Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Next Steps & Future Plans

As I absorb the race I ran a few days ago, I am beginning to find the new runner I have become. The Shamrock Half Marathon was a "jump" to a new level that I have gotten to as a runner. The training is paying off. The discipline and consistency is paying off.

Now it is time to RACE and use this new strength I have to my advantage. Shamrock Half was the first of my Spring races, and I have parts 2 and 3 coming up in April: The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler(part 2) and finally the Pikes Peek 10K(part 3). These races will not however, be the final conclusion of my Spring racing season. There is one final race I have lined up in mid May, an outdoor track 5000m race at Swarthmore College. That will be the conclusion of Spring.

Summer plans are to as always run the Twilight 8K Festival in July, this may be the only race I do however. But who knows, I may do a 1 Mile summer track race and try to PR in that.

Fall I am starting to get really excited about attacking the Half Marathon again. I think Philly Rock n Roll in Sept would be a fantastic race to enter and to compete with some world class runners as well as go for (dare I say) 1:07-1:08 in the half. I am also starting to see the possibility of qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials(2016). 2016 is very realistic for me and a good time to do it. But I have plenty of work to do. And honestly, I just want to focus on running as fast as I humanly can. So if I ever qualify for the OT, I will not stop there. I will keep running, and keep pushing the barriers within me.

One other thing about the fall is my indecisiveness(if there is such a word) about a fall marathon(gulp). Marine Corps seems to keep calling my name, and I cannot help but be attracted to the race yet fearful since I have not been successful in the Marathon recently. I don't know. I need to go with my gut. But if there is one Marathon option, its looking like it will be Marine Corps. Perhaps I will run in it but not take it very seriously. And, if I want to focus on the half, which I think that I should, it is hard to run a good full also.

I'll figure it out, I think eventually, I will make the decision that I want to make, which is what I always do. For now, I am attacking my Spring races and focusing on one at a time. Cherry Blossom is next and I have a pretty good idea of a time to shoot for. As far as placing goes I am going to try and beat as many runners as I can, and fight with this new passion I have found in my running. The goal is simply to run under 5:12 pace, which would break 52 minutes.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Half Marathon Official time and place: 1:10:04, 15th place.

"2011 is looking quite promising. The work you did in 2010 is finally paying dividends."
-quote by Jake Klim texting me after the half marathon

In 2010, I was running the Shamrock Marathon, halfway through in the top 5. I was aiming for a low 2:30 effort. Then, at about 19 miles, things started to fall apart. For some reason, by body wasn't cooperating. I never recovered and ended up having to walk for nearly 4 miles of the course, but still finished(in a very very slow time for me)...

What a difference a year makes. It still baffles me how fast I ran on Sunday. I knew 5:20 per mile for 13.1 miles was possible, but to finally do it, it changes the way you feel about yourself, and what you can accomplish. To put it in words, I set no limits to see how fast I can run.

Here's how the race and weekend unfolded:

I went out for an easy 45 minute run on Saturday afternoon, adjacent to the ocean with a delightful cool breeze sweeping in. On my way back to the hotel, I noticed 3 Elite Africans JOGGING on the fact they were going quite slow I was able to pull up alongside them and briefly chat. Despite them going at this pace, I knew these were the guys in the hunt for the win tomorrow morning, capable of running sub 5s for 13.1.

"What's the goal for tomorrow guys? Going to win right?"
"That's the plan," one guy chuckled.
"I'm trying to run under 1:10" I said.
"That's good! they HUMBLY said. Good luck!"
"Thanks, good luck to you too" I said, and was on my way.

I woke up at 5:30 the next morning, stepped outside and it was COOL. PERFECT WEATHER. However, I did noticed some powerful winds. Hopefully they will die down once the race starts. I went out for a warmup around 6:15 and jogged 10 minutes. Legs feel good. I am ready.

I got to the start line, did 2 striders, and felt loose but also a little tense since it was cold and windy at the start. All I needed were my racing singlet, shorts, and a pair of lightweight gloves. The temperatures were ideal(42 degrees), the only thing was the wind, so I thought about finding a pack to block the wind for me while I could draft.

The gun went off and I surged with 20 or so runners to the front. It broke up quickly to 2 packs. The lead pack, and the second pack, which I hung with. It was perfect, because Rich Saunders(who runs for Capital Area Runner under Coach George Buckheit) was there along with another fellow from Delaware named Kyle and a few other guys all shooting for sub 1:10:00. We communicated and decided to work together. First mile: 5:23. Not very fast, and slightly slow. That's ok, I thought, keep it relaxed the first few miles. The race is only beginning. I don't know what the second mile was but at the 3 mile I began to worry that I was caught in a 1:11:00-1:12:00 pack. 16:15 for 3 miles...5:25 pace(1:11:00 half pace). Definitely off pace. Damn. I then made a move and began to push the pace a little bit and dared anyone to come with me-I was going to make this HAPPEN! Eventually, we dropped some runners, but Rich and Kyle went with me, which I was happy about, I needed some guys to work with here. We caught a few runners along the way and ran the next 2 miles in 5:17s, and went through the 5 mile mark in 26:50. Still slightly off pace(10 secs), but better...26:40 at 5 miles was the target. Keep rolling, Chris, 5:17s are UNDER pace. We kept the pace rolling as we coasted to the next turn where mile 6 was. Mile 6 was 32:05...a 5:15 split! and just 5 seconds cumulative off pace. Mile 7 was a slight uphill but we managed a 5:20 split at 37:25 for 7...still 5 seconds total remaining to cut off. However, at this point, I began to realize that we were running 1:10:00 pace, and I had a shot to break 1:10:00 as long as I could bank a little more time. Mile 8 and 9 were tough, and I knew these were the miles I needed to work very hard, as the wind on this backstretch was brutal. I surged ahead and ran into it, using all the force I could muster to make sure I wouldn't fall asleep. I'd rather be bold and go through it than wait for someone else to do it for me...cause they may never. I did yell back to Rich to go with me. I could feel him and Kyle just hanging on. Mile 8: 42:45! Mile 9: 48:05! Still 1:10:00 FLAT pace...not a second to spare. We passed another runner. And then another, who i recognized. Is that Ryan Carroll?? I had never beaten him. He is consistently ranked as one of Virginia's top runners.

I caught another runner who was moving pretty good, at this point all these guys who I was catching were moving pretty good. This was no joke, they were solid runners.

THEN, I saw an Elite African runner up ahead. Holy shit. I was gaining on him. I pulled up alongside him and he went with me. Rich and Kyle caught up and now we had a pack again. Mile 10 coming up....oh's a PR....53:20...53:21...

53:25 for 10 miles. My 10 Mile PR before that was 54:16 at Cherry Blossom last year.

Again, 1:10:00 flat pace, not a second to spare. Gotta push it, Chris, the last 5K you gotta hammer!!!

Me, the African, Rich, and Kyle as well as the other guy I caught all hung in together and started to close in on the town where people cheered super loud. This was the highlight of the race. I was in the front of the pack, leading these awesome runners, running as fast as I have ever run.
I suspected we were all top 10-15 at this point. We were rolling.

Mile 11: 58:45. Still holding 5:20 pace.

Mile 12 was a bit of a struggle for me, as the African, Rich and Kyle merged just slightly ahead with me and another runner trailing. I could not match the turnover. I was running as fast as I could at this point so that I could finish strong. Mile 12 was slow(5:25)-1:04:10-just 10 seconds over total pace. GET BACK IN IT. 1 MILE TO GO!!!!

I still, fought and regained my strength for one last move. FIGHT CHRIS!!!! My legs found one more gear and turned it up brilliantly and ran fluidly, with an open stride. My biomechanics have gotten so much better. The other runner hung with me....HANG ON

I could see the African runner trailing Kyle and Rich just ahead. I wasn't far behind. I made the turn onto Atlantic and people the crowds roared. SURGE SURGE SURGE!


I made the turn onto the boardwalk, but BAM!!! The wind slammed into me like a tornado-I almost blew off the course it was so powerful. My legs were going as fast as they could, preparing for a final push the last .1. The other runner pulled up alongside of me and we ran stride for stride before I made my move and he had no response. I surged ahead and strided out the last .1 as people cheered.

I could see the clock...


I crossed the line in just a few ticks over 1:10:00. I put my hands on my knees and puked. So close. So close.

I averaged 5:20.6 per mile. An incredible run and nearly took 3 minutes off my PR. I did leave feeling hungry for more racing since I just missed the sub 1:10:00 mark. This is GOOD. I will be good to go for Cherry Blossom in 2 weeks. While the =PR= team isn't as strong as some of the Pacers/Georgetown guys, we have a solid team that I think if we all step up can compete well. Adam just PRed in the 5K, so he is looking solid. But for the moment, and definitely today is a day off from running, I am recovering as quickly as I can to reboot and recharge my batteries.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


1:10:03!!!!!!, 15th place

PRed by almost 3 minutes!

Also PRed in 10 mile split: 53:25

What a great race.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Musha 3

I couldn't help but notice the Mizuno display at the Expo for the new Wave Musha 3(racing shoe). I currently race in the Wave Musha 2 and it is the best racing flat I have ever run in. The Musha 3 is .2 ounces lighter and it pretty much the same shoe/fit, with a really nice design(I love red). This will most likely be my next racing shoe once I retire the Musha 2. Although I need to try and see if some Brooks racing shoes work for me since the =PR= Elite Team is underway being sponsored by Brooks...
Ok, I do have a race to run tomorrow, don't I?

A Goal: 1:09:00
B Goal: 1:10:00

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Weather Forecast

Weather Forecast for this Sunday's race is: Low of 45/High of 54, partly sunny, partly cloudy

Conditions for racing: OPTIMAL

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ready To Go

3/7-3/13: mostly just distance runs with a solid 8 mile tempo this past Saturday that felt really good and let me know I am ready to go for the half this weekend. The effort felt great and I picked it up the whole way. I started out at 5:30s pace for the first mile and then quickly worked down the pace each mile, progressing to 5:20s, and then 5:15s, running as fast as 5:10s pace the later miles. My last mile was under 5:10.
I ended up averaging just under 5:20 pace for 8 miles, total of 11.5 miles with warm up and cool down.
I think with racing flats, good weather, fast course, good competition, I am ready to run somewhere between 1:09:00 and 1:10:00 for the 13.1 distance.

Monday: AM: 10.5 miles, PM: 6 miles
Tuesday: PM: 11.5 miles
Wednesday: 3 miles
Thursday: AM: 5 miles, PM: 5 miles
Friday: AM: 7 miles
Saturday: AM: 1 mile warm up, 8 mile TEMPO, 2 mile cooldown
Sunday: PM: Long Run EZ 14.5 miles

Total: 74 miles

This week is sharpening, no hardcore workouts really. Today I'll take off and pick up for the rest of the week. I'll probably do a little sharpening up on the track wednesday and should be around 60-65 miles for the week. Excited to go to Shamrock this Friday!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

2/28-3/6: 83 Miles/Week

Monday: AM: 11M, PM: 7M
Tuesday: AM: 6M
Wednesday: PM: WORKOUT 4X2MILE on Track: 10:19, 10:19, 10:24, 10:32, 12M total
Thursday: AM: 9.5M
Friday: 5.5M
Saturday: AM: 8K TEMPO on Track: 26:09, 5:14 pace, 10M total
Sunday: LONG RUN 22M

Total: 83

Now that my racing season is coming up, I am done with the 20+ milers for a while-yesterday was the last one. The next 6 weeks will be Shamrock, Cherry Blossom, and Pikes Peak. This week's mileage will be in the 70s with a targeted tempo race pace effort for the half.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

4X2MILE on the TRACK...whew.

Tough workout today, probably one of the hardest I've ever done. 4x2mile is quite a good amount, especially on the track. I ran well and even though I slowed the last interval I ran controlled. The best thing was how controlled I ran today. This workout was targeting more of the 10Mile-13.1Mile range.

I hit the first interval in 10:19(5:14, 5:05 split) and then jogged one lap(2 minutes) and ran the next in 10:19 again(splits 5:10, 5:09). I then walked a lap and jogged another before getting ready for 2 more sets. Then the highschool lacrosse team started running laps around the track. I began weaving in and out around many runners, at first they were surprised and when they finished I was still running and found myself being cheered on by the entire team-they could see I was clearly working my ass off and it was nice to get a little support out there because the 3rd and 4th intervals were definitely the toughest. I hit the 3rd in 10:24(5:17, 5:07) and I liked the way how I picked it up during the second mile! I negative split ALL of these efforts which is tremendous. After the 3rd set I walked one more lap and began the 4th set which I didn't have much left turnover. 10:32 was the best I could muster and I once again negative split in 5:20, 5:12.

I feel so strong. I have never been in this kind of shape.

Workout Times below:

10:19- splits: 5:14, 5:05
10:19- splits: 5:10, 5:09
10:24- splits: 5:17, 5:07
10:32- splits: 5:20, 5:12

Average pace: 5:11-5:12/mile

Being a 10Mile/13.1Mile workout, I wouldn't say I could run 13.1Miles at 5:11 pace right now. Maybe 10 miles. I think realistically 13.1 will be more of like 5:15-5:20 pace(1:09 half marathon race pace). These are the longest intervals I will do on the track. From here I will do some target half marathon tempo stuff.