Friday, November 30, 2007

Finally got 25,000

Friday- 5miles- easy TM

Well with November's 227miles I have now finally topped the 25,000 mile mark in the millennium mile challenge. As far as lifetime miles I am at 40,000 now and will get in my 5th year over 2500 miles in 2007.

For me the last 18 months have been consistent and I am finally starting to get fit again. Looking back 2002-2006 was pretty poor with a 36 month stretch in there with almost no months over the 200 mile mark. ugh!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Run like a Dog or a 6 Year Old!

FAST and for the pure joy of it!

After taking some down days and babying my knee I was ridiculously fired up and feeling great today. So I went off to the track to stay on the flat and just did what felt good. I had no plan and just let it rip a bit. I ended up striving for 5k worth of intervals and managed that without any trouble and felt great the entire workout without even a hint of pain in my knee! yippie! More importantly it was the most fun I have had on a run in months. I wore the shoes I used for speed workouts while in Egypt and put on the Ipod shuffle for some inspiration. Both helped set the mood.

1 mile warm up
200-42, 400-83, 600-2:07, 800-2:48
400-86, 600-2:03, 800-2:45
400-77, 4x200-38,38,40,38
1 mile cool down

all on 200m recovery jog/walk and at an effort that was hard but totally in control. It felt surprisingly smooth. Perhaps some fitness is coming after all.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fleeting Invincibility

Saturday- 19 miles 4 hours- trails in Shenandoah
Sunday -11 miles w/ Anne
Monday- off
Tuesday- 5 miles
Wednesday- walked 6 miles on TM

For the first time since last October I have had some pain in my left knee tibia tubercle/patella tendon. This is a problem area for me and has taken me out for two 6 month periods previously so the slightest twinges cause me to have serious fear. The steady pounding on the towpath in the cold last week was probably a generator as my knees HATE the cold. But, additionally I have not been super vigilant about stretching my quad like I should.

In any event I took some days off, and am taking it easy. Hoping it fades as quickly as it did last fall (3 days)

Since it has really been 13 straight strong pain free months I honestly am feeling blessed. As a runner something is always looming it seems. The incredible strength and fitness running gives you....Call it a fleeting it won't last too long.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday & Monday off
Tuesday- walked 3 miles
Wednesday- 4 miles w/ 6x striders
Thursday- 6 miles easy roads

I wanted to wish all a happy thanksgiving. It feels good to be in the USA again for this one as my memories of being in the Sinai desert last year are very strong today. Richmond is beautiful right now with the leaves flying off the trees in this 75 degree breeze. Very nice to crunch them and try to catch some on the run this morning. I could smell baking turkeys all through my neighborhood even at 8am.

Enjoy all, and spend some time thinking about what you are truly thankful for today. An email from a former patient brought it home to me yesterday. My health! I wish you continued patience and success Matthew.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

JFK- 7:50

Saturday- JFK 50miles- 7:50

Well the day started off nice and crisp with frost all over and never seemed to warm up much. I felt tight and anxious as I jogged to the starting line in boonsboro, MD yesterday. I chatted with some folks in my VHTRC club and then ran on up to the line with Ultra studs and Montrail teammates Ian Torrence and Mark Godale. My thoughts went back to 2001 when I last raced this event and was on a totally different level. I hoped I would run close to what I did that day and knew I was in 6:45-7:10 shape based on my recent workouts and races.

A pretty well accepted conversion is to take your marathon time, double it, then add an hour to get a 50 mile time. Having run 3:01 three weeks ago, having had experience on this course, and knowing that a 7:00 time will place top 20 in this 1200 runner field I confidently started the race off in the front pack.

After the first two road miles passed in 15:08 I found myself in the top 20 with all the expected contenders ahead or next to me including fellow blogger Greg Crowther, MMTR 1st & 2nd placers (Eric Grossman), USA 50 mile road champ (Mark Lundblad), course record holder and legend Eric Clifton who at age 49 can still really move, and Montrail teammate Sean Meissner. And just besides me talking about trying to see if he could run top three and earn an entry into next June's Western States 100 via the Montrail Ultracup was none-other-than Mike Wardian. This guy is full of surprises and fresh of a 2:24:16 win in the OBX marathon (Nov 11th) here he was a "speedy road specialist" taking his time getting in to the racing apparently unconcerned with what Godale and the others were doing off the front. I thought hhmmmm he is probably going to win this thing. My previous thought to seeing this behavior was that he'd rip off the front.... lead for 30 miles and fade/drop out. Nope! Mike went on to run 5:50 which is the 2nd fastest time in the races 40+ year history! Wow!
Feeling great 9 miles in

After getting to the trail head I relaxed, kept my breathing in check and began to real off the rolling rocky miles of the AT with Leo Lutz with occasional passes back and forth with Clifton, Sean, and the western states course record holder Mike Morton who has just been getting back into the running this last year.

Although I had a plan of eating cliff shots and blocks every 30 minutes this didn't happen and hindsight says this played a role in the total muscular give out I started going through at mile 23.
At Weaverton Sean, Leo and I

I came off the AT with Eric, Sean and Leo and managed to set foot on the towpath at the 2:12 mark feeling ready to roll. This was 12 minutes of my split from the 2001 race, but certainly good enough to get me the sub 7:00 I wanted. I began eating up the miles with Eric running splits in the 7:30-7:45 range. This was exactly what I had planned to do, but, around the 3 hour mark my left hip-flexor pretty much went out and this pace was no longer possible. With a slow degrade by mile 26 I had been passed by a number of individuals including women's race winner Anne Lundblad. I was then forced into a run 5 minutes walk one minute pattern. I tried to stretch it out as much as I could and mess with my stride so I was not flexing as much, but it still sucked.

At 38 Miles, nutrition was very important. Note my Pup Oskar

I maintained this pattern doing 10-12 minute miles from mile 27-40. UGH!!! Not what I wanted and mentally I had to battle a lot with the desire to just give in an drop out where my crew awaited me at mile 38. I started focusing only on getting to the next aid station and that helped. By mile 38 ( 5:56 into the race) I was starting to feel better (as I had been really forcing the calories) and decided to press on. Soon enough I could see the damn and knew the towpath would end soon. Striding over the "9 miles to go" sign I was now able to run steady for more than 5 minutes at a stretch and refocused on breaking the 8 hour barrier. If I did 10 minute miles I would finsih in 8:00:28. I thought I could do it. Leaving the towpath at 6:35 into the race I realized my 26.3 towpath marathon split was a 4:23. Wow that is a full 68 minutes slower than the last time I raced here! WOW.

I put my head down and began to cover most of the remaining miles at under 9:00 pace with stops for aid and walking some of the bigger hills adding in. The miles rolled by and with my Wife and Dad cheering me on at the 4 miles to go point I knew I had it. Only on the road section did I reverse the trend of being passed and actually begin to reel in some other runners. As I approached the finish I was happy to have gotten myself back in the game, but a bit disappointed my body let me down. With all the training you just want it all to be super and feel great the whole time, but that happens very infrequently.
Happy at the Finish!!!

Others say I have too high of expectations for myself and that at 33 my glory days may be passed but I am certain this is not so. I just need to realize I can't recover like I used to and should have known that the MCM effort I put out 3 weeks ago was going to affect me more. I trained very hard in the time between that race and this one and should not have. My hip flexor and hamstring were bothering me almost every day.

It has been an odd pattern since 1999-2001 when I was racing well. I still go to as many races but I put out a higher effort level now than I did then in the majority of the races when you look at percentage of maximum capacity. In those peek years I did not race all out in 80% of the races I ran in. I was just in good enough shape that I could take it relatively easy and still place well. I often would just relax and run with the lead women rather than battling for the win. Since that time with fitness declines due to work/life/injuries/deployments/ect. I have wanted to be racing up front so badly that when I do enter a race I tend to put out a much higher effort level in each and every one. This obviously makes it harder to come back and race hard again. If I had run MCM at a reduced effort I am sure JFK would have gone better. I need to pick and choose better and realize I can't give a full bore race effort in such a shortened time span.

So I will continue to run ultra races and marathons frequently as I enjoy them, but will cut down on the ones I really go after it in. Next up for enjoyment- Hell gate 100k.

The story of the day though, was definately my puppy Oskar and his entertaining of all the crews

Friday, November 16, 2007

Time to Toughen Up

Thursday- off
Friday- walked easy

Time to toughen up indeed....Read this article. I hope to have as much determination and inner drive tomorrow at JFK 50 mile. Just not as bad of luck! Ugh... a tibial stress Fx that goes to far!

I can tell I am fit and ready to race as I am all anxious/nervous/fidgety and am wanting to do WELL. Many times in ultras I go to the line for the atmosphere, the camaraderie, the coolness of a course/geographical area, or to complete the distance. I am as competitive as the next person, but sometimes I don't mind and just roll along in an event as if it was just a training adventure despite having a number pinned on. But, when I feel like this, I know I will be starting off near the front of the pack and attempting to push my limits. Let's hope it goes well. This is my kind of course and the weather should be good.

Check out the incredible field- handicapped here. My dark horse for the win is an old Montrail teammate and a guy I ran JUCO XC against in 1994: Scott Wolfe

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fall is Here

Sunday- 10.5 miles 1:21
Monday- off (1st day off in 13 days)
Tuesday- 6 miles- 52min easy roads
Wednesday- 5 miles -1 up, 3miles-19:55, 1 dn

A beautiful fall day today with temps up to 73, clear skies, and a gentle breeze blowing many leaves down. I spent 2 1/2 hours raking some of them (and a million lbs of pine needles) up from my yard today. Lots of core work and hamstring action bending over to pick stuff up. Not the smartest thing but I am 3 days out from the race so considered it training and stretching.

I managed to get a small tempo run in after the raking with a nice cut down 6:45-6:37-6:33 while circling the local high school track. Some coach had his team out doing jumping drills and Indian sprints. fun to watch. I suspect it was the basketball team doing some conditioning work. Looked like they needed more of it!

A couple easy days and race time as part of team Montrail with Bryon Powell and Sean Meissner. should be fun!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wow Impressive Racing!

My wife is a stud!

We raced the NTELOS 8k in downtown Richmond this morning in a stellar 39:32. (7:57 pace). Anne has not raced very much in her life and was able to drop 4 minutes off her last race at this distance (2005). Pretty quick performance considering she runs 3 days/week for a total of 15miles/week ave.

Splits were 8:22, 8:02, 7:59, 7:52, 7:15. The last 0.97 miles was net downhill, but we spanked it. This was a fast enough pace to let me feel my right hamstring that has been a little angry at me the last few days due to the increased steady miles.

The fact that we live and train in a real hilly area is helping both our fitness's.

Thursday- 6 miles easy w/ walk break-59min
Friday- 11 miles hills- 1:26
Saturday 5 miles- 39:32 w/ Anne

Time to rest a bit for next weeks JFK 50 miles.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tempo Time...Must Do More Of These

Wednesday-8 miles- 10K tempo -40:51

A great run tonight as the sun set in cool temps. Why I don't run more tempo runs I don't know. The are so beneficial and are not hard, and don't even make you dead sore the next day.

anyway, I went off my 3:01:30 marathon using Jack Daniel's tables and tried to run steady at 6:32 per mile pace (or the pace I could run 10-13 miles at). I went to the high school and began circling the football team's practice.

6:34, 6:35, 6:31, 6:33, 6:35, 6:32 then kicked it in in 82 sec on the last lap for fun as the darkness crept in and the last of the footballers had left. I ran with my Ipod for one of the first times in 4 months. It felt good. almost impossible not to run fast when listening to Tool's 46 and 2.

Wow almost the same as June 25ths workout But, it is not the 37:45 I ran two weeks before JFK in 2001. doah!

Back in Class

Monday- 8 miles trail 1:11 easy
Tuesday- 12 miles hilly roads 1:36

Well my prosthetics program through Northwestern University has begun and I once again back in class! I have always loved learning and although I have been enrolled in my fair number of colleges (8 at last count) this program is a bit different. It is on-line for 20 weeks with video and teleconference sessions, on-line classes (think U-tube) and many many group projects, discussion boards, tests and quiz's along the way. The program has students from Ecuador, Australia, Alaska, Maine, Florida, TX, Calif, ect ect. Technology is great isn't it.!

Once I finish this portion I will go to Chicago for 8 weeks during May and June and look forward to getting my hands into the "hands-on" portion of the blended learning program.

Additionally I am observing/working at a prosthetics/orthotics shop here in Richmond spending half days learning all I can from the great practitioners at Powell's.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

US Olympic Marathon trials

Friday- 9.5 miles 1:14- hilly roads
Saturday- 8.5miles- 1:05- hilly roads
Sunday 10.25miles 1:35- with Anne

The big news of the weekend comes out of NYC where the Us Olympic marathon trials took place yesterday and the NYC marathon was run today. I watched the trials live on the Internet and was blown away by the incredible performances on the hilly course. I was super excited to see three of my favorite elite guys make the team, and to see the incredible negative splits they were able to lay down. ( Ryan Hall put in a 14:28 -5k on hills after running 20 miles!!!) USA distance running future is shinning brightly and I believe at least one of our guys will medal next summer in the games.

The tragic collapse and death of superstar Ryan Shay is sad and shocking. Mortality sucks. Although an autopsy is being done today it appears that a genetically enlarged heart was the culprit (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy). This Hank Gathers type of condition is thankfully rare, but it is still amazing to me that a 28 year old running phenomenon who has been putting in intense training and racing (including 5 USA national titles at distances from 10k-marathon) for the last 12+ years would fall to this condition now. Why didn't it happen sooner?

It is eye opening and scary. Life is precious, fleeting, and short. We must live it fully each and everyday because you never ever know.

Congrats to ultrarunner coached (Howard Nippert) Mike Cox on his PR 2:20 a mere month after qualifying for the trials race in the notoriously hot Chicago marathon. To Brian Sell- a guy who ran at about the same level as I did in high school and only marginally well in college- for running solid consistent splits and working in to the 3rd position by mile 22. I guess 6,000 training miles per year for the last 5 straight year is beneficial!!! And finally congrats to Paula Radcliffe on her stellar 2:23 NYC marathon win after having a baby. Amazing

I am really inspired of late and can't wait to lace em up for the JFK 50 in 2 weeks. I am not in 6:24 shape but feel confident I can break 7 hours and would like to place top 10 in this 1200 runner field once again.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Turn them Over!

Monday & Tuesday- off, did yoga
Wednesday- 6 miles- easy no watch
Thursday 5 miles 1 up and 1 dn, turnover work in middle
10 x 30sec with 90steps per 30sec
4 x 200m- 40, 37, 39, 38, 400m-81

Wow that felt good! The legs are coming around now. Only calf soreness and extreme tightness on Monday and Tuesday. I did some yoga and tried to work it out. The quads were fantastic for post-marathon....very happy.

I was messing around a bit today having re-read and remembered that there really is something to be said for leg turnover. Jack Daniels has done some studies and found that both elite men and women runners strike the ground at an average rate of 180 steps per minute while racing and while even jogging. (90 hits with the right and 90 with left) While slower people tend to have slower cadences. by counting mine over the last week I have 160-165 steps per minute at 9:00, 8:00, and even at 6:40 pace peer mile. I am not sure if I always have had this cadence or if 9 years of running ultras has slowed me down to this. Anyway....everything is I am planning on doing some turnover drills on a semi-regular basis.

Tonight I went to the track and ran 10 bouts of 30 seconds where I tried to have "fast feet" and strike the ground quickly.....with this focused effort my stride rate was right on 180 per minute. I rested 30 second and did it again. Then I ran some 200's with this same focus and boy, they seemed easy. Interesting huh?