27 May 2008

Getting Nervous

This past Friday night I was kind of off-kilter, but wasn't sure why. About an hour later it hit me, I was starting to get nervous. It's only gotten more frequent since then. 26.2 miles, that's a long way to run. Rationally, logically I know I did enough training and know I should be as ready if not more ready than your average first timer. But emotionally I'm still nervous. There's nothing more I can do at this point either, so being nervous doesn't help anything. Hopefully logic wins out soon.

This past week was week 2 of the taper. I bought some clipless pedals and shoes for my bike and enjoyed several bike rides with them. I can tell I am going to really like them and suspect it will enhance my cycling strength. I also had a good tempo run, a 5K speedwork session, and a 10K race that I substituted in for my long run this week. The Bolder Boulder 10K is a huge race with around 50K participants. I believe it is the second largest 10K in the US. It's a fun race with tons of spectators, bands along the course, and a fun finish into the football stadium and 2/3 of the way around the track. I know a 10K race isn't exactly part of the standard taper, but it is fun, and it's a company tradition where I work so I'd never live it down if I skipped it. I didn't meet my goal time of 54:00, but the 55:38 I ran was still a PR (by 8:24)!

I don't know if I'll post again before the race or not. This week I'm hoping to relax, eat well, drink lots of water, do a couple 3 mile marathon pace runs, and skip all my cross training (no matter how much I'll want to ride my bike). And I think I'll dig out that book of marathon stories and re-read some of the stories in it.

Week 2: 13.2 miles, long run 10K race
Now playing: The Band - Ophelia
via FoxyTunes

18 May 2008

2 Weeks and counting

This marks the end of my first week of the taper. I went out and ran "only" 12.8 miles today. I averaged my anticipated marathon pace of 10:30 per mile and that included stopping to walk as I drank my watered down Gatorade and ate my fig newtons. I also ran the last half faster than the first, the last quarter the fastest of all four. It was a good run, and will be my last double digit run before the race. I originally planned 10 for next weekend but since the Bolder Boulder 10K is on Memorial Day I am going to use that as my long run next weekend. I'm looking forward to the Bolder Boulder. My company sponsors any employee who wants to run this race, we have 15 of us signed up this year in 3 teams. I am in considerably better shape this year than last and think I have a real shot of taking 10 minutes off my 1:04:02 time last year.

For the first time in 3 weeks I did not commute to work on my bike. I have put a self-imposed limit of 15 miles or less per ride, 2 times a week, during my taper. As much as I want to get out and do more I do not want to get sick or overdo it with only 2 weeks to go until the marathon. I did have some quality runs this week though with a good 5 mile tempo run and a speedwork session of 800s. After doing 1600s for most of my training the 800s felt REALLY short.

Week 3: 23.6 miles, 12.8 mile long run

Now playing: Blues Traveler - The Mountains Win Again
via FoxyTunes

13 May 2008


If you've only read the latest entries here you know I'm training for my first marathon, but may not know that this whole thing started with me walking into Weight Watchers to lose weight. 3 years and 2 months ago I started that. Today, 13 May 2008, I have achieved what Weight Watchers calls Lifetime Status. To do this I had to reach a goal weight, in my case set by my doctor, and then maintain that weight (or below) for six weeks. To me this means I don't have to pay Weight Watchers anymore! I don't believe in artificially setting a weight to stop at, but rather think that your body will tell you when it wants to stop. I'm still losing weight, so my body is not there yet. And I'm OK with that as I still have some flab to lose. There is no finish line.

My WW meeting leader is quite proud of me. I was her first member to ever lose 100 lbs, and her first to hit 150 lbs lost. She orchestrated quite the party at our meeting this week. There were noise makers, a cooler of (root) beer, and a few pictures of me around. The weekly topic was about exercise, so most of the meeting was a discussion between her and I. Additionally she and several WW members who have been attending the same meeting as I for some time chipped in and got me an REI gift card. It was a very touching time. When you accomplish something it is easy, maybe even human nature, to downplay the achievement. Seeing the celebration others planned and hearing that you are an inspiration to others is both humbling and an ego boost at the same time. Since I do not feel I am finished it was all kind of weird. But it was very touching, very cool.

Below is a scrapbook page my wife made with pictures from along the way as a gift to my meeting leader.

Now playing: The Beatles - A Day In The Life
via FoxyTunes

11 May 2008


Tomorrow marks the start of marathon training taper. A typical marathon taper is 3 weeks of reduced workout load, cut by anywhere from 20-50% depending on how much you were doing to start with. The idea is to work enough to maintain fitness but rest enough to be at your strongest when the marathon comes. That's three weeks from today, 1 June 2008.

The taper is probably coming at just about the right time. I had been working out awfully hard, both running and biking a lot, including a couple bike commutes to and from work, 24 miles one way. This past week I went out and run at lunch time and then had a particularly hard ride home with a stiff headwind. Later that night I came down with a sudden cold that wiped me out for nearly 3 days. I believe this was a sign of overtraining as I could not seem to get enough sleep either. For only the second time in my 16 week training plan I skipped a run (speedwork). And I skipped a cross training session too. It's amazing the razor's edge we can live on. I was at the peak of my fitness, running fast, biking a lot, feeling invincible and then BAM! I'm wiped out.

I did do my last long run of my training after skipping the speedwork and cross training. 19.5 miles, better than my first 20 mile run but not as good as my 22 miler 2 weeks ago. My pace wasn't where I wanted it, I was hoping for anticipated marathon pace but ended up running about 30 seconds a mile slower. Given the cold and overall crash I had last week I'm not as disappointed as I might have been. I've still got the lingering effects of the cold, but am not so wiped out or tired anymore though.

Week 4: 29.6 miles, long run 19.5 miles.
Now playing: They Might Be Giants - Birdhouse In Your Soul
via FoxyTunes

04 May 2008

Peaking too soon?

Another great week of running in the books. I ran a tempo run with a couple of people from work - both of them faster than I. In the sixth mile I started pushing the pace and while they kept up, they were both commenting on how they couldn't believe I had anything left in me. I banged out that mile at a barely sub-8:00 pace. While they were running behind me I garnered a "Your legs are ripped" comment too. I'm still glowing over that one. On speedwork day it was snowing and raining. Instead of our typical rest between intervals we decided to do some fartleks. We ran 4 miles and did so quite fast for me, about 30 seconds slower than my 1600 interval times. It may have been being cold and wet that pushed us faster, but whatever it was we were moving.

After that run I decided to re-assess my plans for a 5K this weekend. My original plan was 8:30 miles. I started thinking 8:15s were possible since we pretty much ran 8:30s for our fartlek. I didn't have a watch (forgot it) but that goal wasn't too far off as I ran a PR (by 3 minutes) of 25:24. My last 5K, and previous PR was last October. Evidently marathon training improves your 5K too!

Today I ran 10 miles at anticipated marathon pace. It seemed easy. I ran from my house to the finish of the Colorado Marathon and watched the 3:45 - 4:10 finishers. Most looked pretty strong. I'm taking the image of them finishing strong and aiming for that in 4 weeks at Steamboat. It was fun watching marathon finishers. I've watched them while training for a half, but never really truly appreciated the feat then.

On Thursday I was talking to my running buddy after our Fartlek workout and told him how great I was running. His reply was that he hoped I wasn't peaking too early! Great, something to worry about when everything is going well. Actually I'm not worried, one more hard week and I'm into the taper. It feels awesome to be running this strong, and injury free.

Week 5: 23.4 miles, long run of 10.1 miles.
Now playing: Barenaked Ladies - Grade 9
via FoxyTunes