Sunday, October 31, 2004

The End of Recovery!

Finally, the end of recovery. This week's total was 15 miles finished off with two more brisk 5k runs on the "home course". The home course is a nice loop beginning from the house and includes a handful of hills. Saturday's run was an afternoon run while the kids were at a Halloween party up the street. Coming off a day of rest, I pressed the pace a little and was pleased to see the response. Running well under race effort, I did try to keep myself just below the lactate threshold where I could smoothly continue yet fast enought that I couldn't chat with you if I wanted to. The first mile went by in 6:35 (generally uphill) the 2nd in 6:20 (generally downhill) and the 3rd in 5:57 (plus a little for the .1). Total time 19:27. I felt good and the weather was perfect. I have been running 6 x 100m (estimated length) strides at the end of my workouts. I find this is a nice way to stretch the muscles and gain some benefit from the faster leg turnover without stressing the body. I feel refreshed after the strides. I believe the key to these is the recovery. Accelerate to fast but "non-sprint" leg turnover and decelerate over 100m or so. Walk to a full recovery and repeat. It does wonders.

This morning I woke up after enjoying the extra hour of rest afforded to us via tradition, and went out for the final 5k of the recovery week. Ran a little slower but felt good all around. First mile in 6:52, 2nd in 6:28, and the 3rd in 6:11. Time for the 3.1 miles was 20:11. Weather was drippy but not rainy. Also, a bit warmer! It must be up near 50 degrees. I had to let the woodstove die down. I'll get it going later this afternoon just before taking the kids out for their treats.

So while not running hard per se, the speed made the runs more of a "pace" run as opposed to an "easy" run. I guess I felt I needed the psychological benefits of cruising as I have already stored enough rest from the past two week's downtime. Also, knowing I have Monday as a rest day and coming off of Friday's rest day, I felt rested, confident, and ready to train. I am thinking the rest days scheduled into the plan are going to allow me to train at consistently higher levels than previously. Taking rest "where you need it" is good advice if you're already following a schedule that incorporates rest. However, previously, this was my method of determining when I got any rest at all! It does take a little discipline however. Resting on Monday when you're not tired seems counterproductive. My research into other's research, indicates that unless we are running some extreme mileage, we may be short-changing ourselves in our quest for faster times by not fully resting. So I will be the guinea pig in this experiment. We'll take someone who rested "as needed" and have him rest "to schedule" and we'll track the progress!

This week's log recap:
Mon: Rest
Tue: 3miles
Wed: 3 miles
Thu: 3 miles
Fri: Rest
Sat: 3.1 miles
Sun: 3.1 miles
Total: 15.2 miles

So now for 25 weeks of consistent training to bring me within reach of mile goal (2:45:00)!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

It is so nice to Run!

Finally, back in the sneakers again for an easy 3+ with Marc. Time of 25:05. We ran our old standby: the river trail. The course is flat as a railroad bed (since it used to be one) and is about 1.5 miles long end to end. We add a little extra near Barker Street for "padding" as just to be sure the mileage is logged. I think our times bear out the truth of the 1.5 mile posting as we always run slower on this course than any other.

It felt GREAT to be back running. It took a lot of discipline to stay out of action for the entire week. Easy at first since I was so sore but near the end of the week I was dying to get out there. Now I just need to take it easy with 3 miles per day as a limit. This is because the plan says I am still in recovery mode (week #2). I should run a total of 15 miles this week and then bump the mileage back up to 50 starting the week beginning 11/1. I am trying to be committed to my new plan as it schedules much rest and hard work. In pursuing my goals, I need to be certain rest is given in healthy doses. I think about this way: if I had a coach, he would...

Just a quick aside here, there appears to be a small plane trying to land at our little airport and having a wee bit of difficulty. This is his second pass (the flightpath for landing goes over my house). His engine sounds really rough... thug thug thug thug like its burning rich. I can still hear it... At least he was going in alot lower this time. The first time he passed (the engine noise caught my attention) he looked a little high. You know, I think I hear him again, I am going outside... Ok, all is well. Turns out the "thug, thug, thug" was the sound a helicopter makes - ha ha. He made yet another pass and looks like #4's a charm. I don't what he was doing but he sure was taking his time about setting the thing down...

Ok back to the coach: he would definitely have me resting on a scheduled basis rather than allowing rest breaks to be such a haphazard occurrence as they have been in the past. I have an excel chart that shows this but I need to figure out how to post it on my blog. Tomorrow will be a 3 miler in the afternoon, same for Thursday. Friday is a day of rest, Saturday and Sunday will finish out the week with easy 3 milers.

My legs feel good but a little sore here & there. I'm betting the 2nd week of recovery training is the most appropriate. 27 weeks until Boston (but no acceptance email yet).

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Recovery Day 4 (Much better)

Thank goodness this sore throat is subsiding. Man, I do not like being sick. Slight lingering but nothing that a little Vicks can't help. Got a much better sleep last night as well.

Would you know it? The legs are feeling great! Amazing difference from just 2 days ago. I was reading others blogs about how recent marathoners were back to running etc. and I just couldn't see the end of my own soreness. Then like it never happened, no pain! Well - almost no pain. Like I was telling Marc today at lunch (we went for pasta down to Bernardini's) now that the quads have stopped screaming, I can hear the knees, feet, and other joints "talking" about their recent ordeal. Both of us talked about how we were "bounding" up & down stairs and how exciting it was! Are we foolish or what? Also, I had to run to post office to catch the mail. No problem. There, life is getting back to normal.

However, in deference to the knees, feet, and other minor complainers, I intend to take the entire week off. The first scheduled run is for Tuesday - a 3 miler on the river trail. I am not certain if I will keep the daily mileage at 3 all next week or if I might increase it gently as the week wears on. Either way, it is a recovery week and that will take any precedence over enthusiasm.

I am excited about getting back into training - especially as I am developing a plan for Boston (no acceptance email yet). The first 6 weeks will be base mileage building. However, as I have a pretty good base now, I am looking forward to getting my miles "up there" without injury. This is like playing a balancing act.

So, with no lingering damage from MDI, the future looks bright. Since I started this blog, I have met some very nice fellow bloggers. I would like to provide a link to their blogs (and I will) but I have to get a little more comfortable with this blogging program so it doesn't take me half the night to do it!

Hey, who took all those photos?

Here she is... my mom! Posted by Hello

Finishing the best race of my life! Posted by Hello

The final 385 yards! Posted by Hello

Matt offers encouragement and water. Now for the final 4 hills! Posted by Hello

Waiving off Gu & requesting water here at mile 23. Posted by Hello

Approaching mile 23. Caught someone here as my legs protested. Posted by Hello

Mile 21. A long lonely road ahead! Thank goodness my folks were there! As you can see, I had someone to "reel in" up ahead. This helped keep me focused. Posted by Hello

21 Miles. Legs are on fire. Posted by Hello

18.6 miles at the end of Butler Road. Time to push to the 20 mile mark! Posted by Hello

Matt gives me water at 11.5 miles. Big help! Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Mile 11. Feeling strong. Posted by Hello

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Quick Update on MDI Marathon

Holy smokes! I surprised myself by placing 11th overall, 1st in my age category and qualifying for Boston with a time of 3:05:19. My friend Marc decided to run the race with his injury and still finished under 4 hours (3:58) placing 120th. I'll take the time in my next post to fill in the details of the race. Still walking on air at this moment...

Saturday, October 16, 2004

On My Way

On my way to Bar Harbor. I will post the results of the marathon tomorrow night (if I'm up to it).

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Taper Crazy

The marathon taper can make you crazy. No running to speak of - so I have all this "time" on my hands, yet nothing gets done. Tonight I am doing all the laundry so I can pack for MDI Sunday. I will travel to Bar Harbor on Saturday to participate in the pre-marathon festivities and do a little last minute jogging. I have purposely focused on rest these past two weeks since I believe I have a tendancy to "overdo" it too close to race day. Also, my training partner (Marc) pulled his calf muscle on our last workout together (a brisk 6 miler). We were 1 1/2 weeks out at that point. I took the lesson to heart and backed off immediately. I guess I am risking being "undertrained" for the reward of no last minute injury. Marc is home resting. Just got word he is going to try out the leg tomorrow. I'll post the results tomorrow (keep fingers crossed).

Yesterday I got out for a much needed 3 miler (20:02). Felt good after initial "creaks" left. I am feeling confident about meeting the 3:10 goal as long as I can handle the last 10k properly. I have been carbo loading for the past two weeks and have drastically reduced mileage - so hopefully the glycogen tank will be full!

I have been developing a plan for a Boston PR. The plan includes speedwork which will be a new concept for me (at least on a regular basis). I am looking forward to the harder workouts and increased mileage - especially if it will sink my time sub 3 hours. I don't know what my new goal should be as I don't know what I am capable of. I firmly believe, though, I can be successful if I commit to the work. Having said that, I need to be especially cautious about injury as the increased workload will raise my risk of injury substantially. I am having trouble with figuring out where the dividing line actually is. The easy route is take it easy and err on the extreme side of caution. Yet, I don't want to forfeit quite achievable times by not pushing where I can (and must). You see, this is the problem with tapers - I have consumed two running books by Hal Higdon: Run Fast and The Ultimate Marathon in the past two weeks. Since I wasn't running I thought I'd read about it.

While the books are full of good information I get the impression that the author can trade on his fast times when he was younger yet write to a slower audience that has no intention of trying for similar times. Maybe this is just economics; I mean, why write if you can't sell enough books to pay the bills? I need to find a book that speaks with more of a focus on an aspiring 2:30 marathoner still out in 3+ hour land. Having said this, I think I have an idea how to start: (speedwork, rest, speedwork, rest, long, rest). Since I haven't consistently followed this formula I am going to start here and see how far I can progress. I am not young, but at 32 I have some good years left to play with. Therefore, I believe I have some time to establish a few PR's.

Do I have the talent (genetics)? Who knows? But without training I'll never know. Here's my marathon history:

Houston 1/03 3:42:48

MDI 10/03 3:25:40

Nova Scotia 7/04 3:32:11

MDI 10/04 ???????????

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Running MDI Marathon on Sunday

Completely new to blogging, but not so new to running. Providing link to my upcoming marathon as a test to see if I am starting to understand the process of using blogger.


Tonight I am just 3 days and 9 hours from the start of my 4th marathon. After taking 12 years off I am back to running and have chosen marathons as my "specialty". I don't know why, except there is a thrill to almost every aspect of the event- from training, learning, meeting up with others, and of course the event itself. My least favorite part of the marathon experience is somewhere near 22 miles.

Sunday's marathon will be the MDI marathon in Bar Harbor, ME. This would be considered a local race for me (2 1/2 hours away). I ran it last year with a PR of 3:25:40. Since then I have run the Nova Scotia marathon in Barrington, Nova Scotia with a time of 3:32 in July '04. My running buddy, Marc and I took the ferry from St. John, NB to Digby, NS and participated in our first "international" marathon. Training leading up to the race left a lot to be desired so we treated it like a "long, long run". No doubt about "long" for me. My feet were killing me at mile 22. Only positive was I knew the feeling from my other two marathons (MDI '03 and Houston '03). The Houston marathon is another story...

My goal for MDI is 3:10 to qualify for Boston. I understand many use Boston as a goal and it isn't actually a unique goal, but there is a magic about shooting for this goal. Confidence is high even with the hilly course of MDI. Feeling good. We will see how things are after 20 miles - as this is where I run into difficulty.

I am going to stop here and post to see if this works. Good luck to all running this weekend.