Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cupid's Cup

In continuing to honor my commitment to racing more before Boston, I participated in the Cupids Cup 5k on Saturday for a little excitement and a good workout.  With no idea what to expect I threw on my backpack Saturday morning containing my racing flats and short racing tights and started a slow jog from my house, up Little Sugar Creek Greenway, and onto East Boulevard.  I felt so green and eco-friendly, neglecting the motorized transportation to travel to and from the race.  It was just a hair under 4 miles to get there and I left my house just at the right time not to have to stand around too long waiting for the race, as it was a cool morning, temps just below 30 degrees.  Arrived at the race, got my number and changed pants and ditched the jacket.  Denise was kind enough to let me store my bag under her table and about that time I heard them announce 5 minutes to race time.  Spotted J. Fish and took a quick jog with him and walked into the front of the field.  After a couple of pictures and the race director walking us up to the start line, the bullhorn sounded and we were off.  Aaron took off and gapped the field pretty good.  I settled into a small pack for the climb up East Boulevard.  I figured that I would just stick with that pack up the hill and then see if I could make a move later.  My breathing felt off and I thought it wasn't going to be my day.  Once we passed the Harris Teeter and turned right on Dilworth Road West I felt much more relaxed and in control.  The race turned left on Romany at the bottom of Latta Park and I made a concerted decision to push the hill and see if I could break up the group of 5 or 6 of us that were running together.  By the time we reached the top of the hill and turned left on Euclid the pack was split and I was sitting in 3rd place behind Aaron and the eventual winner.  Back on East, I just focused on my breathing and keeping a good turnover.  Before I knew it, Aaron was just steps ahead of me, but it seemed like every time I started pushing to get up next to him, he would push a little bit to.  I came down the hill on East, glanced back to make sure no one was in position to out kick me and put it in cruise control to the finish line.

Finish time: 16:19.  Place: 3rd Overall.  I think I not only surprised a few people, but I definitely surprised myself too.  It just gives me confidence that my plan is working and taking easy/recovery days is a good way to let my body recover and not try to run in the "grey zone" all the time, where you aren't exactly getting any benefit, but you are also not letting your body have a chance to recover.  On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I run a 6-mile loop from work at lunch, purposely slowing myself down and trying to keep the pace anywhere from 7:50 to 8:30 per mile, taking it easy and enjoying a break from work.  I think that is complimenting my workouts and long runs perfectly and allowing my body time to recover from Tuesday night workouts, Thursdays night optional workout or medium-longish run, and Saturday's long run.  All cycling has been easy, with a good 40 mile ride on Friday and a 72 on Sunday.  I think the increase in swimming is also affecting my running in a positive way.  Swimming is the best aerobic workout there is without any of the pounding and breaking down of the legs.  I've been swimming around 15,000 meters a week and I think that is helping my running more than I think it is.

On tap for tonight is another track workout, maybe 8-10 x 800m and then we'll see how the legs are for another workout on Thursday or Friday, followed by a long run on the weekend.  I'll be in Atlanta next weekend and Keith and I have signed up for the Charles Harris 10k, a relatively flat and fast race about 20 minutes from where our parent's live.  Looking forward to another race as these last two have been a lot of fun and that is precisely what I am looking for by doing more racing, FUN!

I'm trying not to get too far ahead of myself and start thinking about Boston, just taking it a week at a time and making sure to get in my quality runs, as well as all the supplemental stuff.  Still have approximately 2.5 months until Boston and that is a lot of time!  Last week was a down week in relation to mileage and I'll take another one in two weeks when I head to Utah for some snow skiing.  Really looking forward to going out there and skiing, as I didn't get the opportunity to go last year, but it looks like I might be setting up to go twice this winter.  Of course that will affect marathon training, but it will be a perfect excuse to take a down week!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Winter Flight + Updates

Blogging is hard.  Tough to justify blogging about myself, my workouts, and random stuff.  So here goes a good compilation of the last week or so.

Last Saturday, Jan. 29th, I traveled up to Salisbury for the Winter Flight 8k in hopes of testing myself a little bit.  It had been a while since I had raced an open running race and I was interested to see what type of shape I was in.  Chris and Adrian made the drive with me and we all enjoyed some trash talk along the way (there AND back for those two).  I got out to a fast start and was quickly all alone in 5th place by the first mile.  I held there for the entirety of the race as Paul was a little more than a minute ahead of me at the finish and the 6th place guy was more than a minute and a half back.  Lonely race, but exactly what I needed.  Finished it in 28:04, a vast PR from my 32:37 I ran in 2005, my first year of serious running.  Track workouts and speed work have been great so far with a 6 x 1000, 4 x 200 workout last Tuesday and some 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 minute fartleks on Thursday.   A solid 18 mile run on Saturday and a good group ride from Bicycle Sport on Sunday sealed off the week.  58 miles of running last week combined with 14,000 meters in the pool, 55 miles on the bike, and some yoga and core thrown in.  Last night was a ladder workout, 400, 800, 1200, 1600 x 2, 1200, 800, 400.  Finished the second half of the ladder stronger than the first, the goal of the workout.  More of a "plateau" workout as Murph coined it with the two miles at the top.  It's a relatively short turnaround to Saturday's Cupids Cup, but just some easy running for the rest of the week and I am looking forward to a good 5k, my first open 5k in a couple of years.  More racing is hopefully going to lead to a better result in Boston!

On the subject of the biking...my intentions from the beginning of the year has been to keep on the bike at least twice a week until the marathon is over, however I keep having bike issues!!!  In Clearwater I was wrecked thanks to a pack of over-zealous drafters and ended up with a cracked triathlon bike.  Last week as I was preparing to ride the rollers on a rainy Friday afternoon I noticed my road bike (well, I guess technically Kevin's road bike) had a sizable crack in the titanium downtube.  I mean what the heck?  My bike luck this year couldn't be much worse!  Ilan hooked me up with a sweet loaner bike for the time being and hopefully I can continue to keep my miles up over these next couple of months to maintain some sort of biking shape for the transition to triathlon season.

Changing gears a little bit and moving into the college sports arena.  Last Wednesday was National Signing Day for College Football, a day eagerly awaited by many in the south as a decisive day for the future of your respective team.  Seeing as I went to Clemson and I grew up a Florida State die hard (thanks Mom and Dad), I watched as the letters of intent poured in for both schools.  Clemson made a huge splash on signing day, picking up numerous highly rated recruits and turning an otherwise bleak football year into something to look forward to.  According to many "experts", Florida State wrapped up the #1 class in the nation, and it seems they are headed back to the storied program we all watched in the 90's and early 00's.  Clemson eked into the top 10 and left many scouts wondering how a 6-7 program can get such quality talent.  With the recruiting classes for both schools, I think the ACC is going to start moving back into a quality conference and I wouldn't be surprised to see both schools battle pretty tough over the next decade.  Although, as my Dad has always said, don't bet with your heart, but still, my bet is on Clemson!!!!  Still the number one recruit in that nation yet to decide his college choice and it's between Clemson and South Carolina so that could greatly impact Clemson's ranking.

Another Clemson note...the basketball team was picked in the pre-season to be near the cellar in the ACC thanks to a new coach and the loss of Trevor Booker to the NBA.  After last night's victory over Boston College, we moved to 6-4 in the ACC, the first time in Clemson history that a new coach has won more than 5 games in the ACC in their first year at Clemson.  Pretty impressive given the new offense that Brad Brownell installed and the departure of a couple of players that didn't think they fit into his motion offense.  The team is aggressive defensively and a couple of guys have stepped up and fit in well to the new offense.  I admit I was a little pessimistic the way the beginning of the year started, but the development of the team and offense over the season has been impressive.  Big game Saturday at home against a ranked UNC team could prove to be a solid victory on the road to hopefully the NCAA tournament!!!

This is getting mighty long, but one more thing to note sports related.  The Lakers have been in preliminary discussion to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the Nuggets.  Adrian is a front runner and somehow this year became a Heat fan after they picked up Lebron and Chris Bosh in free agency.  We have a running bet for a pair of Newton running shoes if the Heat win the title.  Needless to say, if the Lakers get Carmelo he might as well concede and buy me a pair!!!!