Saturday, September 23, 2017

Al's Run

I really look forward to this run.  For years it has been competitive and you get the chance to see how you stack up.  This year I made an effort to be somewhat race ready and for the most part I was.  The better part of the day is having the team go up to Ryan's and enjoy a great cookout.  The team is pretty thin at this point and we agreed again that we need to recruit new blood.

This year was another hot year as race temps must have been near 80.  Ryan's car on the way back was reading 90.  Nonetheless the race began and I was off.  I had visions of breaking 32, but to do so I wanted to keep in control.  Mile one was 6:29 with Ed and it wasn't as casual as hoped.  Mile two is the one with the hill and again I didn't want to plow myself under so I laid back with a 6:51.  At this point reality set in...you suck.  Thing is there is a ways to go and so I begin to try and lay a few licks down.  Mile 3 goes by in 6:38 and as slow as this is I am now winding a few people in.  Not many, because few people train/run any longer and the field depth is no longer present at this race.  The people around me are the same warhorses from past years.  Where is the new blood?  I drop my fastest mile of the day with a 6:15.

The last 0.97 miles of Al's finds one turning about 4 times through the streets of Milwaukee.  Again though I am supposedly racing at these pedestrian paces the field is spread out.  I go after a few guys on the last turn and manage to out sprint (ha ha) them, closing with 6:27 over this portion.  My finishing time is 32:39.7.  The interesting part is this garnered me 3rd in the 55-59 age group.  Jerry won this group with a 27:57.  The sprint at the finished paid off as I beat Dave for 3rd place by 0.7 seconds.  Not that age group awards are a big deal, but if I would have floated in and saw I missed by a knat's eyelash I'd of been disappointed.

As I write this it is 8 weeks until JFK.  Though I am looking forward to going, the desire to try and make a decent run at it seems to have past.  I am getting near the end.  No need to purchase flats any longer.  Time to hit the outlets if you get my drift.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

That's a wrap

The best I can figure from looking at the calculators is I should be capable of 32:01 for the 8k.  My stated goal is 31:30, so if I can make the juju work then maybe it can happen.  Al's is never a gimme. People are throwing down.  There are scores to settle.  Largest Wisconsin race of the year, though the depth of fast times is a farthing of past years.  I have to get out slow and come from the back.  Today I did 2 x 1 mile repeats in 6:08 and 6:07 and it was Barney Rubbelish.  My turnover is compromised.

I am at 169 which is good.  The flats I have to race in have 639 miles on them, but I'm going to try and light one more match with them.  You really suffer the last mile here.  Flat as a board, but there are a lot of team races going on.  I'm the old guy on the team.  How rewarding.

Pack a lunch.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

18:00

So I had my phlebotomy yesterday and took off.  I decided I was getting on the treadmill and was going to quit playing around the edges.  I warmed up, set it at 10mph and covered 3 miles.  Calculator says 30:45 for 8k.  Now I can't sand bag.  If I give the treadmill 7 seconds per mile the calculator says 31:20.  Eighteen days to Al's. 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Love that dirty water

It struck me this week that fast runs take a little out of you.  Must take awhile to get used to dialing it up.  One thing was for sure this week I slept 8 - 10 hours a night most of the week.  The fact that I continue to conk out before 8:30pm during the week seems laughable.  No matter, one certainly can't complain about sleeping well.

We put in a small garden this year and the tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers are blowing my tiny mind.  The cucumbers are huge and crisp.  I cut some up with onions today and soaked them in milk and vinegar (with a touch of sweetener and salt) and put them in the fridge.  Delicious.  Maybe I can kick away a tad of the junk calories.  We ate this stuff continually growing up...not sure how I became a slacker.  I put in two tomato plants as the wife is not a fan.  I'm going to have my hands full keeping up with the crop.

So because I'm out Harvey Glancing it as of late the total miles mean little to me.  Hard one day and then two easier days if required.  I ran pretty hard yesterday and was pleasantly surprised I had the jimmy legs this morning.  Glad to report a solid ten was put in, though I was a bit knackered the final 3 miles.  I ran a new route which is a couple more miles on a busier road than I like, but when you go to the biggest dance of the year you dance with the one who brung yah.  Ahhhhh...the 10 miler.  The workhorse distance run for all age and sizes.  Inside you feel like this....get off me...I did stuff today.  Solid as Sears.

8/14 = Off
8/15 = Off
8/16 = 6.0 w/ 3.0 in 19:32 (6:31)
8/17 = 6.0 (9:22) w/ 8 x 20/40s
8/18 = 3.0 (10:26)
8/19 = 7.0 w/ 4.0 in 26:40 (6:40) + 8 x 15/30s
8/20 = 10 (8:56)
Total = 32.0

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Tomato sandwiches

It has often been said, "You can't be all things to all people."  In running, I believe this, but am again coming to the conclusion the sport to me is more about enjoyment.  The enjoyment factor is spread out over many realms.  At the present time it does not appear to make sense to focus on one part of my running.  Well...sometimes it really does matter and then 4 days later it does not.  I continue to want to work hard and race well, but the investment seems to yield so little.  I mean if this were times past, who would scroll down a few hundred names to see I ran a blazing 6:30 per mile for an 8k?  How many people are scanning race results to see how the results of the 55-59 age group?  I don't even care about those results, why would anyone else.

This Saturday at 12:01am I had the opportunity to run with a couple handfuls of people for Angela's 90k event.  Made up of 2 loops of 45k each primarily on the Ice Age trail I could not resist.  Plus burritos at the 45k.  This is 2.5 miles from my house.  I bummed one of Angela's headlamps and off I went to enjoy the night moving through the woods.  As planned I stopped at 45k, had an awesome breakfast and then went home.  It was a very good time with some solid people.

Now I knew going in that this will compromise any real faster training for Al's Run, but who cares?  I'm going to simply do what I do and let things unwind the way they do.  Honestly...still having the ability to run is a blast so I might as well enjoy all it offers.

7/31 = 7.2 (10:15) road
8/1  = Off
8/2  = 6.3 (9:33) road
8/3  = 7.5 (10:08) trail, Men. Park w/ Dewey and Tim
8/4  = 5.5 w/ 5 k in 20:08.6, road
8/5  = 7.5 (9:36) road
8/6  = 8.0 (9:30) road
Total = 42.0

8/7  = 4.5 w/ 2.2 @ 6:18 pace, T-mill
8/8  = 5.5 (10:06) road
8/9  = Off
8/10 = 7.6 (10:25) trail, Men. Park w/ Dewey and Tim
8/11 = Off
8/12 = 28.0, Ice Age trail w/ the gang at 12:01am
8/13 = 5.4 (10:24) road
Total = 51.0

Friday, August 4, 2017

20:08.6

That was my 5k time off the watch today.  I was going to do mile repeats and decided let me see how I feel at the 1 mile split which was 6:33.  I felt in control so I just notched it up a hair and was able to hit my fastest 5k tempo for 2017.  That is an average of 6:29 per mile and I'm happy with that.  I wasn't wiped out or anything so I'll take it.  I am off work today, so I had a couple hours to wake up.

Six weeks to Al's.  The 5k today is really about the same effort as the 10k trial from Saturday.  If you punch the 42:09 in it says I am capable of a 20:12 which is real accurate.  So am I progressing?  Punch in 20:09 and I think it forecasted a 33:09 for the 8k.  That is still 99 seconds to shave off in 6 weeks.  I have to get faster...that's what my brain is telling me.  There is no breakaway speed.  I can't summon the hidden gear any longer.  Bootsy from Parliament has left the building.  The funk is gone.

I could ask 6 people how to best get where I want to be and I'd get similar responses in my opinion.  The best answer may be get to 165 pounds (172 today), run fewer miles, and race myself to a potential mini peak.  Finally if I punch in 31:30 for an 8k it says I should be capable of a 19:08 5k.  Somehow this makes it look even more possible.  Again these are efforts on my own and not under race conditions.  I'd love to think I could bring the mail.  The two things that absolutely killed me there last year was the heat and not having the ability to remotely handle a decent pace more than a couple miles.  I just did not see that former abilities off basic training had just vanished.  Yeah...it's real.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Garden Party

Was on the road much of the week so I switched to evening runs through Thursday.  I really can't gauge how I will feel that well any longer.  Driving a 1,000 miles in 4 days stiffened me up a bit.  However, I can feel beat and run well, or feel decent and run fatigued.  Bottom line is the regular runs are at a whatever I got pace and when I think I need to speed up I work through it.

7/24 PM = 6.0 w/ 3 x 1 mile on T-mill w/ 2:00 jog (6:35, 31, 27) felt easy
7/25 PM = 8.0 (8:41) roads
7/26 PM = 6.2 w/ 4 miles of fartlek, tired
7/27 PM = 7.6 (10:24) Men. Park w/ Dewey/Tim, trail/road
7/28 AM = 5.2 (10:24) roads
7/29 AM = 9.5 w/ 6.3 @ 6:47 pace, roads
7/30 AM = 7.5 (10:05) Minooka w/ Clem/Andrea, mostly trail
Total = 50.0

Saturday, July 29, 2017

10210 is too intense

Can you will yourself to a specific race time?  What's the governor or crowbar in some cases?  It seems we pick certain times based more on feeling or wishful thinking.  For those who have ran for years this formula may be accurate.  I know I've been guilty of thinking certain times were achievable, stated them, and then just completely failed.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  Just so it's not habitual.  We do need to be honest with ourselves and at the same time set the bar high.  The one thing that always puzzled me about people racing the marathon was the standard, "What do you think I can run a marathon in?"  Then the obligatory other info that follows.  How could one honestly know?  To me the marathon is one of the easier distances to predict your finish time.  After 3-4 months of steady training you should know exactly what you are capable of.  The whole idea of training to me is finding out exactly what pace I should be able to run over the entire distance.  If you don't know that's a problem.

I wish I could write that the 31:30 goal I set for the 8k at Al's Run on 9/16 was well thought out, but it was not.  I never really train for Al's, it's always on the way to another event.  It is a team event for me, so there is a little bit more motivation to perform well.  Also in my tiny mind as the largest race in WI, it also serves as the yearly pecking order.  The run starts at 10:30am and some years gets flat out hot.  I have a good sense of how to run the race.  If you get out too fast that first net downhill mile and then try and maintain close to the same pace in the second net uphill mile you will pay for it.  For me this is a race you have to make it up in the last half of the run.  With a few thousand runners there are plenty of people to flat out race over the final couple miles.

In training you see markers along the way that identify fitness and trajectory.  In many cases I have ignored basic training principles because they don't apply to me.  Well...we shall see the next 7 weeks if I obey basic recovery principles, or if throwing a few extra miles here and there is more important.  The past couple years I have had to cut weight.  I run big for a 5' 11" and am really happy if I ever get to 172.  It pains me to not eat whatever I want and I'm terrible at it.  If one truly can gain 2 seconds a mile, then the drop from 174 to 165 would mean 18 seconds a mile!  If that is true then the 6:47 I averaged for 6.3 miles today (GPS) means roughly 6:30 pace at 165.  Factor in the drop to 4.97 miles, additional training, a taper, and the race factor then 6:20 pace almost seems certain.  Can I will myself to do it?  There are three items in play here.  Run the workouts, put the fork down, and don't try and do too much.  I feel good about the first one, am challenged by the second, and believe I can be reasonable with the third one.

I will go to counting calories starting Monday.  That's what works for me.  Numbers...a friend that will never leave you.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

He's a sort of athletic Beatle

After five weeks of pounding away I grew tired.  I am still somewhat enthusiastic about getting out, but the grand mileage experiment has halted for now.  Consecutive weeks of 70, 73.3, 77.0, 80.2, and 83.0 in the heat of the summer (with extra gear on often) tuckered me out.  Regardless, it gives me a good base to work on my next phase of whatever it is I want to do.  Which if I'm honest at this point is dial it down for Al's Run (8k) and see if I can possibly sniff 6:20 miles.  That's not a typo...it has come to that...and that is the HIGH end goal.  Last years debacle produced a 34:32 which was a disaster after the 31:55 in 2015.  The 6:20 goal gets me in around 31:30.  I pretty much know what training I'm going to do...I just get tired of reading about all the limitations I have to consider.  I'm guilty of probably working harder than I should and not resting enough, but it pains me to think 3 x 1 mile workouts, or 6 or 7 halves is going to lay waste to me.  With 8 weeks away I am partially unwilling to follow a two easy day and one hard day regiment.  I just took a couple easier weeks of 47.0 and 51.5 miles so I'm coming in a bit fresher.

After Al's Run it will be 9 weeks to the JFK 50 mile.  During Al's run training I'm not going to attempt to keep up with the long runs.  I can't do all that any longer.  I might get near 2 hours a couple times, but that is it.  I'd prefer to stay down by 1:30 for distance runs, or I won't be able to get adequate speed efforts under my belt.  After Al's (September 16th) I will immediately bat out a longer effort of 4 hours.  Then the Glacial Trail 50k is October 8th and I'll probably run 5:30 there.  Then at the very end of October I'll sneak in my last long run.  I have not filled in the rest of the voids.  Let me see how Al's goes.  I plan on running hard at JFK so I'll try and lather together the speed I hopefully have accomplished around a thin shell of over distance runs. 

If anyone has training theories/ideas please present them here.  All four of you that read this.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Riding the clutch

The past week I can't help notice that folks jog by me looking as if they felt like getting a few miles in.  They have all the appropriate gear on.  Not super lean and mean, but they are getting in some aerobic work on a regular basis.  Problem is I am running and it perplexes me.  The Nova SS days with a 396 are forever gone.  I have the straight 250.

I banged out 11 today at a moderate effort and it yielded 8:51 pace.  The days I could stand on my head and spit nickels and run a couple minutes...heck one minute a mile faster have been hidden forever.  Jammed in some place I'll never reach, tighter than a thumb up a pigs nose.  I guess part of the reason I run ultras is piling up miles is useful if you want to quasi compete at 50 miles.  I know I can only expect modest times and that's okay.  At least I feel like I'm doing the homework.

Also, I never had 396 like wheels...ever.  But the comparison is real.  All in a perfectly legal and binding sense.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

0 for 3

As this week progressed, I was feeling relatively decent.  I took Friday off from work and after looking at the mile tally realized a single 6.3 mile day would provide a needed break.  I ventured up to the Emerald parking lot and got on the Ice Age trail.  The trail was a bit slippy and a tad overgrown.  Not to mention it gets hilly up there.  The mothership took a beating that day.  I, to paraphrase Harold Abrams, "...don't run to take beatings!"  Dang and the flies were brutal.  Good thing I was wrapped up in the hoody and skull lid.  Freaking beat.  I was space trucking about 11-12 minute miles.

Saturday dawned and I was meeting Dewey for 15 at Nashotah.  I probably needed a break, but after a half pot of coffee I was back in action and ready to go.  We kept the pace honest and I felt good through the day.  Happy to report the 10 at Minooka on Sunday wasn't bad either.  Decent week.  Just trying to pile a few miles up a bit at a time.  It's hard to exercise caution when you are a running bum.  No real need to get too excited about posting times nobody looks at that far down the page.  Somehow this makes sense to me and so I overlook dings and dents to the body.  There are no stars on a potato farm.

I ran into a guy at the grocery store wearing an Al's Run t-shirt and I commented on it as I had one on as well.  He was pumped up and told me he wants to get one more in this year.  He will be 89.  Forget what I know.  This guy is a natural born world shaker.

6/26am 5.6 (8:45) road, pm 5.6 (8:39) road
6/27am 5.8 (9:23) road, pm 6.7 (9:44) trail w/ Dewey, Tim, Robert
6/28am 8.0 (8:55) road, pm 5.0 (9:31) road
6/29am 6.0 (9:19) road, pm 6.0 (9:28) road
6/30am 6.3 (11:27) trail
7/1am 15.0 (10:07) trail w/ Dewey
7/2am 10.2 (10:39) trail w/ Sharon, Andrea, Clem, and Dean
Total 80.2

Seven runs with extra duds.  One old guy who motivated me.  One chocolate cake...gone.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Stage Left

I hit my goal for June and posted 301.3 miles.  It is my first 300 mile month since January, 2015.  I also see it is my first 300 month June since 1978, but I don't have a few early '80s log books handy.  Regardless it has been a while for a nice June.  I typically take a little break after Ice Age, but since I really can't cut the mustard any longer it's nice to at least lick the jar.  I'm not really following any plan, just out battling the deer flies.  Perhaps the body will catch on to what is going on and decide to make the trip with what the memory perceives should be happening.

I decided against running the firecracker four.  I'm not up to the production.  It'll be a good day to go race myself and spark up the grill early.  Probably have the kids come over, along with the Mom in law.  Blaze out some wings and burgers as big as your head.  I might even buy a chocolate cake with chocolate icing because I can.  We'll play jarts and dominoes and have a big old time.  I'll be asleep by 8:30pm.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

If I spring a leak

The pursuit of miles is sometimes easier than sticking to a regimented plan.  Free wheeling and tossing in workouts here and there might not be the most pin point way to achieve above average hopscotch results, but piling up mileage just for the sake of filling up a training log is effective.  I put in twelve workouts this week and I feel like I am already making strides in my recovery rate.  Now some days I am knackered.  I will generally run through those as that's part of the process.  Other days common sense has to kick in and I take a break from another run.  The key for working stiffs is to hold an ace up the sleeve and time it at a moment when worlds collide.  The same can be said for family stuff, etc.  That is why several times a week I have to visualize the 10CC song, "Big boys don't cry, big boys don't cry."  And out the door I go.  Speaking of which, I am on the road a bunch and if I want to get say 6-7 in it will be an out and back.  Which I love because when I turn for the barn the run in my mind is forensically over.

6/19 am 5.4 (9:00) roads, pm 6.6 (9:10) roads
6/20 am 5.6 (8:24) 10 strides and 1m in 6:30 roads, pm 6.6 (8:33) roads
6/21 am 5.6 (8:06) roads, pm 6.4 (8:51) roads
6/22 am 6.0 (9:45) roads
6/23 am 5.5 (9:35) roads, pm 6.3 (9:22) roads
6/24 am 9.3 (9:42) Nashotah trails
6/25 am 9.1 w/ Frebeka 5 mile in 34:22 (6:52) w/u & c/d w/ Dewey, pm 4.6 (9:47) roads
Total 77.0

Also managed seven runs in the hood jersey and winter cap.  My wife says I'm retarded.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

54 - 40 or fight

I'd call it a good week.  A couple decent workouts mixed in with a little distance at end of the week.

6/12 AM - 5.2 (8:56) road
6/12 PM - 6.2 w/ Moneghetti fartlek 2.82 (7:06) road
6/13 AM - 5.2 (9:08) road
6/13 PM - 5.3 (9:27) road
6/14 AM - 5.2 (9:16) road
6/14 PM - 6.6 (8:20) w/ 6 x 2:00 w/ 1:30 jog, road
6/15 AM - 5.2 (9:02) road
6/16 AM - 10.2 (8:51) road
6/17 AM - 14.0 (9:20) road
6/18 AM - 10.2 (11:10) Minooka trails w/ Clem and Dean
Total = 73.3


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Havlichek stole the ball

So I've been out power jogging around in a winter cap and a hood jersey.  Because of the high amount of deer flies this has turned into an excellent idea.  I never notice them, but once finished and I peel the clothes off they are on me like a German Shepard on a rib roast.  Hopefully I'm getting some heat training benefit for the 5 mile race in 11 days.

Saw a guy (kid) I know who is now 34.  Told me he started running in April.  He's running 2 miles most mornings and now evenings.  Told me he just ran 5:58 for one of the miles that week.  He's 6' easy and 195...because I asked him.  I told him that's awesome and he'd kick my rear end which he's not buying.  Seriously he would crush me.  I said all this to say; he was never a runner.  Anyone with a modicum of talent can run.  I forgot what that was like.  Put on the shoes and start twinkle toeing immediately.  It takes me 2 miles easy to bust the rust off.  It doesn't matter what you do the stiffness, dings, and general malaise is ever present.  Two months ago on the trail I twisted my knee a hair and the pain is still there.  Never got worse and never became better.  It's is just there Bro.  Not enough to curb any effort, but start banging up steps 2 at a time and it gets PO'd.

To get faster years ago the idea was more miles.  You get older and it seems to be less miles and more speed.  I'm not buying into that for me.  It's more miles and more speed.  The idea that some of us would at older ages decide to run more miles seems comical.  I mean to average 10-15 miles a day takes time now-a-days.  There's no 10 miler in 65-70 minutes.  I also can't get out of bed and Shirley Temple down the road in 10 minutes.  I'm lucky to get out the door in under an hour.  It can be an act of selfishness.  People around you pick up that your in zero mode to do much of anything else until the run is completed.  There is little middle ground and my main job is keep the wife as happy as possible.  She has zero interest in running which in a way is better than you may think.  I have no business going into these running worm holes, but little else interests me in my free time for now.  Again...all this to be mediocre doesn't seem to add up, but I can't seem to give up the ghost.

Oh and I did sign up for the 55th annual JFK 50 mile.  Ran it in 2000.  It is a great event.  I'm going down to race.  Whatever that means.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

South of the Picketwire

I managed to get in 70 miles this week.  Was not as easy as I thought it would be, yet I stay highly motivated.  Not so much for any world shaking, but that I can still get out into open spaces and glide over gravel and ponder the act itself.  When I awake at night, why is it my brain contemplates running equations and potential workouts?  One thing I've decided is this summer is about doubles.  Hopefully about 4 a week.  I laid out a potential list of races as such:

6/25 Frebeka 5
7/4 Firecracker 4
7/30 Cudahy 10 mile
8/26 Strider Half
9/16 Al's Run 8k
10/8 Glacial Trail 50K
11/18 JFK 50 mile

I was reading Charlie Spedding's training from London to Olympic '84 marathons on Bob Hodge's site and liked the openness of it.  Real life stuff happened, he ran hard, he trained through races, and he slotted in what he needed.  I looked back and the last time I reached 300 miles in a month was January of 2015.  What?!  How we slowly fade into the mantra of common results.  I've tired of giving into what I should be doing.  I'm going to get a few swings in before I lay it down.

Running highlights from the week:

- Talk to Beaner from CC team at SRU and he ran 2:54 last week at 55.  He beat his age!
- Clem mention this today about someone and I asked how old he was when he ran 2:32.  He was 36.  He's in the club and didn't know it.  From me to you man. 
- Received a 20+ mph high five from Dan Held (2:13:50 Boston '94?) as he blew by me on his bike.

I'm running most morning workouts in a hood jersey and a stocking cap.  Get off me...going to see if Durden was right, but probably skip the bottoms and gloves.

I never enjoyed this Bob Seger guys music.  Stuff like this comes on the radio and I turn it off.  Eagles, Elton John, and are you kidding me....Styx?  No interest.  You might as well take me to a Hall & Oates concert.  I'll drive 5 hours and not even turn the radio on.  I'd let a few Molly Hatchet songs go through, but they don't play that on the old stuff radio.  Foreigner?  I'd rather hear Jethro Tull or the freakin' Turtles before REO Speedwagon and please not Genesis.  It's pretty sad that I'd rather hear the Bee Gee's or KC and the Sunshine Band in this day and age. 

6/5 AM = 5.0 (9:36) road
6/5 PM = 5.0 (9:00) road
6/6 AM = 5.1 (9:07) road
6/6 PM = 7.6 (10:10) trail Men. Park w/ Dewey and Tim
6/7 AM = 10.0 (9:16) road
6/8 AM = 5.0 (8:40) road
6/8 PM = 5.3 (8:22) w/ 8 x 1:00 w/ 1:00 jog road
6/9 AM = 5.0 (9:21) road
6/9 PM = 4.0 (9:15) road
6/10 AM = 8.0 (9:09) road and trail
6/11 AM = 10.0 w/ Barry and Clem at Minooka trails
Total = 70.0

Friday, June 9, 2017

Used to love that Econoline

As a lifelong runner of sorts, I still relish in finding races and cobbling together a training venue.  Nothing is really off the table and for better or worse it is usually a longer distance.  Not sure why because the shorter distances always seemed to go better for me.  I struggle at efforts over 50 miles.  I have finished 1 of 3 100 milers attempted.  This isn't a bone of contention, but the idea pulls me back in.  I do want to do another one.  So, like everyone else I look up events and even training plans.  I should just go and Charlie Weaver it for the finish, but that is hard to do.

I want to go on record to state I have resigned myself from making any goal race plans until after July 4th.  Let me get a month of miles in the bank before setting the Kentucky windage.  I can't do everything I would like, but if I can get 300 miles in for June then I can pick anything to go after.  Back to this internet thing they have.  Who comes up with these running plans?  It is 100 miles.  Show me the baby.  No interest in the diet, equipment, mental focus, cross training Pilates, massage  jack in the box, I'm okay...your okay garbage.  Where is the 100 miles easy on the 80-100 miles a week napkin plan?  We can figure stuff out, otherwise why am I here.  They feed you this..."and butterflies are free to fly," farcical nonsense.  Has anyone seen Its a Wonderful Life?  Remember Nick from Nick's Place when he tells Jimmy Stewart (PA boy) and Clarence, "Look, we serve hard liquor for men who want to get drunk."

Exactly, let's tell it like it is and get to work.  How the Pippy Longstocking am I to survive by doing planks and kettle bells.  Maybe I suck because I don't do these things.  Certainly possible.  Hey maybe you should bike a couple days a week and save your knees.  Who hurts themselves by running 8-12 minute miles in training and slower in a 100?

"Franco this, Franco that.  I hear Franco one more time and I'm coming back."
Jim Brown circa 1982 or 1983?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Damage report Mr. Sulo

I saw a bit of a hockey documentary about the Islanders from the early 80s.  I forgot how good those teams were.  They won 19 straight series until losing to the Oilers in '84.  I rarely hear anything about that team and somehow I envisioned it being longer ago than that.  Gretzky mentioned when they lost to them in the finals in '83 they had to walk by their dressing room.  They looked beat up and he told his team that's what it is going to take to win.

I don't play hockey (though I'm cheering on my Pens), but did ask myself if this is the mentality needed to embrace progress in future training.  Go on any blog with master+ runners and the theme is constant; stuff isn't working as before.  The idea that it can take 3-4 miles to warm-up is unnerving.  Being stiff as an ironing board all over is almost comical.  I don't want to run less "smarter" miles, I want to go on a mileage bender.  Little pains in the past used to heal up and easily go away.  Now it seems like a barnacle permanently attached.  It's annoying.

Don't get me wrong.  I am grateful I can still run the miles I do.  Many have been derailed and it is ponderous.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Spinal Tap

Leading up to Ice Age I was happy with the training.  Certainly the mileage was lackluster, but the long runs I was performing on the course were actually decent.  The week prior I ran a small 5k event as a tune up and actually won overall.  I didn't even break 20 minutes and I was all alone.  The highlight of the day was having a couple small kids say, "You're really fast."  Which I replied with a dumb smile on my face, "Thanks, you're really fast too."

As I am penning this from my phone I won't go into much detail.  It was a beautiful day, reaching the mid 70's and most knew it could be a problem.  Including me.  Came through the blue loop at around 81 for 9 minute pace.  It's what I expected.  Never felt great, just kept running as planned.  Dewey was getting me through the stations quickly and at the 21.7 turn I was in 31st.  It is a grind back to highway 12, so I tampered it down a bit and was starting to pass a few people.  At 12 (26.2) I should have backed her down, but was anxious to move up.  I took the governor off and at confusion corner was up to about 19th (32+).  Now I know many people out here and it's always great to hear how good you look.  I was tired, but was looking for the magical hot spot to occur.  In my mind I'm still thinking top 10 because the race is now beginning.

In the movie ET towards the end, Elliott proclaims to one of the older kids who states ET should just beam up or something, "This is reality Greg."  Yeah...it kind of was and by 35 miles Dr. Smith pulled Robot's power pack and it was over.  Just like that.  I knew I would finish, it was a matter of just doing it.  At Emma Carlinhos (40.3) I turned for home and blazed 16-17 minute miles.  I finished in 9:13 for 39th overall.  The biggest surprise was how few people passed me the last 15 miles.  It shows you how the warmest day of the year does indeed affect everyone.

Notes:

Thanks to Dewey again for the outstanding crew job.  Heck, he picks me up and delivers me home.

Thanks to Andrea, Christine, and Dewey for getting me to the medical tent.  It was very kind of all of you to attend to me and I am grateful.

Thanks to Joel and Christine.  It was good to be able to run big chunks of the run together.  Thanks for all the kind words.

Thanks to Jeff (race director) and Angela (volunteer captain) for everything.  Assigning me race number #1 was a huge honor and I got a ton of mileage out of the fact throughout the day.

Thanks to Andy Arena (30 time finisher) who when he saw me said, "Dehart, it's a buckle.  When you get to 30 they give you a nice cutting board."

Thanks to everyone else I missed who helped.  It was a great day.

Congrats to my Minooka friends who stormed in for buckles.  Andy looked great coming in for his 26th finish.  And hats of to Dean who returned from Mt. Everest base camp the week before to finish in 11:55!  Hootie Hooooooot!!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

4 with everything

Running has been a lot of things for me over the years.  At first it was a way to compete and be a part of a team in HS.  It took me a year and a half to realize pure ability and will only take you so far.  I read a book by Joe Henderson titled Run Gently, Run Long.  I did not quite grasp all the concepts then, but one theme which resonated was running just for the freedom of movement.  It didn't need to be hard.  What's the purpose of always banging away.  Much of my running has been like this, but then again I had to learn the lesson myself.  I like both aspects.  I like at times to bang away because this really is the only way for me to run faster.  However, I need the running with no particular place to go attitude as well.  My sweet spot has been 50 miles a week.  One can stay in reasonable shape and when the urge to compete comes you simply carve out 12 weeks and make it happen.

Saturday was my last Ice Age tune up run on the course.  I just basically ran the 16.6 miles progressively faster after a few easy miles at first.  I was looking for that zone and for about the last 12 miles I found it.  When you put the accelerator down and the body keeps responding is awesome.  This does not happen much in general any more and to achieve the feeling two weeks in a row is a good sign for me.  I have a few minor dings and sore areas, but hopefully I can rest and sharpen the edge just a bit more over the next 12 days.  I believe I am ready.

4/24 = AM, 5.0 (10:19) road
4/25 = PM, 7.0 w/ 5k in 20:22 (6:33) paved
4/26 = PM, 6.5 w/ 5 x 880y w/ 440y jog, road
4/27 = PM, 6.1 (9:35) paved w/ Dewey and Tim
4/28 = OFF
4/29 = AM, 16.5 (8:53) w/ last 12.3 (8:33) trails.  First 4.2 w/ Dewey & Christine
4/30 = AM, 6.0 (10:21) road
Total = 47.1

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Lost in Space

The last long training run is in the bank for Ice Age.  All which is primarily left to do is rest, sharpen up a bit, and lay off the spam.  Spending time out on the same trails the Ice Age 50 mile takes place at reminds me of past lessons learned.  I thought I'd pine a bit.


1.  Whatever one has on race day is what you have to work with.  Sure we have basic goals, but you have to play the variables given that day.  I'm not discounting ones ability to make it happen, but 50 miles is a long way and best to be cautious early.


2.  Every year I run into someone along the way (usually between 10-20 miles) and they ask me what I'm trying to finish in.  Sometimes my time is a couple hours faster than their goal and they look at me puzzled.  Sometimes they even take off from me.  I have never seen this turn out well.  Go out conservative.  Take care of yourself.  Let your mind drift into a state of auto pilot.  Plenty of time to leg it out later.


3.  If time or place is a major goal then figure out from the course aid stations how you need to manage this thing.  Prepare to bring a few items (how hard is it to carry S-caps or TP) and don't act stupefied when they don't have a personal handler at each aid station for you.  I usually always have crew and I am told I am easy to crew for.  Hand me a new bottle through and have a snack for me.  If it is anything special I'll ask for it when I get to the next place I can get assistance.


4.  If you plan on running near me then please understand I'm inconsistent and run the course the way I do.  Sometimes I'm sailing and other times I'm conserving.  I'm not focusing on what you are doing.  My main goal is to get through 35 miles and then look for a hot spot.  It's not personal.  I'm just out there some years to get the damn thing finished and beat a few people.


5.  Yes I walk some hills, but primarily at the beginning.  I like to keep my heart rate down early and already know I'm probably running a hair fast.  In the middle portions I walk maybe 5-10% of the hill when it is the steepest or the steps are hard to get over easily.  The last 20 miles if I can I run up almost all hills.  To me this seems to work so I have kept with this.


I have to go work on the lawn now.


4/17 = PM, 6.0 (9:28) paved
4/18 = PM, 7.0 w/ 5k (6:43 pace) paved
4/19 = PM, 7.0 w/ 4.0 @ 6:53 pace on T-mill
4/20 = PM, 6.0 (9:51) road
4/21 = AM, 4.5 (10:06) road
4/22 = AM, 34.5 (10:16) w/ last 15.3 @ 9:06 on course, trails
4/23 = AM, 8.0 (10:33) trails
Total = 73.0



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Flint or tinder?

There was a time you could just show up out at the trails this time of the year and find people to run with.  After a few social miles people would start to light out in their own packs.  Somewhere on the way back there was a bit of saber rattling and you finished with a solid workout of a few hours.  People you knew littered the trails and you might stop for a brief second to say hello or tell them to pack a lunch on race day (in a perfectly legal and binding sense).  This is Ice Age season.  Most everyone at some point comes out to give it a go, volunteer, crew, or party.  Now don't get me wrong the Ice Age 50 is one of the most successful, well run, popular races you will ever attend.  It is my favorite event of all-time.  The reality is people don't run or last forever.  How much longer do I have to race this thing?

If I was to summarize my training this year I would say adequate.  I'd have liked to have averaged about 15 more miles a week, but I could not weave the magic.  Honestly it was the live to fight another day training.  Calculator says I have averaged 52.66 miles a week since January 1st.  Basically what I always run.  However, I have done some longer efforts (about 5 miles less per run than the past) and have kept up with some tempo efforts.  What I can't pin down is when I will feel good.  Is it age, meds or other stuff...probably, but I just have to roll with that.  One thing for sure is a good taper is usually good for me.  As long as I get over 5 hours in on next weekends run, watch the weight, and zip around a bit I might be fine.

One thing I have learned is you can't will a time to happen.  You have to take it as it comes and if you have any wheels the last 10-15 miles than let her go.  This is not a course you can unwind on as there are few flat stretches.  You have to find a rhythm over the never ending shifting topography. 

4/3 = OFF
4/4 = AM, 5.0 (9:27) roads
4/5 = PM, 6.0 w/ 3.5 @ 6:40 on T-mill
4/6 = AM, 5.0 (9:03) T-mill
4/7 = AM, 6.0 (9:55) roads
4/8 = AM, 25.4 (10:12) Ice Age trail w/ Christine and Steve
4/9 = OFF
Total = 47.4

4/10 = PM, 7.5 (10:28) roads
4/11 = PM, 8.5 (9:04) w/ 2.0 (6:51, 6:34) w/ Tim
4/12 = PM, 9.0 (10:32) Lapham trails w/ Steve and Jim
4/13 = OFF
4/14 = AM, 6.0 (10:34) QEK trail
4/15 = AM, 15.0 (9:33) Ice Age trail w/ Christine and Steve
4/16 = AM, 12.1 (10:34) QEK trail
Total = 58.1

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Student body right

In 1977 we board the bus and head down to Ellwood City to take on the CC team.  We have never ran on this course so we pay extra attention on where we need to turn, etc.  It seemed common in our area that front runners from the other team get mixed up.  I get it.  These are rural meets and not a whole lot of extra bodies around to point the proper way.  If you felt you were going to be in the mix it was best to get a handle on the last half mile.  Follow the leader from the home team and turn on the burners at the end.

We were about to have a special treat this day.  There had been so much rain that when you ran down by the creek you had to run across the boards laid out.  They went for a long ways in places and to try and not run on them was futile.  We had our little band of about a dozen runners and Ellwood appeared to have anyone in the school who wanted to run that day in uniform.  I thought nothing of this.  This course was 2.7 miles.  You started and ran down to the bottom where the creek ran.  Eventually you ran on dry terra firma for a ways, then come up out of the bottom to a paved road area.  You ran on this for about a mile and finished up on the cinder track.  I thought this was pretty cool.

Now the year before on our course we beat Ellwood and I grabbed my first victory ever.  We ended that year 2-5.  When that little starter pistol cracked I had no idea that every single kid on that team must have been directed to drop a 45 quarter and get to the boards.  They were log jammin'.  It was frustrating watching the top guys pull away as all these midgets slowed to a crawl.  I ran the boards for about 100 yards before I went through the cold, muddy water.  Somehow being duped teed me off and I set sail for the front.  I caught the lead guy coming up out of the bottom, but was too waxed to do anything else when we got to the road.  At this point in my running life I had zero experience on what I felt I should do.  Get this...I was on my own.  Pretty common in the day.  My buddy always called it YOYO.  Your on your own.

It came down to not losing contact.  If the kid on his home course would have made any kind of move then he probably had me.  I had no idea how far it was to the finish and he did.  I eventually caught him with less than a half to go and wound it up.  By the time I hit the track I was clear.  I sprinted for the tongue depressor they had held out with the #1 written on it.  I have this somewhere in a box to this day.  I'd probably pick this over any other trinket ever handed to me.  Unfortunately we had it handed to us that day and they got the W.  We finished the year 0-11.

3/20 AM = 7.0 (9:27) roads
3/21 AM = 6.5 w/ 2.0 @ 6:27 T-mill Cleveland
3/22 AM = 14.0 (8:42) T-mill Cleveland (25mph winds outside)
3/23 AM = 5.0 (9:45) T-mill Cleveland
3/24 = OFF
3/25 AM = 10.5 (8:11) roads at Mom's in PA
3/26 AM = 11.1 (9:13) roads at Mom's in PA
Week = 54.1

3/27 = OFF (Drive PA to WI)
3/28 AM = 7.6 (8:54) w/ 1.0 in 6:16. Tim and Dewey on Bugline
3/29 PM = 10.0 (10:06) Lapham trails w/ Todd, Rick, and Jim
3/30 = OFF
3/31 AM = 3.4 (9:49) roads
4/1 AM = 14.0 w/ Southshore half marathon in 1:30:02 (6:52)
4/2 AM = 17.0 (10:33) Ice Age trail w/ Christine
Week = 52.0

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Good thing we didn't step in it

I'm fortunate as many long time runners to have friends who have excelled in the sport.  It is great to receive unsolicited and solicited tips on what has worked for them.  In the sport of trail 50 milers it is easy to forget the lessons one has already learned.  Forgetting lessons is common in life and especially running/racing.  At the end of 2014 I needed to post a marathon qualifier for the 2016 Boston run to join my friends.  I was 53 at the time and with no specific training just figured I'd run a 3:10 and get seeded fairly well.  Then I'd have plenty of time to get into the come big or stay at home training and control the world with my weather machine (Underdog reference) attitude.

Temerity was at an all time high that day and I took my beating in a 3:15:58 finish.  What had I unlearned?

1.  I did no specific training.  I did not have a reference point of good versus evil.
2.  I raced in an old pair of Adidas Culpepper's racing flats.  I did zero runs in them before the event.
3.  I neglected to address my right hammy prior to the race in any capacity.  I just let it ride thinking S-Caps (electrolytes) would just Elizabeth Montgomery it away.
4.  I convinced myself that at 179 pounds I was twisted steel and I could easily carry this weight.  I refused to give up the hot fudge and mashed potato diet and I paid for it.
5.  Finally, with all this shameless audacity at what point did I not figure out my calve muscles would not seize up late, reducing me to Barney Rubbleness?

In 2015 I fixed these issues (relearned marathoning) and posted a 3:06:15 to improve my qualifying time.  However, after scanning the 50-54 age group results at Boston it became apparent that is like the age group Olympics and literally a couple hundred 50+ year olds get under 3 hours, so I ran with my friends that day.  That was awesome because there were 5 of us who finished together, but at the same time deep down you know you're finished.  Yes...even stumble bums like me recognize the marathon dream has finally ended.  Sure, the pilot light comes on once in awhile, but the will to train is no longer present.

3/13 = OFF
3/14 = OFF
3/15 AM = 7.7 w/ 5 @ 6:58 on the T-M.
3/16 AM = 4.0 w/ 2 @ 6:27 on the T-M.
3/16 PM = 6.0 (9:38) w/ Tim at Men. Park (road).
3/17 AM = 6.3 (9:39) (road).
3/18 AM = 15.0 (8:21) (paved trail) w/ Christine first 11.  Last 6 (8:11, 8:09, 7:46, 7:36, 7:22, 7:10).
3/19 AM = 19.0 (10:43) (crappy trail) w/ Dean, Clem, Andy, Sharon various distances @ Minooka.
Week = 58.0

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Silver wings

I was reading Kevin Beck's blog as he discussed training plans/concepts/opportunities.  My take away was the best training environment for an individual may be right where you are now.  Having your dream circumstance might not always work.  I've had no coach, I've had a coach, and I've relied on my own abilities to self coach.  Now having no coach is not the same as being self coached.  In my opinion many runners need to go figure out what running is about by actually experimenting on themselves.  It's hard to be your own coach when you have no idea even what type of shoe works for you.  How about the famous, "I have a marathon next week, what pace should I run?"  Those people aren't coaching themselves.  That's okay...I went through all that myself.

Back to Kevin's blog.  I believe he is on to something.  I had all the reasons to train hard in college, but I did not.  I trained much more in HS.  A teammate from college called me this week and wondered the same thing out loud.  "My best year in CC is when I started training in the third week of July."  What were we thinking?  Well I know what we were thinking and doing, but that was like 35 years ago.  Other dumb (code for fun) things seemed "funner" then.

That's kind of where my training has gone this year. 
- I want to do well this year at Ice Age.
- I have huge responsibility at work and I enjoy it most of the time.
- I am not as resilient as in the past in regards to WI winter training.
- I make the best of each day...what seems right?
- Whatever I have on race day is what I will try and maximize.  This is not Villanova '85. 

So the week starts out okay, but after a long day to and back from Chicago on Tuesday I only squeeze in 5 miles.  No big deal the past 3 days had been 24, 10, and 8.  Wednesday comes and I awake to a sore throat and the feeling of an on coming head cold.  My enthusiasm is that of one waiting to get their wisdom teeth out.  I am subconsciously trying to barter with myself.  The winds are a steady 24 mph according to my phone.  I don't own a treadmill...those are for other people.  I force myself to go down to the basement and repeat the same actions I've done since I was a kid.  Suit up.  I say things I can't repeat here, but I get out the door.  Now I'm in the action and for those not familiar with the act/art of running, it is much more similar to operating a vehicle then one might think.  I am piloting the ship from upstairs.  One continues to monitor all the equipment as well as the outside variables.  I already know it takes 20-30 minutes before I even give myself the workout.  I end up with a 5 mile harder effort inside a 9 miler.  Good thing.  I was wiped out Thursday and Friday and whatever energy I had was committed to full work days.  That's what we do.

3/6  PM = 8.0 (9:24) roads
3/7 AM = 5.0 (9:41) roads
3/8 AM = 9.0 (8:11) roads w/ 5.0 tempo (7:31,44,18,21,25) strong winds
3/9 OFF Sick
3/10 OFF Sick
3/11 AM = 20.0 (9:25) trails w/ Christine. Last 7.0 @ 8:30 pace
3/12 AM = 18.0 (10:25) trails w/ Dean & some w/ Sharon
Week = 60.0 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Total consciousness

I sometimes have doubts the training is progressing in any real manner.  As countless people with ten years on either side of me have noted, the fast stuff today was my normal workout pace then.  Fortunately I'm only trying to weave the magic for one day.  One day.  Which means setting up performance indicators along the way.  There is also something calming in knowing that besides myself no other person on the planet gives a rat's a$$.  That phone thing we all seem to have will ding on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday asking me if I'm coming on a run regardless if I set an AR, or crash and burn into a rice paddy.


The past two weeks included an Arizona vacation and the ensuing week of work catch up.  I actually re-learned something about longer runs.  Many associated with running a 50 mile event know all too well about the need to get in the longer runs.  I mean stuff is happening to your benefit one doesn't even know about.  The thing about yesterday's 24 mile run was that the best running came in the last 8 miles and I had to resist Major Tomming it another extra 4 miles.  I was getting down to 8:00 flat pace near the end without any extra effort.  Everything after a few hours came into unison and I was piloting the ship in that small place in your brain where you achieve clarity.  The best way I can explain it is like being fully rested and you drink 3 cups of coffee.  I'm not comparing it to a "buzz", but more like if I had ten of me I would control the free world. 


In the day I would have blasted away, but I was all too aware of the potential reserves I could erode for one magnificent joy ride.  The lesson was learned.  Live to fight another day and more so, there is the potential this same scenario could play out on race day.  On a similar note I remember reading years ago about Frank Shorter.  He recalled races in which he could tell after a mere 100 yards after the start that he was going to have an exceptional day.  It made sense to him to try and capture a means to duplicate this 100 yard feel.  It never happened.  The day gives you what it gives you.  Sometimes you drink the wine and sometimes your stomping the grapes.


2/20 PM = 8.0 (7:17) w/ 7 @ 7:07 pace/roads
2/21 AM = 8.0 (9:27)
2/22 AM = 8.0 (9:03)
2/23 = OFF
2/24 AM = 8.0 w/ 2 mile in 13:21 (6:53,6:28)
2/25 AM = 12.0 (8:14)
2/26 AM = 8.0 (9:36)
Week = 52.0


2/27 AM = 10.5 (9:12)
2/28 AM = 7.5 w/ 3 @ 6:40 pace on treadmill
3/1 PM = 8.0 (9:47)
3/2 PM = 8.0 (8:49) w/ 1 mile in 6:21
3/3 = OFF
3/4 AM = 24.0 (8:56), 21.0 w/ Christine
3/5 AM = 10.0 (10:35), Minooka trails w/ Clem and Dean
Week = 68.0

Saturday, March 4, 2017

That rabbit's dynamite

The other team was my first time around runners.  After the race I slipped on my Brooks Villanova's which had the yellow markings, not like the standard red markings on blue.  These were supplied by the school and replaced a pair of Rally Racers I had picked up at J.C. Penny's.  I noticed Heasley had what appeared like a pair of moon shoes on.  A pair of Nike's with the back heel flaired our wider than the shoe.  This had to be explored and soon I had a year's subscription to Runner's World which really introduced to the sport on a much wider scale...and you saw all the cool shoes.

Any who.  So we are on the bus back to our school when coach starts passing back the results.  Fred is holding court and telling stories to all us young pups.  I mean he is the guy.  A senior who has good wheels in the 880 and has actually dated girls.  He was hilarious and since I had somehow finished ahead of Fred I get to sit all the way in the back of the bus.  The results reach me, the last guy to see them and I see the score...Laurel 27 / Union 28.  Now I don't know a lot about many things, but I must have been the only guy associated with the team who read the introduction to CC pamphlet.  I yell up to Coach, "Hey Coach, why didn't you tell us we won?"  He replied, "What are you talking about?"  I said, "Low score wins in CC."  In which he replied, "Oh, I thought it was like football.  No wonder the other Coach kept shaking my hand."  We had won our first meet ever.  At the time if I knew we would go on to go 5 - 27 in 3 years we might have savored it a bit.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I'm shaking it over here

As a little kid I always had good wheels.  It just did not seem hard to out run most people.  However, at 12-13 as elementary schools come together you quickly learn there are faster folk.  As the gun cracked from Socs Russo we smoked out.  Like a kid "going long" to get behind the secondary I soon found everyone had the same plan.  Whatever juice propels you in your first race quickly had me at the half mile mark.  A quick inventory told me that only a handful of us were at the front, but soon enough Genova a senior and Heasley a junior seemed warmed up and just kinda twinkle toed ahead.  I tried...I really did try to go, but there was nothing to pull from.  My reserves were severely eroded and at the half way mark I was in a special pain zone I was unfamiliar with.  

The thing is I just assumed everyone was in this much pain and I was mostly right.  This must be how racing longer distance feels.  It was the only experience I had to this point and no one else told me any different so I marshaled on.  Past 2 miles the leaders had a huge gap, but being in 3rd overall wasn't wasted on me.  There was no way I was letting anyone pass me and just to make sure I probably glanced behind me a dozen times.  The last quarter mile of the course you turn and run up up a nice little rise.  I was thankfully safe at this point and crosses the finish in 17:50 for 3 miles.  It was a really good feeling doing okay and a few people congratulated me.  Fred was just behind me and our first race was in the books.  Let's cheer the others in and be on the bus home.  I wondered how bad we were beaten.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

How hard could it be?

But I was no Kenyan.  Our team was a collection of all sorts of individuals wanting to try something new.  Shop jocks, battered football players, and guys typically at the wrong end of the pecking order made up the roster.  Our coach was a young guy who's job was to watch over students serving suspensions.  Essentially no one had a clue, so we jogged a few miles and did wind sprints.  After two weeks of this, I could see Fred (a senior who ran the 880 in track and last name was McMurray) and I were probably the better runners because of our speed.  We would run our first dual meet against Union HS on their course.  All day at school I had butterflies thinking about the upcoming race.  I'm sure the newness of it all played a part, but I was more jacked up over the pain one had to face.  If the two weeks taught me anything it was to be up front meant to suffer.  I did not want to fail.

Flying your HS colors is an awesome honor.  The year is '76 and soon I will turn 15 years old.  I'd grown up watching all the older neighborhood kids play varsity.  Now it was my turn and as we walked over the course at Union it occurred to me that 3 miles was a long way to sprint.  That's the only strategy we basically knew.  Go out with the leaders and stay up front as long as you can.  It was that simple.  I tied my white Puma sprinters spikes to my feet and got ready to strap it down.  No advice, no pep talk, no strategy discussion on what was about to take place.  In modern terms, "Grip it and rip it."

Put some bacon on a biscuit

Growing up in the 70s has left many of memories colored as the old pages of Sports Illustrated.  Random athletes (Dennis Menke, Dave Osborne, Essex Johnson, or Bernie Parent come to mind) who's uniform colors or action photos are still in my head.  That they were all successful athletes was reason for us to emulate them for whatever reason.  An odd batting stance, a great Topps card, or an odd name easily might get you mentioned in one of our ball games.  Sometimes people ask how do you know these random sports facts about skiers, horses, or even boxing?  The answer off course is we had limited channels to surf, so the Wild World of Sports was consumed often.  That and reading the Sporting News at the school library.

Like most kids I wanted to excel in a sport like baseball or football, but it just didn't happen.  We started a XC team my sophomore year and I was on board immediately.  I had plenty of colorful images of Bayi, Jipcho, Ryun, and especially a cat named Keino in my head.  Sure, I knew many other track athletes because in the day you also read the Guinness Book of World Records.  I loved those old school Kenyan uniforms and the way they went after it.

I gotta go run now...

Monday, February 20, 2017

Put your helmet on

After 30.6 miles over the weekend I'm glad to report a solid Monday workout.  Sometimes I'll try to jump the week early and get a good one off the tee box to start the week.  I achieved my goal already before vacation by taking down all three 2017 watch PR's (for those hardy 3-4 people who look at this) with a 6:36.9 mile, 21:30 5k, and a 43:58 10k.  I jumped out the door and tried to stretch it a bit and ambled through the first mile in 8:23.  From there I fired up the mothership through 14 mph winds and slowly wound it up.  I averaged 7:08 pace the next 7 miles which is acceptable.  I seem to be cracking up oxygen easy enough.  Need to working on jamming the gears.  Probably a bit early to start racing myself several times a week, but honestly at this point it doesn't seem like I can create enough debt to worry about peaking.  Besides, not sure I'd call reaching for 9:23 pace on the Ice Age trail a firestorm.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rawhide in A

This was a good week for me.  A few ups and downs being on the road in Georgia, but I mustered a good week.  The tempo was a bit soft, but with a cold 18 mph wind I'll take the result.  Saturday's long run was brutal the first 10 miles, but I rallied the last half and ran reasonably well.  I stayed of the trails again based on a few muddy reports.  Sunday turned out to be another impressive running day and the body responded well to the fair temps and sunshine.  Leave late this coming Tuesday for a week in Arizona.  I'll go to the if you ain't blastin' you ain't lastin' mode and enjoy whatever result this yields.

Christine and I discussed a few of our Top 10 all-time running moments.  It was great hearing a few of her inside stories on some wins and what motivated her.  My range is all over and also includes training runs and adventure runs.  However, the one thing I always come back to is tying for first with my brother Bryan in the 1600m my senior year of HS.  It was a dual meet (remember those) against Union.  If I'm ever out on a run with you let me know and I'll give you my version.

2/13 = 9.0 (8:38)
2/14 = 8.0 (8:13) w/ 3.3 @ 7:08 pace
2/15 = 7.0 (8:54)
2/16 = 8.4 (9:52) Men. Park w/ Dewey and Tim
2/17 = OFF
2/18 = 20.6 (9:27) Fox River w/ Christine
2/19 = 10.0 (9:11)
Total = 63.0

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It's a gas gas gas

It is 12 weeks from today that the Ice Age 50 mile begins.  I have completed 15 of these jaunts and I constantly remind people it is my favorite race.  I guess now-a-days I can call it my favorite event rather than race.  Covering the distance in as short as time as possible is generally the goal which means more emphasis on speed these days.  So the idea that most of the chips left on the table will be pushed into trying to run a fast half on 4/1 has been entertained.  The thinking goes as such.  Speed/strength will be enhanced and with a half dozen target type runs (course specific speed efforts and general 25 - 35 mile runs), getting to 7:50 may seem attainable.  The other reason is seeing what type of time can be produced in a half.  If way over 1:30 then forget about lining up at Lakefront and forget 7:50 at Ice Age.

The watch I wear has a feature that chronicles your best efforts.  I zeroed them out this year.  Running through the first couple I see 6:46.9 for the mile and 22:14 for the 5k.  As disheartening as these are I won't even list the 10k and half.  Then it dawned on me.  Next week we are going to Arizona for a week of vacationing (and looking for retirement ideas) which means I'll run 50 - 80 minutes a day first thing so it does not interfere with anything else.  This being the case I'm thinking of trying to break all my 2017 watch PRs of 1 mile, 5k, and 10k.

Yeah...this is what it gets to. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Barn fodder

There is a little handheld game that has a bunch of little holes and bb's under glass and you try to roll them all in place.  It was not a gimme and it took a bit of concentration and luck to get 'em all in place.  Running has been a lot like that now-a-days.  Just when it seems you have it going in the right direction something else falls out of place.  Winter can be a cold, wet, and icy environment in the upper Midwest.  Honestly, I have so many friends getting hurt in this crap that I'm not up to shortening my last few running years.  Another phenomena are the twists and niggles from out of no where.  Add in the travel for work and I sit here far short from placing all the bb's.  This is what I mustered:

M = PM, 7.0 w/ 5.0 @ 7:13 pace on t-mill.
T = AM, 4.0 (9:20) t-mill.
W = PM, 7.5 w/ 7 x 880y w/ .25 jog.
R = PM, 7.3 @ Menomonee Park w/ Dewey and Tim.
F = Off
S = AM, 18.0 (9:18) in The Sha w/ Christine.
S = AM, 9.1 (10:37) Minooka (wet/muddy/icy trails) w/ Dean and Andrea.

Total = 52.9

On Tuesday I was up in the UP and it was icy.  I put 4 in on the mill and I was done.  I hate those things.  I was going to run again later in Green Bay, but it was just nasty on the sidewalks.  On Friday I had planned to get in 4-6 for a shake out run, but my hip flexor (or some BS muscle) had me limping.  I had to fight every urge not to go out on a useless run.  Turned out to be a good call because I had no pain Saturday.  I have to lose this 10 extra pounds.  I'm taking down sandwiches like a German shepherd on a rib roast. 

When Christine and I started to run Saturday, three middle aged Mom's (30-35) went right by us.  They were doing about 10 miles.  We just kind of looked at each other.  I know what she was thinking.  "Is this what it has come to?"  Indeed.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Another bum from the neighborhood

To keep training alive and active I believe I will run the South Shore Half on 4/1.  Basic plodding at 9:00 to 10:00 on the roads and perhaps slower on the trails no gonna get me to 7:50 on 5/13.  I believe breaking 1:30 is a bit of a stretch goal, but if I wanna get reasonably close to 3 on 10/1 I best start figuring out what that pace feels like.  I ran 5 on the mill today in MI @ 7:13 pace and I was ready to blow my brains out.  I have to cap tempos at 4 miles on the mill because I just can't take it, plus it is stuffy in there.  At this point I'll do a variety of 8 x 600 or 6 x 800 and 3 or 4 mile tempos.  I think occasionally I'll do a 2 mile lightning workout to tingle my racing senses.

At some point I should introduce hills once a week.  It just seems right, but it's hard to pour in everything.  Plus hills have always been a strong point for me.  You see that there?  I'm trying to skip hill work for Ice Age.  Is anyone checking on me?  I'm over here trying to make a go of it and no one says jack.

Shooting for 55+ this week.  Faster workout to happen Wednesday and 17 on Saturday.  Not sure where, but possibly the trails.  I'm having no problem getting guys to agree that we up tempo some longer runs on the Ice Age course (when the snow is gone).  I'm guessing some 9:00 work or better, but that sounds easy typing it.  F-F-F-Flashbacking can be dangerous...there is no pain you are receiving....the dream is gone.  Any time you throw sub 8 out there for Ice Age we come out of the woodwork.  The final question is getting to be...am I no longer capable?

Pack a lunch.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Is that X?

It felt good to get back into the running groove again.  By my accounts it was a good week, but it looks skinny.  It didn't feel skinny, but on paper it doesn't look like much for a guy training to race a trail 50 mile.

M = PM, 6.0 w/ 3 x 1mile on T-mill w/ .25 jog (6:49,44,40).
T =  AM, 6.5 (10:20 pace) through slushy snow roads
W = PM, 6.0 w/ 6 x 880 w/ .25 jog (3:20,18,16,14,11,09)
R = PM, 7.5 (10:34) @ Men. Park w/ Dewey & Tim
F = Off
S = AM, 16.1 (10:19) @ John Dick through snowy trail
S = AM, 8.0 (10:10) Monches
Week = 50.1

45 has indicated he is up for a run at the roses come 10/1 @ Lakefront.  He also agrees with the Beck program.  I'm going to have to send an email to 46 and his coach to see if we have interest.  I believe these guys have the sub 3 wheels.  I believe 3:05 would be a stretch goal for me, but most would understand what I'm trying to cash in on here.

I did punch in 2:59 on a calculator and looked for times I should be able to run at various distances.  The mile said 5:36 and I'm pretty sure it would be hard for me to get near 6:00 flat now.  That's just stuff for me to toy around with for now as I have learned to embrace the t-mill while traveling.  Mainly because good runs are hard to find at the crack of nuts in MN, WI, and the UP when on the road.  Also, for all the fun I made of these things over the years they are much easier on me physically.  I am bored quickly with them, but doing mini speed workouts seem to make it go by fast.

By most accounts I believe I'm a fairly jovial guy.  As a native of Pennsylvania we are kind of known for that.  You know...You have a friend in Pennsylvania license plate.  What is up with folks these days?  Three things from my rural road run today:

1. As the car comes towards me there is plenty of room everywhere.  Out of habit I run on the berm. The car goes by and at my estimate is 3.5 feet from me.  What gives?  Seems some people love the fly by.

2. I see this other guy running towards me for about a half-mile.  As I run by I raise my hand and say hello.  He doesn't even acknowledge my presence.  Like it never happened...I was invisible.

3. Guys German Shepherd appeared from no where and after a brief encounter he calls him off me.  I'm fine though the dog nipped me on my hand.  No apology...no I'm sorry...nothing.

I know.  I'll stop.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Watkins in accounting is T-bone

Fifteen weeks until Ice Age and it is a good thing as a bout with influenza cost me most of last week. 

M = 6.0
T = Off
W = Off
R = Off
F = Off
S = Off
S = 6.2 in just over a hour...and butterflies are free to fly.

No matter,  Weren't no grizz left anyhow.  I never saw the flu coming.  It sort of swung out of the trees.  Snuck up on me...quieter than an ant tinkling on a cotton ball.  The good news is I should be as solid as Sears as far as illness goes for a while.

After the Al's run debacle last year, I made a statement at the time to two speedier fellows than myself that we should consider a run at sub 3:00 next year at Lakefront.  For no other reason than I wanted to hear myself talk.  Now the blazing 6:56 pace I laid down for that 8k tells me I either just scored 830 on the SAT, or I'm delusional.  Had I run 50 seconds faster a mile then I'm in the wheelhouse.  Sure it was hot and I had a crap day, but I think I'm going to follow up on this.  The other two guys will be 45 and 46 next year at Lakefront and I will be 56.  45 has a 3:08 PR (I think) and 46 has not made a serious attempt I know of after really starting to race well under Ryan's guidance. 

I think 3:10 is a strong goal for me and 3:05 a stretch.  There is some time to ponder this, but I need to crawl up inside my head and see if I want to do this.  If so I believe the invite will go out.  Since I should be in aerobic shape in May for Ice Age, the 21 week gap should allow time to rest and reload.  Naturally the three of us live 30-45 minutes from each other, but there may be some value in following each persons progression.  The other thing is I'm not sure we would all have the same training approach, so that might bust it up right there.  I'd be on the Beck program.  This time I think I'd spend about 6 weeks prior to Beck trying to get fast without activating the decoder ring.  Haven't figured that out yet.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

60F in January

Been powering through a few states for work.  Was in Berea, OH for a meeting.  Home of Baldwin Wallace University.  Harrison Dillard is an alumni.  Won a total of 4 gold medals.  Guy is still around at age 93.  Bud Collins the tennis guy from there as well.  Passed last year as 86.  My niece played basketball there.  Got a chance to see a few games.  Nice little Midwest town.

I traveled over to Western Pennsylvania from there to see Mom.  I was also able to cruise down to the Burgh with my brother and sister.  Steeler gear everywhere.  We had a relative who played 4 sports at Pitt and coached at a little school called Duke. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_DeHart

I took my Mom up to Parker, Pa (the smallest city in the USA) to see my Aunt Myrna and my cousin Gail was able to come over.  It was nice catching up.  We talked track a bit.  That kid that throws the shot from Knoch HS (school near there) threw 76-6!  He also broke the 16lb. HS world record with a throw of 64-51/2.  My cousin told me her oldest daughter broke her high jump school record after 33 years.  Then, three years later her youngest daughter bested that.  Not thinking anything other than this, the person who sends the results to the paper noted this in the margins.  Suddenly over the next week people called to get more of the story.  That would be cool.

1/9 = Off
1/10 = AM 4.5 (10:14) WI
1/10 = PM 5.5 w/ 5k @ 7:13 pace on T-mill MN
1/11 = AM 5.0 (10:32) MN
1/12 = AM 4.0 w/ 2.0 @ 6:53 pace on T-mill MN
1/12 = PM 6.5 (10:08) MN
1/13 = Off
1/14 =  AM 14.3 (9:22) WI
1/15 = AM 10.2 (9:48) WI
Total = 50.0 miles

1/16 = Off
1/17 = PM 6.0 w/ 4.0 @ 7:13 pace on T-mill OH
1/18 = AM 7.0 (9:00) OH
1/18 = PM 5.0 (8:50) T-mill OH
1/19 = AM 6.5 (9:50) PA
1/20 = AM 7.1 (9:16) PA
1/21 = AM 15.1 (9:18) PA
1/22 = Off
Total = 46.7 miles

Heading to Brownsville, TX this week.  Never been there.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Black Coffee

Another year in the books and I finished with 2,403.8 miles for the year.  Not bad.  Went and ran the 3 days of Syllamo for the second year in a row.  It was brutal.  I ran 12:40:23 for the 50 mile the second day and was completely trashed.  To make matters worst I got lost the last day and turned the 20k into an 18 miler, but I finished.  It was one of the harder things I have done and thanks to Robert and Steve for taking care of me and encouraging me.  Not long after our Minooka group (Clem, Andy, Dean, Andrea & myself) ran the Boston Marathon together.  A really big adventure and fun to share with family.  I didn't have too much in the way of expectations for Ice Age, but did get my 15th finish in 8:30.  I then went on to train for Al's run 8k and completely bombed.  After that about 3 weeks later I ran the Glacial 50k with Steve and just enjoyed the run.  Looking back, Ice Age was my best event for the year.

Here is the top ten list (out of 32) of who I ran with in 2016 and the primary running locations:

1. Dewey = 45 (Menomonee Park)
2. Tim = 37 (Menomonee Park)
3. Robert = 14 (Menomonee Park)
4. Dean = 12 (Minooka)
4. Andrea = 12 (Minooka)
6. Clem = 9 (Minooka)
6. Emily = 9 (Lake Country) (Daughter)
6. Christine = 9 (Fox River)
9. Andy = 8 (Minooka)
10. Bero = 7 (Funk Road)

I have really enjoyed the down/slow time from work.  Like most I have a few pounds to shed, but I am really looking forward hitting the training again.  Perhaps I will get the chance to post more in 2017.