Training Log 6/22-28

Week of Training June 22-28

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 15 Long Run
Monday 8 Drills and Strides
Tuesday 12 5 Workout, Core
Wednesday 10 Drills and Strides, Travel
Thursday 7 Drills, 4 x 200m
Friday Shakeout 8 Race
Saturday 8 Travel
Week Total 73

As my season winds down, I am noticing that I am feeling better. Running less miles and easier, shorter workouts being the main culprits. But the end of the season also brings a feeling of anxiousness to race. For me this leads to me wanting to just race, not really train. For the last few months I have sowed the seeds, and now I want to reap the rewards. So around this time of year, the day to day activities that I enjoy for the other 50 weeks of the year begin to become monotonous and almost strained. No longer is that 10 mile run in the morning as enjoyable or relaxed as before. I often find myself looking at my watch only to realize that the run is half way done, which is not a great feeling when you are looking forward to the end. With this feeling I have to try and remind myself that this is all part of the process, and just as important as running the 110 mile weeks in the fall. I still need to keep running everyday so that I do not get stale and just as importantly, I have to continue do the little things that keep me healthy and ready to race. With all that in mind, I am looking forward to my final race of the year and the break that will follow. That break should revitalize both my mind and my legs, so that I am ready for the challenge of marathon training.

Layla and me having a fantastic time at Heritage Square in Golden.

Layla and me having a fantastic time at Heritage Square in Golden.

Sunday was my long run, and once again I headed to the Ralston Creek Trail. I stayed relaxed and ran 15 miles. But the highlight of the day was that my mother was preparing a breakfast feast for when I returned. Since I only come to Colorado about twice a year, my family and friends always gets together so that I can see everyone. This year my grandparents, my “second mom and dad”, their son, his fiancé, and two kids came over. We ate a brunch fit for a king and had a blast catching up. After brunch we headed to Heritage Square in Golden. Heritage Square is a theme park with stores, rides, zip lines, and an alpine slide. Mostly we went there because of my friend’s two little kids. One is 3¾ (don’t forget the ¾) and the other is 1½. I think that are pretty awesome and adorable, and it was enormously entertaining watching them enjoy themselves on the rides. I even got to go down the alpine slide with the 3 year old.

Tuesday was my only workout for the week and was scheduled to be very easy and relaxed. I warmed up to the creek path, and was on my way. Since it was a Fartlek, I did not worry about my pace, only that I was giving the right effort. The fact that you do not have to worry about your pace is one thing that is nice about doing a Fartlek workout. This can make sure that you do not run too hard attempting to hit specific splits. Therefore, they are really good to do right before races. I finished the Fartlek and jogged the few minutes over to the track, where I finished the last bit. The 300m that Pete prescribed were the exact opposite of what I had just done. Each rep was meant to be pace work for my race in a few days. I ran these relaxed and just a tad fast, but feeling relaxed and running fast is always a positive sign. Happy with how the workout went I made the uphill journey from the track home.

Workout: 3, 2, 1 min, what comes next is the rest;
4 x 300m, 100m walk;
Splits: 49, 46, 46, 46

I did my run Wednesday morning before I spent a good part of the day traveling to Sacramento, where I would meet up with my teammates. Thursday was the typical pre race day where I run 45-50 minutes and do 4 x 200m. Just like two weeks before, I felt very good on my 200’s, so I gained a bit of confidence for the race the next day.

Friday was race day, so I spent most of the day relaxing and prepping myself, both mentally and physically. Once again I am going to do a separate race recap that will come out in the next few days.

Training Log 6/15-21

Week of Training June 15-21

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday Shakeout 9 Race
Monday 10
Tuesday 15 Long Run
Wednesday 8 6 Core
Thursday 13 8 x 30 seconds
Friday 13 5 Workout
Saturday 8
Week Total 87

This week started off with a race in Portland. I wrote a blog about it last week, so I wont recap it here. I will just say that I was happy with the race and it excites me to get another track race at USAs and mix it up with the best in the US.

Before our travel on Monday, Joe and I headed out for an easy 10 miles in Portland. We started from our hotel, which was kind of in the middle of nowhere exciting, and headed towards Lake Oswego. We both felt pretty good for having raced 12 hours before, but knew that it may take a bit more time and a day of travel for the soreness to set in. Afterwards, we loaded up and headed for the airport. I dropped Joe and George off because I had a later fight as I was heading to Denver for the next week! So with my extra two hours I set off to Portland, specifically to the famous Voodoo Doughnuts! Doughnuts are my guilty pleasure and trip to Portland is incomplete without a stop at Voodoo.

Tuesday was my long run day, which like the last few weeks has been shortened. I ran along the Ralston Creek Trail, which is one of my favorite places to run in Golden. It is a dirt and paved trail that follows a canal. Its fairly flat the first few miles, but eventually it begins to roll. I was lucky enough to run into my high school coach and some of the athletes who are going to be competing for Golden High next year. This made me think about all the good times I had on the cross country team in high school.

Ryan and I leading the charge at Cross Country Nats in 2011! We finished 1-2!

Ryan and I leading the charge at Cross Country Nats in 2011! We finished 1-2!

My workout was not scheduled until Friday, so the intervening days were typical easy days. Thursday was a great as I ran with my old Western State teammate, Ryan Haebe. In the summer of 2012 Ryan fell 13 feet and suffered a life threatening injury that landed him in a coma for 3 weeks. It was a tragic incident as he was one of the most promising runners at Western, having already won two national titles. His road back has been long and winding, but looks to compete once again for Western this fall. It is inspirational to see him doing so well after such a traumatic injury, and being the tough SOB that he is, he will be back.

Clear Creek Trail in Golden. Great place to run, especially when it is so green!

Clear Creek Trail in Golden. Great place to run, especially when it is so green!

Taking with Pete before Friday’s workout, he said that he wanted to focus more on a 10km specific workout, rather than a track specific workout. This was because he wanted to boost my fitness for Peachtree in two weeks. With that in mind, I was prescribed 9 x 3 minutes and 3 x 400m. I did the majority of the workout along Clear Creek before heading to the track. During the workout, I felt all right and just tried to keep the effort controlled. I did not want ruin my upcoming races with too hard of an effort here. After finishing the main part, I jogged to the track and did the 400m. These were supposed to be around mile pace, aka fast. Surprisingly I felt pretty good and was able to relax while running 58’s and 59’s. Hopefully this means that I will be ready to move when the racing starts at USAs.

Workout:
9 x 3 min, 2:15-30 rest; 3 x 400m, full rest

Before I sign off, I just a reminder that you can watch my race, and all of the other races at USAs here. My race is Friday night at 9:25 PST (12:25 EST).

An article I found in the basement from my (super) senior at Western. WE WON!!

An article I found in the basement from my (super) senior at Western. WE WON!!

Ryan was always know for his ferocious kick. He even got Flotrack “Kick of the Week” for this one! It all begins with a Kick!

Watch more videos on Flotrack

Risk, Reward, and Collapse

Big Risks, Big Rewards!

Big Risks, Big Rewards!

Bold, aggressive, and fearless would be three words I would use to describe my racing style. Often I will be at the starting line with the idea that I am going to run a certain pace regardless of who is in the race. If that means that I take the lead, then so be it. While this is a more likely an idolized view of myself, I think that having this view is necessary for my improvement as a runner. This imagine of myself tends to make me take more risks during a race and I feel that with out a risk you cannot improve. At some point you have to go out faster than you have previously or go to the lead in an attempt to surge away with the hopes of winning. But taking a risk can lead to collapse. Risk is a double edge sword where can just as easily cut away your opponents or yourself.

Sunday night I lined up against a stellar field that included reigning Olympic and World Champion, Mo Farah. His achievements place him in the midst with some of the best distance runners to ever live. Along with Mo, there were a slew of guys who were looking to run the USA “A” standard of 13:32. With this also being my goal for the race, I thought that I would have a good opportunity to take a step forward and hit that mark. We were set to go out run 65 second laps, 13:32.5 pace, then race the last bit home to run under the standard. For me, that meant that I had to go out faster than I ever had before, but I felt that I was up to the challenge, even with training not going quite as well as I would have liked. But training was on the upswing, so I anticipated that racing would as well.

The Race:

I lined up next to a good friend and fellow Western Alum, Scott Dahlberg, said our good lucks and BANG the race was on. I took off quick knowing that I tend to not have the best starts. It paid off well as I was in a good position on the rail after the first 200m, but soon I was boxed in, being passed, and near the back of the field. I was not too worried as I was hoping that the pace would be good and I could ride the train, but the rabbit was not running the 65 seconds a lap he was prescribed, this frustrated one athlete and he took off after only two laps. Knowing that I needed to get near the front to run the time I wanted, I made a surge to maneuver around the pack. After the race, Pete asked me what was one thing I think I could have done better, and being in better position at this point in the race was it.

Leading the Race!!

Leading the Race!!

I made it around the pack and by that point a gap had formed between the lead group and the peloton lead by myself, so I kept on pushing. Once with the top group of 6, I relaxed for a few laps. I went through the mile in 4:22, a tad slower than the 4:20 that would have been perfect pacing, but nothing to worry about yet. Eventually a gap started to form again so I surged to make up the ground that was lost. At this point I had passed two miles in 8:41, even closer to where I wanted and I found myself off on the shoulder of the leader, Mo Farah! Without hesitation I went to the front to maintain pace. I knew that we needed to continue to click off 65 second laps in order to hit the qualifying mark.

Mo Farah Sandwich between ZAP athletes!

Mo Farah Sandwich between ZAP athletes!

I lead for a couple of laps until the real racing began with two laps to go. A few runners, including my teammate Joe, quickly passed me. I tried to go with them, but my legs were not responding. I made it another 200m before I began to slow down. The last 600m I was in the “Hurt Box” and just trying to get to the finish line. I lost a few spots in the last bit to finish 7th.

Looking back, besides being in better position at the beginning, I would not have changed how I raced at all. I went in with a goal of running under 13:32 and I ran that pace until I no longer could. I took a risk going out faster than I ever had before, as I was 8:08 at 3000m. I took a risk by going to the front even against one of the best runners in the world and knowing that his ferocious kick would come with a lap to go (he ran 52 seconds his last lap, about 16 seconds faster than mine).

This last year had been about attempting to carve out my next step up my totem pole. For me the best way create that story is to run like you belong there, which usually means taking risks. Risks where you have to go out well above what you think is possible in order to make it seem so. Sunday night was just an extension of the many risks I have taken. This fall, rather than hang back and bide my time I chose to run with the top groups in races. This lead to some big breakthroughs like my third and fourth places at the USATF 12km and Half Marathon Champs, respectively. I went for a big breakthrough and found a slight PR. While I did not get my goal of 13:32, there is a silver lining to Sunday’s race. You can never be upset with a PR, no matter how small. Also, I know that by racing aggressive and taking risks, that next story on my totem pole will be written. Until then I will get two more shots before my season comes to an end. First I head out to take another stab at a 5000m at USATF Nationals in Sacramento. A week later I head down to the Peach State to run the largest road race in the US, The Peachtree Road Race.

Results

Video, courtesy of FloTrack:

Watch more videos on Flotrack

Bonus:

This is one of my favorite quotes, from one of the best running books written, Once A Runner. The book itself gives, in my opinion, the best description of life and training as an elite runner. I feel that this excerpt sums up how I feel about why I run:

It is simply that we can all be good boys and wear our letter sweaters aroundand get our little degrees and find some nice girl to settle, you know, down with…Or we can blaze! Become legends in our own time, strike fear in the heart of mediocre talent everywhere! We can scald dogs, put records out of reach! Make the stands gasp as we blow into an unearthly kick from three hundred yards out! We can become God’s own messengers delivering the dreaded scrolls! We can race black Satan himself till he wheezes fiery cinders down the back straightaway….They’ll speak our names in hushed tones, ‘those guys are animals’ they’ll say! We can lay it on the line, bust a gut, show them a clean pair of heels. We can sprint the turn on a spring breeze and feel the winter leave our feet! We can, by God, let our demons loose and just wail on!
– Quentin Cassidy in Once a Runner, by John L. Parker

My week of training before can be found here.

Training Log 6/8-14

Week of Training June 8-14

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 10 Race
Monday 16 Long Run
Tuesday 10 5 Drills and Strides, Core
Wednesday 10 5 Workout, Core
Thursday 12 Drills and Strides
Friday 10 Drills and Strides, Core
Saturday 6 Pre race, 4 x 200m
Week Total

This week started off with a mile race at the Music City Distance Carnival. (Here is a recap of the race) Initially the race was supposed to be on Saturday night, but due to weather issues it was delayed until the next morning. The rest of Sunday was spent making the drive from Nashville back to ZAP. The 6 hour drive back, brought forth memories of college and drives back from Colorado to California and back. A trip like this one really makes me appreciate how much support ZAP and Reebok give me, especially the opportunity to fly to nearly all of my races.

Since the race was postponed, our long run was as well. So on Monday morning, Joe and I headed out to Watauga River Road. It was a beautiful morning, with the sun shining and not a cloud in sight. We had a pleasant run, just out there cruising along enjoying the view and each other’s company. I have always enjoyed long runs. During the summers in college we would go and explore different trails and once the season started things would get a bit more serious, but we were still running in amazing places. Often at ZAP the long run is meant to be another workout, but this long run was one that took me back to the feeling of just being out in nature running. This feeling of being outside and, not to sound too corny, “one with nature” is just one of the many reasons why I run.

Our workout for Wednesday was the typical “Pete Rea Pre Race Workout™” (Yes I just trade marked this workout), a moderate 4 to 1, 3 to 1 Fartlek (4,3,2,1 min; 3,2,1 min). This is a staple of our arsenal as it still gives you a good effort and gets your legs moving, but does not take much out of you. I noticed that I felt better than I had in the last few weeks, but still not quite how I this workout has in the past. Later on, I was thinking about the last few days and I realized that I had three harder days with only one moderate day in between, so my legs should be a bit tired. This made me realize that I needed to be conscious of how I felt the next few days and not push the runs. I also realized that I could take the next few days relaxed and be ready to roll for a good 5000m on Sunday. This made me excited to race knowing that I have the potential to come into the race feeling very good and with much more confidence than what I have had this last month.

The rest of the week I was just running relaxed, not worrying about pace, only going by how I felt. I did notice that it still took me a while to warm up, but once I did, I was feeling very good. This made the second half of these runs very enjoyable. It did not hurt that the weather was still incredible. The last few days were sunny and cloudless in the morning and by the afternoon thunderstorms roll in, but it usually rains for about an hour then clears out.

On Friday, George, Joe, and I made the trek to Charlotte and caught a flight to Portland. I have been to Portland quite a few times in the last few years, a couple of times to run and other times to visit friends who have moved there after school. Two years ago, a good friend Jesse and I stayed about two weeks in Oregon traveling between Portland and Eugene for the Olympic Trials. I had bought a ticket with the hopes that I would make it in to the trials. Unfortunately I missed out by two spots and three seconds, but the trip was well worth it. Both as a good vacation after 6 years of school and chance to experience the circus that is the Olympic Trials, knowing that I will be back in four years time.

The beautiful Tryon Creek Trails. I enjoyed getting back to running some trails.

The beautiful Tryon Creek Trails. I enjoyed getting back to running some trails.

Saturday was a typical pre race run. We headed to the track and from there we ran along the trails of Tryon Creek State Park. There were asphalt, wide dirt trail, and single track trails. Around Boone and Blowing Rock the single track trails are very technical so I do not run them often. Actually the last time I did, I took a spill and got a pretty good gash on my hand. These trails were not very technical so getting back to running in nature was fantastic. I finished the run with some 200m at goal pace and was clicking off 32.0 seconds (32.5 was goal pace) with ease. This gave me a big confidence boost knowing that if I can run goal pace for the first 2 miles then start to pick it up, I will run fast.

As I was writing my recap of the race, I noticed that this post was going to be a long one. While that is not a bad thing, I decided to break it into two posts and make this a recap of the week of training leading up to the race, while making the recap of my race more in the style of blog where I go into more depth of both the race and my reflections. So with that said, Look out for another post in a few days.

Training Log 6/1-7

Week of Training June 1-7

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 15 Long Run, Light surges, 8 x 20 sec
Monday 7
Tuesday 12 Drills and Strides, Core
Wednesday 11 5 Workout, Core
Thursday 9 Core
Friday Shakeout 7 4 x 200m
Saturday Shakeout 5 Drills and Strides
Week Total 71

Since I raced this week and have been feeling pretty tired, I took a pretty big down week. Actually I looked back at my log, and this is the first time I have run under 80 miles in a week while fully training in nearly a year. While I usually scoff at such low mileage, I know that this week has helped give my legs much needed rest. My legs will need fresh in the upcoming weeks, as this week kicks off a four week tour that will include at least 3 races, maybe one more if I qualify for USAs. One thing that has helped me this week was that every run was much shorter and easier than previous weeks. Also, also only had one double besides some short shakeouts. Usually I do three to four doubles a week, as they are a good way to get some extra time on your feet, but do take a toll on your legs.

For Sunday’s long run we headed off of the mountain to Mulberry Road. Mulberry is a dirt road with little traffic. It has rolling hills and you can get in a good rhythm. Cole, Joe, and I did a moderate 1:40 minutes with some light 1 minute surges, and finished with 8 x 20 seconds. Getting out of the Park for our long run was great in two ways. The first is that we have been doing quite a few of our runs there and even with the 25 miles of trails you can get a bit tired of the repetition. Also getting off the hills of the Park helped all of us feel better coming into this week.

My workout for the week was pushed until Wednesday, so I took Monday and Tuesday to get my legs feeling better and ready to run fast this weekend. These days are important to run relaxed, because you can dig yourself a hole by running too hard. I think that I ran a bit too fast on Tuesday as my legs were not feeling great for the workout on Wednesday.

Pete had my workout scheduled to be on the track, but it was one that could really be done anywhere. I opened with a 3200m (just short of 2 miles) ins and outs, with the emphasis on the straights. This was followed by a Fartlek of 3 x (3, 2, 1 min). Once I began, I did not feel great even though I ran faster on the 3200m than what Pete had expected. Since I had an odd combination of running fast and not feeling good, Pete changed the Fartlek part to: 2 x (3 min, 90, 45 sec). I ran the rest of the Fartlek relaxed and not worrying about what pace I was running, knowing that anything I did now would not help my race for the weekend; it could only hurt it. Once again it I walked away feeling that it was just another mediocre workout, but knowing that I ran it looking forward to the race.

Workout:
3200m ins and outs, 5 min rest;
2 x (3 min, 90, 45 sec), half float, 3 min between sets

Since I was not feeling great about my workout on Wednesday, I really tried to make a conscious effort to stay relaxed and not push the next few runs at all. I think that I did a good job of this as I started to feel pretty good and noticed that I was starting to pick up the pace without trying. I knew that I felt very good when my typical pre race ritual of 4 x 200 meters felt very relaxed even though I was running under 30 seconds (sub 4 pace!).

I came into Saturday very confident that I was going to run as fast time. I really wanted a sub 4, but I knew that it would be tough to do from the second heat, as I would most likely be out front on my own after the rabbit dropped out, but I was feeling up to the challenge. Unfortunately, Aeolus had different plans. Around 6pm there was a tornado warning in Nashville and it persisted until well after midnight, so the meet was postponed until the morning. It was unfortunate turn of events, and as we went out for a short run around 9, the weather was ideal for a race, but safety first as they say. Having been focused and ready to run at a certain time makes it difficult to rewire your thoughts and get energized again. First, I had to wind down and get a good nights rest before I hit the track in the morning.

I woke up and did a typical pre race routine of getting the right amount of breakfast, stretching out, and relaxing. We headed to the track early so that Mary and Moen would have plenty of time to warm up for their races. It would have been nice to stay a bit longer at the hotel, but have always enjoyed hanging out at the track and watching races, it must be a running nerd thing. I watched a few races, cheering on friends and competitors, before I started my warm up. After my warm up I was feeling pretty good, and since I had been feeling better later in my workouts, Pete had me do a good 400m to “wake” my legs up. I ended up running right around 4 minute pace feeling very relaxed. As I was waiting around for my race to start, doing strides and drills, the meet officials were busy trying to fix computer issues related to the timing system. This took them around 30 minutes, so I had been warmed up and ready to run and standing on the track for 30 minutes before my race started. This was frustrating, and I was trying to not let it get to me, but it was hard. I noticed that my legs were beginning to get a little rigid as time ticked on. Eventually I found myself on the line with the race about to start.

The Race:

One my way to victory! Photo Credit: Shane Sullivan

One my way to victory!
Photo Credit: Shane Sullivan

The gun went off and I noticed right away that my legs were pretty stiff and I felt a little sluggish, but I think that everyone else felt very similar because only a few went with the rabbit. Due to stiff legs and the fact that I am not the best at a fast start (I like road races where it is less important to get in good position with in the first 100m), I found myself in the middle of the pack and boxed in. I tried in vain to get out and up towards the front and eventually I found that opening, but was second to last and far from the rabbit. I made a big surge at 300m to get around the pack and near the front, and by 700m I had reached it. Rather than settling in, I knew that my best chance to win the race was to go for it from the front, the only way a soon to be marathoner knows. So I stepped on the gas and developed a gap from the field over the next lap. I held on to the gap and broke the tape in 4:06. It was a far cry from my goal of breaking 4 minutes, but I gave a good effort and won the race.

I do not want to make excuses for my time, as there is one thing that tends to hold true for racing: If you are ready to run fast, you will. It often does not matter what the conditions are or who the competition is. I think that this is true and looking back, given near ideal conditions of the race being on Saturday night I do not think I would have reached my goal of breaking 4 minutes, but I do think that I would have run closer to my PR of 4:01. Even disappointed with my time, I know that this race will give me some benefit to my upcoming races, so the effort was not wasted. I now get to focus on my next race in a week’s time, with hopes that I will only have to struggle with my competitors and not extraneous conditions.

Results:
Event 14 Men 1 Mile Run Invitational ===================================================================                 Meet: M 3:57.16 6/1/2013   Matthew Elliott, Brooks                   Name                   Year Team                   Finals H#         ===================================================================         Finals                                                                       1 Brannen, Nate               Canada                 3:55.65M 1 3:38.16   2 Leslie, Cory                Furman Elite           3:57.20   1 3:39.09   3 Stillin, Joe                 Zap Fitness           3:59.95   1 3:42.20   4 Graves, Kyle                 Wake Forest Univ       4:00.39   1 3:42.71   5 Finnerty, Robert             Furman Elite          4:01.45   1 3:43.66   6 Edwards, Dave               Adidas Rogue AC       4:04.80   1 3:45.92   7 Jordanek, Tony               Brooks Team Ohio       4:06.06   1 3:47.32   8 Pennel, Tyler               Zap Fitness           4:06.24   2 3:47.89   9 Hammond, Michael             Furman Elite           4:07.48   1 3:49.26 10 Rhodes, Jeff                 unattached             4:07.82   2 3:49.26 11 Saunders, Philo             Australia             4:07.92   1 3:49.82 12 Furst, Stephen              Adidas                 4:09.21   2 3:50.61 13 Elliott, Matt               Brooks                 4:10.10   1 3:51.58 14 McDougal, Josh               unattached             4:10.83   2 3:51.97 15 Baum, Brian                 Ashland U            4:12.64   2 3:53.82 16 Rono, Hilary                 Kenya                 4:15.29   2 3:56.20 17 LeBlanc, Jarrett             Adidas                 4:15.30   1 3:56.14 18 Schulist, Chris             unattached             4:15.93   2 3:57.00 19 Edwards, Jake               Columbus RC           4:18.02   1 3:58.97 20 Roeger, Michael             Australia             4:20.29   2 4:01.01 21 Schmitz, Tommy               Speed Factory         4:20.37   1 4:01.03 22 Sabo, Josh                   unattached             4:22.03   2 4:02.63 — Hasley, Michael             unattached                 DNF   2         — Windle, drew                 Ashland U                 DNF   2

Training Log 5/25-31

Week of Training May 25-31

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 18 Long Run, 8 x 20 sec
Monday 10 Alter G, Core
Tuesday 12 5 Workout, Core
Wednesday 12
Thursday 10 6
Friday 12 6 Workout
Saturday 9
Week Total 100

This week is most likely going to be my last really big week of the season; well the last 100 mile one at least. After this I begin my summer racing. It all starts next week with a mile at Music City Distance Carnival, then a 5000m at Portland Track Festival. I am hoping that I can run some big PRs, especially join the sub 4 club, only two more seconds to go!

Sunday’s run was at Moses Cone Park. I felt pretty tired to begin with, but as the run progressed, I gradually gained more pop in my step. That has been the formula for most of my runs the last few weeks. I feel pretty tired and sluggish for the first 40-50min and gradually I begin to warm up and feel better. I finished off the run with 8 x 20 seconds strides on the Lake.

Grass Loops at Lees McRae

Grass Loops at Lees McRae

On Tuesday we all headed up to run a track workout at Lees McRae in Banner Elk. It was great to get out of our typical workout spots and head somewhere new. Pete had planned an alternating 1km session. I would alternate between slower/faster and grass/track. The alternating between slow and fast is the brainchild of famed coach Renato Canova, hence why Pete calls them “Canova Ks.” He coaches some of the best distance runners in the world, including current world record holder in the women’s half marathon, Florence Kiplagat. Pete likes this workout as it works on different paces and still is very aerobic.

Workout:
6/4 x 1000m, Alt. grass/track, 2/2:30 min rest, 5 min between sets;
300m accelerating on the 100m

Since I have not been feeling great during the beginning of the workouts, I was not real excited to start. Talking to Pete before the workout, he said that I would start with a set of 6, so I did not know how many I would be running; just that I was running 6 for the first set. I started the first rep on the grass and felt pretty relaxed and smooth. I was a little bit surprised to not be feeling terrible, but I went with it. On my second rep, I stepped on the track and felt much worse running a faster pace. This back and forth was pretty much how the first set played out. I finished the first set not really excited to know that I had another set to run, but being fairly stubborn, I continued the workout. Once again I felt much better later on in the workout, even as the second set was faster. This workout, along with my previous workouts, show that I am aerobically fit, but I think I am lacking confidence in my fitness. Hopefully a few good races to get me into the swing of things and I can finish the season on a high note.

Splits:
3:02, 2:50, 3:00, 2:50, 2:59, 2:48/2:58, 2:49, 2:56, 2:46; 43.7
DR. Margeaux Christopherson, her daughter Madison, and Me

DR. Margeaux Christopherson, her daughter Madison, and Me

Wednesday I headed up to Philadelphia to see a good friend graduate from Jefferson Medical School. I was pretty excited to head up there because I had not seen her in a while and had never been to Philly. I had a great time exploring the historical City of Brotherly Love, but of course highlighted by my friend officially becoming an MD. Friday afternoon, I headed over to the historic Old Town and explored Independence Hall, the most famous building in America, and the Liberty Bell.

Most of my runs in Philly were along the Schuylkill River Trail, a nice paved path following the Schuylkill River west of downtown Philly. But for my workout on Friday, I decided to take the train to the Wissahickon Valley Park and run along the Forbidden Road.

The Forbidden Road at Wissahickon Valley Park in Philly

The Forbidden Road at Wissahickon Valley Park in Philly

The trail is packed dirt and had some slight rolling hills. There also were quite a few trails that branched off from the main road, but I was not able to explore because I had a workout. I had a very simple Fartlek scheduled, 4 to 1 min two times. I also had instructions to not push over 70% effort, just hard enough to get the legs turning over.

Knowing that I have been taking quite a while to feel good in my runs I warmed up 35 minutes before I started the workout. Even so I started out this workout feeling flat, but finished feeling pretty good.

Workout:
4, 3, 2, 1 min x 2, half float, 5 min between sets

I really did not dwell on the workout too much, as I had a full day of exploring the city ahead of me. But looking back I think that my body is starting to bounce back from being worn down due to some intense racing that I had over the last few month. Just in time for to run some fast track races, starting with a sub 4 mile attempt on Saturday.

 Photos from Philly:

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