Tuesday, June 24, 2014

From Naples, FL to Duluth, MN

Before this week, I've been averaging over 90 miles/week for the past 5 weeks, gradually building my base again.  After May, I cut it quits on workouts, so going into the half marathon in Duluth I knew I was not in racing shape.  Much of my running had been quite slow but that's what I needed to do.  After doing some higher volume again, I wanted to use this race as a good workout to break up the slow running I've been doing.  I did a very short taper for this race, for mileage I hit 100, then 80, and then down to 60 during the race week.  The result was my pace began quickening again naturally and my legs feeling a bit fresher.  I knew I wouldn't run fast here, but I felt like this would be a good workout nonetheless.  My goal was to have a good time and to run comfortably hard.  I roomed with Ricky Flynn, who was aiming for the Trials Standard of 1:05:00.  We both headed out on a shakeout run Friday morning.  Since I was in Naples, Florida not even a week ago and Ricky was coming from SC, it felt like freezing temperatures to us, even though it wasn't much below 50 degrees.  I ran in a long sleeve.  The temperature was obviously ideal for running, but coming from such heat and humidity really made it feel like 30-40 degrees out there.  We ran along the shoreline on the soft surface dirt/gravel path and adjacent boardwalk.

Our race was an early 6:15 AM start.  We got outside at 4:30 AM to get on the bus.  The bus drove us north along Superior Lake where the start was.  Superior Lake is like an ocean.  It's so big it would cover the entire area from Washington, DC all the way to Boston.  It was just south of 50 degrees, but it felt a lot colder.  I bought a pair of throw-away gloves to have during the race.  A ghostly like misty fog hovered over the lake and in the northern pine trees along the rocky shore.  It was hard to believe it was the first day of summer.

This race always has good competition.  I knew I wasn't in peak racing shape, so I made sure to let myself settle into what I felt was a comfortably hard pace, and not get caught up in red-lining it.  I went out between 5:10-5:15 the first mile, just testing the waters a bit, and then relaxed the rest of the way, averaging 5:20's.  I felt good actually, running a faster pace finally, because I had been doing a lot of slow running the past few weeks and feel it "woke me up" a bit.  I finished in 1:10:53, again not fast for me(see list below of my all time best half marathon times), but a solid run that made me feel like I got the effort in.  

Below is a list of my top all time half marathons over the past 3 years:

1:07:29 (Houston 2014)
1:08:39 (Philadelphia 2011)
1:08:51 (Va Beach 2013)
1:09:27 (Va Beach 2012)
1:09:30 (Richmond 2013)
1:10:04 (Va Beach 2011)
1:10:53 (Philadelphia 2012)
1:10:53 (Grandmas 2014)

I cooled down for 2.5 miles cheering for twin sisters Lucinda and Claudin(who ran wth me in high school), who both ran excellent times of 2:48 in the marathon.  What I am really excited about as well is that Lucinda is going to have me help coach her for a fall half marathon.  Lucinda is certainly a pro at the marathon, and it is a good time for her now to work on getting her half marathon time faster.  I certainly know she is capable of at least 1:17, if not faster.  I am humbled to coach her, and excited to see what she can do.

Later that afternoon, I ran again for an easy 50 minutes.  Sunday I ran a slow 9 miles, and this week I have begun specific marathon training.  I ran 15 miles this morning and it feels great to get the aerobic base going.  It's time for me to take all the tools I have gotten from racing the shorter distances and use them as best I can and maximize my endurance training.  Roland is having me train in a Lydiard-style like way, which I know will work well for me.

I am also excited for all the runners I am going to coach this fall!

Friday, June 6, 2014

New Goals

I haven't posted much since Cherry Blossom this spring, and I apologize for that to those of you who keep up with this blog.  Speaking of which, I want to thank all of you for continuing to read and hope it has given a lot of good/helpful insight on your own running.  One of my favorite things about this blog is being able to get my thoughts out and to help others look at their own running in such a way.  I met a fellow at a wedding the other day who keeps up with this blog, and it was very humble to hear that my posts have helped his own running.  In terms of style of training, what works for me, may not work for you.  But, I think the patterns show what type of runner I am, and that can help someone define whether they are a similar runner and/or different.  A good friend of mine, Lucy, and I ran together last weekend, and during the run, Lucy suggested how we were similar runners in certain ways, but also have interesting differences.  For example, Lucy is a 2012 Marathon Olympic Trials qualifier, but has also run fast in the 10K, yet hasn't had a great half marathon yet.  I have done well in distances half marathon and below, but haven't had a great marathon yet.


"Your 10K is better than your 5K, your 10 Mile is better than your 10K, and your Half Marathon is better than your 10 Mile.  It is with no doubt that as the race gets longer, you do better.  You are obviously meant for the marathon.  The 2016 Olym Trials are a realistic goal for you."
-Roland Rust, my new coach

  The past few months I have been in search for a coach.  Not that I don't know what I'm doing or am just training blindly, but I have been looking for someone to guide me, to have someone who sees the potential I have, and to work together to achieve the goals I strive for.  I have looked for someone who individualizes training based on the person(and what works for the person), rather than someone who trains everyone the same.  It has been very hard at times doing this on my own.  No question, I know how to push myself.  But having someone to give feedback and to believe in me will help me become a better athlete.  Someone to talk to, and to look at long term goals.  I believe Roland will fill this role for me very well.  We plan to take an all out assault on a fall marathon, most likely the Chicago Marathon.  It makes sense for me to go back to marathon training, and this summer Roland and I agree that 110-120/week will be ideal.  The other thing about marathon training, is that no matter what I always find that the TRAINING gets you fit as hell even if the marathon doesn't go as planned.  It always translates at some point to other distances as well.  This will benefit me greatly, and I am excited to get back to it.  It's the right time.

I have begun a new phase of my running and training.  Starting mid-May, I got my mileage up and it has climbed back up to 100/week for the past few weeks.  I feel great, actually, and physically I feel very strong.  I have been really keeping up my strength training well too.  I currently am training in Naples, Florida while on vacation.  Everytime I run here I get super fit.  The last few weeks of May I did some threshold pace running on the track, but honestly I am pretty sick of the track right now.  I've stayed away from it starting this past week.  I will get on it again at some point, but for now if I do any fast running it will be on the road or towpath.  This week is pretty much just mileage, and below are my previous 2 weeks.  I will post this Sunday 6/8 on my current week I will about to finish up.


5/19: AM: 9.5 miles
PM: 5 miles

5/20: AM: 7 miles
PM: 7.5 miles

5/21: AM: 4.5 miles
PM: Track: 6 x 1600m w/ 2:30 rests: 5:10, 5:01, 4:58, 4:59, 5:03, 4:59, 9.5 miles total

5/22: AM: 8.5 miles
PM: 6.5 miles

5/23: 11.5 miles + Strength Training

5/24: 10 miles + Strength Training

5/25: 20 miles, 2:13:00(68:00/65:00)

Total: 100 miles


5/26: AM: 10 miles
PM: Strength Training and Drills

5/27: AM: 13 miles
PM: 4 miles

5/28: Track: 2000m, 1600m, 1200m, all at 5:00 pace, +42:00 progression run, 11.5 miles total

5/29: AM: 5 miles
PM: 8.5 miles

5/30: AM: Strength Training
PM: 9.5 miles

5/31: 20 miles, 2:12:00(71:00/61:00)

6/1: 11 miles

Total: 93 miles