Good news!

Carlos Lopes
Carlos Lopes

Each afternoon Pete sends a group email to all the ZAP athletes with instructions for the next day’s training. These emails often start with various running history tidbits, quotes from famous runners, or administrative notes about daily ZAP life. Recently, he sent an excerpt of an interview Carlos Lopes did with French magazine L’Equipe. For those that may not know, Lopes was the 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the marathon, the 1976 Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000m, and the world record holder in both events at different times during his long career. In the article, Lopes laid out several things that he believed were keys to his long career. Here are 3 that resonated with me:

1. Belief: “I never ever doubted myself even when things were bad.”

2. Set backs: “When things were not clicking I viewed that as a time to get more rest and refocus…I always looked at sub par races as opportunity rather than defeat.”

3. Advice: “Your career will go by quickly. Treat yourself every day like the athlete you want to become.”

With that in mind, last week I got my blood re-drawn to see if my iron levels had gone up in the past month. I was excited to find out that my Ferritin had jumped from 22 on April 6 to 66 on May 6! A 300% increase in one month was better than I expected even though I had really increased my iron and red meat consumption. My runs were starting to feel better and my test results only reinforced that my body was starting to turn the corner. I plan to continue with my current dosage for another month and then taper off to allow my body (and liver more specifically) to recover a bit.

During the past month I’ve felt discouraged a lot and this great news has really given me a boost. The advice from Lopes also reminded me that bad times are part of the sport and I must remained focused and positive.

Section of Todd Railroad Grade Road
Section of Todd Railroad Grade Road

I was also able to do my first workout(!!!) in over a month at the end the week on Todd Railroad Grade Road. Todd, NC is located about 30 minutes outside of Boone and sits at around 3,000 ft of elevation. Todd offers 10+ miles of pancake flat road that hugs the South Fork of the New River and is a perfect venue for long tempos and progression runs. Joe was scheduled to go 10 miles while Moen and I were slated for 7 miles.

Our progression runs usually begin at just under 6 minute pace and slowly work down to just under 5 minute pace. The progression run is a great way to get a moderate aerobic stimulus where we are in complete control of taking down the pace as our bodies allow. On this day, we started a bit faster than planned but had a really solid, controlled run. My splits were 5:33, 5:39, 5:35, 5:02, 5:19, 5:01, 5:14 (Joe finished up the last 3 miles in 5 flat as instructed). I am excited to do the full 10 miles in a few weeks when I am back to regular workout volumes.

And it should be noted that former Todd mayoral candidate Petunia (pictured below) was notably absent from the progression run. Perhaps she got her run in before we arrived.

Former mayoral candidate of Todd, NC: Petunia the pot bellied pig.
Petunia the pot bellied pig was a no-show for the morning’s run.

Here is my last week of training (5/4-5/10):

Sunday: AM: 19 miles

Monday: AM: 7 miles   PM: 6 miles

Tuesday: AM: 14.5 miles

Wednesday: AM: 9.5 miles   PM: 8 miles

Thursday: AM: 13 miles (10×20 seconds post)

Friday: AM: 13 miles (Todd progression run)   PM: 4 miles

Saturday: AM: 11 miles

Total: 105 miles, 10 runs


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