Thoughts and Such - McKirdy Trained
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Thoughts and Such

Welcome to my training log! As a coach for almost 15 years I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with the development of many athletes of all ability. Much of what we do at McKirdy Trained is providing the athletes the tools for success. But to do that we need to know who they are as people and not just what race they are running.

 

Far too many programs out there are focused on the wrong things. The numbers. Well, this portion is who I am. I am imperfect and messy.

I want you to see that it isn’t all roses. I want you to see that so many of us struggle with the same thoughts of failure and self doubt but maybe you’ll find something within yourself with the words that I write. I hope my journey towards my personal goals strike a chord with you to take new and more definitive steps towards yours.

What I leave behind

Not too long ago an athlete… a friend I’ve come to respect and care for shared a few thoughts with me. He was one of the first to help me develop this idea of coaching and creating a life with it – so when he talks, I listen.

 

This weekend he sent me a few thoughts on where we are now and just how “big” this thing really is. And somewhere in his words it reminded me of why and how Alfred Nobel who was once known as the “Merchant of Death” stripped that title and became a name synonymous with peace.

 

A mishap at the local newspaper confused his his brother (the one who died) with Alfred (alive and well sipping the morning coffee). “The Merchant of Death passes away.” And as he sat there reading about his own obituary he made a decision to change his life – not content to lead the life portrayed he created a new path. Essentially a new obituary.

 

So what else could I possibly do with these thoughts in my head but write my own.

 

Side note:

 

It’s actually an interesting exercise given to creative writing classes quite often. So it’s not as morbid as it might originally sound.

 


 

James Francis McKirdy –

Born – 10-1-1981

Died happy and loved – a life full of experiences he shared with bride, children, family and friends.

 

In his youth James developed friendships that stood the test of time. Friends he could still call family even though he didn’t always talk with them on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. He was there when they got married and built families of their own. He was there when they needed help to move into new homes. And he was there to share a Guinness “just because.” For some reason, they tolerated his random singing selfies and open mic night happenstances.

 

Through his 20’s and into his mid 30’s James discovered who he was and who he wanted to be. When his eyes were opened and he found his direction he worked hard to make things happen for himself. He started with a small goal and developed a business focused on service towards others. It wasn’t always easy and he was often tested. He made mistakes but did his best to keep “service” at the forefront. This idea grew quickly and he helped shape countless lives with the support of those he worked with. He never saw himself as a boss, but rather someone to work through ideas with. Those who worked for him were quickly adopted family to him.

 

It was through the new friendships James made where he eventually met his bride. They spent the next few years sharing in each other’s success and sorrow and formed a love forged like no other. They spent the early years in their relationship with travel to countries by way of random chance. He always let her choose because he never cared where they went, so long as they went together. Their favorite times though, were those with a view of the mountains and rivers. 

 

They were eventually able to pass this love, joy, and sense of adventure to their children – of whom they are forever proud. They taught them to dance, run and play in every aspect of their lives. “It’s not about how many you beat to the finish line, but how many you helped as you got there yourself.” – this is how they raised their children. James’ wild and loving spirit lives on with them.

 

With the children grown they resumed a life of travel and adventure. They spent time on every continent and James was able to say he swam naked in every ocean and sea. He enjoyed learning new foods to cook. And although his wife didn’t always want to eat it, she always walked away impressed with his skills in the kitchen.

 

Through his later years James still ran every day. Although his steps weren’t as fast as they once were, he found time to enjoy the sounds of the rustling leaves and the calm of the footsteps. His faith in God guiding him along his road. He even kept wearing his short shorts… because that’s what runners do.
James wanted each person he met to feel special. Not for anything else but for his love of others. It didn’t matter to him if you were short, tall, thin, thick, black, or white. You always knew that when you spoke to him, he listened. He had an unwavering faith in the power of the human spirit.


If I come even close to this… I’ll have lived in joy. But first…first I run…

4 months from "never"

4 months from “never” and I’m starting over

 

It’s taken me 4 months, almost to the day, to be able to write about what didn’t happen at Hartford. I’ve experienced so much success since October 8th. From personal and professional I’m actually quite happy. I really do see an amazing future and it gets me excited for what’s to come. But there’s this missing part of the last 4 months I’m compelled to share. Because… it’s me.

 

It’s time I talk about what didn’t happen and why.

 

If you followed along with my journal leading to the Hartford Marathon then you know I was in the best shape of my life. Running 2.5 hours at 5:45/mile all while singing and feeling amazing. My last race was the month before at the New Haven 20k – I could have fun forever. My coach Alicia Shay was really confident in where I was fitness wise and I had complete faith in her plan and my ability.

 

If you followed my journey you know that I am a survivor of sexual assault. When I started writing this journal I was using it as a way to tell my story. At least, at the time it felt like every week I was getting closer and closer to being able to share what had happened. To tell the story of who I am.

 

The outpouring of support I received from the “I am Jane Doe” post was humbling. Every time I was left in tears by those who sent me emails and voicemails. From folks I know personally yet never knew they were dealing with their own demons to people across the country that I might never meet reaching out to say they too were victims… survivors.

 

If you followed along with other forms of social media then you know that my knee gave way 36 hours before the race started. I was bopping along at the expo and all smiles. I gave Beth Shluger, the executive director of HMF, a big old hug and then turned to meet some friends at the Sound Runner table. And that’s where it happened. The clicking. Every step I felt the crunches and cracks and I couldn’t walk right. I was done before I even started.

 

Running the marathon, to me, wasn’t so much about the time. I knew what I could do regardless of what would happen on that day. No, running the marathon for me was about reclaiming ME. I just didn’t realize that I never lost myself in the first place. ME was always there… just quiet.

 

My knee prevented me from running my marathon. My knee prevented this magical “Disney Ending” that I thought would might be fitting. Through no fault of anything specific, just some really bad luck – it was blown up and destroyed. But my knee also allowed for me to be there at the finish line for every athlete we serve – 85 athletes ran that day. My knee allowed for that. And I have no doubt my knee saved my life.

 

Backstory:

In 2009 and 2012 – before I started training with an endurance focus – I found myself in the hospital. Both times my heart had swelling caused by a few abnormalities from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy and adhesions (scarring). Both times I had to take a long break from anything remotely physical, essentially bed rest until I could manage to go about a “normal” day of activity. Meds and tests on top of tests on top of tests. 

 

To start running again in the fall of 2012 felt like I was on borrowed time of what my body would allow. Doctors say one thing, doctors say another thing. Meds work, then they don’t. But I did get 4 amazing years out of it. The only consistent thing about what I’ve dealt with is that my soul is meant to run.

 

So as great as I felt this summer and into the fall… it’s fitting that round 3 of this shit came on my birthday – 7 days before the race. I knew something was off when a normal run just didn’t feel “right.” When during sleep I would wake up in pain. When just walking up the stairs got me winded – needing to sit to catch my breath.

 

Just two weeks before I was clipping away 5:15-20 pace inside of a 24 miler with Will Sanders (one of New England’s Finest). But with a beat of the heart I knew the swelling was back. Tests were done, meds were started and I was determined to run the marathon no matter what. It was my time. I HAD to run. Not just for me, but for those who reached out seemingly overnight. Not running felt like I would be letting them all down.

 

And then the knee. I couldn’t walk let alone run. The knee saved my life. And in my state… who knows what would have happened.  

 

Knee surgery in came in November. It brought a cane that made me look like Dr Greg House from tv. Many rough patches came from surgery though and when the doctor says “so we should talk about this knee…” and then talks about a knee replacement… you think the worst. 

 

Throughout the winter I also went through rounds of different meds for the swelling in my trusty ticker. I was resigned to the idea that my running was done. While in Philly watching Mary run her marathon I could barely keep up with the walking. Fatigued and labored I was winded beyond belief – enough to actually stop and take a break for a bit. It’s just a shitty place to be.

 

There’s a line in a musical that speaks to me. “What if I never see myself ever become anything more than what I’ve already become.” And someone very close to me told me “if that were true then I wouldn’t be here.” – Well here I am.

 

But with grace my body seems to finally be responding. 4 months from “never” and I’m starting over. Gently. I spent the past few weeks with runs that I could sing in. A shadow of where I was 120 days ago. But the sun is rising and the shadow is fading.

 

I’m working with Micheal Crouch now – we’ve developed as friends over these few months while he’s been with the McKirdy Trained family and I’m really confident he’ll help keep me in line to not do too much.

 

4 months from “never” and I begin once more – a heartbeat at a time

I am Jane Doe

So I wrote in a previous post about chasing ghosts. About trying to be someone I used to strive to be. It’s hard – the words come out but they just don’t seem right. I’ve written this a few times but I just haven’t seem to have found the right manner to put it down in a way that made sense. Lots of worry enters my mind with what I’m about to say.

 

To my family and friends – thank you for your support through my entire journey. I would not be here if it were not for you.

 

I guess if I were to ask a few people they might say to either wait because it doesn’t seem like it’s the right time – especially with a fairly new business and certainly not the day before a big marathon, or hell … even a few I did talk to a while back said not to say anything at all – to save myself the embarrassment (fuck them).

 

— This weekend is really important for me. It’s not just a goal race for me, but also to the clients I serve. It’s one of the biggest events in our state and I really want it to go well for everyone. We have over 75 athletes running! One of our programs we formed is coached by our very own Michelle Kurnik. She lead a squad of almost forty since June and this is the culmination of that training.

 

Their shirts came in yesterday. Our logo, SoundRunner (the run specialty store we represent) and Jane Doe No More – a non profit designed to help bring awareness of sexual assault as well as relief and counseling for those who have survived – they are on the backs of the shirts. This is the second year in a row that I reached out to them to represent the cause. It’s really important to me because I am a survivor myself. Wow – there it is. The words are out and the tears stream down my face.

 

So much of this brief moment in hell shaped the last 14 years of my life. For such a long time it defined me. For years I hid in shame because of it. I lost friendships and relationships and I became an entirely different person. Someone I never thought I’d be. I had such great plans before this and in an instant my life was over – or so I thought.

 

It brought me to a point of self loathing I never thought possible. I remember coming home a few weeks after it happened. I couldn’t tell my parents. I only told them I had been beaten up and I wasn’t happy at school anymore – I needed to leave and that’s all they needed to know. But really I didn’t feel safe anywhere I was.

 

I remember so many sleepless nights and the nights when I could sleep were filled with nightmares and me awakening screaming and crying. I think that’s when my parents found out what really happened – I could only imagine what they felt. I don’t know what time it was in the morning – but I remember waking up crying and my mom was right there to give me a hug.

 

As much love as my parents could show I wasn’t ready to receive it. There were so many demons in me and I couldn’t take hold of myself. I made a lot of bad choices after I left school. I wish I could go back and talk sense to that younger version of me and just say “It’s not your fault and it’s going to be ok.”

 

They culminated in a complete mental breakdown and me trying to drive off the road in the middle of a winter evening on the highway just a few years later. I had been living with someone at the time and my life balance seemed to shift all the way to one side. I felt trapped, angry, rage, and emptiness all at the same time. By the grace of God I didn’t end up in a ditch. The snow covered roads and guardrails pushed my car back onto the road and I managed to get home.

 

I reached out to my cousin Mark the next day. He only lived about 45 minutes away and he drove down that night to come pick me up. We weren’t especially close but for some reason he was the one I reached out to. I couldn’t go back home to my parents but I knew I needed help.

 

Mark and his family took me in. They saved my life. I was a shell of what I once was and completely broken but Mark let me live with the family asking no questions and showing no judgement, just love. Over the course of a few weeks though I did start to open up a bit more but really my time there was about settling down and finding peace.

 

I stayed there for just enough time to get my bearings. About 6 weeks or so and I was finally able to move home with my parents and restart my life. I told my family about what happened but not everyone. I told a few friends but certainly not everyone. I was still afraid of what people would say. Part of me felt like “I’m a man, how could this happen to me.” – it was a lonely place to be.

 

I started working in a gym and I guess I fell into coaching and training. A – I needed a job and B – I think I felt like if I could help others battle their own demons, maybe I could start to battle mine. My former boss and owner of the gym I had worked at once told me that because I know the darkness so well it allows me to do what I do that much better.

 

Just over a year ago I bumped into Donna Palomba – the founder of Jane Doe No more. I had coached her son a while back when I had worked at the local high school. For whatever reason at that moment in time I just word vomited my life story to her. We were standing in a store and I hadn’t seen her for years. She was graceful and accepting. She didn’t judge, she knew. This is why I run for Jane Doe No More.

 

So much has happened since then. 14 years is far too much to put into a blog post. But here I am. A decade and a half later, 2 major heart issues that left me sharing some wonderful nights in the ICU and $70k plus in the hole (of which I’m clear of finally), relationships made and faded, an up and coming busines with McKirdy Trained, and a sexual assault survivor.

 

24 hours from now we tow the line. For me this is no longer about chasing ghosts but doing something I was meant to do. Much has happened this week for personally and it is why I have decided to share my story now and to run Saturday no matter what. I’ll do my very best to cross that line whether I hit my standard or not.  I will run free.

 

There’s so much more I would like to say, so much more I could say. So many before me have written far more eloquent words and this is the best I can do. Ultimately it all boils down to this:

 

I no longer wear my assault as the “scarlet letter.” I AM JANE DOE NO MORE. I’ve run 1500 miles since June to prepare myself for tomorrow but I’ve been through hell and back and that was more prep than any single mile could give me. I’m ready for my life to begin, even for just one day.

 

With love – James

Week of September 26th, 2016 - 72 miles

Week of September 26th

 

With 1 last hard session remaining (and I really don’t even consider it that hard of a workout) I’m excited for this week. It’s weird that this seems to have been a long build up yet so short. Game on!

 

Monday – recovery

Morning – 7

Evening – 5

 

Tuesday – Recovery with striders

 

Morning – 10.4 easy with 1.4 of striders – 11.8

 

Wednesday – Speed

 

So this is it. The last session. The goal of the day was to run 4 miles at threshold then rest, 2 miles at threshold and feel strong doing it. Today was super windy around the park but it was crisp air and I felt like I could move. It’s never a goal to set personal bests in workouts so I didn’t want to go nuts, just wanted to feel strong.

 

4 mile splits – 5:12, 5:10, 5:08, 5:05  — 20:35

2 mile splits – 5:00, 5:01  — 10:01

 

I’m really pleased how this workout went. Just a few weeks ago I had a VERY similar workout and I felt groggy and sickly. Still coming off the hip issue too but it left me with 21:09 and 10:42 — so seeing these times as the last session meant a great deal to me mentally. Especially since I felt like I had another gear.

 

What’s even better is that all of my clients crushed their workouts today – now is time for rest, recovery, much needed sleep and hydration.

 

Mileage – 10

 

Thursday – recovery

 

Mileage – 8

 

Friday – recovery

 

I had a great chance to run with a prospective client this morning for 6 miles. Along with that I invited Alyssa to stay with me for a few days so she can recover, relax and get in her last speed session before her big race comes up too. It was great for Matt to see her run and learn more about where she’s been (on top having one of the best workouts she’s ever had – It was a fun experience for me to witness her start to understand just how far she’s come athletically.

 

What’s great though, is that I don’t think she’s anywhere near where she can be. Healthy first has always been the thought and she’s responded beautifully.

 

Today’s also my last day at 34. Alyssa and I were joined by Liz later that day and we had a wonderful dinner together and had loads of fun. Liz is running a different marathon this coming week and seems like she’s rounding into fine shape under the guidance of her father.

 

We got to talking about her late coach (he had passed away). Man… her eyes light up when she talks about him. Truly someone who so clearly means more than a race performance to her. And from what she expresses, her entire family feels the same way. If I have a tenth of an influence on my athletes as this man has had on her I’d consider myself a successful coach and very successful human.

 

Fair play to a man I’ll never get a chance to learn from personally but rest assured your influence is strong.

 

Saturday — the last “long” run

 

I’m 35 today. I got a chance to run with great friends, new friends and clients and really had time to reflect on my training during the last “long” run. 12 miles around 336 Longbottom is a joyous place for me. I’ve had so many good runs there and today was no different. I saw my first BEAR! I’ve never seen a bear before and this thing was a fully grown adult. It was pretty close too (tagged and minding its business)

 

Mary, Liz, and Alyssa got a chance to run together. It was Liz’s first time around the res and I think the 3 of them really had fun together. We also ran with a few clients that Mary and Tim coached for our New Haven program. From their own posts they had a marvelous run and really enjoyed the views even in the rainy and windy weather.

 

A few folks from our Hartford program that Michelle coaches were also in attendance as well as some private clients. All in all it was a stellar 78 minutes for me. I didn’t feel particularly peppy as I’ve been fighting off some chest stuff the last few days but surrounded by friends and family made it a great morning.

 

Mileage – 12.2

 

Sunday – recovery 6.8
Weekly total – 72 miles (Monday – Sunday)

Week of September 16th, 2016 - 97.1 miles

Monday

 

mileage –

Morning – 6 with Heather

Evening – 5.4 with Andrew

 

Tuesday

Mileage

Morning – 10.2 with Amanda

Evening 4.1

 

Wednesday – Speed!

 

Not sure how I really felt about my body going into today’s workout. It was a doozy and maybe one of the hardest yet. I had done a version of this workout a few weeks back but now I had an added 4×400 (400 easy jog rest) — Last time was picture perfect, this time was humid and sticky.

 

3x mile with 1:00 walk — 3 x 1000m with 3:00 walk — 4 x 400 (400)

4:59, 4:54, 5:01 — 2:56, 2:57, 2:58 — 65, 66, 64, 61

 

BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE — Followed by a massage and lunch with Coach Mary!

 

Mileage – 12.5

 

Thursday

 

Mileage

Morning – 10

Evening – 5

 

Friday

 

Mileage – 11.75 (with striders in there)

 

Saturday – last marathon specific long run

 

I love long run days – especially race specific long run days. They are a challenge logistically so being prepared is a must. As well, when you get a chance to run the workout with a friend you might just run a little better (and easier) than anticipated.

 

Today I had a chance to run with 15-20 clients/friends as we prepared for our major endurance races. Some were just out for an easy long run while others had specifics in mind. But we all drilled and foam rolled together and spoke about the route.

 

Sperry Park in Avon is a flat and somewhat fast paved trail bed that has gentle hills in spots and just a few sharp corners where you need to check yourself. But on a crisp and cool morning we couldn’t have asked for a better day to run.

 

With me was Will Sanders, also making his last long run effort as we will both don the NEF mark for our Hartford Marathon. Will is a fantastic athlete and kind soul and getting a chance to run alongside him is always an honor.

 

The workout was made easier with Nate riding with us the entire way. He would hop off his bike and hold water bottles as we ran past so Will and I could practice grabbing water at marathon speed. A key element which can make or break the race. Miss the bottle and you miss your hydration = terrible marathon experience.

 

The workout was pretty solid! 7 miles easy directly into 6 x mile (2:00 easy pace) directly into 7 miles easy again. Somewhere between 21-22 miles was the goal.

 

Will and I ran smooth to start hitting the first two miles as our slowest, 6:09 and 6:03 then we sorta rolled into 5:50-59 pace all while talking. This was really fun because talking at that pace always makes me feel confident.

 

When it came time to get to work we dropped some great times:

5:44 (uphill) 5:37, 5:34, 5:30, 5:27, 5:23 — the recovery pacing was anywhere from 5:50 to 6:15 so in the 12:00 block we covered 1.75 miles.

 

What was awesome about this was finishing feeling easy in the 5:47-53 range. Still talking and having fun while running at this pace has never felt so good! I could have kept going for a 2:31 marathon today.

 

Side note, this capped off 109 miles for me in a rolling 7 days (Sunday through Saturday) – the most I’ve ever run. Esther was quick to point out that I MUST feed the machine!

 

Sunday – recovery

 

Morning – 6 with Heather

Evening – 4.3
Weekly Total – 97.1 miles (Monday – Sunday)

The Breakthrough

So I’m still sorta in shock about the run yesterday. Honestly I felt like crying into my plate of french toast and eggs at breakfast. I was just so happy about what I just did. It’s tough; I’m a coach and I have 100% faith in my clients. Sure, there will be hiccups, moments of doubt. Moments where the plan I created for someone might not always be perfect. I’m human. I make mistakes. But we get through and we develop. And honestly it’s been quite amazing to see the growth in my own clients.

 

But with my own training I have to trust 100% into what my coach is doing for me. Not only do I have to be there for my clients, I have to allow my coach to be there for me too. Yesterday was a testament to all of the hard work we’ve done. I say “we” because it’s a journey we’ve been taking together. It’s been exactly 1 year since we started working together.

 

I’ve had coaches prior but Alicia is special. I remember watching her husband Ryan running in college (he was a senior and Notre Dame while I was a sophomore at Uconn) and he absolutely destroyed the field winning the championship. I had just got hurt a few weeks before pole vaulting so surgery left me useless other than to be a loud spectator. 5 years later I also remember watching during the 2007 marathon trials when he passed away.

 

When we first met in Flagstaff (2015) we were there for a running retreat hosted by the RunSmartproject. The week was amazing and just what I needed to kickstart running again after seriously damaging a tendon in my right leg 4.5 months before.

 

After Alicia spoke during one of the many presentations that week a few folks went up to her to say what a wonderful job she had done in her nutrition presentation. I had waited for the crowd to die down a bit because I wanted to share with her that I remembered Ryan and I honestly wasn’t exactly sure how it would be received. I remember very specifically watching him run that day at the Big East Championships. A lion if I ever saw one. — I’m glad I shared that memory with her.

 

Years later Alicia has found a new path with running, coaching, and her new husband (whom I haven’t met yet) in Chris.

 

So how does this all relate to yesterday’s run? I don’t know for sure. Like I said, this is unedited (aside to make it somewhat readable) nor rehearsed. But maybe it’s got something to do with fighting, pulling through. Maybe it relates to dealing with demons and moving on. Lord knows I’ve had my share – more on that after Hartford.

 

But I guess up until the 20k I felt like I had been chasing a ghost of my potential lost from years ago. But something clicked that day – I wasn’t thinking. And this one single run…all 22.35 miles of it… for once it wasn’t about chasing down something I might have been. I’d been trying to prove (maybe more to myself than anyone else) that “See I could have…” These thoughts have been in my head since the Fall of 2002. Maybe I didn’t even know they were there so much, or how prevalent they really were.

 

The 20k in New Haven was about a feeling I needed to have. But yesterday was about driving through (still within the workout of course) but making a move and having faith I can do it. I think that’s why I was almost brought to tears. It hit me that I’m ready.

 

Marathons are tricky though – anything can happen. But regardless of what takes place in a few weeks “I am” will be running in my head and in my legs…

Week of September 12th, 2016 - 97.7 miles - Highest Yet!

Week of September 12th

 

Monday – So I had treatment, thanks John! My plan is to be as aggressive with therapy as I can be and pray things go well. I can run without pain today so I’m going to go VERY easy to test the waters

 

Mileage – 8

 

Tuesday

Run, therapy, run, therapy — that’s the name of the game — I’ll run as easy as I can and just go based on feel. Shutting down as I need:

Richard Testa and Chris Dembski have helped tremendously this week!

 

Morning – 10.3

Evening – 6

 

Wednesday – I’m actually pain free today, but I don’t feel quite right. Everything in the workout seemed a bit harder than normal in the lungs – a sure sign that I’m coming down with a bit of a cold.

 

The speed was sub par but the intention was there. As well, the run was pain free! Maybe out of the woods all together!

 

4 miles, 2 miles, 1 mile all done at threshold speed – All I could really manage today was around the 5:20 range.

 

Mileage – 13.2

 

Thursday – recovery

 

Morning – 8

Afternoon – 6 (New Hampshire!)

 

Friday – My first real run without stiffness and without any poor lung quality.

 

Mileage – 13

 

Saturday – 10 easy miles with Heather and Thomas! A glorious day for an easy run — big workout tomorrow and I’m nervous and excited to see what I can do.

 

Sunday – Marathon specific long run

 

The plan of attack on this run is to spend time at marathon pace. We decided to head into town and run on a rail trail which brought a gentle incline for 4 miles going up and gentle down. This was a fantastic choice because there are stretches in Hartford that will have the same feel. Being just over pace is good to get used to while turning around and being under pace will most surely happen.

 

The run turned out to be 4 building then 12 at marathon, 3 easy, then finish hard with 3.3 — The way the terrain workout out it made sense to run it that way. 22.35 miles

 

1-4 — 6:19, 6:26, 6:06, 6:15

5-16 — 5:43, 5:41, 5:43, 5:41, 5:47, 5:49, 5:50, 5:53, 5:24, 5:27, 5:33, 5:37 — Up and down hills in there

17-19 — 6:05, 6:01, 6:12 (uphill the entire way)

20-22.35 — 5:26, 5:28, 5:29 – 1:44 (5:08 pace)

 

This was easily the best long run workout of my life – 5:48/mile on the average. I crushed a 17:00 last 5k and I could have kept going. I truly feel that I could have run 2:31-32 holding onto 5:40’s the last portion versus trying to finish hard. — I’m ready

 

Weekly Total – 97.7 (Monday-Sunday) – Highest Mileage yet

Week of September 5th, 2016 - 82 miles

Week of September 5th

 

Monday — Race Day!

 

So I’m writing this well after the race has taken place — weeks after actually. I wanted time to set in. I wanted my feelings to be true and non-reactive.

 

The race – we really didn’t know if the race was even going to happen with the hurricane just a day before. And if it did happen… how fast could we possibly run in 20 mph winds? But when I woke up this morning it was actually picture perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a better day —

 

The gun goes off —

 

The first few miles were comfortably hard. I still had a bit of a headache lingering but it subsided a bit as the run progressed. Miles 1-5 were:

 

5:20, 5:27, 5:21, 5:25, 5:19

 

For a while I had gentle company to run with but I decided to do something I’ve never done before in a race setting — run with music. I wanted to just be within myself and not be tempted to talk to anyone… just run.

 

At mile 4 I was completely by myself. There were a few pro women up front but I had zero company. My main focus was to enjoy the moments and listen to the music paying as little attention as I could to any pain or breathing noises. Just run.

 

Miles 6-10 went:

 

5:25, 5:16, 5:26, 5:30, 5:42

These miles presented a challenge because I had passed the remaining pro runners within striking distance. I offered to break the wind for them around mile 6.5-7 but they couldn’t keep with the pacing so I was solo from here on out. Miles 8-10 the wind really picked up a bit and in 15mph and gentle hills I saw my splits slow but I was content to keep the effort the same and not freak out.

 

Miles 11-finish

 

5:22, 5:20, 2:28 (.5 miles)

 

These miles just flew by. I was running pretty easy now that the wind ceased and I had some flat sections to run on. I felt like I could handle the paces for another 4-5 miles — I finished talking and with a HUGE smile on my face.

 

—Recap — This was by far the greatest race of my career. Knowing I could run faster but settling in was really important for me personally. I needed to feel “zen-like” when I crossed that line. Mission accomplished. This still equates to an effort of 2:28 or so for a marathon. Hartford is now truly tangible.

 

Mileage

-18.5

 

Tuesday – recovery

Morning – 8.2 miles

Evening 5.2 miles

 

Wednesday – recovery

Morning – 11

Evening – 4.1

 

Thursday – recovery

Morning 10.3 – Tweaked hip jumping over a snake!!!

Evening 4.5 – shake out

 

Friday – gentle speed

4.1 warm up, 3 miles of 200/200, 3.1 cooldown

Felt tight but nothing awful

 

Saturday – recovery

 

10 — This did NOT go well. Halfway through my hip balled into a knot and I still had 5 miles to go to get back to the parking lot — Netflix and recovery for 48-72 hours should do the trick but that means no long run for me tomorrow – just rest.

 

Sunday – off – Honestly, I’m thinking that I might have done some real damage while jumping over the snake. It scared the crap out of me. I have LOTS of therapy scheduled over the next 3 days to take care of this. But right now I’m even walking with a limp.

 

Weekly total – 82 (Monday – Sunday)

Week of August 29th, 2016 - 70.1 Miles

Week of August 29th

 

Monday – With the USA 20k coming up but most importantly the marathon in 5-6 weeks coach and I decided that this week would only be a slight taper. I’ll still hit the paces pretty darn hard as well as keep the miles coming along and then gently rest over the weekend. It’ll be interesting to see how my legs feel for the race!

 

Mileage

Morning – 10

Afternoon – 5

 

Tuesday – I took a trip up to New York to visit with friends! Yesterday I ran 10 in the morning, drove, then ran 5 at night. Today though is all about the speed and maybe one of my best speed sessions ever!

 

3 mile warm up – 3 x 1 mile with 1 minute rest – 3 x 1000 meters with 3 minutes rest – 2 mile cooldown

 

5:08, 5:03, 5:03 — 2:59, 2:57, 2:52 — I was really happy about today because I was super focused and in charge. Wind be damned I was gonna hit my times! (it was a gentle breeze to remind me I’m not really in charge).

 

Mileage – 11.5

 

Wednesday – recovery

 

Mileage

Morning – 10

Evening – 5.3

 

Thursday – recovery

 

Mileage – 10

 

Friday

 

Mileage

Morning – 8

Afternoon – 4

 

Saturday – scheduled day off!!  This was also official moving day so that worked out really well

 

Sunday – Prerace shakeout with Matt Llano and Ben Rosario! This was was a real treat for me as tomorrow is a US championship event. So many athletes have flown in for this race and I think that it might be the most talented field ever assembled. Matt is training for New York and this is a stepping stone for him but of course he wants to run well.

 

For those that don’t know, Matt was 6th at the Olympic Trials for the marathon. Super talented guy and regardless of what happens tomorrow with the weather (damned hurricane) he’s a fighter. Ben has a stellar team out in Flagstaff and it was great to watch him guide and coach as we ran and bullshitted along the way.

 

I love how intense Ben is. Hyper focused on the task at hand like there is nothing more important than who he is with in that moment. He’s certainly in the top class of coaches across the nation and I do not take for granted to call him a friend.

 

–Side note — later today I had a MASSIVE headache. I opted to go to the movies and just chill out. Apparently that was a fantastic idea because the theatre had recliner seats and I fell asleep for literally 95% of the movie. I woke up feeling so much better!

 

Mileage – 6

 

Weekly Total – 70.1 miles (Monday – Sunday)

Week of August 22nd, 2016 - 93.3 Miles

Week of August 22nd

 

Monday – So I feel like marathon training has finally begun. It’s weird… the miles are adding up but now it’s just about 6-7 weeks out and now my brain has fully switched over to the marathon. Lots of things in my personal life have been going crazy the last 3 months or so but running with a purpose and patience has provided me with some grounding. In my past that hasn’t always been the case.

 

I feel “light” right now though. Business is steady and clients are happy and/or working through what we all go through towards their goals. That’s life though, it’s never a steady ride and anyone that tells you that is hiding something. Thank God for close friends and family!

 

Mileage –

Morning – 10

Evening – 4.75

 

Tuesday – Speed

 

Today’s goal is to spend time at threshold with a relatively short recovery. I opted to get onto the track to have a bit of compare and contrast to where I was 4 months ago (with 1 less rep back then too). The weather was similar and I felt like this would be a good gage.

 

4 x 2 miles with 2 minute rest — 10:19, 10:17, 10:17, 10:12 — compare that to a while back at 10:31, 10:24, 10:27 and I am EXTREMELY pleased with the effort and the paces. I felt like I had another rep in me too!

 

MIleage – 12

 

Wednesday – recovery

Mileage –

Morning – 10

Evening 4.5

 

Thursday – Mid week long run

 

I wanted to get around 90 minutes in for this run but I also didn’t want to go nuts on pace. Mission accomplished!

 

Mileage 14

 

Friday – recovery

 

Mileage – easy 10

 

Saturday – Marathon Specific long run

 

Through the early hours and not off the best night sleep — that’s for sure — But up at 4, travel food (McDonald’s drive through of 2 x oatmeal and black coffee — actually not bad for you!) and I was drilled up and ready to roll at 7am.

 

The hills in Central Park are great. Small rollers combined with steady climbs and downhills makes 6.07 miles for each loop a good challenge with just about 300 ft of elevation gain bearable but certainly a challenge.

 

The workout – 6 easy, 6 at marathon, 1 easy, 4 at marathon, finish with easy — This turned into 6 miles at 5:55’s then 6 miles at 5:45’s, 1 at 6:05, 4 miles at 5:45-50 and rolled into the finish. 19.5 miles in 1:53:15 — I’m happy — and HUNGRY!

 

Mileage – 19.5

 

Sunday – So it’s been a long weekend and today wasn’t about me, but rather about my clients who have been working so hard to see results. The summer was hard weather wise but it was time to put the fitness to the test under slightly soupy conditions.

 

I was able to plan my recovery run to pace a client for his 10k and it couldn’t have worked out better. Nate crushed his previous goals and I think even his idea of what was possible. He ended up with 39:45 and about 4 minutes faster than last year!

 

Mileage – 7.75

 

Weekly total – 93.3 miles (Monday – Sunday)

Week of August 15th, 2016 - 85.1 miles

Week of August 15th

 

Monday – super easy recovery miles — of note I started to feel a bit of a sore throat and sneezy. Also, totally got lost on the run and had to ask directions back!

Mileage – 6.5

 

Tuesday – Speed!

 

This workout I was really looking forward to. 7 miles at marathon really isn’t that hard of a run but managing the hills of San Francisco can be a tough challenge AND still holding the intention of the workout. It can be really easy to run too fast downhill and running uphill can be a nightmare too!

 

Something just didn’t click today though, the first 3.5 miles were downhill and flat and even though I was faster than marathon pace it was still hard…I should have been floating. Either the hills are getting to me or I’m sick – one or the other. I did manage the 7 miles in 5:41 pace but it felt more like hard work than floating.

 

Mileage – 12.75

 

Wednesday – recovery miles after a long flight home

 

Mileage – 11.3

 

Thursday – Short speed

 

Still not feeling the greatest. After the first 4 rounds of 200 hard and 200 easy I started to lose energy drastically. I even got the chills a little bit while I was running. No major cough though, but breathing was just harder than it should have been.

The workout called for speeds around 33-34 seconds but I typically run 30-31 on this type of workout just because my natural feeling is for the shorter work. But as the workout progressed I was certainly having trouble managing 33’s and just felt like I had no pop. For a mid week “not too invasive” workout I was pooped!

But all is not lost and my world is not over. It’s a sickness and I trained through it. It’s not so much settled in my chest so I don’t think I really risked anything and if nothing else it helped toughen me up while also providing some humility.

 

Mileage –

Morning – 9

Evening – 4.4 recovery

 

Friday – Today I’m opting for just 1 run so I can get some rest.

 

Mileage – 10.0

 

Saturday – long run

 

I woke up this morning not sure if I was going to switch my days or not but I actually felt pretty good. But just in case I ran a short 5.1 mile loop that way I can adjust my plans if needed and run short. It’d be pretty bad if I was 10 miles out and was forced to run back.

 

The hills on this route were no joke though! 300 ft of climbing in the first 2 miles and that really didn’t start until about .5 miles in… so portions of this run were pretty legit. Easily this loop would become the hardest long run I’ve ever done. Even in San Francisco a week ago the long run would only tally up to half of what these hills brought.

 

Certainly it wasn’t all uphill, since there was a loop it would bring just as many downhills but honestly sometimes that can be just as hard. The pounding running downhill can destroy your quads and even your achilles if you aren’t careful.

 

I did feel pretty stellar though, thank the Lord, and I managed just over 20 miles in a 6:10 average with between 1400-1500 of climbing thrown in there. This was also a great run to practice nutrition intake. Every 30 minutes I put in around 100 calories.

 

I think it’s safe to say the sickness has left I can can resume my normal training!

 

Sunday – recovery miles

 

One of my favorite places to run is 336 Longbottom Road in Southington Ct. It’s just over the New Britain line and an amazing 5.4 mile loop around a reservoir and apple orchard. Tremendous hills coupled with amazing scenery make for an amazing journey every time I run.

 

Mileage – 11.0

 

Weekly Total – 85.1 miles (Monday-Sunday)

Week of August 8th, 2016 - 94.2 miles

Week of August 8th

 

Monday

Morning – 9.5

Evening 6

 

Tuesday – Speed!

 

A good mix of intensities today. 3 mile warm up with 4 x 8 minutes at Threshold coupled with 90 seconds recovery pace (38 minute workout) 3 mile cooldown.

 

I ran this on a rolling hilled course in New Britain. It was a good challenge to hit my speeds on the ups as well as not go too fast on the downhill sections. I did a good job of managing the paces though since every block was almost exactly 1.5 miles! Just around 5:19/mile.

 

It was a bit of a mind bender though — seeing 15 seconds/mile slower on the uphill and not driving too hard. But patience wins…always. 6.91 miles were done in the 38 minutes!

 

Milage

Morning – 13.2

Evening – 4.1

 

Wednesday

 

Morning – 5.4 easy miles with Marc

Evening 7.4 easy miles with Dan

 

Thursday

 

So this started the trip to San Francisco. I am fairly confident I won’t have time to get any doubles in and certainly the hills in the city are going to live up to their name. Adjustments to be made for sure!

 

Afternoon – It’s surprisingly cold here and apparently I ran up to one of the peaks of the city in my first run! Literally it was a 4.5 mile climb up. Robin said I should crank out some fancy workouts and try to steal some course records on strava! The run itself had 1000 ft of climbing in 4.5 miles — coming down sure was fun!

 

Mileage – 9

 

Friday

 

Easy 11.7 recovery pacing

 

Saturday – Long Run with purpose

 

So this was a fun run — I didn’t have a plan of attack of where I would run, just that I’d go 9 miles out then come back. Yesterday, although I didn’t write about it, I got lost a bit and ended up running about a mile longer than expected but I learned where to go so that was completely fine by me! So today’s run took me to the Pacific Ocean for the first time in my life. I hadn’t planned on running there but I managed around 6 miles along the coast! I also listened to music! — This is rare for me but after today’s run I’m contemplating on music for Hartford. 18 miles on some serious hills!

 

Today’s run was all about nutrition and hydration practice along with getting in some good miles. Every 30 minutes – within a minute or so – keep focused and take in my gels. The goal being around 200 calories per hour.

 

Splits:

Miles 1-4 — 7:15, 7:52, 6:48, 6:19

Miles 5-8 — 6:02, 6:01, 6:11, 6:05

Miles 9-12 — 6:07, 5:56, 6:03, 6:00

Miles 13-18 — 6:05, 6:12, 5:52, 5:55, 5:49, 5:34

 

Mileage – 18

 

Sunday – easy 10 recovery
Weekly total – 94.2 miles (Monday- Sunday)

Week of August 1st - 92.0 Miles

Week of August 1st

 

Monday

 

So here we are, the start of the month and 9 weeks to go before Hartford. With only 1 racing effort between now and then, this block is 100% about development and experience at “marathon” effort. Sure, I’ll have a few days that are faster, but volume and race specific intensity are going to be the priority moving forward.

 

I can’t tell you how excited I am to test myself. Coach and I had a great conversation for just about an hour the other night and we’re both on the same page. I’m ready to build my mileage and (pending being healthy) I’m confident that the next 9 weeks will produce some amazing results. The support system I have with my sponsors (First Endurance, Sound Runner, Select Therapy, and Testa) are exactly what I need from a physical standpoint.

 

Mentally I have some barriers I need to crush and destroy. There’s a little self doubt from time to time, I think that holds me back from taking some risks. But that’s slowly fading and from the conversations I have with my own coaching staff that I am doing everything I need to be doing to move myself in the right direction.  

 

The plan for this month is to hit around 360-400 miles. Then in September build slightly and have a small taper for Hartford.

 

Mileage –

Morning – 10

Afternoon – 4 with 30 minutes lift to follow

 

Tuesday –

Morning – 9.5

Afternoon – 6

 

Wednesday – Moderate speed

 

Today’s task was to step away from the track and hit some INTERVAL intensity work on the roads. So I just ran a loop I thought would fit and ran the workout. The weather couldn’t have been better – cool, crisp, with the mist just covering the streets in the distance. After a 3 mile warm up I found it tough to gage how hard I needed to run to hit my paces but after 2 blocks I was right around the 4:55-5:04 range the rest of the way – even uphill I was hitting 5:15’s. My easy sections were around the 5:55-6:05 range and I was truly getting recovery. 10 miles done in 60 minutes with only 8 minutes hard — I’ll take it!

 

Mileage – 10

Light lift to follow

 

Thursday – Mid week long run

 

With the major race not too far away, these will come into play more often. No real pace associated with it other than to run easy. Once again the weather was simply amazing. 58 to start the run! I ran to the reservoir on Farmington Ave and made it about 1.5 miles in before it was time to turn around.

 

The way back was pretty steady and I found myself running a smooth 5:50-6:15 range on the downhill portions without any effort. Overall the 13 miles were done easily in a 6:25 pace.

 

Mileage – 13

Afternoon major lift series

 

Friday

 

Woke up extremely early this morning – felt ready to go! Some toast and PB and a few cups of coffee to get me going. 9 easy miles to start the 3rd day in a row of cool air. I had an amazing omelette after and a stellar homemade chicken burger and quinoa for lunch. Later today I have another easy 30 minutes or so.

 

Mileage

Morning – 9

Afternoon – 4.25

 

Saturday – Long Run with Marathon purpose

 

Long runs can be a challenge — first and foremost — pooping. It’s something we all think about but not many discuss. Quite frankly it can be a little embarrassing to admit you struggle with GI distress. Over the last few years I’ve had put myself in some very tough situations without a bathroom nearby as I tested out what works and doesn’t work for me.

 

Finally I have figured out what I need to do and it’s solved most of my issues before they even start. What I mean by that is — go… and go often… BEFORE you start your long run.

 

I looped out a course for the New Haven crew today – a 4 mile loop they were to do twice. Since my marathon specific workout required nutrition and hydration practice, this was a great chance to focus up and run the same 4 mile loop a few times.

 

Today was rough though, very sticky and humid which meant a change of plans in how I approached the workout. Rather than hit my first splits right off – even after a good 7 miles to warm up – I would run 5 with a client and then squeeze down my efforts towards “marathon” and then get into the workout.

 

5 miles at 7:20 average –

6- 6:08 (Start of the squeeze)

7 – 6:03

The reps to follow required a 2 minute jog at easy and I managed 6:10/15 per mile in each recovery period – essentially I ran 2 miles worth of recovery

 

8 – 5:57

9 – 5:40

10 – 5:36

11 – 5:37

12 – 5:36

13 – 5:43

14 – 5:38

 

Overall the entire run was a great success and a fantastic adjustment to the conditions. I practiced patience well and walked away with confidence that I can adjust my race plan if I need to and battle what is given to me that day. Running 5:49 average for 11 + miles was a great effort in these conditions and I’m ready to roll!

 

Mileage – 18

 

Sunday – Easy 8 recovery miles

 

Weekly total – 92.0 (Monday – Sunday)

Week of July 25th, 2016 - 60 miles

Week of July 25th

 

This week coach and I decided that I need some time off. Time to gather myself before the final training blocks where marathon training takes a serious step up. Mentally I have been a bit tired. Physically I don’t think I’ve ever felt better but the last 5 weeks have certainly taken their toll as we switched gears to get me ready for an intense effort on the track.

 

I’m coming off some of the best training of my life and now is the PERFECT time to reset, gather and let my body absorb the work I’ve done. Looking back from January I’ve not taken a 2-3 day rest period aside from a sickness or random tweak. Time for some much needed napping and rest.

 

Monday – rest

Tuesday – rest

 

Wednesday – 8.25 with gentle lift

 

Thursday – easy double with lift

Morning run – 9

Afternoon – 4

 

Friday – more easy running

Morning run – 9.5

Evening run – 4.4

 

Saturday – 10.1

 

Sunday – Modified Marathon workout

The purpose of this run was to pace out a client for a few miles then sneak into marathon intensity and hold steady regardless of what goes on around me. Mission accomplished! The first few miles were slower around the 5:55 range then I built into the 5:33-36 range as the race went through. I didn’t really push to hard to get rolling and didn’t “kick” to pass anyone.

 

Mileage – 14 – Ten of which were 5:38 average on an extremely humid and gross morning. For the conditions of the day I can’t believe how easy that felt. 

 

Weekly Total – 60.1 (Monday – Sunday)

Week of July 19th, 2016 - 52 miles

Week of July 19th

 

Monday

 

This week is all about doing my best to recover as well as enjoying the cool summer air here in New Hampshire. Spofford Lake is just outside of Keene and I haven’t spent time here over 19 years. We used to vacation here as a family when my grandparents bought the cottage. The essence of my youth is very much present. Vague memories rush back and I remember what an amazing place this is.

 

One thing I never did though, was spend any time outside of N Shore Road. We took a trip to town today and spent a few hours walking around. Nate and I found a great little coffee shop and shared in a moment of delight. He mentioned to me that I need to have my “witness me” moment in this week’s upcoming race. If you haven’t seen the new version of Mad Max then do so. I think we laughed for a good 30 minutes on that one joke alone!

 

Mileage – 8 miles worth of a speed session on the rolling hills.

 

Tuesday – We rented a canoe and I was left paddling this monster alone across the lake… I’m not a great navigator (not while taking selfies at least). I would be neglecting a serious detail to the trip if I don’t include the moment where I saved a man’s life.

 

Said person decided to eat too big a piece of steak and started choking. I’ve never witnessed any life saving skills in person so I’ve certainly never been tested myself but in a matter of seconds he was visibly scared and unable to breathe or cough. I valiantly sprang into action! I hopped up and performed the heimlich and after two pulls the steak went flying.

 

Sir…. you’re welcome and just like Dhasim from Prince of Theives you are now endentured to me until the moment arises where my life is in peril.

 

Mileage – easy 6

 

Wednesday – easy 2 miles with pre race routine to keep blood moving

 

Thursday – Pre-race shake out

 

Mileage – 4.5 with striders

 

Friday – Race day!

 

I write these words well after the race has taken place. After my coach and I have had a chance to digest the events and what I’ve done right and wrong and where to go from here. So hindsight is certainly pure.

 

The 10k was held on the worst weather of the week by far. Mid day temps crested over 100 and the humidity made the air chewable. Today was not a day for a personal record attempt but rather a day to be competitive within my own ability.

 

I did make a good go of it though, I ran well given conditions and even being ranked 17th into the race I finished 13th. But even the very best were bogged down by the air and we all ran 90 seconds to a full 2 minutes off our goal times. My one saving grace is that I had my “witness me” moment on the very last lap. I crushed it running a 67.2. Maybe mid race I wasn’t hurting as bad as my brain was actually telling me?

 

Mileage – 10

 

Saturday — I got home around 1 in the morning and woke up around 7am. I made the crew breakfast as Joe was leaving later in the day. We had a planned trip up a local mountain and then I had my planned recovery run to follow hours later (and after a nap!) 

The weather was wonderful today, the storm we watched in the distance last night covered most of the state and cleared out much of the humidity. The climb was around 2.5 hours and I really didn’t have many lingering effects from the effort last night.

My run with Nate started at the beginning of another strong storm. A few miles south of us the sky was turning green and about 30 miles away over the state border over 20,000 were now without power. Nate and I ran up towards Wolpole and made it about 20 minutes or so before turning around.

We never got “nailed” but we could certainly tell hell was breaking out over nearby towns.

 

Mileage – easy 7

 

Sunday — Our final day of camp. I had a longish run planned for around 14 miles and it worked out that 2 full loops around the area would total exactly that. It was a solo run today and I may have pushed a little harder than originally planned. The hills were tough but for the most part I was in control, even if I was letting off some race disappointment steam. 

14 miles in 6:00/pace

 

Weekly total – 52 miles (Monday -Sunday)

Week of July 11th, 2016 - 75.8 miles

Monday

Easy peasy 55 minutes with Duff — We ran super slow today at conversational pace.

 

Mileage 6.6

 

Tuesday

 

Doubles are fun!  Easy 70ish minutes in the morning followed by 30 or so in the evening. Legs are feeling surprisingly fresh and bouncy even with the work done on Sunday. Going on my 4th week of higher mileage has me eating ALL THE CARBS.

 

Morning 10.8

Evening 4.5

 

Wednesday – Speed

 

Tonight’s speed session is brought to you by “Training at Race Time.” Having an evening race next week means that I need to get a few evening workouts to prepare my body for stress at odd times, mainly for food. The last thing I want to do is suffer stomach issues because of poorly timed food and choices.  If all goes to plan, this workout will be a tough challenge but handled well.

 

Workout:

3 mile warm up

2 x 1 mile at 4:45 – 4 minutes rest

3 x 1k @ 3:00 – 3 minutes rest

4 x 400 @ 68 (400 jog)

3 mile cooldown

 

The sets went well – I hit 4:45 then 4:43 – I followed this up with 2:57’s for the 1000 meter repeats and 67’s and a 64 second finish for the 400. I feel really proud of the effort and feel like I’m really to compete in next week’s race.

 

Thursday

 

Recovery running – 60 minutes morning, 30 at night

Mileage – 8.8 and 4.2

 

Friday

 

Easy run – 8.25

 

Saturday

 

Longish run – 12 miles in 75 minutes.

 

Sunday –

 

Easy recovery run in NH – A few of us will share a cabin for the week. The crew will spend their time training hard for their own development while getting a chance to live like a professional athlete. Basically everything we do is geared towards healthy living and athletic development. No set times on workouts and NO WORK to get in the way.

 

We ran what we thought was the loop around the lake and ended up on the main highway portion. Brutally hot and humid but we ran easy peasy over the hills.

 

Mileage 8

 

Weekly Total – 75.8 (Monday-Sunday)

Week of July 4th, 2016 - 88.75 miles

Monday –

 

Easy peasy recovery day —

Mileage

8.25

 

Tuesday

 

Warm day today — starting the build-up of a heat wave — And I think I’m a bit bloated from some pulled pork!!  #worthit

Mileage

10.85 morning run

4.15 evening run – 90 degrees

 

Wednesday — Speed

 

Handling the heat is becoming MUCH better. I woke up pretty early to get this done but it was still 8am by the time the workout actually started and temps were already over 80.

 

Coach wanted some fast twitch work today – all with a jogging recovery:

 

4 x 200 (200) 600 (400) 4×200 (200) 600 (400) 4 x 400 (400) That’s a pretty decent speed day when you’re averaging the same speed on the 600 as you do on the 200’s!

 

By the time I got to the 400’s I was certainly pretty spent, but I was able to manage a great pace throughout the end of the block and even hit the last 400 in 65 seconds. One thing I did a little different today was wear my half marathon racers instead of the 10k racers. A bit more sturdy and heavier but the higher placement of the heel allows for less intensity in the calves. As much as it slowed me down (maybe a second or two in the reps) it was the best call to make. Hours later and my calves aren’t stiff at all (I’ll save that for the 10k)

 

Mileage –

11.25 morning

3.1 – evening run – easy with clients

 

Thursday –

Super light in the humidity – It’s really nice that I live close to Sean and Sherri (4 miles). I can make a quick stop at their house for water or relief and then continue on my way. Usually it’s quick though!  

 

Mileage –

10.1 – morning run

4.75 -evening run — Super humid around the hills of Hamden – the sky turned BLACK with a storm looming over – finished this just as it started to pour! Thunder and lightning… 🙂

 

Friday –

Mileage

Super easy morning miles – 6.7 –

Afternoon easy miles – 6.7

 

Saturday –

 

Any time you get a chance to run with friends, even if it’s just a warm up and drill process, you should take advantage of it. Today was a great day to run with a few clients for an easy 70 minutes around the West Hartford Reservoir. Even Big G was able to come down from Maine while his wife ran a local 5k with family and friends.

 

The miles just seem to go by easier when you’re with a partner – something I don’t get to have too often.  Apparently there was a bear on route though (I didn’t see it though)

 

Mileage –

10

 

Sunday – Speed

 

Today was a good challenge — made even more so because I slept right through my alarm. Every once in a bit I set it for PM and not AM… thank the Lord I woke up at 5:22. I made the coffee with a bagel and peanut butter and all the while I was changing and getting ready for the 35 minute drive to Hamden for the session. Drinking water along the way and rubbing my eyes for a 6:00 am start, this was going to be interesting!

 

Drills to start followed by a 3 mile easy warm up and I was just starting to feel normal. That is until my stomach started to rumble and I had to find the woods!!

 

The workout – 6 x mile at threshold pace (I can handle this pace for 45-50 minutes based on the miles and efforts I’m running) with a 90 second recovery. Being on a track I made the decision to adjust to a very light 200 meter jog which cut the recovery just short (70-75 seconds). I thought this might slow me down a little but I ended up running well.

 

Threshold is a tough pace – It’s not meant to drive you but longer exposure to the intensity is a test of mental capacity as much as physical. The lungs are working but they aren’t over the top. You just sort of have to resign yourself that “this is how I’m going to feel” and not allow yourself to get freaked out by it. It won’t get much harder as the workout progresses (so long as you’re in the right zone).

Mile sets: 5:12, 5:02, 5:07, 5:08, 5:08, 5:06 — All with a 70-75 second jog recovery. Follow this up with an easy 3 mile recovery cool down — Oddly enough the cool down felt so much better than the warm up! I was light and easy peasy with some bounce to the step!

 

Side note – I have never done repeats this fast with such a short recovery

 

Mileage – 12.9
Weekly Mileage – 88.75 (Monday – Sunday)

Week of June 27th, 2016 - 88.25 miles

Monday –

It’s easy to measure training in weeks and not overall cycles. On my calendar Monday starts the beginning of a new week and that means a new beginning – forget about last week, good or bad, and focus on this week – at least that what the calendar says.  

 

My body however, says something completely different. Yesterday I ran 18.1 miles on some super hills around Towson, Maryland. Just about 1400 ft in gain and at one point I was climbing for 1.75 miles. Granted, I ran downhill too, but that’s just as damaging on the body.

 

After the run we went to a baseball game and finally when that was over we took the 5 or so hour trip home. Yes…I was tired. This meant that sleep was far more important than waking up early to get my “morning run” in. I’d sleep away the morning, get some work done, respond to clients, have a meeting with a client and finally get my run in at 6pm (once it cooled off slightly). Greatest decision of the day was waiting to get my run done. Rest and sleep are JUST as important.

 

Mileage – 8.3

 

Tuesday – Speed!!!

 

Wow, what a soupy, humid morning. I generally have a tough time with humid conditions – maybe it’s just my brain trying to be cautious or maybe there’s an actual physical issue going on but I’ve never really had stellar workouts in super humid conditions even when I time adjust.

 

But today was different. I looked back in my notes to what my coach had told me a few months back — I truly tried to listen and focus on the moment. Today was great not only for physical development but also for mental development.

 

I tried something new in the workout: looking at my watch just a few moments to figure out how long my rest was. At least in the start of the workout. My idea was that if I don’t know how fast I’m going, then I can truly run by the conditions of the day rather than get frustrated with the clock. What happened next was something unexpected.

 

The workout was 4 x mile – super easy 400 meter jog between reps –

 

Given conditions I was expected somewhere in the 5:00-5:05 range -around 5-10 seconds slower per rep than on a great condition day. That makes sense to me. But the first rep, without paying much attention, the laps clicked away at 4:52 – I hadn’t even known that because I really only looked at my watch for the recovery time and not the split time. I just knew that I was under 5:00.

 

When the second rep came around, 4:44 – I still wasn’t quite sure what I was running until I had done the math on my recovery time and finish time (a rolling time just marked with lap splits at the mile). Reps three and four I started to now pay attention and was now focussed on the task at hand. Either I blew up and went WAY too hard to start the workout or I’d hold water. 

 

I held – 4:52, 4:44, 4:45, 4:45

 

I proved something to myself today – that even in tough conditions I can battle with the best of them. I’ll take this workout with me, this mentality with me, wherever I go.

 

Mileage – 11.4 – lift to follow

Evening run 4.5

 

Wednesday –

Mileage – 8.5 – super easy recovery

 

Thursday –

Mileage – 10.85

Evening run 3.2 — Super easy meeting new folks in New Haven –

 

Friday –

Mileage – 10.85 – decided to scratch the lift in favor of a nap!

 

Saturday –

 

Splitting my days up into 2 runs provides much needed rest while also getting the easy miles in. As my mileage has climbed over the last 6 months in this buildup for the fall I’ve really started to value napping. I didn’t much need naps in the beginning but now that I’m averaging well over 75 miles per week and gearing closer to the 90’s the mid-day rest is vital!

 

My mileage buildup has been steady: With just running gently starting in January to now here’s how the first 6 months have panned out:

 

January – 222

February – 246

March – 270

April – 306

May – 312

June – 324

 

Mileage

10.0 morning run

4.3 afternoon

 

Sunday – Long run Endurance

 

6 miles easy – 8 miles of 5 minutes at effort and 5 minutes easy, 2 miles easy -16 miles

 

It drives me nuts when my Garmin is off…I got off the phone with Joe today because his Garmin 220 is giving him some major issues and low and behold mine it starting to “loosen” up a bit too. Nothing crazy, but I’ve noticed this a few times where my actual pacing versus what it gives me can be 15 seconds per mile different.

Mileage – 16.25

Weekly total – 88.25 miles (Monday – Sunday)

Week of June 20th, 2016 - 87.75 miles

The past week of training was a success. I had gotten a chance to share our home with one of the McKirdy Trained coaches – Esther Atkins – she was in between races culminating in the Grandma’s Marathon (She finished 8th in 2:37:27!). Over the course of the week I tried to learn from her as much as possible but also give her the space she needed to prepare for her major race.

 

She was kind enough to run with me a few times and even give me a few technique tips which were greatly welcomed. One can never stop trying to improve.

 

One of the things we discussed was the concept of recovery. I value Esther as one of the smartest runners and coaches in the country, which is exactly why I hired her to help develop our clients. She gave me a simple thought — the day after a speed session it really doesn’t matter how slow you run, just get out there and get the blood flowing. Get the body ready for the next speed session and slow things down without a care in the world. (Just don’t run sloppy)

 

So with that thought in mind I slowed things down and ran with one of my best friends and also one of the greatest high school track coaches in the nation. We ran for just under an hour having fun and I don’t think I looked down at my watch more than twice to see how far we had gone or what our pace was.  

 

 

Monday – Easy running

Total Mileage 11.5

 

Tuesday – Speed!

 

I woke up today to some seriously soupy conditions. There’s a big storm pushing through and the air just hasn’t broken yet. It certainly made for an interesting start.

 

Just like usual I woke up and ate a steady race day breakfast. I waited about 90 minutes and started in with my Wharton Isolate Activation stretching and then into some drills to get the central nervous system in line. 2 miles of easy running and it was off to the track. The warm up process lasts around 40-45 minutes.

 

The entire purpose of this workout was to gear my legs up for power and speed. I have a 10k in a month on the track and I need some faster turnover if I am to crack into the 31 minute range. 5 sets each (with equal distant walk/trot recovery) of 400, 300, and 200 meters. The intensity was pretty steady with my slowest 400 coming in at 1:03. I even managed 28.00 for the last 200 meter block!

 

Thoughts on the track traveled from “man this air is crap” to “this will prepare you for any conditions on race day.” I found myself a bit afraid of hitting these speeds but as the workout progressed the confidence grew and I let myself go to a place I hadn’t been in quite some time.

 

When I had finished with the cooldown I popped in a 300 calorie shake and headed over to a total body lift session for 45 minutes.

 

Mileage 9.75 with lift

Evening run 4.1 super easy miles –

 

Wednesday –

 

The day after speed is always an issue for me. I feel so good from the accomplishments from yesterday’s training that I just want to gun it – obviously that’s the wrong thing to do! So – run easy, and do it often.

 

Mileage 7.5 miles – super easy

Evening run 4.1 miles

 

Thursday –

 

So I just watched a video with Molly Huddle. An amazing athlete and someone who truly races incredibly well. But one thing she also does well is recover – as fast as she is she was running 7-7:30 miles for the 10 miles without a care in the world other than the purpose of recovering.

 

She spoke about taking 3 days between her major sessions. Although I’m sure her coach switches that up from time to time it was good for me to hear that because I try to do that with my own clients as well. It doesn’t mean be lazy between workouts and skip days… it means that it’s time to work on the little things that will help make the hard days that much better: Form, drills, core work, rest, hydration, nutrition — all of that adds up.

 

Today’s goal is to run 13-15 miles broken up into 2 runs. With the 10k in 1 month I have to be focussed on the purpose of each workout, even if that means running lightly. But my concept is this: If I can run 31:30 for a 10k then I should be able to manage 1:09-1:10:30 for a half marathon – If my body is able to handle that then I know I can run 2:25-2:27 for a Marathon. First of course I need to break 2:30. But I believe in the numbers, I believe in my coach, and most importantly I do believe that my best days are yet to come.

 

Mileage – 14.9

 

Friday – SPEED

2 mile warm up – 5 miles at Threshold – 2 mile cooldown — Walnut Hill Park

5:17, 10, 11, 10, 08 — 25:58 finish time.

 

Mileage: 9 with lift to follow

 

Saturday – A day of Baltimore and baseball!

 

Balancing my running and family life had sometimes been a very difficult task to do. It was really easy for me to focus on one and not the other. Ultimately one would suffer and selfishly it wasn’t the running.

 

But over the years I’ve taken a new approach to my training, especially the last 12 months. Last year I had been training for the Boston Marathon. I had an extremely low bib number and felt I was in the best shape of my life. However racing Boston was not in the plans, my body failed me. – In a training run I had severely damaged a tendon. With just 3 weeks to go before the big race it was certainly not good timing!

 

I had built up Boston so much in my mind that it was the sole purpose of everything I did. It consumed me. And then by chance I got hurt. Maybe “chance” isn’t the right word but it certainly shaped a new mindset. Over several months of recovery I remembered why I was running, what drove me.

 

This weekend we traveled the Baltimore to spend time with Rachel’s family. We ate great food, saw the Orioles win and just enjoyed being together without much care of schedule.

 

I did run, don’t get me wrong. — I woke up early, did my drills, drank my water and hit the hills of Towson, MD.

 

Saturday – 8.8

Sunday 18.1
Weekly Total – 87.75 (Monday – Sunday)

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