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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Second week of workouts and a swim meet

Training continues to move along in the right direction. This past week included a down week for both running and swimming mileage/yardage-wise given the VA Commonwealth Games LCM meet June 20th.

The soupy weather persists, but I suppose it is great preparation for running in Wilmington, NC next week. On tuesday RVE teammates Sarah and Patrick joined me bright and early on the PHHS track. Sarah and I did 8 x 400 with 3:00 rest holding the best average we could, while Patrick floated with us for 400 and roared past doing 800s on our 3:00 rest interval. He is tapering for his 50K this week.

The 400s terrified me given I have not done speed in 6 weeks. Originally Coach Tom said to go 78-80, but I said no way. Given the weather he changed it to holding my best effort for sprint repeats. We started very controlled (88) and then steadily knocked them down: 88, 85, 86, 83, 79, 78, 78, 77 for an 81-82 average. I am pleased with the workout! We are going to repeat it in about a month, but shortening the rest to 2:00. The goal is to hold the same average with less rest.

I swam in my first LCM swim meet on Saturday in Christiansburg VA (Christiansburg Aquatic Center). The facility is nice and is home to the Virginia Tech Hokies' Swim and Dive Teams. Five of us from the Gator Masters Team swam and it was great fun to be at a meet with buddies. It removed the stress of competing completely. The meet was very small and not much time between events. My order of events: 50, 200, 400, 100 meters.

Christiansburg Aquatic Center
I swam the 50 well (36.45 which converts to a 32.1 50 yard time (and is my fastest "old lady" time). Next, Marcia, Carolyn, and I were side-by-side-by-side in lanes for the 200. I went out way too fast (1:27 first 100) and died for a 3:06.17. YUCK. The 400 followed soon thereafter and I experienced my first race goggle issue. After the first turn they rolled down my face. I ripped them off and swam the second 50 with them in my hand (DRAG). Once I got to the wall I tossed them up, obviously forgoing my flip turn and then finished the remaining 300 the best I could. I felt decent for the rest of the race which is nice since I am terrified of the "longer" distances. My time was terrible (6:52.45) but I am proud that I didn't panic and stuck it out. 10-15 minutes later came the 100 which was not fast (1:24.61), but a great workout on the heels of the 200 and 400. I then counted laps for Carolyn and Kate as they crushed the 1500. They (and Marcia) looked so smooth as they knocked out the 30 lengths. I hope to be able to swim that far in a race one day!

Sunday morning brought a combined tempo run and long run. Sarah and I met at PHHS and ran around 5 miles at 7:45 pace for a warmup then used the track for 4 x 5:00 at tempo pace (~6:30) with 1:00 recoveries. Given I raced the day before I felt tired. I made it through the first 5:00 albeit off pace (a very slow first 200). The next two I only did 800 meters (3:17, 3:14). The last repeat I held on to Sarah (who was gliding through the workout despite running 20 miles the day before!) for a 6:20 paced effort. We finished with 26:00 of trail running. I will take it!

Afterwards I swam 1,000 meters at the BAC before a deep tissue massage to get the junk out of my arms and legs. The pool felt so refreshing after slinging sweat with Sarah all over the track earlier that morning.

Given the swim meet, I tapered a bit in both running and swimming.

Weekly total:
Swimming - ~15,000 yards including a meet (on 6 days)
Running - 34.5 miles including two workouts (on 6 days)

Goals for next week:
Swimming - 18,000 yards including an open water swim (Wilmington)
Running - 50 miles

Happy trails,

Monday, June 15, 2015

Getting back into it and Scott-freaking-Jurek

After a great long run with my buddy Sarah the first Sunday in May I suddenly started having pain in my left patella tendon (other leg from the surgery last summer). It was odd. It did not hurt on run, but right after saying goodbye to Sarah and heading into the coffee shop it hurt noticeably. Scared and frustrated I took several days off from running and waited until I got to Alaska to attempt a run (who can pass up a run in Ketchikan!?!) For weeks it was off and on as were my emotions.

I finally started doing some eccentric strengthening work and wearing a patellar knee strap (they come in PINK) in addition to icing the area three to four times a day. MAGIC! A month later I was back to a regular running schedule and after an additional two weeks I did my first speed session. Given Virginia will be a soupy mess until October, the plan is to build up my endurance and strength and hit some fall races. Hope springs eternal!

Partially to keep me motivated through the tough summer and partially to keep me realistic (its ok to run 9:00 pace on an recovery run when you climb 400 feet...right?)  I started using Strava and added its widget to this blog. You can follow my SLOW progress back to fitness. I am trying to be patient and have fun which is difficult after a year of setbacks.

The week of June 1-7, my first consistent week running-wise, I ran 37 miles and swam 18,150 yards including one long course practice. This past week (June 8-14) included one tempo run and 17,000 yards in the pool. I was anxious about the tempo run. Happy that I could start speed but nervous to see what pace I could handle. Coach Clifford gave me a 20:00 tempo which I did on the track. Because of my anxiety I ran it is as more of a progressive tempo, starting conservatively and finishing strong. My mile spits were 6:48 (3:29, 3:19), 6:32 (3:17, 3:15), 6:23 (3:13, 3:10). I only had a touch more to go to get to 20:00; I was a just short of 5K for the 20:00 effort. I am very happy with this start. I believe it suggests my tempo pace is around 6:30-6:35. The weather was pleasant, so on a soupy day the pace will slower for the same effort. Hopefully that pace will get under 6:20 by September. When my tempo pace is sub-6:20 my race times really begin to POP.

After my tempo run I raced home to change and hit the Appalachian Trail for a Scott Jurek sighting. He is currently trying to set the Appalachian Trail Speed Record. I live near the 220 crossing, so I waited about 800 meters in towards the Tinker Cliffs hoping to catch him on his last push before 220. The "Jurker" made his appearance a little after 1:00 PM, cruising by at a nice pace with about 5 guests in tow. I applauded his efforts and took a few pictures as he flew by. I then headed out to get lunch and saw him taking a break/getting in some fuel at the Valley Cleaners (parking lot used by AT day hikers). I ran up and asked if I could get a picture with him and he graciously agreed. He appears to be as kind and gracious as all reports suggest.

Scenes from the AT on "Jurek Day"

Here an article by the Roanoke Times on Jurek with some sweet pics from McAfee's Knob (where he started his run the day I saw him). If you didn't know how beautiful Southweat VA is, take a look!

Enjoy the soupy running and be happy that you can RUN!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

May 2015 Real Estate Index

My report on the real estate market in the Commonwealth came out this week. Several questions concerning the real estate market are included in the survey used to gather data for the consumer sentiment report. We (the amazing people in the Roanoke College PR department) try to spread the releases out by about a week.

Virginians are generally optimistic about the current and future real estate markets. An interesting find is that buyers in Southwest VA are quite positive, likely due to a belief of housing surpluses from departing Norfolk Southern employees.

Black line indicates "robust" market

You can read the report here. The Roanoke Times wrote an article about the report (found here) and I interviewed with WVTF.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Consumer sentiment remains strong in Virginia

My latest consumer sentiment and inflation expectations report came out two days ago. You can find the report here. Things are particularly strong in Southwest Virginia and the Tidewater. Southwest VA has apparently absorbed the departure announcements from Norfolk Southern and USPS, while the Tidewater is looking beyond the effects of sequestration.

Consumer sentiment values (y-axis) by region; current value=orange dash,
 regional average=blue dot, standard deviation=black line.

I am thankful for the interviews by WVTF, WFIR, and the Roanoke Times on the current release. You can listen to the WFIR interview here.

Feeling optimistic,