USATF

USATF

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

The Climb Back



After August of 2016, my body came crashing down with heel pain and plantar fasciitis during the months of September and October.  I was forced to drop out of the Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon, and then again at the Marine Corps Marathon.  As a result, my 2016 racing year came to an end.  The first half of 2016 was a very good season- I had run a PR in the half marathon, and placed 17th at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, and 34th at the US Half Marathon Championships.  Over the summer I pushed as many miles as my body could handle(or break).  I had pushed my body to the edge where it hit that line.  "Sometimes it's good to hit that ceiling though...we never know our limits unless we explore them..." Tom Stott told me while I saw him for rehabbing my foot.  Yes, perhaps I would not know my body as well as I do now without failing.  Perhaps I needed to step over the line and explore what my true limits are, and then go back and find the right mix.  After Sept and Oct, I needed to rest and recover my body.  It was a good mental break as well.  I had to restrengthen the hell out of my foot, which Tom helped me a lot with.  I strength trained, and returned to pool running again, something I had fallen out of my routine doing.  I actually always liked pool running.  I mostly fell out of it the last couple of years because I did not have the energy to do it while running 120 miles/week.  I remember doing pool running leading up to 2014, which was an outstanding season for me.  While my foot healed, I did a mix of biking and pool running.  I did an occasional "test run" on trails, but ran no more than 15 miles/week for a few months.  The break from the pounding of running was necessary if I wanted to climb my way back to competition.  The pool actually got me pretty strong.  I did some really good workouts in the water and it kept me fit.  One session I went as long as 2 hours and 10 minutes.  I pool run without a belt, in deep water without touching the bottom.  I made some sessions really hard by forcing my arms to not swing so only my legs had to keep me afloat.  It works the core very hard.


During the second half of December and into January, I was able to run more again(60 mpw), in addition to keeping up with the pool running and occasional cycling.  I did my first "test workout" of 3 x 1600m on January 25, and averaged 5:05 each.  It wasn't until the first week of February that I hit my first 80+ mile week of running.  I started to convert the pool running to additional miles as well.  George told me about 10 minutes of pool running can equal about a 1 mile effort of running on land.  So if I did an 82 mile week of running and also 3 hours of pool running, it added up to 100 miles running converted.  I like this approach and knowing the work I put in the pool is going somewhere.  The beginning of February until now I have been training hard again, and have done the following workouts/mileage the past 8 weeks.  It feels good to have climbed back to running fast again.  It took some time, but I gradually worked into my speed again, and I keep improving fitness each week.  On March 5, I did my first race back at the Pacers St Pattys Day 10K, finishing 2nd in a finishing sprint with Jerry Greenlaw.  It definitely was a rust buster for me, and I was happy with how I progressed during the race.  It felt a bit unusual being out there again, and it was really cold, but it was a good way to work my way back into fitness.  My first mile was 5:13 and I gradually worked the pace down from there-5:00 last mile.  It got the gears going.  The last month I have noticed an acceleration of my fitness, each week things keep feeling easier than they were before.  I feel like I can just keep getting fitter as each week goes by...

1/30-2/5: 
land running: 82 miles
pool running: 3 hours=18 miles converted
Total: 100 miles running
Key Workouts:
Long Run: 16 miles progression

2/6-2/12:
land running: 83 miles
pool running: 3 hours 15 min=19.5 miles converted
road biking: 32 miles(conversion = ?)
Total: 103 miles running + 32 miles road biking
Key Workouts:
Track Workout: 5 x 1200m: 3:43, 3:41, 3:42, 3:40, 3:42, average 4:56 pace
Long Run: 17 miles progression

2/13-2/19:
land running: 87 miles
pool running: 3 hours 30 min=21 miles converted
road biking: 32 miles(conversion = ?)
Total: 108 miles running + 32 miles road biking
Key Workouts:
Workout @ Towpath: 4 x Mile(roughly ~5:00 pace), ~5 min jog recoveries
Long Run: 16.5 miles progression

2/20-2/26:
land running: 91 miles
pool running: 1 hour 30 min=9 miles converted
Total: 100 miles running
Key Workouts:
Workout @ Towpath: 6 x Mile(roughly ~5:00 pace), ~3 min jog recoveries
Hill Repeats
Long Run: 14.5 miles progression

2/27-3/05:
land running: 71 miles
pool running: 2 hours 50 min=17 miles converted
Total: 88 miles running
Key Workouts:
Track Workout: 3 x 1600m: (all @ 4:56 pace), 400m jog recoveries(~2 min) between each
Saint Patty's 10K Race: 31:46, 2nd place
Splits: 5:13, 5:10, 5:03, 5:03, 5:02, 5:00

3/06-3/12:
land running: 91 miles
pool running: 2 hours 50 min=17 miles converted
Total: 108 miles running
Key Workouts:
Track Workout: 400m(72), 600m(1:47), 800m(2:23), 1000m(3:01), 1200m(3:36), 1600m(4:48)
(all @ 4:48 pace), 400m jog recoveries(~2 min) between each
Long Run: 16.25 miles progression

3/13-3/19:
land running: 96 miles
pool running: 2 hours 55 min=17.5 miles converted
Total: 114 miles running
Key Workouts:
Track Workout: 600m, 800m, 1200m, 1600m, 600m
(all @ 4:53 pace), 400m jog recoveries(~2 min) between each
Long Run: 17.3 miles(hilly) progression down to 5:20 pace

3/20-3/26:
land running: 80 miles
pool running: 2 hours 55 min=17.5 miles converted
road biking: 40 miles
Total: 98 miles running + 40 miles road biking
Key Workouts:
Track Workout: 4 x 400m(70, 70, 70, 70), 2 x 800m(2:20, 2:20), 1600m(4:40)
(all @ 4:40 pace), 400m jog recoveries(~2 min) between each
10 mile progression down to 5:14 pace(58 min total)
Long Run: 14 miles progression down to 5:14 pace


So you can see where I'm at now.  I've been working hard on progression stuff.  Some of these runs I have never been done before(working down to 5:14 pace for instance during a long run).  This is the type of stuff that will help me.  And that is where George is helping me as well.  I found my sweet spot of around 90 land miles per week, with anything additional from pool running or biking on top of that.  That has worked out as a nice balance for me these past 8-9 weeks.  I noticed an acceleration of fitness during the month of March.  I feel like myself again.  I think when I raced the Saint Patty's Day 10K I had to knock off some of the rust, but I was content starting my season with a 2nd place finish and nearly a win.  I definitely feel a lot sharper now and hope to translate my strength and recent gains in speed to Cherry Blossom this Sunday.  This race really feels like my first race back.  I wasn't sure a few months ago, but now I feel like I might be in PR shape, but who knows?  I don't want to get too bold here, as it has been a long climb back, but the race conditions look good for Sunday and it could be a fast day.  God, I would love sub 50:00.  My personal best is 50:32 during my 1:06 half marathon I ran last year.  My best at Cherry Blossom is 50:56.

But I need to not think and just race my ass off.  It is great to be back in a race standing on the line ready to go.  I am excited.  It was a really tough few months trying to get my body back and building back, and I am thankful that I am back in it now healthy and hungry to compete.  Thanks to George-my coach, Terrel Hale's work at Georgetown Sports Massage, and Tom Stott at Sports Performance, I have been able to climb back to pushing my limits again.  After Cherry Blossom, I will compete at the US Half Marathon Championships on April 29, in Columbus, Ohio.  Cherry Blossom will certainly be a build up to that, which is the plan.  I feel like I am fit, and that I will continue to get fitter through more training and racing, and that this spring could be a nice longer season for me.  I want to ge through Cherry Blossom and USA Champs first, but I am thinking of possibly extending to a short track season after.  One thing I do know is I feel like my old self again and I am ready to compete Sunday.  Time to turn the engine back on.