A Tough Day at the Office

Over the course of a training session, there are going to be good days and bad.  Hopefully, the good outweigh the bad.  I've started to figure out that allergies are perhaps the culprit with me as it seems that as the season changes in Colorado, I always seem to get sick.  The challenge is how to balance rest and recuperation relative to how sick or run down you are.

This week was one of those weeks (weaks.)  I wasn't exactly doubled over with the flu, but the worst day was non-stop running of the nose, sneezing, eyes watering, absolutely no energy, and a mere two hours of sleep.  My coach recommended simply jogging this week or taking day(s) off.  I took my first un-scheduled day off over the course of my #100DaystoBoston journey to the Boston Marathon on Tuesday.  Even with work, I had a hard time getting through the day or maintaining any level of energy.
Tough twenty miler with Santa Monica Pier in the Background

I re-bounded slightly with a fairly tame eight mile run on Wednesday, and struggled with another ten on Thursday.  I resorted to a couple walking miles on Friday with a nasty twenty miler looming on Saturday.  With vacation plans and for scheduling reasons, I stuck with my plan of running long on Saturday vs. Sunday.  Only problem other than my overwhelming lack of judgement and "Alpha Male" logic was that I still was not feeling right and running super low on energy.

Friday night provided my third night of a mere two hours of sleep.  My wife dealing with similar sinus issues and imbibing a couple vacation cocktails had a bit of (understatement) snoring happening.  I love you honey, but it sounded like Chewbacca was having his way with a goat in our room.  I tried noise-cancelling headphones, wrapping the hotel robe belt around my head and ears, and the earplugs which were more like ear amplifiers.  Eventually, I wrapped the thick king-sized pillow around my head and managed a couple hours.  I woke up late.  I moved slow.  I skipped breakfast and merely had one Kind bar.  #notenough
Massage Parlor Torture Apparatus

Armed with Generation UCAN in my Nathan Hydration vest, I ventured out from Marina Del Rey out to Venice Beach and Santa Monica.  After a two mile warm-up, my coach prescribed six two mile intervals that progressed from a 7:45 pace to a 7:15 pace.  Each interval had a one mile floater recovery between each.  While I lacked much energy, the first ten or so miles seemed okay and enjoyed the scenery provided by the boardwalk.  Along the way, I spotted Claire Danes (Homeland) running with her baby stroller and was happy to see she was not crying.

Somewhere around the fourth or fifth interval (pushing 7:25-7:35) I sensed this was not going to be my day.  I had now passed Marina Del Rey and was heading towards LAX and an industrial section of beach.  The wind seemed to pick up and the sideways which should be flat seemed to roll (somehow I managed over 600' of elevation gain and fall over this run.)  Without grossing you out too much, my nose was still purging...a lot.

With the wheels coming off, I did not want to cut this run short, but had the toughest set of two mile segments ahead.  I don't know how, but I gutted out 7:12, 7:13, 7:09, and 7:18 as planned over the last four.  The cooldown was pretty pathetic as I was doing the "old man shuffle" as I headed back towards my hotel.
Day Later in Venice Beach
When finished, I was second-guessing everything as I often do; "why didn't I rest more this week," "why did I not have anything today (that one was obvious,)" and (most appropriate,) "why didn't I move this to Sunday.  Family and a cruise was the answer to the last one.

Perhaps as a subtle sorry for the snoring, my wife scored me a massage that afternoon.  I became a bit concerned when I saw two iron pipes installed above the massage table like a small set of gymnast parallel bars.  As the massage began, I was starting to wonder how the slight of build woman has such small hands as she was working my back.  Those were not hands.  Little Mary Lou Retton was working the parallel bars and digging her feet into my back.
"Maximus Dorkus" at "Muscle Beach in Venice Beach

Over an hour, she had me contorted in ways my body had never bent.  On my stomach she pulled back on my arms bending my back in a yoga pose only  intended for the young and limber.  At one point, she had her heel dug into my "taint" again pulling on legs and arms.  #helgashouseofpain

As Helga or Mary Lou (actually Dim Sung) was working me over, I began to reflect and realize that if I could belt out that twenty miler on one of my worst days, I am capable of much better on a rested body in Boston in less than thirty days.  Better yet, as I went out for a shake-out run on Sunday, I had more bounce in my step than I did the day before.  (Thanks to my wife and Dim Sung) Miles three and four I ran too fast, but I was enjoying the ocean breeze and freak show that is Venice Beach.  All the things I wanted yesterday, but didn't happen.

Day 71 of my countdown


  1. Ty, nice job gutting out a real tough workout. I am also running in Boston this April - first time since 1989. I live in Costa Rica and really look forward to the trip up there. I am very much enjoying reading your blog - informative and lots of good humor. Just for some context on the times you run in your workouts - what is your goal time for Boston? Looks like you might be heading down to 3:10 but I am not sure. Thanks for sharing your running exploits.


  3. Great question Mario. The last two weeks have really tested my resolve. As I get closer, I will sit down with my coach to set a race day goal. Let's just say you're in the ballpark of what I'd like to run it in.


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