Monday, October 25, 2010


Go to this website, let it load, scroll all the way down to the bottom.

I'm #2952.

Then poke around and see just how impressive me running two marathons in 15 days's impressive, don't get me wrong, but not that much when you look at some of the others.

3 miles this morning.  First run since GR.  Felt incredible.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

That Makes Two

I've had the last three days to mull over, review, rehash, breakdown, dissect, and ruminate on the Grand Rapids Marathon and my performance.


Pleased as punch.

See, I knew going into this that most likely the goal for GR would be to just finish.  But then after my day in the twin cities I thought that a more directed effort might elicit a finish time that would be more memorable than just finishing.  In layman's terms, a PR.

Really, what the fuck was I thinking?

The conditions couldn't have been better - weather was ideal!  Temperature in the low 40s at the start, sunny and warming throughout the day with a predicted temperature at noon of 55F.  PERFECT.

I was properly fed and hydrated prior to the race.  I had a perfectly dialed in nutrition and hydration plan for during the race.  That plan was executed flawlessly (with a MAJOR assist in that department by T).

My pace plan was sound:  go out easy, aim for a 10:30 average pace so I can take it easier on the "hilly" part (there's one small portion of the course that has some rolling hills in it, no major climbs at all, but some rolling terrain), see what you have at mile 22ish and see if a PR would be within striking distance.  Sounds good huh?

I executed that right up until about mile 19.  Nope I didn't see the wall.  Mentally I felt good, but my legs weren't tired.  Nope.  Not at all.  They were fucking dead.  They hurt.  They didn't cramp.  They were just painful.  Feet were okay.  My quads and hip flexors just decided that many miles in that short of time weren't in their contract.

That resulted in a finish that was less than I'd hoped for that day.  But it isn't always, okay seldom, about the numbers on the clock at the finish of a marathon and it wasn't that day.

I took what I learned at Twin Cities and made some changes for GR and had success with those.  I learned some things at GR that I'll apply to the next time I take on the challenge of 26.2 miles.  So what did I learn?  In no particular order:

  • My running volume needs to increase.  About 10-15 miles per week in order to have the type of success (it's not always about time) I want to have at this distance.
  • I need longer long runs.  I need to cross that 20 mile barrier and get closer to 22-23 at least once in the training cycle.
  • I need to make sure my quality runs (e.g. tempo runs, intervals, etc) are of higher quality.  This goes hand in hand with the need to increase my overall volume.
  • I need to be taking better care of myself overall.  I need to be doing more ancillary stuff - overall along with running specific strength and I need to address some deficiencies in some specific areas.
  • I need to incorporate solid food later into my long runs and will need time to experiment with that.
Old Man Marathon may have beat me about the head and neck Sunday but I'm not done dancing with him yet.  Well I am done dancing with him in the short term.  As of today I'm not planning on running a marathon again until 2012.  There would be two circumstances that would change that, and those would involve two specific people asking me to run with them (and I seriously doubt either one of them doing so, but it's not impossible.)  That makes 2011 the year of the half marathon and I've got some races circled on the calendar and some goals at that distance and some others.  Details to come on that.

There you have it.  I'm very happy with how things worked out and I did accomplish something Sunday that I'll blog about in a few days.

Oh, one more thing?  Today is Wednesday.  It's the first day that I've walked, just walked, without pain. This has been the sorest I've felt after a marathon.  I'm planning on running tomorrow.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

One Down

I was informed today that I've been remiss about posting any sort of race report following the Twin Cities Marathon last week, so here goes.  I'm not going to give a mile by mile breakdown (or even post my splits) because that's not as important as some of the overall themes of the day and the lessons I learned.

First of all I'd like to thank Craney and the Original Sherpa for free accommodations and transportation for the weekend.  A big shout out goes to Goon and Moonie for the company during the race itself, but more on that in a minute.

Race day started out totally uneventful.  The weather forecast was pretty much ideal - cold in the hours prior to the race and warming up into the 60s by the early afternoon.  Okay, so not "ideal" but a high in the 60s is so much better than a high in the 70s or god forbid the 80s.  The prerace staging took place at the Mall of America Dome (the dome formerly known as the Metrodome) and you'd be shocked at how small and narrow the concourses in that place are!

The weather, it was in the mid-30s when we got to the dome, set the stage for the first two lessons that I learned that day:
  1. I was dressed perfectly if the forecast called for it to stay in the 30s or even the 40s.  Long sleeve cold weather Nike mock with a short sleeve shirt over top.  Remember though that the forecast called for it to warm up, plus it was a bright sunny day which made it feel even warmer.  Dressed to warm.
  2. We stayed in the dome too long before we made our way out to the start corral.  By the time some of the group dropped off their bag at bag drop and we entered the corral we were behind the 5:30 pace group.  We were able to worm our way up to just behind the 5:00 pace group but we were surrounded by people who would be running much slower than us which made it hard to get into a smooth rhythm in the first mile or two.  Too far back in the corral.
The race started fairly uneventful.  I was running with two fellow members of the 30s on KickRunners, Goon and Moonie.  Goon and I were hoping to finish between 4:16 and 4:30.  Moonie was running with us to try and help us to that pace.  The miles actually were clicking off fairly easy.  We were a bit off our pace goal but feeling strong.  I actually caught myself mentally saying "these miles are clicking off almost too easy."  The next lesson came just after mile 11.  I had to stop to retie a shoe - it felt like it was loosening up and my foot was starting to slide around a bit and I wanted to fix it - and told Goon and Moonie not to wait for me I'd try to catch up.  I'd been running just about a 10:30 pace up to that point.  I then proceeded to run mile 12 and 13 in 9:26 and 9:27 respectively.  That is not a pace I could maintain for the rest of the race.  I caught 'em just before the 13.1 mark and settled back into a more reasonable pace.  But the damage was done.  Wasted too much energy catching up to them at that point.

The next 3-4 miles were uneventful but I could start to feel my energy wane a bit and needed to stop just before mile 18 to use the port-o-potty.  How the hell I managed to find the one port-o-potty with no line I have no idea.  In/out as quick as humanly possible.  Again told 'em not to wait for me, but as I exited the port-o-potty I knew there was no freakin' way I was catching them.  So I was on my own from there out.  Just over 8 miles to go.

Crossed over the Mississippi River and headed for home.  My stomach was not feeling great due to the next lesson:  Powerade sucks.  ***Science Note***  Gatorade is a 6% sugar solution.  Powerade is an 8%.  Ever wonder why most people who drink Powerade water it down?  I can tell you - it's too fucking sweet.  But that's what they had on the course.  Combine that with the 4 GUs I had on the course and while I wasn't nauseous I wasn't feeling great.  Which slowed me down as I headed into the toughest part of the course - the last 6.2 miles.

Everyone who has run this race, or who lives in the Twin Cities will tell you about the Summit Ave hill.  It's long, but it's not that steep...more like a really long 2-2.5% incline.  But the real reason it sucks?  Immediately preceding it is the St. Thomas hill where you gain about 100 feet in about a half mile or so.  That sucked.  Even after the Summit Ave hill there were still rolling hills from about mile 23 past mile 25.  Rolling hills that rolled steadily higher.  At least the finish was downhill.  This was one tough course.

So there you have it.  What I learned during 4 hours, 42 minutes, and 16 seconds as I ran from Minneapolis to St. Paul.