H2C Week 2

Two weeks in and training is coming around better than expected. Here are the stats for the week:

6 runs, 26 miles, averaged 9:57 pace

Highlight of the week was definitely being able to race! Crown City 12k ended up being the very first race since COVID shut downs in San Diego. Amy and I were lucky enough to be a part of it. 2,000 people raced and at the start you can tell there was a lot of emotion, excitement and relief to have some normalcy. 4th of July was the theme and Amy and I represented!

Amy PR'd and I ended up approaching the race as just a fun long run as part of my H2C build. But as soon as I start warming up, my legs felt good and when we got to the start I naturally place myself closer to the front and the competitive juices started flowing. I was planning on doing sub 9 minute miles but after that first mile I clocked a 7:52 and it felt very easy so that's when I decided to just keep pace and see what happens. I ended up placing 11th in my AG.
Splits looked good:

I felt really good and in control for 10k and then the wheels started coming off. Struggled to a 7:43 that next mile and maxed out my HR to 194 for about 10 minutes until the finish. Felt good to hurt that bad again!

I clearly wasn't ready to run that fast and at the finish Amy was there to greet me and I can tell I was about to cramp up - like the good ole days! Just totally overextending but it felt good. I sat down and slammed two bottles and finally started to come around.

This is a perfect example that you don't have to run fast all the time to run fast in a race. I've just been doing easy aerobic runs. Harder workouts will come but I'm not going to rush into them until I lose some weight and put in consistent weeks. 

So far I've lost 0 pounds but can tell I'm losing fat and gaining muscle. More importantly my easy runs are faster with the same effort from two weeks ago.

This week I'm shooting for 25-30 miles. This is an aggressive build but with my running background I know I can do it if I do it smart.

Afterwards Amy and I enjoyed Little Italy downtown San Diego and had such a good time.

Cheers - thanks for reading!

H2C training week 1

 Week one is in the books and it went as expected. It's never fun getting in shape. The runs feel terrible, energy levels are low, soreness is real and there's a constant mental battle to keep trusting the process. That's why this sport is amazing! It gets rid of the weak and rewards those that can push through mental and physical barriers.

Here's my stats for week 1:

5 runs, 16.1 miles, averaged 10:33 pace.

Best run was a 3.5 mile run at 9:20 pace which was at the beach. That run was cool because it's a perfect example to not trust your legs that first mile. I felt terrible and flat and then as the run progressed my legs came around and I finished strong.

Mission Beach Run

I wanted 20 miles for the week but ended up going on an impromptu camping trip with the fam. I'll take that over running any day!

This week I can already see a lot of improvement. Just went on a 6 mile run and averaged 9 min pace and last mile was 7:45. Fitness breakthroughs will happen quick from here on out. Up next is my first "race" in over a year! The Crown City 12k this Saturday in Coronado. This is just going to be a fun long run for me and my goal will be to just go 8:xx for 12k, get the miles in and watch Amy race for the first time in a LONG time for the 5k. Post race beers and a fun 4th of July weekend are in my near future! 

Happy 4th everyone, enjoy!

Stepping down from coaching and stepping into racing

What a fun five years it's been at Linfield. We set a bunch of school records, sent kids to state, sent kids to college and I learned a ton coaching high schoolers.

It all came at a cost though. I tend to go all out in my pursuits and this was no different. Basically practice Mon-Sat for 2-3 hours year round. This may not seem like a lot to some but when you have a wife + four little ones vying for your attention and juggling two other businesses and investing - it's A LOT!

My own personal racing and training pursuits were also put on the backburner. Over the past five years I've just had random bouts of training (swim/bike/run) and I actually did race a 5k in January 2020 and won the Masters division in 19:40 haha. Definitely my slowest victory but a win nonetheless! 

After stepping down from Linfield, I've had a change to revaluate my own fitness pursuits. With races popping up all over the place and being in a place financially where my family can do destination races, I am really excited to get back to it! Not to mention, Amy has been training over the past few months and is ready to jump back into racing too- and who knows maybe the other kids will want to race as well.

It all starts with the Hood to Coast relay. It's been a bucket list of mine for a long time and after my buddy Eric got into it a few years ago, I told him as soon as someone drops out - get me in. And this is the year! Late August I will be flying up to Portland and joining the reining Masters champions for H2C and I couldn't be more excited to get back to training and racing.

COVID lockdowns have definitely done a number on my fitness though lol. I sat little too much, ate a little too much, drank a little too much and gained a little too much! Right now I weigh 160 pounds which is not obese for my height by any means but I would like to lose 15 pounds before H2C. That's just a good racing weight for me - it has nothing to do with body image - I just know I race well around that weight and it's a good indicator (if I'm eating well) that I'm fit and ready to race fast again.

So I'm going to be documenting this little 9 week journey weekly, posting my training and random thoughts as more of a diary to look back on (which is why I created this blog in the first place) as we move closer to the race.

For reference of my laziness - here are my training stats this year so far:

January: 42 (total miles for the month haha)
February: 28
March: 22
April: 19
May: 23
June: 26 (so far)

Most of this is walking & jogging with the dog or training with clients and then an occasional solo run. I'm averaging like 10 minute miles. Occasionally I'll test myself (like last week) and drop 7:20 miles just to see how it feels (not good haha). The bottom line is, I'm not super out of shape - just need to lose some fat, eat better and get really consistent training schedule.

I like building training blueprints and this is what it will look like:

Week 1 (this week): 5-6 runs @ 30 min run/jog/walks. Just putting in 30 mins consistently and jogging or walking as to not overdue it and stay injury free. Mileage around 20-25 miles/week

Week 2: 5-6 runs @ 30 min run/jogs. If feeling good, throwing in a 45 min "long run." Mileage 25-30

Weeks 3-7: 6-12 runs (lots of short double days) @ 30-45 min runs and incorporating 150m uphill/downhill strides twice/week. 45-75 min long run. Mileage 30-40.

Weeks 8-9: Start to incorporate track work/intervals, long runs up to 12-15 miles total and mileage up around 40-50 miles/week.

90% of this work will just be all low impact aerobic work. So many people think you need to run fast all the time to be fast (not true). I'll be incorporating a ton of prehab work in there along with strength training so I can stay healthy. I wouldn't recommend this plan for everyone. I have 30 years of running experience (wow, I'm old haha) so I know my body well and know when to back off or pour on.

I'll race three legs at H2C and probably will be around the 12-16 range in total miles. If all goes to plan and I stay healthy and execute this plan I expect to go from averaging 10 miles right now for 3 miles total to being able to do 12-16ish (split up in 3) around 6 min pace.

Think I can do it?? Follow along and see. Thanks for reading! 

2019 Reflection

It's been some time...

I'm kind of obsessed with self-help books, podcasts and using social media for growth opportunities. One of the topics came up about how a big part of growing is to make sure you set some time aside to write. I pretty much stopped writing years ago once I stopped competing which I regret (the writing part). It was always such a great outlet to journal, get creative and it truly motivated me to become better.

I'll give it another shot, especially after reading analytics on this blog -people still actually read!

A lot has happened since I stopped competing in 2014. We had two more kids (Bo-4, Juliet-3), I became self-employed and own a few businesses now which was at first frightening but now enlightening and comes with a lot of freedom. I expanded my coaching business for adults and even started coaching Cross Country/Track at a small local private school.

Training? Racing?

I raced a 5k in 2017 and ran 17:59.

Then I did make a small attempt to break 2:40 in the marathon --read about it HERE.

Then there was a short stint of getting the band back together to break the 4x800 masters world record --read about it HERE.

Both fell through miserably haha. They seemed like great ideas at the time but...I ran out of time for what was needed to accomplish them. They are on hold for now... I've always loved to dream big and it never hurts to give it your best shot. Before I had these successful business ventures, I failed at 7 start up companies, wasted a lot of money, time and energy. But guess what? It's exactly what I needed to be successful now. Don't be afraid to fail.

I signed up for the Carlsbad Marathon, Half Marathon and 5k in January. I'm doing the 5k - DREAM BIG! I've been struggling to find motivation to train this year so I decided to force the issue and actually pay money for a race. It seems to be working - I've had two pretty consistent weeks of training and as long as I stay healthy, I'll shoot to break 18 mins again on these 40 year old legs of mine.

One thing I noticed from coaching high school cross country and track is that you give so much of your coaching energy to these kids day in and day out that you neglect to take care of yourself - something I'm going to work on.

As I reflect on 2019, it was such a great year:

Turned 40 with some of my best friends at a 2-day golf tourney

Was a Marshall at the State Farm Open and marked/briefly spoke to Tiger Woods!
Indoor sky-diving with the kiddos
Snuggles with Juliet
Running in Belgium
Beers in Belgium, Nederlands, France
San Francisco with my love

Helped Darren get to Kona!

CIF -SS Champion Runner Ups
Holidays with my favorites
Cheers to 2020, a new decade!

~As always, thanks for reading-

World Record Attempt: Masters 4x800 Relay

The year we won...and set the 4x800 indoor national record which still stands today

One thing I'll never regret in life is my ability to take every opportunity that is presented to me that will make me into a better/stronger version of myself. It's how I make decisions both big and small. Will I come out on the other end better or worse?

Tackling the 2:40 marathon is no doubt a big test of discipline and grit. Going from 10 pounds overweight and out of shape to a sub 2:40 marathon in one year is a very tall task! I've been back at it for 14 weeks now and dropped the 10 pounds, been fairly consistent with workouts and efforts/pace have improved each week.

Now let's flash back to 99...ha.

Back in 1999, four kids from California Baptist University set the national indoor record in the 4x800 meter relay in 7:31 which still stands today. Months later that same team went to the Penn Relays and took on the biggest and fastest schools in the nation and ran 7:19 with a dropped baton. I think we went 1:50 (me), 1:49 (Nate Browne)...dropped baton (was it Nate or Ricky?)....1:47 (Ricky Etheridge), 1:47 (Milton Browne). Pretty solid for a small school out of Riverside, CA.

All four of us are coaches now and somehow the topic of the masters world record 4x800 relay came up last year. We checked out the results and this is what we found:

35-397:55.67NON-CLUB :
Miles Smith
Michael Schroer
Jason Rhodes
Scott Anderson
Williamsburg, VA2010-Apr-03
35-398:12.33CLUB: SoCal TC:
Terrance Spann
Bryan Dameworth
Alex Hastings
Brian Sax
Walnut, CA2010-Apr-16
40-497:54.17NON-CLUB :
John Hinton
Brian Pope
Kevin Paulk
Tony Young
Eugene, OR2004-Jun-27
40-498:09.46CLUB: Central Park TC:
Neil Fitzgerald
Anselm LeBourne
Chris Potter
Gladstone Jones
New York, NY2009-Jul-11

That pans out to each of us going about 1:58-59 for the 800 meters.

Nate blew his ACL a few years ago so he is out of the equation but we had another guy we ran with at Cal Baptist, Angel Romero who has stayed in decent shape over the years. We reached out to him and he is in!

So a change of plans. Rather then going after sub 2:40 in the marathon, we are officially going after the 4x800 masters world record! Quite the difference in distances haha...I was a miler/5k guy so the shorter distance definitely suits me better - which I know is why I struggled at the IM distance. I will still tackle the marathon, but am going after this first which - will be great speed to take into eventual marathon training.

Since I'm turning 39 next month, we will have a full year to go sub 2. About 5 years ago when I was training for 70.3's I ran 2:08 on the track so I have no doubt I'll be able to do it once I get some speed work under me. I think the biggest challenge is keeping all 4 of us healthy - especially once we get on the track for speed. I think the initial plan is getting out for some track meets this year, get in shape and then attempt the world record next April 2019 at Mt. Sac Relays once I'm 40. 

So I had to restructure my training plan...big time. I'm going to get in 5k shape, then 3200 shape, then mile, 800, etc. Doing it this way to limit the chance of getting injured. 

The tentative racing plan for 2018 now looks like this:

March 25: Carlsbad 5000
April: Mt. Sac Relays
July 4: Old Pro's 4th of July 10k
Summer: USA Masters Games / San Diego Twilight Track Meets
July 26: Masters Outdoor National Championships

After taking several years off of "real" racing, I'm excited to lace up the spikes again and get on the track. Masters 4x800 World Record, here we come!

Finally feeling good

Disneyland for Thanksgiving with my crew!
There was a few weeks there when I was SLOWLY jogging along around 9 min pace and was seriously wondering if I could do this big goal of mine. I started back over a month ago and didn't think it would take this long to show some signs of progress.

Every run seemed to be the same 8-10 min pace run and none of them felt very good. Then just as I was doubting, I had a few forced day offs - Disneyland for Thanksgiving! Then I started back up again this week and what do you know - the magic is coming back!

So what do you do as a coach/athlete when you see something like this happen? You duplicate it. So I'm going to be going 3 weeks on then 1 week easy/recovery week. Friel really believes in this strategy...I do to a certain extent - however, I don't think there's such thing as a "one plan fits all" kind of approach. Each athlete is SO different and responds to training in their own unique way. Then when you get older, you still need to make adjustments. I have 20+ years of running experience under my belt and I know what works for me but again, making adjustments from the signals my body gives me (not just copying what I have on my training plan) is going to be key in hitting sub 2:40.

So feeling better is coming at just the right time -next week starts my second block of training. Here's how I've split them up:

Block 1
Lose weight/get in shape/consistency - 7 weeks

Block 2
Add speed components, lengthen long runs and raise overall mileage - 10 weeks

Block 3
Marathon specific training - 12 weeks

Race Orange County Marathon - May 6th

You can follow along with my training on Strava!

Thanks for reading!

Fitness in sight

View from some trails out my front door
Five weeks of fitness in the books. That first month was miserable but I deserve it for neglecting my fitness for so long. I coach adults and high school athletes and I always tell them how miserable those first several weeks are for getting in shape. This was a good taste of my own medicine.

Fitness is sight though. I can feel it coming on and my patience is paying off. I'm also being very diligent with rolling, massage, rest, diet, etc. I'm not waking up incredibly sore and seem to be bouncing back from workouts easier then I have in years. This is also my first time training seriously for something with Hoka's on my feet. I get jokes all the time that they are for old men...Well that's kinda the point! I'm turning 40 in just over a year so I'll take any advantage I can! I can feel noticeable differences in running with Hoka's. That's saying a lot with 20 years of running experience under my belt. Everyone that knows me, knows that I'm very susceptible to injury - all of those years of abuse and hard mileage leaves me very vulnerable to injury. I truly think the Hoka's will be my secret weapon in this goal of mine to break 2:40 in the marathon.  

It's very surreal to dive back into the sport of running. Even though I did triathlon for 4-5 years, I really haven't immersed myself into the sport since 2002 when I left my dream of qualifying for the Olympic Trials in the 5000 meters while training/competing for Bob Schul's Olympic Development team in Ohio. Back then I lived and breathed the 5000 meters - reading and watching everything I could...

I'm doing the same thing now, but for the marathon. No, I'm not trying to qualify for the trials! It's just that I'm an all or nothing kind of personality, especially when it comes to athletics. I'm just obsessed with trying to get the most out of my body and this goal is no different. 

Olympic Trials, came close...Qualifying for IM 70.3 WC's, check...Qualifying for Kona in my "Kona Journey, nope... Breaking 2:40 in the marathon before I'm 40? TBD!

Thanks for reading.