Monday, April 23, 2012

Where Am I and Whats up With The Blog Changes?

 I really liked and was comfortable with the old blog why change it?  I guess change is good but it will take a while to get used to this new style.

The big question looms over my head lately, Where Am I?  In the past few months I have not been able to set any type of training plan in place, time restraints and responsibilities seem to overwhelm my current schedule.

Honestly, my running plans are up in the air until I actually grab my running clothes and head to a site. Not knowing how things will settle out on weekends, I just wait until I wake up and then decide what I can accomplish. This format doesn't give me much time with other runners, so I have been running mostly alone.

That being said, I have been able to get out for some good quality runs and virtually had no junk mile runs at all. Perhaps this is a good thing but it feels out of control and I tend to be more comfortable when I have a plan and am in control.

We will see how things shake out this year, but if The Merrimac race is any indication, I am hoping for good results. Track workouts start up this Tuesday and it is my plan to attend this year.......last time I did track, I ended up injured and it affected my performance the rest of the year. This time I plan on scaling things back a bit. My intent is to get a bit more turnover...thus a bit more speed.

last weeks training,

 Weight training

 Cross training

  7.5 miles at Pineland @1:12:39 (9:42 pace)  Minimus shoes
  2 mile cool down

  2 mile walk


 5:30 am .....6 miles Hill work @ Bradbury  1:26:01 (14:21 pace) Started at the School (inov-8)
cooldown  3 miles (at home)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Slapping The Merrimac (race report)

This weekend I went to Merrimac Mass to run a trail race. This was my first time at this race and it was great to see a bunch of familiar faces with all the Trail Monsters that showed up. The out and back would give me a chance to cheer them on as they passed me.....of course they cheered me on too.

Wholly Crap.......The Merrimac river race was so much different than I imagined. My intent was to start conservative, use the 5 mile out as a sort of a warm up,  try and weather the returning hills then race the remaining 3 miles.

I heard the 4th and 5th mile hills were pretty tough and was not sure how I would handle them.  Though I have been running hills at Bradbury, these sounded a touch more difficult.  I figured this would be a good gauge of my condition.

I was in no hurry at the start so I hung at the back of the pack and mentally prepared for a surging walk run for the first mile or so. To my surprise, this group was in a huge hurry and there was very little clogging after the first S turn.

The terrain opened up with plenty of room for passing so the runners seem to settle very quickly. I think because the first 3 miles is fairly easy, most runners wanted to take advantage before the steep inclines.
I found myself pushing the pace also so instead of an easy 11-12 minute pace, I somehow ran a much speedier (for me), 9:58 1st  mile, a 9:06 2nd and 9:30 3rd.. I was fairly happy with this pace and only hoped I could mirror it on the return.

The first three miles were easy and I found myself enjoying the terrain and the scenery. The run along the river was amazing and I felt like I was just out for a relaxing run rather than running a race. This is unusual for me as I  tend to hate the first couple miles of a race and don't settle into a comfortable pace.

Through most of the 4th mile I kept looking for the huge hills but found nothing that I couldn't run up and actually enjoyed the extra work to get my heart rate going.  Mile 5 I found the hills but really didn't get slowed down by them too much because even though they were steep, they were not very long.

 The three things that slowed me down the most (miles 4 -5) was there was no room to pass because by now we were hitting a lot of return runners (I was very careful to give them the room they needed), the runners in front me were slower than I wanted to go and I really couldn't seem to get the speed going on the down hills.

My cardio recouped  very quickly after each hill so I felt ready as I hit the next one. In the end, there was really only two inclines that were difficult. I was reduced to a ridiculous pace in the my 6th and slowest mile because I hit the runners coming through their fifth mile and they didn't seem to give me the room I allowed the oncoming traffic when I came through. I found myself pulling off the trail and actually stopping many times.  I guess that is one drawback from an out and back on single trails.

By the time  I hit mile 7, there were very few runners coming and I was able to settle into a comfortable pace. Each of the last three miles became quicker and I began passing many runners. There were a couple runners pushing like I was and leap frogged with  each other to keep our pace going.

  Everything was perfect until mile 9 when somehow a root grabbed my left foot ( not sure how this happened because there were very few roots here) and I found myself flying forward toward the ground rather than running.  I hit hard and the runner that had been chasing me along with two others were able to push me back three spots. I don't know why this bothered me but it did.

 I was discouraged to lose those spots but also determined to get them back. It was so difficult to get back in the zone and I only caught two of the three but at the same time passed another runner and out kicked one right at the end, so I gained a total of five spots.

I finished strong and somehow beat my estimated time by almost 25 minutes. It was one of those races where the running gods were in a good mood and I felt like I could continue forever. In essence,  I guess I slapped the Merrimac down a bit as it could not get the best of least not this time.

10 mile race 1:35:53 (9:36 pace)
5 mile splits:  1st half 50:51, 2nd half 45:02
Splits: (garmen read 9.48 miles so the splits are a bit slower)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Product Review

 I have been trying a liquid supplement called Athlete Octane. According to the website  it is an amazing product. They can do what others can't and provide a product that really works.

 Like many other products, they spend a lot of time stating that their products promote all the good stuff and reduce all the bad stuff. Also like most other products, you have to use them forever to continue enjoying the benefits.

When I read the contents of the website and discarded the hype and unproven claims, I must admit that their approach made a lot of sense Endurance runners do deplete their nutrient levels just by the nature of their sport and the time spent running, so replacing the lost nutrients surely has to help with stamina and recovery.

One point that really stuck out and probably the one that convinced me to purchase is the importance of CoQ10, the key to producing ATP (muscle energy) The website states that after age 20 our bodies gradually reduce production and after age 50 it plummets......well I am over 50 so I figure it is worth checking out.

I researched CoQ10 and found their claims to be supported by fact.  Some of the other stuff....reducing free radicals, reduces soreness, promotes recovery, supports the immune system, full of antioxidants (antioxidants....doesn't everyone claim that? Hell that's my excuse for enjoying Dark Chocolate), helps you train harder.......who knows and how could one prove it?

Anyway, I figured if it helps with the ATP (with out drugs) and has no sugar or caffeine, then perhaps it is worth a try and if the other stuff is actually true, well that is a bonus. Lucky me, there is a two for one sale and I get double my order.

First thing I notice, is there is surely no sugar in this product because it is really tart .....they say it is an acquired taste over time and after one and a half months, I strongly disagree, it doesn't taste any better but it is bearable.

So, I used this stuff for one and a half months and I can honestly say, I am running stronger, I am recovering faster, my heart rate related to degree of difficulty is better, I feel stronger, I am running faster and the hills are easier.

Out of context this would seem to be a pretty compelling review, but.....there is the old saying, which came first the chicken or the egg? The point to remember here is that nothing replaces good training.
All the supplements in the world will do nothing if one doesn't train for results. is the rest of the story,
1.   I started this spring well rested because of time restrictions last winter, Surely that alone could have an affect on how strong I am running right now.
2.   I am 15 pounds lighter than I have been in four years, that also has a large affect on stamina, speed and recovery.
3.  I drink a whey protein drink after hard workouts, this helps with muscle recovery
4.  I have incorporated weight training and core strengthening this year.
5.  I changed my training and mix things up with more speed and hill work.
6.  I am allowing a recovery day after each hard workout.
7.  I lost the weight by adjusting my diet .... eating healthier promotes better performance.

As an overview, if I had to pick out one thing that would create the largest result, it would have to be the weight loss. Even with all the other things in place, if I strapped 15 extra pounds on my back before a hard run, I am sure I would struggle a lot more in all of the categories.

In closing, I guess I could say that the supplement is surely not hurting my performance and at a reasonable cost, it would makes sense to continue. If I was competing professionally perhaps I would embrace even the tiniest edge a supplement might give me at any cost. This product equates to about $70.00 a month after the "special" introductory offer.

For this mid pack runner, $70.00  a month is too much to spend for something that I can only say, is surely not hurting my performance.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Maybe Not race Ready, But Feeling pretty Good

It seems the Merrimac 10 miler is creeping up a bit faster than I was planning. I expected I would get in a few 2 hr plus long trails runs before the race. As it turns out, I haven't done that. That being said, I have had some very good training runs of over an hour. What I haven't had is LSD.

In the past, I didn't concetrate much on LSD and just ran most runs as tempo or speed related, so all runs were "like racing" and though my weekly mileage was relatively low, I ran some fairly fast times. This is when I accumulated most of my PRs right up to the half marathon distance.

It was when I ran the first Pineland 25k that I realized that there may be something to the LSD and perhaps I should spend more time training for time on my feet rather than speed. I had a darn good 10 mile race in me that day but spent the last 5 miles trying to convince myself to continue. Ironicly, that finishing time is still my PR for that distance.

People kept telling me that running longer equates to racing longer and faster. From what I can tell, running longer slower helps me run longer slower and shorter slower. I concentrated on LSD and didn't incorporate much speed work. My  PRs in the last couple years have only been new distances.

So...this year I realized I need to change my approach. Instead of LSD, I am running faster paces and working up to longer distances at those paces. It seems like I am progressing slow but actually, I am feeling pretty good and definately am running faster and stronger.

What does this all mean right now? Well I am thinking that I will have a fairly good 6-8 mile race in me for the Merrimac 10 miler and will have to struggle a bit near the end........but that is Ok and as long as I  know ahead of time, I can deal with it and use it as a step forward in my training.


Bradbury mountain side  hills "semi race pace"  4.6 miles @55:49 (12:09 pace)
Road "semi race pace" 3.1 miles @ 24:49 (8:01 pace)
Road  Tempo 2.5 miles @21:50 (8:44 pace)
easy 3 miles
Pineland "semi race pace" 7.5 miles @1:17:43 (10:22 pace)
cooldown .5 miles
easy 2.5 miles
Bradbury hills (mountain and east combo) 6.5 miles @1:12:27 (11:09 pace)
cooldown 1.5