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Days of the Phoenix

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Days of the Phoenix

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu May 08, 2014 2:14 pm

God, what a presumptuous title.  But hey, maybe if the dramatics are wasted on the name of this blog, its contents will be free of mishaps and mayhem.  At least the former, anyway.  

I tried this already; it didn't go well.

But seriously, it's about time.  As of this year's Boston, I hadn't run a marathon in 2 years.  Two.  Years.  That's longer than my whole "running career" was at the time I ran Boston.  What? 

That's what happens when I try to hang onto my own coattails, though.  I used to run x:xx for xx miles with ease, and I've been on the bike a lot, so I should still have it in my legs, right?  Well, kind of, but muscles aren't tendons/ligaments/bones, and the latter weren't at all stoked about my last foray into this whole running thing.  

I've kind of been treating the last 2 months like a pregnancy.  Get past the iffy stages before making the big announcement.  It's been just about 8 weeks that I've averaged 30mpw, and other than the eternal whispers of shin splints from last year, I've got no pain or discomfort to show for it...  Okay, I admit, I'm tired, but that's more a function of being an adult than running slow, pleasant miles.  

So far, the plan has been to just run.  Build up the base again, start from scratch, and listen to the voice in my head saying, "Slow down."  A delicate balance between maximizing mileage as quickly as possible and minimizing unnecessary risk of injury.  

Back to the title: it's the title of an AFI song.  The song waxes nostalgia for simpler, exuberant times, blah blah blah.  More important (and clever?) is the imagery of the phoenix.  Reborn from ashes, a protector, etc. etc. etc.  It's the first tattoo I got, a phoenix holding a heart torn in half, and it's the only one I share with my brother.  One heart, two bodies.  

Turns out my brother is a damn good runner.  He just ran a 1:19:xx half in preparation for his first 50k, and he's already knocked off two marathons in the last year.  And he wants to go sub-3.  Uh oh, we all know where this is going.  

If, and only if, progress remains forward and consistent, it looks like we'll be both shooting for our sub-3 bid at Twin Cities in October.  That's the A goal.  B goal is simply to show up uninjured and finish the race.  Gotta admit though, it'd be a pretty cool comeback.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Schuey on Thu May 08, 2014 2:52 pm

Great to see you back Mike and it is awesome to hear that you will being running a marathon this coming October. I hear on the thoughts of I used to be this type of runner and I ran this and that. I went through the same thing leading up to and after Kristina was born and juggling that along with working nights.

Although I didn't take time off from running marathons, I had to do the something you did and had to take a step back and had to refocus myself I on the running was today. From there then rebuild myself to where I want to be in the future.

Best of luck to you and look forward to following your progress and your bid at your first sub 3.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  ounce on Thu May 08, 2014 3:27 pm

Welcome back, Mike.  So, you're going public with your running fetus, eh?  Wonderful.

As far as 'mishaps and mayhem', Mark and I will not create any mayhem until the blog gets to its second trimester.  Well, I won't cause any manyhem until then.  We can only pray that Mark won't.  Suspect  Suspect
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Mark B on Thu May 08, 2014 3:36 pm

He's BACK!

About time, too. I think you have the fitness -- and thanks to your brother, the motivation -- to aim high at Twin Cities.

One other thing? You're way too young to start reminiscing about glory days gone by. Think instead of the promise of what lies ahead. It's going to be fantastic.

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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu May 08, 2014 3:56 pm

Jeez, that took what, an hour for Mark and Oz to swoop in and take over? Wink  Only teasing.

You're right that I'm too young to be reminiscing, which is the realization I came to watching Boston this year.  It was silly of me to try and hang on to a single race when I could have been progressing the whole time, had I been smart about it.  

7-and-change easy miles this morning.  Highlights of the run included a tree/chemical fire on the side of the road (the tree was on fire, but it smelled like chemicals... weird) and getting hit by a bum's hat ("Yeah, and you too, motherfucker!  Don't you DARE threaten me!"... what?).  We're at 21.5 for the week, shooting for 40 by Sunday.  

Running is a different beast when there's other life going on, which is something I'll have to keep aware of.  With working sorta-full-time, two moves coming up (more discussion to follow at a later date), and a serious relationship...  I'm sort of in a state of constant mild fatigue.  That heavy-chested feeling from a long, hard workout seems to follow me a little after ANY workout - though I believe a good portion of that is actually from my allergies, which have flared up pretty badly this year.  Summer will be a good time to catch up on sleep, recover well, and gear up for a fall marathon peak.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  ounce on Thu May 08, 2014 4:21 pm

Mike MacLellan wrote:Jeez, that took what, an hour for Mark and Oz to swoop in and take over? Wink  Only teasing.

Fresh meat.   lol!
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  mul21 on Thu May 08, 2014 7:21 pm

Mike MacLellan wrote:

Running is a different beast when there's other life going on, which is something I'll have to keep aware of.  With working sorta-full-time, two moves coming up (more discussion to follow at a later date), and a serious relationship...  I'm sort of in a state of constant mild fatigue. 

Haha!  Welcome to being an adult!  It kinda sucks.  Twisted Evil
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Mark B on Thu May 08, 2014 7:52 pm

mul21 wrote:
Mike MacLellan wrote:

Running is a different beast when there's other life going on, which is something I'll have to keep aware of.  With working sorta-full-time, two moves coming up (more discussion to follow at a later date), and a serious relationship...  I'm sort of in a state of constant mild fatigue. 

Haha!  Welcome to being an adult!  It kinda sucks.  Twisted Evil

Amen to that. It adds a whole new dimension to the world of training. And recovery? Yeah, it'll get more important.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Mike MacLellan on Fri May 09, 2014 12:51 pm

Grumble grumble grumble.

You're right about recovery, Mark.  It's something that I've definitely noticed as "life" has picked up.  Jim, yeah, sometimes it's a little sucky.

Speaking of recovery - rest day, so a bit more about those moves...

Aileen (yep, the same one from waaaaaaaay back in the day; we just celebrated our 3-year anniversary) was recently accepted to Gallaudet University's PhD program for Clinical Psychology!  I'm seriously debating which emoticon to use for this news, as the emotions are mixed.  Kind of a blend of...  Shocked  I love you  affraid  cheers  Approval  Ride 

Super stoked for her, as GU really is the best place for her to be, but very nervous to leave my safe little Sacramento interpreting community and move to the "big city," Deaf mecca of the world.  Fortunately, the aforementioned community is totally hooking me up with DC, so that part is a bit less stressful.  Housing, on the other hand...  Aye.

We've decided to leave Sacto at the end of May, mooch of the parents for 2 months (not quite the rationale; it was more to have time with family before leaving for up to 7 years... and sleep a lot), then head out to DC in early August to get settled before the school year starts.

(She just started reading over my shoulder: "There's a heart?" with a goofy smile.)

We're looking at Takoma Park, which leads me to believe I may be running into Mr. McKee and Kevin in Rock Creek at some point.  
So, yeah, that's the next few months for us.  Eep.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  mountandog on Fri May 09, 2014 1:46 pm

Congrats, welcome back, healthy running.  I have a son 26 so I know right where you are with all those burdens of a single guy in a relationship -- yawn.  Just kidding.  Great to have your brother as an external motivation, it'll help on those days of doubt.  Take it slow and easy.  That should be your mantra so you don't get tempted.  You'll enjoy DC.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  ounce on Fri May 09, 2014 1:49 pm

Wow, huge change.  I've been to Sacramento, et al, a couple of times now, plus twice to DC, and I can understand the immense change in scenery, weather, population, and attitudes.  But you're right about Mr. McKee and Kevin.  I'm sure they'll both help you out immensely.

You're young, adaptive, and supportive, so you'll be fine.  Especially since you already know your commitment in DC is 7 years.  You'll see two presidential inaugurations, while you're there.  It should be a comfort to Aileen that you're willing and pretty much eager.   Approval
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Mark B on Fri May 09, 2014 2:31 pm

That's great news for you and Aileen. And scary. But that's what makes for adventure, right? Smile

Sacramento won't be the same without you (and I'm sad that we never got the chance to meet up), but I bet you're going to love DC. And you know, there's a little race near there that you might find interesting someday.

Many, many congratulations!
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri May 09, 2014 4:00 pm

I think DC would be a great place for twenty somethings and I'm sure you'll see some of Kevin and Chris.  Vivian is in the area as well.  In fact, Kev, Vivian, and I will be helping out as pacers/crew for Wendy and Tim at JFK.  I'm sure Chris will be around as well, and I know we could use your help (hint hint).  Good luck to Aileen - what a great opportunity for you both.

And welcome back to running and the real world.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Mike MacLellan on Sun May 11, 2014 10:59 am

Thanks for the votes of confidence, all.  I'm becoming more excited and less nervous each day...  Though after a few days at home with my/Aileen's families, it's going to be hard to leave.  Fortunately, Sacramento's interpreting community has completely hooked me up and connected me to the up-and-ups in DC, so I'm already getting some feelers out there.  

Michele - Holy crap, I would absolutely LOVE to be involved.  Maybe I'll have to nudge Wendy with a very obvious hint as the time draws nearer.

Ran 6.1mi with my dad yesterday.  He's been training for a half marathon since Christmas under my direction (after 2-3 years of me making him plans and him never following through...), and it's been crazy to see how fit he's getting.  This is a 60-something year old man, mind you, and he ran a reasonably comfortable 10-miler in the mid/high-8s (I made him slow down) a couple weeks ago.  He's more or less on his peak weekend, with the race in two weeks.  I'm pretty proud of him.

I also brewed up a batch of porter and celebrated Mom's Day with mine.  

I think I suffered some ill effects from the smoke inhalation I dealt with on my run Thursday.  Coupled with allergies, I've felt mild asthma symptoms pretty much ever since then, until this morning.  The hypochondriac I am, I'm sure my stress from feeling "weird" has only prolonged it.  Wouldn't be a Mike blog without some weird shit going on, right?

12mi on the docket today with Aileen's family doing a Mom's Day brunch immediately after.  What better way to cap a long run than creme brulee French toast and mimosas, right?  (Yeah, I've still got 10lb to lose to be anywhere near race weight, so what? Wink)
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue May 13, 2014 9:29 am

Sunday's 12(.33) went well.  I ran it something like a 3:1, with miles 7-10 being done at/just below 8min pace.  Felt slightly more difficult than it "should" have, but by no means was it hard.  

After 4 glasses of champagne and way too much food, I was due for a nap, so we finally left the party around 4:30 in the afternoon to make the drive back to Sac.  Ugh, long day.  

My chest tightness/whatever was still kind of bothering me yesterday, so I actually went to the doctor for it (what?!  Mike, at the doctor?!).  Doc cleared my heart and lungs, perfect bill of health, blah blah blah, but prescribed an inhaler just in case it's EIA.  Took a day off and decided to make this week a cutback week, as I'm still feeling a bit run down in general.  

Tried to set an alarm for 5am today to get my run in before work.  No go.  It's gonna be ~90 by the time I'm off work and able to run my 6 miles today.  It's just as hot at my parents' house, though, so I guess I can't blame Sacto.  Not exactly looking forward to the heat, though.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  ounce on Tue May 13, 2014 10:07 am

Mike at the doctor.  Whoda thunk it?  I've learned not to be bashful about the doctor, even though they're so pharmacologically-trained.

As far as being part of Wendy's crew, I would notify her as soon as you know you can make it.  My experience with Reina doing ultras is that they like to get the crew and the pacers set earlier, rather than later, so it's out of the way and set.

Kudos to your dad AND to you for taking on this pro-bono project.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  nkrichards on Tue May 13, 2014 12:29 pm

Late to the party but wanted to wish you the best with your comeback and your move.  You'll love running in Rock Creek.  Our son lived in DC for several years (three different houses) and when he lived in Cleveland Park near the zoo I snuck out and ran in Rock Creek a couple times.  DC has lots of great places to run but Rock Creek has to be my favorite.

Congrats to you and your Dad...take care of yourself.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue May 13, 2014 1:14 pm

ounce wrote:Mike at the doctor.  Whoda thunk it?  I've learned not to be bashful about the doctor, even though they're so pharmacologically-trained.

As far as being part of Wendy's crew, I would notify her as soon as you know you can make it.  My experience with Reina doing ultras is that they like to get the crew and the pacers set earlier, rather than later, so it's out of the way and set.

Kudos to your dad AND to you for taking on this pro-bono project.

I'll let Wendy know.  JFK doesn't seem to be real concerned with pacers, etc. and Kevin will organize it all.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Alex Kubacki on Tue May 13, 2014 2:40 pm

Welcome back Mike.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Mike MacLellan on Tue May 13, 2014 8:21 pm

Here's another somethin' new - Mike being willing to break from the plan for the sake of better health.  Whaaaaat?

Not 45min after making my post this morning, my chest was tight, I was feeling completely wiped out...  It wasn't pretty.  Work was tough to get through, too.  Not 100% sure what's going on, but I know that both Aileen and I have been exhausted lately, and she's fighting a bug of some sort, which probably means I've been exposed to it.  All this to say that today was an unplanned off day.  A nap and two inhaler puffs later, I'm feeling much better, and hoping it sticks.  We'll pick it up tomorrow if the improvement continues.  Just gotta remind myself that it's a long way to October, and I'm ahead of where I "need" to be in training right now.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  ounce on Tue May 13, 2014 9:16 pm

Gosh, self-diagnosing, too!  No harm in taking two days off, but you're a young whipper snapper.  One might be enough.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed May 14, 2014 11:39 am

Always been a self-dx'er, always been a worrywart, always been a borderline hypochondriac.  It's one of those "I rarely get sick, so when I do, I must be dying" things.  But to my credit, something was definitely up, and having a couple days off was good for my head as well as my body.  

That said, I need to be realistic about where I'm at.  For whatever reason, my HR and paces line up to a 3:30 marathon right now.  It's hard not to argue with that, since I ran a tempo run with 6 miles between 6:05 and 6:45 in March, but I may have been peaking then, and I may be in a trough now.  So, it's time to adjust accordingly.  

4mi @ 8:41 (ave HR 147...?!) this morning.  I'd like to think a few bpm of that was from the inhaler, but it is what it is.  Just glad I can breathe and run again.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Mark B on Wed May 14, 2014 12:36 pm

Perennial grasses are probably nearing the peak of pollination right now. If you're sensitive, you're screwed.

That inhaler might just be a good idea.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu May 15, 2014 4:13 pm

7.5mi with the help of albuterol today.  HR was pretty high, again.  Gonna see if it's still high without the drugs tomorrow.  Either way, I'm not used to this heat, and I'm not all the way back to my runner self, so I'll continue to proceed with caution.  Looking back, I know that I haven't had a "top gear" since spring break (mid-April, week before Boston), so this may actually be some built up fatigue finally smacking me in the face.  Cutting back to 30mpw for now and hoping the body comes around.
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Re: Days of the Phoenix

Post  Matt W on Thu May 15, 2014 4:47 pm

Best of luck to you getting back into the grind of marathon training.  I'm going through that as well.  I see a lot of similarities in my comeback to fitness.  I'm also running Twin Cities this fall, so hopefully everything falls into place for both of us in our training and racing.  I was even thinking of starting up a running blog again and having Phoenix in the title, but I don't want to be a total copycat.  

Keep up the good work.  I know that training through summer heat can be tough and I will have to do some adjusting as far as my running habits go.  I hope your training has as feel blips as possible and you hit the starting line feeling good about the 26.2 that lies ahead.  Keep up the good work.
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