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