Indy Monumental Week 3

This was scheduled to be a down week. I killed it :)

The week started off like any other with a Monday morning run with Alexis.

Tuesday was hot and humid, but I still had a solid 6 x 1600m workout. The goal was to run these at 5:35-5:40 pace with 45 seconds rest between them. After the first two I felt that I could run that pace for a half-marathon; after the 3rd one I was sure I couldn’t. I took a little extra rest after the 3rd one and then ran the 4th one too fast. Splits were [5:38, 5:38, 5:34, 5:25, 5:34, 5:35]

Wednesday morning I pushed max in the stroller and ran East Nasty with Erica. Pushing a kindergartener is definitely harder than the last time I pushed Max in the stroller. That evening Greg and I ran two loops of the East Nasty route pretty quick in the rain, but still slower than marathon pace (6:36 average). That feels like a weird pace that is harder than an easy run, but not hard enough to count as a workout. Still, it was a lot of fun :)

I was supposed to run Thursday – Sunday, but I didn’t. Instead I had fun with Erica on our little weekend getaway to Destin, FL. It was good for the soul and good for the body – somethings are more important than marathon training.

Now I am back and it is back to work. Well-rested and motivated to put in the work.

Monday 5 miles easy.
Tuesday Threshold workout: 6 x 1600m + drills
Wednesday 4 miles easy while pushing a stroller with Erica and East Nasty 7 miles at 6:36 average pace
Thursday  7 miles easy Flight to Florida
Friday “cross train”: sailing more sailing
Saturday “cross train”: casual swimming in the ocean recovery run at 20 minute pace aka long walk on the beach with Erica
Sunday “cross train”: cruising around on a jet ski with Erica “cross train”: standup paddle boarding in the gulf

Vacation Email Lifehack

I’m on a plane. Then I’m going to be on a boat. Then I’m going to be on a beach where I will probably post one of those annoying “legs on the beach” selfies. Then I am going to eat some really good food and drink copious amounts of wine.

In order to enjoy it fully, I need to do a good job of disconnecting (this is really hard for me). The problem is that I also need to be available in case something urgent comes up (the other problem may be the I have no self-control). Knowing I am available if needed makes it easier to m be unavailable unless needed. Regardless, I came up with a pretty badass way to disconnect from email (unless needed).

This solution even keeps me disconnected when I break down and check email from my phone.

Step 1: only use gmail or Google apps (sorry, only way the hack works)

Step 2: create an auto-responder.
If your email address is, let people know that they can still reach you by re-sending their email to This works by using the unlimited gmail+ email addresses.

Step 3: create an email filter from a search for “”
Set the message to “skip the inbox” and tag them “vacation”

Step 4: go on vacation

Step 5: check your email while on vacation
The only emails in your inbox are the urgent ones.

Step 6: when you return, process the vacation folder and turn off the filter and auto-responder.

Now, I am going to go relax. :)

Here is how I actually ended up processing my vacation folder:

  1. Using the Gmail web interface, I searched for “label:vacation is:unread” and quickly selected all of the messages I could completely ignore.
  2. I then chose “Mark as read” for the group of messages selected in group 1 (removing them from my search view).
  3. I scanned the remaining messages for anything I just needed to review or read and read those.
  4. I then moved the remaining messages from my search query to my inbox.
  5. Tured off the auto responder.
  6. Back in business with a relatively small inbox :)

Indy Monumental Week 2

Last week I stated that my goal for this week was to “fill in some more boxes,” meaning to run more doubles. I failed at that. Still, it wasn’t a terrible week.

My left calf has been bugging me off and on since that mile race a couple of weeks ago. This week the calf was fine during the hill repeats on Tuesday, but destroyed me on a relatively easy run on Thursday. I think I am going to try dry needling and see if I can’t get it fixed.

While I didn’t get in as many runs or as much mileage as I wanted to, I did have a good 18 mile run. I was going to run extra and get up to 20, but my calf started to hurt again during the last mile. This marathon-specific cycle is getting off to a slow start, but I still feel confident that it will all come together at the right time.

The highlight of the week was definitely running with Erica (my wife). Last year we ran together quite a bit. We ran Bongo to Bongo on Sunday morning with a group training for the Nashville Women’s half-marathon. I think if I play my cards right, Erica might let me run the Women’s half with her.

Next week is scheduled to be a down week. That is good b/c it is also going to involve some downtime for me. I plan to take recovery very seriously next week. I am also going to do some “cross training” in the form of sailing along the Gulf Coast.

Dave had me scheduled to run the Best Buddies 5k, but since I am out of town I might hop in a 5k in Florida. Racing when traveling is always fun – you get to meet new people and never know who your competition will be. It looks like there is a race not far from where we are staying, so I will probably jump in and introduce Northern Florida to Nashville Running Company :)

Monday 5 miles easy
Tuesday 6 miles including 10 x hill repeats (3 short, 4 long, 3 short) + drills kickball
Wednesday  6 miles easy with East Nasty
Thursday  8 miles hilly
Had trouble with my right calf and had to cut this short.
Friday  Gave my calf some rest
Saturday  18 easy
Sunday  10 easy

Yeah, only 75 days left. I am going to have to run more than that. :-/

Indy Monumental week 1

The Summer of Speed is over so it is time to start training for the Indy Monumental Marathon. Life got in the way and the Spring season did not go how I had hoped. Then I spent the Summer racing and focusing on shorter distances in an effort to not get burnt out. Now, I am excited to start ramping up the miles, working on my strength and endurance, and seeing if my new mid-distance PRs can translate to better form and a faster marathon.

This was the first week and it is going to take me a couple of weeks to shift gears.

Monday 5 miles easy
Tuesday 6 x 1000m @ I pace w/ 2:00 rest + drills
3:16, 3:18, 3:16, 3:16, 3:16, 3:14
Wednesday 5 miles easy (East Nasty) 8 miles easy (Shelby dirt trails)
Thursday 10 miles hilly (this was TOUGH for me)
Friday 6 miles easy (Lipscomb dirt trail)
Saturday Enthusiastic cheering for Erica and the NRC race team at the Tomato Fest 5k
Sunday 15 miles w/ 6 miles working from 6:24 – 6:03 (very humid)

I missed some runs and didn’t get as much mileage as I was supposed to. I also accidentally lost 4 pounds early in the week which I think is what made Thursday’s run so incredibly tough for me. On the positive side, I was glad that Greg and I nailed our goal paces on the 6 x 1000m and glad we did the 6th rep when the schedule called for 5-6.

During Sunday’s long run I was able to make an adjustment to my stride that made it feel like I was floating along like an East African. The adjustment was to focus on picking my feet up quickly (while still focusing on keeping my hips forward).

Next week I am going to run a couple of more doubles to fill in more boxes. I also want to start doing drills twice a week instead of just once.

My Summer of Speed is Over

I am done. This was a great experiment, but I am tired of racing every weekend and ready to really start training like a marathoner again. While I had initially intended for the Summer of Speed to last a couple of more weeks, I did at least end on a very good note…

As of last weekend, I am officially the fastest* man†‡ in history§!

In 2012, Mark Miller put on the Music City Mile (great race, we should make it happen again). During the lead up to that race, Mark was talking about the possibility of single-age state records being broken. Somehow this seemed like an attainable goal to me. While I only ran a 5:08 that year, I never conceded that the goal was out of reach. Last Fall I took a shot at the record for 36 year old men (4:51.7) and fell short (4:54). Last weekend I had another shot at the Smyrna Parks Dash for Cash, 8 days before I turn 37.


Going into the race I felt well-prepared to run under 4:51, but until you do it you never really know. Dave (coach) and Koko (training partner) ran with me to help with pacing. My plan was to run an even race with 71 second quarters (1:11, 2:22, 3:33, 4:44). Justus David was also there, so I wasn’t thinking about racing at all and just wanted to hit my time.

Standing at the start line I didn’t feel particularly ready. Erica and Zavier were there to watch as were most of the people I train with, so the pressure was on. The gun went off and we took off. I tried to run relaxed and focus on keeping my hips forward and feeling graceful. The start was a slight incline and after about 250m we turned right. At the 1/4 marker Dave mentioned that we were a little fast and we went through in 67 seconds. I backed off the pace a little to make sure I didn’t crash and burn and let Justus go. At the 1/2 mark I looked at my watch and saw 2:23 which was 1 second slow of my target. I immediately worried that I had accidentally slowed too much and might not be able to make it. There was a weird S-turn that we had to straighten out, so I didn’t really notice anything else until we hit the 3/4 mark in 3:33. Right on schedule! At that point I heard Dave yelling for me to speed up, then Koko started yelling for me to speed up. I felt great and started to push harder. I kept accelerating until the clock came into view.

There were two clocks at the finish line. The one on the left was messed up and not readable – it looked like it came into view at 4:50. The one on the right was reading 1:05:30. I was kinda confused by the clocks and started to realize that I missed my goal. I was in 3rd place, but while looking at the clocks I was passed and found myself in 4th place. I didn’t want to give up, so I ran hard through the finish and stopped my watch.

Only I didn’t stop my watch. Or I did, but it was acting wonky and kept going (was set to “elapsed time” instead of “time”). I thought my watch said 4:42 when I crossed the line, but when I looked down for verification it was over 5 minutes and still going. I knew the first 2 guys were younger than me, but started to worry that the 3rd place guy could also be 36. Luckily when I asked him he said he was 31 and asked if I was 40. (uh, thanks?) All that was left to do was stand around and wait for the official results to know if I hit my time or not. I was pretty sure, but not positive.

After pestering the results tent a couple of times I learned that I had run 4:42.15. I found Erica and told her, but she corrected me and let me know the results were posted and I ran a 4:42.50. I assumed I misheard the results guy, but it turns out I ran 4:42.15 chip, 4:42.50 gun. Either way it was well below the mark and I was now a single-age state record holder in the mile.

Notice how this side of the clock is completely readable :)

Notice how this side of the clock is completely readable :)

In the competitive running world this is a pretty inconsequential record. But it is my record and I worked for it and stayed focused on it and I got it. Next year I will try to get the 37 year old record.

Now, it is time for marathon training to start. I am done racing for a while and am excited to see if this little experiment will translate to a more efficient and faster marathon once I put in some miles.

* on a certified 1 mile road race course with official timing
† man must be a current resident of the State of Tennessee
‡ man must be 36 years old at the time of the race
§ races run entirely in the State of Tennessee

Summer of Speed: Week 10

Monday: 5.1 miles @ 8:35
Ran the Monday morning loop with Britt, Alexis & Matt. My legs were pretty beat up from the miles last week.

Tuesday: 3 x 1k, 6 x 200m
Trying to do some mile-specific workout in July. The goal for the 1k repeats was 3:20-3:17 with 3:00 recoveries. I ran 3:19, 3:18, 3:17. Afterwards I put on the track spikes for the 200m repeats, but didn’t run any of them all out. Those were in 33, 32, 33, 31, 32, 30.

Wednesday: AM 7.6 @ 7:15, PM 4.1 @ 6:47
Both runs were with East Nasty. I ran the extra 2 before and after the AM run. The evening run was quicker and I didn’t add on.

Thursday: 5.8 @  8:15
Ran on the dirt trails with Christopher.

Friday: Firecracker 5000m in 16:56
Unlike recent races, I ran an actual warmup for this one. My left calf was feeling pretty sore and my legs were stiff – I needed a warmup to get things loose. Standing at the start line I felt dread, but then the gun went off and it was a race.

The weather was perfect (for July 4th). I think I ran pretty even splits. I wish I could have run faster, but it is nice to have a legit sub-17 road PR in the books. I ended up taking 3rd overall and was awarded a couple of really cool etched glasses – definitely one of the coolest trophies I have ever received.

Saturday: off
I stayed up really late on celebrating Freedom. That resulted in my sleeping until almost 11am on Saturday. I could have forced an evening run, but I decided to give myself a break.

Sunday: 16 miles @ 7:18
This was my longest run since February (or maybe even January). I was unreasonably nervous about it, but it ended up being a pretty easy run. Matt and I ran a mix of dirt trails, greenways, and some ridiculous hill on the roads. Aside from Matt pushing the pace a couple of times*, I never really worried about being able to run the full 15 miles (which ended up being 16 miles).

Summary:  50 miles
I recovered from the previous week’s mileage surge, had a good track workout, and ran a new 5k PR on the roads. Next week I hope to push the mileage back up to around 70 so that I can continue to build a base for marathon training.

* I was the one guilty of pushing the pace. Matt said he didn’t want to read me blaming him on my blog, so I kinda had to.

Summer of Speed: week 9

This week was a little different. Last Sunday Zavier, Carter, Jacob, and Henry left for Michigan to visit their maternal grandmother. Erica, Cali, and Max flew to California to visit Erica’s family. This left me all alone in the house, so I figured I might as well run a lot.

Monday:  AM 6.0 miles at 8:05, PM 6.1 miles @ 7:41
Started the week with a run around downtown with Alexis – just like every other week. In the evening I ran a shortened route on the dirt trails of Shelby with Christopher.

Tuesday: AM 12 x 300m @ goal mile pace, PM kickball
I want to do some mile-specific stuff this Summer, so Dave has me do 12x300m targeting 52 seconds each w/ 90 seconds rest between them. I have never run 300s before and struggled a little with the pacing. Overall I hit more 51s than anything and only one rep was too slow.

Also, we are trying to work on my form a little. During the reps I was focused on keeping my hips forward (I tend to sit when I run). We also did a full set of drills after.

The reps were: 51, 49, 49, 51, 51, 53, 51, 52, 49, 51, 51, 49

Wednesday: AM 7.7 miles @ 7:23, PM 8.1 miles @ 8:10
The morning run was with East Nasty. I added on the extra 2 before and after the run. The evening run was on the dirt trails of Shelby with Lindsay, Emily, and Leah. It was nice to not run the same East Nasty route again, especially since it was so hot and muggy.

Thursday: AM 8 miles @ 7:54, PM 8.2 miles @ 7:05
Morning and evening runs were both on the dirt trails at Shelby. The morning run was with Christopher. For the evening run I threw on some headphones and ended up running a little progression run. I forced myself to back off the last mile since I wanted to make sure I was ready to go again in the morning.

Friday: AM 8.1 miles @ 7:45, PM 8.1 miles @ 7:26
The morning run was on the dirt trails of Shelby with Christopher. My legs were starting to feel pretty beat up.

I really wanted to go run the Fleet Feet Track Attack races Friday evening, but it just wasn’t a good fit for a week where I am trying to get in some decent mileage. So I ended up running at Vaughn’s Gap with Hunter, Jeannette, Drew, and a couple of other guys. We ran onto the trails and into Edwin Warner. It is hard for me to make it out to Percy Warner for runs, so this was a good thing to do while the family was out of town.

Saturday: Gay 5k in 18:23
I had no desire to run a fast 5k. The Summer of Speed is getting old and my legs were feeling the impact of the increased mileage (see what I did there?). I decided to run 18:30 pace with Dave and Lindsay.

Sunday: AM 11.2 miles @ 7:45
Greg, Lindsay,  Christopher, and I ran the dirt trails in Shelby and then Greg and I ran a few more (before Greg peeled off for some tempo miles).

Summary: 84 miles.
This was a good week. I ran doubles 4 days, had a good workout, ran a longish run, and ran a 5k (even it I phoned it in, it was still a decent effort). I thought I might be able to get a few more miles in, but I also didn’t want to push it and risk over-doing it.

Next week I will run 50 or 60 miles and hope to take the 5k a little more seriously. Then maybe I will start working the mileage and long runs back up.

Summer of Speed: Week 8 – halfway!

Monday: Yep, ran 5.2 miles with Alexis at 8:09 pace. My legs are starting to feel a little fatigue as I gradually increase mileage.

Tuesday: 4 x 1000m with Greg. He did 8x 1000m, but I was worried about doing a truly hard effort since this would be the 5th hard effort in 10 days. Plus we are running a 3k on Thursday so that will be 6 hard efforts in 12 days. Plus I have the Shoney’s 5k on Saturday, so that would be 7 hard efforts in two weeks.

After the workout we did some drills and exercises with a group. I DEFINITELY need to be doing more of this. The lunges hurt, my form on the drills needs work. I am glad Dave made us do these. Hopefully I can get to where I am consistently doing drills and exercises twice a week.

Wednesday: Double Nasty! In the morning I ran The Nasty at a 7:39 pace. In the evening I ran The Nasty at a 7:09 pace (and it was HOT and HUMID and MISERABLE). However, when we got to the top of Mt Nasty, there was Beth Meadows with water and popsicles–definitely a welcome treat. (If you would like someone to run with your dog in Nashville, Beth is your answer.  If you call her, tell her thanks for the popsicles.)

Glad to have 12 miles for the day, but that is a tough way to do it :)

Thursday: In the morning I ran 6 miles on the dirt trails of Shelby Park with Matt McCue (more on that later). It was cool to be able to show an out-of-towner my favorite hidden treasure in Nashville. At the end of the run just past Hidden Pond we say 10 deer hanging out in a field.

Andre passed me about 5 seconds after this picture was taken.

Looks like I am leading in the final stretch, but Andre had already finished :)

In the evening Greg and I went down to the Nashville Striders Summer Track series. We had decided to run the mile instead of the 3k. My new track spikes arrived just in time so I had to lace them up and race in them.

It was a fun race. At the start there was a little jockeying for position and I didn’t get out quick. However I quickly decided that the pace was a little too slow and found myself in the lead after 200m. I lead until just after halfway when Andre Hillsman glided past me and quickly gapped me by 15 meters (he ran a 4:29 earlier this year). I tried to pick it up with 400m to go and then again at 200m. I had a good race and ran a 4:48. That is another PR and 4 seconds faster than last week’s PR. I can go faster still.

Splits were: 76, 73, 72, 67. I think I closed the last 200m in 29 or 28. I sent the splits to Dave and he said “Just think how fast you can run if you wore your big boy pants for the first 600m.”  Touché Dave. Let’s try that.

Afterwards Matt joined Erica and I for dinner with the kids. We got to spend some time talking about the balance of training for my hobby, running my business, and being a good husband and father to my family. It was cool that he got to see what dinner is like with our big family.

Friday: Greg and I ran an “easy” 8 miles out and back on Davidson and the Greenway. I say easy, but we ended up averaging 6:48 pace. He is putting in some serious miles this Summer. I hope I can keep up with him this Fall when we start training for Indy.

Saturday: Shoney’s 5k (not really) in 15:40. It was hot and hilly, but I think I ran a pretty good race. Especially since I went into it hoping to run easy. The course was short, but it was a fun race.

Sunday: 8.9 miles on the dirt trails in Shelby. It was 90 degrees out when I ran, but the humidity was pretty low. I ended up averaging about 7:00 minute pace for this run, and it never felt like I was running hard at all. I tried to focus on my form on this run, specifically leaning forward at the ankles and trying to get my foot to land under my center of gravity. I have a lot of improvements to make to my form and I think focusing on it during easy runs is the way to go (plus drills).

Summary: Another week over 50 miles. Another mile PR on the track. Double Nasty. Drills. No rest days. Sounds like a winner to me!

Focus on One Week

Competitive training as a distance runner is a lot like running a business. Doing both at the same time has made me better at both (it also has made me appreciate sleep more). One of the things I have learned from marathon training is the importance of focusing on one week blocks.

Here is a typical training week:

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Easy run Track workout Double (AM & PM easy runs) Medium long run Easy run Long run Easy run

Continue reading →

Summer of Speed: Week 7

Monday: 5.0 @ 8:30 with Alexis – in the rain. It was one of those morning where I was grateful to know she would be there. We didn’t even have to text to confirm that the run was still on. Reliable!

Tuesday: Track workout at Rose Park with the group. 5 x (800m in 2:49, 30 secs rest, 400m in 72, 2 minutes rest). Greg and I clocking 80s on the track again. Dave jumped in to help with the last set as I was getting a little tired.

Splits for the 800s: 2:51, 2:49, 2:45, 2:49, 2:48
Splits for the 400s: 71, 72, 71, 72, 69

Before the workout we did some exercises and drills. It was VERY humbling. I used to be able to knock out ab exercises, pushups, and squats like nothing. Now, I got nothing. I couldn’t do crunches for a minute. I wobbled on 60 second planks. I couldn’t do a one-legged squat on my right leg. Luckily I was able to knock out the set of 30 pushups easily. I have some SERIOUS work to do and had no idea my strength had deteriorated so much.

Wednesday: 6.9 miles @ 7:24. Seth and I ran the extra two first and then ran Easy Nasty #11. I wasn’t able to make it to the evening run because I was celebrating St8mnt‘s 10 year anniversary with Erica and her coworkers. (The picnic was great and 10 years of successful business is quite an achievement. WTG!)

Thursday: 6 miles at 7:00. This was a nice solo run on the dirt trails in Shelby Park. Sometimes I really enjoy getting out there alone, throwing on some headphones and running a short progression run. Splits were: 7:38, 7:20, 7:01, 6:56, 6:38, 6:25. That isn’t really a workout, but it is a solid aerobic effort and definitely faster than my easy days.

Our nanny was able to work late and Erica had a meeting, so I went down to the Nashville Striders track meet at Rose Park. The plan was to race the mile if my legs weren’t too trashed. There ended up being a great turnout and there were 15 or so people in a <5:30 mile heat with several targeting sub-5. The pack got out fast and I quickly found myself bouncing around in the back of the pack. I slowly worked my way up to 3rd where I stayed. I ended up running a 4:52 (new PR) and felt like I could have definitely run harder. I am also really pleased with my splits: 76 (409m), 75, 73, 68.

Also, I ordered my first pair of track spikes. I am not sure how much I will use them, but I would have used them at MCDC last week if I had them in the closet. Not sure if I will use them in next week’s Striders 3k or not. Fleet Feet Nashville* is going to be putting on some Friday night races at Hillsboro’s track. I think I may try to jump in some of those too. Track racing is fun!

Friday: I ran 7 miles with Emily and Lindsay at around 8 minute pace. They got up rediculously early so they could do a 15 mile long run. I just joined them for the last part of that. My legs feel pretty beat up after 3 hard efforts in 6 days. I opted to spend the day in some Swiftwick 12″ compression socks to try and help them recover. Next week might be a good time for a massage.

Saturday: I ran the Fatherhood 5k on the trails out at Fontanel.  It was nice to change it up and do something a little different. With this being my 4th hard effort in 7 days (and 3rd race!), my plan was to keep it as controlled as possible while running for place. Joey (who ran a 15:24 last week at MCDC) was also running it, so I was running for 2nd place. :)

The course was well-marked and had course monitors throughout – a big improvement from what I hear it was like last year. It was definitely hilly and with the recent rains it was also very muddy and slippery. I was grateful that I was able to back off the pace a bit after the first mile.

It was pretty chilly Saturday morning, so unlike recent races I actually ran a warmup and a cool down. That gave me just under 7 miles total for the day.

Sunday: I went out to Shelby Bottoms and ran circles on the dirt trails to get over 12 miles at around 7:20 pace. This was my longest run in weeks. (months?) It was hot and I felt like I was moving really slowly. That run put me over 50 miles for the week.

Weekly Summary:

  1. 52.9 miles (highest since March)
  2. Solid track workout.
  3. Mile PR on the track.
  4. Trail 5k.
  5. Longest run in weeks.
  6. No rest days.

That was a damn good week.