Thanks Rogue Training

Hi Rogue Training,

Just a short note to say that I’m slowing down and will probably not be taking anymore Rogue Training.

I started with Rogue when it was barely a gleam in your eyes having taken RunTex University Marathon training in 2003. Over the past few years I’ve been very successful with Rogue Training culminating in qualifying for Boston twice and running it in 2011. This is all thanks to you and your marvelous coaching. I especially enjoyed the intense early morning Team Rogue workouts. All your organizing during the trip to Sacramento for the California International Marathon in 2010 was great. Your courses made me aware of the social aspects of running. Over the years I’ve met wonderful people while training and I still keep in touch with many of my “running buddies”. Other members of your coaching staff has been superb and that right now I can’t even remember all their names over the 10 years I’ve been training with you. Ten marathons including numerous Austins, one Chicago, one CIM, one Gainesville, and sweet Boston. So many miles, so many smiles. It’s changed me… after running all over the Austin streets it’s help me navigate throughout the city. Also I’ve come to realize that many aspects of my life are marathon-like from my marriage of 40 years to my working at the same company for 42 years. I will always be a marathoner on the roads and in life. You helped show me that.

However, over the past few years things have caused me to slow down. From just getting older (now 64) to some medical problems which hopefully are behind me. So although training may not be as much of a focus I still plan on running. So 3-4 mile morning runs are still happening, and weekend 10 mile long runs on Lady Bird Lake continue. It’s just not the intensity like before during “training season”. What’s next is still an open question. Since I still want to be active and I’m been toying with doing some hiking. Naturally this is very tentative, and may never happen, but I’ve been thinking about hiking one of the US long trails, specifically the Pacific Crest Trail. Over the past few months I’ve been following one of my coaches who has been hiking the Appalachian Trail. Now if you had a Hiking Training course that would be great and I’d sign up tomorrow. One thing that Rogue is known for is it’s love of hills, and if you offered hiking then hills would definitely be required. Think about Ladera Norte with a 30 pound pack – YEAH!

Well in any case, I’ll be stopping by to purchase things in Rogue Equipment, poke my head in to Rogue Training to see the weekend long run course copies, and always thinking about the fun I had with all of you. Thanks.

Sincerely,
Brian “Bri” Watt

* edited to remove specific names.

A Good Morning

3/1/2011
John,

My warmup of 3 miles was good (9:53, 9:06, 9:03). First 3 mile loop was good and faster (8:43, 8:29, 8:20). Last mile (8:14). I didn’t do the last two miles, because of my 8 mile limit for today and jogged slowly back to Rogue. Having no specific pace I continue to judge myself against my 4 hour BQ pace. So today I did two at MGP (9:10 or better), two at HMGP (8:42 or better), and two at 10K (about 8:13). So I’m feeling better about this. I probably should have pushed to complete the last two miles, but that’s good enough for now…

Bri

Last Week

2/27/2011
Hi John,

Two weeks ago was my down week, and last week I tried to do what everyone else was told to do with some modifications/simplifications.

Sunday – off (my wife and I were the support crew for my daughter who completed her first marathon)
Monday – 6.1 miles
Tuesday – 7.8 miles (5 hill repeats instead of 10, but went longer up to Milan, afterwards ran to Capitol and back)
Wednesday – 6 miles
Thursday – 9.7 miles (warmed up to pflugerville bridge and the rock, did 2 1/2 Zilker loops at 10K pace, cooled down to Deep Eddy Pool, didn’t do 5 by 1K)
Friday – off
Saturday – 16.7 miles (went longer than others, avg pace 10:38)

Total mileage: 46.3

Overall, there have been good times and other times. The right tendonitis is still there, but if I stretch it ahead of time I can manage it. My groin is also still there. I also took an Advil on Saturday to help. I am doing core exercises and rollers most nights.

Here is my current plan. I expect to continue the plan we set up earlier although I’m a bit ahead of schedule by about 5 miles per week. I’m also working 3 weeks up and then 1 week down.

Week of February 27 (7 weeks to go) 18 mile long run – 50 miles
Week of March 6 (6 weeks to go) 20 mile long run – 50 miles
Week of March 13 (5 weeks to go) 12 miles long run – 30 miles
Week of March 20 (4 weeks to go) 18 mile long run – 50 miles
Week of March 27 (3 weeks to go) 20 mile long run – 50 miles – Cap10K
Week of April 3 (2 weeks to go) 22 mile long run – 50 miles
Week of April 10 (1 weeks to go) no long run – 30 miles

Went to see Tana on Tuesday, and we’ve agreed mutually that my injuries are overtraining related and there isn’t much she can do for them. So we’ve stopped with the massage therapy.

Bri

Hiatus

I’m on a break from running.

On 1/6/2011
Hi John,

I arrived back at Barton Pool way way late. All the others were gone, gone, gone. I completed all 12 miles but it took 135 minutes, that is, slow as a slug. Ran it by myself – not my choosing, but the group left and I was immediately eating their dust. Sorry, but I didn’t do the pickups. I was too stiff with no spring in my step. This has been a theme of late. I just couldn’t push it up a notch. I just shuffled along trying to complete the distance while throwing pace out the window. Maybe it was leftover from Tuesday and maybe I’m not able to bounce back as fast anymore. Note: I always find Thursday the harder day. Right ankle still there – when I try to gently stretch it beforehand it hurts. It makes me mad, and stops me from just running without a care since I’m always favoring it. I worry that if I misstep that I’ll land wrong, bend it and then the pain will shoot up my entire leg. Also I’m carrying a few extra pounds that I’m trying to shed. No need to respond, just writing to let you know my frame of mind… which after reading this doesn’t sound very good – sigh

Bri

And his response
Brian,

I think I know why you are so sluggish. It is, in fact, very clear to me.

You did absolutely nothing to recover from the marathon. This is what you sent me:

2010-12-05: 44.5 miles (CIM marathon week)
2010-12-12: 50.9 miles
2010-12-19: 39.5 miles (Christmas)

Nooooo wooooonder you can’t bounce back as fast. You haven’t rested. The fundamental principles of the physiology of endurance sport have been ignored. You have to take a break. If you don’t, it will not be possible to progress.

I highly recommend for the next 4 weeks, please follow this schedule

10 days: No running. None.
One week: Alternate days of 30 minutes jogging (four runs)
One week: 30 minutes jogging per day, with 5 strides after the run on alternate days
One week: Alternate 30 minute and 45 minute runs with 5 strides after the 45 minute runs.

I would hate to see your ankle get worse. I would hate to see you lose complete enjoyment for running, Brian. Please take my advice.

John

On 1/12/2011
John,

1/7 Fri – no running
1/8 Sat – no running
1/9 Sun – no running
1/10 Mon – no running
1/11 Tue – no running
1/12 Wed – no running

Six days so far. Four more to go.

A few comments.

1. Back of ankle tightness and soreness has been with me for about 1-2 months before CIM. In other words, it didn’t just happen. BTW, my ankle is still sore, but it’s lessening.
2. I have not stopped running for this long in years and years.
3. I still plan on running Boston having signed-up and got hotel. My concern is how prepared will I be for Boston with this plan.
4. What should be my expectations for Boston. In other words, what should be my performance goals, if any?
5. I’d like a week by week (day-by-day) plan from now until Boston.

Bri

And his response
Thanks for the update, Bri.

I can only imagine how strange and awkward it must feel to take time off.

Boston is still well within reach.  Expectations will be more clear once we see how well you have recovered.  But my guess is that there will be a new door open for you after this little break.

I’m happy to write something up for your Boston schedule.  You and I can sit down with a blank map and we can pencil in the long runs, workouts and recovery runs.  It might be a good way for each of us to see how the other thinks.

See you soon.

John

On 1/15/2011
John,

OK, here is my plan. I’ll have taken off 9 day. Now ask me if I’m recovered. Answer: I’m not sure. I stopped because you felt I didn’t take time off after CIM. Well now I’ve taken some time off. Also my right ankle/heel/tendon was sore. Well it’s still there, but somewhat subsided.

I set the following schedule based upon your note below. It coincides with the Tue/Thu schedule so I can meet-up-with/run with the group for a few minutes each week. Typically I take off one day a week on Friday, but your note did not state that so I’ve set it up for 6-days a week w/ Friday off.

Comments? If you want to meet and because I’m back at work it’ll have to be either before 9AM or after 5PM. I assume we can synch up on a Tue/Thu morning.

Bri

   Sun     Mon     Tue     Wed     Thu     Fri     Sat
+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
|       |       |       |       |       |7      |8      |
|       |       |       |       |       |       |  OFF  |
+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
|9      |10     |11     |12     |13     |14     |15     |
|  OFF  |  OFF  |  OFF  |  OFF  |  OFF  |  OFF  |  OFF  |
+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
|16     |17     |18     |19     |20     |21     |22     |
|  OFF  |  OFF  | 30min |  OFF  | 30min |  OFF  | 30min |
+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
|23     |24     |25     |26     |27     |28     |29     |
| 30min | 30min | 30min | 30min | 30min | 30min | 30min |
| 5 Str | 5 Str | 5 Str | 5 Str | 5 Str | 5 Str | 5 Str |
+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+
|30     |31     |1      |2      |3      |4      |5      |
| 30min | 45min | 30min | 45min | 30min | 45min | 30min |
|       | 5 Str |       | 5 Str |       | 5 Str |       |
+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+-------+

Loops in the dark

Boy getting up this morning was tough. I was not looking forward to this practice. All I kept thinking about was this past Sunday on the track. Those 24 laps. Those drop downs. The exhaustion and cramps afterwards. I know. I know. It was to simulate the end of the marathon. The time when you have to gut it out and get ‘er done. When you have to push, push more and push beyond. So I feared this morning and repeating those laps on the track with drop downs. Lap upon lap. In the dark. Missing those stupid holes. Around that loop again and again. I wondered if I had it in me. The self doubts were devils in my brain. But I’ve learned that if you’re told to do something you give it a try. I’ve also learned that Steve is a great coach. He builds you up so you can achieve what he’s asking. So I do it. I follow orders. I run the loops. I count the laps. It’s too dark to read my watch. I’ll do my best unknowing the time and check when I get home. I’ve got no group to help me, to run with me today. Kim offered to follow, but I didn’t want to be responsible for anyone else today. I was worried. I wanted to crawl into a hole. The running starts, the laps go by, the traffic gets bad. I keep going. I decide to run it straight. No breaks, no 400m recoveries, just 24 laps making each one faster. 4 done, 8 done, 12 and halfway, they blur one after the other, only 4 more, only 3/4 lap, finished. Get water, jog slowly back to the pool. At home I check the times. I can’t believe them. Was the Garmin off? They’re much faster than I expected considering my MGP is 9:10, HMGP is 8:42, 10K is 8:13, and 5K is 7:55. My results were mile 1: 8:22, mile 2: 8:24, mile 3: 8:00, mile 4: 7:58, mile 5: 7:42, and mile 6: 7:44. And I was supposed to start at MGP. And not go under my 5K pace. Oops. If I add up my times and include a tenth of a mile (48:10+0:74=49:24) it’s only 40 seconds over my 10K PR (48:44). What? Unbelievable! I lean back, smile and wonder what the future holds…

Counting Laps in Binary

This past weekend I had to count 24 laps, 4 per mile times 6 miles. So to keep me busy as I ran around the loop over and over again I decided to count on my fingers. However, instead of using base 10 I used base 2 or binary. This allowed me to easily count to 8 on one hand. I used my thumb to hold down 3 of my 4 fingers. A finger up is a 0 and a finger held down is a 1. My index finger is the 1s place (2**0 where ‘M**N’ means M raised to the N power), my middle finger is the 2s place (2**1), and my third finger is the 4s place (2**2). But enough of the math, here is a table of the number and signs as I counted.

Laps Completed Finger Position
0 0
1 1
2 2
3 = 2 + 1 3
4 4
5 = 4 + 1 5
6 = 4 + 2 5
7 = 4 + 2 + 1 5

I could have counted to 16 with all 4 fingers, where my pinkie is the 8s place (2**3), but it wasn’t worth it. Anyways this kept me busy enough as I struggled to concentrate on just running and counting to 8 three times.

I’m hurtin’

Last Thursday I hurt myself. After warming up for 2.6 miles over to Scenic/Pecos. I had two 3.5 mile loops to complete at MPG. At the end of the first loop I felt a tightness in the front of my left thigh. On the second loop it became tighter and tighter, it burned and hurt, and I walked part of the last hill. After doing the loops I headed back to Barton Pool and had to walk. Running was too painful. Steve and Scott picked me up at Exposition on Lake Austin Blvd and drove me back. Not good, not good at all.

On Friday I wrote Steve “Reporting in… Well I’ve iced my left thigh a number of times over the past two days, kept it elevated, and did not run today. Right now it feels OK, but I know that by exercising it will tell the truth. So I’ll be there tomorrow morning and see how I do. If things get worse I’ll turn around and run a shorter distance.”

On Saturday I followed up with “Well here is the latest. I started out with a slight twinge in my left quad this morning for the long run. I didn’t feel any pain. Just the fact that it’s not up to par. If all went well I was planning on 16 miles. I started slow and did not expect to be at pace for any of the run as was expected, but just wanted to complete the distance. At 4 miles my quad was throbbing, but I kept going. Yeah, Yeah, I know, but sometimes I push through a cramp and it gets looser. Well I got to the Shoal Creek, the starting point, and headed north still going slowly. After 3/4 mile I got a sharp pain in my muscle and decided that was it and it was time to turn around. The only problem was that I now needed to get back to Rogue and it was 5 miles away and I was hurtin’. So shuffling along, and walking I finally made it back. My muscle felt tight, thick, and cramped. The last time I felt this way was years ago at Decker on the side of my knee and I ran hurt for the whole 20K. When I completed I couldn’t bend my leg it was so tight and sore. Then the next day I was bruised so I had done some damage. I don’t know what is wrong, but I’m going to have to back off and get better. Sigh. By the way it doesn’t hurt as I sit typing this. I can walk and climb stairs fine. It’s just running which aggravates it. I’m icing it as I type and will consider this week to be a recovery week. Thoughts, suggestions?”

I’m not a happy camper right now. I’m frustrated. I just didn’t need this. And I’ve been doing core weights, roller massage, and strides all to help eliminate something like this. Sheesh.

Update: I finally figured out why I got hurt today. I was putting on my running stuff this morning to attempt a slow 4 mile run. As I was getting on my underwear I realize that my new ones were downstairs in the dryer. So I got on a pair of my old ones. As I squeezed into them I realized how tight they were around my thighs. And that was it. I’ve been using them for 3-4 years and I never realized how they had affected me. The new ones are much looser and caused my thigh muscles to operate differently including getting a muscle strain. Wow! Who would have thought. Now I’ve got to figure out how to heal and adjust to these new constraints. BTW, I was only able to complete 0.3 miles before the pain in my thigh told me to stop and turn around. Hmmmm.

Weight Exercises

I have been working with my static weights [PowerBlock Personal The Block] to build my core (central body) strength. The goal is not to be muscular (ha ha, no way would that ever happen anyways), but to build strength to help my running. I do “high” 30 repetitions with a single “light” 20 lb weight [base plus three 'blocks'] for each of the following:

  1. Standing – Bend forward (hold in front, bend forward 90 degree angle & straighten). This is the second hardest one.
  2. Standing – Bend right (hold on right side, bend right & straighten)
  3. Standing – Bend left (hold on left, bend left & straighten)
  4. Standing – Bend backward (hold behind back, bend back & straigthen)
  5. Standing – Twist right (hug weight, rotate 90 degrees to the right & return)
  6. Standing – Twist left (hug weight, rotate 90 degrees to the left & return)
  7. Standing – Push up on toes
  8. Standing – Squat (weight touches floor & stand up). This is the hardest one.
  9. Laying down – Sit-ups – (hold against chin, count double 1 up, 1 hold & return)

So this is what I mean when I mark “W” (for weights) on my running log.

New running clothing

Ordered two pair of shorts (Men’s Under Armour Draft 5″ Short), four pair of underwear (Men’s Under Armour O Series Boxer Jock 6″), and eleven pair of socks (Patagonia Ultra LightWeight Endurance Socks – Large). Some of it has started to arrive.