Sunday, May 31, 2009

Next Up....

After some deliberation I have finally made a decision on which race to run next.

The actual event, Johnny Miles, was decided a long time ago as my whole family had such a great time there last year. On the Saturday of the weekend they have kids races that are free, as well as, a great carbo loading event that is part of your registration fee and only $5 for extra sittings for family members and guests. Simply put a great deal. Actually, if you sign up for a race, you get a carbo loading meal, the race itself, breakfast and a post race meal, along with a technical shirt and a hat for $45. I have not come across a better deal anywhere.

So what was the decision on the race to run. Ultimately, I landed where I thought I would... I have registered for the 1/2 marathon. Basically, I don't feel that I am ready to ramp up to a marathon yet - more mentally than anything. At the same time, I feel that my Winter base should allow me to run a 1/2 without too many problems. I actually started training this past Monday on a 1 month training schedule for the 1/2. If you are curious about what I am doing from a training perspective, you can look at my log here.

I will try to post here from time to time with insights as to how my body is reacting to the training regimine.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Long Time, No See... Two Races

It has been quite some time since my last post. Now time for the excuses... Post Boston I was a little burnt out, busy at work and just could not summon myself to blog. So what happened since the last post... well plenty.

Boston went well. Going into it I had set 3 goals - any of which I would be satisfied with. The first goal I had was to simply PR in Boston, a second goal would have been to break 3:10 and a high water stretch goal would be to break 3:07. Based on the training I was putting in I would have thought that, up until a month out from from the race, any of them were possible. That said, starting about a month out from the race, I started to struggle a little and was actually getting slower - not sure why, but just was not feeling on top of my game. So how did things go?

First off, a big shout out to my buddy, nemesis and virtual training partner's aunt who allowed us to stay with her. Her location... about a 20 minute drive from the start line was ideal. It kept us out of the city and allowed us to focus entirely on getting ready for the race as opposed to getting caught up in all the other hoopla. Her hospitality was beyond compare and she and her husband ensured that we were well taken care of and ready for the race. From a logistics standpoint things could not have gone better.

The race itself was quite the experience. Prior to Boston, the biggest marathon I participated in had 150 people in it and the largest race I had ever been in had about 2000 people in it. Boston was quite the animal for me in that just negotiating the number of bodies on the course would prove to take much more effort than I ever could have imagined. I was also impressed by the level of organization that surrounded the race. I suppose they have had 113 years to work out the kinks, but it was still amazing how well organized it was.

As to the race itself, I arrived at the start line feeling ok, but not amazing.... strike one. Once the gun went off, however, Keith and I were discipline and ran at our pre-appointed pace and stuck with it. We started out at 7:33 min / mile pace and ran the first 20 miles varying from 7:06 - 7:33 pace. You can see the damage here.

Not much to report in the first 20... oddly enough things were going just like clockwork. The thing that really struck me was the number of people crashing and burning on Heartbreak Hill. The downhill pounding of the first 16 miles really takes a toll and by the time people reach the last of the uphill Newton Hills (Heartbreak Hill) from mile 16 - 20 , you can see it really begin to take a big chunk out of people's will. Much better runners than I, succumbed to the pain here and were relegated to walking/limping it home. I think the temptation to gain time on the downhill portion is too great for some and by the time they hit the uphill there was simply nothing left in the tank.

It was Heartbreak Hill that the course took a piece out of me as well. Just as I was about to crest it, I felt a big twinge in my left hamstring and battled it until the end. From this point on, whenever I tried to up my pace, I could feel a twinge that appeared to be a precursor to a hamstring pull. Wanting to finish as best I could I eased it in from here. At mile 24, Keith, as we had previously arranged, turned on the jets as he was feeling good. I could not answer the bell here.

In the end, Keith finished in 3:11:48 and I finished in 3:13:33. I had lost the battle against my friend, but I think you could call my battle with the course a draw. I didn't slay it, but I didn't get slayed in the process either.

How did I do against my goals. I managed to PR, so all was not lost, however, I didn't hit my other goals.... I will hold on to them for another day. All in all, it was a wonderful experience - one that I am glad to have taken part in.

The other race that I refer to was run yesterday... the Blue Nose 10K. I didn't really prepare for this one as I have been slowly been upping my training since Boston. I did put in a pretty good showing however.... 13th overall and 2nd in my age group with a time of 39:32. My placing was aided by the fact that the Blue Nose runs 4 races at the same time: a 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon and full marathon all go at the same time. The splitting of the better runners in the Atlantic region between these races, as well as, having many runners who were in Boston take a pass on the Blue Nose due to its proximity to Boston in terms of time allowed me to sneak in to a age group finish... Hey, I will take what I can get.

On the horizon is the Johnny Miles next month. At this stage I think I will run the 1/2 marathon. By the way, this race is the best deal in all of running in my mind. Registration, a technical shirt, a hat, carbo loading and post-race meal, finish line photo and probably other stuff I am probably forgetting for $45. As well, a children's running event is run for free the previous day. Looking forward to it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

9 Days, 7 hours, 17 minutes

Not much time left and heavily into my taper... perhaps more than I would like as I have been fighting some sort of sickness all week. I just haven't felt good and as a result skipped a couple of runs. At this point I am not going to sweat it - I figure that the work is in the bank now and it makes more sense to get too much rest and stay healthy as to try and squeak every last bit of training out of myself.

This final stretch before the big "B" is a little strange. I actually found myself getting nervous about a week ago, but that seems to have passed through me and I feel incredibly relaxed about it now. I have some times in mind in terms of how I would like to finish... but I will keep those to myself for now in case I change my mind.

AT&T have the athlete tracker thing this year. If anyone would like to receive an auto-generated email as I pass various parts of the course just drop me a line via email and I will add you to the list:

Outside of that, not much to report. I am looking forward to spending a long weekend talking trash with my competition and then having a good race. I really expect that the atmosphere, as opposed to my run, may be the highlight of the weekend.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Three Weeks to Go

I have been extremely tardy in posting lately, however, it just hasn't been happening for some reason. That said, training has been going well for the most part. Yesterday, I ran my final big long run in preparation for Boston; a twenty miler.

I must say that the run was a bit of a mixed bag. For the first 9 miles I was on the verge of quitting - I just wasn't feeling good... energy wise and mentally. If it wasn't my last big run I probably would have packed it in. Then magically, something took a turn for the better around mile 10 - suddenly, I felt strong and speedy and my splits decreased by a fair bit.

Overall, I ran 7:24 / mile for the 20 miles with a huge negative split. There is a lesson to be learned there... starting slow is a strategy I need to employ in Boston. After the slow start, I actually ended up running an overall pace that was only 2 seconds per mile off of my PR for the marathon. I may be struck down for even thinking this, but I feel like I am now ready. Time to taper and let the chips fall where they may.

The 3 - 4 of you that regularly follow this blog, by the way thanks, may recall me making mention of racing Boston against a childhood friend. Truth be told, this is not the death match I have been building it up to be. Nothing would make me happier than for both of us to PR... even if that means he destroys me. Essentially, the occasional verbal jabs have been more about attempting to get the best out of both of us... that little bit of extra push that sometimes we all need. That said, if we were to both PR and I nudged him out, I wouldn't mind having the bragging rights ;-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Just finished 10 miler. 8:32 warm up mile followed by 9 miles at a 6:49 pace. Overall pace 6:59 (warm up and pace miles together). Finally feel like my speed is picking up. I must say that my mood is picking up in conjunction with this.

As an aside, my first race 12 years ago (in my early 30's) was a 10 miler that I finished at the exact same pace without a warmup. Nice to see that I am getting faster as I get older as I can now run a tempo run at my former race pace.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Stiff and Sore

It has been a while since I posted. This is mostly due to things being quite hectic recently and just not having the time to sit down and put down some thoughts.

All things considered, training is going well. I did have some knee pain a couple of weeks ago that felt like a re-inflamation of my IT Band, but that seems to have disappeared after some concentrated stretching. I ran a 20 miler on Saturday at the pace I had intended and outside of some sore quadraceps I feel pretty good. As well, Spring is on the horizion which elevates the mood of any runner who has had to slog through Winter.

As of today, it is exactly 5 weeks to Boston and I am trying to finalize the rest of my training. The one thing that is forefront in my mind is a 25K  race this weekend. I am of two minds as to run it or not. Essentially, it is a risk vs. reward kind of thing. The reward would be a real good gauge of my fitness heading into Boston, the risk is the potential to injure myself. Anyone with any thoughts around running a 25K race 4 weeks out from your goal?

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