Saturday, November 30, 2013

Boulevard Bolt

Thanksgiving is the most raced day in the United States with over a million people toeing the line. I don't know if that's really true, but I think I read it on David Monti's twitter, so maybe it is. Ever since I moved to Hendersonville, I've done the Indian Lake Loop 5 Mile race. It's a really low-key event but it starts a couple miles up the road from me and a lot of my Hendersonville friends run it.  And since the post-race food is good, I've always been drawn me to it. There are a lot of other Thanksgiving races in the area with the Boulevard Bolt being the grand daddy of them all.  Last year had over 8,600 registrants and it's usually fast up front.  Last year, Lee Gilmer won in 23:52, with Brock Baker post-collegiate runner, not the college kid) finishing 2nd in 24:09.  My unofficial five mile PR was 24:04, which was my five mile split at the USA Half-Marathon Championships this past June, so I felt like it was time to sneak under 24. I decided to run the Bolt, when John Byrd, a manager at a local Sonic asked me to run it.  A friend of his, Kris Rhem, has cancer and over a hundred people were running in shirts made for her, so he hooked me up with a shirt and an entry. After six Thanksgiving's in Nashville, I was finally going to run the Boulevard Bolt.

2013 Artwork

I was really looking forward to the race.  My training has been going really well and I needed something to break up the monotony of it all and have something to go after.  The last couple of days leading up to the race, I was feeling really pent up and ready to race.  Brock has run the race pretty much every year, so I knew he would be ready to fight for the win.  I also heard that Sean Keveren was going to be there. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 and was a 13:48 5k guy and All-American in the 10k. I couldn't find any recent results on Sean but with that kind of talent, I knew he would be tough.  But I had some extra incentive to beat him because there's a Nashville area runner who has a moderate man-crush on the guy and I knew if I lost, I'd never hear the end of it.

The race runs down-and-back Belle Meade Boulevard in Nashville, which doesn't have much flatness to it. You're either going gradually up or down, with the first half mostly uphill, before turning around and coming back down. My tactics would depend on the field but if Lee Gilmer showed up, I was planning on starting pretty hard the first couple of minutes, in hopes to get the pace rolling, before tucking back behind and then making a big push after the turnaround. If he wasn't there and it was just me, Sean and Brock, I was going to relax the first couple of minutes before slowly tightening the screws throughout the race, in hopes they eventually cracked.

Tight Screw

Since I heard parking can be a nightmare, I got there super early and found a decent spot at 6:20am (8:00 start time).  When I left my housee, it was 16 degrees and with the race time temperature 19 degrees, it was probably going to be the coldest weather I've ever raced in.  The 2002 DII XC Championships had some massive snow the day before the race and it was also insanely cold but I don't remember the temperature.  In that race, the heavily favored and East African-heavy Abilene Christian team from Texas lost to Western State from Gunnison, CO, which has an average daily low of -8 during January.  Alaska-Anchorage also surprised a ton of people with a much higher than expected finish and I had an absolutely terrible race. After that race, I vowed to never return to Ohio again but broke that promise on my way to the USA 25k Championships this past May.  It was the first road race I've ever dropped out of, and I'm certain my stop in Ohio jinxed me. Heaven forbid if Cincinnati gets the 2016 Marathon Olympic Trials.  But yeah, back to the race.

Because of the weather, I planned on getting a slightly longer warm-up than usual and was dressed like an Eskimo with my pants, long tights, running shorts and even sported a pair of underwear under my shorts. I also had on a long-sleeve compression shirt, regular long sleeve shirt, thick hoody and not one, but two beanies. I would have also worn two pairs of gloves but I couldn't find my second pair of 75 cent Wal-Mart gloves. So yeah, it was cold.

I went back to my car to change about twenty minutes before the race and spent most of that time shirtless in the parking lot, trying to put on my race shirt before figuring out I went through both sides of the shirt with all four of the safety pins. My race attire was going to be the long-sleeve shirt, shorts, a pair of gloves and I was going to leave the hat behind.  I have a surprisingly warm head for a bald guy and hate the feeling of a hot head.  But after jogging to the starting line, which was about 1/3 of a mile away, I immediately regretted that decision because my ears were killing me.

After knocking out a few strides, it was time to head to the line.  I only noticed Brock and Sean and unless someone else was hiding out, I was going to stick to my pre-race plan of patiently finding my rhythm.  But Mike Tyson says that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth, and once the race started, I was out much harder than expected.  About a minute or so in, I could tell I was running too fast because by the sound of things, I had a several second lead.  I backed off a hair but tried to keep a fast enough pace so they wouldn't run me down.  There were a couple climbs on the first mile and I went through in 4:53.  It felt like I was running sub 4:50 pace for sure, but I figured I got a little bit lazy, so I kept on the gas.  I couldn't hear them behind me anymore and then felt like I had a large rock or something on the bottom of my shoe.  I slowed down and kicked my foot against the ground a few times but it wouldn't come off.  I later figured out it was the big callous behind my toe that probably got super hard because of the really cold temperature.   And at this point, my hands were so cold that I could barely make my thumb and pinky touch each other.

My second mile was a 4:48, which I felt was going to set me up to have a shot at sub 24 since the second half was going to be downhill.  I made a few more climbs before making the turnaround and heading on the other side of the road.  After turning around, it took me eight seconds to meet up with Brock, with Sean on his tail, on the other side of the road, so I figured I had about a 15-16 second lead.  It was a nice cushion but if the two worked together or made moves on each other, one of them could still chase me down.  So I kept on pushing some more.

I liked running on the opposite side of the road because I could see a lot of my friends running and enjoyed all of the people cheering for me, which gave me an added boost.  I felt like my lead was increasing and with splits of 4:43 and 4:45 the next two miles, I knew I was probably going to break 24.  I made the final turn and saw 23:30s on the clock and finished in 23:41 with a 4:31 last mile. Brock finished second in 25:00 and Sean was just behind him in 25:06.  I was happy with the margin of victory because those guys are tough dudes.

It was a really satisfying race because I was able to run a good bit under 24 minutes and felt strong running it. Brock told me that he's been doing his tempo runs at 5:00 pace and said 5:00 pace in this race was much harder than any of his tempos.  So hopefully the cold weather slowed me down some, which means I'm even more fit than I thought. I feel a ton fitter than I did going into my marathon-specific cycle last year, so I look forward to seeing how my training progresses. This is also most likely my last race before the Houston Marathon, unless I decide to run Max King's sadistic Club XC course in a couple of weeks.

So all-in-all it was a great Thanksgiving.  I even decided to not eat your traditional Thanksgiving dinner, since all I like to eat on Thanksgiving is dark meat turkey, pumpkin pie and macaroni and cheese.  So my wife and I decided to have a Pizzagiving, with pumpkin pie, of course.  I even attempted to brave the insane Wal-Mart crowd that evening so I could try and get the 70" Vizio TV, they were selling for just under $1000. The parking lot was completely full, and after parking far away and walking to the store, I saw people were literally sprinting from the parking lot, into the store.  And it was the type of people you can tell don't exactly run very often.  But the TV's were gone, so I will wait until I can try and snag a good deal again.  Not bad a bad Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 18th-24th Training

Monday: 6 miles (6:49); 14.1 miles with 20x400m with 1:00 rest. Was shooting for 66ish and then maybe work down.  Got rolling a little quicker than usual.  After 12 or so, I was getting a little more tired and I had to focus on the last four some.  Pretty tired on the cool-down and while I never hammered, it was the most tired I've been after a workout in a while.  Averaged 64.7 for the 400s and the wind was pretty strong. Down the backstretch, I would have to stay focused and push through it and down the homestretch, it felt like I was running down one of those flat airport escalator things.  The pace was easy but my legs were turning over way too fast.

Tuesday: 6 miles (6:56); 10.1 miles (7:00ish)

Wednesday: 5.3 miles (6:46); 11 miles (6:50)

Thursday: 13 miles with 8x3:00 fast with 1:00 rest, 1/2 mile jog, 2x400m uphill. Plan was to average under 4:50 on the fast portion and I ended up at 4:41 for the fast portion and 5:08 pace for the 32 minutes. Originally, I was going to run down LSC and back (3.55 miles) at tempo effort than have a hard two mile uphill push up Saundersville.  But Kate had to go to the doctor, so I crammed this in during my lunch break, since I have a nice break on Thursday.  Pretty windy out and I was always running up or down a gradual hill. The first few were pretty controlled, I started getting tired around six and the 7th and 8th were tough, mostly because there was a strong headwind on them.  I was hoping to get in four hills but didn't have enough time, so only got in two of them in 76 and 74.  Really good workout and this is by far the fastest I've ever run this workout despite not trying to hammer; 5.6 miles (7:29)

Friday: 7.9 miles (6:57); 8.2 miles (7:14)

Saturday: 8.5 miles (7:00ish); 7.4 miles with 4xhill blasts (7:14)

Sunday: 21.5 miles with 18 miles steady.  Wanted to run 5:25s and ended up at 5:22 average. Met up with Connor Kamm and even though it was in the upper 60s late last week, it was a little over 20 degrees with a 10 degree wind chill at the start with 11 mph winds.  First 10-12 miles were really easy but started getting really hungry and a little lightheaded around 14 miles in, even though it still felt really controlled.  Connor was planning on 16 but he tried some mind tricks on me, changed it to 18 and then picked up the pace some.  He's also much craftier than me on slick bridges and zig-zaggy turns.  Went with a Vanilla Creme Faygo from the ghetto mart next to my car for my post-run recovery, but should have went with my gut instinct and chosen a Coke.

Week Total: 124.6 miles.  Good, all-around week.  I'm starting to get really fit and fast now, which is perfect as I transition into my marathon-specific training for Houston. I also saw that we can choose roommates for the race, so I'm taking applications.  You must go to bed with the TV off, like watching TV/movies, have an "easy" easy run pace and a preference for pizza is an added bonus.  Since I've been having so many good workouts, I'm going to take three easy days in a row and if I feel good, may throw down at the yearly five mile turkey trot.  Mary is getting sick with something, so hopefully she doesn't infect me before the race.  The top of my foot has also been swollen since Monday.  Most of the pain is at the base of my second toe and it hurts a little more further down as well.  I'm leaning towards it being tendonitis since I've had it in that area before.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Netflix Pick of the Week

Since the kids were at their great-grandparents house this weekend, I was able to catch up some Netflix stuff I've been wanting to watch this week. First up was Flight, starring Denzel Washington, who is one of my favorite actors.  Yeah, the dude is getting old, but he can still act.

File:Flight film poster.jpg

The movie starts off with Whip Whitaker (Denzel) waking up with a flight attendant after a night of rough partying. They both have a flight to catch, so he gets on his way.  On the flight, there is some terrible turbelance, which has people puking but Whip has the skills to work through it.  But a piece of the plane breaks and he ends up pretty much nailing a one-in-a-million landing and is hailed by the world as a hero.

But a few people die, potential lawsuits pile up and someone needs to be blamed. After some investigating, many question whether or not Whip's lifestyle initially caused the crash in the first place.  The man definitely has his inner demons but is in denial over how much they control the present, and how much they destroyed his past.

This movie is listed as a drama but can get pretty intense. I was pretty pleased with the ending and even more pleased that Mary survived it.  And one of my favorite parts of the movie was Whip's pharmaceutical man, Harling Mays, played by John Goodman, who could easily pass off as an uncle to Alan from The Hangover.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 11th-17th Training

Monday: 6 miles (6:56); 15.6 miles with 4800m-4000m-3200m with 3:00 rest.  Goals were 14:45, 12:05, 9:30.  I was a little lazy early on in the 4800m and ended up running 14:41 ( 4:57, 4:54, 4:50). I was thinking the 4000m was going to be tough but it was really smooth and I had to slow down the pace a couple times to finish in 12:01 (4:49, 4:48, 2:24).  Since I was feeling good, I decided to go after 9:20 and ended up running  a 9:15(4:38, 4:37) that felt really good.  I'm pretty certain I could have raced one more mile and broken 14:30, so this was a big confidence booster.

Tuesday: 5 miles (6:42); 10.5 miles (6:46)

Wednesday: 5 miles (6:52); 10.7 miles with 4 miles of .15 fast, .35 easy.  I wanted to roll a bit on these and it felt like I was trucking but only averaged 4:17 pace on those.  Whatever.

Thursday: 10.4 miles (6:42); 5.4 miles (7:17)

Friday: 5 miles (6:59); 14.1 miles with 10x1/2 mile moderate, 1/2 mile fast. Met up with Connor Kamm to run this thing with goal times of 2:40/2:30.  It was pitch black, so I only checked my watch a couple times on every 1/2 mile segment.  Felt flat at first but loosened up and felt like a million bucks. Ran all the fast ones under 2:30, with a 2:26 average with the recovery jog at a 2:41 average. Kind of a boring workout but it felt like I could have run this all day long.  Starting to get fit.  I sort of wish I would have gone to Alexandria this weekend to see how many fools I could have smoked.

Saturday: 7.9 miles. Ran a 5k (well, a 3.9 miler) that benefited the husband of one of the teacher's in my school. I was hoping to run it super easy until I saw Jacob Carrigan show up (16:00 guy).  We jogged together and he let me have the win at just under 6:00 pace; 7.1 miles (7:25)

Sunday: 1.2 miles (7:18). Was going to knock out a cool 22 but felt like crap from the moment I woke up.  Tried for a little over a mile before calling it quits because I knew it would get ugly.  Sometimes if I catch a sickness coming on and I chill out and don't do anything except whine and watch TV/sleep all day, my Wolverine regeneration abilities kick in and it goes away quickly.

Week Total: 103.8 miles. Another killed Sunday, which would have given me some nice volume.  At least I had two solid workouts and the long run is overrated anyway. I also called Braun winning the 12k.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Netflix Pick of the Week

I've had a Netflix hiatus for the past few weeks.  It's not that I haven't been watching a lot of it, because I have.  Unfortunately, it's been stuff like Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Super Why and lately, Barney.  I tried to get my daughter to watch Phineas and Ferb but she wanted no part of it.  And the worst thing is that Netflix has added a ton of new stuff that I want to see.  I also spend like ten minutes a day stretching/rolling/core stuff now, which is much more than my formerly zero minutes a day.  So current rivals, watch out.
Kate's Most Watched Show

Netflix has added one of my top five favorite dramas of all-time, Dexter.  To be ranked, a show has to be completely over, since shows can go from freaking awesome, to a steaming pile of crap (The Office, which was on it's way to being my #1 show of all-time but plummeted to my #2 comedy, behind Curb your Enthusiasm).  But my top five dramas are: Breaking Bad (#1 show, ever), Lost (last season was painful but the first few sucked me in), Prison Break (completely underrated), The Wire (crappy start, strong finish) and Dexter.

Dexter stars Dexter Morgan, who is a blood-splatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department.  Since he was young, Dexter has had a strong urge to kill.  His policeman father taught him to harness it by following the "code"." He doesn't go around busting caps in random people, but goes after beyond guilty people who have slipped through the cracks of justice.  Because of this, Mary completely hates the show, while most people will view him as an anti hero. 

Most episodes will have him zone in on one person while the main storyline takes place.  There is a  frequent narration style to the show (don't know if that's a real term) and I find Dexter to be a pretty interesting character.  Some of the seasons can drag-on but overall, it's a pretty entertaining watch and on a lot of people's top five lists.  I confess that I haven't finished the last season but heard the series finale was a pile of steaming crap.  Fortunately, Breaking Bad's wasn't.

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 4th-10th Training

Monday: 9 miles (6:56); 6.5 miles (7:09)

Tuesday: 6.5 miles (6:53); 10.6 miles (7:19)

Wednesday: 4.8 miles (6:52); 13.7 miles with 3200m, 4:00 rest, 1600m, 3:00 rest, 5x400m with 1:00 rest.  Plan was to run sub 9:40, 4:30 and 66.  Ran 9:35 (4:47, 4:48) which felt nice and smooth.  I was expecting the mile to hurt but it felt really controlled in 4:29.  I felt like I could have continued on and run sub 9:00 for 3200m if I pushed some.  I averaged 64.4 on the 400s and felt super smooth on those.  I thought they would have given me a good bit of oxygen debt but the time was easy to hit and 1:00 rest felt like way too much.  The nasty stomach stuff from the marathon came for some revenge and I had to head to the bathroom after my fifth 400, which unfortunately meant driving across the street. I was going to come back and run a couple 800s at 2:10ish to give me a strong anaerobic stimulus, since I had so much recovery time but it was raining pretty hard at this point and I just ran a marathon on Saturday. So I'll take 5x400m, instead of the planned 10.

Thursday: 10.2 miles (6:41); 6.8 miles (7:27)

Friday: 11.1 miles with 6x400m hills.  Ran the hills in 77 average (had an outlier of 81.80). Since my next workout isn't until Sunday, I wanted a bit of a hard stimulus but nothing too tough.  Hill repeats fit the bill but man I hate them. I'd struggle the last 100m of every rep and the entire time I reminded myself that I'm an idiot for debating running Club Cross next month, which is a course being BUILT by Max King. It's going to be five loops and I'm sure there are going to be plenty of hills. On grass. At altitude; 5 miles (6:39) Also got 125.1 miles for the last seven days, which I believe is a new lifetime mileage PR. Thanks, marathon cushion.

Saturday: 10.7 miles (7:03); 4.4 miles (7:35)

Sunday: 6.1 miles (6:58); Skipped workout. I hate a long, tough track workout for the afternoon but I had a pretty rough migraine and had to lay down for a few hours. When you are married, with two kids, have some training programs to work on and need to go to Wal-Mart, you don't get many running windows. I'll make it up tomorrow.

Week Total: 105.4 miles. This would have been over 120 but at least I got in some extra recovery with the reduced volume, intensity and Friday's massage.  I'm really pleased with the marathon recovery because it didn't tire me out any more than a normal long run. I had signed up to run the 12k Championships this weekend but scratched.  I really don't feel like heading out of town again and I don't feel like spending $500+ on a race that I don't have any motivation to run.  And then I had to figure out how to get to Alexandria from Baltimore and got tired of reading all about these green lines, yellow lines, bus routes, etc. It looks like only about 1/3 of the qualified field for the men is racing.  I'm interested in seeing how a lot of the guys come back from the marathon and am predicting Aaron Braun for the win.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

A few weeks ago, I was debating running the Indianapolis Monumental Half-Marathon.  The course was advertised as flat and fast and they gave a $500 bonus to anyone running under 65 minutes. But training wise, it didn't make a lot of sense. But fellow Nashvillian, Jeanette Faber, mentioned that they were looking for a rabbit to run at 2:18 marathon pace, which is about 5:15 a mile.  I liked the idea of that much better, since I felt it would be more suited to marathon training and would be a good, long stimulus.  After a few back-and-forth emails, I was set to be the 2:18 rabbit.

The agreed upon parameters were to be within 30 seconds of 68:49 at 13.1 miles and 1:45:00 at 20 miles (5:15 a mile, which comes out to 2:17:38 marathon pace). I felt like coming in 30 seconds of 68:49 wouldn't be much of an issue for the 13.1 mile split, but was nervous about the 30 second range for the 20 mile split. However, I was prepared to run as hard as I had to in order to hit the times because I was now somewhat in control of other runners' destiny.

I took a half day off work and Mary and I were on our way to Indianapolis. We rolled in shortly before the elite meeting and I ran into former Tennessee resident, Nate Pennington, who was hoping to run sub 5:10 pace for the half-marathon and is gearing towards the CIM marathon. I also talked to Mark Hadley of Elite Marathoning and later on, saw Paul Peterson, Hurricane teammates Jake Krong and Andrew North and my Nashville buddy, Hunter Hall.  A few people asked if I were going to chase the Olympic Trials time if I felt good at 20 and I guaranteed I wouldn't.  Even Paul cracked up and didn't believe me when I said I was only going to run 20 miles hard.  At the meeting we went over race logistics and some random information and after meeting Jesse Davis, who was also going to hop aboard the sub 2:18 train, Mary and I were on our way to the pasta dinner to eat with Hunter Hall and his mom, where I ate too many cookies, some steamed veggie and pepper concoction and some pasta.  I also talked with the President of the race board for a couple minutes and he said I was one of the most important people in the race.  Talk about added pressure.
Which bald guy am I?

I wasn't feeling too hot at this point and was worried I would wake up sick in the morning.  Thursday, my normal cold routine started.  I had one nostril closed with congestion and Friday night, I had both nostrils clogged and one side of my neck was really sore and tender.  I was worried that I would have some body aches or something in the morning, so I stopped by the pharmacy for some meds, in case I needed them.

But luckily, I didn't need them.  While I was congested, my body felt fine.  I ate a Mixed Berry Powerbar, a couple bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios, some yogurt and chugged some Cool Blue Gatorade.  Cool Blue Gatorade used to be one of my favorite drinks but after this weekend, I think I'm going to retire it.  Maybe I have an aversion or something to it or something now because it used to be my go-to sickness drink.
It was good while it lasted.  It's not you, it's me.

Traffic was terrible on the way to the race and there were a few idiots, who were slowing things down.  I ended up parking with about thirty minutes until the start of the race and I jogged about half of a mile to the elite tent, changed into my race gear, did a few leg swings and strides and I made my way to the line.

When the race started, the half-marathoners shot out as expected and I let them go as I paid attention to my GPS.  The pace felt really relaxed but I went through the mile in 5:08.  Oops. I tried to slow down a little more but ran the next mile in 5:11 followed by a 5:04.  In my defense, the 5:04 was only .98 miles on my GPS, so maybe the sign was 5-6 seconds ahead of place.  While I was directly in front, we must have had a good marathon pack because I heard a lot of "good job marathoners!"  There was a short Kenyan half-marathoner in a Spira singlet throwing me off my game a little bit because he couldn't decide on his pacing.  He would let us catch him, then pull away a bit.  He not only did a great job of running the tangents but would also cut across the sidewalks and grass, saving him a second or two with every turn.  Maybe he couldn't control the springs in his Spiras or something.

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Once we got 4-5 miles in, the half-marathoners were breaking away and there was no one directly in-front of me.  With the road mostly clear, I was then able to lock into my rhythm, hanging +/- a few seconds from 5:15.  Jesse was right behind me, off my left shoulder and Paul was off my right with David Tuwei and Boniface Biwott behind them.   Paul and I chit-chatted some but I didn't want to talk to him too much so he could focus on his race.

Elite men's marathoners on mile three in the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, Indianapolis, Saturday, November 3, 2013. Robert Scheer/The Star
Elite men's marathoners on mile three in the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, Indianapolis, Saturday, November 3, 2013. Robert Scheer/The Star

At around 10k in, I grabbed my first water cup.  The lady was holding two cups with two fingers and her thumb and was shocked when she dropped the second cup after I grabbed the first. Seriously? I was able to get a total of about half an ounce or something since I still don't know how to drink out of those.  After that copious amount of water, I took my first gel.

They had clocks with the cummulative time at every mile, so I tried to do some rough math to make sure I wasn't running too fast.  I went through 10 miles in 52:17, which meant I was 137 seconds slower than 5:00 pace, which meant I was running 5:13.7 pace.  A hair quick but pretty much on target.  The four guys were still in tow, with the Americans still in second and third.  Jesse was the hometown boy, so he got most of the cheers.  I would have wanted the local to win, but since Paul was in the race, I was hoping he would be able to pull it out.  Sorry Jesse. 

Around 20k, we approached the first fuel table.  I didn't bedazzle my water bottle enough, so it was hard to find and I had to put on the brakes for a second but was able to grab it.  I took all of my gel and a squirt of water before asking Jesse if he wanted some. Boniface got it first and I assume he gave it to Jesse next.  Finally, the half-marathon sign was approaching and I went through in 68:39.  It was nine seconds fast but you can't get much closer than that.  And Jesse and Paul still sounded like they were feeling good, so that was a good sign.  At this point, I was debating finishing the race since money went five deep and there were only four other guys.  I definitely didn't plan on racing to the end because that would have been a chump move, after telling them I wouldn't and I knew putting my body through the extra stress wouldn't be too smart.

I continued to lead the pack of four as we knocked out the splits pretty consistently.  I paid constant attention to my watch so I wouldn't run too fast because I was finding it very easy to accidently sneak into the 5:10 range.  A few miles after the halfway point, I checked over my shoulder and noticed Paul was about five meters back.  I wanted him to catch up but I had my duties to fulfill.  A mile or two later, Jesse was also off the pace.  I turned around and told Boniface that the mzungus were gone and we kept on.  At 30k, I was hoping to get my third gel but I couldn't find it in time since all of the bottles looked alike and the table was pretty small.  Oh well, I didn't really need it anyway.

My duties were close to becoming completed and it couldn't have come any sooner.  Not because the pace was hard but because I really had to use the bathroom.  In the 19th mile, Boniface pulled up right beside me like he wanted to throw in a surge.  I told him that I was the rabbit and was stopping the pace at 20 miles.  He was confused at first but I assured him that if I kept on running at 20 miles, I would slow down the pace a lot and would not fight for the win. He then pulled back in behind me and I focused not on the 20th mile but on finding a porta-john.  

I reached 20 miles in 1:44:47 (pretty good pacing!) and then stopped.  I knew a guy was supposed to pick me up and when a guy asked me if I was ready to leave, I told him I was going to finish up the race and started jogging away.  We were running through the middle of a park and I used my hawk vision to try and spot any bathrooms because I wasn't seeing any porta-johns in the near future.  Nothing was spotted (or maybe there was one there and my hawk vision is off).

I was hoping to run 6:30s but my body was fighting anything slower than 6:00 pace.  Six minute pace felt like eight minute pace, so I guess my body just got locked into a fast rhythm.  This was the one and only time I wished I was running the Top of Utah Marathon because they had porta-johns every mile.  After going through 22 miles, I was in survival mode.  There's no hiding anything on the internet, and I knew I had to find somewhere fast.  I walked for a few seconds before noticing some kind of plant or something that had a car in the parking lot.  I ran over to it and rung the doorbell, waited about 30 seconds and rung it again.  No answer.  Things were about to get messy until I noticed some heavy, dense shrubbery about 50 meters away. I parted the bushes, did my business and kept my eye on the road to make sure a runner didn't pass.  Talk about a crappy situation!  No one went by and I was back on the road, only to pass a porta-john a minute later. Seriously?

While the pace was feeling super easy, I stopped at a fuel table to get some Clif Shot Bloks to be safe and get in some extra carbs. I've always liked the taste of them but trying to chow down on them while you running was very similar to trying to chew on very dense gum and took me a few minutes to eat all three of them.

Around 24 miles, the half-marathoners and marathoners merge onto the same road.  There were some cones designed to separate the two groups of runners but I still had to do some weaving because the half-marathoners decided to run in the marathon lane as well.  I was still cruising at a pretty easy effort and when I checked over my shoulder in the 26th mile, I noticed a marathoner about five seconds behind me.  I wasn't about to get in a marathon kick, so I threw in a minute or two at sub 5:00 pace, checked over my shoulder again and saw I had a nice lead.  I cruised across the line in 2:26:33 (2:23:20 running time, which included an extra .13 miles of running to the business, the bushes and back on the road), got my medal and a beanie hat and made my way back to the elite area so I could see how everyone else did.
Myself, Andrea and Jake.  I'm kinda embarrassed that I have by-far the tightest pants in the picture

Jake Krong was trying to make a run at sub 65 in the half-marathon but came up short.  But he's gotten in some killer training and maybe just has some residual fatigue in his legs.  But he's more of a marathon guy and will make a run at 2:18 at CIM.

I was surprised to see that David won.  He was always in the back of the pack and didn't strike me as being a threat when I dropped out.  I guess he was hiding out and biding his time but he won by almost two minutes in the last 10k.

Paul was a little short in 2:19:40 but he didn't get in a ton of training for this and ran off my shoulder quite a bit.  I think he will be ready for a sub 2:18 after getting in a couple months of marathon-specific training.  Jesse was a little behind him in 2:21:43.

Hunter ran really well to finish in 2:38, which I was glad to see.

49 year old, Colleen DeReuck and 16 year old Alana Hadley finished 1st and 4th in the women's race to both qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials.  Pretty wide range in age there.

I ended up taking two gels during the twenty miles, three shot bloks on my 10k "cool-down" and had probably less than four ounces of water during the race.

Overall, this was a very motivating trip.  At no point did it feel like I had to focus on pushing the pace, I was constantly slowing it down.  I've never felt as relaxed at 20 miles into a marathon as I did here and feel like I could have run 2:16 without a problem if I finished the race, even though I wasn't tapered and haven't done any marathon workouts yet.  Take away this weekend, give me a two-week taper and people to run with and I know I'm in sub 2:15 shape, even without the marathon workouts.  At first I was debating re-entering CIM but after thinking about it, this race shows that I'm best suited to rhythm courses, which Houston is and CIM isn't.

I was also really impressed with the race board.  When some companies are taking away elite support, these guys are increasing it.  They had about 100 elite runners and gave a $1000 bonus for a sub 2:18 and $500 bonus for sub 65.  Part of me wishes I would have hung in and gotten the extra $1000 and take my chance at the $1200 first place prize, but I had to play it smart. 

Not only is the elite support great, but the course is fast and the weather is traditionally perfect.  This year, there was about an 8mph wind but tempos were in the low/mid 40s.  And I remember one gradual uphill and a couple downhills.  This thing is fast and in my opinion, faster than Houston.  With hotels being pretty cheap (mine was $65), this is a good, cheap marathon that is a perfect place to PR.
Always hangs around 700 ft. with a little bit of running over 750 ft. Can't get much better than that.

For some reason, the results make me look like a chump and that I wasn't doing my job.  They show I was fifth at 10k and the half-marathon and third at 30k, even though I was leading the entire time.  I got a bit of a jump at the start, so maybe that's chip time or something. Hopefully the people who brought me in to rabbit don't think I was slacking.

Balanced Splits: 5:08, 5:11, 5:04, 5:11, 5:23, 5:14, 5:15, 5:19, 5:14, 5:17, 5:18, 5:15, 5:14, 5:13, 5:14, 5:17, 5:16, 5:16, 5:07, 5:20 (end of rabbiting) 6:08, 7:05 (extra .13 of running with the bathroom break), 6:15, 6:04, 6:07, 5:46, 1:10.

Monday, November 4, 2013

October 28th-November 3rd Training

Monday: 10.2 miles (6:31); 5.6 miles (7:35)

Tuesday: 7 miles (6:57); 7.7 miles (7:12)

Wednesday: 5 miles (6:53); 12.6 miles with 4.15 mile tempo run and 2x1:00 with 2:00 rest.  Originally was planning on running a progression run down-and-back LSC and to the top of Bison Way but since I had to show off for some high school ROTC students and run 4:30 pace the first quarter mile, I decided to even out my pace and hang out at 4:50-4:55. Balanced splits were 4:51, 4:51, 4:54, 4:48, 42 (.15) with a 4:51 average. Felt really good at first but the third mile got a little bit tough and the fourth mile was tiring, with half of it up a slight climb.  At the end, I had to walk around for a minute or two before jogging to the track for a planned session of 4x400m with 400m jog at the 61-62 range.  The freaking track was closed, so I took it to the streets.  Was going to do 4x1:00 on, 1:00 off but my legs knew right away that it would be tough, so I changed it to 2x1:00 on, 2:00 off.  I ended up running just under 4:00 pace on these, despite it being on the bumpy section of the road, which makes it hard to get a smooth stride.  Fastest I've run a quarter mile since I split a 55 on the coaches relay in 2010.  The tempo was tougher than I expected at that pace but I was surprised with my speed on the minutes because I didn't feel like I was running that fast. 

Thursday: 8.7 miles (6:44); 6.8 miles (7:10ish)

Friday: 4 miles (6:44). I was going to get in 10ish here but I forgot about Indy being an hour ahead.  I was going to get another few miles in when I got there but I didn't get settled into the hotel until after 8:00.

Saturday: 27.2 miles with the Indianapolis Monumnetal Marathon in 2:26:34. I had to rabbit at 5:15 pace and had to be within 30s of 68:49 (halfway) and 1:45:00 (20 miles).  Took me a few miles to find my rhythm because the half-marathoners were drawing me out too fast.  Got locked into a good pace and was in front with four guys right behind me.  Pace felt incredibly smooth the entire way and I kept on trying to slow it down. Went through halfway in 68:40 and 20 in 1:44:47. At 20, there were two Kenyans with me and a couple Americans a little ways back.  I then decided to keep on going and run the final 10k as a long cool-down since money went five deep and no one else was in sight.  Had to stop for a four minute bathroom break, but the rest of the running was incredibly easy.  Great confidence booster. I definitely could have run sub 2:17 today, without a taper and without any marathon-specific work yet.

Sunday: 4.5 miles (7:13); 9.4 miles (6:56). No soreness or fatigue, except for my left hip flexor being a little tight.

Week Total: 108.7. Went from a rough to a great week.  My first five runs of the week were really rough because I was flat out exhausted from everything last weekend.  Started coming down with a cold on Thursday that is still lingering.  No body aches, just a sore neck and congestion.  I was shooting for higher volume than this but cut Tuesday's run short because of fatigue and got in 8-10 less than I wanted on Friday.  Hopefully I'll be ready for a tough session on Wednesday.  Got in 519.9 miles for the month of October, which is my first time ever over 500.