Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Setting Realistic Goals

It's 46 days until Club Nats and I feel like some realistic goal setting is in order.  Training is going great this week, but the last 20 days were kind of a confidence downer as I've been fighting a nasty viral (maybe even bacterial) infection that has lingered as congestion in my chest.  But I'm pulling through despite one race effort that was a good bit slower than I had hoped based on my workouts and left me thoroughly dehydrated by all the not-fun means.

So now I want to look at some data from this fall compared to a year ago.  Best analysis is at the vdot calculator which can successfully predict race outcomes based on performances at other distances.  Here's my simple algebra equation.  Last year I ran 4:52 at the Magnificent Mile and then 34:30 at Club Nats.  Vdot predicts 34:45, but that just about accounts for improved fitness from September (Mag Mile) to December (Club Nats).  This year I ran 4:40 at the Magnificent Mile and that would put me at 33:23 based on Vdot.  Little improved fitness and we are looking at somewhere right around 33:00.  I would take that.

Over the next 46 days I will race another 5K (hope to get in under 16:00).
I will race an 8K on Thanksgiving (hope to get near 26 minutes).

My mileage will creep up to 100 miles in a week over the next three weeks and then I will probably plateau at about 75 miles right through December 8 with a lot of workouts and a lot of miles on the faster side.

I've noticed this fall that a lot more of my regular runs are between 6:00 and 6:45.  I think my tempo pace over the last two years has moved from 6:00 to about 5:40.

I feel good and very healthy.  A lot of runs that I expect to be pretty painful and slow are starting to come easy and I want to run longer and faster.  This is when training is really fun.  The aches and pains in my legs are getting better with more volume and more quality work as opposed to the summer when I felt tight and dehydrated much of the time even though I wasn't running nearly as much.  I'm having fun.

It might be time to read OAR again.  Just because I can.  Then top it off with Again to Carthage.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thankful to Yellowdawg/Randy Young for including me in his article

excerpt from:
Running has never been more popular, and trail running is certainly drawing huge converts as more and more people trade in pavement for pines.But some feel the sudden spike in numbers and ability has come with a cost: indifference to etiquette.
Road runner and trail enthusiast Terry Kern said she and fellow runner Julie Keane have noticed that fewer runners offer up gratuitous greetings.

Read more

yellowdawg was kind enough to include this photo of me in his article. p.s. the shot was taken at the eno river trails and you can run in an inaugural race there, right on up and over Cox Mountain, on October 27.  Register here.

Inspired by Ruby Bost

On p. 38 of "Resurrecting Ruby" you can find "Writing Prompts are Every Where," and Ruby writes of a box of baking soda and titles the poem, "Untitled." Buy the book and read the rest. She invites readers: ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, WRITE! Here is my response from last week staring my mug in the face and writing at her prompt:

Title: Unlimited

Caked with stains of old
but all the same
dried, melti
ng, corroding, refreshing
the mug stands tall
announcing 2012

You bring me back and back and back again
to George, and officers, Alex and Jeff
to all the other starters
of mornings
in DRM

Let them all be blessed

This coffee pulses and stirs within me a blessing,
a prayer for the day.
Rich, bitter, sweet, dark, Columbian--a life together
this joe and I
Blessed and Faithful

Thursday, October 11, 2012

One of my running secrets

First, I just had a great six mile run and boy, did I need it.  I've been fighting a cold/sinus infection for about five or six days.  I arrogantly talk flippantly about how I never get sick anymore.  This week has taught me to learn some humility and remember the frailty of my immune system.  I've felt lousy all week and of course on my first day off from Bull City in six days, when the body finally had the chance to rest, I felt perhaps the worst.

I'm stressed because I have a 5K on Saturday and I have pretty high hopes for putting up a good mid-season mark and this has not been a great confidence building week.  It's amazing how fast confidence in my fitness can slip away as if I had never run before.  So far this fall I've improved on all four of my races which I raced last year.  I've run the mile in 4:40 which is a gear these legs have never seen.  Then one measly little cold and I wonder if I should hang up the spikes, flats, trainers and burn all my running gear.  It's pathetic.  The mind requires so much stroking of it's fragile ego that the legs, lungs, and heart could care less about.  The engine parts don't care about a few easy days.  In fact, they probably were due an easy week.  Last week I ran nine times in seven days, had two awesome speed workouts of 10 x 1,000 meters and 12 x 500 meters and ended the week with an 18 miler.  It's like I can't even remember all the good work that happened so long ago.  We are talking five days ago.  Shameful.

Until this afternoon and the script was flipped just in time.  Kristen got home at 5:45pm and I was ready to sneak out for a twilight run.  I expected so little, thinking it would be another failed attempt to run and feel good, loose, free.  I didn't wear a watch, but I knew I had to shake out the legs with the hopes that I might still run on Saturday.  I rolled along for six miles up MLK and looped around Bojangles and it must have been around six minute pace.

Here's the little training secret.  I sought grass wherever I could find it.

I used to think you would only do this if you were injured and needed to take it easy on the grass.  I was even annoyed by a training partner who used to employ this technique on the same grass, but of course, he gave me the idea and now I am thanking him.  I used to think, if the sidewalk is there why not run on the thing and give the legs a little pop.  But I've learned that real power, flexibility, and just great XC (Cross Country) training comes from taking an urban run and finding every inch of grass.  It builds power.  It forces the technique issue.  If you don't lean forward and clean up the arm and shoulder action you just kind of bounce around and almost roll your ankles in the grass.  When you get into a powerful forward lean on the grass it doesn't matter if you hit a hole or a mound or a little uneven divot.  You are already toeing off powerfully and into the next stride.  It's not the fastest way down a stretch of land that offers concrete, asphalt, and grass, but the green stuff is the best for training.  It just takes a little discipline in terms of terrain choice, and this is a good mental exercise for the disciplines needed all throughout the runner's life.

It was a great run.  I don't really know if I was rolling six minute miles or not.  I don't really know if I can roll low five minute miles on Saturday.  But instead of staying holed up on the couch, depressed and more anxious about Saturday morning, I had a great Thursday afternoon run on a perfect October day.  And to rip off Frost, that has made all the difference.

P.S. I actually really like this video on running uphill.  Check it out.  The Bull City Track Club will be doing a great hill workout next Wednesday!

Monday, October 8, 2012

A sojourner is a wanderer on a journey, and one in need of a temporary stay

“You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” Exodus 23:9