Saturday, February 14, 2009

Back to... Athletic Performance

It feels good to get back to running, although my leg injury is still painful, but bearable. I have used the words shin splints in earlier posts, but it's actually lower and on the anterior part of the ankle. Thankfully, it is localized and not spreading, and, like any inflammation, the pain is more after than during the runs.

After Jed Smith 50K last week, my legs were really soared until Tuesday morning. There is some re-training to do after you stop for a few weeks and use a 50K race as your initial "training" run... I met Bob at the track and I jogged for 5 miles to loosen my calves up while Bob was doing his repeats. Bob has trained consistently through the winter, he should be well prepared for Napa in two weeks.

I ran a 5.65-mile loop with Michael, an ILOG/IBM colleague, on Wednesday and Friday. On Thursday, a good track workout with Bob, clocking repeat miles between 5:45-5:49.

Back to the title of this post, I went back to the Los Gatos track this Saturday morning. It has been several years since I did run on the track of the Wildcats. My last visit was actually last year to see Max competing on the mile. It reminded me when I joined the group and met Leo and Bob in particular, back in June 2004 (it is good to keep dates in my log...). In addition to Saturdays in Los Gatos, we were, and Bob and I are still, meeting at Homestead High School in Cupertino, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:45 am. I had named our track practice group after Leo: LEATHER, for Leo's Early Athletic Track Homestead Event Runs. Three years ago, Leo moved to Eugene, OR. We are missing him, but the tradition remained. Here is a picture of Leo, Bob, at the pasta party we had at my place the night before my first win at Ohlone 50K:
Luckily, it rained all night (we need water!) but not this Saturday morning. The track was wet and the temperature cool, but ideal conditions for some tempo running. On Thursday, Pierre-Yves (Couteau) told me he was running the Valentine Day Fun Run 10K in Campbell. It was tempting but I preferred to remain focused on putting some last minute training for Napa with a long tempo run this weekend. Bob had told me he would go for a 4-mile tempo at 5:55 and I had planned to use this initial pace to launch my favorite marathon workout: 10-miles under an hour.

Bob did not show up however, nor did Angelo. At the start of the tempo run were Antonio (Arreola, 2:58 a few weeks ago at the Phoenix marathon), Michael (Gilbert, 7:18 at last year windy Ruth Anderson 50-mile) and Derek. Caught in the excitement of running a tempo run on this pristine track, I started on a pace close to 5:40-5:42. At mile 2, I informed Brad that I was going for 10, without saying 10K or 10 miles... I was able to keep that pace for at least 6 miles, slowing down a bit in mile 7, to just under 6 minute/mile. By mile 8, the others were long gone and Brad said he had to leave too. But he actually stayed for the last 2 miles, which motivated me to keep pushing the pace to the end. I completed the 40 laps in 58:17, i.e. 5:49 average pace. Too fast for a whole marathon, but a confidence building work out. My second fastest 10-mile workout (57:15 at Homestead in 2007), getting older... I am thankful to Brad for staying for an hour, something he had definitely not planned for. Every week he starts his Saturdays by a visit to the track to clock whoever decides to show up for a tempo run. Unless he is pacing another runner in an ultra somewhere (like next June at Western States). What a dedication to our local running community! Here I am with Brad, after he gave me 40 splits this morning...
I paid a visit to his running store in Willow Glen, Athletic Performance, after cooling down (with the 2-mile warm-up, that made a half marathon on the track this morning). In addition to Brad, his wife and their dog, the store was packed and busy with a gathering of a local Jeff Galloway running club. Brad gave me some advice to help cure my injury, including icing which I need to do more consistently (not so convenient at work...). Back home, Agnès reminded me that Brad had actually helped Alex finding the appropriate running shoes for his low arch, or lack thereof, 3 years ago. With Brad's professional advice and his coaching experience, this is definitely a top location to buy running shoes and apparel. Address: 1115 Lincoln Avenue in San Jose (408-297-0100). And NFI (No Financial Interest) as we say in advertising or recommendation posts on the ultralist...
Like most of the retailers, the economic crisis surely hits running stores hard. Someone recently told me: during these time, people go for an haircut every 5 to 6 weeks instead of 3. Yet, you cannot put twice as many miles in your running shoes as before, without risking an injury. Furthermore, let us not forget that these running stores have given a lot to the community through sponsorship of local races. So, make sure to visit your local running store! (Just got the news on Friday that "Up & Running" in the Foothill Shopping Center closed this week much unexpectedly without notice). Tough times...

Bottom line, like I said last week, I have decided to get back to training through the injury, with Napa coming in two weeks, then Way Too Cool, two weeks later. I will tell you how it goes... In the meantime, run happy and... Happy Valentine Day, all!


Anonymous said...

Bon, tu peux donc "quand même" courir!
Bon entrainement donc (et courage à tous les américains face à la crise...)

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

I continue to be impressed by your speed. Hope your workouts continue to go well.