Monday, September 29, 2014

The Red Line

Rolling along Monday evening on a four mile jaunt I looked down on the asphalt path that runs along 6 Mile Cypress.  I noticed some thoughtful soul had re-painted the half mile marks that show up along the five mile path that stretches from Daniels Parkway to Colonial Boulevard.  It reminded me of the importance of interval work when training for an important race, even for half marathons and marathons.  As I pondered the countless half mile and mile intervals I've run, something else occurred to me.  Running races ahead of a half marathon or marathon is equally important.

Preparatory races get your ready for your goal races.  It allows you to practice your strategy.  Running a few 5K's or 10K's before a longer race like a half marathon or marathon sharpens that edge.  Regardless of whether you plan on running a marathon under 3 hours, 4 hours, or 5 hours, a handful of races leading up to the big race is important.

This picture was taken about one month ahead of a marathon that I ran in Kansas City.  I'm leading an old training partner, Stephen Greer, over a bridge in Leawood, Kansas in a mid-September 10K race..  It told my coach that I was ready to run a marathon.  Because he wouldn't let me run intervals, (that's another story) I had to race to sharpen my speed.  Time and again it was a proven formula for the half marathons and marathons that I would follow.

You naturally run faster in a race.  The sheer force of the crowd of runners carry you along to speeds you normally can't hope to attain in a training run or during interval training.  I write about this as I see a group of hopeful men and women prepare with Coach Mike Pemberton for upcoming half marathons and marathons this winter.  You can log all the miles you want, but without some pace work, intervals, tempo runs and racing, those goal races won't be nearly as satisfying as you would like.

But that red line is a double edged sword.  Too much racing, too much speed work, will take an edge off of all of that work you've put in for that big race.  The red line can be your friend, but if you cross it one time too many, you can pay a heavy toll in injuries and illness.  Something to consider as we enter the road racing season.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Change of Direction

I haven't posted in quite some time because I've been a busy boy.  I am leaving television news, thus ending a career in television that started 40 years ago this month when Rich "Pureman" Bailey asked me to become his stat monkey at Cable 6.  It's been a hell of a ride ever since.

The seeds of change were planted more than three years ago when I had come back from Sacramento to Fort Myers in search of a new challenge.  I had talked off and on for years with Mike Pemberton, a running guru in Fort Myers who has operated a running shoe store for the most part of his 20 plus years here.  I first met him 11 years ago when I went to Mike with my plantar problem and he quickly resolved it.  I like to think of Mike as the shoe whisperer.  He's top notch at figuring out what you need on your feet.

Anyway, I asked Mike if I could throw in with him and sell shoes back in the winter of 2011.  I worked around the store, got to know his wife and his way of doing business.  He wasn't ready and I understood it. So, I was off to FOX 4 and a great group of people with the thought that I would have to survive in TV news until my far off retirement.

Then in May of this year, Mike and his delightful wife Candy asked me if I was ready to join in the fun that is Run Florida on McGregor.  Mike wanted to do what he loved best, coach and train.  The demands of running the store full-time was cutting into his passion.  It took a lot of talking and a lot of thought and a lot of support from the Czarina, but especially Mike and Candy and I decided that now was the time for change.

I have thought about getting into the running shoe game for more than a decade.  I had talked with Kansas City running impresario Garry Gribble about it.  I had been approached by others in KC about investing in a store.  It didn't seem right, especially opening up a store that would compete against a friend.  That's what makes working with Mike so welcoming.  I get to learn first hand from a seasoned pro and thankfully I have enough knowledge of what works and doesn't work to help others who want to run.

I'm still a journalist.  I always will be and this blog will serve as proof of that.  I hope to keep it running focused as it is now my profession.  I would ask that you check out our Facebook page and please like Run Florida on McGregor.  I'm excited.  I never thought I would grow up to be Al Bundy!