Last week was another step forward for my stress fracture. I ran on the Alter G 4 times during the week between 65-75% of my body weight. And with the club soccer season at a lull momentarily, my weekday evenings have been much more open which has allowed me to get in a few more cross training sessions later in the day.
I swam, biked, aqua jogged, Alter-G’d, and even got in a short run on a normal treadmill. This variety made the week fly by and I become more encouraged with each day that I was getting ever closer to stepping back on dry land at full body weight.
Over the weekend, I made the trip to Columbus, OH with Jody and Kiki to watch the Columbus Crew and the Portland Timbers battle for the MLS Cup! It was a fun day and I’m glad I was able to make the trip. We left Boone at 7:45 am and pulled back into town at 2 am! It was a long day but certainly worth it!
Also, Esther and I received a short video from our wedding photographer, Brigid. In addition to taking lots of great pictures she was, unbeknownst to us, filming as well! The video is 108 seconds long and truly captures how joyful a day it was. I must admit that it got me choked up the first few times I watched it. Thanks so, so much Brigid! What a day!
Here is my last week of training (11/19-12/5):
Sunday: AM: 1hr 35 min aqua jog PM: walk
Monday: AM: 35 min bike+ 35 min Alter G @65% PM: 75 min aqua jog
Tuesday: AM: 35 min bike PM: 1hr 30 min aqua jog/spin
Wednesday: AM: 30 min bike+45 min Alter G+20 min bike PM: walk
Thursday: AM: 35 min Alter G PM: 1hr 30 min bike (spin class in Boone)
Friday: AM: 1hr 50min aqua jog PM: 40 min bike
Saturday: AM: 30 min bike+15 min treadmill+45 min Alter G @70%
Total: 23 miles run, 4 Alter G runs, 5 spin/bike sessions, 3 pool sessions
I had another solid training week. Coming off of my wedding I had a planned day off so entering the Wednesday workout my legs felt well rested. The original plan was to do a segmented tempo run at Moses Cone but the High Country has been absolutely pounded with rain so the lake was too sloppy for a workout.
In fact, local weatherman and ZAP board member Ray Russell reported that as of last Wednesday it had rained for 106 of the past 109 hours (Friday-Wednesday). That stat astounded me but when I thought about it, I couldn’t remember the last time I had completed a run without being soaked. Esther and I’s front porch had quickly turned into a sea of soggy Sketchers and Reebok running shoes!
Because of the recent deluge, Pete decided to move the 3×3 mile workout to the treadmill at ZAP. Often Pete likes to do tempo/climbing workouts on the treadmill because he can more accurately control the pace and incline of the run. Early in my ZAP career I hated seeing a treadmill session on the daily email but I have grown to really like them.
The plan was to run 3×3 miles with 4 minutes easy jog between each interval. Each 3 mile segment consisted of 1 mile faster than the other 2 at 1% incline while the 2 ‘slower’ miles at varying inclines of 0% to 3%. Pete allowed me to control the incline on the more moderate 2 miles within each 3 mile and I moved the incline around every 30-45 seconds to really vary my run. Here’s how it went:
Overall, I was very pleased with the session. The workout was a lot of volume (14 miles total) and I felt very controlled throughout the session even with the changes in incline.
After a few easy days of running I headed to Erwin, TN to run my first race since late May. The Applefest 4 Miler is a tiny race about 90 minutes away from ZAP that I have run on 3 other occasions. With such a long layoff from racing because of my hamstring issues, Pete wanted to me to do a super low key race to dip my feet back into faster running but to also see how my body held up to it. I did not expect to feel that great during the race because of both the long layoff and the workout I did on Wednesday. I ended up getting 2nd place in around 19:40ish to former NC State runner Matt Sonnenfeldt. I was disappointed not to win but in all honesty I was happy I came out of the race with a (mostly) healthy hamstring. I felt flat, heavy, and slow for much of the race but I had fun battling back and forth with Matt until the end when he pulled away from me. Bottom line: it was nice to be back in the ZAP singlet and I look forward to future races.
Lastly, Reebok has outdone themselves! The ZAP Special Edition 3.0 Cushions have arrived and they are sweet. The tongue has the ZAP logo on it, the coordinates of ZAP are on the sole, and a topographical map of Blowing Rock is emblazoned on the removable insole. If anyone reading is interested in learning more about this shoe and/or getting a pair click HERE.
Thanks for reading!
Here is my last week of training (9/27-10/3):
Sunday: OFF, REST
Monday: AM: 17 miles PM: shakeout
Tuesday: AM: 9 miles (8×20 seconds end of run)
Wednesday: AM: 14 miles (3×3 miles treadmill session)
Thursday: AM: 10 miles PM: 5 miles
Friday: AM: 8 miles (8×20 seconds) PM: 5 miles (4×25 seconds)
Saturday: AM: 13 miles (Applefest 4 miler+4×2:30 down cycles post race)
Last week was full of both joy and sadness. On Monday, I learned of Cameron’s death and on Saturday I married the girl of my dreams. The contrasting nature of these two things really brought the week into perspective.
Esther and I both struggled to remain 100% upbeat about our upcoming nuptials as we both felt guilt over being happy when so many were feeling pain over the death of Cam. We were both very excited to be getting married and to be officially starting our lives together but felt that gearing up for a party in the midst of so much sorrow was wrong in some way.
And as the wedding inched closer the weather got worse and worse. It has been absolutely breathtaking in the High Country the past month so I guess we were due for some crappy days. The rains started on Thursday and remained steady for the remainder of the weekend.
However, as the week wore on and various family members trickled in Esther and I became more and more joyous about what was to come. Esther’s parents arrived, then my parents, then Jesse, then Alissa and Kyle, and then several HPU college friends and the rainy weather didn’t seem so bad.
On Saturday morning, Jesse, Guy, Jankowski, and I went for an easy 10 mile run at a sloppy Moses Cone and I started to get nervously excited for the festivities to come. This was a big day. This was a big decision that Esther and I had decided to pursue. We had spoken a lot in the preceding months about how important of a commitment we were making to one another and how serious we should approach it. Yes, we were excited about the actual wedding but we were also very intent of making sure we approached the day with reverence and respect.
The ceremony was officiated by Shawn Found, an Army Chaplin who was himself an elite runner finishing 4th in the 10k at the 2000 Olympic Trials. Esther and I got to know Shawn and his wife Jen during Esther’s time in New Jersey. Shawn did a great job and we were both so excited he made the long trip from NJ to NC for the wedding.
After exchanging our vows and sealing it with a kiss, I realized that being surrounded by family and friends after the rollercoaster week was perfect. When is it not a good thing to be supported by family and friends after a tough week? In our case, Esther and I were also celebrating a great moment in our lives. Win-win.
The rains came and it didn’t matter. Esther looked amazing, she said yes, and we got to spend some quality time with those we loved. What’s better than that?
P.S. Oh yeah, I had another solid workout with Tyler on Thursday and got in a cool 100 miles the week of my wedding. Not too shabby if you ask me. There’s also rumors of a small race next weekend if my hamstring continues to progress. Stay tuned!
Here is my last week of training (9/20-9/26):
Sunday: AM: 19 miles (1-1-2-1-2-1-1-2-1-1-2-2 surges)
Monday: AM: 6 miles PM: 5 miles
Tuesday: AM: 13 miles
Wednesday: AM: 10 miles PM: 5 miles
Thursday: AM: 16 miles (4500+(2:30-90-45)x3+climb session)
“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors” -African proverb-
The art of easy running is not so easy. Building up after an injury can be a stressful and emotionally draining time and as contrary as it sounds, running easy each day can be incredibly challenging.
Risk takes many forms in distance running. The goal of training is to push your physical limits little by little over the course of a training cycle while not getting injured or burnt out. An athlete must pursue the “red line” in earnest but then stalk it from close distance while being sure to not cross over it.
I crossed the line after the Boston Marathon and have been dealing with the consequences every since. And to be honest, I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I’ve found that when something is hurting it can go 1 of 3 ways:
1. Keep training normally, get treatment between runs, problem goes away gradually.
2. Keep training normally, get treatment, problem persists, reduce training load by eliminating hard workouts, problem goes away gradually.
3. Keep training normally, get treatment, other problems arise from compensation, reduce training load, problem persists or worsens, drastically reduce training load by taking days or weeks off…problem eventually goes away.
Option 1 is the goal (and dream) while 2 and 3 are far more common. Luckily I find myself firmly in #2 on my scale. I’m not injured enough to be unable to run easy miles but I am not healthy enough to do anything of quality (i.e. under 6 minutes per mile pace). This limbo is an odd place to be but I’m fully aware it could be far, far worse. I mean, I ran 92 miles last week for goodness sake!
The goals that I came to ZAP to pursue are long term and require a vision beyond any bad week or month. This far reaching view is exciting yet equally arduous and often times vague and unclear.
Here is what I know: my body wants to run fast again. I enjoy an easy, smooth 90 minute run as much as anyone at ZAP but I also feel my body gently accelerating on a downhill or ever so slightly attacking an uphill and I know that going fast is something I want and need to do soon.
Here’s to keeping things easy even when it’s hard. Thanks for reading!
Last week was ZAP’s 6-day Bear Week camp. The camp was sold out this year with lots of returning campers back in town (notably camp stalwarts Tim Francis and Fred Fedewa) to enjoy both a relaxing and educational week but also a painful journey to the top of Grandfather Mountain as part of The Bear 5 mile race. Runner’s World Chief Runner Officer Bart Yasso was the featured camp speaker for the week.
In addition, long-time ZAP supporter and excellent massage therapist Robin Rogers of Georgia Sports Massage was in town for the week. Pete and Robin ran together in Atlanta after college and have been pals ever since. Robin has worked on countless ZAP athletes both in his Atlanta office and in various places we cross paths across the country!
With my hamstring needing treatment badly I was lucky to get worked on by Robin during the week. He actually used a new treatment method on me. FAT, or Fascial Abrasion Technique, was developed by Mark Scappaticci and is a less invasive form of Graston that aims to relieve adhesions while lengthening the affected muscles and tendons. I think it helped and my leg seems to be improving, albeit slowly.
While ZAP camp was going on, I was doing double duty with the Appalachian State soccer camps also in full swing. The ASU men’s program hosted their Senior Elite camp for high school juniors and seniors with aspirations to play for ASU. I greatly enjoyed the camp and saw several good players. There are two more camps in the coming weeks and then the college team will return to campus and begin their preseason.
Training wise, I ran 6 days on the week very easily at low intensity as I continue to try and get rid of my hamstring issues. I will be in Richmond this week to see Chiropractor and ART specialist Rob Green before heading back to ZAP for another weekend of camp!
Last weekend was supposed to be my return to fast racing but unfortunately my body had other plans. After a very solid climbing workout last Friday I was excited to toe the line in Frankfurt, KY on July 4th for the Buffalo Trace 5k. This small and intimate race offers great prize money, fast competition, and uniquely loops around the grounds of the famous Buffalo Trace Distillery the entire race. And Esther was going to be meeting me in Kentucky for the race so I was very intent on making it to the starting line!
But after my Friday workout my hamstring never settled down and I was faced with a tough decision. Even after a good long run with George on Sunday, where I felt the hamstring nearly every step but not in an alarming way, the tightness only worsened. After opting out of my Tuesday pre-race workout I got a light massage Wednesday which seemed to only anger the hamstring more!
Stubbornly I took 1 day off in the hopes that it would clear up and then made the drive down to Kentucky to meet Esther anyway. But after speaking to Pete we decided it made very little sense to run the race. Not starting a race is always a difficult decision as I have taken pride in being very present on the racing scene since I arrived at ZAP, but racing was simply out of the question.
I quickly turned my attention to cheering on Esther and ZAP teammate Sarah Porter on July 4th. The weather was muggy and the course had lots of turns but Esther ran a very smart race and came away with the victory and $3,000 payday in 16:31. Sarah ran the last race of her long season and nabbed 3rd place.
Although it would have been better if I was fighting it out for the win on the men’s side, I was very excited and proud to watch Esther pull away in the late stages of the race and beat some very good women. She is certainly rounding into form nicely as Beijing and the IAAF World Championships loom.
I plan to take the next week or so very easily and get as much treatment as I can. I will be running the US 20k Championships in September and the Twin Cities Marathon in October so my goal is to simply get healthy so I can have a healthy build up for those big races…and then the Olympic Trials will be here before I realize it.
Thanks for reading!
Here is my last week of training (6/28-7/4):
Sunday: AM: 15 miles PM: walk
Monday: AM: 7 miles PM: 6 miles
Tuesday: AM: 9 miles
Thursday: AM: 5 miles PM: 3 miles
Friday: AM: 5 miles PM: ART/massage treatment in KY
I had a very busy non-running week and a very easy training week coming off the BAA 10k. In an attempt to be organized and brief I am going to tell you about my week in a list format. Lazy, I know, but best when trying to recall all that I did!
Sunday: I raced the BAA 10k in the morning and then hopped on a plane back to Charlotte in the afternoon. I arrived in a balmy Charlotte (90 degrees) at 5:30 pm and headed back towards Blowing Rock with Griff. I was extra excited to get home as Esther was also making her way to Blowing Rock to move in all of her stuff.
With the World Championships in Beijing this summer she will not have a lot of time to move in so this week was a great opportunity for her to settle in before heading back to warmer training temperatures in Richmond, VA.
Monday: 6 am run with Esther before heading into Boone to work the Blue Ridge Alliance Soccer Camps. Run by HCSA, these camps run from 9-3 each day and they’re a lot of fun. The morning consists of coaching a particular topic and after lunch is mostly games. After getting done with camp I returned home to a much fuller house and got in another run with Esther. We then had dinner in town with Tyler!
Tuesday: Another very early morning run with Esther and Tyler through the Mayview neighborhood of Blowing Rock and Bass Lake. Then another warm day of soccer camp! Esther and I then headed to Boone for a nice dinner at Los Arcoiris.
Wednesday: Esther didn’t run with me as she had a workout later in the morning but I had another easy, smooth morning run. After getting done with camp Esther picked me and up and we headed for Charlotte to buy a couch from IKEA.
We had already picked one out and Tyler was nice enough to let us borrow his truck as he was in Eugene for USA’s. We got in an easy 2nd run in Hickory on the way to Charlotte and after a quick meal at (welcome to) Moe’s we made it to IKEA. After scooping up the couch we eventually made it home around 11 pm. It was a long day to say the least. I got 17 miles of running, 6 hours of soccer, and 4 hours of driving squeezed into 1 day. Tiring but productive.
Thursday: Esther headed back to Richmond after another nice medium long run. It was great spending a few days with her even though I was busy most of the week and she got a lot done at the new house! I put the couch together after she left and the living room actually looks livable now as opposed to 3 weeks prior when Pete had to lend me a chair as I had none in the house!
Friday: Pete had a moderate climbing workout on the schedule for Friday morning but with camp starting at 8:30 am I decided to flip-flop my day and get in an easy shorter run before coaching then do the workout in the evening.
After getting in an afternoon nap I headed to Bass Lake for the ZAP classic Manor-Maze workout. The plan was to run a 4-3-2-1 minute fartlek with halftime rest up to the manor house, easily jog to the start of the maze, then run a 4-3-2-1 fartlek through the maze. Put together the workout is about 7 miles in length and has a little bit of everything in it: flat, climbing, and downhill.
I had a very good workout. I felt surprisingly rested and got to the manor in 14:37 (just under 3 miles) and through the maze in 12:19 (just over 2.5 miles). The only downside of the workout was that with about 2 minutes left I felt my hamstring pull slightly. Hopefully it’s nothing serious!
Saturday: My hamstring was incredibly sore during my run but my legs felt good. I really feel my fitness coming around and I’m proud that I was able to get in 90+ miles for the week while coaching a lot and running errands with Esther.
Next week will be very relaxed as I prepare to make my way to Frankfurt, KY to race the Buffalo Trace 5k. It’s a really fast course with good prize money and I will try my best to attack my road 5k PR of 13:51 if all goes well!
Check back next week for a recap of the race.
Here is my last week of training (6/21-6/27):
Sunday: AM: 12 miles (BAA 10k, 30:35, 12th)
Monday: AM: 7 miles PM: 5.5 miles
Tuesday: AM: 12 miles
Wednesday: AM: 11 miles PM: 6 miles (8×20 sec post run)
Thursday: AM: 13 miles
Friday: AM: 5 miles PM: 12 miles (manor-maze workout)
Last week was a busy one for me! I began the week with a solid long run at Moses Cone with Tyler and then came back Wednesday for a workout with Griff and Joe at Mulberry. The plan was to run 6x 1 mile at threshold pace followed by 4×400 meters at roughly 5k effort. Pete measured out 2 miles with each 400 meter mark indicated by a cone. We did 2×1 mile with 75 seconds rest and then had 3 minutes rest before the next pairing of mile repeats. Here’s how it went:
2×1 mile (x3), 75 sec rest between intervals, 3 minutes between sets:
4:54, 4:52, 4:47, 4:48, 4:40, 4:41
4×400, 90 seconds rest: 65, 65, 65, 65
The miles we were running were mostly flat with the exception of the last 400 meters of the 2nd mile which rose a decent amount. All 3 of us felt strong and controlled throughout the session and were pleased with how it all played out.
After an easy few days of running I made my way to Asheville to run a very low key 10k to open up my season. The BAA 10k was originally going to be the start of my summer racing season but I was going to be in Asheville over the weekend anyway for a soccer coaching course so this race seemed like a good fit. I got into town the day before but was unable to check out the course so I had no idea what it would be like, although with it being Asheville I planned for and expected to see lots of HILLS!
My assumptions were proven correct as the course was nasty! In fact, I would say it was one of the harder courses I have ever run on. The opening 2.5 miles were rolling downhill and then the tough stuff began. Let’s put it this way, I comfortably got to 3 miles in 14:20 and then I passed the 4 mile mark in 20:25! That means I ran over 6 minutes for that mile which consisted of a healthy dose of switchbacks and steep, steep inclines. In the end, I finished 2nd behind a Chapel Hill based Kenyan and made a few bucks. My time was not good but in the context of my week it was another hard effort that will ‘serve me well’ (Pete Rea-ism) as I move forward to my target races.
After the race ended I got in a quick cool down and made my way over to the Carolina Day School to take part in US Soccer’s National Youth License coaching course. This course is designed to provide club directors of coaching, youth coaches, and administrators with the knowledge to successfully structure soccer environments to players ages 4-12. The course focuses on how to provide developmentally appropriate sessions for the very young ages so they are properly prepared once they make the jump to more competitive levels of the youth game.
Although many clubs focus their best coaches with the high school aged teams, often the most qualified and able coaches are needed at these early stages so the foundation is properly set moving forward. I had a good time and have lots of work to do this week before returning to Asheville next weekend for the testing component of the course (written, oral, and practical field test). Wish me luck!
Thanks for reading!
Here is my last week of training (5/31-6/6):
Sunday: AM: 17 miles (8×20 seconds end of run) PM: walk
Monday: AM: 7 miles PM: 6 miles
Tuesday: AM: 10.5 miles (8×20 seconds end of run) PM: 4 miles
Wednesday: AM: 13 miles (6 x mile, 4 x 400 workout)
Thursday: AM: 12 miles
Friday: AM: 9 miles PM: 4 miles (4×200 accelerations)
Saturday: AM: 12 miles (Asheville 10k) PM: US Soccer National Youth License
This week’s entry will be short and sweet as I’m busy getting settled back into High Country life. Training wise, I was able to get in 2 good sessions during the week. On Wednesday I did a ZAP classic 7 to 1 fartlek at Bass Lake with Tyler, George, and Colley. The 7 to 1 workout consists of harder running in increments of 7 minutes, 6 minutes, 5 minutes, etc. all the way down to 1 minute with half time rest after each piece. The goal of the workout is to run each harder piece progressively harder and allow the recovery pieces to be run progressively slower throughout.
The workout started fairly well but I realized early on that I was slightly over-matched by my race ready teammates. Tyler has recently run 13:40 and 28:22 while Colley and George are both sharpening up for a fast mile in Boston, MA at the end of the week. Although I did the 2nd half of the workout alone I was able to get faster with each piece and it was a decent session after all the traveling of the previous few days.
On Friday, I did an easy 8 mile run that finished at the Appalachian State University track in Boone. Once at the track Tyler, George, Colley, Cameron, and I did 8×300 with 100 meters jog to toss in some speed work to finish out the week. I ran around 45 seconds for each interval and felt decent doing so. My hamstrings and glutes gave me some issues towards the end but I think they are continuing to heal, albeit slowly. Pete and I feel it’s really important that I get in some quality leg turnover work as I transition into shorter races over the next few months.
This week I will have a moderate mile repeat workout at Mulberry in Lenoir and then rest up for my season opener/rust buster on June 6 at the Asheville 10k. I am excited to test my fitness at this lower key event before getting into the meat of my season.
Thanks for reading! Check back for my race recap next week!
Here is my last week of training (5/10-5/16):
Sunday: AM: 15 miles (8×1 min surges within run)
Monday: AM: 5 miles PM: walk
Tuesday: AM: 12 miles (8×20 seconds post run)
Wednesday: AM: 14 miles (7 to 1 fartlek)
Thursday: AM: 10 miles PM: 5 miles
Friday: AM: 11 miles (8×300 at ASU track, 44-45 seconds)