Monthly Archives: February 2012

Emerald City Opener

It has been one week since I returned to the track for my first race since the Pan Am Games. After a long base period I chose to lace up the spikes in the 3000m at UW’s Husky Classic, and I’m very satisfied with the way it went for a season opener. After some debate with Drew about how to approach the winter racing season, we ended up agreeing that despite the fact that I love to race, the best course was to keep my sights focused primarily on training with a view on the big picture of the outdoor season and Olympic Trials. With that in mind, we decided to come up for air only one time and race an indoor 3k at Dempsey, mostly to get a measure of fitness and to break up the training.

Over the course of the winter, even though virtually all my workouts have been strength-related and off the track, I have spent a lot of time thinking about aspects that I need to work on in order to become a more effective track racer. Historically I am terrible about exercising patience, sitting tight on the rail in a pack, and I tend to spend a lot of time in lanes 2 and 3 during packed races. Drew and I had agreed that I would make a point of finding my way to lane 1 and staying there for at least a mile at Dempsey. As far as strategy was concerned, I definitely wanted to run to win, either by sitting and kicking or by biding my time and then moving with three laps to go. The entire field came through 1k much slower than I had hoped, and I got antsy when faced with the decision of what to do next. I ended up opting to move a lot earlier than I was supposed to, but I felt like it was a calculated risk rather than one made simply on impulse. From that point on I tried to balance squeezing the pace down while staying within myself since I was doing work a bit before I had planned. I wanted to have something in the tank to cover a move if someone tried to pass me or made a surge late in the race. When all was said and done, I was able to meet my goal and sneak under 9:00 for the first time in my life. Going into the race I had estimated my fitness to be somewhere in the 8:55-9:00 range, so I was happy to have that affirmed in my only track race of the winter.

Saturday evening I enjoyed dinner in Seattle and some time with coaching and running friends. I went for a beautiful Sunday run in Seattle, from the arboretum to Green Lake, via Ravenna Park. This week, following the race, I have begun a hill phase as I transition from base work and prepare for an upcoming altitude stint. Thus far I have had a very hilly long run at home in Santa Rosa on Wednesday and two great hill workouts this week. Racing last weekend was a little bit of a tease. It got me very excited for the track season, but now I have to put my head back down and keep laying down work for several weeks before racing again in April. Luckily, my trip to Mexico to train at altitude will provide a change of scenery and some great training partners for the month of March. Be sure to check back for updates on that trip in a couple of weeks.

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Pieces of the Puzzle

This week marks the third week that I have enjoyed the freedom to focus more on my own running without the pressure to spend too many hours in the office working behind the scenes as a coach. I still enjoy going to practice and picking my office hours more selectively, but I have also been able to dedicate more time to the aspects of being an athlete that extend beyond merely training.

In my last blog I mentioned the Sacramento Running Association and the great financial support they are giving me as part of their new elite team. In addition to funding a handful of athletes, SRA is also partnering with companies in the Sacramento area to help provide elite runners with necssary tools for success. So far, the most important component for me has been the relationship with Dr. Justin Lau at Elite Spinal and Sports Care. I have been working with Dr. Lau every other week for four months now, and we have developed a routine for general body maintence to keep me healthy and training at a high level. Based on the anecdotal evidence so far, this strategy it is paying off. My training has been completely uninterrupted since starting back after a break in November, and the quality of everything I do, from normal daily runs, to workouts, to long runs far surpasses the type of training I was doing six months ago, let alone last year at this time. The sessions with Dr Lau aren’t always enjoyable; in fact they can be very painful, and sometimes that’s hard to wrap my head around when I’m not even injured. But, as Dr. Lau likes to say, it’s important to “troubleshoot” for any tightness or weakness that may lead to a problem down the road so that we can avoid setbacks and continue to build consistency.

In addition to Dr. Lau, SRA just announced our latest partnership,  U.S. Cryotherapy. U.S. Cryotherapy is a facility in Roseville, CA that offers cold therapy treatment for the purpose of recovery and injury treatment. They offer cold chambers for total body recovery and localized treatments for specific injuries. Next week the SRA team is going to meet with the manager to tour the facility and learn more about the amenities offered there. I’m looking forward to finding ways to incorporate this new aspect of recovery into my training.

The SRA elite team is in it’s early stages but I am very excited about the support they are offering to athletes in the area and look forward to helping the team grow. I’ll be proud to put on our uniform for the first time on February 11th when I race the 3k at the Husky Classic in Seattle. As all athletes know, but sometimes forget to mention, it truly takes a team of support to get an athlete to the line, fully prepared when the gun goes off. Over the past two and a half years, since leaving the college setting, I have grown more acutely aware of the need to adopt a active approach with regard to all forms of recovery and rejuvenation in order to run my best every day and on race day. I consider myself fortunate to have superb resources and support in my path as a professional runner and look forward to representing Sacramento Running Association as I reap the rewards of the hard work that so many have invested on my behalf.