Taper time

Next up – the 118th Boston Marathon

BAA LogoFor my 100th blog post (I don’t write all that often), I get to talk about the last 9 days leading up to the Boston Marathon. Taper time has been an interesting time for me in my 7 marathons, especially for races for which I trained hard and racked up a lot of miles.  I don’t know if I get true “taper madness” like some people describe that they experience, but historically I have felt the change.  I become a bit edgy and intense…ok, edgi-ER and MORE intense, than normal.  My sleep patterns are affected.  I actually have less of an appetite and not more, which I think is unusual.  I also have had the occasional phantom pain.

With this particular marathon, I have been pretty clear that I am not training as intensely as I did for last fall’s Marine Corps Marathon.  I don’t think I ever really admitted it publicly, but that last one hurt and it took me some time to heal up – if I ever really did.  A bit of that is due to training that could have gone a bit better, but most of it is because I went all out to try to break 3:10:00.  I came close and PR’d, but it took a toll.  More importantly, similar to Marine Corps – for which I raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project – I don’t want my run on April 21 to be about me.  Given the events of last year’s Boston Marathon, I am running to celebrate the recovery and the spirit of community in Boston and among runners.  Being able to share the experience with Bostonians will be humbling and inspiring!

I’m not even sure what my finish time might be.  I am guessing somewhere around 3:30:00, but who knows?  If I linger among the girls of Wellesley College and smooch a couple cheeks (if Mrs. Bommer says it is okay!),  that might add a minute or two.  I know the course and what I’ll see, but I want to take time to appreciate it more than I was able to do in 2011.

Luckily, my training this time around fits that goal. I’ve run fewer weekly miles in the last five months than I normally would, and I did much less tempo and speedwork.  Total mileage is obviously a factor in success or failure in any marathon, but it is the deep commitment to tempo runs and speedwork that give someone a chance at a PR.  With my work schedule and the difficulty of training for a spring marathon, in addition to giving my body a chance to heal, this all set up well for me. In a later blog, I can talk about my plan for the summer, including dropping some weight and gearing up for the Wineglass Marathon in October and watching Hollie zoom by me – even though she is under some delusion that she’ll be able to slow down enough to run side-by-side with me!

Thanks to my paying job, I can only be gone to Boston for a very short period of time. Thanks to JetBlue, I can fly out of Denver on a midnight redeye and will land in Boston around 5:30 AM on Saturday the 19th. I won’t be too active on Saturday and Sunday, but I do plan to go out Monday after the marathon and have some fun.  That was something I didn’t do for very long after the 2011 Boston Marathon, and it was the only part of the trip I regretted not doing more.  Fortunately, some of my teammates from Runner’s Edge of the Rockies will also be there, since it is too short of a trip to try drag the family along.  I can’t get too crazy, though.  My flight back to Denver leaves at 7:00 AM on Tuesday morning, and I’ll be back in the state capitol working before noon.

In the event anyone wants to track my progress on April 21, I will be proudly wearing bib #8546. My Facebook friends will see a lot of updates from my trip, I’m sure, but I’ll also try to be better about using my Twitter account. Regardless, I’ll definitely be back with my 101st blog entry to talk about the entire experience.  I’m sure it is going to be memorable!

Boston StrongFinally, if you have never made a donation to The One Fund, please consider it.  While I am not running for the charity or officially raising  money for it, I could not be more supportive of the fund and how they are choosing to allocate the money. All of the support the fund has received has sped the healing process by those affected by last year’s terrible events and prove that Americans are at our best when we are helping out others.

BOSTON STRONG!

 

 

Boston Strong

 

Categories: Boston Marathon, Training | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cold runs, cold dam runs, windy runs, icy runs, and muddy runs

Otherwise known as, springtime running in the Rockies

Looking back at 2011, I have little to no idea how I trained for Boston in the cold and dark of the mornings all by myself (before I joined my running group) without going insane.  I think a lot about what my focus was like back then, training for my 4th marathon in 14 months …and my 4th marathon ever.  I think that may have been the most focused and committed I have ever been.

My plan for 2014  is a bit different from 2011, and I am running Boston in just over a month more as a training run than anything.  It’s a good thing, too.  Between work and the weather, couple with some nagging aches and pains, I can’t even imaging training hard enough to hammer it on Patriots Day in Boston.  Rather, I plan to enjoy the run and enjoy the crowds.  (Don’t tell Mrs. B, but I might even let one of the Wellesley girls smooch me on the cheek!  Most of all, it will be a great time to remember that it is just a run, after all, and that those that were hurt and killed last year need to be remembered over all else.

The weather has been most interesting his spring.  A couple of weeks ago, I incorporated a half marathon into my training plan as recommended by my coach.  It was That Dam Half, which runs along the 3 miles of Cherry Creek Dam and then down the other side to the turnaround.  Then, it is back up and across the dam. It was a perfect time for a training run – except for the fact that it was about 5 degrees when I woke up that morning.  By the time the race started, the temp had nearly doubled to 10 degrees.  While frosty, it wasn’t horrible.  Plus, it allowed the world to see me in tights, which almost never happens.

I can't believe nothing froze up and fell off.

I can’t believe nothing froze up and fell off.

The weekend before last, I was looking forward to being able to “sleep in” a little because the group run was starting less than a mile from my house.  Usually, I have to drive for up to 30 minutes for early morning training runs on Saturdays.  As it turned out, I was still woken up at 5:30 by my coach who was on his bike behind my house, trying to mark the trail and not fall off his bike from the wet snowstorm the night before that left the trail (even the dirt parts) covered in an icy film.  He had already biffed it twice.

We delayed the start of the run until after 8:00 to give time for the sun to melt some of the ice.  By the time we took off at 8:20 A.M., the first mile was only “treacherous,” as opposed to “deadly.”  Then the sun started to melt everything very quickly.  I was running 20 miles that day so by the time I turned around at 10 miles and started back toward home, most of the dirt trail was a mud bog.  And I’ve got the legs to prove it!!

Mud Run

The photo doesn’t even do it justice.

Finally, this last weekend was a bit shorter, as it was a step-back week.  However, it still presented itself with a  huge headwind and uphill…both ways.  We fought it off any finished, but it wasn’t anywhere near where I would have been (or wanted to be) in a race for which  I had given my heart and soul.

With just over a month to go until Boston, the weather should start to get better here and stay pretty nice most of the time.  I basically have 3 more regular weeks and then a 3-week taper.  I plan to finish under 3:30:00, enjoy the day, and start off the summer injury-free and with a great base already established.

Until then, Mother Nature can keep her shenanigans to herself!

Boston Strong

Categories: BolderBoulder, Boston Marathon | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

8 Weeks to Boston & 2014 Training

Boston Wins

As the Boston Marathon gets closer, I am thinking about what an emotional and proud day it will be.  Having run Boston in 2011, I felt like the cowardly acts undertaken that day took something out of me, too.  Everyone – runner or not – had to feel some sort of loss, but I think runners, especially those that have competed in Boston, were hit even harder. Innocent people.  Runners, family, fans, and volunteers were attacked for participating in something they love, something with history, something that was supposed to be triumphant.

Here is the thing, though.  It was triumphant.  From the moment after the bombs went off and every moment since, there have been stories of those that were injured and those left with deep emotional scars taking on and succeeding the challenges before them.  Sorry, terrorist scumbags – that is exactly what the spirit of the marathon is all about.  People don’t give up, even when they might have every reason to do so.  Boston wins.

I knew the moment I saw what happened last year that I wanted to be there this year to be part of the healing process.  Donating to the One Fund was a start, but I wanted to go in person to run the course and to give something back right where evil people tried to steal it.  I am not running to PR this one.  I want to celebrate it with as many people along the way as I can, no matter what my finish time might end up being.

Image

The One Fund – Boston 2013. http://www.onefundboston.org

Faster, Farther? Someday, It Won’t Be Either!

After that?  Then what?  I can say with absolute clarity that my body, mostly my legs, was pretty well wrecked after the Marine Corps Marathon.  As I noted in my race recap, I was 100% spent at the end of that race and felt pretty bad for about 30 minutes afterwards.  There was nothing left in the tank, and I was terribly nauseous and dizzy until I got a little food, recovery drink, and Michelob Ultra :) into my system.  In retrospect, I know I need to continue to improve my race nutrition, and I am just flat-out running too heavy.  Both of those things can be addressed.

Image

This October, I will be running the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, New York. (It’s okay to talk about it. It’s only 222 days away!)  Should I stay injury-free and have good summer training, I intend to “go for it” at this one.  The course profile is ideal, and training in the summer and fall is easier than winter and spring.  I am resolved to improve my nutrition, my overall training, and to drop to a more ideal race weight again.  My love of the beers of the world will have to be kept in check, but that is simply a state of mind.

The longer term question to address is whether or not to try to keep running marathons and getting faster?  Although the pain was temporary, I’m not sure I want to feel like I did at the end of the Marine Corps Marathon.  I know there are things I can do to be better prepared for this fall, but how much more time can I actually shave off?  I’m not prepared to answer that now,  but more likely I am relegated to continue asking myself that for a few years to come.  Someday, the answer will be found in the results.  I will know my fastest marathon time sometime after I’ve run it, and there is at least a chance I did it last fall.

There are many other distance races that marathons.  Longer?  I really don’t see myself running any ultras.  I sure don’t plan on signing up for anything soon.  Triathlons?  I am missing two critical elements necessary to do a triathlon.  I don’t own a bike, and I am not what one would refer to as a “strong swimmer.”  Unless it is acceptable to show up at the edge of the water wearing water wings, I don’t envision any triathlons or duathlons in my future.

What about shorter races?  This may be the part of the answer for two different reasons.  The best reason is that running shorter races will make me a better marathoner.  A huge part of my training plan involves speedwork and tempo runs, and there is no doubt in my mind that they are critical to a successful distance run at accelerated paces.  The other reason is that shorter races clearly do not create the same wear and tear on the body, and there are a lot more of these races scheduled throughout the year closer to home.  Over the longer term – even if I continue to run marathons – I’ll probably run a lot more of the shorter distances and should learn to embrace them more.

In that light, I am signed up for a half marathon this coming Sunday to compliment my spotty Boston training, and I think I will sign up for the Bolder Boulder 10k, which is on Memorial Day.  It has been a couple years since I’ve run it, and I have always had a special connection to it, since it was the first race in Colorado that I ran after I started running in 2007.  After that, I’ll be entering into summer training, and will have to incorporate shorter distance races into my marathon training plan where appropriate.

Categories: Boston Marathon, Training | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Has it really been two months?

Unlike all my past marathons, I have not been writing semi-regular training updates about things that most people don’t care about – let alone bother to read. :) In fact, it has been two months since I’ve written anything at all. I’ve thought about it plenty of times, but I just have not had anything interesting, inspiring, or otherwise meaningful enough to share beyond a 140 Twitter characters or a brief Facebook post. But time seems to have gotten away from me, as I prepare to head to Boston again in two months.
Spinning clock

Most of the lack of airtime is because my days have largely been filled with work and real life over the last three months, such that it has been hard enough just to get in the runs I have planned. I figure it doesn’t make much sense to write about runs that I don’t have the time (or sometimes the energy) to even do in first place. I can save that for the end of the current legislative session, which takes up most of my time anymore. I would rather take the time I do have now, when I have it, to get in the runs that I have scheduled or spend time with the family.

It also occurs to me that it might be time to shift this blog to things other than running or training plans. I guess it is mildly possible there are things I can share outside of running that 1 or 2 in which people might have an interest. I think I have a pretty interesting job, and I know some pretty amazing people. And some of the adventures I have planned in the weeks and months ahead may be a heck of a lot more interesting to read about than some 10-miler that felt better than my last run but still not as good as before I had some nagging ache that I’ve written about for 7 weeks in a row.

What adventures are in store for the weeks and months ahead, you ask? Here are a couple hints:
Breckenridge, CO

Walt Disney World

Couer d'Alene, Idaho

Grand Tetons

New York City

Niagra Falls

Wyoming Cowboy Football

I’m sure I’ll have plenty to say about Boston…but who knows? I might actually have something else to write about, too.

Categories: Boston Marathon, Other stuff | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hiatus

It’s been nearly two months since the Marine Corps Marathon, and I would describe my recovery period in one word – “deliberate.” While the word “gluttonous” also came to mind, since I haven’t kept the strictest diet plan or highest activity level in the interim, I have some miles under my belt and have been moderately conscious of my intake (even during the holidays).

Mentally, though, I have absolutely been on hiatus. Until this week, I have given a little thought to my running plan for 2014, but for the most part my mind has been on things much more in the present and not really focused at all on running. It is only a temporary state of mind, as much a part of the healing process as a massage or soaking in the hot tub.

I marvel at those that can be in “race mode” all the time.  They constantly weave half marathons, 10k races, and 5k races into their lives and somehow keep training for marathons, triathlons, and even an ultra here or there.  I’m usually trying to simply figure out if I can squeeze in three miles in lieu of lunch.  (Work/life balance stuff) 

That said, being able to run shorter races here and there would force me to think about “speed” and not just “endurance,” both of which are critical components of marathon training. I don’t intend to run for a PR in Boston this coming April, but that doesn’t mean the core components of training can be abandoned.

The next few weeks will actually allow for more time to get my weekday runs done, as work will wind down for the year and I’ll be taking time off.  The trick will be maintaining a good balance once the legislative session starts on January 8.  Back in 2011, I successfully training for the Boston Marathon, but I also recall a lot runs in the cold and dark of the early mornings.  It will take a concerted, planned effort and the ability to be flexible when flexibility is required.

As for my 2014 plan…obviously the first part of the year is planned for me by getting into the Boston Marathon on April 21, 2014.  However, the rest of the year is wide open at this point.  While I have some thoughts and ideas, I think I will let those stew a little bit and maybe talk about it next time.

20131107-063903.jpg

Categories: Boston Marathon, Other stuff | Tags: , , , ,

When every second counts

Heading back to Boston in 2014

I didn’t want to write right away on getting back into the Boston Marathon because my boring training blogs have been focused solely on the Marine Corps Marathon.  It did not seem quite right to look past October 27. However, Marine Corps Marathon is in the rear-view mirror – and while it is not quite time to start focusing on Boston 165 days from now, my mind does go there from time to time.

April 21, 2014 is going to be an epic day, and I was 17 seconds away from not being able to be a part of it.

Chicago flashback

Last year’s Chicago Marathon turned out to be a near perfect day. I was able to travel with my family, and we spend a few days there before and after the marathon seeing the sights and visiting other friends and family. That, alone, made it a great trip.
20131107-062624.jpg
The marathon was mostly what I expected it to be, and my training paid off. I beat my PR by 4:34 and my total time of 3:13:05 was a BQ by 1:55. I was hurting a bit in the last few miles of Chicago, and I had one fairly extended walk break through an aid station around Mile 22. It cost me about 30 seconds, which prevented me from finishing under 3:13, but it almost cost me more than that. On the flip side, it also allowed me to regather myself and focus on the effort to finish the race.
Hypothermia's happy face
Interestingly, the 2013 Boston Marathon had not filled its field after its initial staggered registration to guarantee the fastest runners a shot at getting in. I could have registered that night and been in Boston this year.

BQ -1:38

After the bombing in Boston and the huge amount of interest in the running community to run Boston 2014 in remembrance and tribute, friends of mine and I surmised that a BQ may not be enough in 2014. Like 2012, the Boston Athletic Association might have to establish a faster time to get into the marathon, even though they were expanding the field to accommodate the interest. As it turned out, that is exactly what happened.

The BAA announced that the cutoff for entry into the 2014 Boston Marathon was BQ time -1:38. My BQ time was 1:55 under 3:15, which meant I was in…by 17 seconds. It is hard to believe after running that far for that long that 17 seconds could make the difference between getting the chance to run down Boylston Street in April or cheering on friends from Colorado. I can only imagine how those that fell just on the other side of the cutoff must have felt. I was prepared for that, and I would not have been any less proud of what I did in Chicago…but I still would have been disappointed.

Making every second count

This coming April, I want to make every second count again, but with a completely different mindset. I will train for and run Boston to the best of my ability, but I am going to be less focused on the time on the clock and more focused on the experience and the interaction with the people of Boston and other fans that line the entire stretch between Hopkinton and Copley Square. Making the turn from Hereford onto Boylston Street, with that long stretch to the finish line – where evil resided last year and was quickly quashed by hope, determination, and resolve – will be the sweetest experience.

There will be another day to run for myself and for another PR. On April 21, I definitely intend to make every second count!

20131107-063903.jpg

Categories: Boston Marathon, Chicago Marathon, Other stuff | Tags: , , , , , ,

Marine Corps Marathon: Mission Accomplished!

Oorah!

The 38th Marine Corps Marathon was my seventh marathon.  Lucky #7, I guess.  It was, by far, the most gratifying one thus far.

Any marathon that you cross the finish line ought to be gratifying, and some people might suggest that my very first one in January 2010 should be at the top of the list. Others might agree with this one being on top because it was a PR by almost 1:30 and a Boston-qualifying time.  However, all the reasons this one ranks number one were not immediately revealed to me until after the race was underway and upon reflection once it was over.

The Marathon

Everything the morning of the marathon leading up to the start was incredibly easy and well run. When I first got there, I wanted to find a spot to chill out for a little bit and listen to some music before I started my ritualistic moves toward the porta-pottie, gear drop, and start line.
20131104-100822.jpg      20131104-100839.jpg

 

I timed everything just right and moved up from the runners’ village north of the Pentagon up to the start line with little difficulty. The weather was perfect. 48 degrees, a light breeze, and mostly cloudy. I waited until 5 minutes before the start and then peeled off my layers and made sure my Garmin was on and connected.

The start, if slightly delayed and a little chaotic, was still pretty smooth – and the PA announcer was definitely responsible for pumping people up! (including me)  The video coverage of the start was really well done, and I’ve enjoyed going back to watch the video to see where we started from.

After the start, I only ran a short distance before the course routed us past the finish – or at least the point where we would turn at Mile 26. I couldn’t look…I didn’t look. Okay, I sort of peeked once, but not long enough to know what I saw, and I continued on into Rosslyn.

Any doubts about whether or not I was going to be underdressed were answered as I started to break a sweat before Mile 2. I pulled off my throwaway hat and gloves and carried them until I crossed the Key Bridge, where I dropped them at the feet of a young fan. The hat and gloves had Denver Broncos logos on them so I hope he was a Broncos fan! From that point on, I didn’t have to focus on any distractions. The field was thinned out enough that I didn’t have to worry about crowds, and I had no stomach issues to slow me down. All I had to worry about was my pace and how I was feeling – all the while making assessments about how much gas I had in the tank and whether or not I was pushing too hard.

My goal for this race was to first run for the Wounded Warrior Project. Of course, I had been training so I wanted to try to beat my PR from the Chicago Marathon last October and possibly dip under 3:10. The plan was to try to hold back out of the gate through the early hills and then pick up the pace coming out of Mile 8.

I ran as close to a perfect race as I possibly could. After I reached the halfway point in 1:35:31 and knew I would need to run slightly negative to get under 3:10. Honestly, at that point, I wasn’t 100% sure I had enough to pull that off so I thought I would back it off a bit through the next few miles until I hit 20. In reality, I did the opposite. My pace through the halfway point was 7:14/mile average, but between 15.5 and 18.6 miles my pace quickened to 6:57/mile for that increment. In retrospect, I think I had decided to go for it, and I know I was inspired by the crowds and the scenery of the monuments and buildings in our capital.20131104-100915.jpg     20131104-100939.jpg

However, it was around Mile 19 that I started to feel the pain of the marathon and the tiredness of the legs that are expected but never welcome. I ensured I was consuming carbohydrates at every fluid station, and took some Sport Beans around Mile 19 and ate them, as well. (Gels upset my stomach so I have to get all my carbs through fluids, although I knew from experience I could take the Sport Beans and be okay) Within a few minutes of that, I saw my dad. He had positioned himself perfectly so he was able to run alongside me for few seconds and gave me a great mental boost.

I won’t lie. The last 10k was a struggle, and I was pushing with everything I had. My pace between Miles 18.6 and 21.7 dropped to 7:28/mile, which included crossing the Potomac and into Crystal City – concrete and expressway ramps…my favorites. I fought through Crystal City and back toward the Pentagon past the 40k (24.8 mile) waypoint, losing a little more time thanks to a 15 second walk through one of the last aid stations to get a double shot of Gatorade and water. The Mile 21.7 to 24.8 segment was a 7:43/mile pace, and I knew by then that coming in under 3:10 was not going to happen. While slightly disappointed, I knew I just needed to push through the last mile and a half and a PR was mine.

As we passed the start line, I knew the end was near, but I reflected briefly on the 25 miles I had just run. Other than perhaps starting out a little slower for the first two or three miles or waiting a little longer after the halfway point to accelerate, I would not have done anything different. My mind quickly shifted to the end. I was looking forward to the finish because of the final challenge that lay ahead.

The Finish

20131104-083809.jpg
As I reached Mile 26, the view that I mostly shielded from myself in Mile 1 now revealed itself. What struck me was the crowd and the noise, as well as the messaged affixed to the pavement. “Oorah.” “Take the Hill.” Among the civilians were scores of US Marines yelling to charge the hill and to not give up. My legs had nothing left, but I started running as fast and as hard as I could as I turned left and then right, climbing toward the finish only a couple hundred yards away. I could finally see it, and as I heard the PA announcer call my name, I knew I was home. Those last few moments were captured in the finish line video, which runs for about a minute before my name is called and I cross the line shortly thereafter. 3:11:38. A PR, another BQ - which I can use to improve my seeding in Boston 2014 – and “Mission Accomplished” for the Wounded Warrior Project and all the people that donated on my personal fundraising page.

I'm pretty proud of this effort. A little fade at the end, but I'll take it!

I’m pretty proud of this effort. A little fade at the end, but I’ll take it!

Final Thoughts

I am very proud of this effort, as I know that I could not have run any better. Even with the fade in the last 10k, my first half and second half were nearly identical. The first half was 1:35:01, and the second half was 1:36:37. I learned a lot about this run and the training before it that I can use for my next run at a PR and sub-3:10.

I pushed my body to the limit. After the initial elation of the finish, which included getting the medal and some finish photos, I began to feel pretty bad. I could barely walk, which was not necessarily troubling, but I was extraordinarily nauseous and dizzy. I knew I needed to get water, recovery drink, and food into my system but all I could do was just continue to walk slowly toward the exit. Thankfully, my dad found me and hung with me until we could find a spot for me to sit down in the sun and get my wits about me. Somehow, this all relates back to race nutrition, which I can figure out later, but I know that arrived at the finish line with nothing in the tank. Thankfully, I felt better in enough time to make it to the beer garden!

Finally, this marathon is definitely a “bucket list” run. The route speaks for itself, and the crowd support is excellent. Race organizers are victims of their own success, as there were issues this year with registration and the expo, but it was all minor compared to the experience of the race. The popularity of the race has forced a change to a lottery system next year, and this seems to be a better alternative than trying to add runners to the field. Race day went off without a hitch, and the finish festival in downtown Rosslyn was outstanding.

20131104-101010.jpg    20131104-101047.jpg

 

20131104-101105.jpg    20131104-101134.jpg

Categories: Marine Corps Marathon | Tags: , , , ,

Marine Corps Marathon: Weeks 19-20

Race weekend is here

Less than 24 hours from the time I am writing this, I will be off and running at the 38th Marine Corps Marathon, my seventh marathon. I’ve been here before, and I know what to expect overall, but I’m not 100% sure what to expect tomorrow.

At various times over the last 20 weeks, I have had some not-so-good weeks – some due to tweaks and strains, some due to work-life balance, and some due to not feeling a lot like running. However, the last few weeks before I started to taper felt like the best I’ve ha, particularly on the long runs. I know that I have the endurance to go the distance, but whether or not I can do it faster than I ever have remains a question that can only be answered on the course tomorrow. If you had asked me 10 weeks ago, I would have said I would just be glad to finish, but some great temp runs and speedwork have teased me into thinking I might just be able to crack my PR from Chicago (3:13:05) and maybe even 3:10. So perhaps this is a good time to remind myself of the goals I set.

Goals

#1 – This is first and foremost about running for the Wounded Warrior Project. Friends and family donated toward my goal of raising $1000 for WWP and put me over the top with $1200 in total donations. I decided in February that I wanted this one to be about something more than just me, and honoring our nation’s wounded veterans was something that felt right to do at this marathon.
20131026-093509.jpg

#2 – Finish. These damn things aren’t easy, and it is an accomplishment just to finish. That always has to be a goal.

#3 – Beat my PR. I ran last year’s Chicago Marathon about as smart as I think I could have run it. I pushed through the first half at or near a pace to not only BQ (3:15) but to try to get under 3:10. At the halfway point, I made an assessment and knew I could BQ, but I would be pushing my luck trying to run a negative split on the back half to get under 3:10. That strategy seems to have worked, and I’ll do it again.

#4 – Sub-3:10. We’ll see. Everything would have to be perfect.

I have no pressure on me whatsoever, other than that which I might place on myself. I am already in Boston 2014, and the next time I am would even think about wanting to go, I’ll have an extra 10 minutes to BQ (since I’d be over 45). For now, I am just going to enjoy the day – pushing it when I think I can, and making sure to look around at all the sights in our Nation’s capital.

Oorah!!!

20131026-093428.jpg

Categories: Marine Corps Marathon | Tags: , , , , ,

Marine Corps Marathon: Weeks 16 – 18

Taper time

The last couple weeks of training could not have gone any better, and they make me wonder if I did everything I needed to do in the first dozen weeks or so.  There is nothing I can do about it now because even if there was more I could have done, lost training can never truly be made up.

The most important thing is that I finished up healthy.  I have a few dings – tight muscles, sore Achilles, crooked back, and IT bands like piano wire – but these are all things that I can and will try to work out and resolve over the taper. One thing I cannot complain about is the weather.  Since the monsoon rains, fall has arrived and the running weather has been perfect.

Week 16

After Week 15′s overachievement, I needed to make the most out of my recovery week – especially since the week following this one would be big miles.  I waited until Tuesday and went out on a very calm, slow recovery run on flat ground.  My legs were never sore, even after running a 10k after a 22-miler the day before.  I was on the road for work the next day so I waited until Thursday morning to do my eight mile tempo run, which happened to be in southeast Colorado.  Although my legs did feel a little heavy, I hit my splits on my tempo miles of 6:40 or better on the way back in.  Jackpot.

Week 17

My last hard week of training, and if everything went well, this would be the most miles I have ever run in a week’s time.  I marvel at some of the people I follow that crank out 70+ miles/week like it is nothing.  I honestly am not sure that I could do that on a regular basis, but given all the things that I don’t get done now I know I don’t have any more time in my life for running!  That said, 50 miles was the goal and it was achievable.

However, that wasn’t the only hard part of the week.  I also was scheduled for my last interval training session of the training – 10 total miles with 8x800m at 6:10-6:20 per mile along the way.  That workout came on Wednesday, and I crushed it.  I learned, once again, that my legs are smarter than my brain, who kept thinking about how hard the workout was going to be.  It was, don’t get me wrong, but it felt good!

The location of the last long run changed to an all-crusher fine, flat trail in the south part of the Denver area called the Highline Canal Trail.  Given all the hilly long runs, I was pleased to see us go here and not Golden, as was planned.  My Runner’s Edge pace group took off like jackrabbits, as they were all running short, so I ended up running much of the run by myself and some with the 3:15 pace group.  It was the most amazing cold, crisp, fall day you might imagine.  The leaves were all turning, and the trail winds through the trees with large areas of open spaces and the occasional horse roaming through rolling pastures.  I had my headphones with me but never took them out of my pocket, and the week ended with my 50 mile goal reached and one of the best weeks I’ve ever had.

Week 18

The taper has arrived!  Although, the first week of the taper is not a piece of cake, even though the total miles drop off.  Tuesday’s run was a tempo run on tired legs of a total of eight miles (out four miles to warm up, then back three miles at a 6:40 pace and a mile cooldown).

When I got to Saturday, the plan called for 12 miles at regular long run pace.  However, I thought it important to test myself a bit before I let my legs truly begin their rest so I ran the return mileage at goal pace.  If I wasn’t pumped up to run a marathon before, I sure am now!  After going out to the 12-mile turnaround (mostly downhill), I started back at a 7:15 pace (or better) and ticked off five miles at 7:15, 7:20, 7:09, 7:01, and 6:55 before cooling down a mile.

Now I can taper!

Two weeks to “go time”

With the rest of my time, I managed to pack my days pretty full the last few weeks, including a LOT of Wyoming Cowboys and Denver Broncos football.  After my great goal pace run, I headed to Laramie for homecoming and then had a Broncos game yesterday.  It was an exhausting weekend, and now I have to be smart to make sure I arrive in Washington, DC rested and ready.

Next Saturday is “The Border War.”  Wyoming vs. Colorado State in Laramie in the oldest, longest continuous rivalry west of the Mississippi.  It is the game I look forward to most in the year, and there will be a lot of tailgating and good football. 

For me, it means enjoying it by not wrecking the last 18 weeks of training….and I won’t – but it’ll be difficult!

Go Pokes!

The home of the Wyoming Cowboys

The home of the Wyoming Cowboys

Categories: Marine Corps Marathon, Training | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Marine Corps Marathon: Weeks 12-15

This whole post basically covers the month of September.  After returning from the road trip to Omaha for the Wyoming-Nebraska game, life started to get very busy.  While I was working through running issues throughout the month, the devastating flooding that hit the state starting the week of September 10 put life in perspective.

Flood damage as seen from a UH-60 Black Hawk during search grid flights of the foothills west of Boulder.

Flood damage as seen from a UH-60 Black Hawk during search grid flights of the foothills west of Boulder.

Near Kersey, Colorado.

Near Kersey, Colorado.

Surveying flood damage – September 23.

With all of that going on, life both at work and at home was consumed with the floods.  Many of the municipalities that I work for were hit hard, and helping them was my first priority.  During that week, I was also keeping an eye on my own backyard, literally, as Big Dry Creek flows right behind the house and steadily rose as it became choked with runoff.  Luckily, water in Standley Lake, which feeds the creek, never topped the spillway.  Otherwise, the creek would have surely come out of its banks in a few places, possibly near the house.

In spite of all that – or rather in the midst of it – I ran.

Week 12

After the tough run in Omaha, I was looking forward to a week that would end with my second 20-mile run.  After being a bit beat up by the previous 20-miler, I wanted to see some improvement.  I had to do my Tuesday speedwork on Wednesday, but I was really happy with how well it went.  It wasn’t easy, but I hit all my splits in the 8x800m interval workout, had another good run on Thursday, and I was feeling great about the week.

Until the weekend…

The long run was set for Louisville and the route was the same one that beat me up a bit last summer.  I was in much better shape this time, and I thought I would have no problem having a better run – and then the sun came up.  As the route left Louisville and climbed up Marshall Mesa, the sun was out in full force and the temperature climbed.  I knew it was going to be a long day when I struggled up to the turnaround 10 miles out and was already beat.  The data from the run only told part of the story.  I made it back, eventually, but felt the effects of the run for the entire next week.  It was a bit demoralizing.

Week 13

This was the week the monsoon clouds parked over Colorado and let loose more water in a week than the area receives in a year.  My midweek runs were both in the rain, and I ended up taking it easy on both of them.  One was supposed to be a tempo run, but my legs were really beat up from Saturday.  I decided to make a true recovery week and not cause any bigger problems.  On Sunday, I went out (in the rain again) for a recovery week goal pace run of 14 miles.  I was supposed to come back at 6 miles at goal pace, which I did only for 4 miles. I wasn’t feeling 100% so I just backed off a bit the last three. With three hard weeks ahead, I didn’t feel the need to try to get it all during a recovery week run.

Week 14

I don’t want to break my arm patting myself on the back, but being smart may have paid off.  I had the best week of training yet, felt the best I have so far, and ran the most miles I’ve ever run in a week – just short of 50.  While windy conditions cut short Tuesday’s speedwork, I did get in an up tempo Thursday run that felt really good.  The week ended as good as I could have hoped, heading back out to one of my favorite routes for my first of two 22-milers.  This run was in the southeast part of the metro area from Aurora to Saddle Rock Golf Course.  It is very hilly, but the weather was much better than the Louisville run.  I ran it exactly how I wanted to and felt great when I finished.  What a difference between this run and two weeks ago!

My friend Lynne got me over to the Westminster Panerathon on Sunday, and I figured I would just run an easy recovery run.  Darned if my competitive nature didn’t get the best of me again.  While I went out slow, I felt great and kept increasing my pace the entire run.  I actually finished third in my division and 25th overall, and my legs felt just fine.  Very encouraging and the most miles I have ever run in a week.

Week 15

I was expecting some sort of effect from running so many miles last week and running a 10k the day after my long run.  It didn’t happen.  This week’s runs included an easy paced run, and a great tempo run while down in Lamar, Colorado on a work trip.  I’ll finish out with a couple easy runs and a 12 mile goal pace run.  After next next week’s training – my last hard week – I’ll begin my taper and be able to assess where I am at and if I am ready to go for a PR at the Marine Corps Marathon.

Oh…and by the way

I got into the Boston Marathon!  That is worthy of its own blog, but right now I need to focus on the marathon that is right in front of me.

Boston: The Day Before

Boston Marathon finish line. See you in 29 weeks!

Categories: Marine Corps Marathon, Training | Tags: , , , ,

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 834 other followers

%d bloggers like this: