Monday, June 28, 2010

Tennis Improving?

I don't know what's happening.....last year, I was about 0 and 8 for competitive tennis matches, primarily against 2 opponents (one who is a 4.0 player, the other guy probably about like me, 3.5 to 4). Friday night, I came up with another tight win against the "other" guy, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (4), winning in 3 sets with a final tie-breaker in the 3rd set. This puts me at 2-1 for the season overall. I don't feel like I've improved, but I'll take it. In fact I was up 5-1 in the 3rd set, and he came all the way back to force a tie-breaker. Admittedly, I relaxed some after being up 5-1, and starting playing around with my kick serve (which doesn't kick), and incurred a few double faults, before I realized how close the match was getting. Oh well, at my age, I shouldn't really be concerned about winning, right? Anyway, 2 hours of competitive singles tennis was certainly a good workout, and once again, it took me all day Saturday to recoop from the Friday night match.

On the running front, I ran 3 times last week, played tennis once (details above), and did yard work on Saturday (pretty tiring in the heat).

Yesterday I started the week with a 4.2 mile run, again under warm, humid conditions.

I'm leaving this coming Saturday for Key Largo, and don't expect to run much while I am there for a week. I think last year I may have run 3 times, about 3 to 3.5 miles each, which was about all I could take in the heat and humidity. However, I typically swim/snorkel every day, and even play some tennis at night, so i feel that I at least maintain my conditioning on these trips. I will target running at least twice, maybe 3 times if I can this year.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Three runs in a row!

I was hoping for tennis last night, but the courts were closed due to rain earlier in the day. The big disadvantage of clay court tennis is that a good rain can shut the courts down for a day or so, as it takes time for them to dry out enough to use.

Anyway, I ran 4.2 miles, with some fartleks, and averaged about 8:16/mile. It was quite warm and humid (for Buffalo), so this was a good effort.

Hoping to play tennis with my daughter tonight, probably no running or tennis tomorrow night, then singles tennis Friday night, then we'll see for the weekend.

With Wimbledon in full force, I feel the pull of tennis more than running right now. I really need to learn that kick serve!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Training Run Not so Bad

Last night I was going to play tennis but my partner (my daughter) decided not to play. Thus, I went for a run. I was feeling somewhat groggy most of the day for some reason, so had low expectations for the run. But after a quarter mile, I was already averaging 8:45 per mile, and it was quickly dropping with little effort. In the end, I ran 4.3 miles at 8:12/mile average, feeling quite good. I may run again tonight, since it is supposed to rain, and the clay tennis courts will likely be closed (the big disadvantage of clay courts). This would be 3 days in a row of running! Tennis with my daughter is planned again for Wednesday, and hopefully I can play with another partner on Friday, then probably run Saturday.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Tennis on Rise, Running Declining!

Last Friday night, against the opponent who beat me 6-1, 6-2 the previous week, I squeaked out a "victory" in 6-7, 7-5, then I won a tie-breaker 7-2 that we agreed on for the deciding set (both too tired for a 3rd full set).

However, I didn't run Friday night (although more than 2 hours of very physical hard-fought singles tennis felt like a reasonable workout), didn't run Saturday (did mulching/yard work in hot weather), then ran only 4.1 miles Sunday at 8:28 per mile.

This type of scenario may be continuing here for at least a couple months.............(I mean playing more tennis, not necessarily winning).


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tennis Fever!

I'm afraid I'm coming down with "tennis fever" and it's affecting my running. Last Friday I played 3 sets of tennis with a 4.0 level player, whom I have been close to or even beaten a couple times in the past. However, this was my first match of the season, and I lost handily, 6-1, 6-2. We even played a 3rd consolation set, which I lost 6-3. I was tired and sore the rest of the weekend. Saturday I didn't run, as I did some heavy yard work in the heat, and was then too tired. I ran Sunday, and my usual easy 4 miler that often is around 8:20/mile was 8:50 per mile! Then I ran Monday, but played tennis with my daughter Tuesday, was too busy last night, have a bible study tonight, and then have another tennis match scheduled for tomorrow night!

I think the problem is that tennis works different leg muscles, as much of the motion is side to side. This seems to hamper my running a bit, not to mention that every time I play tennis is a day or night that don't run (not enough time or energy for both in one day).

The good news is that I really enjoy tennis, get a good workout, sweat a lot, it's more fun than plain running. It sort of combines the endurance and speed of running with a real sport. Although my tennis skills are not always equal to my opponents, I can often come close to them or at least give them a hard match due to my running ability. I often get comments like "you've really got a set of wheels!"

So, what I'm trying to say is that you may see several tennis updates throughout the playing season, with running and racing possibly taking a back seat until September.

I'll try to get a couple photos of me trying to play tennis! I am improving, however, and I'm finally working on a legitmate second serve, which is intended to be a kick serve.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Good Job Jeff--Time To Give Some Respect to SUNY-B Running Teams

The amazing thing about Jeff Martinez is not that he ran an 8:57 3,200 as a high school senior and came to SUNY-B to run, its that when he arrived he wasn't the best runner on the cross country team. Don't believe me? Click on the title of this entry and read about it.

But maybe I shouldn't be surprised--didn't I read something recently about a SUNY-B runner breaking 4:00 in the mile? And this change isn't just going on with distance runners. SUNY-B broke 3:10 in the 1,600 meter this past season. That's a very respectable time and means that there are at least four good 400 meter runners on the team.

The article about Jeff mentions some of what the overall running program has accomplished recently and how much the program has improved over the last few years. So, I think the time has come to stop picking on the teams and saying that they are no better today than they were more than thirty years ago. SUNY-B appears to finally have some runners who are not only faster than Mark, but would probably also be able to beat Bob Daniels. Way to go Colonials! (Sorry, as sad as the Colonial was, it was still better than an imaginary Bearcat that looks like every other cartoonish unimaginative logo out there.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beach Running

I'm at the beach now and most of my running is likely to be on the sand. This stretch of beach is surprisingly good for running. It is quite firm, but not too abrasive. And there are a good six or seven miles of beach available. My workouts consist of both "distance" and quasi fartlek (in quasi fartlek there is walking between the runs, not jogging).

Yesterday in my first timed distance run I did two miles in 17:01. I thought that wasn't too bad when compared to how my running has been going on the track. In addition to the two miles of running I walked five miles.

Tennis or Running? That is the question!

Things are getting tough this time of year. After a decent 5:43 mile a couple weeks ago, I had a good week where I ran 27 miles, then a poor week with only 8 miles plus playing a little tennis. Then last week, I only ran 3 times for a total of 15 miles (again, very busy with real life and work), and played tennis. While playing tennis with a couple decent players, I realized how much more enjoyable tennis can be than running. Not only is it a great workout (at least when playing singles), but it is fun. Now, I won't say running isn't fun, but, well, what can I say?

My dilemma is that now that the clay court club is open, I need to play enough times to make my membership worthwhile. And on nights where I have an opportunity to play tennis, I simply don't have enough time to run, so it cuts into running and training for the mile directly.

Any advice out there???? My wife tends to lean towards me playing tennis, as it is good exercise, relaxing (so she says, but she doesn't watch me competing), and good for my health. Tennis works a few more muscles than running.

Please help! My mile time is probably suffering already!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Accidental 7:15

This morning, Dominick was kind enough to run with me even though he had already completed his workout. The result was a 7:15 mile that was totally unplanned. It was only after running the first three quarters at a decent pace that I decided to limit the distance to a mile and go for time. I believe that had it started out as a mile for time I might have been able to go under 7:00.

As I told Dominick, that was today. There is a decent chance that tomorrow I'll struggle and might not get under 8:00. It was nice to have this pleasant surprise.