Monday, July 30, 2012

Training 7/30-8/5

7/30- Planned rest day.  I have "manageable soreness" today which means that all I could handle would be an easy 6ish.  I hope to take an honest shot at 400 tomorrow or Wednesday morning and I can come back and double in the afternoon.  I'll predict a time around 62.5.  In lighter news, I had another funny dream last night.  My debit card number became visible on my pants pocket and instead of throwing the pants in the trash, I took out the debit card and left it laying around in a public place.  I do not have any idea where that one came from.

7/31- AM.  Rough night last night.  I barely slept at all because of severe storms.  It was still raining at 6:00 so I postponed the 400 time trial until tomorrow.  Bad news is that I've relapsed.  I had to take a pill last night so that ends the streak at 33 days.  More on that later.  I will run easy this evening.

PM- ABYSMAL!  I was not expecting an "A" or even a "B" performance after what happened last night but I certainly was not expecting this either.  Very uncomfortable 2.5 miles in 19:55 (7:58 pace) and I had to push just to get that sub-8.  Sore in the groin, arch, heel and Achilles so I shut it down before I made things worse.  Very concerned about the heel pain.  I do expect to be better tomorrow but won't be up for a 400.  I took 1 pill last night and it was about 1/2 pill too many.  This is what happens when I am out of balance and why it's so important to get off the pills.  I've had 2 relatively easy days followed by a rest day so I should have been fresh yet this happens.  Another quit attempt is on and I'll call this Day 1.
Grade:F/1 credit/distance=3.0

8/1- AM- All I had time for was a quickie Mile at the gym on my way to work.  Even a small trace of improvement would lift my spirits a bit.  I got it today with a time of 6:35.9, while wearing the slow shoes. 1st half: 3:22, 2nd half: 3:13.  Only the heel was sore today.  If the foot is not better within 2 weeks, I'm going for prolo.  No grade on this workout.  I'll run at the Shak tonight and hope for 5@ sub-8, which won't be easy in the heat.  The average temps begin to go down after next week.

UPDATE: I've learned that plantar fasciitis is indeed related to blood sugar (Cal/Mag) imbalances.  I'm doing just about everything I can to control that problem by keeping my sugar intake to a minimum.  I really think my best hope is the Chia bars.  Something clearly happened when I tried it the first time. Toxins, or something else was clearing my body (via #1) almost on the hour then when it was time to run, I breezed through 5 @ 7:19 at 90+ temps without even trying.  The next day, I ran 5@ 6:23 without it but it was probably still in my system.  More on chia to come, hopefully in a Rave post.

PM- Trak Shak 5 in 97 degree weather.  Got through 5 miles in 38:37 (7:43 pace).  Bad splits (18:55/19:43) but that's not unexpected.  Most of the fade came in Mile 4.  At any rate, it's an improvement over yesterday.  Got the sub-8 and that's probably the equivalent of a 7:30 indoors.  Effort was moderate if not tempo.
Grade:C/1 credit/distance=6.0

8/2- Indoor 8 in 59:16 (7:24 pace).  Pretty solid effort.  Pretty even pace.  No arch pain but the heels hurt a tad at times and my groin started bothering me around Mile 7.  Paid tribute to the man formerly known as Ochocinco on my cool down.  Chia arrived today.  More on that later.
Grade:B+/2 credit/distance=8.5

8/3- WORSE THAN ABYSMAL!  I was too sore last night.  The workout really should not have been that tough (8@ GMP + 10) and woke up feeling worse.  Apparently, I need to add Powerade Zero and Propel to the banned list of drinks.  I've crossed the "line" that I wrote of earlier and it could be 5-7 days until I recover.  The so called "workout" was 2 miles at junk pace but it was about as fast as I could go.  My time was 16:44 (8:22 pace) with splits of 8:10-8:34.  Tomorrow won't be much better.  I don't think chia is the problem.  It's the Powerade.  It's got no sugar but probably nutra sweet or aspartame and it's highly acidic.  WATER is all I can drink.
Grade:F/1 credits/distance=2.5

8/4- AM- I got about what I expected today.  It was after only 12 hours but I managed to increase my distance to 5 miles (Saulter-Trak Shak route) while keeping the average pace the same.  Time was 41:52 (8:22 pace) with a 1st half in 20:30 and a 2nd half in 21:22.  That's still BAAAAAD!  I get a passing grade only because it's a noticeable improvement over yesterday.

PM- Impromptu gym run.  Finished 3 miles at tempo effort in 21:55 (7:18 pace).  I'm now within a minute per mile of my average and improving rapidly.  I wore the fast shoes today and the foot feels about the same no matter what I wear.  It's the blood sugar that's causing the PF.  This run brings my daily total up to 8 with a time of 63:48 (7:58 pace), which is enough to lift my grade a bit.
Grade:C-/2 credits/distance=8.0

8/5- Today was the first day since the relapse that I felt somewhat normal.  I slept soundly and dreamed about driving a car in Texas with defective brakes.  I know that one came from car commercials on TV with curvy mountain roads.  The workout was 6 miles at goal marathon pace with a half mile pick up and a cool down.  Finished the 6 in 43:36 (7:16 pace), which was on target with an even pace but there was not much left after that.  Managed just a 3:21 for the last 800, which is only a hair faster than half mary pace.  Good pace overall but I had to put out more effort than I should have.  Probably could have done 1:35-1:36ish for a half mary race.
Grade:B/ 1 credit/distance=7.0

Weekly summary:
Nothing over 8 miles and nothing faster than marathon pace.  BAD! 2nd worst week of the year.  Only the flu was worse.  I can't drink anything but water and that's all there is to it.  I never thought Powerade Zero would cause a problem but it's clear that it has.  I probably need 2-3 more days to fully recover and even after that, I'm still on the edge.  Fears of full blown diabetes are creeping in.
Distance=35.0/ GPA= 15/8= 1.88

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 30 and a trace of plantar fasciitis

Time to celebrate!  I've made it 30 days off the pills and I'm almost convinced that THIS IS THE REAL DEAL NOW!  The key is to strictly limit sugar consumption to almost none.  Would I have needed the pills if I had completely abstained from the very beginning of the treatment?  The answer to that question is YES.  However, I do believe that I could have been freed within 4 years instead of 6 and would have been spared at least some of the instability.
  From now on, I feel that I no longer need to be quite so strict.  If I have one beer per week, I will probably be fine.  I may get away with more on rare occasions but if I do it too often, I will surely be in trouble.  Same way with the fruit smoothies.  I will limit it to only special occasions and most weeks will be free from any cheating.  NO soda, NO sweet tea, NO energy drinks!

Unfortunately, the elation of my freedom has been tempered a bit by continued traces of foot pain that has been bothering me off and on for about 3 weeks.  Plantar fasciitis affects the very best of runners, including Ryan Hall and the causes of it can vary from person to person. As for me, there is no need to panic just yet.  The pain is very mild.  I would not even call it discomfort, just a little funny feeling mostly in the arch and middle of the foot, not so much in the heel. Is it hurting my running?  Maybe a little but I don't believe it's a significant ill-effect.  I initially believed that worn shoes and worn orthotics were to blame and they may have played some role.  However, it has become clear that the major culprit is toe running.  The only time that I can really feel any pain is when I get up on my toes and sprint very hard.  It does not bother me at all on long runs.  Still, this issue cannot be ignored much longer.  I've got to do something different.  I've heard horror stories of runners who lost up to a year with this condition then were able to come back only as casual recreational runners.  I've been there before and it's a fate that I am determined to avoid.

  I've been stretching and have tried a night split, which put too much pressure on my calf and may have interfered with my sleep so that's out.  These options are not mutually exclusive
1. Cut out the sprint workouts
2. Shift back to half marathon mode and jack the mileage back up.
3. Choose shoes more carefully
4. Custom made orthotics
5. Prolotherapy

#1- I have little choice other than to accept this option at least for the time being.  I do want an honest fresh attempt at 400 before I do so.  When I get on my toes and run at 4:00 mile pace, it puts tremendous pressure on the calves and plantar fascia.  There's a chance that it will eventually go away on its own if I simply avoid short intervals.  I'm not happy about this at all.  Cutting out this key workout pretty much means that I concede failure on the 59.9 goal and if I can't do it before age 33, I don't want to say it's impossible thereafter but it becomes a real long shot.  It may also hurt me in my quest for a sub-5:15 Mile.

#2- I was already planning to do this anyway come September.  Mileage may not be as high as last year but I do want to maintain 45-50 MPW building up for Detroit.  I can still do tempo runs and even long intervals without discomfort. Short intervals don't serve much of a purpose in HM training.

#3- I have a high arch that easily collapses along with a narrow foot but am a normal pronator.  I am a big time forefoot striker and wear out shoes heavily in that one area but the heel still looks new at the end of the shoe's life.  I must avoid motion control and stability shoes.  Neutral shoes with cushioning in midfoot are better options for me.  I've done well with Newton Gravity, Brooks Pure Cadence and Saucony Kinvara.  However, none of those 3 will accommodate OTC orthotics.  If that's a route that I feel I need to take, an Asics Gel shoe in the neutral line should do me fine.

#4- This one is not a very attractive option.  It will cost me well over $200 and I will have to replace them every year and have to stick with the same shoe. However, custom made orthotics did control tarsal tunnel syndrome and though it may not cure PF, it likely will keep me on the road.

#5- I had hoped to avoid this option but I'm warming up to it.  It's probably a one time series of injections at least if it's treated early. The treatment has healed my groin, knee and Achilles issues.  I can resume sprint training and continue to strive for 59.9.  If an when I break that barrier, I'll retire from the 400.  That means as a Master's runner, I expect to focus on only 4 distances (Mile, 5K, 10K, Half Mary)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Training 7/23-7/29

7/23- 1st day in uncharted territory was a good one.  I felt good all day today at work and opted for my first sprint workout in more than a month.  Temp was over 90 but the dew point dropped below 70 so it was pretty much a wash.  Workout was 5x200 with a 200 jog recovery then 6x100 with a 100 jog recovery plus a 1 Mile warm and cool (the cool was exhausting and I was barely moving).  I only timed the warm up (7:19) and the 2nd 200 (29.73) and may have been a hair late stopping the watch.  I must admit the 59.9 goal will be very difficult esp. solo.  This type of workout is geared toward that objective.  After 30, it gets harder every year and the window is closing.  How much do I want it?  The mileage will have to be cut significantly if I am to train like a sprinter.  Still a slight touch of foot discomfort, which could hold me back as I get on my toes and go all out.  Good overall.  Clinched a 1.75 GPA for the year.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=4.0

7/24- Day 27.  Indoor 7 in 52:28 (7:29 pace).  Even pace (26:10/26:18) but VERY sore in the hamstrings and knees.  Yesterday's sprint workout took more out of me than I expected.  I am a little concerned that my recovery from these workouts is not as strong as I expected coming off the pills.  Then again, my body was not tired today, only the legs were sore. Another puzzle is that I felt MUCH better after drinking a chocolate milk protein drink packed with vitamins and minerals (only 3 grams sugar too).  Perhaps I am a bit deficient in certain minerals but if I can get them through my diet rather than pills, I will not complain.  1/2 mile cool.  HOT and slow at the Shak tomorrow.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=7.5

7/25- Day 28.  Only 2 to go.  I was still quite sore in the morning but began feeling different by the afternoon.  My body seemed to clear some toxins if y'all know what I mean.  I got my 95 and dry weather today and it wasn't too bad at the Shak.  Easy 5 in 36:35 (7:19 pace) with a solid even pace.  I hope this one won't hurt me over the weekend.  I feel pretty good and relaxed now.  Pleasantly tired.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.5

7/26- Planned rest day.  If the weather cooperates and I feel up to it, I'm taking a shot at the 5:15 Mile tomorrow for Day 30.  It will not be easy.  In 90 degree heat and no competition, I probably need to run the equivalent of a 5:05 with close competition and 70 degree weather.

7/27- Weather was very humid (73 dew point) with a threat of storms so I bagged it on the Mile and made an attempt at 10K indoors.  I wound up cutting it short but did finish with a sub-40 pace for 5 Mile (2K short).  Final time was 31:56 (6:23 pace), #2 all time.  Could I have held it for another 2K?  I may have coaxed a baby PR (40:14) but no sub-40 today. McMillan projects a 40:15 and I would not have been pleased to miss it by 1 tick.  I was on pace through 4K but after that point, I knew I didn't quite have it in me. Passed 5K in 20:05 and I figure that I would have done 4:06/K until the last Mile then smoked it.  Splits were 6:19-6:25-6:32-6:33-6:07.  That last Mile was a shocker and proves that even if I'm 15 seconds in the red with a Mile to go, I might still have a shot.  Last 400 was 86, last 800 was an amazing 2:59.  Anything I could have done differently?  Yes, I really think I could have done it if I was totally fresh. That Trak Shak 5 @ 7:19 in 90 degrees was the equivalent of 7:02 in optimal conditions according to run works.  That's in the "dead zone" of too fast for GMP, not fast enough for tempo.  Good attempt today.  I will try again later.  If I do it in a time trial, I'll run Vulcan in November instead of Mobile.  Once again, a time trial at any distance requires a junk run and a rest day over the previous 2 days for optimal results.
Day 30 off the pills.  THIS IS THE REAL DEAL NOW!
Grade:A/3 credits/distance=6.0

7/28- BTC social run.  I was not expecting much and was not disappointed.  Finished 9 miles in 69:48 (7:45 pace) in tough conditions and added a long cool at glacial pace.  Slowed down to near 8:00 for the last 3 so I could run with Kelly.  No foot pain at all but the right groin was VERY sore at the end.  I hope that's not going to keep coming back. Grade is a bit lenient.  Need 7 tomorrow.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=10.0

7/29- Easy 6.5 indoors.  Slow start but got into a groove from Mile 2-5 then faded a bit towards the end.  Finished with a time of 48:28 (7:27 pace).  Not too glamorous but a solid effort.  Quads are sore today but the foot was okay and the groin pain has diminished.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=7.0

Weekly summary:
A milestone week that was hard and painful.  The intensity must be scaled back because I am too tired on a day to day basis.  Sprint workouts must be slowed down or eliminated altogether.  Time trials must be done when fully fresh if I am to have any hope of a PR.
Distance=40.0/ GPA= 35.1/10= 3.51

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fall race schedule

It's now the end of July so it's high time that I finalize these plans.  Here it is:
August- probably nothing. Still hot and humid.
Sept.8- Monkey C 5K (local) or Sept. 15- Talladega 5K
Sept. 22- Rock n' Roll Denver half
Oct. 21- Rock n' Roll St. Louis half or Detroit Free Press half
Nov. 3- Vulcan 10K (local) or Senior Bowl 10K (Mobile)
Nov.17- Turkey Burner 5K (Monty)
Dec.- probably nothing.

  I want 2 shots in the 5K since I've only raced the distance once so far this year.  September in Alabama could still be warmer than ideal.  90 degree days are not unusual but fortunately, mornings are cooler and low temps are often down to the mid 60s and the humidity has died down as well.  Monkey C was competitive last year but since it's in Homewood, there will be a few hills but nothing too significant.  It seems like it COULD be a PR course.  Talladega is an interesting option as well.  That event is at the actual NASCAR speedway as a companion event to the half marathon.  It will be pancake flat and likely a bit cooler than the week before but competition will be light.  I'd be surprised to see 3 runners below 19 and I may even have a shot at winning the whole thing.  Talladega is slightly more than 1 hour from home so I would not have to stay in a hotel.  I could race Monkey C then if I fail there, I have a shot at redemption the following week.  The Turkey Burner is a race I've wanted to do for several years and will certainly NOT be hot.  I don't know the course but the surrounding area is flat and I know it well because it starts at my old gym (Metro Fitness), where I have some good memories.

As for the 10K, I don't have a lot of options.  My best chances are in the Spring here in the South and I went 0 for 3.  There's one up in the Nashville area over Labor Day but that would be too much travel and it's probably hilly.  The only other available weekend is the first week in November, which is probably the busiest race weekend of the year.  Vulcan is fairly hilly and probably 20-30 seconds slower than Mobile.  I'd prefer to stay local but if I have not broken 40 in a time trial and think I need a super fast course to do it, I will make the trip.  If I'm not in shape for a sub-40 attempt, I'll run Vulcan and hope for an official PR (40:55) or at the very least a CR (41:43).

As for the half marathon, THE goal has already been accomplished and these ones are more for fun.  If I finish both events, I will be up to 15 states or 60% of the way to my quest for 25 in the Half2Run challenge.  I know I can't PR in Denver and figure that I've got to add about 3 minutes for the mile high elevation.  Detroit seems like a really cool event.  The course takes you through an underwater tunnel into Canada and back to the USA for the finish.  Despite being in Canada for all of 30 minutes, I will need a passport.  I just mailed the application yesterday and do not anticipate any problems (I've never been convicted of a crime) but if for whatever reason, I don't have my passport, St. Louis is the back up option.  Detroit is a much faster course and likely a better overall event.  Some people might put an asterisk beside my 3M time because it's net downhill and I want another sub-1:30.  The only advantage of St. Louis is that I will not have to fly to get there and the drive is not too bad.  My buddy Nick will probably be joining me for both races.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Training 7/16-7/22 (cut back)

7/16- Body is less tired today but I'm still resting as planned.  The plan for the week calls for only 30 miles but something big on Saturday that will be determined by the weather conditions.  It will either be a local 5K if it's not too hot, humid and nasty outside or an indoor 10K time trial.  I expect to be ready to go full throttle tomorrow and will probably run Johnny's workout.

7/17- Johnny's workout was fairly laid back but I was okay with that.  Workout was (400-800) times 2 then an 800-400.  Weather was 90 degrees with a dew point of 74 so he gave us generous recoveries.  400s went great (73-73-68) and I held back some on the first 2.  In the 800s, the humidity took its toll and I managed only a 2:41 followed by a pair of 2:47s but to my credit, the pacing was even.  Overall pace was just a hair above 5:15/mile and I felt invigorated.  Speed remains my strength and training will be tailored to it.
A bit of a rant: There are some folks in the running community so obsessed with marathons that they can't understand those of us who don't particularly enjoy running longer than 2 hours.  When I say that, it's almost like I've committed heresy.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=5.0
Still questionable for the race on Saturday.  We're in one of "those" weather patterns now.  High 90F, 50/50 chance of rain and brutal humidity.  I don't like to race anything over a Mile in such conditions and that's why my 800s suffered.  I see little chance of a fast time even in a 5K.

7/18- Planned an easy-GMP run and it ended up as an impromptu tempo.  Trak Shak 5.5 in 37:25 (6:48 pace).  Good even pace too. That's very solid in these weather conditions.  Today was only in the low 80s but STEAMY (dew point of 72) and the sun had just come out after a rainy day.  I figure that's the equivalent of a mid-6:30s in optimal conditions.  I'm leaning towards skipping the 5K on Saturday.  Even if I am 100%, the best I can hope for is about 19:30 because I'll lose at least 10 seconds per mile when it's hot or steamy.  I did run 19:27 here before but that was done on a pleasant 75-80 degree evening with low humidity.
21 days off the pills. 9 to go but only 4 away from my record.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=6.0

7/19- Basic standard issue easy 5 in 37:22 (7:28 pace).  1st half: 18:40, 2nd half: 18:42.  Every mile was between 7:25-7:30.  I would have gone longer if not for the big event over the weekend.  I had all but decided to skip it but now the rain chance is down to just 20%.  I'm sure it'll still be brutally humid.  If my goals were accomplished in both the 5K and 10K, I'd do it but my best chance is likely the 10K even if it is solo.  It will be a game time decision and the forecast could change again tomorrow.  In another note, the Mizuno Wave Inspire shoes are not so good for big time forefoot striker.  I can use them for recovery junk miles but that's about it.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.5

7/20- Planned rest day.  Mildly run down but nothing unusual.  I should be fresh tomorrow for whatever I decide.  Rain chance is back up to 40%.  A hard indoor 10K in a dry air conditioned environment sounds better.  I am within 14 seconds of the goal.

7/21- The weather forecast called for a high chance of rain in the late afternoon hours.  That was enough to convince me to skip the race.  The rain never came but it was still a good call because I was HORRIBLE in the workout.  I took off at near perfect 40:00 pace and held it for the first 2500 meters then I fell apart.  Splits were 6:22-6:36-6:54 and I came through the 5K in 20:47.  After that point, I tried to get going again but there was nothing there and I simply slow jogged another 1.5 miles before shutting it down early.
  I really don't know what to make of this.  This is day 24, right about the same time I relapsed last time.  I will not panic and pop some pills.  My theory is that I was out of my normal Saturday routine of getting up before 5 AM and just wasn't into it.  I am going to trust God to get me to 30 days but I need prayer big time.  I will try to regroup tomorrow.

Update: Took a nap and felt better.  Hit Vestavia for a moderate 2 miler in 13:50 (6:55 pace) with negative splits and a 1:33 last lap.  Another theory is that my night split put too much pressure on my calf and indeed the first sign of trouble this afternoon was calf issues.
Grade:D/2 credits/distance=7.0

7/22- Trak Shak 6.5 at moderate effort in tough but manageable conditions ( mostly cloudy 80 degrees, 80% humidity, 72 dew point).  Finished in 47:14 (7:16 pace) on a hilly route.  Faded a bit in the 2nd half but had only 1 mile over 7:30.  Solid but not stellar performance.  This was day 25 off the pills, which ties my record.  I'm heading into uncharted territory next week.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=6.5

Weekly summary:
A loss overall but it was decent week that was skewed by the hiccup on Saturday.  I'm still not sure why it happened but I'm not stressing over it right now.  Maybe I'm just jinxed at 10K.  LOL.  Next week is expected to be hotter but drier, which I actually prefer.  At any rate, the weather should begin to improve in another 3 weeks and until then, I'm sticking with lower mileage.  Day 30 falls on a Friday and I can think of nothing more fitting than to celebrate it with a new Mile PR.
Distance=30.0/GPA=23.8/8= 2.98

Monday, July 9, 2012

Training 7/9-7/15

7/9- Took the rest day that I should have taken last week after Peavine.  I hope to come back fresh tomorrow and still be able to hit 40 on the week.  Next week is a possible race and a cut back.  I've never gone more than 25 days off pills since 1998 and I'm almost halfway there now.

7/10- AM- 10x400 at Vestavia in a 74-75 avg.  Ran with Eric, Erica and Will (all sub-18 5K).  I had to cheat on the recovery (instead of 400 jog, I took 200 with about :20 idle) but I was able to keep with them.  #1 was a 77, #9 was 76, #10 was 68 while the rest were all high 74-low 75.  The only irritation is a slight arch pain.  I did get some new shoes (Mizuno Wave) and need more stretching.  If it develops into PF, prolo can fix it but I prefer it to go away on its own.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=5.0

PM- Easy 6 in 45:54 (7:39 pace).  Smooth and relaxed for the first 4 but tied up some in the last 2.  Still, managed a very even pace.  The new Mizunos felt fine but the foot was still sore.  I think the inserts are worn, which is a contributing factor.  Worn shoes and worn orthotics is a problem.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=6.0

7/11- AM- Moderate 6 with the Gnomes on Lakeshore in 43:41 (7:18 pace).  This was faster than I planned but I got caught up in the group, all of whom are faster than I am.  I wisely cut the workout to 6 instead of 8 and added a cool down.  I was working for much of the run but it was not an exhausting affair.  Felt good overall.  Trak Shak will probably be rained out, which is why I chose the morning run.  Ran in the Brooks Cadence and had little- no foot issue.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.5

PM- Zonked.  I knew it was going to rain in the evening so I had to follow a double with a morning workout.  That is NOT something that I normally do.  The last 5 miles of the morning run were 35:38 (7:07 pace) after an 8:03 1st mile warm up.  You never know what the pace will be on the Wednesday morning run but it's usually too fast or too easy, rarely just right.

7/12- AM- Easy 5 indoors.  Body is still a bit tired but I ran well today.  Finished in 37:19 (7:28 pace) and could have gone another mile but chose not to.  Even pace.  I might take a pot shot in the 400 tomorrow evening (weather permitting).  I won't be fresh but an evening run after a morning run the previous day is almost like a half day off.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.0

7/13- Too tired for a serious attempt in a time trial so it was a pot shot at 400 meters as planned.  It went about as expected.  My time was 65.8 (best time of the year) but it was only 1 second better than my last interval in Johnny's workout.  Drove to the gym then proceeded to run an easy 4 in 29:50 (7:27 pace).  Strange.  My legs had no speed and very little power but on a basic easy run, I felt very smooth and relaxed.  I could have run 8 but need to save that for the Gnome run tomorrow.  How to grade this one?  I get a C+ on the 400 and an A- on the easy 4.
Grade:B/2 credits/distance=5.5

7/14- Run with the Gnomes.  Early pace was comfortable until we hit Lakeshore in Mile 5.  The group threw down a 6:55 5th mile and I foolishly kept with them. Miles 3-6 averaged near 7:10.   I had to back off from there but still finished with a pretty solid effort.  Completed 10 miles in 74:32 (7:27 pace) and added a mile cool.  Need a "B" tomorrow for a 3.5.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=11.0

7/15- Easy 5 in 37:46 (7:33 pace).  Rather ho hum affair.  Tired body but an even pace.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
Certainly a pretty good looking week on the surface but changes need to be made because I am too tired on a day-day basis.  This intensity coupled with relatively high mileage is unsustainable over the long haul.  The mileage will be temporarily cut to the 35-40 range until the end of the summer.  Also, the pace range of 6:50-7:10 must be avoided throughout the workout because it's too slow for a tempo and too fast for a marathon pace run.  I had a small slip with my diet this week but remain off the pills.  Although I am more than halfway to my 30 day target, I remain fearful of a relapse.
Distance=44.0/ GPA= 35.1/10= 3.51

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2012 Peavine Falls RR

Near the end of the trail!
There is some debate within the running community about which Birmingham race is the toughest.  Is it Statue 2 Statue or Peavine?  I say there is no doubt about it.  Peavine all the way!
It had been a pretty rotten 2nd quarter that included 3 rather weak efforts at 10K.  Only the 3rd one (41:19 in Atlanta) was satisfactory.  However, I've turned the corner in recent days by further tightening my restrictions on sugar.  For the past 2 weeks, I've been drinking nothing but water.  The only exception is a few sips of Gatorade on my long runs.  It has paid off.  Today is my 7th day off the pills and in  my last workout, the effort seemed much easier than the actual pace.  This was to be my 3rd time racing this course.  I delivered a tremendous performance in 2008 given my fitness level (62:40) but I was horrible last year and vowed to return for redemption.  Sub-60 was the goal.

This is a very unique event.  The first mile begins with a moderate incline for about a half mile then we get some downhill towards the end to even out the elevation.  Overall, the first mile has about 80 ft. of uphill and downhill.  From that point, it's basically straight uphill for the next 1.75 miles with just a couple of small dips and  brief sections of level ground.  The average grade is about 6% in Mile 2.  Mile 3 is not quite as steep and runners are treated to a spectacular view near 2.75 miles at a clearing.  Then, we actually get a decent downhill before a very steep section of about 400-600 meters to the top.  If you're not too beat up, you can really let it loose on the downhill but you need to save a little strength for the trail section that comes near the 10K mark on the course.  It's a single lane dirt path with sharp turns every 50-100 meters with rolling terrain and lots of rocks and sticks.  At this point, the race can't be over soon enough.  Finally, you're off the trail just after 8 miles and have a 200 meter sprint to the line.  It's July 4th in Alabama so you can probably guess the weather conditions.  This year was near normal (mid-upper 70s at the start, 80 by the finish with about 80% humidity).  Fortunately, virtually all of the course is shady, which provided some relief.

  The plan was to go out conservative and treat the early miles like a glorified training run.  I aimed to run Mile 1 at roughly the average pace that I hoped to sustain for the entire race.  I saw some slower runners move out ahead of me.  Do I go with them?  No.  Forget 'em and just run your own race.  My legs felt pretty good early but I was struggling for breath, which was not a good sign.  I looked down at the GPS and saw that I was doing just under 7:15 pace, which was plenty fast enough.  I would gain some more time on the downhill.  When I hit the long killer hill, I reminded myself to keep the effort even for there would not be a let up in the hill for a very long time.  To my credit, I ran the uphill portion extremely well.  I must have passed at least 10 runners here while not getting passed at all.  When I passed the slower running buddies, a few of them remarked that they were wondering when I was going to pass them.  I reminded myself not to push it on the brief downhill for the uphills were not over yet.  I finally made it to the top and was still not totally spent.  I walked for a few yards to the water station and took my time drinking a full cup before heading back down.  The downhill is normally where I make a big move but today, I had reached a spot where the pack was pretty thin.  I passed two immediately but nobody else was within my reach and a younger runner actually went by me just before we hit the trail section.  Of course, I struggled here but so does everybody else.  I have to be especially careful here because of my history of ankle injuries.  The runner who had just passed me continued to distance himself but it was not a significant difference is speeds.  I checked my GPS frequently trying to figure out just how much more trail that I would have to negotiate.  It could not be over soon enough.  Still, I was well on schedule for a sub-60 and probably would come in under 59 depending on the GPS measurement.  It's officially an 8.2 mile course but the reception is poor in the woods so it usually comes out near an even 8 miles.  The same held true this year.  One runner who appeared to be a few years older than I went by near the end of the trail but I managed to keep him in range.  A small pack of about 3 others were gaining on me but I was not about to let them go by.  With the trail coming to an end, I would not have to.  I turned on the speed and re-passed the older runner while keeping the others safely behind.  Unofficial result:  Time of 58:40. Official pace was 7:08ish but GPS pace was7:20. There are no age group awards, just top 10 overall and I was told on the way down that I was in the top 30.

7:04  (7:04) (rolling)
7:52 (14:56)(sharply uphill) excellent split here
7:38 (22:34) sub-60 looks like a pretty safe bet
7:20 (29:54)(top came at 3.7ish)
7:00 (36:54)(mostly down)
6:10 (43:04) (downhill)
7:55 (50:59) (trail)
7:41 (58:40)(trail-finish)

Final thought:
Well done.  This was a good solid performance but probably will not go down as an all time great.  I'll bet that I was good for a 1:30ish half today on a level course.  I didn't quite make the sub-7 pace, or A+ goal but I did break 60 by a comfortable margin of 10 ticks per mile.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Training 7/2-7/8

7/2- OUTSTANDING!  Easy 6 in 42:28 (7:05 pace/ 3:05 marathon).  Very smooth and relaxed.  I could have easily done 10 more at this pace, perhaps more.  Negative split as well (21:20-21:08) and dipped under 7 in the last mile without even trying.  Sure, I had a 36 hour rest and a lot of soul searching in between runs but this is a tremendous start to the 2nd half.  Heat wave has diminished but the humidity has kicked in full force.  6 more weeks until the heat and humidity begins to fade.
Grade:A+/1 credit/distance=6.5

7/3- Planned rest day to remain fresh for Peavine.  Note to self: Start out SLOW.  If the hills don't get me, the heat will.  I'm treating this like a training run but a sub-60 would sure be nice.

7/4- Peavine Falls run in 58:40.  Mission accomplished.  Average pace was about 7:08.  Added a warm and cool.
Grade:A-/3 credits/distance=9.5

7/5- Easy 10K in 47:14 (7:33 pace).  Very sore but I managed to get through it unscathed.  Slight fade in the 2nd half  (23:28-23:46) but that's only 6 sec/mile difference.  I'm hoping to get a speed session in tomorrow but if I'm too sore, I'll have to bail.  Fun fact about yesterday:  My pace was 32 seconds faster than back in '08.  In the Fall of that year, I ran a 42:43 10K on Vulcan's course (26/mile) short of a sub-40.  I am right on the cusp.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=7.0

7/6- Not surprisingly, I was not fresh enough for an all out sprint workout so I made it a semi-quality day instead. No penalty because of the race Wednesday.  It may have been 5 miles short of a half mary but on that course, it's just as punishing.
 4 miles at moderate effort (6:56-6:54-6:52-6:54)= 27:36 then another mile hard. Temp was near 100 so I stayed indoors. I was shooting for 5K race pace and clocked a strong 6:06.  That would have been under 6 outdoors without all those turns.  Overall time was 33:42 (6:44 pace).  Strangely, I WAS sore but my cardio was amazingly strong.  I could not believe how fast I was going in those first 4 miles but the soreness is a concern, esp. the foot (arch area).  Not too worried about it yet.  I just need to wear my orthotics more often.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=5.5

7/7- Well, I reached my limit today.  Again, not a smart decision to run with all sub-3 marathoners less than 12 hours after finishing a quasi tempo run.  Gnome run to downtown and back which followed part of the Mercedes route.  You can't get to downtown without going up and down Red Mountain and the second time is a killer.  This was after a 6 mile stretch from the end of Mile 2 to  Mile 8 in which the pace was 7:05-7:15 all the way.  After that, I was dead and it was raining.  I actually had to walk up part of Red Mountain via 20th St.  Finished with 11 miles in 84:17 (7:40 avg. pace) and that includes a 9:50 for Mile 10.   Average performance

PM- Junk run at Red Mountain Park.  Just wanted to check out the trails. From what I saw, it's not as hilly as the name implies.  The trail appears to the wide, well maintained and free of hazards to the ankles.  While I prefer the road, I could hit the trail every so often for an easy one. Covered 1.5 miles at junk pace in 90 degree temps with full sun.  That puts me up over 40 on the week and gives me the option to rest tomorrow if I choose.
Grade:B-/2 credits/distance=12.5

7/8- I opted for the easy day instead of the rest.  My tired body managed 4.5 miles indoors in 34:40 (7:43 pace) plus a 1/2 mile cool.  Very sore and wiped out.  Dreamed that I was stranded in the Dallas airport (never been there IRL) and I tried in vain to get a hold of my boss and also chugged a large beer.  Not an all time bizarre dream but still pretty funny.
Grade:B-/1 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
When I am off the pills, yes I can train harder and more consistently but I am not indestructible either and I was really hurting over the weekend.  No speed work but a lot of hills and good mileage with solid paces.  I'm now 24 miles up on 2K/year pace with 24 weeks to go.   I've now made it 10 days off the pills or a third of the way to the magic number of confidence.  I had one very small slip up on Saturday (3-4 oz of Red Bull) but poured the rest down the drain so I stayed below the limit.  This is a winning week overall with nothing under a "B-" but I still haven't hit a 3.5 since March.
Distance=46.0/ GPA=33.1/10=3.31

Continuing the experiment (water only)

Today is my 5th day off the pills and it is becoming increasingly clear that I have a real shot at freedom.  My last glimpse of it lasted from 3/13-4/7 of this year though the problems actually began around 4/4.  Since then, I tried no fewer than 5 different dosages and ratios of Cal/Mag with fleeting success and lots of instability.  I have no doubt that cutting out virtually all sugar from my diet has made the difference.  The only exception is Gatorade on runs longer than 8 miles. If I can get to 30 days off the pills (7/27), I will be feeling a lot better emotionally.

 The Cal/Mag ratio has to do with blood sugar and is inter-related with thyroid and adrenal function.  I quit the Thym-Adren pills on the 1st of the year so I am puzzled as to why my sugar intolerance has gotten worse, not better.  Perhaps, the thyroid/adrenal dysfunction merely over-rode the blood sugar issue.  5 years ago, I met my parents in Orange Beach when I was taking 10 different pills (close to 25 total/day).  My mother said: "Geez Justin!  Do you really need all these pills?"  Indeed I did and in some cases, I was so sensitive that 2 pills were not enough yet 3 were too many so I went with 2.5. I was so unstable that if I waited a couple hours after my scheduled dose, I would experience symptoms.  Since then, my need for pills has fluctuated but trended down all the way.  My half marathon time has dropped from 1:59:37 (9:08 pace) to 1:28:12 (6:44 pace).  Anyone who has read this blog with any regularity knows that this battle has been long and difficult but at long last and after many false hopes, victory could really be within my grasp this time and God gets all the glory.

My trip to Orange Beach/Perdido Key on the Florida/Alabama line was worthwhile despite the traffic and difficulty finding a hotel.  More than anything else, I needed to clear my head.  The sugar white sand and emerald green waters were beautiful as always.  While I prefer 4-5 foot waves and rougher surf, the relative calm of the sea allowed me to relax and gather my thoughts.  Like I said in my halftime post, I fully expect my running to improve.  Not only will I be faster in balance, I will be capable of training harder and more consistently over the long haul. 

It was somewhat depressing to be alone.  That didn't used to bother me when I took these trips in my 20s but it does now.  A relationship could work if I was a little unbalanced but not when I am unstable.  I have to constantly adjust my formula with no idea of how many pills I will need the next day and what ratio of Cal/Mag to take.  Even 1 too many or too few pills will cause fatigue, depression and malaise.  The only way it could work out is if I met a girl who knows all about this yet still loves me unconditionally in spite of it and is not already taken.  Not much chance of that.  That's all out the window if this is really over this time.  I will give a couple of dating sites a try.

Will I have to stick with this extremely strict dietary restriction?  Probably not completely.  I bet I can cheat on special occasions but those times must be rare and I will have to have a couple of weeks of stability under my belt.  This may not be the best analogy but think of it like drinking and driving.  If you blow a .081, you'll be arrested for DUI and probably lose your license.  If you blow a .079, the police have to let you go even though you are hazardous on the road but have not crossed "the line".  For me, that line is slightly more than 3 consecutive drinks.  Do I try to get as close to the line as possible without crossing it?  NO!  Stay far away from it and fear getting too close. Don't even think about getting behind the wheel after more than 2.  The same holds true for this.  Small amounts of sugar may not be good for me but I will be fine as long as I don't cross the line. However, just one extra sugared drink can send me over the edge and back to instability.  When that happens, I need about 5-7 days to recover.

I've developed a point system for forbidden items that used to be part of my diet:
-fruit smoothies, green tea, Gatorade- 1 point (Powerade zero is zero points)
-soda, beer, sweet tea- 2 points
-energy drinks, mixed drinks- 3 points

After only 5 days off the pills, I am probably still very close to the edge or "the line" and I hope that by abstaining completely for 30 days, I will put some distance between myself and "the line."  After 7/27, I'll set a weekly limit of 3 points, which is still very strict but more manageable.  If I break the limit once and have enough distance from "the line,"  I'll be okay but I must remain fearful of getting too close.  I'm not much of a drinker but do enjoy the rare beer for a special occasion or social gathering and I simply like the taste of fruit smoothies.  I have developed an aversion to soda and sweet tea but there is so such aversion to energy drinks for some reason.  I hope that I will also find them disgusting in the near future because they are poison

This post is more for my reference and I don't expect most people to relate but thanks to anyone for listening and caring about me.