Monday, May 26, 2014

Hot Fun In The Summertime

Things are definitely heating up in the desert and with my spring races behind me it's time to work on speed, endurance and more speed. Did I mentions speed-work too?

With the goal of running a sub-1:30:00 half I need to get a lot faster so I've set up an ambitious plan plan over the next 3 month.

As the saying goes, "you don't know what you don't know" but the more I train the more I learn about my my strengths and weaknesses as well as what I am capable of without injuring myself.

I love summer training too. Last year I noticed that the gains made during the dog-days get amplified once the weather starts to cool. Just need to remember to stay hydrated!

So here it is kids, my plan for the next 3 months. I'll take it easy this week with only a couple of recovery runs to keep loose. I've been going pretty hard since March and need a bit of a rest. Also, we plan on fasting this week as our diet has been terrible the last week + and a detox is much needed.

If you are really interested in what some of my shorthand means, the times in parentheses are per mile paces except for the 800's which is the goal time per. 2x4's are the intervals that I do; 0.2 miles at a moderate pace with 0.4 miles at about 90%. When I'm done, I feel like I've been hit with a 2x4. The AM sessions are from Tony Horton's 10 Minute Trainer and the PM sessions are from TapoutXT I & II with Mike Karpenko.

Let me know what you think, I'd appreciate any input. This is quite similar to what I've been doing for the past 3 months, just an increase in mileage at a faster pace.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Feelin' Stronger Every Day

Not only is the title of this post my favorite Chicago song but it can also be used to describe my running.

After the disappointment of the DBacks Race Against Cancer 2 weeks ago along with the failure to hit my goal time on Pat's Run the week prior, I knew I had to bear down harder in my training if I wanted to achieve my goal of a sub-20:00 5K.

Things went great over the past 2 weeks and I was ready as I was going to be for yesterday's Splash Mob 5K.

Had a busy morning planned with some non-race related things to do before the 7am start but I managed to get there in time to meet up with people from work, stretch and get a spot near the front at the starting line.

When the race when off I was able to clear traffic pretty quickly and settle in not too far behind the lead pack of runners. Not worrying about nothing but my own pace I hit the first 1/2 mile right where I wanted to be at around 3:12; a tick fast but only by a few seconds. As the first mile progressed, the lead pack started to come back to me except for 1 runner who started to break away. Soon I had caught and passed them but I was then overtaken by another runner who would go on to be the eventual winner.

Throughout the race I managed to keep my pace where I needed it to be even as I was pelted by water balloons and squirt guns along the course. Yes, that is why it is called Splash Mob; they have "splashers" along the way to soak down the runners and it makes for a fun event.

When I hit mile 2, I was off on my time by about +:15 seconds but I knew that I had trained hard and the extra speed work was going to pay dividends. Where on the DBacks Race I was -:15 at this point and struggling, here I was strong and had another gear or 2 left in me.

As the last mile progressed I began to reel in the runner that was ahead of me to where I was only about 20 yards behind him but he must have heard me coming in the last 1/4 and found another gear of his own.

Catching him was not my motivation though. With the finish nearing, I looked at my watch and saw it just pass 19:00. With about 100 yards to go I knew that my goal time was within reach as long as I finished strong and when I looked at my watch as I crossed the finish I saw it read 19:51.

Mission accomplished! My official time of 19:52 was good enough for a 3rd place overall finish and a new 5K PR.

Considering in 2012 when I first ran this race, as I began running, finishing with a time of 28:52 which I improved to 22:04 in 2013, it goes to show that you can achieve anything as long as you put your mind to it and make the commitment.

Now it's on to bigger and better things.

This was just a milestone along the way as my ultimate goal for 2014 it to run a sub-1:30:00 half marathon. To achieve this time I will need to train even harder throughout the summer but I know I have it in me.

I took a well deserved rest day today with the next phase in training set to begin tomorrow.

I do believe I'm feelin' stronger every day
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Sunday, May 4, 2014

All PR's Are Not Created Equal

This post may come off a little bit whiny but it is what it is.

After last week's Pat's Run and a good week of training, I was ready to rock the Dbacks Race Against Cancer. Things were going well, I got up on time, got in town and to the starting line with plenty of time to stretch, hydrate, fuel and take care of business.

The race was set to start at 7:30 and after the pre-race speech and anthem I figured I had at least 5 minutes to get my music and app set before my final pep talk to myself. But that was not to be as the count-down began and it was only 7:23. Now maybe it's me but I think this is the first time I've seen this happen.

"Shit!" was my reaction as the gun sounded while I fumbled to get things going. In hindsight I should have just said screw it and ran naked.

My goal for the race was a sub-20:00 but I didn't want to go out too fast and held back; or so I thought. My GPS app kept telling me I was running a 6:40-6:50 pace for the first mile so you can imagine my surprise when I hit mile 1 around 5:50. Way too fast and the BBW let me know it. I was screwed. What to do?

I backed off a bit and tried to silence BBW which I was able to do for a while but as I approached mile 2, I was done. Sure I was :15 seconds ahead of where I needed to be but I did not have a 6:45 mile left in me. I did my best to convince myself at 2.5 miles that anyone can run hard for half a mile, and it worked for a minute but with the finish line in sight and no one close in front or behind, I threw in the towel and coasted to the finish line with a time of 20:35 good enough for 22nd place.

This was 5K PR by :50 seconds so I was pretty happy. Still I was disappointed knowing I could have, and should have, run a better race and for me personally it was only a Bronze Medal result (you'll have to read The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive to find out what this means). I became really pissed at myself though when I found out I finished 4th in my age group by less than 4 seconds. Not finishing strong cost me a 3rd in my AG and the opportunity to get to be presented with the award at a Dbacks game next week.

Shallow, yes and I shouldn't have let it bother me since running is not about beating someone else or winning awards, it's about being my best. This actually ate at me for the 45 minute ride home and as I went past the local High School I knew what I has to do so I banged a u-ey (that what we call a u-turn in Boston kids) to go pay for my sin.

It's really amazing how soul cleansing running 8 x 400 repeats can be.

So, while I did get the PR, it sort of feels empty but the lesson is learned  and I won't make that mistake again. With another 5K in 2 weeks, it's time to focus and know that I am capable of running a sub-20:00 5K.

I love to win; but I love to lose almost as much. I love the thrill of victory, and I also love the challenge of defeat. -Lou Gehrig