Monday, March 6, 2017

Mesa Phoenix Half Marathon

Michael and I ran the Mesa Phoenix Half Marathon on February 25th in Mesa, Arizona.  I ran a 1:29:02, which is a 6:48/mile average pace.  I thought I'd be a little slower because I was about 10 lbs over my top race weight, plus I just wasn't in that great of shape.  So all that considered, I was really happy with the results.  Here are the splits ...

7:27, 7:09, 6:59, 6:53, 6:41, 6:58, 6:38, 6:51, 6:38, 6:43, 6:36, 6:26, 6:11

My official race results indicated that my last 10K was ran at a 6:20 pace/but I don't know how that's possible, but regardless of the pace, it didn't feel that difficult.  I ran fairly effortlessly all day and felt like I could have gone quite a bit faster during the early miles.

The Mesa Phoenix course is a very fast, gradual downhill and the weather was absolutely perfect at about 40 degrees when we started.  The 1:29:02 earned me 13th out of 185 in my age group.  But more than anything it helped jump start my racing for 2017.  I would really like to run a half marathon PR later in the year, and this race confirmed that it's well within my reach!

Hopefully I can stay healthy and enjoy a great running year!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Ward Parkway Thanksgiving Day 5K ... Nice AG Win

2016 Ward Parkway Thanksgiving Day 5K
Thanksgiving Day - Thursday, November 24, 2016
Kansas City, Missouri
Runners: 3860
Course: 1st mile downhill, 2nd mile fairly flat, 3rd mile uphill (approx 100 ft climb)
Weather: 41℉, 75% humidity, 7 mph wind
Time: 9 a.m. start
SWAG: Cotton race shirt, pumkin pie, medal for overall and AG winners
Race Organization: Very poor ... FAIL ... 5K & 10K started about 100 yards apart, but at the same time ... 5K runners had to run off course onto the grassy median to avoid 10K runners
Volunteer Support: Good
Crowd Support: Good
Food: Good
Weight: 180
Health: Good/no issues
Conditioning: Really good, just ran marathon 2 weeks prior and the pace was fairly comfortable, especially for a 5K
Time: 19:43
Pace: 6:22/mile
Place: 34th/3860 Overall, 1st/139 45-49 AG

Video finish line still shot of me from the Ward Parkway Thanksgiving Day 5K ... you can view the actual video here if interested
Michael and I ran our annual Ward Parkway Thanksgiving Day 5K in Kansas City on Thursday.  It's a really fun way to start of the holiday and make a preemptive strike at all the calories later in the day.  It's held at the Ward Parkway Shopping Center in Kansas City, a favorite of ours for movies, and has become our family tradition over the past 6 years.

Medal for 1st Place in 45-49 Age Group
Typically, the race is organized very well with easy packet pickup and race day coordination.  And both of those were their typical well organized selves.  However, the actual race organization was a bit of a disaster.

The 5K and 10K started about 100 yards apart from each other with the the 10K runners in front of the 5K'ers.  However both races started on the same gun. This meant that the 5K runners in the front of the pack quickly ran up on the 10K runners who had barely moved yet.  This forced the 5K runners, in an attempt to keep an pace at all, to run off course to the grassy and treed median.  There were people running into each other, darting back and forth, avoiding trees and tree branches, though unmowed grass ... total chaos for the first half mile of the race.

After that, things settled down for the remainder of the race ... for the faster 5K runners.  For everyone else, there was more congestion, and confusion.  The 10K runner had to make two loops on the same course, which meant the faster runners soon ran up on the slower 5K runners, forcing them to take the same off course approach as the 5K runners earlier.  Since it was a holiday race and no one was trying to break a world record or anything, it wasn't the end of the world.  But I was really surprise that more thought didn't go into having two different races on the same course starting at the same time.  I mean literally, everyone at the starting line of the 5K was looking at the 10K runners and talking about how we were going to get around them.  Hug fail as far as the actual race ... but the rest of the race was top notch as always.

As for my race, it went REALLY well.  I hadn't ran a 5K in a while and had a goal of sub 20.  But the main thing was I didn't want to stress my legs too much, or feel like crap the rest of the day.  So I basically ran the first two miles at a very conservative and somewhat comfortable pace.  I chatted with a couple of runners I saw that I knew (mainly about the disaster start), and really tried to back my pace off until the third mile.  The result was a 6:30, 6:22, and 6:22 ... which I was really happy about ... especially considering the last mile is a 100 ft climb, with a slight decline toward the finish line.

Overall the race was a complete success as I ran sub 20 with a 19:43, felt great afterwards, and enjoyed an awesome Thanksgiving dinner!  We'll continue to run the Ward Parkway race as long as they have it, but hopefully next year the race organizers will think through and plan the two races a little better.

Monday, November 14, 2016

2016 Soldier Marathon Review

Video Projection in The National Infantry Museum
2016 Soldier Marathon Review
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Fort Benning - Columbus, Georgia
30th State Completed
Runners: 462 (258 men, 204 women)
Start Time: 8 a.m. EST
Course: Mostly flat with a few rolling hills, only 558' of elevation gain
Weather: 50F start/68F finish, 76% humidity, 5-10 mph wind
SWAG: Short sleeve dry fit t-shirt, running hat, commemorative poster
Race Organization: Very good
Crowd Support: Very minimal
Volunteer Support: Really great, volunteers posted at every mile for encouragement and assistance
Water Stops: Very well stocked and organized
Food: Gels & Bananas along course, typical post race food
Age: 47
Finish Time: 3:23:11 ... Qualified for Boston Marathon
Average Pace: 7:45
Place: 24th/462 Overall, 7th/49 in 45-49 AG
Total Experience ... 1  2  3  4  5

The Soldier Marathon at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia was a race that I was unfamiliar with until my wife brought it to my attention several months ago.  So as with every race, I spent some time studying the event as a whole and quickly learned that it got very good reviews and was highly recommended.  And after a wonderful weekend with her in the Peach State, I completely agree ... the Soldier Marathon is a wonderful event from start to finish that I would recommend to everyone!

"Iron Mike" Statue at the entrance to the
National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center
Columbus, GA is about 13 hours by car from our house in Lee's Summit, MO.  So like any good cheapskate, and much to the reluctant participation of my wife, Michael ... I decided to drive it!  It was a pretty good jaunt behind the wheel, but after checking off 30 different States in my journey to complete a marathon in all 50, I'm running out of the ones that can be traveled to by car.  But it was a great trip with my best friend and love of my life.

Registration for the race was simple over a very well organized and easy to navigate website (here), and cost $115 since we signed up by the end of August.  The race benefited House of Heroes CVC - a local organization that performs home repairs for military veterans and public safety veterans and their spouses at no charge to them.  It also benefited the National Infantry Museum Foundation who's mission is to provide education and training to Soldiers, families, and the general public on the history of the United States Infantry, the origin and development of Fort Benning, and an overview of the U.S. Army.

The museum is the largest free museum in the United States, and even though I'm not a "military buff" or historian, it was an incredibly fascinating and emotional place.  We didn't have much time to spend there, but we could have literally spent all day watching video presentations and viewing the interactive exhibits that detailed the history of the United States Infantry and the U.S. Army.  Probably my favorite exhibit was the Hall of Valor which stands prestigiously in the center of the museum and lists in detail United States Medal of Honor recipients.  It's truly a humbling display of true American heroes.

National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia ... the Soldier Marathon started and finished here
All of the weekend's events centered around the museum including the race expo and packet pickup.  The race expo was very small and simple with only about two tents that sold race merchandise and items from Big Dog Running, the local running store.  Also, at the expo you could select a Fallen Hero bib, which carried the name of a soldier that had lost their life defending the country.  Frankly, I chose not to run for one of these heroes ... certainly not because I didn't want to honor one of them, but because I thought I'd be too emotional about it.  I gotta tell ya, it was a wonderful feature of the race, but after we got our bibs and race shirts, we stood there reading some of the names, and I got a little choked up.  I don't think I could've run with one of their names on my back ... but many folks did, and it was awesome to see them out on the course the next day.

A few of the displays at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, including the Hall of Valor (left)

After packet pickup, Michael and I spent some time walking around the museum, and then made our way outside where all of the State flags lined a long sidewalk where the names of fallen heroes are displayed on either side of the pathway.  Also near the path is a small Vietnam War Memorial, and a monument park, and several infantry machinery such as tanks, canons, and transportation vehicles.  Fort Benning supports more than 120,000 active-duty military, their families, and Army reservist, so everywhere we turned there were tributes to our wonderful military, including many young soldiers who were visiting with family.  

After we took in as much as we could in one afternoon, we headed back to our hotel, Hampton Inn Columbus/South Fort Benning, which shared a parking lot with the museum and was only about a half mile walk from the finish line.  That made getting to and from the race easy and carefree, since we didn't have to worry about parking.  Later that day, we enjoyed meals at Wood Stone, a wonderful Mediterranean and Italian family owned restaurant ... and Mark's City Grill, a traditional Southern grill ... both with wonderful food and atmosphere.  We also spent a little time driving around Columbus, GA and it's counterpart city, Phenix City, AL (no that's not a typo ... they spell it Phenix) which sits on the opposite side of the Chattahoochee River.   Like pretty much everywhere you visit in the South, everyone was very friendly and hospitable, showing us nothing but respect and kindness throughout the weekend.

All runners received a short sleeve dry-fit Brooks t-shirt, running hat, and commemorative poster
The Race
Race day was a little later than some since the actual event didn't kick off until 8:00 a.m.  So Michael and I had plenty of time to get ready and then made our way down to the starting area.  All runners had to go through a small security check where we got a yellow bracelet, but then were able to go inside the museum.  It was almost 50 degrees in Georgia that morning, so definitely not cold, but it was nice to be able to go inside for a bit instead of standing around in the cool air without a jacket.

State flags lining the starting and finishing area
This was the first marathon I'd ran in over a year, and I had a few goals.  First .. and always first ... was to finish.  Finishing a marathon is huge accomplishment for anyone, regardless of time.  But also, I wanted to run a Boston Marathon qualifying time again.  I thought I was most likely in good enough shape to come in just under my age group required time of 3:25 without too much trouble, but I wasn't in nearly as good of shape as I had been in other races where I'd blown up at the end, so who knew???  And finally, regardless of time, I just wanted to have a good race.  I'd had several races in the past couple of years that were huge disappointments where I didn't meet my time goals and had physical issues.  I didn't want to feel like that again.  I just wanted to enjoy the experience ... so by design, I planned on backing it off a little.

Miles 1-2
After the Invocation, Soldier's Creed, and the National Anthem, the gun sounded and we were off ... and even though I'd hit the port-o-potties a couple of times pre-race ... I immediately had to pee.  Normally I would just dart off the course behind a tree, but since we were on a beautifully manicured Army Military Base, I felt like I should hold it until we hit Mile Two, just outside the guard shack, which I did.  The first two miles came in at very comfortable 8:13 & 8:38 including a bathroom break.

Mile 3
The first half of the third mile is know as "Drill Hill".  It's the only notable hill on the course, but it's only about a half-mile long.  It's one of the most awesome features of the race because Drill Sergeants are waiting up and down the hill "encouraging" runners as they climb the 100 ft. incline, giving you a small sample of basic training.  I loved it!  I had done a little hill training in prepping for the race, so the hill wasn't an issue and frankly, some of the things they said made me laugh.  One Drill Sergeant yelled at me as I passed, "COME ON!!! 100% ... NOTHING MORE ... NOTHING LESS!!!", which was funny because 100% that early in a marathon would surely spell doom at Mile 18 or so.  And later Michael, who wore incredibly colorful running tights for the race, told me they shouted at her, "COME ON BRIGHT PANTS ... GET UP THIS HILL!!!"  It was great.  It was really motivating and a little something that made the race unique.  I made it up the hill and on past in 7:49 for a smooth Mile 3.

Miles 4-7
I spent the next four miles just trying to settle in.  In spite of a good training cycle, I didn't feel like I was in "great shape" and I was laboring a little more than I felt like I should be at that point.  I wasn't really running that fast, but it took a bit to get comfortable.  After the little climb at mile three, about the only elevation on the rest of the course were small rolling hills, which we started experiencing over the next few miles.  There was absolutely no crowd support for most of the race, especially evident during these miles, but it was very pleasant.  It was a nice shaded portion, and early in the race there was low foot traffic since it was a fairly small event, but I don't remember anything incredibly noteworthy other than passing by a few barracks, shopping areas, and a golf course.  Also, at about Mile 7 we circled back toward the starting line area and passed by the museum again.  I also made another bathroom pit stop during this stretch, turning in 7:43, 7:35, 7:41. and a port-o-pottie 8:28.

Eagle & Phenix Mills and historic civil war era buildings along the
Chattahoochee River Walk at the Soldier Marathon in Columbus, GA
Miles 8-10
At Mile 8, with a slow and easy pace and two bathroom stops behind me, I decided if I was going to qualify for Boston again, I should probably pick up the pace.  But unlike other races ... dummy (me) didn't break out into a light sprint trying to make it all up at once.  Instead, I slowly and systematically started hitting a few sub 7:30 miles.  I'd promised myself before the race that if I felt winded at any point, I would absolutely slow down, instead of my usual "suck it up" and try to push through.  During these miles, we started approaching the Chattahoochee River where the half-marathoners would soon part ways with us.  As we neared the river area, I remember thinking how well manicured and clean everything seemed to be.  It was really a beautiful city.  

I can be a bit of a water stop snob, and I remember noting how well all of the stops were organized and how vocal everyone was loudly announcing the different fluids in the cups ... which is VERY MUCH appreciated.  All of the volunteers did a wonderful job, and they were of course complimented with all of the military personnel.  The paces during this stretch were slightly uptempo at 7:23, 7:28, and 7:17 ... and just like that, I was under my Boston Qualifying overall pace.

Miles 11-15
After the half-marathoners went their separate way, I seemed to really find my stride.  I was running comfortably, breathing easy, and well under my goal pace.  At Mile 11 we entered a wooded winding path along the river and encountered an occasional oncoming biker in the opposite lane. However, there were several well posted signs that instructed runners to stay to the right, so I never experienced any potential collisions, although it would've been nice to find a way to shut the path down to bike traffic for a few hours during the race.  It reminded me very much of a similar stretch in the Richmond Marathon along the James River where you could look over your left shoulder through the trees, which had lost most or all of their leaves, at the peaceful river.  It was very scenic. 

Whitewater rafting on the Chattahoochee River
The next few miles continued along the paved trail that followed the river to downtown Columbus.  At about mile 14 or 15, we encountered the only real "cheering section" of the race with about 100 students screaming and enthusiastically as we passed by the Phenix Mill, which many claimed was the namesake of the Alabama city waiting on the other side of the river.  This was the most active and most interesting part of the run.  There were old historic civil war era buildings towering over the path, many uniformed soldiers along the way offering encouragement, and even some folks on the Chattahoochee River in kayaks riding the small rapids.  You could tell the city had invested a lot of resources to develop the area and it really took my mind off the race for a bit.  However, I was really cruising at this point and logged 7:30, 7:28, 7:25, 7:40, and 7:25 on my first pass along the River Walk.

Beautiful pedestrian bridge river walk over the Chattahoochee River that connects Columbus, GA and Phenix City, AL

It's been a good race if I'm throwing up a RAWKFIST at the finish line
Miles 16 & 17
The Soldier Marathon is one of the handful of races I've ran where the course actually takes you into two different States.  At about Mile 16, runners cross the pedestrian bridge over the Chattahoochee, and temporarily leave Georgia and enter Phenix City, in East Alabama.  It's all part of the beautiful pedestrian bridge and Chattahoochee River Walk experience.  It was by far the best part of the race.  Once on the opposite side of the river, we ran about a mile, and then turned around and came back.  It was short and sweet, but really a cool added segment of the race.  For the next few miles we would retrace our steps along the same path, but I kept pace with a 7:31 and 7:41 over the river and back.

Miles 18-22
Once we got back into Georgia, we turned South toward Fort Benning and ran the same river walk and trail, except this time passing runners who were on their way toward Alabama.  The best way I can describe this race in total for me is ... complete control.  And that control was probably best demonstrated during this stretch.  I was running a 7:40'ish average during this spell, and kept creeping up on a younger runner in basketball shorts and tall white cotton socks.   He seemed to be fighting his pace a little, but every time I started to pass him, he sped up and wouldn't let me by.  Honestly, when I first started running years ago, this might have bugged me little.  But I wasn't racing this guy and didn't want to burn the energy.  I knew if I could keep it steady for a few more miles, I would reach all three of my goals ... so I just let him go and controlled my pace.

Me and Michael at the finish line after the Soldier Marathon
At the later miles of any marathon, you're never really "feeling great", but I specifically remember thinking that my legs felt really good with no noticeable signs of fatigue or danger setting in.  Again, in many other races, this is where dummy (me) decides to put the hammer down, only to run out of gas before the finish line ... but not in Georgia!  I knew I was well under my BQ pace, and everything was still under complete control.  I was walking through all of the water stops, joking with volunteers, and still maintaining at 7:40, 7:30, 7:40, 8:00, and 7:33 as we hit the home stretch.

Miles 23-26.2
During the last four miles of a marathon ... you pass a lot of "zombies" ... or walkers.  I've experienced being "undead" a few times myself in these late stages.  You know ... those folks who have just run out of gas, hands on hips, a look of despair in their dead eyes, who slowly turn their lifeless gaze on you as you pass by and mumble a dejected, "Good job!".  Yeah ... I've been that "zombie" before ... but not at the Soldier Marathon!  During these last four miles I had one of those great days where even though it was work, I felt like I was in charge of every step.  I was doing "finish time math" ... except it wasn't the "how slow can I run and still get my time" math ... rather, it was "how far under my BQ time will I be if I keep running this pace".  I felt like I had quite a bit more in the tank, but I just kept motoring along nice and steady.

I was passing runners right and left, including the half-marathon walkers whom we'd rejoined ... and the guy in basketball shorts and white cotton socks.  And as the course routed us again by the Hampton Inn back to the National Infantry Museum, I knew I had made it.  I looked for Michael as I came down to the finish line and she was standing there in incredibly bright pants taking pictures ... so naturally I gave her a RAWKFIST in celebration, and crossed the finish line in a very comfortable 3:23:11 ... good enough for my eighth Boston Marathon qualifying time!

Dessert at 11th & Bay Southern Table in Columbus, GA
In some recent marathons, I've had quite a bit of stomach troubles after the race, and even thrown up a couple of times.  But at Columbus, everything was fine!  In fact, I recovered for a few minutes, stretched, walked the half mile back to the hotel, changed clothes ... walked back down to the finish area to look at race gear ... and then walked back to the hotel again.  I felt great!  Probably indicating that I didn't run hard enough, lol.  But one of my main goals was to enjoy the experience ... and feeling great at the finish line was a huge part of it.  

Something kind of interesting ... I checked out the leader board to find out where I placed and saw that I was 24th over all ... and thought, COOL, out of almost 500 runners that's not bad!  But when I looked a little closer at the results, I realized that was only good enough FOR FREAKING SEVENTH PLACE in my age group, LOL.  In any other age group, I would have been no lower than third place.  I must have been running against a bunch of old man Olympic cyborgs or something.  I mean the guy who won the race was my age and ran a FREAKING 2:29!!!!!  Unbelievable, oh well, lol!  I really didn't think I'd ran good enough to place in my Division ... but frankly, I would've expected to be a little closer to the front than seventh place!  Michael has always told me not to worry about placing because you can't control who's running at the race.  That was certainly true at Fort Benning.

For dinner, we had some great local pizza at Cerrone's Pizza, followed by desert at an awesome little local restaurant on the river called 11th & Bay Southern Table.  It was an old restored cotton warehouse and it was amazing.  The perfect ending to a nice trip!  We stayed the night in Columbus and then hit the road for a 13 hour trek back to KC.

My grandfather was awarded a Purple Heart for his service in World War II, and even though I've never served in the armed forces, there aren't many who have more respect for the sacrifice and service of our military.  And on Veteran's Day weekend, it was entirely my honor to experience a wonderful event that I would highly recommend to everyone.  I finished!  I qualified for the Boston Marathon!  And overall had a great time at the Soldier Marathon at Fort Benning in Columbus, GA!  Mission accomplished.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Drum Roll: And The Marathon Is ...

Okay, I've delayed the announcement long enough that literally "ones" of people are waiting for.  Next weekend, Michael and I will be traveling to Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia to run the ...

2016 Soldier Marathon!!!

A few people sent me emails and thought maybe I was running NYC, Vegas, or Kansas City a few weekends ago.  But it's been the Soldier Marathon all along.  It has received great reviews and benefits House of Heroes and the National Infantry Museum, which we are honored to support.  It's been over a year since I've actually toed the line at a 26.2 and I gotta be honest ... I'm a little nervous.

The last marathon I ran was the Maui Marathon in September of 2015.  It was a great event, although with tough conditions of 85-90 degrees & 88% humidity.  I ran a horrible race going out way too fast and coming the closest to a DNF I've ever had.  I literally didn't know if I was gonna finish and ended up spending about a half hour in the medic tent after the race refusing intravenous fluids and trying not to pass out.

As I look back now, I think that race took a bigger toll on my body than I realized at the time ... and probably more so on my confidence.  It smacked me down pretty hard and reminded me that in spite of all my hyperbolas rants, I'm still very much human.  A few months later, I ended up sicker than I've ever been, and I'm somewhat convinced it was from the effects of the overexertion on my body. Consciously I can still remember how I felt that day ... and based on the way it took my body forever to get back up to speed during training, I think my legs and core remember it too.  I don't ever want to feel that way again.

So what are my goals and how am I gonna do next Saturday?  Well, the primary goal is always simply to finish.  Finishing a marathon is something to be very proud of, regardless of the time.  And if I can cross the finish line, it will be my 33rd marathon completed and the 30th different State.

But you all know me ... I always want to push myself.  So my secondary goal during my training has been to Boston Qualify again.  And while I think I'll probably be close to the sub 3:25 required for my age group, realistically I think I'll probably be closer to 3:30   Most of my training times have been pretty close to where they need to be, and where they used to be ... but something's just not right.  For some reason I don't seem to be as strong through the last miles as I once was ... or at least the way I remember it from almost 18 months ago.  I've always trained faster than I race ... which I know is backwards for most people ... and based on my training times, I should be around 3:10-3:15.  But I can tell you there is no way on earth I'll run that fast.

While BQ'ing for the 8th time is a huge goal for me, and something I'll absolutely shoot for next Saturday, I won't be devastated if I fall short.  I'm just happy to finally be running another marathon.  And hopefully, if everything goes as planned, I can check another State off of my quest for 50 after 40!  Have a great week!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Double Runs

Evening trail run on Saturday after long run in the morning
With only a few days left before my Fall marathon ... which will be my first marathon in over a year ... I'm feeling pretty good about things.  I'm healthy.  I'm almost to race weight.  And my legs feel really strong, thanks in part to all of the double runs I've done this training cycle.

When I changed from running six days per week to five a few years ago, I had trouble building enough mileage to feel confident going into a race.  So an elite running buddy of mine suggested running twice per day.  He said he rarely ran extremely long runs on the weekend, but rather opted for a couple of shorter runs, and it seemed to do build similar strength and stamina. So in addition to my morning run, I started adding a few late afternoon/evening runs to the schedule.  Typically I'll run 10-12 miles in the morning, including the tough speed and tempo workouts, and then run a shorter 4-5 mile trail run later in the day.  I usually don't hit the afternoon run too hard, as it's more for recovery.  And while I haven't eliminated my long runs, I have found that running shorter runs on tired legs in the evening seems to help build strength and stamina in a similar way.

Obviously it's a bit of a hassle, and tends to confuse my diet a little.  And the biggest drawback is that my heart rate stays elevated way into the late evening hours.  Plus I find myself having to coordinate my work schedule a lot more.  But overall I think it's been effective ... I guess we'll see when I run the marathon.

As far as training goes, I had a solid 73 mile week, and again hit pretty much all of my speed and pace goals.  Saturday's long run was interesting.  I had some severe stomach issues related to non-running problems that made me almost push it off until Sunday.  But I ended up running it anyway.  My legs felt dead and my focus was not on running, but I was able to do 19 hilly miles with 900 ft of elevation gain and 75 degree temps at a 7:40/mile pace with almost no trouble at all.  Here's how the whole week looked ...


Sunday: 6 miles, core work, and stairs
Monday: No run, core work, and upper body work
Tuesday: 12mi AM + 5mi PM ... AM Speed 10x800M repeats w/90sec rest  ... 3:07, 3:06, 3:06, 2:59, 2:58, 2:58, 2:59, 2:56, 2:55, 2:54 ... followed by 1mi@6:23, light leg strength after
Wednesday: 10 miles easy pace, core work, upper body work
Thursday: 12mi AM + 5mi PM ... AM Tempo Run w/8mi@6:42/avg pace
Friday: No run, core work
Saturday: 19mi AM@7:40/mi pace + 3mi PM for 73 total miles for the week

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Convincing My Legs They're Faster Than This

Taking time off from running does funny things to your memory.  And if you're forced to stop when you're in peak condition, like from sickness or injury, it's worse.  Because when you finally get back in the flow of it, you realize your mind kept a snapshot of where you where when running ceased.  And every single day of the "come back", it pushes and pushes and pushes to get to that summit again.

When I got sick in the Spring of this year, I was in pretty good shape.  I was getting ready to race for a half marathon PR in Phoenix, and I was firing on all cylinders and felt like I had a good shot.  But then everything was halted, almost overnight.  Fast forward to now.  Frankly, I'm getting back in pretty good shape again.  Training is going well and I'm relatively injury free.  But something's just not right.  The memory of who I was ... or who I think I was in the Spring keeps whispering to my legs that I'm "not even close".

My splits during my current training indicate that my times are very close to where I am when I'm at my ceiling.  All of my workouts this week were solid and I hit every goal.  I'm still about 3 or 4 pounds on the heavy side of race weight, but other than that I'm eating right and doing plenty of core work. And my clothes are fitting looser like they do when I get near race weight.  Also, I'm mixing in leg strengthening and upper body work after my runs for total body fitness.  All of the ingredients are there, but it just doesn't quite seem like the old days yet.

One of the issues is my splits seem much harder to hit than they used to.  But this might be the most potent example of my mind remembering me better than I actually was.  I ran most of my 18 miler on Saturday at a 7:17/mile average pace, with several of the later miles at or below 7:00.  I've only done that a few other times in my life ... but it just seemed like it should have been easier.  Another thing that keeps bothering me is that I literally don't think I could go sub 20 minutes on a 5K right now.  When I'm primed, that's really not that hard for me.  It's something I can accomplish during a workout.  But I can barely get anywhere near a 6:30 right now.

So who knows.  There's only a few weeks until the marathon now, and while I'm not nervous at all about running a good race, I don't think I can run a Boston Marathon Qualifying time again ... which is the ultimate goal for this race.  I have a peace about it though.  If it happens, that would be cool, but if not, I'm not gonna stress ... I'm just glad to be back in full stride.  Here's a look at my workouts this week.  Hope your training is going well!


Miles: 64.14
Total time working out with supplementary work: 14 hours, 30 minutes

Sunday: 5 mile recovery run with core work, stairs, light leg workout
Monday: No run ... core work, upper body work
Tuesday: Double run day - 10 miles of speed work in AM followed by leg workout + 6 mile trail run in PM ... Speed work = 12 x 400M repeats (1:25, 1:19, 1:22, 1:22, 1:19, 1:24, 1:21, 1:21, 1:21, 1:20, 1:20, 1:22, 1:20) + 1mi@6:34, 3mi warm up & cool down =10 total
Wednesday: 12 mile easy pace with core & upper body work
Thursday: 12 mile tempo run with 8 miles at tempo pace & 2 cool down and warm up ... 6:41, 6:30, 6:36, 6:34, 6:42, 6:36, 6:31, 6:25
Friday:  No run ... core work, upper body work
Saturday: 18 mile long run, middle 16 miles were at 7:17/mile average pace with following overall splits ... 8:32, 8:03, 7:32, 7:23, 7:42, 7:11, 7:11, 7:13, 7:23, 7:07, 7:26, 7:03, 7:14, 6:47, 6:48, 7:19, 7:11, 8:30

Saturday, October 15, 2016

We've Picked A Marathon

Saturday's 22 miler capped a 61 mile week.  And even though I missed all of my double runs because of work and fell about 9 miles short of my goal, all of the workouts went fairly well.

On Thursday, I had a Tempo Run on a 34 degree morning in Iowa.  It was the first chilly run of the year, but all things considered, it went fairly well.  Here are the splits:

6:48, 6:46, 6:32, 6:33, 6:52, 6:44, 6:35

Two mile warm up & cool down for a total of 11 miles.  The 7 miles of Tempo Pace were comprised of two 3.5 mile sets.

I wasn't "exceedingly excited" about the workout since I feel like I should be a little faster right now, but it was a 6:41/average pace, which wasn't horrible.

On Saturday, I ran my longest run of this training cycle.  It was supposed to be a 22 miler, but ended up being about 22.8  I included some pretty tough hills on the back end, and they basically kicked my butt.  I ran the first 14 miles at an easy 8:07/average pace.  It was fluid and very controlled.  But I wanted to add about 6 or 7 faster miles at the end of the run to get my legs used to feeling the faster pace when they were fatigued late in a race.  So I ran the 7 miles from 15-21 at a 7:39/pace.  And I had mixed feelings at the end of the run.

On the positive, I felt really good at mile 22, like I could have easily done another 4 if the marathon were today.  My legs felt strong with no issues.  But somewhat of a concern was the difficulty I had even maintaining a 7:39/pace over those 7 miles.  Part of it was because the course had 1,100 ft of climb, and I sped up on the toughest/hilliest part of the route.  Also, for some reason, once I start out running slower and my body adapts to that pace, it seems very tough to just ramp it up when I'm tired.  It's almost feels easier at times to run whole thing fast, although I was trying to save wear and tear on my legs.

But the thing that concerned me most was my continued stomach issues after the run.  I'm typically okay during the run ... but almost immediately after a 20+ mile effort, I feel pretty nauseous.   I never used to experience that.  Sometimes it's to the point where I throw up afterwards, although that's only happened after marathons.  But today, once again, after the 22 miler, I felt a little queasy.  I'm sure it's just a nutrition thing, but I need to figure it out.

And finally, for all 15 or so of you (literally) that have been asking ... yes, we've picked a marathon.  But we're keeping the date and location to ourselves ... sorry, lol.  Often in the past I've put too much pressure on myself by talking about it way too much in advance, and I really want to run a good race, so we're just keeping it on the "down low" for now ... so stop asking me, lol. I'll post about it probably a week before the race or so ... but it's still quite a ways off.  I really appreciate all the questions and suggestions I've received on it, I just don't want to jinx it.

Anyway ... hope your training is going well!  Have a great week!