Tuesday, October 29, 2013

October 21st-October 27th

Monday:  8 miles (6:30); 10.6 miles (7:07)

Tuesday: 8.5 miles (6:32); 7.5 miles (7:05)

Wednesday: 4.6 miles (6:42); 11.8 miles (6:27).  I was planning on running my first marathon-specific workout, which was 3x4.6 miles, with a 1k steady recovery jog up a slight hill.  It was my 3.96 mile loop, with an extra run down Bison Way, which resulted in about 150 ft. of uphill and 215 ft. of downhill, which is somewhat similar to CIM.  But I decided I'll probably skip CIM and just ran after doing a pre-workout warm-up.

Thursday: 11.8 miles with 10x2:00 on/1:00 off.  Ran 5:15 pace for the 30 minutes, with a "fast" average of about 4:35.  Slight wind but felt pretty good.  I ran hard and pushed the last two, which resulted in a good bit of oxygen debt; 6.8 miles (7:02) 

Friday: 9 miles (6:50); 6.2 miles with 6xstride (7:16)

Saturday: 11 miles with 10k road race in 31:28.  Jumped in a local, low-key race.  My plan was to lock into 4:55ish pace and use it as a tempo.  However, the miles weren't marked and I turned off my auto-lap on my GPS.  On my second custom screen, I had my average lap pace showing and a little over a mile in, it was at 4:57, then over the next few miles, worked up to 4:59, before falling back down to 4:56. I crossed the line in 31:28, with a GPS measurement of 6.38, which meant it was probably a little long, since there wasn't many turns at all and 10ks usually measure about 6.3 on my watch.  But despite that, I didn't feel smooth at all.  I was probably a little flat from Thursday's session (normally need two easy days after a hard workout) and after about three miles, I thought I was going to have to slow down a lot but was able to speed up, without much effort.  Guess I have some decent endurance but don't have my wheels yet;  6.3 miles (7:17)

Sunday: 20.2 miles (6:04). Longest day ever.  My dog got fleas a while ago from my wife's grandma's house (stupid stray cats) so I unleased flea warfare.  In the past, I've used Borax but they were out, so I got some diatomaceous earth instead, since it works in the same fashion.  Big mistake since the stuff was just like chalk and I ended up spreading five pounds of it around the house and swept it deep into the carpet all over the house.  It not only was impossible to vacuum, but got EVERYWHERE.  The entire house was coated in a fine layer of the crap.  I ended up vacuuming for about three hours before the run, rented a Big Green Machine from Lowe's and used that for three hours before doing the long run.  I got rolling pretty quickly on the long run and normally run my first section in 6:20 something pace but was at 6:12.  Shortly after midway, my upper hamstrings and glutes were really tired, my neck hurt but aerobically, I felt really smooth.  I ended up running in the low 5:50s the last few miles, only to spend another three hours steam cleaning the carpets.

Week Total: 122.3 miles. I was planning on hitting in the upper 120s but the change of marathon plans curtailed that.  But got in a good speed workout, had a flat tempo run and came back the next day with a strong long run.  This next week I'll probably make my Wednesday workout a little easier than planned since I had three quality sessions in four days and I also have to be ready for this weekend.  I'm taking on rabbiting duties for 20 miles of the Indy Monumental Marathon on Sunday.  I have to run 5:15 pace and need to be within 30s of 68:49 at 13.1 and 1:45 at 20 if I want to collect my bounty.  If the race isn't deep and I'm in a position where I can jog the last 10k at 6:00+ pace and get some money, I may finish the distance if I'm feeling really good (really good, not just good).

Change of Plans

I'm a pretty calculated.  Scratch that, I'm a very calculated person.  And when a marathon is my peak race of the season, I respect it way too much to get in unprepared.  The marathon is a huge mountain that you either defeat or it defeats you.  With less than six weeks to go until the California International Marathon, I don't think I'll have enough time to be in my "A" game shape.  Well, maybe I can but everything would have to go perfectly.  And life seldom works that way, so my new change of plans is to race in Houston.  They are hosting the USA Half-Marathon Championships next year, and it's also a super fast marathon course.  I'm leaning towards the marathon but they are spending a ton of money on the half-marathon and I would get a lot more "perks" when it comes to travel, staying there, time bonuses, etc.  And the half-marathon will be insanely deep and could potentially set me up to break 63 minutes.  But the marathon is my true love, so right now, my plan is that.  So here's some random thoughts on random things that led to my decision, what I need to work on, etc.

But to sum it up in a more concise format, I'll paraphrase Renato Canova: "and athlete shouldn't follow a program, the program should follow the athlete".

  • The CIM course has a ton of rhtyhm changes and I'm not a rhythm guy.  I felt unprepared in this aspect and needed more time to get a feel for things.  To counteract that, Houston is a flat, rhythm course, which is exactly my style.
  • The second cycle in my marathon training, the speed cycle was pretty poor.  I never got in very many longer, intense sessions.  I expected to get in a lot of volume between 4:30-4:50 pace, consistent interval work, etc.  I got very little of that.  
  • I now will spend 3-4 weeks maximizing my speed a little bit more.  I can tell I lack a lot of power and efficiency at 5k/10k pace, so I will work to improve upon that. 
  • Mary is getting ready to go back to school in a few weeks.  When she does, I'll have to help with Ellis' night feedings.  Telling Mary at 2am that I'm not feeding him because I'm in taper mode wouldn't go over too well.
  • Going into my marathon specific phase, I also like to have a lot of long runs behind me.  When I get fit, easy long runs feel like they are barely even a stimulus.  I can easily drop down to 6:00 pace without thinking about it.  So far, I haven't had very many long runs and haven't gotten that endless endurance feeling yet.  If I can't get in the easier long stuff, how can I get in some high quality long stuff?
  • With the Houston Marathon so far away, I can get in some consistent big blocks of mileage.  While I would go into CIM with a few weeks of 125-130 miles, I now will be able to get in several more weeks of that and maybe even climb even higher.
  • To go along with that, I finally feel like my body is starting to become ready for some hard training.  I slimmed down a few pounds, am starting to have good workouts and would like to take advantage of that before beginning marathon stuff.
  • And to go along with that (again), I'm starting to do a lot of the smaller things.  I'm eating better, stretching and doing strength stuff.  I'd like a few months of that, rather than just a few weeks.
  • Lastly, I have almost a two week Christmas Break.  That will let me live a little bit like a pro marathon for that time.
  • Lastly, lastly.  I'm getting older and you can only run so many marathons.  The CIM course has a smaller margin of error when it comes to running fast, while Houston is more "fast" friendly.  I need to get under 2:15 to get a good time in and maybe open up some more doors for me.  
  • And the main thing I will miss about skipping CIM is that I heard it's a deep marathon field.  I've never run a deep marathon before and would love the chance since I'm best over that distance.  And they were paying for my travel, had good prize money and were giving $2,500 bonuses for running an "A" standard and $1000 for a "B" one.  That's some great support.

BAA Half-Marathon

I was supposed to run the Boston Marathon in April but got a little overtrained, so  I had to bail a few weeks out.  In September, I was messing around on the internet and was checking out the BAA Half-Marathon.  The course looked pretty tough but money went 10 deep.  In most recent years, I felt like I could have finished around 5th or 6th and after a couple of emails, I was set to compete.

Going into the race, I wasn't where I wanted to be, fitness wise, at that point in my training cycle but I still felt I was in decent shape. Maybe if the course was completely flat, I could run sub 64:30.  When I got the list of runners in the elite field, I must admit that I was a little bummed at first because there were 21 guys on the list, with me being closer to 21st than 10th place.  But in races, you never know what will happen and at least there would be some guys to run with and try to chase down.

On paper, the course looked pretty difficult.  It's mostly downhill the first half, with you climbing back up the second half.  Not my style.  If I HAD to have a lot of uphill running, I would much prefer the reverse route...uphill first half, with downhill the second.  But I wasn't expecting to run an Olympic Trials qualifier yet, I was just looking to go out there, race hard and see where my chips fell.

I got into Boston early on Friday afternoon.  I was rooming with Jeffrey Eggleston, who's run the marathon for the US in a couple of world championships.  While I've never met the guy in person, I've emailed a little bit with him in the past about some training stuff.  He's sort of like me (except faster) in that he trains almost entirely alone, follows somewhat of  a Canova philosophy and likes to run marathons frequently.  I figure I could annoy him with some more questions and pick his brain a little bit more.  We went for an easy run and then checked out some places for dinner.  While I was scoping out some pizza joints, we ended up eating at an Ethiopian place.  I've only had Ethiopian food one other time in my life but it was really good and seemed a little similar to Indian food, except of using silverware, you use a spongy sourdough-type bread called injera. It even inspired me to buy some teff and most likely butcher a meal and destroy the kitchen in the near future.

Saturday, we just bummed around and I was able to meet up with Miles Malbrough, who I coached his freshman year of track and sophomore year of cross country. The kid is now going to Harvard and is probably a future senator or something. After running with Miles and Jeffrey, I went on a tour of the half-marathon course.  I usually don't get a lot out of course tours because it's hard to imagine racing when you are in a bus, with a ton of other cars on the road, but it gave me something to do. And seeing almost the entirely uphill seventh mile freaked me out a bit.  I then killed a couple of hours and then went to our meeting, followed by dinner and after several episodes of Workaholics, went to bed.

Leading up to the race, there were a few drop-outs and I now felt like I was around 11th-12th on paper. Jeffrey and I talked about the race a little bit and I told him that since I'm around 12th on paper, I could very likely crack into the money spots, because my made up law of numbers state that when there's that many guys, at least one will drop out because of injury and 1-2 will bomb.  So I said that I could very likely grab some money, and after a long pause, added, if I wasn't one of the guys who bombed.

Before the race I warmed up for a couple of miles with Chris Barnicle and Aaron Braun and we ran down the hill that we had to run back up at the end of the race.  It didn't look fun.  Everyone then broke into their own warm-up routines and I did a few drills and some strides because that's all I really ever do.

When the race started, everyone shot off.  I followed my usual style of hanging back, watching the people in front of me and seeing who I could potentially hunt down later.  Within the first couple of minutes, Mark Kenneally, Aaron, Chris and Tekeste Kebede formed a pack, with Jeffrey a few seconds back, followed by me.  The guys ahead of them were way gone.  I caught up to Jeffrey shortly and we went through the first mile in 4:37.  That was my fastest mile I've ever run in a half-marathon but then again, it was mostly downhill.  At this point, we were probably about 8-10 seconds behind the quartet.  Since it was still really early, I didn't expect any of them to falter for a while but was hoping I'd be able to catch one of the those shortly before halfway.

Jeffrey left me a couple minutes later and I was on my own.  I didn't mind it so much because it gave me a chance to mentally find my rhythm.  I knew the next couple of miles were going to be slightly downhill, so I was expecting to run them just under 4:50.  However, my next two miles were: 4:56 and 4:57. I was getting a bit frustrated because while it felt like I was running half-marathon effort aerobically, my legs felt completely flat.  Jeffrey was pulling away at this point, and the pack of four turned into three as Kebede, and was shortly passed by me.

The downhills were over and it was now time for a little bit of climbing.  I was expecting to start to rig a little bit up the hills but I surprisignly didn't feel that bad.  Yeah, my splits weren't the greatest but my hips weren't feeling insanely tight, my quads weren't feeling weak and I wasn't leaning so far forward that I could almost smell the road, like I usually do on tough hills.

With the slower splits, I knew sub 65:00 was out of the question but I was hoping to try and stay under 5:00 pace, which would give me about a 65:30.  And, it was easy to do the math when I saw the clocks with the total time every mile.  At six miles, I snuck under 5:00 for what would be my last sub 5:00 mile of the race.  Part of me wanted to keep on pushing but mentally, I was defeated and somewhat checked out.  I really didn't feel like running anymore but wasn't going to drop out. And I even ended up passing one of the Ethiopian studs, who was limping.  Guess my rule of numbers is a fact.

From there, the miles got slower and my overall time got closer to a 5:00 average. I was surprised to run the 7th mile in 5:10 (toughest mile of the course) but that was the last good thing about the race.  At eight miles, I was at 39:32 (still can maybe get it), my nine mile time was 44:47 (it's coming for me) and at 10 miles, I was officially over a 5:00 average pace with a 50:07 cummulative time (and just under a 5:20 mile).  Once I saw that split, I really became discouraged and came back with a 5:40 mile.  When I saw that split, my first thought was that if I did that again, Kim Smith may catch up and pass me.  I haven't been chicked since 2008 and since I've run a half-marathon a few minutes faster than the women's world record, I did not want that to happen.

I sped up a little bit as I entered the Franklin Zoo.  This part of the course was pretty tough because you had a ton of zig-zags and even ran down this super skinny (literally about 1.5 feet wide) road for about 30 seconds, with overgrown vegetation smacking you in the legs.  After I left the zoo, I was happy to see the 12th mile sign because that meant I was almost done.  At this point, I was hoping someone would "Old Yeller" me but I kept on.  I wasn't sure what my overall time was going to be but was hoping it would be in the 66s.  I entered the track, finish up my last .1 miles and crossed the line in 67:17, to finish 13th.  I wasn't so much bummed as embarrassed.  I got brought up here to run well and I had my worst completed race since college. I dreaded walking back over to the tent because I didn't want to tell anyone that I ran over 67 minutes, since most of them ran really well.  Jeffrey even worked his way up throughout the field and finished in 63:41, to finish 7th, catching the early pack of four, as well as two other guys.  Tenth place ran 63:58, which I couldn't run on this course, even if I was in my June half-marathon shape.  And realistically, even if I ran really well, I still would have finished 13th.

A lot of the guys went for a cool-down and while I was planning on running a few miles with them at first, I stopped under a mile in because running was the last thing I wanted to do.  Everyone needs their little pity-party, I guess.

While I feel like I didn't learn a thing from the USA 25k Championships in Grand Rapids, I came home with a few good things here.  Seeing all of the other guys opened up my eyes a good bit.  While I feel I train just as hard and smart as them, they maximize their potential more than I do.  Yeah, I'll never be able to stay home, run and not work but there's a lot of things they do better than me that I feel I am capable of.  They are kings of the little things.  While I do a few leg swings before a race, a lot of them have pretty sophisticated warm-up routines.  Every night, while I sat on the bed, watched TV and ate, Jeffrey would stretch and do some strength stuff with an elastic band.  And none of them had two pieces of cake and two beers at dinner the night before.

Sometimes I feel like I'm trying to take a college class but instead of sitting in a class with a lot of other students (training partners) with a good teacher (coach), I'm stuck with ordering the textbook and trying to learn everything on my own.  I think Jeffrey referred to this a little bit when he said he felt like it would be good for me and I would learn a lot if I spent a week in somewhere like Flagstaff.  Not so much for the altitude but to be surrounded by more committed individuals who truly are out maximizing their potential.  Maybe one summer, I could drag the wife and kids and spend 5-6 weeks out there. So if anyone has a guest house, let me know!

So while the race was a bomb, I was able to see how better, more accomplished runners do things and got some ideas for the future.  I even restarted my core stuff, squatted for the first time in over five months and bought a stretching rope, which I use every night.  Before now, I haven't consistently stretched since the 20th century.  So I expect this race to improve me in the near future and further down the road.

So while I got my butt whooped here, I'll be back for some vengeance this winter.

Balanced Splits: 4:37, 4:56, 4:57, 4:51, 4:57, 5:00, 5:11, 5:03, 5:15, 5:20, 5:40, 5:21, 5:32, 37. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Netflix Pick of the Week

I decided to go with another TV show this week.  Maybe because Breaking Bad is over, I'm trying to find a new replacement (which can truly never happen).  But I've always wanted to watch Arrow and while the second half of season one was on Hulu Plus, I wanted to start from episode one.  While browsing through Netflix last week, I saw they added the complete first season. 

Arrow is based on the D.C. Comic superhero, the Green Arrow, who I really didn't know much about growing up.  The show follows rich playboy, Oliver Queen, who returns home after being stranded on an island for five years.  Before becoming stranded, he was on a boat with his father, his girlfriend's sister (who he was having an affair with) and some other people.  The boat becomes shipwrecked and while on the emergency raft, his father gives him a list of corrupt individuals in the city to go after.

Queen returns home and takes on his new role as masked vigilante, Arrow, who obviously uses a bow-and-arrow as his weapon of choice. Why not a gun? I have no idea.  I guess he may have been inspired by Daryl in the Walking Dead. While Queen plays a sarcastic, never-take-anything-too-seriously person in his daily life, he's all business when it comes to his inherited job and can beat up more people and dodge more bullets than Walker, Texas Ranger ever did. 

The show reminds me of a manlier version of the series, Revenge.  Hopefully it doesn't turn into a train wreck like that one did. And the best thing about is is that Mary actually tolerates it.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Shelby Bottoms Boogie

I've become super slack on my race reports, mainly because I'm slack.  And also because I run a lot of the same races every year and don't feel the need to rehash the same thing and give you the all of the little details.  But I've never run the Shelby Bottoms Boogie before and the state 15k record was somewhat soft, so I decided to use it as a long, hard tempo and see if I could sneak under it.

I didn't decide I was going to run this race until the day before.  With the BAA Half the next weekend, I didn't want to overwork myself and put a more important race in jeopardy.  The big determining factor was the weather.  Now this race usually has temperatures in the 40s.  Well, so they say.  But the forecast was predicting race time temperatures of around 65, with a 62  dew point.  A misery index of 127 isn't that bad.  If it would have been closer to 140, I would have axed it but since the weather looked ok (but not great).

Andy Baska held the state record at 46:44, which is around 5:01 pace.  My plan was to hover right at/just under 5:00, build a small cushion and then relax the last mile or two, if I could.  When I woke up on Saturday, it was five degrees warmer than what it predicted the night before.  Race time temperature would be almost 75, with a dew point of 65 and it was going to make a run for the hottest October 5th in Nashville history.  Not the most ideal temperature, but I was going to go after it anyway.  At least the course was mostly flat.

Man, I wish I would have run it the year they had this shirt

I warmed up with my favorite Saucony rep, Ricky Lupp and then got ready to run.  The lead biker was going to be my favorite Swiftwick employee, Hunter Hall.  When the race started, I tried to get after it right away so I wouldn't lose any time. Hunter did a great job of announcing to all the Saturday morning walkers that a race was going on and I was waiting for someone to throw something at him or try and beat him up but nothing happened. 

I went through the first mile in 4:58 and didn't feel too smooth but I kept on.  I became annoyed since I forgot to turn off my auto-lap on my Garmin.  In races, the Garmin always measures long, so it would reset my watch a few seconds before each mile and then I would have to hit the lap button at the actual mile marker and add up the two numbers.  The next two miles were 4:57 and 4:56, so I was starting to find my rhythm.  I was getting tired of having to add up the times, so I stopped paying attention to the watch and used the 1/4 mile marker signs on the trail.  I looked at my overall time and would try and run each segment under 75 seconds and I was clicking off consistent 73s.

I was banking time with every mile and the heat started playing a role, so at seven miles, I relaxed a bit because I had over a twenty second cushion.  At eight miles, I still had about the same amount, so I backed off again, especially because there were some hills in this part.  I ended up crossing the finish line in 46:37, sneaking under the record by seven seconds. My effort level was pretty controlled and I was happy with how it felt because I feel like I could have run a half-marathon at this pace.

Despite the weather, this was a good race.  The course is fast, whether you run the 5k or 10k, most of the Nashville racing community comes out to run it and they even had marshmallows to dip into melted chocolate.

October 14th-20th

Monday: 10.2 miles (6:22); 5.5 miles (7:45ish)

Tuesday: 5 miles (6:42); 11.2 miles (6:39)

Wednesday: 5.9 miles (6:43); 10.4 miles (6:55). Was going to do 20x1:00 on/off but I came home from work with a killer headache

Thursday: 8.1 miles (6:55). Was going to do yesterday's workout during my lunch break but was it raining, cold and super windy; 10.1 miles with 4.76 miles of 1:00 on/off.   Since I had the race in about 36 hours, I cut the workout short a little bit and ran to the end of LSC and back, and then up-and-down Bison Way.  Eased into the intervals and always kept it smooth and controlled. 5:26 average for the fartlek and right at 4:30 average for the fast running.

Friday: 8 miles (6:46); 6.8 miles (7:06)

Saturday: 18.4 miles with half-marathon in 66:23. Rode down to Cookeville with Jeanette Faber to run the Haunted Half.  I was going to run around marathon effort but I got a free entry and the race director wanted a new course record, so I was planning to sneak under it (66:33).  Festus Chemaoi ran with me for about 1.5 miles and then I was on my own.  Got out pretty quick because of a downhill first mile and then locked into 5:05ish pace.  I wasn't feeling very smooth a few miles in and thought I'd drop into the 5:10 range, but I kept on clicking off the splits with no increase in effort.  My Garmin wrist band broke about halfway in, so I had to turn around, get it and then hold it in my hand the rest of the race.  Right around this point, extreme nature was calling for the first time ever in a race.  I debated jumping into some bushes but didn't want the cops to get me for indecent exposure and I wasn't sure about the available foliage in the area.  It was getting really rough about 8-9 in, there was a porta-john and I was about to jump in but then realized that I would miss the course record and what would the lead cops do? Stop and wait outside?  I kept on running and luckily made it to the end.  It was a gamble because I knew if nature exploded on me, I wouldn't be known as the guy who broke the course record but the guy who pooped his pants that one year.  That's what I get for eating chilli for dinner on Thursday, again for lunch on Friday and then eating a chorizo quesadilla for a late dinner on Friday.  I knew I was a little bit ahead of pace at 11-12 and with my butt feeling like it had a heart beat, I slowed it down a bit and eased my way in.  Pretty pleased with the effort level because while I was feeling flat early on, it never got any worse and I never had to push very hard.  The course had a lot of rollers (800 ft. of elevation gain, compared to 1000 ft. for twice the distance for CIM in a few weeks) and also a lot of turns.  And this year, only one side of the road was blocked off, so I always had to stay on the right side, which added an extra .8 miles, according to my Garmin last year. Jeanette also beat the course record as well.  Tough course but I always enjoy this race.  Balanced splits: 4:51, 5:03, 5:04, 5:04, 5:04, 5:05, 5:00, 5:01, 10:13 (two miles), 5:12, 5:05, 5:41 (1.1); 3.4 miles (7:17)

Sunday: 4.5 miles (7:11); 10.5 miles (7:11)

Week Total=118 miles.  Good week after a terrible race.  I hated delaying my fartlek because if I would have done it on Wednesday, I could have gotten more volume and intensity but maybe my legs needed the rest.  This week, I'll probably set a new PR for miles in a week and will knock out my first marathon-specific workout. And congrats to Lanni Marchant for breaking the Canadian National Marathon record with her 2:27:58.  I ran with her for two easy runs during her build-up, so I take full credit for her performance.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Netflix Pick of the Week

The Following is a TV show that debuted on FOX earlier this year.  Season two starts sometime next year and they've just added season one on Netflix.  I really got into this show and was really impressed with the first season.

The Following follows FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) as he tries to capture serial killer, Joe Carroll, after he escapes from prison.  Carroll's mannerisms and personality remind me a little bit like Hannibal Lector, except he doesn't eat people (I don't think).  But before Carroll escaped, he slowly built up and groomed a large network of serial killers to do his bidding and cling to every word he says.

Carroll has a major beef with Hardy with the endgame of kidnapping his son and murdering his Hardy's ex-wife (who Hardy stole from Carroll).  The show is pretty intense and can get pretty dark at times, especially for network TV.  I tried to get Mary to watch it but she only lasted until someone got stabbed in the eyeball with a screwdriver, just a few minutes into the first episode.

This would have been a great one-season show but I'm interested to see how season two turns out.  Hopefully it doesn't go in a hundred different directions and die an ugly death like so many other shows do.


Monday, October 14, 2013

October 7th-13th Training

Monday: 9.7 miles (6:32); 5.5 miles (7:05)

Tuesday:  9.4 miles (6:32); 7.8 miles with 4xstrides, 6xhill blasts (6:56)

Wednesday:  5.9 miles with drills and 4xstrides.  I was going to do 6x1 mile at the track, but it was closed.  Drove to another track and it was closed.  I was then going to do a fartlek but by this point, I was hungry, thirsty and didn't feel like running hard, so I stopped a quarter mile into the fartlek.  Too many changes of plans messed my mind up.  I'll try again.  12.1 miles with 4.74 mile progression run.  Ran to the end of LSC and then up-and-down Bison Way.  Plan was to start at 5:05 and work down 5s a mile.  Balanced splits were 5:04, 4:58, 4:53, 4:47, 3:24 (4:36 pace).  I had trouble finding my gear the first mile was over 5:10 pace at .80 miles.  Finally found the flow three miles in.  I thought I would lose time on the fourth since half of it was gradually uphill but I maintained my pace.  Most of the final .74 was down a gradual downhill, so it was easy to fly.  Good workout and confidence booster.

Thursday: 6.8 miles (7:02); 10.7 miles (6:58)

Friday: 10 miles with 4 miles of .15 at sub 4:20 pace, .35 miles easy; 7.7 miles (7:36)

Saturday: 8.8 miles (7:30ish)

Sunday: 16.4 miles with BAA Half-Marathon in 67:17. Crappy performance.  Ran the first mile with Jeffrey Eggleston, about 10s behind a four man pack.  Jeffrey left me about 1.5 miles in and I just fell further and further back.  Tried to find my gears but I could never find my rhthym and my legs never had that race feeling.  Even early on, I felt like I was running 5+ seconds faster than what the splits were telling me.  At 5-6 miles, I knew it was going to be a tough day and once I started running over 5:00 pace, I lost hope and once I started dropping over 5:20, I was frustrated, embarrassed and just wanted to finish up.  Worst race I've finished since college but I took some good things out of the weekend, which I'll get into later.

Week Total= 110.8 miles. Good week up until the race.  I felt really good on my recovery runs and had a good Wednesday session.  Before the race, I had three good workouts in a row, so maybe those workouts piled on me and ended up wearing me out for the race.  Who knows? What I do know is that I have work to do and some changes to make.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Netflix Movie of the Week

Since it's October and a bunch of new horror's have been added to Netflix, I have to add one of my favorite movies of all time, Evil Dead 2.  And it even is supposed to take place in Tennessee! 

Evil Dead 2 is obviously the second movie in the Evil Dead franchise, which is written and directed by Sam Raimi.  The first one was super low-budget and pure horror.  Well, that's the genre it fit in.  Evil Dead 2 is about 50/50 horror and comedy and a much better film than the first one. In the first Evil Dead, five college students are on a vacation, deep in the isolated woods.  Since it was in the early 80s, I don't know how they could have even heard about the place.  There was no Craigslist or VRBO and I doubt it was high on a travel agent's list. But somehow they got there.  While there, they find an audiotape, which is then played.  It wasn't the best idea because the tape unleashes a legion of demons, which then go on to possess some of the college kids and then chaos ensues.

The second film starts where the first one ends.  Ash (Bruce Campbell) wakes up after getting KO'd by a tree.  When dawn comes, the spirits (deadites) go away but they come back at dusk.  Ash is again trying to battle them before he gets possessed and is helped inhibited by a group of people who have stumbled upon the cabin. 

This movie is a much watch for any horror movie.  It's even in my movie Hall of Fame.  I don't what exactly that means or entails but it's in there.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2.5 weeks later

Last year, several runners from the Hendersonville Running Club ran the Top of Utah Marathon and had a really positive experience.  I've always wanted to go to Utah and over the last year, have started running some marathons as steady, long sessions rather than flat-out races.  If I take it easy for a few days before and after the race, and treat it like a "real" marathon, fueling wise, I feel it's a really good training stimulus and doesn't require much more recovery than my normal faster long runs, which I run on an empty stomach, with no fuel during the run.

My goal for the race was for Jake Krong and I to take the first two spots and run 2:25 on the faster end but obviously, slower would better. The course lost a little over 1,000 ft. in elevation and went from around 5500 ft. to 4500 ft. with most of that coming in the first 14 miles, which winds down a canyon.  I was a little nervous that all of that downhill running and eccentric contractions would wreak havoc on my quads, but was hoping the reduced effort wouldn't make post-race soreness too much of an issue.  I was also a little bit nervous about the altitude.  I didn't expect to notice it running while downhill but the issue would still be there and would deifnitely kick in ater the downhills were over.

A week before the race, Jake and I saw we were the top seeds.  However, Seth Pilkington was in the field.  Seth was a major stud a few years ago before getting diabetes.  He seems like he's getting back to the grind and even ran a mid 30 10k this summer, so I knew he would be tough.  I felt like we would definitely be able to beat him, but his marathon race pace was going to be harder than I probably would have liked.  I saw that he also has a diabetic dog, which can detect when he has low blood sugar.  There's a fourth grade kid at my school who is diabetic and I thought I'd impressed him with my diabetic dog knowledge but he only said, "yeah, I knew that a couple months ago."

Other than Seth, there were two mystery Kenyans entered.  I say mystery Kenyans because I had no idea what their names were.  I checked the final entry list and didn't see any Kenyan names on it, but the pre-race article said two Kenyans would compete for the win, so I was baffled.  When people hear "Kenyans", they automatically think "fast runners." There are fast Kenyans and slow Kenyans.  What these two were, I had no idea.  I figured they were coming to win the cash and probably would follow Jake's and my strategy of running for place.  I didn't want to run too fast and would let them go if need be.  But if the pace hovered around 2:25 until 10k to go, I didn't mind throwing down a little bit, if needed.

Thursday morning, I was up at 3:00am so I could get a quick workout in before leaving and then just before 6:30am, I was boarded and ready to head to Chicago.  After a three hour delay in Chicago, I finally landed in Salt Lake City.  I picked up my little Ford Fiesta hatchback and after turning down upgrading to a Corvette and a ton of other stuff, I was finally on my way. I was staying at the hotel on the Utah State University campus and after checking in, I went out for a run.  Surprisingly, I didn't notice the altitude at all and despite being soaked in sweat after my morning run in Tennessee, I barely sweat at all in the dry, mountain air.  I also noticed the people look a lot different in Utah.  While in the good ol' South, runners stick out pretty easily (if they aren't behind someone else), out here, it seemed like everyone was pretty fit. The altitude didn't seem to bother me at all, but then again, I was just jogging.  I did notice that it dried me out a good bit and I was a lot more thirsty than usual.

Friday morning, I headed out to Bear Lake for a run, which was about 45 minutes away.  I was a little nervous going from 4500 ft. elevation to 6000 ft. but I was bored, so went anyway. The page online said the route gave great views of the lake but the only thing I saw of note was some kid garbed up in dirt biking clothes, get mad at his brothers and start stomping on a plastic bucket, breaking it.  Kids these days. After the run, I was planning on driving to Wyoming, to rack up a new state but decided to head back since I plan on going to Grand Teton and Yellowstone one day.

Friday afternoon I met up with the Hendersonville crew (Skip and Charlene Alcorn, Jim Smith and Shari Payne) to pick-up our race packets and drive the canyon part of the course.  I was starting to feel pretty bad and was really hoping it was just an allergy issue, instead of an incoming virus.  While the drive down the canyon was really pretty, it had a ton of twists.  That meant running the tangents would be really important so I didn't add too much distance.  And I was happy to see that the canyon was a very slight downhill, rather than a bunch of big drops...much easier on the legs.  After driving the course, we went to some pizza place for dinner.  I had no appetite at all and was having my own mental pity party because I thought for sure I was getting sick. After dinner, I headed straight to bed.  But unfortunately, there was some dance party or something on campus that sounded like it was right outside my window.  I eventually got used to it because at least there was some rhythm to it, but I didn't get used to the screaming little kids running down the hallway.  I went out there a few times to try and mean-mug someone, but never saw anyone.  A few minutes later, the three Benadryl kicked in and I was out.

I woke up several times during the night, with a killer headache and a lot of nausea.  Anytime I tried to drink any water, I felt like I would throw up.  So I guess it was either dehydration or puking pizza. I chose the dehydration. I was out of bed for good around 4:15am and still had the killer headache and nausea.  I took some Excedrin Migraine, which made me nervous because I've never had that on the day of a race but as long as it helped the headache, I didn't care. I took a few sips of water and tried to make some coffee in my room, but the coffee maker was broken. I then went upstairs to the breakfast room to try and get some and when I poured it into my cup, it looked more like dirty creek water than the dark, heavily caffeinated coffee I was hoping for.  There went that idea but I guess Utah isn't exactly the best place to find a good cup of joe.  After downing a Powerbar and a pack of Pop-Tarts, I headed downstairs to catch the bus, which took us to another bus.  I sat behind some guy named Scott who was from Atlanta.  He had his buddy with him, but I'm terrible with names and can't remember it.  Luckily the Atlanta guy shared the same name as me. After about 10 minutes, we made our ways to another bus, for the 45 minute ride to the top of the canyon.

It turned out that Jake was on my bus, so I hung out with him until the race started.  I was insanely thirsty and luckily he had about 20 ounces of Gatorade, which I instantly chugged.  We waited in the overly long Porta-John line and it turns out my old Nashville buddy, Mark Spencer, was a few spots ahead of us.  Small world.  He just started working for Zappos in Las Vegas, who pays for his road racing fees and even offer a nap room at work.  That's my kind of job!  Twenty minutes later, we were finally done, as well as a couple pounds lighter.

About 20 minutes before the race, I did a short 1/2 mile warm-up or so, then stripped down to my shorts and singlet and did a few strides and more jogging. The temperature was right above 40 at the bottom of the canyon and after 1,000 ft. of elevation gain, I have to believe the temperature was in the mid 30s.

On the starting line, I saw Sasha Pachev, who usually runs the Rocket City Marathon.  He and his son both race in the old school Crocs, which they seem to really like.  I don't think I could ever pull that off, but everyone has their own taste.

When the race started, Seth shot to the front, along with some other guy with no Kenyan spottings pre-race. The pace felt really relaxed and I hung back about 10 meters or so.  I checked over my shoulder for Jake and he was about 10m behind me.  I kept the 10m distance for a couple miles while watching the two run.  Seth seemed super smooth and efficient, so I paid more attention to him because he seemed like the bigger threat.

After the other guy dropped, I decided to pull up beside Seth so he wouldn't think I was a pace mooch.  The pace still felt really easy and we were doing our best to run the tangents, while staying in a steady rhythm.  At one of the water spots, he grabbed his own water bottle which bummed me out because I didn't even think to ask if we were allowed to turn any in.  Luckily, I was packing some gel in my waistband and downed one, sans water and Jake's girlfriend, Andra was going to hand us some stuff at 14 and 20 miles.  We hung together and luckily the scenery was pretty because it was getting kind of boring and slightly awkward running right beside some dude for several miles and not saying anything.  A couple times, I would check back to see where Jake was and he seemed like he was about 200m behind.  I felt bad for leaving him so early but the pace felt super relaxed and I didn't want Seth to get too far ahead or too much confidence, so I stuck with him.

At the first Gu spot.  I heard someone yell "Berry" and it was an attempted grab and miss, so I grabbed the next one I saw. Crap, it was peanut butter flavored.  Seth must have heard me complaining because he asked if I got a peanut butter Gu.  I tried a tiny drop out of it before wanting to puke and I got mad and threw it into the woods like an angry ninja slinging a ninja star.  There went 100 calories I was supposed to get-in.  I then remembered they had Gatorade at most of the water spots, so I decided getting a couple ounces out of a cup or two would be better than nothing.  I would go for more than a couple ounces, but I could never drink out of cups without spilling and splashing it everywhere.  And I like most flavors of Gatorade, so I didn't think it would be an issue.  I finally made it to the next water stop and ran over to the first person I heard yell "Gatorade!"  I grabbed the cup and was mad again because it was grape, which is my least favorite flavor in Gatorade, Freeze-Pops, Snow Cones and most things.  And it wasn't just grape, but deep-down dark and overly concentrated grape.  I didn't even attempt it to drink it and slung the cup into the woods again.  If I was racing at a true marathon effort, I would have been really mad but since I was keeping this at around 95% of MP effort, getting in a few less calories shouldn't be a big issue.
Never Again

Seth and I still hung together until I heard him start to cough a good bit after taking in one of his fuel bottles.  He then fell back and it sounded like he was going to puke or something.  I slowed the pace a bit because I was running a little faster than I wanted and I'd rather him catch back up so we could run together later on.  After two consecutive 5:30s, he was still falling back, so I decided to pick it up some to try and break him mentally a bit, which would help Jake reel him in.

When I hit Andrea at 14 miles, I was going to let her know that Seth was dropping and for Jake to move a little bit.  When I checked over my shoulder around a turn, I saw that Jake was already in second place and about a minute behind or so. Perfect.  Right before getting my fuel bottle from Andrea, I saw an insanely huge hill.  I knew for sure that I would die on that thing but the course veered right and it was more slightly downhill running.  What a relief.

I didn't know what to do here.  I knew Jake was running really well and if I backed off too much, he'd catch me and then I'd either get second and slow down even more or if I wanted to win, I would potentially have to hammer pretty hard the last 10k or so.  If I kept on with the pace, I could potentially increase the gap even more and then hope Jake backed off, so I could back off as well.  I was feeling good, so I picked it up a little bit and was clicking off 5:15 miles, feeling really controlled.  At one point, a little yappy dog came out and started snapping at the boots of the cop on the lead motorcycle.  I expected him to bust a cap in him, but the dog backed off.  I waited for the dog to come up to me so I could field goal kick him over a fence but he just ran away.

While the dog never came for me, pretty soon, the altitude did.  At 18 miles, I went from feeling fresh as a daisy to wondering what the heck was happening.  I could breathe but it didn't feel satisfying at all.  I could tell that I was slowing down, despite more effort.  And after looking at the elevation map, post-race, 18 miles is exactly where the downhills stop and you have mostly flat running with a few little rollers. I instantly lost 15 seconds and tried not to fight it.  At this point in the race, the course has a lot of turns, so I hoped my lead was big enough to "hide" and not be spotted before another turn came.

At 20 miles, I got my last fuel bottle, which was perfect timing because it gave me something to distract me from the discomfort of the altitude.  I was really looking forward to just being done and was already mentally over this race.  At 22 miles, I relaxed a little bit more and it still appeared that I had a nice sized lead.  At 24 miles, I slowed down again and the last mile, I was just running to finish.  I wasn't trashed or anything, but I knew if I didn't slow down, fatigue would probably force me to.

Finally, the finish line was here and I crossed in 2:22:30.  Well, the official results say 2:22:34, but my Garmin said the former time and someone else I talked to said their official time was four seconds slow.  After crossing, I waited around to see Jake cross the line about a minute later, looking fresh as a daisy.  While I won the race, I felt like I ran harder than he did and realized that he's really fit right now.  I then walked right to the massage table.  I felt my legs buckle a bit when I walked down a small hill and knew my quads were going to be killing me the next day.  And my GPS only read 26.45 miles.  Not bad for all of the turns.

The 1-2 finish we planned.  Jake looks much sweatier than me.  Guess he needs to do some "poor man's altitude" training in Nashville

Seth ended up having some blood sugar issues and the guy who originally led with him, Jesse Dunn, finished in third, about 10 minutes behind me.  If Seth wasn't in the equation, Jake and I could have run about 10 minutes slower, which would mean much faster recovery, post-race. Oh well.

At the awards,  I ended up getting a really cool moose trophy.  I normally keep most of my trophies, unless they are cool looking or unique.  This was probably my favorite one I ever got, so I am definitely keeping it.
Top 2 men and women

On my way back to my car, I got a twitter message from my friend Ben Jackson.  We used to run together in the off-seasons during my college breaks and he just moved to Salt Lake City.  I planned to meet up with him, as I was staying with Jake in SLC overnight, so I could have a short drive to the airport in the morning.  I decided to head back to SLC a little earlier than planned, so I could have time to see Ben, but not before a stop to In-N-Out Burger.  It's no Jumbo & Delicious, but it's much better than my $1 Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger that I usually get at McDonalds.

I went out to eat with Jake, Andrea  and later on, Ben at some Neapolitan pizza place.  I think Neapolitan is Italian for "overly priced pizza with fancy sounding toppings". Just give me tons of cheese, pepperonis and grease.  It was good to catch back up with Ben and reminisce about old times while talking about our current and future lives.
That's the ticket

While I was looking forward to getting home to Mary, Kate and Ellis, I was also going to miss Utah, especially Salt Lake City.  You have tons of national parks within driving distance, tons of awesome ski resorts right near you and the weather is much better than the swampy South.  Our plan is to head to Greenville, SC if we end up moving sometime but I think I'm going to push Salt Lake City to the top of the list.

And yes, the soreness came for me. Big time.  I can't imagine how much pain I would have been in if I ran this one all out.  Coming in, I thought this would be an insanely fast course, but after running it, I don't think that it really is.  Sasha and I talked about it and we both feel that for the non-altitude athlete, it's a little slower than your typical flat and fast course.  Yeah, the elevation drop helps big time but you can't take advantage of it too much, or you'll trash your quads and be dead when it's time for the real racing.  Now, if you trained extensively for downhill running and lived at altitude, I feel like you could fly on it.  Move this course to a place with cool weather, low humidity and have it drop from 1,000 ft. to sea level and any 2:10 marathoner would break 2:00 on it.  But don't let that scare you off.  The weather is usually very favorable, which is a big factor in marathon racing.  And the race is very well organized, with Porta-Johns and clothing drop-off boxes literally every mile and plenty of people out there chasing their Boston qualifiers.  Maybe I'll come back next year and if I do, I'll be a little more ready for the downhills.

Balanced Splits: 5:23, 5:33, 5:17, 5:12, 5:20, 5:20, 5:22, 5:14, 5:19, 5:23, 5:30, 5:29, 5:28, 5:19, 5:14, 5:13, 5:18, 5:17, 5:32, 5:33, 5:24, 5:38, 5:40, 5:31, 5:55, 6:03, 63.

September 30th-October 6th Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:45); 6.2 miles (7:12)

Tuesday: 10 miles (6:42); 6.1 miles with 4xstrides, 4xhill blasts (7:33)

Wednesday: 3 miles (6:51). Wanted to run further but it was pouring rain during lunch and I ran this three hours before the workout; 14.9 miles with 2 miles@10kish, 1/2 mile jog, 1 mile@5kish, 1/2 mile jog, 8x1/4 mile hill with jogdown recovery. The weather was just under 80 for the temp and just under 70 for the dew point, so I slowed down my goal times to 9:50 and 4:45. Ran 9:43 for the two mile with splits of 4:52, 4:51. It felt fast at first but once I got settled in, it became a little more comfortable.I ran 4:35 in the my mile, which I was pleased with because it didn't feel that bad.  I averaged upper 71s on my hills, which climbed about 40 feet in the quarter mile.  It's kind of a sissy hill but was enough to work my hip flexors and adductors pretty well.  Good confidence booster because I normally don't run these sessions on the road very well and I was expecting to die on the hills.  Fitness is climbing.

Thursday: 11.6 miles (6:48); 6.8 miles (7:27)

Friday: 8 miles (6:53); 6.8 miles with 6xstrides (7:08)

Saturday: 14.7 miles with 15k race.  I was trying to get under the state record of 46:44, which is 5:01 pace, so the goal was to keep it around 5:00 pace and see how I felt.  The weather was pretty warm, with a misery index of almost 140.  Was consistently running in the 4:55-5:00 range for the first 10k and feeling pretty smooth, then I could start feeling the heat.  At 7 miles, I had about a 20 second time cushion, so I backed off the pace some and finished up at 46:37.  Good confidence booster because I felt like I could have run 65:30 if I would have hammered for a full half-marathon.  Not bad for a solo effort in warm conditions; 3.1 miles (7:22)

Sunday: 20.1 miles (6:13). Rained out first thing in the morning, so didn't get started until after 2pm.  Got started a little faster than usual but hung out in the 6:10 range, rather than slowly dipping down like I usually do.  Legs felt really good but the body just didn't want to dip under 6:00 pace today (other than for two miles).  Felt pretty decent at the end.

Week Total: 120.4 miles. My first good week since the spring with decent volume, intensity and endurance work.  It would have been fun to duke it out at TCM but I enjoyed following the race. A lot of guys took their shot at the front and a ton of people raced well.  I was surprised to see Nick Arciniaga rally back a few times and then eventually get the win, after outkicking Josphat Boit. Getting dropped and then catching a few times shows major mental toughness.  My favorite person to see win is someone who does most of the work during the race.  Other than that, I like seeing guys battle through adversity, only to come back and take the victory.

I'm heading out to Boston to run in the BAA Half this Sunday.  The course looks tough and I don't really have a time goal.  I don't think I can knock out a Trials qualifier on that course with my current level of fitness, so my goal is to duke it out and not completely die on the hills during the second half.  I saw Zach Hine is on the entry list, so I'll probably key-off him since he's consistent and fit.  While he'd probably smoke me in a shorter race, finishing close to him will be a good race for me.  

Saturday, October 5, 2013

US Marathon Championships

This weekend, the Twin Cities Marathon is also hosting the U.S. Half-Marathon Championships.  $25,000 goes to the winner, and they can also pick up an extra $1,500 if they win the overall race as well.  The final men's list can be found here. Normally, I think I'm a know-it-all and will predict the top 5-10 or whatever.  But in this race, I have no freaking idea who will win, as I believe about 8-10 different guys can.  What surprises me the most is who isn't running.  I definitely expected one of the Twin Cities guys to show up and defend their turf.  If Andrew Carlson was healthy (and I don't know if he is or isn't) and on the entry list, he'd be my pick to win the thing.  He ran 2:11 in his debut, limped his way to a 2:17 in terrible weather in Houston and has the 5k speed to breakaway from guys late in the race. Mike Reneau ran a huge breakthrough race this past spring with his 2:13 and he would be a top 3 threat and Joe Moore is always a gamer as well but he doesn't seem in-love with the marathon.  If I were a betting man, he's probably thinking about laying some whoopings on some guys at the US 12k Championships and Club Cross Country Championships at the end of the year, followed by a fast half-marathon in January at the US Half-Marathon Championships.

If I were Matt Tegenkamp's coach, I would have thrown him into this race.  Maybe he's getting a sweet appearance fee for racing Chicago, but this would have been the perfect race for him.  He would be the favorite (and maybe a big one) and he would be able to hang at the front of the pack the entire race and work on getting a knack for marathon racing tactics while also getting a feel for the marathon distance.  Then in the spring, he could run a fast time-trial type marathon.  No more armchair quarterbacking him and onto armchair quarterbacking others.

I view this race as a two-gang fight until one man is left.  The first gang is the speedsters.  They either haven't run a marathon yet or haven't run that matches up with their abilities in the shorter distances.  I'm dubbing Shadrack Biwott as the leader of these roughens, with Josphat Boit, Joseph Chirlee, Christo Landry and Tim Ritchie backing him up.  On the other side of the tracks are the marathoners, led by 2:11 shot caller, Nick Arciniaga.  Backing him up are Tyler McCandless, Sergio Reyes, Craig Curley and Patrick Rizzo. Yeah, I think guys like Michael Eaton, Scott MacPherson or Abdelaaziz Atmani can finish in the top 5, but I'm not sure if they have the firepower to win.

If this was a straight up half-marathon, scored cross country style, it wouldn't be out of the realm to have the speedsters get a perfect, 1st-5th score.  All five of them have run very fast from the mile through 25k and most of them are very consistent in those distances.  But the marathon can be cruel and with the threat of the Grim Reaper sneak attacking you anytime after 20 miles, anything can happen.

The speedsters will want to stay as relaxed as possible for as long as possible.  They are much more accomplished over the shorter stuff and haven't proven themselves in the marathon, so why take a chance with 25 G's on the line? If one of them wants to win, I believe they have to be the last one to strike and only when the final pack is very thin.  With the temperature looking nearly ideal and the potential for a tailwind, they have to be entering the race more confidently.  Those conditions will make it easier to stay relaxed and make the pace feel a good bit easier, which is exactly what you want in a marathon. 

While the marathoners don't have the speedsters wheels, they have more rodeos under their belt and have answered the question about how they can perform in the 26.2 mile distance.  Arciniaga has run two 2:11s.  Reyes won the US Championships on this course in 2010 and pretty much never has a bad race.  Rizzo ran 2:13 at the last Olympic Trials and McCandless is having a heck of a year and ran a pretty easy 2:21 a few weeks ago on a hot and hilly course.  I don't know a lot about Curley, except that he ran really well at the US 25k Championships in May, sometimes races in a hat and makes me feel fat.  The other advantage I believe these guys have is that as a whole (every individual is different), they are running tomorrow more for the pride and glory instead of the money. Who do you want in battle?  A hired mercenary or someone who wants to fight?

The marathoners may feel like they have the pressure on them.  They should go into the race expecting to do a large part of the work but with that, they can also control the style and nature of the race. The guys wanting to hang back are entering somewhat of an unknown race without knowing how the race will unfold.  That should cause at least a hair of uncertainty and fear.  I know Arciniaga has had some rough races lately, but he should enter this race feeling like he's the favorite, rather than worrying about guys with better running resumes than him.  The downside to that though, is that if he wants to set a quick pace, he may have to do it on his own.  Leading a marathon wire-to-wire is tough and requires a ton of mental energy but he may have the tools to do it. If I were him, I would have gotten one of his Flagstaff crew to enter the marathon and secretly be his rabbit and run sub 5:00 pace for the first 15-18 miles, before dropping out and then give them a portion of my winnings.

But it doesn't look like that will happen, so here's what I think would be the best thing for him.  If he reads this and wins using this strategy, he owes me a beer one day.  If I were him, I wouldn't start off that hard.  Maybe let some other guys do some work as long as the pace stays around 5:05 pace or so. At that effort, the pace is going to feel really relaxed for the speedier guys.  They are 61-62 minute marathoners, so coming through a half in 66 minutes is going to feel like a stroll.  A little bit after the half, I think it'd be good to throw in some hardish, moderate length surges.  Maybe a 4:50  mile here and there.  Again, I think those would still feel pretty easy at first to the fast guys but it would serve the same purpose as body shots do in a boxing match.  Body shots don't hurt that much at first (unless it's a shin to the liver, which doesn't feel good at all).  They are designed to put wear-and-tear on the fighter over time.  While they may feel ok for a while, once the cumulative damage starts to kick in, they begin to slowly fall apart and then, that's when you go for the knock-out and start the real racing. And not only will the surges cause physical damage and burn up some of their glycogen stores, but mentally, it causes damage.  A marathon is a long way to focus and if you can get someone to spend too much mental energy early on, they are going to have a harder time really zoning in when it matters most.

Now how can the other marathoner-types win?  Bide their time, hope Arciniaga and the speedsters get in a racing rumble early on and then enter the battle late in the race, after the guys have beat each other up.  It's like an old school Royal Rumble.  You don't have to be the best 'rassler in the ring to win, if you enter the ring later than everyone else.

Another factor that will throw a wrench or cash in the way of others is the long, gradual climb between 20.25-23 miles.  It only climbs a little over 150 feet during that time but that's when the marathon can get very difficult, even on a dead flat course.  Throw some pre-hill surges into the legs of some guys before that and you can break them during and after the hill (assuming you don't break yourself). 

So that's my view on the men's race.  If you put a gun to my head and make me pick the three guys who have the best shot at winning, I'm going with Arciniaga, Biwott and Boit with McCandless being my sentimental favorite.  I don't think there's a nicer pro marathoner out there.

While following the race will be exciting, I'm pretty bummed I'm not racing it.  I haven't had a shot to run a deep, competitive marathon yet and I think it'd be fun to duke it out with those guys and see if I could sneak away with a top 5 finish.  Hopefully CIM will be stacked.

I can't even figure out my wife sometimes, so I'm not going to try to guess how the women's race unfolds.  However, I will say that I believe Meghan Armstrong Peyton will win.  She's in her own backyard, has had a heck of a year, really seems to have her head on straight and doesn't have to worry about a particularly deep field.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New Marathon World Record

This past weekend, Wilson Kipsang broke the world record at the Berlin Marathon, running 2:03:23. At 4:43 per mile, that's pretty freaking fast.  To put it in perspective, I saw this posted a few places:

How long could you run with Kipsang?
  • Couch potato: 20m (3.54 seconds)
  • Fairly athletic 12-year-old: 100m (17.69 seconds)
  • Five-a-day-eating, non-smoking, healthy adult: 200m (35.38 seconds)
  • Nauseatingly fit bloke you see jogging around the local park: 600m (1 minute 46 seconds)
  • The fastest person you went to school with: 800m (2:21)
  • A competitive county-level athlete: one mile (4:43)
  • Emil Zatopek, 10,000m world record holder from 1949 to 1956: 10,000m (29:18)
  • A professional half-marathon athlete: 13.1 miles (around 1:01.41)
  • Nobody, in the history of athletics: 26.2 miles - a full marathon (2:03.23)
I don't know how they came up with the data, but it's cool to look at.  Maybe if I jumped on that same course, under the same conditions, in my peak fitness, I could last a little over 10 miles.  Who knows?

It's also impressive that he ran that fast for his fourth marathon in 13 months.  But his record may not last long as semi-marathon rookie, Eliud Kipchoge and Geoffrey (looks so much cooler when it's spelled with a G) Kipsang weren't too far back.  While the sub 2:00 marathon won't come for a long time, I can see the record dipping in the 2:02s in the next year or two.

Renato Canova gave an excellent recap on the men's and women's Berlin Marathon races as well as more in-depth information on Kipsang.  I always enjoy reading Canova's opinions on things (except when it comes to one issue) and feel like he is one of, if not the best marathon coach in the world.  I feel he has a complete picture of the race and everything it entails.  Almost like the Yoda of distance running coaches. Cheers to a great performance last weekend.

Netflix Pick of the Week

Everyone I know who has seen The Grey falls into one of two parties. They either think it's a good movie or insanely boring. I end up siding with the former. 

 File:The Grey Poster.jpg

In the movie, John Ottway, played by Liam Neeson, is a rough and manly Alaskan, who was hired by an oil rig to hunt wolves who try to attack the attackers.  Pretty alpha guy.  His wife has died and he lives in the state that has the highest percentage of depressed people in the US. He nearly commits suicide before deciding to go on with life.

After his job is done, he boards a plane back to civilization with a bunch of other oil rig guys.  Too bad the plan crashes in the middle of nowhere. While most of the people died in the crash, there is a small group of guys remaining.  Shortly after banding together, they are attacked by wolves.  Of course, everyone freaks out and Ottway informs them that the wolves aren't trying to eat them but are trying to kill them for invading their turf.  And it's not a situation where they can just cross the railroad track because wolf territory is pretty freaking big.

One-by-one, the men start to go down and they freak out even more.  Ottway serves as the group leader even though a couple jerks aren't happy about it.  Not only must they battle the wolves but their own egos as well as they try and make it back to safety, if that ever really exists.

While the movie is indeed, slow, I really enjoyed seeing the different character traits of the group and seeing how people respond when it all hits the fan.  Rather than an intense thriller, I see this much more on the lines of a drama film. Roger Ebert said it had "unrelenting harshness".  That's a quality about the movie I liked.  It's not overly optimistic or happy, it' how reality would really be if you were stuck in that situation.