A Family Affair: Recap of the Ellie Helton Memorial 5K

Note from Adam: Since my wife brought up the idea of running this race, I asked her to write the recap and she graciously obliged. There’s a bonus post from our daughter embedded towards the end. Enjoy!

A few weeks ago our family ran the second annual Ellie Helton Memorial
5K at Wake Med Soccer Park in Cary, NC. This was the first 5k for Monkey (age 7) and Cottontail (age 6). They had both expressed interest in the distance and when we looked at options this one came to mind because of the charity it supports.

One of my co-workers and his family organize the race in memory of their daughter, Ellie Helton.  Ellie was a vibrant, loving 14-year-old who passed away on July 16, 2014 as a result of a brain aneurysm. She loved God, her family and friends, superheroes, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and pizza. She was a unique spirit who loved life, was accepting of others and persevered in everything she tried. You can read about her from her family’s website.

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The Road to Richmond: Tapering is More Fun with Zombies (Week 13)

img_4181It’s getting close. I got my bib number in an email from Richmond this week, logistics are worked out, and I re-filled my stockpile of Huma gels. The goals now are just to finish my training plan and get rested for the marathon.

I hit the targets for my two workouts this week, and the other runs went well but were remarkable. At this point one of my challenges is not getting bored. I’m trying some mindfulness activities to focus on segments of runs that keep me distracted, but this week I found at least one better way to change things up and keep running fun.

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The Road to Richmond: Begin the Taper! (Week 12)

This was the last high mileage week for my training, so I guess my taper has technically started. As a nice surprise, fall kicked in and most of the days this week featured actual seasonal temperatures and I even broke out long sleeves for one of my runs. Some workouts were harder than normal, some easier giving the week a feel of cresting a hill.

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The Road to Richmond: Lower Mileage Doesn’t Mean Easy (Week Nine)

This was a step-back week, and after back-to-back hard weeks I think I’d confused “step-back” with “easy”. I expected a break because my plan had several easy runs, but when I think about it I probably shouldn’t have expected any week of marathon training to be easy. There are a couple of reasons why this week felt particularly long.

First, I tweaked my groin at the end of my speed workout on Tuesday and have had to nurse it through the rest of the week. It wasn’t too bad most days, but by the end of my ten mile run this morning I could feel it depending on how I planted my foot. I am stretching and taking it easy, but hope I can work through it (yes, future self, I can hear you).

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To My Surprise, I Heart Track Tuesday

Most training plans regardless of distance incorporate three “hard workouts” in a week: tempo runs, long runs, and speed workouts. Of the three of these, speed work has grown to be my favorite.

The other week my workout called for six repeats of an 800m followed by a 40om recovery jog.  The weather, as usual, was hot though not as humid as it had been lately.

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Road to Richmond: I Can’t Read a Calendar (Week Six)

Overall, training this week went well. My speed work went well, and despite the humidity I managed to stay within my target range for the tempo run on Friday. I have included a large hill on my route for this run for the past couple of weeks, and this was the first week I didn’t slow to a crawl climbing it. My easy runs went well, and I worked in the strength and flexibility workouts I wanted to get in.

The main issue with my training for the week was that I realized I had miscounted the weeks until my marathon. On my current plan, I would be set to run my marathon a week after it actually occurs. That is obviously problematic. I had to make adjustments at the beginning because of an injury, but I thought I had mapped things out correctly. I don’t want to drop a week during my taper, so I will likely drop one of the “easy” weeks coming up to get back on track.

Next week I will take a step up in mileage again, upping the length of the tempo run from seven to eight miles and taking the longest run to date (15 miles). I’m hopeful fall is on its way and will make an early appearance for those, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Goal Mileage 49
Actual Mileage 51.5

Road to Richmond: 50 Miles! (Week Five)

One of the reasons I picked the Hanson plan to train this time was that I wanted to up my weekly mileage and get to the point where I could run 50 miles or more in a week. I hadn’t found a good strategy for building up to the mileage This was the first week I crossed the boundary and it felt good.

My speed work and tempo workout went okay. I kept close to my paces in the speed work on Tuesday but was on the high end of the range I set. This week my workout was a speed ladder (400m-800-1200-1600-1200-800-400), which is one of my least favorite. I like repeats better since you can develop a sense of pace and rhythm. With the ladder the paces vary slightly as  you go up or down, and I find it mentally tougher to get through the longer intervals in the middle of the workout. That’s probably good for me, though.

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On the Sidelines: Experiencing the 2016 Sir Walter Miler

As much as I enjoy track and field, I hadn’t been to a meet since I last ran in one as a senior in high school. I watched the Olympics every four years, but that was my only contact with the sport.  A lot has changed in track since the 90’s, though. One of the cooler trends is the growth of small meets centered on the mile that bring the crowd closer to the athletes and give elite athletes a chance to run stateside instead of overseas.

Since 2014 (not counting the pilot in 2013) Raleigh has been fortunate to host one of these events, the Sir Walter Miler, which brings a men’s and women’s field of elite runners to town in early August to race on the track at Meredith University.  The Sir Walter includes a few races with local flavor (this year it was a Raleigh vs. Durham open mile and a run club 4 x 400m relay), but the highlight is being able to line both sides of the track as spectators for the elite races.

I remembered seeing coverage of this in the News and Observer in the past, but hadn’t been able to attend. I circled it on the calendar this year and signed up to volunteer to give myself extra incentive to get out there.

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On Reading Alan Sillitoe’s “Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”

When I first started dating my wife, my future father-in-law heard I was a runner and a reader and gave me a copy of Alan Sillitoe’s “Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.” He loved the book (short story, in this case) and especially the film version. I thanked him, but since I seem to collect books it laid dormant on my shelf for years.

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The Road to Richmond: When Do Those Crisp Fall Weekends Start? (Week Three)

Week three of training for Richmond is in the books. This marked the first week where I almost hit my milage targets, though I wasn’t able to hit my target paces in the key workouts.

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