Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Week #4 update - much to think about...

Marathon nightmare

I do not remember many of my dreams. My wife, on the other, is a sleep talker and walker and carries on conversations in her sleep and even gets up to do things. It’s pretty freaky.

Anyway, last night I recalled two separate dreams – one of which was related to running (no, the other was not x-rated). I dreamt that I was stuck in traffic late to the start of the Chicago marathon. I was downright frantic and pissed. I busted my tail for 20 weeks and I wasn’t even able to start on time to chase the BQ.

In the dream, I arrived at the start line in the car right as the gun was going off. I had to throw off my warm-up suit, strap on my HRM (for some reason, this was important in the dream) and try to make up 1 minute of lost time. The stress alone ruined the experience. I was near tears as I scrambled to catch up to that 7:15 pace in the first mile…

So I woke up this morning to plan my route to the marathon on 10/22/06. I live 39 miles from the start. I didn’t even consider getting a hotel room, and now everything is booked up. Bummer.

OK, hotel is out… now, should I drive or train? The start is 1.1 miles from Chicago Union Station. Awesome… but wait, will a train get me there early enough? The earliest train to the city on Sundays right now is 6:20 departure arriving at 7:40. Race is an 8AM start. This is too late! Train could be late. I can’t cut it this close. I still need to develop a plan…

I guess this could be considered a good sign. The goal of 3:10 is beginning to consume me.

Monday and Tuesday run report

Monday: 8 miles w/10x100m strides

Est dist: 8 miles
Time: 1:00:31

Pace: 7:34 per mile
Avg HR: 152 (80%)

This was a solid run, folks. The 100m strides are essentially 23 second sprints, during which I attempt to run at 6-min pace. And I did 10 of these suckers – not to mention pretty steady sub-8 pace in between. After much input, I can only hope that I am doing these correctly.

Tuesday: 5 miles recovery

People, I felt it today… fatigue. The legs were soft. Not much to talk about here. I trotted through 5 miles in 44:10 – right on par for recovery pace.

Adjusting this week’s schedule

I decided that I need to rest tomorrow. My legs are burned out right now. I have not had a total rest day since Monday, July 3 (9 days ago). I haven’t run every single day, but I have done at least cross-training of some sort every day. My body sent me signals during the recovery run today. “Rest me, please” said Mr. Legs. OK, I promised, with much hesitation.

I will trade the planned rest day for Friday with tomorrow.

Conflicting advice – do all believe in Pfitzinger?

Lastly, I have been exchanging e-mail with my new team lead in the CARA program, Jim Laubsted, who runs the Wheaton, IL training group. Jim questioned my strategy to run 8:30’s for the first 75% of the runs – and then speed up to 8’s on the back end. He was concerned that I was running to slow to run 7:15's during the marathon. I said “but Jim, this is the Pfitzinger method!!"

Jim said that it is better to build confidence and run closer to your goal pace. Another site coordinator cautioned me: “Do not under-estimate the success potential of running even splits at a slow pace on your long runs.” I don’t know what to believe, at this point. Jim talked me into running 8’s on this coming Saturday’s long run of 15 miles. Hope this is the right decision.

Run onward, friends…!


mg said...

How far away do you live from an L station? I'm going to stay out by O'Hare and take the Blue Line in. I think it'll be less stressful riding the L in than staying with family and having to drive and find parking.

I don't know about the conflicting advice; I think 45s less than MP might be a bit fast. But then again, I like to do fast finish/3:1 runs where you do the first 3/4 slow and the last 1/4 at MP. Good luck figuring things out.

Bob said...

I agree on the fast finish long runs if you have energy left to burn. But honestly I don't know enough to advise anyone but I will say you need to buy into any plan for it to be truly effective. There is more then one way to reach any goal.

Nicole said...

Hotel plan - first did you check the marathon webpage because I thought there was still some left. Even if not start calling right around thhe time of the race for cancelations. Otherwise I vote for driving. To pay to park might be pricey but it will put your mind at ease.

Firefly's Running said...

Planning is not a bad idea. Nice job on your run!!

mouse said...

fwiw... when I did Chi two years ago, my friend KTG (who was also running) drove us down there from Evanston (where she lived at the time) and we had no problems with traffic or parking. I don't remember it being SUPER pricy, but we split it between like 4 people. We did go pretty early though (I want to say we left Evanston at 6). Maybe your wife would be willing to drive you in so you can nap on the way?

I'm with mg on the fast finish/3:1 runs. I did them when I followed one of Higdon's plans a few marathons ago and it really gave me confidence when I could finish up strong, and I met my goal time for that race. Are you following Pfitz's advice of starting out 20% slower than MP and then speeding up the 10% slower?

see how the faster long run goes, and if it feels good, heck, go ahead and go with it. but I really don't think it's going to be detrimental to you if you want to keep the pace slower. They're called long SLOW runs for a reason. and we've got the marathon specific runs where 12-14 miles are run AT marathon pace (i'm slightly terrified!) coming up too, so I think that will help a lot.

Tara said...

I have the same dilemma because I'm a suburbanite too. I'm not sure what we will do. I have to worry about this for both the 1/2 on August 13th and the real deal in October. When I ran the Shamrock Shuffle, my husband drove me down to the city and we parked under Millenium Park, which was really close to the starting line. I think we left the house around 6 and we were down in the garage before 7 and then the race started aroudn 8...I think. That race was fairly large, so I think a similar plan should work for the Thon. Let me know what you decide. :)

Also are you going to go to the RBF gathering on the 23rd? I don't know the details but I know Running Rabbit is coming in for it. I think my husband and I are going to go...

Running Jayhawk said...

I would drive...but plan on parking AWAY from the starting line and snatching a cab the rest of the distance.

And check hotels for cancellations closer to time. Lots of stuff will open up the week or two before.

~JDoubleU said...

I have had the alarm not going off and late to the start line dream many times.

Ryan said...


I’ll probably take the same approach that you did – have the wife drive, leave plenty of time and find parking. How busy can it be on Sunday morning at 6:30 AM? I’m also running the ½ as well, which should be interesting with a 6:30 start. We’ll have to leave here at 5!

Rabbit is coming from Cincy to meet at the bar??? I’d like to go, but the dilemma is that the in-laws will be visiting that weekend and I don’t know if I can get out to downtown. :(

LeahC said...

i think you could drive early and pay for parking. that's what my family did last year and it was no problem. i didn't sleep the night before the race and so i was downtown really early for the start. I took the el since i live in the city and it was empty. You might want to call Metra and see if they will run a special earlier train that day....they might since it's such a big event.