Monday, September 26, 2011

Post Philly & The Final Weeks Ahead

A few final words about Philly: I was fascinated with how well the race was run, the crowds, the competition and the city. Beth and I had a great time. Thank you, Philadelphia. I will most likely return to race it again next year.

Post Philly I was tired all last week pretty much. Ran 6 days out of 7 but very easy runs and slow paces-no workouts. I got in 78 miles which was enough to build off of for the next few weeks, and an easy long run of 19 miles. My mileage will be back in the 100's range the next few weeks in prep for Marine Corps, with QUALITY runs as a huge emphasis. My summer high ended up being 120 miles(averaging 100mpw) which I felt was enough in amount(thank you Charlie and Jake Klim for the advice). I didn't need to go higher-but someday I'm sure I will build up to 140 as I reach new levels in my training and racing. I certainly reached a new level at Philly last weekend. It's my strongest PR to date(conversions are faster in every respective distance I race). The 68 minute 13.1 race I ran makes me really excited to see what I can do in the full 26.2. 57th overall doesn't sound great, but I beat a lot of good runners-one who was 3rd in Marine Corps last year. Though, the 26.2 is a different race and it is certainly by far my weakest PR(back from 2005, a 2:38)...even my 1 mile PR is hilariously better(I am certainly not a miler). But this makes no difference to me. It's all about where I am NOW. I have a good idea for a marathon goal, but the next few weeks and workouts will really help to validate where my fitness is.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Philadelphia: Race Report

I woke up Saturday morning with a runny nose. Go figure. I went out for an easy 5 mile run. My logic is that with my less mileage(in the 70's) the past few weeks, my body is not used to not running so much, and my immune system is lower as a result(or at least someone has told me this before-I forget who). Or, I just happened to get a cold. Either way, I just sort of knew I was still ready and able to race optimally. I do not believe the cold had any negative effect on my performance. Beth and I left Saturday morning and were suprised at how easy the drive was to Philly. As we passed the Eagles stadium, I thought of my roomate Joe, an Eagles fanatic. I wished he was here racing as well. As we got closer to the city, we went directly to the expo and while parking was a hassle, it was cool to take a look at the downtown area. I was already excited. As we crossed the street towards the Expo, Beth nudged me in the shoulder to look ahead. We saw Olympian Adam Goucher walking right towards us, pushing his baby Colt in a stroller. I glanced at him and found myself staring until he finally noticed and I looked away. Goucher would be on the starting line the next morning, aiming to qualify for the Olympic Trials Standard(1:05:00). His wife, Kara Goucher(a world class runner), was inside the Expo signing autographs. I didn't stay at the Expo long, for I didn't want to waste energy walking around too much. I got my Elite Bib number(#60), bought some shot bloks, and we were out. Beth and I still had an hour to kill before checking into our hotel so we went to a nearby grocery mart where the food was quite good. The hotel location was quite convenient, and I had booked it for that very reason. It was nothing fancy, a Best Western, but it was literally 2 blocks away from the starting line. Will go there again. I then decided to do a 20 min shake out jog in the afternoon, and my legs felt GREAT. I knew I was ready to race the next day. That evening Beth and I had dinner conveniently in the hotel as we watched the Florida/Tennessee game, we both had pizzas which were actually quite good. Later on I walked over to the Wawa to devour a Chipwich.

I got to the Elite starting line with 15 minutes to spare and did some strides. I saw many people who I knew, and many really, really, really fast runners. Gulp. The field was loaded this year. For one reason because many Americans were trying to hit the Trials Standard of 1:05:00. I thought to myself, I will be aiming for that one day, but not yet. For today my goal was 1:07-1:08. Heck, if I broke 1:10:00 it would be a PR. I saw some Georgetown guys and said my hellos to them. Karl, Paul, Dickson, Bryan. Karl looked ready to go. I saw Jordan Zwick out of the corner of my eye in the stands. Jake Klim came to watch as he stood right near Beth near the starting line(but they never saw eachother somehow). The weather was PERFECT-50 degrees, partly sunny, partly cloudy. I felt a little cool at the start and found myself still wearing my gloves. Jake motioned for me to give them to him and I did-he knew that I would not need them once I got going and I probably would've just tossed them aside during the race somewhere. I also ran into Rich Saunders on my warmup, who owns a PR of sub 1:10:00 in the half and ran most of the Shamrock 13.1 with me last March. I saw Peggy(=PR= masters racer) but didn't get a chance to say hello to her. The National Anthem was sung as Frank Shorter was introduced and it gave me chills. The 1972 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist gave encouraging words to all the runners as we got ready to race. Do not go out too fast. Do not go out too fast, I kept chanting to myself. The Rocky Theme started to play as we got ready to take off...


We surged down Benjamin Franklin Parkway towards downtown Philly. A bunch of Africans surged to the lead, with many, many elite Americans following them. We approached downtown very quickly and heard roars of people cheering. I relaxed and tried to find the right people to run with. One guy running with me, then surging ahead, another running next to me, dropping back. It was all a little chaotic at first. It always kind of is in a big race I suppose. Then Karl pulled up next to me. I ran with him and we drafted off some runners. Karl is just an awesome runner. I admire him a lot for his perserverance at the sport. He has qualified for the Olympic Trials before, and has run 2:20 in the marathon. He is now trying to hit the new 2:19:00 standard for the marathon in Chicago in 3 weeks. We blazed through the first mile in 5:00. WOAH. Little fast, but yet I felt fine. I was calm and knew it would be alright...if I went through in 4:50 I would've been freaking out however. Amazing how fast this race was. We surged through downtown and I got an immediate familiar feeling of Chicago the year before, the adrenaline of running through a big city. Chicago was a terrible race for me last year, but I do have good memories of surging through the city. There is nothing like racing in a big city with people cheering you on. But I needed to remain calm. My fear was definitely going out too fast in this race and bonking, and I wanted to run evenly for the rest. I hit 5k in 15:55(5:07 pace). Karl at this point was surging ahead, and I held back from going with him since it probably would've done more harm than good. For him, though, he was running his pace. I was excited for him. 4 miles in and we began heading out of the city going North. Beth cheered for me as we passed by the start line. I saw Jake and Pat Murphy cheering as I went through mile 5 in 25:45(5:09 pace). At this point I wasn't running with anyone and began to get worried. I NEED someone to run with. I saw a guy furthur up and tried to reel him in, but it would take a little while to do so. I needed someone NOW...

I began to hear a stampeed of footsteps behind me. Then, I realized there was a pack catching me. Now here, this is where I congratulate myself and believe made my race. Instead of saying in my own head, "damn, these guys are going to blow by me..." I said to myself, "this is your opportunity. Take it or leave it." As the pack caught me, I went with them and told myself to not let them go. I hung on and the bunch of us worked together. At mile 6(31:00), I began to feel really great. Halfway through. I hit 10K in 32:09. All I needed to do was stick with the pack. Work together. Encourage one another. I said encouraging words to everyone and they nodded. We were running 5:10-5:15 miles at this point, and it was just what I need to stay on 1:08:00 pace. The course was beautiful, I enjoyed every part of it. We went under bridges and along a beautiful river. There were still people cheering along the course and the bands were pretty good. I enjoy music on the run. There were several squads of cheerleaders who were really into it and I have to say they did a really great job cheering us all on. It's great to get that support when you're working this hard. Because, let's face it, it hurts. I grunted through miles 7 and 8. This is the part where you really have to work the half marathon. It is critical to stay on pace and not fall asleep. We hit mile 9 in 46:something and I began to realize that my goal was going to be achieved. I also realized that I was going to PR at my 10 mile split. I blazed through in 51:57 for 10 miles, pring by nearly a minute in a split. The training is working, I thought to myself. I am GOING to do this. 5k to go...

The pack began to break up. At this point, our fitness levels were microscopically different. We all ran in a line of men, with small gaps between each of us, and one guy hanging with me. Almost at an hour...almost at an hour...then it's just minutes left...I told myself-the other runner and I encouraged eachother and worked together. The crowds got bigger as we approached mile 11 and 12. I knew I was slowing a tad at mile 12(it's always mile 12 for some reason!) I saw a slow split. Gotta hang in there, keep the turnover, keep the turnover. LAST MILE. I fought HARD. I was making one final burst of energy that I had in me. The other runner went with me and we dueled it out. People cheered and I could see the Art Museum where the Rocky steps were on the left. The other runner surged ahead and I drafted off of him as we approached mile 13...if it would It looked like forever I would get there. Jake was going nuts as I saw him just before mile 13 and he yelled, "40 SECONDS LEFT SLOANE!!" As I passed 13 in just a tick under 1:08, the last .1 was UPHILL. GOD ALMIGHTY. But then I thought, what a great way to get ready for Marine Corps. The hill felt really hard, not because it was a tough hill, but because after running on a mostly FLAT course with very little change in elevation there was now a hill at the last .1. How convenient. As I ran up the hill, it hit me and I gagged and slowed down for a moment before working into next gear and pulling myself as hard as I could up...up...up....

I crossed the line in 1:08:39, put my hands on my knees, and let out a very loud roar. I felt somehow an immediate sensation of strength surge into me, as if I had become immediately stronger after finishing the race.

I averaged 5:14 per mile for the 13.1 distance, so I was running faster in the early miles, and actually was on 1:07 pace for about half the race. I PR'ed by 1:25, and it was nice to get a 10M split PR as well.

STATS: The winner was close to the WORLD RECORD, finishing in an astounding 58:46!!! Bobby Curtis was the top American in the race, running 1:01:52, placing 9th overall, and becoming the second fastest American half-marathoner for the year. Adam Goucer qualified for the Trials with a 1:04:52, in 22nd overall. Dave Berdan was the top local MD/DC/VA finisher, in 1:05:53, finishing 25th overall. Karl was the 2nd local finisher, in 1:06:52, finishing 36th overall. My 1:08:39 got me 3rd local finisher in 57th overall. Amazing how loaded this field was. There was another =PR= runner out there. Peggy ran awesome, winning the masters(40+) womens race in 1:20:21.

My next and last race of 2011 will be the Marine Corps Marathon on 10/30/11.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

1:08:39, 13.1M PR & 51:57 10M en-route PR

OFFICIAL RESULT: 1:08:39, new PR, first time under 1:10:00

STATS: 41st Elite Male out of 52 Elites, PRed en route at 10 Mile Split: 51:57 by 57 seconds!

SPLITS: 5k: 15:55, 10k: 32:09, 10M: 51:57

averaged 5:14 per mile.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Here we go...

Gun goes off at 8:00 AM. Temps are ideal. Will be in the Elite Corral with a bunch of pros and 1:03 guys where things can dangerously go out fast. I must stay conservative the first few miles and eat up as many as I can the 2nd half. I run well like this. Going out slightly slower/or at goal pace and picking it up and just hammering anyone in my way. I must use my strength to its advantage, TRUST my fitness, and I must be patient and know that I will run down the guys when the pain sets in. I must not be afraid to challenge those who appear superior. I must believe in myself-that I am as good. I believe I can do what I think I can do. I will give a good fight.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Forecast for Sunday


Partly Cloudy

LOW: 54 Degrees

HIGH: 70 Degrees



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday, 9/7: 4 X 2MILE!

One of the hardest workouts I have ever done on the track is the 4x2mile I did last March, right before I ran my PR 1:10:04 in the half marathon. My splits in the workout at the time were 10:19, 10:19, 10:24, 10:32.

Today, I did the same workout, in 10:01, 10:01, 10:04, 10:14!!

I shaved basically 20 seconds off each interval with perhaps even less rest between each and averaged 5:02 pace overall(last time the average was about 5:12) I shaved off 10 seconds per mile during this workout. If my half marathon pace is 10 seconds per mile faster this time around, that puts me at 5:10 race pace....which is 1:07:43 for the half marathon.

If I can do this next weekend, it will be a major breakthrough.

Monday, September 5, 2011

8/29-9/4: 75 Miles/Week

Down week in mileage but still with quality workouts. In fact, I got in 3 workouts this week(including the 5K race-which I also consider to be a workout). Tuesday was a nice track session of 1600, 1200, 800, 400. Saturday was the 5K race. But then, to my surprise actually, Sunday ended up being a terrific workout. The workout was a 3 mile easy run followed by a 10 mile progression to marathon pace followed by an additional 3 mile easy run. Total was 16 miles, and during the middle miles I was cranking, and feeling even better as the pace got faster. There is something in me that works well with's like a switch I have...and once I flip it on, I just go. After 3 miles I worked down the pace starting from 6:10 pace and eventually set the cruise on the 5:30-5:40 pace range for most of the miles. At times I was running even 5:20 pace which really didn't even feel that hard! The day AFTER a hard 5K and I am running this pace....I thought. There is no way I used to be able to recover so quickly like this.

I am excited for some really really good workouts this week.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I should be satisfied with this result...but I'm not

15:22. 4th place in the Kentlands 5K this morning. This race really wasn't that important, but I have to admit I am not satisfied with the result...not that I could have run faster...I ran the pace that my legs needed to go...and it seemed they wouldn't shift into the next gear that I would have liked them to...they just kinda cruised the whole way.

I gun went off and Abiyot Endale(superb EliteAfrican runner)...who no question was going to win this race unless he took a wrong turn....surged to the lead with another African runner beside him and me tailing. Joe whisped by me and tucked in behind them. A gap began between Joe and I but I keyed off of him while 2 other guys clung right behind me...breathing down my neck. I hate that. But I felt they would soon drop by mile 2.

Turn after turn after turn...this course had 6 turns before the first mile! Crazy. It was like a street fight. I hit the first mile in 4:48. On goal pace and feeling good. More turns. We veered around the lake. I could still see Joe slightly ahead. I could still feel the other 2 runners hanging off my back. But I began to feel that familiar feeling I always get once I warm myself up. I keep pressing. So, I pressed, and they began to fall off. Mile 2: 9:39, still on pace. But I needed to press the last mile if I even had a shot at sub 15. Then came the hill. It wasn't a bad hill. But it was just kind of in the way. it slowed me down for sure. I could still see Joe ahead who was close to the 2nd African. People cheered as I got to the top of the hill and began the downhill straight to the finish. I ran strongly but there were no change in gears, it was just a consistent, strong effort. I knew then that my time wouldn't be fast. 15:22 just seems so slow to me now.

Ok, now that I have explained what's gone on in my head, here's the reality(and this is the coach in me speaking now)...I ran 9 seconds slower than my TRACK PR. the road is much slower than track. In fact, if the effort would've been converted to the track, it probably would've been a PR for me. plus the course wasn't perfect in itself with that hill at the end. AND I am training for a half marathon in 2 weeks, as well as a marathon 6 weeks after. AND I have been averaging 100 miles/week...although this week is a down week. AND this race was supposed to just get my feet wet a little. The true focus of all this training is on the half marathon/marathon. There will be other opportunities to jump back on the track and hit that 14:40. So really, I should be happy.

But I'm not. And that's ok, I realize, because it's what keeps me alive and hungry for more.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

it's time to RACE! the attack on 15:00 minutes

My roomate Joe, pictured to the left above, placing 2nd during last year's Kentlands 5K.

My PR is 15:13 for the 5K. I plan to attack the 15:00 barrier this Saturday-I need to run 4:49 per mile in order to do this, which feels doable to me. I am fit and it will be a great tune-up race for Philly. Mileage is less this week for the race. On Tuesday I did a nice track workout of 1x1600, 1x1200, 1x800, and 1x400. I like this workout because it is a good race simulator for the 5K. The 400 is like the final kick towards the finish line. I feel pretty race sharp after doing this workout. My splits were 4:46(1600), 3:35(1200), 2:22(800), 65(400).

The Kentlands 5K will be a great race to see where my fitness is at, and feel I have a legitimate shot at sub-15:00. It would also be nice to get top 3 and win some $$$. The variables are the course and it's turns...which can slow one down so it may or may not be doable. We'll see. According to my roomate, Joe(who finished this race last year in 2nd, in 14:44), there is a hill after the 2nd mile but there is also a nice downhill finish.