Tuesday, November 24, 2015

November 20-22: another disappointment

Kendo: another year, another Johnson Cup--and pretty much the exact same sorry results. A first-round exit in the individual round, and a loss in the team competition. When it comes to tournament competition, this is pretty much par for the course in my kendo: I never make it much past the first couple of rounds.

My losses this year were especially frustrating, because they were both due to dumb, detail mistakes: between the two matches I managed to step out of bounds three times; in the event of my individual round, this cost me the match. In the team competition it was an annoying mistake, but I lost really when my opponent scored a solid kote. Making this even more frustrating was the fact that, in many way, my kendo felt really good. My kiai was strong, my strikes crisp and my technique was sound. I wasn't flailing, nervous or over-amped.

And still I lost; another year of cannon fodder, so to speak. I'm tired of attending tournaments, going one-and-done (occasionally two-and-done), then sitting around, watching others compete. I get that this is a basic truth of shiai; a lot of very good kendoka (much better than me) likewise lose in the first round. Still, I don't want to just passively accept my lot in (kendo) life. I'm very, very unhappy about my performance at the Johnson Cup, and I hate losing.

Running: 10 miles. I managed a 4 mile run on Friday and a 6 miler Saturday. Nothing on Sunday, of course, due to the Johnson Cup. My upper quad (really glute) injury is an ongoing problem, and doesn't seem to be getting much better. It doesn't bother me much during kendo, but during the first couple of miles of any run it is painful, and it is especially a problem while I'm sitting or driving.

Nutrition: hanging in there with calorie counting, and I didn't do too badly in that regard over the weekend.

Friday, November 20, 2015

November 18-19: battling my quad injury

Kendo: suburi each morning, which has been fairly productive and sharp, along with daily visualization work--usually around 15-20 minutes. I also finally got my car back from the shop, so the Johnson Cup will most definitely happen this Sunday, barring any further mishaps.

Running: 10 miles. Really fighting this upper right quad injury. It hurts a great deal when I first begin to run, but tends to loosen up quite a bit after a mile or so. The worst pain occurs when I'm sitting, especially on a hard surface or driving. At any rate, I've managed some decent miles: a short 4 miler Wednesday, and 6 miles outside on my 116th/Lantern Road route Thursday.

Nutrition: really fighting it here; staying within my calorie limits, but just barely, and weight staying in the 166-167 range.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

November 17: car, but no kendo

Kendo: I finally resolved my transportation issues with a rental car. The good news here is that I will be able to attend Sunday's Johnson Cup tournament; the bad news is that I was unable to attend kendo class at my dojo this evening.

Running: 6 miles. The weather and my transportation-enforced absence from the dojo allowed for a very rare Tuesday evening run outside, along my usual Lantern Road/116th street route. The quad thing still hurts, though it actually loosens up quite a bit and hurts less while I run. It is still very painful when I sit for long periods, especially on a hard surface.

Nutrition: a good day; my run allowed for enough extra calories to push me under my daily limit.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

November 16: car issues

Kendo: morning suburi, along with about twenty minutes of visualization. But I'm facing a potentially ruinous fly in the ointment; my car is in the shop with a broken clutch, possibly out for a very long time. Right now I'm not at all sure how I'll get to the Johnson Cup, or even class tomorrow evening.

Running: 3 miles. A brief and actually quite painful run in the Wellness Center, squeezed into an unusually busy Monday (my son is doing campus visits to decide where he'll go to college next year, and I am of course pre-occupied with this process). My upper quad thingy is really flaring up again.

Nutrition: much better here; a healthy day.

Where I'm going, November 16-22

Kendo: the Johnson Cup is Sunday, in Columbus, Ohio. And while lately I'm trying to avoid yo-yoing my attention (this week I think more about kendo, next week more about running, and so forth), the tournament will probably dominate my thinking. I want to be focused and determined, and above all, I want to shake this acceptance of defeat that has characterized my past tournament results.

To that end, I will of course work on my usual goals in Tuesday's class, and practice daily suburi. I also want to continue--and if possible--increase my visualization work. I want to have in my head imagery of good shiai kendo when I compete Sunday.

Running: coming off a light week, replete with injury, but as of Monday the quad feels much better. I'm two weeks from beginning my 20 week Carmel training program, so my goal this week isn't so much training, persay, as it is rebuilding a good base for that training following my light week. I'm thinking 35 miles for the week, with a 10 mile distance run at some point.

I also need to fine tune my training program a bit more--specifically, I need to figure out exactly how I will do my tempo runs. I'm sifting through some good advice and plans via Runner's World and other sources, so I should have this nailed down by the end the week.

Nutrition: really need to get back on track here. While I've continued to record daily calorie intake via MyFitnessPal (a streak of 223 days and counting), I've often exceeded my daily calorie limit--sometimes by quite a bit. My weight isn't too bad yet--around 165-167--but if I don't get this back under control, that will certainly change. The goal this week is fairly simple; meet my daily calorie goals, and end the week under my overall limit.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Where I've been, November 9-15

Kendo: a pretty good week. I'm starting to think maybe my "angry kendo" class Tuesday might have been a good way to prepare for the Johnson Cup. I need to approach this tournament with more determination and passion, so maybe what I was feeling in class is a positive thing. Hard to say. At any rate, I'm thinking in terms of a good showing at the tournament, and to that end I've done some pretty consistent home suburi, and daily visualization.

Running: Turned into a very light week, given my quad injury: only 18 total miles. But maybe that's a good thing, coming right after my marathon. A week of rest, I suppose, and also preparation for my next goal: the Carmel Marathon.

Nutrition: really shaky week, kind of up and down with my food and my weight. I'm still hanging at around 165.

November 14-15: a very light weekend

I didn't do much this weekend, hoping to rest and heal this upper right quad thingy that's plagued me for a while. It was much better by Sunday afternoon, so I think I'll be able to get my running (and for that matter my kendo) back up and running Monday.

And this was not an entirely unproductive weekend. I finalized a 20 week training plan for the Carmel Marathon, to begin November 30th after my return from Mississippi visiting family for the Thanksgiving holiday. I also have a good weekly template for my running, that fits pretty well with my teaching schedule for the fall and spring semesters. I still need to identify a good speed training strategy--two tempo runs per week--but I have a pretty clear idea regarding how my next five month's worth of running will go down.

I also did some kendo visualization this weekend, watching around thirty minutes per day's worth of kendo footage from the 2014 U.S. Nationals.

And nutrition? This has been a difficult matter. I'm on day 224 of my MyFitnessPal streak, counting calories. But I must admit I'm thinking of breaking my streak for a couple of weeks, dropping the calorie-counting until after Thanksgiving, then starting fresh with a new set of criteria and goals, simultaneous with my running goals. We'll see.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Carmel Marathon Training Plan

The goal here; a Boston marathon qualifying pace. This is super-ambitious and probably unattainable, especially given how slow I ran my last marathon, but it makes sense to think ambitiously. And really, Boston isn't my goal; my goal is to run a better overall pace as a way of pursuing my ultra-marathon goal. Of course, Boston would be nice.

Anyway....for my age, my pace should be around an 8:00 minute mile, for a 3:30 marathon (reasonably close to my PR of 3:40, at the Columbus Marathon way back in 2007).

For starters, a twenty week plan, beginning after Thanksgiving (which I'll spend in Mississippi visiting family, so running with a set plan would be rather difficult):

Week               Long run            Weekly miles                      

1. Nov. 30                12                            38          
2. Dec. 7                  14                            40
3. Dec. 14                16                            43
4. Dec. 21                  8                            32
5. Dec. 28                18                            45
6. Jan. 4                   20                            48
7. Jan. 11                 16                            43
8. Jan. 18                   9                            34
9. Jan. 25                 20                            48
10. Feb. 1                10                            36
11. Feb. 8                16                            45
12. Feb. 15              20                            50
13. Feb. 22              16                            45
14. Feb. 29              18                            47
15. Mar. 7                20                           50
16. Mar. 14              22                           54
17. Mar. 21              24                           58
18. Mar. 28              12                           36
19. Apr. 4                 8                            34
20. Apr. 11               26.2                       34

I need to be more structured than was the case for my last marathon (heck, I hardly had much of an actual structure at all, unfortunately; my Monumental Marathon training plan just sort of disintegrated over the last few weeks leading up to the race, which goes a long way towards explaining my poor pace). Since I'm aiming for a pace goal, I need to work in tempo runs; and since those runs will tend to be a bit shorter, mileage-wise, I think I can work them into my Tuesdays and Thursdays (normally busy days for me).

Weekly template:

Mon. base run
Tue. tempo (speed)
Wed. base run
Thu. tempo (speed)
Fri. light base run
Sat. long run
Sun. off


November 13: banged up a bit

Kendo: morning suburi. A good session, with better mental focus than is sometimes the case.

Running: 2 miles. I'm a little banged up...well, maybe more than a little. I've felt some muscle soreness in my upper right quad ever since the marathon--nothing much, just a little soreness. It flared up with quite a bit more intensity today, however, and hurt pretty badly, even while running on the softer surface at the Wellness Center. Thought I'd better cut things short.

Nutrition: stayed under my calorie limit today, but barely.

Friday, November 13, 2015

November 12: short miles, better pace

Kendo: morning suburi. I added a bit of a wrinkle, with 20 extra men strikes of a sort one of my senseis once called "medium men." He observed that often during a match he would use a men strike that is somewhere between small and big, lifting the hands approximately to eyebrow level before striking. I've noted this myself during my jigeiko matches--something approaching a "medium" men strike is useful at times.

I also worked a bit more on visualization, around twenty minutes or so. I find during my busy workdays I must squeeze in some kendo video between classes, appointments, etc.

Running: 4 miles. My fourth in a series of short Wellness Center runs. Right now this makes sense. I'm more-or-less in recovery mode from the Monumental marathon, and I am fighting some relatively minor aches (particularly some ongoing soreness in my right upper quad). My pace is decent, however, and I think this is so because I'm warming to the idea of the Carmel marathon and Boston qualifying as a spring goal.

Nutrition: disappointing in that my weight had one of those temporary one-day spikes I experience approximately every week or so, to 168.