Training Update

Had a really good week of running, managing to hit 72 miles, the most I've run in a week since college. Nice mix of tough workouts, including 20 x 400 with 100 meter jogs on Tuesday, hill reps on Friday and a 14 mile long run on Saturday. I felt pretty good every day, as well, other than fighting a mild cold the past few days. I seem to actually feel better when I run, so hopefully I can get this cold fully out of my system by the time of my race on Labor Day Weekend. I've done the Northcoast Challenge 5 mile race three times over the past four years. It's a flat and fast course with lots of competition due to large amount of prize money given to the top finishers, who usually tend to be Kenyan professionals! Though I haven't raced since July 4, I feel pretty confident that I can get in a good race since my training has gone really well.


The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are from Brooklyn, but man do they have that late 80's/early '90s UK indie pop sound down pat. Their self-titled debut album on Slumberland Records brings to mind the likes of The Field Mice, early My Bloody Valentine (think "Ecstasy and Wine" era), and The Shop Assistants, as well as like-minded Americans from that era such as Black Tambourine and The Ropers. Vocalist Alex reminds me a little of Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch, but his band has a bit more punch. The highlights are plentiful on this 10-song 35-minute disc, including "Yong Adult Friction" (see video above), "Contender," the shoegazy "Everything With You," and "This Love is Fucking Right!"


Zurich Weltklasse 5000 meters -- Ritzenhein American Record

Bekele wins in 12:52 -- no surprise there -- but the real story is Dathan Ritzenhein who finishes third in 12:56 and breaks Bob Kennedy's 13-year old American Record by 2 seconds. For much of the race Ritz is in last place, but he moves up really well and has an insane kick over the last 2 laps.


Some Lessons I've Learned as a Masters Runner

I've been at this for about five years after a 20-year hiatus, so I've definitely learned what has worked and what has not worked so well as a 40+ runner.

1. Build That Base: Until this year, I have never periodized. I've pretty much trained the same every week all year round: Long run, tempo type workout, intervals or a race with easy days mixed in. This Spring I hired a coach and I am in the process of completing a 9-week summer base, which has been my most productive period of running since the summer before I started college. I haven't raced in this period, but it hasn't all been slow distance. I've done hill workouts, tempos, progression runs, technique drills, adding up to a lot of mileage. I like the idea of having 2 seasons: A Spring/Summer season from around St. Patrick's Day to July 4 and a Fall season from Labor Day to XC nationals in early December. The cold, dreary months of winer and the hot 'n humid Ohio summer days are perfect for building that foundation for cool weather PR races.

2. Less is Not Always More: I got in shape real fast on a low mileage, high intensity program and I've progressed pretty well over the past few years. This year I felt like I hit a plateau and needed something a little different so I hired a coach. I like the way my training has transformed. It feels more natural to divide my racing into seasons and I've been doing a wider variety of workouts that concentrate on more aspects of my game. I always thought I was a low mileage guy, but once I learned to do my easy days real easy everything has started to fall into place. There is a place for lower high-intensity mileage, especially if you do a lot of cross training or are injury prone, but I'm a runner who can't do anything else very well, so right now it's best for me to run as much as I can handle, which is more than I initially thought I could. Basically, if something is working for you, keep at it, but if you feel like you've hit a plateau change things up. We're all experiments of one!

3. Stay Lean: For most of my masters running 'career' I've weighed about ten pounds more than I did in college even though I'm the same height. After a pretty intense training block this summer, I'm only a few more pounds of my college weight now and much more toned. My abs have never been this strong. I'm right where I need to be now to run my best as a masters runner this fall.


Crocodiles - Summer of Hate

Crocodiles may hail from San Diego, but Summer of Hate is no Beach Boys theramin-heavy sunshine trip. The duo, consisting of Charles Rowell and Brandon Welchez, owe much more to the dark, druggy sounds of icons such as Suicide, Spacemen 3, and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Songs like the title track, “I Wanna Kill,” and “Refuse Angels” are full of elements like spooky tremelo, brutal beats, and nasty feedback, and most importantly, they are catchy as hell. When Crocodiles slow down the tempo on the blissful “Sleeping With The Lord” and the epic closer “Young Drugs,” they are equally effective. Summer of Hate is a seriously infectious noise pop gem, one of the best debuts I’ve heard in quite some time.


Training Update

Brought it up to 68 miles after last week's scheduled down week and felt great with no issues other than some crazy heat earlier in the week. I already mentioned the progression run on Monday, but the other workouts went well later in the week, including a really good 93 minute hill run today where I did loops in Edgewater Park and hit the hill hard five times alternating high knees, bounding and just plain hard running. I also hit the downhill hard five times at the effort I would hit in the race. As for racing my early season plan is to do the Northcoast Challenge 5 miler on Sept. 5, something on the weekend of the 19th/20th (coach Pete wants me to try to find an XC race if possible) and the masters 5K road race championship in Syracuse on October 4. These will be some of my last races as a 44 year old so it will be nice to rock out some good races before I move into the new age group. I think it's a good sign that 65-70 a week feels about as normal as 45-50 did last year (and this Spring before working with Pete), so I'm excited to start incorporating some faster work into my program. Next Tuesday will be 20 x 400 with 100 meter jogs, so that's a nice start!


Hipsters have Obama Envy?

In an interesting NY Times article entitled It's Hip To Be Round, Guy Trebay notes that there has been a rise in number of chubby hipsters hanging around in Brooklyn. Uh, you only just noticed this? Haven't you seen pictures of bands like Death Cab For Cutie or The Decemberists?! Those guys look their main tour vices are Krispy Kreme and Bob Evans. Anyway, the writer goes on to quote Details magazine scribe Dan Peres, who surmises that this new breed of chubby hipster might be envious of Barack Obama!!!! Great, men have body issues now?

Hipsters, by nature contrarian, according to Dan Peres, the editor of Details, may be reacting in opposition to a president who is not only, as the press relentlessly reminds us, So Darn Smart, but also hits the gym every morning, has a conspicuously flat belly and, when not rescuing the economy or sparring with Kim Jong-il, shoots hoops.

“If we had a slob in the White House, all the hipsters would turn into some walking Chippendales calendar,” Mr. Peres said. Instead, the streets of Williamsburg are crowded with men who are, as he noted, “proudly rocking a gut.” Mr. Peres’s magazine has a term for these people: the new “poor-geoisie.” But the people lining up for $13 lobster rolls at the Brooklyn Flea last weekend hardly looked as if they were worried about making the rent.

Frankly I'm getting tired of this Barack Obama is athletic crap. Sure the guy is skinny, but he's a chain smoker and have you seen footage of him throwing out the first pitch at the All Star game and bowling on the campaign trail? About as athletic as the fat hipsters the article writes about! I voted for the guy, but definitely not for his athletic prowess. Say what you want about the last guy, but if nothing else, Dubya could reach the plate when he threw the first pitch and ran a pretty decent marathon while governor of Texas.

The article concludes:

...What once seemed young and hot, for gay and straight men alike, now seems passé. Like manscaping, spray-on tans and other metrosexual affectations, having a belly one can bounce quarters off suggests that you may have too much time on your hands.

“It’s not cool to be seen spending so much time fussing around about your body,” Mr. Hicklin said.

And so guys can happily and guiltlessly go to seed.

So hipsters don't have time to work out any more? Too busy playing with their vinyl toys and drinking PBR to shed a few pounds. Hey, I like rock 'n' roll as much as the last guy but I'll continue to shred my abs while the hipster dufuses shred some extra cheese on their oversized Chipotle burritos.


Surviving the heat

This past week was a scheduled 'down' week where I cut my volume to 47.5 miles, but I still got in some good workouts despite the 80-90 degree heat, plus humidity. Last Tuesday I had a good session of 3 x 10 minutes at tempo effort in the metro park and on Thursday I did some long hill repeats. This week will be a bump up again with me back in the 65-70 range. Today was an especially nasty day with temps pushing 90 when I ran a 7 mile progression. The goal was to start at 'normal' effort and work down 10-15 seconds per mile. On paper not that hard at all, but just being out in the heat that long today was a workout in itself. Anyway, I started at 7:24 and then went 7:08, 6:56, 6:44, 6:29, 6:20, 6:10. The pace didn't feel difficult at all, but it felt hard to really accelerate on the last 2 miles without feeling like I would pass out from the heat. On cooler days I've done similar workouts like this MUCH faster, so today was one of those days where I had to just adjust to the conditions and roll with it. Looks like my next race will be a 5 miler on Labor Day weekend.


Rolling along ...

Had my fourth straight week over 60 and am feeling really, really strong. Total for this week was 69, another all-time masters high. Mostly easy mileage but I had a really good interval workout of 5 x 4:00 on Monday and today I ended the week with a really nice 14 mile trail run. I feel like I have a lot in the tank. The legs were a little heavy on Monday because I had run over 12 miles on each of the two days beforehand, but the effort still felt really smooth and I felt completely recovered after each 3:00 rest break. Next week is a planned down week. Pete is bringing the volume down to 50, but I have a couple of quality workouts planned. 3 x 10:00 @ Tempo on Tuesday and hill reps on Thursday.


Another great week

The last 4 weeks has probably been my best block of high volume training since the summer before I started college. Hit 67.5 miles this week, giving me a 4-week total of 58, 63, 66, and 67.5. This week will be about the same and then I'll take a down week of about 50 miles or so to refuel, before getting back up to 70+. I have been feeling really good pretty much every day. It's weird but I feel better on 60+ than I did in the 45-60 range. I've learned how to do my easy days really easy and make sure I'm recovered for my harder workouts. Nothing definite on the race calendar yet though I'm pretty certain that I'll be running the Northcoast Challenge 5 miler on Labor Day weekend.


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