Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 year in review

The final stats read as follows:
Distance= 2,092 miles (PR). Average Weekly GPA: 3.03 (PR)
Average weekly mileage: 41. Highest: 55. Lowest: 24.
Weeks lost due to injury: ZERO (4th time in the last 5 years that I avoided a major injury)
12 races: 5 local, 6 overnight trips, 1 fly away.
Best race: Statue 2 Statue. Worst race: Peavine.
Best times:
400: Did not run
Mile: 5:19 (adult PR)
5K: 19:21 (adult PR)
10K: 40:28 PR
Half: 1:31:02 PR
Full: Did not run
Month by month highlights:

January: Bad vibes from 2010 seemed to carry over as I entered the year with a nasty sinus infection. Trained fairly well for the remainder of the month and would be ready to go for my first round of racing.

February: Better than expected showing at the Mercedes half (1:34:02) followed by a PR 2 weeks later in Chattanooga (1:32:49). Chromium dependency re-appeared. ARRGH!

March: New 10K PR in Atlanta (40:55) followed by a mediocre local 5K (20:01) with worsening chemical instability as the month progressed.

April- Statue 2 Statue 15K in 64:15 with my fastest finishing kick ever, added more speedwork and a couple decent time trials but still unstable.

May- Took care of a low grade oral infection that was a contributing factor to my instability. Traveled to Coeur D'Alene to visit states #47 and 48. Finished in 1:33:25 on a course that was "a bit long."

June-August- Extremely unstable. For much of the summer, I was either red hot or ice cold, very little in between. I did set an unofficial 10K PR of 40:28 and ran a sub-32 for 8K but could not get it done on race day. I was horrible at Peavine and average in a local 5K (19:45).

September- Things began to improve this month. Set adult PRs in the 5K (19:21) and the Mile (5:19). Sharply reduced consumption of sugared drinks and was much more stable for the remainder of the year.

October- 2 straight half marathon PRs in Montgomery (1:31:32) and Columbus (1:31:02).

November- Mini slump at an inopportune time. White River half was a downer (1:33:34).

December- Shifted gears to marathon mode and trained very well until Christmas but succumbed to a respiratory infection at the end of the year.

Final thoughts:
A "pretty good" year overall. My training focused on the 10K and Half Marathon distances and that is where I showed the greatest improvements. I remain frustratingly close to my lifetime goals in the 5K,10K and Half. Based on some of my workouts, I believe that I had it in me multiple times but just could not get all the stars to align on race day. If you are within 5 seconds/mile of your goals, you are indeed capable. I am there at every distance except the marathon.

Looking ahead:
First, I've got to get over this respiratory infection which should be gone in 3-5 days. Then, it's yet another attempt at that elusive sub-1:30 half on a blazing fast course in Austin, TX. 2 weeks later, I will run the full here in Birmingham. It's not my goal race and haven't trained properly for the distance but I can certainly expect to put a big dent in my current PR. After that point, it will be mid-February and I'll take 7-10 days off then shift gears to heavy speed work. At 31 years of age, it's pretty much now or never if I want to get that 59.9 in the 400. I figure that I still have another 3-5 years of potential improvement at the longer distances before age begins to slow me down. Plenty of time to reach my lifetime goals. I'll still continue my "drive for 25" half/full marathon states. Texas will be #13. Top tier options include Louisville, KY, Denver, CO and Indianapolis, IN. Oh yeah, as of now, I no longer need Thym-Adren pills. Only a medical report can determine if this freedom is permanent or temporary as it was in 2010.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Training 12/19-12/31 (bonus)

12/19- The beat goes on. Easy 7.5 in 56:15 (7:30 pace). I was a little behind pace but didn't care until Jordan showed up in the last 1.5 miles. I did have a little bit of quad soreness during cool down but still pretty strong overall. Hit 2,050 on the year. The weather will be rainy for the rest of the week so if I am to take a shot at the 5K, it must be after Christmas. If I can go long as planned on 12/31, I may hit 2,100. Took 2 pills in the morning, 1 in the afternoon and I'll take 1 more before bed. We'll see how that goes. I may stabilize at this dosage.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=8.0

12/20- Very enjoyable and comfortable 8 miler in 59:56 (7:29 pace). I honestly do not try to hit 7:30 pace on the nose every time. It just happens that way and it's a very comfortable effort as well. I can envision myself holding that pace through Mile 22 at least. If I can hold it all the way to the finish, I will cross the line in 3:16 and change. 3:16 huh? Man, I like that number. I've been hammered for my training by the 3:20 group on RWOL but they are clueless about how it feels to have freedom from adrenal fatigue in my sight and the improvement that comes with it.
I get a better grade than yesterday despite the same pace because I felt better during the run.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=8.0

12/21- First signs of wear and tear today. A bit of soreness in the shins and calf muscles but I still did pretty well in the workout. Trak Shak 5 in 37:54 (7:35 pace). There were numerous stops because I'm extra cautious in the dark so the effort was likely equal to about a 7:45. Weather was good but the crowd was sparse probably because many of the regulars are already on holiday. I've got one more day to go myself and hope I can do well on my tempo.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/22- Tempo was a failure. I knew I could not do it after I took my last pill in the afternoon. I bumped it up to 4.5 and it was a bad call. I am trending down, not up. I have got to be smarter than this. One thing that I did do that was a good call was not forcing it when I wasn't feeling it. I've got plenty of mileage on the year already and it won't hurt even if I don't do much for the next 4 days. I should have 2 chances to do at least a junk run. The workout was cut short to 4 miles in a time of 30:39 (7:40 pace). First half was a respectable 15:05, 2nd half was 15:34. If I had kept going, my pace would have gone over 8 by Mile 6. 1/2 mile warm and cool.
Grade:C-/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/23- Travel day and a planned rest. Back down to 4 pills and it was way too much. I would have been horrible in a workout.

12/24- Moderate effort on the trail. Finished 5 miles in 36:58 (7:23 pace). 1st half- 18:15, 2nd half-18:43. The 2nd half was slightly uphill though. Started off well then faded to the 7:30s in Mile 4 and worked pretty hard to hold it in Mile 5. A tempo or race would have sucked but for an easy run, this gets the job done. It is an improvement over 2 days ago. I only took 1.5 pills this morning and will take only 2 more for the rest of the day. I may try to cut it to 3 tomorrow and see what happens.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/25- No running on Christmas day. Just 31 miles in the last 7 days. YTD now stands at 2,073 so I still have a chance at 2,100.

12/26- Naked 2 mile junk run on very hilly terrain. Felt okay and put forth little-no effort. I was successful in getting down to 3 pills yesterday so I am now down 66% since receiving prayer at the LIFE retreat on 12/10. I believe that God is able to set me free but whether or not I will see it in early 2012 is another question. Just last year there was a 6 week period in which I felt best on no pills. 1 month later, I was far worse off than I had been before. That was not the first time it has happened that way. I don't know what to make of this. Only a medical report will confirm that I am free. Pray for me in this area of doubt. YTD is 2075.
Grade:Pass/0 credit/distance=2.0

12/27- Back in Birmingham. Not a good day but that was not a total shock after being off my routine for 4 days. I felt pretty good in the morning but after taking pill #2, I was immediately much worse. I struggled the rest of the day at work and did not expect much in the workout today. Finished 5 miles in 40:12 (8:02 pace) indoors on a cold and windy day. First half was around 19:45. Second half was 20:27. Mile 5 felt much like Mile 25 in a marathon but the pace never went above 8:18 and managed a slight pick up at the end. I have reached 2,080 on the year (40 MPW) and expect to finish near 2,110. I will take only another 1/2 pill tonight and go down to 2 by tomorrow. 3 pills leave me way too sluggish. Let's hope that 2 will not push me to the opposite side of the spectrum.
Grade:D+/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/28- Trak Shak loop in the dark. The watch malfunctioned again so I had to go at it completely naked. I am not pleased at all with the Garmin 110. I only took 1 pill this morning and will take just 1 before bed. I felt MUCH better than yesterday. My grade is based solely on how I felt during the run and it rates as "good" but not quite "great." My only shot at the 5K time trial is tomorrow but I will probably bail because I'm too unstable. I may do a fast finish easy run and I've got to break the monotony of uninspiring 5 mile workouts.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

12/29- Blah. Planned workout was a fast finish 7-8 miler. I came through 5 in 38:48 (7:46 pace) with a mild fade (19:15-19:33) then had nothing left. I managed only a 7:38 6th mile then hung it up. 2 factors were holding me back. I may be able to quit the pills at least for now but the dosage is still too high. The bad news is that I may be sick. This feels like a low grade sinus infection but at least it's contained to my head. I may go to the doctor tomorrow. This may put a damper on my planned long run on New Year's Eve but I have 4 weeks to set things right after that. As for the grade, I get a "C" on the easy 5 and an "F" on the tempo. YTD: 2,091. Need to do the long run to hit 2,100 but at least I'm over 40 MPW.
Grade:D/2 credits/distance=6.0

12/30- Feel worse today and went to the doctor. Paid a $35 copay, waited a full hour and paid another $35 for pills. As expected, the diagnosis is an upper respiratory infection. Doc thinks it's viral but gave me antibiotics anyway and told me to hold off on them for a couple of days. I will wait one day only. Today was a planned rest day anyway but barring a miracle recovery, I'm out for tomorrow's long run. No chance to make it up later in the year so I'll have to take an "F." I'm glad that I clinched early. This "bonus week", which started out so great will end up being my 4th lowest GPA of the year. Today, I have zero energy/ zero appetite and it's not due to chemical imbalances. Has this infection affected my chemistry? I'll know soon.

12/31- 1 Mile run at Vestavia on a beautiful day. I wish I was able to enjoy more of it. I did better than expected and finished with a time of 6:51 with a negative split (3:30-3:21) on no pills. That's goal half pace. Still, when the planned workout was 22 miles and I only finished 1, there is only 1 grade that is appropriate.
Grade:F/2 credits/distance=1.0

Weekly summary:
That's a wrap on a "pretty good" year for me. It ended much the same as it started, with a respiratory infection but the good outweighed the bad for the 50 weeks in between. The final numbers are in and my odometer reads 2,092 miles with an average weekly GPA of 3.03. Both are PRs. I'm neither high nor low heading into the New Year.
Distance=50.0/ GPA= 22/11= 2.00

Monday, December 12, 2011

Training 12/12-12/18

12/12- Reached a new yearly mileage PR today. 2009- 1,993 miles. As of now, I'm at 1,995 for 2011. I fully expect to pass 2K tomorrow. Outside of that, today's performance was rather forgettable. Easy 6 indoors in 45:58 (7:40 pace). I said that I planned to slow down this week so I'm fine with that pace. I did fade to 7:45 in the last 2 miles but did not allow myself to push it. 1 mile cool down in which I felt like I was zonked out. I need a good meal tonight to recover the lost calories from yesterday. Another goal that I have is to finish the year with a 3.0 average. I need a 3.61 this week to clinch it. If I fall short, there's still one more "extended week" to go. Only an injury can stop me from this goal. I'll have to do better if I want to clinch it this week.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=7.0

12/13- Training goal #1 has been accomplished. This one was special too. Easy 8 on Lakeshore (trail plus double extension) and finished in 59:51 (7:29 pace). Smooth and relaxed all the way. Actually tried to slow the pace but could not. Very enjoyable run. Temps were a comfy 55 degrees even after sundown. YTD: 2,003 miles. New goal is 2,080 for the year (40 MPW over a 52 week year). I'll probably lose 3 whole days over Christmas but with 2 long runs ahead, I still think I can do it. This run is also key for the 3.0 goal as well. I'll still need to do very well in my tempo and LR to clinch it this week. Dosage has been cut from 8 to 7. Nothing to get excited about yet but it's a start.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=8.0

12/14- I've seen better days. Dreamed that I was in Compton, CA (birthplace of gangsta rap) and had to stay in a cheap motel. I have NO IDEA where that one came from. Garmin malfunction forced me to run half naked. When it was working, it showed paces in the 6:30s and I felt pretty decent during the run but didn't have PR stuff. I had to stop early because of GI distress that probably came from my protein bar and made up the shortfall with a cool down. The grade is based on how I felt when running which was pretty good but not great. I'll need a sensational long run to clinch the 3.0 this week. Dosage is trending down.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=5.0

12/15- Better today. Easy 6 indoors in 45:32 (7:35 pace). I often struggle in the mornings on weekdays but today was a nice even effort. Added a half mile cool. This evening is my last Bible study with the LIFE group and I'll miss those guys. I only took 3 pills this morning and will try to get by with 6 on the day. 8 to 7 is not a big deal. Down to 6 is encouraging.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.5
PM- Got off work a little early so I was able to squeeze in another 5 mile tempo this one was fully clothed. Finished in 33:12 (6:38 pace) with a final mile slightly uphill in 6:20. 1st half was 16:48, 2nd half was 16:24. Strong! I was successful in getting down to 6 pills too.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=5.0

12/16- Planned rest day. Tomorrow's long run will likely be a slow paced affair with a solo fast finish. In order to clinch it this week, I need 11.4 QP over the remaining 3 credits. I need one "A" and one "A-" and the "A" can be in either the long run or the easy run. If I can pull out an "A+" tomorrow (ranked among my best of all time), I only need a "B" on Sunday. Of course, if I fall a hair short, I'll clinch early next week barring a severe injury.

12/17- Run with the Gnomes. Planned on 17 and I ended up at 15 plus a cool down. Ran with the fast group that included a sub-4:30 miler and clocked a 1:46 flat (7:04 pace). Slowest mile was #1 at 7:37, fastest was #15 at 6:27. From about Mile 4 on, I was near 7 all the way. I'd say this qualifies as an all time great workout. My previous best long run was 18 @ 7:21. Even if I slowed to 8:00 over the last 3 miles, I still would have run a 2:10, which is an average pace of just under 7:15. I could have PR'd a half today for sure. All I need is a "B" tomorrow. As long as I feel decent at base training pace, I've got it clinched.
Grade:A+/2 credits/distance=16.0

12/18- Lakeshore 6.5 (trail + extension) at basic easy effort in a time of 48:10 (7:25 pace). I reduced my dosage to 5 pills yesterday and only took 2 this morning. Again, I was sensational. This almost feels too good to be true. This is the best that I have ever felt on a day after a long run. I could have gone below 7:20 if I pushed it just a hair. Crystal clear skies with temps in the mid 50s. Can't ask for better weather.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance= 6.5

Weekly summary:
I have now clinched a 3.0 for the year with back to back 50+ weeks with 3.5+. Any training I do for the rest of the year is pretty much a bonus. YTD total stands at 2,042. 38 away from a 40 MPW average for the year and I expect to do that. As for the rest of the year, I'd love to take a shot at the 5K PR but if I can't fit it into my schedule or the weather won't cooperate, I'll be content with what I've accomplished. With 13 days left in the year, there will be only one more training post because I expect to run little or nothing between 12/23 and 12/26.
Distance= 54.0/ GPA= 37.3/10= 3.73

Monday, December 5, 2011

Training 12/5-12/11

12/5- New phase of training begins today and it has gotten off to a good start. 8 miles at 3:10 marathon pace. Finished with a time of 58:07 (7:16 avg) with nice splits. I never went over 7:24 and every mile in the 2nd half was below 7:20. 1st half: 29:17, 2nd half: 28:50. I'm not too excited yet. The pace was fast today because I haven't done anything in 60 hours with the exception of the junk run yesterday. I expect to pass 2K miles by the middle of next week. Added a half mile cool as an emotional tribute to Ochocinco. I'll likely be inside for the next 2 days because of bad weather. I'm okay with that especially in the darkest time of the year.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=8.5

12/6- 8 miles indoors this time at base training effort. Time was a solid 60:22 (7:33 pace). Just a slight fade in the 2nd half (30:05-30:17) but that's only 3 ticks difference. My basic paces will slow as the miles pile up and that's fine. Strong performance. I can see myself doing 55 MPW comfortably for 7 weeks. There won't be much speed but that will come in the next phase. Finished with another "moving tribute" to Ochocinco. Hit 1950 on the year.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=8.5

12/7- HOT! Fast finish 7 miler with an overall time of 48:50 (6:58 pace). First 4 miles were nearly effortless in 29:25 (7:21 pace) then turned it up to tempo effort with a 19:25 last 3 (6:28 pace). This will probably be the only real speed that I do this week but that's okay. Heck, I bet that I could have gone sub-20 if I had run a full 5K and started a kick earlier. Again this was after a 4 miles @ 7:21 with no rest in between. 1 Mile cool and no tribute.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=8.0

12/8- Easy 6 at Vestavia track in 45:00 (7:30 pace). Smooth and relaxed all the way through. Nice even pace with nothing over 7:34 or under 7:25. Marathon training is not too glamorous but the miles look good at the end of the week. Temp was near 40 but at least it wasn't rainy or windy and it was good to run outside again.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.0

12/9- AM indoor 3 in 21:44 (7:15 pace) plus a short cool down. Getting up in the morning during the week is half the battle and once again, I had to cut it short to get to work on time. That's okay, I only planned to do 4 anyway and I can just do a 5 minute parking lot junk run to make up the shortfall. A fast pace is acceptable on a short run like this. Got progressively faster (7:22-7:14-7:08) without trying to pick up the pace. The penalty comes from not getting up on time to make this a relaxed easy 4 or 5.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=4.0

12/10- Planned rest day for the LIFE retreat. The Gnomes are running at 5 AM today and the sun doesn't even rise until 6:30. I sure hope nobody gets hurt. Best of luck to those running Huntsville today. I've got my LONG run scheduled for tomorrow.

12/11- First and possibly only 20 miler of the year. Finished in 2:30:57 (7:33 pace). Route was a quadruple out and back on Lakeshore on a pleasant 50 degree afternoon. Boring? Maybe but I never had to stop for traffic, only for drinking.
1st 5: 37:30, 2nd 5: 37:31, 3rd 5: 37:40, 4th 5: 38:16. Slowest mile was the 19th at 7:52 but bounced back with a 7:17 in Mile 20. Most of that came in the final quarter mile. A bit of foot pain but I can fix that with prolo if need be. I have no doubt that I can go below 3:30 for a full mary. 3:20 will be a challenge. Overall, not as strong as my 18 miler but still very solid.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=20.0

Weekly summary:
Highest mileage of the year and I am feeling the effects of these paces. I fully expect that the paces will slow down next week. I have only a week and a half to go until the Christmas cut back. I have no plans to go over this mileage. I believe that my GPA is the highest of the year. I have only 6 weeks of quality training until Austin. I sure hope I can survive it. Year to date: 1988 miles. 2 workouts away from 2,000.
Distance=55.0/ GPA=29.8/8=3.73