Saturday, September 26, 2009

All aboard the off season mildly comfortable train

Actually this doesn't really hurt. I like these sessions for the off season and maybe they will help you....

1. Aerobic top end
15 min jog warm up 5 x ( 7 min comfortably hard (like a 6 out of 10) 1 min speed walk), cool down...
the goal of this workout is to stretch your aerobic limits. It is just hard enough

2. Strength
15 min jog warm up ( 5 x (1 min steep hill, 1.5 min wall sit, 1 min lunges, walk/jog down hill), (5 x 40 seconds of long bounding)) 15 min cool down
the goal of this workout is to build hill climbing strength and power. It is a good session to keep momentum going if you feel like your body can't handle a high HR run.

3. Neuromuscular
Look up Bobby Mcgee. It is hard to write about the drills that should be done but if you don't half ass them, they work.

These three run workouts, in addition to a long run and a bunch of little easy runs have helped me increase my mileage a lot in what seems to be a pretty sustainable way. I am running about 5-6 times a week which I haven't done in forever. Give em a try.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Heavy in the streets

So here's an update of my vida in the Dominican

I am always in the streets here. Allow me to illustrate...

I was walking back to my apartment and thought I would get a coconut to drink as I was incredibly thirsty... here you can get agua de coco for 25 pesos from hatian street vendors. They are usually pretty good and sort of like a natural gatorade... anyway I went to one and he was garbage. First off, he handled a machete like a bumbling idiot. Imagine kramer with a machete. Scary. He almost hit me in the eyeball. Me and an old man were watching and mumbling about his "talents". I got my first coco and it was delicious. The old man got his and tasted to see if it was good, spat it out and walked away. I wanted his as it was just going to waste so I tasted it. It was horrid. Skunked coconut tastes sort of like vinegar, milk, and water mixed together. I spat it out. I figured I would buy another since I was really thirsty... I tasted it, spat it out and told him it wasn't fit for consumption. He didn't like that. I told him to give me another and he did... same result. Garbage water. So this is when things got ugly and we started screaming at each other about the coconut. We nearly came to blows.

Next illutration....

I was sitting in my apartment when a guy came to my door and asked if he could charge his phone. He had a slit cheek... Like when gangs hate other gangs and they use a knife to cut the other gangmember's cheeks. It is a horrible scar. So I knew he was heavy in the streets for sure. I let him charge his phone and we started talking. The next thing I knew he was in my apartment teaching me how to cook the best rice ever... the dominican way. Basically you put oil in the bottom, salt the hell out of it, then add water to make an oily broth... you then wash the rice and add it to the broth. This works really well and makes really flavorful rice. Anyway, we had eggs and rice and hung out in lawn chairs outside my apartment (this is what everyone does here)... then we went to the colmado ( corner store) and split a jumbo beer.

Other examples...

I now own a machete for coconuts and know how to use it properly
I know prices and call bull shit on cab drivers, and store owners
I drink water out of bags instead of bottles (bags of water cost 3 pesos, bottles cost 12-15)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mr. Severin checking in

So my job has been going incredibly well... I am liking the kids/ disciples. I am enjoying punishing people. I think some of them even like me. Most fear me. I got a card from a third grader today. It said...
"Dear Mrs. Severin (bilingual school)

You are being kind to me. You are big and beautiful


hahahha I laughed so hard at the big and beautiful. It sounds like a Queen Latifah movie or something.

It has been really difficult to bike here and I can tell because every time I hop on the bike I feel like I have chicken legs. I lost my butt because I have been running so much and I have found that my butt was the source of my bike power. I am trying to figure out a way to get my trainer and to get a heart rate monitor. I need to get on it as I have big plans.

I tried to buy a reloj de pulsa (heart rate monitor) at this kiosk in the mall. It was about 60 bucks and looked like it would serve my purposes. I was excited. They asked if I needed a receipt because they had computer problems. I said nah prolly not. Then as I was walking out, I thought ehhhh maybe I should check if this works... I put it on in the parking lot and started hitting buttons. Not heart rate. Checking the box, I realized it was the wrong watch.... naturally.

I walked back in, told them I needed the correct watch... after about 6 minutes, she found it... She told me it was triple the price. I told her no. She told me that I could either take it and pay the difference or take a watch of equal or lower value since I didn't have a receipt.... I was fuming and holding the heart rate watch, basically thinking I was going to take the watch if they didn't give me my money... She called her manager over and finally reason came into the situation... She looked at me like I was crazy and said she was sorry and would issue a refund. I was crazy but things in the Dominican do not operate logically and I was not going to be ripped this stupid kiosk in the mall.

The moral of the story is I can now get mad, get my money back, and look for a heart rate monitor ALL IN SPANISH!!!!!!!

Peace out boy scouts.

Things to come:

I might swim with a team of Dominicans across a bay (17km)....

Monday, September 14, 2009

The only thing you can't recycle is wasted time!

Hello Students,

your response is hello Mr. Severin.

I am now a teacher in Santo Domingo. Today we will be learning about how I am going to struggle mightily at teaching but also smack some kids around and enjoy when they say things about Brad Pitt and Angelina making a sculpture out of their baby's first poop (true).

My first real day was today and I am blogging as these kids work on some nonsense assignment. I am wandering around dishing out warnings and punishment for not being on task and pretending I care at all about kids being smart asses.

I am getting ruined by this one class of little goblins as we speak. Gotta get back to it.

I'll post more soon as I have some stuff to write about (we went to the prostitution capital of Dominican Republic... awkward... but awesome white sand beaches)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

^%$ ^%$^%$ my shoes Brand New

Hello lovelies,

Some new things to report...

Moved into a third world apartment. It doesn't have a door to the bathroom... which is a bit weird... the fridge gets down to about 5 degrees below room temp. The bed is essentially a board and the sheets are so old they are transparent. The pillows are so equally as thin which I really like. Overall, pretty cool.
The guy I am renting from speak swiss german and barely any spanish. The problem with this is he will throw in english words, spanish words, and german words all into one conversation at break neck speed. It's almost like he is playing a game of how high he can build the language barrier. A game that isn't fun to anyone but him.

Trying to recover from being a bit sick... Caitlin's roommates are essentially disease carrying goblins right now. Despite having the immune system of a bull elephant, I have fallen slightly ill...

Now for something new...

Dr. John's advice for sickness:
1. Eat as much real food (food that is recently deceased) as possible for the loads of vitamins
2. Overload your system with zinc and B vitamins
3. Go to the store, buy ginger, go home, boil it, drink what's left over

It works... I am getting better instead of getting the full blown sickness that the weak disease vectors experienced.

Just got a hair cut from a dominican shop close to my new apartment. I have never had such care with a buzz cut and it cost 4 dollars. Absolutely amazing. Some things are really cheap here and I am starting to figure out how to stretch my money which is key when you don't plan on making more than 6 dollars an hour.

Might start a new job on monday... stay tuned as I might have a hand in shaping the dominican youth!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Really Weird

So today I had another incredibly bizarre run... really, this place is the most interesting place imaginable to exercise... I'm not sure if that is good, but it is definitely not boring.

here's the breakdown...

The idea was to run to the pool, do a continuous swim, then run home...

Sounds simple... nothing weird.

It started brilliantly and I cruised fairly quickly to the pool, said high to the guys on the triathlon team and felt proud to be an American for the first time in my life...

I walked into the pool and a Haitian stopped me. He said, do you have permission for the pool. I explained I was training with the triathlon team... just then a guys popped out from around the corner and yelled HE'S AMERICAN... let him in! I walked in a popped in the pool without a second thought. I had just been talking about how I felt no particular attachment to the US. I take that back. My new name is John Paul "Old Glory" Severin. My favorite food is American flag cake and I only drive Ford Trucks while listening to Toby Keith. I am going to get a tattoo of an eagle tearing through an American Flag on my chest.

The weird part starts now... after a great really smooth swim, I hopped out of the pool and started jogging home. I was running by a building being demolished and I felt something fluttery around my head. Then it hit me smack in the face... I looked around thinking it was a bird. No. It was a bat. In broad daylight. There were two bats swirling around feet from my head. A haitian fruit vendor screamed VAMANOS and we both took off running down the street away from the bats. We escaped... looked at each other with a universal language look of "can you believe this just effing happened" then laughed and I continued running.

I finished the run, got home and almost forgot this happened. The worst part is this stuff is beginning to not phase me.

Have a happy winds day.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Knock Knock

who's there????

wanna ride bikes?

I went for a ride last night @ around 7... it was terrifying. First problem is cars. Traffic never goes away here. I constantly have the feeling that cars are lurking behind me, ready to pounce. This makes me uneasy as all hell. Anyway, on this particular ride the lights went out about 10 minutes in. Se fue la luz en espanol. The uneasiness of traffic was then compounded by the fact that I couldn't see anything. Everyone uses their brights, as courtesy to other cars is not something that anyone is interested in... This combined with the dark had me essentially seeing green spots, darkness, and more lights. I headed for home in a desperate blinded stupor and just as I was onto the main road a giant land rover pulled behind me... Naturally I thought it was the end t0 my particularly reckless existence. Not so, apparently a guardian angel was behind the wheel of the land rover. He dropped back about 30 feet and blocked traffic for literally 4 miles as I made my way home. The honking that ensued was amazing but the godly land rover was didn't flinch and he protected me all the way.
every car in santo domingo looks like this... you can see why I was scared

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Things that have helped me lately...

I thought I would share some training info that has helped me structure what I am doing lately... I read an interesting article about fading in pr's and approaches to distance running...

for example if my pr's were
10k-36 flat
1/2 marathon-never done
marathon- 3 flat

This shows fading as distance increases...There is an acceptable tolerance of fading as distance increases and this example falls outside of the limits.

"Think of it roughly like a clock face: Your one mile PR should be at 12, your 5k PR pace should be at quarter-past (+15 secs), your 10k PR should be at half-past (again, +15 secs), your HM PR should be at quarter-to (again + 15 secs), and your marathon PR should be once again at the top of the hour. (This also fits in with the old rule of thumb that your marathon PR pace should be mile PR pace + 60 secs/mile)"

This is obviously a rough rule of thumb but generally holds true give or take a few seconds and depending on strengths of the athlete.

The question is why... the answer is lack of proper aerobic training for each of the given distances... Now what should be done to rectify this and tighten up the pr's... It isn't as simple as simply slogging long slow miles.

two things can be wrong with poor aerobic training
1) Low mileage background in training
2) Whatever mileage being done is being run "too fast" (for performance level)

After examining what I have been doing, I've found that both were the case...

I was not doing nearly enough run volume to perform properly (not to mention bike and swim) but also, in my vanity, doing it much faster than would benefit me from an aerobic standpoint.

After reading articles on this method, I confirmed this with a friend who runs for Michigan State. I asked how he was training and he told me that his pr had dropped 50 seconds over the 5k using this training method. He was running slower than he ever had in training, while still maintaining his neuromuscular ability to run fast through strides, hills, and drills. The key for him was running slow enough for the training to be repeatable and every now and slightly push the upper limits of his "slow" pace. He wouldn't ever hit his LT or exceed it as this training becomes not repeatable. After doing this training with one workout at roughly race pace, he scored a pr of 30 seconds in his 5k (from 14:50 to 14:20).... I am beginning to think massive time spent at the track isn't the way to go about things.

I am starting this method hoping to tighten up my pr's and improve my aerobic ability. Just thought I would share as this is the time to try to break through plateaus.

The key for me will be logging miles with frequency, running at a pace that is repeatable, and every so often, stretching the limits of my aerobic pace... However, abandoning speed is not something that has worked for me and training all energy systems is crucial for racing. I will be doing hill work for strength and tabata sprints for top end speed. I will leave out extended efforts at LT pace for now and I'll let you know how the training progresses.

I am already handling more mileage than ever before and I have been using this approach for about 6 weeks. I also raced very well and have done almost no speed work or race pace efforts. Just some hills and some sprints (4 minutes worth a week).

For me, this marks the start of a journey and I think I am starting to piece the puzzle together. Hope it helps you too. Please ask if this is unclear as I kind of word vomited it out.