Sunday, November 27, 2011

11/21-11/27: 59 Miles, Thanksgiving, The Turkey Chase, & New York

It was a busy week of traveling up to New York to see my family. That is of course after I did the Turkey Chase yet again for the 4th year in a row now. I'll go over that first. I got to the starting line feeling very calm, particularly because I knew this was more of a workout than a race. It's not like I was going to run a PR on a hilly course like this one, and I am far past my fall peak, which I found out was truly at the Philly Half back in September. Still, I wanted to run to win, and prize money goes 5 deep in this race. In 2008, I was 9th. In 2009, I was 7th. 2010, I was 5th...

The gun went off and I found Sam and Karl surging to the front who I tucked in behind with another guy in an orange jersey. The 4 of us made the turn onto Cedar Lane and then up the back hills where mile 1 was where I split 4:55ish. I then went ahead of Karl and never saw him again- I think he ended up dropping out. Kinda sucked because now Sam surged into the lead with the orange jersey runner running with him and a gap grew between them and me. I was basically on my own the rest of the race. Around Mile 3 the orange jersey runner lost ground on Sam and I thought he was coming back to me everytime we went uphill...but then on the flats and downhills he seemed furthur away again....I hate that. I just kept him in sight and focused on my form to run strong. Sam must be bored too, I thought. LOL. He was just chasing the lead vehicle. Mile 4, Mile 5. Nothing special. The end of the race neared and I focused on my effort for one last drive toward home where people cheered. I ran strong through the finish and felt relieved to be done with one final effort. Overall it was a fun event and I grabbed 3rd place and $150. I then quickly jogged in my flats to my car and drove off to pack and shower and leave for New York.

I stayed at my Aunt's house Thursday night in Port Washington, then drove Friday morning just Northwest to Sleepy Hollow, NY, where the headless horseman started chasing me across a bridge not really. I drove up there to run in a beautiful place called the Rockefeller Park Preserve. I actually only discovered it last year when I was there for my cousin Jeff's passing. There are miles and miles of dirt trails and it is hilly. Great surface and solitude. I got out of my car and immediately started on a 13 mile easy solo run. Totally relaxed, and didn't care what pace I was running. I guessed 730s. Afterward, I drove to my other Aunt's in Westchester to have some food and shower before driving back home. I took Saturday off and did my first real "long run" on Sunday. I ran on the towpath before going into Georgetown and DC for a while. I kept it easy most of the way not really worrying about pace but I did find myself "waking up" for some of the way back, clicking off a few 6:30s which is a more normal long run pace for me. My mileage is still low and I know I am still not fully recovered after my fall season, so I am making sure to not overdo it. I'll be honest though, I feel really healthy and good, and most days I am out running not worrying about pace, just keeping it easy. I Got in 16 miles for my long run and 59 miles this week.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

11/14-11/20: 43 Miles/Week

2 days off running this week felt great. On Monday, ran an hour with Scott and Jordan on Cabin John Trails. Tuesday, ran with my dog for about an easy hour...the little guy is getting fast. Wednesday, ran on the trolley trail solo for another hour. Thursday and Friday I took off, and Saturday I ran with Matt at Old Angler's to get in a "long run" of 91 minutes easy.

Sunday, I did a nice track workout of 8x800 meters, at the QO track, with 3 minute rest between each interval. I split 2:23, 2:22, 2:22, 2:24, 2:24, 2:24, 2:24, 2:23. How's that for consistency? It felt good to work out but I am also enjoying the lower mileage after all that marathon stuff. Turkey Chase 10K this Thursday...should be fun.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Ability to Recover

Running can be unpredictable sometimes, especially with an increase of fitness and strength. This has been an unbelievable recovery for me after the marathon which was just over 2 weeks ago now. I planned out my 2011 year really well, and I seemed to have every race lined up for the year, with Marine Corps being the last race.

Well, turns out Marine Corps isn't my last race of the year. Neither was Veterans Day. I have been so spontaneous with my running lately, jumping into extra races before the year ends and thinking each one is the last before I decide to do the next...

My next race will be the Bethesda Turkey Chase 10K on Thanksgiving morning.

I think the fact that my post marathon recovery has gone so remarkably has given me that extra adrenaline rush to add on a few more races to my year. I feel good, and I enjoy racing, so why not? Races can also be good workouts sometimes.

Veterans Day was a good effort for having run a marathon 2 weeks ago. The time was slow(32:15), but the effort is what counts. And I enjoyed competing. I was running with GRC's Ryan Hanson for much of the race(a 14:40's 5K guy)...before he pulled away to finish about 20 seconds ahead of me. At the 5K mark(15:55) I got a nasty cramp, and really felt like stopping...cursing why the hell was I racing so soon after a marathon. But the course was an out and back, so I had to get back anyway. I then concentrated on effort and threw the focus on "time" away, because I knew I was only at 50% and if anything this was just a solid workout. Towards the end, a much taller runner passed me with about 1/2 mile to go. I couldn't help but get annoyed. I drafted off of him before surging past him with about .1 to go and grabbed the 8th place spot. Won $80 cash-not a bad payday for a workout. Even though the time I ran is slow to me now, I still ran 43 seconds faster than last year's race. I think I will feel a lot better in the Turkey Chase 10K, since it will be furthur away from the marathon, and have better turnover to run a stronger 2nd half.

Recovery after a big race can vary among runner to runner, and also the way their body feels. For some, it means it is necessary to taking 2 weeks completely off. For others, it means taking 1 week off, or just running less, or taking more days off than the runner is used to. At the end of the day, the magic formula is what works best for each runner's bodies. For me, I can recover pretty damn quickly-which means I am able to run again quickly-even within a week of a marathon. I'm even able to jump in some races during this phase-as I'm learning now-I may not PR-but they can be solid workouts. What's different though is the amount of running I am doing relative to what I did before...

So how do you know how much time to take off? Well, a good rule of thumb after the end of a season or long year is to at a very minimum LESSEN the amount of running by taking more days off than you're used to and running less each day. For example, as I have trained over the summer and fall, I averaged 90-100 mpw(with a high of 130 mpw) and I took 1 day off every several weeks...which is a long time to not take a day off...So, the week after my marathon I ran 30 miles with 3 days off and this past week was 55 miles with 1 day off. So now I am running about 30-50% of what my mileage was, with as little as 25% the first week. And I will continue to keep the volume lower for a while. Adjust it according to how much you run. It is important to do this for a period of time before getting the motivation again to ramp up the miles again.

Intensity is the second aspect that goes along with mileage. There is a simple formula that I think many runners should look at: Too much Intensity + Mileage= Injury. I learned this a long time ago when I used to train incorrectly and made every mistake in the book. Now, some runners can handle more intensity than others...some can handle more mileage than others. The optimal formula is to balance mileage + intensity with appropriate recovery to get optimal results.

So, for example, lets say runner A, who is currently running at a high intensity, wants to increase their average training volume(miles per week) with their intensity. If they raise the mileage while continuing to run at a high intensity at the same time, they will most likely get injured. If runner A wants to raise the mileage to a new level, they must decrease intensity first while raising the mileage. Only then will the runner adapt to a higher volume, and able to eventually add the right amount of intensity to the right amount of volume after this has happened. So, if runner A wants to eventually increase their overall volume from 50 to 60 miles per week, they may run as much as 70 miles per week without any or very little intensity during their base phase of training. Then, when they decrease their mileage down to 60 mpw, they can increase the intensity gradually while maintaining 60mpw. This is where the runner adapts and becomes stronger and is able to handle more work. Now, let's look at runner B, who is already running the volume of 70mpw, but wants to increase/add intensity. They must first decrease the volume of running to lets say, 50mpw, add the intensity and can then gradually work the volume up to 60 mpw with the intensity. This takes time though, and patience. It does not happen overnight. I like to look at my training progression over a yearly basis.

Races are important because they give a runner something to work towards as a goal and help with periodization(when to run higher or lower miles and when to run higher or lower intensity). As I mature as a runner, I have learned that the benefits of marathon training help support a solid aerobic foundation for the "shorter distance"(5k-13.1) races, just as the shorter distance racing benefits running faster in the marathon. They go hand in hand and build off eachother.

So the Turkey Chase will be yet another race I will jump in. Maybe it will be my last this time. I don't see any other races I would like to do afterwards, and as I put together my 2012 schedule, I think at some point, I need to make sure I do not overrace before the real quality races start. I have high goals for next spring...


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

11/9: 4x400m, 4x200m, 1x1600m

Today I did a track workout in prep for this Sunday's Veterans Day 10K(surprise!....or not so surprise.. if you read the comments of my last post).

Man, it felt good to workout today. The goal of the workout was to get some leg turnover going while also simulating 10K race pace. I started with 4x400m and did the first one at 10K pace(74), and then did the next 3 at a faster rep in 67, 67, 68, all with 1-2 min rest/jog between. I then went immediately into 4x200m in 31, 31, 32, 32, with similar 1-2 min jog/rest between. Finally, I did a 1600m at 10K race pace to simulate the later stages of a 10K. I split 4:55, right around my target goal pace.

I felt good out there, and feel ready to get one last race in for the year. This will definitely be my final race for the 2011 year. It will be my 11th for the year as well.

I recovered really well from this past marathon and what really gave me the go ahead to do this race was the completion of this workout today. My legs feel fine, and I feel ready to give one final effort. Veterans Day is a fast course, good for a PR, and the competition is usually pretty solid. Given my fitness right now and the right race, I feel under 31:00 minutes(4:59 pace) is certainly doable.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

FLASH: A Surprise November Race

Recovery is going really well and my energy levels are feeling quite good. I have a little bit of something left to give before the end of 2011. Not quite sure what it is, but I do feel I have one last race in me. I have decided what it will be and will announce soon.

Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2011 DC, MD, VA Summer Rankings

Every season James Moreland puts together a list of ranked runners within DC, MD, and VA who meet qualifying times. The 2011 summer rankings were from May 21, 2011 – September 5, 2011. I made the 20th spot which was the first time for me to be in the top 20. Other =PR= racers who got ranked were Aaron Church(#28) and Hugh Toland(#40). My roomate Joe who runs for Georgetown Running Co. got the 9th spot. Congrats to everyone who got ranked!

1 Endale, Abiyot ** 26 Silver Spring, MD
2 Feysa, Birhanualem *** 29 Silver Spring, MD
3 Dumm, Andrew *** 26 Arlington, VA
4 Bokan, Tariku 30 Herndon, VA
5 Mouchine, Outaleb *6 33 Baltimore, MD
6 Flynn, Ricky ** 24 Lynchburg, VA
7 Berdan, Dave ** 30 Owings Mills, MD
8 Alemu, Birhanu ** 29 Silver Spring, MD
9 Wiegner, Joey *29 Rockville, MD
10 Tarpey, Michael 25 Blacksburg, VA
11 Deak, Ryan * 25 Burke, VA
12 Komen, Wilson * 33 Washington, DC
13 Callan, Daniel ** 22 Round Hill, VA
14 Clement, Anthony *** 24 Williamsport, MD
15 DeVar, Frank * 23 Alexandria, VA
16 Rodriguez, Bert 31 Arlington, VA
17 Wardian, Michael 37 Arlington, VA
18 Megerssa, Gurmessa * 32 Washington, DC
19 Guevara, Paul 24 Alexandria, VA
20 Sloane, Christopher 28 Rockville, MD
21 Tefera, Demesse 29 Washington, DC
22 Carroll, Ryan ***** 28 Portsmouth, VA
23 Geletu, Seife * 29 Washington, DC
24 Dusen, Karl 28 North Bethesda, MD
25 Burnham, David 27 Arlington, VA
26 Angell, David *** 34 Blue Ridge, VA
27 Renjifo, Carlos 28 Columbia, MD
28 Church, Aaron ** 35 South Riding, VA
29 Secor, Jacob ** 20 Virginia Beach, VA
30 Hanlin, Cameron ** 23 Hagerstown, MD
31 Pruitt, Chris 29 Arlington, VA
32 Doan, Caleb * 21 Virginia Beach, VA
33 O'Reilly, Blaine 22 Hayes, VA
34 Airbensalem, Rachid * 38 Baltimore, MD
35 Shirk, Kevin * 31 Winchester, VA
36 Means, Andrew * 22 Williamsburg, VA
37 DeWitt, Daniel **** 23 Frostburg, MD
38 Aramayo, Ed 24 Baltimore, MD
39 Burke, Edmund 41 Burtonsville, VA
40 Toland, Hugh 30 Fairfax, VA
41 Turner, Justin * 32 Virginia Beach, VA
42 Saunders, Rich 23 Alexandria, VA
43 Ethicha, Kumsa * 27 Washington, DC
44 Myers, Jason 25 Alexandria, VA
45 Logan, Matt 25 Washington, DC
46 Swain, Daniel * 20 Baltimore, MD
47 Brown, Karsten ** 37 Front Royal, VA
48 Chang, Jordan * 24 Blacksburg, VA
49 Zeleke, Birhanu 27 Washington, DC
50 Miranda, Daniel * 25 Baltimore, MD
51 Eissens, Mark 30 Williamsport, MD
52 Buschman, Mark * 27 Ellicott City, MD
53 Rumery, Shawn 25 Silver Spring, MD
54 Whitlock, Jordan 23 Lynchburg, VA