Tag Archives: long run

Training Log: 6 weeks until LA

I was able to get in 3 workouts over the past 7 days and thought I’d walk you through each one in detail for this week’s entry. Enjoy!

Workout #1: Long Run on Alter-G (Monday)

The plan was to run 18-19 miles on the Alter-G in Richmond with the last 10 miles or so progressively faster if my ankle was feeling good. I started at 92% of my body weight and then added 1-2% every 2 miles to where I was running the last 9 miles at 100% of my body weight.

I ended up getting in 18.25 miles with the last 10 miles in 56:55. Other than getting two pretty nasty blisters I felt good. I began the final 10 miles at 6:00 and worked it down little by little to 5:10 by the end. Overall, I was pleased with the run and excited to get in nearly 20 miles with no pain.

P.S. The following morning my quads were super SORE! Welcome back to training they said.

Workout #2: Treadmill Progression Run (Wednesday)

The goal for this moderate workout was to run 35 minutes on the normal treadmill and then hop on the Alter-G and run a 30 minute progression run at 94% body weight starting at 5:45 pace and working down to 5:05 pace by the end.

After getting in 5 miles on the treadmill I hopped on the Alter-G and began the progression run. Like I said last week, even 6% less body weight feels amazing and I ended up getting in 6 miles in 32 minutes (5:20 average) with the last 10 minutes at 5:00 pace. Despite the reduction in weight I was happy that I was able get this workout in after the 18 mile long run 2 days before. Baby steps forward!

Workout #3: 1K repeats at Bass Lake (Saturday)

K workout on Bass Lake. (photo credit Tim Meigs)

K’s on Bass Lake. (Photo Credit Uncle Tim)

After the progression run on Wednesday my ankle was slightly sore so I opted to forgo my scheduled morning 10 mile run and instead did a light spin in its place just to be safe.

I’m in a weird place now recovery-wise as I know my stress fracture has nearly healed but I still notice sensations of pain radiating through my ankle at times. I have read that “phantom” pains are common but with this being my first stress fracture I am finding it difficult to distinguish real and phantom pains. Based on what I’ve read the phantom pains are either the result of calcification in that area or a mental fear that I could re-injure myself again. I certainly hope it’s one of those 2 things and not re-injury.

On one hand, I want to be careful not to take any steps backwards with only 6 weeks to go until the OTM but I also need to be running outside and taking risks.

With all of this racing through my head I was both excited and apprehensive for my 11x1k workout on Saturday morning at Moses Cone. I was pumped to be back in the park working out but really nervous I was going to get 5 reps in and have to stop due to pain.

In the end, I ran all 11 reps and while I certainly felt some pain and awkwardness during the run it was intermittent and didn’t get worse as the workout progressed. Pace-wise I was slower on every rep that Pete had hoped but I don’t think either one of us was overly concerned with that.

Initially, Pete had suggested I try to run 3:12-15 per kilometer or aerobic threshold effort (roughly what I could run for an hour). Once I began, I fell into running 3:20-24 and stayed there the entire workout.

I’m well aware that 3:20 for a 1,000 meter repeat is NOT impressive but I don’t care one bit. Talk to me in 6 weeks. You’ll see a different animal, I promise you that. Gotta start somewhere.

Thanks for reading!

K's on Bass Lake. (Photo Credit Uncle Tim)

K’s on Bass Lake. (Photo Credit Uncle Tim)

Here is my last week of training (12/27-1/2):

Sunday: AM: 5 miles   PM: 5 miles

Monday: AM: 18.25 miles Alter-G 92%-100% (last 10 miles 56:55)

Tuesday: AM: 7.5 miles    PM: 4.25 miles

Wednesday: AM: 11 miles (w/30 min in 32:00)

Thursday: AM: 70 minute spin   PM: 7 miles

Friday: AM: 13 miles Alter-G 94%   PM: walk

Saturday: AM: 13 miles (11xk workout)  PM: 6 miles Alter-G 88%

Total: 90 miles, 10 runs, 7 outside, 3 Alter-G runs, 1 spin session

 

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93 miles for the week! (12/20-12/26)

We are now less than 7 weeks to go until the Olympic Trials and I had another solid week of training. I ran 93 miles for the week with 43 miles on the Alter-G and 50 miles outside. Each run has felt better and better and I am truly excited for the next few weeks.

It’s hard to believe that a week ago I ran for 62 minutes in Asheville and felt absolutely TERRIBLE. I would liken it to a baby giraffe first learning how to walk: awkward, ungainly, and really any other word that means the opposite of smooth.

On Tuesday, I did a mini-workout at ZAP before heading to Richmond to spend Christmas with Esther’s family. The workout was 2×3 miles with one 3 mile piece on the normal treadmill and one 3 mile piece on the Alter-G. Pete wanted to get in some slightly faster running at full weight and then hit the Alter-G for the second rep to be cautious. Here’s how it went:

2×3 mile treadmill workout:

*1st 3 mile piece on normal treadmill: 5:42, 5:39, 5:35
*4 minutes rest
*2nd 3 mile piece on Alter-G at 92%: 5:15, 5:10, 5:07

Overall, it was a good session and I felt stronger as the workout wore on. I do have one takeaway: 8% less body weight feels AMAZING. After getting off the normal treadmill I was shocked with the ease I was able to run the 2nd rep. Regardless of the reduced weight I was happy with the effort and to feel that familiar workout ‘burn’ again.

In-Law game strong.

In-Law game strong.

After the workout I hopped in my car and made the trip to Richmond to spend the Christmas holiday with the Erb clan. It was a full house with her parents, 2 sisters, and various friends popping in and out but also very relaxing. Esther’s 6 month old niece Rae and 3 year old nephew Lee were in town as well which was great. Esther and I got in daily naps, lots of great meals, and a few nice runs with current Boulder resident and Richmond Native Guy Alton!

It was great running OUTSIDE with Guy and Esther in Richmond.

It was great running OUTSIDE with Guy and Esther in Richmond.

I will spend the next 10 days in Blowing Rock and then I’m off to Tallahassee, FL for the final 4.5 weeks leading into the marathon trials. Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (12/20-12/26):

Sunday: AM: 3.5 miles (Asheville)    PM: 12 miles Alter-G 87%

Monday: AM: 8 miles    PM: 3 miles

Tuesday: AM: 11 miles (2×3 mile workout, treadmill and Alter G 90%)

Wednesday: AM: 14 miles Alter-G 90% (Richmond)   PM: 4 miles

Thursday: AM: 6 miles Alter G 90%   PM: 9.5 miles

Friday: AM: 7 miles    PM: 5 miles

Saturday: AM: 10 miles   PM: 45 min spin

Total: 93 miles (43 Alter G, 50 outside), 12 runs, 1 spin session

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Alter-G reigniting the FIRE

Getting injured is never fun and although my current injury has probably come at the most inopportune time possible with the Olympic Trials fast approaching, I have found myself strangely calm throughout the entire recovery process.

Don’t get me wrong, I have had the odd moment of intense anger, sadness, and frustration, but I have mostly been plodding along just getting my cross training done. Perhaps this even-keeled attitude is due to being a bit more mature in my running, but I think I also think I’ve been trying to stay out of my head this time around.

Yes, prior to this injury my goal board in the ZAP dining room said “Top 15 at Olympic Trials Marathon” and while that may not be possible anymore I think there is always another goal to set and pursue. I will not make a new one until I see what I am able to do over the next 9 weeks.

Sure, there have been many moments of doubt in this whole process. I wouldn’t say I have been wallowing in self pity because that is usually not my style but instead, I have gotten in all my cross training while trying to turn my brain off. I think it is nearly impossible to be fully dialed into each and every minute of aqua jogging.

Deep down I wish I could but I can’t. I ALWAYS get the work in and do every surge, tempo, hands out, holding breath action that I am told and hope that I am helping my fitness. I hear from Pete and others about how some of the greats like Todd Williams and Steve Spence would aboslutley murder themselves in the pool and come out FITTER than before but I think we only hear about the best sessions they did during injury. This is much like when guys post workout information; it is usually a kick-ass workout and not the norm.

Sure, I have had some awesome cross training days where I was completely dialed in and got after each and every interval during a 100 minute pool workout, but more often than not I get in the pool, do my work in silence, and get out 2 hours later. Did I work hard? Of course, but was it overly impressive? I don’t know.

All I know is that I can look back and my training log and see that I have approached each day as a professional and punched my time card. This isn’t glamorous or exciting 90% of the time but the accumulation of work is still very exciting and does motivate me to get back out there the next day.

As I’ve begun to slowly wean myself away from the pool and more towards the Alter G a funny thing has happened; my fire to compete again has been growing…quickly. Two months ago, I tossed aside that notion because tormenting myself with the thought that full training was so far away would have wrecked me. Instead, I took those early weeks day by day, as cliche as it sounds. But over the past 2 weeks I have begun to run at least an hour each day with a few faster miles tossed in.

My motivation to return has been flooding my body and mind as I’m pounding away on the treadmill.  So far, these runs have been around 80% of my body weight and I have gotten down to 5:30 pace a little bit. Nothing crazy but it has truly been so much fun. Here’s what a normal morning has been like for me on the G:

I wake up at 7 and eat breakfast with Esther. When she heads out the door to Moses Cone, I drive to ZAP and usually say goodbye to Tyler and Griff as they leave for their runs and I get to briefly hear about how marathon training has just begun and I hate them for a brief moment (I’m just jealous).

I get on the G after negotiating my start time with Colley the previous night through texts as he is injured too. The first 30 minutes go by slowly as I listen to either Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, the Men is Blazers, or any number of NPR programs.

Then after about 40 minutes I have worked the pace down to 6:30 per mile and see I have 2o minutes to go so I switch to Pandora and start getting really excited that my foot doesn’t hurt. This is where the FUN begins. The following super-positive thoughts take over my mind:

“So I’m running 5:40 pace at 82% of my body weight at 1% incline and I feel great. I mean goal marathon pace is ONLY 5:10 pace. That’s only 30 seconds per mile less than I’m going right now. And I’ve got 9 weeks to go. I’m going to be so fit!”

(That new Justin Bieber song “What Do You Mean”  comes on and I increase the incline to 2%)

“Picture this: mile 20 in LA. You realize you’ve just run miles 18 and 19 faster than any the entire day and you are absolutely ready to rip the head off the last 10k. Let’s go to a place we’ve never been before .”

(My hands go in the air and I act like I’m celebrating crossing the finish line in LA and seeing a fast time. I sing along to the next song loudly even though Colley is in the next room waiting for me to be finished. I know he doesn’t care because he’s been injured since Falmouth and completely knows where I’m at right now. He gets it.)

Then I get off. Griff and Tyler come back and tell me they closed their long run in 5 minute pace over hills. I sigh internally knowing I have a long way to go. But hey I got to run an hour, who cares it was on a treadmill! Steps are steps. Miles are miles. Who knew a treadmill could do so much for me?!

Thanks for reading.

Here is my last week of training (12/6-12/12):

Sunday: AM: 20 min spin+ 4 miles Alter G @75%   PM: MLS Cup

Monday: AM: 8 miles Alter G @75%   PM: 1 hour aqua jog

Tuesday: AM: 9.5 miles Alter G @80%  PM: 70 min swim

Wednesday: AM: 9 miles Alter G @80%  PM: 50 min spin

Thursday: AM: 1hr 40min spin high rotation   PM: walk

Friday: AM: 9.5 miles Alter G @81% (6×90 seconds)  PM: 55 min aqua jog

Saturday: AM: 11 mile Alter G @75%

Total: 51 miles Alter G miles, 3 spin sessions, 3 aqua jog sessions

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My last week of training (10/11-10/17)

On Wednesday, Pete had me do a 6×1500 meter repeat workout at Bass Lake. Tyler was doing the same session but as he is incredibly race sharp (46:47 for 10 miles 2 weeks ago) and much fitter than I am currently, I did the session on my own. The goal of the workout was to run each 1500 meter segment faster than the previous one. It was a fairly windy day along the Aqueduct portion of the lake so the times would be a bit slower had conditions been perfect (more on the wind later). Here’s how it went:

6×1500 meter, 2 minutes rest:

  1. 4:46
  2. 4:45
  3. 4:41
  4. 4:39
  5. 4:36
  6. 4:39

2×400, no set rest:

  1. 67 seconds
  2. NT

Overall it was a good session. My legs felt way better than the week before and even though I got tossed around a bit in the wind, it was still solid. And while I was “fighting” the wind, Tyler apparently didn’t notice it at all! He ended up having probably the greatest 1500 meter repeat workout of anyone in ZAP history. He ran somewhere in the neighborhood of 4:25 down to 4:16…on dirt…into the wind! I guess when you’re really fit nothing really bothers you and the ground just floats along underneath you! Watch out for him at the Pittsburgh 10 Miler and the US 12k Champs!

Now for some bad news…Towards the end of the Wednesday session my left ankle got quite sore to the point where the cool down was mostly a limp. I didn’t think much of it as I often get various bumps and bruises from all the miles I put in. The next morning Tyler and I got in an easy 90 minute run and I could barely move the first 20 or so minutes my ankle hurt so much. I decided to take Saturday off and get my long run in on Sunday to see if a day off would help alleviate any of the pain.

Well, on Sunday my boys team was playing in Winston-Salem so I did my long run at Salem Lake. Salem is a great 7 mile rolling loop where I did many of my first tempo runs while at High Point. To make a long story short, it was an incredibly painful 15 miles. My ankle ached the entire time and there were large portions of the run where it felt as if my plantar fascia tendon was torn (I know what this feels like because it happened to me in 2011).

Salem Lake in Winston Salem, NC.

Salem Lake in Winston Salem, NC.

Suffice it to say, I left Salem Lake depressed. I have no idea what is going on in my ankle/foot but I know that it doesn’t feel right. I have had lots of minor tweaks through the years yet the pain currently radiating through my ankle is something I am not that exactly familiar with. Perhaps a bone spur? Some residual cartilage damage from years of running? A re-injury on my talus bone where I had a small surgery back in 2009? Maybe even a torn plantar?

I have been faced with my fair share of injuries during my ZAP career and although they are never fun I am NEVER one to wallow in self pity. I want to find out what the issue is ASAP so that if surgery or some outside intervention is needed I can do it without wasting weeks waiting for something to heal. After returning home from Winston-Salem on Sunday I immediately got an MRI scheduled. Luckily through the help of ZAP friends I found myself driving to Asheville, NC last night to get a scan.

Not where I wanted to be on Monday night!

Not where I wanted to be on Monday night!

Please think positive thoughts as I will find out my results tomorrow evening! The Olympic Trials are less than 4 months away and I can promise everyone reading this that I will toe the line for that race no matter what. Injuries happen and however long I end up being out I will keep my eyes on February 13. My goals have NOT changed in the slightest.

Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (10/11-10/17):

Sunday: AM: 16 miles

Monday: AM: 7 miles  PM: 5 miles

Tuesday: AM: 13 miles   PM: 4 miles

Wednesday: AM: 13 miles (6×1500, 2×400)

Thursday: AM: 13 miles

Friday: AM: 11 miles (8×20 sec)  PM: 5 miles

Saturday: OFF, ankle/foot F-ed up

Total: 87 miles, 9 runs

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My last week of training (9/27-10/3)

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:

#1 3 mile piece: 5:00 (1%), 5:09 pace (.5%-3% incline), 5:09 (.5%-3%)

#2 3 mile piece: 5:05 (.5%-2%), 4:55 (1%), 5:05 (.5%-2%)

#3 3 mile piece: 5:02 (-.5%-2%), 5:02 (-.5%-2%), 4:47 (1%)

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.

ZAP Reebok 3.0 Special Editions hot of the press!

ZAP Reebok 3.0 Special Editions hot of the press!

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)

Total: 81 miles, 9 runs, 1 day off

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Wedding Weekend

 

Soaking it all in.

Soaking it all in.

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)

Friday: AM: 8 miles  PM: 4 miles

Saturday: AM: 10 miles

Total: 100 miles, 11 runs

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My last week of training (8/30-9/5)

Another step forward this week! I had an exciting week on several fronts with Esther arriving home on Tuesday from her month away while also getting in my first short workout in over 8 weeks!

On Tuesday, I made my way to Charlotte to pick up Esther from the airport and got in my morning run at McAlpine Park. Although it is a decent place for a run, I finished my 85 minute run feeling very blessed that I get to train in the Boone/Blowing Rock area as I was quite bored by the end!

On Wednesday morning I woke up and decided that I would try to hop in with Tyler and Griff for their fartlek session. They were doing a classic 5 to 1, 4 to 1 minute fartlek and I decided I would jump in for part of the 5 to 1. I ran the 5 minute and 4 minute pieces with them around 4:50 pace and then finished the remaining 3-2-1 on my own. Pete advised me to keep each piece evenly paced while Tyler and Griff were planning on progressively getting faster with each piece so I smartly went solo for the last few harder pieces.

Overall, it was a fun little session and my hamstring felt pain free throughout. I was sore the following day but that was to be expected.

On Friday, Esther’s parents, Martin and Hope, arrived from Richmond to get some last minute wedding errands done and help fix up some things around our new house. They were very helpful and I enjoyed the weekend. Most of the work is done for the wedding thanks in large part to their efforts.

To close out the weekend, Tim and Julie Meigs held an end of the summer party at their cabin in Blowing Rock. Most of the ZAP crew were in the attendance as well as some of their neighborhood friends. As usual, Julie served some AMAZING food and it was a great night! Thanks you for hosting us Uncle Tim!

Thanks for reading!

Pictured from L to R: Hope “The Teacher” Erb, Esther “Big 24” Erb, Andrew “Bootie” Colley”, Chris “Skater Boy” Moen, Joe “Ray Charles” Stilin, Cole “Future Mr. Erb” Atkins, Tim “The Uncle” Meigs, Martin “The Helper” Erb.

Here is my last week of training (8/30-9/5):

Sunday: AM: 9 miles   PM: 5 miles

Monday: AM: 12 miles

Tuesday: AM: 11 miles (8×20 sec post run)   PM: 5 miles

Wednesday: AM: 9 miles (5 to 1 fartlek)  PM: 5 miles

Thursday: AM: 14.5 miles

Friday: AM: 11.5 miles (10×20 sec post run)

Saturday: AM: 8 miles   PM: 4 miles

Total: 94 miles, 11 runs

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