Sunday, July 23, 2017

T Minus Fifteen Weeks

Fifteen weeks from today is the New York City Marathon. In the training world that is both a long way out, and a blink of an eye. Up until this week, I was 50/50 on whether I would be ready to run 26.2 miles on November 5th. Today, I'm feeling more like 75/25. I've booked my post race poncho, my transportation to the start line, and re-entered my predicted finish time. In a few more weeks, I just might have to book that flight.

It's been a good week of 51 miles culminating in 13 today up Waterton Canyon. I like Waterton as it's half of however far you're running UPhill and the other half DOWN (I like down). The UP is gradual enough to be very runnable and the down is gradual enough to not be that icky quad pounding beat up thing. Today, we (my son Ryan and I) went to the "end," theoretically six miles up to the dam. You can keep going, however, and connect with the Colorado Trail. That next half mile (to get to 6.5, the turn around for thirteen), is steep. That one little half mile totally changed the complexion of my run. I will confess to feeling pretty darned AWESOME the first six miles, but throw in that "other" half mile and I hit the turn-around toasted. I never quite completely recovered.


Running buddy
I get this, though. When you're too heavy, the place where the weight exposes itself in the most INeffective way, is running up anything close to even semi-steep. But time will fix that. Check with me in the Spring.

I also like Waterton because I like the Big Horn Sheep. Today's run had ZERO sheep (a rarity) until the tenth mile when an adolescent ventured out onto the road. He looked at me awhile, waited until I was about ten yards away and then took off up the road. Too fast for me. So was Ryan, by the way (too fast for me). I released him from feeling like he had to keep me company at 7 miles and a half mile later he finally took off. He had a nice run to the bottom.

As for the training week, gone are the 3,4,5 mile runs that were the staple of my recovery existence. They have been replaced with 5,6,7, even 8 mile runs. I've reconnected with some favorite old loops and for the most part, things are looking good. I barely feel my knee AT ALL and have had a very good week with my on-again/off-again piriformis syndrome. On the whole, all is good.

I still have a LONG way to go. While my runs are  longer and considerably quicker than even a week or two ago, they are still ungodly slow, and I am a long way from being "back." This all takes time and frankly, I'm okay with that, I'm just happy to feel like a runner again!

So, as Jack Nicholson said in Something's Gotta Give, "It's all good news here." The plan is 54 miles this week ending one more week of just base building before the striders and tempo runs get thrown into the mix. Excited and ready to test out this recovery.

Run on!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Random Stuff in an "Uneventful" Week

Ryan, Brian, and me. 40 miles between us.
Well, for starters, let's take a moment to rejoice two things: First, I ran 46 miles last week, the most I have run in a week since August (eleven months ago). Second, Sunday I went 12 miles. It was also eleven months ago the last time I went that far (coincidentally, or not,  in the same week). The run was easy, six miles out and six back on the Highline Canal. And unlike last weeks 11 mile Light Rail run, I did not bonk like some sort of never-run-in-the-heat rookie. The Canal was packed.

One of the reasons for the ease of this run, is the steady improvement of my knee. After seven months of 50/50 recovery since surgery, I seemed to have turned the corner. There is still some discomfort, I still don't like stairs at all (although I never have), but on most runs, I have more problems in other parts of my body than I do in/on my knee.

With sixteen weeks until the New York City Marathon, I plan to gradually work my way up to 18-20 mile long runs and try to get in three before the big day. While this wouldn't be ideal for optimal running/racing, it'll do for the first marathon back less than a year after surgery. PLUS, I'll get to make my fourth appearance at New York and stand a good chance of making it to the end before being escorted from the course for excessive slowness.

So far, race prep will entail 3-4 other "races." In roughly four weeks, I'll run one of my favorite races, the Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon. I believe this will be about my tenth GTIS. I'm positive it will be my slowest, maybe even an hour slower than my best there of 1:25:25. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. This second half of 2017 is all about feeling like a runner again and recovering from this cold, cruel, knee issue.


Mason near Crested Butte
Then, on Labor Day, I'm excited to run the first Fortitutde 10K in Fort Collins. Patterned after the Bolder Boulder, the course looks fun, fast, and finishes inside the new Colorado State football stadium. The third race will be the Hot Chocolate 15K in Denver. This one is about 5 weeks out from NYC and should be a nice "speed work" kind of run.

On other fronts, my wife Linda's, grandson, Mason, AKA DJ Brown returned home Saturday from 20 days at the Team Prep USA Running Camp in Crested Butte. Lots of the best kids from around the country, great coaching, fantastic trails, and 20 days. Perfect for a kid as serious as Mason. The goal, of course, is to have the best senior year possible.

Also: the 12 mile run was the longest ever for my son Ryan. After years of letting the running thing just kind of go due to a lack of interest (he ran a 6:22 mile in the first grade), he seems to be loving getting out there and has his sights set on his first Half Marathon at the Denver Rock n Roll in October almost a year to the day of being flat on his back in the hospital, fighting just to stick around.


Kilan Jornet - Badass
Lastly, one word: BADASS. That's my word for the GOAT of mountain runners, Kilian Jornet. This weekend Kilian was in Colorado to defend his Hardrock 100 crown (he had won the last three). While descending a mountain 13 miles or so into the course, he fell, rolled several times and emerged with a dislocated shoulder. Undaunted, he RE-located it himself and went on to run the next 87 miles "with one arm tied behind his back." He won by 25 minutes. On the other side of the globe, a Wimbledon finalist whined about a blister.

Badass. 

Run on.