Marathon Training – Week 4

Hello Everyone!

Thanks for continuing to read of my progress in my marathon training this summer. My goal for week 3 was to run 30+ miles and I did it. Depending on how I want to count it I also ran 40+ miles! That is because on Sunday (usually a rest day) I ran 10 miles as a pacer for a friend who is doing a fundraiser. Kevin Shank, a long time runner in one of my groups, is focused on his own Marathon training this season. He is running the New York City Marathon (Nov. 4th).  He didn’t get in with the lottery but his wife Amy did. So he decided he would do the charity route and raise money for one of the causes the NYC marathon supports. Many people get into marathons that way and it’s a fantastic method to raise funds.

Me, Don Brough, Kevin Shank

Kevin was running a 25k to raise money and his plan was to have at least 1 pacer per 5k distance.  I was going to run the 4th leg but arrived on the scene as he was just about the start his 3rd leg with Don. I decided to join them for that. Then I ran my own leg and after at that point I could either run the 5k back to my car, or run the last 5k with him and another pacer to the finish line. They had breakfast tacos waiting so it was a no brainer. Thus, my 5k turned into 16k (10 miles).  This was on top of the 9 miles I had run the day before that brought me to 30 miles for the week.

Learning Pacing

One thing I am focused on during this season is proper pacing. After my surgery and weight loss I am much faster than in previous years. But faster at what distance? Just because I can run a certain pace doesn’t mean I can run that for 26.2 miles. I need to figure out what is my realistic pace for a marathon.  There is a formula that can be used to decide that but the problem is it is dependent on recent race times at lower distances. I have a recent 5k and 10k, but my other races are from before and they aren’t really accurate reflections of what I could do now.

TIred Leg Technique

That brings me to the back-to-back runs this weekend. One training technique that some use is to run on tired legs. This simulates what it might be like later in a race when you are indeed likely to be running on tired legs. My Saturday run was at a 9:24 pace for 9 miles. I felt great until the last mile or so then I could feel myself tiring. The Sunday run with Kevin was a good test of running on tired legs. How would I respond to another long run? Knowing we would probably be slower than Saturday made me decide to test this theory out.

The result? Overall I felt great. My ankle that had the surgery let me know I was pushing it, but not terribly. The last mile I was starting to tire, but also not terribly. I could have gone further. A whole 26.2 miles? Not likely yet but I am on target and that feels good.

Lessons Learned

I learned a couple of things. One, my ankle can handle it. This morning it feels not much different from if I hadn’t run yesterday. Two, I have 2 paces to compare, the 9:24 of Saturday and the 11:00 of Sunday.  I have more confidence now that my pace can be closer to the 9:30 pace than 11. I am starting to focus on 9:45-10:00 being a realistic pace for the marathon. But, this is still early in the training and I am not sold on it yet. It’s a benchmark I will keep in mind, that is all. Three, I loved running with Kevin and others to help him complete his goal. It was a beautiful morning with great company.

Relive

I also started using a pretty cool new app called ‘Relive’. It takes your GPS statistics and makes a video of your route over layed on a satellite map. It’s pretty cool. Here is the link to our Sunday run.  RELIVE

That’s it for this week. The upcoming week will be a bit different because I have some coaches out and I have some marathon training informational meetings I need to lead when I usually would be running. The week after that we are going on vacation over 4th of July week and that will be a new set of training challenges.

If you have any questions or suggestions, by all means let me know!

Thanks for following my progress!

See you running, 

Marty

 

 

 

 

 

Money Talks

Money Leaving

Have you ever looked back on money leaving you and realized you were hurt by it?  Perhaps you were scammed or lied to about something. Perhaps you spent money recklessly or maybe it was just bad luck. The saying ‘Buyer’s Remorse’ comes to mind.  What is buyer’s remorse but regret about money leaving you?

My Money

When I was a young man I got a small settlement in a lawsuit of around $9,000.00. I had to decide how I was going to use the money, whether to invest it or to use it for Graduate school. I chose graduate school. I put the money in a money market fund and took it out little by little. It allowed me to work part-time while I went to grad school full-time and it lasted long enough for me to graduate. I don’t regret it and I don’t feel hurt by it being gone. But I do sometimes think what if I had instead invested that money in a relatively new local company where I lived. What would have transpired if I had invested in Apple in 1981?  That $9,000.00 would be close to $2,000,000.00 now.

My Parent’s Money

One of the reasons I was conservative and deliberate about what I was going to do with my money is this story. My mother got an inheritance after her mother died of about $30,000.00. My parents used a good chunk of it to by a very nice boat. We had a lot of fun on that boat for a little over two years. I really loved living and working on the boat for my high school summers. It seemed worth it. But in the end, it blew up and I was burned on 70% of my body. At that exact same time the oil embargo hit the US and the aviation industry, which my father was employed in, went in the tank. My mother meanwhile had a brain hemorrhage and spent almost 9 months in the hospital and in recovery. The result was our family having a big change in financial fortunes. We didn’t go into dire poverty by any means, but it did make for a drastic change in things. My college bills couldn’t be paid and I had to leave school. I moved to California with some high school buddies and made my way on my own from there. The boat was nice but the loss of that money really did make a difference later.  I look back and am amazed at how much stress my dad must have been under during that time.

Hindsight

Ah, 20/20 hindsight, right? It’s hard to say what would have happened. Maybe I would have invested in Acme Computer instead of Apple Computer and lost my shirt.  My parents may have done the same with their money.  All one can really do is learn from others and from experience and try to make the best decisions about where your money goes. It isn’t easy but one can become educated about how to handle money wisely. It’s worth it.


“That money talks, I’ll not deny. I heard it once, it said ‘Goodbye’.” – Richard Armour,  1906-1989, American Poet and Author

Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman 2017


Marathon Training – Week 3

This week I did an unorthodox track workout. I needed to be at the Pathways workout again this week instead of the track, but decided I would go early and get my speed work in before the scheduled run. The only problem is there is no track at the Fleet Feet store. What is there is a very long, straight and flat street that used to be an airport runway, So, with my trusty Garmin GPS watch as a guide, I figured out 600 meters distance (the track workout was a bunch of 600 meters sprints) and simply ran up and down the street until the workout was done.

Speedwork

Since it was a straight-away instead of a curved track I had the wind directly in my face for three of the 600m runs and directly at my back for the other two. I was almost a minute per mile slower heading into the wind, which was about 25 mph. The time difference in the stats below shows the effect wind can have on a runner.In addition, the temperature was 90º+. That meant the wind wasn’t really cooling me down much, just pushing up against me.

The idea behind speed work is two-fold. One, to get faster, (obviously). There is a common running mantra, “If you want to get faster, you have to run faster.”  Simple, but true.
The other reason is something called VO2max, short for maximum volume of oxygen. That is how much oxygen your lungs can take in. During long distance running you are at about 60-70% of lung capacity.  When you do speed work, if you are doing it right, your lung capacity is closer to 90-95% of capacity.

Why is this important? Think of it this way. You have a plastic cup you can pour water in. But it is a flexible cup, it can get bigger or smaller. If you always fill it up to 60-70% of its total volume, it won’t get bigger because it doesn’t need to. But if you fill it up to near capacity again and again it does gets bigger. How does that help you run long distances? Because your 60-70% capacity that you use for those long distances is now 60-70% of a BIGGER cup. That means you are getting more oxygen into your lungs and thus energy to your muscles. The result, better endurance at a higher pace.

Increasing Miles

I also increased my miles this week. This week I ran 5 times. Four of them were 4+ miles each and Saturday’s run was 10 miles for a total of 28 miles. My goal is to run 30-40 miles per week. I am getting there. The Achilles I had surgery on still is a bit stiff and sore after a long run so I am trying to move up mileage slow enough to allow the tendon to respond effectively.

Fork in the Road

Oh, and aside from all the goals and stats, I managed to coach some fun people this week.  And yes, we did. We found a fork in the road (actually on the sidewalk) and we didn’t take it.

See you running,

Marty

 

Marathon Training – Week #2

Week #1 of my training coincided with the start of my head coaching duties with Pathways, the 10K & 15K program I lead at Fleet Feet Tulsa. This is in addition to the Half and Full Marathon Program I co-coordinate that is already in the middle of its summer season. What that translates into is lesson #1 when for working towards a goal:

Summer Pathways 2017

Be Flexible and Creative

The thing to remember about a training schedule is that it’s one size fits all. For example, My marathon training schedule called for between 20 & 25 miles of running. I was able to get in 20+ miles so I met that training goal. But it also called for a track workout one run and hill repeats for another. Those I wasn’t able to get in because it was the opening week of Pathways and I had to have easy and flat routes for them.

Excuses vs Reasons

For me at least, I see the schedule as a guide, not a rule. That means I need to take into consideration my circumstances such as age, surgery recovery, other obligations and adjust accordingly. I don’t want to push my Achilles with a fast track workout and a hard hill night on back to back nights. I will, just not yet.That means I have to reason through what is best. What is best given who I am, what my body is going through? Adjusting accordingly is critical to moving forward successfully when you have a challenging goal.

Having said that, excuses are easy to come by. For example, I had to run with Pathways on their first Saturday run and they were scheduled for 3 miles. I, meanwhile, was scheduled to do 8 so I did 5 on my own afterwards. To do otherwise would have been to find an excuse and excuses aren’t the same as reasons.

Coming Up

This week will be similar to last week. However, I will be going to the University of Tulsa track for speedwork on Tuesday, we do have a hill night planned and the Saturday run is 10 miles. The weekly mileage should be closer to 25 this week.

You can read the entire Marathon training series by going to my website, Napkindad.com, and looking up ‘marathon training’ in the series dropdown menu.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, etc. feel free to connect. I would love to hear from you.

See You Running,

Marty

Medusa Doing Yoga with her Cat

The Adventures of Medusa #1

Little known fact about Medusa. She actually does not turn things to stone just by looking at them. It’s only when she gets mad at them that it happens.  Her cat, ironically named ‘Rocky’, clawed her belly during Yoga and that was that.

Drawing © Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

 

Marathon Training – Week #1

Today I officially embark on my marathon training and I thought I would take you along on my journey.  I am training for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC on October 22nd, 2017, exactly 20 weeks away.

I have run marathons before, 6 times to be exact. Sometimes I ran sloppy, sometimes sharp. Sometimes seriously, sometimes too casually. Some were successful, some were disasters. But this time is different because I had Achilles Tendon surgery to remove some nasty bone spurs 7 months ago today. I ran for 6 years with those bone spurs stabbing into my Achilles until I just couldn’t do it any more. It took me a little short of 4 months to start to run again after the surgery. Besides the surgery I also have lost approximately 30 lbs in the last 10 months, since Aug. 2016.

At 6 months post-surgery I ran my first race, a 10k, and had a personal record (PR) of 51:52. Three weeks after that I ran another race, a 5k, and had another PR (24:50). I ran these races so I could have a new baseline from which to measure my abilities after the surgery and weight loss. Running shorter races also allows me to project what I might be able to do in a marathon. Given those numbers and judging from my past marathons, I am working towards running a 4:15 marathon. That would eclipse my prior PR by 20 minutes. That is a big leap and it will take a lot of determined work and luck to make it happen. If circumstance of weather are less than ideal, if I have injuries along the way, if I find my Achilles doesn’t like the longer distances I have to subject it to, or any other number of things, that number could change dramatically. But, that’s the nature of long distance running, surgery or not, and I accept it as part of the package.

I will update my journey at least once a week. Each week I will let you know what I did and how it went. But I will also let you know how and what it is I am feeling about the journey, what my fears and enthusiasms are, and what I have coming up.  I am sharing the journey for a number of reasons. I want to learn from my friends and followers what they know about running and training, I want to help inspire and motivate my friends around the globe on their own fitness journey, I want to have accountability and I want to teach what I know, and what I am learning, to others.

That’s it for now. Next week I will explain the program, and give you some more details of my training. I will also be posting all over social media as I go. You can find me on instagram and twitter as @thenapkindad. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me!

See you running,

Marty

When Were You a Poet?

Purchase the original drawing | purchase a print


I have known a lot of people, male and female, who wrote poetry when they were young. It was a rite of passage into and out of adolescence.  Many did the same thing with journaling, diary entries, drawing and art making in general. And it was almost always about two things.  The creative urge to write and visualize at that age was about expressing feelings, emoting and self-discovery.  But as time passed many figured things out, the angst lessened and the need to express in that way diminished.

Or at least they thought it did. But the truth is many stopped creating and regretted it. It may have taken a while but at some point they realized they had let something important go. It may have been they needed to rediscover themselves and they once again felt the urge to express that.  But they could also have matured and realized creative endeavors aren’t just about letting the world know how you feel. Sometimes it’s a way to understand how the rest of the world feels. Sometimes it’s a way to make sense of a world by returning to something fundamental in themselves.

If you are twenty, I encourage you to keep writing, keep creating.  This will require you grow beyond your own expression of self and start using your creative force to imagine and understand other worlds.  If you are 40 and stopped your creativity years ago, I encourage you to start that stagnant engine again. It might require some hard work, but it will be worth it.


Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

“To be a poet at age twenty is to be twenty. To be a poet at age forty is to be a poet.” – Eugene Delacroix


Are You a Worm?

Lesser Than

I have known many people who do feel they are not equal to anyone else. Maybe it is like a friend of mine, one of the smartest and funniest young humans I know, who posted that she is worried sometimes that she will not live up to the standard of all the talented people she sees all around her, that she won’t make the cut. This is what I wrote to her in response:

  • We all feel like fakes sometimes. I am like 3 times older than you and I still feel it. But, while I was feeling that on and off all these decades I also became a kick ass artist who has created some amazing stuff. So, doubt all you want, it’s normal, just KEEP WORKING ON WHAT YOU WANT TO BE. That is what matters in the end, the work you do, not the feeling you may have once in a while.

Where did that originate with her? Honestly, I don’t know her well enough to say for certain. But if it is like many others I have known, it could be a disconnect between her desire for high achievement (based on her intrinsic understanding of her intelligence and abilities, of which there is a lot), and the recognition of her limitations of health, opportunity and ambition.  I don’t think it’s an uncommon disconnect among young people. They have grand dreams and those dreams often narrow as they age. There is a moment at which they only see the narrowing of the dream, not the blossoming of another dream that will be even greater and more fulfilling.

Or maybe it is like my ex-wife, who felt she didn’t have enough value to stand up for what she wanted and expected in a marriage while she was married to me. I wish she had been able to, but she wasn’t.  Where did that lack of value come from? Perhaps the roots were in her parents’ decision that if you wanted to be a good Christian (which they were in many ways) then not only was acting bad not allowed, but expressing, or even having, bad feelings wasn’t allowed either. The consequence was that when she did express the completely common and expected feelings of growing up into maturity, those feelings weren’t allowed or validated. And that told her that what she felt, and thus she, was of little value.

How to Balance

How do you get a balance? It’s about practice. Just as an artist or athlete gets better by practice, so attitudes and perceptions do as well. You can think about changing an attitude but the truth is that attitude will very likely not change until you take action to change it, to practice a new attitude. This can happen if you let an old attitude or perception trigger a new way of looking at something. For example, when you catch yourself denigrating your abilities, allow that to be a trigger to say something positive and good about your abilities. You don’t do this to fake your way towards something, you do it because you are practicing being truthful about who you are in the world. You actually do have positive and valuable qualities. Stating that you have them is not egotistical or vain. it is reality. And since you are currently on the self-denigration side of the scale you aren’t really in reality. This practice is getting you back to a balance, that is all.


Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

“They who admit they are a worm ought not to complain when they are trodden on.” – anonymous


 

 

The Loneliness of Perfection – Design #3

The Lonely Road

I applied for a fellowship recently. It is Atlas Obscura’s ‘Fellowship of the Loneliest Road’. They are granting $5,000.00 for an artist to drive Rt 50 in Nevada.  The road has the moniker as ‘the loneliest road in America’ because of its isolation, paucity of humans and lack of electronic connectivity. The idea is for the artist to creatively document the journey, finding unique and interesting expressions of that loneliness and separation from the fast blur of modern life.

I thought about this quote as I was writing the few essay type responses needed.  My main work wasn’t in the writing, it was in the editing, getting the words to be essential to the message instead of filler to make the word count.


Less is More

The minimal art movement of the 20th century was all about this idea.  Reduce each form of art to its essential. What is it at its essence, and just do that.  Painting for example is color on a two-dimensional surface. It’s not about recreating a thing or a place. It’s not about an illusion of space. It is just color. So, the minimalists were painting flat, abstract images that forced the viewer to just see the paint and it’s properties, not anything else.

Brice Marden – The Seasons – 1975


 

Architecture was reduced to ‘form follows function’ which is what building something is in its essence. Just a structure to do something in, nothing more.

Andrea Oliva – Italian home


 

Sculpture is mass, surface, texture.

Tony Smith – untitled – 1960


Music is sound


Dance is movement

Lucinda Childs – ‘Dance’ – 1979

This is a great discussion about minimalism in art music and dance coming together. Worth checking out.


Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add but when there is nothing left to take away.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery


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