And Now for Round Two!

Average_Jbob overlooks Santa Clarita, CA.

It’s been awhile since my last post.  Work has been busy enough to mentally drain me so that by the time I get home, resting has been winning out over training.  I’m not a morning person, so getting up early enough to train BEFORE work has been a non-starter.

I’m still managing to train during the weekend though, so all is not lost!  🙂

It’s been just over a month since I earned the title of Marathoner, and in just a few short hours, I’ll be towing the line for round two!  That’s right, tomorrow I run in the O.C. Marathon!  I haven’t really had the time in my schedule to train any different for this one than I did for my first one. . .and quite frankly it feels like I’ve done even less!  I haven’t been doing my short and intermediate runs during the week, but I have been able to keep my long distance workout on the weekends.  So, 1 out of 3.  We’ll see how this goes!

To be fair, I’ve focused most of the time I have on the Spartan Beast at Big Bear that’s now only 14 days away.  My hope is that by training for those insane, non-stop hill climbs I’ll be able to maintain enough fire in my legs to be able to carry me thru the 26.2 miles this weekend.  I have to remind myself sometimes that this blog is geared toward showing what an AVERAGE runner can accomplish.  That includes someone who only has an AVERAGE amount of time to train.  I’m not an Elite level athlete, nor am I upper-mid level.  I’m very firmly SMACK-DAB in the middle of average, and I’m fine with that!  Really!  At 43 years old with a Wife, 3 Boys, and a full-time job that demands overtime during the peak seasons, training has to take a back seat from time to time.  On the positive side, this is the first time I’ve gone through a busy season without having to completely side-line my training!  So. . .progress!

Now, let’s take a look at what I HAVE been doing since the L.A. Marathon.

I’ve been able to get to the gym 2-3 times a week with my 17 and 15-year-old sons (except for a few times when life got in the way).  It’s a really fun stage of life I’m in right now where I get to strength train with them, helping them learn how to get stronger, watching them grow, and getting pushed by them to do more in order to stay ahead!  Or at least to keep pace with!  I have no doubt that they will surpass my strength one day, but not today!

Since I haven’t been running DURING the week, my Saturday workouts have been crucial.  I’ve got access to a very steep hill near my house with a trail that runs up behind a water tower to a park bench at the very top.  It ascends about 480ft in just under 1/2 a mile.  With an eye on Big Bear, which last year had an elevation gain of 4,275ft, I’ve been making heavy use of this hill climb!  It’s currently impossible for me to RUN this hill, so each trip up and down turns into hiking as quick as I can up, a short 20-30 second rest at the bench, and then running back down.  Since there wasn’t going to be a lot of time to train, I did 6 ascents my first weekend and 7 ascents the next.

On my 3rd weekend I did a 20 mile run to make sure I wasn’t killing my legs ability to run distance by only doing hill climbs.  I didn’t want to completely ignore Big Bear, so I picked a route that would be about 10 miles with 2 major hill climbs (1 at the start and 1 at the end) and decided to do 2 laps.  It clocked in right at 20 miles when I returned home and I was very pleasantly surprised to find that my pace held up very well.  Especially when I factor in that during my 4th and final hill climb, just around 16.5 miles in, my right calf started threatening to cramp and I ended up walking the remaining 1.5 miles to the top.  Even so, I finished out the run with an average pace that I was very happy with.

My 4th and final weekend of training I went back to hill climbs and did 9 ascents and once again surprised myself.

I found that my legs felt BETTER during those 9 ascents than they had during my 7 ascents a few weekends earlier!  I’m still processing what that means, but my initial thoughts are that by NOT doing 3 runs a week and only doing 1 long run / hill climb on the weekend I might be allowing my legs to actually heal up properly and gain strength instead of constantly being worn down.  I’m not saying that I’m planning on permanently changing to this style of schedule, but I am encouraged that when work gets busy I can keep progressing forward with fewer workouts.

Of course, I still have to see how I hold up during the O.C. Marathon tomorrow!

Today I drove down to the Costa Mesa Fairgrounds to pick up my Race Bib at the event Expo.  My Wife went with me and I was glad to have her company!  We made a longer day of it than I normally would, but it was enjoyable to look around and find products we were both interested in trying!  I picked up a new pair of running shoes from a company I hadn’t heard of before called 361°.  They felt very comfortable and I’m always interested in trying new products, so I ordered a pair to be delivered later this coming week!  I’ll write more about them and post picts once I get them, but the rep I talked to was very knowledgeable and very friendly.  I know that doesn’t mean it’s a good shoe, but he sold me enough for me to want to check them out further!

My Wife found out that she really likes Honey Stinger Waffles and also picked up a variety of ZipFizz mixes.  I was glad that she was having fun sampling all the products and found some that she really liked!  I restocked on Orgain protein powder (funny how it goes so fast when you have teenagers using it too), grabbed a 26.2 mile car magnet, and headed home.

We had left home around 8:45am and returned around 3:30pm.  It was a longer day than I had planned (thanks L.A. traffic!), but I’m very satisfied with the outing.  Now it’s down to a final gear check, early dinner of Rice and Chicken, a few hours rest, then hitting the road around 2am!  My Shuttle Bus from the Finish Line area to the Starting Line leaves at 3:55am and the race starts at 5:30am.  Normally I’m very anxious the days and weeks leading up to an event, but strangely this time it still hasn’t really sunk in.  I’m a little concerned at how un-concerned I am!  Either way, I’m going to finish my 2nd Marathon tomorrow morning and be one step closer to being ready for an Ultra.  Just an Average Runner seeing just how un-average he can be.  Wow, that last part sounded VERY cheesy!  Oh well, there’s NO-WAY to edit this. . .right?

Expect a full race review in the days to follow. . .probably around mid-week.  Hopefully I’ll be getting back to posting weekly very soon!

Average Jbob

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