:09 at NYC a tough course.  Certainly in an apple to apple comparison he would only slow 4 or 5% and he is quite explosive, 27:13 10k. Of course if you are still judging Meb by his marathon PB and not recognizing that he ran his best efforts on tough courses and in tough conditions your a lost cause.  Obviously if he had focused his career on rotterdam and berlin instead of Boston, NYC and the Olympics he would have run in the 2:05 range at some point along the way and been sub 2:08 many times.
3. you need to be physically healthy enough to mechanically run up to your fitness for 26.2 miles.  This has been my achilles heel. Though over the last 13 months I have begun to see the light at the end of this long long dark tunnel and whether I'll take my first step out of the other side on February 13th or if it will wait a bit longer I feel confident I'll be back in the long race, in a real and effective way, this year.

 Hope your well and I'll try to put together a blog of my training tonight or tomorrow.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Training April 27 to May 3


PM Road 6, first 4 with Melissa and Uta, strides total 6.5 miles

XT Ankle drills, whartons, scapular isometrics


PM at Haverhill High School, I'm coaching my middle school track team this spring and practice is at the high school at 4:30 so I try to sneak a run in between when I get out of school and when practice starts, 21minute warm up, skipping warm up, light drills, strides, Light Monaghetti fartlek about 1/2 effort, averaged 5:32 pace for the 20mins. No cool down to speak of it was time for practice. total around 8 miles

XT skipping warm up, light drills, whartons, scapular isometrics


PM 2 mile warm up with Uta, 14:19, dropped her off, 10 miles at fundamental pace in 58:20 slowest mile 5:58, fastest 5:37, very hilly.  strides after, this was aerobically very easy these runs are key to returning my muscular endurance and to improving my ability to hold the coordination, total 12.5 miles

XT ankle drills, whartons, scapular isometrics


AM dale road 5 with Melissa and Uta, 38:30, strides after total 5.5 miles

XT ankle drills, whartons, scapular isometrics


PM 30 minute warm up, ended up at North Andover Middle school as the high school had a lacrosse game. skipping warm up, light drills, strides. Moderate session of Aussie quarters(8x(200jog) 400m rep) (43.04), 68.20, (52.92), 68.82, (49.22),  69.21, (54.37), 69.43, (50.81), 68.81 (51.63), 69.13, (49.05), 69.00, (50.91), 68.73  total time for 3 miles 15:53.28- about a minute slower than before the marathon but the effort was less.  Funny thing is I could see how someone would tell themselves that this was a hard effort.  It makes me wonder if I could just notch up my toughness one level could I actually be doing a session like this in 13:50?  If I could I would truly world class.  Is there another notch there?  6 minute cool down total 9 miles or so

XT whartons, scapular isometrics, skipping warm up, light drills


AM 4 miles with Uta, first 2 miles with Melissa warming up for her race, then strides in Dover, NH total 4. 5 miles

XT whartons, scapular isometrics


AM 2 mile warm up, skipping warm up, 20k fundamental pace run, 1:11:41, did two 10k loops, first in 36:13, 2nd in 35:27, again very easy aerobically but this work is for the muscular endurance and working on the coordination. did strides after, total 15 miles

XT ankle drills, whartons, scapular isometrics.


  So this week was a semi return to training.  In the past I have built up miles slowly in returns and worked out less but tried to workout at full effort.  This time around I'm trying to follow a normal schedule outline but with reduced miles AND doing the workouts at a lighter effort.  We'll see how it goes. I like the idea of it but I haven't done it before.  This week I'll be doing much the same thing with just a small step up.  I expect the week after that to be closer to full volume and effort.  
  Sorry for not having more updates this week but it isn't likely that I'll be posting too much from now to the end of the school year.  I'll get in the weekly training blog but beyond that I think it will be a bit light.  I've got the track team added to the regular schedule for the next few weeks and Melissa and I are probably moving and are doing some work on our current place to get it ready to sell so we are VERY busy.

  Hope your training is going well!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The numbers last two weeks of training, taper and recovery. April 13 to 26, 2015


PM road 4 with Melissa and Uta, 32 mins total 4

XT whartons, yti, rubberband, ankle drills


PM road 9 solo, 57:23 strides total 9 plus

XT whartons, yti, rubberband, ankle drills


PM road 7 solo, 41:16, strides total 7 plus

XT After run did 90mins bikram yoga, whartons, yti, rubberband, ankle drills


PM long day lots of outside running stuff, so this was later around 7pm, bear hill 4.2 with Uta for warm up 26:12, jogged a quarter mile after dropping her off to start of workout. Not much time before darkness and I wanted to get dinner on the stove so we could go to bed at a reasonable hour so couple quick strides and I was off, 3 miles at around MP effort (15:17.27), splits 5:13.00(uphill), 10:10.95 (4:57.95-downhill), 15:17.27 (5:06.27 flat) Hamstrings were very tight from either over recovery with the taper or getting after it a bit too much at yoga last night, 1/4 mile or so jog home for a 'cool down' total around 8 ish. 

XT whartons, yti, rubberband


PM road 5 with Uta, 33:24, strides

XT whartons, yti, rubberband


AM dale 4 solo, 25:58, strides

XT wharton, yti, rubberband, ankle drills, added new isometric scapular stabilization exercises(will just call scapular isometrics from now on. video with exercise here . 


AM Dale road 4 with Uta, 25:11, skipping warm up and drills after, felt much better control of mid back after isometric exercises pre run. total 4 miles

XT wharton, yti, rubberband, scapular isometrics

I already did a full blog on this so no details just the nitty gritty.

AM 15min warm up, light strides, whartons, rubber band, scapular isometrics light drills, light strides. Race BAA Boston Marathon, DNF at 19 miles in 1:44:20 NO COORDINATION problems. Piece of shit run otherwise. But when you haven't done specific work or even long runs for 8 weeks this is what you get.


PM road 3, first 1.5 with Uta and Melissa- banged up and sore but not nearly as bad as after finishing marathons. total 3 miles

XT whartons, scapular isometrics, rubber band



XT 90mins bikram yoga, whartons, scapular isometrics, rubberband


PM 5 miles around Phillips fields, 35:05, with Uta, first 10mins with Melissa who was warming up for a workout, 3x100m strides after 16.4, 16.2, 15.9- felt 100% on jog but I noticed tightness and fatigue  on strides.

XT whartons, scapular isometrics, rubberband



XT 90mins bikram yoga, whartons, scapular isometrics, rubberband


PM around 4ish on trails with Uta and Melissa, 4 strides after, jog felt very slow, strides felt great. total 4 plus

XT whartons, scapular isometrics, rubberband



XT 90mins bikram yoga, whartons, scapular isometrics, rubberband


  Certainly not as tired or sore as after doing a full marathon.  Will do two weeks of light building up as I would after a marathon but I'm gonna skip the 2nd week of 'full' rest like this past one as I feel better now than I normally do after 2 weeks of full rest post marathon.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Boston Marathon Race Recap: DNF and a huge success.

  Most of you who read this certainly know by now I was a DNF in Boston on Monday.  This was disappointing but not nearly as much as you might think or perhaps as it should be.  My focus for a late winter or spring marathon since beginning to work on the upper back and shoulder posture was to see improvement in the coordination problem.  So to me everything else was secondary.  In this frame Monday was a huge success. In my last two marathons, NYC 2008 an the IAAF World Championships in 2009, I lost coordination completely at almost exactly 10k- just before in one and practically on the marker in the other and it was 'threatening' to go before there.  In the 19 miles I made it Monday I never lost coordination and I held goal pace range for more than 20k and reasonable pace for 16 plus miles.   This was HUGE for me.  Everything else is a regular problem I am not afraid of.  The coordination has been an unbeatable unassailable wall for almost a decade and to have concrete success in cracking it feels like a miracle!

  So what went wrong, why did I dnf etc..

  So I'll start with the events of the day and then I'll get into possible causes and that sort of stuff.

  I had no real set pace plan going into the race.  I was fit but I haven't been able to do a ton of specific work or get on the course.  Ruben wanted to go out at around 2:16 pace and there was a group that was going for that.  We figured given the weather that was quick enough to give a shot at sub 2:18, the trials standard and for Ruben the worlds standard, even if the wind was real bad in the second half but not so fast as to be a all eggs in the basket hammer out attack.

  The first mile is very downhill particularly the first K, we were like 3:01 at the K but really relaxed and hit the mile in 5:06 (I'll put all the splits at the end of the blog).   This felt great and Ruben and I were in a nice little group.  I noticed the leaders got out very fast and I noticed that we were already into a head wind which I had hoped not to feel until at least half way.

  I noticed Fernando Cabada had gone out conservatively just in front of us a bit and was already in no mans land.  I really felt for the guy and hoped he would find a group soon.  A 2:11 is much harder to run now than in decade past because so often you have to chose between running 2:05, or faster, pace or running alone.  Going out in 2:09 and holding on is reasonable but going out in 29:35 for 10k is not for most guys.

  I was thrilled how easy the first 5k was and how perfect my shoulders felt and that my leg was barking in the least.  We hit 5k in 16:08.  I know 16:00 are 2:15:00 pace so I figured we were right on.  Already it the wind was quite noticeable and I was trying to stay in the pack but kept finding myself on the outside.  Aerobically I felt incredibly easy and actually was wishing we were running a few seconds per mile faster.

  Sage Canaday was the most aggressive in our pack and did a ton of leading.  Really awesome job by him to run 2:19 in that wind.  No doubt in my mind that was a 2:15 to 2:16 effort  and to come on the heels of a 2:20 in hot weather in LA I really feel for the guy who I'm sure thought he would go to LA and qualify easy and get back to focusing on his Ultra stuff.

  I was super pumped to pass 10k in about 32:21.  I felt easy but to be honest I was VERY stressed as we came up to this point that I would suddenly lose coordination and this whole thing would be a failure.  Rationally I knew that wasn't likely but it has been nearly a decade of failure and so it is easy to lose the rational side.  After 10k I just told myself every step is an improvement and I really felt totally confident I would make 15k as I was not feeling any symptoms what so ever in the leg.   I noticed after 10k the wind getting very tough and it was really hard to run into.  We were running times in the low 5:teens but you knew the effort was 5 to 10 seconds a mile under that even in the pack and a strong head wind was my number one fear for the coordination so this was very tough mentally too.  I rolled by 15k and was not thrilled with the 48:42 as I knew we had slowed a bit but with the wind what could you do.  I felt strong and was thrilled the leg wasn't threatening at all.

  There was a short little hill before 10 miles and suddenly my legs, quads really, were burning like hell and I got dropped off the pack.  I tried to force back on because with the wind running alone was a sure to fail plan.  It was no use my legs were shit.  I was shocked.  I have never had trouble like this in a marathon.  This mile was a 5:22 my slowest so far and all I could think of was that Deek quote about how if you are hurting at 10 miles in a marathon you are in trouble.  This was not good.  Still I hadn't lost coordination and so I focused on running hard and seeing how far I could go without losing coordination.

  I had a couple bad steps in the 11th mile where the leg felt like it was threatening but I realized I had let my shoulder/upper back position slip and I refocused on that and the leg quickly felt much better.  I hit 20k in 65:43 which was just awful.  I knew back in February running through snow and worst wind than we had out there today I had run 20k of alternations in 66:23 so to only be 40 seconds up on that was awful.  That said I also knew that was fast enough to be right in my trouble pace for the coordination and I was still running strong.

  It was a weird space to be in.  Aerobically I felt great and I had full control of my leg which was awesome but my legs were completely dead just weak and hurting.  I kept hoping as the aerobic effort was so easy things would get better but they just kept getting worse.

  I tried to make the best of an unpleasant situation  high fiving spectators including the Wellesely girls, so many of them my arm hurt after, and pushing on.  Mostly running in the 5:30's  Then mile 15 I ran something in the 5:50's and knew I was in deep crap.  Still I had control of the leg so I tried to soldier on.  16 has a screamer of a downhill before you face the Newton Hills.  I managed another mile in the 5:30's and told myself if I couldn't keep it under 6 mins I would drop out at 17.  I ran 6:02 but by the time I got there I had figured out that if I ran about 6:00 to the finish I could manage a 2:26 or so which is pretty bad compared to what I wanted but not embarrassing and I decided 6:02 on one of the slowest miles wasn't that bad.  Mile 18 was worse, 6:15. But I thought I could rally on the flat 19 mile but I was feeling very weird by this point.  It was raining and I was very uncomfortable and my thought process wasn't too clear.

  I started getting caught by folks from behind me and I was feeling very poor at this point and realizing I was looking at a very slow finish time.  I also was realizing that though I hadn't lost coordination running at over 6:00 pace is not much stress on the system and wasn't telling me much if anything about the coordination issues.

  As I said I was not all that clear headed at this point so exactly why I chose to stop just after the 19 mile mark.  I think I was thinking I might drop out and I might just collect myself.  As I stopped a group went by and I was surprised by them and sort of turned as I stopped and went woozy.  As I stepped to the side of the road I blacked out for just a second and was caught by some of the very nice water stop folks.  I realized my day was over.  One of the volunteers walked me to the med tent. The pic below is me heading towards the med tent.

Photo by Chris Spinney

  In the med tent I was evaluated by a doctor and was a bit hypothermic, my heart rate was low considering I had just stopped running, 50, but my blood pressure was also low again considering I had just stopped running hard at 108 over 60.  I was realizing how cold I was.  They gave me some hot broth and a blanket and then I took the tour of sag wagon busses back to the finish area.

  In the med bus I was a hurting unit but I was also actually quite excited because I felt the enormous weight of the coordination issue being lifted off my shoulders.  I felt guilty getting all this support when I was not dejected or in need of serious medical care.  I mean don't get me wrong I wanted a hot bath and dry cloths like a man in the desert wants water but it still felt wrong to be happy in the dnf van.

  Post race I felt really bad for not finishing for all the people who supported me and I felt badly for all the press I had received in the build up to Boston.  I have had mixed feelings about the press from the beginning. Obviously by putting out this blog I had invited it and I wanted enough to get some shoe support and I got that.  I however have from the beginning figured this was a long road back and knew there was a good chance there would be serious bumps in the road.  On top of that all the press started to really happen just as I was hitting one of those bumps and it was an uncomfortable place to be.  I always try to be as honest as I can with press people, with most everyone really, but in the end you can't control what is written and so a lot of times the public information out there isn't a fair assessment.

  The point is I get, and appreciate, a ton of support from so many people out there and though I was happy with this race as I accomplished my process goal which was most important to me, I realized that I had fallen way short of any and all outcome goals and for people watching from the world around me that was a pretty big failure.  As a fan myself I know what it is like to root for someone and have them fall short and fail and it hurts.  It feels like you failed too.  Or at least like you have suffered a loss.  So I came up with a great idea to post an apology on Facebook.  That was stupid.  A few hours later I get back online to discover that the whole running world thinks I'm practically suicidal and they are saying some really nice things which made me feel all the more guilty.  Oh well…


 First to tell you that I know for sure 100% what was the problem would be a lie.  I have my theories and I'll address them but I could be wrong and only time will tell.  I will list every thing that I think could have been the issue.  I'm guessing that a few things together were the problem.  I will list them in order of how likely I think it is each was the issue or a major issue in my failure from the things I'm sure were at least part of the problem down to some things that I very much doubt were an issue but heck it could have been.

1.  My last good specific workout was February 18th.  Two months before the race.  I had hoped that with a couple close to specific workouts, 15k around mp and a 16 miler at about 85 to 90% of mp would be enough of a bridge to carry that specific work fitness to the day.  But the reality is I hadn't even been able to run long runs during this period and by the time I was 100% healthy it was time to taper.  I was able to train in non-marathon specific ways which meant that I am VERY fit but not ready for a marathon.  I never even made it to where I ran out of glycogen because my muscles were so unready they quit first.  I think if I had been doing regular 20 to 22 milers I would have at least been able to go 20 or so before running out of glycogen and then struggling.

2. conditions.  I doubt very much these were the only issue I had but at the same time had the wind been at our backs I would have been running the same splits but with even less effort and I have no doubt I would have gone 16 miles, I was going to say 15 but the downhill 16th is a very easy mile to run, without any issues then I would have fought through the hills and really been hurting at 21 but running downhill with the wind at my back and salvaged a 2:20 or so.  I did end up hypothermic.  I tend to think it was a symptom of slowing down and struggling but it may have been something that was causing my body to work harder than it should and caused some of my struggles.

3. lack of long runs over the last 5 plus years.  As a symptom of the coordination problem I have not been able to do much running over 10 miles since 2010 or so.  I can do it now but I need to get a lot more in and that will help with muscular endurance.  I started in that direction but with the hiccups the last couple months not having those in my background became a much bigger problem.

4. Food.  I am eating a plant based diet now and I don't eat enough.  I don't think I ate enough the morning of the race.  I was STARVING after I dnf'd.  I'll have to address this and may add some animal products back into my diet.  If I had fallen apart at 18 to 20 miles I would think this was a bigger part of the problem I have a hard time believing I was struggling at 10 because of a poor breakfast though I have little doubt the poor breakfast played a big part in me passing out when I stopped.

5. Toughness.  I may not be as tough as I once was.  I was in a worse way in Berlin in 2009 and I didn't stop.  I wasn't really that bad off in NYC but still I lost coordination at 10k and I finished.  Now I dnf.  Try to remember I had powerful reasons to finish both those races.  At NYC I had a small by their standards but huge by my financial standards at the time appearance fee and I only got paid half if I didn't finish.  I'd post the amount but I think there was a non-discloser clause and thought I doubt very much they would sue me or anything I really like the NYRR and would like to do their events again and have no desire to piss them off.  At the world championships I was representing my country.  I was going to finish that race if I had to crawl to the line.  I am at my core a mediocre nobody from a nowhere town with little talent who trained hard for 10 years with no real prospects of success and suddenly I am wearing the Team USA kit, hardest national team in the world to make, on the second highest stage available.  There was no way under the sun I was going to drop out as long as I had anything I could do to prevent it.  For Boston I was there to test the coordination first and if things were going well try to run an OT qualifier.  Honestly I would have been happy in those conditions to run anything in the low 2:20's but that wasn't happening and I felt no strong need to fight a war just for the sake of finishing.  DNF or 2:30 something for a time look about the same to me at this time.

 Finally I'd like to respond to a couple of comments that I thought were fair and probably represented what a lot of others were thinking but maybe not writing.

  One poster asked something like what happened to you guys?  I assume referring to both Ruben and I.  Given the conditions I thought Ruben ran well.  He was a bit banged up as well and wasn't able to do great specific workouts but was able to do some pretty solid long runs.  He ran 2:21.  I feel looking at the top finishers the course was probably 4 to 5 minutes slower than a Dubia or Berlin or Boston with Tailwind.  Given that Ruben ran 2:16 to 2:17 type effort which is very good.  For me I think I have addressed what I think happened.

  Another poster put up a nice well thought out thing on why not quit teaching.  It kinda pissed Melissa off but I thought it was a good post.  He pointed out that working with kids you give them a lot of energy even if you don't realize it.  Believe me I realize it.  I don't work a very long day.  I'm at work from about 7:45 to about 3:15, some days I have to stay until 5 or later but not often.  I leave TIRED.  I don't sit except at lunch and emotionally you put a lot in.  There are just no breaks.  So why not quit and focus a 100% on a sub 2:12 like the poster suggested.

  Well some reasons are financial.  My best year I made about $18k from just running income.  If I ran a 2:11 right now I would guess I would struggle to get a shoe contract for much more than 10K.  I made those sacrifices but I don't want to set myself, and my family, for financial hardship or even just more difficulty down the line just to chase a PR.  I spent a number of years doing that and paid my dues and paid my financial price.  I have a nice life now and I don't want to sell my house and put Melissa through all that for a second run.

  Would it make it easier to run fast?  sure.  But this is the real world and that isn't an option for me in my current life.  If I do run very fast while teaching and the chance to run full time and make a real living doing it arrises I would consider it.  I have also considered trying to find a less stressful job but frankly I like my work and every job has its advantages and disadvantages.

  I want to run fast but I am living a normal life now and I like my life.  I'm not in a place where I want to gamble our home or financial future on a time chase that would be purely about personal satisfaction.  In the current state of international running for a guy my age quitting my job to try and run 2:11 or even 2:09 is like a man quitting his job to run 2:30.  You can do it if it really means that much to you but if you are doing for YOU and your own personal satisfaction.  I'm not satisfied with my running but it is a rare night I wake up NEEDING to run 2:10.  I can live with the few nights it happens because my family and our security is worth more to me.

Splits from Boston
2-5:14.92 (10:21.86)
3-5:12.40 (15:34.26)
4-5:12.65 (20:46.91)
5-5:16.88 (26:03.79)
6-5:10.22 (31:14.01)
7-5:15.16 (36:29.17)
8-5:13.15 (41:42.32)
9-5:18.06 (47:00.38)
10-5:22.54 (52:22.92)
11-5:23.45 (57:46.37)
12-5:31.07 (1:03:17)
13-5:31.19 (1:08:48)
Halfway 1:09:27
14- 5:37.32 (1:14:25)
15- 5:52.31 (1:20:18)
16- 5:33.77 (1:25:52)
17-6:02.83 (1:31.54)
18-6:15.13 (1:38:09)
19-6:10.64 (1:44:20)

 Some photos I snagged off Facebook that show me running upright! (this is key for me to hold coordination)

Photo by Caitlyn Germain

Photo by Danielle Brideau Lussier

Photo by Jeff Thelen

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Boston is Monday!

  A couple days ago I got what I thought was a well thought out and in depth comment on the blog.  I as reading it on my phone and had no idea who the poster "Kemibe" was but I decided I would like to use it for my race preview blog as a jumping off point.  So when I got a chance I got on a real computer with plans of tracking down this poster to get his permission.  Then I saw it was Kevin Beck, who I know a bit, and is a fairly well known running writer and a 2:24 marathoner.  Kevin said is was ok if I used his post as a jumping off and I have offered him the ability to provide a rebuttal or extension to anything if he likes down the line.  I will put Kevin's comment in its full glory at the bottom of the article but I will basically be responding to it in the main body and will put Kevin's post in red and my response in blue.  To keep things simple.

I understand your need to "run defensively" while still aiming to take clear advantage of your undeniable fitness. But I wouldn't necessarily expect that you can count on your performance being only as good as the extent to which you are *assured* of falling apart. You may actually get to experience the *ordinary* pain of taking yourself to the functional aerobic-plus-fuel exhaustion limit -- and wouldn't that be nice for a change! 
I love this part of the comment.  It highlights a fine line I'm trying to walk in my mental preparation for Monday.  I have no intention of running defensively  BUT I am very much going in with a 'defensive' mind set of expecting problems.  This is for a few reasons.  One based on how my training has gone and how early in changing my form and returning to this long fast running I am I honestly expect that I will lose coordination at some point in the race.  Might not happen but the best guess I have is that it will be an issue at some point.  Two I believe it is very important to not go into races expecting perfection and ease.  It almost never happens that way and if you are anticipating it then you are much more likely to crumble or at least slow down in the face of adversity.  I am a very big fan of visualizing all sorts of possible problems that may arise and visualize myself overcoming them.  

You said explicitly that your body isn't the biomechanical mess it was just five months ago. And you will be more comfortable than you've been at any time in recent memory because you'll be tapered and rested. You may be able to count on a pleasant surprise from the ol' chassis.
I am certainly not the biomechanics mess I was five months ago but I am still a biomechanics mess.  If you don't believe me watch the workout section of this runners world video from last thursday, ,  there is a point they show me working hard towards the end of my workout and my shoulders are all hunched up and my head is forward.  I'm a work in progress and I have come a very long way but I have a very long way to go still.  I have never viewed this race as an end.  This run is strictly a chance to see where I am.  I may indeed get the pleasant surprise from the 'ol chassis as you say and run  2:13 to 2:15 and be able to really fight in after Heartbreak.  However if I do it doesn't change my situation because I still need to get to where this form is MY form and I don't need to think about it and I don't have bad days.  

Hopefully you have all the bases covered in the usual ways and haven't let concern over your form going into the toilet overwhelm everything else.
  I'm well prepared.  The banged up foot prevented me from being incredibly well prepared.  I am super fit.  As fit or fitter than I was for the Olympic Trials in 2007.  Not as fit as I was for NYC in '08 or for my 5k PR but very very fit.  I would have liked two more specific workouts but I didn't need them.  Now to be honest much of the work needed to run a marathon is the work I needed to work on the coordination so this made not getting too wrapped up in the coordination a lot easier.  If I was prepping for 5k pb I would be screwed right now.

 I strongly doubt this is the case, as you strike me as more of a thinking man's marathoner than any fast guy I can recall reading about. But one more shell from the peanut gallery can't hurt.
I'm not sure if you are kissing my ass here or making fun of the rest of the Olympic Qualifiers out there but I'm good with it either way.

Maybe if you regard this as a stepping stone to sub-2:15 Nate (who was ready for faster than that in Nov. 2007 -- 1:42-flat-ish at 20 miles...well, you've done the math) (I have I think I would have gone around 2:13:40 if I hadn't lost coordination and don't forget that was a pretty hilly course) instead of the one real chance to get to that point en masse, it will help you. 
 I touched on this above but this is 100% how I feel about this.  I mean I have found a system that I can follow and stay healthy and I'm on the road to recovery with the coordination even if Monday is the worst day I have had since November and a total shit show the future looks bright and sunny.  My dreams of running two 2:10s a year for 15 straight years may have sailed but honestly I'm happy with my career as it stands today.  I finished top 10 at couple USA championships.  I qualified for USA indoors a couple times.  I qualified for a World Championships for goodness sake.  Don't forget I only ran 4:32/9:47 in high school and I was a walk on at a D2 school.  Do I have other goals I think could have been achieved or could still be achieved?  Of course. But if it never happens I can walk away knowing I did pretty damn well. 
  Point is my current goal is to see where I am.  If I have no need to PR or run the time I think I deserved along the way.  I would REALLY like to qualify for the trials, sub 2:18, but I'm not going to be too upset if it doesn't happen.  More than anything I want information.

You're far from old, even if you feel every one of those lifetime miles almost every day. I was feeling my age a bit before getting a good yoga routine going but now I feel like I did 10 years ago.  I'm starting to put half an eye on the master scene. Even a well-executed 2:18 to 2:20 would be a huge confidence boost -- if you do it the 1:06/1:14 way you've still done it but it'll smack of too much familiarity to be as useful to you as an "if only I'd gone out harder" mind-game. If I run 2:18 to 2:20 I'm going to be pretty happy regardless of if I go out in 1:06 or 1:10.  I agree I will feel better about it if it happens with a slower start and going longer without a problem but I'm just going to run the race as it unfolds and not go in with too rigid a plan.

Anyway, you have more than earned your fucking shot at being Nate again, and I will be proud as hell to be cheering you on with 3.2 miles and hopefully no more than about 16-17 minutes to go.
Kevin told me I should remove the fucking from the above bit but I like it so it stays.  I totally agree with that I have my chance to be me again.  I don't know if that will be Monday but if it is I'm ready to dig down and grab it.  If not I'm SO much fitter than I was a few months back because of the ability to do the long workouts again.  I know I can continue to get fitter in the coming months and that I will get many more shots at the marathon and that is so exciting to me.  My feeling is that I may or not rock one on Monday or this fall but even if the road ahead of me is long and winding road between me and a good marathon I'm cool with that.  Honestly if sometime in the next 5 years I nail a great one it is an awesome topper to a running career that frankly has exceeded what I honestly deserve if not quite accomplished the world domination I wanted.

This is Uta and I Running from the Runner's World article.

Kevin's original post without my interruptions.
I understand your need to "run defensively" while still aiming to take clear advantage of your undeniable fitness. But I wouldn't necessarily expect that you can count on your performance being only as good as the extent to which you are *assured* of falling apart. You may actually get to experience the *ordinary* pain of taking yourself to the functional aerobic-plus-fuel exhaustion limit -- and wouldn't that be nice for a change! 

You said explicitly that your body isn't the biomechanical mess it was just five months ago. And you will be more comfortable than you've been at any time in recent memory because you'll be tapered and rested. You may be able to count on a pleasant surprise from the ol' chassis.

Hopefully you have all the bases covered in the usual ways and haven't let concern over your form going into the toilet overwhelm everything else. I strongly doubt this is the case, as you strike me as more of a thinking man's marathoner than any fast guy I can recall reading about. But one more shell from the peanut gallery can't hurt.

Maybe if you regard this as a stepping stone to sub-2:15 Nate (who was ready for faster than that in Nov. 2007 -- 1:42-flat-ish at 20 miles...well, you've done the math) instead of the one real chance to get to that point en masse, it will help you. You're far from old, even if you feel every one of those lifetime miles almost every day. Even a well-executed 2:18 to 2:20 would be a huge confidence boost -- if you do it the 1:06/1:14 way you've still done it but it'll smack of too much familiarity to be as useful to you as an "if only I'd gone out harder" mind-game.

Anyway, you have more than earned your fucking shot at being Nate again, and I will be proud as hell to be cheering you on with 3.2 miles and hopefully no more than about 16-17 minutes to go.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mistakes I've Made a Few

 I think Ira Glass and I are the only two people in the world who don't like Frank Sinatra's classic song "My Way."  I also agree with Glass that the best line, only good line of the song, is "mistakes, I've made a few".  The one honest line in the whole song.  What I mean is if you are trying.  If you are going after something more than what you have been given then you are going to fail. You are going to make mistakes.  Suceeding comes in learning from them and moving forward.  Still those mistakes can stick with you a long time and sting in memory nearly as bad as in the doing.  So here I will highlight a very short list of some of my many many mistakes and what I learned from them and how often I repeated them.

  We'll start at the top.  Biggest mistake. I did core work off and on and with little or no direction.  I had some coaches who suggested it and others who left it to us to do it ourselves. I never had one who was all over it.  I don't think any old core work would have changed my life but I do believe if I had started doing a truly organized well thought out program, like the building a better running dvd stuff or John Cook's stuff I would have had fewer injuries and more to the point I would never have developed the coordination problem that has defined my career.  The answer to this problem was not dropped at my feet but I also didn't get out and go after it.

  To be honest if I could get in a time machine and go back and talk to my younger self I would tell him to go to yoga.  It works for me.  It is in balance it mixes flexibility with core strength and works all the joints in full range of motion.  I realize that me finding yoga back then is a long shot but again if I could go back in time that is what I would suggest to myself.  Oddly when I was in high school and not running nearly as well as I wanted I had a fantasy that an older successfully me would come back and tell me what I needed to do but it never happened,

  Strides.  I can't tell you how much I wish I had done more strides.  I think back to summer runs in high school and I would often do 10x100y sprints on the football field after the run but with 10 seconds rest.  It was a near vomit inducing session and totally not what I needed!  In fact it was everything I didn't need.  I was trying to make it HARD.  I though hard was better.  What did it accomplish?  It drove up my anaerobic fitness up but this was during the summer when I wasn't racing and any races I did were unimportant.  So a pointless gain there.  I was practicing sprinting in pain.  My form was failing apart.  I was building bad habits that would lead to injuries later.  Yet with such a small change this could have been exactly what I needed.  If I had taken full recovery between those 100's and focused on good strong form and feeling relaxed at speed it would have improved my form and my ability to relax a speed.  It would have built my running muscles up in a way that would have helped avoid injuries later down the line and would have helped me improve much faster as I developed aerobically later on.  Also more immediately I could have learned to be efficient at the faster paces and I would have run faster in high school as well.

  I kept up with this mistake through college and beyond.  At best I tended to do strides about once a week and rarely more than 10 of them.  I honestly think someone like me who has such speed issues and can handle a lot of work I should have been doing 20 to 40 strides a week from very early on.   When I have and do make them a priority my running improves but still I struggle getting them in sometimes.  I needed to make this a habit in the beginning and my overall career would have been a full notch higher than it was.

  Next up I was way late getting to aerobic work.  I don't think this hurt my overall development as I really got after this later but I think it did greatly slow my improvement and greatly hurt my high school and college careers.  If I had done more of this sooner, i.e. early in high school, and built my miles through high school in a steady way I would have run much better in high school and had a lot less injuries in college.   I ran at a jr/sr. high so I started training with the varsity in 7th grade.  I was running 30 miles my first week and my junior year in high school I was still running 30 miles a week.  I ran 10:22 for two miles my freshman year in high school but by the end of my junior year my personal best was only 10:06.  My senior year I upped the volume and ran 9:47.  So I improved 16 seconds in 3 years of steady low miles while trying to increase and improve workouts and then dropped 19 seconds in one year of increasing volume.  On top of that my improvement from my senior year in high school through college over the 3k from 9:10(estimated off 2 mile time) to 8:20 is greater than my improvement in high school!  There is no reason for that.  I was working hard in high school but to not increase your volume year to year is just stupid.  Had I increase my average weekly mileage by 10 to 15 miles a week each year of school I have no doubt I would have at least run around 9:20 for the two mile.

  Not only that but I would have been much much better prepared for the physical demands of college running and I would have avoided most if not all of the injuries I ran into there. Which means I would have likely run much faster there as well.

  Sadly my miles were largely low because of my high school coaches desire to help us avoid injuries.  As well intention-ed as this idea was, and it was EVERYWHERE in the 1990's it couldn't have been more wrong.  By doing more harder anaerobic work without building the aerobic system and the muscular system through steadily increasing easy mileage we were setting ourselves up for failure and injury in the long run.  So many high school coaches at the time were so proud that their athletes were 'under trained' and so would not be burnt out for college.  Thing is they were not ready to train in college. We were all two years of good training away from reasonable college training and that meant coaches at the NCAA level were forced to either risk injury by giving us the training we should be doing or to accept up front that we would only reach lower levels of performance because they were going to build us up like we should have been doing in high school for the first couple years.

  This isn't to say that more and harder is always better in high school it isn't.  There are a few very high profile programs that have great success in high school but who's athletes rarely have any success after school.  Even a quick glance at these programs shows they are doing high mileage with VERY hard high volume anaerobic work and very few athletes can sustain that physical pressure along with the emotional pressure to compete well.

  In those programs defense also.  When you have a really amazing program it is a community of success where each team member builds and helps all the others. Each team member has a part in creating the success of their teammates. Competing as part of the team has great meaning and value and this causes individuals to find their maximum best selves. It is very hard for an individual to succeed in a lesser program after being a part of something that 'magical'.  Suddenly the new goals seem cheap and the level of focus around them half-assed and as such sustaining it alone becomes very very hard.

  The last big mistake I want to talk about is a bit different.  The source of this failure is one of my greatest strengths.  As my coordination problem got worse and worse I refused to focus on other things and instead wasted season after season chasing a marathon return when I could have done better by focusing on other things and leaving the marathon until I was able to do some of the training.  Instead each time I had the faintest hope of a marathon return I would dive back in full force and re-enact my standard failure.  A few times I had real reason to do this but the rest were just silly.  The few cycles I stepped away I was rather successful.

  Don't get me wrong I was not going to make a national team at 5000m or anything.  I am however a guy who has run for running sake.  I have always been in it to get the best out of myself and as such a few more cycles to chase my best at the shorter distances though it would not have made me any more money or led to national titles could have produced a few real solid pr's and other 'neat' achievements.  The few cycles I did this on resulted in my short distance PB's, breaking 14' for 5k and qualifying for a couple of national championships indoors.

  In the end you will never avoid all mistakes.  It is about learning from your mistakes.  It is far far better to reach for the stars and fall short than to not reach for fear of failing.  Every great success in life has failed more times than you can count.  They have just learned from those mistakes and got up and dusted themselves off and moved forward.  That much smarter.  That much tougher and that much more humble for the experience.

  So yes mistakes I have made a few…  but I did it my way and unlike Frank I'm thankful for them all and I'm ready to make a few more.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekly Training Blog April 6 to 12, 2015 Starting to Taper


PM Road 10 in 63:59, first 2.5 with Melissa who was sick, first 5 with Uta, last 5 miles solo and a bit under 6min pace, strides total 10 miles

XT whartons, YTI, rubberbands, ankle drills.


PM 4 mile warm up with Uta in a bit under 27 minutes. Attempted Tempo run on a 2 mile loop by the house.  This was an mp tempo and I was thinking of trying to get 10 to 12 miles in but it was a crazy day at work and then Melissa was REALLY sick and I had to get Uta her run and I was a bit, ok a lot, distracted by some other life stuff.  Because of the Uta thing I needed to invent a new loop to do the tempo on and after some serious work on the computer I came up with this 2 mile loop that used the North Andover High Parking lot, sort of a zig zag through it.  I thought this loop might be a bit too hilly and it had some hard turns but I though as long as there wasn't anything going on at the high school it would be fine.  Of course there was a game and something else and I actually had physical contact with 2 cars on the first loop alone and came to a full stop 3 times on that loop only twice on the second loop.
  Anyway the first loop was a 10:23 and the second loop was 10:20, then on the third loop I stitched up and stopped at 5 miles in 25:48. 2 mile cool down. not a good day.

XT whartons, YTI, rubberbands, ankle drills


PM regular 10 loop, 60:10, strides after, very easy, felt good. 

XT whartons, YTI, rubberbands

this was a wierd day. Runners World wanted to film a day in the life but they wanted it to be representative of a 'normal day' not a taper day so we added in a morning run.  But it meant I had a couple of very nice guys with a video camera from when we got up at 5am until we went to bed. 

AM 4.2 miles with Melissa and Uta in light snow. 

PM 4.2 mile warm up with Uta, 26:53, dropped her off, skipping warm up and light drills, strides. Moneghetti Fartlek ( ) covered 4.125 miles which is the most I have done in this session.  It means I averaged 4:50.9 per mile/ 3:00.7 per k for the whole session.  Hard to know the paces of the on's and off's but I'd guess the on's were around 4:30 pace and the recoveries were around 5:10 but I am straight up guessing on that. jogged back to the house, about a quarter mile, went to the bathroom then did a 2 mile cool down in 13mins, then a few light runs across our causeway for the runners world guys and I was done.

XT whartons, YTI, rubberbands, ankle drills, skipping warm up and light drills.


PM started taper in ernest today which is a bit late for me so I only did 4 miles with Melissa and Uta, 30:17, very late run after another weird day for entirely different reasons.

XT whartons, YTI, rubberbands, ankle drills


AM went to bikram yoga

PM road 7, 43:13, strides

XT 90mins bikram yoga, whartons, YTI, rubberbands, ankle drills


AM regular 20k, hilly, 1:11:53, so 5:47 mile pace, very easy.  Just wanted to go fast enough to test the coordination a bit. strides after. 

XT whartons, YTI, rubberbands


bit more of a taper week than I was thinking it would be going into it but that is probably a good thing.  I have made my bed now I have to lay in it.  I'm not were I had thought I might be when things were clicking in early february but given the winter and where I was at the start of this whole thing I really have nothing to complain about.  
  I am very fit. My last couple of mona's and session of Aussie quarters show that.  Those are workouts you can't fake.  
  My coordination is worlds better than 5 months ago.
  My marathon fitness should be good enough.  I would have liked to put a few more of the marathon workouts a little closer to the race but that just isn't how things worked out.

  Predictions for marathon Monday?
Pain!- it is a marathon after all.  Sorry but I couldn't resist.  I love that line.

  Really my expectations are that I will have some coordination issues.  I will be very disappointed if I lose control before 20k and I'll be very happy if I hold coordination past 30k.  To put this in context at NYC in 2008, best shape I have been in when I raced a marathon I lost coordination at 10k and hobbled in to a mid 2:20's finish.  I also lost coordination at 10k in the world champs and ran low to mid 2:30's.  At the Olympic Trials I lost coordination at 30k and ran 2:14:56.  The last 10k there was 32:54.  So for a short while I can hold about 33min 10k pace while hobbling. I would guess I can do that for 15k or so now as I don't lose it as fully since my low back surgery.

  For expectations.  If pacing is good and the wind isn't too strong into the face and I hold coordination to 30k I expect I could run 2:14 to 2:15.
  If I hold to 20 to 25k I think 2:16 to 2:18.  
  If I have trouble before that it is going to be a really long day.

  Back in November when I started this journey this is about what I expected for my first attempt.  That I would be pretty fit thanks to a return to longer workouts but that I would be hoping to have about as much control as I did at the trials in '07.  I have been fighting this problem for the better part of a decade so it was unlikely it would just wash away completely in a short while.  I've made some huge strides and I feel pretty good about where I am but I do view this as just a stage in the comeback not the final finish line.

  I had for a while hoped that I would be at the finish now as things in January and February went much much better than I had anticipated but setbacks since than have me back on more of my original timeline which is fine. 

  I ended up getting a lot more press attention than I had expected which in some ways is nice.  Always good to feel the love.  But also feels very undeserved.  I am fit but I have done nothing to prove that and there are just so many really good guys out there.  It also makes you feel like you are making promises of great things.  Even if you don't want to.

  In terms of tactics I will run according to how the race unfolds. I'm not going out at 2:10 pace.  I'm not there.  I think Ruben wants to go with a small group targeting around 1:08 for the first half, I need to check in with him as I will adjust my early pacing according to what he wants.  I would like a bit quicker but most likely I would go in that group unless the leaders crawl out or there is another group I don't know about yet that is looking at 1:07 to 1:07:30 as I would strongly try to talk Ruben into that.   Honestly I'd like to see him out in 1:06 to 1:07 but he has been burnt a few times in the marathon so I don't think I can talk him into that. 

  Right now the long term forecast looks good for race day but a 10 day forecast in New England is worth about as much as a fortune cookie prediction so we'll see how that goes.   

  I hope everyone is well.