E-Mail Address

stephen.spada@charlottecountryday.org

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rocktoberfest (Dowd) Half Marathon Recap!

So I am 2 weeks out from my 8th New York City Marathon and I wanted to get in 13 miles at 6 minute pace on a rolling (hilly) course. That is just what I did this past Saturday as I ventured down to the Dowd YMCA in uptown Charlotte.

I parked my car less that 100 yards from the finish line at 7am and immediately saw the one and only race director, Tim Rhodes, who graciously comped my entry fee which I am very grateful for. I then took a nice leisurely 20 minute jog in the area until it was time to put my flats on (brand new Nike Zoom Kitana Racer). Did some easy strides and got to the starting line in my standard 2nd row spot. Saw 5 studs in the race and one was James McKeon who has been smoking me every race this year. Could I hang with him at the longer distance? We'll see...

So the gun goes off and I get right in to 6 minute pace mode and head down Morehead St. with about 10 guys in tow and a chick named Sonja. We were rolling easy. My feeling in the early going was not great yet never bad through the whole race. I was good with that. Finally got up and over Providence Road and was still rolling where I got to the 5th position as I got to the intersection of Providence Road and Fairview where I saw Paul and Sophie which was very cool.

Side note: Since I have been running and racing in Charlotte over the last 16 plus years, it still amazes me how many people personally root for me...I am grateful and honored!

Getting back to the race. At about the 6 mile mark I am feeling pretty good and decide to start reeling in the 3rd and 4th place runners who are up ahead. One is James McKeon who has consistently smoked me even though he is my age at 46! He is a tough competitor who seems to always bring his A game (as I would find out later, his calf was tight through the 2nd half of the race). None the less, by mile 7 and a half, I went by those 2 runners and set my sights on 2rd. That runner was about 30 seconds ahead and although I was rolling, I could not seem to bridge the gap. Finally got to the all too familiar Queens Road West and rolled through there until I hit Morehead and started climbing up what is the 13th mile. Cruised up Lexington to the finish line and crossed in 1:18 and change which was good for 3rd place. I was pleased with how I ran so consistantly on a rolling course like Charlotte which should bode well for New York in 2 weeks.

I was able to cool down with Caleb, JMar, and Caitlin for a couple of miles before it was off to breakfast, soccer, lacrosse and work. Good stuff...

My son went to his first Cotillion dance Saturday night. I told him not to be too nervous like his father use to be...Ha! Sophie scored a goal in a 1-1 tie. I'm trying my best not to think about the marathon every minute of every waking hour...HaHa!  

Monday, October 17, 2011

24 mile run...w/ a little help from my friends!

Last Saturday put me 3 weeks out from the New York City marathon. This meant my 3rd, at last, long run in my training cycle for the marathon. It may not sound like a lot, however, each one was run uptempo style. Saturday was no different...

My plan was to meet out at the Old Bell entrance to McAlpine at 6am and run 3 out and back 8 milers. Since our football game went into double overtime, I didn't get to bed until midnight. When I woke up and saw that it was 6:18, I knew that I had overslept. No worries! I knew Paul would be there at 6:50am. Anyway, I got to the park at 6:45am and waited for Paul to arrive. Sure enough, there he was at 6:50, we exchanged pleasantries, and were off!

This uptempo workout was inspired by Renata Canova where you run an uptempo 40k. I was ready. Paul did not disappoint as we hit 2 miles in 15 minutes (not fast yet we got out well...thanks Paul). Since Paul is knackered and nursing a small injury, he turned around at the 2 and a half mile mark and headed back. I ventured on solo. I kept my rhythm and ran tall with minimal arm swing. I made the turnaround at mile 4 in 29:50 and made it back having finished the first loop in 56:50. Good start since I was definitely trying to make myself tired.

I should say that at mile 7 with 1 mile left to complete the first lap, I nursed 1 Gu and then when I got back to the parking lot, I gulped down some water (15 seconds at most.) Ready for the second lap...

I started the 2nd lap with good turnover and ran all the way to the 12 mile mark along with my thoughts. Along the way, I crossed paths with Ben Hovis, Megan, Dan Matena (fresh off of his 2:43!) and John Compton (more on him later). Once again, I ran the whole 2nd loop with a stitch that thankfully did not keep me from running the pace that I wanted...

It was at this point that I spotted a young runner who I caught and asked him if he would run with me. He said yes. A nice kid named Kyle Hoffman who is running for the Myers Park cross country team. We ran together to the 15 mile mark where he ran into Boyce and I went strait. Running with Kyle kept me honest so I didn't slack off. We talked about all things running...

With 1 mile to go in the 2nd lap (mile 15), I decided not to take another Gu...I would just drink some Gatorade! Great choice...

So now I'm 2 laps down and starting the 3rd lap. I'm ready to go. I knew that I wanted to get as close to 48 minutes on the last 8 miles. The only way to do that for me would be to put pressure on the whole way. Guess what? At mile 17 (1 mile into my 3rd lap) I see John Compton coming towards me by himself! You gotta be kidding me! What does he do, he turns around and starts running with me. THIS WAS HUGE! Minimal words were exchanged as he knew exactly were I was in my running state of mind. He ran right off my left shoulder as to let me dictate tempo (also huge). At one point, we came up on a group of high school runners and just cruised right around them. We got to the 18 mile mark which is the start of the cross country course and he kept running with me. We got all the way to the turnaround at mile 20 and at that point I asked John what pace we were running and he said 5:55. I think we averaged 6:05 as he ran with me all the way to the 22 mile mark. Thanks for the 5 miles John! I still have 2 miles to go yet I'm in decent enough shape as I make it back to the end in 2 hours and 40 minutes and 40 seconds (last 8 miles in 48 minutes and 50 seconds)...I was pleased!

3 weeks until New York... 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lungstrong 15k...a race recap!

With this years training for the NYC marathon, I have been trying to just let the workouts come to me. As I have gotten older, I have found that I just need more time to recover from hard efforts (workouts). Therefore, I have only been running 2 workouts per week. I am on a 7 day cycle. This also means that I have only done 2 twenty milers so far in my build up to New York.

Having said all that, here is how the race went on Saturday:

Got to Lake Norman early enough on Saturday morning to get a nice and easy warm up in. I met up with John Compton as I started my warm up and we ran together and had a nice conversation (as usual). Put my flats on and did about 5 or 6 easy strides...nothing too fast. Felt good for the start. Let me say that I have not tapered at all in my lead up to this race. Got to the line and he is how it unfolded...

The announcer said something about some dude breaking the course record. He raised his hand and I said to myself...this dude is not going to beat me! Period...

We all get out and I realize rather early that I could not run with the group of guys that I would have liked to have run with. They include Chad, Billy, David, James, Richard, and a couple of other studs...oh well. As it was, I was running 5:52 pace according to my breathing! That was high end for me yet I was rolling. I never felt great, yet I never felt really bad. I'll take that. So, I can't run with the studs, and I did find Kent and Greg who I ended up rolling with for a few miles. That was nice. The course record guy drafted off of me for a lot of miles and I kinda took it like he appreciated my pacing abilities. No sooner did I say that that he actually said that to me. Pretty cool...

So back to the race, Greg starts to slowly pull away from me at the 6 mile mark. I set my sights on Vincent and Kent. I developed a stitch at this point yet it didn't slow me down. I caught Vincent and finally caught Kent on the main road at about mile 8. I'm in 9th place at this point and really wanted to get under 55 minutes, yet I didn't know my time. As I approached the finish, I saw the clock that said 54:45 and whan I saw the results later in the day, Jim had finished 1 place and 20 seconds ahead of me...one tough customer!

Lots of people ran well not least of all John Compton! My average pace was 5:52 and I'll take that on a rolling course. Paul won the overall followed by, maybe Chad, Richard and Billy? Good stuff. I was shut out since I missed 4 races in the first 6...oh well!

Monday, October 3, 2011

10 mile tempo fun with Stephanie Pezzulli & Aaron Linz

This was just awesome!

So after last Sunday's 20 miler, I sent my workout schedule for the week out to all my running Buds and actually got a response. I was beginning to think that I didn't have any pull within the club...Ha!

Aaron Linz e-mailed me back and said that he would like to roll the 10 mile tempo with me. Great! He then e-mailed everyone to see if anyone else was interested in joining and Pezz said that she would come out and do her workout. That would consist of a 3 mile, followed by a 2 mile segment, followed by a 5 minute 1 mile segment.

I got there e few minuted before 7 am and although the McMullen parking lot was full, there was no Aaron and no Pezz! No worries, as Aaron showed up a few minutes later and then Stephanie came. Aaron and I are ready to go yet Pezz needed a few minutes to get ready (for the warm up!) Maybe that's why she's already qualified for the O Trials Steeplechase and I'll be in the stands. Anyway, we run a nice and steady 2 mile warm up and get back to the parking lot for a little more circle jerking...

Actually, Pezz needed to use the restroom, change her outfit, and change her shoes. NOW...we are ready!

Since Pezz was starting off with a 3 mile segment, Aaron was going to run with her. So we take off and it becomes evident early that I was going to be chasing. I couldn't believe they left me in the dust so soon (15 seconds into a 10 mile run). Anyway, I get to the half mile mark and I look at my watch and see 2:45. I double that and realize that I'm still running 5:30 pace. I back off slightly and hit the mile in 5:45. I'm behind yet my mentality is that I have to work by myself for 9 and a half miles...I'm good with that! I settle in and just start clicking off 5:50 miles and at the 3 mile mark I pass Pezz in 17:15 and give chase to Aaron. I catch Aaron just before the 4 mile mark (he slowed up for me) and we run side by side to the 5 mile turn around.

Side note, Aaron is such a good/tough training partner who has a suttle cockiness to him...which of course being from Jersey...I love! So we hit the turn around in about 28:54 and I'm working and feeling fine.

We stay side by side until the 7 mile mark when Aaron looks over at me and drops a bombshell!..."Stephen, I feel like a million bucks, I'm gonna take off!" Are you kidding me...

Here I am runninig 5:50 pace and he hits me with that. Needless to say, I could not go with him...

When I got to the 9 mile mark, Pezz had just started her 1 mile segment and she looked strong. I finished up the tenth mile and hit 58:24 for the ten miles and Aaron was about 30 seconds up on me...great run for him!

Aafter walking around for a couple of minutes, Pezz came in and we all did a 2 mile cool down to finish. I was pleased because I didn't kill it and was able to recover rather soon after.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

20 miler with Aaron and Justin

This was actually 2 ten-milers with Gu and water in between.

We had a nice group that met at the Dowd Sunday morning including: Paul, Josh, Aaron, Billy, Justin, Carolyn, Richard, myself, and a few other blokes. Great group...

I was interested in making this an honest effort from the start. Before long, it was Aaron, Justin and myself. First lap done in a couple of ticks over 65 minutes. Quick brake, and then right back on it. I worked, and stayed smooth, and struggled, to stay with Aaron and Justin. Finally, after 15 miles they got a little gap on me that they held to the 17 mile mark when they shut it down which enabled me to catch and run past them and I made it back to the YMCA in a couple of ticks over 62 minutes. We were all spent!

The best part of the run was when we were all done and we hung out on the steps of the Y with just our shorts on, probably all pleased with our effort of the morning's run...

Aaron finally broke things up saying that he needed breakfast...a wise choice!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Brixx 10k race recap!

I did not taper for this race. I had a lot of fun at this race and here is my recap:

I parked at the Dowd (Central) Y for this race and ran to Brixx pizza to get my number (thanks as always to Tim Rhodes for comping my entry as I do not take that for granted). The volunteers who help out are always so nice...I like to think that I am too). I continued my warm up by just circling around Brixx and Reid's until it was about 7:30am. At that point, I took my warm ups off and put my singlet on. Went over to a vacant lot to do some easy strides. Felt ok...

I must confess that I was so inspired by what Galen Rupp had done the day before in Brussels in the ten thousand. Paul and I were talking about it right before the start of the race. He for Mo, Me for Galen...oh well!

The gun goes off (I think Tim said go) and strait away we all take off. Paul goes to the front, and then there is pack behind Paul. That pack was lead by Richard, then Billy, Jim, Chad and a few other players. Myself and Chris, and Eric and David and Kent were in a pack behind them. After a half mile, I said to Eric, "let's see if we can get up to that pack", and that is what I did. Eric thought they would come back to us...I wasn't so sure!
I took off and quickly joined the lead pack (behind Paul of course) just past the half mile mark. At this point, I am stoked to be with this group that includes Chad, Billy, Richard, Jim and myself.

We continue to press the pace as we reach the 1 mile mark, no split, still the pace continues. I'm still feeling good when Richard cranks things up ever so slightly, which Billy, Jim, Chad and I respond to. At the 2 mile mark, Richard amps it up a little more which Billy responds to, Jim and I also respond and it seems as though Chad lost the connection (not so fast). At the 3 mile mark and at which point we have been climbing for a while, Richard is in 2nd, he's got a gap on Billy, who has a gap on Jim and I. Jim breaks from me and at 3 and a half miles, Chad goes by me and offers a small word of encouragement (class act). I'm now in 6th place. At four and a half miles and with me suffering slightly, Chris Lamperski passes me. At around 5 and a quarter mile, Doug and David go by me and that was frustrating yet good for them! Just before 6 miles, I see that I'm gaining on Chris and I catch him at the 6 mile mark, we run together til 6.1 at which point he gets a 1 second gap on me which he holds to the finish.

35:40 (5:44 pace) good for 9th place. Fun to be competitive for the first half of the race and pleased with the time. Need to see if I can be competitive longer for the next race. We'll see...   

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Remembering the day!

Our daughter turns 10 today. She was scheduled to be born on 9/11 yet because of the sickening (and heroic) events that took place that morning, the delivery date was set for 3 days later. She's simply awesome...

Just finished my mid week medium long run of 14 miles at a very comfortable pace. I have 2 easy/ steady 10 milers over the next 2 days and then a hard 10k on Saturday...should be fun!
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Friday, September 9, 2011

Calling Captain Max!


Forgive me for being just a little excited. My son has his first game for the Middle Scool here at CCDS and he was named captain. As you can see from the picture, he is tiny (rumor has it he has a huge heart!) I am not at the game as I am at work getting ready for our varsity game tonight. A friend e-mailed the picture to me and I sent it on to a few people...very cool! I'll report back on the quality of his play...

We had a nice easy 10 miler this morning at the park and I had the pleasure of Carolyn Maye's company (I know, it's tough!) along with Red, Megan and Josh...very nice!

Tomorrow morning, while everyone else is in the heart of Blue Ridge country, I will be running an up-tempo 20 miler. My goal is to keep the pressure on the whole way along with practicing taking in 3 Gu's along the way...
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Thursday, September 8, 2011

5 mile tempo w/ Chrisman, Bilbrey and Willis!

Cool weather this morning. We all met up at Old Bell. 3 mile warm up to help get the legs ready for some work/turnover. I felt pretty good so I told the group that I was shooting for 29 minutes for the 5 mile tempo (progression run). For some reason, I was very confident this morning.

We started and it was clear that no one wanted to lead. After an opening mile of right at 6 minutes per Caitlin, I decided to throw in a nasty surge (a la Imane Merga) to break the field up. Yet when I made the turnaround at 1.5 miles, they were all close in tow. From then on, I kept the pressure on and my foot on the gas. I hit 3 miles in 17:20 and realized then that I needed 5:50's for the last 2 to hit 29 minutes flat which is just what I did. It was work, and the work was done. I got right in my car and went home to get the kids to school and me to work. My legs are feeling pretty good as I'm running easy tomorrow with Red and then I have a 20 mile up tempo run on Saturday.

Thanks for reading...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mile repeats w/ Hovis, Beigay, Mainwaring, Chrisman, Bilbrey and Me!


And with a late sleep in, we all met up at the Old Bell entrance to McAlpine for a workout of mile repeats...we would do 4!

The crue included: Ben Hovis, Caitlin Chrisman, Paul Mainwaring, Eric Bilbrey, Caleb Boyd...and Spada!

Aside from hearing that the first one was sub 5:30, I don't know the times...it simply didn't matter!

We had an awesome group, you were never able to settle, so you pushed the whole way.

Mike was pushing Paul, Ben was pushing Mike, Eric was pushing Caitlin, and Spada was just pushing...

We had great support from Meagan, Carolyn, Doug and Jason, Aaron, Tom and the whole crue from Butler!

Great stuff...
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Friday, September 2, 2011

3 by 2 mile repeats w/ Caitlin & David

That would be Caitlin Chrisman and David Willis (just met...very nice)

Met everyone out at McAlpine this morning for another Jay Holder pre, pre, send-off...always fun! I actually ribbed him this morning about Nope! Dope!

So we start running easy and all of a sudden we come up on a dead body...crazy stuff! It was Billy Shue and he pulled it off!

After a 3 mile warm up...it was time to get down to business. The workout would be 3 times 2 miles with a 2 minute recovery...fair enough! My plan was to hang out on the first one which we hit in 11:44. My plan on the second one was to open up on the second mile which I did as we hit 11:24. My plan on the 3rd one was to open up early which I did as we hit 11:14. I felt good the whole time even though I was working the second half of the workout. Caitlin was her usual strong self and David was a nice addition!

Got a long one in the morning with a great crue...should be fun!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thousand meter repeats w/ Caitlin Chrisman & Lat Purser

First time training with Lat...and what a pleasure!

Training with Caitlin...that always works!

We met up at the intersection of Dilworth Road West and East Blvd. for a workout consisting of 8 X 1,000 meters around the speed loop with a 1:59 recovery. After a nice and easy 40 minute warm up and very few procrastinations...we were off!

It became evident early that Lat would be our fearless leader as he quickly took the lead and set the tempo. Caitlin and I were squirrels just tryin' to get a nut! All rap aside, this was going to be a heck of a workout. I tucked in behind Caitlin and was barely able to stay within 6 inches of her which is what I did for numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4. At that point Lat let it be known that he would be dropping out after #5. He simply looked relaxed and effortless. Having said that, you can get a tiny bit of confidence when someone else is cutting a workout short. I took the advantage I could!

On #5, I was able to pull up along side Caitlin (we train so well together) and at the 400 meter mark, I was able to get the slightest of gap as I could hear her breathing was labored...mine was as well! I tried to maintain good form and finish strong no matter that there were still 3 more to go. Lat parted ways as Caitlin (sporting lululemon...who happens to be sponsoring Saturday's Big Wedding!) and I pressed on with #6. Same thing, between the 400 meter and 500 meter mark, I was able to get the slightest of gaps and ride it to the finish as I tried to pull both of us along. By the time we had reached the line, we were shoulder to shoulder. Upon completion of the workout, we were both spent! I got right in my car and pulled a Spada...Ha!

When I was driving away I could hear Red say..."I can't believe you don't get injured!"...Squeeze me?

Lat appreciated the workout as he asked to do it again... 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gettin' Beat up at Beatty!

For last Sunday's long run, it was decided by the powers that be that we would meet up at Colonel Francis J. Beatty Park on Weddington Road in south Charlotte. Not too far for me. Since I hadn't been on the trails in a while and I needed to exercise some demons from the day before's debacle, I decided to show up...and it's a good thing I did!

Charlotte's finest were out in all things neon and Lululemon...no complaints here! So we set out for some easy running yet you have to be on your toes for the many roots that litter this single track trail. Note: it is way better to lead than to follow!

3 miles into the run I took a nasty fall! What do I do? The same thing Finland's Lasse Viren did in the '72 Olympic 10,000m final...I got up within 2 seconds and got back into the rhythm of the run! 2 miles later Jason Martin goes down real hard AND gets right back on the train. 1 mile after that, Meagan Nedlo trips and somehow maintains her balance and gets back into her groove...Nice! Next it's Megan Hovis's turn and what happens to her...a nasty bee sting! The stinger decides to stay in to keep the pain constant. After a brief respite to assess the situation, Megan gets back on the train! So now I'm leading and a large male flies by me on his mountain bike, yet I didn't let my pursuers know and he proceeds to take Megan out...not good! Yet like a true trooper, she gets back up (what Mohammad Gammoudi did not do in '72 during the early stages of the 10,000m) and Ben gives some encouraging words and she proceeded to nail her long run!

One side note, I also stepped on a notted root, which forced me to dorsi-flex my foot and I strained ligaments and muscle tendons that connect my soleus muscle to my calcaneus and tarsel bones...I'll get over it AND I will go back to Beatty for some more trail miles...thanks guys!  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Greekfest Flop!

On the down side...the race was a disaster! I never got going and had nothing to give. Still gave what I had which wasn't much...

On the up side...it was a great morning. Got to the race early enough and picked up my bib and saw Billy and Chad hanging out. I dropped my stuff off in my car and then as I was heading back to the start I caught up with Billy Shires! We got to run our warm up together and got caught up with all things running (training, book reviews, injuries, etc.) As we were warming up, 3 young, fit, Olympic Trials qualifiers streamed past us and I made the comment that that was pretty cool. He didn't get it at first until I explained that those 3 gazelles are going to Houston in January (Houston will have a problem with those 3...Ha!)

Went up to the starting line in plenty of time and saw Mo Campbell and the Boy...very nice! I went and wished Richard Harris good luck (that would prove invaluable) and waited for the start. Tim Rhodes let us go and we were off. It was muggy out there as I ended up 3rd Master and 15th overall finishing 1 place behind my perennial nemesis Mr. Bill Shires. He pulled away from me at about the 1 mile mark and never looked back.

When I got home, I mentioned to my wife that I didn't have it this morning and she asked me why I thought that was. I said that I don't question when I have a good day, so I don't question when I don't...just move on!

Looking forward to a nice run in the trails of Beatty Park... 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kickin' it Old School!

The following post has nothing to do with running...just thought I'd share!

The other night my wife and I were getting the night before the first day of school dinner ready. My daughter was with us as well. My son was at football practice at the middle school and he was being driven home by friends of ours. She was carpooling a bunch of boys (no...my son is not doing cross country!) So I had hamburgers and chicken on the grill, french fries in the oven and broccoli in the microwave...Oh and sweet tea coming out of my gills!)

The car pulls up and my wife goes outside to chat with the mom. For whatever reason, I decided to bring the french fries outside to the boys! Call it old school or whatever, it just felt like the right thing to do. Obviously, the boys loved it and Dad got to feel cool even if it was just for a minute!

This incident harped me back to the days before air conditioning, listening to the Walkman, yelling out the window, and most of all, playing outside until it was too dark to see...

On a side note to show my age and with the recent Kardashian wedding, I was 11 years old when Bruce Jenner (our hero) was competing and winning the Olympic decathlon in '76 in Montreal. My dad, and my brothers and I went right to the back yard and made a long jump pit...great, great stuff!

Thanks for reading... 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Billy Shue out...Michael Kahn in!

I had a workout date with Billy Shue scheduled for this morning, yet with Jason G. Holder's bachelor gig this weekend up in the Big Apple (the city never sleeps!), I had a feeling that he wouldn't show...

When I pulled into McAlpine there was no Billy Shue...no worries! The posse was in effect and I knew I would find one brave soul to workout with me. Enter Sandman (aka Mikey Kahn!) Mike was gracious enough to help me with my workout. It consisted of: 2000 meters, 1600 meters, 1200 meters, 800 meters, and 400 meters all with a 400 meter recovery. I felt good throughout and I felt myself getting stronger as the workout went along. I didn't realize how compatible Mike and I are for training...it just worked! The only segment that I timed was the mile which was a tick under 5 and a half minutes...

My plan for the rest of the week is to run a 10 mile recovery run tomorrow, possibly take Thursday off, easy 8-10 miler on Friday and then break 17 on Saturday. If I'm feeling fresh (which is a rare occurrence), I have a shot! Some type of long run on Sunday...

Monday, August 22, 2011

7 times 1000 meters @ UNCC with Billy & Joe!

Billy Shue was nice enough to reach out to me for a workout last Friday at UNCC's campus track. He even offered to pick me up at my house at 5:30am...I was ready!

We would be meeting up with Joe Nicolini (another Piasan!) at Jack in the Box for a track workout consisting of 7 by 1000 meters with a 400 meter recovery.

When we got to our meeting spot, there was no Joe! After waiting around for 15 minutes...he finally shows up! Oh to be 24...Ha! He still had to put on his socks and shoes and finally we started our 2 mile warm up on the path that would lead us to our execution (workout!) I was concerned because I know how strong Billy is right now and Joe looked fit. I'm not exactly chicken shoot! I was trying to remain calm yet getting worked up at the same time.

#1 takes takes us through all together in 3:23, #2 has us together in 3:17, For #3, Joe has a meeting in the men's room and I hit 3:17 again with Billy seconds up. #4 has Joe and I in lock step at 3:17 along with #5 (3:17), #6 brought another bathroom break for triathlete Joe as I hit 5:15 (I was working). For #7, we decided to run it on the way back as Joe and I were lock step as we hit 3:15 with Billy looking spritely at around 3:10...great stuff!

Cool down and we were good to go... 

Friday, August 19, 2011

When Birds Attack!

Absolute bizarreness!

Wednesday morning, I'm 7 miles into a 10 mile easy run just chillin'! I'm on Sedley Road in Foxcroft on the shoulder when I run under the over hang of a tree and I felt what seemed to be a branch scrape the back of my head. I didn't think that I was that close to the tree. No sooner did I think that when I look to my right and see this HUGE bird (Hawk, Owl, whatever...) fly off in a rage! I FREAKED! So now I'm goosed-bumped out of my mind, dropping F-bombs in front of the tennis courts, and it took me about a mile to calm down. At this point I feel violated (I love that term...it's for all of my liberal friends!)

I told my kids what happened and they told me not to tell Mom (I did anyway...)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gettin' after it with the Big Boyz!

I'm sorry Megan Hepp Hovis but that was awesome!

So the e-mail circulated last week for a workout this morning of: 3 miles followed by 4 by 400 meters. Fair enough.

And then I heard who was going to show up and I started to drool (for their running abilities...certainly not their looks!) the group included Paul Mainwaring, Aaron Linz, Ben Hovis, Billy Bob Shue...and Me! I knew I had to bring my A-game...

We ran our 2 mile warm up out to the 1 mile mark at McAlpine and back at a solid clip. After a little circle jerkin'...we were off!

Since we started at 5:30am and it was really dark, my concentration level was at an all time high (I didn't not want to trip and fall on a rock, divit or root.) Aaron got us out well and I was working early. Paul seemed content to let Aaron lead, as Ben, Billy and I followed close behind. At about a half mile, Paul pulled up to Aaron, and I pulled up to Ben as Billy followed close behind. At the 1 mile mark, I got my legs under me and decided to lead and do some of the work, as Ben responded and got next to me and we worked together to toe the field through the 1 and a half mile mark. Approaching Monroe, Paul had enough of this Jersey Boyz' antics and shot to the front with Aaron and the rest of us in close tow. We got to the 2 mile mark (which was the start of the Footlocker cross country course for those of you reading from out of town/state) all together and at that point Aaron was helping Paul and Ben was helping Billy and me as I was at my limit! My goal for the next mile was to stay on Ben and Billy as I did as they were only able to put 1 second on me by the time we hit the 3 mile mark (it must be noted that Ben is 1 week into his training which is a scary thought!)

Here are the numbers: 5:35, 5:41, 5:35= 16:51

We followed that up with 4 times 400 meters around the lake with a 200 meter recovery and my guess is that I ran them in 75 seconds. On these, I was merely a spectator...I simply have no speed which is okay!

A long cool down followed as we ran Paul back to his house and discussed who we thought in the running community was hot!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Long Run with Various & Sundries...

These 2 a days have me oversleeping every morning!

I was at the Panther game (don't worry...I'm still a Viking fan!) Saturday night when I noticed on my Crackberry that a large contingent of runners would be meeting up at McAlpine for a long run...I'm in!

So we're supposed to meet up at 6am yet when I look at my watch on Sunday morning, it already shows 6:06...that doesn't work?! Without hesitation, I get up and brush my teeth, bathroom, shorts on and head out the door. As I'm driving over to Old Bell, I'm trying to figure out which way the group went. Low and behold but who do I see on Sardis...Paul Mainwaring! So I park and head back up to run with him and as we're running back down, he said that he was done and that he knew where the group was. So after leaving Paul, I head up to Alexander and as the pack see's me I hear..."SPADA!" which is always very cool...

This pack included: Nathan, Aaron, Jason, Mike, Alex, Josh, plus a new guy named Tyler (there were more). So we head back to the park and pick up the Hadley's and run to the 4 mile mark at which point I see Ben, Jordan and Justin. So what do I do since I'm a running snob, I go with that group. That was fun as we were rolling 6:20's. Nothing spectacular, however, it felt like a Sunday jog...very cool. Of course, Jordan was doing 90 second pick ups at which Aaron couldn't resist jumping in on a few...Ha!

Ben Hovis was just happy to be running and Justin, who I just met, was gearing up for the Detroit Free Press Marathon...

I went an easy 8 this morning because we're gonna get after it tomorrow morning (me, Paul and the Shue!).

I am just starting to feel like things are coming together with my running. That is a good sign with the weather being as stifling as it has been. This should bode well when the weather does break. One thing that I am doing is really trying to let the workouts and the paces come to me. What I mean by that is that I initially had a much more ambitious schedule on tap yet my body was telling me that I needed more sleep and to run less that what I had planned. I'm sure Caitlin for one would agree that this seems to be working.

Can I run a 16:59 in 2 weeks at Greekfest? We'll see..

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Being flexible...tempo gets moved up!

Yesterday, my original plan was to do a medium long run, and then go easy on Thursday and tempo on Friday. I think what happened was that Caitlin was heading out of town on Friday so the tempo got moved up a day. No problem. Instead of running a 14-16 miler on Wednesday after running mile repeats on Tuesday and having the tempo run this morning, I decided to go 8 miles easy on Wednesday (8:30 pace) to be somewhat ready for the uptempo progression run.

Starting August 1st, the difficult thing for me is that 2-a-days started with football so needless to say, work (which I love) has been hectic. Which brings me to this morning. When I opened my eyes and looked at my "old school" Timex Ironman watch I saw 5:50am...eeck! I was supposed to meet Eric, Billy and Caitlin (and any other knucklehead) at 6am at the tennis courts by Freedom Park. What do I do? I casually got up, weed, got my stuff, got in the car and took off. My only hope was that they waited for me. I got on QRW at 6:02 and at the courts at 6:05. I heard, "that's Spada!" They f*****g waited!...I couldn't believe it!

I get out of my car, lace up my shoes and get over to the group which included Carolyn Maye! Short warm up means get ready mentally quick! I'm ready...

So it's a 5 mile tempo making loops around the booty loop which is a fair course. Good topography. I go with Carolyn for the first half mile, then I dart behind Caitlin, then get frisky and throw in an early surge, they come up to me, I throw in another surge and Billy catches up to me, then we run together for a while until he gets 2 meters on me, then I work to close the gap and we finish together for a total time of 30:25. Great stuff! Without a Garmin, my guess is: 6:10, 6:00, 5:50, 5:40 and 5:35. Cooled down back to the tennis courts, and then the group asked me if I could cool down more and I did. We ran the path that runs parallel to Kings Drive and then I turned around at Tarjaye and we said our goodbyes...

Easy 8 miler in the morning as well as Saturday and then long on Sunday. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mile Repeats with 2 Live Crew!

So I started my marathon training on Sunday with the twenty miler. Yesterday I just ran an easy 8 miler as a recovery run.I averaged over 8 minute pace which was just fine by me!

On Monday night, Miss Caitlin Chrisman reached out to me to see if I would be interested in running mile repeats with her. You have to understand, Caitlin is a strong and confident runner so if she wants to run with me, I'm usually in! We have developed a strong working relationship where if she ever wavers, I'll have none of it. Conversely, if I'm struggling, she doesn't let up (Paul M. is like that!)

We, along with Billy Shue, decided to meet up at McAlpine and got a nice and easy 30 minute warm up in before we started the first mile. Our goal was to do 5 repeats with a quarter mile recovery. We had no takers from the rest of the Miner's...too bad!

Because of the early start, we ran the first mile repeat on the first mile of the cross country course. After opening with a 96 second (6:24 pace) first quarter we ended up running 5:47...good start. We followed that up with a 5:34, 5:33, 5:31 and finished with a shot of adrenaline for a 5:28...I think we were all pleased!

2 mile cool down followed with the company of Megan Hepp Hovis (in the middle of a down week). So there we were, 2 Olympic Trials qualifiers, one PR setter race after race, and me...

This workout worked out well for me because I had interval day on my schedule (anywhere from quarters to 2 mile repeats).


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Journey Begins...

This past Sunday I started my New York City Marathon build up with a 20 miler in 2 hours and 26 minutes. Nothing fancy yet it was a start. I got out the door at 5:45am by myself (I would have loved to have gone up to Davidson) and ran the sidewalks the whole way with a steady tempo while stopping at every water fountain (there were 4) and taking a Shot Block every 5 miles to work on my caloric intake. This loop takes me up to Colony Road, to Sharon, to Queens, to Morehead, to Euclid, to East, to Queens Road West, to Selwyn, to Park, to GlenEagles, to Quail Hollow, back to Sharon, to Fairview and back home.

I was junk the rest of the day yet I did not fall asleep at church! I continued to eat the rest of the day and chilled for the most part. I took the kids to the pool at night and just read Best Efforts by Kenny Moore for the umpteenth time. I am excited about my training block for this marathon.

My 7 day cycle will include the following: M- 8-12 miles easy, T.- Interval/repeat day (mile repeats, 800 meter repeats, 2 mile repeats, etc.), W.- Medium Long Run day of 14-16 miles, Th.- 8-12 miles easy, F.- Tempo day of 5 to 15 milers, Sa.- 8-12 miles easy, Su.- Long Run of Easy, Firm, or steady with a firm/ up tempo finish. I know it's aggresive and I know that my body will tell me if I can or cannot do a workout that day. This is just an outline. As I was telling Mark Hadley, while I would love to do a 10 day cycle, a 7 day one fits my schedule better.

2 comments: If anyone is interested in any one of these workouts (like I had company just this morning on my mile repeats) please feel free to join in. Conversely, if I see a tempting workout somewhere on Facebook or e-mail, I may show up...I'm easy!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Blue Points 5k Race Recap

Warmed up with Brian, Billy and Mike Moran. Also picked up Bill Shires en route which was a bonus! My plan was to be competitive with the usual suspects which only happened for the first mile. Clearly, I was working too hard. After an opening 5:25, I followed that with a 5:35 on the rolling portion and then a 5:45 on the uphill portion. I pride myself on being a negative splitter and that did not happen on Saturday morning. 2nd Master and 17th overall. Back to the drawing board (or in my case, the cement sidewalks!) 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Somewhere in the swamps of Jersey!"

Who says you can't go home?

I just combined  Springsteen with Bongiovi...I know, they're both Liberal!

All right, so I just got back from my annual pilgrimage to New Jersey to visit my family and we had a blast. My parents are awesome to host me and the kids and my 5 siblings do a wonderful job of spoiling them...Love it!

Since this is my running blog I won't bore you with the details of the Jersey shore and all the calzones I had...

I will tell you about all of my runs:

After a solo 7 miler early Friday morning, my wife got up early to make us breakfast and then we were on the road by 6:45am...good start!

Saturday

I met my good friend Gary Rosenberg who reps for Garmin at 8am @ Madison High School for a track workout. Since it is so close to my parents, I just ran there. It was good to see him. Since it was so hot, we decided to do 8 quarters with a 200meter recovery. A short and sweet workout that we did in 74 seconds for each lap. Gary is 40 years old and he ran for Morris Hills back in the proverbial day!

Sunday

I met a group of guys at River Run Park off of 287 and I bonked on this run last year! I was determined not to have that happen again. This group consisted of former all-state cross country champions from New Jersey. One runner, Brian Harris, was a teammate of Brendon Heffernan who was the national champion in 1992. That was a really good year for New Jersey running as you had Heffernan, Ryan Grote, Chris and Tim Lear, Bob Keino, Brian Walsh and a host of others.

The run started off at 7 minute pace and since I was feeling good I didn't mind being aggressive even though the weather was oppressive as we STARTED running at 8am...these guys like to sleep in! I was on vacation so whatever...The course took us on Black River Road, Lamington Road, and through Donald Trump's new golf course...good stuff! I ended up finishing the run about 10 seconds behind Brian. I was both pleased and spent at the same time...

Monday

At the Kitchell Road entrance to Loantaka Park, I met up with a friend of my father's named Philippo Polcara who is from England, Italian descent, and has been living in the States from about 20 years or so. We enjoyed a nice and easy 8 mile run chatting about all things in general. "Phil" is 55 and he was lucking enough to run a half marathon in San Antonio recently where he received a VIP pass from his cousin to have  dinner with the likes of Frank Shorter and Mebraton Keflezighi to name just a few...

Tuesday

Over the past weekend, I had received an e-mail from a guy who's wife is friends with 2 of my sisters. He was wanting to run with me. First of all, I think that's awesome when someone reaches out in that way. His name is Brian Bill who ran for Ocean Twp. and who now resides in Florham Park...my hometown! (yet another Springsteen reference) Anyway, we decided to meet up on the roads that Tuesday and he had mapped out a 14 mile run that would take us into the Great Swamp. And you thought I was kidding with my swamp reference! When I tell you that it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to run with Brian and to hear about his desire to break 3 hours in this years NYC Marathon, it was a treat!

Wednesday

Wednesday had me back on the track. This time at Morristown High School with Gary Rosenberg. We actually saw Nick Vena, National Shot Put champion, walking into the school.

Gary is a lot faster than me yet since he is coming back from over training and I am relatively fit, we are currently very compatible. We decided on 7 x 800's. Our times were: 2:43, 2:42, 2:41, 2:39, 2:41, 2:37, 2:34...nice! A cool down and we said our goodbyes...

Thursday

Since we were down the Jersey Shore in Spring Lake, I had set up a run with my cousin's cousin TJ Langella for our annual 8 miler that takes us through Belmar, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Brielle and Manasquan...all nice shore towns! TJ was planning on competing in that Saturday's River to Sea relay race. He asked me to be on his team yet we were leaving on Saturday so I had to decline...next year for sure!

Friday

Back to Loantaka Park for another easy 8 miler with Phil and Gary. Gary, who reps for Garmin, was very helpful to Phil in helping him set up his GPS as well as letting him know the benefits of upgrading. Sweet tea all around.

Saturday

Since we were leaving to head back to Charlotte this morning, I didn't want the run to take a long time. What I decided to do was run an 8 mile progression run from my parents house. I felt relatively strong the whole way but that was probably because I didn't run that fast. Still enjoyed it.

I was very fortunate to have the company of great runners and quality people...thanks guys!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

PMain & the Kinley's!

Spada's playing catch up!

So 2 weeks ago Paul Mainwaring sent the e-mail out that called for a workout of: 3 miles, 800m recovery, 2 miles, 800m recovery, 1 mile. This would all be done at McAlpine with a Dew point we'll get to later! Paul knew that I would take the bait since I'm game for just about anything! What he didn't know was that the Kinley's (Jordan and Meagan) would commit. What a group we had...

We met at 7am and set off for a 3 mile warm up which left us drenched. Everyone except Jordan was concerned about the paces that we set for ourselves so we tempered them. That comforted Meagan. Lets face it, you can only run what pace you can run that day. Your body tells you what you have on any given day so take it! For Meagan and I, the first 3 miler would be run in 17 minutes and when we hit 5:50 on the first one I was pumped. Mile 2 was hit in 5:48 and we held that to the tape to get 17:26. Good start. I took off on the second segment and put a gap on Meagan which she proceeded to close and we ran the last 800 meters in lockstep. She is awesome to train with!

No water for Meagan...so now what? Proceed to drop a 5:40 last mile and leave me 2 seconds back at the line! Very cool...

Cool down and we were done!

Got an invite from said Kinley's and since my family was up north, I headed over to their pool at noon and stay there for almost 4 hours and had a blast. Strait out a Compton showed up before heading to the airport to pick up KFill and it was nice to hear all about the California running scene in the late 90's on from Jordan himself not to mention his Brown days...

Dew Point: So after the run I get the text from Meagan stating that the Dew Point was really high...stay thirst my friends!!! 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Nathan & the Hadley's!

So it was Saturday night a couple of weeks ago and I realized that I would be running solo on Sunday morning if I didn't get on my Blackberry. I reached out to Paul ('ol reliable!) and he said that Nathan Stanford would be at McAlpine at 7am. That was all I needed! I decided to run there and when I got there (4.5 miles later), in front of me stood Mark and Alana Hadley...along with Michael Kahn! This was a different group for me and I appreciated the company. It was nice to run with Alana and hear all about her meetings with some of her (and mine!) heroes of the running world. They included: Matt Tegankamp, Shalane Flanagan, Shannon Rowbury, and Kara Goucher to name just a few. Behind us I could hear Mark and Nathan going on about the different zones of training which is always interesting! On the other side of Alana was Mike Kahn just wondering why we all Marathon in the first place...good stuff! After we finished our 8 miles together, I headed home, Nathan still had 10 more miles to go, and Alana nailed her 3 mile tempo run in 18:30! Thanks guys...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Easy on the eye, and hard on the ear!"

Today's post title is a joint-ventured reference to Maria Sharapova as supplied by Paul Mainwaring and Stephen Spada as she was getting ready to take on Petra Kvitoka in the Wimbledon final last Saturday morning.

We, well we were getting ready to take on Mike Beigay, Meagan Nedlo and Jordan Kinley in our own little 8 mile tempo run at McMullen Greenway. It was all about the mugginess.

Going into this, I was hoping that 6 minute pace would feel ok. After a 2 mile warm up and some dilly dallying, we were off.

Initially, Paul set the tempo yet after 1 mile of running, I was not happy with the pace, I felt as though we were not working hard enough. I did my best to keep the pressure on to the 4 mile mark. At one point I looked back and was pleasantly surprised to Meagan breathing down my neck! We all got to the turnaround in a tick under 24 minutes, and at that point Mike and Paul made a point to up the tempo as I tucked in behind and hung with them to the 6 mile mark. At that point, Meagan shut it down as she encouraged Jordan to go and catch the guys. Jordan goes by me with some kind words as he got right up to the other guys who were 5 meters up on me. At the finish they were about 50 meters up as I hit 8 miles in 47:38...I was pleased with the effort. 2 mile cool down for all of us with some easy conversation followed.

Thanks guys...

Monday, June 6, 2011

King Tiger 5k...a race (worthy of a ) recap!

While I haven't been inspired to post in a while, Saturday's race gave me reason to. It is funny what a competitive race will do for your mentals!

Last Sunday I took my first running day off since December 22 simply because I was tired and didn't feel like running. Simple as that! I worked out Monday with Billy Shue as we did some minuters and felt reasonably well during the workout. I took another day off on Thursday and then ran easy on Friday for 10 miles.

I felt good on Saturday morning driving to the University area as I thought about my plan for the race. I was very lucky to meet Kevin Ballentine and Allen Strickland and get a nice 2 mile warm up with them. I then ran back to my car and put on my flats, jogged back behind the shopping center and did some striders to get more mentally prepared.

I ventured over to the starting area with 5 minutes to spare and surveyed the other runners. Gun goes off and for some reason I saw Chad and Billy out in front of me and I just quickly decided to get right behind them and we formed a triangle. I was in to the flow of the race early. Proceeded to check my vitals and realized that I was ok. Jim McKeon proceeds to join our pack and then Mike Moran, Michael Creason, Richard Harris, and a few others. I'm thinking this is pretty cool AND I'm in control.

Up ahead it's Paul Mainwaring, Jason G. Holder, and some kid that I later find out is Vincent Arey and then us. At about mile 2, Moran gets flamboyant and shoots out ahead of us, I thought that was aggressive, yet neither Chad Crockford, Billy Shue or myself panics. We gobbled him up and then at about 2 and a half, I pull ahead and start gaining on Arey. I start doing the math and begin to realize that I'm going into 3rd place and even if 2 people (Chad and Billy) pass me, I'm still on the podium in a grand prix race for the first time in 14 years!

Right after I pass Arey, Chad catches me and then Billy and we are on to the finish. Chad puts 6 seconds on me at the finish and Billy 4. As I'm rounding the last turn I see the clock for the first time (I don't wear a Garmin) and it flashes 16:47 and I think gee wizz, I got a shot to break 17! Not to be as I hit the stripe at 17:01...I WAS JACKED!

Quick cool down to my car with Billy and I was home by 8:25am (remember, the race started at 7:30am and it's a half hour away...good time, no?)

Thanks: to Billy Shue for driving my trophy all the way out to my son's lacrosse tournament at Elon Park. Very nice. They won all seven games over the weekend and won the tournament. Proud Papa...

1. Paul Mainwaring, 2. Jay Holder, 3. Chad Crockford, 4. Billy Shue, 5. Stephen Spada

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mile repeats, at McAlpine, w/ Beigay!

Whenever I hear that we're doing mile repeats, my stomach drops!

I reached out to Billy and Mike to see if they would want to workout during Tuesday's miner run. Billy had worked out on Monday and Mike was game...cool!

We decided on 5 x 1 mile repeats using the 3rd mile of the Footlocker (was Kinney...that's old school!) cross country course followed by a 400 meter recovery. Here are the times:

5:34
2:30r
5:31
2:32r
5:29
2:34r
5:28 (Mike was 5 seconds ahead)
2:35r
5:27 (Mike was 5 seconds ahead and looking strong)

We were both very pleased with our workout. For me, the miles were challenging, yet my breathing returned to normal soon after completion.

A pleasant 2 mile cool down completed the workout and then Mike wished me luck on Friday night...if I run?

You down wit OPP?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Meeting up on Sardis...

So last Friday morning, I parked my car on Lansdowne (only 1 D!) so after my workout I could make my quick getaway. I started running down Sardis Road when I noticed the thundering herd coming towards me. The pack included Paul, Jayback, Billy, Alex and Mike. We turned around and as we were approaching the start line of our impending heartache, we were all trying to figure out what we were going to do...I just knew it was going to hurt!

Jay was set on a progression run starting at 7 minute pace (whatever dude!) and going down from there. Paul was following Jay. Billy wanted to start at 6 minute pace and go down from there and do this for 45 minutes. Mike and I followed Billy. About a minute in, I could hear Jay and found out later that they started at 6:20 and quickly got under 6's. We were rolling and making good time. At about 22:40 in, Mike asked Billy how we were on time. I could tell Billy was working as was I, and that is when Mike surged. I went with him as the effort picked up. I couldn't hear Billy anymore. He would run 8 miles in 47:20 which was pre-marathon effort. Mike continued on as I maintained contact while working hard. At about 42 minutes in, we could hear footsteps and it was Paul realizing that there was ground to make up. Mike had let me catch up to him and that is when Paul got up to us and then at 45 minutes we were done with 7.75 for an average of 5:49 per mile on a tough rolling course. Jay came by looking outstanding as he begins to ramp up his training. Billy drove on...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Minuter's with Mike Beigay and Billy Shue

Last Tuesday, I met up with Mike Beigay and Billy Shue for a minuter workout. Since I've gotten off the treadmill last month, one of the aspects of my training that I have focused on is speed development. Real turnover!

Last Tuesday at McAlpine did not disappoint! After a 2 and a half mile warm up, we did a workout of 15 times 1 minute fast, 1 minute jog. On the first 5, we were trying to work out the kinks and kind of figure out how we all felt. After those 5, we all decided to alternate who lead. It was funny because when you were following, you felt like you could barely hang on. Yet when you were leading, you felt this sense of bravado that enabled you to fly for a minute. I remember not being able to hang on to Mike, yet not hear footsteps when I was leading.

After a 2 mile cool down, we were all pretty stoked (do people still use that expression?) I first heard it when I was out at Ironman in the early '90's...

Friday, May 6, 2011

A reunion run with Richard (Rocky) Falcone

I got a phone call (imagine that!) from Richard Saturday night asking me what I had on tap for Sunday morning. Since I had run long with Aaron Saturday morning, I was good for an easy 10 miler. He talked me in to running 12...no problem. The run was  humming along and we were discussing various topics as we usually do at a comfortable pace until he asked me the big question...what about Pippa? That was fun and funny...

We enjoyed discussing all of the pomp associated with the wedding and agreed that the Middleton girls are a think of pure beauty!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

One fine run with Aaron Linz...

...that almost didn't happen!

I was planning on running Skyline (passed Billy and BMac in '10 at the 2 mile mark...Ha!) until I received a desperate e-mail from Aaron (our club President) asking if I would be so kind as to escort him on a 15 mile progression run at dark-thirty Saturday morning. People, when your club president asks you to do something, you do it!

My wife and I had our son's lacrosse team over for dinner after practice Friday night and with clean up afterwords, I got to bed late. When I woke up Saturday morning and looked at my Timex, the numbers said 5:45. That was the time that we were supposed to meet at the Arboretum. What do I do, What do I do? I got up and thought about running Skyline, thought about going back to bed, no, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, put on your shorts and drive to McMullen and run back towards the Arboretum to meet Aaron. That's what I did and it worked out perfectly. He ended up waiting 10 extra minutes for me so as soon as we met up, I turned around and we headed toward McMullen and just started chatting and catching up (he won a race the previous night). We ran down McMullen to the end and then made a right and headed back to the Arboretum (I wasn't going to let him run back alone!)

After I dropped him off and we said our goodbyes, I ran the 5 miles back to the park in 30 minutes. Once I got to the park, I ran 2 easy cool down miles for a total of 20 miles...a great way to start the day.

Thank Aaron!   

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Speed Development Begins...

I'd been planning on starting some shorter faster workouts for some time now. After some procrastinations, I finally had my first workout last week.

Let me first acknowledge the procrastinations. It is a lot easier to just head out the door and start running your run than it is to go to the track, run your 2 mile warm up, put your flats on, do your 2 laps of drills, stretch a little, do 6-8 80 meter strides, 4-6 100 meter accelerations, and then do your repeats, and finally your 2 mile cool down...there, I needed to get that off of my chest!

Here is what I have done over the last 2 weeks regarding speed sessions:

Last Tuesday: 2 mile warm up on the track in trainers, 2 laps of drills, 8x80 meter strides, 6x100 meter accelerations, 24x200 meters with about 1 minute walk around, and a 2 mile cool down.

Last Thursday (sore from Tuesday obviously): After my extended warm up, I got on the perimeter of the football field and ran the side lines hard (120 yards) and walked the end lines. I did this for 40 minutes. I could guess that I ran about 32 of them yet I wasn't counting. Cooled down after. I was sore on Saturday...

This past Tuesday (afternoon): I never run in the afternoon, yet I received an e-mail from the coach here at school inviting me to run 400 meter repeats with the distance runners and I just had to do it! I got to the track (I work at the school) one half hour early so that I could go through my full warm up routine...it stinks getting old...Ha! Right before we started, the kids did 2 strides and I ran with them so that I could better sense the climate...I gathered nothing! It was time to start the workout: For the high schoolers: 8x400 with a 5 minute interval and hammer the 4th and 8th one. 12 for me...

71
71
70
69
70
71
71
68
71
71
71
71

I was foaming at the mouth for the last 4 repetitions. 2 mile cool down. The whole workout lasted over 2 hours and I ran 13 miles. I got back to my office and I was junk! I drank and drank and drank.

I am trying to get out of my comfort zone. 2 days and 20 miles later and I am sore and dragging...

Aaron on Saturday... 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My annual Kiawah 20 miler

"Kiawah" is Kiawah Island in South Carlina which is a 30 minute drive from Charleston.

We as a family have spent Easter weekend there for as long as I can remember. It is as close to heaven on Earth. We stay at a 5 star hotel named the Sanctuary and they leave no stone unturned (I could live in a shack...but hey!) Kiawah Island is known for its golf and in 2012, the Ocean Course will be hosting the PGA Championship. My son and I played an hours worth of tennis at East Beach and had a blast. The Sanctuary is shaped like a "U" and in the middle is a big lawn that we spend a bunch of time throwing our "175 gram" frisbee on...lots of fun!

So Easter morning comes and I know I need to get out early and start my run so that I'm back in time to watch the kids open their baskets. Not good if I'm late. I end up leaving the hotel at 5:16am. I figured I would run at 7 minute pace so for a 20 miler it would take 2 hours and 20 minutes. I head towards Freshfields Village and circle around the roundabout and then head back to where I started and go straight all the way to the Ocean Course and then turn around and head back to the Sanctuary...2h20m). After the kids open their gifts and I showered, and since we were staying on the club level, we walked down the hall and had breakfast. From there, we walked to Night Heron Park for the famed Easter egg hunt and egg toss. Max and I made it far, yet not far enough! A little time in the Jacuzzi before it was time for our 2pm brunch...you want it, they have it! My stomach was stuffed...

If you ever get the chance to go to Kiawah...take it!

In the second Saturday in December, they host a Marathon, half marathon and 5k. For the last 5 years, it has coincided with the Thunder Road races in Charlotte. Now that Tim Rhodes has moved his signature event to November closer to New York, we can do both. They give out great carved pelican awards.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Passing of Grete...

This meant a lot to me and I'll tell you why:

Growing up in New Jersey, the New York City Marathon is a big deal from a telecast stand point. WABC TV devotes 5 hours to it's Sunday marathon telecast. In Charlotte, we may receive 1 hour from 2 to 3 pm which is fine.

From the mid-70's on, my brothers and I would would sit with my father (who is 81 and still comes in to Manhattan) in the TV room and watch the race unfold as it ran through the 5 boroughs of New York City. There are a lot of vivid memories that I have from those days including a brash Cuban from Wayland/Oregon who boldly predicted that he would break 2:10 in his first NYC Marathon...he ran 2:09!

Yet it was a Norwegian track runner who's last name was a contradiction in pronunciation for this 13 year old that grabbed our/mine/ and Jim McKay's attention. Grete Waitz (pronounced Veights: rhymes with Heights) won the NYC marathon 9 times and her name became synonymous with the race. Not unlike Paula Newby Fraser when you think of the Ironman!
   
In 1991, I dropped my friend off at the start of the race and right before he got out of the car he looked at me and said, "you're gonna do this race next year!" Having completed 12 triathlons all over the country that year, I thought no way. So I went home and watched it on TV and as I was watching it I said I was going to start training the next day. I trained the whole next year with the thought of breaking 2:40 for my first marathon goal. In the mean time Fred Lebow, the great mastermind behind the New York Road Runners and the Marathon, was battling brain cancer and wanted to run his race before he passed. He needed help. In comes his good friend Grete Waitz. She told him that she would run the race with him side by side after all that he had done for her. What a race:

Willie Mtola, a South African who's country's stance on Apartheid did not previously allow him to compete abroad, came to New York and won the race. Lisa Martin who married Yobes Ondieki won for the women. I hit 20 miles in 2 hours and 1 second and finished with a 42 minute 10k for a 2:42, yet the story of the day was Grete and Fred together for 5 and a half hours!

8 years before this historic day, history will show that Joan Benoit won the inaugural Women's Olympic marathon (they had been denied that opportunity because of what had transpired in Amsterdam in 1928). Joan made a break from the pack at 3 miles and ran alone the rest of the way. Why? Because everyone else was watching Grete and wondering when she was going make her move. On Tuesday of this week, she made her final move here on earth. She is in a better place...RIP Grete!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

SouthPark RaceFest Half Marathon

Last Saturday was the Annual SouthPark Race Fest Half Marathon and 10k starting and finishing on Morrison Blvd. in Charlotte. Scott Dvorak (aka: Scooter, ScottyD, etc.) does an awesome job of organizing this and any other race that he gets his hands onto (think SouthPark Turkey Trot 8k). Maybe it's his background of being a steepler at State or a '96 Olympic Trials 5k qualifier and he just knows what it takes. As you know, Saturday's weather was crazy to say the least and yet Danny White and Company were able to get the race started right at 7:30am. 1 minute to start...

Having raced well the previous week, I felt somewhat confident even though I wasn't quite 100% from my sickness. I saw the usual players at the start and the gun went off. To me, this is the toughest half in Charlotte. I chilled at the start and was well back. Since we started with the 10kers, it was hard to tell where you staked up. After a couple of minutes of running, I came up on Doug Campbell, Richard Harris, and finally Alice Rodgers with Meagan Nedlo in my sights. Hitting 3 miles in 18 minutes, I could tell that running 6 minute pace was going to be a challenge this morning. Some days you just have more than other days. I did get to 6 miles in 36 minutes and then we had to climb all the way up Sharon View and then I saw 42:15 and that was tough. Eventually, I got to 10 miles in one oh one(1:01) and the thought of 1:19 was a possibility and before I knew it I was at the 12 mile mark and the sky opened up to where it was raining so hard that I thought they might actually call the race off (at least that was what I was hoping) Did someone see lightning? Anyway, I needed to run a 6:20 going up Barkley Downs and I couldn't even do that. I was a few ticks over 1:20 and I was done. Richard Harris even passed me in the last half mile and I had no response. Oh well...

1ST Master and 9th overall so no complaints here. John Compton put out an awesome performance for the win. Jordan Kinley won the 10k with Aaron Linz behind him and Meagan won for the women with ARod finishing behind her...good stuff from the CRC'ers...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I didn't feel good yesterday...

After an easy recovery 7 miler on Monday, it was time again to lace up the flats for a Tuesday morning workout.

I was a little tired going into the workout and still had (have) crud in my chest. After a 15 minute warm up, here is what I did...

The workout that I planned was 3 by 2 miles on the treadmill in 11 minutes. While that is aggressive, I always feel the need to really challenge myself on my workout (stress) days...that is just the way I do it!

So anyway, here is what I accomplished: 2 miles in 11 minutes, easy quarter mile (3 minutes) jog, another 2 miles in 11 minutes, easy quarter mile (3 minutes) jog, 1 mile in 5:30, 15 minute cool down. I simply had no strength to complete the last segment.

Do you know how sometimes when you don't do what you say you are going to do (it could be related to anything) you feel really bad about it? Well, not this time! When I got back to my office, I felt really week. It was to the point where when someone would walk by my office and ask me how I was doing, I would say not good.

For the rest of the day, I stayed low to the ground and moved around even slower. Last night we all stuffed ourselves with Maggiano's (I always get the chicken parm!) and felt a little better.

This morning, I ran an easy 7 miler (again, I am in the middle of a quasi taper week/down week) and I am just trying to get my strength back up. Tomorrow I'll plan on running another 7 miler with some strides embedded in for good measure. Believe it or not, I only started doing strides last week and the jury is not out yet. I'll keep you posted...

Thanks for reading (I would ask a question yet no one seems to answer them any more!) Ask me a question...I'll try and answer it...Ha!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Elizabeth 8k: Spada's recap!

...and boy did it feel good to race again!

Considering that my last race was mid December with the Thunder Road Half Marathon (unless you count the 5k TT on the track at PDS). The Elizabeth 8k is a beautiful rolling race of 5 miles held each early April in the Elizabeth section of Charlotte, N.C. It benefits the areas "green & clean" campaign and by the looks of the trees...it's working!

I had contacted Lesa and Danny White, the wonderful husband and wife duo of RMS Sports, to see if they had a # for me and they did...I was grateful! Thanks guys...

On Saturday morning when I got to packet pick up, I saw Lesa and she said that she reserved #1 for me yet left it at home and gave me a random #, this was a good thing since I just said hello to John Compton...Ha!

As I started my warm up, I quickly hooked up with Larry Seavers and he proceeded to tell me why the Red Sox will NEVER leave Fenway Pawk...OK, I'll play! My Yankees had recently moved into a new stadium. It was great to get the chance to run with Larry as he is an institution.

From there it was onto the Crockford Files! I had the pleasure to continue my warm up with Danielle and Chad Crockford who are both preparing for Boston and are such great company. Chad and I are of similar ability (he is clearly ahead of me, yet somewhat compatible and we do not train together). Danielle wins her share of races in Charlotte. Time to put on the flats...

Although I was sick the previous week, all that remained race morning was some crud in my chest which did not present a problem...I still have some. I got to the starting line and was ready to go. Elvis (the starter) put the runners on the left and the baby joggers on the right as we started together. That was better than having the joggers go first, at least for me...

The gun goes off and Chad takes off and I got right behind him. After the first turn, John Compton cruises past us and proceeds to run off into the distance (I think he finished in South Park!). I settled in nicely behind Chad yet there are 2 other runners with us. The 4 of us played cat and mouse for a couple of miles until it became evident that Chad and I were the stronger 2 of this lot. At mile 3 Chad and I were together and as we approached the next hill, Chad made a move and I didn't cover it until we leveled off and started to go down the other side. After that, Chad had had enough of me and proceeded to slowly tighten the noose at which point I realized that not enough blood was passing through my carotid artery, and other arteries for that matter, and I began to loose contact. I held my pace as he lowered his...no complaints here!

Approaching the finishing strait was the first time that I saw the clock which read 27:47 and I thought I might have a chance to get under twenty eight minutes...I did! Results below:

John Compton, 25, Charlotte, N.C.   26:02 (he was taken off course and lost seconds!)
Chad Crockford, 29, Charlotte, N.C.27:28 (9 days before Boston)
Stephen Spada, 45, Charlotte, N.C.  27:58 (Podium finish)

Danielle was first for the women!

My cool down was with John Compton who is a class act and it was really nice to catch up with him and I got to hear about his resurrection with KFill...he was stoked! 

Pleased with the training, the result and the effort!

For this week, my easy 10 milers will become 7 milers as I do a quasi taper for Saturday. I did do a 20 miler yesterday which felt ok and I will run a long interval workout tomorrow of 3 x 2 miles and then easy/recovery runs for Wed., Thurs. and Friday...we'll see!

 Comment: My son made the A team for his travel lacrosse team...my Wife and I are proud!  

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Gut check!

...I wanted to quit!

It's tough to do a workout when you're healthy. When you are under the weather (in my case with crud in the chest) it is extremely difficult.

I had been playing e-mail tag with Billy Shue and Paul Mainwaring to try to get a workout in with them this week yet I just couldn't get it to work out. That left me with my old reliable training partner Precor!

Goal: 5 X 1 mile @ 5:27 pace (11.0mph) and 1 % incline on the treadmill. 1 quarter mile recovery...

Actual: (See above). Somehow...I managed to grind my way through it! I used every kind of mental trick not to fall off the rear of the 'mill. Some people say that the treadmill is not the same as running outside. They would be correct! Nothing is the same as anything else! For me, without a physical body to latch on to, the belt is a nice alternative...

An easy 10 miler this morning, 8 and 6 on Thursday and Friday and then I may jump in a race on Saturday morning...we'll see!

Question: Who was the 1984 Olympic 3000m Gold Medalist?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Karhu Gummy Bears...Product Review

Ever Since I ran out of my large supply of Vanilla Bean Gu's last month, I have been running my Sunday long runs with no fuel...not good!

While perusing the stock of goodies on the table set up on the infield of Providence Day last week for the 100 x 5k, I came across Karhu gummy bears. I was never really a fan of gummy bears unlike my kids, yet I took a couple of packs thinking that they would come in handy for my next long run...Did they ever!

Saturday morning I ran a 24 miler and before I left, I stuffed my tights with the 2 packs of bears and headed out the garredge (British for garage...I stole it from Elton John). About 30 minutes into my run, I started to pop 1 or 2 gummy bears into my mouth after easily ripping off the paper closure. Mind you, I started this run a little under the weather. Although the texture was a little funky at first, the acids in my mouth mixed with my saliva easily started to break the bears down so that they were easily digestible and began to supply me with the needed sustained energy. As soon as I would swallow 1 bear, I popped the next one in my mouth. This continued all the way until I finished off the 2 packs of Karhu gummy bears.

One added benefit of taking in sustained energy in a small serving as these is that it really makes the miles fly by. Before I knew it I was at the two and a half hour mark with only 20 more minutes of running left. Although I did not feel well because of my minor sickness, the gummy bears were a huge help that I would recommend to any distance running who would like to keep their energy stores up for a prolonged period of time...thanks Karhu!

A special thanks to Meagan Nedlo and Jordan Kinley for supplying some of their product at the world record attempt last Sunday. A thanks, as well, to Scott Dvorak of Charlotte Running Company for supplying the T-shirts for the event.

Question: Before the London Olympics of 1908, what was the distance of the Marathon?
Bonus: Why was it changed?

 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Training Week

Not the most exciting post yet I did want to share with you last weeks training...

After last Sundays 5 thousand meters on the track which I ran averaging 5:30 per mile (that is exactly what my current training had been telling me that I should run), here is what I did last week regarding training (all done in singles*) *=singles is Mark Wetmorespeak for running only 1 run per day:

Monday: an easy 10 miler.

Tuesday: Hill repeats on the treadmill. After a 2 mile warm up, I did 10 X 2 minutes @ 10 miles an hour (6 minute pace) and a 5 % incline, followed by 2 minutes of flat running, 2 mile cool down to finish.

Wednesday: Medium long run day. I ran 13 miles at a comfortable pace. I only started incorporating this medium long run into my training week about 3 weeks ago and I plan on making it a weekly staple. Any distance up to 16 miles should be fine.

Thursday: an easy 10 miler.

Friday: Woke up with a sore thought. First time in a few years that I have even been remotely sick. Thank God! Just another easy 10 miler.

Saturday: 24 mile long run, run at a steady pace. Started at 5am and had a stuffy nose. I usually run my weekly long run (a staple of Lydiard) on Sundays so I wanted to do it on Saturday in case I race this weekend. Had some sugar along the way and it helped. Otherwise I didn't feel so hot.

Sunday: an easy 10 mile recovery run at dog pace. Stuffy nose, crud in the chest, etc.

Question: Name 5 of the great Finnish distance runners known globally as the "Flying Finns?"  

Monday, March 28, 2011

CRC's 100x5k Record (pending) Run...Spada's take!

If I were to use my standard line of, "it was awesome", in describing this past weekends events of the CRC's pending world record run of 100 runners times 5 thousand meters, I would be doing a huge disservice to the coordinators of this massive undertaking and the runners that ran, and Ben Hovis would probably role his eyes!

Since I was running an easy 10 miler Saturday morning, I thought it would be a good idea to run to PDS (4 miles away) and catch the start of the record attempt. Smart move! Although it was not Barbados weather, there was an electricity there as I made my way to the infield to get a close up of the morning's first runner, Ben Hovis, as he was completing circuit after circuit of 77's! As Ben was still running, I was able to run with the day's 2nd and 3rd runner, Megan Hovis and Mike Beigay (my replacement) and keep them company with their warm up. As well, I got to chat with Aaron Linz who was acting as lap counter (certainly no easy task!) Time to go...

After running to work to get lacrosse set up, I ran home for some breakfast, and then it was time for my daughters soccer game. After the game, my son had lax practice, yet I had to go back to the track to check on my club mates. My son just wanted to know when Jordan Kinley was running! As I saw how the weather was progressing, I felt for the runners who were slated to run Saturday afternoon into Saturday night...oh boy!

I was plenty rested Saturday, as I knew I had a big morning ahead of me with acting as captain, along with John Filette, for the 6am-10am Sunday morning "shift". John, a very nice grad student at UNC, and I were responsible for making sure that our 10 runners were ready to go. To make sure that I was warmed up, I decided to run to PDS Sunday morning. Before leaving, and since I did not have a CRC logo-ed singlet, I decided to red magic marker my stomach (abs was my nick name in college some 25 years ago!) so shorts, arm and calf sleeves and a cap were all I needed...

As I approached the track at PDS Sunday morning, the first person I spotted was Richard (you all know him as Rocky) Falcone and he was gettin' geared up! By the way, I loved how serious everyone seemed to be taking this event! Rocky proceeds to drop a 15:56 to get us yet another 1 % closer to the record. After watching Richard, I went over to one of the start/finish areas and had a nice chat with Billy Shue and Alex Wernikoff who had both already completed their runs in PR fashion...

On the other side of the track were standing Aaron Linz (yet again), Mike Beigay and Emily Barrett in full support regalia! After watching Jamaar Valentine run his leg (g's off!), I had the pleasure of cooling down with him (and he told me that he enjoys reading my blog and it was a pleasure meeting me...really? More than likewise! As I continued my warm up, I spotted a female who I thought might be Christine Witte (one of the runners that I was responsible for)...it was! She looked fit, and I would find out later that she was...

It's almost go time. The runner who went right before me was none other then Jersey girl Rebecca Tomasson and I was able to warm up with her and have a nice chat with her about all things New Jersey! So she takes off like a bat out of Heck and I look at Aaron and we were both like "I hope she doesn't die!" She stayed strong the whole way with such determination because I knew she was hurting! "Spada, you're up next!"...

When Rebecca was on her last lap, that is when I stripped down to my shorts. Since I hadn't raced since Thunder Road half in December and I am on my 13th straight 83 mile week, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. However, recent workouts told me that I could hold 5:30 pace...I averaged 5:31...not bad! I took it out from the gun and tried to put up with as much discomfort as possible. "The cheering that I received from the 20 other like minded runners that I passed on each circuit was chilling !" Now I can say..."it was awesome!"...take that Hovis...Ha! Enough about me...

Caitlin Chrisman and her posse came out to see my last 2 laps and I was able to do part of my cool down with her. Next up was some easy running with Daniel Eggers who ran for Charlotte Christian and was getting ready for his 5k portion. We got to reminisce about his quadruple that he ran on this very same track some 10 years ago (800m in sub 2, 4x800 in sub 2, a 2 mile in 9:53 and a 1600 in 4:33...good stuff! Next up was a 4 mile cool down with Eric Bilbrey. What happened all weekend is that you would see someone running who you didn't know, then you would start cheering for them by name, and then you would meet them afterwards. Very cool...

So anyway, Eric comes up to me after he runs and says, "Caitlin said that I should run with you because you know how to pace"...ok, I'll play! We had a nice run down to McAlpine and back and I get to find out that Eric was a 15:30 5k guy running club for UNC out of Tennessee...

It was now 10am and time to run home for some breakfast after running 22 miles. Not a bad little morning!

Although my son had a lax game that afternoon, I just had to go back and witness the trio of: Jordan, Megan and JC. They put on a show. A bunch of us including: Max (laxer), Paul Mainwaring (some said he never left), Michael Kahn (stitch at mile 1) Bill Shires (some said he had the toughest conditions) were on the infield kicking around the soccer ball as the runners were up to their neck in blood lactate!

Notable sightings included (and certainly not limited to): Larry Frederick, Scott Greenapple and Larry Seavers! 

A special thanks to all of the organizers of this very memorable event, to Providence Day for the use of the track, to the timing and video production company, to Ben Hovis and Aaron Linz and Emily Barrett for all of their hard work and coordinating efforts...Great job! Get that paper work to Guinness!

Question: Does anyone know if there will be a list of some kind that lists all of the splits for each and every runner?


   

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Corporate Cup & Shamrock out...Barbados in!

First of all, congratulations to all of you who ran in these recent races...you all put up some fine performances!

I had originally planned on running these 2 races to kick off my 2011 racing campaign. When we set up our Spring break trip to Barbados, it turned out that those 2 Saturdays would be our travel days. No complaints here...

Since we were leaving early on a Saturday, I decided to do a workout on Friday before we left. I went to the track and did 12 quarters with full recovery (1 lap), certainly nothing fancy. Then Saturday morning, I just did a steady 10 miler before my shower, oatmeal and car ride to the airport. When we arrived in Barbados, I was determined to do my easy and long runs on the sidewalks. It was challenging at times because the sidewalks are so suspect. I could open up a cement mixing business...ha!

So Sunday morning I head out for my 2 hour plus long run. Can you say hot and humid? Oh boy it got tough out there. Fortunately I was running at dog pace. Anyway, I made it back to our room and proceeded to eat and drink the rest of the day and night. I absolutely love vanilla smoothies!

Monday I decided to leave a lot earlier so it wouldn't be so hot out there. I ended up running a 10 miler easy.

Tuesday, I jumped on the treadmill to do a workout because I didn't feel like I would be able to stress myself on the roads with all of the cars and the suspect sidewalks. I decided to do 10 hill repeats at 10 miles an hour with a 5 % incline (for 2 minutes) followed by a 2 minute recovery flat. 10 of those is pretty tough...try it sometime!

Wednesday I did my first medium long run ever. I ran for 2 hours and 5 minutes and called it 17 miles. Thursday was another easy 10 miler which set me up for Friday's second stress er workout of the week:

I ran a 10 mile progression run on the treadmill in 57:55. I started at 6 minute pace and it took me a long while to get somewhat controlled. Then I just started rampin' it up...pleased to be done!

Saturday morning was another easy 10 miler before a little more time on the beach before it was time to come back home (to reality)...

Barbados is a neat Island in the West Indies. It gained it's independence in 1966 when it had been previously ruled by the British. 70 % of the tourists to the island are British. It is about an 8 hour plane ride from England and about 4 hours for US. The people are generally friendly and I managed to befriend a few of the locales who invited my son and I to watch some "footie" which is a term for soccer and we took them up on it! Very coll...    

 Question: What Barbadian sprinter won a medal at the Olympics in the mid-90's?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mile Repeats!

Since my wife and I had a "come to Jesus" 6 months ago with regards to the beep of the house alarm waking her up at 5am every morning, I have moved my runs to a more functional 8am start time. The goods news of this is that I am not falling asleep at my desk at 3pm. The challenging part is that my mid week stressor workout has to be done solo. Not to mention the fact that I no longer take part in the Miner's run. The treadmill is my new training partner. This brings me to this past Tuesday's workout...

I didn't know what to expect or how I was going to feel/respond to this workout since I had a hard effort on Saturday, a long run on Sunday, an easy run on Monday and I planted 9 shrubs on Monday night! Having said all of that, I decided to go with mile repeats as opposed to hill repeats. I like hill repeats because they put pressure on my circulatory system and force me to run with economical form like no other. I like mile repeats because they are mentally and physically challenging for over 5 minutes. Not to mention the fact that you induce mitochondrial proliferation...put that in your pipe and smoke it...Ha! So mile repeats it was...

My goal was to run (5) 1  mile repeats all at 5:27 pace (11.0 mph) and at 1% incline. All with a quarter mile jog. Mission accomplished. I've done this workout a few times now and it's funny because when I started I would use a 10 minute interval which was giving me four and a half minutes to recover. The miles are still very challenging, yet I am able to recover a lot sooner to the point where I am only needing to take a quarter of a mile or less to recover. That is good stuff that is in turn giving me more confidence with my tempo runs with the horses on Saturday.

Yesterday and this morning consisted of 2 easy 10 milers, before I work out with the varsity sprinters of my High School's track team Friday afternoon. A little speed session in store...should be fun! I'll go for an easy 10 miler early Saturday before we jump on the plane...

I was very sorry to hear the sad news surrounding Sally Meyerhoff's tragic accident. I believe she was a teammate at Duke of both Shannon Rowbury and Kelly Fillnow, and Caitlin Chrisman had a memorable encounter with her at her Olympic Trials qualifying race...Say a prayer!

 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Running long w/ Kahn, Ballentine, Martin and Clayton

For the first 6 Sundays of 2011, I ran a steady, hilly and solo 20 miler. After 6 weeks, I bumped it up 2 miles to a 22 miler. I just finished my forth week of this and I believe that I will continue to increase the length of this long run by 2 miles every 6 weeks up to when I start my New York City marathon training (I'll keep you posted).

Having done all of these runs solo, you could imagine how happy I was to see an e-mail circulate that a group would be meeting up at the Central (Dowd) Y for a Corporate Cup preview run at 7am. Since I usually leave my house at around 6am, I could run the 7 miles to the Y and do the loop with the group. Perfect...

My timing was perfect as I ran up to the steps of the Y at 6:59am and looked into the eyes of 4 sick runners!

They were: Kevin Ballentine (who I had never met before), yet we shared a love of lacrosse
Michael Kahn (who specializes in knocking large chunks off of his PR!)
Jason Martin (a talented local), and Clayton Venhuizen (?) who's name I knew yet had never met

Although the weather was miserable, we had a blast! It rained all day on Sunday, yet that could not keep us like minded folks from doing what we love.

Mike is planning on running the half marathon on Saturday that we previewed Sunday and as we were running up a hill, I would make a comment about how I would be thinking about his struggles as I was headed to Barbados! This was the same half that Jay Holder won last year with a solid 1:15. He'll be back...

With all of the rain that landed on me Sunday morning, my ipod did not survive the onslaught! I lost Cinderella, Poison, Marshall Tucker, Run DMC, Dire Straits, Bon Jovi, etc...I could go on and on!

Question: What was Deena (Drossin) Kastor's highest World Cross Country finish?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

2 By 4 Miles w/ the Horses!

So the call went out earlier this week by way of Coach Ben Hovis trying to recruit some studs for a workout out at McMullen consisting of (2) Four mile repeat/tempo runs with a 5 minute respite there in between.

I have to admit, when I saw who was going to show up, I was a little overwhelmed (Spada...you're in over your head!) So anyway, the players were Hovis himself, John, fresh off of his 70 minute half marathon Compton, and the always speedy Richard Falcone, and this 45 year old slug...that would be me!

We met at the park and did our 2 mile warm up. Got back to the lot for about a half mile of strides. A little more lallygagging and we toed the line...Go!

My goal for the 4 mile repeats were 23 minutes each. Actual: 22:18, 22:54

I have mixed emotions about the results (certainly not the effort). I am pleased that I was sub 23 on each one, yet I am somewhat disappointed that I wasn't more consistent with the times of each. Clearly, I went out a tick quick. Having the horses there really pulled me just out of my comfort zone (certainly not a bad thing).

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to run behind 3 of Charlotte's finest distance runners and I don't take that opportunity lightly...so thank you guys! They all rocked their workouts...Wow!

Still haven't raced since December's Thunder Road half marathon and no races on the horizon. My first race looks to be the 5 thousand on the track @ PDS on March 27th. We'll see...

Question: (This is odd)...What bumper stickers are people now putting on their car to show how far (and slow...ooch!) they've run?       

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Work bouts...a la Jack Daniels!

I followed Saturdays tempo with a long run on Sunday. I started this 22 miler knowing that I was not equipped with fuel/sugar/Gu, etc. So the question became...when would I bonk? I had passed a few people who had their Iraq belts on and they probably had all sorts of goodies in there. It wasn't until I was leaving Glen Eagles and making my way on to Quail Hollow that I was starting to hallucinate. It was at this point (mile 18) that a driver pulled up next to me and said, "Spada, you wanna doughnut!" He was kidding, yet my answer was...give me a doughnut! He didn't believe me at first. After he realized that I was very serious, he proceeded to tear the sticker off of the box of Krispy Kremes and handed me 1 glazed doughnut. I took it and was on my way and I hoovered it! No...I did not get a cramp! After an easy 10 miler Monday morning, it was time to go back to work for Tuesday's stress-or...

My goal was to do 10 hill repeats on the treadmill but this time with only a 2 minute recovery instead of the usual 3 minutes. Mission accomplished! I hold the speed for the hill portion at 10 miles an hour or 6 minute pace and the incline is at a 5 % gradient. Try it sometime...Jack Daniels equates those numbers with a 4:44 pace. I have no idea, yet it's a nice workout and you very much feel like you could fall off the back at any moment...

I ran an easy 10 miler this morning, I'll have another 2 easy 10 milers on Thursday and Friday before Saturday's monster workout...can't wait! Won't you please join us...

My training is actually starting to give me some confidence...dare I say that it is about time! I am very grateful that I am able to run so consistently and injury free...very appreciative!

Question (I know that I shouldn't ask this!)? What is up with Chuck Sheen?

 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

10 miles in 57:24...NOT on the treadmill!

While I tried hard to recruit more horses to help with the load of this workout, having Paul was awesome.

We rocked this workout! The reason why I posted that it was not on the treadmill is because I have been doing quite a few of my workouts on the treadmill. This 10 mile tempo run was performed on the path of McMullen starting at the start, turning around at the 5 mile mark, and running back to the start. The goal was 60 minutes...

We both got to the parking lot at just north of 6:30am, and proceeded to do a nice and easy 2 mile warm up. I was hoping that more people would show up yet this was not to be the case.  GO...

In my mind I knew that in November I had run a 58:50 for this same workout chasing Billy and running real well at the time. Right now, I am in the middle of my 10th straight 82 mile week so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.    

Paul and I said go and we were off! We rolled to the 5 mile turn around point in 28:48 and never looked back. Paul hit his watch at 56:58 and I was just behind in 57:24! I was jacked! 1 mile cool down...
 
A special thanks to Brian McMahon for the 2 shout outs!

With no races in sight, this was a very good workout for both Paul and I. Paul is racing next Saturday and I feel for his competitors...Ha!

Question: Does anyone else run on the treadmill?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Richard, Aaron, Paul, Jay...and Me!

Before Paul went on his Disney trip, he was smart enough to round up the troops (horses) for a brisk 6 mile tempo which took place last Saturday at McAlpine. For most, this would be followed by some track work up at Christian.

Before I tell you about the workout, I must say that I blew off my favorite training partner (CaitCris) on Friday for her workout which she nailed (Sorry!)

So Richard Falcone, Jay Holder, Aaron Linz, Alex Wernikoff, Paul Mainwaring and myself set off for a 2 mile warm up to the XC start. From there, we proceeded to run the next 6 miles at sub 5:50 pace (34:55). The guys in front of me looked great (I finished in the back) and from there I had a 2 mile cool down and the horses took to the track for some speed play. Great way to start the day...thanks guys!

For this Saturday, I am meeting Paul at 6:30am @ McMullen for a 10 mile tempo/progression run if anyone is interested...should be fun!

Question? He was just acquitted of gun possession charges along with attempted murder charges and is an Olympic marathon champion. Who is he?