Welp. I’ll forget about April for a moment. Next race will be a 2000m steeplechase on March 11. I’ve got 5 weeks to get in “don’t embarrass yourself” shape.

Went to a small track meet hosted by the University of Hawaii track team today. After watching our women’s team, I told one of the ladies I would run in the open 2000m steeplechase event next month. For starters, I’ve enjoyed working for the UH athletic department. The girls ask me pretty regularly if I’ll jump in one of the meets. Seeing as how I’m mostly out-of-shape for that sort of thing, I would have rather had until April at the least. Alas, March is the last open event of the school year, so it has to happen soon.

5 weeks. Not a lot of time for base building. Speed it is. Speed and recovery and more speed and more recovery. Do what I gotta do.

Recap

This week kinda sucked training wise. 10-miler on Sunday left me with a tight IT band and later a sore knee. Ran through it on Monday in a decent “sprint” workout (more below). Shut it down until today’s 3 miles. Not as productive as I had hoped. That said, my estimated 5K time improved from about 24:00 to 22:00. The gains should come pretty quickly over the next two weeks before the trench warfare sets in and plans have to be a little more deliberate.

Spring 2017 Goal Progress

  1. Build endurance (today). Despite only three runs this week, I think “Mission Accomplished” is accurate. Solid 3-mile easy run on Saturday. On the right track.
  2. Complete 80% of planned strength/recovery workouts. (April 15). Nope. 3-for-7 this week. Sunday, Monday and Saturday night. Gotta do better. Just get the situps in, man. No reason not to be 100% next week.
  3. Run a race in late April (April 22). No progress here. I will be running a race in mid-March though. Should still generate a list of April options next week.
  4. Start May in 18:30 5K shape (April 30). Estimated 5k dropped from 24:00 to 22:00 this week. That’s with 3 days of running. Will get a better feel for progress this coming week. So far, so good.

 

Run of the Week

Not much to choose from here. Good to get an interval session in on Monday before the knee soreness crept in. Good one to build a foundation on too. Will repeat this every Monday until whenever.

 

Unrelated to running

Mental health matters. Not a huge believer in my ability to think my way into positive mental states though. Generally, either try to address any pressing concerns or just eat, sleep and exercise better. Been popping the vitamins and water a little more consistently now (multivitamin, iron, Vit. D, fish oil, magnesium, probiotic)…and generally speaking, things just feel a little easier. Sleep’s been good. Bringing positive energy to work. Placebo effect maybe? I don’t know.

Just my ramblings for the week…look forward to a solid week next week of running. Ya know…don’t care who wins the Super Bowl tomorrow. Ready for next football season already.

 

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Can’t believe it’s been two years since I’ve posted on this thing. From the looks of it, a lot of people who I used to read on WordPress have stopped too. Time to find new pages to read, I guess.

I love running. Since dropping the 5k PR about two years ago, I really haven’t run consistently to be honest. Not long after my best race, I wore down from the constant hard runs and the Hawaii heat and humidity. Heck, maybe I just got complacent. In any case, running for time hasn’t been that big a deal in the past couple of years. I think I have more in tank now. I want to make another go at it. I’m not even close at the moment. Rough guess…maybe 6-7 minutes off the pace right now. With consistent running, I should quickly approach the 20-minute barrier for the distance mid-to-late February. Then the hard work begins. Rough target for a personal best (16:58) in the 5K should be around August, if everything goes to plan.

For the next few months, until the end of April, the goal will be to get in shape and to set up a great summer of running (which, honestly, I’ve never had). Since about 2009, I’ve organized my years into three 16-week segments with some rest weeks in between. The first segment typically runs from January to late April. Today actually kicks off Week 5 in what I call the “Spring” segment. Fairly boring stuff so far, and I’ve probably run for about 10 days in the month of January. Hardly a great start. Run plan for this spring is pretty basic. Alternate”easy” runs with intervals. That’s it. One for stamina. The other for race-prep.

The biggest challenge will be staying motivated with no personal bests in sight. Good life prep too. I’ll want to run long after I’m not capable of doing my all-time best. So here we go…Goals for this Spring in order of appearance and what I plan to do this week to contribute.

  1. Build endurance (today). Not really specific about this goal because I don’t have as much control over the specifics. Basically involves running faster paces at an easier effort as measured by heart rate. Not perfect, but it’s the tool I have. Should see big gains early by just getting off the couch.  
  2. Complete 80% of planned strength/recovery workouts. (April 15). Just want to be balanced here. I have some assortment of pushups, situps, squats, jumps and foam rolling planned for every night. I’ve always let this part of the plan go, but not this time. I’m tracking. I want to feel strong. These will be night workouts. Shouldn’t miss more than 1-2 days per week.
  3. Run a race in late April (April 22). Simple. Need to find a race that I can run in. I’ve got a two-week window to get it done in the training schedule. April 22 and April 29. Need to sign up. Big motivator.
  4. Start May in 18:30 5K shape (April 30). And contrary to everything I’ve posted above, if I want to think about being at my best at the end of August, I’ve got to be in striking distance beforehand. I won’t have to wait until April to see progress on this. I have a “key workout”, 4×800, that I run on Wednesdays. While typically 3×1600 gives me a better idea of how a 5k run will go, 4×800 will suffice if the effort leaves me feeling as though I have more to give. I will consider this goal met if I complete the workout averaging 2:37 per rep and not maxing out HR (<95%) at the end of April.

Alright. This this meets the whole S.M.A.R.T. goals criteria. Specific (with the exception of #1). Measurable (numbers everywhere). Attainable (Done it before. Not looking for a PR). Relevant (I love this stuff). Timely (done in April). Thanks Internet.

Favorite Run Last Week: 

Well since I didn’t run last week, here’s today. 10-miler. Progressive run. Went faster with every mile. But still have a lot of work to do. So sore. I’ll look back on this run as the season progresses.
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Unrelated to Running…

I was a HUGE New Edition fan as a kid. You know, the singing group. They were so COOL! Or you don’t know. But you can learn about them. BET recently produced a New Edition biopic last week. It was terrific. 3 nights. 6 talented men. 1 great story. For the next month, I’ll be listening to my guys over the next month and pounding out these miles. This also explains why I will categorize these segments of posts over the next 3 months as Heart Break.  It’s the title of N.E.’s most commercially successful album. Just getting back to what I love. Running and music.

Run safe everyone…

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(guess we have to pay WordPress to post videos now…lame).

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It didn’t last long…and it wasn’t easy.

Confidence was not the word of the day. Adaptation maybe a better choice. I read some running article the day before the race that said runners who were prepared for difficulty would handle the challenges of the race a lot better. My challenge was getting in a mindset where I was prepared to hurt (a little) to get what I wanted.

In any case, I always try to race on my brother’s birthday, or at least that weekend. It’s good luck. Last Saturday, was dead on (Apr. 25). Even better. After setting my PR in March, I’d identified the 5000m race as the next opportunity to do something special – at least for me – break 17 in the 5K.

Since the training leading up to the March workout was successful in getting me to 17:22. I did the same sort of training leading up to the April race as well. Only just a little bit faster for every workout.

March v. April Difference (some examples)
“Easy Runs”: 6:42 v. 6:35 pace.
Steady State: 6:11 v. 6:03 pace.
Mile Repeats: 5:26 v. 5:17 pace.

For three weeks in April, training went to plan. I performed better than I had leading up to the March race, and I knew that I had a realistic shot at going under 17:00 on race day. The last week, the taper week, didn’t go as well though. I’d stopped eating as much as before, stopped doing strength workouts at night, and the weather was getting warmer throughout. Not sure why. Boredom? Fatigue? Silly, really. Even though I had cut my mileage in half for the week, the Wednesday (3×800) speed session didn’t go so well. I’d done a similar session, twice as long (6×800) the week before. How could I be struggling so much on a down week? I was having a hard time sleeping as well, getting around 6 hours per night for the week. Even worse, an ill-conceived experiment with long striding left me with throbbing shins and a sore left buttcheek.

Going into Friday, my recovery plans amounted to taking Friday off from running, drinking as much sugar as possible and getting to bed early. Check. Check. Check. Nearly 10 hours of sleep Friday night had me feeling OK by Saturday morning. Packed the workout drinks and drove off to the race.

I’d gone over my strategy well in advance this time. A 5000m race is really 25×200 meters. About the longest period I can focus at one time. As early as the night of the March race, I knew what my splits would be for the April race. Every 200m: 40, 41, 41, 41. 40, 41, 41, 41. Cross 1600m in 5:26. 3200 in 10:52. 4800 in 16:18. Sprint to the finish in 16:58.

I was happy to see at the check-in that three runners from one of the local universities would be in the race. While “The Kid” wasn’t returning, I was sure that local university runners would push (or pull) me to a great finish. Business as usual from this point. After drinking my usual pre-workout drink and warming up, I was informed that there would be two heats of the 5000m instead of one. The women would run first and then the men. This is the first time this year, that I’ve warmed up and then sat afterwards for 30 minutes while waiting on my race. Rather than re-warm up, I decided to keep my windbreaker pants on, sit down and continue to drink fluids.

Actually had a good time talking to the other runners as we began our final check-in at the starting line. People always have the same question: “How fast are you going to run?” Nervous types, I guess. For once, I genuinely didn’t care to hear how fast they were going to run, I assumed it would be good enough to help me. Fortunately, their coach (or friend) asked me what splits I needed to run to get my goal of 17:00 and agreed to call out my times as I passed by. This would be crucial later.

Gun goes off. College kids take off towards their planned pace of 77 seconds per lap. I need to go a little slower at nearly 82. In fact, I should come through 100m in 20 seconds or so. I looked down to check my watch for early confirmation and quickly discover that I didn’t press start hard enough at the gun. I start the clock at 100m but my splits are off entirely now. Memorized splits won’t help me now, and I don’t feel like doing a bunch of math during the race. Good thing the coach agreed to read my times out.

With the coach’s help, I figured the first 1200m left me slightly behind pace, but I made it up to get to 5:27 at the 1600m mark. Good, only a second behind at this point. The trick then, was to keep my cadence up around 180 spm and not overstride as I tired. While striding quickly helped, the benefits were easily countered by warmer weather (75 degrees), high humidity (83%), moderate winds (10 mph against on the backstretch), and an increasingly nosy sun that chose to peep from behind the clouds. Ran a couple of the laps squinting until I got enough courage to slow down and wipe the sweat from my face with my shirt. Much better. At the 3200m mark, I was 5 seconds behind pace at 10:57, but not too disheartened. A very nice lady was yelling that I had the freshest legs left in the race. Good to hear. While 40, 41, 41, 41 was out of the picture, I felt that if I just ran hard enough, I could give myself a chance in the last 600-800m of the race.

And so, I looked away from my watch and looked up. The lady was right. The three runners from the university were all having a tough time of it. They’d planned to run under 16:00 that day, but it was clear that they weren’t going to make it. All were within 150m of me. The last in the group was only 50m to 75m ahead. I decided to close on him. To be honest, I don’t remember much of the last mile. I just kept the last kid in my sight and tried to get within striking distance. With 200m go, the coach yelled out, “16:24…16:25…”. I was 6-7 seconds behind pace.

The math came to me quickly. I needed 34-35 seconds to break 17. A whole month of training for this. I worked too hard to go home unhappy. Time to cut loose. Catch this guy in front of me. As the others were finishing, I caught the 3rd kid with 75m to go. To his credit, he didn’t give up and just edged me at the tape. Great response on his part as we sprinted to the finish line. I stopped my watch in 16:39, but I knew I’d started it late. What was my official time?

I asked around but no one was clocking me. Then I walked into the timing booth. The team manager already knew what I wanted.

16:58.91.

Bam! 34 seconds to close the run. Great surprise on a very tough day. I called my dad to tell him about the news. I’m still having trouble associating myself with the 17:22 5K time – let alone a sub-17. Dad’s response was don’t get used to it because it’s going down again.

We’ll see. May 23. Road race. Fort Worth, TX.

Finally!

Posted: March 16, 2015 in Sub-17
Tags: , , , , ,

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Had a lot of confidence going into Saturday morning, to be honest. Lately during runs, I have been telling myself to focus on any run (easy, long, speedwork) by thinking about it 200m at a time. So, on Friday night before the run, I went over my splits mentally. What would it take to run a 17:30? Every 200m…

42, 42, 42, 42, 42…

And what would that look like on the watch?

40+2 (42) + 40+2 (1:24) + 40+2 (2:06)….

I knew I had done some faster stuff in training, so 42 sec/200m wouldn’t be hard to achieve initially during the race. Plus, I’d have the advantage of wearing spikes on the track. I never train in anything other than regular…”trainers” (heavier shoes). Just get some rest Friday and be ready to go on Saturday morning at 8:30.

Drove to the track to register for the race about an hour early and snapped the photo above. Not a mystic but, some days just feel better than others. Registered and walked away from the track to get my gear together for the warmup and race. Confidence still high at this point.

See a young man (The KID) warming up for the race soon after. He had the build. Taller, skinner, effortless motion…even while warming up in pants. To top it off, kid’s got a shirt on that says, “—- — University” on it. OK… running for second place now. Back in high school, during the time where my PR was set, such a specter was cause for alarm. Seeing a kid like that meant I wasn’t going to win the race. But I’m a little older now. Hair’s falling out in the front. About 5 pounds heavier. Not all of it muscle. My race is to beat the younger man in me. And this kid is going to help.

Skip forward. Step up to the starting line, but the starter gives us a lesson on running before it begins. Something to the effect of “the best runners always know where they are at all times.” Another shot of confidence. I had the track and the watch and my splits in my head. Ready for this.

Gun goes off. It feels as easy as I had hoped through the first 20 steps or so. Kid and I bolt to the front. Through 200m in 35 and 37, respectively. “Hey, Rich. Maybe we can take this kid?” Nope. 42. Do what we planned to do. Quick, decisive answer within. Grown (read, boring) man’s talking now. Backed down the intensity the entire first mile to get back on my splits. Kid (not me) takes off. He’s a quarter lap ahead in no time. Meanwhile, I cruise through the first mile in 5:36. Right on time. Race is going to be a breeze. Of course, it couldn’t be that easy. Sure enough, somewhere around lap 7 or 8, it begins to feel different. Just pushing off the calves isn’t taking me as far as before. I gotta put in work. Striding a little more and the cadence is falling. Hips and arms are called into action. Taking deep breaths now. Thanks team. 42. 42. 42. 42. Through 2 miles in 11:12. Good. Last mile is going to be tough though.

Going into the 3rd mile, and I’m starting to do too much math in my head. As if I could PR through visualization and arithmetic at this point.

43. 44.

There’s your math, son. You have 4 laps to go and you’re 3 seconds behind. Good luck.

42. 42.

Striding out and breathing hard at this point. Man, I’m not gonna make it. Breathing. Breathing. “I sure am loud…That’s not me….The KID!” He’s lapped me. And looking good doing it. Here’s my chance. Stay with him. I stride out. Backkick is on full. With him for 4 steps. And he’s gone again.

Bell rings. He’s on his last lap. It’s a Saturday jog for him. Not a sign of panic. Man, I wanna be like him. Take a peak at my watch and lookie here…back on pace now. Kid must have pulled me through a 41 and 40. Go, KID! 800m away from a PR. Now this is something I have felt in practice. During repeat 1600m workouts. During repeat 800m workouts. Training specificity is so important. I’m not losing a PR in the final 800m of a race. I don’t close on the kid at this point, but he doesn’t pull away either. He’s still 100m ahead as he finishes. He’s done, but I have a lap to go. Let’s do it! I give it all I have. Remembered that 16:48 at the 3-mile (4800m) mark means 17:30 (5000m). I’m there in 16:44. 200m to go, and I’ve got this. But by how much….

17:22!

 

R.I.P.

5K Personal Best (17:34)

October 28, 2000 – March 14, 2015

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Quick one, this time.

A little late on last week’s post…my fault.

Little early with this week’s post … not necessarily my fault.

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Apparently, it’s about to go down.

 

Good news first

Having a blast running. I mean, not just getting fitter and stronger, but really enjoying it. To the point where I can’t get wait to get outside everyday. Two-a-days no problem. I say this to say, when you find something you like, you gotta stick with it. Because passion’s hard to come across. At least for me. Not gonna preach more than that.

 

Waiting game

Two hurricanes (Iselle and Julio) are moving west towards the islands. Hoping that nothing comes of it. No one needs that kind of drama. At minimum we should get a lot of wind and rain. That said, best to prepare, right? Flashlights. Water. Food. First Aid. Check….No running. Check-minus. I see a lot of fitness memes out there lately about squats (“He squats”, “She squats”). About to become my go-to exercise.

 

Still Positive

Tough to plan the rest of the summer going forward, but I feel confident that I’m in sub-20 5K shape. Confidence and speed comes with the speedwork sessions during the week. Going to get inside today and wait these out.

 

Tracking Goals:

I’d be happy in August if the following occurred:

  1. Hit 48 miles in a week in late July-August. [This would have been the 48-mile week. Not going to happen. Oh well.].
  2. Avoid injury, particularly of the foot and knee variety. [Biggest success of the season, so far. Lots of runs, little pain.]
  3. Drop weight. [Down a couple pounds from the beginning of the season. Not bad. Will probably be down a bit over the weekend.]
  4. Increase pace on easy runs, gradually. [Good success here as well. Put in 3 miles at about 6:30 pace on Wednesday afternoon ]
  5. Run increasingly faster in three 5K races. [One race. Next Saturday. Maybe.]

 

Yikes.

Sick

Got a cold early in the week. Actually started the previous Thursday, but I attempted to run through it. Not the smartest thing in the world, but I thought I had a shot. Sniffles, sore throat, congestion last until about Wednesday. Took until Friday to really start feeling strong again. Back up and running now, but that’s for next week’s post.

 

Not Bad Otherwise

Other metrics are still good. Weight actually went down while I was sick. Guess that’s not TOO surprising. Heart rate crept up about 6 bpm. It will be interesting to see how quickly I can bring it back down. Rolling around 43 bpm in the morning before I got sick. Discovered the connection between MyFitnessPal and Garmin Connect this weekend as well. Going to have a lot of fun playing around with those sites. MyFitnessPal tracks calorie consumption and Garmin Connect tracks exercise, and the sites share information. I’m sure an integrated site would be better, but for now, I’m just getting a kick out watching the two sites sync. Nerd. I know. Only hurts a little.

 

Still Positive

Got a good feeling about this upcoming week and rest of the summer. Sure, I’m not going to accomplish a lot of my goals that I set out. But, I’m still in some semblance of shape, and I’ve got better control of my diet than I’ve ever had before. Just need to put it all together for a few more weeks. Going to see some results in 2014. I feel it.

 

Last Week:

Sun: 3 miles

Mon: 0

Tue: 0

Wed: 0

Thu: 0

Fri: 0

Sat: 0

 

Tracking Goals:

I’d be happy in August if the following occurred:

  1. Hit 48 miles in a week in late July-August. [44 this week is planned. Going to be some tough miles coming back. 13 runs planned.].
  2. Avoid injury, particularly of the foot and knee variety. [Probably one of my longest stretches without getting injured. Something’s going right here. ::knock on wood::]
  3. Drop weight. [Still down 5 pounds from the original goal. I see great things happening this weekend here. Got a good meal plan for once. Lots of protein. 5 meals plus workout drinks. Just need see the results to stay motivated.]
  4. Increase pace on easy runs, gradually. [Alright. We were rolling 6:50-pace on easy runs (83-88% MHR) before the week, probably around 8:10-ish now. Should see that drop back. Started three weeks ago around 8:30, so all is not lost.]
  5. Run increasingly faster in three 5K races. [Geesh. Sign up for the dang race already. Maybe this week. Maybe.]

 

Three more weeks. Time to close this thing … out.

 

Survival.

Change of Plans…Again

Sometimes plans go out the window. And when you want to keep a thing going, you just do it. Prior to Week 7, I was working with a high(er)-mileage, lower intensity plan designed to build endurance. Generally speaking, the time commitment was about 9-10 hours a week. I’ve since changed the plan – a familiar occurrence over the past 3 years – and benefitted greatly.

After starting work in Hawaii, I decided that I didn’t want to put 9-10 hours into running. For a while, in fact, I was walking back and forth to work, which took about an hour and a half every day. The walks didn’t mesh well with running. For a couple weeks, I didn’t run at all, just trying to get my bearing in a new state, and work out the more important details (food, apartment, money). In all, for 3 weeks, I didn’t run. I played basketball a couple of nights a week though, and that may have been enough to save me from falling out of shape altogether.

 

Details

Around Week 10, the first of the month or so, I decided to start running again. I tried at first to start over with the low heart rate runs that I was doing before, but my pace had dropped from around 8:30 to 10:00. Enough of that. On Saturday of Week 10, I sped up. A lot. All runs would be at 83-88% heart rate or what Greg McMillan refers to as the steady state pace. I still run mornings and nights, but either 3 or 2 miles depending on the day. I included a weekly speed session on Wednesday mornings of either 3-mile tempo, 3×1600 or 6x800m length. On Saturdays, I planned to do a long run of 10-12 miles depending on the week.

Basically, I switched to the same plan that netted me a 17:44 5k in 2011, except that I’m running a lot more frequently upwards to 48 miles instead of 21. I’m not lifting weights now, though I’ve committed to pushups, sit-ups and squats after (mostly) every run. And the long runs are a little bit longer 10-12 miles instead of 9. I still take every fourth week off from any speedwork and shorten the long run.

 

So Far…So Good

Results have been nice since the switch. I dropped 10 pounds initially, through running, basketball and so silly dietary habits, but have since put back on about 5 of those pounds. My morning heart rate has been the most pleasant surprise, moving from 54 bpm at the start of Week 10 to 43 bpm, in the middle of this week. The pace for the 3-mile runs at 83-88% heart rate also moved down from 8:30 to 6:49.

All said, not a bad go in the last 3 weeks. Really trying to build off the lessons from previous running plans. Last summer, I consistently ran fast 3 miles runs in the morning, but did not include any long runs for endurance, run frequently enough to keep my weight down for speed, oh, and didn’t include any speedwork at race pace or below. I’ve tried to correct those mistakes now to become more complete runner. So far so good, with a month to go in the training regimen.

The weather is predictably nice for running, that is, I can always run. But the temps are consistently around 80 degrees with a similar figure for percent humidity. I have to remember when I’m comparing my progress to previous years, that I’ve never consistently pushed this hard in this sort of heat and humidity. Just hoping to keep the train going. Speaking of which, I’ll probably switch to daily updates again as well. Blogging helps keep me motivated.

 

Last Week:

Sun: 2 miles (morning) / 2 miles (night)

Mon: 3/2

Tue: 2/basketball

Wed: 3/2

Thu: 2/basketball (double-header)

Fri: 3/2

Sat: 9

 

Tracking Goals:

I’d be happy in August if the following occurred:

  1. Hit 70 miles in a week in late July-August. [Alright. Not going to happen. Looking for 48 miles in the middle of August but faster than originally planned].
  2. Avoid injury, particularly of the foot and knee variety. [Still good, though I am battling a cold this week.]
  3. Drop weight. [Down 5 pounds when I originally set this goal. Been as low as 10 pounds down. Really need to decide what to do here. Felt pretty weak when I dropped lower.]
  4. Increase pace on easy runs, gradually. [Yeah. The pace has improved…because I’m running at 83-88% and not 75% heart rate. That said, I still want to improve. So…that means faster than 6:50 pace on three-milers and faster than 7:30 on the weekend long runs.]
  5. Run increasingly faster in three 5K races. [Alright. I give up. There will only be one race. August 16.  For all the marbles. Now to pick it and stick with it.]

 

Stay motivated!

Out.