blueollie

Damn you Father Time…

An unrelated post about Track and Field got me to thinking about my own performances. Yeah, they are declining.

Reasons:

1. One’s potential decreases with age. Competitive athletes told me that they notice this in their early 30’s. Of course, if one starts later in life, or decides to up the level of their training, they can see improvements in performance; after all it is possible for, say, 80 percent of a lesser capacity to exceed 50 percent of a greater capacity. But one’s upper bound does decrease and that decrease accelerates when one reaches their 50s and really accelerates in their late 60’s and early 70s. See: Gompertz law.

2. Injuries accumulate; I noticed a “jump” in my decline after my last knee surgery (2010)

3. Attitude: now-a-days, I tend to do “what is fun” when I workout rather than what is optimal training. And I don’t push as hard…I need to be able to recover to do the rest of my day.

4. Prior performances have taken something out of me: I know that I am not a real athlete. But there are some performances where I felt like I left a bit of myself out there. May 2004: I did 2 24 hour events in the same month: 101 miles and 88 ..then the next year (caustic 100 miles on a trail in just under 30 hours); I just haven’t been the same since.

But hey, it is still fun and even though I don’t have new PRs to look forward to, I still get joy out of a “good for this year” performance.

Workout notes: weights and an easy 5K walk on a beautiful day.
rotator cuff, pull ups (5-5, then 4 sets of 10), incline press: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 6 x 150 (attention to hips), military press with dumbbells (20 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 45, 10 x 45), Hammer rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200.
Headstand (got in easier) and goblet squats (sets of 5) 45-50-55-60-65-65-70-75. These ARE getting easier.

May 24, 2017 Posted by | walking, weight training, whining | | Leave a comment

Crisis of confidence: as you get older…

I am lucky that a Facebook friend gave me a playful taunt about the Steamboat 15K. She is a Bradley graduate and a stepdaughter of a retired colleague who will be back in town for the 15K.

Now I’ve never done well at this race. My times have ranged from a high 1:07 (1999, as a runner) to 1:41 last year, and 1:48 as a walker. I haven’t seen sub 1:10 since 1999, sub 1:20 since 2002 and my last sub 1:30 was 2014 (when I was much faster in the 5K). 1:35 would be a great goal for me.

But never mind that.

What got me to thinking about this post is all of the silly memes aimed at new runners..you know those that say “take “never” out of your vocabulary”, etc. Yeah, I get it: most new runners are capable of doing better than they think is possible.

But I am in a different place.

Yes, I’ve finished 60 events of a marathon or beyond. But what sticks in my mind more are the 7 DNFs, including one time I dropped from a 100 at mile 50 (with a time I’d love to do in a 50 miler) and got 20 more. (pacing others). I remember the literally hundreds of bad workouts I’ve had instead of the successful ones.

Even today: it was cool, (37 F) and dry (for now) and I decided to try my very hilly 8.1 mile “Cornstalk” course (10 good uphills in the middle 6 miles). My time was slow (1:36:01; 48:40/47:20) but I was more worried about being able to complete the workout than anything else. Yes, I’ve done slower. I’ve also done this in the low 1:20’s and faster over the past 2-3 years; it seems as if I’ve been awful since my October marathon. Part of it is 10 extra pounds, I think. Part of it was leg weights yesterday, and part of it was the long lay-off from training.

So, my confidence: I am having trouble distinguishing not having enough confidence and being realistic. After all, the last time I broke 1:30 for the Steamboat, I was running sub 25 minute 5Ks. Now, the equivalent time is 28 minutes; do the math.

And I’ve run half marathons (13.1 miles) faster than today’s 8.1 mile workout time. UGH.

May 3, 2017 Posted by | Friends, running | | Leave a comment

Finding the happy medium

Today: my 4.15 mile walk in 56:45, which had a 13:58 first mile (plus) then a 13:16 finish; 29:30 middle part. pace: 13:42 or thereabouts.

I skipped leg weights as I might do a spandex chase tomorrow..in fact, I am planning on it.

It is too soon to say how my training is progressing. I notice that my walks have gotten better and I am feeling it more in my butt; I wonder if that is a consequence of my goblet squats? Time will tell.

I’ll say something else: I may have gone overboard in “taking it easy”. Either I ran/walked sans the watch, or I did a race/speed workout.

I am finding that I need to do a few “in between intensity” workouts too: workouts that involve running or walking at a “deliberate but not hard” effort. There is a place for a leisurely stroll/jog but I can fall into the trap of only “leisurely ” or “race pace”. I need to do some medium effort stuff, like today.

April 21, 2017 Posted by | walking | | Leave a comment

Not giving up on a workout too early

I decided to try to run outside. And my first .25 miles were TERRIBLE; it was almost as if I could barely breathe and my legs felt like lead. I even walked a few steps.
But I stayed with my shuffle and made it to the first downhill section (Bradley Park) and by then, I had started to sweat and all was good from there out.
For some reason, there are days when the first mile feels like death.

The weather was pretty and I did my “jog, then run up the hills “hard” (say, 1 mile race intensity), walk a few steps to recover, jog and repeat. So I did 6 “hard” repetitions total and I even timed my final hill: 2:10 (better than any of my repetitions a week ago). This was from the gate in lower Bradley park to the parking lot entrance in upper Bradley Park. The whole workout took 1:02 to do (5.1 miles) and I am glad I stuck with it.

By the way: in statistics class, I am teaching about ANOVA. I used my own 5K run data from 2012 to now; my slowdown is about 20-25 seconds for the 5K per year. That adds up and seems to fit back to the late 1990’s.

Grading on a curve
I joked with my wife about the following: if she posts that she, say, finished a 4 mile walk at, say, an 18-19 minute per mile pace (she is, well, “elderly”..though it is hard for me to think of her that way), get gets 100+ “likes” and tons of complements (“you go girl”, etc.). If I post that I finished a marathon, MY FB friends critique my time and give consolation if it is worse than expected, kudos if it is better than expected.

Why I mention this: I have a FB friend that I’ve grown quite fond of. But she has serious injury history; I jokingly referred to her as “Humpty-Dumpty”. She finished a mile walk and I was genuinely overjoyed; I like her and love it that she is working toward taking care of herself and pushing through some pain to do so. So my praise WAS genuine, even if it was less than what my wife can currently do.

And we had a talk about having a “1 mile body but a 6 mile mind”; pre-injury she could easily walk 14 miles (albeit many years ago).

April 19, 2017 Posted by | Friends, running | | Leave a comment

Dreaming on the treadmill

Today’s workout was a routine 5.1 miles in 1 hour on the treadmill (slow run); this past weekend’s workouts left me a bit sore and stiff. But once I kicked myself into doing the first 10 minutes, I was fine. We had lightning outside so I stayed indoors.

While on the treadmill I daydreamed of hypothetical races to come…many of which I won’t actually attempt.

Funny..I remember the elation of success but rarely the pain of performance and the disappointment of failure. In my daydreams, I push through the pain of the final mile of a 5K, do not get sick during an ultra, do not blister up or get sick in the final 10K of a marathon, etc.

Reality: much different. Much different.

So about making those dreams a reality: that is part of the frustration of aging.

1. What worked 20 years ago…hell, even 5 years ago, doesn’t work anymore. My mix of workouts needs to be different and I need more recovery between hard efforts and races.
2. My capacity has diminished …but to what extent and due to what factors? I know that the extra 10 pounds I am carrying hurts me, but I know that losing 10 pounds won’t get me to a 22 minute 5K of a 3:50 marathon. What is realistic for me? Is walking sub 5:20 for a marathon realistic, at all?
3. I have to choose, now more than ever. Of course, a better bench press means slower running times, but even with that, a focus on an ultra means a slower 5K run, etc.
4. Attitude: I have less patience with the pain of intensity than I once did. I was never mentally tough, but I am even weaker now.
5. Physical reality: I can’t make a potentially muddy trail ultra a goal race any longer; I have to choose events that suit my current limitations.

But part of the fun is finding a winning formula and executing that plan.

April 10, 2017 Posted by | running, walking | | Leave a comment

Allergies, colds and enforced humility

For the past couple of days, my eyes have watered, nose runny (TMI) and I have felt ..sort of yucky. But my workouts have been ok. Last night’s exercise class was fine (decent challenge actually) and today I did weights then my usual “short, sweet” 2 mile treadmill run where I run the first mile in about 11 minutes; second one in about 8:45 or so (my current 5K pace). I usually finish feeling refreshed and today was no exception.

So I thought: ok…not bad…then I remembered October, 2000:

OLLIE NANYES (M41) 3:38:12 91 85 / 18 M40-44 PEORIA, IL, USA (91 of 400)

That’s an 8:19 pace.

Yep, I was happy, though I was well aware that 90 people were faster, and that the winner was done BEFORE I got to mile 20. Since there was an “out and back” segment, I got to see some of the faster runners on their way back.

Nevertheless: I’d be delighted if I could average 8:19 for a 5K this year; I did that a couple of times last year. My last sub 25 was in 2014. That might well have been my final one, ever.

Well, F*CK ME DEAD. Ok, no…I still can run, workout, chase cute spandex (though cute, SLOW spandex..can’t catch the faster spandex anymore).

Workout notes: weights plus the aforementioned 2 mile run:

weights: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10).
bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 190 (good)
incline press: 10 x 135
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110 machine
dumbbell military (standing) 10 x 50, 10 x 45, 10 x 45
incline (Hammer Machine) 2 sets of 10 x 140 (70 each arm)
headstand (went ok)

Run: 10 minutes (2 at 5.2, up .1 mph every 2 minutes), 2:30: (6.7, 6.8, 6.9, 7 for 1:30, 7.1 for final minute) 19:41 for 2 miles, 2.03 total.

Now to dig myself out under a whole pile of grading.

March 23, 2017 Posted by | marathons, running, weight training | | Leave a comment

Feeling my age: no “wife carrying” competition for me

Workout notes: 5 mile shuffle; 50 and drizzling. Really, that isn’t that bad for this time of year.

Age: The first sign that age was affecting me was back when I was getting close to 40; I tried a series of mile races and found that I actually had to work hard and train to get under 6 minutes (it was routine for me up until I turned 39 or so). I noticed that my 5K times were stuck at just under 21 minutes, though I improved to 1:34 for the half marathon.

But I switched to ultra walking; and that hid my decline a bit. The first time it really, really hit me was in 2009 after I had just turned 50. I was doing a hilly trail 30 mile walk and found myself really suffering in the final 8 miles or so; I strained, strained, strained to stay ahead of a pack of guys and wasn’t able to.

So at the “5 miles to go” aid station I lamented that I couldn’t hold the guys off…that the final set of hills was just killing me. Another ultra type (my age) said “remember that they (the guys I was trying to beat) are 30 years younger than you are.” THAT is when it hit me.

I was to get my knee repaired in 2010 (bucket handle tear in my meniscus) and when I finally got back into it, I was never quite the same. The knee does NOT hurt so I am glad that I had the surgery, but running and walking distances has gotten progressively harder since then.

Oddly enough, weights are still not that bad. I am weak (bench press: 5 reps with 185-190, 8-10 with 170; sets of 10-15 pullups until I get to 50 total) but not getting that much weaker.

And then I saw this:

And I thought: “well, if only I had a slender wife…” but in reality, that wouldn’t really help me. Back in, say, 1998-1999 I might have been able to pull this off with a smaller running friend, but no longer.

And, if the guy is strong enough (and I am not), the wife doesn’t always have to be THAT small (middle 2 photos).

wifecarry1

wifecarry2

wifecarry3

02 Jul 2011, Sonkajärvi, Finland --- epa02806849 USA couple David and Lacey Castro make their way through the water hazard during The 16th Wife Carrying Championships 02 July 2011 in Sonkajaervi,Finland. They finished fifth. EPA/MARKKU OJALA FINLAND OUT --- Image by © MARKKU OJALA/epa/Corbis

02 Jul 2011, Sonkajärvi, Finland — epa02806849 USA couple David and Lacey Castro make their way through the water hazard during The 16th Wife Carrying Championships 02 July 2011 in Sonkajaervi,Finland. They finished fifth. EPA/MARKKU OJALA FINLAND OUT — Image by © MARKKU OJALA/epa/Corbis

March 6, 2017 Posted by | running | | Leave a comment

Sore butt but…

This is not “butt hurt” in the metaphorical sense but rather “sore gluteal” muscles.

I’ve been trying to do squats

cassiesquat

Main sets 4-5 sets of 5 with 45-50 lbs. done in this style. Lately, I’ve been getting more depth; I am getting below parallel now. In the past, I’ve overdone it and pulled a muscle. So I am approaching it slowly and yesterday’s sets left me a bit sore.

So today’s warm up was a bit sluggish; I felt tugs and pings at first. But eventually I warmed up and I did my “sprint the hills” workout…jogging and deliberately walking a few steps prior to each hill rep and walking a few steps after. If I can keep running after cresting the hill, I did not do the hill hard enough.

The idea is to feel “mile race” intensity during each rep (6 in all; one is a flat rep from the bottom of Cornstalk hill to the parking lot)

When I got going, I was fine. But I wonder if I went hard enough? The total is 5.1 miles and it took me about 1:04-1:05 to finish it all.

We’ll see where this leads; my guess is that stronger gluteal muscles will lead to fewer problems with my back. And the next time my yoga teacher yells “nice ass” at me…maybe she’ll be actually telling the truth? 🙂 Nah.

February 15, 2017 Posted by | running | | Leave a comment

Short but sweet…and painful ….indoor workouts

Winter is coming; we will have the usual snow, sleet and cold. That is typical for this time of year. And yes, I already did my usual blood donation, so my aerobic capacity is down.

And yes, I am dealing with the effects of aging; while I might run faster, say, this week than last week, my running times from a decade ago are all but impossible for me to meet. And there is the fact that I’ve had some injuries too.

But at times, I get the feeling that “I just can’t get “into shape”, no matter what I do!”.

The same applies for swimming (which I need to get back to) and lifting (which I do regularly).

This year: I am going to try to reclaim a bit of 5K “speed” (can’t say that with a straight face) which means doing some indoor workouts. I’ll also have to have, say, a “once a week” “sort of long” run (1:30 to 2 hours).

But what about the intense stuff? These typically take less than 1 hour to do, even with the “loosen my back” stuff to start with.

Yesterday, I did the “Deek” workout (which is one of the favorites of Robert De Castella, a famous marathon runner)

Warm up (1 mile on the treadmill works)
8 x 400 at a 5K effort pace, with 200 run between 800’s..NO WALKING..this 200 should be at my “basic training pace”, 200 to make 5K. My time was 30:44; typically I am about 2-3 minutes slower than my 5K race pace. I could do this in 22-23 when I was running a 20 minute 5K, and 26-27 minutes when I was running 24 minute 5K races
cool down.

Others: warm up, a few strides, 1 mile HARD, cool down (track)

warm up: then 3-5 of the following on the treadmill: (2.5 minutes at increasing speeds (6.7, 7.0, 7.5, then 6.0 for 2.5 in my 25 minute 5K days), cool down. or
warm up: then 3-5 of starting at a tempoish pace (say 6.3-6.5 mph) and doing the following elevation changes: (1-2-3-4-0), cool down

Anything to mix it up and not make it too emotionally tough. 🙂

December 10, 2016 Posted by | running | | Leave a comment

building back up…

Workout notes: treadmill: 10 minutes of warm up (4 at 5.2, 4 at 5.3, 2 at 5.4), then 20 at 6.7, 6 at 6.8, 1:52 at 6.9, 15 minute mile walk to cool down (52:52).
Technically: 3.128 miles in 27:52 or 8:54 mpm, very close to what I averaged for the race this past Thanksgiving.

But it was easier as it was indoor (0.5 elevation) and I started out a bit slower.

Then I did some light leg stuff, (goblet squats, dumbbell lunges); some of the stuff I discussed with Mama T this past Sunday. My left hamstring has a very minor ping.

What should my goals be? A 24:00 5K at 49 years of age (my 2009 best) translates to 25:38 at 57; I was in the 25:50’s this year at my best. Ah…that is doable. Going under 25 …ugh..going to have to work hard for that.

November 28, 2016 Posted by | running | , | Leave a comment