This web log was created to keep you up to date with the athletic pursuits of Blake Boldon. It will be updated regularly with competition schedules, results, and photos.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

December Frustrations & Progress

"You have to believe in yourself when no one else does. That's what makes you a winner." It's not something that I came up with on my own. I recently came across that Venus Williams quote and this week it has taken on a whole new meaning. Since my last post I've had a hard time getting replies to my emails within the sport. I've emailed meet directors, USATF employees, coaches and potential employers to name a few but it's like I don't exist within the sport. Little things like finding a swimming pool for cross training and getting on the indoor track here in town have presented their own unique challenges. This week my frustrations came to a head when on Tuesday I got a call from the athlete rep at Saucony. Despite discussing 2009 in October with the athlete rep, the company has decided to not renew my contract. It shouldn't be a big surprise since 2008 was such a disappointment but the timing was especially disappointing. I do have a couple of options for 2009 but I hope to find a way to stay with the company if they can offer gear and some incentives. Saucony is a great company full of great people and I really like the direction that company is headed (except dumping me) so hopefully it all gets sorted out in the coming weeks. Needless to say, after a day or two of frustration the recent turn of events has only provided me with more motivation while I continue to pursue my goals.
Training continues to go well and I'm still excited about the progress that I'm making on a weekly basis. Last week I recorded a lifetime high for mileage by running 110 miles. This week I backed it down a little to 105 but within the last two weeks I've had some great work outs (for those of you doing the math at home, that brings me to 628 miles over the last six weeks). The last two Fridays I've done a 6 mile "Predator Run." This is something that I've picked up from Coach Simmons. It's a progressive tempo and I ran 31:15 and 31:05 for each of the last two weeks, which I think is pretty solid since I'm still adapting to altitude. Last Tuesday I did 6 x a mile on a trail near my house and I averaged 4:58 but this Tuesday was much more encouraging. I did 20 x 400 on the indoor track at the Air Force Academy (7000 feet). Alex Vasquez from UCCS did every other rep with me and it was a big help as I managed to average 66.8. The biggest adaptations that I've seen since being at altitude have come during my long runs. Each of the last two weeks I've gone out to the north side of town to run on the Santa Fe Trail. I park near 6300 feet and run eight and a half miles out to about 6800 feet. After making the return trip I do 8 hill strides to finish the 18 miles for the day. The last two weeks I've made the 8.5 mile return trip in 51:30 and 51:28 respectively (6:03 pace). Today I ran with my friend, Tommy Neal (fresh off his 18th place finish at Club XC Championships), and we started back much more conservatively than I did last week. I ended up picking it up from 13.5 miles to 17 and averaging 5:39 over those 3.5 miles. During last week's long run the temperature was below ten degrees and the wind chill was around zero so I came away with a pretty great picture.
Don't worry, I've since trimmed the beard but yes, that is all natural. I'm driving back home to Iowa today (really through the night) so I'll need a day or two to get some rested but I hope that I don't have to miss any training.
I want to end with one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite bands. Before almost all my workouts I like to listen to Rage Against the Machine. Without getting into the politics implied in the song, my favorite line of "New Millennium Homes" is the opening sentence - "Hungry people don't stay hungry for long. They get hope from fire and smoke as the wheat grows strong." I'm not sure what in the heck that has to do with running but it does the trick for me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Back from Reno and Still Plugging Along

I made it back safely from the USATF annual meeting in Reno and there's a lot there to talk about. I'm excited about the new direction of the organization and I think the restructuring (paired with Doug Logan as CEO) will improve the governance of our organization and hopefully increase our sport's standing in the public consciousness. Logan's goals are ambitious but I admire it and think it's exactly what we need to energize the membership and hopefully make track & field a premier sport in the US again. In the presidential election, Stephanie Hightower won a close race and although Dee Jensen was a great candidate I think Stephanie's charisma, enthusiasm and passion will be good for the organization. On a more personal level, during the Athlete Advisory Committee meetings I was named the event leader for the men's 3000 to 10,000. I hope that I'm able advocate for distance runners and improve the sport on some level. If you have ideas of ways to help elite and aspiring elite distance runners, please share your ideas. The trip to Reno was good for a number of reasons. Firstly, I got to reconnect with friends from all areas of the sport including runners, meet/race directors and officials. It's so different hanging out with them when I don't have to worry about competing in the same trip. I also made a lot of new friends and met some great new people. My roommate for the trip was Fasil Bizuneh who trains in Flagstaff, AZ and we happen to have the same coach. This brings me to my next item of big news. I'm now working with Scott Simmons and The American Distance Project. Coach Simmons is one of the premier coaches and lectures on distance running in the country and I consider myself lucky to have his guidance. Here is information on Coach Simmons and the program: It was great getting to know Fasil and training with him while we were in Reno. Speaking of which, training is going very well. My last four weeks have been 101, 101, 105, and 106 miles respectively. My workouts since moving to Colorado have still been at a pretty high level. Two weeks ago on Tuesday I did 6 x a mile with 3 minutes rest on a track at 6500 feet. That day my times were 5:13, 5:09, 5:06, 5:05, 4:54, 5:07. Today I did the same workout on a trail near my house (6000 feet). It was strictly out and back and the way out was an incline the whole way, so numbers 1, 3, and 5 were naturally significantly slower. I ran 5:15, 4:51, 5:08, 4:45, 5:08, 4:44. There's definitely progress but the 500 foot difference in elevation plays some role. It's certainly not a world-class workout but I'm very happy to be able to train at this intensity at the elevation, especially considering my increase in volume. My four week total (413) is definitely the highest of my life and I'm still getting quality work outs, long runs and managing drills two days a week. There are still a few things that I need to add and I'm learning to focus on recovery. Since Reno sits at 4500 feet I still haven't had a true break from altitude so I will definitely post on how that goes when I get back to Iowa for Christmas.