Friday, October 30, 2009
Oh well. I'm still in recovery, so I'm not going to sweat it.
Since I don't have anything running wise to write about, maybe it's time to answer my One-Word challenge. I've been tagged by two bloggers that I follow religiously, Zoe of run, zoe, run and lindsay of chasing the kenyans. So - here goes:
Answer the following questions with only one-word answers:
1. Where is your cell phone? Charging
2. Your hair? Gray
3. Your mother? Alive
4. Your father? Alive
5. Your favorite food? Mexican
6. Your dream last night? None
7. Your favorite drink? Diet Pepsi (two words, but one product)
8. Your dream/goal? Win
9. What room are you in? Den
10. Your hobby? Running
11. Your fear? Failure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Home
13. Where were you last night? Home
14. Something you aren't? Fast
15. Muffins? No
16. Wish list item? Porsche
17. Where did you grow up? SoCal
18. Last thing you did? Eat
19. What are you wearing? Clothes
20. Your tv? Off
21. Your pets? Gato
22. Your friends? Old
23. Your life? Good
24. Your mood? Frustrated
25. Missing someone? No
26. Vehicle? BMW
27. Something you're not wearing? Shoes
28. Your favorite store? REI
29. Your favorite color? Blue
30. When was the last time you laughed? About 2 minutes ago
31. Last time you cried? 10/11/2009 (Long Beach Marathon)
32. Your best friend? Wife
33. One place that you go over and over? Bishop
34. One person who emails you regularly? Hmmm.
35. Favorite place to eat? El Tepeyac (Sorry. Can't count)
So there you go. More than I certainly want to remember about myself. (:->) Hmm.
Today (Friday) was a rest day. I'll be up bright and early tomorrow for an 8 mile slogfest.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I made it down to Crystal Cove for my planned 4 mile run last night. It's been a windy couple of days here, so I thought that I would take advantage of all of the dust in the air to capture some "Sunset on the Pacific" photos:
Once I took these photos, I dropped down from the bluff onto the beach and jogged on the sand. It was cool and blustery - not another soul on the beach:
One of the cool things about Crystal Cove is that in the 1920's and 30's, there was a bunch of vacation bungalows on the beach. Those were the days when this was *way* out in the country. About 5 or 6 years ago, the State of California evicted the residents and have turned the bungalows into vacation rentals. There is no other place in California quite like it:
Here is the view if you stay in one of those cabins (sorry for the lousy quality - this one was MMS'd to a friend):
And if you get hungry, well, there's always The Beachcomber restaurant:
Tonight I'm back on the track for some easy mile repeats.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Interval 1 (1200): 5:40 (8:18 pace)
Interval 2 (400): 1:48 (7:55 pace)
Interval 3 (400): 1:52 (8:12 pace)
Interval 4 (400): 1:58 (8:39 pace)
You can see the trend here. Basically, the 1200 wiped me out. I just didn't have the legs to get me through the 800s anyways. Oh well. I *am* still recovering (hands in pockets whistling). With warm ups and warm downs I ended up putting in 5 miles total.
Today I'm going to slow down and take it easy. I'll hit up Crystal Cove for a quick four mile run. Gotta remember the iPhone - the winds yesterday stirred up a lot of dust. Should make for a nice sunset!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Stats on yesterday's run: 4 miles average pace of 9:22. My heart rate was a little high at 82% of max, a little higher than the target 75%. After reviewing the data, I found that I spent a lt of time in the 80% to 85% of max range, so I'll slow down Thursday's workout.
Tonight's workout will be on the track with Cal Coast. If it's anything like last week, I'll be sucking wind in the first 800 yards. Oh well. No pain no gain. I guess.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Yup! That was me! Weekend running FAIL! I got up Saturday morning ready to do my seven miles. But this cup of coffee started calling me - "Oh Glenn! Oh Glennnn! Why would you want to leave the warmth and comfort of the comfy chair when you can have my yummy deliciousness?" Needless to say, Mr. Coffee was quite persuasive.
Then, Sunday. More of the same. Except this time it was the pumpkin pancake mix calling from the pantry. Then I went outside for a classic Southern California fall day. Sigh.
It all came to a head when I got on the scale last night. Double sigh. I'm up three pounds since Long Beach. Which isn't too bad considering how much I've been eating, no, inhaling, the past couple of weeks. Which really points out why I need to get back to the trails. So, after my pathetic 11 mile week, I'll get back on track this week:
Monday: 4 miles GA. Stretching and core afterwards.
Tuesday: Intervals on the track. I believe this week will be 2 X 1200, 1 X 800. 6 miles total.
Wednesday: 4 miles GA. Stretching and core afterwards.
Thursday: 3 X 1600 with 400 active rest. 2 mile warm up, 1 mile warm down. 6.75 miles total.
Saturday: 8 miles GA
Sunday: 35 minute tempo (about 3.5 miles)
Total: 32.25 miles
I also need to get back to calorie tracking. In the past, I've used SparkPeople with good success. When I started training for Long Beach, I put the calories counting on the back burner. Now that the mega miles are over for a while, it's time to get back on the counting wagon. My goal is to drop about 10 pounds between now and the end of the year.
I was all ready to get started up with SparkPeople again when a tweeter told me about a similar iPhone app. I thought that using an iPhone app would not only be cool, but would be super convenient. So I downloaded and started playing with the app. What I found just blew me away!
The app is called Lose It! and is in the app store. As with any other calorie tracking app, you are directed to some goal screens, where you enter gender, birthdate, current weight, goal weight and goal date. The program then calculates your calorie budget and you're ready to go!
The program is easy and intuitive. Entering a food from the very comprehensive food database is simple and intuive.
Not only are there the standard foods (e.g., bread, milk, eggs, etc.) but food are also categorized by manufacturer - like in this search for Grandma's Oatmeal cookies:
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Homecoming weekend in small town California:
Thursday, October 22, 2009
(1) Long runs. Many of them. All in all, I put in 2 20 milers and 4 other runs over 16 miles. And dozens of runs over 10 miles. This time I had the confidence that the distance would not be a problem.
(2) Multiple dress rehearsals. I put in three runs that I would classify as full dress rehearsals. Wore the clothes that I wore on Marathon day. Down to the same socks and shoes. Practiced everything (except drinking on the run).
(3) Fuels and electrolytes: No cramping this time. So the gels and Endurolytes worked. Also, my last dress rehearsal let me know I needed more electrolytes than one capsule every 30 minutes.
(4) Miles. And more miles. Long slow ones. 750 of them. While they didn't make me fast, they gave me the confidence that despite my lat marathon experience, 26.2 miles was within my grasp.
(5) Fueling strategy. I said this before. Breaking this race into a series of 3 mile runs was key.
(1) 24 week training plan. Too long. Somewhere around week 16 or so I was ready for it to be over.
(2) Pfitzinger. Just too much for this new runner in an old body. About the same time I was burning out, I was also breaking down. Spent the last 5 or 6 weeks continually tired. I thought that having two rest days a week would be good, but the grind of the medium long runs during the week got to me.
When I look at the list above, there is only one thing that really stands out. 24 weeks of Pfitzinger. Just too many miles for too long for me. Interestingly, I didn't break down physically (well, except for two weeks of the creeping grunge), but mentally I was toast.
Albert Enstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And he seemed like a pretty bright guy. So it's time to make a few adjustments.
The big change is that I'm going to go back to Hal Higdon. I had good results with his plans in the past. I'll start with his Advanced-I Marathon Plan. The big differences are 18 weeks, and only one day a week off. With Higdon, recovery occurs using short runs (3 - 4 miles) instead of the extra day off and long recovery runs.
Then, somewhere around the midpoint, I do a reality check and see how I feel. If I still feel good, I'll continue down the path. If not, I'll step back to his Intermediate-II Marathon Plan. One of my FB/Twitter friends followed this course for Chicago and whacked about an hour off her marathon time.
For now, it's back to recovery (3 easy miles last night).
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Interval 1: 1200 at 7:30 pace
Interval 2: 400 at 7:30 pace
Interval 3: 400 at 7:45 pace
I was actually pretty pleased with the first interval. I didn't feel like I was really sucking wind right up to the last 100 yards or so. I ended up hitting 98% of MHR (183 bpm) at the finish line. Overall I put in 5 miles at an average heart rate of 79% of max. Average pace was 9:27 per mile. Not too shabby. I'm paying for it this morning though with sore legs and hips. I need to admit that last night was a great ego boost after spending so much time going long and slow the past weeks.
On schedule today is a 3 miler. Nice and easy. I'll keep reminding myself. Nice and easy.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I am happy to report that right now I have a mild case, and am on the road to recovery. My recovery protocol this week:
Monday: 3 miles GA, stretching, core
Tuesday: 5 miles - 2 mile warm up, 4X400 intervals at 5K pace with 400 rest, 1 mile warm down
Wednesday: 3 miles GA, stretching, core
Thursday: 6.75 miles - 2 mile warm up, 3 X 1600 at MP with 400 rest, 1 mile warm down
Saturday: 7 miles GA
Sunday: 30 minute tempo run (about 3 miles)
Total: Around 27.75 miles.
I know I'm in recovery because I can't tell you how nice it is to look at that schedule and *not* see any double digit runs.
I whipped out a very enjoyable 3 miler last night. And since it's Tuesday, I'll be back on the track tonight for an *easy* set of 400's. I'm back to enjoying this running thing again....
Monday, October 19, 2009
First off, it's time to meet Magazine Smiles, Run DMZ, and aka Alice and the rest of the Herd. I've been a big fan of all of them for a long time. We've been passing each other like ships in the night at various races up and down the coast between Orange County and San Diego (about 80 miles apart). I've never had the pleasure of meeting them. akaAlice was thinking about coming up for Long Beach, but after some thought, decided against it (she has been fighting some nagging injuries for several months and made the wise choice). I made her a promise that if she skipped on Long Beach, I'd sign up for a race near her. So, I signed up for the Shelter Island 5K in San Diego on November 8th! It looks like a great course around the harbor! Of course, as aka Alice pointed out to me, the Champagne Brunch doesn't hurt either.
Thanksgiving Day is causing me some heartburn. Normally I run the Dana Point Turkey Trot 10K. But this race has just gotten bigger and bigger and bigger over time. Last year it was so crowded that I couldn't really "run" until mile 4. I hate not doing that race (I've done it 3 years in a row now), but the crowds are making it not fun. So, I think I'm moving down the coast a little ways (about 20 more miles) and running The Oceanside Turkey Trot 5K instead.
December is also up in the air. Last year I ran the Make Room for Santa 10K in Irvine and had a great time. It is *definitely* under consideration as a repeat. I'm also eyeing something a little different - a trail race. I've told you about my running at Crystal Cove State Park - well there is a 17K trail race that is part of the Xterra Series. I'll flip a coin in the next couple of weeks.
For January I need to make up my mind whether I want to race or not. The obvious choice for me would be the Southern California Half Marathon, run in nearby Irvine. I ran it last year. The course is flat and fast and definitely on the list to be run again. But, I just want to make sure that it's something that fits into my training schedule and that I feel physically ready to do it. I'll postpone this decision until early to mid December.
February is easy. Superbowl Sunday it will be the Surf City Half. Can you say Tweetup?!?!? After our Long Beach tweetup, plans were put into motion for this race. This one fills up quickly, so I will be registering in the next week or so. And, if you are on Twitter, are thinking about running this race, and the sound of an awesome tweetup sounds interesting, follow us on Twitter at @runsurfcity. Guaranteed fun for all attending!
And that leaves March. Let's call it goal month. Long Beach was such a positive experience, I think I was about mile 24 when I made up my mind. I'm running another one of these things! The only question was which one. I am very fortunate to have many many races to choose from all within a couple hours drive from home. In November it's the Malibu Marathon. In January it's all about Carlsbad. In February it's Surf City or the Pasadena Marathon. In March it's Catalina or Los Angeles. In April it's the Camp Pendelton Hard Corps Marathon. In May it's the Orange County Marathon. In June it would be time for San Diego Rock n' Roll. Choices choices choices. The most convenient is the Orange County Marathon, which starts less than a mile from home. The least convenient would be the Catalina Marathon, which would require a 2 hour boat ride to get to the island. Bottom line is they are all top notch races within easy traveling distance.
But I have to choose one, and the winner this year is going to be the 25th Los Angeles Marathon. There is a new course this year that will start near downtown L.A. (actually at Dodger Stadium) and run through Downtown, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, West L.A. and finally ends at the ocean in Santa Monica. As a native Los Angeleno, it just seems like such a neat idea to run through so many neighborhoods that I grew up around!
So there you have it. Decision made. I start a 4 week recovery plan today. From there it's onto Los Angeles Marathon XXV!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
The best thing about finishing a goal race of any distance, but especially the longer ones, is that you get a little time back for a week or two while recovering. I've been enjoying that this week. I have put in a few miles, but my legs still feel pretty trashed. Here's the synopsis:
Monday: Couldn't move. Should have used a hand truck to have someone push me around from place to place like a stack of boxes.
Tuesday: A little better. Quads still hurt like hell. At least I could hobble down the hallway to the can. For the first time I realize how tired my arms and shoulders are. Amazingly calves and lower back are fine. About midday my appetite turns back on. Start searching for anything that is edible. Anything. Even insects aren't safe.
Wednesday: Feeling much better. Head out for my first post marathon run. 3 miles @ 9:32 pace. Feels good to air it out a little. Actually feels better to not be running 10 miles.
Thursday: Ouch. Legs really trashed. Should do a quick three or four miler. Dodgers on TV. No way will I run if I can watch them! (P.S. - I should have run).
Friday: Feeling better than Thursday. Wife makes Costco trip. She's wondering where all the food in the house has gone. I better not get on the scale. Thank goodness for the Phillies bullpen. I can run without being upset before it gets dark. Rip off four miles at Crystal Cove (hills involved). Shocked when done becuase the Garmin says 9:41 pace. Sit down in the car and realize just how tired my legs still are.
Today: Three miles with fellow Cal Coast club members. Double check watch. It's 8:30 on a Saturday morning and I'm done for the day. What now? Drum fingers on desk. Eat some of the fruits of wife's Costco trip.
So there you have the gist of it. I've put in 10 miles this week. It is soooooo nice to not be running crazy miles for a change. And I've been eating. Scale says I've gained about three pounds. Whew. If that's all then I'm pleased.
On a serious note though - I have been *exhausted* all week. I am normally up between 4:30 and 5 in the morning. This week it's been nothing before 6. It's amazing that I've been able to delay eating for that hour.
I *did* receive a special treat this week. Wednesday evening I headed to the Newport Back Bay for my planned 3 mile run. I happened to get down to the bay just as the sun was setting:
Yeah. That's where I get to run.....
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Mile 13: 11:31
Mile 14: 11:44
Mile 15: 11:12
Avg pace after 15 miles: 11:05 ugh
They say that a marathon is as much mental as it is physical. I was starting to feel like I was beat. My goal pace was a thing of the past. And I wasn't speeding up. Nor did I have the legs left to speed up. Somewhere in here "they" threw in a hill too. Not that it was really a hill, but in my state it was the final blow. It was time to exercise my brain. What follows is the honest truth. I started thinking. Not about all the miles that I had run and the hours that I had put in. About making this happen. About not giving in. About all of you who had been sending well wishes and encouragement the past weeks. About how bad this Marathon play list was that was blaring in my head. About HTFU wimp!
Then, I made the turn at mile 16 and saw her. Chicrunner was coming down the street. I can tell you she was *not* smiling. She had determination written on her face. I shouted and she turned and feebly smiled, but it was obvious that she had something else in mind. She passed like the wind - several hundred yards in front of the 4:15 pace group.
I turned and bore down. I thought about one thing - mile 18....
Mile 16: 11:44
Mile 17: 12:39
Mile 18: 13:53
Avg pace after 18 miles: 11:22
Just past mile 18, we turned onto the campus of California State University, Long Beach. I also came to the realization that there was nothing I was going to do to recover and make my 4:45 goal. It was time to enjoy the rest of this thing we call a Marathon.
Long Beach State was one of the highlights of this marathon. Students were out in force to cheer us on! I slowed down and took some video as I passed through.
This also had to be the longest mile on the course. It seemed like it went on forever and ever. But, I lumbered up the hill at the back of campus, came back down a steepish little decline, and popped off the campus to mile 19. And there she was again! Ingrid - this time with Renee cheering us on! I pulled up for some PB&J sandwiches and a handshake (yeah - I'm not hugging anyone either when I'm a sweat soaked mess). I could not believe what an emotional pickup it was to see their smiling faces and hear their screams and cheering! I've got to admit now. Even if I'm not running a local marathon - I'm going to be there on my bike to cheer my friends on! Thank you Ingrid and Renee!
At that point, it was time to put my head down, and get my feet moving (now ever so slow and getting slower). I was relegated to power walking and slow jogging at this point. My target? You guessed it! Gel/Endurolyte packet at mile 21!
Mile 19: 12:26
Mile 20: 13:29
Mile 21: 11:58
Avg pace after 21 miles: 11:32
I was actually enjoying myself. Now - don't get me wrong. There was pain. My quads were thrashed. My back was tired. But - I was also amazed. There were no cramps. No blisters or hot spots on my feet. I was amazed at how mile 20 had just come and gone. I was now out in that "no man's" land that we don't train for. I was slowing down with each successive mile, but, unlike San Diego, I was in control. I was passing through mile 22. Remembering that last hill before mile 23. Running (that's actually a stretch) the other direction at the split. Focusing on Mile 24 for my last gel.
Mile 22: 13:10
Mile 23: 13:01
Mile 24: 13:32
Avg pace after 24 miles: 11:45
At this point I was pretty much spent. My "running" had turned into part time brisk walk, part time jog. But there were only two miles left. I had all the motivation that I needed. I was doing it this time on *my* terms. Maybe not at *my* pace, but the Marathon Monster had not beat me down.
Mile 25: 14:24
Mile 26: 14:24
Avg pace after 26 miles: 11:58
I wish there was someway to accurately describe the last two tenths for someone who hasn't been there before. My first time through in 2008 was like a relief. I remember just being numb. I don't remember any emotion. I remember just wanting to get off my feet. I was in serious pain. Blistered feet. Cramping calves. Nauseous.
This time though was like night and day. I took my camera out and made sure it was flipped into video mode. I was aware of my surroundings. I made the left turn into the finish chute. I dug down and started running again. I started passing people. That digital clock was pulling me in. I heard people yelling. At me! For me! "Go go!" "You've earned it!" "Yeah!" I heard my name! It was my son and daughter standing right at the finish! I still get choked up reliving the final .2. Excuse me while I dab away some tears.
I hit the finish line with arms raised. This time victory! And yes. This time there was emotion. The course did not chew me up and spit me out. I had to make some compromises, but I finished. And I finished on my feet.
Final 0.2: 6:10 (This time was actually for the final .55, and can you believe it? I forgot to turn the watch off when I crossed the line!)
Final time: 5:16:31 for a 12:05 average. My Garmin actually read 26.55 when said and done. the difference of .35 miles can easily add up over the course by not hitting the tangents at the curves, zigzagging through runners, detouring to say hi to people etc.
To be honest, the post race was just kind of bleh. I was interested in one thing. WATER!!! I made it through the chute, had a metal put over my neck, and grabbed a couple bottles of water. There was plenty of food, recovery drinks, etc., but to be honest the last thing I felt like was eating. I found a nice place on the grass and took a load off my feet. For the first time I took an assessment of where I was physically. My quads were dust. But - I had no chafing. No blisters. No nothing. Within about 10 minutes I was up to find my kids, get my bag, and hit up Roscoe's for some real food! This one was history! Next please.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
But I'm getting ahead of myself here. For me, the morning started out at 3:50. I woke up before either of my alarms went off. Call it pre-race jitters. It was nice and warm under the covers, and since the coffee maker wasn't set to turn on until 4:00, I did the wise thing that my years of experience have taught me and rolled over for a few more moments of bliss. Finally, around 4:15 I yanked myself out of bed and grabbed some coffee. Since everything had been set out the night before, getting ready was easy, even in my groggy state. I found the Body Glide and applied it liberally to all those troublesome places - inner thighs, soles of my feet, and, um, mid chest. I got dressed just like I had practiced the night before. My morning started nice and relaxed, and I was out the door at 4:45.
First stop? Do you folks actually think I'm kidding about my pre-race breakfast? (Gosh - they *do* look like animal turds though):
With apple fritter and coffee in hand, I headed on down the freeway to my pre-paid parking spot. I had about a half mile walk to the festivities, so I gathered by bag, put on my runner's raincoat (to stay warm) and joined the others walking south. I got to the start area just as the cyclists took off at 6 AM.
I was now officially nervous. I put the rest of my gear on and got my bag checked in. I wandered through the gathering crowds and socialized with a few folks that I knew (Ron and Paul whom I had met the night before, Cindy and Kelly from Cal Coast).
Next, I positioned myself near the back of the 4th wave, turned my Garmin on, popped a couple of Endurolytes, and took a seat on the curb and relaxed. I was actually suffering from a mean case of butterflies. To the point that I was wondering if my first dash was going to be back to the porta potties. I tried to take my mind off my situation. I noticed for the first time that it was light out. Overcast and comfortable. Perfect running weather!
It wasn't but 10 minutes later when the starter called the first wave to the line, and the start gun sounded. Each time the gun sounded, we would inch forward in anticipation of the start. Finally at 7:15 it was our turn. Bang! Wave 4 was off. As San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome would be saying, "whether you like it or not!" (inside joke for us Californians). I was committed. Marathon 2 was underway.
The first three miles of the course were out and back and looping and every which way along the streets that the Long Beach Grand Prix runs on. The number of people were amazing. Everywhere I looked all I could see were people.
The highlight at mile 3 was my first gel/Endurolyte pack to be washed down with water from the Hooter's water station. I was so focused that I didn't even realize who was handing me the water! Oh well. Next time I'll have to pay attention.
Cue up embarassing moment #2 here. I'm running along minding my own business. George Clinton and P-Funk in my ears (by the way B.o.B. and DMZ - this was the *only* music that worked for me on Sunday). I look to my left and see a sign that says something to the effect "Go Danica, Ron, Zach, Shelley, Glenn". I thought to myself - how odd that someone would be cheering for a bunch of folks with names the same as some that I know. Then about half a mile later - DOH!!!!! It was Nina (@ncjack) cheering us on. How rude of me to not even stop and thank them! So thanks Nina!
I continued lumbering up the mild incline between miles 11 and 12 when there they were! Our own Runner's World cheering section! This time Ingrd had a rider (Renee) on her cargo bike and our own L.A. Runner was pedalling along! What a site for sore eyes! They were ringing bells, cheering, clapping, holding up signs. What a hoot! Ingrid stopped while Renee jumped off the bike to cheer some other people along - so that was my queue to take a quick sidetrip across the oncoming runners to catch Ingrid for her obligatory photo! (P.S. - This won't be the last you hear about her and Renee).
Mile 10: 11:24
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
The expo was really well organized. I showed up at 4:15 expecting a crowd (the expo closed at 6:00) It literally took me longer to park and walk to the Convention Center than it did to pick up my race packet and bib. But, since I had to pay $10 for parking, I decided I'd at least wander the expo.
It was a sizeable expo with a lot of exhibitors. The normal folks you see at all of these events were there with the requisite samples (Clif, Myoplex, Odwalla, etc.). But I was here with a purpose. I had one problem to solve - eight gel packets and a camera were not going to fit in my Nathan fuel belt. My bloggy buddy B.o.B. once again came to the rescue with her suggestion to pick up a Spibelt. This is quite a nifty contraption. As you can see from the picture below, the compartment is made of a stretchable fabric. When nothing is in it, the compartment is no larger than the belt. But, start stuffing away and voila! Six gel packets comfortably. I clipped it above my fuet belt and I was ready to go! Another lifesaver B.o.B!
I made one last circle through the expo. I guess I'm an official runner now. I can't go anywhere without meeting other folks I know. Ingrid (Travelmama in the California RWOL forums), Lori (Spandex in the same forums), and Sam dutifully manning his booth were also at the expo. Check out Sam's website at Operation Jack to benefit the fight against Autism!
With all that out of the way, it was time to drive the mile or so to the next event. Tweetup! I made it over to La Parolaccia for an evening of good food and good friends. Here's the obligatory group shot:
Right to left: Paul (@paulboth, Run for Liberty), Shelly (@smellycents, It's All About the Miles), Cindy (@262runr), yours truly, then standing - Danica (@chicrunner, The Chic Runner), Nina (@ncjack, Swim, Bike, Run and Tri), Ron (@punkrockrunner, Punk Rock Tri Guy), Rich (@richbella, http://www.richbella.com/), Jennifer (@anotorias, http://notorias.com/), Sheila (@sheilamking), Zach (@zachearl, Zach's Space) and Chrissy (@sonata31).
And just for you B.o.B - chicrunner and me:
I was supposed to make it to a Runner's World Forum Encounter, but after having a great time at the Tweetup, figured I better make it home to finish up preparations for the morning. I couldn't leave anything to chance - it wasn't like I was staying just down the street in a hotel or could call someone in a panic in the morning to bring my Garmin down. I had to be self sufficient. So I spent the next couple of hours going through my stuff. Are you ready?
Bib got pinned to my shirt. Shorts were out of the drawer and placed next to the shirt. DTag placed properly on my right shoe. Nine gel packets with taped Endurolytes (8 for the race and one extra) were taken out of the bag they were in. Six in the Psibelt. Three in the Fuelbelt. Water bottles were found and filled. Socks were put in the shoes.
Now that the clothing and footwear were taken care of, I got dressed and just made sure that it all fit right. No little kinks in the belts. Make sure my bib was on straight (sorry - I'm funny that way) and *below* the nipple line (one of my mistakes in San Diego). Make sure there were no little creases in the socks or pennies in my shoe (Nope! Never happened to me before!).
Next was the gear. Garmin charged and in the bag. HRM strap in the bag. iPod charged and in the bag. iPod armband in the bag. Headphones there. Bodyglide found. Camera charged and in the fuel belt. Check, check, check and check. Marathon shirt for after race and a beach towel in the bag. Fnally, I grabbed a runner's raincoat (30 gallon trashbag - sorry Billy - no empty Gatorade bottle) and stuffed it in my bag. Then, just in cast you thought I was kidding in my last post, I dumped my bag on the floor an checked everything again. (I found 50 cents for my trouble).
Only then did I feel like it was time for bed. I got the coffee maker set up and the timer set to go off at 4 AM. Finally, I set my alarms (yup - two of them) - one for 4AM and the second for 4:15, and drifted off to sleep.
Maybe next time if I spend less time getting prepared I'll have more energy to run with! And think about this - you *could* be my wife and have to put up with this all the time!
Tomorrow - the first half.
Monday, October 12, 2009
This has been a difficult blog to write. There is just sooooo much to talk about and share - whether you want it or not. To be honest, I haven't had a chance to fully process all my thoughts and emotions yet. Today I thought I would just document my initial thoughts before time heals all wounds:
The things that worked:
() Preparing the night before: Definitely the way to go. *Everything* was predone. Bib pinned to shirt. D-Tag on shoe. Gels/electrolytes in belts. Water bottled filled. Put everything on to make sure that it fit and looked right. Cell phone charged. Garmin charged. iPod charged. Towel, dry shirt, sandals in bag. Headphones, iPod armband in bag. Double check everything. Then dump bag out and check it all again. All I had to do in the AM was get up, grab coffee, put on clothes and shoes and head out the door.
() Nothing new on race day: I ran this one unscathed. No chafing. No blisters. Believe me, at mile 23, you don't need any of those other problems.
() Leaving early enough that you have some time to relax before the race: I was on the freeway at 5AM for a 7AM start. Got to Long Beach, parked, walked to start, checked bag, socialized and still had time to find a seat and meditate for about 15 minutes before the hubbub began. Call it Zen. I call it not tossing my cookies.
() Gel and Endurolytes every three miles: This was *THE BOMB* idea. This marathon became a series of three mile races. I *never* thought about how far and long this race was. All I thought about was the next gel break. At mile 10 it was about mile 12. At mile 16 it was about mile 18. I was amazed how mile 20 just came and went because I was focused on 21. Same with miles 22 and 23 (even though I had to resort to a brisk walk by that point). And at mile 24, it was about two more miles. Amazing.
() Having the right mindset: On Saturday I said I would go with the flow. So I went with the flow. When it was apparent that I wasn't going to hit my goal time, I backed off and enjoyed the experience. I was able to stop and chat with friends on the course. I enjoyed the entertainment. I enjoyed the peanut butter sandwiches (thanks Ingrid!). This made the *entire* difference from a pain filled torture session to a pain filled run in the park.
Things that didn't work:
() Too much running the final week: My legs were shot by mile 9. If it wasn't for focusing on every three miles, this would have been a *looong* miserable race.
() Starting at the back of the wave: By the time I got to the 10K split, I was about 15 seconds behind my goal pace. I caught up by the half, but when you think about it that means I was running 30 seconds faster than goal pace for 7 miles. That's where I lost making my goal.
Bottom line is yesterday as a *totally* different experience from San Diego 2008. I am disappointed that I didn't make my goal. I am disappointed I didn't break 5 hours. But - Long Beach has some really quaint neighborhoods! And I saw my kids as I ran past the finish!
Starting tomorrow I'll provide a much more detailed race report. For right now I'll leave you with a couple of pictures.
At least I don't look like death warmed over:
Here's what the final .2 looked like from my unique perspective:
Sorry I didn't get crossing the finish line in the video. This watery stuff kept falling out of my eyes.
Final stats: 5:16:31 - 28 minute PR. Looking for the elusive 5 hour mark in March. And this time, I'm not thinking ahead to my next marathon as "get even" for the last one. Can you say "I Love LA!"
Saturday, October 10, 2009
If you have an iPhone, make sure you use the whole url so you don't get taken to the mobile website.
Off to the expo!
The real fun starts later this afternoon. I'll mosey up the freeway around 3 or so, pick up my race gear at the expo, and then it's PARTAY time! Tweetup at La Parolaccia at 5PM (will be meeting up with tweeting and blogging luminaries such as @paulboth (Run For Liberty), @chicrunner (Chicrunner), @smellycents (Shelley Centis), @punkrockrunner (Punk Rock Tri Guy), and a host of others), followed at 6 PM ish (emphais on the ish) Runners World Forum Encounter at Ninos in uptown Long Beach. This is the part of these large races that I really enjoy. Nothing like getting together with a couple or 20 friends with the same goal for some fun and food!
For my final tune up, I am reviewing my race strategy. This is taken directly from Bob Glover's book, The Competitive Runner's Handbook (found the strategy online at the New York Road Runners ):
Pace: This is where I blew it big time in San Diego. Went out way too fast for too long. For my reward, I got to walk the last seven miles. Tomorrow I'm doing three things. First, I'm going to start at the back of wave 4 instead of the start of wave 5. I figure it's better to go out and stay slow. Second, I'm going to target a 10:45 pace (4:41 finish) and see how long I can hold that. If I find myself going out too fast, I'll walk through the water stations (thanks @sheilamking!). Finally, I'll be watching my heart rate. According to Glover, a marathoner should maintain 70% to 75% max heart rate and increase to 85% by the end of the race. I'll be watching the ol' Garmin and making sure my heart rate zone stays between 2.5 (start) and 4 (finish).
Crowded Start: I hear that this is a big problem in Long Beach. For the first ten or so miles all of the Half Marathoners and Marathoners are on the same bike path. Based on what I've heard, I'll be going out slower (crowds). I'm not going to panic this time. As long as I'm still in the same time zone as my target pace I'll just go with the flow.
Walking: Yes I will. At least every 3 miles when I pop a gel and a couple of Endurolyte caps.
First Half: Here's where I've got to be careful. My past experience in San Diego I was felt *great*. Up until about mile 12. This time I'll just run within myself and stick to the plan. At the halfway point (2:22:30), I'll to assess how I feel. If my long runs have been any indication, I should be okay. If I'm significantly ahead of target, I'll slow down. If I'm at target, then I'll continue at my target pace. If not, well, time to HTFU.
Second Half: More of the same. I'll keep watch on my pace up to about mile 16. Then I'll lose myself in my iPod. One foot in front of the other. Everything else is out the window at that point.
Third Half (also known as 10K left): Also known as 3:37. Here's where the mind games really begin. Heck we've all run a 10K before. Pretty easy right? I'll think back to the Jet to Jetty 10K where I ran a nice easy race without a lot of effort and almost PR'd. I'll take Glover's suggestion to heart. Each mile marker will get ticked off in my mind. I'll concentrate on the runners around me. I'll get out my virtual lasso and grab a runner in front of me and have them pull me along. The goal will be to complete each mile - 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.
The Finish: Glover's suggestion - I'll use the digital clock at the finish to pull me over the line. I figure the last 375 yards will be in the 2:30 range. I really hope that I don't see something like 4:42:40 with .2 left to go! As they say - the difference between a 3:59:59 marathon and a 4:00:00 marathon is an hour!
So - the Garmin is charged. The iPod is charged. The camera is charged. Long Beach here we come!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Thursday, October 8, 2009
I also will be re-reading parts of Glover's book (The Competitive Runner's Handbook) today to review race day and race strategy. I am *not* going to repeat San Diego. In that marathon, I felt way too good and went out way too fast for way too long (pretty standard for a Marathon Virgin). I need to figure out how to hit my goal pace and maintain it for almost 5 hours. Yikes!
Here's an idea. Maybe I'll give Jobu cigar and rum and ask him to take fear from feet:
As far as yesterday's run - 7 easy miles. My legs were heavy, so I did some strides over the last couple of miles to knock the rust off. That pushed my average heart rate to 77% of max, and I'm a little sore this morning, but with three days until the big event, I'll recover.
Actually 3 days 8 hours 45 minutes and 42 seconds.......
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
But yesterday they were along for the ride. To be honest, I've got to give kudos to my legs, knees and feet for sticking around for this long. Head and chest rebelled a couple weeks ago and tried to put the kibosh on this marathon idea, but you guys have always been there. For twenty four weeks now - almost 900 miles - you have responded. Not always fast and not always without a little complaining, but two more days and we'll be at our destination. And you want to hear something really impressive? Sometime Sunday while you guys are slaving away, you will have taken the rest of us along for over 1,200 running miles this year! Thank you legs, knees and feet! I promise that I will get you guys some new cushions to land on in the next couple of weeks.
Yesterday's run stats - 6.1 miles at an average heart rate of 72% of max. Yep. Nice and easy for sure......
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Tuesday: 6 miles recovery pace
Wednesday: 7 miles total, 5 at recovery pace, 2 at race pace
Friday:5 miles recovery pace
Sunday: The streets of Long Beach for a long jog
Total for the week: 44.2 mile
Preparations are still continuing in earnest. I built all my fuel packets this past weekend. The weather forecast is saying warm weather on Sunday (sunny and 77 degrees), so I'm including two Endurolytes on each gel pack. I decided to do my fellow runners a favor and washed my fuel belt last night (peeee yew!). Which leaves the last and most difficult task - figuring out an iPod playlist. I've spent my running time the past couple of weeks waffling between this group and that group, this song and that song. I think I have a list of bands that I'll include:
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic (yes B.o.B - I have at least an hour and a half selected)
Butthole Surfers (of course)
The goal of my music this time is not to speed me up, but to keep me slow. I'm still kicking around a few extra songs. Decisions decisions decisions. I'm glad a training plan isn't as difficult!
Monday, October 5, 2009
Well - I guess you learn something new every day. I had enjoyed a great sunset and was waiting for the full moon to appear from behind the bluffs I was running along. I was keeping within myself, running a little harder than a typical long run, but still clipping along at a heart rate right at 75% of max. I turned onto the trail that runs behind the Newport Dunes Resort (anyone who has run this trail knows where I'm talking about) and ran right into a .... LOCKED GATE! WTF? Well, the portion of the trail that runs behind Newport Dunes must run on an easement on private land. There was a big sign on the gate stating that the trail was open between dawn and dusk. Okay. But a locked gate? And it wasn't one of those little road gates that you can just walk around - it was a full 8 foot chain link fence gate! I had no choice but to turn around and retrace my steps. At least I got to run back under a wonderful, bright, full moon!
Final stats - 11 miles with the first 8 at marathon pace minus 30 seconds. Success in my book. I ended the week one mile short of plan at 31 miles.
Week 24 of my training plan begins today. This week - nothing further than 7 miles. Nothing faster than molasses. Nothing else needs to be said....
Sunday, October 4, 2009
The realization is setting in. The long training journey is almost over. Yup. One more week. Then it's time to collect my reward. It's MY reward. For MY hard work (sorry for being selfish!)
If there is one huge difference between this marathon and my first marathon - this time I *really* could care less about my finish. Yes - I have a time goal. But that is secondary to enjoying myself. And as long as the weather is nice (and right now the extended forecast is saying so), I will do that.
Yessiree. I am ready. Ready to be allowed to join my fellow runners who deserve to reap the rewards for THEIR hard work. I think I'm beginning to understand the lure of the marathon.
Friday, October 2, 2009
I put in my last speed work session of this cycle last night. 8 miles total with 3 one mile intervals. My hamstrings felt tight, so I held back just a little. My times:
Interval 1: 9:22
Interval 2: 9:26
Interval 3: 9:40 (slowness caused by friction of tongue dragging on the track)
Today is a scheduled rest day.
This weekend I need to do some important things. I need to hit the Nutrition Superstore here in Costa Mesa to buy gobs of Hammer Gel. I need to break out the painters tape and prepare some gel/Endurolyte packets. And I need to start thinking about my iPod playlist. I'll probably pull together about 3 hours of music. I'm going to try to not use my iPod until I get sick of running (around hour three or so). I really want to enjoy this one. I want to be able to smile for the finish line picture!
And thanks everyone for your opinions and experiences regarding the Saturday 5K. I think I'm going to pass. If there was a 10K option, I would probably go and just run it for fun. But I don't think I can run a 5K "for fun". So, I'm going to play it safe here and not tempt myself to do too much a week prior to my goal marathon. Besides, last year's t-shirt *was* pretty boring.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
This week's schedule is a little strange. Lots of rest days:
Wednesday: 7 miles GA with 6 100 yard strides
Thursday: 3.25 mile warm up, 3 X 1600 intervals with 400 yard rest, 1 mile warm down for a total of 8 miles
Saturday: 5 mile recovery
Sunday: 12 mile long run
Total: 32 miles
I'm a little up in the air about Saturday at this point. When I started this whole running madness back in July of 2007, the first race I ran was the Harbor Heritage Run 5K. So, there is a place in my heart for this race. The 23rd running of the race is this Saturday - and I sort of kind of would like to run it. But at this point in my training cycle, I should be taking it easy instead of running a 5K. Not to mention that I've no doubt lost some speed over he past few weeks. Advice anyone?
I'll be hitting the track this evening for some 1600 intervals. I'm supposed to run these at 5K pace (around 8:10), but I think I'm going to target something like 9:15 to 9:30 miles and will be taking the warm up/warm down easier than normal as well. It was nice running on fresh legs last night. I'd like to keep things that way for a couple of weeks.