Sunday, September 27, 2009

Solid Week

This past week was pretty busy, with school and running I did not have anytime to post a new blog. Now, I am at work, in the library, and finally have some down time. Seemed like I was always on the run last week. Sleep, run, eat, work, class, run, eat, study, and back to bed was the typical day last week.

The week of running went really well, even with the busy days. I only ran in the city of Portsmouth twice in 7 days, so that is a definite plus. Monday and Wednesday we ran in Portsmouth, but the other 5 days I was either at the course doing a workout, Hangover doing a workout, the forest for a run, or home running on some back roads. Tuesday we did 5 x 1 miles at the course. A lot of us were pretty tired and had sore legs, but the workout still went well. I ran 4 of my times just under 5 minutes and the other one was 5 flat. I was happy about how loose I was able to get throughout the reps, and finishing strong on the last one. Friday, we did a 2 mile at Hangover and 5 X 3 mites hard with 60 second rest coming back. That went really well also. Corey, Link, and I all finished together at about 11:08. The 5 x 3 minutes hard were awesome as well, go got to flying on the last couple. I feel strong and ready for All-Ohio after that.

Due to the Bear Run we went out to the Forest on Thursday this week. The Bear Run was a huge success as our guys not in the top 9 raced it, a lot of PR's. There were also about 800 people that participated in it. Thursday, Shane, CC, Paul, and I went out and parked by the Pond on Pond Lick. We didn't run trails, but did run on the gravel service roads above Hangover. To get to the gravel road we ran up a 2 mile paved hill. I told everyone that it was only one mile, I guess I was wrong, they didn't like that too much. I could have swore it was just a mile based on last time I ran up it but I guess I was wrong. Oh well, it was a great run.

Today, I ran a 15 mile run by myself back home. I woke up early before church and started at 6:20. The run went real well, moved into a solid pace as I 'woke up.' Mom had an awesome breakfast waiting on my. Cream of wheat with toast, blueberry's, bananas, and chocolate milk; can't beat that. Then, after church my family went over to grandma and grandpas house for a sweet lunch. I was able to chow down since I had already ran. It was like Thanksgiving all over again. I love food!

I almost got sick this week as well. Thursday morning, I woke up with a stuffy nose and hoarse voice. So, I stared fighting the sickness! A lot of people on the team are sick and the two people I live with are sick so it is hard to stay healthy, but I feel I do the right things to stay healthy. I started making sure I was hydrated all day, washed my hands a ton, wore breathe right strips, and kept taking my vitamins and fish oil. Now, I feel like I am not sick, so I beat it! Take that Swine Flu! haha

A few tests in school, beating a sickness, and a solid week of 94 miles makes for a good week. Now, on to next week. One workout on Monday, then All-Ohio is on Friday. I can't wait to get to race it, I feel like our team is fit and primed for this course. Bring it on!

Running Free, WMO.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

SSU Bears. . .Friendship Invitational

The last post was on Monday morning, almost an entire week ago. Since then, a lot of good miles were put in and a week of training that led up to our meet at Cedarville. Even though we had a race on Saturday, we still did two workouts, one on Monday and an easy 2k at race pace on Wednesday. The Monday workout was one of my strongest workouts of the year. I have been saying, after workouts, how it was the best workout of my life, because I keep feeling so strong. But, I am going to stop saying that from now on, because in my opinion, it is hard to differentiate what your best workout is since they are all so very different. So, I will say, this is the best I have run this particular workout in my 3 years of being at Shawnee.

The workout consisted of a two mile time trial/interval on Spartan Stadium track and after that, 3 x 1 miles hard on the floodwall. This workout is always a tough one, not just because of the intensity and amount of miles in it, but because the first part of it is on the track. This was my first time on a track since last April! Plus, it was on Spartan Stadiums track, which is in very poor condition. After a 3 mile warm-up, I laced up my old pair of Nike Eldoret spikes. These spikes have seen the days, since my Sophomore year in high school, including epic 2 mile races against Josh Linkous and an my entire Freshman year of cross in college. Since then, I have bought a new pair of Eldorets but continue to wear my old ones in workouts, because they feel so good! Anyways, we started the two mile and I was volunteered to lead us out. I hit some 72’s and continued to lead after 5 laps. I think we were at the mile in 4:43. Eric passed me after this and he opened a big gap so it was like I was still leading. Linkous and CC flew by me on the last lap and I ended up running 9:35. That’s a 7 seconds PR, so I can’t be upset. I also felt comfortable on the track, probably since I was out in the front. Now….onto the grass for some fast miles.

Some people changed into flats for the miles, but I continued to wear my spikes. I tore these miles up, must have been the spikes. The first one was 4:51, than 4:45 on the last two. I simply felt really comfortable the entire time and got out in front of everyone. Everyone had an amazing workout, it was crazy how many people PR’d in the 2 mile and then ran sub 5 miles. A nice cool down ended a good day of training and it was time to relax some for the rest of the week, that’s what I thought at least……

Tuesday, CC, Shane, Holbrook, and I went to the trails. We ran on the ADT again since it has been in really good shape and the path was cleared off a lot more than the other trails. After a couple miles in the run, my heart sank and I am sure Shane’s did as well. The single track trail that I once loved was now a 10 foot wide bulldozed piece of junk. The trail that I learned how to run trails on now was the worse trail of them all. It had mounds and little hills throughout the trail and it was hard to run on. When we got to the service road at mile 4, we took it back to the car and finished our run on the Lakeside Trail. I do not know why they had to do this. They are probably going to start logging or something. What happened to protecting our State Forests!.? Well, my frustration about the trails turned into excitement when we stopped at Buckeye Dairy Bar for milkshakes. I ordered the best tasting one flavored shake I have ever had: Raspberry. It was bursting with so many flavors!

Wednesday, we had a 2k at race pace on the course. Wysocki and I went out to run some extra mile before we started, and then we started. My race pace was set at 6:22, which would be 25:30. I ran that to the second. Somehow 8 guys were ahead of me. My legs were very heavy. The workout on Monday made my calves feel so knotted up, a feeling that my legs have never felt! It was not a pain feeling, just sore and tired. The trails on Wednesday didn’t help them recover either. Thursday and Friday were both easy runs, so I was counting on them to get me to feel better by Saturday. Also, three ice baths on Thursday and two on Friday helped them recover a ton.


Saturday morning, time to race. The feeling of waking up on the day of a race, especially a cross country race, is like no other. I am actually excited to wake up! I gathered my bag and grabbed some food for the road and loaded up on the bus. The bus trip was relaxing, as I was able to nod off for once. I am usually never able to sleep on a bus, but this time I did. I fixed a bagel with honey about halfway there and drank plenty of water. Once we got to Cedarville, we were able to chill out for about 40 minutes before we had to warm-up. The warm-up went well, I wasn’t fresh by any means but I was better than the last couple of days for sure. The next 45 minutes were spent stretching/loosening, getting the chip on my shoe, drinking more water, getting my shoes on and tied(just perfect, my Eldorets), and then some strides out in starting field. This is usually how all races begin for me, from the warm-up to the gun.

When the gun went off, everything was silent. This is such a surreal experience. I think about it a lot and how I wish every moment was like this. But, I can only experience it about 10 times a year, only in cross country races. Right from the start, Corey, Galen, Linkous, and me were in the front. We weren’t way out, but 4 abreast in the front of the main pack. The rest of my team followed close behind. We were at the mile in about 5:05. At this point, I had slid back a few seconds, behind about 7 of our guys and I was focused on running with Cedarville’s number one guy, which was TJ. I only was able to stay with him for about 400 meters, than I decided to go ahead and leave him. I never saw another Cedarville runner from then on. I was still chillin' about two seconds behind the main pack, because no one was making a move to take the lead. I had no worries because I was ready to move as soon as someone broke away. That someone came at about 2.5 miles; he actually came from behind me and not from the front group. It was a guy in a CRC jersey, so not even a college runner. He went flying by me and a Dennison guy went with him. The Dennison runner was a Kenyan. But, when they went, I went. I quickly passed the entire front pack and was in third all by myself, with the CRC and Kenyan in front of me.

(How the race looked at 3.5 miles, in 3rd right now)

I was hoping a lot of my teammates would go with me so we could work on running down second place. I wasn’t catching the CRC guy. He ended up running like a 9:47 last two miles and won by over 20 seconds! But, the Dennison guy was in reach the rest of the race. I was at 15:25 for the 3 mile, a consistent pace by all means. I kept the same distance ahead of the pace behind me for the rest of the race. With about 800 meters to go a Wright St guy went flying by me in hopes for a heroic finish but I passed him easily as I was finishing the last straight away. I was still gunning for second. I didn’t get a chance to pass him, but 3rd place is very good and I am very happy. Plus, I PR’d, again. I ended up running 25:41, so that is really good based on the hard week of training and sore legs.

(Me holding off the guys down the finish)

As for the rest of the team, Corey got 5th, Shane ran a 25:54 and got 7th, Link was 8th at 25:55, and Galen was 11th at 26:03. So, our top five was very solid, almost 5 times under 26. We also put our top 5 ahead of Cedarville’s number 1! They are ranked ahead of us too, they were 11th, and we were 12th. I am thinking that might change. Our point total was 29 and Cedarville had 81. I am glad we showed what we could do and got the result we wanted. Still, we cannot look past Cedarville, they have a good team. Their top 4 were in front of our 6 man, so, they are right behind us. Last year I ran a bad race here, a 27:25; this year I was 1 minute and 44 seconds faster. WOW!

The trip back home was good. We stopped at Eric’s parent’s house for food. It was really good. Mrs. Putnam cooks lights out. It is always a lot more enjoyable trip when the race went well. Everyone is in a good mood and talking. I love it.

Later that night after getting home, showered, and unpacked, some of us headed out to Reece’s house to chill. We had some awesome burgers and played some cornhole. We all stayed out there for the night and got to bed at midnight. We were all whipped from the day.

This morning, we headed out to Hangover and met the team. The entire team was actually there this week! The run was nice, I only did 13 to put me at 86 for the week. A really good 86. It rained the entire run, but it was refreshing. After the run we all stopped at Buckeye Dairy Bar and got food and milkshakes. The Raspberry shake was in popular demand today!

Now, like every other Sunday night, I have to regroup and start planning out my next week.

That is me, Running Free!

(Corey, Shane, and I with our Plaques)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rise up this Mornin', Smiled with the Risin' Sun

After one of my best workouts of my career on Monday, the week was just getting started. This was my second week at 100 miles, so I knew it would be one of the hardest weeks of the year, especially with the two workouts thrown in there. Those two workouts turned into 3 on Tuesday though. After Erock slightly yelled at us for running the Morning Run too slow that morning, a few of us were mad, which always results in a really fast, silent run. We ran the morning run in 38 minutes, which is 7:38 pace, a true recovery run in my opinion. Anyways, the run ended up getting to the point of dropping 5:30 miles. Our total pace for the 8 mile loop was under 6 minute pace, so more than less, this run was a workout. Luckily, after the run, Corey and I talked to coach and he wants us to run the morning run at 36 minutes or faster and everything was settled. I just do not want what happened two years ago happen this year. We ran our morning runs in 32 minutes a lot of the mornings and that was the year we did not run good at the end of the season and did not make it to Nationals. I do not want that to happen again and it won't.

The next day, Corey, Shane, and I drove out to the trails to run. Our legs were all pretty sore, so we ran on the Lakeside Trail, up to the Lodge and around the Nature Trail, and back to the car. I ran an extra 5 miles to get 13 in for the day. Even though our legs were tired, I had a god run. As I was finishing my run it started sprinkling. We were really fortunate, because as soon as we got on the road to drive home, there was a full force thunder and lightning storm. We even had to wade through water to our ankles to get our milkshakes. Since we left the school at 2:45 we beat the rain, the guys that ran back in town started at 4 and had to run in the storm. Another benefit of running trails!

Our 4 x 2k workout was supposed to be Thursday, but since the course was too wet, we pushed it back to Friday. Thursday was just a distance day; I did 5 in the morning and 11 at night. The workout on Friday was the same workout as we did two weeks ago, and I ran a bad one. This one was different. Linkous, Corey, and I led them all and ran a great workout. The times went like this: 6:16, 6:22, 6:11, and 6:16. On that last one, Linkous ran 6:11, and the third one I was a bit in front of Corey and Link. But us three were in front on all of them. Galen is out with a pretty bad sprained ankle right now. It is getting better and he is able to run on it, just not this workout. I am sure he will be alright and able run this week. Milkshakes and a pasta dinner with Rockband capped off a great day.

Saturday morning, we had to do a little community service, all the athletes at Shawnee had to. We met in front of the school and headed out to a section and picked up trash. I did not realize how trashy Portsmouth is. It was so horrible. I ran an easy 10 after that.

That night was the Ohio State vs. USC game. Ohio State were huge underdogs, but had the lead up until USC's last drive of the game, they scored, and OSU couldn't score in the minute and a half they had left. It was really depressing. We should have easily won this game. When the score was 15-10, we had so many opportunities to score. But, with Tressel, we never put the game away. And Pryor is not ready to play in these types of games, not smart enough. Something has to change, because we haven't beaten a high ranked opponent in forever! I am getting tired of it and it really makes me sick watching them lose. One good note, our defense played awesome and USC was ranked 3rd. Oh well.

Up till Sunday I had 82 miles for the week. So my Hangover long run was 18 miles. It was a good 18 miles too. My legs were still pretty sore from the hard week and the pace was quicker than normal, but the run went by smoothly and good. The only bad thing was that my PowerGel somehow popped out of my pocket while running. I did not feel it happen and no one picked it up, so I did not get to take that. I probably could have used it, but I felt good enough not to need it. Once we got on the road, a lot of our miles were below 7 minutes or right around it. So, that finished up a great week of training, 100 miles. Backing off this next week for the Cedarville meet, I think we are going to do very well.

Now, on to a busy week of school. Can't wait to race. Just 10 more weeks till Nationals!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Not Like Last Year. . .Hangover 5k Time Trial

Last year I wrote in my log on September 1st:
"Hangover 5k #1. Ill just say this is the worst workout on Hangover, if not ever for me. Ran a mile and a half for a warm-up plus some sprints and stuff. Then the 5k was poor, 20:40! Over a minute and a half slower than last year! Than the 3 and a half minutes on the way back with only 90 second rests. Those were super slow. Everyone beat me! I have never felt so bad in my life! Hangover is taking its course!"

I hardly remember that run. Corey and I were talking about it and he said he remembers me telling him that I would not run good. He told me, man don't worry, you'll break 19 still. Well, I did not run good at all, and I did not break 19. I ran a whopping 20:40. Wow. At the beginning of last year, I was suffering from back pains really bad, probably worse than what I thought at the time. even though my 08 summer training was good, in the 70's and I was running good workouts, my body was not 100%. Luckily, I made improvements and by the time Nationals rolled around and I ran a good time. But, this year, I feel that these types of logs are in the past and I will never have 'the worst workout ever.'

Today, just over a year later, was the Hangover 5k time trial. This time, it was better. Corey and I had the same idea at the beginning, we didn't know this at the time though. We did not want to start the time trial out as slow as the 5 miler a few weeks ago, so we were pressing hard from the time Erock said GO. I went out harder than him and was in the lead from the start. I went through the first mile in 5:38, about 10 seconds up on everyone else. I felt comfortable being in the lead and kept pushing up the hills and attacking the downhill’s even harder. At the 2 mile, I was at 11:13, so my second mile was 5:35. I never thought I could negative split at hangover. At this point, Eric was about 6 seconds back from me and Corey was back there as well. At this point, the hills were really making me work. I was no longer as comfortable up them, but I pushed just as hard. Eric got a few seconds back with about half a mile left. From then on he stayed about the same distance back until the finish. I crossed in 17:44! Almost and entire 3 minutes faster than last year! Eric finished a few seconds back and Corey was low 17:50's.

This could be a Hangover 5k course record. No one could remember what Keegan ran it in, but I know it was fast. Keegan, if you read this, let me know what you ran this in last year. Anyways, I am proud to have run that fast, especially after how bad I did last year. This year, for me, it is a whole new experience in everything. I love it. After the 5k, we had 3x3 minutes hard with 90 seconds rest. I also ran very well on these. I find these to be more mentally challenging than anything. It is easy to just drop back and run with the pack. But when you press hard and get a lead, it is all mental if you want to stay in the lead. Your legs hurt, but if you just keep pushing, and telling yourself, 2 minutes left, 1 minute, 30 seconds, 10 seconds, and boom! It's over. Being tough in a workout is what makes a tough racer.

This morning I had a good barefoot run as well. I ran a mile and hopped up on the flood wall, took off my shoes, and ran a few miles barefoot. This is a great way to strengthen my feet, along with getting in touch the 'natural' way of running. My feet were glad to be running free for once, and it was a nice shakeout to get the day started.

After we left Hangover, some of us went to the Brewery for some pizza. The pizza is greasy there, but the tradition of half off Brewery pizza after Hangover runs is always nice. Right now, I am enjoying a nice cup of Seattle’s Best Special Blend Coffee. Reading some ChiRunning in a bit, and off to bed, dreaming of Running Free(er).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

SSU Bears. . .Shawnee St. Invite

This past week, was our first week with a meet. For me, this was my easiest week of running, mileage wise, in 5 weeks. But, it was probably the best week of running, quality wise, ever. Last time I posted was last Sunday, seven days ago. I need to start posting more often, but with class, studying, and running, I have a hard time finding time to do anything.

Monday was the only day with a workout. It was our second 3 x 2 mile workout of the year, and the last. And, it went amazing, probably the best workout as a team I have ever been a part of, plus the best workout I have ever had. Two weeks ago, I ran 10:17, 10:29, 10:40. This week, a total different story. My goal coming in was to just keep it even; I did not want to run my last one 23 seconds slower than my first one. Soon after we started, those goals all went away as I clipped off the first mile at 5:03, and finishing the first 2 mile in 10:14. So, I am already faster than last week, and I wasn't even in the lead after that, Corey and Erock were a little ahead of me. The next one went out even harder though, at 4:48, and I finished really solid at 10:02, a little ways ahead of CC. I was still feeling good after that, and I made up my mind before the last one started that I was going to try to break 10 minutes. Luckily, Blake Jones elected to lead us out for the mile; I ended up passing him and coming through the mile at 4:52! After that, I had to push very very hard but I came through under 10 minutes at 9:58-59. I was pumped that I just ran a killer workout and that I felt so good. Might have been adrenaline I was running on, but nevertheless I knew I was fit!

So, coming off a fantastic workout, it was time to recover, run some pure mileage, and prepare for the first meet of the year on Friday. Shane and I had a good run at the Forest on Wednesday. Thursday I ran a nice easy 8 at the course and I was feeling good. Friday morning, race day! I woke up early and got a 2 mile shakeout run in. After that I went to the ice bath, this seemed to work the morning of the Alumni Race, so I figured I should do it again. I also had to sit through two classes on Friday. I absolutely hate going to class the day of races. Nothing is accomplished in them. I am too busy dreaming about the race and hardly listen to anything being said. I am also very antsy on night race days. I and restless and just want to get the race started. Once the race starts though, I am totally calmed down and everything is a complete standstill. An experience that only a runner can experience and I love it.

The gun went off at about 5:45 and the race began. During a big race, I spend the first minute of a race getting settled in, eyes shooting back and forth, looking for space, and trying to get a decent position. This race though, The Shawnee State Invite, I don't have to worry about that stuff, I just got out in front of the pack. Linkous got even more in front of the pack. He went out like a rocket and got a good 10 meters ahead of everyone. No one went with him. Then, after that it was CC, Galen, Shane, and I. The only other person besides Shawnee guys was a kid from Mount Vernon Nazareth. His name is Mark and he beat me at Nationals last year. I started working on reeling in Linkous once we went through the mile. I was at 4:58, a pretty good time to be at. I didn't catch Linkous until about 2.25 miles. Once I got with him he dropped back some and I was in the lead by myself. This feeling is pretty cool, when you know the entire field is chasing you, it might be one of the toughest things to do as well, but I felt comfortable. At that point, I thought I might be able to open a bigger gap. I put in a surge and still had a lead till after 3 miles. I then realized that I actually was unable to pull away from everyone, because Galen pulled up beside me and I had to work hard to stay with him. Soon after, CC game up with us and that’s when I got behind. Corey and Galen kept going and I couldn't respond. Well, I was trying to respond by pushing myself harder and trying to get back with them, but it never happened. All that time though, I still kept them close and gave myself a chance to pass them. At one point I got within a couple seconds of Galen but never could get up with them. Corey ended up pulling away and winning, Galen came in second and I rolled in at third. We were rolling pretty hard at the end of the race, I think that each one of us knew how fit everyone was and it was going to take a lot to hold on to the lead. Corey did a great job. He ran a PR of 25:44, Galen ran 25:47, and I ran a PR of 25:53.

We were not the only ones to have a good race though. Before I knew it, we had 8 guys through the chute! Chuck ended up finishing 4th at 26:04, Link at 26:06, Shane at 26:07. Hickey was 7th with a 26:18, and Joe was 8th at 26:24. The next guy was the Mount Vernon kid at 26:30. So, we took top 8 spots, a perfect score, and 5 of the 8 PR'd. As for the rest of the team, counting the redshirt guys, we had 20 guys under 30:16. Stellar!


There are a couple comments I want to make concerning the race. First is that I made a bad decision in deciding to wear flats. I should have never did this. Sure, I PR'd and felt comfortable over the rocky areas, but I did not have the extra help while I was trying to run down CC and Galen. I am not saying I would have won the meet with spikes, but I am for sure they would have helped me. I will never make that mistake again. The only reason I wore them was for the rocky spot on the course by the 2 mile mark. The next issue about the race is how tactical it became. Four different guys led the race at one point, Link, CC, Galen, and me. Any of us could have won the thing. This will happen in a small meet though. With other guys to race, we will be able to work a lot more efficient with our teammates and not waste energy being in front of a big pack, or being alone.

All in all, how can I not be happy? What a way to start the season! I am so excited about how good we can be. The possibility of getting 5 guys under 26 is a huge reality now, and it could even happen at Cedarville on the 19th. Until then, we have to work even harder and keep our head in the right place. For me, I am really happy with the way I felt during the race. I felt strong and relaxed the entire way. I never broke down like I used to do in races. I feel fit and it is showing.

We are Bears......