What was the secret? They wanted to know, in a thousand different ways they wanted to know THE SECRET. And not one of them was prepared, truly prepared to believe that it had not so much to do with chemicals and zippy mental tricks as with that most unprofound and sometimes heart rending process of removing, molecule by molecule, the very tough rubber that comprised the bottom of his running shoes. - John L. Parker

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland 10k Training: Weeks 15 and 16

I finally got back on track these past two weeks (pun intended).  I got my mileage back into the 60's and I did my first track workout of the season.  I'm trying a new approach for my workouts this training cycle.  Inspired by this article, the plan is to mix in workouts where I go on shorter rests but run smoother more relaxed intervals.  Hopefully, this will keep things more aerobic and help in longer races.  The first week I ran 800's mostly in the 2:45-2:50 range but with a quick 200m recover (all the recovery 200's were 55 sec or less).  The old Brian would have tried to hammer each one in 2:30 and then slow jogged a 400 in between.  Hopefully, this approach will work better and keep me healthier.

My next race will be the Cleveland 10 Miler in two weeks.

Week 15:

Monday: AM - 5 mi easy
               PM - Track workout - 6x800m w/ 200m recovery - 2:47, 2:45, 2:47, 2:49, 2:52, 2:49

Tuesday: AM - 5 mi easy
               PM - 3.1 mi easy

Wednesday: AM - 5 mi easy
                    PM - 7.8 mi easy

Thursday: AM - 5 miles easy
                PM - 3.3 mile tempo, 5.3 mi total

Friday: AM - 5 mi easy
            PM - 4.8 mi easy

Saturday: Bob Kahn Invitational - 1500m: 4:33, 800m: 2:16 - 5.5 mi total

Sunday: 5.7 mi easy

Total: 62.6 miles

Week 16:

Monday: AM - 5 mi easy
               PM - Track workout - 6x1000m w/ 200m recovery - 3:36, 3:34, 3:32, 3:29, 3:30, 3:26

Tuesday: 5 mi easy

Wednesday: AM - 5 mi easy
                    PM - 7.8 mi easy, 5x 10 sec hill sprints

Thursday: 5 miles easy

Friday: AM - 5 mi easy
           PM - 5.5 mile tempo, 7.5 mi total

Saturday: AM - 4.8 mi easy
               PM - 7.8 mi easy, 5x 10 sec hill sprints

Sunday: 10.7 mi long run

Total: 69.7 miles

Race Recap: Bob Kahn Invitational

Last weekend I ran in the Bob Kahn Invitational.  It'd been about a month and half since the Kent State Tune Up and I was excited for another track meet.  This time I was running the 1500m and the 800m.

Going into the meet I knew that my speed was far from optimal.  I really just wanted to put in a good effort and give myself a chance to race fast.

First race up was the 1500m.  I was in the 2nd of two heats.  Once the gun went off I just tried to hang on to the back of pack.  We came through 400m in 70 sec.  I didn't get any of my other splits for this race.  I was really just focused on trying to maintain contact and not let the race get away from me.  I managed to pick off one person on the last lap to finish 11th out of 13 in my heat and 21st out of 23 overall.

Next up was the 800m.  Again, I was mainly trying to just run fast and hope for the best.  The 800 is a tough race mentally since the optimal way to run it is to just go hard from the gun and hang in for dear life.  I sprinted out the first 200m and tried to hang on to the pack but I just did not have the same kind of speed as everyone else in the race.  I did manage to beat one guy, so I came in 6th out of 7 in my heat and 19th out of 20 overall.

There are no more track races on the docket for this year.  I think that both of them were very good experiences and very humbling experiences.  I know that I have a lot of work to do to get my speed to a level where I can run some really fast times either on the track or the roads.

Next race will be the Cleveland 10 Miler in two weeks!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland 10k Training: Week 14 and Giveaway Winner

More traveling and a still ailing foot meant that this week turned into an impromptu rest week.  Just a few easy runs scattered here and there.  This week I am looking to pick things back up again and start getting into track workouts.  I also will be running another track meet this Saturday, so stay tuned for the race recap.

But more importantly, the winner of the free race entry is........ #2 Birant!

Email me to claim your prize!  Eric, there is still one more chance to win.  Renessa should be having her giveaway soon!

This week's runs:

Monday: 5 mi easy
Tuesday through Friday: Rest

Saturday: 4.8 mi easy

Sunday: 4.2 mi easy

Total: 14 miles

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Race Entry Giveaway

The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon is less than 8 weeks away.  If you haven't registered yet, do not despair! You have a chance to get into the race for free!

As promised, this week I will be giving away one free entry into the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race of your choice.

There are two ways you can get entries into the giveaway:

1. Leave a comment telling me which Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon race you want to run (5k, 10k, half marathon or full marathon).

2. Tweet: I want to run the @clevemarathon with @BrianMichal6 http://tinyurl.com/jwtvdxw
And leave me a comment letting me know you tweeted

The giveaway will end at midnight on March 31st. If you don't win, take note that there is a registration fee increase on April 9th, so make sure you get yourself registered by then.

The winner will have 48 hours to contact me via email to claim their prize (my email is at the bottom of the column on the right).

Good luck and happy running!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland 10k Training: Week 13

This week I was in Dallas for the American Chemical Society spring meeting.  Ironically, after never resorting to the treadmill during one the most brutal winters I can remember, I finally had to use the treadmill when I was in Dallas of all places.  But that's the price you pay for safety and I wasn't going to risk running alone at night in a city I'm not familiar with.  Tuesday's tempo run was awful.  I really don't know how the treadmill people do it.  I was originally going to go for 6-7 miles but I just had to stop at 5.  It was so boring and tedious.  Also, my right foot was pretty sore from Malachi and I think the hill workout on Thursday kinda aggravated it to so I didn't double on Friday and went for a relatively short long run on Saturday.  Hopefully I will be able to get the mileage back up in the next week or two.

There is still time to enter Beal's free race entry giveaway!  My own giveaway will start once his has finished so check back on Tuesday for that!

Hard to believe it but it's only 8 weeks until the Rite Aid Cleveland 10k!

This week's runs:

Monday: 3.5 mi easy
Tuesday: AM - 5.25 mi easy
              PM - 5 mi tempo, 7 mi total

Wednesday: AM - 5.25 mi easy
                    PM - 6 mi easy

Thursday: Hill workout - 4x 1 mile hill circuit, 7.5 mi total

Friday: 5 mi easy

Saturday: 10.7 mi long run

Sunday: rest day

Total: 50.2 miles

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rite Aid Cleveland 10k Training: Week 12

This week the mileage was a bit lower with there being a race on Saturday.  Specifically, I shortened Thursday's tempo and there was no long run.  I continued to work on hills though and was very pleased with how my hill workouts are going.  I with the snow starting to melt off the sidewalks I was able to even get some strides in on Friday.  I hope to continue that in order to work a little on my speed.

My giveaway will be pushed back to next week, so make sure you check back then for a chance to win a free race entry.  This week's giveaway can be found at Beal's blog.

This week's runs:

Monday: AM - 5 mi easy
               PM - Hill workout - 5x 1 mile hill circuit, 8.5 mi total

Tuesday: 5 mi easy

Wednesday: 5 mi easy

Thursday: AM - 5 miles easy
                PM - 3.3 mile tempo, 5.3 mi total

Friday: AM - 5 mi easy
            PM - 4.8 mi easy, 6x strides

Saturday: St. Malachi 5 Miler- 27:10, 8 mi total

Sunday: rest day

Total: 51.6 miles

Race Recap: St. Malachi 5 Miler

I'd been looking forward to this race for he past few weeks.  I really thought I had a good chance to PR and I wanted redemption for the poor showing at Kent State Tune Up.  This is the 2nd time of run Malachi, and it's one of the biggest races in the Cleveland area and always brings out some tough competition.  My goal was to at least beat 28:09 (my time last year and my 5 mile PR) but I thought that if everything went right I could maybe even run sub 27!

Katie wasn't running this race so I was just there by myself.  I'd been noticing during my workouts that i takes me a while to really get going so I decided  to do an extra long warmup: 20 minutes with 3x30 sec surges.  The weather was in that gray area (mid 30's, windy) where you can maybe get away with just wearing a singlet, so I wanted to make sure I was plenty warm since I always race worse when I have to put on some under armour.  The long warmup though meant that I just barely got to the start on time.  They were playing the national anthem just as I got to the starting line.  It was good though since I didn't have to stand around getting cold for very long.
Off and running!
The race started by going up and over the Detroit-Superior bridge.  The uphill start was reminiscent of the Boardmen course in XC.  I started out at a nice relaxed pace.  With the wind at our backs, climbing the bridge felt easy.  As we came down the other side I let my stride out on the downhill and started passing people.  I was running with Birant at this point and as we wound through the city we slowly picked people off.  We passed the 1 mile in 5:10 and I think we were in 10th-11th place.

I continued to work my way up as we went down the W. 3rd hill and then the long stretch past the stadium/science center/rock hall.  I was in 6th by this point and I could see 4 and 5 ahead.  Knowing we would be going into the wind on the way back I put on a surge to catch up with them before the turnaround at Burke Lakefront.  On the way back I tried to be a good sport and take over drafting duties for the first stretch back to the stadium.  The wind was pretty fierce and it definitely helped to not be running alone.  We passed the 3 mile in 15:40, which was pretty incredible for me because my 5k PR is only 16:13.

The last two miles is where you really run into the teeth of this course.  Coming up W. 3rd was tough.  I was running side by side with one other guy at this point in 4th-5th place.  As we came up the hill he gapped me a little bit, but I was still running strong.  As we headed down Lakeside I could see the 3rd place guy far ahead.  He missed the turn onto W. 9th and the course marshall had to chase yell after him to get him to come back.  I think that may have taken him out of it mentally because we were slowly gaining on him the rest of the race.

Coming back across the Detroit-Superior bridge was brutal as it was uphill and into the wind.  I just told myself to get to the top and then it's all downhill to the finish.  The guy who made the wrong turn was fading and was now in 4th place.  As we came down the other side of the bridge I could tell I was gaining and once we made the turn onto W. 25th I really picked up the pace to see if maybe I could catch him.  The finish was in a different spot this year so I wasn't sure exactly how much distance I had left but I figured if I could get him within striking distance before the final straight then I might have a chance.  Sure enough, as we continued downhill I kept closing the gap and as we turned for the finish line I put on a huge kick and was able to pass him.  My final time was 27:10, 4th overall and first in my age group!
The look of determination as I kick for 4th
So I just missed breaking 27 but I was still thrilled with my time and I was really happy to place this high in a race of this caliber.  Unfortunately, I couldn't stick around long after the race since I had to catch a plane, but it was still an awesome morning.

My next race will be the Bob Kahn Invititational at Oberlin.  Right now I'm looking at running the 1500m and 800m.  I want to see if maybe I could beat my old high school times!