Monday, July 15, 2013

High Goals and Low Mileage = impossible

  After a debacle at the recent Spartan race in March, I decided that it was time to start looking towards a new running goal in the near future, so I settled on two goals; The Brighton 4th of July 5k (Rochester, NY) and the "Scream" Half marathon in the foothills of NC. Thankfully I started off with a bang of success immediately with winning a small local 5k and then following that up with an amazing performance at the Skyline 5k which was a last minute "kick in the butt" race or so I thought. Having the entire last mile downhill really helped trim my pace down and let me come through in 2nd overall with a 16:18 behind the quick feet of John Compton.

   Maybe the Skyline performance gave me a false sense of fitness, but for whatever reason I just could not find any motivation to actually train in a structured manner in preparation for the 5k or the Half Marathon. The days flew by and I kept telling myself, "oh you have time before you need to buckle down, no worries". Just two weeks ago I had an opportunity to gauge my proposed pace at the summer series 5000m for the upcoming Brighton 5k. Since I never actually did a proper "race pace" workout as I should have, I thought this would be the best gauge. Luckily I was fortunate enough to have a "training camp" weekend away with a few buddies and put in a solid amount of work, on the bike as well as running which lead up to the 5000m race on the track. Over our training camp, we demolished our legs which some brutal climbs, attacks and surges on two feet and two wheels. I knew going into the track race I would be dead legged but what the hell, why not just give it an old college try. 15:58 was the outcome, for another 2nd overall placing.

Most of my Training Camp compatriots

   In the past I have always focused on an attempt to run well at the track series but most importantly win the Championship mile. I believe that I am a 3-time possibly a 4-time winner of this race who apparently is out of his prime. Last year I pushed Bert to an amazing 4:17 mile while I was on the cusp of a sub 4:20 at 30 years old, a feat that blew my mind. Weeks out from this race, I was extremely motivated to beat Bert as well as to finally take the crown of the "Ultimate Runner". This year, let's just say winning the Brighton 5k never seemed to really motivate me to get out the door. I am in an odd slump at this point in my life and it's not something I am worried about. Karin and I bought a very nice home in the community that we could only hope we could raise a child in. Much of my time has been focused on preparing our home to be a place where we could live for a very long time.

Loving Life with Karin
   Accompanying this hard work at home often brings many select beverages and occasional nights out dining. At the end of the day, I have to realize running is just my hobby and but my home life is what matters the most. This is something I have come to terms with even though it has been a struggle at times, watching my paces get just a bit slower than I would appreciate. When I began my "running" cycle in April, I had a couple goals that I thought could possibly be attainable given some very focused and dedicated work. 15:45 for the Brighton 5k and sub 1:12 for the Scream Half marathon. The time has come and gone, along with my hamstring but I still have one more race remaining. On July 4th, Karin and I toed the line, both being very skeptical of our fitness levels and quite honestly had no clue what type of pace either of us could run. She had been having issues with her Achilles and calf while I have endless issues with my hamstring it seems like.

$75 for 2nd Overall
   Bang, the gun goes off and the race starts, 16minutes and 6 seconds later I have crossed the finish line for a solo 2nd overall. The first guy hit the mile in 4:46 and looked smooth and relaxed, while a few guys were trying to hang onto me, I knew I had enough to push ahead by myself. Being absent minded I did not bring a watch for the race so I had no clue what pace I was holding, so this totally would be up in the air. 5:11 at the mile, time to push away, 5:07 over the next mile, and then crossing in 16:06. I was so close to breaking 16, but I had nothing else left. I finished while hunched over trying to see through the foggy, humid air, breathing heavily and sweating profusely, but I had a smile inside. 16:06 wasn't so bad for what I have been doing, I'll take that any day of the week! So much for 15:45, I knew this would be out of the question as my running has been a chore over these last few weeks especially with my IT and Hamstring issues, some days I feel like I am falling apart!

   On July 20th I plan to be at the starting line of the "The Scream" half marathon with no overly anxious goals. While nursing my hamstring I have been very easy on my legs over these past two weeks just so I can make it to the start line. Having heard stories of Ben Hovis and his excruciating circumstances with his Achilles, I just pray that my Hamstring will hold up on some of the quick descents. This is an excerpt from a partial description on the race website;
" The course features over 2,400 feet of descent over the 13.1 mile course, roughly 150+ feet per mile. You will be sore. There are two noticeable climbs between the start & finish, neither of which could really be characterized as challenging hills. Although the significant descent will give you a big boost in terms of speed, if does not automatically guarantee a PR half marathon time. You have to do your part and put in the training necessary to shepard you to your goal. Relying upon gravity to make up for a lack of proper training will be a big mistake; please take us at our word for this."

Maybe stupid stuff like this is what hurts my hamstring?
"Look I can leap into the lake, woooo, ouch"
Sub 1:12, yes, at some point through the race but unfortunately not at the finish line. My goal is to start out conservatively and then to hopefully push some of the later miles to finish strong. I am not sure who will be racing on the 20th but given last years winning time there is a chance that I could be out front fairly quickly, but I know that there will always be a few people who push early on before their lack of proper training hits them and they are walking, hopefully I am not that guy. After I complete this race, I will not have another planned race until the first weekend in November as I need some downtime to get some things together.

    All in all, Life is grand and I could not envision a better life for myself, I am very fortunate and there is not one day that I do not forget that. Running is a mirror to life, sometimes you are just cruising through life with a smile thinking how great you feel then the next moment your ankle rolls over the edge of the sidewalk and you are on your face wondering what to do. Each and everyday is a new day to learn more, whether its about yourself, someone else or something, just embrace it.