Week 3- Quad Cities Half Marathon

Sunday July 23, 2017

 

A little different format for my blog.. I decided to break it down day by day. I’ll also provide some insight to my new insoles by Enertor that arrived earlier in the week and how they have been working out.

Here is how week 3 played out…

Monday– easy run

I mapped out a new route that Carrie and I ran together, I had 6 on the dock while she had 12. I’ve been trying to run a flatter course on Monday’s in prep for my track workouts on Tuesday. This just helps my legs stay a little fresher knowing I’ll be pushing it in 24 hours. This mornings route was nice.

On our way out we noticed how relatively cool the temperature felt. It was 78 degrees with 76% humidity. Standing still it felt like a chill in the air when we have been used to mid to upper 80’s and even some 90’s as we pound the pavement. It didn’t take long until I was drenched in sweat and by runs end, it looked like I had been in the pool!

Tuesday– 2 x 1K and 2 x 800
76 degrees, 78% humidity

Well, this one doesn’t seem like much on paper. For me, I’m trying to incorporate more of the speed workouts and this morning was a good test. Carrie volunteered to come out and help pace me if I wanted and I definitely welcomed it.

I had targets for each workout and the morning was extremely sticky. There was virtually no breeze so the air was stagnate. As I got underway, Carrie was on my right and we kept the pace for where I wanted to be. The K’s were tough but I felt relaxed and in control. The same for the 800’s but I was tiring on the last 300M or so. I picked it up on the last 100M. I know that I have a good kick and even if I was slow at certain points of my run, I always close out strong!

It was nice to have Carrie out there acting as pacer. I will return the favor this weekend on her 20 miler but on the bike of course :).

 

 

Thursday- Easy run

Ran this morning with my sis n law Michelle, Carrie ran a little too but she was meeting her friend Susan for their longer run. The run felt sluggish, perhaps from Tuesdays tough track workout.

I also received my shipment of the Enertor insoles which I looked into as a result of Carrie and some of her feedback from very good runners who have sworn to have helped eliminate some of their foot pain. I didn’t have a chance to wear them for Thursdays run but wore it to work to get a feel of them and it felt comfortable.

 

 

Saturday- 10 mile Long run

This was not as productive as I had hoped. Compared to last weeks 9 miler which was on flat grounds by design, this mornings run was hilly which I wanted. From the moment I got up to the first mile, I just felt off my game. My pace was decent but I was having a hard time keeping it. As the hills approached, I would initiate a good response and keep a nice steady pace. It was 87 degrees with 47-50% humidity so sticky as usual so I knew the hr would rise quickly.

I was also paying attention to my new Enertor insoles which I was wearing for the first time on a run. I wore them at work yesterday to get a feel for them and at the time they felt good. Any time you introduce a new insole its going to feel foreign which it did yesterday. This morning I was feeling pain around mile 3 more on the heels of my foot, especially on the left one which is my troubled foot. Typically I get pain on the lateral portion of the foot so the new insoles which are raised a bit in the heel affected me to some degree.

Its way to early to say whether or not the new insoles are going to be a benefit. The fact that I wore them for 6.5 miles before switching them out for the original insoles to break them in is a good first run. I’ll continue to wear them on most runs to allow my feet to get used to them and provide a more thorough review.

Overall, the run was descent and I had a few good climbs that I managed to run what I thought was smart and not try and bolt to the top and waste energy only to lose it on the flats or downs.

Afterwards, I stretched, rolled, and did a quick strength training routine and had a good breakfast! :).

 

 

Sunday- Recovery run

This is a run I look forward to for one simple reason…pace is out the window. I like it in that this is purely based on getting my legs turning over after a hard long run day prior. The first mile was very slow and I felt the residual effects from the long run. It was good to shake out yesterdays run. I had to get out very early this morning as I was on bike duty to help provide hydration for Carrie who had 20 miles on the slate with some speed workouts in between. She had a great workout despite the awful mugginess of July!

 

         

 

On the Coaching front… Lane, Meredith, and Anne are in their groove and getting in some good base building. Lane has been getting his base in as he looks ahead in the distance to Arizona RNR Half in January. Meredith is enjoying some good training in Flagstaff and Indiana as she continues building her training plan for the big Ironman AZ in November. And Anne is back from a much needed vacation and getting back to form as she will be starting her Half Marathon training for Ventura in just one week!

That wraps it up for another week!

Week 2- Quad Cities Half Marathon

Sunday July 16, 2017

 

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I hate to sound like a broken record but the heat is on. It’s my 22nd summer of running in Phoenix and it always feels like the first. On a positive note, I am running more by effort vs. pace which is by design. I have stressed to my athletes that we have to modify our workouts as the typical runner can see their average pace slow by 10-15 seconds or more during the summer.

It has been spot on with me as I am running about 15 seconds slower. Naturally my heart rate increases quicker in the heat which is human anatomy 101 right? But a lot of us force the square piece into a round hole and try to run quicker than we need to and thus have a crappy run and feel totally beat up in the end. For me, I’m waiting for my body to feel like I’m coming out of a slingshot when the weather starts to cool off in October (less than 3 months!) and I’m running quicker at the same effort… that is the equalizer!

The body is holding up and the workouts on the road and in the gym are going very well. I’ve settled into a nice routine and making sure my strength training is productive. In terms of my nutrition, I’m not gorging myself on food but being careful on portion size. I’ve even stopped buying ice cream during the training phase which I love as a dessert. Instead, I’ve started eating fruit sorbet and being careful to not overindulge :).

I’m also keeping to my regular sleeping schedule…early to bed early to rise. It may sound funny that I’m in bed before most people think about sleeping, but I’m also training and letting my body get the rest to rebuild.  I’m being more thoughtful and giving back to myself which is what I need at this point. I love training and I also respect the work that it takes to live that lifestyle. You have to be all in or its going to be a struggle… I’m all in!

This weeks runs have been good overall but difficult with the increasing humidity. My speed workout of 800’s and 400’s went well. I was tired but felt in control for the workout and finished strong. I ran with Michelle on Thursday for my easy run which felt a tick slower and more effort. The morning was very humid and I may have gotten a bug overnight which made me feel a step or two off. It was nice running with Michelle as we covered some hills along the way.

The weekend run consisted of a long run and recovery run. The long run was on Saturday and I got underway at 4:45am at Kiwanis park. I wanted some new scenery and I was watching my friend Paul do a 5K race which I stepped in for about a mile to help pace him.

My long run went well and I was pleased with my effort. No stops for extra hydration and ran with my Nathan packs. The pain on the bottom of my left foot was there which I expected it would creep in but I didn’t stop and finished well. I then watched Paul run a good effort race under some extreme humidity which zaps your energy levels so much quicker. He ran well and had a strong finish.

Here we are with about a mile to go and where I peeled off to meet him at the finish line! Great finish Paul!

 

 

After my long run I did feel beat up and got light-headed and was having a hard time recovering and spent the afternoon trying to nap and get back to feeling well. To complete the week, I finished with a recovery run just to keep the legs moving. I was very slow but as we know, it’s not about pace after a hard run, it’s all about quality and good turnover to flush the system out. Afterwards, I went to the gym and did my strength training, rolling, core, and stretching routine.

I was able to catch Carrie coming home midway through her 18 miler to get some hydration. She’s having a great Marathon training and said today was the worse day in terms of humidity. I would have to agree… 58% humidity is by far the worse day of summer and looking to climb! Good run Carrie!

 

 

Week 1- Quad Cities Half Marathon and an Elite Runner!

Sunday July 9, 2017

 

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I kicked off another training session at the beginning of this week.. The Quad Cities Half Marathon in September to be exact. The four core cities that make up the Quad Cities are…Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Rock Island and Moline in Illinois. I’m not very familiar with the area. The last time we were near the Quad Cities was when we did The Bix 7 mile race some 8-10 years ago.

Before I get to the Quad Cities, I have to train. There in lies the real challenge…training during summer in Phoenix is not ideal, but the rewards in racing in a city that will be 35-40 degrees cooler will feel much better! I kept telling myself this as I did my 8 miler on Saturday when the temperature at 4:45am was 95!. These grueling morning runs in 90+ degrees are both physically and mentally challenging. As crazy as it sounds, I am embracing these “suck” days to put myself into great position for a great race in September!

Speaking of racing, Carrie and I  got a good taste of the heat on the 4th of July when we took part in the Arizona Road Racers 4 mile race. This is always a tough race and that extra mile when you’re used to racing a 5K seems so far, but we both thought as hot as it was with temps hovering 90 degrees we have seen summers where this race was far more humid and unbearable.

For those of you who have not had the “pleasure” of visiting Phoenix in the summer, it is like turning on the blow dryer and trying to breathe the hot air as you get your run in!

In terms of training, my first week of training went pretty well. After the race, I put in a few easy runs and a long run Saturday. My long run this weekend vs. last weekend was definitely different. Last weekend I purposefully ran on a flat course and the temperature was in the upper 70’s to 80… This Saturday I strategically chose a hilly course that mimics the hill I will race on. As mentioned earlier, it was 95 degrees and sweltering before the sun came up. My HR quickly climbed as the heat has that effect on the body and made it tough to run comfortably. But I had a good run and did my strength training at the gym.

I ended the week with an easy run out at the canals near the Sole Sports in Scottsdale. We got up extra early at 3:30am to get out the door just after 4am. Carrie had a 16 miler that she was running with some speed and wanted to be out with some of her friends. I did 4 miles and brought her hybrid bike to help Carrie with the rest of her long run. It was a nasty morning.. muggy and hot. I was just getting some leg turnover after Saturday’s long run and felt surprisingly good :).

Carrie had a great run and finished strong with some speed miles…total miles was 16.5 and she was happy! It was great to see some of our friends who run this route on the weekends, although the canal is not as busy as it normally is, you can tell who the diehards are!

 

 

 

Another part of this blog is about our recent hosting of an Elite Professional Runner. Yes, we hosted an Elite by the name of Neely Spence Gracey, a very talented runner and extremely down to earth and easy-going person. Neely is an 8 time NCAA DII Champion and in 2016 ran her first Marathon at Boston then later placed 2nd for an American in the New York City Marathon that November.

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We were so thrilled to have her stay at our home and it was such a great surprise. Carrie’s friend Kerry who is also a very talented runner and Duathlete, has some connections to the Elite circuit and has hosted several athlete’s of her own. She reached out to Carrie and I to see if we would be able to have Neely stay for a day, we couldn’t believe it and graciously accepted!

When we met Neely, it was as if we all were already friends. She is extremely approachable and easy-going and the three of us quickly struck up a conversation. Yes, the conversation was virtually all about running which Neely didn’t mind and neither did we :). This was a special treat for Carrie who follows Neely on social media and also met her in a previous race.

Having another female runner… a Pro runner to be exact was extremely inspiring to her and I. Carrie and I follow a lot of athletes mainly through the races we watch or online and have come to appreciate the hard work and discipline it takes to be the best.

It was a fun evening of talking at dinner then watching track of course which was being televised that evening and hearing Neely talk about how she knows the other athletes as if it were a friend close to us.. pretty cool stuff.

The following morning which was Friday, Neely and Carrie and her friend Kara all went for an early morning run. I was on the bike acting as hydration and camera support :). For 10 miles, it was such an uplifting experience to hear how the other side of the running world lives.

 

 

Thank you Neely for taking time to share a part of your world with a couple of running geeks! And thank you Kerry for this wonderful opportunity to host.

There you have it! A good first week of training and more hot weather under my belt. I know the payoff will be worth it when we race in Moline in 11 weeks! Looking at historical averages for the month in Moline on race day… a cool 49-50 degrees with highs in the mid to upper 60’s!

 

 

The heat goes on!

Sunday July 2, 2017

 

 

June is behind us and July is where the humidity will start to settle in. After a very hot June, which saw a full week of heat advisories, what do we have to look forward to? I’m hoping cooler temps and some monsoon thunderstorms!

Even though running has been difficult at times with the heat, this week wasn’t too bad towards the end of the week as our highs dropped below 110 cooling off the mornings to upper 70’s. After 22 years in Phoenix and a handful of years in Tucson one would think I would be used to this heat but really, can you ever get used to 110+??

As I head into a summer of training, I am happy to report that the 4 weeks since my last Half Marathon has gone very well. Flashback to early June when I made a pact to get in quality strength training, eat better, and keep up with my stretching.

☑ Strength training– I have been keeping up with my 4 day a week trips to the gym and getting in some good strength training.

☑ Diet– Overall, I’m not overindulging or getting into the “junk” as much as I have in the past which says a lot. As a result, I have lost 1-2 lbs and more aware of what goes in. Always a work in progress, but feeling good about the choices and quantity of what I am having.

☑ Stretching– One of the first things I do in the morning as I wake up is grab the foam roller and do some rolling along with stretching for a few minutes. On run days, I will follow-up with a full 10 minute session to cooldown the muscles. Sometimes I will do another stretch session in the evening. As a result, I have kept my back from the nagging pain that normally sets in after my runs.

As you can tell, I have seen a positive impact on my running and well-being. So, I am about to embark on another 12 week Half Marathon training. I still look forward to my weekly regimen as I did decades ago when I would lay out my training in advance and look forward to the hard workouts.

Tomorrow begins the first day of training for my September Half Marathon in the Quad Cities Marathon/Half Marathon. Carrie will be racing the Marathon distance and is already building up her mileage too. I’m excited about the upcoming race and it will be my last Half Marathon as a 47-year-old by almost 3 weeks. More importantly, the drive is still there and as I’m always looking to “reinvent” the wheel and run more efficiently!

I’ve also made some changes on the Coaching front and after July 6th, I will be taking a break from Coaching the Thursday Track group. Its been in existence for nearly a full year, and in that time we have only missed two or three workouts. I am focusing my attention on training/coaching and allowing myself to have the time to do so. I love the group and I have made new friends along the way. I have seen seasoned runners improve their times on and off the track as well as the beginners take shape and gain so much confidence.

I have been able to watch every single person grow into a faster and much more confident runner over this period… this is a testament to their hard work and consistency no matter the weather. Knowing I bring value to the group has been the best reward for me and I am greatly appreciated for the opportunity. I hope they keep making it a part of their weekly regimen! Thanks PR’s (Pete’s Runners)… I am forever grateful!

To everyone out there, enjoy the upcoming 4th of July holiday!

 

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Summer reset

Saturday June 17, 2017

 

Well, summer officially begins next Wednesday but it always feel much earlier in Phoenix. In fact, the highs next week by Tuesday are expected to reach 120! So begs the question… how do runners survive the summers in Phoenix?

Great question! The way I see it, you fall into several categories that include those who continue to run whether outdoors or indoors, those who quit running altogether and hibernate until October or November. Even though it is miserably hot at the crack of dawn, as well as humid during July and August, I continue to run if not for maintenance and good fitness, but to hit the ground running during the fall season when others are playing catch up. I do while keeping in mind that I’m not expecting to run as quickly as I would in the fall/winter months, but running with the same effort even if my pace is slower.

Of course, this means running during the early morning or latter parts of the day. Anyone who knows me can honestly say I am not a night owl. On the contrary, I am a lark!

 

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RISE AND SHINE!!!

 

For years I have come to appreciate the sunrise as a new day begins. I love getting up early and beginning my day with a nice run when the rest of the world is sound asleep or barely waking up. I like to think of myself as a self-starter which makes it much easier to get up than fight the process… do what you love and do it regularly on your timeframe!

It’s been 2 weeks since we completed the Dam to Dam Half, and recently  I found myself asking what can I do in order to have a productive summer that will yield success in running and my overall health. I made it pact to myself that I would adopt a more sound program that involves more strength training (gym), stretching, as well as fine tuning my nutrition. I also wanted to change how I run on my easy run days which is a challenge I recently gave to my athletes.

I’ve been focused on strength training 4 times a week at the gym with emphasis of getting stronger, avoiding the aching pains, and trying to lean out. I’m not a gym rat and don’t spend hours there, but when I’m there I like to think its’ time well spent. Speaking of gyms, this morning our local L.A. Fitness down the street from us which opens at 6am on the weekends was closed. I got there at 7am and there was a group of about 20 people waiting outside to workout. Apparently the kid who was supposed to open the doors never showed up. So, I headed home and did my workout there. Always have a plan right? ;).

The other component to plan is stretching which has been going quite well. I’m rolling and stretching all areas, especially my hip flexors and back in addition to the legs once to twice a day. I’ve noticed over the past week the pain I normally feel in my back is virtually gone.  It’s still early but I feel that the daily stretching has helped in a relatively short amount of time. It has now become part of my routine when I first wake up to loosen up the muscles pre-run then follow-up with a full 10 min cooldown stretch after my run. I look at it this way, do I have a few minutes each day to make positive impact on my health and running? The answer is a resounding yes and I have stuck to my guns!

Another area that I wanted to work on is my nutrition. I LOVE to eat! no, I REALLY LOVE TO EAT! But I’m being as transparent as possible in this blog and completely honest by saying I have to make some changes. I’m not saying I’m overweight as I would probably get a few dirty looks but I could work on my body fat composition and lean out. I love food and eat just about everything :).

However, the amount of food and “junk” that I eat needs to be controlled. No, I’m not giving up pizza, chips, or any of those “bad” foods. But making a conscientious decision to eat in moderation or substitute for healthier items is something I need to do. My goal is to lean out and shed a few pounds of body fat and get back to where I feel most comfortable running and racing!

The final area of focus is the effort at which I run on my easy days. The research out there in the running community among many Coaches and top athletes indicate your easy run days should remain easy and nowhere close to your race pace. Makes sense right? Pose that question to some of your running friends and I bet you will find they are running faster than the “ideal” pace.

I recently instituted a slower pace run for some of my athletes. Of course, this was met with some resistance which I inevitably expected but demanded that “we” including myself, make an honest effort to determine if we are training too hard on the easy days. Besides, this allows us to reset the way we have been running if we are exerting too much energy and breathing more heavy when we should be taking it easy. Why zap your much needed energy on those hard speed workout days when you need it the most.

With that being said, I’m closely monitoring myself and my athletes in how we run, breathe, and approach our easy run days. I’ve actually noticed a positive change with this practice on my 6 mile run this morning. I purposely crafted a hilly course which is not hard to do where we live :). After recently pulling a report on my easy runs the past 3 months, I tried to run slower by 30-40 seconds per mile slower. This morning I ran slower, but only 15 seconds which felt was tough to do. I was listening to my breathing and paying close attention to how I was feeling.

Even on some of the hilly stretches I made myself run slower as I went uphill. Initially I was having to almost fight the feeling to run slower. In the end, I probably could have gone slower on certain stretches of the run but I also kept my heart rate lower than what I had previously run by about 6-7%. This was only one run, so the data is not as accurate and I hope to get a clearer picture of where I stand in the next few weeks.

That’s where things stand as we head into the long summer months. I hope to come out of the next 4 months in better form and rejuvenated!

 

Whats on tv when it comes to running?

For all you running geeks.. the summer is full of events including a HUGE event for our USA Athletes. The 2017 USATF Outdoor Championships will be broadcast on TV.. see below for dates and times.

USATF Outdoor Championships, Sacramento, CA –June 23-25, 2017

June 23, 10:30pm – 12:30am (Live)

June 24, 4:00pm – 6:00pm (Live)

June 25, 4:00pm – 6:00pm (Live)

 

The best of our U.S. Athletes will enter these Championships to earn the right to compete at the IAFF Worlds Championships in London this August as the rest of the world brings their best as well

IAAF World Championships, London 2017 logo ()

 

So set your dvr as this looks to be an exciting week ahead!

 

Finally, a special Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there! Have a great day and be safe!

Iowa recap and athletes racing update

Saturday June 10, 2017

 

 

This marks my 100th blog post which features a recap of my first visit to Des Moines, Iowa as well as updates on Meredith and Anne’s Half Marathon in San Diego! Lots to talk about so you may want to pull up a chair :). The past 10 weeks of training led Carrie and I to her home state of Iowa on what would be a very warm and humid Half Marathon race. It was noted that this was the 7th warmest race in its 38th year of running.  lt felt miserable to us after mile 2 or 3.. of course we are used to more of a dry heat until July/August when the humidity cranks up.

But the view from the start was beautiful as nearly 8,000 runners waited on the bridge overlooking Saylorville Lake on the dam. Just a ways, we could see downtown Des Moines with the largest building in the entire state, the 801 Grand…13.1 miles away!

 

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On the morning of the race, we had the privilege to ride with the Invited Elite group on a nice comfortable chartered bus. This was made possible because Carrie was accepted into the Elites group for the race. Fortunately, I was able to ride with her (by association) 🙂  and as a special treat Carrie was able to finally meet Elite Sara Ibbetson as they follow each other on social media.

 

 

As you know, running and runners hold a special place in my heart, anytime you can rub shoulders with some of the fastest runners around, is time well spent and an honor in my books! I felt a little out of my element due to the fact that I’m nowhere near the talent level as these men and women. It was an awesome 30 minute bus ride to the start as we began our day!

A special thank you to Elite Coordinator Ben Tilus of Dam to Dam for giving both of us the opportunity to share in this great experience along with the warm hospitality at their Invited Athlete’s room on packet pick up day.. it was great to meet you Ben!

Also a big thank you to Andy Strachan DC, MS of Capital Chiropractic for that much needed adjustment before race day!

 

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The temperature at the start of the race was climbing near 70 degrees with humidity near 80%. Not ideal for racing, at least not for me where my comfort level is more like the low 50’s but that wasn’t going to spoil my day. Carrie was confident as well, she was poised and ready to have a good race as she felt out the field when the gun sounded!

From the start, I didn’t shoot out of the corral in a hurry. Sometimes the crowded beginning is better in that it allows you to gradually settle into your pace. As I crossed the start, I noticed there were no timing mats (more on this later). For as many runners in the Half Marathon (nearly 8,000 runners) the start didn’t seem too congested and I was able to stay in a pack comfortably without coming to a crawl.

Throughout the race it started out warm, got warmer, and finally felt muggy and hot at the end. At each of the aid stations, I took water and electrolytes making sure to take a cup or two to dump over my head to provide some sense of relief until the next station.

I was completely soaked in water and sweat as I continued my 13.1 mile journey. The scenery was incredible as we made our way through some shaded areas giving us temporary relief! Even though it was a tough race, the course wasn’t that bad and only a few small hills or inclines. My feet weren’t too bad until I reached the last few miles. At mile 12.5 Carrie came out to pick me up and run the last 1/2 mile with men. It was great to see her as I figured she would probably do. When I asked her how she did, she said something terrible! I was too focused on trying to finish that I didn’t say much either.

On a day like this, it’s not so much about your time as it is how you persevered and continued the fight when it was much easier to call it quits. So, with one final right turn onto 12th St with about 300 meters to go, I started to kick it in. Then the 200M sign came into view, this is where I visualized the track that I do my speedwork at. From here I put everything I had left in the tank and pushed as much as I could to the finish!

I heard John and Sue (Carrie’s parents) cheering me in as I crossed the finish line! My body was tired, my left foot was extremely painful but I was proud to complete the race. I remembered from previous blogs where I mentioned the race would be painful. I drew from this and was well prepared and pushed back the pain on several miles which was a great mental prep for me.

Remember earlier when I said there was no start line mat for chip timing? Well, it turned out the person in charge of the chip timing had a family emergency the night before the race! For this reason everyone who finished had their times based on gun time only.

Due to this, I finished in 2:00:57 but my watch said 1:59:51 which was the more accurate time. I’m disappointed but not completely upset. In the big picture, it’s simply a time and not a matter of life and death. The only thing in my mind is that I have never finished a Half Marathon race in 2 hrs or slower. I will put an asterisk on this race and know what I really ran. More importantly, I am simply grateful for a great training period and getting my body ready for race day. Mentally I ran a good race considering the hot and muggy conditions.

When I met up with Carrie at the finish line, I found out Carrie had run slower than her anticipated goal but so did just about everyone including the Elites. I told her to hold her head up and I was proud of her and let’s get some water and food :). Even with her “not so” good race, she still finished 15th overall female and 3rd in her age! I say she did a hell of a job and fought back against some tough conditions.. never a doubt she wouldn’t give it her all!

 

 

My overall take on the race minus the chip timing issue was that it was a nice course with a good downhill in the very first 1/2 mile with some small rolling hills and only a few climbs to make it a good balance. Despite the hot conditions, this is a race worth doing again if not for a better time for the great support on the course and hospitality… Thanks Dam to Dam and the City of Des Moines!

Afterwards, Carrie and I met up with her parents and their friends from Dubuque Ron and Barb. After showering up and checking out of our hotel, we grabbed a bite to eat and made our way east to Holy Cross for a 3 hour tour!

After the race I was able to reflect on my performance but also what led me to this point. I told myself I have a few goals that I want to achieve. Some of that includes making a positive change to my nutrition and what goes into my body. I know I would perform better in this area and will be working on this. I’m also building a new training plan and strength training regimen for the next goal.. Quad Cities Half Marathon in Moline, Illinois in September.

I’m going to be hitting the weights at the gym and home often and get this body in better form. I will continue to roll and stretch the body to help with some of the aches and pains I’ve been experiencing. I believe for nearly 30 years of running and little stretching and loosening up of the muscles have taken a toll on the body. Now is the time to continue to work on those tight hip flexors, glutes, and feet and make a good run this summer!

For the next 5 days we spent visiting her parents and friends and catching up. Living in metro Phoenix for 20+ years can seem like a big change when going to a place where the nearest store is a tiny convenience store. But the people who live in these small rural places have a different way of life. A lot of them own farms and almost everyone knows each other even though the nearest home is 1/4 mile away or further in certain areas before you get into neighboring towns. Even the locals who drive by as you are running along the road will give a friendly wave in their cars, trucks and tractors! I like that part of the world because it feels natural and relaxing when the rest of the world is caught up in the hustle and bustle.

Carrie also got to see her good friend/runner/yoga instructor/personal trainer Jessica who took in a few days of running on some trails and catching up. It’s ironic how similar the two are.. both are vegan and both are very close in their pace and racing times! Do I smell competition here???

 

    

 

By the way, I did do an hour of Jessica’s outdoor Yoga class along the Port of Dubuque overlooking the Mississippi river.

 

 

It wasn’t pretty (my yoga that is) but it did help my body and I appreciate you coming over and helping me with my much needed form Jessica :).

 

We also had a chance to visit  Galena, Illinois just across the border from Iowa. John and Sue picked a nice clear day to visit Galena which is an old tourist town, home to Ulysses S Grant. We got to see the historic home which is now a museum and check out shops before we had lunch at a fantastic Sushi bar called Little Tokyo.. yep Illinois of all places but the food was delicious and so was the beer!

 

 

  

 

 

The days were filled were filled catching up with her family and getting in a good run, biking with John’s former John Deere co-workers Dennis and George..thanks to you both for not dropping me on the ride :). We also tended to their huge garden by getting rid of the weeds. Wish it was July when we could taste the sweet Iowa corn!

 

 

Check out the home made flag that John made out of wood in his barn complete with the stars and stripes!

 

Overlooking the vast lands of Iowa!!!

 

Working on the garden!

 

Carries home!

 

 

Iowa is a great place to visit and take in the natural beauty and appreciate what the U.S. used to be like before the hustle and bustle!  It’s great to see there are still places like Holy Cross and Dubuque, Iowa that exist which give this great nation a reason to visit our states!

We spent the last day finishing up mowing the grass and taking in a game of scrabble before heading out to catch our late flight. Thanks again to Carrie’s parents John and Sue for a great week and for coming out to watch us at the race Dam to Dam!

 

Athlete race update.

Meredith and Anne also had their Half Marathon race in San Diego last Sunday. Leading up to race day, they both had a tremendous training period and worked hard. As a result, both of them had a GREAT race!

Meredith clocked a 2:02:00 and Anne finished in 2:10:59! This was an incredible race for them as they too were dealing with some humidity and warm temps from what I heard. These two ladies are best friends and have been working hard in the winter and spring for a moment to shine. I am very proud of their efforts and the amount of work they have put in.

A coach’s best outcome on race day is for his athletes to perform at their best and run a good sound race. Both Meredith and Anne ran extremely consistent splits on the 5K, 10K, and 10 mile splits as I was tracking them online on race morning. They didn’t drift outside the lines on pace which can zap you quickly if you go out too fast. Far too often runners feel then can “bank” their times on running faster the first half. Almost always, this will backfire and you end up running the second half of the race so slow that you blow your race.

I’m happy to say they stuck to their plan and ran as though their bodies were on a metronome.. sound and consistent! This was a proud moment for all and to see Anne come back from her fractured ankle back in December and have a great race was extremely encouraging!

And Meredith who is the Triathlete of the group with her busy schedule and pursuing her Doctorate and finding a way to work in training and never miss a beat is astonishing.

Kudos to you both on a great race in San Diego! I can’t wait for the next training session to begin and getting you out of your comfort zones once again!

 

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That about wraps it up for Dam to Dam and our incredible trip to Iowa. Time to work on my next training plan and get ready for a summer of 80 and 90 degree morning runs drenched in sweat!

 

 

 

 

 

Week 9 May 22-29th.. Des Moines Half Training

 

Monday May 29, 2017

 

 

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I’d like to take this time to give thanks to all the brave men and women who fought in our Armed Forces and fought for our country so that we could enjoy the freedom we have today. Thank you for serving our country!

 

Here’s how the past week played out. Started out the week with the usual easy run which at this point feels more like a long run. Knowing all the hard work is behind you and trying to maintain what has been built up can sometimes be a bit tough to concentrate on.

I’ve been working on my hip flexor and back exercises for the past week and a half in conjunction with getting some work done with the Chiro. I’ve gotten to the point where its comfortable to wake up and do some of my dynamic stretches and work on opening the hip flexors up for a few minutes before heading out for a run. After each run I spend a good 10-15 minutes with a good stretch and roll on the hips, back, legs, and feet.

On the speedwork this week I put in a few miles for Tempo as well as a 5K evening race in Tucson. The Tempo went well and got some good turnover and worked out some kinks.

The race which was in Downtown Tucson was my first evening run in years. Traditionally, I don’t do very many. It’s always a weird time to be racing even if just a 5K when your day is wrapping up and you have to get amped up for a race. Well, Carrie and I made it to the start line as did our friends Paul and Lynette who have done this race on many occasions. It was in the mid 90’s for highs, but by the 7pm start time it may have cracked the 80’s.

The heat really wasn’t an issue as the buildings in downtown Tucson shaded us for most of the race, although I did get “cotton mouth” early on. My race was tough, I had a goal of finishing in the low 25’s. I went out a little quick and the 2nd mile I was struggling to keep close to my target. By the 3rd mile I had re-gained some time and tried to finish the last .10 with a kick. although my kick was not the classic signature Weldy kick, I did manage to pick it up. It was good to see Carrie the last .10 on the last left turn onto 6th ave… she urged me to kick it in and pass as many people as I could. Afterward, I waited for Paul and Lynette to finish and it was good to see them at the race as we enjoyed a beer at the beer garden and took in the evening.

It was a tough race, the body was aching, I was gasping for air, and my throat was dry as a bone. But it was a great race with a huge support system and volunteers strewn about the streets along with the locals spraying us with water to keep us cool.

Carrie had a very good race and took 1st place in her age division and 9th overall female! She walked away with a little gift certificate to Tucson’s own The Running Shop.. Nice! This race draws a lot of top athletes not just in Tucson but Mexico and across the country as some of the top Elite Professional runners have raced in the Mile and 5K which spans two days over the Memorial Day weekend. This is a race we would consider doing again even if it’s at night 🙂 after all it is home to my beloved Arizona Wildcats! BEAR DOWN!

 

Image result for arizona wildcats logo

 

 

 

On Sunday, Carrie and I did a run along the Rillito River Park path. This is a path that runs along the dry Rillito River bed with smooth asphalt. Since Carrie was doing 10 miles I had planned a route from our hotel which was a nice gradual decent to the park where I was meeting her to get in my 5 miler. As you can tell, we had a great time and Carrie who loves to climb trees whenever she can and did so :).

 

     

       

 

 

In other news… the track group is doing well. Although a lighter group this past week, everyone there hit a PR for their Mile Time Trials!! Kudos to Meredith, Marni, and Charlene! You girls are blowing it out of the water and setting the bar!

Also, Meredith and Anne who are both racing in next weekends San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon are ready more than ever to get their race on. Overall, its been a good training period for both and they have had to overcome some challenges and busy schedules to get to where they are now. I anticipate a great race from both of them and can’t wait to hear how they do.

Carrie and I will also be heading to Iowa this week for my first trip to Des Moines as we finally get to tackle the Dam to Dam Half Marathon. I am a little banged up honestly, but I am ready to give it my all and put my best foot or two forward :).

As I close…The focus this week is to work on my stretches, rolls, and get one last massage to try and fine tune this body for a great effort from me.

As always, we’re hoping for good weather on race day. Historically, whenever Carrie and I have done a race, it has been pretty good weather. In fact, (knock on wood) in nearly 30 years since I’ve been running and racing I’ve never encountered horrible conditions or even bad situations.

That being said, 6 days out the forecast calls for a 30% chance of  isolated thunderstorms in the morning with winds between 10-15 mph. A little drizzle would feel nice on the body but not an all out downpour… keeping fingers crossed! Regardless of the weather, we will make this happen and create another memorable race!

Have a safe and great Memorial Day Weekend!

Week 8 May 15-21st.. Des Moines Half Training

 

 

Sunday May 21, 2017

8 weeks down and 2 to go! 13 days until race day and the taper is in effect. This past week I took a day off of running. I’ve been spot on with my training, not missing a day but after my 13 miler and the pain I had, I skipped my speed day this past Tuesday and worked on rolling, stretching, and resistance training.

At this point in training, it’s all about maintaining fitness and keeping good momentum on your side. Now is not the time to make any changes that could drastically offset the good foundation.

After a few days off of running which felt good and something my body needed, I resumed with a nice easy run with Sole Sports Tempe on Thursday evening. They were having their demo run showcasing the new Saucony Ride 10.

We got to chat with Abby who is the Saucony rep from San Diego… super cool and down to earth. They raffled off a few prizes, although we didn’t win the big one, I did manage to get a pair of Saucony Aviator sunglasses..notice the serious pose..Thank you Abby, Saucony, and the crew at Sole Sports Tempe!

 

 

On Saturday morning I was up and at it just after 5am for a 10 miler. This was a low mileage week for me and I only ran 3 days. It was a self-imposed light week since I have been feeling a little banged up after last weekend. I felt a hell of a lot better on this run, I did have that pain on my foot but not nearly as severe as last weekend. I kept on point with my pace and finished the run strong!

 

 

Now, it is officially 2 weeks until we toe the line in Des Moines for our Half and I can’t wait. I’m doing a better job of incorporating my stretches including the hip flexors, back, legs, and more. After seeing my Chiro this week, I didn’t realize how tight my hip flexors are until he started to stretch me. But I’m doing my exercises 1-2 times a day and especially after my runs.

On Sunday, it was up and early again but this time I was the hydration specialist on the bike for Carrie and Kara who were putting in 20 miles. This was Kara’s last long run before she goes for a BQ (Boston Qualifier) in San Diego in 2 weeks. She’s been hitting all her targets and there is no doubt she will get her BQ!! Carrie was also finishing up her long run before we take on the Dam to Dam Half in just under 2 weeks! Carrie is also ramped up and ready to have a great race in her home state of Iowa!

 

Several others including Anne and Meredith are also 2 weeks from their Half Marathon in San Diego. The women have trained very well for their race and I can’t wait to see how they do!

Final thoughts..

Now its more or less maintenance and staying healthy until race day but first Carrie and I head to Tucson this coming Memorial Weekend for an evening 5K race, The Meet Me Downtown 5K race. It’s part of the RRCA Championship race series, the same organization where I got my Coaching Certification from. It will be a warm evening but good friend Paul and his wife are also racing along with a slew of very talented runners, especially from California. I’m looking to put in an honest effort and do my best.

We’ll follow-up with a run the next morning along the Rillito River Canal, a favorite running path of mine when I lived in Tucson back in the 90’s.

Wishing everyone a great week and a great upcoming Memorial Weekend Holiday!

Week 7 May 8-14th.. Des Moines Half Training

 

Saturday May 13, 2017

As I reflect on the past week, I’m excited about what lies ahead in the next 3 weeks. The culmination of training always ends with that one day we call RACE DAY! and soon it will be time to celebrate!

I started the week feeling a little sluggish on my easy run Monday morning. Sometimes the legs just don’t want to turn over, I just have to keep one in front of the other right? I’ve been doing a better job of listening to my body and not forcing a square piece into a round hole on some of my easy runs (remember this).

My track workout went well and it was a battle between the mind and body, fortunately my mind was able to keep the legs moving which helped propel me to get in a great workout.

The middle of the week easy runs went well except I ran one of them a bit faster than needed after my track workout day.. I knew better and felt compelled to keep the pace quicker :), I just mentioned how I should not force a quicker pace on my Monday run… ughh!

I ended the week with a 13 miler out at OHSO Brewery who in conjunction with Sole Sports our local running store was putting on a variety of distances from 4 to the 13 miles. Since I had 13 miles on the slate I chose to do the out and back from OHSO to Sole Sports Scottsdale and back.

Several of us opted for the early 6am start vs. the regular 6:30am start. Even 6am this time of year is late for me as I’m usually out before 5am but when you are dealing with the masses, this makes sense. My run started off great and I was holding my targeted sub 9 pace which is the goal I have set for myself on the long runs.

When I arrived at Sole Sports I was halfway there completing 6.5 miles, I stopped to refuel with water and used their facilities.. Kudos to both OHSO and Sole Sports for opening their doors so early on the weekend for us runners.. this was great to have at the turnaround.

After a brief rest, I headed out with 6.5 to go. Around mile 8-8.5 I knew this would be a long day. I was hurting on the left foot which is no surprise. I stopped for a little and got on my way. The remainder of the run would be the same, run 1/5 mile stop, run 3/4 mile stop.. Near the 11.8 mile or so, I saw another guy who was also doing the 13 miler with the group. His female companion had been running with him from the beginning and they were always in front of me. However at this stage she had kept going while he was walking. After I passed him, I had to stop and he came up to me and said, let’s get this!

So for the next mile or so we both ran and stopped at few times to help each other out and keep what little sanity we had left for a strong finish. We ran together with 1/2 mile to go and after a little chit-chat, I decided to push the pace and ran the last .3 by myself.

After the run, I was exhausted, sore as hell on my left foot and ready to call it a day! After a short stretch I made my way home and completed my post run stretch and found out just how sore my left foot was. It was hard to walk up the stairs and each step I took  the pain rushed in! I used the roller on my legs and took my fingers and thumb to push on the bottom of my feet to help try and release a little of that pain… it was excruciating to say the least but much needed.

The long run was not what I envisioned which started to make me think about my upcoming race. I know there is going to be pain, there’s no way around that. I have to be extremely strong mentally but willing to go to that place and suffer.  I have to be able to overcome it and push through the pain on race day. I know the finish will be worth it.. it’s time to dig deep and take nothing less.

 

Other news…

My Thursday Track group had a 2 mile race that I set up. The group ran well overall which was not easy because it wasn’t exactly in a race type setting. The intent was to have them apply their track workouts onto the roads and help them become familiar with pacing and working through uncomfortable situations.

But what really validated why I love Coaching and helping others reach their goals came from Marni who is the mother of Ginger and Lola who comes out to track on a regular basis with her husband Praveen and their two adorable girls. She said.. When we got home she (Lola) said “I’m proud of myself.” I love that! Thanks for all you are doing for my family – not only for running faster but for building their self-esteem!

That says it all! I was immediately touched and so happy to know that they are really having fun even when they know each Thursday calls for a hard workout. I firmly believe that running like all sports help shape who we are and who we achieve to be.. a stronger and more confident person that can reach new heights in our lives no matter what obstacles we face!

Here’s a few pics from that monring.. normal pose and a funny pose… this makes waking up and getting to the track at 5am every Thursday worth every second! Great job to everyone!!!

 

 

Athletes in action…

Saturday saw runners take to the streets for the Steps for Vets 10K race. Meredith took part in the race and even though her body was tired from the heavy work activities with graduation and late nights, she gave it a great effort and finished the race! This was her last tuneup race before she tackles the San Diego Half Marathon which she is very familiar with. Below is a picture of Meredith and her Husband Matt… great job to you all!

 

 

Meredith will be racing together with Anne who is also having a good training and ready to get back on the horse and run her first Half Marathon since fracturing her Ankle in December. Way to go Meredith and Anne… the final weeks are in front of you and soon the taper begins after all of your hard work! You are going to be great out there.. finish out these final weeks in strong fashion!

That’s about it for the week. I will on the road bike acting as support for Carrie and Kara who are doing a speed workout within their 20 miler on Sunday. The water and hydration bottles are in the freezer, the bike is ready to go for what I expect to be a quick and onpoint training run. This will be Carrie’s longest run before her and I race in Des Moines, Iowa for the Dam to Dam Half and Kara is looking to qualify for her first Boston Marathon in San Diego with the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon (Kara is running well within the qualifying times).

 

What Running on tv?

The PAC-12 Track and Field Championships are taking place this weekend and you can catch it live on the PAC-12 channel. Go U of A!!! BEAR DOWN! click on the following link for more… https://pac-12.com/track-field/championships

The Diamond League track meets are well underway as the 2nd meet took place in Shanghai. There are 14 meets around the world beginning in May and concluding in September in Brussels…Catch all the news and highlights at  https://shanghai.diamondleague.com/home/.

As I bring this blog to a close.. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I would like to wish all the Wonderful Moms out there a very Happy Mother’s Day! I know I have very special Mom who was always there for me and I am forever grateful!

That’s a wrap for now.. I’m exhausted and an afternoon nap is happening in 3…2…1! ZZZZZ!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 6 May 1-7th.. Des Moines Half Training

 

Sunday May 7, 2017

 

The past 5 weeks have gone well with training and I hope it’s not sounding redundant. I like to look back and reflect on the past weeks training and see what went well and what I could have done differently.

Before I get into the heart of training,  just a quick follow-up on my health.. recently had some blood work done to see if my doctor can identify what has been causing some of the discomfort I’ve been experiencing. Part of me thinks it’s a kidney stone from some of the symptoms but I’m not a doctor so I’ll leave it in the hands of the experts. Thankfully as of late the pain hasn’t been bad at all. In fact, I’ve had very little pain, only during my long run do I feel something and as of late it hasn’t painful.

The blood tests fell well within the normal range which I am happy about and should have a very good idea on what may be the culprit after a recent CT Scan. The honest truth is, I feel pretty good and not getting too worked up about it. And why should I? I’m having the time of my life training for a Half Marathon which is going to plan. I am a believer of staying within what I can control and not worrying too much about the uncontrollables. Bottomline, I’m fortunate to be in good health and doing what I love :).

As far as training… My tempo run was done on the roads and Carrie helped pace me and was there for support which was nice to have. The tempos were all in stride and I kept a good strong pace.. I worked on effort going uphill while allowing my body to run fast on the downs…keeping it simple :).

I’ve been wearing my heart rate monitor the past few weeks and I was running close to 85% effort which I take with a grain of salt since I really don’t know my true VO2 max is. But the effort was good without red lining the pace.

The weekend long run consisted of 11 miles which I needed to incorporate some hills throughout the workout. Fortunately, we live in Ahwatukee and you’re never far from hills. Speaking of which, there is a good hill we call the Desert Foothills “hills” which is 4 miles from our house.

The first half of the run went well. I kept a good clip for the 168 ft climb which I covered in 1.12 miles. I was focusing on the effort and shortening the strides a tad, all the while trying to keep the legs moving. When I got to the top I was exhausted and stopped to catch my breath.

The rest of the run was a mixed bag. I stopped a few times once for a light but found myself dealing with more of the mental games of holding on. My body was tired the last few miles and I did given in to a quick break but didn’t beat myself up for it. Physically, I didn’t have the pain in my left foot that normally compounds the situation. The quads were sore but nowhere close to debilitating while the back was a bit stiff. Towards the end of the run I saw the incredible runner and friend Susan getting a run in :). I closed out the run in strong fashion and did my post run stretches and rolling.

I ended the week with a recovery run and all vitals were in check with the heart rate down and the body feeling very good.. tired but not complacent and it was good to get some leg turnover on those tired legs.

After 6 weeks, I feel good where I’m at and looking to tie a few loose ends up and work on being stronger mentally.

In other news..

I rode the bike Sunday while Carrie ran her 18 miles on a morning that felt more like early March instead of May with temps in the low to mid 60’s.. absolutely perfect with the exception of the wind :). Along the way, we ran into our friends and local runners.. John, Trish, and Kaylee! It’s always great to see familiar faces out in the community!

 

 

On my way to meet up with Carrie, I saw Meredith who was putting in her 13 miler and looking strong. She ended up with a very good run and is poised to have a great race in SD! Anne who is also running the SD Half is feeling great and her miles are confirming that. Today she put in 8 miles and says she was focused and feeling positive.. I’m anticipating both women will have a an incredible race in SD!

On her 18 miler, Carrie had several long hills to conquer including the almighty Chandler Blvd hill heading east with 10% incline! She ran great and more importantly felt great, keep in mind this was after running just over a mile with a 168 ft climb up Desert Foothills!

 

 

    

 

Towards the end of her run we ran into Meredith who was finishing up her 13 miles… what better timing for a quick pic!

 

 

Lastly, I’m really liking my Saucony Ride 9’s that I decided to part ways with my Mizuno’s and exchanged them for the new Ride 10’s.. I’ll give them a test run this week and hoping to pick between the 9’s or 10’s for race day!

 

 

6 down, 4 to go!