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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bench Warmer

When you are on the bench (injured) you are never really alone. Those that can still play really don't care. They empathize but that's about it. So it is good not too make yourself an object of pity. I went to see Big Bad Billy yesterday and I do admit that this morning my right leg is better.
I actually get up and down and walk around with little or no soreness. Ultimately, no matter what I do, it is dawning on me that rest (R-E-S-T) is best.

There aren't too many other secrets. Dwight of the one miles a week has zappers and pulsers and they may help but in the end you need rest. That was the secret of my recovery from my calf injuries of 2008. After 3 failed comebacks I was beaten down to walking and ten second jog-walks. But I did come back.

Over time the thing will become runnable again and I will return to running. My mistake was to not hear the message when my hamstring was bothering me. It got better and I ran but it was still there which meant that when I ran I compensated and out pressure on other areas. Like Dizzy Dean breaking his toe in the 1937 All Star Game, continuing to pitch, compensating and ultimately ruining his arm. Out of baseball in his early 30's.

So that sub 19 minute Dam Run will have to wait (if ever).

Intervals are out.

I'll default to my normal running and 5-7% tempo (rolling monthly). I seem not to get injured that way.

But in the end EVERYTHING BREAKS unto death.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

My running SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got up early this morning and jogged around to loosen things up. Then I drove up to Saratoga High for the Marshal Clark 4 miler which benefits both the Lynbrook and Saratoga XC programs.

Once we got going I settled in towards the back of the pack and drifted down along South DeAnza Blvd. I caught up to another oldster ( at Apple) and we began chatting and running together. I had to haul to several times because my hip and hamstring started to tighten up. My right legs felt weak and stiff which is reminiscent of early stage sciatica. Whatever is wrong I really had to slow up just to complete the race. Just under 36 minutes total time. Woe have the mighty fallen.

So I am officially on Injured Reserve. Benched. Out of the game.

I go see Bill Tarr on Tuesday and he'll put me right but I am convinced that I can't force my way through this. I will more than likely take some quality time off. In the meantime I'll walk to burn some calories and then rebuild by adding in short periods of running. But first rest, rest and more rest.

I wish it all bothered me more but frankly my running has sucked big time ever since I tried to add fast reps back into my regime. No more of that.

Here I am yelling "My running SUCKS!"

Thursday, August 26, 2010

60 minute saunter

I went drove up to Forbes Mill and ran a very easy 55 minutes with Jake. When I threw in the 5 minute shake down run I did at home it was a total of 60 minutes. The weather had cooled down considerably and hovered in the 60's.

Jake and I talked out my coaching issue and resolved it. He agreed that when he gives me a group to coach, that I be allowed to run their practice versus my just standing around while he runs the whole practice. He sets the vision and even the general workout content and I execute. I believe he thought I needed more up front time to get to know the runners and their abilities. I told him that I am pretty much up to speed and could do the rest on the fly.

He took half the team to Rancho this afternoon and I ran the others from the park. It seemed to work out fine. I had them do a warm up, drills on the grass with strides coming back and then I sent them out on the roads for various distances. So everyone ran somewhere between 3 and 6 miles.

Some more injuries today. Many of the kids just not in shape. Painful to watch them lurch along trying to get in condition. The rest of the team did the workout with no problems.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Heater

Today it is supposed to get up over 100 degrees someplace in the Bay Area. I ran early and it was already warm. My legs were sore from the 100's I did on Sunday. It seems no matter what I do in the realm of speed, I pay a high price. The pace today was agonizingly slow. I was bound and determined to run 60 minutes so I just kept backing it off until I was comfortable. Because I rather thick headed, I seem not to get the message that if I speed, I bleed (meaning, I pay a high price).

I want to run a fast 800 but the truth seems to be that I can go that path but not via speed work.

That means time trials and steady running and race-like events when I can find them. In other words I can't blow up the wall. I will have to knock it down with a battering ram.

As to the 100's? I guess I will have to persevere and get used to a weekly dose of them.

Maybe the battering ram is not the right phrase.

Maybe it's this.

On the coaching front. I am slightly disappointed. I am not sure you can call what I am doing actual coaching. Mostly it is like a cross between herding and babysitting. I have no real input into the workouts. The head coach, Jake, paves over most of my ideas and recommendations. So I drive around making sure kids are on course during their road work and then on other days stand around timing their speed work. It is hardly challenging. The kids are not the issue. It's how Jake felt when Hank was running things. Now I am "it".

I am sadly underutilized (sad for me). Team captains and group leaders could do what I am doing. A cardboard cutout of a coach could do what I am doing.

My plan is to let Jake know how I feel but stick out the season anyway because I made the commitment. But if this is what it is going to be like then I will move on as soon as cross country is over. My real plan (or desire) was to coach a small rolling group of adults. Maybe 5-6 runners. This was supposed to be coaching immersion. But instead it is coaching submersion.

Two months give or take. I can do this standing on my head because that is what it feels like.

Standing on my head.

Looks like I am still kissing frogs.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I decided to "test" myself today. I ran for 25 minutes ending up at the beginning of the home stretch of the De Anza Track. I had met with my former work colleague, Charles and told him that I was going to do 8 x 100 striders (untimed). The recovery was a big loop (minus the 100 meters).

I wanted to see if my hamstring was truly on the mend.

So we ran them. The hammie held together so no complaints there. Charles surprised me because of his speed. It's not that I was pushing but even so he ghosted ahead of me rather easily.

We split up after the workout and I jogged back to the house completing the workout in a total time of 60 minutes.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Men of the 800

I have been thinking of goals lately. I would like to retrace some of the territory I have retreated from over the last 15 years. I know ti will be tough.

My goal is to run a sub 2:30, 800 meter by next summer (or the summer after).

Very tough because I stopped doing the type of speedwork or races that would have kept in the ball park. In fact, I have never been an 800 meter runner. My all time PR is 2:06 but I never trained for it. I just showed up at an all comers meet, jumped on the track and ran it. My 4:31 mile says I could have been down around 2 flat and small change.

I am not in the ball park. Not right now at least.

This isn't a mileage thing. 25 miles per week will do it. Maybe a long run of an 6-8 miles.

But to get my legs ready for 75 second laps I am going to have to do reps and sprints.

6-8 x 100 in 17-18 seconds. 2-4 x 400 in 75. 2 x 600 in 1:52. Maybe some 200's in 35-37.

Two hard workouts a week. One day of 100's and one day of reps.

I am going to have to work my way down to those times and not get injured. So progression is important. The times above are those I want to reach. The reps at the start will be closer to 90 seconds. The 100's in 20-22.

Other things:

Ice (brrrrr)
The stick! (my father's old WWII, MP billy club)

So my week might look like this.

Tuesday: 60 minute run

Wednesday: 2 mile warm up, 6-8 x 100 jogging 300 in between, 2 mile warmdown

Friday: 60 minute run

Sunday: 2 mile warm up, 4 x 400 at date, 2 mile warmdown.

Keep my own council. Stay flexible on days and workouts.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another 60

Another 60 minutes this morning. No hamstring problems but I kept things easy running my usual route over the college and doing loops before coming back. The school was basically empty of people so I had the run of the place. No pun intended. I shared the track and the par curse with plump hispanic girl (or maybe she is Indian). No eye contact so I can't be sure.

Very different situation this afternoon when I headed over to Lynbrook to coach. I cut down Miller and made a right on Rainbow and found myself buried in "getting out of school" traffic. There were parents and kids all over the place. Doesn't anyone just walk to and from school anymore? Finally I had to turn around and just go another way. It was that bad. I am going to have to get creative on Monday and come down Bollinger and up Johnson or down Prospect and turn left on Johnson. Either way, it could get crowded. Probably better to come early and avoid the rush.

I can always laze around the park and sip a frappucino.

This has the overtones of a commute and I hates that.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I go to big bad Bill's

Thursday was an "off" day. I got to sit around and swill coffee until around 9:30 AM before driving up to see Big Bad Bill. I told him about my hammie problem and he just laughed and said, "What is it about you guys where you just keep running?" He was referring to the possibility of me ripping a muscle by continuing to run.

Point well made. You see, I am still obsessive. Just every other day.

He said my hip was out and he did his magic. We'll see how I feel when I obsessively run on Friday.

I have am going run a 4 mile race on the 28th. It is a fund raiser for the cross country program. I was faced with either getting up really early and showing up to help or to run the race and be helped.

The 60 plus record is a daunting 31:00:05 by my friend Tim Rostege. Last March or April I think I could have aced it but now I am not so sure. Plus Tim is known for racing hard where I am known for running tempo. As long as my hamstring is good to go, I will run the course with my HRM on and stay in the 85-90% of max range. If Tim's record holds up to my onslaught at that heart rate, then so be it. Any decent 60 plus runner could tank guys like me and Tim anyway. We may still show up but our best days are behind us. 25-30 years ago we would be with the front runners. Now we'll be engulfed by quick starting high school kids.

Plan B: If I am not 100% then I will just jog the darn thing.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

For whom the bell tolls

Back up to Forbes Mill for the first time in months. I ran with Jake doing two loops. The first was in the 27's and the second in the 24's. MY HRM was rarely above 140. I ran a few more minutes to round the whole thing at an hour. No problems with my hamstring. Now and then I could feel it but it never "went".

It was good to be away from Miller/Rainbow and back on the trail. The weather was cool and overcast so running conditions were near perfect.

We had breakfast afterward.

Received an email from my friend in England, Derek. His 42 year old son unexpectedly died in his sleep. It is beyond my comprehension to know how he feels. You always think you'll die before your children.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee

John Donne

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

60 conservative minutes

I ran over to the college this morning, did big loops and ended it at 60 minutes. I kept my HR in the low 130's running easy. I am going to be careful until I get this hamstring/right leg thing sorted out. I am going to see Big Bad Billy on Thursday in the morning. No problems today for the first time in a week but as I said, I was very conservative. The weather helped make things pleasant. Overcast and cool. Feels more like early fall than mid summer.

Saw fast China Girl on the track doing laps. She is sort of compact in a shapely manner. She blew by me several times going strong.

Dwight (he of the 100 mile weeks) has stopped returning my emails. I challenged his training. He seems to be going too fast on his daily runs. When he races with the club his pace is slower than some of the training paces he shares with me.


1. His course are mismeasured
2. He is deluding himself
3. He is workout winner but can't translate that to races

I think it's a combo of all three.

In any case it doesn't make sense. Frankly he has a reputation for doing this. Not a bad guy but obsessive to a sharp point. Anyway, I guess he didn't want to hear it so he shut me down. Like I did with Fat Dave the right wing conservative. Got tired of his Rush Limbaugh-Michael Savage garbage. So if you dish it out, then you had better be able to take it when it is done to you.

In fact later in the day he sent me a pussy email saying that I didn't respect him. It was all I could do not to get sick. God. Man-up. I am beginning to understand what a beta male is like.

I realize that inadvertently I let these people in my life and they want me to buy into their madness.

This isn't high school. Well at least not until 3:15 and then....

Yesterday was my first official day as assistant coach for Lynbrook Cross Country. So far I just sit back and let Jake run things. After we get organized I am going to ask to run a group (he knows this) because right now I am redundant. I follow Jake around and he does the talking. Later on we'll trade groups day to day or week to week so I can have some independence.

This is last years team. Jake's on the left. Hank Lawson, now the former coach, on the right.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Bow Run

This morning The Last Runner Standing ran a 10k race with another "Last Runner". Shel and I drove up to a Dolphin Club run in San Francisco. It started and ended at the the Yacht Harbor. Strange course. It was basically two different out and backs tied together at the finish to form an elongated bow. I took off slowly and stayed slow. I caught up to Mort who is another survivor from the old days and 9 years my senior. We hung together chatting and catching up. Except for twice in the first two miles when my right hamstring tightened up, the run was extremely enjoyable. No other legs problems at all.

I kept my HR in the mid to high 140's and even let it drift up into the low 150's on several occasions. But my per mile pace is not speeding up. The run took 61 minutes (and change). So supplements or not, there seems to be no magic pill. This is my second month taking them and with the exception of just feeling better run to run, the pace is still grooved into the high 9's and low 10's.

No complaints though. I need to tend to this hamstring issue and focus on getting back to running some tempo efforts.

Here is Mort sprinting ahead of me. I am the guy in the white just entering the finishing area. I look like I am walking. Hell, I look like a member of the finish line crew not a runner.

Here is another one of me taken a few moment later. What the heck am I doing? Reading scriptures?

This, by the way, is Clara Bow the great silent screen actress also known as the "It Girl". She died in 1965 when I was only 20. This photo says more about her life than any of her glamour or publicity shots. The inner sadness. It's all there.

Portrait of Clara Bow

Friday, August 13, 2010

Last Run at Raibow-Miller For A While

I did what was probably my last run at Rainbow and Miller for a while. Certainly in the morning. I did a very easy 60 minutes with no HRM. I am ready for a change.

I just kept the pace slow and easy (my secret weapon). I am having some minor hamstring issues which originally began with the reps I was doing but were exacerbated by "other things" like using my version of the stick for massage and also over stretching my legs sitting on the bed using my laptop (it's a long story). Advil, ice and staying away from massage will be my strategy for now.

Cross Country season officially began today and everyone went long. The crowds haven't showed up yet but they will come according to Jake especially when we shift to afternoon workouts. I am going to take the non runners for the first week or two and get them going. In less than a month they'll all be racing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Two Tired Runs

On Monday I was one tired mother. I kept my HR rate very low (130 and under) and worked my way through 70 minutes of slow running around Rainbow Park and Miller. I had little or no lift. I think it was a combo of not enough carbs (again!) and Saturday's rep workout. I have this habit of falling off the carb wagon and eating too much dead flesh. In this case steak (Saturday evening) and calamari (Sunday evening).

Wednesday wasn't a heck of a lot better. Another out of body drag-ass run. My HR grooved into the low 120's which was very unusual and stayed there until finally during the last 1/4th of the "experience" I upped the pace and drove my rate up into the mid to high 140's. I felt no worse running faster than slower. Go figure that out. Anyway, another 70 minutes. Jake saw me late in the run and told me afterward that I looked strong. He must have spotted me during the "highlight" ten minutes I was pushing the pace.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

And the horse I rode in on!

I did a 6 minute shakedown run at the house and then sped over to WVC for a rep workout. Did another 19 minutes with Dimitri followed by 4 x 100 strides. I admit it. I felt sluggish. Gee whiz, I wonder if that could be Thursday's run coming back to bite me?

My plan was to run every other one while D ran 12 x400. His goal was an 85 second average and my goal was to run 5-6 at the same pace. I was dragging on the first one which was an 86 (or was ti 87?). Then we got down to business and I ran the next 4 in 84-83-84-83. Not too bad and well below my goal pace. D had had it at 10 reps so I decided that 5 was enough for me. Could I have done 6?

Yes. And I am sure I could have managed a sub 85. But it was not to be. We jogged around campus for another 20 minutes.

The bottom line was this: Good workout but stop running so hard on Thursday. It ain't buying me good Saturdays. So (#$*&) me and the horse I rode in on.

Some things I am going to have to do if I want to stay in the game

1. Stop doing drills before workouts. I am not talking about striders. But I need to stay away from high knees, butt kicks, hops etc. Sure and hell they cause my right achilles to swell and other bad things. I understand that they are activators but I am just going to have to find other ways to "activate". Striders over 50-100 meters are safest for me.

2. Stop running steady several days before my key workouts. This has been an issue since my best days of running. If I run too hard on the roads my reps suffer. It's simple. The rule was same at age 30 and it is the same now. If I want a good rep workout I have to slow down on my regular runs. In fact, the slower I am willing to run (Van Aaken 101), the better I will run on hard days. I can extend the time I run but if I try to cover more ground in an hour, I will use up adaptive energy.

We're all different. Hard training never bought me squat. Duration and a small amount of speed paid the highest dividends.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Coach for a Day

I ran early again today. Jake was out of town and I was {{{Coach for a Day}}}. So I had to get my workout in early. I ran a solid 60 minutes this morning gradually working my HR up into the 140's which is much higher than I have been running as of late. It was cool and overcast so all I had to do was "move along". Actually I felt like I was going pretty fast until I rounded the Miller Track and watched as a young girl just pulled away from me like I was standing still. I could make the lame excuse that she was not running when I showed up and stopped before I finished my run, but the truth (THE TRUTH!) is that my faster pace running still isn't that fast. Still, all in all I was able to tap into a high heart rate with no apparent distress. I am late in the game to be hoping for this, but I "hope" the steady erosion of my training pace will reverse itself. The end game is that I will get slower but my goal is to buy a few years for myself.

The volunteer army (well, the cross country team members) started to show up at around 9 and despite my deepest fears, the group swelled to over 20 runners. I kept things low key talking about the workout which was a two mile sustained tempo run and things seemed to go okay. I said that if any of them felt that they didn't want to do the workout, there would be no problem. Then I sent them out on a two mile warmup run through the neighborhood. When they got back I had them do 4 regular striders and then let them rest a bit. They mostly chatted and seemed relaxed. I told the girls that they could take their cell phones with them on the time trial and they laughed.

"You never know when an important call might come in," I said.

Once they lined up I started them off running the 4 lap course. Lucca came and helped on the backside making sure the kids stayed on the course.

The fastest runners was in the low 11's and a group came in just under 12 minutes. The fastest girls were in the low 13's. The whole group finished and was glad that they didn't have to run another step. We walked one loop of the course as a warmdown. Everyone was very animated and chatted it up. Lucca and I talked about his training. I told him that I thought he was going to do very well but to stay connected with what meant the most to him. Track or cross country. Understand where you can excel and use the rest as the path to that goal.

Makes me want to be young and fast again. A mingling of victory and some defeat (read that disappointment). But it's worth it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

70 minutes Easy Back At Rainbow

I ran a 5 minute shakedown from the house and then jumped into my car and motored over to Rainbow. I arrived at about the same tine as Jake so we ran together for about 50 minutes. When he said "I'm finished" I then ran on until I hit 70 minutes. The weather has been very Vashon Islandish. Overcast mornings and sunny afternoons so it was almost perfect running conditions.

We then followed the kids around for their workout which went uneventfully. Jake announced that I would be running things Thursday and that we (meaning them) would be doing a two mile time trial. They stood there giving me one of those We're not a happy crew, Captain looks. I guess we'll see how it goes. I told them that if they ducked the workout I would make them run it next week. It was said in jest but no one was laughing.

Monday, August 02, 2010

70 minutes of home course running

I ran one on my home course. I was getting tired of Rainbow and Miller. I ran a steady 70 minutes at a 135-140 HR. It took my HR about half the run to get up and stay in that range. Good sign or bad sign? Don't know. I was never uncomfortable.

I am beginning to suspect that my max is no longer 195 or perhaps even 190. Somewhere along the way, I am going to have to do a max test run. {{{The truth is out there}}}. As it is I have adjusted my working ranges down for the duration. If I get faster at those rates, then that is just fine.

My run was the usual RR tracks, McClellan and Big Loops around the soccer field and track at De Anza. There was a fitness class hogging all the lanes on the backstretch but it didn't bother me. I just ran wide and got through okay.

I then quickly changed into some dry stuff and drove over the Rainbow Park to help Jake. Good turnout today. Several of the faster runners were not there but they had run long on the weekend and probably were tired.