Monday, May 31, 2010

What's New?

A Lot! I finally (finally!) purchased a bike. However, I still don't have this bike in my possession. The bike shop had to order it, so I still wait...more about the bike when I get it...

I've spent the weekend shoving as much food down my throat as humanly possible. I'm certain I gained at least 10lbs, awesome! No worries though, because starting tomorrow I am back on the road. I haven't run since Cleveland, my body feels good, and I'm ready to go. I'm planning on Rochester for my next marathon. Until then I will be training hard, hopefully on my bike as well as my feet, running various races and hopefully duathlons as well, P90X and tweaking my nutrition even further.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Feeling Good = P90X

My plan was to take the entire week off, but today I was feeling super so I did Shoulders/Arms and Ab Ribber X from the P90X series.

I'm enjoying X so far. If any of you are thinking about getting it, I highly recommend it. The cardio workouts aren't too intense, especially if you have been doing any type of serious running. The core work, however is tough! Also, the back work (done with chin ups and pull ups is quite humbling). The yoga DVD is pretty intense too.

If you get the DVD's you'll also need a pull up bar, dumbbells or bands (I bought bands from Dick's, a three pack 10, 15, 20lbs for about $35), and maybe a yoga mat. You can find the workout guides online, so just google them. I bought the DVD's on Ebay for $55.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cleveland Marathon Recap

I couldn't have asked for a better day. The temperature was about 50 at the start, sunny with just a bit of wind. My focus for this race was to improve on my time. In March, I ran my first marathon at a 10:39 pace. My strategy in that race was not very good; I started out way too fast and totally crashed at the end. For the past month, I have been practicing starting out slower and then picking up the pace towards the end (AKA negative splits). My goals for this race were: Miles 1-7 @ 10:20, Miles 8-20 @ 10:15, and Miles 21-26.2 @ 10:10.

Mile 1: 10:20, nice pace, felt really ready to go. We ran by the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, Browns Stadium and then began to wander through the downtown area.

Mile 2: 10:16, feeling great, pace still very comfortable, ran by a giant Lebron James poster (sorry Cavs) and then headed across the river.

Mile 3: 10:16, a few seconds faster than planned, but figured it was close enough, this part of the course was a bit boring, kind of a rundown area of town, not unlike South Buffalo/Lackawanna. Also, noticed at this point that my GPS mileage was about .3 ahead of the course mileage markers.

Mile 4: 10:14, entered Tremont, it reminded me of the Elmwood area of Buffalo, a kind of artsy neighborhood.

Mile 5: 10:20, I noticed my pace quickening a bit, so I intentionally slowed down here. I also, felt the sudden and intense urge to pee. I was able to hold it the entire time in March, but I was doubting whether or not I'd be able to today. There was a decent amount of port-a-potties on the route, but the lines were long and I wasn't desperate enough to stop and wait.

Mile 6: 10:15, Running through what is called Ohio City, still a decent neighborhood (I think), but now I was totally distracted, realizing that I would have to pee. I briefly contemplated just going as I ran, but dismissed this thought and began to look for a nice secluded place, i.e. a hedgerow, dark alley, etc.

Mile 7: 10:18, Okay, I HAVE GOT TO GO!!! Must find a bathroom or bush. I spent most of this mile bargaining with myself; stop and go, lose some time, but feel comfortable vs. keep going and risk peeing all over myself.

Mile 8: 11:28, Ahhhh! Relief!!!! Here's how it went down...about halfway through this mile I saw a McDonalds. I saw a few people ducking in, but it didn't look like a line, so I ran in. No lines outside of the door! I went into the men's room and was immediately confused. Two women were in there waiting for the stall. Now I did a quick double take, just to make sure in my haste I hadn't picked the wrong door. Apparently the women's room was full and they didn't want to wait as long. I can't remember encountering a woman in the men's room since college. Three minutes later, I was back on the road.

Mile 9: 8:26, I picked the pace up here to make up for my bathroom time.

Mile 10: 9:39, still ahead of pace, I wanted to make sure I made up all of the time. My math skills aren't the best, so erred on the side of being too aggressive.

Mile 11: 10:17, actually a couple seconds slower here, but a decent climb up onto route 2, very similar to the skyway. It was weird running on the highway in the wrong direction.

Mile 12: 10:12, still on the highway, but descending now back into the downtown area. The half marathon runners, who were with us up to this point, split off for their finish into downtown. The roads suddenly got much more wide open.

Mile 13: 10:03, mostly downhill and my pace took advantage of this. I was still feeling great at this point endurance-wise. My knee was aching a bit, but very tolerable.

Mile 14-17: 10:13, 10:12, 10:12, 10:05, I found this section of the course to be the most mentally challenging. This was pretty much a straight shot along the waterfront heading generally east, but into a pretty decent wind. Even though it was along the shore, there wasn't much to look at. Also, hardly any spectators here.

Mile 18-20: 10:36, 10:08, 10:01. These three miles were ran through a pretty nice park with gardens representing several countries. I tried guessing the country by the flag before I could read the plaque. I wasn't very good at this. Not sure where that 10:36 came from, I just lost focus. I was definitely feeling the fatigue by mile 20, but felt as though I could definitely hold a 10:10 pace for the remainder of the race.

Mile 21: 10:04, really pleased with this split as we made the turn away from the park and headed back to the city. It was a bit of a mental game to see 98th Street, when I knew that the race ended at 6th Street. I readjusted my plan to run 10:05's for the last 5 miles, since I was feeling good.

Mile 22: 10:11, OH NO! WALL! It came much later than in the last race. I could feel the pace just slipping away from me and the harder I pushed the slower I seemed to move. I re-adjusted back to my original goal of 10:10.

Mile 23: 10:14, Crap...pace still slipping away from me. I was now in survival mode, trying to hold a 10:15.

Mile 24: 10:24, the 4:30 pace group passed me here. Double Crap!! I was on pace to be under 4:30 until now, so this was a bit demoralizing. I tried to stay about 100 ft behind them and keep up.

Mile 25: 10:27....grinding hard, VERY HARD! I began to do some interval running, run as fast as I can for .05 and then recover for .10, anything to keep my mind off of my failing body.

Mile 26: 10:19, with one mile to go, I gave it all I could. I caught back up with the 4:30 pace group and then passed them. Maybe I'd have a chance to break 4:30 after all. No mile marker at this mile which was annoying since every other mile was marked. I sprinted (well it felt like sprinting) the home stretch, crossed the line and kissed my patiently waiting wife. I just missed a sub 4:30, which is weird because I beat the 4:30 pacer, oh well.

Mileage: 26.2 (though my Garmin said 26.59)
Avg HR: 152

Other fun tid bits...

Most Disturbing Sign: "I get to watch my daughter's first time. (Is that weird?) Go Kristen" At first it was funny, but after you think about it for a minute it is kind of creepy.

Vertigo Bridge: early in the race we ran over a bridge and I thought I was lightheaded until I heard someone else say the same thing. We realized that the bridge we were running over was actually bouncing up and down.

Road Kill: More like hairpiece, that's right! A saw a trampled hairpiece on the road. Of course I stepped on it, I just had to. Now I can say I stepped on a head rug. Nice!

Cleveland's Obsession with Lebron: It is surely a once in a lifetime event when a city gets a superstar like James. It was obvious how horrible the Clevelanders felt about their premature exit in the playoffs. There were lots of signs about this, but my favorite said GO CAVS, but the CAVS was crossed out and replaced with Runners.

Useless Yet Inspirational Fact: Another sign that was creative simply stated "Chuck Norris never ran a Marathon." I never have (nor ever will) aspire to be like Chuck Norris, but it was an interesting perspective.

Runner I Know (Kind of): A colleague's son also ran this marathon. He was a bit faster (like 2 hrs and change). Oh, he came in 4th and won some cash. Nice!

On to my biggest issue remains my knee. It is pretty sore on the outside (probably IT Band issue, according to my PT.) My quads are also pretty shredded, but I feel much more recovered the day after than I did in March.

I shaved 8 minutes off of my last marathon time. At this rate, in about 14 marathons (or so) I will qualify for Boston. ( I can dream can't I?)

So, all in all a good experience. 2 down 998 to go....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cleveland Marathon

I made it...very sore...recap soon...shaved 8 minutes of my best...4:30:55/10:20....check back for the full recap...

Friday, May 7, 2010

P90X, 20 Miler, Etc's been awhile...but I've been busy. My recovery from the half marathon was good. I actually ran a bit with my wife the next day. I ordered and got P90X last week, so I started it on Monday. Since I'm tapering on my runs in anticipation of next week's marathon, I thought this just might be a good filler.

In a word....intense. I love it though. There are three different programs one can follow, Classic, Double or Lean. I'm going to follow the lean, lots of core work, yoga, etc. I'll keep you posted as to my progress.

Also, took on a 20 miler, my only run this week and last long run. I wanted to make sure I got this in, if nothing else, to test my run strategy and legs. Here's how I did...

Miles 1-5 (10:35): 10:34, 10:33, 10:32, 10:31, 10:32
Miles 6-15 (10:20): 10:21, 10:19, 10:11, 10:21, 10:19, 10:17, 10:11, 10:20, 10:17, 10:18
Miles 16-20 (9:50): 9:48, 9:51, 9:54, 9:56, 9:46

All in all, decent run, the last couple were a bit challenging, complicated by a decent hill and those crazy winds.

Mileage: 20.00
Time/Pace: 3:25:02/10:15
Avg HR: 153
T/W: 58, 20 mph winds, sun

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Grand Island Half Marathon

I signed up for this as a final test before the Cleveland marathon. I was also trying for a PR, as I figured I am probably in better shape than last September (I certainly weigh less.) Thirdly, I was trying to pace this like my long runs as of late, with a focus on negative splits. The day, sadly, had other things in mind for me.

The course itself is very flat. It is a pretty straightforward out and back. However, today brought race time temperatures around 75, perhaps a bit warmer than desired. Winds were out of the SSW at 20mph. The first half of the course is more or less in a northerly direction, which means that the last half was directly into the wind, with some crosswinds at times. As a relatively new runner, especially at these longer distances, my race strategy isn't always solid. I was planning on the following: miles 1-3 @ 8:45, 4-10 @ 8:30, 11-13.1 >8:20. However, I didn't take into this planning the temperature or wind patterns and I think this was my downfall.

Here's how I did...

Miles 1-3 (8:45): 8:44, 8:43, 8:43-feeling generally good here, knee and hip causing no discomfort

Miles 4-7 (8:30): 8:28, 8:32, 8:30, 8:39-turned into the wind here. I hadn't really noticed how much wind there was with it at my back, but running right into it was an experience, I adjusted my goals for this to 8:40 and the under 8:30 for the last 3.

Miles 8-10 (8:40): 8:39, 8:40, 8:55 -began to fall apart here. I was trying to find any relief from the wind including trying to use other runners to shield me from the wind (now mostly a cross wind.) I was also feeling a bit gassed in the lungs, though legs surprisingly still strong, no significant pain.

Miles 11-13.1 (>8:30): 9:04, 10:16, 9:58, and .15 @1.17- just trying to survive at this point. I had clearly spent all of my energy and was just coasting and begging for this to be done.

So what went wrong? Mostly, I think I was just unprepared for conditions and didn't adjust my strategy accordingly. Also, I tend to set pretty tough goals for myself, perhaps too tough at some point. Regardless, I am pleased the way my legs responded. As I sit here, my knee is a bit sore, but nothing overwhelming. I finished, which is always good.


Mileage: 13.15
Time/Pace: 1:57:16/8:54
Avg HR: 171

Final note, Mark from Sub 5 Miler after Fifty wrote a nice comment, but I think I accidently deleted it...sorry, it was good advice as always, thanks!