Friday, October 21, 2011

Baltimore Marathon 2011 - Epilogue I

Hi. I'm back. I am about to go biking then run 3 miles. I think this is called a brick workout. I want to start training again. I am mad at my Baltimore Marathon 2011 performance and want to get back at it. Unfortunately, I have to wait another year to get my revenge. Most people don't have a nemesis. Maggie from the Simpsons has Gerald Sampson (the uni-brow boy) as her arch-nemesis, so I declare the Baltimore Marathon mine.
The Baltimore Marathon is my rival. I started my marathoning lifestyle for the Maryland Double 2009 (which I accomplished thank you) not because of the short lived Frederick Marathon, but because I wanted to own the Baltimore Marathon. My first organized race was the Baltimore Half marathon 2008 and I was happy with the 1:51 at the time, but found my *office boasting* to be lacking in what people expected me to be. I tried to cast my lack of proper racing weight (nearly 200 lbs) as the reason, but frankly no one wants to hear it. I trained and others I work with that trained did the half in 1:20 (or there about). By implication, I am a punk. I am big (6'4"), but I am supposed to be more athletic (like basketball or football has anything to do with running). and I still haven't beaten my expectations. I only get the "you ran 26 miles" compliment. Man, I was recently confronted with Amby Burfoot's statement that he could not believe that someone can run so slow as to finish a marathon in greater than 3 hours. I AM AN ATHELETE and I see that statement as a challenge.

War me vs. B-more marathon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Baltimore Marathon 2011 Recap

My overall take on the racing was that I ran well, but was not in shape for the pace I wanted to run. I had no idea that I wasn’t in PR shape. I thought my training consistency could make up for the lack of overall volume and intensity workouts.

In the minds of most of the people who know my training, they would say I trained hard, but it was actually a step down from last year this time in mileage and completed 20-mile long runs and the Baltimore Marathon is a challenging course. I had to remind myself to slow down repeatedly throughout the first six miles, but managed to keep the pace mostly on target. I went through half in roughly 1:53. The dreaded hills from mile 16 to 23 hurt. I did not handle them like I wanted to, but even still I had my PR still in sight as I hit Johns Hopkins with my heart and lungs feeling good and only a small reminder that my legs (particularly, my Achilles tendons and calves) were only barely holding off a cramp. I picked up the pace on the downhill.

A note about the Baltimore Marathon course for those who have yet to run it: it is touted as a challenging course – it is. To the rookie who looks at the elevation chart it looks like an early steep up and down followed by a long stretch of flatness around the harbor/downtown area followed by another long up and steep downhill to the finish. Manageable right? I claim that it is if you survive the seven miles from 16 to 23 relatively fresh. The down-hills are always too short and followed by another soul-claiming climb on the return home. The bridge over Falls Road can ate away the remainder of my ability to attack the downhill on Eutaw Street as a debilitating diaphragm cramp seized me a wouldn’t let go. We meaning half marathoners implored me to keep running as I fast walked and stumbled holding my side. I fought the cramp harder than I have ever before, but anyone who tells you that you can ignore such pain is tougher than I.

I got to Camden Yards with my PR long gone and the 4 hour pace group on my heels and I tried to pick it up and sprint to the finish. I thought I was going to make it and break 4 hours at Baltimore again, but as my stride had me step of the curb to approach the final tenth of a mile my left Achilles spasmed and I had to slow for fear of it completely locking up. 4:00:07 was my chip time.

Baltimore 2011 may be the end of my marathon season. I am not satisfied and hope I can figure out another this year, but I plan on focusing on speedier short races for a while. The race was crowded this year and the wait for food and getting out of the “athlete’s village” when I finished was a bit annoying, but I’d definitely do the race again. I will be more fit next time putting in a lot more long runs and marathon pace long runs with hills. I have to slow down in the first half (half in ~2 hours) in order to have something left for the attack on the last 3-4 miles.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Race day cometh

This Saturday morning 0600 EST I am going to run my sixth marathon. I did a lot of things wrong this week. I bike cross-trained on Monday breaking the don’t try anything new rule. I ran way too fast during my tempo run on Wednesday. I also missed my weight goal by nearly 10 lbs, weighing in at 194 instead of 185. Oh well, I can try to get some sleep.

My B goal is 3:45 an 8:35/mile pace. I think if things go my way I can get a 3:40, but I’ll take a 3:52 as a new PR.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Marathon Week Begins!

The hay is in the barn…

Week 20 of my training plan for the Under Armor Baltimore Marathon 2011 officially begins tomorrow. I’ll be doing 2 easy runs, a mid-week tempo run and the race on Saturday. Training went well

  • Week 1 – 4 runs, 15.24 mi, 2:06:52
  • Week 2 – 4 runs, 15.18 mi, 2:02:47
  • Week 3 – 4 runs, 25.52 mi, 4:01:38
  • Week 4 – 4 runs, 26 mi, 3:49:20
  • Week 5 – 1 runs, 7 mi, 1:06:44
  • Week 6 – 4 runs, 22.47, 3:15:22
  • Week 7 – 1 runs, 12.37, 2:01:54
  • Week 8 – 4 runs, 33.03, 5:08:12
  • Week 9 – 4 runs, 33.13, 4:57:08
  • Week 10 – 4 runs, 28.38, 4:04:03
  • Week 11 – 4 runs, 39.78, 6:01:44
  • Week 12 – 4 runs, 37.44, 5:47:34
  • Week 13 – 4 runs, 39.07, 6:02:59
  • Week 14 – 4 runs, 33.04, 4:44:45
  • Week 15 – 4 runs, 43.03, 6:31:06
  • Week 16 – 4 runs, 44.48, 6:51:58
  • Week 17 – 4 runs, 32.49, 4:38:34
  • Week 18 – 3 runs, 26.86, 3:59:44
  • Week 19 – 3 runs, 19.32, 2:36:28

Training totals through week 19 were -
70 runs, 533.84 miles, 79:49:02

I definitely think that most of my quality work was done faster than my conservative goal pace 8:38 for a time of 3:46:25.

The hay is in the barn and Winter is here (so to speak). Now I am hoping to deliver on the training that I put in for my sixth marathon. I trained injury free and really consistently all Summer. I would’ve called training perfect if it wasn’t for missing my last 20 miler when on my business trip last week. No excuses, though. I will toe the line confident next weekend.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Black endurance athletes

I have played two of the American big three sports with a fair amount of acumen over the years. High school varsity football and basketball for most of my life. I was never particularly gifted but at 6’3” and fairly strong (peak bench 315lbs, squat 605lbs) I had my advantages. I ran track and had an above average showing at all distances (4.5 40 yard to a 5:20 mile), but one year didn’t give me enough exposure to the sport.

When I stopped league flag football after 9 years of playing in order to support my kids weekend activities I needed another competitive outlet. Running was something I enjoyed, but didn’t pursue so when my wife brought home a Runner’s World magazine and asked me to help her train it was on. This was in 2008. I took that push and have never stopped. I love the accomplishment and fanfare of the marathon (best of 4 is 3:53:32; age grade 53.49; an 8:54/mi pace) even though I know my best age grade result is the 5K (21:06; age grade 62.13%; an 6:54/mi pace) or the 10 mile (1:12:57; age grade 61.33%; an 7:17/mi pace). I am training for 2 more marathons this year and am giving it the work and respect they deserve.

I also have become enamored with the idea of triathlon. I am addicted to Universal Sports and see these events all the time. I was a spectator to a neighborhood friend’s sprint triathlon and I am considering trying it out. I am definitely not afraid of swimming, but I am not trained. I think the bike issue is not a problem with ability, but rather with expense (I can’t spend $1K per year on a bike). So what do I do? I want to race. I also think Kona is on my bucket list (yes, I know this is highly unlikely).

So, I spent a little time just wondering to myself, “where are the other black people in endurance sport?” Some of my college acquaintances (mostly women) run, few are competitive, but do give it their all. I see these sports as a most white area, which in and of itself is not a problem, but I wondered why I see less black people in these niche sports. I saw a few bulletin board posts on the web, that attempt to answer this question, but I doubt they were answered intelligently. I do think economics come into play, but I don’t I am not a high income earner (marathon entry fees hurt my budget) and I definitely see a lot of distance runners (again mostly women) and serious bicyclists in my neighbor, which is most a black community (in the DC suburbs). Once again, I don’t want to make this anything racial, but why are there so much fewer black endurance athletes in the pro ranks. I think just one (like a Tiger Woods – though he doesn’t market himself as Black) would do wonders for the participation.

This weeks training was:

- Tuesday: 7.11 miles in 1:01:19
- Wednesday: 7.31 miles in 1:01:33
- Thursday: 7.02 miles in 1:02:53
- Saturday: 16 miles in 2:41:47

I totally *bonked* today running out of energy early at 9 miles and did a lot of run-walking until the end, which was 4 miles short of my goal 20 mile run.

So far the month of August has been:

- 28.38 miles
- 39.78 miles
- 37.44 miles

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

So much fun…

I am having so much fun training. I went to watch a friend race a sprint triathlon this weekend and was newly excited about the prospect of this hobby. Without running as a common thread we may not have talked and connected, now I can call him a friend.

I am having a lot of fun putting in the miles and hard work. This morning I was to run 7 one mile repeats at 10K pace. Though I left two intervals on the table I worked hard for an hour and felt the effort. The run went like this:

  • Interval 1: 7:06
  • Interval 2: 7:22
  • Interval 3: 7:33
  • Interval 4: 7:37
  • Interval 5: 7:50

Distance: 7.26, Time: 01:03:49, Average pace: 8:47/mi

I am working hard on my hard days. I am not sure that I am going easy on my easy days. I like the work. I am split between the two training programs. I am going hard.I like it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I’m not dead yet…

I’ve been running. Since my last post 4 weeks ago I’ve run 94 miles. I’ve done intervals, hill work, long runs, and tempo runs. I have even competed in a winning swim relay team.

I still plan on running the Baltimore Marathon on 15 October 2011. I am in week 9 of a 20 week training program where I’ve missed quite a number of workouts but have done 33 miles last week and am looking to do the same this week.

So, I am saying that I am not done running, but my blogging is lacking. I need to get more accustomed to being present on-line as I am doing a post-graduate course this Fall and may be beginning a Doctoral program. I am going to continue to strive for my BQ, I also am saving for my bike because the tri-bug has bit me and I am thinking that I’ll get into triathlon sooner that I have expected.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Week 4: First Cycling Cross Training

I have always seen my cyclist brothers and sister in endurance training on my long Sunday runs, but haven’t joined them until today. Today, I went out for a 37.5 mile jaunt through the Bowie and Davidsonville region with my neighbors. It was a glorious morning, starting at about 65 F and climbing to the low/mid 70s.

I thought I’d do well; I had the reservation that this is a different exercise and these guys could push me to my limit, but wow that was hard. They introduced me to hill climb repeats on steep country roads and tough road miles that made me respect the effort of a long bike when compared with a long run. The original plan for today was to run 1 hour at 15 seconds slower than my 10k pace (~7:15/mi).

The muscle tension/fatigue of biking is similar to that I feel 5k running. I am now a fan of cycling and will likely be purchasing a bike and joining my local cycling friends for many long rides.

Week 4 of Baltimore Marathon Training:

  • Tuesday: Tempo run; ran 1 mile warmup, 6 mile tempo at marathon pace (8:00/mi), 1 mile cooldown. 8 miles in 1:07:55
  • Wednesday: Easy run; 6 miles at easy pace with 5 strides. 6 miles is 53:19
  • Thursday: Supposed to be hills training instead did Runervals 3.0, 5 miles in 48:27
  • Friday: Easy run; 7 miles in 59:37 with 5 strides.
  • Sunday: Supposed to be a 1-hour run at 10k-15s, switched to cross train road biking. 37.5 miles in 3:15 with 4 major hill climbs.

Running – 26 miles in 3:44:20
Biking – 37.5 miles in 3:15

Monday, June 6, 2011

Not my best

I have had my fill of preparing only to know that on the day of judgment I wasn’t ready. Presenting at a conference in front of more than a hundred is one thing, running in a marathon another. Expertise is required. The ability to respond to adverse conditions is similar. Your response is where you will be judged.

I spoke today to a group of developers, technologists, and engineers with my slides in limbo and faltered. The rebound was okay, but I feel like I followed the half marathon group at the split only to have to retrace my steps to get back on the marathon course in a big city race. I had the respect of keeping a stiff upper lip and finishing, but there was no reason to celebrate a job well done. Not my best work.

I went for a run when I got home.

Week 1 synopsis:
- 4 runs: Tu, Wed, Thu, Fri
- 16 miles
- Notes: busy weekend had me skip the long run. I am going to accept this as I am in a 20-week cycle instead of 18 weeks.


1. Heart of the City – Jay-Z
2. Picture Me Rollin’ – 2Pac
3. Sabotage – Beastie Boys
4. The Next Episode – Dr. Dre feat. Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg
5. (Rock) Superstar – Cypress Hill
6. The Choice Is Yours – Black Sheep
7. Snap Yo’ Fingaz – Lil’ Jon

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Planning my running for the Fall Campaign

I ran my second WarriorDash™ last Sunday. Once again, I competed hard in a fun race, but didn’t go all out for the win. I finished 238th  of 8,279 overall for the Sunday group, which was 20th of 562 in my age group. screen capture screen capture screen capture 2011-5-25-18-20-31
Later this week I went for a slow run in the heat of midday. This long run was attempted with nothing but a liter of water and two Endurolyte™ capsules. I did 13.83 miles in 2:28:57. Though I was dragging most of the time, it was probably 90°F, the fueling before and during was not appropriate, and frankly I just want to run and did not care at all about my pace. It was fun and gave me a chance to think about how I want to prepare for my Fall marathons.
I have checked Jack Daniel’s Running Formula out from the library in order to get some pointers. This plan will be put together as I had read more and thought about it. In the meantime, I plan to run long once a week and do my Runervals™ training (Treadmill Tempo and Cheetah Fast) twice a week. With some supplemental miles I’ll try to get up to about 40-50 miles a week. I’ll do this over 3 weeks and judge how things are going by attempting a Runerval base pace (BP) of 3.5 mph until it gets easy. For those who have not done Runervals 3.5 mph seems slow, but the workout will have you running BP + 5 mph at 5-6% incline. In order to not arbitrarily decide what is easy and what is not easy I will use my heart rate monitor. I will sign up for a 5K race in for the last weekend of June.
For supplemental training I’ll be doing the hundred pushups challenge, P90X and swimming. I’ll try to get some stretching in and eat right (better). I’ll try to have my full training plan and race schedule set up in couple of weeks.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Runervals 2.0 kicked my butt

I did the Runervals Treadmill Tempo run yesterday after an extended amount of time off due to vacation. This workout really tested me. I set my cruise pace to that of my predicted 5K time of sub-21 minutes. The workout went something like this. Warm-up running at 4mph.The intervals began with 4 times running cruise pace plus 3 mph faster (7 mph) and 3% grade for 90 secs then rest 30 secs. Coach Troy then gives you a 2 minute break for you to recover then run cruise plus 4 mph (8 mph) and 4% grade for 90 with 30 sec rest. The next was 9 mph at 5% grade for 90/30 but I could only go for 2 reps before backing it down to 8 mph. I then reset for the last set of 1 min on at 9 mph 5% grade and 1 min rest at cruise pace. 3 of these and I was done. 5 miles in the book. I’ll get out for a long easy tomorrow. Today is for family.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ahh… speedwork

I have been super casual about running since the National Marathon. I pretty much have just run when I felt like it which has caused me to take a few days off here and there. I have only put in 22 miles since the marathon and today was my first day of speed work.
I hit the WB&A trail for 3 intervals of 800m at my 5K pace (6:36/mi). I pretty much hit each interval with the first 800 at 3:18 followed by a 400m jog and a 3:09 800m, and a slightly off target 3:21 final 800. Given that I did not look at my watch and hit the splits on the mark using only my internal sense of pace paced on my judgment of what the 5K effort should feel like, I am very happy.
I am shooting for a 20:30 at the Armed Forces 5K in May and will be doing another Warrior Dash with my bro and his wife later that May. I should be in shape for some fast *for me) stuff.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Test with Windows Live Writer

This is a test post. I am now using Windows Live Writer to publish my blog. A big thanks goes to Neil Z of the Because all the cool kids are doing it… blog for his post on How to use MS Live Writer to Author and publish your blog… I had not thought of using an editor before when writing the blog, but it seems to be nicer than the minimal web-based editor provided by Blogger.

Recovery Week Recap

After last week's National Marathon I have been resting, taking in what happened, not running, and planning my next races.

What happened at the race? I had a personal best on my fifth marathon. Once again I set my sights high hoping for a 3:30-ish time, but wound up with another modest improvement (3:53 a one minute PB). I think my pre-race prep was the best I'd ever done. I did get in line for the toilet a little too late and ended up missing the start by about 6 minutes. With chip timers and the fact that I did not plan to run with a pace group I thought this shouldn't be a problem, but I did a lot of weaving and battle in the narrow streets of Capitol Hill to get running room because I had to start with a slower corral. I ran easy to a 1:50 half, held on to 20 miles and kind of Gallo-walked the last 10K. Not a winning strategy. I believe that my lack of commitment in training to holding onto marathon pace in my long training runs is the issue. I gotta get used to running on tired legs.

So, I am down-shifting to 5K training for about 6 weeks. I am going to have another go at the Armed Forces Week 5K. Last year's 21:06 should fall as a 5K PB. I am gunning for sub 20:30. Later in May I am going to do the Warrior Dash again with my bro. Last year I raced it well and placed really high in my age group. I did this with marathon training as my base. This race is more like a 5K through a jungle gym so I should be a lot faster this year coming off of 5K training.

Sometime in April I should hear about running the NYC Marathon. I am targeting a Fall marathon. If I don't get in to New York. I may do Baltimore again or Philadelphia. I do want to race a lot this year in 5, 8, and 10Ks. I want to get fast. I am also thinking about getting a coach or possibly joining a running club.

An interesting listen in the running podcast realm was Joe Rubio on Running Times Performance Podcasts (Feedburner link) talking about Endless Season Training. He postulates that most runners who not coached by elite coaches don't peak properly so racing just a couple of times a year is not effective. You get more from learning to race and what to work on by racing more frequently, like every other week or so. It's worth a listen.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

SunTrust National Marathon Race Report

Unofficial time: 3:53:26 (1:28 PR)

I held off the crash a little longer than my previous races. I didn't drop off pace until mile 20 and then I held off the 10-minute miles until mile 23. My leg cramps returned for this race. I can blame the fact that my Endurolytes got wet and became difficult to grab, or that I have to practice my drinking on the run technique, but really I just need to be tougher. I ran smiling and easy through the half marathon in about 1:50. I felt the need to fight at my typical point in the race, mile 16. I felt that cramp feel and my speed was dropping when I wasn't concentrating, but I kept fighting. I gave in to cramps around the SE/SW Freeway and began to jog backwards. I then started to walk when needed after creating simple goals for myself, "run to that sign post, get to that cone."

When I approached the finish line I actually hit my lap button to mark 26.2 miles (my overall distance traveled was 26.48 mile). Spectators were good-naturedly goading me to pull it together and run and one of them sparked me to go for it. I dropped the hammer with 300 meters to go and hit 5:00 min/mi pace until the finish line. Where did that come from? Well it was honest because I crossed the finish line barely able to move another step and almost falling down.

I really enjoyed this marathon. I liked the run through DC more than the Marine Corps Marathon. The support was really good and the hills didn't really seem too bad. The volunteers did their job cheerfully and well. I think the think the finish festival was a little random - Baltimore seems to do that best out of the marathons I've run. I also think that the expectation of not seeing official results and timing until Friday, April 1st is insane in today's tech-empowered world. Let's hope that this is not really the case. The best part of the race organization is the fact that they made the DC Armory available for us to relax in prior to the race so that the relatively cold starting temp of 40 degrees F didn't really affect the runners. I'll definitely run this race again.

Race day: Last pre-race post

It's 4:30. I've eaten my PB and syrup sandwich with a Muscle Milk shake, water and a multi-vitamin. It is 39 degree F and clear with little wind. I have decided not to wear the running tights and brave having cold legs until I warm up. I have to leave soon to get to RFK by around 5:45 am. Since my last post I've run an easy 4-miler with strides to  make the race week build up 7.1 miles with my typical Tuesday quality run of a hard 5k. I feel good. My plan is to run easy with surges until 18 miles or so and then just see what I've got. I have my Endurolytes, my GU gels, gloves and socks to go over the gloves. Its time.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Race week: The last hard workout before the race

I am feeling awesomesauce (thanks Angry Runner). I just love hitting my workout goals. I set out this evening to run a 5k at my current projected 10k pace. I guessed that I could run a 10k at this point in a 7:15/mi pace, which is actually slower than my per mile pace at last year's Cherry Blossom 10-mile run (7:12/mi). I threw down a respectable 22:18 (7:11/mi pace) over a hilly (462 ft of ascent) 5k car strewn course on a pair of long day at work, pick up oldest son from field trip, scarf down dinner, pick up daughter from ballet, marathon-slowed legs. That's awesomesauce on top of amazeballs!

When I do this good at my workouts I feel as cool as this dude...

Aside: I openly challenged all my co-workers at last year's Armed Forces 5k and put out a 21:06 only to get 2nd in my group of colleagues. I believe they all better watch out now cause I am going to sharpen my speed after the marathon and try for a sub-20 5k this May.

Aside 2: I have started the 100-consecutive push-up challenge again, but I forgot to take rest breaks (4 straight days with no rest breaks). Since my initial push-up test ended up with 33 tallied I started with week three 80, 100, 120 reps over 5 sets. My arms are feeling a bit trashed.I think that I'll start the challenge again after the marathon so I don't do something stupid.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Number crunching for National Marathon

I am number crunching once again, trying to figure out what my pace strategy will be for the marathon. My marathon prep this time could be said to be a

Pre-buildup - Noveber and December = 120 miles
Week 1 - 11.51 (partial week, I started on New Years that was a Saturday)
Week 2 - 30.01
Week 3 - 45.26
Week 4 - 44.89
Week 5 - 26.36
Week 6 - 36.61
Week 7 - 31.51
Week 8 - 37.72 (ran the GW Birthday Marathon)
Week 9 - 21.31 (with 20 min of elliptical)
Week 10 - 42.47 (23 mile long run)
Week 11 - 28.29 (8 miles marathon pace)
Week 12 - 25.54 (6 miles marathon pace)
Total miles pre-race week - 381.49, 57 runs at an 8:46/mile pace

I can't remember whose blog it was that gave this idea to me, but I found this side-by-side comparison of the last three (sans my training GW Bday Marathon) marathon splits useful to compare my tendencies to slow down in the second half.




Mile 1




Mile 2




Mile 3




Mile 4




Mile 5




Mile 6




Mile 7




Mile 8




Mile 9




Mile 10




Mile 11




Mile 12




Mile 13




Mile 14




Mile 15




Mile 16




Mile 17




Mile 18




Mile 19




Mile 20




Mile 21




Mile 22




Mile 23




Mile 24




Mile 25




Mile 26




These stats are very informative, yet I wish I could enter in the elevation gain and loss to tell a more complete picture. I plan to run 8:40-ish throughout the marathon. I am hoping for an A-goal of 3:30, and will accept anything short of my current 3:54 PR

 I had such an inspiration from this weekend's racers. Galen Rupp, Mo Farah, Kara Goucher, Meb K, and Ryan Hall standout for me, especially Mo for having the will to win. I was openly cheering while viewing the race online.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

All I Do ...

I ran an easy 6 this morning, OUTSIDE! I punished my strides running close to my 800m paces. Yesterday I did 8 800s at 6:40 pace. I feel in shape though sitting down at work makes my body feel tight.

My morning run playlist made me miss Michael Jackson. I heard 2 songs from Off the Wall and a song I never knew Michael sang, All I Do Is Think of You. That song was popularized to my generation by a group named Troop. They did a good facsimile but there is only one Michael.

My hype songs were H.A.M. by Kanye and Jay-Z, two Swizz Beats productions with Lloyd Banks and Kanye, and 6 foot 7 by Weezy. These will find their way on my marathon playlist.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

National Marathon taper week 1 of 3

The week of training at an elevated pace relative to my previous weeks are making me feel ready to run hard. The 8 mile marathon pace run today felt easy and I am happy to see a significant negative split even though it was a positive elevation gain on the way home. The splits were (distance, pace, elevation gain):
  • Mile 1 - 8:28 - 32 ft
  • Mile 2 - 8:30 - 43 ft
  • Mile 3 - 8:26 - 0 ft
  • Mile 4 - 8:26 - 12 ft
  • Mile 5 - 8:18 - 61 ft
  • Mile 6 - 8:21 - 63 ft
  • Mile 7 - 7:46 - 0 ft
  • Mile 8 - 7:33 - 14 ft
  • Last .78 Mile - 7:23 - 23 ft
The first of three weeks of taper ended with 28.29 miles with an average pace of 8:13, which is faster than my expected marathon pace. I did 3 quality runs and one recovery run, skipping two recovery runs on Wednesday and Friday. I feel really fit right now, I just need to focus on keeping the muscle tension balance through quality workouts, diet, and sleep. I am prepared for the marathon and am now just thinking about running fast in some May 5Ks.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tapering begins

3 weeks to go. I skipped my easy miles on Wednesdays day but fully went after my Tuesday and Thursday quality workouts.

After my high mileage week that was capped by a 23 miler I started with a 7 by 1600m at 10k pace (7:30 pace for the sake of the treadmill) and hit every interval. There is nothing like a hard effort to give you confidence that you can recover when times get tough. This morning I set out to do an off/on workout where I would run for 30 secs @ marathon pace (8:34) then 30 secs @ 5k pace minus 20 (6:40).

Though I feel a bit bad about recently not hitting my training goal I am beginning to remember what success feels like.

Note: just bought new shoes, Brooks Adrenaline 11s.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Yoda and the Central Governor

Today's workout was tough. The plan was to run 23 miles, 7 at an easy pace and 16 at marathon pace. I struck for laps in my neighborhood around 0645 and got 7 miles in before the sometimes heavy rain drove me inside. I put a load in the dryer and began the marathon pace workout on my treadmill.

The outdoor portion of my run was 7 miles in 1:02:53 (8:57/mile), which was a bit faster than I intended. I think I picked up the pace just to get back inside when the rain became too heavy. Once I go back indoors I knew that there would be distractions aplenty. My first item on the agenda was to let my wife know that I was back indoors and bring her a cup of coffee (aside: Keurigs are nice, no wasted cup for me because I would not get to drink some for hours yet). Downstairs, I dried off a bit a and got out of my outdoor clothes, set the TV to ESPN SportsCenter and began to run on the treadmill. This 10 minute break was something I wouldn't be getting in the Marathon.

My fuel strategy was already blown to smithereens by the fact of not having enough gels for my planned eat every 30 - 40 minutes. I downed 4 gels and a pack of fruit snacks while running, slowing the 'mill down to walk while I ate and drank every 3 or so miles. Two hours twenty five minutes later I had finished, with one interruption of a loud bang upstairs that turned out to be my middle son pushing his sister off the coach over some mishap with a Nintendo DS. I maintained a bit slower pace mostly running a 6.7 and 6.8 mph. By mile 21 I started to flag a bit, but got it together while dropping down to a 6 mph pace (10 min/mi). I was firmly in the "hurt box" by mile 22 and had to remember that though it hurt I wasn't going to die or be injured if I kept running a my planned pace and dropped down to 7.5 mph (8 min/mi) for the last 800m.

Overall, my 23 mile run was 3:28:24 this averages out to a 9:03 min/mi pace. Not too shabby, but I showed a lack of commitment to my goal pace in the second run. The one takeaway that I see as a huge win is my familiarity with the "hurt box" is re-established. I have been giving way to muscle fatigue pain in my marathons. The term I am using comes from the blokes at the Marathon Talks podcast. They interviewed Dr. Tim Noakes of the Lore of Running fame and I found his "central governor" premise intriguing. I must write about this more later, however in short we are just talking about the phenomena of trying hard.

There is no if. When the SunTrust National Marathon requires me to dig deep and challenge my "central governor" I will answer the bell and start throwing down. As Yoda said, "Do or do not do. There is no try."

Tapering begins next week.

Friday, March 4, 2011

SunTrust National Marathon is official

I finally did it. I committed to the SunTrust in more than just words. Electrons, bits, are now coursing through the Inter Webs with my resolve to put everything I've got on the line on March 26 for 26.2 miles. It cost me now in both money and training/effort/guts.

Sixteen miles is a special distance for me. It is my nemesis. I have seen my threshold in 13 miles, but have pushed myself to near marathon pace for the next couple of miles, but I am aware that the 16 mile mark is the end of my game face and when I start survival mode. I wish to push past this milestone and figure out what I can bring with a 23 mile run this Sunday with a 16 mile marathon pace close out (8:40).

Sunday will be a huge confidence build.

Monday, February 21, 2011

GW Marathon 2011 Race Report

I can only find solace in this race if I remember this was a long run. My time for this run was 4:17:20, my slowest marathon yet. My average pace was 9:49/mile, which is well within range of a long run pace for my goal marathon pace.

I hit my planned half marathon split on the nose, 1 hour 57 minutes. I kept a tight reign on my pace, but as soon as I hit the half marathon point I felt the energy deficit. I was prepared to try hard, but not go to the bottom of the barrel for this race. I threw in a couple of attempts at goal marathon pace miles, but the next level energy would not come. Though I walked through each water stop I began to walk when tired after mile 16. I struggled in at a decent pace, but only after the soul rending uphill at mile 26.

So I am happy with this as a training run. I did no 20+ mile runs leading up to this race and those I have found are vital for getting used to the fatigue I must get used to. So this will be my first going into the SunTrust National Marathon.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

GW Marathon 2011 Race Strategy

Tomorrow is the GW Birthday Marathon. I am registering tonight and will toe the line at 10:30 for my fourth marathon. I don't have much of an expectation. I have not really trained for this as an A race, but I think I could still PR as I have tapered a bit and feel like I never let my running fitness from this Fall drop too far.

The truth is I have not done any 20 milers since the marathon and I bailed in my 19 mile attempt at 17 miles. I am running this race as a long run in training for the SunTrust National Marathon. My only goal is to negative split, but I do hope to PR slightly as my PR is still fairly below my projected times from my results in shorter races.

So my changes to the race day strategy will be:
1. Eat a gel every 30 - 35 minutes, I ate one every 45 minutes in my other marathons and I felt pretty drained in the second half of the race.
2. Though I have never used them before I am going to try Enduralytes tomorrow. I have had bad muscle cramps in each marathon. I want to try to avoid this and learn for the SunTrust.
3. I will use my Garmin heart rate monitor. Last week's long tempo run of 12 miles was done at 8:40 pace. My average heart rate was 158. I am not sure that I will directly run to my heart rate, but I'll be paying attention to it to see if any adjustments can be made from watching it.
4. I will run a negative split! So this will mean I have to set a reasonable pace strategy. I have been wildly optimistic in my past marathons. I got 20 minutes in front of the 4 hour pace group in my first marathon (4:03:27), and I rashly said I may just BQ in my first marathon. I ran with the 3:40 pace group at Baltimore only to fall back at mile 18 and struggle in just under 4 hours. I lined up boldly in the 3:30 corral at the MCM, ran 1:44 at the halfway point and positive split by 30 minutes. Tomorrow I want to get to the halfway mark in 1:57, averaging 8:55/mi pace. After that, I like to increase the pace modestly running between 8:50 and 8:30 until the last 5K. Hopefully, I'll get in under 3:50.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Scratching my head

More than a couple of times during this period of my annual training I've asked myself, "what am I doing?" This is my third Winter running. I am planning on running my fourth marathon a week in a half, but I don't feel really prepared yet I don't really care. I haven't run a 20 miler or for that matter any runs longer than 17 miles this year. I am going to call this race a long run that happens to be a marathon. And why should I treat it overly special? I've run the course almost every weekend since I've started running.

I am going to run the George Washington Birthday Marathon on the 20th. I am preparing for the SunTrust National March 26th. Though my training plan has me peaking then I am taking liberties to skip workouts and do my own thing as necessary. The only real thing I am trying to accomplish is to get more mileage in and practice the distance. I plan on running 5Ks and 10Ks after that until a final Fall marathon in 2011. Maybe by then I will be fast enough for a BQ.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Second Week 2011 (45.26 miles)

Long runs give me a chance to really enjoy my music. I can discover the production techniques, the lyrics and general vibe the artist was trying to create. I ran 15 miles yesterday, which was my longest run since the Marine Corps Marathon. I was able to listen to more than 2 hours of music. I pulled together a playlist from the following:
  • Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
  • Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Us Back
  • N*E*R*D's Seeing Sounds
  • Radio Head's Hail to the Thief
  • Coldplay's A Rush of Blood to the Head
  • and a smattering of Drake, Rick Ross, and Kid Cudi
My favorite scoring moment was when I hit my turning home segment of road at about 8.5 miles. The sun seemed brighter and the visibility was greater. Kanye's song All of the Lights came on and with its momentous synth horns and frenetic drumline beats I picked up the pace. It was a great feeling. I will probably have to put a bit more time into scoring my runs to give more of that same feeling.

Week 2 2011 (Total 45.26 miles)
  • Monday - Rest
  • Tuesday - 7 x 1600 @ 10K pace (7:30/mile) , 10 miles total in 1:25:04
  • Wednesday - 7 mile @ 8:34/mi pace with 6 striders in 58:58
  • Thursday - 30 secs on at (6:00/mi) and 30 secs off for 30 hour, total 4.25 mi in 35 mins
  • Friday - 4 mile easy run at 9:07/mi pace in 36:31
  • Saturday - 5 miles easy (outside) in 41:31
  • Sunday - 15 miles in 2:17

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It just keeps rolling

I feel really good. Like a machine actually. I did a 30 secs on 30 secs off run today. The goal was to do the on portion at 20 secs faster than my 5K pace. I did these at 6:00/mi pace. I am not all too sure I could run 6:20 miles through a 5K, but maybe. The off paces were slow - 12:00/mi pace, but it was a good workout. I ran hard and I have been completing all of my hard workouts recently. I did a tough 7 x 1600m interval workout at 10K pace (7:30/mi) on Tuesday. I definitely can average better than that in a 10K race, but again a great workout.

Though I don't feel injured there is some tightness in my hips. I need to stretch. How to find the time. I make time to run more than six hours a week, but since I work all day, coach basketball and support my family including a my children's activities I excuse myself when I can't find the time. I better not get injured.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

First week 2011 (6 runs, 30 miles)

The first full week of 2011 was good for training. Five days of running with Tuesday a double (6 miles in the AM and 4 in the PM). I only ran outside this Sunday and my hips and knees do realize the difference. I probably will continue to do the majority of my runs on the treadmill, but want to make sure I run outside once a week.

Mon - 2 mile
Tues - 10 miles (6 miles AM/ 4 miles PM, 8 total at marathon pace)
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - 6 miles (2 x 2400/800/400 supersets at 10K, 5K, 5K - 10)
Friday - rest
Saturday - 4 miles
Sunday - 8 miles (8 miles at marathon pace, 8:22/mile)

Total - 30 miles

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Running Report

2010 Summary

190 runs for 1,285.95 miles

  • 6.80 miles per run
  • 58:34 minutes per run
  • 8:36 min/mi pace
4 races

Cherry Blossom 10-miler (4/11/2010)
  • Distance - 10 miles
  • Time - 1:12:57
  • Pace - 7:17/mile
Armed Forces 5k (5/12/2010)
  • Distance - 3.1 miles
  • Time - 21:06
  • Pace - 6:47/mile
Mid-Atlantic Warrior Dash, Day 2 (10/10/2010)
  • Placed 204th out of 5111 and 18th in my age group
Marine Corps Marathon (10/31/2010)
  • Distance - 26.2 miles
  • Time - 3:54:48
  • Pace - 8:57/mile
It was another good year for running. I got to run in Australia, New Zealand, the Bahamas, Virgina Beach, and San Fransisco. I suffered my second running injury: 2008 plantar fascitis, 2010 patellofemoral pain syndrome AKA runner's knee. I bounced back cautiously in about a month, but not without checking in with an orthopedist. While I was hurt I did a solid month of the famed P90X workouts. I followed my plans very closely and tried a few new things like running a few "doubles," hill training and running by heart rate.

Though I do not yet have complete plan for what I'll run in 2011, but I hope to run a sub-3:30 marathon and get a sub-20:30 5K. I registered for the NYC Marathon lottery and if I get it in, that will be my goal race for 2011.