Saturday, March 28, 2015


Ever had one of those weeks where you just wished that you could press the reset button and have a do over. For my running this week, I wish I could.

Things started so well with my Tuesday workout but have went downhill ever since.

In all honesty, things really started to go bad when I decided to race my 800s on Tuesday rather doing them as normal workout. I pushed way harder than I really should have been doing.

I finished the workout and felt great. Confidence was a bound that I would race well today. Later that day, I noticed some lingering soreness in my Glut. I didn’t think anything of it. The 800s had been a tough workout.

Wednesday, I noticed my legs didn’t feel so great. Things continued to go downhill Thursday and Friday. Even thou, my mileage dropped each day; the pain in glut was worse.

Friday night I had serious doubts as to whether I could even run on Saturday much less run a marathon. I tried to keep a positive perspective. I would go and attempt to run it. It was  always better to make an attempt than to not try at all. Even thou, my common sense told me otherwise.

Just before the race I attempted a few strides. The pain rippled through my Glut and down my hamstring.

I have run with pain many times. With each injury I try to gauge whether the pain stays the same or increases. If it stays the same, I keep pushing. If it increases, I make it through a mile or two and stop.

Today, I went through the mile. It hurt badly but it was a constant pain and not an increasingly worse type of pain. I focused on relaxing. My miles were dipping into the 6:10 range. Aside from my Glut and hamstring, I felt great. I felt like I could run the entire distance at this pace.

We circled back by the starting line at 8 miles. There nothing new to report. My glut and hamstring were pretty much the same so I kept running. I hit 10 miles in 63 minutes. Just 16 more miles, I can run this.

I passed through 13 miles. Okay, I am half way now.

I ran through 14 miles in 6:17. Just 12 more miles, I can do this now.

Over the next 6+ minutes, I went from feeling positive to standing alongside the road at 15 miles. It was as if someone had flipped a switch. I stopped to massage my glut and then attempted to run again. I didn’t make it two strides before stopping.

I just looked at the ground and wondered what might have been. I was finished. I would DNF the second race of my career.

I cannot begin to express how disappointed that I am.  So much time, energy, and work spent for nothing. There is just an awful test in my mouth that an entire bottle of Listerine couldn't fix it.

To make things worse, my Glut and hamstring are so “jacked” up that I can barely walk.

Life can be so frustrating sometimes.

But what frustrates me the most is that I did it to myself.

When I got home, I took my race number and placed it under a magnet on my refrigerator. From this day forward I will look at it and use it as a constant reminder - “think before you do something stupid again”


The Cool Down Runner




Friday, March 27, 2015

Lingering Hip Soreness

After my internval workout on Tuesday morning, I headed home. Usually, I get a few minutes to do some stretching afterwards, but on Tuesday work was a bit overwhelming. I spent the better part of a day setting in my chair. I really didn't get to stretch at all during the day and by evening, I noticed a lot more soreness.

This soreness wraps around the hip socket. It just the kind of dull ache that wears on you mentally. I thought it might slowly go away but it has persisted over the last three days.

Normally, I would just take it easy for a few more days and let healing process take place.

This weekend, however, I have plans to run a marathon. My goal was to break the 50-54 USATF-NC State record.

Now, I am not so sure.

A few years ago, I ran OBX with a bad hamstring and finished in 2:57. What a miserable day that was.

I have put so much effort into it. I just don't want to bail on this race at this point.  I know it is probably wishful thinking that I can still run all 26.2 miles tomorrow.

The only way that I will ever know is by stepping to the starting line tomorrow morning.

Please keep your fingers crossed.

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

800s for Speedwork

We had just crossed the finish line of our first of our six 800s this morning, and Caleb made a comment about this being a particular fast interval. Yeah, I had to agree, and I was very much afraid. I view each interval as a match in a book which I pull one out and strike it. The flame burns through during my interval. Today, I, however, feared when I struck this first match, I had accidently set the rest of the book on fire. How would this effect the rest of my 800s

This is what happens when I went from suddenly running 2:42 to 2:43 800s to running a 2:33 and just a scant second behind Caleb.

The glory was quickly over. I ran my second 800 in 2:38. The third in 2:40. I came back in the forth interval with a 2:39.

Then, Steve stepped up his game and kept us honest over the last two intervals.

My legs tied up on the second lap of the 5th 800. I faded to a 2:42.

With “Uno Mas” intervals left, I wanted it to be a good one.

Steve took the first 400 out hard. I was so close on his shoulder that we were actually touched arms going through the turns. We were literally side by side the entire lap. With 300 to go Caleb came powering up. Steve responded to Caleb move. I wanted to respond. With 200 to go Caleb moved to the front. I stayed right in Steve's footsteps.  If he would have slowed down, I would have collided with him. In the last 100 meters, I surged back to his shoulder but this was as far as I got. I finished the last interval in 2:38.

Last Oct before my Spinx Marathon, I ran this same workout in 2:40, 2:42, 2:41, 2:40, 2:40, and 2:40. Today, I was markedly faster with 2:33, 2:38, 2:40, 2:39, 2:42, and 2:38. I like consistency that showed up last fall, but I like seeing the speed that was present today. I have not run a 800s this fast in 6 or 7 years.

I certainly hope it bodes well for my marathon on Saturday.

We shall see.

Again, I want to send a huge thank you to Caleb and Steve to their assistance. They pushed me far more than I could ever have pushed myself solo.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Saturday long run

My taper is in full swing as I ready myself for yet another marathon attempt. Like so many runners, my tapers are both nice and hard at the same time.

As both the intensity and duration of my workouts lesson my muscles tend to recovery faster. The spring in my step that I frequently miss on my runs starts to return.

The downside to my taper I over analyze every little thing. My quads suddenly feel a twinge. I wonder if something major is wrong. One day I feel a little extra tired. Is my recovery not going right? Or am I not eating enough.

Case in point, this Saturday I went for my long run. For no particular reason, I just did not feel right.  My body just seemed more sluggish than normal. I wondered if I needed some extra calories or I had I not slept well the night beforehand.

Really, what didn’t make sense were my splits. The more I tried to ease back and slow down; the better I felt. This just correlated in running even faster.  

There are just times where I press to hard during my workouts. Forcing something never ends well. The workout goes into a death spiral and things just get worse and worse.  The days where I say “oh well” and just roll with it, I find turn out much better in the long run.
Want to run fast? Stop worrying and just relax. Your body will take where you want to go.

Just a thought that I am passing on


The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Insanity Ladder Workout

Ever had one of those workouts that it just seemed like total insanity to do.  My workout this morning was just such a workout.

I typically plan my ladder workouts so that they are long and hard up front, followed by shorter, faster intervals as the workout is winding down. Running my workouts this way makes them very good race simulator workouts. Common sense for racing suggests that runners go out at a steady pace at which they can maintain for the entire race. Then, as they progress through the race course, they push harder and harder until they are sprinting to the finish.  

My insanity workout was a slight variant on this concept. The workout was 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400, 800, 1200, 800, and 400 with half distance recovery between each one.

Knowing this workout was coming; I can honestly say that I was dreading it. The opportunity to run out gas over the closing intervals was a very real prospect for me.

As I progressed through my workout, I realized it wasn’t as bad as I feared. Yes, it was hard. Yes, there is a certain aspect of suffering that is expected.  However, I am running each interval faster than I would normally do alone. Running faster is a good thing, right?

I really appreciate all that have been coming out in the mornings for these workouts. Paul and Megan usually joined for the warm up. I would specially like to thank Steve and Caleb for their efforts. Their participation makes an honest runner out of me on these Tuesday morning. Otherwise, I would probably onlt go up to the point where it hurts and say that it is enough. They help get me across that line.

With one more week in this eight week series of speed sessions, the time to come clean is here about my ladder workouts. Why do my workouts tend to be ladders instead of the normal 6, 8, 10, 12, or 16 x 400 or 6, 8, or 10 x 800. Well, the answer may surprise you. I lose count. Somewhere between 6 and 10, I start asking myself if that last interval was 6, was it 7, or was it 8. Yes, I still have my lap count displayed on my Garmin, but I tend to ignore the time and intervals and just keep track of the count in my head. Running ladder workouts relives me of the need to do any counting. I know the sequence of the ladder so I know exactly what is coming next. There is never a need to count. I am not opposed to thinking while running hard, but I also realize that I do not think as well when I am running hard. I prefer to use my concentration to focusing on running not counting. Anyway, I thought everyone might enjoy understanding why I love doing ladders vs. some of the more traditional type of workouts.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner    



Monday, March 16, 2015

RRCA-NC 2015 5K Master Champion

With my marathon coming up in a couple of weeks, I felt that I needed a race to shake off any rust build up. Thus, I started looking around for a good race. My first thought was to run the 4 miler at Stonecrest. This is a great RFYL race and I have run it several times. I like the course and 4 milers is a good test distance for me.

Then, I stumbled across a Salisbury 5k race put on by a friend of mine Dave Freeze. Dave’s races are always top notch, with good support, and accurate courses.  A couple of other things this race had going for it. I got a chance to catch up with some of my Salisbury running buddies, and it was the RRCA-NC 5k State Championship. Hey, if I have to run, then going after the 5k Championship is a nice perk.

Saturday morning was dreary with a heavy cloud cover and plenty of rain coming down. My new rain jacket at least kept me dry during my warm up if not a little over heated.

I finished my warm up and had only a few minutes to get to the starting line. I recognized a few guys but the field didn’t look particular strong. I guess the cold and rain kept a lot of runners away.

The horn on the fired truck sounded and we were off and running. I stayed with the lead guy through the first mile in 5:39. This first mile was a series of rolling hills. Then, the course took an uphill turn. It wasn’t necessary steep but we were climbing for the better part of mile. He was gapping me now and by a pretty good bit. I hit the two mile point in 11:41 or at 6:02 mile.

I was not breathing hard; I just couldn't seem to get any drive out of my legs. It was just one of those times where the mind and the legs are not in agreement and the legs were winning the battle. During the 3rd mile, his lead would grew even larger. Even thou, I bounced back with another 5:39, I could tell that he was gone.

There was a grassy section to cross as we entered the behind Y facility and then run around the track to the finish.   

I finished with a time of 18:06 finishing 2nd overall. This also earned me the RRCA-NC 5k State Masters’ Championship for the second consecutive year. Last year, I had picked up the title at the Beach Blast 5k in Albemarle, NC.

Overall, I give Dave and his team an “A” on this race. Saturday was a nasty day and they had everything flowing smoothly. I really like the course. If I had pushed myself a little more through the two mile point, I feel that I could run a decently fast time on it.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

3 sets of (1600 then a 400)

This morning I was having one of those especially good sleep moments. You know the kind. One of those where your head touches the pillow and then the next moment your alarm clock resonates this obnoxious sound as if some cruel joke was being played on you. Your eyes slowly emerge from behind our eye lids while your brain wonders how so many hours have passed so quickly.

For a brief moment, I considered turning over and letting sleep win out. But then, I had promised to be at PDS for our interval workout. I would probably never hear the end of it if I didn’t show up. After all, it was my workout that we were doing.

This morning workout was both fast and intense. Fast because everything was being run in quick succession. Intense because our recovery time was held to the bare minimum.  Leaving my legs overloaded with copious amounts of lactic acid.

3 sets of (1600 with a 100 recovery followed by a 400 with a 400) recovery.

To make things interesting Paul was spotting us a slight head start.

I ran 5:29, 79, 5:33, 79, then 5:46, and 82.

Possibly the wishful thinking of holding off Paul pushed me through the first two intervals. But on the 3 set my 50 year old body started to give in to the pain and suffering.

Overall, I am pleased with the workout. More than anything I am pleased that the temperature was in the 50s and rain stayed at a distance.

Up next Tuesday morning is my speed demon workout: 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400, 800, 1200, 800, and 400 with ½ recovery.

If nothing else, this should kick my legs into high gear.

See you next week,


The Cool Down Runner




Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Metric Miles – Ladder Workout

So this morning, I pulled a workout off the shelf from last fall. This ladder workout is a tough one: 3000, 1500, 800, and 2 x 400. After each interval there is just a very small window of recovery time. So why is this such a tough workout? Well, the 3000 builds up so much lactic acid in the legs and the short recovery doesn’t give the body a chance to process the majority of this lactic acid out of the blood before the next interval starts. Creating the situation where the body is trying to run faster on legs that feel like lead. Just like what happens at the end of a race.

This is also a good workout that really appreciates company so I was delighted that Paul, Caleb, and Steve joined me for it. Just knowing they are pushing through the same thing helped me push through my tough spots.

The 3000 went by in 10:41. The 1500 was 5:17. I took a nap in the 800 with a time of 2:46. I finished off the workout with a couple of 400s each in 1:19s.

On my drive home, mentally, I was turning over this workout in comparison the same workout from Oct ’14. I guess what they say “time heal all wounds” is true. For whatever the reason, my fall workout seemed so much faster. After I got home, I pulled up Athleticore to look back at my notes from this workout.  I ran 3000 – 10:32, 1500 – 5:16, 800- 2:46, 400 - 1:19, 200 – 39.  

Aside from the 3000, my splits were just about right on with my fall workout. I have no explanation as to why the 3000 was slightly slower i.e. by 9 seconds. May be I just didn’t get out as fast. The one thing that I probably should have done is capture the individual laps. Having the individual splits would have told me where I was lost most of my time. For all I know, I could have just been a second or so slower each of the 7 ½ laps.

Still, I feel good about knocking down another quiality workout.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner