Friday, July 31, 2009

A Workout to Remember

My workout last night was one for the ages, but not because of the workout itself. I drove out to River Falls, WI to run with my college teammates Kyle and Justin and a current UWRF runner, Scotty. We were going to go to the UWRF track to do a 5 mile tempo run at goal marathon pace. The track and football field was setup for the Kansas City Chiefs training camp as they hold their camp on the campus there every summer. Practice starts today so we showed up to get our workout in the night before the place turned into a zoo. As we got going on the workout we were hitting pace real well and everyone was feeling good until the 2nd mile.

During the 2nd mile, two people in red shirts came out to the track to tell us we had to leave the track. Needless to say, we weren't going to stop just because a couple guys told us to when they had no real authority. Both of them were working for the campus for the training camp, one of them was a former football player and "track athlete" for the university. We had only 20 minutes left at that point so we just kept going. The two guys continued to yell at us quite disrespectfully each time we went by, so I finally said, "If you want us to stop, then catch us!" Kyle and Justin also had their own things to say. Eventually, the former "athlete" got on the phone and 3.5 miles in the campus police arrived and our workout came to an end.

We could all tell right away the campus policeman thought it was ridiculous that he had to come out here to deal with something like this. We explained our story and that we were doing nothing wrong and that there were no signs telling us to stay off the track. He fully agreed with us and decided to talk to the head of the facilities, a former coach of ours no less, to let him know this call was ridiculous. We still left the track and ran over to the River Falls High School track to do 2 more miles at pace. On our way over, we spotted the two guys who had gone on a power trip, and needless to say when they saw us coming, they both went and hid inside the hockey arena!

We finished our workout at the high school track but we were all still fuming and had the adrenaline pumping even on our cool down run after the workout. Justin even ran 100 meters backwards during the final 2 miles of the tempo and kept his pace!

This report of the situation is much calmer than it would've been had I written this post last night. I felt it would be better to sleep on it before I posted. I don't normally badmouth people unless they really get me fired up but one thing that will always get me fired up is a complete disrespect for runners, especially by football players, and especially when we know we are doing nothing wrong. However, this workout/moment takes the cake for me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Racing Update

In the last week I have run three short distance races, all with something good to take away from them. Last Saturday I ran at the first annual Jammin' Jamaican Run in Wells, MN. I ran both the 5K and the Mile race there, winning the mile and placing 4th in the 5K. It was a cross country style race, something I hadn't done in almost 3 years! It proved to be a great challenge for me but it was a lot of fun to try it again. The course proved to be fairly slow with a number of 180 degree turns and a few hay bails to hurdle so times certainly were not very fast. I ran an 18:57 in the 5K and 5:39 in the mile but running hard and competing in a different style for me was a very good experience. The best part for me was to be able to spend the weekend with a great friend and his family. It was great to get away from the routine of my summertime life in the Cities and to just forget about all the other things going on.

The week concluded with me running 75 miles, my highest of the TCM training so far. I'm planning to hold steady around 70-80 miles per week for the next couple weeks before ramping up to close to 90 miles per week. I've never done that before so we'll see what my body can handle.

The third race of this past week was on Wednesday night in downtown Minneapolis. It was the annual Torchlight 5K, run just prior to the Aquatennial Torchlight Parade down Hennepin Avenue. I've run this race 3 times before but not since 2004. When I finally arrived and parked, I barely had enough time to run to get my BIB and my shirt at the Basilica, get back to my car, change and get to the starting line. I got to the line a little frustrated because I didn't feel like I was able to warm-up the way I wanted to but I couldn't do anything about it. The horn blew and I took off flying off the starting line. There were thousands of people lining the streets cheering, and thousands of people running as well. I went out way too fast and I paid for it on the 3rd mile but ultimately it worked out. I ran a 17:41, my fastest 5K since my last college track 5K over 2 years ago. I felt the legs start to burn at the start of the final mile which told me I was definitely pushing the pace. I finished somewhere in the top 60 but since this was a fun run, no official times were kept and no places were recorded. I don't know exactly how many people ran but there was at least 4,000 to 5,000 in it if not more than that.

My next race now is a more serious race for me, a half-marathon in Mora, MN on August 15th. It will be my best test so far to see how my training is going for me. I'm looking forward to focusing on my training for the next 3 weeks without any racing interruptions though. The races are a lot of fun to do and good opportunities to test myself but they can sometimes throw off the training of a given week. I have some interval workouts coming up as well as some very good tempo workouts and of course some quality long runs. I'm doing a long 16-17 miler in Stillwater tomorrow morning with a friend of mine, Mike Reneau. It will be a good hilly long run which will also be a good workout for me, above and beyond just running the long distance.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Great Week of Training

This week has certainly been my most productive training week of the summer so far. On Thursday I completed my first two-a-day of the summer. I plan for two to three of these a week as August hits. Thursday I ran an easy 4 miles in the morning with my WMHS runners and then headed out to River Falls to do some mile repeats with two college teammates in the evening. Kyle ran 8 miles and Justin and I did 5 miles each. We averaged around 2:30-2:45 recovery time in between each one. The wind on the track was unusually light which was great for running well on the track. I ran 5:51, 5:50, 5:48, 5:48, and 5:43 for my 5 miles. I ran the first 4, took the 5th mile off and ran the 6th one. After that I ran alternating laps to pace Kyle through his final 2 mile repeats. I ran the 400s in 79, 81 and 77 seconds respectively. Kyle ran his 7th and 8th miles in 5:24 each, giving Kyle a very good indication that he is running very strong right now.

All 3 of us that did the workout are preparing for the Twin Cities Marathon in the fall. Twin Cities will be Kyle's first career marathon, it will be my 8th marathon and 4th Twin Cities, and it will be Justin's 5th career marathon and 4th Twin Cities as well. Justin is also an ultramarathoner and will be running a 12 hour run in Milwaukee during Labor Day weekend.

This workout gave me a good indication of my fitness at this point in my training. I am already feeling good about it, especially with this workout being my first faster workout since my last marathon two months ago. I have run 56 miles so far this week with an 11-12 mile run planned for tomorrow. I ran 15 miles bright and early this morning along Summit Avenue in St. Paul. I pushed the pace in the middle 5 miles of the run from approximately the 21 mile mark to the finish line of the Twin Cities Marathon course. The long run felt great and the weather was phenomenal.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Time for an update

It's been a little while since I last posted so I figured an update was overdue. I've been running pretty steadily over the last couple of weeks, getting in 60 and 64 miles over the last two weeks. I ran an 8K road race in Blaine, MN on the morning of the 4th of July to test out the strength and recovery of my left hamstring. I didn't push the pace, just ran a good effort to make sure my hamstring could go fast again before I ramped up my training for Twin Cities. The race went well and the hamstring felt good the whole way. I ended up running 30:39 for 8K and placed 5th overall. Not too bad considering I was not racing at all.

I am aiming for somewhere between 65 and 70 miles this week with today being an off day for me. I am doing a two-a-day tomorrow for the first time, running an easy 4-5 miles with my WMHS runners and then doing a hard workout with Justin and Kyle in River Falls, WI tomorrow night. It will be my first up-tempo/interval type workout of the summer (with the exception to Saturday's road race). I'm looking forward to doing a harder workout with some good training partners, something I don't always get in my neck of the woods.

My next race is on July 18th in Wells, MN. It is a cross country 5K and mile set of races raising money for a missions trip to Jamaica this winter. The race is being organized by my friend Justin. If you're looking for a fun race and a change of scenery in terms of getting off the roads and racing on some soft stuff, make the trip down to Wells. It should be a lot of fun! There is a link to race info on the right side of the page under 2009 Races, it's called the Jammin' Jamaican Run.

I hope the summer is going well for everyone's training. It will fly by quick and the fall will be upon us very soon!