Travel Day and an Impromptu Treadmill Workout

I have not had time to update the blog since the 18th. My family and I went to Texas to visit family. I will post a couple blog posts about my running experiences down in Texas especially our run down by the San Antonio River Walk. It was a tough day though to get back into town. Here in Connecticut it was not much different than Texas temperature wise. My dad came to pick us up at the airport after we left Austin at 5am.

The plan was to get in and squeeze in a workout before I started back training clients. The AC in our SUV broke somehow so by the end of the drive home I was feeling pretty hot and dehydrated.

I decided that hitting the track with a heat index of 97 might not be the best choice. I opted for a treadmill workout instead. Fartleks are perfect for me on the treadmill. I have a hard time with my endurance and pace on the treadmill. Hard and fast paces on the treadmill allow me to focus on good form, fast foot turnover, as well as my landing mechanics without a loss of form that I would see creep in, if running for distance on the treadmill.

My workout today was as follows:

1 mile warmup easy pace

6x .25 miles at 5k pace

6x 200 meters at 1 mile pace

6x 100 meters at sprint pace (10% grade)

Recover no more than 1:30 between repetitions.



2016 Nutmeg Games-A Recap

IMG_5363Yesterday was the 2016 Nutmeg Games in New Britain, CT. It was my first running in any event in the Nutmeg Games. The games are put on by the same people who put on the CT Master’s Games (30+) I competed at in May . They do a phenomenal job putting the events together.

I went into this run with a lot of trepidation. I have been nursing some nagging little leg issues which I mentioned in a previous blog update. It got bad enough at one point that I went to a doctor and got an all clear on an x-ray on my ankle. That put my mind at ease but the issues was still there and really needed rest. I went in hopeful but realistic about how I would run. On the other hand my oldest daughter was going to be competing as well, so I was really excited for her.

As always the night before a race or competition when I need rest the most I just never seem to be able to fall asleep, Friday night was no different. When my alarm went off at 4:45am I felt like I had just fallen asleep. Thankfully I am a morning person and wake us fast. I quickly set about getting our stuff together even though I went over it about 5 times the night before. Then as is my usual pre-race ritual I go to Dunkin Donuts and get a bagel with light cream cheese and coffee. America runs on Dunkin, and so does this guy.

By now everyone is awake and ready to head out. We arrived at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium at 7:20am. It is only just over an hour drive. Check in for the Nutmeg Games was already underway. There is no same day sign up or change or events, so it is really an easy process. You get your bib and shirt within minutes. The line is really quick and the staff is friendly as always. The shirts have a cool CT state seal on them, but I wish at this point they were not cotton. Maybe I am just spoiled by tech shirts. Jordan and I got our stuff and went back to the car to find my wife and youngest daughter who came to support us.

We set up our umbrella to ward off the sun which was already strong. Then we headed to the long jump which was to be Jordan’s first event. They had multiple flights of long jumpers so her flight took forever to get going. We were already in the sun for almost two hours before her first jump. We met an amazing mother and daughter who were also competing in the long jump. The mother watched Jordan practicing and spent about fifteen minutes working with her. The people you meet at these track and field events are great and always willing to help. My youngest daughter while too young to compete still kept practicing her long jumps to the point of being totally exhausted. If you have not already you should watch the video of her on my Twitter or Instagram account. It is pretty darn funny and one of the best moments of the weekend. Jordan had never really done any track and field, and many of the kids were on a track team or club or came with coaches. Jordan did her four jumps, getting further each time and finally on her final jump nailed her longest jump of the event. It would be good enough for 5th place. Considering her lack of true training I was so proud of her.

Finally completing Jordan’s long jump we were able to escape the heat and retreated to shade under the stadium. At this point I realized the track events were way behind. I also realized how tired I was supporting Jordan during the long jump and how dehydrated I was already and I had not even done any event yet. I am glad I decided against doubling in the 800 meter and the 2 mile.

Here is my only gripe of the whole event. According to the schedule we should have been done by about 1:30. Jordan did her second event the high jump which was to be her last event. Then we had to wait around for her to do the 100 meter and 200 meter dash. She did not run her final event the 200 meter until around 3:45. I did not start my one and only event the 2 mile until after 4pm.

As I mentioned in my Friday post I was staying positive and hoping for the best. Between the heat, and being on my feet I had nothing left and I had not even started running.

I struck up a conversation with one of the other competitors. I remarked how small our heat was. I guess the heat and the fact that the event ran so late we went from about 23 runners in the 2 mile (of all ages), to about maybe 10 or 11. It was a war of attrition against the heat and the long day. The other runner told me he was shooting for about a 6:30 pace for each mile, and suggested I pace off of him. He was in the 60-64 age group but is easily one of the best runners there, I have seen him the last two years at the Master’s Games and I know he has a ton of experience if not a ton of ability as well.

The race began and I did a great job of drafting off of my new running partner. I stayed with him and on pace until the final turn of the first mile. My left ankle which was my inside ankle really started to hurt especially on the turns. I glanced at my watch. It was 5:51 as I came around with 200 meters left on my fourth lap of the first mile. I was starting to fall off my pace but still hit the first mile at just over 6:30. I knew I was off the runner who I was pacing off of but I was still ok for where I wanted to finish.

Over the next three laps I was steadily losing ground off the pace I was shooting for, and when I hit the final 100 meters I did surprisingly have a decent kick left which I needed to avoid a bad race result. I ended up finishing about 10 seconds off the pace I wanted. The disappointment I felt was wiped away immediately by what would be the highlight of the competition for me. It had to be my daughter returning the favor and meeting me at the finish line to congratulate me and meet with a nice cold towel to cooldown.

My final time was almost 30 seconds slower than my 3000 meter time from May. All things considered with the heat, standing around on my legs all day, my ankle injury etc I am ok with where I finished. No excuses, as I said in my Friday blog post. My time was my time, and I will certainly be looking to improve next year.

All in all it was a great experience. We will definitely be back. From registration to bib pickup, to concessions, comradery among competitors, the Nutmeg Games like the CT Master’s Games is a great event and will be on my schedule next year.

A P.S. here. I have to give a huge thank you to my wife who came out to support my daughter and me. She truly does support us both and is always there for us.

Always Rise Again

IMG_5344Well it is a very good thing runners, at least in my opinion, are resilient and usually optimistic. I will be calling upon those same qualities in myself tomorrow. I have been in a funk since racing on Father’s Day.

I have raced a few times this year and each race I have set a new PB. Unfortunately I think with how hard I pushed myself that it has left me dealing with some nagging little injuries. From blisters, to an infected toe, and now a soft tissue issue in my ankle, and then seeing my Master’s Ranking from last year drop from 25 to 37 (after they updated the standings), races that got postponed due to weather, to say the last month has been humbling would be an understatement.

I will not let this last month define 2016 for me. I will not let this past month take away all the hard work I have put in since January. I have worked far too hard for that. From the long miles in the cold, to the sprints and speed work at the track not to mention my strength training, I have put in hours upon hours of work.

Tomorrow I am competing in the 2016 Nutmeg Games. I have scaled back my expectations. I was going to double in the 800 meter race, and the 2 mile race. I decided with injuries I should focus on just the 2 mile run. I figure I am driving over an hour and I am going to run more than twice around a track. I am going to focus on the positive and know that I am going to be racing more against myself. I still have a certain time I am aiming for, but that is now a bit tempered and more realistic. I will not use my ankle or reduced training miles as an excuse. My time will be my time and I will own that fact, but tomorrow I will give it what I have for two miles.

On the other hand, I am also so excited that my oldest daughter is competing in a few events of her own. I will be supporting her there and will be without a doubt her biggest fan.

So as I said, my times will be my times. This one event will not define me or my racing season of 2016. There are times we fall, and there are reasons for our falls. Sometimes it is our own doing, sometimes things happen, but we need to own the results of our falls and rise again. We cannot be consumed by our excuses or failures or we will miss what we could learn.

So the next time you fall, examine your reasons and excuses, but rather than use them to minimize what went wrong, use those reasons and excuses to learn and to rise again.

Tomorrow I will rise, regardless of what the time on the clock tells me.

Thursday Track Workout 7/7/2016

Track ShoesDespite a brutally hot and humid day I hit the track for a scheduled workout. Today was some repeats followed by same distance float recovery runs. The repeats were run quick but were not sprints of 100 meters, with a 100 meter float. The fast 100’s are great for working your fast twitch muscle fibers. Also, by running the 100’s at a fast pace it helps focus on running form, including foot strike, and foot turnover which can break down when fatigue sets in.

This was followed up by running the stadium stairs at the local high school along with some core. So the workout outlined would look as follows:

Dynamic stretching. I am a stickler for using my dynamic warmup circuit before runs I know are going to be tough ones as it may help delay the onset of fatigue.

1 mile easy pace. (6:58-7:18)

8×100 meters with 100 meter floats. There is no stopping in between repeats until all 8 are completed.

Rest 2-3 minutes.

8×100 meters with 100 meter floats this time running in the opposite direction on the track.  There is still no stopping between repeats until all 8 are completed.

Rest 2-3 minutes.

8 stadium stair sprints. The walk down the stairs is the recovery. Be sure to alternate between which foot is the push off foot each sprint.

I then finished off with some core exercises. What I did today though was to add in a set of supine straight leg raises in between sets of core exercises to get my hips a little extra work, and actually help them to feel less tight as I moved from core exercises into my static stretching cooldown.

This was not a bad workout considering the heat and humidity and the time of the day.