Monday, June 30, 2014

June 23rd-29th Training

Monday: 9.1 miles (7:06); 5.5 miles (7:30)

Tuesday: 9.1 miles (6:55); 5.4 miles (7:09)

Wednesday: 10.6 miles (6:36); 5.7 miles (7:14)

Thursday: 9.1 miles (6:48); 5.6 miles (7:16)

Friday: 7.3 miles (7:14); 6.1 miles (6:15)

Saturday: 9.4 miles (6:40); 4.8 miles (7:17)

Sunday: 18.2 miles (6:32). Two completed long runs in a row, I'm on a roll.  Ventured out on a partially new course since almost all of my runs are a variation of 2-3 routes. The new part was really good for running...constant rolling hills, no traffic or loose dogs, lots of open space and farmland and the only sounds I heard on those sevenish miles were my feet, crickets and birds.  There was a huge pack of vultures and I could have sworn one of them was barking at me but then I saw a dog in someone's backyard. I was hoping to run this under 6:30 pace and was at 6:35 halfway, but the hills beat my legs up and my legs didn't feel like picking it up. But on a good note, this course is going to be perfect for CIM fast finish longs runs since the "new" route ended right where my fast finish long runs normally start and CIM has some rollers before a flat last few miles, similar to what I did here.  With five miles to go, it was clear and sunny but in the distance, it was pitch black.  With about three miles to go, I could see the starting point of the downpour a couple hundred meters ahead of me and I felt like I was a medieval warrior charging to battle.  I was super drenched and my feet were getting super achy, which frequently happens on long runs when I'm out of shape and boosting up my mileage.   I was going to run an easy 3-3.5 in the evening but I was too busy and my legs were a little achy as it was.

Week Total: 105.9 miles.  Another decent volume week. And even though I'm doing a lot of my runs in 150+ misery index, I feel like I'm finally getting more adapted to it. I'm also sleeping a couple of hours less a night, so hopefully that means I'm getting a little more fit.  And I'm still eating decently (for myself) and am leaning up a good bit.  So it feels good to make some forward progress even though I'm still way out of shape. Next week, I'll keep the volume around the same and get in a moderate run, a 5k as an easyish tempo (hopefully no one else shows up) and a 20 miler. I may even go crazy and add some hill sprints and some weight work since I've been paying or the gym, but never go. I'm hoping to have a good July so I can be ready to train hard in August.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Spring Review; Rest of the Year Plans

The spring season this year was a complete bust.  After Houston, I took it easy for a few weeks and then had inconsistent workouts until the Gate River 15k, which served as the US Championships.  I was extremely rusty there and based on my workouts and fitness level, I expected to run 46:00-46:30.  I ended up running 45:24 and beat some tough dudes in the process.  I took it as a really good sign and felt like I was a month away from being in sub 64 half-marathon shape and by the time the Fifth Third Bank Run rolled around in May, which served as the 25k Championships, I would be able to run 4:50-4:55 pace.  But right after Gate River, I developed a bum hip, which was diagnosed as Greater Trochanter Pain Syndrome.

The hip issue caused me to miss two weeks.  My plan was then to run the Country Music Half-Marathon in late April and use the next couple of months to build a big base for the Chicago Marathon, where I planned to go after a 2:13.  But I was an idiot and decided to run the full marathon at Nashville, which put me out the very next day with Patellofemoral Syndrome, which was another two weeks lost.  While I was still surprisingly fit after my first two week hiatus, I was dragging butt after my second one.  And shortly after starting, I was dragging butt even more before seeing that my thyroid was running slower than I was and my iron was the lowest I've ever seen it before.  So yeah, no Chicago Marathon for me.

So what's the plan now?  I'm penciling in the California International Marathon on December 7th.  If somehow I get in Superman shape really fast, I may swap that for the Indy Monumental Marathon on November 1st.  It's the fastest course I've run on, traditionally has really good weather and the directors do a great job putting it on.  If things go slower than planned, I may wait until the Houston Marathon again.  Most likely, I'll see where my fitness is in September and use the San Jose Half-Marathon in early October as a litmus test to see if I'm ready for a marathon cycle.

But back to training...When designing a training plan, everyone has their goal race as their final destination. You know where you need to be (time goal) and when you want to be there (the day of the race).  But before you can get directions to somewhere, you have to know where you currently are.  If my spring season went as planned, I could jump into my normal routine....a couple weeks of base training, which mainly serve as recovery/downtime, a couple months getting 95% fit from the 5k-HM and then spending the last two months trying to prepare my body for the specific demands of the distance and course conditions of my goal marathon.

But since I missed so much time this spring, I have to take a different approach.  The middle of May through the end of June will be nothing but easy runs.  Just running around between 6:30-7:00+ pace.  I've even refrained from strides and short hill sprints.  I need to get my body used to the demands of running again and develop a little bit of aerobic fitness before I can start piling on harder running.  And by keeping it easier, I can build my red blood cells back more quickly.  Well, I think it works that way.

Once I hit July, I'll go back to my usual "base training".  I'll throw in some easier progression runs, some steady runs, jump in some races and become more consistent with strides and short hills.  I may even head to the gym that I've been to twice, even though I joined almost four months ago.  I got a bunch of imbalances and stuff that I've been too lazy to work on but the idea of going to the gym to fix them sounds pretty good to me.

And once school starts in August, I will hopefully be back to consistent speed workouts.  I'll be a little behind where I want to be, but I feel my fitness will improve quicker than it normally does.  I'll also find some "race" races where I expect to throw down and also get whooped.  During that time, I'll train with the intentions of someone preparing for CIM so instead of a lot of track workouts and flat running, I'll do a lot of hilly fartleks and get used to changing gears and rhythm, which is almost my kryptonite.  So if any of you have run CIM and have any good tips, course thoughts, etc. feel free to let me know!

This long training cycle is going to take more patience and planning than usual.  When things are going smoothly,  I feel like the different training periods are little pit stops along the race track.  I make small adjustments here and there and I'm back on my merry way.  With the way things went this spring, it's like my car crashed and I have to rebuild a lot of things.  Some things I know are missing, others will appear later.

It's a frustrating time right now but I have a long time to get back where I want to be.  I don't have very many really fast seasons left, so I hated losing this past spring.  But I have big plans for the next year or so, so I'll be back.  And I will probably even go to the gym.

June 16th-22nd Training

Monday: 6.8 miles (6:52); 5.5 miles (7:00)

Tuesday: 10.6 miles (6:37); 5.4 miles (7:00ish)

Wednesday: 9.3 miles (6:55); 5.7 miles (7:13)

Thursday: 9 miles (6:56); 5 miles (7:20)

Friday: 9.1 miles (6:46); 3.4 miles (7:19)

Saturday: 7 miles (6:56); 5.3 miles (7:19)

Sunday: 15.1 miles (6:29).  Just wanted to run sub 6:30 pace and was happy to finally completely a long run for once.  I hit 6:30 average pace at around eight miles and was rolling sub 6:20s at that point.  But I slowed down for a few miles before the long two mile descent. I wasn't happy with the slowdown but after seeing I lost almost eight pounds of sweat, I didn't mind as much.  It was already over 80 degrees when I finished with a dewpoint of 71.  I hate summers here.  I also saw a disgusting roadkill...a dead opossum with a lot of tiny, hairless babies, who didn't survive.  Even though I may give off the impression of being a manly, rugged Tennessean, I've always had a soft spot for animals.  I'm even the self-designated mouse person at my school, which means anytime someone gets a mouse caught in one of those evil glue traps, I take it to the woods and pour some oil on it so it can get free. But back to running...this was my first 100 mile week in almost four months, which is a long time.  This week I may boost up the miles a little bit more as this is probably my last pure easy running week.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June 9th-15th Training

Monday: 10.6 miles (6:42); 5.5 miles (6:55)

Tuesday: 10.6 miles (6:34); 3 miles (7:14)

Wednesday: 7 miles (7:07); 6.8 miles (6:55)

Thursday: 6.8 miles (7:01); 6.1 miles (7:06)

Friday: 10.3 miles (6:57); 5.4 miles (7:21)

Saturday: 3.4 miles (7:51); 6.8 miles (7:13)

Sunday: 13.1 miles (6:46). Terrible long run.  Was planning on 15 at 6:20ish with some really tough hills towards the end.  Started feeling a little bit worn out around 5-6 miles and started crawling my last two with splits of 7:44 and 7:38, with the last one being mostly downhill.  I didn't increase the effort at all but my legs wanted to shuffle, so I just shuffled.  Don't know why I ran so poorly.

Week Total: 95.4 miles. Was dragging butt the second half of the week.  My TSH has dropped a good bit but that's all my doctor would test.  I'll try and find a new doctor and get my blood run again.  My values were obviously a ton different than they've been in the past but he wouldn't listen to symptoms, just stated they looked good and were in range.  Runners push their body much harder than the average joe, so even being 5% off won't impact your daily life but will wreak havoc on your running. Not to mention lab values are extremely broad and are "average" for a range of young to old in a non-diseased state.  Something can look "normal" but be way off.  Enough ranting.  This week, I was planning on potentially doing a race, but it will be more easy jogging and if I'm feeling good, maybe I'll knock out 100 miles this week.  And hopefully I can break the long run curse because I haven't been over 13.1 miles since April. 

On another note, my weight is starting to drop some, I'm still eating cleanish and I was happy with the Game of Thrones season finale.  However, I'm not looking forward to waiting until next season.  In the meantime, I started watching season one of Vikings, which is a really good show.  But my final Game of Thrones thoughts (highlight if you don't mind spoilers: I'm pretty certain Brann will control a dragon.  I thought he would before he met the old guy in the tree, but now I think it's almost certain.  Maybe he will even take over his job one day.  I was sad The Hound died and even though he's an ugly dude, his death scene was amazingly well-acted.  Part of me thinks that Cersei played a role in Tyrion's escape since she said she will do anything to protect her inbred son. I'm also starting to like Jon Snow a lot more and Stannis is growing on me as well. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 2nd-8th Training

Monday:  9.5 miles (6:39); 5.5 miles (7:00)

Tuesday: 6.8 miles (6:57); 5.4 miles strides (6:55)

Wednesday: 10.6 miles (6:40); 3.7 miles (7:12)

Thursday: 6.2 miles (7:18); 5.4 miles (7:25)

Friday: 6.8 miles (7:12); 3.4 miles (7:14)

Saturday: 16.6 miles with half-marathon in 1:22:58. Ran with the leader and slowly pulled away around eleven miles.  Super hilly and humid but felt smooth. A pack of cyclists went by on the other side of the road and one of them said "that's the guy who won the marathon" and then another cyclists said "no, he's faster than that."

Sunday: 6.8 miles (6:55); 3.4 miles (7:17)

Week Total= 90.1 miles. Was absolutely dragging during the first part of the week...getting in really long naps, when I normally don't take them and strides felt like track repeats.  Went for a blood test Wednesday and my hemoglobin/hematocrit and RBC's were a ton lower than it normally is.  My t3 was really low and my TSH was also by the far the highest I've ever seen it. But my iron panel was fine and my testosterone was the highest I've ever seen it and was almost double what it is when I'm training really hard.  Guess it shows endurance training doesn't make you very manly.  I'm going for a retest this Wednesday, started  taking some extra iron and hopefully that will fix the thyroid as well since it requires iron to do its job.

On the bright side, I've really cleaned up my eating because it's easy to gain weight with a slow thyroid. I used to get probably at least 30% of my calories from junk and it's definitely under 10% now.  I've even been eating fruits and vegetables.

Next week, will be a little more volume.  I'll probably just spend the next few weeks doing nothing but easier runs and jump in a 5k in couple of weeks.

Friday, June 6, 2014


Even though I hate uphills and altitude, especially races that combine both of those tortuous things, I headed to Boulder, CO for the BolderBoulder 10k.  It serves as a meeting and reunion for the Newton Running Elite Team. Many people show up in shape or completely out-of-shape but regardless, nearly all of us show up   The BolderBoulder  is also an insanely huge race with something like 50,000 contestants  Normally I travel to races alone, but when I mentioned to my wife several months ago that I was doing this race, she said she wanted to go.  Since it was a few weeks before our five year anniversary, I thought it would be a good anniversary getaway, especially since she's never been out West.

Saturday morning, we left for the Denver Airport and after a short layover in the Kansas City airport (which is the worst airport of all-time) we finally landed.  Our plan was to take the AB bus to Boulder, which at only $13 each, wasn't a bad deal.  The only trick is that they don't give change (unless you buy your ticket at the airport) but luckily I had the $26.  We arrived right before it left, which was a good thing because they arrive every hour and a little bit over an hour later, we finally arrived in arguably what is America's running Mecca.

It was about a 1/4 mile walk to the Hotel Boulderado, where we would stay the next two nights.  On the way to the hotel, I saw Jeffrey Eggleston and his girlfriend at the Bohemian Biergarten.  We chatted for a bit and after settling in, I called up fellow bald Newton Elite teammate, Mike Anderson, so we could meet up with Jeffrey for a bit and then knock out some miles. The hotel was pretty unique.  It had some really old-fashioned garb but in a way that worked.  Since we were on the second floor, I was going to take the elevator but the sign said it was from 1908 and because it's so old, you had to get a bell-man to take you up.  That meant I would either die on the thing or be out a $5 tip, so I decided to drag all of our stuff up the stairs.

Last year, I traveled to Logan, UT for the Top of Utah Marathon.  I went on several runs there and the altitude never seemed to be an issue (except for about 18 miles into the marathon, when the downhills stopped).  But on the run with Mike, I was struggling big time.  Anytime we hit a hill, I felt like walking and Mike decided to take me on a hill that seemed to climb forever, with a nasty final 1/4 mile, which was run up in well over 8:00 pace, even though I was huffing and puffing.  Thanks a lot Mike.

For dinner that night, Mary and I went to Mountain Sun Pub and were later joined by another Newton Elite teammate, Nike Schweikert.  After waiting right outside the door for over an hour (after being told it would be a thirty minute wait), I asked the hostess how many people were ahead of us.  She acted surprised and said she came outside and yelled our names half of an hour earlier.  Whatever lady.  The only time she came outside was about twenty minutes prior when she gave us a basket of fries because she said we were waiting too long.  Figure out your story, woman.  But the dinner was really good and I ended up with a Date Burger, which had dates, bacon, goat cheese and jalapenos on it.  It sounds disgusting, but all of the flavors came together really well.

Sunday morning, I met up with a big group of people to run most of the BolderBoulder course.  It was mostly Newton runners (Mike, Nick, Tyler McCandless, Stephen Pifer, Amanda Scott and the Bossman himself, Stephen Gartside) with the one outsider being Brent Vaughn.  As mentioned at the start of this post, I believed I would hate the course.  Yeah, there were a couple of downhills but a lot of it was long gradual uphills. There was some pre-race trash talk between Pifer and Vaughn, which I felt would be a good battle. Vaughn has the better resume but Pifer has been on a roll lately.  Pifer, who works as a Newton Sales Rep for the Plains States, also mentioned that he began his sales career when he talked the University of Colorado coach, Mark Wetmore, into giving him a bigger scholarship, which ended up reducing Vaughn's offer.  Crafty follow.  He's also married to one of the Zeigle twins, who my teammates and I had crushes on in high school.

For lunch, all of the members of Newton Elite met up at some hippy joint that served kale chips, which really weren't that bad.  We followed that with some pictures at a place that was "only a half mile walk", which took like 30 minutes.  But it was nice to catch up with Tyler and Fernando Cabada to discuss training and upcoming goals.  After the pictures, it was back to the hotel until a dinner of pizza and ice cream with Mary and Nik.

On race day, I was a little bit nervous.  Not the typical nerves you get before a big race, but the nerves you get when you were little, did something really bad and were about to get a really big spanking.  I knew I wasn't going to be able to perform very well and would get lit up by a lot of people.  But I was going to give it the ol' honest effort and see what I had.  If I was running better than expected, I would ride it.  If it was way too tough, I was just going to go into cruise mode. I've just been doing easy jogging and haven't had a real workout, minus the marathon in well over two months, so I didn't want to fry myself.

Goal #1 was to not get chicked.  I knew that most likely wouldn't happen since there was a separate elite race but you never know.  Goal #2 was to not get beat by any of the Newton triathletes.  Not because a lot of triathletes spend way too much money on their gear, dress like superheroes and take too many selfies . But because I didn't want to get beat in "my" sport.  I'm sure they wouldn't want me beating them in a triathlon, especially since back in the day, I was the only kid in my swim league who didn't know how to dive.  I just got on the starting block and jumped off that joker.  So yeah, those were my two main goals.

I warmed up with Mike and Nik to the starting line, which is about 1.5 miles away from the hotel.  Even though the race went right by the hotel, I hinted to Mary that I didn't really want her to go out and watch me since I was going to get smoked.  No one wants to get beat down in front of their girl.

Finally, it was time to head to the start.  I lined up beside Nik and Mike and saw my buddy and future Marathon Trials qualifier, Paul Peterson, who I met at the U.S. Half-Marathon championships last year. He's getting ready to race at Grandma's Marathon (along with a lot of other fast guys).  When the gun went off, a lot of people shot out and I tried to find my rhythm.  Mike and Nik left me but I felt like I was in a good zone.  I started moving up a little bit and went through the mile in 5:11.  Not too bad.  But shortly after that, I started to feel the lack of oxygen, knew I had to slow down and then mentally bagged it a good bit.  Shortly after that happened, I got passed by Newton triathlete, Timothy O'Donnell.  Since he's such stud and an experienced triathlete and racer, I figured he was gone for good.  Great.  I spent the next few miles getting slower and slower and lost all of my mojo.  But late in the fourth mile, I heard people yell that the first woman was coming.  Since I was on a down-slide, I figured she was running me down.  That made me pick it up some because while I knew Tim had me, I was not going to go down without a fight against this mystery woman.  Luckily I never heard "first woman" for the rest of the race.

I started picking off some people and found myself going back and forth with some young guy with a cross on the back of his singlet.  Every time I passed him, I thought he was done for because he sounded like he was hurting pretty badly, but he kept on rallying back.  Tough kid.  I ran by Nicole Camp on the side of the road, who was nice enough to cheer for me, which sort of embarrassed me because I was getting smoked so badly.  A few minutes later, Jeffrey Eggleston yelled for me as well, which embarrassed me even more. Yeah, they are super nice people but in shape, I feel like I could potentially fight for a top spot, not get run down by a girl (no offense to the girl readers).

The guy with the cross singlet passed me again, along with some guy with headphones and a pair of the new Newton Distance trainers.  I wasn't going to let those guys take me out, so I kept them within five seconds or so with plans of passing them at six miles.  But right after six miles came an uphill, so I delayed that plan. After the uphill, you turn onto the University of Colorado football field for about a minute or so (just like the Tom King Half-Marathon, for you Nashville people).  I passed cross kid and headphones guy and crossed the line in 34:17 to finish 60th. Nik ran really well to take 8th place overall in 31:58 and Mike also had a strong performance to finish in 32:43.  The top woman finished in 35:11, so I destroyed her those last two miles. Eat that.

And because I broke 40 minutes, I also get a free sub 40 shirt.  I wonder if those shirts are like the Boston Marathon jackets in that you have to wear it to all races, expos, social gatherings, church, weddings and maybe even funerals.  I also met a guy who reads my blog and moved to Boulder about six months ago but I never did get his name.

After the race, Mike, Nik and I jogged back to the hotel until Stephen drove Mary and me to the car rental place so I could pick up my car for the next couple of days. After that, we cheered on the Newton athletes in the Elite race, which included Stephen, Tyler and Fernando.  Even though the temperature rose a good bit, they all ran really well.  After that was over, it was time for Mary and I to drive to Stephen's house in Leadville, where we planned to spend the next two nights.  But not before Nik and I shook hands on the triple threat challenge at the USA 20k Championships in September, consisting of a race (the 20k), a weigh-in (we both way about the same and have similar eating habits) and a flex-off.  Winner is the first one to win two out of three.

I'm pretty sure this is the street we stayed on.

The drive to Leadville was really pretty, even though there was a ton of driving on and around mountains, which always freaks me out.  After about 2.5 hours and only seeing one McDonalds, we arrived in Leadville. Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the United States and was much tinier than I expected.  Most of the town is along one main road and there didn't seem like much to do, other than hike trails.

A snowman I made.  Someone told me it looks like Olaf, but I've never seen Frozen, so who knows

After dropping our stuff off at the house, it was time to head to dinner.  We were craving pizza, so we went to High Mountain Pies, which was supposed to be really good.  Mary liked it but I thought it was just ok (but I have high standards for pizza).

The next morning, I went for my first run at over 10,000 feet.  I thought I would completely die but it actually was a really good run.  I found some dirt trails/roads near Turquoise Lake and zig-zagged my way around for a little bit over nine miles and didn't even get lost.  My main goal of the run was to see a porcupine, which didn't happen but at least I saw some mule deer.

The dirt roads I ran on

After the run, we went to some Mexican joint, which was the worst Mexican food in the world.  You could only get one basket of chips before getting charged and the chips tasted like stale Wal-Mart brand tortilla chips.  And I got my margarita about thirty seconds after ordering it, which I'm about 99.99% sure was just a Smirnoff Margarita poured straight out of the bottle.  After dinner, it was time for another run, that was surprisingly tough with the highlight of the run being a stare down session I had with some bighorn sheep. After the run, it was time for bed, followed by a morning run and the 2.5 hour drive back to the Denver airport.

We got there super early, so I spent my time trying to find the secret entrance to the underground alien base they have there.  One of the guys who snuck down there successfully used Karate on one of them during a fight/shoot-out against the aliens, so I was hoping that if I got down there, my old Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai training would kick-in.

All in all, it was a really fun trip.  Boulder is a really cool town and it's definitely a great place to have excellent training partners, running locations and healthy places to eat.  I also like how they don't allow a lot of chain restaurants into town, so there's a lot of variety and high quality food.  While it didn't scream "move here" to me, it would definitely be a place I would enjoy spending a month or two training in.

The BolderBoulder is also a really cool race.  It's put together very well, there's good food afterwards and there's a ton of support on the sides of the road during the race.  A lot of people will do destination half-marathons and marathons, but this race would be the perfect destination race. It's only a 10k (yeah, I know I was whiny about the race though), Boulder is a really cool town and you won't find very many places prettier than the Rockies.

Leadville was also a cool town. There's tons of old mining roads around and since I just plan on doing easy base training for the next 4-6 weeks or so, the altitude would be a great training stimulus. But if I were doing hard workouts, it would probably be way too high and more of a hindrance than a help.  The lack of Mexican food would hurt but I'd manage.

While I won't be in peak shape for this race next year, I plan to come back and go out on my shield a little bit more and beat all triathletes and women.

Country Music Marathon-That race I ran a long time ago

A few weeks before the Country Music Marathon, I wasn't planning on running. Mainly because I couldn't run at all.  My bum hip made my training take a complete stop.  I couldn't run a mile, so 26.2 miles was out of the question.  But three weeks out, I was able to start some easy jogging.  I was feeling better than expected, so I decided to enter the half-marathon.  I felt like I could throw down at least a 66 and change, if needed.  But since I won the full marathon last year, I felt the pressure to attempt the repeat.  My students at school really wanted me to do it and with no big races planned all spring and summer, I decided, what the heck and entered the race a week out. Obviously my goal was to win the race.  If that meant I had to race, well, I was prepared to do that.  Well, not physically prepared, but you know what I mean.

I was really nervous about my ability to run a marathon.  While I typically will do a long run most weekends. I hadn't had a 20 miler in over a month.  And all year long, I only had six runs over 20 miles.  I knew my ability to burn fat for fuel at a quick rate was severely diminished (which is a huge part of the marathon) and I was worried about how my body would handle all of the pounding, especially on a rolling course.  And with not being in proper marathon shape, I had to be extremely patient with the distance.  Before a "peak"marathon, I am really fit and never really run easily during the race.  My body is trained to take the damage and I can hold my hand to the fire relatively early and keep it there. People assume that the more fit you are, the easier it is.  But the opposite is true.  The more fit you are, the longer and harder you can run and you can also push and hurt for a long time before dying.  But since I was out of shape, I had to run a more progressive feeling effort.  I had to start really easy because I could go from jogging to redlining relatively quickly, if I wasn't careful. 

One of my favorite things going into a marathon, especially one that I mostly train through is that I let myself eat a little more junk than usual.  All in the name of carb-loading, right?  Two nights before, I went to Waffle-House with Newton rep, Lee Strawbridge and the man behind the Music City Distance Carnival, Dave Milner. Since we had a teacher potluck at work, I ate more than my fair share for lunch but still went with a double hash-brown with cheese, onions and jalapenos, as well as two chocolate-chip waffles.  I had to send my water back though because the waiter's dread locks were resting in it while she was taking our orders. That's what I get for eating at the White Bridge location.  And I ate my night before meal at my go-to Mexican joint in town, Casa Veija. Nothing can faze my iron stomach.

Race morning, I downed my typical Powerbar, 32 oz. Gatorade and a couple bowls of cereal.  The weather wasn't going to be too bad.  Race time temp would be around 50ish and  would climb to the low/mid 60s by the end.  Not ideal but it could be worse for a late April marathon in Nashville.

Going into the race, I felt like I was the favorite to win, and my next goal was to get the sub 2:26 time bonus.  I feel like the course is 3-4 minutes slower than a fast course like Chicago or Houston and I felt like I was fit enough to run the time without a lot of trouble. I didn't have a concrete race place but did have several friends running in the half (Ben Li and Ryan Snellen from Nashville and Brian Shelton from Cookeville) and I figured they'd run around 1:12 or so, so I was thinking of seeing what those guys did and keying off of them.

But tragedy struck when I realized I noticed my GPS was almost dead.  Since I was trying to run a certain pace, I felt it would be crucial.  But 2:26 is around 5:35 a mile and since the press truck had a running clock on it, I could easily do the math (multiply the mile number by 5.5 and add five seconds per mile.  It sounds confusing but it makes sense).

Finally, the the gun went off.  One of the half-marathoners shot off out front.  Everyone let him go and I hung back in somewhat of a pack with Ben, Snellen and Brian, with Joseph Chebet and Mark Pepin hanging along for the ride as well.  We were clicking off 5:20-5:25s.  It was faster than I wanted, but it felt good and I could always slow down later. We eventually caught the early leader with the pack starting to separate some.  After we caught him, Chebet shot to the front, unopposed.  I was running and chatting with Mark a bit.  He went to a high school in my hometown back in South Carolina and it turned out we had a mutual friend.  We were still clicking off mid 5:20s and Ben was doing his best to hang on.  I dropped back so I could run with him some and hopefully help him move up.  Mark's a nice enough guy but I had to help out my fellow Nashvillian.   I ended up slowly pulling away from Ben and caught back up with Mark.  We ran together until the split around 10 miles.  I knew from here on out it would be pretty lonely, so I tried to make some small talk with the cyclist.

After doing the math from the press truck, I was still under 5:30 pace by a good bit and would have a good cushion for the second half and my sub 2:26.  Some crazy dude on a bike started cycling around us singing some songs.  I told the lead cyclist he would be tazed within a mile but he was gone before that got to happen.  The press truck had to leave me before the halfway split because of an upcoming 180 degree turnaround but it turned out to be 1:10:59.  Too fast and after briefly debating going for a bigger time bonus, I quickly nixed it and was happy that I just had to run around 5:40s the second half.

It was a good decision because around 16 miles, I started to get tired.  It wasn't the typical marathon fatigue, my legs just weren't prepared for the all of the pounding since I've been hurt and the rolling hills were taking their toll.  At 20 miles, it got a little bit tougher and after doing some rough math, I figured I would be able to run close to 5:45s the last 10k. So I backed off some more and cruised in just under the 2:26 standard and ran 2:25:52.

While I didn't hit the wall or anything, I was pretty beat up and had to sit down for a while.  I then spent had to make the super long walk to the baggage claim and failed big time when talking with a family when I guessed their son to be in third grade (he was in sixth).  I couldn't find my wife at all, so after calling her on the phone and trying to figure out where she was, it turned out she was literally ten feet in front of me.

Not a bad day at the office and I was surprised the initial pace felt so easy. I was glad to be able to win twice in a row and next year, I'll shoot for three.

Post race interview.  Who wants to hear boring typical stuff? I never did get any JT tickets.

Monday, June 2, 2014

June 26th-May 1st Training

Monday: 10.1 miles with 10k in 34:18.  Was going to shoot for sub 32 if I was feeling good, but after about a thousand meters, I was huffing and puffing, so I wasn't feeling it.  Just ran a moderate type effort and outkicked some dude with headphones at the end.

Tuesday: 9.2 miles (6:48). First run at over 10k feet; 3.9 miles (7:37)

Wednesday:3. miles (7:39); 4.7 miles (7:21). Back in Tennessee. 

Thursday: 6.8 miles (6:55); 5.4 miles (7:10)

Friday: 10 miles (7:01)

Saturday: 8 miles with 5k in 17:25. Hot and super hilly.  Just ran hard enough to win because there was good money. 3.4 miles (7:210

Sunday: 3.3 miles (6:46). Was going for 15 miles but felt bad from the start.  Was huffing and puffing and was seeing spots everywhere.  Stopped and walked for a few minutes, then jogged back home feeling like garbage.  Who knows?

Week Total: 67.6 miles. Bad week of training but at least Colorado was fun.  I've felt really weak and drained for about two weeks now, so I'll get a blood test on Monday to make sure everything looks ok.  I haven't had my iron tested since February, so that could be a possibility.  I'm also really struggling in the heat.  I'd much rather run at altitude than in the heat and humidity here.  Next week, I'll shoot for closer to 90ish and hopefully feel a little bit better.