Working On The Night Shift

When Bob Marley so eloquently stated in his song “if it’s all night, it got to be alright..”, I don’t think he was hauling 70,000 lbs of “stuff” across the country though the night skies.  I’m guessing he was probably engaged in some other sort of activity that led him to become so enamoured with the “all nighter”.  Maybe someday I will share this love of the night with him, but for now I am about to put on the suit yet again and forego normal human circadian rhythms to keep commerce flowing…

Been 5 days since the last post, so far so good running-wise.  Like I said last time this week’s runs are sort of restricted with the race on Sunday – part of me just wishes I could continue to build back up without having this ‘interruption’, but I entered many months ago and hate to skip it.  All things considered my performance in this race last year was as mind-boggling as any I ran all season.  I had hoped to maybe PR, and ended up going over 2 minutes under my previous best.  Would love to catch lightning in a bottle again this year, only problem is that I feel slightly under-prepared for this years race and blowing up in a half-marathon could mean miles and miles of ugliness – been there, done that…

After I got back from my trip last week (Friday morning) I was able to eventually get in the pool for a long 75 minute run.  It felt good after the weeks pounding, and coupled with the day off planned for Saturday was a good start to a recovery period.  Finished things off as usual with the massage hose, found plenty of tender spots especially in my thighs.  Family road trip on Saturday, then back home to pack and go to work Sunday morning.

I left a little early for my Fort Lauderdale trip in order to swing by my grandfather’s place in Delray Beach, just up the coast.  Before heading up there I checked into my hotel and threw on the running stuff for a 10 miler up the boardwalk.  Like Chicago I just go up the main oceanfront drag and back – lots of people-watching both on the boardwalk and the beach.  I felt pretty good, ended up right about 1:05.00 – 6:30 pace.  Was starting to feel it at the end, but felt great to have it in the books after I stretched, iced, and showered up.  I hopped on the Tri-Rail train up to Delray to have a nice Caraba’s dinner and catch up with my grandfather.  He just turned 94, and fits right in on the Blue Hair Expressway down here where 21 mph drivers are the norm.  Woe is the “young” driver that passes him aggressively – you’ll definitely get a “damn bastard!” out of him for sure.  Great to see him, after his fall and injury this summer he is back in shape and gearing up for his next international voyage.  I can only hope to see 94, let alone be planning trips two years in advance to Muscat, Oman…

Spent the night in his condo then back to Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday morning.  Easier run up the same course, 7 miles in about 50 minutes (7:10).  Got caught in a monsoon on the way home which would normally be no big deal except as a suitcase warrior I now had soaking wet clothes and shoes to deal with.  Newspaper in the shoes and shirts and shorts over lit lampshades helped a little but this is not the best way to start packing and unpacking.  Flew Tuesday night from Fort Lauderdale-Fort Worth-San Antonio-Laredo.  Sounds long and hard because it was.  Arrived in lovely Laredo Wednesday morning wiped out.  Got a nap then an easy 5-miler though a local neighborhood – Laredo may sound cool in country songs but in reality it is no vacation destination (in my book).

Opposite direction Wednesday night: Laredo-San Antonio-Ft Worth-Ft Lauderdale.  A little easier going this direction because you have your eye on the prize all night – the Fort Lauderdale Embassy Suites continental breakfast.  I’ve never stayed in the Plaza in Central Park or the Beverly Hills Wilshire, so I am not going to claim this is the best breakfast in the world, only the best breakfast in the world for working stiffs like myself.  It didn’t disappoint, and I went to bed this morning with a full belly – I’d say I ‘fell asleep’ easily but it was probably more like lapsing into a sleep-deprived food-induced coma.

Christmas comes early - Embassy Suites Buffet

Eventually all good things must come to an end and I eventually woke up.  Had hoped to get in one more quality day before starting to wind things down for Hershey.  I admit I have no idea how much ‘rest’ is recommended before racing, but I’m going with 4 days.  Today I hoped to get in 8 miles, with the middle 4 or so at a race-pace tempo.  Warmed up the two miles to the actual boardwalk, then picked it up to around 5:50 pace.  First 2.5 miles pretty easy, then back into the wind I started to feel it just enough that I thought there was no need to push it.  Ended up knocking it off 3.5 miles into the tempo portion and jogging the rest of the way home.  8 total, not a bad run but I could definitely feel the last 10 days worth of work in my legs so I figured I needed to get them fresh for the race more than I needed to beat them up in last-minute preparation.

In the 10 days since Syracuse I have logged 57 miles on the roads, about 15 in the pool, and took one day off.  Coming off a very ‘kid-glove’ approach through the summer it has been quite a shock (albeit a good one) to the system.  I know that this work will not do wonders for my half-marathon performance on Sunday, but hopefully it will pave the way for me to continue to build up the legs and lungs heading into the fall and winter.  I will probably take tomorrow off (back to Laredo – yeah.) then when I get home on Friday hopefully a relaxing pool jog.  I feel like I am finally getting back in the game, mixing land and sea miles in larger amounts.  I don’t have a strategic plan as to where all these miles will lead me, but it’s a lot easier to formulate a plan when you are ready for anything than when you are just hanging on…

About Nick Berra

I am a 45 year old masters runner from Central Pennsylvania. I have been participating primarily in track events since turning 40 in 2009. This season has produced marks that I have not run in several years, I believe primarily due to starting a strength and flexibility program here at Elite Athletic Performance - I've felt stronger and faster than I have in a long time. That, coupled with lots of underwater running, has kept me healthy and fit - at this age those are things I no longer take for granted... I run USATF events with a team out of Philadelphia, the Greater Philadelphia Track Club. They are a great group who have played a big part in making the sport enjoyable for me again. I also run local races for HydroWorx Track Club, supported by HydroWorx here in Harrisburg PA. Their underwater treadmills and training center has proved to be a crucial part of my training, rehabilitation, and recovery programs. I set personal records in the 800m (1:56.06) in 2010 and in the 1500m (4:02:63) and mile (4:23.48) in 2011. Despite the fact that I am not getting any younger, I nearly PR'ed recently and set the M45 indoor world record in the 800 meters at the New Balance Armory in New York City. I ran 1:56.10, besting the 9 year old record by less than a second. I feel like there are still more big things to come... I am married and have two daughters. I am an assistant XC coach at my alma mater, Cumberland Valley High School here in Mechanicsburg PA. I am also a 1991 graduate of the US Naval Academy, currently working as a pilot for FedEx after serving 10 years on active duty flying in the Navy. Beat Army! Beat Army!
This entry was posted in Aquatic Fitness, Competitive Races, Deep Tissue Massage, Hershey Half Marathon, Hydrotherapy, HydroWorx Exercise Pool, Running, Tempo Run, Water Running and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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