BeyondTheDerby.com > Community Sports > Running

Wes Alkin

Blogging on the road to the Louisville Triple Crown of Running




Mar 25, 2007

3/24/2007


Race in Review
It has been a week now since the 10k race and only now I am getting my legs back under me. I am not sure if my recovery has been drawn out due to the change in the weather or if it’s just due to my natural recovery rate, but one thing is for sure the upcoming 10 miler is really going to test my bodies ability to adapt to a longer period of exertion. After the 10k race I made the honest mistake of taking the next day off and as a result my body was unable to flush out the previous days lactic build up.

Progression
Looking back over the race I am quite pleased with my progression from the Anthem to the Rodes. This indicates to me that I am heading in the right direction and now the challenge is to keep it up.

Cold to Hot
After running today in Iroquois Park it is hard to believe that it has only been a week since the below freezing to the now heat exhausting temperatures. By the time I had started my second lap today I really could feel my body struggling with the heat. Growing up in Ireland with a heat wave being considered two or more day of 70 degrees, adapting to heat here takes me some time to adjust and today was a definite indication that I have not yet adjusted. Climbing those hills today felt like going up a mountain, but now that I have gone through this heat transition for the past few years I know this discomfort will pass and as long as I drink lots of water I will be able to continue and progress.

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Mar 10, 2007

3/10/2007


Got to keep movin' forward
Although I only ran 2 seconds slower then last year, I feel that I am further behind in my training than I was 12 months ago. I believe the conditions and competition set up the race to be a lot quicker…so although it was only 2 seconds slower, I believe that masks the true story. One positive is that I now have an idea of where I am at and can gage my workouts off of that in order to progress at an optimal rate. This is the great thing about the first race of the season, you can figure out your strengths and weaknesses and increase or decrease elements in your training regime. One thing I am adding into my routine is extra core work with swiss ball drills and free weights. By doing this I believe can correct some weaknesses in my form which leads to inefficiencies during the race.

What an event!
One thing I must say is that the Anthem 5k was even better this year then last years. A couple of minutes before the start of the race while I was doing some strides I decided to try and see how large the field was so I stood on top of a box. When I finally stabilized myself on the box I was blown away by the ocean of people who had lined up for the start, it really was an awesome sight! All the people standing so close looked like a river of heads bobbling up and down, what a great community. I am sure the organizers already know what a great event this has already become and I am sure they will out do themselves again next year - keep up the good work!

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Feb 19, 2007

2/16/2007


The week as it is.
Hello again. Well another week has come and gone and I am a week closer to spring break! I can’t wait for the break so that I can have a rest from my very busy schedule. It will be just enough time to rejuvenate and get ready for the remainder of the semester. Although I will continue to work and train during the break, it will just be nice not having to go to class. I am still plugging away with my running, work and of course my classes, right now. Each day feels like a whirlwind of events, but it keeps me on my toes. This weekend I am traveling with the men’s and women’s track team to Akron, Ohio for the Big East Indoor track and field championships. Go Cards! This will be a great trip for me and it will also be nice to get out of the city for a few days. Anyways, it’s always nice to experience the coaching side of the sport after spending 5 years as the athlete in the NCAA.

A fun workout.
It seems as if a foot or more of snow is falling in every state around of us, but for some reason we are just getting the rain and some ice. Today I did a workout with a couple of other runners called a blind fartlerk. The idea behind this workout is to build strength while keeping the mind active. A normal farterk is done by running hard for a period of time and when the interval is over you continue running at a slower pace. This workout keeps your heart elevated for longer period of time than just plain interval training. The difference between a normal fartlerk and a blind fartlerk is the way in which it is setup. In a normal fartlek you will have a period of time that you are ON and OFF and this is usually predetermined. The ON part will add up to 30-40 minutes and your OFF pace will be 15-20 minutes. In a blind fartlek you need two or more people and you take turns to lead the ON parts. The person who is leading doesn’t let anybody know how long they are going to keep the interval going, so you could end up running anywhere from 3 minutes to 6 minutes hard. This workout is fun because you never know when the interval will end and as long as you keep the ratio of quality to recovery correct you will end up having a successful and fun workout. Since it was grot on this day we needed something to take our mind off of the elements and that’s why we did this workout instead of a normal planned out session.

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Feb 10, 2007

2/9/2007


This is a picture from a workout I did in preparation for this upcoming season.


A Great Winter
Right now I am so grateful for the weather that is here in Louisville. I am used to winters that freeze your lungs and go on for 4 to 5 months non-stop. Although it is cold, I am excited that this will only last a few more weeks. There have been a few runs that I have finished and ice has formed on my clothing due to sweat and the frigid conditions, but I always remember how much more tolerant I was from training in these adverse conditions. I don’t think anything can prepare you for the first few truly cold days of each winter period, but after a while you get used to it and each day begins to feel more and more bearable. One thing I can say for sure…it is easier to run on a day with blue skies then a day with grey ones no matter what the temperature!

Science
Currently I am working on my capillary development by hitting higher mileage on my runs and workouts. More mileage also helps to increase mitochondria numbers and size and Red Blood Cell production. All of this supports more effective oxygen uptake and utilization. In Lehman’s terms: your endurance/fitness will improve!

Maintenance
During this high mileage period my body takes quite the beating. I have chronic neck, back and hip problems, which are more prominent at this time due to the extra pounding. As a result, I see my chiropractor on a more regular basis. I highly recommend to all the runners out there to see a chiropractor or get a spinal x-ray, as many of the problems that I deal with most of you experience too and they can be corrected. I have been lucky to find a great chiropractor in Louisville. The Coaches at U of L referred me to Dr. Doug Sharp of Proformance Chiropractic. He was the Olympic Bronze medalist for the US in the bobsled at the 2002 games and pole vaulted in the NCAA and knows the strain and stress we voluntarily put our bodies through. I have being seeing Dr Sharp for over a year and he has played a major role in my running revival.

All in a Weeks Work
My usual week of training consists of three workouts, three recovery days and a long run. My first work out of the week is on Monday and I usually do a 20 to 25 minute tempo run which has a two-mile warm up and two mile cool down. I usually keep the distance I go on my warm ups and cools downs consistent no matter what the work out is, so when I talk about warm ups and cool downs keep this in mind. The next day I go for a 60-minute recovery run around central park in Old Louisville, running around this area during dusk makes feel like I am in a Charles Dickens novel. On Wednesday I do my second workout of the week and for example may consist of mile repeats with the rest in between being no more then 2 minutes. Taking into account the warm up and cool down I end up with an overall volume of about 9 miles. Now with half the week over I look forward to the recovery run on Thursday, as it is usually the slowest run of the week. This is usually the day where fatigue sets in from a hard week of school, work and training. This run is usually 60 minutes in length, but very slow and comfortable. Friday is also a recovery run and if often much quicker then the day before (about 50-70mins in length). Saturday is my favourite workout as it is the quickest paced workout of the week. I either do 400 repeats or 600 repeats which all depends on where my training cycle is at that particular time. The volume on this day is the least of all the workouts and is about 7 miles with everything included. On Sunday I do my long run, which is between 80 and 90 minutes in length. That basically sums up my average week of training. I find it difficult, especially now, to fit in everything with my current schedule so it takes a lot of time management. Last semester I became ill many times because I tried to accomplish too much within a day. Now I do most of my running on a “how I feel” basis. This sometimes means cutting down on my weekly mileage in order to keep from getting sick…but this seems to be doing me a lot more justice!

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Jan 31, 2007

1/31/2007


Running in Louisville
From the moment I arrived in Louisville, Kentucky I have been given the opportunity to breathe new life into my running, which has fallen off over the previous couple of years due to the health issues. Now I have surrounded myself with a great group of people and I may still attain some of those goals that I thought had long since past.

Hurricane Rita
Currently I live in Old Louisville, just walking distance from the university. I share an apartment with my girlfriend who is also a distance runner and a student. We moved here after she transferred from a university in Texas that ended up being ground zero for hurricane Rita. That was a crazy time as I was visiting her the same time that Rita moved in. I had to cancel my return airline ticket and rent a car as my flight home was scheduled for two days after the hurricane would have hit. Renting a car was a mission within itself, but through persistence and a bit of luck we were able to get one. We had just witnessed hurricane Katrina and the damage it had caused and we didn’t want to take the chance of going up against this storm. By renting a car we believed we could get out of the storms way and when it had passed she could then return to school, or so we thought. At 5:30am we drove out of the city and later that day we heard on the radio that an immediate evacuation had been declared for that entire region just 30 minutes later at 6am. We had missed chaos that ensued just by half an hour. That southern Texas city was hit full force and was left with an incredible trail of destruction. We ended up watching it unfold on CNN from the safety of a motel room that evening. As a result, she had to transfer. It just so happened that I was looking for a place to start Graduate school and the University of Louisville ended up being the perfect fit for the both of us.

My Travels
Before moving to Louisville in January 2006, I lived in Ypsilanti Michigan 2003-2005, Fayetteville Arkansas 2000-2003, Cambridge Ontario 1997-2000 and a short stay in the big city of Toronto 1997-1996. However, before the great travel began the story originates from Dublin, Ireland, my home for 15 years. We left for Canada on September 4th 1996; when you immigrate you never forget the date.

Running
As for my running career it has had many ups and downs, much like a roller coaster. In fact, my entire life seems to have followed that pattern. I have been ranked as high as 25th in the world for the indoor 5k and have competed at major international competitions and on the flip side; during my senior year I had to face the reality of not being able to exercise (let alone run) as I was lead to believe there was the potential for me to have an athletic induced heart attack. Yep, I was 23 years old and feared for my life and couldn’t care less about running. Something like that will make you wake-up and put things back in the correct order of priority. Today my physical condition is at the point that I need not worry about it, however I now look at things very differently.

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About Me


I won the 2006 Anthem 5K Fitness Classic, the first race in the Triple Crown of Running. But I think Jerry Reed sums up my training for the upcoming Anthem 5K just right because I “have a long way to go and a short time to get there.”

I am a graduate student at the University of Louisville, working on my master's in higher education with a focus in sports administration. I also am a graduate assistant for Commuter Student Services and therefore am kept very busy. Without any question these are my two priorities.

What time I do have between studying and working I choose, instead of spending it in front of the television set, to donate as a volunteer coach with the U of L track team. A few years ago, I was a student-athlete at the University of Arkansas and was fortunate enough to run on teams that won three NCAA titles. So I have quite a bit of experience that I hope to share with the younger athletes on this team, while also striving to attain my own personal goals. Of course, that usually adds 5-10 hours each week to my already eventful schedule.

I get through my days with a balanced discipline and a cup of coffee, much like the rest of the world… But I do struggle.




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