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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...


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?"