Posts Tagged ‘Road running’

Pikes Peak 2010

Just one big hill, keep on running, keep on hiking, keep on crawling

12 weeks to my second Pikes Peak Double.  Uh-Oh! A shade under of 40 miles of bliss in two-days to prepare for – Saturday Aug 20th is the Ascent and Sunday Aug 21st is the marathon.  Two years ago I was in the midst of preparing for the first Double.  I had a few Ascents and 1 marathon under my belt.  My strategy was simple – lots of running (40 per week), lots of hills.

This year my strategy is a bit different.  I’m planning to run four times per week, cross train with swim/bike/row when possible and kick out lots of CrossFit metabolic conditioning WODs (workout of the day) with lighter Olympic Lifting WOD’s mixed in.  As I shared in a marathon report form two-weeks ago – the CrossFit and cross training approach has paid dividends.  Now the question is how to morph it for the Pikes Peak Double.

From a Fall marathon (Tulsa in Nov of 2010) through the Lincoln Marathon (May 1, 2011) I averaged 19.5 miles a week – tell a running purist you’ve tackled a marathon, right at 4 hours with less than 20 miles per week and they’ll laugh at ya! Game plan now?  Mileage will increase just slightly to 25-30 miles per week, with focus still on running no more than 4 times per week.  I’ll soon hit some prime outdoor swimming workouts (favorite place in Lincoln, NE is Woods Pool’s 50 meter pool).  Plus am enjoying the bike!

I’ll continue the WOD’s at 3-4 times per week.  Metcon will be the focal point – due in part to a budget crunch.  I am deeply attached to our CrossFit Lincoln affiliate but need to pay all expenses through a cash flow basis only (my family has been on a get out of debt campaign, pay as you go and kids’ summer activities need to come first!).

Fortunately I have some equipment at home and have become proficient and discipline enough to work it in.  The CrossFit metcon’s rely on body weight or lighter weight exercises – so hello Murph, Filthy Fifty, Diane, Angie Fran with dumbells, wall walks, retaining wall jumps, outdoor pull up bars/ropes/ladders/squat racks/pistols, etc!  Some in the CrossFit world eschew the metcon and focus more on the Olympic Lifting (with a bit of merit).  But for endurance events there’s nothing like a 20- 45 minute metcon pushing the pulse to 165-175 to ready- set your body!  And there’s a push up contest on Facebook that I’ve got to meet!

Here’s the plan:

  • May 30 – June 5 – 25 miles run, 10 bike, 500 yard swim, 3 WODs* – Hills & all out Havelock 10k.
  • June 6 – June 12 – 25 miles run, 10 bike, 1 mile swim, 3 WODs – Filthy Fifty & 1 mile walking lunge
  • June 13 – June 19 – 35 miles run, 20 bike, 1 swim , 3 WODs – 3 hour max distance run
  • June 20 – June 26 – 25 miles run, 20 bike, 2 swim, 3 WODs – 1/2 marathon in 1:50
  • June 27 – July 3 – 25 miles, 20 bike, 1 swim, 3 WODs – July 4th – short race
  • July 4 – July 10 -30 miles run, 20 bike, 1 swim , 3 WODs – 1 mile walking lunge (hope to return to CrossFit Lincoln too!)
  • July 11 – July 17 – 30 miles run, 20 bike, 1 swim , 3 WODs –  Lincoln Mile
  • July 18 – July 24 -20 miles run, 10 bike, 1 swim, 2 WODs and Cornhusker State Games – Track – 200 – 1,500 & 5k
  • July 25 – July 21 – 35 miles run, 20 bike, 1 swim , 3 WODs – 3 hour max distance run
  • Aug 1 – Aug 7-  25 miles, 20 bike, 1 swim, 3 WODs – Thunder Run 5k – sub 22 minutes
  • Aug 8 – Aug 14 – 25 miles, 20 bike, 1 swim, 3 WODs – 2.5 hours, hills 20lb vest
  • Aug 15 – Aug 21 – GAME DAY(s)

* I’ll pick up the strength/oly lifting and metcon WODs from main, CFL or CrossFit Endurance.  Swim/bike/run will generally follow CrossFit Endurance

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The Lincoln Marathon was ten days ago – May 1st – so was I too beat up to write a blog post?  Nah, just busy, really. :-).

Marathon progress - step by step

Chart your marathon progress - you can do it!

I’ll call this my marathon PR – 4:00:17 by the chip.  I’m still 4 minutes off my 1996 all time best – but after my PR article a few weeks ago – am comfortable calling this the new PR (out of 21 marathons).  I’m also just a sliver under 30 minutes from a Boston Qualifier time for a 45-49 year old male – this changes in 2013.    There are two things that I think might be helpful to share – the race day experience (with weeks leading up to it) and trends over last two and half years – aka shaving 50 minutes off a marathon time!

Race Day

1 month before

In early March I focused on some high intensity strength training and metabolic conditioning.  The two together help push your anaerobic threshold and strengthen those weak areas that play havoc on a marathon (hips, glutes, hamstrings).  I think I had a good balance of run/bike/swim/row and the CrossFit WODs (workouts of the day) .  Had a great 20 miler in mid March, PR on a 10 mile run.  I also followed the CrossFit Endurance aerobic WOD’s closely.  I tapered a bit in April – no Olympic lifting the week before the marathon, mixed in more bike and swim.  I do think another 15 to 20 mile run would have been wise 2-3 weeks prior.  All in all felt ready.

Race Day

Had a good strategy for Lincoln.  Find the 3:50 pace group and hang with them.  The first two miles were slower – 9:40 to 9:10.  The idea is to avoid glycogen depletion early on – smart idea!  Got ahead of the pace group and helped pace a friend to his sub 1:50 1/2 (way to go Dan-O!).  Probably not wisest thing on my part.  Caught back with 3:50 and ran among them until about mile 14.  Times for the 10, 15k and 1/2 were slightly slower than 2010 Lincoln Marathon and Tulsa.

Wasn’t feeling all that “chipper” from mile 12- 16.  Was worried maybe the strong CrossFit WOD emphasis may have come at the cost of good endurance prep.  Felt less confident than on my best longer run in March (20 miles at an 8:58 pace).  Started feeling good again at mile 18 going into Holmes Lake – seeing friends along the way helped (shout out to Andi, Nelson, Jeanne and Barb).

Lincoln Marathon Finish - entering the hallowed grounds of Memorial Stadium

150 meters to go - really difficult to look Freaky Fast at this point

Seeing my family, including a very miffed dog in Heidi, who attempted to break free and join me while howling at me to pick it up, was great at mile 19.5!  Much like the Tulsa Marathon, felt strong from mile 20 in.  A couple of pit stops helped.  No miles slower than 10 minutes (one right at it for a mile 20.5 pit stop).  Picked the pace up from mile 21 on and held it.  Was doing all I could from mile 24 in to bust through 4:00 hours.  The Garmin time and splits looked good, yet, I know the Garmin distance is typically 200 – 400 meters longer than the 26.2.  Some of that is due to large crowds and weaving across streets.  Was on the 4:02 border at mile 25 but kicked in (well relative term) final mile at 8:45 range for final 1.2.

Though it wasn’t 3:45 (or 3:30) was content with the results.  I may never notch Boston but can take comfort in marathoning at a pace that’s closer to my expectations.  Plus, much like after Tulsa, my DOMs (delayed onset muscle soreness) is much less.  There’s nothing like riding a bike, walking, lifting the day after  a marathon with just minor discomfort.

Trends –

As the table above shares – I’ve been able to improve the marathon times.  Bluntly put it sucked. I was ready to punt any notion of another marathon after the Twin Cities in October 2008.  The time was not my worst (4 hours 50 minutes)  but the experience and results were not close to what I wanted.  I figured maybe one or two more shots, but drifting into the 5 hour range was not on my radar – 16 marathons – was enough to prove to myself I could finish one.

To reverse the tend I focused on higher volume aerobic, 85% running, from November 2008 to the May 2009 Lincoln Marathon.  Some improvement there (27 minutes) but still felt like junk from mile 20 in.  So I foolishly signed up for the Pikes Peak Double (40 miles, 2 days, all the mountain air you could hope for).  I achieved a PR on the Ascent (4:43) and held together for the full marathon the day after.  It’s still my overall best aerobic performance.  Some nice PR 1/2 marathons followed and then “ping” on mile 9 of the Omaha 1/2 felt my sartorius muscle (groin area) in my left side scream out.  Hobbled and rested 3 weeks then hobbled through the Des Moines Marathon.  That was a little faster than Lincoln and was just happy to get it done.

That led to the “get fit and get strong” – so 90 days of P90x and then a year plus of CrossFit began.  Saw good results in 2010 – close to PR times – 4:18 in Lincoln, able to recover and do an OK marathon 13 days later at Brookings (4:23) then good close to 2010 at Tulsa with a 4:07.  More importantly than the time at Tulsa was how I felt after mile 19.  The normal “wall’ish” feelings started hitting me around mile 17.  Surprisingly after some salty pretzels and a little stretching felt great from mile 21 in. I had never felt that good on a back 6 (where the marathon really begins, at mile 20).

Shaving another 7 minutes at this year’s Lincoln Marathon was satisfying.  I was targeting a 3:45 to 4 hour event – and came in on the slower side.  Still it was another strong day and finish.  Though running the front 1/2,  2 minutes slower than a year ago, I was able to finish 18 minutes faster.

What next?

Will follow same game plan for a return visit to the Pike Peak Double and one to two Fall marathons.  Time to bust through the 4 hour door and say hello to sub 3:50.  Then shave more time in the 2012 Lincoln Marathon.  I’ll continue with 4 running workouts a week – inching upward the volume to 26-30 miles per week.  I won’t sacrifice speed/stamina/ strength or flexibility.

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PR Running

PRs drive me - how about you?

The PR: Personal Best, Personal Record (PR) – in swim/bike/run/row/adventure race/CrossFit worlds a PR is about your victory over yourself.  Whether you’re a back of the pack, middle of the pack or top dog – it doesn’t matter.  PR’s are celebrated by friends and competitors alike.

As I’ve reprogrammed my training over the last year and a half to a strong mix of strength training and aerobic balance (swim/bike/run/row) I’ve been very blessed to attain some PRs – not ALL TIME PR’s but 12-13 year ones.  So I’m thinking they still qualify.  Plus it still provides some goals to see if my 45-46 year old self can beat the 28-30 year old self.  Of course in the back of mind I’ll think “why in blazes didn’t I train like this in the mid 1990s?!”

Here’s the running benchmarks I’m chasing.  (for validation go to http://www.athlinks.com/myresultsadv.aspx?rid=68436406  and/or http://www.lincolnrun.org/racedbq.asp)

  • Marathon – 14 year best 4:07 (Tulsa in November 2010), all time best 3:55 (Lincoln 1996), Boston Qualifying (3:30 in 2011, then 3:25 from 2012 to 2014 – ugh!)
  • 1/2 Marathon – 12 year best 1:44:30 (Grand Island in August of 2009) all time best 1:41:17 (Lincoln 1997).  I want to measure this again this year and see impact of Strength / Anaerobic Training begun in October of 2009.
  • 10 mile – 13 year best 77:10 (7:42 pace, State Farm in February 2011), all time 76:00 (7:36 pace, Statehood Day 1998)
  • 15k – 16 year best 73:45 (7:54, Governors Cup in October 2010), all time best 71:18 (7:39 pace, Governor’s Cup 1994)
  • 10k – 12 year best 46:32 (7:28 pace, Novartis in March 2011), all time 42:37 (6:52 pace, Omaha Corporate Cup, 1996)
  • 5k – 12 year best 22:49 (front half of Novartis 10k, March 2011), all time best 20:59/ 20:32 (6:45 pace, Bun Run in 1996 and  6:41 pace Public Safety 5k – Omaha – 1996).
  • 1 Mile – 5:59 (Lincoln Mile, 1998), foggy memory of a 5:18 in High School in practice in 1981… but that was a little while ago.
  • Track events – this is going way back – to the early 1980’s.  Back when stop watches had hands on them and distances were in yard 😉

I’m also starting to keep a journal of the CrossFit lift totals – as meager as they are sometimes.  The idea is to track these over time as well. (Numbers below are in pounds)

  • Front Squat (legal ;-)) 155
  • Back Squat – 185
  • Military Press – 135
  • Push Press – 145
  • Split Jerk – 135
  • Deadlift – 255
  • Bench – 185 (all time 205)
  • Fran – 75# – 7 minutes 12 seconds.

This can also be applied to weight, body fat, annual physical results (cholesterol, triglycerides, etc).  Right now my racing weight is at 168-170lbs.  Two years ago before the Lincoln Marathon I was at 183lbs with a nice little marathoner’s belly that men pile on over the years.  My weight was slightly lower at the Tulsa Marathon (164).  One change has been been continued Paleo Nutrition moves (higher protein, animal fat) and heavy strength training cycle from February to early April).

What PR’s do you keep?  What value to you see in them?

I see them not as a wall to bash your head against – but a meaningful measurement to see what your current state is.  And whether you’re an age group winner, trophy sniffer (almost to that age group winner, or where I’m at now), mid pack or back of the pack – it doesn’t matter.  PR’s are all about you! They also can help motivate you when your workouts are hard, progress slips or motivation wanes!

I have a few more opportunities over the next several months to test this out – the Lincoln Marathon next Sunday, Cornhusker State Games in July and Pikes Peak Double (great comparison to my age 40’s peak of  endurance/aerobic fitness in August of 2009).

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split jerk

Whiteboard never lies, sort of the like the tribal council

Fun lunch time workout (WOD) at  CrossFitLincoln.  I picked up a couple, 1 focused on Olympic lifting skill (Split Jerk) the other a metcon (metabolic conditioning) called “Karen” which involves a 150 wall ball shots.

CFL trainer Cole provided a great tutorial and reminder on Split Jerk Form and practice:

  • Shoulder Press with up position parallel with chest and bar behind head
  • Push press practice
  • Feet movement practice (split the legs at the hips – hence the name “split-jerk”
  • Power push press
  • Light load (45lbs)

My split jerk max is equal to push press max (135lbs) – over time the split jerk will eclipse that.  It’s a great whole body workout, not just shoulders.

split jerk

Image by Amber Karnes via Flickr

Following that workout and with some unpredictability in terms of snow fall, decided to pick up metcon WOD I haven’t had a chance to do – so scaled Karen (aka 150 wall ball shots to 10′) down to 10lbs and pounced on it.  Legs were feeling ok after yesterday’s hills so figured, why not?.  Good workout and as I try it at 14 and 20lbs I know it will really bite.  Exercises like wall ball shots, double unders (jump rope), walking lunges (especially over 200 meters), box jumps along with the Olympic lifting skills do so much to improve overall triathlon and marathon performance.  It’s enjoyable doing them knowing the payoff ahead!

Here’s the WOD detail.

Split Jerk 1 Rep Max.  Warm up – 25 pushups, 25 situps, 10 strict pull ups, 10 shoulder pass throughs, 20 walking lunge w/ twist, 500 mtr row.  Split Jerk – great overview by Cole then 45lb (3 reps), 65, 85, 85, 95, 95 (2 reps); 105, 115, 115, 135 (1 rep), 95, 95 (5 reps).  Then CrossFit WOD Karen 50%, 150 wall ball shots (10lb) – 8:47, split into groups of 50 with 1 min. rest.

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image

Used inflatable weights to make it look like more!

The CrossFit workout of the day (WOD) called Linda.  A perfect torture of Olympic lifting and speed.   It’s a declining repetition workout of deadlift, bench and cleans (10 reps each down to 1, until 55 per lift are done).

I was leery of this one since my last “Linda” in May of 2010.  A day and half before a 5 mile race (Boystown), I made the classic mistake of:
*doing this on my own at the Y – time was available on Saturday afternoon
*too much load (175 lb deadlift, 145 bench, 95 clean)
*too long (over 40 minutes)
*too close to high stress event (36 hours).

The result? Nice hamstring pull at mile 4 and blowing up a 37 minute 5 miler int a 40 minute run.

Today a t Crossfit Lincoln, expert coach Phil reduced the load to 145lb deadlift (90% body weight), 35lb db or 70 total bench (42%) and 35lb / 20lb cleans (42 to 25%).  Time: 15 minutes 8 seconds.  And no race plans for this weekend!

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TJ Murphy

Brian McKenzie and TJ Murphy - CrossFit Endurance!

Some love for CrossFit Endurance.  Running competitor shares and update of T.J. Murphy – 2:28 marathoner and his jump into CrossFit Endurance.  His mentor is Brian McKenzie, founder of CrossFit Endurance.  T.J. began a slow adoption process of CrossFit in 2011 to overcome an aerobic only induced knee injury.  I’m eager to see his results and discoveries.

http://running.competitor.com/2011/01/features/burning-runner-first-steps_20980