Saturday, March 31, 2012

"Men, today we die a little."-Emil Zatopek

Sunday, March 25, 2012

3/19-3/25: 50 Miles/Week and The Universe

A week after running 13.1 miles at 5:17 pace, I am feeling quite good.  This week I ran the lowest mileage week of the year so far(50 miles), and I took 2 days off this week, and no workouts.  On Sunday, I ran 11 miles, picking up the pace later in the run and seemed to wake up and finish at a faster pace, while making sure to maintain good form.  I have no clue what pace I was running, just running by feel mostly.  As I look at my schedule, I am getting more and more excited as the year goes by.  I feel like I am just starting to scratch the surface of some big races this year and (hopefully) next week.  I also am already getting excited about Pikes Peek 10K, an outdoor track 5K(I no doubt am due to run 14:xx for the 5000), and finally, the USA Half Marathon Championships in Duluth, MN...which could be a better race than I thought.  Another thing I am excited about is making a new racing shoe its debut(The Mizuno Wave Universe 4), which I will race in Cherry Blossom next Sunday.  The shoe is a high end racing shoe that is unbelievably light, I did 5x mile in this shoe a few weeks ago, and it felt great.  I decided not to use it for the half marathon though.  I think the Brooks T7 is my favorite right now for the half marathon, and I will probably make it my marathoning shoe as well this fall.  I see the Mizuno Wave Universe as a great shoe for 50 minutes or less of racing.  Ideally that is at the edge of 10 miles for me on down to the 10k.  I know I am getting a bit absurdly technical here, but remember I also sell shoes.

On to other topics...

This week, from a coaching perspective, went extremely well.  Last weekend, many runners who Becca(whom I work with) and I coach ran the National Half/Full Marathon and everyone did quite well-Christina-for one who was injured last fall and unable to attempt her first marathon, through sheer determination this winter trained her butt off and completed her first marathon in the DC race running a 4:09.  Tracy, who qualified for the Boston Marathon last fall with a 3:48, PRed in 1:46 for the half marathon.  Maria, who ran the same Shamrock Half that I did last weekend, bested her PR by 4 minutes, finishing in 1:48.  After my race, I jogged back to mile 12 and found her in the last mile and ran with her before she took off at sub 8:00 pace-that hurt my legs for sure!  What's really awesome is that she has a lot of room to improve and will surprise herself in more upcoming races.  She also completed her first marathon last fall.  Pat Savoy, a huge fan of my brother's band "Yellow Dubmarine," is back running more again, and has a lot of potential(he ran 4:37 for the mile as a prep).  Brandon Hirsch, who I begun coaching a few months ago, is looking great for his main goal race, Pikes Peek 10K.  He raced a 5k today in his own words "a 21st century PR" in age 41.  Brandon has been focusing on shorter races this spring(10k on down) and it's been great seeing significant results already.  He also has a lot of good racing in him for future longer distance races of 10 miles to the half marathon distance, as well as the marathon distance.
I encourage many runners to vary up the distances they are training for throughout a year.  The variation can be the choice-as long as there is one.  It could be anything between 10k and 13.1, or it could be as wide a range as 5k-marathon, such as what I do.  One of the reasons for this is that it keeps running interesting.  Another more important reason is it helps us become better runners-it develops every system we need to work on.

Monday, March 19, 2012

"This is a Process,This is a Process"-Shamrock 2012 Race Report

It takes great patience to be great at something.  You have to look at the bigger picture.  This can be difficult for runners, since we have such high expectations and want to see results immediately.  It takes patience, and more patience.  As the quote from Moneyball goes, "This is a process, this is a process."

Last fall,  I made a huge breakthrough performance in September at the Philadelphia RocknRoll Half Marathon, running a monster PR 1:08:39, breaking 1:10:00 for the first time-let alone even 1:09:00!  It was an incredible race and I was on top of the world knowing I had reached new heights. When you reach a new level, you get excited and already begin to look at the next level.  The thing that becomes difficult though, is realizing and facing that there are plateaus before making the next jump.  It was 6 months ago I ran 1:08:39, and I basically ran a little bit slower on Sunday(1:09:27)-but I consider it the same range of area I hit back in September-meaning, performance wise, you can say it is extremely similar(48 seconds in difference).  Now, where it gets really frustrating is when workouts tell you otherwise.

Every interval/threshold workout I have done the past few months has been +/- 5:00 pace.  When I look at my training log, I see a lot of 4:59s of 1-2 mile intervals.  I see 4:50s.  I don't see anything slower than 5:05.  This work has yet to be shown in a race.

I ended up placing 16th in the race.  I ran the best I could, and know that I wouldn't have run faster or did anything stupid.  I was splitting 5:15s the entire way-if anything I ran pretty damn even.  I just wasn't ready to run faster-it almost seemed like a workout(??), not a race.  There was a giant pack of 10-15 guys that surged to the front(all who were running +/- 1:05), and at first I was in the back but soon realized I wasn't ready to run with them.  I ended up running alone for much of the race.  All the other local runners were behind me, and I was just stuck in-between-in no man's land.  1:09:27, don't get me wrong, I would have been THRILLED with this time last year to have run that.  It is only the second time I have gone under 1:10:00.  I ended up finishing as the top MD, VA, DC runner.  The only runners who beat me were either international athletes or out of state runners.

So I wouldn't consider the race a bad race-I think when I was younger I learned that a truly "bad race" is when you don't give 100% effort.  That I can say, I have mastered.  I know how to push myself.  It is having the faith of letting things come together at the right moment, the right time, that I am learning.  I think, when you make a jump, you need to repeat that effort sometimes, in order to make the next jump.  And that is what I did Sunday- I basically repeated a race that I have run before, but this time was unsatisfied-this is a good thing-it keeps me hungry.  You learn, you repeat, you move up.  This is a process.

I hope I am in one hell of a race for Cherry Blossom.  A 10 mile race sounds like nothing to me now, and I intend to beat a lot of good runners.  The field is loaded.  It will be fast.  I'm not sure if I have a particular goal, but I do know if I run the way I have run these workouts, I will surely hit a home run.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's Time to Roll

3/5-3/11: 58 Miles/Week

This was another lesser week of mileage to build rest into my weeks leading up to the Anthem Half.  Just like last week I took another day off this week, and my longest runs were 12 miles.  I did a nice tune-up track workout on Wednesday which wasn't anything crazy but enough of a workout.  The week summary:

Monday: AM: 12: ran with fellow friend and coach Brian Flynn for an out and back at Riley's Lock, 1:19(about 6:30 pace average)

Tuesday: 8: easy run on Cabin John Trails

Wednesday: PM: 10: 4 mile warm up + 5x1600m on the track, 3-4 min rest between each.
splits: 5:03, 4:47, 5:01, 4:51, 5:02. + cool down.

Thursday: 6: took a drive out to great falls, va, for a relaxing run on trails

Friday: OFF, weights and core work

Saturday: AM: 10 miles easy (70:00)

Sunday: AM: 12 miles started easy picked it up the last few miles finishing fast towards race pace at the end

I am excited and ready for my spring racing season to begin next Sunday.  Following the half marathon on 3/18 will be 2 weeks later the epic Cherry Blossom 10 Miler on 4/1.  After 4/1 I will have a month to train and sharpen up my speed to prepare for Pikes Peek 10K on 4/29.  Coming off Pikes Peek will be a track 5000m a few weeks later in mid-May.  So there are basically 2 major build ups to my season.  The first focusing on threshold for 10M-13.1M, and the 2nd working down to 5k-10k and pure speed.  The challenge afterward will be getting ready for my final race which is the USA Half Marathon Championships in mid-June 1 month after the 5k in May.  But more on that later.  For now I am focused on the upcoming 13.1 next sunday.  One at a time.  One at a time.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

2/27-3/4: 68 Miles/Week & Final 2011 Rankings

Less mileage this week and was able to handle one of the hardest workouts of my career.  The focus was around that workout.  The Saturday Long Run was the first long run under 20 miles in the past 6 weeks. Also took my first day off in 6 weeks.

Monday: 7 Miles easy with Mickey

Tuesday: 8 Miles easy @ Cabin John Trails, + core work

Wednesday: 4.5 mile run, followed by 6x2400, 1x1600, 1x800, all w/ 2-4 min recoveries, average 5:02 pace, 16 Miles total

Thursday: OFF, foam roll and core work

Friday: 4 Miles easy

Saturday: 17+ Miles at Pennyfield w/ Matt, w/ last 5 miles in 27:xx, +/- 5:30 pace) 1:55:00

Sunday: 15 Miles(14 with Brandon) @ The MD/DC Line 1:47:00

TOTAL: 68 Miles

Next week I will do a tune-up workout on the track that will be less volume but a bit quicker.  Something like 2x2mile +/- 1 mile, 800.  It's time to start gearing up to race.  My goals are high this spring and I'm looking to make some bold statements. 

Below are the final 2011 Rankings (MD, VA, DC) for the entire year.  James Moreland does these rankings based off 10K equivalent performances, and any race done within MD, VA, & DC.  My 13.1 in Philly last Sept equates to sub-31 for the 10K, though unfortunately it can't be counted since it is in PA.  This year I am looking to place much higher.

Endale, Abiyot****26Silver Spring, MD28:19
2Flynn, Ricky*624Lynchburg, VA29:09
3Feysa Birhanualem****29Washington, DC29:35
4Bokan, Tariku30Herndon, VA29:34
5Berdan, Dave*****30Owings Mills, MD29:32
6Tefera, Demesse**29Washington, DC29:44
7Dusen, Karl**28North Bethesda, MD30:09
8Flynn, Brian*28Weyers Cove, VA30:17
9McDougal, Jordan****24Culpeper, VA30:21
10DeVar, Frank***23Alexandria, VA30:23
11Rodriguez, Bert***32Arlington, VA30:20
12Komen, Wilson**33Washington, DC30:21
13Wardian, Michael****37Arlington, VA30:23
14Megerssa, Gurmessa*833Washington, DC30:29
15Luff, Sam*24Rockville, MD30:32
16Wiegner, Joey*29Rockville, MD30:42
17Barresi, Matt**28Falls Church, VA30:41
18Carroll, Ryan*1829Portsmouth, VA30:50
19Viviani, Will*****29Arlington, VA30:56
20Battaglino, Alex**25Baltimore, MD31:02
21Angell, David*****34Blue Ridge, VA31:09
22Burnham, David27Arlington, VA31:16
23Dybas, Piotr**24Richmond, VA31:24
24Deak, Ryan***25Burke, VA31:19
25Saunders, Rich23Alexandria, VA31:30
26Sloane, Christopher28Rockville, MD31:28
27Meeker, Dustin**30Baltimore, MD31:35
28Geletu, Seife*29Washington, DC31:49
29Mercer, Dickson30Washington, DC31:41
30Burke, Edmund**42Burtonsville, MD31:52
31O'Reilly, Blaine23Hayes, VA31:52
32Renjifo, Carlos*28Columbia, MD31:59
33Miller, Dave28Arlington, VA32:03
34Wertz, David35Arlington, VA32:06
35Church, Aaron****35South Riding, VA32:14
36Hryrniak, David26Chesapeake, VA32:10
37Belford, Luke*29Nottingham, MD32:15
38Aramayo, Ed25Baltimore, MD32:28
39Henry, James*28Silver Spring, MD32:26
40Hanlin, Cameron***23Hagerstown, MD32:41
41Buschman, Mark**27Ellicott City, MD32:43
42Brown, Karsten*737Front Royal, VA32:53
43Toland, Hugh***30Fairfax, VA33:00
44Dewitt, Daniel*623Frostburg, MD33:10
45Myers, Jason*26Alexandria, VA33:27
46Ciarfalia, Andrew*29Reston, VA33:37
47Ethicha, Kumsa*27Washington, DC33:41
48Logan, Matt25Washington, DC33:42
49Rumery, Shawn*25Silver Spring, MD33:46