Monday, September 28, 2009

Celebrating the taper with a 5k PR

Chicago is a mere 13 days away.

Taking a look at my training right now, I feel like I am in pretty good shape for Chicago.  I am in comparable shape to Austin and the good news is that Chicago is a faster course.

Giving me even a little more confidence was that I finally broke 19 minutes on a 5k this weekend.  OK, so I have not run a 5k in over a year.  That's why I decided to enter the local Plainfield Harvest Fest 5k to see if my speed work was progressing.

My goal was to run an 18:30.  I was really nervous on whether or not I could do this.  I haven't run intervals over 1200m and I simply not as strong on the shorter distances.  

Did I tell you that I hate 5k's?  They f'n hurt.  The good news is that I achieved my goal and ran an 18:22.  (Official time was later posted as 18:25 - but I trust my watch).

I ran splits of 5:48, 6:02, 5:56 and the final 0.1 mile in 0:36.  This earned me another 3rd place age group finish.  More importantly, this time lines up with a 2:59:03 marathon time, if you ask Greg McMillan anyway.

If I take this 5k result and compare it to the strong 22-miler that I knocked out last Sunday, I am feeling pretty good about my progress.  

The takeaway on the 22-miler was not necessarily the pace of the splits, but rather how I felt so strong toward the end.  Granted, I wasn't running race pace until the final couple of miles.  Nevertheless,  I felt stronger on this run that I have on any other training run of this distance in recent memory  -- and it was at the tail end of another 70 mile week.

I feel like I am right on the brink of a 2:59.  It's all about rest, recovery and mental preparation from this point forward.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuning up for the Chicago taper

Wow, where has the time gone? There are just over 3 weeks until the Chicago Marathon. I have a plan to nail about 68-69 miles this week and then it's taper time for the 4th time in 2009.

I am starting to build some confidence that I am on the cusp of another sub-3 hour marathon in Chicago.

I ran the Batavia Half Madness 1/2 Marathon about 10 days ago. I wanted a sub 1:25. I came up slightly short. However, I will say that I was happy to have finished as strong as I did.

I ran a 1:25:48, which lines up with a 3:00 marathon. It was a PR by about 50 seconds. I placed 3rd in my age group and 18th overall out of just under 1,000 runners (see results here). OK, so I was little pissed as I struggled to hold 6:30's. You can check out my splits here.

In retrospect, I could have pulled out the excuse monkey and had him say the humidity was very high that day (over 90%), that my weight was up (nearly 170 lbs) and I had a poor diet the night before (thanks to me caving into my neighbor's invite for dinner, since my family was out of town... ribs, chicken, cookies, etc) and that it was the last, tiring run of a 70-mile week (which it was).

But I didn't let the excuse monkey out of his cage. I chalked it up to more work to do.

Since then, I have been running pretty strongly. However, I will say that I have put in a ton of treadmill mileage due to my schedule and my all-weekend daddy duties. It's great fun to nail an 18-mile treadmill run (w/ 15 miles at 6:49/mi pace) while watching my daughter nap on a video monitor right next to me.

I am hitting the workouts. The indicators are there. I am right on the fringe of another PR. I would have felt better had I ran a 1:24 at that half, but I honestly think it wasn't my best day.

Regardless of what happens, it will be my best year of marathoning.... ever.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Margaritaville + Marathon Training = ?

I am continuing to make progress toward a sub-3 marathon run at Chicago on 10/11/06.

I've been able to keep up with the Pfitz plan pretty successfully -- even with numerous distractions, work travel and family obligations.

I did complete 70 miles the week before last even with my business trip to Miami. One of the nights in Miami included a night out at the bar with co-workers until 1:45 AM. No, I didn't get up and run before our 8:30 AM meeting, but I managed make it up in the evening and get back on track the following morning. This included a strong tempo run on the Hilton treadmill for a total of 12 miles. Not bad, right?

Last week, I hit 63 out of 64 planned miles and completed all the speed work. The toughest part was over the weekend. Friday night was my birthday and we had neighbors over late and celebrated. I killed a simulated 10k race on Saturday on the treadmill in 37:58 (which lines up with a 2:58 marathon) with a minor hangover.

On Saturday night, I went to my first Jimmy Buffet concert. I didn't see any others at the show that appeared to be attempting a sub-3 marathon next month. I did 18 miles on the treadmill on Sunday afternoon at an avg of 7:33/mi - with a slightly stronger hangover.

All in all, I am on track. Just got back from a Connecticut trip. I hit my 11 miles this morning - however, I did not get in the 6x1000m repeats on the treadmill as planned. It was 80+ degrees with high humidity in the Hilton fitness room. I did two of the intervals and then headed outside to beautiful temps and completed the final 9 miles in 7:29/mi avg pace. Enjoyed the hills of my former town that I last lived in!

I am pumped for the Batavia Half Madness 1/2 Marathon on Sunday. I should be in position to P.R. My goal is a 1:24:30 and I think it's very doable.

Off to bed so I can get up for a 15-miler... trying to stay on track for a 70-mile week (or something close).