Monday, May 21, 2012

First Year Down. Ready For Summer Training.

Track season has come to a close and I have taken my 2 week break/transition between seasons. It’s nice having time off for something not related to an injury. The two weeks went by quickly with finals and some traveling during the first week of summer break. I started my summer training on Saturday with nothing but a 40 minute easy run. It’s strange starting summer training this early (mid May), when I’m usually not even done with Track season yet. Typically it isn’t until mid-June when my Summer training begins. With this said, it’s smart not start back too hard too soon. For one, I don’t want to burn out. Two, getting really fit really early can often result in peaking too soon and not being at my best come the end of the Cross Country season. The benefits of starting this early are that I will not have to rush any training, and will be able to build up to the mileage that will help me improve most. Starting this early means that I will definitely be getting as fit as I can possibly get this summer, which is exciting!
Track Season:
Considering that I did not write any blog posts during indoor or outdoor track season, I have some catching up to do. Things went well for the most part, I got in some solid uninterrupted training, and finished with some PRs.
Ran a crappy 3k indoors at Albuquerque. We’ll go ahead and leave the time out.
Ran a slight converted PR in the Mile at Colorado School of Mines indoor meet. It converted to a 4:35 mile or 4:34 1600, which would be about a 3 second PR off a very mediocre High School time.
March- Got in some very good training, even hitting one 80 mile week. My workouts continued to progress each week as well. My speed improved considerably as well, the track workouts continued to get better and my tempo runs got much quicker even while they were increasing in distance. My confidence definitely grew through the good training.
April/Early May-
Opened up the Outdoor Season with an alright 3k at Albuquerque, that converted to about a 9:47ish 3200 mile at sea level. So alright, but not even my High School PR.
Went home and raced at Western Illinois University in the 3k and ran a PR of 9:04 (9:40 3200). Going sub-9 was obviously the goal and I felt I could have done so much better in this race. I had at the very least 5 seconds left in the tank. I still am getting used to racing again.
Ran my first 1500 in Fort Collins in 4:09 which is a big mile conversion PR of close to 10 seconds. Was very happy with the race.
Finished the season with a little time trial, running a 4:07 altitude conversion, which is the equivalent of about 4:24 in the mile, or a 4:23 1600. Doing that at 7000 feet was not much fun though.
This is a very brief and choppy recap of my short indoor and outdoor seasons. I feel I could have went MUCH faster in the 3k if I would have extended my season a bit more, and definitely could have gotten more out of the 1500 as well. At the same time, I didn’t want to get ahead of myself and played it conservative, shutting my season down early. It was my redshirt year and I got in some good racing experience which I feel was the most important thing I needed, especially after not having raced in such a long time.
Now that the Summer base training has begun for what I hope will be a breakthrough year, I’m excited to start writing blog posts again. I am hoping to build up to a higher amount of mileage than I have ever done before as well as continuing to improve my lactate-threshold and develop my high-end aerobic system. I’ll detail tempo runs and long runs, easy days and hard days. The hope is that the end result will give me a chance to make a national-championship team, or simply to have a breakthrough cross-country season that will lead to bigger and better things throughout the year.
I hope you’ll be reading more as I feel the best things still lie ahead.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 - Year In Review: A Big Buildup, A Big Letdown, and A Slow Comeback

I couldn’t be more happy for 2011 to be coming to an end and to have a new year, with a fresh start right upon me. The title of this post describes my year nicely. I’ve explained my feelings and other thoughts in much more depth throughout the year, so I won’t write any more on that, and quite frankly I’d like to stop thinking about the negative sides of this year. I’ve rebounded and learned from any mistakes that I made.

On a positive note, here are some important things that happened in 2011:
January - Started writing the blog
February - Made my college decision and decided to attend Adams State College
March - Had the most successful string of indoor meets of my High School career (not long enough to be considered a true season) and medaled at Illinois Prep Top Times
April - Ran PRs at all distances from 800m-3200m even if some were very slight
August - Made the biggest move of my life, leaving Illinois for Colorado
August-December - Got to be a part of a collegiate XC/Track team, a very successful one at that.
I don’t have an exact mileage count for 2011 as this fall I didn’t really record much of my training in an organized fashion.
I don’t know what 2012 will bring, but I can only hope for good things!

Log for last week of the year:

Sunday (Christmas Day) - 15 Mile Long Run in Nebraska. Incredibly nice day for Christmas with the temperature getting up into the mid 50s!! Finished with my shirt off which is a first for a run on Christmas or December for that matter!

Monday - 60 minutes easy (8 miles) with some strides scattered throughout
Tuesday - 2 mile warmup, 5x4x200s, 2 mile cooldown (8 miles)
Wednesday - 70 minutes easy in the trails at Spring Lake (10 miles)
Thursday - 60 minutes easy (8 miles) and 6x100m strides after
Friday - 2 mile warm up, 6 mile AT run (on treadmill) in 35:40, 2 mile cooldown
Saturday - 50 minutes easy (6.5 miles)--tired and being cautious
Total: 65.5 miles

Friday, December 23, 2011


Written on December 17th-
It’s now been over four months since I’ve posted a blog entry. I wrote my last entry while in the car on the way out to attend my first semester at Adams State College. I’m writing this entry on the train on my way back home after my first semester. A lot has changed. The last time I posted was with an optimistic view of what was to come while being out there. I had been coming off of a four month layoff and one of the most difficult times of my life. Luckily, that’s over with and my training is now progressing the way that I have hoped. 
There are a combination of factors and numerous reasons why I took the long break in posting. I didn’t want to rush things and come back too quick. Oftentimes while training with everything public, I would often do things that my body wasn’t ready for. I wanted so badly to be able to post happy, upbeat entries where everything was coming along just fine. But it wasn’t. I also needed a break. I needed a break from the meticulous totaling of weekly mileage. From the constant assessment of where I was in relation to my goals. I needed a break from setting goals.
While being at Adams I’ve put my focus off of myself for a bit. It’s awesome being surrounded by such great teammates. 4:03 milers, national champions, international talents. I’m such a small fish in a big pond. Instead, I’ve just been trying to enjoy the experience as much as possible. It’s truly an honor to be surrounded by such phenomenal athletes on a daily basis. I chose to just soak everything in and focus on taking small steps in the right direction. Nothing else.
Alright, now we can get to the details. I became able to gradually increase mileage in the beginning of September. I did this with 20-30 minute runs on grass fields and then slowly transitioned to dirt and gravel trails and roads. I would supplement this running with cross training after and several times a week I would still only cross train. Aside from a couple days here and there with minor nagging injuries, I was able to increase quite rapidly and saw the gains in fitness coming back quickly. By the beginning of October I was already doing 75 minute long runs. When I’d try to hop into team workouts, I’d get blown away by the rest of the Freshmen who had a summer base. I think I may have tried to jump into the fast stuff a bit too soon, as I had a tiny setback period in mid october where I kept missing a few days here and there with more aches and pains. I just wasn’t structurally adapted to the training that I was trying to do yet. So, after several weeks of trying to do XC workouts, I went back to just easy running. 
Through mid to late October I continued to only run easy and started seeing mileage increases without any setbacks. By November I was doing similar mileage to the rest of the Freshmen most days of the week. I then started doing workouts with an emphasis on long aerobic strength building. The tempo runs I was attempting to do in September were laughable, but these were now starting to feel a bit more promising. Week by week I was seeing small but noticeable improvements. With the mileage and quality of my workload increasing, I was starting get on the same level of training as the rest of my first-year teammates.
I can feel myself getting stronger each week. Tempo run paces are getting faster while the effort seems to be dropping as well- even at 7500 feet! Yesterday while doing a tempo workout on the country roads surrounding Alamosa, I started to get a feeling that I haven’t experienced in all too long. I was gliding along, clipping off 5:40s and it felt effortless. Effortless! I felt smooth, controlled, and powerful.
While my fitness still isn’t where I want it to be and far behind most others on my team, I know it’s headed in the right direction. I haven’t ran a race almost eight months. I’m finally started to get the itch again though. Confidence in my ability is coming back. I’m looking forward to hopping into a few late indoor meets, even if I am getting my butt kicked. The adrenaline that comes with toeing the line is something that I’ve missed for far too long. I want to get back to the level of fitness I had before the injury and then continue to build and continue to get stronger. This time though, I’m smarter.
If I’m feeling pain, I take a day off and cross train. No question. There’s no guarantee that I’m going to stay injury-free and follow the path that I want, but I’ll give it the best shot I can. I still have so much I want to get out of myself. I’m only 19. I know I’ve got loads of untapped potential. So if I stay smart and diligent with my training, the improvements will continue to come and I will see what I can get out of myself.
Like always though, the number one reason that I run is because I enjoy it. I’m thankful to be able to take personal satisfaction from it. To be able to get out there and cover distances on foot. It’s not a solitary pursuit anymore though. I have a group of teammates, all of whom are pursuing their own goals and all of whom are extremely motivated. As a group they come together and really represent Adams State well. They are what makes Adams State excellent. 

Here's a quick video of the our guys finishing (and winning) the regional championships:

I won’t get too detailed on what I did last week, but here’s a brief overview (12/11-12/17):
14 mile Long Run with the team on Sunday, which was my first one in a very long time. Started off at 0 degrees, but warmed up slightly throughout. The rest of the week consisted of a moderate tempo run on Tuesday a tempo repeat workout on Friday and easy 65-70 minute easy runs on all other days.
I’ll get back to the detailed logging of mileage for this next week of training.
I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas break.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Struggling Times and New Beginnings

Wow, it's been awhile. I haven't been in my normal blog writing mood as of late. I'd say that's mostly due to things not going so well in terms of running. I've had numerous more problems since the last entry and my layoff was extended considerably. I figured if I was having bad news on a weekly basis, why keep writing about it? I know my readers wouldn't want to listen to me moan and complain about how shitty my training is, or how my foot hurt today, or how I'm feeling quite down about this, especially on a weekly basis! I know I wouldn't want to read about that.

Well, I think things have changed for the better. I'm not going to proclaim that "I'm back" or that I'm sure I'll now be training uninterrupted from here on out, but things are looking the best that they have.

Here's the somewhat depressing outline of how the last 8 weeks have played out (with plenty of aqua jogging and biking in between that seemed to get less enjoyable with each passing day) :

Day after I got out of boot- Started having very bad knee pain (I've speculated many different causes, but still don't exactly what happened for sure, although I think it may have been a minor meniscus tear due to twisting my knee some on the day I watched NCAA's as I'm still feeling it a little now, but luckily it got better). For a good 10 days I was limping around considerably.

6/22 - 10min easy on grass at Spring Lake
6/25- 10min easy on grass at Spring Lake
6/28 - 12min easy on grass at a golf course in Nebraska

Felt some pain in my RIGHT foot while walking down the stairs and the next several days while pushing on it. 

7/4 - 10min easy on grass at Spring Lake

Got the right foot imaged, stress reaction in my intermediate cuneiform.

Two more weeks off.

7/17 - 2 miles easy on grass at Spring Lake in 14:19 (7:10/mi)
7/19 - 2 miles easy on grass at Spring Lake in 13:40 (6:51/mi)
7/21 - .9 miles-quit with unbearable pain in my left toe

10 days off, with which the toe was still bothering me after, but bearable

Last several days of building back up - I'm still having daily pains walking and sore spots here and there, but am running with hardly any pain:

8/3 - 2 miles very slow on treadmill testing the toe out
8/3 - 2.62 miles outside at western soccer fields and roads, felt toe some on the fields to did what I normally don't do and ran on the hard roads, but the smooth surface really made it feel better
8/5 - 3 miles very slow on treadmill
8/7 - 3.5 miles on crushed gravel trail averaging 6:52/mi
8/8 - 2miles very slow on treadmill
8/10 - 4 miles with first 3 on treadmill, last on outside in 6:32! 27:32 (6:52/mi)
8/11 - 2.63 miles on golf course in 18:25 (7:01/mi)

As of now, that's where my comeback stands. I'm going into this with no expectations. I'm really just trying to enjoy running right now and enjoy the confidence boost that occurs with watching my fitness improve on a daily basis. 

I'd obviously like to be in much better shape coming into a top notch program as I am usually adequately prepared and confident in the training I have done in the prior weeks and months coming into a season. The important thing is to get (and stay) healthy. I'm going to try and not compare myself to the other freshman or teammates constantly, who have had healthy and good summers of running. I don't think it will take me long to bounce back long if I stay patient


Okay, putting my training aside and where my fitness is at, I'm at a very exciting point in my life….

I moved out of my house today and am currently on my way across the country to my new home- Alamosa, Colorado. It's a definitely a bittersweet moment, but I'm ready. I'm ready to get out and see my new teammates (as a real team is something I've never really been able to be a part of), scope out my new training grounds, be under Coach Martin's expert guidance. 

I'll be stopping at my Grandparents in Nebraska for a couple of days before resuming the trip out there. I'll be moving my belongings into my dorm room on the 14th or 15th. We have a team meeting/barbecue on the 17th and my three-day freshman orientation starts the following day. Classes will begin soon after on Monday the 22nd. 

I'll keep you guys updated!

Thanks for reading.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Week 6 - Inching My Way Closer To Running

Hello Readers,

I really only have good news this week. Yesterday I spent most of the day traveling to Des Moines and watching the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships, which turned out to be a good meet. I headed over with Bradley University runner Nathan Davis early in the morning and made a day out of it. In the distance races Chelanga and Centro didn’t disappoint, although I couldn’t help but pull for Illinois natives Dorian Ulrey and Chris Derrick in both races. I also got to meet one of my future ASC teammates, Brady McGuire, who travelled over from North Platte, NE to watch the meet.

Although I was unsure of what to think of my foot in the last entry, things are definitely looking up. The most recent x-ray looked good and showed bone growth. I’ve been walking in regular shoes a lot and I think today I will finally be able to say bye to the boot for good. It has now been 6 weeks since the injury occurred, which is supposed to be when I could resume running. I’m going to give it a few more days before I start easing back into running on soft surfaces, just due to the fact that I’ve only begun walking within the last week.

Cross Training Log 6/5-6/11:

Sunday - 61 minutes of aquajogging

Monday - AM: 15mi of cycling on a pretty hilly course in 1:06:23 (Avg. HR of 138bpm); PM: 30min of aquajogging

Tuesday - AM: 45 minutes of cycling on stationary bike pretty hard; PM: 45 minutes of aquajogging that wasn’t very intense

Wednesday - 60min of aquajogging including hard portions and some swimming with Chase and Gatlin Marlow. My first real cross training session with someone else, which definitely  made things easier and more enjoyable.
*Walking: 14min of walking on treadmill 

Thursday - AM: 45min of cycling on stationary bike; PM: 41min of aquajogging

Friday - AM: 14mi of cycling in 1:00:00 (stopped 6min in to help some old people catch their dog on my bike and earned $2, score!) , wind really slowed me down; PM: 30min of aquajogging with Nathan Davis before getting kicked out by a storm and lightning that were rolling through
*Walking: 13min gradually getting faster

Saturday - 60min of cycling on stationary bike covering 21.2 miles. First 15min weren’t too intense but I definitely started going hard midway through and had a few hard, sustained portions to make it a good workout
*Walking: 1 mile of walking on the treadmill slowly getting up to 3mph and 3.0 incline and then working back down in 21min

Weekly Total: 543 minutes of aerobic activity, 267 of that from aquajogging and 276 of that from cycling.

Not a horrible week, but like I’ve said cross training is just getting old. Being able to walk now and mix some of that in there has helped a lot. I’ll definitely be upping the supplemental walking this week and hoping to start running some mid week! It won’t be much running I’m sure, so I’ll still be cross training about the same amount in addition to keep my aerobic fitness where it is. I'll likely add the elliptical to my cross training routine, since I can now probably do that pain free.

Hopefully everyone had a good week and is enjoying their summer.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Cross Training Week 5: 5/29-6/4


I haven’t been getting my posts out like I should be at the end of my training week (Saturday), so I’ll try to be better at doing that or at least being closer to that day. It’s not like I have had anything more important to do that’s been occupying my time! Last week I was talking about the progress that the foot had made, but now it seems I’ve taken a couple of steps back. I was implementing some walking in regular shoes into my daily schedule starting at the end of week 4 and into the beginning of week 5. I didn’t experience any pain during these short 10 minute sessions, but did feel very weak in my left side. After a few days of this though, I started getting some soreness in my foot/toes when walking in the boot again. Like I said, I didn’t have any walking in normal shoes though. Really, this could also have been from me early on in the week getting out of the shower and walking across my bathroom barefoot for the first time in 5 weeks and doing the same thing in my bedroom. Again, I didn’t have ANY pain doing this, but it just could have been a little thing that contributed to a bit of a setback with the foot. Today though, it’s feeling better and walking in the boot has been pain free as I made a point to stay off of it all day yesterday (used crutches again).

Here’s the Week 5 Cross Training Log:

Sunday - PM: 5min of aquajogging, just wasn’t feeling it, 34min of cycling outside. I think mentally I was tired from the cross training the day/week before, which is a poor excuse regardless.

Monday - AM: 1hr of cycling on stationary bike in which I went really hard-10min warmup, 5x3min hard ~170bpm (1:30 recovery) , 10min moderate, 5min ~Tempo pace, 2min moderate, 5min ~Tempo pace, 7min cooldown. (Avg. HR of 144bpm); PM: 30min of easy aquajogging

Tuesday - AM: 14.75 mile bike ride to Macomb which was exclusively against the wind in 1:17:50; PM: 53min of aquajogging

Wednesday - AM: Only 18min of Stationary bike cycling-aborted workout when I felt slight soreness in my left foot; PM: 60min of aquajogging with some hard portions

Thursday - None, completely off.  Spent most of the day in St. Louis with my friends and was walking in the mall more than I would have liked, which made the foot sore again.

Friday - AM: 20 mile bike ride in 1:24:30 (Avg. HR of 150bpm); PM: 30min of Aquajogging

Saturday - AM: 45min of easy stationary bike cycling; PM: 30min of Aquajogging

Weekly Total: 545 minutes of aerobic activity. 208 of  those minutes being aquajogging and 337 of those minutes being from cycling. Really am not that happy with the totals and was hoping for a jump from last week, but on two of the days this last week, I just wasn’t feeling it.

Cycling is much more enjoyable than aquajogging (except for how my butt feels afterwards). I could continue to ramble on about how much I dislike cross training, but I really don’t want to talk about it more than I have to, as it just makes me more sick of it.

Sitting out writing this entry

I was supposed to be off of running a total of six weeks, which would mean that I would be able to ease back in by next week, but at this point I’m unsure of whether I’ll realistically be able to do that or not. Until next week, I’ll just continue to play it by feel and see how the foot is progressing day by day. That’s really all that I can do.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cross Training Week 4: 5/22-5/28

Hello Readers,

It’s been awhile since my last post, but I feel that a bit of a break from the blog was a good thing. Since the last post, I've graduated and the IHSA track season has officially come to a close. Things seem to be going better now though. The quality and volume of my cross training has been improving over the last few weeks, although I am getting sick and tired of  aquajogging. It’s not the least bit enjoyable now. Fortunately, as the recovery of the foot has gotten farther along, I’ve been able to add in some cycling. At the moment that’s probably the training that I enjoy most. At first, the change of scenery that came with biking was a big bonus. Aquajogging is just about as boring as the treadmill, or worse. It has been harder to drag myself into the pool each consecutive day. It’s a motivation problem that I don’t seem to have with running.

Progress has been the theme of the last couple of weeks. First it was getting off of my crutches, which I couldn’t stand. It’s amazing just about how much you appreciate walking when you can’t do it. I got off of them gradually by introducing small spurts of walking in the boot. My crutches have been laying in the back seat of my car for about 6 days now, and I don’t miss them one bit. Now I’m getting around exclusively on foot, which is nice and I’m even taking the boot off for a small amount of time each day. Soon I’ll be getting around in normal shoes and (hopefully) introducing small amounts of running into my schedule.

Here’s what week number four of cross training looked like (5/22-5/28):

Sunday - AM: 35minutes of aquajogging; PM: 45 minutes of aquajogging/swimming - This turned out to be scheduled nicely around my graduation and graduation party

Monday - 75min of aquajogging, with some hard portions

Tuesday - AM: ?; PM: 30min of Stationary Bike

Wednesday - 3pm: 13mi bike ride in 52min (Avg. HR 150bpm); 9pm: 30min of aquajogging

Thursday - AM: 10mi of cycling outside SLOW with first half into wind, with first half into the wind 47:48 (Avg. HR 146bpm); PM: 45min of aquajogging

Friday - 18mi of cycling outside in 1:16:35 (Avg. HR 152bpm)

Saturday - AM: Hard aquajogging workout- 10min warmup, 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 hard w/ half recovery, 5min easy, 100m swim, 5min easy, 3x(60sec-45sec-30sec) No hand w/ 30 sec rec. in between, 5min easy, 100m swim, the rest cooldown easy (Tot. 65min); PM: 60min of stationary bike covering 20mi (Avg. HR 136bpm)

Weekly Total: 561 minutes of aerobic activity (9 hours, 21 minutes); 295min (4:55) of that aquajogging, and 266min (4:26) of that cycling

I was pretty happy with the week as a whole. The hard thing about cross training, especially aquajogging, is that you don’t get the feedback that you do from running. I don’t get any splits, there is no way to monitor my pace or speed, it’s just me judging effort, which can sometimes be nice, but ultimately leaves me questioning how good my workout was, or makes it hard to compare workouts to one another.

I had a check up x-ray and things seem to be healing like they should. I’ll be getting another one  in a few weeks to make certain that everything is fine. I was worried for a while that it had led to something worse than a regular stress fracture as I wasn’t able to walk at all. A friend of mine who recently had a stress fracture was walking fine in his boot right away, whereas I was still having considerable pain, although along with my stress fracture I found out that I had multiple stress reactions in various spots around my left foot as well. The recent  clean x-ray image that was taken 3.5 weeks after the injury cleared up some of that fear I was having.

Now, enough of that..

The IHSA State Track Meet was this last weekend. I tried to ignore the fact that if I were running, I would have been able to place considerably well, and dare I say be in contention for the title with the winning time being 9:27. Regardless, I didn’t run, and hypothetical situations don’t mean anything in the real world. With that said, I tried to focus mainly on the Men’s 800m where a teammate of mine, Lance Curtis would be running (the only other serious distance runner in Bushnell).

Lance didn’t disappoint. He went to Charleston with three goals in mind: 1)Get to finals, 2)Medal, 3)Break our school’s 50+ year old 800m record. He accomplished all three, as a Junior! He battled all year with that two minute barrier, running equal to it several times throughout the season, but it continued to elude him. At the sectional meet he ran yet another 2:00 and was probably his closest to being under so far (as I had hand timed him at 1:59.8). Going into prelims at the state meet he knew that he would have to be sub 2:00 to have any chance of making the final. With the right competition, he was well under it with 1:59.39. Now, I’m pretty sure he was somewhat relieved to finally be sub-two, but he would still have to put together a heck of a race if he wanted either a medal or the record on Saturday. Lance has always been able to perform well and exceed his/others expectations on the right day. So I’m sure Saturday before the 800m final he was quite nervous. It seems that nerves only helped as he ended up placing ninth (the last medal spot) and cementing his name in B-PC history by dipping under the school record with a time of 1:58.01.

That gradual progress has come quite well for Lance as each successive year since he started running in sixth grade has consisted of him chipping away at the clock bit by bit, second by second. Now I know that once you get to a certain point in the 800 (or time for this matter), improvement is harder to come by and the gains are smaller and smaller as one continues to get faster. So most are probably thinking that for next year at least, Lance shouldn’t be looking to improve as much as he has been, or make monstrous leps. I look at this a bit differently. I feel that Lance still has considerably more room to improve and that he still hasn’t come that close to developing his full potential. Most of his previous success and gains have come from his great foot speed and a gift of natural endurance. This fall was his first time ever running Cross Country. He went from a relatively mediocre 18:45 3mi XC time in early September to a 16:37 over tough terrain by the end of the Cross Country season. Aerobically, he has a great amount to improve. With him establishing his first solid base this summer and having all fall to develop his aerobic strength and build the mileage, he’s going to be a runner to lookout for. He’ll be flying under the radar in the fall, but I feel he can do some damage at the State XC Meet and most likely be turning some heads with the proper training. If all goes as planned he’ll go into next track season more experienced and better equipped to tear it up over 800m and keep the big gains going. So keep an eye out!

I have the intentions to be posting the weekly cross training from here on out, and hopefully within a matter of weeks you will be seeing some running included in the log!

Have a good week, everyone!