Friday, October 31, 2008

Easy Five

Just a short five at an easy pace. Felt good, but the heart rate is still a bit on the high side. Will likely do around five again tomorrow and try a ten miler on Sunday, all at an easy pace.

Nice weather, and nice to enjoy a final post-work run with ample daylight before the clocks turn back this weekend. We're losing daylight fast. Total daylight for today is 10 hours, 16 minutes, and tomorrow will be 2:36 shorter. I got that information from weather underground, so I hope the conservatives don't try to label me as a terrorist.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:06/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 147/159
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 50s, sunny, breezy.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Reunited with a less hectic schedule for a while now that cross country season is, for the most part, over and I can concentrate more on my own running.

Reunited with Old Man Winter as today was blustery and sleet was falling during my run.

Reunited with my Garmin Forerunner 305. Got it back in the mail yesterday and I finally have one that looks to be in good working order.

Reunited with one of my favorite routes that I haven't done in a while... a hilly seven miler from the school.


Was slightly surprised at how high my average heart rate was for this pace, even if it was over some good hills. I guess I shouldn't be though, given that I'm just a week and a half out of my marathon. I still have some recovery to do.

Ran 7.1 miles @ 7:57/mile pace.
AHR/MHR - 157/171
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 30s, overcast, windy, intermittent sleet.
Long pants, fleece jacket, short sleeved shirt, beanie.

P.S. Hope everyone likes the new look for the blog!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Five Plus Strides

Ran an easy five with my friend and fellow teacher, Tom, after school today. Run felt fine, and afterwards I did some strides.

I've seen these before in training schedules, but always dismissed them and didn't really see the point. I became a bit more convinced, however, after reading up on them more. To paraphrase Pfitzinger and Douglas in their book Advanced Mararthoning, the purpose of strides is improve running form and control at fast speeds. With adequate rest between each interval, it's easier to concentrate on efficiency because lactate levels remain low.

I gave them a whirl, and while I imagine the benefits won't be reaped in the short term, I enjoyed doing them and could see the point. I focused on remaining loose and relaxed while accelerating and then holding the speed up. Kept track of how many I did by drawing a slash for each rep in the dirt caked on the back of my car.

Rest day tomorrow, which is planned and good timing since it's parent-teacher conference night and a cold rain and possibly snow is supposed to fall. I'm itching to get my mileage back up, but I must be patient.

Ran 5.0 miles @ 8:39/mile pace, followed by 10 X 100M strides.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Shorts, sleeveless shirt.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Morning Run and More Looking Ahead

My first post-marathon run was a good one. Slow and relaxed, while enjoying the smell of fallen leaves. Very few kinks in the muscles, and those were smoothed out as the run progressed.

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:31/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Mid 50s, overcast.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, cap.

I went ahead and registered for the Hyannis Marathon on February 22nd. The past few marathons I've run were done riding on the coattails of ultramarathon training, meaning lots of long runs, but very little or no speedwork, and always a little banged up. I'm really looking forward to the chance to do a marathon with marathon-specific training to see what I can do. Last time I did this was two years ago at Hyannis, and I blew it by trying to be a hero and going out way too fast and DNF'd just before mile 18. That lesson hopefully won't be forgotten this time around. If all goes well, I hope to BQ and that's the primary goal.

I've spent a lot of time the past week formulating my race plan. I'm going to try and be more disciplined in following a training schedule, and I've been pouring through the book Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pftizinger and Scott Douglas for ideas.

I'm going to follow the 18-week plan on 70 miles a week or less. It features six weeks of an endurance cycle, five weeks of a lactate threshold plus endurance cycle, four weeks of a race preparation cycle (emphasis on speed work), and a three week taper.

The only conflict is week one began this past week, and I'm still in recovery. However, I feel my aerobic base is pretty solid, so I'll just gradually incorporate the plan over the next two to three weeks while I'm recovering and go from there. I like this better than just going ahead and doing the 12-week plan, since it allows for more speed work.

I don't plan on following this plan exactly (unrealistic, especially if winter this year is similar to last year), but I do want it to be a solid guideline. The speed workouts and long runs, however, will have little to no room for negotiation.

I'm very much looking forward to this next journey. It's kind of nice to take a break of sorts form the ultramarathoning mindset and get back into the marathoning mindset, just for the change of pace (pun intended... short drum roll followed by a cymbal crash). This should also serve as a nice springboard into training for the Western States 100 in late June. Always nice when race schedules fall perfectly into place like that.

Comments and suggestions on my plan are welcome.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Post MDI Marathon Thoughts and Looking Ahead

Thank you everyone for the comments and emails regarding the MDI Marathon. I really do appreciate it. Recovery is going very well, but I'm still sticking to my plan of no running until Sunday (also, if I violate that rule, I owe my father 20 bucks).

Physically, my legs feel great. The plantar fasciitis did flare up big time and I felt it a lot on Monday. However, by Tuesday it waned dramatically and now it feels like it's back within its normal parameters, if there is such a thing. That's good.

Mentally, not feeling so great. I fully realize expecting anything more out of myself last Sunday would be unrealistic, all things considered. However, I've been pretty bummed because I know I can do better. But talk is cheap. The logical thing to do here would be to give myself an opportunity for a quality marathon run, so that's what I'm doing.

I'm going to register for the Hyannis Marathon this weekend. The race is on February 22nd and the goal is to qualify for Boston. For my age group, that means running in 3:15:59 or less, which translates to 7:28 per mile.

The nice thing about this race is that I could use a BQ time for either this year or next. If I qualify, I plan to use it for 2010 if all goes well. With the Western States 100 looming in late June, after Hyannis it will be time to rest up and start training specifically for that. Plus, Boston in 2010 would give me something else grand to look forward to (if I qualify).

Back to Hyannis... this could also be sweet revenge. Two years ago, I felt I was primed for a BQ time and I got cocky and went out too fast. I couldn't hold the pace and I crashed and burned big time and DNF'd. It'd be nice to go back there and kick some butt. It's a fast course, just have to be able to tolerate the cold, which I don't have any problems with.

To be honest, I'm not terribly crazy about this marathon in particular. I've had fun there, but comparing it to the MDI Marathon is a bit like comparing a peanut butter sandwich to a steak dinner. What would help is if they would have staggered starts for the 10k and half marathon runners, yet we're all lumped in together at the start on a narrow street. Ugh. Two years ago I positioned myself at the front and that helped, so I'll just to be sure to squeeze up in there early.

Looking forward to running on Sunday, and gradually bringing my mileage back up. I have formulated a training plan of sorts, but I'll save that for another post.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

2008 Mt. Desert Island Marathon Report

Timing wise, things went almost exactly as expected. How that came about, however, was unexpected. I anticipated not doing so well because my training has gone pretty crappy the past few months, but there was the added element of surprise of stomach issues during the race. That was not fun. Still, I broke 3:30 which I had hoped to do, so I'm pretty happy especially considering those factors.

My detailed plan (which I kept quiet about) had been to go out fast and see if I could hold on. Fast meaning fast enough to BQ. I knew the odds were very much against it (at least 200:1), but what the heck. If at the halfway point I couldn't hold on to that pace, I'd just run what I could to still finish with hopefully a decent time.

I learned that this is one of those plans that sounds good beforehand, but in reality it was pretty stupid. With my stomach acting the way it was, on top of going into this race under-prepared, I was miserable that second half. I won't do that again. However, I'm happy that I pushed through it.

The Morning
I woke up not really feeling sick, but at the same time I could tell something didn't quite feel right. A few trips to the bathroom confirmed what it was (I'm trying to be discreet). Still, I thought I had gotten it out of my system but not the case.

Saw Jim Gott, who I didn't think was going to make it, so that was good. Also met up with Ryan, Danielle and Tim. Tim is friends with Mindy and her husband Pete, who were also in attendance. They were going to ride their bikes around the course and cheer us on. Mindy proved to be a HUGE help late in the race, but I'll explain that later. Ryan, Danielle and Tim, by the way, all did very well.

Miles 0-5 - Speed
The starting cannon went off and so did we. I went out at a good clip feeling great, but the first mile was way too fast (7:12). I eased back to more acceptable levels and pushed. My stomach churned a bit, but was still okay. I was alone for a bit, but was hoping to link up with someone to run with. Just as I was thinking this, along comes Amanda.

Miles 5-10 - Pairing up
Amanda and I were moving along well together, and she was great company. However, I could tell that she had energy to spare and I knew I wouldn't be with her for the duration. Still, we hit our splits with ease and were having fun.

Miles 10-15 - Uh oh
Now my stomach was really churning and it became obvious that a bio break was desperately needed. Crap! (no pun intended) I was really enjoying Amanda's company and would have liked to have run with her a bit longer, but this was going to turn into a really embarrassing situation if I didn't take care of things soon.

Somewhere during mile 12 there was an open porta-potty and I ducked in. Fortunately, the pit stop only took somewhere between one and a half and two minutes. I hit the next mile in 7:18, but that was really tough, and it became obvious that I needed to slow down.

I also vurped (hybrid between a burp and vomiting, usually with less vomit than a full on ralph) a few times. The stomach was simply not doing well. I was afraid of anything with sugar so taking any Gu was out of the question and I limited drinking Gatorade, opting for water instead. I prayed I wouldn't cramp up and thankfully, I never did.

I crossed the half marathon mark in 1:38:57, which was :43 seconds quicker than last year when I finished in 3:21:37. But seeing how I was feeling, I knew beating that time wasn't going to happen.

Miles 15-20 - Keep moving
The splits continued to slow and I did some quick math and figured I could still break 3:30 even at this rate. The key was to just keep it slow and finish and try to ignore the hordes of runners that were now passing me.

Miles 20-25 - Hills of Death and Mindy the Angel
This stretch features some unrelenting hills that are really tough. Needless to say, my pace continued to slow. I was miserable. I vurped some more and just tried to concentrate on continuing to move.

Just as I was feeling my worst, along comes Mindy on her bike. Long story short, she rode by my side for around two miles and her company was extremely welcome. She also gave me some water which was great as it helped lessen my worries about cramping. More importantly, she lent a sympathetic ear to my whining about my stomach and she was extremely encouraging. Mindy got me close to the top of the hill and I urged her to go back and help Tim (who's from Florida and I mused could probably also use some help). Thank you Mindy! Also saw my father and step-mom drive by during this stretch which was nice and gave me a bit of a mental boost.

The Final 1.2 Miles - Final Stretch
Most of the final stretch is downhill, which of course is great. I was still pretty slow, but did pick it up a little.

A small uphill exists during the final few tenths of a mile, and at the crest of the hill, I saw another runner I thought I could pick off. The finish line was in sight and I put in my kick. Somewhat similar situation as last year. I passed him and like last year, I later found out he was in my age group. Cool. By the way, the guy was a great sport and said nice job.

I finished in 3:27:56, beating my time from two years ago by :02. My bib number that year was the same as this year, #40. Kinda eerie...

So all things considered, I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out. Definitely far from my best race in more ways than one, but it was fun. I'm glad I toughed it out and still finished okay. Good mental victory. I'm also very thankful that I never crapped my shorts during the run.

Ryan, Danielle, Tim and Jim all also finished well and seemed quite pleased with how they did. Very happy for them, especially Ryan since it was his first marathon and he exceeded his goals. Danielle also crushed her PR. Jim has been battling a calf injury and still finished strong. Tim did awesome especially considering that you can't get hills like this in Florida where he lives. Big congrats to Andrew for running his marathon up on Prince Edward Island in 3:00:05. Wow, smoking! And I win the beer!

1 - 7:12
2 - 7:32
3 - 7:24
4 - 7:13
5 - 7:23
6 - 7:24
7 - 7:29
8 - 7:30
9 - 7:24
10 - 7:34
11 - 7:34
12 - 9:06 (bio break)
13 - 7:18
14 - 7:50
15 - 7:54
16 - 7:48
17 - 8:09
18 - 8:13
19 - 8:24
20 - 8:20
21 - 8:30
22 - 8:41
23 - 8:46
24 - 9:15
25 - 8:28
26 - 8:06
last .2 - ?

2008 MDI Marathon Results

Overall placing: 78th out of 699
Age group (35-39): 15th out of 52
Ran 26.2 miles @ 7:56/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Extremely hilly.
Lower 30s to upper 40s, sunny.
Shorts, sleeveless shirt, Moeben sleeves.

No running for me until next Sunday. I'm going to overdue this recovery so I can hopefully get going on work for the Western States 100 on a smoother note.

Happy running!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fun With Numbers

Two years ago my bib number for the MDI Marathon was #40. Last year it was #50. This year, #40 again. Cool. I like round numbers.

I arrived with my dad and step-mom on the island today and we visited the expo, walked around Bar Harbor and drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain. Met up with Ryan and Danielle for a quick little run this afternoon just to keep the legs fresh. It will be Ryan's first marathon and Danielle's second.

We are blessed with perfect running weather again. It'll be about the same tomorrow as it has been last year and the year before for the race... sunny and cool, low of 30 degrees and a high in the lower 50s.

Ran ~2.4 miles @ ~8:00/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Upper 40s, sunny.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Bet and the Garmin

I ran right from the high school cross country practice and got in a nice little 5k run. Felt great and no problems or issues to report. Plan is to coast into Sunday with minimal running and hope for the best.

Andrew and I have a little wager going, since we're both going into marathons this weekend in not the best of shape (he's running the Prince Edward Island Marathon). However, the winner is the one with the SLOWER time, not the faster time. This bodes well for me, since Andrew is a far superior runner than I am. At stake, a six pack from a local microbrew. I intend to win!

Also, the Garmin 305 was sent in yesterday (again). The customer service rep I talked to a few days ago was very easy to work with and he thinks I was just sent a bum unit. Hopefully this time things will work out and they'll ship me one that's actually been tested and works correctly. If not, fear my wrath.

Ran 3.1 miles @ 7:20/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, partly cloudy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Easy Day

It was really nice to have a short, easy run today that was necessitated by a hard workout the day before, as opposed to it just being junk miles. Felt great and I had to force myself to slow down a few times.

Will likely take a rest day tomorrow since there are only six days left.

Ran 4.6 miles @ 8:10/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Mostly flat.
Mid 50s, partly sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

One Week Remaining

The Mt. Desert Island Marathon is now just one week away. Given my recent running woes, I felt it was important to push it a little today just to test things out. Fortunately, it went very well.

I set out with a goal of a little over nine miles at a 7:20-7:30/mile pace. I felt great so I went a bit faster, and was able to do so relatively comfortably. This is not to say it wasn't hard work, but at least the effort felt on par with other runs I've done at this pace on this type of terrain in the past.

Mile 1: 7:52
Mile 2: 7:14
Mile 3: 7:06
Mile 4: 6:58
Mile 5: 6:57
Mile 6: 6:59
Mile 7: 7:04
Mile 8: 7:00
Mile 9: 6:54
Last .2: 6:39/mile pace.

Pretty pleased. This was a run that I needed psychologically. Also worth noting that the fall leaves are at their peak. Sunglasses were a must, not so much for the sun, but for all the bright colors.

Cumulative stats:
Ran 9.2 miles @ 7:07/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Friday, October 10, 2008

More Problems with the Garmin 305

In my last post I mentioned I'd like to dropkick my old Garmin 201. At least that device would probably survive it. I got my Garmin 305 back in the mail yesterday after sending it in for repairs and the %&*#ing thing still doesn't work! Same $%&*ing problem as before, it starts up and then dies after a few moments even though the %$#&ing indicator says the battery is charged. What the %$#@?!?!?! Did they even look at the $%&#ing thing?!

I don't even think it's the same unit, probably another refurbished one, so I'm wondering if my charger is screwing it up. When I sent it in for repairs they said to leave all accessories at home and just send the 305. If it's not the charger, then those Garmin guys just might be a bunch of idiots. I am so pissed!!!

Enough ranting. I rarely complain. It is seriously very hard to get on my %$#@ list and it's a very short list as a result. I don't want to add Garmin to it, so I'm going to see how they respond to this latest problem before I slam them. If it's the charger, it's not really their fault. Stay tuned...

As for today's run, it felt great. Fresh legs from two days off, good energy, and no PF issues. I think I'll be relatively okay for the marathon next weekend, but I'm still keeping my expectations realistic.

Ran 4.8 miles @ 8:03/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Very hilly.
Upper 60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

A Bit Better and Recovery Thoughts

Today's run almost felt like it was going to be a continuation of Sunday's craptastic little run, but thankfully I shook that off after two miles and felt quite comfortable for the next four. Damon hit the nail on the head in his comment on my last entry: To paraphrase, just too much too soon after a big race and that led to a domino effect of problems with fatigue and injuries.

I think it's interesting how during the winter and spring I could put in regular high mileage (that being a relative term... for me it means consistent 50-80 mile weeks), and in most cases could rebound quickly after 30-40 mile training runs with little recovery time needed. Even the 50-mile ultra I did at Pineland saw a quick recovery. However, after each of the two 100-milers I've done it's been a struggle to get the plane back in the air.

Anyway, before I ramble too much I'll just close by saying after my next 100-miler I'm going to allow ample time for recovery and not rush anything. I am certain I could have been back at it a lot sooner had I played it a bit smarter post-Vermont 100. I anticipate a good break after my marathon a week from Sunday... perhaps at least a month of very light running (20-30 mile weeks) before it's time to start thinking about laying down a base again for the big show.

On a side note, I noticed Garmin cashed my check for $99 for the repair, so I should be getting my 305 back pretty soon. I'm about ready to drop kick my old 201.

Ran 5.9 miles @ 7:44/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Lower 60s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Old Jalopy

That's the best way to describe my training lately. Some days are bad, some days are good... unfortunately, none have really been that great. Kind of like being forced to drive an Ford Pinto. The plantar fasciitis continues to wane at least. I'm nearly ready to declare it dead, but I don't want to parallel this scenario:

The plantar fasciitis aside, today I just didn't feel very energetic. That's been somewhat common in my runs recently. I guess I just need to be a little more patient and things will turn around.

I went through a similar scenario last November through mid-late December. Back then, I had a bit of runner's knee going on but also just didn't feel all that energetic. I suspect that I get a bit depressed with my running when I'm "hurt" and as a result I'm not as psyched to run.

With the PF waning though, hopefully things will turn around a bit. Just a bit of bad timing with the marathon two weeks away!

Ran 2.9 miles @ 8:04/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.
Mid 50s, sunny.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Little Ossipee Hill Run

Had a great run up Little Ossipee Hill today. At 1050' high, it offers an awesome, grueling run up to the top. Weather was great today, so little wonder why there were a lot of people out hiking. Ran into one of my students and his family on my way up.

I didn't linger to long once at the top, but did soak in the views for a few minutes. It looked as if someone was working inside the firetower, so I opted not to climb up it part of the way like I normally do. When I do this, I can see Mt. Washington and the rest of the Presidential range to the northeast and to the south I can clearly see the ocean. Oh well, perhaps next time.

Ran 11.0 miles @ 8:26/mile pace.
Paved roads, dirt roads, trails.
Extremely hilly.
Mid-upper 50s, sunny, windy.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt, Moeben sleeves.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Crappy Six

I had to attend part two of the symposium to get a new school building today. Today, it was held down at the community college in Wells. I changed and ran from there afterwards, hoping to get in a 10-12 mile run on the beach. However, as I was leaving the school I noticed a sign said the gates closed at 5pm. Crap. That meant I had to cut my run short.

Just as well I guess. I didn't feel all that energetic. This was due to eating too many chocolate chip cookies. Too bad those aren't health food. The good news is the PF continues to stay at bay.

Have to attend the last day of the symposium tomorrow. Bummer to give up a Saturday, but at least we'll be getting out earlier than expected. I'll make up the mileage then.

Ran 6.0 miles @ 8:04/mile pace.
Slightly hilly.
Paved roads and hard packed beach sand.
Mid 50s, partly sunny.
Shorts, long sleeved shirt.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Short and Quick

I ran the pre-meet practice with the cross country team today. These practices are usually light, with the goal to rest them up and get them to focus. Unfortunately, I'll miss the meet tomorrow because of grad school. Good to get in a semi-speed workout for me though. I need to do some more up-tempo runs between now and the MDI Marathon for fine tuning purposes.

Goal for them was 400m repeats at a 5k pace. I have no idea what my 5k pace is these days, so I just went with something that felt fast but was comfortable and not too hard.

Warm-up: Ran .6 miles @ 7:38/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.

6 x 400m repeats: 1:25, 1:22, 1:25, 1:25, 1:25, 1:25.
Moderately hilly.

Cool down: Ran .6 miles @ 7:18/mile pace.
Paved roads.
Slightly hilly.

Lower 60s, overcast, misting.
Shorts, short sleeved shirt.

Western States 100 Number Crunching

The deadline passed last night at midnight for would-be 2008 runners to confirm their entry for 2009. The race directors allowed us an automatic entry for 2009 after this year's race was canceled because of wildfires. I confirmed my entry when the window opened on September 15th, as did several others. Since that time, each day saw more and more confirming for next year. Now we have the final tally.

I had predicted that of the 391 runners, most would confirm but there would probably be 100 who wouldn't be able to make it. I was wrong. Only 38 slots are open. That just shows how popular this race is. Not to gloat, but I'm glad I'm in.

So, who gets those 38 open slots? It goes to "two time losers", a procedure that is now discontinued. It had guaranteed an entry the third time around for those who had entered and lost the WS100 lottery twice. However, due to the popularity of the race, the two time loser rule was done away with since it was getting to a point where they were growing in such a large number that the cup was beginning to spill.

So, those 38 open slots for 2009 will go to the two time losers (or TTLs), and there are 254 of them on the list. Those runners have until October 15th to confirm that they want to be put into a lottery, where they'll be chosen at random. Those that don't get in will be guaranteed entry in the future.

So (this is the third paragraph I've began with "so"), 90% of the runners from last year confirmed their entry. Let's assume the TTLs have the same percentage of confirmation. That means of the 254 TTL runners, 229 will confirm. That translates to a 17% chance of getting in, which is just one percentage point away from the 16% chance of getting in that we faced when I lucked out and got in for 2008.

Good luck to all who are in, and good luck to all trying to get in. Looking forward to 2009!