Vol 2 – The Visit By Athena

Week #2 of catch up…post-Widener.  After the race, I spent the following day in the pool. An easy hour with a post-run massage.  I didn’t feel too bad for the day after a race, but I figured I might as well play it safe and try to nip any soreness in the bud.

The following day was a fun one, as I got an out-of-town visitor up to Enola to check out the HydroWorx facilities and their world-famous pools.  While waiting to fly home from Bloomington back in March, Julie Hayden of Athena Track Club fame asked about the pool and its capabilities.  I was unaware of her background in aqua-therapy and training – she was well-versed in everything ‘water’, teaching and training folks down in Virginia regularly in the pool.  She was interested in adding the underwater treadmill to her resume, so we spoke of her coming up to check it all out.  Fortunately, we were able to find a mutually agreeable date for her to drive north and get together with Anson Flake, the HydroWorx president and my original connection to the company.

Julie made the trek north Monday morning, and the three of us fired up the pool in Anson’s home to show her what it was all about.  She had done tons deep water running and training with various aqua resistance devices, but had never been on an underwater treadmill.  She seemed to like what she saw, and got to play on it for about an hour while Anson and I showed her the ropes.  It was fun trading knowledge and ideas, and it’s always easier to show someone how the pool works rather than trying to describe it in a blog or at a meet.  After a quick lunch she hit the road back to northern Virginia, hopefully even more sold on the great qualities of water workouts.

Julie Hayden hammering the HydroWorx treadmill

Julie getting in some aqua-miles while Lazy Blogger stands around as usual.

Since I spent most of the morning letting Julie play with the pool, I hit the Appalachian Trail that afternoon for 9 good miles.  Back to work that night, ended up in Columbus, OH on Tuesday morning.  They have a nice greenway trail, so I went from the downtown hotel to the Ohio State campus and back, another good 60 minute run.  Columbus-Newark-Chicago Tuesday night, went long for the third day in a row on Wednesday in Chicago.  Probably about 26-27 miles in the first half of the week, not bad for me.  Chicago-Newark-Boston Wednesday night, followed by a USAir flight home to Harrisburg.  Grabbed some sleep whenever I could along the way, so when I got home I had enough gas in the tank to get up to the pool for an easy 45 minutes just to get some work in for the day.

Got out to the track on Friday, an all-too-rare occasion but better than nothing.  The Cumberland Valley track was being used by the team when I got there Friday morning due to the holiday routine, so I ventured over to the other local high school (Mechanicsburg HS).  10×400 with 800m in between, 66-67 on the quarters, 4:00 for the 800 meter rest.  The 400s were probably about 80%, but with the ‘rest’ being more than just a recovery shuffle it almost became half fartlek/half intervals.  Two mile warmup, then knocked out the intervals without too much difficulty.  Was happy with the effort, the sheer volume of the workout started to wear on me by the end but other than that I think my form held up (I have been working on that a lot lately) and I still felt like I had some hop in my step even at the end.  Mile cool down put the entire workout right at 10 miles – pretty solid way to kick off the Easter weekend I thought.

Not much the rest of the weekend, worked a quick overnighter Friday night so I just took Saturday off and chilled out with the family and friends.  Tried to hit the trail on Sunday after unleashing all my pent-up Lenten chocolate craving on the poor, unsuspecting chocolate bunnies perched helplessly in the kids Easter baskets.  It was ugly, with the ‘calories consumed’ meter pegged on “TILT”.  Sure enough, about 1 minute before my turn-around on the out-and-back run I failed to navigate a rock and popped the same ankle that has been loose this entire winter season.  There was no way I could walk it home due to the distance and my “be there or suffer the consequences” time table for Easter dinner at my parents house.  Rather than fail to heed my mother’s “suggestion”, I fought off the pain and kept the ankle warm by just powering through.  It was ok on the flat surfaces, but when I hit even the smallest uneven area I was struck with a white-hot reminder that there was still something wrong down there.  Eventually made it back to the truck and then to the dinner table with seconds to spare, had my ham with sweet potatoes and an ice compress.

Tomorrow will conclude ‘Operation Catch Up’.  It will begin with me hobbling back into the pool of course, and will end with quite possibly the worst thing that can happen to a serious racer of any age or ability.  I was furious!  Did somebody steal my Gatorade after a tough workout?  Did my favorite shoe company change the color of my go-to kicks to pink and green?  Was I cut off at the start of a road race by an idiot youngster trying to get his picture in the newspaper?  Tune in tomorrow to see what injustice I was forced to endure….

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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 Competitive Races, Deep Tissue Massage, Hydrotherapy, HydroWorx Exercise Pool, Running, Running Injuries, Track Sprints, Training for Runs, Uncategorized, Water Running and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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