Tag Archives: Tallahassee

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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My last week of training (12/13-12/19)

I spent much of today traveling so I will keep this week’s entry short and sweet. I increased my mileage on the Alter-G to 60 miles for the week and got the weight up to 85%. I did some moderate portions during a few of the runs with no pain to my foot and ankle. Things are moving along nicely and within the next week I will begin workouts in full force.

Right now, I am 8 weeks out from the Olympic Trials and things will need to do everything within my power to get fit. Pete has already warned me that the next 4 to 6 weeks will be HARSH. We will not be reckless but we will be very aggressive with the intensity and frequency of my workouts.

In a perfect world, I’d be 12-16 weeks out from the OT and able to slowly ramp back into intensity and volume, but that is simply not the hand I have been dealt. In athletics as in life, you must do the best with what you’re given.

I will be doing a 2×3 mile workout this week on the treadmill and tossing in a greater number of outside runs. I suspect that in 2 weeks time the Alter-G will become a complementary training tool as normal outside runs will take over the bulk of my training.

My only wish over the next 2 months is to remain HEALTHY and POSITIVE each day in my running. The fitness will take care of itself.

Last but not least, I learned last week that a family at HCSA just had a litter of lab puppies that need new homes, so I went by the house to check them out. Esther, for those that don’t know, has DESPERATELY wanted a dog for the last few years. I’m not joking when I say that at least 2-3 times a week I either get sent a link to Pet Finder or a picture of her doing some activity with the neighborhood dog Lucy. She’s got it bad.

With this in mind, I met Tess (the runt of the litter) and am now considering bringing her home. Check out this picture of one of her brothers (I couldn’t get a picture of Tess; too camera shy):

I have no words.

I have no words.

Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (12/13-12/19):

Sunday: AM: 2 hrs spin (hard every 8th minute)   PM: 50 min aqua jog

Monday: AM: 10 miles at 83% Alter-G   PM: walk

Tuesday: AM: 11 miles at 84% Alter-G   PM: 55 min aqua jog

Wednesday: AM: 10 miles  at 85% Alter-G   PM: 20 min OUTSIDE jog

Thursday: AM: 80 min aqua jog    PM: 7 miles at 84% Alter-G

Friday: AM: 11 miles  at 84% Alter-G w/35 minutes at 5:40 pace

Saturday: AM: 9 miles OUTSIDE in Asheville

Total: 60 miles Alter-G, 6 runs, 3 aqua jog sessions, 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 (11/29-12/5)

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!

20151206_161627

20151206_161923

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

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On to Greenville, SC!

I now find myself in the heart of marathon training. Although L.A. is only a month away I had my heaviest mileage week ever this past week. All told, I ran 122 miles and got in 2 quality workouts over the 7 day period.

On Monday I had 2×7 miles at the St. Mark’s bike path in Tallahassee. I got up very early to get my body acclimated to what race morning will be like and was excited to get in a good marathon long run. Unfortunately, my body was not feeling great and I got in a sub-par session. The first 7 mile piece was perfect time wise but I could tell I was fighting a bit too early to hit my given paces. I ran between  5:11 and 5:06 for the 7 miles and after an easy float mile, the plan was to start slower than the first piece ended but progressively get faster by the end, hopefully around 5:00. I started the 2nd piece at 5:21 pace but could not get any faster! I decided to do 5 miles of the 7 as my calf/achilles was getting a bit tight and I wasn’t progressing as planned. I ran the 1st 4 miles from 5:18-5:20 and then gutted out a 5:11 for the last mile. All in all, it was a tough workout and in the context of all the mileage I have been doing it was a good effort. Hey, not every workout is going to be a home run!

After some easy days of running, I came back on Friday to St. Mark’s intent on getting in a GREAT session. The plan was to run 2k-1k-500 x4. The 2k’s were supposed to be run between 6:15-6:20 or slightly faster than marathon pace, the 1k’s were to be run between 2:58-3:00 or around half marathon pace, and the 500 meter pieces were to be run between 1:22-1:25 or around 5k effort.

It turned out to be a great session and I was able to move well throughout the entire workout which was about 14,000 meters of hard running! Here were my splits: 6:14, 2:57, 1:24…6:14, 2:58, 1:24…6:14, 2:57, 1:24…6:10, 2:55, 1:23. I was very pleased with the workout despite the fact that my calf started getting very tight towards the end of the workout. Hopefully it heals well over the coming days as my last marathon specific long run is next Thursday.

After the workout on Friday, Burg, Sarah, and I made the trip from Tallahassee to Greenville, SC and Furman University. It was another fantastic training camp in Florida and I was sad to go but Furman is also a great training venue. We have access to the Furman Fitness Center, are able to eat in the dining hall, and have access to Furman’s Alter-G if needed. I will be here for the next 20 days and then it’s on to L.A.

Thanks for reading!

The beautiful Furman campus.

The beautiful Furman campus.

Here is my last week of training (2/15-2/21):

Sunday: AM: 10 miles (8×20 seconds post run)  PM: 7 miles

Monday: AM: 20 miles (1×7 miles, 1×5 miles workout)

Tuesday: AM: 10 miles   PM: 7 miles

Wednesday: AM: 13 miles   PM: 6 miles

Thursday: AM: 11.5 miles (9×20 seconds post run)

Friday: AM: 16.5 miles (2k-1k-500×4 workout)  PM: 5 miles

Saturday: AM: 10 miles  PM: 6 miles

Total: 122 miles, 12 runs

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Keep running in Moses Cone! (plus marathon long run)

St. Mark's Trail in Tallahassee. Paved, straight, and fast.

St. Mark’s Trail in Tallahassee. Paved, straight, and fast.

Last week I did my first marathon specific long run at St. Mark’s Trail in Tallahassee. I know I’ve talked about St. Mark’s before but to refresh some reader’s memories it is a flat, straight, and paved bike path outside of town. It is a great place to run long repeats and so it was a great site for my first real marathon session.

The plan for the day was to warm up 4 or 5 miles then run 4×3 miles with a 1 mile float between each 3 mile piece, ending with an easy 3 mile cool down. The 3 mile sections were supposed to start around 5:12-14 and slowing get down to 5:05 or faster by the end.

It was a great run! Ryan rode his bike next to me throughout the 22+ mile run providing me with water and gels. I felt really controlled and smooth up until the very last mile of harder running. I ran a bit faster overall than planned but my effort was controlled throughout and that was the goal of the day. Here are my splits:

-4.5 warm up easy: 8:05, 7:12, 6:15, 5:42, 3:05
-stopped to change into flats, a few light strides, potty break
-5:01, 5:10, 5:06 (15:18)
-6:20 float
-5:10, 5:06, 5:07 (15:24)
-6:37 float
-5:04, 5:09, 5:05 (15:20)
-6:38 float
-5:05, 5:07, 4:58 (15:10)
-cool down 3 miles easy: 8:19, 8:04, 8:08
-total: 22.5 miles, 2hrs 15min

Bird's-eye view of Bass Lake at Moses Cone National Park.

Bird’s-eye view of Bass Lake at Moses Cone National Park.

Also, there is some cause for alarm back in Blowing Rock. Moses Cone National Park, the unofficial training home of ZAP Fitness, is being threatened with a proposal to outlaw all running within it. David Rogers of BlowingRockNews.com recently wrote an article outlining the issue here.

Basically, the National Park Service recently put out its Developed Area Management Plan, or DAMP, which outlines plans for the park’s future. One of their proposals is to outlaw all running in the park because, according to one Blue Ridge Parkway official, “…the frequent use by running groups and trail rides disrupts the experience of anyone wanting to walk in solitude.”

It seems that park officials and some local residents are upset with the influx of running groups that visit the park each summer and fall. Economically speaking, Moses Cone is a destination for many outdoor enthusiasts who flock to Boone and Blowing Rock each year, spending money on hotels, food and many other things that help countless businesses thrive in the area. Cutting off that revenue stream because there are large groups clogging up Bass Lake in peak season is incredibly drastic and unnecessary.

And for a place like ZAP that hosts many of these college teams and several adult running vacations each year this proposal could be financially crippling. Personally, I do not think ZAP is the culprit for the anti-running initiative but it obviously has major implications for us.

Currently, the NPS has a rule on the books that a group must obtain a permit to use the park but it is not enforced. I think if the NPS simply enforced their current rule things would settle down. Or, in peak season the park could simply say that all running must be done by 10 a.m. so that walkers wouldn’t be affected for the majority of the day. ZAP, and its guests, make a point of being very respectful of anyone using the park and hope that doesn’t go unnoticed. Banning running is not the answer. It is the definition of an over-correction.

Moses Cone is a fantastic training venue, truly a hidden gem, and to be denied access to train there would be terrible. I encourage anyone who reads this to go to this page on the NPS website and comment on why this DAMP initiative is bad for all involved, especially ZAP Fitness!

Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (1/25-1/31):

Sunday: AM: 15 miles (1-1-2-1-45 x3 during run)

Monday: AM: 11.5 miles  PM: 6 miles

Tuesday: AM: 11.5 miles (8×20 seconds post run)

Wednesday: AM: 22.5 miles (4×3 miles long run workout)

Thursday: AM: 8 miles  PM: 7 miles

Friday: AM: 11 miles   PM: 6 miles

Saturday: AM: 10.5 miles (8×20 seconds post run)

Total: 109 miles, 10 runs

 

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