My Training, My Goals, My Races and Other Random Topics
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So starting with New Year’s Day I have a new coach and a new training plan for Boston. The reasons for the change were fairly simply. For one, I simply felt like I needed a change. Secondly, Johnny Marino Advanced Sports Chiropractic while an awesome coach, is going through so much, including recovering from surgery that I wanted to take one of the many things off of his plate. I still strongly recommend their services and hope to get in for some PT very soon!
I decided to work with Dr. Jason Karp of Run-Fit. Jason is an internationally recognized exercise physiologist who specializes in endurance athletes. He has written many books and published hundreds of papers on the topic. He was also a teammate at the Maccabiah Games this past July in Israel. We both ran on the Masters Men’s Half MAarathon Team for Team USA. Please visit his site to learn more on his services. Run-Fit
So for the first month Coach Karp had me build my mileage and put in AT runs long runs with just under AT segments and Long runs with AT miles at the end. There was plenty of recovery days some doubles and some striders. He really puts the latest science into his training plans which I appreciate. As I get older I have less margin for error in my training.
I had three build weeks and then a recovery week which I am just finishing up. During week 2 I picked up a nasty bug and missed a few days but luckily this was early and I am right back on track now. Looking forward to the next few weeks which increase the mileage.
In this cycle I just banged out my first 20 miles at the end of week three. I felt great on this run. It came at the end of a hard week of training and I was able to relax through the hills of Tyler State Park..
The tough part of this cycle is that much of the time the weather has been terrible. VERY cold, VERY snowy with a HUGE ice storm that caused many to lose power and caused many trees to fall including two on my property, one hitting my house. I ran outside as much as possible but some of the quality work was done on the treadmill as it was the only way to get that quality in.
Week one had it all. It started with snow and brutally cold temperatures and ended with temperatures well over 60F. I had to decide on a new training plan and ended up asking Dr. Johnny Marino to help me once again. Johnny has been going through so much recently that I wasn’t sure he would have the time or energy to continue to coach me. As soon as he said he still wanted to the decision was made! Thanks Johnny!!
So we start the plan with rebuilding base but doing enough pace work so not lose all turnover. Training this week involved distance runs at a relaxed pace with some runs that had pickup at 10K pace. It felt good to get started!!!
Last year at this time I was going after the BCRR Winter Series but giving up Boston with the Maccabiah Games later in the year. I did not want to hurt my chances on running well in Israel with a hard marathon effort before. This year my focus is back on Boston! I am therefore not racing the full winter series. There is just no good way to race hard 11 weeks in a row over hilly terrain and be ready to give a good marathon performance two months later. This year I will be racing two to three races max prior. A few races to stay race sharp but still allowing me to focus on training for the BIG event.
Early in the week it was tough to get in decent runs due to the ice and I actually did two treadmill efforts. Later in the week I got in two runs with Joe Warwick which was nice. Then I ended the week with a nice long run in Tyler State Park.
Some highlights from the weeks are below….
So today the road to Boston begins with an easy 40 minute run. I will be sticking to a plan thus winter and not focusing on the Bucks County Road Runners Winter Series. I have learned racing every weekend does not allow me to train properly for a marathon. I am excited to see how the training goes over the next few months!! Every journey begins with the first step and today was step one!!!
It has been some time since my last blog post. Maybe a bit burnt out of blogging after the Maccabiah Games or maybe just lazy. My next big race was the USATF National Masters Cross Country Championships which were held in Flemington NJ this year. I was lucky enough to be selected to run on the “A” 40-49 team for the Greater Philadelphia Track Club (GPTC). GPTC has so many good runners that I was first hoping to make the “A” team and then once I made it nervous to make sure I ran well enough to deserve the selection.
I have not run a big invitational type XC race in years. (I have my my HS alumni XC race over the years) The last one was the Paul Short Invitational back in 2006 (?) and that was the first one in MANY, MANY years. There is something special about cross country, especially when running for a team. Running as a pack trying to beat the runners from all the other teams. It is hard to describe but it is so much more fun than running a road race.
This race had such a competitive field and knowing that everyone in the race was a 40-49 master was exciting as well.
The day was beautiful as there was not a cloud in the sky and the leaves were just beginning to turn colors. There was a gusty wind and a chill in the air but for a late October day it probably doesn’t get much better. I drove to the race with Bill Gould and we got to Deer path Park a bit before 9:00am and our race was not until 11:45am. Parking was tight and there was the open and the women’s masters race before us so we had no choice but to get their early. I didn’t mind as I was nervous and this gave me a chance to settle into the surroundings. GPTC had quite the spread and which was nice as well.
We all had to check in as a team so all 9 of us on the “A” team checked in about 15 minutes later we lined up and were ready to go. The course was open at the start and narrowed about 300m into the race so I knew I had to get out. Others had the same idea so even going out hard I was still well back in the pack. This was fine as the top guys I knew were going to go well sub 16:00 and I have not done that in a LONG time. I tried to stay with Bill Gould and Joe Warwick early on but just like last weekend’s interval miles on the course Joe slowly pulled away. I tried to keep both of them in reach but it was tough. Through the first half only three GPTC guys were in front of me. (Nick, Joe and Bill) After the half way mark Scott Landis went by me. I was able to fight to hang with him and finished half a second behind him. Since he still has 55 sec 400m speed the fact that I stayed close in the final kick is amazing in itself! So I finished 5th for our team which meant I scored. Our team finished just out of the medals with a 4th place finish. Not what I hoped for but not bad! Our 50-59 team was our best scoring team as they won the National Championship! A good day for GPTC!
All l in all it was a great day to race and I am happy with the result. My fastest 5K in many years and it was on a legit tough 5K XC course at that. Great people in GPTC to have as teammates. An overall fun day. So… What’s next??!!
So this week coach Marino had me jump back into things. I was a bit worried coming off the marathon by my legs seems to survive it fairly well. I have had some on and off twinges in the plantar fascia of both feet. I am using both a boot and the step stretch which I hope will keep any major issues at bay. I need to stay healthy between now and the USATF Masters XC Championships October 20th.
I finally feel like I am now focused on a new goal and then have a goal after that. It is good to have goals to focus on again….
My week looked as follows:
It has been a little bit since I have blogged as things have been busy so this will be a bit of a catch all post. After the Maccabiah Games I needed a bit of down time which did not fit well with an upcoming marathon but the goal was simply to quality for Boston but with a training plan that had no run over 15 miles and peaking 5 weeks before a marathon I was not exactly going in a marathon well trained.
The Via Marathon was September 8th and it was the last possible day to get a qualifying time before the Boston Marathon registration period opened. Therefore my goal for the race was two fold. First, not crush my legs and blow up. I have XC races this fall that I am focusing on. Second, get a BQ-20 if possible but be smart enough to back off early enough if that feels like it will leave me with a long recovery.
I went to the Via Marathon with Tom Beerbower. The race was in the Allentown area so not too far of a drive. Tom was kind enough to pick up my number the day before and to drive race morning. The gun went off at 7:00 and we left at 4:30am. We made great time and got their well before 6 so we had plenty of time. It was strange as I didn’t feel nervous. Quite frankly if didn’t feel like a race. It felt more like a training run. After waiting for a while and hitting the porta johns a few times Tom and I went to the starting area. He was looking to run a bit slower than I was so he lined up just a bit behind me. I found Joe Haughey, who I coached when he was in high school about 10 years ago. He was looking to run about what I was so we started out together. Basically I was running between 6:40 and 6:50 per mile. I told myself to run that as long as it felt easy but as soon as it felt like I was pressing to back it off. I held pace for about 17 miles and at that point felt I needed to back off. Had I been training for a marathon, I would have pushed through as I usually feel like junk from 17-20 and then, if it is a good day, feel better. That said, to push through would have left me flat for 6 weeks or so and I was hoping to get right back into training so I backed off.
It is funny, whether I run easy or not the last few miles never feel good. I took the last 10K relaxed as I knew I has BQ-10 in the bag and BQ-20 was possible but not worth trashing my legs. So I just relaxed and even stopped to get both water and Gatorade at on of the fluid stops. I crossed the line in 3:12 and got some water and decided to wait for Tom. This was much of a wait and Tom ran about 3:18 also getting his BQ!!
Then the day got strange. I started feeling sick and began to throw up just like I did after the Maccabiah half. So to the med tent to get the IV. The gave me zofran to stop the puking and I felt much better. I am not sure why this keeps happening as I thought I hydrated well during the race but I need to review as I really did not push myself that hard yet still had nausea that stated well after I finished.
The med tent delay ended up becoming a much bigger delay as there was only one shuttle bus back to the start. Luckily Tom was happy to sip some beer while waiting for me to leave the med tent and use my beer ticket too!
At the end of the day I got my BQ-10 and on Wednesday I registered and got into Boston!
I have run Boston many times but last year, although I registered, I chose not to run as I was training for the Maccabiah Half Marathon and a marathon did not fit the training. After the tragic events that happened at Boston, I told myself I needed to go back to STAND UP and not give in to those who tried to take away our freedom. I will be proud to be in Boston with my family this April!!
What is also cool is that one of my wife’s friends also qualified at the Via Marathon so we will hopefully spend some time with her and her family in Boston as well.
The rest of this week I had planned to get in some easier runs to let the legs recover. On Friday I planned a late day run as I had traveled back from Pittsfield MA. On the run I planned to drop of a few items to the XC coach at CR South, my good friend Joe Warwick. He had the kids running 800m repeats so after running to the school I jumped in with them. That was humbling as my legs were still shot. I ran 4 800m repeats in roughly 2:40. I then ran home.
I took Saturday off as that is the Yom Kippur holiday for those of us who are jewish. We fast on that day so it made sense to use this day as my off day. It was nice to have a day thinking about other things with my family.
Tomorrow I will be getting in an early long run and then back to full training. Back to focus on a few fall XC races and then the focus will shift to training for Boston. I will be starting further back that I am used to but if I use that to keep me controlled early I still should be able to break 3 hours which will be my goal. Lot’s to look forward to!
Sunday nights have become fun the last few months as that is when I get my training plan for the week from Dr. Marino. This week he has me tapering just a bit as I will be running the Lehigh Valley Via Marathon this Sunday. The original plan as far as I thought was to run as easy as possible to get a BQ and then look to run a faster one later. Coach Marino, however, believes, that with my training for the Maccabiah Half Marathon and some sharpening the last few weeks that I should look to run a better time if the weather allows. I still plan to run very conservatively but getting a BQ-20 and a decent coral seeding for Boston will be the goal while still leaving me in shape to train hard and race well October 20th. I trust Johnny that this plan will allow me to do this. We will see…
So with that in mind I ran an easy 6 miles mile today on the modified CRS Loop. It was crazy humid today. It felt like running in pea soup. Hopefully this upcoming weekend will not be so humid!
I have been away from this blog for a few weeks. The Maccabiah Games has ended and I guess I needed a break. That said, despite the games being over for the masters half marathon team we still had a few loose ends. This past week we finally tied those and for me the event is now in the rear view mirror.
This week Jed Margolis, the executive director of Maccabi USA, presented me with the medals from the games. An individual Silver and a team Silver for mens 40-49 age group in the half marathon. We had a small ceremony at Shir Ami in Newtown, PA which was nice. It was just some of my family and the Rabbi’s at Shir Ami. Maybe 10 minutes tops, but it put an exclamation point on an amazing experience. It also gave me a chance to thank a few of those people who supported me and supported Maccabi USA. It was nice to be able to do that.
So now it is back to reality and trying to figure out what is next. I have been running since I got back and have raced once. Not a goal race for sure but a low key fun race while the family and I were on vacation in Ocean City, NJ with good friends of ours. It is fun to just run in a race without out the big expectations and lead up. Just go and run…. This race was a small 5K which supported Chron’s Disease so it was for a very good cause. Despite typical windy conditions down the shore it was fun and always nice to bring back a little hardware….
Another fun run I did when I got back was a 13+ miler with two boys I used to coach. Leslie was away for a fun spa weekend (payback for 11 days in Israel!) so I pushed all three kids in the jogger. Nothing like keeping up with college runners while pushing 130+ pounds!! It was fun to run with the kids. They were real troopers and did not complain at all! It was actually nice to share a run with them!! Maybe someday soon they will ride their bikes with me and not long after run with me!!
So what is next on the plate? Two races but one I will be just using as a relaxed training run, I hope.. First I will be running the LVHN Via Marathon on September 8th. The goal is to get a BQ (minus 10) without running too hard. As Boston Marathon registration opens the 9th and I need a BQ I want to make sure I get in. That said, the main goal of the fall is the USATF Masters Cross Country 5K Championships October 22nd. Therefore I need to run LVHN Via Marathon easily enough that it does not interfere with my training for Masters XC. This will not be easy. If I race the marathon my legs will be shot through October. This needs to be a slightly long Sunday training run but just quick enough to run 3:15 (my BQ is 3:25 as I am in the 45-49 age bracket). I plan to run this with a few friends which should make doing this easier!
At the USATF Masters meet I will be running with the Greater Philadelphia Track Club (GPTC). GPTC has so many really good masters runners. I think we have a team that can do very well in this event. I just hope I am good enough to crack our top 5! The teams are in ten year brackets, in my case 40-49, but the individual awards are by 5 year brackets so I will be competing individually in the 45-49. The level of competition is very high at this event so I hope to run as hard as I can and see if I can pop one of those races and be competitive. I am not sure yet what that actually means in terms of place and time but the training over then next few weeks will tell me… So there is my next goal and I will again have Johnny King-Marino coaching me! Not quite the same as the last goal but no two goals ever are…. I guess I will start a new page in the blog for this as well.
So the results are final. Unfortunately everything was not resolved before I left Israel. I was 2nd in the 40-49 and our 40-49 team was second as well. My overall place was 23rd in the race and only Israelis (open and one master), open American’s and one open Australian beat me. Despite the slow time I’ll take it! More details once my medals makes it to me. I am expecting to pick then up Friday or Saturday from my teammate Carl who is flying back from Israel August 1st. Then I will write up my final post along with a photo of me with the medals. I can then close this chapter and figure out what’s next…