Monday, December 26, 2011

50k - 1 week later

So after looking at my recovery after my last knee issue (1 year ago) - I took off 4 days from running, and by that time - my knee felt fine. Aside from a little muscle soreness in my hips - no other problems. Not one blister or toenail issue - thank you smartwool and size 12's!; I did wear my road shoes for this as my new trail shoes weren't quite broken in and the trail was not technical at all).
I began with a 6 miler outside my work (around ICAR), followed by 4 more there the next day. Worked out for me to run Christmas day after lunch and got a good 10 miler in. Took me 2-1/2 weeks to get that many miles in after Harbison.
I wore my watch (basic Timex Ironman) and my brother's Garmin he's letting me borrow. I wanted to check my route and see if the mileage I have been writing down was accurate (or at least as accurate as the Garmin). Turned out - my distance was exact! Whew - I've always been a little worried that my actual mileage was not true. I adjusted it down once a year or two ago - but now I can worry no more.
Oak Grove Lake: 1 lap = 0.85mi.
One lap + hill loop = 1.15mi

During my nice 10 miler yesterday - I was also thinking about the Mount Mitchell Challenge. I am still undecided...full refund by the end of the year, or only $30 lost if I wait to cancel by the end of Jan. Guess I'll wait to decide. I like the challenge, but want to see how my knee holds up at Harbison. Maybe I'll take a trip up there in Jan to look at the course.
With my motivation back - looks like I'll keep my current schedule for 2012 - running thru early June before taking the summer off from races.

My year in review is coming up soon! Will I break 1500 miles finally? (Not telling!)

3rd Seashore Nature Trail 50k Race Report

The 3rd annual Seashore Nature Trail 50k took place at First Landing State Park just outside Virginia Beach, VA on Saturday December 17th. My brother Pat and I were going to run this together. After running the Chicago Marathon together in October, he thought he'd get an ultra under his belt (in his LAST long race) while the distance was somewhat recent. No long (over 12) training runs for him since, and my running has been up and down the last 3 weeks. Were not really sure how this would go.

Where it began

Before the start
We arrived for packet/chip pickup at 7am for the 8am start and debated about tights or shorts. It was around 40° after a night of rain, with it staying in the 40's for the day, maybe some sun later. Definitely shorts and the weather turned out perfect! About time - but too bad I was not in condition to take advantage. So - chip, bib, bumper sticker, fleece vest all received quickly and we hung out for a bit, gathering our drop bag items. We'd leave this at an Aid Station we'd pass 4 times - at 5, 8, 20 and 23. There were additional aid stations at 12.5, 16 and 27.5.
Planned on stowing my jacket/gloves after 5 miles and that worked out well. (Ended up getting my gloves later on as my hands got cold on and off).

start/finish on road
And we're off (after a few pictures and leaving the drop bag in a truck)! I was not going out too fast, so we settled in as people moved ahead of us. We stayed in the last 30% of the runners all day, which was fine with us. The initial road section was short (maybe a mile) and towards the turn off onto the trail, I realized my hands were free. Huh? I Always run with a water bottle - even when I was running 5k's. I don't believe I just left it at the start!! Wow - what a mistake. I actually debated going back for it, but running 31 (and not 33) was enough for today. With Aid pretty close together, I would be ok, but just not what I'd prefer. We came upon an aid station for later in the race and I asked if anyone was in contact with the start and if they could ask about my bottle. Sure enough - at the 1st AS - it was there. Whew! Felt normal again. Not sure I'd ever run 5 miles without anything in my hands before.
Some long, flat sections

Panoramic of boardwalk/marshland

Few mud areas - easily avoided

So the course was very nice. Early on, I was already thinking this would be a good course/race to run again. Some gentle rollers, some flats (although the long flat straightaways were not my favorite). Pine straw, packed dirt, some boardwalk, thru marshlands and swampy areas - all great to run on/near. There was a "main" trail (Cape Henry) that we ran on, then do a side loop (King Fisher/White Loop), then an out and back on the main trail to a turnaround. We'd return the way we'd come and back near the start, take a different side trail loop (Bald Cypress & Osmanthius). Then do it all over again.
first of a number of Aid Stations
Aid Stations were, as expected, perfect. My typical stop consisted of refilling my water (if needed), maybe sipping some Gatorade, then grabbing M&M's, PB&J triangles, potato chips, pretzels, and small choc. chip cookies. Yum. I'd walk out eating and not start running until my hands/mouth were empty. One different thing I saw - the bag drop area had all the bags spread out on a tarp, so you could stand back and see your bag easily. Very organized.
More leftover water.
So we stayed a pretty slow/steady pace, not really knowing our speed, but assumed it was about 11min/mi based on the approximate AS mileages. Under 6:00 hr pace. Our goal of the day was, if we did not break 6, then to get me another PR (under 6:34). Early miles felt good - best I'd felt in 3 weeks with no leg issues, feeling pretty strong. We ran near some people on and off, but after 8-10 miles, it was mostly just us, even with ~250+ starters.
beautiful moss

Some gentle rollers
Nothing too serious thru the halfway point for either of us. We knew we'd slow down some. Did not expect it to be partially because of me or my right knee. Near the turnaround (~Mile 22), my knee quickly went from being slightly sore, to being very painful to run. Really, the only other time this had bothered me was almost a year ago around Mile 21 of the Harbison 50k. Why??? (Cold/cooler weather + slow running?) Until the finish, I could not run more than 100-200 yards of flat (could run downhill fine and felt nothing when I walked; we were walking the gentle uphills at this point). So strange. At this point, we were running for just over 4 hours, so we were still looking good for beating my previous best. 6 hrs was definitely out. Pretty much decided that my Mount Mitchell Challenge attempt was off (for Feb - more on that in another post)
Little bit of boardwalk
So the last 9 miles was run until it made me cringe, walk (where the pain disappeared instantly), then run again on any downhill or where I thought I could try it again. Our splits (according to my brother's Garmin after the fact) were mostly under 12 min/mi until mile 20 or so, then it became 13:15's or so. Once we came out of the last side trail loop, we knew we had a mile or so left, mostly on pavement. I tried running it in, but just couldn't - two short walk breaks, then I was ok and we ran to the finish side by side - finish time: 6:19:16!
The Goal

Picked up our finisher's medal (nothing special), paperweight (solid!) and a nice finisher's hat. Grabbed a few snacks, took a few photos, and we headed back home. Very happy to have done this with my brother - he did great. I can see doing this one again (Alone - as I said before - my brother is DONE with long runs!) if we come up for a visit in mid-December. I would recommend it to anyone.
Thank you to the Race Director (very detailed website/emails) and all the volunteers!!

2011 Course

Monday, December 12, 2011

Catching up

Have been too busy to post - so here is a quick summary of the last month.
Seashore 50k this Saturday. Not ready.
More ready than my brother.
Last weekend's long run: 8.5 and heavy legs from the start.
Weekend before that: 14 or so. Not so great.
Before that I actually had a good 20 miler on trails (got me 42 miles for that week!)
Not the best lead-up to a race, especially not an ultra.

Two treadmill runs last week in El Paso (work trip) - hated to do it, but the only option. Been what, a year??

Not making any bets on time for this race. Expect breaking 6 is out for Harbison...only 3 weeks between these. Oh well.

Motivation is low these days. May take another break from distances...we'll see. Just need more sleep (nightly).
Obviously too busy to write on my blog...sorry (if anyone is still out there)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Next Races; Speedwork update.

So I am now signed up for the Seashore Nature Trail 50k. This will be on Dec 17th in Virginia Beach, VA and I'll be running again with my brother. Since he just finished his 1st marathon (Chicago) in 17 years, and he never wants to run, well, train for, another one - he thought he'd get an ultra under his belt. No real chance of us losing each other at this one!
I don't expect to be in the best shape, but as this is relatively flat, I should be ok. My brother on the other hand - he'll survive, with even more limited training.

While I was at it - I went ahead and registered for the Harbison 50k in Columbia, SC on January 7, 2012. I have a goal to break 6 hrs there, beating last year's time by 38 minutes. With my odd knee injury for some 6 miles or so last year, I think it's possible - just have to see how I recover from Seashore.

As an aside - my speedwork session yesterday was interesting. Slogged thru my 2 mile warmup, then was to do a reverse ladder: 1200k, 1000k, 800k, 600k, 400k, with 200m Rest Intervals. I still had it on my schedule with 3:40 marathon goal times. I hit these during my Chicago training.
1200k: 23 secs slow. Wow this is bad.
1000k: 6 secs off.
800k: actually felt I could Run again! 5 sec off.
600k: Guess my legs needed a reminder. 1 sec off.
400k: 3 seconds under goal pace.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Camp Croft Half Marathon Race Report

So the 2nd Annual Camp Croft Half Marathon took place Saturday November 12, 2011 at camp Croft State Park in Spartanburg, SC. Weather was almost exactly like last year - about 35° at 7am and warmed up to, I'm guessing, low-50's soon after the finish. Sun came in thru the trees with the biggest difference from last year being the muddy conditions (and there was water in the lake this year!).

Hung out before the race with my co-worker Marty after getting my packet (nice bag with the logo on one side and course map on other and another nice shirt). Saw just a few others I knew, said a quick congrats to Jason and we were about set to start. I'm not familiar with the park only having run there two other times, but it was the same course as 2010. (I did read my Race Report from last year...brought back some recollections).
I tried not to start off too fast, letting Marty and plenty of others go ahead. The "strength" my legs felt the previous weekend was gone and my cardio was still absent. (Please come back!!). The course had strung everyone out and frequent sections of mud (and a continuous carpet of beautiful leaves) made almost every step interesting, and dangerous. The first couple of miles is the toughest with some rolling terrain. I ran as long as I could before relegating myself to walking some uphills. Oh well.

I had noted my 2010 splits for the 3 aid stations, so I could at least compare myself to last year's event. Ran thru the 1st one at mile 4.75 (had my handheld water bottle) in 42...dead on last year's. I thought I felt worse than I should have, but after ramping my mileage up the last few weeks post-marathon (12, 15, 13, 24, and 30 including this half) and having an 8 day exercise hiatus in there, I shouldn't complain. It'll come back - it always does.

Marty stayed 30-40 seconds ahead of me for many miles, I just tried to keep him in my sights thru the undulating and twisty trail. Removed my long sleeve GTC shirt (what was I thinking wearing that over a t-shirt??). Took a Gu. Looked forward to the nearing of my 2010 time of 1:11 for aid station 2 at Mile 8.1. I did catch him for a few minutes at the Lake, but he was soon ahead again. Hit Aid Station 2 at 1:11 (3 seconds off last year). Marty left as I entered and I had a quick fill-up and continued out thru some sandy trail. A nice change from the single and double tracks.

Somewhere thru here I started feeling a bit better. I wasn't completely out of breath, my legs weren't exactly "weak", but I was still having a recurring groin/hip issue that goes back to my Asheville Half Marathon in Sept., must be those hills. What am I thinking still contemplating the Mount Mitchell Challenge?? Even with time off - it's still there...
Took my 2nd Gu and tried to remember to drink.

So I eventually caught Marty and I stayed within 5-10 seconds of him til the finish. Hit Aid Station 3 (Mile 11.5) in 1:43, 20 seconds faster than the 1st Camp Croft Half. Am I consistent or what? These last few miles are where I pushed hard last year (with someone right on my heels) and I chipped a bone in my right foot. I never felt strong at all this day, but was satisfied with my run with the training I had (or had not) done. I finished in 2:03:21, still 20 seconds ahead of last year. Heard the course is actually closer to 13.5 miles...either way - another one in the books!
Marty finished 5 seconds ahead of me (beat him by 1 minute last year).
Joe passed us a few miles from the finish and just beat Marty.

Only at Mile 3 or so and already out of breath
Seth (RD) did another fantastic job putting this race together. Plenty of volunteers, course well marked (although I almost turned the wrong way after the one stream crossing...but only because I did not look first!), nice food (Bagels, Clif bars, fruit), already mentioned the bag/shirt. A pint glass with the logo on it was a surprise (to me) finisher prize. Then there was the giveaways...last year, I got nothing. This year, a $25 gift certificate from REI (just opened this month in Greenville) and another glass! Sweet! I actually went to the store that afternoon before heading home and picked up a membership and pair of gaiters. Finally got some to test them out. Next weekend - back at Paris Mountain. Next year - back at Camp Croft Half Marathon!


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Leaves everywhere!

I finally got back to my trails at Paris Mountain State Park: my friends Brissy Ridge, Kanuga, North Lake, and Pipsissewa. Yesterday I started my trail running/training season that will hopefully go on thru May or so. My renewed park pass is such a good deal....$50 for a years worth of free access. Small price to pay to support a local trail system.
My foray back onto the trails went well. Once I got out there - I remembered how tricky this season can be as leaves covered practically every rock and stick out there. Surprisingly -  made it thru unscathed except a little left ankle twist. This first loop felt so easy (similar to the post-Asheville Half run). Not that there is that much climbing on the loop I do, but I got so used to walking some stretches last year. This time - I think I ran my fastest loop ever (under 56 minutes). A 2 minute break to swap water bottles, and back out for loop 2. Legs felt it a bit, but can't complain with only a ~2 minute longer loop.
Random notes: Quite a few people out (2 runners), upper lake was quite low, but beautiful. Trees were still turning yellows and oranges.
-Very happy for Jason for completing his 2nd 100 miler at Pinhoti this weekend!! I'm in awe of the dedication and determination...congrats.
-Jason for a distance PR at Pinhoti! What an effort!
-Dan and Charles at Pinhoti...tough luck Dan (and I still don;t knwo what ahppened to Charles, but he always makes the best of everything!)
-Team D.N.R. for another SOLID performance at Ragnar Tennessee!! What was I thinking that I didn't joi in this time?! Looked like so much fun - as it always time - Guz is in!
-My co-worker who completed her first Half marathon this weekend in Savannah! Yes - it was tough, but you did it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

8.5mi - where did my cardio go?

Seven days off with no exercise at all following a post-marathon recovery week really showed that fitness is negatively affected with time off. I went out for ~8 miles on Sunday after my test run on Friday. Started off fine, speed was decent, although I probably should have gone slower. Felt slow, but stayed steady, took my standard walk breaks. Never felt great, and never felt poor until the last .1mi when my knee became sore. Lucky for me - I was stopping at 8.5 miles anyway. I was doing 8:50/mi but my cardio was really lacking.

Hoping it comes back soon.

This week planned 25+ miles (6 today was just fine) including 12-15 on trails this weekend (just not sure where).

So many races this weekend:
Paris Mountain 15k
Shut In Ridge Trail Run
Pinhoti 100
and lastly - Team DNR is back and going to Tennessee for Ragnar. Go Goons!!
Best of luck to all those runners!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Return to running

So my scheduled week off - no running, no walking, no exercise period (FYI - had a small procedure, doctors orders to rest - all is fine)- went by too slowly. So yesterday morning, I got back into it by going to the track and easing back into running. 4.5 miles, walking .25mi, then running .75 mi. repeat. No issues at all, so tomorrow I'll go out and see how 8 or so feels. The Camp Croft (Trail) Half Marathon is only 2 weeks away, so next weekend I will be be back on the trails...and hopefully most weekends until next summer!
Still waiting to decide on the Seashore Nature 50k (7 weeks away). Still need to register for the Harbison 50k (10 weeks out). Mount Mitchell Challenge still scares me.

The Spinx Runfest here put on by our Greenville Track Club is going on right now....lots of first-time marathoners today. Almost perfect weather - why can't I be that lucky...about 42° at the start, sunny and almost 50° ~4 hours later. Looks to be a bit windy though. Good luck to those running!

So next week - start slowly ramping up the miles, and will skip speedwork one more week.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Post Marathon Recovery

So it has been just over a week since Chicago. Plane ride home was brother got me an early X-mas present at the expo: Compression socks. Wore them at the airport and overnight and I can say I had no calf issues. Legs felt decent overall that night too. However - Monday, I noticed some bruising below my left ankle, right down the outside of my foot. It was tender to the touch and walking made it hurt. Can't remember doing anything particular to it that weekend...just put some road miles on (5-Fri, 5-Sat, 28 or so Sun). Put some Arnica on it 2x/day and nothing else.

By Tuesday, decided to skip my planned Wednesday run. Thursday felt a good bit better, but not 100%. Friday I ran even though I was not yet at 100%. Bruising was practically gone and my 4.3 miler was good. Surprised how fast my pace was.
Sunday's run was not great. Didn't get out until noon, under the sun and 78°. Went out too fast (and added some small hills), so I struggled for most of my 8+ mile run. No foot issues and I am saying it is gone, whatever it was.

Today - Nice easy-paced 6 miles thru the ICAR campus, my "hill" workout, that I hope to make my more normal route. Felt so good, will do it again tomorrow and hopefully Thursday. Then - I am taking a planned week some things to do. Then - Camp Croft Trail Half Nov 12 and registering/training for Seashore Nature Trail 50k in December.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chicago Marathon Race Report

A full report from the Expo and the race - and everything in between!
The 34th Chicago Marathon took place Sunday October 9, 2011.
Intro to the Expo Area
 After flying up from Greenville Friday morning, I went straight to the expo. Granted - not the most direct way as I did not realize the shuttle busses ran from the "L" where I got off. So I walked the 30 minutes in the beautiful sunshine to McCormick Place. Let's Run Together was this year's slogan - with close to 40,000 runners, it certainly was appropriate.

After getting my Bib, wandered into the Expo itself. Very spacious, lots of booths, lots of freebies, samples, and of course, things to buy. Carried my luggage the whole time; luckily, I pack light! Got my shirt and bag of stuff and wandered up and down each aisle. Checked out who was doing signings, etc (Dean K, Scott J, Ryan H, Abby W, Abby M, Hal H and a few others. Snacked some and eventually say down to wait for my cousin Becky. While I waited, watched (on a large screen) highlights from the 2010 Event. Incredible seeing two runners racing, sprinting (if going faster than their standard 4:45/mi is "sprinting!") at mile 25.8 of the marathon! I was getting excited...

After issues in the past with the weather (specifically, heat, 4 out of the last 5 years), you could not miss the signage everywhere with the Moderate condition notice. It would stay that category throughout the race.
Becky showed up, we got her packet, etc - and our Hospitality passes for race-day) and wandered more. Right before we left - we did get to see Ryan Hall and got a few autographs. Nice guy who said he was ready for Sunday. After 3.5 hours at the expo - I was ready to leave - and we took the bus! I did end up walking another 2 miles to the hotel after lunch. Too much time on my feet hauling luggage around that day.
My brother Pat came in Friday evening, we ate and rested. Saturday - we had all day to kill - so we walked around, went to the expo again. I did buy some cold/wet weather Nike gloves (to prevent an occurance of this magnitude) and we both had our strides reviewed at the Nike area. They had a huge section of the expo, with some outside walls imprinted with all the names of this year's runners. That was kind of neat. The result of the review - mild pronation, a stability shoe would be beneficial. It's what I am in now (Asics 2140's), but the Nike Lunarglides version is 1oz less in weight and feels worthy of another test run.
Rest of the day was spent watching college football, playing ping-pong in the lobby of our hotel (Hard Rock Hotel) and walking/relaxing. Got to bed around 1030pm and had a 5:30am wake up call set.
Sunday (Race Day)
Nothing out of the ordinary as we got dressed, I ate my bagel, and walked to the start area in the dark. Took a bit to find the hospitality tent, but it sure was nice: food, drinks, aid tables set up, plenty of chairs, music, few dozen port-o-johns with no lines and our own bag drop.
Pat, Becky, and me!
Took advantage of the aid station as I applied suntan lotion and grabbed extra water for the 30min before start time. Met up with our cousin as we rested - the excitement was building so relaxing wasn't easy. Decided pretty early on that my throwaway shirt ($1.50 from Goodwill) could be kept and put in the drop bag for use at another event. Most of my throwaways hang around longer than expected. Got my stuff together: 4 GU's, handheld with water, visor, bib-belt, small ziplock with an aleve and some S!caps, and my camera. And chapstick. Soon enough, we said bye to Becky and got led to our starting corral entrance. We were in "C" and it was a mob getting into the corrals. Once we got there - there was plenty of room. So the countdown started for the 7:30 start. Our plan was to go out between an 8:45-8:55 pace as long as we could.
Heading towards the start line
I can run a pretty consistent pace and Pat left his Garmin at the hotel after charging it all night. Oops. Once we made it to the start line (only 3 minutes or so after the gun), we began to run. It was pretty crowded, but not quite elbow to elbow as it could have been. Good crowds out as we wound thru the downtown area and crossed the river 3 times in the first 3 miles. Placing carpet over the grating on the bridges was a nice touch. It takes me 5-6 miles to start feeling good, not that I felt bad at the beginning. We started off just on pace though:
Mile 1- 8:54
Mile 2- 8:44 (17:39)
Mile 3- 8:51 (26:30)
Mile 4- 8:34 (35:04)

I was keeping Pat from going too fast, it seemed he was often ahead of me by a few steps...this was good though because he knew he shouldn't go to fast - not with a 26.2 mile run. This worked well for us. We stayed in the same vicinity, chatted a bit, and ran. I honestly was not too aware of the changing neighborhoods, or which neighborhoods we would be running thru
Mile 3 or 4, spreading out across wide roads. (Pat in yellow)
The aid stations were also perfect...frequent, well prepared, well advertised, and long. Seemed a good 1/4 of a mile or more for each one with Gatorade and Water separated. Didn't often hear people thank the volunteers, but that is sadly typical. We carried our own, but after the first few, got drinks as needed and refilled when our bottles were near empty. So we headed north for miles 2-7.5 but couldn't see too much of the waterfront as I had hoped.
Mile 5- 8:47 (43:51)
Mile 6- 8:45 (52:36)
Mile 7- 8:35 (1:01:12)
Mile 8- 8:47 (1:10:00)

The course was flat as advertised. It was interesting seeing the signs on peoples back showing their hopeful pace. With the different start times for these groups - you never knew what pace they were at. At mile 8, we headed back south until Mile 13. It's not a full (or half) marathon without me needing a pit-stop, but I held off until after halfway. Old Town (Miles 10-11) had great signs and a nice shopping area - pictures didn't turn out. Photo-wise, not much struck me...buildings everywhere, constant people cheering 2-3 deep and with the temps near 65° at the start and the sun out, had 2 places where sponges were given out. More races need to do that as it was wonderful! And between the aid stations, residents would have hoses out cooling us down, tables of food (pretzels, licorice, even beer at mile 20).
Mile 9- 8:48 (1:18:48)
Mile 10- 8:53 (1:27:42)
Mile 11- 8:49 (1:36:32)
Mile 12- 8:44 (1:45:16)
Mile 13- 8:56 (1:54:13)

So we hit halfway in 1:55:08...and 8:47/mi pace - so I'd say we ran consistently so far! Thankfully, the sun was mostly behind buildings for the first half and the temps weren't too bad (low 70's). But the 2nd half had the sun directly overhead and little shade to be found.
Mile 14- 8:52 (2:03:05)
Mile 15- 8:57 (2:12:02)
Mile 16- 8:55 (2:20:58)

So right near the Mile 15 marker (part of a little west-east section) I took a pit stop by some hedges. Pat had taken the next corner and was about a minute ahead. He was relatively easy to pick out and I ran "hard" to catch him...faster than I needed to and faster than I really wanted to. Should have told him to slow down just a hair...but I caught him before Mile 16 - meaning I was doing about an 8:00/mi pace thru there. Whew...catch my breath. I wish that was the end of the excitement, but it was just about to start...
Smile for the photo! Alone at Mile 18.
Why would it start with me stopping during a marathon to have some random person take my photo? It actually started a few minutes before when Pat had to take a pit stop midway thru Mile 17. Saw a port-o-john available and hopped in. As soon as he did that, I began walking. And walked. And walked. And walked. Where was he?? 4 minutes later - still wondering. A 3:50 pace group passed me. A 3:55 pace group passed me. Was he OK? He couldn't have passed me? I walked and filled my bottles still along the left side where he stopped. After 8 minutes or so - during which I walked backwards some, had the photo to the left taken, and kept turning around looking. I finally decided that maybe he passed me somehow, so I ran ahead. I still was hesitant. I finally got desperate after passing the 30k timing mat, knowing there were people following both of us, and that was the 3rd of four times that would be sent out (10k,half and finish being the others). Desperation to me meant calling out if anyone had a cellphone.

Two or three tries and a guy nearby (running) asked what I needed...I told him my situation and he handed over his cellphone. I called my wife, who happened to be back at home and had just refreshed our computer showing our times...
My 30k time:   2:50:41
Pat's 30k time: 2:45:48


Quickly hung up, thanked the guy (who was running beside me while I called) yet again, and decided I had to catch my brother. We had been planning this for a year or so, and I already felt bad he was having to run this far "alone". So now I ran hard. At least hard for me at mile 19 of a marathon. The next 3 miles or so were a blur. I didn't quite know where I was on the course, which made figuring out how much time I had to catch Pat difficult. I missed my Mile 20 split. Times and splits were going thru my head and I was constantly looking out for him. I knew 5 minutes ahead meant if he slowed to 10's, I had some work to do to catch him, but I was going to try. My splits tell the story:
Mile 17- 12:08 (2:33:07)
Mile 18- 12:15 (2:45:22)
Mile 19- 8:32 (2:53:54)
Mile 20/21- 18:29 (3:12:23)
Mile 22- 9:21 (3:21:45)

Yep - I had an 8:32 mile at Mile 19. Very proud of that. Sure, I was a bit rested after two 12 min miles, but still. I slowed a bit after that though and had my doubts about catching him. Not knowing how his body would respond after not doing over 16 miles during this training (so not doing more than 16 miles since his last marathon in 1994), of course I would wonder. But, as my thighs were beginning to talk to me (hmmm, maybe we'll make him think we want to cramp...), I saw him. Somewhere (early?) in Mile 23. I caught him soon enough as his legs were talking a good bit and walk breaks were present for the remainder of the race. I am very familiar with that as we caught up on the last 6 miles and turned north (at mile ~23.5) towards the finish line.
He was getting mad thinking I was in front of him. Guess we should have had a plan...oops.
(35k split shows he was still 2:03 ahead of me)
together again-mile 24.5
So now it was all about moving forward, walking from one point to another (to that lamp-post) and running from one point to another (let's go to that bridge and we'll then walk in the shade). It worked. My legs felt ok, pretty tight in the thighs, but never cramped. For all those "issues" I had experienced and worried about leading up to this race: My groin/upper thigh never had any issue nor did my right foot/toe. I did feel the start of a blister on my right pinkie toe near the halfway, but that stayed quiet after that. Again, I was so caught up in things, I missed the Mile marker 24.
Mile 23/24- 21:54 (3:43:40)
Mile 25- 11:13 (3:54:53)

We obviously knew breaking 4 was out of the question (unless we could run a 4 minute mile )now the goal was to run four-0-something. Yeah - we can do that.
We ran/walked the same pace/frequency as we got closer. The last walk was at mile 26 or so (missed that split too) to the top of the bridge, then we ran the rest of the way in.
Mile 26.2- 13:00 (4:07:53)

Happy Finisher (again - after 17 years)

Thank You Chicago!
(On the plane 5.5 hrs later heading home)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Last post before Chicago Marathon. Predictions!

Runner Tracking is up:

This will text you 3 splits (10k, half, 30k) and the finish time during the race on Sunday.
I am bib 8219 and my brother is bib 8509 - we should be nearly identical.

Weather update: keeps getting warmer: expected start temp: ~60°. High temp: 75°
Not quite records temps (88°), but still warm enough to make me a bit miserable.
Windermere Marathon 2009 temps? Sunburn again too? Hoping not.

Had a wonderful speedwork session Tuesday. 6x400m @ 1:39 goal pace. Averaged 1:36. Very happy. Tomorrow's final run is an easy 3.4 mi (with 2mi at 8:23).

Plan and Prediction:
Plan: Run around 9:00min/mi as long as we can, Running with the 4hr pace group once they catch us, then holding on as long as we can!

As I will likely be limited by my brother, here is what I foresee:
Start with slowest pace group in our Corral (C): 3:50 (8:46/mi), but let them get ahead as we run closer to 9min/mi.
We'll do that (with or without the pace group) thru at least 16 miles, hopefully 18. We'll stay under 10min/mi thru 21 or 22. Finish close to 11's. Final Time:  4:09
(Just like Marine Corps 2010)

If things go better - I can see us finishing aroud 4:04.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

One more week before Chicago Marathon

So I started getting things together 3-4 days ago - I just couldn't help it, even thought he race is still 1 week away. My Gu's, bib-belt, few more little things, and socks. 3 pair as I could not decide yet which will be my race-day pair. My Balega standard ones, my newer Balega (geared more for trails), or a pair of my smart wool. After today's run - I've made my decision (but I'll still likely bring all three - just in case).
On tap for today was 10 miles at an 8:23 pace. Coldest temps so far with it being ~48° at 8:30am. No complaints from me. I still thought I was overdressed (after removing my outer shirt and gloves after 1 mile) and thought I would have been fine in a t-shirt instead of a long sleeve with my shorts...

Started out on pace, feeling average. I had a thought after my 1st mile that I should slow down in order to run a negative split. Didn't happen (the slowing-down part). Three or four miles in felt good and I cruised from then on. Halfway (5.1mi) in 43:13. I mostly ran each of the last 7 laps as fast or faster than the previous one...last lap being my fastest. Total time of 1:24:38 gave me a 41:25 2nd half and I was feeling good! (Smart wool it is!)
Looking back to just before my marathon PR in Charlotte (Dec 2009) - Same distance, 20 seconds faster this time around. I believe I am in PR shape, but with no plans to test it out - we'll never know! Maybe I'll try to fit one in March/April 2012.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Counting down until Chicago Marathon

Starting to make plans for Chicago and I'd like to go ahead and start packing, but it is still 10 days before I leave. I am however already looking at the 10 day weather outlook - I never learn.
This morning, it showed a low of 57 and a high of 79. This evening - it is showing a high of 67 and a low of 52. Why do I bother?

Lining up some family visits while we're there (my dad's side of the family is from there), wondering about dinners and where to catch some college football Saturday afternoon.

And, oh yeah - the race.
Been thinking more about running with my brother (and with people in general). I ran a 5k completely with someone for their 1st one and that was good. That was 9 years ago and ~6 minutes slower than my previous 5k's. I have run with my brother two other times - the Xterra 10k Scramble back in 2004 (was pretty comfortable the whole time) and the 2009 McDonald's Richmond Half Marathon in which we were well matched.
I know I am better prepared for longer distances right now than he is (his long runs have been minimal), and I have no idea how he'll handle the extra distance, but there is no telling how the race will go for us. Either way - I'll run with him as much as I can - even if it comes to walking us in.
I'm thinking we'll start at a 9:00-9:15/mi pace and see how long we can hang on. First of all - I am curious how starting that slow will effect my later miles.
I usually start off comfortable, but faster than I should, hang on as long as I can, and then slowing by a minute per mile from ~15 to mile 21 or so on. Let's see if that is true!

Myrtle Beach: Mile 15 - 9:06; Mile 21 - 10:23
Marine Corps: Mile 14 - 8:49; Mile 19 - 9:41
Charlotte: Mile 19 - 8:59; Mile 22 - 9:50
Windermere (Spokane): Mile 15 - 8:51; Mile 20 - 9:40
NYC: Mile 14 - 9:24; Mile 21 - 10:19

I'd love to run a near-even split one day. Doubt this will be the event for that.

Running since the Asheville Half has been so-so. Heavy legs one day, speedwork in a complete downpour (and still didn't have to think too hard choosing that over the treadmill) and a mediocre 13 miler on the weekend. At least my speedwork this morning was decent...hit my times (5x1000m at 4:16), but was only just a hair faster than the same workout 11 weeks ago.

Still wanting to pack...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Asheville Half Marathon Race Report

Race Website           Results


So my 2nd half-marathon in 6 days ( see my previous post) was in Asheville, NC. I ran this back in 2008 in 1:58:35 and although I felt I was in good shape this time around, I was only expecting around 1:50-1:55. I would have been happy with that as I had not really been running hills worth mentioning. At all!
Had my packet mailed to me and it was waiting for me on Thursday after 9.5hrs driving down from DC. Nice shirt (interesting color this year!) and a bib (#846).

Race day: drove the 1hr 20min from Greenville with no issues and found street parking (fed the meter for 2 hrs and hoped I'd be ok. I was.). Light rain was expected and it was a cool morning...50°. I was liking it.
GTC l/s tech shirt (only wore long sleeves for the GTC support), race-ready shorts, hat, 2 Gu's (vanilla) and my trusty Ironman water bottle. Asics 2150's (with very little mileage).

Did a little warmup and found a 1:50 pace group (8:23/mi) in the middle of the crowd just before the start. After my wonderful pacer in Maryland, I had high expectations here.

Race start:

Was pretty crowded (28 secs to pass the starting mat) thru the 1st few turns, but I stayed with my pacer and began to chat with him. I recognized the name and we talked about some other races and then the course. I heard it had changed in 2009, so I was unfamiliar with what was different except the out-and-back rose garden area was no longer a part of it. I soon heard "Cherokee", and will not soon forget it. Having recently watched "Band of Brothers" for the 2nd time, "Currahee" came to mind.
So we're running along and the pace feels fast to me, but the pacer says we're on track. I miss the Mile 1 sign. I miss the mile 2 sign. Still feels fast. Pacer is questioned on it yet again, but says we're right on track. We pass a Mile 2 marker, but the time is way off and I expect it is from the 5k? This is all hills...up and down. And up. This is where we hit Cherokee. It's a climb. Steep. I let the pacer go (still too fast?) but do well on the way up. I am trying to work on my descents, let me body go with the momentum and it seems to get better as the run progresses. Miss the Mile 3 marker. Huh? Do they have Any at all??
I start running near a girl named Trisha (who had some fans along the way) and we chatted on and off - that seemed to help us both. I pulled ahead soon though. We went thru the 4mile mark (I saw the marker!) in 30:11. Was that fast? YES! 1:20 faster than last weekend and that was mostly downhills. The 8:23 pacer was nowhere to be seen ahead of us and I was at a 7:32 pace? Are you kidding me? I guess I was too preoccupied with my pace to notice I was running by/near the Grove Park Inn.

So I backed off a little as we made turn after turn (45 turns in this race). I had remembered some of the course so far, but I distinctly remembered the park by the Asheville Country Club. It's a nice section between Miles 5 and 6. Somewhere along here - I felt a little twinge in my right leg/groin. Just enough to notice it.
mi.4: 30:11
mi 5: 9:09 (39:21)
mi 6: 7:57 (47:18)

At mile 7 - we turned onto the Beaver Lake trail and it was nice to get off the pavement, if only for a bit. I could tell I slowed thru here, but I was ok with that. I stayed pretty steady the next few miles and was still only 1 minute off last week's race thru 9miles, but I felt that I could sustain this pace for a few more miles.
mi 7: 8:40 (55:59)
mi 8: 8:26 (1:04:24)
mi 9: 8:26 (1:12:51)

Trisha caught back up to me thru here and we stayed close to the end. It was a big help and definitely helped pull me along. And looking at the elevation chart above - this is where you needed all the help you could get! A hill that kept going and going...but we kept at it and hit the next mile marker. The rain started coming down a little more heavily thru here.
mi 10: 10:29 (1:23:20).

Whew! Now the downhill. As I said I thought I was getting better, and the next mile I think showed my improvement. Going so fast I guess I missed the fact that we were right beside UNC-Asheville.
mi 11: 7:05 (1:30:26)

Then, a pretty constant uphill on Broadway/Lexington all the way to mile 13 and the finish. That last half mile is where the wheels fell off before...wasn't going to let that happen this time. I will say now that the volunteers, water stops and people cheering outside their houses & on the side of the road were numerous and wonderful. 12 aid stations - that's how you do it!!
mi 12: 8:27 (1:38:53)

Kept it steady, even on the last uphill in downtown.
Don't know this runner, but it "almost" captures the incline

There are a few more turns after this hill and then a slight downhill thru a crowded "chute" of people cheering.
mi 13.1: 9:34 (1:48:28)

Finished 284/1259 (right about the exact same finishing percentage as the Parks Half)

I was obviously very happy with my time. For a day or so - I thought I had actually "beat" last weeks time by 30secs, instead of being 30secs slower. Either way - 10 minutes faster than 2008 and faster than I was expecting.
The rain stayed constant as I got some water and looked for food. Not a huge selection, but I grabbed a banana and pretzels and walked a bit. Grabbed my camera from my car and cheered on runners over the last quarter mile.
Overall: good course (if you don't mind hills!), great volunteers, decent shirt/finishers medal, poor pacer (mine at least - he finished more than 4 minutes ahead of his expected pace)
As a cool-down and to get in more miles, I decided to stop at Paris Mountain State Park on the way home (after 2 hrs with my aunt & uncle). I did my typical 6mi loop on the upper trails. Ran it strong and finished in 57 of my fastest times for that route. :-)
Looking forward to more runs out there in November!

Monday, September 19, 2011

6th Parks Half Marathon Race Report

It only took a few minutes of looking at the website ( to see this was a good race to enter. Put on by the Montgomery County (Maryland) Road Runners club, it goes from Rockville to downtown Bethesda - which just happens to be less than two miles from my in-laws house where we were staying.
2+ miles of road, followed by ~9 miles of the Rock Creek Hiker/Biker Trail and 2 miles of the Capital Crescent/Georgetown Branch Trail. The point-to-point course winds thru numerous parks and finishes thru the Air Rights tunnel into a festival in the middle of downtown Bethesda. Throw in many pacing groups and a full post-race party and we've got a great event!
Short packet pickup note: Said there was no race-day pickup, but that was not the case. I had gotten mine the day before, which worked out well as I found my the newest model of my trail shoes (Asics 2160T) for a decent price.
Race day:
Got dropped off at 6:30am for the 7:00am start and checked my bag, drank some water and warmed up a bit. The 2,000+ runners were spread out and I found my pacing group - 1:45. Wasn't quite feeling up for a PR, but thought I'd give it a try on this net-downhill course. Couple of vanilla Gu's in my pockets, sleeveless Brooks shirt (~69° and 90% humidity), my Ironman handheld water bottle, and I was ready. They started in well spaced, small, divided waves every 2 minutes and ours was the 3rd wave to start. (This being 9/11 made the pre-race playing of our national anthem a little more reflective than usual). It was new (and kind of nice) to start at the very front and have somewhat of an open road ahead of us!
3rd Wave Start: I'm in the white shirt/hat 2 ppl behind the pacer (#40)
Pacer Ken E. was the absolute ideal pacer. Great splits, constant chatter, loud, constantly joking - he made you push a bit harder just to hear what he was going to say next. Our "group" of 5-6 stayed with him quite a while before breaking up.
The Course:

I feel the "net-downhill" is deceiving. The first 2 road miles didn't feel particularly as "downhill" as the 182' drop looks, even though our pace was a bit quick. We turned onto the paved trail which at times had some mud/water on it from the recent heavy rains from Tropical Storm (Hurricane) Lee. Miles 4-6 were rolling hills and included the "Silencer" hill around mile 4 - it was tough, but short, and I was still doing fine. I did wonder how long I was going to be able to stay with him. I was enjoying the trail and the group.
1: 7:42
2: 7:51 (15:33)
3: 8:03 (23:37)
4: 7:53 (31:30)
5: 7:59 (39:29)
6: 8:03 (47:32)

Still at or near my PR pace thru 6. Three very flat miles along the trail thru more parks (Dewey Park, Ken-Gar Palisades Park, supposedly named for Garth Brooks and "famous" runner Ken Early) and I was at my limit...
7: 8:04 (55:37)
8: 7:56 (1:03:34)
9: 8:09 (1:11:43)

Even though the next mile was still pretty even, I slowed and needed a walk break. The humidity/temps got to me as they typically do and my legs got heavy. Mile 10 began my foot (right toe) pain that I've been experiencing lately. I watched the remaining 1-2 runners go ahead with Ken as I made the best of it. I was 30secs under my half-marathon PR from Spinx in Oct 2009 thru 9 miles and I knew that was out the window. I was excited to have been able to keep the pace I did for that long. Miles 11, 12 and 13 were all up...
~Mile 12: Capital Crescent/Georgetown Branch Trail
mostly gradual with one big hill at Mile 11 taking us off one trail and onto another. (Later I would see a resident spraying down runners with his garden hose - where was he when I went by?!)
Mile 10: 8:47 (1:20:31)
Mile 11-12: 17:38 (1:38:09)
Mile 13: 9:04 (1:47:13)

Just before Mile 13, there was a group of boy and girl scouts passing out small American Flags (another 9/11 tribute) and we hit the Air Rights tunnel. Coming out of there was a good crowd, announcer and an easy final kick to the finish line. Finish time: 1:47:52
Finish Line
Got my finisher's stocking hat, bottle of water and checked out the festival tent. Watermelon, muffins, cookies, brownies, pasta, bananas, many options! What a treat.
Misc stats:
333' elevation Gain, 440' elevation Drop
458 out of 2320 overall; 60 out of 209 age group (40-44)
Garmin data (obviously not mine)


Finish Line Festival

Post race: Took a leisurely jog/walk to the house, but instead of the short route - doubled back on the course 2.5 miles and got back on the Rock Creek trail into Rock Creek Park. I know it may be disheartening for some runners to see a finisher coming back toward them, but I cheered every runner on (at least those without headphones!). The ~6 miles home included 2 on (real, unpaved) trails, and the last road mile was all uphill. Felt surprisingly good that afternoon and even the following day!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Catching up

Three weeks until Chicago. Since Sept 1st - My weekday long run of 15+ miles went well. Even pace, last mile was fastest. My 2nd toe hurt on the last lap - not sure what to do about it. Looks like that week's track work may have been my last SC training run of the season with temps in the 70's - Thank You!! Couldn't quite hit my times for that run, but it was still good to attempt it. The next run (tempo) was down to 62° and was much better. 6mi at 7:55 pace.
Then came a trip to DC visiting family and friends. Being only 1 mile away from the trails at Rock Creek Park is always a good thing and I went out for a 6 mile jaunt early the next morning after arriving. even with some residual wetness from the Lee-rains, and high humidity - it was very enjoyable. I always say this after time off the trails - but I do miss them. After Chicago - I'll be there much more often.
So that Monday - I heard from my mother-in-law about a race up in Maryland on 9/11 (Sunday). Even though it was just 6 days before my Asheville Half Marathon, I looked it up. Parks Half Marathon put on by the Montgomery County Road Runners. A point to point course from Rockville to downtown Bethesda, mostly run on a paved trail called the Capital Crescent Trail. Sounded very nice, and reasonably priced for just a week before the race, so I signed up (see next post for Race Recap).
I obviously was not going into this with the freshest of legs, and although it was technically net-downhill, it was rolling, with a steep section around Mile 4 and the last 3 miles with a constant, slight uphill. I had initial thoughts on setting a PR (1:45:35), but wasn't quite sure I was ready for that.
So - did it happen? Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Skipping the long slow weekend run...kind 10k-a-day!

Yep - Chicago is coming up on 5 weeks away and I am skipping my long run this weekend. Why? Because I am doing it on Friday morning (tomorrow) instead. I'm heading to Atlanta Saturday morning, returning Sunday evening visiting with my sister (lives there) and my wife's sister (there from Colorado) - and running will not happen.
So my alarm is set for 3:30am and this will be the longest weekday run before work. I've done 11 a few times, including yesterday and last week. I'm not looking forward to getting up, but with a pace 5-10 secs per mile slower than my 11 miler, it doesn't seem that hard on paper (of course tomorrow may turn out to be never know).
My work is doing a "step" thing again, where they give you a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day (10k-a-day). I've worn it this week to test it out. (We did this last year, starting just before I ran Chattooga. Was that really only a year ago?!?). The 11 miler was about 15000 steps, but using their calculations based on the type of exercising you're doing - it would equate to around 27000.  My run tomorrow will get me started on the right foot with about 40000. Too bad 25000 is the max you can "earn" in a day - I think it is biased against marathoners.
One more long run (20mi) while I'm in DC the following weekend, the Asheville Half-Marathon after that - then 2 easy weekends until it's time to go race!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Going Long...again and again

I had to take a few days off after my last post - the start of a cold before a 3-day trip to Pennsylvania. Still ran speedwork up there, but my tempo run never happened. Last weekend's run was not the best either. Started struggling early, but still ran 17 of my scheduled 20. Oh well - it happens. You never know how thew run is going to be...just have to go out and hope it's going to be a good day!
Got my running in last week. I am having a little foot issue that crept up the last few days...almost like a bone-bruise just under the base of my 2nd toe, right foot. Just an infrequent annoyance right now. while I'm nitpicking about pains - my left knee just below the kneecap has been a little tender too the last few weeks. Also just an annoyance at times.
Got an invite for a run this weekend...
This ~20 mile trail run at Camp Croft was to celebrate the birthday of a Pirate (AKA Charles, AKA Raff, etc). After of few days of thinking about it - I decided the group already going made this one not to miss...Psyche, Jason, Seth (Croft Half RD), Joe, Joy, Terri, and of course - The Pirate!
Sadly - Seth could not make it and the rest of us started off at 8:30ish. After some initial conversation with Charles and Psyche, they dropped back to run with Terri, and the rest of us stayed together for the duration. (Never get enough time with them - such nice people!)
We never pushed too hard, steadily moving, walking much of the uphills, chatting the whole way about anything running and non-running.
Dodged some horses, had to navigate a stretch of mud that almost ate Joy's shoes, put up ribbons so the other group could follow us, stopped ~halfway to refill our water that Jason had stashed (He also provided us with goody bags - awesome!)
We ended up running 3:33 for about 19 miles and I think we all felt great afterwards. My long runs have been very good overall and I may be getting too confident. I am so looking forward to getting back on the trails after Chicago.

the uphill mud section (after the stream crossing)

Lake Johnson

Joe and Jason finishing up

Monday, August 15, 2011

2 more weeks closer...

Hmmm, guess I missed a week or two's update! The hot weather is still sticking around. I thought last year was hot, but this one is the 3rd hottest ever (from I read on the news). I think I may actually be aclimating somewhat, although I still don't like it! :-)
So another long run: 20miles. 78°. Steady pace of 9:15's. Last mile same as 1st.
Following weekend (Aug 6) was a drop down mileage week - so only 13. 8:33 pace and felt good with medium effort.

Nothing too exciting about my weekday runs: some hills, tempo runs, some speedwork (I did 12x400's just under my 1:39/400 plan, last one being 1:28. Huh? Where did That come from?!)

Then this past weekend for my 18 miler. Skipped running on Saturday as I wasn't feeling so good. Little aches (right foot, calf, and just tired). Was feeling a bit run down. Sunday morning came and I felt the beginnings of a cold...little tickle in my throat and maybe a slight fever. What to do? Run it out.
Ended up being a great run. No real pains and plenty of fluid (and 72° overcast skies) helped! 8:50 pace pretty steady the whole way and finished it up with an 8:22 last mile! Plenty left in the tank too.
So that makes 5 out of the last 6 weekends running 17-20 milers for my long run. It is making a big difference. Never had that many that close together. Am feeling very confident in my fall/winter schedule of events, and I may have just added another one: Seashore Nature Trail 50k in Dec. My brother, now that he is in pseudo-marathon shape, wants to add a 50k to his resume.

8 more weeks until Chicago...

Oh - almost forgot the big news: We got Hospitality Passes for the marathon! It's good to have family high up with the race sponsor (Bank of America)! What this means:

-Covered venue in the case of sun, rain or wind
-Accessible location with venue positioned close to Start and Finish Lines
-Private Gear Check
-Private changing areas
-Massage Therapists
-Access to restroom facilities
-Light breakfast (water, Gatorade, bananas)
-Lunch (including beverages and beer)

I'll be spoiled...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chicago Headliners....Daughter's 1st "run"

More big names coming to run the Chicago Marathon...
Ryan Hall and Hope Solo (No relation to Han or the guy that's afraid of snakes) (and other US Soccer teammates Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach maybe?)
I sure don't expect to see them during the race - not so unlike NYC in 2008. Maybe a pre-race thing somehow...

Will be interesting flying back to SC a mere 4.5 hrs after I finish...maybe I'll learn I shouldn't do that!

Been getting a little antsy having Not run a race since the end of May. I did have a wonderful moment this week though. Took my little girl (who is 2yrs 7+ months old to her first run "event": The Greenville Track Club's All-comer's Track Meet. They've been going on forever, are free to kid's under 17 and GTC members (and only $3 for non-members). After a little group job, they have a kid's (5 and under) 50m dash. It's called a dash, but many of them walk, with prodding from parents, most without tears. My little girl ran and was so happy with her ribbon.

On the way home she decided she wanted to go back the following day. Too bad we waited until the last one of the 2011 session! We'll certainly head back out in June/July next year.
She also decided she wanted to add it (and her purple wrist band) to my wall collection of finisher medals...

Happy kids and proud parents...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Surviving the Heat

It's summertime. I'm in South Carolina (~Greenville) and although I've been running down here for 11 years or so, I am still not acclimated to the heat. The temp Saturday for my long run was 78°, but the best it was that day as it reached ~94 or so. I would chose 42° if I had my preference, but I do not.
How do I cope?
Other than obviously running slower - this is what I did Saturday for my 18 miler:
1. Start at 5:30am. I knew I'd be running for 2hrs 45 minutes, so the earlier the better. I've started as early as 4:45am.
2. Hydrate. I carry a 20oz bottle of water with ice/water. I have another 20oz bottle, plus a 32oz bottle, plus a bottle of Gatorade - all in a cooler with ice packs. I drank it all - I need my fluids!
3. I did something different for this training run, something I have only tried once before - and I will do it again. I brought two bandannas and put them in the cooler. Added some ice in each and some water too. After 1 hour, I wrapped one around my neck held by a large safety pin - I learned my lesson after using a bib (ie: small) safety pin at Enoree. The first one always helps the most! The ice lasts about 3 miles or so, and I replaced it with #2 about an hour later.
Guess that's all I really did. My socks/shoes got a bit squishy after 2 hours, so a sock change would have been nice, but no blisters, so no issue. I forgot to buy more Gu, so after 1 at 45 minutes, I was without food. Forgot my Power Bars too. Ooops.
I always wear a hat/visor (even in the dark) and occasionally dump some water on my head. I've been running without a shirt, but am careful about how long I am in the sun.
Anyone have any other tips - please share!!
Next weekend's 20 isn't looking pleasant either...Low 75° Sat, High 97°


Monday, July 18, 2011

Early long slow runs

Twelve weeks until the Chicago Marathon and I have just completed my first 20 mile training run for it. Last weekend was 6 Friday and another 17 on Saturday. After a tough speedwork session Monday (5x1000), my tempo run on Wednesday gave me a scare. Coming around a corner not considered "tight" by any stretch of the imagination, and one I have run by a thousand times or so, my ankle twisted somewhat. Didn't hurt initially and assumed all was fine as I finished up. The next morning though - a couple of inches up from my ankle - a tender spot. This has happened to me before and I thought I remembered it going away pretty quickly. I skipped my planned "extra" run Friday and put off my long run from Saturday to Sunday. I was a bit worried as I started out Sunday for my 20 miler, but my leg was feeling much better and have not felt a twinge since. Whew!
My 17 last weekend was wonderful...even pace-all the way to the end, slightly under goal, and felt Great!
This weekend's 20 - planned to be 15 secs/mi slower - was also Very good. Steady pace the whole way (didn't really slow down at all!). Overcast skies helped a bit, even with 69° temps. 

This was my earliest 20-miler in training....not that I have too many to compare to (and then that I actually had a lengthy training plan for). Am still close to my Charlotte Marathon Training, in terms of mileage/distance. Just a little off of speed, but that is ok - I think I'm in good shape!
Coming up soon: 18 mile long run, followed by 20 #2.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Running away from home

It's always a little more difficult to run while away for work. I always say I'll get some rest while I'm away form home, but that never works out. Going to bed late doesn't help with a 5am wake up call to run. Since I will not run on the treadmill at the hotel - I go outside. I run around the hotel, thru the parking lot of the office park it sits in, I run thru a small neighborhood nearby, and I run thru the Parx casino parking lot - up and down empty aisles. For my speedwork session - I do laps around a particular office building. ~1.75laps make up 800m (determined by running my normal warmup pace and going from there). I am glad I don't have to go more than 6 miles on these's a challenge to find just 6 miles there.
I am back home now and another long run completed. 15.3 miles just under my scheduled pace. No complaints other than a 75° starting temp at 5:45am.
14 weeks until Chicago Marathon. I got my plane ticket today to match my brother's leaving time of Sunday 5pm. Quick turnaround (We'll finish by 11:30am), but that will get me back home to the family faster!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chicago Marathon Training - 16 weeks and counting

I am cleared of the poison ivy madness and have run a few times. The 10 day break I took was the longest since Dec 2007 (also a 10 day break). I didn't run and it felt odd - especially since I wasn't "injured", just completely miserable.
My runs since have been fine...2 longer runs of ~11 and ~14. Some speedwork and medium-lengths runs. Today started the 16 weeks leading up to Chicago.
I am using the FIRST plan again ("Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training" - look them up). 3 basic runs planned, but I am adding a 4th the day before my long run. The 3-day plan worked for me before (3:53 - 2009 Charlotte Marathon), so I'm sticking with it.
Today's first real scheduled workout was not quite completed as required...3x1600m@7:02. I'm doing the 3:40 marathon training in order to hit 3:55 or so - yes, my training is going to be hard. After my warm-up miles, hit the 1st two in 7:12 and 7:08. That was all I had and I gave up. I jogged the last one and my cool down mile in about the same pace. I call that close enough. My legs were dead. It was ~72° this morning at 5:30am...anyway, I am also still getting my legs back after my 10 day break.
Next 2 weeks will be spent in Florida (Vacation - yep, even hotter down there) and Philly (work), so back to running in a not-so-great area for running. Will still avoid the treadmill up there like the plague.

Other Chicago Marathon news:
Lance Armstrong is planning to run Chicago (3:30 is what I think I saw?), as well as 25 or so high quality runners, including the 2nd fastest marathoner ever (2ns at Boston, Moses Mosop) at 2:03:06

I do miss the long road runs have not been as pleasant, and it is not just the 70°+ temps before the sun rises. Achy arches at times that I hope subsides on my longer runs.
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Still waiting...

So this is what my legs looked like after 8 days. May not look that bad - but I was absolutely miserable. Walking up and down stairs was unbearable - clenching my fists and tensing up my whole body did little to help.  My ankles were the worst, just above where my shoe ended. Of course - the outside part of my leg had it the most, but I also ended up with the rash on the inside of my lower legs too. It is just now getting to the point where I can consider running again and I am wondering how much I will have lost after not doing Anything for 11 days. Granted, my last run was 31+ miles...we'll see soon. I am choosing to test it all out on Thursday and am hoping for the best.  Plan for next trail run (where poison ivy is known/unknown): gaiters, compression socks, running tights, some lotion/block - any or all of them. I do Not want to go thru this again!