Back, and Faster than Ever

Just kidding about the faster than ever part.  I am back though.

Long layoff from the keyboard as a recharged my blogging batteries.  Meant to start back up as the Harrisburg Mile approached but one thing led to another and it didn’t happen.  The good news is nobody had to read about what I thought I would run and “hopefully this” and “hopefully that”.  Now it’s “just the facts”….

Backing up a ton, the past month has been a bunch of decent miles, with a couple track sessions thrown in the past 10 days or so.  We had a good time at the beach – lots of sun, fun, and 53 miles on the blazing Outer Banks roads.  Pretty high for me, ran through some slight soreness and got in 8-10 miles on 6 of the 7 days.  Also logged about 60 miles on the bike for an all-around good week.  That being said, I proved the age-old question about which affects weight gain/loss more, working out or eating.  Even with all the calories burned I managed to replenish them and apparently 18,000 “extras” via the cookie platter and beer cooler.  Shocked to see a huge number on the scale upon my return, still haven’t shaken all the pounds but it’s on my list of things to do.

Once back I worked a little, ran a little, and got in the HydroWorx pool as much as possible to avoid getting into a sore-leg funk.  I haven’t hit a 50+ number since returning, but have consistently been around 40-45 every week.  Got out to the track for one session of 6×400 (63-65’s) and then another day for 9×300 (46-49).  Have also done a couple sets of aqua-intervals, and even a handful of XC 1200’s with the boy’s team last week.  I don’t feel any sense of being “fine tuned”, but the volume has been there for a while, now hopefully the quality will get better as I start to approach a string of races.

I took it easy the past 4-5 days as I wanted to be fresh for last night’s race.  Some storms blew through in the afternoon, but all it ended up doing (thank goodness) was dropping the temperature from the mid-90’s down to the high 70’s.  Turned out to be a beautiful evening, sure the event organizers were counting their blessings as the turnout was great (over 1,700 entrants) as usual.

After sending off the rest of the family in their appropriate heats, I waited for the elite race which always goes off last.  They offer an ‘masters elite’ class, but since there are no prizes (don’t get me started) it doesn’t really matter if you to run in either your age-group or the elite unless you want to run with the fast guys – my guess is that most guys would rather break the tape in the 40-44 age group than come in 21st in the elite heat.  That being said, I think I may have been the only masters guy in the race.

I knew a bunch of the guys and gals, mostly through my coaching days since a majority of them are either in college or recent graduates.  I was certainly old enough to have been the parent of about 75% of them, and tried to play the ‘old man’ card to my advantage with the guys I was trying to beat for bragging-rights sake.  Most weren’t buying it (“Here we go again with the old-guy act, same thing every year…”) but it was worth the try.  Chip timed this year (a start), but the split clocks were reported to be totally inaccurate (shocker).  I should have paid more attention to this fact…

I knew there were a couple of guys capable of running around 4:10 or so, so my pace plan was to be 10 seconds or so behind them.  With all the modern technology out there, it came down to watching the leaders pass the quarter-mile mark then starting to count – “one-potatoe, two-potatoe…”.  Seemed just about right.  Same thing at the half, the AFU clock said 2:04 for the leaders though – that put me around 2:08, way faster than I wanted to go.  I backed it off a little bit, was really hoping to have something left at the end to finish like I did at West Chester back in June.  Hit the half in (idiot-operated) clock time of 3:12, began to think that I had the race of a lifetime going.  Hard to believe in hindsight that about 3:15 seconds prior to that point I told myself “TOTALLY DISREGARD THE RACE CLOCKS THAT EVERY SINGLE PERSON HAS LAUGHINGLY TOLD YOU ARE SUPER MESSED UP”.  Still, 3:12 and feeling good is flying….

Got to my 150m to-go point in relatively good shape, finished strong but not strong enough to catch one of my old understudies that I had in my sights.  Hats off to Mark Fuller for dodging a year of ribbing with an equally strong finish, thank goodness I passed his older brother Kevin so I was not swept by the Fuller gang (Brian was 3rd overall).  4:26 according to the race board, not quite the time I ran last year (4:22) but right about where I would have guessed/hoped I would have finished.  It was a fun race, and a pretty decent test to see where I stood.  Despite the time I gave myself to get fresh, I still had a lot of soreness in my legs and butt that I just couldn’t get rid of.   I’ll have to remember that for the upcoming races.

Will definitely be in the pool today, because if anything the legs are even sorer today and the massage hose is calling me.  I have a pretty decent schedule the next week or so so I look forward to some decent training before backing it off again for the USATF Nationals out in the Chicago area August 4-5.  It’s good to be back (in more ways than one).  Faster than ever?  We’ll see….


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, Cross Country Running, Deep Tissue Massage, Harrisburg Mile, Hydrotherapy, HydroWorx Exercise Pool, Interval Training, Running, Training for Runs, Uncategorized, USATF Outdoor Nationals, Water Running and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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