A Seagull's Eye View

Here's a seagull's eye view of the Surfside Beach Marathon route I'll be running Feb. 9. You can click on the image above to see a larger view or this route URL to be able to zoom in and out. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=1502934

Labels: ,

Nailing the Four Aspects of Training

My motivation to get a good 18-mile run in was stronger than my weakness for not getting out in the cold. Instead of starting at 7:00 a.m. though, I made it onto the trail at 10:00 a.m. so the freezing weather the night before had a chance to warm up to a balmy 40-degrees. My plan for the day was to get through 18 miles without stopping and on top of that, feel good after the 18 miles. In past runs the wheels had come off by mile 16. Whether it was due to extreme cold, wind, improper nutrition, shoes wear or whatever, I'd never felt good for a complete 18-mile run.

My run of last week felt bad. I started off feeling great but by the time I hit the 16-mile-mark, I was done and had to walk the last four miles to get the 20 in. I was determined to break it down and analyze what had gone wrong. If you believe running is a combination of physical, mechanical, nutritional and mental aspects, and that you need all four to achieve success, then you need to REALLY look at what's going on with every run and listen to the body. Last weekend I disassociated with my music player and it didn't work for me. Not only was I not able to get back into the mental state once I turned it off, I wasn't able until some time later to figure out what went wrong.

A number of things went wrong on that run. Later in the week I identified a pain in the heel, caused by less than adequate cushioning. I placed a couple of Heal My Heels in the shoes and they worked great! I realized that during the Longhorn Half-Ironman that even in the heat that I was able to keep going by eating Twizzlers and pretzels and water. I packed up two plastic bags full of the red candy and long breadstick-shaped pretzels. I layered my clothing for the cold weather and decided rather than run two, 10-mile loops, I'd run 4 x 4.5-mile loops and that would allow me to drop off clothing or to pick up more nutrition at the car. Lastly, I decided to go music free for the run.

By looking at the run from all four aspects, the changes I made contributed to the first 18-mile run I've done with continuous running and no walking, plus, that I felt great afterwards. I didn't walk like a 100-year-old grandpa. Granted the weather was 35-degrees cooler and that played into things, but the nutrition helped, the lack of music helped, the mechanical changes to the shoes helped and with last week's bad run, there were still 20 miles completed so the body did adapt in some form or fashion to the stress placed on it.

I didn't get a chance to ice the knees so that caused some inflammation throughout yesterday and today. I didn't drink enough water yesterday so I had a strong headache throughout the afternoon and evening. If I can nail down everything...all four aspects and everything within, then the marathon should be a great experience come Feb. 9.

Labels: ,

Goodbye Austin Marathon, Hello Surfside Beach Marathon

It's with a little disappointment that I'm leaving the Austin Marathon behind. I had to realize that I just can't coordinate all that I'm planning for, in terms of medical team media materials and alike, and then run 26.2 miles at the same time. It might be that I have others take over most, if not all, of the race-day activities. And if that's the case, then I'll run but just in case I have a Plan B. Plan B will consist of running the Surfside Beach Marathon, which I already registered for as it was filling up and had only 80 slots left.

The Surfside Beach Marathon is the only marathon and half-marathon in the U.S. run entirely on a beach! That means it could be the most wise decision of my running career or the most stupid. I looked at photographs from previous events to see if the sand was hard-packed or not and it was. I also read other runners feedback on hard-pack sand running and it was complimentary. So will it give my knees a break, compared to asphalt and concrete? Will it cause other muscles to compensate and cause fatigue? Who knows? I plan to go down and do a test with various pairs of shoes. It may be that the Nike Free is the way to go.

Training has been going well. I haven't posted daily about it because I hate to get on here every day and say, "The run was good, legs felt good, yada, yada, bling blang." The program I have is making me faster as I reached 7:01 minute miles last night for the five-mile speed workout. The 20-mile run last weekend felt like crap once I reached the 17th mile but that could be from a lack of nutrients, but more likely that I need to do it a lot more to get the body to adapt to the distance. There's another 20-miler for this weekend and the weather will be cold...maybe around 30 degrees. This week I'll take some food with me to simulate what'll happen on race day and then see how I feel.

I ran with tunes last weekend and may leave them at home this week for the long run. I felt with everything I had I was loaded down and I don't like that feeling. I found my mantra doesn't work well when music is blaring. It didn't work well after turning the music off either. maybe I'd listened to too much music. Music gets me through some workouts and I tend to like it for hills or speed workouts, but the long run it didn't apply. I think because the long run is slow and the music I have on the player is at a high number of beats per second.

My training group finished their race last Saturday night. About 60-70 showed up for the pre-race warmup and a little smack talk between the teams. Although our team clearly should've won the trophy with three-times as many people as the other hospital, the trophy is sitting in a neutral office until the results can be verified. There were way too many people signed up, the person singing the national anthem forgot the words, it was too hot but the Trail of Lights were fabulous, the margs afterwards were tasty and my running students were great! The next round of 10K training starts Jan. 7 and the 5K training in Feb. I got spoiled with two other coaches helping me out this session. For the spring session the program will go back to a single coach per 10 or 20 people.

Labels: , , ,

Opossum Temple of Voodoo Pew

A friend of mine who reads this blog sent me the link to an article reflecting on a guy at the local trail. He's seen at a point on the trail I was unfamiliar with. When asked where that point was she said it was near a bridge I ran past every day. I mean every day for the last 2 1/2 years and never knew it was there. It's called the Opossum Temple of Voodoo Pew and there's a HUGE concrete red couch there to sit and look at the view (see photo). Wow! We walk, run or drive past jewels every day and don't know they're there. Amazing how that works out.

Well tonight I dropped by Opossum Temple of Voodoo Pew took a snapshot with the camera phone and marveled at the sunset where Barton Springs joins the Colorado River, otherwise known as Lady Bird Lake. It was the best run I've had in my life. Not because I found Opossum Temple of Voodoo Pew, although that contributed, but because of the feeling I had for the entire run. I was able to maintain a 7:21/minute pace for the entire five miles. This was a first. The temperature was 64 degrees which felt great. The legs felt great. The pace felt great. To have felt that run made the last two and a half years of training all worth it. Even more than the Half Ironman Triathlon or running a marathon. This is what I was shooting for when I got off the couch and first went for a jog. To feel good while running at a good clip. Not as fast as the elite runners but as fast as I wanted to achieve at age 46. Hell yeah, it was all worth it.

Labels: , ,