7 Weeks MTB & Training

2015-09-11 17.47.47

The MTB – Fuji 29’er carbon fiber frame. Love this bike.

After my last post, and how my legs were feeling (calve & right knee), doubt was starting to creep into my mind about continuing my training. I was really beginning to wonder if continuing on was a smart move. I decided to mix my training up and on my second short run of the week took to the trails on my mountain bike. An idea that I think has really helped my legs.

NR-700 trail pic

New Lamp lighting up the Trail

I started the week with my typical 4 mile run ( I mentioned this one at the end of my last post). Wednesday saw a 6 mile run that I tried to run easy. Thursday I decided to mix up my training with a bike ride instead of a run. I was scheduled to do 4 miles but put in about 11 miles on the bike. My thinking was to give my calve and knee a break but still get in some comparable cardio. I also just bought a new LED bike light I wanted to try out. It is the Night Rider 700 and you can see how bright the sucker is with the picture I’ve posted here. I was very impressed and felt I could maintain my normal speed on the trails. But back to my training…

The bike ride was a good mix-up and was a help for my leg concerns. Saturday morning I woke up dreading my 12 mile run. Mentally I was just not wanting to do the run. Instead of getting up I laid in bed reading on my tablet and goofing around. I then decided I wanted to get some breakfast and so headed to J Christopher’s for a meal and coffee. After hitting the Car Wash place and cleaning my over-due dirty car, I headed back to the house, still not looking forward to my run. After doing some laundry I finally decided to get my butt going.

Like the previous week my Heart Rate was elevated again (Caffeine?). As you can see in my activities log posted below I ran with a higher HR than other days during the week. Because I was “nursing” my legs a bit I ran much slower than I had been in recent weeks during my training.

My route for this 12 mile run was from my house to the Sope Creek Trailhead (4 miles) on Papermill Road. Once at Sope Creek, and a sip of water, I headed into the trails for 2 miles before putting down a GU and heading back to the trailhead (4 miles out & back). Then after another sip of water I head back to the house (4 miles).


Top of Kennesaw Mountain

The next day, wanting to stretch out my legs a bit I headed over the Kennesaw Mtn. for a hike with my dog Sally. It turned out to be a really nice day and the hike up the mountain I think really helped in my recovery from the long run.

I’m feeling positive going into week 8. So far this week I’m feeling mentally alot more positive and am looking forward to my 14 mile run on Saturday.

Week 7 activity

Activity Log from Week 7 (doesn’t include hike Sunday)

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6 Weeks in…

Martix-Week 6

Note: Took an extra rest day (see my comments below)

I left off my last blog post about some concerns. I’ll start this one with a continuation of those and move into week 6 of training.

The inner part of my right knee is still sore. I’ve felt it a bit more this week, but it has been more soreness, not any pain. I’ve bought a compression sleeve to try out and see if it helps. I’m not a huge fan of this approach, but I’m going to experiment and see how it goes. I’ve typically thought that if you are having to wear some kind of support to do an activity, like running, that you should probably consider not doing that activity, until you can resume it without any type of support. So, I’m going against my own “philosophy” on this for now.

Another interesting development, dealing with my body, has to do with how my left calve felt after a full body massage I had over the weekend. I ran my scheduled 4 mile run on Monday with no issues with the calve, though I felt a bit of tightness. It was fairly sore that evening and into the next day, but today, as I type this before my 6 mile run, it seems to be just fine. Of course this has caused a little concern as this is the same calve that blew up on me last year just before my marathon attempt in Savannah 😦

Trying out the Course


The Beltline going under Freedom Parkway (I think)

Last weekend my long run was 11 miles. After a relatively easy run at the Silver Comet for my 10 miler I decided I needed more elevation change on my next long run. What better place to do this than on parts of the Publix Marathon course that I’m currently training for? So, I pulled up my Garmin Connect course thingy and mapped out a 11 mile loop.



Half way through… Time for a GU πŸ™‚

I started the run at Piedmont Park and heading south along the Beltline. The paved part of the Beltline essentially ends where I needed to head east, just north of Dekalb Ave. I headed east and this put me in Little Five Points. From there I meandered along the “Path” to the Candler Park golf course, which the Publix course goes around. After turning down Clifton I eventually ran into North Ponce and then picked up the Publix Course at Lilliwater Ave. (Though I did discover later that I didn’t quite run on the proper streets that make up the course but the elevation changes I made here were what I will expect in the race on this section of the course – that was the point). I eventually made it back to Piedmont Park and finished my 11 miles in the park.

11 mile map course

The 11 mile course


One interesting item to this 11 mile run was my elevated heart rate. It was elevated from the beginning.Β  I consumed a Duncan Donuts large coffee on my way down to Midtown Atlanta, and a bagel with cream cheese. I’m guessing that I had an elevated HR because of the caffeine? This put my overall avg. HR at 145 for the 11 miles, which is roughly 10 Heartbeats per minute more than I have been training at with roughly the same pace (staying within my aerobic zone). I also probably saw a larger increase as I was running on much larger and longer elevation changes throughout the run.


11 mile - watch

Final Results

The positive in all of this is I was not intimidated at all by the hills going through the Druid Hills section of the run. I’ve read over and over again this is the toughest part of the course (it starts at about 18 miles in with several grueling hills). Granted I only was putting in a 11 mile run, not even half of the marathon distance, but I felt like I moderated my HR and pace well through the toughest climbs and felt good coming out of that section with plenty more to give.

I’ll be seeing at least 2 more long runs that will put me on portions of the Publix course. I’m thinking my 14 mile and 18 mile runs will be run along the course.

My 4 Mile run Monday had me at a 9:41 pace with a 131 HR. I was consciously trying to run a little easier being concerned about both my calve and my right knee/MCL soreness. I say that to say that my HR on my 11 miler had to be an anomaly?




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5 weeks, The Good & Bad


Just before heading out on my 10 miler… am I angry? Or focused?Β  πŸ™‚ It was a bit chilly that day.

Since my last post a couple of weeks ago I’ve really started to see some improvements in my fitness. Things took a slight setback when I started my training in late November. I ended up getting a nasty sinus infection which put me behind a week. When that happened I switched training plans and went from a 18 week plan to a 16 week plan. But back to my improvements…

Last weekend saw my first double digit mileage run I’ve done since the end of 2014 when attempting my last marathon. I decided to hit the Silver Comet trail for a 10 mile run and test out where I was with my heart rate (The Comet trail is long, paved and consistent with long slow grade changes). Much of my training during the week had2016-01-05_Garmin Matrix been in and around my neighborhood, which throws at me some hills (this will hopefully pay off when I run the Publix as I know its a challenging and Hilly course). If you reference the matrix I’ve posted here you will see my chart from Garmin over all of December and the first few days of 2016 (click on it to see a more readable size).

I started out with my training, using the MAF method, being at about 11:00/mile pace. On my 10 mile run I had a pretty consistent run and logged a 10:07/ mile pace. That is nearly a minute in just about 4 weeks. I know of course that I won’t see that type of improvement every 4 weeks moving forward, but I know where I was just 2 years ago with my fitness and feel that If I stay the course I can probably be at about a 9:00/mile pace by race time while staying in my aerobic zone (possibly a bit faster, but I’m trying to keep it conservative for now).

That is the GOOD!!!

The bad part is a small moment during my 10 mile run. The day was a bit chilly so I started out at an easy pace with just a little bit of light stretching before I started. About a mile in on the run I felt a small “pull” or “tug” at the inside of my right knee/leg. I stopped and walked for a few seconds wondering what had just happened. I didn’t feel any pain so started to run again with being conscious of my knee/leg. I finished out my run with no problems and no further issues (but the feeling was definitely on my mind).

I took to the trails on Sunday and mountain biked at Sope Creek for an hour. My energy level has really picked up the last week or so, which gives me another sign that my fitness level is really improving. The next day I did my 4 mile scheduled run and again felt this “pull” on my right leg after about a mile in. I again finished the run with no pain but I did feel the leg or pull a bit more several times during the run (It was very cold, below 320 degrees during the run). I had an off day on Tuesday and Wednesday was to see a 5 mile scheduled run. I tested out the legs and decided I needed another day off just to be on the safe side.

Today I’m planning on running on my lunch but I’m not feeling confident in my leg. I’ve felt tenderness in the area of my MCL, as well as tenderness in the tendon on the inside of my right leg that attaches to the inside portion of my knee. That’s the BAD!!!

I’m going to take it easy and try my run today but I’m going to be very careful. I’ve felt no pain on any of my runs but I’m concerned as I’ve been battling injury bug the last 2 years.

I’ll hopefully have a positive update on my next post…

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New Year, New Attempt

HereΒ  we are, approaching the end of 2015. I haven’t posted here in over a year. As I was reading my last post I realized I never continued to post about my training for the Savannah Marathon in 2014 I was training for. So, before I get into what this post is about here is a quick recap of how the 2014 race went…

Training for 2014 Savannah RnR Marathon

My training went as planned and the plan shown in the image from my previous post HERE. The last big run had me doing a 20 miler. The previous few weeks had seen me put in a 16 and 18 mile runs. Both went well, though on the 18 I recall hitting the wall at like mile 15 for some reason and struggling to finish the last 3 miles. Moving on, to the 20 mile run the following week, I ran solid and actually maintained about half the run at or near a race pace (About an 8:40-ish pace – looking back this was probably a mistake).

The next few days I took off running, mixing in a deep tissue massage the day after my 20 miler (probably mistake number 2). I was in taper mode and feeling a big tired still from the long 20 mile so run I took an extra day off. On Tuesday I was scheduled to do a easy 4 mile run. At the start I felt tightness in my left calve. I assumed I was just tight and it would loosen up. I lightly stretched before taking off on my run, though I felt it through most of my run and a half mile before finishing up a sharp pain shot through the middle of my calve. It was like someone had jabbed a stick into it. Not good!!!

Long story short I didn’t run again until the morning of the marathon 10 days later.Β  I did put in a couple of road bike rides just to get some cardio in but really stayed off my legs. I bought some calve compression sleeves and hoped for the best. I was committed financially to the race (race fee and hotel) and my family was coming down to cheer me on.

I was in the second wave at the start and was able to go out at a reasonable 9:30 ish pace. I wanted to start out very easy and just let the race happen. A mile in I started to feel the calve and 3 miles in it completely blew up on me. I don’t ever recall a more deflating moment in my life as hundreds of people, maybeΒ  a 1,000 or more, passed by me as I’m miles from the finish line and knowing that the last 3+ months of training were a complete bust.

As I was walking, about a 1/2 mile or so, I see the 4 hour pace group pass by. Seeing this something in my mind, and spirit, clicked and I began to start trying to run. I was limping noticeable and my calve did not feel that great, but I kept moving. I got myself in front of the 4 hour group and decided to just keep moving. As the race ran the gauntlet through the downtown streets of Savannah, before heading away from the city center, I started to feel ok and my calve started to not bother me. About 10 miles in I started to think that I might be able to do this. Just after a quick text to my Dad I was “going to go for it” (I had already texted him about my calve at mile 3) both of my knees (IT bands really) started to hit me hard. I realized at this point my body was in complete compensation mode and I would be an idiot to continue. I should have stopped then and just walked it towards the finish, but I did manage to trot it in to complete the half course. It was strange at the finish as all these people were thrilled and happy to have finished a half marathon and I’m like “big whoop!” I wasn’t even tired…

New Year and New Opportunities

2015 saw very little running. It did see a lot of amazing mountain bike rides. I made a huge upgrade to my MTB (Carbon Fiber frame Fuji 29’er) which has made riding on the trails even more amazing.

By the end of the summer my legs started to feel a little bit better (both of my calves gave me some issues after my marathon attempt in 2014). I did start to put in some short trail runs at Sope Creek from time to time but nothing that consistent. After some crappy Fall weather, and taking a little bit of time off from anything I decided that I wanted to give a marathon another try. I really want to cross this off my list πŸ™‚

So, a few weeks ago I started training again to do a marathon. I will be attempting to run the Publix in March of 2016. This was going to be my first marathon 2 years ago before IT Band issues sidelined me for almost 6 months that year.


Because of the injury issues I’ve been dealing with now, off and on, for the last 2 years I’m taking a much different approach to my training. I’ve adopted the MAF training method and am seeing my pace being slower than it has ever been (see image of my last week or so of runs). My first week I was at like an 11:00 pace, staying within my max aerobic HR zone. I’m 3 weeks in to my 16 week training schedule and I’ve already seen improvement on that pace, clocking a more reasonable 10:16 avg. pace on my last 3 mile run in the neighborhood this week (note my run after that my HR monitor didn’t work and I pushed my pace a little).

Ultimately I’d love to run a decent timed marathon in March, but were I’m at physically and mentally I really just want to finish the training and the race with no injuries. My pace will be my pace and if it’s a 10:00/mile then great. If it turns out my fitness gets me to 9:00/mile then great too. I just really want to remain healthy and fall back into needing to run and feel great like I did back in 2013.


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Let’s Try This Again

It is Hard to believe but it’s been since the end of February since my last post. I certainly didn’t plan on that, but life has been quite full over the Spring and into the Summer months. About 6 weeks ago I decided that I wanted to get back to training for a race. Though I was still feeling tightness in my IT band I felt it was worth just trying to get back out and running with some consistency. So, why not train for a marathon? I ran the half in Savannah last year, and since I’m working on a huge project for work there… why not? Savannah and November here we come.

2014 Savannah Marathon Schedule

After a few weeks to let me my body rest, as I had been running casually and mountain biking quite a bit over the last few months, I started my training. Because of timing I had missed the first two weeks of my 18 week training schedule. Knowing that I had maintained a decent cardio fitness over most of the year I wasn’t too worried. I took the schedule into word, made a few modifications and off we go. Keep in mind that my goals for this race are quite different than my goals for the Publix marathon I previous started my training for. Then my cardio was solid and I was coming off a solid performance in Savannah for the Half. This go around though my schedule is not nearly as aggressive (the last one had me doing 3 20 mile runs where this one only has me doing 1) and my goal, though might be stretching it at doing a 3:30 time, is really just to finish the race and the distance.

Last week I was supposed to run 8 miles for my weekend long run. I had already committed to doing a Charity bike ride for the Scott Rigsby foundation. The ride was a 25 miler and I felt, from a cardio perspective, was a pretty good trade-off. The ride was a great time and I’m very glad I did it and was apart of the event. If you don’t know Scott’s story you should check it out.

2014-08-13 Sunrise Run SavannahThis week I had to travel to Savannah for work meetings, so to get my runs in I did them first thing in the morning. I did my medium distance on Wednesday (5 miles), and my short run on Thursday (3 miles). I felt great and only had some general tightness in my legs. Saturday though was a big day. It would be my first double digit mileage run since the Savannah half last year. From my perspective how my legs held up during and after the run were going to be a big question.

I ran at Kennesaw Mountain and though a hilly course I felt running on trails would be better on my body than on pavement. I’ve been keeping my running in an Aerobic cardio zone so the pace was nice and easy. At the end I finished right at 110 minutes (a 10 minute a mile pace). Sure, I probably could have pushed a little harder in places, but the goal was to run the distance and feel like I could move forward with my training and be mentally positive that I “can do this”.

I went for a 90 minute massage today with a big focus on my legs. I love massages πŸ™‚ Overall I feel really grood, though a little sore, but nothing overwhelming. A real positive sign. next week is a step back week but I’ll be building to 14 miles in just weeks, which will constitute my longest run ever πŸ™‚

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Chattahoochee-IndianTrl-Sally-hikeThe the injuries have put a stop to my marathon training. It is amazing how much time I’ve had to do other things πŸ™‚ That being said I’ve been itching to get back to pounding the earth with my feet and legs. While taking about a month and a half off from running I certainly haven’t been complacent. I’ve taken a few bike rides and I’ve tried getting out to hike as much as possible.

This winter has been a cold one and Atlanta was hit with two storms within a 3 week period. The first came as a shock to the city and practically shut it down for a full day, as well as keeping people trapped/stranded in their cars, stuck in grid-lock that was throughout the city (some stranded for up to 18 hours). Being as I’ve experienced how Atlantans react to such weather I stayed at the office and decided I’d walk home, instead of getting stuck in craziness. That worked out well and got my legs moving for a little 6.5 mile hike through snow and ice to get home. 2 hours was my time, which was by far well above the average of what it took most everyone who tried to drive home πŸ™‚ The pic below is from Powers Ferry Road as I approached the Chattahoochee River. And yes, those cars you see lined up are not moving… who knows how long they sat there.


To some extent my injury induced running break came at a good time. From the weather and my work load I’ve been pretty busy. I’ve gotten a chance to catch up on some photography work and organize my “stuff” at home.

Weekend before last I decided to head up to the mountains to go hiking. I grabbed Sally and my camera gear and headed north. I ended up at Blood Mountain and the following picks I took while there. There was a good foot of snow at the top and I probably hiked in snow about 80% of the hike. It was a beautiful day and I even think Sally had a blast hiking in the white stuff.




Last week I decided that I wanted to give my legs a test and so took off after work on that Tuesday for a short run. I brought Sally along and ran around the neighborhood for a 1.5 mile slow run. For whatever reason I decided I would wear my old Brooks Pure Cadence shoes for the run instead of my Kinvarva’s. Apparently a good choice because I felt no pain in my knee from the IT band issues. I did feel some tightness in my hip area, but overall I finished the run feeling good (though my cardio is lacking after not running for a month and a half).

A couple of days later I took off again in the neighborhood for a 2 mile run. Again I put on my old Cadence shoes and took off (no Sally this time). I felt good overall and felt no pain. I did feel like I had some slight discomfort at one point towards the end, but I’m not sure how much of that was more in my head than real LOL. After the run I hit the foam roller and did lots of stretching, some core work, and push-ups.

Recnetly I came across an article that discussed IT band issues and talking about how to deal with it. The PT’s they interviewed both said that the number one suggestion they had was to improve strength in the glutes and suggested a couple of exercises. I’ve been doing those with the foam roller and stretching and I think it has made a difference.

Finally, last weekend I took a drive up to Rope Mill to ride on the trails there for the first time. It is a city park located in Woodstock, Ga. that has a number of mile to mile and a half trail loops tied together. I rode for about 50 minutes and really enjoyed some new trails and scenery. A couple of pics from there below.




The next day after riding I decided to take Sally for a hike at the River and parked at the trail-head off of Indian Trail, just off of Northside Drive. I hadn’t been to these trials in a while and hiked most of it, but did decide to run a little along the way. I probably put in a mile and felt good. The below pics are a few from along the way.




So, to end this post, I feel with the rest and recuperation I’ve had lately that I’m ready to physically and mentally get back to start running again on a more consistent basis. I decided to purchase some new shoes tonight (the Brooks Pure Cadence 3’s). These will replace the Cadence 2’s I ran in for the second half of 2013 and the Savannah Half I did back in November. I don’t think after my IT band issues I can put on the Kinvara’s again 😦 It’s probably mental, but I don’t care. I’m going to be taking it slow over the next month, but I’m hoping that by the time we are in the full swing of Spring I’ll be figuring out which race I’ll start training for… So stay tuned πŸ™‚

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Week 7 & STOP!

SopeCreek_Tail& Lake_pan

In short, my training has been put on hold and I’m not going to running the Publix marathon 😦 After trying to stretch, massage, and take a few days off I realized after a 8 mile run that my IT band was toast. The pain in my knee was so bad that I knew pushing anymore miles out of my legs was going to be trouble. It took a week or two for it all to soak in but I finally came to realize that pushing through this kind of pain was not going to be the right thing to do.

I’ve been consistent on running from January of 2013 through to the beginning of 2014. I was consistently putting in 5 day running weeks all year except for a week off after my Half race and a couple of 2 or 3 days rest a couple of times when I was feeling under the weather. My fitness level has been great but I think I realized, after battling with first my ankle, then the Plantar Fascitiis, and then the IT band/knee pain that my body just needed some time off.

I tried to run a couple of weeks ago at Sope Creek for a short 3 mile trail run. I felt good and didn’t experience any knee pain or discomfort. The next day I was stupid and did a 6 mile hike/run combo at Kennesaw Mountain, I had to walk/hike the last 2 miles, which I had planned on running, because the pain became too much. I did all of this after taking a week off of any running or physical activity.

This last weekend I decided to give a go at a easy 3 miles at Sope Creek again. I brought Sally along so that I would not push too much, as I would be dragging her along past about a 9:30 or so pace. Anyhow, a mile and a half in the knee pain started and didn’t stop the rest of the run. I probably should have stopped but the pain was manageable. Later in the day I could hardly walk 😦

So, I’ve realized that with more rest I need to take this injury seriously. It has already effected me mentally in several areas of my life.Β  I’m now trying to decide what is next for recovery. It has been a mentally spiritually tough couple of weeks.

I did go mountain biking Saturday before last as the weather was beautiful. Along the way I took some panoramic pics with my phone. The following shots are from Sope Creek and the shot up top is from my hike/run at Kennesaw Mountain last weekend. The pic was on the trail between the two peaks.





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