Training Log 3/15-21

Week of Training March 15 – 21

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 8
Monday 13 Drills and Strides
Tuesday 11
Wednesday 13 Drills and Strides, Travel to NC
Thursday 12 6 Drills and Strides
Friday 15 Workout
Saturday 8
Week Total 86

I started this week in Savannah, recovering from Gate River. I had nearly the full week before my workout. All those days were spent running easily. On Wednesday, I got back to ZAP, for the summer! I am very happy to be back. It is someplace very familiar, and I am ready to not be living out of a suitcase everyday.

Workout: 10 min off tempo, 5 min; 4 x 3 min, 90 sec, 45 sec, rest what comes next
Back to the Appalachians! I can't get enough of these views!

Back to the Appalachians! I can’t get enough of these views!

Friday’s workout was very similar to last week’s. Griff and I started with an off tempo piece, then moved on to shorter reps. Each rep was supposed to be at 10km, 5km, and 1500m effort, respectively. Overall I felt pretty good. It was another good workout to add to the books. After having a rough winter, I feel that I am slowly getting into shape.

In a few days, I will be off to Raleigh to begin a track season. I will be starting with my shortest race in years, a 1500m. The last time I ran a 1500m at sea level was 7 years ago. So at the very least I should walk a way with a PR (3:50.5). After my race I have a few hours before I will be pacing the 5000m, to help some teammates and friends, and get in a bit more of a workout.

Gate River and Savannah

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 15 Surges
Monday 6 6 Core
Tuesday 14 Workout
Wednesday 11 6 Drills and Strides, Core
Thursday 10 Drills and Strides, Travel to FL
Friday 8 Drills and Strides
Saturday 13 Race
Week Total 89

Training Log

This week started off with a shortened long run at Tuxedo Lake. Last time we were up there, the road was covered in snow, and made for some tough running. It was clear this time it, but a bit cold, around 27 degrees. Cole’s parents were in town, and he and I went early so that he could hang out with them before they traveled back to Charleston. I was still feeling the affects of the two workouts from last week, so the run was much more dialed back than a normal long run. Cole and I kept it controlled as we did 60 and 30 second surges every 5 minutes. I walked away from the run knowing that in the 6 days until Gate, I would need to start feeling much better.

Second place at Gate! First time I got to run on team there!

Second place at Gate! First time I got to run on team there!

Another reason I took Sunday more dialed back is that Pete had a workout scheduled for Tuesday. The three musketeers of Joe, Griff, and myself did a workout with a 2 mile opening piece at “off tempo” rhythm (just under tempo effort), followed by 3 x 3 minute, 1 minute, 30 seconds, with rest of rep comes next. Ex: after the 3 min, is 1 min rest, and the 1 min comes 30 seconds. I felt terrible during the opening 2 mile piece, but as the workout progressed, I felt better. I was hoping that this is a good sign, for the longer race, the better I should feel.

Workout: 2 mile, 5 min rest; 3 x 3 min, 1 min, 30 sec

After Tuesday, we only had a few more days in Greenville before everyone headed his or her separate ways. Joe, Griff, and myself all headed to Florida for Gate, Cole and Sarah to LA for the marathon, John to San Diego for a road mile, and everyone else back home to ZAP.

Gate River

A little under two weeks after my rust buster in Puerto Rico, I was once again at the starting line for the Gate River Run. This was my third year in a row running Gate, and I had mixed feelings about toeing the start line. I was hopeful that I had gotten my rust buster out of the way two weeks prior and I would be ready to roll, but hesitant that I would still feel heavy and flat. In the end I think I fell in between the two extremes.

Start of Gate River. Notice Joe and me in our awesome painter's caps.

Start of Gate River. Notice Joe and me in our awesome painter’s caps.

The race morning was warm and humid, not as bad as two weeks prior, but still not ideal. In an attempt to cool off, Joe and I went old school and wore soaked painter’s hats (think Dick Beardsley). The warm weather kept the pace very timid and a big pack went through 5km in 15:10. When I saw the clock and such I slow pace, all I could think was, “This is going to suck!” Already I was not feeling great with 10km to go. Inevitably I slowed the next 5km, but was running around both Griff and Joe, as we rotated leads.

The defining feature of the Gate River Run is the Hart Bridge, which starts around mile 7.5 and ascends 140 feet over the next 1200m. But then the next 1200m are a gradual decent back down 140 feet into the finish. Around the 10km mark, I started to feel better and began to pass others. I hit the bottom of Hart Bridge with some momentum that helped carry me over the summit and into the finish.

While I am not terribly enthused about my placing and time (I would say that it was about the same effort time wise as a year ago, because it was so hot this year), but I am happy with how I ran the race. After a dismal middle 5km, I fought back for a much better last 5km, even while running up and over the bridge. In my last two years at Gate, the last 5km has been, by far, the slowest of the race, but on Saturday, it was a few seconds faster (Hey it still counts). From here I get to drop down to 10% of Gate to test my legs in a 1500m in Raleigh on the 27th. It has been seven years since I have run a fresh 1500m at sea level (I ran loads at altitude in college). Hopefully that means a good solid PR as I dive head first onto the oval.

Also beyond my performance, 13th in 45:57, Griff was 15th in 46:04 and Joe 19th in 46:32. As a team our performances were good enough to get 2nd in the team competition. Gate is unique in the elite running world, in that is one of the few races that has a team element in the competition. Beyond just the bragging rights, there is even some award money that teams get to divvy up. It is always a big boost when racing, knowing that there are a few of your teammates are out there relying on you to run your hardest.



My recap of the weekend would not be complete if I did not mention my trip to Savannah. The Sunday after the race my girlfriend, Emily, and I rented a car and drove two hours north to Savannah, Georgia. Since moving to the south, I had heard how cool of a city Savannah is and have wanted to visit. With a few down days in training after the race, I figured it was a great time to go.

For the trip Emily and I rented a room through Airbnb. I had not heard of it before, but it is a website where people can list their houses, or spare rooms (or their own room) out as a hotel. It is a great idea so that people can make some extra money with not too much effort. All of the rooms are reasonably priced, often much cheaper than a hotel and with extra amenities, like access to a kitchen, or in our case a pair of bikes to cruise around on. Our room was in an old house, only a mile from River Street/Downtown. The couple who owned the house were extremely nice and accommodating, and had a great dog named Homer.

On Sunday night, Emily and I went on a date to Elizabeth on 37th. It is a restaurant that focuses on local foods, especially sea food, all with a southern twist. The restaurant is in a 1900’s mansion, to give it a very regal feel. I was impressed with the food, you could tell that everything was fresh and well thought out. “The Capt’n” (the guy with the mustache) waited on us and just kept bringing us courses to try. If you are ever in Savannah, I would highly recommend going for a meal.

Also on Sunday night, Emily and I went on a ghost tour. Savannah was rated the most haunted city in the United States. Most of the theories as to why Savannah is so haunted are that many of the squares, which are now parks, used to be cemeteries and the bodies of the deceased have not been exhumed. Our tour guide, Topher, was great. He crated a good atmosphere for the tour and was a fantastic storyteller. Again, if you are in Savannah, go on a ghost tour. It is more than just ghost stories, there is a good dose of the city’s history thrown in there for good measure.

After a late night, Emily and I woke up a bit later for her to do her long run. Nothing like a long run on tired legs to get you ready for a marathon (She’s running the Pittsburg Marathon in May). We headed to a Rails to Trails trail along the Savannah River, so that we could get on a softer surface. Unfortunately, the trail was only 5.5 miles long, so she had to do two out and backs, but we had a good run. After that we went back and napped, then cooked a dinner of salmon, quinoa salad, and broccoli for dinner (again the benefit of Airbnb). After dinner we biked to Downtown and got some ice cream at Leopold’s. Leopold’s has been making ice cream for Savannahians for nearly 100 years, and they have it down. I had a double scoop of Guinness and Pistachio, a surprisingly good combination, but the ice cream was creamy and delicious.

While the river was not died green on St. Patty's Day, all the fountains were!

While the river was not died green on St. Patty’s Day, all the fountains were!

Tuesday, St. Patty’s Day, was a busy one in the city. Savannah puts on the second largest celebration in the US, only out done by Chicago. It ended up being a fantastic day out and after our run, Emily and followed the parade, which started near where we were staying, all the way to River Street, where the festival was happening. The street was packed, and since Savannah has no open container laws, people were drinking, and already drunk by the afternoon. After an hour or so, we biked back and had a low key final evening in Savannah.

Going to Savannah was a fantastic way to forget about the mediocre race a Gate for a few day, and a time to hit the reset button before heading back to the high country of Blowing Rock. Now I get to start with some recharged batteries and get ready for the next seven weeks, which will culminate with the Kim McDonald Memorial 10000m run at Payton Jordan. This year I have some monkeys to get off my back, as the last two years at Stanford have lead to disappointing performances. If my past training shows a trend, it is that I get into shape quickly, and it only takes a few weeks after my rust buster to be firing on all cylinders. That means I should be oiled, greased, and ready to roll for my upcoming track races in California.

Training Log 3/1-7

Week of Training March 1 – 7

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday Shakeout 11 Race
Monday 8 6 Walking around Old San Juan
Tuesday 12 Travel to SC
Wednesday 14 Workout
Thursday 11 6 Core
Friday 13 Workout
Saturday 10
Week Total 91

This week started out with my race in Puerto Rico. I already recapped that here so if you have not already read it, go read it first. The people at World’s Best 10k were very generous and housed me for a week in San Juan, so I had a whole day to spend gallivanting around the city. So I hopped on a bus that was headed for Old San Juan to explore the rich history of the city. Once again, if you have not read my race recap, go read it, there is a nice little history lesson about the forts of Old San Juan.

Start of the World's Best 10k along the famed Teodoro Moscoso Bridge.

Start of the World’s Best 10k along the famed Teodoro Moscoso Bridge.

On Tuesday I departed from La Isla del Encanto and back to training camp at Furman University. The travel back was a bit of a nightmare, as plane travel often can be. First my ticket was booked from San Juan to Dallas to Charlotte. I understand the whole reason of getting people to an airline’s hub, but it is still infuriating when you have to travel that way. While my first flight was nearly 5 hours long, it was smooth sailing to Dallas. Once in Dallas, it looked like everything was going to schedule, then I received a text that said a 30 minute delay. Ok, not a big deal. We boarded the plane, only to find out that there was some light that was broken, a light that we did not need for our flight, but for the return journey from CLT back to Dallas. So after being stranded on the airplane for another hour and a half, we disembarked to load up on another plane. After getting everything organized, we loaded up and took off a full three hours later than scheduled. There was nothing I could do about all the delays, besides steep with annoyance. They say that is not good for the soul, so I just tried to push those thoughts away, and not think about the hour and a half drive I still had to Furman. Eventually I made it to the hotel and passed out on the bed.

I woke up the next morning with a workout scheduled. Pete decided that I needed something that was a bit more speed oriented. The last month has been dedicated to getting a good base built up for the upcoming track season, so by sliding a little speed in should help get me race ready.

1800m ins and outs (100m/100m, 110/90, etc), 5 min rest;
2 x (4 x 1 min, 30 sec), 1 min rest, 5 min sets;
1800m ins and outs (100m/100m, 110/90, etc)

Pete is a big fan of having something faster to open a workout, and a few weeks ago he had Joe do the exact opening piece. It is a confusing (but not that confusing) start of the workout, and compared to a straight 1800m opening piece, it puts a lot of junk in your legs. The first 200m is a typical in and out with 100m on and 100m off. Then every 200m, 10 meters is added to the on piece, while 10 meters is subtracted from the off piece. By the end, you are running 180m hard with only 20 meters recovery. There is a lot of gear changing that is the best way to put some junk in your legs.

After the opening piece, it is 2 sets of 4 x 1 min, 30 sec with 1 min float in between. As with all Fartleks, Pete wanted John and me to be more even on the first set and make second set faster at the expense of the float. Also the second set was on the track, so it was naturally going to be faster.

Surprisingly, I felt pretty good for this workout, especially only three days after a race and one day of travel. I felt smooth and relaxed running a faster pace. I think this should bode well for the upcoming track season.

Sunset on the Furman Lake and Bell Tower.

Sunset on the Furman Lake and Bell Tower.

I only had one day between my two workouts this week, which I spent running very easy. Friday’s workout was a simple 1-5-1 Fartlek, which is something I have done dozens of times while at ZAP. Fartleks are great because they allow you to run as you feel. If you feel tired, run slower; if you feel good, run faster.

I had another good workout, with the first half on the rolling hills of the Furman Golf Course and the second half on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The second half was much faster and just as relaxed. It is reassuring to have a couple of good workouts only a few days after a humbling race. It boosts my confidence coming into Gate River.

Before I sign off, I would like to send thanks out to Furman University Cross Country and Track Team and Chris Borch for funding and hosting us once again. Being able to come to Furman to train is a great opportunity to get some good training at the tail end of winter before heading up to the mountains for the start of spring. I always enjoy my time at Furman, but everyone departs this week, and Joe, Griff, and myself all head south to run Gate River!

Isla del Encanto

Back in January, Pete had suggested that maybe I run the World’s Best 10k as my opener for the season. I was all for the idea. It is a world class race in the Caribbean, who was to complain about that? As the race drew nearer I was more excited to get to spend nearly a week out of the temperatures that plagued the east coast. Even Tallahassee had been colder than our previous two years there.

I headed out on Tuesday and my travel to Puerto Rico was smooth, besides the fact that I was booked to stop through Dallas. I arrived late and was set up in my room by the race coordinators.

Wednesday morning I headed out for my workout, but ended up waiting too long and the heat, humidity, and travel combined make me feel terrible. I ended up cutting my workout short so I would not dig myself into a hole five days before my race. Frustrated, I headed to the beach to hangout; since I was here, I might as well take advantage of the amenities. By my own admission, I am not much of a beach person. I tend to be drawn more to the mountains, but it was nice to get in the water after getting so hot from the workout.

The view from my hotel room in the daylight.

The view from my hotel room in the daylight.

By Thursday, the rest of the elite field had arrived, and I began to hangout with them. I spent the day at the hotel, but in the afternoon, Donn Cabral and I rented a car and headed over to Fajardo to a bioluminescent lagoon. I had heard from multiple people that the bioluminescent lagoons are a must see while in Puerto Rico. There is only a handful in the world, and only a couple still survive. To get to the lagoon, you have a 25 minute kayak trip up a channel to get to the lagoon. Even though I am not a big water person, I have always enjoyed boating trips, whether it is rafting, canoeing, or kayaking. My partner and I brought up the rear of our large group. As we got further up the channel, we started seeing our paddles begin to light up in the water! By the time we got to the lagoon, we were seeing all sorts of things light up. What makes the bioluminescence happen are tiny microorganisms that emit a light not unlike a firefly, only they have no control of when they light up, only when they are threatened. Also since there are 800,000 (yes I did not add an extra zero) of these little guys per gallon of water, they could really produce some lumens! After a half hour in the lagoon we made our way back through the channel, and since it was darker, we could see even more. Someone had caught a jellyfish and passed it around and once back in the water, it would disturb the water and light up. Overall it was a fascinating experience, and something that I would not get anywhere else.

The next two days were spent hanging out around the hotel and doing things to prep for the race. There was a press conference, all in Spanish, so I just sat there and looked pretty. Also a meeting informing us of the specifics of the race, which was mostly just, “If you run fast, you make money.”

Eventually Sunday came around, and since it the race was in the afternoon, I had most of the day to kill. I did a normal prerace shakeout in the morning, and spent most of the day in the hotel staying cool. Around 4 we met in the hospitality sweet, but not everyone was there, so we waited around and did not load up the bus for another 30 minutes. After a short ride to the start, I got off of the bus and right into my warm up.

The start of the race was a fanfare. A huge Puerto Rican flag was lifted into the air, and Scott Overall, the lone British guy in the field, commented that he expected fighter jets to fly over. I retorted with, “They can have their big flag, but fighter jets are reserved for Americans.” (Puerto Ricans are very adamant that they are not really Americans, but Puerto Ricans)

Eventually we were herded to the line and the final instructions were in Spanish, so only a few people actually knew when the gun was going to go off. For me, the gun was a surprise, and for others, it seemed to be the same. As frantic as the start was, I found myself in good position among the main pack. The race started on Teodoro Moscoso Bridge, crossed it turned around and headed back. The first 3km was into a nasty headwind (strongest in race history), but was refreshing because of the heat.

After crossing the bridge we turned around and the wind was at our back for the next 5km, but it did not feel that way. All of a sudden it was much hotter and with an interjection of pace, I was beginning to strain. By 5km, I was falling off of the main pack and by 7km I felt like I was fried. Refusing to drop out, I made it to the finish, but was struggling the whole way, running 5:20 pace.

I ended up running just over 31 minutes, and was disappointed in my race. I came in not confident of my training over the last two weeks, even though I had a good stint the month prior. I have been traveling a lot over the last few weeks, which places more stress on the body. Also being sick did not help me recover from a few weeks of hard training. I felt like I was just beginning to get my stride back, only be hit with a setback.

It is always a hard pill to swallow when you have a terrible race, and the only solace that I can take away from it is that it was my first race in nearly 3 months. After such a long period with out a race, I tend to get stale and flat. It often takes a race to shake the rust off my legs. I often have is very sub par openers, and it seems to only take a good workout or two and a few weeks to be ready to run fast.

Even with a poor race, I had such a great time in San Juan. The World’s Best 10k puts on a world class event. They treat us elite athletes like rock stars, and I hope to come back someday. The people of San Juan love the race, as I was constantly asked if I was running. And the people of Puerto Rico are proud of their island, and are willing to share the wonders that are in “La Isla de Encanto.”

IAAF Recap

History Lesson!

Since I was not leaving until Tuesday, I had a whole day to do what I wanted. I tend to not enjoy the beach as others do; I prefer to stay on the dry land of the mountains. So instead of spending a day getting sun burnt on the beach, I chose to head into old San Juan and see the historical sites. Having been raining in the morning I was worried that it may be a wet adventure, but soon the sun broke through the clouds to bring a bright day.

San Cristóbal

Facing the city with a sentry box, what San Cristóbal is known for.

Facing the city with a sentry box, what San Cristóbal is known for.

From the hotel, I hopped on a bus and 40 minutes later I was in Old San Juan! I immediately headed to Castillo San Cristóbal. This fort was on the very western edge of Old San Juan. It was built in late 17th and early 18th centuries, as a response to two successful attacks on the city by the English and Dutch. Until the building of San Cristóbal, the only fort defending the city was Castillo San Felipe del Morro, on the far eastern edge of town. El Morro was an imposing stronghold that could easily fend off attackers from the sea, but could not defend the bustling San Juan from land attacks. San Cristóbal shored up the flank of the city, by using a system of tiers of bastions that an attacker would have to storm before capturing the main fort. Twice the English tested the fort in the 18th century, and twice it repelled the attackers.

After seeing the fortifications, I was in awe that the English had the audacity to attack the fort (see some of the pictures below). The lines that created the tiered system seemed impossible to break. There were hundreds of cannon emplacements, along with fire steps, where thousands of soldiers could rain hell on anyone courageous enough to attack.

While the fort was built for the purposes of war, the soldiers stationed there spent little time actually fighting. There was plenty of drilling, training, maintaining order in the city, and just lounging around. While outside the sun baked down on me, the rooms inside the fort were cool and comfortable. For the horrible conditions that some armies of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries around the world, a posting at San Juan must have seem liked paradise.

El Morro

After exploring San Cristóbal, I walked along the old city walls to Castillo San Felipe del Morro. As I said above, El Morro was built to protect the natural harbor from attacks from the sea. It was El Morro that repelled the attacks by the English and Dutch in the 17th century, but it was on the eastern edge of the ISLAND that San Juan sits. El Morro only once fired its guns in anger, and it was at the Americans during the Spanish-American War in 1898. Built in 1539, it successfully held vigil over the entrance to San Juan harbor for over 400 years. Much like the fortifications at San Cristóbal, El Morro had nearly a hundred of cannon emplacements, but most of which were trained to the sea.

After the Spanish-American War, the United States took over Puerto Rico, including the pair of forts. Both forts remained in service past World War II, but El Morro was transformed into a hospital. Control of Puerto Rico was so important because it was the first habitable island that you would encounter in the Caribbean. Who ever controlled the Island would effectively control all of the Caribbean.


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Training Log 2/22-28

Week of Training February 22 – 28

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 20 Long Run, Surges, Travel to ZAP
Monday 6 6
Tuesday 8 Travel to Puerto Rico
Wednesday 9 Workout
Thursday 13 Drills and Strides
Friday 11 Light Fartlek, Drills
Saturday 8 Drills, 4 x 30 sec
Week Total 81

This week started out with a long run up at Tuxedo Lake, which is my favorite place to run in Greenville. The Tuxedo Lake route is about a 9.5 mile dirt road loop that goes around Summit Lake (confusing I know, we just call it Tuxedo Lake because Tuxedo is the name of the closest town). It is a great place for long run as it is not an out and back, and two loops makes a good solid 19 miles.

Unfortunately, there had been a good amount of snow in and around Greenville the few days prior, so the dirt roads encompassing the lake were not clear. Since it was slick out, it was slow going. About half way through the loop, Andrew and I pulled away from the loop and ended up running on a paved road. This was a great choice as we were able to start our surges on solid footing. We had a good run for the 10 or so miles that we were on the pavement. But we had to go out and back to where we had left the loop so the last few miles were back on the dirt loop. Even though the run ended up being longer than expected, it was good to be out there.

Sunday night I caught a ride back up the mountain to ZAP to pick up my truck and get ready for my upcoming trip to Puerto Rico! Being back at ZAP made me realize how much I miss our secluded abode. I spent less than 24 hours at ZAP before jumping in my truck and driving down to Charlotte to stay at a hotel before my flight.

Just lounging at the Beach, Not too bad!

Just lounging at the Beach, Not too bad!

Tuesday morning I rose early to get a run in before my flight, only to see flurries beginning to spit from the sky. I did my run, getting frustrated with both the weather, which was cold and wet, and the roads, which were devoid of sidewalks (I swear there are no sidewalks in Charlotte). In the hour that I had run, almost an inch of snow had fallen and I had to pull my scraper out to brush off the snow. I thought I would never really need to use it after I left Colorado!

Due to the weather, we sat on the Tarmac waiting to be deiced for an hour and a half. Finally we took off and headed west to Dallas, where I had my layover (don’t get my going on how ridiculous it is that I had to fly to Dallas before San Juan). Fortunately my scheduled layover was for well over 2 hours, so I didn’t have much time between flights. The second flight was smooth as silk, and before I knew it, I was in Puerto Rico!

Pete scheduled a workout of 3 min, 90 sec, 45 seconds x 4, at 10km, 5km, and 1500m efforts. I headed out into the Caribbean sun to do my workout. After a long day of travel the day before and waiting to do my workout, I struggled. Every piece was getting slower and slower, so rather than being stubborn and straining to finish, I only did three sets. I am glad that I did not continue to dig myself into a hole that would be hard to get out of before the race. It was frustrating to not have a good workout, but it taught me a lesson of how tough the heat and humidity can be.

I took the next day much easier, and ran much earlier in the morning, and felt much better. Friday, Pete wanted me to do some light 2:30 down cycles. Down cycles are where you increase the pace every 30 seconds. This means that you have to start comfortable for the first minute so that you have somewhere to go as the piece progresses. I like down cycles as there is a lot of gear changing making the workout go my quickly. Since it was not supposed to be a full workout, I just did it with in the run. These felt much better than the workout the other day, and I gained some confidence from it.

Saturday, I went for a very slow and easy pre-race run with the usual 4 x 30 seconds at the end. Spent the entire run on a two mile stretch of grass where all of the Kenyans run. After the extended strides, which were on the pavement, I felt much better. I felt that I was smooth and relaxed while running quick.

In the next few days as I will have a post detailing all of my visit to Puerto Rico, including the race and my exploration of the forts of Old San Juan (you might even get a little history lesson too!).