Friday, October 24, 2014

Fault Lines

In the middle of a regular training cycle, my little pains and niggles become normal, daily creaks. First steps on the cold wood floor shoot electricity up my calves. Hips are sucked-in tight knots.

Now that I am waiting to race, a week into my first part of a taper, I'm finding these new pains concerning. Tiring. I question whether it is normal delayed onset soreness or could it be that tiny micro-tears have split along the fault lines, becoming full fledged ruptures. One more week, that's all I need to get through, then I can take a little time off. 

A little time off sounds nice.

Into these guys the last few days. 
Future Islands

Sunday, October 19, 2014

And then there was no maintenance...

With my sore foot weighing on me, I decided to rest this weekend before my last two-week push into the race. I guess I should use the word "rest" lightly as it felt like I was doing burpies with 30lbs of kid on my back all day. No such thing as laziness with these two kids.

Now the foot feels good. Time to clear the webs make the final two weeks a good one.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

There is no training now, there is only maintenance

While I wanted to run today, I was reminded by a random tweet out there from the interwebs that said you have to remember to respect the training plan. Nothing more will be made from anything within these last few weeks. Rest, heal, train mentally. Meditate. Eat well. Sleep when you can.

You can't fix the gaps in your training plan in the last few days leading up to your race. Your earlier failures can't be corrected. I wish I could go back and correct them.

I wish I could, but I can't.

This helps get me through the doldrums.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The End of Training

I spent some time today planning a long run that wouldn’t have too much elevation change in preparation for the NYC Marathon in a few weeks. As I curved the course up and down local streets on the map, I thought to myself, “is the race two weeks away or three?” After reviewing the calendar and cross-checking it against my training plan, I realized that I was off by a week.

My 18 mile race last weekend was really my last all-out long effort. For this weekend, I could trend it down into a more taper-ish 10 to 12 mile long effort.

This revelation felt nice because it meant I did not have to go through all the gear/water planning. I didn’t have to timidly mention to my wife that I would need to disappear for three hours (or more), and then spend the rest of the day massaging my thighs while bouncing kids and eating everything in front of me.

Normally, I devote a significant amount of stress time to long-run planning and post-run guilt-ridden failure management. Usually, it’s plans for back-to-back efforts that turn into half-distances or dropped runs due to kids, errands, life. Now, I’m going into the weekend stressing about wanting to run (see planning above) while knowing that I should rest the pins and get ready for big things.

My foot has been a disaster in the build up to this race, so I should be happy with the recoup time to try to sort this out.

You would think.

But none of this is easy for me. The only time I’m truly at peace with myself as a “runner” is when I’m out there running. The before, the after. That’s the tough stuff. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Needs Salt

Limping across the line at the LBI 18 Mile Run
I will eventually get around to completing a full race report for the running of the 41st Annual Long Beach Island 18 Mile Run. I have been putting thoughts together on this for the last few days. In the meantime, I thought I would try to capture one important lesson learned around mile 14 of this long, straight race.

I hear often that you should never experiment during a race; that it is not the time to try something new. This is what long training runs are for. Test your nutrition, break in your shoes, see that a pair of shorts holds up and does not chafe around your sensitive bits.

What I did not consider going into this one were the things (or one thing in particular) I do regularly on long runs that I left out of my race day plan.

I sweat when I run; a lot when it is hot and/or sunny. I also tend to lose a lot of salt, with dried residue on my face, clothes, etc. After suffering through a hot 50k last year, I learned to carry S!Caps to help replenish the salts I’m losing to ultimately assist my body in water absorption. When I start to feel sloshing in my gut, I know I have waited too long.

The LBI race was not hot, but it was straight and exposed to a constant sun. Around mile 10, I wiped my brow and felt a sandpaper-like grit across my face. By mile 14 I was getting electric shocks through my right hamstring. Everything else felt good and my nutrition and hydration was right on.

But I forgot the salt. As I staggered on I knew the cramping was going to get worse until it would force me to stop a few times and stretch the legs. For anyone who has not had this type of cramping before, it is an interesting experience. The pain I can take. It’s the locked, seized muscles that I find hard to maneuver.

I limped this one in having to slow down considerably over the last few miles.

Lesson learned the hard way. Carry salt. While I will always hope I do not have to use it, there will be comfort in knowing that it is there when I do.

Little Joy - The Next Time Around

Saturday, October 11, 2014


We woke up to what we knew would be a long, long rainy day. We packed up the kids and headed down to the beach so that they could move their miserableness to a different house.

After checking in for the Long Beach Island 18 Mile Run I found the chance to get out for a quick shake-out 4 miles. Loosened up quickly and felt decent enough, but the foot pain was there. I guess there is no hiding from this running issue.

So... I'll load up a few bottles of my maple syrup, salt, and water mix, throw on my Altras and head out down the long, straight road. I will be looking to find an even pace that I can sustain for as long as possible and see how it all plays out.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Waiting to Race

I've been dormant for a while now. No blogging, dipping well below the surface on social media. I chose some sort of sulky silence over the constant sharing.

I'm in the final weeks of waiting to race and it hasn't been easy. For all the reasons shared over the last two years (plus a few more), I have not been able to train the way I initially planned. At some point I'll publish my thoughts on killing a few summer races so that I could focus on my big one - The New York City Marathon.

I've had niggling injury problems in my foot that have forced me to train hard(ish), then recoup for a few days at a time. Then add up all of life's little stresses and it started to load up until the big system broke down. That has been my last few weeks. Immunity issues that have meant focused pain, creaky joints and frequent headaches. 

Overall, I've allowed myself to rest when I need to, train hard when the tank felt full. Last weekend I got out for a hilly, decent paced 18 miler that gave me just the right amount of confidence to know that I can make it through the race and probably enjoy the experience. It won't be as fast as I would have liked, but it probably won't be as painful either, which would have been the case had I not eased up when the moment called for it.

My plan is to put some discipline into this site and blog my way into this race. I've worked a long time to build enough of a base that would allow me to get out for long runs whenever the need called to me. I might as well capture all of it as I go into this big event.

Next up, The Long Beach Island 18 miler in two days. Long, straight, and fast. Should be interesting.

I've been digging this lately.