Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Last training day

It started 9 months ago on Nov. 1st with a 6:55 mile run.  Still suffering from pubalgia symptoms at the time, I was wearing a hernia support belt and long tights.   A week later, 800s on the track and by Nov 18, my first workout with spikes - 400m repeats - averaging only about 80 sec.

Tonight, my training season ended well... under a full moon on this last day in July at MTSU's Dean Hayes Track.  It was warm and humid, mid-80sº at dusk.  I was sweating hard after warmups.

I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do tonight at first, but I decided I needed more education.  Never enough.

I always train in lane 2 or 3 so I decided to do a race pace 400m in an outside lane just to get the feel of it and the reference points.   I remember how disorienting it was to run at Vandy in lane 8, so I set my blocks to the 400m start in lane 7.  After warmup, I put my new spikes on and did some short striders, a blocks start and then walked the entire 400m in lane 7 going over my race plan.

I was nervous.  What if I ran a disappointing time?  What if I rigged up?  I decided I needed to give it a go.  I set my timer to 27/28 splits (55).  Starting from blocks with a beep command, I hit the first 200 just under 27, call it 26.75.   I attacked at 220 meters, well into the turn and hit the third 100 mark on split at 41 sec.  My last 100 was about 14.5, bringing me home in about 55.5.   That is about as fast as I can run.
600m warmup, stretches, drills 
Puma Evospeed spikes on 
400m - 55.5 (~26.75, 28.75) 
blocks starts on the curve 
200m - 26.5
Note about the training times I post here.   These times are only estimates with about a 0.5 sec margin of error. My beeper works only in whole seconds.  If I'm a step off the beep, it's about 0.50, a half step, 0.25.... just estimates.

The new spikes feel great.   At first I thought they were too tight but after a workout, they formed perfectly to my barefeet.   None of the crowns broke, they're perfect.   I'll save them for races on good tracks.  (Not the Murphy Center!)

At race weight now, really eating light.  138.6 lbs after workout.  Everything feels fine.

Tomorrow will be a day off.  Fly to Chicago, should be at the Hyatt in Lisle tomorrow, probably by around 9:30pm.  The 400m prelims are at 3:00pm Thursday.  It's forecast to be very hot, about 93º at race time.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Last Sewanee workout

Nice cool morning in Sewanee, upper 60sº at 5:05 am.

Didn't want to take any risks today but wanted to do one 300 event run at race pace.  My goal was about 13/13/14 splits = 40 sec. 300m.  I was just a tad over 26 at 200m, call it 26.25, and somewhere around 40.75 at 300m.  More fatigue than I felt last workout when I ran a 27 sec. first 200m.  I estimate I had a 15 sec last 100m in me at that point, so that was about 55.75 pace, same as yesterday.   Ran everything from blocks.

Overall, didn't feel quite as sharp as my last workout.   Maybe the lack of quantity is catching up with me?  Maybe I'll run a 500 tomorow night.  Probably best to taper.
800m warmup, stretches, drills 
Puma spikes on 
300m - 40.5 
3 x 200m - 26.5, 26.5, 26.5
The 200s were about 400m race pace or a little faster.   Took aggressive starts and floated, picking it up in the last 50m.  Still gun shy of doing an all out fresh 200m.   No strains so I should be ok.

I probably shouldn't have been wearing my Pumas so much in training because they are starting to wear.  I'm afraid a few of the spike hole threads might be getting stripped so to be safe, I reluctantly bought another pair for the meet, this time, the new generation which are essentially the same shoe and spike plate ... but actually look a bit better.

The Puma Bolt evo Speed Sprint LTD:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Decision on Nationals: 400/200 double, maybe the 4x400

After much consideration, I've decided to stay for the entire Masters Nationals.  

Despite the significant extra cost ($500+)....  I decided to end the season with a 400m/200m double and possibly a 4x400m relay with the Greater Phily Track Club.  

Unfortunately, the GPTC is a mixed bunch ... age 31 - 52, which means we will have to run in the M30 age group... which sucks, but what the hell.  If I survive two 200m races, I'll be happy to run one more 400m.  Too bad we couldn't get the same team we had at Penn.  We'd likely win M50 gold.  Silly that I have to run against M30 guys, but that may be the only option.

Knowing this is likely my last year of competitiveness in M50, I decided to run the 200m for fun, maybe a PR, even though a medal is highly unlikely.

Better to do it and try instead of wonder what I 'could have done.'  I have the time, the money, and the fitness.  There are a lot worse things I could spend my money on.  I have to look at this like it might be my last chance... you never know.

Haulin' ass

75º and humid at the MTSU Dean Hayes track at daybreak.

Fastest training run ever.  55.5 (27/28.5).  

Still have not reached 'failure threshold' - a first 200m pace that will break my 28.5 second 200m pace.  I feel I'm pretty close and I can estimate it will be around 26.   That is if I can accurately pace a 26.3, I'd be close to breaking 55.  I was tired but not sickened.  I felt much more exhausted after my 56.61 I ran at the TN State meet where I went out too fast.

This is a new type of thinking.  I once thought I had to be under 26 in the first 200m to run a PR.   This proves that is not the case.
600m warmup, stretches, drills 
Puma spikes on 
400m - 55.5 (27/28.5)
2 x 200m - 27, 26 
300m - 43.5
I also worked on my start a bit.  Did my 200s from blocks.  Took some video so as to analyze my start.   The second one was slightly under 26 but not 100%.  I still have not risked running fresh at 100% since my injury but I feel I can.

I am again leaning on staying for the 200m and a relay with the Phily track club.  I need to change my flight while I still can.  Don't want to feel like I couda shoulda later.

Weight is good: 139.8 ... surprising since I've been eating well.  My body fat % remains low.  Knee feels better, all systems go.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Speed work, race modeling

I'm glad to be in Sewanee for this morning's workout.  73º and humid at 5:00am.   Murfreesboro reported 80º at 4:00am, so I'm glad I'm on the mountain.  Heat advisory for part of Middle TN today.

Right now at 8:00 am, it is a gorgeous morning here on Iska's patio in Sewanee.  77º with a light breeze, sun filtering through the shady trees.

I am slightly sore in the haunches and the groin is a bit tight from yesterday's resistance work.   I might also be a bit heavier from last night's fish tacos.

Continuing the progression I started 2 workouts ago, I again decreased my first 200m split another second to 28 and still was able to maintain a 28.5 second 200m - giving me a solid 56.5 400m this morning.   It was tiring, but not sickening.  I really believe it was faster or comparable to my last race of 56.61, but it didn't feel as hard. I felt only slight rigging in the last 50m, but was able to maintain good form throughout.   My splits were about 14/14/14/14.5.
550m warmup, stretches, drills 
Puma spikes on 
400m - 56.5  (28, 28.5) 
3 x 200m - 26.5, 26.5, 26
The 200s were at what I would hope to be about race pace in the 400m.   If I were able to maintain that 28.5 2nd 200, that would put me near PR time.  I really now think I'm starting to understand this race and the mechanisms involved, and my limitations.

Next I'll take the first 200m back another second to 27, and see if I can maintain that 28.5 second 200m.    That would be 55.5, and I've never run that fast in training.

In a race, I need to blast the first 50m like I'm running a 100m, then shift my focus on the last half of the first turn to conserve energy while maintaining pace.  If I do this right, I feel almost no fatigue at 100m, and I'm not even yet breathing at maximum capacity on the backstretch.   Until the 220m mark, this is all a prelude.... the race begins on the final turn.  When I attack at about 220m, my breathing changes radically, becoming deep and faster, and I then shift more toward aerobic energy systems.  At 250m, for the first time since the initial start, I'm pushing at near 100% effort while trying to maintain form and relax.

I've said this many times, but it's a fine fine line.   What I've conserved in the second 100m will come back to me in the last 100m.  It's so easy to panic in a race and not be patient and go out too fast.   I need to get to the point where I can run blind and know exactly what my pace is and be where I should be and not even think about the competition.   People will always go out too fast,  It happens even on the highest levels.

I remember the 2011 Masters Nationals M50 400m final.  T. Williams, who won the bronze, was 15m behind me going into the last turn!   I was at least 1.0 second too fast on the first 200m - about 25.5.  I rigged so badly in the last 100m, it's painful to even watch.  My last 100m was about 18sec.   Never do that again... I hope.

I'm still losing crowns off my Puma's almost every run, even ones that I've epoxied and glued.   It's always the same ones, the outside ones.  Maybe I could get a machine shop to make me a few of these out of aluminum or something.

Next workout, Sat at MTSU.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fast and early

Starting my last week of training for the season, I have essentially 3 or 4 track workouts left before Nationals.  I am on the track only every other day now.  

I never have set my alarm to get up on training days.  It's automatic, but, I don't always get up at the right time ... usually too early.   This morning I woke up and thought, is it time?   Looked at the clock and thought, "damn ... 2:20am".   I couldn't get back to sleep and got up about 4, had some juice and news, and hit the track about 4:45.   So, I did my workout on 2 hrs sleep.  I'll enjoy an afternoon nap today.

About 75º and very humid at 4:45am on the Dean Hayes track.   There is a heat index advisory for the next 3 days with temperatures in the mid 90sº and dewpoints in the mid 70sº - producing a heat index of 104ishº.  No option but to workout early.  

I like these brief intense workouts.  These 95% event runs are really good for practicing the last 200m of my race.  Like a guitarist or pianist that practices music for each hand independently, that's what I'm doing.  Practicing the last 200m and then the first 200m.  

I took a second off the first 200m of my last workout and intended to run a negative split 400m:  29/28.  I was a bit fast on the first 200 and it came out to be even splits - 28.5/28.5.   My ideal race splits for a PR would be about 26.3/28.5.   So, after my 400m, I practiced 200s at around 26 from blocks.   They felt pretty hard, as would anything after a 57 sec 400.  Actually, my 400m was just a fraction under 57 sec ... but I'm going to call it 57.  I felt the last 200m was pretty strong, 14/14.5 100m splits.  
600m warmup, stretches, drills 
Puma spikes on 
400m - 57 (28.5/28.5) 
3 x 200m - 26, 26.5, 27
Next workout, I'll decrease my first 200 split to 28 and see if I can maintain 28 or 28.5 for the second 200m.  It's a fine line.  Just .50 sec too fast on the first 200m can result in a 1 to 2 second loss of speed on the whole 400m.  I think my splits for my last race were like 25.8 / 30.8.   

Still trying to decide if I want to stay and run the 200m.   I should probably try some fresh 200s at 95% to see how they feel this week.

Weight is good: 139.8 lbs

One last good resistance workout tomorrow.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sewanee mid summer sprints

On the Sewanee Coughlin Track at 5:30am, clear skies, 72º with 98% humidity.

A quality workout of long sprints starting with a negative split 400m.  Most 100m splits I ran today were 14 sec.

450m warmup, stretches, drills
saucony spikes on 
400m - 58.5  (30, 28.5) 
3 x 300 - 42.5, 44, 44

I plan to keep workouts fast and every other day til Nationals.  Can't endure big quantity workouts at this point, too much wear on the body.  Best to keep it short and fast.   Today's workout was plenty exhausting.  Emphasis on form and power in the last 100m.

Nice to be on the mountain ... but that means more socializing and I'm a few lbs heavier... probably 142ish.

I like it here.  Zell and I attended a late night brass concert at Sewanee's All Saints Cathedral at 10:30pm last night.

Brass ensemble - Sewanee All Saints Cathedral
late night concert

Friday, July 20, 2012

Big 400m race today, masters track stuff

Today's start list for the Monoco Diamond League 400m looks very much like an Olympic final with Lashawn Merrit, Kirani James, Kevin Borlee, etc...   Also in this race is Jeremy Wariner who failed to make the US Olympic team, so perhaps he can seek some redemption.

UPDATE:  The Monaco Diamond League 400m - the race was today.   Lashawn Merrit pulled up lame.   Bad time for an injury.


Masters Track:

Looking at the turnout for the M50 Masters Nationals 400m, it looks pretty crazy competitive.   No way can one hold back anything in the first round.   Compared with last years meet where there were only 11 competitors, this year has 23 !! ... 3 full heats.  It may certainly be possible to run 56.50 and NOT make the finals.   Top 2 in each heat then the next fastest 2 times.  I will likely not win my heat as I am about 4th seeded.

As I said, I'm a bit dubious about staying for the 200m.  I will decide after my 1st round 400m.  Looks like Val Barnwell has been cleared to run.  Him and Tissenbaum are a lock for gold and silver.  It also looks as if Briscoe has not yet been cleared.

I got a call out of the blue from James Chinn yesterday.   I loved chatting with him.   He's one year older than I and has won many national and world championships.  He told me he was ill at the indoor nationals and had lost a lot of weight.   Nevertheless, he still edged me out for the bronze in the 200m by a tenth.  We talked about how the incentive to compete diminishes when we reach the later end of our age group and younger faster people join.  We like to win medals, but as we said, especially in my case and in masters track in general, Champions are sometimes made by people who don't show up.

This M50 age group will rock next year with the likes of Marcus Shute, Chris Faulkner, Lonnie Hooker, and others.  I have 2 years left in this age group and will likely dial back my participation in the next two years.   Running 17 meets in a season is too much.

Puddle sprints

Woke up at 4:30am to a terrific clap of thunder.  Looked at the radar and saw that I was in for a rain delay.

Got to the track about 6:20 but had to run to the Music Building to use the toilet after warmup, further delaying my workout.

Nevertheless, it was a relatively cool 73º, cloudy, with a south breeze blowing up the home stretch at 6:45 am.

I ran fast long sprints with recovery.
400m warmup, dynamic stretches, drills 
Saucony spikes on 
500m - 78.5  (63, 15.5) 
3 x 300m - 43.5, 44, 45
It was hard, especially after one of my fastest workout 500s - I hit the 400 at 63.  Looking at the workout, it seemed a whole lot harder than it should have been.  Looking back, rarely do I sprint more than 3 sub 45 300s after a fast 500, so I guess it's par.

Still waffling about the 200m at Nationals.  I'm leaning toward not staying, but will leave the option open for a last minute decision.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Resistance day, more optimism

My previous training post was pretty dark and gloomy, but today is a new day and a world of difference in my personal life and a new outlook on the Nationals and training.

I'm considering staying for the 200m and possibly a relay. It's the last year I'll probably be competitive in my age group, and who knows if I'll ever be able to train as hard as I did this season, so might as well enjoy it while I can. And enjoy it, I do.  Especially the short sprints.

After 2 hamstring injuries in May and June, I know it's risky to run the 200m, and ... my medal chances are probably nil... but you never know. Champions like me are made when people don't show up. Everyone who is competitive in the 200m is also running the 100m, and the 100m can take it toll in injuries on M50 guys. So, you never know. They may not let Barnwell in (after his drug suspension), Briscoe may not be medal eligible as a Jamaican, Waller and/or Tissenbaum may or may not survive 2 heats of the 100m.

And if I do get hurt, well ... it's the end of the season.  I remember Ben James laying on the ground at the end of his championship 200m race in Berea last year grimacing in pain with a hamstring.  He must have pulled it right at the end of the race, but powered through the pain to win another championship.  He was fine this indoor season and won again in M55.

I think I have almost 2 weeks to test it, so we'll see.  I'm only on the track every other day and I'm not busting my balls so much.   Just doing about 1200m of total sprints, about half what I'd done in previous weeks.  If I am going to run the 200m, I have to start pushing toward top speed.  But, I certainly wouldn't want to screw myself and get hurt in training.

I still haven't changed my flight yet but am looking into it.  It will cost me a lot... probably an additional $500 !! to stay an extra 2 nights, change flight, and extend rental car.  I can think of worse things to spend $500 on.  This is really once in a lifetime stuff, I mean I hope to be back but I doubt I'll ever be more competitive.

In the mean time, my weight is back to a normal 140 - 141, and I feel stronger.

Sex sells in Olympic sports

Athletes make millions from endorsements.   Often times, athletes are physically attractive people who make great publicity shoots and sell products. Track stars Lolo Jones, 29, Allyson Felix, 26, soccer player Alex Morgan, 22, and swimmer Natalie Coughlin, 29, are natural television stars with camera-friendly good looks and slim, muscular figures.

 Have you seen the Tyson Gay Gillette shaving products display in your local Walmart?

 The lastest 'hottie gone viral' is Michelle Jenneke, world junior champion hurdler. Just turn off the shitty music and watch her warmup routine in this video. I can see the endorsements rolling in.

 You don't see many female shot putters getting these major endorsement deals. Can you name any female US Champion weight lifters or throwers?

Case in point. The highest rated weight lifter in the US is 5' 11", 275 lb. Sarah Robles ... and she lives in poverty, taking money from her coach and getting public assistance for food while other athletes sign million dollar deals.

 Not fair.

 It's a commentary on our culture.

 Who would you pick to sell your product? Lolo or Sarah?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dawn workout contemplations

I was up very early, 3 something.  Couldn't sleep so I got outta bed about 4 and started my morning routine.   On the D. Hayes track at about 4:40, just as the first hints of dawn were appearing.   It was about 74º with a welcome south breeze.  It is going to be a hot one.

I've pretty much resigned myself to being generally past my peak season speed and I'm really just doing maintenance to keep what fitness I have.  I did the same workout as last time but faster.
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
Saucony spikes on 
500m - 81.5 
400m - 60.5 
300m - 44
I normally don't stray too far from track on this blog but today, I feel the need to be more contemplative.  Such a long training season has become psychologically draining.  As I finish out the season it's become more of a responsibility to finish what I started than a passion to execute and improve.  After the Nationals, I'll probably miss it.  It does keep my life balanced in a way, but I think the length of the season has tipped that balance to the negative side in some ways.

On my birthday 10 days ago, I did a hard early workout and didn't get back to sleep, and felt like a zombie most of the day.   I think it affected my personality as I was a bit tired and quiet through the day, not very social, no fun, and somewhat stern.  Now, I'm going through some emotional trauma in my personal life.  I've not been eating or sleeping well and I'm down to 137.8 lbs - lightest in a year.  My body fat is about 9%.

I sometimes read a fellow masters track athlete's blog, a champion middle distance runner who writes about losing his ex-wife 20+ years ago to mistakes he made and alcoholism.   He seems full of regret and still in love with her after so many years.  Track and training has obviously provided a focus for this guy and helped him deal with life.  But, I don't want to end up like him, even if I rose to the level of perennial champion - living a life of regret and lingering pain.

As I walk and sprint through life, I am thankful and humbled for what I have.  I'm getting through this tough emotional time and trying to remain optimistic.   I'm thankful for my fitness and health, my family, friends, students, and my career.  I am thankful for what I've achieved this season even if I strike out in Lisle.  All new PRs over last season, and in the National Masters M50 400m rankings, my times have been either 1st or second ranked all season.

Now its time for a morning nap.... I hope.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday sunny track

Back to my home track and arriving a little late, at 6:25am the sun was already beating down on MTSU's Dean Hayes track.  It was in the mid 70sº.

Did a brief workout and everything felt good.  I kept my rest in beween to 3 min so my times weren't very fast and I was still a bit winded before starting the next run.

400m warmup, stretches, drills 
saucony spikes on 
500m - 83 
400m - 65 
300m - 44

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Jim Mathis takes his final lap

Former Masters Champion Sprinter and Coach Jim Mathis
takes his final 400m
I never met him.

I saw his name in the TN Senior Olympic record book and thought... "these times must be a mistake."

56.09 400m at age 60?  Who was this guy?

Well, I found out - Jim Mathis was a legendary World Champion masters track sprinter from Memphis, and renown coach.  He won the World Indoor Masters Championship in Melbourne in 1987 and at one time, held a number of world indoor records in the 200m and 400m.  He was inducted into the Masters Track Hall of Fame.

When I found out who he was, I was humbled to be able to post the same exact time: 56.09, a M50 TN State Senior Games record, as he posted at age 60.  

I asked Randall Brady about Jim.  Randall is a 67 yr old masters sprinter and USATF official ... a guy who has been around TN Track and Field a long time, and he told me he used to train with Jim and his son Jay.  I wanted to meet Jim or speak to him, so I emailed the Athletic Director where Jim coached, the parochial school St. Agnes & St. Dominic to ask if I could get Jim's email.  AD Jim Lassandrello responded, "Coach does not use e-mail. He is fighting hard and in a wheel chair."  I knew his time was short since he had brain cancer.  Jim died a few weeks ago.  He was 77.

Friends, family and students from his 50-year career give a last-lap tribute to Jim following his memorial service, carrying his body for one final 400m.

I'll never run that fast.  His hand timed M55 TN State Record is 55 flat.  He ran his age in the 400m ... and then some.   I'm just happy to have my slower time next to his in the record books.   His records will probably stand forever.

In addition, Jim was a great guy as I gathered by the article I read in the Memphis paper.

Here's to you coach.

World Champion, Jim Mathis


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Return to the 400m - TN State Games meet report

Wasn't great - 56.61.  But it was the first 400 I've raced in almost 11 weeks.  

I will have some work to do before the Nationals if I expect to make the finals and possibly contend for a medal.

Didn't sleep well last night, got about 3 hrs sleep. Don't know why.

The State Games were pretty shoddy this year... no starting blocks were provided.  Serious sprinters brought their own.  There was intermittent heavy rain and thunderstorms. The black track was saturated, but much preferable to last week's 110º weather.   It was muggingly humid but not excessively hot.  I was sweating profusely after warmup.  Did mostly stretches and drills.  Didn't really run much before my race.

I went out fast, probably too fast, had a little rigging in the end that probably cost me a crack at my state record from last year: 56.09.

The good news is that the ham is fine.   No strain or soreness whatsoever. Screw the 800m.  I am really tempted to run the 200m tomorrow!

Me and Carnell Lewis, the M70 400m winner,
hard to believe this guy is my dad's age.
The knee is not so fine, a little sore, so I think I'll need to save it for one final training push for the nationals.

End of season injuries seem pretty prevalant among my colleagues.  Almost everyone I talked to seemed to have some injury issue.   Some that ran in the district meets couldn't run today because of injury and were there to watch.

Always inspiring were older athletes that ran fast.  The M70 winner ran a 71 sec 400m, which is pretty fast.  I want to be like him when I grow up.

To make the best of my last few weeks of training, I need to do speed work and endurance intervals with less recovery time and not worry so much about trying to run faster times than previous workouts.   I should probably limit my training to no more than two consecutive days or every other day, which means I have to make the workouts count.

I'm light, 139.8 after meet.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pre race day update

Good to go!

I hit the Dean Hayes track at sunset tonight for a light workout.  Everything felt good.  I was worried about the ham, but it felt fine under load and now I'm confident.
600m warmup, stretches, drills 
Puma spikes on 
2 x 100m striders ~ 14 
3 x 60m starts from blocks on the curve 
200m from blocks - 26

The last 200m run was at 97% - or 400m race pace.  It felt fine and not overly taxing.   It was an honest 26 flat - reacting from blocks to my beep timer start.  I concentrated on form and float and it went well.   No serious pain or issues.

In the back of my mind, I would really love to break my state meet record from last year: 56.09.   It would be a tall order considering this will be my first meet back from a serious injury.  I said I'd be happy with anything under 57.

A big plus is my weight and general fitness.  I am 139.4 lbs - very low body fat.  Haven't been this light since April.    We'll see what happens.

I really don't want to run the 800m but something keeps nagging me to do it.   It will definitely be well out of my comfort zone.   I'm sure to rig up and it'll hurt.   I'll cross that bridge later.

So, tomorrow... my first goal is to not get hurt and have a good dress rehearsal for the Nationals.  After this weekend, I'll have 2 full weeks + a few days to train for the Nationals.

Pre race day

First pre-race day in almost 5 weeks.  I'm scheduled to race a 400m tomorrow in Franklin, TN.  There will be no competition as the next fastest qualifier runs about a 62.  

I am concerned with the soreness in my previously injured ham.   It's not bad and not abnormal after running a full blast 400, but I wonder if it may now be more vulnerable to injury.   I really only felt stress on it on the first turn which I run at nearly top speed out of the blocks.  After that it was ok.   I'm going to the track tonight to do a warmup and starts.  I'll see how it feels later and update when I get back to the 'Boro.  

I'm planning on some massage and stretching today.   I was reading about therapeutic massage for injury recovery with Graston tools.  It is massage with hard implements designed to breakup scar tissue and promote proper healing for athletes with less chance of reinjury.   I've used plastic and foam rollers, but now my prefered massage device is a flat handle wooden spoon with Tiger balm ... after sitting in the hot tub.   It seems to wok really well.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

400m event run

It has been raining 12+ hours straight here in Sewanee.   A late afternoon break in the rain and cooler temperatures gave me an opportunity to hit the track.   It was a thick drizzle - mist (locals call it 'mizzle') and the temperature was 69º on Sewanee's soggy track.

I was nervous for what I was about to do -  run fast.   The first all-out event run since my injury 31 days ago.   I did a thorough warm up a few striders, blocks starts, and then set the timer to a starting command and goal.   My 100m split goals were: 13/14/14/15 or 27/29 = 56.

I hit the 200 just slightly ahead of goal and was a step short at the finish.  56.5

My splits were probably about 26.5/30.   It felt fine.  Not particularly powerful coming out of the blocks,  I could feel a slight tugging on my ham, and my form was a little clunky, but very happy with my overall progress and speed since the injury.  Since it was a low volume workout, my knee feels fine.
800m warmup, stretches, drills 
Puma spikes on 
50m strider 
2 x 50m strider from blocks on the curve 
400m event - 56.5  (26.5/30) 
2 x 200m - 27, 29
I'm feeling less enthused about running the 800m on Sunday.   We'll see.

Yesterday my right knee was sore but today it feels much better.   Coach Page was being 'pageish' again, telling me that I'll need to retire from track because of my knee.   Heh...   don't think so.  Just need a rest.  I think I've earned that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Home wet track

Bouncing out of bed at 5:13 am, I asked myself ... "how did I get myself into this?"

73º and raining lightly this morning at the Dean Hayes track.  There was standing water on the track, but I didn't mind.  Very humid.  The rain had let up to a sprinkle by 5:45am.   It is good to be home...  but I miss the higher elevation of Sewanee and the report of the morning cathedral bells.

Not an exceptional effort.   Just not feeling real fast.  Need to do speed work soon but ran long again today.   With the ham pretty much healed, it's now the right knee that limits my work.
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
Saucony spikes on 
800m - 2:25 
600m - 1:47 
400m - 61.5
This reminded me how ill suited I am for an 800m race and I'm thinking about whimping out and just doing the 400m this weekend.   Depends on how my knee feels.

They just had a big youth meet at MTSU and for the first time ever, the starting blocks were not available, probably locked in the shed.  I'll have to remember to bring my own up to Sewanee today.   I'll be training there tomorrow and maybe Friday.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day off, resistance

My right knee was a bit sore after yesterday's 600s so I won't go to the track today.  It feels fine now but I needn't go back out and pound it today.  Still have 3+ weeks to train for Nationals.

My ham feels nearly 100%.  I can do leg swings with the same flexibility as the right side with only slight lingering soreness at the lower attachment points.

I'm lean and mean, down to race weight this morning: 140.2.   I think I've put on at least a pound or 2 of muscle since last year.

So, tomorrow... I'll do more 600s or 500s and Thurday, a 400m event run with blocks.  I had thoughts of bailing on Sunday's 800m and running the 200m instead - since I feel pretty good... but after seeing Sullivan on the ground with a pulled ham in the 200m at the Masters Invitational Olympic trials meet, it's probably best that I don't.

It occurs to me that I haven't run a 400m race in 10 weeks!   The last six 400s I ran were all under 56 sec (except for the one that I ran in lane 8 - 56.36).    It will be interesting to see where I stand on Sat., my return to the 400m.   My expectations are not high, I'm hoping for 57s at least.  I have to remind myself, I'm just 5 weeks past the worst hamstring pull of my life.    So, the resistance work today will be therapy or "prehab."

Monday, July 9, 2012

6s at 6

I got to the Sewanee track about 5:30am, it was clear, 73º.

I was going to run another fast 800m today but I bailed after 600, seeing I wouldn't beat yesterday's time and decided to do more quantity.  Heavier today after yesterday's birthday dinner.
450m warmup, stretches, drills 
Puma spikes on 
50m strider 
4 x 600m - 1:43, 1:44, 1:51, 1:47 
200m - 27.5
It was hard, and a bit faster than my previous 600 sessions... and I did 4.  I'll probably do one similar  workout tomorrow and then go for more speed on Wed and/or Thurs.   My knee tells me I should take a day off this week.

Regular registration for Masters Nationals closes today in a few hours.   The "bad news" for us struggling middle-aged 400m sprinters is that world silver medalist, C. Moody has entered.   Running 52 last year in the World games, no one will touch him, especially me.   This should be a very competitive 400 field, going to be really tough to win a medal this year.

Going back to Murfreesboro today.  Will workout Tues and Wed there.   I'm thinking some blocks and a 400m event run for Wed.  The heat is supposed to break.   But... when is my day off?  If my wheels hold up for 5 days in a row of workouts, on Friday - pre race day, I'll take it easy.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

800 event run

2:19.   Short of my goal of 2:16, but a PR.

A humid 74º in Sewanee.  I slept kind of late, got to the track at 6:15 am.  The sun was hitting the about 1/3 of the track.
400m warm up, stretches, drills
 Puma spikes on
50m striders 
800m - 2:19  (65/74) 
300m - 45 
200m - 28
I set a goal of 2:16,  64 (16 sec/100) and 72 (18 sec/100).   My 400 split was a second off (65) and I went downhill from there.  My last 200 was pretty weak, feeling like I rigged in the last straightaway.

One thing is for sure, I hate the 800m.  Maybe with competition, I could do better... but not much.  That really was unpleasant but If I did more of those, it would help my 400m I think, as long as I kept doing short fast stuff as well.  If I were to compete as an 800m runner, I'd need to be doing 1k and 1 mile repeats.   No thanks.

Inventory: The ham feels good, just a bit less flexible than the other, so still not 100%, but should be there by Sat. race.   My weight is good, probably about 141.  My right knee is showing signs of wear, clicking... etc... but no significant pain.
Nationals regular registration closes tomorrow.  Late registration continues for another few days.   The 400m has 16 guys. No Chin, Waller or Sullivan.  Assuming Briscoe is a foreigner, not medal eligible, my chances for a medal are decent.  There are some fast unknowns and likely bogus seed times, so it's hard to tell.   I need to run in the 55s.   I would like to do that this Saturday.  Only 11 in the 200m, but there is Waller and Tissenbaum.   Still thinking it would not be worth my while to spend an additional $400 to stay and run the 200m.  If I get shut out in the 400m, I might be inclined to stay.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Quality and variety

After last night's severe storms in Sewanee, the morning temps were in the upper 60sº and the track was littered with wet leaves.   The new moisture also spawned the first appearance of flying insects in this relatively mosquito-free summer.  I got there later than usual, about 5:20am.

I must have done a number on my glutes in that Tues session because my right side was still quite sore.  Since the ham injury, I've had the time to focus on resistance and especially upper body.

I ran everything up tempo with generous recovery.
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
Puma spikes on
600m - 1:41.5 
500m - 82  
2 x 200m - 27, 26.5 
300m - 44
Ham is much better, just a little tighter than the right.   Makes me think, damn... if I can run 26.5 200m right now, I should be good to go in 4 weeks for the Nationals in the 200m.  Maybe I'll change my flight.   Don't know yet.  Need to see what the blocks feel like.

I may stay in Sewanee throught the weekend.   Much cooler up here.   It's been nearly 100º every day in Murfreesboro.  It is 8 - 15º cooler here.
6:00 am - Sewanee Track  7/6/12        

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Quality 400s

Sewanee track - 4:40am 7/5/12
The scene was serene at 4:40 am on the Sewanee track.   Lit by a nearly full moon all types of birds were singing in stereo, it was a humid 73º.  Critters abound.  I saw a large skunk near the field and a coon in a garbage can.

Wow, my ass was sore from yesterday's resistance - the squats and glute work.   It hurt to sit on the toilet.

Despite a holiday meal that was 'still with me,'  I was determined to run fast today.   Thankfully, my ham injury feels almost healed.  It tugs a little when doing leg swings but not bad.

750m warmup, stretches, drills
Puma spikes on 
50m striders 
3 x 400m - 59,  59.5,  59.5
The 400s felt ok, tiring but not sickening.   I did take full recovery between each and it was nearly a maximum effort to get the last one under 60.   The splits were something like 28/31.  The only difference between these and a 57 is a blast out of the blocks and a 26 sec first 200m.

I want to expand in both directions in my workouts as I approach the Nationals - which start 4 weeks from today.   Longer sprints - 500s, 600s.  And faster repeats, 200s, 300s.    Still not ready to sprint 100% but who knows, maybe the 200m in 4 weeks may be possible.
5:30 am at the end of the workout

The Nationals registration is open through Monday and is starting to fill up.   4 fast guys capable of running sub 56 are on the list so far and more expected.  Looks like some good competition.   So far, no Chin or Sullivan.  I'll throw my hat into the ring by tomorrow.

Still trying to decide if I want to face the indignity of racing one of the Nation's best M50 800m runners next weekend at the State Games.   This guy runs a 4:30 1500m, and a 17m 5k.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Stairs, thoughts on the Nationals

Slept relatively late this morning...  up at 5:30am.  The serious heat wave is over and instead of a 109º  high, it'll be only 98º today and all this week.  This morning it was a pleasant 75º,

I hit the stadium stairs this morning.

Spira training shoes on 
Stadium stairs x 16 including 3 double leg hops
I'll probably do some resistance later.  Feeling tired and may take tomorrow off.   I'm getting old, and so is track season.

I booked my flight and hotel for the Nationals.   I'm likely going to just run the 400m.  Semis on Thurs, Finals on Fri, fly home Friday night.   I can change my reservation if I decide to stay and run the 200m, so I may register for both.  Regular registration period ends Monday and so far, just one competitive person has signed up for the 400m.  (T. Williams - seed time 53.70).    If I do well and get a medal in the 400,  I may just call it a season.   It's still more than 4 weeks away and I don't know if I'll be 100%.  Still not there.  Every day it does seem to get better, and I expect one day soon I'll wake up and it will feel normal.  I wonder if I don't stretch or do anything on my day off if it will promote faster healing?

More immediate will be the decision whether to run the 400m in 11 days at the State Games.   When I hit the track later this week, I expect do some 60 sec 400s to see how it feels.  Also, an 800m event run.   Not looking forward to that.

Getting that lean cut body back.   140.8 after workout.

Monday, July 2, 2012

5s again - even earlier

Got to the Sewanee track at 4:35am.  It was completely different than the previous 2 mornings, about 76º but cloudy and very breezy.   I had the place to myself and in the dark, with the big trees whipping in the wind, it was downright spooky.
400m warmup, stretches, drills 
Saucony spikes on 
3 x 500m - 82, 83, 87 
300m - 43.5
Was going to do another 300 but my clicky knee convinced me to save it.   This was my third consecutive day on the track.   I've run 5 track days and 1 day of stadium steps in the past week.   Since my injury, I've done 3 days of 800s, 3 of 600s, and 3 of 500s.  Tomorrow, I think I'll do stairs again and resistance.

There has been slow improvement in the ham injury, can now do 90º+ leg swings with only slight pain.    I think by week's end I can start running fast 400s and by next week, return to the blocks.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

5s at 5

5 o'clock bells in Sewanee on July 1st.

76º and humid.  This was always my favorite month as a kid.  Still love July because I'm off work.

I was surprised to see a senior citizen running lap after lap at 4:50 am when I arrived on Sewanee's Coughlan Track.   He was keeping a very good pace.

Same workout as yesterday but with a 200m.

400m warmup, stretches, drills 
saucony spikes on 
3 x 500m - 81, 87, 81 
200m - 27.5
Ran the second 500m with limited recovery but rested before the last 500m and 200m.

I'm getting lighter, estimate around 141.5 after workout.  Ham is slightly better, at least a week from 100% I estimate.  Since it is my inside leg on the turn, it is less susceptible to strain.  Felt really spent after my last 200m, which was about 90% - the fastest I've run since the injury.

Debating on if I should attempt a 400m race in 2 weeks, and a 200m race in 4 weeks at Nationals, or not.  If I pull this ham again, it will be worse, but then again, it is the very last race of the very last meet of the season.  I'm leaning toward just running only the 400m at Nationals.  It would save me a few hundred bucks and I'd be back before the weekend (race Thurs, Fri).   This coming week is the last week of regular registration.  So far, no big guns have registered for the 400m.  Everyone seems to register at the last minute.
Looking at the Masters Invitational 200m held at the Olympic trials yesterday, the guys in my age group were unimpressive: M. Sullivan must have been injured (29.99) and D. Jones ran 25.23.   However, as an indication of how I'll be outclassed next year, L. Hooker - age 49 - ran 23.75 into a headwind.  Hooker, who turns 50 this yr., also ran a stunning 11.14 100m last month.  Wow, he'd give Willie Gault a run for his money.

Allyson Felix sure rose to the occasion: 21.69 -  breaking Flo-Jo's 24 yr old meet record.   Wish I had seen it.