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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

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.

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