Tag Archives: Masters Track & Field Training


Welcome to today’s post in the continuing saga of Running, Writing, and Traveling for Life.  If you are interested in listening to this, please click on this link:

I’ve been running competitively, off and on, ever since Junior High School.  I’ve probably had a bit more than my share of successes, some colossal failures, and several injuries, with some muscles and tendons breaking down more than once. 

The most recent have been calf cramps in both legs which I have had before.  I did rest, but even after a few weeks of rest and then gentle running, I experienced occasional twinges in both calves.  But when we left for a Stanford Study/Travel Tour of Italy a few weeks ago, the twinges had not occurred, and I planned to do some running, interspersed with touring.

Alas, that was not to be!  This turned out to be a “cross-training” trip.  I had failed to catch this fine print in the tour brochure:  “You must be capable of extensive walking-two to four miles-in historic centers, in museums and on city tours, as well as extended periods of standing on excursions.  Participants will encounter uneven terrain, including some dirt and cobblestoned paths, and must be able to walk at least 20 minutes up and down hills in the Tuscan towns and at Gargonza.  At the Palio, participants must be able to sit outside for several hours on metal bleacher seats with limited legroom.”  I really should have paid attention to this last bit about the Palio, but more about that later.


On the first full day of the tour we took the train from Santa Margherita in Liguria to the coastal town of Camogli, part of the Italian Riviera.  We toured the town, had lunch overlooking the beach, and then took the ferry to the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Fruttuoso.  I had planned to participate in the 3 hour walk, up and down the mountains that separated Santa Fruttuoso and Portofino, the most famous town on the Italian Riviera.  I took one look up at the steep inclines, my jet lag exhaustion kicked in, and I decided to save myself for the famous Cinque Terre hike the following day.  I joined the majority, who took the ferry from Santa Fruttuoso to Portofino.  I was glad at the time I had chosen that option, because the one hour tour of hilly Portofino pretty much wiped me out.  We saw lots of yachts, and while Portofino was pleasant, I wouldn’t call it trending!


We then took the ferry back to Santa Margherita, and it sure was a long, uphill walk from the pier to our hotel, the Continental.

That brings me to the next day.  It began with a near debacle of us getting on the semi-express to Monterosso by mistake (it was late), rather than the local, which we had tickets for.  The conductor removed most of us at the next stop, but some did not get the message and remained on board, including one of our guides who was looking for those still on the train.  We ultimately did get on the local, and were joined further down the line by the rest of our group.  One of our group said conductors do this regularly to collect extra money for their own pockets, but I only know he said it would cost an extra 11.50 euros to stay on the semi-express.  You can decide whether or not the allegation is true.   

During the brief tour of Monterosso, my right calf began to twinge.  I looked up at the steep climb up out of the town; the trail appeared to go straight up, not switched back and forth, the way the path was cut, rising out of Santa Fruttuoso the day before.  I was on the verge of bailing out of this hike as well.

Then, a tiny miracle happened.  The pain in my calf vanished.  I felt a surge of energy.  It was game on.

It wasn’t easy.  We did climb straight up for about the first twenty minutes, but then the trail swung to the left, along a ridge which had a lesser incline, leading further inland.  We began encountering lemon trees and grape vines, planted into the terraced mountainside.  We stopped and our guide, Marco, gave us a short history of the rise and fall of the lemon industry over the last 800 years, which was replaced eventually by the current wine industry.


 We moved on, and then mounted a series of very steep steps, until we ultimately reached the peak of the highest mountain.  From there on the bias was down, but there certainly were more steep ups as well. Along the way, we stopped at the “cat feeding” station.  As you can tell from the picture, this cat may have been past saving!   

Cat Feeding Station Along the trail to Vernazza
Cat Feeding Station Along the trail to Vernazza

After 3 hours, we spied the village of Vernazza far below and the panorama made for a breathtaking photo.  We saw the ferry that was loading the rest of our group for the trip to Portofino, but it took us 20 minutes to get down the mountain to the dock, so we missed it.

The Ferry Leaving Vernazza With Our Group, Without Us
The Ferry Leaving Vernazza With Our Group, Without Us

Fortunately, Sylvia, another one of our guides, was hiking with us, and she arranged for a private boat to take us on to Manarola, where we met up with the rest of the group.  We had an extremely challenging hike around the uphill town, then further up to meet our bus.  We first came to the car parking area (no buses there!), further up a path alongside the very narrow road (a bus couldn’t make it), and then finally up to a wider road where the bus was waiting.  I was plenty glad they had bottles of water on the bus!

The next day we took the bus from Liguria to Tuscany, where my wife and I had been a few times before.  We stayed in Gargonza, just outside Arezzo, for the next few days, and the highlight during that time was the Palio horserace in Siena.  There are several Palio celebrations all around Italy, but nothing is quite like this 800 year old grudge match.  This is a 3 lap race, run on a trucked-in dirt track laid around the center of Il Campo, and there are no rules!!!


Even after I had read the warning to prepare for discomfort during the Palio, I did not expect 5 hours of regular waves of pain.  We were all packed into the stadium seats with our knees pressed against the backs of those in front of us and someone else’s knees digging into our backs.  We could stand, and we did frequently, but when the Contradas’ (Neighborhoods) parades began, with all their pomp and circumstance, we did so more sparingly because we blocked the view of those next to us and behind us. 

The worst part was waiting for the race to actually start.  All 10 horses had to be in the right starting positions before the restraining rope would be dropped, starting the race.  Believe it or not, this took over 1 hour to accomplish.  Various jockeys are paid huge sums to obstruct or facilitate the start of foe or friendly Contradas.  This was mainly accomplished by a jockey not guiding his horse into the correct starting position.  Countless times we heard the starter say, “Go out!  Go out!” and the horses would leave the starting area and circle around.  Then they would be called again, according to their drawn starting position.  And countless times, the crowd would emit its disapproving whistles, typical in Europe.  And it was getting darker and darker as twilight began to close around us!


Suddenly, the number 10 horse bolted into his slot, the starter dropped the rope, and the race was on!  In a matter of a few seconds the horses were in the straightaway right in front of us, and in several more seconds they flashed by and went into the next turn. 

Palio-Valdimonte (Ram) Jockey Unhorsing Nicchio(Shell) in Sienna July 2 2015
Palio-Valdimonte (Ram) Jockey Unhorsing Nicchio(Shell) in Sienna July 2 2015

Then, incredibly, the jockey riding for the Valdimontone (Ram) Contrada reached across to the Nicchio (Shell) jockey to his right and yanked him off his horse!  A roar of horror rose up in the crowd, and my mind was stunned by what I had just witnessed.  I thought, “How could this even happen….”  Then I remembered that there were no rules.  And I realized how easy it was to unseat the jockey, because they were all riding bareback, with no saddles or stirrups to aid them.  The others rushed on, including the jockey-less horse.  The second and third turns in the track were literally 90 degrees, and some of the horses actually careened off the far wall on those turns.  The pace was extremely fast and the three lap race was over before we were even over the shock of seeing one jockey unhorse another.

Suddenly a man who was sitting behind us charged down the steep steps, dashed out onto the dirt track and up to the jockey who did the unhorsing.  He and a couple of others helped him off his horse and spirited him away through a tunnel to safety.  Immediately thereafter a swarm of men from the unhorsed Contrada charged onto the track from our right and the Contrada whose jockey did the unhorsing spilled out onto the track from our left, with the abandoned horse trapped between them.  Fists flew and security forces quickly drove a wedge between the two Contradas.

The next twenty minutes were super-tense.  A groom kept the horse moving back and forth between the opposing forces who continued to scream at each other, while some tried to breach the security line to get at their enemy.  Nobody actually got through, but the security line appeared to be weakening.  Finally the Carabinieri National Police forced their way in, with full riot gear.  Gradually they pushed each Contrada further and further back from the other, giving more room to the horse and the groom.  Eventually they reached a space where they could leave the track for the safety of the stables.  We then made our way down the steep steps of the stands, out onto the track, and through the closest exit, thus ending our long summer afternoon of discomfort.  I’m glad we had this incredible experience, but I don’t believe I’ll do it again!  This must be an example of what people mean when they say, “It’s a once in a lifetime experience!”

The balance of the tour lacked the excitement and tension of the Palio, but certainly worth visits.  We toured the Etruscan Hill Town of Cortona which predates the arrival of the Romans.  The Etruscan Museum is comprehensive and demonstrates the power of women in their culture.  Much of their sculptures, ceramics and other art were copied by the Romans. 


Their tombs were reminiscent of the Egyptians, filled with possessions from this life for use in the next one.  On the day before we left Italy we did visit an actual Etruscan Burial Ground in Cerveteri, about 50 miles north of the Rome Airport.  It was an incredibly peaceful spot and several of the tombs were filled with hunting tools, beds, tables, chairs, pots and several other useful items.  It was well worth the stop.


Another very interesting stop was the medieval town of Lucca.  It is the birthplace of composer Giacomo Puccini. There are several good restaurants, including Ristorante Puccini nearby.  The food is good and moderately priced, but they accept cash only. We also dined at the excellent Buca di Sant’Antonio which is premium priced, but worth it.  It’s a wonderful walking town, but take your map; it’s easy to get lost in the oval-walled town.  The wall is a good landmark, but it is, after all, round.  It all looks pretty much alike, particularly at night.   

The final tour stop that lingers in my memory is the gargantuan scale of the marble quarries at Carrara.  This is where Michelangelo found the huge slab of marble with which he sculptured his famous David into a figure way larger than life.  I can pull this mine into my consciousness readily.   A few pictures will do a far better job with this image than my mere words can do.  These remain captured memories in my mind’s eye.

I would like to share the good news with you, here at the end.  The rest and the “cross training” walking while we were in Italy, plus slow running when I returned home, have resulted in recovery from the calf injuries!  I am back up to my normal training regimen of running 3 days a week and walking and other cross training 2 days!!

Please let me know if you would like to know anything more about this monumental trip.  You can send a note to me in the Leave A Reply Box below.

Thanks for traveling with me in this vicarious way.


Running, Writing, and Traveling for Life-Episode 27+Mr. Wugidgem and the Faces of Freedom-Episode 10

Welcome to the latest post of Running, Writing, and Traveling for Life.  I am also continuing to include another Episode of Mr. Wugidgem and the Faces of Freedom.  If you would like to listen to this Running Post, please click on this link:


Since I have injured myself last month, I have been exercising no more than just walking, that is until the end of last week.  On Friday I ran so slowly that I could have walked faster!  Just kidding.  But I did walk 60% of the time, however, especially going uphill.  During the 40% of the time that I did run, I felt a few twinges at the bottom of my Gastrocnemius Calf muscle and the top of my Soleus Calf Muscle, which connects to the Achilles tendon.  Whenever I did feel a twinge, I stopped running, and walked for a while.  At the end of the 3 mile run I felt very good.  It was great to be back running again!

On the following day I only walked, and then repeated the 3 mile easy run the next day, Sunday.  That time I walked about 55% of the time and ran easily for 45%.  On Monday I only walked again.  But I did another easy 3 miler on Tuesday, and that time I ran 60% of the time and walked 40%.  On Wednesday I played 9 holes of golf and was pain free.  On Thursday, I went to the track, warmed up well and then did some “speed play”; i.e. 8 alternating medium speed 100 meter strides, with 100 meter fast walks between.  I did not feel any twinges in either my right Soleus or Gastrocnemius Calf muscles.   Surprisingly I felt an occasional twinge in my left Soleus Calf muscle during the last few 100 stride repeats, which had not been bothering me at all!  I rested one day, and then did an easy 4 ¼ mile run.  This time I was totally pain-free!

I had remained injury free for over a year, focusing on long, slow runs and plenty of rest and cross-training (i.e. walking, stretching, push-ups, crunches, and golf) between the runs.  It was only recently that I added more than 10% to my long runs every 2 weeks, and I was running 2 days in a row, without resting or cross-training between them.  And the worst thing was when I did feel that first pain in my Soleus Calf Muscle last month, I did not stop!  I kept running up that hill at my tempo pace!  Just plain pig-headed…..

This brings me to my writing.  I have published and podcasted a Thriller and 5 Children’s Fantasies.  I have been including podcast links to the first 9 episodes of Mr. Wugidgem and the Faces of Freedom, the last Fantasy, in the posts over the last few months.  Today I am including Episode 10 of Mr. Wugidgem and the Faces of Freedom.  Here is the link:


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This blog post is also available in and audio and part video Podcast.  You can listen (and view part of) this by clicking on this link:


A couple of years ago my brother, a cousin, and our spouses took day trip to Sedona, Arizona.  We had lunch at The Enchantment Resort in Boynton Canyon, and then toured the complex.  The food and service were okay, but the grounds, villas and surrounding mountains were spectacular.  We knew Sedona was a special place and vowed to return one day for a longer visit.

The opportunity arose this month for my wife and me.  We had swapped a time-share week for one at Sedona Summit Resort.  It is a large complex, with several two story buildings which house the units.  Our 1 bedroom suite was spacious and included a decent-sized kitchen and living room.  The only real drawback was we could hear the footsteps from the unit above us when the occupants walked around.  If you go, request a second floor accommodation. 

We had heard that Sedona was a spiritual area, and I noticed in the literature we received when we checked in that there was a talk about vortexes encasing several summits in the Sedona Area.  We attended the presentation, liked what we heard, and decided to hike up to a few of them.  The presenter was Barbara Korte who is an accomplished Spiritual Practitioner.  I have experienced some Shamanistic and Lifespring Meditations and have come to believe “Non-Ordinary” Reality can be real.  Some of Barbara’s experiences really stress my rational mind, but my intuitive self believes extreme experiences are possible.  For more information, visit:



Over the next couple of days we climbed trails to various heights, up Cathedral Rock, Wilson Mountain, and Warrior Rock in Boynton Canyon.   I felt serene and very “present” during these adventures in the rugged, beautiful, and rocky environs, and perhaps sensed a “spiritual electricity” in some instances.  I felt the force more strongly as we approached the base of Cathedral Rock, manifested in my vision; the two spires in the center seemed to radiate against the sky in a surreal fashion.  I had not stopped and adopted my meditative state; it just happened as we were walking along.  Later, we ran into a lady who explained that the “force” was the result of lightning hitting sandstone and fusing it into silicates, which become positively charged. What tends to happen when lightning strikes ground, is it fuses dirt and clays into the silicates, one of which is quartz.  Perhaps this does logically explain why people feel an energy in Sedona, but it seems like “Non-Ordinary” Reality to me.

However, when we climbed the base of Warrior Rock and reached the beginning of the pinnacle, we did stop, and sit, and meditate for a while.  Then along came a friendly person whom you might call a Spiritualist.  He welcomed the two of us, and then gave each of us a hand-carved red rock, in the form of a heart.  Then he climbed the last 50 feet to the pinnacle and began playing his flute.  What emanated from that flute was hauntingly beautiful and we continued our meditations.  My wife and I did capture some of this magic on our iPhones.  Please listen to these now; perhaps you can burn them onto your own DVD, if you are inspired by them:  

This was the absolute highlight of our spiritual search in Sedona.

After a while, we descended, and then headed back to the parking area.  All the way back we could hear the melodic flute.

We then drove the short distance to the Enchantment Resort.  We had made a lunch reservation and, unlike our experience 2 years ago, we were seated right away, and we thoroughly enjoyed a garden-fresh chicken salad and a hearty beef-burger with French fries, both of which we split.

In fact, we enjoyed our entire experience in Boynton Canyon so much that we decided we will stay at The Enchantment Resort when we visit Sedona again.  If you are interested in further details, please open this link in another window:


I had been fighting the flu, complete with aches and runny nose, and the altitude ranges from 4,000 feet to 6,500 feet at Sedona, so I limited my exercise to the hiking.  I felt mostly healed when we returned home so I did a tempo workout, rested one day, and then did a long run the next.  The runny nose returned with a vengeance, so I began allergy medication, which I believe is beginning to work.  The nasal flood has slowed to a drip.   I’m hoping to begin running again this weekend.

Now please go to the link below for the next exciting Episode of Mr. Wugidgem and the Faces of Freedom:





Stanford University Track
Stanford University Track

For three months now, I have incorporated a long run in my weekly training. In the past I would include easy runs, but they were not generally long. My focus was on short, fast workouts to increase my speed. More often than not, I would incur an injury sometime during the year, probably because I wasn’t allowing my body to fully repair muscle tissues broken down during the speed sessions.

I believe the long, medium and slow (including walking) runs over these past three months have boosted my fundamental muscle strength to the point where I can change my intervals distance from a minimum distance of 400 meters and higher to 300, 200, and even 100 meter repeats. I will pay particular attention to being sufficiently recovered over the next day, or more likely the next two days, before doing the next running workout.

This week I did pay attention to getting sufficient rest between my runs. On Sunday I went for my long run, with plenty of walking breaks. On Monday I walked for 33 minutes, going 1.6miles. On Tuesday I did a Tempo run. On Wednesday I played 9 holes of golf. Thursday I did 200 meter speed intervals. Friday I walked for 35 minutes, covering 1.55 miles. Finally, on Saturday I walked for 31 minutes, up a steep hill and back down, 1.5 miles.

The highlight of the week was Thursday. After the golf on Wednesday I was quite tired and my lower back was stiff. I’ve been playing golf weekly with some stiffness and fatigue afterward, but this was more than normal. I had more than a little misgiving about transitioning to faster speed intervals the following day.

I felt better in the morning, although I did not feel fully rested. But I did finally convince myself to go to the track, warm-up, and then decide if I felt up to it. I started with my slow walking and jogging 1 mile warm-up, followed by 7 minutes of stretching, and then two wind sprints. I felt pretty well, so I decided to start with four repeat 200s, and then see how I felt after those.

The workout went very well. I felt relaxed from the very first repeat, with my core relaxed, good leg turnover, high-pump arm action, and full toes push-off. I did the first four repeats at my 800 meter race goal pace, and then decided to do at least two more repeats, and perhaps two more after those. I continued to feel good, so I completed four more. I had done 8 x 200s twice earlier this year, but this workout was the fastest and my maximum heart rate was 21 beats per minute slower than during one of them and 15 beats slower than the other.

As I have mentioned before, this year I am focused on having one long and slow run each week, building slowly and resting sufficiently between running workouts to minimize the risk of injury, all too common in my past.

I would say now, “So far, so good.”




Welcome to a “Double-Header” today.  First up is Episode 22 of my regular blog, Running, Writing and Traveling for Life.  Then stay tuned of Episode 5 of Mr. Wugidgem and the Faces of Freedom.

Over the past 4 weeks, I have done 1 day of interval training, followed or preceded by a long run, with no rest day between.  I felt fine during each of the workouts, but I was exhausted on the third and fourth days.   I only felt ready for my tempo run after resting on the third and fourth days.  This week I will rest one day between the intervals day and long run day, and then see if I can handle the tempo run after only one or two days of either walking or resting.  In fact, since I started writing this, it’s now later in the week, and I have done my intervals, rested one day, and then done my long run yesterday.  I feel much better this week than last.

There are some of us among the Masters Runners who can run every day and be able to handle the work load.  My guess is that they have been running daily for decades, and they’ve learned to stop running at this first hint of injury.  I have been running for decades, but have had several layoffs, due to injury or burnout, during those years.  For me, from time to time I feel tired and need to overcome inertia to actually get out there and run.  The majority of the time when I do don my running gear and do start putting one foot in front of the other, by the time I am warmed up, I feel good, and I do my workout.  There are times, however, when I don’t feel good, so I end the workout and surrender to recovery.  It is hard to truly discern when your body actually needs a rest day and when your lazy mind is playing tricks on you.

As I have mentioned recently, I am using the winter to focus on slow, longer runs to build up my strength.  It seems to be working, based on slightly improving interval training, with more reps, faster times, and lower rest times between the reps.  I have also adopted Jeff Galloway’s (www.jeffgalloway.com) exhortation to weave walking breaks into the normal running periods, particularly in the beginning and middle parts of the long run.  This way I feel I am able to actually run further and, of course, with less effort.  There is one route I run that has a steep uphill, six-tenths of a mile long, about 1.5 miles from the finish, and I do insert walking breaks here as well.  These walking breaks have also enhanced my enjoyment of the long runs, if only being able to absorb my surroundings more fully.   

Once again I want to encourage you to sit down in a quiet space daily to do affirmations, if you have not started to do it already.  I have seen some of the 22 affirmations become part of my automatic behavior already.  This is a slow process and is most effective if you repeat the affirmations at morning and at night.  If you would like to see my earlier comments on this powerful process, please click on:




Please leave your questions or comments by clicking on the “Leave a comment” link at the bottom of the page.  Thanks!

Please be with me again next time when I will report on the results of the day of rest between intervals and long run, but for now, stay tuned for Episode 5 of Mr. Wugidgem and the Faces of Freedom.  Enjoy!



 Direct Link to Today’s Audio Podcast:

December was a difficult month, which actually was probably a good thing.  First I had to deal with jet-lag after a down-and-back trip to Canberra, Australia.  Then I kept trying to run 200s and 400s at my desired 800 meter race time, which left me further exhausted.  After that, most of my running was easy, and the few intervals I did were at a slower pace.  And I had a lot more rest days because I paid attention to my fatigue and only walked, golfed, or rested when I didn’t feel up to running. 

Now it is January, and I feel more rested.  In fact, this week I have felt the strongest in months.  I was able to handle a long run, and then an interval workout in 2 consecutive days.  I am hoping I can build slowly, but steadily in the coming months. 

I have also been thinking about my next novel.  I have been quite disturbed by world-wide terrorism, murder, bigotry and greed, and I have been trying to understand the root cause.  I think about poverty, drugs and alcohol, insanity,  lack of education, being spoiled, sexual drive, and myriads of other circumstances contributing to the chaos in the world.

When I was doing my prayers and meditations this week, I had an epiphany that all of these heinous acts and states of being have to do with power.  Or more specifically, the lack of power.  I want to investigate further.  How does one gain power in healthy ways?  Is the best power external or internal? Is win-win really possible?

I have dabbled in this area in my thriller, Slaves On Horseback, and my children stories, particularly Mr. Wugidgem and the Faces of Freedom.  I have been podcasting the first 2 Episodes on iTunes, and I am including the link to the third Episode just below.  For those of you who have listened to the first 2 Episodes already, today we will March for Freedom in Maracaibo with Debby, Michael, their mother and Mr. Wugidgem: 


For those of you who want to start at the beginning, please go to:









Stanford University Track
Stanford University Track


If you would like to listen to this Podcast, please click on this link:


Back at last!  I have been struggling to decide whether or not I was ready to compete on the track.  I have had some gratifying interval speed workouts at my goal 800 meter race pace, but every time I reduced the rest interval between my speed repeats, my heart rate really jumped up and would not drop to an acceptable level when I reached the end of the rest interval, before the next repeat.  I would have to extend the length of the rest interval until my heart rate was at an acceptable level.  I expect this to happen at the end of the workout, but this was happening after only a few repeats with the shorter rest between them.

Eventually I decided to run a 600 meter time trial at my goal 800 meter race pace.  I felt good during the first 200 meters, but I was quite a bit slower than my race pace.  I began to struggle during the second 200 meters, which was slower than the first 200.  The final 200 was a bit faster, but I not as fast as I thought I was going!

Anyway, I was well off my goal 800 meter race pace, which I needed to achieve to qualify for the 2015 Senior Games.  I decided not to compete in the qualifying Games this month, but rather continue to train in my steady, gradual, injury- free way.  I’ll race only when I feel ready, hopefully by next Spring.  It is difficult indeed to accept that the recovery time after surgery and the recovery time after strenuous workouts get longer and longer as we age.  What helps keep me exercising though, is that I still love to run, my blood pressure and heart rate are low, and my overall health is very good. Continue reading RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE – EPISODE 19

Iffley Road Track-Oxford University


Thanks for joining me today for Episode 18 in my running, writing, and traveling blog. For those of you who want to listen, rather the read, here is the link to the Audio Podcast: 

Picking up on one of my comments from the last Episode, it is extremely difficult to see the fine line between health and injury. Last week I ran a 600 meter time trial to get an idea how close I was to running a steady pace at my desired 800 meter race pace goal. I felt I was getting close to being able to race a full 800 meters at my goal pace, based on the 200 meter interval times at which I had been running. Was I ever wrong!

I thought I was running the first 200 meters at race pace, but I was quite a bit slower than I expected. I picked up the pace, but even at the 400 meter mark, I was still behind my goal pace. I increased my tempo in the final 200, but still finished well off my goal.

I just looked back at my training log, and I see that I had done a difficult tempo run 3 days before, and only walked the following 2 days. Therefore I did have 2 days of rest between the runs, but I may have needed a third day of rest.

I also may have needed to do my 200 meter interval training at a pace faster than race pace and/or reduced the rest interval to less than the 2 minutes I was taking. This week I think I will just reduce the rest interval and maintain the 200 meter pace at race level. The last time I did intervals faster than race pace, while maintaining the 2 minute rest intervals, I sustained a glute injury that took a long time to heal. Reducing the rest interval should be less stressful on the tired muscles, with less risk of injury.



Stanford University Track-Another View
Stanford University Track-Another View

I have been reviewing my workouts since the beginning of the year, in an attempt to unearth progress and setbacks during this 5 month period.  Because of hernia and eye operations during the first half of last year, I had spent the second half of 2013 doing a lot of easy running.  I was injury free. 

In January of this year, I began to do some speedwork, but at a 2 mile pace, rather than an 800 meter one.  I was doing 200s, 300s and 400s, usually 4 or 5 repeats, with a 2 to 3 minute rest interval, depending on how I felt.  I got through January injury free.

At the beginning of February, I began to increase the speed of my repeats to my 800 meter pace and I dropped the rest interval to the 2 minute range, but still did 4 or 5 repeats.  I felt very good during these repeats.  On February 27 I felt excellent, having rested 3 days, but on the 4th 200 meter repeat, my left glute cramped at about the 80 meter mark, so I stopped.  I rested 90 seconds, then ran 100 meters at my slower 2 mile pace, rested 2 ½ minutes, and then ran one more 100 meters at the 2 mile pace.  I prayed I wasn’t injured too seriously. Continue reading RUNNING, WRITING, AND TRAVELING FOR LIFE-EPISODE16

Running, Writing, and Traveling For Life – Episode 15


Sunset In Cupertino, CA
Sunset In Cupertino, CA

We are back home in California now, and I’m having a problem with the plastic lens replacement for the cataract-ridden one in my right eye. It has slipped out of place and they can’t schedule the corrective surgery for 10 days. I can see well enough with my left eye, so I’m working on this blog installment.
As I mentioned last week, I have been repeating a list of positive affirmations daily for the past six months, and I thought now was a good time to pass on some observations to you. If you would like to review my original December 19th blog on this subject please click on this link:
Direct Link to Affirmations Blog 12/19/13
Vitally important to this positive affirmation process are these two positive affirmations:
1. I love doing my affirmations, and I repeat them every day.
2. Affirmations work to improve my life.

I changed the word “enjoy” in the original first affirmation to “love” which you see above. As I repeated the daily affirmations over time, I gradually realized enjoyment was morphing into love. I wasn’t simply enjoying the visualization process; I loved how my life was changing.  Thus I created the second positive affirmation:  Affirmations work to improve my life.

Let me share a couple of examples. One of my affirmations is: I enjoy doing my chores and I complete them easily, with a smile on my face. After repeating this positive affirmation every day for a few months, I realized that I was, in fact, finding pleasure and satisfaction in doing my chores. The most amazing thing was that I was completing the chore all at one time, and sometimes even with a smile on my face!  Previously I would allow other distractions to interrupt the completion of my tasks. I also have noticed that when I am relaxing and a chore opportunity comes up, I more often than not handle the chore right then.

Third In The California Games 800 meters-2012

Another example of positive affirmations working involves this one: I am a strong, relaxed, fast runner, and I push off with all my toes. I visualize sliding my shoulder back and down, relaxing my core, and pushing off with all ten toes. Historically, I was tense in both training and racing. During the last six months, I have noticed when I am running, more and more I am actually sliding my shoulders back and down, relaxing my stomach and quads, and really pushing off with all ten toes. I really see this when I am doing interval training – when I am able to maintain these actions, the repeat time is faster.

I don’t fully understand why the affirmations work. I do know that I have negative thoughts during each day, but it seems to me I am better able to dispel these negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. Some people may say this is self-hypnosis or delusional. Whatever is it, I believe this process trains the sub-conscious to come from a positive place, with the result being positive action.

I also want to reiterate the importance of repeating often, “I love doing my affirmations and I repeat them every day.”  The negative part of your subconscious will bombard you with negative thoughts that affirmations are waste of time, they don’t work, etc.  After a few weeks these negative thoughts will abate, but they will still pop-up once in a while.

If you are interested in further readings on affirmations, here are some links:

Winning Mindset0001

Train Your Brain Hard0001

Psycho-Cybernetics from Wikipedia

Please send your comments/observations to: allanwchapman@gmail.com.


Please be with me next week for my next post.  My doctor has advised me not to run until sometime after my eye surgery, so I should have time to reflect on my training.  Perhaps a few pearls will emerge that will be of use to you.