Monday, January 25, 2010

Recovery Week

I'm feeling great after my marathon last week. I did mostly slow miles this week and ran a total of 38 miles averaging about 12 minute miles. The distances varied from a low of 3 miles to my long run of 15 miles, which felt amazingly good. This week I'm going to start ramping up for my 50 miler in two months. My plan is to run between 40-60 miles a week with long runs of 15 miles alternating with time on feet "long runs" of between four and six hours. The time on feet runs will be done running with walk breaks of one to two minutes every 10 minutes of running. Also, I plan to do one interval, tempo, or hill workout each week. I'd also like to do some strength training at the gym, I'm very bad about lifting weights, but I feel I will need it.

In other news, I'm getting closer to a final decision as to what race I will attempt as my inaugural 100 miler. Right now, the Burning River 100 in Ohio is running first, with the Lean Horse in South Dakota and the Javelina Jundred in Arizona tied for second.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Negative Split

When I ran the Grandma's Marathon last June and experienced the smack-down she gave me and resultant Personal Worst time, I had pretty much decided that I didn't really like marathons that much and would stick mostly to ultras. Then I ran the PF Chang's Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon for the second time on Sunday. Now I may like marathons again.

I arrived in Phoenix on Thursday, within 15 minutes of my brother and sister-in-law and at the next gate. They rented a car and we were on our way to Casa Mom and Dad for a nice visit. We spent the days leading up to the marathon visiting, celebrating our Mom's 84th birthday, carbo-loading, playing cards (for nickels), driving to Tucson to visit my favorite aunty and celebrating her birthday, and relaxing. We also took in the race expo and heard Dean Karnazes speak.

The Race

Race morning arrived with perfect weather, the temperature at the start was right around 50 degrees. The three of us (brother, sister-in-law, and me) got ourselves ready. I needed to make one last porta-pottie stop. The lines near the start corral were very long, so I backtracked to some where the lines weren't nearly as long. As a result, I didn't get to my corral until shortly before the start. I had hoped to run into Sole Mama (she ran 14 miles from her house to the start, THEN ran the marathon for a total of 40 miles, take THAT Dean Karnazes!) at the start, but my late arrival in the corral didn't give me enough time to look for her.

My training the last couple of months had me thinking of this as more of a training run, my long runs had been terrible with lots of walking breaks, my tempo runs were anemic, and when I looked back at my training for last year's race, I saw that my long runs were at a pace 20-30 seconds per mile slower than last year. If there had been a 5:30 pacer, I would have run with that group, but the choices were only 5:00 and 6:00, so I decided to run at my own pace.

Running at the slower pace and without my tunes (my armband thingy broke the day before) I was able to chat with folks here and there, do a little eavesdropping on others, and spot the many Vikings fans lining the course. I talked a bit with two Team In Training gals from Minnesota about the hot Grandma's marathon last year, met one guy running his 50th + marathon with a titanium hip, offered words of encouragement to several Marathon Maniacs on the course, and followed a guy in an outrageous orange outfit and hat that stopped to dance with every band on the course. I had followed him for several miles last year, so I pulled up next to him and we talked for a while. One couple had me laughing to myself, seeing the 11 mile sign, they told each other that they were halfway there. I didn't have the heart to tell them otherwise! At the six mile point on the course, a gal that I've known for over 10 years, but never met in person had a cheering section set up just for me. She had a huge sign with my name on it, and had several of her friends there to cheer me on. Apparently she had set up smaller signs along the way several blocks before in a kind of Burma Shave style, but I missed seeing those. It was great to finally meet her in person, even though it was only for about 10 seconds. At the 22 mile point I had another cheering section, my mom and dad were out there and this year my mind was clear and I could appreciate them being there. I even "made" my 84 year old mom run with me. I was expecting her to do maybe a brisk walk with me, but she broke out into an actual jog! We need to find her a 5K to enter that has age group medals, she would smoke the competition!

Now for the numbers, I'm going to list this years times compared to last years. You'll see that I started out much slower, and that worked out very well for me.

First 5 miles: Last year 55:40 This year 58:05

Miles 5 - 10: Last year 55:16 This year 58:11

Miles 10 - 15: Last year 55:09 This year 58:20

Miles 15 -20: Last year 58:23 This year 58:18

Miles 20 - 25: Last year 59:11 This year 55:05!

Last 1.2: Last year 14:44 This year 11:25!

As you can see, I started much slower than I did last year, and instead of fading after mile 15, I kept a constant pace all the way to mile 22 where I then put the hammer down (and boy was that fun, not only did I start running faster, I started high-fiving the cheerleaders and volunteers). My pace for for the first 22 miles was consistently between 11:30 and 11:45. I was thinking I would finish right around 5:05. Then I picked up the pace. The 23rd mile was 10:58 and I was feeling good, so I kept it there. The 24th mile was 10:50. I'm still feeling amazingly good, so I picked it up again. Mile 25 was 10:25! Halfway into mile 25, my brother met up with me. I told him I was feeling unbelievably great. He then told me that the 5:00 pacer was just ahead of me and asked if I was going to catch him. I looked at my watch and realized that I was too close to five hours not to go for it. Crap! Just past the 25 mile mark, I kicked it up another notch. My brother cautioned me not to start my final kick too early, I still had a long mile to go. We passed the final water station and I decided to try drinking from a cup while running. (I always slow to a walk at the water stations) I was half successful. I managed half a swallow of water, didn't snort any up my nose, and only got half a cupful in my shoe. I'm still feeling great, but about a half mile from the finish, I'm thinking that maybe my brother was right with his cautionary words. Thank goodness for sibling rivalry. There was no way I was going to slow down now. I ran the last 1.2 miles at a 9:15 pace! You have to understand, the fastest mile I've ever run when just running one measly mile was 8:48 and here I am running the last mile of a marathon almost that fast. I did approach the puke threshold and reached a new max heart rate, but I crossed the finish line hand-in-hand with my brother, a smile on my face, and hands raised in victory rather than surrender.

Final time 4:59:24. A negative split by about 4 minutes.

I still like ultras better, but I no longer dread the marathon.

Oh, before I forget, some charts for the math and chart geeks out there. These charts show pace versus average pace. The first one is from the Grandma's Marathon Massacre, and the second one is from the victory in Arizona.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weight Loss Thoughts

Last year I set a goal of losing 10 pounds. I didn't do that, but I didn't gain any weight either. I arrived at that goal weight from this website that calculates your "happy weight". This year I'm once again going to try to reach my happy weight. As an added incentive, I've calculated that when I do my 100 mile run later this year, if I am carrying an extra 10 pounds of weight, that's the equivalent of carrying an extra ONE THOUSAND pounds for a mile. That sounds like a lot, and it is. Maybe reducing my load by that much will be the incentive I need. I've already lost one pound, so nine more to go.

Training continues to go well. Tuesday I ran 7.79 miles in 90 minutes. Wednesday I ran 3.81 miles in 45 minutes. Thursday was interval day, after a one mile warm up, I did 2 x 400 @ 6.4 mph, 4 x 800 @ 6.2 mph, and 2 x 400 @ 6.4 mph. I then did a cool down for a total of 7.72 miles in 90 minutes. Friday was 3.81 miles in 45 minutes and Saturday was 3.35 miles in 40 minutes. Yesterday was a 15 mile long run in 3:10:16 for an average pace of 12:42, a lot slower than I would have liked to run.

The PF Chang Rock and Roll Marathon is less than a week away. My brother will be leading the 3:40 pace group again and my sister-in-law will be attempting to BQ. It is also my mom's birthday, so no matter how fast I run, it will be an enjoyable visit with family.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Change in Plans

Last summer I announced that I would run a 4:45 marathon this January at the PF Chang's Rock N Roll Arizona Marathon (PFCRNRAZ). For the most part, my training went well. However, the last couple of months, the wheels seem to have fallen off. My long runs are hit and miss. For example, two weeks ago I did an OK 20 mile run, last week was a very good 15 mile run, but yesterday was a terrible 20 mile run. Also, my speedwork has been off and on. I had the great Yasso 800 workout a couple of weeks ago, but last week I could only manage 3.5 miles at marathon pace for my tempo run.

So, where does this leave me? I could try for the 4:45 and fail miserably. I could try for a PR (4:58:22 or faster). Or, in light of my big, huge, monster goal for 2010, I could treat this as a training run. I have my first 50 mile race on the schedule for March 27th, and I don't want to burn myself out for that. Soooooo, what my plan is as of this minute is to hang out with the 5:30 pace group, treat this as a training run, not do a taper, and most importantly, spend some quality family time.

As far as keeping you guys posted with my I said, my 20 mile run was terrible. The first 5 miles were fine, but then I had to slow down. I managed the slower pace for about 10 miles, but for the last 5 miles, I had to mix in a lot of walking. The 20 miles took me 4:26 for a 13:18 pace. Today I did an easy 45 minute run on the hotel treadmill. I covered 3.83 miles for an 11:45 pace.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 Goal

Yes, goal as in singular. Unlike last year, where I had a list of goals, this year I only have one.


Of course there are lots of sub goals, but they all are in support of reaching the big one hundred. Things like eating healthier, losing the ten pounds I didn't lose last year, running more, running several ultras leading up to my big goal, etc, etc. I am also going to try to track my training on this blog. Unlike the marathon where there are dozens of training programs to choose from, for a hundred mile race, not so much. So, just in case someone else out there thinks they might want to tackle something like one hundred miles, I'm going to be nice and boring and list all my runs, so you can follow along. You can see what works and doesn't work and maybe learn from my mistakes and successes. I am just an ordinary runner, I don't have extraordinary speed or endurance, just a lot of stubbornness and OCDness. So follow along on my journey and see where it takes me this year.

On that note, my running streak this year is two days. Yesterday I ran 4.23 miles on the treadmill in 50 minutes. Today I ventured outside in the cold (my brother is laughing at me because it was MINUS 30 degrees where he lives this morning, and I'm calling 35 degrees cold) and ran 4.4 miles in 50 minutes. Tomorrow is a 20 mile long run.