Tuesday, April 29, 2008

guess my time

I wasn't going to do it, but Adam suggested it, so what the hell -- guess my time for Sunday.

Here are the relevant data:

1. My marathon PR is 3:24:16. This was at last year's Frederick. The course has changed and will be significantly hillier. In that race, I went for the BQ for the first 3 miles before backing off (knowing it was undoable) and ran a positive split 1:38:54 (HM PR at the time!) first half and 1:45:22 second half. The weather was windy as hell (20 mph gusting to 30 at the end), but completely overcast and temps were great (50-57). I ran Cherry Blossom in 1:09:49 that year under perfect conditions, running a perfect race and not a second slower than I could have. My mileage leading up to that race was in the 55 mpw range.

2. Current weather forecast is 56 - 61 during the race, 70% humidity, 90% cloud cover, light winds, and a chance of rain (forecast seems to get better every day -- upper 60's and high cloud cover doesn't sound bad). I ran CB in 1:08:49 this year and didn't really kill myself doing it. I also ran an 8k in 32:45 on a similarly ideal course. The 8k was pretty damn windy though. CB was pretty windy, but the course only made it a factor for maybe a mile. My mileage this year is probably in the 65mpw range. I've had some low weeks for injury but a good number of 70+ mile weeks.

3. The only "indicator" workout I've done is 7x800 in 3:09 with 2:12-2:19 rest. This wasn't at all hard. I honestly think I've improved since CB. I had done nothing faster than MP until the week before CB except the aforementioned 8k. Last year, I started speedwork maybe 6 weeks before CB and improved dramatically over that time. I feel like I might be considerably faster than the 1:08:49 would indicate. Endurance and race day conditions are really the open questions.

4. My strategy is going to be to use feel, goal, and heart rate to find a pace. I'll push for goal pace if it doesn't make me hit 173 bpm (which I know won't work) or makes me feel like it's unsustainable. I'll go faster than goal pace if my heart rate is still 169/170 and I feel good. I really think I'm going to know 4 or 5 miles in whether it's possible and it will be a binary thing. I do believe there's a fair chance I'm going to look down and see 7:20 min/mi and 169 on the garmin at the same time.

5. Injuries. I picked up a twinge of the hamstring tendon thing again on Sunday and it's lingered through today, but I always have something taper week, so I'm not worried.

6. Optimism level. I honestly think I have about a greater than 25% chance of BQing, which is good enough to give myself a chance on race day mentally.

Guesses? Adam is in with 3:15:33. Mindi, the optimist, said 3:13 and change, which I'll call 3:13:30 unless she says otherwise. I'm not offended by non-BQ guesses (in fact, I think it's good motivation). Closest time -- no "Price is Right" scoring. Tie goes to the lower time.

What do you win? Any suggestions? I have some books I have two copies of. Does statistical mechanics or partial differential equations pique your interest? Maybe there's some other crap in my house I can get rid of :-)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Let's obsess about weather

Yesterday, today, tomorrow, the day after -- isn't supposed to get above 60. 48 and raining when I ran this morning. Can you believe that? Marathon day? Oh, good old accuweather says the high is 77. Ugh. I shopped over at wunderground and they have a high of 67, so I'm buying from them. National weather service has the same basically (wunderground just republishes). 55 at 6am (start at 6:30) and 62 at 10am (hopefully, I cross before 9:45!). 67% sky cover. 62 degrees would feel damn warm after 26 miles I think. If it were a 5K, I'd say "great!" Unfortunately, it's not. Just run my race...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

week of 21 April

I went out for a 2-hour run today. Turned around at 59:30 because I didn't want to cross a big puddle and came back a little faster. Total was 1:56:45, 13.5 miles, 8:38 min/mi, 143 bpm average. I was feeling OK, thinking if the weather is like this next week that maybe I have a chance. Even 55 and humid didn't feel great. The winter makes you such a wimp. I haven't had much time to acclimate either, spending last week running in the desert (40 degrees and about 0% humidity). Accuweather predicts Saturday night to be 53 and overcast and marathon Sunday's high to be 73 with times of cloud and sun. Fortunately the race starts at 6:30am, so that might mean <60 and overcast, which I'd take (I really fear the sun as much as the temperature).

I thought about what an absolute bitch the marathon is. It's easy to look at these tables and see what you should be able to run, but you actually have to go out there and run it. You only get a couple of cracks a year and to meet your potential everything has to go your way on that day. I'm not sure I'm up to another 6 months of this, so here's hoping it happens 4 May.

I've also become concerned, some might say obsessed, with those hills from miles 16 to 23. I know the graph distorts things, but that's rolling your way up 200 feet(!) in a couple of miles. Geez. Looking back at last year's elevation profile, it's nothing close. I've got to bank at least a little time before then, I think. How much? I think that section has to be worth *minutes.* I've even entertained the idea of going out with the 3:10 pacer. I think I've settled on just running by heart rate. I really had this down to a science before I started chasing BQs. Running 169/170 bpm early will probably lead to a nice even effort race. 173s will lead to losing 9 minutes in the last 8 miles like at MCM. The trouble is going to be the middle ground. If I'm running 7:25s at 170, do I push the pace a little to bank time or hope for a herculean effort in the second half through the hills? (By the way, I hope I don't read this in a week after 8:00s push me to 170 from the get go! That has happened before.)

Enough anxiety, here's what went down this week:

Mo - 5 easy
Tu - 10.4 - 28 wup, 3 x (9t/2e), 25 cdn
We - 5 easy
Th - 5 easy
Fr - 11.5 - 19 wup, 7x800 w/400m rest, 38 cdn - 800's in 3:09, rests in 2:12-2:19
Sa - 5 easy
Su - 13.5 pretty easy - 8:38/143

Week: 55 miles, 8:30 /mi, 148 bpm

Friday, April 25, 2008

Is 3:09 a lucky number?

No, that's not my marathon time! It's just what I was locked into at the track this morning.

My alarm went off on time at 5:00am. I turned it off and then the next thing I know I'm jolting myself awake at 5:29. Oh crap. I shave, brush, my teeth, use the "facilities," and am pulling away from the curb at 5:40 -- 10 minutes behind schedule but not a bad recovery.

I took the direct route to the track to make up some time. I had plenty of time before work started, but I was worried there might be some conflict (track practice or something) if I hung around later than I did last week. So after a relatively short 19 minute warmup I started my intervals. I wasn't sure what I was going to run until I got to the track. I read about a multi-paced workout from Matt Fitzgerald's Brain Training book (it's not terrible if you ignore all the claims of originality) that was 3k at HM, 90 sec jog, 2k at 10k pace, 90 sec jog, 1k at 5k pace, 90 sec jog, and 800m at 3k pace. I thought it was pretty interesting, but I already did a tempo run this week and I figured this would give me a whole lot of VO2max time, which I felt like was the right thing to do at this stage. Also, I've done 800s before and had some history that might help me mentally if I had a good workout. Plus, Benji Durden has these in his plan and I'm not going to argue with Benji.

Other than not being able to count to 8 (I only did 7), the workout went great. The intervals (time/peak hr) were: 3:09/175, 3:09/177, 3:09/178, 3:09/179, 3:09/182, 3:08/183, 3:09/184. Pretty consistent. I actually hit the lap button early on the 3:08! I put my finger there to get ready and accidentally hit it (about 2 strides early). These weren't really hard and I feel I could have done another easily and probably 2 more with a little more difficulty. The rests were 400m in (time/min hr): 2:12/142, 2:14/144, 2:14/151, 2:15/150, 2:15/155, and 2:19/154. My heart rate recovered nicely, which is another indicator this wasn't killing me. I normally don't like to cooldown too long after intervals because I don't like the awkward feeling of running on "hardened" legs, but I felt find and went the long way home -- 4.33 miles/8:48 pace/150 bpm AHR. Again my heart rate was decently low for the cooldown considering I did intervals.

Does this mean anything? Well, I think it means I'm in sub-20 5K shape. I'm not sure what it means for the marathon though. Last fall I did 6x0.5 miles on a 10 laps per mile crushed gravel track in slower on average times (3:17/174, 3:13/179, 3:11/181, 3:09/183, 3:11/183, and 3:11/184) with similar peak heart rates, but much lower recovery heart rates (last was 146). My rests were considerably longer then though (2:36, 2:34, 2:23, 2:45, and 2:31). This overanalysis has been brought to you by the letter "A."

Continuing the obsessive compulsive trend, I'll note that Accuweather forecasts an overnight low of 50 and high of 63 and raining on marathon day. 50's and cloudy? I'll take it. Might be muggy though and running in wet shoes would suck. Still, it's better than 70's and sunshine. Of course, it's 10 days out and a magic 8 ball would do better than accuweather.

By the way, positive vibes going to Joseph for tomorrow's 5K. Remember to run 16:59 and not a second slower or faster. I must have those pictures.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Went to California (again)

After doing my 18 in the rain with 10 at marathon pace on Sunday, I was packing my bags to head out to the California desert again. Sitting on a plane for 6+ hours (laying over in Atlanta) is great right after a hard long run!

I did an easy 5 on Monday. Just an out and back along the road my hotel was on. Later in the day, I discovered a bike path that runs along a train track and decided to do my Tuesday run there. The plan was to do the Benji Durden tempo -- 28 minute wup, 3 x (9 minutes tempo/2 minutes easy), 28 minute cdn.

On Tuesday, I ran east the bike path and then turned north onto the bike path. It's generally windy as the sun rises in the desert and especially so in the spring. I looked at the garmin at saw low 8 minute pace and a low heart rate and knew the wind was at my back. At 28 minutes, I turned back south and into the wind for my first 9 minute tempo section.

I was running what I thought was tempo effort but only saw ~7:10 on the garmin and knew I ran 6:53 pace at the 10-miler, so I picked it up some. I looked to my left at the rising sun while I was running and authored this bit of doggerel:

The wind rises with the spring desert sun and I rise with it.

Pride being what it is I worked down to 6:58 pace for the interval and my heart rate hit 176 bpm -- not really that high. My heart rate recovered nicely to 145 before I started the next tempo section. Four minutes into the next section, I turned around and the wind was now at my back and I was flying. My 7 minute pace dropped to 6:43 for the interval. This interval was also a lot easier. The next one started with the wind, and was easily under my 6:50 pace with my HR only at 170. I increase the effort and got my heart rate up to 179 and pace down to 6:32(!) before turning into the wind after seven minutes. The next two minutes, I kept my HR at 179 and my average lap pace dropped to 6:40! They should run a point-to-point marathon on this bike path! The downwind legs were like doing downhill turnover work without the pounding -- very nice.

I did an easy 5 before driving to the airport. Got in late last night, so only did an easy 5 this morning. I'm planning to do a workout tomorrow -- probably 6-8 x 800 @5K w/ 400m rest. That will be my last workout except maybe 2 marathon pace miles next week. Not sure 800's are the best though. Maybe 1200's @5K? Or should I repeat last Friday w/1600's @ 10K pace? Any advice out there in blog land? I don't think it makes a big difference anyway at this point. My other thought was to do 14 @ 8:00 min/mi (MP + 30 secs).

I've begun my weather obsession. Even the little bit of heat this morning (just above 60 and high humidity) affected me. I looked at accuweather a couple days ago and the prediction was a high of 80 for marathon day. Of course, this far out, tea leaves might be more accurate, but if it's a high of 80, then I have zero chance. Who decided to run a hilly marathon in May? I guess that was me. (By the way, this hills aren't really my fault. They didn't announce the new course until a month or two ago after I'd already signed up. Last year, the course was pretty fair -- about like Marine Corps.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

week of 13 April

Saturday and Sunday made for a strange end to an otherwise positive week. I was really encourage by the mile repeats on Friday and then I ran in the mid-day heat (80 degrees) yesterday for my "easy" 5. The easy 5 was 9:05 min/mi and 154 bpm average. Ugh. Today I planned to do 8 warmup/easy, 8 at marathon effort, 2 cooldown. A thunderstorm came through though and scared the hell out of me (there weren't a lot of Mississippis between flash and boom as I'm running on an open bike path next to a highway), so I "booked" it up the steep last two miles to my house. The pace vs heart rate was pretty demoralizing although I had one nice 7:21/170 mile in there (I climbed over a hill in the middle, but it was a -50 feet net downhill). Without further ado,
  • warmup/easy 8.00 miles/9:13/~138bpm
  • 8:04/152, 7:33/166, 7:38/169, 7:25/168, 8:03/169, 7:41/168, 7:21/170, 7:45/171, 8:10/169, 8:01/170 (can you spot the hills?)
Blech. I spent a lot of the marathon "pace" time wondering if I should just run an even effort at the marathon and improve my time rather than shooting for 3:15, which seems completely out of reach.

Here's the week:
  • Mo - 5
  • Tu - 6 am; 6 pm
  • We - 5 @ 8:21/156
  • Th - 5
  • Fr - 11 w/ 4x1600m 400m jog am; 3 pm
  • Sa - 5 @ 9:05/154 -- noon, 80 degrees, blue skies
  • Su - 8 w/up, 1 at 8:04/152, 9 at 7:51/169
Week: 64.9/8:42/149

Two weeks to go. No more long runs!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Get thee to a track

The title comes (if I recall correctly) from a Chris Russell article that I can't seem to find a link to. The point of the article was about eating peas or doing speedwork to get faster. I can't remember which, so I decide to get try and get myself to a track. (By the way, I find this article of his hysterical and strangely noble. It's definitely one only a runner could sympathize with, especially the exchange with the doctor. I had this one recently: "Your muscle enzymes are high in you bloodwork. How far did you run yesterday?" "20." "Have you been taking advil?" "Like candy.")

The pain around my ankle has become less widespread and I decided to see how I felt after a warmup mile. I could hardly feel it at all, so I continued on to a track a friend told me about. It was perfect. A very nice surface and I had it all to myself. The plan was to do 4 x 1600m w/400m rest. I figured I'd do something a little slower than 10k pace. My 10k pace around 6:40 now (41:30) based on my 10-mile time. That's conveniently about 100 secs a lap. I ran the 10-miler at 6:53, so I didn't want to go that slow.

The whole thing went like this
  • 37 minute warmup -- ~8:45 pace, which is a little faster than normal for a warmup
  • 1600m repeats were 6:32/181 MaxHR, 6:35/184, 6:34/187, 6:36/186 and the 400m recoveries were 2:13/154 MinHR, 2:13/159, and 2:20/156.
  • 20 minute cooldown
  • Total was 90 minutes, 11.1 miles, 160 bpm average. Is it me or does 90 minutes seem like the perfect time for a workout run?
Well, I hit the first 200 meters at 46 seconds and thought, "Whoa, slow down, 6 min/mi is probably my best mile pace!" but it didn't feel that bad. On the second 1600m, I wondered if I could run 10 miles at this pace. Was I sandbagging? On the third 1600, I knew I wasn't. On the 4th, I was ready to be done, but could have done another. It was definitely faster than 10 mile pace, but I don't think it was faster than 10K pace. 6:35 pace is a 41:09. Could I run that now? Maybe. I'm really hoping the 10-mile race was the kickoff to some improvement. The last two times I tried some tempo runs and intervals, I improved rapidly for about 4 weeks and then flattened out and last Fall I think I regressed a few weeks before the marathon. The week before Cherry Blossom was the kickoff this go around. I hope my timing is better.

I snuck in another 30 minutes tonight during my daughter's soccer practice and discovered a new trail! I was running on a popular bike path and saw this sign, saying "Nature Trail." I scampered down the hill and there was this paved path along a nice stream with flowers and even some benches. How cool is that? The path only ran about a little more than mile, but it felt like finding hidden treasure.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I wish I hadn't read this

I was worried about the hilly second half of the marathon course after looking at the elevation profile. I reasoned though that the climbs were similar to the beginning of Marine Corps. Still, I was worried that maybe these weren't the steady climbs of MCM, but maybe it was rolling hills up and rolling hills down. Well, I found this on the marathon's message board,

I just ran the second half of the new course today and it's a killer. I would like to know their reasoning for making the second half of a marathon so gruelling. It makes New Design Way look flat... The neighborhood it takes you through is very hilly. The hills are steep and numerous. I forgot to mention that getting to this neighborhood also requires running some big, long hills (of which you have to run twice, heading out and back to the fairgrounds). I recommend printing out the turn-by-turn directions and checking out this section so you know what to expect. You'll be surprised.

Ugh. I have to admit I checked out the other area marathon on the same day (I've run it before) and registration is full. My Cherry Blossom time just has me squeaking under 3:15 by the calculators. CB is as fast as it gets. Killer hills are not part of the equation. I might have to go up there to run this weekend to see what I'm in for.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

didn't want to plod...

...but didn't want to hurt myself. I figured too many completely easy runs were bad for the soul, so I ran a little faster. About 1.3 miles in, I decide to do one loop (2.9 miles) a little faster. I didn't have a pace in mind and didn't want to hurt myself, but I felt like I just eased up to marathon effort up the last hill. Looking at my downloaded hr, I see that I did indeed hit 169 at the top of the last hill. Anyway, the mile splits for today run were 9:16/???, 8:12/146, 8:02/153, 7:48/160, and 8:25/152. Only the 8:02 and 7:48 are completely within the "fast" loop. It felt very easy and the heart rate was relatively low, so I'm happy about that. The whole thing is hilly also and the 7:48 is a net uphill.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

6 easy am; 6 easy pm

I would normally do 12 today and was hoping to do 12 with 5:00 hard/5:00 easy in the middle. Unfortunately, my body wouldn't cooperate. I decided to limit myself (again) to < 1hr runs. I ran 6 in the morning and 6 at night -- both easy. The "ankle" seems to be whatever muscle/tendon you stretch when you pull up on the pinky toe-side of your foot. Fortunately it isn't my achilles, but you use whatever those muscles are to either side to stabilize and also put some load on them with each step. I *think* I'll be all right.

I'm bummed I can't get a good workout in, but I'm happy to be running at all. I only have a little more than 2.5 weeks until the marathon. I was hoping for some final sharpening to get me over the hump, but I'm not sure that will happen.

Monday, April 14, 2008

5 easy - ice on my ankle

I failed to mention that I tweaked some tendon/calf muscle/who the hell knows what on Sunday. It's behind my "inside ankle." I'd say it was peroneal tendonitis if it were on the outside, but it's not, so it isn't. I did it at about mile 10 yesterday and instead of being smart and thoroughly walking it off yesterday, I took a couple of steps and pressed on. The pain dulled and I thought I was OK.

I felt it with the first step this morning but decided to give it a mile. It "dulled" again and I didn't have a problem finishing the run. Hopefully this is one of those things. I have to retake my cholesterol test on Thursday and have been told not to run for 3 days before (I laughed out loud) because I flunked the muscle enzyme portion. I'm taking this to mean 5 miles on We and Th and my normal 12 w/ something fast on Tuesday. With this injury I'd love to shift my workouts to We/Fr, but then I'd flunk again and the doc will be pissed. Instead I'll attempt my 12 tomorrow. I'll leave out the hard stuff if I don't feel up to it. Doctors...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

week of 7 April

I did my standard "20 mile" run plus a little tacked on to get to 2h58m. (I was doing an out and back to get to 3 hours, but turned early when I decided this exercise was silly.) I thought about driving to Frederick for the group run, but getting up at 5am to drive up lost its luster last night and I decide not to.

It turned out to be a great day to run around the lake. The temperature was very nice -- a steady 55 degrees for the whole run. Spring officially arrived for runners as the water fountains are back on. Spring arrived for the little kids as the miniature train is running again. There were lots of cute kids out. I smiled at one two-year-old who responded, "Hi girl!"

I planned to do this at "Benji pace." He gives long run paces based on 10K times. My 8k is worth about a 41:30, which put me between 8:40 and 8:52 on his chart. According to SportTracks, my pace was 8:45 and avg hr 150. I have a strange history of running, without trying, my last 20-miler at ~149 bpm average. It gives a nice point of comparison. Here are the last 3 pre-marathon 20-milers (3 weeks before the race, all on the same route).
  • 3:05:23/148 (9:16 pace) -- at Frederick 07, ran 3:24:16 (7:47 pace)
  • 2:54:19/149 (8:43 pace), 70 degrees, 90% humidity -- at MCM 07, ran 3:27:34 (7:55 pace), but 3:15 pace through 18 miles.
  • 2:53:17/150 (8:40 pace), 55 degrees -- ????
Given the weather difference, I think the long run before MCM was obviously much, much better. One alibi I have for today, however, is that I ran 8.7 yesterday afternoon and 14 with 5 at MP on Friday. I only ran two easy 45 minute runs during the two days before the fall 20-miler.

I'm going to declare the above analysis my official kickoff to taper madness.

The week that was

  • Mo - 5.0/9:02/140
  • Tu - 5.0/9:02/136
  • We - 12.0/8:20/??? - forgot Garmin, fartlek with sections of 0.9, 1.4, 0.4 and 1.0 miles at between 10k and 10-mile pace
  • Th - 5.0/9:02/138
  • Fr - 14.0/8:22/146 w/ last 5 at MP
  • Sa - 8.7/9:43/140 -- 3:30 pm, 74 degrees, gallowalked 10 on/1 off
  • Su - 20.4/8:45/150
Total -- 70.03/8:47/140 (I swear I didn't jog the extra minutes today to get over 70, but I can't say I'm not happy I did.)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

74 degrees

I waited until the afternoon to run because I'm planning to do the same 8 pm; 20 am "double" I did a couple of weeks ago. I gallowalked the 8 miles this afternoon but it was still a little more than I bargained for since it was 74 degrees and pretty humid, too (dp of 56). It was 68 at 6am. Anything like that on 4 May and I'm screwed. It really makes me wonder if I just would have been better running a mid-March marathon. I certainly haven't improved enough to make up for the likely difference in weather. At least they moved the start up to 6:30 this year. I looked at 4 May temp at 9:45 for the last few years: 61, 73, 52, 52, 54. I'll take one of those 52s. Please, no 73!

By the way, Michael Wardian won the Mad City 100k today in 6:56:57 which is 6:46 per mile. I'm happy to say I think I could run 1 of those 10k loops at that pace. 10 would be a little tough though.

Joseph ran a PR 10K today.

I've been hitting refresh on the Chippewa50k but no results. We need to know about our man Adam!

Friday, April 11, 2008

14 miler fitness test

I did 14 miles with the last 5 at marathon effort today. I've done this 4 times.

.............7 Feb....15 Feb...6 Mar....11 Apr
Mile 10.... 7:49/150 7:31/160 7:28/166 7:32/158
Mile 11.... 7:41/160 7:41/164 7:38/169 7:31/163
Mile 12.... 7:37/157 7:27/167 7:21/168 7:23/165
Mile 13.... 7:30/169 7:46/170 7:52/171 7:39/169
Mile 14.... 7:23/167 7:24/171 7:45/172 7:46/169
Miles 10-14 7:38/161 7:34/166 7:36/168 7:34/165
Miles 1-14. 8:40/145 8:27/149 8:19/153 8:22/149

(I threw out mile 1 in calculating avg hr for miles 1-14 since it's screwy in the first mile before I break a sweat.)

What does this say? I'm not sure. 7 Feb blows away the others to the extent that I wonder if my HRM was working (or maybe I was on EPO). Today was much better than 6 March and better than 15 Feb as well. I ran this more like I would the first 5 miles of a marathon. This was a sustainable pace. I can't get hit 170 that early like in the previous runs or I'd end in a death march.

The overall result is somewhat discouraging because I need my Garmin pace to be ~7:22 to run 7:27 and I only averaged 7:34. My route is quite hilly though. I'll shoot the race director if Frederick is that hilly. I'd show you the Garmin data but GPS altitude absolutely sucks. (My T6 had an awesome baro altimeter.) Besides the hopefully better terrain, I think I still have some room for improvement with my little bit of sharpening planned. Still if the weather is the least bit warm then I'm screwed. You have to love the marathon.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

5 easy

In this letsrun thread, malmo mentions the "magneto loop" -- a route you can run in your sleep and probably have. Mine has always been the 2.93-mile loop in my neighborhood. I've become comfortable with a route that has me run it one and a "half" times for 5.0 miles. I ran it Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday (today) this week. My times: 45:08, 45:09, and 45:07. I never planned on a particular pace and only glanced at the Garmin occasionally. Now that's magneto. (Heart rate comparison from the last two above. My HRM is always messed up the first mile before I sweat and I couldn't put the third run on there because Garmin training center only lets you compare two at a time.)

Tomorrow's kind of a big run I think. I'm doing 14 with the last 5 at marathon pace. I've done this a few times before I'm curious to see how my pace/heart rate will compare.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

only 30 miles in 5 days

I decided to take an extra easy day after the race. Normally, I'd do 12 on Tuesday, but I just did another 5 and plan to do 12 on Wed and 14 on Fri (sliding by a day). With the two easy days before the race and the two easy days after, I've only done 30 miles over 5 days. I feel like a complete slug, but I think it was probably a wise decision.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow. I'm thinking of doing something like a set of 5 hard/5 easy in the middle or some kind of fartlek. I'm still a little concerned about my hamstring tendon/knee thing though, so I'll play it by ear.

They're having a supported 20-mile run on part of the marathon course on Sunday, so I'm planning on doing that. I hope to do the 20 a little faster than I have my other long runs -- maybe something like 8:45 pace. That would be easier with some company.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Cherry Blossom 10 miler -- Fenty is one fast mayor

The weather forecast didn't look to good, calling for showers and 14 mph winds at the start, but it wound up being nearly ideal. The rain stopped right before the gun, leaving us with temperatures in the upper 40's and overcast. According to wunderground, the winds were from the north and10 mph at the start and 13 from NNE at the finish. There was only a few sections where I felt the wind was a factor and I thought things were nearly ideal. Basically conditions were probably a hair better than the 8k and on a very similar course. McMillan says that 8k in 32:45 equals 1:09:10 (6:55 per mile) and age-grading says 1:07:56 (6:48 per mile). I planned to hit the first mile in 6:50 and see how it felt.

I got to start in the first wave this year which was kind of a thrill. I was in the "near seeded" section C of the first wave. (Like my 69:49 I submitted is anywhere "near" the 54 you have to run to be seeded in my age group.) I know the first corral was for times less than 1:12 last year, so I lined up around the back, which might have been a mistake. The new course starts at the base of the Washington monument and makes it's way around the tidal basin to Hains Point on some pretty narrow streets. I was worried about getting sucked out fast by all the fast first wave people, but the opposite happened. I was boxed in and it was very frustrating. I was pretty calm, but I did waste some energy trying to get around people and hit the first mile mark at 7:06.

The second mile opened up some, but I still had to pass people before I found an opening and settled into a rhythm. Last year I think it was less crowded at this point because I had outrun my corral and ran in between waves. The second mile felt kind of easy but my heart rate was at 180 and my split was 6:45. I decided to settle in at the 180 heart rate for the next mile and see how I did and see how hard it was. Last year I averaged 180, but I've averaged as high as 184 in a 10 miler. The big factor is how well rested I am. If I'm tired, my heart rate is lower for a given level of effort. The third mile was 6:47/180 avg. After that I just kind of settled in and ran. Sort of took a nap here I guess. 4th was 6:55/181. 5th was 6:57/183.

Before mile 6 I looked for Fenty at the short out and back (see map above) and didn't see him. Not good, but maybe I just missed him. 6th mile was 6:52/182. At the 10K mat I looked at my watch and I set a new 10K PR at 42:56 (for some reason I haven't run an actual 10K in over 2 years). Before mile 7 there's a longer out and back stretch and I make sure I found Fenty. Holy cow, is he that far ahead! I looked at my watch and timed how long until I got to the turnaround -- 1:20. He was ~2:40 ahead of me. No chance I'll catch him. 7th mile was 6:54/183. At the turnaround, I thought I'd try and pick it up some. 6:50/184 for the 8th. 6:51/182 9th.

The last mile was pretty tough. You go back up a hill you went down in the first half mile. I knew I was around 1:09 pace and couldn't make out the total time because the readout is obscured after you press the lap button. I though it was something like 1:02:10 which meant I would have to run under 6:50 to break 1:09. (It was actually 1:02:01.) I picked it up as best I could. I found if I thought "light and quick" I suddenly got out of grinding and made up some ground. One thing I should say is that this is a world class race. All the mile markers were perfect and they had something I very much appreciated at this point -- an "800 meters" sign. I glanced at my watch and knew I had something like 3:30 (> 7 min pace) for the last 800, but still this was uphill, so I had better hustle. At 400 meters, I had 1:54 left which is over 7:30 pace, so I knew I could make it. I ran it in pretty well and saw the clock. It just ticked over 1:09 and looked so far away. I'm still confused about this, but I remember seeing 0:23 when I crossed the start so I though I needed to get in under 1:09:23. I sprinted to get it at ~1:09:20. I wondered if I made it or not (somehow my gun is always a couple of seconds slower than what I see on the clock), but I looked at my watch and saw 1:08:49? Strange. My watch has always agreed with chip time within a few seconds, so hopefully that was the case today. [Results are up and my time was indeed 1:08:49 (6:53). 10k split was 42:55 (6:55). Fenty ran 1:05:32!]

Full splitsahol for Adam: 7:06/160, 6:44/178, 6:52/180, 6:55/181, 6:57/183, 6:52/182, 6:52/183, 6:50/184, 6:51/182, 6:48/184.

By the way, the above should give you an idea of my attitude during the race. I just killed myself to run 69:49 last year, but I guess I just didn't feel like it today. No doubt it was very hard the last mile, but I had that hurt that badly at about mile 8 or even earlier last year. I didn't really have a big milestone to break and Fenty was too far ahead, so I couldn't quite commit to the suffering necessary to run the few seconds per mile faster that I think I could have.

What does this mean for the marathon? Most of the calculators say I can do it, but I think I'm on the hairy edge of 3:15 and maybe on the wrong side after adjusting for the course. One thing that encourages me though is that I've run these times almost exclusively off base-type training. The only running I've done at tempo or harder so far is: today, last Thursday, hills on March 4th, and the 8k on March 9th. That's it. Last spring I was doing tempo intervals on Thursday and 5k-pace intervals on Tuesday for about four weeks before Cherry Blossom. I think I'm going to do something like that (maybe not that intense though) between now and the race to sharpen. What do you guys think about about sharpening? The other sharpening I need to do is losing a couple of pounds. I think I'm about two pound heavier than I was at last spring's race.

I'm also considering finding a certified, semi-flat 5k to try and break 20 minutes. The best I've found so far though is 11 days before the marathon (and it's not as flat as I'd like). Good idea or no?

Saturday, April 05, 2008

2008 Frederick Marathon elevation profile

I'm posting this because someone might find it useful. The marathon web site points you here, to mapmyrun, to see the elevation. From mapmyrun you can export the course in csv format, which is what I did. I imported it into openoffice calc (like excel) and produced the chart above.

It looks like 16 to 23 are going to be fun-filled. Oh boy!

5 miles jinxed myself

The plan was to do another easy 5 miles this morning. About a half a mile in, I got a pretty significant twinge from the knee/hamstring tendon thing after having nothing all week. I walked about thirty seconds and it didn't come back, so I was able to finish the run. I could feel it just a little bit at the end. I think I'm OK. I guess I shouldn't have declared "healed" yesterday.

I can't decide what shoes to wear tomorrow. I got a nice new pair of wave precision I wore this morning. It's between the Frees (sore quads) and the precisions (sore hamstrings). I've never pulled a quad, so I think I might go with the Frees.

Friday, April 04, 2008


I'm declaring myself healed. All I have now are a couple of big toe blisters/hot spots that aren't worth mentioning (and yet I did!).

Yesterday, I couldn't quite decide to do with my normal Thursday run. I had been doing 14 miles with the last 5 at marathon pace in late January and through February. March was supposed to be the "month of hills" but injury and some good judgment put the kabash on that. Now what to do? I'm four and a half weeks from the marathon. I think I peaked too early by switching over to the Benji Durden plan too soon (800m intervals on Tues and tempo intervals on Th) during the last marathon training cycle. Here I am though staring the marathon in the whites of its eyes. Should I do some faster stuff? Well, despite there being nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos, I compromised.

The route was out from my house, twice around the lake (3.8 miles a lap), and back for a total of 12.2 miles. I planned to do some marathon pace running on the first lap and some tempo (10 mile race pace) intervals on the second lap. I ran this in my wave precision because my quads are just beat up and I think the Free's are part of the reason. (It's probably good for me, but I don't want it to disrup

On the first lap I did 3 miles at 7:37, 7:27, and 7:27 pace according to the Garmin. I'm really not sure on the gps accuracy. There was a lot of uphill on the first mile, but even so, it felt too hard. The last also felt tougher than marathon pace. I'm not sure if it's because I'm not in shape or a distance accuracy problem. The surface also has a lot of loose gravel, so it's not exactly a mondo track.

On the second lap, I did 2x1 miles + 0.65 miles (how it fit in the terrain). I was shooting for 6:50 but the times went 7:15, 2:02 rest, 7:29, 3:19 "rest" (actually overran last interval by 30 secs first), and 7:08 (0.65 miles). The gps seemed wonky. The 7:29 was quite hard although it looks OK on the map. I just don't think I'm in *that* bad a shape. The 7:08 was on a gentle downhill. It felt very easy. I got down to 6:52 before I daydreamed and slowed down. This was all hard enough to call it tempo effort even though the time sucked. Of this is the day I forgot to strap on the HRM belt.

This morning was just a very easy 5 miles. I noticed again a phenomenon I've seen often. My heart rate is "suppressed" the day after a tempo run. The first mile was screwed up but the last 4 were between 132 and 136 bpm and averaged a little better than 9:00 min/mi.

Perhaps it's laziness, but I've cut my usual 6.2 mile run (55 minutes) down to 5.0 miles (45 minutes). I'm thinking I should make my hard days a little harder and my easy days a little easier as the marathon approached.

I'm really not sure what to expect on Sunday. I don't think the times above are indicative though. The weather looks great. 47 degrees and 8 mph winds. I guess we could lose a few mph, but I'll be drafting off Fenty anyway :-)

Here are my goals/expectations.
  • upset if I don't PR
  • expect to break 1:09
  • ecstatic if I break 1:09 and beat Fenty
  • super ecstatic if I get my finish photo with Bill Rodgers (not likely: he ran 1:07:16 last year)