Tag Archives: USATF

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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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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Orlando Photo Extravaganza

It has been a whirlwind the last 10 days and so instead of typing out all of my activities I thought it would be better to post pictures of Esther’s and my trip to Florida. Originally, I was slated to race the inaugural Run Nona 15k in Orlando but my stress fracture changed those plans. Esther was still on board to run the race as well so we decided to make the trip and then spend a few days in Florida relaxing and recovering….well relaxing as much as two athletes can. Enjoy!

My outfit for the ZAP Holiday Party at Bistro Roca in Blowing Rock. Arguably some of the best money I've ever spent.

My outfit for the ZAP Holiday Party at Bistro Roca in Blowing Rock. Arguably some of the best money I’ve ever spent.

Esther winning the Run Nona 15k on Saturday evening!

Esther winning the Run Nona 15k on Saturday evening!

Dylan Hassett, Nicole DeMecurio, and Esther post-race. Dylan was 2nd, Nicole was 3rd and both run for Greenville Track Club Elite in SC.

Dylan Hassett, Nicole DeMecurio, and Esther post-race. Dylan was 2nd, Nicole was 3rd and both run for Greenville Track Club Elite in SC.

Track Shack in Orlando. was the main sponsor of the 15k. Elite Athlete Coordinator Chris Hughes did an incredible job of taking care of everyone.

Track Shack in Orlando was the main sponsor of the 15k. Elite Athlete Coordinator Chris Hughes did an incredible job of taking care of everyone.

Esther and I took a visit to the Track Shack store and she got in a quick run with Joanie and Galloway.

Esther and I took a visit to the Track Shack store and she got in a quick run with Joanie and Galloway.

Central Florida YMCA Aquatic Center. 24 lanes plus a section for diving. Not a bad place to cross train!

Central Florida YMCA Aquatic Center. 24 lanes plus a section for diving. Not a bad place to cross train!

Esther kept this cross training session fun. Her kick board skills were quite entertaining.

Esther kept this cross training session fun. Her kick board skills were quite entertaining.

We took a tour of Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. It was incredibly beautiful! (HPU watch out!)

We took a tour of Rollins College in Winter Park, FL. It was incredibly beautiful! (HPU watch out!)

National Training Center in Clermont, FL. Another beautiful place to get in a workout.

National Training Center in Clermont, FL. Another beautiful place to get in a workout.

National Training Center track in Clermont, FL.

National Training Center track in Clermont, FL. Thanks to Christie Snellgrove for giving us a tour!

Here is my last week of training (11/9-11/15):

Sunday: AM: 90 min aqua jog   PM: travel to NYC

Monday: AM: 90 min elliptical  PM: NYAC All Sports Dinner

Tuesday: AM: 1hr 45 min aqua jog/swim   PM: travel back to NC

Wednesday: AM: 90 min aqua jog/swim   PM: 50 min spin

Thursday: AM: 80 min aqua jog/swim   PM: 35 min spin

Friday: AM: 25 min underwater treadmill run   PM: 75 min swim in FL

Saturday: AM: 1hr 30min spin + 20 min elliptical

Total: 0 miles run, 6 pool sessions, 2 elliptical sessions, 2 spin sessions

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Trip to the NYAC

It has been 1 month since it was confirmed I had a stress fracture. I’m walking with no pain and the pool sessions, although boring, are keeping me engaged in training. I will hopefully begin to slowly work in some short runs on the Alter-G in the coming weeks. I really have no idea what the next few weeks will hold as I have never had a stress fracture in my life but I will continue to be cautious and smart.

On Monday morning I took a direct flight to New York City to join Esther at the New York Athletic Club’s All Sports Dinner. The NYAC is the club that Esther runs for and they have been a great support system for her the past 2 years. The NYAC was founded in 1868 and, in addition to being a private athletic club, sponsors professional athletes in various Olympic sports from water polo and rowing to track and field and team handball. The annual dinner is for those athletes that had either won a national championship in their discipline or made a World Championship team.

Esther was invited to this year’s dinner because she was on the World Championship team in August. Larry Rawson, ESPN track and field broadcaster, was the emcee while Hall of Famer Joe Torre and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred were the invited speakers. It was a very cool event and I was proud to be Esther’s guest for the evening. I also really enjoyed learning about all the non-track and field athletes accomplishments. It is very easy to forget that there are so many Olympic-caliber athletes from less than mainstream sports that toil away in anonymity in pursuit of their Olympic dreams. And to have all of these successful athletes together in one room was very motivating and impressive. My takeaway: dreams, especially the really big ones, are worth working hard for.

Joe Torre and Esther at the NYAC All Sports Dinner.

Joe Torre and Esther at the NYAC All Sports Dinner.

Also, Esther and I were lucky to be at the same dinner table as Mike Brannigan. For those that don’t know, Mikey is an autistic runner from New York who last year was one of the top 10 high school runners in the country running 4:03 for the mile and 8:42 for 3,200 meters. Mikey’s parents were told very early on that they should look into putting him into a special school and group home but he defied those odds and graduated from Northport High School last Spring. Unfortunately, Brannigan does not meet the NCAA’s academic standards and thus cannot run at the Division 1 level despite over 200+ scholarship offers.

Esther and I were both very impressed with how happy, joyful, gracious, and mature he was. In speaking with his mother Edie, it has been an incredibly challenging road up to this point but both she and her husband are so visibly proud of their son. I wish him nothing but the best as begins his indoor season as a member of the NYAC! GO MIKEY!

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Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (11/8-11/14):

Sunday: AM: 45 min spin (basically off)

Monday: AM: 75 min aqua jog/swim   PM: 50 min spin

Tuesday: AM: 1hr 50min  jog/swim

Wednesday: AM: 90 min swim, 50 min spin

Thursday: AM: 65 min jog/swim   PM: 2 hr walk

Friday: AM: 80 min aqua jog, 20 min pool HORSE w/Colley

Saturday: AM: 90 min aqua jog

Total: 0 miles run, 6 aqua jog/swim workouts, 2 spin sessions

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My last week of training (10/25-10/31)

I will be very brief this week as I have been busy spending time coaching and getting in my lengthy cross training workouts. As I mentioned last week I have been using the Boone Wellness Center for my pool sessions which have consisted of a combination of aqua jogging and swimming. This is slightly different than past injuries as I usually spent most of my time either using the elliptical or just aqua jogging. Right now my foot is not quite ready for the elliptical and I don’t feel like the aqua jogging always gets my heart rate as high as I’d like. I’ve found that adding in a swimming component to the aqua jogging has made the sessions more challenging but also kept me more engaged and not as BORED!

Essentially, the goal of cross training is to attempt to get your heart rate as high as possible to simulate what outside running does for you aerobically. There are certainly many ancillary benefits of spending time in the pool such as blood flow to the injured area without the pounding of the road while also keeping other muscles in use and strong, but aerobic maintenance is the number one reason to cross train!

There may be runners out there who say they LOVE to aqua jog or swim but I’m not one of them. It is a boring and tedious activity that is only tolerable if you constantly remind yourself that the time spent in the pool will make the return to running much easier. Luckily, Esther bought me a waterproof iPod Shuffle and that has been super helpful in keeping me motivated and focused on the task at hand.

To be honest, there are days that I am amazed to look at my watch and see that I’ve just spent nearly two hours splashing around in the deep end of a community pool. Non-runners may think the same is true about a 2 hour run but I’d take an outdoor run in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains over a pool session any day!

So what exactly have I been doing in the pool? Well, I thought it’d be cool to share some of the workouts Pete has had me doing since I found out I had a stress fracture. Enjoy!

Sample workout 1: Lap swim to pool run…12 lengths medium / harder / all out x 4 cycles then 30 sec sprints x 15 (each with final 5-6 sec holding breath) – do 6 sets of this !!

Sample workout 2: Pool run – 15:00 warm – 20/20 power sprints x 15 – then 2:00 rest after #15 / then 90 sec snowball intervals x 9 (each w 30 seconds rest between and each with final 8-10 sec hands out of water holding breath) – then 2:00 after #9, before – 45/15 x 10 – 2:00 rest then 30:00 lap swim with intervals of choosing

Thanks for reading! Check back next week for more exciting tales from the deep end!

Here is my last week of training (10/19-10/24):

Sunday: AM: 1 hr 45 min aqua jog/swimming combo

Monday: AM: 1 hr 30 min aqua jog/swim

Tuesday: AM: 1hr 30 min aqua jog/swim

Wednesday: AM: 1hr 40 min aqua jog/swimming  PM: 30 min bike

Thursday: AM: 1 hr 30 min aqua jog/swim

Friday: AM: 1 hr 30 min all aqua jog  PM: travel to Fort Wayne, IN

Saturday: AM: 1hr 20 min aqua jog/swim

Total: 0 miles, 7 pool sessions, 1 bike session

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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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