Saturday, August 28, 2010

Gear Review: Racing Flats

Recently, a friend of mine mentioned that a picture of my running shoes looked like a catalog for racing flats. She then followed it up with the "What flat should I get?" question. While the answer to this question varies depending on your biomechanics, your race distance, and your race surface, here's some information to get you started:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pulling the Plug

Well this is a nice way to start a training blog...with an announcement that I'm pulling the plug for the season. I feel alright doing six mile jogs. Not great, definitely not 100%, but it's tolerable. But it's also how I felt two months ago, and I know that when I start speedwork again, I'll be right back where I was before taking these past two weeks off. I don't want to do the 40 miles per week thing, where I'm not able to do any real training, and then run a 1:28 half at Baltimore, which is what I know will happen if I try to keep training. I feel terrible, since the National Running Center picked up my entry for ING Philly, but it's just not worth it. If I'm going to run, I want to train. I feel like running now is just going to put me in that perpetually injured state, where you never actually heal but can never go all out, and I just can't do that to myself. I'd rather take the time now and then be ready for spring. It's just really frustrating right now. Maybe slightly relieving, since the pressure to get back out there by a certain date is gone, but my main emotion right now is frustration.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Luke at San Fran

My friend Luke ran the San Francisco Marathon a few weeks ago. His race report is up here.

Congratulations to Luke on his Boston Qualifier!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fall from Grace

Every so often, I rock a workout and feel totally indestructible. Of course, this is probably when I'm at my most vulnerable, having broken down my body and counting on it being able to rebuild itself again. And every so often, I push too far and I don't bounce back the way I should. It's never a single workout, but a buildup of miles and workouts, that pushes past the line separating quality training and destruction. And unfortunately, I've gone and done it again. I've been dealing with "I can ignore this and run anyway" issues for around two months now, and the past couple weeks have been really hot and cold. I killed a long cruise interval workout without a problem, and then bombed a tempo and took a couple of days off to try to kick a hip flexor problem and some tendinitis. Came back, pulled off the tough track workout I mentioned in my last post while hardly breaking a sweat, and woke up two days later with tendinitis that had completely spiraled out of control. Unrelated to the first bout of tendinitis, but I'm fairly certain was caused by compensating for my hip flexor. It's really discouraging, to get knocked down every time I have what I feel like is a great workout. I'm not so stupid as to assume that they are completely unrelated, though I think the biggest problem is that I really didn't give myself that much downtime after the marathon. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot about it I can do now, other than ice, NSAIDs, stretch, self-massage, hopefully some ultrasound soon, and downtime until it resolves itself.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Focus on the Details

Had an awesome workout today. It was a long track workout that mixed VO2 max with LT training. It was one of those days when everything just flowed, and a workout that, by all rights, should have kicked my butt, instead felt pretty easy. But as I'm sitting here, basking in post-workout happiness and drinking my protein shake, I'm reminding myself I need to keep it in perspective. First and foremost, it was a tough enough workout that I really need to make sure I recover well from it, even if it didn't feel that hard. No one gets faster from doing hard workouts. Rather, we get faster recovering from hard workouts. It's something I really need to focus on, since I generally enjoy putting in a lot of miles on recovery days, and even though I take those miles very easy, a 14 mile day isn't always what my body truly needs to recover. That leads to the second point, which is that no one trains for workouts. Everyone loves a good workout. It feels great (in a perverse sort of way), it gives you confidence, et cetera. But each workout is just a step in a long road leading to the true goal: the race. I'm stoked about this workout, as I feel I should be. But at the same time, I don't want to become too excited, just as I need to be careful not to let a bad workout get to my head, something that, for me, is even harder than not bouncing off walls over a good workout. I need to let the workout motivate me, but also stay focused on the goal.

The Middle Miles

Every race can be broken into three parts: the start, the middle, and the finish. The start is always an explosion of nerves, adrenaline, and excitement. The pace feels easy and you feel good. However, while too fast start can lose a race, the race is never won in the first mile. The finish is equally exciting. You can sense the line growing closer, the crowd is going wild, you're trying to catch the guy in front of you while simultaneously holding off whoever is behind you, and you need to hold on for just a...little...bit....more...! However, the races that are made or broken by the finish are usually tactical professional races with money on the line, or college track meets with a slow, strategic start. Then there are the middle miles. The miles where it hurts, but the finish is nowhere in sight. The lonely, solitary no man's land where the lead pack is out of sight, but there doesn't seem to be anyone behind you either. For most of us, this is where the race lies. This is where races are won and lost. This is the make or break point, where you decide whether you want to chase down that lead pack or go with that group that's slowly pulling away, or if you'd rather play it safe and let yourself fall back to your safety and comfort zone. It's also many times the hardest part of the race. It's a tough part of the race physically, but provided you put the training in, your body is ready for it. However, mentally, the middle miles can be pure punishment.

For me, the middle miles are the toughest part of the race. And not only are the middle miles the toughest part of a race, but they're often the toughest part of life, when the initial adrenaline rush of a new undertaking has worn off, but the finish is far enough away that the excitement brought on by knowing the end is near is nowhere to be found. It is there that motivation often flags, but it is there that I am determined to succeed. This blog will be a reminder of that promise.

First post

Considering I'm not all that great at updating my other blog, VO2 h4x!!!, I'm sure there's some question as to whether it's really a great idea to start a second one. However, every so often I find myself wanting to write a serious post, and since VO2 h4x!!! doesn't take itself very seriously, I hesitate to use that and go back and forth between writing styles. As a result, I'd rather go with two less updated blogs that maintain some sort of coherence rather than one blog that's updated more frequently but that also has an identity crisis.
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