Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gearing Up for Spring

For the most part, I've taken the last couple of weeks of from running.  The Tecumseh Trail Marathon was my 4th marathon or more event since the beginning of September and I was starting to feel burnt out & unmotivated.  Now with less than 2 weeks to go before my Spring marathon training plan begins, I'm ready to head back out on the road and trails.
 I've set my "A" goal as going sub 3 at the Carmel Marathon in April.  As I've stated previously, I've made attempts before and failed but this is mostly due to the fact that I usually stray from the plan and end up going into the race under trained.  I'm fairly confident that if I stick to the plan that I'll be in a good position to go under 3 hours. I've signed up for the new Carmel Runners Club, hoping that I'll be able to stay on track by running with others who with the same  or similar goals. I'm also going to try to not sign up for random races during the build up that will end up being detrimental to my training. This means nothing over a half marathon until race day though it's going to be tough to pass up the Planet Adventure Winter Trail Marathon.
My plan is to do weekly updates on how the training is going to hold myself accountable for not only getting in the workouts but also for updating my blog more regularly.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

2011 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Marathon #12 is in the books and I really couldn't be happier with the results.  Even though it wasn't a PR, it was probably the best marathon that I've run in the last 3 years.  I was able to pace myself fairly consistently and other than walking through 2 of the last 4 water stops, I didn't have any major melt downs.
Going into Saturday's race, I thought I was capable or running somewhere in the 3:30 to 3:40 range.  I didn't follow a training plan but after running both the Run Woodstock Trail Marathon & StumpJump 50K over the last couple months, I figured I could count those as two very long and very slow training runs. My plan for Saturday was to start out running 8:00/mile and hope to hang on until the finish in front of the state capital building. This worked for the first 10K but after a quick bathroom break on Mass Ave, I got antsy and picked up the pace to make up lost time.  I tried to calm down and slow it down a bit but still ended up putting in back to back 7:45 miles. After that, I was able to settle back into an 8:00/mile pace. I was able to stay right around that pace up until mile 20.  I didn't have any cramping issues, which was a first for me, but I could feel the energy starting to fade. From there I broke the race up into 2-5Ks and decided to take a GU and walk the next water stop and then repeated the same process at water stop around mile 23. I ended up crossing the finish line in 3:33:44.
The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon is a great race and even though it's only in it's 4th year, it's an extremely well organized event.  The course takes you past most of the major sights of the city including Lucas Oil Stadium, Conseco Fieldhouse, Butler University & the Indianapolis Museum of Art. There is a bit of a boring stretch between miles 19 & 21 while your're running along the White River Parkway. To break up the monotony, someone put up Hoosier Trivia questions and answers on alternating signs throughout this area.  Some question were easy, some were hard (I still have no clue who Hoagy Carmichael is), but I have to admit that this kept my mind occupied for those miles. My only complaint is that they were out of chocolate milk at the finish line though they more then made up for it with the unexpected stocking cap that they handed out to all finishers along with the medal.

Garmin Connect data

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spring Marathon Plans

I've spent the last few days debating on what training plan to follow and what marathon to run in the spring.  I had originally planned on Bayshore but now I'm leaning toward the Carmel Marathon, four weeks earlier. I'll still run up in Traverse City but the goal will be to BQ at Carmel and use Bayshore as a back up plan.
As for training plans, I'm more than likely going with the FIRST program.  I like the concept of focusing on three quality workouts a week (speed, tempo, long) and supplementing the off days with cross training.  Of course, every training plan depends on how well you stick with it and seeing it through to completion has always been an issue that I've had.  After running eleven marathons, I haven't PRed since marathon # 2, the last time I followed a training plan faithfully.  Hopefully the flexibility of the FIRST plan and the fact that it's only a 16 week program as opposed to 18+ will keep me on track.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Upcoming Race Schedule

I think I have finalized my major race schedule for the rest of the year. The only problem is that I'm not prepared for any of them and the first one is 30 days away. It's not that I'm completely out of shape, I'm just not where I envisioned I'd be at this time of year. I could blame it on the 23 consecutive days of 90+ degree heat but in reality, I just haven't been that motivated. I'm not a fan of waking up early to get in a run before work and it's too easy to talk myself out of one after. You'd think a schedule of 4 marathon or more distances in 3 months would be motivation enough to get in my mileage. If I want to return to the shape I was in a couple years ago, I need to get out the door & stop making excuses.

Here's the schedule:

September 9th - Run Woodstock Trail Marathon or 50K (still undecided) Pinckney, MI
October 1st - Stump Jump 50K Chattanooga, TN
November 5th - Monumental Marathon Indianapolis, IN
December 3rd - Tecumseh Trail Marathon Bloomington, IN

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dances With Dirt-Gnaw Bone 50k Race Report

Saturday at 3:30am, I packed up my Jeep and headed down to Brown County, Indiana to give the 50K another shot. I had attempted the distance at last year's Stump Jump 50k in Chattanooga but dropped out at mile 19 due lack of training. I had completed the Frozen Otter 32 mile ultra trek a couple years ago but always considered that more of a hike than a run. The DNF at Stump Jump has been bothering me ever since & I've been waiting for a shot at 50k redemption. The thing is that I wasn't anticipating getting that chance on Saturday. I was originally eyeing the half marathon as my race of choice but after some motivation from some online running friends, I decided to jump up to the 50k. My only reservation was that I have a marathon in 2 weeks. However my training had fizzled out over the last few weeks and I figured I could run an "easy" 50k and still go out and put in a decent effort at Bayshore knowing that I wasn't in the sub 3 hour shape that I had hoped.
I really didn't have any expectations at DWD other than finish & have a great time. I left my Garmin at home & opted for an old Timex Ironman watch so that I wouldn't be obsessing over pace & mileage. The weather was 60F at the start with the threat of rain looming. The race started with an easy mile or so on a gravel road before switching to muddy horse trails. The race director suggested putting an extra pair of shoes in the mile 10 drop bag & by time I arrived there, I was glad I did. My bright orange New Balance Minimus were now caked in dark brown mud and I'm assuming also some horse crap. I switched in to the MT101's and got back on the trail. I tried to judge my pace by perceived effort but I realized when I hit mile 10 at a 10:00/mile pace that I was going too fast. From that point on, I adopted a run 10 walk 2 policy in addition to walking the hills. I did allow myself to vary from this a bit if I was on one of the rare stretches of runnable trail. If I felt I was in a groove, I'd take advantage of it knowing that there would be a few areas with no discernible trail that would slow me down.
Around mile 18, I started to have some cramping issues in my lower legs. Climbing over downed trees resulted in a calf cramp that required a bit of walking to work it out. I had planned on packing some S! Caps but in my haste to make it out the door in the morning, I left them sitting on the kitchen counter. Luckily, Beau from Louisville, who I was running with at the time hooked me up with an Endurolyte. The cramping subsided until about mile 22 when another area of bushwhacking & tree hopping came about & the cramps returned. This time a couple from Akron who I was running with had an extra S! Cap to help me out. I have always thought that runners are one of the nicest segments of the population but ultra runners may take it to even a higher level. Everyone I met over the course of the race was wonderful. Here I am, in the middle of the woods, running with a bunch of people I had never met before but everyone was laughing and having a good time as if they'd been long time training partners. The only major hiccup of the day came around mile 23. I was running with 3 other people when I realized I couldn't hear anyone behind me anymore. About the same time, someone said what the rest of us were thinking, "I haven't seen any pink ribbons in a while." We were off course. By the time we made our way back to the course, we had gone about 1.5 miles out of the way. As if that wasn't enough to dampen the mood, once back on track, the course proceeded to head straight up hill. No groomed trail, no switchbacks, just some pink ribbons tied to some brush leading the way. I was a bit discouraged for about a mile after this but quickly got my my thoughts back on track & started focusing on finishing. My only concern now was the rumors of the ski hill at the finish. Everyone knew it was there but no one knew for sure if we went up it, down it or both. Much to my relief, we only went down. Not that a steep downhill was that enjoyable after the pounding my quads had already taken. There was a volunteer at the bottom of the hill to inform me that I was almost finished, just a bit of running through the river and I'd be done. Wait a minute, did he say through the river? Having run the Dances With Dirt relay in Hell, MI a few years back, it should have been perfectly clear to me that this was the case. This was my favorite part of the course. The depth of the water went from ankle to knee deep so running was difficult but it felt great. My legs couldn't have asked for anything better at the time.
At the end of the day I had accomplished both goals. I finished (7:01:21 50th/103) & had a blast.
Thanks to everyone at Running Fit & all the volunteers for putting on a great race & thank you to Upland Brewing Company for the keg of Upland Wheat at the finish line!