Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Chlorine & Peanuts

before I get to the story behind todays workout "Chlorine & Peanuts" , a reflection back on last nights run as shown here in the Heart Rate Readout. Met with Chaim and did the hills course close to his home, which are the same hills (Or hill) that we used to train on for the New York Marathon last year.

5 Solid repeats will have to go back and check how our times have improved or most likely gotten worse, (bad english I know). We motored up and jogged down, as hard as hills training is, I still enjoy doing this workout as it has a diefinite focus and a definite end.

This morning down to the Gym as it just opened, I had to do a swim session and a weights/core. Now on the way to the gym found a packet of peanuts in the car and decided in my wisdom to munch down a few handfuls. Fifteen minutes later doing laps I realised that chlorine in the mouth somehow managed to bring back the peanuts, not that i threw up but somehow the taste of peanuts became mixed with chlorine and that fellow athletes is something that should be avoided. So my training tip for today is that nothing tastes good with chlorine.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Weekend Report

Saturday Training
Good Endurance Ride 65 km , have been told that I will be moving up into the top group for the next ride, the group on Saturday was the intermediate pack, and they have trouble holding the wheel and moving together, all they do is just keep braking and slowing the peloton down too much. I took off on my own a few times when the coach told me to push harder. When you are out alone you really have to work so much harder and trying to keep in front of the peloton you do push much more.
Saturday afternoon was a hash run of about 5 km, not hard but legs were still tired from the run, will be starting to do brick sessions soon, when you ride hard then get off your bike and start running. Ths does hurt as different muscles are suddenly used.
Sunday Morning . Long Run 16.5 km in 1:33:00 good pace pushed hard in sections thru sandhills, wanted to do this in prep for my Ultra in May. Following the run off to Yoga for a 90 minute stretch and bend, would like to say that I am getting more flexible but not quite yet

Friday, January 26, 2007

Trying to configure weekends

One of the problems adjusting to my training group for my running and tri program is that they gear it towards the Israel week which has Friday and Saturday as its weekend. Up to now I have always looked forward to running long with my friends on Saturday morning , but that is my group cycling day. In fact Saturday mornng is the only day you can ride safely on the roads here, where hitting cyclists is a National Sport that they want to include in the Olympics. The group runs long on Saturday and I have always had Friday off as my Rest Day.
So the dilemna exists, but this weekend my last in Israel before my holiday I am taking today off as a Rest Day, Cycling 70+ km with the group tomorrow morning then Hash Running in the afternoon and a Sunday Long Run with Yoga afterwards
as they say downunder

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hills & Track

Tuesday Morning. I have not run hills for a while now, once they were a staple part of my weeks training espicially leading up to my first marathon in Athens 2004. The original Marathon course is actually an oxymoron, for one long bloody hill.
My next challenge is an Ultra marathon March 10th in Australia, when I am going to run the six foot track ultra, 45 km all off road and all hills well mountains actually. So Tuesday was my first real hills session, with six repeats next week will up the repeats to 7 or 8 , it makes for a nice graph

Thursday morning Track, after not much sleep due to work I did hit the snooze button twice at 5 am, it is hard to get up and be motivated to be at the track by 6:30 realising that I had to make my lunch, pack clothes for work and more running clothes for the hash tonight.
But there I was in the cold warming up, why is it that coaches always tell you to go faster when you do not feel in the slighest incline to go faster, but then againthat is what the coaches do ... duh ... they coach , After warm up we did hamstring steps which is a cross between a Nazi goose step and a Monty Python silly walk, followed by lunges. A word on lunges is that they really work, if you want to build up muscle strength in your legs then a couple of times a week do lunges 50m slow.
Then for the main session we had to do 400m fast 400m medium withing 12 seconds of your fast pace repeat thus 4 x 400 f/m/f/m 60 second break repeat x 4 . thus 4x4x400 which by the end hurts

The long Runs to come this weekend

Monday, January 22, 2007

Weekend Report

Started Saturday off with very dead legs but managed to get an hour run done , in the park in Tel Aviv . I have run this park so many times that it can at times bore the living hell out you, but it is central for a lot of my friends so we often end up there. My legs were so tired that I almost realised from the start that Track on Thursday followed by the Long Forest Run on Friday had taken there toll. But call me silly and foolhardy, I did kick out and get 10.5 km in slower than I would like but still the joy of running endorphins do kick in and it felt good.
Saturday afternoon was the local hash groups Run 666, so we hired a bus and went up to the archaelogical site at Meggido, also known as Armageddon, where accroding to the bible the end of the world will happen and in Revelations 13:18 the number of the beast is 666, so we ran through the forests and fields there, another 7 km and by this time I was completely shot , but the good thing about "hashing" is that we always have a few post run beers and even a good bbq.
Sunday was definetely a day off running. No way was I going to run, so I had a killer Spin Class that in the venacular kicked a... , followed by a hour and half of Yoga. As much as I try I still cannot get my head down on the floor but this will not stop me. If anything it was a great stretch to finish the week
Monday ... REST DAY... Well I only did half an hour on my stationary bike trainer , I did try to rest
Tomorrow is Sound of Music Day ... Running the hills

Friday, January 19, 2007

Forest Run

There are some days when running is pure pleasure and this morning I met with the tri group and we ran in the forest. The sky was crystal clear and cold, sunlight filtered thru trees and cut passages of light.

All nice sounding except that we were running hard, and by no means was this a conversational paced long run. One of my better quotes of the morning was when I turned to a girl next to me and said are you hurting too and the reply was a grunted yes.

It was in the mountains and I hope you can see the altitude in the graph.

One of those runs when you really feel alive, except when you are hurting

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Runners Elbow

Track starts at 6:30 am, and on a cold morning here we stand shivering with our breath's blowing in the early dawn light. It was to be a speed session starting with 5 x 400's with splits 3,4 & 5 to be at maximum. We soon break down to groups in which we are similar in speed, so five of us set out, the first two spilits warming up have us doing around 1:37 for the 400's before opening up and doing the last 3 in 1:30 each within .10 of a second.
On the first lap of the third my legs hit lactate pain at 300 m , on the second at 200m and by the last I had only gone 100m before my legs were burning bad and still with 300m to go the rest of the group tucked in behind me and wanted me to hold the pace. One guy even said if he had passed me I would of only run harder to try and pass him back so he decided to err in the pain we already were in. There is a competitive aspect of me, espicially on track where I can see the end of the pain just around the bend.
Then it was 5 x 100's with only a walk back to regather before sprinting back the track. I can say with pride that I hit 24.8 km/h.
Which to these old legs made me very happy, my best split for the 100 was 13.0 seconds the other four were all within a few tenths with my slowest being 13.8.
There is a lot to be said for a Speed Track Session.
The only pain I had after all of that this morning was that my elbows to the triceps hurt, i had been pumping my arms so hard that I had managed to give myself "Runners Elbow"

Monday, January 15, 2007

Countdown to May

Well I have a date for a new goal and focus, it seems that there is the Half Ironman Race coming here in May, so I will be putting all my efforts towards training for that.

Being totally new to the sport of triathlon, this is my first season of trying to do Tri’s it is exciting yet daunting to start the approach also given that I have not done a triathlon it is also scary to some extent.

I still enjoy running so much that adding the biking and swimming is a natural progression. I even went out and bought a new indoor bike trainer today, you have to remember that riding a bike here in Israel at anytime other than Saturday morning is considered a death wish given the drivers in this country. So with my new trainer I hope that I will be able to do two more biking sessions each week on my bike, which is better than a Spinning class as I am in control of my destiny rather than trying to follow a Spin Class in Hebrew of which I do not understand a word.

Yesterday (Saturday) morning I was out with my tri training group for the bike ride and my coach Gavin put me in to the second group, rather than the top group I rode with a few weeks ago. The top group basically blew me away, even though I rode well these guys and girls were way above me when it came to hills and speed and I was a proud but distant last.

Riding with the second (middle) group I actually found myself to be one of the better riders, now I add at this point that I have only ridden my road bike about four times, so to find myself at the front climbing all the hills and catching other riders made me feel great and very confident.

We rode around 76 km’s in three and half hours in the cold I did not even take my warm top off. It involved riding out over three climbs before we got to a long hill that was about 5 km up, and there we had to do three repeats of the climb before heading back.

In the afternoon I had a Hash run of about 5km, which is a nice way to round out a day and have a few beers afterwards without any pressure.

Up again at 5:45 am this morning to join a new group of runners who run long on Sundays which is perfect for me and my program as it then allows me to get a Yoga Class in at 10:30.

The run was very easy a nice 17km in 1:35:00 along the cliff tops over looking the Med Sea, very nice soft sandy and firm trails and it was fun to run with new people and we pushed hard on the way back which I enjoy now. A long run with a focus to finish is good rather than just pound out the distance and time.

In Yoga I found that the time I have been spending in the gym is paying off as my upper body strength has greatly improved and holding poses was much easier than before, whilst I may have lost some flexibility I have gained strength.

All in all a good weekend of training with all positives and no negatives

Looking forward to the new week.

Weekly Summary – Week Ending Sunday Jan 14 2007

Running – 43 km’s
Cycling On Road – 76 km’s
Spin Class x 1
Weights & Core X 1
Yoga x 1
Rest Day x 1

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Need for Rest

Thursday morning was another hard track session, given that it was only a week to the day since the marathon. My legs have felt good but by the end of this session of 3 x 1200's repeats with increasing pace on each lap, followed by 2 x800's each around 3:30 I was tired. Not to mention that I had to set a hash run immediately afterwards and followed it up by running the actual 5 km of the hash run that night.
I woke this morning and said to myself I have earned a Rest Day before the weekend training schedule which looks something like this Saturday AM - 70km bike ride with the group PM Run about 5 km, Sunday AM Spin Class and Yoga followed by swimming and weights in the afternoon.
This training for triathlon is hard but the rewards are coming as my running is starting to feel much stronger with each run being very focused

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Back on Track

Now the title of the post may give you the assumption that the wheels had fallen off my training schedule but rest assured nothing of the sorts has occured.
The alarm went off at 5:15 am, not a glimmer of light in the sky and a kitchen without even a banana to eat. At least there was coffee and some dates. Dates are a great training fuel, in fact it is claimed that dates contain everything you need to live on, think of it this way for thousands of years Bedouins crossed deserts with nothing but dates salt and water. Now this has nothing at all to do with my training today other than to reinforce the point that when I arrived at the track I was not hungry and had enough energy for an hour session. So think about using natural food instead of gels and gu's for a change.
There was a laarge group of at least 40 of us this morning in the dawn light as we ran 2000m warm up then did some drill strides which pulled and strained some muscles that I had not felt since the marathon.
Coach Gavin looked at me and said " That since I had done the marathon last week, my schedule for the track today was to be 800 repeats at faster than marathon pace."
The 800' repeats have become a legendary staple of marathon runners made famous by Bart Yasso of Runners World USA, the formula is that the time it takes to run 800 repeats indicates your potential marathon time: hence a running a 3:47 800 would basically translate into a 3 Hour 47 Minute Marathon.
There is more to this theory and I will write more on the succcess I have had using 800's in the past in nother entry.
My time last week for the Tiberius marathon was 4:04:01, so my goal pace today was to run sub 4:00 800 splits.
#1 3:47, #2 3:40, #3 3:43, #4 3:46, #5 3:47. By this stage my legs were hurting and I was happy with all my times, I had planned to do only 4 repeats but was psyched enough to push out a fifth. Followed by a 800 cooldown , all up about 7km on the track this morning
I like being back on track.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Crossing the Finish Line

After much searching a picture of me crossing the finish line, Russ is just behind me. The other photographers there missed this classic moment in history

Tiberius Marathon Pictures Updated

In the Marathon Report, I have added a few pictures .. check it out

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Tiberius Marathon Splits

just sent the splits to me , my watch decided to do a nuclear meltdown and is being repaired ....

10km 0:54:48
20km 1:51:03
half 1:56:56
30km 2:49:01
finish 4:04:01

As we already knew, we were doing fine until the wheels came off
after 30km.
It's funny to see the altitude range, -745 to -845 feet.

Note was not so much the wheels but the legs and I think that they really came loose in the last 4 km's before that we were really cruising

Also will upload some photos from Russ tomorow

Tiberius Marathon Report

Tiberius Marathon
January 4, 2007

It was these words that I read in a book last night that affected more than any other words I have read in running books.

“ The planned walking approach is appealing to runners that don’t or won’t put in the necessary time to train properly. So if you want to take it easy for whatever reason go ahead then, walk - run the marathon. But don’t brag to people that you ran the marathon. You participated, enjoyed yourself and finished. That’s an achievement and has its own rewards. But to be a conquering hero, train to do your best. To do that, you’ll need to race the marathon on the run.”

Extract from the “ The Competitive Runners Handbook” Bob Glover & Shelly-Lynn Florence Glover. Second Edition 1999 Page 266

I thought long the night before the marathon about these words of wisdom, as I had been planning to run this marathon using the Galloway method of run – walk and thought that given I have had no chance to train seriously since the New York Marathon in November 2006, my longest run was a twenty km two Saturdays ago after a month on the road in Turkey and Iraq.

The Galloway idea of achievement appealed to me, I am a middle of the pack runner aged 47 my best time is to go twice under 4 hours by seconds, but still sub 4 is sub 4 whether by 59 minutes or 1 second sub 4 is just that. Both of these marathons had totally exhausted me.

I wanted to run Tiberius, my only chance to run a local marathon in a calendar year. We only have one marathon a year in Israel and the date just sucks for any Spring Fall training schedule. But after New York I knew that to have a goal would help break the dreaded post marathon blues.

But unlike running authors who can pontificate whilst they earn a salary and train in the comforts of Central Park. My world is vastly different, during the “taper” period I was in Iraq being shot at on a daily basis, to help the War on Terror so authors like Glover may run in peace.

I picked up Russ at 5:45am (Russ is a running friend who I met through the Pod cast “Phedipidations” and we had run once in the middle of the year when he was here on a layover from his job as a Delta Airlines Pilot. Russ flew in last night at 8pm and we had arranged to run the marathon for fun.

Driving up to Tiberius took a couple of hours in my armored car and we laughed and joked about life and running. When I asked him what he hoped to do he said 4 – 4:15. This was critical as I had the key to the car and did not want him standing around in the cold waiting for me after the marathon.
So as we lined up with I said lets try and find the 4 hour pacing group and hang in with them to 10km and assess where we were at that stage. Naturally we could not find them and with about six hundred other runners set off, trying to hold a pace and find the pacing team. We hit the first km at 5:40 exactly the pace for 4 hours and still no pacing group anywhere.

For the next couple of minutes we moved along and then as I looked at my watch at 8:30 I turned to Russ and said I am doing Galloway – run 9 minutes walk 1 minute. Russ looked at me and nodded lets try it. Neither one of us has ever tried this in any of our training runs or past marathons, Russ has done ten marathons and I have run 4 before today.

So we just walked at nine minutes for one minute then started to run again, runners past us and we caught them up, then at 19 minutes we walked again and the same runners past us and then we caught them again.

The benefits are not in the first hour or second hour but according to Galloway in the final km’s you will run stronger and faster.

As we got to near the eight km mark we saw a large pack running together, the elusive 4 hour pacing team was about fifty strong and moving along in the distance about 700 m as they went around a bend. Russ and I just held onto what we were doing and as time past, our marathon became very manageable segments of nine running one walking.

Mentally this was a total and complete break through for me as the km wore on and we were buffeted by wind gusts of 40 kmh coming off the Golan Heights we stuck to our plan. Moving deliberately and with purpose. At the halfway the distance to the 4-hour pacing team was down to less than a hundred meters and their numbers were dropping whilst we felt stronger.

We reached the pacing team at 23 kms and since the watch hit nine minutes we backed off and walked and the pace team moved on looking at us as to why we were walking, five minutes later we passed the twenty of them that were left and our pace was picking up whilst they could not hold on to us.

The wind on the back section was brutal almost pushing you off the road, what sweat you put out dried as salt on your skin and face. Both Russ and I had to hold onto our caps to avoid losing them during gusts that beat us without fear or favor.

The thing was that we both felt strong our pace through 30 km was as good if not faster than the first ten km. 32km and you enter the death zone (20 miles) the wall is there we all know it, we have all felt it. That feeling of dead legs, racing pulse and sheer mind numbness where the left side of the brain controls all aspects of life. Nothing is positive in this zone; you just try to hang on. Power drinks taste like kerosene, gels has the flavor of sump oil that gags you and trying to drink water is impossible beyond a sip that does nothing of value. Your body wants to shut down and all you want to do is walk to escape the pain and horror of where you are, and how much further there is to go.

But neither Russ nor I said anything, I hand signaled a walk as I had done for the past hours and we walked. Then again picked up the pace. Looking at my watch I would glance down and say, “just hold it for three more minutes then you can relax for a minute”

Each of us took turns without realizing it pushing the pace and tempo, at one stage in the 30’s we ran a 5:06 km. Never before had I ever achieved this type of speed at this stage in a marathon and felt so good. I was hurting so was Russ. If you do not hurt at this stage you are not putting it on the line and we both without saying a word were in pain.

Looking at Russ I could see salt encrusted sweat lines on his face, his mouth was tighter his arms looked heavier and I knew that he was a mirror image of me.

At 38 km’s the 4 hour pace leader past with the group there was only two of them left out of fifty. They moved past us, we were at the end of our limits there was no shame in being past by good runners and all we wanted was the end.

We had both run one of the best marathons of our lives, strong to the end and positive. We had passed so many walking runners who moved like zombies and yet we strode with shuffling steps. We had come this far together we were going to finish together.

We crossed the line in 4:04:01 exhausted my legs had been pushed to a point that defied pain and endurance. But they had strength that I had not had before.

Did either of us feel less of achievement because we had used a technique of intelligent running never tried before? NO.

We were marathoners who had done it, run a complete marathon in a time that I thought was but a pipe dream before using this technique.

Original members of the 4 Hour Pacing Group were still crossing the finish line as we drove out and back home, they like us were heroes on the day. Russ and I had run smarter and both had learnt that happiness from running comes from within and doing your best.

Messer’s Glover like other elite (sic) runners should realize that behind them are runners who truly embody the spirit of our sport. We complete events that world champions run in and we enjoy the experience just as much as they do. They too walk through water stops as Bill Rodgers used too, is he not a runner since he walked during a marathon.

I could get annoyed at anyone who says that it is not allowed to walk during a marathon we all do at some stage, just some of us use intelligence to maximize performance and allow hollow words in old books to give us motivation.

Russ and I had a great run today a truly great run and no one will ever take that away from us.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Tiberius Marathon Countdown

Apologies for lack of posts thus far this year , actually taking some days in lieu from work so access to internet involves coming to the gym and using the wifi network here, sure could do a blackberry but it is quicker to drive here
Anyway Tiberius Marathon is only a couple days away Thursday morning locally and feeling good, have been running most days final little 7 km run this morning at about 5:40 pace HR low 130's, legs feeling good
Of course this all points to the obvious that the wheels will fall off the little red cart the moment the marathon starts, have not been able to follow a specific program so have no time expectations and mainly looking to enjoying myself.
Have still not figured out whether to Galloway Method , run 9 walk 1. I know never try anything you have not done .... yada yada yada . But the evidence in many places have had skeptics and procrastinators with having never done this method having great success BUT then again the is the other side of the coin and the queston of Gallorunning v running
Hope to do one more post if i can pre marathon
If not look for details Thursday 4th afternoon