Sunday, December 30, 2007

Recap of my final week of 2007

With today's long run, I completed my 55-mile week right as planned. I put together a very solid string of training runs in sync with Pfitzinger’s schedule for the LCFB Marathon. This was by far the most mileage I have ever put in during Christmas week.

I was visiting my in-laws in South Pittsburgh for the holiday and completed four of my five workouts there this week. They live near the Montour Trail, which is a series of scenic paths that surround the south and west of Pittsburgh, tucked within the suburbs.

Mon 12/24 – Rest / travel to Pittsburgh

Tue 12/25 – Christmas Day – 6 miles with 6x100m strides

Wed 12/26 – 12 miles with 7 at LT pace (6:38-6:40) – 1:26:50 total (7:14 avg pace)

This was a killer workout on the local high school track. Pfitz calls for MP for 7 miles on this run. However, I wanted to run LT pace, since I had struggled to put in some of the schedule LT miles due to weather.

I warmed up with a mile and then picked it up to target 400m splits in the 1:38-1:40 range. In summary, I nailed 28 straight – only stopping for 20 sec’s to grab some Gatorade. I then finished up with another 16 laps at 1:50-1:55 per split.

This workout indicates I could easily crush my 10k PR (which is not surprising to me, since my 10k PR is not in line with my other PR’s) I never in my life dreamed that I could run 48.5 consecutive laps on a 400m track, but I did it on this day.

Not to mention the fact that I did it in 1:26:50 (which equals 7:14/mile, right on BQ pace).

Thu 12/27 – Rest

Fri 12/28 – 12 miles – 7:22 avg pace – avg HR: 158

There is steady grade upward on the Montour Trail for several miles when heading north from Peters Township, PA, which makes for a really fast second half of an out and back. I averaged 7:03 for my final 5 miles as I cruised down the grade. Rockin’ workout.

Sat 12/29 – Montour Trail, PA - 5 miles recovery – 8:32 average

Sun 12/30 – Plainfield, IL - 20 long – 7:38 average – final mile at 7:05

With my workouts quite intense on Wed and Fri, my goal was to run this 20 around 7:40-7:45 avg pace. I took the fuel belt and explored new territory of the western side of Plainfield. My hope was to make no stops on this 20-miler, but I took a brief break at Larry’s Diner to use the can.

All and all, it was a very good long training run. My overall average pace was 7:38. My avg HR of 151 suggests very good conditioning. I won’t say the run was easy, but no solo 20-miler ever is.

Total for the week: 55 miles

With a planned rest day tomorrow, I am done running in 2007. I have finished with 2,101 miles. I will reflect on my year in running tomorrow and post my 2008 goals on New Year's Day.

If you are blogging these days, I look forward to reading your running goals, or whatever personal goals you may have for 2008. This is the best time of year to set goals. I feel such life and energy when the new year approaches. We all should take time to celebrate our successes for ’07 and plan an even more prosperous ’08.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Best Winter Form Ever

The LCFB Marathon is 8 weeks away. I will continue to work toward setting a marathon PR on Feb 17th. However, I may have to work a bit harder than I would in fall temperatures according to this RW article.

"When your core temperature drops below 98.6°F, your body requires 15 to 20 percent more oxygen to maintain the same pace". Great. And the temperature will be, what, 15 degrees if we're lucky?

For this past week, I kept right to schedule with Pfitzinger's 55mpw program by running a step back week of 43 miles.

Some highlights:

  • Wed - Did 5x600m repeats on subdivision streets since the local track was covered in 6 inches of snow. I targeted 2:15 in 0.38 mi increments, which is about 6:00 min pace for 600 m. Finished with 8 miles
  • Sat - Carried the fuel belt and ran a solid 14-miler with no breaks. Finished with a 6:31 mile (7:30 avg for the entire run).
  • Sun - Hid from the 40mph wind gusts and hit the gym treadmill for a steady 8-miler.
I've arrived at peak mileage week in the program. I am eager to hit 55 miles this week while visiting the in-laws in Pittsburgh. Provided I can juggle family commitments, I don't anticipate any difficulty in doing so.

One important workout this week is the 12-miler on Wednesday, which includes 7 at lactate threshold pace. I haven't had much LT work this training cycle, so I plan to be very disciplined and to the splits on a track. I'm guessing my LT pace is about 6:40.

On Sunday, I will push my planned 20-miler in the range of 7:25-7:30 with a fast finish. I hope the weather is cooperative on Sunday. This run will put me over 2,100 miles for 2007.

I am really good shape for December 24th. In fact, this definitely the best running shape that I have ever achieved in mid-winter.

Time to set your 2008 running goals, if you haven't already. I will be working diligently on my plan over this week's Christmas break.

Happy Christmas to all who read this.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Breaking M2K

I logged 50 miles this week, which peaked today with a killer 12-miler in the snow at faster than goal marathon pace. I am stoked about the outcome of today's run given the struggle I had yesterday.

I intended to knock out 15 with 12 at MP yesterday at the Aboretum, but something wasn't right for me. Suppose it's not wise to schedule a MP run through such rolling hills. Either way, I did not have the pep or the energy level, so I retired after seven. I stormed back today.

Over half of my 50 this week came during four days spent at the Connecticut office and contending with the usual tribulations of the winter weather. I did 4 miles at LT pace on the track early morning on Tuesday as part of a 13 miler.

Recap of 12/10 week

Mon - Rest / Travel to CT
Tue - 13 w/4 at LT
Wed - 7 rec+hills -8:23 avg pace
Thu - 6 - 7:42 avg
Fri - 5 rec - 8:24
Sat - 7 G.A - 7:42 avg pace
Sun - 12 at MP - 7:05 avg pace

TOTAL: 50 miles

I'm thrilled to report that I broke the 2,000 mile barrier in 2007 with today's run. I stand at 2,003 YTD. Depending how I juggle the schedule, I should land somewhere between 2,101 and 2,109 miles for the year. Fun fact: This is the approximate distance from my house to San Francisco!

Comparing 2,100+ miles in '07 to last year's total of 1,632 really amazes me. What's more, I earned Executive Platinum status on AA, so you could say that I had some traveling to juggle.

Nine weeks until the LCFB Marathon on February 17th, 2007. I'm motivated to get that PR in the depths of winter.

Product Review: AirDrives Headphones

One of the more enjoyable aspects about being an experienced contributor in the running blogspace is the occasional invitation to test and review products that apply to the running lifestyle. I have been asked to trial energy supplements, hydration products and now audio accessories.

This post is dedicated to a review of AirDrives audio heaphones.

I’ll admit that I’m not a running purist. Music gets me through most of my solo training runs. High-energy tunes can often inspire me through some tough miles and soulful tracks can help me explore my thoughts during my runs. However, I do adhere to a very strict no-Ipod policy for races. With training mileage eclipsing 50 miles right now, I was excited to give a new pair of headphones a try.

It is noteworthy that I am fairly brand-loyal to a pair Sony lightweight, in-ear headphones model # MDR-W08 that I use during my training runs. I have replaced them a few times in the past few years for a retail price of $10.99. This product provides an outstanding value.

The Sony MDR-W08 design is lightweight, flexible and provides a decent sound output to last me through even the toughest of twenty-milers, as last Saturday’s run would demonstrate. The balance of treble and punchy bass is really impressive for the lightweight, flexible design.

And should the Sonys break through all of my miles, travels, abuse and wear-and-tear? I trek the 0.3 mile journey to my local target and cheerfully shell out another $10.99 for a replacement pair. My current Sony headphones is my benchmark to which I compared the AirDrives.

The concept of the AirDrives headphones is innovative and well-intended: Create high-quality, lightweight durable personal headphones that allow the user to listen to tunes, while providing increased sensitivity to loud noises or hazards while out on the road. For runners and other athletes, this means improved hearing which would help avoid accidents, reckless vehicles and careless bikers. The design is also intended to protect hearing by not blasting right into your eardrum.

The design is somewhat similar to other headsets in the market that have ear hangers that hold the audio bud against your ear. What’s different is that the AirDrives design places a speaker near, but not “in”, your ear canal and direct the sound across.

First, I found that the plastic “ear hang” approach is not stable enough for a pinhead like me whose ears do not have much girth to fill out the clips. While I did read the instructions carefully on how to position the earphones, I did find it a challenge to find the best placement for the earphones to remain secure. Once you fiddle with them, you can get them to stay in place, but it’s not a convenient as throwing on other, more intuitively designed earphones. As a result, I will admit that I did not log too many miles with the AirDrives.

Second, the unit I received seemed to have an issue with the volume control switch. The volume coming out of each earphone did not seem to be consistently equal. Whenever I fiddled with the volume switch and gave it a gentle squeeze, the earphone with the lower volume would immediately perk up with more sound. After messing with it, I could eventually get them to equal out at peak volume. Maybe I got a bum pair? Whatever the case, this minor annoyance gave me an impression of a lower quality product.

Third, forget about using these things if there is any ambient noise around you whatsoever. To put the AirDrives to an overly extreme test, I tried them on a flight from New York to Chicago. Any audiophile would be appalled and even the casual user would be frustrated. With its open-ear design, the product basically has the opposite of the noise-canceling feature high-end headphones that are so popular among air travelers.

While I realize the designers did not intend for the product to be used in loud environments, the fact is versatility is important for many consumers when buying headphones. Even in a relatively quiet environment, I could not get the sound quality that most people would want. It sounded like I was listening to two mini transistor radios set next to my ears.

Finally, I wrote most of this review before I knew how much I would have had to shell out at Best Buy to get a pair of the AirDrives on my own. When I learned the MSRP is set at $99, it was easy for me to decide that I would not be recommending these to friends. I’m hopeful the next model will deliver higher quality and performance for this kind of price.

Bottom Line: The maker of AirDrives needs to significantly improve its design, audio and hardware quality and overall performance to be a viable competitor at the $99 price point. In its current design, I do not feel there will be a high rate of repeat purchase or recommendations to other consumers.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Commiting to Marathon #11 - 52 mile week

It's official. I am signed up for the Last Chance For Boston Marathon in Dublin (Columbus), Ohio, which will be #11. My e-registration is complete. My hotel room, airfare and car rental are all booked. If I BQ, I may go to Boston in April, depending on how Jen's pregnancy goes. I don't want to think about Boston now. I just want to do the best I can in Dublin.

The decision was tough on which race to register. I learned of a contingent from my local running group that are going to Tampa. I spent a great deal of time pondering if I should go back to Tampa today. I even pontificated Austin for a brief moment.

However, I did not want to go these larger city, further away marathons by myself. The wife will not be traveling with me and she is my #1 fan. Plus, it is a bit late to get choice flights and hotels for these larger marathons, so I bagged it. Much more expensive proposition and I didn't want to go it alone. A quick 1-night trip to run a marathon on a fast, flat looped course suits me fine in February.

Most importantly, besides it being the most convenient, I decided on this marathon to revisit an interesting part of my past. Little known fact is that I lived in Dublin, OH from 1998 to 2000 as I began my career with The Scotts-MiracleGro Company. So it is a bit of a homecoming for me.

Despite the challenging wind, rain, ice and snow that hit us this week, I hit 52 miles out of the 54 planned. Tuesday's run in the wet, blinding flurries was not all the fun (I could barely see since I had to do it at night) - but I ran 7:30's for 10 miles. Thursday's 11-miler at 6:00 AM was frigid. The highlight of the week was Saturday's 20-miler at the Aboretum. See splits below.

Off to Connecticut for work on a 6:40 flight to LaGuardia tomorrow AM. The target is 47 miles while away from home until Thursday this week. On pace for 2,098 miles in 2007.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Comeback Week Of 48 miles

I've been fighting the onslaught of a cold for a few days now. More notably, today I endured the wind, ice and freezing rain that hit the Chicago area only to knock out 18 miles. The weather was miserable.

I started about 10:00 AM today thinking the front had passed and got slammed with a very, icy cold downpour at mile 2. I decided to turn around and head back to the house. By the time I finished 3.5 miles and arrived at the house, I was freezing, drenched and pissed.

I quickly dried off, changed, warmed up and waited out the rain... or so I thought. About 40 minutes later, I headed back out since the forecast indicated the rain had passed. Nope.

Both times I was underdressed with shorts and a long-sleeve shirt since the forecast said "RealFeel" of 49 with no rain. I don't think so, Mr. Weather Man.

I changed clothes a third time at the 14 mile mark and this time was smart enough to put on pants and a wind jacket to help fend off the moisture. Thank goodness, because the steady rain started up again.

It's days like these that I am really proud of completing a hard workout. It's hard enough putting in 18 all by yourself, but when you are contending with wind, rain and ice, it makes it that much more meaningful. My average pace was 7:46 for the day.

All and all, I feel pretty good. I felt a slight soreness in my right hamstring. Nothing serious, I do not think.

I hit 48 miles for the week, which is a monster comeback after the Achilles scare of last week. I had a steady 10-miler on Wed eve after getting re-settled from London.

With limited daylight and brisk temperatures, the 50+ mile weeks do not come as easy as we head into the winter. I hope to try for 54 miles this week, which is right out of Pfitzinger's plan.

If I can successfully hit 50+ this week and stay healthy, I will probably sign up for the LCFB Marathon next week, which is on February 17, 2008. If I hit all planned miles for the remainder of 2007, I will have run exactly 2,100 miles for the year. Astounding.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Eyeing a February Marathon

I have run one thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine miles so far in 2007. I am scheduled to come close to 2,100 by year-end – an earth-shattering single-year record for me. As I sit on this Boeing 777 about forty minutes outside of O’Hare, I cannot believe there are only four and half weeks left in this year.

I have had this eight-hour flight to plan, reflect and refocus my running, career and life goals for the remainder of the year and on into next. I also want to start thinking about my personal goals for 2008 – not in just running, but in all aspects of my life. With a baby on the way, I am bracing myself for major personal changes in the coming year.

Fortunately, I have developed a cautious level of spirited optimism over the past couple of days regarding the Achilles tendon issue that I was moaning about last week. I have not had any pain or discomfort over the past few runs. Maybe my three-day rest and icing actually helped?

On Saturday, I went to the gym to do some cross training and strengthening. I read that I should try to increase strength in my calves so that stress will not be displaced down on my Achilles tendons. My calves are still sore from the lifts. I also knocked out 20 minutes of elliptical and stairs before hitting a short 3-miler.

On Sunday before I left Chicago, I had a steady 12-miler with no issues. Before this particular run, I took the insert from an old pair of shoes, cut it in half and added the padding to my back right heel. I read that this would reduce my stress on the tendon. It seems to have worked.

I had a moist, cool six-mile run this morning through London’s Hyde Park before heading into the office. I feel good about getting this six in given a very compressed trip timeline, jet lag, a long business dinner and some late work last night. Again, no swelling, twinges or pain with Mr. Achilles.

After one final 2:00 AM conference call with Asia tonight, I plan to make some great strides in work-life balance. My piece of the China work will be complete after tonight. Though the work can be exciting, I cannot sustain working on projects in the time zones of three continents on a regular basis. It definitely screws up my running and my sleep!

For my balance of year training, I will hop onto the Pfitzinger 55mpw program to sync up with the February 17 marathon in Columbus beginning tomorrow. I will carefully monitor my body to ensure I do not get injured. If I sense any significant injury risk, I likely will back off and rethink the February marathon.

I do not want to just show up for this marathon, I want to have a real shot at a BQ. If I think the chances are low, then I don’t want to run it. It’s not exactly a destination marathon on a thrilling course. Therefore, I will carefully monitor my progress. If I can get through the next couple of weeks, stay healthy and hit all the miles, I will sign up. Probably. Maybe.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Overblown Rant

I am experiencing an interesting affliction that began over the last day and a half. I feel this drive deep down inside of me to spring into action. To chase some challenging goal. To fulfill some deep-rooted ambition. Yet, I am feeling a sense of defeat and despair.

I set a plan into motion for a February marathon as I crushed a 17-mile run on Sunday. Now, I think I injured myself. My Achilles tendon in my right foot is bothering me.

I felt a very subtle, dull pain on Saturday as I coasted through a five miler in Las Vegas. I thought nothing of it.

We returned home late on Saturday night. I went out for my seventeen’er with great vengeance on Sunday. I was motivated by the news that Aaron and Steve just finished a BQ in Philly (before I even woke up!). I finished miles 16 and 17 at paces of 7:07 at 6:38.

I felt the same Achilles act up mid-way through the run, but it did not seem bothersome enough to stop. Sunday afternoon brought mild soreness. Monday brought a consistent sensation of heat on the area and noticeable swelling.

I reflected on the root cause. Last week, I rocked through the hills of Ivins, Utah (shown below). I ran a 6:21 downhill mile at the back end of a 10-miler on Wednesday. I did another six through the same hills on the next day, albeit much easier. I am wondering if the sudden intensity of incline was too much, too soon.

I am not foolish enough to think that this is some great tragedy. However, I am intrigued by the level of psychological impact it has had on me over the past 48 hours. It’s somewhat depressing. Will I able to resume to running soon enough? I am already bowing out of the Turkey Trot this week. I am fearful that I will aggravate it trying to run a 19-minute 5k.

When I try to turn my attention away from running, I get bored. Career seems very slow right now. No journeys to China. Wait, I am heading to London on Sunday for two days. Not looking forward to that. More work than it’s worth it seems.

Hold on a second. I have a pregnant wife. We just had more ultrasound pics taken yesterday. That’s quite thrilling, actually.

I am keenly conscious that this collection of thoughts sounds like a bit of a moan. Actually, it sounds like an outright, unjustifiable bitch. Nonetheless, I am feeling the letdown of what seems to be a perennial November slowdown.

I do not want to go the doctor with this little Achilles boo-boo. It’s very clear that’s what it is. So what can I do?

"Rest, mate. Enjoy your brilliant life. Give thanks to God and give yourself to others around you. 'Tis the season to show gratitude and help those in need." I am speculating that’s what my spiritual advisor would tell me -- if he was British, and if I actually had one.


Sunday, November 18, 2007


First, I need to offer up congratulations to some serious game-time performers today in the Philadelphia Marathon.

Here is a shout out of "WAY TO GO!" to my good friends Aaron and Steve who both put up BQ times today at Philly. Aaron put up his first BQ with a 3:10:52 with Steve shouting at him the final several miles to finish right along side him. Steve came back from a blown out knee in early 2007 and a disappointing DNF in Chicago to get back to the Big Dance in April. Great job, guys!

Also, I want to give an applause-laden congrats to Wayne for crushing his former PR of 3:09 to lay down a ... (SHAZAM!)... mind-boggling 2:55 today in Philly. Simply amazing!

You guys have me re-inspired.

We arrived back from our journey to Las Vegas last night. I stayed with my parents for a couple of days in St George, Utah while Jen attended a conference at the Las Vegas Hilton.

While in Utah, I capitalized on some amazingly gorgeous weather and knocked out a fantastic 10-miler on Wed with the gorgeous red rock around me. Southwest Utah is an amazing place to run.

Later, my parents and I drove the course of the St. George Marathon, which I am potentially lining up for next year. The elevation drop goes from 5,240' down to 2,680'. Wow, what a course! There is one major hill at mile 6.

Jen and I ended the week in Vegas for a short visit together and only ended up down $50 in craps. We did score tickets to Jerry Seinfeld at Caesar's Palace for Friday night, which was really funny.

Today, I hit my 17-miler as planned and finished really strong. See the splits below. I finished with 44 miles for the week.

On the down side, I am feeling the very early symptoms of what I believe is Achilles tendinits on the right back heel. I started yesterday in Vegas while doing a short 5-miler. It's not really excrutiating, but I think it is mildly swollen. I need to nurse it carefully over the next day or so. I will rest tomorrow.

Right now, I am trying to following Pfitz's plan and target the Last Chance to Boston marathon on Feb 13. Yes, some of you have expressed concern about running 26.2 one-mile laps, but think about the focus on time you would have!

Even I if were to somehow qualify, I do not know if I will go to Boston due to Jen's pregnancy. I'm going to play that by ear, but I want to stay healthy and try to qualify again in February. Now that my friends will be there, it would be great to go to Boston for the 2nd year in a row!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

All Fired Up

"I believe there comes a time, when everything just falls in line, we live and learn from our mistakes, the deepest cuts are healed by faith..."

Credit the above lines to Pat Benatar in her exhilarating single from 1988 entitled "All Fired Up". In fact, I never knew it was recorded so long ago until I just looked it up a moment ago. (I was guessing 1997!).

Yes, admittedly, Pat Benatar, as influential as she was in her prime, seems an unlikely source for running inspiration. I do proclaim, however, that it's one of the best motivating running songs I have ever heard. It was the anthem to my first marathon in Pittsburgh on May 6th, 2001. I pulled it out of the archives, thrilled to find that it pushed me at a torrid pace during a wonderful 15-mile run today.

(Editor's Note: Another adrenlanine spark is "Best Of You" by the Foo Fighters. Plug it into your playlist and let it fuel your next long run, and you'll know why.)

I had planned to take it easy over the next month or so. My wife tells me that it is OK to just relax and not push myself all the time. I know she is right.

Yet, yet there is a fire in the belly, a fuel in the furnace of the soul to celebrate my competitive spirit.

I tried to channel my energy into fictional writing, which a skill set that feel is lurking beneath the surface, as deep as it may be. This month is National Novel Writing Month. I cranked out over 8,000 words in 6 days and decided I wasn't happy. I enjoy writing. However, I found trying to write a 50,000 word novel in a month with little preparation overly daunting. I am thinking the route of non-fiction is what I fancy.

My career is also a healthy source of that buzz of challenge that I crave. I am about to deliver the final report from my work in China tonight at 2:00 AM on a conference call. Yes, you read that right. 2:00 AM Monday morning.

How could that be, you ask? Our top dog is in London and the other Exec are in Asia. Conveniently enough, this is the only available time for the leadership team and so the lowly schmuck in the States has to pay the price.

After I knock 'em dead on this call, I will re-focus my attention to my running endeavors.

I am preparing for my next marathon commitment in February. I keep Boston in the distant view. However, I need to respect the love of my life's concerns about our firstborn coming in early may. So I am unable to commit to the April 21 classic. (OK, maybe I already have the flight and hotel lined up for Boston, just in case the doctor says she will be really late!).

In the interim, I am gearing up for another marathon quest, for which there is 14 weeks to fulfill the dream. Check out the following marathon details and reviews here. It seems utterly foolish to run a marathon on a one-mile loop in the depths of winter in Ohio. However, there is an element of intrigue for me.

Here are the stats from today's run. I cranked out 37 miles this week, my best ever week for the second week after a marathon. I feel strong.

One Final note: I set a goal to run 1,750 miles total in 2007. I am please to report I surpassed that mark this week. I am contemplating at run at 2,100 miles in 2007 with my latest marathon planning. Run onward...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Another Kind of Marathon

I enjoyed six full days off from running entirely. It went by really fast, to tell you the truth.

Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day and I went out for a 4-miler. It was a harder 4-miler than I would have guessed my body felt up to for the first run back. I did 7:20 per mile.

I am stunned and deeply saddened by the news of the death of Ryan Shay. First, I run marathon where a novice dies in the heat. Now, I hear about the Olympic Trials in which a distance champion collapses and dies. I am feeling my mortality right now. My prayers go out to his wife and his family.

Nevertheless, I have been contemplating my next marathon for May. The baby is due May 5th. I am wondering if I will be able to head to either Madison or Green Bay, both driving distance, on the 18th or the 25th after our little bundle of joy arrives. The wife needs to let me know if it's OK. That's a ways off and there is lots to think about and deal with before then.

I'm in the midst of an entirely different kind of marathon. It is called National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. My aim is to write a 50,000 word draft manuscript in the 30 days of November. This is a 1,667 word per day pace. You can get updates on my progress here.

Writing will keep me busy this month. I will try to balance my running to get back up to 30 miles a week this month. I also will head back to London right after Thanksgiving for work. I feel like I am continuing to push the envelope with my goals while finding a way to balance the rest of my life.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Reflecting On My Tenth Marathon

Yesterday, I ran my third marathon of 2007 and tenth overall. It was my second fastest ever.

The Lakefront Marathon course is made up of three out-and-back equidistant "loops" (or lines, rather) of 8.73 miles along the Chicago lakefront path. The weather was comfortably cool in the mid-50's most of the race.

This race is actually an ultramarathon with both 50k and 50M distances. The organizers added the marathon distance as a result of the struggles all of us had in Chicago three weeks ago.

As I wrote my last post, I really did not have huge expectations of time going in. I decided I would try to run 3:10 pace and see how my body reacted.

I teamed up with two other guys I met in the early going who were both trying for a 3:10. The first half of the race went as planned, but I could tell I had a stomach issue developing. Disappointing, considering I ran both Chicago and Boston without a stop and followed a somewhat similar diet before hand.

One of the guys, Steve, had ankle trouble and needed to call it quits at about mile 15. The other guy, Lance, continued on with me. We finished the second loop on pace at 17.5 miles, when I felt the undeterrable urge to detour to the port-0-johns.

I knew with this stop, I wouldn't be able to BQ. After about a 2 1/2 min comfort break, I struggled to get my legs back. My body remembered the marathon I ran 20 days prior and simply started to slow up on me. The final 7 miles or so were pretty rough.

My final third leg was a mission to complete the race. For some reason, I felt I needed again to I stop off at a second bathroom, which had no TP, so I drove on. I stopped at an aid station close to mile 21 and indulged in some trail mix with my gatorade, which added more time. Even when I didn't stop, I couldn't put together a mile faster than about 8:15 at this stage.

The marathon is a humbling distance and reminds me every time that both physical and mental preparation are critical. I still do not have the desire to go the 50M or even 50k distance as many out there yesterday were doing. Kudos to the ultra-guys and gals!

As I finished my 10th 26.2M distance, I reflected again on my year and my running. I put in some huge training mileage earlier this summer for me - more than last year - and I couldn't muster anywhere near the marathon I had last October. Frustrating, but that's the way life goes sometimes.

First half: 1:35:10
Second Half: 1:47:41
Finish time: 3:22:51 - 2nd fastest (12:47 off from last year's PR)

I can't be 100% sure, but I think my legs hurt more after yesterday's race than many of my other recent marathons. My quads were beat to hell and it hurt to sit still.

It is somewhat dissatisifying that I didn't have a strong finish in either of these marathons. However, I need to keep positive and realize that I have had an outstanding year. The curveball we were thrown on October 7th happens in life.

Sure, I thought I would PR this year and even have a shot at sub-3, but cirmcustances changed. I went to China for 4 weeks during critical training periods and had a wonderful professional experience. I ran the hottest Chicago Marathon in history. I ran my first Boston Marathon ever in the Nor'easter. How many can say they ran two of the more memorable major marathons in recent history?

I may take a year off from the marathon distance. I've been quite mum about it, but my wife is 13 weeks along in her pregnancy with our first child. Her due date is May 5 and we are thrilled. She does not want me going to Boston as she's concerned she may go early. Plus, I don't feel I earned it this year, so I will not use my 2006 time to get in.

I will rest up over the coming week, then run a couple of holiday 5k's remaining in 2007 and maybe shoot for 2,000 in total mileage for the year.

Right now, I am looking at the St. George Marathon in 2008 to re-set my PR (which could be a challenge, given what I have read about the course). My parents are retired in St. George, Utah and are anxious for me run the race there. It is the same weekend as Chicago so I would need to give that up.

Before making any personal commitments for 2008, I need to finish out my 2007 and reflect in my successes both in and outside of running this year.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Marathon #10, Here I Come

It's fascinating to me how anti-climatic the approach of my tenth marathon has been the past two weeks since I recklessly signed up for it.

Several co-workers approached me the past few days to ask me about the debacle in Chicago that happened 19 days ago. None of them had seen me since I spent two weeks in China right after the race.

After a few words my experiences in China, I nonchalantly mentioned that I was going for another marathon this weekend. "Really?" was a typical response coupled with a puzzled look.

There is really no evidence my body is ready to endure a full marathon right now. I put in a few short run in China before I left. I came back last Sunday and had a reasonably strong 12-miler (7:26 avg, final 2 at BQ pace).

Race organizers have clearly confirmed that this race and its course will be recognized as a Boston Qualifier by the BAA. Now, I may be getting ahead of myself with such talk, but who knows, it could happen tomorrow.

Not the most exciting course, I suppose. Three loops with no spectators. At least I will be looking at the city along the lake.

If nothing else, tomorrow will be a day to celebrate a running milestone. I've decided that completing ten marathons is a big deal. Plus, I have never done three in a year.

It's a modest sign of running longevity and a commitment to the sport. My streak of PR's was broken after five, but that's OK, there's still more success to be had. I think I'll keep at it for a little while longer.

I don't know what kind of time I will run tomorrow, but there is one guarantee I will give: I will finish.

On a separate note, I appear to be on track for a year of two thousand miles total. Wow... it just keeps getting more exciting, doesn't it?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Returning Home for The Marathon Experiment

It is Saturday noontime in China. I am presently on a flight from Chengdu to Shanghai. In Shanghai, I will connect to take my American Air flight back to Chicago. I will arrive around 4:45 PM on after gaining 13 hours.

I am very excited to be returning home to Chicago and my home in the suburbs. I miss my wife, my cats, my running gear, my bed, my house, my high-speed Internet connectivity, my coffee maker and private stash of Starbucks, my control over my schedule, my Itunes library, my car and my freedom to live in my own space and neighborhood.

I had a very successful and interesting visit in Chengdu during my assignment. The delivery of our final report to our business partners went exceptionally well yesterday. Quite simply, we nailed it. I could feel the genuine praise and appreciation for our team’s work the Chairman was giving, even though I needed an interpreter to understand him.

My experience in China has changed my perspective of the world in a positive way. I found that I am more adventurous, more patient, more understanding, more tolerant and downright wiser in the ways of the world than I was five weeks ago. It is so different in the Far East as compared to our Western lifestyles. The people of Chengdu are very kind. I also recognized how much I love my country and my way of life.

I even managed to recover reasonably well from the marathon. I ran 13 miles last week and added some swimming. I have run 21 so far this week. Two of these runs were 6 and 7 mile runs that were comfortably hard. However, I am not certain on pace since I left the Garmin at home. I plan to do 12-13 tomorrow on familiar terrain to get me to around 34 for this week.

I am signed up for another marathon that takes place in one week. It has been less than two weeks since a very difficult Chicago Marathon. What’s more, I need to turn around for the airport on Monday to fly to the Corporate HQ in Connecticut for four days. I suppose it beats being in China. I will do light mileage before Saturday.

I am calling this upcoming marathon an experiment. It will be a true experiment to see how my body has recovered. In addition, it will be a test as to what degree I was able to maintain my peak running conditioning that I know I had a short four weeks ago.

I honestly do not have a gauge of my current running condition. The Chicago Marathon was an anomaly. A statistical aberration created by extremely rare conditions, so that’s not an indicator. My 20-mile training run two weeks three weeks before was one that would likely line up in the 3:00-3:03 range. However, I have no idea what the difficult, intensively hot and humid Chicago Marathon did to me.

Am I in anywhere near the same shape that I was five weeks ago? We will find out next week. Truthfully, I am not all too worried about it. There is no self-induced pressure for me on this marathon go.

For this upcoming marathon on Saturday, you will hear no talk of a sub-3 attempt from me. I do really want to run a Boston qualifying time, however, and will give it my best shot. If I don’t, however, that’s OK. I will be out there enjoying the Chicago Lakefront with my wife cheering me on. It will be the first time ever that I will have completed two marathons 20 days apart. Most importantly, I am just glad to be getting home to the United States.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Iron is Hot

Thanks to all of you who commented on my last post. I think most of you are right... I don't think it was in my heart to cut out of a marathon simply to save myself for a better time. Once you sign up and prepare for marathon, I believe you are emotionally committed to finish. Short of a physical/medical reason, I don't ever plan of dropping out.

I said I was sizing up my next race. I was looking at out-of-state races. However, an unexpected race opportunity came up in the wake of the Chicago Marathon disappointment from last week. It does feel a bit soon, but let's just it's time to strike while the iron is hot, baby!

My next marathon is in exactly two weeks. Call it a bit of an improvised marathon as a result of the difficult conditions at Chicago, but the folks who run the Chicago Ultra have put together a USAT&F Certified Marathon course as part of their 50M/50k race. No, I will not be doing either ultra distance.

This feels like a bit of an experiment, since I never imagined I would try to do this. But I have got to muster a better time in cool conditions given my fitness level. Can I recover quickly enough? We will find out.

Somehow, I am completely underpacked for this 2nd trip to China. I do not have a single polyester running shirt. I have no lined running shorts. I have one pair of cotton gym shorts and a single cotton t-shirt. I packed a pair of my beat-up Nikes, since my Asics from last week's marathon were still soaked from showering in all the drinking water that the later runners missed out on (sorry again, guys!). I didn't even pack the Garmin. (I guess you could say I initially planned to take a break from running this two weeks).

Nonetheless, those meager running clothes will be sufficient to do some recovery/taper running. I just completed a 13-mile week. I traveled and rested through Thursday. I did a decent 8 today.

I also have done a little swimming here at the hotel for recovery. The hotel has a great 25M pool. I realized how much work on swimming I will have to do if and when I go for a triathlon. I did five laps last night in about seven minutes. I am willing to bet I looked like a special ed case. I'll save the swimming lessons for a later date.

It's time to knock out one more work week in China, give a final report to my Chinese colleagues on Friday, then fly back home on Saturday.

This week I will target 34 miles, 22 of which will be here in Chengdu. I cannot wait to hit the Prairie Path for a nice 12-miler next Sunday when I get back. Yet another milestone will be achieved: three marathons in a single year and my TENTH in my lifetime. Bring it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Is the Chicago Marathon debacle a positive for the sport?

Greetings from China once again. It’s already Thursday early morning here. I had a brutally long journey back to Chengdu (another marathon, you could say) and a full workday yesterday.

I left Chicago quickly on Monday morning and have missed out on the exciting press coverage and the passionate commentary on the aftermath of the race. I finally got a chance peruse some of the editorials and printed comments from people in the Tribune, Detroit Free Press and others on the web.

Some people bashed runners for being so stupid to run in the heat, others have condemned race organizers for lack of preparation, even some more criticized various newspaper columnists for writing opinions that conflicted with their own.

If nothing else, there is a huge amount of interest marathon running now. And I see this as a good thing. I don’t want to underestimate how terribly tragic the loss of a runner was on Sunday. However, while it may be an unpopular view, the Chicago Marathon debacle may have inadvertently raised the profile of the sport.

Why? People know how difficult it is now more than ever. The press coverage has been one massive free commercial for marathon organizers all over the world. This will attract many more newcomers who are goal-setters, challenge-seekers, and those who realize the positive personal impact of achieving such an audacious feat. If it were easy, none of us would do it. And the glory of finishing a difficult marathon, especially in warmer conditions, just became greater.

There will be a Chicago Marathon in 2008. And I’m willing to bet they will sell out the 45,000 entries even faster than they did this year.
I’m not going to give the blow-by-blow detail of my race on Sunday, because frankly it wasn’t that interesting. I used probably seven times the amount of water I normally would (sorry to the other later runners) and slowed it down to walk some on-and-off on the back half.

Minutes after the race, I rested underneath a tree just outside the finishing area. I borrowed a fellow runner’s cell phone to call my wife so we could meet up.

Strangely enough, this guy looked fresh and unfazed by the hot conditions. I commented how these were the most difficult marathon conditions for me out of nine. He said it wasn’t difficult for him, since he cut out after the half point. Apparently, he knew he wasn’t going to make his goal, which was 2:50, so he dropped out.

This made me think. My instinct going into 9 marathons this point has been to (a) run a smart race as fast as possible, and (b) finish, no matter how difficult. Now that I am experienced and high expectations of time, should I start to think differently like this guy did? It’s not about finishing for me anymore. It’s about time for me now.

I realize Sunday’s conditions were quite rare so hopefully a decision on an intentional DNF wouldn’t come up too often in a marathon. But this guy knew he wouldn’t reach his goal at the half, and he knew his body would get beat up trying the second half, so he cut it short. Now, he can make the decision to enter another marathon this weekend or next if he wanted to. Maybe I should have thought about that up front? I would be ready to run the Grand Rapids marathon no problem on Oct 28th.
I am still contemplating my next move. I am fairly disappointed that I did not capitalize on my fitness and run a fast marathon. Here is the list of marathons I am eyeing up.

Huntsville, AL – Dec 8, 2007
Jacksonville – Dec 16, 2007
Phoenix – Jan 13, 2008
Miami – Jan 27, 2008
Austin – Feb 17, 2008
Ft Lauderdale – Feb 17, 2008
Myrtle Beach – Feb 17, 2008
New Orleans – Feb 24, 2008
Virginia Beach – March 16, 2008

I am qualified for Boston 2008 from last year’s Chicago time, but something doesn’t seem “right” about using the same race result twice.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

I survived the Chicago Marathon 2007!

In case you haven't seen the headlines as yet, here are few for your reading enjoyment:

Chicago Marathon Cancelled After 1 Dies And 302 Go To The Hospital
Intense Heat Ends Marathon Prematurely
Chicago Marathon cut off mid-run as heat kills 1, sickens hundreds

BUT... I made it. It was maybe my hardest marathon ever of the nine, but I got through it - barely. Very ironic that I was in my best marathon shape ever to suffer through today.

I finished in 3:32. Note I chose the word "finished", because I cannot say I ran the whole way. I wouldn't have survived. I could have ended up like the poor guy who died after running today. What an absolute tragedy.

There were many who did not even finish, or were not given the option to finish due to the race director's decision to call it.

Half way mark: 1:36 - Second half: 1:56. It was not pretty. I hadn't walked this much on a marathon course since my first in 2001. But I lived to tell.

Time to lick my wounds. Going to sleep now. Will write more later when I arrive in China this week. Did I say I love marathoning???

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Happy Marathon Eve - T-Minus 12 hours - Bib #924

So, it is finally here. Another marathon. My 2nd Chicago and my ninth overall. Wow, I am becoming a veteran. I am excited. It's going to be sweet.

All bets are off for tomorrow with these conditions, so I am not going to be making any predictions. I realize all along that I have been aiming for 2:59, but it doesn't look like Mother Nature agrees that tomorrow is the day to try.

Tomorrow is expected to be the hottest Oct 7th in Chicago history. It will be mid-80's by 10AM with 65-70% humidity. I hate to sound like I am giving up before trying, but we need to be smart as runners and heed to severe conditions (It kills me to say that when I reflect on this solo training run a short 3 weeks ago). I don't want to melt down and struggle to finish.

Anyway, forget the heat, humidity and the anxiety that it brings. I'm going to race smart, listen to my body, do my best and celebrate my ninth marathon. All I can ask of myself is that I give my absolute best and let God decide the outcome.

Did I mention that raised $2,625 for the American Cancer Society with this marathon effort?

I totally believe Al Gore. This Global Warming thing is getting out of hand. The wife doesn't know it yet, but I am already remotely considering a December marathon. Why? Because I'd like some certainty that it will be COOL when I run.

I am looking into the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL on Dec 8. What, Alabama, you ask? Check out the Marathonguide reviews -- they are all glowing. That's the beauty of marathoning. You can pick an out-of-the-way place, pour your heart out on the concrete and enjoy a new part of America.

By the way, this blog is famous. I was contacted by the editor of Michigan Sports & Fitness magazine about publishing one of my recent posts. For those of you in Michigan, you can see a professionally edited version of this race report in hard print with my by-line if you pick up the mag. Cool! This gives me even more confidence in my writing.

On to 26.2 tomorrow in the visually stunning city of Chicago. Here's another one for the ages. Hope all of you racers run hard, have fun, stay SAFE and enjoy the glory of the moment. Remember: Marathoning is a wonderful way to celebrate life.

I am taking a flight back to China on Monday morning. I'll have a 20-hour trip to write up my race report. Until then, you know how to track the results.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Pre-marathon Thoughts

I just saw the world premiere of The Spirit of the Marathon at the Chicago Film Festival. Pretty inspirational stuff. The director, producers and runners featured in the film were there after to answer audience questions. Great views of Chicago and our local CARA organization.

Do I even want to begin commenting on the weather? It's not worth it.

"Don’t be a hero. These aren’t the conditions for a personal best; finishing in one piece is good enough. " So said an article entitled "Chicago Marathon 2007: This One's Gonna Hurt".

I am bib # 924 out of 45,000 entrants. This is quite a high bib number in such an large, elite-laden field.

Can't think or write now. It's late and I need to sleep.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Back in the USA - Final prep time

I am back in the USA and it feels great. I arrived in Chicago yesterday evening.

I am taking a rest day from both work and running. I ran 90 miles in China during my trip. The best run I had was a 17-miler through the city of Chengdu.

I am beginning my mental preparation for Sunday's race. I have put in the best training in my life for this race. It's going to be a blast.

I feel a sense of anxiety about the race on Sunday. There's a nervous excitement that many of us feel the days leading up to a marathon. It peaks with the thrill of the gun on race morning. It's that thrill that drives us all to continue running. The self-induced internal pressure of wanting to do our best transfoms into glory when we cross that finish line.

I set this ridiculously lofty goal and I am going to chase it with all of my might. Am I ready? Who knows. Doesn't matter. I'm going to give everything I've got. I prepared about as well as I could have.

Below is my race week training schedule:

Monday - Rest
Tuesday - 7 mile recovery
Wed - 7 mile "dress rehearsal" w/2 mile at goal pace (6:51)
Thu - 5 mile recovery
Fri - 4 mile speed (6x100m strides) + recovery
Sat - 2 mile recovery
Sun Oct 7th - CHICAGO MARATHON - GOAL: 2:59:59

Friday, September 28, 2007

Top 6 things I miss in the USA -- 8 days til Marathon Sunday

Top 6 things I miss in the USA while working in China:

1. Fast, reliable internet connections
2. Starbucks
3. Drivers that yield to pedestrians and practice some degree of road safety
4. Being understood while speaking English
5. Running in humidity less than 90%

6. Just a quick sandwich for lunch, please?

It has been an adventurous, action-packed week here in China. I have toured several factories, had numerous culturally enlightening lunches and fired back countless shots of bajou (Chinese white spirit). I have met a great number of honorable Chinese business associates and learned a lot about Chinese culture.

Rabbit, pigeon, fish head, eel and my personal fav, fresh larynx of ox, are all on the menu here on a daily basis. And the Chinese business culture, God bless it, is that you cannot get out of lunch to save your life. Wonderful…

Most notably, I have hit all of my taper workouts. At last post, I was gearing up for last weekend’s runs. I did an exploratory 5-mile recovery run through the city of Chengdu. On Sunday, I nailed a 17-mile run through the city.

That’s right, I put in a run through this 11 million person city on a Sunday morning at 7:26 average, including a final three-mile stretch right on marathon pace. I completed last week week with 46 miles. The best thing about it is that you don't even need to carry water. Just grab about 6-7 RMB cash ($0.80 to 0.90 USD) to take with for convenience stores. This will buy you about 2 bottled waters and a Gatorade whenever you need to stop.

This week, my goal is to put in just about 39-40, for which I am on track. I haven’t dipped below the 40-mile mark in a week in four months. Hardest workout of the week was simulating the 3x1600m repeat workout that normally would be done on a track. I found a reasonably un-congested stretch of pavement in the outer Chengdu area, on which I ran 5k pace (or as close as I could) through 95+% humidity on Thursday AM. It was rough - the humidity killed me.

The diet has been the “X” factor. I’ve never eaten all the “stuff” I have been eating now.

It’s 10:10 PM here on Friday night and I’m going to bed. I have to go to work AGAIN tomorrow on Saturday. Before doing so, however, I have a 5-mile recovery planned. I will then run 13 on Sunday morning early.

After my Sunday AM run, I will then be heading to the airport. I fly home on Sunday. I can’t wait to get home. I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed and being in Chicago for the last several days leading up to the marathon.

I have also purchased tickets to the world premier of The Spirit of the Marathon for Friday. Awesome pre-race inspiration!

8 days and counting…

Friday, September 21, 2007

Taper update from Chengdu, China

Greetings from Chengdu. It is Saturday mid-morning and I have been in China for six days now. It has been an extremely interesting experience to this point. I am pleased to say that I am pretty much on track with my taper plan, despite being in a totally foreign environment and working with a compressed schedule.

One thing we experienced marathoners all know is that you must retain some degree of control of your schedule; we need to meticulously plan and hit the runs. Business travel to China has provided me a good challenge in this area. My work is going reasonably well and I have been running as planned.

I arrived in Shanghai on Sunday afternoon (middle of the night Sat Chicago time). I was determined to complete my week after a killer 20-miler on Friday. I had 59 miles before I left Chicago and was hoping to get to 64. The flight from Chicago was 14+ hours.

Upon arrival, I hit the hotel treadmill after a 20-hour trip with virtually no sleep and severe jet lag. The gym was very hot and humid and I could only muster 4 miles. This would total 63 miles for the week. I grabbed a light dinner in the hotel and crashed at 8PM.

Monday was a planned rest day from running. I was scheduled to meet my boss for this assignment who runs our Asia Pacific Procurement team and head to our local office. I woke up around 4:00 AM. Around 5:45 AM, I took a walk around the hotel in Shanghai. That night, we had an interesting dinner in downtown Shanghai and looked out over the Yangtze River. Very colorful and bright signs illuminate the sky in what is a very Western-friendly, cosmopolitan global city.

Tuesday, I was up and at ‘em again early in Shanghai. During Monday morning’s walk, I decided my immediate surroundings in Shanghai were not runner friendly. I headed back to the gym, which didn’t open until 6AM. I was waiting at the door at 5:50AM. I was hoping to simulate 6x600m repeats at 5k pace on the tread like I would the track. I was pressed for time – I needed to be in the lobby at 7:15 AM with my luggage to meet my team to head to the airport. I lost about 12 minutes due to a power failure, which the staff needed to fix. I finished with 5 miles, which incl. the repeats as well as 8-minutes on the elliptical.

Wednesday, I woke up in Chengdu. This is “home base” for my assignment. My hotel, the Shangri-La, is located right along the Main river in Chengdu. There is a path that is popular for joggers and walkers. Chengdu is much more conducive to running than the large, cramped city of Shanghai. I had a very solid 7-miler along the river and observed .

Our Chinese business partners invited us a very authentic banquet on Wednesday lunchtime. Some of you know I work in the alcoholic beverage business. Our partners own a prominent, high-end brand of Chinese white spirit. At a banquet, Chinese tradition is to toast your guest and do what I can best described as mini-shots of 52% grain alcohol beverage together. So, I was toasted about 9 times at lunch and fired the shots back – then went to our scheduled business meeting at 2:30 PM. Quite interesting….

Thursday, I did a 5-mile recovery on the river path. On Friday, I had my best run since leaving Chicago. I completed 8 strong miles – the final two of which were on par with marathon pace.

The stares I get from the locals during my runs are interesting. They see this tall, extremely white dude with iPod and Garmin chugging through their Chinese city. I’ve noticed the occasional random dog and dead rat during my runs. Although the early morn temps are reasonably comfortable (i.e. high 60’s w/ a delicate breeze), the humidity level is fairly high. I am soaked after these runs.

I slept into today and headed to brunch. I will do an easy 5-mile recovery around noontime.

I moved my final two long runs to Sundays to sync up with marathon day. Tomorrow, I will rise early to knock out a 17-miler throughout the city of Chengdu. I will take some cash and a printed Chinese hotel card in case I get lost and need to taxi home. My only concern about tomorrow is hydration. It was inevitable I would forget something, and I didn’t think to bring my water belt. I will need to find some c-stores out in Chengdu as I run through the city for Gatorade.

Plan for this week is to complete a total of 47 miles after tomorrow’s long run. 15 days til the Chicago Marathon.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My best training run of my life

I recovered nicely from last Saturday's disappointing half marathon. I chose not to dwell. I know I am better shape than my time indicated.

For this week, I had to adjust my schedule quite substantially since I leave for Shanghai tomorrow morning.

Mon - double recovery - 6 in the AM - 4 in the PM - total of 10
Tue - SPEED - Crushed 6x1200m repeats on Tuedsay right at 5k pace (5:56) -- 11 miles total
Wed - 11 miles
Thu - 3 miles
Fri - 20 miles - SMOKIN'! See splits below.

WTD: 55 miles . Will do 5 recovery tomorrow AM before leaving and 4 easy on Sunday in Shanghai on Sunday... TOTAL GOAL MILEAGE: 64 miles.

Today's 20-mile run was my best ever training long run in my life. What's more, I did it all by myself... all 20 miles, 10 of which were right at marathon goal pace. I actually went into this workout with a clear plan. I wanted to follow McMillan's Fast Finish long run approach.

So I planned to knock out the first 10 at around 7:20's - and finish the second half at 6:51's, my goal marathon pace. See the results below. In a nutshell, I nailed this workout exactly as planned.

My Charity Runner obligation has far been exeeded for the American Cancer Society. I raised over $2,600.

No more time to write. I need to go have my final American meal for 3 weeks. Signing off before heading to the Far East in the morning. Three weeks of wonderful experience in China coming up. Only 23 days until I run my first ever sub-3:00 marathon. Then I go back to China for two more weeks!

Check back for entries from Chengdu.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Charity Drive Update / IKEA Half report

Phew, I’ve been busy. First and foremost, here is an important update on my American Cancer Society Charity Runner Drive.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! On Thursday this week, I raised $880 at my company’s happy hour for the American Cancer Society. This means I have raised $1550 in total – and this does not count the match that my company will provide on the donations from my co-workers. This puts the total over $2400 for the American Cancer Society. Thank you, donors! Your support is greatly appreciated!

Secondly, my departure date for China has been moved up a day. I now leave on Saturday 9/15, which means I need to get my final 20-miler in all by myself on Friday.

Here is my training update for this past week, including a half marathon race report in Pittsburgh.

Mon 9/3 – 10 miles – 7:48 average – not too bad considering a hard race on Saturday
Tue 9/4 – 11 miles w/Yasso 800m repeats – didn’t think I had it in me, but I hit all 10 repeats at around 2:57 – on track for sub-3???
Wed 9/5 – 5 miles recovery – 8:43 avg pace
Thu 9/6 – 13 miles – 7:50 avg – Struggled – got it all in, but was fairly fatigued.
Fri 9/7 - REST
Sat 9/8IKEA HALF MARATHON (report below)

Total: 52 - below target of 58 - needed a cutback week with all the intense mileage

It was convenient that I had a visit with the in-laws in Pittsburgh this weekend, since I was able to run the Ikea Half Marathon on the Montour Trail with my friends, Steve and Aaron. Both of these guys put up sweet times here last year: Steve, a 1:25 and Aaron, a 1:26.

We all had hopes of putting up a decent half marathon time as our final race for our Chicago training. I wanted a PR at worst (i.e. besting my 1:29 from the CDC in Aug), hoping more so to put up a time in line with my 30k, which would be 1:26 or better.

This course is interesting. You start up in the parking lot of an Ikea and run down a monster hill toward the Montour Trail. Basically, the first 0.7 miles are solid downhill. Then you hit the crush limestone path and begin a steady, slight uphill for six miles to a turnaround point - at which point you run a slight descent on the way back.

48 hours earlier, I was struggled to complete a 13-mile training run at 7:50’s. And here I was ready to chase another PR.

Aaron and ran the first mile in 6:07, while Steve had to have been at least 10-15 secs ahead of us. Now, I know what you’re thinking… TOO fast. But, the hill is very steep. In retrospect, I think it would have been smart to run about 10 seconds faster than goal pace (maybe about 6:25).

Humidity levels were high. Quite simply, after mile 1, I couldn’t get in a rhythm. The steady incline for miles 2-7, modest fatigue and the humidity kept my heart rate abnormally elevated. I felt myself in trouble in the early going.

Check the numbers and compare vs. last week’s race (prior post). You would have thought I had a cardiac meltdown. On the 7th mile, I averaged 179 bpm – this would mean trouble. I was tired entering this race, is what this tells me.

Unfortunately, none of us were pleased with our results. Aaron and I ran 1:30 – and Steve a 1:29. We all know we’re in better shape than this. We all took solace in each other’s struggles and chalked it up to a workout. All three of us have been training pretty hard. I had a hard hill 30k race last week. Steve and Aaron banged out 2000m repeats earlier in the week.

We need to trust our training – and not let this race affect us mentally. Last week, I ran a 3:02-3:03 marathon equivalent on a hilly terrain 30k. I checked last year’s results and the average top 5 times were 2-3 minutes faster than this year so everyone was affected. It wasn't worth running a recovery after the race, I was spent. I needed to rest.

I still believe with a strong last week of training before taper, healthy diet, solid rest and care during my taper, good weather conditions on race day – with all of these things and the stars aligning – a 2:59 is within reach. I will not give up trying. Time to right the ship...

Plan for 9/10 week – my final week of solid training

Mon 9/10 – AM: 6 recovery – PM: 4 recovery – 10 total
Tue 9/11 – 12 miles w/ 6x1000m repeats
Wed 9/12 - 10 miles
Thu 9/13 – 6 recovery
Fri 9/14 – 20 miler – Fast finish
Sat 9/15 – Recovery 6 miles – Fly to Shanghai, China – 10:35 AM flight from O’Hare

Goal: 64 miles

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Labor Day 30k Race Report – Milford, MI – 9/1/07

We arrived at the race grounds in Milford, MI around 7:20 AM Saturday morning. It was a gorgeous morning for a race. Temps were in the mid-50’s around 30 minutes before the start.

I had hopes of breaking below 2:05:59 assuming the course was fast and relatively flat. However, I did not know anything about the course. There was really no detail on the race website.

I asked a woman in front of me in line at the check-in area if the course was hilly. She laughed and said, “Um, yes, it’s hilly. In fact, I can’t think of a single flat stretch of ground on the whole course.” Great, I thought. That answers that question.

Wanting to get a second opinion, I checked in with a dude who struck up a conversation with me at the start. “You don’t want to run this one for time,” he said. Alrighty then, so much for a 2:05.

I backed off my expectations and decided I was going to focus on hitting as many 6:45 splits as I could. This is the pace I felt I needed to race for the 30k distance to be on track for a sub-3 Chicago.

I decided to wear the Garmin, which was against my recently adopted anti-Garmin policy for races. I decided that this was partially a training run more than a race. I wanted to see what HR’s would look like. I turned off the auto-lap function and hit the splits manually.

Miles 1-3 were on the local streets and did not have too much grade. I thought, where’s the hype? Then I came upon mile 4 and saw why. I started to pass a guy who looked in his 50’s on the first major hill, which was a wake-up call. When we got to the top, I said “how many more of these are there?”

We started chatting (after we caught our breath) and this guy, Doug, starts telling me about some of his running feats. He also throws in that he writes a running column for the Detroit Free Press.

In short, unbeknownst to me at the time, I was running with a marathoner of legendary status. I am by no means a running historian, but after checking up on this guy, he has to be considered one best marathoners in the modern running era.

Check out this profile for Doug Kurtis and you will see what I mean. The marathon history is simply astonishing: he holds the world record for the most marathons ever completed under 2:20 – a mind-blowing 76.

Doug and I chatted it up casually while banging out 6:40’ish pace. He asked my age and told me that his best year of running was when he was 37. He started to pull ahead at mile 8 and knowing his experience I decided it would be wise to let him go. I later learned that he came in at 2:05.

Now about those hills. Yes, there were at least four or five killers out on that course. In addition, there were plenty of steady grades in both directions. I have not put in a hill run since Boston in April. I started to feel it when I hit 14. I just felt winded from the up and down. You can see my HR’s fluctuate along with my splits.

This was a competitive field. Late in the race, I also ran with a guy who was pushing me for miles. We got to chatting and he told me he was 50. He pulled ahead of me on the final stretch to come in about 15 seconds ahead of me. I hope I can do that to a 32-year-old when I am 50.

Bottom line: I ran a 2:07:20 (see splits below) and I am satisfied with the result. I had a very strong finish and responded pretty well to a hilly, gravel terrain course. I did manage 5th place in my age group.

Garmin says the race length was 18.81 vs. the 18.64 for a 30k race, so not sure if I added on or what. I know the hills and dirt, gravel terrain cost me at least 10 seconds per mile – if not more. I would have nailed a 2:05 on flat pavement – guaranteed. I know it. I am on track for a 2:59:59. I can feel it. Progress has been huge and there are two solid weeks of training left before taper.

With this race, I hit 58 for the week. This coming week, I will plan for low 60's mileage before ramping up the high 60's one last time before taper. I will be running the Ikea Half Marathon next week with Steve and Aaron in Pittsburgh.

I’ve got to figure out what I will run this week. I also will begin planning for my trip to China, which is a mere two weeks away. Did I mention I will taper for the Chicago Marathon in China? After marathon Sunday, I will turn around on Monday and head back to China. Never in my life did I think I would be living the crazy traveling/running lifestyle that I am now.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Training Update / Announcement

It has been a great week so far. I have hit every single scheduled mile this week. I aged another year and life is grand.

Monday's speed work was a success. I nailed all six 1000m repeats in 3:43-3:45 range (5:52-6:00/mi pace range) - and kept my recovery jogs to 90-100 secs max. I completed 11 miles total on Monday.

Tuesday's 14-miler was solid also. 7:35/mi avg pace - with with only a very short break for hydration. Later in the day, we celebrated my "official" birthday with a giant pizza pie from Lou Malnati's.

Wednesday was recovery day times two. I did a 6-miler in the morning (8:42 pace) and another recovery 4 miles in the evening . 10 for the day. 35 for the week so far.

Today is rest day (finally). I am now beginning to mentally prepare for the Labor Day 30k on Saturday morning. I'll do a real easy four recovery tomorrow before heading off to Michigan after to work in the afternoon.


The marathon taper this year will be more interesting than ever. I have been given an exciting 6-week international assignment. I will be going to China to conduct an opportunity assessment on a Joint Venture that my Company initiated earlier this year with a Chinese company. Real exciting stuff.

That's right, I will begin my taper in Shanghai before heading to Chengdu, China. Our Procurement Head in the Asia Pacific region was kind enough to grant me a "break" to travel back to Chicago to run the marathon on October 7th.

The timing is perfect because I will finish core training on Sep 15th with my final 20-miler. I am really thrilled with this opportunity. I need to make sure I complete the taper effectively so I can run strong when I return home.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Another 60 miles - Steady Does It

Hi. I am back and ready to report my training progress with only six weeks to go until my sub-3 hour marathon.

I completed another 60 miles this week with some east coast travel intermixed. I guess it was successful, but there were no major breakthroughs. No highs, no lows - just steady mileage with some good workouts. Here is a brief recap.

Mon 8/21 - Holmdel, NJ - HS track - 9 mi w/6x600. I visited my brother's house before heading to a business trip in NJ. I hit the local HS track in the early morning. After a 2-mile warm-up in the rain, I began the repeats. I hit the first one at 2:20, which was slow. I did hit my groove and was able to hold the remaining 600m repeats at 2:15 (6:00/mi pace), which I think it my 5k pace about now. Wrapped up with another 4 miles easy.

Tue 8/22 - Norwalk, CT - 9 miles - 7:31/mi avg. Excellent jaunt through my old residential area, challenging hills. Ran straight through with no breaks. Impressive pace given the steep hills.

Wed 8/23 - Back home in Plainfield, IL - 6 mi recovery. Nothing special.

Thu 8/24 - Home turf - 13 miles - 7:43 avg. Challenging run through the humidity - ran 10.5 mi with the hydration belt and no stops.

Fri 8/25 - Home - 6 mi recovery. Mid-day run in the heat/humidity. Again, nothing special.

Sat 8/26 - Wheaton Prairie Path - 18 miles. The path terrain was very wet and sloppy from the major storm the prior two days. Many of the trees were downed and blocking the path. This run was full of many interruptions due to downed trees. My final six were pretty strong. I got in 18 miles at 7:32 pace avg. I will say I felt a bit tired toward the end.

This week, I will prepare for the Labor Day 30k on this coming Saturday in Milford, MI. Jen and I will take a road trip over to MI. I grew up in the Detroit area so it is somewhat of a homecoming for me.

I am nervous about tomorrow's workout: 6x1000m repeats at 5k pace with 90 sec in btw. Am I ready for this kind of intensity? Pfitzinger believes this is an important workout to improve speed for the marathon.

Plan for 8/27 week

Mon 8/27 - 11 miles w/ 6x1000m repeats at 5k pace with 90 sec in btw
Tue 8/28 - 14 miles med-long run - Happy Birthday to me
Wed 8/29 - 10-11 miles
Thu 8/30 - Rest
Fri 8/31 - 5 mi recovery
Sat 9/1 - 30k race

Total: 59-60 miles

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Strong 67-mile week - I am on my way

My training week is complete. I tallied up 67 miles since Monday - and a total of 81 miles in 7 days straight when I count last Sunday's race.

Whilst I came up just shy of my 70-mile target, I am extremely proud of my training this week. I could try to add on 3 in the morning before my trip to NJ tomorrow, but I don't see the point. I've earned the rest.

The week was capped off by a stellar 22-miler this morning. The temperatures were unseasonably cool this morning and it felt great. I averaged 7:26 for 22 miles - including a marathon pace on the final mile. I think I had more in the tank, too. My heart rate was in check and I was comfortable throughout the entire run. See details below.

As I ran the last part of my final training mile today at marathon pace, I envisioned myself running up the Roosevelt hill and rounding left to Columbus. I am a sub-3 marathoner, I thought as I banged out a 6:51 22nd mile for the day.

I also had my best LT workout ever on Thursday. After Wednesday's mini-bonk on a recovery run, where I had to cut it short to 4 miles, I was worried that I would not be rested enough.

However, after a 2-mile warm-up, I did 28 laps at LT pace, which was in the range of 1:38-1:41 per 400m. With a 2-mile cooldown, I hit 12 for the day before heading into work.

I am making progress. I am convinced last week's 1:29 at CDC was not an accurate representation of my fitness. I am going to run strong at the Labor Day 30k in less than two weeks. Hopefully in the 2:05-2:06 range.

Tonight, we will be attending a work function on the Mystic Blue dinner cruise on Lake Michigan, which promises to provide us spectacular views of Chicago and fun times with my co-workers. Tomorrow, I head to NJ to visit my niece and nephew - meetings in NJ on Monday - then work at our Norwalk, CT office on Tue. Seven weeks to go 'til race day...

Recap of 8/13 week - PR training mileage

Mon - 10 miles recovery (split into a double)
Tue - 14 miles med-long run - mid-day heat
Wed - 4 recovery
Thu - 12 miles w/7 at LT pace (6:40's)
Fri - 5 recovery
Sat - 22 long run - 7:26 avg pace

Total: 67 miles

Plan for 8/20 week

Mon - 10 mi w/5x600m @ 5k pace - Holmdel, NJ
Tue - 10 mi general aerobic - Norwalk, CT
Wed - 6 recovery + speed - add 6x100m striders
Thu - 13 med-long run
Fri - 5 mi recovery
Sat - 18 mi long run

Total: 62 miles

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mid-week update - Peak mileage is here

Thanks to all of you who made encouraging comments on my Sunday's race report. I especially liked Wayfool's link to this site that showed my time may have been sub 1:27 in cool conditions. Also, Jim made a great suggestion to read Pfitzinger's taper article, which the lack thereof likely had an impact on my time. On with the mission...

Here is a mid-week update on my trek toward the 70-mile mark for the week. First, we need to keep things into perspective: the 70 miles DOES NOT include Sunday's hard half marathon mileage. Upon reflection, I may be in a bit over my head. It would have been nice to have a rest day on Sunday (like usual) before starting this peak week.

My plan was to follow Pfitzinger's schedule to a "tee" this week...

Monday - AM: 6 - PM: 4
Tue - 15 miles med-long
Wed - 6 recovery
Thur - 12 with 7 at LT pace
Fri - 5 recovery
Sat - 22 miles long

Total: 70 miles

Monday -10 total miles recovery - on track

I knocked 0ut 6 recovery in the morn and went to the treadmill after work to do 4.

Tuesday - 14 miles - 1 short of target

Yesterday, my plan was complicated by a lightening & thunder storm that hovered over my town yesterday during the entire early morning. It was not safe or sensible to run.

Not to be deterred, I juggled my schedule and darted out of work for a long lunch. I knocked out 14 miles in the mid-day August sun, in which temps hovered in the low 80's. I would not say I enjoyed it, but I got it done. Yes, this one mile short of my targeted 15 - but I was overheating and tired (not to mention it was the middle of a work day). Even got a mini-sunburn.

I am proud that I hit 14 out of 15 miles - this made for 38 miles in 3 days with a lot of quality miles.

Today - 4 miles recovery - 2 short of daily target

Folks, I was beat this morning. I knew it when I had to concentrate on not slipping below the 8:50 recovery pace. I decided to cut it short. It seemed silly to try to run more "junk" miles when I should be resting up for tomorrow's important LT workout.

In summary, I am off pace by 3 miles toward 70 for the week. I doubt I will make it up. Besides, I decided that 67 miles Mon-Sat (81 miles in 7 days if you count Sunday) is more than respectable and a very significant step-up in my mileage as it is.

Off to bed early tonight for a 5AM wake-up call - need to hit the track to get in the LT miles. Oh joy...!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Should anyone be disappointed with a P.R. in hot conditions?

That's the question I have been asking myself since finishing the CDC at 8:00 AM this morning. Here is today's result:

6:38 - Mile 1
6:47 - 2
6:45 - 3
6:41 - 4
6:41 - 5
6:43 - 6
6:49 - 7
13:43 - 8+9 combined
6:53 - 10
7:02 - 11
6:56 - 12
7:51 - 13 + 0.1
Finish time: 1:29:30

You could probably guess I'm a bit disappointed. It seems silly, really, to be down about today's result, which was a 54 second P.R. from last year. After all, the heat and humidity slowed all of us down.

Most runners I talked to afterward struggled. The winning Men's time was 8 min slower than last year. The women's was 10 minutes slower.

I knew it was going to be really warm - and it was - but part of me feels like it also had to do with my training. Mileage volume has been decent - but I know that I need more tempo/L.T. training. This much is clear.

The plan was to be at mile 10 at 1:06:xx - then see if I could knock out something close to a 20 min 5k. Well, as I soon found out, this plan was not feasible today.

I was pleased with a 6:38 first mile. From there on though, I found that I wasn't hitting the 6:38-6:40 splits the way I had hoped. After mile 7, I did not hit another split under 6:50. I hit 10 at 1:07:41 -- and my final 5k was a 21:49 - not the way I wanted finish.

Last year's CDC was enjoyable. I loved that last 5k and finished strong. Today I was a train off the tracks losing power slowly as the sun beamed on my overheating engine. I was spent late miles and I knew it. It was not fun. I couldn't wait today finish.

I am thinking the heat is worth at least two minutes improvement (I hope) . However, the scary thing is today's result matches up perfect with my 5k time of exactly 1 month ago. This is a disappointment because I was counting on tremendous progress.

I was targeting a 1:26:30 in good conditions. I'm not sure the heat added 3 minutes - but maybe it did. Two minutes at least.

Being honest w/myself, right now, I feel like I am progressing toward a 3:03-3:05 marathon time. This is a very admirable time and one that I would be proud of. But unfortunately, this is a long way off from the 2:59:59 target that I had set. I don't like falling short of my goals.

Afterward, Jayhawk and OOSG were kind enough to invite Jen & I, as well as J&L to her stellar apt to clean up and then head to brunch at RockIt. It was AWESOME. Thanx, guys!

Right now, it's back to the drawing board. Chalk this one up a good workout in hard race conditions. I'm not giving up on my goal of 2:59:59. I just need to work harder. Now I have to figure out how I am going to knock out 70 miles this week.

Week recap - 52 miles total. Hot/humid temps all week. Half marathon PR. Good speed work on Tuesday.

Friday, August 10, 2007

What the hell is "Bunco" anyway?

So my wife is presently hosting a bunch of neighborhood gals over to our house for some game called "Bunco". Various conversations have led me to believe that this game is some sort of dice game of chance, which got me excited, since I enjoy craps in Vegas.

But coming into the house around 10PM after escaping to the pub for a while, and observing, I'm not sure it's anything like craps. It's more an excuse for these chicks... er, lovely respectable ladies... to get together, drink and gossip...

Anyway, I will be running a half marathon in about 32 hours from now. Probably shouldn't have slugged 4 or 5 beers at the bar and my neighbor's house.... but I have 2 nights in between.

It's going to crazy hot on Sunday. That's a fact. All bets may be off for times. Doesn't matter, just got to give it my all.

I am at a mere 38 miles week to date. I may jog a couple tomorrow just because I can.... then crank it out on Sunday.

I've got a hotel booked for the Labor Day 30k in Milford, MI on Sept 1st. Seems like a good tune-up and workout so I think I will drag Jen out to Michigan. Plus, it's only 1/2 hr drive from my boyhood home, so it will be like a homecoming.

Not sure about what I can do at the CDC on Sunday. Can't wait to sweat my sack off and feel the pain of the early morn Chicago sun. It's all good...

Beginning Monday, I will go for my all-time highest weekly mileage of 70 miles. Here's a fact: I am scared, nervous, apprehensive, reluctant and uncertain about why I am trying to push to these kind of mileage heights.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Mini-Taper Has Begun

I was invited to attend a downtown Chicago bus tour and fancy dinner last night with a group of co-workers. We saw the city on a roofless bus with an annoying MC and then ate on the 70th floor at Cite restaurant on top of the tower right in front of Navy Pier.

Both events took way longer than planned, especially the dinner (great view, high prices and poor service), and I didn't get back home until 11:30 last night, since I was beat and needed to sleep in a little. This required me to adjust my schedule. I'm pretty good at the adjustment routine and made up the mileage at lunch and this evening.

Bottom line is that I am right on track this week. I had a solid 6x600m workout early yesterday morn, in which I ran the repeats in the 2:12-2:15 range (5:50-6:00 pace) and 90 sec of rest (per Pfitzinger. I did this without much problem. Don't get me wrong, it was difficult, especially with this week's killer humidity. But I got it done.

This makes me feel like I can run that 18:45 5k right about now, despite a recent 19:20. I have dropped 5 pounds since then and run a ton of quality miles. I think I will work in some Yasso's later in the program.

I capped off 33 miles in three days with a strong 7-miler tonight. I flirted with MP for 4 of the miles and it felt pretty good. Under 50 minutes - about 7:08 pace. Keep in mind the temps were still high - and I was running on tired legs. 14 today total.

Here's the stat of the week: I typically count my weeks Mon to Sun. But if you count the last 4 days of last week, I have run 70 miles in 7 straight days. Think it may be a personal best. If you count this coming Sunday's race, the plan is to run 84 miles in 7 straight days next week. Wow, this is getting ridiculous.

Now the mini-taper for Sunday's half begins. I will rest entirely tomorrow. Run an easy 5-6 recovery on Friday. Then rest again entirely on Saturday. I'll be ready to rock the CDC on Sun.

Week to date mileage

Mon 8/6 - 10 miles - 7:50 avg pace - very humid/uncomfortable
Tue 8/7 - AM speed work - 2 miles w/u + 6x600m rep + 4 miles easy = 9 miles total
Wed 8/8 - 12 Noon treadmill - 7 miles recovery + gen aer = 58:00 (8:15 avg pace). 8PM - 7 miles strong - 49:59 (7:08 avg pace). 14 total for the day.

WTD Mileage: 33

Rest of week plan

Thu 8/9 - Rest
Fri 8/10 - 6 miles recovery - pick up race packet
Sat 8/11 - Rest
Sun 8/12 - Warm-up + RACE 13.1

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Week 10 is Complete – Another Sixty Miles

What a solid week. You’ll see that I exceeded my planned goal mileage of 53 and decided to hit the 60 mark for the second time this season.

Have you heard of that theory that the more work a person takes on, the more efficient and productive they become? Miles are climbing, career work load has increased mildly, and productivity is climbing on both fronts. 60 miles and business trip to London for a 2-day workshop, all bringing on a new direct report - not bad. Throw on a social event, we hosted a BBQ last night as well...

Recap of 7/30 week

Mon – 13 miles – med-hard run – 7:40 avg pace
Tue – Travel to London / Work
Wed – London – 8 miles @ 8:00 avg pace
Thu – London Heathrow – 6 miles recovery – 5pm – home: 4 miles on treadmill 7:25 avg pace
Fri – 6 miles recovery pace
Sat – 18 miles – 7:30 average for 16.5 – added last 1.5 at close to MP (6:55/mi) – total 18
Sun – 5 miles recovery

Total: 60 miles

I am excited for next week’s Chicago half mary. I am praying for favorable weather. I am laying out the goal of 1:26:30.

Folks, I am seriously at a loss of what to expect of myself. I will be doing a lot mental preparation this week.

I have done this before. I have set a goal, prepared for it and nailed it. However, for some reason, this marathon goal seems a bit loftier than most for me. It's not lost on me that this race is a huge milestone toward a sub-3 marathon on Oct 7th.

Check out my last year’s CDC race result post for inspiration. I plan to write one of a similar tone this coming Sunday. 1:26:30 or better, here I come...

I also need to keep focused on my charitable commitment to the American Cancer Society. I am stuck at 58% of my target. Please visit my fundraising page and make a donation, if you are able to. I want to personally thank all of my wonderful donors who have gotten me this far.

In the spirit of cancer awareness, I wanted to share this link to an excellent commentary on the courageous Robin Roberts, the ABC newswoman who went public with her breast cancer diagnosis this past week.

Plan for 8/6 week

Mon – 10 miles - General aerobic
Tue – 9 miles – speed work: 6x600m repeats
Wed – 14 miles – med-long run
Thu – Rest
Fri – 5 miles recovery
Sat – 2 miles easy

Goal total: 53 with a 1:26:30 half marathon

UPCOMING 8/13 WEEK - Going for the big 7-0 - that's right, 70 miles in a single week - "can Ryan do it?!?"

Thursday, August 02, 2007


So far this week, I went to a trade show for a day downtown, had a couple of fancy business meals, traveled to London, had two all day meetings, traveled back -- and found a way to knock out 31 miles in the meantime. And it's only Thursday nite. Not bad, I suppose.

Monday - 5:45 AM: 13 miles - 7:40 avg
Tuesday - Zilch / travel-work
Wednesday - 6:30 AM London time - 8 miles - 8:00 average pace
Thursday - 6 miles recovery at 4:50 AM London time / 4 miles on treadmill w/ some speed (avg: 7:25) - total 10

Plan for Saturday long run was 15 miles w/12 at MP. I honestly don't know if I can hold that. May be too early. Besides, Jim, our CARA group leader wants to do 18. I'm guessing he wishes to hold steady 7:30's. Maybe I shoud do the 18 with him - and plan to try to push the last six toward my MP goal of 6:51. Eeegads.... it's starting to set in how challenging a marathon goal 2:59:59 really is.

Plan for rest of week

Friday - 7 miles easy
Saturday - 18 miles - deciding on whether or not to try to more MP miles toward the end
Sunday - Rest

Goal: 53-56

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Gut Check Time - 10 Weeks To Go

For my eighth week of training, I tallied 57 total miles, which was on the low end of my target range. I'd call it a good week of training.

While my mileage was slightly lower than last week's 61, my workout intensity was definitely higher. I did a speed tempo workout on Tuesday (albeit a little slow), 3 miles at LT on Thursday and a hard 20-mile long run yesterday.

Yesteday's run was my hardest, best workout of the season. I did 20 miles at 7:28 average pace. (see detail in image) While temps were reasonable, the humidity level was very high.
I wanted to test myself with MP mile towards the end of yesterday's run. I ran 6:56 for mile 18, but it was clear that I was not going to be able to hold that. My body was tired, my HR was too high and I felt winded. I think if the conditions would have been better, I would have had a stronger finish.

Between the 3 LT miles on Thursday which were rough, and yesterday's struggle to hold goal MP, it's clear that it's time to hunker down. It's gut check time.

I've got a solid base. Now I need to work hard on increasing lactate threshold and taking my miles up to 70. Right now, my paces clearly tell me that there is more work to do to get to a 3:00 pace range.

There is two weeks to an important time trial in the season: The Chicago Distance Classic. I am very hopeful I will show a marked improvement vs. my PR there last year. I want to crush last year's 1:30:24 with a sub-1:27.

This coming week mileage plan gets a little tricky with a business trip to London. Recap of this week and plan for next week posted below.

Recap of 7/23 week

Mon - 10 @ 7:40 avg pace
Tue - AM recovery 4 miles + eve speed work 6.5 = 10.5 mi
Wed - Rest
Thu - 10.5 mi in rain w/ 3 LT (6:40)
Fri - Recovery 6 mi
Sat - 20 mi @ 7:28 pace w/ 1 mile at MP
Sun - Rest

Total: 57 miles

Plan for 7/30 week

Mon - 13 miles - travel to London on red-eye
Tue - Rest
Wed - 10 in London's Hyde Park
Thu - 13 miles general aerobic
Fri - 6 recovery w/ 6x100m strides
Sat - 15 w/12 at MP
Sun - Rest

Goal total: 57 miles