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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
We often talk about getting lost in the landscape. The idea is to go out and lose oneself, and I get that. You lose all those society-laden elements that burden you. But losing is only half the story. The other is about what you find out about yourself when you are away from all that.
Here are a selection of photos I have taken over the years that visualize the lost and the found.
I have been designing a business card for someone recently. She is a creative person and so is her business. That means what seems like just a simple business card design is actually a detailed template for her entire business plan. In planning it out with her I asked a lot of questions, from who is her target audience to what colors she likes. That gave me a starting point but my creative juices didn’t start to flow until I was actually in Photoshop working on fonts, colors, and imagery. It was then that I saw progress. And that is because the act of working is like the act of getting your heart rate up. You don’t get your heart beat up BEFORE you exercise. It’s the exercise that makes your heart rate go up!
This idea is not exclusive to creative work. Another very similar quote brings out how it applies to almost any life situation. “It is easier to act your way to another way of feeling than it is to feel your way to another way of acting.”
Here is the final business card design, by the way.
“You don’t think your way to creative work, you work your way to creative thinking.” – anonymous