Tag Archives: USATF

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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My last week of training (8/23-8/29)

Last week was another good week of training as I inch closer to being ready to workout fully. I got close to 100 miles on 10 runs and had 3 days with runs over 90 minutes and another day with some light surges.

On Wednesday, most of the guys were doing a 2k-1k workout at the Boone Greenway and Pete gave me the option to throw in some light 1 minute surges during my run. I ended up doing 8×1 min at around 4:55 pace and my hamstring held up well. It was far from fast but I was pleased that I was able to change gears and spice up my run a bit!

On Saturday I ran 2 hours 5 minutes with Griff who was doing an 25 miler as part of his Twin Cities Marathon build up. Usually once or twice during a marathon build up Pete has his athletes get in an almost 3 hour run. These runs are usually not particularly fast but more a “time on feet” run to callous the body to all the pounding that the marathon will deliver. I enjoyed running with Griff and I think he was happy to have the company! Check out this map he scribbled out to show all the sights and sounds of his 2hr and 45min adventure through Blowing Rock.

Griff's map. Not to scale.

Griff’s map. Not to scale.

And to finish out a busy week I was excited to get to watch Esther run in the IAAF World Marathon Championships in Beijing. She has been gone for about a month and although I want nothing more than for her to get home, I was really excited for her race. The women’s marathon is the last event of the championships and Esther was also ready to get it on!  She spent time in Austria, Japan, and finally China in her last few weeks before the race. As usual, she had prepared well and was ready to face the distance with excitement and maturity.

So on Saturday evening after a long day of coaching, I made my way to Town Tavern in Blowing Rock to watch the race on Universal Sports. Nearly all the ZAP team came out to support Esther as well as a parent from one of the teams I coach (GO ROSS!). David Rogers of the Blowing Rock News came as well and wrote a very nice recap of her race here.

Esther finished in 24th place after being in 48th at 5k. She is an incredibly smart marathoner that seems to have an uncanny ability to accurately measure her effort throughout her races. I know that she wanted to finish in the top 20 but I would have been proud of her if she had finished dead last. To be honest, when she came onto the track in the Bird’s Nest and kicked by a Bahraini athlete I was very close to tears. I had been watching the race for over 2 and a half hours and to finally be able to see her running was an amazing moment. And to see her kick by someone made it even cooler!

She’s tough, she beautiful, she’s tenderhearted, and she’s going to be my wife very soon. I am a lucky man to say the least.

My girl.

That’s my girl.

Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (8/23-8/29):

Sunday: AM: 8 miles

Monday: AM: 16 miles

Tuesday: AM: 10 miles   PM: 4 miles

Wednesday: AM: 10 miles (8×1 min within run)

Thursday: AM: 13 miles   PM: 4 miles

Friday: AM: 9 miles   PM: 6 miles

Saturday: AM: 19 miles

Total: 99 miles, 10 runs

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My last week of training (7/26-8/1)

Goal: More easy 2nd runs this Fall. Moses Cone should suffice as the venue.

Goal: More easy 2nd runs this Fall. Bass Lake should suffice as the venue.

I will again be brief in my weekly recap. I have once again been busy with both ZAP camps and ASU soccer camps while also continuing to run and recover from my hamstring attachment issue.

I ran 92 miles last week with a few more doubles tossed in than normal. I have been thinking a lot about the frequency of my runs and think I may begin to double more often once I’m back up to full speed. Right now, I run 12 runs per week at the most and 9 runs per week at the least depending on my current training volume. But at some point I began taking an odd pride in seeing how few runs I could do in a week while also stacking up the mileage.

During some weeks it has made sense to incorporate longer single runs but in other more high intensity weeks I think I have been bull-headed to the point that I wasn’t recovering as optimally as I could’ve been. With a busy Fall of both soccer coaching and running I need to be more mature with the length of my recovery days.

In simple terms, a single 14 mile run will provide a greater aerobic benefit than a 9 mile run and a 5 mile run, but the longer single run will not allow my body to recover as quickly. It’s a bit of a Catch-22 as improving one’s aerobic base/capacity is incredibly important in distance running but if you overdue that side of things you may get injured and not be able to run at all! So intelligent doubles may be a smarter long term solution to my training in the coming years.

There is this badge of honor that many long distance runners wear with pride if they are able to log lots of miles in as few runs as possible. I certainly fall into that category as I like to convince myself that if I train this way I am somehow working harder than the other pros I race against. This may in fact be true but if I get to the starting line tired what is it really worth? Racing is the reason for the miles in the first place so if you don’t perform optimally there something needs to change!

Don’t get me wrong, I still plan to try and squeeze in as MANY miles as I can while still staying healthy but I think there is always room for improvement in one’s training. Tweaks, adjustments, and self check-ups are vital as you move forward in the sport. Stagnation or contentment in action or thought is deadly.

Each time I sit down for a meeting with Pete and Ryan I ask them if there is anything else they think I could be doing better on a daily basis. I ask not for running suggestions but for an outside evaluation on my daily life as a professional runner. Am I sleeping enough? Do you think I’m eating well? Have I been doing the appropriate amount of supplemental gym work?

Usually, I have an answer for each of these questions but I value Pete and Ryan’s opinion a lot as well. These check-in’s are important and I encourage anyone with or without a coach to find another person very familiar with your training and get feedback on how they think you’re doing because often you’ll be surprised with the answers you hear.

Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (7/26-8/1):

Sunday: AM: 8 miles   PM: 6 miles

Monday: AM: 5 miles   PM: 7 miles

Tuesday: AM: 12 miles

Wednesday: AM: 14 miles

Thursday: AM: 8.5 miles  PM: 5.5 miles

Friday: AM: 11 miles  PM: 5 miles

Saturday: AM: 10 miles

Total: 92 miles, 11 runs

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The Challenging Art of Easy

“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!

Here is my last week of training (7/19-7/25):

Sunday: AM: 15 miles

Monday: AM: 8 miles

Tuesday: AM: 11 miles

Wednesday: AM: 14 miles

Thursday: AM: 10 miles  PM: 5.5 miles

Friday: AM: 13 miles

Saturday: AM: 15.5 miles

Total: 92 miles, 8 runs

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Treatment in Richmond

This week’s entry will be short and sweet because I’m working the ASU men’s soccer camp as we speak! I spent much of last week in Richmond, VA visiting with Esther’s family and getting some much needed treatment on my hamstring attachment. Dr. Rob Green of Active Chiropractic was kind enough to see me on short notice. Dr. Green is a triathlete himself and has visited ZAP several times through the years so he is familiar with the group and what we put our bodies through.

I went to Dr. Green’s office 4 days in a row and received a combination of ART, Graston, ultrasound, as well as guided PT. Although the first 3 treatments were very painful I was excited that on the 4th day my run was much less painful. My proximal hamstring (high hamstring) had a lot of built-up scar tissue and needed to get cleaned out so that new healthy tissue can develop.

Dr. Green believes that although treatment has helped a lot I will still need several more weeks until I’m ready for workouts. I was able to run 83 miles last week very relaxed but I can tell that my hamstring is not ready for anything under 6 minute pace right now. I will continue to get after the PT exercises he gave me and hope that my recovery continues!

Esther and I returned to Blowing Rock on Thursday in time for the start of the ZAP July Mini-Camp. Esther will be here for a week until she heads off to Europe before ultimately making her way to Beijing for the IAAF World Marathon Championships in last August.

Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (7/12-7/18):

Sunday: AM: 12 miles

Monday: AM: 11 miles

Tuesday: AM: 8 miles   PM: 4 miles

Wednesday: AM: 12 miles

Thursday: AM: 9.5 miles  PM: 5 miles

Friday: AM: 9 miles

Saturday: AM: 9 miles   PM: 3 mile shakeout

Total: 83 miles, 10 runs

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Battered and bruised


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!

With the CHAMP!

With the CHAMP!

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

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: AM: 5 miles   PM: 3 miles

Friday: AM: 5 miles   PM: ART/massage treatment in KY

Saturday: AM: 7 miles

Total: 57 miles, 8 runs

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