Sunday, April 29, 2007

How I Will Spend My Summer 2007

All of this down time from running has allowed the opportunity to spend a lot of time thinking about how I will train the summer. Perhaps too much time and too much thinking.

I have starting doing research on what kind of training it will take me to post a sub 3-hour performance in Chicago on October 7th. That’s right, a marathon time that starts with the highly intimidating marathon number "2". After all, Robert Cheruiyot’s winning times at Boston and Chicago both start with that same number. Guess it would put me in some rather elite company.

I have reviewed Pfitz’s 55-mpw program, which is what I followed for last year’s BQ. Pfitz has another variant of the same program that is called the "up to 70-mpw" program. The schedule looks really challenging for me. I won’t be ready to jump in 53 miles in week 1, which is to begin on June 14.

So I’ve decided I may do a sort-of "hybrid" or "median" of the two. I’ve started designing my schedule to target the exact mid-point of the weekly mileage goals between the two programs. To put this into context, the lower mileage program averages 44-mpw over the entire 18 weeks, whereas the heavier mileage plan calls for an average of 62 miles/wk (with five long runs of 20 or more). My "median" program as it stands now will put me in at around 52 average per week.

I have grandiose visions of running this ridiculously fast time of 2:59 in Chicago, while also looking for motivation while I run for my to-be-determined charity. I will shatter all of my PR’s along the way: 5k, 10k, 10M, half-mary, 30k - basically any distance I race this year.

I then think about my forthcoming summer: the pain of running 1:20 400m repeats in the early morning sun, the heatstroke risk, the missed BBQ’s, the juggling of my work travel schedule to maximize my running time, the early Friday night’s to bed for Sat long runs, the awkward explanations to neighbors when shunning their weekend social invitations... all to train.

Then the fear creeps in around what if I give my all and don’t make it. There could be worse things, but what a wasted summer to run, say, a 3:04. Big deal, that’s hardly different than the 3:10 and I could have had a more relaxed summer. Besides, I’m already qualified for Boston 2008.

Then again, maybe I shouldn’t doubt myself. I had these same thoughts when I was contemplating a 3:10 and a trip to Boston. I accomplished exactly what I set for last year.

I did manage to do some more recovery running this week. I will carefully raise the mileage back up, a vacation to Aruba on May 8 notwithstanding. I need to be able to run 40 miles per week starting June 4th.

For some great inspiration and laugh, check out this Bob guy’s before and after video at Boston. Don’t know this guy, but I love this video. Note that he ran a 2:59 in Boston. Sweet.

Recap of April 23 week

Mon - Rest
Tue - 4 mi - 8:05/mi
Wed - Rest
Thu - 4 mi - 8:18/mi
Fri - Rest
Sat - 6 mi - Springbrook Prairie - 7:47/mi
Sun - 3 mi recovery - 80 degrees - 8:24/mi
Total: 17 miles

Goal for April 30 week: 27

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Recovery continues

Recovery from Boston has been progressing, I suppose, but it's been really difficult for me to tell how quickly. Truth is, I couldn't even hold to the 9-day rest period that I had planned. I was too anxious. I stepped out Sunday for an easy 3-miler and headed out this morning for another 4-miler.

Sundays 3-mile avg pace: 8:31.
Today's 4-mile avg pace: 8:05. (One of the miles was 7:44, which in retrospect was probably not a smart pace at this stage.)

I feel decent, but I know I am not recovered. Before the marathon, we all can do 4 miles in our sleep. After my runs, I have felt a very slight, dull fatigue later in the day after the run. It's not even in the category of "pain", but rather very faint sore/fatigue sensation.

Walking is another strategy for recovery I have read about. I walked last night for 30 minutes. I am going to take a 30 minute walk tomorrow before work. I will then run on Thursday for a easy four.

I am just being ultra-cautious. I believe it was a hard 9-miler the week after Chicago that initiated by IT band syndrome late last year. Don't want that.

I am itching to get back at it. Today's morning was amazing weather. We haven't had weather like this for months. My whole season culminated with a sloppy mess in Boston and now I am supposed to be resting?

Check out my current running schedule . I am curious to get your feedback on my recovery and re-ramp back in to Chicago training. Notice I have an Aruba vacation and a 10-mile race on Memorial Day weekend in late May. The section on the schedule in light blue indicates the 18-week "official training window" for Chicago.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Focusing on the Next Milestone

First, thank you to all of you who made the wonderful comments on my Boston report. Not only have I received a outpouring of congrats from my fellow running bloggers, it was an usually high-profile week at work as well.

Several months ago, I posted a Boston countdown on a whiteboard in front of my cube. As a result, basically everyone in my office knew about my entry into Boston. I received a number of congratulations this week from people all throughout my company. I am also learned that I am going to be profiled in two separate company newsletters for my Boston experience. Then, I was surprised with a special celebratory cake on Thursday at our on-site happy hours (yes, we have on-site happy hours, it's the alcoholic bev business!). It had my name and time on the cake. I received a round of applause. Yes..., it was borderline overkill!

It taught me something. People realize that me getting to Boston truly was an accomplishment. The attention was overblown for me. I did it for myself, not for the attention. I hope I've inspired some people to chase a lofty goal.

Now, for the past few days, I'm have already been turning my mind to the summer running season and the next major milestone: the Chicago Marathon. Unbelievably, the marathon has now sold out already. Thankfully, I was proactive. What's also exciting is that I have SEVEN (maybe 8) races scheduled before the next marathon. Check out the list to the right. I hope to smash a few PR's on my way to crushing my PR again in Chicago.

I am thinking about really going all out for the Chicago Marathon in two ways.

First, everyone can see my goal time to the right there for a 3:05. Wow, that's fast... just saying it scares me (7:03 per mile!?). HOWEVER... Part of me feels like I may be even to raise the bar even higher and chase a sub-3. A 2:59:59 would be amazing (6:52?!?). How much mileage do I need to get there? Can I get there on a peak of 60-65 mpw?

Second, I will be running the Chicago Marathon for a charity this year. It's time for me to give back. I don't know which charity as yet, but I am actively reviewing the options. Details forthcoming.

I have not run a step since Boston on Monday. I feel pretty good and have been enjoying my rest period. I had scheduled to rest until Wednesday. I didn't want to start up too since, since I got hurt last November after Chicago. I may go out for an easy 2-miler tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My First Boston Marathon - April 16, 2007

It’s been a hectic couple of days since the finish of the marathon. I decided to take some extra time to reflect on the marathon. Here’s the story…

We bucked the norm and stayed out in the suburbs, which worked out well. I’m na├»ve and didn’t realize the tradition of the bus system initially. Anyway, we rolled into Hopkinton State Park at around 7:20AM to find ourselves, well, early. BAA does a great job with the shuttles. There were dozens of empty school buses and only a few cars there in the lot.

The rain was steady and the road to the start area was nearly flooded. There was road crew draining Route 82 on our way.

In Hopkinton, Jen and I walked what seemed like a mile to athlete’s village, dodging puddles and cursing mother nature and her fricken’ nor’easter. My feet were sopped before I ran my first step of the day. I wasn’t sure what we would do since I knew the village was for runners only, but Jen walked right in to the tent with her jeans on with me.

The tent area looked like a refugee camp, all of us taking cover from the wind and rain. Many of the early birds were spread eagle on the ground stretching and taking naps. The surrounding field that had the port-o-johns was a swampy, soupy mess. All of us were gearing up for what were touted to be the worst Boston Marathon conditions in history.

The anticipation for me was unnerving, especially given the conditions and the uncertainty of what was to come. I just wanted to START. Runners smarter than me had extra shoes and plastic bags wrapping their feet. I wish I was that bright. Next time…

Finally, race time approached and the weather was tame. Sure, there was steady misting, but not the winds and the lower temps that were promised by all the meteorologists.

I told Jen I was planning to run steady 8’s. What difference would 3:20 or 3:30 make? I knew I didn’t have the mileage in to run much more than that. Plus, the weather… and this was about the EXPERIENCE!

Dressing was difficult, but thought I was dressed right for the conditions. I wore running tights. This decision was difficult, but the “RealFeel” was supposed to be in the 20’s around 11AM. Yes, the forecast was that temps would drop throughout the race and the winds would pick up. I wore two layers and an old Addidas running coat that I said I would toss if I warmed. It is perfect to shield the massive downpours I expected.

Finally, at 9:45, I drifted into the 5000 corral with pride. The gun went off and it was a stampede of runners on the narrow Hopkinton streets. What a thrill to know that most runners around me were faster than me, and that I was somehow mixed in with them.

The downhill pushed our pace exactly as I imagined it would. I shed the jacket and put it onto my waist at mile 2.5. I didn’t want to ditch it since I thought it would get colder. I ended up wearing it on my waist ‘til mile 17, when I saw my wife.

Wellesley was without a doubt one of the highlights. At mile 12, I heard a distant ruckus that sounded like a World Series game taking place where a homerun had just been hit. It was the girls of Wellesley instead. I saw signs of “Kiss Me for Luck!” and “You’re Sexy!” and “Take it OFF!” and flirted with all of the chicks as I ran by. I felt like a rock star.

Fast forward to 17, when I started what I thought was an early fatigue for me. But, I was hanging in. I saw and kissed my wife and braced for the beginning of the ascent. I’ll be honest and tell you I didn’t know which hill was Heartbreak. At 19, there was a modest climb, and I couldn’t remember where I was. I thought, is this IT?? I then hit 20, and there it was. I saw many around me stall, but I was able to muster a low 8 pace up the hill.

Once I hit the top, I was pumped. But I still had 10k. It wasn’t until mile 23 that I really saw the crowds thicken. Getting into downtown was incredible. We ran right along side the “T” and I saw spectators waving at us through the windows.

The payoff was rounding the corner in Copley Square and seeing the BOSTON MARATHON banner in the distance, signaling the finish. I was so damn ecstatic. I was doing cheerleader moves with my arms. This finish was like no other. There was a mile of people 5+ deep along each side of the street screaming, waving and cheering.

I was choked up as usual when I got into the chute and immediately began to freeze. I wanted my warm clothes and to find my wife.

1 - 7:30
2 - 7:27
3 - 7:38 – moved jacket to waistline
4 - 7:38
5 - 7:58
6 - 7:43
7 - 7:44
8 - 7:44
9 - 7:44
10 - 7:49
11 - 7:50
12 - 7:38
13 - 7:45 – Wellesley College scream tunnel
HALF – 1:41:03
14 - 7:44
15 - 7:55
16 - 7:42
17 - 8:28 – Ascent begins, Pause to kiss wife and hand off jacket
18 - 8:07
19 - 7:59
20 - 8:11
21 - 8:22 – Fighting off the heartbreak!
22 - 7:43
23 - 8:03
24 - 7:58
25 - 8:14
26+0.2 - 9:42 – Final 1.2
FINISH – 3:26:27

After the debacle of getting my gear off the bus (that was the one foul-up of the event, all else was solid), we were ready to head back to the hotel. We didn’t get back until about 4. I took a shower and was ready for a nap.

I came out of the bathroom to learn the news of the VA Tech Massacre. I was incredulous. I always thought I would remember this day as my first Boston Marathon, but now we all will remember this day in infamy as the worst massacre in US History.

When I heard the news, I remembered the tears of joy I had shed when I crossed the finish line with thousands cheering. I would later shed a different kind of tears on the same day. I thought of the 32 innocent people that were senselessly murdered. I wondered why I have been able to chase my dreams, which include running this incredible race, having a career and a wife and a great life... And why were these kids chosen to be in the path of such tragedy with their whole lives ahead of them? I haven’t figured this out as yet…

Friday, April 13, 2007

Boston bound - I'm on my way... BIB # 5215

First and foremost, for your viewing enjoyment, I can be tracked during the race on - bib #5215.

The bags are packed and we're ready to go. Flight is 7:30 AM tomorrow from Chicago Midway to Providence. I couldn't fit my canoe and paddle I'll need to float through up to 5 inches of rain from Hopkinton to Boston. If you've looked at the forecast, you know what I mean.

We have a visit planned with my sister-in-law tomorrow and then we'll take a 90-minute drive to Boston on Sunday. We've got a pre-race dinner on Sunday scheduled with the Chicago CARA group at this place. Let me know if you've been there before and your review.

I've got 14 miles in WTD. Will do a short 2-miler on Sunday. I'm feeling a bit sluggish. This taper hasn't been as tough as other marathons since it was shorter, but I do feel I've put on a couple of pounds.

The big news for the race is the growing speculation on the conditions. I've heard 50+mph wind gusts, thirty-something degree temp's with a sleet-rain mixture. Beautiful. I've seen newspaper reports of whether or not the race would be cancelled with the pending Nor'easter. The race has only been cancelled once, in 1918 during WWI, over the past 111 years.

You should see it, I've packed half of the running gear I own. It's ridiculous. How the hell do any of us know what to expect? We need to have plenty of clothing options. And we also need to consider we may have clothes we will want to toss.

I thought I'd share more encouragement from the B.A.A. below. We've got the video and digital cameras packed. Signing off for now until a race report next week. Here's my chance to chase destiny from Hopkintown to downtown Boston. Peace out...

April 13, 2007

Weather Advisory - 2007 Boston Marathon

The Boston Athletic Association's medical team recommends the following precautions and advice for participants in Monday's Boston Marathon:

FORECAST:The most up-to-date weather forecast calls for a predicted Spring storm on Monday, including heavy rains (potentially 3 to 5 inches), with the start temperatures in the mid to upper 30's. Wind will likely be East (in the face of the participants for most of the race) in the 20 to 25 mile per hour range, with gusts to as much as 50 miles per hour. This will produce a wind chill index of 25 to 30-degrees Fahrenheit.

RISKS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RUNNERS PARTICIPATING IN COLD AND WET CONDITIONS:Combined with the rain, we are concerned that predicted weather conditions will increase the runners' risks for a condition called hypothermia. As with any athletic competition, as a runner you are assuming the risks inherent with participation. It is your responsibility to be informed about the risks associated with running in the aforementioned conditions, and the risks of injury or illness will increase with these predicted conditions.
While exercising in cold weather, our bodies attempt to maintain core temperature by shunting blood away from the periphery, thus minimizing heat loss. Hypothermia sets in when the body's temperature drops below normal, starting when the body loses heat faster than heat can be generated. Heat is produced by muscle action and shivering. Very low body temperatures can be life threatening.WARNING SIGNS OF HYPOTHERMIA:
Mild hypothermia is heralded by goose pimples and shivering as our bodies attempt to raise our metabolic rates to increase our core temperature.
Moderate hypothermia will result in muscular fatigue, poor coordination, numbness and disorientation.
Severe hypothermia can result ultimately in cardiovascular failure. Treatment of hypothermia requires prompt recognition and treatment as mild hypothermia can progress to a more severe situation if not addressed early.

WHAT TO DO IF HYPOTHERMIA SETS IN:Runners should be removed from cold, wet, or windy conditions. Wet clothing should be removed, and rewarming commenced with warm blankets and ingestion of warm fluids. If the athlete's condition does not improve, transportation to a medical facility should be arranged. Hypothermia can occur at temperatures at, or below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, or even in higher temperatures when the weather is also wet and windy. Cold temperatures, dampness, and wind increase the risk of hypothermia for runners. Sweat cools the body quickly during cold weather running. Wind evaporates it faster.
As with so many other conditions in sports medicine, our best offense (treatment) is a good defense (preparation). Following the guidelines below will help minimize risk for cold related illness and will maximize your enjoyment and performance during the race:


Be prepared prior to the race. Have extra clothing which will enable you to stay dry even before the race begins.
For the race itself, dress in layers of loose, lightweight clothing. The first layer of clothing (closest to the body) should be made of polyester or polypropylene which will "wick" sweat away from the body. Subsequent layers should be loose and breathable-fleece is a good choice. Cotton should be minimized as it can allow sweat buildup. The outer layer should be wind and water resistant, thus protecting from wind, rain, and snow. When in doubt, add the extra layer. You can always remove a layer if you warm up, but you will regret not having it if you start freezing with several miles to go.
Protect your head and extremities. Wearing a hat is essential as up to 50% of body heat can be lost though the head. Gloves are important to prevent exposure to the hands. These, too, can be removed if you get warm, but you'll regret not having them if needed. Mittens are better on colder days as they will keep the hands even warmer. Shield the face with a scarf or high collar. Wear socks that retain heat and wick moisture away.
Runners with exercise-induced bronchospasm should attempt to warm air such as through a scarf or mask. A prolonged warm-up prior to hard running can help minimize symptoms. Carry your inhaler if you use one, and use it should it become necessary.
Stay with your normal hydration regime, remembering not to over drink. Do not drink alcohol the night before the race. Alcohol will make the body lose heat faster.
Run with a partner. It is sometimes difficult to recognize if you are becoming hypothermic. A running partner can help if you get into trouble. Shivering is a sign of hypothermia. The cessation of shivering may indicate more severe hypothermia and the runner should seek evaluation at a shelter.
Consider canceling your run or seek shelter if the weather conditions are too severe or you are too tired. Running on ice or over snow-covered terrain can lead to tripping, falling, or injury.
Medical stations and American Red Cross locations - located every mile along the route - along the course will have buses to handle your medical needs. Rewarming will be difficult given the weather and normal field size, so if you are not feeling well, do not wait to seek medical attention.
Help each other. Be aware of yourself but also make medical team members aware if you see someone on the route who you believe may be starting to suffer from the onset of hypothermia.TREATMENT OF HYPOTHERMIA
Keep the runner dry and cover with blankets.
Shelter the runner from wind and water.
Provide heat to the neck, underarms, and groin. Heat only the trunk initially to avoid core temperature after-drop. After-drop occurs in this manner: Extremities cool faster than the trunk. If you re-warm the extremities, their colder blood will re-enter the circulation and actually worsen hypothermia temporarily.
Keep the runner lying down, but only in a warm dry location.
Administer warm fluids by mouth if the runner is shivering. If the shivering reflex is lost, a bear hugger should be utilized (loss of the shivering reflex signifies significant hypothermia).
Avoid moving/jarring the runner suddenly because this may trigger an abnormal heart rhythm.
If CPR is necessary, resuscitation should not be stopped until the person's body temperature is at least 95°F/35°C (never give up your efforts). All temperatures indicated are rectal measures, which give a closer indication of core temperature. If the victim is cooperative, you may take temperature by other methods.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

B.A.A. has issued weather warning

Not good, folks! I dropping my time expectations down to 3:30. Four days to go...

Newsflash from the BAA sent to all entrants

Wednesday, April 11 - As the Boston Athletic Association continues to make preparations for Monday's Boston Marathon, we are monitoring the upcoming weather conditions forecast for this area. Based on the National Weather Service's most recent report and in cooperation with the Executive Office of Public Safety (Commonwealth of Massachusetts) and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, together with the eight cities and towns along the 26.2-mile marathon route, we are planning for likely heavy rain and windy conditions on race day. However, all race day plans remain the same. The Boston Athletic Association advises participants in Monday's race to plan accordingly for their run, bringing with them gear and apparel to suit the conditions. The B.A.A. will continue to update its web site as necessary.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Psyching up for Boston - My dream goal will be accomplished

Finally, my two weeks of business traveling is over. I was in our Connecticut office for three days again this week, which includes the proverbial team dinners both nights. These are long days and seriously impacts the running schedule.

Not to mention that I work in the alcoholic beverage industry, so there are always plenty of opportunities to hit the bar. I was able to get in a couple of shorter runs during the week.

All of this is OK, however, since the taper for Boston is in full effect. A few people have asked me if I have a goal time in Boston. All along I have said that I am just happy to be there. But it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have a plan. So here it is…

My recent half was a 1:32, which is a 3:15 on the McMillan predictor chart. Not going for that. Don’t have enough weekly mileage, long runs or any speed work in the bank.

My recent 8k was a 31:53, which is a 3:08 on the predictor chart. Again, NOT going for that for the aforementioned reasons.

I’d be absolutely thrilled with a sub-3:20, which would be my second best marathon time. My PR prior to Chicago '06 was a 3:23:55, which is really what I want to beat. SO, I will run 7:40’s and see how it goes, and see if I can push it 7:30’s for the final 10k to break 3:20.

BUT this is Boston, and I have no idea what to expect. Mark my words, I am thrilled just be to there and that I am injury-free again. That is the real victory for me. I cannot wait to run through Wellesly College with all the local crazies in my face cheering me on!!

Today’s 12-miler went off without a hitch. I ran up at the Prairie Path with CARA group. I’ll do a recovery 4-miler tomorrow to get me to 33 for the week. Worst part of today was that I lost the key to my car on the path and was stranded up in Wheaton. Wife is out of town, so no help there. Thankfully, an overly kind running partner drove me 40 miles roundtrip to get my spare key and bring me back to me car. I definitely need to pay that kindness forward.

Disappointing news: The Soldier Field 10-miler on May 26 is now sold out. I screwed up. I was about to sign up a couple of weeks ago, and hesitated. I went as far as filling out the e-form and not hitting enter. I was like, wait, am I sure I want to do this since I’ll be just getting ready to re-start Chicago training? So after I settled in on doing it, it was too late. Oh well. Guess I’ll be drinking beer all Memorial Day Weekend now.

Last bit of good news...

1. I got a totally unexpected mid-year raise yesterday!! Yippee!!!

2. My Michigan State Spartans are competing for the NCAA Hockey Championship tonight. Go Green - Go White!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Recap of London trip - two weeks to Boston

Hi, I am back from my trip to London. I went to attend the first-ever Global Procurement conference for our company. It was a great experience to meet people in my function who all work in different parts of the world. From Europe, Asia, Africa, China, Australia, India... you name it, the region was represented. It was a fantastic week.

Monday 3/26

I got up at 5AM with great ambition to get in the 18-mile long run I put off due to the Shamrock Shuffle. I also knew there would be little if any running due to my travel schedule. Guess what? I knocked out 18 like it was my job. With a stop at Starbucks, I was at my office before 9AM. I was amazed I pulled this off, and I wasn't even that sore. My pace was fairly easy at around an avg of 8:00 for the 18.


I took the redeye from O'Hare to Heathrow on Monday night, with a little bit of shuteye. I spent Tuesday at the hotel with others on my team and catching up on work. No running before dinner. In fact, there was no time for running at all between Tuesday and Thursday. If it weren't for my jetlag, I may have been able to sneak in 30 minutes, but it didn't happen. That's OK, the conference was great. I was there to network, not to run.

For Wednesday's dinner, our entire team was treated to dine in an amazing setting in English history. We had the great fortune of dining at a hall within Hampton Court Palace, which was one of the royal palaces of King Henry VIII. King Henry was infamous for killing four of his six wives, since the Catholic Church would not allow him to divorce. He eventually was ex-communcated by the Pope of the Catholic Church, which prompted him to launch a religious revolution with the Church of England. That's my history lesson for the week.

Friday 3/30

I stayed over an extra day in London to see the city a little bit. I worked from our office in central London on Friday. After work, I finally laced them up and headed from my hotel toward Hyde Park. I ran all around the perimeter of the park and ventured into it in certain parts. One of the highlights was stopping off to stroll around the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. This was a really simple but beautiful landmark. I did a 5-miler at around 7:47 pace.

Saturday 3/31 -- Flew home from London.

Sunday 4/1 - Final 20-miler before Boston

Since I was on my own for the planned 20-miler, Jen came out to the Morton Aboretum with me to provide moral support. She ran/walked on her own and did a lot of reading while I did the 20. Today's run was a great one. I pasted in my Garmin splits below. Note my final five miles were 7:25'ish for the average. I was ripping up and down the hills. Taper begins... on to Boston!

Mileage recap for the week
Only three runs -- 43 total miles