Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year in Review

Random 2013 Stats

  • Miles run this year= 5187.5, which is 99.76 miles a week.  Talk about a buzzkill. 
  • Biggest seven day period= 130.1 miles
  • Biggest Monday through Sunday week= 128 miles
  • Biggest Month= October (519.9 miles)
  • Number of times I toed the line at a race= 28
  • Number of times I "raced"= 8
  • Number of races in the rain= 5
  • Number of races in the rain before 2013= 0
  • Number of days off= 20 (two of those were .4 miles and 1.2 miles)
  • Best race= U.S. Half-Marathon Championships 
  • Worst race= US 25k Championships
  • States I raced in: 8 (Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Utah, Massachusetts, Indiana)
  • Injuries= 0
  • Set a PR in 5 miles, 10k, half-marathon and marathon
  • Set state records in the half-marathon and marathon
  • Favorite TV show of 2013= Breaking Bad
  • Favorite movie of 2013= Prisoners (still haven't seen Gravity)
  • Favorite moment of the year= Birth of Ellis Hudson Wietecha (My second kid and first son)
  • Least favorite moment of the year= Seeing Anderson Silva lose...twice

Monday, December 30, 2013

December 23rd-29th Training

Monday: 6.8 miles (7:15ish); 8.8 miles (7:20ish)

Tuesday: 6.1 miles (7:15ish); 14.1 miles with 4800m-3:00 jog, 3200m-3:00 jog-1600m on the track. Goal was sub 14:45, 9:30, 4:30 and ran 14:45, 9:30 and 4:31.  Kind of a bummer that I didn't beat any of my times but it was my first good workout in over two weeks, so I'll take it. Ran at night, with an 18 degree wind chill, which made it tough to get my legs moving.  Legs felt pretty loose and light but didn't have that power that I usually have.  I thought for sure I would break 4:30 in the mile but got a little lazy on the third lap with a 69.XX lap.  A couple of weeks ago, I was planning to run 10x1k@3:00 with 1:00 rest and then some 200s on this date. But with the way things have been going lately, I felt like I needed a little bit of extensive running at a faster pace (somewhat the 3200m and especially the 1600m) while still including a little bit of threshold work (the 4800m).

Wednesday: 10.7 miles (6:25); 5.5 miles (7:28)

Thursday: 9.6 miles (6:38); 6.7 miles with 4xhill blasts (7:14)

Friday: 17.4 miles with 3x4.2 mile loop with 1k jog recovery. Goal was to try and run 5:05s.  I ran this at Moss Wright Park, which is a 2.1 mile loop with the first mile being mostly flat and the second having a pretty tough hill. 5:05.00 pace would put me at 21:21 and I ended up running 21:07 (4:56, 5:05, 32, 5:02, 5:00, 32), 21:25 (5:03, 5:06, 32, 5:05, 5:07, 32), 21:31(5:06, 5:10, 34, 5:07, 5:03, 31).  Recovery jogs were 3:37 and 3:38. Obviously, I ran the first interval too fast, despite it feeling pretty smooth.  On the second interval, my legs felt more worn and I struggled up the hill on each loop.  The third interval didn't feel any more tiring than the second other than the hill becoming worse with each loop.  I ran this same workout 22 days out from Houston last year and averaged 5s a mile slower, so I'll take it as a good session; 4.5 miles (7:23). 130.1 miles in the last seven days, which is a new lifetime PR.

Saturday: 11 miles (6:50); 4/7 miles (7:28)

Sunday: 22.1 miles (6:01). Man, after checking my log, I realized this was my first normal paced long run in over two months (October 27th was the last).  Ran 12 miles of flattish running, followed by the hilly Boomer route.  Hills were a little more tiring than usual and started to get pretty thirsty 15-16 miles in and was ready to drink water out of puddles by 18.  I was scoping out the route for a hose but didn't find any. The last time that happened, I found a hose with some nasty tasting water by the quarry only to find out later that I was drinking actual water from the quarry.  Finished feeling pretty good and wish I could get 1-2 more of these before Houston.

Week Total:  128 miles. Much better week than last week.  Since I've improved so much from last week, I'm hoping I'll get another boost this next week.  I normally drop my miles a little bit three weeks out but this week will be another regular week since I missed so much training with the sickness.  This Sunday will probably be my really last tough and grinding workout.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Netflix Pick of the Week

I've been waiting a while to add American Horror Season 2, but it's finally time.  I absolutely loved Season 1; great acting, excellent story line and the season wrapped up very nicely by the end.  I would probably give it an "A+".  Season 2 was really good as well but more like an "A-".  A cool thing I like about it is that while it has many of the same actors as season one, since it's a totally different story line, they play different roles.  And obviously with a different story line, you could skip season one and watch this and not be lost.

Season two mainly takes place in the Briarcliff Mental Instituion in 1964.  The place treats the mentally and criminally insane and is run by Sister Jude (the boss lady who is one of the those hardcore, self-righteous mean jerks) and Sister Mary Eunice (an airheady but sweet lady). Psychiatrist Dr. Oliver Thredson and scientist Dr. Arthur Arden also work with the patients there.  And of course, everyone in the joint claims they are innocent and in fact, many are.  

As the season goes on, you learn all about each character's past and current life.  And with each episode, the place becomes crazier.  You have a Satan-possessed nun, aliens, a Nazi mad scientist who makes new species of humans, a secret serial killer and a bunch of other whacked out stuff, so naturally, some of the residents formulate a plan to escape.  Some times it's a little bit out there and it can get graphic at times but it had me hooked most of the episodes and I went through the entire season in a couple of weeks.

American Horror Story, regardless of the season, is one of the most underrated shows on TV.  Since it's on cable, it can push the edge a little bit and each season is full of good acting and a catchy story-line.  The below trailer is the trailer for the season but it doesn't have much to do with the actual show but is more symbolic of things that go on. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Nashville Area Top Marathon Times: 2013

So I was bored and decided to look around the internet to see what the top five men's and women's marathon times were for Nashville area runners in 2013. That was probably a run-on sentence with some grammatical mistakes but since it's Christmas Break, I'm not going to fix it.  The Websters Dictionary doesn't have an entry for "Nashville area runners" so I'm going to define it as someone who could drive to the state capitol in 30 minutes, without sucky traffic.

I was tempted to throw Lanni Marchant in there, who ran 2:28:00, since she's in Nashville most weekends. But since she technically resides in Chattanooga (I think) I can't justify it.  I could very well have some errors in here, especially with the women.  While I know most of the Nashville men runners, I don't know very many of the ladies.

After posting this, I feel the list is going to be much faster next year.  Connor Kamm will break 2:20 if he jumps in a marathon in 2014.  I don't think Ricky Lupp is going to try a marathon next year, but he would run under 2:25 for sure.  And after that, there are a handful of guys who could break 2:30 next year if they take a stab or two at the distance.

The women's side will also get much faster.  Jeanette was hurt for a large part of the year and is worth a 2:30 with a healthy cycle.  Ashley ran that 2:48 in her debut and Blair knocked off 20 minutes off her PR. And like the guys, there's a handful of women who can run fast half-marathon times, who didn't race a marathon last year. And maybe Lanni will move up here.  Who would run to live near hundreds of miles of trails anyway?

1. Scott Wietecha    31      2:18:52      Houston Marathon                      
2. Olaf Wasternack  33      2:37:47      Boston Marathon                        
3. Hunter Hall            24      2:38:25      Indianapolis Monumental Marathon
4. Matt Pulle              41      2:40:36      Rocket City Marathon                  
5. Chris Duncan       34      2:40:41      Boston Marathon        

1. Jeannette Faber   31     2:38:32       California International Marathon  
2. Ashley Evans       27     2:48:49       Chicago Marathon
3. Courtney Terrell   30     2:57:32       Chicago Marathon
4. Sara Maltby          35     2:58:28       Marine Corps Marathon
5. Blair Burnette       27     3:06:41       Rocket City Marathon

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 16th-22nd Training

Monday: 4.6 miles (6:49); 8.4 miles (7:23)

Tuesday: 7 miles (6:49); 7.8 miles (6:57). Was hoping to do 10x1:00 on/off and very slowly ease into it but my legs were shot/dead/flat/drained .1 miles into the first one, so I felt it would be best to scrap the session and just did some jogging.

Wednesday: 5.3 miles (6:47); 10.5 miles (6:37)

Thursday: 6 miles (6:57); 6.2 miles. Was planning on running 3 miles@5:55, 3 miles@5:30, and then as many miles at 5:05 as I could without redlining.  I got through 2.6 miles at 5:51 pace but my legs felt drained and I knew 5:30s would be very tough and I wouldn't have a shot at 5:05s.  Will try something tomorrow.

Friday: 13.7 miles with 7.12 miles at 5:11 average.  Goal was two down-and-backs on LSC, which would be a little over seven miles, at 5:10 average.  I knew it wouldn't be far enough to be a marathon workout but I wanted to get in at least a small amount of marathon effort running since I'm draining fitness right now.  I was really nervous about this and was expecting to fail. It was kind of like sparring night at my old gym. If the coach told you to go into the ring, you were expected to go at 100% against whoever else was in there. Sometimes I knew I would have the upper hand or be able to hold my own, others I knew I was probably going to get the crap kicked out of me for a couple rounds (except one time I held my own against some guy much tougher than me since he had a bad hangover). This workout was like the latter.  But the plan was to go out around 5:10-5:15 and see if I could drop down some.  Legs were pretty flat the first few minutes but I was on pace with a 5:12 first mile.  I sped up and ran 15:24 the next three miles and was feeling pretty smooth before I suddenly started losing my mojo and was struggling to keep on pace with the last three miles being 5:12, 5:14 and 5:16.  Maybe I could have stayed on pace but I wasn't going to force it yet.  Normally, I'm able to run negative splits in workouts, so I think this showed I still have a good bit of lingering fatigue going on.  I was hoping to get some good karma today from saving a mouse from a glue trap, but I guess not.

Saturday: 9.8 miles (6:57); 6.1 miles (7:32)

Sunday: 21.1 miles with 18.1 miles at 5:29 average.  Made up a route that would be about 18.5 miles and my goal was to ease into it and hopefully average 5:30 or under.  Was feeling pretty flat from the get-go and was struggling up hills that normally wouldn't be an issue.  Ran my first sub 5:30 in the 6th mile and then was in the zone for a while.  Around 11-12 miles, I was getting really hungry and thirsty, so I decided to take a detour to my house and stopped there a little under 14 in and quickly downed a few glasses of water, a Powerbar, Powerbar gummies and some chocolate Christmas candy before jumping back out again.  My legs started to get pretty heavy around 16 in and I was debating ending the workout but I wanted to make it to the end of the road so I could turnaround and get the tailwind.  After 17, I knew I probably shouldn't make it to 18.6 or whatever it would be, so I decided to stop at 18 if I was under a 5:30 average and if not, run hard until I was.  Luckily it was .1 miles after 18, so I stopped and walked around for a minute since I was pretty tired. This was seven seconds a mile slower than last month and about 10 seconds a mile slower than what I would like if I never got sick  But I figure I can improve 10 more seconds in four weeks with regained and future fitness and the lingering sickness fatigue out of the way.; 2.9 miles (7:30ish)

Week Total: 112.8 miles. A frustrating week but starting to come around.  My right sciatic nerve/lower back was hurting pretty badly off-and-on all this week and I had some pain at the attachment site of one of my hamstrings, on the inside/back of my knee.  It was really hurting the first part of the week but feels like it's slowly going away.  I guess being in bed for a few days, followed by jumping on the roads again did some damage.  With just four weeks until Houston, I need a good week next week, followed by a killer week the week after that.  I'll probably do a track workout Tuesday night and hopefully nail a marathon workout on Friday.  This is also my first of two weeks off.  Hopefully that means more sleep, harder training and less whining and drama. 

Netflix Pick of the Week

I need to start changing this to the Netflix pick of the month since I've been so lazy with it.  I have been watching a lot of non-Netflix movies lately though.  And based off the movies I've seen the last week or two, I'll have to go with: Prisoners: A+ (a lot of plot holes but really good and the best 2013 movie I've seen so far), Kick-Ass 2: A (Good movie but not the A+ that Kick-Ass 1 was), The Wolverine: B- (too slow and boring but it has Wolverine), Man of Steel: A (not much story line, just a lot of action), Elysium: B+ (decent sci-fi flick), Despicable Me 2: B (don't hate), Fantastic Mr. Fox: A (don't hate, again), Insidious: Chapter 2: B (kinda eh, but an ok watch), Blade Runner: C (heard it was really good, but I wasn't feeling it).  So yeah, with being sick a while ago, I burned through a lot of movies.

But a good Netflix movie that I recently watched was Olympus Has fallen.  I was kind of hesitant to watch this even because it seemed like a less hyped version of White House Down and I'm not a Gerard Butler fan, but hey, it has Morgan Freeman in it, so I decided to give it a shot.  There's not a whole lot going on and it's your typical terrorist invades the White House movie.

File:Olympus Has Fallen poster.jpg

Mike Banning (Gerard Butler) is the top-dog secret service agent and in charge of the President's detail. On the way to a fundraiser, a tree crashes in front of the Presidential convoy, which causes some of the cars to skid across a bridge, which results in the President's wife's death.  Banning goes into depression and isn't able to handle his job anymore, so he gets transferred to the treasury department.

Some Korean terrorists, who hope to unify both of the Korea's, invade the White House and take the President hostage. The terrorists boss, Kang Yeonsak, wants the President to pull out troops from the Korean Peninsula, so North Korea can attack,  But the President doesn't want any part of that.

While this is going on, Mike Banning leaves his office and joins the fight at the White House.  He works his way in the building and is the last "good guy" left in there.  It's up to him to save the President before North Korea and Dennis Rodman take over South Koreans.

There's not a lot of in-depth story-line, just a good popcorn movie.  I was expecting this to be a flat "C" but it was a solid "B."

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December 9th-15th Training

Monday: 6.3 miles (7:15); 9.8 miles (7:24)

Tuesday: 5.4 miles (7:08); Got sick later in the day...low-grade fever, chills, sweats, sore eyes.  Went to bed at 11am and didn't get out for the rest of the day.

Wednesday: No running.  No fever, but felt pretty weak.

Thursday: No running

Friday: 5.3 miles (7:00ish); In the afternoon, the sickness came back worse than before.  All of Tuesday's symptoms, except more extreme and a fever in the upper 102s.

Saturday: No running.  Felt like death in the morning, so I went to the Express Clinic.  I was expecting it to be the flu but my blood test said it was bacterial.  Was in bed all day after this.

Sunday: No running. In bed most of the day.  Also set the World Record for biggest night sweat because my bed was still wet from last night, as of 5:00pm.  And no, it wasn't pee.

Week Total: 26.8 miles. While I semi-predicted the sickness coming on, I didn't think it would destroy me this bad.  When I had the flu in February, I only missed three days of running but for some reason, this sickness is destroying me.  Losing 100 miles this week, along with two hard workouts is tough but I can bounce back in five weeks.  Hopefully I can get in about 100-120 miles this week with my first quality session on Thursday and then train "normal" the week after that.

I'm also bummed I had to miss the marathon, especially after seeing the results.  But I had some friends run really well there. Alan Watts and Blair Burnette, who I also coach, both ran big PR's (eight minutes and 20 minutes off their old best times), Matt Pulle, won the Masters race in 2:40 and Brian Shelton set a ten minute PR and finished second overall in 2:28.

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 2nd-8th Training

Wow, crazy week.  Us Southerners don't like the snow or cold rain, so I had a ton of rearranging this week. Originally I was going to do: An 11 mile moderate progression on Wednesday, 10-12 miles of 1/2 mile on/off at 5:05 total average on Friday and then 20 miles and a 4 mile night jog on Sunday.  Well, we were supposed to get some freezing ran and icy roads on Friday, so I moved Friday's session to Thursday, scratched the progression and was going to keep run a 20 mile long run but with the last 5 miles at MP on Sunday, with a short night jog.

But then it was supposed to be 40 and pouring all day Thursday.  Wednesday afternoon, it was 75 and sunny, so I moved Thursday's 1/2 mile on/off session to that afternoon, about an hour before I ran it.  But we had 16mph winds and since that would destroy my pacing, I changed it to my 10 mile hill gut check fartlek I occasionally do.  It's a continuously hilly route, and I run 3:00 a little faster than HMP and then 3:00 at a moderate effort.  It's a good substitute for the workout I had planned but at a slightly more intense effort. With that session giving me three big stresses in seven days, I was going to jog easily the next three days and stick with my plan of a fast-finish long run and easy jog on Sunday.

But oh, it changed again.  Sunday was supposed to be a continuous cold rain, so I moved the fast finish to Saturday.  Yeah, it was a lot of stressful sessions close together, but it beats running in the rain. So that's what I stuck with.  Now do you understand why I can't have a coach?

Monday:  9 miles (6:35); 7 miles (6:54)

Tuesday: 8.8 miles (6:47); 8.2miles with 6xhill blasts (7:14)

Wednesday: 5.7 miles (6:38); 15.2 miles with 10 mile hill fartlek. Ran five miles on my Newton Hills before turning around. After tracing the route, it said there was almost 2000 ft. of elevation change.  I'd say on over 95% of the route, you're either going up or down. But the plan was 3:00 on/off.  On was starting off around HM effort and working down to 10k effort.  Off was a steady jog.  There were 16mph winds, which was in my face most of the way out.  I felt really flat for a while and kept on debating stopping the workout but I wanted to at least give myself a chance to have the tailwind.  And then I reminded myself that if I'm trying to run one of the fastest marathons in the country, I can't be one of the first people to quit when things aren't going as planned.  Felt better towards the middle of the workout and was recovering really quickly on the jogs. Ended up at 5:11 pace (4:51 fast part/5:22 slow part) for the ten miles, which was a nice confidence booster, especially since I've been training really hard lately and have a lot of cumulative fatigue building up.  I ran this workout over 80s slower in the spring, when I was probably in 64:low HM shape and the weather was 25 degrees cooler without much wind. And when I ran it then, I hammered myself really hard while I felt much stronger this time. 126.5 miles in the last seven days, which is a new lifetime PR

Thursday: 8.6 miles (7:00); 7.3 miles (7:25)

Friday: 4.5 miles (7:30ish); 7.9 miles (7:08)

Saturday: 20 miles with 6 miles fast finish (5:45).  Connor Kamm came down from the big city to run this with me.  The plan was 13.3 miles at low 6:00s and then up to 6 miles at 5:05.  Why 13.3? Because if we made all six of the fast miles, we would be at the bottom of Saundersville, with the next .6 miles until my 'hood a gradual uphill and who wants that? Ran 6:03 pace for the "slow" part and then pushed.  After finding my rhythm in the first mile or so, the effort was really smooth.  I debated pushing the last 1.77 miles (distance of the final road) at sub 4:50 pace but didn't want to get too greedy and just hung on. Connor was getting a little bit worn out the last mile, so I told him to tuck in so I could break the wind and I guess all the Houston Marathon visualizing got to me because I ran the last half mile at sub 4:45 pace and put about 10-15s on him. Ended up at 29:42 for the six miles with balanced splits of 5:01, 5:00, 4:52 (short downhill), 4:59, 4:58, 4:52). I felt really good at the end and felt like I could have run that pace for several more miles.   I also realized thatt Connor was going to qualify for the Trials before I was (he's running the half at Houston). What a jerk; 3.4 miles (7:19). 127.4 miles in the last seven days, which is a new lifetime PR.

Sunday: 10.2 miles (7:00); 6 miles (7:23)

Week Total=121.8 miles.  Another great week in the books and six weeks until Houston.  I'm really starting to come around and with a couple more marathon-specific workouts, I'll be really fit.  I'm running the Rocket City Marathon this weekend for a moderate long run.  I'll cap the speed at 5:25 a mile but obviously slower is better.  This will be my third marathon in 12 weeks, which is a little aggressive, but when I keep them as controlled efforts, I recover pretty quickly. For developed, high-mileage marathoners, I feel that really long runs at 90-95% of MP are a great and underused training stimulus.  I'll take three easy days before the marathon, three easy days afterward and treat it like a marathon race, fueling-wise.  But the main goal this week will be to avoid sickness.  Mary is getting over some bronchitis thing, Kate has had an off-and-on fever for the past week and is super congested and Ellis has  a bad cold and some gunk in his chest. Now Mary's grandparents, who watch her until daycare starts, both have the crud.  Hopefully I'm not next on the hit list.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Man Survives Underwater for Three Days

I've been really stressing the randomness of this page lately.  But even though it took place about six months ago, an article about a man being stuck underwater for 60 hours is making its rounds.  I'll link to the article but basically a tugboat sunk and three days later, rescue divers went to get the bodies and found a guy who was still alive.  He found an air pocket and was just sitting in there for a few days.

That would have absolutely terrified me since being lost at sea is one of my worst fears and I used to have recurring dreams about this.  I'm sure sitting in a pitch black, cold place for several days would have made me go insane.  But I bet the diver was even more terrified when he was down there and someone grabbed his arm, which I'm sure felt like a scene out of Event Horizon.

But I don't understand why the guy was just sitting in there, pretty much accepting death.  If your life was on the line, you don't go down without a fight, just like if someone busts in your house at night, you don't hide in the closet or under the bed.  So if any potential burglars are reading this, don't come to my house unless you're prepared!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Netflix Pick of the Week

I've always liked English movies.  I don't know why, because usually the budgets are smaller and the acting isn't as good.  Maybe it's because subconsciously I feel like I'm good looking enough to star in one.  A couple of months ago, I watched the movie Wild Bill.  It was rated at 100% at Rotten Tomatoes, so I thought it would be a good watch.

The movie is about a guy named Wild Bill who is out on parole after spending eight years in the klink.  He doesn't have anywhere to go, so he goes to his old apartment, where he used to live with his two sons and their mother.  But Wild Bill isn't named Wild Bill for being an angel and before his time in jail, he was quite the hooligan and lived a life of crime.

After he went to jail, his sons were left to fend for themselves after their mother abandoned them.  When he comes back, they are 16 and 11.  Dean (the oldest son) isn't happy to see him and doesn't want Bill to have anything to do with them.  But eventually social services finds out the boys are on their own and unless Wild Bill plays the role of Dad, they will be forced to live in a foster home.  Dean happily agrees to the situation as long as Wild Bill leaves them alone after social services gets off their case.

Over time, Wild Bill understands that if he wants to stay away from jail and keep his boys together, he has to live a clean life.  At first, he does it because he has to, but over time, he does it because he chooses to and he begins to embrace his role as a real father. Things start going well until Wild Bill's old cronies try to force him back into the game and even attempt to get his youngest son involved as well.  Wild Bill don't want none of that.

While it wasn't as good as the ratings make it out to be, it's still a pretty decent action-drama.  The ending kind of came out of nowhere but it's not a bad movie for a bunch of Brits.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Houston Marathon Training

With the my last short race out of the way, it's time to transition over to more marathon-specific training. For a training cycle that peaks with a marathon, I like to spend the last 6-8 weeks zoning-in on marathon pace. I occasionally throw in some stuff faster than half-marathon pace, but most of my focus is spent on extending the distance I can run at my planned marathon pace.  A lot of people use this "reverse taper" method but I base a lot of it off Renato Canova's principles along with my own strengths and weaknesses.

After I axed CIM, I debated just scratching a winter marathon all-together and focusing on trying to break 63 at the US Half-Marathon Championships in Houston and then get ready for Boston.  But I was content with my 63:12 this past June and have yet to have a chance to run a fast marathon when I'm in shape.  And with old age kicking in and the fact you only have a shot at 1-2 good marathons a year, the clock is ticking.

With Houston also hosting the half-marathon championships, as well as offering very appealing time bonuses, I wasn't expecting the marathon field in Houston to be very deep. I'm sure they will have their usual handful of world class Ethiopians but wasn't expecting too many guys around the "A" standard. I usually race well in fields where I have a lot of people constantly around me but I also train pretty much completely alone, so I've gotten used to pushing solo. And I would much rather race a marathon without much company, opposed to a half.  If you go out too hard in the half, you can regroup a bit and save your race some but running a few seconds a mile too fast in the marathon can kill you.

But I recently had some good news when I found out that Luke Humphrey from the Hansons (the racing team, not the 90s band) was heading down and shooting to run under 2:14.  I also heard from somewhere that Patrick Rizzo is racing it, who is also a very tough dude. So with those two guys and hopefully a couple others at that level in the marathon field, I will have some people to follow/pull-along.  I don't know those guys at all but maybe we can form a group for at least 10-15 miles.

When training for the marathon, it's important to not only train for the 26.2 mile distance but the conditions of the course.  You don't want to totally focus on running your race pace, but to replicate what your body goes through on the day of the race. When I was training for CIM, I was going to do my marathon stuff on a course that simulates the rolling nature of the course.  Instead of doing my speedwork on the track, I was going to do a lot of fartleks over hills. I needed to have my body (and mind) used to running over some gentle hills after it's been through a lot of muscle damage. You have to prepare your body for the specific demands of race day and if you don't respect the nature of the course, you're not going to be adequately prepared.

So what problems does Houston pose? None, really. It's a flat and fast, time trial course.  So that means I don't have to stress about hills, I just need to be a rhythmic marathoning machine, which greatly caters to my style and strengths.  Well, I have heard from a few people that Houston has a lot of concrete, but I do a lot of running on sidewalks, and most of my mileage on the roads, except for track workouts. And there's no dirt or trails near my house and I hate running on the grass. So hard surfaces don't bug me at all.

So after a lot of rambling, what's training going to be like and what's my goal? I will probably do a lot of my Canova-style long repeats (stuff like 4x5k with 1k steady jog rest, 3x4.2 mile with 1k steady rest, etc.)  Last year, I did stuff like 10 miles at marathon pace, 10 miles at 1/2 mile at 10s per mile slower than MP and 10s per mile faster than MP.  This time around, I will increase it to 12 miles. While my all-time record for miles in a week is 125, this December, I plan to have a week or two at 130 or maybe even a little higher, depending on how I respond. And right now, I'm debating between running a marathon five weeks out from Houston in the 2:22-2:25 range or throwing in a Canova Specific Block.  Other than that, I'll stay in touch with half-marathon pace from time-to-time, occasionally sprinkle in some shorter, faster repeats and get in some moderate paced running.

Time wise, if the weather is good, 2:15:00 is my minimum goal.  Yeah, my pr is 2:18:52 from Houston last year, which would be quite a jump. But I spent about six weeks with a bum achilles last fall, lost some training time with a sickness in late December and during the race, the it was 40 degrees with a lot of rain and strong wind.  Based off the former race results of others, I felt like my time there was at least worth a 2:15ish under ideal conditions.  And since then, I've improved my half-marathon time by almost 90 seconds, am running more volume and intensity and am running my workouts at much faster paces than at this point last year.  And this time around, I'm doing squats and a little core work, which I didn't do last year.

But on race day, I'll have to adjust my pace based on the conditions. If it it's under 50 degrees and calm, I plan on going out between 66:30-67:00 for the first half. Sometimes I am a little bit too conservative with my racing, so this time around, I'm going to run with a little more confidence. That being said, I greatly respect and healthily fear the distance, so I'm not going to take off like a Kamikaze mania. I'm just going to toe the line confident from my training and not be intimidated by guys with better marathon resumes than me, especially because I consider the marathon my best distance.

With under seven weeks to go, training couldn't be going any better and I'm excited to see how it all unfolds. Hopefully mother nature will be a little bit nicer this time.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November 25th-December 1st Training

Monday: 10.2 miles (6:30); 6.4 miles (7:17)

Tuesday: 5.9 miles (6:40ish); 11.2 miles with 6xhill blasts(7:07)

Wednesday: 9.5 miles (6:53); 5.4 miles (7:30)

Thursday: 11.6 miles with 5 mile race in 23:41.  19 degrees at the start and was super cold the whole way.  Ran solo from the gun with balanced splits of 4:53, 4:48, 4:43, 4:45, 4:31.  Solid effort and felt like I could have thrown down another 4:45 to run 29:30 for 10k. Getting my speed back; 6.8 miles (7:21)

Friday: 5.4 miles (7:08); 10.9 miles (6:58)

Saturday: 10.6 miles (7:20ish). Ran off-road for the first time in a very long time.  I wasn't a fan and it's back to the concrete/asphalt for me; 5.5 miles (7:17)

Sunday: 18.8 miles with 4x5k with 1k faster jog in between.  Goal was to run around 5:05 pace and ended up running 16:13 (3.2 miles), 3:34, 15:48, 3:38, 15:52, 3:43, 15:44.  Had a bit of trouble at first because while I programmed the workout into my watch, I forgot to hit "do workout".  So it didn't alert me when I hit 5k and I went a little further before figuring out I ran too far, so I had to stop and program it again Other than that, the effort was much easier than expected.  I was feeling really mentally lazy and didn't feel like running.  Normally when I run my marathon workouts, I'm very mentally dialed in and am focused on the effort and pace.  If I get too slow, I immediately try to get back on pace.  Today, I just ran and didn't particularly care. Being able to hit my times while not really focusing is a good sign that I'm getting really fit. The pace was really relaxed on my legs and I never had to force anything.  Great first marathon interval session; 3 miles (7:22)

Week Total=121.2 miles. Good overall week.  I was debating doing a fast finish long run on Sunday, instead of the intervals because I wasn't sure if I'd be recovered enough from the race Thursday but I stuck with it.  Next week will be some heavy volume without too much intensity since I've been getting in a lot of quality lately and don't want to overdue it.

This weekend is also CIM, which was my original plan. It'll be bittersweet seeing results, but I hope my friends racing it do well.  From the Nashville area, Jackson Miller (shooting for 2:40), Scott Bennett and Jeanette Faber are racing along with my Saucony buddy, Jake Krong (shooting for 2:20) and Brock Baker. So, good luck to them!