Sunday, October 28, 2012

Training (10/29-11/4) race week

10/29- Planned rest day.  I expect to enjoy this one but towards the end of the week, I should be itching for some action.  Short tempo planned tomorrow.  Forgot to mention that I clinched a 2.5 GPA for the year at the end of last week and am well ahead of 3.0 pace.

10/30- Short tempo.  4 miles indoors (very windy) in 25:09 (6:17 pace).  The plan was to run the first 3 miles at 10K race pace then hope to drop down to 5K pace for the last mile.  I actually did a little better than that.  Splits were 6:14-6:24-6:24-6:07.  Passed 3 miles in 19:02 and came through 5K in roughly 19:48.  The last Mile was a 5K pace of about 19:06 so it was a marked pick up.  I actually considered going for sub-40 today. There will be another time.  I think that I would have had a shot too.  Suppose that I slipped to a 6:34 in Mile 4 and 5, I still could have done it with a 6:15 6th mile and a last .2 at average pace.  Because Miles 3-4 are tough at Vulcan, I'll probably need to run the equivalent of at least 39:40 on level ground.  Perhaps a bit more tapering will get me there.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=5.0

10/31- Last Wednesday night Trak Shak run in the daylight.  Finished the 5 mile loop just after sunset in a time of 37:05 (7:25 pace).  Fairly even pace except for a fast Mile 2 and slow Mile 5.  Again, I slacked off at the end.  Solid but not stellar performance.  Still a bit of soreness in the legs but my body is not tired.  The plan is a junk run tomorrow (2 untimed) and a complete rest on Friday.  Passed 1,700 miles on the year.  Need 296 in the last 2 months, which should be do-able.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=5.0

11/1- Junk run.  2 miles sans watch at very easy effort on Wisteria.  Just wanted to keep the legs from going dead and to get 2 miles closer to my target on the year.
Grade:Pass/0 credit/distance=2.0

11/2- Planned rest day.  Tomorrow is forecasted to be sunny with temps near 60.  I like it.  If I fall a little short in the race, I am pretty confident that I can get it done in a time trial before the end of the year.   I expect that I will be plenty rested despite the 3 hard weeks prior to this.

11/3- CHOKED!  Vulcan 10K in 41:42 (6:43 pace).  Added a warm and cool.
Grade:B/4 credits/distance=8.0

11/4- Very poor.  6 miles indoors in 49:32 (8:15 pace).  1st half: 24:38, 2nd half: 24:54.  Took about all of my energy to do this one.  It is now obvious that the Thym-Adren must be cut from 3 pills down to 2.  That makes me feel very uneasy.  I will order a hair test next week and it had better be heading back to balance.  If I can't take any pills but my numbers are out of balance, my symptoms will return as sure as I'm alive.
Grade:D/1 credit/distance=6.0

Weekly summary:
Thanks to lenient grading on race day, I have extended my winning streak to 6 weeks.  Needless to say, I do not feel good about this.  If I have a chance to get it done in a time trial, I'm taking the shot because it may be a long time before I get another one.
Distance=26.0/GPA= 24.3/8= 3.04

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thoughts on the Lance Armstrong PED scandal

In a previous rant, I declared that Armstrong was innocent until proven guilty by a positive drug test.  However, based on what I have read about the USADA report and Armstrong's silence, I now believe that he is "most probably guilty."  If I had won those Tours legitimately,  I sure would not have dropped the fight no matter what the cost and it is certainly not in his nature to quit. He knew that if he ever had to testify in court, he would have to admit doping or risk a prison term for perjury.

My opinion of the man himself remains mixed.  On one hand, it is no secret that he has been a womanizer for many years and I certainly do not approve of any of that.  If the allegations are indeed true, he is one of sport's biggest cheaters and liars of all time.  I agree that the titles should be stripped and his sponsorships terminated.  On the other hand, he is the embodiment of perseverance to fight through brain, lung and testicular cancer with little chance of survival yet come back to even compete again at an elite level.  Clean or not, that's inspiring.  Also, he has donated millions of his own fortune to cancer charities and helped raise more than half a billion dollars through his Livestrong foundation.  He certainly seems to have a heart that is full of compassion not only for cancer patients but anyone else struggling with a chronic disease.  He spends much of his free time visiting and encouraging cancer patients.  After winning a triathlon, he spotted a man in a wheelchair and gave him a hug before talking to reporters.  Again, I can't help but admire those qualities regardless of whether he cheated or not.

I have heard some comments that have said that since everyone doped, Lance Armstrong is still the true champion.  I disagree.  It is not a "level field" if all drugs are legalized.  The athlete who is willing to take mega doses and risk long-term health has the advantage over one who followed a less risky doping program.  Moreover, some athletes will gain more than others from the same doping program depending on all the complexities in their bodies.  That said, I'm not quite as hard on Armstrong as I am with dopers in other sports.  Even in track and field, I believe that it is possible to be a clean champion.  Call me naive if want.  At the height of the steroid era in baseball, less than half of MLB players were juiced according to most research.  I'd bet money that Ken Griffey Jr. hit those 600+ home runs clean.  In cycling, it is common to find that the top 10 are all linked to performance enhancing drugs so the argument that it is impossible to win clean does bear more weight.  Put yourself in Armstrong's position.  You know that you can't win clean but by winning, you have the opportunity to do so much more good through your foundation.  There is no way that Livestrong would be in its current position if Armstrong was an also ran at the Tour.  Again, I do not excuse cheating under any circumstance but I really do understand the dilemma.

 I do believe that the USADA was "out to get" Armstrong.  Nobody else who actually tested positive was banned for life, not only from cycling but also from major marathons and triathlons.  A 2-4 year ban is appropriate if the allegations are proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  Lifetime?  That's overkill especially when many others who have tested positive or admitted doping get little more than a slap on the wrist. I admire that at the age of 41 and retired from professional cycling, Armstrong remains competitive though no longer a contender in a world class field.  I can understand a lifetime ban from cycling but do not favor stiff sanctions from elite triathlons or marathons with drug testing.

Now for some controversy:
It's been on my heart to pray for Armstrong.  He is an avowed agnostic due in large part to the fact that his supposedly "Christian" stepfather was a hypocrite.  In his autobiography, he wrote that if he is judged by God, he would hope that it would be based on "living a true and honest life" and being good to others rather than his unbelief in the Bible or organized religion.  I won't get deep into my theology on this blog but this is a common problem for all of humanity.  We cannot even live up to our own standards of what is right and wrong.  Just imagine how dirty and sinful we are in comparison to God's righteousness.  God sent his Son to pay for our sins but we still need to repent.  Lance Armstrong could certainly be a powerful witness for Christ.
Any comments are welcome.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Training 10/22-10/28

10/22- Another strong MLR on Lakeshore.  10 miles in 73:48 (7:23 pace).  Very similar to last week's effort.  Pace was very even (36:57-36:51) with 9 out of 10 miles below 7:30.  However, this one was just a bit more taxing than last week.  I will NOT try to run intervals tomorrow.  Easy for the next 2 days.  Added a 1/2 mile warm and cool.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=11.0

10/23- Easy 6 indoors in 45 flat (7:30 pace).  Solid performance but nothing special.  Rather forgettable in fact but it gets the job done.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=6.5

10/24- Trak Shak 5.5 in 40:20 (7:20 pace) plus a full mile cool.  Strong performance but once again, it's obvious that the foot will not be completely pain free by race day.  I'll be racing Vulcan slightly banged up.  Hopefully, the taper will help.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=6.5

10/25- AM- Pyramid workout at Hoover.  I did my standard (400-800-1200-1200-800-400) with a passive R of 1:00 per lap of the previous interval.  I've been much faster in Johnny's version but he gives a lot more recovery.  Aimed for the same pace for each one with a fast closing 400.  The times were 86-2:56-4:27-4:27-2:56-71.  That's an overall pace of 5:48/mile.  Solid but unspectacular overall.  For the record, my "A" target is a 5:45 pace and the "B" target is 6:00.  There are penalties for being over 4:30 in the 1200 and bonus points for a sub-70 close.  None of those apply today.  Speed still does not feel very sharp but with PF, I can't do short intervals.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=5.0

PM- Easy 5 on Wisteria in 37:01 (7:24 pace).  Faded in Mile 5 (7:46), which was partially by design but I did not mean to slow it down that much.  1st half: 18:20, 2nd half: 18:41.  This was still very strong after the interval workout only several hours earlier.  This will be the last time that I will be able to do this route after work because it is very unsafe in the dark.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=5.0

10/26- Earned a rest day and I'm taking it even though I feel good enough to run today.  Long and hilly tomorrow then it's time to start the taper.

10/27- Split decision but in a good way this time.  Run with the Gnomes and nobody fast showed up.  I was not about to go break away in the dark so I stayed with the group for 7 miles then made my move.  1st 8 were hilly through Mountain Brook and passed through in 63:44 (7:58 pace) then I turned it up over the final 6 on a relatively flat route that included Lakeshore and the 2nd half of the Trak Shak loop.  I covered the final 6 in a strong 43:10 (7:12 pace) for an overall 14 miles in 1:46:54 (7:38 avg).  Interestingly, I felt better in the final 6 than the first 8.  The foot felt worse than usual esp. in the first half.  Possibly, the change in temperature had something to do with it.  In any event, I will need another shot in my right foot but maybe I can let the left one alone.  1/2 mile warm and cool.
Grade:B+/2 credits/distance=15.0

10/28- Excellent!  5 miles at marathon pace on Lakeshore and it felt easy in spite of chilly and windy conditions.  Finished with a time of 36:13 (7:13 pace) and I actually dialed it down a bit in the last 2 miles.  Still fairly even overall.  This one probably felt easier because yesterday's pace was slower than usual.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=5.0

Weekly summary:
Strong as a bull again!  5 week winning streak.  If only I can knock out this PF, I can really do some damage to my PRs but I need to be fresher for speed workouts.  The taper has officially begun today so let the madness begin.  With only a "10K marathon" (lol) in my focus, mileage will likely be 25-30 next week but I'll still be on track overall for 2,000.  YTD: 1,694.
Distance=54.0/ GPA= 35.3/10= 3.53

Monday, October 15, 2012

Training 10/15-10/21

10/15- Strong MLR on Lakeshore.  If I want to go more than 6 miles, it's got to be either here, indoors or the track because it was pitch black when I was done.  Finished 10 miles in 73:55 (7:23 pace).  Very relaxed and steady pace.  1st half: 36:53, 2nd half, 37:02.  I get a better grade because of the even pace and relaxed effort.  Added a half mile warm and cool.
Grade:A/2 credits/distance=11.0

10/16- Well, it finally caught up to me today.  I wanted to test my foot out on a light interval session so I went to Johnny's workout and got soundly beaten by Ed.  Workout was a 2 mile warm up followed by 4x400 and 3x800.  I DNFed the 4th 400 because of diarrhea and ended up at 78/80/78 and 2:50/2:56/2:50 with some pain in the right foot.  The left was okay. My normal target is 75/2:45. I've not done an interval workout in almost 3 months so I'm not sure if I was rusty or beaten up by having done 35 miles in the past 3 days.  Probably a combination of both.  I would have done okay in an easy 6 but in a quality session, I struggled.  Fortunately, I have 2 relatively easy days ahead then a rest on Friday.
Grade:C+/2 credits/distance=6.0

10/17- Easy Trak Shak 5.5 in 40:32 (7:22 pace).  Again, I was out too fast and slowed down at the end but that was by design.  Bad traffic, dogs, digging up sidewalk.  Not a particularly enjoyable run but a pretty solid performance.  1/2 mile cool.  Still sore in the right heel.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=6.0

10/18- Lakeshore 6.5 with Ed.  Part of me wanted to smack him but part of me was loving it.  Finished in 44:45 (6:53 pace).  I had plenty left for more at the end too.  Put me out there fully rested and I do think I could do double this distance at this pace.  If I'm not back in sub-90 shape for the half mary, I am darn close.   The foot did not hurt at all during the run but I could feel it when I got home.  1/2 mile warm and cool.
Grade:A+/1 credit/distance=7.5

10/19- Planned rest day.  I may try to run with the big boys tomorrow (sub-3 marathoners).

10/20- Slept in and ran solo.  Not a bad call because it's so dark in the morning now.  Trak Shak 8 and 8 route, which is probably the toughest 16 mile route in Birmingham.  Finished it in 1:58:41 (7:25 pace).  That's the moving pace.  I still had too many traffic stops.  A lot of people find Lakeshore boring but I prefer it because there are no cars and only 1 intersection.  Right foot remains sore and I didn't really feel my best out there today but this is still strong.  I was pretty excited when I broke 60 on this course the first time back in 2010.  Now, I can do it twice and a single loop is pretty routine.  1st loop was a 59:15, 2nd loop was 59:26 but I had to work hard for the 2nd one.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=16.0

10/21- Interesting.  Too much caffeine yesterday.  I feel like it helped me recover from yesterday and I was almost euphoric when I started but it wore off after 3 miles and I struggled late.  I still finished 6 miles in 43:55 (7:19 pace) which is very strong after yesterday's effort but I don't get an "A" because of the way I felt in the 2nd half.  I was working for a 7:30ish in Mile 6.  Splits were 21:40-22:15.  1/2 mile cool.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=6.5

Weekly summary:
  Strong week overall.  This extends my winning streak to 3 weeks.  Weak interval session but I did have a strong long run and a good quasi tempo.  I can't shake the right foot pain and I'll need another shot of prolo. Fortunately, it's localized, not widespread like before.  I plan to scale back a bit next week then it will be very little before Vulcan.  YTD: 1640/ GPA= 3.04.  10 weeks to go on the year and I need to average 36 MPW with a 2.85 GPA the rest of the way.  That's do-able but not automatic especially with tapers and holidays ahead. 
Distance= 53.0/ GPA= 30.9/9= 3.43

Monday, October 8, 2012

Training 10/8-10/14

10/8- Drove back to the 'Ham but did not get back until almost 6 PM so the gym was the best option.  Indoor 6 at GMP and finished a few seconds fast at 43-flat (7:10 pace).  Some pacing variability here as I backed off after a 7:03 2nd mile.  1st half: 21:28, 2nd half: 21:32.  Slight tightness early but nothing to worry about.  I felt fresh after 2 days off (not including the 2 junk miles) and had little-no ill-effect from a bit of alcohol over the weekend.  I am officially a believer in Fructosin.
Grade:A/1 credit/distance=6.5

10/9- OUTSTANDING!  Easy 8 in 58:36 (7:19 pace).  I sincerely tried to slow down but I ran like a machine.  I was an even 7:20 (+/-3 seconds) the entire way.  Barely an ounce of pain over the entire run.  I have a tempo on tap tomorrow.  I will lower the bar a bit on that one but the fact that I will not be running with the Gnomes in the morning should boost the pace.
Grade:A+/1 credit/distance=8.0

10/10- Trak Shak 5 at tempo effort in 32:32 (6:30 pace).  Race pace for the first 2 miles then allowed myself to relax a bit before bringing it home pretty strong.  1st half: 15:54, 2nd half: 16:38.  That's a lot more of a fade than I would like but it's still a strong performance overall.  6:30 tempo and 7:30 easy seems like a winning formula.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=5.5

10/11- Easy 7 on Lakeshore in 51:20 (7:20 pace).  Very strong.  I was under GMP for the first half then was able to back off to a steady 7:30 for the 2nd half.  Added a mile cool.  Again, nary an ounce of pain during the run.  Well on track for 50+ on the week.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=8.0

10/12- I feel good enough to run today, maybe even good enough for a quality session but until further notice, I'm sticking with the plan to take one rest day per week. Hope to pick up some new tempo/interval shoes today.  The old Luna Racers need to be retired.

10/13- Good run with the Gnomes.  I went rogue most of the way and am unsure of the time because of GPS issues.  Pace was pretty steady around 7:20ish and felt pretty good at that pace but it's somewhat deceptive because I took a lot of time at water stops.  It was sunny and pushing 70 degrees when I finished.  I do know that my distance was 15.33 miles and I had a little something left in the last .33.  Added just a little bit of glacial jogging to make it legit at 15.5.  I can afford a pretty easy day tomorrow.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=15.5

10/14- Lakeshore 6.5 in 47:58 (7:23 pace).  Pretty similar to Thursday.  Way too fast for the first 3 miles then backed off to a pace slightly over 7:30 over the 2nd half.  In the last mile, I was actually working a bit to hold the pace.  Overall, it was still a strong performance.  I'll be a little lenient with the grade since this one followed a long run.  Tacked on a 1 mile cool.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.5

Weekly summary:
  Paces are very fast but when I'm healthy, this training is really not that hard.  When I can manage to run 52 MPW with some quality while feeling comfortable at 7:15 pace, I think that's BQ shape.  I'm pretty close and I've got another 2 years before I make the attempt.  2 good weeks of training ahead until Vulcan.  YTD mileage is now 1,587.  I believe that this is only the 2nd time on record that I made all "A" or "A-" workouts and I now have a decent cushion on the 3.0 for the year.
Distance=51.0/ GPA= 30.5/8= 3.81

Monday, October 1, 2012

Training 10/1-10/7

10/1- Strong MLR on Lakeshore.  Finished 10 miles in 73:05 (7:18 pace).  That's just shy of GMP.  A little sluggish early but I was really in the groove later.  Mile 10 was a comfortable 6:54.  I think I could have been sub-7:15 without much more effort if not for the windy conditions.  Feeling more like the Crazy J of old. Passed 1,500 miles on the year.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=10.0

10/2- Easy 7 in 52:28 (7:30 pace).  Standard issue workout.  Nothing overly exciting to report but tacked on more miles than usual.  Solid performance.  This week is front loaded because I won't be able to run much this weekend.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.5

10/3- AM- Morning Gnome run on Lakeshore.  Ended up with 6.5 miles plus a cool down in a time of 48:44 (7:30 pace).  Once again, in a group run, paces are all over the place.  Mile 1 was over 8 but the lead group dipped below my GMP on Mile 3.  I went rogue in the 2nd half and went steady 7:30 (+/- 2 seconds) the rest of the way.  Slight groin soreness is the reason this was not an "A" but it was enough to clinch a 2.25 GPA for the year.  A solid finish this week will pull me back over 3.00 on the year thus far.
Grade:B+/1 credit/distance=7.0

PM- Trak Shak 5 at tempo effort.  Legs were tired but that was no surprise.  My time was a solid 33:13 (6:38 pace) with a good finish.  There are 3 traffic stops on this run so it doesn't count as a PR but with the rolling hills, it usually comes out pretty even.  Quality of my performance was about equal to the morning but since it's my 2nd run, I'll be a little lenient with the grade.
Grade:A-/2 credits/distance=5.5

10/4- After a double that included a tempo, I would certainly suck today, right?  WRONG!  Mountain Brook 6.5 mile route that included Brownell to Canterbury and Jemison trail in a time of 47:58 (7:23 pace).  Started too fast especially on the hills in the first half.  I was at marathon pace for the first 3 miles then dialed it back to the standard 7:30 pace.  When I am symptom free, this type of training really is NOT THAT HARD!  If I could avoid a relapse, I have no doubt that I will be well under 19:00/40:00 and yes 3:10 BQ within a year.  Added a half mile cool.  Hit 60 miles in the past 7 days, which is my upper limit.  I am not expecting much tomorrow.
Grade:A-/1 credit/distance=7.0

10/5- Easy 3 in 21:56 indoors (7:19 pace).  I wanted to run 5 but was pressed for time.  Drove to Cincy in the afternoon.  Hit 40 on the week so I can take the weekend completely off if I choose.
Grade:B/1 credit/distance=3.0

10/6- Planned rest day.  In Cincy (actually northern Kentucky). 

10/7- No good places to run where I am staying.  It is true that the best views of Cincinnati are from Kentucky.  I expected few chances to run so that's why the week was front loaded.  I was able to squeeze in 2 miles on the 'mill at a recovery jog (junk pace).  Again, if I'm short of 2K heading into the last week of the year, I'll be glad I did this.
Grade:None/0 credit/distance=2.0

Weekly summary:
  Back on track now with back to back winning weeks.  I might even re-start some speed next week if I feel up to it.  Back to Birmingham tomorrow and back to my routine.  Racing schedule is a bit uncertain.  Charlotte is the most likely half.  Greenville is about 50/50 but if I run there, I may have to skip Vulcan.  I will probably do a local 5K in December. YTD=1536. Yearly GPA is back to a 3.00
Distance=42.0/ GPA=28.5/8= 3.56