No More Mr. Nice Guy!

This was supposed to be the post in which I was able to share some good news, to recount a successful race, to say I’m really on my way back. Alas, it is not to be. My knee is fine, so don’t fret about that. But I ran a 5K last weekend in 21 minutes. 21 minutes! That’s 6:45 pace and I had figured, with my race in June at about that pace, and a summer of good, uninterrupted training, that I’d be down closer to about 6:20 pace, at least under 6:30. But no, no, no (that’s one for each mile, in case you are wondering). 6:45’s. And I was working! I wore my Garmin and my heart rate stayed right around 175 the whole time. I mean, that’s about as hard as I can run.

music-alice-cooper-no-more-mr-nice-guy-poster-SC3118I’d rather say nothing about this and wait another 6 weeks or so and then report on a good race, but I’ve got my obligations, right? And instead of focusing too much on that race, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to declare that I’m making a change. The main part of it being that I have adopted a “No More Mr. Nice Guy” attitude. This means I’m not going to use my injury as an excuse any more. I can run 4 days a week, I can run 90 minutes at a time. That is plenty of space in which to make some progress, so let’s do it!

I went back to look at my training log from just before I got injured, 3 years ago, to make sure I wasn’t misremembering and setting my expectations too high. But three years ago I ran a four-mile race in 23:40 (5:57 pace), I ran 2 five-mile races in just over 30 minutes (6:00 pace), I ran a half marathon in 1:24 (6:25 pace), and then the marathon that busted my knee, sent me to surgery, had me on crutches for six weeks and away from running for eight months in 3:01 (6:55 pace).

participation-medalThat kind of running is all I’m asking for and I don’t think that’s greedy. I mean, to be nice to myself just one last time, my relative slowness makes sense. My total mileage over these last few years has been very limited. A year ago I could not have run 6:45 pace to save my life. So I am making progress. But it’s not enough, so I’ll say it again, No More Mr. Nice Guy! No more participation trophies for me. I’ve got to really start kicking my ass: around the track, on the lakefront trail, up and down whatever hill I can find, until it hurts and then beyond, and then a little more.

Of course, it’s not an easy thing, to run beyond one’s current capabilities, but that’s what PS_0065W_HERE_ASSI have to do. A few times in the past I’ve snuck up on good fitness, just running a lot and feeling good, but that is clearly not going to happen this time (21 minutes!). I must me more deliberate. I’ll still do my cross-training, because I can’t run every day, but those will be easy, recovery days. And I’ll need them to be because I’ll be tired from kicking my ass on my runs.

Of course, since I’ll be exhausting myself during workouts, I’ll be pretty spent and probably as mellow and nice as can be to everyone else in the world. I’m just directing my anger to my slow, underperforming body. And I’ll still be nice to my knee, of course. I need to treat what is left of my knee as nice as I possibly can. I’ll avoid standing around for long times, I’ll wear good shoes, I’ll do stretches, and strengthening exercises, I’ll take my anti-inflammatories, I’ll zap it with the Acuknee every night. Whatever the knee wants, the knee gets.

But as for the rest of me, well, let’s get to work.  I mean, I’ve still got a chance, don’t I? This isn’t futile, is it? Well, if I don’t get back in shape, at least I’ll know it’s not because I was being too easy on myself. If I fail now, it’ll be with the knowledge that I sufficiently kicked my ass and pulled out of me whatever is left. If all I’m good for is a 21 minute 5K, well then…..ah, no, what are you saying? It’s not a 21 minute 5K. You can run faster than that. I know you can.

I won’t bore you with any training details, but feel free to bore yourself with my last 7 weeks of (non ass-kicking) workouts…

Aug 3-9
M: pool swim one hour + 15 minutes easy in lake in evening (1.25)
T: 7 miles including 4 half-miles on trail in 3:17 (still warming up), 3:07, 3:01, 2:55, felt okay, lake swim (1.5)
W: easy 20 mile bike ride, tired all day (1.0)
R: 5 mile run, felt okay, but tired all day (0.75)
F: easy run, felt okay (0.5)
S: Olympic Distance Triathlon: 2:34:09: Swim 27:24, bike 1:19:29 (18.7), run 42:55 (6:55) (2.5)
S: easy bike ride  (0.5)

SWIM: 4x/2.25
BIKE: 3x/55 miles/3.0
RUN: 21 miles/3.0
TOTAL TIME: 8.25 hours

August 10-16
M: 4 miles easy run, 30 minute lake swim (1.0)
T: track workout, 2 wu, plyo+strides, 4 1200’s in 4:28, 4:28, 4:26, 4:24, about 2 ½ minutes rest, felt pretty good, 6 miles total, 30 minute lake swim, wavy (1.5)
W: 25 mile ride (22 @ 17.8), 30 minute lake swim (2.0)
R: hills and track workout, 8 hills + 8 200’s in 35-38, 8 miles total, good workout! (1.0)
F: easy 25 mile bike ride (1.5)
S: Madison 2.4 mile swim 1:20, felt good (1.5)
S: 12 miles with 10 miles timed  in 76:20, very hot, body tired all the way, tough run, but good end to a hard week (1.5)

SWIM: 4x/3.0
BIKE: 2x/50 miles/3.0
RUN: 30 miles/4.0
TOTAL TIME: 10 hours
August 17-23
M: weight workout + 30 minute swim (1.0)
T: 5 mile run, body felt heavy and tired, biked 1 hour (1.5)
W: 5 mile run through Ole Miss campus (0.5)
R: 8 miles including strides and plyo, then 6 ½ steady, 8 strides at end (1.0)
F: swim practice, good workout (1.0)
S: 8 miles, 4 easy, then 4 at good, steady pace (1.0)
S: 3 miles easy in the rain (0.5)

SWIM: 2x/1.5
BIKE: 1x/1.0
RUN: 29 miles/3.5
TOTAL TIME: 6.5 hours
August 24-30
M: 4 miles, 2 ez, then 1 ½ hard in 9:43 (6:29 pace), with wind so it should have been faster, form felt good but legs a little heavy (0.5)
T: rest day
W: 4 ½ miles easy, biked 30 (with 25 at 18.3 mph), legs felt good (2.25)
R: 8 ½ miles including 8 hard 200’s on track (untimed), good workout (1.0)
F: 20 mile bike ride, felt okay (1.25)
S: 6 miles, hilly course, good effort (160bpm average) (0.75)
S: hiked 1.5 hours, knee didn’t love it, but was okay

BIKE: 2x/50 miles 2.75
RUN: 23 miles/2.75
TOTAL TIME: 5.75 hours

August 31-Sept 6
M: 33 mile bike ride, felt okay, but rode comfortably (2.0)
T: 6 miles (timed 5 in 36:55), very hot and muggy! (0.75)
W: swim 1 hour (1.0)
R: 7 miles including 4 half-miles on trail: 3:03, 3:02, 3:04, 2:58, super muggy, good workout, 30 minute lake swim (1.5)
F: biked 25 miles, steady effort, legs felt pretty good (1.5)
S: 12 mile run (94 minutes), felt okay, longest run in a while (1.5)
S: Biked 25 miles, legs felt pretty good (1.5)

SWIM: 2x/1.5
BIKE: 3x/83 miles/5.0
RUN: 25 miles/3.25
TOTAL TIME: 9.75 hours

Sept 7-13
M: 1 hour swim at Ohio Street Beach (1.0)
T: 6 miles along lake with 6 strides on track, felt good (0.75)
W: 4 miles on track at night, easy pace but legs felt good (0.5)
R: 9 miles, 3 ½ warmup with strides, 6 Kenwood hills, average 3:06, felt pretty good (1.25)
F: Easy bike ride, very windy (1.5)
S: 1 hour ride along lakefront, super windy-some tough stretches (1.0)
S: 11 mile run along lakefront trail, felt good for 6 then legs pretty tired! (1.5)

SWIM: 1x/1.0
BIKE: 2x/40 miles/2.5
RUN: 30 miles/4.0
TOTAL TIME: 7.5 hours
Sept 14-20
M: 1 hour swim, felt good, but times slow (1.0)
T: 4 ½ miles easy, muscles tired (0.5)
W: night run on track, 2 wu, mile of strides/drills, 2 miles in 13:06, felt pretty good (0.5)
R: short swim workout: 25 50’s on 1 minute (0.5)
F: easy 20 mile bike ride (1.0)
S: 5K race in 21:00 (6:45 pace), 6 ½ miles total (0.75)
S: North Shore Century 100 miles, some fast stretches, some slow (5.0)

SWIM:  2x/1.5
BIKE:  1x/100 miles/5.0
RUN:  15 miles/1.75
TOTAL TIME:  7.25 hours

no more mr. nice guykickass