Monday, November 24, 2008

12 weeks to Austin - Testing my limits

There are just under 12 weeks to go until Austin. I completed this past week's schedule exactly as planned and hit all 55 miles. I ran the Pfitz mileage to a "T". This was a much welcome stepback week.

For this week, I will see a significant jump in mileage. Pfitz puts 69 miles on the docket for the week.

Adding to the challenge is the fact that I decided to throw a little cross-training into the mix. Last night, I filled in on my co-worker's hockey team for a game last night.

Hockey is one of my first passions. Over the past few years, I have pushed hockey aside to concentrate on running. I decided that I wanted to have a little fun last night. And it was fun.

However, I will say that is challenging right now to have forfeited my only rest day for a game of hockey right before a 69-mile week. But that's where I am. I suppose it didn't help that I was forced into sharing a few beers with the guys afterward somewhat late night. Nevertheless, it was fun.

I didn't see any ill effects today. Tonight's 10-miler went perfectly. After a 1-mile warm-up, I cruised through the 5-mile tempo run at an average of 6:25 per mile, with an extremely strong finish. I then trotted the final 4 in 7:50's.

I admit that my legs are sore right now. Not to mention my hip from a fall on the ice I took last night. I could use a little rest. That's why I'm going to bed momentarily.

The rest of the week will be a crunch with a long drive to Pittsburgh and, of course, the family commitments that come along with the holiday. But I will try to hold the schedule.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

This week's plan:

Mon - 10 miles w/5 at LT -- COMPLETED
Tue - 14 miles - Drive to Pittsburgh
Wed - 5 miles recovery
Thu - 11 miles
Fri - 8 miles w/ 8x100m strides
Sat - 21 miles long
Sun - Drive home to Chicago

GOAL MILEAGE: 69 miles after a hockey game!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Scenic 63-mile week - 13 weeks to Austin

We are back from our visit to my parents' house in Ivins, UT. I banged out 47 miles in four days while visiting and completed 63 out of my 65 miles planned for the week.

I will admit it was a tough yet fulfilling week of training. Getting to 63 after 60 last week proved harder than I would have guessed. Increasing my mileage again after a hard LT workout on Monday was a challenge. However, I was glad that I had wonderful weather and scenic terrain in Utah to keep me motivated.

It's worth noting that St. George, UT introduced a significant altitude and elevation change dimension into my training. I ran a 12-miler on Thursday from the peak of Snow Canyon State Park, which took me to about 3,200 feet. I floated through the park to my parents' house that was largely downhill during the first half.

Posted are a handful of snapshots from this particular workout that give a feel for how absolutely gorgeous it was for me to run in SW Utah.

We all know that with downhills come uphills, so it was not all a cakewalk. My 20-miler on Saturday along the Snow Canyon Parkway bike trail proved again a test to my ability to endure the changes in elevation.

The night before we left Chicago, I stalled on Tuesday's planned 14-miler. It was 36 deg and raining here in SW Chicago. I had a busy day before our 3-day vacation. I could only muster 7 miles on the treadmill and was forced to adjust the week. I am proud that I bounced back.

This 63-mile week my highest-volume week since Aug 2007. Taking a look back at my log during that time, I am amazed by the shape that I was in for the Chicago Marathon. Based on history, know I can climb toward a healthy 70-mile week by Christmas time.

New exciting news: I am committed now to what will be my 3rd marathon in 2009: the highly celebrated and scenic San Francisco Marathon.

Preliminary "Tentative" 2009 schedule:

  • Austin - Feb 15 - Registered and travel booked
  • Boston - Apr 21 - Travel booked. Qualified and need to register.
  • S.F. - July 26 - Travel booked. Need to register.
  • St. George, UT* - Oct 3 - Lottery opens in April.
  • NYC* - Nov 1 - Lottery opens in June.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Making Progress - 14 weeks out to Austin

One important piece of news (besides Barack's big victory) is that I am signed up for Austin.

Recapping last week's workouts, I ran 60 of the Pfitz planned 62 miles for week #4 out of 18. I cut out a measley two recovery miles to try to save legs. Despite the shortcut, I am considering my 97% coverage pretty damn good for the week.

I basically ran everything exactly as planned. I don't take 60-mile weeks for granted. I don't have too many of them under my belt. The ones I do this year are because I pushed a long run into Monday. I don't consider those "legit". Chasing a 55-mile week, this week's 60 is legit.

So the saying goes, no rest for the weary runners who are chasing a sub-3 marathon. I kicked off this week's 65-mile quest with a 9-mile run on the treadmill tonight, during which I celebrated 4 of the 9 with a threshold run at 6:27 pace. Tick the box for that workout.

You'd think it'd be easy for me to knock out the schedule given recent progress. But of course we are set to leave on yet another family visit to St. George, UT on early Wed AM. When you travel and have change in your life, it forces adjustments.

So, I need to nail 42 miles in Utah during a 4-day visit. I admit it may be viewed by some as borderline selfish to schedule six hours of running during this 4-day visit to my parents' home. But they're laid back. And as my wife said about my running during her sister's visit, "it's what Ryan does". I try to minimize the impact by going early and scheduling around key events.

With current planned mileage, I am targeting a 264-mile November. Two freaking sixty-four. Mercy. I don't need to look at any prior running logs. Never before have I had that kind of output.

I am relaxed. I am focused. I am maintaining all other important aspects of my life while hitting these miles. Work is going well. We are happy in our home and our daugter is a joy. I am on track for sub-3 on 2/15/09.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Adapting to elevated mileage - 15 weeks out to Austin

I suppose I should sign up for the Austin Marathon, since I keep saying that I am aiming to run a sub-3 there. I guess I should get a jump on Boston, too.

Last week, I said I was planning to run 58 miles. I hit 95% of those miles and ended the week with 55. I needed to cut short the recovery run on early Friday morning due to (a) limited time -- we had an early flight to Boston for a family weekend trip, and (b) fatigue in the legs. It was hard to turn around and run Friday AM after hitting 40 miles in 4 days on Mon-Thurs.

Although we flew into Boston, we spent our weekend visiting my sis-in-law in North Kingstown, RI introducing our new daughters to one another. During my weekend trip on Saturday, I ran a solid 15 miles during a beautiful autumn morning in the towns N. Kingstown and Wickford, RI.

My run in RI included beautiful views of the Jamestown Bridge and Narrangansett Bay. Running through historic towns in the Northeast along the water is such a different experience than running in the flat farmlands of Plainfield, IL.

My program calls for 62 miles this week. Tonight, I knocked out 9 miles as expected. I am monitoring my legs and some modest fatigue closely. I am feeling some wear on the legs that I do not usually feel. There is 14 in the plan for tomorrow after work. I want to be smart and listen to my body and not over-do it.

I suppose it's to be expected since I am in a significant mileage build phase. I usually peak in 55 after several weeks of build-up when I am running the Pfitz 55mpw program. I want to make sure I am not setting myself up for injury as a result of my ramp-up to the higher-mileage Pfitzinger plan.