Sunday, October 31, 2010

Summer Running Rankings

The DC, MD, & VA Summer Rankings just got posted. This is the 4th consecutive ranking period I have qualified for. Props to my roomate Joe for snatching 4th. This go around I made #38. I was 58th last summer. I'm hoping to make a big leap for the winter rankings this year. Rankings are below:

1 Tefera, Demesse ** 28 Washington, DC
2 Young, Tim ** 23 Fredericksburg, VA
3 Megerssa, Gurmessa *6 30 Washington, DC
4 Wiegner, Joe * 28 Rockville, MD
5 Molz, Jon ** 23 Richmond, VA
6 Dumm, Andrew * 25 Washington, DC
7 Wertz, David * 34 Arlington, VA
8 Berdan, Dave ** 29Parkville, MD
9 Christian, Will * 27 Norfolk, VA
10 Pauling, Ryan * 33 Baltimore, MD
11 Stasiowski, Ryan * 21 Hanover, MD
12 Zeleke, Birhanu ** 27 Washington, DC
13 Viviani, Will 28 Arlington, VA
14 Flynn, Ricky 23 Lynchburg, VA
15 Outaleb, Mouhcine ** 34 Baltimore, MD
16 Wilkinson, Kalib * 26 Lynchburg, VA
17 Abuya, Jared 34 Fairfax, VA
18 Carroll, Ryan *11 27 Portsmouth, VA
19 Church, Aaron *** 34 South Riding, VA
20 Schaefer, Tim 32 Gaithersburg, MD
21 Dusen, Karl ** 27 North Bethesda, MD
22 Wardian, Michael ** 36 Arlington, VA
23 Aramayo, Ed * 24 Baltimore, MD
24 Angell, David ** 33 Blue Ridge, VA
25 Abernathy, Mat * 21 College Park, MD
26 Shirk, Kevin * 30 Winchester, VA
27 Dewitt, Dan *** 22 Frostburg, MD
28 Doan, Caleb * 20 Virginia Beach, VA
29 Renjifo, Carlos * 27 Columbia, MD
30 Mehmedovic, Izzy 25 Columbia, MD
31 Mercer, Dickson * 29 Washington, DC
32 Battaglino, Alexander 24 Baltimore, MD
33 Decker, Gregory 21 Rockville, MD
34 Ban, Charlie * 28 Falls Church, VA
35 Belasik, Wylie 26 Washington, DC
36 Ingram, Ben 33 Winchester, VA
37 Saunders, Richard 22 Alexandria, VA
38 Sloane, Christopher 27 Gaithersburg, MD
39 Brown, Karsten *36 Front Royal, VA

Thursday, October 28, 2010

10/28: 2x2Mile, 1XMile

Today I did a really solid workout on the C and O Canal. I met up with Lucinda who also was doing a workout of her own. We warmed up together for 2.5 miles before doing our own separate paces. I zoomed into cruise control running 10:20(5:07, 5:12) for the first 2 miles, then stopped and rested for about 1 minute, jogged around, and started up again, this time splitting 10:15(5:12, 5:02)...these mile markers aren't very accurate....but I ran by feel and felt very in control the whole way-nice and consistent. After the second 2 mile session, I ran for one more mile, and ran the last mile harder-striding out and really lifting my knees, hitting 5:00. Overall, I'm not that concerned about times, more so on effort, and the effort was good. I will hit the track soon and then we will see some more accurate times. I feel the speed creeping up. I might even hit an indoor 5K this winter and shoot for a major PR. Afterwards I waited for Lucinda to finish as it was getting really dark out. We both had solid workouts today. About 9 total for the day.

Tonight I talked to Beth more about being upset with how the Chicago Marathon went and how I have all this pent up energy now. She has really helped me look ahead and not dwell too much about it. So talking to her has really helped my mental game, and I cannot appreciate enough the support that she gives me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

As I look back on the Marathon a few days ago, and have had some time to absorb the tough run I had, I do not regret doing it. Yes it was a tough and frustrating day, but in the end, I know it makes me stronger. All of these "down" marathons I've done the past few years(with the exception of Frederick) have made me tougher, stronger, and wiser-it is only a matter of time before I get a breakout marathon race. But at the same time, I need some time off from the marathon, focus on the shorter distances, and get back to it when I'm ready to attack again.

Although these last marathons I've done have not gone the way I wanted, after anaylzing my overall paces in the races I have seen a progression.

The progressions are outlined below(more so for my record to see what has happened here)

These stats are showing my best times each year for the half marathon as well as the 1st half marathon split of each marathon I ran, regardless of finishing time.

Baltimore 2007- 1:20:57 at HALF

San Diego 2008-1:19:41 at HALF, BEST 13.1M TIME: 1:17:37

Frederick 2009-1:20:00 at HALF, 2:43:00 FINISH, BEST 13.1M TIME: 1:16:16
Marine Corps 2009-1:18:28 at HALF, BEST 13.1M TIME: 1:15:32

Shamrock 2010-1:17:30 at HALF, BEST 13.1M TIME: 1:12:57
Chicago 2010-1:16:50 at HALF, BEST 13.1M TIME: 1:12:57

After analyzing this, what was once my best time in the 13.1M distance has now become my half marathon split during the marathon. I may not have held the pace I was going, but the key thing is that I wasn't racing just 13.1. So there is improvement in disguise I suppose, even though my last best Marathon time was a year and a half ago, I am so much fitter/faster now. My body has changed and sustains certain paces in workouts that were once races.

So, yes I was upset about my result at Chicago, but I never look at it as a waste of time. There is no question I have improved my fitness, I am stronger than I was before, I have run the most mileage I ever have, and most importantly, I am healthy. If I can keep these things going the Marathon performance will come in time. But for now, I am resting up this week and should be doing some light running soon and preparing for my late fall/winter 10k season. I am finally looking ahead.

My 2011 race schedule is in the works, although I have no idea what I will do next fall-of course it is way to early before then, but because I self coach, I like to plan a year's ahead. But for right now I have the Spring sharpening up.

The definite races I have lined up for 2011 are:

Shamrock Half Marathon March 20 2011
Cherry Blossom 10 Miler April 3 2011
Pikes Peak 10K April 24?? 2011

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10: The End of the Marathon

I'm done with the Marathon. At least for now. Since I started training again in 2007(my Marathon PR is from 2005-after 2005 I stopped training for a while)...I have had 1 out of 6 marathon races go well. There is a similarity with all of them. The first was October 2007 when I ran the Baltimore Marathon and slowed/faded very gradually after 10 miles...ended up finishing 3:04. BUT I was also just getting fitness back so it wasn't expected I would PR or anything in my first year training again. The following spring of 2008 I had an excellent half at Shamrock and ran 1:17, again not a PR at the time but nonetheless improvement that I was getting my fitness back. Then in June of 2008 I jumped in the San Diego Marathon and went through 1:19 at the half and then slowed gradually and at mile 17 I stopped to walk for a few I ended up crawling in at 3:29 for that race. The Fall of 2008 I concentrated on 8K-13.1, and ran some improvements and a PR at the time in the 10K(34:16). Spring of 2009 I took yet one more stab at the Marathon at Frederick. I also ran a 1:16 half in March which again wasn't a PR but still moving in the right direction, and the Frederick Marathon went terrific. I ran a 2:43 on a hilly course and finished 2nd place-finally I thought-I have this together again! I followed the 2009 spring with a new 8K PR at the Twilighter in July running 26:52. Fall of 2009 I furthur lowered my 13.1 time to 1:15 at Va Beach while training for Marine Corps Marathon. Now Marine Corps was a definite dissapointment, as I slowed considerably the second half of the race-running a modest(for me) 2:57. So Winter of 2009 I got back to the 10K and lowered my PR to 33:29. This is when I saw a change in my training and progression. It catapulted me into the most successful season I have ever had: the Spring of 2010. It started off with a nice 1:12 13.1M PR at the Colonial Half(which is pretty hilly as well). I then ran the Shamrock Marathon 3 weeks later(I am laughing out loud as I am typing this)-and that was again another disaster-ended up walking 4 miles of the course and as a result my time ended up just like San Diego-3:27. Now, at this point I started to assess my training methods and realized that I was in great 10k-13.1M shape at the time but NOT in marathon shape(the mileage just wasn't there either) 3 weeks later HUGE PR at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in 54:16...5:25 pace! This was my most impressive PR yet. Just 6 days after Cherry Blossom I run another half marathon in 1:13, and then a week after that I run another huge 10K PR of 32:54 at Pike's Peak(which yes, is downhill-but it was still a PR by 35 seconds!)

So after a very successful 2010 spring(every race was a PR pretty much with the exception of Shamrock), I said to myself, ok-the spring was successful and I was in shape for 10k-13.1-so now lets try to get this marathon thing right-as if it would work?! I went ahead and signed up for the Chicago Marathon and I focused solely on the distance and made sure not to race too close-I chose Parkersburg Half 7 weeks out which was the same time between Shamrock and Frederick in 2009. I also got the mileage up. So training on high mileage I used some races as good workouts as well over the summer. It was great, I had a great summer and I have gained so much fitness. I ran 115 MPW and have remained injury free for 3 1/2 years(I used to have a lot of injury problems-especially pre-2005). I have run the most I ever have by the end of this year by far. I mean, I did some awesome training runs! 20 miles at 6:00 pace to feel EASY?! Holy shit.

So the Chicago Marathon was to be the day where I would run the great marathon I had been hoping for. It was going well for a while...and I really thought I was going to have a great day. I went through the half in 1:16:50 and that felt fine-but once 16 came I just started falling apart. At mile 19(1:53) was when I really had some problems. A HUGE cramp in my left side told me to stop and walk-I kept running-it got so painful I was screaming-I tried to rub it out-it forced me to stop eventually...from then on it was murder. I just couldn't get back into my rhthym. I tried-boy I did try. I knew I would finish no matter what-but I wanted to at least have a DECENT RUN-maybe 2:39?? I also started gagging a few times. My body was NOT processing this distance. It just got worse and worse. I stopped and walked several times(although this was the least walking I did compared to Shamrock and San Diego). I mean, I was done. I was just running the rest/jogging.

It wasn't RACING. See, I love to race. I love running all out and yes, maybe I'll slow a LITTLE-bit in a 10K or Half Marathon-but not completely crumble like in the marathon. The Marathon is either "On for me or REALLY Off". Why couldn't I just have a content race like Reaves or someone else had instead of completely crawling the last 10K in 1:04? Excuse my French but "What the fuck?" Why does this keep happening to me? And this time I realized, it wasn't the weather(although it was warm enough today), it wasn't the training, it wasn't the mileage.......its just my body is not cut out right now for pushing myself over 26.2 miles at the pace I know I can run(if that makes any sense at all) I could analyze this any way I want, but at the end of the day my body is just saying quite clearly, "NO". It does not want this-at least right now. Maybe if the Marathon was 20-22 miles, I would be a killer at it right now...but 26.2 is just too damn long.

I was having fun out there earlier in the race-and this is what perhaps frustrates me the most. I was running perfect 5:45-5:50 splits(after mile 1 anyway-which was 6:10???), and was rolling with a nice pack of guys. It was fantastic-the crowds-the adrenaline- the pace felt so good! I was excited. Halfway was a huge wave of adrenaline-the crowds were deafening. When you are running well, it is such a great feeling with all the support around you.

So, here I am now. Another disastrous marathon. It just sucks when you are running well and then the wheels completely fall off and you go from running in the right place to the wrong place. So I am done with the Marathon, at least for now. I have basically had enough. There are always dissapointing races, but this is different. This is one after the other after another. I'm basically sick of it. At least in 13.1M races and under, if I have a bad race, it usually isn't THAT BAD. The Marathon translates to REALLY BAD-I mean, if I had an off day in the Marathon and ran a 2:40-fine, but damn, 3:29, 3:27, & 3:04??? I'm fed up. I'm better than that. I have tortured myself enough having to finish these bad marathons. I'm tired of that too. I will not drop out of a race, simply because I love to run. That doesn't mean I do not respect others who drop out of races. Finishing is a personal decision I know I make within myself. I love to run, and even if I slow to a crawl in a race, I will finish it running or jogging or whatever-it's just running-it sucks though at the same time because you are "in the event" and it seems bigger than what it really is. So it really isn't fun, it kinda sucks lol, so I can see why people drop out. It's tough.

So, I am going to continue training the way I have been training, but not jump in any Marathons. I will race no longer than 13.1 for the time being. It is just the way to go right now. I do not have the strength yet to run another GREAT marathon.

As for the rest of the year, I will do my favorite 10K winter trio of Veterans Day, Turkey Chase, and Jingle All the Way.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Marathon Race Strategy & Preparation

The Chicago Marathon is here. I am tapered and ready to go. This post is a review of the training I have done leading up to this race and my race plan.

My training for this Marathon ended up being 23 weeks long, with a mileage high and personal best of 115, and low was 46 last week(this final week with the marathon will be around +/- 60. My average for the 23 week period hovers roughly around 75/week. I am in shape. I know based off my workouts this summer I should be ready to roll to a new PR. The summer races I did were solid workouts and the month of September was fantastic. In fact, I ran my best marathon workouts ever during September.

Key Training Workouts/Long Runs:

5/13: 16 Mile Medium Long Run
5/17: 18 Mile Long Run


6/6: Capital Crescent 5K: 16:18, 2nd Place
6/12: Lawyers Have Heart 10K: 34:16, 7th place, 16 Miles Total
6/13: 14 Mile Medium Long Run
6/16: 17 Mile Long Run
6/20: 14 Mile Medium Long Run
6/23: 16 Mile Medium Long Run
6/26: Epic Duel Ferries Run(2 Loops=20.5 Miles) with Jake, Joe, Dickson, & Karl in 2:06, a new GRC record but Wiggy ran the fastest in 2:02, a memorable run & my bday


7/04: Autism Speaks 5K, 16:19, 2nd Place, 19 Miles Total
7/11: 17 Mile Long Run
7/17: Rockville Twilight 8K: 26:50, 13 Miles Total
7/18: 18 Mile Long Run
7/25: Riley's Rumble 13.1: 1:25:00, 17 Miles Total, very hilly run
7/28: 16 Mile Medium Long Run
7/30: 18 Mile Long Run


8/01: 17 Mile Long Run
8/03: 15 Mile Medium Long Run
8/06: 18 Mile Long Run
8/08: 15 Mile Medium Long Run
8/21: Parkersburg Half Marathon: 1:16:36 on a very hilly course. 17 Miles Total. Good breakout run to turn up the intensity. 7 Weeks Out.
8/26: 16 Mile Medium Long Run
8/28: CJs C and O Canal 5K: 17:15, 1st Place
8/29: 18 Mile Long Run


9/05: 18 Mile Long Run
9/06: 10.5 Miles @ 5:49 pace, 11 Miles Total
9/13: 14.5 Miles @ 5:49 pace, 15.5 Miles Total
9/19: 16 Miles @ 5:44 pace-very close to race pace(2:30:00), in trainers-felt solid
9/26: 20 Miles @ 5:58 pace-this felt EASY and relaxed, and this was 2:36 pace!


My best workouts were by far in September. The highest mileage month was July. I guess my one weakness when I analyze this is that I didn't do much interval work on the track-although I used a few 5Ks as workouts-I have always been more of a tempo guy and the interval work I usually find myself doing comes AFTER I run a major marathon and step back down to the 10K distance.

Interesting Stat: My Total YEARLY Mileage after last week is 2626. The 26s just before my final week are a little too coincidental...I suppose the final .2 lies in the last week.

With fresh legs, good weather, a flat course, racing flats, and the COMPETITION I have a shot at the 2:30:00 barrier. HOWEVER, I need to not get ahead of myself and stay in CONTROL. I must go out conservative(in a way I am happy I am right behind the Elite 100). The goal is to hit 1:15 and change at the half and stay on pace and gradually increase the pace to run slightly negative. This is the most realistic way I will break 2:30:00. At the same time, I will be aware of my pace and make sure NOT to go out too hard. This is critical. The best marathons I have run have been run fact the best races I have run have been run this way. Cherry Blossom was a great example. I was being passed by so many runners in the first half of the race that it felt like I was slowing tremendously. The Second Half I passed a lot of people and it felt like I was running faster but really I was just running more or less even the whole way.
In Frederick I felt fantastic(for having run 20 miles) with about 6 miles to go, and passed 2nd and 3rd place to move from 4th to 2nd overall.