Playing Ketchup

Would love to blame my absence on technical difficulties or something out of my control, but I can’t say that’s the case.  Been a little busy – spent the early part of the week in Memphis for my be-annual simulator training, home for 2 days, now in Fort Myers for final push of the busy winter/spring – a clear calendar finally awaits.  I also read something recently that said getting more sleep may be linked to being better rested, so I’ve skipped the midnight blog sessions the past couple days in exchange for an earlier bedtime –  we’ll see if there is any foundation to this crazy theory….

Anyway, like Mia Wallace in “Pulp Fiction” said, it’s time to catch up.  After the high stakes race on Saturday, took Sunday off.  Seemed like a good day to give the legs a little rest, plus it was non-stop action between mass, soccer, soccer party, then to the airport to get to Memphis.  Hard to call that a “rest” day, but that’s how I am logging it in the books.

After class all day Monday I got in an easy 7 miles around the dark roads of Northern Mississippi.  Was waiting for some sort of rabid raccoon or wild boar to jump out of the roadside jungle, but thankfully the run was just marked by the sparrow-sized mosquitos and a whole bunch of rustling noises.  Easy and fairly uneventful miles.

After my simulator on Tuesday (successful – bought myself another 6 months…) I killed the rest of the afternoon by driving out to Shelby Farms and running in the giant park.  Waited until 6:30pm trying to beat the heat, probably cooled off to the low 90’s by then.  8 hot miles, easy cruise pace (6:50-7:00).  15 total for the two days, figure that is plenty of maintenance miles for this point in the season.

Home through the night, got a little nap Wednesday morning then to the HydroWorx pool.  Was scheduled to go to the track on Thursday, so 45 minutes in the water was a good way to give the legs a little break without taking a day off.  The water has been cooler than in the winter, so it was a refreshing break from the roads.  Massage afterwards since I’ve felt a little sore lately – have only taken about 2 days off the last 3 weeks or so, think it might be catching up with me a little bit so every chance I have to hit the legs with a little massage I think will help.

Thursday was supposed to be the third or fourth day in a row of sweltering temps – mid to high 90’s with typical muggy humidity.  Woke up early to try to beat some of the heat, got to the track around 8am with the truck already saying 82 degrees – better than 95 I guess.  The “Master Plan” called for 5×1000 in 2:40 – don’t know where he got that pace, but I think I would need 2-3 DAYS of rest between intervals to make that happen.  Have never run those even under 3:00, so I figured I would use that as a target and try to keep the rest around 1x or so.

Warmed up for 2 miles as I felt particularly creaky that morning.  Drills, some leg swings, then on my way.  3:00 1000’s is 72 second pace – easy to remember if not to hit.  First one a little fast on the start (69), but not bad for me.  Adjusted slightly, finished smooth close to target – 2:58.71.  Used 1 lap shuffle as the rest – can’t exactly call it a jog, but don’t think I would have been legal on a racewalk either.  Rest ended up being about an “active” 3:30 each time.  #2 about the same as the first one, time almost identical – 2:58.62.  Might have been 2:58.60 had my shoe not come untied at the 400m mark, will have to work on that before worlds.  #3 Started to feel it a little bit, tried to relax the best I could and ended up holding my form pretty well.  2:58.86 – hanging in there.  #4 started out ok, but the lactic bomb hit pretty quickly.  Didn’t struggle to hit the splits, but was working much harder than I had hoped.  Forged through it, finished strong but went to the well to do it.  2:57.27 – decision time.  I don’t like to change a workout in order to make it easier or dodge the hard work it sometimes takes to “get it done”, but at the same time I don’t think killing yourself to see something through that doesn’t necessarily accomplish the intended goal is productive either.  I was left with 3 options:  #1 – stick with the rest, run another 1000 no matter how bad I tied up.  #2 – take more rest, come close to training at the pace I had intended.  #3 – stick to the rest, shorten the distance, train at the pace and get in one more solid interval.  Went with option #3 (always pick the longest, most descriptive answer – test taking 101…).  Question then became what distance – 400/600/800.  Went with 600 (when in doubt, always pick one of the middle answers – test taking 102).  Manned back up after the lap shuffle, turned it up a little bit and hit the 600 in 1:36.02 (64/32).  Probably could have gone 2:20 in an 800 in hindsight which might have been a better choice, but I was happy with the result of the 600 so no sense in looking back.  1 mile cool down, stretch and strength on the track in a kiddie-pool sized puddle of sweat…

To Memphis Thursday night, then here to Fort Myers by Friday morning.  Just did a run never to be featured in Runner’s World’s “Rave Runs” – around this “malltown” perimeter road 3 times for 6 miles.  In and out of parking lots to dodge some of the mall traffic, usual 90+ degree S. Florida temps.  Gotta do what you gotta do sometimes.

Plan on some more water miles tomorrow (Saturday), the hopefully a race on the track on Sunday.  Had really been looking forward to another “downhill dash” mile road race on Saturday, but it would have conflicted with the first swim meet of the summer (and the first ever for my ‘mini-team’ daughter) so I felt bad about missing it for one of my races.  Racing on Sunday (hopefully) allowed me to avoid dropping these trips and I got me to the swim meet – made the most sense.  Sunday’s meet is a masters ‘association’ championship outside Philadelphia (Widener Univ).  I’m thinking of running an 800m again – the start time is a couple of hours later than the 1500m which is important when you are driving 2 hours, and I think I will be able to handle that distance solo and without interrupting my training better than the longer race.  I’ll see how I feel after the HydroWorx session tomorrow but as of now all systems are a little worn down but ready to go.  Two weeks to Eugene, four weeks to Worlds – plenty of time to rest in the fall…


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, Hydrotherapy, HydroWorx Exercise Pool, Interval Training, Masters Running, Masters Track, Outdoor World Championships, Running, Track Sprints, Training for Runs, USATF Outdoor Nationals, Water Running and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Playing Ketchup

  1. What a crazy week. Sounds like you made the most of it though. I am headed to the Perk Mile after all: hoping for anything under 6 minutes at this early stage of the mid-life comeback. If I’m up to it, I’m heading down to Widener as well. Look for a short guy about 40 seconds back in the 800m. 😉

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