Friday, January 27, 2012

Vision Lost

This is not how I envisioned my training after Meagan's Olympic Trials performance. I had hoped to start running my own workouts eared to running a spring marathon. There was even talk about getting an entry into the Boston Marathon, but all of that has been put on pause. I had been having some slight discomfort in my low right side of my back, hip, groin during the last couple of runs with Meagan leading up to the Trials. In Houston, the pain wasn't getting any better, so I opted to take Saturday (the only running I did was to cheer on the runners) and Sunday off. Fast forward to today and I'm still having the same discomfort whenever I land on my right side.

I'm pretty convinced it's my SI joint and I'll find out more this Saturday when I go to see a chiropractor. I have run a bit which I'll update soon.

Since I'm not really running, check out a few recent articles about work:

Antenna Mag & Candy Washington

I didn't attend Project NY, but it's a big shoe and fashion trade show. My sense is that people way cooler that you or me browse mostly underground brands looking for the next biggest urban trends.

I don't really work on the Karhu Originals side of the business, but I wear the shoes all the time. There is something about the brand's unique history that I like. Wearing brightly colored mesh upper shoes also gets a big boring as I spend enough time in running shoes. When I visit accounts or hang out with my friends, I prefer to wear Karhu Originals. (Yes, that was a Dos XX reference).

Friday, January 13, 2012

Running with the Trials Competitors

Run I
Time: 47:57
Distance: 10.67 km
Pace: 4:30/km

Run II
Time: 29:46
Distance: 6.61km
Pace: 4:30/km

Meagan and I jogged over to the Hilton to meet up with Caitlin, and Allison Mascas and Scott MacPherson of Team Rogue Elite. The group of us jogged out to the Allen Parkway where there are no lights to cross. Lots of participants were out getting in their last runs before toeing the line tomorrow. Deena Kastor even said "good morning" as we crossed a street close to the hotel.

The hotel lobby is buzzing with activity and everyone looks fit. Both the men and women competing look smaller in person than in video interviews or pictures. Most of the participants I know are just happy to be in attendance and don't have any aspirations to actually be in the top 3. However, all wish to have a great race and take as many scalps as possible. On my second run with Jesse Armijo and Joe Moore, they both talked about picking up the carnage late in the race if they just ran a consistent pace of 5:15 to 5:20. I'm rooting for the little guys, the guys who are just happy to be in the race, the ones who hit late qualifying times at CIM or small marathons on the Gulf. They have no shot at being top 10 and little shot at being top 25, but it will be fun to watch guys like Joe and Jesse.

The rest of the day was spent hanging around the hotel and making sure Meagan had everything she needed. One interesting story that is relevant to the USATF uniform rules involves Craft. Meagan took her jersey to the uniform check-in and had no issues. On the other hand, Joe took his uniform to the check-in and came down to lunch with duct tape over the "Craft" portion of the logo but not the six dots.

After our meal, I went up to the uniform committee and simply explained that I had two athletes competing, both with the same logo and one has duct tape on, the other doesn't. I showed them my jacket and continued asking questions in the politest way possible. Craft didn't appear on the list of pre-approved brands, but  I eventually got to speak with someone who knew the rules. Turns out, they didn't know Craft was the actual apparel manufacturer and not some other sponsor which means the logo is permitted to be visible. I immediately told Joe to peel off the tape and that he would be good to rock the Elite Jersey. Problem averted!

I avoided the technical meeting and instead chatted with Pat Price of Writing About Running concerning some Karhu articles we would like him to explore. I met up with Meagan's parents and chilled in their hotel room before dinner. I ate dinner and enjoyed the very same meal I had for lunch (the steak was much better this time). I chatted with many friends running the race and wished them all best of luck. Tomorrow is going to be bad ass!

For updates on Meagan's progress during the race... follow me on twitter (@jokin359).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sketchy Run in Houston

Time: 53:57
Distance: 12.45 km
Pace: 4:20/km

Meagan and I didn't have a banner day of travel down to Houston for the Trials. We left the house well before 6 AM to give us plenty of time to park the car, check in and make it to the gate. Everything was going smooth up until the point we were seated on the plane ready to taxi out to the runway when the pilot came on over the PA and stated all flights into Philly had been grounded. Awesome! Everyone was let off the plane to hang out and we would re-board about an hour later.

Any chance of making our flight was out the window when we arrived minutes after our plane departed. We were booked on a flight that would leave 5 hours later so we killed time at Cantina Laredo, reading books and walking around. The flight to Houston was slowed further when the pilot kept informing us of a 150+ mph headwind meaning we'd arrive to Texas an hour later than expected. Other than the minor inconveniences of travel, we arrived to Houston 12+ hours after our morning started. Our spirits improved upon seeing Leo Kormanik at the airport and meeting some other BAA athletes.

We jumped on the shuttle bus destined for Hilton in downtown, but first made a quick stop at another terminal. It was a good stop as Joe Moore jumped on and we were able to catch up a bit about training, Craft/Karhu and running in general. I pushed Karhu to sponsor/help Joe out after his late qualifying run at a rinky dink half marathon on the Alabama Gulf Coast. You can read more about his story at his blog.

I got to the hotel and immediately changed into my running costume. I have never run in Houston before, so I asked Meagan which direction to run looking out Caitlin's hotel window. Downstairs I followed her suggestion perfectly, however she sent me into "el barrio." I was running through the mean streets of Houston where flashing lights, guard dogs, and barbed wire was the norm. I kept at it on high alert for the next 5-6 km ready to bolt at an aggressive yell or gunshot. Fortunately, I made it back into the city and hotel safely without really ever being in danger, but certainly not feeling secure about my route.

Later after checking out the course map of both the Trials course and the Houston Marathon, I saw that where I put in kilometers was conveniently left off the map. I think they are trying to tell participants to run where the course is and not across the wrong side of the tracks.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Meagan's Last Workout Before the Trials

Time: 74:15
Distance: 17.28 km

W/u: 25:35 for 5.70 km
W/o: 2 x 8 mins (w/ 2 mins rest), 3 x 400m
C/d: 17:50 for 3.91 km

Yesterday before calling off the workout, I wanted Meagan to do 2 x 10 mins with a couple of minutes rest and then a few 400s just to open up the gait. Since it was a day later, I shortened the workout a little. The idea was to run around 6 minute pace as comfortably as possible and get a feel for what the pace on Saturday should feel like. The final 400s were intended just to inject some speed, open the stride without stressing the system too much.

3:44. 29, 3:41.13, :32 (at 3:55/km pace);
3:40.73, 3:44.67, :38 (at 3:30/km pace);
1:25.45 (3:21/km pace), (91);
1:20.58 (3:16/km pace), (1:42);
1:22.33 (3:18/km pace) for 30:50 total and 7.67 km

Meagan nailed the final workout as was expected. I was a little concerned with how her legs would feel after only running 6 miles yesterday, but she sounded fine on the opening 8 minute efforts. Her breathing was relaxed, her gait didn't look thrown off by her sore left foot and she had a strong arm carry. She was working on the 400s, but didn't sound strained. She's ready to roll come Saturday.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Late Night Double

Time: ~11.23 km
Distance: ~50:00

I headed out the door for a solo run around the neck after work. The ice/snow that we had this morning all but melted with the temps reaching 40+ degrees. I actually felt pretty good but was discouraged by my watching losing some data and beeping uncontrollably. Yes, I know #firstworldproblems.

Icy Streets in Marblehead

Time: ~55 mins
Distance: ~11.40 km

This was another run lost due to Garmin, but it was a single loop around the neck and I know the distance pretty well. I'm guessing on the time based on glances at my watch during the run, so it's pretty close.

Today was not the best of mornings as it was planned to be Meagan's last workout before the Trials. However, an icy rain made the streets a bit slippery and I didn't want to risk it with her foot being a little banged up. It was a good decision as parts of the neck were slick to the point of not being able to toe off without a lot of lost energy. This is the weather and conditions that I hate running in.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lost Boston Night Double

Time: ~80 mins
Distance: ~19 km

I'm bummed that my Garmin geeked out and erased this run during a software update as I actually looked forward to seeing the route map. I ended my travels in Boston this evening and spent some time working at Jeff's house to kill time before the South End Athletic Company group run. I found the shortest route to the store and I made it just in time to meet up with one other guy for the run. He planned on going 5-6 miles and knew of a good loop around the city. We ended up hitting the Charles, TD Garden where the Celtics play, the North End, Faneuil Hall, another park that I didn't catch the name and then ran back into the South End (aka "gayborhood"). Most of the run I had little clue as to where I was, but then I would recognize a landmark or store. It was a fantastic loop that toured much of the city and losing the route due to technology sucks, but that's the breaks.

I logged a ton of distance today and am feeling good with how the week has started off. Another day in the books...

Marblehead Winter Morning

Time: 55:57
Distance: 13.23 km
Pace: 4:14/km

I had to get up early this morning to fit in a run and get on the road to Plymouth. I wasn't going to visit the rock where our great great great great great great ancestors landed to this great country, but instead I hit up a new run specialty store called Bayside Runner. The owner is a Princeton grad so we have the opportunity to talk about the Ivy League and all things elitist. The run this morning was dark and cold so the goal was just to get it done.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Week in Review

Time: 638:21
Distance: 150.40 km

The year has started off in a good way with me getting in a workout on Monday of 2 x 5 km, hitting the track on Friday with 8 x 600m and a long progressive run on Saturday. It will take many more weeks like this to get me back into low 2:20 shape, but I'm willing to put in the work. Staying healthy is key and doing all the exercises, drills and core to supplement the kilometers.

Starting the week off in Palm Springs in the warm sunny temps made returning to Marblehead and temps in the 20s difficult. It's always been nice spending the holidays in California, but the return trip consistently sees 50 to 60 degree shifts in temps. If the snow holds off for a few more weeks, I think I actually might make it.

Sunday Lazy Marblehead Run

Time: 74:02
Distance: 17.01 km
Pace: 4:21/km

Meagan and I had a relaxing morning at home before getting out the door around noon for an easy run through Marblehead. She is still nursing a sore foot so she only logged 14-15 km, but I added on to the run by finishing back on North Shore Dr. I am feeling a little bit of tenderness in my right glute/hamstring/back. I've started doing exercises to strengthen some of my stabilizer muscles, but I haven't been able to pinpoint what exactly needs strengthening.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Long Run with the BAA

Time: 121:05
Distance: 30.82 km
Pace: 3:56/km

Meagan and I drove into Boston this morning to run long with some members of the Boston Athletic Association. We had exchanged emails with Terry and Carly Shea who both used to run for the Hanson's and now are key members of the training group with the BAA. Terry was doing a progressive long run with a couple of the other guys and I was game to partake in the effort.

Whenever Meagan and I have run with the BAA they have looped the same 4.2 mile route. Terry apologized for the monotonous loop, but I don't mind running the same course because it eliminates surprises. The goal for the run was to run the first loop easy as a warm up, run the second loop around 3:45/km as part of Melissa's tempo, run the third loop around 3:35-3:40/km and the final loop could get a little aggressive in the 3:15-3:20/km range.

4:55.0, 4:30.9, 4:27.3, 4:21.7, 4:10.9, 4:15.6, 4:14.6;
4:08.0, 3:46.2, 3:49.9, 3:47.3, 3:44.4, 3:42.4, 3:35.8;
3:31.3, 3:36.0, 3:36.6, 3:32.7, 3:25.0, 3:27.1, 3:21.6;
3:23.6, 3:30.9, 3:56.4, 4:03.0, 4:07.6, 4:19.9, 4:16.2;
4:14.7, 3:39.7 (for .82km) = 30.82km total

The warm up lap was the warm up. The second lap was relaxed as we chatted about spring marathon plans. The third lap had us running steady but in control. I made a move to the front around the 18-19km mark and dropped the pace. Soon after, I tired and started to struggle around the 22km point. I was going to back off for a kilometer and then rally for the rest of the loop, but just when it was time to start running hard again, I saw that Terry had ended his workout and I decided to run back easy with him. I got in a solid effort and was pushed through the middle portion of the run.

Getting down to Boston once a week this winter and spring will become a priority if I want to run as fast as possible. The BAA has some very talented guys that will push me on tempos that I generally struggle to do on my own.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Marblehead Track Workout (8 x 600m)

Time: 74:47
Distance: 17.19 km

W/u: 26:48 for 5.62 km
W/o: 8 x 600m in 1:45 (w/ 200m jog)
C/d: 23:59 for 5.17 km

I decided this morning that I wanted to hit the track for a workout geared to getting my legs accustomed to running close to 3:00/km. I knew the cold temps and breeze might slow the splits, but at this stage in the game anything faster than a normal run will benefit my speed development. Fortunately the truly cold temps (sub-30 degrees) stayed away and I was able to enjoy a balmy 33 degree morning. I wanted to run 8-10 intervals of 600m at or around 70 seconds through the 400. Nothing too crazy, but fast enough to elevate the heart rate and stress the system.

1:45.52 (83), 1:47.79 (87), 1:46.93 (86), 1:48.60 (78), 1:48.29 (80), 1:48.34 (85), 1:48.74 (81), 1:46.18 for 24:00 total and ~6.40 km

Eh. My excuses: the cold, the wind and the fact that I was running in lane three. The truth: it wasn't that cold, it was windy, I tried to adjust for the longer turns.

I would feel great the first 200m when the wind was at my back and I was fresh. The middle 200m was tough as I battled the breeze and tried to maintain a consistent effort. The final 200m should have been more comfortable due to the wind, but I found myself sitting down in my stride. I usually feel strong and powerful, up on my toes when closing an interval, but today I was sinking the final straight. I found it hard to drive my knee up through propulsion. Regardless, I was able to keep the rest relatively consistent without completely wrecking the body.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Motivated to Run

Time: 48:37
Distance: 11.23 km
Pace: 4:20/km

Despite the cold, the lack of snow has motivated me to get out the door and put the time in on my feet. I was listening to NPR today and learned that the least amount of snow the Boston area has ever had was 8 inches. I know the white stuff is coming so while it's not here I'll be sure to get in the training. I should start keeping track of "wild cards," those days when you don't need to double, but do simply for the circumstance. You can then use those wild cards for later in the year when conditions are unfavorable or schedules are conflicting.

Biting Cold

Time: 59:00
Distance: 13.09 km
Pace: 4:30/km

The weather has finally turned cold here in New England, fortunately, Mother Nature hasn't brought snow to us yet. It was in the low 20s when we left the house for a run around the neck. I wasn't thrilled to be out there, but I felt better than I did last night. Maybe I'm adjusting to the temps already? Doubtful.

On days like this, the motivation to get out the door is low and the first 10-20 minutes can feel terrible. However, I fell into a comfort zone and was glad to be outside by the middle of the run. Too bad seat heaters don't exist for the first part of a run. #firstworldproblems

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Back in the Marblehead Hood

Time: 71:17
Distance: 16.01 km
Pace: 4:27/km

Meagan and I got back to the wrong coast this morning and made an early return to Marblehead. We got to see our cat, Weezy, after 10 days and she, thankfully, didn't pee or poop on anything. Both of us worked from home coordinating stuff that needed to be coordinated. At the end of the day, it was time to venture out into the cold for a run around the neck. The 60 degree swing in temps was oh so fun, but I managed to log 16 km feeling decent by the end of it. I may have even run a few strides near our home to finish things off.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

MRN's 2 x 5k Workout

Time: 69:22
Distance: 16.65 km

W/u: 27:30 for 5.94 km
W/o: 2 x 5 km at MRN's marathon pace (w/ 3 mins rest)
C/d: 1:34 for .34 km (yes, that's right!)

It was Meagan's turn to workout this week and do you recognize the workout!? Since she is in much better shape comparatively, I didn't think the opening 1.6 km (mile) of gradual uphill would have much of a influence on her overall effort. I was right.

 3:46.64, 3:44.93, 3:41.07, 3:40.31, 3:47.36 for ~18:40
3:46.06, 3:42.78, 3:40.05, 3:39.26, 3:44.29 for ~18:32
40:18 total for 10.37 km

I think this was another boring effort for Meagan based on how comfortable she looked. I was asking her to hold back on the 3rd and 4th kilometers because she would have split in the mid to low 3:30s had I not. Her foot didn't bother her too much, but we are monitoring it closely as the Trials are just days away. It's time for her to freshen up and be ready to run on the day of the race!

I probably should have run a longer cool down, but we both needed to get cleaned and packed up to make a quick business trip to Los Angeles and San Diego. It's sunny skies and warm temps today, Boston weather tomorrow.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Palm Springs Double

Time: 32:18
Distance: 7.07 km
Pace: 4:34

Meagan and I headed out the door for a short double before my dad's friends came over to enjoy a glass or three of champagne. Apparently my dad is turning into quite the lush and has more bottles of wine and champagne than an ABC store. Hey, I'm not complaining, just merely pointing out the facts. And I guess Meagan and I contributed four bottles to the collection.

Anyway, I was already prevented from enjoying most of the highest scoring Rose Bowl in history when my dad and Meagan chose to watch Hoarders on A&E instead of partaking in the college football tradition. I wouldn't say that I was rude to our guests, but I was more distracted to catch the final minutes of the game out of the corner of my eye. It didn't help that another great game came on afterward between Stanford and Oklahoma State at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Add in the fact that I was simultaneously trying to follow Japan Running News (@JRNLive) for updates on the Hakone Ekiden and watch Justin.TV for a live feed. Let's just say Meagan thought I was being a chump, but I was just being a big fan of college athletics and distance running. Sorry that I didn't want to join in on the conversation about the difficulty in finding a good house keeper!

I'm glad to have intently followed the Hakone Ekiden because Toyo University ran an incredible race to break the course record by nearly 9 minutes. They also averaged 2:59.4/km for 217.9 km between 10 men to become the first team to average under the magical 3:00/km barrier. My favorite stat of the race came when Brett Larner of Japan Running News stated that Toyo's 10 athletes essentially averaged sub-63:05 for 21 km (half marathon). That's a time only 10 American men, all pros, were able to achieve in all of 2011.

My Very Own Palm Springs Workout

Time: 87:33
Distance: 21.33 km

W/u: 24:52 for 5.39 km
W/o: 2 x 5 km at ~3:20/km (w/ 3 mins rest)
C/d: 26:36 for 5.59 km

The goal for today's workout was to run 2 x 5 km at what I hope to be marathon pace later this spring. I didn't want the effort to be too difficult as I haven't been focused on my training as of late. The pace was meant to feel up tempo but relaxed so as not to visit the well.

3:19.52, 3:19.58, 3:18.88, 3:16.90, 3:20.49 for ~16:36
3:17.40, 3:20.33, 3:15.10, 3:15.86, 3:17.09 for ~16:25
36:07 for 10.35 km

The good from the workout is that my second 5 km was faster than the first and I felt relaxed running around 3:18-3:20/km. The bad from the workout is when I tried to push on the slight downhill section from 1.5 km to 3.9 km all I could manage was 3:15 efforts. It felt like I was running much faster in terms of turnover meaning my legs aren't used to moving that fast. Aerobically I was very content and comfortable in those ranges, but I'll have to do some speed work to get used to spinning the legs faster in order to get back to feeling relaxed at 3:00-3:10/km.

I have to remember that it's only January 2nd. I'm healthy, ready to train hard and have lots of time before any race.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Week in Review

Time: 659:24
Distance: 148.12 km

This week saw a drop off in distance as I'm tapering alongside Meagan's schedule. I was able to run some hard strides a couple of days this week which is something I never do, but always enjoy doing. It's difficult coming to the end of a cold run and then putting in several hard strides. Being in California has taken away that excuse so I have taken advantage of feeling good (warm) at the end of a run and striding out 4-6 times.

Easy Palm Springs Double

Time: 32:23
Distance: 7.01 km
Pace: 4:37/km

I got out the door with Meagan for a double run before dinner. We ran the same loop as a couple of days ago at an easy pace. My legs were feeling good and I started toying with the idea of working out tomorrow. I might was well take advantage of the warm conditions while here. After the run I did a few long strides to burn off some extra energy.

Starting the Year Off Easy

Time: 61:05
Distance: 13.03 km
Pace: 4:41/km

Meagan and I were joined by Jenna Wrieden on the run this morning around Palm Springs. She and her boyfriend, Ryan Cole, came to visit us for NYE. We almost made it to midnight too! After attempting to get Ryan to borrow some of my gear to come on the run, we finally had to give up and leave him at home. The two women and I headed out the door for an hour of easy running through town. I tried to take Jenna around to see some of the more interesting neighborhoods and parks.

We decided there needs to be a winter marathon or half marathon here in Palms Springs as the town is completely flat and the weather is idea. It might be a little difficult to find 42 km in and around the city, but the conditions would be absolutely perfect in January. It's easily understood why so many people come to the desert in the winter.