Monday, September 29, 2008

Less than 2 Weeks to go

It has been a while since I last posted. This is probably due mostly to a series of less than ideal runs I have had in the couple of weeks since my last post.

My long run last week (my final 20 miler) was not quite what I had anticipated. Running more slowly than I intended, I found myself still having a difficult time around 18 miles - my body started to slow down and I had some cramping in my legs when I finished the run. Since that time I have felt quite sluggish - energy levels have been low as well as my overall desire to run.

I have decided to take this as a sign, rightly or wrongly, that it may be time to back off. And, as a result, I am tapering for the big race on Oct 12th. This past week I only ran 33 miles, down from 40, 41 and 51 in the previous 3 weeks. I have always felt that getting to the line healthy is half the battle. I don't have the miles under me that I would liked to have had due to the issue with my feet. That said, with such little time left, I am not going to stress about not getting as many miles in as I would have liked. The workouts I have had have, for the mostpart, been of less intensity than I would have liked as well. At this stage, it is what it is and we'll just have to see what happens. Right now the plan is to head out at about a 7:15 min / mile pace on race day and dial it down from there if things don't feel right. If things feel great, I may increase by 5 seconds per mile, but right now I don't think the likelihood of that happening is too strong.

As an aside, I feel compelled to comment on Haile Gebrselassie's new world record in the Marathon: 2:03:59. As my friend Keith pointed out, if I have the race of my life I have a shot at coming in just 1 hour slower than Haile. Absolutely insane how fast this is. For some perspective, those of you who have treadmills, just think of the following. A 2:03:59 converts into 12.68 miles per hour. Most treadmills on the market only go up to 10 miles per hour. Not only is he running at that pace, he is able to sustain it for over 26 miles!!!!! Try cranking your treadmill up to 10 mph and seeing how long you can hold it there... it will really provide some perspective as to how fast the elites are running. Sometimes it is easy to forget this as their form is so good that they do not appear to be moving as fast as they are. Anyway, it is an incredible feat.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

16 Mile Marathon Pace Trial

I was reading recently about the Brooks - Hanson running group and their approach to Marathon training. One thing that interested me was finding out that many of the runners on the team run a simulated marathon about 5 weeks out from their race. In this simulation they run 26.2 Kilometers as opposed to 26.2 miles and they run the distance at anticipated race pace. The thought behind this is that the distance is an excellent test of your marathon fitness, however, the distance is not too long to run a high risk of injury.

I gave the workout a try today out of curiosity and found it to be quite good. I ran the distance in the pace I hope to run (7:15 min / mile) and do not feel any worse for wear this evening. The great thing about it is that I didn't feel on edge at any point in the run so I find that having run this has increased my confidence about running the real race in about a month. I had found myself questioning my fitness recently and the pace I would strive to run. It is nice to now have the confidence that my plan is achievable.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The A.R.T. of Running

As time was a ticking and I hadn't heard back on my bone scan, I decided to go back to the less orthodox route to healing, Active Release Techniques. I had my first treatment on my feet on Wednesday and already can feel some improvement. It isn't perfect yet, but I did a 19 mile run this morning with very little difficulty. As to the issue, my Chiropractor feels that it is due to a weak muscle in each foot. So I have exercises to strengthen them and he is administering the treatment. Things are finally starting to look up.

Considering how little running I had been doing as a result of the foot issue, I have had a pretty big week. I didn't run my long run on Sunday last week as we were having a torrential downpour and ended up doing 17 miles on Labor day Monday. I took Tuesday off, ran 6 with intervals (3 X 1 mile) on Wednesday, 3 miles on Thursday, 6 miles with 4 at tempo pace on Friday and 19 this morning. I normally would have taken today off, but we are expecting a tropical storm tomorrow and I didn't think I would likely get out for my run, so I moved it up a day. If my addition is not failing me, that would be 51 miles in the last 5 days which considering how things have been recently is quite heavy. I will wait until tomorrow to pass judgment as to lingering effects, however, at this moment things seem fine and not a moment too late.

Buoyed by how I have felt the past few days, I have finally signed up for the Valley Harvest Marathon. All I need to do now is get to the start line healthy and have a good day. If that happens, hopefully, I can qualify for Boston.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Laboured Day

Well I finally got a long run in - at least distance wise. I ran 17 miles yesterday and, while I could feel my foot, it wasn't bad enough that I had to shut things down early. Recently 13 miles was about the extent of what I could muster without having to give things up mid-run.

A few weeks of low mileage, low pace running have definitely had an impact - which became painfully obvious during yesterday's run. While I wasn't pushing things, my 8:00 min/mile pace was a lot worse than I had been able to do recently. It is now a mere 5 weeks until the Valley Harvest Marathon and I feel woefully prepared. If you would have asked me about a month ago how I was feeling about it all, I would have responded enthusiastically as everything was going just about perfect. Today, however, I am questioning my ability to do well in the race - essentially, well for me would be to run between 3:05 and 3:10. Right now, I am adjusting my expectations with the hope of just beating my time last year, which as long as it is by 11 seconds would give me a Boston Qualifier.

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