Sunday, February 12, 2012

Cruising along

I've got a few events lined up as I gently get back into the elevated mileage weeks I enjoyed over the past couple of years. I re-started the 18-week 70mpw Pfitzinger cycle two weeks ago to line up with the Newport Marathon on June 2nd. I'm also scheduled into the highly sought and totally sold out Big Sur Marathon on April 29th.

So far, I'm nailing these workouts. Week #1 was 100% perfect. Week #2 was near perfect. My only minor blip was this week was because I had to jockey the schedule due to extensive business travel/meetings, and ended up hitting 54 out of 56 miles.

OK, so I can't deny that I'm feeling a little hint of failure. I read most of the book Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald. As I read through it, I decided I would target a body fat % in the range of 11-12%, down from my 13-14%. My thinking was that I really wanted to push the envelope and set a new PR this year at age 36 or even 37.

Can I tell you how much I hate tracking food intake and obsessing over calories? So I won't. Screw it. I ran a 2:58 in Chicago at my current weight. I just need to use common sense.

Up next is the Bay Breeze Half Marathon this coming Saturday. It will be a good time trial for me. After my 3:22 in Maui last month, I need to see where I stand with my fitness.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Full steam ahead

I've taken some time to enjoy the fruits of my labor since my 21st marathon on Jan 22nd. We loved our trip to Maui.

I am considering the Maui Oceanfront Marathon a success. For the record, I ran a 3:22. This race was HOT. Running on Maui is a different ballgame. 3:22 is not even in my top ten of finish times. But, that's OK, it was paradise and I've got 13 states under my belt. I celebrated my finish by jumping into the Pacific Ocean. What a way to cap off a race.

It's full steam ahead on the Pfitzinger 70mpw plan toward the Newport, OR Marathon. Here's the kicker, however: I will run the Big Sur Marathon on April 29th. That's right, the most beautiful marathon in the world will serve
as a training run.

So far, so good... early on, that is, in week #1 of 18. Ultimately, I want to have a go at a PR on June 2nd in Newport, OR. That is, I need to break 2:58.

I'm 36, and some may ask if my fastest races are history. Maybe, but just tell that to Meb Keflezighi, who at age 36 (he's 3 months younger than me) won the Olympic Trials in Houston a few weeks back and set his PR while doing it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Aloha... Maui or bust

Geeetings from SFO where Jennifer and I await the plane for our first leg to Maui. We are kid-free on this journey, thanks to Nana and Papa, and are ready to enjoy some running and more importantly some sunny paradise.

I will run the Maui Marathon on Sunday, which is slated for a 5:45am start out of Wailea. Jennifer will run the 5k, which starts at mile 23.1. If I run a 3:05, we could finish together! While that does sound romantic, sorry folks, not going to happen. I'm not trained up for that type of time this cycle and plus it will be temps in 70s to low 80s by the time we finish.

After the race, we will hopefully find a beach bar that has NFL Conference Championship football for the better part of a day.

This leg to LAX is delayed, so we are at risk of missing our connection. It's going to be really tight. I hope we don't have to spend the night at LAX. That would suck.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Resurgence in 2012

re·sur·gence - noun \ri-ˈsər-jən(t)s\ - a rising again into life, activity, or prominence

As I do at the dawn of every new year, I am taking stock and re-evaluating my values, goals, habits, aspirations and the overall sense of well being in my life.

2011 was a year of many different emotions. I have some great memories and moments with my family, especially those moments of wonder with my 3-year daughter and my 21 month-old son.

We bought a new house here in California last January after a big career move. In retrospect, career-wise, there was a period of uncertainty and some futility that wore on me in my daily work life in 2011. But I've risen above it, have grown as a result, and am now in a fantastic position to make a huge impact in 2012.

Specific to running, I have to admit that 2011 was one of my least productive of the last several years. I did just one single marathon, which was Boston and the subject of my last post here in May. I have done at least two or more marathons for five straight years from 2006-2010.

I also gave up my focused tracking of all of my mileage, for some reason. I think I encountered a period of burnout with all the change in my work life. I'm guessing I did somewhere over 2,000 total miles, but I can't be sure. Compare this to 2,600+ in 2009.

My fatigue was clearly evident in September after a flu bug hit during my training for the Morgan Hill (CA) Marathon. Days after recovery from the flu, I simply lost my drive and felt tired of running. I took some time off and backed down to the half marathon. I ran a respectable 1:31, which was far better than I expected after some major down time.

In summary, the year was not a total loss in the realm of running. I did run a pretty decent Boston Marathon. I put up some major mileage in and around the Napa Valley, which made for some great scenery. I did compete in my first two trail races, one of which was a 25k that I won. I've got some solid momentum going into 2012.

Despite the decline in number of marathons and total mileage, running was in 2011, and continues to be in 2012, a cornerstone of what defines me and my lifestyle.

Now, I am ready for a resurgence in 2012. Not just in running, but in several aspects of my life.

I just recently joined 50 States Marathon Club, with 12 states under my belt.

Right now, I am entering the taper period of what has been an abridged training cycle for the Maui Marathon. I'm also locked into the Big Sur Marathon, which I've read is the most beautiful, most enjoyable marathon on the planet.

Confirmed races:

  • Maui Oceanfront Marathon - January 22 - Marathon #21 / US State # 13

  • Big Sur Marathon - April 29 - Marathon #22
Races under consideration:

  • Newport (OR) Marathon - June 2

  • Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon (WA) - July 15

  • Mesquite (NV) Marathon - October
I am reading the book Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald at the moment. It's clear that my nutritional habits is a weakness for me. I am going to make a commitment to really get to a new level of peak fitness this year.

When I started this blog over six years ago, I lived in Connecticut, hence the "eastcoastrunner" URL. I've since journeyed from CT on to the Chicago suburbs and now Napa, CA for the last year. I continue to grow as a runner with the experience and joy of tremendous geographic reach.

I'm now 36 years old. I believe that some of my best running is ahead of me.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Reflecting on Boston ... now what?

It's been over 3 weeks since the Boston Marathon. I have very fond memories of my third Boston experience and my 20th marathon. I ran a 3:09 - almost exactly as planned. The day was remarkable and I feel very proud to be a part of what was a very historic day for the Boston Marathon. Heck, I ran on the course the same day that the fastest marathon was run EVER.

I've all but abandoned regular blogging on running, though running remains a part of my life. Our move to California and our current stage of having a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old has changed me.

Still, I feel that deep desire to set some form of goal to motivate me again. I'm 35 now and have run 20 marathons in 12 different states. I've exceeded my wildest dreams with my running by breaking 3 hours twice in the marathon.

Now what...? I've let go of running since Boston quite a bit. I needed some time off and I had a medical procedure (um, we're done having kids), which required some recovery. Again, so, now what?

I've been plotting to try to go after one more marathon PR. Then do I want to push myself that hard over the coming months? Should I just enjoy running leisurely in the Bay Area since I'm still so new here?

Much to contemplate.... for now, I'm going to try to get back in shape.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

What a difference a year makes

Hi runners... It's been just over an entire year since I lasted posted on this blog. "Where have you been?" one might ask. A lot has changed. I made a choice last year that I needed to invest my time in family, work and running, and this meant that blogging would need to take a back seat.

Next, let it be known, that I did not accomplish my goal of the 2:54 at Little Rock that I wrote about last year on my last post. I was on track at the mid-point with a steady 1:27 first half, but I couldn't hold. The wheels fell off and I limped in at a 3:04. It's been a year now, but I can tell you that I hurt more after this marathon running a 3:04 than I did in both of my two sub-3 hr performances, and most other races that I can even remember. So I licked my wounds, went home and readied myself for the birth of my second child.

The positive news is that I have had a great 12+ months since last wrote on February 21st, 2010. My son, Landon, was born on March 31st, 2010. He is a superstar champ and on the verge of turning one year old. My daughter, Alivia, is nearly 3 and amazes me every single day with her beauty and charm.

As of this past fall, I relocated to Napa, California with the company for which I have been working for the past 7+ years. This was a major life decision and, in the end, we decided that we could not pass up the experience to live in such a beautiful part of the country. I have continued to run throughout 2010 and completed the St. George, UT Marathon in October, as I moved my family to California. I turned 35 in August, so my 3:13 at St George was another BQ!

And I am now a Napa Valley Runner. I started this blog back in 2005 and called it "East Coast Runner" when I lived in the great state of Connecticut. Shortly thereafter, I moved to the Chicago suburbs for 4 1/2 years, and now we are enjoying Northern California.

I am presently training for Boston, which will be my 20th marathon and close to my 10th anniversary of marathon running. This is a landmark marathon. I on track for somewhere around a 3:10 or better.

After Boston, I plan to run some shorter races in Northern California and, in particular, in the beautiful Central Coast region of California. I want to enjoy the serenity of running in Northern California and spiritually connect with the amazing nature we have here. I will exploring opportunities to do so as we enter the Spring running season.

So, in closing, running is still as important in my life as ever. I've had to make a lot of adjustments to my training approach and time management as kids have entered my life. But I still marvel how running has been a very strong constant in my life, since that first marathon in Pittsburgh in May 2001.

Run onwards, friends...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Aiming for a 2:54 at the Little Rock Marathon

I am excited to share that all training indications suggest that I am in, once again, the best marathon shape of my life. Bring on marathon #18!

It is will documented that my running blogging career has plummeted to an all-time low. Nevertheless, I keep running onward, which my training log will clearly show.

So far, in 2010, I have run 506 miles, of which 90% have been run on a treadmill. I am pleased to report that they have been extremely high quality miles, to say the least.

Mark my words: I will run a 2:54 or better at the Little Rock Marathon in exactly two weeks from today.

Bold prediction? Sure, it is. But why not, right? Why shouldn't I just lay it all out there? I've run my ass off the last twelve weeks.

A couple of my major highlights include running a simulated 10k on the treadmill at 37:04; as well as running a 15 miles at race pace of 6:40 with several incline intervals throughout the run. And that's just a couple of indicators.

Bottom line is that I have been nailing all of my key workouts consistently such that even Pete Pfitzinger, my training counselor (unbeknownst to him), would be beaming with pride.

I set my personal weekly mileage record not once, but twice, in recent weeks. In January, I celebrated a 78-mile week. Not to quit there, just last week, I finally achieved that seemingly implausible target of 80 miles in a single week. And yes, 100% of those miles came on a treadmill.

I live in the Chicago suburbs and it can get cold, snowy, windy and downright nasty here. The treadmill has become a running way of life.

Some may think that all of these treadmill miles might not translate to race results. I had that exact same concern last year - just before I smashed my PR by 7 minutes at Austin 2009 after doing 90+% of my training mileage on a treadmill.

OK, have I put myself under enough pressure? Whatever happens, it's been a great training season in the comfortable confines of my basement training room.