Sunday, January 12, 2014

Boston Training Week 4


Over the course of last several years, I have trained for a wide variety of races.  Shorter track races.  Long-ish trail races.  Marathons.  5Ks.

I remember the ones I have set personal bests in most poignantly.

The comeback winter
Still too cheap to buy the race photo
The 10K I trained for in Richmond... where every Saturday in the early morning I would gather with a group of similarly skilled runners for tempo runs in the frigid winter air.  The runs were around eclectic and historic neighborhoods like Church Hill, and our group would whiz by centuries-old row houses, memorials to Civil War generals, and abandoned warehouses converted to loft apartments or restaurants.  I discovered I enjoyed wearing tall brightly colored socks on these January and February days.  The group was comprised of strangers at first, but you develop an unspoken camaraderie with the ones you barrel down the streets with at sub-6:30 per mile pace.  An exchange of fist bumps after the gut busting run.  A simple few words, "good workout" and then we go on with the rest of our lives.  That was winter four years ago.  The winter I rediscovered running on weekend mornings.

The 8K and Ten Miler I trained for this past summer/fall where I embraced Zen (or at least my interpretation).  I just wanted to run and run fast.  Run with purpose.  I reminded myself, "running is not a source of stress."  Jump in the Fullsteam run on Wednesday and stick around for a beer afterward and enjoy the lethargic Durham summer.  Jump in the Godiva Cross Country races and feel the burn of the hills and focus on keeping my legs moving quick up those same hills at the Wash Duke and Finley GC.  Jump in a free 5K parkrun on a random Saturday.  If I feel like racing Bart Bachard, I will race.  If I just feel like running hard, I use the faster runners to pull me along.  Keep positive thoughts in my head.  Love to run fast, but accept that foremost, I must love to run.

I make no mistake - these are the distances I excel.  Anything from a mile to a ten mile race.  The training leaves me invigorated.  I put in my miles, I go home, and I am fine to take on the rest of the day.  35 to 40 miles per week has been plenty for me to hit every goal I have set in these distances.  One tempo a week.  One interval workout a week.  One 8 to 10 miler at a good clip on the Tobacco Trail or at Umstead - out and back on bridle path or greenway, listening to music, just to get in some quality longer miles.

Marathon training and marathons beat me up.

So far I have found the winter easier than the summer in some regard.  Waking up at 6 in the dark and cold is not one of those, but closing a run on a sunny 45 degree morning is far better than finishing in the sweltering July heat.

Running at Moses Cone Park last week, Bass Lake
At some point, in my mileage buildup, the runs start to burn.  From 13 to 15 I felt that burn of being outside my comfort zone.  To do 26.2 (well), 13 to 20 becomes the new zone.  The last 6 will always be tough.  I made it through 10 with Ronnie Weed on a Sunday morning on the challenging Duke Forest Korstain section and down country roads on the edge of Orange County.  Conversation swallows up the 10 miles.  Ronnie finishes, recovering from his win/course record at a 43 MILER (OUCH!) last weekend, and I am on my own.  My headphones are at home.  I know what I need to do - it's time to just suck it up and run.  I run down Sunrise Road and cross I-40 again.  I always try not to look down on overpasses, something about feeling mortality and my perceived lack of balance when I am fatigued.  This is irrational.  

I distract myself with random thoughts.  I run by East Chapel Hill HS, supposedly the best academic public high school in the state,  built back when I was in high school... and I think about all the great places cross-country runners have to run here versus the gas pipelines and makeshift courses I'd come up with to avoid roads back in Salisbury - but yet here I am running on the same roads and trails that I would have been on back in 1998 had I lived here then.  Running is the constant.  I finish my 15 (15.5) - and think "that was tough but not awful," and my splits were even - mostly 7:20s/7:30s - and I reward myself with a donut at Rise.  I get in bed and start reading the last 50 pages of "The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion and I blown away by her writing... but nonetheless I am asleep within a few - a restless, tired sleep while my body recovers and my mind spins around the trails of Duke Forest, weary from a 5:45 wakeup.  

That is marathon training.


Monday:  6 at 6 at Brixx while the temperatures plummeted and winds picked up ... washed down with a White Street Black IPA at Tobacco Road Sports Pub when Brixx was closed

Notice the -52 temp change right
over the Triangle this past Tuesday
Tuesday:  The 10 degree morning, high of 23.  Came home, ate dinner, and literally did nothing.  Nothing but memories of living in Connecticut over the winter and the river below I-291 freezing over and being coated over with snow, an endless strip of white on my way to work.  At least there we had the snow.  10 degrees without snow is an insult.

Wednesday:  ~8+.  The solo interval workout at UNC's track.  1200-800.  3 times.  2 minutes between each interval.  12s around 4:30, 8s in 2:42-2:46.  They turn on the lights finally as I am nearing completion.  I run stadium steps for ten minutes.  I am bemused on my cool down running around campus at all the college kids returning from winter break and walking around campus in shorts or without gloves.  I must be old, I am in two layers, with gloves, and still freezing (but in a good way).

Thursday:  6 miles on the Tobacco Trail.  Good weather finally, but the wear and tear of the last week hits me.  I never got in a rhythm on this one.  Such is marathon training.

Friday:  4 miles on the treadmill at home easy.

Saturday:  7 miles again on the treadmill at home, when I wussed out and avoided the rain.  Television.  iPhone playlist.  I will never be a blue collar runner again.

Sunday:  15.5 miles (see above)

Total:  46.6 - highest mileage week since October 2012


Music:  Not necessarily running music to "zone out" to, but I find the Front Bottom's "Talon of the Hawk" to be brilliant and hilarious.  I love the opening song.  I love the New Jersey references.  I love how the lyrics have this manic quality to them and the guy's voice has a distinctive nasal tone, but then again the Smashing Pumpkins were one my favorite bands in high school - Billy Corgan's voice never bothered me.  You might like this if you like... John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats... if you like the Okkervil River.  Supposedly according to this NPR Music Contributor, they are great to see live, but the closest they are coming any time soon is Charlotte, which is where I'll be next week for this race.  Oh well.


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