Thursday, February 16, 2017

BLOG 200 with some advice sprinkled in

Bicentennial Blog as defined by Linda.   My first blog was 8-6-2012.  I think I have covered a lot of subjects in that time period and will continue to cover the ones that have biggest effect on me.  Well, today that is easy as pie.   I am in LAX or Los Angeles International Airport.  Holy cow is this place nuts!  

I flew in Monday on Delta and needed to switched to WestJet for my leg into Vancouver, Canada.  Well, you get to go outside and wander thru a parking garage and then worm your way to the terminal across the way for WestJet.  Security into the International terminal was unlike any I have seen anywhere.  No habla Ingles was the rule.  Basically no one spoke English or knew what was going on.  Just herds of people flowing up steps and into the queue.  PreChek--you don't get no stinking PreChek! Absolutely crazy,  and I know how to navigate this crap.  Chaos at its finest.     LAX is a very big airport.  I found out when we got on a bus to go to our plane which was parked out on the tarmac near the ocean.   Almost cake by the ocean, but foiled again.   We rode the bus about 3 or 4  miles before we reached our plane.  By,  then things had gotten a lot better.  About half the flight was returning from a weekend at Disney and that group was ready for a nap.  Monday was Family Day in Canada and that is a holiday for most.  I survived the experience,  but was I was left a little dazed.

Today I flew back into LAX again--moron.  I needed to get on a Southwest flight in terminal 1 ( I arrived in T2) and would have to run the gauntlet again in security--same chaos with more people involved this session.  I thought I was in a Ground Hog Day time warp.  How does this place operate??  I had lunch at California Kitchens and asked about the security mess and the answer was--"Oh it was pretty good today"!  I may never return.  The pizza was good at CK, but not worth that much crazy to eat pizza.

If I need to go to Vancouver I will work another angle.  I had some conversations with the flight attendants on WestJet and they will be running a direct flight from BNA to Calgary starting in May and I can connect to Vancouver from there.  I like the sound of that.  It eliminates this chaos and keeps me on the 737 planes which I really like.   On the trip today, it was about as rough as I have ever been through.  We got pounded for about 10 solid minutes and later again for 5 more minutes.  It was pull them belts tight, shut your eyes and hang on to your lunch.   I cannot imagine trying to ride a RJR thru that stuff.  

LAX-- be warned, it is absolutely nuts.

I am about as ready as I can be for the meet this week end.  I did stretch and warm up Tuesday and I will do that again tonight when I get to Albuquerque.   Nothing is hurting and I hope to keep it that way.  A lot of rest this week.  No beer this week, I drank a lot of water in the bars in Canada. That is a little strange, but I do not want any gout related excuses to show their ugly faces. 

I will write up the races this weekend.  I hope they are fun and I am competitive--we will find out soon.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Nationals in sight

I am on my way West today for a visit in Vancouver through LAX.  I have been flying since I was 18 years old and have at least 300,000 air miles and I have never been to LAX!   I guess I do not have  any need to go to Southern California.   But today, I will pop in for short visit, eat some lunch and continue on my way to Vancouver.  Right now I am over the Grand Canyon and the clouds are breaking up—one big ditch you got down there.  One the way to Vancouver form LAX, there was a lot of snow in the mountains.  Hopefully the drought conditions will subside this season.

I have the Masters Indoor Nationals coming up this weekend in New Mexico and I have been training as hard as I have for any meet. The last two weeks have been really hard.  I ran and went to the gym for 7 days in a row.  I knew I would have some off days when I went Tulsa and that is why I pushed for 7 days in a row.  Typical training is max of 3 days in a row running. But, I figured I would take a day off and continue my speed work at one of my favorite tracks in Owasso, OK after a days rest.  I hurried to the track after work in Tulsa and my legs were not going to have any of this running and literally refused to go!  I was just stunned, I had never had a refusal like this before.   My knees were just too painful, I guess, and my stride was totally junk.  I did not try any more, I just walked 1.5 miles and called it a night.  I ended up taking off four days and I still was not feeling that peppy when I got back to the track.    If I really work my legs hard, they will recover and be better than ever—I hope that scenario does play out.  Seven days of leg work is way too much and I think I will be able to remember that going forward.  

My last three visits to the local track in Brentwood over this last weekend were on windy days and they were tough conditions to get anything serious done for training.  I used my parachute one day ( I had to use some tape to take out some hold back)  and ran into the wind the other days.  You really have to concentrate on form and swing the arms hard to get anything going while running into a 20 MPH wind.  I worked hard on some shorter—100,200 –sprints and did OK.  I pushed as hard as I could and did not get any lactic acid to form, but I was whipped.  I think my conditioning is good and I will let it rip Friday—not worry about fatigue—just fly.  Plus,  we will be at 5200 feet and the air density is great for speed and shitty for recovery.  I will worry about that pain after the race.

I have been trying to get the weight back down and I should be able to run at 195 pounds this weekend. This summer I will be even lower, but getting weight off in the winter is tough to do.

Linda it made it to the grand baby shower this last weekend in Wisconsin.  2 months to go and everything is on track for a healthy grandbaby which will be named   June Rosemary.  We already have a Rosemary and a June on the Allen side of the family and it is nice to carry on some classic names. Linda and I are just as ready as the parents!  


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

On The Edge

I ran yesterday outside and ran OK for a couple of 200 at 95%, but it was a little cool for my pansy ass and I finished up at the gym with some slower speed treadmill cycles.  A couple days earlier I ran indoors at the 300 meter Vanderbilt training facility.   I really liked the warmth and lack of wind.  The wind yesterday was from the South, but it is just too much for me to handle--it really messes up my breathing--which is my real weakness.     At Vandy I ran a bunch or 60 and 55 meter repeats and timed them all.   I did some with running and standing starts.  And the start is worth 0.7 seconds standing vs. running.  In these short races, a good start is worth a stride and that is the difference between a medal and nothing.   My times were in the 8's and that would be very competitive at the National level, BUT the 400 and 60 meters are typically stacked on top of each other figuring the same athletes will not do both.  They are correct, you cannot if you want to survive the 400.  I will get a legal time one day, I may have to skip the 400, but I am really curious of how well my speed is matching up to the old geezers in my class.   I really like the short sprints, because the pain inflicted is nothing compared to the longer races I am involved.

I have been actually training as hard as I do in season and we are still in January.  My hope is to avoid injuries from the high amount of work.  Work hard and get stronger and be competitive or take your time and progress much slower,  is always a balancing act you need to manage.  Currently I have no real issues with injuries.  I have actually been running with spikes a couple days a week and no using any KT tape for the plantar on my right foot.  I have not run without tape since the injury 4 or 5 years ago.   I call that real progress.    I have also been much better with my running form and I think the form improvement and stronger lower body has made a difference.   I also use compression calf sleeves every time I run.   I am a firm believer in sleeves and the support they provide. 

The weight is still a struggle, but I want to be around 194 if I can by the time I get to New Mexico.  Christmas is tough with food everywhere and it all tastes wonderful.  The waist line is already under control and it firming up nicely.  I still have a little giggle of fat on the stomach, but I am not sure if that will ever go away--some genetic deal I suppose.   I will continue to train 6 days a week until I get back on the road and then do the best I can.  

I watched some college track at the Arkansas indoor facility, which is a banked track just like the one we will race on in New Mexico.  I have not raced on a banked track and I did pick up quite a few little pointers on how to win your heat.  The racing is quite similar to the old Nascar sling shot off the last corner and beating them down the straight away.  Several  times is the 400, the leader would just weaken slightly  rounding the final curve and the field would cover them.  Strength is paramount in the last 50 meters.  I think I can use some of this race savvy to help my results.  I also looked like a lot of fun.

I will continue to tread on the over training edge and try not to fall.  Easier said than done.  Enjoy this sun shine!

Monday, January 23, 2017

USATF SE qualifier race

Linda and I were in Winston-Salem for my first USATF race and my first indoor race.  I raced well and enjoyed the meet.  USATF is very professional in their meet administration and it is on time and done correctly.  Both of these items I like a lot.   I like to know when I run and they stick to the schedule!   The facility is an indoor track with no banking, but wide turns.  The turns are 50 meters and the straightaways are also 50 meters.  The track is basically square and it was pretty easy to keep track of where you were at in your race.  The traction was really good on this surface and it did give you a little push back which I liked a lot.  The humidity was over 90 %, but I run much better is moist air than dry because my breathing is much better. It was "close" as they say.

This was my first indoor meet and I like the format.  It is a quick day and you get some great competition---I was chasing people in each race.  The 400 was first and it is two laps, and you break after the second turn and can race without lane restrictions the rest of the way--or you get to race the other people.  I liked that part of the race and I actually did run a guy down in the last straightaway to get a bronze in the 400.  My time was 65.01, which is pretty fast for me this early in the year, I was really happy with the time.  I ran a 31.6 first 200 split. Linda videoed the race with her phone and there is a time monitor at the starting line and I got this number of her video!! That is so cool.  I ran a good race and that time for a 60 year male is USATF AA Standard Bronze level achievement !   There are Silver and Gold AA Standards that are way too fast for my feet, but the Bronze is a great start.  I have never achieved any of these standards as a 55 year old in the 400, so the field is coming back to me.

There was 60 minutes between the 400 and the 200.  I got something to eat, drank more liquids and tried to cool down my legs with some jogging to flush them out.  I ran very hard in the 400 and was feeling like I could possibly get crampy on the 200.  I started a little hesitant and about half way down the first straight let it go.  I felt good and the cramps were not coming, but I started too slow to really have a shot at this race.  If we raced it first, I would have been a lot faster--I think. I ran 29.00.   But it was another bronze medal and also the absolute slowest time to make USATF AA Bronze Standard again!!!   Two in one day!  I did make the Bronze level as a 55 year old as well.  

That was it, two races and done.  After the race it was time to load up and head back to the Charlotte airport.  But first we needed to eat and watch some football.  Atlanta was pounding Green Bay as we ate some really yummy turkey burgers and had a couple of beers--we did not realize they were 24 ouncers. One of the traditions of mine that is developing is some PBR after the race, nice and tasty carb reloading!    At the airport and on the plane we tried to watch the Steelers, but the zone defense was awful and that one was over quickly as well. It was a full day of racing, football and travel. 

Today is Monday after the races, my calves are really heavy and just hurt. I think the traction on the track was good enough for my calves to get way more than they can handle.  Typically my hips, abs and hammy are a little sore.  Today it is mostly the calves with a touch of abs.  I did go to the hot tub to work on the calves, it helped, but I will need a another day or two for these puppies. I guess I will need to find a way to torture my calves with some different training to get them up to speed.
I did like the indoor racing and will do it again.  The USATF Masters Indoor Nationals is in 3 weeks in New Mexico.  I am trying to figure out how I can get in the show.  I will be in Vancouver, Canada early in the week and I think I can swing by for three days of racing on the way back.  400 finals on day one, 200 m prelims day 2 and 200 finals day three.  So I think it is plausible, I just need to make it happen. Stay tuned.  



Friday, January 13, 2017

Indoor Racing

I just signed up for an indoor track meet in Winston-Salem on January 22.  I am going to run the 200 and 400 double. I have never raced indoor as a Master or otherwise.  This is going to be something new!!   This meet is USATF sanctioned event and this will be my first time for a USATF event as well-- I will be running around with eyes wide open taking it all in !!!

I have always wanted to run indoors and I just decided I  am just going to do it this season.   But if I can get some decent times, I will work on getting into the USATF Masters Indoor Nationals in New Mexico in February.   Run good and move on to the next meet. I want to get a feel for how I can do indoors before signing up for that event.  It is easy to get really smoked in the Nationals if you are  not ready.   I want to be competitive and have a shot at the finals in each event.  

I have been busy with Family until last weekend and my training has been limited.   I did run in Flagstaff, AZ this week on the treadmill.  The altitude is 6950 feet where we stayed in Flagstaff.  I ran two 800's and one 600.  I was struggling to get my breathing regulated until the last 800 meters.  The thinner air does need to be moved a lot faster in and out of the lungs.  But, I did not have any issues and actually flew home that night from Las Vegas and felt fine.  Today is the second day home and I am still a little fatigued from the trip.  We also drove a lot of miles in a pick up truck and that did wear on things.    I also split some wood yesterday in a little fence building project I am working on while the weather is cooler.  I think the bending over and picking up firewood had something to do with the fatigue as well.

Next week I am in town for company meetings ( nice)  and I will have to get some serious training in this weekend and get ready for a meet next!  I have my gear ready and I am looking forward to getting some racing done indoors!     

Monday, December 19, 2016

Plane travel

I have traveled the last two weeks, one trip to Mexico City and the other trip to Tulsa.  I flew Delta to Mexico City and Southwest to Tulsa.   The trip on Delta was older planes that were completely full and the flights were basically trouble free.   The only delay was in Atlanta when you go thru customs and then go thru the Atlanta Airport security line, it is always a 20 to 30 minute wait at the TSA security area and there is no PreCheck.  Atlanta does not give a shit about you and never will.  The only airport like it in the world.  The Southwest flights were only about 2/3 full and I decided to travel in the back of the plane instead of the exit rows.  The rear seats are three wide and only had one passenger in each.  When you give people a chance to spread out and they are not cramped or hurried, it makes for a lot more relaxed travel.  It was absolutely glaring the difference between cramped travel and the planes that are not full to the brim.  The passengers are friendlier, more pleasant and the flight attendants actual make a little chit chat with the passengers--nice.  People are in many respects just like any other animal that you crowd together--they get aggressive when crowded and that leads to noise, confusion and bad feelings and a lousy flight experience.

If you read my Facebook you will have already heard this story, but it is worth repeating.   I spent the night in Mexico City last week--city of 22,000,000 people at 7400 feet elevation.  My hotel at the airport had an entrance from the parking garage that passed thru an enclosed area of about the size of a football field with the grass like carpet.  It was open to the sky, but had 20 foot walls completely around the area.  I had not run in Mexico due to the altitude,  safety and really polluted air.  But this was an opportunity I had to pursue.   I got on some running gear and did some 100 m sprints with the wind.  At the end of each round, I fell like throwing up, but managed to do 4 or 5 sprints.  I was really fast, but I did have concerns about the air pollution.  I have gotten walking pneumonia from polluted air in the past and did not need a repeat, so I limited my time.   If you look at the air PSI, it is 11.3 and at home it is 14.6 PSI, which is a huge reduction in the wind resistance.  Running at altitude is fun and fast.   Training seriously in this stuff would be difficult due to the pollution and you would have a tough time working the muscles because you would be out of gas before the legs were tired.

Final prep is underway for Christmas.  This weekend I threw my back out by over extending getting up from a chair...  this happens about every year and it takes about 4 days to get back to normal.  In the meantime--it hurts and I walk like a really old man.   A great way to get into the Holiday Spirit!  Linda and I are both working from home this week.  I try not to travel during the Holidays due to the crowding-- see info above-- and it is pricey and hard to get the flights you really want. Plus customers are not in the mood to do hard trials or hear the sales pitch.
This year I traveled enough with Southwest and used their credit card on the kitchen, that next year I can take Linda on any of my trips for free!  Hopefully we can use it a few times on some adventures.  She can go to such beauty spots are Muskogee, Oklahoma or Crossett, Arkansas or Palatka, Florida!   The funny part about all those mill sites is I do not stay close to any of them.   And for Palatka I stay in St Augustine on the beach, drive an hour and enjoy the trip!   Hopefully we can get a some fun experiences from this perk.
I am running once or twice a week, but the back deal will set me back a little.  There is an indoor meet in Winston-Salem in mid January that I am interested in trying.  Sign up deadline is Dec 26, so I need to make up my mind quickly.  C'mon back, get better quick! 
I hope every one has a Merry Christmas and Santa treats you right!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Let's run a 5K !

Last year I ran a 5K on Thanksgiving as a test of my conditioning and I did it in 30:53 minutes.  I was trying to beat 30 minutes, which I have been trying to do for the last several 5 K races I have raced in the last 5 years.  I have run 3 5K races in the last 5 years.  I just struggle in these "marathons". 
I signed up this year for the Grace Works 5K, which is run around the Cool Spring Galleria at 8:00 AM on Thanksgiving morning.   It was about 60 degrees at race time, pretty nice for this time of the year. 

I was up early and put on 10 pieces of KT tape.  I put a tape job on both feet and knees and wore my best support wear to keep from getting any cramps or knee problems.  My knees have been getting a little loose lately and have on a rare occasions gotten twisted and that is a real annoyance.  I was taped and compressed to withstand anything that was to come. 

Last year I struggled at the start because I got into the starting chute too late and was mixed in with the strollers and other chaos and could not get a good pace early.   It was a battle to make any time.

This year, I got in the chute early and started way ahead of the chaos and that was the smartest move I made for the race.   I was after 30 minutes and at the lighter weight, I thought this was my best shot-ever.  When we started, I was 4 seconds off the first runners, I did want to not mess up their races with my plodding butt. We were led out by three guys on Harley motorcycles, they were supposed to lead the pack-- so to speak.  I got a great start and had a pretty fast pace and felt good.  I did not look at my Heart Rate--I wore my monitor--because I knew it was going to be high.   I was making good time and started to look for the one mile mark so I could judge my progress.  The one mile mark was no where to be found!! Did they forget to put it out?  Finally, we came to a marker for 2 miles and I checked my watch and it said 13:30.  Holy shit! I must really be smoking up the track!  I could walk in and make 30 at this rate!   The final 1 mile was run in 10:11.  I was not pushing because of the time split at 2 miles.  I walked a couple of times, because my heart rate was 100% plus.   But I pushed on and finished in 23:41.  Wow! an improvement of 7 minutes over my previous times.. When I finished I was going to say something to one of the  race directors and he was talking with one of the timers( it was chip timed and USATF certified),   and I could tell something was screwed up with the course.   I had ran it the previous year and realized that the course was not the same as last year.   I went down to the race central and checked the course and the bikers and race leaders ran the wrong track!   They turned in one block early and we ran a 2.7 mile race, not a 3.1 race..  That explained some of the low times.   OK, now it makes a lot more sense.  I was kinda bummed, I wanted to run a legit 5K under 30 minutes.  Not this year.

I did run a 4.35 K in 23:41.   I finished 9 out of 53 in the 60 to 64 year old class and 420th  out of 2300 total runners. A big improvement over last year.  If you add in 0.4 miles and make it the full     5 K, my time would have been in the 28:30 range which would achieve my 30 minute goal.  I can take that, a 2 minute improvement..   I like my lighter weight, it makes a big difference. 

I thought I would have a lot of soreness the following two days, but I felt great with only some fatigue in the knees and little muscle soreness.  I did a thorough stretch the day after the race and that helped keep the soreness out of the legs.  Now, I can take off a couple of weeks and get some rest and get some juice back in the legs.

For Thanksgiving, we visited Fleming Steak House near Vanderbilt and enjoyed some turkey and trimmings.  Hopefully everyone can have a great Holiday season.    Linda is making huge progress on her back pain and is back to work again.   The procedure to help the leg and back pain was done about a week ago and she is getting stronger daily and the pain is slowly easing.  She is finally gaining her old form and can resume a more normal daily routine!!  Yea!!!!!!!  I has been a tough go in 2016.   I am excited for 2017,  a lot more pain free days will be really welcomed.

On to Christmas, we put up a tree today, so it has started.