Monday, October 29, 2012

Taper Blues

We're inside the final week of preparation. At this point, there will be no physical gains to be realized on race day. That being said, there is plenty we can be doing to make sure our bodies (and minds) are ready to 'toe the line'.

We both have been obsessively nursing minor injuries for the past couple of weeks. People refer to the 'taper blues' because everything seems to fall apart during taper. While it seems backwards that our bodies would revolt against us when we finally give them some rest, it seems to be a motif of tapering. It's important to keep this in mind and rather than push your body and test its limits, trust in your training and fitness and give your body the rest and TLC it needs.

Tapering is a game of patience, it's a power struggle. If you are patient, heed the almighty taper and use the extra time in lieu of training to do some extra stretching, icing, yoga, etc. then taper can make your race. Alternatively, if you succumb to the taper blues, you can royally screw things up. It always strikes me as funny how we look forward to some rest and recovery, but when it comes time to do so, we're reluctant and resistant (myself included).

But experience and the guidance of more experienced athletes and coaches can ease the process. I keep telling myself, "Keep it simple, stupid," or rather "Keep it easy, stupid." Yesterday, I did something I never do: I cut my run short. My legs were achin', I wasn't enjoying it, and it was supposed to be an easy run but wasn't feelin' it, so I said to hell with it. I cut my run from 12 to 10 miles. Small victories.

Tapering has funny ways of reminding us that a lil' r&r is a necessity. It's completely normal to feel completely insane during taper, but it's important not to let it control you, it's important to be the master of your own taper, and to even try and enjoy it a little (crazy, I know.)

We've built. Now we're putting on the finishing touches. However, let's keep in mind that Habitat is still building every day. Let's stay building and stay inspired! We're going to take some of the extra time during our taper to make a final push in fundraising efforts! So don't be surprised to get a few more emails from us! We are also going to finalize a work site day soon!

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more (anxious) taper updates.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Flying Workout (followed by The Flying Biscuit)

Hey everybody!

Gregor here.  There's a lot to be excited about 22 days out from our marathon!  This morning, Wilbie and I carried out a mock run through of our race-day morning.  So, since the real race starts at 7 a.m., the two of us woke up before the crack of dawn, right around 5 a.m. to get some food in our bellies, and have an idea of how our race-day mornings would feel.  After a tasty english muffin with a handful of blue berries, Wilbie and I each made the trek to Raleigh to run on the actual marathon course.  Our goal for the day was to run a total of twenty miles with 18.5 of those miles at our intended marathon pace.  Remember when I told you there's a lot to be excited about 22 days out?  Well here's the exciting part... we nailed it!!  After a 2 mile unintentional tour of some Raleigh neighborhoods (due to some missing street signs), which we used to get our legs warm on a chilly morning (46 degrees at the start of our run), we kicked it up a notch and started clicking off miles at around 6:45 per mile.  Although we were delayed a few more times in the following 18.5 miles (mostly due to faulty race course directions we got from the race's official website!!), the two of us finished, although rather sluggishly after a few tough hills in the last couple of miles.

All in all it was a great run!  Wilbie and I enjoyed some serene views out by the Shelley Lake part of the course, as well as some awesome running-friendly greenways compliments of the City of Oaks.  From here on out, we'll be starting our phase of training known as the "taper", leading up to the big day.  Over the next three weeks we'll gradually tone down the mileage and intensity of our runs in an effort to make sure our legs are as fresh as possible for race day.  Needless to say, we're both looking forward to backing off from the intensity of the training a bit so we can really see how all of our hard work over the past fifteen weeks has come together.

We definitely learned a few things during today's run that we'll need to address in the next three weeks.  For instance, we'll need to work on those hills so we don't bonk with three miles to go on November 4th!  I also personally learned about The Flying Biscuit, a great place to eat breakfast if you happen to like delicious food (try the oatmeal pancakes with peach compote if you ever find yourself there)!

With race day quickly approaching, Wilbie and I would like to thank those of you who have kept up with our blog and donated to Chatham County Habitat for Humanity.  Your donation goes towards a great cause, and those who ultimately benefit from it will be greatly appreciative!  Remember to let your friends know about our fundraising initiative, and to keep tuning into our blog!

'Til next time,

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Press Release

Quick note for you local yokels:

Gregor and I were mentioned in the October release of the Community Sports News. This is a local, monthly periodical that compiles accomplishments, events and results throughout the Triangle.

On page 6, in the "Running News" section, under the subtitle "Woods Second At Asheville HM", is the quote, "Local award winners were William Powell, second 20-24, 1:26:36, Gregory Allison, third, 1:26:37;...".

Very small, but very cool acknowledgement. We appreciate the Community Sports News being such a comprehensive source of information. If you haven't checked it out, you should. It's free and distributed locally at Whole Foods, the Community Center, Homestead Aquatic Center, Foster's Market and many more venues.

Shout-out to my bud, and stellar athlete, Josh West for pointing this article out! If you're into reading about endurance sports training and racing, give his blog a view at: . He's fast, insightful, and he has the smarts to explain some more science-y things than we usually write about. It always brightens my day when I see he's updated!

Thanks for the quick read and keep on building!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

4 weeks 'til the big day

Wilbie here.

We haven't been as current or frequent on keeping up with the blog as we'd like to be (as we've been reminded by some faithful Building Phase Team members), so I thought I'd give a quick update on the progression of things over the past few weeks.

Since our Asheville adventure, our training has become pretty rigorous. That race was a stepping stone to the bulkier part of our training plan. We've been nailing some great marathon pace tempo runs, ranging anywhere from 10-20 km. These runs are to practice pace. We have to learn our pace and be comfortable. A marathon is a little over 42 km, so the goal is to get into a rhythm where the pace is brisk, but sustainable. We've blocked off next Saturday for a 30 km run at marathon pace. We're going to head over to Raleigh to scout out the out-and-back portion of the course which encompasses miles 9-25. We're stoked to scout things out and maybe gain a little home-court advantage! Here's a link to the marathon course if anyone is interested:

We've also been booking some serious gut-wrenching track workouts. These workouts are usually at 5-10 km pace for our purposes. The past three times we hit the track we tackled some heart-breaking mile repeats. We ran 5-6 repeats at each workout. When you're striving for speed, but consistency is key, these workouts can become really tough at the end. But, even with sore legs, even with running 3-4 miles to the track beforehand and sloppily yogging (it's a soft "j") a couple back home afterward, it's safe to say we nailed 'em. We finished off our last mile repeats this past week and are looking forward to some shorter, and faster, repeats to come.

Naturally, in the bulkier part of our training plan, the long runs have bulked-up quite a bit! We've been spacing our long runs about 10 days apart at this point, no need to be controlled by the artificial barriers of a 7-day week! Recently we got in a great 18-miler, which we titled Tour de Chapel Hill because we literally ran around Chapel Hill. But, I must admit, this past week we set out for an ill-advised 21 miler and we were both pretty ruined by the end of it. What we've learned: the weather can make or break your run. the weather has been cool as of recent, so we blocked off Wednesday afternoon to get in the long run. Of course, the one day we block off is 85 and humid. Being the spirited dudes we are, we set out anyway. We planted water and gel in 4 spots the night before, so we had that going for us on our little "self-supported" run. But our bodies weren't having it. We were cramping, hot, and heavy-legged by the half way mark. As one might assume, this did not turn into a fulfilling run. The mileage is in the books, but it did not feel good or productive. The joke's on us for forcing it. While it seems restrictive to always do a long run on Sunday might just be the way to go. You get up, ya run and you're done before breakfast. No heat, no humidity, no tummy troubles to worry about. But hey, we're learning...we're building.

Things are lining up nicely. We're happy with our progression and we look forward to more in the next four weeks. We're also going to begin a gradual taper here in a bit, so stay tuned for's always an interesting process!

For all you builders out there, we will be having a work site build day, but at this point it's looking like it will be after the race. A post-race build party, if you will. We're looking forward to throwin' on a flannel and swingin' a hammer, and we hope you'll join us. We'll keep you posted.

As always, help us help Chatham Habitat build! You can donate here: Any and every donation makes a difference. So donate, inspire us to build and enable Chatham Habitat to build as well.

In the trial of miles, and miles of trials,


P.S. Shout out to Uncle Tom and Uncle Ed, Gregor's uncle and dad, and two of our biggest fans and Building Phase Team members. Thanks for taking such an interest in our initiative, for keeping us motivated and for an epic weekend in Chapel Hill. 'Yuns' are two of the coolest older dudes I know!