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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!


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