27 April 2008

26.2 - I can't wait!

I just finished the best week of training of my short running career! I am pysched. Bring on the 26.2 baby.

I ran 10 miles at anticipated marathon pace one morning just at daybreak. The nearly full moon was hanging just above the mountains, the birds were singing, I ran well, it was beautiful. Another morning I went out with a couple guys from work and we ran 6x1600. We've never run that many, it was work no doubt, but I wasn't wrecked afterwards. The old "good tired". And even with the hills on #s 2, 3, and 4 I still managed to average 8:06/mile for the 6. I ran my fastest 1600 ever at 7:30 as well.

A few weeks ago I ran 20 miles. I wouldn't classify what happened as hitting the wall, but I wasn't happy with my energy level and ability to hold pace the last 4 miles. I was questioning whether my anticipated pace was realistic. I did suspect that maybe I had not eaten enough the day before that run though. So this week I put that to the test. On Saturday I ate not only carbohydrate heavy, but also ate more than I normally would. I ate lunch then ate an extra sandwich, I ate dinner then had an extra burger and extra half potato, and also snacked more than normal. The result, near perfection. I ran 22 miles! and held close to my anticipated pace the whole way. And miles 16-22 were the strongest six I ran. And all things considered, I felt awesome afterwards. I am very confident I have figured out the trick to eating right the day(s) before, and it is to eat and eat (and maybe eat more). Fig Newtons and Gatorade as long run fuel are also still treating me well. They say that training for a marathon is no time to lose weight. While I've dropped 15+ during this training, I understand what that saying means now - you can't skimp on food before or during a run of that magnitude. Which makes perfect sense if you think of it as a 3100 calorie run - that's more than I eat in a typical day.

It's been awhile since I threw in a picture, here's one of me glowing after my 22 miler.

Week 6: 40.3 miles, 22 mile long run

Now playing: The Reverend Horton Heat - Big Red Rocket Of Love
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20 April 2008

A cutback week, eager to get to it

42 days until the big race. Time flies when you're running your butt off. Well, all things are relative. I'm not putting in the 60 mile weeks many do, much less the 100-120 the elites do. But I am running a lot. After a 20 miler followed by racing a half I planned a cutback week this week. Earlier this week I thought it might be beyond a cutback week. After not feeling too bad on Monday I felt pretty sore on Tuesday, especially my achilles/lower calves. I think it was a result of tightness everywhere else in my legs as I haven't had achilles pain before. Some biking Tue and some ibuprofen seemed to take care of things though as I had a good recovery run on Wednesday and then put in my normal speedwork (5x1600, total of 7 miles) on Thursday. I topped it off with only 10 miles for my long run today though I held anticipated marathon pace for the entire run. I'm feeling good and ready for 3 hard weeks including a 22 and another 20 before I hit the taper.

On the weight loss/improved body front I went shopping for some new shorts this weekend as all mine are falling off me. I bought a couple pair of size 32 shorts. Yeah I said 32" waist. Crazy. I also bought a size M t-shirt. It will fit better in a month or so, but I was swimming in the size L one. It's wierd (and a little sad) to have trouble finding shorts that fit not because there aren't any that big, but because there aren't any that small. I say a little sad because though I am making great progress I am not skinny. I am evidently approaching the underside of the mean though. This past week was week 2 after hitting my Dr. goal weight at WW. 3 weeks from this coming Tuesday I'll be considered a "Lifetime" member and can stop paying them!

Week 7: 20.2 total miles, 10.1 mile long run

Now playing: The White Stripes - Death Letter
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14 April 2008

Half way there?

Half way as in Half Marathon. I ran the Horsetooth Half Marathon yesterday. My original plan was to run it at my planned marathon pace. But I ran pretty well Tue and Fri this week and knew there was no way I was going to be able to hold back. So I made a plan. I haven't run a recent 5K, but have had some race pace training runs. From these an equivalent half time would have been 2:06:42 (9:40 pace). I finished in 2:09:00 by watch (2:09:34 gun time). It's a hilly course (and I ran 20 7 days prior, not exactly a standard taper ;-) so I am very happy with my result. After the monster 2 mile hill at the start I averaged a 9:37 pace. Adding to the experience was the attendance of my parents, the first time they have seen me race. I'm not sure who was more proud, them or I. This race was a 6:42 PR for me and 22:56 faster than when I ran it 1 year ago as my first half marathon ever. I don't think I'll take another 23 off for next year, but I wouldn't bet on my time being over 2 hours either.

Considering my relative lack of hill training before the race I felt pretty good afterwards. Minor aches on Monday but they were probably aggravated by riding in a car all day. A day after bike ride seemed to stretch things out a bit. I first tried this after my half last November and am sold on this.

Here's a link to my race pictures complete with some great scenery in the background on some of them. I'm wearing orange, there are some pictures of a guy in white included in this search that are incorrectly labeled. Too bad they didn't mix up our times, he finished 21 minutes before me! ;^>

Oh, and my time in this half predicts a 4:32 marathon (10:24 pace), a pace 4 seconds faster than the faster edge of my anticipated marathon pace. Cool beans!

Week 8: 22.9 miles with a long run of 13.1 miles.

Now playing: Jethro Tull - Mother Goose
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06 April 2008

Gravy Time

Most beginning marathon training programs take you through a progression to a 20 mile run 3 weeks before the race. Looking at these plans I felt I was at a point to run more than the 6-8 mile long runs many of them start with. I took the FIRST plans for first timers and vets and kind of made a hybrid. I have the speedwork and tempo runs from the vet plan (though the two were similar) and made a beginner-plan like progression but started up at 12-13 miles, leaving me time for more 20 (or more) mile runs. I ran my first ever 20 miler today. I did some things right, could have done some things better. I ran the whole way, except for when I was eating and drinking. I slowed down a lot in the second half. But I got through it. I ran about the same pace as for my 18 two weeks ago, which is about a minute or so slower than my anticipated marathon pace. Not that I have a time goal, I just want to finish strong and not be wrecked, but I have an idea of what I am capable of.

To the entry's title, I've done as much, distance-wise, as most training programs have you do. And I still have 8 weeks until the race! So from an endurance point of view everything from here is gravy. I have a half marathon race (shooting for marathon pace), a 22 miler, and another 20 miler on the calendar for the next 5 weeks which will leave me 3 weeks to taper to the race. Having run the one 20 that most do, I am not sure I feel ready. I feel confident could finish, but not ready yet. Maybe you never feel ready, at least for your first.

It's been a great weekend for me. Not only the 20 miles but I hit my Dr. assigned goal weight at my weigh in on Saturday. I weighed in at 188.6 lbs. I am not ready to be done losing weight, but am ready to be done paying Weight Watchers. Six weeks of maintaining a weight <190 and I'm what Weight Watchers calls a Lifetime member (free if I maintain the weight loss). Week 9: 41.8 miles, 20.2 mile long run (deceiving because last week's 10 was folded in, a 2 week average of 26.8 miles is a better way to look at this I think.
Now playing: B.B. King & Friends - Never Make Your Move Too Soon w/ Roger Daltrey
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