Friday, December 29, 2006

2007 rapidly descending upon us

I am a very goal-oriented person. Somehow, I turned out very forward-thinking. It could be even to a fault, since it can be hard sometimes to appreciate the present.

I've got my list of 2007 goals and plans, which certainly includes but is not limited to running. On top of running, I've got general plans sketched out for career, financial management, writing and even a category I call "family, house and home life".

I even have a list of eight or so things I want to do in my city/neighborhood in 2007. For inspiration, check out a site called 43 Things. It's one of my favorites. In the meantime, I've got my running goals listed on the right hand side.

I had a very strong 7-miler in McMurray, PA on the trail near my in-laws place. I finished my last mile in at 6:32 (ok, so it was mostly downhill, I still had to go up it on mile 1!).

Next, I got my 5 mile recovery in today. I am 23 miles week to date, which is ahead of plan.

I hope to get in 12 miles tomorrow, but it is unlikely I will go early with the CARA team tomorrow. I've got a buddy in town who will want to go out ... late.

Prepare for your successful 2007...!

Marathon history

Posting my marathon history for future reference:

Chicago Marathon - 3:10:04 - 10/22/06
Tampa Gasparilla Marathon - 3:31:30 - 2/26/06
Houston Marathon - 3:23:55 - 1/15/05
Virginia Beach Marathon - 3:26:37 - 3/20/04
Pittsburgh Marathon - 3:29:23 - 5/4/03
Pittsburgh Marathon - 3:46:10 - 5/5/02
Pittsburgh Marathon - 4:15:52 - 5/6/01

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Holiday running in PA - 2007 planning

Reporting from Western PA in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, we're wrapping up a Christmastime visit to my in-laws. On the running front, I got out on Monday and Tuesday this week, with a break today.

Coolest Christmas gift came from mother-in-law (aka M.I.L.), which was the Amphipod RunLite 4 belt. Thanks, Mil!

The local landscape is extraordinarily hilly. The saving grace is a trail about 1 mile from my in-laws that has a steady but reasonable grade upward for several miles, which seems better than the steep, rolling variety.

The positive is that you get to glide down on your way back from an out-and-back. Weather has been mild here and the IT band has been sore but tolerable, as was the case during the 10 miler last Saturday. I couldn't pack "The Stick" due to suitcase constraints, so I have been trying to stretch diligently.

Monday - 5 miles - 38:45 - 7:45 pace
Tuesday - 6 miles - 45:50 - 7:40 pace
Wednesday - Rest today
Tomorrow - Another 5'er

I'm on track for my 32 mile target this week, assuming I can knock out 12 on Saturday. However, I have high school friends coming into town for New Year's, and we know they'll want to be out every night this weekend.

I want to run with Team CARA early Saturday morning, but it will be tough since my old pal will be in town and I can't tell him I need to go to bed at 9:30.

I've lined up my 2007 life goals and plans, which includes my running plans. I will share them on a post over the next couple of days.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cautiously optimistic on progress

I am feeling cautiously optimistic about my IT band condition as a result of a decent week. I am seeing the light toward the end of the tunnel. Still a ways to go, but I am feeling like I can get out of my rut pretty quickly.

Good news is that I was able to achieve my mileage goal of 25+ without any issue.

I resumed running with the CARA "Boston Bound" group yesterday morning. We now meet at the Morton Aboretum in Lisle, which is a beautiful sanctuary of trees and nature. We run up there because of the well-kept paved roads, which are plowed in the wintertime, and the hills which will help prepare for Boston.

I was pleased to have run the 10 miles without really being bothered by the knee. Don't get me wrong; it is still aggravated. Perhaps I have learned that stretching before will minimize the impact - and the little bit of discomfort has become tolerable at this point. The group was going for another 3.5 mile loop and I could have gone more, but I din't want to push it. So I called it a week.

I have "The Stick" rolling pin device, from a gift from the mother-in-law two years ago. I never used the thing until now. However, I have found that it helps stretch out the IT band. I also have broken down and ordered the foam roller. I am changing my ways as a runner.

I think getting back out with a group helped me immensely. There was a group of about 8-10 runners that stayed together. These are the people that I trained for Chicago with.

I am going to beat this thing soon. I think I will ramp up to 32 miles next week, 36 for New Year's week and 40 the week of 1/8 -- which will be just in time for the PT to tell me that there's nothing wrong with me.

Week of 12/18/06 recap

Mon - 5 with fast finish
Tue - 4 general aerobic
Wed - REST
Thu - 4 easy
Fri - 5 recovery
Sat - 10 EZ - 7:55 pace
Sun - REST

TOTAL: 28 miles

Plan for 12/25/06 week

Mon - 4
Tue - 6
Wed - REST
Thu - 5
Fri - 5 Recovery
Sat - 12

Total: 32 miles

Boston Marathon is 113 days away. Stretch, stretch, stretch...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Running mind game

The soonest I can get into P.T. is January 8th. Frustrating reality as a cog in the massive wheel of the bureacratic machine known to the world as the dreaded HMO.

My wife is a speech therapist and has good references for physical therapists in her hospital system. I had an appointment all lined up for yesterday.

I subsequently was forced to cancel said appointment due to my insurance carrier forcing me into a larger healthcare system. Drat. And larger healthcare system apparently requires 3 week lead time for appt's!

I realize that my condition is not exactly life threatening. I need to keep things in perspective. But when it comes to strecthing and healing this running ailment, I need to be to told what to do. It's an interesting predictament for me. I am so damn independent in all other facets of my life. Not when I need to massage and stretch my pain away!

Tuesday, I went out for a 4-miler. The pain set in on the last mile. I ran high 7's pace. I feel no pain at all after I am done.

Yesterday, I rested.

This morning, I went out for an easy 4-miler again. Nothing special. Tenderness set in again. That slow, steady faint aching that gradually afflicts the left knee. It's a mind game nowadays. "It's all in your head," I tell myself. "How tough are you?" is a follow up question. 4 miles around the 8 min pace mark.

These runs are easy enough to get through. But what happens when I try to go another 13 like 11 days ago?? I am trying to stretch before and after, but I know I am not doing enough.

13 miles WTD - with hopes of a 5 recovery tomorrow and at least 8 on Sat.

Countdown to Boston Marathon - 115 days

Monday, December 18, 2006

The road to recovery leads to Boston

I rested an entire week from running and I really got the itch today to get back. I decided to wait until after this afternoon's appointment.

I went to the nurse practitioner today as planned and got my PT script. She basically agreed with the prognosis of the IT band (I need to credit Whitney for the fastest medical assessment). I knew I wouldn't learn anything from today's appt. but I needed to get it done. The nurse advised me to take 3 ibuprofen caplets 2x per day and wrote the script.

I wanted to get out tonight for a 4-miler to see how I felt. The weather is extremely favorable here right now. I felt good running 7:50 the first mile. First three miles were around that same pace.

I felt strong enough to extend it to 5 miles. My 4th mile I took a little slower to 8:40, only to crank it up on mile 5. Final mile 5 was a 7:09, which was nice.

Today's run: 5.12 miles - Avg pace: 7:55

All and all, the left leg felt OK, but I can still feel the ache in the knee. Gone are the days of not worrying about the leg - at least for now. Every step, I feel my mind evaluating how tender it is - and whether it's strong enough to keep running. This can be mentally taxing.

On the positive, I know I can run 5-8 miles without much issue. However, right now, I can't say with confidence that I will be able to go out and run 15 miles without wanting quit because of the pain.

It's a start what I expect will be an unsual "play it by ear" training plan. I am very meticulous planner, so this uncertainy will be challenging to endure. That's OK... all of this makes me appreciate running all the more, and will making being in Boston all that much sweeter.

Goal for the week: 25 miles

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Care-free seven day hiatus

I haven't run a step since last Sunday's race - not a one. I have no concerns about it either. Seems strange that I am so care-free considering that the Boston Marathon is 17 weeks from tomorrow and I am totally idle.

I wanted to take my first complete week off to start healing this knee / IT band. I think it's the right move; otherwise I'll be fighting this thing for weeks.

I am scheduled to see a nurse practitioner on Monday, who I hope can get me a script for physical therapy. I think I will start running some short distances (3-4 + stretch) this coming week.

My hope is that with prescribed stretching I can run 20 miles next week and get ramped up to 40 in about 3 weeks from now. If I can run 40+ mpw consistently starting in early January, I should be OK for Boston.

Right now, I don't have a clear plan. It's all gotta be on feel for now until I see how this therapy shakes out.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Las Vegas wrap-up

Ok so this may be a little long, but here goes anyway...

As did many runners, we found a place called Battista’s right down from our hotel for pasta on Sat night. This meant that I would deviate from my typical pre-race staple of a grilled chix sammy and Rice a Roni (this would later be significant during the race). I slugged a couple of beers before dinner – and a little bit of wine during. So maybe it wasn’t the best idea in the world, but we were in Vegas, baby.

Sunday AM: Start time was at 6AM. I rose at 4:25. I walked about two miles from the Barbary Coast to Mandalay Bay. That’s what I get for saving a few bucks. I couldn’t have gotten a cab if I wanted to with the roads closed off. The cool wind was whipping and I was questioning my short-sleeve decision.

It was a bit of a cluster as hundreds of runners scurried toward the start line. The layout of the start in front of Mandalay Bay faced North – while all of the hotels are south of the start. The start was fenced in and it was difficult to find the back of the pack.

When I heard the MC announce less than 5 min to start (which was a lie), I followed a bunch of others climbing an 8 foot tall fence to get in the start corral. After scaling one said barrier, I was pinned in with hundreds of fellow runners in against a second albeit shorter fence.

That’s right, hundreds of us had to climb not one, but two fences before running this race. Sardined in between fences, I patiently awaited the start as my legs stiffened. However, there were too many people to try to get over the 2nd fence, so many of us had no choice but to wait until the gun for the crowd to move. It was a debacle.

After fireworks, a Blue Man Group performance, some politicians yapping and a long-winded MC trying to get us pumped up, we finally heard the gun at 6:15’ish AM. I gingerly climbed the fence and began walking with the masses toward the start. About 4.5 min later, I began to run.

Because of my position in the way back, it was a dodge ‘em from the get go. I started behind the 4:45 pace group. Apparently, I was late in arriving to the start?

I must have passed 6,000 of the 16,000 runners during the first two miles. My watch read 13:40 at mile 2, but in retro looking at Garmin, no way was I that fast - marker had to be wrong. The Mile 2 marker was one of only a few that I saw the whole race.

Early on, I felt the bloat. Unfortunately, I knew I had a pit stop coming. Yeah, I went at the hotel – but apparently I wasn’t done – not by a long shot. That damn A/D pill didn’t work. Estimated break time: 3:30. After this break, I think I was at about 38:40 for 5 miles.

After shuffling out of the can, I headed toward the Fremont St. Experience. I knew this would be mile 6. Under the lit up dome, I was thrilled when I was able to make that left back towards the strip, while the other poor souls had to carry on into the windy, desolate roads of the outer Las Vegas vicinity for the whole 26.2.

Heading back south, the winds were very fierce - head on winds sucking the life out of me as my leg throbbed in the late miles. These winds were harder than in Chicago on marathon day. I never wavered but I could tell I didn’t have the power I had in my peak conditioning. My HR was consistently in the 170’s – conditioning may have been a factor. My miles were slower later in the race.

As expected, my IT band pain began to emerge around mile 8. It got pretty bad around mile 10. Not sure if the $15 IT band supporter that I bought at the expo did a lick of good. Frustrating me further was that I never knew where I was. Even the volunteers didn’t know the mile markers.

I think I finished pretty strong but I’m not sure (again, no markers). I just now saw my official time tonight, which was a 1:38:31 - an inexplicable 8:07 off my PR from August. Definitely not where I thought I’d finish, but at least I did it and didn’t get seriously hurt. Coolest part was getting my post-race photo with a sexy showgirl.

My legs have been stiff since the race on Sunday – but more so the leftie which has acted up for 3 weeks now. Next step: Therapy.


Not sure I would do this one again even if healthy and better prepared. Had I been running the 26.2 and trying for a serious time, I would have been pissed. The race needs stronger support and clear mile markers! Not to mention that it was pricey for what you got in the way of aid stations (which were sparse) – and a really crappy race T-shirt.

Also, 20 out of 26.2 of the miles seem lame. It was pretty sweet running down the strip, but miles 7 through 13.1 were through run-down city and industrial back-roads along I-15. I can’t imagine the rest of the full course carried much excitement.

Biggest excitement I had during miles 7-13 was witnessing a drunken & disorderly conduct arrest in progress on a street corner in a sketchy part of town. Fan support was weak. After I thought about it, everyone who was there is not a local and didn’t exhibit the pride in the community that most races generate.

So here is my excuse list:

1. Organization/Support – Logistics were crappy at the start, they couldn’t handle the crowd. Mile markers were non-existent. No offense to the back-of-packers, but being behind 5 hr group was a challenge. Time lost: 1:00
2. Winds – Can’t control it, I know, but those head winds put Chicago to shame. – Time lost: 1:30-2:00
3. GI Tract Readiness – Poor execution on my part (oh well!). Time lost: 3:45-4:00
4. Knee/IT Band – I favored my right leg for the last 5 miles. I must have looked like a waddling duck. Time lost: 1:00-1:30

If it had not been for all of the above factors, and have run better the last few weeks, I am pretty sure I would have had a chance at PR. Well, OK, maybe not…but, what the hell, at least I was out there. There, the excuse monkey is off my back.

Next time, I’ll take my $90 to the tables and skip going to bed at 8:30 PM on a Saturday night in Vegas.

Now off to some rest and a physical therapy screening on Monday. Oh yeah, I’m supposed to start running for Boston this week, but that may be on hold ‘til I get some healing in.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Destination Vegas

Sat 12/09/06 - St. George, UT

Long journey from Chicago on Thursday morning. I flew to NY and then made the short drive to CT for a meeting at work headquarters. Then hopped a flight from JFK to Vegas on Thursday night. Long day, was up for 23 hours.

Jen and I made the 2 hour drive from LAS airport, cutting the corner of AZ to get to my folks' place in UT at 1AM on Thursday night. Here's a first: I was in all 4 timezones and six different states in less than 24 hours. They are as follows: IL (CST), NY (EST), CT (EST), NV (PST), AZ (MST), UT (MST).

There's a very acclaimed marathon here that Runner's World profiled this month and said we should put on our life's to-do list. It's held the same weekend as Chicago, so I need to figure out when I can run this one.

Friday - Ran a short 4-miler in my parents' very scenic town of Ivins, UT - on the edge of St. George. I wanted to test the leg. I hadn't run since that very frigid jaunt on Tuesday morning. The knee held up OK, but again felt tender.

That makes for a whopping 9 miles total this week. With tomorrow's race (assuming I finish), I'll break 22.

We're heading to Las Vegas within the hour to hit the expo and check-in. I'm going to plan to run a 7 min pace for tomorrow's race - and then see how the leg feels from there. It's going to be interesting.

Then the wife and I will celebrate Vegas style for a couple of days.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Rest Knee-ded?

Baby, it's cold outside. I rested on Monday as I planned. Today, I got out to do the 5 miles on the docket. There was little wind, but it was about 1 degree. Brrrr.

I was running about 7:40-8'ish through about 3 or so, when I did notice my left knee pain crop up. It's not excrutiating; rather more like a chronic annoyance at this point. During the last couple, I walked a few steps to see how it felt. I finished no problem, but I don't feel very race ready.

I dunno, maybe I just need to rest this thing up. I am contemplating now doing little or no running before Sunday's race. Maybe a solid 4 days of rest will do it some good. I can get on the bike once or twice before Sunday. And what difference in my time will any additional running do me? I should be in decent enough shape to run respectably.

After the race Sunday, maybe I will cool it for another 6 days until my group long run on Saturday the 16th. This would leave me 17 weeks to prepare for Boston, which is manageable. So maybe I won't PR there. All along, I've said I would be thrilled just to make Boston - even if I trotted a 4-hour marathon.

Additionally, I will go for a P.T. screen on Dec 18, which is the earliest I can go after we get back from Vegas.

I want to nip this knee thing in the bud. If I am going to have to skimp on training to heal up, I'd rather do it when it's sub-zero temp's outside - not to mention being able to celebrate the holidays a little.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Gingerly prepping for the Vegas Half

Something is up with Blogger Beta. I used to be able to create links and format text with bold and italics. But no longer. Now I can't even preview my entries. Anyway...

Saturday, went out to the Morton Aboretum to run my scheduled 10-miler. The Aboretum is is a protected nature area near Downer's Grove. It's really pretty. The Wheaton Group will start training for Boston up there, so I decided to become a member.

The main benefit is that they keep the roads plowed and the loops are pretty scenic routes - especially in the winter months. There are some rolling hills there, and I haven't trained on hills since we moved from Connecticut last April. I enjoyed the scenery.

During, yesterday's run, I confess that on the ninth mile, the left knee started to get tender. I was able to finish strong. I did stretch as best I knew how before hand, but maybe it wasn't good enough. Maybe I just don't know how. Maybe the IT band needs a good period of rest. 10 miles - 7:41 pace.

Today, I did my 4-mile recovery in the 1 degree wind chill around my residential area. Really wasn't bad since I dressed right for it - including "the mask" to protect the face from the gusts. Again, the knee felt tired and there was some mild pain. 4 miles - 8:34 pace.

I am expecting a new pair of Asics Gel Kayano XII to arrive at my house by Tuesday. I'm not that diligent about tracking mileage on my shoes, but I estimate my current pair has around 300 miles max on them. I am hopeful the fresh cushioning on the new pair will help the knee heal up.

The Vegas Half is one week from today. Will I able to run 7's? Who knows. Besides my knee issue, my diet hasn't been stellar. I've been drinking every day this weekend as a result of three straight holiday parties.

After the race, I will rest the knee for a solid 3-4 days, I've decided. I need to be able to begin training for Boston.


Mon 11/27 - 4 Recovery
Tue 11/28 - Rest
Wed 11/29 - 8 Gen Aero
Thu 11/30 - 6 Gen Aero
Fri 12/1 - Rest
Sat 12/2 - 10 General Aerobic
Sun 12/3 - 4 Recovery


Mon 12/4 - Rest
Tue 12/5 - 5 Recovery
Wed 12/6 - 8 EZ
Thu 12/7 - Rest - Fly to CT for work - then fly to Vegas
Fri 12/8 - 4 Recovery in St. George, UT (visit parents' house)
Sat 12/9 - Rest
Sun 12/10 - Las Vegas: RACE HALF MARATHON

Friday, December 01, 2006

Encouraging progress

I am happy to report that the knee issue that I reported last weekend seems to be under control. I have been significantly concerned about it over the past few days.

I think I just need to adopt a strong routine of stretching. My wife, a speech therapist, works at a hospital with physical therapists. She was able to borrow a foam roller, which is the tool of salvation according to OOSG and Whitney (thanks for the tips, guys).

I tried it before my six-miler. That thing can cause some discomfort! But it's important to stretch that IT band. Both runs on Wed and Thurs were no problem.

I think I need to resign myself to the fact that a dedicated stretching habit is what I need to sustain strong marathon running well into my 30's.

Wednesday 6:30 AM: Steady eight miler with no pain. 7:40/mile pace average.
Thursday 6:15 PM: Another solid six miler in the dark and cold. 7:36/mile pace avg.
Friday: NO RUNNING. Blizzard. Shoveled the damn driveway.

Plan for this weekend:

Saturday: 10-miler
Sunday: 4-miler recovery

Goal total for week: 32 miles.

Half marathon countdown: 8 days 'til Las Vegas. Race goal: ???

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Time to get my stretch on

I've been getting lots of advice on the left knee issue I reported over the weekend. Truth is, I am not entirely certain if it's the runner's knee or IT band friction syndrome, but I am leaning toward the IT band at this point.

I liked what Andrew had written saying that injury may be part of the program. At a minimum, it is teaching me about my training and my body's response.

I've never been a good stretcher. In fact, I may be a candidate for the most inflexible human being on earth. I damn near crack in half when I try to touch my toes. Nevertheless, I'm going to start gettin' my stretch on. It seems inevitable if I want to lick this knee problem.

I went out yesterday morning for recovery 4-miler. I wore a knee band that I bought at Walmart for some additional support. The knee felt OK, but I was glad to be done. I could still feel some discomfort.

Good news for today: No knee pain whatsoever. Oh wait, that' s because I didn't run. Damn. But I did go to the gym to test the knee a little bit on the elliptical, the bike and some easy strength training. All went well. Felt perfect.

I'm saving up for tomorrow morning's run. I hope to do a solid 7.

My immediate focus is to try to run the Vegas Half injury-free 11 days from now. I'm skeptical on a PR given my state, but I won't write it off altogther either. Can't believe I need to start Boston training right afterward.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Breaking 1,500 miles YTD leads to... runner's knee?

My best long run since the Oct 22 marathon...

Yesterday, I met with Matt, a guy who trained for Chicago with the CARA group, for a long run up at Wheaton meeting point. He fell short of his BQ goal in Chicago and will now head to Arizona for the R'n'R marathon out there Jan to try for 3:10.

It seemed like a good opportunity for me to push to at least 16 miles for my half marathon prep. Matt wanted to run twenty, and I agreed to let him go the final four alone.

This was my hardest training run since the marathon five weeks earlier. Personally, I think Matt's long runs are too fast for his goal, but I decided he needs to figure out what works for him on his own. I know that I ran slower than him on most of the long runs for Chicago. Yet it was me who was able to finish strong to run the 3:10. I learned from experience not to run too fast.

We did 8 out and 8 back with only a quick 3-minute break at the midpoint to GU up and hydrate. We ran 7:20-7:25 pace the entire way. My HR was in the high 150's/low 160's -- right where I expected it to be for this kind of run. I had no interest in another 4-miles due to some discomfort, which I will get to later.

I just tallied it up. With this run, I crossed the 1,500 mile mark for 2006 and now am at 1,510 YTD.

WTD: This 16-miler puts me at 36 for the week. I had planned to do a 5-mile recovery run today, but that may be on HOLD as a result of the next topic.

On to the concerning news of the day...

I experienced some mild knee discomfort toward the end of yesterday's run -- about the last two miles. I felt some slight pain after last Sunday's 14-miler, but that pain did not last.

This week's pain, while still relatively moderate, has lasted almost 24 hours. For a couple of hours after yesterday's run, it was really a nuisance and I found myself limping a bit.

I am concerned that I may have developed the classic runner's knee ailment. The symptom is singular and simple: pain on the lower outer portion of my left knee cap, that intensifies with bending and running.

It's not intolerable at this point, but there is something unusual going on. I have not felt this pain since 2001, when I trained for my first marathon. Then, I attributed this pain to simply being a novice and overworking my knee. I had never put in any type of serious mileage.

Of the sites I explored on the topic, I found this one to be very informative.

The Vegas Half is two weeks away and paid for, of course. Additionally, Boston training is to begin the day after, which would give 18 weeks to race day. Bottom line: I don't have a lot of time for rest and recovery. And I have a good feeling that rest is the only remedy to heal.

I've been fortunate enough to run injury-free for years now. Now, however, as this issue crops up, I am at the peak of my running life and it will be a struggle to determine what the right way to handle the situation is.

Who knows, maybe I am overreacting and this goes away after 2 days rest? (...please...)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Giving thanks

Things in my life that I am thankful for: My wonderful wife, my family, my career and its potential, my health, my drive and ability to run -- and run far, my financial stability, my freedom, my home, the general kindness of people towards me, our troops who sacrifice themselves for the rest of us Americans, football on Turkey day, the fond memories of the past, the satisfication of enjoying the present, and the promise of an even better future...

I did not get up to run either Turkey Trot races near my house today. Instead, I slept in and it was glorious.

My oldest, bestest friend was in town for the holiday. We stayed up last night drinking, laughing, playing music, drinking some more, eating and having fun. Suffice it to say, I did not feel like getting up to run hard today.

1:00 PM -- I had this entire post written assuming I wouldn't run today. Then, at halftime of the Lions game, a spark of motivation hit me. My wife, an occassional runner at best, said she was going out. I decided I needed to get my arse off the couch.

The weather is wonderfully bright and sunny today. It was a beautiful run. I ran sub 1/2 marathon race pace for 4 miles. I surprised myself. I thought I was too hung over and sore from yesterday's 10-miler to run like that.

In the end, I was quite proud of my run. And I was able to sleep in and save a few bucks by not entering the race.

Week to date activity

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 5 miles recovery - 44:00
Wednesday - 10 miles EZ - 1:19:30 (didn't feel "EZ")
Thursday - 5 miles total - 4 miles at 6:37 pace + 1 mile cooldown - Total: 35:30

Remainder of week plan

Friday - Rest, enjoy the day off
Saturday - 16 miles with Matt F - Target 7:45 pace
Sunday - 5 mile recovery

Off to a Thanksgiving feast especially for two. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Eyes on Sin City - Back up to 40mpw

So I've implied lately that I had doubts about registering for the Vegas Half on Dec 10, but I needed to create some motivation and self-drama to get myself up for training for this race.

I did not want to register until I hit this week's mileage target of 40, which was dependent upon this evening's planned 14-miler. Well, I nailed this run, which I ran in pitch dark, cold evening conditions just a short time ago.

We just got back from a Denver visit to my sister's at about 5:45 PM. I ran in Denver the last two days with the mile-high altitude and relatively hilly conditions. I did 5 miles on Friday (7:45 pace) and 5 mile recovery yesterday (8:55).

I could feel the altitude, baby, but what glorious running. Weather was brilliant: Bright, clear, beaming sun as I trotted around the Denver suburb of Littleton.

Tonight, I felt like a blood-doping Kenyan after running at 5,280 feet the last 2 days. This evening, I was flying on pancake flat concrete at near sea level.

My heart rate was way down from the 10-miler I did mid-week. I can't explain it, but I felt STRONG. Maybe I simply was tired earlier in the week.

Tonight, I knocked out over 14 miles at about 7:39 pace total with an average heart rate of 150. Contrast that to the Wednesday 10-miler at 7:49 with a 160 bpm average.

Change of plan for my Turkey Trot. I won't be doing the Naperville Turkey Trot. I will instead be doing the 4-mile poultry predictor in Joliet.

The concept seems kind of fun. The goal is to predict your time before you run. The closest predictors win a Thanksgiving bird. (obviously, no watches allowed.) Plus, this is a registration cost savings of $17.00 vs. the Naperville 5k.

Let's just say that I'm feeling the sticker shock of the $90.80 entry fee I just paid for the Vegas half (which included a $5.80 charge). Highway robby. Ah well, what we do to compete on the big stage.

Recap of 11/13 week

Mon - Rest
Tue - 6 recovery
Wed - 10 before work
Thu - Rest
Fri - 5.25 Easy - Littleton, CO
Sat - 5.2 Recovery - Littleton, CO
Sun - 14.2 - Back home
Total: 40+

Plan for 11/20 holiday week

Mon - Rest
Tue - 6 recovery+speed - will include 10x100m strides
Wed - 10 before work - Easy pace around 8-8:30
Thu - 4 mile turkey trot predictor - Early prediction: 25:40
Fri - Rest
Sat - 16 - training run w/Matt F (Boston hopeful)
Sun - 4-5 recovery
Goal total: 40-42

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why the elevated heartrate?

I've run 16 miles WTD with 24 to go. When I get to 40 this week successfully, I will then sign up for the Vegas Half.

Monday - Well-deserved rest.
Tuesday - 6-miler - easy 8:34 pace
Wednesday - 10 miles

This morning, I knocked out a 10-miler. All went well, but it felt more taxing than I expected.

I do have concern over my heart rate. It seems much more elevated than during my marathon prep. Does this mean I have lost my fitness? Let's look at some data.

Check out a 10-miler from Oct 14 (8 days before the marathon) -- about a 7:48 pace (click image)

Check out today's run - same exact distance, same exact pace (click image)

You can see my average heart rate was 151 a month ago - and it was 160 this morning. That's alarming to me. What gives?

Granted, I am not doing 50 mile weeks, but I thought I was doing a nice job to ease back toward 30-40 in a 3-4 week period. Apparently, not enough to keep my heart in shape?!

I plan to do an easy six in the morning tomorrow, before flying out to Denver in the evening. I will do an easy 4 either Friday or Saturday with rest on one of the days.

On Sunday, when we arrive back home in Chicago, I hope to embark on an evening 14-miler in the dark.

Not ideal, but I don't have any other time to fit it in with our family visit to my sis's. It would not be fair to go disappear for a couple of hours during a short weekend visit with family that I don't see often.

Plus, with my elevated HR, I don't even want to try a long run at mile high altitude!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Flash of resilience

Just yesterday, I wasn't feeling too confident about my plan to run a good half mary in Vegas on Dec 10th. I carried the weight of taking on too much.

The doubt, combined with my cold, and just the uneasiness of pushing myself back into the rigor of training for a goal took a psychological toll on me the last couple of days (as was evidenced from Friday's post).

I got out yesterday with a plan to do 4.5 miles, see how I felt, and then try to stretch it to 12 after a GU/water stop if my body was up for it. Let's just say that my run ended at 4.5. The winds were whipping and I was simply tired.

Enter today. I knew I needed a solid double-digit mile run if I had a prayer to get ready for the Vegas half. The weather conditions were milder and I decided to head up the Prairie Path.

I had planned to do 10. In the end, I ran my own private half marathon today. With some decent pace to boot (final mile of 6:31). Monster comeback from the depths of doubt that I was feeling yesterday.

Total miles: 13.1 - Total time: 1:39:00 - Pace: 7:33 per mile

(click image to see the splits)

I've learned about how difficult our cycles can be on us runners. I've also learned not to underestimate my ability to rebound back after feeling down and out.

I may be running that Vegas half after all. Next week is crucial.

Recap of 11/6/06 week

Mon 11/6 - 3.0 miles - hard and fast
Tue 11/7 - None
Wed 11/8 - Travel / None
Thu 11/9 - 7.5 miles (est) - Norwalk
Fri 11/10 - 5.5 miles recovery - Back home
Sat 11/11 - 4.5 miles @ 7:55 pace
Sun 11/12 - 13.1 miles - 7:34 pace - Prairie path

Total: 33.6 miles

Plan for 11/13 week - Goal of 40 miles

This week will be challenging with travel to visit family in Denver for the weekend. I know that Sunday's 14-miler will be difficult with the time of the day, but I'm going to give it my best.

Mon 11/13 - Rest
Tue 11/14 - 6 miles w/tempo - 3 miles at 6:45 pace
Wed 11/15 - 10 miles - early AM
Thu 11/16 - 6 - Leave for Denver in the evening
Fri 11/17 - Rest - In Denver visiting family
Sat 11/18 - 4 miles easy - Denver visiting family
Sun 11/19 - Evening 14 miler -Flight lands in Chicago at 4:30 - This run will start no earlier than 6PM - in the dark & cold. Can I do this?

If flight is delayed, will push a long run to Monday morning.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Demons of doubt - Vegas-bound?

[cckkwack!] That's me clearing mucus from my throat. Throat swelled up last night on my flight from NY and here I am now, nose running, inhaling Airborne - despite the knowledge it's too late for that. Colds suck.

It's Friday night at 7:30 and I am damn near exhausted from a hectic week. This week was more about my career than my running.

On Tuesday, I led an all-day business strategy review meeting for 20 people, which our new Global Head of Procurement attended. Nothing like have your boss's, boss's, boss, whom you never met, fly over from London and assess your work. All went well.

Preparing for this meeting required late nights, which curbed the mileage. Then it was onto my flight to NY to get to our Norwalk office on Wed AM.

Onto my running. I am very, slowly creeping back into my pre-marathon form. My plan was to go for 32 miles this week.

Monday, I crushed 3 hard miles before work. It's all I had time for. I did three in 20:30 with the last mile at 6:17.

Had planned to sneak in 4 on Wed eve in Norwalk, but it was pissing rain and I was beat.

Thursday AM, I got in a nice 7.5 miler in very beautiful, mild weather on my old stomping grounds in Norwalk.

Today, head congested and all, I did an easy 5.5 miler at 8:40 pace. This put me at 16 for the week.

Now, I have this cold. I am home on Friday night at 7:30 ready to go to bed.

My plan was to try to do 12 tomorrow. Tomorrow it is supposed to be cold - a "feels like" high of 28, with possible showers. I don't want to get sick further.

The Vegas Half is in 4 weeks. I need to confess that I am having second thoughts about entering Vegas. I have not registered as yet.

My plan was to try to maintain my marathon fitness and PR in Vegas. Then, I would be ready to kick into Boston training.

With my schedule, I am just not sure that I will be in the shape I need to be in to PR. The weather has turned on us. The holidays are here. I am going to Denver next weekend to visit my sis, which will make training tough.

The other part of me says "suck it up and do your best". Why should I continue to pressure myself. So maybe I won't run a sub 1:30 in vegas. What if I just trained my best under the cirumstances.

Then the other side says, why waste a $85 entry fee - and go to bed early in sleepless Vegas for a 6 AM start (read: boring) if you think you won't run your best? (yes, $85 for a flippin' half - ridic!)

Plus, Boston training starts right after the half. BUT, my parents will be in Vegas to cheer me on, which has never happened before. So why not run?

The PR marathon feels like a year ago already. My body has been creaky and I have not run more than 8 miles since Oct 22.

So why push myself? Then I thought about how I have never watched a large marathon. So what if I just cheered the Vegas marathoners and rested for Boston training? That would be fun ... and pathetic.... and a cop-out for a highly capable runner... ?

Ah, self-induced anxiety of a runner.... [sigh]

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Trying to get back into form

Here is a quick entry. My half marathon plan, I’ve decided, will be tough to follow to the letter (as was proven the first week). I am really busy right now. Plus, I felt somewhat fatigued on Friday's 8-miler. Makes me wonder if I am fully recovered from Chicago.

Just got back from a weekend of fun visting my alma mater, Michigan State. No running there. Plenty of eating and drinking much beer. Getting on the scale in the morning. Expecting to be up a couple of pounds.

Although I fell short of my mileage goal, I am OK with it. I need to ease up and relax, otherwise I would risk burning out. If I can get in two 40+ mile weeks and three runs of 12 or more before the Vegas half, I will be happy.

Recap of this week

Mon - 5 miles
Tue - Rest
Wed – 6.2
Thu - 5
Fri – 8.2 miles
Sat – 0
Sun – 0
Total: 24+

I need to focus on work the next few days, so running will be tough. I have an important 1-day workshop that I am running on Tuesday, then travel on Wed-Thurs. However, I will try to get to 30-32 this coming week.

Goal schedule for this week.

Mon – 3 miles easy AM
Tue – Rest – running all day workshop
Wed – 4 in the PM – Travel to Norwalk in the AM

Thu – 8 in the AM – Track work at Norwalk HS
Fri – 5 Recovery
Sat – 12 with group

Goal total: 32

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Unexpected Marathon accolade

I attended the CARA-Wheaton Post-Marathon celebration party last night. It was held at a pizza restaurant in Naperville. Really nice deal - and a fun way to celebrate with all of the others who were out there on Saturdays putting in major mileage to get to our goal.

I was quite surprised when the our group leader, Jim, announced that there were awards to hand out. My name was the first to be called for the group's "Fastest Male".

Pretty cool wall ornament, right? And my second ever running trophy - after my 5k second place age group finish back in July.

I guess I should keep at this running thing.
OK, enough celebration… I’ve got to get my ass in gear back to running for this half marathon, which is in 5.5 weeks.

OK, Right after tonight’s numerous Captain Morgan and apple cider cocktails and beer and chili at the neighbor’s. I’ll get right on that mileage tomorrow AM. (sigh…)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Today's e-mail bag

Dear Ryan,

This is to notify you that your entry into the 111th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, 2007 has been accepted, provided that the information you submitted is accurate.

We look forward to seeing you in April!

Boston Athletic Association


Love how they throw that disclaimer in there "provided that the info...".

Translation: Don't try to mess with us and submit a misleading entry when you haven't shown that you can run with the big boys and girls.

What, you don't trust me? Check that Chicago results page. I made it, people!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Reflecting on 1,376 miles so far this year

On Friday night, I laid out the six-week training plan for Las Vegas without much consideration for the prior commitments I had made. There will be adjustments (starting this weekend as we visit my alma mater and running will be low priority). This is to be expected, so I'll do the best I can.

Today was the one of the more tranquil runs I have had in a long time. I did some research to locate a new running trail. I found one described here called the Indiana & Michigan Canal Trail, just west of Joliet.

Jen and I drove the 13 miles from our house on a gorgeous autumn day. She ran the first mile with me and I then went off on my own to run along the river canal for 4 out and 4 back. Truly beautiful scenery and the perfect weather made it all that much more enjoyable.

I tested my legs on the final mile 8 at 6:45. Felt pretty good, but I won't be doing that tomorrow.

Time: 1:02:12 - 8 miles

Recap of recovery week of 10/23/06

Mon-Thurs: REST
Fri 10/27: 4
Sat 10/28: 3
Sun 10/29: 8
TOTAL: 15 miles

This evening, I did a lot of reflecting by reading my blog entries over the past year. Amazing, really, some of the stuff I found.

I found numerous posts that flirted with the idea of running a BQ in Chicago, but I could read within my own statements that I wasn't truly certain I could do it. I know now that I shouldn't doubt myself. [I know, I should shut up about Chicago. Hell, it's been a week now.]

I also know why know (but not then) that I drew a collective chuckle from the run blog community after my Jan 1st post. In it, I courageously proclaimed that my 2006 total mileage goal was 1,200. Real ambitious, wasn't it?

The below image shows a chart of mileage YTD. I tallied it up today, and I am at 1,376 miles before hitting November.

Next year: Will I try for 2000?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Back To Business

I ventured out on to my first post-marathon run this evening around 5:30 PM. It is the soonest after a marathon that I have ever run, which may be an indication that I am excited to get back into it.

I did an easy 4-miler in my residential surroundings. Upon starting out, I looked down at the Garmin with interest to see my first first mile pace. 8:14. This is fine, actually faster than I had planned. However, it struck me as funny since it felt like 7:45.

Total run time was 32:34 - 8:08 per mile for 4 miles.

All and all, I felt really good, but I was content doing only 4. I will do some easier mileage over the next two days.

The next goal is the Las Vegas Half Marathon. Days to race: 44. Goal: 1:29:30 -- a PR by 56 seconds. Why this goal time? It seemed like a nice, round number; a realistic, yet stretching goal given only 44 days to recover and train.

I did a little research to see if I could find a worthwile 1/2 marathon training program that I could jump onto for 6 weeks to get me ready. I didn't really find anything that really fit with my circumstances or desired schedule.

I decided that I am going to create my own schedule based on my own experience. I know my body and am still at a decent level of fitness, so I can run my own show.

I will consider this an experiment. I am not going to follow Pfitz, Hal, RW, Coolrunning or any other pre-designed plan. I am going to follow my own plan.

Here is the rough draft (click on the image below to see the mileage):

Mondays - Easy, comfortable pace (7:40-8:00)
Tuesdays - Speed work - vary btw Yassos (3:00 800m repeats) and Tempo runs (6:50 pace)
Wednesdays - Rest
Thursdays - Warm-up with 2, then Run half the schedule distance at race pace, finish easy
Fridays - Recovery runs (8:40-9:00 pace)
Saturdays - Long runs - Pace range: 7:40-8:00, finish last two miles around 7:30
Sundays - Rest

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

So, what's next?

I am cognizant that I have been a bit schizophrenic on the aesthetics of my blog as of late. I've been searching for a newer, bolder and more compelling blog identity. My commitment is to maintain some degree of continuity in layout going forward.

The race on Sunday was a real turning point. (How nice that I haven't run a step as yet since crossing that finish.) The past 72 hours have been a time of real reflection for me.

I started this blog gig on September 5th, 2005 with this introductory post.

First, it was just an experiment to see if a blog would improve my training focus and inspire me to new running heights.

Then, it was to use as a motivational tool to deliver a strong result at the Tampa Marathon.

When the PR streak ended in Tampa, I was at a turning point. I knew I had not given my best to running, but it was a choice (maybe sub-conscious to an extent) because I wasn't sure if I wanted to give more.

My wife and I moved from Connecticut to the Chicago area at the end of April. I knew I would have to run the big one here. And if I was going to run Chicago, I would need a landmark performance for me to really feel like marathoning was worth it. I achieved my goal.

Now I have to decide what is next.

I've got the Vegas Half in December. I think I am going to try for a PR there, which will make me feel like I am running shape.

For Boston, however, I can't decide if I truly want to better my Chicago time. Of course, I want to run sub 3:10, but do I want to train through the winter to do it?

Or should I save my next best for a future marathon? I want to be able to enjoy Boston and soak in the atmosphere.

Plus, I've got a wife who wants to have a baby soon (Read: Keep your schedule open, Ryan). So I can adjust my running habits to such a major life change?

For now, I'll try for PR's on my upcoming two races (5k and half) and not worry about Boston for a few weeks or any major life changes. We'll cross that bridge... as they say... later.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Chicago Marathon Race Report

BLOG LOCATION UPDATE: Yes, we are back to my original blog location. Blogger Beta has worked out the kinks and will now accept non-beta posts. Please re-direct yourselves to this site going forward. Sorry for the back-and-forth motion!


Jen and I arrived at the Monroe St. Parking Garage at 6:15 AM. Meeting up with my friends Steve and Aaron proved to be more challenging than I initially expected. We tried to meet at Charity Village, but that was further from the start than I expected.

We finally found each other at the gear check and had to shuffle into the Preferred Start 1 zone pretty quickly around 7:45 AM.

The plan was for Aaron and I to run together and have Steve ditch us after Mile 1 to chase his sub-3. He did and Aaron and I stuck together for as long as we could.

The first mile felt like the running of the bulls in Pamplona (or I am guessing, anyway). It was chaotic. I didn't have a traffic-free lane. I couldn't grasp the 7:20 pace. I wanted a slow first mile, but not a 7:43 like we got. We made up for that on miles 2 and 3 -- almost dangerously so.

Miles 2-10 were pretty solid. I couldn't get a sense early if I was going to nail this BQ. I just wanted to keep running even splits as best as I could. It was a constant battle.

I did see the
Jason and Leah fan club at mile 7.5. What a raucous entourage they had. That drew a smile for me, as I felt like I knew them yesterday. Aaron had to pee already and I was concerned about stopping so early. He darted off and I carried on.

After passing mile 15, I took a chance and detoured to a port-a-john. Surprisingly, I must have made up for it because my mile 16 split was a 7:31. That was an ultra-quick pee. I caught Aaron right after this.

I was so focused on delivering the result I wanted with this race that I probably missed out on some of the fanfare that I could have experienced if I paused to looked around more. First half was like clockwork. I ran a 1:34:43 half. Right on target for 3:10, but it would require a solid second half.

I was disappointed to see Aaron start to fall back around 18-19. I tried to pull him ahead but he was struggling. When we crossed 19, I knew I had to focus on my own splits or I'd be out of a BQ. I learned later that it was not in the cards for Aaron to qualify for Boston.

I GU'd up at 6, 11.5 and 18. I was trading off water and Gatorade at basically every stop through 22. After that, I didn't need nor could I afford any more water stops. I needed to nail the final splits.

I drove on like a 1-man army. Chinatown was very powerful. I have to admit that the techno Chinese/drum music that was pounding and resonating through the streets was a bit overwhelming. It was as if I was in a dream running for my life through some foreign death zone trying to escape the wrath of the evil dragon. It was surreal.

Late miles, I kept my eyes and mind focused on my splits. When I hit 20, I knew that I was slightly behind 3:10 pace by about 20 seconds. This was the first of several moments of truth. It was a matter of whether or not I would have the resolve to demand a 7:14 per mile 10k out of my body.

Check my split at mile 23 of 7:20. I knew that if I continued to slip that I would be in trouble. Michigan Ave was a real test. I saw others around me try to combat the final head winds. I couldn't think straight and figure out exactly what I needed to turn in for the final 3.2, but I was pretty sure that with 7:14's, I would get in under the wire.

Once I hit 24, there was no way I was caving in. I was hurting badly, but I knew I could hang on. I keep searching out the next mile marker as far in advance as I could.

The final 2.2 miles I ran in 15:40 or about 7:07 per mile. This is a miracle to me that I could muster the strength. I just wanted it. I knew I had earned it.

Finally, over the final 0.2, I was able to pump my fists and wave my arms to get the crowd cheering for me. They responded and I let the cheers carry me to the finish. I looked at my watch to read 3:10:05. Thank God for the 59 seconds grace the folks at the BAA grant people like us.

When I crossed the finish, the fact is that I was just about too tired to cheer or cry. I finally wept after about 30 seconds in the chute as I tried to propel myself to the medals area. I was spent. I couldn't believe I had done it.

Moments later, I found Steve waiting for me in back section of the finishing area. He was going for a sub-3. He wasn't sure if I had made it. I said nothing and showed him my watch. He smiled, we slapped high 5's and I asked him of his outcome. My jaw dropped when he uttered 2:57. Finally, I found my wife and we enjoyed the moment.

We both registered for Boston yesterday - my first, Steve's second.

To anyone who thinks that they have a goal too lofty to achieve, don't doubt yourself. Devise a plan that you think will get you there. Commit to it and give it your all. I can speak from experience.

7:43 - Mile 1
7:04 - Mile 2
7:06 - Mile 3
7:09 - Mile 4
7:13 - Mile 5
7:26 - Mile 6
7:18 - Mile 7
7:03 - Mile 8
7:05 - Mile 9
7:07 - Mile 10
7:04 - Mile 11
7:20 - Mile 12
7:13 - Mile 13
7:14 - Mile 14
7:22 - Mile 15
7:31 - Mile 16
7:16 - Mile 17
7:15 - Mile 18
7:27 - Mile 19
7:18 - Mile 20
7:09 - Mile 21
7:15 - Mile 22
7:20 - Mile 23
7:14 - Mile 24
7:10 - Mile 25
8:31 - final 1.2

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Due to technical difficulties, I have started a second blog to keep the training log alive. Please click below to visit. Thanks for your understanding.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Duped into Gmail blogger - Cannot comment! :(

Sorry, folks. It appears as if I am sucker. I responded to the Blogger marketing that prompted me to move my Blogger account to my gmail account (which I just set up, thinking this was a cool, technologically progressive thing to do).

Now, it will not let me comment on any of your blogs! It says that I am not allowed to use my account to post to a non-beta blog, or some bulls*#t.

Anyone else get sucked in and figure out how to find their way out?

"I CAN RUN... 55!" - Week 11 complete - 7 weeks to go

Think Sammy Hagar circa 1984. Guitars and drums blazing. "I CAN RUN... 55!".

Granted, slightly lame, but I needed some sort of anthem to celebrate. I now know that I can run 55 miles total in a week. I just did it.

Recap of week 11 - PR for weekly mileage

Mon 8/28: 6 miles w/6x100m strides - Celebrated my 31st year
Tue 8/29: 12 miles w/Yasso repeats - track work at Plainfield Central HS
Wed 8/30: Rest
Thurs 8/31: 12 miles med-long - Ran strong in 1:35 - Local Plainfield routes
Fri 9/1: Recovery 5 miler in 44:30 - Completely ran on feel - no idea of pace, but it feel just around sub-9
Sat 9/2: TWENTY large in 2:36:45 - Wheaton CARA running team heading West and North on the Prairie path. Miles 1-10 were mostly 8's. Average pace on miles 11-20 was 7:39 - Kevin B ran me to a 10:36 on our last 1.5 miles (~7:04 pace).

Total for the week: 55 miles - MILEAGE GOAL REACHED.

Week 12 Plan - Target of 49 miles

Mon 9/4: 8 miles - V02 max workout - 5x600m @ 5k race pace - jog 90 sec in btw
Tue 9/5: 11 miles - Medium-long general aerobic pace
Wed 9/6: Rest
Thu 9/7: 4 miles - Recovery+speed - 6x100m strides
Fri 9/8: 9 miles - Supposed to be tune-up race, but will run lactate threshold pace to simulate (6:55)
Sat 9/9: 17 miles - Long run
Sun 9/10: Rest

I finally caved... The Garmin Forerunner 305 is on order. After my Polar RS200's heart rate function faultered, I felt a little lost over the past couple of weeks. When I saw pushing it for $259 with free shipping (down from $349), I pulled the trigger.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Week 11 update - Yasso me, baby!

First, thanks to all of you for all the birthday wishes you gave. Only 4 more years and I can focus on a cakewalk time of 3:15 to get into Boston. (hardy har...)

I also want to thank my lovely wife, Jennifer, for the great gift she gave. She created a binder with all of my posts printed since I started this blog last October -- which also includes all of YOUR comments. So all your words of encouragement have been captured in hard copy. Not to mention Jamie Cullum concert tickets for downtown next month. Sweet.

I was leafing through the book last night. It's really remarkable to see how far I've come just since last fall. Back then, 25 mile weeks were near-heroic for me. I've not tasted sub-30 in 4 months, but I suspect I would see it as a failure.

He doesn't know it, but it was Zeke who gave me a "gentle push" after I hit the wall towards 3:31 in Tampa in February. (Read Zeke's comment to my Tampa race report). Now, here I am tearing up the Pfitz program. Thanks for the push, Zeke.

OK, on to business...

Monday, 8/28 - 6 mile recovery with 6x100m strides

School is in session and the traffic is crazy! I did six miles recovery. The route was the all-too-familiar up 248th to 119th and back. Ran barely sub-9 pace. Blah, blah, blah...

Tuesday, 8/29 - 12 miles total - YASSO REPEATS

I decided to very slighly deviate from Pfitz's plan because I was unable to get in my VO2 max workout last week. The program called for 12 miles with 7 miles at LT. Since I have already done a couple of races and other LT workouts, I decided I wanted to focus on faster intervals. I had heard a lot about Yasso's and how some swear by them, so I wanted to give them a shot.

The first challenge in doing interval work on the track is actually finding an open track. I drove to Plainfield North HS. Damn... track is locked up. I then drove to Central. F*&#! Locked again. Do they want me to climb fences? I wanted to be civil and respect the property.

Note to self: Call the local Athletic Director to get an explanation and solution. I pay my taxes, dammit!

As I fumed, I headed out on a 5-mile EZ'er on the nearby bike path. I was resigned to the fact that I would need do some guess work to get to LT pace, or just do the speed work with the CARA group later that evening.

Well, as luck would have it, I had just finished my 5 and was getting ready to drive out. Then some dude walked over to the locked gate and opened her up. "Yes... Yasso, here I come...."

I knocked out eight Yasso (800m) repeats with the usual recovery 400m lap in between. Since my MP goal is 3:10, I was trying to make sure I ran the 800m in 3:10 or less. Suprisingly, I was a bit fast. I was running most of them in 3:05-3:07. For the recovery laps in between, I was doing a slow jog/walk thing at just about 2:50.

I was psyched. Amazed, actually, that I could run these splits with relative ease, especially after running a decent 5-mile warmup. I cooled down with an easy four laps on the track at 8:00 pace.

Oh yeah, and I didn't get to work until 8:30.

Wednesday, 8/30 - Rested

Rest of week plan:

Thurs: 12 miles EZ. Fri: 5 Recovery. Sat: 20 miles LONG. Sun: Rest - 55 MILES COMPLETE!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Week 10 complete - Ready to climb to the mileage peak in Week 11

I must say that it was a successful week under the circumstances. I knew that my mileage would be slightly lower this week. However, I set a target of 40 miles and I hit it. I achieved it despite a highly hectic and time-crunched week and lots of foreign territory.

Pfitzinger called for 43 miles this week - and I was able to do 40 despite having 7 plane rides in 6 days and visiting 3 countries for work.

Yesterday's 19-miler back here in Chicago was a gritty performance by all of us that were out there. The humidity was brutal and we could all feel it. We ran 9.5 miles eastbound on the Prairie Path from Wheaton to just past Elmhurst and back. My last 5 miles ranged from 7:30-7:50.

I'm back on the home turf this week just in time to attempt my highest ever weekly mileage target. Time to suck it up. We're about to climb to the peak of the training mountain. The plan is for 55 miles this week.

The beauty is that none of these runs faze me anymore. After all, I've already done runs of 17, 18, 19 and 20 so far. And I've had three 50+ weeks to this point. What's another 5 miles, right? Just an additional recovery run. Big change upcoming will be an strong focus on speed work.

I continue to keep my goal in distant view. 3:10 in Chicago and an April trip to Boston. I received an e-mail blast from our CARA group leader asking for our input on what hotel we wanted book in Boston in April. Seems a bit presumptious, right? I suppose, but perhaps locking down the room will keep me even that much more focused.

A mere 56 days until the marathon, friends. It will be here before we know it. Below is this week's recap and the plan for week #11. Run strong and keep chasing your goal for Chicago.

Recap of Week #10

Mon 8/21 - Landed in Heathrow at 8:00 AM London time - no running
Tue 8/22 - 10-miler - near Stansted airport in Great Britain
Wed 8/23 - No running - Geneva, Switzerland
Thu 8/24 - No running - Holzminden, Germany
Fri 8/25 - 7-miler - 8AM - around Heathrow Airport in London
Sat 8/26 - 19-miler - Eastbound on the Prairie Path with CARA group - strong run despite high humidity levels (2:32)
Sun 8/27 - 4 miles - recovery on treadmill at gym
Total: 40 miles for the week - GOAL REACHED

Plan for Week #11

Mon 8/28 - 6 miles - with 6x100m strides - celebrate birthday
Tue 8/29 - 12 miles - 7 at LT pace
Wed 8/30 - Rest
Thu 8/31 - 12 mile med-long run
Fri 9/1 - 5 miles recovery
Sat 9/2 - 20 miles long
Sun 9/3 - Rest

Target: 55 miles total for the week

Thursday, August 24, 2006

European trek update - Back in the USA tomorrow

I currently am writing this on a flight from Hannover, Germany to London Heathrow. I am pretty tired. Here is a run-down of my week since leaving PIT on Sunday.

Monday 8/21 – Arriving in London

I arrived at Heathrow around 8AM local time at Heathrow. I found my car service and headed up to the Stansted airport Hilton – 5 minutes from our office. Feeling the “body clock time” of 2AM, I napped, showered and hit the office from 1PM to 7PM. No running today, which was planned.

Tue 8/22 – 10 miler around Stansted Airport

I rose at 6:00 AM after a very long day on Monday. I needed to get in decent mileage, as I knew it would one of the few opportunities this week.

I headed out around 6:30 AM from the Hilton Stansted. I must say that this was one of the more dangerous runs I have had. Here’s the scenario: London Stansted airport is some 40 miles north of the city, so it’s quite rural. It’s all country, which is good, right? So I figured I could run along the roadside from the hotel with no issue.

Well, despite the country setting, these streets were windy, narrow and tree-lined – and brought many speeding drivers – not to mention that I couldn’t remember which side the cars would be flying at me. I didn’t like my first 5 miles due to this danger. My heartrate and pace was all over the place as I kept checking my back and my front for inattentive drivers. I ran to the village of Bishops Storford and back – about 41 minutes.

Out of fear, I almost didn’t go back out – until I pressed my self to try the other direction, which was much better – wide streets and side walks. I ran near the airport for another 40 or so minutes.

Total estimate: 10+ miles – 1:21

Tuesday evening brought a late flight to Geneva, Switzerland. I have been eating like crap. Either not enough, or the wrong things. We got to the hotel at 11:30 PM on Tues – and the restaurant was closed. What gives? So we went to the bar and had peanuts and beer, which left me quite unsatisfied. Luckily, I ate 1.5 Clif bars that I had in my case before sack time.

Wed 8/23-Thur 8/24 – No running in Geneva and Hannover - just work and travel

As I expected, getting in any mileage today or yesterday was just not feasible. I have been on planes, in airports, cars, taxis – or in meetings seemingly non-stop over the past 72 hours. Not to mention 6 hours or less of sleep each of the last 2 nights.

Wed – all day meeting at our Geneva-based supplier. The eve brought a two-leg flight from Geneva to Frankfurt to Hannover, Germany. Again, we arrive around 11:30PM to the airport hotel. And AGAIN, the restaurant was CLOSED. No dinner AGAIN. This time I’m a little pissed. So, AGAIN, it’s peanuts and beer for dinner – except, no clif bars to be found. Ugh. Late to bed around 1AM for a 7AM wake-up.

Thurs – Quick breakfast this time as our contact picked us up for the 1 hour drive to Holzminden, Germany our next supplier's headquarters.

Lesson for the day: Running is universal. I met one of our supplier’s sales reps today named Bjorn. I had heard about his remarkable cycling endeavors from my USA-based sales rep. Apparently, this dude bikes all over Germany for days on end and does ultra-biking events in the Alps. He is maybe 27, easily 6’3, ultra lean and super long legs. I see his massive Polar watch (2x the size of mine) and we start chatting.

He’s fairly inexperienced in the marathon but says he ran a 3:29 with very little training last year. He’s now gunning for a 2:59 on 70 MPW. I’ve never seen this guy run, but I’ve got a feeling he’s got a shot. He’ll be running in Geneva in Oct, for this goal – with a warm-up marathon 4 weeks before.

It’s about 8:15 London time as we circle toward Heathrow. I’ll stay at the airport tonight.

I’m wondering what my chances are that I will find a safe place to run tomorrow morning. I’ve got some time before my flight back to Chicago at 12:15 PM and I’d love to get in 7 miles. Worst case, perhaps I can find a treadmill if running around the airport area is unrealistic (which it may be). Keep in mind: The dedicated marathon runner finds a way to train.

The goal for the week is 40 miles, and right now I'm at ten! But 7 on Friday, 19 on Sat and a recovery 4 on Sunday will get me there.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Week 9 complete - Another 50 in books - on to London today

The 50-mile weeks are becoming standard for me. This is my 3rd consecutive 50-mile week. Picking up since Tuesday's post...

Wed 8/16 - 14 miles EZ - I think this is the most mileage I have ever done before putting in a full day at the office. Not bad. I did these in 8's most of the way and finished strong. Total time was about 1:51. I felt decent considering I was still recovering from Sunday's 1/2 marathon race.

Thu 8/17 - Nike Run Hit Remix 5 miler - What an awesomely fun race! Nike sponsored this super fun race downtown right at Balbo and Columbus in Grant Park, which started at 9PM. Really fun environment. I ran by Young MC, Digital Underground, a U2 cover band, bag pipers, some sort of drum corps, Elvis. I could feel that my legs were tired. Conditions were really humid. I warmed with about 1/2 mile or so of running. My time was 34:30 or 6:54 per mile. I ran a half marathon earlier in the week at about the same pace.

Fri 8/18 - Rest. Flew to Pittsburgh in the afternoon

Sat 8/19 - 20 miler at Pittsburgh's North Park - I met up with Steve and another Chicago Trainee named Aaron at 6:20 AM ET (which felt like 5:20 for me). Aaron gunning for 3:10 with me, while Steve has hopes of a 2:59. North Park is a popular running course locally because of its 5-mile running/bike loop and relatively flat pavement.

We knocked out 20 miles with really only short 3 breaks. We did btw 8 to 8:10 pace for the majority of the early miles and our pace crept up to sub 8 for the late miles. This was a very good workout for all of us - and our FIRST 20-miler of the program. Total time: 2:40:00. My average HR was in the low 140's.

So Steve does a 20-miler with us and heads straight to the golf course to start his bachelor party. I told him no way was I going to play golf after the run. I needed to rest. So he plays all day with some other guys. Then we meet up with the extended group later that evening for dinner. He's half in the bag already and the night is just starting. We do dinner at Ruth's Chris, then booze at a Cigar Bar and then onto one of Pittsburgh's finest gentlemen's club -- all with a constant flow of drinks. He's the first person I've known to run 20 miles; play 18 holes of golf; drink all day with probably a min of 5-7 jager bombs in the evening; and also get a number of lap dances -- ALL in the same day.

The miles will drop down this week 10 upcoming. It's a recovery week. I fly to London today and have flights to Geneva and Hanover mid-week.

My hope is to get a total of 16 miles in during my trip - in any combination I can. I just don't know how, when and where I will do them.

I land on Friday 8/25 back in Chicago at 2:40 PM. I will be running with the CARA group on Saturday to do the 19 miler. I figure I'm OK to do this even though I'm supposed to step back slightly on the long run because my mileage will be down mid-week.

I hope to get 40 miles in during week 10. The following week will bringing my all-time high of 55 miles.

Run strong this week all...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Week 9 update - Euro-tour in week 10 ahead

First, thanks to all of you who posted the wonderful comments to my race report. I really feel rejuvenated and more committed than ever before to making my Boston goal a reality. I hope I can provide you the same motivation that I feel when I have reader support. I will do my best to track your progress and keep you focused with comments as well.

Brief update on race recovery

Mon 8/14 - Eased into a 10k recovery run. Didn't have much problem, but could definitely feel the soreness. I was proud of myself to even get out there. Easy 55:00 - ran 8:50's, which is my standard recovery pace.

Tue 8/15 - Originally planned to do 14. But on Monday night, I still felt soreness and didn't want to push it. I was leery and decided 14 too early may cause to much stress on the legs - especially since I want to be sure to have a good 20 on Saturday. I was about to rest completely. Then, around 6:20 AM after waking up, I stretched and saw that it was a marvelous 59 degrees outside. I said, "how about just a short 4 recovery pace?" And so I laced them up and it felt good. Did an easy 4 - or maybe a little longer.

WTD Mileage: 10+ - all recovery

Plan for the rest of the week

Wed 8/16 - 14 miles - 5:15 AM start before work. Excited to get back onto the training ground. These will be steady miles. Not going to push too hard. Want to keep them around 8-8:15 if I can. We've got great weather planned!

Thu 8/17 - Morning will bring no miles for me. Evening: The Nike Run Hit Remix is downtown, right at the very place the CDC was held - as well as where the marathon will be held. (I'm starting to get to know the terrain!) This will be a fun 5-mile run, with tons of music and a whole lotta people. It is a 9:00 PM start, which is kind of neat. De La Soul is the headliner ("Me, Myself and I" - one hit wonder). I won't be running for time here, but I may plan to run 7's just to do a little bit of tempo work this week. Will warm-up with 1 for a total of 6.

Fri 8/18 - Rest. Travel to Pittsburgh for Steve's bachelor party and to hopefully meet my new niece, Haley (who is still unborn and 3 days late and counting!).

Sat 8/19 - Knock out my first 20 miler this program with Steve (the bachelor) at 6:15 AM ET at North Park - the best training ground in Pittsburgh (lots of miles logged here for my first three marathons in '01-03). We're going to do steady 8:00's on the 20. Then get Steve good and drunk later that evening.

Sun 8/20 - Rest - Fly from Pittsburgh to London Heathrow for business travel in Europe through Friday

Mileage target for this week: 50

Next week...

I will be in Europe most of the week on business. I will travel to North London to our Global tech center on Monday and Tuesday. I then travel to Geneva, Switzerland and Holzminden, Germany on Tues eve through Thurs. I have meetings with suppliers in these two wonderful cities in Europe.

With the logistics of flying, driving and then conducting meetings, running will be on pause between Wed and Fri until I get home in the afternoon on Friday.

It's going to be an extremely busy week. I planned far in advance that this trip would fall on my recovery week, so my mileage will be lower.

I will be back in the USA by Friday afternoon next week, so I will make the Saturday AM 19-miler with the CARA group. Initial goal for next week's mileage will be in the range of 36-40. I want to get in at least 13-14 in Europe on two runs if I can.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Beautiful CDC PR! I believe Boston is possible!

"Chicago is a breathtakingly beautiful city." This is what I thought to myself on Mile 9 as I looked for that 10-mile marker along the Lakefront path. I was in fine form. The sun was reflecting off the lake and the cityscape was directly in front of me with McCormick Place to my left. I felt awesome.

This was as close to a perfect race as I will ever run. I trained. I set a goal time. I had a plan by the mile. I exceeded my own expectations.

To all of you who read this blog and have watched my progress, this for me is a great day in running. Thank you for keeping me focused on my goals and giving me a reason to keep trying.

The CDC was extremely well organized. The weather was perfect. The course is beautiful. These races are why I run. Running on the Chicago lakefront for the first time with such velocity and ease today was a remarkable experience.

I wanted to heed the advice I had received from the articles I had read. Don't blow this race by going out to fast, I said to myself. Run a 7-minute first mile. Ignore all else and keep the emotions in check. And I did. I watched my pace like a hawk and exercised great discipline. I felt truly in control of my destiny today.

Here are the splits of my race today - an earth-shattering half-marathon PR for me:

Mile 1 - 7:02 - 166 Heartrate
Mile 2 - 6:48 - 168
Mile 3 - 7:01 - 171
Mile 4 - 6:57 - 169
Mile 5 - 7:01 - 171
Mile 6 - 7:02 - 165
Mile 7 - 6:54 - 169
Mile 8 - 7:03 - 170
Mile 9 - 6:47 - 170
Mile 10 - 6:55 - 174
Mile 11 - 6:50 - 169
Mile 12 - 6:51 - 172
Mile 13 - 6:36 - 177
Last 0.1 - 0:36 - 182

OFFICIAL RACE TIME: 1:30:24 - 6:55 per mile

Here is the official results site.

No porta-pottie breaks. I d
rank at every aid station (10 of them) while keeping the feet turning over at consistent pace. I felt strong for most of the race. The HR was higher than I expected but I didn't feel winded until the last mile (which was 6:36, thank you very much).

My goal was to be at the 10-mile mark with a time of 1:09:45. I arrived there at 1:09:31 and had fuel in the tank. I turned on the jets. I was picking off victims left and right.

I laid out the goal statment and I exceeded it. I am absolutely thrilled with my progress and my performance.

I know that the reason to run in my life is not only about achieving a specific time, but I have to say the personal satisfaction I feel today is wonderful. I feel so fortunate to be able to do this.

When I hit that 13 mile mark, I started waving on the crowd for cheers. I was pumping my fist in the air as I sprinted toward the finish. This is exactly what I want to feel in 10 weeks time.

With this race performance, McMillan's "world famous" calculator is now predicting a 3:10:39 marathon for me. This would get me in to Boston.

Even more interesting to me is that if you look at McMillan's predicted 5k race pace after entering a 1:30:24 for a half marathon, the chart says I should be able to run a 19:33 5k. Guess what I ran less than 3 weeks ago? a 19:32! Guess McMillan knows what he's talking about!

I know that I have 10 more weeks of very hard work left to achieve my ultimate goal, but I am starting to feel like the BQ is actually possible. I always believed I could do it but I have to be honest and say I wasn't sure if I was working hard enough or if I would get there on this particular try. As of today, I am beginning to truly believe.

I did not get my after-race recovery in because I was hanging out with my fellow Wheaton runners and I didn't want to leave my wife alone for more miles. So we celebrated, went to brunch and then headed over to Niketown to pick up the race packet for Thursday's Nike Remix Race 5-miler.

However, I wanted that 50+ for the week and I feel good. So I decided to run a recovery at 12:20 PM after we arrived home. I ran 3.2 miles in 25:40. The only disappointment of the day is that my lovely wife forgot to bring the camera out of the car for post-race pics! :(

Recap of the week:

Mon - 6 mile recovery
Tue - 12 mile general aerobic
Wed - Rest
Thu - 10.5 mile general aerobic
Fri - 6.5 mile recovery
Sat - Rest
Sun - Half Marathon + 3.2 mile recovery = 16.3

Total mileage for the week: 51.3

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Preparing for the Distance Classic - Race goal statement

I reluctantly got out Friday morning for my recovery run. I say "reluctantly" because a piece of me said "rest so you can rock the CDC on Sunday. You need your legs to be fresh!". However, I decided that I needed to focus on the longer term goal of the Chicago Marathon and getting in the recovery miles would be good for me.

Fri 8/11 - Recovery 6.5 miles around Plainfield - 58:00
Today - Resting peacefully
Mileage WTD: 35

Devising a half marathon strategy

I decided to do some research to give me some ideas on how to race the half tomorrow.
I found this article posted on the NY Road Runners site. I found it provided some good advice. Then this one by some dude named Waldo, who seemed to know what he was talking about. Both caution against the fast start, which I will do my best to avoid.

I can't tell if I am ready to run as fast as I want. Do I have the fitness level needed? What about my eating habits, which have been "OK" at best? Yesterday, my legs felt a little sore. Today a bit better. Perhaps it's nerves. I just want this race to go well so I know I am making progress toward my goal of the BQ.

I have no fear of failure - because failure is not possible in this situation for me. All the work I have been putting into this 7th marathon endeavor has been a huge personal success for me. Never thought I'd be knocking out 50 mile weeks with reasonable ease.

Running is about fun, health, competitive spirit within oneself, pride and accomplishment. It gives me confidence and a capability to endure and persevere, whatever my circumstances may be. Now that I've reminded myself of that, it's time to specify my goal for tomorrow's race.

What would be the perfect race for me tomorrow, you may ask?

1 - 7:00
2 - 6:58
3 - 6:58
4 - 6:57
5 - 6:57
6 - 6:57
7 - 6:57
8 - 6:57
9 - 6:57
10 - 6:57
11 - 6:55
12 - 6:55
13 - 6:55
13.1 - 0:39


That's right, 1:30:59. That is my goal time. One second better than 1:31

I'm putting the goal in writing and I will give it my best shot. It's out there. It's a stretch goal but I know I can do it.

The weather is going to just about perfect. Forecast says 64 degrees at around 6-7AM. Lights out is 8:30 PM. Wake up is 4:30 AM. Small mini-meal and then out the door around 5:00 AM.

Best wishes to all fellow racers tomorrow!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Week 8 Update - 28.5 miles WTD - Here I come, CDC!

Reflecting on the plan I posted on this past Sunday, I was targeting 52-54 miles for the week. As I got into it this week, I realized that a reasonable target would be the lower end of that range - actually even slightly less. I've decided the mileage goal is 51 this week. Because of the 1/2 marathon, even this I am concerned about. I am going for 51.

I need to race this weekend and there's no taper here this week. I'm damn near peak mileage for the season (55 will be as high as I go, folks), so I am a little concerned about how much juice I'll have on Sunday AM. I know it's not the Marathon, but I do want to test my speed and fitness.

Mon 8/7 - 6:25 AM - 6 miles Recovery pace - Super easy - nothing sexy about this run -

Tue 8/8 -- 5:35 AM - Super proud of this run. Knocked out TWELVE straight - with no stopping. Yep, that's right. No breaks - not even to hydrate. I ran with my pack, drank on the run and kept my feet movin' . You can check out my 12-miler course at MapMyRun. I rocked it in 1:34:49, which is about 7:52 per.

Wed 8/9 - Rest, rest, rest - no cross training - skipping it won't hurt me, right?

Thu 8/10 - I planned 12 today, same exact route as Monday. The weather looked dicey this AM in Plainfield, IL. Though there was no rain, the lightening was in plain view in the distant clouds. I said to myself, "ah, let's try it anyway... may be it will dodge my route". I started right on schedule at 5:30 AM flat. A half mile in, I was startled by a big super-bolt and some thunder. I hesitated but kept on going. About 2 min later as the sky darkened, I said to myself "it may be time to turn back up here". I hit 1 mile and did a 180 back towards the house. About 3 minutes later, I got hammered on by the rain. It was pouring. I darted back to the house to complete 2 miles and find refuge from the rain.

BUT... patience is key! I took shelter for about 15 minutes and the showers passed. The sky cleared up very quickly and I headed back out. I knocked out another 8.5 miles before I had to come in to get ready for work. I simply ran out of time. I couldn't be late today due to a meeting at a local hotel. Total for the run: Estimated 10.5 miles in 1:26:10 - avg HR 144

Remainder of the week plan...

Fri - 6.5 miles RECOVERY - slow and easy, daddy...
Sat - Rest and mentally prepare - going try to hold 6:55's for 13.1 on Sunday
Sun - Warm up with 0.9 miles - RACE HARD - Add on 2 miles recovery - total 16

This will get me to 51 for the week.

Heading downtown tomorrow evening to pick up that CDC race pack and number. It will be interesting to see how the body responds on Sunday morning for that 6:30 AM shotgun start.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Looking ahead: Week 8 plan and beyond

I believe that one of the key success factors in traning for a positive marathon experience is PLANNING. I have been doing a lot of planning and it has worked out so far.

The biggest challenge is balancing my commitment to follow the Pfitzinger 18-week schedule while dealing with race schedules, different long run schedules with the CARA group than what my plan says, work travel and general life happenings.

Next Sunday is the CDC. "The plan" (i.e. Pfitz) says I am supposed to run 20 miles. But I want to race the CDC . I'm not naive to think that I am going to be able to do an effective 6+ miles after going all out on the half marathon. I plan to leave it all out there -- with one caveat: If the weather conditions are poor, I will likely scale it back and run marathon goal pace.

Below is a snapshot of this coming week with adjustments for the CDC, as well as a look at the following week. The 8/21 week will get real interesting, as I am going to Europe for work. I purposely scheduled the trip during the 8/21 week since it is considered a "recovery" week.

This week
Mon 8/7 - 6-7 miles w/ 6x100m strides
Tue 8/8 - 12-13 miles med-long run
Wed 8/9 - Rest
Thu 8/10 - 11-12 gen aero (no speed, going to save it for Sunday)
Fri 8/11 - 6 miles w/st

Sat 8/12 - Rest
Sun 8/13 - CDC Half marathon - warmup 1 mile before + recovery 2 after = total 16
Targeted total mileage = 52-54 miles

8/14 week
Mon 8/14 - 4-5 recovery
Tue 8/15 - 12 med-long
Wed 8/16 - 6 recovery
Thu 8/17 - rest
Fri 8/18 - 5 recovery
Sat 8/19 - 20 miles in Pittsburgh
Sun 8/20 - Rest - Leave for Europe
Targeted total mileage = 46-48 miles

The 8/21 week will get tricky with meetings and travels that will take me through London, Switzerland and Germany.

PS - Does anyone know what I did to my blog to cause all of the lists to drop way down to the bottom of the page? It's a mystery to me. Appreciate any tips/clues you may have. thanks