Monday, November 26, 2012

Fallin again

I wanted to get my 2013 running off to a good start, but I felt that I missed my first opportunity by not running this morning. I saw a golden opportunity by rushing home to grab my running gear in the same breath as picking my boys up to go to wrestling practice. I'll run a quick 5 miles while they are on the mat.

I set out and thought I was clever by bringing my bike headlight to see clearly. Nevertheless I hit the cement for the first time ever 1 mile in. Ouch! I sat on the sidewalk for a minute or two wondering what happened and worrying what I must look like as a tall black man running through an unfamiliar neighborhood bleeding from numerous places.
I got up and ran back towards the YMCA where my children were practicing. When I got back I decided I wasn't yet finished with my run. I'd only gotten a little more than 2 miles in. I put in another 2.5 miles and washed up while telling my embarrassing story to the other active parents who offerede band aids and new running partnerships by turns. Funny I am not embarrassed anymore.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Baltimore Marathon 2012 - Race Report

I am so tired of not executing the Baltimore Marathon I  can stand it. Let's get this out of the way, I had my worst ever marathon with a 4:03:59 finish (yes the GW birthday marathon was slower, but I used it as a training run for the National Marathon). I could almost copy the post I made last year for the race report.

I overestimated my ability and once again ran a positive split. Now, truth is that if you've run the Baltimore Marathon you'll know how difficult the second half can be. I have feared that if I ran a slow first half I could still have the hills from Patterson Park to Clifton Park and Lake Montebello take the pace out of my legs (but I don't really believe it - I just haven't done it).

The four miles from Camden to the Maryland Zoo at the start were uneventful. I stayed what I thought was in myself.

  • Mile 1: 8:43 (HR - 
  • Mile 2: 8:35
  • Mile 3: 8:50
  • Mile 4: 8:33
I think that miles five to nine from Druid Hill Park to the Harbor gave me the idea that I could hold this pace throughout and I know better.
  • Mile 5: 8:15
  • Mile 6: 8:48
  • Mile 7: 8:23
  • Mile 8: 8:27
  • Mile 9: 8:30
Going around the Under Armour plant made tell myself that run a great first half means absolutely zip in a full marathon. I say this because I started to feel the fatigue in my legs and I hadn't even really climbed the hills yet. I smiled passing the half marathoners all the same. Going around the harbor to Fells Point gave me another hint I was in trouble. Sometime earlier I got well in front of the 3:50 pace group, but during this phase I heard them and was beginning to get passed by them.
  • Mile 10: 8:50
  • Mile 11: 8:56
  • Mile 12: 8:47
  • Mile 13: 8:46
  • Mile 14: 8:39
  • Mile 15: 8:36
Oh the dreaded climb to Lake Montebello from mile sixteen to twenty laid into me as bad as ever. I resolved to not walk, but just slow as the hills got to me. I felt a small victory because I didn't give in.
  • Mile 16: 8:48 
  • Mile 17: 9:19
  • Mile 18: 9:48
  • Mile 19: 10:17
  • Mile 20: 10:15
Okay, victory short lived. I made a deal with myself that I could walk at the next water stop at mile 20 something and after that these little compromises were easier to give myself. Soon I was taking walk breaks without giving myself permission, just because I wanted to. Thanks to the numerous runners who encouraged me to get it together and finish. I surprised myself my somewhat going for a strong finish with a mile to go even though I still felt like garbage. 
  • Mile 21: 10:10
  • Mile 22: 10:14
  • Mile 23: 11:25
  • Mile 24: 10:22
  • Mile 25: 11:57
  • Mile 26: 9:17
  • Mile 26.2: 2:25/7:57 pace
Overall another race where I felt like I didn't run it right. I now think that as good as training felt, I didn't do nearly as many miles as a strong performance requires - at least for me. As far as race atmosphere goes, I still love the crowds and the pass of the half marathon start. 

I feel like the Finish Festival has fallen far since my first race here in 2008. I used to like the Phillips crab soup and felt like I could get food pretty easily, but I stood in line with literally hundreds of other people and watched it not move for around a half hour until I went to get the beer tickets and found another line on the other side that zoomed in to get food much faster. They also feel the need to move the bag pickup and beer line every year for as far as I can tell no reason. 

I got my finish beer this year and it was a Blue Moon variety. I sipped it a few and promptly gave my other ticket to someone else and poured it out. I barely wanted the beer and felt that the Michelob Ultra from my first two races was about the only thing I want to stomach after exercising for four hours. Perhaps its because it is really just beer flavored water. Nevertheless I want that brand brought back or I will skip the post-race beer until I can get home and take a nap.

Blah blah blog. I am looking forward to the off-season. I'll start putting something like a plan together next week.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Baltimore Marathon 2012 Pre-race musings

The 2012 Baltimore Running Festival is this weekend and for the fourth time I will be running. This will be my seventh eighth marathon since I started endurance running in 2008.

  • 2009: Frederick Marathon 4:03:27
  • 2009: Baltimore Marathon 3:58:19
  • 2010: Marine Corps Marathon 3:54:48
  • 2011: George Washington Birthday Marathon 4:17:20 (training marathon)
  • 2011: SunTrust National Marathon 3:53:32
  • 2011: Baltimore Marathon 4:00:07
  • 2012: B&A Trail Marathon 3:56:40

My training went very well, but I've had a number of false starts that made the build up technically only 11 weeks. The truth is I've already run one marathon this year and never really stopped running completely.
This race training started officially July 31st. I decided to not do the high mileage that I started the year with because I planned on cross training quite a bit now that I have a road bike. In the beginning I rode my bike about three days a week, but as the school year started I was relegated to one day a week. I've run 43 times thus far and covered 270 miles so that is a relatively low 24 miles a week average. I was averaging in the high 30s for my Spring marathon, but with cycling I tallied far more miles as a whole.
I've had a nice long run progression with an 18 mile run (9:07/mi pace) in week 7, 20 mile run in week 8 (9:44/mi pace), and finally a 22 mile (9:13/mi) run in week 9. The 20-miler in week 8 was an organized group run on the Baltimore course and reflects a lot of chatting, orienteering, and a temperature in the low 80s at the end of the run. I also hit most of my tempo and interval run targets.
The odds are that I will beat last year’s disappointing 4:00:07 finish. I am hoping for a race day miracle. I finished the B&A Trail Marathon with a much more grueling training plan in 3:56:40. And, that was run on a much easier course than Baltimore. However, this training build-up feels like I did it smart and had the right high notes. I am hoping to push myself to a time in the 3:40s. The Runner’s World Smart Coach pace calculator predicted a 3:30:xx for me based on my April 5K race time (6:55/mi pace), but I did not hold their 8:55/mi 20 mile run pace. I think 3:45 would be nice, but who knows? The weather outlook is really favorable and I feel fit and more familiar with the course. I could do something special.
We’ll see…

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Training journal 8/8/2012

There is 65 days left until the 2012 Baltimore Marathon. I have been training, but really don't have a plan. My plan is to get in at least an 11 mile long run this week, but I may skip the speed work tomorrow in lieu of a bike commute.

I just my first road bike and I like it. Its name is Khal Drogo after the Horse Lord in the Game of Thrones book.

Khal Drogo
Khal Drogo
I don't plan on leaving running for the world of biking, but cross training has just become a lot more important to me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

B&A Trail Marathon 2012 – Race Report

I busted my tail like I always do to finish the B&A Trail Marathon with my best effort, but I must admit that I left a little on the race course. Once again, I fell pray to the race day miracle even when I told myself not to. 3:56:40 is my third best marathon out of seven. I improved some from my Baltimore time, but (supposedly) the course was easier. This course is not as easy as you might think. The elevation is moderate, but it is flat and relentless especially when the wind was as strong as it was this past Sunday.

Stupid me, I overheard the Severna Park High School girls thank me for blocking the wind for them and decided to chivalrous and continue to deliberately do so. The only thing is that they were running the half-marathon, I should’ve been running 8:40s but was running 8:15s for miles 6 to 13. I maintained 8:30s from 13 to 19 by latching on to some masters runners who were comfortably pulling me along with their banter about still being athletes. I couldn’t hold on though possibly because I decide to not hang tough when the going got tough.

Miles 23 to finish left me thinking that I don’t like marathons anymore. My diaphragm cramped again and legs felt like they were shorting out (feeling like if I tried to push they’d cramp/seize on me). I am over that now and am resolved to really work hard on short stuff for the Summer and am going to sign up for Baltimore again. I will do much more long tempos to hold marathon paces longer without the drop off. I want to be sure to run a hard half-marathon to give me confidence, because I know I can average 7:30 for a half given that I have average 7:17 for 10 miles.

I will probably do the B&A Trail Marathon again and try to master the course. It was enjoyable, but really cold and windy. It was nice to start in the school and stay warm up to the start. People were friendly and course support was really good throughout. I’ll be back.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

B&A Trail Marathon 2012–Prerace Report

Its been a long time since I felt like blogging. I have, however, had the greatest two consecutive months of training ever. January and February saw me run 20 and 22 times for 185 and 161 miles respectively. There were a lot of slow miles in there, but on Tuesday of this week I ran a self-support 5K in my hilly neighborhood at a deliberate 10K pace in 21:57.

Now its 4 o’clock in the morning and I am just finishing my breakfast part 1 of two packets of apple and cinnamon oatmeal and 6 oz. of blueberry/pomegranate juice.The race is at 7:30 so, in an hour I am going to drink a protein shake, drink 12 oz. of water and get ready to drive to the race.

I got some of that Gatorade Prime 01 (pre-game fuel) that I plan on drinking the prescribed 15 minutes before the race. I did this at Baltimore last year and cannot say it did wonders, but I am looking for an edge in order to run my best race ever. The plan is to go out at 9 minute miles for the first 3 miles, then 8:50/mile for the next 3, 8:40/mile for the next 3, finally miles 10 to the “line” will be race pace (~8:30). I don’t know when I can kick, but I assume that it will depend on how I feel. I am hoping to beat my 2011 SunTrust National marathon time of 3:53 for a new PR. The B&A Trail marathon course is flatter than any other marathon that I’ve ever run and I trained pretty hard. We will see how that pays off in a couple of hours.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 Running Recap

M0y numbers this year are not going to be accurately reported. I may have run more miles than I ever have, but will never know. There was a serious wave of tornados and storms in the mid-west where the training web site has its servers. I lost all data that was not recorded in the Garmin Connect site prior to 4/25/2011. Since I never recorded my non-Garmin based mileage on the Connect website, I lost a number of runs. So these are the numbers I can report:

2011 Running data:

  • Number of runs: 143
  • Number of miles: 1,024.40
  • Time spent: 152:15:50
  • Average pace: 6.7mph
  • Calories: 146,496 C

Overall I was a good year. I ran my fastest of six marathons in the Spring at the SunTrust National Marathon, preceded by a tough GW Birthday Marathon that was my slowest. I recently completed the Baltimore marathon at a slower time than expected, but I knew I ran my heart out.

I think the highlight of the year was that I stayed healthy and never missed running at least once a week. Not once in a whole year.

2012 News

I just started the 12-week training plan I will be following for this March’s National Marathon. Week 1 completed this week with nearly 41 miles of good training. I am trying to increase the mileage volume in my training. I just bought a Garmin foot pod for my indoor and cadence training and got a new pair of shoes:

Asics GT-2170


I have found over the last 6 runs (4 indoors on my treadmill) that mileage it records indoors is 97% accurate when compared to my treadmill and my cadence is around 86 SPM (Strides Per Minute – one leg)

Hope you all feel good and train well in 2012. Happy New Year!