Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Because I chose wisely this morning it was a fairly uneventful day for training. I met up with John Wirum for our usual Saturday run and we pumped out a nice steady 7-miler. I'm hopeful I can keep John doing more runs with me as that will go a long way towards helping him prepare for Boston. Now is a good time to catch me as I'm not going too far or fast for him. I think he runs much better than he gives himself credit for when we train. I'm predicting great things for him at Boston this spring.
Legs felt good today and I could have run another 3 miles but I'm satisfied with what I got. I can feel the bit of pop in my stride that means I'm somewhat light on my feet, especially through the loose snow. I've been focusing more on my ankle strength and flexibility by doing the balance disc in our shop and on the Bosu ball at the club. I believe the ankle is hugely important towards helping with balance, flexibility and explosiveness.
I remember reading Lasse Viren's coach commenting on ankle power when I was a sophomore in college and it has stuck with me since. Most runners don't think of running as a balance activity but you are always on one leg at a time. Good balance takes the stress off the muscles that go up the leg. Explosiveness in the ankle also allows one to pop off the ground more quickly, thus spending more time in the air and less on the ground. Notice how the Kenyans seem to always be off the ground when running?
There are many ways to work on developing spring in your ankles, but the simplest is just jumping. As I get stronger I'll be adding more plyometric work to my routine. But a very easy way is jump rope as a warm up and focus on being light on your feet. However, if you get tired - stop. You want to train yourself to always be light and loose. Getting tired and slower will help you develop those skills better. I already know how to run slow, so I stop when I feel my form slipping.
Keep it light and loose
Friday, November 28, 2008
Cross country skiing is great if you live in a small country.
None of those reasons/excuses were available today and I knew yesterday's run/race would leave me a little sore. It was nice to be on the boards again gliding around the trails at Kincaid Park. Having nice weather and adequate snow was a big plus. I was surprised that my balance and technique were there for me. Strength and ski endurance were another story. It became pretty evident that while I do have arms, they were as hollow as a drinking straw. Yes, I have some work to do to regain some semblance of ski strength.
For the first day, however, it was all good and leaves me motivated for more. As I skied I kept reminding myself that one of my best summers of road running came after a good winter of skiing and a few long ski races of 25-30 kilometers. I set two road PR's for 5K and 10K the summer after winning the 25K at the Tour of Anchorage. I just need to find a way to get my skis waxed occasionally as I gave up most of my ski prep tools after I stopped coaching in 2000. One of the things I don't miss about skiing is the damn equipment and driving out to the trails. Once you're there its fine, but the process is more time intensive than running.
A good training day that kept me from beating my delicate legs and out of the damn gym. I look forward to more opportunities like this.
I created a seperate page for my training each day with specifics so I don't clutter this spot up with details. Click on the upper right or here.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
If you are looking for some good Thanksgiving advice I can think of none better than from this Olympic marathon gold medalist. Joanie is one amazing individual and ran 2:49 at the Olympic Trials this past spring at age 51. She just loves to run and challenge herself. I had a chance to talk with her two weeks ago when I was in Dallas. Such a gracious and inspiring individual.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
That process of seeing the improvement each day or each week is a motivating process. The key is not falling too far down that portal. One of my goals is to not get so far down that I can’t see where I’d been. It was okay when I was younger and I could go on a crash course and beat myself into shape over a few weeks. Because of a bet 10 years ago, I was “required” to go on a self-imposed diet and training crash course. By some miracle I lost 13 pounds over 8 weeks and ran a sub-33 10K and won the bet.
The process was quite painful. Especially being one those runners unsure of whether they eat to run or vice versa. That experience inspires me today as I know it would be far too painful to go through that at my age. I also remember my usually toned, muscular (i.e. skinny) legs actually rubbed together for the first time. In the search for appropriate photos to go along with that image I found a song called Legs Rub Together by The Graves Brothers Deluxe. Amazingly it's on iTunes but mistitled as Let's Rub Together. I'd pass on that download if I were you.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Unforgettable Fire contains tributes to Martin Luther King Jr. and Elvis Presley. I was in Memphis this past May and had a chance to drive by the Lorraine Motel where King was assassinated on our way to Graceland. I expected Graceland to be a bit cheesy but was moved at how Elvis continues to touch lives and what a seminal figure he was. If you are ever in Memphis it is well worth the trip.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Off to the gym to do that stuff I'd rather not be doing. There will be plenty days like this to come, but lot's of positive results because of it.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
2000 miles is very far through the snow
I think of you wherever you go
She's gone 2000 miles, it's very far
The snow came falling now
Get's colder day by day...
Coldplay also did a cover of this song too, but credit must go to Chrissie Hynde and her band's 1984 album. I loved hearing her voice when they were in their heyday when I was in college.
Cojelo suave, JC
Friday, November 21, 2008
Nice idea that we gain strength by believing in another. If you trust the other person, you can trust yourself. We could certainly all benefit from applying that more often in our lives. Cheers to you Keith for the confidence in me!
Day 1 of JCHighSpeed comes one day after learning that a very difficult decision, that would have required leaving Alaska and my position at Skinny Raven Sports, was decided for me. It was a very positive situation as I have developed a greater appreciation for all the positive relationships I have here and the great life that exists in Alaska. I faced a similar decision nearly 20 years ago when I was up for a coaching job at the university and would have required me to leave my high school coaching position. Not getting the job helped reinforce that I really loved working with high school runners. Not getting this recent job has reinforced the same again and today's start of my blog is a byproduct of that.
It may also be a byproduct of too much food and one too many margarita's last night at the Bear Tooth. The Bear Tooth is undoubtedly my favorite place to eat here in Anchorage. It is the place guests invariably end up when traveling here. The occasion was a send off meal with Brent Knight before he heads off for a Nordic training/racing stint with fellow Raven shoe stud, Mark Iverson, in West Yellowstone. The boys have been putting in hundreds of hours of training over the past several months and its finally time to see what they can do. As for dinner I was deluded by my low weight on the scale in the a.m. that led me to believe I could compensate by eating like Kobayashi.
After chips & gauc., potato burrito w/ beans/rice, creme brulee, two margaritas, a diet coke and water I felt positively ill. Brent and I were forced to stay at the table an extra 30 minutes before we felt well enough to go home. Nothing says good eating like having so much you feel ill, does it?
In the spirit of the father of Taoism, Lao Tzu, I mark the start of this long journey with the first step and with no goal of getting to a certain point. Please check in and see where it heads to.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” Lao Tzu