End of Summer Update

Some 220’s with Johnny in the shadow of Grandfather Mountain.
PC: Ryan Warrenburg

It has been a while since my last update. Then I was just on the cusp of running after a second sacral stress fracture in as many years. Since then I have been in tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with one foray to the Rockies, slowly building my mileage back to my normal range. This last week was in the 90’s and with in the next few weeks I should be back in the triple digits, and a bit closer to marathon miles.

I have also semi-finalized a racing schedule for this fall. I am going to start the season at the Genworth Virginia 10 Miler in Lynchburg on September 23. Then I will head up north to Boston for the BAA Half Marathon on October 8. In November I am looking for one more race, hence the “semi-finalized” moniker, before I run my fourth marathon. Which will be the Fukuoka International Open Marathon Championship in Japan! I was in Japan three years ago for the International Chiba Ekiden, which was a fantastic trip, but I did not get to see much outside of the mountainous retreat where we were housed. This time I should be able to see more of the urban side of the country as Fukuoka has a population of over 1.5 million.

One more thing before signing off, I have not been updating my blog but every few months and I would like to that to change. So I have set a goal of at least one, and ideally two, a month until the end of the year. I have been struggling with finding the motivation and ideas to write about. At the very least I will give a short update on training and where I will be racing next.

Master P

Gabe powering away for the regional title.

On Monday I received a call from a friend that one of my friends and teammates from college, Gabe Proctor, committed suicide. Initially I was in shock. It was so hard to fully comprehend the magnitude of such an event, to wholly understand that I will never be able to see his cheeky grin again. Most likely I will never completely grasp that realization, but I have come to better terms with that fact. Other than a deep sadness, I have found it hard to express myself. There have been tears shed, but I over the last few days I have been drawn to the good times I had with Gabe. Death is sad, especially one that is taken much too soon, but I believe it is better to celebrate the life of ones who have passed.

I first met Gabe on a trip to the OSU Jamboree. We stopped in Garden City, Kansas to run with the Garden City Community College team. It was a good place to break up the 12 hour drive to Stillwater, and besides there was a good recruit that Jen was interested in. I do not remember much of the run that day besides that Gabe ran with us and it was ungodly windy, being Kansas and all. Gabe was quiet, but the coach had nothing but good things to say about him. He worked hard and was a team leader. I think later Gabe told me that it was that run which confirmed his decision to come to Western.

Winning Nationals with the Mountaineers. 2011

That next summer he came to Gunnison and had a great cross country season, cumulating with a top ten finish at nationals. He was quiet, and it took a while for him to open up to the team, but he always brought a positive energy to practice. Unfortunately I was hurt for most of that fall, so I did not get to know him too well until the spring. We started running nearly ever day together, as we both focused on similar events in track. Most of my running log days have something along the lines of, “with Gabe” in them.

It was the next year that holds some of the best memories I have with Gabe. I was student teaching, so I was not running everyday with the team, but I remember Gabe telling me he purposely took a class on Tuesdays and Thursdays during practice, so he would have an excuse to workout with me. I remember at regionals, not feeling great, I told Gabe to go for the win. We were clear of the pack, but there was an Adams State guy still with us and I knew he cared more about us crossing the line together than winning.

The Western Crew at RRCA Conference.

That spring we set our sights on running well in the 10,000m at Nationals. Once again he scheduled classes on Tuesday and Thursday during practice. One workout that I remember is right before I went out to Stanford for my debut 10,000m, Gabe and I did a 400m workout on the track. We ended up running around 10,000m pace, and after I remember Gabe saying, “You’re going to kill it dude.” He always had so much faith in everyone. He always saw the positive and wanted the best for others. At nationals that year, we ended up going 1st and 3rd. I crossed the line and gave him a big hug. I know he wanted 2nd, but it was a big step forward for him. A year later, he gave me a call right after he was outkicked for the indoor 5,000m title. He was upset and I tried to convince him that outdoor would be different; Western always runs better outdoors. He told me his was going to win the 5 and 10. He not only did that, but also went undefeated for the season, including a win at the Mt. SAC Relays. Gabe was determined when he set his mind on a goal.

Over the past few years I have less of Gabe, as we were living on opposite sides of the country, but I was always excited when we were going to race together. Usually we would try to find time to go for a run, either before or after the race. Looking back now, I had some great memories with Gabe, but the best were just the everyday runs on the trails and roads of Gunnison. There is not a specific day that stands out, but the hours and miles we spent together both doing something that we truly enjoyed. Those will be the ones that I will be most fond of when remembering Gabe.

This weekend the running community has lost a fantastic athlete and person for the sport. My fellow Mountaineers and Broncobusters lost a friend and teammate. My condolences go out to Gabe’s family, both in the US and Ethiopia. I cannot imagine the sorrow of loosing a family member to suicide.

RIP Gabe “Master P”

– – –

Before signing off, here is the Suicide Prevention Lifeline number, even if it is not for yourself:

1-800-273-8255

It is always better to get help; it is always better to reach out. There is always something to find worth living for.

Also I would encourage anyone to donate to Hope for Youth Ethiopia in Gabe’s name. I know that Gabe was very concerned about the situation in Ethiopia and wanted the best for his home country.

Hope for Youth Ethiopia
PO Box 7306
Longview, Texas, 75607-7306

– – –

And when you wake up
Everything is gonna be fine
Guarantee that you wake in a better place, in a better time
So you’re tired of living feel like you might give in
Well don’t
It’s not your time

Streetlight Manifesto
A Better Place, A Better Time

Breaking the Cycle

“Shit, I know that pain.”

That is all what was going through my head 15 minutes after finishing a long run at Watauga River Road. We had not run super fast, as I have a propensity to do, but it was just a solid run to end a week where I finally felt good in training.

12 x Canova Ks out at Todd with the crew
Picture Credit: J.C.Rain

After the NYC Marathon, I took a nice break from running. I ran seven times total in the next three weeks, and most of them were short. This was all part of the plan. Rather than rush back like I did from my previous two marathons, only to get injured within eight weeks, Pete and I decided to take a much more leisurely approach. The only hitch with this was ZAP only had four guys ready to run USATF Club Cross Country, and I was needed to be the fifth man for a complete team score. I was perfectly fine with this as long as we still stuck to a moderate build up and my expectations were not set very high.

Three days before the race, just like two years ago, my Achilles began acting up. But like two years ago, I figured I could still have a good race (I finished 8th). So this was no big deal. The only thing that made me worried was that it took a month of sporadic running to finally get rid of it, but I would deal with that after the race. The race ended up being an unmitigated disaster. Afterwards I was considering it my worst race ever, mostly because I could not think of a race where I performed worse. Five weeks earlier I ran nearly the same pace, but for four times the length. The only conciliation was that as a team we were able to secure 4th place, only three points out of 3rd, But I was disappointed to say the least.

In the weeks after the race, I turned my focus to getting my Achilles 100 percent before resuming training. That took an agonizing seven weeks of cycling and core work before I was running anything of substantial volume. And even after that, it took another five weeks to begin to feel like my old self. In every workout that five weeks, I was getting dropped, but knew that if I put the work in I would round into form. Even my teammates knew it too. Johnny kept joking that it was only another week before I would be “crushing it.”

Finally that switch flipped and I felt fantastic. On March 4 we all headed to Brevard, NC for a little four mile race hosted by The Oskar Blues Brewing Company (A quality Colorado company). Our instructions were to run the race like a progression run, as we then had some intervals after. I felt alright during the race, but on the intervals I was floating along while running faster than the race. I was stoked! In the upcoming weeks I was going to be able to get some quality training in before taking a shot at a fast 10,000m at Payton Jordan in May.

A few days later I had another good interval workout. Which leads us to the long run at the end of the week. Like I stated above, the run was not anything stellar, just a continuation of the first good week of training since my build up to NYCM. Heading into the run the last thing on my mind was any injury, let alone a stress fracture. My last sacral stress fracture had a quick on set of 24 hours, so I was not too worried to be nearing the end of my run and feeling a slight tightness in my lower back. Most likely it was just my back getting a bit tight in the last few miles of a long run. Fifteen minutes after I finished my run and I was in shock. In the matter of 30 minutes I went from running carefree to knowing that I was not going to run for 2 months.

Since I have been off over seven weeks, I have had lots of time to digest it. Mostly I was just disappointed that I was not going to get a track season again. Last year’s stress fracture was tough because I did not get a second chance to make the Olympic Team after coming close in LA. This time it was tough pill to swallow because I felt like this was going to be my season to focus solely on the track. I know that I most likely have not run my last track race, but the future of my career is on the roads and specifically the marathon, and to reach my full potential in the marathon I have to turn my entire focus in that direction.

For the last seven weeks I followed a similar protocol to last time. Around four weeks off limiting my movement, before I stared walking, gradually increasing the distance. Then around the sixth week I began some light Elipigo, and again gradually increasing the time spent on it. Even though this stress fracture was a level 3 (the lowest level, I think my other one was between 2-2.5), Pete and I are taking our time coming back. With nothing set on the schedule until the fall, there is plenty of time to return to training.

This spring we have been fortunate enough to get two Elliptigos for ZAP. They are great for cross training and since they have a longer stride than traditional elliptical machines, they are much better at mimicking running form.

Besides walking and Elipigoing (if that is even a verb) Pete and I have been trying to figure out what has caused this second stress fracture. The diagnosis of the first one was that my Vitamin D was low from being covered up all winter while heat training and came back too fast from the Trials, being among the most obvious. Once again this one came in the waning months of winter, but my Vitamin D was much higher as I have been consistently taking it along with calcium. Along with a DEXA scan, the numbers on every indicator of bone fragility are not there. While I was months removed from NYCM, I had been dealing with a temperamental Achilles, and after getting healthy I might have started training hard too soon. Some other ideas that Pete have thrown around is that even though my Achilles was feeling fine, it had altered my form slightly. And over the course of tens of thousands of steps, a slight change can add up if the body is not able to adapt fast enough.

Articles

Here is an article from Brian Fullem, whom is basically the closest we have to a team doctor at ZAP.

A good overview of sacral stress fractures in elite runners from Runner’s World

One guy’s story about coming back from a sacral stress fracture. From reading it, I feel like it made the mistake of coming back too soon and too much.

The last two articles are studies (1,2), so their language is more technical, but have some good info and ideas on why sacral fractures occur. Basically they say that load bearing activities are more prone to stress fractures (which is not new) and the fix is to take time off (once again not newsworthy). The biggest thing they say is that most likely sacral fractures are under reported because they are diagnosed as other, usually soft tissue, injuries.

Figuring out why this cycle of injuries is important, as I know the best way to improve is to stay healthy. Constantly increasing your fitness is much better than training hard and getting hurt only to repeat the same cycle again. While in college I was constantly hampered by injuries, every 18 months it was a given that I would be sidelined. Even through that cycle, I was able to advance my fitness and make big jumps. But it was not until I had a few years of uninterrupted training I really began to see how much fitness I lost while being hurt. I had over 5 years of constant training leading up to the Trials and I think that it showed me I am nowhere near my ceiling. I have come a long way from placing a high of 5th at the state meet my senior year of high school to 10 years later being 5th at the Olympic Trials. Had you told high school Tyler that in ten years time, he would have almost made an Olympic Team, I do not think he would have believed you. The belief I could make an Olympic team has developed over the years, but I would argue that the unbroken years of training are the core of that belief. Even with the last year of injuries, that idea has not left my head. There are still three more years until the next Trials! But the smoothest path is through an unbroken three years of training. So it is baby steps towards getting healthy and to eventually racing in the fall.

TSC New York City Marathon

Last Sunday, I toed the line for my third marathon and my first World Marathon Major. I was excited to be in New York City for the second time, but this time I was running the entire course. I arrived on Wednesday, and the first few days were spent hanging out in the hotel and fulfilling media duties. They were fairly laid back, as I knew I would need all my reserves of energy come Sunday.

Coming up First Ave with Patrick Smyth and Jon Grey. They fans were awesome at this point!

Coming up First Ave with Patrick Smyth and Jon Grey. They fans were awesome at this point! Photo Credit: Tim Meigs

From the gun, it seemed like the race was going to be fast. The first mile is up the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge that spans the Narrows and connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn, so the initial 5:20 split is deceiving. Dathan Ritzenhein and Matt Llano went to the front and kept the pace honest. They actually had a bit of a gap at one point in the first couple of miles, but by the time we left the Bridge the pack had reformed. It stayed that way for another three miles, until the leaders through in a quick mile and I found myself in the back of the pack with Jon Grey. We looked at each other and he said he did not want to follow them. Knowing that was the correct choice, we decided to run together.

Over the next ten miles, we clicked off a consistent 5 minute pace, and began to reel in people dropping from the lead pack. Eventually we crested the Queensboro Bridge and headed onto First Avenue. Which was an awesome experience. The amount of fans on First Ave was incredible. People were lining the course over 5 deep and it went on for miles. This was the point of the race that Pete had stressed keeping in control. I can see how it would be easy to get carried away with the energy and run too fast. I was able to ride the wave of support in to the Bronx, where things began to fall apart. Nearly every mile after entering the Bronx was slower than the previous.

Looking back, I understand why New York is a seen as a tough course. Excluding the first two, the first 15 miles are not terribly hard. Some slight ups and downs, and not many turns. Once you hit the Queensboro Bridge, everything changes. You are confronted with a big hill and no fan support. Then on First Ave, the fans will carry for a few miles, even though it is slightly uphill. But in the Bronx, there are lots of turns and ups and downs to throw off your rhythm. After the Bronx you cross the Harlem River back into Manhattan. But there is no relenting; the hills keep coming. If you go out too hard at New York, you will pay for it in the last few miles.

In the last four miles, every time I would try to pick it up, my hamstrings would begin to cramp and I would have to shorten my stride. Knowing that there had to be people falling off the main pack, I remained persistent in the hopes that I could catch someone. Unfortunately I was only able to catch one person in the last half of the race.

Thoughts

In Central Park. All I can say is "Pain Train." Photo Credit: Eric Wheeler

In Central Park. All I can say is “Pain Train.”
Photo Credit: Eric Wheeler

Every marathon, every race for that matter, is a learning experience. The biggest take away from this one is to keep the first half even more contained than I would think. It would have been easy to throw caution to the wind and at mile 5, surge with the leaders. There would have been good justifications in doing so. I would have had a solid pack to run with and block the headwind and I could have turned my brain off and just ran. But with Pete having preached patience for the last month, I knew that waiting was the best option. Fortunately I had someone who was thinking the same thing, so I would not have to run alone, which made the decision much easier.

Even though I made the better rational decision to slow down, as seen by how many people I passed, it was not nearly enough. Looking back at the race, I should have stuck with Tim Ritchie and gone through the half at 66:12. In doing so, I think I would have run faster and been more satisfied with my race. A good example of a solid, measured effort is Ben Payne. Coming through half way in 67:36, he closed well over the hills of Central Park to finish 9th in 2:15:36.

With all that said, it was a good experience going out around that 65 minute mark for half. The next step in my career is to run under 2:10, and the way to do that is be around 65 minutes half way. After I dropped back with Jon, we were able to find a good rhythm around 5 minute pace. Besides the 12th mile, where we started to catch guys falling off the lead pack, we ran a consistent effort. The slower miles would be more uphill and the faster ones downhill. Being comfortable early in the race is the key to running fast in the marathon. I just have to look at my first at Twin Cities. I went out in a slow 67:45 and came back in 65:45, which the last 10km was in 30:45 (2:09:45 pace!). It is no surprise that my PR is still from there.

From here I am taking a break, but will be putting on the spikes in a few weeks for Club Cross Country in a few weeks. While I have had a love hate relationship with cross country through my career, there is nothing like lining up along side your teammates in one of the few team competitions we get to run as post-collegiates. Then I will take a solid winter training block before gearing up for a spring track season. Since I missed last track season because of stress fracture, I feel like I still have more room to improve on the track. I know that I have not topped out my potential in both the 5000m and 10,000m. But before I step on the track, I think a few months of base training will help me get to that next level.

Thanks

In Central Park again. Just trying to keep it all together the last mile. Photo Credit: Tim Meigs

In Central Park again. Just trying to keep it all together the last mile.
Photo Credit: Tim Meigs

As I have done with all my big races, my final section is dedicated to show my gratitude to people and companies who have supported me. First I would like to thank the New York Road Runners. They clearly know how to put on an event, and it shows. The staff is willing to make the race the best experience possible for every runner, whether they finish first or last. And a big thanks to all the volunteers that took the time out of their weekend to make sure the event ran smoothly.

I mentioned the fans along First Ave earlier, but there was hardly a spot on the course that was with out any at all. Peter Ciaccia, the president of NYRR, says that the New York City Marathon is, “New York’s Biggest Block Party.” He is right about that. It seems like the city shuts down for the race, and everyone lines the course.

As it has been the last four years, Pete, Zika, and everyone at ZAP Fitness have given their uncompromising support. They have allowed me to focus mostly on getting the most out of my running, and in turn I want to perform the best that I can at every time I put on the ZAP singlet.

There are also my sponsors I have to thank. Reebok, Soleus Watches, Generation UCAN, and Flynn Sports all make this journey of mine much easier. Whether it is giving me awesome training gear to timing me to fueling me to getting me into races, they have made it much easier for me to just enjoy my time running.

I would be remiss if I did not mention my fantastic girlfriend, Nicole. She has encouraged me through out this build up. She understood if I needed to go to bed earlier, or even if I just needed some time alone to recharge. Now I get to be the support for her as she gets ready for her marathon in Houston.

Lastly I want to thank my parents. They have supported me since day one, even though I beat my dad. They both see my pursuit of running as a worthwhile endeavor. Plus they get to travel all over to see me race, so there is something they get to enjoy.

Splits

Mile Mile
1 5:20 14 5:06
2 4:35 15 5:10
3 4:58 16 5:17
4 5:02 17 5:05
5 4:52 18 5:05
6 5:00 19 5:09
7 5:01 20 5:18
8 5:01 21 5:25
9 4:56 22 5:22
10 4:57 23 5:29
11 5:02 24 5:37
12 4:50 25 5:41
13 5:09 26 5:36
Half 65:16 Total 2:15:09

Results

Overall
USA Men
Mile Splits (You might have to search for me)
All Results

Articles

Letsrun Preview
Letsrun Media Day
Letsrun Review (Including Video Interview)
Daily Relay “Pennel shows he might be next”

Videos

GenUCAN Prerace
GenUCAN Post Race
GenUCAN Chat

Pictures

Tim Meigs
Eric Wheeler

Twin Cities Part III

For the third year in a row I spent the early part of October in the Twin Cities, and once again it was a fantastic experience. Twin Cities in Motion and Medtronic are known to put on a great event, and they did not disappoint. The event staff is exceedingly professional and give it the best experience for all racers. They get so much community involvement as seen by the over 17,000 runners and many times the spectators. Fall is a great time to be in Minneapolis as the weather is nearly always great for racing, and the trees are just beginning to turn.

2016-oct-tc-10-mileRace morning was a chilly one, around 35º at the start, and not much warmer at the finish, but it made for great racing weather. After a warm up in the dark, we made our way to the start and before I knew it, the gun fired. The early pace was slow, 4:52 for the mile, and I heard rumors after the race that there was a 5:0X third mile. That made sure that the finish would be fast. Through four miles there was still a large pack, but I knew that would change as we headed up the hills to Summit Ave. Slowly over the next two mile the pack dwindled, but it was a move my Tim Riche around mile 6 that broke open the race. I instinctively went with the move, but after a few minutes I was falling off the back. The six in front of me eventually split into two groups of three, with me still trying to stick with the chase pack.

Eventually I fell off the train, but just before eight miles Andrew Bumbalough pulled up on my shoulder. I do not know if it was a bit of a wake up or that I finally started to fell better, but I received a second wind and began to run down the second group. Over the next mile I ate into the gap, but was unable to gain much more than a few seconds on them. Every time I would pick up the pace, I would be unable to hold it and drop back to the more comfortable rhythm of around 4:45’s. Passing the Basilica of St. Mary, I let gravity carry down the hill and through the finish.

Thoughts

Coming into this race, I knew that I was not as sharp as last year. Being in the midst of marathon training, my legs were not as fresh as I would have liked. When Tim made that big move, I was not able to respond with the same aggressiveness, but knew that I could make a slighter surge and maintain it to the finish. I even think that I could have run a couple of more miles at 4:45 pace, but anything faster seemed to put me over the edge. It is good to know that I am aerobically fit and that I still have four weeks of training to get my legs caught up.

Another positive is that around mile 8 my legs began to feel better. Around 30-35 min into my workouts I start to actually feel better, and I figured that it would be the same here. I just needed to remain contact with the group until then. Even though I was not able to do that, a marathon much more of a grind. Over the course of 26.2 miles, there will be patches where I do not feel great followed by ones where I do.

From here I have just under a month of critical training to get in before NYC. Unlike my other two marathon build ups, I feel that I have quite a bit more fitness to gain. I feel that in my last two build ups, I would have run a similar marathon both four weeks out and on marathon day. While there are not too many workouts left, this weekend I head up to NUC for a course preview with a workout on the hills of Central Park, and then I have one more marathon specific long run two weeks out. After that is taper mode!

Before signing off, I would like to have a few congrats. First is to Sam for winning his third national title, and second in the Twin Cities. I wanted to make it another exciting race this year, but it just was not in the cards. Another is to my two teammates who joined me on the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Both Matt and Johnny ran great races. At 14th place, Johnny had his highest finish at a US Championship, and Matt had an amazing ZAP debut with a 5th place finish. Expect big things from both of these guys in the future.

Recap USATF
Overall Results
My Results and Finishing Video
Race Replay (You need a USATF Plus Subscrpition)

Top Ten Podcasts

If you have not noticed, I have not been blogging as much recently. Leading up to and after the Trials, I was a little burnt out with putting out a weekly update. I felt that the quality of each could only be mediocre. Even after an 8 week hiatus due to a stress fracture, I was still reluctant to blog every week. But as I have been deeper into training for NYC, I thought that there might be a few adoring fans who would want an update. And even if there was not any, it was good for me to have something to do. I also wanted to try to and put out something that I was proud of, or at least something a bit different than my usual training log. With all that said, here is something a bit different.

I often get asked if I listen to music while I run. My response is always, “No, but I listen to podcasts!” Inevitably from there they ask what podcasts I listen to. Having graduated from Western with degrees in History and Sociology and a minor in Political Science had a heavy influence on the podcasts I listen to. Basically there are three general categories of podcast that I listen to: history, true crime, and general interest. So without further ado, I give you my top ten podcasts!

  1. My list could not start off without podcaster Dan Carlin at the top. He initially started in radio and broadcasting in the 90’s and in the mid 2000’s began two podcasts, “Hardcore History” and “Common Sense.” “Common Sense” focuses on today’s political events. Dan tends to take a slightly different view and often tries to put into perspective all side of the issues, which is something that many in the media struggle to do. “Hardcore History” on the other hand might be one of the best podcasts out there, regardless of genre. In this podcast, he is known to create interesting and epic story lines of events in history. The recent podcasts often are not shorter than three hours and are spread along multiple episodes. He has covered topics from the Punic Wars of the Roman Republic, to Genghis Khan, to the Eastern Front of WWI. Recently, he just finished a series on the ancient Persian Empire (think of who the 300 Spartans fought at Thermopile). Unfortunately, such involved episodes take a long time to research, record, and produce, but the quality is nearly unmatched in the genre. If you have any interest in history, I would recommend checking “Hardcore History” out. Even if you do not, Dan is a fantastic storyteller who makes turns what is usually considered a boring subject and adds a bit of spice to it.
  2. My second favorite podcast, is just like number one, not actually a podcast, but a podcaster. Mike Duncan started podcasting around the same time as Dan Carlin, with his initial podcast “The History of Rome.” Spanning more than 70 hours of audio and over 1,000 years of history (509 BCE to 476CE), it is a daunting task to undertake, but each episode is usually between 20-25 minutes. This makes it much easier to digest. His current podcast, “Revolutions”, takes a look at famous revolutions throughout history. So far he has covered the English, American, French, and Haitian Revolutions, and is currently working on the Spanish American Revolutions. He is as polished and professional as Dan Carlin, but is not quite the storyteller. But do not let that fact get in the way of a fantastic podcaster.
  3. Third on this list is a relatively recent addition to my collection. “The History of English” podcast looks at how English became English. Starting with the Indo-European language and working his way through the Old English of the Anglo-Saxons, the Norman-French influence on Middle English, to modern English. He looks at how political and social changes altered the way English was spoken and spread throughout the world. Kevin Stroud, the podcaster, does a great job of explaining the connection between events and what impact that had on English. He often will recite both the original English followed by the modern translation, so you can hear where English has stayed similar and also see where it has transformed. Currently, he is halfway through Middle English (around 1200 CE, think Geoffrey Chaucer), and plans to finish with modern English.
  4. Fourth on my list is the classic NPR podcast “Radiolab”. In this podcast, they cover everything from Animal Minds to Cities, and really nothing is off limits as they cover the theories and nuances of each subject. And the best part is that all of their stuff is backed up by science! Most of the podcasts are either around an hour or twenty minutes. If you are looking to have a good entertaining and enlightening podcast, “Radiolab” is the choice out there.
  5. Fifth delves into a completely different topic, true crime. True crime seems to be in fad (and that is only on the fact that South Park has made fun of it), but I find it a fascinating subject. “Sword and Scale” is one of the better true crime podcasts, but I must be forewarning, it can be very gruesome. If that is not your cup of tea, you can head to either #7 or #9. What is so good about “Sword and Scale” is that the podcaster will have tons of audio from the cases. You will hear the case through the words of the perpetrator, victim, and legal authorities. Since all the cases he covers have been solved so there are no cliff hangers or muddled endings.
  6. Sixth on my list goes back to history (of course). “History on Fire” is a recent find for me, and I have grown to really enjoy it. The podcaster is Daniele Bolelli, a history professor and martial artist. He was born in Milan, Italy, so he speaks with a thick Italian accent, even though he admits he does not hear it. Bolelli started the podcast as an ode to Dan Carlin (see #1). He attempts to replicate his narrative style, and does a good job, but it is still hard to surpass the master. Like Dan Carlin covers subject from all eras of history. His podcasts tend to run on the longer side, near to two hours, but are well worth the listen.
  7. Seventh on my list is “Serial”. When “Serial” debuted two years ago, it took the world by storm by being the fastest podcast to reach 5 million downloads on iTunes. Sarah Koenig, the host and writer, does a great job of focusing on one subject for a season and telling a compelling story. The first season focuses on the murder of Hae Min Lee in 1999. There are many questions revolving around the murder and the subsequent conviction of Adnan Syed. Diving into the controversy, Koenig uses her background as a journalist to answer as many questions as she can. For nearly 10 hours you are on the edge of your chair trying to solve the murder yourself. With so much praise, the second season, focusing on American soldier Bowe Bergdahl struggled to live up the magic of the first season, but the first season will keep you gripped.
  8. Eighth on my list is “10 American Presidents”. Writen by Roifield Brown, it focuses on the men and events behind the American Presidency. But the twist is that he gets an expert narrator to host the show. So far he has had the likes of Dan Carlin, Mike Duncan, and Kevin Stroud (See #1, 2, and 3) on as narrator. He goes into depth with each event or biography and hearing some of the best podcasters tell the tale is the icing on the cake.
  9. Ninth on my list is “Criminal”. Produced by Radiotopia, it has received numerous awards since its debut in 2014. It tends to emphasize the social aspect of crime, so it is not as grisly as “Sword and Scale”. Basically it is less about murder and more about other crime, including if the symptoms of PMS can be considered not mentally competent for their crimes.
  10. The tenth and final podcast on my list is another NPR podcast, “Invisabilia”. This podcast grew out of the success of “Radiolab” and an NPR classic, “This American Life”. “Invisbilia” takes the best of both, an importance on scientific studies with a knack for storytelling. The hosts explore the “invisible forces that control human behavior – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions”. Often they question our traditional beliefs, like character is a static trait, and spin a new light on it.

One last quick note, I would be remiss if I did not tell people to be careful while running with headphones. Accidents happen, even if you are running on the correct side of the road. I will say one good thing about podcasts over music is that they are not as busy. Listening to just someone speak as opposed to music allows you to hear just a bit better, but that in itself is not an excuse for complacency.

I hope you enjoyed a little change of pace from my usual training log post. I hope to do something different more often, so maybe this is only a start. This weekend I head up the Twin Cities for the third year in a row to run the TC Medtronic 10 Mile/USATF Championship. Last year I came antagonizing close to winning my second US title on the streets of St. Paul, but this year the goal remains the same even though I am in different situation. The heart of marathon training is usually not ideal for running fast, but I know that I tend to run better when I do not taper much. There will be a live stream (but I think you have to sign up for USATF.tv+) at USATF.tv and live updates at RUNNERSPACE.com.

Mid NYC Marathon Update

Workout this morning with the young guns!

Workout this morning with the young guns!

Since it has been a while since my last update, I figured it was a good time to give one! There is just over six weeks until NYC on November 6th, so that means I am in the heart of marathon training. For this marathon, Pete thought it would be best to go with an 11 week marathon cycle, but still stick with the 10 day cycles. So the first week was just a typical 7 day week, with a long run on Sunday and a Fartlek with some climbing on Wednesday. The next 10 day cycle started with a long run, finishing the last few miles quickly. Wednesday was a workout with tempo pieces bookending 10 x km. The following Tuesday, I had my first marathon specific long run out at Todd Railroad Grade Road. It was a session that I had not done in my previous two marathon build ups: 2 miles, 1 mile float, 1 mile, 1 mile float, all repeated three times. This was a tough session, as it was nonstop with lots of pace changing. I ended up running each five mile segment faster: 26:40, 26:23, 26:10 (1:19:13 total for the 15 miles). I was happy with the session, as I did not feel great during, but was still able to run the prescribed pace.
I nearly finished off the week near 120 miles, but leading up to my workout on Saturday, my hip began to get sore. I was noticeably limping while running, so Pete and I decided to scrap the workout and not risk aggravating my hip more. I immediately took the next three days off and scheduled an MRI for the following week. I was able to get an MRI (which showed nothing out of the ordinary) and was able to start training again on the Alter G. After three days on the Alter G, We felt confident enough to try a run outside. Then this past Sunday, I did a longer run with some moderate surging. While my hip was not 100%, it was able to pass the test, so we are going to start back into marathon training.
When an injury initially rears its head, I tend (and feel like it is a pretty universal runner’s response) to first not accept there is any injury. It is so easy to just train through it. I have been guilty in the past. But one thing I have learned in over a decade of running is that it is often better to take a little break now, and not let a little niggle blow up into something much larger. Following that rule would have saved me combined years of injury. So swallowing my pride, I accepted that time off was the best course of action. In total I only ended up taking off only a few days with some shorter days on the Alter G. I missed going to Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly Half Marathon for a race simulation workout, but both are a small price to pay for getting to the starting line healthy in November.
Other hidden “benefits” from this injury is that I was forced to take some days off. Pete had planned a few down days for right after Philly, but the break was just pushed up a week. Another is that this break helped pull my fitness back. When you are healthy and getting fit, it is easy to get a little overzealous are run too hard in workouts. While this is a good way to find yourself really fit, it is also a good way to be fit too early. I am still over 6 weeks away from NYC and I may not be able to do a killer steady state at marathon pace right now, but I know that I will be toeing the line on race day oiled, greased, and ready to roll.
Hindsight is always 20/20, and with my injury in the review mirror, knock on wood, it is easy to look at the benefits. But taken in a whole, I have an 11 week build up to NYC, so that means I had 3 weeks of good training at the start, along with 7 weeks leading up to the race. By a strict percentage(10/11), that is over 90%, an A! Basically in a long winded way I am saying, shit happens, but that does not mean the far off goal lost. You just have to find a different way to get there. Fortunately I only had to take a little detour before getting back on track, and I hope to keep it that way! Until next time, which will hopefully be much sooner and hopefully be something a little different from most of anything I have done in the past.