Monday, December 29, 2008


Injured! Looks like I won't be racing on Wednesday....or maybe I should say I won't be running the rest of the year and some into 2009. On Sunday's run I experienced some pain on the inside of my right achilles tendon. The pain wasn't on the actual achilles tendon, but between the tendon and the bottom of the tibia. It hurt to the point that I had to stop every 4-5 minutes during the latter part of the run. The worst had yet to come.

After the run I did the stair stretch stretching the calves and achilles, first the right leg and then the left. When slowly lowering the left heel I heard a light crackling sound and began feeling a sharp pain on the left achilles tendon. I had just strained my left achilles tendon while stretching. I know it wasn't a rupture because I wouldn't be able to walk. I'll find out more on the injury after tomorrow's appointment with the doctor. For now I won't be doing any running. This is certainly not the way I'd hoped to end the year and start off 2009.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Training.....what training?

Training hasn't gone very well this week. Toward the end of Sunday's long run, which was 17 miles including 7 x 1/4 mile, I started to feel some lingering pain in the legs. On Monday's run I had to stop a few times to stretch my calf and achilles on my right leg and the soleus muscle on my left leg. I was having all sorts of trouble. Tuesday, I went for a run but ended up calling it quits after a half mile. My legs were very tight and I could still feel some twinges in the legs. I took Wednesday completely off from running. Christmas morning I did 7+ miles with 6 strides in the end. Friday was also a DNR (Did Not Run) as it was a long day of flying back to the Netherlands. Today (Sat) I went for an easy run and the legs felt good. I'm hoping the aches in the legs were nothing serious and that the legs just needed a bit of rest. If the legs feel good tomorrow then I'll do a short speed session to get ready for the 10K race on Wednesday night. I'm looking forward to this race as it will be my first 10k race in a long time.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Run in the Sun

I went for a run this morning and boy what a wonderful feeling it was to run in the sun (currently in California). It felt different running in cold sunny conditions. I guess it goes to show that I've gotten used to the Netherland's winter weather ....mostly cloudy, overcast, rain, very cold, snow, flurries, etc. I had planned to run only 10 miles this morning but ended up stretching it to 12 to get in a bit more mileage. The legs felt good and fresh because of a day off from running yesterday, due to traveling. Tomorrow will be a longer run with some faster pace running.

Today's run: 12 miles @ 6:43 pace
Thursday: 11 miles @ 6:50 pace
Wednesday: Noon - 4.1 miles @ 7:25 pace; PM - 7.2 miles @ 7:24 pace

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Legs feeling fine

I did a poor job of describing how tough the course was on Sunday's race, so I'll let this picture do the talking. All I remember during this part of the race was the burning sensation in the quads. They were screaming.

I'm quite surprised with how the legs are feeling. The morning after the race I woke up with some tightness and a little soreness in the legs, mainly the quads, but nothing too serious. I expected a lot more soreness than what I was feeling. Yesterday during lunch I ran 5 miles very easy to loosen up the legs. The run definitely got the blood circulation going and the legs started to feel better. Later that night I went for another run, 6 miles very easy.

Tonight, I linked up with the club at the track. We did a workout of 6 x 800 meters with 200 meters recovery. Paul did 1000s, so I latched on to him after his first 200s. I intended to run a few meters behind him at a slightly slower pace since I was still recovering from Sunday's race. I was shocked to see 76 seconds on the first lap and feeling quite controlled. From there on I just ran according to how I felt. The splits for the 6 x 800s were: 2:35, 2:32, 2:32, 2:32, 2:30, & 2:26.

Today's run: 8 miles including 6 x 800
Monday: Noon - 5M @ 7:32 pace; PM - 6M @ 7:32 pace

Last week's training.

8-14 Dec

Mon: 8M @ 6:59 pace
Tues: Noon - 4.5M @ 7:25 pace; PM - 9M including 9 x 600m (1:52, 1:50, 1:52, 1:49, 1:48, 1:52, 1:50, 1:48, & 1:51)
Wed: 8.5M @ 7:04 pace
Thur: 10M @ 7:00 pace
Fri: 6M @ 7:20 pace
Sat: 5M @ 7:20 pace
Sun: 19M total; Race - Mescherbergloop 15K: 56:41, 6th overall; 2.5M WU, 7.5M CD

Weekly Total: 70 miles

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Lesson learned! DO NOT wear road racing shoes for a trail or cross country race. It was a dumb and rookie decision on my part. It certainly cost me at least a minute, a couple overall places and prize money in the open category. Before the race my friend and I did a warmup running about 2.5 miles of the course, which is about 80% dirt (mud in most cases). It was my first taste of what I was about to experience. During the slow warmup I used my Asics training shoes (which I intended to race in) and was already having some difficulty with the footing. When I went to change into my racing clothes I decided to change my shoes as well to the Saucony Fastwitch 2. I honestly thought I could get away with it.

At the starting line, my hopes of a good race started to dwindle when I looked around to see what shoes all the other runners were wearing. It was obvious they ran this race before and knew what the course was like. Almost all runners wore cross country shoes (rubber spikes) or trail shoes. When we were waiting for the gun to go off my friend from the running club (AV Unitas) asked me if I had trail shoes. "Yeah, there at home." I really wanted to laugh.

I felt good in the first 1/4 mile of the race as this was one of the few parts of the course that was on pavement. As soon as we turned into the trails the slipping and sliding began for me. I literally was looking for the little rocks so that I can push off and get some traction and momentum going. About 3k into the race I could not help but watch the leaders slowly increase their lead. All I kept thinking about was why in the hell did I not bring my Nike waffle cross shoes. I ran alone for the next 5 kilometers with a couple runners in sight about 50-75 meters ahead. However, I was making up some ground on them each time we'd come across the hills. The toughest part of the course (that's an understatement because the entire course is tough) is the 9th kilometer, where there are a couple hills followed by a steep wooden stairway (about 180 steps). It was during this part of the course that I caught and passed the two runners I had in sight. On a downhill with mud one of the runners I caught quickly opened a 25 meter lead while I was focused on just trying to stay on my feet. I stayed in that position, which I later found out was 5th overall and 3rd in the open category, until another downhill (around the 13.5 km mark) when the second runner I passed flew by me. There was no way to respond as I continued to slip and slide and tried everything possible again to stay on my feet. I finished 6th overall in 56:41. You can view the results here (click on Uitslagen on the left and then Uitslagen Mescherbergloop).

All in all, it was a disappointing race for me. I probably needed a bad race though, because I learned something from it. Preparation! I need to do a better job of preparing for my races, knowing the course and terrain and choosing the right gear (shoes in today's case).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Greatest

First I raced Bekele at Seven Hills, now it looks like I'll have to take on Geb (Haile Gebrselassie) at the City-Pier-City Half Marathon in Den Haag (The Hague) on March 14. The Ethiopians just can't get enough of me. Okay, that was a joke! I'm excited that I'll have the opportunity to see "The Greatest" in person.

On Tuesday night's track session during the cooldown my Dutch friends and I were discussing races that we plan to run over the next few months. The City-Pier-City Half Marathon was one of the races we agreed upon. Even before we talked about our race schedule I had already planned for this race to be my tune-up for Rotterdam Marathon in April. I was happy when I read the news that Geb will be running it and trying to take back the half-marathon record. The course is proven to be fast; Beijing Olympic Marathon champion Sammy Wanjiru broke the half-marathon world record (58:33) in this race in 2007. As Geb tries for yet another record I'll be trying to lower my half-marathon personal best, which I'm confident I can get down to sub-1:13.

Ran an easy 10 today and 8.5 yesterday.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Simple math

Had a good speed session tonight with Paul and the club. The track was wet from rain earlier in the day, but luckily it wasn't cold enough to make the track icy or slippery. The workout for the night was 600 meter repeats, 9 total with 200 recovery. Before the workout Paul and I had a rough time trying to figure out the split for the 600s. We knew that we wanted to run 75 seconds for the 400 and then 37 seconds for the remaining 200. Now, how hard could it be to add 75 + 37 seconds? It was obvious math wasn't our favorite subject in school because it took us some time to do simple addition. We finally figured it out, 1:52 for 600m. We decided that 1:50-1:52 would be our goal split for the workout. The splits for the 9 repeats of 600 meters were:
1:52, 1:50, 1:52, 1:49, 1:48, 1:52, 1:50, 1:48, and 1:51.

The 600m repeats felt like a sprint compared to the last two track workouts, which were 1000-2000 repeats. I found the workout to be mentally easier by breaking the 600 meters into a 400 and 200. In most cases, we hit the 400 around 71-73 and the 200 at 37 seconds. Overall, it was a good workout and the body and legs felt strong.

The remainder of the week will be easy running because I'm running a 15k trail race (Mescherbergloop) with some runners from the club on Sunday. It's a tough course which includes a climb of 180 stairs.

Today's Run: Noon - 4.5M @ 7:25 pace; PM - 9M including 9 x 600m w/ 200m recovery
Yesterday: 8M @ 6:59 pace

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Finally some sun

Today's run was nice as the clouds finally made way for the sun. I think it has been about a week since we had some sun. Did 15 this morning, one mile more than the last couple Sundays. I'll keep the long run right around 15 miles or 90-105 minutes for the next 2-3 weeks until I begin my train-up for Rotterdam.

1-7 Dec

Mon: 8 miles @ 6:56 pace
Tues: Noon - 6.2M @ 7:02 pace; PM - 8 miles including intervals 2000 (6:30), 1200 (3:48), 1600 (5:08), & 1200 (3:45)
Wed: 8 miles @ 7:18 pace
Thur: 10 miles @ 6:57 pace
Fri: 10.1 miles @ 6:47 pace with last 2 miles at 6:15 pace
Sat: 6 miles @ 7:07 pace; felt like crap and legs were tired
Sun: 15 miles @ 6:42 pace

Weekly Total: 71.3 miles

Friday, December 05, 2008

December races

Had to post this picture. It is a classic shot of Bekele celebrating once he crossed the finished to take gold in the 10Km at the Beijing Olympics.

Ran 10 today. Mostly easy with the last couple miles slightly faster. I was planning on running a cross race on Sunday, but changed my mind because there are certain races I'd like to run over the next few weeks. I'm planning to run Mescherbergloop (15km hilly trail race) next weekend and then Sylvesterloop on New Year's Eve with my Dutch training partner, Paul. The Sylvesterloop is a 10k race at night and is known for its fast course. Paul took 2nd in last year's race running 31:50. I'm really looking forward to Sylvesterloop because it'll be an opportunity to try for a 10k PR on an actual 10k course.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Messy runs

The last couple days of running have been quite messy. A good amount of snow dropped in yesterday morning almost completely covering the trails and running paths in the Brunssumerheide. So yesterday's training was a snow run. Today, the snow on the running paths melted making the trails all slushy and muddy. After 10 easy miles it looked as though I was wearing black tights with brown backing. I had a good run despite the toes being all numb from stepping into a few puddles. Hopefully the temperature will drop a bit to harden up the trails.

Today: 10M @ 6:57 pace
Wednesday: 8M @ 7:18 pace

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tough workout

A tough workout tonight on a slippery track. It rained earlier in the day, and with the temperature in the mid-30s the track became slippery in many places. Paul and I managed to get through the workout without any falls; however, there were a few times when I had to make wide turns on the curves just to prevent a slip and slide. The workout was quite similar to last week. We did 2000, 1200, 1600, and 1200 with 200 meter recovery, just like last week walking the first 100m and slow jogging the 2nd 100m. I called this workout the 5-3-4-3, basically the number of laps for the workout. The planned splits were 78-second laps for the 2000 and 1600, and 76-second laps for the 1200s. I think we both put on our inner-GPS because we were almost dead on with all our splits (see below). The split for the last 1200 was a bit faster because we decided to push the pace in the last lap (73 sec.). These long intervals are very tough mentally and physically, but it's a wonderful feeling and a sense of accomplishment once it's all done.

2000: 6:30
1200: 3:48
1600: 5:08
1200: 3:45

Today: Noon: 6.2M @ 7:03 pace; PM: 8M with long intervals (2000, 1200, 1600, 1200)
Yesterday: 8M @ 6:56 pace