Saturday, September 27, 2008

Answering life's many calls / Training week 9/22-9/28

This week was very busy as we spent most of Wednesday at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital having Noah’s skull checked out (to determine the cause of the anterior flattening), and then from Thursday to Saturday night I was on full-time kid duty as poor Anne was very sick with strep throat. I felt terrible for her. She couldn’t ride her horse or have any fun. To top it off, she had to go to work to take care of some very sick patients—oh the irony….

Fortunately, Noah’s not going to need surgery. He has some positional flattening of his head that we’re going to address with a (super expensive) head band/helmet that will round out his skull. I cannot tell you how relieved we were that surgery was ruled out! Watching him get sedated (twice, since the first CT didn't provide the exact images needed) was awful enough. I can't imagine seeing Noah get wheeling into the OR for major cranial surgery. We'd be beside ourselves.

A big thank-you to family, friends and fellow runners, co-workers and others who have kept us in their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.


In other news, Scott Jurek yet again won the Spartathlon, a 152-mile mountain race in Greece that Yiannis Kouros dominated for years. This was Jurek's third straight Spartathlon (the photo above is from the 2006 race). The guy is amazing. I would love to see him take on Kouros in the Great One’s prime. I would give the nod to Kouros but you never know what would happen. I think you have to crown Jurek the greatest 100+ miler in U.S. history. Eric Clifton's up there, too.

That said, it bothers me that the mainstream sports media has given no coverage to Jurek's Spartathlon victory this year. I don't ask for the event to be covered live or even by tape delay--ultrarunning isn't exactly a spectator-friendly sport. All I ask is for his victory to be acknowledged. I honestly think people would fall out of their chairs if they knew there was a 152-mile foot race and that an American dominated it. I guess ESPN is more interested in covering what Pacman Jones is up to....

I think the sport needs to do a much better job of promoting its superstars, starting with Jurek, Michael Wardian et al. As it is, the world knows about only one ultrarunner--Dean Karnazes, who isn't even close to Jurek and Wardian but yet seems to effectively promote himself, his antics and his "brand" to a national and worldwide audience.


Despite a lot going on in our personal life, I had a decent training week, logging 85 miles with a quality track workout and a somewhat cobbled-together tempo run on Sunday. Here’s how the week went:

PM: 5.7 miles easy during lunch
I ran in beautiful Shaker Park, where I’m able to find peace and quiet despite being in a somewhat urban environment only a mile or two away from work. My left Achilles tendon/lower calf was still quite uncomfortable from Sunday's long run but not terrible. With Noah’s hospital visit only two days away, this run was more about stress relief than anything.

AM: 8.65-mile track workout at Chagrin Falls High School
My Achilles/lower calf strain was pretty much behind me when I stepped on the track for this 5x1600 workout--one of my better track workouts in a long, long time. I kept getting stronger with each lap and had excellent leg turnover. My last interval was my fastest. My times were 5:56, 5:55, 5:55, 5:55 and 5:45 with 400-meter recoveries between each interval. With that last interval being 10 seconds faster than the others, the question becomes: Was I going fast enough for the first four intervals? Maybe I should dial it more for my next 5x1600.
PM: 6.7 miles during lunch in Shaker Park
Total miles for day: 15.35

PM: 5.6 miles comfortably hard
This was the big day – the day we took Noah to Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital for his CT scan. We got to the hospital at 7:30 and didn’t leave until 3 p.m. as they had to re-CT him. Anyway, we got the news we wanted--no surgery. Thank God! As for running, the day didn’t leave much room for it. With Anne now getting sick and not being able to go near Noah, I was barely able to squeeze in these 5.6 miles, of which I ran the last 2.5 at 6:30 pace, before going on full-time “kid duty” for the next 48 hours.

AM: 8 miles at 7:30 pace
My legs felt achy and heavy, like I was fighting off a bug. Or maybe they were dead from the previous night’s hard 2.5 miles just a day after my track work.
PM: 7 miles during lunch in Shaker Park
My legs again felt really achy and heavy. I was having major doubts as to whether or not I could get in a good tempo run.
Total miles for day: 15

AM: 7.5-mile tempo run (6 at tempo pace) on my treadmill
I was originally planning to run 9 miles at tempo pace but Anne was really sick and couldn’t get out of bed, so I got in as many miles as possible with the baby monitor next to me in case Noah needed attention. I had to get off the treadmill by 6:15 a.m. to get him fed and off to childcare. My splits were decent but the run was inadequate as far as distance: 1) 7:27, 2) 6:30, 3) 6:20, 4) 6:15, 5) 6:12, 6) 6:07, 7) 6:00 and 7.5) 3:52.
PM: 7-mile semi-tempo run during lunch down MLK and back
Not content with my morning’s tempo run, I settled into a comfortably hard pace down MLK and back. My splits were 1) 7:41, 2) 7:09, 3) 6:49, 4) 6:36 (uphill), 5) 6:20 (uphill), 6) 6:24 and 7) 7:17. This was a great workout and allowed me to finish the day strong.
Total miles for day: 14.5

AM: 8 miles easy on my treadmill with Noah next to me
Anne was still very sick—running a 102-degree fever—meaning I needed to stay at home to look after her and Noah. So I passed on the South Chagrin Reservation trail run and instead got in a few miles on the treadmill with Noah.

AM: 20.5-mile hard, long run in Solon with the Southeast Running Club
Even as I’d started to feel the effects of a coming cold (which I’m now battling), this was an awesome long run. I ran the first 14 miles with Jeff U. and Paul R. at about 7:20 pace, and then sprinted up Hawthorn Parkway chasing after—who else?—Hawthorne himself, who seems to push me to go hard. I needed to catch my breath upon getting to the top of the parkway, but Hawthorne continued down SOM Center Road. So I took off after him, clocking some pretty strong splits to finish off a great 20.5 miler: 15) 7:08, 16) 6:30, 17) 6:29, 18) 6:29, 19) 6:49, 20) 7:29 and 20.5) 3:45. I wanted to run a strong mile 20 split but the wheels had begun to wobble a bit….

Total miles for week: 84.65
Total miles for month: 363.9
Total miles for year: 3,012.83

This coming week is my last hard week before beginning my Columbus Marathon taper. I'm fighting a nasty cold but my goals are:

  • 90+ miles
  • 2x3200 and 1x1600 at the track--5:50 pace for all
  • 8-mile tempo run

Onward and upward!


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  2. Good news about Noah. I don't know how you managed to get in such a good training week with all of that going on.

  3. This Hawthorne guy sounds AMAZING!!!!!