"If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon" - Emil Zatopek

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Training Update: Aug 8 - 21

August 8th -14th

Most of this week was spent at Hilton Head Island. It was fantastic to be away from work for awhile and to be able to spend time with the family on the beach. That is basically all we did and I loved it.

Straight Up Chillin'

Straight Up Nappin'

Straight Up Momin' It

The training runs were nice because of the scenery change and they were incredibly flat. I also saw deer one morning which is always cool. However, even though I was up early, I don't think it was every much below 80 and the humidity was high but I have gotten used to that. Saturday was a 15 mile long run in Charlotte and I ran the 2nd half of the Thunder Road Marathon course. I hate I will not be able to run that marathon this year as it thoroughly kicked my ass last December and I want revenge. But it will come in due time.

Total mileage: 51

Aug 15 - 21st

The weather cooled a bit and I was able to enjoy some runs in the 60s. Oh, I can't wait for more weather like this. Below are the stress workouts which I was successful in achieving goals.

Stress 1: 10 x .25 mile @ 77-81 pace with .25 mile jog recovery (1 mile warm-up & cool-down)
Stress 2: 3.5 mile Progression Tempo run starting at 6:30 and finishing at near 6:00 pace (1-2 mile warm-up and cool-down)
Stress 3: 11-12 miles steady state (7:00-7:20 pace)
I really enjoy the Steady state runs as they are still long but at a nice quick pace. I will also add the 6th .25 mile on my interval work, I accidentally dropped a 74 second run. Whoops! Sunday of this week, I was totally TKO'ed with some sort of illness. It was a struggle to get out of bed and felt nauseous all day on Sunday. But as quickly as it came, it was gone.

I'm looking forward to next week as I prep for the Greekfest 5k and I hope to finally break the 18 mark and then I begin my specific phase training for the Richmond Marathon. Wahoo!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I'm Back

After a long hiatus, I am back. I have still been running and training and I have two race updates to follow.  As previously noted, I have had little opportunity to access my home computer as my wife works to become a professional blogger.  Please visit her blog to help her realize her dreams.
I promise to do better about updating training, race recaps, and hopefully some other interesting running related posts.  However, based upon my viewership, I may just be typing this to myself.  But if not, please enjoy!

Blue Points 5k

August 6th was the Blue Points 5k sponosred by Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the Carolina Panthers.  I was looking forward to this race as it was the official kick off to my vacation and I anticipated going under the 18 minute mark for the first time. I drove up to the race by myself and was getting in my pre-race warm up in some extremly muggy weather. I'll spare you the details but just say there was an emergency detour during the warm up which extended it a bit longer than I had planned.  As a result, my last half mile of warm up had me running around a sub-7 minute pace to get to the start line prior to the race.  I managed to get there with one minute to spare. 
As the race started, we took a quick turn and headed up a small hill.   At this point, there were lots of people running well under 6 minute miles which was pretty surprising.  But as we crested the hill the crowd began to thin out. I ended up behind Alice Rogers and Lat Purser who in an earlier post you will recall, I was concerned about being behind and thought I may have been pushing to hard so I slowed up.  However, this time I decided to stay with them.   Also there was Michelle Hazelton and her boyfriend Thomas Eggers.  At one point, they were discussing doing a couples long run together.  Talking about being the 5th wheel.  Anyways, Michelle and Thomas drifted back as I stayed with Alice and Lat.  After cresting the hill, there was a nice downhill and I turned in a 5:36 first mile.  The second mile has some rolling hills and I could definatley feel them.  At the 1.5 mile point the rolling hills essentially become an uphill for the next mile.  During this time, I was staying with Alice and Lat.  Lat started to pull away and Alice began to fade a bit but then locked in beside me for the big uphill.  In most recent races, I usually end up running solo but it was nice to have a runner near by during the race because it would have been easier to slow down further without someone to help keep the pace.  Alice and I apparently locked into a nice solid pace together as we worked up the hill. 

Synchronized Running
Mile 2 time was 5:51.  Going into the Mile 3 I knew sub 18 was still in play, but the weather and hill were working against me.  As we crested the hill, I began to pick up the pace as best I could and take advantage of the downhill.  I completed Mile 3 in 5:57 and as I made the turn the final straight away I could see Top Cat Cheerleaders and the clock which was counting 17:50, 17:51... I gave it all I had left but was not able to eclipse the 18 minute mark.  Official time: 18:05.  However, given the course and weather, I was pleased with my time and I hope with the next 5k to finally break the elusive 18.
There were some pretty fast runners at the race so I was only able to work out 22 overall and 4th place in my age group.  This marked the first time in the RFYL Grand Prix this year that I was unable to claim an age group award.

Recap: Good race, rough weather and looking forward to what's next.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Run For Life/Cause - 4 Miler

Saturday July 16 was a was the Run for Your Life 4 Miler which has some historical significance for me. It was at the race two years ago that I had an eye opening. I had been running race basically just to run and had begun to identify faces in the crowd I wanted to try to beat.  Theoden Janes was one because he is a local running celebrity due to his blogging/writing/facebooking.  It was at the race two years where on mile 3 I was passed by Theoden and some guy with star tatoos on his calves.  Turns out the starred calves belong to my buddy Steve Saal who was running his first race and totally smoking me.  This is when I realized if I wanted to be competitve I needed to train.  So I have used this race as a symbolic turning point, and Saturday was no different.  The goal here was to see how far I had come since last year.  Also, this would be my last race as 31 year old so I needed to prove my youth.
After sweltering heat earlier in the week, Saturday providing some suprising cool (for summer in the South) temperatures.  It was in the 60s with some humidity but not too bad.  The race was near our house so I ran to the starting line and used that as part of my warmup.  Once I got the RFYL store, I grabbed my chip and threw on my Ronins and completed my warm up.  As I made my way to the starting line, I lined up close to the front.  I heard some guys chit chatting and one guy asked another nearby what kind of time he was shooting for.  The guy responsed some around 20:30.  I thought holy crap this guy is going to win (and he did).
Once the race started, I tried to execute my race plan.  The plan this time was to be more agressive than usual at the beginning of the race. The first 3/4 of mile is all uphill and I was trying to stay close the 2nd pack of runners.  I was feeling pretty good as we topped the first hill.  I could see head the guy shooting for 20:30 already had a sizable lead over everyone.  I was pleased with my first mile of 5:47 and feeling pretty decent.  As we moved into the 2nd mile the pack was picking up the pace and I was doing my best to hang on but they were pulling away.  The 2nd mile started with a little hill but then was predominantly flat and turned in a 5:42 time on it.  However, I was starting to feel the effects of the agressive start combined with the hills. As I entered the 3rd mile, the wheels came off and I slowed dramatically.  I was passed by two runners during this mile and desperately just wanted to end the race.  I struggled through this mile and ran a 6:13! Very disappointing.  There was one last big hill in the 4th mile and as I approached I dug deep to give everthing I had left.  I was able to recover and turn in a 5:50 mile 4.  My official finishing time was 23:50.

Overall, I was pleased.  I had hoped to finish in the 23:30 - 23:59 range.  The 4 mile distance is a pretty unfamiliar and challenging race, but I enjoyed it.  Also the after party included beer and I am always a fan of that.  Additionally, this race gave a portion of its proceeds to various charities which was cool and all of those organizations had volunteers out to help with the race.  My personal favorites were the war veterans from the American Legion who were spread out all over the course.  Most wearing cut off blue jean or black leather jackets and on motorcycles.  Not your typical road race crowd, but very cool to see them out there.

I finished 2nd in my age group, 20th overall and scored RFYL 4 Miler visor.  I am still trying to figure out if I am visor guy.  The jury is still out. Picture to follow soon.

As mentioned, I consider this a litmus test to gauge my progress since I have returned to running so here are my previous results. I am happy with where I am now, but excited to see how much faster I can get.

2009 - 29:29
2010 - 27:09
2011 - 23:50

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

And The Heat Goes On

My apologies for the long delay.  I was finally able to get a few minutes on the home computer so I could update the blog.  Computer time is a hot commodity in the Guyer household.  The past two weeks have been consistent in that it has been hot and I have been training.  The long run on June 25 was a nice reprieve from the heat and humidity but that was about the only break. Work has also been pretty busy lately and distracting me from my ability to keep on blogging.  My next race is still a couple of weeks away so the material is a little dry. I will say I am really looking forward to the next race as it is was a milestone race for me two years ago and I am anxious to see how far I have come.

Final note, I did make it out to the McAlpine Greenway  on 7/2 which also includes a 5k course.  It was a course I would run in high school and it was very nostalgic to be out there. I will definitely be heading back out there.

M – 6 @ 7:49
T – 10 x .25 Repeats
W – 6.02 @7:52
T – 5.5 (3.5 Tempo @ 6:14)
F – 6.08 @ 7:46
S – 14.06 @ 7:45 pace
Total: 47.9 Miles

M – 6 @ 7:50
T – 5 x .75 Repeats (5:40-5:50)
W – 5.12 @7:58
T – 8 (6 Tempo @ 6:37)
F – 6.00 @ 7:45
S – 12.01 (Steady State @ 6: 58 pace)
Total 46.0 Miles

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Gotta Blank Space Where Mind Should Be

In a recent article in Runner’s World, Peter Sagal from NPR’s “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me,” discusses how he became to be involved with a Personal Trainer and how it has impacted him.  In the article he states the following:

We amateur athletes are peculiarly devoted to our fitness, and our obsessions can sometimes be a burden to our loved ones and a mystery to everyone else. It is a blessing to have, not all the time but for about an hour a week, someone who will say, "Yes, I understand. You devote hours and hours to competing in races you'll never win, you want to build up muscles that your office job will never require, you want to throw yourself against walls just to see how far you can bounce. I get it, and I'll help you." Click here for more

I can deeply relate to this statement.  I am not winning races and I am past my prime to ever achieve what could have been my fastest times.  But that does not stop me from training and working hard to achieve what is the best I can be now, and being the best I can be now has become hugely important to me which was made painfully clear as I prepared for the Summer Breeze race on Saturday.

On Friday, my favorite actively touring band was paying a visit to Charlotte.  And for some reason, Phish loves to tear it up when they play here. (Note: the title of this post are Phish Lyrics). I love to see this band and that usually involves a few cervesas, but now that I am working with Coach Mark Hadley we limit the number of races I am doing to maximize the training and improvement in between the races.  I had a tough decision to make: go see Phish and run the race in whatever condition I was in or stay home and be rested for the Saturday morning race that I had no chance of winning.  I chose the latter, and to thank me Phish delivered what is debatably a top 10 performance since the band returned from hiatus.

On to race day…Summer Breeze has a staggered start so that the men and women run separately.  This is pretty cool because as a male runner I get to watch the top female finishers come in prior to my race.  I watched the top 5 ladies come in and then finished my warm up with a few strides and I was ready to go.  A little late to the start line so I ended up having to work my way through the crowd to get a good spot.  I know people love this as much as I do when some dude squeezes into your personal space and then just stays there.  Well, I was there only a short time, and then we started.  Here is a video of the start.

I quickly moved up and watched Paul and the lead pack pull away.  My goal today was to come in at 18:00 but really that meant 17:59.    I wanted the first mile to be a 5:40. The first mile is up and down hills, but I was staying on pace.  I had a few guys around me and we were staying close.  There was one guy (who apparently had a lot friends because I quickly learned his name was AJ) who had a strange strategy.  Anytime someone would pull up beside him, he would kick into a higher gear for about 5 steps and slow back down.  Then repeat.  He was also constantly looking over his shoulder to ensure he was executing his strategy.  I am not sure why but this annoyed me.  He kept this up for the first .75 of mile and then I dropped him didn’t see him anymore.  And I finished the first mile in 5:40.  Just as planned. (Here is video of the first mile marker and finish)  The 2nd mile I was targeting 5:50 because I knew there were a couple big hills.  From here on out people were a little more strung so there was a bit more of solo running.  I passed a few people on the second mile and got a shout out from Todd Capitano who was driving by (Thanks Todd).  Up a big hill and then down and then back up another big hill.  That is about all I remember of the 2nd mile. I did turn in a 5:55 so a little off pace here. By the third mile, I had a joined a little group consisting of Caleb Boyd and Gordon Bynum.  We traded places back and forth of the last mile.  I knew if I wanted to beat these guys I was going to have to out kick them.  I wanted to try to kick early to see if I could get a large enough gap before the final stretch because my legs were fatigued and I did not think I would have much left at the finish line.  As we entered the park, we all picked up the pace.  I made a move to pass Gordon and began to close in on Caleb. As we were making the last turn, Gordon passed me back and made a move on Caleb but Caleb surged to beat Gordon.  I crossed the line in just over 18 minutes.  Officially, 18:05 (18th Overall, 2nd Age Group) (Video of the first mile and finish)

After the race, I cooled down with my favorite running partner, Ms. Lily Grace.  Then headed over to sample the free beer.  Always refreshing even if was MGD64 and only 8:45 in the morning.  My parents and family were out to watch the race and that was great.  We hung around and talked for a bit.  I received my sunglasses and large sippy cup for my age group award, and then it was time to head home.  It was already getting quite hot.

Summary: I think I still have some work to do on my race strategy.  I am at point in my running where I continue to get faster.  When I race, I am still not quite sure what I am capable of so I don’t want to go out too fast and crash and burn nor do I want to waste any valuable seconds by going to slow.  And while I did not win today, I did set a 18 second PR.  I am so close to the sub 18 that I may have to sneak another 5k in just to get one on the record books.  And even though I missed a phenomenal Phish on Friday, I have a PR in the books to show for it.  And like Peter Sagal people may not understand the obsession to a sport where you may never win, but I get it and I am proud to be a part of the peculiar bunch they call amateur athletes.

Bonus Photos:

Week of June 13th- 19th

This was a down week as I tapered slightly to be fresh for the Summer Breeze 5k on Saturday.  The weather has cooled a bit (from 90s to 80s) which has been nice.  Tuesday morning was my only quality workout of the week before the race.  I ran 2 miles at 6:13 pace followed by 3 .25 mile intervals at about 5:20 pace.  The weather was in the 60s for that run, and I really enjoyed it.  Otherwise, a week of easy runs leading up to Summer Breeze. And of course my Sunday run with Lily in the baby jogger.

Total 35.1 Miles

Monday  - 5.34 mi @ 42:31 (7:57 pace) 
Tuesday - 2mi/.25mi Int  -  - 2.75 mi  @ 16:30.00 (6:00 pace) 
Wednesday - 5.92 mi @ 46:21 (7:49 pace)
Thursday  - 5.16 mi @ 40:12 (7:47 pace) 
Friday  - 3.04 mi @ 23:33 (7:44 pace) 
Saturday - Summer Breeze 5k (Road Race)  5K Road Race  @ 18:05.00 (5:48 pace)  Place: 18 
Sunday  - 3.34 mi